My 2013 New Year’s resolution…

I’m not making one. I never do.

Back in December of 2005 or 2006, I don’t remember which, I decided to attend a local Toastmasters meeting. I thought it might be interesting, a chance to meet new people, I’m good at public speaking… I decided not to join the organization—there are very few groups to which I pay dues or give donations and one more just didn’t seem practical. Still, it gave me a good story to tell.

The people there were very open and friendly and let me sit through the meeting as an observer. Well, they would have let me be an observer if the MC for the evening hadn’t recognized me (thus, the reason why I think this happened back around when Beauty and the Geek had been on the air). Instead of knowing I was on TV, she thought I was a member of the group, so she called on me to give a quick speech.

I went up to the front of the room and there were maybe a dozen pairs of eyes looking back at me. They asked me a question and I had to give them an answer on the spot. Someone had a timer with lights on it: the speech was supposed to be between 1:00-1:30 long, so I think it was yellow for the first minute, we could stop when it turned green for thirty seconds, then absolutely had to stop if it turned red. (I don’t think anyone survived that long.) There was also someone with a pad of paper counting how many times you said “um”, “uh”, etc.

My question? “What is your new year’s resolution?”

There were a few highlights of my answer that lasted one minute, eight seconds. When I started talking, I started rolling up my sleeves at the same time. I reached a point when I needed a moment to think, so I very deliberately leaned toward the mistake counter and said “UM.” And finally, the answer itself was telling them that I don’t make new year’s resolutions.

Why not? I’m not entirely sure, but whatever the reason, I said that I usually fail to uphold my resolution, then I feel shame—I remember using that word specifically—and making resolutions isn’t supposed to make me feel bad about myself. I may make an effort to change something, but it’s never a resolution. I don’t want to be ashamed if I fall off the proverbial wagon.

I was one of four or five people who had to give a spontaneous presentation, then everyone voted on who gave the best speech. After the meeting, the MC apologized for calling on me since she thought I was a member, then added that I got a few votes from people. Sometimes I wonder if I would have earned more votes by leaving my sleeves alone while talking; most times, I don’t care that much.

Like I said, it’s a fun story to tell. And even though it’s probably taken you longer than one minute, eight seconds to read this blog entry, you should still have an idea of why I’m not making a new year’s resolution. Sure, I’ll try to eat better, get more exercise and what not, but as for some pledge to myself that I’d likely break within the first two weeks of January… better safe than shameful.

ADDENDUM: As it turns out, I wrote about this Toastmasters meeting and not making resolutions two years ago. Well, the story is just that good, dammit! And while I’m not making any promises, I’ll try not to repeat stuff like this in future blog entries. Even if they’re good stories, dammit!

An interesting Christmas snack

I decided to watch a movie this afternoon and wanted to make some popcorn, so I went to the kitchen, peeled the plastic off a bag, put it in the microwave, then pushed the POPCORN button. For some reason, when the microwave indicates that it’s running the program to heat popcorn these days, some of the letters are faded. Hey, as long as it tastes good, that’s the important part, right? So I’m perfectly content to start up a movie on my laptop, then curl up under a blanket with a cup of steamy hot chocolate and some porn.

I slept through the holidays!

Okay, that’s a lie, but I’ve spent enough time in a cave (see: basement) that I’ve forgotten to wish pretty much everyone I’ve seen a Merry Christmas in the last few days. Thus, Merry Christmas to everyone I’ve seen! And haven’t seen, for that matter!

To those who don’t celebrate Christmas, I don’t have a calendar nearby, so I’ll just wish all of these as part of the holiday season: Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Wicked-Awesome Festivus… uh… yay for surviving the lack of the Apocalypse? (Sorry if I left out some denominations’ celebrations, but I hope you’re enjoying the spirit of the holidays, too.)

No, I think she loves attracting instead.

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and saw that Joy Glass (from reality TV’s “The Glass House”) had tweeted a link to “one of my favorite shoots!” I clicked on it because… I wanted to know why there are so many songs about rainbows and thought I might find the answer there. Yeah, that’s it… rainbows.

I’ve been surfing the web this morning and noticed that people’s copy editing skills have been sloppy recently. Sure, they can rely on spellchecker, but when you put the wrong word spelled correctly into a sentence, you get results like this caption under her picture: “Joy is a nurse / actress. She also loves spending time outdoors, hiking, repelling and just being with friends. Her ambition is to leave the world a little better than when she found it.”

I can totally picture her beating away dudes with a hiking stick. She doesn’t seem the least bit repelling. Now, if she loves rappelling—using ropes to descend down a rock face—well, plenty of other attractive people enjoy that, too.

If we hide, maybe the Apocalypse will go away

Will Santa’s workshop burn faster when the Mayan apocalypse happens because he’s got so much coal to deliver for Christmas?

I’m pretty sure we won’t have to worry about the answer to that question, but it’s a thought. The only reason I’m bringing up the subject is because some people talk about how if the Mayans could really predict the future, they would have predicted the arrival of “Spanish dudes with steel and influenza” (quote courtesy of one of my favorite authors, Christopher Moore). Here’s my problem: How can a race of people avoid getting annihilated?

Think about it. “A bunch of people will be sailing into the harbor next month. Their weapons are much better than ours and we’ll get very sick if they get too close. They want to kill us, ravage our lands, then hang around for a long, long time. Hmmm… okay, here’s the plan: we huddle up in a cave with some blankets, my teddy bear and a Swiss Army pocketknife… we should be fine for the next five or ten years.”

And I can hear you all screaming, “That’s ridiculous! The Spanish didn’t invade Switzerland to steal their pocketknives before going overseas to wipe out the Mayans!” I’ll grant you that, which means the Mayans wouldn’t have had any of the little gizmos and they’d have to use spears to open canned goods while hiding in their bunkers that they built to avoid getting wiped out.

Seriously, people. Even if the Mayans knew that the Spanish were coming, what could they do about it? They didn’t have bunkers, they didn’t have pocketknives and they didn’t have teddy bears. They were screwed.

Lies, damned lies, and WordPress statistics

Two or three months ago, @dangergirl101 tweeted that the website she operates with her husband had just reached one million views. She’s an old friend, so I sent her a reply to say “Guess I lost the popularity contest we weren’t actually having… Congrats on hitting 1M!” She thanked me, said she always reads my blog, then assured me that I’d hit one million in no time.

I couldn’t help but smile when I read that. Why? Because WordPress Site Stats started monitoring views back in February, 2011 and I finally reached 15,000 views in November, 2012. At that pace, it’ll be many, many years before I can even start sniffing the nether regions of a million.

A few days ago, I decided to look for some new plugins to add to the blog. That’s how I found the “Share this” buttons that are at the bottom of each entry, so maybe I’d find something else interesting. I eventually stumbled upon NewStatPress, which keeps track of a lot more than the number of views and top posts and pages.

It shows the most recent hits, search terms, referrals, page views, etc. Basically, it gives me a lot more information. Most of it isn’t necessary. I mean, I don’t really need to know that the last referrer to the site was It’s interesting and amusing, but not necessary.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because of Sunday and Monday. I’ll admit that I’ve never thought this blog was really popular. For the most part, I write it because I enjoy it. That said, I’m not the only person who reads it—my parents occasionally ask me questions—which is why I was disappointed when I looked at the WordPress Stats page and saw zero views on Sunday and two on Monday. Two visitors in two days. *sigh*

Then I clicked on the NewStatPress overview page, thinking that a referrer with a name like would lift my spirits. What I saw first was that the number of visitors on Sunday was 39 and Monday was 41. Eighty visitors instead of two. Let’s see here… 80/2 = 40 x 15,000 WordPress views = 600,000 NewStatPress views. Huh… so that’s what the nether regions of one million smells like.