I’ll be honest…

…I’m tired as hell today. On Friday we drove to Chicago for Sarah to spend 2 days at the International Tea Festival. Sarah drinks tea. I do not. At all. It was great for her and our other friend to spend their 2 days in classes about the history of tea, tea culture, how to taste differences in teas, stuff about the chemistry of the leaves…I don’t even know what all. They sampled something like 30 kinds of tea each, bought tea, received tea merch, talked to experts, the whole thing.

I, on the other hand, stayed in the hotel room and wrote 13,000 words in 2 days.

We also got dinner both nights in Chinatown, and that was absolutely fantastic. DUMPLINGS, folks. DUMP. LINGS.


But then yesterday was the return trip, and due to Chicago traffic, weather, road construction, and the fact that the last class of the festival didn’t even end until a bit after 4pm, we got in right around midnight. And as much as I enjoy the long drives and the music and the chance to think, I am still hella tired.

So, I’m giving myself permission to be tired.

Next week — actual substantive update. Promise.

Until then, I leave you this because it made me laugh way too hard (beware slight spoilers for not-quite-the-end of Avengers: Endgame):


More With Less

Sometimes, I think the whole process of moving out into the world, from childhood to adulthood, from student to member of the workforce, from novice to expert, is all the same process of learning to handle more with less.  More work with less sleep.  More stress with less certainty of success.  More emotional upheaval with less retreat to recover.  More expectations with less room for error.

Eventually, the time comes when a person is going to need something to backfill all the ‘less’ that has been sacrificed to the ‘more.’  And how a person goes about that is as unique as the person.

For me, it kinda depends what I need.

If I need meditation, or just calming the hell down, I turn to this song, specifically written and arranged to help people relax.

If I need a 1 minute giggle, plus some insight into something totally random, I find something from QI.

Or maybe I dig into the archives of MST3K.

If I need my faith in the world restored, I go watch Matt Harding’s videos.

Or maybe this from The Trevor Project.

If I’m feeling nostalgic for the place I grew up, or I want to get emotional and feel the blood thumping adrenaline of my favorite sport, I’ve got the Buffalo Sabres 06-07 season opening.

And that’s just the stuff off the top of my head that helps.  A handful of videos that can reset my head and give me a little more to handle the less.  If I had to, I could list dozens of songs and stories, each of which can bring me back to a better place.  Each of which can make the world seem less heavy and more manageable.

Sometimes you really do just have to buckle down and handle the more with the less you’ve got.

I hope you have your own ways to even the score and get a little more back, too.


If you need some cheering up…

Someone sent this to me last week when I needed a laugh.  You know what?  It worked.  I watched it all the way through 2 or 3 times…and I’m still giggling.



(I’ll try to do a ‘real’ update next week.  This weekend was Thanksgiving and then fighting a bad cold and then buying a car, and I’m…kinda done.  Perfect time for a happy-dancing turtle!)


That’s Just Winter!

I actually wrote this a day early because I knew I’d spend today frantically running reports at work and then attending CVG-related meetings in the evening.  On the plus side, Friday gave me the perfect topic for the post, because Friday was COLD.

You know it’s going to be a long-ass winter when you hit record lows for 15 straight days at the end of the fall, and Nov 10th dawns at a whopping 12 degrees F.

Now, note that I write this knowing perfectly well that I’m going to look back at this in February and go “HA!” because 12 degrees in November will feel positively BALMY in February when hitting 0 is an improvement.  But that inexorable inching towards single digits is just an indicator of things to come for Minnesota.

That’s why I wrote “That’s Just Winter” a few years ago.  Because even being born and bred in the northern climes didn’t prepare me for the full-on horror that is a Minnesotan winter, not even counting when the polar vortex decides to vacation in the State of Hockey.  Winter is supposed to be cold and snow and ice — not, “Oh just cut it off, who needs a nose when it freezes solid in 3 seconds and, besides, then I could get the scarf up a little higher and less of my face would turn blue?”

Whenever we perform “That’s Just Winter” live, we get SUCH a laugh up here in Minnesota.  Because they all know it’s TRUE.

The holidays are coming, the Christmas specials and decorations are for sale (UGH.  Spare me.  It is not yet even THANKSGIVING.  Christmas is not allowed until nightfall on Turkey Day.  SERIOUSLY), and we’ve already had snow when it was sunny and ice when it wasn’t and stupid cold for no good reason.

And that’s truly just how winter works up here.

Funny note — Friday was close to single digits, but Saturday was in the 40s and today is even a bit warmer.  Because it can’t be consistent, either.  That would be cheating.

Funny note, the second — recording this particular video was NO fun at all.  Sarah was fine overall, though she got warm by the 2nd or 3rd take in her Candles Enough sweatshirt.  I, on the other hand, was ROASTING; I was beet-red by the last take, which we couldn’t use because I looked like I’d painted my face with actual red paint.  That hat works in -30 degree winds.  I know, I’ve needed it.  It is FAR less pleasant in a heated house.  Ultimately we picked the best recording we had at the time not because it was perfect, but because I was going to have heatstroke if we didn’t stop!

It’s almost…


My GPS Winning Entry!

Since the GPS competition seems to be having trouble getting the version of my story up on their site, I figured I would post it here.  I know there aren’t a whole lot of you reading this, but some of you have expressed interest in knowing exactly what story won me the contest, and I really want to see what you think of it!

So, without any further ado, here is the tale of DIOGENES THE GOAT, Scott Imes Award winner for 2017!

Continue reading “My GPS Winning Entry!”


CONvergence 2016: Because Pirates!

This one happened due to me and my constant feelings about Christmas carols.  In December of 2014, I got fed up with listening to Christmas carols WAY earlier than most years.

Now, understand, I have lots of reasons for not being fond of them.  First, I’m not actually Christian.  So “yay Jesus” doesn’t really do it for me.  Second, there is a weird competition going on between people who record Christmas carols to see how can sing them the slooooooooooooooooooooowest.  No, seriously.  Everybody has heard that version of “White Christmas” where you could go out for a taco and come back and they’re not even through the whole first verse yet.  Third, recordings of Christmas carols are just…bland.  They all have the same soaring string part in the background, the sleigh-bell jingle bits, the choir trying too hard in the background.  And, of course, fourth — you can’t walk through 2 stores without hearing them.

So, yeah.  That year I was DONE with the carols.  And over the course of about 4 days I wrote 6 or 7 parodies which we then promptly performed live and put on YouTube.  You know what?  It made me feel better.

All the other Christmas carol parodies I wrote are specifically related to the holiday season, as in the one where the kitchen catches on fire in “Winter Wonderland” or the power fails in “Do You Hear What I Hear?”  This was the only one I wrote about a non-holiday subject and I wrote it about pirates BECAUSE I COULD, DAMMIT!

Also?  Anne Bonny really was a very cool, badass sister!


Funny side-note: when Sarah and I talk about this song, we call it “Beacuase Pirates!”  This comes from the epic and still-funny video below.  Fair warning — once you add “beacuase” to your vocabulary, the word “because” becomes a lot more difficult to get right!

*Please note that this entry has been backdated.  Basically, the summer got completely away from me AND I lost access to posting on the site from the reliable computer I’d been using — and posting via smartphone is not as elegant as it sounds.  So, to make up for it, I’ve retroactively put this entry here.  Hopefully this won’t become an annual trend!


The Return of Grading Spam!

It’s been a while.  These are all pulled from actual emails I personally received in the last week.

I guess it shows that no matter how changing or unstable our world, one can always count upon the stupidity of spam emails!

In order of almost-palatable-but-not-really to uuuuuughhhh….


Another kind of spam

I will grade some more email spam sometime, I promise.  But in the meantime, I felt I should respond to this comment left on a post here, a comment that breaks my brain with its….uh…surrealism?  Total gibberish?  Utterly incomprehensible ravings that sound almost prophetic?  MadLibs with a hint of meaning?

Here it is, the comment so profound and opaque it is truly as if we are speaking different languages from different planes of existence:

I cherished up to you will receive performed right here. The caricature is attractive, your authored material stylish. however, you command get got an impatience over that you would like be handing over the following. ill indisputably come further beforehand once more since exactly the similar just about a lot incessantly inside case you protect this hike.


See?  So not kidding.

I feel the only way to properly respond to such is in kind.  Therefore, to the heartfelt writer who wished to communicate…something…I say unto you:

The towel hurricane binds to my speaking.  May sincere attention spam towards you redundancy.  The secret to write and marketing online, I seek your approval.  Plunk and spurt, you of dashing circumlocution.

Sincerely, KM.


(P.S. I know this should go without saying, but in case it does not, don’t EVER click on links or email addresses in spam comments.  Or even vaguely-sensible comments.  The viruses will get you if you don’t head my warning!)


The Shed of Infamy

Written for Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenge as posted here: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/05/20/flash-fiction-challenge-kids-say-the-darnderniest-things/

Please note the following disclaimer: The story, all names, characters, Sheds, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons, places, famous authors’ Sheds, and/or products is intended or should be inferred. This Author has the highest respect for authors’ Sheds, particularly Chuck Wendig’s!

I give to you: The Shed of Infamy

For the record, it wasn’t entirely my fault.

Uncle Robbie’s Shed has been the punchline of every family joke going back probably since he put up the damn thing.  Its auspicious beginning as a Shed of Infamy was noted by the fact that it collapsed on top Uncle Robbie — twice — while under construction.

Of course, given that the only thing Robbie’s any good at building is accounting ledgers, that wasn’t really a shocker.

The Shed, when completed and after withstanding its first rainfall, was like the ugly duckling of sheds if that ugly duckling had been put through a car wash, dropped in cement, and then zapped with an electric cattle-prod.  It wasn’t square, the corners of the roof didn’t line up with the corners of the walls, it had boards that stuck out like hands waiting for high-fives that would never come, and because Robbie went cheap on the paint, it faded in about a month from “rustic brown” to what Mom called “cat piss tea.”

Still, an ugly shed is only really worthy of a good joke every other Thanksgiving and whatever Saturday in March Uncle Robbie and Mom get together to watch basketball and cheer against each other.  If the Shed’s main problem was its outside, it would have been the Ugly Shed, not the Shed of Infamy.

They say Evil is drawn to Evil.

I don’t know — I’ve never met him.

But, trust me, oddball is definitely drawn to oddball.

Uncle Robbie never gave anyone a straight answer as to where the first one came from.  He just mentioned it over the grill at the family reunion: “I can’t get home too late.  Bastian likes a bedtime story.”

Everyone in hearing-range jumped on it.  Bastian who?  Got a boyfriend?  Can we meet him?

“No.  It’s not like that.  I had to name them to keep them straight.”

More questions.  Name what?  Name who?  How many boyfriends are you keeping from us?

It took four beers and two hotdogs before Uncle Robbie confessed that somehow the Shed of Infamy had become the Retirement Home for Truly Weird Shit.

Every time Uncle Robbie came over, we pestered him for stories about whatever had decided to take up residence in the Shed this time, and he never let us down because there was no end to it.  There was the snowman who only melted during thunderstorms.  Moths that glowed in the dark.  A box Uncle Robbie really, really hoped wasn’t Pandora’s.

And then, in a moment of true stupidity, I yelled across the table at Grandpa’s birthday, “Hey!  If you want some help cleaning it out sometime, I just did Mister Tanhehco’s and he paid me fifty bucks!”

Uncle Robbie doubled it on the spot.  Which is why I wound up there on a perfectly lovely Saturday in May in old jeans and wondering if I was about to die.  The only good part was that I talked Mariela into keeping me company.  I did offer to split the pay, and I promised to protect her if it were necessary.

She laughed and reminded me about the time in middle school I tried to protect John by squashing a spider and I managed to fling it into his hair.

Yeah, that’s about par for the course with me.  Mariela knew it better than anyone and she’d heard Uncle Robbie’s stories for years.  What happened next was definitely not only my fault.

I blame Uncle Robbie.  And that stupid Shed.

We didn’t begin by cleaning.  First, we got a series of introductions.

“This is Bastian.  I’m sure he’d appreciate being dusted, but don’t wash him with water.”

“This one I call Marley.  She gets smelly around soap so you might want to carry her outside first.  She won’t mind.  She only moves on Tuesdays.”

“Watch out for this guy.  Sampson’s nice enough, but every now and again he decides to eat one of the others.  If they’re not in range, he’ll go for you.  I suggest wherever you move him you put a few other things within reach so he doesn’t go berserk.”

An hour of increasingly-unsettling instructions later and of course Uncle Robbie suddenly remembered an appointment and left us alone in the Shed of Infamy.

“Perfect.  Fantastic.”

Mariela tossed a rag at me.  “Your fault.”

“I’m an idiot.”

“Yup.  Now let’s move these things and try not to get eaten.”

We worked for two hours and we were doing so well!  We hadn’t gotten eaten, the only injury was to the creepy statue of a dog that was Sampson’s first snack, and we managed to keep the oil painting from suffocating me.  The Shed was almost clean!

I was just rinsing my rag of choice in the coffee can I borrowed from Grandpa’s garage for hauling my stuff around when Mariela yelped.  I jumped to rescue her — or not, given my history — and managed to plow into a shoebox full of what I thought were the keys to a piano.

And the keys shattered on the ground and a purple thing appeared.

It was almost too tall for the Shed, with long arms and legs shorter than mine.  Its head was easily a yard long, but only a half-foot wide.  It was wearing something like a toga that shifted and moved and its eyes were shiny and black like buttons.

“You have awakened me.”

“No.  We really didn’t.”  Mariela was backing up slightly, but she held her voice to calm, even tones.  She also had the base of her thumb in her mouth and I could see it bleeding sluggishly.

“Arrrrgh.  Mariela!  You scared me because you got a cut?”

She shrugged.  “Sorry.  Bastian was sharp.”

“And now we’ve got a…whatever that is!”


We both looked up to the purple thing.

“You have awakened me,” it said again.  “I am the herald of storms, the feller of mountains.  I can cut down a thousand trees with my teeth.  I am queen of the goats of the shadow realm.”

“Yay?”  I didn’t quite squeak.

“Fear my power!  You shall be the first and soon all the mortals of your land will be mine to command!”

Suddenly Grandpa’s coffee can glowed brightly orange and a tiny calico in samurai armor appeared, dripping wet with suds.

“I have heard your plight, peasants!  Fear not the evil!  I will defeat it with Kitten Magic!”

“You impertinent, pitiful worm.  I will consume you!”

Mariela buried her face in her hands.  “Your relatives have the worst luck!”

“Or maybe it’s just me.”  I reached for her arm.  “Come on.  Let’s let them duke it out and go get a snack.”

We made our way out of the Shed, carefully righting Sampson and putting him in range of an entire bookshelf of clocks.  We even cleaned up our supplies as we went.  No sense in leaving things any worse than they were about to get.

The calico between us and the purple thing looked back over its tiny shoulder-guard and winked at us just as we reached the door.  “Bring me back some ice cream, okay?”

What could we say to that?

We left the Shed to our tiny samurai defender and went out for ice cream.  Uncle Robbie paid me two hundred bucks when he got back.  By the end of the fight, the Shed was empty except for the kitten’s coffee can, Marley, and a really big scorch mark.

We named the calico Darth Katana and started a YouTube series about its adventures.  Mariela’s thinking movie option, but DK and I would rather go for a miniseries.

And Uncle Robbie’s cleaning his own goddamn Shed from now on.

The End


Grading Spam

I’ve decided this will be a recurring feature here.  It’s clearly a gap and it clearly isn’t been filled.

Grades are determined by a lot of factors: level of bullshit, how I feel that day, whether or not it made me want to stab my eyes out with a rake.

I give to you your first three Spam Emails Graded For Your Entertainment:

Spam 1 - bad Tarot

Spam 2 - seismic bra

Spam 3 - Nigerian descreet diapers

By the way — Happy May the Fourth!