Thursday, December 29, 2011

13 Reasons to Follow This Blog

13 Reasons to Follow This Blog:

1. You'll never look at a Rubik's Cube the same way again.

2. It's safe to follow, I'm not the Jason from those old horror movies.

3. I'm funny  at least that's what my mom tells me.

4. If you aren't interested in writing tips, you'll get Rubik's Cube tips  and vice versa.

5. If you join and comment, I will slather you with Internet love  meaning I will mention you on Twitter or visit your blog.

6. Each post has a unique aftertaste turning sour tastes sweet for at least thirty five minutes. (Miracle Berries)

7. Once I reach 42 blog followers, I will reveal the mysteries of the Universe.

8. It's free, but membership has its privileges.  No annual membership fee.  Did I mention it's free?

9. Can you say contests and give-aways?  Sorry, members only.

10. Each post is conveniently sent to your Google Reader.

11. Join today, it will look good on your resume.

12. It's for adults only and it's 100% free of Dora and Kai-Lan.

13. Play The Puzzling Mind Drinking Game  take a shot every time I mention the Rubik's Cube.

What are you waiting for? Join, comment, and enjoy all of the benefits The Puzzling Mind has to offer. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fiction to the Power of 13

Today’s post is all about the number thirteen.  There are some stories here.  (13)
I don’t normally write flash fiction only thirteen words long, but I tried.  (13)
Challenges are sometimes fun, even when you fail.  It's all about personal growth.  (13)
And since there are no thirteen-sided Rubik’s Cubes, you will get these instead.  (13)

13 Word Stories

1. I'm a hand model.  My twin sister is an underwear model.  I’m prettier.

2. The rotary phone rang.  Only the police had the number.  I ignored it.

3. Paint her eyes green.  Blue’s empty?  Have her wear the yellow dress instead.

4. “Touch me, Daddy.”  His palm pressed the cold bulletproof glass.  "Maybe someday, Sweetheart."

5. “Make yourself puke.”  “You mean they’re poisonous?”  “Hurry!”  “But they tasted so good.”

6. The empty amber bottle hit the carpet.  Her breath stopped, the pain gone.

7. She chased him with the bloody knife.  They escaped the burning butcher shop.

8. It’s not a toy it’s a torture device.  The Rubik’s Cube is impossible!

If you love them, please comment below.  Otherwise, keep it our little secret.  (13)

Thanks Wahooo on Flickr for photographing this wild night in Chicago, it's awesome!  (13)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday 13: Why You're Not Published

13 Reasons Why You're Not Published:
  1. Best-selling authors are not discovered by talent agents wandering the local shopping malls.
  2. Your male-male-male paranormal romance is not Middle Grade fiction.  Ever.
  3. You tout yourself to be the next King, Rowling, or Shakespeare – sorry, you're not.
  4. You're not ready to be published yet.  You haven't written enough.  Scouring the web for farting Pandas is not writing.
  5. Your pitch is too weak.  "I can solve the Rubik's Cube."  Big deal, who can't?  Tell me you can solve it while juggling and now you've at least got my attention.
  6. Forty chapters of your main character staring at themselves in various mirrors will not sell.
  7. The Simpsons did it already.
  8. Your first novel does not deserve solid gold typesetting for your revered masterpiece – nor a seven-figure advance.
  9. Your scented submission printed on glow-in-the-dark paper was sent directly to – the recycling bin.
  10. You handle rejection as poorly as one of your angst-ridden YA characters.  Despite the temptation, always bite your electronic tongue.  Admittedly, the use of profanity and insults via email, Twitter, Facebook, and your blog will get you noticed – but only as unprofessional and difficult to work with.
  11. Your mom is not an editor.
  12. Your novel cannot be sold as a series.  Publishing is a business.  I got hooked on the Rubik's Cube, and then on every variation of that theme.  Just ask my wife how much money we're sending overseas to find the next great twisty puzzle ;-)  It was the original one that started it all, and each subsequent one brings in the real money.  Keep that in mind with your novel.
  13. There is simply too much competition.  Vampires, need I say more?
Thirteen is certainly not an exhaustive list.  Do you have any to add to my list?

Thanks to the queen of subtle on Flickr for the fantastic picture.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday 13: It's That Crazy Time of the Year Again

Hello there.  In case you're wondering what happened to the usual blended smooth goodness of my Rubik's Cube and writing posts, don't worry, I'll still post those on the 1st and the 15th of each month.  Read more about the changes here: Thursday Thirteen.

Now, back to today's post already in progress:

Do you enjoy padded rooms?  Then by all means, go to the malls during the holidays.

For me, this seasonal ritual of holiday shopping can only be compared to medieval torture.  Okay, you won't find water-boarding, thumb screws, or The Rack, but you must be a little crazy to visit the mall during the holidays.

Here are 13 reasons why:

1. Thermostats:  Yes, winter in the Midwest can be cold.  And I, like most other shoppers, own a heavy, winter coat.  But adjusting the mall temperature to resemble late August in Florida is simply not necessary.  If I enjoyed being this hot and sweaty I would run the Chicago Marathon.  But, I refuse to wear skimpy running shorts to the mall beneath a long, down jacket.  Not a pretty picture.

2. Parking Lots:  I could easily have a whole list dedicated to this one, but I'll try to be concise.  For most mall shoppers the only potential exercise they get during the holiday season is the walk from the parking lot.  Yet, for some reason they fight like heck to avoid it at all costs.  

If they are not illegally parked in handicap spots, their huge SUVs will awkwardly block the aisles in a cloud of exhaust waiting with their turn signals on.  It's heartbreaking to watch the elderly couple trying to hurry loading their trucks with merchandise.  One blast from that horn could end it all.  If only you could get around this gridlock you would gladly park in the satellite parking lots.  

I do give honorable mention to those drivers who simply lose that spatial relations part of their brains the minute it snows and the parking lot lines become slightly obscured.  Sorry, I do not want the winch bumper of your Land Rover resting against my driver side mirror.

3. Check Out Lines:  There are no velvet ropes during the holidays and your name is not on a bouncer's clipboard giving you VIP access to the front of the line.  Instead you see the same sagging holding corrals used by our frisky friends at the TSA.  Paint these retractable fabric barriers yellow and you've got police crime scene tape.  Do we really need more trauma in our lives?

4. The Music:  I have this recurring dream I wake up in Hell due to a clerical error – the whole life-after-death-bureaucracy needs a complete overhaul – and I must spend eternity riding an elevator that only plays piano instrumentals of Tool songs.  Leave it to our malls to make my dreams come true!  The Christmas music is more overplayed than Lady Gaga and LMFAO.

5. The Express Lanes:  Ha, trick one here!  There are no express check out lanes – refer to item #3.  Oh, you only have one item to purchase?  You're next, after the person returning an armful of items and paying for new items with rolled coins.

6. Gravity:  Those plastic department store bags filled with skinny denim can really dig painfully into your palms.  Fashion is painful.

7. Smoking:  I confess, I'm not a smoker, but if there's ever a reason to take up the habit, shopping at the mall during the holidays is as good as any.  Anyway, here in Chicago, it's not enough to have to endure the blistery tundra for the majority of the year.  No, we force our fellow brethren to smoke outside!  Those poor souls hug themselves while frantically trying to puff their way back into the craziness inside to escape the incessant clanging of the donation bells stationed at the entrance.

It's like the Grand Inquisitor asking them if they prefer to be impaled or disemboweled.

8. Olfactory Overload:  For some sick reason the stores have convinced us – men usually  to think scented candles, lotions, and soaps are the perfect holiday gifts.  They are not.  And walking into these stores jolts you with a taser shot to your olfactory nerve.

9. Food Court:  You're trapped.  Enough said.

10. Obnoxious Parents:  The holidays are a time for giving and to set an example for their children.  Or in the case of these parents, 'tis the season to demonstrate epic acts of rudeness and selfishness in front of their kids.

And the same parents who lecture their kids to clean their rooms will devastate the clearance bins until they are overflowing and scattered on the floor.

11. Pressure:  You convince yourself that an elusive gift for that impossible-to-shop-for person in your life actually exists.  Not only that, but it must exist, and it must exist at this particular mall, and you will only know it when you see it.

12. Children Playing:  The malls usually have a designated mosh pit for children to play in.  I really have nothing to say about this, it simply adds to the circus atmosphere.  So have fun kids.

13. Time Suck:  You are at the mall when you should be writing!

If you must bring me a gift for the holidays, please take a cue from Harry Houdini and make sure the sleeves have buckles at the ends.  Thank you for visiting, the guard will see you out.

Thanks to jtposey and ninjatactics on Flickr for the great pictures.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday 13: You Will Be Jealous Of These

Welcome to my inaugural Thursday Thirteen post.

Here's the scoop.  December is mildly special this year.  It features two Thursdays that both happen to coincide with my regularly scheduled posts each month. (That actually happens in March and next November, but whatever.)

Anyway, things aren't going to change drastically.  I will still post about writing and the Rubik's Cube as usual on the 1st and the 15th.  But also look for new Thursday Thirteen posts during any week without a 1st or a 15th in it.

It will officially work this way January 2012, for December, I'm giving you a sneak preview.

What is Thursday Thirteen anyway?

Thursday Thirteen is simple.  Every Thursday bloggers post a list of thirteen things tied to a theme or subject of their liking.  It can be anything.  Really, anything.  It's fun, you should try it.

I can't simply kick things off with a boring bulleted list, so I compiled some pretty pictures for you to enjoy.
13 Things I Own

1. Brass statue of the Enlightened One
2. Watercolor painting of my Great Dane

3. High school State Championship Ring

4. Shot head, complete with ice for brains

5. 2008 Beijing Olympic magnets

6. Jagged glass trophy won racing Go-Karts in France

7. Concentric carved spheres from China

8. Obviously...a puzzle

9. Trophy for playing the piano of all things

10. Head carved out of plaster

11. Mind teaser...really!
12. For solving puzzles and writing

13. Polynesian fertility statue

 What do you think? Do you own thirteen stranger items?

Thank you to jeh182 on Flickr for the photo of the unlucky elevator.