A Thank You – Fabulous

Quick story for you, you dimwits.  The other day, there were two kids and an older gentleman sitting on the steps.  The kids were a boy about 12 and a girl about 8.  The older gentleman asks me if I’m part of the film crew.  I said, “Yes sir, I am.  That’s me causing all this trouble in your neighborhood.  Are these your kids?”

He replied, “No, these are my students.  I’m waiting here with them until their parents pick them up.”  I said “Cool,” and then I asked the kids, “So what’s your favorite subject in school?”  The boy answered without hesitation.  He says in a girlish, prepubescent voice, “I want to be a writer.”  I told him good answer.  Being a writer is a wonderful career choice.  Then the kid talked my ear off for the next 17 minutes.  He wouldn’t shut up.

The little girl was a little more bashful, so once Chatty Kathy finally shut his piehole, I asked her again.  “So what’s your favorite subject?”  She puts her head down, thinks about it for a second, and then softly says, “Being with my family.”

I told the little girl that was a good answer too, but too bad that wasn’t the question.   I said good thing they don’t teach Listening as a school subject, or you’d fail miserably.

Can you believe it?  Twelve years old, and this kid already knows he wants to be a writer.  I didn’t know that I wanted to be a writer until I was 26.  It was an accident, really.  I created a funny character on MySpace named Ralph, and the character started to take off.  I built up a pretty big following from people all over the world.  It was wild.  I had no idea what the hell was going on.

My brother read my stuff and he sends me an email one day.  He said my writing reminded him of this famous author.  My brother said my writing is similar to this book he recently read.  The book was called “The Catcher in the Rye.”  He knows I don’t read much, but he suggested I read it.   I borrowed the book from him, and gave it a read.  It’s been almost ten years now, and I still haven’t returned that book.  It’s the greatest book that I’ve ever read.  It was some compliment my brother gave me.  The Catcher in the Rye.

I’ve had several people tell me that my writing style reminds them of J.D. Salinger.  Those are big shoes to fill.  He’s one of the best authors of all time.  I don’t know that I’ll ever get there, but that’s the goal anyway.

Just like Chatty Kathy, one day I want to be a writer, too.    I think I have it in me, and that’s the first place being a writer begins – with you.  Not with some crappy ass teacher who barks all these rules at you, and tells you there’s only one way to write.  There’s a million ways to write a story.  My way just happens to be a little off.  Lots of mistakes.  Sloppy, wreckless, poetic, insightful, up, down, sideways, raw and rough, tender and sweet, wild and free.  Mix the ingredients all up, and hopefully one day it’ll make for an interesting book.  The kind of book that you borrow from a friend and never want to return.

Well, I just wanted to say thanks.  Saying thanks is important.  This blog is just for practice, but it’s nice that so many of you have stuck around, and that so many of you that leave come back to check in from time to time.  And for you regulars, it’s amazing to me that you read my madness on such a consistent basis when there’s a million other things you could be doing with your time.

This one is especially for you.  How’s about an autographed photo of me dressed up like a Roman soldier, wearing cowboy boots, camo shorts, old geezer blue blockers, doing a little fishing in a swimming pool, and sitting right next to the one, the only, the effervescent Whoopi Goldberg.  Many thanks.

001 Chris and Whoopie

I woulda had Whoopi sign it too, but she says she was having a bad hair day.  She refused, but I think her cornrows look fabulous.   Just like you dimwits.  Fabulous.  Thanks again.

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Facebook Odds & Ends – Volume Three

Have you ever wondered what the big deal is about the privacy issues with Facebook?  I’m about to school you.  This one’s for Zuckerberg, that slimy weasel.  That sell out.  Handing over people’s private information for profit.  Time to go to class.

As I’ve stated before, I’m no longer on Facebook with the exception of staying connected with my family.   I’m rarely on Facebook anymore.  WordPress is now my home for causing trouble and ensuing hilarity.  But when I was active on Facebook, sometimes I would click on random stranger’s profiles.  The majority of them had their privacy settings so that you couldn’t see their photos, but some of them left their photos public.  Booyah.  I would leaf through random stranger’s photos and download various pics that I found either humorous or interesting.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the photos, if anything.  But they were made public property.  They were now mine and yours thanks to your boy, Zuckerberg, and all the many changes Facebook makes throughout the years.  If you don’t stay on top of it, your photos very well could be made public without your knowledge.

So what’s the big deal?  Most likely nothing.  That is unless someone with a creative mind, too much time on his hands, and killer Photoshop skills gets a hold of them.

Chris Winter

Above is a photo of me that I’ll be using for the purpose of this educational demonstration.  With a little Photoshop magic, I’m about to go make some new Facebook friends.  These are complete strangers.  I’ve never met any of them in my life.  If you happen to recognize any of the folks, tell them I said hello.  And if you don’t recognize any of them, don’t worry.  I’ve downloaded several hundred more photos, so maybe your friends will be in the next round.  And who knows?  Maybe some of you dimwits will be as well.  Now let’s go Facebooking, shall we?  We definitely shall.

*   *   * 

SwingVollyballBeach BabeLakeSwinging BridgeMirrorTree HuggerNorth CarolinaCemeteryGhetto Booty

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Change your Facebook settings to private, you dimwits!  And make sure you tell Zuckerberg to suck it.  That slimy weasel.

Facebook Odds & Ends – Volume Two

Before I got sucked into this vortex otherwise commonly referred to as WordPress, I had another outlet to post all of my madness.  The other outlet was this little social network site you mighta heard of called Facebook.

I’m no longer on Facebook, with the exception of staying connected with just my family.  It’s maybe better that way.  Alcohol, late nights, and Facebook do not mix well together.  I proved that correct on one too many occasions, so I finally decided to pull the plug.  But before I pulled the plug, I collected some of the highlights throughout the years.

The following are some Facebook exchanges between my mother and I involving unicorns, birthdays, and such.  Facebook odds & ends, volume two.

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Facebook Friends with Mom

Unicorn Army

Meet Ralph

001 Meet Ralph

Well, you dimwits.  The time has come.  It’s time you meet a long lost friend of mine, a friend that began it all for me.  A friend that first got me into writing over eight years ago.  It’s time that you meet Ralph.

Ralph is an alter ego character that I created during the MySpace days.  I began Photoshopping my head onto various bodies and gave myself snaggly teeth, crossed eyes, big ears, and crazy costumes.  I posted the Photoshop images to MySpace, and a star was born.  Ralph became a cult sensation.  I had people all across the world following along with Ralph’s misadventures, until one day, I took the site down completely.  Ralph disappeared over night.  It was a sad farewell.

I tried to resurrect Ralph several times over the years unsuccessfully, including on this blog back when very few people were reading.  I figured I’d give it another shot and see where it goes.  Maybe it will end up at the bottom of the lake.

In a nutshell, Ralph is a fiesty, fiery, 15 year old trapped in a 28 year old’s body.   He loves beef jerky, dungeons and dragons, WWF wrestling, ZZ Top, and game shows, including his favorite game show of all time “Love Connection” hosted by Chuck Woolery.  Ralph lives in the basement of his Gram and Pap’s country home in western Pennsylvania.  He fights mightily with his combative Pap, Uncle Rodger, and cousins.  For a further introduction and more photos, click the link here.

I have a bunch of old Ralph material that I might dust off and polish.  We’ll see.  But for now, I’ll leave you with a few poems that Ralph wrote since I was talking about poetry in the previous post.  Hope you enjoy.

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001 Uncle Rogers Hunting Cabin

“Uncle Rodger’s Hunting Cabin”

The one thing about
Uncle Rodger’s hunting cabin
Is that it’s always cozy
He keeps the temperature
Always nice, never too toasty

After a long day of hunting
Might be deer
Might be some caribou
He always treats us kindly
He up and says, “Here, yinz want some brews?”

We kick back a couple cold ones
Have some delicious beef jerky treats
On the fold out couch bed
That’s where Uncle Rodger lets me sleep

Now this one time
I screamed, “Hey Rodger, I seen a rat!”
Uncle Rodger says, “Now Ralph.
We can’t have none of that.”

Sure enough
He whips out a humongous 12 gauge
I couldn’t believe my eyes
As Uncle Rodger lit up the whole damn place

I says, “Holy crap Uncle Rodger!
You’re making holes in the walls!”
He just up and laughs
And then he says, “Ralph, ain’t we havin a ball.”

    *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

001 Home Sweet Motorhome

“Home Sweet Motorhome”

I bet yinz will be jealous
To hear I went cross country in Uncle Rodger’s motorhome
I don’t blame yinz one bit
Missin out on them spacious skies and mountain domes

Gram was majorly upset
She couldn’t come along cause of a mild stroke
I had to rub it in on that one
I says to her “Na na na na na” just to get her yoke

Uncle Rodger gave the camper a tune up before we left
We was ready to rock ‘n roll
I called out, “Shotgun!”
But Rodger says,  “Sit in the back with your cousin Joel.”

Joel’s feet smelled like onions
So I asked to switch with Pap at every single stop
Pap says, “Nice try Ralph.”
So I was stuck in the back with my cousin’s smelly socks

Other than that
The trip was goin’ just as smooth as could be
That was until Uncle Rodger swerved
Tryin to avoid a pack of them wild coyotes

We ran clear off the road
We was headed straight for a big ole’ ditch
I screamed for Uncle Rodger to gun it
He says, “Shut up in the back you son of a monkey’s tit!”

The camper was bent all to hell
Joel was cryin’ and Uncle Rodger was mad as a toad
I said, “See Uncle Rodger.
Shoulda’ let me ride shotgun to navigate the road.”

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002 Meet Ralph

Before & Happily Ever After – Volume One

I’ve always enjoyed photography.  Over the years, I’ve estimated that I’ve taken more than a hundred thousand photographs.  Some of them turned out nice, but most of them leave a lot to be desired, especially the rolls of film I took when I first started getting into photography.  I was left wondering what to do with the stacks of old photographs.

After a drunken night serenaded by the depressing sounds of Morrissey and leafing through old photo albums containing all whopping two of my ex-girlfriends from 20 years of dating eligibility, I came up with a solution of what to do with all my old, crappy photographs.  I figured I could improve them, make them more exciting by Photoshopping things in the background, like explosions and fireworks and Kate Upton jumping up and down on a trampoline.  Yeah, that’s it.  Spruce them up a little.   And so the idea for the Before & Happily Ever After series was born on that drunken, self-loathing night.

*   *   *   *   *   *

1.  Romeo + Juliet001 Christmas Function Original

This photo was taken back in college at a Christmas function in December of1998.  The pretty girl sitting on my lap being awkwardly touched on the inner thigh by my left hand was and still is a good friend of mine.  We never dated for one reason or another.  I think it’s because she’s from Ohio.

The pretty girl went on to get married, and has a lovely family made up of her husband and children.  Instead of daydreaming of what could’ve been between her and I, I decided to daydream of what it would be like to go to the Christmas function with Claire Danes.   I used to have the biggest celebrity crush on the blond-haired, beauty after watching the film Romeo + Juliet.   Claire Danes.  Photoshop, do your thang.  Sprout some angel wings and make me a Juliet.

Juliet Before And After

2.  Tornado WatchTornado Watch Original

This is a photo I took of my brother and sister-in-law back in May of 1995.  I have no idea what my brother is pointing at.  He had this whole pointing at the sky phase that lasted like a year.  I have at least a dozen photos of him doing this same exact pose.

The photo has potential.  The random pay phone in the middle of the wood paneled hallway is nice, but the composition overall is poor and the background is boring.  I decided to jazz up the photo and give my brother something to really stare at.  Him and his second hand thrift store T-shirt are gonna need more than a second chance when I get through with him.

Tornado Watch Before And After

3.  General LeeGeneral Lee Original

Just a typical evening back in June of 1995, hanging out with some friends, taking turns kicking back in a wheel chair.  That’s another brother sprawled out on the car roof like he’s Tyra Banks gearing up for a swimsuit photo shoot for Sports Illustrated or something.  All he needs is a pristine beach and a crystal clear ocean in the background, but I’m not going to give him the satisfaction.  Instead, I decided to get rid of my friend’s clunky Oldsmobile parked in the driveway, and replace it with the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.  It adds just the right amount of flair the original photo was lacking.

General Lee Before and After

4.  This Room Is Rated RRated R Original

Like most college kids, I was poor and had to be resourceful.  And by being resourceful, I  mean that I stole sugar and creamer from the cafeteria for my coffee because I couldn’t afford to buy them from Wal-Mart.  But in this case, being resourceful meant that I asked my graphic design professor if I could have a bunch of old posters that were laying around  so that I could liven up my 10 x 10, concrete block prison cell of a dorm room.  He was kind enough to oblige.  However, instead of scoring a Kurt Cobain poster or a scantily clad Jennifer Love Hewitt poster, the posters he gave me were mostly of puppy dogs and kitty cats.

Beggars can’t be choosers, so I decorated the ceiling with the puppy posters, and turned my dorm room into a glorified petting zoo.  It wasn’t nearly the hip and cool look I was going for, especially with the poster pictured front and center that read “This room is rated R.  No adults allowed without kid’s OK!”  Being poor sucks ass, but Photoshop can make you feel like a wealthy king.  Time for a little dormitory makeover, Photoshop CS3 edition.  Goodbye puppy dogs and hello Ashley Jugs.

Rated R Before And After

5.  Severe Tornado WatchSevere Tornado Warning Original

I don’t even know where to begin with this monstrosity of a photo.  I guess I should begin with my brother.  There he is pointing again.  See, I told you.  I’ve got a whole year’s worth of photographs of him pointing upwards towards the sky.  It musta been the happiest year of his life to just go around pointing at nothing all day.  I’d love to live in that world for even one day.

I have no clue what’s going on in this photo really.  All I know is that my brother-in-law on the far left asked us to come take a tour of the factory he worked at.  The factory makes garden hoses or something like that, and so being that I can’t pass up an educational tour of how garden hoses are made, I agreed to attend the tour.  That was before I knew we had to wear safety glasses.  I have a small head, and of course they handed me the biggest pair of safety glasses in the entire place.   Well, whatever.  I rocked those safety glasses and the garden hose tour was everything I had hoped for and more.

The photo isn’t necessarily a bad photo.  The composition is alright, but I don’t know who those Amish looking people are hiding behind the handicapped sign like we wouldn’t notice that they snuck in to be part of our garden hose tour.  Whoever they are, they have to go.  My brother likes pointing to the sky and second chances, well here you go, big bro.  Here’s your second chance at being caught in the eye of a tornado storm.Severe Tornado Warning Before And After

I hope you enjoyed the first volume of the Before & Happily Ever After series.  If you did, you have Steven Patrick Morrissey’s gloomy, depressing music and a fifth of Maker’s Mark whiskey to thank for that.  Join me next time, as I retouch some old photos and add alien abductions, shark infested waters, and Hulk Hogan wrestling a chubby guy at a local wrestling match at the Moose Lodge.  May you all live happily ever after until the next time.