Penniless Tim

January 26, 2011

I’ve moved

Filed under: Blogging — Tim @ 7:37 am

In the middle of the night, I packed up and moved to Tim for Tim. The price was right (free) and the movers cheap. I feel like a slightly updated version of an old statement, “What if a blog fell in the blog forest and no one is around. Does it actually make a ping sound?”


January 21, 2011

Therapeutic writing

Filed under: Humor,writing — Tim @ 11:11 pm

I am in a paradigm reversal and hereby proclaim, “I’m writing to entertain, amuse, and satisfy only one person – myself!”

And Tim said, “Let there be a Penniless Tim blog!’  And it was so.  Venting against a neighbor, I created the Penniless Tim blog as a cheap, non-confrontational, anger management session- a therapeutic written verbalization oxymoron with an anonymous syntax.  I liked writing what I wrote!  It was mental yoga.

Since previous writing ventures were an annual Christmas card (kids want a quarterly Christmas), my subject matter was wide open.  Naive Tim posted a story about speech class and, like they say, everything is found on the internet.  The post had 11 views, one positive comment, and another viewer ‘liked’ the site.  Eleven views without even trying, what if I really tried?  Do you think the New York Times will contact me?  Book deals?  New career?  I achieved a spontaneous, instantaneous internet addiction; WordPress was my crack pipe and people views my fix.  The WordPress dashboard, flush with bar chart statistics, lured me into the dark, sinister, and nefarious blogging world.

I scoured other blog sites using the WordPress website as a jumping off point.  Reading blog postings, I would add a quick comment – a cookie crumb back to my site.  Initially, I read the author’s writings.  Eventually, I half read, half scanned sites intent on leaving an enticing, tasty morsel in the comment section.  Lure these unsuspecting souls back to Penniless Tim where they could read stories of hamsters or mail carriers gone wild.  Membership became required on a facebook group encouraging WordPress posts – email updates around the clock.  I began sneaking onto the computer, glancing at statistics, visualizing throngs reading my writings.  My wife would catch me on the computer and inquire, “What are you looking at?”

“Just looking up old girlfriend’s on facebook and watching a Victoria’s Secrets ad!”, replied I in a lie.

Finally, the hard work payed off as a January 7 post went viral.  35 out of 1,966,514,816 internet users (give or take a user) viewed Penniless Tim – .00000000000508% of the market cornered.  Addiction intensified!  Nicotine, alcohol, nor crystal meth could alleviate the bar chart view craving.  My mind raced into absurd thoughts, “Thirty-five views today, thirty-five million views tomorrow!”

Day after day, hour after hour, I babysat the bar chart as chores were ignored, diapers unchanged, and dinners left untouched.  I screamed at the screen, “Grow bar chart!  Grow @%&# you!  Subscribe, subscribe!  Like my site!  Like me!  Comment, I dare you!”

The evil scientific writer within plotted insidious plans intent on bar chart growth.  Visiting the local library, I navigated to Penniless Tim (one more bar on the chart) and left my site as a favorite on the browser.  Then I posted a story no one can resist – dessert.  The post snared 15 viewers the first day, narrowly missing the 35 million target.  “Bah, ha, ha,” I gleefully chortled, “another 34,999,965 views and victory shall be mine! ”

Day two hooked five viewers followed by a single day three viewer. On day four, I emailed my wife and twenty close relatives with a flashing neon Penniless Tim hyperlink subject line and a message body promising peace in the middle east, a cure for poverty, an end to suffering, and an honest politician if they only visit Penniless Tim.  Would my blog seduction work?  Two views on day four –  a pubescent teenage boy searching for Girls Gone Wild (probably just a bit disappointed) and a nine year old boy seeking hamster training tips.  Was the honest politician promise too far fetched?  Were my emails blocked by a spam filter?  No!  My mother, father, wife, brothers, sisters, simply ignored the blinking bold font hyperlink.  Infuriated, I boldly confronted my wife with a scowl, controlled my passion, and muttered, “Hey Tiger, did you get the email about my latest Penniless Tim link?”

“Oh yeah, I got it,” she calmly replied, ” but I didn’t read it.  You’ve told me all those stories a thousand times.  I’m sure its nice, though.”

The truth dug in its steely claws – the New York Times won’t be calling and the book deal is dead.  My wife won’t even read the blog!  Sadness flooded down as a wave of cold sweat permeated my body, yet I felt a strange sense of relief.  Realities gravity pulled me in from the blogsphere orbit and the pressure of thousand word posts was lifted from computer hunched shoulders.  Realistic goals such as winning the lottery or the kindergarten newsletter mystery writer replaced blogging utopia.  WordPress Posts had become leg lifts with Staff Sergeant Norbeck1, United States Marine Corps, shouting taunts, “Scott, some of us just don’t belong here. Do we?”

Staff Sergeant Norbeck1, United States Marine Corps, was correct.  Blogging should be therapy, not work.  Suddenly, subtle hints previously conveniently ignored became crystal clear.  “I can’t spell penniless or why do you want people to think your poor or it sounds like you were in an accident and became a girl (you will have to think about that one)” burst forth from darkness into the light.  Then Penniless Tim thought of something he hadn’t before!  “Maybe blogging,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a view.  Maybe blogging…perhaps…means a little bit more!  And what happened then…?”2

I am writing for my own enjoyment!  My blog shall be selfish, self serving, and serve its original purpose – an outlet for me.  No longer shall I even contemplate what others think.  If I want to post yesterday’s honey do list or today’s to do list (I repeat myself), I’ll make a post, skip spell check, and ignore punctuation.  If a neighbor kicks my dog, I’ll write a post about it – there’s a 99.9999999999492% he’ll never even see it.  The dashboard is blacklisted and never again will Penniless Tim email announcements flood the Ethernet cloud.  I’m not moderating comments, likes, or subscriptions – write anything you want, subscribe, describe, prescribe, and it’ll post without emails flooding my inbox (well, maybe a light sprinkle was possible).  If I find a great video or picture, it may be post without any description, text, or title because its visually pleasing to me, myself, and I.  And speaking of a novel idea, I may actually write stories on paper with a pencil – call me a radical innovator.

Now one more thing – could there be a worse name than Penniless Tim?  I can’t spell the darn thing and who wants to be poor.  Society struggles spelling I without a spell checker – how can they handle pennilesstim?  I’m creating a new WordPress persona and cashing Penniless Tim in.,,, and all came into mind, but I need easy.  After hours and hours of not contemplating about it, I’m moving to  And to all of the 1,966,514,781 people missing my blog, I’m just fine with it.

Wow, I already feel better!

1 Staff Sergeant Norbeck, United States Marine Corps, was my drill instructor for 18 weeks. We could only address him using his full title. I’m afraid if I do not address him properly, he will hunt me down and force me to do hop ‘n’ pops.
2 Plagiarized a line from Dr. Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas

January 16, 2011

Best Dessert Ever

Filed under: Dessert,Humor,Recipe — Tim @ 11:37 pm

I like good food! Even better, I like cheap good food.  Best of all, I like cheap good food made at home. Pay no heed to my dearth of cooking talent, you can call me the frugal gourmet even if I can’t tell my anise from your anise.  I have similar food and music talents – can’t tell you why it’s great, just know it is.  Layla by Eric Clapton – great!  Oatmeal Carmelitas from Pillsbury Publications – great!

Is the Carmelita the best tasting dessert ever concocted?  Probably not, but based upon creation effort compared with the end result, it is simply awesome.  Unlike some other recipes, I can actually find all the ingredients without having to ask the produce manager, “Excuse me sir, but where are the savory dry spices from the Horn of Africa, tumeric fingers, and ground Sumatran Rhino horn?”

Found on the internet, it must be true.

A Sumatran Rhino

How good are Carmelitas?  My son was failing third grade when I suggested bringing the teacher some Carmelitas – they gave him six college credits and advanced him into seventh grade.  I stopped at an intersection with a disheveled homeless man holding a sign reading ‘Why lie – I need a Carmelita recipe’.  The neighbors threw a brick through my window when I refused to share the recipe.   I brought my boss a fresh batch and he let me leave work fifteen minutes early on Christmas Day.

You may be asking yourself, “Self, how much do these amazing Carmelitas cost?”

Being frugal, I wanted to know the exact price per nibble myself.  Unfortunately, we had a slight calculator malfunction and my 10 semesters of collegiate calculus didn’t include any teaspoon conversions (I liked some of the classes so much, I took them twice).

How's this work?

Now you are probably asking yourself, “Yourself, how did Tim ever invent such a wonderful recipe if he has his head up his anice?”

The answer is quite simple – I didn’t.  A few years ago while wandering a bookstore, I ran across the best recipe book I’ve ever purchased – 1 Pillsbury: Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook.  They were practically giving it away – purchase one small tall grande low fat skim milk sugar free lactose intolerant latte and receive a free recipe book.  $17 later and the book was mine for free.  I’m not going to say it’s a great book, but it’s a great book!

Now onto the recipe (straight from the book1):



Oatmeal Carmelitas


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups margarine or butter, softened


1 (12.5-oz.) jar (1 cup) caramel ice cream topping

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 (6-oz) pkg. (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 13×9-inch pan.  In large bowl, blend all crust ingredients at low speed until crumbly.  Press half of crumb mixture, about 3 cups, in bottom of greased pan.  Reserve remaining crumb mixture for topping.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine caramel topping and 3 tablespoons flour.  Remove partially baked crust from oven; spring with chocolate chips and nuts.  Drizzle evenly with caramel-mixture; spring with reserved crumb mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees F for an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.  Co0l completely.  Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours until filling is set.  Cut into bars.

High Altitude–Above 3,500 feet: No change.

Nutrition Per Serving: Calories 200; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 26g; Fat 9g; Sodium 160mg.

When preparing, I have only two crumbs of advice – use real butter and top notch caramel (such as Smuckers).  Enjoy!

1 Pillsbury Publications, Pillsbury: Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook (New York: Clarkson Potter, 1996), 182.

January 11, 2011

The Casual One

Filed under: College,Humor — Tim @ 2:53 pm
Postal Worker Series – Part I
I was designated a United States Postal Service Casual with the official job description “a part-time mail carrier substituting for full-time mail carriers on either vacation or on convalescence leave recovering from severe dog bites and/or extreme bouts of anger.” The official reason regarding the Casual designation is still unknown, but I believe it’s related to either the casual starting time of 9:30 AM (give or take an hour) or a self descriptive position for part-time employee’s work ethics (although many full-time employees shared the same passion).  Not being full-time, a Casual is denied permission to don the mailman’s snappy and stylish attire, but rather must wear ‘civvies’ meeting stringent guidelines – no holes and a collared shirt.  Coincidentally, the civilian attire conveniently eliminated any uniform stipend paid to the Casual.
A Casual’s job is to simply deliver the mail. The actual mail bundle sorting and organizing is performed by superbly trained, nattily attired, and highly motivated full-time mail carriers (or by whoever shows up on time); hence, the Casual’s work day begins anywhere from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM dependent upon a mail carrier organizing both his own route and the vacationing/convalescing mail carrier’s route. Befitting my level of work experience and superior academic learning, the postal service bestowed a princely wage of $5.00 per hour – the envy of Wall Street.  I eagerly awaited the casual Casual experience!

Mail Carriers Gone Wild

Filed under: College,Humor — Tim @ 2:35 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve always vowed to write about my post office summer job (back when the next ice age was the big worry).  Since I’m now Georgia snow bound, its a good time to start.  It is a true story with a little fictitious filler – feel free to guess what is fictitious.  Now on with the story (and I still need to finish my last blog posting – what with all those snowball fights and sledding runs, those darn kids keep getting in the way)!

Christmas Lights

Georgia Snowbound

Iowa summers!  Other than Nebraska winters, can you think of a better vacation locale?  High humidity, soy beans, two big rivers, three little rivers, four lakes, five ponds, corn fields, corn husks, corn mazes, corn fed girls, bovine parasites, and unemployed college students aplenty watching corn grow.  In the summer of ’86,  I was the latter and not particularly excited by the prior when good fortune struck faster than corn in a hot air popper – the United States Postal Service Sioux City branch opted to employ my services for the summer.  Management was impressed with my hardy resume credentials:  a hardly earned 2.8 Iowa State University GPA; personal references consisting of Mom, Dad, Uncle Lyle, and a second cousin once removed who was a personal friend of the Post Master General’s first cousin once removed; an unblemished work history – Bishop’s Cafe dishwasher (promoted from pot washer after six sudsy, sweaty months); corn detasseler / bean walker (don’t ask and don’t tell); snow shoveler; Greyhound racing dog walker; study hall monitor; mower of lawns.  The Post Office’s summer hires were an eclectic group with virtually nothing in common except the ironic coincidence each had a family member employed at the Post Office.

NOTE: For some reason, my post office days always made me think of this old sketch.  I would call this video PG-13 (it is innocent – less innocent are what people are thinking).

Post Series Part II

January 7, 2011

A Hamster is leading Santa’s sleigh

Filed under: Children,Christmas — Tim @ 11:02 am
Tags: , ,

It all started the night before Christmas when nothing was stirring except a spouse.  Michelle analyzed the children gifts and determined child number one of five (Gavin, our ten year old blond headed Christmas worshiper)  was missing the wow factor.  The guitar, six pounds of chocolate, high powered telescope, and 47 other gifts were deemed as lacking oomph.  Having imbibed an adult eggnog and with several lengthy toy construction tasks lying ahead, a Grinchland (stores open on Christmas) visit was deemed inappropriate.  Michelle and I began to ‘grainstorm’ (brainstorming after a few barley pops).

Dismissing ideas such as shaving Sister Lulu (the pet dog) and telling Gavin it was a rare giant Chinese hamster, we brilliantly opted on a Pet Smart hamster gift card.  Only one small problem existed – Pet Smart was closed.  Our resident graphic designer, Michelle, took matters into her own talented hands. Plying her Macintosh, she created a faux Pet Smart gift certificate, signed by Santa, good towards a Teddy Bear hamster.  We sneaked the certificate into Gavin’s stocking and congratulated ourselves on our cleverness.

Excitement permeated the nighttime air and sleepy children were not sleepy.  The munchkins thought Christmas morning came at 1 AM;  raced to beat Santa at 3 AM; gave it a college try at 5 AM; finally made Christmas official at 7 AM with two very sleep parents.  Five children raced downstairs and began devouring wrapping paper, inhaling glitter, and sacking stocking as Mom and Dad found wakefulness in a mug, very large mug, of coffee.

With caffeinated Christmas excitement, we watched Gavin sink into his stocking, pluck out the faux certificate, read the words, and comprehend the meaning.  Opa!  Score one for Michelle and Tim’s grain brain brilliance – Gavin scored an eleven out of ten on the wow factor.

… story to be continued (trying to keep my once a week blog commitment – is this cheating?)

January 3, 2011

Posting At Least Once a Week or at least once every few weeks or at least once in a while when convenient

Filed under: Blogging — Tim @ 3:00 pm

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog once a week for all of 2011 – even if I have to plagiarize others as I did in this text (although I sorta kinda received their permission).

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful as I ignore my kids and simply write for free and go deeper into debt.  Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can and continue to plagiarize only the best blogs so I can still feel good about my writing and avoid fragmented sentences.

If you already read my blog, are you my Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, in-law, cousin, or bill collector?


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