The Crotchety Old Man

Jul 27, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Change is Gonna Come

There’s more to being an author than writing books. Writing new stories is the fun part. The publication process is a sometimes painful learning experience, but the real torture comes around the release of each new novel. I’m talking, of course, about marketing and promotion, Even for an attention whore like me, the amount of self-promotion a writer needs to do is a little off-putting. Sometimes, I feel a little cheap. The effectiveness of the various marketing strategies, techniques, and practices I’ve tried is difficult to measure. I know the number of comments my posts get on other blogs and the number of visits to my web site per day. Once a quarter, sales figures come with my royalty checks. A careful analysis …

Jul 20, 2015
By Michael Rupured

90 Days My Ass

Ads promise anyone can have a killer body in ninety days. All it takes is thirty minutes of exercise, three or four times a week. Results are guaranteed, or your money back. In the eloquent words of my father, may he rest in peace: horse shit. A perfect body has never been my goal. Not that I’d mind, of course, but I exercise for my health. Staying off medications is the goal. Any other results are just icing on the cake doughnuts I shouldn’t be eating. Nonetheless, I was sorely disappointed after joining the gym three years ago that three months of working out had produced so little change. Seriously. I almost quit. Eventually, getting to the gym became a priority for me. I’d like to workout …

Jul 13, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Full Circle

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 6 This is the sixth and final week of my 10 Extra Pounds series. Since starting the series, I haven’t lost any weight. In truth, I’ve continued to gain. At least the pace has slowed. Ten pounds makes a big difference. My clothes are a bit too snug. On my runs, my knees, ankles, and shins complain. The extra weight added almost three minutes to my pace for a mile too. Graphs on the web site where I record my weekly weight revealed a pattern. I put on ten or more pounds this time of year in each of the last three years. December or January I could understand, but May and June? I told my …

Jul 08, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Rehabbing A Good Time

A week ago today, my friend woke up in a longterm rehab facility in the middle of nowhere, Georgia. The first thirty days, he’s not allowed visitors. Getting him there took some doing, and I’ve been anxious about whether or not the program is a good fit for him. I got a letter Monday. Yeah, a real letter. For those of you under forty, a letter is a really long text message, handwritten on paper in a dead language known as cursive and delivered days later by a U.S. Postal Service carrier. Here’s the first paragraph of his letter: I hate this place! Please pick me up as soon as possible. It kills me to be here! The food is …

Jul 06, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Make it Stop!

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 5 Concern about ten extra pounds motivated me to act. Mostly, I worried. Unfortunately, as an emotional eater, my response was counterproductive. I ate like there was no tomorrow. Most days, I do fine from the time I get up in the morning until supper. Travel and catered meetings aside, my problem is post-supper grazing. I’ll snack until bedtime and then get up two or three times a night for more. On travel days, delivery is fast and easy. A sandwich from Jimmy John’s is my go-to choice. Sometimes I get chips, sometimes not, but I always get at least one of their delicious chocolate chip cookies. After my day in Savannah, I split a large …

Jun 30, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Traumatized

Someone very near and dear is dealing with serious addiction issues. Since this time last year, I’ve watched his life spin out of control. A month ago, the shit hit the fan. I first got concerned about a year ago. He was late for a dinner date by several hours and hadn’t called or anything. When he finally showed up, he  had abrasions on his cheek and forehead from fainting in a parking lot. He said it was too much sun. Odd things continued to happen. I’d ask questions, but not too many. You know — boundaries. Some things I’d rather not know. Ignorance is bliss. An incident in October knocked me for a loop. He’s lucky to be alive. With the …

Jun 29, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Road Trips

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 4 Gaining weight two weeks in a row had me concerned. Exercising only on weekends wasn’t offsetting the damage. Try as I might, however, I couldn’t get back to my normal routine. I had to go to district meetings in each quadrant of the state. The coordinators in each district put me on the program right before or after the noon hour. I go along for lunch to network and catch up on all the real news. I drove 200 miles (one way) to Tifton and, two days later, over to nearby Watkinsville. Driving makes me hungry. In both towns I ate chips and salsa like I’d never seen food before. In Watkinsville, a plate of …

Jun 22, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Working It

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 3 A six-mile run and a generous reward system caused me to gain a few pounds. No reason for concern. Nine times out of ten, I lose weight the week after a bad weigh in. Persistence is the key to success. Getting back on track became my top priority. The universe, however, conspired against me. Back-to-back buffets at the office got my week off to a bad start. There’s always too much food. I do what I can to make sure nothing goes to waste. A caterer prepared trays of sandwiches, chips, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies for our faculty retreat. The hummusy-tasting pimiento cheese sandwiches were a tad dry. The chips were easier to resist …

Jun 15, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Just Rewards

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 2 Last week, I confessed to gaining ten pounds. Mom suggested the extra weight was muscle from working out so much. Isn’t she sweet? Exercise did play a role. Working out explains maybe one or two pounds – and that’s being generous. Running is to blame for the remaining eight or nine extra pounds. Ironic, I know. Running three miles several times a week has kept the forty pounds I lost a couple of years ago from coming back. Eventually, to get the same result takes more effort. So I stepped up my game and ran six miles. Running twice my usual distance made me feel invincible. For the next week, I ate like I was seventeen …

Jun 08, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Weighing In

Ten Extra Pounds, Part 1 I weigh myself throughout the day and record my weight once a week. Vigilance works. Checking the scales enables me to act before an extra pound or two turns into ten. Since 2010, I’ve paid twenty bucks a month to track my weekly weight online. Yeah, I could do the same thing for free with a spreadsheet. Paying keeps me honest. Mostly. Every week, I record my best morning weight from Sunday or Monday — whichever is lowest. Since losing forty pounds more than two years ago, my weight has stayed about the same, plus or minus no more than five pounds. At least I’m consistent. Lately, things have gotten out of hand. Despite my watchfulness and …

Jun 01, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Feeble Eyes

In 2010, the retina specialist discovered macular degeneration in my left eye. The macula is the central portion of the retina. It focuses central vision for reading, identifying colors, recognizing faces, and seeing fine details. Only about ten percent of cases — including mine — reach the advanced stage. With advanced macular degeneration, also known as wet macular degeneration, abnormal vessels leak blood or fluid into the macula. There is no cure. Every four to eight weeks, I get an injection to slow the pace of deterioration. Eye shots aren’t as bad as they sound. The worst part is the metal clamp used to hold my eye open for the shot. You may have seen the device in Clockwork Orange. In 2010, I could see three …

May 25, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Where There’s a Will…

Do you have a will? A lot of people avoid estate planning — as if not talking about death will somehow keep it from happening. Wrong! Moreover, the worst thing you can do to your heirs is die without an estate plan. In recent posts I’ve mentioned my plans to retire in the next five to seven years. I’ll get a small pension from a previous employer plus Social Security. The bulk of my retirement income, however, will come from the money I’ve saved (including the match from my employer). At this stage of the game, the balance in my retirement accounts is significant.   God willing, my life force and my account balance will zero out at the same time. If I die before the …

May 18, 2015
By Michael Rupured

A Taste of Retirement

Submission deadlines make me nervous. Working without an outline and only vague ideas about where the story might go means I could hit a wall at any time. Prompted by a May 1 deadline for Whippersnapper, I took a week off from the day job in mid-April for a taste of what life will be like after I retire. I finished the first draft Tuesday evening. Wednesday and Thursday I worked on revisions. Friday and Saturday I wrote the dreaded synopsis the publisher requests with every submission. Vision issues keep me from writing for more than a few hours in one sitting, so I had time to do other things. The weather sucked. Aside from a few sunny hours on a couple of days, rain made doing much of anything outside difficult. …

May 11, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Best Friend

According to wikipedia, a friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. That casts a pretty wide net. I’m fond of a whole lot of people. Lucky for me, some of them feel the same way about me. By definition, that makes us friends. I’m grateful for each and every one of them. Many date back to grade school. Just knowing someone that long is special. In a world where everyone comes and goes so much, more than forty years of shared history carries a lot of weight. Like a mother with many children, I love my friends equally. Naming a best friend is risky business. I’m taking the risk this year and doubt any runners up will take offense The 2015 recipient of …

May 04, 2015
By Michael Rupured

The Elliptical and Me

I don’t perspire — I sweat like Niagara Falls. Consequently, I prefer to run without a shirt — a preference that rules out running for most of the winter. Last year, I forced myself to run on a treadmill at the gym. I tried to focus on the silver lining, but time on the awful machine passed slower than ice-cold molasses. Hated it. An exercise program I followed last fall included cardio suggestions. Since I was running two or three times a week, I skipped the extra cardio. When the weather turned cold, I decided to try the recommended twenty minutes on an elliptical. Couldn’t be worse than the treadmill. Loved it. Sensors on the elliptical monitor my heart rate, which is shown on …

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