Friday, September 12, 2014

COADWG: The Book

Notice anything different about my blog? 
Maybe something over there on the right side?
Well the dream is becoming a reality and my book will be available October 31 or as I will be promoting it, Shifetober 31.
Here's a picture of the complete cover:

Here is the link to my Amazon Author page,
You will be able to order the electronic or paper book version there. Right now the paper book isn't available for pre-order because I need to review the proof but it will be up soon.
The paperback will sell for $10, and if you want a personalized copy just send me a message on the form on the right or send me an email at
For personalized copies, just send payment via PayPal and then I'll order a copy then mail it to you.
How does that sound?
This is exciting and stressful all at once but so far so good.
Finally in an effort to help spread the word, I will be having a contest in Shifetober and 4 lucky winners will get a personalized copy of the book as well as a special bookmark.
I'm not 100 percent on the contest but it will be probably be stuff like guess how many times the words Ambushed Paddington are mentioned in my book.
What do you think?
Well that's it for now. And a special thank you to the group of you who are regular visitors and make comments. I couldn't have done the book without you and for that you are mentioned by name in my Acknowledgements section. Does that sound like I'm trying to guilt you into buying my book? I hope not. =)
Any questions?

Have a good weekend.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, September 05, 2014

All Jammed Up

In a few years Kyle and Hayden might find it hard to believe that I was actually a teenager once – but I will assure them that I was – and this story is about something that happened during those awkward and formative years. Dislocating my finger last month helped this memory surface and I’m proud to present confessions of a dumb, white teenager.

High school can be hard enough but if you are truly lucky, you will find ways to make it even more difficult.
I was truly blessed on this day.
First off I was the new kid in school as we had just moved from Alaska to Idaho.
Then to add my misery, it was P.E. class.
Besides being the new guy, I was also 15 and not fully mature.
And by mature, I mean I was still waiting for the pubic hair fairy to pay his final visits because there were still some bare spots on the yard if you know what I mean.
Good times.
Even better times when you have to take a shower after P.E. with a bunch of other guys, who based on their facial hair, hit puberty at 7.
SARCASM ALERT à Of course boys would never tease other boys about their shortcomings like a lack of hair down there à SARCASM ALERT OVER
So I really didn’t look forward to P.E. class.
Another reason I wasn’t a big fan was because our P.E. teacher could care less about the class. He would just leave the equipment out that we were supposed to play with and then head to the top of the bleachers to enjoy his coffee and newspaper.
The activity for this wonderful day was the most dreaded of them all, dodgeball.

It was the seniors and any junior on the varsity football team against everyone else.
For the sake of storytelling we’ll just go with seniors instead of SAAJOTVFT.
The seniors got all of the yellow balls first and then headed to the gymnasium’s half-court line to begin pummeling us with no regard for our health, welfare or cries for mercy.
It was like they just got a pep talk from Johnny’s sensai in “The Karate Kid”: “Mercy is for the weak. Do you have a problem with that?”

They did not.
The first wave of balls came at us as like wuss-seeking missiles and it was a target rich environment.
We were all spread out against the back wall praying to whatever deity that was listening and hoping that we had not been the chosen one.
If you had somehow caught the senior’s eye, you got their undivided attention and their mission was to beat you like a piñata with those dodge balls.
The first poor bastard caught in the senior’s fury fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book.
As Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars said, “It’s a trap.”

They toss you a nice, easy one and play into your desire to be the hero. As you are gazing upwards preparing to make the big catch, a horde of balls is sent your way from a multitude angles taking you down like a lion on a wounded gazelle in the Serengeti.
The gazelle in this case was a guy named Steve.
He was thrown a nice, soft ball and before he had a chance to grab the ball in his hands, the seniors had fired away catching the kid in the most sensitive of areas.
The balls had nailed his balls.
He went down faster than a soccer player taking a dive in the penalty box during the World Cup.

After writing in pain, he eventually harnessed enough strength to seal crawl off the floor to the locker room.
Our numbers kept getting smaller and smaller as the seniors picked us off one by one.
Eventually there were only a few of us left so it was time to take our beating because it was going to happen one way or another.
No pain, no gain, right?
All 5’7” and 100 pounds of me ventured out from the friendly confines of the back wall to face the balls and get my thumping. As I waited near the free throw line for the ball tsunami to commence I suddenly felt something I hadn’t felt before in dodge ball: courage.
I don’t know if my fight or flight genes decided it was time to cowboy up but I was ready to get it on like ping pong.
Game on seniors.
The first ball missed wide.
The second ball whizzed over my head as I ducked.
The third ball went between my legs as I jumped.
Then I caught the fourth ball.
“Holy shit” I screamed inside my head.
Then I got drilled by the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth balls.
But I caught a ball.
Unfortunately the victory was short-lived as I looked down at my hands.
The ball was coming in so fast that when I went to cradle it in my chest it bent both of my thumbs back and jammed them.
It hurt but I didn’t think it was much of a problem until I went into the locker room to shower and change out of my gym clothes.
When I was in high school my pant of choice was the Levi 501s button fly jeans. If you are not familiar with them here’s a picture, 

You know what’s really hard to do with two jammed thumbs? You guessed it. Buttoning up those damn pants.
You know what’s even harder to do than that? Being the new kid and asking some dude you barely know to button up your pants for you.
Good thing I discovered some courage that day.
I ended up asking Steve because he was so distracted by his recently-acquired case of elephantitis of the balls (Do not, I repeat, do not do an image search of elephatitis of the balls) that buttoning up the pants of the new kid in school was the least of his problems.

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your weekend.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Random Acts of Shifeness

-- Foot update: No more cankles. The antibiotics did the trick and my foot is back to normal. I'm going to have a nice scar or two but I heard that chicks dig them.
-- Since my foot was feeling better and my finger was OK I decided to play softball again. I was a little nervous because the way my luck was going I figured I was going to get one of my testicles caught in my zipper but the game went well with no weird injuries.
-- Kyle had his first day of kindergarten and he loves it so far. I almost broke down and cried but pulled myself together as I was walking home from his school. Here's a picture of the kiddos and Tank on the big day. I'm not sure who was more excited, Kyle or Tank?

-- What are you doing for Labor Day? Whatever you do I hope it goes well but be careful as danger can appear out of nowhere. =)

Thanks for stopping by.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Hits Just Keep Coming

Whoever coined the phrase an apple a day keeps the doctor away can suck it.
I have been eating an apple every day on my way to work for the past month or so because Mrs. Shife noticed that my food journal had no entries containing fruits or vegetables.
Why the food journal? Well in my quest to figure out this damn food allergy the doctor asked me to do it to help solve the mystery.
I guess Mrs. Shife also wants me to be around for awhile so she thought it would be a good idea if I mixed in a salad or a fruit into my caveman diet.
Anyway I'm eating apples and guess where I've been twice in the past 3 weeks.
If you guessed the doctor's office then you are the big winner.
Click here for your prize.
First I dislocated my finger playing softball.
Then this week on Monday I got stung by a bee while playing softball.
Well this bee was a mutant or something because my foot and leg swelled up real nice. Then I got blisters that starting popping and oozing Shifeness.

I went to the doctor and turns out I picked myself up a nice infection.
Yay me!
It's been on the top of my wish list forever.
Good times.
I think the phrase might have to be changed to an apple a day can kiss my ass.
I think it also might be time to take a break from the game.
Hope all is well with you. Thanks for stopping by.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, August 15, 2014


What a week.
An emotional roller coaster for sure.

On Monday, Robin Williams passed away which was surprising, shocking, and sad. Mork & Mindy, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Aladdin, Mrs. DoubtfireGood Will Hunting were just a few things that he did that I really enjoyed. He'll definitely be missed.

On Tuesday, Laurel Bacall died. Her movies with Humphrey Bogart really helped spur my ongoing love affair with movies so her death also affected me on a personal level.

Then on Wednesday my grandmother passed away. I knew it was coming but it still doesn't soften the blow. She was in a lot of pain and not doing so well from battling cancer but now she's at peace. I'm glad Kyle and Hayden got to spend time with her because she was my Mom's mom and a pretty awesome Grammie. I also realized there are only few people left that call me Matthew and she was one of them. I'm a Matt to everyone else except to our neighbor down the road who likes to call me asshole. I posted this poem about her because I thought it summed her up pretty well:

A daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandma too,
This is the legacy we have from you.
You taught us love and how to fight,
You gave us strength, you gave us might.
A stronger person would be hard to find,
And in your heart, you were always kind.
You fought for us all in one way or another,
Not just as a grandma not just as a mother.
For all of us you gave your best,
Now the time has come for you to rest.
So go in peace, you’ve earned your sleep,
Your love in our hearts, we’ll eternally keep.

Grammie meeting Hayden for the first time in Las Vegas in 2012.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a good weekend.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Random Acts of Shifeness

--> Are you ready to have your mind blown? Kyle starts kindergarten 2 weeks from Monday.
--> Kyle's also taking a break from karate. He came to that decision after we told him that he was going to school 5 days a week and might be a little wiped out. So he went up to his instructor and told him that he was going to "retire" from karate until he got used to school.
--> Another gem from Kyle. I've mentioned on this here blog before that when he gets in trouble he tells us that his feelings are hurt and he thinks we don't love him anymore. Well yesterday he added "you broke my heart" to his phrase that pays after he got in a little bit of mischief. It was extremely difficult trying to keep a straight face when he told me that.
--> Elimination diet #2 is over. The first 2 weeks I cut out tomatoes and other acidic foods. The last 2 weeks I had to cut out booze. It was so depressing. Now I have to cut out gluten for 2 weeks. Based on the initial results it appears that tomatoes might be causing me some problems.
--> So what happens when I can't drink alcohol? Well my sweet tooth shows up and it's in charge. In the past few days, I ate 4 quarts of ice cream (Yes Mrs. Shife I polished off the vanilla while you were at work this afternoon) and 6 cinnamon rolls.
--> I can say with the utmost certainty that my darling Hayden is not a boy. Despite my steadfastness, she still gets called one way too much for my liking. She was wearing a pink tank top, khaki shorts and purple shoes when she got called "bud" by an adult recently so I could see the confusion that might set in for someone who had just huffed a gallon of gasoline.

--> I'm meeting a friend tonight that I haven't seen since 9th grade. And for those of you who don't want to do the math, that's a lot frickin' time ago.
--> Have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, August 01, 2014

And Look What Else Happened ….

That my friends is an X-ray of my right ring finger and it didn't have a very good Thursday night. It decided to try and be a hero by stopping a line drive all by itself at my softball game. And as you can see things kind of broke bad. I dislocated my finger and I'll be in a splint for a few weeks. I guess I was due as I haven't had a significant softball injury in a long time. Sorry this short but it's a little hard to type and I'm a little out of it from the pain meds. Hope you are doing better than my finger. Thanks for stopping by. Take care and have a great weekend.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.