insurance design

Smoking Charges Ignite

Last night, Amy took Anna, our seven-year-old, to the dress rehearsal for her 2015 dance recital. I was left in charge of Will, our nine-year-old, and Ella, our three-year-old. What follows is a litany of the kids showing me that I exist in their world as a piece of tightly-spun twine, permanently...

[ Swap Article ]

Sad Child

Mimicry

Our actions become our kids' reactions. Not exactly new. Not exactly Newtonian (pause while joke sinks in). But it's a truism all the same. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Car radio

Piece of Sh*t Car Reprise

When I was in high-school, a popular song named "Ode to My Car," by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn't. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn't stop the explicit lyrics from making an impact, even if the song's plot...

[ Swap Article ]

ad-sample

Advertise Here

I delivered my 10th speech at Toastmasters this past Thursday, earning me the ranking of Competent Communicator (CC), as if there was any doubt. I’ve found it helpful to post these speeches here, as 1) they might help you light …...

[ Swap Article ]

Re-gifting

Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you'll be a big-time celebrity some day. ...

[ Swap Article ]

A Reasonable Explanation

Therapist: Take me back to the beginning. Tell me how it all got started, how you eventually wound up holding the bloody knife in the aftermath of your killing spree. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation....

[ Swap Article ]

That's a Mouthful

Waking up to the sounds of birds and (outside) insects is alluring, and when you have your second 10th cup of coffee and realize you are on vacation, and this auditory lovemaking is real, not the result of an ambitious-carpet-cleaning hallucination, you can finally relax, letting your bulk stress...

[ Swap Article ]

Stupid Piece of ... Oh, That's Right

I'm a realist. I call things like they are, and if I look stupid in the process, well, so be it. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Deadly Donuts

The morning started off good. Four eggs fluffed with a splash of milk, mixed with Parmesan and salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes and slathered with Cholula hot sauce; four ounces of Bob Evan's spicy Italian sausage (sorry for the smell, honey, luv ya) fried into the wonderful concoction;...

[ Swap Article ]

When Did I Become a Pushover?

I've never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats along with the best of them and hope that my manufactured bravado was enough to...

[ Swap Article ]

As I Approach 30

I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

[ Swap Article ]

0
roller coaster

Filed Under , on April 14th, 2018

Thrill Ride

By Seth Kabala

I delivered my 10th speech at Toastmasters this past Thursday, earning me the ranking of Competent Communicator (CC), as if there was any doubt. I’ve found it helpful to post these speeches here, as 1) they might help you light a fire under your ass to start your public speaking journey, and 2) I like looking back over my work. Some things I’ve written over the years maintain their gilded edge; others, not so much, so it’s helpful to have a record.

Title: Thrill Ride
Type: Inspirational
Length: 8-10 minutes

INTRO

For nearly nine years, I have, most weeks, written a column for TheFamilyFarce.com, a humor site I founded in 2009. Sometimes the work is good; sometimes it’s a flaming bag of dog crap, but it is, if nothing else, regular exercise for my writing brain. Sometimes stream-of-consciousness-writing is the only way to get stuff on the page.

I credit this weekly regimen with building the writing skills I have today, skills that have earned me paid publishing credits. From time-to-time, I interview published authors and professional comedians, some of whom seek me out because of my reputation for solid writing.

In addition to writing, I love to read, typically finishing about a book a week. This year, however, I’ve taken on a new role with my employer, working longer hours; my kids are getting older, are more involved in activities; and I’m finding myself with infrequent spans of unplanned reading time. The only dedicated reading time I have anymore is during my ingress and egress to work on MAX.

Despite my efforts to dedicate time to reading, I’ve already come across two clunkers this year that I had to put down because they were actively devouring my soul. They were that bad.

How to pre-screen books to ensure this doesn’t happen again? How to incorporate writing practice at the same time? I’m glad you asked.

I’ve set up a new system, whereby I pick a book with an interesting title and, without having read the plot summary, I imagine my own plot summary. If the snippet I concoct is halfway interesting, I proceed with reading the book.

Here are several I’ve drafted. Let me know if you’d be interested in reading these books.

BODY

1. Lullaby Road

Restless children crawl out of their beds, out of their homes, enter the freeway, and … you can guess what happens—cleanup in the pancake aisle. Got some extra flat ones today—creating a new genre of hardcore music known as twisted-baby-death-metal. If you’re a fan of Slipknot and/or Stephen King, you’ll probably like this book.

2. The Power of Habit

Following an unprecedented Supreme Court ruling, tobacco companies once again win the right to advertise their products in commercial marketplaces, e.g., billboards, television, and the internet. With increased market awareness, the societal masses bind their collective brain power together to create the ultimate pizza with peppers, olives, onions, cheese, and sausage, making this a true Supreme Court ruling.

3. Choke

You’ve seen it advertised on the Home Shopping Network. You’ve seen celebrities and non-paid people—had to throw some non-paid people in there. Had to at least make an attempt at legitimacy for this product. Wait … that made it into the final jacket copy? Aw, sh—now see for yourself what all the fuss is about. Choke describes everything you’ve ever wanted to know about controlling airflow into internal combustion engines for lawnmowers, weed trimmers, tractors, and every other kind of engine where you can’t abide a too-rich fuel mix. What are you waiting for? Don’t get choked up. Read Choke.

4. Rooster Bar

Do you work 40 hours per week? 60? 80? Bet you like to unwind at the end of the week at your favorite watering hole, don’t you? Hey, Mr. Fat Cat or Catwoman—no, we hated that movie, too. We’re only dropping the reference here for purposes of gender equity in jacket copy writing. Do not take this to mean anything else—have you ever thought about the needs of roosters? No, well, they work hard, too, getting up at the butt crack of dawn every day to make sure the rest of the farm gets up and … does stuff, and they need a place to unwind, too. Rooster Bar is all about them. All about roosters having a place where they can … squawk to the other roosters about … throat scratchiness and stuff. Don’t judge. Roosters matter, too.

5. The Pale Horseman

All little Jimmy ever wanted to do was ride horses. It was his dream from the day he was old enough to go to the tracks with his gambling addict father. After the mob took his father on a long car ride and never came back, Jimmy wanted more than ever to learn to ride horses, and he made that dream a reality. Unfortunately for Jimmy, on the day he learned to ride horses, a giant flat-bed trailer hauling empty buckets overturned, and one of them lodged itself permanently onto Jimmy’s head. This had the— … What? It’s p-a-l-e? Oh, as in coloring. But I’ve already got this copy written. And the expense of … Yeah, ship it. I agree.

6. A Game of Thrones

They thought it would be fun. They thought it would be entertaining. They were dead wrong. The newest version of musical chairs, instead of sitting, involved lifting thrones made of silver and steel and iron, each easily weighing 500-600lbs. In order to play this game, they were going to have to alter their lifestyles, eat nothing but protein and vegetables, lift weights for six hours per day, and build the strength necessary to enter the game. Can they do it? Will they succeed at hoisting that big hunk of metal over their heads? Probably not, but won’t that be a funny fail video when it crushes them like an empty milk carton? Oh, relax. It’s fiction. We think.

7. Barbie Love Pets

No matter who it comes from, Barbie is appreciative. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a stranger’s hand caressing her hair. Being a desperate and lonely plastic doll, she misses out on the human contact she desires, so she rides the train to be among people with heartbeats. When the inevitable petting starts, she waits for the best time to drop her opening line. “Say, I’ve gotta hand it to you.”

CLOSE

Is some of this stuff funny? Maybe. You laughed. There’s the proof. Is most of it crap? Probably, but hold your agreement until after this speech is over and my ego has received sufficient attention.

Why did I write this? I’m interested in the creative journey.

The brain will take you in strange directions if you get in the car. On some levels, the brain behind the wheel has been smoking weed, dropping ludes, and slamming shots of the best Kentucky moonshine all day long. But that’s the brain. That’s not you.

Take the creative journey.

Make it a habit.

Engage stream-of-consciousness thinking.

And enter a state of flow.

It will be a supremely interesting thrill ride.

Just remember to watch out for those flaming bags of crap.

–END–

No longer just a halfway competent communicator–or is it halfway to competent communicator? Never got clarity on that–I’m officially competent. Guess what’s next?

More Toastmasters meetings.

And illicit drug references.

FacebookGoogle+PinterestRedditTwittertumblrEmail



Leave a Reply





Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments Load Comments


Old Camper or Crystal Meth Lab

Little Meth Lab on the Back 40

I told a colleague that you could buy 12 acres in rural Iowa, plus a private lake, forest, and a decent house for $325K. He mentioned something about using all the extra savings to catch the backwoods economic wave in Iowa and start up a meth lab operation. This colleague has lived his whole life in...

[ Swap Article ]

Children, not, allowed, sign

Barn Kids

Amy and I have been looking at properties with land, something on the order of 1-5 acres. One of these properties had several out-buildings (or outhouses, as Amy continues to misidentify them. Never at a loss for where to drop your drawers on our property!). These out-buildings weren't run-down,...

[ Swap Article ]

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Accidental Smellfungus

Toki has been our cat since 2012. He's a ragdoll breed, which means he's docile to the extreme. You know when cowboys ride bulls in the rodeo? Our kids used to treat Toki as their bull, and he dutifully complied, although in recent years, I've spotted him crawling toward the edge of the ring, if we...

[ Swap Article ]

Open and closed recycle brown carton delivery packaging box.

The Unboxing

Shortly after moving to Portland, I asked our office administrative specialist to order me a footrest. I asked for the footrest for a practical reason: lower back pressure relief. I have a stand-up desk. This works well to get my stand hours in during the day--Apple faithful, you know what I'm...

[ Swap Article ]

God character working on telemarketing vector illustration. Telemarketing, sales, business, marketing design concept

Let there Be Devices

We have over a dozen devices now, and the number is only going to grow from here. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Money eye bottle soda water isolated on mascot

Hydrating Water

Phil wasn't sure what caused his muscles to dehydrate and shrivel up into jerky encased in skin, but he understood the aftermath. His career was over. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Einstein - Think

You're Smart

We were talking around the dinner table about what it means to get a college degree. I said you pass a bunch of tests, and then they give you a piece of paper that says you're smart. I finished my explanation saying employers can rely on that piece of paper as evidence that you're smart. Anna, 11,...

[ Swap Article ]

Madre Greater than Padre

Madre > Padre

A couple weeks ago, Amy diagnosed and changed out all three fuses that controlled electrical flow to the outlets in our car. Super sexy. Super cool. When I say that Amy did it, I don't mean that I was standing on the sidelines, guiding hands and helping words coaching her to a successful solution. I...

[ Swap Article ]

Ben Comedy Main Headshot 2019 Lego Tshirt Hi Res_May 2019 Profile Piece

An Interview with Ben Rosenfeld (feature)

Acceptance and Current Events ...

[ Swap Article ]

Cartoon stick figure drawing conceptual illustration of angry man or businessman targeting with antique cannon ready to fire.

Bolt-Action Cannonball Sack

"Can you do the bolt-action cannonball sack?" Ella asked me today during bedtime. She was trying to remember the name of the move I do when I toss her over my shoulder and then flip her onto the bed. (I call it the fireman’s carry/toss.) Earlier, she was playing Fortnite with Will and must have...

[ Swap Article ]

?????????????????????????????????????????????????

Time Traveling Titan

At Toastmasters last week, the theme was National Velociraptor Awareness Day (a real thing). During Table Topics, one of the questions was this: describe your experience finding the first velociraptor claw. Tonight, the whole family is going to watch Avengers: Endgame. In the spirit of honoring the...

[ Swap Article ]

Customer icon emotions satisfaction meter with different symbol on background

Peaked Performance

I feel like the brain-training app Peak is a walking, talking (or, more accurately, a clicking, screen-time bloating) irony. The stated goal of this app is to improve your lifelong mental processing potential in several categories, like problem-solving and memory. The irony is that you Peak quickly....

[ Swap Article ]