Archive for the The story behind the story Category

My new excuse for rest

Posted in The story behind the story with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2012 by cwgala

GRIN #430

So I’m doing some work for a client that requires me to learn about the latest forensic technology. Cool, no?

In an effort to better understand some of the equipment, I went on a tour today. To demonstrate the equipment, my fingerprints were taken.

And. They. Suck.

“What are you, a bricklayer?” the technician asked. “These are horrible!”

She might as well have announced I had bad breath.

“What? Why?”

I mean, my prints weren’t matching up with any criminal activity, so good points for that, right? How else could a fingerprint be “bad?”

But I learned something new. Good prints are those with well-defined ridges and minimal scarring and scratches. Bad prints, like mine, are those where the ridges are worn down, so the print is less discernible.

Still, the pads of my fingers couldn’t be THAT bad. “How bad are they?” I asked. “What grade would you give them?”

“Probably about a D-minus.”

A D-minus!! So in addition to wrinkles and flabby knees and all the vanity crap I worry about, I also have horrendous finger pads. What next?

Well. CLEARLY, I’ve been working too hard. That’s what I was told. No worries. The prescription is plenty of rest, my friend. No more scrubbing down the counters and washing pots and pans. Those harsh chemicals I use to clean the shower? No more. Yard work? Fuhgeddaboutit. And cooking. That has to have something to do with my D-minus, although I haven’t quite put my finger on it. (Pun intended).

So, that’s it. I’m off duty.

It will be hard, but I’m nothing if not a beacon of self-improvement.


Thoughts for 2012

Posted in The story behind the story with tags , , , on January 12, 2012 by cwgala

GRIN #429

This ran yesterday in The Cary News. I’ve had a lot of comments on it so I thought I’d display it here too! Thanks for reading:)

Thoughts for the New Year

I turned forty at the end of October, and that milestone combined with the New Year has made me engage in a bit of reflective thinking. Of course, sometimes my reflective thinking results in something profound, but more often than not it simply reveals a truism that folks have been telling me for years but that I, too, finally accept.

Below, a few truisms, at least from my perspective, for 2012:

  • Sometimes good enough is good enough. This applies to dinner, getting the spots out of carpeting, helping with homework, cleaning the shower, getting dressed and any other activity that leaves you feeling you’ll never get it quite right. You won’t, so move on.
  • You are sometimes going to lie to your children. Duh, right? You’d be surprised at how many people are on the bandwagon of not lying to children. Without lying, there’d be no Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny, and your kids would know what you really did as a teenager.
  • If you need caulk and are out of caulk: Use Gingerbread House frosting. This, after spending the morning with a putty knife trying to break free long streaks of frosting from the kitchen floor.
  • Things that are highly overrated: Gingerbread houses, the SAT, corn mazes, ironing, Black Friday and trying to lose that last ten pounds. Regarding the latter, I want to be healthy, but I want to enjoy life too. So if we go out for pizza, I’m not eating a salad.
  • Two things I’m finally smart enough not to do again: Golf and fishing. I’m sorry; this hurts some people, I know. But in the past 20 years those two activities have made me cry, and I wish to high heaven someone had given me fair warning. If you find you must participate in one or both of these activities, just know it’s a whole-day affair and, oh yeah, bring sunscreen and a cooler stuffed with adult beverages. If you only have time to grab one thing, make it the cooler.
  • Parenting well is hard. But not parenting well is even harder in the long run.
  • Learn to say “So what?” To all those “theys” you think are judging you. We think about what people think about us a lot more than they actually do, if that makes sense. Just tell your neurotic self, “So what?” and keep on trucking. Most of us do the best we can.
  • When you get stuff, you just want more stuff. And then your stuff suffocates you. We don’t need more stuff. Go for experiences.

Finally, I just want to enjoy 2012 as much as I can. It’s not a lofty resolution, but it’s a pretty tall order for a worrywart like me. I’m starting to learn I have a lot less control over most events than I initially thought. It’s a paradox that surrendering worry and control is the easiest thing in one way because you don’t have to do anything, but the hardest because you have to give something up—the illusion of being in control. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.

For now, I just want to enjoy the ride.

It’s a bad sign when….

Posted in The story behind the story with tags , , , on September 2, 2010 by cwgala

GRIN # 222

…’re buying your beer for the holiday weekend and the cashier says, “Looks like someone’s having a party!”

Psst. She’s talking to you.

Rudeness! Lady, it was on sale!! Back off!

Here’s to 200!

Posted in The story behind the story with tags , , , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by cwgala

GRIN # 200

I decided today to honor the number 200 in proper fashion. Check it out:

  • 200 is the smallest number which cannot be made prime by changing one of its digits (whatever the hell that means).
  • A 200-million-year-old fossil of a skeleton reptile called the tanytrachelos is now on display in the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. “I thought it should be in New Jersey,” says fossil finder Steven Stelz. “It wasn’t getting enough exposure.” And New Jersey is such a hot tourist spot so that makes sense.
  • Recently divers found a 200-year-old bottle of champagne on a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea–the oldest beverage on record ever consumed. Apparently, it’s fantastic and, corked, would sell for $68,000 a bottle. Why’d ya open it??


Thank you for continuing to read and for all of your comments. Love you guys!!

Guys are so honest

Posted in The story behind the story with tags , , , , , , on August 3, 2010 by cwgala

GRIN # 192

God, Craigslist has a way of sucking you in, doesn’t it?

Posting the tractor tires on there yesterday did the trick–those babies are gone.

But I’m still perusing the Craigslist ads. One girl one was trying to sell her tongue rings—NOOOOO!!!

And check out this one. Guys are so honest.

MEN’S RING $30 (Cary (off 55))

It was around $100 new. I just can’t bear to give it to Goodwill since it looks nice and was $100 from the store.

I have no idea what size it is. I don’t normally wear rings and have no idea how big my fingers are. It looks nice but could probably use a good cleaning.

I’ve had a lot of questions on what it is made from. Sorry. I really have no idea. It was purchased 6 years ago and I haven’t worn it for about 5 years. I just don’t remember. I remember the price because I thought it was cheap of my ex-wife to only spend $100 when the engagement ring I bought her was around $2500.

Hmmm. The guy’s got a point.

What’s YOUR oddest job?

Posted in The story behind the story with tags , , , , on April 21, 2010 by cwgala

GRIN # 87

From a reader: What’s the oddest, funniest or most interesting job you’ve ever had?

I had to go way back for this one.

In the space of a year I went from being Belkie Bear to working at a heavy metal radio station.

The bear bit took place the summer before I went to college. A few things to note if you’re ever tempted to fill this kind of position. First, the costume is hot-flash inducing and it stinks. Second, you’ll scare little children no matter how much you wave your big bear paw around. It’s pretty humbling, actually. I felt like King Kong in, well, King Kong. Finally, you’ll want to find a place you can air yourself out. Periodically I would head outside and pace in front of the store entrance. It looked like Belkie Bear took regular smoke breaks.

Less than a year later, I was working at WKNC 88.1 at NCSU. After making up the weather, I read the news from a wire service. I felt I was well on my way to a fascinating career in the media.  One day, however, the station manager told me it was time to move into a DJ slot. “But I don’t want to,” I told him.

“You have to,” he said. “You can’t read the news forever.”

I couldn’t?

He put me on the 3 to 6 am shift every Saturday night, coming on right after a guy I called “Satanic Jack,” a brooding fellow with nose and tongue piercings who took heavy metal pretty seriously.

WKNC had  a great music library. Although it was a heavy metal radio station at the time, the library housed Eric Clapton, Jane’s Addiction, Nirvana, Tom Petty–all kinds of music. One night during my shift, I decided to pepper the rotation with a few of those groups–in between the regular bouts of Tesla and Metallica–to see if anyone would notice.

They did.

The phones lit up.

Satanic Jack came in to see what the hell was going on.

And I had a lot of explaining to do. No wonder I didn’t end up in broadcasting.


What are your 3 favorites?

Posted in The story behind the story with tags , , on April 13, 2010 by cwgala

GRIN # 79

Talk about depressing!

I was researching a story last night and discovered unemployment in NC is 11.8 percent; 9.6 percent in the Triangle.

Man! We all probably know someone who is looking for employment or worried about their job status.

Stop! This isn’t GRIN-worthy.

Part of my research challenges people to think about the things that make them happy in an effort to discover their authentic selves.

(It’s part of a much bigger picture of people reinventing themselves in a down market).

Anyway, I found this intriguing.

Can you do it? Below, a few rules:

  • You can’t be destructive or obscene;
  • Try to think of  things that are free; if you can’t, stay under $20 (so you can include your coffee!)

I’ll go first. Three things that bring me joy, make me happy:

  • A hot shower: Frankly, a shower is a little like a religious experience for me. Don’t take that the wrong way. I just love a nice, hot shower. Two years ago for my anniversary, I had Jerry weld through the piece in the shower head that conserves water. Go ahead, report me!! It was so worth it. If anyone has a black market shower head from the 80s–the kind that practically knocks your ass down–let me know. I’d pay big money.
  • A good night’s sleep: I’m the same way about sheets as I am showerheads. When I go shopping with my mom and sis and they can’t find me, they always go to the linen department, where I’m lovingly stroking the sheets and checking labels for thread counts. I know; it’s really weird. I love, love, love a good night’s sleep. Who doesn’t?
  • The sun on my face: After a long cold winter, there’s nothing better than feeling the sun on my face as I go out to get the mail or, even better, plop a big old lawn chair in the driveway and settle in with my newspaper. I look like I’m waiting for a bus, but I don’t care!

OKAY. YOUR TURN!! What makes you happy?

The smell of honeysuckles? The sound of rain at night? Fresh coffee brewing?

C’mon people. Let’s imagine our way to GRINS today.