Tag Archives: Synaptic Provocateurs

Blue Cotton Candy

I think it’s safe.

I really can’t be sure if I was followed or not.

I don’t think so.

Man, what a crazy 4 daze I just spent inside the bowels of the large vowel.

I am just now coming down from the bender.  Try stuffing yourself with half eaten corn dogs, clam fritters, spaten octoberfest, homemade beef jerky, fried oreos and carmel corn for 4 days.  Never mind the pocketful of synaptic provocateurs.  Funny, the pocket is now empty.

Last thing I knew I had bought some blue cotton candy and arranged it on my head like a bad Divine wig and had commandeered the microphone from the guy selling some type of chamois thing.  I remember seeing Large Vowel security running to the chamois stand like army rangers running after bin laden.  I was saved at the last minute when a family and their friends, all dressed in green tie-dye shirts crowded around the chamois stand to see what I was selling.  Weird, they had their children on leashes.  Weird.

Like Jake and Elwood Blues I slipped behind the chamois display and darted for the door.  Good thing the farm-arama was next door.  I dove into what I thought was an empty pen.  Little did I realize that I had dove into a pen with three llamas.  

Special note – llama’s love blue cotton candy.

As soon as I hit the floor of their pen the llama’s were on me like Joe Biden on a well written speech.  It took the llama’s 5 seconds to clean the blue cotton candy off my head.  The good news is that as they were devouring the cotton candy the llama’s shielded me from the large vowel security team scampering by.

Phew, that was crazy.  I sat up to see what was up and watched as the security team ran out the door at the other end of the farm-arama.  It was then that I felt 3 pairs of eyes staring at me.

Yep, I had 3 sugar crazed llamas who wanted more…..they were looking at me like I had just cut them off and taken the best parking space in the lot.  Trust me, until you come face-to-face with a sugar crazed llama, you don’t know terror!

I looked them right in the eye and told them, in my best llama whisperer mind meld thingee,  I’d go get them more cotton candy. 

It was around midnight when I crept outta their pen and made my way for the door.  The Large Vowel, which hours before, was a madhouse punctuated by a cacophony of midway barkers, thrill rides and human stink was now a vast darkness.  The silence interrupted every few minutes some cleaning person riding by on a special Zamboni built to clean up human filth.

I made my way over to the cotton candy vendor and started up the cotton candy machine.  I found the box of cotton candy mix and followed the instructions. 

Actually, I followed them to a point.  I didn’t pay much attention to how much I was supposed to add to the machine.  Next thing I know is that blue cotton candy is flying everywhere.  When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere.

I gather a bunch into my arms and run back to the llama pen.  There, licking there lips with bright blue tongues stood the 3 sugar crazed llamas.  They saw me run in with the cotton candy and began to dance around. 

I threw the cotton candy into the pen and then started to run back to the cotton candy trailer.  When I got back to the cotton candy I was shocked to see that the entire trailer was filled and covered in blue cotton candy.

It was a scene outta an old sci-fi movie.  Remember when the blob covers the diner…..same thing.

As I stood there gawking at the growing mountain of cotton candy I felt a nudge at my shoulder.

I spun around, ready for action only to come face to face with my three sugar crazed llamas.

They stood there wide-eyed looking at the huge pile of cotton candy.  I think they were smiling.

Shit, I think I hear more security, I gotta run….I’ll write soon.

As I ran away I looked back over my shoulder and saw the three llamas scarfing down the mountain of blue cotton candy.  I swear they were dancing.


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there’s something there

It was at the end of a late night bend a couple of months ago when I thought I saw something that I didn’t want to see.

I saw what I thought was some type of lizard tail disappear underneath the stove in the kitchen.

I chalked it up to a good batch of synaptic provocateurs.  Come on – we’ve all seen lizard tails retreating under the kitchen stove.  No really, I swear it looked like a lizard tail. 

Well last night it happened again.  I didn’t see anything this time but I heard something and so did the cat.

Now understand the cat is this 500 year old Siamese thing that is pure evil.  I call it hawk bait.

Well the cat is sitting next to me and hears the same thing I did and bolts off the couch and runs into the kitchen and is staring underneath the stove.

When I say bolt, this cat hasn’t moved this quick in 20 years.  Like lightning it lept over the couch and sprinted into the kitchen and froze in front of the stove, waiting for another sound.

WHAT THE FUCK!  I hate creepy things that hide in the house.

Now I gotta go home and figure out what is living underneath my stove.

What if it’s some kind of rare man-eating lizard or worse – a mouse.  What happens if it’s some kind of weird mutant wild thing.  Some alien like fucker that when I go to look under the stove is gonna take it’s razor like tail and plunge it into my eyeball.  Some alien thing with orange eyes and a fanged lip less snarl.

Damn, I hate things that go bump in the night.

I remember trying to get the bat outta the house.  I did a great job – got it caught in a pillow case.  I took the pillow case out side and let the damn thing go.  The only problem was that I never saw it fly away and when I went back in the house I looked down and saw that the bastard was attached to my jeans.


I gotta figure out how I am gonna catch what ever is under my stove.  I gotta get a plan together.

Damn, I own no guns.  Maybe I should get a gun.  Nah, I don’t want to kill it.  Unless of course it’s some kinda weird alien lizard creature.

Fuck, how do I catch an alien lizard creature.  I looked it up on the Internet and there was no agreement on how to catch a weird alien lizard creature.

I gotta get one of those traps that don’t kill the thing it traps.  Sort of like a marriage.  hahahaha, just kidding.

I gotta go, if i never write again you’ll know it was an evil alien fucker and it plucked my eyeball out and then fired the brain sucker into the empty eye socket and sucked my brain out.

Damn aliens.

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The Spin Cycle

I was doing my laundry at the Laundromat the other day when I found myself thinking about everything going on in my world (good and not so good).  I was starting to get a little overwhelmed when all of a sudden I found myself  staring at my clothes, hypnotized by them spinning around in the front load washer.   Who the hell knows how long I stood in front of the damn machine watching my clothes go round and round.  Faster and faster they spun around.  Weeeee, weeeee, weee, weee they went.  Sort of like a roller coaster for lost socks.  Weee, weee, weee, weee.  Then all of a sudden they switched direction and I snapped out of my blissful spin cycle  state.  Wow, that was better than a head full of synaptic provocateurs.  Damn. 

My thoughts refocused on how to better manage the not so good.  See I learned from my earlier experience this month.

I thought about one thing – expectations.

Expectations are so integral to every relationship we have or experience.  How we set, communicate, deliver, manage and measure those expectations are critical.  I like to call it the expectation cycle or EC.

Much like an exercise  bicycle, the expectation cycle does no good if you don’t know how to use it.  Unused, the EC will sit in the corner collecting dust as your relationships deteriorate.

I believe that every interaction we participate in today is grounded in the EC.  In business it is paramount to customer satisfaction and business success.  In personal interaction it is critical in relationship management whether it be at an individual or group level.

The components of the EC are pretty simple – or at least you’d think that.

Establish – this ones a no-brainer.  If you don’t establish an expectation there is no expectation cycle to ride.  No cycle to ride, no where to go….end of story. 

Confirm – once an expectation has been established it is critical that you understand it’s components and ramifications.  Make sure the expectation is realistic.  Unrealistic expectations are so commonly the undoing of personal relationships.   Don’t try to communicate an expectation that you don’t fully understand.  Sort of like feeding Gremlins after midnight.

Communication – only after you fully understand the expectation and it’s components should you communicate the expectation to the desired recipient(s).  This is the opportunity, along with acknowledgement to ensure the expectations you have for someone or some group are realistic and attainable.

Acknowledgement – this is critical.  Once communicated you must get an acknowledgement back from the parties involved that they understand the  expectation.  Thereby you create a dynamic in which all parties understand the expectation. 

Note:  It is so very critical that folks understand your expectation.  Too often I see breakdowns in personal relationships based on failed communication of expectations. 

Performance – OK.  You established the expectation, understood it, communicated it, got acknowledgement for it, now comes the easy part – meet or exceed the expectation.  Funny part is that failure to meet the agreed upon expectation comes with an expectation too.

Management – expectation management ensures the long term success of the relationship with the expectation recipients.  Often an expectation isn’t singular in nature.  It may govern a business process or a relationship commitment.  Either way, once established it is very important to manage the ongoing expectation process.

Measurement – results – you have to measure and track the success or not of your EC.


Take the Pizza Business – please.  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha….

If you get a call to deliver a pizza and you tell the person that it will be there in 30 minutes, you’ve established an expectation with that person.  If the pizza shows up in 45 minutes you have failed to meet the expectation that you established with the recipient of the pizza.  Chances are they will be disappointed and look to another Pizza Shop when the next order a pizza.

Or maybe it’s the expectation within the realm of relationship.  Do you know what is expected of you by your friends, collegues, siblings, children,  business partners, lovers, etc?  Are you sure you know?  Do you think they know?  Do they know what expectations you’ve set for them? 

As you can imagine the EC develops into a web of commitments, performances and outcomes.  What I’ve tried to document above is at the most simplistic level – the EC is far from simplistic.  The EC is a multi-threaded tapestry that is woven by every action and interaction you have in your life.  It will continue to grow everyday.  Use that pozitoodinal energy to make your tapestry strong.

I am sure there will be some days that you may feel like you’re out of thread or you might even have a day when you break a thread.    Shit, there might even be a few days when you jam the needle right into your thumb. 

Have faith, communicate and most importantly let that pozitood shine through.

Good luck and remember – if you fall off it’s easy to get back on -just like riding a bicycle.


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A whole lot of shakin’ going on

You know what, I never think about earthquakes. Part of that comes from living in the seismically stable, at least in my lifetime, region called the northeast. 

I am sure there are parts of the country in which school children practice earthquake drills, like tornado drills where they are instructed to take the appropriate cover to maximize their protection.

When I was a wee young school lad the drills were different. We practiced what to do in case of a nuclear attack. HA!

I remember two options. One getting under the desk for protection or going into an interior corridor and sitting, facing the concrete wall.

I can see it now – here comes a nuke falling from the sky and erasing what was our meager town of 50,000 -and lo and behold, a miracle – 28 students from Mr. Richards 6th grade class at Fort Trumbull elementary school emerge unscathed and it’s all because they practiced sound nuclear bomb drills.

Anyway, getting back to dem earthquakes.

Do you know that according to the USGS there were 375 earthquakes recorded in February!

Of these 137 were of a magnitude of 2.0 – 3.9. 146 were in the 4 to 5 range. 56 were in the 5 to 6 range, 11 in the 6 to 7 range and 1 was 7.4.

From a referential perspective an earthquake that registers 2.0 is the equivalent of 1 metric ton of TNT – similar to a conventional WWII bomb. A 3.0 is the equivalent to 32 metric tons of TNT. A 4.0 equals 1 kiloton or the power of a small nuclear bomb. 5.0 is equal to 32 kilotons which is similar to the nuke that was dropped on Nagasaki. From there it gets crazy.

A 6.0 earthquake is equivalent to 1 megaton of TNT. FYI – The Northridge, CA earthquake in 1994 was a 6.5. Jumping ahead an 8.0 earthquake is equivalent to 1 gigaton of TNT. The San Fran quake in 1906 was an 8.0. Scary is that in 2007 there were two 8.0 earthquakes. One in Peru and one in Indonesia. The scale goes up to 12. At 10.0 an earthquake would have the energy equivalent of a teraton of TNT or a 2 kilometer meteorite hitting the earth at 25km/s. That’s a big ouchie.

Where the hell is Optimus Prime when you need him.

There’s this thing, it’s more than a thing, its a theory of geology called Plate Tectonics, which if you really care to do more reading explains why we have these earthquakes.  Looking at the earthquake location map below, which I have borrowed from the USGS, it would pretty much support the idea that there are these plates that move about and when the edges collide create earthquakes.  Plates are identified by the yellow lines on the map.

Recent Earthquakes – Last 8-30 Days

Earthquake activity in the last 8 to 30 days

Then again, there could be this guy sitting up in the sky making it all happen. 

 Now before you run out and stock up on milk and bread – the official food supplies of any disaster including, but not limited to – hurricanes, blizzards, pestilence, flood, blackouts (not from drinking silly), terror attacks, earthquakes….I am not saying there’s an earthquake coming to your neighborhood.  At least not yet.

You know, I don’t care what type of disaster is about to occur.  If I know it’s gonna happen, like a hurricane,  I ain’t running out and buying milk and bread.  Nope, not me.  First stop is the packy (also know as a liquor store) where I’d load up my truck with copious, yes copious amounts of alcohol.  No preference just enough alcohol to last me through the disaster.  Then the next stop would be the House of Synaptic Provocateurs.  Yep, fill up the back of the truck with those bad boys.

As Carole King wrote:

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down

Time to go, I gotta get the monkeys ready – they fly at dawn tomorrow.  Be prepared – do your monkey drills tonight.  Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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The Fall Classic

No I am not talking about the World Series.  Funny they call it the world series yet only teams from Canada and the U.S. can participate.  Nope, not baseball – we’re talking about the Fall Classic.  The only sport that encourages the use of performance enhancing drugs, is violently opposed to dog fighting and firmly believes that anyone that is paid more than $100,000 to play a game (baseball, football, hockey, basketball, etc) and doesn’t understand how lucky they are should be given a gun and uniform tomorrow and be sent to Iraq without hesitation.

Before we kick off the Fall Classic we need a few things.

 First is a big ole car from the 1970’s.  My choice is the 1970 Plymouth Sport Fury GT.  Why the Sport Fury – cuz it’s the embodiment of all things american.  Shit, it had enough metal in it to build 4 or 5 subaru’s.  It’s one of the largest two door coupes ever produced and was powered by a 440cubic in. engine capable of producing 390 horsepower.  This engine also generate 490 ft. lbs. of stump pulling torque.   Plus there were less than 700 of them built!  Less than 20 had the “6-pack” option (3 dual carburators)  vrooom, vrooom.

It was almost 18 feet long (think Chevy Suburban) and over 6 and a half feet wide.  In this instance, size does matter.   Shit the back seat is so big Caligula couldn’t fill it.  Plus, it’s great, great, great grandma was the 1958 Fury which was Stephen King’s Christine.   Talk about a bitchin car…..

OK.  We got our car.  Next we need some big ol’ fake glasses and gray or blue haired old lady wigs.  Finally a cornucopia of synaptic provocateurs for the ride and we’re ready to start the fall classic.

Here’s the game.  We load up the car with stuff for the weekend and put on our wigs and glasses to complete the elderly driver look and then head out to the back roads of New England to terrorize all those folks looking at the foliage….we’re gonna leaf peep the leaf peepers.    Here’s the skinny – you got this huge fucking car that balls out generates enough power to rip your head off your shoulders that you use to create a rolling road block.  Nothing better than toodling up route 103, 5, 100, 4…etc. in Vermont with a funeral parade of cars behind you and bob marley love flowing out the windows. 


The scoring is as follows:

1.   You get one point  for every car that you can get stuck behind you.  You get 2 points for every car stuck behind you if your speed is less than 25 mph.  If you get more than 10 cars stuck behind you there is a 2X multiplier for every next car that ends up stuck behind you.

2.  For every car that tries to pass you that you speed up and block from passing you get 10 points.

3.  If a car passes you successfully it’s minus 5 points.

4.  Every time someone beeps the horn at you, you get a point.

5.   Every time some one flips you the bird you get 2 points.

6.  If you get pulled over by the police and escape with nothing more than a smile and laugh you get 100 points.

7.  If you get pulled over by the police and get a ticket (not sure for what) you get minus 25 points.

8.  If you have to stop and pee and anyone passes you you lose 1 point per car.

9.  If you have to stop and pee and leave the car in the road blocking anyone from passing, you get a 20 point bonus.

10.  If by chance a car of elderly males pulls up and asks you to have a drink you win automatically.

You alternate driving every 2 hours.  The first driver to 500 wins.  The length of the game is 72 hours.

Game starts next weekend…gotta go car shopping today….heheheheheheh


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Good Newts

Fishy, fishy, fishy fish.  Oh, fishy, fishy, fishy fish.

I so wish I was a good fisherperson.  Unfortunately all the positation in the world can’t seem to help me catch a fish.  The funny thing is that I don’t even want the fish, I always catch and release.  Not that I have to do that too often since you don’t got to release anything unless there actually is a catch.

For me fishing is a lot about sitting around watching nothing happen.  Very Zen like. 

So with that as a back drop let me tell you about a recent fishing adventure. 

We rented a boat at a local reservoir known for its HUGE fish.  We then took all our gear down to the dock, where upon my bro almost fell in the water (no, he was sober); we got in the boat and began motoring out to take on the HUGE fish of the reservoir. 

We had been gone from the dock for about 10 minutes (not to far considering the 600lbs plus of humans in the boat and the 6 horsepower engine) when I asked my bro for a hook.  It was at that moment we realized we left ALL the tackle boxes on the dock.  As the great Homer would say, D’oh.

So we backtrack, get to the dock, pick up our tackle boxes, yes plural, not one, not two but three tackle boxes – D’oh

So, back out we go, this time tackle boxes in hand.

Half an hour later we’re at what seems to be a good fishing spot.  Not really sure how we decided upon that particular spot – maybe cuz it was sheltered from the 1000 MPH wind that was blowing 20 foot swells over the bow of our 14 foot aluminum boat, powered by the 6 horsepower motor.  OK, so the wind wasn’t 1,000 MPH and the swells were not 20 foot.  This I do know, there were whitecaps in the middle of this very large reservoir and the waves were crashing over the bow of the boat with enough frequency to get us all totally soaked. 

So we set about to catch us some HUGE fish.  Hooks were baited and lines thrown in.  It was at about this time when my bro decided to put our live bait bucket into the water to insure their viability prior to us using the little bastards as bait to lure the HUGE fish onto our hook. 

So here we are, enjoying the pristine scenery of this undeveloped expanse of water and land when I lookie into the water and what do I see.

Fish, beautiful little fish.  I think to myself, cool look at the little fish in the water, surely this is a sign from the fishing god that we’ll catch some fish today.  Did I tell you there is no fishing god?  Right as I was having that moment of fishing positation it dawned on me that those little fish were our fish.  Yep, the same fish we bought at the bait store and had so diligently stored in our bait bucket that was securely stored in the water.

“Yo bro,” I said.  “I think the top is open on our bait bucket.”

Grabbing the line he pulled up the topless bait bucket (Topless bait bucket – hmmm, sounds like a good name for a strip club.  Right up there with other nautical themed names:  The Bearded Clam, The Tuna Shack, Strippers and Stripers, I could go on…) only to find it empty of any bait.  God I love fishing. 

Yep, all of our live bait was now free to take on the world.  Maybe I should report this as a positive act to PETA.  Yeah, that’s it.  We did it on purpose…Ughh

Needless to say the rest of the day went as planned….I’ve reduced it to bullet form for those of you who don’t have all day:

  • bro left bail open on reel while we were motoring to a new spot…came within 2 feet of losing 60 yards of line and lure
  • watched plastic newt lure zoom 3 inches past my head at mach 2 after it got jerked outta the water by nephew
  • watched silver lure zoom past me, up shorts of nephew and snag into the outside of his thigh…I did that…oops
  • watched bro almost lose pole over side  (inches away)
  • saw the following clouds:  giant headless armless upper torso, mickey mouse transformed into a flying pluto, umbrella, hand grabbing a turkey, a turtle
  • saw two racing pigeons hanging out by the water, obviously not racing….got within 3 feet of them…stopped nephew from trying to catch them
  • saw a bald eagle
  • came up with a great idea for fishing….inflatable fish…lake trout, big bass or salmon.  The idea would be to inflate them and show them off to boats that pass by demonstrating ones fishing prowess.  You could then deflate them and put them in your tackle box so when you get back to the dock and they ask to see the fish you say you released it…
  • found a couple bottles of old rotten salmon eggs in tackle box….stinky
  • discovered that SPF 15 really works well
  • Had a safety inspection on a rented boat by the state police.  Oh yea, he also wanted to look in our cooler for alcohol (of which there was NONE).  Ha!  No $5oo dollar for you!  That’s the fine ($500) for having alcohol on board….

On top of all that, we had a great day, I laughed so hard at times I cried.  Seriously, I haven’t laughed that hard in ages.  The thought of that lime green newt zooming by my head still makes me laugh.  Never mind the visual of those little shiners brightly lit up by the sunlight in that dark green water and me thinking how cute they were.

So, I got two weeks to regroup and get ready for the big time.  Surf casting on the ocean.  Smells of danger already!  Beware HUGE fish I am coming for ya!


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