The Crotchety Old Man

Feb 07, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Pushing My Buttons

I’m the unpaid executive director of a small professional association. About my only duty is to plan the every-other-year conference. I’ve been in the role for nearly ten years and consider it a labor of love. Our little association has no officers, membership dues, newsletter, or paid staff. Just me and whoever I can con into helping persuade to help me. On the plus side, I can do pretty much whatever I want without worrying about losing my job. The next conference is coming up at the end of this month. We selected Charlotte for the 2012 conference. Okay–it was really my decision. I worked through the local convention bureau to line up our hotel. Chattanooga was the site of our …

Feb 04, 2012
By Michael Rupured

More Than Friends

I finished writing Glass Houses about a year ago. After receiving rejections from the agent of my dreams and a publisher that seemed perfect for my book, I knew I needed help. Several friends suggested I check out local groups for writers. A Google search turned up a group right here in Athens. I sent the convener an email message and the following weekend, attended my first meeting. Since then, I’ve missed only one of our biweekly meetings. Every other Saturday night, I spend two to four hours talking shop with the other writers in the group. Here’s how it works. Members submit up to 5000 words of a work in progress. The next day, the convener sends these submissions …

Feb 03, 2012
By Michael Rupured

My Personal Trainer

Before last year, other than for Physical Education classes when I was in school or to watch an athletic event, I’d been in a gym exactly once. Hated it. Didn’t have the first clue what I was supposed to do, did too much, and after suffering for the next week, vowed I’d never set foot in a gym again. My decision to join a gym last September stemmed entirely from a desire to save money. I’d been going to Zumba three or four times a week and paying by the class. A gym membership was cheaper and gave me other workout options. Given my prior experience, I decided to go with a plan that allowed me to see a personal …

Feb 01, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Bound for Blindness

This morning I had yet another appointment with the retina specialist for my macular degeneration. We’ve seen each other every four to six weeks for nearly a year. On all of those visits but one, he has given me an injection in my left eye. Macular degeneration is a swelling between the layers of the retina. I have it in both eyes, but the left eye is worse–a lot worse than ninety percent of macular degeneration cases. The swelling in that eye has advanced to the degree that it blocks my vision and interferes with my ability to see details. The first few months, he used Avastin for the injections to shrink the swelling. It seemed to work. The swelling …

Jan 29, 2012
By Michael Rupured
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Gym Woes

The main reason I’ve never joined a gym before, aside from the fact I mostly hate to exercise, is a strong desire to avoid getting entangled in the kind of financial nightmare I’ve seen among people I’ve helped with their finances. Dealing with the gyms is always a nightmare. I’ve often felt that their business plan revolves more around ripping people off than helping people get healthy. But circumstances evolved to where joining a gym was the most cost effective way to keep doing Zumba–one of the few forms of exercise I truly enjoy. So back in September, I finally joined the Omni Gym, just down the street from where I live. Regular readers may recall my post about how …

Jan 28, 2012
By Michael Rupured
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5K #2

Today I ran in my second 5K race. My goal was to improve on the 40 minutes and 36 seconds it took me to complete the first one. Toward that end, I’ve been training for the last few weeks. This week, my plan was to run four miles on both Tuesday and Thursday. I had a hard time with my Tuesday run. Dreary weather and painful shins really slowed me down. In fact, I put in my worst time ever–nearly an hour to run the full four miles. Wednesday evening, I participated in a Zumbathon fundraiser for a local organization that fights child abuse. Having missed my regular Zumba classes on Sunday and Monday to attend a conference in Savannah, …

Jan 26, 2012
By Michael Rupured
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What on Earth Did I Do?

Since the first of the year, I’ve been running like crazy. Seems like there’s never a spare moment to just kick back and relax. Well, that’s not entirely true, but I sure don’t have the kind of downtime I had just a few years ago. Four years ago, we didn’t have any dogs. It’s not that our little chihuahuas are terribly demanding. About all they require this time of year is a few trips a day outside. They really need daily walks, but it’s dark by the time we have the chance, and Toodles is afraid of the dark. In truth, even in bright daylight, she’s afraid of practically everything. So during the short days of winter, Tico and Toodles …

Jan 24, 2012
By Michael Rupured
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Goodbye Home Economics

The field of Home Economics was established many years ago to improve economic well-being and quality of life for families through research-based education in the domestic arts. Topics included nutrition, food preservation, food safety, money management, clothing construction, the use and care of fabrics and household equipment, parenting, household management, and more. In short, knowledge for real life. To achieve the goal of improving quality of life required home economics teachers. Schools of home economics opened across the country to train primarily women for this important work. Graduates of these programs became public school teachers and Home Demonstration Agents with the Cooperative Extension Service–the outreach arm of land-grant universities nationwide. Home economics information was available to everyone; through schools for …

Jan 20, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Revisions: Round Two

Today I spent a few hours working on revisions to Glass Houses. Having completed line edits, I’m now reading every word from the beginning again, and thinking more about how it all fits together. It’s a complete immersion process–the kind of task that requires focus and concentration. Once I get rolling, revisiting the manuscript is quite enjoyable. When I finished writing the initial draft nearly a year ago, the idea of fixing all the issues, both major and minor, was frankly overwhelming. The manuscript and the time period covered were too big for me to wrap my head around. So to be enjoying the revision process is a welcome surprise. My tendency in writing Glass Houses, since it’s a memoir, …

Jan 18, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Just Doing It

The long break between Christmas and New Year’s seriously messed with my training regimen. Except for my thrice weekly Zumba classes, I quit working out, stopped running, and gained fifteen pounds. Going into the break, I thought the time off from work would enable me to exercise more. Instead, I lost all momentum and spent the majority of my time off on the sofa watching television. After Christmas,the idea of the 5K I’ve signed up to run ten days from today filled me with dread–similar to what I felt a couple of years ago in anticipation of rectal surgery I had to have. I thought about giving up, but had already spent my $23.95 to register for the race. I’m …

Jan 17, 2012
By Michael Rupured

The Longest Year

The older I get, the more quickly each year seems to pass. Unless of course, it’s an election year. It’s a long, long, time until November, and between now and then, we’re going to be inundated with nasty and mostly untrue attack ads. Liberal and conservative are not just names hurled from one end of the political spectrum to the other. They represent different points of view about how to solve problems and move our country forward. There are real and significant differences between these opposing points of view. Neither end of the continuum is always right or always wrong. Real problems require solutions that draw upon the best ideas from both ends. Compromise is an essential ingredient to solving …

Jan 16, 2012
By Michael Rupured
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Learning Curve

I bought my first personal computer back in the mid 1990s. The only software I used was America Online for e-mail and internet access, and because it came preloaded, Microsoft Money. At the time, I questioned whether or not the purchase was worth the money or the space the set-up required in my little Washington DC apartment. By the time it died a few years later, I could no longer live without a computer at home. I ran out and bought another desktop, and when it bit the dust, another. I dropped AOL when I got internet access via my cable provider. For the most part, I still only used the Microsoft Money and the internet. I spent huge percentages …

Jan 15, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Progress!

I spent the better part of last year writing Addicted, my first novel. For much of that time, a freelance editor was working her magic on my memoir, Glass Houses. Though she sent me her recommendations and suggestions back in November, I decided to finish the novel before turning my attention to revising the memoir. The writer’s group reviewed the last section of Addicted on December 17th. I spent a few days making revisions before sticking a fork in it, calling it done, and shipping it off to the same editor who worked on the memoir. At long last, I was ready to tackle revisions to Glass Houses. The first step was to review everything I got back from the …

Jan 12, 2012
By Michael Rupured
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Experience: The Second Best Teacher

I recently sent Addicted (my first novel) to someone who’d read Glass Houses (my first book–a memoir). In the accompanying email message, I said she would likely notice a big improvement in my writing because of what my great friends in the Athens Writers Workshop have taught me about writing.  She replied that she’d love to know more about what I’d learned. This got me to thinking about everything I’ve learned since I joined the group ten months ago.  Sure, just the experience of writing a novel taught me quite a bit. But the real education came from comments and suggestions the other writers made about what I had written.  Here are a few of the more important things they …

Jan 09, 2012
By Michael Rupured

Potty Mouth

The use of colorful language is not foreign to me. In certain settings I may occasionally use words that would, were I fifty years younger, result in certain punishment.  My parents were more likely to spank me and send me to my room for an extended time-out than to wash my mouth out with soap. Mostly this taught me not to cuss in front of them. Using foul language is rarely attractive. I say rarely because I learned a long time ago never to say never. In certain circumstances, cussing can make a difference. When you stub your toe really hard, blurting out a nasty word somehow lessens the pain. Otherwise, gutter talk reflects poorly on the speaker. When I …