Thursday, July 25, 2013

Green Gone Bad

I know we’re all supposed to go green…

But sometimes green goes a little too far.
Take this viny thingy…

Uh, sorry Dad, I know I grew up on a nursery where you were always spouting out the Latin names for every bush and tree, but

Back to the viny thingy — Last year, I planted it next to the front porch as part of my “porch beautification” project. It was supposed to climb up the post in some kind of lovely manner. Instead, it looked more like a green version of the McDonaldland Grimace.

So this year, I hacked it back.

And this wasn't just a little hack –

This was a “hack ‘til there’s nothing but dirt” kind of hack.
Well, the Grimace returned.

Then in one week’s time, it went from tickling the legs of a chair…

to swallowing it whole.

I’m starting to think it’s holding a grudge.
I’m starting to worry about the safety of neighborhood pets…

And the ‘slow children’ those yellow signs are always warning about.

There’s one creeping creepy story in there somewhere, I just know it.

PROMPT:  Good greenery gone bad is today’s hot house topic. Check out The Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham for inspiration. Nothing says “Leave on the night-light and cuddle up with your machete” like this one — it features a nuclear waste-mutilated sycamore that feeds on the life energy of boys. Gnarly fun!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


What if the answers to all the tough questions are actually pretty simple?

Take contaminated industrial sites…


These are a BIG problem, for sure. And the question of how we clean them up is a tough one.

Well, it turns out that a very simple and sweet solution has recently been discovered —


Sciency folk have found that diluted molasses pumped into contaminated soil feeds naturally occurring microbes. These pumped-up microbes, in turn, convert cancer-causing solvents into nontoxic byproducts.

Cool, huh?

PROMPT: Apply the KISS principle whenever possible!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Teller Tale

I saw these signs over many a beam and doorway in England last year. 

They are there to remind you not to include a concussive event while partying in a 500-year-old pub or rushing off to class in a building as old as, say, Jesus. Obviously people were a lot shorter before Power Bars and Red Bull.

I like the message.

In fact, I think these signs should be hung EVERYWHERE to serve as friendly reminders to care for those creative thinker thingies in our craniums.

Sadly, many folks do not mind their heads.

I ran smack into this bit of reality at my bank a while ago.

I was making a deposit when I noticed a stack of coins on the shelf between me and the teller. And because I am curious, and quite possibly nosy, I asked him why they were there.

“Somebody threw those at me,” said Mr. Teller.

“Somebody threw those at you?” I was horrified. “That’s terrible!”

Mr. Teller shrugged.

I was still in shock. “I am so sorry that happened to you,” I said and then looked at my watch. “Good GOD, it’s only 10:00 AM!” I felt HORRIBLE for this guy. “Well, I guess the good news is that your day can only get better from here.”

“Oh, it didn't happen today,” said Mr. Teller.

“Excuse me?”

“It happened weeks ago,” said Mr. Teller.

Let me interject here that the older I get, the less inclined I am to keep my opinions to myself. Yeah, I’m pretty much a gravity-fed gumball machine of thought. And yeah, I probably need a Mind Your Mouth sign. Anyway…

“Wait a minute,” I said — no longer feeling HORRIBLE. In fact, I was on the express train to ANNOYED. “You’re saying that someone threw these coins at you WEEKS ago…

He nodded.

“And when you start your shift, you actually take the time to stack them up here?”

His nodding slowed.

WELL, you MUST be doing that because of all the… uh, POSITIVE feelings it generates for you!” I smiled.

Mr. Teller shrugged.

“Well, good luck with THAT.”

I mean, I know life doesn't come with a little instruction book, but really?

PROMPT: Mind Your Head this week. Grey and white matter matters, so spend a little time exploring what keeps you at your creative best. Then eliminate the stuff that doesn't work.

But hey, if you've ever experienced a really bad customer, client, or job then you've got some good material for a really great story. Don’t just 
stew — create something new!

Scott Adams took a bad job and turned it into a fortune by creating the comic strip Dilbert. By the way, Scott went into management after being held at gunpoint twice in four months while working as a TELLER. Hmmm….

Monday, July 22, 2013

Morning Magic

Do you have a novel that you can’t find time to finish? Are your watercolors gathering dust on a shelf?

If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, then it’s time to revamp your morning routine!

Morning habits are the kind of habits that really stick. Think about 
it — you've probably stumbled to the coffee pot in exactly the same way for decades. I know I have.

Morning patterns are less likely to be interrupted (unless, of course, you have children under the age of four. If you have children under the age of four — go back to bed. Forget that I even mentioned this).

Also, mornings tend to put the power back into willpower (unless you have children under the age of four. And if you do — why on earth are you still reading this? You should be in bed).

The point is — if you can work just a little writing or painting into those morning minutes of yours, there’s less of a chance that your creative endeavors will become dust magnets. Prepare to be amazed by how much you will accomplish over time.

And here’s an added bonus — new research at the University of Toronto shows that morning people are actually happier and more satisfied with life in general. In other words, early birds are not only annoyingly chipper in the AM, but they remain so throughout the entire day.

So, become a morning person — you will get stuff done and become annoyingly happy.

But if you have a hard time waking up early, I suggest you get a cat.

The icy “FEED ME” glare that greets me at 5:00 AM every day.

Cats are morning people.

And cats have no mercy.

You WILL succumb to the magic of mornings.

PROMPT: Give a little thought to your morning routine this week (unless you have children under the age of four). Then work a wee bit of creative time into those hours. Trust me, your friends and family will LOVE the new, annoyingly cheerful you!