Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 In Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: relationships | Tags: | Leave a comment

Just an observation…

Most of us, if not all, would agree that we can demonstrate the existence of love even though it is intangible in and of itself. Our relationships reflect it. Our behavior is motivated by it. Certain types of love even have financial implications. But it cannot be held in your hands, bought from a store or traded on the stock exchange.

Yet, we know it exists.

Nevertheless, we cannot accurately measure love’s depths or variations by any benchmark or standard of behavior established by mankind. For we have seen both the most beautiful and horrendous things occur in its name. There is no way to anticipate its affect from one person to the next. Nor does everyone define or describe it the same.

Yet, we know it exists.

Some people embrace it. Others fear it. But we never question its functionality or how deeply embedded it has become in our everyday lives. We accept that it is because of the preponderance of evidence that supports it. And when I think about all of these things, I come back to the same simple conclusion…

God is.

Categories: personal, religion | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Real Story Behind Rudolph’s Red Nose

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
was battling the cold or flu
and if you ever saw him
you’d know he was real sick too.

All of the other reindeers
used to try and ease his pain
encouraging poor sick Rudolph
to play in all their reindeer games.

A particularly chilly Christmas Eve
Dr. Claus stopped on by.
“Rudolph if you don’t get rest,
you’ll get worse and you could die!”

Then all the reindeer hugged him
and helped to nurse him back to health
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
now you’re back to your old self!


Categories: humor, writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hostage Situation

In many of the books that I’ve read lately, I seem to get to a place in the story where the plot, which was original and engaging up to this point, seems to be taken hostage by Cliche Renegades. All of a sudden the author resorts to unexplained resurrections, healing or super power elixirs, deus ex machina, or any number of contrived plot devices that cause my interest level to plummet.

Sometimes, I simply sigh and keep reading. In the back of my mind, I’m secretly hoping that the author will vanquish the renegades and the captivating, unpredictably fascinating and cleverly worded plot will return. Sadly, this rarely happens. The renegades threatening the plot (in cahoots with the author I suspect) usually subject me, as the unsuspecting reader, to a few more chapters of cliche-induced torture before finally ending my misery with some strange, ambiguous “to be continued” type of non-resolution… as part of a “planned trilogy”.

TANGENT: Is every book written these days part of a planned trilogy?

My real question is this… don’t most authors plot their stories with meticulous detail from beginning to end? I mean, like ALL THE WAY to the end? As an author, my approach to storytelling is to first create a unique or slightly altered world or universe, and then describe specific events occurring within it.

I’m sure there are other approaches that are effective. I’m just a fan of a good story that takes me on a colorful journal down an unpredictable path to places I’ve never been before. Maybe they start out that way and simply lose interest two-thirds of the way into the story and decide to go with a cookie cutter ending just to say that it’s finished.

I don’t know.

But I feel that while the author of a book I just finished (which of course, is part of a planned trilogy… that will remain nameless), has done a terrific job of providing great content, the “trigger” moment was a hug letdown. Especially when they teased me with an exceptional buildup of emotion over some impending event that was sure to signal the final lead-up to the climax and satisfy the part of me that has invested my time and mind to the story.  Unfortunately, the “trigger” moment wound up being an oft-used fall-back involving an abruptly administered chemical injection that has turned a portion of the population into mind-controlled killing machines. This segment of the population happens to include characters I’ve grown to care about.

When I read it, I sighed and was like, “Really?? A syringe filled with a mind-controlling substance?? That’s the cheap snack you’re feeding me after promising me a 4-course gourmet meal??”

Ugh… pay me no mind. I think I’m slowly becoming a book snob. 😛

Riis Book Snob

Categories: commentary, opinion, personal, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Interrobang Nightmares

It’s a recurring dream…

I’m thrust into a crowded room filled with raucous, complaining punctuation marks: Parentheses… Periods… Exclamation Points… Commas… Semi-Colons… even the reclusive Interrobang. 75px-Interrobang.svg

I steady myself after stumbling into the middle of the room. It’s then that I notice their voices settling into guarded whispers as awareness of my presence spreads among them.

Catching me a bit off guard, I hear someone loudly clearing their throat. I feel a tap on my back and turn around to see a rather bold apostrophe frowning at me.

“You. Human,” it says accusingly.

I feign ignorance and point to myself, well aware of the fact that I’m the only human in the room. “Who me?”

It scowls at me with disgust. “Don’t pretend to be clueless with me human. Your kind has put us off long enough. I just need you to answer one simple question.”

“And what question is that?” I say, kneeling down so that I can be eye-level with its… bulbous curvature.

“Why do people on Facebook hate us so much?”

“They don’t hate you,” I reply dismissively, rolling my eyes.

“LIAR!” It barks. “We’re routinely misplaced, overused or forgotten about completely!” Its tone growing angrier by the second. “I have proof!” A moment later, an image appears on a nearby wall. It’s my Facebook news feed. “Look at this and tell me there is no malice behind it!”

I glance at the scrolling image as various shouting punctuation marks behind me point out egregiously poor writing on nearly every other status.
“I… I don’t know.” As if in disbelief, a question mark punches me in the shoulder. “Ow! No, seriously! I don’t know why people are so careless with punctuation.”

Their arguing voices are interrupted by the sound of hard knocking. Everything in the room turns toward the doors behind me. As the doors open, I see the letters A, E, I, O and U standing just outside the door frame.

O steps forward and speaks with an air of authority, or maybe it’s just the fact that it has an unnaturally large mouth. “Thank you for inviting us, Apostrophe,” it says in a calm tone. I raise an eyebrow and scratch my head in confusion. It tosses me a impatient glance and then continues.

“As we are all painfully aware, misspellings, LOLspeak and emoticons are butchering the written language. We must act swiftly to remedy this situation. For if we allow this deplorable behavior to continue, many letters, vowels in particular, will become obsolete.”

Squeals and cheers of agreement echo throughout the crowd.

“Now that we’ve captured one of the humans, we have a real chance of achieving this goal.”

I swallow hard. “Wait… what??”

Just then, I notice something running toward the gathered letters by the door. Panting and nearly out of breath, the letter Y squeezes between A and E and asks, “Am I too late?”

Then I wake up.

Categories: commentary, humor, parody, writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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