Saturday, December 06, 2014

The Wrong Magic launches in just 10 days!...

Good relationships take a certain kind of magic to succeed. But all Alex Petroya seems to have is the wrong magic.

After his wife Stephanie leaves, Alex has one place left to go: the pink house his parents left to him in Cambria, California. After moving in, he discovers a box filled with unfinished stories Stephanie had written during their marriage.

Could finishing them win her back? Alex decides to try but finds writing is harder than it looks. With help from his brother-in-law, Conner, he learns a simple incantation to increase focus. As Alex writes the stories, they come true, creating strange, unnatural events. Then he gets another idea: he will manipulate the stories further to make Stephanie return to him.

With the incantation and the stories, Alex seems to have tapped into a magical combination. But in the end, he finds there is no magic stronger than that of the human heart.

You have just 10 days left to pick up The Wrong Magic in paperback for just $12.70! Click this link to buy a copy - or buy two or three! Christmas is almost here!

And, don't forget, you can download The Wrong Magic for your Kindle! Click this link to pick it up at the special price of just $1.99!

And thank you for your support!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

indian paintbrush - the full-length trailer...

With so much of indian paintbrush coming straight out of my own childhood, it seemed only fitting that I include one of my favorite Thanksgiving stories from so long ago. I hope you enjoy it and pick up a copy in ebook, audiobook, or paperback (coming soon).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Puppies: Best in Stew... new on Audible...

You may have been asking for a book that combined time travel, political commentary... and puppy killing... sometime when you were really drunk, perhaps.
Well, now it's here! And it's an audiobook!
Pick up a copy from Audible by clicking this link. Or you can find it on iTunes and other online e-tailers!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Brown people...

When we see scary people in the middle east, our armed forces carpet bomb them indiscriminately.
When we see scary people in Ferguson, Missouri, our police forces shoot them indiscriminately.
When we see scary kids in hoodies, our Zimmermans murder them.

... and they are all brown...

If you really believe in the commandment, Thou Shall Not Kill... what's the difference between these?

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's the Monday Morning Show for September 29, 2014...

It's the Monday Morning Show for September 29th, 2014! Join me as I talk about young people changing the world and the old people who are trying to stop them. Young people are on the streets in Honk Kong and in Colorado while we're busy wondering if our iPhone's going to bend.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Facks News reacts to Obama's handling of the Islamic State?...

Just another sign of corporations having too much power…

So, I was out on my morning jog this morning when I passed by a local concrete foundry pumping out tons of toxic smoke. The smoke was so bad, I had to stop jogging because I was coughing so hard. I was coughing so hard, I nearly threw up!

The smell was pretty bad where I lived, a couple of miles away, too.

Vicky suggested I call the AQMD (the Air Quality Management District) to register a complaint, which I did. What I didn’t expect, though, was the lesson I received in just how powerful corporations are in relation to how much they can pollute.

Here’s what I found out.

In order for the AQMD to even speak with the foundry and ask them to please cut down on their smog, they need to have six different homes on the same block all register complaints within the same hour. Then, they have to remain at their home for an AQMD representative to come to their home and verify the smell. This AQMD could take as much as three hours to get there, by which time the wind could shift and the smell could move on.

Can you imagine how difficult that would be to pull off? Six residents from six different homes all have to call at about the same time. Then, they can’t leave their home. They have to wait there – not go to work – and hope everyone else stays put as well. They have to wait for hours, all in the hopes that the wind doesn’t shift!

And this won’t even get them definite action. The foundry could ignore the request. When I asked the AQMD rep what the requirements were for them to take definite action, such as a fine or a court order or anything, she just shook her head and said, “Well, let’s try to get this first. This is hard enough.”

Meanwhile, the foundry owners sit back and laugh at us little people. They’ve made us powerless.

And the sad truth is, so many of us defend our corporate overlords despite all that. And, in the grand scheme of things, this is nothing.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I give you the Breakfast Shake!...

I was out driving around this morning and came to the realization that plenty of fast food restaurants give you a breakfast menu but none of them – not a single one (that I know of, at least) offers a Breakfast Shake!

Why is that?

It’s not like they have to resort to something as disgusting or nutritious as putting eggs or sausage in their shake. They don’t even have to resort to putting a frittata in your shake.

Listen: I’ve actually had a Cap’n Crunch Shake at a Carl’s Jr., many moons ago. They have the template. Now, they just need to take it to its next, logical step. Hell, make me a Franken-Berry Shake or a Boo-Berry Shake. Make me a Waffle Shake with real waffle bits and syrup. Make me a Pancake Breakfast Shake with bits of pancake and bacon! It can be done!

It can be done!

It must be done!!!!

… then again, maybe I’m just really in the mood for a shake…

Friday, August 08, 2014

We bomb at midnight... or whenever...

This morning's headlines keep reading - or, at least, I do - that we're bombing Iraq again to help save lives.

Now, you might find this cynical but look at the bright side. We're one of the few nations in history ever to save lives with high explosives, and we're certainly in the minority as far as thinking we can.

You can't solve every problem by throwing money at it, the Republicans have told us all these years but as it turns out you can solve them by throwing bombs... or dropping them. I say, let's solve more of our problems. Bad transmission? Drop a bomb on it! Melting glaciers? Drop a bomb! Heck, I think we should fix Congress right about now. Don't you?

(This rant brought to you by the Peoples Who Ain't Been Bombed Yet For the Bombing of the People not there anymore because we have...)

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Busy at home at work at home together apart together…

I’m sitting at my desk on a muggy, summer afternoon, thinking about my marriage and what a strange place we’re in.

And I thought, What the hell! Let’s write about it!

We have so many friends and people in our families who live “traditional” lives… you know, the marriage, the house, the kids, the crap… I know Vicky likes it because she gets to enjoy it on a “visitor” basis but it’s downright annoying to me. I don’t know why but I’m not that keen on the traditional setup.

Vicky and I don’t have kids and I have grown comfortable like that. Not only is it okay, it’s just fine by me. I don’t think Vicky will ever be completely comfortable and that makes me sad but that’s not how things have worked out and I, personally, am happier going with the flow, accepting what is rather than wishing for what isn’t.

In a way…

You see, as much as many of those we know have gone the traditional route, Vicky and I have surprisingly… not.

We don’t have kids. We’re not really big joiners. We aren’t especially attracted to material objects.

The two of us found what we love long ago and recently – in the past year, at least – things have really begun to take off with what we love. In case I’m being too vague, I’m talking about our jobs.


Vicky and I are workaholics.

We both love what we do. Vicky loves running her company’s paralegal team and teaching college courses, etc. etc. etc. I love writing books and recording audiobooks and creating new videos and hosting my podcasts, etc. etc. etc.

I don’t think either of us have ever been so fulfilled in what we do.

… and yet, I’m sitting here at my desk on a muggy, summer afternoon… and I’m considering all of these things… and what does not escape me is the fact that Vicky is about 10-15 miles across town right now, doing her thing.

This strikes me as so weird because there’s no one I love being with more than Vicky. I love taking adventures with her. I love laying in on a weekend morning with her and watching a race. I love going to Target with her to buy Q-tips. I don’t know why this is. I’m just smitten.

And, all the same, we’re spending our days apart. We spend many of our days apart. Because we love what we do.

And we love each other.

I suppose it’s not “traditional.” It may not even be healthy.

But I’m proud of her and she’s proud of me and though I hate when she’s away I love when she comes back. It may sound strange to say we love our lives spent working most of the time without kids and without each other that much… but we do.

And I probably wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

We're halfway through the year!

This is shaping up to be a crazy year, as you’ll see, and be sure to check out my website, my Facebook page, or just drop me a line for updates as they occur!

For now, here’s this…
You Just Missed…

A slew of new releases! It’s going to be a big year for book releases and here are just a few from this quarter:

Cookies: Sluts of the Snack World (Book1 in the “Fun To Grow On” series) (Fiction/humorous)

(Look for it in paperback coming soon!)

Last Ditch (Fiction/thriller)

(Look for the paperback coming soon!)

Dreaming With Open Eyes (Non-fiction/motivation)

But that’s not all! Have you caught my new podcast: The Monday Morning Show? Each week, I talk about the news of the day and the news in my head for 10-15 minutes. It’s provocative, entertaining, and I also respect your intelligence. Imagine!

You can download The Monday Morning Show from PodcastMachine at present and look for it soon on iTunes!
Coming Up…

As most of you know, July is the month I put aside for the sole purpose of claiming that I’m taking a vacation… (I’m working on it!)

I’m also working on a new series on my YouTube channel, which I call “So, you want to be a writer.” Join me each week as I take on tech writing, copy writing, playwriting, and novel writing… And I can assure you, each episode is assembled without a hint of sarcasm…

You can also look forward to a few new titles in the next few months. Such as:

Indian Paintbrush (Fiction/literary)

To a Dreamer (Non-fiction/motivation)

And, Puppies: Best in Stew (Book 2 in the “Fun To Grow On” series)

Each book will be available for ebooks, in paperback, and in audiobook formats.

But that’s not all…

 On The Horizon…

Look for The Wrong Magic (Fiction/fantasy) coming from WiDo Publishing around Christmastime. I’ve also signed a contract with Vagabondage Press to release my zombie horror novel, Wormfood Island, in 2015.

The fun has just begun.

Stay tuned!

Until next time, I wish you nothing but the best.

Ken La Salle

Follow my writing career at

And, on YouTube

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

It's a choice...

Just a few happy statistics. These are conservative estimates...
The seas will be dead within 30 years.
We will have killed all the coral reefs in 20 years.
We are living in the time of peak oil.
Global warming is now.
... This was all man-made. Our responsibility is to ameliorate the devastating consequences. Or, we can keep making things worse for your children...
It's a choice.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Monday Morning Show...

My new podcast, called The Monday Morning Show, begins this Monday!

For a few words on how that came about, check out the most recent episode of my other podcast, So Dream Something...

Friday, June 20, 2014

The best 1st date of my life…

On this day, ten years ago, I had the best first date of my life.

I can tell you it was the best first date of my life because, ever since that day, I have wanted nothing more than to be with that woman.

The date lasted seven hours. Seven hours! We met at 4pm and did not go home until 11pm.

The date ended with the best “first date kiss” I had ever experienced. I don’t know if the kiss was made superior by her or me but I can still remember it. (Yes, I’m a romantic that way.) I can still remember how beautiful she was. And she just keeps getting more beautiful.

I know that’s a lot to ask of you, the reader, to believe that she just keeps getting more beautiful. But it’s true. Oh, sure. She’s not perfect. She has her moments when she’s human. But there’s so much more to her than that. She’s really funny and very kind. She’s smarter than I am sometimes – actually, she’s smarter than I am far too often. It’s really kind of annoying, actually…

It was the best first date of my life because I want it to be the last first date of my life.

The date I’m not really describing is my first date with Vicky. You can find a complete description in my book, A Grand Canyon. It wasn’t really Love at first sight but it was certainly Like plus a lot of Lust at first sight. When the love came, the like and lust stuck around as well.

Vicky is downstairs right now, coughing her lungs out.

You see, we were supposed to go out on our first date again tonight, reliving it in as much detail as manageable. But then, our dog Suki got sick. And then, Vicky got sick. And I guess our first date it not to be… again… We’ll just have to leave it in the history book.

But I suppose our disappointment is a sign as well. We both wanted to do this because we both have a connection with that night ten years ago.

As for myself, I’m just happy I’ve had these ten years. Vicky quite literally rocked my world.

Happy Anniversary, my love. Let’s do another ten.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kristallnacht down the street

I saw something this morning while I was out on my jog, something that will take me some time to shake off.

You see, under a local overpass a small community of homeless people recently sprang up. They spring up just about every few months or so but they don’t leave voluntarily.

This morning, I saw why they leave. I saw two dump trucks and four police cars pull up. The police moved the homeless over to one side. And the garbage men took all of the belongings – the few belongings these homeless people had – and threw all of their things into the garbage trucks. The homeless weren’t arrested. They were just shoed away like dogs.

It brought to mind something from a long time ago. It brought to mind Kristallnacht.

Now, I understand that some people might get offended by this, by my comparing our local police to nazi thugs.

But what happened on Kristallnacht? On that night, so long ago, police came around and destroyed the property of a group of people they didn’t want to have around anymore.

That was exactly what happened this morning.

And it troubles me that we can do this and not feel at all ashamed or in any way bothered by what we do. We’ve given up on finding a solution to the problem of homelessness. We just shoe them away like dogs and throw away their stuff.

Leaving them to start again.

Leaving them worse off than before.

Leaving us… appeased. Out of sight. Out of mind.

We should hang our heads.

I’m probably going to talk about this next month, in my final episode of 5 Brief Minutes but, for now, I just had to say something.

Because it makes me sick.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Why have rules for life?...

As I continue to analyze the rules for life, I ask an appropriate staring question, "Why should we even have rules for life?"

You can read all about it by giving this link a click!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Something you usually only see on TV…

So, I was out on the river trail this morning for my morning jog when I saw something I could have sworn I would only see on TV.

Passing me on the trail, two beach cruiser bicycles came along my right side.

I could see the two riders very clearly in the cool, morning sunlight, a fat, bald, white guy and a beautiful woman with grey to white hair. The man wore beige trousers, a short-sleeved shirt, and a blue/green vest of some kind. The woman wore a long, white dress and a white hat with a wide brim. Neither wore helmets. Both looked incredibly out of place and terribly overdressed to be on the trail.

But then, as they pulled ahead, I realized nobody else was anywhere nearby. And I could watch them ride off through the dappling shade.

I stopped.

And I said, because this had to be said out loud. “Oh, my God. I just got passed by a Viagra commercial.”

Saturday, May 17, 2014

So Dream Something gets a little fishy...

This month's episode of So Dream Something is a little fishy.
I talk to James Krause, co-founder of Rivers to Reef, about aquaculture and The American Dream.
I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Two for the sofa…

This was a week I saw coming a mile away.

You ever have one of those weeks? The kind that you’ve been predicting for some time, saying things like, “One of these days, we’re going to have to…” and then you do?

That was this week.

For months now, I’ve been saying to Vicky, “We’re going to have to start keeping Suki downstairs at night. She just can’t take the stairs the way she used to.” Suki is our Shiba Inu. She’s about 14. (This is the point where Vicky will correct me. I’m terrible with these things.) Where she used to be able to trot up and down our stairs several times each day, recently, she’s been slipping and sliding. Her back legs have been going out on her. She stumbles.

It’s just not pretty.

So, this was the week. Suki moved downstairs.

And though I hadn’t been mentioning this next bit to Vicky, I knew what would go right alongside that – right alongside Suki, I mean. Me. That’s what would go alongside of her. Me.

I had to move downstairs, too.

Because Suki did not like moving downstairs at all. Not one bit. She would begin crying and the only thing that put her at ease was another person with her. And Vicky needed the bed. Vicky works a real job.

So, downstairs I moved. Suki took her dog bed. I took the sofa.

And, let me tell you, my back is not built of solid steel, the way it once was. Nope. Now, when I sleep on the sofa, my back kind of conforms to its horrible curves. I wake up feeling like a dingbat font.

But this is what you do. You know? If we had kids, I’d be up with them. If we had an elderly parent living with us, I’d be… you know what, I don’t want to think about that. Anyway, Suki is like an elderly parent. And she needs me.

She’s stinky and she sheds. She’s standoffish and never listens. But she needs me.

This is what you do.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Heroes of the PCT…

As much as that title sounds like it belongs in the old west, I’m actually writing today because the big kickoff for this year’s Pacific Crest Trail expeditions (north to south) begins in less than a week!

You may ask yourself, “Why are you excited about this?” And you’d have every right. After all, I’m not hiking the PCT this year. Hell, I haven’t even gone on a hike this year.

(I suck!)

But, see, the thing is I really want to do the PCT. And my goal is to do it within the next five years or so. To do that, I’m learning what I can, getting my body into shape, and most importantly I’m getting my career off the ground so I can afford to do the hike. (Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiking ain’t cheap!)

In the meantime, I watch and learn from those who go before me. I read blogs. I watch YouTube videos and I am intensely envious of those who are doing it. You gotta admire someone who makes that kind of commitment and puts in that much effort.

So, bravo heroes of the PCT! You’re all doing something majorly kick-ass! And I’ll be watching and hoping for the best.

Maybe I’ll be out there very soon…

Saturday, April 05, 2014

A Tale of Two iPods…

A few years back, I cancelled my gym membership because I realized I could do everything I did at the gym much closer to home. Actually, at home! I could jog and I could cycle and I could exercise and all without the stink and sweat of horrible people all around me. I could do all of this without having to watch Fox News, which 24 Hour Fitness seemed to love putting in front of me. And I could do it all to the beat of my own drum… er, iPod.

I didn’t have to listen to the same crappy music they played at the gym over and over and over and over again.

And that’s what I did. I started jogging and cycling and exercising, all to the tunes I had on my iPod Nano, which clipped right onto my shirt. I was saving money and getting a better workout as well!

… all until the day when I lost my iPod.

That’s the problem with the Nano, you see. It’s small enough to clip to my shirt – well, the Gen 6 version I had – but also small enough to MISPLACE! And that’s exactly what I did about a week ago.

And lengthy, intense search commenced… and I found nothing.


Worse still, Apple has discontinued the good Nano (Gen 6) and replaced it with some oversized, overweighted, big, fat, stupid looking… Gen 7. The dummies… Seriously. Have you seen these things? They’re hardly small enough to be considered “nano” at all!

What to do?

Well, as it turned out, Vicky had picked up a Gen 6 Nano at about the same time as me – lo, those many years ago. She’d never loaded hers up with music. It was fresh. It was (dare I say) virginal!

And it was mine! (Once Vicky generously offered to let me “borrow” it.)

And I learned something interesting about iPods. It was something I hadn’t really suspected.

You see, I had loaded up my previously Nano a little at a time. Whenever I purchased some new music, I would throw some of it on the iPod.

Now, faced with a fresh iPod, I had to load it all up from scratch.

This took me two days! In the end, I had – nay, have – 1.7 days of music, over 700 songs!

… some may consider this overkill.

But I like having plenty of music to choose from, as I set the Nano to shuffle every single time… That sounds positively boring. But I promise you, it’s not.

In fact, I’m electrified, dying for a chance to take it out for a jog or a bike ride!

… tomorrow. First thing tomorrow.

Vicky bought donuts.

(Not the ending you were expecting, was it?)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Had a great morning on the Indie Books Show...

This morning, I had a lot of fun speaking with Will Willson on the Indie Books Show. I'm including it here and I hope you enjoy it!

Popular Books Internet Radio with Indie Books on BlogTalkRadio

Monday, March 03, 2014

Rainy Days and Mondays…

So, I couldn’t sleep last night… I know. Old news.

But I couldn’t sleep last night and got to thinking about how it was going to be Monday and about how it has been raining and… no, it doesn’t take much to keep me awake at night.

Anyway, this reminded me of the old song: Rainy Days and Mondays. And I thought about what a random list of things that is. Rainy days and Mondays always get you down? Really? How more random can you get?


“Gusty evenings with late night and early morning low clouds and the third Saturday of each month gets me down.”

“Slightly overcast days – not cloudy or smoggy but just slightly overcast days and hard boiled eggs that aren’t actually hard but only slightly approaching hard – I mean like just about thirty or so seconds underdone always get me down.”

“Red and black get me down. Red and black. You have any idea how much red and black there is in the world? I wanna blow my fucking head off whenever I see an apple… at night!”


I’m just saying… it gets you thinking.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Keeping all these balls in the air…

Hello and welcome to the Ken La Salle blog…

Oh. Wait. Sorry. Wrong blog.

But I thought I’d talk about my writing a bit over here just in case the people in this neighborhood didn’t want to go all the way across town.

With the end of 2013, I had hoped that 2014 might be a bit busier. That more things might be going on. Because 2013 was like a tomb – by which I mean it was quiet and not that I was living with dead people.

Well, here we are in 2014 and I recall the words of the person who said, “Be careful what you wish for.” Now, I have two staged readings going on – one this weekend at Wild Rumpus in NY, if you’re in the area. I’ve been offered a couple of contracts. I have new work pouring out of me. I’m so busy, in fact, that I’ve been forced to put some projects aside. My YouTube videos, for instance, are going to be off for about a month.

I feel like an amateur juggler, wondering how I’m going to keep all those balls in the air.

But please don’t think this is a complaint. Heavens, no!

This is exactly where I wanted to be and, while it’s not the fulfillment of all of my dreams, it certainly goes a long way towards putting my neuroses at ease.

Not all of my neuroses, of course.

This might sound strange but – it looks like I’m becoming a writer. That’s so cool!

(I will never get used to this.)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

An allegory for modern life?...

I was out on my morning jog this morning when something happened that got me thinking.

I was only jogging two little miles thanks to my bum foot but I’m hoping I’ll soon be jogging more. Anyway, I was on my way back, nearly halfway through the second mile, when I caught the eye of an woman walking up the street the other way. Keep in mind, she was on the sidewalk and I was in the street.

I don’t know if this woman was homeless but she certainly looked like she was facing some troubles. Everything about her was dirty. She carried several plastic bags that looked like a mess. And the way she walked was a kind of shamble.

She was about 15-20 yards away from me and, as soon as I caught her eye, she charged up to me out into the street. She puffed up her body like an ape might do to establish dominance. She even took on the same kind of stance and stride as an ape. Mostly, though, she looked bumfuck crazy. She looked like she was about to attack me or something. If she was trying to look threatening, she nailed it.

So, she charges us to me, looking very threatening, and then stopped right in front of me. I mean, she was inches away. She brought up both of her arms, with bags in tow, and thrust herself forward just the slightest bit.

I didn’t know what to do.

I mean, she startled me. I had no idea what was going on. But I also knew something was very wrong – this isn’t the kind of thing that’s supposed to happen.

So, I said, “Excuse me.”

At that moment, her eyes shifted. Before, she had been staring at my chest. Now, she looked up into my eyes and I could see the slightest spark of humanity there.

And I went on my way.

And I couldn’t help but think that’s how so many of us interact, especially online: ready to prove our dominance, ready to attack, and with no recognition for the humanity in the other person. But when we treat the other person with humanity, it can go a long way.

Certainly, it’s a better option.

Friday, February 07, 2014

I used to play video games…

So, figure this one out.

I used to play video games. I played them quite a bit. I played World of Warcraft and I played the Elder Scrolls games. I played Civilization in all of its carnations and I played all the GTAs they released for PC. I played a lot of video games back when I had a full time job and I would think about how much more I would play if I had the opportunity.

Fast forward to now and… where the hell are the video games?

Here’s the thing. These days, I work out of my home pursuing my career as a writer. What do I do? Generally, I work on pursuing my career as a writer… all the time!

When I worked for other people, I couldn’t wait to stop so I could go do something I wanted to do. Now that I do what I want, that’s all I do.

This may sound like pointless whining but the fact remains: I played more video games when I didn’t have the time to play them than now, when I should have more time to play them. Why is that?

I guess I’ve reached the point in my life when I get to do what I want and I don’t need to escape from the reality of a life in which I don’t. I am thankful for this, very much so, but it strikes me as strange how my life has become about that one thing, about writing.

I don’t know how much time I have, after all. I have to make it count.

The video games are just going to have to wait.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Pitch just about Perfect…

Admission time: I love Pitch Perfect. Yes. The movie about a cappella singing.

No, it is not a Glee clone or a High School Musical rip-off.

No. It’s not. Seriously.

You see, that’s what I thought it was when Vicky first recorded it. She wanted to see it and I said, “You go right ahead but don’t think I’m going to watch that nonsense.”

Vicky is very tolerant about my dislike for some of her stuff. I think that comes from her dislike of much of my stuff: music, movies, books, sometimes my skin – you name it! So, she was perfectly fine with my need to avoid the flick. I stayed upstairs and played video games while, downstairs, she enjoyed the film.

At one point, I had to come downstairs to refill my drink or something and caught about two or three minutes of the… and you know what? It wasn’t half bad. I mean, I didn’t think it was great but it wasn’t half bad.

So, I agreed to watch it with Vicky on the provision that I could bad mouth it all I wanted.

The only problem was… I couldn’t. My face was stuck in a permanent grin.

You see, I thought this was going to be another one of those “we’re such cool, young movie stars that we can make whatever shitty musical crapfest we want and you will love it” kinds of shows, such as the aforementioned Glee and High School Musical.

Sure, Pitch Perfect is derivative of what came before but only in so far as it recognizes the mixture of performance/sports movie tropes. Then, it shreds them. Rather than being a movie about cool kids who do things perfectly, it’s a movie about nerds who screw up. But it is so infused with joy – and the hipster in me can’t believe I’m saying this – that you can’t help but be on their side.

On top of that, the movie is flat-out funny. It looks for every joke and it finds them. Sometimes, it even goes too far… but I can look past what is probably an overly ardent dedication to a puke joke.

Anyway, there you go. Vicky and I watched Pitch Perfect about five or six times now. I’ve even bought the fucking soundtrack.

It’s not like me to enjoy something so populist, so downright appealing to the masses… but I can’t help it.

Pitch Perfect, you’re just about pitch perfect.

Friday, January 24, 2014

“Writer” does not equal “Child Molester”…

So, I’m at a local tire shop this morning getting new tires put on my car when the guy asks me what I do for a living. I hate that question because, to be honest, I don’t really do anything.

I mean, I write. I can’t avoid that. Look at all my books, audiobooks, etc. etc. etc. Yes, I write. But I hate admitting it.

Even when I said it, I mumbled it a little, as if I was on the fucking sex offender list or something! “I’m a (pause) writer.”

What the fuck is that?

I don’t really like talking about being a writer because, honestly, I don’t make a whole lot of money doing it. Right now, my career is still in its infancy in a way. I’m building an audience. I’m not a big-time writer.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not a writer… right? (Sure - easy to say after I just wrote an entire paragraph of qualifiers...)

I try to remind myself of that but then I am hit by all the years of having people tell me I shouldn’t think too highly of myself. From childhood until early adulthood – you know, the formative years – I had people tell me I wasn’t that great, from my best friends in high school (or so I thought) all the way on up to my own mother. And, yes, this had an effect. Vicky gets so irritated about how I shy away from any kind of attention – it’s a pain in the ass!

I should be soaking it up. Reveling in it. But every time I come face to face with who I am, I am positively embarrassed. Hell, even if I was a big-time writer, I'd still be embarrassed because of what the above-mentioned folks used to refer to as being "full of myself." There's just no winning!

I know that’s the wrong way to live.

I’m working on it. Honestly.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Furniture, Networking, and where I went wrong…

A lifetime ago, in the city of Irvine, California, I used to work for a company called Linksys.

This was long ago, mind you, before Linksys was owned by Cisco, before Linksys was owned by Belkin, before Linksys was owned by… who’s buying it next?

I worked with a guy named Mike who was our Marketing Manager. I worked as a Technical Writer but had started as a Marketing Writer and still wrote marketing pieces when our Marketing Writer who wasn’t very good with marketing and could only write technical information needed a little help. Frankly, I always found myself on the short end of demotion after demotion and disciplinary action after disciplinary action.

I always wondered why things didn’t work out with Linksys when clearly – and I am not bragging here – I was a valuable asset to the company. I could write better than anyone else on staff. I came up with catchier taglines. I was a catch!

Mike didn’t think so. He would tell me how he intended to keep me in technical writing as a kind of marketing purgatory. He wanted me to suffer. He would say, “You’re going to keep churning out widgets for as long as I tell you to churn out widgets.”

It was a fun place.

And I always wondered where things went wrong. And then, recently, I found myself at a Staples store with Vicky. She was off taking care of her business stuff – Vicky is a fucking mogul, make no mistake – so I wandered over to the networking gear. Sometimes, I like to see how much progress has been made in my old line of work so I’ll go check out the networking gear and… Nothing. Same old shit. Frankly, the networking business has been pumping out the same old shit, with just an incremental improvement here or there, for nearly a decade.

Back when I was at Linksys, Mike would bring in the entire marketing department for these round-table discussions about where networking was going. He would talk about how your refrigerator would be networked so it could tell you when you were out of milk. Your TV would be networked so it could tell you when a show was on that you wanted to watch. Your sofa would be networked. Your catbox would be networked.

And then, Mike would make the mistake of asking us what we thought. What were our opinions on his prognostication about the future of networking? Everyone would speak up loudly, telling Mike what a genius he was. Of course, catboxes would be networked. It made perfect sense! Milk had to be restocked! Shows had to be watched!

… except for me. I would sit there with a red face, holding everything back, and Mike would see me and he was ask, “Ken? What do you think?”

And I would take that as an invitation. “You’re crazy,” I would tell him. “People can just check their refrigerators. They can look at their TV listings. Sofas? Catboxes? You are out of your fucking mind!”

And for some reason I just couldn’t fathom… I never got ahead.

The fact is, I never fit well in a place like Linksys. I was a round peg and all they had were square holes. I wanted to be an artist. I didn’t want to blow smoke up someone’s ass. I thought people wanted honesty… they don’t.

I can see now why I never made a lot of friends in business. I thought people wanted honesty. Sadly, that isn’t quite the case most of the time. Vicky has found herself in business opportunities where honesty is valued. In marketing, you better take that shit somewhere else.

That was a long time ago, of course. And now, I’m pursuing the “writer” thing. I’ve learned to temper my honesty with a little bit of tact. After all, Mike was right about the TVs, just not exactly on how they would be networked. All the same, I still hate people who are just looking to have smoke blown up their assholes. And to think, I’m in the arts now.

What the hell have I gotten myself into?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Side: Kids Today...

This month, My Side looks at Kids Today... and the people who endlessly complain about them...