Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mrs. Snark's Guide to the Super Bowl

Mr. Snark has been excitedly preparing for the biggest religious holiday of his year--the Super Bowl--so Mrs. Snark is going to take a break from humor today to assemble her notes. 

When Mr. and Mrs. Snark met, she knew nothing about footballs. However, over the last few years, she had made  various observations and learned much.


This is a football.

When a football is in use, the men on the TV screen are playing football. Different balls are used in baseball, basketball and hockey. 

Football positions are named for Backs and Buttocks.

Back Positions include: The Quarterback. The Halfback. The Threequarterback. The Fullback.

Buttock positions include: The Tight End. The Wide End. The Asshole. The End Zone.

The San Francisco Forty-Niners will be playing this weekend in the Super Bowl. Their uniforms are gold and red. Their uniform looks a lot like two other teams--the Cardinals and the dudes from New Orleans. In a few years, the SF Forty-Niners will become the Santa Clara Forty-Niners when the new stadium is finished.

The enemy is the Ravens. Their uniforms will have different colors so the two teams may be told apart. 

Note to self: Google images of ravens.

More important note to self:  Other local teams include the Oakland Raiders and the SF Giants.  The Giants are not a football team.

Football has four innings called quarters. (Not to be mistaken for the Quarterback.)  In football, there are yard lines. The game starts on the fifty-yard line and ends on the zero-yard line when the team touches the ball down to the ground. Also, every play is played once in real time, and then replayed at least five more times in slow motion.

Go Niners!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In the Bag

On January 1, 2013, Alameda County joined the growing list of state counties with legislation banning the use of disposable plastic bags by food service retailers and pharmacies. This is supposed to reduce the amount of trash that winds up in our landfills.

Of course, California has always had a fringe green crowd that already owns their own bags. Mrs. Snark has tried to rub elbows with this elite Trader Joes and Whole Foods clique. However, the Snark family has unwholesome cravings for highly processed snack foods and cereals, so she is always led astray, back into mainstream grocers.

Part of the trouble with reusable store bags is that they vary in terms of everything--dimension, quality, color and sturdiness.

Adapting to life without plastic has required consumers to make certain behavioral adjustments to how they shop. But it's Green, so it's worth it, right?


There's been a lot of whining. 

There have been a handful of valid complaints too from people with walkers or other mobility issues.

Mostly, there's been a lot of whining.

The Snark clan has not been unaffected by the change...

Bag Hoarding.

When Mrs. Snark first learned of the coming ban, she started hoarding plastic grocery bags.  Frankly, when your household includes three pooping cats and a un-potty trained toddler, your plastic bag use is high.

The number of bags requested on each shopping skyrocketed...

"Those eggs look awfully heavy," Mrs. Snark said to the grocery store checker. "Could you please double-bag each egg individually?"

Mrs. Snark squirreled away bags in nooks and crannies, stuffing cupboards and drawers full of scrunched up plastic. It became something of an obsession, like a rodent preparing for a long bagless winter.

Mr. Snark discovered what was happening when he opened a cabinet one day and an avalanche of plastic buried his feet. He scowled and then his furry brow knit. 

"Does this have something to do with the zombie apocalypse?" he asked.

"No, nothing!" Mrs. Snark explained the impending plastic bag ban.

"I think there may be more space under the kitchen sink," Mr. Snark replied once she finished.

Reusable Bags Always Get Left in the Car.

Despite dire Mayan predictions, the world did not in fact end on December 21st. Not this world anyway. January 1st rolled around without incident and the ban took affect.

Almost immediately, Mrs. Snark observed a troubling trend--reusable bags always get left in the car. Europeans who have been at it for decades probably have this shit down, but we Californians are simply behind the times.

On the way to the store, Mrs. Snark chants, "Takeinthebags. Takeinthebags. Takeinthebags." Then she gets out of the car, grabs her purse, removes Miss Bear from the car seat, herds the precious child through the parking lot, locates a cart, enters the store, and performs a face palm.  "Damn it! No bags!"

Even a full month after the ban started, Mrs. Snark still hears the person in front of or behind her (and quite often herself) exlaim: "Damn it! I left the bags in the car!"

Very occassionally, a person elects to purchase the bags the store sells. More often, the shopper loads their unbagged groceries back into the cart and hauls them out to the car. The phenomenon has left Mrs. Snark wondering if there will be an uptick in crimes due to the number of vulnerable people stuck bagging their groceries in dark parking lots.  

Reusable Bag Shame.

Finally, Mrs. Snark has observed an unexpected side effect of the plastic bag ban--a feeling of shame associated with carrying name branded reusable bags into a different store. 

Yesterday, Mrs. Snark noticed the woman behind her fidgeting. Curious, she glanced back. The woman blushed and said, "It's so embarrassing coming into Lucky's with Safeway bags."

Gloating, Mrs. Snark pointed to her own stack of bags. "I solved that problem by going with the premium, luxury brand bags. MINE are from Trader Joes."

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Need a New Joystick, He Said

Following Sunday lunch out with the family, Mr. Snark said, "Can we stop at Best Buy? I need a new joystick."

"Okay," Mrs. Snark said. "But I'm very happy with your current joystick, dear."

Mr. Snark shot his missus a narrow-eyed look and remained silent.

Mrs. Snark smirked and continued. "Besides, I'd love a chance to visit with my cook top. I've already forgotten what it looks like."

From the back of the minivan, Sam, the oldest Snark son said, "Are we getting a new cook top?"

Mr. Snark's brow knit. "Can you say oblivious?"

"Oblivious!" shouted the middle Snark child.

Mrs. Snark managed to catch her own wrist before her hand performed a face palm. She breathed in deeply and said, "Why yes, dear. Someday, we are going to have a new cook top where the old one used to be. You have noticed the big hole in the middle of the kitchen island, haven't you?"

The teenage boy grumbled an unintelligible reply.

"The new cook top will be new and shiny and fully automated," Mrs. Snark said, misting up as she envisioned the longed for appliance. "I shall say, 'Stove top, make pasta' and it will do so by itself."

"Mom, really! I don't believe you!" said the oldest son.

"Huh. You used to be more gullible than this," Mrs. Snark said. "When did you get so worldly, Sam?"

"What does gullible mean?" Sam asked.

"Quick, look!" The middle son flung his arm toward the window, pointing. "There's a sky writer writing 'gullible'!"

At Best Buy, the Snarks placed Miss Bear on her leash, because the child is known for being a runner. "I'll be in the appliance section, visiting my cook top," Mrs. Snark called as the family split up and went their separate ways.

In the appliance section, Mrs. Snark stood teary-eyed in from of her coveted cook top. She ran one palm in a slow circle over the glass surface. "Someday," she whispered. "We'll be together. I promise."

With Miss Bear straining at the end of her leash, Mrs. Snark only managed to spend thirty seconds with her beloved. Then Mrs. Snark took the child and went in search of other members of the Snark clan. She located a boy in the video game section and slapped the end of the leash into his hand. "Hold this. I need to look at tax software."

The boy located Mr. Snark and pawned his sister's leash off onto daddy.  Near the phone section, Miss Bear leaned fully forward, arms extended as she strained toward the shiny devices, her entire weight supported by the leash.

"No, Miss Bear!" Mr. Snark said. "No phones!"

"Balloons!" Miss Bear countered, grabbing for the blue and orange helium balloons.

 A nice Best Buy employee forked over a balloon. Mrs. Snark returned in time to see Miss Bear pitch a tantrum over having the balloon tied onto her wrist.

"She's overdue for her nap," Mrs. Snark observed. "Why don't you take her out to the car, Mr. Snark? I'll take the boys and stand in the line to buy our stuff."

In the parking lot, the Snark minivan was nowhere to be found. Mrs. Snark and the boys stood in the space where it had been and scratched their heads. And then they wandered the parking lot, lost and confused.

"Well, it's finally happened," Mrs. Snark said. "Mr. Snark finally got fed up and left us."

"Mr. Snark wouldn't do that," said the middle child.

"Of course he would. It was really only a matter of time," Mrs. Snark countered. "The really surprising thing is that he took Miss Bear with him."

Just then, the oldest Snark boy spotted the minivan cruising the parking lot. "There he is!" Sam said, pointing.

"Wait for me!" Sam shouted and took off running, abandoning his mother and brother.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Guest Spot Sunday: Michelle Devon

How to Feed a Teenaged Boy by Michelle Devon

Today, Michy would like to instruct you on how to help your teen child prepare a snack for himself. We’ll take you step by step through the process, and if you skip any steps, it’s okay to come back to them and use them, or even use some of the steps more than once.

Step 1
Listen to the boy whine for at least 40 minutes about how hungry he is, while you tell him repeatedly that there is food in the kitchen if he’s hungry.
Step 2
Remind teenaged boy that you bought Easy Mac for him in the cabinet for moments just like this, when he was hungry but it wasn’t dinnertime.
Step 3
Listen to teenaged boy whine about how he isn’t in the mood for Easy Mac.
Step 4
Tell teenaged boy that if he’s not in the mood for Easy Mac, he can make himself a grilled cheese sammich instead.
Step 5
Listen to teenaged boy whine about how he doesn’t want to make a grilled cheese sammich.
Step 6
Remind the boy that he can have Easy Mac is he doesn’t want grilled cheese.
Step 7
Listen to teenaged boy whine some more about how there’s nothing to eat in the house, right before he asks if he can have your meal that you planned to eat for lunch.
Step 8
Grit your teeth and give teenaged boy ‘the look.’
Step 9
Watch teenaged boy put his hands up in the air and say, “Okay, okay, I’ll make some Easy Mac.”
Step 10
Wait 10 minutes and then get up and go scrape the Easy Mac off the roof of the microwave while trying to maintain composure amidst the cries from the teenage boy that, “I only set it on 5 minutes….”
Step 11
Listen to teenaged boy who didn’t bother to help you clean the microwave whine because, “I’m still huuuuuungry….” Do this at least three or four times for about 15 minutes, before you finally snap and growl….
Step 12
“Then make yourself a grilled cheese sandwich!”
Step 13
Wait 20 minutes and asked the teenaged boy, “What’s that burning smell coming from the kitchen?”
Step 14
Watch teenaged boy run into the kitchen and yell, “Oh, crap!”
Step 15
Put the fire out in the kitchen.
Step 16
Clean the kitchen.
Step 17
Sit at the computer and fight back tears.
Step 18
Order a pizza.
Step 19
Wait 45 minutes for pizza to come.
Step 20
Stiff driver on part of his tip because he was rude and didn’t bring any Parmesan cheese.
Step 21
Smile and give the pizza to the boy. Wait two minutes.
Step 22
Try not to hit the roof when you hear, “But I wanted Canadian bacon, not pepperoni.”
Step 23
Grit your teeth and say ever so sweetly, “You’ll eat what I got you or starve.”
Step 24
Wait 40 minutes.
Step 25
Ask teenaged boy four different times over a 20 minute period to pick up the pizza box and pizza crusts from the floor.
Step 26
Repeat step 25.
Step 27
Repeat step 25
Step 28
Repeat step 25
Step 29
Repeat step 17
Step 30
Wait another 15 minutes, get up and pick up the pizza box and  crusts yourself.
Step 31
Vow never to buy pizza for the boy again.

And that, my dear friends, is the quick and painless way to feed a hungry teenaged boy in 31 easy steps. Sadly, that is mostly a true story.

For those who have asked after me, I have not been feeling well again. It’s ongoing, but hey, I’m up and about, so that’s better than some days. Hope you enjoyed the fun and laughter. I love you all, I need you all, and I’m so glad you are all my online virtual (and some of you not so virtual) friends!

Leave me a comment though, or else I might have to threaten to never buy you pizza again too. I’m finicky that way.

Love and stuff,


Check out Michelle Devon's blog or drop in and comment on her online community at Accentuate Writer's Forum.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Minivan Diaries...1/25/13

Traditional wisdom holds that sibling rivalry results from children trying to obtain a parent's attention. However, evidence would suggest this to be an overly simplistic model for the phenomenon. Siblings compete for everyone's attention, including a baby's.

Mrs. Snark has big ears and overhears the damnedest conversations come out of the back of her minivan. The following took place while Mrs. Snark was driving the Snark boys to a sleepover at a friend's house. Mr. Snark was not present.

Oldest Snark Son: "Miss Bear, who's the bad brother?"

Miss Bear points to the Younger Snark Son. "Bad boy."

The boy in question dissolves into laughter, shouting a protest. "Hey!"

Mrs. Snark snickers. "Oh man, sold out by a baby."

Younger Snark Son tries to counter. "Miss Bear, who's good?"

Miss Bear: "Mommie!"

Oldest Snark Son: "Miss Bear, who's your favorite?"

Miss Bear: "Dada!"

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hunger Moon Free First Chapter

Warning: Shameless self-promotion to follow...

Back on January 5th, I revealed the new cover of my upcoming urban fantasy novel, Hunger Moon. Well, I'm so SQUEE over it, I'm going to show it again.

Currently, the manuscript is being edited, but I wanted to share the first chapter. It's available for download here. If you've laughed at any one of my posts, then please check it out! And here you thought that this monkey performs for free... 

Hunger Moon is an intense urban fantasy that follows the story of Valkyrie Victoria Storm as she evades hunters and battles a Norse winter witch intent upon enslaving her people. Victoria desires nothing more than to provide her wolf pack with a safe haven, but her position as priestess to the Goddess Freya also brings with it certain... obligations. Not to mention complications.

War with the Barrett family resulted in the deaths of her parents and most of her pack. Now, hunters are hot on the trail of the remaining pack members. Sawyer Barrett, a human hunter hell bent on revenge, is convinced that Victoria murdered his brother. He will stop at nothing to see her dead.
Victoria must defend the survivors and somehow lead them to safety. Months on the run has weakened the pack, and there are newborn pups to protect, making swift travel impossible. Ahead, the promise of refuge beckons.

Their best chance for survival lies in Sierra Pines, California: Arik Koenig, a powerful, dominant male wolf. He promises to protect and provide for the pack, something Victoria knows the pack needs for survival. His mysterious past is riddled with violence and death, including the slaughter of his entire family twenty years before. His wife died under mysterious circumstances and his son, Logan, is rumored to be her killer.

What is truth? Who can she trust? The desperate spirit of Arik's murdered wife calls out for help, and Logan begs for assistance in clearing his name. Victoria must solve a murder that has pitted father against son, rooted in a mystery reaching back two decades. Her quest starts her on a journey from the human world to Odin's Valhalla and back again.

Victoria will find salvation or face destruction beneath the Hunger Moon… 

FREE FIRST CHAPTER!  <--Click click click

Sex. It Doesn't Always Have to be the Same

Every time I hear about some politician trying to ban same sex marriage, it pisses me off.  Marriage is tough enough without some jerk trying to legislate a sex ban. Don't we married types already suffer enough?

Admittedly, ALL marriage sex is basically the same, but it doesn't have to be that way. It's on married couples to mix it up and keep things exciting. With that goal in mind, I've tried a few different tactics for hot monkey lovin' with Mr. Snark.

Here's a few highlights:
Now, I'm not a sexy bra kind of lady. Most of the time, I prefer sports bras. I'd really prefer to let the ladies bounce free, but I have normal mid-life concerns about saggage, so athletic bras are the ideal compromise. Nowadays I only wear fancy underwear when I'm gonna be seen by someone who matters (my child's teacher or the checkout lady at Safeway).
When we first married and I hoped to get lucky, I used to trot out the Victoria's Secret bras and undies for the mister. That was before I realized that Mr. Snark is really a Caucasian version of Sir Mix-a-Lot. He likes big butts and he cannot lie.
There's really no need for a pushup bra when a pair spandex boy shorts will suffice. I simply manufacture some reason to bend over within Mr. Snark's line of sight, shake my booty, and we're good to go.
Our song.
Every couple should have a love song to call their own, which when played acts as a primal hominid mating call. For Mr. and Mrs. Snark it's Business Time by Flight of the Conchords. 

All Mrs. Snark has to do it put on her old team-building shirt and mention recycling, and Mr. Snark knows it's time to do the horizontal bop.
Whips, Cuffs & Spurs.
[This section removed by Mr. Snark.]

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thank You, Darth Snark

Yesterday, in Gee, I Could Have Told Them That I talked about how our frugal healthcare company went to great pains to save us time and money by subjecting Mr. Snark to a rigorous approval gauntlet and a sleep study that cost three thousand dollars.

We went through all of that to obtain a machine that costs $1,000.00. We know this because we have a 20% copay on durable medical equipment, and we know our copay amount. Mr. Snark is a math guy, so I'm pretty sure he did the calculation correctly.

"Basically, they could have a fraud rate of 2-to-1 and still break even if they just omitted the sleep study," Mr. Snark said.

"Who the hell commits fraud to obtain a breathing machine?" Mrs. Snark asked. "I've never seen a guy on a street corner hawking hot sleep apnea machines."

Two nights ago, Mr. Snark reported home toting a black briefcase that contained the Holy Grail--the breathing machine! 

"The machine is rent-to-own," Mr. Snark said. "Our frugal health insurance company wants to be sure that we're using it, so the device transmits its use statics across a wireless network."

Mrs. Snark's brow knit. "So, they're paying a technician somewhere to monitor the data?"


"What's the minimum use requirement?" Mrs. Snark asked.

"Four hours a night, and 23 days out of 90."

Mrs. Snark got out a calculator and did the math. "That's less than 25% utilization rate."


"What happens if it fails to connect to the network?"

Mr. Snark shrugged. Maybe they employ a repo company to bust our knees and take it back? Who knows...

At bedtime, Mr. Snark placed a mask over his nose that attached to the back of his skull with two straps. The mask looks something like this.

Mrs. Snark almost died laughing. It was some time before she could speak again. "Very sheik. Does it come with a ball gag?"

In use, the device produces a respirator sound reminiscent of Darth Vader. It is not very loud and it is repetitive, so Mrs. Snark has not really had any difficulty getting used to it.

However, it has been two nights since Mr. Snark snored and Mrs. Snark slept.

The quiet is deafening.