Facebook Meth

Posted by Kathy on August 10th, 2013

candy crushThanks to my friend Sharron, I now have a name for the monkey on my back that’s been strangling me the last few weeks.

That monkey is Candy Crush, or Facebook meth, as Sharron so bluntly and accurately referred to it. I’m happy to report I’m off it. Blocked. No more. Fin.

For all the articles I’ve read about how to beat the game levels, I think I’ve read just as many about how people kicked the habit and blocked it from their lives. So now this makes another one for the pile. Writing this post is the most productive thing I’ve done in a month.

So, how did I get here?

The Candy Crushers in my life warned me in earnest not to start. “Just don’t,” they said. “Learn from my mistake,” they said. And for a while I was fine without it, had little interest. But then.

Like a child who’s been warned not to touch a hot stove and burns themselves doing it anyway, I added it to my apps and was instantly hooked. Here is how that first hit got me to where I am today.

Candy Crush Your Hopes and Dreams lets you bank only 5 lives, with an automatic one life renewal every 30 minutes.

I remember emailing my sister and saying “That’s ludicrous. Who would wait 30 min. for a life renewal? I can’t play this thing. I’m out.”

But I wasn’t out because I’d already had a taste of the candy. And the candy was good. “Delicious! Sweet! Divine!

You can get more lives by requesting them of other players, but how fast you get them is dependent on their availability and willingness to give lives.

No problem. I’ll just request them of my husband’s Facebook account. Log out of mine, into his, send the life, go back to my account, retrieve it and request another. Do this five times as fast as possible. Play those games, go get more.

I played morning, noon and night this way. It disgusts and embarrasses me to admit that I played Candy Crush Your Spirit for four hours a day, at least. All the while, professing that I wanted to get back to blogging. All the while saying I needed to stop. All the while, ignoring everything productive, save for my day job.

When I played during prime time hours, renewing lives was easier because many other Crushers were also playing. But as soon as I’d request and receive lives from them, I’d ask for more. And I thought “OMG. These people. These people know how bad I have it. I’m mortified. I need to stop. But can I have another life first?”

One person did start messaging me during my early morning sessions. He’s in a later time zone than me, so sometimes when I’d be playing at 4AM my time, he’d pop up and say “Morning. My, you’re playing early today.” In my head, that sounded like Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Shame washed over me. He’s watching, knowing I have a problem, but enabling me by dutifully sending me lives as soon as I request them. I didn’t want him knowing I’d become such a slave to this beast, but he had the power to feed me lives. Lives that kept the hamster wheel turning.

As the weeks went on, things got worse. My husband Dave asked if I could work on his current maddening level. Now I’m playing my lives and his lives, requesting more from and to each account. Log in, log out, round and round we go.

I mention to my sister that I passed levels for Dave and now she asks if I can work her tough level, too. And so I do. I get her account information so I can log in and out to request and retrieve lives. I’m doing this for three accounts now. Mine, my husband’s and my sister’s.

I am in a very bad place.

It sickens me that I played three people’s games today for almost 12 hours. Yes, 12 hours. I only stopped to eat and vacuum a little. I see two cats roaming around the house and remember Oh, I have cats, don’t I? Hi, Lucky. Hi, Shadow. How’ve you been? Long time, no see.

Even though I was cross-eyed and catatonic at Hour 10, I pressed on. See, I’d been stuck at level 182, blowing through a couple hundred lives with no payoff. The addition of boosts would certainly help my game, but you have to pay for them.“Don’t ever pay for boosts,” they said. “Don’t give them real money. Just don’t.”

I considered myself “not that bad off,” as long as I didn’t pay for anything.

But.

But.

But.

Somehow I managed to achieve a near-win on Level 182. Only a single jelly remained on the board. Crush it and I win the level. I couldn’t clear it with the existing candy alignment, but I could if I had a lollipop boost to smash it with.

Ignoring all warning and reason, I opened my wallet, clicked Purchase Boosts, filled in my credit card information and bought $10.62 worth of lollipops to finish a level that had just robbed me of most of my Saturday.

After I paid, I clicked the shiny new lollipop and smashed that last jelly to smithereens. I felt euphoric! Eat it, Level 182!

But my euphoria instantly turned to regret and depression. I had just wasted perfectly good disposable income on something that had taken over my life, something so useless, something that kept me from blogging, kept me from having a normal routine, a normal life.

I puttered around the kitchen a while, wringing my hands, knowing what I had to do.

I scooted up to the laptop again, clicked Account Settings, Blocking, Block Apps, and entered Candy Crush into the box.

Die Facebook Meth, die!

I wish I could get all those hours back, wish I’d put it toward blogging, wish I’d put it toward anything else. But I can’t. It’s gone.

A new day starts in 3, 2, 1……

Of All the Places in All the World

Posted by Kathy on May 12th, 2013

oreoAs many of you know, I’m traveling to Europe soon. The last leg of the trip will be spent visiting my friends and yours, Babs and Mo, who live in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.

One thing I like to do when visiting blogger friends is to bring a gift with me that’s distinct to my town. Since I’m traveling out of the country this time, I want to bring something uniquely American.

Hmmm, what to pack? I want it to be a food item that can survive the trip, but that limits me to something processed, like cookies or hard snacks.

I also want it to scream Americana, so I thought of the classic Oreo cookie.

Yes! Oreos it is!

So I researched whether they’re available in the UK. It’d be stupid to bring something Babs and Mo can get at their local grocery.

I’m excited to find that the company only just started producing them there, so maybe they’ve never seen them before. This is good.

Except.

Except that the factory where the company decided to produce them is located in……

Sheffield.

Of course they are.

Babs and Mo, maybe you should just tell me what you’d like me to bring, huh?

Minutiae

Posted by Kathy on September 19th, 2012

I surrender. I’ve been trying to come up with blog posts for the last few weeks and I got nothin’.

Literally nothing.

1.  I bought a new cube fridge for my office. It’ll keep my coffee creamer and lunch nice and cold. Ooooo! Riveting!

2. Some crazy squirrels keep leaving nut shells on my chair on the patio. There are four chairs, but they keep picking the one I sit in. How do they know it’s my chair and why are they messing with me?

3. I have a favorite pair of shorts that are hard to replace. There’s a big hole in the crack and now I can’t be seen in public in them. Not even to check the mailbox. I am sad. I also don’t sew, so don’t even suggest it.

4. I’m almost out of dish detergent.

5. I cleaned the inside of my car’s windshield and not very well. You sort of need octopus arms to do it right.

6. Happy event: As I’m losing weight, going to the gym again, my pants are falling down. Falling down pants are very motivating.

7. I filled my car with gas yesterday and it came to $25.01. Not $25.00 on the nose. The penny over distressed me.

I defy you to come up with anything more boring than this. What is possibly going on in your lives that is less interesting?

I seriously wanna hear it.

Go!

I’m Still Here

Posted by Kathy on July 19th, 2012

Hi, peeps!

I had a panic attack this morning, where I thought if I didn’t get something up on this here blog, you’d all leave me and never look back.

I’M STILL HERE! Just got some family stuff going on that’s sucking my time and energy, not to mention any sort of creativity that makes for good blogging.

Sorry.

I promise to get back to writing as soon as I can.

In other business, in ten days I will achieve five years of blogging. There will be cake because five blogging years is like 35 in dog years.

Or something.

Please don’t leave me now.

Apostrophe Madness and the Return of What’s That

Posted by Kathy on August 20th, 2011

Hey, peeps! Remember me? I used to blog here. I’ve been unable to string words together lately. So I hope you forgive me while my brain undergoes maintenance.

I have some workmen on it and they think it’s limited to my temporal lobe, which controls semantics and word meaning. They think if I just practice writing every day, words will make sense to me again and six eggs dance in the moonlight when the 31st of April takes a bath.

What?

Nevermind. Brain still needs work.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with some apostrophe problems and a couple What’s That items for you to mull over.

First up, Food Network. This is from the show Good Eats with Alton Brown.

Nice try. Even if it needed an apostrophe, that’s not where it would go. So double FAIL for you!

Food Network

This next one comes from sender-inner Grant, my pal at work who knows how insane I get over grammar mistakes, especially by the big boys.

Here, Crayola makes a boo-boo of the that-doesn’t-make-it-plural variety.

Crayola

Now, for the What’s That items: A friend wrote me this week and asked if I was still doing the series. I told her how difficult it’s been to find good items that will make your heads hurt. Because I’m all about hurting the heads of others.

I hope these fit the bill.

How to play:

1. The photos show a small portion of a larger object.

2. First person to correctly guess one or both objects wins a Junk Drawer magnet and a choice of either bacon, Jesus or eyeball bandages.

Object #1

what's that 1

Object #2

what's that 2

Commence hurting heads!

 

It’s Best Just to Stay Away From Me

Posted by Kathy on August 10th, 2011

cranky Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

It has been eleven days since my last blog post.

Not a lot going on here, except work is sucking me dry. I’m tired, cranky and can’t think, type or speak straight.

I’m ready for autumn like yesterday and the take-out place I got dinner from tonight burned my garlic knots.

When I woke up this morning, I stretched real good over my head and then promptly pulled something in my neck.

I can’t look left. Maybe never again.

Yesterday I stress-ate 25 caramel creams one right after the other and then I had to unbutton my pants to breathe. Also got a monster sugar headache. Duh.

I tripped while walking and stubbed my toe and then slammed my shin against a table and now I’m black and blue and stupid.

Basically, I’m real cranky and no one should talk to me unless they come bearing a box of chocolates. Or flowers. Or chocolate flowers.

Hope you’re all having a better week than me, full of sunshine and unicorns.

Someone should.

I’ll be back to regular posting when I think something is funny. Even if it’s me finding out I’ve been walking around with a trail of toilet paper stuck to my shoe.

At the rate I’m going……

Join Me at the Tribal Blogs Conference in Minnesota!

Posted by Kathy on April 27th, 2011

Im going Some of you may remember that I’m attending and speaking at the first annual Tribal Blogs Blogging Conference in Minnesota, June 23-25, 2011.

What does it mean to be speaking at the conference, besides throwing up 20 minutes before I go on?

As a speaker, I get to give away THREE conference registrations to Junk Drawer readers!

That’s right, peeps. Here’s your chance to get into the two-day conference free of charge (excluding hotel and airfare; a $199 value!) More in a bit.

About Tribal Blogs

I’ve been blogging now for almost four years. And in that time, I’ve joined many networks to learn as much as I can about blogging. The truth is, Tribal Blogs was the first and only place that I could honestly recommend as a value-packed resource for both new and seasoned bloggers.

Ask a question in the forums, get an answer in minutes. Share a blogging frustration and get support and advice immediately. Need some laughs to break up your day? Get that too!

I’m thrilled that Jennifer Brown, Tribal Blogs’ founder, is taking the network to the next level with this amazing blogging event.

About the conference

How many articles have you read about how to build a better blog, but they’re written in general terms with few actual step-by-step takeaways? And then you leave thinking “But how do I do that? I need details!”

The goal of the Tribal Blogs conference is to teach bloggers valuable skills that can be used as soon as you get back to your laptop.

It’s also a place where bloggers who’ve only communicated online can share successes and techniques that have worked for them (and ones that didn’t) in a relaxed, supportive and fun environment.

Topics on the agenda:

SEO (search engine optimization) You write good stuff. Now get found!
Marketing, networking, monetizing and increasing blog traffic
Technical aspects of blogging (plug-ins, tagging, backing up your blog, design and stats/analysis)
Using social media to your benefit
Blog-to-book strategies
How to write compelling content that gets you noticed
How to position yourself to go viral

View the full agenda.

Other fun stuff and goodies!

There will be a cocktail party on Conference Eve, where bloggers can socialize and chillax before getting down to business.

Because I don’t drink, I shan’t be having cocktails. That means you’ll have me to guide you back to the right hotel room so that you don’t try your room key in the wrong door for half an hour before giving up and falling asleep on the hallway floor.

See how helpful I am?

I might also see if I can squeeze in a Q & A session, featuring my husband Dave, who’s coming along with me.

During Kathy 101, you can ask him what it’s like to live with me, how he copes with that reality and whether it’s really true that I’m a few cards short of a deck. Ha!

Advance thanks go to some outstanding conference sponsors, including:

  • Publish Green, an eBook publishing and distribution company who is giving away a premium publishing package worth $1,000! Holy jackpot, Batman! 
  • Beaver’s Pond Press, a Minneapolis publisher whose guest speaker will talk about taking your blog to a book. I’m takin’ notes, baby.
  • Go-Girl, a Minnesota-based company that offers a unique, no-mess way for women to use the ladies room without the ladies room. I know! Crazy, right?
  • StormSister, also a Minnesota-based company, who makes an eco-friendly, three-in-one beauty bar called Shhh that can be used to shower, shampoo and shave. Awesome!

So how can I get into the conference for free?

Easy! All you have to do is email me with your interest and I’ll fill you in on the rest.

If you’re not among the first three to contact me, you can still enjoy a $50 discount on the two-day registration (code TB50) or $24 off the one-day pass price (code TB75). Enter the code on the registration page.

If you can’t make the trip, but you know someone in the Minnesota area who might be interested, please send them a link to this post so they can get in contact with me.

I’m so stoked about this conference, even if it means I pass out during my presentation. If nothing else, it’ll give all the bloggers in attendance something to write about, complete with pictures of me in a heap on the floor.

Do You Look Like the Picture on Your Blog?

Posted by Kathy on February 12th, 2011

Kathy Some bloggers put a headshot of themselves on their blogs, and like me, did so when they started blogging.

Years later, that same picture is still there. For some, they still resemble that old photo.

But not me.

I’m many pounds heavier now than when this picture was taken.

I want to look like my headshot again.

Which is why I joined a health & fitness center last Sunday. Sure, I should have joined long ago for the health benefits, but I admit it was more vanity that got me there.

That’s because I’m speaking at a blog conference at the end of June. I’ll be meeting fellow bloggers who’ve only known me visually by that picture.

When I registered for the conference, I realized I didn’t want to show up and have no one recognize me. Worse, I imagined them huddled in a corner whispering, “Wow. She doesn’t look like I thought she would. Is that really her?”

So I’m doing something about it. Finally.

Every day at 5:30AM, I show up at the gym, shove my stuff in a locker and look in a mirror that faces another and another. The dreaded 360.

I don’t know who that woman is because that’s not who I see when I think of myself.

But the hard reality is that it’s what people see when they look at me and it nearly brings me to tears.

Somehow I’ve managed to look in mirrors past and ignore the obvious. That extra junk in my trunk, the double chin, the tree trunk legs.

You get used to it. I fell into a dangerous habit of thinking “It’s not so bad. I’m not that fat. There are people heavier than me. It could be worse.”

But I’m already worse.

Fifty pounds worse than my perfect weight of 2004.

And so there in the locker room, I reacquaint myself with those extra pounds. Face them. Hate them. Mark their last days.

I do an about face and head through those doors.

I stretch, I strain, I slog, I sweat.

I smile, too.

Because I imagine my old self emerging. A stronger, healthier, thinner me. Pound by pound, I’ll get there.

And then when I reach my goal, people will say “She’s just like I pictured.”

Maybe better.

Wait and see.

Why It’s Good to Read Your Blog Offline

Posted by Kathy on December 18th, 2010

magnifying glass A friend of the family enjoys my blog, but she doesn’t read it the way you do.

She’s in her 80s and doesn’t have a computer or access to the Internet. She gets my blog when I print out several months’ worth of posts and mail them to her at the post office.

A blog through snail mail. Weird, huh?

Whenever I print out posts I always sit down and read through them before mailing. Why? Because reading a chunk of your old posts in a quiet setting, on paper, is a full-immersion exercise that gives you a clearer picture of your writing. Much more than just browsing a single post on a computer screen can.

Because there is time and distance between me and something I wrote months ago, it almost feels like I’m reading someone else’s work. It’s fresh to me.

I discover a lot from this process.

When I laugh at something I barely remember writing, it’s like getting a surprise gift. “I wrote that? Not bad, Kathy. Not bad.

It also gives me a chance to watch for negative trends that I might have slipped into over the years and that need improvement.

Here are some things I noticed:

1. I’m writing less. This last packet I sent was thinner than it should have been for five months and I know why. The larger my audience gets, the more afraid I am to publish something that I’m not sure will be a hit. There were periods I went as long as eight days without a new post.

When I first started The Junk Drawer, I published every 2-3 days. I want to get back to that, accepting the risk that something will fall flat. Sure, if I write more, there may be more stinker posts, but I know that I’m happier when I publish more often.

2. No matter how much I edit a post before I publish, I found some posts that still weren’t cut enough. I wrote things that weren’t necessary for the post theme, especially in the lead paragraphs. Some passages sounded awkward or lengthy, and didn’t help move the story along. Lotta clunky stuff in places.

3. I overuse some words, use clichés when I get lazy, and sometimes something I write doesn’t even make sense to me when I read it months later. I’d sit there and think “God, what must my readers have thought? They sure are forgiving.”

4. I’m insane. But we knew that already.

So in this season of giving, give yourself a little gift.

Print out some of your stuff and cozy up with it for a while. You might be surprised by your own writing, find a few things you can improve upon and renew your excitement for blogging.

Works for me!

Test Post

Posted by Kathy on December 9th, 2010

This is a test post in case the title didn’t give it away.

‘Sup.

2:34PM EST: Now I’m testing edits.

Here is a cow. The cow goes moo.

image

 

I Lost My Writing Mojo

Posted by Kathy on August 8th, 2010

broken pencil I have lost my writing mojo. I checked the couch cushions, the garage, under my car seats and in that desk drawer that always sticks. It mustn’t be here.

If anyone finds it, please send me an email and I’ll come pick it up. Or, if you live too far, I’ll pay for postage. It does not have to go in a bubble wrap lined envelope, but it does have to be a large envelope. Say, 12″ by 15.5″.

Oh, and if you see it, be nice to it on approach. Use a calm voice so it doesn’t escape. Maybe offer it some bacon. It responds to “Mojo,” “Chops,” or when it’s feeling down, “Serviceable Writing Ability.”

This is the kind of post you’ll get until it’s found. So please search everywhere. Start with your junk drawers. It’s possible my mojo went in search of others because nothing is happening in mine.

Thank you.

The Truth About This Humor Writer

Posted by Kathy on May 15th, 2010

comedy_mask I’ve been writing The Junk Drawer for almost three years now, and if you’ve been around a while you might assume a few things about me as a humor writer.

You may think that ….

1. I was a class clown. Hardly. In fact, I was painfully shy in school and afraid of my own shadow. I never told funny jokes, never made people laugh at crazy antics and I certainly didn’t want to be the center of attention. Too much pressure and I didn’t want anyone looking at me anyway. If you need me, I’ll be over here hiding in the corner.

2. Humor writing comes easily to me. Occasionally it does, and I’m always grateful when that happens, but many times I struggle to “funny up” a piece I’m writing. I’ve buried many a post over the years. Stories I thought would be humorous wind up falling flat, I kick them to the curb and start over with something else. People often say humor writing is a skill “you either have or you don’t,” but I say it’s a matter of degree, it takes work and the perfect piece doesn’t just write itself. Also, I don’t know what a perfect piece is. I’ve never had one.

3. I’m hilarious in-person. The fact is I don’t consider myself very funny in-person. I do better with the written word. My husband is the funny one, the expert joke-teller, the life of the party. I am a wallflower, content with soaking in my surroundings and watching other people be interesting and funny. I am not a laugh factory.

4. I always look at the lighter side of things. True, I do like to find humor in everyday things, but I’m a serious person by nature. Some might even say too serious, especially at work, where I’m laser-focused on the tasks at hand. But that’s because I have a solid work ethic, thanks to my parents. I’m a worrywart, stress a little too easily and can spend half a day stewing over something innocuous. Finding the lighter side means I first have to blast all the negativity out of my head. I admire people who ooze sunshine despite their burdens.

5. I gravitate to humor and comedy in books and movies. The majority of books I own are non-fiction and decidedly unfunny. Some examples are Salt: A World History, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nary a chuckle in them. I will always pick a documentary over a comedy. At the top of my list is WordPlay, a film about the spellbinding world of crossword puzzles and the eggheads who love them. Riveting!

Put together, these personality traits probably shouldn’t have led me to write humor. But somehow I plopped myself down into this genre and got comfortable. Isn’t it funny how that works?

A What’s That Wednesday and An FYI

Posted by Kathy on May 12th, 2010

Today’s What’s That item comes with not one, but two, hints! I’m so generous.

Hint #1: It doesn’t belong to me.

Hint #2: It is always used with a second object not pictured here.

There. Wasn’t that super helpful?

How to play:

1. The photo shows a small portion of a larger object.

2. First person to guess the object wins a Junk Drawer magnet and your choice from a fine selection of novelty bandages. Nine out of ten clown doctors say that novelty bandages work better than regular ones.

OK, so here goes. What is this?

whatsthat

And now for that FYI:

I’m leaving Entrecard in a few days. If that’s how you usually visit The Junk Drawer, please consider bookmarking me or subscribing to the feed. I’d love to keep you as a regular visitor.

You can always find me over at Tribal Blogs and on Facebook, too! Stick with me, will ya?

————-

CONTEST CLOSED! We have a winner!

Tribal Blogs: The Crap-Free Zone of Blogging

Posted by Kathy on April 1st, 2010

tribalblogs I’d like to introduce you to a great new blogger’s network called Tribal Blogs, started by Jen of Redhead Rantings.

Jen wanted to start a new network for “writers whose outstanding blogs set them apart from the rest of the pack.” I joined a few weeks ago and I’m loving it already.

What you’ll find is a posse of awesome bloggers who take blogging seriously. They’re willing to lend you a hand, share and promote your posts, and toss ideas around that can be of use to everyone.

The network also has plenty of groups to join, even one just for men (Jen can’t even get in to see what they’re talking about, but she figures there’s a lot of belching and farting going on).

What you won’t find at Tribal Blogs are the crap blogs. You know exactly the kind of blogs I’m talking about. You probably visit them as part of other networks you belong to that require you to drop on blogs to earn credits or exposure.

Jen is careful to monitor membership and keep out blogs that aren’t updated, don’t have original material or whose authors don’t engage their readers. Here, there’s no wading through the chaff.

It’s free to join, but a premium membership is available for those who want to be listed in the Tribal Blogs toolbar. The toolbar is a great way to visit other members’ quality blogs all at once.

Come on over and check it out! You won’t be disappointed.

And thanks, Jen, for all your hard work getting Tribal Blogs off the ground. It’s an idea whose time has come.

Don’t Waste the Good Stuff

Posted by Kathy on January 17th, 2010

pink_satin_dress Last weekend I met with a fellow local blogger to talk about the blogging process, technical and otherwise, what works and what doesn’t. In preparation, I jotted down some tips that have proven useful to me.

One of them is “Don’t waste a good post on Facebook where only your friended people can see it.” I did that recently with a status update about my failure to understand that Fiber One cereal needs to be eased into slowly, as I’d eaten twice the daily recommendation for three days in a row and paid for it dearly. That update saw over 20 comments. Shoulda, coulda been a post.

The tip about not wasting good material on social media sites also extends to comments I leave on others’ blogs. My friend Maureen wrote a piece some time ago about treating her parents to an anniversary dinner at a fancy downtown restaurant, complete with a ride in a stretch limo. She made reference to the Petula Clark song, Downtown. A song that prompted me to leave a comment, one that she said I should have blogged about.

The comment:

The stuff I remember. Here goes. When I was 12, I took part in a musical show at my school. Each grade had to perform some kind of dance or act. We did a little number to the Petula Clark song. We wore pink satin sleeveless dresses and if we were any older, we would have looked like hookers. We also wore long white gloves. Anyway, when I was being measured by the seamstress who was making the dresses, I was standing in a room full of other girls when she exclaimed “My, someone’s getting her breasts early!” I died a little and that’s what I remember every time I hear that Petula Clark song. The day I got noticeable boobs.

So today’s lessons are:

1. If you’re trying to develop a following on your blog, make it a home for all your best stuff. If you have an entertaining little nugget for Facebook, consider fleshing it out for a post instead.

2. If you’re a seamstress taking measurements for pubescent adolescents, watch what you say in front of other people. Childhood embarrassment lasts at least into your 40s.

How My Blog Got Its Name

Posted by Kathy on December 1st, 2009

jdlogo My good friend Babs wrote a post yesterday about how she named her blog, Beetle’s Memories ‘n Ramblings, or Beetle Blog for short.

I thought some of you might be interested in the evolution of my blog and how it came to be named The Junk Drawer.

I say evolution because that wasn’t the first name for it, at least not for the URL.

When I first started blogging in July, 2007, I joined up with Google’s Blogger publishing system and chose a name for my Blogspot address. For some reason, I picked my real name. My old URL used to be kathyfrederick.blogspot.com.

While I strangely chose my real name for the URL, I had to come up with a name for the blog itself. At the time, I planned to blog about miscellaneous items that interested me or topics that could be of help to readers or at least entertain them.

1. Computing tips

2. Language and linguistics

3. Humor

Based on having a mish mash of topics I wrote about, my first choice for a blog name was Miscellanea. Now. Look at that word and how it’s spelled. Even the editing software I use to publish doesn’t think it’s a word. Could you spell it correctly with a gun to your head?

I quickly realized that it would make a bad name.

So where’s another place you throw miscellaneous things? Why, The Junk Drawer. Of course!

And so the name was born.

Over time I stopped writing about the first two topics, computing and language, and stuck to what readers seemed to enjoy more, the humor stuff.

When I moved off the Blogger platform in December, 2007, I had to register a new domain name and forward my old Blogspot address to the new one. After dropping two of three topics, I wasn’t really blogging miscellaneously anymore, but I still liked The Junk Drawer name, and so the hunt was on for that domain name.

Initially, I wanted JunkDrawer.com, but that was already taken and I wasn’t prepared to spend almost $2,000 to buy it from the owner. TheJunkDrawer.com was also taken. Strike two.

So I risked choosing a domain that was a little longer than those and settled with JunkDrawerBlog.com.

My suggestion for anyone thinking of starting blogging is to think long and hard about a name. Think of it as your brand name. And try to get the easiest-to-spell and shortest domain name possible. You never know how successful your blog will become, and so you want it to be memorable.

I’m interested to know how you came up with your blog names. Are you happy with what you chose? If you had to do it over, would you have chosen something else?

Bent Objects, The Book!

Posted by Kathy on October 18th, 2009

book I’ve been following the blog Bent Objects for a couple years now. The man behind the blog, Terry Border, is an uber-talented photographer and artist who marries everyday objects and wire to tell a story.

Some of his pieces are funny, some are heartbreaking, some are twisted and a few have taken me a beat to figure out. I love art that makes me think.

Terry recently published a book of his works called Bent Objects: The Secret Life of Everyday Things. Some pieces are from the blog, but many more are brand new. Congratulations, Terry! You’ve achieved something that most bloggers only dream about. I’m just a wee bit jealous. OK. A lot jealous.

I cracked open my copy today and leafed greedily through it much like a bag of potato chips. One led to another and before I knew it I was stuffed and happy. I wish I had half of Terry’s wit.

With his permission, I’m republishing a few of the pieces that appeared on his blog to let you get inside Terry’s head. Enjoy!

pretty-cupcakes

Pretty Cupcakes 

Yesterday's-Flowers

Yesterday’s Flowers

s'more

Horror S’morer

For a fun and funky look at more of his pieces that didn’t make it into the book, check out his rockin’ promo video:

If you’re interested in reading about where Terry gets his inspiration and want to see more of his work, the book is available from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Blogger’s note: I received no compensation for this article. I bought the book and wrote about it because I’m in love with Terry. Don’t tell my husband.

Nothing About Post A

Posted by Kathy on October 6th, 2009

falling backwards .end The

.fun no is thing backwards This

.again forward move to want I.

.back come you time next the reading worth something have I’ll promise I .days more few a me Give

.nothing about post A .get you what is this So

.write to what over stressing ,hands my in head empty my with laptop the at me seeing of tired probably is husband My

.it feeling not I’m But .about write to ideas me give to trying helpful so been has co-worker My .Nothing .me of front in out pops hilarious something that hoping around camera my carry I .blog the on about write to fun something having not is most me bothers that thing The

?gives What

.mode hibernation winter into going is body my think I and shorter getting are days The .pounds 10 losing summer this success enjoying after again weight gaining I’m .week a for idea post single a had haven’t I

.backwards moving I’m like feel I

10 Things I Learned on My Chicago BlogHer Trip

Posted by Kathy on July 28th, 2009

1. Flying alone is a piece of cake, even when you’re directionally-challenged. O’Hare airport is blessedly idiot-proof. I wasn’t stressed at all on the actual flights, except for the part when the pilot not-so-briefly forgot what city he was flying to when he announced take-off on the trip home. A full planeload of people screamed him the answer.

2. Wearing heels for 14 hours straight is a bad idea. I know it. You know it. Everybody knows it. Still did it. I almost blew my knee out the morning of the first day and then limped along for the next 10 hours. My dumbness knows no bounds.

3. If you’re not a psycho fan of Tim Gunn, you will be when he’s standing right in front of you. And you’ll squeal with glee when he reads your conference badge and tells you he loves the name of your blog. It’s official! Tim Gunn hearts The Junk Drawer!

MakeItWork 

4. Swag is highly overrated. Liquid swag is the devil. That cracking you hear is BlogHer women everywhere getting realigned at their chiropractors.

5. Friends shouldn’t let friends have access to a bathroom scale, especially when the stupid friend already knows she’s carrying six pounds of vacation instabloat, and yet still wants proof of it.

JDandKathy

6. Helpful women will dig through their purses for dental floss when you tell them you have a poppy seed stuck in your teeth that you can’t remove with a fingernail. When someone says they have a floss pick, but it’s been used, you will consider borrowing it anyway. I wound up having to dig for it again. BlogHer women who were at the bathroom mirror with me during that exercise, I’m sorry. I’m generally not so disgusting at home.

7. Chicago has the very coolest art! And it’s SCARY BIG!

The Bean American Gothic

8. Stressing over what clothes to wear to BlogHer is a colossal waste of time. Spending gobs of money on it adds insult to injury, especially when a button falls off a brand new $49 shirt mere minutes into wearing it. Which cute top did I wear not once, but twice? The one that cost me $1 at a consignment shop. Yes, one dollar.

9. You should not buy delicious treats for people back home that you soon discover you want for yourself. Sorry, Heather. You can’t have ‘em now. But I did buy you a cheap keychain with your name on it. And you can have a T-Mobile clicky pen. And a $2-off coupon for laundry detergent. I’m such a giver.

half-eaten laceys 

10. SEO experts at the conference tell you that Top 10 Lists are blog gold. So there you have it!

Bonus #11. Head over to JD’s place and admire her awesomeness. She was among a group of bloggers invited to read one of their posts to an audience of over a thousand conference attendees. I’m still amazed that my good friend could get up there and give the performance of a lifetime, all without vomiting on stage as she feared.

Thank you JD for EVERYTHING! Thank you JD’s family for getting me to and from the airport and for being such entertaining company on my trip! Thank you BlogHer for putting on such a good show. See you in NYC for BlogHer ’10!

Find Me at BlogHer!

Posted by Kathy on July 16th, 2009

BlogHer A week from today I’ll be crying. That’s because I’m flying on a plane all by my baby self to attend the BlogHer conference in Chicago.

Flying alone and not getting lost once I land are two of my biggest worries. The other one is not recognizing anyone I know from their blogs at the event.

So here’s my plea:

1. Drop a comment in the drawer if you’re attending BlogHer so I know to look for you.

2. Look for me at the conference. I’ll be carrying a tote with my Junk Drawer logo on it. On the first day, I’m planning to wear black slacks with a white, black and green print wrap top. You will see me constantly readjusting this top because the wrapped part doesn’t seem to want to stay positioned over my boobs evenly. This obsession will annoy you.

3. Thankfully, someone told me I still look like the picture shown on my blog, even though I’ve gained weight since that photo was taken. I think it’s because all of the fat is localized to my butt. What is different about me and my old photo? I now wear eye glasses.

4. I’m bringing Junk Drawer magnets to hand out to anyone who says the Secret Word, a five-letter word I’ve used in many posts over the last year or so. Think! Think!

5. If you meet me, please introduce yourself by your blog name and/or moniker you go by on your blog. I don’t know everyone’s real names yet, even if we are friends on Facebook.

6. I’ll be hanging out with JD of I Do Things. She’ll be puking on Friday night right before she gives a reading of one of her hilarious posts at the Community Keynote. Try and catch that! If you recognize her before you recognize me, I’ll be the one attached to her. A social butterfly I am not.

It’s T-minus 7 days! Hope to see you there!

Being a Dumbass is Expensive

Posted by Kathy on June 23rd, 2009

jet So, OK. I’m going to the BlogHer conference in Chicago where I’ll get some good tips on blogging and blog marketing, meet up with bloggers I only know online and see the sights in a city I’ve never been to before.

I’m also going to see my girl JD of I Do Things puke up her lunch because she got accepted to read one of her very best posts in front of a million strangers. Please pray for her.

I knew the conference was Friday and Saturday, July 24th and 25th. I knew I bought a two-day pass that covers admission for both days. I knew I wanted to book a flight the day before the conference so I can get settled, meet up with JD and be well-rested before the start of the conference.

The day before the conference would be Thursday for those keeping count.

When did I book my flight? For Friday morning, of course. Well after the conference is underway.

How much did this mistake cost me? One hundred smackeroos. Frack it all! I booked my flight and hotel through Expedia and they do allow changes at no cost, but the airline charges its own fee for dumbasses like me.

The good news is that the Expedia rep first quoted me a fee of $100, but came back a few minutes later to say it was really $150. Since she misquoted the fee initially, she offered to give me a $50 credit on the extra hotel night I booked.

I believe that’s what you’d call pity for the dumbass.

Oh, and incidentally, JD won’t be the only one puking. This flight will be my first flight going it alone. I’m petrified. I plan on bringing my blankie and teddy bear and I don’t care what that’ll look like.

To recap, you are praying for JD to get through her reading on Friday, July 24th and you are praying for me to get on the plane on the 23rd. You should also get out the rosary beads on the 27th when I fly home. I leave out of O’Hare Airport, where I will get lost as soon as I step foot in the door.

If you don’t see a post from me soon after, it means I’m probably still at the airport, riding a luggage carousel, sucking my thumb and crying like a baby. I want my Mommy!

Wherein I Find Out I’m Awesome

Posted by Kathy on May 18th, 2009

Do you hear me?! I AM AWESOME! I recently posted that I was meeting up with some fellow bloggers 200 miles from home, and it would be the first time I ever drove such a distance by myself.

Sure, I was pee-in-my-pants scared getting there, but the way home was an absolute breeze. After a short time, I was whizzing by slow poke drivers, eating a box of chocolates off my lap, steering with my thumb, and cursing at all the amateur drivers who annoyed me because they seemed lost and inept. You know, like I was two days before. My, how I’ve changed.

The weekend with Kim, Bryan and Jenn was a laughfest and what a joy to finally meet them after a year of knowing them only through their blogs and emails. Kim and Bryan were the consummate hosts and Jenn was fun company at the B&B where we both stayed.

As a bonus, Bryan’s hilarious sister Lisa traveled over an hour to visit with us, along with her cutie pie son, who upon meeting me tried to ride my leg while I was sitting on the couch. I considered it a high honor.

Let’s review some random trip details, shall we?

Peeping Tom Deer 1. A deer saw me naked. Freshly showered, I stepped out of the bathroom, turned to a window that faces the woods and saw this. I decided it was OK because he didn’t snicker or call over any of his deer buddies to get a look. In fact, he stared a long time. I think he wanted me.

2. Even though I took my cell phone, I lost reception during the return trip and later learned that a "reboot" would fix it. Until that discovery, I had to find a pay phone to call home. I found one on a desolate road, but some guy was using it and wouldn’t hang up! Why? Why would you talk on a pay phone in the middle of nowhere for ten minutes? I figured he was saying "There’s a lady here who looks desperate to use this phone, so I’m gonna keep talking about nothing, OK?" Jerk.

3. It took me three weeks to lose four pounds before my trip.Putting on the pounds I gained the four back in three days. I won’t be eating again until Thursday. That oughtta do it. 

4. I don’t get out enough. Kim planted some lovely Lamb’s Ears in her front lawn. I’ve never seen them before, and after Jenn told me "Feel ‘em, they’re velvety soft," I stooped down to touch every Lamb’s Ear I encountered from then on. I’m not sure if everyone thought that was endearing or just sad. I’m guessing sad.

5. Kim needs her own cooking show. In the span of a day, she made homemade soup, homemade bread and homemade manicotti and meatballs. My version of homemade means "I made water boil and dumped a box of pasta in it, in my home."

Overpacked6. I overpack. It’s a disease. On checkout day, my fingers slipped and I dropped my suitcase flat and it almost blew a hole in the floor and killed Jenn in the room underneath. When will I learn I only ever need half of what I think I need? 

7. Bryan agreed, at my request, not to take any photos of me. Yes, yes, I need therapy. He decided instead to take pictures of only my feet at various places we visited. Check out his foot photologue for proof I was actually there.missing

8. I hope someone located this lost baby. I found a "Missing" flyer taped to an ice cream shop window, but I can’t figure out why the baby would be wearing a collar and a harness. And only a $50 reward? That’s shameful. 

Close Enough9. All of my pictures of the beautiful Pennsylvania Grand Canyon look like this. Each one features a view-obstructing railing because I refused to step any closer. Railings good. Falling hundreds of feet to my death bad. I thought it best to enjoy the pictures that others took; people who aren’t afraid to live close to the edge. Literally.

So there you have it. The trip I made all by my lonesome awesome self!

Next up? I fly alone for the first time this summer, wherein I’ll cry for two hours, clutching my blankie and teddy bear. Or maybe not. Awesome people don’t need no stinking teddy bears!

My First Road Trip Alone

Posted by Kathy on May 9th, 2009

highway Next weekend I’m taking my first ever road trip alone. This should worry every single one of you, for I am The Queen of Getting Lost. You earn that title by losing your way only two tenths of a mile from your house.

Despite that, I agreed to drive 180 miles to meet up with three of my favorite bloggers, Bryan of Unfinished Rambler, his wife Kim of Dispatches from the Outpost, and Jenn of Cabbages and Kings.

For the record, I have never driven alone more than 30 miles from my home.

Am I nervous? Yes. Is my husband nervous? Crazy more. Have I considered all the things that can go wrong from here to there? Only since the day I agreed to this insanity.

But for every problem, there is a solution.

1. What if I get lost only ten miles from home? Solution: Turn around, shake my head, and ask myself why I thought I could do this.

2. What if the GPS breaks? Solution: See if I can finish navigating with my Mapquest directions.

3. What if the GPS breaks and my Mapquest directions get sucked out a window? Solution: Call my husband to come get me.

4. What if the GPS breaks, my Mapquest directions get sucked out a window, and my cell phone dies? Solution: Pull over and commence meltdown.

5. What if the GPS breaks, my Mapquest directions get sucked out a window, my cell phone dies, I have a meltdown and nobody stops to help me? Solution: Lock the doors, sleep in my car and have a nightmare about all the murderers waiting for a sitting duck like me, in which case this will be my last post. It was great knowing you.

If I do actually make it there, I likely won’t blog during the weekend. But I will tweet and update on Facebook. So check there next Friday afternoon to see if I’m alive.

If I’m a no-show, send a search party. I’ll be sobbing quietly somewhere in the middle of Pennsylvania.

I’m Dropping Entrecard

Posted by Kathy on April 18th, 2009

entrecard The time has come. I’m saying good-bye to Entrecard.

My decision to leave didn’t come easily, as Entrecard had been very good to me. I developed a drop addiction, which helped me sustain a Top 5 position in the humor category for many months. And I saw traffic. Lots and lots of traffic.

I don’t object to paid ads like other members do, but it bugged me that people who bought ad space with me at a premium (usually over 4,000 credits) simply were not getting their credits’ worth anymore. Sharing airtime with paid ads at that cost is insane.

In addition, dropping cards for at least an hour a day meant that I spent the equivalent of one work day a week on EC, also insane.

Despite the negatives, I’ll miss EC. It was a great way for me to find other bloggers and I’m grateful to have discovered a lot of entertaining blogs in the process. Entrecard made that easy to do and I thank them for it.

My fear now is what will happen to Junk Drawer traffic. I know, as a Top Dropper, I’ll lose a good chunk of what Entrecard brought me. And by the way, I’ve never been part of the camp of people who think EC delivers junk traffic. I always felt it was my responsibility to keep people coming back.

What I like to think I did was draw in the very best readers in the network by consistently giving people something decent to read. No network, Entrecard or otherwise, can make people keep reading our blogs. WE have to make traffic stick.

Now, about that fear. If my blog can’t stand on its own two feet without Entrecard, then it’s not a good enough blog. In a way, leaving EC will challenge me to be a better blogger. And now, with extra time on my hands, maybe I’ll finally get my book off the ground.

To prepare for my departure, I’ve bookmarked many favorites that I used to visit during my 300-drops-per-day rounds. I’ll still be reading a lot of blogs I found through EC.

I’m also canceling most of the ads in my queue. If you had a spot, I’ve been assured by EC that you’ll receive a full credit refund.

Now here’s where I beg.

If you normally visit Junk Drawer via EC, and you would like to continue visiting, kindly add me to your feed reader or bookmark me. I’d love to keep you as a loyal reader! In fact, I’d like to make you dinner if you stay. Too desperate?

There are a couple other ways you can keep in touch with me, if you’re a fan of micro-blogging:

Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook. I’m active in both places.

Thank you, Entrecard, for the great ride! You helped me build a solid readership over the last year. It is my sincere hope that you can make improvements that’ll put smiles back on your members’ faces.

As for my addiction, I expect I’ll get the shakes the first day I don’t drop 300 cards. Does anyone know of an EC rehab center in my area?

Yes, I Completely Ignored You

Posted by Kathy on March 27th, 2009

jury_box Hi, folks. Remember this post wherein I told you I was so worried about being picked for jury duty and lots of you said I probably wouldn’t get picked?

And then remember when you all left really interesting comments and I responded to them for a good stretch and then I stopped cold and ignored you completely?

Yeah, well, I got picked.

On the day of jury selection, I sat among a horde of prospective jurors, watching as batches of people were summoned while I remained unpicked. We broke for lunch and then afterwards started the waiting game again. I made it all the way until 3:30, thinking my day would soon be over.

Not so fast.  The last 40 of us were called into a courtroom, where we were asked a series of questions that got some prospects eliminated. The attorneys spent about 20 minutes reviewing our questionnaires, circling the names of some, while crossing off the names of others. When they were finished, it was time to read off the numbers of those who were selected. I was Juror #3.

Right off the bat, they picked jurors 1, 2 and me. Crap on a stick. It didn’t take long to hear the rest and before I knew it, I found myself taking an oath in the jury box.

The judge told us we couldn’t talk about the case and specifically mentioned not blogging the details. So like a good juror, I shut up and didn’t blog about it. I ignored everyone who asked me if I got picked. Just disappeared. I’m sorry I left you hanging, but the judge made us swear.

So what kind of trial did I get put on? Attempted homicide. My first time being called for jury duty and I get attempted murder. Joy.

I spent the next ten days stressing about it until the day we were to report for duty, which was this Monday. We were told the trial could last up to a week, so I put up a post that could live without me. I needed to be laser-focused for this thing.

What’s the good news? The day of the trial, we were led into a jury room where we waited several hours before the judge came in and told us the trial was dismissed! He explained in detail why that happened, but all I really heard was dismissed, dismissed, dismissed. We were thanked for our time and sent on our way.

I could not be any happier that I didn’t have the burden of possibly sending someone to prison. I later learned the defendant was already serving time for another serious crime, and had we convicted him, it’s possible he would have seen a good chunk of the rest of his life behind bars.

Not sure I would have wanted that on my mind. Still, I would have done my civic duty and been proud of it. I’ll do it again if I must, but since I’m considered to have already served, I can’t be called again for at least three more years.

Again, sorry I couldn’t post about this until now. Glad you had fun with the Comment Game while I took a little break from blogging. I hope to have a What’s That post up this weekend. It’s time for something light and fun. I’ve had enough serious for the week.

Let’s Play!

Posted by Kathy on March 23rd, 2009

CommentGameI’ll be away from the blog most of the week and won’t be able to check in very much. So I’m offering up a little game you can play without me. I stole it from Sandee at Comedy Plus, who stole it from someone else.

It’s very simple. I start the game off by listing two words or phrases, like waffles or pancakes, and you pick the one you like better. You can explain why if you like.

Then you leave two more words or phrases for the next commenter to choose from. If someone derails the game, will someone please jump in and get it back on track? Thanks!

Ready? First comment: Facebook or Twitter?

Go!

Delurkify Yourself

Posted by Kathy on March 21st, 2009

shadowPsssst! Over here! Yeah, you.

I’m talking to you, the ones in the corner over there. I see you.

The ones who read Junk Drawer. The ones who stop by every post, maybe laugh a little and then click away.

Yeah, you. THE LURKERS! I know you’re out there.

What I don’t know is why you lurk. I’m proclaiming today Delurk on The Junk Drawer Day.

How did you discover Junk Drawer?

If you don’t usually comment, why?

Do you read so many blogs, you don’t have time to comment?

Do you lurk because you just like to read and not be seen?

Do you lurk because other commenters already say what’s on your mind?

Does the word "lurk" sound funny to you when you say it over and over? Lurk, lurk, lurk, lurk, lurk, lurk, LURK!

I will admit I’m a lurker on some blogs. On ones that receive hundreds of comments, I feel like I’ll get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes the people who comment are way funnier and creative than me and I don’t want to look like a fool. Imagine that. Me. Worrying about looking like a fool.

So what’s your reason? Why do you lurk?

Oh, and you do realize that if you comment now, you’re no longer a lurker? Congratulations! Feels good, doesn’t it?

Bye Bye Birdie

Posted by Kathy on January 28th, 2009

There’s been a meme floating around the interwebs lately. Instructions are to locate the sixth photo in the sixth picture folder on your PC and write about it.

Mine is a very sad picture:

strangebird 

But that’s not a sad picture, Kathy! It’s a cute birdie!

No, it’s a dead birdie. See? There in the corner.

deadbird

He sat on the chair a while, then crawled over in the corner sometime that night, chirped his last chirp and fell fast asleep. Forever.

I’m just glad little birdie found comfort under our artificial Christmas tree we’re too lazy to put in the garage. Oh, and the dog dish? We don’t have a dog. Discuss.

Recipe for a Blog Post

Posted by Kathy on January 24th, 2009

This is a recipe for my world famous Serviceable Post. It’s what you get when I only have tidbits that don’t make real posts. Consider it the casserole of blogging.

Combine all ingredients in a word processor on medium speed and let sit. Time to prepare: 30 minutes. Serves everyone.

Ingredients:

brawny_paper_towels1 observation: I have a new man in my life. His name is Brawny. I always thought Brawny paper towels were like Bounty’s little brother who always stood in its shadow. I was wrong. Thick and strong, these manly paper towels can stand up to any mess and then some. Brawny, I’m sorry I never gave you a chance until now. Forgive me?

1 question: Every morning when I get in my car to drive to work, I have to raise the rear-view mirror. When I leave work, I have to lower it. I’ve read our spines can elongate as much as an inch overnight while sleeping. I’m guessing this is why all the readjusting. Do you have to do this too, or am I the only one with a yo-yo spine?

paul_sorvino 1 celebrity sighting: A friend of mine got in line behind Paul Sorvino at the grocery store last night and got up the nerve to talk to him. She’s still kicking herself for saying she loved him in the TV comedy Still Standing. He’s thinking What? No Goodfellas?

A pinch of stupid: I bought a thin baguette at the store yesterday, still warm and crispy out of the oven. I carried it to the checkout register under my arm, it broke in half and the top part fell out of the bag and onto the floor in front of about twenty people.

A clerk was summoned to get me a new one and when he brought it over said with a wink "The crust is really crisp. Be careful." I guess my guns are stronger than I thought. Apparently you do not want to mess with me.

 gloves2 gloves: My husband’s had a cold for a week and is trying not to get his germ-ridden fingers on anything I touch. Thanks, dear. But isn’t it hard to type like that?

By the way, I’ve been downing Airborne tablets like I do whenever I’m around sick people. I know the FDA says it’s a crock of poo, but I haven’t had a cold in almost five years. Coinkydink? I think snot.

 

Diva for a Day

Posted by Kathy on December 17th, 2008

divacosmos I do frump really well, but today I’m a diva!

I had the honor of being interviewed by Vivienne at the deliciously spicy Diva Cosmos blog. Aside from giving me a really big head, she asked me a lot of great questions about one of the best parts of my blog — the comments!

Vivienne’s interview gave me a chance to reflect on why I think The Junk Drawer gets the number of comments it does, and how important they and my readers are to me.

I’ve always said that half the fun of blogging is reading through the comments after each post. If people stopped talking, I’d close up shop and slink away.

Click here to read the interview. If you have any follow-up questions, drop ‘em here or over at Vivienne’s place. You know comments are welcome!

I Made a Rookie Mistake

Posted by Kathy on December 2nd, 2008

eraser Crap. I published a post last night that, after some reflection, I wasn’t happy with. So I deleted it.

Never do that. Why? Because the post will get picked up by Feedburner and sent out to places that draw from the feed. Immediately. And there’s no undoing it.

What does that mean? Anyone who uses a feed reader, such as Google Reader, will still be able to read the post. But if they click the link back to my blog to comment, for example, the post isn’t there. Instead, you get an “Error 404 – Not Found” message. Translated, that means “This blog author is very stupid.”

The recommended course of action if you want to delete a post is to simply change the post content to something like “This post has been removed by the author.”

Or, better yet, be really sure you want to post something before you hit the Publish button. D’oh! Geesh. You’d think I’d know what I’m doing by now.

Other notable Kathy mistakes:

The night before our wedding, I made tuna casserole for my husband-to-be and me. I forgot to put the tuna in. He married me anyway, knowing full well I couldn’t cook and that the tiny roster of foods I knew how to make included tuna casserole.

I let my car run out of gas.

Follow-up blunder: I walked two blocks to a gas station, bought a gas can and pre-paid for $10 worth of gas. The can took only $2 worth. I was too embarrassed to go back and reclaim the difference.

I wore a banana hair clip into my twenties. It’s customary to stop when you’re thirteen.

On my first visit back to the eye doctor after getting fitted for contact lenses, I showed up with a lens in only one eye. My doctor so carefully danced around my stupidity, saying “I’m unable to locate the second lens.” I asked if he was sure. I asked an eye doctor, looking through $20,000 optometry equipment, if he was sure.

For the record, I was able to come up with these mistakes in less than five minutes. I could run a whole new blog on my mistakes alone. It’s hard being me.

Hello, 10,000!

Posted by Kathy on November 23rd, 2008

This will be a short post, as I was out very late last night at a dinner engagement. We were still being served food at 11:30PM, which means I’m very tired and bloated at the moment. I considered it marathon training for Thanksgiving dinner.

Here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for AND the moment I missed because I was shoving pecan pie down my gullet.

The Junk Drawer’s 10,000th commenter was ……..

ImitationAngel !!!!

For winning The Junk Drawer Comment Extravaganza, ImitationAngel receives a Junk Drawer magnet, mug and mousepad, as well as a mug or mousepad with her blog’s logo on it. She’ll also receive a $20 Amazon e-gift card.

Thanks for all your comments leading up to the big moment! I could feel the frenzy by late afternoon and it was great fun wondering who the lucky winner would be.

I considered trying to get out of the dinner by explaining that I had to stay home to blogsit. But I’m not sure that reason would have gone over well with the host.

Don’t worry, though. I plan to staple myself to a chair for comment #20,000. I’m not missing that!

Thanks again everyone, and enjoy your Sunday!

—–

Now I’m workin’ on 10,000 smilies at Humor-Blogs.com!

A Reminder from Stinky

Posted by Kathy on November 21st, 2008

Screaming_Stinky

Stinky doesn’t want you to forget about the chance to win cool prizes. And I want to make sure you know it’s possible we’ll reach the magic number this weekend. Please don’t miss the window of opportunity.

Cancel your life for a while if you have to. Just be there at #9,999!

UPDATE: I removed the counter since we’re getting so close. The removal of the counter ensures that no one will really know when we hit 10,000 and we can keep the winning comment truly random.

***** The Winner’s Circle *****

The latest winners of the Random Comment Picked-by-My-Husband Contest are:

From the last post, comment #42, Karen of A Strange Life Revisited.

From the post before, comment #84, Gandalf and Grayson.

Congratulations on winning a Junk Drawer magnet! I’ll be in touch with both of you shortly.

——–

One final thing, I’m tired of hanging out in the basement of Humor-Blogs.com, so if you click this link and smiley me, it might get me up to the first floor where all the cool kids hang out.

A Weekend What’s That and Comment #23

Posted by Kathy on November 15th, 2008

I knew when I started the What’s That? Wednesday series, I figured there’d be times when I’d forget to post one on Wednesday. As it’s turning out, not only do I not always have an item for a Wednesday, I feel like posting one on Saturday. I’m scattered like that.

So here goes, your weekend version of What’s That? Wednesday:

How it works:

1. The photo shows a small portion of a larger object.

2. First person to guess the object it’s a part of wins either 500 Entrecard credits or a Junk Drawer magnet, your choice.

thing

What’s That?

Today also brings us our first Comment Extravaganza winner, Bernie O’Hare! In my last post, I wrote that my husband would pick a random comment from each post leading up to my blog reaching its 10,000th comment. The winner receives a Junk Drawer magnet. Dave picked #23.

Bernie runs a very popular political blog called Lehigh Valley Ramblings. He stumbled onto my blog through the blog of newspaper columnist Bill White, who mentioned The Junk Drawer. When Bernie spotlighted my post about grade school memories almost a year ago today, it gave my readership a nice shot in the arm and I’ve never forgotten what that did for me.

I share this history with you because it illustrates how much sheer luck is involved in growing your blog. If Bill White hadn’t mentioned me, Bernie never would have found me and then a year later he wouldn’t have suggested me to our regional paper to be a member of Valley Blogosphere. I’m eternally grateful for the new exposure, both in print and online.

So if you’re a struggling blogger and you think no one’s reading you, don’t give up. Keep writing your best stuff and you never know when someone with influence will find you and give you a boost. It can come from anywhere, anytime. Be ready for it.

CONTEST CLOSED. We have a winner!

A Junk Drawer Comment Extravaganza!

Posted by Kathy on November 14th, 2008

jdlogo A lot of blogs kick my giant butt in search engine optimization (SEO). Indeed, I get only a small percentage of visitors from search results.

But what I lack in those kinds of visits, I more than make up for with a loyal following and a healthy amount of comments, and that makes me happier than a pig in poop. Oink!

Comments are the life blood of my blog. I write, you comment, I jettison coffee out my nose reading what you have to say. That’s how it works.

My sidebar displays a live comment counter, and as you can see, we’re reaching quite a milestone — 10,000 comments!

So what shall we do about that? How about a Junk Drawer contest to beat all other contests?

To whoever leaves the 10,000th comment*, you will receive:

A Junk Drawer mug, suitable for any beverage or for putting under a spotlight on your mantle.

A Junk Drawer mouse pad, because mice want to click in style.

A Junk Drawer magnet that your fridge will appreciate.

A $20 Amazon gift card. Money good.

A mug or mouse pad with YOUR blog’s logo on it.

In case you’re worried that the 10,000th comment will be left in the middle of the night and you’ll miss your opportunity, I’m also offering chances to win a magnet with your logo or mine, your choice.

Until we hit the magic number, my husband Dave will choose one random comment** from new posts (including this one). I’ll give him the total amount of comments for each and he’ll pick a random number. I’ll take the final total as soon as I put up another new post.

I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you guys keep coming back for whatever it is you find entertaining here and stop long enough to chat about it. It’s what makes The Junk Drawer what it is today. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Give yourselves a hand and watch that counter!

* Spam comments are not recorded in the counter.

** Resist the urge to leave a million comments because it’ll disqualify you.

What’s That? Wednesday and More

Posted by Kathy on October 8th, 2008

Today’s post is doing double duty.

what is it First, for those playing What’s That? Wednesday, you have another chance to win a Junk Drawer magnet if you can guess the object pictured here. Remember, this photo shows only a small portion of a larger object.

Congratulations to blogless Marlene for guessing that last week’s photo was stick deodorant. Ah! The smell of sweet success! Your prize is on the way.

                                        ****

Next up we have the first ever Junk Drawer interview with — drum roll, please — ME! I have a nasty habit of asking my readers questions about themselves, but I seldom answer the questions myself.

My pal Beamer of BMW Rules either decided enough was enough, or he’s really interested in digging deep within the recesses of my cob-webby brain.

Either way, I owe you guys some answers. Depending on how well it’s received, I may never agree to another one.

One side note: I disclosed my miserable high school SAT score in the second half of his two-part interview. A day later, I told him I had regrets about telling the world how lousy it was, and he graciously allowed me to pull it.

You might learn more about me in the interview, but you’ll never know my SAT score. It dies with me.

So head on over to Beamer’s place and check out Part I of The Junk Drawer interview!

UPDATE: And now you can read Part II of The Junk Drawer interview. Beamer posted it today. Maybe I should run another contest to see if anyone can guess my SAT score?

—–

Let’s say this post is doing triple duty. Smiley me at Humor-Blogs.com, will ya?

My Typical Blogging Day

Posted by Kathy on October 3rd, 2008

time I think I need an intervention. Since I started blogging last summer, my daily routine has changed dramatically. It’s gotten to be like a second job.

I sometimes joke that I need an assistant to accomplish everything I want to do in a day related to my blog.

Writing for the blog is a walk in the park. It’s the “… other blogging duties as assigned” requirement that takes up a good chunk of my time.

See how you compare.

Herewith is my typical blogging day (don’t worry …. somewhere in here I have a life, but just barely):

5am – 7am:

Review spam comments and release those incorrectly tagged;

Review and respond to comments, about 25 per day;

Update the number of days the plastic bag is still stuck in the tree (see count in sidebar);

Check my stats (total visitors from day before, backtrack interesting places visitors came from);

Check blogs where I’ve been backlinked (based on Technorati and WordPress dashboard links);

Check BlogCatalog discussions and comment if something piques my interest;

Check Humor-Blogs for posts from my fellow humor writers and vote up my favorite ones;

Check Twitter for responses to my Tweets; read other Tweets from my Tweet Peeps;

Drop the maximum Entrecard cards (300) while commenting along the way;

Study effectiveness of having purchased ads on Entrecard sites to see which I should buy again;

Write a new post, mull over a new post or stress about not having a new post;

8am – 5pm: The Day Job

6pm – 8pm:

Review spam comments and release those incorrectly tagged;

Review and respond to comments;

Check Twitter and BlogCatalog again and engage if the mood strikes;

Return to comments left during the day and follow them back to the author’s blog; comment on theirs when the mood strikes; buy an Entrecard ad if they are an EC member and I can afford them;

Enjoy other blogs and comment. I religiously follow 26 blogs daily;

Respond to direct emails from other bloggers;

Write a new post, mull over a new post or stress about not having a new post;

9pm: Watch Family Feud.

10pm: Lights out and hope to literally dream up a blog post.

OK, so that’s four hours a day during the week. You thought this was a part-time job? Hell no!

Weekend duties:

Research and consider new WordPress plug-ins to use;

Read and comment on blogs I didn’t get a chance to visit during the work week;

Explore new ways to market my blog;

Sweat profusely if my host server goes down for Saturday morning maintenance or has a load issue;

Write a new post, mull over a new post or stress about not having a new post;

Check Copyscape to see if anyone stole my content;

Respond to direct emails from a half dozen close blogger friends.

Call or visit friends and family who haven’t abandoned me for being chained to my blog.

So there you have it. My blogging life. If I ever manage to take a week’s vacation, is anyone up to the task of filling in for me? There’s nothing in it for you except the satisfaction of helping to keep The Junk Drawer breathing.

Although you’re probably too busy with your own blogs and might wonder, like I do, what you ever did before you started blogging.

Can you remember what you used to do before you gave yourself over to the Blog Monster?

Where Do You Blog?

Posted by Kathy on September 2nd, 2008

Until the first snowflake falls, this is where I’ll be blogging:

patio 

I love sitting out on my patio, enjoying the morning or evening air. The stillness, the peace, the tranquility. It’s the one space I where I can get far from the ear-splitting, earth-shaking tremors brought on by the theater-quality audio system my husband bought to accompany our HDTV.

The audio system that has my cats hearing things that aren’t really in the room and now they need therapy.

The audio system that requires its own stupid remote control.

The audio system that is the size of a microwave and needs its own stabilizing table.

The audio system so sensitive that when I moved one of its speakers to dust, it gave my husband a coronary and prompted a lecture that every time I move one of them — so much as an inch — the whole system needs to be recalibrated and don’t you understand hi-tech audio, woman?

Um. No?

I don’t know what I’m going to do in winter. Earmuffs? Cone of silence? Move?

I’m curious where you guys blog. Drop your comments in the drawer — quietly.