Sunday, April 22, 2012

Flea market Sunday

I was on my way to breakfast when I passed this fountain at a local bank.  The wind was blowing the foam around in circles on the south side of the building, and big chunks floated across the road.

Here's a lonely doll sitting in a stroller at the flea market.  Perhaps she's waiting for Mom to strap in her twin.

This is one gaudy rooster, made even more so with high dynamic range.  I think the owner asked $50 for this one.

Wanna be a luchador?  Here's your boots!  (For those of you who don't know what a luchador is, I feel for you!)

Now do you know what a luchador is?  Pretty cool, eh.  Now, try to imagine wearing one of these masks under a cycling helmet with a pro jersey and George Hincapie's old white sunglasses.  You'd get lots of space on the road!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The deal fell though

I wrote about a technical writing gig that offered the opportunity to have a second job that I could do from my arm chair. It didn't materialize. The editor said I was a strong candidate for the position, but they selected another writer. Rejection is part and parcel of writing, and I've had ample experience with it.

There was a time this would have bother me immensely and I would have been depressed for a while. Since the Great Writing Fiasco of 2010, however, I've learned to deal with it. The GWF involved over a month of interviews and writing that was subsequently rejected by the editor. I had high hopes for that project. When it collapsed, I was upset.

When an editor makes me look good, it's a wonderful experience. Some others, though, have a special place set aside in Hell for their capriciousness, arrogance, and just plain stupidity.

But no one wants to listen to me kvetch about editors. Instead, I want to share this slightly edited email that went out to some friends. It's a thank-you note that applies equally to readers here on CycleDog. It's been a long project that's changed me in many ways, making me a better writer, and giving me the confidence to try other venues. This is my thanks to all of you:

It's just after work as I write this. I've had a couple of busy, stressful weeks both at work and at home. You're undoubtedly aware of the situation a AA, so I won't go into that. The units I work on have slowed to a trickle, and I hate that. It's better to be busy.

But I've been working toward earning more through writing, and that's occupied much of my spare time recently. I applied for a position with (redacted) back in January. One month ago, I was accepted into their evaluation program. The short version of the story is that I was not selected for the position, though according to the editor I was a strong candidate. It was a tech writing job for electronics, maybe not the most creative writing, but it's steady and pays well.

Naturally, I'm a little down at losing out on this opportunity, but surprisingly, it's not particularly depressing. Brian told me long ago that if we expect to write for public consumption, we have to develop thick skins, and lately mine has been getting much, much thicker. That's a polite way of saying I've learned to deal with rejection. I really enjoy editors who make me look good (like Susan) and I get annoyed with those who are merely arbitrary, capricious, and worst of all - ignorant of the subject at hand...

Those are the negatives. All of you are the positives. You encouraged me at times and gave advice when I needed it. Honestly, without you I would never have found the self confidence to attempt writing for (redacted). The rejection is merely a set back, and a minor one at that. Make no mistake, self confidence is absolutely essential for a writer. and despite my carefree man-about-town exterior, I've truly been lacking in that department. Maybe it's the other side of having a thick skin.

Anyway, I want to thank all of you. There will be other opportunities, and I want you to know each of you is responsible for helping me toward that goal.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tiger Balm

I'm a sucker for quirky products, especially when they have odd names like this one. It's a tiny bottle of Tiger Balm, a ointment that is much like Icy Hot. At first, I thought it was a rip-off because when I smeared a dab of it on my aching knee, nothing happened. Oh, it smelled pungent, but other than that...nothing.

Forty five minutes later, my knee was on fire.

Like many other similar products, Tiger Balm uses menthol as the active ingredient. Why it takes so long to work is some sort of Chinese mystery.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

It's quiet in here...too quiet...

As I've written previously, I've been looking for other writing opportunities. About a year ago, I started writing for a content farm (which will remain nameless for now) and it brought in a nice sum every week. Granted, the pay wasn't great but it was something I could do in the evenings to bring in a little extra cash. Sadly, the number of titles dwindled steadily through the summer, and by early fall they dried up completely.

I've done some ghost writing on other content sites, but the one source of information and inspiration that's been extremely helpful is Doreen Martel's Freelancing and More. Unlike some others, I'm not trying to support a family by freelancing. But it's always a good idea to learn from the smartest person in the room whether the subject is bicycling, electronic technology, or writing.

Most regular readers know that I write for the Examiner, too, and while it's clearly an exercise in ego-gratification, it's not especially remunerative. If I'm going to spend the time, I should be getting something in return, particularly since She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed pointed out the alarming increase in grocery prices.

There's certainly more than a grain of truth in the adage about writing being like prostitution. First, we do it for fun. Next, we do it for a few close friends, but finally we do it for the money.

So with that in mind, I'm trying for another paid position doing some technical writing. If it works out, it will be like having a second job....that I can do from my armchair. My current job may be in jeopardy as AA is in bankruptcy. I'm about this far (holding thumb and forefinger an inch apart) from retirement, so having another income source may be critical.

Wish me luck!