Friday, January 29, 2010

North Shore

So one of my resolutions this year was to keep up with my blog. Not that anyone is reading it, really, but it's just one of those things I need to do. Since my last blog - over a year ago, sorry! - I have published an audio book and an ebook of "Blame it on Barbara." The ebook is available for download at for $2 and the audio book at for $5.

I just returned from Hawaii to find it miserably cold. I know, I know, the important part was that I got to go to Hawaii in the first place! I had a great time and got to see and do some really interesting things. I took this photo on the North Shore - I love how in the foreground you can see a piece of a surf board that's been snapped in two, and in the background you see the warning signs about the high surf. We also saw a few kite surfers, which was fun to watch. But now vacation is over and it's back to business. Blogs, emails, ebooks, audio books, marketing, websites, updates, downloads, etc. Oh yeah, and writing, of course.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Death of a Salesman

You know that thing everyone always says when you really suck at something? "Don't quit your day job?" Well today, just a few hours ago in fact, I quit my day job. So if anyone is reading Blame it on Barbara and thinking I shouldn't quit my day job...don't tell me, because it's too late. I quit my day job.

I was selling playgrounds and park equipment, and the job itself was okay, but I was just not very good at it. You might even say I sucked at it. I'm definitely a better writer on my worst day than a park equipment salesperson on my best day, but I also realized it was defining me. What I mean by that is I've always been cautious about saying I was a writer. When someone asked me what I did, I'd say salesperson, because that's how I was making most of my income. But I'm not a salesperson, not in my heart. I'm a writer. I am a writer, and whatever else I have to do to bring in a little income, then that's my side job. Being a writer IS my day job from here on out, that's a committment I am making to myself. So all of you fans out there better start telling your friends about the book, otherwise I might end up in the poor house! Not really sure what the poor house is or where I will go to live there, but it doesn't sound like much fun.

I chose to include this picture because it makes me think of new beginnings. I suppose sunrises and new beginnings go hand-in-hand, and that's a little cliche, but so be it. It's a good time for new beginnings, on the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration, even if they are cliche. I'm optomistically pessimistic about his presidency, and I think it's a good time to reflect on another old cliche from John F. Kennedy: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Or at least ask what you can do for yourself, to make you a better you, because a whole bunch of better "yous" will eventually bring about a better nation. What Barack Obama has to offer, I think, is the ability to make people believe in that again. To believe in new beginings. To believe in their country and - more importantly - themselves. If he screws up everything else for the next four years, it'll still be worth it if he gets that one right. It boils down to the one thing we all could use a little more of right now...hope.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

R.I.P. Snowball

Our dog died the other day. He was technically my sister’s dog, but he really belonged to the whole family I think. Probably even the whole neighborhood. He went around door-to-door almost daily, begging snacks from all of our neighbors, and I think losing him had a greater impact on the community, my family and myself than I ever imagined it would.

My sister and I were on vacation when he passed, and I was a little teary-eyed the whole drive home just thinking about how empty the house would be without him. How much I would miss him. How much I wished we could have seen him just one more time before he was gone forever.

The funny thing about Snowball is I didn’t even like him. He was a big oaf a dog, and he would plow through a room with complete disregard for its contents. I can’t tell you how many drinks he dumped onto the carpet with his unusually strong tail or how many pieces of furniture and electronics he destroyed with his lumbering oafishness. He smelled up our house, he woke us up with his barking, he licked me repeatedly despite my numerous requests to the contrary, and he had an uncanny ability to plop down in the one place on our four acres that was absolutely the most inconvenient, particularly right under my feet when I was trying to cook dinner or on my gym mats in the middle of my workout. He was a shameful beggar and a bit of a drooler and when he got wet he’d always shake off in the same place - right next to wherever I was standing. And he couldn’t be contained – he’d broken windows and doors and snapped steel chains to escape captivity. He could also open doors, most with just a powerful butting by his big dumb head, but others with some kind of doggie idiot savantism that he clearly possessed. We never did figure out how he was able to open the sliding-glass door.

And most people felt the same way as I did. “Snowball, stop!” or “Snowball go lay down” were cries heard repeatedly by our regular visitors, especially when he had to lick everyone who happened to be in whatever room he had just entered. The neighbors complained affectionately about how he would come and “visit” them as soon as they got home from work, demanding treats by his unyielding ability to bark until fed.

No, I didn’t like Snowball very much, but it turns out I loved him dearly. It turns out I miss him opening doors on his own and lumbering through the house. I miss him licking my knees and shedding his white Snowball hairs all over the house. I miss his big giant puppy-dog eyes (and he had the puppy-doggiest eyes of any dog I’ve ever known) and how excited he was to see us when we’d come home after an evening out on the town. He was a good dog, one of the best I’ve ever known, and I wish we could have had a little more time with him, even though he would have annoyed me for every second of it.

I’m not sure what the moral of this story is. It might be to appreciate what you have before it’s gone, but honestly I knew even before he died that I would miss him when he was gone. I think, actually, that the moral of the story (if there is one) is that it’s possible to love something even as it annoys you, and maybe that’s a little how it can be growing up with siblings sometimes. Snowball was a part of our family even though sometimes (lots of times) I wished he wasn’t, and I think what I learned after his passing was that I didn’t love him in spite of the things he did to annoy me - I loved him because of them. I loved Snowball, and if he wasn’t licking me or lumbering his way through a room, then he just wouldn’t have been Snowball. R.I.P., ya big dumb lug, we miss ya lots.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

My First Phlog

So I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but blogging is, like, so five minutes ago. But phlogging, that is the new hip thing to do. Actually, I have no idea if it’s hip or not - I just can’t think of anything in my real life that would be interesting enough for other people to want to read about. I do, however, have a fondness for photography and believe that many a good conversation can begin with a picture. It is worth 1000 words, after all.

I think it’s quite obvious why this photo is called “Feet,” but that’s about the only obvious thing about it. I took this picture about a year and a half ago at an overlook to the Golden Gate Bridge. I’m sure some of the tourists there were very confused as they were rapidly snapping shot after shot of the infamous bridge. Why would someone be standing there, looking out over San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, taking pictures of the ground? Well I don’t really know either. I was just standing there with my friends, and something about how that particular shot looked in my lens seemed interesting to me.

Maybe I felt like tons of people had taken the exact same photo of the Golden Gate Bridge before me and tons of people after me would continue the trend, but nobody would ever take that particular photo of those particular sets of feet ever again. I was the first and only. Or maybe I just thought my friend’s pink shoes were noteworthy. I suppose I also really liked the open space in the center of the frame with the most interesting subject all the way in the corner, while the lines of the sidewalk break draw your eye right to it.

Probably, though, somewhere in my subconscious the writer in me liked how the photo illustrated the differences in my two friends, just by showing their feet. I could give you whole biographies of “Pink Shoes” and “Loafers,” but I think you already have a pretty good idea of who they are. You might just be able to come up with entire character profiles based solely (no pun intended) on the footwear choices of these two people. What do these shoes say about them? How did two people with such vastly different styles end up engaged in conversation? They are, by the way, clearly engaged in conversation - just look at the body language of their feet! No way are these two strangers who happened to be standing next to each other looking at a bridge. They’re acquainted for sure, probably even friends, despite their differences. That, I suppose, is far more interesting to me than a bridge that has been photographed by photographers that are far more talented than I am. I’ll leave the scenery shots to them.