Category: Gripes

Apr 13, 2015
By Michael Rupured

Busted Routines

I’m very much a creature of habit. Toodles and I move through our days like well-oiled machines. Routines drive our actions from the time our feet/paws hit the floor in the morning until our heads hit the pillow at night. Doing things in a particular order helps me get more done and keeps me from having to think about what’s next. Disruptions push my needle into the crotchety zone, and sometimes, flat out piss me off. Shocking, I know, but true. Routines have always worked for me. I could be wrong — wouldn’t be the first time — but that’s how I remember things. Lately, instead of helping me get everything done, my well-established routines too often get in the way of what I want to do. My …

Nov 24, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Social Network Fatigue

Once upon a time, the only social networking options were snail-mail, rotary dial telephones, and face-to-face. Travel costs and long distance telephone charges made letters the preferred means for keeping up with out-of-town friends and family. When not in class or hanging out with local friends, I spent hours on the telephone talking with them. Yeah. I can be kinda catty chatty. I got my first email account in the 1980s through work. In those early days, all messages were business-related. Spam hadn’t yet been invented. Gradually, folks stopped worrying about nosey employers. For family and friends with an addy, email became the preferred means of communication. My first home computer, purchased in the 1990s, came preloaded with AOL. Dial-up access ruled out …

May 26, 2014
By Michael Rupured

My Cable Bill

The ability to retire a few years earlier than planned has provided an incentive to pay a lot more attention to my monthly bills. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always been vigilant. But the emphasis has shifted from checking for errors to looking for (painless) ways to cut back. As they’re based on usage, I expect bills for water and electric to vary. In the past, I’ve been on “the budget plan” with my utilities to spread the cost of high months across the year. Not anymore. Mostly the budget plan kept me from noticing how much setting my thermostat to 68 in July was costing me. Anyway, variability with these kinds of expenses is to be expected. My cell phone service and my …

Mar 30, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Poisoned!

A whopping case of food poisoning has made for a rough week. I should have known better, but misplaced trust and my inner cheapness conspired against me. I have nobody to blame but myself. The nasty little beasts hitched a ride into my gut last Friday. I’d paid a pretty penny for a thick ribeye steak the previous Sunday. No oven-broiling or pan-frying for me. A steak that nice has to be grilled, but the weather didn’t cooperate until Friday. With few exceptions, I hate putting proteins in the freezer. Not for taste reasons, but because I have to think about what I want to eat far enough ahead of time to thaw something out. And if I change my mind, …

Mar 17, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: Pop Culture References

A good writer makes the reader feel like he or she is a witness to events in the story as they unfold. Keeping the reader’s attention focused on the action and dialogue is the goal. Errors and mistakes, when noticed, take the reader out of the story. Ignorance is bliss. Before getting published, as long as the story kept me interested, I could enjoy the most poorly written of novels. Not anymore. Now all kinds of things I never noticed — my personal pet peeves — take me out of the story. If this happens often enough, I quit reading and never finish the book.  I’m in the middle of a book by a favorite author who has had a …

Feb 17, 2014
By Michael Rupured

Pet Writing Peeves: Adverbs

Adverbs top the list of my Pet Writing Peeves. These little words modify actions and usually end in -ly. They’re perfectly acceptable in lots of different situations, but should be used sparingly in novels. Paragraphs riddled with -ly words — like the one above — are fine in blog posts, status updates, conversations, tweets, news stories, and lots of other places. The occasional use in novels — especially in dialogue — isn’t a big issue with me either. But lots of adverbs in the narration are an indicator of lazy writing. A novel is supposed to show the story, not tell. Adverbs are tell words. They’re fine in conversation and in dialogue because talking is all about telling another person …

Feb 03, 2014
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on OMG Scarlett! Snow! In Atlanta!

OMG Scarlett! Snow! In Atlanta!

Last week, the mess in Atlanta from the big winter storm caught the nation’s attention. All the finger pointing suggests someone here in Georgia caused all the problems. I hope they find the bastard. I got stuck in Savannah, my favorite city in the US. I probably could have driven home on schedule Wednesday afternoon without any trouble. But most of the trip is on a two-lane highway, and information about road conditions in rural Georgia was hard to come by. So I decided better safe than sorry and stayed put. Snow disasters are inevitable here in Georgia — no matter what anyone does ahead of time — especially in and around Atlanta. Had I sat in my car on the interstate for …

Dec 23, 2013
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Fake-umentaries

Fake-umentaries

I like documentaries, perhaps because learning something makes me feel less guilty about watching television. When I was a kid, my favorite show was Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins, though in retrospect, I may have had a crush on his assistant. I looked forward to a new National Geographic special as much as any situation comedy or drama. Jacques Cousteau rocked my world. My taste for documentaries is rather eclectic, including historical, geographical, scientific, and biographical. Long before I thought about writing a novel, I watched all the documentaries about serial killers. I’ve seen bits and pieces of numerous documentary miniseries, but don’t think I’ve ever caught every episode. Though I haven’t watched them for a while, …

Nov 11, 2013
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on My $85 Watch Battery–Revisited

My $85 Watch Battery–Revisited

The watch I wear everyday stopped running again. The battery lasted from March, 2010 to just the other day. I call that a good value, even at $85. This time, I went straight to the watch store. Here’s the story, reprinted from 2010, of how I came to pay $85 for a watch battery. Almost every watch I’ve ever owned was a Timex. I had a Swatch once, but somebody stole it. Nobody ever wanted my Timex watches. They took a licking and kept on ticking until I either stopped winding them or quit replacing batteries. My ex bought me a nice watch for Christmas (2008). I’m sure he was disappointed by my lack of interest in fancy features. He’s …

Nov 04, 2013
By Michael Rupured

GayRomLit: A Virgin’s Tale (Part 2: Thursday)

Last Monday, I wrote about my preparations for GayRomLit in Atlanta. Today’s post picks up with Thursday morning — the first full day of the retreat — before I really knew what I’d gotten myself into. What an experience! First thing Thursday morning, the organizers offered an orientation session for newcomers. All the newbies got cherries to wear on our name tags and an informative overview by the energetic and enthusiastic Jay from Joyfully Jay Reviews. Later, I also got to meet Becky of Mrs. Condit Reads Books, a number of women who are reviewers for other review sites, and quite a few readers who came for the chance to meet their favorite authors. After the orientation session I wandered around the hotel …