The Unemployment Diaries Week 3: A Video Blog!

Well, I’m still out of work, but I’m finding ways to fill my time. It’s not really week 3 anymore, but I had some challenges with the Youtube Beta editing software. Here’s an update Enjoy!

Thanks for spending four minutes of your day with me. As always, if you enjoyed this feel free to share by hitting one of the social media buttons below! Have a great Saturday and come back tomorrow for my 6th Annual Snap Judgement Oscar Awards! ~Phil

Throwback Valentine’s Thursday! Top Ten Rejected Candy Heart Sayings

You know those chalky candy hearts that for the better part of a century have been shared on Valentine’s Day? They’re so cute with their little candy inscriptions of “I love you” or “Hugs” or other nonsense. I imagine though that there were some ideas that didn’t make it.

10. It’s not you, it’s me

9. Not a cold sore

8. Maybe Next Time

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7. Better late than never

6. It’s eczema. Yes, there.  I swear.

5. The Phil Factor

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4. My last test was clean

3. You paying for dinner?

2. Almost divorced

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1. It’s not yours!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! One of the things I’m in love with is comments. What are your funny ideas for rejected candy hearts sayings?

Have a great day, Valentine’s or otherwise! ~Phil

A Quick Poll. Please Help Me Name My Next Book!

The sequel to Time To Lie has been written and edited. I have sent it off to the publisher. I have tentatively titled it The Last Locked Door. I’m wondering if that’s a strong enough title to lure readers in. Many a book, movie or other product have been either successful or done poorly based on the choice of name. I want your opinion on the title The Last Locked Door. Vote in the poll !

Thanks everybody! I really appreciate your help. Have a great Sunday! ~Phil

It’s Groundhog Day!

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In case you didn’t know, it’s Groundhog Day. Who doesn’t love this movie? Especially since Bill Murray’s character was named Phil. Coincidence? I think not. This post was originally written for #ThePhilFactor on Feb. 2, 2006 and I now post it every year, over and over, just like Phil’s Groundhog Day in the movie.

(Feb. 2, 2006) Last week I waxed philosophic about the idiocy known as The Dr. Phil Show. This week, and today in particular it’s Punxsutawney Phil. Groundhog Day the movie: Good idea. Groundhog Day the tradition: Stupid idea. The dimwitted people of Punxsatawney, Pennsylvannia have been shoving a rodent through a hole in a tree stump for almost 200 hundred years to find out if there will be 6 more weeks of winter. Hey morons, you live in the Northeast! There’s always 6 more weeks of winter! Check the calendar! It says that Spring starts on March 21st. That’s 7 weeks from now. You don’t need a rat being spooked by his shadow to figure this one out. At this point I’m getting tired of all these wanna-be Phil’s trying to horn in on my fame. If, coincidentally, a shot were to ring out in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania today and a certain rodent were to explode in a puff of fur, I was kidding when I wrote this. No harm meant, just a joke. You’ll all be my alibi right?

I’m curious, for those of you from other countries, do you have a Groundhog Day? As always, if you enjoyed this vintage Phil Factor feel free to share it via the social media buttons below. Come back Saturday for a brand new Phil Factor. Have a great Friday!  ~Phil

Second In Command: The Debut Novel by Sandi Van!

I’m proud to introduce you to my neighbor, friend and author Sandi Van. Her first published novel Second In Command, is available TODAY on Amazon! Sandi is a writer, counselor, and former special education teacher from Buffalo, New York. She blogs at Caravan of Composition, and for all of my WordPress blogging friends, she is a WordPress blogger, so go give her a follow. Her work has also been featured in Adoptive Families magazine.

Second In Command synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Leo dreams of becoming an Eagle Scout and, someday, a police officer. He makes sure to always do the right thing and be responsible. With his mom deployed and his dad constantly working, Leo is often left in charge of his two younger siblings. Then Leo’s brother, Jack, gets caught up in a dangerous plot that rocks the community. Can Leo keep his promise to stand by his brother no matter what, or will he stand on the side of justice?

Me: Hello Sandi and welcome to The Phil Factor! Although your cover, pictured above has the title Second In Command, on Amazon the title is Second in Command (YA Verse). I know that YA means Young Adult, but what does the Verse refer to?

Sandi: A verse novel is a story told entirely through poetry. It follows the same narrative structure as a traditional novel (in other words there is a character with a goal, and there are obstacles preventing him from reaching his goal that increase in peril as the story progresses), but instead of chapters there are poems. Not to fear, the novel is aimed at reluctant readers and was written for anyone to enjoy, despite their experience in the realm of poetry.

Me: How did your own personal experience influence the plot and characters of your novel?

Sandi: The story is about a family affected by their mother’s deployment. The main character, Leo, is 16 and expected to help take care of his younger siblings. My husband serves in the Navy and was deployed for most of 2003. I witnessed firsthand the stress deployment can have on those left behind, particularly young families. The characters are loosely based on our next door neighbors from that time period. Mom was deployed and Dad worked long hours, leaving the kids to take care of homework, meals, and laundry. I was impressed with how responsible the oldest son was, and years later he inspired me to create the character of Leo. 

Me: When and how did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

Sandi: In fifth grade I was chosen to be part of an experimental group that tested this newfangled 1980’s software that could create a sort of choose your own adventure story. My story was about a witch, and I had a lot of fun coming up with ideas and watching the completed project spill out of the dot matrix printer. Around seventh grade I discovered Edgar Allan Poe. Between that and various episodes of unrequited love, my poetry flowed heavily and with abundant angst. There is also a box full of old journals in my basement my husband and children have been instructed to burn upon my passing. I started my first blog in 2008, and in 2013 I found myself without a job and with an idea for a novel but no clue how to write it. Fate brought a writer into my path who introduced me to a whole bunch of other writers and helped me figure out how to turn my ideas into a book. The book wasn’t very good. But the process of writing, editing, and putting it out into the world made me believe I could actually be a writer.

Me: So what comes next? Is there a sequel to Second In Command, or do you have something else you’re working on?

Sandi: Oh the million dollar question. No, there won’t be a sequel to Second in Command, although I’d love to write another verse novel. Currently I’m working on a story about a young Naval Reservist who serves on the funeral guard. On her way to a funeral she gets stuck in a snow storm and learns how to cope with a personal tragedy through her interactions with other stranded motorists. I was born and raised in Buffalo and although thankfully I’ve never been trapped in my car during a storm, I’ve always been impressed by the way people come together and help each other during heavy snowfalls. 

Thank you for sharing my story with your readers, Phil!

Me: You’re welcome Sandi! A book about someone stranded in a snow storm? With the weather this week, it’s too bad you can’t launch that one right now!

Even though Second In Command is her debut novel, do you know how you can tell that Sandi is a big time author? (Aside from the fact that she’s featured on The Phil Factor. ) Hardcover! Her first novel is published in both hardcover and paperback!  Hardcover is big time. Hardcover is James Patterson/Stephen King big time. Michelle Obama’s first book came out in hardcover and so did Sandi’s!

Thank you again Sandi for appearing on #ThePhilFactor. I wish you the best of luck with your new novel and we look forward to what’s next. Please check out Sandi’s novel on Amazon . You can find her at her website and please give her a follow at Caravan of Composition and Twitter!

Have a great day! ~ Phil

TBT! The Official Blog of The Super Bowl

(Jauary 31, 2015) I’m not saying that The Phil Factor is The Official Blog of The #SuperBowl, and I’m not saying it’s not. What I am saying is that I want to get a cease and desist letter from the National Football League’s lawyers.

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For those of you not from the States, or from the U.S. but you just don’t care, this weekend is the championship game of the National Football League, otherwise known as the #SuperBowl. I’m hashtagging those words, linking to their site, and making a point of using the phrase ‘Super Bowl’ because the NFL literally tries to sue anyone who uses the phrase “Super Bowl” without paying them millions of dollars to do so. (I’m putting the words Super Bowl in bold print on the off chance that they’ll be more noticeable when someone from the NFL is looking at the internet.) Some networks even prohibit their announcers from saying Super Bowl out of fear of being sued by the NFL. Comedian Steven Colbert has taken to calling it the Superb Owl.

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I call bullshit. I don’t care who you are or what entity you’ve created, no one gets to own words. When I’m elected President, or #SuperBowl MVP (Most Valuable Phil), whichever comes first, I’m going to pass a law stating “No people or corporations can own words.” It’s a stupid idea that someone can own the rights to the words #SuperBowl. I’m pretty sure that the words super and bowl were around long before American football. In fact, on Downton Abbey last week Mr. Carson was bringing soup to the Earl and Countess in this big, ornate dish and the Earl said, “Why Mr. Carson! That is the most super bowl I have ever laid my eyes upon!” Downton Abbey happened a hundred years ago, so there’s your proof that someone else used the phrase first.

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What if I really do own a super bowl? You know, one of those cool ones with a picture at the bottom that you can’t see until you’ve eaten every drop. That is truly a super bowl. Or what about the people who invented the Perfect Bacon Bowl? That has got to be the superest of bowls. If there were a vote I’m pretty sure that the Bacon Bowl beats out football as the best kind of bowl. I’m also pretty sure that the Bacon Bowl people aren’t going to sue me for mentioning their product. In fact, they might even send me a free Bacon Bowl maker for mentioning it (hint, hint). Click on the video below. The song is a hilariously awesome and may sound more than a little like Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

I’m also sure that the folks in the legal marijuana states of Washington and Colorado  think their bowls are pretty Super too. Is the NFL going to sue anyone there who says to their smoking buddy “Man, this is one super bowl“?

I’m not afraid to say any word I want. And by the way National Football League, what in the hell makes you so arrogant to think that you have to police the world to make sure no one uses your phrase? I would like to hereby announce that I am legally forbidding anyone from referring to themselves as the official anything of #ThePhilFactor unless I declare it. There you go National Football League. I dare you to declare your #SuperBowl is The Official Super Bowl of The Phil Factor. You know what though? I’m not going to sue you if you do. They’re only words. If you think my blog is so awesome that you want to affiliate yourself with it, great, but it’s going to cost you. In fact, nevermind. The title is already taken. I’m officially declaring that the Perfect Bacon Bowl is The Official Super Bowl of The Phil Factor. And if the Perfect Bacon Bowl people wanted to buy advertising space in my sidebar I’m not opposed to that.

As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor, which is the #SuperBowl of blogs, please share by hitting the Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog button below. Have a great #SuperBowl weekend! ~Phil

I Have 3 Problems with the Polar Vortex

So I thought, “Phil, everyone loves cute, whimsical pictures of kittens. If you had a kitten on your blog more people would read it.” Seriously, how many of you saw the picture and said, “Awww!” and clicked on this to read more? Read on my frozen friends because the kitten wasn’t just a trap to lure you into my evil clutches. He’s related to the story. Prior to that sentence I had never thought of myself as having “evil clutches”, but there you go. It’s out there. It’s a thing. What is an evil clutch anyway? A cute little hand bag made by Satan?

This week much of the country is engulfed in the worst cold spell we’ve endured in a while. I have three problems with The Polar Vortex.

Problem Number 1: They named it. In an effort to make their marginalized profession seem more important, meteorologists are naming virtually every weather event so they can grab some headlines. The Polar Vortex does sound like an evil nemesis from Antarctica, which is awesome. (Apparently they couldn’t go with Mr. Freeze because the Batman franchise had that trademarked) But seriously, do we need to give every gust of wind and downpour a name? It used to be just hurricanes, but now every tropical storm, typhoon, and cold snap gets a name. I want a job on the committee that comes up with those names. How fun would that be? I’m also disappointed that not one weather forecast has brought out the Snow Miser video.

Problem Number 2: People in  warm states freaking out. Seriously everybody, it is just cold air. Zip up your coat and go to work. Maybe put on a hat, like the kitten in the picture.

It’s so frozen that Elsa was arrested

Problem Number 3: The idiots. Some science geeks suggested that for fun people boil water, go outside when the temperature is at least 50 below zero Fahrenheit (about -46 for my Celsius friends) and throw that water in the air to observe it turning into snow before it hits the ground. Pretty cool idea right? Yes it is pretty cool, unless you’re one of the idiots who said to themselves, “It’s only 17 below but I’ll try it anyway.” For those idiots it was pretty hot when the wind blew scalding water back in their face and these idiots filled emergency rooms to have their burns treated.

Doing my extensive scientific research for this column I did come across a video of actress Vanessa Hudgens actually performing this experiment successfully but I chose to go with the picture of the kitten. You’re welcome.

As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor I would love it if you would hit the Facebook, Twitter or Google+ share button below. Have a great Saturday! ~ Phil

picture credit: chud.com