An Observation: Fancy Inspirational Thoughts

I’ve finally found a way to balance my love of photography with my need to write sarcastic statements. The whole concept was looking at me every time I opened any of my social media accounts.

Inspirational humor.

Place any statement on a beautiful background and it becomes inspirational, right? Even if the grammar and spelling are suspect, the pretty picture makes it all better (but correct grammar and spelling matter, so I’ll be really careful, because that’s who I am and this sentence is a really bad example of grammatical correctness so I should probably move on with my other thoughts). Why not have a little fun with it?

Natural beauty is all around The Natural State–hence the motto, “The Natural State.” You’ll never run out of photography options. Take, for instance, these photos from Northwest Arkansas. You have choices–street scenes, forest scenes, water scenes–that you couldn’t possibly fit into just one day of your expedition.

Buffalo Point, Buffalo National River, Arkansas.
Summer Street Scene, Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
War Eagle Bridge, War Eagle Mill, Arkansas.
Forest Scene Near Thorncrown Chapel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Lovely, right?

I can’t be this serious for very long, though. So, I’ve added some “inspirational” messages to some of my photographs to satisfy the need for humor.

It’s true.
Also true.

One part peaceful, another part goofy. It’s the least I can do to contribute to humor while exploring different locales with a camera lens.

Don’t they all look so fancy? That’s a word I need to start using more often–fancy. It’s just so…fancy.

I will do my best from this day forward to contribute further to the advancement of fancy inspirational humor. Any thoughts?

A Few Thoughts: Thought Stew

I tried.

Author’s Note: This is what a typical brainstorm looks like to me, although sometimes the ideas are a little more chunky than smooth. Occasionally, I find a great idea from something like this. Very occasionally. I’ve had a really goofy quote from a movie in my head and I thought I’d write down some of the most random thoughts I could articulate in a time span of approximately three minutes.

Enjoy.

I don’t think stories should always start at the beginning. I’m usually jumping into the middle of someone’s story every time they have a conversation and mention people I don’t know. It’s like a disorganized grocery list that has you running for bread and then bacon and then apples and then trash bags. Good exercise, bad planning. That is, if you follow the list in list order instead of store order.

I hated playing Red Rover when I was a kid. Of course they were always going to barrel towards me at 900 miles per hour. The drawstring on my backpack was thicker than my arms. Doing handsprings on the grass was much less violent. A kid tried to push me off a ladder on the slide once, though, so I guess nothing was ever totally safe; I tripped over my own foot on my way to a class in college and fell on a sidewalk. Expensive textbooks kept me from breaking my face–I fell on one of those first before my nose could actually hit the concrete. (Reading is important. It could save you from a concussion.)

I can only make one kind of paper airplane. Whether or not it flies is always a mystery. I have to throw-test it and I would feel bad if any passengers had to be along for that ride. They have no landing gear. Oops.

Why did Bill Paxton play a character named “Bill” so many times? It may have only been two times (possibly three–I should look that up), but it’s still noticeable.

Writing stories longhand is my preference, but I’m not sure what I’ll do someday when I get arthritis. I already have a tough enough time getting my pen to keep up with my thoughts.

If you kick a tree, will the squirrels throw acorns at you? You’re trespassing on their home. Or are you? I suppose they have a right to defend their home, but doesn’t the tree belong to the tree?

Do your thoughts talk to you or do you see them in writing? What about subtitles?

I like words. I should learn more of them.

An Observation: Very Secondary

I was plucking my eyebrows a few days ago when I had two thoughts: 1) ouch, it still hurts to do this, and 2) the VERY FIRST time I did this, it took about three hours because I was eighteen years old, ignorant about a lot of beauty-related things, and, as a result, was dangerously close to having a unibrow.

miranda sings eyes GIF
I’ll say.

(Okay, those were several thoughts. Sorry about the math skills.)

Anyway, it’s never been much fun and it almost always makes me sneeze to tweeze. Guess the follicles are connected to my sneezer switch or something.

Anyway, anyway—back to one of those thoughts. I was thinking about the VERY FIRST time I plucked my eyebrows.

Does anyone ever call a “second something” the VERY SECOND instance? You rarely hear the word “very” as a modifier of “second” in that context.

Language study time. Do you think that at the second performance of the 1812 Overture, it was introduced with the word “very” in front of “second”? (They’d most likely have been speaking Russian, so just pretend they spoke English to make this easier.)

“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the VERY SECOND performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture!”

If you’d been in the audience (and if you’re reading this, I’m assuming you weren’t, because it was a long time ago and if you are still alive and remember the performance with any degree of clarity, you need to call a medical research facility pronto because they’ll want to run a few tests for everyone’s benefit here—have someone show you how to use a phone), you’d probably have heard something more like this:

“Tonight the orchestra will be playing the second performance of the new 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky. Please express your final wishes to your families now in the event that you are injured by the cannons.”

Seems like everything that happens the first time is expressed as the VERY first time.

“Oh, look! He’s taking his VERY first steps!”

“She just lost her VERY first tooth!”

“We just went to her VERY first graduation! Preschool! We only have thirteen more of these to go before she actually earns a real diploma!”

The only times you ever hear “very second” is when someone is referring to a minute unit of time. (Minute? See what I did there? Haha, yeah…at least I thought it was funny.)

“The very second he jumped out of the plane, he wished he hadn’t.”

“They timed that race down to the very second.”

No one ever says, “You remember the very second time we went to that new barbecue joint?”

Of course they don’t! If the trip was memorable for some reason, they’d just say, “You remember the second time we went to that new barbecue joint?”

“Very” is an interesting modifier that writers are told to use very, very sparingly.

Just something to think about the next time you talk about a very first…or second.

An Observation: Sensible Shoes

I overheard someone mentioning that they needed a pair of sensible shoes.

What exactly is a “sensible” shoe?

As a wordsmith, I would like first to view this term from a strictly literal perspective. I mean, in my mind, I’m picturing a “sensible” shoe as an agreeable item that won’t argue with you. (Shoes have tongues, after all, so it stands to reckon that they could—theoretically—argue.)

If my shoes did this, well, they’d be cute, but distracting; therefore, not sensible.

If you’re constantly arguing with your shoes, how will you have time to walk or tap your feet to music or run a half-marathon? (That is, if you’re someone who runs long distances, which I could never do because it would be my feet arguing with me before my shoes had the chance to talk.)

Next, I’d like to view this term from a realistic perspective. When I hear “sensible” shoe, I think of the nurse shoes of yesteryear. The white ones with the thick soles. Comfortable, sure. Fashionably sensible? Depends on your fashion sense.

If you’re looking strictly for comfort when you use the word “sensible,” I’ve heard that Crocs will have you covered. However, I’m of the school of thought that no matter how comfortable a pair of those might be, I will NEVER know it, because I just can’t even bring myself to try on a pair.

For starters, they have holes. If I have to wear socks with the things in winter just to keep my feet warm AND sensibly comfortable, then I might as well just wrap my feet in bubble wrap and draw even more attention to myself. Sure, the bubble wrap might feel like walking on air for about ten seconds, until all the bubbles started to pop and everyone in the grocery store you’re walking through would hit the deck because they didn’t know what that sound was and…where was I going with this?

Bubblewrap Dog GIF - Dog Rollover Roll GIFs
Uhh, I wasn’t going there, but this is cute.

Oh, yeah. Crocs. Thanks, but no thanks.

I’m going to assume that a “sensible” shoe is somewhat comfortable and moderately stylish (because, as we all know, you can’t completely have both).

I’m thinking loafers, although the word “loafer” tends to imply a sense of laziness that negates sensibility.

I’m going to be productive in my loafers.

tired snow GIF
He’s probably wearing loafers.

Yeah, not a sentence you hear very often.

Then again, neither is, “Original hummus chokes twelve angry tsetse flies every half hour in an Antarctic discotheque.” It could happen, but not likely.

Then, you have your sneakers. Sneaky.

Perhaps you call them tennis shoes, like I do. It’s been a while since I’ve played tennis, though, so it feels a bit dishonest.

I’ll just be here in my socks until I figure this one out. Talk amongst yourselves.

A Yearly Year-End Annual Review: Things I Did In 2018

Okay, let’s try to keep this short and sweet, because it’s about to be 2019 and I will have things to do in 2019.

This is a summary, so forgive me if I leave out a few details. Currently, a full transcript of Things I Did In 2018 is unavailable. (2018 isn’t completely over yet anyway. Duh.)

Things I Did In 2018:

  1. I stopped automatically writing 2017 on all paperwork, documents, and checks sometime around my birthday. In February.
  2. I moved east of the Mississippi River. I began to understand and appreciate the value of playing Tetris for hours at a time during my formative years once I had to downsize. (Come over sometime and take a look at my closets. I tried not to hum Russian music faster and faster as the piles of boxes climbed up the walls when I was unpacking.)

    This is the river. I live somewhere to the right of it. And, yes, I sell prints of this photo here.
  3. I took more photos. That’s what photographers do.
  4. I wrote more stuff. That’s what writers do.
  5. I wrote lists. That’s what really meticulous people do.
  6. I left grocery stores with a lot more than what was originally on those lists. That’s what hungry shoppers will do.
  7. I decided not to make any resolutions for 2019. That’s mainly for self-esteem purposes, because it’s a little bit demoralizing to find yourself cancelling a gym membership on January 3.
  8. I didn’t win the lottery, but I don’t know anyone who did, so that’s not really a big deal.
  9. I stopped watching as much television. I don’t really feel any smarter, but I don’t feel as though I’ve missed out on much, either.

I probably left out a few things, like what I had for breakfast on April 12 or how long I waited on my last oil change, but I’m working on brevity in my writing since we live in a 140-characters-or-less kind of world these days.

Happy New Year!

An Observation: Happy Hours

Oh, you thought this post was about something else. Sorry to disappoint. I am going to discuss hours, though. Waking hours, sleeping hours…the levels of functionality at different hours in the day. You might be bored by this. But, you’re here, so you might as well pass the time by reading. Who knows? Maybe it’ll help you sleep.

I have a window of about three to four hours a day that I feel like I’m operating at totally full capacity. (I think most people feel this way, too, regardless of the caffeine content of your coffee.) So, in my typical overthinking fashion, I’ve decided to break down a normal day so that I can figure out during which hours I function at peak functionality and try to replicate them at other times of the day…time. (Umm, that was a little redundantly redundant. Sorry.)

Image result for clock meme

Let’s take the morning hours to start, because that’s when most people start their day. It’s when I start mine. I’m sure you can relate. I usually set my alarm for 6:15, which means my paranoid “is-the-alarm-going-to-work” internal clock wakes me up at 5:00 and every five minutes thereafter. (By the way, anytime someone tells me that 5:00 a.m. is their finest hour, I’m inclined to run away. The last time 5:00 a.m. was my finest hour was when I wanted to get a head start on Saturday morning cartoons.)

By 6:30, I’m beginning to prioritize which corners to cut on my morning beauty-ish regimen. Knowing that I will regret skipping eyeliner by 10:00, it always takes priority, alongside concealer, which was invented for the express purpose of making a 6:15 wake-up-call appear effortless.

7:00 means breakfast, or something that will pass for breakfast. Whatever takes the least amount of effort. I’m very good at cooking drive-thru, which I pick up thirty minutes later.

By 9:30, I’ve begun to make progress in the field of alertness. Between 7:40 and 9:30 I’ve been functional—and courteous—but not necessarily overly chipper.

10:00 is good. 10:00 works well. If I could harness 10:00 all day, I’d be good. 10:00 to around 2:00 are usually my height of chipper-ness. Lunch helps (hey, we can always use recharging) and, if it’s a sunny day, it’s the mostest, bestest, sunniest time of day.

I do think, though, that the entire universe can relate to the 2:00 slump. If mid-afternoon could be represented by an animal, it would be the sloth.

sloth eating GIF
I don’t actually do that at 2:00. I mean…vegetables? I save those for the day or two I’m on a health kick.

Studies have confirmed that these mid-afternoon lulls are commonplace. If those studies would really help us figure out what to do about them (besides taking a power nap—really, who has time for that?), that’d be peachy.

I usually get my second wind around 3:30, although it’s more like a light breeze. Don’t get me wrong—I AM FUNCTIONAL—I just feel very…oh, what’s the word…blah. By the time evening rolls around, I’m ready to hibernate (especially in winter, my least favorite season), thus lowering the possibility for productivity on home projects, socialization, food preparation, or even changing the channel from whatever I left it on the night before.

raul julia watching tv GIF
Home shopping? Okay, I’ll stare at that for a while.

I still, however, usually force myself to take on more stuff, crawling under the covers around 10:00 and kicking myself for not going to bed an hour earlier from time to time.

Maybe I should put a positive spin on this: I’m really good at functioning while tired. To be fair, I think most of us are. After all, we over-schedule, over-extend, over-exert, and overdo almost everything. So, perhaps getting that 10:00 to 2:00 feeling can be achieved by some simple restructuring.

In fact, let me consult my calendar to see what can be done.

Let’s see. The hours from 10:00 to 2:00 look good for…everything.

An Observation: Levels of Southern Winter Precipitation

Please take a moment to review these standard units of measurement for winter precipitation in the South with your family before submitting reports to neighbors, relatives, and friends. Expert advice for each situation is listed.

Snowing:

  • 1 to 15 snow flurries per hour
  • Temperatures hovering around 32-33 degrees
  • Call your local television station. Things just got serious.

Snowing Hard:

  • 50-100 snowflakes per hour
  • Sticks to grass for a maximum duration of thirty seconds
  • Take no less than twenty photos and one video for Instagram. Demand that local schools close early.

Blizzard:

  • A dusting/up to one inch of accumulation
  • Bigger snowflakes, but still able to be individually counted with reasonable ease
  • Stay home. Your off-road, heavy-duty, four-wheel-drive pickup truck is useless.

Whiteout/Apocalypse:

  • Accumulation in excess of one inch
  • Snowflakes too numerous to count
  • Call Northern relatives for survival advice, if your phone still works.

Sleeting:

  • 1 to 15 ice pellets per hour
  • Sound against windows resembles bacon frying in small skillet
  • Put glass outside to collect ice. Sonic will be closed soon.

Heavy Sleet:

  • Melted residue on car windshield (see also: cold water)
  • Sound against windows interferes with normal conversation
  • Advise your family that it could be worse. It could be freezing rain.

Freezing Rain:

  • Shiny glaze on all elevated objects
  • Power outages, broken tree limbs, all brick-and-mortar establishments closed
  • Give up and set yourself on fire for warmth—you’re in this one for the long haul.

A Few Thoughts: Writing Humor

Humor is a funny beast.

What makes one person laugh might not necessarily make anyone else laugh. And sometimes, no one laughs. Sometimes, everyone laughs at something you simply can’t believe anyone would find humorous.

There are two words in the English language that, when used in combination, terrify me. That moment when a friend looks me directly in the eyes (yes, I have two of them) and says, simply…

“Be funny.”

Umm…uhh…

So, I started to think (which is usually another scary moment). How in the world do you begin to come up with funny stuff? I sat down and compiled a list of things that work for me. (Ahem…things that work for me occasionally at best…I’m writing this as if I’m some kind of expert…I know that all three of my faithful blog readers are eagerly awaiting this sage advice…if you don’t think any of my writing is funny, then you are free to ignore everything…okay, I’ll get on with it here…)

funny cat GIF

  1. Carry a notebook. Or a journal. Or a notepad. Or plain old paper. Oh, and you might need a pen or a pencil, unless you plan to open up a paper cut and scrawl your ideas in blood (don’t do it). If you’d rather use your phone or tablet, it’s up to you…it’s a purely personal preference. However, I find that ideas stick with me longer when I have to take the time to physically write them down on something that doesn’t have the potential to run out of battery power. And, why should you carry something to write with at all times? Well…
  2. Think of something ordinary you see or hear. Now…are you sure that’s all there is to it? Just make the quick observation, jot it down, and see if anything comes of it. I’m a words person. I like to observe potential with words. For instance, just the other day, I started thinking about what it really means to be a free thinker. I wrote down those two words–free thinker. When I realized no one was paying me for my thoughts, I had my answer.
  3. Compare the incomparable.
ron burgundy what GIF
I said, “COMPARE THE INCOMPARABLE.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Think about seemingly unrelated senses, like comparing sight and smell. A few days ago, I had to throw something away that had overstayed its welcome. When someone asked me why, I responded, “Because the smell was getting pretty graphic.” Laugh, haha, never thought of it that way, etc.

And, finally…

4. Run it by your friends. If they like it, great! If they don’t, go make new friends. Unless you find out that you’re the weird one, and then you might want to sit with that thought for a while…

Remember, these are just ideas. I never said they were good ideas, but they are ideas. Perhaps “ideas” should have been Numero Uno on my list, but I don’t really feel like going back to change it now. So, you can just take your pen and paper and write in “ideas” at the top of the list.

Happy Writing!