Category Archives: Daily Prompt

Clichés

Daily Prompt: Cliché

Clichés become clichés for a reason. Tell us about the last time a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush for you.

I have a hard time with clichés and idioms, because I tend to be very literal. When I try to use them, I end up mixing them up, and I get them completely wrong and embarrass myself. David uses them often, and my response is usually, “That doesn’t make any sense!” or “Why don’t you just say what you mean?!”

I’ll admit that I had to look this one up, because I wasn’t 100% sure of the meaning. Once it became clear, I wasn’t exactly sure that I agreed with it–not at this point in my life. I’d much rather focus on possibilities than take comfort in something lesser but safer. Settling is not an option (That’s not a cliché, is it?).

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An Alternative to Reality

Daily Prompt: If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

The cast of the Real World San Francisco

It all started with MTV’s Real World in 1994. The premise: gather some young people from different walks of life, force them to live together for a few months, and follow them around with cameras to see what happens. It was a sort of social experiment–pretty brilliant, really. The result: honest TV programming. The first season, set in San Francisco, featured people who were educated, interesting, and relatable. They had discussions about race, sexuality, socioeconomic issues, politics. Sure, there were arguments, and one member was even evicted from the house, but you got the sense that these people shared a one-of-a-kind experience and developed a strong bond that would last much longer than the season.

Fast forward to today, the world of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, The Jersey Shore, Hillbilly Handfishing, The Bad Girls Club and that one about the guy who likes to gnaw on his own flesh. (Yes, I made that last one up, but it’s only a matter of time.) There is no limit on how far people are willing to go to be on TV, nor on the amount of money that networks are willing to pay them to make complete asses of themselves. And yet, the so-called “Reality TV” phenomenon is bigger than ever. In fact, it’s so popular that it’s spilled over into other genres. Think of all the sitcoms that use a “mockumentary” style: Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, The Office, to name a few. And let’s not forget the news programs, which have no qualms about exploiting drug addicts and otherwise mentally disturbed people to improve their ratings. As hard as you try, you cannot escape America’s fascination with shameless exhibitionism.

Agent 86, Maxwell Smart

But I ask, has reality TV improved our lives or even contributed to it in any positive way? Are we better people, a better society, a better nation because of it? My answer is no, and I’d go even further to say that it’s done quite the opposite.

I grew up watching a lot of Nick at Nite programming, along with plenty of Looney Tunes cartoons, and I have such great memories of these shows. They were clever, funny, sometimes even a little risque, and they are still so much fun to watch. I wonder if 20 or 30 years down the line people will say the same about Honey Boo Boo. I sure hope not. If I could undo any invention, Reality TV would be it. It would open up more opportunities for talented writers, actors, directors, and for programming that is inspired, imaginative, and not entirely about shock value. At least that’s what I’d hope would be the result. As for repercussions, I’d never know about Puck’s nasty habit of eating his roommates’ peanut butter from the jar with dirty hands, or the way Kim Kardashian whines about, oh, pretty much everything, or how much butter Honey Boo Boo consumes in a single day. But I think I could live with that.

Schmalentine’s Day

Daily Prompt: Cupid’s Arrow – It’s Valentine’s Day, so write an ode to someone or something you love.

Das Boot

David + Das Boot at Oktoberfest

I unintentionally wore a red sweater today. When David pointed it out over breakfast, I joked, “Ugh, now I have to change….” But I did not, because I really love this sweater and the way I look in it. This is the goofiest holiday of all. I don’t need a special day to love or feel loved. I eat chocolate almost every day, and David doesn’t believe in giving flowers as gifts, so that’s not happening either.

I am incredibly lucky to have two great loves in my life. Yes, two! There’s my boyfriend David, and my dog Izzy. What’s so remarkable is that I never imagined that I’d love either of them as much as I do. For months, I insisted that David and I would never work as a relationship. As for Izzy, I have never been attached to an animal in my life. In fact, I thought the idea quite ridiculous. And yet, these two bring me insane amounts of happiness–more than I knew was even possible.

But love isn’t all about romantic dates, flowers, chocolates, or stuffed animals. What about the other 364 regular old days when I’m just doing my best to share my life and my home with another human being and a small dog? It’s not always easy, and it’s not always fun, but that’s love too. Sometimes it’s in those moments of frustration or disappointment that I realize how much I care. I don’t just want the good stuff, I want all of it!

poppers in bed

Sir Issac Newton/Izzy/Mr. Puppers/Poppers/You little shit!

What’s in a Name?

Daily Prompt: All About Me — Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

“Mind-Grapes” is a term I borrowed from the show 30 Rock, specifically Season 1, Episode 7. It’s a made-up term that was actually part of a ridiculous failed metaphor, which of course means that it continues to be exploited in other episodes and is always funny. I wanted my blog to be reflective but also lighthearted, maybe even funny once in a while, but always positive. I thought having a silly name would help me stay true to my original purpose. So far, I’m pretty happy with the result.

The Mind’s Eye

Daily Prompt: Whoa! What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had?

I have a fantastic dream life. I’ve experienced things in deep sleep that are supposedly uncommon, or so I’ve been told. I have traveled to alternate universes, I have flown above town several times, and on one occasion, I actually experienced death (words cannot describe). But the most impressive dream I’ve had involved no sci-fi/fantasy themes. In fact, the dream itself was unmemorable. What stood out was that my cousin Xavier, who I  hadn’t seen in several years, appeared in it.

Xavier was actually my mother’s first cousin. When I was a kid, I thought of him as a cool young uncle. Having grown up in New York City, he knew all the fun places to take my siblings and me, whether it was ice cream at the Haagen Daz in Brooklyn Heights, or catching a movie in the East Village. I wanted to be just like him when I got older: smart, independent, and just plain cool.

I use the past tense when I speak of Xavier because he and his wife disappeared one day, seemingly out of nowhere. Not even his own mother knew what had happened. Years went by, and there was no trace of either of them. He was slowly becoming a distant memory to me, until that night when he appeared in my dream. The next morning, I found myself thinking a lot about him–about the adventures we had, the songs we would sing together, his signature knock on the door. Later that day, I casually mentioned my dream to my mother, and much to my surprise, she divulged that she had dreamed of him as well. But what still blows my mind until this day is the fact that my great aunt had called her that morning to let her know that Xavier had contacted her the previous day, while I was asleep. He told her that he was okay, and that she shouldn’t worry or try to search for him. It seems that somehow, on a level I cannot comprehend, I felt his presence, even if it was just over the phone.

I never saw Xavier again. By now, a good 25 years have passed since I last saw him. I wonder if he is alive, and if so, where he is and what he is doing. I wish he’d been around to see me grow up, and to offer me the guidance that my parents could not. I wish I’d had him around to talk to when I was going through difficult times in my life. He would have given me one of his awesome hugs that I remember so well. I wish I could tell him how important he was to me, and what a lasting impression he’d made. Most of all, I hope that I’ve become someone he would be proud of today.