Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Chance

Yesterday it occurred to me that I only posted eight times this entire year. Wow. As compared to 2009 when I somehow managed to write an entire 50k+ word novel (first draft) and post 125 blogs, it makes me wonder: how, exactly, did I spend my year?

And this is truly one of my favorite holidays. Because, not only is it perfectly appropriate to wax about that kind of stuff, most people allow a pass when a person goes on and on about their big goals and dreams for the fresh new year ahead.

Scrolling through Facebook this morning I came across a couple friends who posted this question list. I thought about it and as most of you fine folks who have been reading my blog for a while know by now, I’m a sucker for a good call-and-answer post.

What can I say? They appeal to my lazy side because someone else already did half the work.

And today feels like a good time to both be lazy and get in one final hurrah for 2015.

So here goes nothing.

Three names I go by (strangely, it was difficult coming up with the third one because after almost 17 years together I just realized my husband doesn’t even have a pet name for me. Well, at least not one he tells me to my face.).
1. Jenn
2. Flynn-Shon
3. Sweetie

Three places I have lived (wait, just 3? This would be a LONG list otherwise…)
1. Bahstin

Three places I have worked (yet again, another potentially LONG list. But we were just talking about this last night so I’m going with the three I mentioned during our trip down memory lane.).
1. Victoria’s Secret
2. DMR
3. CHA

Three things I love to watch (this will be at least partially seasonally appropriate just because it’s that time of year).
1. Hallmark Christmas movies (#nojudgement)
2. Movies I know by heart (The Goonies, The Princess Bride, The Ref, Love Actually, etc.)
3. My friends make drunken fools of themselves (just kidding. No I’m not. Yes I am.)

Three places I have been (again, I have talked about travel before, and again, and even one more time but those were all in the good old U.S. of A. So here’s three of my favorite international trips).
1. Amsterdam
2. Toronto
3. Ireland

Three things I love to eat (why are we only allowed to say three? Oh, right, because nobody wants to hear anybody ramble on for a week about the food they eat. Cool. I’ll keep it short and simple.)
1. Blue cheese stuffed celery
2. Cheesecake with cherries
3. Scalloped potatoes

Three people I think will respond (I assume this is where you were supposed to tag people on Facebook to guilt them into filling out this stupid shit on their own wall, hence, filling up our newsfeeds with loads of posts nobody will ever read. Sorry, you get the extended version on my blog. Ignore at will!)
1. Her
2. Him
3. Those people

Three favorite drinks (not water) <-- (yes that was written in when I copied the quiz but fuck that, I refuse to let anyone tell me what I can and can’t say so suck it internet list writer people!).
1. Water
2. Coffee (made with water)
3. Peppermint tea (made with water!)

Three things I am looking forward to (in 2016 and beyond).
1. Reading more.
2. Writing more.
3. Laughing and loving as often as I can.

As usual, most of the things I look forward to in 2016 revolve around bettering myself and/or my career. I’m not calling any of these things resolutions, just goals to strive towards.

Whatever your goals for the clean slate known as the New Year, I hope you make the most of what you already have inside yourself and work towards all of them.

A little every day might not seem like much when you’re in the thick of it, but 366 days from now I bet you’ll be amazed at just how much you did accomplish in 2016!

Make it a safe and festive night everyone!

• • • • • • • • • • • 
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Monday, December 7, 2015

No Longer Trapped in a Box

Until very recently I didn’t realize how special it is that I held onto just about every single journal, diary, or piece of fiction I’ve ever written. When I tell people this information I get a barrage of comments.

Mostly, those comments include words like – wow, you’re lucky, I tossed all that stuff years ago, even my parents got rid of all my early writing.

I. Would. Sooner. Die.

In no way can I imagine a life where I don’t have that enormous box full of my words. Countless hours (and money on pens) spent getting it all down. All of it. Other than digitally written stuff, my life’s work is inside that box. Anything I’ve penned since I was approximately twelve years old.

(Though I’m not entirely sure of the exact start date; I didn’t always date my work back then and I frequently write different things in multiple journals at any given time.)

Now, I know some people might think I’m using this word in the wrong way, but I’m not…

Literally my life is inside that flimsy cardboard container. At least, the written equivalent of my emotional life.

Every single crush, heartache, burst of inspiration, biting witty remark, or sarcastic feeling is somewhere inside the box, noted on countless pages of numerous journals and loose scraps of paper. Written down in blue or black ink. Edited in red pen or pencil.

I care so much about that box of words that someone once asked: if I could save 3 things from a burning building what would they be? Guess what was number one?

When I lived in my very first apartment and drove around in my 1974 Buick Apollo, that box of writing traveled with me. Everywhere. Yes, I drove around town with my life contained in the trunk of my car.

People picked on me for that behavior. Incessantly I might add.

But who gets the last laugh?

Okay, in all fairness, them. Because I’m not actually laughing, just smiling.

In fact, I’m freaking stoked to still have access to all those memories. To have prioritized that box full of words for all these years.

That I still have it in my possession at all is pretty amazing. (Seriously, it could have easily been lost in my first apartment or the twenty-two other places I’ve lived since I moved out of my mom’s place. And in all honesty, 22 isn’t an exaggerated number, in fact I could have even forgotten a few. I moved around a lot. But I digress.)

My entire history, and everywhere I’ve been, the things I’ve done (or haven’t done) live in that box.

So at some point over this past summer I started re-reading all the work I’d written. At first I wasn’t entirely sure why. And to be honest, it’s not the first time I’ve done that in my life so it didn’t occur to me to care. But something happened the last time.

All of a sudden I realized just how many viable, unfinished pieces of fiction I had written over the years. And they were just sitting in a box. Collecting dust. Acting as reminders of the past mistakes I’d made (or wished I could have made). Including the greatest mistake of all.

To leave that work unpublished for so long.

I considered just how to go about publishing work I’d written back when I was fifteen years old. I’m forty-two now. In case you’re slow at math like I am, that’s twenty-seven years’ worth of memories, stories, bits of inspiration.

These days I’m working on book 3 in my Shaw McLeary Mystery Series and I know the story. Know the character. Inside and out. So it irritates me to no end that I can’t seem to get it down on the page.

But every time I want to beat myself up for taking days off in a row instead of typing, try to convince myself that I’m “slacking off” or “lazy” about my job, I have to remind myself of the most important part of my career choice:

The process.

Writing is a process, not just a talent or a creative art. Even when I’m not working, actually physically sitting down with a laptop and typing, I’m still working. Somewhere in the back of my head, characters, scenes, situations are always forming. Dialogue between people everywhere is fodder for future work. Always.

Just, sometimes, I don’t like that part. The part where it can’t entirely be forced. I want it to come out as fast as I know it, the story in its entirety. But it doesn’t always do that. In fact, it almost never does that.

Case in point: the box of writing.

Twenty-seven years is a long time in any respect. A marriage, job, owning a home. To sit on a collection of stories.

So I finally started pulling them out of hiding, transcribing, editing. I’m going to finally put them all out there. Somewhere. I don’t know if I’ll enter contests, collect a bunch and release a short story book, give them all away for free in my newsletter like I’m doing now.

The ones that spark some new feeling, or even an old one that’s re-born, are open to re-writes, edits and release. I mean, I’ve been doing this shit forever. It’s high time to let it all out of the box.

• • • • • • • • • • • 
I'm back here and focused on bringing you the most random of the inner workings of my head as well as sharing short fiction pieces in my newsletter. Sign up, read them, bookmark this site...or whatever other call to action I'm supposed to use in this situation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It’s Time to face the Metamucil™

Lately I’ve been experiencing health stuff again. A few years ago I went through vertigo type symptoms, lightheaded, dizzy and wonky (which you can read about here if you like) but all of that stuff seemed to just go away on its own after about two years.

That didn’t make me sad but it did make me wonder just what the hell was wrong to begin with.

So I started questioning my habits and making changes. I walk about 3 miles just about every day now. All but eliminated refined sugar, bread carbs, dairy and alcohol from my diet. It does feel pretty good and I actually managed to drop a couple pounds, too.

But no good deed goes unpunished, right?

Back when I first went into the doctor I had a dull ache in my side. The left side at about mid-abdomen. But back during my see-every-doctor-under-the-sun phase they scanned me and there wasn’t anything there. I chalked it up to sitting all day for work. Muscular or stress related; where I hold my stress. I continued seeing a massage therapist to try to relax and it helps but that ache never seemed to go away.

So you can probably understand that since I’m up and moving around now, taking control of my health, it freaks me out to no end that the pain in my side is sticking around. Maybe even getting a bit more pronounced.

Of course it’s right about when I’m finally getting my shit back together that life decides to really bring the hammer down. Fucking Murphy and your stupid Law.

Which has made me start to question what really defines getting “old” anyway?

Does old mean frail, weak, some hunched over wrinkly faced Q-Tip who can barely walk? Or is it a state of mind? Because in my head I should be 27 forever. Spry and goofy. A total nutcase who laughs at and with life. The girl who wants to pull off on the side of the road and have sex in the backseat just because we can. The girl who stays up until 1AM dancing. The girl who doesn’t feel 42.

But lately that side of my personality has been getting tougher to hold onto.

I have grey hair, ailments and complain about the weather. My doctor is sending a referral for a colonoscopy as I type this post. Perimenopause has absolutely started kicking my jiggly ass (seriously, I experience about 25 of these 35 symptoms of perimenopause on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.)

And who goes through perimenopause except old dried up hags, right?

Uh, well, I’m not a dried up old hag so I guess, me.

So does that mean I’m officially “old” or does it just mean I somehow have to find a way to overcome it all when I have a day of hot flashes, preceded by only 3 hours of sleep the night before, followed by a migraine, dizziness, clumsiness, uncontrollable sobbing all day long and incomprehensibly flipping out on my husband for absolutely nothing?

Oh, and let’s not forget the itchy skin, bad breath, fatigue and fact I really need to take 3 showers a day so my pits don’t smell like a men’s locker room.

Yeah, that’s so sexy I can’t even understand why most women lose their sex drive at this time in their life. Really. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get with all that?

When men hit this age they just get a twenty-five year old blonde and a sports car. All better! Lucky fuckers. I wish they had to go through this even for one single day because it would become clear, mid-life crisis divorce has nothing to do with a lack of love. Those men are just afraid for their lives.

And rightfully so. Bitches losing their femaleness be crazy.


But see the issue isn’t all the stuff that’s happening to me. Not really. I mean I don’t like it but it’s bound to happen to some degree, I’m a girl after all. None of us escape it. The real issue is the fact that none of us experience the same thing at the same time so it’s kind of hard to pinpoint if everything going on is related to menopausal hoo-ha or not.

What makes me feel totally freaked out is the colonoscopy/CAT scan of my abdomen finding nothing wrong at all. Because then I pretty much know it’s a symptom of my dying ovaries.

Which means I might have to live with this shit for another ten plus years.

Buckle up, Matt. I’m gonna be so hot you won’t be able to keep your wrinkle-free hands off me.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Those Who Can’t Teach

So a couple days ago I scribbled a note on a teeny notepad. Side note: I love teeny notepads. If you ever want to win over a writer give them a bucket full of teeny notepads.

Anyway, on that 2-1/2” x 1-1/2” piece of paper was the list of crap I needed to buy on Amazon and just enough space to also squeeze in:

What to do if I’m one of those who can’t teach?

Because you know that saying – those who can’t do, teach.

Well, last weekend I said it out loud and my sister, a former teacher, ughed me into oblivion (yes I made the word ugh into a verb, or, more accurately she did when she made the sound that went with the eye roll).

I never thought of it implying anyone is inadequate but the opposite. That there are some people in the world who don’t just do one thing, they train many people in many things. Share their gift with the world. The gift of knowledge.

And maybe that’s why I was intent on being a teacher for a while. I wanted to impart my wisdom on the young and impressionable.

For some reason I kept thinking that’s the way I had to go, that I needed to be the one to tell people how to do stuff. Stuff I can’t seem to figure out how to do.

If you can’t do…

Thing is, I can’t teach either.

I love telling people things but I honestly couldn’t give a shit less if they learn or not. I think I mostly just like the sound of my own voice since I don’t really get to use it all that often anymore.

Which of course left me in a really weird place in my head. Because if I can’t seem to figure out how to “do” the thing and clearly nobody is showing up for me to “teach” them the thing, where the heck does that leave me?

No do, no teach, no purpose or direction.

Truth is, I’m simply exhausted. Spent. I’ve given all I had to give for the past 4 decades and I’m just about finished. Because my body is giving out, my brain can’t handle it anymore. I’m tired of spending every day, alone, cooped up in this self-made prison where I have to work on things I couldn’t give a shit about so I feel that tiny rush of excitement when I sell one book and make a whopping $2.76 next month.

This life, this career I’ve built is a god damn joke. I’m nothing more than a fraud, a shyster, trying to smile and be fucking beautiful so everyone will want to buy what I’m selling.

Even if what I’m peddling is worth nothing.

And even just typing it out makes me crazy because it’s all the same crap I’ve been vomiting into this blog for the past month. Or for the past 8 years as the case may be.

Why? Because I never fucking learn.

I obsess over the same questions all the time, never answer them, or, more accurately, glaze over the fact that they’re the wrong questions in the first place, and still I think I’m actually going to get somewhere. It’s pitiful, that’s what it is.

Maybe it’s finally time to just admit defeat. Give in and leave all of this stupid bullshit behind. Let it all go. Kill her. Kill the dream.

When she disappears nobody will be all that broken up about it because she’s been nothing but a huge drain on everything for so many years – physical, mental, financial – that within months there will be such a noticeable shift out of the current state of affairs that pretty soon all the people who were supposed to be sad about her leaving will secretly be rejoicing inside to be free of the strain. Free of the hassle. Free of her forever.

Going on to live their lives the world will continue to function. Nobody will really be sad. Nobody will miss her.

I sure as fuck won’t miss her.

Who is she?

She’s the part of me I’ve been holding onto since age 19.

The girl who believed in romance and flowers and love and life being able to work out exactly as you want it to just as long as you skip down the street singing a song about unicorns under a rainbow made of roses and just believe that the world is going to work out.

Because the reality is that nothing ever “works out”, things just end and other things begin. Life is a motherfucker. It will kick you and punch you and laugh, pointing, in your face. People who say that everything happens for a reason make me want to hurl. Because the only reason they say that is to justify crap happening.

Free tip? Crap is going to happen. The reason? Because you’re alive.

Welcome to the real world where people don’t care. Where money never stretches like it should. Where hate is so prevalent we have to make up stupid inspirational shit just to make our precious little egos think that there’s still hope.

And oh my god, fuck hope.

Because hope is an illusion. A dangling carrot if you will. The thing we all wake up in the morning and put on our socks for. The most remote of chances that something we wished for, dreamed about, worked our ass off to get might actually happen.

When’s the last time you remember that happening? Oh it might appear at first like it does – you got that new car after saving for a year, finally installed that kitchen, got pregnant, graduated, started a business – but the moment you have it you realize the very nature of the whole thing was built on nothing more than a hope and a dream.

Turns out the dream is never the reality.

Wait, what? Yeah, I know, profound right? Well sadly until about 6 months ago I sort of still believed those two concepts went hand-in-hand.

But then we all wake up to the reality when that car payment is too high, the house burns down a week later, you didn’t want a baby, now student loans are costing you every dime you have, you fail.

No matter how many health problems I give myself stressing out by working really hard, nothing ever fucking works out anyway.

At least not according to the doe-eyed imbecile I’ve been trying to pretend to be for the past couple of decades. The idiot who exudes sugary goodness and actually believes there’s a chance this will “all work out” because doesn’t everything?

The idiot moron who opened her eyes 23 years ago but pretended not to see. The girl who broke her own heart and couldn’t follow through.

So I’m shooting that sorry excuse for a person right between the eyes at point blank range.

That gullible idiot side of me is no longer as dumb as she once appeared, she’s tired of hope. Tired of platitudes. Tired of trying to convince herself that she can have everything she ever wanted.

She needs to die.

Because if I’m going to believe in anything anymore it won’t be based on hope. It won’t be based on dreams.

I’ll keep pulling the trigger until the wannabe teacher is cold, lying on a metal slab in a freezing room in the subbasement morgue.

Here lies hope, dreams, and the girl who once believed in both.

It’s time for the other side of me to rise from the dead, to ask the right questions and to finally start answering them for real.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

You Kids and your Internet. In my Day…

So here’s the fear. That I don’t actually have anything else to say. That I’ve run out of feelings and imagination. Or that unless I save it up I’ll use it all up and then have nothing later.

Which of course is total crap. There’s always something eventually, some inspiration to follow through on. I just hate the dry times, they make me worry. And I have way too many other worries right now to add anything else to the pile. Especially where work is concerned.

The thing is, I just always want things to work out before the credits roll. Like all those eighties movies and television shows I grew up with. And it makes me a little jealous of millennials. Since their birth, things have been more real in the visual entertainment sphere.

Now don’t get me wrong. It isn’t like I think everything we see on reality TV is real. Or that the gritty “truth” style movies aren’t an imaginative exaggeration of a real-life type of situation. I’m not an idiot.

But, when compared to what my generation grew up watching, I get a little pang of envy for how much more raw and honest dialogue has become. Situations. Lack of force-fed sugary goodness. That, sometimes, there isn’t an answer after 30 minutes, or 2 hours, a whole season, or even a trilogy of movies.

See, my generation had shows like Family Ties. Where democrats and republicans may not always agree but can live in harmony under the same roof. Or the classic Growing Pains where it only takes a laugh and a smile to deal with how much of a screw up your son is.

And let’s not forget movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where we never have to see the repercussions of what happens when your so-called best friend forces you to skip school, take your dad’s pristine collector car out and, after getting home safe and un-caught, you decide your best course of action is to trash the car. But it’ll all be okay because the script says so.

Don’t forget, after all, Ferris didn’t get caught. He was pretty much the only one who didn’t.

My generation of pop culture fiends were shown that the kids were always smarter than the bumbling idiot grownups.

Well now I’m the age of all those bumbling idiot grownups and have come to realize that in this age of technology and world connectedness, the kids are smarter than me now. And do you know how fucking irritating that is?

The younger generation has found a way to take what’s available, AKA: everything, and use it to become these clued-in, whip-smart people. The people my generation wanted to be when we were their age.

But the reality of my generation’s half-hour comedy is that nothing in life can be solved in 30 minutes. The dork sophomore never ends up with the hottest, coolest, richest senior in school.

Which really doesn’t matter anymore because the Ducky’s of the world know so much better how to take care of their ladies.

But I digress.

Because that’s a post for another day.

For now I’m going to spend my time working on my own mash-up. My own ability to read, research and extrapolate the info available to me to craft some cooler, whip-smart characters.

And if I get bored, writer’s block, or a total lack of inspiration, maybe I’ll write my own eighties-esque story. The one where the sophomore obsesses over the senior and they don’t end up together.

But it all still ends up okay.

• • • • • • • • • • • EDITOR's NOTE: As of November 2015, shit is gonna get real. I'll no longer focus on my pitifully visited blog for new writers, every freaking blogger has a blog for new writers and I'm tired of trying to muscle my way into a club where the snacks already ran out. Because, what's the point? Instead, I'll be back here and focused on bringing you the most random of the inner workings of my head as well as sharing short fiction pieces in my newsletter. Sign up, read them, bookmark this site...or whatever other call to action I'm supposed to use in this situation.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Coffee Shop Blues

Earlier today I got together with a friend and by the end of the meeting there I was. Crying in a coffee shop.

She put a lot of things into perspective for me, relating my current nervous breakdown about my career to that of a butterfly coming out of the cocoon. Only she wasn't talking about my career, she was talking about me. Jenn, the person. And she was so right.

Since I got home I've been going over all of it - all the stuff I posted here a few days ago, the business she & I had started molding, our conversation - and I realized the problem is that I'm personally so invested into what I do for a living because who I am and what I do are essentially one in the same. And as soon as that hit me the tears stopped.

I am a writer. As in, its not what I do but who I am. I can't not write. There's something inside me that needs to put everything down on the page. From the voices that tell me what to say about their fictional lives to this kind of journaling bullshit. I never stopped stringing words together once I started.

But somewhere in my head I got it into my head that this was all supposed to be some way or another. I convinced myself that working hard would produce x result at y time.

Well I should've known better. I sucked at algebra when I was younger so trying to find an answer in variables now isn't my best course of action.

My career choice is one of lots of solitude but within the mindset of having lots of people respond to the product that comes from that solitude. The writing.

When I work and work and finally publish it for the world, damn it, I want the world to read it! I want all this time alone, hours spent, keys clicked, to mean something. To the world I mean, because it already means the world to me. I just feel like it's time for it to live in worlds outside of my computer and my family's bookshelves.

AKA: The comfortable little cocoon I'm still living in right now.

So my friend & I put our project on hold so I could work my way out of this chrysalis. I've been kicking at the sides for what feels like forever but apparently I still needed time to germinate. Even if I didn't realize it until I had 6 snotty tissues sitting next to me on the pleather booth at a busy coffee shop, tears cresting my eyelids in front of the world.

Maybe that was exactly what I needed. Because if I really want the world to see, maybe it's time to let them. Flaws & all.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Insert Catchy Title Here

Yet again, I'm coming back to my old trusty friend after a freaking recoculously long break. Seriously, my last post here was in May? No wonder I'm so irritated. This used to be my therapy.

Sort of.

But now I don't even know where to begin. Maybe the start is a decent option. But if you've ever read my words on this blog then you already know how many times I've "apologized" for slacking off on writing here because I spend all day, every day, writing.

Well, I'm over it.

I'm done with following convention. The concept never sat comfortably with me before, and after trying to fit my square head into a round hole in the brick wall for the past 5 years, I'm done with the banging.

My forehead hurts.

Matt & I sat around the other night talking about my business, career, work life and how/why things are so stagnated. In the end he was right, it's time to break some fucking rules.


He said something that really hit home. To him, it didn’t appear that I was having as much fun with my work and writing life as I used to. That maybe I’m not doing what I “love” for a living.

At first I denied it saying, no babe, I love my job!

But I spent the whole day yesterday working on my business plan for Writesy Press, frustrated that I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted to be doing at this point in my career and it all just suddenly hit me.

I fucking hate doing the writing I’ve been doing for the past 3 years. It just isn’t me.

I mean, I want to sell my books of course but struggling for 3 days a month to come up with, essentially, 350 headlines/hashtags/clever ways to make people read my articles and then miraculously decide to spend their money on my books is a giant waste of my time.

Let me just say that I understand in today’s market there’s no way to sell without marketing. I also get that most writers would rather slit their monitor than try to sell to people.

I’m a shameless self-promoter. That’s my voice. I don’t tease you with clickbait only to under-deliver and have you click away before even thinking of buying my stuff. Though I’ve been pretending that’s me for a few years now.

Instead of
“Will Shaw get away and find love? *|URL|* #whothehellcares”

I’d much rather just rant about losing my passion for the past 3 years and say you can get my books here if you want to know what that passion is.

But for far too long now I somehow thought it was smarter to write to force advice and tips down the throats of other writers. And sure there are a lot of new writers who need help. But I finally realized yesterday that I can’t actually help any of them.

Every writer has to do it their own way. Every writer has to get over fear of releasing their words in their own time. I can’t help them find their voice either. Hell, I couldn’t hold onto my own for close to half a decade so why would they even listen to me anyway?

No matter how many times I pick up the pom-poms to try to encourage someone it just won’t matter, because I’m no cheerleader.

I tried and quit cheerleading in the same week when I was about 12 years old because I realized I just don’t have that much spirit. Cynical advice isn’t really a thing.

I’m over it. I’m over trying to encourage people to do the very thing I can’t seem to figure out how to do – sell their books with countless, useless words that fall on deaf ears. And I’m over trying to tell people the best practices for anything just so my blog gets a few extra notches in the search engines.

It feels fake, and fake makes me squirm.

If I’m going to advise anyone of anything it’s going to come out like this – in snarky little bits of random babble that eventually have some kind of meaning. Maybe. Even if it’s just to see how fucked up my life is so it will act as a warning to others.

But I can’t tell anyone what to do with their own words. That’s just tacky.

So I’m over it. And instead, I’m back over here.

And in case you wondered, here’s some other things I'm also over (that all the top marketing people would have a heart attack if they read):

- Giving a crap what platform my blog lives on. Blogger has been good to me since 2007, it's free and I understand how it works. I’m sure Wordpress is great for marketing but, see above rant for why I just don’t care about any of that.

- Caring if I'm optimized for SE-whatever. I'm not a marketing god so I just don't have time (or mental capacity) to care about any of that. If it hits Google well yippie-do. If it doesn’t then I guess nobody is going to read it outside my family anyway.

- Length and layout of my posts. Sometimes it'll be 4 words and an image. Sometimes 4,000 words and no sub-headers. If you can't handle it, don't read it. The thing is called Randomness and Lunacy for a reason.

- Posting consistently on some rigid schedule. Blech. This blog thing may have morphed over the years but they started out as online journals and I’m old so I like things the way they used to be. And I can’t guarantee that I’ll have some perfect post to share every Friday at 7:02 AM because someone once said that’s the best time for a blog to go out.

- Grammar. Yeah, I know I’m getting tossed out of the writer’s club for even admitting that one out loud but I write this blog like I talk – stream of consciousness – so sometimes my sentences will be fractured, or (much more likely) run-ons, and sometimes I’m ending a sentence in a pronoun. Anyone who cares about that can suck it.

- Being perfect. Ah yes, I saved the biggie for last but I’m sure you knew it was coming. I will curse like a sailor. I will write and blog crap just to write (case in point: you’re reading it right now). I’ll ignore family, friends, laundry, personal hygiene and eating just to get words out at times. I’ll be lost in my own head and character development at least 50% of the time you spend time with me. Okay, it’s probably closer to 98%. I will study you and your demeanor so I can use it in a book. I will be awkward all the time, way too intense and serious and say shit that makes the average person uncomfortable. You're welcome.

I won’t be everyone’s taste but I just don’t care because, like Matt reminded me of last night:

“Well-behaved woman seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
and I’m still of the belief that I’m going to do just that.

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EDITOR's NOTE: As of November 2015, shit is gonna get real. I'll no longer focus on my pitifully visited blog for new writers, every freaking blogger has a blog for new writers and I'm tired of trying to muscle my way into a club where the snacks already ran out. Because, what's the point if there's no food, right? Instead, I'll be back here and focused on bringing you the most random of the inner workings of my head as well as sharing short fiction pieces in my newsletter. Sign up, read them, bookmark this site...or whatever other call to action I'm supposed to use in this situation.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Patriots Fans are Probably Caught in the Middle

You know what I’m talking about right?

Unless you’ve been underground with no access to the outside world for the past few months, then you know about the situation that took place back in January in the NFL that sent the internet world into a tail spin.

Of course I’m talking about a team and their deflated balls.

Actually, after this week, I think I’m talking more about a league Commissioner and his overly inflated balls because the more I read and hear the more I feel the following 2 things:

1. This has nothing to do with footballs.
2. The NFL has done a bang up job of taking over the world with their push to use controversy as a means to encourage discussion and (more likely than not) ticket sales for next season.

Because, hello? It’s May, not August or January, and yet here we are, still talking about football.

Does anyone give a shit that the NHL is just weeks away from the Stanley Cup Finals?

Does anyone care about the NBA playoffs that are currently happening?

Does anyone realize it’s baseball season?

Does anyone care that the NFL season doesn’t even start for another 3 months?

The answer (to all of the above) is no. Because this week all anyone can talk about in the sports world is whether you’re for or against Tom Brady. For or against The New England Patriots. For or against cheating in the league.

Well frankly I’m sick of it all.

The bottom line is that every team cheats. Plain and simple.

And The Pats’ recorded violations aren’t at the bottom (Browns/Cardinals who BTW did the same thing in 2005 with NO PUNISHMENT) but they’re nowhere near the top (nice work Broncos).

However, that’s just the NFL.

I don’t care what league you play for, if it’s one of the 4 majors or if you toss in MLS, NASCAR, Golf, Tennis, or any other professional sport as well because every single sport holds an element of “how far can we push it until someone calls us out?”

AKA: cheating.

For The Patriots that call-out time was this past week.

But when the penalty came down on Brady and the team – 4 game suspension for Brady, loss of 1st round pick in 2016, loss of 4th round pick in 2017, a $1million team fine, and indefinite suspension to the 2 equipment guys (without pay) – I started shaking my head.

Actually, scratch that. I started getting irrationally angry at this entire thing and that irritation has only built, not dissipated.

Why am I irrationally angry?

Because of the severity of the penalty over something that could have conceivably happened due to weather.

Or someone being sneaky.

Or both.

But no matter what caused it, I read that entire report and there isn’t one single definitive piece of evidence, not one definitive statement that Brady actually was involved.

But they sure said “probably” an awful lot.

Brady was suspended for the same number of games that a player caught doing performance enhancing drugs (PEDs, steroids) gets. And for those keeping track it’s 2 more games than Rice got (initially) for brutally beating his now wife in an elevator.

Rice was only suspended indefinitely when the video from that elevator incident leaked to the public and the outcry forced Goodell to make that decision or risk looking like he didn’t care that a top rated running back just perpetuated brutal domestic violence on a woman until she was at the point of unconsciousness.

Of course, Rice appealed and the penalty was lifted. Yes lifted. He’s free to play again right now.


In fact, the league standards on game suspensions are pretty wishy-washy since Goodell came in as Commissioner in 2006. Certain things are pursued with aggression (Michael Vick and his dog fighting – 2 season suspension) while others are a slap on the wrist at best (Donte Stallworth killing a pedestrian while driving drunk – 1 season).

According to this list here’s a very small sampling of violations and their subsequent penalties that I (as a human being) consider just a bit worse than alleged knowledge of release of air pressure from a ball:

2006 – domestic violence – 1 game
2007 – 2 DUI arrests – 2 games
2008 – child endangerment – 3 games
2010 – alleged sexual assault – 6 games (later reduced to 4)
2010 – battery of a woman – 1 game
2013- repeated player safety violations – 1 game

Note how every single one either matches or is less than the suspension given to Brady?

And that doesn’t even include PED suspensions, which range anywhere from 1 game to life depending on the player and whatever criteria deemed to matter by the league.

So where do the Patriots fit into this whole thing?

Thin air, that’s where.

Because Brady, according to the “investigation” conducted into this whole debacle, was probably “generally aware” that more than the allowable pounds of pressure were probably released from 11 of the game balls.

Now please re-read that last statement and look for the reasonable doubt.

See the word probably? In the 243 page “report” the word probably appears 7 times.

Well I’m probably a best-selling author, probably a millionaire and probably the most attractive woman in the history of history too.


What the league stated was they want to try to maintain the integrity of the game of football and that’s why this penalty is so harsh.

I don’t care about footballs and their air pressure. If Goodell and the rest want to preserve the integrity of the game of football they need to get into their time machine and go back to 1920 when the first professional football league was formed and start there.

Because in this day and age there really is no way to preserve any of that integrity he talks about. It’s all tainted by corporate money and sponsorships. The fact that (if this suspension upholds) Brady's first game back will be against the Colts (the team who allegedly blew the whistle) can't be coincidence.

Plus, if you’re backed by the right people and suck up enough to the media/general public for your personal redemption then you’re untouchable. Just ask someone like Ray Lewis or Ben Roethlisberger.

Better yet, don’t bother. Instead, come over my place and let's watch a civilized game like ice hockey where the players aren’t above the law but also don’t need to be because they tend not to get into all that stupid shit to begin with.

From now on that’s probably the only sport I’ll be supporting.

Image courtesy New England Patriots

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Best and Worst - The Concert Edition

So earlier today my friend Keith asked us Facebook friends to answer his curiosity question:

“Best & Worst Live band you ever saw? 1,2,3 Go!!”

I thought about it because I’ve seen a LOT of live music over the years.

Since my first concert at age 11 – The Cars where the people in front of us smoked weed during the whole show – to  the last show I’ve been to as of this moment – Banana Gun and Sugar Thieves January 2015 – almost every band/singer/songwriter I’ve seen perform has had a definite impact on my life.

But the reasons are almost as varied as the styles of music I listen to. Because it’s not always just about the music.

Music has permeated every aspect of my life. In fact, that scene in High Fidelity where Cusack’s character is filing his records autobiographically is just about right. So it’s no shock that live music will have an even greater impact on me because of where I am, who I’m with and what made that journey amazing.

Including, but not limited to, the music.

Those songs that remind you of another person can be a blessing or a curse depending on the person in question, am I right?

It kind of hit me that’s probably the real reason Keith and I have maintained such a strong friendship for so many years – we’re both music junkies. Bonding over music is a very powerful thing.

And our tastes, though different at times, are both pretty well varied. As a DJ my friend has to have a healthy appreciation for all kinds of music. Knowing the exact right moment to play the exact right tune is a talent. For me, a writer, I need to feel the music because it helps me with character and story development.

So there was no way my answer to his question would be short. In fact, I opened my comment with:

I could write a book on this (and I've actually considered it)

Starting with the best and then in no particular order, the concerts that came to mind today include…

Best - Jason Mraz at Irving Plaza in NYC 7/21/2006.

He’d been touring his second album, Mr. A-Z, non-stop and Irving was either the last or one of the last tour stops from that year. This was a while before he started getting healthy & quit smoking so the road had taken a definite toll on the poor guy.

I was a Jason live junkie back then – anything and everything I could get my hands on from his live shows I wanted to have it in my music collection. So I knew his usual personality on stage but that night at Irving his tank was empty. He went through the motions but anyone could tell he needed to stop and go home to sleep.

Despite his one big hit, he was still relatively unknown in 2006. There were only about 100 people in the place.

I was 10 feet from the stage, and feeling bummed that the show was so devoid of character, when someone yelled out 'Jason, have my Asian baby!' and he LOST it. He half chuckled then had to turn away from the mic for a second because of laughing. And it seemed to be just what he needed. He finished the set with a little more energy.

I like to think that Asian baby helped get him through when he just wanted to give up.

Because I like to wonder about those moments in an artist’s life. Moments that could have possibly been a turning point whether realized or not. What if that never happened and he barely held on for the rest of the tour, went home and decided it was too strenuous? What if he’d quit music?

That would have changed the material fabric of my life.

People I know as friends wouldn’t be in my life. Life experiences may never have happened – like one of my backup favorite shows when Matt and I went to see Jason opening for Dave Matthews Band in Hershey, PA. And we saw Centralia that weekend too. Would we have never done that either?

It’s crazy to think about but I like wondering the what if’s. Like I said, character development.

My best backup concerts in no particular order:

  • Godsmack in Amherst, MA in 2000 or 2001. I won tix on WAAF and went alone because I was going straight from there up to Waterville Valley, NH where a group of work friends were skiing all weekend. Met a limo driver and convinced him to use my other ticket. We left before the end so he could get back for the clients at the end of the show and we hung out smoking a joint in the limo.
  • Godsmack in Manchester, NH a few days after 9/11, every time a plane flew overhead the whole crowd cheered. It was flipping awesome.
  • Ozzfest June 2,1999 in Charlotte, NC. It was about 115 degrees and I passed out from heat exhaustion, weed and exertion. I laid down on the lawn then woke up during Pantera, asked my friends for the keys and went to sleep in the car. Totally missed Ozzy! I got in a pit during Godsmack and came home with a bruise on my leg in the shape of Martha's Vineyard.
  • DMB in San Diego 2013 . He played “Sister” and in 15 years I'd never seen them perform it before. I danced my freaking ass off all night and it was a really special show.
  • Melissa Ferrick at the MFA. Matt and I met her after the show. I was a total fan-girl!
  • Tony Bennett 8/23/2014 because who knows if that chance could come again, he IS about 1000 years old. But man, he’s still got it!
  • Grownup Noise in Fountain Hills, AZ 2011 (this one is personal because I know the bassist so the band crashed at our apartment that night)

As far as Worst…

Keith knows I was the original Blockhead. New Kids on the Block fan to the nth degree. He even played “Hangin’ Tough” at our wedding. So I knew he wouldn’t believe it but two of the worst shows I ever saw were NKOTB back in the day, at The Garden & Great Woods.

I was 16 years old or thereabouts and getting to see them live was definitely an experience, shows sold out in like a millisecond those days. The problem? That’s 20,000 screaming girls in one place.

Of course they were cute and I was really excited to see them too but that level of squeal is probably the main reason I have tinnitus today.

Even all these years later after endless clubbing, seeing loud as hell bands like Limp Bizkit, Staind, Metallica, Disturbed, Pantera, Megadeath, Godsmack, etc. I have NEVER come home as deaf as I did after a New Kid’s show. Which sucked because I didn’t pay to hear girls scream, I couldn't hear a single thing the band was saying or singing so what was the point? Wasted money.

And the worst backup award goes to Fiona Apple at Jones Beach, LINY in July 2006. One of the reasons I always loved her is her jazz-smooth voice mixed with raw, emotional, angry lyrics. The juxtaposition of those polar opposite things is something few bands can pull off (think: Sublime).

From the opening word Matt and I were shocked and disappointed. She maintained ZERO control over her voice and I don’t think it was because she was sick or anything like that. She was just angry screaming every lyric. No melodic softening. No balance to the torture. It was too much. That was the only time we've considered walking out of a concert we paid to attend.

All in all this is just today’s list. Ask me again in a week, month, year, decade and my answers will likely change!

How about you? What were your best and worst live music experiences?

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