Sunday, January 14, 2024

Avatar: The Last Mug Maker

"Man, why does my stomach hurt and I suddenly feel tired!" I said, sitting down and holding my midsection. This feeling has happened more and more lately, mut it only started a few months ago, before Christmas. The feeling will last a couple hours and go away like it never happened I asked my doctor about it, but she didn't have an explanation handy. She told me to keep data and maybe a pattern would emerge. So, I've been keeping a spreadsheet. It's happened almost every morning since the day after Christmas.

A few days later, I was out with my girlfriend when she started talking about her mornings, "I feel like I'm getting lazier in the mornings. I wonder if there's something wrong with me." 

"Maybe it's something we both ate because I feel really tired and my stomach hurts a lot of mornings," I replied.

"Have you talked to your doctor?" she asked. 

"Yes, I'm keeping track, " I replied.

We arrived back at her house and I followed her in. "Oh, look what Callie gave me for Christmas." She held up a coffee mug with my face on it.

"Why the hell would she give you that ?"

"I think it's funny, and cute, "she replied. 

I chuckled at the mug, "Where did she get that?" 

"She made it herself," she said. "That the type of stuff she does." My girlfriend paused, looked at the mug and then looked back at me. "Holy shit, she also dabbles in witchcraft. I think she made you an avatar on this mug." 

"Uh, what ? " I was hearing words, but I wasn't really following.

"I explains why, in the morning, I just want to sit and drink my coffee and do the crossword. That's what you do. I'm stealing your power." She looked excited 

"Uh, what? " I was following what she was saying, but I wasn't buying it. "You're talking about magic and that's just the stuff of fantasy. It isn't real." I was trying to remain cool. "Anyway, It doesn't explain why I feel sick in the morning. I'm certainly not pregnant. 

"Sure it does. When I take your power, you lose it and it makes you feel sick." 

"OK, I'll play along, how do we stop this from happening? " I asked. 

"If I don't use the mug, I won't steal your power But I like the mug even more now that I know it's haunted." Her cat jumped up on the kitchen counter and knocked the mug to the floor and I lived happily ever after.

Prompt: You are an avatar on a haunted object. You do not know it. How do you find out and what is the object?

Thursday, January 11, 2024

A Trebuchet On My Front Lawn

Prompt: You wake up and find a trebuchet on your lawn. There is no note. Who gave it to you, how, why, and what do you do with it?

The phone rang dragging me out of wonderful dream in which the blood of my enemies filled my bathtub. "Damn, I said, answering the phone, "Hello?"

"You're gonna want to see this. There's a catapult in your front, yard." It was my neighbor.

"What ? A catapult ? Why?" I asked rhetorically, "Hold on," I got up, put on my sweatpants and T-shirt an walked to the front door. I looked out the window through my still bleary eyes, "That's a trebuchet, not a catapult, "I said and hung up the phone.

I shuffled to the kitchen to make coffee still thinking about how silly it is that people can't tell the difference between a catapult and trebuchet. I chuckled to myself as I sat on the couch sipping my coffee and working on the morning crossword.

I picked up my coffee cup, but a sudden and jarring thought occurred to me, "Why is there a trebuchet on my front lawn?" I jumped up from the couch and ran to the front door, looking out, "Yep. It's a trebuchet."

I walked out the door to get a closer look. It was pretty solidly built, but there was no note, no packing list, and not even a shipping label. Who sent it? Did I order it by mistake? I did just order a new replacement belt for a whirlpool clothes dryer, maybe there was a mix-up.

As I stood there admiring the construction, the head of the homeowners association stomped towards me carrying a thick binder, "What the hell is this catapult doing here?! You are in violation of our bylaws!"  

"Listen, I ca- "I stopped and looked at the binder and then said, "Wait, you actually have a rule, in print, outlawing catapults?

"Every HOA does, it prevents land wars."

"Huh," I said, "well this is trebuchet. Are there any rules against those?"

The head of HOA just stared a hole through me for ten seconds, looked down at the binder and shouted, "Damn it!"  

I watched as he stormed off and then looked back at my trebuchet. "Now, where did you come from?
Just then my phone pinged, my girlfriend sent me a

GF: "Did you get my present ?"
ME: "You mean the trebuchet?"
GF: "yes"
ME: "Yes, but why?"
GF: "Because I thought it would come in handy"
ME: "For what?"
GF: "Taking down the HOA and their bylaws."
ME: "I love you."

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Driving To The Voices In My Head

Prompt: Imagine that when you yell at other drivers, they can hear you and communicate back. How would that change now you drive and what you say?

I heard the voice say, "Move it pokey," as drove to work onemorning. I have no idea where it came from since I was alone in the car and  I don't recall ever hearing that phrase uttered on Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. Was I cracking up ?

As I continued on, a pick up truck blasted by me, obviously wanting to be in front of me and veering wildly from one lane to the next with the precision of an Abrams Tank. "Nice driving, Jerkass!" I said to the now-distant tail lights.

"You should have stepped on the gas a little bit harder," another disembodied voice said.

"Ok, I'm going crazy," I said to the empty passenger seat.

"Nah," a different voice said, "new highway technology. Now you can hear people and respond when they insult you."

"I didn't insult you; I just asked a question," I said, suddenly realizing I was talking to no one and also driving seventy miles per hour on the freeway.

"Oh, I'm information. I let you know that this is happening. "

"Is there a way to opt-out?" I asked, obviously wanting no part of this lunacy.

"Oh sure, it's simple, "the voice said in an either jovial or sarcastic tone, "just shut-up. and drive."

"Gee thanks"


From that moment on, I looked straight ahead and said nothing. I still near voices every so often and do what they say or move over.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Happy New Year 2024

 I know, I'm a week late wishing you all a Happy New Year. I've been busy. Anyway, as a sorta kinda New Year's resolution, I've decided to start writing more. I'm not talking about just posting, I mean actually hand writing my posts before I put them on the interwebs. I have a notebook that can handle this task and it just takes a little bit of editing after it's uploaded. Prior to this, my day-to-day writing has been relegated to short phrases and part numbers on repair forms. I want to write more.

I have enlisted the help of my lovely and talented girlfriend to provide my writing prompts which I will use to...well...write. The next post will be the first writing prompt and my results. That, along with my other blog, should get my handwriting skills back up to speed in no time.

I hope you enjoy, and if you feel like it, use the prompts on your own site of choosing.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Cleaning Out The Cobwebs

With the unfortunate decline of Twitter/X and the chaos of plenty of contenders vying to take its place, I've decided to grab a broom and a mop and come back to the old blog and clean out the dust and cobwebs. I know, blogging is so 2004, but at least I have some modicum of control over responses and don't have to subject people to hateful comments. Anyway, with these new social networks popping up like orange barrels during Ohio construction season, I've joined a few of them...or more. So, I'm going to give my impressions of each service as I use them and experience them.

Twitter/X (@AlienCG, @illuminatipod, @AlienBiblical)
OK, first off, that last sentence of that last paragraph is important for context, I am talking about this network from my own experience. Now that that's out of the way, I have no real problem with X when it comes to my primary account, @AlienCG. I follow the people I want to follow and have good interactions with folks. Also, this is where almost everyone I interact with online still is, so there's that. However, when it comes to @Illuminatipod, it's a dumpster fire of misinformation, disinformation, and absolute bullshit from the deepest sewers on the internet. Finally, when I'm bopping around @AlienBiblical it's an absolute garbage dump, but that's what I'm looking for because it gives me inspiration for posts over on my Bible Study Blog. The functionality and the fact that idiot-in-chief of that site wants everyone to pay for it makes it a steaming pile when it comes to responses.
Grade: AlienCG: B+/Illuminatipod: D-/BiblicalAlien: C

Mastodon (
Mastodon has been around for a while, but it wasn't until Twitter got bought that it would hit popularity. It took me a while to get into using this network, and due to the technical barrier for many, it's still slow growth. It's not as simple as signing up for an account and posting. There are several networks and I have another login out there somewhere, but I can't remember the server. I don't think Mastodon is going to be the Twitter killer for that reason, but it will stick around.
Grade: B-

Bluesky (,
The Twitter killer? Probably not, actually. First of all, Bluesky is still invite only which means you have to know someone in order to sign up. The quality of the journalism is up there as opposed to X since most of the journalists left the bird app behind. It's another slow-growing network due to the invite thing, but when it finally does open up, provided it's moderated properly, could be the replacement for Twitter when it comes to breaking news.
Grade: B+

Threads (aliencg)
Meta threw its hat into the short form social media game earlier this year when they introduced Threads. It showed great early growth thanks to the ease of entry for Instagram users. The app allows for a chronological timeline of only people you follow, but the default is still the "For You" feed which is algorithmically generated to show you influencers and other Instacelebs. It's not ideal for me because it's tied directly to Facebook and I've always kept that and Twitter separate. It seems to have died down now, but Threads also had the "Isn't Threads great!" problem when it comes to new social networks, which is why I was done with it after two days.
Grade: C-

Spoutible (@aliencg)
I really want to like Spoutible, but it came around later than the rest, and currently I only know two people on there. This is the new social media problem, fragmentation. The app is great and offers control over what you see and how you see it. It's a little busy which can be distracting. I don't have a lot of experience with it yet, so that is factored into the grade.
Grade: B+

Pebble (formerly T2) (@AlienCG)
Pebble was actually started by former Twitter employees and it shows. They use the 280 character limit, the interface is clean and uncluttered, and all in all it should be able to give X a run for its money. Like Bluesky, Pebble is invite only so its user base is smaller at the moment. They also don't have an app, so you have to use a web app which isn't the end of the world. They were originally called T2, which was a placeholder, and it was difficult to search for and find using Google. Unfortunately, they chose another name that may prove to be a misstep in ("Pebble Is..."). You see, Pebble is a defunct tech company, so anytime you want to find out information about the social network, you usually have to wade through a few pages of stories about a former watch maker.
Grade: B-

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Smokey And The Bandit (1977)

As a  way to get back into writing for this blog, I will be reviewing movies that I have either not seen in ages, or have never seen.

I saw Smokey And The Bandit when I was about 10 years old and, naturally, having the mind of a 10 year-old, I thought it was fun and hilarious. Now, being forty-something, I still think the movie downright funny and, with the exception of a few lines here and there, still holds up.

When rich people want illegal beer from across the Mississippi, they call on The Bandit and the Snowman to go get it. This movie is less about the plot and more about the one-liners, thanks to Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason), and slapstick car chases. It is truly representative of the 1970s with fast cars, truck drivers, and CB radio. It's a fun road trip movie that I thought was more bawdy than it actually is.

Sally Field plays Carrie, a runaway bride that we find out was supposed to marry Junior, the son of Sheriff Buford T. Justice, which is why the pair are chasing The Bandit. It is unclear if she ever actually revealed this to him or not. At the end of the movie, as they drive away, she yells, "Tell Junior, no hard feelings." Besides that, there is really nothing else to say about the "plot" of this movie. 

While reading up for this post, I found out that yes, Coors beer was in fact illegal to transport east of the Mississippi because it was not pasteurized and contained no preservatives. Also, the reason that CB radio was all the rage in the 1970s was because it was accessible to all thanks to solid state technology and the 55 mph speed limit

Smokey And The Bandit is the only movie that there was by this name. There were absolutely never any crappy sequels made that Burt Reynolds refused to take part in. Nope, they never happened. Just like there was never a sequel to Caddyshack. That never happened either.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Repost: New Product Announcement

SGMR Industries. Inc. has always been committed to selling products for money to people who probably don’t need them in the first place. Since we first introduced our first product, people have been throwing money at us and clamoring for more. Well, we gave them more. We added more adjectives, and more shiny bits and sold it for more money than the previous version. That’s what we do and people love us for it.

Today, we introduce yet another, new, revolutionary, shiny, big, fabulous, and highly improved product. It will do something more impressive than the previous version and we will introduce something else that people didn’t think they needed. However, people will make a reason to need this product and they won’t care how much they have to pay for it, because it’s from us. We are excited to see how much more money we’re going to make off of this product and how many people will buy it before we obsolete it in six months when we tease our next product that will contain one more thing that people don’t need. 

We will begin preorders at retail outlets on Friday morning which means that we will control the entire news cycle that day. This is our mission, and when the product is released, we will only distribute at those same retailers so that we can build hype for the next iteration. People like to stand in line for exclusive products that they spend a lot of money on to look more impressive in front of their friends. Our commitment to our customers is to make them feel more important than everybody else.