Archives for May 2013

What Does The Reflection In The Mirror Look Like

Water + Light

“I don’t carry many regrets with me but those few that hang around are massive beasts that swim in the darkest depths occasionally surfacing with the goal of making me question and doubt myself.” You Put The Bullet In Your Dreams

One of my favorite authors is a man named Stephen R. Donaldson who wrote a bunch of books about The Land and Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, I hear there is a new one coming out this October, but that is not why I am writing about him now.

Rather it is because something happened earlier today that made me think about something that happens in those books. Some of my favorite characters in his books are giants and I am enamored of them for many reasons, but the one that comes to mind now is something called The Caamora.

It is a sort of purification ceremony in which the giants stick their hands into a fire. The flames don’t burn them but they feel the pain from them, gut it out  and in the process let go of whatever burdens they are carrying.

It Is Not Something I Do Well

I have been searching for my own Caamora because I rarely cry and I have been known to carry around some things long past their date of expiration.

Sometimes when I think about words escape me which might be why I have been staring at the screen. Maybe it is tied into why when people ask me what supehero I would be I often pick Wolverine and if you really want to geek it up in the DC world it would probably be The Dark Knight.

That is ‘cuz sometimes I feel like I wander around the world as two different people.

When my son and I talk I often stress the need to let things go and to just forget about some stuff because it doesn’t merit more attention. In large part it is because I see that he has taken this trait of holding onto things from me and I would rather he let it go. It is not one of my better ones.

The Reflection In The Mirror

Sometimes I look at the reflection in the mirror and I see nothing but pride because there is much to be proud of.  Five years of very tough times have been managed relatively well and the prospect for the future is better than ever.

But sometimes I see other things. Sometimes I see the toll it has taken and I wonder if I have lost years of life. Sometimes I look at it and wonder what sort of price I paid and what must still be paid in the days to come.

Someone has to be responsible for taking care of the messes that have been made. If there are broken pieces of pottery and shards of glass someone has to take ownership and I can’t ignore it.

Reminds me a bit of Dicaprio’s character in Inception. Did I encourage someone to wait for a train. Did I set something in motion that I need to atone for. Did I make the butterfly flap its wings and set off storms elsewhere.

Is it melodramatic? Maybe, but I don’t care. My blog, my rules.

Meaning/Conclusions

If I have learned anything in life it is that some times I will not find answers or meaning for all that happens. Logic will not always prevail and sometimes I will have to follow my heart and hope that it hasn’t betrayed my head.

All we can do is try to live our lives and  accept that sometimes that yellow brick road will lead us into funky places with scary flying monkeys and other crap we would rather not deal with, but life is one of those things that no one gets out alive from.

So  I suppose my old friend and school nemesis Mr. Emerson’s advice is as good as any other to follow.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Writer’s Voice

Dear Mr. Steiner, Thank you for your interest in working with your brand. Unfortunately we are going to have to decline your offer to work with us as your writing style does not sync with the wholesome and family friendly image we want our brand associated with. Your rampant use of curse words and sexual innuendo makes us uncomfortable. We wish you well.

an unwitting victim...bwahahhahahaa
I don’t know whether to be amused or dismayed by the sentiments that were so eloquently professed in that dull letter.

Part of me would like to respond by thanking them for fucking me gently and then ask if they prefer to spit or swallow but that might be considered a bit extreme and somewhat over the top.

But it just sounds better than thanking them for commending me on my ability to inject thoughts of lust and fornication throughout my blog posts which as we all know are peppered with colorful words and descriptions.

What could really be fun is to tell them about the mom blogger they are working with who professed elsewhere that being sodomized puts a smile on her face. While not as entertaining as the rant by the crazy sorority girl it still is fun.

A Writer’s Voice

BTW as PSA to my male readers please remember that most women don’t take kindly to being told to relax nor do they enjoy being described as crazy or hysterical.  So remember when I do it it is because I am prepared for the consequences of my actions.

Yes, I wear a condom made out of steel. It cuts down on some of the pleasure but it helps me avoid becoming the next John Bobbitt.

I am a professional writer/marketer and most of the time I don’t swear at all in my professional work. That is because the people that sign my checks typically frown upon it and because my professional voice is far different from the one you read here.

This corner of cyberspace is where I just cut loose and write as I want to write, mostly unencumbered.

Some people have asked me if I adopted this style because it works for others and my response is not even close. That is not because the others are bad people but because writing with my voice is the easiest way I know how to produce content.

The Right Way To Write

Sometimes I wonder if any of my old high school English teachers would be happy or horrified to see my blog. I wonder if they would be concerned about how many rules I intentionally break and how many I have forgotten.

I can’t recite the rules of grammar for you. I operate off of feel.

That doesn’t mean I don’t care or pay attention because I do, but if my sentences sound good to me I usually let them go. There is a rhythm to my writing and when the words are flowing from pen to paper that is usually good enough for me.

Kind of funny in a way because I am not happy with good enough, I want great.

I swing from the heels and look for the home run time and time again.

Just like old Papa Hemingway I bleed at the keyboard.

Style Versus Money

If I modified my style and adjusted my voice I could gain more reviews and giveaways. I could garner more sponsored posts and make far more money than I do now. But I enjoy writing like this and know that if I build a large enough readership it won’t matter to many of the companies and brands.

Because when you reach enough eyeballs your colorful language and rampant sex talk/innuendo is overlooked. Reach enough eyeballs and you can talk about the girl from college who had sandpaper hands and vampire teeth that always got snagged in places they shouldn’t.

The chance to sell more widgets, skeezits, tweezits and whatsits outweigh concerns about all of that other stuff.

But I am not at the point yet where my reach is large enough to make them forget about my colorful language so for now I’ll continue to choose writing in my voice for less now and the hope of more later.

Monetizing The Blog…Again

Look After The Pennies.... The Pounds Will Look After Themselves.....

Technically it is early Tuesday morning but I am going to call it late Monday night so hold onto your hats because this might be a rough ride. I spent 1,938,383 hours traveling today so the language could get colorful.

Ok, I didn’t spend that much time but it felt like it and I am spent but this joint here hasn’t received the love it deserves in a few days so I am going to dish some out.

I monetized this blog several years ago.

Read that again, or read this line: I make money from blogging.

I Make Money From Blogging

Yes, it is true. I make money from blogging but not enough to retire or even think about quitting work. The amount I earn varies from month to month but most of the time my hourly rate is significant.

The hourly rate is important but many bloggers never consider it. Many never stop to figure out how much they are earning. They never take the time to figure out that they are practically indentured servants.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter to them. Perhaps they don’t care about their time. I often say the most important part of blogging is to enjoy it and I still believe that to be true. The majority of bloggers will never earn enough Jack to make this anything more than a hobby that is one hell of a time suck.

And many of them wreak havoc upon the ability of others to earn real money because they saturate the marketplace and do work for nothing which ultimately devalues the work of many others.

Tonight I Don’t Care

I don’t care about any of this. Too damn tired to worry about which one of you Yahoos is handing out stupid advice or trying to convince me that working for free is smart, sensible and good for anyone other than the employer.

Remember a few years back I got into it with some mom bloggers who insisted that working for free made sense but these very same women refused to sleep with men who could help them advance at work. Made no sense to me then and still doesn’t now.

But the reason I don’t care now is because some hours ago I was back in LA sitting with my children trying to explain why I took a job out of state and how this benefits them. I didn’t really expect them to suddenly buy in or understand that sometimes parents make hard decisions because the long term benefits make it worth it.

I would make the same choice 10 times out of ten because there were no other good options and this one has been doing nothing but proving that it was the right move, but it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t hard.

Smart Doesn’t Always Equal Easy

Smart choices aren’t always easy and yes I know that good things are often things we work for but saying goodbye was brutal. Given a bit of time we’ll all be in the same place again and life will be easier but the challenge getting there has been trying at times.

I suppose it is part of why I haven’t the had the energy to comment everywhere and visit the blogs the way I used to. Been too busy with too many other things but many, if not most are good.

Got to pick winners to a couple of contests I am running here. Easy contests in which I was compensated for a minimal amount of work. Remember I said I monetized the blog, well that is part of how I did it.

I also used the blog to create some freelance writing assignments and some sponsored posts. Not huge dollars in any of it, but enough.

Sometimes you just have to do the work and let life unfold.

What Happens When You Are The Bully?

Luna in denial, ringing out the old Year of the Dog and in the New Year of the White Tiger 2010

“My  wife said you you made them cry. When I grow up I want to be like you.”

It was meant to be a c0mpliment but I didn’t take it as one. I am not here to be a bully. I am not interested in building a reputation for making the mean moms cry, even if they deserve it.

I know How To Deal With Mean Girls & Mean Moms. I am not impressed by their money or the degrees earned but not used. But there is nothing special in being willing to tell someone they are acting like an entitled pig and that you won’t stand for it.

There is nothing laudatory about driving home the point because ultimately it was done in a manner I didn’t like. But at the time it seemed like the right thing to do.

Protecting Our Children

When the kids switched schools the majority of the mean moms and I lost the occasion to speak or interact. There was no need to talk about whether the room moms were being fair or nice. No need to wonder or worry about any of their behavior. They were there and we were elsewhere.

Except not entirely.

There was some crossover because of softball. There was a coach who tried to defend his mean mom wife by messing with my daughter. He did it when I was far away. He did it when I wasn’t close enough to call him on it in person.

It made me angry…very…angry.

I thought about flying home specifically to meet with him to discuss things but opted for an email instead.

It was strongly worded and it never received a response.  I didn’t threaten him physically or otherwise. I just picked apart an email he had sent earlier and pointed out his hypocrisy. I don’t know if he ignored what I read, if took it to heart or if it made him feel bad.

Face-To-Face

And then the same night I flew back in I ran into him, saw him face-to-face and for a moment I debated making an issue of things. It is one thing to mess with me but when you mess with my family it is different.

It is even worse when you involve my kids because my instinct is to twist your head until it pops off of your neck and I can feed it to feral pigs.

But I didn’t do anything, didn’t say a word.

When he said hi to me I gave him the thousand mile stare and walked by him.

My daughter seems to have forgotten about the problems he created so it seemed silly to bring anything up. I am bigger than he is. It would have been easy to have walked him over to the wall and spit out a series of invectives about his lack of common sense and the need for an attitude adjustment but I didn’t.

I didn’t want to have to answer the question of what happens when you are the bully but I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to slap him. Yeah, there is all sorts of testosterone flowing here and yeah I said slap because men slap men they don’t respect.

And more importantly my kids didn’t see behavior they and I might have been embarrassed by.

The Greatest Father’s Day Post Never Written

Don't call me Nemo!

Don’t call me Nemo!

Don’t tell my kids but a few years ago our fish died while we were on vacation. Since I was already a wily veteran with some years of parenting experience I had the fish “replaced” by the friend who was watching our house.

When we returned home the kids were thrilled to see how the fish had grown. One day years from now when we do that thing that families do and they try to tell me about all the things they think they fooled me about I am going to tell that story and then shout “Dad Rules!”

Now that they are older these rug rats have become aware of their father’s penchant for mischief and monkey business so I have had to work a bit harder to fool them, but that is ok because part of being a parent is convincing them that we know more than they do even when we might not.

Father’s Day Giveaway

Technically I am supposed to notify you that I have been compensated to to write this post and that one lucky reader is going to receive a $50 Amazon gift card.  So let’s get the details out of the way.

If you want to have a shot at winning you need to leave a comment with your favorite Father’s Day Memory. As always you may feel free to write a ballad singing my praises but remember the chick from cleveland reads these and you don’t want to upset her by going too crazy.

Really, everyone knows that anyone who can survive the burning river is ridiculously tough.  Trust me, I know things.

Father’s Day Memories

I am trying to decide if I have one Father’s Day that sticks out above all others. I have a few as a kid that make me smile. I remember hanging outside with my dad and grandfathers and feeling a bit like a big shot.

But the moment I really felt like I was the real deal was one when my son was almost 6 months old. It was my first official Father’s Day. I can’t tell you exactly what we did but I remember being with my dad and grandfathers, my son held in one arm.

The “older men” were staring at him, smiling and pride was radiating from all of their faces. I remember looking at the three of them and wondering what they saw and what they knew that I didn’t…yet.

And I remember a time a few years ago where my kids served me breakfast in bed. The excitement and pride on their faces is something I won’t forget.

I am pretty easy about this kind of stuff. I don’t need a big fuss made over me and I don’t care if they get me gifts or not. That is not to say that I don’t appreciate or want them because a gift is always nice.

Where Do You Find Good Gifts?

I suppose you can blame my father for my attitude about Father’s Day gifts. I remember wanting to get him something nice yet hating the need to be dragged around the mall. I am still not a huge fan of having to run the gauntlet there either.

But we do have resources now that didn’t exist when I was a wee lad.

Amazon has become one of my favorite places to shop and not because you can run through the store while naked. How is that for an image you didn’t want/need/ 😉

Seriously, I like it because the selection is ridiculously large and easy to deal with. I don’t have to go crazy being dragged through a mall and deal with all of the mishegoss that comes with it.

What I like even better is the opportunity to use a Coupon to get a better break on the things I buy on Amazon. If I am going to spend some cash there anyway there is no reason not to try to save a buck.

And that my friends is the lead in to my reminder, you can get a shot at winning a $50 Amazon gift card by simply leaving a comment with your favorite Father’s Day memory.

As an optional entry you can also leave a comment and tell me what your favorite Amazon coupon code is.

What are you waiting for? Leave a comment. Tell a friend to swing by. Have fun, go wild and I’ll see you in the comment section. And if you are so inclined feel free to become a fan of my Facebook page.