A post a day will probably kill me, but you have to die of something

Calendar on keyboard

I’ve decided to write a blog post every day in October. I do not promise they will be long. I do not promise they will be good. But they will be here. Every day.

I haven’t been writing much lately and I think this is bad for me. A lack of self-reflection is like going outside without looking in the mirror. You’re kind of a mess and don’t even realize it. Actually, I don’t think I’m a mess, but I do think I’ve been stagnant lately. If I were a character in a television drama I think the show runner would write me out or kill me off because my character was going nowhere.

I would prefer to go somewhere. And I really don’t want to be killed off.

Just by writing this first entry of the month, I’ve typed and deleted several paragraphs about how I feel about all sorts of things. It makes my brain hurt in that good way my muscles feel like after a long run. That’s when I realized, “Oh, right, I used to think about stuff.” I used to exercise my brain by writing blog entries. I still think about stuff, but it’s different writing those thoughts out. It makes you look at your thoughts more closely, like sketching a portrait of a person forces you to examine every pore on their face.

I stopped writing about stuff here for a variety of reasons, be it boredom, lack of focus, mean people, or just plain lack of time. Now that I work for myself it’s easy to get distracted by all the madness of running my own business. I do feel like a phony introducing myself to people as a writer when I haven’t been writing anything other than emails and tweets. I have a big list of blog ideas that I’ve never bothered to convert from thoughts into actual posts, so I figure blogging is as good as anything. I don’t know if returning to my past to figure out my future is the way to go, but it is *a* way to go. And going is better than staying.

So here we go!

The Art-o-Mat: Better than a pack of cigarettes

I visited my dad in Frostburg, Maryland this weekend. I didn’t see any frost, but I did see the Art-o-Mat, which is way cooler than frozen precipitation you have to scrape off your windshield.

Art-o-Mat

The Art-o-Mat was actually in Cumberland, Maryland at the Saville Gallery which we discovered while exploring downtown. It looks like a cigarette machine because it used to be a cigarette machine, if you’re old enough like me to remember them. I’ve never smoked, but when I was a kid I loved yanking on the knobs of these machines and no doubt annoying any adult within a 10-yard radius. Underage smoking laws probably caused their downfall because stores had to move cigarettes behind the counter. Back in 1997 Clark Whittington got the idea to convert the old machines into art dispensaries. For five dollars you can buy a coin to purchase one of the boxes inside the machine.

Fancy money

Everything comes in a cigarette-sized box, and you never know exactly what you’ll get. Hundreds of artists from around the world create art for the machines, which are now in over 90 locations. You can see if there’s one near you on this map. I wasn’t that surprised to learn there is an Art-o-Mat in my liberal college town, Chapel Hill, but I was surprised to learn that it is located at Carrburritos, a Mexican restaurant. Ok, technically Carrburritos is located in Carrboro, hence the name, but the two towns blend into each other and you only know you’ve entered Carrboro once you see chickens in someone’s front yard.

Capacitor Dude

It was tough to decide what item to get from the Art-o-Mat because I didn’t quite know what it would dispense, which is half the fun. When I was a kid, my mom would sometimes let me put a quarter in a vending machine at the grocery store that dispensed little plastic toys in a little plastic bubbles. Although you may or may not be happy with what you got, the coin was really paying for the anticipation and surprise, not the toy. That experience was better than any cheap neon plastic dinosaur. It was like gambling…for children! And all you lost was a quarter, not your mortgage payment.

Capacitor Dude

I decided to get the Capacitor Dude, and was delighted when I found a tiny robot man inside made of capacitors scrounged from circuit boards. According to the note card inside, if I hang him by my computer he will protect me from computer crashes. He’d make a cute charm for a necklace too, which is what I am more likely to do. The little robot man was created by Dewitt Young. I know you are totally jealous of my little dude, but don’t turn green with envy, just check out their Etsy store for charms, earrings and more.

My father’s girlfriend also took a whirl at the machine (and paid for my token, too, thanks!). She got a cute earthenware keychain shaped like an olive, where a knot in the red ribbon becomes part of the olive. It was created by Kelly Rush and you can buy one here.

Olive Keychain

I have this urge to go back to the Art-o-Mat and see what other goodies I can glean. Good to know that if I do it in Carrboro I can get a burrito at the same time.

Funny cat video

I was sorting through my old data CDs looking for something else entirely when I found this funny cat video I made way before funny cat videos were popular. I was a true visionary! I created the film for a digital video class I took in college, back when I weighed almost 400 pounds, which is obvious in the video. It’s called “Cat Scratch Fever” and it’s all about what I imagined Officer Krupke would do when I was away. Enjoy!

Get a taste of CHOCOLATE & VICODIN on Migraine.com

The good folks at Migraine.com have posted a tasty little excerpt of my last book, CHOCOLATE & VICODIN, on their site. Read more here.

Look what I found in the trash!

Kitty Condo

My family has a history of dumpster diving. Well, not dumpsters exactly, but we have found some marvelous things in the trash. That’s where my dad found my childhood tinker toys, and later an imitation Stradivarius violin that we sold to buy a piccolo in high school. So when I saw a three-story kitty condo discarded next to the dumpster in my new apartment complex, something in my DNA screamed “Me want!”

My enthusiasm was somewhat dampened when I started dragging this thing across the parking lot and realized it weighed more pounds than I’d like to lose. The dumpster is about 50 yards from my front door, but I had to take several breaks before I got it to the stairwell, where I had to flip it end over ear to the second floor. I felt no need to head to the exercise room after I got this thing inside my place.

Now, before anyone turns me in for kitty endangerment, I was sure to do a treatment of Revolution before the move, so no one is going to catch fleas or heartworms or other nasties from this thing. I also thoroughly vacuumed every nook and cranny of that condo with my neato vacuum attachments. The condo hadn’t actually been thrown in the dumpster either, just left next to it, so it wasn’t smelly or gross.

It was also free, which makes it ten times better than something you have to pay for! It must cost at least one hundred dollars, probably closer to two hundred. And as much as I love Java Bean and Office Krupke, I would never spend two hundred dollars on them unless they were in mortal danger. Plus, every time I see this condo I will be reminded of what a steal it was (almost literally) and how awesome I am for snatching it up. It is already a popular piece of furniture, and has several holes that serve for a good game of whack-a-mole.

The only sad part comes when I wonder why someone would throw out a kitty condo like this. Either 1) they were moving and didn’t want to move something so big and unwieldy or 2) their kitty died, which is such a horrible, sad thought that I’m really pulling to reason #1. Either way, it’s getting good use now. Best thing I’ve found in the trash this year!

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Want second helpings? Devour more entries in the archives.

 
 
Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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