November 14, 2006

The Long Lick Good Morning

Four AM. The artist formerly knows as Waffles positions his enormous shaved personage on the corner of my bed and begins a long luxurious bathe. LICK! LICK! LICK! It is a carnival of loud raspy licking fun. It’s GROSS how much he ENJOYS it. It’s so DEDICATED and RHYTHMIC and ENDLESS. There is no sleeping through it. There is no stopping it.

It seems like something he’d want to do in private, or perhaps in SWEDEN, not HERE, on my bed in America, where SALACIOUS FELINE “mleh-tic, mleh-tic” sounds and moist, whistley nostril breathing have been banned and the penalty is NO BREAKFAST which, for Waffles, is synonymous with death. I ask him to stop in English and in cat.


To say it in cat, you simply hurl pillows.

None of it works. I end up pillowless and listening the endless, lugubrious pleasures of the bathe, feeling bitter toward Scott, who can sleep through ANYTHING. SO I get up and come down here and work on Chapter 5.

In other news, I am now getting 40 – 50 penis e-mails a NIGHT. I have to find some way to stop this spam. A lot of them are titled Hi, Joshilyn, which is how a lot of emails from readers are titled. So. I end up opening quite a few of them and reading and rereading and rereading the delightful news that I will

“Notice your penis to be wider during the first week of taking Penis Patch.”

Notice my penis to be wider? Does the patch help it widen? Or help me NOTICE? And do I WANT a penis to…widen???? I emphatically do not. Honestly, the literal translation thing SO RARELY works out.

There IS an upside, as my good friend Jill pointed out. I have 50 possible character names showing up in my box every morning. I will never have to resort to the 10,001 Baby Name Book again. I have this very morning alone received medical advice on how to NOTICE my penis widening by “taking” the entirely creepy sounding patch from

Earlene Slaughter,
Hilario McIntosh,
Annubis Delgado and, my personal favorite,
Jesus Schmegli

I SERIOUSLY welcome ANY advice on how to LOWER my wide penis spam volume while still retaining an easy way for readers to send me e-mails.

Posted by joshilyn at November 14, 2006 6:03 AM

Oh, Joss! I have no idea how to REDUCE the size of your p-spam, but I just got an email yesterday from another author about the very same thing. The spam? The character names? Great minds think alike, it seems. She invited us (the members of her yahoo group) to go make up and post some back stories about these incredible character names. I wrote my first piece of flash fiction using four of them. It was a blast. A nice mental exercise, too. Just not when you're trying to write a chapter where you already KNOW who the characters are. *argh* My sympathies, dear lady.

Posted by: David at November 14, 2006 7:41 AM

ooh! ooh! I know how!
pray to Jesus Schmegli!

Posted by: Janet at November 14, 2006 7:58 AM

In our house it's our old, fat, 103 lb. dog who wants to bathe in the bedroom before daylight. Speaking to her in English or Dog doesn't help either.

I have no useful advice about separating the canned meat product emails from the emails of adoring fans, but I have two names to add to your list of future characters. No, make that three, all from emails sent to me from the future, so they must be significant.

On the 29th of this month, Emily Sneed sent back an email to me in the present to talk about "Non-chaucerian mush-kinu," which I would imagine is MUCH better than the Chaucerian mush-kinu, although I must admit I didn't read the email. Then on Dec. 6 of this year, Enid Pierre sent back an email to me that simply said "Dear" in the subject line. Enid is sweet like that. Way into the future, in November of 2007, someone simply named Enrique cared enough about "foster and garth" to send an email a year into the past. You have to admire his passion.

I think in a future book that Emily and Enid should totally get together with Annubis and Jesus. Enrique can be their pool boy. Or something.

Posted by: DebR at November 14, 2006 8:42 AM

Must be something in the air, I woke up at 4 AM too...

At least we were both able to work.

The best name and job position combo I ever ran into was at Harrah's Lake Tahoe. This was back when I still drank, and I had ordered I dunno HOW many Tom Collinses (sp?), and I finally got my receipt back. At the bottom of it, it said:



Posted by: Martha O'Connor at November 14, 2006 8:45 AM

Hi, Joshilyn--Three techniques that help or seem to help. From someone NOT a computer specialist...

I like Spamihilator (sp? it's a free download); it "learns" pretty quickly what to filter. You would still have to scan it's trash bin for mistakenly eliminated reader mail regularly, though.

Séba says spammers have programs that scan websites automatically, collecting all published emails, and that's why my readers have to use a form to contact me through mine. Duke and some old magazines I write for publish my Duke address to all and sundry and I get TONS of penis spam through it, but so far my personal author site has only received reader mail. (But you'd probably have to change your email address now for that to work--probably too much of a pain.)

I noticed Haywood Smith warns readers, right above her email address, to always put "reader mail" in the subject line. I'm guessing that's so she can find her readers among the spam, although I haven't asked her how well it works.

However, I think your "make lemonade" approach might be the most efficient! ESPECIALLY if you use the name Jesus Schmegli in a book...

Laura F.

Posted by: Laura F. at November 14, 2006 8:45 AM

Have the spammers been getting more creative? I've been thinking in the past couple of days of attempting some prose poetry just from the subject lines of my spam, which have been veering towards the Holy and Philosophical. Of course, I deleted them all instead, so there goes my big idea for fame and glory.

Posted by: amy at November 14, 2006 9:22 AM

I'm having the same problem with penises, or is it, penii? At least from a spam pov.

But they are great fodder, aren't they? I just lifted three lines of text from one of them and put it directly in the novel I'm writing!

The quote starts with: "Give your penis wings..."

O, so far have I taken this image.

I can't help you with the cat lickfest either. Sound machine, perhaps?

Posted by: Edgy Mama at November 14, 2006 9:48 AM

DebR is clearly getting a much higher class of spam than I am. Chaucerian? Seriously? All I get is stuff about V!agra.

Posted by: Aimee at November 14, 2006 10:39 AM

Oh my goodness! I got spam mail from Jesus Lieberman, which I found quite funny. It wasn't for penile enhancements though. It was for cute Asian singles that really wanted to meet me.

Posted by: jenn2 at November 14, 2006 11:31 AM

No advice on the spam thing.

But about the cat thing? Mine only gets told to stop once. Then he gets shoved off the bed! Usually after this happens a couple of times, he finds someplace else to do whaterver.

And he knows that he can't play with toys in the bed after lights out. I take those away and he doesn't get them back.

Posted by: Terri at November 14, 2006 2:07 PM

If you request that people put a particular phrase in their subject line, you can set up a filter in most email programs to put anything with that phrase in a specific folder. You can let the rest pretty safely hit the trash. If somebody complains, you asked them to do one little thing. Not hard!

I've been collecting some of the better subject lines lately. They're getting pretty funny!

Posted by: Kestralyn at November 14, 2006 2:27 PM

spam suggestions:
- asking folks to do the Reader Mail subject line thing is a great idea.

- setting up a form on your site - people type in their message and their return address, and hit submit. Your site sends it to you, and your email address is never published.

- on websites you control, you can take some steps to avoid those spam robots finding your email address (be forewarned: these are all somewhat tech-geeky):
-- have a .gif or other kind of image file with your address - people can still see it, but since it's not text, it won't be picked up by the robots.
-- display your email address in an invisible table - people can copy the email address (which they can't do if it's an image file), but it's still not as tempting of a target for the spammers.

And unless you're willing to change your email address, you're probably going to be stuck with the current level of spam for quite some time. The thing that bugs me the most about spam (and oh, there are so many things that bug me that it takes A LOT to make it to the top of the list) is that there's no natural sunsetting period on a given email address - it costs nothing to send messages out, so once an address is on the spam horizon, it really won't ever get off.

Good luck on getting rid of the spam! Maybe your new, wider penis can take on email previewing duties, saving you the time?

Posted by: alice at November 14, 2006 4:25 PM

Two glasses of wine and this blog and I have completely lost control (I want say of what.) Thanks. :)

Posted by: Dana at November 14, 2006 7:29 PM

Our cats do not lick themselves with loud, annoying slurping sounds. No, they lick the plastic shopping bags I use to line our bedroom trash can. If you think a cat licking itself at four in the morning is bad, one licking a plastic bag is even louder. Not as gross, perhaps, but louder.

However, the also like to lick my husband's armpits, or the top of his head. THAT would be where they excel at the gross licking.

I have to say, though, that the worst cat noise in the world, the one that brings me out of a dead slumber is the sound of a cat horking a hairball somewhere in the house. The only thing I can be sure of is that they're placing it precisely where I will step on it in my bare feet first thing in the morning, before I'm even really awake.

Posted by: Jessica at November 14, 2006 10:55 PM

I don't get any of thsese emails so maybe aol is good for something!

As to cats I have one who chews his feet when he is happy and relaxed and makes a sort od snapping sound as he tugs at his claws. He's always done it from a tiny kitten. As he likes to sleep jammed up against me it's usually the vibration that wakes me, that and the deep rumbly purring which accompanies it!

Posted by: Jas at November 15, 2006 8:22 AM

I learned the name game from spam a few years ago and got Tanner Holmes for my hero. Now if the spam would just write the story.

What is it with animals and licking? ugh.

Posted by: Cele at November 15, 2006 12:43 PM

you might try, it's a paid service but you can get a 30 day free trial. Basically it makes your senders verify that they are not spammers.

Posted by: Sheryl at November 15, 2006 1:00 PM

And by the way, dark chocolate M&Ms are back in stores. :)

Posted by: Alicia at November 15, 2006 4:10 PM

I have an e-mail address set up just for my blog. It's a gmail address, and all my spam goes into the spam folder. i've had it for months, and i haven't seen a piece of spam in my inbox since i opened the account. plus, i haven't lost any e-mails that i've wanted to the spam folder.

my dog does the same thing as your cat. thankfully, that dog is not allowed inside. the one dog that is allowed in the house, my shih-tzu Hershey, doesn't do that. all he does is pee and poo in my cloest. or behind my husband's desk. but never near any of my stuff. i love that dog.

Posted by: dee at November 15, 2006 4:18 PM

My cat makes these funny little whistly snores. I actually woke from a dead sleep the first time I heard it and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what the heck it was!! Scared me==I even quit breathing for a minute to see if it was ME....

My cats can't stand to have the bedroom door closed. So now I try to make sure that they are both in the room or which ever one is outside will for sure wake me up at some gawd-awful hour scritch-scratch-scritching on the door until I get up and let them in the *$%%# room!! And I also have a 100+ pound dog who likes to snorkle and snuffle himself at night--disgusting, isn't it?! ANd I can relate to the cat yark in the dark--I am the first one up and yes, invariably I step in it in my clean socks....

Posted by: Sheri at November 15, 2006 7:42 PM

I don't know how to fix your spam problem, but can you forward me a couple of them?

Posted by: Waylon at November 15, 2006 8:29 PM

IF Waffles were doing the licking in SWEDEN, he would be having a cup of kaffe for breakfast, though most likely alone.

Posted by: Stephanie at November 15, 2006 10:26 PM

As funny as you are. . .and you are definitely funny. . .I am laughing tonight at two of your commentors and their verbage for cats expelling hairballs.. ."yark" and "horking."

Those are words I plan to add to my vocabulary. Gotta love accurate onomatopeia.

Posted by: Roxanne at November 15, 2006 11:13 PM

Joshilyn, haven't read all the comments; but, try this--

ask your readers hence forth to say hey Josh--instead of hi Josh. Only open hey Josh EM's?

Impromptu Invite:

Josh, posted an aweseome bake hobby dough cookie cut out recipe(whew!) on my blog, for decorating the tree. You and the kids will have a blast making these for Christmas, or any occassion, using hearts!!

I share this with you, in lieu of your Thanksgiving coming up, and Christmas in 6 weeks! May be a good project, for kids around to keep them busy?

I tea-stained brushed my cutouts during baking, re-poking hole for a ribbon often! Let dry 48 hours, shelaqued, blah blah...

Lovely craft, hope you and your kitchen doers enjoy the fun from North's Kitchen to yours!

with loving kindness,

Posted by: North at November 15, 2006 11:51 PM

OMG are you funny. I used to see no humor whatsoever in my cat's late-night and early-morning moist noises. I used to remind her that I had been at work all day, and she had therefore had ALL D*** DAY to make those horrific, disgusting NOISES; when that (predictably) didn't work, I ejected her from the bed. Now, my Itty Fitty is at the other end of the spectrum; a tiny, demure creature who adopted me after I discovered her starving on the doorstep of my job as a Food Stamp worker (ironic, huh?). She weighed 3 pounds at that time and has taken 8 years to gain 5 pounds, so she now weighs a whopping 8 pounds. Nonetheless, she is a hellcat who has me wrapped around her EVIL TOE as yours seems to. Last year, she began peeing in the middle of my bed while I was at work. Occasionally, just to mix it up, she'd poop too. After dry-cleaning two feather-beds a few times, I replaced my bedspread with a waterproof mattress-pad (with the corners cut so it would lay flat) and took Itty Fitty to the vet. After hundreds of dollars' worth of tests, "we" determined that she is not physically ill. Rather, she is mentally unbalanced, and was prescribed Elavil--an antidepressant used for people--to help her feel better. Of course the vet ignored my protest that it was unfair for HER to feel better, SHE wasn't the one cleaning pee and poo off her bed and paying $80 dry-cleaning bills. Let's just say that one of us is now taking the antidepressant.

Posted by: JJ at November 16, 2006 2:20 PM