Burning Man Bitter Friday Giftures


Humans aren’t very good at learning lessons. I should know, I’m one of them. You would think that after living in my house for over a year now, I would have figured out that the glasses are in one cabinet, and plates are in another, but I continually reach for the wrong one almost every time.

For some reason, every summer here in Utah, it’s inevitable that we get these forest fires. It gets hot, someone is stupid and tries to burn something, or they are careless with fireworks or something stupid like that and BAM!, we have a forest fire that rages for weeks. Then we get all this smoke that ends up burning our lungs and they don’t let us play outside.

Just when I thought the summer was over and we avoided the burn, someone started a fire and we are going to have to deal with this fire that may or may not burn our house down.

That being said, it’s Bitter Burning Man Friday Gifture time:


…it feels like I’m burning through too much of this.

Most of the time…

…I’m burning through this.

Then there is this kind of…

…burn that I need suntan lotion for.

Then there is this kind of burn…

…that I really need suntan lotion for.

Then there is this kind of skid…

…that you need to change your shorts for.

It’s nice that you are killing the weeds…

…just don’t burn down my house.


Even a true patriot like Captain America…

…gets in on the fireworks fun.


…even babies can appreciate them.

Why do we restrict fireworks…

…to just the summertime when they burn down forests?

Why can’t we use them for…

…more for shower related pranks?

Or for barbecue…

…related pranks.

Why should people…

…be the only ones to have firework fun?

How are things going on your part of the earth? Burning down like mine and the Amazon? Flooding like parts of the Midwest and South like earlier in the year? What kind of weather fun are you having right now?


Bitter Fire Up Ben


Party Planning Committee Bitter Friday Giftures


As many know about me, I’m a huge Office fan. I’ve watched the entire series at least 6 times and watch marathons on TV whenever I see them.  One the big parts of the Office is the party planning committee, vital to the many parties that take place at Dunder Mifflin.  Whether it is a birthday,  preparing for the Dundees, or Micheal’s 15th anniversary there is always a party to plan in Scranton.

As a terrible planner myself and an ever worse partier my whole life, I never thought I would be a part of a PPC(Party Planning Committee). But at my company, everyone else is either an insurance broker or an assistant to one, so as part of the two person marketing department, we were given the responsibility to plan our companies 10th anniversary. It’s insane and so ironic. In honor of my first terribly planned party, I’ve decided to make today’s Friday Giftures party related.

It’s not a successful party…

…unless someone falls down.

Or someone is bringing something…

…weird or illegal.

Someone is stumbling…

…in or out of a bed.

The music…

…is too loud….

Or someone is creating…

…a new dance craze.

Or someone messes…

…up the drinks.

Or someone tries…

…to drive home alone.

Don’t worry though…

…there will be lots of food.

And there will be plenty…

…of dessert.

There will be lots…

…of water.

There will be plenty…

…of speeches.

But most of all…

…just a bunch of shenanigans.

I’d like to say that this party is going to be great, but we all know that any party I plan will be a snoozer. And people will do the one thing they can’t stand just to get out of it. Go back to work.

Who is in charge of the parties at work? How bad have they gone for you?


Bitter Party Planning Committee Ben

Too Many Tabs Open Bitterness

The Spider world wide web.

When I was growing up my world wide web consisted of the spiders in the backyard. Okay maybe it was a few other places too, but essentially my world was as far as I could see, so my yard, the grocery store and maybe Grandma’s house once a year. It wasn’t until we packed up our meager belongings into the covered wagon and made the trek to the middle west state of South Dakota, that I discovered this wonderful and terrible device called a computer.

Ironically, it was a game called Oregon Trail that introduced me to the old 1’s and 0’s. I remember very clearly the sounds and clicks that went along with the game and getting dysentery for the first time and wondering what the heck that was.


My kids were born and raised with an Ipad in one hand and a phone in the other. For me, it was a gradual thing from Oregon Trail to dial-up to know multiple tabs on 4 different screens at work.

Having a different tab open on a computer would have been a Micheal J. Fox Back-to-Future type moment for me 25 years ago. My computer time back then consisted of booting up the computer and eating a meal. Then I logged on and enjoyed a walk around the park. Then I opened a website, and went and saw a movie. Back then you had all the time in the world while you were waiting for a website to load. The WWW should have stood for the World is Waiting for a Website to open .com.

My IT guys keep telling me that having all those tabs open is why my computer is so slow. I’m like, I need my email one open, my blog needs to be open, my video one needs to be open, and my Facebook needs to be open in case something happens (My job is social media, after all).

So many open tabs.

My problem is that my brain has a bunch of tabs open all the time and that must be why I’M so slow. There is the one that is worried about my kids leg, one that is worried about my daughter’s schoolwork, one that worries about how much money we have, and then there are the irrational thoughts like, why haven’t I posted a photo on Instagram lately, or why haven’t I made a Bitter News from the Couch lately?

No wonder I can’t get any sleep. My computer seems to be able to go into sleep mode just fine. I close the lid and it just goes right to sleep. I let it sit for 15 minutes and it takes a nap, no problem. I’m thinking that why the Terminator’s are going to take over the world so easily. They are able to sleep just fine but wake up with all their tabs open just fine. I guess the only way we will be able to stop them is to get a virus, and Mac computers are getting better and better at blocking those.

Your turn. What tabs do you have open all the time? Are you able to put your mind to sleep as easily as computers do?


Bitter Tabs Open Constantly Ben

Sleep Deprivation Bitterness

It’s time.

I’ve mastered many things over the years. I’m really good at Fridays. I have my routine of doing Bitter Friday Giftures every week, regardless of how busy I might be. I also take the burden of having dinner planned every single Friday. It might seem like everyone else’s plan of having pizza, but that isn’t actually true. I basically invented pizza Friday to the point that I’ve renamed pizza AS Friday. I’m also really good at making sure that the last few hours of work have nothing to do with work and are more of me being really good at pretending it is work.

On the other hand, I’m really bad at some things. I am really terrible at sleeping. Well, that’s not true. Actually, everything around me is terrible at allowing me sleep.

Ask me to do just about anything.

At the top of the list of my sleep deprivation is my old anxiety friend implanting thoughts of work and other nightmares in my head like Leo in the Inception. He goes at least three levels deep just so he can plant that one idea of me being in a maze at work and not being able to escape until I get out of the corn maze…and finish my statistics report.

If my anxiety isn’t working overtime to prevent me with the Z’s I need, then there is the old springy, hard, uncomfortable mess of a mattress we lay on for one third of our lives. If we are leaning to one to the point of falling into an abyss, or running into the Great Wall of China that’s been built over the years in the middle of the mattress, then we are creating neck cramps from the laying on of the pillows. If that isn’t bad enough, I have to have something in between my knees in order to make sure my sharp blades of knees aren’t slicing together like a villain going after an action hero with his two knives.

My knees at night.

If my uncomfortable bed isn’t betraying me, then my old, warn out, completely unless shell of a body is making it hard to sleep. Some people may say that my warn out body is my fault, but they are wrong.  All that delicious, but bad for you food is at fault. All the so-called good for you exercise is at fault. I’m not the one that made exercise painful and hard. In fact, I blame exercise for my bad knees. If I wasn’t playing basketball until well into my late 30’s I would have knees in much better shape.


Bright light make it hard to sleep.

If my unfit body wasn’t to blame for my atrocious sleep, then light would be one of the biggest causes for my bad sleep. Light is the ultimate betrayal of sleep for me. I don’t care how comfortable I am or how anxiety free I might be, if any light penetrates these eyes at any time of the night, I will be wide awake. The reason I know that light is my ultimate sleep nemesis? When I was in college, I slept on the bottom bunk of a bunk bed and draped a dark sheet over the part where the light could come in and I slept better than I slept in the womb. I would wake up at noon and feel like I was fresh and ready to go to my 1 pm class. I’m pretty sure Dracula sleeps better with light than I do.

In fact, I think if it wasn’t for mid-day budget meetings, I wouldn’t get any sleep at all.

What tricks do you guys have for getting any sleep?


Bitter Sleep Deprived Ben

Football Season Bitter Friday Giftures


Last night, I was sitting on the couch, relaxing from the bitter day of work I almost always have, and my son comes tromping in from football practice. As always, he left a trail of things leading up to himself, so even an incompetent detective like Inspector Clouseau could find him. He drops his cleats on my feet, asks me to take off his stinky socks and tells me all about practice.

As soon as he gets home from practice, anything I was previously watching (almost always The Office) gets changed immediately. He switches to a game on TV and it is football. I’m like What? It’s that time again, already? Yep, its football season again. You know what other thing it is already? That’s right, Gifture Friday.

Here we go again…

…celebrating too early again.


Getting ready for Halloween…

…by trying to scare people.

Having to get a full-time job…

…because our side gig doesn’t pay the bills.

Sometimes you have to speed…

…to get to the game on time.

Whatever you do…

…make sure you don’t bring your dad to the game (my daughter says).

The food isn’t always the best…

…and it kind of makes you speechless.

Interviews can kind of get…

…a little creepy.

Other times…

…people can really get in your hair.

It’s a sad day…

…when a kid can’t figure out how to eat pizza.

Don’t you hate it…

…when you are in a hurry, but you have to get your pants on?

Or when you are at a wedding…

…and there is no cake available?

The worst part is when you are trying to get something to eat…

…and the food just won’t go in your mouth.

Well, just so you know, the weekend is finally here, so we can get back to doing what we do best. Eating pizza and sitting on the couch. Who is with me?


Bitter Football Ben

It Doesn’t Get Bitter


It doesn’t get better Oscar.

Remember a while ago when there was an ad campaign about when you get older, life gets better? I don’t really remember it on TV. In fact, the reason I do  remember it, is because Oscar on the Office tried to do a little video himself and it hilariously got hijacked by everyone else in the Office.

Kevin was asking Oscar what he was doing, Robert California interrupted with his own diatribe and Kevin accidentally ends up smacking Robert in the face. At the end, Oscar tries so hard to admit that life gets better, but ends up proving that it, in fact, does not.

For all you teens out there who are struggling to find something to look forward to, I’m here to tell you that Oscar is right. All I have to do to prove it is to list just a few things that have happened recently to me.

On my way back to work from lunch, I was carrying too many things, including a fairly full cup of milk.  Being the smart adult that I am, I have learned that angles and gravity work together to balance things, but if you lose focus or balance on any of them, things tend to move toward not being in the cup. I really focused and balanced all the way to the car, put my cup on the roof of the car, my other things in the seat, and then after all of them were in place I grabbed the cup of milk, and theeen decided to lose focus and concentration. Spilled it all over myself, just like in my teen years.

Did a lot of crying over this spilled stuff.

I thought when I was 15, I was at the apex of facial destruction, otherwise known as acne. Back then, I got the help I so desperately needed from a dermatologist, took some Accutane and thought I cured these things forever. Well, at least I thought forever. You see, zits are like mosquitoes. They leave for a season, giving you hope for a brighter future that includes not them for a while. Then, just when you think the season is permanent, they come back. Little by little, until they are everywhere. I’m 46 years old, man. There should be a statute of limitations on these things.

The name is Ben and yes it is. Now BACK OFF!

When I was a kid, I was always broke. I would mow the lawn, get my $10, and a week later, all I had was some crappy duplicate baseball cards, a stick of decade old gum and a few nickels that wouldn’t even buy the decades old gum. Guess what? Being broke doesn’t get better. In fact, it gets worse. I work 40 hours instead of one, but here I am working for the pleasure of paying bills, buying food and giving the rest to my wife and kids. And now the government wants their cut too. Now, I don’t even have some duplicate baseball cards or stale gum to my name.

I used to dread having to deal with giving speeches, finding a partner in class or, giving presentations. Unfortunately, anxiety doesn’t go in the rear view mirror, not even close. Nowadays, I have a whole new set of anxieties to deal with. In addition to still not liking presentations, speeches or trying to find a partner to sit next to at work,  I have the aforementioned bills, traffic, work, interviews, talking to people that I don’t know, mosquitoes, air conditioners going out and car payments.

I used to play video games as a kid. My mom would get mad at me for playing for 6 hours a day. I was like, “I only have two levels to go and then I will come down for dinner!” The video games hobby hasn’t gone away, but the time to play has. Now I am happy when my wife and kids let me play for 6 minutes, and they let me clear a level that takes two minutes, between my taking out the garbage, getting the kids to practice and putting my socks in laundry.

The best way to explain life now as compared to then came from a tweet I saw that I could totally relate to.  Paraphrasing, “Your first 18 years of life is the free trial. After that, it is pay to play.”

What things do you do now that are way harder than they were as a kid?


Bitter It Doesn’t Get Bitter Ben


Communication is the Key to Bitterness

The way we should all be.

I was listening to someone talk about things the other day. When you do that, sometimes you actually learn things, which for me is a really bad idea. You know how they say a little knowledge about something is a bad thing? That applies to me. All of a sudden, I start acting like I’m an expert at things.

Anyways, they were talking about the age old argument about how we need to all stop looking at our cell phones and focus on real people and real conversations and stop listening to all the conflicting voices out there. Of course, all the knowledge they received about this subject was obtained while they were on their phone and the whole time they were talking, they were also texting.

What they aren’t mentioning is that communication has broken down from the beginning. It’s not like the cavemen or the dinosaurs didn’t have miscommunication. It’s not like the people in the 1830’s didn’t have misunderstandings. It’s not like this decade is the first time in the history of this world that communication has been blocked. Don’t blame it on the phone.

Miscommunication goes way back.

As a people, we are great at backbiting, ignoring, pretending we didn’t hear things…it’s just that the phone has just made it easier for us to ignore people in real life situations. Think about how you used to sit in a doctor’s waiting room 15 years ago. It wasn’t this magical time where people sat around and discussed their families with strangers. There were magazines in the waiting room. There were toys for kids. There might have even been a TV if you were lucky.

Ignoring people has always been a thing, especially for the introverts. We just have a better shield now and the extroverts can join us in ignoring people now.

I’m glad to live in this amazing era of technology that provides us computers in our hands. Yeah, some people do really great things with all the technology they have. Some are created new things, some are keeping connected with clients all over the world. Me, on the other hand, I’m just making sure I have a game to play in every spare moment and a way to ignore people.

And of course, it is the ultimate way to spread the bitterness all across the land. The technology of phones and things have given me a way to speed up how bitter I am, and in turn, how others can be bitter with me and the rest of the world.


Bitter Miscom Ben

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