A Swell(ing) Journey Part II

26 02 2008

I trekked to Louisville with my sister this morning (thanks again, sis) and saw a specialist about the health mystery I’m experiencing. To make a long story short, she (the doc) stated the swelling is “severe” and “serious” and consulted with several other doctors there before deciding on the next step.

The consensus is that there is a good chance the problem is one of the things that I was already tested for last week (the CT scan that was done) and that the test just did not show the problem (a possible blockage in blood flow in a vein in or around the abdomen known as the inferior vena cava). Therefore, they want an MRI done. (Apparently mine is very inferior at the moment.)

This has to be approved by my insurance company first, and that was not successful today (oh joy). A doctor from my insurance company has to contact my doctor to talk about it, and then it should be approved. I’m starting to feel important, like I can say, “I’ll have my people talk to your people…” However, I would gladly go back to being unimportant me who is able to do things like walk around. The insurance/doctor’s office conversation will hopefully occur tomorrow. Then, I can have the test done and go from there. For now, it’s back at home…and wait.

Thanks again for all the well wishes. I’ll put an update once they know what the heck this is.

“This Matt dude is messed up. He doesn’t think we can FIX THAT, does he? lol”





Showing My Age: 70′s Style

24 02 2008

While I consider the 80′s an “important” decade in my formative years (and look back fondly on the music, movies, tv and styles, well SOME of the styles), I spent more of my formative years in the 70′s. My wife recently recounted her favorite 80′s memories. It has inspired me to write of the 70′s in the same manner. It is my sincere hope that this will be a cathartic experience and help me understand how I became the twisted individual that I did. Let’s delve:

I like to spend an unhealthy amount of time playing games (like Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, etc). The root of this could be traced to one of these:

This was an addictive, let’s say “educational” game in which you had to quickly memorize patterns and repeat them on the game face. Though this game might look boring to a kid used to today’s standards, any blue-blooded 70′s kid found the flashing colors mesmerizing (and possible seizure-inducing).

Which Witch? was a really cool game in which little kiddies had to make their way through haunted rooms like the “spell cell” without having their game piece turned into a mouse. I know there was a whammy ball that did something bad to you (nothing to do with the Press Your Luck Whammies on tv). I’m thinking this one would not be for parents who ban things like Harry Potter books from their kids, but I remember thinking this game was really, really cool. As far as I can tell, this game is rare and was possibly never a big seller. I’d love to hear from anyone who remembers this game.

Oh yeah, hand held electronic football. This one was a savior when you had to go to bed. It was easy to hide this thing under your blanket and keep playing. I’m pretty sure you could even turn the sound down or off. Sweet. Of course, now the simple little red blips would have modern kids calling it lame, but it was electronic heaven for me.

I also long for some of the toys of my childhood. My favorites included these:

The seat sure doesn’t look especially comfortable now, but it was good enough back then as I tore around the driveway like a speed demon. Who didn’t love turning sharply and spinning out the back tires on one of these things? I thought I was tough on this, at least until I would screw up and skin something. That inevitably ended in my crybaby self running into the house in search of Mom with big crocodile tears on my wussy face. (Hmm, I may have issues.)

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots! What better way to learn conflict resolution skills than to punch frantically until the blue robot (I was always the red one, as no really cool kid would ever choose the blue one) had his head punched off (or in this case, up). The head/neck thing made a really cool “zipping” sort of sound when you pushed it back down to reset it.)

This came with a booklet of several songs that guided you on what color (the colors shown above the keys) to play. Before long, any six-year-old could play something like “You Are My Sunshine” all day long. What parent would not enjoy that? I remember those little plastic faces as being rather vociferous.

Wiffle (or Whiffle, depending on your preference) Ball! Yes, I mercilessly pounded had friendly games with many of my younger nephews in the back yard. Dad would make us quit, sometimes, because we’d make a nasty bare spot in the back yard where home plate was. I was forever arguing about this, saying, “It’s our back yard; I’m supposed to be playing in it!” We also had to be careful not to plow through his garden so we had a special rule that if you hit into the garden, you were automatically out. It was like having one big outfielder out there. This prevented anyone from running quickly into the garden to retrieve the ball. You could slowly, carefully extract it since the hitter was already out. We also frequently dented the siding on the garage. I had no logical way to defend myself on this one when Dad got angry. The main problem with this toy? Kids in possession of hard plastic bats that somehow found other uses than playing wiffleball.

A kid can’t play all day long. Eventually, you just have to turn the television on! I remember mornings filled with cartoons like The Pink Panther, Hong Kong Phooey and my all-time favorite:

Speed of Lightning, Roar of Thunder! Fighting all who rob or plunder! Underdog! Underdog!

Underdog was the bomb. I really wanted him to beat his nemesis, Simon Bar Sinister. DRAT!

My least favorite kids’ morning show was this piece of crap:

Land of the Lost: It was cheap-looking (even by past standards), and it was just plain weird.

One can’t live by cartoons alone, and I remember really enjoying some tv shows with my mom and dad. There were the obvious ones, like Happy Days, but there were others as well:

Quincy revolved around the life of a medical examiner who had to unravel crimes through his science. Think of a much nicer House meets a much cheesier CSI. Anyone remember this one?

This game show, hosted by the very cool Bert Convy, pitted celebrity couples against each other. They would have to guess how their spouse would answer certain questions. I remember the giant headphone things half the spouses would wear so they couldn’t hear what their partners were saying. It was somewhat racy at times, at least for a little kid, and I enjoyed that whole-heartedly.

This was a classic! It seemed like the biggest money game of its time, and it was a great game. Dick Clark, of course, ruled on this show. (Check out the awesome 70′s moustache on that contestant!)

Oh yeah, The White Shadow. The coach, who was a pro basketball player forced to retire early due to injuries, goes against the advice of everyone he knows and becomes the head coach of the basketball team at a tough, poor school dealing with racial tensions. I thought Coolidge (one of the players) was the coolest. Anyone else out there miss this one?

The last tv items I’ll mention are two slogan/songs I remember from 70′s commercials. One was for Burger King: “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce. Special orders don’t upset us. All we ask is that you let us have it your way!” The other was for perfume called Enjoli. The ad was trying to appeal to working super-women who were doing it all. It featured an attractive woman singing: “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never ever let you forget you’re a man, cuz I’m a woman…Enjoli!” I don’t know if this ad was successful or not with their target audience, but it seems to have had a lasting effect on a 10-year-old boy.

Let’s move from tv to music. Records were fun (until they got a nasty scratch on them). Three of my favorites were these:

Now that I’ve posted the pictures, I’m thinking all three of these were double albums, which was a nice bonus. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) I had older brothers and sisters, and I think Frampton was a “hand-me-down” that was left behind for me. I loved how Frampton would “make his guitar talk” and say, “Do you feel like we do?” ELO mixed pop/rock with string instruments. The one pictured included the popular “Turn to Stone.” I loved both the soundtrack and the movie “St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by/with the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton, among others. I thought the movie was great, back then, but I have the feeling that I would realize it sucks if I saw it now.

When I had to leave home and go to school, I packed my trusty lunch box. Anyone remember the old metal lunch boxes that would actually rust at some point? I had some dorky ones, like some generic batman-like lunch box (can’t even remember the name of the cartoon), but here’s a cool one:

Which ones did any of you have?

Now is as good a time as any to mention one of the funniest style jokes God ever played on the U.S. when He convinced people to think Leisure Suits were cool. Here is an extremely embarrassing picture of myself and my parents. Wow, my mom and I are in matching suits that she made. That’s awful.

At least I never had to wear these:

Let’s just move on. I wasn’t yet driving in the 70′s, but I remember being a little kid wishing for one of these:

I thought Chevy Monte Carlos were very cool. I never ended up with one, but later on when I could drive in the 80′s, my first used car wasn’t that far off – a 1975 Olds Cutlass Supreme, similar to this one:

Mine was red and was a not-as-cool 4-door model. It ended up getting totaled when someone else’s car got hit and knocked over the center line into me. Ah well, it was a good car while it lasted.

Who remembers the Datsun cars of the 70′s? I remember my brother had a yellow one that I think was this type:

I need to wrap this blog up before I’m tempted to include even nerdier pictures of myself. However, I have saved the best 70′s memory for last. The two best creations of the 70′s were both born in 1975. One is my gorgeous wife. The other is this guy:

This Schoolhouse Rock character was the best! See the whole video here!

Thanks for stopping by, and please share any 70′s memories you have.





Bookin’ It: A Literary MeMe

21 02 2008

From Shakespeare to James Patterson: It’s time for a book survey. You guys know my charming wife and I like to come up with memes. She thought we should do a book one, and I thought that was a very good idea. Feel free to use the survey; we always enjoy reading the answers of others! Sorry about the length of my “answer” to #1. (I’m taking a brief break from blogging about my current health, but for those wondering there was no new news today. An Ice storm shut down doctors’ offices early today.)

1. What is your favorite passage/line from a book? I love the Pendergast books by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Pendergast is a difficult-to-summarize, eccentric, extremely intelligent, usually mild-mannered, nearly albino FBI agent who does things differently than anyone else. Here is an excerpt from Brimstone:

The Sergeant took a detour around the lawn and cut behind a small duck pond and fountain, keeping out of the way of the SOC team. As he came around some hedges he saw a man in the distance, standing by the duck pond, throwing pieces of bread to the ducks. He was dressed in the gaudiest day-tripper style imaginable, complete with Hawaiian shirt, Oakley Eye Jacket shades, and giant baggy shorts. Even though summer had ended over a month ago, it looked like this was the man’s first day in the sun after a long, cold winter. Maybe a dozen winters. While the Sergeant had some sympathy for a photographer or reporter trying to do their job, he had absolutely no tolerance for tourists. They were the scum of the earth.

“Hey. You.”

The man looked up.

“What do you think you’re doing? Don’t you know this is a crime scene?”

“Yes, officer, and I do apologize—”

“Get the hell out.”

“But Sergeant, it’s important the ducks be fed. They’re hungry. I imagine that someone feeds them every morning, but this morning, as you know—” He smiled and shrugged.

The Sergeant could hardly believe it. A guy gets murdered and this idiot is worried about ducks?

“Let’s see some I.D.”

“Of course, of course.” The man started fishing in his pocket, fished in another, then looked up, sheepishly. “Sorry about that, officer. I threw on these shorts as soon as I heard the terrible news, but it appears my wallet is still in the pocket of the jacket I was wearing last night.” His New York accent grated on the Sergeant’s nerves.

The Sergeant looked at the guy. Normally he would just chase him back behind the barriers. But there was something about him that didn’t quite wash. For one thing, the clothes he was wearing were so new they still smelled of a menswear shop. For another thing, it was such a hideous mixture of colors and patterns that it looked like he’d plucked them randomly from a rack in the village boutique. This was more than just bad taste— this was a disguise.

“I’ll be going—”

“No, you won’t.” The Sergeant took out his notebook, flipped back a wad of pages, licked his pencil. “You live around here?”

“I’ve taken a house in Amagansett for a week.”

“Address?”

“The Brickman House, Windmill Lane.”

Another rich asshole. “And your permanent address?”

“That would be The Dakota, Central Park West.”

The Sergeant paused. Now, that’s a coincidence. Aloud, he said: “Name?”

“Look, Sergeant, honestly, if it’s a problem I’ll just go on back—”

“Your first name, sir?” he said more sharply.

“Is that really necessary? It’s difficult to spell, even more difficult to pronounce. I often wonder what my mother was thinking—”

The Sergeant gave him a look that shut him up quick. One more quip from this asshole and it would be the cuffs.

“Let’s try again. First name?”

“Aloysius.”

“Spell it.”

The man spelled it.

“Last?”

“Pendergast.”

The pencil in the Sergeant’s hand began writing this down, too. Then it paused. Slowly, the Sergeant looked up. The Oakleys had come off and he found himself staring into that face he knew so well, with the blond-white hair, grey eyes, finely chiseled features, skin as pale and translucent as Carrara marble.

“Pendergast?”

“In the very flesh, my dear Vincent.” The New York accent was gone, replaced by the cultured Southern drawl he remembered vividly.

“What are you doing here?”

“The same might be asked of you.”

Vincent D’Agosta felt himself coloring. The last time he had seen Pendergast he had been a proud New York City Police Lieutenant. And now here he was in Shithampton, a lowly Sergeant decorating hedges with police tape.

“I was in Amagansett when the news arrived that Jeremy Grove had met an untimely end. How could I resist? I apologize for the outfit, but I was hard-pressed to get here as soon as possible.”

“You’re on the case?”

“Until I’m officially assigned to the case I can do nothing but feed the ducks. I worked on my last case without full authorization and it, shall we say, strained some high level nerves. I must say, Vincent, running into you is a most welcome surprise.”

“For me too,” said D’Agosta, coloring again. “Sorry, I’m really not at my best here—”

Pendergast laid a hand on his arm. “We shall have plenty of time to talk later. For now, I see a large individual approaching who appears to be suffering from emphraxis.”

A low pitched, menacing voice intruded from behind. “I hate to break up this little conversation.” D’Agosta turned to see Lieutenant Braskie.

Braskie stopped, stared at Pendergast, then turned back to D’Agosta. “Perhaps I’m a little confused here, Sergeant, but isn’t this individual trespassing at the scene of a crime?”

“Well, uh, Lieutenant, we were—” D’Agosta looked at Pendergast.

“This man isn’t a friend of yours, now, is he?”

“As a matter of fact—”

“The Sergeant was just telling me to leave,” interjected Pendergast smoothly.

“Oh he was, was he? And if I may be so bold as to inquire what you were doing here in the first place, sir?”

“Feeding the ducks.”


“Feeding the ducks.” D’Agosta could see Braskie’s face flushing. He wished Pendergast would hurry up and pull out his shield.
“Well, sir,” Braskie went on, “that’s a beautiful thing to do. Let’s see some I.D.”

D’Agosta waited smugly. This was going to be good.

“As I was just explaining to the officer here, I left my wallet back at the house—”

Braskie turned on D’Agosta, saw the notebook in his hand. “You got this man’s information?”

“Yes.” D’Agosta looked at Pendergast almost pleadingly, but the FBI agent’s face had shut down completely.

“Did you ask him how he got through the police cordon?”

“No—”

“Don’t you think maybe you should ask him?”

“I came through the side gate in Little Dune Road,” Pendergast said.

“Not possible. It’s locked. I checked it myself.”

“Perhaps the lock is defective. At least, it seemed to fall open in my hands.”

Braskie turned to D’Agosta. “Now, at last, there’s something useful you can do. Go plug that hole, Sergeant. And report back to me at eleven o’clock sharp. We need to talk. And as for you, sir, I will escort you off the premises.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant.”

D’Agosta looked with dismay at the retreating form of Lieutenant Braskie, with Pendergast strolling along behind him, hands in the pockets of his baggy surfer shorts, head tilted back as if taking the air.

2. What do you consider the best film adaptation from a book? What do you think is the worst film adaptation? I have a tie for the best: To Kill a Mockingbird and Seabiscuit The Worst: Along Came a Spider (a really good book in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson but a below-average film)

3. What is the first book you remember reading? Other than picture books, it was Charlotte’s Web.

4. Did you have a favorite kids’ book as a child? The Monster at the End of this Book. My mom read that one to me often! You have to enjoy lovable, furry old Grover being inadvertently afraid of himself.

5. What book did you hate reading for a school assignment? I’ll say Beowulf, even though it is actually an epic poem.

6. What is the most recent book you read (or are currently reading)? Lost by Michael Robotham. It’s a good thriller so far.

7. What book would you most like to see turned into a movie?

8. What book did you cheat and read the “Cliff Notes” version? I know I did this a time or two. I want to say I did for Shakespeare’s King Lear. I hope no one can take collage credits away from me now.

9. What book would you never read again, no matter how much someone was going to pay you? I’m not counting ones I couldn’t finish. I’ll go with The Camel Club by Baldacci. It’s not that it’s terrible; I just expected more from him. I felt this one jumped the shark a little.

10. Are you more of a library or book store person? I like both, but the library is the best.

11. Have you tried audio books? Do you like them? I use them all the time while driving for my job. They are great. However, I have difficulty staying focused enough to keep track of an audio book if it’s something really complex, like a novel that takes place all over the world (for example, R. Ludlum).

12. Has any movie ever inspired you to then read the book on which it was based? Yes. The Bone Collector is one.

13. Describe a passage from a book that made you cry. The surprise ending of The Wedding by N. Sparks. It’s the sequel to The Notebook.

14. What is your favorite book series? Again, I love the Pendergast novels by D. Preston and L. Child. You have to try them.

15. Describe your favorite place to read. Near the river or on a beach when the weather is just right. If there is a pretty girl (like my wife) to glance at from time to time, that’s even better.





A Swell(ing) Journey

20 02 2008

When they stick someone else’s kidney in you so that you can go on living, you get used to seeing doctors and having lab work done, a LOT of lab work. Terms like creatinine, BUN, and urinalysis become common in your language. This is par for the course, and I gladly accept it. I have enjoyed nearly five healthy, fun-filled years since my generous sister readily agreed to let them cut her open and steal a kidney to give to me. (I have other amazing siblings who were willing as well.)

My doctors, nurses and lab technicians have been great. (I give my highest recommendation to the kidney clinic at the University Of Louisville.) I really can’t even complain about my health insurance. There were tense, frustrating times with them, but for the most part the amounts that have been covered have been reasonable. Without health insurance, I’m not sure I’d be alive to see the radiant smiles of my wife and daughter.

One interesting and somewhat annoying aspect of being a transplant recipient (besides the big pile of pills taken morning and night) is that you have to watch your health very closely. If you sneeze funny, you’re supposed to let someone know about it. The risk of kidney rejection never goes away, and the medications’ side effects can adversely affect the rest of your body.

When I recently woke up with some strange swelling in a part of the body that a guy really doesn’t want strange swelling, little did I know that a whirlwind of doctor’s visits, tests, labs and a mystery that Dr. House would appreciate was about to begin. In the past week, I’ve lived a life of health care. (The following is not a complaint, as my care has been excellent. It is more a journal of a strange journey.)

Day 1: I visit my family doctor’s office about the initial swelling. Besides the swelling, I’m feeling fine. They set me up with a specialist in that area, but the next available appointment is more than a week away.

Day 2: The swelling increases, enough that it affects the way I can move. I’m also feeling a littler weaker. I call to see if my appointment with the specialist can be moved up. It does get moved up a couple of days due to a cancellation. However, it’s still about a week away.

Day 3: I just don’t feel right. I still have the swelling. I also have some unexplainable weight gain (more than just a couple pounds). I call the Louisville kidney clinic to let them know what’s going on. They order the standard labs to check kidney function to make sure I’m not going into rejection.

Day 4: I get the kidney results, which are fine. That is great news, but the swelling has spread to most of the lower half of my body. It’s getting difficult to continue working. It’s actually getting difficult to walk more than a few seconds at a time. The specialist appointment is still off in the distance, but I will be seeing my local kidney doctor (a regular check-up appointment) the next day.

Day 5: I see the local kidney doctor. The swelling is bad and all over from my abdomen down. I now have gained over 15 pounds in just a few days. The doctor expresses extreme concern. While this could be a sign of kidney rejection, the recent labs show otherwise. The labs also seem to indicate that it’s not the liver. The doctor orders emergency tests be done right away at the hospital. I go and spend the evening at the hospital and, after drinking a bunch of goop, I have a CT scan, a doppler ultrasound test on both legs, and a chest X-ray. (Think lots of bills coming in the mail; gone are the days of a $250 deductible!) They are checking for blood clots and a couple of other possibilities that would explain the swelling. My local kidney doctor is great and is waiting for the results via his cell phone, even though it’s well into the night at this point. The results come back as normal. The doctor talks to me by phone and admits to being somewhat baffled. A water pill is prescribed to try to give some relief from the swelling. The doctor decides to consult with the Louisville kidney clinic doctors tomorrow morning and also instructs that I get the kidney lab work done again in the a.m since kidney rejection is still a possibility, though this doesn’t seem to exactly fit the situation.

Day 6: I start the water pill and go and have blood drawn again for the kidney check. I also give my urine sample to the lucky lady at the lab who always seems excited to get it. Let’s just say it’s good to be near a bathroom when taking the water pill. I speak to my local doctor in the morning. After the consult with the Louisville doctors (who are also somewhat puzzled), the next course of action is that I get an echocardiogram to check for heart problems. (This wasn’t one of the first tests ordered because my heart sounded fine at the appointment with my doctor and because I wasn’t having any other heart-type symptoms.) The test is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Day 7 (Today): I have the heart test done in the morning (after some frustrating confusion in which the heart place thought I was coming next week. I had to call my doctor’s office, and they straightened this out). Just ten days ago, I was doing a daily cardio workout and looking longingly at my new tennis racquet, counting the days until spring arrived. Now I’m feeling like I have the legs and feet of an 80-year-old, and I’m counting the minutes until the next results come in. I’m praying and staying positive and determined to overcome whatever this thing is. I hope to hear something like: “The problem is ______, and we can fix that with a temporary medication or a simple surgery.” I don’t want to hear, “Your body is rejecting your kidney” or “You need open heart surgery” or “You have ______ disease, and it’s not treatable” or “You have ____, and you need to take a bunch more pills for the rest of your life.”

Regardless of the outcome, three things are certain. I am ever grateful to live in a place where medical advances have allowed me to overcome polycystic diseased kidneys that stopped working. I have an incredible family (some of whom I still hope to be beating at tennis in the coming weeks). I have enjoyed every second of the good things in life since my transplant. It’s kind of funny how much prettier green grassy fields along the highway look when you’re really appreciating being alive.





Police Putting the Kibosh on Lusty Teenagers in Thailand

16 02 2008

Thailand police planned to crack down on teen sex on Valentine’s Day. I wonder how that went? I’ve got a daughter so I’m not trying to be glib about teens having sex. However, I found the planned methods of the Thai police to curtail raging hormones a bit disturbing and humorous.

“We will send patrols to check out public parks, restaurants and shopping malls, which are the starting points for potential sexual activities that will be done at home or motels,” Bangkok police spokesman Suporn Pansuea said.

Obviously, my favorite part is that the Bangkok police spokesman has porn in his name. It’s not often that a legitimate story about police trying to stop sex has bang, kok, and porn all within four words of each other.

Once you get past that (which took my immature self a long time to do), you have to picture Valentine’s evening in Thailand. Two 17-year-olds are dressed up and out for an evening of spending their hard-earned McDonald’s paycheck at a semi-expensive restaurant (probably serving authentic Thai cuisine). The boy says something funny, and the girl giggles. Two police officers quickly descend upon the table and take the girl downtown for having a “come hither look.” The boy is forced to go home to his Playstation fantasies about Lara Croft or some other video game babe.

How about the police plan to leave all the lights on in public parks that night? I can smell a combined opossum/raccoon class action lawsuit about the detrimental effects of taking away park darkness. That had to make it tough for the little critters to ransack various garbage cans. The Thai police better hope the animals don’t have top legal representation. (Maybe PETA can step up.)

I can’t help but wonder what else the Thai police have in the works to reduce problem teen behavior. Here are five suggestions:

1. Detain any teenager who buys matches the week before New Year’s Eve. This should decrease the use of dangerous fireworks.

2. Outlaw phone use by teens on April Fool’s Day. This would, no doubt, put an end to those awful prank calls such as: Innocent answerer: “Hello?” Delinquent Caller, “Can you page Mike Hunt?”

3. Arrest any seamstresses who make prom dresses that are not extremely difficult to remove. Many a teen male may just give up if more prom dresses used combination locks instead of easy-open snaps and buttons.

4. Fire any police staff who have any of the following words in their names: “Porn, Smut, Dick, Johnson, Cooter, Harry, Bush or Tallywhacker” Can you imagine any amorous teen taking the following warning seriously? “The Thai police are dedicated to reducing dangerous teen sexual activity,” said official police spokeswoman, Smutlan Tallywhacker. (Oh, and it goes without saying that no officer should have the title of private.) They also should fire anyone with the name Wolfgang because I just don’t care for that name.

5. Put a close watch on anyone who writes blogs such as this one and immediately list them as an enemy of the state.

Good luck in your noble attempt, oh Thai police force. Keep us informed of your progress, Suporn!





How To Be a Terrible Emailer

11 02 2008

Just follow the simple steps below, and you’ll be well on your way to joining the ranks of awful emailers across the world! We’ve all experienced them. We’ve all been tempted to send a rage filled polite response saying, “Please don’t email me. I mean it.”

It’s very exciting when one gets their first email account with visions of love notes and fun pictures and messages from family and friends filling one’s inbox. It does not take long before one realizes that many other forms of email (and I’m not even talking about actual spam) begin trickling in and eventually clogging up space like nacho cheese in an artery.

Have you ever wanted to be the one sending these instead of receiving? Look no further. This is what you do.

1. Send A LOT (I mean try to hit all of your family, friends and coworkers at least once per week) of forwards of the following:

a) Adorable photos of kittens/and or stranger’s babies making funny faces.

b) Good luck chain emails that promise a check for $44 billion will come by mail in the next month as long as the recipient bothers sends it to all of their friends.

c) Scary warning emails that let the recipients know something extremely terrible will happen to them (like a flesh-eating disease) if they do not forward it to all of their friends. It’s nice to put a little personal note at the top saying, “I doubt this is true, but I sent it to you just in case. Keep the chain going! Oh, and how’s your family?”

2. Be EXTREMELY dramatic even in your relatively trivial emails by USING LOTS OF CAPS. Here is an example: “WOW, I can NOT BELIEVE my JERK of a boss told me I HAVE TO STAY a few minutes late TOMORROW. DO YOU THINK I SHOULD QUIT??” Everyone will understand how important this subject is to you, and they will be sure to respond in a serious and timely manner.

3. You can cuss a lot and even cuss at people as long you cutely misspell the curse word. All are sure to get a kick out of this. Plus, no one can really be angry at you for calling them an “azz.” (Related to this, if you are 18 or younger be sure you send emails that look like this: “hElLO PeoPLez. I’m DoiN’ GoOd. How ARe YouZ PeePz DoiN? ScHOol is MaD AweSoMe DiS YeAr.” Everyone really, really enjoys getting emails like this.)

4. When someone has sent you an email asking a question, wait at least two weeks before giving them a vague response. Even more importantly, make sure your email settings are such that your reply will be sent without the original email question visible. This will make for a good time when the person gets your late response that says, “Yeah, that sounds good.” They’ll be searching through their old sent messages trying to figure out just what sounds good. It’ll be just like a treasure hunt for them!

5. Send very short emails to your friends. Keep it simple. Put, “How’s it going?” This takes you only seconds while at the same time asking your friends to send a much longer, more interesting email back to you. Score! They won’t be able to just say, “Fine” because they’ll know that could sound as though they are angry or are being sarcastic. It’s a win-win for you.

6. Send emails about a funny video you saw on the internet. Talk about how hilarious it is and how the recipient would love it. Here’s the key: Don’t send the actual link. Just describe the video and say, “I think I saw it on Yahoo or something.” Everyone has spare time to go look for videos themselves so they will not mind. (I know for a fact this works as I just did it to a nephew this week.)

Bonus: Another way to be a very popular emailer is to have an email address, tell people the address, and then warn them that you “hardly ever” actually check it. This will put them in the position of wanting to email you and then second-guessing whether you’ll actually see it in the next month. This one seems to be popular with those who are 40 and older and leads to frivolity all around! They are the same ones who can’t figure out how to work their dvd players.

Happy emailing, everyone!





My Family Portrait

9 02 2008

Allison, my beautiful wife, draws pretty well. Our daughter enjoys watching Allison pencil pictures of our family. Check out Allison’s latest artwork by clicking here.

Then, tell me if my attempt below measures up. Which is better? I think it’s a close call.








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