Category Archives: Uncategorized

100 Word Prompt – Room

Yes I am back! It’s slow at work today, and I saw a prompt in my email, one that inspired me within seconds. Thin Spiral Notebook’s challenge, a reminder of past challenges (Trifecta, Ketchup with us – ah the memories).

So here’s 100 words on…

ROOM.

We walked past cubicles, down the carpet, plush save for a slight indentation from the front desk to my office door. Many miles back and forth for me and the students.

I held my breath as we walked to my new space. This next step was what I had been waiting for. Several years of hitting my head on another university’s glass ceiling had been giving me headaches.

She unlocked the door. “You’re the most experienced new guy, so we gave you the big room.”

It was a big room, with a big glass window, the morning sun shining through.

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Ketchup With Us-sie

Ms Mel and ODNTWant to see you as an ‘us’. Not necessarily you and I, just you and who(m)ever else is around. PlUS, USSIE sounds better than selfie. I am not sure, but if you are from Australia, perhaps it’s an AUSSIEUSSIE. In any case, snap and post and link and be adored by US!

 

Ketchup With Us

Right off the bat, I thought, I can’t have an ussie without GUSSIE!

gvzzime

I should point out, 1. though it appears that way, she did not take the photo.2. though it appears that way, I am not gripping her like a vise.

Next, why not take advantage of dinner with a fellow blogger whom you all know and adore.

guapme

I met Mr G. and his TMWGITU for dinner at Junior’s in Brooklyn (the only location I truly acknowledge as existing) since it is doomed to be shut down and later re-inserted (?!) into the overpriced condos that will sully the spirit and memory of yet another NYC landmark. We enjoyed both experiences.

Finally, since I am a Jr., a Three-Pete for you!

lug3rp3t3

MaT and I took my dad (BT Sr) out to Peter Luger (also in Brooklyn) for his 65th birthday last week. Ok, while not an US-SIE (and done in portrait, not landscape), it was a punny thing. 

 

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Filed under Cats, Humor, Ketchup With Us, Life, Life in NYC, New York City, Photo Blogs, Photography, Uncategorized

The Vault – Leaving It To The Experts

Note: this is part of a series of posts first written in my previous blog, now shut down.
(Original posting titled “Redefining My Status” – written 8/25/2011)

I did what I did, but would never do it again. This is why sometimes I dread dealing with the humans.

So I am heading to the grocery store one Sunday morning, which used to play 80’s music all the time and now sucks for many reasons (the store, not Sunday mornings), most of which are the fact that they don’t play 80’s music any more. But that helps.

There are a lot of old people around the co-op/apartment complexes I live usually, so an oldster sighting is not not common. There was one in particular shuffling by, but this was different. She was calling out “help! Help! Somebody please help me,” while holding her arms out in front of her as though her cane or walker was missing, and she was a step from falling. So me being part Superman, man of steel (I have some tight glutes) and because that void of the other part of me doesn’t want to be stagmatized with the status of “That dick who walked past an old lady who was crying out for help” by anyone who might be watching from their car or spy satellite, I detour my way to the path she is heading down.

As I caught up to her, I asked if she needed any help. She turned, grabbed my arm, and relayed her situation; she had to get to the building, which was about 30 feet away. Seeing as she was standing out there in the hot sun, I offer to walk her to the front door. She confesses to me that she’s old, and I appreciate the recon info – a passing thought wondered how many Bothans died getting that data. She’s rushing along and I tell her to take her time, and that we would walk up the ramp. She protested this, and proceeded to tell me that no, she needed to go to the corner, to catch a taxi/bus. I have the sudden creeping feeling this is not going to end well, as the bus stop is several blocks away and I pray to Jor-El that she meant an Access a Ride.

As I tell her that no taxi is around and that she would be better going home and calling them again, she gets agitated, refutes my illogical idea, and starts calling out for help again, but with me firmly in grip, making my status “Hoodlum/perhaps geriatric perv who (slowly) kidnaps old ladies”. Considering that people might actually be watching from their windows, which they do a lot of, I’m thinking of what aisle of the store I would be down already, listening to Ke$ha or something equally as dicksandpapering– and speaking of aisles, down this next path are benches! I suggest that we sit on the shaded benches and wait for this taxi, which she swears is here for her (the driver went into the building through the basement somehow and missed her).

She agrees, and my chances of being arrested for grannynapping are slightly reduced. I get her to the benches and reassure her that the taxi will be by soon. She feels better about this and so do I.

So I tell her that I have to go.

“You can’t leave me here! Help Help! Somebody help!”

So now I am “the dick who leaves old ladies on benches on hot days, even though I left her on a shady bench,” or better yet “guys who robs old ladies and then leaves them on a shady bench”. At this point, I’m willing to take that, since it’s at least a step up from “worthless son/daughter who doesn’t ensure that their elderly mother is properly attended, because that would be an expense and really they are just waiting for the parent to die so they can sell their house/condo/co-op”, which are a dime a dozen in this borough believe me. Fuckin’ believe me. Those people are in fact trumped by their very elders who are of the “I know you want the house and money and whatever else you think you deserve so I will stay alive just to spite you, you ungrateful bastard(s)”, which is why I kind of like the elderly around here, and come to their rescue when they stand around screaming for help.

Anyway…

So I look around and there are a few people around, incredibly, they are elderly as well. One of them is someone I recognize; “lady who walks around with an oxygen tank, and whose daughter smokes when taking walks with her mother, which would be really fucked up, except that the mother goes for her evening walks alone sometimes and hides behind parked buses/vans, unhooks the oxygen tank, and lights up a cigarette, so really big fucking deal.” Since I know her by this which practically makes us clan, I ask her in my suave, educated way “‘scuse me, do you know this lady? She needs help…or something.” The lady looks at me, and then to the woman and decides that she knew how to ask the questions, and the old lady seemed more relaxed. It’s a peer thing; maybe only a nurse would be the only type of person to know how to handle it.

So as they talk, the bubble is now around them and I, like a greased up ninja, slink away on my journey to the store.

To say that I would not approach a situation like this, I do not think that it should be criticized. There’s more to any deed than just being a good citizen; it’s about being capable of handling the situation – something I clearly could not do. While calling 911 or flagging down a police car might also seem heavy handed, I also clearly had no idea what the fuck to do with this lady. Being that it was the middle of the day, the bat signal would not have been effective either.

You know what they say – leave it to the superheros. I can imagine only the caped crusaders’ local 321 says that. Well, now I do too.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Humor, Life, Tales From the Vault, Uncategorized, Unvaulted

Memorable Month – January

I resoluted 12 photo entries – so what was memorable through the first 31 days of the new year?

• I started off the year making popovers.
p0p0v3rs
Though technically I started NYE, it ran that long since the recipe made nearly twice as many as it claimed, and they take about an hour each batch! No worries, they were eaten throughout the night with butter, salt and washed down with champagne.

• I didn’t take pictures of the snow, since I am sure you have no interest in seeing any more.
b0wts However, my new boots, which I had just ordered from LL bean hours before they completely sold out (really, I checked back later, no sizes left!) and which arrived before Christmas, made their debut in the early January snowstorm. They have performed perfectly well since then and absolutely worth the investment, as I plod through slushy curbsides and subway platforms.

What happened to my old worn out boots that still fit like a glove?
m4zb0wt Still safe under the watchful eyes of Max.

• Pizza at Lombardis with a friend who came to NYC for a workation.

Yes her other hand says 'Time'. Don't worry, she's nice!

Yes her other hand says ‘Time’

Haven’t seen her in almost 8 years – it was great catching up. The pizza was good, a little too expensive for toppings (homemade mozzarella was $4), but a small fed 2 people well on a cold winter night. The Sangria helped as well!

• Gussie the cat found a blue string that has become her most favorite thing ever. c4tst Watching her play with it has become my most favorite thing ever.

• I found this brilliant red wine, recommended by my preferred wine shop just a few blocks from my job (they know how to interpret my gibberish).
redwine It goes for around $16. Not too dry or fruity, with a deep red color. It is full bodied and ‘meaty’ as the label claimed (no overt berry or other flavors, which was ok) with a quick clean finish, no lingering tannins. It went perfect with pasta, savory sauce, meatballs and fried eggplant. I get a lot of flack for my red wine choices, but everyone loved the ‘simple’ fullness of each glass.

Already looking for, and making, the moments in February!

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Filed under Cats, Life, New York City, Photo Blogs, Recipes, Resolutions, Restaurants, Reviews, Uncategorized, Wine

Playing Ketchup #32 – In With the Old & New

Ms Mel and ODNT want to know in 57 words or less, your new or old Holiday Traditions. Ketchup With Us

I shamefully admit that with the holiday rush right after a late Thanksgiving, my work schedule as the semester wore down, 3 WORK holiday parties in a week (2 of which I hosted), I didn’t have much spirit. Some things remain a tradition, such as looking up the Yes, Virginia

article (which I posted before)… one of my favorite works of all time.

Something new – first I managed to get a shout on on PIX11 news at 6 am for my Christmas tradition tweet – “Being around family, mainly the ones who couldn’t make it to Thanksgiving.”

Also, I managed to snap a picture of Gussie, who was a sport about it, probably hoping to get on Santa’s Nice list last minute.


gussietree

Getting Max into a photo might prove to be a Christmas Miracle!

Merry Christmas to you all, and to all a good night!

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Ketchup With Us: What I Dug Up

Ms Mel and ODNT want you to make your best terrifying OR terrified face. Then, post it on your blog or tweet/Facebook it to Mel or me and we’ll link it up. BONUS: You get ten extra entries in the Ketchup Halloween Contest (see below) if you submit a picture. Ketchup With Us

I dug deep into the graveyard of my harddrive.

____________

3884_533864159943_6699436_nFun with photo editing. The scary part is I didn’t have a beard or goatee at that time.

3884_533864169923_7608444_nFor some reason I thought the photo needed more saturation.

bruise2The result of the scariest blood donation I ever made. You’ll notice one smaller mark on my lower elbow and right in the middle. Needless to say, wiggling it around even slightly should never be done. Despite this, I still donate when I can, just not at that particular drive. Oh and not in summer – short sleeves were not flattering for a week or so.

scanlastWhat do you get when you buy a new scanner? Make face art. Ever feel a little discombobulated?

scanlucky7The haunted Tiki face. each set has its own freakish story.

profile3 001Well I needed an updated one, so why not just smear my face across the screen along with the light bar?!

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The Ol’ Take and Give

No I haven’t gone anywhere. After a few busy weeks, I have decided that work can wait a little and I can return to my diligence of reading your blogs and other more interesting activities, especially in light of a few important wordpress-related honors.

Firstly, thank you for your notes and comments thus far, especially with The Zombie Bunnies saga, which will continue again very soon. I write it as I go, but have managed to weave a plothole-less story so far! I MIGHT actually write something that is not guided by prompts!

Secondly I got this award:

From Sheila Hurst. Nope no fancy moniker, but that’s the point. Her writing is just as forward and honest. Check her out!

Ironically my blog was ‘spoesda have more varied ideas but then Zombie Bunnies came along from those fateful Trifecta prompts, but I accept this anyway!

I also made the short list from CookieMama. She cooks. She’s a Mama. She also writes, but left that part out. She does all three things awesomely.

With great power and accolades, come assignments. This is two parts. First, I have to post 7 things about me.

  1. My name isn’t Brian Tomahawk, its Peter Brain-Tomahawk. Well not exactly.
  2. Every time I type the word ‘the’, it comes out as ‘teh’. EVERY time. Autocorrect is absolutely pissed off at me.
  3. I am currently taking a Chinese language course (speaking/Pinyin only, not characters). I am enjoying it immensely, probably because it is voluntary, not required. The learnin’ never stops.
  4. I eschew $100 million blockbusters for cheesy B horror movies. You can pretty much figure out that is where my inspiration for Zombie Bunnies comes from. If ZB ever becomes a movie, I would prefer if James Cameron stayed far away from it.
  5. My drawing style is Cro-Magnon. There are petroglyphs that are Sistine Chapels in comparison, which means that if you play Draw Something and/or Pictionary with me, it’s actually MORE fun, because bad drawings are hilarious then. I do take damn good pictures though, so that is my other creative expressivity.
  6. I have two cats. Yes I will do a “Show and Tell” on them, since you just read that and said “AWW KITTIES!”
  7. My favorite pizza toppings are onions, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, olives and pepperoni. I have never had ham/pineapple on a slice, which does not appeal to me at all. The only thing that could be worse is BBQ chicken pizza.

Second part – I recommend people to you. Basically you should read and follow them all.

OldDogNewTits – come for the name, stay for the satire. She’s a ticking time bomb…of hilarity! So forget the bomb squad, just cut whatever wire you want.

Lance’s life has a soundtrack, a plot and a message. So he’s like your favorite 80’s movie.

Everyday Tangents — a tangent or rant every day keeps us sane. She’s a student – you were once. She likes ketchup, and you don’t call it catsup either (who the hell does?). So you have so much in common. Now…GO!

BudgetCookingBlog – A professional chef shows us how to make the quick and easy meal look and taste gourmet-style, proving that no recipe is ‘above’ you.

OhmygawdjustdowhatIsay – . Yes she is a mom. If you are a mom, you’ve wanted to scream that once or twice and can relate, so go and bond. If you had a mom, then go to her and see what you probably put your own mother through. Then call your mom and apologize for not just doing what she said when she said it. Because she said so that’s why.

SightsNBytes shares the images and memories that run through his mind and out his fingers. THAT is what blogging is all about. He also has a storyline ongoing right now, that you need to get in on!

BlueJellyBeans – Again, quick and do-able recipes that feed your souls as well. I am backed up with her recipe ideas; we should all have such problems. Also Blueberry Jelly Belly beans are my favorite.

JenniferWorrell – There is a lesson here; if you have the stories to tell that she does, then you are obligated to tell them. It is…your destiny.

JannaTWrites — A fellow dutiful Trifectan, she can mold any prompt into a quality entry, and it can come from any direction. One thing is guaranteed, it will be a good read.

Imelda — A newbie to me at least, so if you start reading her now, we’ll both discover her honest, frank writing/poetry/photos, and brag about how we knew her back when.

Basically though, anyone here should click on everyone up there, but also down there, who comments or likes this or any of my blog posts – the thing you have in common is that you are both here, so check each other out. Guaranteed you will like what you see.

My apologies if I missed you this time around, especially if I missed you blogspotters, since I have to check 2 different favorites menus; you will make it to my blogroll, whenever I get around to putting it up (if you know of a good format for it, let me know).

Thanks again! We will return to our regularly scheduled ZB mayhem by week’s end. Till then, time to catsup with you all.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Day In the Life, Life, Rants, Uncategorized, Writing

Trifecta Challenge – Zombie Bunnies V

This week’s topic word is –
scan•dal noun \ˈskan-dəl\

3 a: a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it
b : a person whose conduct offends propriety or morality

Use the word. Add 32-332 other words around it and you got yerself an entry.

Yes, MORE. Because you want more. Because I want more. Like bloodthirsty little bunnies.


Oh now, this would be news, she thought grimly while wiping the blood and gore from the machete. ‘Former Veterinary Assistant Goes From Saving to Slaughtering Animals.’ Of course the press would ignore the fact that those little guys had turned into bloodlusting vermin; why pass up the chance to create a scandal? She pushed it out of her mind, just as she had learned to forget the good things she associated with the little furballs; that carrot munching wiseass from the cartoons, little chocolate crème filled eggs during Easter, Watership Down– her favorite book as a child (and adult), and the ‘once funny, but now too true’ killer rabbit scene that brought together millions of geeks under the kinship of random quotes (Ni!)

She really could have used Tim the Enchanter’s help right about now.

The van jolted, knocking her back into reality, sad as it was. Could have been a pothole they hit, but more likely it was roadkill.

“That’s nine, Em!” Allen yelled to her from the driver’s seat confirming the thought. “And that’s just this run!” She didn’t confuse his giddiness with amusement (he had already mentioned the lack of humor in their situation); it was just his way of dealing with the situation. Plus, he was always a competitive asshole. THAT part actually proved very helpful.

“Yeah well, I’m still ahead by total,” she replied, not enough emotion in her voice to taunt him. She finished the cleanup and tossed the rags into a bag, which she tied shut. Moving up to the front, Emma slid into the passenger seat. They passed cars and bodies at various points; one particularly bad accident next to a farm involved a pair of minivans, charred metal skeletons with an obscured logo on the side door. Looking forward, gray and black clouds rose in tendrils from the city ahead.

“You got enough gas to get there?” Anna asked.

He checked the gauge. “If we’re lucky… no. But, I still got those bullets.”

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Filed under Horror, Humor, Sci-fi, Trifeta Writing Challenge, Uncategorized, Zombie Bunnies

Trifecta Challenge – Zombie Bunnies IV

This week’s topic word is –
scan•dal noun \ˈskan-dəl\

3 a: a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it
b : a person whose conduct offends propriety or morality

Use the word. Add 32-332 other words around it and you got yerself an entry.

Well I got a scandal. One more horrifying than text messages from gross politicians. Yeah, THAT terrifying.

My apologies to New Jerseyians, who are actually my biggest fans on here.

If you know what movies I am referring to in the third paragraph, you are my new best friend.

For now, let’s delve a little more deeply into the saga of…the Zombie Bunnies. *cue scary music*


Deep inside the headquarters of KillEmAll* Industries, the mood was bleak, as usual. They were in crisis mode, also as usual.

PJ Appleby was stewing as he assessed the latest situation with his assistants. “Ok, so we’re missing a container.” This was unusual; they were usually missing more than one; the Applebys believed in shipping cheaply. “What kind of environmental hazards are we looking at?”

One of his subordinates looked up from the map that was spread out on the table. “According to this, there were no graveyards along the route the driver took. No beaten paths in the Deep South near moonshiners, and he definitely didn’t drive through New Jersey at all. So all potential hazards, or plot lines to ‘B’ movies, were avoided. Except, well…”

“Well, what?” Appleby demanded.

“There is some farmland. Particularly this place.” He pointed to an area circled in red. “It’s a cabbage farm. Some old man owns it, usually complains about how the noise from trucks makes his crops wilt; even when we paid him a visit to point out how the active road helps control the rabbit population, he wouldn’t listen.”

Appleby considered this. A crazy old farmer -that’s not so bad. A little intimidation, maybe buy a few cabbages in goodwill, and they could weather this brewing scandal. God bless all the crazy farmers who grow the food that goes to America’s dinner tables.

“Ok, scramble the guys in dark suits and minivans to do their thing.” Before they wrapped up the meeting, Appleby asked another assistant; “What are the side effects of that last batch we shipped?”

“Inconclusive. Actually I haven’t gotten a report from the cute fuzzy animals lab. In fact I haven’t heard from them in some time.” He shrugged. “Eh, I’m sure they’re fine.”

*Named after Killian, Emma and Allen Appleby, the three children of PJ Appleby, discount greeting card magnate. Why, what were you thinking? Oh right, the discount chemical weapons he made his second billion on. Gotcha.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Horror, Humor, Trifeta Writing Challenge, Uncategorized, Zombie Bunnies

WayBack Wednesday – The Ice Cream Man

Today’s Wayback Wednesday has been pre-empted. Well sort of. I have the blog planned, and it is an 80’s clip preciously dug up from YouTube, but as I was searching around I came across a video clip, and it brought me back to summers while growing up. So inspiration grabbed me and I built on it.

I’m posting it first, but I would recommend reading the story first, then watching. It will be worth it, I promise ;).

When I was younger, I lived in a section of Brooklyn that was a complex of tall apartment buildings. It was large, more populated than some national cities, but there were common place, people and other fixtures of the community. One of those people was “Johnny the Ice Cream Man”. He drove a white pickup with the frayed, faded pictures of various ice creams scattered along the refrigerated truck. You’d hear the ‘jingle jingle jingle’ of the row of small bronze bells on the top of the windshield that he pulled as he parked down the loop I lived near. My mom gave my sister and I enough for an ice cream each when she knew we’d be out when he came around. I varied what I would get each time, but “Bubble-O Bill” was a favorite, as it was ice cream with a big gumball nose. That, or an ‘Italian ice’ in a yellow cardboard box; which you always let soften a bit so you could flip it over and scrape off the settled ‘flavor’ on the bottom.

That's about as close actual fruit will come to those ices.

He always knew, without looking, if he had what you asked for, and where it was. The only openings were two small latched doors, and he would duck his head in, sometimes up to his waist, looking for ice cream, and emerge with your treat.

Johnny was about average height, and skinny, always wearing brown pants and a blue shirt. He was balding with white/gray wisps of hair from a comb-over covering his scalp blowing in the breeze. His exposed skin (arms and face) was dark, the tone that older Italian men get when they spend all day in the sun for years. When you paid him, he’d give you your change ‘chink chink’ from the coin slot machine he had attached to his belt.

If you bought an Italian ice, and wanted one of those flat wood spoons, you’d go to the passenger seat of his car where an old man, undoubtedly his father, would give it to you, as well as these little pink candies wrapped in opaque plastic. They weren’t flavorful, had the consistency somewhere between gum and regular candy, and were always ice cold, but you took one anyway. It was free, and the old man liked doing something.

He had a good portion of the ice cream route in our community, and did rounds several times a day from late spring to early fall. I’m positive he was the first ‘owner’ of that route, as the community was built in the 70’s (I grew up in the 80’s), and I can imagine he made a good return on the investment. Even in his old age he wouldn’t quit it; he’d work until he went to his grave, probably just like his old man. I could see it on Johnny’s face already in his late 30’s early 40’s; that tired, non-smiling, but still friendly way in which he worked.

Some years later he got a new truck, a black pickup, but kept the refrigerated section, which now contrasted in color and age. I had stopped getting ice cream for a while by then, but one summer afternoon after I graduated high school, I saw him coming down the loop of the section I had been hanging out in with some friends. He was by himself this time, but physically, he looked the same, just maybe 10 years older. By this time he had sodas as well, so I bought a Clearly Canadian Black Cherry clear soda from him (Damn I still remember that like it just happened). He gave me a nod, I thought maybe I saw the recognition flicker in his eyes, but I didn’t pursue it.

So seeing that video brought me back. It looks like he went bald by that time, and went through yet another truck. You see how he greeted the person taking the video; just remembering names and such brought grown men back to their childhood again, with bragging rights on how long they knew him.

At 26 seconds you see it. When I did, it was like a time warp. Later you’ll see his hand go to his waist for the change dispenser. I’d bet that it was the same one.

I checked around, found out he died in July 2009.

Thanks Johnny, for all that ice cream and for the memories that won’t melt.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Day In the Life, Life, Retro, Uncategorized, Wayback wednesday