Archive for writers

I’ll have what THOSE writers are having

Posted in So true with tags , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2012 by cwgala

GRIN #428

Have you ever bought a deal from Living Social, Groupon or Twongo?

Of course you have! Those deals are everywhere. I’m addicted to them, although my secret fear is they’re all going to go out of business (because, really, how does anyone make any money?) and I’ll be left with a vouchers for steak knives, teeth whitening and carpet cleaning.

Anyway, the writers of these deals have their hands full trying to entice customers with a snappy sales pitch that jumps right off the page.

Most of the time they succeed.

But sometimes they get a little punchy. If you have to write too many things, too fast and everything is expected to be clever and fabulous, you’re eventually going to start sounding like you’ve fallen down Alice’s rabbit hole or found some really good drugs.

Keep an eye out and you’ll see what I mean. I have fun trying to guess what they’re selling before reading more.

A few examples, coincidentally, or not, all from Groupon:

  • Neglected cars try to escape their owners by parking in tow zones or running away from their garages to join the demolition derby. Keep custody of your car with today’s Groupon to Neo Automotive. Uhhh, obedience lessons for your vehicle? 
  • America has always been the most extreme country, from the Boston Tea Punchings to having the first man swear on the moon. We hold this shredding guitar solo to be self-evident with today’s deal to the.…. No idea on this one.  Any guesses?
  • Last one: Unlike serpents, humans can’t subsist solely on their own tails. Consume endless dinners with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get buffet-style cuisine for two people during lunch or dinner at Golden Corral. Okay. I gave that one away, but I can’t get over the visual of humans subsisting on their own tails. Probably not quite the branding Golden Corral had in mind: “Come on in to the food trough, folks, and eat your ass off.”

Bored? Chase down a mail truck

Posted in Mars and Venus with tags , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by cwgala

GRIN # 370

Greetings, readers!

I’ve missed you, but, alas, I’ve been busy throwing things out there to see what sticks. That’s what writers have to do from time to time, and I haven’t done it in a while.

Sent out a book proposal to ten agents and already received two rejections–within ten minutes of sending. Like the guy being tried for murder, no one wants a verdict that quickly.

But I do get to teach an SAT essay prep class at the Apex Community Center from May through August, so that was a win. My final Chicken Soup for the Soul book (New Moms) came yesterday, too, and I never get tired of opening a box of books with one of my stories inside, but that resulted from an effort six to eight months ago so it’s time to get cracking again.

So I was working this morning when the mail lady came. I could see her in her truck from my office window. She was writing something.  When she left I immediately went to the box. I am like an old man that way.

It was one of those orange slips you have to take to the post office to retrieve a package.

I handed it to Jerry. “I don’t know why she didn’t just knock,” I said. “I was sitting right here.”

“Those are my shoes!” Jerry yelled, looking at the slip. “The shoes I wanted to wear today!”

Now, before you go thinking Jerry’s all effeminate and particular with footwear, I should mention these are some kind of special cycling shoes. I really don’t know much more than that, but he’s been waiting on them for weeks.

“Well, maybe you can catch her,” I suggested, settling back into my office chair.

He thrust the slip back at me. “Just sign this and go!”

“What?! Why me? I’m not chasing down the mail lady,” I said.

“Look at me! I can’t do it!”

He did have a point. He was partially naked in only a pair of bibs–more cycling stuff. It’s made completely of spandex and looks like a kinky pair of overalls. His chest hair looked like a lush bathmat in between the spandex straps.

“I am the best freakin’ wife ever!!!” I yelled, grabbing my keys.

And, God, what a wonderful parting line. I loved yelling that. But as I was yelling, Jerry opened a package that the mail lady DID put in the box. In it, the computer software he purchased so he could continually update my website.

He smiled triumphantly, holding up the box. “And I am the best husband ever!”

Damn! This had so been working in my favor.

So I tried to catch the mail lady. I traced what I thought was her route, went to the post office and even drove through the back lot, eye-balling all the carriers just finishing up for the day. On the way home I spotted a mail truck and gunned it, riding up next to it to catch a glimpse of the driver. Not my lady.

I never did find her. Which is probably a good thing. It’s probably illegal to chase down a mail truck; there’s a good chance I would have been maced.

But can you imagine the bonus points I would have scored had I returned with the package?

I guess that’s one more for the “loss” column.

A bead in the nose and more camp fun

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , , on August 12, 2010 by cwgala

GRIN #201

As a writer I like to support other writers.

I’ve featured writer and colleague Dan Bain on GRIN before. His writing is dry, witty, cynical and really funny. He’s the guy you hope sits next to you when you’re stuck in the back of the auditorium at a mandatory PTA meeting. Or forced to go to remedial driving class so those points won’t go on your insurance. You get the point.

Below, an excerpt from his new book “A Nay for Effort” Lessons from the School of Life.

The only thing more traumatic than the first day of school is the first day of camp. Kindergarten offered experienced teachers and an established curriculum; camp offers teenagers and water sports. A little too “Friday the 13th” for my comfort level, but I’m sure my son will be fine if he lasts through lunchtime without incident.

My microwave pizza has 21 seconds left when the phone rings.

“Mr. Bain, your son has a bead stuck up his nose.”

“I’m sorry–a bead?”

“For participation and character traits. Some kids put them on a string; yours put it up his nose. It’s a standard craft bead–9mm.”

“Like the gun?”

“Just the bullet.”

“I feel much better.”

“Don’t panic; this happens frequently.”

“I’ll be right there.”

“I drive like a bullet myself, park in the loading zone and sprint to the counselor’s office. She hands me a flashlight and says if I shine it straight up his nostril, I can see the offending bead.

“Which one?” I ask.

“Aquamarine. It’s for group swim.”

“No, no, no–which nostril?”

“Oh! The right.”

I shine, look and see nothing. Having tapped my medical expertise, we head for the pediatrician.

The doctor suggests several drops of antihistamine directly up the nose; my son looks at the dropper and protests that he hates having things like that shoved up his nostril. We revel in the irony for a moment before returning to the task at hand.

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