Friday, December 30, 2011

What Is The Word That I'm Looking For?

What is the word that I'm looking for? It's.....right there, not quite on the tip of my tongue, but definitely right there at the tip of my frontal lobe. Wait a minute....wait a minute...let me just pick up this two by four and...now for my best interpretation of a t.v. character, may I present to you.....drum roll please....

Colonel Flagg!

WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!

There we go, a nice juicy hole that I can stick my finger in....just need to dig around for a moment with this pair of tweezers...aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnndddd....viola!

Empty.

Not so much in the physical or emotional sense, although I am going through a little bit of each at the moment, but more in the mental sense.

What I mean by "mental" is that after 774 posts spanning from Memorial Day weekend 2008 through the 364th day of 2011, I find myself in the unenviable position of having absolutely nothing to blog about. In other words, empty.

Through the course of 774 posts I managed to talk about all kinds of things that sprung from three basic topics: writing, my life, and work. You name it, I blogged about it.

Writing? Sure 'nuff. Even started a short story blog that ran for a little over a year that featured short stories. Getting published? Absolutely. Even created a page to showcase the trials and tribulations of trying to land either a publisher or an agent. Self-publishing? You betcha. Even wrote a story serial about publishing my chapbook.

My life? Beyond a shadow of a doubt. You name it, I shared about 95% of my life on this blog, with the remaining 5% safely tucked away to be shared behind the scenes with family and friends. I wrote about makes me tick, my health, what I like to read, what I like to listen to for music, my friends and work. Good lord, did I ever write about work in those early years. However, as things got progressively strained at work, discretion became the operative word of the day and gradually I stopped writing about work.

Even wrote about my adventures with the Internet. Mostly wrote about the chat rooms, in which what you see now was partially shaped and nurtured by the ultimate 9 circles of private hell that I consider the chat rooms now to be. Did write about other things related to the 'net, like Facebook (being banned from a business page and eventually dropping out due to privacy concerns) and e-mail (oh man, did I ever write a classic about Hotmail customer service) and blogs.

Blogs. Man did I ever go to town writing about all kinds of blogs. You name it, I probably blogged about it. From censorship to blogs on life support/pushing up the daisies and everything else in between.

Sigh.

I think that I can safely assume that I'm at a crossroad with my blogging. Over the years, I managed to tweak the frequency of my blog posts, from twice a day every other day, to once a day every other day, to simply three times a week. This was done strictly for the purpose of preventing blogging burnout, and for the most part it worked. Until now.

Now is wondering what I should do next? I enjoy blogging, but coming up with original material is becoming increasingly difficult to accomplish. Should I cut down on the frequency of posting, say from three times a week to twice? I don't think that would work. As most of you know, I've spent a good chunk of time trying to build this blog into something that people would like to continuously read on a weekly basis, and the thought of cutting down on my posting bothers me, simply because I don't like to disappoint people. Or, should I convert this blog into something that I personally abhor, which is posting no original material of any consequence and simply post articles from news websites (please note that I am not including those blogs in which the blogger is using it as an effective and user friendly marketing tool for their work)?

For the first time as a blogger, I am genuinely unsure on what to do with my blog. So for this long holiday weekend, I will be spending a good portion of my down time trying to answer the question: what should I do next?

Hopefully, I'll come up with an answer that not only solves my problem, but one that I and everyone else can live with.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Most Refreshing Bath Was Had By All

Boy was that an overly long soak. Five days spent in the bathtub and I is the pruniest prune that you'd even seen.

Anyways, it was a most refreshing break from the blogging world and since I need to fill up this space with excess verbiage, to quote Ralph Kiner, let's go to the happy recrap.

Christmas was interesting simply because I didn't get any clothes this year. What I did get was the following:

1} A ream of paper.
2} A webcam for my computer, which I'll probably have to wait on installing/using until I buy more memory for my computer.
3} A mini DVD player. This was the only thing that I'd specifically asked for Christmas, simply because long story short, I lost the ability to play DVD's on my computer.
4} The traditional roll of sausage.
5} A homemade bookmark that my daughter gave me that says "To My Writer Dad" and has a picture of a scroll and a quill pen on it.
6} A gift card from B&N and various music magazines, along with a Neil Diamond album.

I also got the usual sugar free candy in my Christmas stocking (you can never outgrow a Christmas stocking) as well.

On the blogging front, I spent the entire break lurking on your blogs. No commenting to speak of, but I did enjoy what everyone has written on their blogs since Saturday.

On the real world front, I spent a few hours at my aunts and got caught up on things with that side of the family. Talked to my cousin and inquired on how her husband's novel (military fantasy) was coming along. She said it's been released as an e-book (self-pubbed) and they're just wrapping up the audio version of it. So as a good relative and fellow newbie writer, I am more than happy to give it a little plug here:


On the writing front, which was the main reason for the break to begin with, I dragged my muse kicking and screaming back from her well extended vacation and plopped her down on the floor next to the computer. I then plied her with drinks, food, good music, and anything else that she may have wanted/desired in order to stroke/pump up her ego.

It sort of worked as in between getting all of the last minute holiday stuff done and the residual stress of waiting for a potentially positive outcome of something, I managed to write another two pages of story. I know it sounds like squat and it might be to some of you, but for me, it does represent progress. I'm at the very end of the story and trying not only to write the final confrontation but write what I feel would be the proper ending is incredibly problematic.

Unlike the last novel I wrote, in which the main plot and subplots made sense from day one and I was able to complete the final chapter in about a week, this one is giving me one major league migraine. After writing the first chapter with relative ease, the remaining chapters have been like sitting in the dentist chair having multiple root canals.

I'm not sure if everyone else has experienced this issue from time to time while writing, but it's incredibly frustrating to have to perpetually re-read what you wrote to make sure that what you wrote is not only making sense but it's consistent as well.

Anyways, because I'm having such problems writing this schtuff, I decided to take a minor detour and start applying the 56 pages worth of editing notes to the book.

So with that being said, the update about what I did during my break is now complete and I leave you with this nifty little video of the song that was blasting through my headphones as I typed the last two paragraphs of this post.


Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Cuervo Time!

It is rare that I complain about a plethora of things all in one shot.

Usually I complain about one thing at a time on this blog, then move on.

However, this week has been, to put it bluntly, a bitch. Between being on pins and needles about waiting for a positive result from something I did last week and dealing with the fruition of Monday's post (Monday thru Wednesday I answered about 75 e-mails and 60+ phone calls, with each phone call lasting on the average 8 minutes and each e-mail averaging about 2 pages) and the fact that it's the week before Christmas, I am seriously considering going off on a binge of major proportions and not waking up until Christmas morning.

The fact that I am even considering going off on a drinking binge should give you an idea on how crappy my week has been. However, as much as this week has sucked major moose testicles, I have tried in my own unique way to put something of a smiley face on the week.

For instance, I've been wearing a Santa hat at work this past week, which is my only concession to celebrating Christmas in public this year. When people ask me if I'm getting into the Christmas spirit, I tell them that this year I am channeling the spirit of Billy Bob.

They invariably ask, "Who?"

I answer, "Billy Bob. You know...."



To all of my good friends who happen to read this blog, the regulars, the lurkers and my fellow bloggers, yours truly is taking a well deserved break from the blogging world to spend some time with the family and on a few personal projects that have taken a back seat in my life for the past month.

I shall see you all back here on December 28th.


M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S  E V E R Y O N E !

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

No Longer A Newbie, But He's Making Strides

Betrayed!

A few weeks ago, I brought a dozen copies of my self-pubbed chapbook to work so that I could kick off a new sales/marketing campaign for the new year and thus sell a few copies. There are two reasons as to why I'm doing this: 1) enough time has gone by and I believe that most people have forgotten about my first self-pubbed book, and 2) I'm slowly re-tooling and re-loading my writing career. I no longer consider myself a newbie and in fact, I believe that I'm making some decent strides with my writing.

One thing that I plan on doing this coming January is hand out free custom designed bookmarks. The bookmark themselves will contain this nice picture:


What better way to get to know the real me?


A link to this blog and the caption that you see on the front side. On the back side will be a general link to my short story Cedar Mountain (Beat To A Pulp)* and my short story Red Stripe (The Cynic Magazine), along with a short note saying that both stories can be found under my full name in the archives.

By handing out these bookmarks, I want to give people the opportunity to get to know both the real me and the quirky fiction that I write before they decide to buy the book. I figure if they like what I write for fiction or my blog, then they would be amenable to purchasing my book.

On a related note, a co-worker of mine saw my mini-display of books and started asking a couple of questions about the name on the book (Georgie B). We had an animated discussion about it (I told her that there was a rapper by that name and that early on in my writing career I was trying to establish a brand using that name) and about ten minutes later, she created this nifty little ditty that I want to share with everyone.

My name is Georgie B and I'm known as Gee, together we rock the industry. I'm smooth, I'm cool, I'm an awesome dude, beta recognize and don't be cruel. I wrote BETRAYED! so stand in line, it's only going for $7.99. YOU HEARD!!!!

While the book indeed is for sale, the going rate is $7.50 (higher at Author House and Amazon) and I'll pick up both the 6.35% sales tax and the shipping and handling to anywhere in the good old U.S.A.

So if you liked my short stories Cedar Mountain and Red Stripe, give some thought to picking up this nifty little chapbook. It's entertaining, it's a fast read and it's a great compliment to what you read here on a daily/weekly basis.

*Unfortunately, the link to the story is temporarily out of order until February '12

Monday, December 19, 2011

Y times Z times 1 1/2 equals 0

No, this isn't some new math formula pulled from one of my daughter's homework assignments.

This is a math formula that was pulled from this year's state budget.

For those of you who are unfortunate enough to live in Connecticut, what I'm about to say is depressingly familiar, so please bear with me as I bring everyone else up to speed.

This year we elected a Democratic guv'nor who promised that he would find a way to balance a budget that was dripping 3 billion dollars in red ink. He did it with very modest spending cuts (big surprise there) and very heavy tax increases (no surprise there).

One of the taxes that he decided to increase was the state income tax, which he made effective this past July 1st. He also decided to that since we were bleeding so much red ink that the new rate should be retroactively applied back to January 1st.

You can probably guess what the unintended consequences are, but for the sake of this post, not only will I elaborate but I will make your jaws collectively drop to the floor with a large thud. I will also concentrate my explanation on the public sector, because not only was the pain harshly inflicted there, but the math formula that this post is called became frightening clear.

Because the guv'nor decided that the new income tax rate should be retroactively applied, people started having extra taken out of their paychecks, which created a myriad of problems. There were a lot of glaring glitches involved the retroactive application of the new income tax rate, but none were more glaring that the highly abnormal amount of tax taken out if you did anything out of the ordinary.

In other words, if you worked just your standard schedule, you either had too little (like me) or the proper amount of taxes taken out. But if you work above and beyond that standard schedule, like overtime, the system burped and took too much out.

Confusing? Absolutely!

What the system did was this: it looked at your gross wages for the pay period (bi-weekly), projected a new annual salary for you and bumped you up to a higher tax bracket if need be. In other words, if you did say 10 hours of overtime, it would project a new annual salary based on those 10 hours and tax you accordingly.

Using those 10 hours as an example, let me show you how this would be applied using the new math formula.

Y is the amount of hours worked, which equals 10.
Z is the regular hourly amount, which equals $23.76.
You then multiply that dollar amount ($237.60) by 1 1/2, which gives you what you actually earned for working those hours of overtime ($356.40).

0 is what you wind up with after the new tax rate is applied.

That's right boys and girls, because of this monumental glitch, you worked 10 hours of overtime for free.

I repeat, you worked for free. Your hard earned dollars went towards fulfilling your tax debt, whether you have one or not, instead of going into your pocket.

And the only way that you might see that money, is after you file your income tax return on April 15th, which is the excuse that the Office of State Comptroller's, who knew about the glitch and chose to do nothing about it, gave when they were getting questions about it.

So in the end, an improbable formula of Y x Z x 1 1/2 = 0 is the harsh reality for not only the bulk of the people who work in Connecticut's public sector, but probably for those who work in the private sector as well.

Of course, this particular glitch is supposed to be gone by the time January rolls around.

Yah.

Welcom to the modern version of taxation without representation, which is practiced in this state with an almost orgasmic glee by the Democrats. And remember gang, a case of good quality beer is cheaper than three packs of cigarettes. At least in this state.

D'OH!!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Question

Yup, it's a rare Saturday post. Well, not so much a post as simply a question for you the reader.

I've been thinking about developing the very last disposable camera that I used for Shooting Suburbia and posting it. However, there are a couple of things that you should know.

1} I have no clue what's on it.
2} The pictures were shot sometime when the temperatures were between 60 and 90 degrees.
3} The developed disc would have a maximum of 27 pictures on it.

So my question to you is this: Would this be something that you would be interested in seeing, and if so, how many posts should I try to squeeze out of this disc?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Daddy?

"Daddy?"
"Yes, sweetie. What's Up?"
"Can I ask you a question?"
He pauses for a moment, then says, "Sure."

"Why did that driver give you the finger?"
"What driver was that?"
"The one that you cut off when you were pulling out of the parking lot."

"Sweetie, I didn't cut anyone off."
"You didn't?"
"No. I was simply going around another car who was undecided on which way to go."
"So why did she give you the finger if you didn't cut her off?"

He thought about for a minute, then said, "Daddy needs to concentrate on the road. How 'bout you put your headphones back on?"

After not getting an answer for several seconds, he reached behind the seat and tapped her ankle a couple of times.

She uncrossed her arms and whined, "What?"
"Did you hear what I'd just said?"
"Yes, I heard you."
"And?"
"Duh!!!"

He looked in the rear view mirror and saw that she had her headphones on.

Smiling, he said, "That's my girl."

He turned his attention back to the road, but before settling down for the long drive home, he took out a small piece of tinfoil from his shirt pocket. Unfolding it, he took out the item and wiped it clean.

He turned it over a couple of times and gave it a sniff to make sure it was still fresh. Scrunching his nose, he said, "I really do hate dark meat." before popping the finger into his mouth.

(c) 2011 by GBMJr. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Is Self-Publishing Right For You?

Unless you've been hiding in a cave living like a hermit, then you know that a lot of people have been talking/perusing/embracing the concept of self publishing. If you're a writer, you've naturally asked yourself this particular question in one form or another numerous times.

As someone who has been an active participant and a very interested bystander/purchaser of the product for the past four years, and with the value of hindsight and present sight, I would like to say this:

Yes, but only if you meet a particular set of criteria.

I'm sure there are more than a few of you sitting out there asking the computer screen, "What on earth could there possibly be any criteria for self-publishing a book?"

Believe it or not, from what I've observed in the past two years, to give your novel/novella/short story collection the best chance of success, you really need to have these two necessary components.

1} A solid body of work.
2} A solid reputation in your chosen field of genre.

Without these two important pieces, you're basically swimming against the riptide. No matter how well written your prose is, unless you have something out there to prove to the reader that not only do you have talent but that talent has been looked upon in positive terms, you're just throwing your hard earned dollars away.

But if you do have those two important pieces, then you're giving yourself the best possible chance to succeed. And I know that unless I provide solid evidence to prove my theory, you're gonna ignore this entire post. So for those of you who want proof, here are five writers that I know of who have those two important pieces and links to them.

David Cranmer. Of all the writers that I've gotten to know over the years, David has had the most success self-publishing his work. Not only has he built a solid body of work but he is well respect in his chosen genre not only as a writer, but as an editor as well. Check out his blog and website for further details on what he has out there.

Charles Gramlich. Charles is well known and respected in his chosen genres of horror and fantasy, and has also come out with a few self-pubbed e-books that are excellent starting points to explore those two genres.

Travis Erwin. In addition to his body of short stories and a impressive debut novel, he has also self-published a wonderful trio of non-fiction short stories for the Nook/Kindle.

Joanne DeMaio. She writes both fiction and non-fiction and has coming out in March 2012 a wonderful novel called "Whole Latte Life".

Elanie Ash. She is an accomplished award winning short story writer and freelance editor who has an excellent crime noir/horror short story collection out on the Kindle.

To reiterate, the one common thread that all of these writers have is that they built a solid body of work before deciding to take the plunge into the world of self-publishing. This group of writers have all put out first class pieces of work and thus have proven that self-publishing is something that shouldn't be looked down upon, but to be embraced as an excellent addition to one's arsenal of writing weapons.

If you want to self-publish, please look at both sides of the issue. The pro can be found at the above links while a combination of the pro & con can be found here and at this blog (please check out my short series on self publishing: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th). While I'm only giving you my informed opinion based on my personal experience, in the end, the question of self-publishing being right for you can only be answered by you and no one else.

Make sure that it's an answer that you can comfortably live with.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Miles To Little Ridge" by Heath Lowrence

Last Thursday, I got a tiny little e-mail from David Cranmer asking if I would be interested in reading a nifty little novella western and offering my opinions of same. Pleased about the fact that David genuinely values my opinion on something and getting free goodies (who wouldn't want free goodies, eh?), I thanked him for the novella and said I would be more than happy to offer my opinion on it.

After printing it out (David was thoughtful enough to send it as PDF file for me) and briefly glancing at it, I brought to work with the intent of reading it at break time. Imagine my surprise when I sat down at break time and saw that the author of this fantastic little novella was not Edward Grainger but Heath Lowrence.

To be honest with everyone, the first thing that popped into my head was, "Uh-oh." Why? From my past encounters with the written word, whenever a well known writer has someone else write stories based on a character of theirs, it usually means that 1) they're too tired to continue writing the character or 2) they've run out of gas with the character or 3) they need the money. However, such was not the case with David.

As he eloquently stated in a recent blog post, he had several well respected writers come up to him and ask if they could write stories featuring his two soon-to-be iconic characters Gideon Miles and Cash Laramie. Such was the case with Heath Lowrence and this current novella "Miles To Little Ridge".

Anyways, I sat down in the lobby during my break and started reading the story. To say it kept my interest all the way to the end would be an distinct understatement. One little known fact about me when it comes to reading is that if a story, be it a short story, novella or novel, grabs my interest, I have a tendency to do a weird thing at work that I like to call "walk and read".

"Walk and read" is simply me reading the story and walking back to my cubicle. Lest you think that's easy, it's not. I read while walking from the lobby to the elevator, on the elevator, and walking off the elevator back to my cubicle on the 8th floor.

The novella itself is only 23 pages in length and even though the plot was pretty basic with a slight swerve (Gideon going after a wanted man and two others coming after him) and a very quick read (for me about 20 minutes), it kept my attention to the very end and frustratingly enough, the ending was written in such a way that I was actually disappointed that it did end. Only a couple of stories that I've ever read in the past six years have left me in that state of being, and I'm proud to say that this story is one of them.

Heath Lowrance does a masterful job of not only nailing the Gideon Miles character to a T but keeping the same historical background nuances relevant but not overpowering. "Miles To Little Ridge" is a excellent compliment to Edward Grainger's Gideon Miles and Cash Laramie series and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the western genre.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Is Friday? Then Brain Vacancy Here!

Howdy.

Today's post is a gonna be a bit of a ramble, in that I don't really have much in the way of a singular topic, but for a change of pace, instead of numbering my bullet points, I thought I would try to write this post as a story/essay. Because let's face it, I am wickedly rusty when it comes to writing non-business related non-fiction, so what better place to inflict my torturous attempts at writing non-fiction than this blog, eh?

Google has finally "improved" the last major application in their tidy little empire of free applications and suffice to say, it bites. They "improved" their Gmail, so now there's no escaping the fact that no matter where you go with Google, you will get aggravated by the non-user friendly applications in their empire.

The good thing about Gmail is that I don't use it anymore. I guess it came full circle for me, in that when I decided to set up a Gmail account (initially for chat room purposes) some three years ago, I decided to make my Yahoo and Hotmail accounts junk mail accounts at the same time. Now in 2011 the roles are reversed, in that Gmail and Yahoo are my junk mail accounts and Hotmail is my primary account (go figure on that one) for contact with the human race.

Speaking of the (cyber) human race, I did some house cleaning on my blog subscriptions/followings the other day. Apparently I do have a finite end when it comes to subscribing/reading blogs that haven't been updated in a while, which also happens to coincide with shooting from the lip whenever I feel like I'm getting disrespected. Anyways, I did a little blog surfing over the past few weeks and picked up a dozen new blogs to read and follow while discarding those that haven't been touched in several months (I still have one that haven't been updated in a year, but I think that has to do with the blogger being in the military). A few of those blogs have been added to my profile, so if you find yourself with a little bit of time on your hands, check out my profile.

About those new blogs: One thing that I've found while surfing is that the bloggers on WordPress have a tendency to push the envelope to the very far reaches of what is considered acceptable, more so than what I've seen here in Blogger. I'm not talking about things that would be considered offensive to most folks (what I consider to be offensive to most folks would be something along the lines of this), but simply things that you would see broadcast late at night on HBO, Cinemax or Showtime, that some people would find either morally offensive or incredibly intriguing.

In any event, the one thing that I find impressive about WordPress is that they treat their bloggers like adults. In other words, if the blog contains objectionable content, you won't find a page popping up before the main page asking you if you want to proceed to the blog. In other other words, if you don't like, you don't have to read it.

Let's see, what else do I need to cover...oh yes, since I have the tags "Genre Writing" and "The Muse" tacked onto this post, I might as well talk about them. I decided to lump what I write about under the tag "Genre Writing" simply because I have no freakin' idea what the actual genre is that I write in. I have a tendency to wander all over the place with my writing, so it's kind of difficult to precisely nail down what it is that I exactly write. What do I write? Good question, which deserves a good answer. However, since brain cells are in short supply with this post, we'll defer answering that question until a later date when the brain cells are plentiful (not Good 'n Plenty).

As for the Muse, it seems that she's taken a siesta for the moment....or living vicariously through Charla the lynx, which would be slashing and devouring or grinding and pounding herself silly, or a combination of both, your guess is as good as mine. In any event, she is not here occupying my brain at the moment, which is both a blessing and a curse. A curse in that I now have to actually think for myself as it applies to my writing.

A blessing in that if she was around, I would probably be thinking of ways to use her in my latest concoction, description-wise.

Like this:

In the few seconds that it took her to move from the darkness to the light, Charla had switched back to her slut persona. She had on a super tight bloody orange tank top and half bra that helped overly emphasize her naturals; glammed out jheri curls; cut-offs that were unbuttoned and the top and held in place by a small chain and key lock; retro b-ball sneakers with horizontal striped knee-hi's; small hoop earrings, along with a diamond nose sud and a glistening bloody pentagram.

But, since she isn't here, I'm left to fend for myself and fending for myself can sometimes lead to really bizarre things written down on paper. Or on a Word document. Or on a blog.

In summation, the little parts are joined together in strange ways so as to give the large part cohesion. Or balance. Or clarity.

Clarity.

Some day I may have that in my life, but until then, I leave you with this video of a song that is rambling through my noggin at the moment.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Canadian Midwest

A week ago, I ran a rather lengthy and dry post about what I was doing with a few of my short stories. At the beginning of the post, I offered to write a post about the first two people who were able to identify the lyrical snippet and/or group that the post title was connected to.

Suffice to say, I had two winners who correctly identified the song title, "Words", and the name of the group, Missing Persons: Bearman and Sparkling Red.

So without further ado, here is a post about two of my readers who happen to write a couple of blogs that I've been reading for the better part of two years.

Bearman

Bearman is a self-proclaimed "hack" cartoonist who hails from Cincinnati and who can be found at his blog Bearman Cartoons, skewering most things related to pop culture, local culture, national culture and everything else in between. For those of you who peruse Facebook, Twitter or Google+, he can be found there as well.

I'm not really sure how came about to be reading his blog back in 2009, but if I should hazard a guess, I probably found him via another WordPress blog that I happened to be reading one day. I do remember the post that I commented on when I'd first visited his blog, which was about the lack of black superheros in the movies (I think I got the post right), and after spending about a week or so reading his blog, I decided to stick around for the duration.

What is unusual about this particular blog, at least as it applies to me, as it remains the only cartoon oriented blog that I consistently read/subscribe to on a daily/weekly basis. Which says a lot about me, since I have some 115 blogs that I subscribe to, and out of those 115, there are only two devoted to cartoons and cartoonists that I read. The cartoon is Bearman's, which I can honestly relate to, since he often reminds me of our local editorial cartoonist here in Connecticut, Bob Englehart. The cartoonist is a blog hosted by John K, of Ren & Stimpy and Mighty Mouse fame.

So if you like your cartoons home grown, down to earth and actually relevant to the day's events, along with a lively discussion for each one, check out Bearman Cartoons. You'll be glad that you did.

Sparkling Red

Sparkling Red hails from Canada and writes a very interesting slice of life blog called Adventures In Sparkland. I'm not quite sure how I stumbled across her blog but if I was to hazard a guess, I probably found her while exploring a few profiles one day.

When I say "exploring profiles", that means that I decided to click onto the comment portion of a blog post and check out the various commenter's profiles. I will admit that I am very shallow when it comes to checking blogger profiles, in that if the avatar that a person uses is interesting, then I'll check out the profile. Dull avatar means that I skip over the profile.

Anyways, Sparkling Red's profile pic intrigued me, so I decided to click on it to see what was what. What was what, was a very fascinating slice-of-life blog.

Now what I mean by "slice-of-life" blog, is that the person had chosen to write about certain aspects of their personal life, either semi-censored (like mine) or relatively open, like hers. Sparkling Red's blog is what I considered to be a relatively open slice-of-life blog that seldom leaves any stone about herself unturned. I won't say it's a religious blog, but it's more in the way of a spiritual blog. A journey of self-discovery, one might say (at least that's the impression I get from it).

If you enjoy learning about things from another country, or simply learning how deal with life's little problems, or even relating to the trials and tribulations of someone who is successfully dealing with life's little inconveniences, then give Adventures in Sparkland a whirl. You'll be glad that you did.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hard To Accept But It's Easy To Ignore

The world "no".

The American Century Dictionary defines the word "no" thusly: Indicating a negative, refusal or denial.

The antiquated response of yore (that is, what you and I would typically do) would be to accept the answer and continue doing whatever it was that we were doing when we asked the question in the first place.

The typical response of the modern day toddler (age range 4-7 and 16 until 35) is to throw a temper tantrum.

However, the temper tantrum thrown is not uniformly the same.

If you're a teenager, the temper tantrum is to basically destroy a few inanimate objects until a spineless adult gives in.

If you're a member of generation stupid (age range 20 to 27), then the temper tantrum is based in part on the fact that you're a narcissistic ingrate who decides to pursue his or her chosen career path in spite of the facxt that there ain't no jobs. So you do stupid protests and mooch off the guv'ment at the same time.

If you're a member of generation crybaby (age range 28 to 35), then your tantrum is based on the fact that after years of doing something the wrong way, you're now being forced to do it the right way.

So you fill out a complaint with either upper management or your union and while that's going on, you still continue to do it your way and thumb your nose at it as well.

Special note: If you're a member of the guv'ment, then you file a complaint with the union charging discrimination/harassment plus go to the media as well, to complain about being forced to do your job.

Other special note: If you're not a member of the guv'ment but just a normal person of society who happens to wallow in "victimhood", then you complain to the media and drop the ever popular "R" world, which would be racist; the ever popular "b" word, which would be bigot; and if you happen to be a militant member of the homosexual community who believes that no one is entitled to a differing opinion than yours, you throw out the "h" word, which in this case would be homophobe.

Yes indeed, the word "no" conjures up images of devastating proportions, hypocrisy up the wazoo, and pre-politically correct behavior and speech.

Who would've thunk that a simple two letter word could change the course of human history in such a way that it could ultimately change an entire country (U.S.A.) or an entire continent (Europe) into a race of snot nosed whiny little brats.

Ain't life grand?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Is The Cure Worse Than The Ailment?

I very rarely talk about my health issues on this blog, simply because I try not to let them define me as a individual. I would rather define myself as a unique individual who happens to blessed with a genetic malady and the world's cheapest disease to have: diabetes.

I say cheapest, because if you have diabetes, the insurance companies have to cover your prescriptions (if you have insurance that is) and thus, your co-payments are usually zippo. That means, if you take pills, the co-payment on a $180 prescription is $0. Same goes for about any other expensive diabetic medication that you might have to take. Think I'm fooling? I have a prescription that if I had to pay retail, it would cost me about $400.

Anyways, for the most part, I stumble through my day-to-day activities with my diabetes well under control. I watch what I eat, test my sugars when I feel off and adjust accordingly, and when I am off, I let my supervisors know that if I'm hibernating in my cube it's because my sugars are out of whack and I don't want to inflict a messed up me on anyone else.

Last week, I experienced such a messed up me that when all was said and done, it made me truly wonder if the cure was really worth putting my body through the ringer.

I have, for better and worse (yeah, it is possible), a very wonky left shoulder. To whit, I had surgery on it back in 2001 for tendinitis. Over the course of the next ten years, the durability of said shoulder has ebbed and flowed with an ever escalating degree of annoyance and irritability, until by the late summer of 2011, it was really interfering with my ability to function like a normal person.

From the late summer to about now (mid November), the shoulder got to the point where it was becoming extremely uncomfortable to do anything that would be considered normal (driving, typing, writing, eating, etc., etc., etc.). So I called up my doctor and set up an appointment to have my shoulder checked out. After taking a few X-rays and diagnosing another mild case of tendinitis plus rotator cuff issues, he suggested a cortisone shot and some inflammatories (Advil) as the first step in curing the problem.

Since the second and third steps would be incredibly difficult for me to deal with (rehab & surgery), I said go for it.

One important fact that you should realize when you take either cortisone or steroids: it can temporarily jack up your blood sugar. Normally not an issue when you're not a diabetic, it becomes a major issue when you're a diabetic. Especially if you take medication on a daily basis.

My friends, not only did my body take a proverbial beat down with this cortisone shot (which I might add, is working out very fine so far), but I had to tweak my medications for the entire week, which of course left me in a most irritable frame of mind.

How irritable?

Consider this fact: My fasting sugars are usually around 115 and the day is usually spent functioning anywhere between that number and 150. Last week, I started Tuesday at 315 and I didn't drift down below 150 until Saturday morning.

Not only was I functioning with a stubbornly high blood sugar, but I also had to deal with vicious mood swings (my hot flashes would make yours feel like the end result of sticking your forearm in the oven while taking a tray out), frequent trips to the porcelain gods, brutal acid indigestion and hiccups.

Yes, you heard correctly, hiccups. I spent four and a half days suffering from a severe case of the hiccups. How bad was it? Ever try carrying on a semi-important phone conversation and apologizing every five seconds for hiccuping?

By Saturday, I was back down to my usual abnormal self, but to be honest with you, the next time that I'm offered a cortisone shot to ease the pain of a particular body part, I will definitely think twice about subjecting myself to that kind of torture again.

So my good friends, my question to you is this: Ever have a procedure done where in order to achieve long term relief for your particular problem, you had to suffer through a week's worth of rotten side effects in order to achieve that goal of long term relief for the problem at hand?

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All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-16 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at georgebjr2006@gmail.com