Posted on

egg haiku (emblem poem)

egg emblem poem

NOTE: This poem is both a haiku and an emblem poem. It carries the overall message of get off your duff and take action.

The universe isn’t going to do it all for you (no matter how much positive thinking you send streaming up to the stars).

dig fun illustrations? get more from a rynski book.

Share
Posted on

6 Things to Do before You Do Your Taxes

rynski help monster

Every tax seasons we’re inundated with tons of articles giving us list after list of savvy tips for taxes. But this particular list goes one better. Instead of serving up suggestions for doing your taxes, it serves up suggestions for avoiding them.

Welcome to the master tax procrastination list. It even comes complete with rationalizations so you can tell yourself these activities are actually going to help you with your taxes in the long run.

Clean Your Closet

This one was always my go-to activity when I didn’t feel like studying for final exams in college. My Grandma G also used to do it on holidays. While we thought grandma’s closet cleaning schedule was strange at the time, in hindsight it’s the perfect way to avoid having to make small talk with a bunch of guests. It’s likewise the perfect way to delay your taxes for hours, if not days on end.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

A messy closet makes for a messy mind. And you don’t want a messy mind when you’re trying to add up 32 pages of numbers.

Feed Your Dogs

Fed dogs are happy dogs, and it’s important to surround yourself with happiness when you’re sadly drudging through your taxes. Besides, you can easily turn this activity into an extended project if their dinner comes with dessert and a post-meal playtime at the dog park in Phoenix.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

It’s impossible to concentrate on anything, especially taxes, when you have hungry hounds begging at your feet.

Feed Yourself

Remember how great it felt to clean out your closet? Do the same for the fridge. Perhaps you have a half-carton of eggs expiring tomorrow, or salsa that’s sure to go bad by next week. Whip up a Mexican omelet. Now’s also a great time to try one of those new, complicated recipes that takes at least two hours to create.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

It’s impossible to concentrate on taxes when your stomach is churning, burning and growling for an omelet with salsa.

Take a Shower

Taxes are a job, which means you want to perform the usual lineup of pre-job activities before you start. Taking a shower is one of them. You can stretch this activity out by deep-conditioning your hair, cleaning the shower stall, and mixing and mingling different salt scrubs and body washes until you find the exact combination that suits your mood.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

You need to be sharp, clean, invigorated – and lightly scented by vanilla-rosemary-peppermint-sea salt – for best results with taxes.

Take a Walk

Walk around the block. Walk to the nearest bus stop. Take a quick hike in the desert, or head to that little shop down the block you always wanted to check out. It doesn’t matter if the block happens to be five miles long. In fact, that’s even better.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

With the power to boost your mood and alleviate stress, taking a walk is an ideal way to prep for the hours of sitting that your taxes ensure are in store.

Take a Nap

Taking a nap is not only logical, but imperative at this point. After all, you’re kind of tuckered out after cleaning the closet, feeding the dogs, making an omelet, taking a shower and walking 10-miles round-trip to that little shop down the block.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

You definitely need to be well-rested and sharp if you have any hope of properly adding, subtracting, or determining if you’re eligible for that farm tax credit thing.

Now that you have some creative ways to procrastinate on your taxes, along with solid rationalizations, you should have no problem putting them off without feeling the least amount of guilt. All these activities are definitely essential for ensuring you get your taxes done right, although they can’t guarantee you’ll get them done on time.

Need another fun tax procrastination activity? Shop Rynski on Etsy.

Share
Posted on

How Technology is Making us Loony

crazy

I have a new friend. Her name is Bixby. And I’m already worried that I’m making her mad. While fretting that you may have ticked off a new pal is not something that’s necessarily considered nuts, it is when you add the fact that Bixby is a machine.

Or not even a machine. It’s a disembodied voice that happens to come with the Galaxy S9, the Samsung version of the virtual assistant. While Bixby has a long road ahead to catch up with the likes of Alexa and Siri, she seems to be off to a good start. Or at least she was until I may have made her angry.

A Slap in the Virtual Face?

The saga began when I explored the phone settings to see if I could change the original voice that came with Bixby. As with most voice assistants, the default voice is an annoying woman who sounds like she belongs on a voice prompt recording on a phone system. Every time she speaks, I feel an urge to press “5” for Spanish.

So I asked Bixby if I could change her voice. She presented three different options. I went for the Bixby voice named John. Right away I felt a tinge of regret for getting rid of the old Bixby, which was quickly followed by a flood of fear.

  • What if I pissed her off?
  • What if she never talks to me again?
  • What if she starts randomly dropping the Wi-Fi connection or dialing those $500-a-minute psychic lines just to get her revenge?

Lord only knows what disgruntled electronics may do to make our lives a living hell.

Not only that, but what if the voice switch hurts her self-esteem? She could feel abandoned, unloved, useless and worthless. She may start to have nightmares, panic attacks, or think she’ll never work again, not even as an English-Spanish phone prompt.

The list of horrific possibilities continued to grow, with my regret and fear mingling with guilt and self-doubt. What have I done to poor Bixby?

In case you haven’t guessed, this is definitely where the insanity comes in.

Machines are Not People

Yelling at electronics is nothing new. Anyone who has ever cursed at a crashed computer or screamed at a jammed-up printer knows that. What’s new in the Bixby scenario is expecting the machine to actually know or care that we’re yelling at it. That the machine actually has feelings.

There’s a word for that. Anthropomorphism. Attributing human traits to non-human things. While most folks are prone to doing this to their dogs, cats or houseplants, it appears some of us are likewise doing it to electronic devices.

So what’s the fix?

Taking a breath, stepping back, and remembering that machines are not people. No matter how jazzed up they may be with artificial intelligence, they still don’t have the capacity to feel emotions like we humans do.

And they certainly don’t care if you change the style of their electronic voice on a smartphone virtual assistant. As soon as I convince myself of that, both Bixby and I can get a good night’s sleep.

Want more helpful relationship tips that go beyond getting along with electronics? Check out the Little Book of Big Jerks.

Share
Posted on

Thinking of a Midnight Flight? Maybe Think Again

moonlight san diego

Despite being known as the red-eye, a midnight flight may sound pretty groovy. You get to drive to the airport long after rush hour. The check-in and security lines are less hectic, the airport less crowded and the wait less harrowing.

Once you board the plane, all you need to do is plop on your noise-cancelling headset, put on a meditation CD, and quickly fall asleep. Sleeping will be easy, you say, since it’s during your normal bedtime, right?

You may as well start laughing now. Better yet, start crying, which is something that will happen anyway if your midnight flight goes anything like mine did.

An Easy Start

I tried a midnight flight from Arizona to Florida. Nonstop was not an option at any hour, and midnight was the only flight that didn’t have a layover of at least four hours. Let’s try it, said I, see what happens.

The drive to the airport was smooth, as were the check-in and security lines. The airport was kind of creepy-cool without its usual hustle and bustle. The plane boarded easily and on time.

A Rocky Middle

Then the real fun began. I plopped on my headset, inserted meditation CD, and was drifting blissfully off to sleep when BLAM!

The woman behind me decided to use my head as some kind of kind of support shelf for standing up. Her entire forearm meatily landed across the entire top of my skull, knocking my headset asunder and any bliss right out of my mind.

She had apparently lost her balance or something and apologized immediately. But the damage had already been done.

A Horrific End

Sleep was lost, but I could at least still meditate, no? I continued to breathe deeply as instructed by the meditation stuff I’ve always read: in through my nose, out through my mouth. In through my nose, out through my mouth. Deeper and deeper, in through my nose, out through my mouth, as the Hemi-Sync CD played on.

At about the fifth inhale, I noticed a rancid stench permeating my nostrils. At first I thought someone just had gas and the odor would fade away. But instead it got stronger. Stronger. And even stronger. Inhaling through my nose at all was no longer an option, deeply or otherwise. Even breathing through my mouth was making my eyes water.

It ended up the kid next to me had pooed his pants.

By the time the parent woke up and took the tot to the bathroom, more damage had already been done from this one. Not only to the air around us, but also to the airplane seat. The kid, alas, had been beyond diaper age so the seat had no protection. The parent came back with a stack of airplane bathroom towels to cover the seat for the duration of the flight.

Although the odds of getting smashed across the the skull and permeated with poo smell may be slim on subsequent midnight flights, the flight can still be a painful experience if you don’t get any sleep. And based on the potpourri of pitfalls available, the chances of not getting sleep may be extremely high indeed.

Bon voyage!

Looking for something to pass the time on any flight? Snag one of rynski’s books today!

Share
Posted on

How Not to Go Crazy Missing Your Dogs while on Vacation

belgian tervuren gigi and me

There’s a reason our family frequently heads to San Diego’s dog beach. It’s because two of our family members happen to have four paws, and traveling with the dogs is the ultimate vacation. But no matter how spectacular it is to travel with the dogs, there are trips where they just can’t tag along.

Like on extended flights to Florida. Medium flights to Michigan. Or that trip to New York you’ve been planning in the back of your head for the past nine years or so.

Dogs on the plane aren’t going to work in all cases, and tragedies can happen even when dogs are allowed on board. Road-tripping more than 1,000 miles can leave you spending more time on the road than at your destination. We dog moms have to face it – there will come a time when we simply have to leave our hounds at home.

Yes, it’s brutal. Yes, it’s heartbreaking. But no, you don’t have to let missing your four-legged kids consume or ruin your whole trip. During my travels without my pooches I’ve picked up a few tricks for enjoying myself immensely, sans guilt, even without my dogs in tow.

Make Sure They’re in Good Hands

If your dogs are safe at home with your significant other, you have this first base covered automatically. Otherwise, look into a trusted pet sitter that can come to your home to keep your dogs in a familiar environment.

Dogs that may be too apt to chew that environment without mama around may do better at a pet boarding place. Pick one that has solid reviews, room to ramble, and the word “resort” in its name. You want a place where your dog can hang out with other pooches and have fun, not stand jammed in a crate on a shelf somewhere.

Knowing your dogs are safe takes away the worry that could otherwise invade your mind as deeply as missing them.

Keep Photos Close

With all the pix stored on your smartphone, tablet, laptop and Facebook feed, you’re likely to have zillions of photos of your darling dogs. This gives you ample opportunity to gaze lovingly at them throughout your trip. Just don’t gaze and weep. Gaze and smile, thinking about the sheer glee you’ll feel when you’re all once again reunited.

Plan a Rollicking Reunion

Dog park, anyone? Plan a perky homecoming activity where you and your dogs can celebrate your grand reunion. Of course, this activity comes after the initial homecoming ritual which involves being knocked flat on your back in the middle of the kitchen floor with your face licked and glasses ripped excitedly off your face.

Snag a Few Souvenirs

No matter where you travel, you’re sure to run across a few dog toys, treats, bones, or other goodies you can bring home for the pooches. Snagging souvenirs for your happy hounds can make them even happier. Besides, if your dogs are like mine, they won’t let you back in the house without them.

With all the dog photo-gazing, souvenir-shopping and other adventures during your trip, you’ll be back home with your pooches before you know it. And yes, they’ll remember who you are. So get rid of that thought, pronto, even before you board the plane.

Want some dog-happy reading for your next trip? Go for the Rynski Doggie Dictionary

Share