Doing Work Actually… WORKS!

I’m very excited to report that my second book is now published!

Meat Sandwiches: What REAL Men Eat is Book Two in the How to Steer Your Kid series, and it went live on Amazon yesterday. I had a lot of fun writing this one, and I have to say that seeing two books on my Amazon author page is pretty cool!

Writing books has always been a dream and a goal of mine – but until recently I had simply assumed it was one of those goals that was unattainable – other people wrote books, not me – more qualified, better educated, luckier people than me. I had a long list of such reasons why I couldn’t accomplish the goal myself.

But now, (more…)

A Vacation Killed the Employee in Me

Recently I accepted a transfer to another state for my day job. I made the move for a variety of reasons, but the highest on the list was quality of life. I had become increasingly disillusioned with being just another rat in a big pointless race, and desperately wanted to find a slower pace.

With that in mind, I found a similar position in a smaller town. The position had the potential for a net pay cut, but an overall quality of life raise.

Good trade, if you ask me. (more…)

Caution: Revolting Writer


The word is thrown around by sensationalists everywhere, from politicians to motivational speakers to guys hawking counter top toaster ovens on late night TV.

There are revolutionary diets, revolutionary exercise programs, revolutions in skin care, sexual performance, learning foreign languages, buying and selling real estate, playing the lottery and winning blackjack in Las Vegas.

The misapplication of the word has gotten so bad that it strikes me as more revolting than revolutionary.

I understand why people sensationalize things – they’re looking for attention, better sales, more followers, etc. That doesn’t change the fact that overstating things with tired words actually tends to water down the message you’re trying to impart.

If you tell people you’re leading a revolution or you have a revolutionary product, they’re likely to immediately paint a mental picture of some late night snake oil salesman trying to separate them from their credit card number – and they’ll tune you out.

Want to avoid losing their attention? Try this approach: (more…)

What’s the Difference?

Writers deal with resistance in multiple forms almost every time they sit down to write.

Fatigue, writer’s block, laziness, criticism, overloaded schedules, day jobs, apathy – all can serve as stumbling blocks that slow down or completely stop your work.

But there is another obstacle that may be even harder to overcome than all the rest.


That nagging voice in the back of your mind that stands in accusation of your work, whispering not-so-sweet somethings to your confidence.

“Who’s going to read your writing, anyway?”

“Who cares about your opinion?”

“What difference does it make if you don’t write today?” (more…)

Politically Incorrect Career Counseling

Jimmy strode toward his high school counselor’s office with a purpose, armed with high test scores and naïve optimism. Today was the day – the day he’d discover what his future would hold. Wealth, fame, accolades – it all hung on the career decisions he would make behind the doors of the humble office ahead. He took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, and opened the door.

“Well, well,” said Mr. Snidely, the counselor. “Good morning, Jimmy! Are you ready for the first day of the rest of your life?”

“Absolutely, Mr. Snidely,” Jimmy said with a smile. “I can’t wait!”

“Good, good. Take a seat there, and we’ll get started.” Jimmy sat on the edge of a cheap plastic chair facing Snidely’s desk. He felt his pulse quicken with anticipation and the promise of a bright future.

“Now, then,” Snidely said, looking over several forms. “Let me just make some preliminary notes here…” He peered through his glasses and spoke under his breath as he checked several boxes. “Career Description: Prostitute.”

“Excuse me?” (more…)

The Perspective of Elapsed Time

Sometimes it’s difficult to see our lives objectively.

We’re so close, so caught up in the living of our daily grind that we can’t always see what got us here; what we missed by taking this path, or what we gained by not taking another.

Things may look better or worse to us in our present situation, simply because of our perspective.

For example:

Twenty-two years ago, (more…)

Ninety Day Wonder

Ninety days ago, I was very close to being in the worst shape of my life. I was forty pounds overweight, I had back and knee pain constantly, and no endurance for anything more stressful than climbing one flight of stairs. (Even that was becoming a stretch.)

I felt like my weight and lifestyle were inevitable and irreversible – it was too much weigh to lose, and too difficult to get it off. I didn’t have time, energy or expertise enough to turn my life around to that extent.

I looked forward to eating.

I loved food, and it was slowly killing me.

Then I looked in the mirror one morning and thought – You, sir, are a disgusting pig. (more…)

Clean Your Plate

My parents grew up during the Great Depression.

That experience taught them the importance of not wasting anything – and they passed that on to me.

At meals, they impressed upon me the fact that somewhere in the world, starving kids would be happy to have leftover boiled potatoes (again?!?), so I’d better eat mine.

I took that lesson to heart, and now I have an innate aversion to throwing food away.

I hate wasting food, so I always clean my plate.

The problem is that I used to load my plate with more food than I really needed, which sadly caused my waistband to expand at an alarming rate, and led to an urgent need to change my behavior. (more…)

Requiem For an Old Friend

Yesterday, an old friend lost his life.

And though I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in more than 17 years, the news today still hit me like a kick in the gut.

We weren’t close friends.

But we were brothers in arms – stationed together in the military, we shared a common experience and a lot of good times. We shared good friends, people who knew each of us better than we knew each other, and that seemingly thin bond made us a permanent part of each other’s life story.

We shared beers, barbecue and very similar work experiences – and when it came time for me to leave the Air Force for civilian life, we went our separate ways. (more…)

Delirium Cogitans

How do you know when a habit becomes an addiction?

It’s when the cessation of that habit causes discomfort, pain or irritation – real or otherwise.

For example, I am hopelessly addicted to coffee – which I lovingly refer to as the elixir of life. If I attempt to abandon coffee for even a short period of time, say two hours after I wake up in the morning – I‘ll suffer crushing headaches and a general feeling of anxiety. Give me my coffee, though, and my head stops hurting, the clouds part, and the world looks like a much better place.

I know I’m addicted to the stuff, and I know addiction is generally a bad state of being, but quitting coffee (at least right now) is pretty low on my list of self-improvement needs.

I have thought about it, though. (more…)

Trust Yourself, and Believe

William Kamkwamba could have surrendered.

He could have listened to the people around him who said it couldn’t be done.

He didn’t.

William lived in abject poverty in Malawi during one of the worst famines in that country’s history. They had so little food, at one point they were forced to eat the corn husks they collected from the parched fields near their home. His family couldn’t afford the $80 tuition needed to keep him in school, so he had to quit.

He had almost no education, no money and no way out. (more…)

Designer Coffee and Disposable Dryers

Our clothes dryer started making funny noises the other day.

Not just strange noises – alarming noises; like the sound a battleship might make sliding out of a dry dock on its first launch.

I was less than thrilled with this development, since we just replaced our defunct dishwasher a couple of weeks ago. I was not in the mood to replace another appliance. (more…)