Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Toll House Cookies or Things I Say When Almost Asleep

Dude Write

I'm using an older post this week on Dude Write. Often the method by which a great idea comes is in the botching of an even better idea. I hope you enjoy this one. If you haven't visited Dude Write, you should stop by and read some great posts by writers who happen to be dudes.

 

It was an epically awesome life changing blog post. Here are the notes I took when the idea came to me.

Jerry maguire perfect zip code
Hotel California never stayed there

Yeah, completely blow your mind stuff.

Was I on crack? That is a fair question, the answer to which is no. This is par for the course of a bad typist with ADHD. Awesome ideas are plucked from the orchard at the peak of perfection and then stared at. Why would we cut them? Juice them? Eat them?!?!? Have you lost your mind entirely?

I am reminded (and by that, I mean that Mrs Mynd reminds me, because ADHD makes memories a fleeting memory) of my most famous utterance.

It happened early on in our marriage. We were talking about something (why must you question me for details, are you hoping I will forget the entire point of the story?) in our bed. If my lack of memory serves, it wasn't earth shattering conversation. It wasn't the kind of conversation where cancer was being cured. It was a fairly normal daily conversation. At some point in the whole thing, she asked me a question. Now normally I am fairly lucid and well spoken. On this occasion, I was in some sort of twilight zone and despite hearing and understanding her question, my answer was quite simply...

Certainly the stuff of dreams and legends

"...Toll-house cookies..."

Strangely, the mere uttering of this nonsense immediately registered with my brain and I was awake and fully alert the moment after I said it. Mrs Mynd had the look of a woman who not only heard an answer that she was not expecting, but also one of some serious randomness. She must have sensed the dreamlike quality of my voice as she didn't kill me on the spot and accepted my apology for such a strange answer. Now I am not one to talk in my sleep, or even mutter nonsensical things so I am baffled at what would cause me to form words in this twilighty arena. Even more curious was my choice of phrase, as if I was hungry or had a sweet tooth or something that I clearly have no recollection of having (cause I'm so good with the memory thing) Mrs. Mynd and I had a killer laugh about it and still do to this day.

So to our lack of topic at hand, blogging is especially difficult for those of us with ADHD as our lack of focus makes focusing difficult. Wait, what??? I don't have any lack for ideas, only a lack of time and paper to write them down. I am often writing down the smallest snippet as a title or as a one-liner within the many blogging apps I have at my disposal. More often than not, I am able to recollect with some clarity the thought process that hatched the idea in the first place. I suppose given the hour that this particular note was written, I was in my Toll-House place.

Has this ever happened to you? A killer blog idea? An invention that is simply past due? Maybe you've taken notes for a history class that turned out like "Napoleon... short... Waterloo... Bill...Ted...Whitewater Rafting...jufemlaksjd (that's cursive for something)




 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Being Competitive Fits Us to a T...


This is the current anthem of Shaggy as he works through "the changeling" and the thought of purchasing this women's workout shirt for him did cross my mind. He says this to his older brother, his younger sister, and even foolishly to me. I just wanna be around when his mother 'has a go' on him for being epically stupid enough to test her waters with it.

What is with the youth of today? Better question, what is wrong with society today? As I was shopping this weekend with Mrs. Mynd, I started to be more than my usual observant self... I became my usual observant self with a camera phone. I just think we've become too competitive as a society. Fortunately, most of the angst ridden youth of today have only a slight chance to do anything dumb about it. They're more likely to yell at me "What's your World of Warcraft name? I'm gonna give you a thumb beat down, buddy!" Needless to say that merely mowing my lawn puts me in better overall shape than most of the children of today. But this shirt gives me great pause...


Always win what... Dungeons and Dragons? Some pseudo war-game that makes you think you're a bad dude? You do realize in real war, you don't get to die over and over only to be dropped back in the field of battle exactly where you left off? I mean seriously, if you believe in reincarnation, fabulous...but it doesn't work like that for sure, you'll be lucky if you come back as a possum.

I remember when I was younger and I would "pick fights" with my dad, he'd smile and say "bring a lunchbox and a flashlight, because it's going to be an all night job." At the time, I thought it was a horrible return line and I would mock it almost every time he said it. I remember talking like a big man, telling him it was more like a Snickers job. He had some incredible self-control and in my later adult-father years I admire his ability to put up with me.  Here's another ultra competitive shirt on display at my local store...


I'm just not sure what the 'A' stands for here, my guess is that it isn't any of the following:
"Awesome" or
"Amicable" or
"Alliteration" or
"Abject" or
"Agape"or
"Adele" (?!?!?)

Though you probably want "As Advertised"... Instead, I'm going to go with "Absurd!"

So I'm begging for him to ask me again...Yeah I wanna go. I want to show you that it couldn't be more ridiculous for you to try to pick a fight with me, because it is my ring, my gloves, my rules and frankly you're in over your head. So I say...


But I know its just a part of his maturation process that we all must endure, like the smells, and the lack of ability to flush, and the desire to let all the hair grow. This too shall pass!


But I'm more of a lover than a fighter,  I hope that he learns this lesson in time.  This is an accurate representation of my mad skills with the fairer gender...

Hey Baby...
Yeah, you know what's on my mind...













Get away from me before I file a restraining order! CREEP!

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Am No Longer Susan Lucci!

Susan Lucci,
Emmy Award winner


Of course, neither is she...

Lucci, long a bridesmaid in the emmy categories for all that is / was daytime television, won in 1999 after 18 previous nominations came up empty. 10 years prior she took home a much smaller Soap Opera Digest award. She also took home a People's Choice award in 1992, but neither is of the prestige that an Emmy brings.





Good Youngman Brown has awarded me the Liebster Blog award that he received from CrackYouWhip.The spirit of the award appears to be honoring blogs with under 200 Followers, so in a way this is my Soap Opera Digest on the way to a Bloggie! I will take it. It is an honor with all the other writers out there to be chosen for the award. I am still a relative blogging newb, so an award like this will certainly keep me from being abused on SNL by cast and crew walking around with their own blogging greatness statuette, right?

In the words of Will Smith's character Edwards from Men in Black,

 

"Alright, I'm in. Cause there's some next level sheehoddy going on and I'm OK with that. But before y'all go beaming me up there's one thing you gotta remember. You chose me... so you recognized the skills, so I don't want nobody calling me son or kid or sport or nothing like that, cool?"


RULES:

1. Link back to the person who gave you the award.
Good Youngman Brown is a blog I recently started reading and I enjoy immensely. His wit is so devilishly close to mine that I get all his subtlety and he gets mine. As I am writing, I often think of Good Youngman Brown when I write something particularly clever or subtle. I thank him for seeing a glimmer of potential in me and awarding me his Liebster. I imagine if and when we become close buds, he will allow me into the elusive company of individuals who get to call him simply 'Good.'

2. Pick 5 deserving people and notify them on their blogs


1. Lainey's Life Lessons is a long time reader whose inner voice had to escape. She offers up her life lessons with a good bit of insight as well as humor. Catch her on her way up to super blogdom.

2. Fearless Fibro Warrior is insane, in a good way. Fighting her way through the pain just isn't her style, she's taking that pain for a ride with a smile on her face. Her blogs always have me laughing.

3. Just Keepin' It Real is another relative newbie on the blog scene and she has already been recognized with one award and I can't wait to exchange fake Hollywood kisses with her when I give her the Liebster...wow, that sounded a little dirty. She lets it fly with each and every post.

4. Susan Says is nothing like Simon says... She is way better Brooklyn style. This is a woman who has hatched and fledged two boys, so she ain't takin' grief from the world. She always has an interesting perspective that makes even the nuttiest of us feel like we belong.

5. Jay's Ramblings is the best blog by a dude on this list, which is like me being the best Dad my kids have. Just because I'm the only one doesn't take anything away from it. Jay is my brother from another mother. We think alike in so many ways that often my ideas are augmented by something witty that he says. His ramblings are often a dialog between the voices in his head, but in a good, very clever and blow soda out your nose funny kind of way.

3. Post the award on your blog and spread the love.

And done.

2012 February Picture Challenge

This could be your moment to shine... Or not.

I plan to write a three blogposts in the month of March (yay, big fuzzin deal, you do that in a week)

I need your help. I'm challenging myself to write 2 posts solely about a picture. Stand back while I get all prose up in the picture's business.

I need pictures. You can hyperlink in the comments or you can email me at the gmail address that is WilyGuy.

Posts:

#1 All the Pix that's fit to Print - I will roundup as many of them as I can and post them for your viewing pleasure(?!)

#2 Wacky and Weird, I will devote an entire post to one seriously goofy picture.

#3 Fruity and Cutey, I will devote another post entirely to the cutest picture in the bunch.

Posts may not be in this order.

Rules:

1. No porn or offensive images that will make children cry.

2. Don't post a picture of someone that you don't have rights to post. If it's already on the webs, probably fair game.

3. Final photo decisions are mine.

 

 

 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What DOES God Look Like?

I'm spurred to this question by an anecdote in Jon Acuff's recent post "Wishing the Bible was a self help book"

Cosby as God?
What DOES God look like? Jon with some humor envisions God on the back of the Bible in a picture wearing a sweater and standing next to a doG. Is that a Cosby sweater, Jon?

Could Bill Cosby be the personification of God? OK, maybe we should start with would he be believable as God on television?

 

He is well liked.

He rarely curses.

He is respected.

He does talk to God as Noah in one of his earliest comedy routines and can get the "big voice" going for the role.

But, no beard? I've always felt like God has a beard?

 

Over the course of cinema, God has been portrayed by many actors and in many ways. But what are we comparing him to? He spoke to a lot of people in the Bible, but he was always in the form of a burning bush or something, so it is really tough to get a bead on him. We were created in his image the good book tells us, so I'm not expecting a burning bush or a bright light when I meet him. I assume I could pick him out of a crowd, but have no idea what he looks like. The Sistine Chapel holds Michelangelo's best guess at God's likeness, but there is no guarantee. How many of us saw similar pictures growing up and formed our opinions at an early age?

Now, Charlton Heston, though seen here as Moses in the Ten Commandments was the kind of imposing figure that I always thought could be what God looked like. But again, is that because Biblical figures were molded to look like the God of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel? He certainly has the Beard, and the wise look, he clearly rocks the robe, he looks a bit powerful, yet a certain kindness in his eyes. Charlton certainly would be in the running.

 

In 1977, Carl Reiner introduced us to a new face for God in the Octogenarian George Burns. As unbelievable as he was in the role, there was a certain charm that George had to bring to the character. Charm only goes so far and beyond the obvious lack of BEARD, I don't envision God as decrepit. I never got the angry father vibe from George either. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think God comes home to have a case of beer and gets stupid angry at people, I just mean the healthy, disapproving "you didn't have permission to take the car last night" kind of angry.



But then, in 1984, George was cast as both God and the Devil. All the good stuff you could lobby for old George, I'm certain playing both roles limited his appeal to many people as the face of God. Did I mention still no BEARD? Seriously people. Don't get me started on the flannel shirt and hat look, either.

 

 

1999 brought us the movie Dogma, and Alanis Morissette as God. The singer had a somewhat controversial song around the same time called 'What if God was one of us" which is widely believed to have lead to this cameo appearance in the film. The lyrics were rather thought provoking even if she intended them otherwise.

So, beyond the gender issues, I'm not saying a woman couldn't be God, but wouldn't she be referred to as 'She' and Goddess? The God of the Bible, though seen in the form of a burning bush, would probably been distinctly voiced as a woman if she had been so. That and the whole Jesus going to be with his Father thing. I'm just saying. Points awarded for the pretty white dress and the kindness in her eyes. Here is a portion of the lyrics that are quite thought provoking:

If God had a name what would it be?

And would you call it to his face?

If you were faced with him in all his glory

what would you ask if you had just one question?

...

If God had a face

What would it look like?

And would you want to see

If seeing meant that you would have to believe

In things like heaven and Jesus and the saints

and all the Prophets

 

And that brings us to the God of Bruce Almighty (2003). Morgan Freeman is very high up in the running for me. He brings the sagely wisdom, as well as a bit of mischief that seems very God-like to me. I have no doubt he could show me angry, but it's almost as if the lesson he would teach could be done without it. I don't doubt his power and his ability to kick the devil's booty. Mad bonus points for the white suit and all his other white outfits which he keeps clean in a very God-like manner. Who doesn't like the deep voice that we hear behind so many commercials? I know I stop and listen. Did I mention the beard? Just the right amount of grey, distinguished but not too old.

So what (or who) do you think God looks like?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Underwriting Your Title

Hopefully you haven't arrived here thinking that this was a post about insurance or home ownership, because I am not an expert at either. I have begun to think I am not an expert on anything. I got to thinking about my blog and my writing style and I realized that I may be too clever for myself.

Have you ever written a blog post title that you were super proud of, but then what you wrote in the actual post was fairly ordinary? I fear that in my attempts to get people to come read my writing, I've bait and switched them with exceedingly funny titles. It wasn't an intentional thing. I like to think of my writing as good, bordering on clever most of the time. But my titles are incredibly turn of phrase worthy.

I guess the eternal question abounds :

(no not the chicken / egg thing! That one is easy!)

Title or Content, which came first?

Do you have a method that you use? Frankly, I'm up and down on that.

Sometimes the content just bursts out and demands to be written down. With raging ADHD, I am content if I can capture half of what is bubbling up. Most of my rants or conversation blogs start as content, then I'll create labels based on the content and often the title will come from the labels. Think "yellow submarines in strawberry fields, umm...forever, yeah!" and Bob's your uncle. I think my favorite example of that kind of post was my post : Funny Rented Zombies in Dirty Coats... On Ice which didn't get as much attention as I thought it might. Again, snappy title, post got 19 views and 5 comments of which at least 2 were my replies (because I'm conscientious a suck up begging for additional kudos lets stick with conscientious)

Then other times, I get an idea for a clever and snappy title. I'm so proud of my title, I'm hesitant to let it take the car out after dark and I'm worried that other blogs will pick on it, so I let it mature, this is code for 'sit there waiting for the ADHD to subside long enough for me to focus on making it great.' So, I don't often wait for the two week waiting period to be up before I pull the trigger, so to speak. An example there is Poke-Mon, like Jamaican Me Crazy! which lit up for a whopping 12 hits and 1 comment (proving that I can not only write some crappy material, but I am crazy enough to remind you about it AND not reply to the one comment, sheesh!)

Now, sometimes I feel like I get the title and the post right, but the analytics seem to indicate something is still wrong. In the post soon to disappear for the Monthly Top 5, I Didn't Know I Had to Onomatopoeia Before I Left the House was a solid gold post. The 119 views were an awesome tribute, but to what? I can only think that :

  1. People really didn't know if I had made up the word
  2. Students were studying poetry and had to look up onomatopoeia, and I've cleverly got the definition on my page.
  3. People truly wanted to see where I would take them.

And given the 3 comments (and my 3 responses) I either :

 

  1. Stunned them with my simple humor
  2. Bored them to tears after they realized I did know what it meant.
  3. Did I mention stunned them with the pure awesome of my simple humor?

I went all pictureless with this post. I wanted to see if I could do it. Pictures are my blogging crack! I could find a picture and write an entire blog about it.

 

In fact, send me links to pictures and I will pick the most boring and most interesting and write a post about each, featuring only that picture. I may have to post another (perhaps first) with your picture choices so you know I am being legit.

 

Oh, and in the beginning God created animals male and female of each kind, I see nothing about eggs, so the Chicken came first, then had a cigarette, then crossed the road for various and sundry reasons.

 

Have you ever under-whelmed your title?

 

 

 

Monday, February 20, 2012

The League of Extraordinarily Self-Important People (LESIP)

You've undoubtedly heard of the League of Justice. Possibly you've seen The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I'm not planning to talk about them today. Well, other than having them hit lead-off on this blog. Consider them intentionally walked and now the cleanup hitter is coming to the plate.

 

I could probably have just left the title and had enough people shaking their heads in affirmation.

Ever been in a meeting with someone who can't be bothered to even look up? You feel like saying, "do you mind joining us?" In technical meetings, where it isn't uncommon for people to bring their laptops to take notes or look things up in systems, often instant messages and emails draw attention away from the meeting's agenda. This isn't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about blatant disregard for anything being said because it just doesn't make the "I care" radar.

How about the guy who is actually talking in the meeting when his phone that he has silenced begins to buzz in his pocket. He should just finish his thought right? No, let's turn slightly away, shuck the phone from the pocket and tell the person on the other end that you'll "call them right back!" because that isn't distracting at all! Either take the dang call and we'll discuss things while you are away...or DON'T take the call at all.

The League of Extraordinarily Self-Important People (LESIP) has been plaguing mere mortals since time began. The truly interesting difference between this organization and other similar organizations is that you invite yourself in and only you can kick yourself out.

They and their sister organization LRSAP (League of Ridiculously Self-Absorbed People) aren't like the AARP where a certain age is required.

They aren't like MADD where there is common issue drawing people together, because well it isn't about anything but them and not even a collective them, but rather a lot of ME!

LESIP isn't like AA or GA in that even though organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous are about individuals and you have the ability to opt in and opt out, anonymity isn't in the code book for the Self-Important. Not to mention that they have no flaws...duh!

How to spot a member

(unless you ARE a member, in which case keep on living your naive and annoying life free from the consequences of this):

In discussions about a group project, LESIP members will always take personal credit and the time to point out the need for credit for the things that have gone right in the project.

In discussions about a group project, LESIP members will deflect any problems with the project as either things poorly communicated to them or not communicated at all. Likely if any problem is identified, "the team" will have to adjust and work harder.

LESIP members are most likely to ignore or decline your meeting request unless you are a direct supervisor. On the other hand, they will be the first to complain when you point out a schedule conflict that disallows your attendance to THEIR meeting as your "being a barrier to success."

LESIP members are all about self-promotion and I don't just mean talking about themselves, though this is the most fascinating subject on the planet, just ask them. What I am talking about is far more insidious. People in LESIP / LRSAP are Org Chart impaired and will often be seen giving orders to others who are at an equivalent level and sometimes higher. Now, they would never try to boss the boss, but if they perceive that their boss is more important than your boss, they will leverage that, and come on, their boss has to be like...THE most important boss since they are THEIR boss. (and that was like a really long run-on sentence) Their vision isn't the greatest when scoping said org chart because they will argue that they don't really report to their boss like the chart implies.

So, all these prettiest little snowflakes run around and make our lives a nightmare. Could be worse I suppose and they could be in public elected office where like the turtle, their self-importance could grow to the size of its environment. Eep!

So, got any good stories about LESIP members in your life?

 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Watch D.O.G.S. Day

Friday was Watch D.O.G.S. day for me at the local elementary school. Don't know what that means? Check out Fathers.com to get the scoop. The upshot is getting more positive male role models into schools.

Despite that, they let me come anyway.


Seriously, I undertook running a local program at our school. Since Sunday is Princess Sassy Pants' 8th birthday, I decided Friday would be a good day to get free cupcakes be a positive role model. Bring it on. I put my out of office email in full effect and made the day about PSP and her school.

Breakfasty Goodness
My day began catching back to back episodes of Big Time Rush on the tube with PSP. Despite having seen them already, she was thrilled to let me sleep in catch them with me. Then we headed off for some quality daddy and daughter time at Chick Fil-A. After seriously munching on some grindage (Pauly Shore moment brought to you by Pauly Shore, now pay me brother) in the form of the ever awesome Chicken Breakfast Burrito we were ready to tackle the second grade, which is surprisingly hard to tackle, in that "herding cats" kind of way.


I signed in at the school and got my Paw Print name badge as well as my Raptor "not a predator, you got scanned" badge. I wanted a clipboard and a walkie talkie, but alas, I was denied. I greeted the kids as they came in for the day, many with that look of "you ain't seen naughty yet." Then my glamorous Television career kicked off with my introduction on the school morning TV program. I think they may even have some shots of me rocking the pledge of allegiance. They sang America the Beautiful after that and I'm pretty sure they muted my microphone for that.

First duty: bad-ass grounds patrolling. I bring the Randy "Dawg" Jackson to this job. OK, I think the letter of the law is walk the perimeter of the school and check doors, but I gotta add swagger and moves like Jagger which roughly looks exactly like the types of people we're trying to keep out of the school. Let's just saying I was baiting them, you know, in case they were hiding in the bushes.

Then after the grounds were safe, I went all puffed-up-chest routine on the hallways making sure no dangerous objects were in evidence, which loosely translates to tucking backpack straps and coats into the lockers that they are creeping out of.

Then the best part of the day (at that time)... Flirting with the hot secretary in the office. She appreciates my moves like Jagger. Getting a little hot coffee while chatting her up...good times! My awesome(ly funny) moves and swagger like Jagger earned me an invite to a happy hour with some possibility of taking her back to my place, oh yeah!


Makes me miss breakfast a little more...
Though I didn't participate in Recess this time around, I got some lunch with the Princess. Pepperoni Pizza, Salad, and Chocolate Milk was on the menu, and unlike my childhood...I was buying! I did have to sit in the smallest chair ever made and my knees were not enjoying repeatedly hitting the table while in the equivalent position of a catcher's squat. Though the meal was less than stellar, I got to ogle the hot secretary some more as she channeled her Attila the Hun while patrolling lunch duty. This was entirely necessary because at times the lunchroom felt like prison dinner and I'm pretty sure one of the Kindergartners was ready to cut me. He was waving that spork around like a shiv. I was a little scared.


Lines? Where we're going
we don't NEED Lines!
I got to do some coloring. One of the teachers conned me with a "want to make me a sign?" followed by "do you know how to use Word and WordArt?" PLEASE, I'm in IT in the 'real world'!

 

And then the world of "lines" came back into my purview. Actual non-electronic art is not my forte. I was sitting trying very hard not to let the ADHD spur me to greener pastures, but I am a D.O.G. of my word and I worked my way through my perfectionista persona and the evidence of my hard work is pictured here, and that's a fact! (not just my opinion)

 

And we're walkin'

I had no idea that the building was that big or that I was on my feet that much but numbers don't lie. The app for MapMyFitness seems to take some liberal interpretations of coloring inside the lines as I certainly crossed no roads while inside the building, though some classrooms were construction zone loud.

Speaking of things you can do on your feet AND my moves like (Jimmy) Swaggart, yeah I worked a serious chicken dance with the Kindergarten class and I'm pretty sure I was memorable. I'm out on a limb, but they're going to do that dance at their weddings in my honor!

 



Then I went all OCD...

So they have a class schedule that is impossible to follow because instead of periods, they allow each grade to set a schedule, provided they fit in all the work and they work around pre-defined lunch schedules. (so the K class doesn't scare the 4th grade)

Well this thing was awful! I know some serious work went into it at the grade level, but I can describe it and can't show a picture, so you'll have to go with me on this. I was ready to install Microsoft Project just so I could rock a nice Gant chart or something. Instead I rolled with Excel and made each column 5 minutes, then I compacted the columns to 1.00 in width. I then counted and recounted and used merged cells to represent the big chunks of time and put class names into those blocks. As an added bonus, I color coded the classes so they really pop. Of course, if they don't have a color printer, I'll be returning to color in with crayola markers...ugh.

 


PSP enjoyed the day, all that counts!

 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

HOW TO: All Time Top 10 on Blogspot

You may have recently seen that I created an All Time Top 10 link in my Pages List (Favorites Bar, Menu Bar, whatever you call it) and it is available here : http://itsmynd.com/p/mynd-top-10.html

Notice too that I already have a Monthly Top 5 on the right side of my normal post pages.

This is surprisingly easy to do and only a little more difficult to do right.

First, HUGE UPS to the inspiration page that set me on the right path.  I could simply link you to that page and you'd be set, but she deals with moving the Archive to a page and I wanted to create a totally different page to make a list of the most popular posts. She also uses a post page instead of a static page which for my purposes wouldn't work correctly. Maia's page is http://www.colormagicphotography.com/2011/03/create-separate-archive-page-move.html

At First

My initial page setup had 5 of my all time popular posts on the right, but I started thinking (as I often do) "if I link to the 5 all time favorites, people will click them and they will remain the top 5 all time favorites."  I think I only want to show the last month favorites so that people see a different selection month in and month out. So I changed the Popular Posts widget to reflect that desire.


When I discovered there were static pages, I immediately thought, "that would be a great place for an all time popular posts to appear." Thus started the research and frustration.  You can't just take the widget and post it into a page and you can't copy the content of the widget (the script language) into a post either.

And Now


So, WHY a page and not a post like the Maia from colormagicphotography?  Well, unlike Maia who is doing a separate page for Archive, simply removing the name from a post will remove it from showing up in the archive list.  I want to do a Popular Post count and if I made my Top 10 list on a post page, presumably that might get enough clicks to appear IN the Top 10 list.  A Static Page is not supposed to show up in that count, so I want to go with a Page.  In retrospect, Maia could probably also use a Static Page as well.

So Here is My Current "Posts" Page:
#1 Is just a representation to show you that I have a Facebook Like Area
#2 Another Widget for "Followers"
#3 This is the Popular Posts Widget that shows my Monthly Top 5. No Images, No Snippets.
#4 This is the "archive" or listing of older posts.


Here is my All Time Top 10 page.
#1 Here is the link to the Static Page
#2 Here is the Popular Posts widget again.  No Images, but this time I have included the Snippet.
#3 Note, there isn't a Monthly Top 5 or an Archive on this page.

    

HERE'S HOW: 

So, I start by creating a Static Page that will be the page.  Give it a easy title like "Top 10" which will be translated by Google to "Top-10.html" as the page URL.  You can always go back and change the actual title later.  Go ahead and publish it for now to get that page URL.  You should now have a page at http://<yourblogname>.blogspot.com/p/Top-10.html.




Then I need to Add the Popular Posts Widget (again) and set the settings how you want them.  I chose 10 posts and Snippets, but no images (mainly because occasionally I have a post that doesn't have an image and it looks weird in the list).  When you add the Widget, it will likely appear on the right area (depending upon where you create it).  Now, DRAG it "inside" the Post area.  Once dropped, it should appear below the Post.



If you were to look at your blog now, you would see your Top 10 below your posts, which isn't really what you want, but you can see that we're very close.

This next part is the ADVANCED part of the tutorial, so pay close attention so you can see what is done.  Everything your page does is part of the template that you've built up.  So it is the template that we need to hack a little.  So, we're going to be very careful.
1. Go to the Blogger Dashboard
2. Go to Template section
3. You will see "Live on Blog" - Click on Edit HTML
4. A dialog box will open and you will click Proceed (ignoring the warning, but being careful)
5. Don't Expand Widget Templates on the ensuing window.
6. Click somewhere in the window and hit Ctrl-A which should highlight the entire text
7. Click Ctrl-C which should copy the entire text
8. Open Notepad (don't use Word as that will add other formatting)
9. Click Ctrl-V which should paste all that wonderful text into your Notepad window.
10. Now would be a GREAT time to save it before you edit it.  Just give it a name like  "MyBlog.txt"

BREATHE!

Now within Notepad Hit Ctrl-F and try to find "</b: template-skin>" without the quotes.  If you don't find that one, look for </b: skin> but it is most likely that you have that.  You can also search for "</head>" which should be the line after one or the other. Now there is a snippet of code here that you can paste just above that </head> tag and it will need to be modified.  I included my code so I can show you what I did. You will want to edit the highlighted areas appropriately for your pages.  The Green areas are just placeholders, they should already be in your code.


</b:template-skin>
      <b:if cond='data:blog.url == &quot;http://yourblogname.blogspot.com/p/top-10.html&quot;'>
        <style>
          #Blog1 {display:none;}
          #PopularPosts1 {display:none;}
          #BlogArchive1 {display:none;}
          #BlogList1 {display:none;}
        </style>
      <b:else/>
        <style>
          #PopularPosts2 {display:none;}
        </style>
     </b:if>
  </head>



OK, so let me give you the lowdown of the code so you can understand what each line is doing:
Line 1 is the IF statement which basically says, If a user hits the Top 10 page, we're going to do something special
<b:if cond='data:blog.url == &quot;http://yourblogname.blogspot.com/p/top-10.html&quot;'>

Line 2 is saying that the special thing is to alter the style of the page:
<style>
 
Line 3 says that on the Top 10 page, we're going to NOT display Blog1, which is code for "posts" or "pages"
          #Blog1 {display:none;}
 
Line 4 says that on that same page we aren't going to display the Monthly Top 5.  Now this gets a little confusing, but because the Top 5 existed first, it is automatically the PopularPosts1, whereas the Top 10 is PopularPosts2.
          #PopularPosts1 {display:none;}
 
Line 5 says we aren't going to display the Archive on our Top 10 page.
          #BlogArchive1 {display:none;}
 
Line 6 says we aren't going to display the Blog Roll on the top 10 page.
          #BlogList1 {display:none;}
 
Line 7 says we're done with the special styling for our special page.
        </style>
 
Line 8 says "for EVERYTHING ELSE" We have another special rule
      <b:else/>
 
Line 9 says we are altering the style for all the other pages.
        <style>
 
Line 10 says we AREN'T going to display the Top 10 anywhere else.
          #PopularPosts2 {display:none;}
 
Line 11 says that's all the special style for today.  If we wanted to make another static page with say the archive we could have added some more stuff at line 8 and bumped all this down, but in the end we would likely hide our second special page of stuff at Line 10.
        </style>
 
Line 12 ends the IF statement.
     </b:if>

Now, I went into a lot of detail about the code mainly because I wanted you to become familiar with why all the stuff is in there, because I initially was confused about how to add additional hidden objects.

I hope this helps all of you out there and I look forward to your comments on how this could be made better and easier.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

True Love and Other Horse Hooey

Boys and girls, do you all have your flashlight AND the extra batteries? Today's trip into my mind is going to seem very dark.

In tribute to the wretched masses angsting over February 14th and how to properly celebrate it, I say... Don't!

(and loneliness settles in on Myndtopia?)

Let's start with Cupid..and when I say "start with," I mean get my 12 gauge. So boy sees girl, little cherub shoots girl, or boy with magic arrow and they fall in love, provided that he buys chocolates for her on February 14th.
AS IF...!

Next we turn on to St. Valentine. So the church sainted some guy centuries ago and we remember him by buying a romantic card for that someone special we are in love with on February 14th each year that we just met.
AS IF...!

Love At First Sight is tragically not represented by some fun little cartoon character that we can turn more shells angst upon. The idea is that you see a complete stranger across the room, your eyes meet and instantly you have someone to buy flowers for on February 14th.
AS IF...!





Just because you can't explain love or figure out love doesn't make it any more magical than eating Lucky Charms. Stop buying into the nonsense.
Florists, Hallmark, and Russell Stover are the cause of a major Valentine's Day Massacre on your wallet.

Don't let them!

Hollywood wants you to believe in True Love and you see it in all the movies. Let's face it, if True Love was accurately portrayed in Hollywood, Jonah Hill would get the girls and Brad Pitt, George Clooney and basically the entire cast of the "Ocean" movies would be lonely pathetic one night stand artists.  Well except for Bernie Mac, RIP. (And the techie guy who should have been played by Mr. Hill.)

Face it, if Hollywood had any accurate portrayals, we'd see a lot more laundry being done, a lot more bathroom activities, and a lot more eating while kvetching about the size of hips, buttocks, and thighs.  So why do we believe these pathological non-laundry-doing, non-dropping-friends-at-the-pool, fasting-and-not-getting-fat liars about love and all it's magic?

Dang people, Genie was magic in Aladdin and he couldn't make anyone fall in love with anybody else (so don't ask him)... Why do we think Ryan Gosling or Amanda Seyfried can?

Princess Bride has an archaic, but much more accurate portrayal of love (twu wuv) than most movies. Wesley, the farm boy, uses the words "as you wish" whenever Buttercup asks him to do menial things like fetching a pot.  She doesn't understand it at first, but you can see that she is flirting with him as she asks him to do things that other people would say "do it yo damn self!" when asked. Turns out "as you wish" meant "I Love You."  The life lesson here is all about putting up with the crapola.

The Notebook, because I've watched it despite the peril to my man card, seems to be about something magical. This guy is so in love with this girl that he would do anything for her.  Well, that means waiting for her to make a bunch of mistakes with other dudes. For some reason, THIS girl is worth the crapola she brings with her.

You: So clearly, there is magic, right?

Me: Nope. I can't explain what makes us pick the particular person we do, but the key is that they are worth the shiznit that comes with them.

You: Wow, if you weren't crazy, that would sound like a lot of work.

Me: ah, but I am, and it is, and so worth it.
Love is an action word, a verb.  It's like Google only mushier. It's a whole lot of work. It is setting another person between yourself and your desires. It's not expecting that action to be returned.  It's not caring whether your needs are met. It's a responsibility.

Think of a baby.  

If it's your baby, you love it.  Not because it is hot and looks good in a teddy. Not because it is a great provider. Not because it buys you flowers. Not because it takes you to nice restaurants.

Baby doesn't think about your needs at all! Baby gives you no sleep. Baby cries when you are trying to get your groove on, if you're not too tired. Baby is ceaselessly self-absorbed, to the point of not realizing it is self-absorbed. Baby doesn't care. Have you fed me? Have you changed me? Have you tip-toed around so I can sleep, even though you can't?

Clearly, you don't love Baby!  Ok, perhaps you do. Is it magical? Did Cupid pull off some Rambo arrow shot when you looked at baby? Did some long dead saint whisper in your ear? Did baby bring you chocolates? (no, those AREN'T chocolates) It's not any of these things!

You know in your heart that you are responsible for that baby. If it will experience happiness, it will be because of your work. You decide each and every day that you're going to love the baby. You put your desires on hold for the baby. You have no belief that you're ever going to see that love completely reciprocated, yet you keep loving.

It is intentional.

And so it goes with the one you court and marry. Don't let the 14th of February be the start and end of your affection and intentionalism towards your spouse. It should be the just another day of a great romance where the stripes of your efforts are warn proudly.

The circle becomes complete when that person chooses to put your needs between themselves and their desires. This dance is truly amazing when witnessed first hand. It's like an apology contest.

Him: I'm sorry you're cold, I turned up the heat and I'm not sure why it isn't warmer.

Her: oh, I know you're always hot, so I turned the heat down.

Him: I'll be ok, let's turn it up so you're warm.

Her: it's ok, I would be cold with as little as I am wearing. Perhaps you can snuggle up and warm me.

OK, I made that last one up a little bit, but I'm sure you get the idea. It's all about the hard work people!

I'm writing this on February 13th to be automatically posted on the 14th. I am doing so because I want to avoid as much of the specter of this nonsense as I can.  That and I'm taking Mrs. Mynd out for dinner for no other reason than I love her...no seriously.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stupid Lights and Traffic Circles

Since the dawn of time, men (and women) have been dealing with the right of way. I imagine at the start that the guy riding the T-Rex was given the right of way by anything or anyone else. The dude saddled on the Brontosaurus is a close second for people getting the heck out of the way.

 

Our major traffic situation is the crossing of two roads and the inevitable right of way that ensues. Regardless of the perceived size of the roads, some rules must be followed. Yield signs, typically employed, just don't work, because everyone believes that means the other driver.  Think I'm wrong, what happens when the power goes out and all the lights are flashing...nobody gets it!

 

So we started with the stop sign. It's a relatively simple concept that most people can't screw up. The problem is that stop signs aren't fair.  Some people get to go fast while others are forced to wait until nobody wants to go fast. It's just not fair. Often, I'm the guy who isn't getting to go and I've got some serious pent up impatience that I want to unleash on the nearest steering wheel. So everyone should get a stop sign, right? 

Please... 

4-way stops are a ridiculous kluge that nobody can make go. Again, power outage and lights all flashing red. Does anybody know how this is supposed to work? I've heard you are supposed to yield to the car on the right, but what if there isn't anyone on the right? Should you wait for someone to show up? Is that like the SKIP card in UNO? (oh, God, it isn't like the REVERSE card, right?!?)

 

So, we want everyone to stop, but frankly too many people are too stupid to know when to go, so the technology arrived to solve this problem in the form of the stoplight. Red means stop, Green means go, and yellow means slow down because you're going to get a ticket if you run the light when it is red. To some people it means, speed up so you don't get caught in the intersection by the red light camera.

 

 

 Now, sometimes a road is just too big to have people stopping on it because other cars, bikes, or pedestrians need to cross it, so we invented the cloverleaf. The concept is simply that one road crosses over or under the other. On the non-stopping road, drivers move to the right lane and take an exit lane to "make a right" or pass that exit for the next where they loop around in a steady right hand turn until they've made a left and cross under or over the road they were on previously. This system is time tested and works faithfully on many interstates and beltways across this nation.

So, why must we try to be clever?

We've exceeded our ability to screw up a perfectly logical system.

 

Take traffic circles, as Henny Youngman would say...please.

 

Traffic Circles are the bane of our existence! They shouldn't be difficult, but so may people screw them up regularly. Our sense of aesthetics has taken a working intersection with a light and replaced it with a "pretty" manicured circle that is the equivalent of 4 Yield signs again. I've seen more people try to race me by jumping in the circle in front of me. I am not sure why this was necessary to make people believe they don't have to stop anymore and offer common courtesy to their fellow drivers. 

 

Please don't get me started on multi-lane circles, as the sign on the right indicates it SHOULD be simple, ha!  The problem is solely that people THINK they know how it works, so they don't *actually* read the sign.

Um, you're NOT that smart...ask your friends!

 

 

And to the Department of Highways in Virginia please understand that we are not amused, nor do we feel your traffic intellect exceeds those in neighboring states. Stop jacking up the cloverleaf! Drivers expect to slow down and move to the right in order to exit an interstate. Right is right and Left is wrong! Imagine our shock and horror after spending a few miles of our lives working our way into a spot in the right lane as we near an exit targets ONLY to find out that some traffic engineer (which sadly makes us think sanitation engineer) has decided we should exit from the left!!!!

Recently, our neighborhood has added a new shopping center and in their desire to not screw up traffic flow, the highway department has done exactly that. I went down a road that used to allow me to go straight or turn left after waiting at a light as well as an option to go right without waiting at that light. Imagine my shock and dismay when I now come to the same intersection and all 3 lanes must turn right AND must all wait for a green light for that pleasure. (Republican Conspiracy, you say? Not in Maryland...) 

Now, what must a guy do to get to turn left or go straight at that light?  

I'm glad you asked. It's simple, you turn right, go a block, wait at another light, turn left, then decide if you wanted to go left you go straight or if you wanted to go straight you go right... Simple?

Or you just avoid the intersection all together.

 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Are You Seeing Other Blogs?



Word!

Cool...to the Extreme...
Conversation with Princess Sassy Pants the other day:

PSP: (something light, spoken in the fairy tale voice, a statement needing little affirmation)

Me: Word!


PSP: (exasperated) DAD! You know saying "Word!" at the end of everything doesn't make you cool...


Me: I know, I gotta add "to your Mother" for it to be really cool.


PSP: That's not cool either.

Ah, I've been living the life of the tragically un-hip since I was her age.  Replete with the equivalent of 10 year old golf pants...I had plaid pants...when corduroys were cool. I scored the cords in time for something else to be the next big thing.

The Princess has also been known to dismiss my coif. I shave my head.  Mainly because I don't dig the skin Yarmulke look.  But I HAVE hair! I suppose I do an efficient job of bringing that particular pain upon myself since I always ask her to spray the leave-in-conditioner and comb out my tangles.  She never humors me though.  Can you guess how she got this particular nickname?

Yeah, Not This Guy!
My Uncoolness? Epic!  I'm like the opposite of the most interesting man in the world.

My team makes the big play only when all hope is lost and I have turned off the TV.

I picked Betamax, but VHS was the winner.  Porn is to blame.

I bought an iPhone and iPad and Steve Jobs dies.

I don't drink iced coffee, because that would be cool.

I wouldn't have it any other way... and that's what makes me stealthy cool.


So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways, all my underdogs
We will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty, dirty little freaks

Won't you come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass!




So How Tragically Un-Hip Are You?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What If Bob Ross Tattooed?!

World Peace through Soccer
Fresh back from new ink, I had some interesting conversations with the artist as he worked on my ink.

In case it isn't clear, this is called "World Peace though Soccer" and it is so named after a T-Shirt that I had for a long time in my Twenties.  It featured three images and was not nearly as wicked cool as this ink.

Soccer has been a large part of my life from the tender age of nine when I strapped on my first cleats.  My parents wouldn't let me play football, but given that I probably weighed 60 pounds, it is no wonder.  Sparked by this first year, I began a lifelong journey that has further framed a large part of my life.

My dad and sister began playing shortly after my first season and my dad began refereeing at the same time.  He worked his way to becoming an 'A' referee in the area where we lived.  For the layman, this meant that he could referee all the way up to Division III collegiate games.  Were it not for his late start, he could have gone much farther.  Though he had aspirations for me to become a referee, my nature is to pick sides and that isn't great for an impartial judge.I had a glorious season as an assistant coach at a church school nearby our house.  When I became a father, I was further rewarded with coaching my sons along with some other great kids.

I have played outdoors, indoors, men's league, and coed. I have had indescribable joy sharing professional games with my dad as well as with my wife.  I have watched World Cup qualifying matches and World Cup games on the television.  I have watched the American Women win a world cup.  I have watched the American Men come closer each year to being taken seriously. My love of the game has grown over the last 37 years. My hope is to one day see a World Cup Final... in person.


Interesting Conversation with PJ : If Bob Ross was a Tattoo Artist


Now we just need a big ole dead
tree right in the middle!
After telling PJ that one of the evenings this week, my DVR and television choices had been spent watching back to back episodes on New York Ink, which we agreed was like Survivor: Tattoo meets Jersey Shore, followed by back to back episodes of The Joy of Painting.  Eclectic choices for sure, but mostly art related.  We then began to ponder what Bob Ross would have been like all inked up and doing tattoos in 30 minutes.

It's clear that Bob was stuck on a limited pallet, like his clothes were stuck on the seventies. His Pthalo Blue would war against the so much stronger Prussian Blue. Choices would be tough between (Dick) Van Dyke Brown and Dark Sienna.

One of the things about Bob has always been his deep soft voice, but that simply doesn't fit a tattoo artist. It would obviously still be there, but more gravelly, like James Hetfield, the Garage Days years. 

Welcome to The Joy of Tattooing, I could care less that you're watching or not. Today, we'll be inking a Happy Little Skull. Maybe we'll have a snake crawling out of the eye socket, I don't know. You know me, I gotta put in a big ole snake.

When you're inking the swastika, make sure you use the criss-cross strokes. 

Ok, here's your bravery test, there's your snake, crawling out of the left socket. Maybe in our world, he's got a friend, even snakes gotta have friends. Yep, there he is coming out of the ear hole. We don't know where he goes, we don't really care. Gotta have snakes, they cover up a multitude of sins, oh who am I kidding they are the sins.

Today we're going to add a little devil tramp stamp on a 50 year old 20 year old wannabe. We'll get to use a lot of Alizarin Crimson even though it is very strong. Little minions, got a have a lot of them little doers around a devil. Just a happy little devil floating around above her whale tail. Yep, just like 'at. Don't forget to chuckle all evil like, you gotta make the little evil laughter or it just doesn't work.

Tomorrow, we ink up a big ole mountain of a trucker with a big ole Jesus. He's gonna look like me, with less Afro. Ha, even if the hair is a little big, we can fluff it. He might kick my lanky ass, but remember that I might have a happy accident make no mistake.

 
 I've decided that Tattooing should be like Amway. I found my artist from a co-worker's girlfriend.  Should she get a taste of the Tattoo fee in the form of a "finder's fee?" And now, when I in turn send work to that artist, I should get a "finder's fee" which of course I need to share with my upstream "finder."  Seems logical, yes?



 If you're in Baltimore area, look for PJ at Art With A Pulse in Glen Burnie. 410.766.4255 



Dude Write




Why wouldn't I put this into the Starting Lineup for Friday's Dude Write?



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