Thought of the Week: I’m Ack-Basswards, Apparently

In all my many moonless nights spent writing and posting and staring at the empty hit counter, I’ve always secretly desired to be as famous as every other blogger in the world, since they all get more hits than I do. My biggest spike in followers came the day WordPress thought my Facebook friends counted, completely misunderstanding their literary interests (though I doubt they were asked).

Little did I know that all it took was a little versatility. I had to look the word up just to be sure, when Jennifer Bresnick included me in her list of fifteen blogs she checks every once in a while (after a stiff double Jack to recover). Apparently, it seems I am thought to be versatile (though her own thoughts on the accolade seem somewhat dubious):

Versatile: 1 – Able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities. 2 – Changeable; inconstant

The root of the word comes from the Latin vertere, to turn. Now let’s think about this for a moment, because my suitability for this commendation may largely depend on our interpretation. Regarding change – I don’t like it. At least, not when it involves other people’s changes. Personally, I change an awful lot, usually from grumpy to dour to cynical and back to grumpy again. Highly inconstant, and it rather bothers people.

I also turn. I turn left a lot; sometimes I also turn right. I turn in at night, and turn up for meetings. I turn taps, dials and knobs, and the volume control in my car. I won’t turn leaves, though, in case one of them is new. That’s why I only read second-hand books or digital books, which don’t have pages (iBooks does, but don’t tell anyone).

Adaptable, though…I’d never really considered it before. I don’t generally tend to think about adapting, mostly because the world adapts around me. It’s a funny thing, really; everywhere I go I fit in perfectly, even if no one likes me and they don’t have long hair. It’s an awkward word, really, and confuses me:

Adapt: 1 – make suitable for a new use or purpose; modify. 2 – become adjusted to new conditions. 3 – alter a text to make it suitable for filming, broadcast or the stage

I could probably be repurposed as a hammer, or maybe a player piano. If I could, I’d see if I could be Anthony Hopkins, but I don’t think he’s done being Anthony Hopkins yet. I don’t adjust to new conditions – see above. And I really don’t think I’d make a very good movie.

It’s starting to look like I’m possibly not all that versatile at all. I’ve written about a few different things, from my neighbor’s garbage to the fallacy of American Idol, but I think I kind of write them all in the same way, which is to say not all that well. I could certainly try to be more diverse; after all, with something like 100,000 nouns about which to write, I certainly can’t run out of topics. I might run out of patience, however (I could write about that last).

Could I try to write in a different style? According to I Write Like, I’m a Tolkien/Tolstoy mutt. Maybe I could throw some Dan Brown and Kafka into the mix as well, but I think it’d become a little depressing.

So having thought about it, thank you, but I just don’t know if I’m cut out for this Versatile Blogger Award. Perhaps I can give to other people instead. They can keep it, if they like. If not, they could pass it on as well. Actually, if you apply some vampire logic to this, if every person infected with the Versatile Blogger Award passed it on to fifteen other bloggers, all of WordPress would succumb within five days. I suppose that would be the ultimate versatility – one, giant blogger that writes on every subject imaginable. But then, how come it took so long to get to me?

Versatile Blogger Award: 1 – A green square that heralds great fame. 2 – The blogging equivalent of an ‘I’m Too Sexy’ t-shirt. 3 – A piece of harmless fluff that most people spurn, but kind of makes them feel all warm inside at the same time


Ashley Jillian

Caeruleus Aether

Catharsis of Creativity

ck’s days

Fabulous Realms

Looking for Pemberley

Looser or Not

My Body the City: The Secret Life of a Manhattan Call Girl

Nick Rolynd

Not Quite Dead Yet

Storytelling Nomad

The Writing Desk

(If anyone noticed, these are the same links at the bottom of every page on my website, ’cause these people are cool.)


And, if you really, really want to know seven things about me…

  1. I wear my wedding ring on my right hand, but not because I’m Russian.
  2. I got very angry at Teavana when they didn’t have Lapsang Souchang.
  3. I’ve lived in three different countries (but not at the same time).
  4. When I was eighteen I cracked my skull on a doorframe, and my dad stitched it up with a sewing needle because he didn’t want to drive to the emergency room. He used Listerine for antiseptic.
  5. Our son is named after a character from Star Trek.
  6. I continue to hit my head on things, but won’t let my dad near me with a sewing kit.
  7. I consider myself something of a Vodka connoisseur, which isn’t really something to be all that proud of.

What’s in the Garbage?

I used to live in England. It isn’t where I’m from, but I’ve lived there longer than any other place in my life, so I might as well call it home. I appreciate the many ways in which the European influence has cultured the country, and enjoyed my time there.

There are, of course, some notable ways in which England is behind other countries in the world, and especially the United States. Growing up in Portland, Oregon, nearly twenty-five years ago now, I remember having several separate crates we filled each week with glass, plastic and paper. Each week, we would dutifully place these on the curb, and upon return find them empty, magically cleared by the mysterious and rarely-seen garbage men.

However, where I lived in Sheffield, curbside paper recycling has only taken hold in the past five years, and glass and other materials even more recently than that. It would be collected once a month.

I now live in New Jersey, and without going all the dubious benefits this entails, the garbage and recycling cycles have intrigued me. This stuff is collected all the time. I mean it. Household trash is collected on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Recycling is collected every two weeks on Monday. Needless to say, our family of three doesn’t come close to filling the requirements of these tailgating pickups; often we miss one or more pickups with no consequences to speak of.

What truly astonishes me, however, is our neighbors. Generally, every single garbage day, they have one (or more) garbage cans on the curb, often overflowing with trash. Same goes for recycling, so I can’t even say that they simply aren’t too green. Every day.

What are they throwing out? I can’t imagine that three days’ worth of table scraps – even for a large family – would fill a whole garbage can. Kitty litter? No cat shits that much. Do they, perhaps, cook an extra meal every night to feed the hungry kitchen bin?

Perhaps it’s all packaging from the prodigious number of toys, gadgets and other miscellany they buy every few days at Stop & Shop. If so, where do they get the money, and how can I get some? My job’s not that crappy, and even a gajillion dollars of credit card debt couldn’t really account for it.

So what’s in their garbage? Try as I might, I can’t fathom it. They are likely larger families than ours, but more mouths eat more, not trash more. Maybe they get disproportionately more junk mail than we do (which is already staggering). Perhaps I’m just unaware that we’re surrounded by the mafia, and these are simply their weekly body dumps (the black sacks the funeral home around the corner leaves on the street are decidedly suspicious).

Ultimately, there may no answer (other than to knock on their doors and politely ask, and I don’t fancy contributing to their trash). I’ll continue to notice and continue to wonder; perhaps the truth is only known to the mysterious garbagemen. What an insight into our lives they must have.