The Crotchety Old Man

May 15, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Field Research: Meet the Apps

As promised, here’s the first of several reports on my field research about gay hook-up apps. As this research breaks new ground, my focus has been on in-depth personal interviews rather than surveys. Yeah. Serious stuff. My readers deserve the best I can bring to the project. I’m still in the data collection phase, but wanted to lay the groundwork with an introduction to the apps. There are tons of different hook up apps with new versions coming online every day for different subsets of the gay population. My research focuses on three — Grindr, Scruff, and GROWLr. GROWLr is for bears, cubs, otters, chasers, daddies, and chubs — over-sized and/or hairy men of any age and the men who prefer …

May 13, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Field Research: Could He Be … THE ONE?

Technology has changed dating — gay and straight — forever. Some of you may have used a computer to meet the love of your life, the second or third time around, anyway. But for most readers of this blog, any phone involved in meeting a love interest more likely involved a rotary dial than a touch screen. Before I plunge into a discussion about hook-up apps, here’s a little background to bring my long-married readers up to speed. No matter your sexual preference, meeting someone datable is tricky stuff. Back in the day, alcohol played a critical role. Waking up with a hangover next to the apparent man of my dreams, my first thought was more often,”What the hell was I thinking?” than …

May 09, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Birth Control?

I’ve come to believe that babies and contracts for first novels should come with detailed instructions. I feel like a thirteen year-old who got pregnant on purpose. Contrary to our expectations, birthing the little darling wasn’t the hard part. Conceiving the story is wicked fun. There’s nothing like the wild, reckless, and lusty passion of a first-time encounter with an intriguing story. Infatuation’s siren call compels me. I can’t stay away. Sparks fly as I pound away on my keyboard exploring, discovering, and forging an electric connection with the heart of my digital story. Sweating and gasping for air, we fight to become one. Frenzied fingers fly as I rush toward completion. Yes! YES! Y E S ! ! The story has been conceived and …

May 06, 2013
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Be My Alien

Today I’ve handed my blog over to writer pal M.A. Church to talk about Be My Alien, her new collaboration with Julie Lynn Hayes. The idea of co-authoring intrigues me, and one of these days, I’m going to have to give it a try. But first, let’s see what M.A. has to say about writing as a team. To co-author or not to co-author Well now, that *is* the question, isn’t it, lol? When I first started writing, I really didn’t get the whole co-authored thing, and I also had dozens of questions on how it would work. *shrug* I dismissed the whole concept, actually, as something that wasn’t for me. Then I met Julie Lynn Hayes, lol. Julie and …
May 02, 2013
By Michael Rupured

The Writing Life: Field Research

Not too long ago, homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Sexual acts between two men, even consenting adults, were illegal in all fifty states. Institutionalized homophobia and the risk of physical harm combined to make meeting someone a challenge. Out of necessity, gay dating practices evolved to fly beneath the radar. Imagining this reality is difficult for straight people. Staring at an attractive member of the opposite sex across a crowded room rarely leads to an ass-whupping. Whether or not the object of your affection feels the same way about you is one thing. Worrying he might beat you up or even kill you if he knew is something all together different. Being straight gives you the opportunity to select a life partner …

Apr 29, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Friends

Through second grade, I didn’t have friends who weren’t also kin. Before you shake your head and think, “Poor Michael,” you should know my parents came from large families. I have fifteen blood aunts and uncles plus spouses, and nearly all lived in Lexington. Never mind all the seconds, greats, and grands around at the time. Until I moved to DC in 1996, I’d always lived within easy walking distance of another relative’s home. My thirty first cousins range in age from five years older than me to ten years younger. From the time I started school through graduation, I never went to school without a cousin in my grade. Unless I was in the highest grade, there were always older …

Apr 25, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Gotta Dance

I don’t know about everyone else, but dancing is in my genes. No, I’m not talking about an inherited ability to trip the light fantastic. I can hold my own on the dance floor, thank you very much, but would never win any contests. My lack of talent, however, in no way diminishes the joy I feel when dancing to a favorite song. Dancing is behind three major weight loss episodes in my life. After a string of part-time jobs working around food, my activity level had dropped just as my caloric intake shot through the roof. Young people beware! Free Cokes as a fringe benefit are just a sneaky way to hook up new addicts. I remember getting up to …

Apr 22, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Raising the Bar: Consistency

When I started blogging in 2008, the hard part was coming up with an idea. After that, the writing came easy. I could knock out a post in an hour — two at the most. Those days are gone. Now I agonize over a post for hours, even days in come cases. Okay. Agonize might be a little strong. But writing a post does take a lot longer. My intention, when I started this post, was to lay all the blame at the feet of my status. I’m a published author for christ sake. I can’t just crap something out now. People expect more. My posts should be clever, beautifully constructed, thought-provoking, informative, poignant, and amusing. As I pondered my way …

Apr 18, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Backyards

Outdoor spaces where I’ve lived haven’t been all that functional. I blame myself. Once the gardening bug bit me, I viewed every residence before moving in more for garden potential than anything else. I fell in love with plants and, as I’ve been known to do, went overboard — three times, including in a duplex I rented — cramming each new variety I couldn’t live without anywhere I could find a spot. Other than mowing, checking out all the different kinds of flowers has been pretty much the only thing to do in any yard of mine ever since. The garden I just abandoned contains more than 600 varieties. Sixteen years ago when I bought the place, I visualized a …

Apr 15, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Me and My Telephone: A Love Story

I started my long-term relationship with the telephone back in elementary school. Things got serious in fifth grade when I went steady with Vicky Thompson — my very first girlfriend. I don’t remember how long she wore my ID bracelet. Outside of school, I may have seen her twice, at most. The lion’s share of our tender love story played out over the phone in nightly, hours-long calls. My family kept the phone lines hot. Mom touched base with her sisters, sisters-in-law, high school classmates, and others via the wall-mounted phone in the kitchen every morning while she drank her coffee. After she’d cleaned up around the house, decided what to cook for dinner, and ironed as she watched her …

Apr 10, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Addicted!

Exercise has never really been my cup of tea. In the past, there may have been activities I enjoyed that happened to be good exercise. The dance floor at Johnny Angel’s kept me thin through my early twenties. Trust me, my interest in dancing had nothing to do with exercise. With each passing year, the activities I enjoyed burned fewer and fewer calories. After a bunch of health problems hit all at once in my late forties, I vowed to do better. I started riding my bicycle, weather permitting, and when conditions were right, even enjoyed it. I lost some weight, felt good about myself, and over the winter, gained two pounds back for every one I’d lost. Nearly two …

Apr 04, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Coming Soon: After Christmas Eve

The folks at Dreamspinner Press, publisher of Until Thanksgiving, have been wonderful. When I finished After Christmas Eve (the prequel), I sent it to them, ignoring the part in their submission guidelines about the story having to be a romance. By ignoring, I don’t mean that I read and then disregarded the words. I never really looked. My reaction to the rejection I got from them a few months later, “Doh!” The rejection still felt like a kick in the gut. I knew it wasn’t personal — they like me well enough. But the story wasn’t the kind of story they publish. My bad. So I do what writers do when they get a rejection email: sent a whiney message …

Apr 02, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Carbon Copies, Typewriters, & Dot-Matrix Printers

Technology moves so fast, it’s easy to forget how we used to do things. Back in the 1980s, a Ph.D. student from Ohio State University paid me to type her dissertation. She’d finished her coursework and was living in Lexington, commuting back to Columbus as needed to meet with her committee. Experiencing the process with her was enough to keep me from ever pursuing a Ph.D of my own. Volkswriter had just replaced WordStar as the word processing software of choice. Each of the dissertation chapters was saved on a separate five-inch floppy disk. I’d print out drafts on the dot matrix printer for her to ship to her professors.  She’d come back a month or so later with a …

Mar 31, 2013
By Michael Rupured

A Time for Planting

Easter weekend kicks off the gardening season here in Athens. Although freezing temperatures are possible for another couple of weeks, the risk is slim. And yesterday, with sunny skies and a high near seventy, folks throughout my neighborhood were out adding new plants and spreading bags of mulch. Spring snuck up on me this year. The exceptionally mild winter we’ve had is partially to blame. Running shirtless in December, January, February, and into March prevented much of my annual winter angst and the related longing for spring. But I didn’t see spring coming because I haven’t been gardening. Clocks and calendars determine when spring is supposed to arrive. But the proof is in the garden. I have a special fondness for those harbingers of …

Mar 30, 2013
By Michael Rupured

An Impatient Patient

A dear friend and mentor said recently that impatience is my number one challenge. Truer words have rarely been uttered. He was referring to something specific to writing. But his words have broader application in my life. No matter how you frame it, I’m not a very patient person. What does patient mean? Merriam-Webster offers four pertinent definitions. Someone else might spend more time looking at other definitions. But in my desire to get this done, I didn’t. Hey, at least I looked up the word instead of winging my own definition. Let’s take a closer look at each of the four options. Bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint. Nope. Not me. Ask anyone whose had the pleasure …

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