Dear NASA, I Want To Be An Astronaut

Dear NASA,

I noticed that you announced on Facebook that I could apply to be an astronaut. Thank you for letting me know.

 You might reconsider putting that sort of thing on Facebook when you see the quality of the other applicants. Of course, that message did reach your obvious target audience. I suppose that you have to deal with some lower quality Facebook astronaut wannabes to get to a prime candidate like me.

It’s probably best that you get away from that stereotypical young test pilot with a crew cut sort that you’ve been hiring since the sixties. You just don’t know what you’re going to get from them.

No, wait. Actually, I think you do know what you’re going to get from them and it’s boring. I’m certain there are things that are attractive about knowing you’re going to get a measured and reasonable response from a person under pressure. But when the chips are down and the navigation computer is too, is a little bit of freaking out in a space capsule such a bad thing? Read the rest of this entry »

So We’ve Got That Goin’ For Us

It’s been a little tough to get my writing done the past few weeks. Unfortunately, I had to go on vacation with my wife and a lot of my other friends. And of course, I picked up a cold as a souvenir. Then I had to have surgery.

To clarify, I did not have surgery to cure the cold. Everyone knows you starve and/or feed a cold. I had to have surgery to repair a hernia.

I had my goons stand around during the surgery to make sure there was no funny business. (image, public domain)

Yeah, somehow I ended up with a hernia. Two, in fact. See?! Writing is hard work.

I Got A Hernia From Writing, But Anyhow…

I’m a nice guy. There are people who would take issue with that. This isn’t their website, so you’ll have to take my word for it. I am nice.

I also believe that medical folks, especially nurses, are special people worthy of exceptional respect. And it is important to be kind to people who are going to sedate you and poke you with sharp stuff. So when I went to the hospital yesterday for surgery, I was very nice to everyone. Read the rest of this entry »

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I like dogs.

That’s not really controversial. But in today’s world, if you’re going to say something about an individual who is a member of a group, you must establish that you’re not speaking of the group, lest you offend. Dogs are wonderful. They are our friends, protectors, co-workers and companions. They ask for nothing in return but friendship and some of whatever you’re eating. No, really, whatever you’re eating is fine, just ask them.

Come on, how do you not love this dog? Is a parrot going to do this? No. (public domain)

So yeah, I like dogs. And I like how revel in having their heads out of the window when they ride in a car. I’ve considered trying that, if only to understand the attraction. Unfortunately, I’m certain that I’d get distracted and hit my head on a stop sign. Nothing good would come from that.

Now That The Disclaimer Is Done

The other day, I was running around town, enjoying the fall weather with the top down on my car. Someone ahead stopped to make a turn and I found myself in a small pack of traffic. In the back seat of the car ahead of me was a dog.

As we accelerated, the dog’s head popped through the open window. His ears flopped in the wind. He barked at cars in the oncoming lane. He didn’t miss any; each car got its own bark. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ironic Demise Of The Fortune Cookie

It seems to me that starting this discussion by establishing my credentials is important.

I eat a lot of Chinese food. I eat less of it than I would if I worked in a Chinese restaurant, but probably eat more of it than you  do. I consume enough of it that I consider Chinese food part of my personal food pyramid and have declared myself my parents’ only Asian son. Once, a friend and I were discussing where to go for lunch. I suggested Chinese. The response was “nah, I had some the other day”. “The other day?”, I responded, “if you were Chinese you’d eat it every day”. That person is no longer in my life. I don’t need that kind of negativity.

And as a fan of what passes for Chinese food here in the US, it pains me to inform you that the fortune cookie is done. It has jumped the shark.

Perfection. Yeah.

When I was a kid, I looked forward to my fortune cookie after my sweet and sour pork. I’d crack it open to learn a little of what was to come for me. And the cookie would clue me in. It was never very specific, but reading something vaguely positive like “your hard work is paying off” gave me a little extra hope that my fortune and future were looking good.

It doesn’t seem likely. (image by the author)

Two years ago, my fortune read “You shall soon achieve perfection”. And after two years, I can assure you that fortune cookies do not have a grasp on what “soon” means. I thought that perfection was a little ambitious, but it was still one cookie’s vision of my future. That cookie was still in the business of dealing with my fortunes.

But it seems that recently, fortune cookies are not about proclaiming my future. I now tend to get “fortunes” that are more like discussions of the sort of person that I am. Read the rest of this entry »

Thomas, The Resentful Tank Engine

Recently, my wife and I were walking between stores in a shopping center and saw one of those little children’s ride machines you often see outside of stores. Instead of being shaped like a horse, a motorcycle or an airplane, this one appeared to be modeled after the main character of the children’s television series Thomas and Friends –  Thomas, The Tank Engine.

If you’re familiar with Thomas, you’ll note that this train doesn’t look as cheery as the original. In fact, I’d say that this train has some significant attitude problems. There’s no way I’d put my son on this train, and not just because he’s twenty-three years old. 

I stopped to take a picture. Mrs. Omawarisan said “you’re writing about that, aren’t you?”

No, what are YOU lookin' at buddy? I suggest you step off before I derail you (photo by me)

Unibrow. (photo by me)

Yup. I had to write to get the words “Thomas, The Resentful Tank Engine” out of my head. And you’re about to read why I don’t often do fiction…


People say I’m not myself before I get some caffeine. I knew it was a mistake to stop for coffee; I was already running late. But if there was ever a day that I needed to be myself, this was it. I took the chance, grabbed a cup and made it to the train just in time.

Looking back, I wish I’d missed that train. The doors slammed shut just after I stepped aboard and the train darted forward without warning. I wasn’t the only passenger jolted off-balance by the sudden start, but I was the only one who was wearing half of a pumpkin spice latte when he stood back up. Read the rest of this entry »

The Pumpkin Revolution Was Televised

For several years, I have railed against the endless surge of that seasonal decoration, pumpkin, into our food supply. And though some of you have made your support clear, I imagine that you’d understand how I felt I was sort of pissing into the wind.

Let’s pause here and wonder about why “pissing into the wind” is an expression. Sure, it expresses the misery of an effort expended with frustrating results. But I think we can do better than that as a reference. In fact, I think less of someone who would lower himself to saying that phrase. We’ll end the pause here, before either of us consider that last sentence.

My Friend John, Bearer Of Bad News

Thanks, John. I could have lived forever without knowing about this. (photo of my left hand, taken with my right)

Thanks, John. I could have lived forever without knowing about this. (photo of my left hand, taken with my right)

So here I am, tossing my little anti-pumpkin bits up on my small-time humor blog year after year. And year after year pumpkin is appearing in more foods where it doesn’t belong. A great friend told me that pumpkin spaghetti sauce is on the market. I was horrified. My first reaction was “how dare you, sir”. And then I thought “don’t kill this messenger, he’s your friend”. Read the rest of this entry »

Me Versus Pumpkin, A Television Showdown

Over the past few years, I may have expressed the opinion that the over the top reception given the yearly influx of pumpkin flavored food is a little ridiculous. Soon, my thoughts on the matter will reach more people than ever.

Black and white TV, in color (CCbySA2.0 housing works thrift shop)

CBS News contacted me a few days ago and we discussed the pumpkin situation. They were looking for someone who was sick of “the pumpkin thing” to interview. There was some talk about bringing me to New York to do an interview in their studio. I felt like that was pretty silly, but it wasn’t my money, so I was fine with it.

In the end, they asked if I would meet their correspondent in a pumpkin patch. I agreed to do that. Looking back, agreeing to meet strangers on a farm in the middle of nowhere was out-of-the-box for me. You could even call it risky. Is this really a major media outlet wanting to talk to a small-time blogger or is it something worse?

Sure, it could be something worse. But when they asked if I was available on Friday, I decided to chance it. I didn’t have much else to do besides laundry.

And so today, I am off to a farm to be interviewed about pumpkin and its frenzied fans.  Or, perhaps I am meeting strangers at a farm so they can kidnap me. Either way, I’m going to write about it here throughout the day.

I’m going to update this post from my phone to let you know about this silly adventure. Check back periodically to see what’s going on. I’ll post pictures and thoughts as this unfolds. If you’ve got questions, post them in the comment section (you can even sign in with Facebook or Twitter) and I’ll answer you.

If the updates suddenly stop, please contact the authorities. Also, if you could have a bake sale or maybe a dunking booth to raise ransom money, I’d appreciate it.

9:00 – This thing seems pretty silly. With all that’s going on in the world, we’re going to spend time discussing pumpkins on the news.

But what I think will be funny is the comment section when they put this thing online. I’m pretty sure people will lose their minds and rip me up for saying anything bad about pumpkin flavored food. The thing is, what I say doesn’t really matter, does it? I don’t think Starbucks is going to say “that guy thinks this really effective marketing we’re doing is too much, maybe we should stop”. With that in mind, I’m just going to go on and issue my statement on the matter – “Take a breath. It really isn’t a big deal. I’d like to suggest that you take me as seriously as I take me.”

9:45 – I get a call from the producer on the story. “Hey Rob, Michelle is just going to drive herself there. Can you get there early and shoot all the b-roll stuff? I tell him I’m not Rob, but I can be there early. He says “cool, thanks” and hangs up.

A minute later he calls back to ask me if I can get there early, then apparently realizes that I must sound like Rob.

If this is a kidnapping, it isn’t a good one.

So I’m going early. 12, instead of 1:00.

10:00 – Heading out. Getting some gas. OMG, what if they have pumpkin spice gas?! Wouldn’t that be awesome?

I really need a sarcastic font.

When you see this interview, the orange shirt was specifically selected by my wife. Irony is not lost on her. Actually, not much is lost on her.

11:40 – OK, I’m here. Pumpkins grow in the middle of nowhere. How stereotypical. The farmer looks disapproving.

A bunch of pumpkins lounging around in the dirt. Typical.

So I’m here. The camera guys are here. No reporter, no producer.

12:10. Things are happening. The reporter and producer are here. The producer is wearing flip flops. I should have been a producer.

Quiet on the set

12:30 – and we’re done. I’m starving and all they have is pumpkin muffins. I’m going to find food.

Another update to wrap things up when I get home.

3:15 – I’m back. Did you miss me?

So, the interview went well. I had them laughing and had a good time doing this. That said, I reserve the right to freak out and tell you later how things were edited out of context and that I’m pissed off depending on how this thing turns out when they finally show it.

I’m still surprised at the trouble they went to for this interview. This farm is next to nowhere. There were two camera guys wiht a truck load of gear, a producer and a reporter. Most of the time I don’t need that many people to get me talking.

Near the beginning of this post, I referenced how silly it was that we’re going to talk on the news about what I think of pumpkin spice with all the other, mostly awful, stuff going on in the world. As it turns out, I had no idea how right I was.

“Wait”, you say, “you’re right so often, how is this any different?” Well, you’re right, I am correct about things so often that I lose track of the frequency of my correctness. But in this case, it was really weird how close to home I was.

In my phone conversation with the producer this morning, he said the reporter had to do this story and run because she had a story on the evening news tonight. As we were preparing for and wrapping up from the interview, the producer and reporter were talking about this other story that both of them were working on for tonight. It seems that they both were involved in the coverage of the tragic church shooting in Charleston, SC. The producer had actually spoken to the shooter’s friend shortly after the murders…the guy who was arrested by the FBI today. They discussed getting the video from that interview for tonight’s broadcast. So they pulled these people off of the story of a guy who may have saved nine lives by speaking up about what he knew to come talk to me in a pumpkin patch. Very weird.

Anyway, I can see that a lot of you have stopped by to keep up with this today. Thanks much!  If everything stays on schedule, they’ll run my interview on Wednesday during the CBS morning show, between 8 and 9. I imagine that I’ll be able to get a link up here shortly after that. Of course if something big happens, like a volcano erupting, I will probably get moved up to a more prime spot.

But seriously, they took me way out of context.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,775 other followers