Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zoo

R.a.n.t. of day 04/30/15
Zoos are a fun way to see animals you'd never get a chance to see. Milwaukee has an amazing zoo and you could spend all day in. The Milwaukee County Zoo has such a wide variety of animals to see. Lizards, penguins, bats, llamas, lions, tigers, bears. Oh my, the list could go on and on. The problem with the zoo is it's very expensive to maintain. And understandably so. I can only imagine how much it costs to house and feed a single gorilla or elephant, much less an entire zoo.

Obviously, some of the cost is passed on to visitors. Currently, if you want to visit our zoo, it's $14.25 admission for adults, $11.25 for children and a $12.00 fee for parking. The cost for a small family of four is $63.00. And that's just to walk in the door. Coming from a family with five other siblings living in the same house as them, you can imagine how often my father took us as a family. The number starts with the letter Z.

So as not to be completely negative, I have to give thanks to the zoo because it's a beautiful place and they do provide a select number of free days. One day in each month, October - March, is selected. True, it's the coldest months in Wisconsin, but still, it's provided for free. I've been to the zoo several times, normally when I was in school. I'm much older now, and perhaps I should take advantage of either those free days, or stop being a cheap-skate and get to the zoo to see these wonderful, beautiful creations. And while I'm thinking about it, maybe invite my children. I believe the number of times I've taken them begins with the letter Z too.

Some questions for discussion:
What do you like or dislike about zoos?
What's your favourite animal?
What great attractions do you have where you live?

Can you believe this is the end of the A-Z blogging month?
Thanks go out to each and every one of you who have stopped by my little corner of the worlds this month. Yes, I r.a.n.t. a lot, but I hope I accomplished that with warmth and humour.
See you in the funny papers!

(Vote for the rant that annoys you the most on the right side) ------->

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Youtube Ads

Welcome to the J.A.Scott blog. We'll get to our r.a.n.t. for the day, but first a word from our sponsor.
Has this ever happened to you? You are running late for the office when suddenly you remember you forgot to cut your banana slices for the day. So now, instead of running to Starbucks for that much needed coffee, you are spending time cutting up your banana. How annoying. Don't you wish this wasn't a problem? Well now you don't have to! With the new banana slicer, you can slice a banana in 2 seconds flat! Order now and we'll throw in this free bunch of bananas. Act now! Supplies are running low. Get yours today!

R.a.n.t. for day of 04/29/15
I think it is safe to say we've all had the experience of trying to watch a youtube video only to get the 'You can skip this ad in five seconds', message. Now, I won't lie, there have been a few times I've actually watched the entire commercial. Usually it's a trailer or a funny ad. But then the ad is displayed again for the next video. Again, another ad comes up. A continual process, ad nauseam.

True, I understand the need to advertise and make money. But that doesn't mean I have to like it, or be happy that I'm getting these annoying pop-ups, displays and banners. Watching the new Star Wars trailer is great. But watching the new Star Wars trailer 15 times in one morning? Not so great. Now you'll have to excuse me. I have my morning banana to slice.

Questions for discussion:
What's the most ridiculous item you've ever seen advertised?
How many Youtube ads do you watch in a single week?
Is there a favourite commercial you actually like to watch?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xenophobia

R.a.n.t. of day 04/28/15
Xenophobia: (noun) \ˌzen-ə-ˈfō-bē-ə, \ fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.
Essentially, it's a fear based on an unknown, an irrational fear. Irrational because it's targeted at EVERYTHING foreign. I can understand if a person has had a bad experience with another and fear that one person, but is everyone like that? Even odder is when there is no reason (the irrational part), fearing something only because it's different. "They don't eat the same food, that's weird." or "I don't understand what they are saying." - A few phrases used as justification for fear and hatred.

Lets look at this another way. Instead of being xenophobic, how about trying to be a bit more understanding? What? Try to understand someone or something different? Sure, why not? Isn't life all about exploring the unknown? How many television shows do we have focusing on that?

"Space, the final frontier. Our mission to explore this same old world. To seek out life exactly like us. To timidly stay at our own front door." Hmmm, not sure Star Trek would have survived if this were their goal. See the point? Not everyone is going to act, dress or eat the same way we are. There is nothing wrong with that, or anything to be frightened of. If you don't like the way they eat or dress, don't eat or dress like them. But you can still befriend them.

In the city I live, there are many people who are refugees from Myanmar. It would be easy to fear them and have nothing to do with them. They speak a different language and eat different foods. But I've befriended many of them. A few neighbours I have over frequently. They've taught me to make home-made egg rolls. Delicious! We watch movies together, laugh, joke and have a good time. One of my friends makes me laugh because she is pizza obsessed, meanwhile a few others have come over on Karaoke nights to sing. Sure, it can be difficult to understand them at time. But I've been learning to speak their language as they've been learning to speak English. Underneath it all, people are people. There is nothing to be afraid of. Yes, there are some bad people, but there are bad people in whatever culture we are from or there wouldn't be so many prisons and police forces around.

Some questions for discussion:
Do you feel underneath it all, people are the same?
Do you believe we should fear the unknown?
What are some unique foods you've eaten?

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Weighing In

R.a.n.t. for day of 04/27/15
I've talked about J is for Junk food and E is for Exercise in previous rants. Today is 'Weighing In. It's the result of how I did keeping both of those two in mind. I'm currently following Weight Watchers because I need to lose weight. I dread Monday's, because it's weigh-in day. I know it's going to be bad if I had more of J and not enough E.

Sometimes, like this past week, I feel I did poorly. I didn't go to the gym and had doughnuts for breakfast yesterday. My son was visiting, so I took him to the store and let him pick whatever he wanted for breakfast. Sometimes, I try to convince myself into not going. Maybe if I do better this week, how bad I ate won't show up on the scale.

Ironically, I have to be careful when I have a good week. Those weeks I tend to get cocky, I start slacking in my workouts, don't watch what I eat so carefully, and convince myself I deserve it for working so hard. But, I've lost 40 pounds so far, so I'm in the right directing. I need to remember to stay away from emotional eating. 

So now I'm worried and trying to talk myself into getting to my Weight Watcher meeting and admit to myself it'll be bad, then work from there to get back on track. I just need a little motivation, and I can do it. Maybe Motivation should be my M. Or did I do M already?

Some questions for discussion:
Where do you get your motivation from?
How do you distract yourself form emotional eating?
Have you ever followed Weight Watchers or a similar weight loss program?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vacation Disasters

R.a.n.t. of day 04/25/15
Once in a while we all need to get away. Sometimes we need to get away from a stressful job. Other times we may need to get away from the city we are living in. But have you ever had the need to get away from the vacation you are currently on? Growing up, we had one such vacation. My father had just remarried and funds were at a minimum. He did the best he could manage to take us somewhere that Summer. I didn't appreciate it at the time, none of us kids did. At the time we all complained. Following are two shameful excerpts from the journal I was keeping at the time.

K.A.T.Y. Entry: 07-24-02-08-34-89 04
' we have the family, a murky lake, a generator that can only be run for several hours at night, a row boat with a slow leak in it, and hardly any gas left to make it around to the nearest town. So far, the best time here is at night when the generator goes out and all the stars are visible. It looks truly awesome. And last night we had a jolly campfire, well a campfire.'

K.A.T.Y. Entry: 07-28-06-08-25-89 05
'And so this is the last day our family is suppose to be up at this "fun" vacation. Actually everyone wants to leave and are happy we are leaving a day early. I - well I like it here except I hate this drinking water, fun is limited, to many bugs and not any friends here. I was greatly pleased the other day when it began to rain. Also the day before my father took me to a most excellent fishing spot.'

It's interesting to note, though I was complaining in each entry, I also found something positive to talk about. I read those entries now and regret what I wrote. My dad was doing the best he could. The description doesn't even sound that bad. I love star gazing, camp fires, appreciating the wilderness and time alone to read (I was reading the Diary of Anne Frank at the time). So what was I complaining about? Maybe it wasn't so bad after all. Maybe I should have told my father I appreciated the vacation instead of complaining about it. But I never did.

Yes, the vacation was bad. However, the family and I, we still talk about them. We laugh now, more than anything else. Teasing my brother about losing his glasses in the lake from swatting at flies. Or one of the twins sisters stepping into a pile of mud and screaming, thinking she was going to be sucked under. Of course she only lost a shoe. Then the youngest, (age nine at the time), was terrified and screaming because I told him the frog sounds he heard was 'Banjo Joe'. Apparently he thought Banjo Joe was a deranged, axe wielding maniac who was going to kill us in our sleep. Such funny memories. But isn't that what happens years after a bad experience? You laugh it off.  Sometimes that's all you can do to keep from crying.

Some questions for discussion:
Have you ever had a vacation disaster?
What would be your ideal vacation?
Ever laugh at things now that years ago seemed traumatic?
Ever playfully scare a sibling or friend into believing something that wasn't true?

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Under the Dome

R.a.n.t. of day 04/24/15
There is a show on TV called 'Under the Dome'. In this series, the residence of a little town are cut off from the rest of the world by an impenetrable dome. They live, unaware of what's going on around them. That seems to describe so many people today. People walking around in their own little bubble. How do people function like this? Living a life without any consideration for anyone else around them. Ever been in a store and a single person is ambling down the aisle, slow as can be, taking up all the space? You want to is get around them with your shopping trolley, but no! They are in their own world. Not realizing anyone else is around them.

Shockingly, drivers can be this way too. Driving down the street blasting music loud enough to wake the dead. Yes, I get they are enjoying their 'music', but everyone else is 'enjoying' their music too. They either don't realize it, or don't care. And if you lived under a dome, would you care? Most likely, not. Or taking up two lanes on the motorway. What's that about? Under the dome. Remember the B-52's? They have a song called 'Private Idaho'. It's almost the same thing.

Questions for discussion:
What's your best example of living under the dome?
Have you ever watched or read 'Under the Dome'?
Do you feel there are appropriate times to be under the dome?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tea is for T

R.a.n.t. of day 04/23/15
Because I'm frequently accused of being picky, (see my ONION rant), I often go back to foods I've decided I don't like, and try them again. Tea and I have had this relationship for quite awhile. I'm always trying to like tea. I'm not sure why exactly, it's something I've never quite been able to get a handle on. For me, tea tastes like hot water. I also don't like dressing my drinks. Coffee I drink black, so I prepare tea about the same. Camomile, Earl Grey, Oolong, Green Tea, none have ever captured me and held me captive. One friend pointed out I have to like tea if I'm to be a good Anglophile. I don't subscribe to this notice. And yet, here I am, trying tea again this morning as I write this. I feel a little like George Costanza from Seinfeld.

GEORGE: Why do I get pesto? Why do I think I'll like it? I keep trying to like it, like I have to like it.
JERRY: Who said you have to like it?
GEORGE: Everybody likes pesto. You walk into a restaurant, that's all you hear - pesto, pesto, pesto.
JERRY: I don't like pesto.
GEORGE: Where was pesto 10 years ago?

I've been vigilant and I can finally say I've found a tea I like. The 'Heath & Heather' variant found above is amazing. I should probably point out, I picked up the Heath and Heather tea because of the name, flavour and it being English. Blackcurrant flavoured anything is hard to find in Wisconsin so I'll pick up whatever I find and give it a try. Be it preserves, soda or tea. Blackcurrant is a flavour I discovered, and loved, in England. So go figure. Maybe my friend had a point.

Well, that about wraps it up for this rant. I just finished my tea and I could murder a cup of coffee right now.

Some questions for discussion:
Do you like tea?
What's your favourite Seinfeld episode?
Is there anything you hated as a child that you love now?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for Spatula City

R.a.n.t. of day 04/22/15
This place is a joke. Can you believe I actually decided to try this place? The commercials make the store look convenient and friendly to shop in. It's anything but! The staff were rude, the prices inflated and finding the perfect spatula was impossible. Let me explain.

"There is just on place to go for all your spatula needs," says the commercial in a friendly sing-song voice. But when I asked about the double spatted grill flipper I was told they were out of stock. Doesn't sound like all my spatula needs were being met. So much for having a warehouse of spatulas for every occasion.

"Every shape, size and colour." This, at least, is true. You can have any colour spatula, as long as the colour is grey. Other colours of the rainbow seem to escape their notice. And size? I was looking for a spatula for mini-me and guess what? Not sold in ANY store. It was strictly an internet exclusive.

"Where do you go if you want to buy name brand spatulas at a fraction of retail cost?" Not at Spatula City! After not finding my special spatula, I asked to see their Oxo collection. I was informed they were being relocated. The stock-boy was on lunch and I'd have to come back later. So I asked for a Gordon Ramsay brand spatula. Suddenly the sales clerk starts yelling at me! He said I should find it myself or get the BLEEP out of his store.

A giant sign in the window displayed a 'special liquidation sale. Buy nine spatulas, get the tenth one for just one penny'. This is what initially excited me. However when inquiring about this special I was told the special was over and I should have come when it was still in effect. When I asked when that was, he made an excuse and walked away. I think it's a lie. AVOID THIS STORE AT ALL COST!

"Don't forget, they make great Christmas presents." This was on the recent commercial. We ALL heard it, didn't we? Do they ever update their ad spots?

"And what better way to say 'I love you', than with the gift of a spatula", says the commercial. But I'll never forget those hurtful words my wife shouted as she walked out on me. "What's in the box? A SPATULA?!?! STUPID! You're so stupid!" It turns out spatulas are NOT the perfect way to say I love you.

Says president of Spatula City, Sy Greenblum, "I liked their spatulas so much, I bought the company." Well guess what Sy? You can keep your spatulas. I don't want them and I will not shop at your store again. The experience was awful and I was nearly trampled trying to walk in the store once you opened. Ten minutes late, I might add. Ten minutes!

* Late breaking news. I just read this morning, all seven locations are closing their doors for good. So much for their sole spot in the yellow pages; listed under spatulas. Will anyone fill their shoes? I guess we can only wait. And I for one am excited to find out who.

♫ Spatula City. We no longer sell spatulas. And that's all!

Some questions for discussion:
Have you ever been to Spatula City?
What has been your worst shopping experience?
Does anyone use yellow pages any more?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for Raxacoricofallapatorius

R.a.n.t. of day 04/21/15
I have a sneaking suspicion this rant will separate the nerd boys from the girls. It's also unique because it's the one challenge I decided to accept from friends. Towards the end of March, I asked Facebook friends for suggestions to fill out my A-Z list. This was one of the suggestions.

So who or what is Raxacoricofallapatorius? It's a planet in Doctor Who where a family called the Slitheen come from. What I find obnoxious about this alien threat to Earth is how they operate. Somehow, they arrive on Earth unnoticed. Then they kill a rotund individual, skin them and wear their flesh. Kind of like an Edgar suit. (Again, see Men in Black for that reference).

The Slitheen bodies, which are just as annoying to look at, are huge and grotesque and would never actually fit inside the flesh, but they have devices which compress their bodies, allowing them to do so. They then close up the skin with a zipper on the forehead. Over the course of each episode they feature in, they fart continuously and are frequently unzipping the skin to crawl out and attack someone else. It's an annoying creature which I hate to see in my favourite television show. Almost as terrible as the Abzorbalof. But that's another r.a.n.t.

Some questions for discussion:
Do you have a character in a favourite TV show you hate?
Ever ask for suggestions from friends via social media?
Have you ever watched Doctor Who? (Old or new series).

Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Quantum Physics

R.a.n.t. of day 04/20/15
This is one of those things I have very little or no knowledge of. It's a scientific term, I know, and some of my favourite scientists have dabbled in this field. (See my Einstein mug HERE, or my 'Schrödinger's Cat' poem HERE for further proof I do have favourites). My problem is I really don't know what this scientific field is all about or it's usefulness. And that bothers me, mostly because I like to think of myself as intelligent. So to know there is something out there I don't understand, is frustrating.

Quantum Physics isn't the only thing I don't understand obviously, but the point is, when I come across something I don't understand it makes me uncomfortable. Why can't I figure it out? Why, even when I read a paragraph describing what it's about, do I either fall asleep half way through, or zone out? Unlike Will Smith's solution to the problem, I will have to come to grips there are things in this world I will never understand. Women; decaffeinated coffee; drivers who speed around you on the right then get in front of you only to stop and make a left hand turn at the next block. Now I will add quantum physics to the list.

I'd complain more on this subject, but I'm getting brain tired thinking about it. I need a nap.

Some questions for discussion:
What are your thoughts on quantum physics?
Do you believe little Tiffany deserved to die? (See video below).
What things do you have problems understanding?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for Paris

R.a.n.t. for day 04/18/15
Everyone who knows me, knows I love to travel. And it's also widely known, I love to travel to England. Back in 2010 I took my first trip to London. Being so close, I also thought it would be a good idea to travel to Paris. It was right there. But there were a few problems with my trip. First of all, I only planned a day trip. I decided I go and check out a few things, then come back to London, It shouldn't take that much time, should it? So I got up early to take the Chunnel to Paris, very early in the morning. I had a few things I wanted to see, and not enough time to see it. Now comes the bit I've never told anyone about. Did you know I was denied entry into Paris? Well, initially. Well, it was my fault. I left my passport on my bed at the hotel. D'oh! So my ticket was stamped refused. But I was told I could get my passport and take a later train. So I did.

I few hours later, I finally made it into Paris. This was a different world. London seemed so clean to me and yet Paris seemed a bit tarnished. The train station I arrived in was certainly very dirty. It also didn't take long till some young lady came up to me asking what language I spoke. I'm not dumb. I just stepped off the train, not the turnip truck. Still, I answered with English. Her language was broken but she was able to open a small notebook she had and opened it to a page. I had my wallet in my front pocket and made sure to keep tabs on it. Let me assure you, I wasn't robbed. But it was interesting because the booklet was asking me for money because she was 'trapped in Pairs' with no money and looking for a way home. She must have been trapped for a long time because this notebook had the same thing written in many languages. German, Chinese, Dutch, probably even Karen Sgaw. Who knows? Next time I'll say I speak Klingon and see what happens. "naDevvo' yIghoS!"

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. One young lad was offering to sell me tickets for the train at a discount price. Wow, so many people here willing to help and in need in help. Or, just people looking to make money off of tourists. I felt right at home. I'm begged for money at home quite frequently. I guess Paris was trying to make me feel at home. My first stop was the Louvre. I had a crazy notion to run in, see the Mona Lisa and run out. Of course it was packed and took longer to get in than I thought. My run through the museum was almost that, a quick run through. I was now about two hours behind schedule. I had a return train I HAD to make or I would be stranded in Paris. I wouldn't want that to happen, I'd have to start my own little 'trapped' notebook.

After the Louvre I made my way to the Arc de Triomphe, because it was on the way. This was the sort of thing I was probably least interested in seeing. The line wasn't bad, and I actually had a good time. No one begged me for money and two locals saw me taking photos of the place and offered to take my photo for me. Don't worry, they didn't run off with it. Do I look like Chevy Chase? Is this my European Vacation? Not hardly. So I was happy with my stop here. The Eiffel Tower was near enough so I decided to walk the distance. True, it was a bit further than I realized, but the walk was nice and I was greeted by many people. I stopped in a bakery on a side street and the gentleman inside was friendly and courteous. I had always been told French people were rude and hated Americans. I never found this to be true. Not to my face anyway.

Arriving at the Eiffel Tower,  was shocked to realize how long the line was. Three Hours! I looked at my clock and I had just about five hours left in my day. I decided I could do it. So I got in line and waited for three hours. Talk about feeling isolated. Everyone spoke a different language. Two ladies behind me were speaking German, the classroom of kids in front of me seemed to all me French. I didn't think the Eiffel Tower was something French people actually did. I was also entertained by walking merchants, wanting to sell me the Eiffel Tower. Albeit, replicas. I was also approached by some lady who had this notebook of sorts and asked what language I spoke. Want to guess what was written in the book? Either I've been followed or she stole this idea. Or there is a network of people lost in Paris. I see them congregating in a cafe late at night pooling their money together to see if they can finally make it home.
Lost Soul One: "Do we have enough money to make it home?"
Lost Soul Two: "Yes, we had enough money three months ago."
LS1: "Then why are we still here?"
LS2: "Because we are making more money here than back home."

At the end of the day, I made it 'home' safely. It was late at night, but I did it. I saw Paris (at least a portion of it) in one day. I met a lot of new friends, and had many great new experiences. Would I go back? Initially, right after the trip I told myself no. But on reflection, I'd have to say I could be tempted. Because I know what I did wrong. First, I rushed myself. France isn't about rushing. If I wanted to be rushing, I should have gone to Russia. Seriously though, I need to plan another trip. Don't do the touristy things. Because I was enjoying London, especially the days I sat with the people, did non-touristy things. I also know what to expect now. And when I went, I went alone. I need to travel with someone. At the very least, I wouldn't feel like I was isolated.
Photos of my day trip to Paris can be seen HERE.

Some questions for discussion:
Have you ever taken a trip that was disappointing?
What's the longest you've waited in a queue line? What was the queue for?
If you could travel to just one place, all expenses paid. Where would you go?

Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Onions

R.a.n.t. for day 04/17/15
Onions make me cry. Not because I'm cutting into them. I wouldn't be cutting into them. Because I hate them! They always say 'never cry over spilt onions', well I wouldn't cry. I'd laugh gleefully. Onions belong on the floor and I'd step on them and kick them out the door. It's not only the taste that makes me mad. It's that EVERYONE cooks with them. It doesn't matter what they are cooking, they chuck them in. Stew? Add onions, Tacos? Add onions, Sandwich? Add onions. Soup? Add onions. Breakfast cereal? Add onions.

Then, I'm called a 'picky' eater. Really? Since the taste of an onion makes me gag, I'm picky? I can eat almost anything in the world and usually enjoy it. And I've had some weird things, (pigs heart, sheep uterus, fish paste - okay, these are just the exotic things I've had, not that I really like them.) Meats, breads, fruits, vegetables. Yes, I DO like vegetables. I'll eat any side veggie you offer me. Corn, potatoes, beans, spinach, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts. I've eaten and enjoyed them all. So I'm not picky, I just don't like the taste of onions.

Then there are the people who can't believe I don't like onions. They will try and trick me into eating them. As if I have never had them before or know what they taste (or feel) like.
Karen: "So how was dinner?"
Jeffrey Scott: "It was good."
K: "You know there were onions in it."
JS: "Yes, I know, I spit them out. See?"

Or try and serve them to me in a new and unique way, thinking I will suddenly enjoy them.
Pemu: "Jeff, I made fried onions. I know you don't like onions, but try it."
JS: "Wow, this is good." I'm of course, trying to be nice. I always try to be gracious when someone makes me food.
P: "Want another one?"
JS: "No thank you. I don't know if I can finish this one."
P: "But I made these for you."

Yes, I'll try and be nice if I'm at someone's house and they serve me food with onions in it. I won't even mention I don't like onions. I'll just swallow them without chewing. I may not like onions, but I don't want to be rude about it. Oh sure, I've had an onion ring or two in my life. But as I've gotten older, I've found it hard to eat even these. Anyway, let's be honest. An onion ring is no more an onion than a french fry is a potato. It's all breading and grease. There is nothing left, it's been fried away. Like making Guinness brownies and worried you'll make people drunk. (Yes, I have a friend who believed that). Why even this morning I made some Kahlúa coffee. Says right on the package 'non-alcoholic'. Really? There was a chance of alcohol being in a vacuum sealed packet of coffee? But it was goo......

I'm sorry, getting off topic again. Why? Because I hate onions so much, I even hate talking about them. They taste nasty, they are in everything, and they make me cry. If I wanted to cry, I'd listen to the song below. As I believe Telly Savalas once said, "Onions. Don't leave the store with them." Good advice.

Some questions for discussion:
Do you put onions in your cereal?
Should Cadbury come out with chocolate covered onions?
Would you try onion flavoured coffee?
What food(s) do you hate?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Naysayers

R.a.n.t. of day 04/16/15
I don't know about other writers, but I'm passionate about my writing. When I'm working on a story, it's all I think about. Writing is something I would, and have, taken a day off of my day job to do. Still, there have been other times I've wanted to give up. Last year, I did that. But then I kept feeling this burning inside me. I had things to write, and it was killing me. I had to write! So I did. Why do I bring this up? Because I was doubting myself. I was being my own naysayer.

Honestly, I think every writer has at some point, done this. Good thing it seems to be self correcting. If you are a serious writer like myself, a brief hiatus won't stop you from writing. It may be a struggle, but don't give up. Don't be your own naysayer. There will be plenty more out there. You can excuse yourself, but when other people are the naysayers, it's a whole different ball game.

I have a brother-in-law who has always implied my writing is a waste of time and pointless. Any talk of writing and he rolls his eyes, as if I'm doing the dumbest thing in the world with my time. That hurts. I put a lot of time and effort into my writing. Either for others to enjoy or just myself. I have enough self doubt. I fear I'll never be appreciated as a writer. That feeling is intensified when others are negative. So no, I'm not hiding out from people, or being a hermit I'm simply doing what I love and enjoy.

I love writing and my writing. Be it my usual humorous stories or when I write serious pieces such as this. Sorry for there not being many jokes today, but this is a r.a.n.t. I feel strongly about. You can tell me I'm not funny, you can say I'm not attractive, complain about my shyness, but don't tell me writing is stupid and I'm wasting my time. I don't care what you think. Because I love writing, and I'm going to do it. Go be a naysayer somewhere else.

Some questions for discussion:
Have you had to battle naysayers?
How do you keep yourself encouraged?
Have you ever taken a break from your writing or other hobby you enjoy only to return to it?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for Music

R.a.n.t. of day 04/15/15
Why would I r.a.n.t. about music? Maybe because there is not enough time in the day to listen to everything I enjoy. I'm a music chameleon, if there is such a thing. I listen to a lot and there is a vast diversity I listen to and love.

Another reason to r.a.n.t. is because listening to my favourite tunes in the store makes me want to dance. I don't want to dance in the store. People will see me dancing and I'll end up on youtube for sure.

The final reason to dislike music is because I've suddenly become a collector of CD's and I'm quickly running out of room. What's a guy to do? I have so much music in fact, I've created a cheat list of all the albums and artists I own and keep that list on my phone. (Actually I keep it everywhere via dropbox). This has become a necessity when I check out a second hand store and browse their CD's because I'm always forgetting what I already own. There have been a few time I've picked something up, only to realize later I already own it.

So today, in honour of the months A-Z theme. I've decided to list (as many as I can) a selection of the CD's I own in alphabetical order. (One small shelf is seen above in the r.a.n.t. photo). And because it's ABC themed, I've included a song from the Barenaked Ladies at the end of this r.a.n.t. Hope you enjoy.

Adele and Art of Noise
Soundtrack - Armageddon
Favourite Album name - A Users Guide (They Might Be Giants)

Blondie and Billie Piper
Soundtrack - Breakfast Club
Favourite Album Name - Breakfast in America (Supertramp)

Cranberries and Captain & Tennille
Soundtrack - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Favourite Album Name - Call me Irresponsible (Michael Bublé)

David Bowie and Diana Krall
Soundtrack - Doctor Who - 50th Anniversary Collection
Favourite Album Name - Drunken Lullabies (Flogging Molly)

Eagles and Escala
Favourite Album Name - Explosive (Bond)

Fleetwood Mac and Fuse
Soundtrack - Footloose
Favourite Album Name - Fools Fantasy (Martha Berner)

Genesis and Gaelic Storm
Soundtrack - Groundhog Day
Favourite Album Name - Genius Loves Company (Ray Charles)

Huey Lewis and the News and Holly Cole
Soundtrack -Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
Favourite Album Name - Harpers Bazaar (Sarah Marie Mullen)

Ingrid Michaelson and Information Society
Favourite Album Name - In Hi-Fi Stereo (Mindi Abair)

Journey and Jessy J
Soundtrack - Jurrasic Park
Favourite Album Name - Just Push Play (Aerosmith)

Kenny Rogers and Kylie Minogue
Favourite Album Name - Kick (INXS)

Lady Antebellum and Leo Sayer
Soundtrack - Lost Boys
Favourite Album Name - Licensed to Ill (Beastie Boys)

Moody Blues and Marina & the Diamonds
Soundtrack - Men In Black
Favourite Album Name - Money For Nothing (Dire Straits)

No Doubt and Natalie Macmaster
Favourite Album Name - Naked and True (Randy Crawford)

One Republic and Oingo Boingo
Favourite Album Name - Out of the Blue (Debbie Gibson)

P!nk and Pet Shop Boys
Soundtrack - Parenthood (TV Series)
Favourite Album Name - Pocket Full of Kryptonite (Spin Doctors)

Queen and Quiet Riot
Soundtrack - Quantum Leap
Favourite Album Name - Quiet Nights (Diana Krall)

Red Hot Chili Peppers and Run DMC
Soundtrack - Run Lola Run
Favourite Album Name - Return of Bruno (Bruce Willis)

Styx and Spice Girls
Soundtrack - Star Trek: DS9
Favourite Album Name - Saxuality (Candy Dulfer)

Tom Petty and 'Til Tuesday
Soundtrack - Tomb Raider
Favourite Album Name - Two For the Road (Dave Grusin)

U2 and UB40
Soundtrack - UHF
Favourite Album Name - Up Your Alley (Joan Jett)

Van Halen and Vitamin C
Favourite Album Name - Violator (Depeche Mode)

Weezer and Weird Al Yankovic
Soundtrack - Wedding Singer
Favourite Album Name - What Up Dog? (Was Not Was)

Soundtrack - None, but if I found one it would be X-Files
Favourite Album Name - None
(We need more artists starting with X)

Favourite Album Name - You're the One (Paul Simon)

ZZ Top and Zoë Keating

Some questions for discussion:
Do you own any of the above?
What's your favourite album?
Who can name the knick-knacks on my shelf?
Ever been caught dancing or singing to your favourite song?

Lyrics for the Barenaked Ladies - ABC's

Hey Steve, hey Ed, that sounds nice, what is it?
Thank you, it's a, it's an alphabet song I'm working on.
Oh great, a whole new alphabet, I just learned the old one.

A is for aisle, B is for bdellium, C is for czar.
And if you see him would you mind telling him?

Okay, hang on a second, yeah aisle, bdellium?
Yeah, aisle like a, like a theatre, alright, okay and bdellium?
Bdellium, it's a gum like tree resin, it starts with a silent B.
And then czar? Yeah, it's uh like a Russian czar.

You know everybody knows apple, ball and cat.
I wanted to get into some, you know some stranger words.
Right, I see what you're doing.

D is for djinn, E for Euphrates.
F is for fohn, but not like when I call the ladies.

I thought phone started with a P like a P.H.
No, it's F O H N, it's a, it's a kind of wind.
Yeah, I know what you mean by wind.

G for gnarly, I for irk, H is for hour.
J for jalapeños, good in either corn or flour...
tortillas. Let us rhyme.

K is for knick knack, L is for llama.
Pramma, llama, ding, what's so strange about llama?
Llama, it starts with two L's, what's the second one for?
No idea. I know loser.

M for mnemonic, N is for ndomo, O is for ouiga board.
P for pneumonia, pterodactyl and psychosis, Q is for qat.

Okay, Q qat? What? Yeah, it's uh Q A T, it's an evergreen shrub.
It's a perfect scrabble word because it's a Q with no U.
There's not many of those, you have too much time on your hands.

R is for argyle. No it isn't.
Okay, you're right, I couldn't find a good R word.
S is for Saar, a lovely German river.
T for tsunami, a wave that makes me quiver.

U is for urn, but not like earning money.
V for vraisemblance from French and therefore kind of funny.

W for wren, wrinkly and who.
X is for Xian, an ancient Chinese city, true.
Ancient Chinese city, huh? My guitar player, some hotshot.

Y is for yiperite, a very nasty gas.
And zed's the final letter and by final I mean last.

Okay, when you say zed for the benefit of our American friends,
you really mean Z, right?
No, I mean zed, like, like Zed Zed Top, Zed Zed Top?

Yeah, you know the guys with the big long beards.
Well, except the guy whose name is Beard, he has a mustache.
I always thought that was interesting.

You done with the alphabet?
No, extra letters I haven't heard of? I think so.
This was a great help, I think.
With the contribution you made to world literacy.

Well, I'm just saying, kids I'm just saying.
Think outside the box a little bit, box with an R.
Yeah, well, no box with a B A L K S like a pitcher.
Ah, as opposed to B A C H S.

Right, think outside the box, get into some Rochmaninov.
That's Rochmaninov with a W.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for London

R.a.n.t. of day 04/14/15
As most of my friends and family know, I absolutely 'LOVE' London. (There's the word everyone on Facebook thought I was going to use today). If I could, I'd visit London every year. If I could, I'd visit London every week. But unfortunately, I can't. And that's part of my r.a.n.t. for the day. Though I've been to London twice before, I had plans on going again this year. I was developing a plan to do a two day Thames walking tour among other things. Visiting some burbs and checking out a few more places tourists seldom travelled too. Honestly? I'd like to see more of England than just London, but since the word for the day is London, I'll just use that word to imply all of England.

The few times I did do things that you are 'required' to do as a tourist, (See changing of the guards). I didn't have a good time. Everyone back home insisted I see the changing of the guards and I did not want to. But one morning I found myself there walking around and the place was empty. So I thought, as long as I was there, I'd see it. Less than an hour later the place was packed. But having been there so early, I was right up to the gates and took some excellent photos. So that at least made me happy.

It's true, I do touristy stuff from time to time, but I like to get out with the actual people. Go where most visitors don't go. When I visited the BBC studio, the tour guide was delighted and kept me close, asking all sorts of questions about America. You'd think he never met an American before. Same thing when I toured Lords Cricket Ground. The chap there told me he didn't see many Americans and was glad to see someone else taking an interest. Of course he was more dignified than the guy from the beeb.

Sadly, my plans fell through this year, so I'm hoping next year to 'go back home', as I tell people. Find new sites to see, do less touristy things, catch a match at the pub. I may not be able to afford it now, but with a bit more planning this year, I'll make sure next year will be well worth it.

(Scroll through the 'London' tag below to see a selection of photos from my previous trips).

Some questions for discussion:
If you had a free pass right now, where would you travel to?
What's the most interesting place you've visited?
What are your suggestions for sites to see in London?

Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Karaoke

R.a.n.t. of day 04/13/15
Karaoke is one of those things you absolutely love or ultimately hate. For awhile I was in the ultimate hate group. Mostly because I'm a bad singer and have enough problem with my self-image. Singing a horrible song in front of others would only exacerbate my predicament. I remember one night two of my siblings wanted to go out for the night and I decided to go along. They both sang karaoke but I refused. Flash forward a few years and now I have my own karaoke machine set up in my home bar. Not that I feel I sing any better, or have a better self-image, it's because I've come to a few revelations.

First, no one singing karaoke is a professional. If you are a professional singer singing in the bar, you are probably getting paid. (Well, not my bar unless you want to be paid in pretzels and beer). I've mellowed out over the years so I can see it for what it is, a bit of fun. That's my second revelation, it's fun. Though I still hate singing horribly in front of people, I do love to sing. I'm the guy you pull up next to at a red light, singing away to the tunes on the radio. And I won't care if you stare either, I won't stop. Take a photo next time, it'll last longer.

My sisters all love karaoke, so I decided it was time to put one in the bar, as I mentioned. I have many fond memories from my karaoke parties. I've had good singers and bad singers (count me in with the bad), I've had people sing who never sang karaoke before and friends who speak little English. The one time I did have a friend who absolutely refused to sing, I still gave him something to do. It was during my 'random karaoke' game. In this game, I give everyone a ticket with numbers printed on. It's double sided, so they each got half and the other half was tossed into a hat. The friend who refused to sing would draw random numbers out of the hat, he seemed to enjoy that. Everyone else had fun singing the random songs they were assigned.

How to play 'Random Karaoke'. A random karaoke CD is placed in the player. At the start of a new song, a ticket is drawn. Whoever has the corresponding number MUST sing that song. The one time my friend, (the one who didn't want to sing but was persuaded, either by his girlfriend or the beer), was selected for 'Sweet Home Alabama' and didn't have to worry about singing horribly because everyone sang along. There are just some songs, everyone will sing too. Another guy friend's random song was Miley's 'Wrecking Ball'. Craziness, craziness. Well, as I said, fond memories.

Question for discussion:
Have you ever done karaoke?
What songs do you like to sing?
What are your favourite party games?
Can you name the Karaoke song at the top of the page?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for Junk Food

R.a.n.t. of day 04/11/15
As most people who know me, (and those who've been reading this A-Z series), I have weight to lose. In 'E' I explored 'Exercise' and 'H' was 'High Pressure Sales' from joining a gym. Those two r.a.n.t.s talked about the good things I do for myself, but this article shows partially why I need to lose weight. I've gotten much better with not eating junk food over the years, but back when I was married, the wife wanted to shop for groceries on her own and half of what she brought back always seemed to be junk food. Food not healthy, no matter what the package might try and suggest (packed with vitamins and minerals). What more can I say? It's bad food, and it's food I love to eat. Since I'm doing an A-Z list this month, I figured I may as well round out this r.a.n.t. with an A-Z listing of all my food temptations. Food I typically keep out of the house. Out of sight, out of mind, you know. But if it's in the house. Forget it! All bets are off.

A- Alcohol (Okay, this is one I have in my house. I have a fully stoked bar. But it's in the basement).
B- Bacon
C- Cereal
D- Doritoes
E-  Éclairs
F- French Fries
G- Ghiradeli Chocolate
H- Hot Dogs
I- Ice Cream
J- Jelly Bellies, Jelly Babies
K- Krispy Kremes (Yes, I already listed donuts)
L- Lasagne
M- Marshmallow Peeps
N- Nutella
O- Onion Rings (Okay, this is a joke. I hate onions)
P- Pizza
Q- Quisp (A cereal. Yes, another duplicate) :)
R- Raisins covered in chocolate.
S- Sweets of any kind.
T- Twinkies
U- Usually anything not healthy.
V- Vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate, sprinkles, whipped cream and a cherry on top.
W- Wedges of Potatoes
X- Xtra Helpings (Okay, this is a cheat)
Y- Yummy Food
Z- Zingers

Some questions for discussion:
What are your food temptations?
What keeps you motivated?
Is there anything I should have added to the list?

Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for Ink Cartridges

R.a.n.t. for day 04/10/15
When I was a young writer starting out, I didn't have a computer like the ones available today. Computers were expensive and out of my Taco Bell salary price range, which is where I worked during my High School years. Most of my writing was done on a typewriter. (For you kids, a typewriter was a miraculous machine equipped with keys which when pressed printed whatever you typed automatically to a piece of paper. No need to save and print. And the typewriter never 'crashed' losing half a days typing because you were foolish and never saved. Hands up everyone that's happened to.) I didn't mind typing on a typewriter, I actually liked it. And when I got my first one I felt more like a writer than ever before. But the drawback is you can't go back and correct so easily. That's what's nice about typing on a computer. You type away for as long as you want, save the file, print it out, edit, print again, save once more, work on it again, etc. etc.

Working with the computer isn't so bad either, except when it gets to the printing part. It's a process that has begun to anger me greatly and thus resulted in not printing much of my writings lately. If I were smrt I would print out each and every one of my r.a.n.t.s, make a few choice selections and possibly see if they are interesting or humorous enough for publication. But I'm dreaming again because I hate talking about ink cartridges and I'm wandering in my r.a.n.t. again. That's how much talking about ink angers me. Why can I go to the local Office store and pick up a fairly decent all-in-one printer for about $100 and yet when I need to pick up new ink for it, (which seems every other week), I'm shelling out $40 for various cartridges. Even when I try to print only in black, the other colours seem to drain. And can ink really be that expensive? I can only imagine what a gallon of ink would cost.

I've also come to believe ink cartridges are sort of a legal scam. Did you know when most ink cartridges are 'out of ink' they are only partially out of ink? I've come to learn that the printer and ink cartridge are so smrt now, they conspire against you. Whatever printer you have, you can look online for cheats on how to extend the life of your ink cartridge. Most printers have a sensor that scans the ink cartridge for when it is 'low' and flags that it is empty. And then the printer refuses to print. A little trick I learned is to cover the sensor with black electrical tape and suddenly the printer sees it as a full cartridge and I extend the life by almost half. So when the printer says you are low or out of ink, it's lying, it's trying to scam you. And this is one scam artists I can't mess with.

Some questions for discussion:
Have you ever lost a portion of a story or article because you forgot to save?
How is your friendship with ink cartridges?
Did you notice I spelled the word smart wrong both times? That was planned.

Some other related articles:
I learn how to get free gas HERE
I correspond with and mess with an actual scammer HERE

Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for High Pressure Sales

R.a.n.t. of day 04/09/15
Late last year I joined a health club because it was getting colder out and I love to run for my exercise. I had a few friends join with me and soon enough three of my sisters joined the same health club as me. It was refreshing signing up at Planet Fitness. There was no pressure, no drama, just a tour of the facility and told how much it would cost. Then I was left to my own. It was nice deciding on my own if I wanted to join or not. So I joined and I've never been happier.

But then two of my sisters decided to go to a new club. Not long after, I received a phone call from the club letting me know my sister signed me up for a free ten day pass to try the gym out. I was asked to come in, take a tour and sign up for my free pass. Grudgingly, I decided to go check out Xperience Fitness. If my sisters were going there, maybe it was a better place. I had my doubts and really didn't want to go because this place is on the other side of town and Planet Fitness is on the other side of the street. As soon as I walked in the place I was uneasy. But then again I'm that sort of person that is always uneasy in new situations. it wasn't long till a young attractive girl came to get me to tour the place.

Young Attractive Girl: So, what are your fitness goals?
Jeffrey Scott: To lose weight.
YAG: Awesome, how much are you looking to lose?
JS: About 50 pounds.
YAG: No problem, that's an attainable goal.

Then we proceed to tour the place. I'm told how awesome (that word again) the place is. Ten minutes later we are sitting at her desk where I see two boxes of donuts sitting. Kind of odd to see at a gym but I pay it no mind. Now she pulls out a binder and wants to know which plan I want to sign up for.

Jeffrey Scott: I think there is a misunderstanding. I came in to sign up for the ten day pass.
YAG: "Oh," she says. Her face drops and she excuses herself to get her manager. It's another young attractive girl.
AYAG: Hello Mr. Scott. So, what are your fitness goals?
JS: To lose weight.
AYAG: Awesome, how much are you looking to lose?
JS: About 50 pounds.
AYAG: No problem, that's an attainable goal.
(Is their sales pitch really a script?)
AYAG: You realize you won't lose 50 pounds in just 10 days.
(I fight the urge to look shocked and reply WHAT!)
AYAG: It's important to note that people who come in for the 10 day pass, do so and then quit. If this is something you are really dedicated about, you might want to sign up right away. With the incentive of the membership being paid, you'll want to come to the gym more often.
(No I won't I think to myself. I had a membership at Vic Tanny.... errrrr Bally's Total..... errrr Blast Fitness for years and I could go months without the knowledge of me paying for the membership to be an incentive to go).
AYAG: So what do you say? Do you have the motivation to want to join? We have a special that's ending on Monday. After Monday the prices go up. We don't even know how high they could go.

Wow, these are power negotiating tactics. Is Roger Dawson hiding in the gym somewhere? I love Planet Fitness, but they are making some valid points. The price could go up!!! And if I don't join, they may think I don't have enough motivation. So here I am sitting, dealing with high pressure sales and very kindly being persuaded by two young and attractive girls. So, you probably know how this turned out. I mean it's pretty obvious.

JS: Well, to be honest, I belong to a gym already. But when my sister suggested I check this place out, I decided to give it a tray. Just to be fair. I figured if this place is better than where I'm at now, you'll win my business. It's not a question of motivation. Because I've been at Planet Fitness for six months, I've already lost 40 pounds.

Suddenly the supervisor disappeared. Did she take a box of donuts with her? Meanwhile the first YAG fished around in her desk and give me a card that was good for ten days to visit the gym. Before sending me on my way, she persuaded me one last time to not letter the offer that was ending next week (I thought it was Monday) to slip by. She stressed I should make up my mind before then.  Well, I'm happy to report I made up my mind before I got back to my car. I'd tell you what I decided, but I don't have time. I'm off to run a 5K at Planet Fitness. Later Gaters!

Some questions for discussion:
Have you ever experienced high pressure sales? What was it?
How would you have handled this situation?
Every pay for something you end up never using?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Guest Blogging

R.a.n.t. of day 04/08/15
Believe it or not, J.A.Scott is not the first blog I've written for. There is actually a history of how my blog got to where it is now. I mention this because for a time I was writing for two other blogs. One was 'Doctor Who' themed and the other a 'Biggest Loser' theme. Early in 2012 I was invited to guest blog for a friend who wrote for an online Philadelphia newspaper called PhillyBurbs. She also wrote Biggest Loser articles and had a feature called, "Tweets of the Week". The point of the article was to scan twitter for various comments on the current weeks episode of 'Biggest Loser' and chose the ones which best illustrated how the general populace viewed the particular episode. Then snarky replies were provided for the benefit and humour of those reading the article. Jennifer Weilgus, the writer, has a sarcastic wit, much like mine, so I seemed to be the perfect fit. It was a big thrill when she asked if I'd be willing to substitute for her. Though the article on the site has disappeared, I saved a copy of the article I wrote to my own blog. You can find it HERE.

Three years later and I've never guest blogged again, though I wouldn't mind it. Till then, I still love to host my own guest bloggers. I produced an anniversary article two years ago where I invited others to guest blog on one collaborative article. They were each given a small paragraph to write on a specific topic. I.E. Business, Food, Sports or Current affairs. You can find that article HERE. Only one of those guest bloggers has continued to do additional guest work for me. Since then, I've acquired two more who are willing to help out from time to time. Sure, I could skip a week when something comes up in my life and have no time to write. But I hate seeing gaps on my blog, times where nothing is being written. And to be honest, I sometimes make-believe they are staff; hired help. No, they don't get paid. Their reward is knowing something they wrote is being shared on my blog, and I always give them credit. Which to be fair, is all the reward I ever wanted when I guest blogged, once upon a time.

Some questions for discussion:
Would you ever be willing to guest blog?
Have you ever hosted a guest blogger?
Do you believe guest blogging is a good thing or bad thing? Why?

My current 'staff' writers are featured below.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Jenni Long is a writer and editor
of the Canadian children's magazine
'Fille Forte'. That being said, her
thoughts do not necessarily reflect
those of myself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Professor Sanee resides in Italy
and teaches the course 'the
Ethics of Humour' at I.M.A.
She's also author of the book,
"Why Isn't Anyone Laughing?"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Charles Winthrop is a Washington
state writer & D.J. His interests
include music (both modern and
classical) and is a fine art connoisseur.
His articles have appeared in various
magazines including, 'Art Beautiful',
'Music of the Renaissance', and 'The Walla Walla Whistler'.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Friends

R.a.n.t. of day 04/07/15
F is for friends who do stuff together, U is for you and me. N is for any where, any time at all. Right? Okay, so that spells FUN. But the word friend is right in the phraseology. Look. This truly is an accurate description of what friends are. Someone who will do anything at any time with you, and have fun doing it. It doesn't matter the distance or the last time you did something, they are always there for you. Note: There is a distinction between any where, at any time and every where, at every time. So it's good to have friends. What is there to complain about? Why write a r.a.n.t. about friends?

The problem is, sometimes F is for fire that burns down the whole town, U is for Uranium bombs, N is for No survivors. Oddly, sometimes friends start living by this credo. Everything is drama with them, there is always someone they are burning down and no one is saved from their wrath. It can be daunting. These are the same friends who suddenly, and sometimes for no discernible reason, are no longer your friends. I call these Forgotten Friends. As if they forgot they were your friend. It's an odd phenomenon. Suddenly they are no longer there for you. Texts can go unanswered, phone messages will be ignored. A friend of mine recently returned a text I sent them with, "Who is this?" Did they forget who I was? I was shocked. Did they delete my contact? And why did they do so? I replied, "Sorry, I must have the wrong number". I assumed if they were just joking they would let me know, but I never received a text back. I later learned they were indeed joking. Two weeks later! Wow, that makes you feel special. I have a hard time understanding this. I might need help trying to figure this one out.

So, as a special treat today, I decided to call in my good friend Professor Sanee. For those unaware, she is the J.A.Scott Blog resident psychologist and humour expert. Below is a transcript of our Skype chat from last night.

Jeffrey Scott: Good evening Professor.

Professor Sanee: Good evening Mr. Scott.

JS: Tomorrow I'm preparing an article about friendships and how the loss of one can happen. I'd like to get your thoughts.

PS: Yes, I got your email. I've boiled it down to three main reasons. The first is no communication.

JS: Isn't no communication the result of a loss of friendship? (I was actually trying to make a joke).

PS: It would be more precise to say communication has failed completely with the loss of a friendship. But the loss of a friend starts with poor communication. For whatever reason, two friends sometimes talk less and less with each other. The reason for this can be one of two things. The first is misunderstanding.

JS: Who is that?

PS: Who is who?

JS: Miss Understanding. (I laugh at my own joke. She is not amused. For someone with a degree in humour, she sometimes seems like she has no sense of one.)

PS: Not Miss Understanding. Misunderstanding.

JS: Sorry, I misunderstood you.

PS: Did you want me to continue? We can tell each other jokes for the hour if you'd prefer. I know a great one about a deaf horse and a man in a gorilla suit.

JS: Sorry, please continue.

PS: As we've just demonstrated, sometimes misunderstandings occur. Usually, they are pretty small and petty, but sometimes it not or gets blown out of proportion. Unfortunately, ego's get involved and even if one person is ready to be forgiving, some times both are not. If one friend is unable or unwilling to forgive another for a past discretion, the relationship is tarnished. This results in poor communication, resulting in the loss of a friend.

JS: So what's the second reason for a loss of communication?

PS: Change my dear. People change over time. What is first important in a relationship at a young age, is not always important years later. If you find you and your friend are have less and less in common, you talk less and less. And that leads to....

JS: Poor communication?

PS: Correct. Resulting in?

JS: The loss of a friend.

PS: Now you've got it. So those are the three main reasons I've discovered for the loss of a friend. Change of interests, misunderstanding and poor communication.

JS: Well, I appreciate you taking the time to discuss this matter with me. It's always good to get a professional opinion once in awhile.

PS: I'm always willing to help. Will that be all?

JS: Yes, I think so. Thanks again.

PS: I'll bill you at the standard rate for our usual sessions.

JS: Oh, I thought this one was gratis.

PS: See what I mean? Poor communication. Arrivederci

She signs off Skype and I'm left wondering if she's joking or not. With Professor Sanee, you never know.

Some questions for discussion:
Have you ever lost a friend for some unexplained reason?
Ever have a humorous miscommunication happen?
Do you use Skype or something similar to chat with friends, family or colleagues?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Professor Sanee resides in Italy
and teaches the course 'the
Ethics of Humour' at I.M.A.
She's also author of the book,
"Why Isn't Anyone Laughing?"

Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Exercise

R.a.n.t. of day 04/06/15
Back when I was married, I shockingly weighed over 22 stone (over 300 pounds). Though I have to admit I couldn't blame anyone else, the ex-wife's weekly shopping list consisted of Oreo's, Cookies N Cream Ice Cream, Doritoes, Sugar Cookies, Soda, Cereal, Taco Dip, and.... well, think of any other junk food, it was probably on the list at some point. So I've cut out eating junk food and fast food, but I was still having problems losing weight.

This is where exercise comes in. One of the best ways I've found to lose weight, besides not eating tubs of ice cream, is running. It's a tiring bit of exercise, but I don't mind doing it. It's a necessary evil you understand. One perk, I get a lot of thinking done. (Working on ideas for my stories). So when I go to the gym, I've started running 5K's. To be fair, I only run half of it. I split my time between running and walking. So far I've lost three stone (42 pounds), so it's working. The funny thing, when I tell people what I've been doing to lose weight, they agree with everything till I mention the exercise part. "I couldn't never do that" and "I hate to exercise" are a few of the replies. But if you think about it, does anyone really like to exercise? Who, if given the choice between grunting, groaning and sweating in the gym or relaxing on the beach with a Mai Tai, wouldn't choose the one where alcoholic drinks were involved?

So, am I excited when I get to go to the gym and run for an hour? I'd be lying if I said yes. But when I step on that scale and see I've lost another two pounds for the week, I DO get excited. Time to celebrate with a Mai Tai!

Some Questions for Discussion:
What's your favourite exercise?
What's your favourite comfort food?
What's your favourite drink? (Alcoholic or not).

Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for Dogs

R.a.n.t. of day 04/04/15
I realize this r.a.n.t. will be disagreed upon by many people. Most people know I'm not a big dog person. But the truth is, I've had a love/hate relationship with dogs for a long time. I have many friends who have dogs and when I stop by their house, I'm willing to pet and play with their dog. My sister has a dog, and when the dogs dies, I'll likely cry too. So, I don't hate dogs. This isn't a dog hating rant. I do know I'll never have one for myself. Essentially, I hate dogs owned by certain neighbours. Most recently there was a dog in the apartment above me. All hours of the night the dog was running back and forth. Sometimes I thought the dog was practising his tap dancing routine because the clack-clack-clack never seemed to stop. It was maddening.

When I was a child, I was chased down by a mean, vicious dog on two separate occasions. I did not appreciate that on either occasion. Even today, walking past certain houses will yield a wild and crazy dog running up to the fence and barking it's bloody head off. PASS!

Jeffrey Scott's Story Time:
  Once upon a time, I was running a 5K when I passed a neighbour and his dog. The dog decided to follow me instead of stick around with his owner. (The r.a.n.t. photo of the day is the same dog.) I was on a tight schedule, so what do I do? I keep running. Dogs eventually give up and return to their owner. Right? Wrong! it was soon apparent he wanted to run the 5K with me. So I had to stop my stopwatch and address the dog.
  "Go Home!" I told the dog. "Go, your master wants you." The dog just looked at me like I was crazy.
  "Ruff, rufff rrrrrrruf ruff ruff ruff rruufff" (Translation - You are my new owner, I like you). Long story short, the neighbour eventually decided to come collect his dog.
  "Hey, where you going with my dog?" he asked.
  "I was taking him to the pound," I said. I was upset his stupidity was taking away from my time. Though I was joking, he didn't find the comment humorous and he started chasing me. So my 5K continued with new-found motivation. He huffed to a stop after about ten steps and collapsed on the grass. His dog took off running the other way. Most likely home. I hope to lock the dumb jerk out of his own house. Some people just shouldn't have pets.

Some questions for discussion:
Do you own a pet? If so, what kind?
How do you deal with irritating neighbours?
What's the worst experience you've had with an animal?

Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for Coffee Mugs

R.a.n.t. of day 04/03/15
A few weeks back my rant was having trouble finding whole bean coffee as opposed to ground coffee. What I don't have problems with is finding a coffee mug to drink said coffee. Can too much of one thing be too much? Perhaps, because my biggest coffee complaint is having a problem deciding which coffee mug I want to select for the day. Yes, I'm coffee crazy and this has resulted in a large collection of coffee mugs. (Coffee being one of the most used tags on my blog). The excess of coffee mugs also means I'm running out of room fast. I have a coffee mug tree that holds six mugs. Quite laughable! It's getting to the point the tree will only hold 10% of my coffee mugs. Yes, one day that will actually be true. So I then bought a novelty coffee mug the size of a large cooking pot. I place a few of my coffee mugs in that thing. The rest are shoved in my cupboard. An entire shelf devoted to coffee mugs. And, of course, there are coffee mugs on top of coffee mugs.

You know the adage, "There's an app for that?" I have a similar saying for my coffee mugs. "There's a mug for that." Depending on what I'm doing, I'll have the perfect coffee mug. For example, the blog photo of the day is inspired from one of my favourite video games, Portal. So I'll use this one when I'm playing early morning video games. Let's be honest though, I drink coffee all day long. What other mugs might you find spilling out of my kitchen cupboard?

When I'm in a comic book mood.

When I'm in a Star Wars mood.

When I'm feeling smart.

When I'm in need of an Irish Coffee.

When I'm watching sports.

Feeling tragic. It's a replica of the mugs used aboard the Titanic. I picked this up when visited Belfast.

When I'm feeling photographic.This was the first photo I ever took when I visited London for the first time. Utilizing CafePress, I created this mug.

Though this is more to advertise the Mall of America, the obvious nod to the Survivor series insured I was going to pick this up. Besides, I like Mall of America. And I have indeed survived shopping there a few times.

This is a replica of a mug used on the Star Trek series. Yes, I have a lot of nerdy mugs.

So there you have it. A taste of my coffee mug collection. Other mugs I have I can remember off the top of my head:

Grumpy Cat - "I had fun once, it was awful"

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - "Don't Panic"

Disappearing Tardis - Tardis disappears with hot liquid and reappears on the back.

Solar System - Minus Pluto. That's kind of like inviting someone to a party then at the party telling them they didn't really mean to invite them. "So get out!"

Diana Krall - I collected this on her 'Quiet Nights' Tour

Cafe 80's - A mug with the logo from the same cafe featured in the Back to the Future film.

Some questions for discussion:
Do you have a favourite coffee mug?
Which coffee mug featured today do you like?
What do you collect that seems unusual to others?

Bonus Photo
I just received this mug last night.
Welcome to the family!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

B is for Blogging

R.a.n.t. of day 04/02/15
A wise man once said about blogging; "There are do's and do not's. So stop trying to figure out how to do it properly." That was said a long time ago, so I may have misquoted slightly. It's not like the exact phrase was ever caught on film. True or not, it makes a lot of sense. In all we do there are better ways to perform the tasks we do. A dentist may get his job done by strapping down his patient and digging in with a rusty pair of pliers or he can administer a bit of Novocaine first and use hygienic tools. I can spot a few do's and don'ts right there. So what are the guidelines I like to follow when blogging? What do I look for in other blogs? I'm glad you asked me. I know, you didn't really ask me, but I will tell you anyway.

DO: Be concise. If your blog post is about the colour orange, talk about the colour orange.
DO NOT: Ramble on. Airports, bacon and the latest TV show may be interesting topics, but have nothing to do with the colour orange, unless somehow you relate them.

DO: Be original. When your blog is unique, it will catch the attention of others.
DO NOT: Be a clone. Writing what everyone else is writing is a sure way to be lost in the crowd. Everyone has their own voice. Find yours. Stand out!

DO: Advertise your blog. Social media is rampant and people pride themselves on how many 'friends' and 'followers' they have. Utilize this and share with them. Join groups and visit other blogs. People won't know abut your blog if you keep it all to yourself.
DO NOT: Spam. There is a difference between posting a link on Facebook/Twitter and posting the link 20 times an hour for 6-8 hours. It's a big turn off. Kind of like high pressure sales. (Another blog post for another time.)

DO: KISS - 'Keep It Simple, Stupid'. (Or: 'Keep It Simple, Silly' to be PC). I mean your blog space, not the post itself. When I see an article that interests me, I want to get right to the article. Keeping it simple means they are not getting distracted by flashy colours, annoying pop-ups or countless 'gadgets' interspersed within the actual article.
DO NOT: BITE - 'Be Irritating Through Excess' (I just made that one up myself). If I visit a blog and get umpteen pop-ups, I'm not happy. One I visited recently was gadget crazy. It displayed their current weather, had advertisements and broadcast their favourite youtube video. To make matters worse, the site was infected with countless banners and displayed them before I could even get to the article. Crowding out the actual topic of the post is tiresome to try and read.

DO: Respond. I appreciate knowing my blog post has been read and enjoyed. Even if a person disagrees with me, a comment lets me know the post was intriguing enough to keep them reading.
And when I comment on someone else's blog, a response lets me know the blogger appreciates my presence. 
DO NOT: Ignore comments. This conveys the message my comment meant nothing to you.On one blog I commented on, I was one of only a few who commented. They never replied on this post or any others with comments as I found out. Then there is another blog I've started to follow. It seems to be a fairly successful blog as I've seen up to 50 or 60 comments. And you know what? The blogger responds to each and every comment. She obviously appreciates her readers.

Well, there you have it: My suggestions for blogging. This was intended to be a short post but has turned out to be one of the longest posts I've produced. Sorry, apparently I don't know how to KISS very well.

Some questions for discussion:
What do you like to see on a blog?
What are your blog turn-offs?
Do you advertise your blog? And if so, how?
What are your Do's and Don'ts?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A is for April

R.a.n.t. of day 04/01/15
April is a month that, for many people, starts as a joke. Jokes imply good humour and levity. But I would rather find fault. Finding fault is not humorous, but it's what I do best. In April, Spring is just starting out. As any good Wisconsinite knows, that means the weather is unpredictable. What will April bring us this year? Snow on the 30th? Showers mid-month? Sunny and soothing 55° next week? It's all possible, every day in April. Now you may call me a fool, but I swear one day in Wisconsin a few years back we had all three weather conditions happen on the same day.

April also reminds me of a co-worker I had many years ago. The month of April reminds me of her because her name was April. Duh. None of the women in the office liked her much because she treated everyone like they worked for her. She was actually a new employee so this attitude confounded me and angered the ladies. She was also running to the bathroom every half hour to adjust her make-up and spritz on more perfume. She talked endlessly about her rich boyfriend, as if she were trying to impress us or something. She only lasted a few months and left mid May. The day after she left, I brought in doughnuts for everyone and put up a sign declaring it was 'April-Fest in May'. I think I got a written warning for that one, but everyone laughed at my joke so it was worth it.

Some questions for discussion:
What's the craziest weather you've endured?
Who was the most obnoxious person you've had to deal with?
What's the worst joke ever played on you?

No, the events above were not a joke. They are absolutely true, to the best of my recollection.