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.
As someone who has worked in advertising, I can picture the meeting where Sharper Image’s art director is tasked with photographing a medicine safe.
Marketing: “We’re selling to people who don’t want their teens raiding the painkiller stash.”
Art director: “No prob. I can do you a sketchy boy skulking out of the john with a prescription bottle.”
Marketing: “Are you crazy? We can’t come right out and accuse their children of stealing!”
Art director: “Um…”
Marketing: “Put a teen in, but make it family friendly. I want smiles.”
Which is how you wind up with this.
The Power Nap Head Pillow
According to the description, this is “ideal for achieving a deep, restful sleep…in a crowded airport.” I’m quite sure people would give you a wide berth, other than the guy making off with all your luggage. I thought the holes in the sides might funnel restful alcholic drinks into your ears, or allow you to plant small trees for a personal supply of oxygen, but it turns out they have a different purpose.
At least no one can draw penises on your face while you’re in this position.
The Celebrity Robotic Avatar
Got an extra $345,000 lying around? Me neither. Favorite line in the description: “LEDs in his mouth light as he talks, giving his speech a more natural quality.” Presumably my non-lighted yap makes me appear stilted. I’m actually very approachable.
The Turkish Shower Wrap
For a mere $49.95, you can discreetly fondle yourself in a public steam room. Pair it with the Power Nap Head Pillow for an unforgettable ensemble.
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.
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?
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?
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.