ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs Serial storyteller, poetry pusher, digital doodler, flâneur.

Feeling Ignored?

Too funny! A great ecard idea from, but it’d be an even greater postcard. I’d like to order a dozen!

Robin Williams on Feeling Ignored

“I used to think the worst thing in life is to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.” ~ Robin Williams (as Lance Clayton in World’s Greatest Dad)

Mr. Cellophane

Chicago, the musical. Mr. Cellophane. It’s sort of become the anthem for those who are feeling ignored.

Cellophane, Mr. Cellophane shoulda been my name
Mr. Cellophane ’cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me and never know I’m there

But it’s too easy, too cowardly to feel invisible. Which is why people feel it. Say it. Believe it. The truth is worse. And better…

You’re not invisible. Far from it! What you are experiencing is worse, you’re feeling ignored. Visible but painfully overlooked. That’s not a reflection on you. It’s a reflection on those who are ignoring you. And it tells you everything, everything you need to know about the person or people ignoring you. They are sufficiently self-absorbed to erase you – intentionally or unintentionally, it really doesn’t much mate – from their presence. Accept them for what they are. Insecure. Narcissistic. And a total waste of your time and caring. It hurts to accept. Until it heals. And then it empowers you to move on, to gravitate toward more compelling peers. Easier said than done, but vitally important. Find friends, family, loves, colleagues, pets, even strangers who notice you and value you and honor you. Because you deserve all that. And then some.

And just so you know, those people are out there. Waiting for you. Go find them!

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Martial Folly and Sando

Message on the Beach
Image by virtualDavis via Flickr

Last spring I started to play around with because I thought the idea was fun, and the stakes were sufficiently low that I could experiment without being too disappointed if a purchase didn’t work out. Verdict? It’s a novelty site, niche social exchange of items less useful than funny, quirky and enjoyable.

This photograph is the result of an amusing fiverr flub-up. If you can read the writing in the sand, the second sentence should have read, “Martial folly.” Instead it’s been rendered as, “Marital folly”… But maybe there’s a bizarre insight buried in that sand-o. (Come on, it can’t be a typo when scrawled in sand, can it?)

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Top 10 Ways to Tick People off

First of all, it’s actually a top 32 list, but that wouldn’t have made for such a catchy title. Forgive me. And a grateful hat tip to Joe Crawford of ArtLung who lifted me high above the icy roads and gloomy gray last January when I stumbled onto his list, “How to Tick People Off“.

It made me laugh. Not the “Harrumph!” kind of laugh that most email forwards prompt before deciding not to pass them along. More like an I-hope-I-don’t-wake-up-my-wife-and-have-to-explain-why kind of laugh. That wouldn’t stop. And maybe, if you’re a little irreverent and you don’t take yourself too seriously you’ll understand why. In a few seconds. When you read the list.

But first, it’s worth noting that I’m posting this list over nine months after first reading it. Why? Because I didn’t really intend to share it. I try to avoid amplifying the noise. To many, these 32 opportunities to laughcertainly would be considered noise. And why waste time formatting the list, posting it, etc. If it doesn’t challenge my readers, inspire them, etc. it wasn’t worth doing. That was then. Since then I’ve revisited the list from time to time. Not often, but on those $#!% storm days when a lifeline (or a laugh line) is welcome. I had one of those days this week. The good news is that it was a short-lived doomsday. The better news is that it motivated me to pass along this goofy gray day antidote. If you don’t like it, stop reading it. If you’re offended, sorry. But if it adds a little levity when you’re feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, perfect. That’s the idea. To make you chuckle. To remind you that life’s not quite so serious as it sometimes seems. Laughter is good medicine… Okay, some of these are better than others. And a few are lame. Or just plain rude. But most are funny. Silly, yes, but funny. Enjoy!

    1. Leave the copy machine set to reduce 200%, extra dark, 17 inch paper, 99 copies.
    2. In the memo field of all your checks, write “for sexual favors.”
    3. Specify that your drive-through order is “TO-GO.”
    4. If you have a glass eye, tap on it occasionally with your pen while talking to others.
    5. Stomp on little plastic ketchup packets.
    6. Insist on keeping your car windshield wipers running in all weather conditions “to keep them tuned up.”
    7. Reply to everything someone says with “that’s what you think.”
    8. Practice making fax and modem noises.
    9. Highlight irrelevant information in scientific papers and “cc” them to your boss.
    10. Make beeping noises when a large person backs up.
    11. Finish all your sentences with the words “in accordance with prophesy.”
    12. Signal that a conversation is over by clamping your hands over your ears and grimacing.
    13. Disassemble your pen and “accidentally” flip the ink cartridge across the room.
    14. Holler random numbers while someone is counting.
    15. Adjust the tint on your TV so that all the people are green, and insist to others that you “like it that way.”
    16. Staple pages in the middle of the page.
    17. Publicly investigate just how slowly you can make a croaking noise.
    18. Honk and wave to strangers.
    19. Decline to be seated at a restaurant, and simply eat their complimentary mints at the cash register.
    21. type only in lowercase.
    22. dont use any punctuation either
    23. Buy a large quantity of orange traffic cones and reroute whole streets.
    24. Repeat the following conversation a dozen times. “DO YOU HEAR THAT?” “What?” “Never mind, it’s gone now.”
    25. As much as possible, skip rather than walk.
    26. Try playing the William Tell Overture by tapping on the bottom of your chin. When nearly done, announce “No, wait, I messed it up,” and repeat.
    27. Ask people what gender they are.
    28. While making presentations, occasionally bob your head like a parakeet.
    29. Sit in your front yard pointing a hair dryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.
    30. Sing along at the opera.
    31. Go to a poetry recital and ask why each poem doesn’t rhyme.
    32. Ask your co-workers mysterious questions and then scribble their answers in a notebook. Mutter something about “psychological profiles.”

(courtesy of Joe Crawford, “How to Tick People Off“)

Did you laugh? I hope so. Number 29 resonates for me because cars, tractor trailers, dump trucks, etc. routinely exceed the 30mph speed limit in front of my house. 75mph isn’t unheard of! So if you see me sitting in a lawn chair pointing my wife’s hairdryer at you, you better slow down!

And by the way, I’d recommend you not actually do any of these things. But, if you’re clever, maybe you can come up with a few more… If you do, please send them along.


I’ve received a couple of worthy additions:

33. Ask women if they’re pregnant, and when they say, “No, why?” glance at their midsection and look away quickly. (Patricia Greathouse)
34. Park across someone’s driveway and then go to work for the day. (Kathryn Cramer)

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Liu Ling’s Trousers

Forest Sages
Forest Sages, Leshan, Sichuan (via

On many occasions, under the influence of wine, Liu Ling would be completely free and unrestrained, sometimes even removing his clothes and sitting stark naked in the middle of his room. Some people once saw him in this state and chided him for it. Ling retorted, ‘Heaven and earth are my pillars and roof, the rooms of my house are my jacket and trousers. What are you gentlemen doing in my trousers?” (via

What better chuckle for Labor Day than a cheerful tangle of wisdom and levity from poet and fellow flaneur Liu Ling?

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Black Tie Beach


Black Tie Beach improv theatre mission (via Improv Everywhere)

“I saw people looking and old people laughing… You move… make spirit… people… It’s good fun. I tell what I am feeling. Everybody’s happy!” The old fellow at the end of the video nailed it. Improv Everywhere moves people. Make people laugh. Makes people happy. Another you’re-making-the-world-a-better-place mission. Thanks!

Atheists And Fundamentalists

Cartoon via Rants & Ramblings

I Write. Gnomes Argue.

Like a persistent two year old throwing a tantrum, a chain saw whines and screams and subsides only to whine again a few minutes later. Angry. Testy. Persistent. Closer — outside my window — chimes cling and clong in the breeze. They dangle beneath an enormous ginkgo tree and emit pleasant music whenever the wind blows. Chain saw versus wind chimes. I try to organize my thoughts in digital scrawl, postulating, developing, concluding. Posting. Re-posting. Whine. Cling. Scream. Clong. A garbage truck thunders past, doubling (tripling?) the thirty mile per hour speed limit. Then a slow car. Another. Then quiet except for the crinkle-strain-crinkle-strain of the palm paddles on the ceiling fan above my head. Type. Click, click, click. The ferry rumbles, reversing its engines to slow its momentum as it glides into the dock where it will disgorge motorcycles, cars, trucks that will parade past my window. Think. Type. Post.

Have you ever heard of I Write Like? I stumbled upon it this morning and my curiosity was peaked. Briefly. I scribbled out these few descriptive lines and hit the analyze button.

Instantly, the page refreshed with a verdict: I write like Cory Doctorow. Really? I’ve never read anything by Cory Doctorow. Nor am I confident that this little writing sample can offer much basis for comparison.

But I am intrigued. How does the analysis work? A bunch of bookwormish gnomes under the hood reading and arguing about style?

“What? He opens with a simile? Chuck him!”

“Yeah, give him a 404 page. He ain’t got no style…”

“Wait a minute, Clyde. Not so quick. Check out the imagery. Doesn’t that remind you of somebody?”

“Yeah, and that onomatopoeic ointment reminds me of moldy Cheeze Whiz. Sort of like that guy… What’s his name?”

“Nah, you guys have got it all wrong. It’s the rhythm. That’s the key. Trust a woman! You guys don’t know rhythm from spasm.”

“Oh, yeah? ‘Twas brillig, baby, and this slithy tove did ooze some ugly prose. Just try to tell me about rhythm, Tanya”

“Mel, you’re sooo lame, and you don’t even realize it! Anyway, you know who we’re gonna say?”




“Cory Doctorow.”

“You mean the guy who wrote For the Win?”

“Bingo, genius.”

“Are you kidding? Doctorow rocks! Did you ever readMakers?”

“Totally. That was killer!”

“Right, and this slacker sho ain’t no Cory Doctorow!”

“Sorry, boys, you’re out of time. I’ve just reloaded the page for him. You snooze, you lose.”

“Oh, my gawd. Look at him. He’s all puffed up and proud. Yuck!”

“He’s probably going to go brag about it, blog about it, tweet about it… Our cred is shot!”

“What cred?”

Are you intrigued? Do you write like Michael Ondaatje? Mario Vargas Llosa? Go ahead and find out. Start a gnome fight at I Write Like.

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Adirondacks: Who Needs Yellowstone?

Photo via

My wife stumbled upon this gem while shopping in Keene Valley the other day. I’m a Yellowstone fan too, but I’ve got to admit this is a pretty clever t-shirt!

What if Twitter… Came to Life?

Twitter: The Criterion Collection from sween on Vimeo.

Quirky, funny, odd, twisted and inane, this is Twitter-Frankenstein incarnate!

Are You the Peanut Butter?

I heard Brad Inman give a speech at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change conference, and he said trying to get stuff done in book publishing is like trying to swim through a jar of peanut butter. I nearly stood up and screamed “EXACTLY!” I have had the good fortune to work with a lot of entrepreneurs and tech people, and they are doing circles around my publishing colleagues because they don’t put up the roadblocks and draw the lines in the sand. If I had to guess, the peanut butter people have no idea what that means.

Here are 10 signs you might be……….The Peanut Butter:

1) You can’t think of anything to show for your work in the last six months.

2) You think your job is to prevent mistakes from being made.

3) You believe that the more people invited to a meeting, the more successful the meeting will be.

4) Meetings take months to schedule.

5) You would rather be “politically correct” and “cc everyone” than make something great happen.

6) You’re paralyzed by the concept of “scalable.”

7) You think you have the upper hand in nearly all business dealings , but deep down inside, in those quiet moments late at night, you know you’re losing “control.”

8 ) You resort to bullying tactics to get your way without ever considering what might benefit everyone.

9) You spend your days trying to figure out how to gain control.

10) You’re an information hoarder.


This is a great posting by Debbie over at HarperStudio. I’m especially drawn to numbers 8 and 10. Tip: Consider what benefits everyone, and share (don’t hoard) information. Win-win!

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