Showing posts from July, 2014

Exponential Good

My family friends and I served the guys at the Guest House of Milwaukee tonight and, while that was as satisfying and energizing as ever, I was jazzed up by a couple of other small points of light outside their doors.

The Guest House has built a series of raised garden beds outside their building. It's been there a few years, but I got a much better look at all of the vegetables and flowers that are coming out of this agency's efforts. Beautiful looking lettuce, corn, onions and other veggies all flourishing in the heart of the city. I think the entire crop will be used by the Guest House for meals for the men and it is maintained by a few of the residents. The neighborhood residents seem to respect the area as "sacred ground" and it is a really cool gem in the middle of an area hit hard by poverty.

The other part of the equation though is the newest addition to the garden. A rainwater harvesting system was funded by the Milwaukee Brewers, including Rickie Weeks and J…

Bits, Shards and Remnants

I always liked Hunter S. Thompson, partly because he was such a crazed maniac, but also because he called himself a Gonzo journalist. This is a bit of a Gonzo Blog post in that I'm not sure where it's going or where it came from, but it's kind of where I'm at right now. Life in shotgun mode. Random thoughts, maybe something for everyone here, or maybe not. Covering a large area with small little BB's.

I've always thought it would be kind of cool to write a whole book using my phone. It would take like 13 years, but hey, how unique would that be? Then I'd make it an eBook that could only be downloaded on a phone so that everyone would have to suffer reading it like I did writing it. My question is, why do I feel called to such a stupid undertaking? Don't look for it real soon. I am up to nine reviews on Amazon with Dirty Shirt. All of them have been favorable and positive so far, which is great. Getting to ten will be cool. Getting to twenty would be epic…

Casting Crowns In Tajikistan

I visited the godforsaken dentist this week. You know, I try and try, and I'm 52 years old and I should be over this now, but I really, really, really hate the dentist. I tell people that I'd 10 times rather go to the doctor than the dentist.

So anyway, my hygenist asks me if my I'm having any problems with my teeth. I lie and say no, because, lying helps, right? I've been obsessed with a "sharp spot" on one of my teeth ever since my last visit - it feels like a tooth that's about to crack. But as I see it, if I tell them, they'll want to:

Poke at it a bit with sharp objects.Poke me with a Novocaine needle.Drill it with unbridled joy.Charge me exorbitant out of pocket fees for the "white" filling because, heaven knows, insurance doesn't cover the white ones.  So I lie.
Then she tells me it's been a while since I've had X-Rays, so she layers me in lead and then makes me bite on these new "bite wings" that hurt and are mor…

Three From Each

Well, the Dirty Shirt Giveaway contest is over. For those who don't know, this was a Facebook contest I ran where I asked people to send in pictures of them reading Dirty Shirt or places where they like to read it. It met with a better than expected response. I got 15 responses for the contest and have received two more since. I encourage people to continue sending pictures because it is fun to see the different states and places that people are reading it.

Because it means so much to me that people took time to buy, read and take a picture, I'd like to answer three questions about each of the people who have sent one in. It will give you a better understanding of some of my friends and family and put the picture in a better context.

The three questions are:

1. How we met or how I know this person
2. How long I've known this person
3. What I admire most about this person.

So in no particular order, here they are.

Kris Nestingen Palm

We met at AllWriters' Workplace and Wo…

Summer's Slide

Well, it's mid-July and I'm starting to get that summer's-flying-by-too-fast feeling that I get every year about this time. It's probably a little exacerbated this year because of the dreadful winter that wouldn't end, followed by a spring that I would call more winter-lite.

And because it's screaming by, I begin to stack up the things I haven't been able to do yet, and in some cases, probably won't be able to do at all this summer. Well, rather than dwell on what I might not get to do, I'd rather talk about what I used to love about summer when I was a kid.

Backyard carnivals. As kids we were always looking for an entrepreneurial endeavor to earn a little cash for candy. So usually once a summer we organized a backyard carnival and invited all the neighborhood kids to participate. We would lure them into our backyard and then proceed to gouge them just like real carni's at the state fair. What great friends we were. One of the things we did was …

Way Better Than Good

Well, it has been a good weekend to be a writer. Lots of good things going on these past few days. Life as a writer seems to have ebbs and flows of activity, and right now things are flowing. The thing is, they're not just flowing for me, but for many of my friends as well. In some ways this makes me happier than my own isolated successes. Like any party, it's always fun when everyone is having fun along with you.

The weekend kicked off with my author interview at the studios of Milwaukee Public Radio's WUWM 89.7
FM. I went into the interview not knowing what questions would be asked with the expectation that this would make my spontaneous answers more, well, spontaneous. At the advice of a couple of writers, I had prepared in my head some answers to a couple of questions that were supposedly always asked at interviews, namely, who are your favorite authors and what inspired you to write this book? Of course those direct questions never came up, but if they had, well, I wa…

"The Book"

Well, the Dirty Shirt bus I'm riding keeps plugging along. There are a ton of things in the works and yet I feel  I've still got a bunch more to set up. I'm managing on my own, setting dates, inquiring, and publicizing my book to the various media outlets, but lemme tell ya, it's a full time job, outside of my other full time job. It's a bit all-consuming in the few hours between 5:00 and 10:00 PM.

I remember Mike Perry saying that his wife tired of people telling her how funny he was. I think I've approached that point with my wife where I start and end every conversation with something about "the book". She politely nods and says nice things, but I know she's probably tired of it. I don't want to become "that guy" that people avoid for fear of hearing about "the book", so I tend not to mention it to friends unless they bring it up. And if they do, look out. It's hard to shut me up.

It's a bit like a woman with her…

Road Warriors

Just got back from upstate New York for a long weekend holiday visit. It was a whirlwind trip of over 1500 miles in just 5 days. After doing battle with six states and Chicago traffic, I'm whipped. The kids were great though, much easier to travel with teenagers than young kids. You almost forget they're there most of the time, except when I turn to look over my shoulder and check for traffic and all I see is a foot (Sarah's). We've travelled together for so long, that we know each other's quirks. Donna makes sure there's enough snacks to keep everybody happy and then it's just a matter of grinding out the long stretches of pavement. I think we made only four stops in 750 miles today, so that tells you how we travel.

Get it done.
Get there.
No putzing.

The trip started with a quick visit to Rochester Institute of Technology, Rob's alma mater. Donna and the kids have been there to see the brick his friends had made for him when he was battling cancer, but…