On A**holes, Sh*heads, Thursdays and “LOST”

I am functioning on very little sleep as I write this. Let me be upfront about that. I don’t think I’m suffering from sleep deprivation yet but I am getting close. Call it borderline sleep deprivation. If there were a way for me to sleep for 24 hours straight right now, I would. Of course, knowing me, I would wake up crankier than I am, presently. Your ol’ buddy the Madchronicler is funny like that. I can go x-amount of days on limited sleep and be in almost complete control of my mental and physical facilities. But if I get more than five or six hours in a given night? I wake up with a headache and an overwhelming need to scream “FTW” from the proverbial mountaintops. It’s not helping that seemingly every person I’ve talked to today is a complete and total a**hole. I’d say sh*thead but as you that are reading this already know, the term sh*thead is reserved in my subjective universe for a different type of person. I am a sh*thead, and the world is full of them. Of us. I’m not an a**hole, though. At least I don’t think I am.

Am I?

One of the early signs of sleep deprivation is paranoia, so I need you, my friends, Romans, countrymen and women to confirm for me that I am not an a**hole because despite the fact that I don’t think I am one, I can’t help but feel like I am one, presently. Why? I have my reasons but for the purposes of this blog entry, all you need to know is that I just do. Please, feel free to leave your comments, good or bad below. Or, drop me a line at any of the number of places out there… out here on the World Wide Web that you can find me. Twitter, FB et al. Links to “contact” under the “About Me” tab. Or, just check out the ENDWORLD page (www.theendworldseries.com). They’re all on there, too.

I just texted my wife about the prevalence of a**holes in my subjective reality, today. Here’s the screen cap of our “conversation”:

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Assuming that Nicole is right and Thursday is… we’ll call it National Be An A**hole Day, then I can’t be the only one going through this right now, can I? Let me take a poll: How many of you reading this are suffering from the same BS that I’m suffering from, i.e. “short” people (as in angry, not vertically challenged), rude people… an assorted collection of all the different types of a**holes that exist. Professional a**holes (i.e. people that are trained to treat other people like crap), personal a**holes (i.e. people that treat other people like crap ’cause they want to), romantic a**holes (i.e. people that use other people to “get their rocks off” and then drop them like a bad habit)… you get the idea. Moving forward, the general term a**hole will refer to any one of the above mentioned… well, a**holes. And if you have any others that you’d like to add to the list? Please, contact me via the same procedure I outlined above. I look forward to your respective responses.

Suffice it to say that the world, at least on Thursdays, is apparently filled with a**holes. Just like the world is full of sh*theads 24/7/365 (and in a Leap Year 366). But why? What is it that brings them out on days like today, when I’m functioning, albeit barely on minimal sleep and the sky overhead is gray/the air is thick enough to cut with a knife? I can think of any number of reasons. Postulations, really. And here they are:

  1. It’s Thursday. As in the weekend minus one. And here in southeastern Pennsylvania in the summertime, weekends mean one thing: The Shore. As in the Jersey Shore and no, I am not referring to the now defunct, MTV show (the damage on pop culture from that little phenomenon is, blessedly, done). Come Thursday, people are already looking forward to cutting out early on Friday, packing their families into their respective cars and heading east to that place where the ocean meets the land. So of course they get grumpy and turn into a**holes on Friday minus one. It’s like a Jekyll and Hyde “thing”: Those same people that are calling me up/cursing me out on the phone today will be the ones sitting on the beach tomorrow night with a wine cooler in one hand and a cigar in the other. Maybe that’s why I’m not one, at least per my own reckoning. I don’t, in the immortal words of Billy Joel “spend my weekends on the Jersey Shore.” I generally spend them at home in Broomall, Pennsylvania either doing stuff with my kids and my wife when she’s not working, or doing stuff around the house. So Thursdays, for me, are just another day. Fridays, too. Saturdays, Sundays… they all kind of meld together for sh*theads like me. I haven’t really had a weekend in a while. Maybe I need one. But then again, if I do take one I might end up turning into an a**hole. It’s a Catch-22.
  2. They’ve had almost an entire week to build up to it. This one presumes that a**holes are just a**holes 24/7/365 (and in a Leap Year 366) and Thursday is, in fact, National Be An A**hole day. It’s an unwritten pact among them. They begin building up their angst on Monday AM and let it fester until Thursday. And then? They lash out with the full force of their a**hole-ness. They get it out of their respective systems by the end of the day Thursday so that Friday, they can come in to work fresh and unhindered and coast through the day until the ringing of the bell at quittin’ time. Then, they go home and treat their loved ones with respect. Because they “got their rocks off” on poor, unsuspecting sh*theads like me. If I may bastardize the words of the progressive rock band Midnight Oil, “A**holes are a**holes so why should it be, you and I should get along so awfully?”
  3. It can’t be Jerk-Off Day. That’s Monday. Depending on who you ask, every day is Jerk-Off Day. I once knew a guy who bragged that he could do so two, three… four times a day (his nickname was “KYW” and if he’s reading this, he knows who he is). Quick parenthetical aside: How does one do… that that many times in one day? It’s the equivalent of paint primer on a very sensitive portion of the male anatomy. Calluses, maybe? ‘Dunno. End parenthetical aside. This blog entry is not about Jerk-Offs though it was inspired by my wife’s text regarding them (booyakasha, dear: RESPECT). It’s about a**holes. But the Jerk-Offs already have a claim to Monday (I trust Nicole on that point implicitly). Wednesday is Hump Day which eliminates it and Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the Weekend which eliminates them. That leaves Tuesday and Thursday and Tuesday? Tuesday has no identity. It doesn’t deserve one. It’s just… BLAH. Never any good television on and most people are just… not a**holes, but miserable because they’re a day plus detached from a weekend and further away from the next one than closer. Tuesday doesn’t deserve an identity in my subjective reality and since we’re chillin’ on my side of the proverbial wormhole of existence here on “Random Musings,” F-Tuesday. I’m eliminating it from contention. Thursday wins by default.
  4. They miss “LOST.” I guess this one’s a bit of a stretch but think about it: For six seasons, the mind-bending, water cooler conversation enhancing, oft times brilliant, others aggravating television show “LOST” was on every Wednesday night at 9:00 PM. I know my wife and I never missed an episode. It gave us something to talk about on Thursday AM. But ever since the show ended I’ve noticed an uptick in the quantity of a**holes that come out every Thursday to make my life a living h-e-double hockey sticks. Are they longing for the adventures of Jack Shephard, Kate and Sawyer? Locke and Ben? Richard Alpert and the Others? I guess the likes of “Chicago Fire” and “Nashville” just don’t measure up comparatively. Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and J J Abrams take note: If you’ve got a spin-off/sequel in you, now might be a good time to start writing it, ’cause the longer the world has to go without the particular brand of insanity/brilliance that was on display every Hump Day the more chance that everyone, including me is going to morph into an a**hole. “Property Brothers” has been a good, temporary stop gap but I need me some thought provoking television. I love “The Walking Dead” but it’s mainly popcorn entertainment. I love “Game of Thrones” but I already know the outcome having read the books. I love “The Killing” but they totally “Seven’d” out the end of this last season. That said, I’m begging you on behalf of Losties everywhere: We’re still here. And we’re waiting. Save us all from our inner a**holes.

I couldn’t think of “5.” My mind is starting to go a bit fuzzy around the edges. Gul’darned borderline sleep deprivation. Sorry. If you’ve got a “5,” a “6” or a “7,” please feel free to… repeat the litany with me, guys: Send it to me via the above mentioned procedure. It’s a heady proposition that Thursday = National Be An A**hole Day, and while the above, four postulations give a good basis for my argument, circumstantially at least, every argument, especially one by a sleepy sh*thead that calls himself the Madchronicler deserves all the support it can get.

Things have quieted down here in my subjective reality on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence this afternoon. The gray, threatening sky overhead has finally started to yield a little bit of precip here in southeastern Pennsylvania. One of my all time favorite movies is “The Crow” and there’s a song in it called “It Can’t Rain All The Time.” It seems like it’s been raining on both a**holes and sh*theads alike for the last couple of weeks. Whether on the weekend, Jerk-Off Day, the identity-less Tuesday, Hump Day or the theoretical National Be An A**hole Day… apparently precip plays no favorites. This past weekend, I did get to go down the shore for a bit and it was actually sunny and beautiful for once. I sat on the porch of the house on the Jersey Shore where I was staying with a White Russian in one hand and a cigarette in the other and I pondered… postulated. Years ago I said that “the world is full of sh*theads” and I ended that piece of mental flatulence with a bold statement: I want to be a sh*thead. I want a mundane, routine existence as a normal nine to fiver. The question that I now face–as Thursday slowly segues into Friday, AKA another weekend spent landlocked with my girls in Broomall, Pennsylvania with a full list of things including yard work and replacing a shower head to do–is this:

Would I be better off as an a**hole? Do I want that the same way I wanted to be a sh*thead back when we all lived for a time in “Oz” and no one lived anyplace else? Would I rather be the caller than the unsuspecting answerer? That’s a damn good question, guys. I look around me and do you know what? The a**holes? They’ve got nice lives for the most part. They spend “their weekends on the Jersey shore,” they “get their rocks off” during the week so they can go home at quittin’ time on Friday night and treat their loved ones with respect. They could give a flying fig about Tuesday and Jerk-Off Day? It only comes (pun intended) two, three… four times a month. Just like every other day. Maybe they miss “LOST” as much as I do. Maybe they just can’t stand “Chicago Fire” and “Nashville” and haven’t yet discovered “Property Brothers.” I could be that person. That guy. An a**hole. So why don’t I?

Because despite the borderline sleep deprivation I am suffering from, I’m still in complete control of my mental and physical facilities. And those facilities? They’re generally not predisposed to a “FTW” mentality. ‘Cause I’m a sh*thead. A nine to fiver. And I’m a nice guy. And if nice guys are destined to always been the answerer? Well, guys, it turned out okay for Jack Shephard, didn’t it?

Yeah. It did. Until next time, fellow sh*theads and a**holes. Stay frosty.

F.

In Which I Blog Backwards

You read the “headline” of this blog entry right, guys. “In Which I Blog Backwards.” I’m actually going to write my closing statement first, which means you get a quick payoff. Thereafter you can go about your merry, non-sleep deprived business, unlike those of us who are already counting down the hours until we can go back to sleep. For the record? A shade under 12 hours by my best estimation. Analysis? This is going to be a long f*cking day. But in the past, sleep deprivation has equaled creativity for your old buddy the Madchronicler. So this could be really good. Or really bad. I don’t know. “It’s a mystery.”

Anywhos, the payoff. Here you go: Only a parent can comprehend the sheer horror of a child or children, not sleeping the night before said parent has to return to work after a three day weekend. Likewise, only a parent can appreciate the utter contentment of falling asleep, even for a whopping 15 minutes with their formerly wakeful child (or children) passed out on their chest. That is, until fatigue sets in an hour later while they’re driving to work and they almost crash the rental they’re driving in to a ditch.

Winky emoticon. Smiley face. Have a great week.

There you go. If you want, you can stop reading now. Or, you can read on and see how I ended up there. Or here. I guess it all depends on your perspective. I think I went cross-eyed again. Time to crack Monster Ultra Energy Drink numero uno. I have no idea how many of these I will go through between now and… 11 hours and 40 minutes from now. I know you’re not supposed to ingest more than three in a 24 hour period but seriously, guys? I don’t know if three’s going to cut it. I’m pretty foggy, right now. Dear Body: Please give me a caffeine consumption exemption for today. Por favor, no heart palpitations. I just want to remain clear-headed enough to get some work done. I promise I’ll return to my max limit of two MUEDs tomorrow. Do we have an accord?

I have no idea what I just wrote. Something about energy drinks and Spanish. Seriously. I need to go back and reread it before I continue. BRB.

Okay. Done. T-minus 11 hours and 15 minutes now until I can place my weary head down on my pillow. Assuming my minions cooperate, tonight. I honestly believed that they’d cooperated last night. Everything went swimmingly. Both girls were bathed, watered and in bed by nine PM. Nicole and I were watching “Game of Thrones” by 9:15 and “The Killing” by 10:15. Ah, Slit Your Wrists Sunday, otherwise known as the most depressing television night of the week. It didn’t help SYWS’ cause that last night’s eppy of “Game”–“The Rains of Castamere”–will go down as arguably the most gruesome and depressing episode of the show’s three year run, but I’ll spare those of you that haven’t seen it yet any spoilers save for (SPOILER ALERT) this little meme that has been circulating since the credits rolled, last night:

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Ladies and gentlemen? George R R Martin. For the record, please note that I did say “SPOILER ALERT” above so spare me the hate mail/hateful comments. It’s also not really a spoiler: Anyone who was watching when they killed Eddard “Ned” Stark in Season One knows, even without reading the books, that GRRM has no qualms about killing off his main characters. It’s all part of the whole “Game of Thrones”/”A Song of Ice and Fire” experience. The BLANK or “RW,” as portrayed in both the television series and the books is just another way that GRRM equal parts embraces us and shuns us as fans of his work. And I f*cking love that about him, which makes me equal parts a fan and a guy that wants to kick him in the nads if I ever meet him. Dear George: I love you. But I also hate you. Please, finish book six really, really soon so I can see what happens to the few remaining, favorite characters I have left. Sincerely, Me, AKA A Die-Hard, Stone Cold Fan of Everything and Anything “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

But I digress. Sh*t, when do I ever not? As the midnight hour rolled around and all remained quiet in the Marsh household, Nicole and I finished our SYWS routine by watching a couple of episodes of “Friends” before bed. We turned off the television and closed our eyes at approximately 12:30 AM. The sound of the rain falling against our windows lulled us to sleep. Thereafter? All h-e-double hockey sticks broke loose.

It started with my oldest (an enigma in and of itself; normally it’s my youngest that kicks off the late night/early morning festivities). At approximately 1:30 AM I heard Cara in the hallway outside of our room. I got up, and stepped out. She was standing outside our doors crying. I asked her what was wrong and she tearfully informed me that she had “changed her underwear” because the one’s she had been wearing “were dirty, Daddy.” That was all.

I escorted her back to her room, got her a drink, removed her “dirty” underwear from her bed (they actually weren’t dirty; not sure what happened there) and got her back under her covers. Within a minute of when I did so she had fallen back to sleep. I include this herein not because of it’s impact: Had she simply gone back to bed and had nothing else happened I would have been fine, albeit a bit groggy this AM. Nothing new for a guy accustomed to writing until one or two in the morning some nights, and certainly nothing a Monster Ultra Energy Drink couldn’t cure. Nor do I include it for comic relief i.e. my four year old, recently bathed daughter changing her clean undies in the middle of the night for no foreseeable reason.  I include it as a proverbial Prologue to the story. Her part = Over. Kinda’ like CENSORED’s role in “A Song of Ice and Fire,” but without pissed off daddy’s/granddaddy’s that vaguely resemble Filch from the Harry Potter movies.

I crawled back under my covers and closed my eyes. I listened to the rain–the Rains of Broomall–falling against our windows. All was quiet. Peaceful. I started to nod off. Then, as quick as a crossbow bolt fired from a balcony, I heard a preemptive whine from my younger minion. It was followed by another. And another. And did she just say “Mom,” too? The realization hit me like… well, like a crossbow bolt fired from a balcony (sorry, guys, but fogginess = The reuse of the same metaphor, potentially on multiple occasions). She wasn’t just stirring. She was waking up.

I laid in bed for a moment and prayed for it to subside but I knew better. Natalie’s been gracing us with her presence for over a year now (one year old as of last Thursday; Happy Birthday, Natal-ya!) and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about her it’s this: When the whines in the middle of the night are unintelligible she’s just having a dream, or experiencing a Night Terror per the pediatrician. But when words like “Mom,” “Da,” “Ba-Ba” and occasionally “Ca-Wa” can be discerned between the whines? Yeppers, boys and girls: We’re f*cked. And be “we’re” I mean me and Nicole. Cara could sleep through the apocalypse if given the opportunity which, hopefully, she won’t be but Natalie? I swear that kid hears a pin drop and wakes up.

After a few, anxious moments I stood and made my way into her room. She was standing in her crib waiting for me. I picked her up and held her. She wanted “down.” So I put her down. She proceeded to head over to her “NATALIE” bench–i.e. the ones you buy at Pottery Barn Kids that have the letters of the child’s name embedded in them like puzzle pieces. She removed all the pieces and begin playing with them by the light of her nightlight, “coo’ing” like the most contented toddler in the whole. Wide. World. After a few moments of letting her play she started rubbing her eyes. I relocated her to her crib along with the puzzle pieces. Survey says: Bad move. As soon as her rear hit the mattress more crying and gnashing of teeth ensued. She likely would have rend’ed her garments too had she been wearing a shirt and pants. Thank God for PJ onesies.

I left her for a few moments but after about 10 (or 120; I honestly don’t know what time it was when I left her/went back to mine and Nicole’s room), I simply realized the inevitable: Sleep wasn’t going to happen. Not for me, not for Nicole and not for Natalie. So I gave up, went back into her room, and relocated her downstairs to the combination living room/playroom around five or so in the AM.

A quick parenthetical aside (as I crack MUED numero dos and look at the clock–t-minus six hours and 15 minutes until I can, hypothetically, rest): Had I known how grating the Fisher Price Disney Princess Little People Castle sounded at five in the BLEEPING AM, I never would have gotten it for her for her birthday. No lie, it’s like finger nails on a chalkboard just… without a slate. Or chalk. Or even a classroom. End parenthetical aside.

Anywhos, once downstairs, Natalie was as happy as a clam. Around 5:30, she started rubbing her eyes, again. I got her her morning “ba-ba” which she drank on my lap until she passed out 5:55 in the AM. Mind you, most days this kid sleeps until at least seven so this = Highly unusual. I carefully shifted my position until she was lying belly-down on top of me and closed my own eyes. Cue 20 minutes of restful bliss until Nicole got out of bed, Natalie heard her, woke up, started “mom, mom, mom’ing” like it was going out of style and that, friends and countrymen/countrywomen? That was my night.

In summation? Total time spent consoling the minions between 1:30 and 6:30 in the AM roughly two or three hours (I can’t really be sure because I was kinda’ a zombie for part of it); total time spent nodding in and out of sleep one and a half or two and a half hours depending on your perspective and total time spent actually sleeping? Ayuh. Twenty glorious minutes. Amount of rain dumped upon my area of DELCO between 1:30 and 6:30? I’m not entirely sure, but judging from the sound of it I’m guessing at least an inch, maybe more. Finally, number of times I checked my Twitter and Facebook feeds to see people’s reactions to “The Rains of Castamere?” Countless. Seriously. I probably checked it 50 times post-the eppy ending and the moment when I almost crashed my rental in a ditch this AM.

Perhaps I should elaborate further on that last. Perhaps not. It’s really not important. I didn’t. But it was close. Damn Rains of Easttown-Tredyffrin threw me off. Lesson to all of you reading this, right now: Never rub your eyes vigorously when driving through a construction zone in the pouring rain on 20 minutes of sleep. You… miss things. Like cones. I’ll just leave it at that and let your imaginations do the speculating.  

And there you have it. That was my night last night. And my day today? A relatively normal one save for the haze that has surrounded me since I “woke up” and the last remnants of MUED numero dos coursing through my veins, presently. T-minus four hours and 55 minutes until I can crash. In between, I need to drive 36 miles, pick up my minions, drive home, make dinner, clean and water them, get them ready for bed and probably watch either “Sofia the First” or “Dora the Explorer” for the umpteenth time. Not because I don’t want to play Rapunzel, but because I honestly don’t think I can. Something tells me that once my a** hits my couch at home I’m done for the evening. Put a fork in me. Sorry, Cara Bear, but you’re going to have to put your little sister to bed tonight. Daddy’s going to either A.) Curl up into a ball in the corner and rock back and forth while singing “The Rains of Castamere” or B.) Start playing “Candy Crush Saga.” Yes, “Candy Crush.” For all you Candy Crushers like my wife that have been waiting for me to start playing I’m close. Damn close. I don’t know that my brain will be able to handle anything else after I finish this blog entry. Which, in all honesty? I probably should so. Okay, then. Commence ending.

Don’t get me wrong, guys. I love my aforementioned minions. With every ounce of my heart, soul and mind. They, along Nicole are my life. There are other “things,” both animate and inanimate that “are my life” to some extent. But those things? Things like blogging, MUEDs, SYWS, GRRM and the “RW?” They are secondary to Nicole, Cara and Natal-ya. But some nights, guys? Some nights when the Rains of Broomall pound the windows of my humble abode in DELCO… some nights when minion one changes her clean underwear for no reason in the middle of the night and then gets upset about it… some nights when instead of a quick whine, I hear “Mom,” “Da,” “Ba-Ba” and occasionally “Ca-Wa” mixed in from minion two… some late nights/early mornings when I regret purchasing the Fisher Price Little People Disney Princess Castle with every ounce of my being because that which, by the light of day seems awesome oft times, in the dead of the night, is the most annoying thing ever… those times?

Wait for it.

Those times I both embrace and shun my life on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. And I love the f*ck out of it for that very reason. Because only a parent can comprehend the sheer horror of a child or children, not sleeping the night before said parent has to return to work after a three day weekend. Likewise, only a parent can appreciate the utter contentment of falling asleep, even for a whopping 15 minutes with their formerly wakeful child (or children) passed out on their chest. That is, until fatigue sets in an hour later while they’re driving to work and they almost crash the rental they’re driving in to a ditch.

Winky emoticon. Smiley face. Have a great week, everyone. And remember:

And who are you, the proud lord said, that I must bow so low? Only a cat of a different coat, that’s all the truth I know. In a coat of gold or a coat of red, a lion still has claws. And mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours. And so he spoke, and so he spoke, the Lord of Castamere. But know the rains weep o’er his hall, with no one there to hear. Yes now the rains weep o’er his hall, and not a soul to hear. 

T-minus four hours and 25 minutes to go. Oh! And the Lannisters send their regards.

A Pi Day Reflection on High Blood Sugar, “Pinky and the Brain,” a 1200 Word Short Story, Purpose and an Un-extraordinary Life

Good day, everyone! Happy Pi Day! No, I’m not talking about “pie.” I’m talking about Pi, alias the irrational number that we all learned about in math: 3.14 et cetera, et cetera. Though a piece of pie would taste good to this sugar-deprived, pseudo-madman right about now. Sadly, my desire for a piece of pie will have to remain unfulfilled until such time as I reduce my blood sugar from where it is to a manageable number sans medication. Thanks, Doc L. I know you’ve got my best interests in mind, but really? Depriving me of pie… of anything with sugar in it is almost as bad as depriving me of caffeine. At least I can get the latter with no sugar in it. I can’t exactly get sugar without sugar.

Oh f*ck. I’ve gone cross-eyed again.

Believe it or not, Pi Day, irrational numbers and my sugar intake (or lack thereof) are not the things perplexing my oft perplexed mind, currently. In truth? There really isn’t anything new perplexing me save for the same sh*t that has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks (book stuff, of which you guys are already aware). Instead, I’m reflective. Yesterday, at the urging of my wife, I did something that I never thought I’d do. I entered a short story in a contest. But not just any old contest. I’ve done that plenty of times before this. No, guys. I entered a short story in a contest sponsored by an organization that specializes in giving non-professional authors like myself with children an opportunity to showcase their work. Sounds innocent enough, right?

And it is. In fact, I’m very impressed with the organization and what it stands for. So why write that its “something that I never thought I’d do?” There are multiple reasons, none of which reflect poorly on the organization in question or others like it. Primarily? I wrote that because X-amount of years ago when I wrote “The Wandering Seeker,” I never dreamed that the scene portrayed in it would be a scene from my own life.

I don’t know if I can publish it here on “Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman.” That’s http://www.randommusingsofapseudomadman.com. Yes, I wrote “.com,” and not “.wordpress.com.” I have, as of yesterday afternoon, purchased the domain name though really? The prospect of anyone ever using a domain name even remotely similar to it is pretty remote. What can I say? It’s a part of my ongoing bid to dominate the internet on my side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. I already own “frankmarsh.net” and am eyeing up “frankmarsh.com” if the person in DC that holds it ever relinquishes it. To quote one of my all time favorite cartoons:

Pay no attention to the snippet of Raul Julia from “Street Fighter: The Movie” at the end of the clip. I’m sorry, but it was the cleanest one I could find on Youtube. And really, WTF does Raul Julia have to do with “Pinky and the Brain?” Note to self: Make sure to tag this blog entry with “randomness,” as well, when completed. Thanks for f*cking my world up, WelsheyOneder.

But I digress. I was writing that I don’t know if I can publish “The Wandering Seeker” here because of the contest rules. No submissions of previously published material can be entered. Once I put something on “Random Musings” it becomes a part of the Eminent Public Domain. I don’t know if blog publishing counts as publishing so rather than risk it, I think I’ll deign to not post it. That doesn’t mean I can’t tell you about it, though.

In short (and it had to be: 1200 words max; limiting a short story to 1200 words is almost as daunting a task as writing a novel, at least for my long-winded a**), “The Wandering Seeker” is the story of a father who is awakened in the middle of the night by his daughter whimpering in the room next to his. He goes into check on her and asks her what’s wrong. She informs him that she heard crying outside her window and it woke her up. “Oh, that’s nothing,” the father says, “that’s just the Wandering Seeker.” She asks him who the Wandering Seeker is and he tells her a story about a person that used to wander the world… “the worlds” searching for answers. His travels took him many places but in the end? He ended up settling for a normal life and not an abnormal, pseudo-chaotic one. He met a woman, fell in love with and married her. He had a couple of kids. “He doesn’t wander anymore.” The tears that the man’s daughter heard? They were an echo of the Wandering Seeker’s tears. “He cried because he didn’t have a family to love” her father tells her, “but now? He doesn’t wander anymore. He’s stopped crying. But occasionally you can hear him on nights like this one.”

There’s a bit more but rather than ruin the O’Henry ending (which, if you know me is pretty predictable), I think I’ll stop there. Keep your fingers crossed, guys. I’m still waiting for my “big break” and while I don’t know if this could be it, the reward and the platform said reward would provide me would be very, very beneficial to a burgeoning writer, about to publish his first novel. But the contest? It really is supplemental to the story: A story which I wrote long before I met Nicole.

You see, “The Wandering Seeker” was another one of my early-adulthood attempts to envision my life as I desired it to beand not as it was at the time. But the amazing thing about it? As opposed to my other attempts to write “Autobiographical Fiction,” the events depicted in “The Wandering Seeker?” Well sh*t. They came true. Everything down to the color and style of my wife’s hair in it (brown and curly, a part of the story which I was, sadly, forced to edit out to get it under 1200 words), the color of my daughter’s eyes, her age and the style of her own hair (aspects of the story that I did retain; in essence, I made it 1200 words about a father and his daughter and not 2000 words about a father and his family).

Now, you could argue this eventuality a couple of ways. You could say that the story, which was written with my ideal in mind some 15 plus, very odd years ago could not help but come true. You could say that I would not have settled for anything less than the woman pictured in the story and the little girl that was, quite obviously, a hybrid of her appearance and my own. Contrary to that interpretation is another, though. One word… a word that I’m leery of attaching to anything for fear of either sounding like someone not grounded in reality, alias someone who believes in things like the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Or that Pi has a final number. That word? Fate. Or destiny. Or any number of other synonyms that exist.

Let me be frank with you, guys (no pun intended, or course): I don’t believe in fate, destiny or whatever you want to call it. I believe in pulling myself up by my bootstraps. I believe in free will. But I do believe that we all have a purpose and that purpose is hard-wired into our souls pre-conception. Getting there? It’s up to us. Some of us achieve our purpose and some of us don’t. How we are judged by the almighty for our incapacity to either use what he or she gave us or not is purely speculation on my part. I won’t know if I succeeded until I’m gone from this world… from these worlds. Even then I may not know. But I trust in the belief that I have clung to since I was a child. If one day, I die and find out that it was all a farce? Well sh*t. It won’t be the first time someone played a cruel joke on me. Hardy har-har. Insert pie in the face here. 

But being a good husband and father? I truly believe that those things are a part of, if not my whole purpose. The scene that I pictured in my story? It was bound to happen, but not because it was destined to. Nor because I had the foresight to extrapolate what mine and my ideal woman’s daughter would look like at 20-something years young. I don’t even know that I could do that now at 37, going on 38 years old. It happened because when God or whatever gods you believe in was dolling out souls back in late 1974 and early 1975, he or she took one look at the wispy “stuff” that was going to make up mine and said, “do you know what? This one? He’s going to be a good husband and a good dad. He’s going to put his family before anything and everything else in his life. If his daughter calls his name crying in the middle of the night, he’s not going to roll over and cover his head with a pillow. He’s going to get up, no matter how drowsy he is, and make his way groggily into her room. He’s going to sit with her and tell her a story. I’ll let him decide the content of it.”

That’s me, folks. About as plain as can be, really. I’ve been summed up in many ways by many, different people over the course of my… for the most part… un-extraordinary life. Some have called me a lover. Some, a fighter. Some, a big p*ssy and some a fedora and trench coat wearing elitist (you know who you are). I really could give a flying f*ck what people think of me. Some may believe that this blog is just another means of me, drawing undue attention to myself and I’ll concede that while I don’t believe that people always embody the traits of the Zodiac sign that they were born under–mine was Leo, BTW–that particular trait? Yep. I do have it. But only to a degree. I am also humble. I believe that everything that I have, pre-programmed or not, is a gift. And I cherish it. My family? My ability to write? My sometimes quirky sense of humor? My capacity to love unconditionally? All. 

I mentioned earlier in this blog post that I was not perplexed, but reflective. I’m reflective about where I am now this chilly, mid-March Pi Day in 2013, and where I was then, an undetermined day of an undetermined month some 15 plus, very odd years ago when I first wrote “The Wandering Seeker.” Back then, the life that I have now was a dream. Today? Well, guys, I may not yet be a published writer… I may only be a part of the Eminent Public Domain currently… whatever I am, there is one thing that I am for sure. And that is? If you know me you already know the answer. I’m the guy who got out of bed and told one of, or both of his whimpering daughters the story of the Wandering Seeker. Beyond that?

Well sh*t. You don’t want me to give away the O’Henry ending now, do you?

“They’re Pinky, they’re Pinky and the Brain Brain Brain Brain Brain.

🙂

Douglas Adams – An Appreciation

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I need to be.”

(Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish)

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There is a little known fact about me that you may or may not know. When most people think of me as a writer, they think of someone who was and still is inspired by authors like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Asimov, Tolkien and Robert Jordan (not Brandon Sanderson). Why? Because for years, I have been claiming that they were the authors who most directly inspired me to write.

And they did. They still do, even now. But I’d be lying if I said that they were the only authors who have inspired me. Among the others, in no particular order are Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, Sam Shepard, Tony Kushner, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, T. S. Eliot et al. I could continue but in truth? I have no desire to fill this entire blog entry with a list of influences that I may or may not ever measure up to. Note that I said “may.” Anything is possible, right? What can I say? I dream big.

But one author is conspicuously absent from the above list. That author? The late, great Douglas Adams who’s Hitchhiker’s Guide, five book trilogy (yes, I said “five book trilogy”) remains one of my all time favorites. While I find it hard to believe that anyone is unaware of what the f*ck I’m talking about, here’s a quick primer for those of you that don’t: Arthur Dent, the main character,  is an Englishman who is one of two human beings to survive the destruction of the Earth (the second and only other survivor, Tricia McMillian–“Trillian” in the books–travels around the universe with Slartibartfast, a once designer of luxury planets). He escapes with the assistance of Ford Prefect, an alien from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse who is a researcher for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The Guide is just that: An instruction manual for how to get around the universe on a budget (hint: Make sure you have a good towel). Arthur and Ford go on a myriad of adventures across the universe and through time which I will not itemize herein. If you’d like to know more about them, Marvin the Paranoid Android, Zaphod Beelbebrox, Deep Thought, 42, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe and the time hopping, Chesterfield couch et al, check out the books or ask me for mine. I’d be happy to lend them to you.

I first read the books in college at the urging of my friend Pat (booyakasha, Vato. Respect), and have since read them multiple times, most recently to my firstborn, Cara. It was a part of our nightly routine when she was still a toddler: “Ba Ba,” book(s) and bed. Sadly, Adams passed away in 2001, way before his time and yesterday, 3/11/13 would have been his 61st birthday (shout out to Google for their terrific, Google Doodle honoring him). Last evening, in honor of it, I picked up my dog-eared copy of  Life, the Universe and Everything (Book Three) and started reading. I was immediately re-immersed in the universe that I loved and continue to love so much now, almost two decades after I first read about it.

Too this day, I’ve been unable to determine whether the Hitchhiker’s Guide is a product of Adams’ insanity or genius. If you’ve read any portion of it you understand why. So many of his ideas are so “out there” that it’s hard for me to believe that a sane, or non-substance induced mind could have come up with them. I mean really, I’ve always considered myself pseudo-mad and I can’t come up with anything like what he did. The Impossibility Drive? The SEP (“Someone Else’s Problem”)? Not even when I used to drink heavily and smoke ‘da Chiba. The phrase “often imitated, never duplicated” applies perfectly to him… was, in fact, used by fellow author Neil Gaiman to describe him in the Forward to The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The answer to what it really is is irrelevant. Regardless of what Adams’ original motive for writing the Hitchhiker’s Guide was… whether he actually conceived of the idea one night, drunk in a field while hitchhiking across Europe or he came up with it on the spur of the moment to meet a contractual obligation to the BBC, it has affected and continues to affect others too this day. Everyone has their own reasons.

As for mine? His style of writing–cloaking the problems of the world, nay the universe in absurdity–is something that I’ve tried to do, to an obviously lesser affect in everything from these blog entries to their precursors (“Mental Flatulence”) to their precursors (“Dissertations”). I adapt it to my own, personal issues on my side of the proverbial wormhole of existence, as well. “The world is full of Sh*theads?” “The Feminine Bane of my Early Existence?” I never would have come up with those ideas were it not for The Hitchhiker’s Guide. Adams taught me to not necessarily laugh at the same things that once upon a time (’cause all good stories begin as such) vexed me, but to look at them with a degree of jaded humor. The time I did BLANK to BLANK? I used to obsess over it. After I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, though? Well sh*t, guys. I guess if Adams could make light of the destruction of the Earth to make way for a hyperspace bypass–an obvious allegory of how infrastructure has replaced and continues to replace all things pure and traditional in our world–then I could make light of my one or two, misguided attempts to forge a relationship with a woman that really had no interest in me, or a “Biological” that had moved on with his life at mine, my sister’s and my mother’s expense. In short? Douglas Adams not only affected my writing, he affected my mentality. And for that–the ability to laugh at the things that used to bother me–I am eternally grateful.

I’m not entirely sure why I felt the need to write this blog entry, today, save for an inherent desire to express my thoughts on, in my opinion, one of the greatest authors of the 20th Century in lieu of what would have been his 61st Birthday. I guess I figure that over the next few months–if everything goes according to plan–I’m going to be writing a lot about an idea that is very un-Hitchhiker’s Guide-like in both its tone and its scope. I originally conceived of ENDWORLD – A Novel before I’d ever read a word of Book One, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Even now, after its most recent rewrite, ENDWORLD is more King meets Asimov meets Jordan in its tone and scope than Adams. If I ever get to the point that I’m ready to put it out there… out here for you guys to read it, I intend to market it as such to my “Targeted Audience.” But the last thing that I want if I ever do achieve my big, big dream of being not just a published, but a successful author is to be pigeonholed as purely a genre writer. I’d love to write something Hitchhiker’s Guide-like one day. And while I would never aspire to the same heights as Douglas Adams achieved… while I never could achieve the same balance of comedy, satire and narrative flow that he did, I’d very much like to try.

That said, I’m done, albeit somewhat more prematurely than normal. What can I say? Not every blog entry is going to be a rambling rumination on my own personal life, the universe and everything. In closing, I’d like to thank not only Douglas Adams, but Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Slartibartfast, Trillian, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Marvin the Paranoid Android and all of the other personalities that inhabit the universe portrayed in the Hitchhiker’s Guide. Reading about them again last night was like reacquainting myself with my old friends. I’d also like to thank my Vato, Pat for lending me his copy of The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy so many, many years ago. My mind hasn’t been the same since. In closing, I’m not going to take the easy way out and say “DON’T PANIC.” Nor am I going to finish with “so long, and thanks for all the fish” though admittedly? Both would work. No. Instead, I’m going to close as I opened: With one of my favorite quotes. This one is actually from the Adams penned Preface to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It may be one of, if not the best observances of humanity and the human condition ever. Enjoy!

“Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans. And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, one girl sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything. Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone about it, a terribly stupid catastrophe occurred, and the idea was lost forever. This is not her story. But it is the story of that terrible stupid catastrophe and some of its consequences.”

(Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Post Number 30, Subtitled at Points in Spanish

Happy, happy December 20th, fellow Sh*theads. Not only are we five days away from Christmas or one day away from the Mayan Apocalypse depending on your perspective (or preference; I don’t doubt that one or more of you reading this would be okay with the world ending tomorrow), but this post, if I am fortunate enough to complete it before the end of the world or Santa’s arrival (whichever comes first) will be the 30th blog post that I have completed since I created “Random Musings” back in 2009. Back then, I and most bloggers that I know (or, as some called us then and continue to call us now, “Proverbial Time Wasters”) lived on Google Blogger and no one lived any place else. No one that I was chummy with even knew about WordPress despite the fact that it has existed, per Wikipedia, since 2003 and is now the “most popular blogging system in use on the Internet.” News to me, folks. I just thought it was a trendy alternative.

I have since put away childish things and moved on. “Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman Version 2.0” is, in my opinion, superior to “Random Musings” version one, but my original Blogger site will always occupy a spot in my heart, simply because entries one through 22 of this venture were all introduced via it.

Those entries? Some were better received (see Penn State Proud – A Pseudo-Madman’s Take) than others (see “I guess in a way, you always end up right back where you started…”). All have been imported to this site (hence, the links) and the original “Random Musings” has since gone the way of the Dodo Bird. But regardless of the response to an entry or the lack thereof, I never once wavered in my resolve to write what I want to write, when I want to write it and for as long as I choose to do this? I never will. I don’t force it, as can be evidenced by this blog’s time frame–three years–and its output–29, soon to be 30 entries. If you do the math, that averages out to approximately 10 entries a year which, by blogging standards, is little more than a drop in the bucket. Jesus, I’ve only been on WordPress for a few weeks and some people that I follow have already posted 30 entries in that time alone.

What can I say? For me, it’s not about quantity but quality, a fact of my life which transcends just blogging and writing. Roll snare drum. If you didn’t get that good. Newsflash to any newcomers to these compositions: I often take digs at myself and they are many times obvious. If I can sneak a veiled one in every so often… well, to quote those eminent sages of modern cinematic wisdom Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Logan, “Excellent!” I don’t have to always eviscerate myself, do I?

Um, that was a rhetorical question, guys. Please don’t answer it unless you can support your argument. Gracias. Sin digresiones mas. 

Quality over quantity. I’m not saying that the aforementioned, other bloggers that post every day are in any way, shape or form inferior to me. Quite the contrary: A few of them have a skill and a fortitude that I will never equal. To be honest with you? I’m slightly envious of them. I just don’t have the time or the patience to do this every day. But I have approached and will continue to approach every one of these little ditties that I do find the time to write as more than just a standard, run-of-the-mill, one or two paragraph blurb that can be pigeonholed by one classification and two tags. In truth? Writing is writing, whether you’re blogging or attempting to compose the next great American novel (the last one was “The Stand” by Stephen King; yes, I know that’s my own, personal opinion but I don’t think that I’m alone in my assessment). And I love WordPress but am having a b*tch of a time tagging my work. It defies classification and always has. Still, it would help me to know if there is some veteran, blogger secret that Google Blogger neglected to teach me about how to successfully tag and classify your blog so as to maximize its visibility. If there is and you know it, please message it to me, Tweet it to me or email me it. I’d rather not use a tag like “Valtrex” unless I really, really have to.

No. I approach them in the same way that I approach anything and everything else that I write, be that “anything and everything else” a novel, a short story, a poem or an email (yes, I said “email”; you don’t believe me? Let me know and I’ll send you a copy of “The Collected Couch Chronicles”): With an eye toward perfection. Whether I achieve that or not is your call, not mine. I also like to have a topic in mind when I start writing. It’s not just about… what did I call it a few entries ago? Opening up my proverbial man purse and spilling my problems out on the Intranet for all to see. No. It’s about writing something that I feel is relevant. To a time, a place, a mentality or a situation. And to me. Having a personal connection to what I am writing is crucial to what I view as my success or failure as a writer. Plus, I like to amuse if I can. If I have failed to do any of these things in the last three plus years then I am sorry. I can point you in the direction of any number of other blogs that have effectively achieved all of these goals if you’d like. Just say the word.

That said, this particular blog entry is a bit of an enigma compared to the others. Why? Because I really don’t have a topic in mind this time. Henceforth it’s title, “Post Number 30, Subtitled at Points in Spanish.” Vague, huh? In truth, my always perturbed mind is perplexed presently (try saying that five times fast) by many topics. Not just Christmas and the 2012 Phenomenon but the Newtown, Connecticut shooting that transpired a week ago, the impending Fiscal Cliff and the problem of when I am going to get my hair cut and my beard trimmed between now and Christmas. Concerning the former two, I’ve considered writing about both but have decided against doing so for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I don’t feel as though I can contribute anything relevant or original to the ongoing dialogue about them. As for the latter, I guess I am holding out hope that the world ends tomorrow and in the process erases the need to be properly groomed for the holidays. If it doesn’t? Well sh*t. I may just take a set of clippers to both my hair and my beard. Maybe my eyebrows, too. Instead of a younger version of Santa Claus I’ll look like a fatter version of Pinky from “The Wall” when my family comes to Christmas Eve dinner. Or a baby rat: Whichever you prefer.

Note to all: That dig was not veiled. I was calling myself portly. End note.

Incidentally, it is now post-12 AM on December 21st in the Far East and the reports coming in from that area of the world are pretty gul’darned saccharine. No fire and brimstone in Sydney, Australia or Tokyo, Japan as near as I can tell. The Earth’s gravitational field appears to be in tact and there’s no sign of Nibiru on either NASA’s long range or short range scanners. Sounds like our New Age interpretation of the termination of the 13th Baktun of the Mayan calendar was about as accurate as our prediction about Y2K. The only difference for me, personally? On New Years Eve, 1999 I was completely fuschnookered at a party and tonight, I will be at home with my two daughters watching “Caillou’s Holiday Movie” or the equivalent. Which is better and which is worse? I’m not really sure, but I know that the 30 Jello shots that I slammed in 1999 would kill me in 2012. Give me death or give me Caillou? No offense, but I’ll take the kid who’s four (’cause each day he grows some more!). End discussion.

Seriously, people? Whether you believe the Bible or not (I, for one, do) you have got to admit at this juncture that in all actuality, no one has any f*cking idea when the world is going to end. As my one friend so aptly put it in response to my Facebook status earlier, “I’ll just wait for the Pope to Tweet about it.”

Incidentally, that status was:

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What can I say? I’ve got grooming on my brain. If you could see me right now you’d understand why. I guess that’s the nice thing about writing something without a specific topic in mind: You can jump from one idea to the next at whim. ‘Course it’s also the bad thing about it because a lot of people won’t read something unless it’s focused. Incidentally, I should insert here a shout out to the two people other than me whose responses are visible in the above screenshot. I did not get their permission to use their names or their profile pics and I hope they will not sue me because of this. Anywhos, you know who you are. Booyakasha. Respect. Pero estoy divagando.

Is the world going to end one day? Of course it is. Everything does. But why live your life in fear of it? Live each day like it’s your last and let the Rapture take care of itself. Stop building doomsday bunkers, training with semi-automatic weapons and stocking up on freeze dried lasagna. Save that kind of energy for more important things like your kids. Look at what happened last Friday. Would it kill you to spend another few hours playing with them and not stringing your compound bow? No. It wouldn’t. So do it, dammit. Dress like Eugene/Flynn Ryder from “Tangled” and play princess with your daughter. Trust me: You won’t regret it.

Me, personally? I’d like to believe that when the end does come… if it comes in my lifetime, I’ll have lived my existence with my wife, my daughters, my family and my friends to its fullest extent. That way when the Pope Tweets about the Rapture and I know, with 100% certainty that it’s coming, I can gather up my family and head for ground zero with no regrets because baby? I’ve seen enough movies and read enough books… hell, written enough books that ruminate on the “after” to know that I want no part of it. The survivalists can have their new world order. I’ll take my wispy place in the Ether next to the remaining 99% of the world’s Sh*theads that didn’t survive the scourge. And as the blinding, white light and hot fire engulfs me like it did David Estes in this past week’s episode of “Homeland,” I’ll be able to smile as I feel the heat singe my unruly beard, my wavy salt and pepper hair and my cheeks and say…

You guessed it: Oh thank God. 

So brings me to the conclusion of “Post Number 30, Subtitled at Points in Spanish,” otherwise known as “Publicar el Número 30 en los Puntos de Subtitulado en Español.” I’m only doing a little of this translation by memory, guys. Two years of college Spanish does not a bilingual blogger make. I may have forsaken Google Blogger in favor or WordPress but Google Translate is still one of my best friends, along with the people at Wikipedia. I hope you weren’t expecting something momentous from my 30th blog entry. I guess I just didn’t have it in me, today. Maybe I’ll save “momentous” for 50 so long as Saint Nick and the universe cooperate. I’ve always wanted to write something on my own, personal multiverse theory. Perhaps that will be the time. But not now. Now, I’ve got a million and one things to worry about, the least of which is how I’m going to get a haircut and trim my beard between now and next Monday night. I guess I’m going to have to. Why?

Because as I write these words, it is 8:35 AM in Sydney, Australia and 6:35 AM in Tokyo, Japan on December 21st, 2012. The Winter Solstice came and went at 6:00 AM in both locations and guess what? Both cities are still in existence. Mind you, the Mayans weren’t based in those locations but rather here in North and South America, where it won’t be 6:00 AM on December 21st until… well, 6:00 AM tomorrow morning, EST. So there is still a bit of wiggle room for the New Agers who believe that the axis of the planet is going to shift within the next 24 hours and fling all of us in to space. While there is still a degree of uncertainty surrounding whether the world is going to end in a few hours or not there is no uncertainty surrounding my 30th blog entry. It is done. To those of you that have followed my inane ramblings for the last three plus years? Thank you for seeing 30 with me. For those that have just discovered “Random Musings” in the last few weeks thank you for seeing eight with me. And for those of you who have stumbled upon these words for the first time?

Welcome. My name if Frank Marsh but I call myself the Madchronicler. I’m a Proverbial Time Waster and an amateur writer. Oh! And I am a Sh*thead. That’s not me taking a dig at myself which I do often. It’s the truth. And guess what? You’re one, too. The world is full of Sh*theads. To be one in my subjective universe on this side of the proverbial wormhole is not a curse but a blessing. It means we’re alike, you and I. And we are, to some extent. Stick around if you want to know more. 30 entries down, and who knows how many more to go?

“Excellent!”