Mar 29, 2006

Ya Gas-Pumpin', Gas-Leakin' Goof!

Yet another goof at the gas pump. Today was the one day I shouldn't have filled the tank in the van. Because tomorrow we trade it in for a new one. I don't want to give the dealer $42 worth of gas. I hope they can transfer it with a siphon.

And when I got home, the boys told me that the last time I used the gas grill, I forgot to turn off the valve and the burners. They discovered it when they were tossing a ball in the backyard, and Ethan shut the valve. So who knows if anything will be left in the tank next time we want to grill. What is it with me and gas?! Keith, Ya Goof!

Mar 28, 2006

The Joy of Goofing

There are these bagged frozen dinners that serve four people. Really easy to prepare. Foolproof. Well, almost—as this fool proved tonight.

I lit the gas, put the skillet on the burner, cut open the bag and dumped in the stuff. Then I read the instructions. Oops, I was supposed to grease the pan.

I took the pan off the heat. There was another pan right there in the cupboard, but for this kind of cooking, I like the first pan. So I dumped the frozen stuff into the second pan so I could grease the first pan. Then I realized that the second pan was now on the heat. So I made the same cooking mistake twice within a minute.

Okay, so it was a minor mistake. It still gives me the opportunity to say to myself: Keith, Ya Goof!

Careful with those word processing tools!

Here's a tip for job seekers: If you create a resume in Microsoft Word, beware of the "track changes" tool, which, yes, tracks changes. If you use the tool and leave the setting on "show changes on screen," your document will ... wait for it ... show changes on screen.

That was the case in a resume that I received today at work. Not good. Seeing before-and-after edits can prompt questions, such as: "Why did you cut out this project? Did you do it or not?" Or: "Why did you delete 'B.A.' from the 'Education' section? Did you earn a degree or not?" And those kinds of questions prompt further questions, like: "These work samples that you attached? Are they really yours?" Don't let yourself be compared to James Frey, famous for writing his not-obiography.

To the person who sent the resume: It would feel cruel in this case to say "Ya Goof!" so I won't. Especially since you may have supplied someone a valuable lesson.

Mar 22, 2006

Do it for Tery!

YaGoof! received a huge honor—kind words in a post from our new friend, Tery Spataro at Daily Eats. This is only a day after I unknowingly spammed her blog! I am flat out TOUCHED. She helped us get started. Our new Rules and Information section is dedicated to her, because she pointed out that we needed it to properly offer our chocolate prizes. Come on, send a goof story so you can be in the running for FREE CHOCOLATE! We're all set now! Do it for Tery!

More goofs before I even got to work!

I opened the day by breaking a glass bowl (see below). A few hours later, at work, I sent this email:

-----Original Message-----
From: Keith Eldred
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 8:38 AM
Subject: I'm even less fit than usual to be around because ...

... I smell like gasoline. Fair warning. Keep your distance and don't smoke around me.

The story is ... I left home on time to get here for an 8:00 conference call ... But my son (who I drop at school) realized that he forgot his cello ... So I had to go back and get it ... And then I saw my gas gauge was at E ... So I stopped at the convenience store and put the pump handle on automatic while I called Ed and told him I would be late for the call ... And in my hurry to get going, back at the car I somehow figured that the pump MUST be done ... So I pulled out the nozzle... But it wasn't done.

I didn't get any gas on my clothes, but I did step in some of the spill, which I told the store people about.

If the smell bother anyones too much, let me know, and I'll head home and find some other shoes. Or maybe I'll take these shoes outside and work in my socks. No other meetings today besides the call that I missed.

I feel so professional.

-----End of Email-----

By the way, I do know that there are signs on the gas pumps telling you not to leave them unattended. Keith, Ya Goof! And Ethan played a part in this by forgetting his cello! Ethan, Ya Goof!

But I'm WAY ahead of schedule on goofing up

I try to get to the YMCA pool by 5:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. It can be a challenge, but this morning I was miraculously on schedule. Until I noticed that one cupboard door in our kitchen wouldn't shut all the way. I couldn't figure out which dish was in the way. While investigating, I lifted down a couple of glass bowls. Naturally, the bottom one slipped out of my hands and shattered on the counter. After cleaning the counter and sweeping and re-sweeping the floor and picking one piece of glass out of my foot and cleaning up some spots of blood—well, I didn't make it to the Y by 5:30. Keith, Ya Goof!

Mar 21, 2006

Where exactly IS the back burner?

I just tried to make amends at for my spamming of last night. A post there by Aliza reminded me of a goof from long ago, and here is the comment I left:

Something came to mind at your mention of errors while cooking, such as mistaking teaspoons for tablespoons. In my early teens, I went through a phase where I cooked a lot. I goofed up, too, and I would have to concentrate hard so as not to miss a crucial step. Once I was cooking a number of dishes at once, and running out of counter space, I set a glass bowl on a vacant oven burner and starting adding ingredients for homemade scalloped potatoes. Layers of potato, cheese and spices were building up nicely when the bowl fell apart with a CRACK. Trying to heat up a saucepan, I had mistakenly turned on the burner holding the bowl. The potatoes were scalded rather than scalloped. Keith, YaGoof!


Don't spell "Spataro" as "Sparato," as I did when I first published the previous post. I caught it myself, thank goodness. Keith, Ya Goof!

Tery Spataro eats my lunch

Tery Spataro of did me a big favor with her comment on my previous post. She pointed out, firmly but graciously, that a post I had made on her blog was spam, and she was right. It was meant to promote rather than being a sincere comment. I'm new to blogging, and now I see the difference. As I mentioned to her: Ironically, or perhaps fittingly, it was a goof! So this is self-directed: Keith, Ya Goof! I sincerely appreciate Tery's help. Please check out her food reviews at

Mar 12, 2006

Talk about DRIVING yourself crazy

To: YaGoof!

From: Keith, dad and co-co-co-co-host of YaGoof!

You know how at some stoplights, if you're the first in line, you can turn right into a parking lot and exit the lot beyond the light and not have to wait IF you get out before the light turns and the other cars start moving? Sure you do. And you also know that sometimes it doesn't work, so you (sort of) get behind YOURSELF in traffic. Happened to me today. Keith, Ya Goof!

Mar 9, 2006

How YaGoof! was born

From: Keith, dad and co-co-co-co-host of YaGoof!

Our local newspaper, the Altoona Mirror, has invited submissions for a story on blogging. I've sent them the text of this post. Our blog was developed in part for the Mirror; I'm not sure if that will hurt or help our chance to become part of the story!

I hit upon blogging as a way to create books. As described in our host bio (top of the sidebar), our family uses the pen name Team EEK! to create books. We aim to create fifty books together. That may seem ambitious, but we were inspired by the much larger goal of a South Dakota family that has so far spent over sixty years carving a mountain into a statue. So far, we've completed two novels, one draft of a picture book, and outlines for three more novels. The Altoona Mirror has been a great partner in our adventures, publishing the first two novels as serials and the first novel in book form, as well as being our main avenue for promotion.

After Team EEK! began, I started noticing that blogs have become a major means to promote books. Authors have blogs, publishing companies set up blogs for particular books, and so on. But what REALLY struck me was this National Public Radio story about a man turning his blog into a best-seller. (PARENTAL DISCRETION ADVISED on the content of the blog.) The book compiled submissions from people far and wide, so to an extent, the book created itself. With over forty-five books left to go in our family's goal—that made me envious! I wanted a book-generating blog, too!

To make a long story short, we developed the notion shown when you enter YaGoof!—Submit a funny story of how you've goofed up for a chance to win FREE CHOCOLATE! Everyone goofs up now and then, and it's good to be able to laugh it off. Goofs unite us all! We hope for a steady stream of goof stories that can run in the Mirror and be collected in books. That would also mean valuable exposure for our chocolate sponsor, McIntyre's Candies.

Having a blog is one thing, attracting bloggers is another. We honestly don't know how to generate traffic; we're learning as we go. We hope that exposure in the Mirror will help generate local word-of-mouth. We're picking up tricks of online promotion, including trading links with other sites and attracting bloggers by commenting at other blogs. We decided to try emailing one school in every state, stressing that our site is family- and child-friendly—only to disover that many school districts prohibit students and staff from blogging. Ah, well—blog and learn. Our site meter shows that we do have some traffic, but so far no has submitted a goof. We do have "sample" goofs. And "diary entries" like this.

Just a few nuts and bolts behind the site: The first official day for YaGoof! was March 1, 2006. It took about six weeks to develop the concept, find a host( is great! And FREE!), and build the site itself. I have a little HTML experience, but it still took a lot of trial and error to get (pretty much!) the look that we wanted.

We're glad that we've become ultra-hip bloggers! :) It's fun to start from zero and learn, see your entries posted right away, and watch the beginnings of traffic. We look forward to reading about GOOFS and awarding FREE CHOCOLATE!

Mar 4, 2006

Blogging's not for wimps!

The Colorado school is also restricted from blogging. The teacher said she lives for chocolate, too! Sigh. Onward.

Look what I found at the DC school site

YaGoof! soldiers on in its quest to invite blogging from one school in each state, plus US possessions, the District of Columbia and any other territory on this official list! We've worked our way up to the the District of Columbia. On the web site of the DC school that we picked is a page with a cool kung fu animation created by a student. Just click on F5 (Refresh) to make it run again.

Mar 2, 2006

Welcome, Arkansas

Did you know that your state ends the "A"s in an alphabetical list of states?

Samoa difficulty tonight (get it?)

First I struck out in Alaska, then in American Samoa. I found only one school with a website, but it had no email link. I did try a link on the American Samoa Department of Education. Onward.

Good news and bad news from Alaska

The good news is that the Alaska school replied. The bad news is that its school district doesn't let students or staff participate in blogs. I'll probably run into that elsewhere. Nevertheless, I'll follow through on the schools plan. It's too early to tell whether it's just a GOOF of an idea. I'll alter the current Alaska link (so I don't get the school in trouble), try another Alaska school district and then move on.

You must be Joe!

To: YaGoof!
From: Linda

It was the first summer in our new home, and I had arranged for a number of things to be done on the same day. The cupboard installers were to make some adjustments and some men were coming to remove a diseased tree from the back yard.

The tree crew arrived first, and I showed them what we needed. During some rain, we gathered on the porch, and I noticed a young man sitting in their truck. I learned that he was their brother (call him Joe), who had been in a motorcycle accident and suffered brain injury. A little later, they were going to take him to therapy. I offered to have him come into the house, but they politely declined.

The rain let up, the tree men went back to work, and I went back inside. Our family was eating lunch when the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a sweet-faced young man with blond hair. He stood there for a moment without speaking, and I said, "Oh, you must be Joe! Do you need to go to the bathroom? I'll show you where it is." Being the special ed teacher that I am, I took him by the hand and led him to the kitchen, where I introduced my husband and our five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter. I used my very best special ed voice to say "This is Carl ... This is Steve ... This is Amy." Then I pointed him to the powder room and showed him how to turn on the light.

That's when he turned to me and said, "Lady, I'm here to fix your cupboards."

I have to hand it to Carl for holding it in during lunch. We ate without a word as "Joe" did his work. But after he left, oh did we howl!

Another time, I'll email with the story of the apple sticker on my chin.

Linda, Ya Goof!

AL vs. AK vs. AZ and what about AS?!

Our quest: To invite one school in each state to email YaGoof! for a chance to win FREE CHOCOLATE! Who will blog here first among the first three schools invited—Alabama? Alaska? Arizona?

Wait a minute! I just discovered on the official list of state abbreviations that we also need to include American possessions! That includes American Samoa! AS, I'll backtrack to you! Yes, I committed a GOOF!

Mar 1, 2006

2 states down, 48 to go.

The quest to email a school in each state continues. I just emailed a school in Alaska to join in the yagoofy fun. See the new Alaska link at right. Who will blog here first, Alabama or Alaska? The race is on! Last state to blog is a GOOF!

Let there be YaGoof!

Today is the official launch of YaGoof! There couldn't be a better day to begin than March 1, 2006. My father turns 70 years old today. Son Bobby turns 23. It's National Pig Day, always a big day for my employer, New Pig.

This site is a fun experiment for our family, in partnership with our valued supporters, the Altoona Mirror, our local newspaper and publisher of our family's first book, and McIntyre's Candies, the hometown candy company that creates and ships the fantastic FREE CHOCOLATE to weekly YaGoof! winners. We have no idea how to build traffic for any of us! But we're determined to try!

We want this to be a child- and family-friendly site, and we have to start somewhere, so here's what it's going to be: We're going to start by inviting one class from one school from each of the United States (in alphabetical order) to submit to our blog. I just finished the first email to a class in Alabama—you'll find the link in the sidebar at right.

Before I close, I need to submit a goof of my own. This post is already long enough, so I'll keep it short: Today I found that I had misplaced my swimming goggles. Let that be an example that you can submit ANY goof; it doesn't have to be all flashy.

I do have flashy goofs, but I'll save them for another day.

By the way, my entry is not eligible for the FREE CHOCOLATE. That's for you other goofs out there! GOOF LUCK!