Pessimistic Optimism

Life as I see it… sort of.

The Return of… Words

Wow, it seems like yesterday that I last posted, that or 106 yesterdays.  Well, I’m back and I’m ready to start filling your heads with thoughtful anecdotes about my family and my life in general.  Okay, I’m back and I’m ready to spout my views, spill my guts and make you weep.  Okay, okay, here’s the truth: I’m back and I’m going to write about anything that I find interesting whether it bores you to tears, tickles your fancy, or just makes you want to cry or laugh or shake your head or pull your hair…

Since I’ve been away for a while, I’ll try to catch you up on my life.  This is your last chance to look away before I start droning on, so don’t say I didn’t warn you if you pass out or fall in love (with my writing).

The kids have both changed dramatically since my last post.  My daughter has become an emotional roller coaster that knows exactly what she wants out of life and is not afraid to go out and take it, whether it’s hers or someone else’s.  This can be a little troublesome if the item in question is expensive or hard to conceal, but assertiveness is very important in today’s child-eat-child world, so I can deal with it. 

My son’s goals are very similar to his big sister’s.  In fact, he wants exactly what she wants out of life, but only while she possesses it.  This is a bit more of a hassle for me than my daughter’s issues because I care if someone takes her stuff, but I’m learning how to work with my daughter to appease the boy.  We throw out some red herrings and the boy is as happy as Heather Mills is this week, and like the former Mrs. McCartney, it keeps him occupied for a little while until there’s something else to be coveted.  Luckily for us that just might be a plastic frog or a drumstick, as opposed to song royalties or castles.

As for my beautiful wife, she’s just as wonderful as before and still tolerates me, usually.  She’s a great mother and hardly scolds me about my lousy parenting skills unless they are life threatening, which isn’t very often, you know, once, maybe twice a week.

My dog’s just as loyal as always and still holds a higher standing in the house than me, but I can deal with that.  Well, I have to deal with it because what’s the alternative, dog stew?  I’m kidding; I prefer chops.  Does anyone have any golden retriever recipes?  I’m kidding again; I really do love my dog as much as the rest of my family.  Okay, not as much as the rest of the family, but almost as much.  Kind of how the Baldwin’s feel about Stephen, but a little more.

As for me, I put my writing on hiatus to pursue an important goal: becoming a mime.  I was quite successful, actually too successful; I was stuck in that freaking imaginary box and couldn’t get out for days.  This kind of stripped me of my passion to be the next Marcel Marceau, but I did lose ten pounds.

The last paragraph was total B.S., but I do plan on making this site a regular thing again.  Check back sooner than 106 days (early July), because I might get on a roll, or at least a tailspin.  Huh?

copyright Linus Mann 2008

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March 19, 2008 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, Ranting | , , , , | 5 Comments

Emergency Guidelines or Mere Suggestions

When I’m not playing with my wife and/or kids or writing I’m probably working at my 48 hours-a-week side job, firefighting.  This time-killer gives me an inside view of what many people do in extreme situations or at least stressful ones.  Unfortunately, I’m disappointed often by a lot of people’s attitudes toward emergency situations, their lack of realization that it is an emergency situation, or the fact that I have to see these people sans make-up or clothing a little too often. 

I’d like to rhetorically ask you some questions about some of the things I encounter on a daily basis.   

If four firefighters with medical equipment were in an elevator would you get on and press a lower floor?  What if you were about to be late for work or really had to pee?

I hope your answer to both questions was a resounding no, but I know some people are oblivious to their surroundings whatever the situation is before them.  In fact, this happened to me the other day when a rude little man reached into the elevator and pressed four immediately after hearing us say we we’re going to eight so we kindly helped him out of the elevator doorway and left him behind to feel shame.  People like this are not only ignorant and selfish, but also downright pathetic and should be made to wait the next time something bad happens to them, like an axe to their forehead or a fire hose tied too tightly around their neck.

If an alarm’s ringing in your apartment building and firefighters are going in loaded with heavy equipment and SCBAs (air tanks) on their backs should you walk into the building and get in their way?  What if your dog or turtle was still in your apartment or you left the pigs’ knuckles in the frying pan?

Again, I hope you answered no.  Normal people get out of the way of firefighters during an emergency situation unless they have pertinent information to share, like which apartment the stove’s left on in or if their grandma’s doing yoga naked in 4B.  Some things you need to be mentally prepared for.

If an emergency vehicle’s driving with lights flashing and sirens blaring either behind you or coming towards you should you pull to the side of the road or at the least stop your vehicle before it’s on your ass?  What if you might end up sitting through another red light and might miss the first five minutes of Judge Judy as a result?

This time the answer should be yes unless you want a fire truck to do its best monster truck impression on your VW Jetta or you don’t need your hearing, which will be impaired by the air horn pressed incessantly until you are in our dust.  You probably won’t be shot the bird physically, but make it understood it is being sent telepathically fourfold.

Feel free to pass this information on to your friends, loved ones and local politicians, unless they’re in the airport restroom because they might take that for something else, the politicians that is (see Larry Craig, US Senator for Idaho).

August 30, 2007 Posted by | firefighting, Humor, life, Ranting | 3 Comments

Watchdog, My Arse

Man’s best friend has a lot of good uses in this world.  Number one is probably being a, well, best friend, but after that our furry possessions perform numerous other tasks on a daily basis for their supposedly smarter two-legged dog license holders.

Like most dogs mine wears many hats, and he looks damn good in them, especially the Stetson accompanied by some spurs.  Never mind that, but he does serve many purposes for my family.

He’s a fantastic plaything for the kiddies, you know, something to pull at or climb on or just plain pet and he never shies away from them unless he sees them coming.  When he bucks them off when their hand or foot accidentally hits the right spot he looks in my direction for approval and I nod.  I figure that he needs to get his licks in, too.

Having our dog around fulfills a lot of basic needs at my house and none of them have anything to do with peanut butter.  His thick mane makes a great footrest which is mutually beneficial because my feet stay warm and my corns and warts and whatever the hell else is growing down there scratches his back for him.  Stress reliever is a job that my k-9 boy relishes, I think, because he always listens to me, most of the time, and no one else does, most of the time and this makes me feel good.  I didn’t even have to beat him to obey, much.

Fertilizer is a job title that most dogs take to heart.  Mine’s going for top dog in this field.  He’s so proficient at it that I share his talents with my neighbors when they’re sleeping or not home.  I have him do this because I think everyone should be empowered the same way I am every time I shovel up a load of yesterday’s Kibblesn Bits.  It’s kind of like a Robin Hood thing, but has nothing to do with stealing or gold or anything similar to the story about that tight-wearing freak.

I have to admit that my four-legged boy isn’t as good at one of his chores, being a vacuum for dropped food.  The finicky pooch ignores the conveniently dropped veggies while scarfing up the chicken, steak or SPAM.  The sad part is that this was exactly the reason why we wanted a dog in the first place, sort of.

One of the most important things a dog can do is protect your home from intruders or Tony Danza.  A good watchdog’s priceless as long as he doesn’t eat you or one of your children or was previously owned by Michael Vick.  My family thought we had the best because he always barks loudly at people walking by or urinating in our bushes, that is until the other day.  It was just a regular night with my wife and I getting cozy on the couch using Fido as a footrest while watching The Girls Next Door when our child’s finger painting masterpiece sailed off of the kitchen wall and made an odd noise.  The not-so-brave doggy jumped up, stuck his tail between his legs and whimpered endlessly.  I guess that’s what we get for choosing a Golden Retriever.

August 27, 2007 Posted by | Dogs, family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, Ranting | 4 Comments

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. 

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

Fashion Plate

My boy knows how to get under my skin.  He can turn a beautiful morning of singing and prancing laughing and dancing into one of screaming and crying in a split second.  I don’t know why he does this because he knows I hate to scream and cry.

The other day’s breakfast was a typical one of frivolity over pancakes and sausages smothered in syrup.  My daughter somehow managed, in between giggles, to wolf down two pancakes shaped like the letter “C” and three sausage links shaped like … sausage links, and my son did the same, except that his were shaped like circles, the pancakes that is, and he ended his meal a little differently than his big sister.

Most civilized children either hand their sticky plate to their parent or at least leave it sitting in front of them when they’re done; my little guy decided to be a comedian after his last bite.  The little ham placed the Lightning Mcqueen plate jelly side down on top of his head and smiled for the camera even though there wasn’t one.  The syrup coated plate hung there like a hat until I peeled it off.

Somehow I let this infuriate me.  So much so that I think steam literally shot out of my ears.  I said profound things like, “don’t you know that we just washed your hair last night?” and “I can’t believe you just did that.”  He looked at me and just grinned, which sent me through the roof.  I almost wasn’t going to clean him up to teach him a lesson, but then I realized that his stickiness would spread to all things clean in our house and that just wasn’t worth it.  I even thought about setting him on the floor and letting our dog lick him clean, but the two-year-old would enjoy that too much.

My daughter was already set free from the table when this took place but watched with amusement as her daddy had a meltdown.  She’s seen it before; I go on a tirade for a minute or two, come to my senses and try to laugh about the horrible situation one of my offspring put us in.   This time was no different, by the time I cleaned the boy up, I knew that getting upset was futile and childish, the most important thing was to get even.  My boy better watch his back because vengeance is a dish best served cold or something like that.

August 4, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, Ranting | 4 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

Paris Hilton, the Space Shuttle and Harry Potter

Let’s get the least important stuff out of the way first, Paris Hilton’s in jail.

As for the space shuttle, Atlantis, it’s return has been delayed because of a problem with the Russian part of the international space station or so they say.  I guess if you’re going to blame a space station problem on someone, the Russians are as good a scapegoat as anyone.  I’m actually not sure what the problem is or if it’s delayed because of it or the rumor that NASA rented out Kennedy Space Center for the next month to J.K.Rowling for her Deathly Hollows catch and release program.  I think someone said she’s going to set books free by tossing them out of one of the unused shuttles, like Enterprise or Endeavour, while circumnavigating the globe.  If you happen to be one of the lucky people who catches one of these freebies, maybe she’ll visit you in the hospital and sign it, if she has time and you promise not to sue her for being responsible for a seven hundred page missile raining down on you. 

Before you spend all your waking hours staring into the sky take into account that none of this has neither been confirmed nor denied as of this posting.  For some reason I couldn’t find a listing for JK Rowling in the phone book to check my facts and NASA wasn’t in there either.

The posts have been few and far between as of late because of my kids and the great weather in Western New York.  For some reason they expect me to take them outside all the time and that cuts heavily into my writing.  I’ll try to spread my joy more often soon, but I’m not making any promises.

June 14, 2007 Posted by | fiction, Harry Potter, Humor, life, Paris Hilton, Ranting, rumors, space shuttle, weather, Writing | 3 Comments

Sunshine and Sloppy Tea

The local weather guy said that the Buffalo area had its sunniest May ever this year and my brown lawn agrees with him.  The last eight months have been a weather roller coaster ride.  We had a freaking snowstorm in October, and then only a smidgen of the white stuff came down until well after our “Green Christmas”.  The real WNY winter reared its ugly head in mid-January and decided to stick around until late April.  Finally, May was awesome, if you like warm or hot weather with lots of sunshine and being able to go outside without a parka and snowshoes.

This brings me to what takes place around my humble abode when the weather finally breaks.  WeMy wife scrubbed out the little plastic kiddy-pool and I dragged out the little plastic kiddy-sprinkler and we sent the children out into our yard in their bathing suits to have their annual bath while we hung out in the central-air filled house.  Okay, okay on the chance that the authorities are reading this, we hung out on the deck enjoying drinks with little umbrellas in them and supervised the children, of course.

Like their Mom, the kids put on their little thinking caps and placed their Little Tykes slide into the pool.  That combined with the sprinkler and the the play fountain of theirs created their very own mini water park.  With all this going on you’d think the kids would be self-sufficient, but you’d be wrong, because the little leaches wanted something more; attention.  I guess all the cool material objects weren’t enough, because we actually had to play with them.  What’s next, affection?

My daughter did what most people like to do on a sweltering day; she had a tea party.  She gathered her tea party essentials, you know, a teapot, sugar bowl, toy Shrek and two tea cups from her playhouse and placed them on a table near the pool.  Her ability to adapt to the situation at hand presented itself when I witnessed how she ‘played’ tea party.  She filled the two tea cups and then drank them both herself.  I was a little disappointed that she didn’t offer one to me, my wife or her little brother until I saw what she was actually doing.   She didn’t really drink the grass-laden water she had scooped out of the pool with the teapot; she put the cups to her closed mouth and let the water drip down her body.  At first I thought that she was imitating how I usually drink my coffee in the morning, but then I realized that she was just cooling herself off in a unique way.

I would have joined her, but I didn’t want to get my thong wet. 

June 2, 2007 Posted by | Buffalo, family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, Ranting, weather | 5 Comments

Life’ s the Same, Same is Good: Life’s Good

I’m halfway through the first week of getting used to my new life and it’s surprisingly similar to my old one. In fact, it feels exactly the same. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse by posting about this again, but it’s in my nature, just ask my wife. There’s hardly a day that she’s not cleaning up another horse carcass around here (you don’t notice the smell after a little while).  The best thing for me to do is to keep the idea of being a celebrity out of the forefront of my mind and get back to living “my” life, my way; fat, dumb and happy. I’m kidding, I’m not that happy.

Now that the media blitz has died down I just want to hang out with the wife and kids again. Speaking of the kids, they didn’t treat me one iota different since this crazy whirlwind blew into our lives and I respect that. It’s not that I didn’t try to have them worship me even more by telling them to call me Super Daddy, but it didn’t go as I planned. After the first hour it morphed itself into Stupid Daddy. At least that’s the way it sounded coming out of the two-year-old’s mouth. Like usual, the elder child didn’t do as I asked right from the start, but did give me a big old hug and told me to stop whining or I wouldn’t get a snack. It was just like old times… and the old times were good… and yes I’m very happy.

Humor-Blogs.com is where all the cool kids hang out. I know because they let me buy them beer and list Pessimistic Optimism for all to view.

May 13, 2007 Posted by | family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting, Ranting | Leave a comment

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

Technology, Can’t Live Without it, Can’t Shoot it

I’ve mentioned this before; I’m a technological neophyte.  Every time I try to do something by myself that involves electronics, I almost destroy the world, or at the least, my world.

Our wireless router went the way of the Dodo this week.  Its environment didn’t destroy it, as far as I know, but it did cease working.  My F.I.L. was the one that detected this after he witnessed me smacking the side of the laptop because it wouldn’t connect to the Internet. 

After he diagnosed the problem he broke the bad news to my wife and I gently, but it still hurt… especially in the wallet.  He was kind enough to advise me where to go and what to buy, which is the way I like it when I know nothing about something, because then I don’t have to over-think the matter.  I would make a good soldier, as long as I didn’t have to exert myself too much or get my hands dirty.

The little sponges that live under the same roof as my wife and I accompanied me to Office Max today to buy the new router because I couldn’t leave them home alone with the dog.  It’s not that he isn’t capable of watching them, but they tend to mimic his bad habits, like drinking out of the toilet bowl, licking himself and watching too much Lifetime.  Those chick flicks can really damage an impressionable child’s psyche.

When we got back, the kids wore themselves out in the yard enough that they both wanted to nap, which was the plan.  Being the go-getter that I am and the fact that I was the only adult home and the little ones were sleeping, I hooked the new one up by myself.

Most people probably feel a sense of accomplishment when they take on something that intimidates them, I just felt sick.  I assumed that I inadvertently ruined our laptop, desktop and/or new router even though every thing appeared to go smoothly. 

My olfactory receptor neurons were in overdrive as I typed this, because I feared that something would be burning soon and if I caught the odor of smoke quickly I could possibly limit the damage.

So far, so good.  Keep your fingers crossed. 

Does anyone want to buy a slightly used wireless router? 

May 2, 2007 Posted by | electronics, Humor, life, Ranting, technology | 6 Comments