Friday, August 30, 2013

Yikes! Yelp…

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Yelp. I don’t even know if you use Yelp. For that matter, I don’t know who you are. Who are you people???

(start again)

Vicky and I have used Yelp on a number of occasions. On our recent trip around the west, we used it quite a bit. My personal impression used to be that it’s a fairly reliable source of opinion on many stores and services I haven’t tried, yet.

… I say “used to be” because I also use Craigslist. My books haven’t been selling very well and, so, I am looking for a part-time job to help generate some income. As I’ve searched on Craigslist, I have found not just one or two but hundreds – thousands! – of ads looking for writers to write Yelp ads.

These folk will pay a writer as much as $20 to write positive ads for whatever service they are told to write about. It doesn’t matter if the writer has the appropriate experience or even if the words are true; they are paying the writer to lie.

And, on top of that, it turns out most if not all don’t even pay the writer! Most are scams!

If you’re anything like me, your opinion of Yelp just fell through the floor. But I like to believe there are still honest people out there… You know, five or six. And I hope there are enough smart writers out there, like me, who don’t want to lie only to be robbed, in turn.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sometimes, it goes beyond humoring me…

“Can we drive out to Warner Springs this weekend? Some of the new book is taking place there and I want to get some pictures.”

If you heard someone say this to you, chances are you’d give them an odd look, reach for a phone, and begin calling men in white coats. I mean, I said those words and even I can’t help but fear that the speaker was off his meds.

Vicky? She just said, “Okay. Let’s go in the morning before it gets too hot.”

Vicky has reached a point, I believe, where being married to a writer almost feels normal. I mean, let’s say she remarried. And this person was a lawyer or a mailman or a mechanic – something NORMAL! I don’t know if she could handle it. There wouldn’t be nearly enough randomness for her system!

I’m reminded of a trip she and I took many years ago, possibly 2006, to Arizona. We drove along Route 66 to Kingman, Oatman, and so on, taking pictures as we went, because I was writing a book that took place along that stretch of road. Vicky humored me but, clearly, this was outside of her spectrum of normality. She didn’t quite get it and didn’t really want to get it. But, we did it. I wrote the book. There you go.

This time? She didn’t bat an eyelash.

One day, she’ll mention it to someone – or some other excursion – and they’ll give her the same looks that she once gave me.

Vicky, you’re welcome.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Meet the new tooth…

A couple of weeks ago, I broke a tooth.

Actually, it probably happened long before that. But I noticed it on one Sunday morning, when Vicky and I were eating breakfast. I bit into some eggs… and I heard a crunch.

I thought it was an egg shell.

I swear, the eggs were not hard or anything. They were actually quite good, nice and fluffy.

Said crunch was not from an eggshell. When I pulled out the offending bit, I realized it must have been a tooth. And when I felt about in my mouth with my tongue, I found one of my bottom molars split like, well, anything in a Roland Emmerich film.

Vicky was certain that I’d cracked the tooth all the way down to the nub. “You’re going to need a crown. Probably a root canal. You’re going to need a root canal and a crown. It’ll probably be pretty severe. You may lose a tooth.”

I was almost expecting to hear her tell me that my jaw would have to go.

When I finally made it to the dentist a few days later, however… after days of paranoid worrying, my dentist said I’d be fine. She said she could fill it and repair it.

And sure enough, she did!

I mean, the procedure took several hours and it was all quite painful. (I’m still not sure how the hot poker on my feet helped.) In the end, my tooth was fine, perfectly repaired.

The Novocain wore off in time and I was back to chewing – if with a molar that felt much larger than before. I tried to ignore it.

… that is, I tried to ignore it until said tooth took a bite out of my cheek!

I heard a loud crunch, and screamed in agony as my mouth filled with blood. Soon, though, the bleeding stopped and the pain subsided.

A flap of skin hung loose in my mouth.

“You’ll have to bite it off,” Vicky said. “Just chew off the rest. Don’t be a wimp.”

… this is my life, folks. Kafka by way of "Now spit"...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Quotationals come to So Dream Something...

If you're a parent or interested in the state of education, you should take a listen to this month's So Dream Something. My guest, William Beshears, discusses Quotational Bees and the state of education.

Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, August 09, 2013

With just a pinch of perflusion...

It's Radio de'Olde!

Where’s Vicky?...

As some of you may know, I share my life with a particularly work-addicted woman. The only reason I don’t have a problem with this, I think, is because I am as addicted to my work as Vicky is to hers.

All the same, it does put some obvious stresses on our marriage. And when we do find time together, oftentimes it is spent running errands just to keep our lives moving forward.

I wish I could say I am mindful of this, but all too often I squander the little time we have. Listen, Vicky and I recently went on a nine-state tour around the western United States by car. We drove nearly every single day of the more than two week trip and I realize I should have had the foresight to avoid that. After all that driving – some days we drove 10-12 hours! – we found ourselves more anxious and exhausted than if we had been working that whole time. I realize now that we wasted a perfectly good vacation driving here, there, and everywhere.

And, of course, all that stress led to quite a bit of fighting.

It was a mess.

We got back and returned to our schedules, Vicky going off to her career and me staying here to pursue mine.

… and I miss her.

But I realize that’s just how our lives work right now. Maybe, one day, things will work more in our favors and I’ll remember to plan a bit more appropriately.

Until then, however, I am making do.

I’ve taken all of the photographs I used to put on my desk at work – one that Vicky gave to me shortly after the first time she told me that she loved me, another of our first trip to the Grand Canyon, one of us at our wedding, and another at Sand Rock Farm in Capitola – and I have set their frames where I can see them whenever I work. In addition, I’ve propped up a couple loose photographs Vicky gave me of when she was younger.

Photos are just the start. One of the best things about working here at home is that I feel constantly surrounded by Vicky, by the life that Vicky and I have built. I am held safely within US and there is something very soothing about that.

Mind you, if Vicky ever reads this she is bound to tell me that I don’t make any sense or call me a dork or something. She’s not too fond of sentimentality on the part of others, but I like to think she will understand.