Blog Archives

“What is this, Mi-am-i Beach?”

Our temperatures have been in the single Fahrenheit digits for a couple of days now, so to get Josie O (my Chihuahua) her quota of mental stimulation, I’ve been taking her to stores. Yesterday we went to Marshalls. I put her carry box in the front of the cart, and she stood with her front paws on the edge, like the figurehead of a ship if the figurehead of a ship were covered in fur and made licky faces at people. (Note to self: horror movie idea: seafaring werewolves.)

Afterwards, I stopped by Ideal market and bought Popsicles, because no weather is too cold for Popsicles unless you’re in a tent.

In other news, I’m reading Maddy Hunter‘s Passport to Peril mysteries, which are hilarious. In Pasta Imperfect, two bestselling romance writers bicker about how “ten inches of flaming virility” really behaves.

“People have actually done surveys and the consensus is, it doesn’t throb!”

I cleared my throat and raised a tentative finger in the air. “If you ladies don’t mind my asking, if it doesn’t throb, what does it do?”

“Maybe it quivers,” Nana said thoughtfully. “You know, kind of like a handheld blender.”

So I’m going to put Maddy Hunter on my list of fantastically funny mystery writers, up there with Laura Levine, that goddess of laughter.

Lastly, I seem to be over my embarrassing writers block and working well on Critter from the Black Lagoon again, although there was a moment when it was possibly going to be Beaver from the Black Lagoon, because in addition to killer hogs, prehistoric central Florida was also home to beavers the size of black bears.

Luckily, a cooler head prevailed (my head, just cooler), and I’m sticking with pigs.

I’m still shooting for a July release date, which is the soonest I can bring it out according to my  contract with St. Martin’s.

P.S. If you don’t understand the title of this post, it’s a reference to the movie Groundhog Day.

Tales from the Technology Trenches

I’m a big fan of electronic options. I choose ATMs over tellers and vote by mail to avoid all that nasty community at the polls. But really irritating tech is out there, and one of the strongest bastions was also the first – telephones. Herewith, two tales that both happened yesterday, one to me, one to my mom.

Notification from my smartphone:

In order to enable WIFI calling, you must provide your address for 911 calls. Please visit my.tmobile.com.

So I went to the site, where it asked me to log in. The user ID was my phone number, so I knew I had that right, but after trying all my usual passwords (and Angel Joe’s), I hit the Forgot your password? option. Bing! A new, temporary password appeared in my phone messages, and I carefully typed it in: UU4ZJ4.

Website: Password must be at least eight characters long.

At possibly the same time, my mom was trying to cancel her paid subscription to a newsletter that automatically renewed. The website insisted that she get on the phone. The automated phone system was clearly designed to be obstructive. First it hung up on her when she paused too long to pick one of the options, then it had difficulty recognizing her subscriber number, no matter how slowly and clearly she read it.

Automated system: Are you Jose Martinez?

Mom: No. (reads number again)

Automated system: Are you Erin Whitehall?

Mom: No!

Finally it took the number, only to shunt her into a menu cul de sac where none of the numbered options were useful.

Mom, boiling over with frustration: Fuck you!

Automated system: That is not an option.

How about you? Any recent run-ins with terrible tech?

Secrets of my eight-year-old self

My best, funniest interview ever is up on Scene of the Crime, and it includes a page from my SUPER SECRET journal from when I was a kid. What dark thoughts lurked in my childish noggin? Apparently they involved novelty socks. You can read it here.

Fancy crappers.

It was Nikki of Obsessive Chihuahua Disorder who pointed out the Swarovski-studded toidy.

Now, this strikes me as inherently unhygienic, but the article mentions that the same maker came up with a chrome toilet, and I love that idea.

I think I’d have to make “vroom noises” while sitting on it.

Now, if your commode budget doesn’t stretch to the  tens of thousands, may I suggest this small chrome toilet with a clock in the seat, which is also a business card holder.

I’m trying to think of an appropriate use for this sucker… Reminder card for your gastroenterologist appointment? Sales rep for a hangover cure? Bulemia support group? Help me out here.

Actual things I have said to my dog.

It would be kinder to eat that from the head down. 

You have very poor impulse control.

See? Mommy doesn’t eat her poop.

Wake up and be cute. 

And as a bonus, one from Angel Joe.

You’re kind of prissy for a cat puke and poo eater.

A funny post about short stories, by Steve Hockensmith

Just want to take a moment to pimp fellow mystery author Steve Hockensmith, who writes a bunch of stuff, including the Holmes on the Range series, which I love. In his recent blog post, he writes about the art of the short story.

Playing Dress-Up While Rome Floods

 

Recently, I decided to try watching Battlestar Galactica. Angel Joe and I never saw it when it was current, and we haven’t watched Sci Fi in ages, but Battlestar Galactica is mentioned so often on The Big Bang Theory that I thought we should give it a try. My verdict: I was fascinated by the whole Cylon premise, but disliked the unremitting violence. It’s all, Pow, pow, kaboom! Yell, yell, yell! and Thwack, thwack, blood. But Joe wanted to keep watching it. Now, he’s never been into that kind of thing, and I suspect there’s something else going on — namely, he’s found something he likes reasonably well that I don’t, and this allows him to watch without my constant interruptions. My dad and I are the same way. We need the video paused while we have a snack, a drink, a pee, a little tidy, some petting of the critters, whereas Joe can lie on his shoulder blades for three hours straight. The divot halfway down the back of our sofa is from his head. So we compromised. Joe watches BG with headphones on while I putter around doing other stuff, and I ask him about the Cylons later on. 

So a couple of nights ago, he was watching BG and I was upstairs experimenting with a new singing persona, slapping on new make-up over old, taking pictures in the unflattering LED lighting of our john, and generally achieving the look of an aging drag queen. I went downstairs for something, and instead of blessed silence, I heard the hissing of water coming from somewhere it shouldn’t — namely, from under our kitchen cabinets. A pool was spreading toward the middle of the floor. 

Me: Joe!

Joe (lifting one side of headphones): Yeah?

Me: The kitchen is flooding.

Joe turned off the water and we sprang into action. My one regret is that no one was there to film a computer geek and a woman in a tiny top hat and corset get down on their hands and knees to mop up water with microfiber dog towels. 

That’s the best of the story. The hose from the water filter to the refrigerator water/ice dispenser had gotten crimped under a cabinet and worn through. Joe replaced it the next day, and I’m wondering if there’s money to be made by installing webcams all over the house. 

An interview with the staff of Tripping Magazine.

Angus, Michael and Suki bring the banter to the Killer Characters blog today. It’s like a short bonus chapter of The Portrait of Doreene Gray. Come on over, ask them a question, suggest a location for a book, or tell about some inexplicable experience you’ve had, especially if it’s motel-related. 

I’ll be your warm-up comedian today…

I have a guest blog post at Must Read Mysteries today. The topic is Death and Comedy, and it ends with one of my favorite jokes. As an appetizer for that, here’s another of my faves.

A guy starts to develop black spots on his penis. Naturally, he’s concerned, so he goes to see a doctor. The doctor takes one look and says, “I’m very sorry, but you have Chinese Black Gonorrhea, and we’re going to have to amputate your penis.”

The guy is stunned. “You’ll understand if I get a second opinion.”

The doctor nods. “Of course, but any other doctor will tell you the same thing.”

So the guy gets a second opinion, and a third, but both of those doctors tell him the same thing. His penis will have to be amputated.

He goes out drinking with his best friend and tells him the news.They sit in glum silence for a while.

Finally his friend says, “They call it Chinese Black Gonorrhea, right?”

“Yeah,” the guy says.

“Then why don’t you go to China and see a doctor there? Maybe they know a treatment that hasn’t made it to the States yet!”

“That’s a great idea!” the guy says.

So he books a plane ticket and visits a well-respected Chinese doctor who speaks English. The Chinese doctor makes a thorough exam, runs some tests, and finally comes back in. “It’s Chinese Black Gonorrhea, all right.”

“So is there any treatment?” the guy asks. “Because in America, all the doctors tell me that I have to have my penis amputated.”

The Chinese doctor breaks into laughter. “Those American doctors! What a bunch of quacks!”

The guy feels hope for the first time. “Are you telling me I don’t have to have my penis amputated?”

“Nah,” the doctor says, waving a hand. “It’ll fall off by itself.”

Thank you, you’ve been a great audience! I hope you enjoy the second act, now appearing at Must Read Mysteries!

Writer Crafts & Cuisine. Win a book!

My guest blog post on Writer Crafts and Cuisine is up on Lois Winston’s site. I had a lot of fun with this tongue-in-cheek post. Not only will one commenter win a hardback copy of Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, but I’ll throw in one of the mice and a coaster. Remember, you have to comment there, not here. Have fun!

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