The Crotchety Old Man

Sep 15, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Misnomers

Regular readers know I spend entirely too much time watching television and that I have a particular fondness for trashy reality shows. It’s true. Jerry Springer, Real Housewives (especially Atlanta and New Jersey), Toddlers and Tiaras and other, equally offensive shows are regular fare. I can’t help myself. The new television season kicks off next week. Having tired of summer repeats, In search of something new to watch, I’ve been pouring through the blue channel–you know, the one that shows the full schedule of every channel. Here’s a list of shows that caught my eye, only to disappoint. Dance Moms. I envisioned a show similar to So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars featuring a group …

Sep 14, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Kinda Biz-Zee

Whenever possible, I try to write a new post here on the blog at least two or three times a week. Lately ye olde blog has moved to the back burner.  Without a dose of my wry sense of humor and insightful observations, I’m guessing many of you have had a totally shitty week. I’m sorry. Between travel, a hectic schedule at work, the start of the football season, and ongoing attempts to launch my writing career, I’ve been busier than usual. Believe me, it sucks for me, too. September and October are always busy months at work. Because of a new grant and several big projects, this year has been even busier than usual. You won’t hear me complain–at …

Sep 07, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Another Day with the Seniors

I had my appointment with the retina specialist today. There were a few people waiting in the hallway, and the main waiting room was full. I took a seat in the nearly empty overflow waiting room and started catching up on Words with Friends on my cellphone. A sweet little old lady who had driven a member of her church to the appointment from Elberton was deep in conversation with a young woman who had driven her father from Buford.  As usual, the doctor was running behind. I eaves-dropped on their conversation for a good half hour. The older woman reminded me a lot of my Aunt Toodles. She was upbeat and positive about everything and told several funny stories …

Sep 06, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Change of Plans

Several months ago I hired a professional editor to take a look at Glass Houses. Due to other commitments, it took her a while to get to my manuscript. Today I (finally) received her review. The five-page review was actually better than I expected. Her criticisms were nothing I hadn’t heard before, and included several ideas for how we might address them. Her thoughtful review emphasized the positive and helped me to see a way to fix problems I’ve known about since finishing the memoir. Her review focused on general comments, strengths of the manuscript, and recommended revisions. The general comments revolved around narrowing down the storyline, selecting major characters (rather than the cast of thousands in the current draft), …

Sep 04, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Practice Makes Perfect

I fully expected to get a lot of writing done over the long weekend.  With my partner being out of town and a rainy forecast, I hoped to make significant forward progress on Addicted, my first work of fiction. Unfortunately, aside from a few new posts here on the blog, I haven’t gotten any writing done. The writer’s group met yesterday and critiqued chapters twenty through twenty-three of Addicted. The regulars all agreed it was my best work to date. I was thrilled. Normally I spend the Sunday after a writer’s group meeting following through with all the suggestions they made about my manuscript. Last night it took me all of twenty minutes to make the changes they suggested. I …

Sep 03, 2011
By Michael Rupured

A Cursed Labor Day Vacation

My partner’s dad recently purchased a house on Panama City Beach. For the long weekend, he decided to go down for a little rest and relaxation and to check out the new digs. Mostly because my writer’s group meets today, I opted to stay home. We knew the tropical depression that would become Tropical Storm Lee was bearing down on the area. But the forecasters didn’t expect it to reach hurricane status, and they predicted it would make landfall quite a ways west of Panama City Beach. We agreed the storm was no reason for him to change plans. Normally, he’d take Tico with him. His chihuahua travels well, adores my partner, and pouts anytime he gets left behind. But …

Sep 02, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Hypocrisy in Action

The selection of Chaz Bono as a contestant has certainly generated a lot of buzz about the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars. In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Chaz underwent female-to-male gender transition a few years ago. For the totally clueless, his parents are Sonny Bono and Cher. Conservative religious groups like One Million Moms (an affiliate of the American Family Association, identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group) are asking like-minded thinkers(a term I use loosely here) to boycott the show. Apparently, they’re afraid that seeing a transgendered person on television will cause their child to become dissatisfied with his or her current gender. Never mind the message of intolerance the …

Sep 01, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Vern & Peggy

Over the weekend I noticed our internet connection had slowed to near dial-up speed. Dripping faucets, cabinets that won’t quite close, and cobwebs along the edge of our fourteen foot ceilings I can live with. But given the amount of time I spend online, a slow internet connection required immediate action. First I rebooted the computer. No change. Next I turned off the wireless router and again rebooted the computer. Same story.  Then I disconnected the cheap-ass cable modem we rent from the cable company for $5 a month because I keep forgetting to buy one, turned off the wireless router, and again rebooted the computer. No luck. Charter Communications is the cable monopoly in our area. Given my experience …

Aug 30, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Southern Food

You hear a lot about Southern cooking. Having spent a few months in North Carolina shortly after I was born, more than three decades in Kentucky, a year and a half in Washington DC, and nearly fifteen years now in Athens, I’ve lived in the South my entire life.  I’m no expert, but I do know a few things about Southern cooking. One thing I know is that Southern cooking varies quite a lot from one place to another. Up in Lexington we ate burgoo, hot browns, and beaten biscuits with ham–dishes they’ve never even heard of down here in Athens. Unless things have changed, Lexington restaurants served unsweetened tea, even if you wanted it sweet, and barbecue was meat …

Aug 28, 2011
By Michael Rupured

The Last Square

We’re used to seeing sizes shrink so the manufacturer can avoid a price increase.  A pound of coffee becomes thirteen ounces, a box contains a few ounces less cereal than before, and a half-gallon of ice cream is now only one and one-half quarts. The price stays the same, but we’re getting less for our money.  Manufacturers figure we don’t mind paying more per pound (or ounce or whatever) as long as we don’t have to pay more at the cash register.  Makes sense.  Or maybe they think we won’t notice. As a man of a certain age, I’ve adjusted to countless of these petty little changes with little more than a grunt and a shake of the head.  Yeah, …

Aug 27, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Things I Would Do Over

For better or worse, the things I’ve done (both good and bad) have shaped me into the person I am today. While far from perfect, my life has turned out pretty good and certainly much better than I ever expected. In fact, those who know my story consider the fact I’m even alive today to be downright miraculous. Yes, I made a lot of poor choices and stupid mistakes. I’m a slow learner and tend to try things without bothering to research my options, read the instruction manual, or heed the advice of those who’ve gone before me. Even so, considering the way things have turned out, I have no regrets. But given the opportunity, there are a few things …

Aug 26, 2011
By Michael Rupured

My Retirement Roller Coaster

After finishing college and launching my career, retirement seemed like an impossible dream. Work was my life sentence for a frivolous youth and a mountain of credit card and student loan debt. Any money I could set aside was more likely to be needed for a casket and burial plot than a condo in a retirement community. Before I finished school, several of my employers required me to contribute to a retirement plan. I always kicked in the minimum and when I left their employment, promptly withdrew any cash I’d accumulated. In one case, I passed up a two-for-one match and in every case, I paid taxes and a ten percent penalty for taking the money out. Let’s just say …

Aug 23, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Disincentives

I was thrilled on weigh-in day this week to see I’d lost another pound. My delight was short-lived. My bubble burst when I discovered my daily point allowance had dropped another point. Compared with the women I know on Weight Watchers, I can’t complain. I still get 43 points per day, plus 49 extra points every week, and whatever activity points I earn from riding my bike, walking the dogs, or mowing the yard.  The point is I still get enough points to support my ice cream habit. The general trend, however, is disturbing. When I started Weight Watchers, I got a generous 46 points every day. Yes, I’ve lost almost twenty-two pounds. But my progress has cost me three …

Aug 22, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Today I was re-reading an e-mail I received several months back from a devout Evangelical Christian. We first met many years ago when we were both unaware of a central fact of our existence. She wasn’t yet religious and I had no idea I was gay. She is a few years older than me–a difference that doesn’t seem like much today. Back then, however, the age difference was huge. She was a college sorority girl and I was still in high school. She was a smart, sophisticated role model and a sane voice during a crazy time. While her brains impressed me the most, she was also beautiful with natural blonde hair and dazzling blue eyes. We lost touch, only …

Aug 18, 2011
By Michael Rupured

Pee Talker or Not?

Today I drove down to the conference center in Tifton, Georgia. The conference center is about 170 miles from my house. That means I spent seven hours in the car driving down and back. Thank God for books on CD. Upon reaching my destination, I headed straight for the bathroom. Despite having stopped in Madison and again in Perry, my need was great.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with the 20-0unce coffee I brought with me from home or the 32-ounce iced-tea I picked up in Madison. A meeting of farmer types let out just as I entered the building. When I walked into the bathroom, half a dozen dudes in Wrangler jeans and square-toed boots stood before …

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