Someone Stole My Name!

Someone stole my name!  I know I am probably not the only Cheryl Huffer in the world, but someone had the audacity to steal my name!

I once had this blog at cherylhuffer.com.  And then it was stolen!  No, do not open a new tab and look at the miscreant’s page!  Do not give them the satisfaction.  Keep reading and all will come to light.

About forty days into the 366 days of my 42nd year of life, I decided I wanted to buy a domain.  For a measly $22.00 a year, I could provide direct access to my blog instead of asking my followers (I think I had a whomping  50ish followers by then) to go through the generic WordPress page.

As a firm believer in Hollywood movies that show people being “discovered,” I knew this one change was going to lead me into the paid writer world.  My pIan was to write something  genius, have it go viral, and because I owned my own domain, some publisher or editor would easily find my brilliance and insist on flying me to New York and offer me a writing contract on the spot!

So, Life as I Understand It officially became available on cherylhuffer.com in February 2012.  My foot traffic did increase, but that might have just been through my own marketing and WordPress access to users.  Thus, it worked, sort of.  It was easy to tell people how to find me.  However, besides for an amazing day in November when I was Freshly Pressed, I didn’t get much more than a hundred views a day.  Sure, my following increased, but my phone never rang, and like the bride left at the altar holding a bouquet too garish for any sophisticated wedding, I never did catch a big break.

Needlesstosay, I continued to write, and the next February, I renewed my domain.

My writing became sporadic, but still the next February, I renewed again.

And the next February…I let it lapse.  At that point, I hadn’t blogged in almost  a year, and people could surely reach me by means of WordPress once again.

A few months in, a faithful friend called me.  He said that he was trying to reference my blog to show it to someone.  Yet, he couldn’t find it.  It all but disappeared.

Frantic, I logged into WordPress and all my posts were still there, but the access points had changed to default, and it was more difficult to find.  I grappled with the necessity of having a domain; I decided it wasn’t necessary.

However, last year, I realized that my blog was funky.  I sentimentally went on to read “My Frank McCourt Moment,” one of my favorite pieces I have ever written, and I realized I couldn’t find it.  The website was haywire because my simple domain did not match well with the generic WordPress domain.  Fearing that I would lose some of my favorite stories to cyber space, I decided I needed my baby back.  I took out my handy-dandy green Citizens Bank Visa. I opened up the purchase page, I typed in my domain… and it was no longer available!  cherylhuffer.com had been bought!

Of course, I immediately opened a new window and found that some hacker stole everything: “Life as I Understand It.”  “Where Insight and Humor collide.”

My name!

My title!

My tagline!

The most egregious component of my stolen identity was that one of my blogs was still attached to the page– a little ditty I titled, “Say It Ain’t So, Joe;” and the only entry the rapscallion had written was about gaming.

I was besides myself.  I am not a gamer and I did not want my domain associated with a topic that had no understanding, no humor, and no insight.

So what is a girl to do when she has been wronged?  Rectify the wrong.  I bought a new name.  A better name.  cherylhuffer.org.  The “org” makes it more swanky, don’t you think?

So here I am today–blogging once more.  I still have my tagline, my title, and my watchful eye.  So, feel free to keep reading and tell your friends. It’s an easy Google search away.

Oh, and if you cheated and looked, you already know– the other blogger who tried to steal my identity no longer exists.  The gamer lost the game!

Day 169: Manscaping

Manscaping: (verb) 1. to groom a man of unwanted hair from legs, chest, back, or face.  2. grooming to make oneself more attractive to females  3. making oneself look as ridiculous as possible to earn a bonus point in Manlympics

That’s right Ladies and Gentlemen, it is that time of year again: Manlympics.  The time for 30 seemingly normal thirty and forty-year old men to get together and act like anomalistic teenagers.

My husband and his friends get together once a year to participate in this bacchanalian festival.  Along with drinking, they golf 18 holes and play yard games like washers, corn hole, and bocce ball.  They also compete in arm wrestling, tug-of-war, and maneuvering through an obstacle course.  They indulge in hot dogs, hamburgers, and yes, beer.

This year, my husband was serious about winning.  He knew that others had been in training doing arm curls for weeks (both the 12 ounce kind and the dumbbell kind).  He wanted to get an edge over the others in the category of manskaping.

For two weeks, he grew his hair.  Last night, on the eve of Manlympics IV, we ventured to Sally’s Beauty Supplies to buy spray on washable hair dye.  Because of his male pattern balding, to achieve the effect he wanted, he needed to cover up the greys in his temple region.  Upon returning home, we spent an hour in the bathroom scalping, spraying, creating his look: the monkey tail.

The problem, however, was that because his hair is thinning (I’m being generous here), the spray ended up being patchy, and it stuck to his scalp more than it did his hair.  Later in the evening, the dye started to drip down his neck.   We both knew that in the heat he would be wiping dripping often.  Worried that he would end up looking more like Al Jolson today than a man with dyed hair, he was forced to wash out the spray.

Tom would not accept his dripping hair dye as a setback, however.  He showered out the dye, and I had a brainstorm.  I remembered that my own father started dying his hair with a product called Just for Men when he was in his forties.  Surely, this product was still on the market?    At 10:00 last night Tom drove to Giant Eagle and found it.

Excited, he came home.  He decided the back head hair took away from the effect of the monkey tail.  He shaved, we died his beard, and this morning, he proudly went to Manlympics with a monkey tail wrapped around his face.

The question: Is it enough to win the manscaping points at Manlympics 2012?

Day 113: I Struggle with Addiction

It started about two years ago.  It was a rainy Spring afternoon, and I did not have much to do.  The laundry was put away, the dishes were clean, my papers were graded.  The girls were occupied watching a movie and Tom was at work.  I was perusing Facebook voyeuristically spying on my friends when I saw that a friend of mine posted the same status over and over again.  “I just won at Tetris Battle.  You can, too.”

I was intrigued.  I remembered Tetris.  Tetris on the Atari: the lines would drop and you would have to work to clear them.  The time would speed up until it was impossible to clear any more lines.  I thought, why not?  I was a casual player as a child– weekends, after school, the occasional holiday.  I wasn’t addicted then, so I thought it would be harmless.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  You know how it is now and days.  The concoction is stronger, the rush is greater.  Just two minutes, that is all it took.  Two minutes of manipulation: blue, pink, yellow, purple, green.  This was a new game.  Tetris Battle.  You play against a real person in real-time.  You work hard to clear your board to drop bombs on your opponent, all the while trying to destroy the bombs they have dropped on you.  The rush was not the way I remembered it to be.  I felt alive.  My senses were in hyper-drive.  The colors were so vibrant that when I squinted, I saw trails.  And the music!  I started hearing the song in my dreams.   Once, I muted the music and tried to play, but it wasn’t the same.  It was watered-down, tainted.  No.  I needed the real stuff– the pure, unadulterated Tetris crack that I was craving.

Sometimes I win.  Sometimes I lose.  However I finish, I play everyday.  If my schedule keeps me away from the computer or takes me out-of-town, I miss it.  I find myself pressing on tables, pressing imaginary arrow keys and space bars.  I pass it off as hearing a song in my head and strumming my fingers to the melody.  No one knows the truth.

To date, I have played 4334 games.  I have played 8,668 minutes of Tetris.  I have played over 6 days of my life away.  6 days– that’s like a vacation spread out over two years.

What could I have done with all that time had I not discovered Tetris Battle?  I could have run 788 11-minute miles.  I could have gotten 144 pedicures.  I could have read nine 400-page novels.  I could have driven to Chicago and back twelve times.

Instead– It’s just a few minutes a day.   Sometimes it’s an hour or more, but I’m not hurting anyone.  I go to work; I put dinner on the table; I wash the clothes. 

My name is Cheryl Huffer, and I am addicted to Tetris Battle.