Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why am I stingy with floss?

I don’t consider myself to be an extremely wasteful person. I like to get my dollar’s worth out of whatever I’ve got. (Except for left-overs. Honestly, why is it that you can only make chicken noodle soup for six to eight people and then have to spend the next week looking at the biggest Tupperware in the house sitting in the fridge and thinking, ‘I should take that for lunch today but if I eat any more chicken noodle soup, it will result in a super-virus developing that is completely immune to the healing power of chicken, vegetables, broth and bloated noodles. For the good of the world, I believe I should have three 89 cent chalupas…And cinnamon twists.’ )

The other day, I needed to buy more floss, something I’ve only had to do a half dozen times in my life. On my way home from work, I stopped by the store and picked up three or four spools/boxes/cases/containers/whatever-unit-defines floss and paid a whopping $4.34 for all of it. Now I have a ‘thing’ of floss in my car, at work for after lunch, in my bathroom at home and an extra just in case my two year old gets a hold of any of the other ones and drop them into the toilet and I have to wait for it to dry out.

While I was selecting my floss, I was struck by the thought that I actually care if I waste it. And then I was immediately struck by how strange that is. Each container has 100 yards of floss inside. Each container costs $1 plus tax - $1.08. So each yard of floss costs slightly over $0.01. That’s it. Once cent for three feet of floss. That’s 36 inches. That’s 0.9144 meters for any metric users out there. That is a heck of a bargain. I can’t think of anything else that I get a yard of for a penny. And on top of that, I don’t use a full yard when I floss. I use maybe a foot to a foot and a half so my average floss cost per use is between 1/3 and ½ of an American cent!

This has got to be the cheapest thing in my life!

And yet, whenever I’m preparing to floss, get distracted and tear off a piece too short to wrap around my fingers several times and still have the ideal span for proper cleaning, I suffer through it. I force myself to be uncomfortable with my floss because I can’t waste the piece of waxed string that cost me less than 1/3 of a penny. I have to use it. Something inside tells me that it is a sin to just throw away the too-short piece. I don’t remember ever being taught that floss wasting is defined in Leviticus as one of the big no-no’s but somehow, that belief is just as real as my wife’s belief that trees hibernate for winter.

Why is it that I can’t throw away the short piece and write off the 1/3 cent and yet, I have no problem not reaching the bottom of a $7 tub of popcorn at a movie theater? Or why do I let me car idle for twenty minutes with the heat on high on winter mornings so I don’t have to scrape the ice of the windows, but little Mr. Floss is too precious to just discard?

Does anyone else have this problem or a similar ridiculous priority paradigm? Share in comments below. I’d love to know what similar or other kinds of crazy there is out there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Totally Looks Like - Check it out!

The icanhascheezburger network is why the internet must exist. (aka lol cats) and are my favorites. Check out my recent totallylookslike contribution:

And my favorite posting from lol cats ever:


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Leg Lamp - A.K.A. 1 word in 50 is a big deal

So, a several months ago (5/27) while I was going through my standard list of writing blogs hoping for the sparkling jewel of information that would help launch my writing career, I came across this post (

F&SF Competition
Jenny Rae Rappaport

I am about to run out the door to meetings and BEA stuff, but my lovely client, Carol Pinchefsky, has requested that I post this. Carol is one of the contest editors at The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and informs me that you have TWO days left to enter this. Follow the instructions below!

COMPETITION #78: THE SECRET HISTORY OF F&SF Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, originally titled The Magazine of Fantasy, was founded in 1949 by Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas…or was it?

Describe, in 50 words or less, the secret origins of F&SF. Alternate histories, imagined conversations, and science-fictional (or magical) twists on the truth are more than welcome. Another welcomed element: funny.

Example: Shirley Jackson and Theodore Sturgeon leave a little basket on the doorstep of Anthony Boucher with a tear-stained note: “Please take care of our baby. Raise it as if it were your own.”

You have six chances to rewrite history before midnight EST, May 28th. Send your entries to Please remember to include your telephone number and snail-mail address. PRIZES: First prize will receive a sub- scription to F&SF good for the next sixty years along with a copy of The Diamond Jubilee. Second prize will receive advance reading copies of three forthcoming novels. Any runners-up will receive one-year subscriptions to F&SF. Results of Competition 78 will appear in the Oct/Nov. 2009 issue. Judges are the editors of F&SF, and their decision is final. All entries become the property of F&SF.

I thought I’d toss my hat in the ring and quickly realized writing something witty in only fifty words was really hard. It reminded me of ‘A River Runs Through It’ where little Norman is repeatedly sent back to rewrite what he’d written in half the space. After several hours and many revisions, I had my six submissions ready and I fired them off.

A week later, I received the following email:

Hi, Daniel.

And the winner

Mazel tov. You've just won 60 years of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine.

Thanks for making us laugh.

Sincerely, Carol Pinchefsky
Editor, F&SF magazine

> 3. “The tea on the right enhances your appeal to women. The
> tea on the left will help you create a tome of the science fiction and
> fantasy canon,” the old gypsy cackled before disappearing into the
> night.
> Francis turned to Anthony.
> “Was that her right or our right?”
> Daniel Geilman
(My winning submission next to the >s)

What a happy, happy day! I had won something! Not by luck, not by chance, but by the sweat of my creative brow, I had won something. True, it was for a magazine I’d never heard of before entering the contest and with the way print media is heading, when I am 90 the magazine will probably not be around anymore but the fact of the matter is - I had won. This is my leg lamp – all due to my ‘mind power’.

Weeks of dopey smiles and personal pride passed as I waited for the Oct/Nov issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine to arrive so I could show family and friends that I had actually accomplished something with writing. My name would be in print and no matter how small and unread as it might be, I would have something to put on my query letters as a writing credit.

So, the magazine (that is actually more like a paperback book) arrived and I found the page with the winning entries to read to my oblivious children and ‘worshipping’ wife.

I said, reading aloud –

“ ‘Congratulations to Daniel Geilman, who wins 60 years of bragging rights to go with his 60-year subscription.

First Prize:

“The tea on the right enhances your appeal to women. The tea on the left will help you create a tome of the science fiction and fantasy,” the old gypsy cackled before disappearing into the night.
Francis turned to Anthony.
“Was that her right or our right?
” ‘

That doesn’t sound right, does it, Anna? What’s wrong with it? Did I leave something out?….NOOOOO! They left out ‘canon’. They left a word out!”

It’s been several weeks now and it still hurts. I have 60 years of a free magazine and 60 years of bragging rights but to anybody taking the time to read page 319 of the Oct/Nov 2009 edition of Fantasy & Science Fiction, I look like an idiot. So, my name is in print and I have something, howbeit small and inconsequential, to put as a writing credit on my query letters to agents but should I use it?

I know mistakes happen and I bear no ill will towards the nice people at Fantasy & Science Fiction but come on!

My leg lamp came with gout and diabetes-blackened toes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

'Big Bang Theory' Premier TONIGHT!!!

To any and all blog readers out there, if you are not watching “The Big Bang Theory”, you should be ashamed of yourselves. This show is the only comedy I am aware of that has ever featured a Nobel prize winning physicist – Mr. George Smoot and regularly references Shroedinger’s cat. If you are not watching it, you should be. You should start now and write a letter of apology to the show’s creators, Chuck Lorre & Bill Prady, for not watching sooner.

To illustrate how good ‘Big Bang Theory’ is, consider this: The show is produced by Chuck Lorre. This show almost makes up for the fact that Chuck Lorre is also the producer of ‘Two and a Half Men”. The only fact that keeps it from completely making up for the tragedy of 2.5 men is the fact that ‘Arrested Development’ was cancelled as a result of the popularity of 2.5 men.

Watch ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and DVR each episode. At the end, pause on Chuck Lorre’s vanity screen and read the text. It’s worth your time. I promise.

Also, congratulations to Jim Parsons for his Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy nomination. It was not a big surprise that he didn’t win given the competition but the fact that he was nominated, I think, was still pretty awesome.

Season premier tonight September 21 at 9:30/8:30 central.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Pick-Me Up

Check out mentalfloss's article here: unless you have an aversion to hyperlinks. If that's the case, I'm very sorry for you and you can just see below for a list of failures in Abraham Lincoln's life. Picked me up seeing that he had plenty of struggles over almost thirty years.