In Which I Attempt and Likely Fail to Get “Freshly Pressed”

I’ve accomplished a lot in my 37, almost 38 year life on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. I’ve rambled, ranted and raved about many of those accomplishments–both good and bad–for years, both here, on “Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman Version 1.0,” in my oldest pieces of “Mental Flatulence” and in my original “Dissertations.”

Most recently, I’ve written about the publication err, self-publication of my first book, ENDWORLD – A Novel (I need to keep it real for the people that think I got a book deal). A quick, parenthetical aside on that: The book is still selling modestly well, even after almost a month, and I am patiently awaiting next week when my self-proclaimed “Memorial Day Week Promotional Blitzkrieg” will begin. Note to all: Be prepared. Me and my book are going to be popping up all over the place. And by “all over the place” I mean across the blogosphere and on social media. Maybe even on one or two Google “Search Result” pages. “I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

Don’t all “ooh” and “aah” at once. I don’t expect that you’ll see my book cover and my face on a billboard overlooking I-95 through Philadelphia. At least not until I shed a couple of pounds. You think a television adds 10 pounds? Imagine what a 30 foot wide by 20 foot high billboard adds. Crikey. I’d look like an albino extra from an old “Godzilla” movie. Just call me Mecha-Marsh.

I’m even 50+ pages into the sequel, CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD thanks largely in part to the not-so-gentle insistence of the people who have finished the first book and really want to see what happens next, and the new Daft Punk album, “Random Access Memories.” All in all? Life’s pretty good, right now. I’ve got to say that as the eras of my life go, this one ranks pretty close to the top. After all, I’m fulfilling two dreams at once: Being a dad and being a writer (not in that order nor in reverse order).

Are there things that I’d change? Sure. I’d love to drop a couple of pounds (and by a couple I mean 50-60). I’d love to spend more time with just my wife and less time with my wife and my beloved “minions,” AKA my children. I’d love for my book to already be a bestseller. I’d love a place down the shore. But I’m a realist really (try saying that five times fast), and I know that, in the immortal words of Mick Jagger, “you can’t always get what you want.”

Okay. Accepted. But there is one thing that I’m lacking. One last, little accomplishment that I’d love to… well, accomplish. That accomplishment? To be…

Drum roll please… 

Freshly Pressed. 

For those of you that don’t know what that means, here’s a definition: “Freshly Pressed” is something that WordPress does with certain blog posts. Per their tutorial (viewable HERE), they Freshly Press blog entries that “enlighten us, inspire us, entertain us and get us talking.” As for who “us” is I’m assuming “us” = The Powers that Be, otherwise known in this case as the WordPress Admins. There are other criteria but at it’s core? That’s what being Freshly Pressed entails. Almost every blog that I follow here on WordPress has, at some point, been Freshly Pressed. They’ve all got that cool, little “Freshly Pressed” badge on their sites. But “Random Musings?” Nope. Never. I could just copy and paste one to my sidebar but that would be cheating. I believe in earning my kudos, not undercutting the system/fabricating them.

Do my posts not enlighten you? Inspire you? Entertain you? Get you talking? If they don’t okay. No problem. I’ve obviously overestimated the reach of my ramblings. Perhaps I spend to much time talking about things that interest me and too little time talking about… I don’t know. Cats. Or Doritos and Smartfood. Or something else that I know a lot about. I’ll concede that at times, this blog has seemed more of an online journal and less of a… how does one define a “blog?”

A blog (a contraction of the words web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first) (SOURCE: Wikepedia of course).

Okay. Per that criteria, “Random Musings” does qualify as a blog and not an online journal. It is a discussion, even if it’s just a discussion with me, myself and my wife who religiously reads every one of these posts in the hopes that she will see something transcendent. Or just funny. I think she’d settle for funny. In truth? I think she just reads it to humor me. And I appreciate that in the same way that I appreciate people telling me that I’m not obese. Um… yeah. Guess what? I am. Morbidly so though I have been told that I carry it well by people that I know would not humor me. Fact? I’m 30 pounds clear of just “obese.” And that’s without consuming sugar. Stupid potato chip-esque products. I should have left you in my proverbial rear view mirror after Lent had expired.

Curse you, Doritos and Smartfood! Curse you to h-e-double hockey sticks! 

There’s more to being Freshly Pressed. A lot more. And admittedly? I want it. I want it so badly. I crave it the way I crave Tostitos,Velveeta and Salsa. There’s nothing like watching college football in the Fall while your “minions” nap with a bag of chips, a trough of cheesy but spicy goodness and a towering glass of Tea Cooler, the latter of which has enough sugar in it to fell a thoroughbred. So this blog entry will be… is an attempt to get Freshly Pressed by analyzing and, hopefully, incorporating each and every one of the selection criteria outlined in the aforementioned tutorial (again, viewable HERE). Will it work? I have no idea. But much like the whole publishing err, self-publishing a novel thing, I’ll never know unless I try. So here goes:

1. Write unique content that’s free of bad stuff. 

In layman’s terms? DOA. 90% of “Random Musings” is “dead on arrival.” Per the Freshly Pressed criteria, “hate speech, fear-mongering, adult/mature content, copyrighted images that belong to someone else, spam or content that’s primarily advertorial in nature” are not allowed (SOURCE: WordPress Tutorial, cited above). I’m good on hate speech, fear-mongering, adult/mature content, copyrighted images and spam. Those items are not in my nature as a person or a writer. I hate no one, not even my Biological though admittedly? I “strongly dislike” him. Fear-mongering? The use of fear to affect the actions and opinions of others? I’m seriously the least scary person I know, though the idea of seeing my mug on a billboard really terrifies the you-know-what out of me. As for adult/mature content, let’s face it: I’m a traditionalist. I feel that certain things need to be kept behind closed doors. The name of this blog isn’t “50 Shades of a Pseudo-Madman” (though if it was, I bet I’d get a lot more traffic) and the only sex scene I ever wrote is contained in the pages of the only novel I ever published. And even it’s not too graphic. Copyrighted images and spam? Okay, the idea that anything on the World Wide Web is “copyrighted” at this point is ludicrous. The bulk of what’s out there… out here is a part of the eminent, public domain and will remain so until such time as someone buys a controlling interest in the Internet, AKA never. And I decry spam/spammers. I’d hunt them all down and spank them if I could. But that last bit? “Content that’s primarily advertorial in nature?” Yep. D. O. A. I’ve spent the better part of the last six months hocking my book, AKA my “wares” on this blog/over on ENDWORLD and THE ENDWORLD SERIES. I’ve even done it in the content of this blog entry. Survey says? Disqualified. I am the weakest link, and I probably should say goodbye at this point. But I’ve already started so really? Why not finish. 

2. Have a point of view/Don’t be afraid of your voice. 

I’m lumping these two together because they’re invariably related. Furthermore, in the interest of time and fairness, I’m only going to rank this as one criteria, and not two. “Random Musings” comes much closer to meeting this one than the first one. I most certainly have a point of view and I express it, sometimes to the chagrin of people who come here looking for something transcendent or amusing and end up reading x-amount of paragraphs that ruminate on my own, subjective life, the universe and everything, i.e. the world… the “All” as I see it. But that’s a point of view, is it not? Everyone sees the ever-turning world around them and the ever-expanding (or shrinking depending on your perspective) universe differently. Me? I generally don’t get depressive about what’s occurring in the grand scheme because really? It’s supremely FUBAR. It has been for some time now and will likely remain so so long as one side of the proverbial aisle can’t agree with the other. Note that I said “proverbial.” I’m not simply referring to Congress though I’m sure that one or two conservatives/liberals will take it that way. I’m referring to one belief system as opposed to another, or one world view as opposed to another. We’re a long way as a species from the idealized Earth that Gene Roddenberry envisioned when he first conceived of “Star Trek” a half a century ago. In this world’s defense? As docile as Roddenberry’s Earth was, his universe was incredibly f*cked up. And we’re still 50 or so years away from Zefram Cochrane’s first warp flight/First Contact so there’s time. But I’d feel a great deal more secure raising my “minions” into adults in a world free of crime and currency that emphasizes learning and exploration, not just on a macro level, but on a micro one (i.e. not just the exploration of the vastness “out there” but of the limits of the mind). And as for not being afraid of my own, unique and sometimes exhaustive voice? Well, I think that I’ve demonstrated that on multiple occasions  In summation? I think I’ve got this one. Survey says? I’m one and one. Moving on.

3. Paint us a picture. 

Ugh. This one is just about DOA, as well. Yeah. “Random Musings” doesn’t really have much of a visual element. That’s the problem with my writing: I’ve grown accustomed to illustrating things with words and not with pictures. I was never very good at taking pictures, though I’ve got a couple at home/on my C-drive that I really treasure. Do you want to see them? Here are a few. With explanations (of course):

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This is a recent picture of me and my “minions.” I’m the ugly mug rocking the grizzly beard on the left. That’s Cara in the middle and on the right? Natalie, otherwise known as “Natalia.” Because in Soviet Russia, everything sounds cooler with an -ia (pronounced “ya”) on the end.

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This is a recent pic of me and my smoking hot wife, Nicole. It was taken at my cousin’s wedding back at the beginning of April. There was a fedora there, as well (the one that you see in my Gravitar profile pic/my author pic) but it didn’t make it into this picture. It made it into others, but showing those pics on here would further violate criteria number one (posts that are free of “bad stuff”). Finally…

Higbee Beach, Cape May, NJ

This is not a recent pic. It’s actually pretty old. It’s a picture of the path through the dune forest to Higbee Beach in Cape May, NJ. If you’ve finished reading ENDWORLD – A Novel (SPOILER ALERT) you know that it plays a pretty significant role in the final pages. It also plays an even more significant role in the opening pages of CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD. The final scene in ENDWORLD originally took place upon it. It was not until a few years ago that I decided to “move” it to another location. But I couldn’t resist bringing Higbee into William’s story. And I like it’s function now a lot more than I like it’s original function. But I’ll leave it at that. You’ll find out soon enough for yourself.

So there you go. Whether that visual element is enough to get me Freshly Pressed remains to be seen. At the least, I got to share a couple of meaningful pictures with you. Meaningful to me. Whether or not they are meaningful to you is open to debate. Survey says? Draw. Still one to one with one push.

4. Make it easy on the eyes/Aim for typo free content. 

Oh boy. Here’s another one… two, actually (ranked as one singular criteria) that “Random Musings” arguably fails miserably at. Actually, I shouldn’t just blame the blog. It’s me. Easy on the eyes? Not physically or proverbially. I’m wordy. It’s about as integral a characteristic of my genetic make up as my love of anything and everything potato chip-esque. In my defense, I’ve been trying lately here, over on the Endworld site and in CHILDREN to cut back on it. One sentence to describe what used to take me two; shorter paragraphs. Have you noticed? Likely not. And if this blog entry is any indication my paragraphs are still as morbidly obese as I am. The problem with that? If I drop the equivalent of 50-60 pounds off of one of my paragraphs I end up with something that is not Mecha-Marsh. I’m descriptive. I think it comes from my Biological, a fact which I acknowledge, but don’t exactly revel in. I do use bulleted and/or numbered text (these criteria being a good indication thereof), I rarely center justify anything and the design of my page–Misty Lake–is one of the cleanest templates available. But verbosity? Yeah. I’m a’cursed with it. As for typos? I was an English Major in college. I had a qualified Editor edit my book. Yeah, typos = Me. Though I do endeavor to cut down on them here. Survey says? A big minus one. “Random Musings” one, WordPress Powers that Be two.

5. Add relevant tags. 

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I don’t “get” tags. I mean, I understand the idea behind them. “Don’t use tags that are too obscure” and “use relevant tags.” Okay. So I guess “The Ooh Cat,” “Dead Possum” and “Ebola” aren’t exactly popular or relevant to anyone save for:

  • Someone who worships “Puss in Boots” more than my almost four year old does.
  • Someone who lives in a metro area and thinks a “possum” is a creature of lore, right up there with foxes and bunny rabbits (both of which exist in abundance in Broomall and DELCO).
  • Someone who recently traveled abroad and is now suffering from influenza-like symptoms or someone who has watched the move “Outbreak” way. Too. Many. Times (I mean, it’s not that great a movie; the book is a whole heck of a lot better).

FYI: Bulleted points, WordPress Admins. Bulleted points twice in one blog entry. Bonus points, perhaps?

Tags like those aren’t going to get “Random Musings” noticed by the WordPress Powers that Be. And until my book is an established commodity and not “selling modestly” “ENDWORLD” isn’t going to pull in too many readers, either. My tags may not be relevant. But they are creative, and a part of the overall, “Random Musings” experience. Do any of you ever read the tags I tag my posts with? You should, sometime. Therein may lie the transcendence and/or funny content that you are looking for. I mean, what other blogger uses the phrase “Herbal Refreshment” as liberally as I did a few posts ago? The answer? No one. Still, I have monumentally failed to fully grasp the potential of the tag. Survey says? Another big, minus one. The Madchronicler one, WordPress Admins three.

6. Write a headline we can’t ignore. 

Regardless of whether my headlines on “Random Musings” are catchy or not, the WordPress Powers that Be have, by my reckoning (and simple mathematics) clinched victory. The best that I can achieve at this point is a two-three loss. Meaning? Meaning that unless I break from my tried and true formula of writing non-fiction “essays,” not only this blog post, but no other blog post that I have ever written or will ever write here on “Random Musings” will be Freshly Pressed. That said, I think my headlines are pretty catchy. So I’m going to score this one for the good guys. Survey says? “Random Musings” two, WordPress three. Sound buzzer. Game over.

And there you have it. Cue the faceless victors cheering and cue me, the morbidly obese published err, self-published author/blogger with the grizzled beard weeping profusely in the corner of his subjective reality on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Congratulations: You have now shared in yet another, personal accomplishment–one of the bad ones.

The point of this rambling treatise that might get me kicked off of WordPress (but I certainly hope it doesn’t) is this: I don’t write because I seek the validation of my peers. I didn’t write ENDWORLD – A Novel because I wanted the world to see me as more than just Frank Marsh, a semi-regular Joe Schmoe that works an eight to five, Monday through Friday (and every fourth Saturday) job. I said this earlier and I’ll say it again: I’m fine with how my life is, presently. This really is one of the greatest eras of my life too date. Because I’ve got my “minions.” And I’ve got my sweetie (pics above). And Higbee Beach awaits me at the far edge of my vision IRL though in Endworld? It’s currently in the forefront. I was a living and breathing facsimile of a smiley face pre-publication. Being a published err, self-published author is just the icing on the cake. No. I write because I want to tell a story. I’ve got a whole book of ’em in my head. Some fiction, and some non. Some both. And one day, I hope to tell them all to anyone that wants to read them. Time and health–God willing–permitting.

And as far as being Freshly Pressed? If it happens it happens. Again, I don’t blog because I seek validation as a blogger. I blog because I’ve got something to say. I blog the way I talk because IRL? Most of my talking revolves around answering technical questions about hydraulic applications, the myriad of questions that Cara asks me on a given day or teaching Natalie (AKA “Natalia”) how to say “Mommy,” “Daddy,” “Cara” and “Doritos.” Whether or not people chose to hear my voice is their prerogative. Whether or not my ramblings have an iota of meaning for you is relative. I’m sure there are one or two people out there that can relate to my accomplishments–both good and bad–and can commiserate with my musings on life, the universe and everything. Maybe the others just read “Random Musings” because they’re looking for something transcendent. Or just funny. In truth? I think they’d settle for funny, too. Like my wife, who either humors me or hangs on every word that I type (and sweetie? Please don’t ever tell me which; thank you).

I’d love to be Freshly Pressed. I’d cherish that badge the way I cherish a cool, Fall Saturday (not one of the fourth ones) filled with College Football, multiple tall glasses of Tea Cooler with enough sugar in them to fell Godzilla and Tostitos with Velveeta and Salsa dip. Admittedly? It would be really cool to see my ugly mug of a Gravitar picture, fedora and all on that page along with one of my headlines. Much better than seeing albino Mecha-Marsh 30 feet high and 20 feet wide. Who needs a billboard when you can gain access to 500,000 other bloggers, some with like interests to yours and others with completely different ones. Can it happen? Will it? Or am I forever doomed to blogging obscurity?

Here is the conclusion of my pitch, WordPress Powers that Be: When I’m not working my eight to five, oft times mundane, routine existence, playing with my “minions” or squeezing a few all-to brief moments of quiet time in with my wife, I’m writing. It’s not just what I do. It’s what I am. I may not meet your Freshly Pressed criteria. “Random Musings” may be an atypical blog compared to others that you read about cats, potato chip-esque products and “Star Trek.” If that’s the case no worries: So long as you continue to host me I will continue to post here. But give your buddy the Madchronicler, AKA Frank Marsh a shot. If not for the rest of the blogosphere, then just for my poor wife, who can’t understand why I write rambling pieces of “Mental Flatulence” for free if only a select few people read them, searching in vain for something transcendent. Or funny.

I think they’d just settle for funny.

Winky emoticon. Smiley face. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, everyone.

Of Sales Reports, Creativity, “Bullsh*t Artists” and the Secret Meaning of Fonts

I’m going to be upfront with you, guys: I love writing sales reports. Always have, even back when I worked as a Store Manager for CVSStress/Pharmacy. You remember those days, don’t you? Back when I walked around with a pager clipped to my belt in one of my many, collarless button downs, a trenchcoat hanging from my shoulders, a fedora perched upon my head and a cigarette hanging out of the corner of my mouth.

You don’t? Okay. Well maybe a few of you do but the rest of you? Sorry. I sometimes loose sight of the fact that this whole blogging-thing is a relatively new platform for me. Back then, the majority of my writing was done on my old, 286 HP with the monochrome screen, or in one of the myriad journals that I carried with me. The only people that ever read it were my closest friends and compadres. Now, though? What was once  scribbled or typed in private has gone public. I’m still not entirely sure if that’s a good thing. At least I discriminate. I don’t just put anything out here. Some things, I keep to myself. Others? Well, y’know.

I digress. Those of you who know me and have been following me and my ramblings for a while now know that my jobs haven’t always been geared toward my strengths, i.e. creativity, imagination, writing and algebra. Yes, algebra. Don’t ask me how that made it onto the list. I was always the math-a-phobic English Major until I took a GE algebra requirement class for my still-developing Masters in Education (and by “still-developing,” I mean “likely never going to happen”). Apparently, I had a skill I never new existed as evidenced by my A+ in that class.

Admittedly? That was three or four years ago. Pre-children. Now? Who knows. Someone do me a solid: Post an algebra problem in the “comments” section of this blog entry and I’ll try to answer it. If I get it right I’m allowed to boast of my algebraic prowess in future blog entries. If I get it wrong? You get to determine my punishment. Nothing involving spiders, though. I hate spiders. But I love writing sales reports which is what this blog entry is supposed to be about! Stop distracting… well, me. I’m distracting myself. And I’m sounding more schizophrenic than ever.

Oh f*ck. I went cross-eyed, again.

Back to the topic of this blog entry: Sales reports. Why do I love writing sales reports? Simple, really. Writing. It’s one of the rare times that I actually get to use one of my strengths in my oft times mundane, routine existence on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Blog entries? They don’t really count, even the ones that I dilly and dally with during my “down” time. They’re not invariably linked to my current “career,” nor were their predecessors, “Mental Flatulence.” Books like ENDWORLD – A Novel? Again, I generally don’t touch them during working hours. I generally wait to work on them until post-9 PM when the girls are in bed (though not necessarily asleep). But sales reports? They are linked to my daily existence. And when it comes to writing them, I have now and always have had what amounts to my own, personal system. I should warn you, Sales Report Nazis (if any of you exist): It’s not exactly what they taught you in Management 101.

Consider that generally, a basic sales report has three main components: Sales Successes, Sales Challenges and Sales/Marketing Plans, i.e. what you are going to do to conquer your Sales Challenges. Most people write each section like a school taught outline (“I” followed by an indent and “A” followed by another indent and “1,” et cetera, et cetera). Not me. I write each section the same way I used to write essays in high school and college: Free form. And loaded with embellishments and numbers. I thrive on the former. The more descriptors I throw in the better. They don’t call English Majors, or former English Majors turned nonviable Education Masters “bullsh*t artists” for nothing.

Por ejemplo, the one that I just wrote today. Let’s just say that the business that my company is doing with this company in 2013 isn’t exactly stellar. But despite what the hard numbers say, I never once let on in my report that my company was under performing  Sure, I cited factual examples of where we weren’t meeting our numbers in the “Challenges” section, but I followed those statements of fact up with embellishments that would fit perfectly into the pages of CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD (not exactly a ringing endorsement for a forthcoming Science Fictional novel, is it?). To paraphrase: “Sure our sales of BLANK are down BLANK PERCENT from this time last year, but our sales of BLANK of BLANK are up BLANK PERCENT, which only shows a net loss of BLANK total as opposed to BLANK PERCENT.”

Confused? Don’t be. Just think of it as an algebra problem: A < B, but C > B > A. What is C? C = BLANK, alias a very high percentage that in no way, shape or form  makes up for the fact that A is down almost BLANK PERCENT from this time, last year (but big numbers look damn fine on paper!). BTW, BLANK, in case you were wondering, is one of the best and most utilized tools of the self-proclaimed “bullsh*t artist.”

And in the Sales/Marketing section? I focused on what we were going to do to improve our performance, but made re-mention, numerous times of the Sales Successes I covered in the first section. I also threw in a subtle jab which, judging from the reaction I got from my co-workers was just subtle enough to get the point across. That point? That we’re not the only ones responsible for our sales being down BLANK PERCENT. You are, as well, and here’s why. Blah, blah, blah.

I hope you, my readers get my point. And if you don’t? DM me on Facebook or Twitter and I’ll send you a copy of the sales report (with all relevant names and numbers removed and replaced with the word “BLANK”). Or email me. I’ll do the same. The bottom line? For me in my of times mundane, routine existence sales reports = Creativity. Not necessarily untapped creativity. It’s not like writing a novel. But I like to keep even the driest of dry compositions interesting. That’s why I change my font to match how I feel about the sales report I’m writing.

Don’t believe me? Again, DM me or email me and I’ll send you a censored copy. Fonts are a misunderstood resource, IMO. Microsoft Word (and too a lesser extent other word processing programs) have given us a wealth of fonts to choose from–everything from Palatino Linotype which I write all my novels and short stories in unless otherwise advised to, and Comic Sans which I only use when I want to non-verbally spit on you or the topic I am writing about. I bet you can’t guess which font I used in my aforementioned sales report? Survey says?

BLANK. Oh come on. You can’t tell me you didn’t see that coming. All I’ll tell you is that it was neither Palatino or Comic. It was… well? It was BLANK. End story.

Fonts = A form of non-verbal expression for writers. They’re a way of showing our readers our mood or, in many cases, the mood and/or tone of our book, short story, poem, essay et al. I wrote ENDWORLD – A Novel primarily in Palatino, but when it came time to type the title page, the copyright page, the dedication, the table of contents and the Part and Chapter headings? Bank Gothic, baby. If you’ve never seen it, check it out. It’s very Dystopic looking. Sadly, Bank Gothic didn’t look very good in print and my designer and I opted for Arial Narrow instead which, IMO, does translate well to print. But I leave that for those of you that purchased a print copy of ENDWORLD – A Novel to decide.

Here are some examples of Word (’cause that’s the one I know the best) fonts (excluding the ones already mentioned above) and what they signify, in alphabetical order:

  • Arial: The font most businesses use, it signifies something made for the BLANKS by the BLANKS (a BLANK is, of course, a temporarily banned word in my subjective reality that begins with a “sh,” ends with a “ds” and has a “*thea” in the middle). Variations used by less normal but still boring BLANKS like myself include Arial Alternative, Arial Black and for the really audacious, Arial Unicode MS. Arial Unicode MS? I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy! Moving on…
  • Calibri (Body): The default font in Microsoft Word, it signifies… well, nothing, really. It’s boring. It’s a default for Chrissakes. Anyone who uses Calibri (Body) extensively has absolutely no imagination or creativity whatsoever. A writer that writes in Calibri (Body) is likely writing stereo instructions, or a “How To” manual for installing a dimmer switch. At least pick something with some character. Something like…
  • Commercial Script BT: One of the most unintelligible fonts available via Word, the only writers that use it are the ones that truly believe their superpower is to read illegible print and anyone else that can’t shouldn’t buy their book or read their blog. Not only fonts like Commercial Script, but handwriting like mine and the notes that doctors jot down on prescriptions.
  • Courier New: The font preferred by writers like myself that did the majority of their earliest writing on a 286 HP with a monochrome screen in the non-Windows compatible Wordperfect. Significance?  Traditional values. Anyone else grow up with that experience? I swear to this day I still remember the keystroke macro to bring up the “File” dialogue box. See also Courier WP.
  • Georgia: Admittedly, if I had to pick one font to write in for the rest of my natural life on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence, it would be Georgia. Why? I have absotively, posolutely no f*cking idea. I just like the look of it. It’s like a cross between Arial and Times New Roman, but with a little additional flair thrown in. For me, Georgia = Most of my basic, everyday writing. These blog entries? Georgia. I think it’s one of the main reasons why I chose this theme.
  • Impact: In yo’ face! ‘Nuff said. A writer writing in Impact is non-verbally smacking you upside your silly head. It is equivalent to using all caps in an email or a blog entry.
  • Old English Text MT: Arguably as unintelligible and illegible as Commercial Script or Kunstler Script, Old English Text MT is a good font to use when you’re writing Epic Fantasy, or Historical Fiction set in… well? Old English times. Writers who use it believe that they appear well read to their readers. Most readers that encounter it generally believe that the writer that utilized it is a bit pretentious, or is intentionally ripping off Tolkein.
  • STENCIL (purposefully in caps because with STENCIL, all you get is caps): “In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… The A-Team.” STENCIL will forever in my mind be associated with the A-Team. It’s arguably the most overused title page font in the genre that I primarily write fiction in (Sci-Fi Adventure), which is why I won’t go near it. That’s not to say that STENCIL = Poor quality. It doesn’t. But it’s implications are pretty obvious. If I see a title font in STENCIL I know I’m about to read a book that has a high-tech military fighting either aliens or… well, aliens.

And there you have it: A basic list of some of the fonts I have encountered in my life and what a writer who uses them is, IMO, trying to convey to his or her readers. Am I right? Wrong? I leave that for the other writers reading this blog entry to decide. My opinions are, of course, my own. But if you ever encounter something that I wrote, typed in Comic Sans font? Well. Now you know how I really felt about it.

On that note, I believe that it is time for me to bring my non-verbal, dilly dallying to a close for the day. In summation? I turned in my sales report and eagerly await a response from BLANK about it. Good? Bad? “Meh?” As I mentioned previously, sales reports aren’t exactly well-springs of creativity. Most of them are written like an outline. But those of you that know me… that have known me since I was a pager carrying, trenchcoat wearing, Mandarin collar sporting fedora’d BLANK that begins with a “sh,” ends with a “d” and has a “*thea” in between know that at my core? I’m not a Store Manager. Nor am I even an Office Manager though I masquerade as one daily in my oft times mundane, routine existence. What am I? Nothing more than a “bullsh*t artist” who occasionally shows off his algebraic prowess.

Oh! And I hate spiders, too. If A = Spiders, and B = Me, then A + B = C. And C? C = A grown man who has been known to SCREAM LIKE A BANSHEE WHEN HE FINDS ONE ON HIM. See? Caps = IMPACT. In yo’ face, guys. In. Yo’. Face. 

🙂

A Quick Hit

Good evening, fellow Sh*theads. Happy Friday night. I told myself that I’d never do this… Told myself that I wouldn’t be “that blogger.” You know, the one who updates you daily on everything from what he’s eating to what he’s watching on television. I told myself when I started this that I wouldn’t turn “Random Musings” into an online journal. But…

Well, guys? Times change, and I figure that I have enough of a “fan base” at this point to justify it. That said, I had pizza for dinner tonight (cheese, only; it’s a Friday in Lent and I’m a fairly good Christian) and I’m currently watching “Sofia the First” with my three year old. A quick parenthetical aside: “Sofia the First” is a new, Disney princess show on Disney Junior about a young commoner, turned royal by marriage (her mother married the king, Roland). It’s terrific, and very age appropriate for a three year old. I highly recommend it. End aside.

Lest those of you that have been reading “Random Musings” worry that I’ve given up blogging, rest assured: I have not. Quite the contrary, actually. I’ve got a handful of new writing ideas involving everything from a “Friends” movie (I call it “Friends: Ten Years Later”) to a new rumination on parenthood, double ear infections, pink eye and Bronchitis. But I’m knee deep in novel revision mode, currently. I’m putting the finishing touches on what I hope will be my final, pre-publication rewrite of ENDWORLD. It and my daily routine are eating up a good portion of my time, currently. As much as I’d love to maintain this site, there are people that have been waiting almost 20 years for me to finally finish this book and I don’t want to let them down. That said…

I know a few of you reading this are dying to see the extent of this novel… This labor of love that I’ve been writing about for… Well, forever. Rest assured: You will. While I’m not confident in putting the whole book out here for anyone to see just yet (a combination of low self-esteem and my fear that someone will steal my idea), I feel reasonably confident about giving you a taste.

So, for those of you that have been faithfully following “Random Musings” since I started it four years ago, I present to you a little treat. The Prologue of my novel. please read, and hopefully enjoy at your leisure. As for me? I’ma get back to the grind. About 100 pages left to go until I’m finished. I’ll catch you on the flip side, friends. Have a great weekend.

ENDWORLD – A Novel

PROLOGUE – Alone (“Fear in a handful of dust”)

It is difficult to remember when my life had meaning. When you’re 18 and on the run, the only meaning that your life has is surviving from day-to-day. Any other meaning that my life had vanished that gray and hazy morning, afternoon or evening on the beach.

I look out the window of the old, abandoned office and adjoining warehouse within which I have resided indefinitely. The nameless town below rolls silently away down a steep hill. Houses and proprietorships, long since abandoned dot the landscape. About a quarter of a kilometer away, the black-asphalt spine of the Highway stretches endlessly in either direction like a huge, dreaming python, and while I cannot see it directly I know that it is there. I can always sense its presence no matter where I am. I’ve got to admit that it is a pretty sight. Perhaps one of the last in this cursed place. Still, a python can be deadly if you provoke it.

How long have I been here? I honestly don’t know. The interior of what has been my surrogate home is unchanged. Old, abandoned desks sit in the four corners of the main room. Atop them, what appear to be old, non-touch screen computer monitors grown dusty and dim with age, abandoned keyboards, speakers, computer mice, the occasional cup of dried-out pens and broken pencils and on one desk, a calendar grown so ancient with age that I can no longer make out the month, days or even the year written upon it.

But such concepts no longer matter in 15:CI.

Three of the four walls surrounding me are covered with accouterments. On one, two framed pictures, one which preaches “Teamwork” and the other, “Excellence.” Another has a yellowing and faded poster of what appears to be a rocket. “Taurus II” it advertises, “Brought to you by Orbital Technologies.” On yet another, a single framed picture that advertises “Leadership.” And on the final wall? A vicious mockery of the world as it once-was: A mural of a forest at dusk, upon it painted trees whose tops extend well beyond the water-stained and cracked drop ceiling over  my head.

I have learned from my experiences, both good and bad, not to rely on time here in Endworld. Every time (no pun intended) that I begin to do so— every time that I try to make sense of such an abstract and outdated concept I realize that the passage of what passes for time here is frighteningly different than one might expect. Everything fades. Everything dies and eventually leaves nothing but the equivalent of a yellowing and faded mural of a forest at dusk if you’re lucky. But in most cases? It leaves nothing but a pile of dust. Here in Endworld? The process once referred to as “time” is elongated. A day lasts ten days. A month lasts 100 months. And a year?

A single year lasts a millennium.

You’re probably wondering who I am. I assure you that that question, and any others that you have will be answered eventually and to the best of my ability. For now, all that I can tell you is that I am alone—the last member of a group of companions who were dedicated to liberating themselves from the totalitarian tyranny of The Administration. I say “the last” not because I am the lone survivor of our group. On the contrary, as far as I know the other surviving members of my group have escaped to a safer place: A place away from the influence of the metal and micro-chip enhanced bastards that sit in judgment over the species that created them and over all of Endworld. No. I say that I am “the last” because I am the one who stayed behind…

However reluctantly.

My gaze drifts back to the lone window, inset within the front door of the place I have come to call my “home.” The sun has almost set and the world is bathed in an eerie, golden-red iridescence. I am reminded of a night seemingly an eternity ago when I embarked on a journey just beyond that same sunset. Then, I was younger physically, figuratively and spiritually. Then, I was unscarred by the sorrow that now hangs like a putrid cloud of hour-old cigarette smoke over my head as I write this. Then, I was as optimistic and naive as any child of 17 whose entire life had been spent within the confines of a small town. Mine was called Jefferson, a tiny borough in the Mid-Western Territory, or MWT for short. Now, though? I sit silently pondering the proverbial road that carried me here, to an old, abandoned office and warehouse in the middle of a crumbling ghost-town sandwiched between a nameless river and the Highway. A place that my companions might have called “The Center of Bumblefuck.”

Darkness is slowly infiltrating the world outside my door and consequently the corners of the office that I nightly bunk down in. I reach into my battered backpack and remove a candle, unfortunately the last of my once-extensive supply. I light it with my trusty Zippo lighter and marvel, as I always do, that after all that has transpired and all that it has endured it continues to light without the benefit of replenishment. My Zippo is as metaphorical of me as the Highway is of Endworld, but more on that later. I place the candle near enough to me so that I can see what I am writing but not near enough to risk the destruction of these last, precious pieces of yellowing paper that I managed to liberate from what must have been the old office supply cabinet in the warehouse.

I glance inside my backpack again and take inventory of my supplies. They are almost depleted. Soon it will be time for me to move on but before I can I must tell you my story, regardless of the likely pain that doing so will cause me. Perhaps when I am gone—and trust me when I tell you that one day soon I will be gone—perhaps when I am gone you can read it, study it… hell, maybe you can even learn something from it. What you do with it is up to you. For the time being, however? I write the following account not to heal the ills of a sick and twisted world: A world of lush forests at dusk grown cold by the emergence of chrome and steel. A world in which a concept like hope is extinct, drowned as all things once youthful and optimistic by the rivers of blood that flow down the distant, eight-lane, asphalt super Highway.

Ever onward, William, a familiar female voice coos in my mind, ever, ever after. I close my eyes against the tightening that embraces my chest and my midsection and I sigh.

No, friends. I write the following account to heal myself.

I won’t begin my tale in the traditional way because as someone wise once told me, the phrase “once upon a time” generally signifies a happy ending. I think that it would be better to begin with…

🙂

A Question of Inherent Goodness

I have always believed in the inherent goodness of most people. My whole life, I’ve held to the belief that, as Luke Skywalker said in “Return of the Jedi” regarding his father, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, “There’s still good in him. I can feel it.” At the end of the movie–and at the time, we thought, the story–we discovered that Luke was right. Vader not only saved his son’s life at the end but in the process “brought balance to the Force” as had been prophesied many, many years before. This idea? Of someone as evil as Darth Vader being inherently good? It is a comforting one.

I’m far from naive on this point, guys. I’ve seen too much to believe that all people are inherently good (hence my use of the term “most” in my opening sentence). They’re not. Jerry Sandusky? Not. Adolf Hitler? Definitely not. Did I just lump a child molester and a genocidal maniac in to the same sentence? Yes, I did. In my mind one is just as sick, twisted and f*cked up as the other and that’s not because I went to Penn State and am disgusted by what he–Sandusky–and his co-conspirators have done to the reputation of my beloved Alma Mater.

Quite simply? I believe and will always believe that evil exists. It can be incarnated in any number of ways. Whether you believe that evil is a tangible commodity, evident in people like the aforementioned ones like I do, or you believe that it is an abstract concept that we use to explain the in-explainable–atrocities committed that defy logical explanation (see: Sandy Hook, etc.)–is irrelevant. In our world on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence? Bad people exist. And bad people do bad things. Which brings me back to the reason that I started writing this blog entry in the first place.

I have always believed and I will always believe in the inherent goodness of most people. Let me repeat that: I will always believe in the inherent goodness of most people. It’s part of who I am as a person. But some days? Believing is hard. Damn hard. Take today. Today, I discovered that someone that I trusted was funneling information to someone else in an attempt to… what? Implicate me? Get back at me? Did said funneler think that he/she was doing the right thing? Probably. Is he/she evil? No. He/she is no more evil than I am. Am I being intentionally vague? Yes, and that’s the extent of what I’m going to say err, write on the matter.

The thing is? This is not the first time this has happened. It has happened before. The names and faces have changed over time but the mentality, apparently, still exists. Perhaps it is a product of the institution, whatever that institution may be and not its individual personalities. Perhaps. Or perhaps it is just a sad coincidence. Whatever it is, for lack of a better explanation, it is. I don’t always question the way things are, guys. I know, shocking, huh? But sometimes, it is safer to just keep my head down and be that living, breathing facsimile of a smiley face that you all know and… I hope… love to some extent. But as some reading this may know and some may not, I’ve got a bit of a history with this kind of a situation.

It goes all the way back to my childhood. Back then, I was not a living, breathing facsimile of a smiley face. I was a depressive, pear-shaped kid who wore a lot of black and constantly sought acceptance from his peers. I eventually found it, but it took me the better part of 15… almost 16 years to do so and it didn’t happen overnight. Oh hell no. It was a rigorous process. But by the time I graduated high school and started my Freshman year at Penn State Abington (known then as “Penn State Ogontz,” and thereafter for a short time as “Penn State Abington-Ogontz” or “Ab-Oz” as we endearingly referred to it) that sad and sordid history? It was a distant memory. I was older, wiser, slimmer and more mature. I was, for the most part, happy. But I never forgot, guys. No way. Never.

Am I bitter? No. I haven’t been bitter in a couple of decades. If anything, I laugh about it now, mainly with my wife and others who suffered through similar situations to mine growing up. But… and here’s the rub… if this kind of thing has happened before, is happening now and will, likely, happen again if I remain in the same situation that I am currently in, why “hold fast” as my screensaver on both my computer at home and at work proclaims? Why continue to believe in the inherent goodness of most people if, per not just my own, personal history’s example but the example of history in general demonstrates that people are not? Why not forcibly remove myself from the situation before things get worse?

All are good questions. Valid ones. Questions that require a little pondering and, it seems, a blog entry. I think that a part of the reason why is this: I ‘kinda get off on it, a little. Yeah, I went there. Don’t avert your eyes and scream that you’re blind because the majority of you reading this have likely never seen me in person or haven’t seen me in anything other than a thumbnail in a long, long time and are unequipped to judge.

I do, though. I get off on being challenged, rising to the challenge and overcoming it. All of you people that quote “oppressed me” unquote back in the day? Guess what? A part of me enjoyed it. Do you know or can you guess why? The answer is pretty simple and it can be summed up in one word: Attention. When you were doing it, you were paying attention to me and I longed for that. I let it go on for as long as I did because I liked the attention that I was accruing. When I grew up, though, and realized that conceding to being a proverbial punching bag was unhealthy? I moved passed it. Put it in my proverbial rear view mirror. Finis. 

The same is somewhat true, now, but only the part about being challenged, rising to the challenge and overcoming it. Trust me. The proverbial punching bag thing? Yeah. I don’t do that anymore. I punch back. Ask the funneler and the funnel-ee if you don’t believe me. But only if you can ring their names out of my cold, dead hands…

Um… yeah. Okay. 

Of course, if this blog entry is any indication, I’m apparently still very good at the whole garnering attention thing. But really, guys? Am I? I average about 20-25 hits per blog entry, and that’s only since I moved “Random Musings” from Google Blogger to WordPress a few months ago. Before that, I was lucky if I got 20 hits per blog entry (on average). I’ve had a few highs–“Dora the Explorer – A J. J. Abrams Film”–and a few lows–“Post Number 30, Subtitled at Points in Spanish”–but for the most part? My little blog is a virtual non-entity in the greater blogosphere.

If I did this solely for attention I would have stopped a long time ago. Still, though, I toil onward, and have been toiling onward for almost four years now. No. I don’t maintain “Random Musings” for attention. I do it because I enjoy doing it. I enjoy writing. Some people play sports, jog, play “World of Warcraft” or otherwise. I write. And writing, for me, is another extension of who I am. Turn away if you desire to. I won’t hold it against you.

So that’s one reason why. Kind of a gross one, I know. I promise I’ll never reference “getting off” again. How about another reason? Okie-dokie, then. Another reason why I continue to believe in the inherent goodness of others despite the fact that some days, believing is hard. Because hidden within the nastiness that graces the static page of every news site from CNN to Fox News, to MSNBC to C-SPAN is proof.

I understand the media. I understand that sh*t sells. I’ve seen “The Running Man” a dozen or so times. And while I disagree wholeheartedly with profiting from other people’s misfortune and turning dictators in to modern day, dime store paperback anti-heroes, I’m not going to tell you how to do your job. You’ve got to feed your families ‘same as I do. But…

But look no further than the teacher that hid her students from the Sandy Hook shooter a little over a month ago and lost her life because of it. Or the bus driver that ended up dying because he tried to stop a gunman from kidnapping a student. Or the pilot that safely landed his plane in the Hudson River a few years ago and saved over a hundred lives. Or “Gabby” Giffords. Or the woman… hell, the women that defy the traditional, submissive roles forced upon them by their respective societies.

See what I mean? For every Jerry Sandusky there’s a Malala Yousafzai. For every Adolf Hitler there’s a “Kid President.” For every bad person doing bad things there’s a good person showing the world that despite how horrific things can get, there remains hope. For society. For us. I’m not going to lie: Humanity is pretty far gone presently. If you believe otherwise that’s your prerogative but I’m sorry: I require your proof. Me, personally? I remain a believer in the inherent goodness in most men and women because of the Gabbys, the Malalas and the “Kid Presidents.” For me? As long as one true hero or heroine exists in the midst of the political strong men, women and profiteers that choke the life from this world there is hope. So I’ll never stop believing. Until the day rolls around that I watch or read the news and see nothing but negativity I’ll never stop. That said…

Somewhere, on another side of the proverbial wormhole of existence Luke Skywalker just informed the ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi that “there’s still good in [Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader]. I know it.” We all know how that story ends. Vader throws the Emperor over the railing and in to the abysmal heart of the second Death Star and he and his son have a touching, last moment together. Cue me crying (yes, when I first saw it I cried), the funeral pyre and the Ewoks, dancing to the “Yub Yub” song. But what about this story? Ours? How will it end? Am I correct in my assessment that at its core, most human souls retain some semblance of good despite how some have been corrupted by everything from the media to the desire to be accepted by their peers? Am I just as naive at 37 as I was at 13? Only time will tell, I guess. But as for right now? I believe what I believe. Despite funnelers and funnel-ees, I still believe it, and will continue to do so…

Long after these credits have rolled. Finis. 

Written and Directed by Frank Marsh.

🙂

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:

Screenshot_2012-12-20-14-46-05

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!”