Pessimistic Optimism

Life as I see it… sort of.

Raw Chicken and Then Some; A Year of Remembrance

One day ago was the one-year anniversary of my first post.  It almost seems like yesterday… plus 364 other days, which I decided to let the world have a peek at my writing.  In the past year I’ve hit the “publish” button 140 times, each one hurled my thoughts and meanderings into the depths of cyberspace for all to see and even scarier, to form an opinion on.  As the days went by and the posts accumulated it got easier to hit the button.  It went from indigestion to butterflies to anticipation to cockiness to apathy to butterflies and so on.

The decision for me to enter the blogosphere came easily after I talked to my nephew last summer about his entertaining blog manninchina.  For some reason, he validated the medium for me so thanks to him Pessimistic Optimism lives, in other words, if you don’t like what you see, he’s to blame.  Don’t upset him too much because I don’t like to fight with family… that’s bigger than me.

Writing somewhat true tales about my life as a father and husband came to me during a visit from an angel in my bedroom advising me that it was God’s will or it came on a whim.  Either way it’s difficult to remember what happened in my life before I started writing it down.  This decision was the most frightening one because I only wrote fiction before this and I wasn’t only putting my writing out there, my life would be on display, too… sort of.  After a year it’s easier for me to write about myself than characters I make up in my head, so I’m not sure if this is for the good or not.  It definitely hasn’t helped me further my fiction-writing career, but I intend to add a fiction page to the blog soon… hopefully.  That might get me in the right direction if the right person reads it.  Stephen or Nelson are you paying attention? 

If you’ve read this blog or others you probably noticed that some people like to comment on what’s posted.  So far, there have been 289 non-spam comments on this hopefully witty display of odd thoughts and stories.  I bet about a third of them came from my keypad, because I heard that acknowledging commentators is the proper thing to do if you want them to comment again or eat their freaking words in a shallow grave covered in chocolate sauce and maggots, but I digress.  One of these comments sent me into a tizzy that led to my most viewed, and probably stupidest post called Raw Chicken Good.  The comment from imhelendt was misinterpreted by my hypersensitive ego and sent me into an over-reaction because only I can pick on my parenting skills even though she really wasn’t.  The title of this post has made it my most viewed because people type “raw chicken” into their search engines just about everyday and my post is the seventh offering on Google as of today and has been as high as number two in the past.  This post has been viewed 804 times, which is probably about 700 more times than any other one yet to date.  It’s good to know that I can be associated with something of such great importance as raw chicken as opposed to world hunger or Quantum physics.

Aunt Weather is my number one commentator and for that she gets a great big wet one… from my dog which I know she’ll enjoy because he absolutely adores her and vice versa.  The person that gets a nod for being tied for the least comments is my beautiful wife.  She has commented here as often as almost every living person in the world, English speaking and otherwise, zero times.  I think she just doesn’t want to show me up, because she’s very funny and sexy and a great mother and wonderful spouse and whatever else give me brownie points.

Hits are something that a lot of bloggers like to watch.  It’s very sad and doesn’t mean a whole lot, but I like this, too.  My site received it’s 12,000th hit in just under a year, so I can say that I average 1,000 hits a month and I wouldn’t be exaggerating like I do in my posts, but I won’t get into what qualifies a hit to be a hit (just so you know, mine don’t count).  Twelve thousand hits might seem like a lot to a non-blogger, but some people get that in one day.  They must have a lot of friends or some kind of nudie thing going on, it couldn’t possibly be that they have an audience that likes to read them.  Some day I aspire to have at least three readers that aren’t reading my posts as an obligation, but that’s just wishful thinking.

An odd bonus of this blogging thing was that I hooked up with Humor-Blogs.com, which introduced me digitally to a few blogophiles that are hilarious, or on an off day, amusing.  One is known as Diesel at Mattress Police - Antisocial Commentary and various other sites, he also commandeers Humor-Blogs.com, and another is a chick from Zoning Out Again who is out there, in a good way.  Humor-blogs somehow lists Pessimistic Optimism  along side the heavy hitters of the humor blogging world without having a disclaimer on it that says only read this one if you are really bored and want to remain that way.  Another site and interesting person I discovered is a guy named Bill that writes a site called Dying mans daily journal, which is an in depth look at a person facing the inevitable.  That’s the uniqueness (word?) about blogs, they can be about anything whether it’s interesting or not as you can see by this site.

Thanks to everyone that’s perused my thoughts this past year and also to those that have read my blog.  I hope to post more often soon when my kids stop taking up all my time so check back in about twenty years. 

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August 17, 2007 Posted by | All about me, Blogging, Buffalo, career opportunities, Dogs, family, fiction, Friends, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, Ranting, Writing | 6 Comments

Happy, but wet, 4th of July

Because of the lousy weather, the kids don’t even know that today’s special for anything other than Mommy’s not working on a Wednesday.  I figured that they’re still a little too young for a history lesson about the founding fathers and fireworks.

The whole George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and the rest of their merry men story might be a little advanced for an almost-four-year-old and a boy that’s two.  They might enjoy the tea party thing, but I didn’t have any costumes on hand and it’s too wet outside to search for feathers for our hair.

As for fireworks, they are a phenomenon that I like to participate in only visually.  I like all my fingers and my hearing too much to throw them away with an M-80 or cherry bomb.  I have no problem with other people taking the risks as long as they don’t share the flying explosives with my roof or my hair, because both artificial materials ignite easily.

I hope all Americans have a great Independence Day.  If you happen to be British and read this, no hard feelings.  Just think of it this way; your offspring has really grown into its own. 

July 4, 2007 Posted by | All about me, Buffalo, family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, Ranting, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Now That I’m a Star, Where are the Perks

It’s been two days since the media confirmed the one thing that I always knew; I belong in the limelight.  Look below for another glimpse of my performance.

Star Maker

Now that you’ve seen it again please tell me how come I still have to do all the same things I did before I “made it”?  Today, I changed diapers, did laundry, grocery shopped, had a good cry and ran the dishwasher just like almost any other day.  I thought the world was going to be my oyster or at the least my toaster by now, but the only out of the ordinary positive thing that happened was that my daughter had a great potty day.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be treated differently, but some kind of financial reward would be nice… soon.  Some free time would come in handy, too.  Maybe I could break 100 on the golf course if I get out more than once a year.  That only applies if Putt-Putt’s still in business, of course.

I need to nip this negative thing in the bud quickly because I know the good stuff is on its way.  It’s just taking a little longer than I expected for Brad and Angelina to ring me up for a fun n’ sun in a Mozambique Aids camp with the wife and kids.  I thought, at the least, I’d be asked to play a rapist on Law & Order SUV, by now.

I guess I’ll go on like nothing happened until something happens.  It’s not easy being in demand when no one’s knocking on my door.  Maybe I’ll wait outside.

May 10, 2007 Posted by | All about me, Buffalo, career opportunities, firefighting, Humor, life, Ranting, Television, Usual Day at the Office | 8 Comments

Career Photo Op, Chance of a Lifetime

My job occasionally gives me the opportunity to be an extra on television and in this modern age, on the web.  I don’t get paid for this, but the possible exposure can only boost my writing career.  I never know when the occasion will present itself, so I always have to make sure I look my best while I’m working.  I need to take advantage of any chance I get. 

Yesterday afternoon the cameras were rolling and I actually made the cut on both mediums.  I hate to brag, but I was brilliant.  Even though I was only on TV for a second, I hit it out of the park.  I was so good that the news station used a still frame of me for its main promo on the web.  I’m talking; it was the first photograph on the home page.  This is big-time, baby.

I’ve been walking on air all day today because of my new-found celebrity.  When I went to the bank everyone acted as though they didn’t recognize me, but I saw them talking to each other about me around the conference table behind the glass partition that said Employees OnlyIt was almost sickening how they pretended not to notice me.

If there’s a downside to my exposure it’s the way my family and co-workers will probably treat me now.  They’ll wait on me hand and foot or shower me with gifts just to make sure I take them along for the ride.  I really hope they don’t do those things, but I’m keeping tabs.

I’m reluctantly putting the pic in the following link only because it needs to be seen: Star Maker.

No, we don’t all look alike, and yes, I’m positive it’s me.  I think it shows my best side, just like my web log photo: My Best Side.  I might want to shave my neck, though.

Just so all three of you that read this thing know I will remain the same humble guy no matter where this incredible stroke of luck takes me.  Say hi to all the little people for me. 

May 9, 2007 Posted by | All about me, Buffalo, career opportunities, firefighting, Humor, life, Ranting, Television, Usual Day at the Office | 7 Comments

Seems Like a Good Time for a Vacation

My family and I invaded South Carolina this week, Myrtle Beach to be exact.  For some reason we thought that leaving the icy-cold weather of Western New York would be a great idy-er and we were right.  Can ya tell that I’ve been in the South for a li’l while from my accent?

I promise that nonemost of my vacation posts will not be like those slide-shows that people want you to watch with them that make you want to slit your wrists within the first five minutes to end the pain.  They couldn’t possibly be that boring when they’re about my wonderful family.  Everyone wants to know everything about our trip, right?  Right?

Okay, maybe I’ll try to keep it to the interesting things, like bowel movements and temperature changes.  My first bowel movement occurred in our room at….  Just kidding!

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to get into any of the details of our trip yet, because the boy’s waking up from his nap and we need to go join the women in our lives by the pool.  For those of you that know me, think lime-green thong! 

   

  

March 13, 2007 Posted by | All about me, family, kids, life, Myrtle Beach | 4 Comments

Twinkle, Twinkle Faux Pas

I would have to guess that nine out of ten people in the U.S. had Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star sung to them as a child and most parents sang it to their kids from time to time.  It’s pretty much a standard even though I don’t know why.  In my opinion that and Rock-a-bye Baby are highly overrated.  They must have known somebody to get so much airplay in the households of America and the world.

Last night our little girl quietly called out to us via her monitor that she couldn’t sleep.  She kept her voice low because she didn’t want to wake her little brother.  I’d like to think that it’s because she’s a very considerate child, but the cynical part of me surmises she wanted our attention all to herself, which is okay because she’s three.  The whisper out to us isn’t the norm, but was to be expected because of her *”sleep” withdrawal.

I told my wife that I’d take this one because I’m a wonderful husband and that the next time our daughter calls out we might be sleeping and my wife would have to get out of bed.  I walked into my daughter’s room and found her sitting up.

“What’s going on, Little One?”

“I can’t sleep and need your help.”

Her plea for help made me feel like Superman or at the least, one of the doctors from ER or Scrubs.

“What would you like me to do?”  Man, am I good.

“How about you sing me Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star?”

I hesitated a moment because that’s just not my usual choice of song.  My favorites are Old MacDonald, Hush Little Baby Don’t Say a Word, and Losing My Religion by R.E.M. but they wouldn’t work at the moment because the first would be too loud, the second too long and the third too freaking weird.

“Okay, honey, I’ll sing you the song.”

After the first line I knew that I was in trouble because I didn’t know the words.  How I can forget the words to a four-line song I don’t know.  Being the type of person that thinks on my feet I faked it.  I sang something close to what I thought were the lyrics, but when the second and third lines both had the word sky in it I knew I was off.  Luckily for me my daughter is kind hearted and seemed to enjoy my butchering of a classic.

I looked down at my little girl quite sheepishly and she smiled broadly at me.

“Thanks, Daddy, I can go to sleep now.”

I kissed her on the nose and floated out of the room.

* “sleep” see “Sleep” No More

March 5, 2007 Posted by | All about me, family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | 2 Comments

Welcome to the (late) 90’s

I finally have an MP3 player.  I received it as a gift yesterday and now I have to figure out how to load it up with some cool tunes by groups like U2 and The Carpenters

This might sound like an easy task to most of you, but I’m a “neophyte” when it comes to electronics.  I’m not kidding; I finally learned how to program a VCR the day before they became obsolete.  Does anyone want to buy some used VHS tapes?  How about the final episode of Seinfeld that I taped in 1998 by hitting the record button?  I’m kidding about that last one, because it would be illegal to peddle someone else’s material.

I’ve been notoriously incapable where electronics have been concerned.  I had to sketch a diagram of our first desktop set up to make sure I could hook things back up when we moved five years ago.  I drew every cable and every portal in each of the devices whether they were being used and it still took me days to piece it back together.  That was partly due to me laying on the couch everyday watching Jerry Springer or Oprah on my days off (this was pre-children).  Now I’m lucky if I can watch SportsCenter long enough to catch one nickname like Jeff “Don’t Beat Up the Grocery Store Clerk Just Because He Can’t” Bagwell because Backyardigans or Sesame Street is on or Cars is in the DVD player that I only know how to use.  I couldn’t hook it up if my life depended on it.  Well, maybe if my life depended on it.  That could be a good game/reality show, just not with me as a contestant.

Don’t blame me completely for my lack of electronics savvy because I was born with the luddite gene.  The scariest thing about this is that I’m the one that attempts to teach my parents how to use modern devices.  They went kicking and screaming into the remote control world back in the late eighties.  Back then I was the remote control for my father no matter where I was in the house.  When I finally moved out they had no choice but to accept it and learn.  I’m not blaming my lineage for my incapability; I’m just using them as an excuse.

I’m going to try and hold off on asking for help with this MP3 player thing for as long as possible.  Maybe if I read the instructional manual I’ll actually be able to figure this one out.  But I probably won’t because that would be like cheating and it’s so freaking boring.  I guess if it comes down to it, I’ll eventually have to ask either my wife, my F.I.L. or my B.I.L. (Uncle Scientist) to help me with this one like most of the things in my house that need tending to that involve electricity.

February 16, 2007 Posted by | All about me, electronics, Humor, MP3 players, Ranting | Leave a comment

Superbowl Woes

I’m a football fan and enjoy the Super Bowl as much as most people, but it brings back bad memories from the early ’90’s.  Yes, I’m a Buffalo Bills fan.  Many of us try to convince ourselves that it was great just getting there four years in a row, but that’s just a rationalization to keep us sane.  I try to block out the bad stuff, like Norwood’s wide left, Thurman’s missing helmet, and me crying in the fetal position in the bathtub, but reminders come out of the woodwork this time of year.  Yesterday, I turned on ESPN just in time to see the football just miss the goal post and witness Bill Parcells being carried across the field with a huge grin on his face.  This rebroadcast brought that feeling of eating three spicy burritos in less than ten minutes back to my stomach.

Since the Bills aren’t there, again, I’m hoping to enjoy the game for what it usually is, an over-exposed spectacle of hopefully funny commercials often interrupted by some poorly played football.  I love that the winners of this usually lopsided contest are declared the world champions even though all the teams play in the U.S.  Do sports leagues in other countries make similar proclamations?  For instance, does the Nigerian Shoeless Sprinting League declare their race winner the world champion shoeless runner?  Or does the Fiji Clam Shucker Association declare the best shucker a world champion?  I really don’t know, but I doubt it.

I think I’m just jaded because my beloved Bills have never been deemed world champions.  The way they played the second half of the season shows me that we still have hope they’ll make it someday.  Unfortunately, it usually only takes a few games in the beginning of the season to say maybe next year.  Go Bills!

My pick for this year is the Kevin Federline commercial, er, I mean, the Colts by more than ten. 

February 2, 2007 Posted by | All about me, Buffalo, football | 2 Comments

A House Full of People

It’s ironic that I have the most time to myself right now while we have numerous house guests in our humble abode.  There are literally hundreds of souls wandering around the kitchen as I type.  Okay, there are really about four extra people here and most of them are in the living room.  Because of this I don’t have to change all the diapers, prepare all the daytime meals and entertain all (both) of the kids like a typical weekday.  Picture me in Mary Poppins mode dressed like a French maid running around the house.  I’m sorry for that, forget the Mary Poppins mode, I’m not that good.

I should be relaxing, but I have a tendency to micromanage most of the mundane chores around the house.  I find myself rearranging the dishwasher, insisting on cleaning up and supervising my kids’ meals.  I just told Uncle NJ where to put a puzzle together with my daughter.  What the *^%# is wrong with me? 

No matter how crowded the house is you can shoot a cannon through it when the little guy’s wandering around with a foul odor eminating from his Pamper’s Cruiser.  Too bad we can’t enforce the old adage whoever smelt it dealt it and just replace dealt it with changes it.  It’s not as catchy, but could be effective. 

I enjoy having people around so much that it makes me think we should have more than two children.  I think my wife just fell out of her chair.  Two will do is the motto that I’m going to stick to unless I slip one past the goalie, of course.  That’s not too much of a worry because the goalie’s wearing very large pads and I’m a pretty bad shot.

Having my in-laws around 24/7 gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like growing up in my wife’s house.  All the siblings regress back to their childhood personalities when some sort of adversity rears its ugly head.  You know, if one of them moved the other’s glass of juice or tampon.  Just kidding, they don’t drink juice.  They don’t really argue much, it’s more like a drive-by put down; a couple of quick shots are fired and they let someone else deal with the carnage.

I kid them because I’m probably the hardest person to deal with during their stay.  No matter how much I try to change, my inner anal-retentive personality pops out every once in a while or quite often depending on who you’re talking to. 

All that said, I do enjoy having them around and my kids are ecstatic about it.  I can’t wait until next weekend because we’ll all be staying at Uncle and Aunt NJ’s house where I can just fade into the background and laugh my ass off.   

January 6, 2007 Posted by | All about me, house guests, Humor, parenthood | 3 Comments

Football You Bet

There are moments in your lifetime that you’ll never forget.  I was lucky enough to experience one the other day.  My boy made me proud.  With a little help from a punter’s picture and repeated attempts of “watching” the game together he finally gave me his approval.  He’s a football fan.  At least that’s what I’m deducting from recent and past events that took place.

When he was an infant (6 or 7 months old) he cried whenever we changed the channel during a football game… like father, like son.  This was the first promising sign.

This season he wasn’t exposed to the game much early on because of outside factors, such as: me working; the Bills sucked; the October Surprise storm; and the Wiggles’ concert.  In November the TV was on more because the team played better and he liked hearing his sister say “Go Bills” almost as much as I did.

The final push the boy needed came from the signed picture of Moorman, Brian the Bills’ punter that his Papa (my father-in-law) gave him.  The framed picture hanging on his bedroom wall brings out a war cry of “Football” every time he looks at it.  I guess it sounds more like footbaw, but that’s close enough.  This grunted expression sends chills down my spine.  Good chills, that is.

Hopefully this passion for the gridiron sticks so I can live vicariously through him, er, I mean because we’ll bond while watching together.  I know that a child should choose his or her own likings, but it doesn’t hurt to steer them in a certain direction to see if it peaks their interests.  I mean if the kid becomes a soccer fan instead I won’t love him any less… I think.  

December 31, 2006 Posted by | All about me, football, kids, parenthood, parenting, Ranting | Leave a comment

Don’t Judge a Book by its Dust Jacket

Yesterday, while waiting on a friend, I sat on a barstool with a pen and paper and let the people there lead me along.  I knew whom to write about as soon as the aroma of stale cigarettes and cheap perfume enveloped me as she sauntered by and shouted merrily at the bartender.

“Give me a Coors Light bottle.  I don’t drink out of no glass.” 

Her gravelly voice sent chills down my spine.  At first glance she appeared to be a slightly attractive woman in her late forties, but upon further inspection her looks declined and I realized that she was probably about thirty and has taken a hard path in life, picture Charles Bronson’s blonde-haired identical twin sister without the mustache.

Hers was the only voice I could hear from the trio of lunchtime revelers.  I couldn’t make it out but I could only imagine what she said, so I did.  She bragged to the not as crusty redhead and the smarmy-looking nerd about her latest conquest in the dart league at the corner bar in her neighborhood all the while wishing that New York State hadn’t made smoking in bars and restaurants illegal.  They hung on every word either because she was a fascinating conversationalist or they feared a beating for not paying attention. 

I thought that she was running late for a smoke break, but she didn’t budge from her spot.  My guess was that her need for alcohol outweighed her desire for nicotine at the moment.  Whether or not this was true didn’t matter because on my paper she can be whomever I want.  For all I know in real life she might be a pillar of the community, a fantastic mother and wife, and a brain surgeon that just happens to like wearing tight sweaters with deer on them.  Who am I kidding, but my assumptions might be way off.   That’s the magic of writing; the writer makes all the rules.

This writing exercise squashed any fear I had about “writer’s block” because if it happens I’ll just need to venture out into the world around me and get some ideas from its inhabitants.  It also convinced me to make sure I always have a pen and paper on me in case I’m ever “inspired”.

December 15, 2006 Posted by | All about me, Blogging, Ranting, write, Writing | 3 Comments

Needy Writers

Are all writers needy or do they just act that way?  Am I needy or do I just act that way?

The children and I travelled to the mall last night to buy some X-mas gifts while my wife partied dined with her friends.  The boy was strapped into a stroller and the girl walked beside me either helping push (teamwork! see Is That Teamwork?) or holding my hand.

The journey was somewhat uneventful until we ran into a self-published children’s author that I purchased a book from a while ago.  I told her that my daughter enjoys the book, which she does, but only the pictures (I didn’t tell her this part).  This is when I saw the needy side of a writer emerge.  She showed the three-year-old the book and said, “I’m the one that wrote the words in your book.”  She might as well said, “I’m the one that poured the milk in your glass.” 

 My daughter looked toward me and asked, “Can I have a toy, Daddy?”

The woman looked offended and I explained that my daughter doesn’t get the concept of her writing the book.  That’s when the author and her husband said in unison, “she will.  She will.”

It was kind of creepy the way these people wanted reassurance from a three-year-old.  I hope I never get that way with my writing.  I wouldn’t expect that from anyone under twelve. 

November 30, 2006 Posted by | All about me, kids, parenthood, Ranting, Writing | 3 Comments