The Crotchety Old Man

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 …

Mar 26, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Bitch Wanted: Inquire Within

I ain’t rich yet, but at 55, there’s still time for me to die a wealthy man. Inheriting a ton of money remains a possibility. Mom buys lottery tickets, and if she ever wins, well… I’ll be rich. If I wasn’t too cheap to buy a ticket, I could win the lottery. It could happen. My cheapness is a defining characteristic. This is not the same as being thrifty. Nope. Huge difference. A thrifty person doesn’t waste money. Someone who is thrifty knows the $100 model is sometimes a better buy than the $19.95 model I always prefer. I’m cheap, not thrifty. I’m too cheap to pay someone to do things I’m perfectly capable of doing myself. Of course, things …

Mar 24, 2013
By Michael Rupured

So Now I’m an Author

Since my first novel came out back in December, my perception of the life of a published author has been about the only thing to change. The vast distance between my expectations and the reality makes me wonder what else I believe to be true that’s just wrong. I suspect quite a lot. Some things we learn through experience, in school, or from reading up on the subject. I probably have a lot of that wrong too. But I was referring to perceptions and assumptions about things I have no reason to know much about that may or may not be based on good information. Many of these I’ll go to my grave believing. Strike misperceptions about the life of …

Mar 22, 2013
By Michael Rupured

Birth of a Catch Phrase

For the first fifty years of my life, becoming a published author wasn’t something I dreamed about. In truth, I never even considered the possibility. To younger me, authors were like movie stars, professional athletes, and rock stars — ethereal creatures blessed with a sublime talent. Aspiring to something so lofty just wasn’t practical. Now that I’m an author, I see how wrong I was — on so many different levels. If I was in this for the money, I’d cut my losses and quit while I was ahead. But, as you’ll see, my motivation to write comes from somewhere else. For most of my youth, I just was. I don’t remember thinking much about the future beyond some vague …

Mar 21, 2013
By Michael Rupured

The Party’s Over

The party I call my recovery from hernia repair is drawing to a close. The surgery was a week ago today, and aside from an occasional twinge, I’m feeling no pain. And no, the absence of pain is not the result of Percocet. I quit taking them Saturday night. I planned to wean myself off the pain killers by increasing the time between doses. But I ended up quitting cold turkey, keeping the Percocet nearby, just in case I woke up hurting in the middle of the night. I woke up the next morning pain-free, and really haven’t had any to speak of since. Of course, I’ve been taking things easy. I get up from my recliner to satisfy basic …

Mar 15, 2013
By Michael Rupured

My Miraculous Recovery

Yesterday I had surgery — inguinal hernia repair. The operation went well. I feel great today and am getting around fine with little to no pain. In fact, I feel so good, the biggest challenge of my recovery is going to be keeping myself from doing too much. I had my pre-op appointment at the hospital Wednesday afternoon. They ran an EKG, updated my medical history, and told me what I needed to do the night and morning before the operation. The bottom line: nothing to eat or drink after midnight. No surprise there. The surprise came when they said my procedure was scheduled for 10:30. WTF? I was expecting to have to be at the hospital by six or seven. Since …

Mar 13, 2013
By Michael Rupured

A Little Operation

Tomorrow I’m having surgery. Nothing serious. The surgeon will repair the hernia I’ve had in my groin for more than twenty years. It’s never bothered me, so the advice has always been not to worry about it. But it’s bigger, thanks to my gym routines, and now that I’m 55, putting off the surgery no longer makes sense. I’m not worried about the operation. As with everything these days but open heart surgery, no overnight stay is needed. I know the surgeon well and am glad he’s the one who will operate on me. He says I’ll be able to do whatever I want after thirty days. My recent ex is coming over tonight. He’ll drive me back and forth to …

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