Over Again

This blog post comes to you from me being horizontal on the couch, sweat dripping down my forehead and into my eyes, my thigh muscles aching and throbbing in an oddly rhythmic way.

I, dear friends, worked out for the first time in I’m embarrassed to say how long. It was only for fifteen minutes, but it was fifteen minutes spent doing something I desperately need to start doing more regularly and I’m determined to make it a habit.

I’ve been feeling very down-in-the-dumps physically. I look and feel terrible. My joints hurt, especially that pesky knee of mine and I discovered my foot is also starting to ache due to being several tens of pounds overweight.

My clothes are starting to fit more snug and I have little energy. In general, I feel like shit. I’m tired of that, and tired of looking at myself in the mirror, trying to trick myself into thinking “oh, you don’t look that bad.”

But I do. What was once a bit of belly fat has turned into all out flab. The waistband of my pants cuts me in half when I sit down, and I test the tensile strength of the fabric around my thighs.

I had no idea how much I weighed. At last count at a doctor’s appointment back in December, I weighed 236 pounds. Yesterday, according to the bastard digital scale at work, I now weight 257.

Two hundred fifty-seven pounds. Sweet merciful Christ. And how big and brass are my balls for sharing that with y’all?

The only good thing about that is I’m still fifteen pounds away from weighing what I did at my heaviest, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

As you can tell, I’m starting over again. I lost sixty pounds before…and by golly, I’ll do it again. I need to, because I have no doubt in my mind that if I continue on the path I’m on now, I’ll be dead by the time I’m 40. Honestly, I believe that.

I started today: eating what I know is good for me as compared to what I think is good and doing that little bit of exercise. It felt great to sweat again. I like to sweat…ahem.


Back on the healthy bandwagon. I plan on keeping a regular journal of my progress and whatnot because it’s me and I want to. I hope you all join me in this adventure.

See you next time,

Mommy and Me

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. If you live in a cave, let this be your reminder to get the woman who sustained your life for nine months in the womb, birthed you, fed you, dressed you, changed your diapers, kissed your ouchies, dried your tears, caused some tears of her own, offered you advice, berated you, grounded you, friended you on Facebook, etc. a card, flowers, or a simple phone call saying, “Hey, thanks mom. Love you, too.”

My own mom always asks me why I’ve never written a story about her. I’ve written stories about other family members, but why not her? Honestly, I don’t have a good answer for that. It’s not like my mom and I haven’t shared countless hours of laughs together, or we don’t have our own story to share, because we do.

So, Robin, in honor of you, here’s your story. It’s short, sweet, and to the point…


My mom is embarrassed by her hands. They’re rough-skinned, red, and scarred. She works as a welder, so her occupation has taken its toll on them. Numerous surgical scars line her palms and welder burns mark the tops. No matter what she does to them, no matter how often she moisturizes them, paints her fingernails in an effort to make them look prettier, she will always have these hands.

I love my mom’s hands. My mom’s hands patting my back to help me sleep, rubbing my eyebrows when I was sick, wiping tears away from my cheeks when I was hurting…these same hands she is so self-conscious of have provided a constant source of comfort to me.

She shouldn’t be ashamed of her hands knowing all they’ve done for me. They’re strong, caring, and she should be proud of them like I am.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you.

Bandwagon Books and You!

I caved into peer pressure once again (see The Starvation Tournament) and started reading E. L. James’ novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the book that is a huge hit among millions of women around the country and, by some act of selling souls to the devil, on the New York Times Best-Seller list.

I started it yesterday and only got a few chapters in before my constant eye-rolling made me lose my place in the book. In my opinion, it’s bad writing. The character’s inner monologue is forced and contrived, and her dialog between the other characters doesn’t match her first-person perspective voice.

For example: “…given that I foisted on you at the last minute…”

Foisted? what the fuck does that even mean? And then to use the word “crap” a total of six times in all the 23 pages I’ve read seems…out of place. If you’re going to whip out “smart” words like that, let’s utilize our thesaurus and find synonyms for “crap,” shall we? Cheese and crackers…

I feel like a douche for being so critical of this book. It’s a tawdry romance novel, which the fact I even considered reading it in the first place is nutty, but still. I understand this genre isn’t known for its Pulitzer Prize winning work, but good god. It’s insulting to me.

Why? Realize this novel’s demographic: women. Broken down further, probably stay-at-home moms between the ages of 25-45. It’s insulting because by using such poor writing prose, it’s implying that these women are uneducated baby makers who didn’t have time to go get themselves edgumicated at a fancy learning school, so therefore, they don’t care about how sloppily this novel is sluiced together.

I have an image how the pitch for this book went:
“Hi, I’m writing a series of three books. It’s about a rich, young businessman named Christian Grey and his befriending of a young, naïve woman named Anastasia Steele.”


“There’s S&M.”


Thank you, Vintage Books.

And I’m not being a prude here, either. I want to get to the sexy sex parts. I wouldn’t be reading it otherwise. But I’m scared to advance in the novel for fear that the sex will also be Ho-hum and dumbed down.

But sex is dumb, in a sense. Allow me to explain: it’s one of our most primal actions. The mashing boy bits into lady bits for acts of procreation. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. But the act of describing sex shouldn’t be dumb. Women should know that we are unique creatures when it comes to arousal as compared to men. Men can see a pair of lacy underpants and boom–hard on. For us women, it’s more cerebral and a process. It takes time for us to get turned on, or at least it does for me. If E. L. James rushes into the bullpen with her sex scenes, I’m afraid I’ll have to completely ditch the book and write my own goddamned sex book.


Welp, I threw in the towel. I was being hypercritical of this book and started keeping tally of all the cliché phrases used. Here’s my count when I finally stopped reading on page 81:

“ghost of a smile”: 4; the crap/holy craps! got out of hand and last count was 11; the Hispanic male character named Jose Rodriguez uttered the phrase “dios mio!” a whopping two times in as many pages; and using the adjective “devastatingly” to describe Christian Grey’s physical beauty topped off at seven; and finally, Anastasia Steele describing Grey as a “control freak”…I lost count.

I did, however, in chapter five, get a brief glimpse of the domination theme present. Grey and Steele were in an elevator and Grey “held both my hands above my head with one of his and pinned me against the elevator wall.” That’s kind of hot, I guess, but I couldn’t keep reading. I was speed-reading as it was, doing wicked fast skimming, searching desperately for any sort of torrid love scene, but if in chapter five we’re just coming to a little love in an elevator, I hate to think how long I’ll have to read to get to the pantie-twisting parts, so I stopped reading.

Oh, and I finally figured out what it was about the narration/character dialog that was driving me insane: E.L. James is a middle-aged British woman and was trying desperately to write in the voice of a 21-year-old American girl and was doing a piss-poor job of it. Her proper English littered with, what I can only assume is her small grasp of what American women really sound like. It was so forced and fake. Again, I feel very douchebag-ish for being like this with a freaking book, that truth-be-told, is probably going to be made into a movie and gross more money in the first hour tickets will be sold than I will ever see in my meager lifetime, which actually kind of pisses me off. Let’s applaud mediocrity in our liberal arts culture, shall we? Okay!

Now, as I was reading the book, I kept thinking to myself, “by golly Erin, YOU should write a trashy romance novel way better than this chick could,” so as an added bonus, I’m going to write my own snippet for your reading pleasure…and mine. I have a fondness for filth, as you all may know.

So, without further adieu:

Filthy Shades of Grey, by E. E. Zulkoski

*names will be changed to avoid any legal hassles

**I shall start off at a part I found the most interesting

***read my blog more and tell your friends!

Alex Gray’s offices were immaculate; a towering structure of concrete and steel looming over the downtown area. The building had to have been thirty stories, if not higher. I couldn’t see the top of the building from my spot on the sidewalk out front. With a deep sigh, I heaved open the heavy glass doorway leading into the lobby where a striking woman sat behind a massive oak desk.

“May I help you?” she asked in a smooth Southern drawl.

“Uh…”I suddenly forgot what I was doing here, but quickly regained my composure and said, “Elizabeth Barker to see Mr. Gray, please. I…I have an appointment.”

The woman glanced down at her appointment book, running her finger along the ivory page and stopped at what I assume was my name.

“Ah yes, Ms. Barker. Mr. Gray is expecting you. If you take the elevators to the twentieth floor, his office is there. Just walk in and Cassandra will be able to assist you.”

“Thank you,” I say politely and make my way to the elevator. The stainless steel doors whoosh open and the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen standing in the back and off to the side.

Jet-black hair, sparkling hazel eyes, a strong jaw line. He was dressed impeccably in a black button down dress shirt, a grey tie that was knotted perfectly, and dark gray slacks, pressed so well the pleat running down the front seemed like it could cut me if I touched it. And I wanted to touch it; I wanted to touch him, to lean close to what I know is a hard-muscled body with perfect skin. I know I gasped as I entered the elevator and the man gave me a half-smirk in reply.

“Twentieth floor, please,” I choked out. I couldn’t keep staring at the man, so I made a great production of fidgeting in my purse for my phone, rummaging around the inside, praying to God that my tampons wouldn’t spill out onto the elevator floor.

“Twentieth floor, huh?” the man spoke. His voice was smooth, deep, and burrowed its way into my brain. “Going to see Mr. Gray, I presume?”

I chuckled lightly, “yes, I take it he’s well-known around the building.”

“Well, I do own the entire thing, so yes.”

Oh. Shit. This man, this gorgeous specimen was Mr. Alex Gray. I dropped my purse to the floor and as promised, a lonely tampon rolled out and stopped against one of his impossibly shiny Italian loafers. Dear God, please let the elevator catch fire and swallow me whole now, I prayed. I was beyond mortified, and even more so when we both bent down to pick up the tampon. I caught a whiff of him and could smell everything from his aftershave to his hair gel. I want to wake up next to this man in the morning and have my own toiletries next to his on the bathroom sink.

He reached the tampon first and slid it slowly and deliberately into my hand, lingering for a few seconds for it to be polite. His touch was warm, and I could feel something happen.

The next thing I knew, he reached forward for the emergency stop button on the elevator, pushed it, and the contraption screeched to a halt. The once fluorescent lights turned a warming red and a voice came over the speaker.

“Mr. Gray? Is everything alright? Do I need to call 911?” asked the woman on the other end.

“No, Rebecca. Everything is fine. Thank you. If I have any meetings after the one with Ms. Barker, please cancel them. Thank you.”

“Yes, sir,” Rebecca said and vanished from the elevator.

Alex Gray then took my hand in his and brought it to his full lips, taking my index finger into his warm mouth, sucking on it slowly. I had dropped my bag somewhere between all this and stood there dumbfounded at this man and what he was doing, but I didn’t want him to stop. I inched closer to him, and he grabbed me by the small of my back and brought me closer to him. I could feel how hard he was against my thigh and I gasped again, but this time was because I had taken my free hand and was feeling him through the fabric of his pants.

I slowly undid his belt and unzipped him and stuck my hand down the front and grabbed on to him, and started to stroke him. His hands were roaming all over me, grabbing my ass and kneading it with intensity. His hand then traveled up my side, taking its time as it did so, and finally, he reached my breasts. He stopped sucking on my fingers and his mouth had a new course: my nipples. I could feel his hot breath through my blouse and my nipples became hard as Alex Gray teased them, tugging and biting them.


See? There you go. I could go on, but you know, I think I should procure a goddamned book deal with Satan first.


The Met

“Webster, hurry darling! Our cab will be here in ten minutes!”

Fuck you, Esther…I mumble under my breath. Another night at the Metropolitan Opera House. Joy of joys. I regret giving Esther season tickets. I didn’t think she’s drag me along every goddamn time. The idea was for her to take one of her snooty friends along with her, but she insisted I go with her instead.

“Webbie, I just know you’ll have a wonderful time at the opera. Think of the culture!”

I hate it when she calls me “Webbie.” Good thing she doesn’t know my secret pet name for her is “Ether,” as in “I want to cover your mouth with a cloth soaked in ether.”

Don’t get me wrong; I love my wife, but I’ve been married to the dizzy broad for almost sixty years. I don’t care who you are, that’s a long fucking time. You try waking up to the same saggy pair of tits and wrinkled jowls every damn morning and try to stay excited for a woman.

“Esther, I don’t want to go tonight. Call Constance or Bonnie and ask if they want to go. I just don’t feel like it.”

Whatever Esther was doing in the other room fell to the ground with a “thud.” If I’m lucky, it was her and she broke her hip.

“Webster Murphy Allen, you are going to the opera with me and that’s final. Now finish putting your tuxedo on. I’ll help with your bow tie.”

Damn. She didn’t break her hip.

I sigh heavily and get up from my leather easy chair that’s in the corner of our bedroom. I place the bookmark into the novel I’m reading–a John Grisham snooze-fest–and set the book on the mahogany end table. I was a lawyer for many years, but haven’t practiced for twenty. That seems like an eternity ago, and truthfully, the last time I was really happy. I loved our legal system and miss it terribly. I like to read Grisham and tear his story to shreds. What a shitty lawyer and an even shittier writer. I could run circles around this clown.

My bones are stiff and crack as I stand up. I am eighty-seven years old, after all. Lately, it seems to have gotten worse. I don’t know if my arthritis is acting up or just old age finally settling into my marrow, but whatever it is, I’m not fond of it. I slowly shuffle over to the closet door where my tuxedo is hung carefully on a wooden hanger. I reach up to grab it and as I do, Esther comes into the bedroom and startles me, causing me to drop the suit on the floor.

“Oh, Webbie, hurry and pick that up before it gets wrinkled and covered in dog hair!”

…Ether on a rag…maybe in her sleep so she won’t struggle…

I dress in the penguin suit and Esther ties my bow tie as promised.

“There. Oh, Webbie, you always look so dashing in a tux,” she coos as she kisses my sunken cheek. “Oh goodness, you need a shave.”

Yes, definitely in her sleep. Quick and painless.


The opera is a bore, as usual. The only thing worth going for was Alice Simmons, the young wife of the maestro. Her seat is one row in front and slightly to the left of me and I have a perfect view of her perky breasts pulling her strapless black gown taut over them during the entire show. I remember when Esther’s breasts were like that and I feel a familiar stirring in my tuxedo trousers. I excuse myself to use the restroom. When the pecker knocks, don’t ignore it.

I make my way to the bathroom and start jacking off in the stall, thinking of Alice Simmons’ tits the entire time, how good they would feel and taste. I finish myself off and look down at the toilet seat to wipe up my mess when I notice blood. My blood. What the hell? My half-stiff pecker still in my hand, I see blood on the tip and gasp in horror.


Prostate cancer is my diagnosis.

“Mr. Allen, I’m afraid it’s advanced very quickly and there isn’t a lot we can do for you at this late stage aside from making you as comfortable as possible,” said the doctor that couldn’t be much older than my grandson, Theo.

“I’m eighty-seven years old, Doc,” I grumble. “I’m surprised I lived this long. You’ve met my wife.”

The young doctor laughs politely as he fills out a prescription for pain medication and slide the blue slip across his massive oak desk toward me. I reach out with arthritic fingers and carefully fold it and place it in the inside pocket of my suit jacket.

“Thanks, kid,” I say with a wink.

“You’re welcome, Mr. Allen.”


Esther wants to take a trip, “for old time’s sake,” she says between tears. She hasn’t taken the news of my impending death well.

“Webbie, we need to get away. I don’t want you spend the last few months of your life cooped up in this old house,” she sniffs and blows her nose loudly.

…maybe ether is too weak for her…maybe chloroform first, then the ether…

We decide on Toronto, Canada, of all goddamned placed. Theo wants to see a Toronto Bluejays game. I want to jump off the top of the CN Tower. Esther wants to go to the opera.

…chloroform, then ether, then a pillow over her face for good measure…

We spend the afternoon shopping and eating far too much food and my balding head gets sunburned at the baseball game, but I see that my family is happy, so begrudgingly, I’m happy too, just very tired and wore out. Esther and Theo want to continue on, but I beg them to let me go back to the hotel to rest. All this crap has worn me out. Esther has pity on a dying man and allows this.

I flip off my sneakers as I sit on the edge of the bed and fall on my back into the soft mattress. I moan with pleasure and immediately fall asleep.

Little did I know I wasn’t going to wake up and my last thought alive would be of Alice Simmons’ perfect breasts.