Moving On

When I don’t write, I feel lazy. So I try to force myself to put words on a page whenever possible. Writing fun or silly prose or poetry makes the task more bearable. I wrote the paragraph below as an exercise in producing words and I’m sharing it here just because I can.

It was time to move on. Tom knew he was being held back by his group of friends. His mother always taught him that he should surround himself with the type of people he wanted to be like. Tom wasn’t. This became a stark reality last week when Mitch Panitkin was arrested for publically displaying affection for macramé. Word on the street was that the DA was out for blood. Mitch was likely facing real time this go-around. The gang had been embarrassed in the past by Mitch’s unscrupulous behaviors. During his years playing Snooker in high school he was caught juicing. Coach Bell tried to take care of the situation quietly but Mitch refused to quit. He was addicted to the performance boost. Bell was shocked when Mitch suggested the whole team do it. He said they would be unstoppable. In all fairness, Mitch should have been kicked off the team. But coach liked to win more than he liked to be fair or ethical. He let Mitch continue playing but made him promise to limit himself to ten pounds of carrots per week so no one would become suspicious. But everyone knew what kind of person he was.

Nimble Not

This morning I decided to eat my breakfast with my left hand instead of my right. I was under the impression this would stimulate the right side of my brain and help me be more creative in my thinking. But all it really did was slow me down.

You can’t go fast when the spoon goes in your nose instead of your mouth. Thankfully, I wasn’t using a fork! But really, anything up your nose is bad. Trust me.

After the last bite, I wanted to scrape the bowl clean. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the dexterity to do this. I tried and tried but things just kept falling off the spoon. Finally, in a bout of frustration, I switched back to my right hand. Immediately I was overcome with grief and depression like that time I learned what veal was.

I had failed both myself and the right half of my brain, which, on reflection are kind of the same thing. Does that lessen the sadness or compound it? It doesn’t matter. A failure is a failure. For the rest of the day all I could do was analyze old grocery receipts and worry I had overpaid.

How to Spell Check Your Online Writing

When I write a blog post I have to choose what platform to type it on. Many times I’ll use word processing software Like Word or LibreOffice. I do this for two reasons. First, I can save a hard copy of the post to my local machine. Second, I get a robust and powerful spell checking functionality that I don’t always get online. 

But it can be a pain to type in one application and copy/paste it into my blogging software. Sometimes I just want to type out a one-off post right in WordPress. That can be an equal pain because WordPress doesn’t have out of the box spell check. You have to add a plugin and then maintain that plugin as it gets updated (assuming its author actually updates it)

I started looking around for a better solution. Eventually, I (re)discovered Grammarly, a free online writing tool. It lets you write an entire post (or whatever you’re writing) online. But that’s not what I like about it. My favorite part is that there are browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox, and Edge) for the app that put Grammarly’s spell checking power into every browser-based app you use.

The extensions apply to any page you’re on including WordPress and Gmail. That means you get the benefit of a spell checker without any additional add-ons or plugins. It’s been a great tool for me when I’m typing something up outside of a desktop app.

Grammarly has a lot of great uses. If you go with one of their paid plans you can benefit from cloud storage of your writing, advanced writing feedback (more than just spelling and punctuation), and team use. But if you’re just looking for a handy online spell checker, this is definitely one to check out.

Felix Krautbenschlasser

No one has been more ignored by history than Felix Krautbenschlasser, the inventor of the intermission. Felix never sought to give relief to sedentary opera goers. He was just looking for an excuse to leave boring shows without angering his wife, Hilda.

His first experiment came during a showing of Rigoletto when, during a lull in the singing he made a scene by crying out, “Oh, my thighs ache, I might have a clot!”

It was actually his only experiment because later that night he died from a pulmonary embolism. But after reading his obituary, people started taking breaks during shows.

A 10 Step Guide to a Horribly Inefficient Shopping Trip

Why would anyone want to make sure their shopping trip is inefficient, clumsy and painful? Why not? Don’t be stuck up and think you have to get in and out, only buy what’s on the list and get home quickly to take care of life’s other responsibilities. Whatever! How’s the store supposed to make any money if you don’t buy a bunch of stuff you don’t need?

So, what’s the most inefficient way to do your grocery shopping? Here’s a list of the top ten methods to ensure things don’t go your way:

  1. Go at the busiest time. This one is obvious so I thought I would get it out of the way first. The more people at the store the more crowded the isles. It’s a sure bet that every isle you turn down will be packed and you’ll quickly move on to the next one hoping it will be better. It won’t.
  2. Don’t make a list. Where’s your sense of adventure? Live a little. Don’t go prepared or you’ll be bored and will miss all of the great products that you don’t need or like but are such “great deals”.
  3. Shop at a store you’ve never been to. This way you’ll be totally unfamiliar with the layout or even the product offering. If you’re lucky, this might even cause you to have to go to a different store for the one item this one doesn’t have.
  4. Use a full size cart when a short cart or hand basket will do. The bulk of the cart will slow you down, make navigating isles more difficult and encourage you to buy more than you actually need.
  5. Use a short cart of hand basket when you know you need a full size cart. When your basket is full and you’ve only visited the deli, you’ll have to take the time to go get a bigger cart and transfer all of your items into it. You can also start with the smallest basket available and stair step your way up until you’ve reached what you actually need. See, isn’t this fun?
  6. Don’t ever ask for help finding things. That would be insane. Store clerks typically know where things are located. At the very least they would be able to point you in the general direction. But then you wouldn’t be able to waste ten minutes looking on the other side of the store where you think the item “should” be.
  7. At checkout, choose the longest line. Need I say more? Actually, I do have more to say. If you see a checkout line with only one person in it and every other line has ten, go to that line! The person is either arguing with a manager about being overcharged ten cents for a pineapple or they’re an extreme couponer who has crashed the register. Either way, this will be an excessively inefficient line.8.
  8. Wait in your long line until you’re the second person, then inconveniently forget to have bought a kumquat. Leave the line to go get it. Alternatively, if you have every item from the store in your cart, hop out of line and go to a closed lane muttering “this one looks much better”.
  9. Question the price of everything that’s scanned. Additionally, you can hand the store’s coupon book or ad to the clerk and ask them to find everything that will save you money. Even if the clerk refuses, you can probably spend an inordinate amount of time arguing about it.
  10. Finally, even if you’re a healthy 25 year old male buying only some bananas and bottled water, ask for assistance carrying your groceries to the car. The employee pressed into service to help you will almost assuredly move slowly and hold you up.

So there you have it, a ten step plan to have the most inefficient shopping trip possible. And here’s a bonus tip if you want to go pro. Wait until you’re just pulling into the garage before realizing you forgot the key ingredient for dinner tonight. Happy shopping!