Looking Back: Traditions

I was reading through some old Calvin and Hobbes strips recently when I came across the one that inspired this image (which I found at actionthisday.deviantart.com)

Like most Calvin and Hobbes strips, it was funny, but this one had a point too.

In the first panel of the strip, Calvin says, “The more you think about things, the weirder they seem.” The picture above shows you his example of this. But, if you, yourself, stop to think about it, you’ll probably be able to come up with your own.

The first one that came to my mind (while singing at someone’s party) was putting candles on birthday cakes. How did that start? Why is that a thing?

Was someone sitting around a long time ago thinking: “I made them this cake for their birthday, but it’s not enough. It seems kind of boring. What can I do to make this cake more exciting? I know! I’ll light it on fire!”

So, the party comes and they pour some liquor on top and light it to make a cake flambe. Then, as the flames start burning out of control, the guest of honor screams, “I really wish you’d put the fire out.” Everyone runs into the street. The fire brigade shows up, but it’s too late. Once the flames burn out, the house is nothing but stone and ash.

That’s when the town asshole, from the back of the crowd, chimes in, “It looks like your birthday wish came true.”

Then the town chandler walks up and says, “I think, I think, that candles would be easier to put out.” He’ll look around for a moment before asking, “Could that house be any more burnt down?”

(Sorry. I actually wasn’t planning the Friends joke, but according to Google, chandler is the technical term for someone who makes and sells candles and I couldn’t help myself.)

Ok, that may be a little over the top, but that’s how I picture it in my head. There’s probably a logical reason behind the start of putting candles on birthday cakes. Or, at least, one that made sense at the time it all started.

Take saying “God bless you,” when someone sneezes, for example. At the time this practice was invented, it was thought that a person only sneezed when they were trying to eject a demon that had invaded their body. So, you would say, “God bless you,” to encourage them in their fight against Satan. It makes sense when you use that logic.

Fast forward to now.

We know that sneezing has nothing to do with demons, yet a lot of people still say this when someone sneezes. Or they at least say the shortened, “Bless you,” when someone does it.

But, why? The reasoning behind the tradition no longer makes sense. Still, we continue to do it anyway.

I suppose the argument could be made that we keep it going because it’s seen as being polite. Personally, the only thing hearing someone say, “Bless you,” does for me is remind me that I sneezed. That’s something I didn’t need to be reminded of. I’m not rude about it. I will take the time (usually) to thank someone who says it to me. To be honest, though, I’d rather you didn’t say anything at all.

But, that’s just me.

What about you? Are there any things or traditions that you can think of that just don’t make sense once you stop to think about them?

Make Someone’s Day Interesting

This may surprise you, but I actually have a home phone. Yes, they still have those.

We first got it a while ago when my mom was babysitting Baby E. She was very forgetful about her cell phone and we wanted a way to be able to get in touch with her if she forgot it. Now that my mom is no longer babysitting, we thought about getting rid of it, but decided to keep it for two reasons. One, while not necessary, it will be helpful when my wife’s company starts letting her work from home. And, two, due to the bundle we got from our cable company, it’ll actually cost us more to have it turned off than to keep it.

Other than my wife and I, only 3 or 4 people have that number. All of them are related to us in some way. But, none of them ever call it. They always call our cell phones (when they actually take the time to call instead of text). So, our house phone only rings about once every other day or so.

“If nobody you know is calling it, then who is?” you ask.

The answer is simple: telemarketers.

Or, maybe they’re scammers. Hell, I don’t know. All I know is that they’re going to try to get money from me one way or another. And, I know that they’re irritating. Instead of getting mad and yelling at them, however, I thought I’d take a different approach and make the phone call memorable for them.

Last night, my phone rang and I answered it. A lot of these calls are recordings, so I didn’t say anything right away. That’s when the brief conversation happened.

Caller: Hello?

Me: Yeah, hi. I was hoping you could help me with my butt itch.

3 seconds of dead silence

Caller: Excuse me?

Me: Come on, you gotta do something. My butt itches really bad and I can’t get it to stop!

Caller: 3 seconds of muffled laughter

Me: HELP ME!!!!

CLICK…

I think next time I’m going to talk about having a burning sensation on my taint.

RTotD: 5-15

It’s time for another look at the random stuff that pops into my head. I feel like I should put a warning about the randomness that I inflict upon the blogosphere, but if you’re already here, it’s already too late.

  • Is it just me, or are the subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime putting out better shows than the actual networks now? There are only a few shows that appear on a real television network that I actually like to watch anymore.
  • Both today and last Monday, I left for work a lot earlier than normal because signs on the side of the road promised construction starting the previous weekend. Both times there was zero construction on my way to work. I really hate whoever is in charge of that crap.
  • The main company that hires the small place that I work got hit by that ransomware virus. Since their computers are down, I’m only able to do about half of what I need to do. This day is going to last forever. 
  • Muscle weighs more than fat, so when people tell me I should work out, I tell them I can’t because I’m watching my weight.
  • I watched season 2 of Daredevil for the second time. I liked it even better the second time around. 
  • I’ve done so much editing over the past couple of months that it’s kinda burned me out on writing. The time I would normally spend on writing has been spent clicking on random articles suggested by Facebook. 
  • According to a random article suggested by Facebook, 8% of Asian males are a direct descendant of Genghis Khan…. That’s a whole lot of fighting and fucking for one man….

That’s all I got for now. Hopefully some of your brain cells are still functioning after reading this. 

A Couple of Post Updates

Last week, I told you about how I’m on the fence about continuing with a story that I had started. I didn’t think that I had the time or effort to put into the research I’d need to do to give the story some credibility, to make it as good as I want it to be.

Well, I’ve decided to put that story on hold. It may be temporary, or it may be permanent. It just depends on whether I ever come to a time that I feel like I can finish it properly. I’d rather have an incomplete story that I’m happy with than a complete one that I don’t like.

The other post I’m going to be talking about is from way back in November. It was a post in my Versus series. In it, Matticus and I each made an argument on who would win in a fight. He chose Duncan McLeod. I chose Achilles. At the end of the post, I put a poll down at the bottom for people to vote on who they thought would win. I thought I had set up the poll to close after a week. Apparently, I was wrong. It’s still going.

Over three months have passed now, so I’m calling it. The winner is:

Achilles!

Although, to be honest, it should’ve been an 11-10 outcome instead of 12. I accidentally voted when I was trying to figure out if it was still active. Oops.

A big round of applause to Matt for playing along with me. Sorry for the technical difficulties…

I wouldn’t mind doing another of these posts, if anyone out there is interested in going up against me. Hopefully I’ll be able to iron out the poll glitches before then, though.

Prompt Post 4: Confession 

In my next prompt, I have been asked to make a confession of some sort. So, here we go:

I discriminate based on age.

Not people, of course, because people of every age are capable of doing amazing things. No, I’m talking about entertainment. Basically, if it’s a movie, song, or book made before I was born, I’m probably not going to like it. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I won’t give anything made before I was born a chance. I’m just a hell of a lot less likely to. 

Music is the least offensive of the three. Or maybe it’s just because I’m so used to it. Most of the music I listened to when I was younger came from the oldies station. Both of my parents pretty much made sure that I listened to music from the 60s. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I started picking out my own music and my das was less than impressed with my choice of things like Metallica’s black album. 

Besides, old songs are over in 4 or 5 minutes, tops.

Movies are worse. These obviously take up more time than listening to a song, and are usually more painful. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the era where special effects and CGI started booming, but I can’t watch an old movie now without thinking about how crappy they look. The old Bond films are the worst. Their effects are so bad that they make me want to bang my head against a wall sometimes. 

The worst offender, to me is books. I have yet to read a book that was written before I was born that I  have liked, except those written by the late, great Michael Crichton. That’s it. His are the only ones.
I’ve gone in wanting to like the old books too. I was excited before I started reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy and it ended up being my worst literary experience. I disliked almost every second of reading it, but I finished them just so I could say that I read them…. it wasn’t worth it. 

The Count of Monte Cristo was another book I read after seeing the movie (the Guy Pearce/Jim Caviezel version). It was much easier to get through, but it still wasn’t a good time. 

The Man in the High Castle  (which you should really watch if you have Amazon Prime. It’s great) was a book written back in the 60s. It was probably the most boring book I have ever read. Almost nothing happens in the whole book. If you took out him explaining all the differences in the world, because in this book, Germany won World War Two, all you’d be left with is about  25 pages. Honestly, the only reason I finished it is because of how short it was. Had it been longer, I probably would’ve quit halfway through. 

So, sorry to those who want me to read or watch the old  classic that they love. It’s more than likely not going to happen. I’m ageist.

Prompt Me

My blog ideas in the past used to come to me fairly easily. It’s gotten harder to think of one lately. Back then I could always fall back on one of my post series.

There was VS., in which I would pit two fictional characters against each other in a fight, or some other contest. This worked a lot better when I had people at work that I could talk about those kinds of things with. I don’t have people like that anymore.

Then, there was Random Thoughts of the Day. Now, I know I did one of these posts recently, but they’ve become fewer and further between. That’s because I have most of these thoughts at work. It used to be that I would have time to jot them down as they came to me. Now, my workload has doubled and I can’t take the time to write them down as they come to me. I can only hope that I remember to remember them when I go to break, but I rarely do anymore.

I almost always have a serial story going at all times. The latest one, DICO,  is something that I’m going to be taking a break from. Well, on the blog, at least. He’s going to be part of a bigger story that I’m hoping to get turned into an actual comic book. Maybe, if this idea fails, I’ll come back to it on this here blog, but he’s on the shelf for now.

That leaves me stuck on what to write for you all. I figured I’d give you a chance to help with that one.

Is there anything that you’d like to see me write about? It can be anything you want. An opinion piece, a short piece of fiction, a bit of poetry, or anything else that you can come up with.

Is there a TV show, movie, or book series that you want to see me write a fan fiction for? Just name it. Granted, if I’ve never seen or read it before, I’m not going to do it. But if I can, I will.

Do you have an idea for a Versus matchup? Is there a random thought of your own that you want to hit me with?

Basically, if you want to see me write about it, leave it in the comment section below. If you’d prefer to submit yours out of the public eye, please use the form below.

Too Many Stories

Months ago, when I did my “Worth It” post, I told you all that I was working on 3 different stories in some phase of the writing process. One that most of my writing was done on, and mostly just had to worry about editing. The other two I was actively writing on.

Well, all of that is still true.

Unfortunately for my brain, those aren’t the only stories rattling around in my head.

Besides the two novels I’m working on, I’ve also been coming up with new comic book stories. If you click on the My Stories link at the top of my page, you’ll find 3 such stories I’ve already done: Dead Set (my serious one), Captain Procrastination (my off the wall, goofy one that was never meant to be taken seriously), and DICO (which is a little bit of both, although more ridiculous than serious). Two of the story ideas I have are continuations of these already established tales.

I’d like to continue on Dead Set at some point, if only because I stopped writing it in the middle of a story arc. I also have an idea that will tie all my comic stories together and, while I don’t need to continue with this story to do so, it would make things clearer if I did.

The second idea I want to work on is one I started a while ago and gave up because working on it made me realize how much I absolutely loathed writing in script form.

The third idea is to put DICO together with others and have him join a team. Obviously, to do this, I’m going to have to get a little more serious with it. Although, it will never be completely serious. The guy throws nipples for Pete’s sake.

My plan is to have them all happen in the same universe. The other two stories would just take place 10-20 years after the events of Dead Set. Since all of Dead Set so far has been written in story form, that would be how I finished it.

The other two, however pose a problem. I’d rather not write them in story form because I really do want them turned into actual comic books. Given my lack of artistic talent, that is problematic. I can’t draw them and have I mentioned how much I hate hate hate hate hate writing in script form? I also haven’t found anyone willing to draw for me for free, since I have no money to pay anyone to illustrate it for me. So, what to do?

What I think I’m going to do is this: Do two issues of each book, drawing them myself in my ‘stick figure/ a fifth grader could probably draw it better’ style. Once they’re done, I’m going to show them to a select group of people that I know are comic book fans and get their opinions. If they think I’m on the right track (minus the horrible artwork, of course), I’ll continue working on the stories. If they think the books aren’t worth the effort I’m putting into getting them made, I’ll probably just shelve the ideas for a while and see if I can’t come up with some improvements.

So, between my novels and my comic books, I have 6 stories that I’m trying to write at this moment. That doesn’t include the two books I’m reading right now or the ideas I sometimes get for blog posts.

Oy vey…..

Is anyone that reads this blog rich? I need someone to give me a lot of money so I can write full time instead of going to work. Maybe then I could get all the stories to stop fighting for supremacy in my mind.