Reading Habits – Chapter One – Gag Me With A Spoon…

Judy and I have, generally, the same taste in fiction. We both like Clive Cussler, David Baldacci, Preston and Child and Richard Castle.

Judy, however, also seems to have other literary tastes, previously unknown to me. To wit, “Chick books” (like chick flicks, only on paper), and she has just introduced me to Nicholas Sparks (author of such man-books as “The Notebook”, “At First Sight”, and now “Safe Haven”.). 

She is excited about this book and, in a doomed to fail effort to share her enthusiasm and recruit a new fan for the genre, she decided to read me a passage from “Safe Haven”.

Tragically, this is the quote with which she attempted to woo me…

“As day faded into night, she loved watching the sky turning from blue to gray to orange and yellow at the western rim of the world. At sunset, the water sparkled and sail boats heeled in the breeze. The needles on the pine trees seemed to shimmer. As soon as the sun dropped below the horizon, Ivan turned on the propane gas heaters and the coils began to glow like jack-o’-lanterns.”

But I’m a fair kind of guy, and I have decided to go against my usual writing habits and give it a shot on my own. Who knows – I could end up writing romance novels after I retire…

Anyway, here goes…

“Roses always made her cry, or rather, softly weep, tears of emotion turned to substance that emanated from the deep turquoise-blue pools that were, are and forever will be, her eyes; perfectly situated somewhere near the middle of the excruciatingly  nearly perfect rectangular orb that she referred to as her ‘face.'”

Hmmm… I’m thinking that’s not bad. I think I may be onto something here. I wonder what comes next…

“As each drop of the salty fluid fell toward the Earth, only to have its descent cruelly and prematurely halted as it struck her precisely cut slice of lemon meringue pie, it became progressively clearer to her that all of the roses in the world could not change the fact that she had ordered, not lemon meringue, but banana cream pie.” 


Opening Scenes In Books I Will Never Write – Chapter Two: “Mondays In Tazania”

Tazania… (Pronounced Tuh-zaaay-nee-uh)

It was a Monday…. It was raining, and that should have been the first indication that it was going to be a lousy day…. It’s always raining in Tazania… hot, tropical, steamy rain that makes your clothes stick to your skin like they were dunked in warm maple syrup before you put them on in the morning… and makes the scum on your exposed flesh build up so thick you could scrape it off with your finger nail the way you would scrape a layer of butter off a cube with a butter knife… every day of the week…. Except Mondays…

It always snows on Mondays…

Mondays can always be counted on to provide a cooling, comforting respite from the muggy conditions of the other six days of the week…. Oh, the snow wouldn’t last more than overnight, that’s for sure…. White, cool, powdery all day on Monday, only to have its pristine brightness metamorphose into a murky, lukewarm mess with the always timely arrival of Tuesday… and the rain… and the heat… and the ever-present mud that saturates and mixes with the pure, white, cold powder and turns it into a putrid, brown slush – precisely like what happened to my heart when she walked out on me… on that hot, steamy, rainy Monday… in Tazania…

(From Chapter 17 of my bio. But I thought it would be a good addition to the category…)

OK GO: This Too Shall Pass – Rube Goldberg Machine version

This has to be one of the greatest Rube Goldberg Machines ever created.. I don’t often put other people’s work up here, but every now and then something so great comes along that I have to do it.. This is one of those times..


And as an added extra bonus today only – if you watch in the next 15 minutes – the Notra Dame Marching Band version…


Please Move The Deer Crossing

This audio clip from Y94 Playhouse Fargo, ND radio station was too funny to not find a way for more people to hear it so thus, this video. A lady asks for help getting deer crossing signs moved to lower traffic areas. “The government can guide deer to lower traffic areas” ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! Kudos to Y94 Playhouse and Donna for the joy that you have been given many through laughter.

Opening Scenes In Books I Will Never Write – Chapter One: “Blind Date”

Having never met, we approached each other at the previously arranged meeting place. We stood there, looking at each other… I, deeply struck by the loveliness of her face; she, with a look that said “There is some sort of mucous-like product occupying the interior of one or more of your nostrils.”

With one lithe motion of her hand, she reached into her purse and withdrew one of those ‘personal’ packs of facial tissue, extracted three of the finely milled sheets, held them out in my direction and spoke her first words to me, “Here… You really, really need these… All of them… In fact, keep the whole pack…”

Then, with no further comment, she turned and walked away.

Thus began, and ended, my first foray into the world of “online dating”…

About Me…

We have this new thing at work called “Chatter”, through It’s a lot like Facebook, only it’s restricted to the company. And, since we get to play on it during work hours, we also get paid to do so. 

I have just completed my “About me” section, and I thought you might like to know more “about me”… 

Started with the company formerly known as Hypercom on May 15, 2000. Prior to that, I was with National Bankcard Association (DBA Electronic Processing) in San Diego for 14 years.

I like quiet evenings, long walks on the beach or hiking in Yosemite Valley, soft music, and enjoying romantic evenings sipping Carnation Instant Breakfast through a straw while lying in a medically induced stupor in a hospital bed.

And I have grey hair.

And almost no sense of humor whatsoever.

I am starting a pool for those who want to take a guess how long it will be before I am asked to change my profile…

Some of the things on my (non) Bucket list…

Many people have a “Bucket List” – a list of things they want to do or accomplish before they die. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that – there are things I want to get done before I go, too. First and foremost, I want to live to be 100 years old.

I have a different perspective. There are certain things I do NOT want to do before I die, and I have a good reason (in my opinion) for for not wanting to do them. The fact is that I don’t want to do them precisely because they might actually kill me.

Let me explain my thought process, here…

Let’s say that there are Four things that I would like to do:

  1. Be swallowed whole by a whale, excavate my way through the entire length of his body using only a tooth brush, when I get to the very tip of his tail, make a small incision (excision?), let myself out, swim to the surface and back to shore – all on one breath. 
  2. Stow away in the wheel well of the Space shuttle just before the final lift off, wearing only my socks and a parachute and carrying only a screw driver, a harmonica and a roll of duct tape, wait until half way through the 27th orbit around the Earth, use the screw driver to open the wheel well, drop out and sky dive back to Earth playing “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round The Mountain When She Comes” – all on one breath.
  3. Hike up Half Dome 11 times. All on one breath.
  4. Survive long enough to get all three done.

Here’s the rub… If I attempt any of these things I could die in the process. If I die in the process of accomplishing any of these things, I would be prevented from accomplishing the other three things on the list. Hence, I would fail to accomplish at least two of my goals. 

I know what you’re thinking, here: “Well, what if you don’t actually die until you attempt thing #3? You would still have met two of your goals.” 

An almost valid point you have there. The problem is that goal #4 would not have been met. That fact alone makes your point almost valid, but not completely valid. Aside from that, “Seriously?”. 

There are many things I don’t want to do in my life (for the reason listed a couple of paragraphs north of here). In fact, I add to my list daily, and it won’t be very long before that list is infinitely long.  

The problem is that I only have so much time to not do each of these things, and if my primary goal of living to be 100 years old is met, I only have another 39 years to squeeze in all of that non-accomplishment. 

And that’s only half of my dilemma!

Here’s the other half…

If I put too much emphasis on  not doing the things that I don’t want to do, I won’t have time to do the things I DO want to do!

I have come to the point in my life where, if I am ever not going to do some of this stuff, I had better hurry up and not do it now, before it’s too late and it’s done before I know it. 

As an illustration of the types of things that I am currently working my butt off not to do, I am including this video presentation.

* Disclaimer: While there are some things in here that I might possibly try, anything that involves snow, water, sky, cliffs, bicycles, speeding cars, rails of any sort; or anything that would take my feet off the ground, turn me upside down, inside out or does not involve a basketball hoop is out of the question. So don’t ask.

The ActionMe: The Story of Man of Action Breaks World Speed Record In Half Dome Climb – Verse 3.5

Starting Off On The Right Foot

…During my 13 weeks in bootcamp, I learned such rudimentary life skills as how to fold my underwear, how to guard a clothesline and (for our purposes, here) how to start walking in the correct manner.

Not that I didn’t learn anything else – I did. For one thing, I had a lot of instruction in Language skills, which I never really put to the intended use, but if I ever need them I have them right here in the back of my mind.

For these, and other lessons, I wish to thank my company commander, William F. Pospissil, BM1, USN.

You can imagine my mother’s surprise when, upon my return from San Diego, I not only explained that she had been folding my underwear errantly for the entire previous 19 years of my life, but provided her an educational and exacting demonstration of the proper way of doing so.

Unfortunately, we had no clothesline (or rifle) with which to provide proper instruction, so I was forced to forego that favor. 

Additionally, I figured she had already been walking incorrectly for 40 years and it was probably too late to help her with that, so I let that one go, too.

And I sure as hell didn’t try to help her with her language skills…

So why am I telling you all this? So that I can pick up where I left off on the right foot. 

“…And so we did…”

With all the confidence I gained in boot camp  (in my ability to begin a journey correctly), I lifted my leg, extended it forward about 2 feet, pushed off with my opposing foot and, in true military fashion, started the hike that would change my life forever…

Left foot first…


If you think you can stomach it, you can click here to go to the beginning…

Click here to go to the next episode…

Tales Of The Golden Xylophone

Like many people, Judy and I have several email addresses. We learned to do that a long time ago so that we could have a place to point all the spam that might come our way. If you have an email account, you know of which I speak.

Additionally, like many people, we each have our own cellular telephone, and most of our family and friends who would like to call us have our numbers so they can get us at any time they want. (If you don’t have our phone numbers, and you are a friend or relative, or would like to be, just ask us for them and we’ll give them to you.)

Also, like many people, we have a phone in our house. Just one. In a 3,000 square foot house. One phone. Really. It’s conveniently located on the breakfast bar, and as long as you are not at one end of the house or the other, you can usually get there before the fourth ring. If you can hear it. And if you want to. Usually, we don’t want to…

Why don’t we want to? Because it’s our “spam” phone. 95% of the calls that come in on that phone are “junk mail”. Maybe more. So if you call us on that phone, you will most likely go to voice mail. And if you are not a spam caller, you will leave a message and we will return your call at some point. (Yes, we are on the national do not call list.)

I say “at some point” because we don’t regularly check that number for messages – probably once a week, and usually not on the same day of the week. 

On the rare occasion that I do pick up the phone, I am not disappointed. Ever. You can always tell what’s coming when you pick up the phone and say “Hello”. A second or two of dead silence and then “Hello! Is William or Judith Kammerer available?”

Often I will say “He’s my dad and he’s not here.” This, strictly speaking, is not a lie – it’s good to be a Jr..

But sometimes, depending on the time of day, what my mood is and what I’m in the middle of, I will just own up to it and say “speaking.” This has led to several interesting conversations – some of which I wish I could have recorded.

Last night was just such an event…

Ring… Ring… Ring… R-

Hesitantly, “Hello.”

The expected two seconds of nothing, followed by Hello! Is this William Kammerer?”

I think “Why did I pick up the phone? Should I admit to being me? Am I doing anything right now that I’m particularly excited about doing? Maybe this will be fun?”

I decide that I can spare a minute to see if this is might, at least, be entertaining. I respond in the affirmative.

“Sigh… Yyeess, this is William Kammerer.”

“Mr. Kammerer, I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected, along with forty-four other people in the Coarsegold area, to receive a free Golden Xylophone!”

I’m not sure I heard the man right…

“What?!,” incredulously, “A free what?”

“A free Golden Xylophone,” came the confirmation.

“A xylo – a xylophone?”

“A Golden Xylophone!”

I can’t think of anything to say… I’m completely speechless, though I marvel at this man’s ability to keep a straight “face” saying this because I’m starting to begin to lose my composure.

After a brief moment (the shortest measurement of time, by the way), he continues, “Where would you like to have your xylophone shipped, Mr. Kammerer?”

I’m thinking “Seriously? Maybe this is real and the guy needs a break. He sounds serious. Why isn’t he breaking up laughing right now? How long can I go without cracking up? This has to be a joke.”

I finally answer, “Who is this really?”

“Mr. Kammerer, I represent Xylocorp.”

Have you ever had the giggles and couldn’t stop? No matter how inappropriate the situation? Like at a funeral? This is me, at this point of the conversation – really trying not to laugh and only able to smother it to the point of mild snickers.

“Well, I –  snicker – really don’t need – snicker – another xylophone right now. I have too many laying around the house as it is.”

He lets go a sigh and, with great disappointment, says “You’re the fourteenth  person to say that in the last hour…”

At this point I can’t hold it in any longer and, hurt his feelings or not, I completely fall apart and bust up laughing! 

And at THIS point, he can’t hold it in any longer either and he busts up laughing!

Waaaaiiiitttt a minute…  I recognize this laugh…  

They say that insanity is genetic – you inherit it from your kids. Well, people sometimes wonder where I get my sense of humor… I inherited it from my kids..

All of my kids have a great sense of humor, but one has always stood out among the many… Steve really should be a stand up comedian – seriously.. I cannot tell you how many tears of laughter he has caused the whole family over the past twenty-six years! The kid is hilarious! The best part is that he makes it up as he goes along – some people think I’m good at that, but I’m a complete downer compared to this guy.

In our family, you just have to mention the word “Bustafoo” or the name “Super Water Bottle Rocket Man” and his side-kick “Super Water Baby Bottle Rocket Boy” to elicit a complete tailspin into total chaotic writhing on the floor laughter.


So, Steve, thanks for the laugh last night, all night, this morning and up to and including right now..  




Directions to J and D’s house

  1. Drive to San Jose
  2. Pick an Almaden Exit and take it
  3. Drive .3 miles
  4. Turn right on Almaden and drive .2 miles
  5. Turn left at Almaden and drive .1 miles
  6. Turn left on Almaden and drive .2 miles
  7. Recalculating
  8. Turn left on Almaden and drive .6 miles
  9. Turn right on Almaden and drive 12.9 miles
  10. Turn right on Almaden and drive .4 miles
  11. Recalculating
  12. Turn right on Almaden and drive .1 miles
  13. Turn right on Almaden and drive .1 miles
  14. Turn right on Almaden and drive .1 miles
  15. Recalculating
  16. Drive 7.6 miles and turn left on Almaden
  17. Drive .1 miles, turn right on Almaden and turn left on Almaden
  18. Arrive at some destination on left on Almaden

J and D live on Lanewood…

Oh Christmas Tree…

You may be wondering why I am writing on this topic today, it being February 13th, and all. After all, it is still about 10.5 months before Christmas, isn’t it?

No, actually, it’s about 1.5 months AFTER Christmas…

This past Christmas, we, like most Americans, put up a Christmas tree. There is nothing unusual about this – we, like most Americans, do this every year and have done so since the year we were born.

Each year we put it up, decorate it beautifully, throw presents beneath it on Christmas Eve and take it down after the Christmas Season (which actually ends in early January, about the 8th).

Nothing changed this year in that regard… But…

Something did change this time around, and it has caused us some confusion…

For the last very many years, we have had an artificial Christmas Tree.. Not that we don’t like real trees, but it seemed like a good idea at the time we bought it very many years ago.

Why did we buy an artificial tree?

  • We got tired of needles falling off and getting into the carpet.
  • And everywhere else.
  • We thought it would be easy to just keep it in the garage all year round and throw it together at Christmas time, thereby saving us the hassle of going out and looking for ‘just the right one’ every year. (I don’t have a problem picking one out – it’s usually in the first group of one that I look at. However, I seem to be in the minority in that regard, with Judy being the majority.)
  • It would save us money in the long run because it would pay for itself after a few years (about ten of them as it turns out).
  • It came with one thousand, six hundred lights already attached, so it would save time stringing them ourselves.
    • Also saving me from possible electrocution, and/or having to go to confession for using The Lord’s name in vain. Before the fake tree, I always waited to go to confession until after the erection of the tree.
    • This meant that we had to put the tree up quite early in the season. And this may explain the dry needles all over the place.

This (last) year, however, we decided to go au natural in the tree department. This was a multi-faceted decision based on several things.

  • First, the fact that it really wasn’t so easy to put the thing together. In reality, it was a long arduous process, and it always led to multiple cuts, scratches and abrasions on unprotected hands, arms and faces due to the requirement for shaping the hundreds of branches. Assembly required gloves, long sleeve shirts, goggles, etc.
    • This job is dangerous. Naked people need not apply.
  • Another factor in the decision was storage of the tree after Christmas. The same hazards listed above combined with the fact that every year, the Christmas Tree box seemed to get just a little bit smaller. This, of course, made it just a little bit more difficult to restore the tree to it’s natural state of hibernation in the off season.
  • Finally, also helping the decision along was the fact that the tree (and all of our decorations) was stored in the garage, and the garage went when the house burned down. One of the MANY mixed blessings that the fire provided…

OK – so we got a real tree this year. It was GREAT! It smelled like a tree! And decorating it was actually kinda fun! All who saw it loved it, especially Judy and me. We had a slight challenge in that Max seemed to acquire a taste for pine needles, but other than that, it was good.

Until it came time to take it down…

Removing the decorations was easy, figuring out what to do with the thing was not… We have been trying to figure out what to do with the now dead tree – we don’t think we’re supposed to just put it out with the trash… We are attempting find that out but haven’t yet received an answer.

At least we got it out of the house. It’s right outside our back door and Judy thinks it looks out of place…

I, on the other hand, think it goes well the the natural surroundings, don’t you?