The Crotchety Old Man

Nov 23, 2015
By Michael Rupured

No Tipping?

The latest trend in upscale dining is to do away with tipping. Instead, fine dining establishments say they will pay staff a respectable wage. Of course, they’ll also jack prices up by twenty percent or more to cover the cost of higher wages. Many moons ago, I waited tables. For more than a decade, I pasted a smile on my face and did my best to please often surly customers. Although I did my time in a dive or two, most of the restaurants where I worked were high end. For much of that time, the money I made waiting tables was my only source of income. I was paid $2.01 an hour (eventually it went up to $2.10) without any …

Nov 16, 2015
By Michael Rupured

A 5K to Remember

My first 5K event took place in January of 2009. I signed up to run in the Chilly Dawg because it  was sponsored by my employer.  The plan was to walk it, but I quit before I even reached the half way point. In 2011 I ran in the Sleighbell.  Having failed miserably at my first 5K, I was bound and determined to finish. To guarantee my success, I trained for three months. I set my pedometer to 5K, ran at least three times a week, and had no trouble going the distance.  I was ready. The temperature on race day was a brisk 34 degrees when I got up. I put on my running shorts, and to remind me of my …

Nov 13, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Work Here is Done

My dear friend has been in rehab for almost five months now. After 90 days in the program, he earns a four-day pass every month. For both his October and November passes, he came to stay with me. Given the way things turned out in the weeks he stayed with me prior to entering rehab, I was anxious about his first visit. He’s doing great, but I’m a horrible cop, and was afraid of what might happen. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded. The program he’s in is run by the residents. He got on the kitchen team in the second month, and by the third had been promoted to kitchen crew leader — one of only three crew leaders at …

Nov 09, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Method Writing

Writing a novel is a process. The path from conceptualization to completion can vary. No two of the many authors who I’ve talked with about their process approach the task the same way. My process has been different for every novel. Or so I thought. Upon closer inspection, a single thread runs through the beginning of the process for all my stories. Whether I have an idea for a whole story or just a concept, it’s serious when I start writing paragraphs about the characters. These short little bios include a few essential details about the character, his or her appearance, and a bit about their past. The more I write, the more fleshed out the characters become in my head. …

Nov 02, 2015
By Michael Rupured

A Real Time Change

Over the weekend we switched back to Standard Time. Few things mess with my head more than a time change. Frankly, setting the clock up or back does little more than piss me off.  Everyone talks about gaining or losing an hour. Whatever. In the end, we still have just twenty-four hours in a day. No matter how you cut it,twenty-four hours just isn’t enough time for everything I want to do. Forget shifting things around an hour. I’m ready for a time change I can believe in — one that magically results in a few extra hours every day. Not having to work would help. Don’t get me wrong — I’m grateful for a job I still love. But if I had enough …

Oct 26, 2015
By Michael Rupured

New Edits for an Old Story

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the arrival of first round edits for Whippersnapper foiling my plans to spend Labor Day weekend working on my next novel. Two days later, first round edits for the re-release of No Good Deed (formerly After Christmas Eve) appeared in my inbox. Two sets of edits to work on in addition to my duties for the day job freaked me out a bit. Some authors have no problem moving back and forth between several different stories. Not me. Immersing myself in a story takes time. Since I was already up to my eyeballs in Whippersnapper, I decided to ignore No Good Deed until I finished those edits. Going from my fourth novel (Whippersnapper) to my second …

Oct 19, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Old Kentucky Home

I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky — the thoroughbred horse capital of the world. Getting back home happens less and less often. There’s much to love about my old hometown, and I find myself missing it more and more all the time. If I had to pick one thing I miss the most about Lexington — other than friends and family — it would be the bluegrass. Bluegrass is the best of all the turf grasses. Nothing compares with a barefoot walk through tall, cool bluegrass. I love the dark green color and the way it shimmers in the breeze. The last time I was home, I didn’t get a chance check out the gay scene. Things have changed since I left. Last …

Oct 12, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Over the Hill

“Over the hill” is a term we’ve all heard, and on some level, come to fear. A quick search turned up the definition. Past the peak of one’s youthful freshness and vigor; far along in life; old. You talking to me? I continued my research. A few web sites said “over the hill” applies to anyone twenty years older than you are. Interesting, but a tad depressing. I wanted to find the definitive point at which one has indeed reached the apex. The Urban Dictionary says “over the hill” applies to people forty and over because they have reached the climax of their life time and it’s downhill from then on. Forty was so long ago, I can’t recall if I’d climaxed or …

Oct 05, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Backyard

Outdoor spaces where I’ve lived over the years haven’t been very functional. I blame myself. Once the gardening bug bit, I viewed each potential new residence more for garden potential than anything else. Functionality never entered my mind. The garden I abandoned three years ago contained more than 600 varieties. When I bought the place nearly two decades ago, I visualized a garden worthy of a spot on the hoity-toity ladies’ garden tour. Deer, drought, fire ants, and Bermuda grass conspired against me. Throw in heat, humidity, budget constraints, and the size of the yard, and I never stood a chance. A walk through the garden was pleasant enough, but the overall setup wasn’t conducive to lingering. The peculiar lot lacked even a …

Oct 04, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Three Months into Rehab

Three months ago, I shared about a dear friend who was dealing with a serious addiction issue (Traumatized, June 30, 2015). He was hooked on crystal meth and GBH, faced drug charges in two counties, had lost his job, and no longer cared if he lived or died. For three long weeks, I worried an overdose or car accident would kill him. On June 30th, he checked into Bridges of Hope, a rehab facially in the middle of nowhere in South Georgia. The staff and board of directors are all graduates of the facility. The program revolves around the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The residents (all male with a capacity of 50) rotate through various teams. Each team is …

Sep 28, 2015
By Michael Rupured

First Round Edits

Labor Day weekend, I took off an extra day from the day job. Four days is a nice block of time to get some writing done. I planned to make progress on my new mystery series. The first book in the series — my fifth novel — is a bit more complicated than previous projects, so the going has been slow. As always happens when I have a plan, fate intervened. The long-awaited and much dreaded first round of edits for Whippersnapper appeared in my inbox on Friday. I don’t usually dread edits, but this time, I was worried about how much work would be involved. Because they are “structural” and focus on the story, first round edits can be difficult. Changing a …

Sep 21, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Home-Grown Tomatoes

The older I get, the more I appreciate the taste of a good, home-grown tomato. Back in Kentucky the plants went in the ground toward the middle of May with hopes the first fruit would ripen by the Fourth of July. Without buying big plants or cherry tomatoes, the first ripe tomato rarely appear before the end of July. Within a week or two everyone I knew had baskets of tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers they couldn’t eat. My first summer in Georgia I had a Kentucky-style tomato harvest. Coworkers and neighbors welcomed the surplus. That was almost twenty years ago. Since then, thanks to deer, drought and/or excessive heat,  I’ve had precious little luck growing them. A few years ago, I bought a …

Sep 14, 2015
By Michael Rupured

I Pod Now

I drink a lot of coffee. Caffeine is my drug of choice now, and my last remaining addiction. Just the thought of giving up my Joe gives me a headache. Over the decades, my coffee tastes and preferences have evolved. I’ve been a devoted and loyal customer at different times for Maxwell House, Folgers, Chock Full o’ Nuts, and Eight O’Clock. I drink mine black. A cup of flavored coffee is okay now and then, but not a pot, so I never buy any. I stepped up to whole beans eight or ten years ago. Freshly ground coffee smells wonderful, and tastes better too. Within a few weeks, I replaced my grinder and drip coffeemaker with a Grind N Brew …

Sep 07, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Old Habits, RIP

Change is a fact of life. No, I don’t mean nickels, dimes, and quarters. I’m talking about things being different than they were before, largely as a result of progress. Thinking about changes in my own life, I came up with ten things I don’t do anymore — some thanks to progress, others due to advancing age. Print Photographs. The days of having rolls of film laying around waiting to be developed are over. Now I’ve got hundreds of pictures I never would have taken before that, unless I post them on Facebook, nobody will ever see. Damn smartphones. Fry Chicken. To tell you the truth, I’m not much intro frying anything these days. Health has less to do with my frying …

Aug 31, 2015
By Michael Rupured


When I get an idea for a story, genre never enters my thought process. Opinions vary as to whether or not it should. As un realiste, I recognize the value of genres, but as un artiste, I resent the limitations. Conforming to genre conventions is so… conformiste. Initially, I was on a crusade to change the m-m genre. Lots of gay male authors go through this phase. Finding out the genre is dominated by straight female writers and readers is a WTF? moment. Battles about whether this is a good/bad/right/wrong have raged on Facebook, Twitter, and via countless blog posts. <SHRUGS> It is what it is. I’ve moved on. Genre matters because readers want some idea of what kind of story to expect. Whether m-m …

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