Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lightening the Load...

My favorite word lately is "half," as in, "I want half this crap gone." 

I am going through a lightening process, like a snake shedding its skin. Oh, who am I kidding? It's more like a competition weightlifter throwing the bar to the ground just before it makes dust of every bone in his straining body.

I have had some of this stuff for far too long. Years. I'm not a hoarder, thankfully, but I'm still reluctant to throw a lot of stuff away. At least, I have been in the past. It's go time.

I bet this will come in handy someday! We all do it, and we all keep shit we shouldn't. The problem is that if we keep enough, the thing that will come in handy becomes buried under a hundred other things that will come in handy.

Now, after putting up with such nonsense for longer than I'm comfortable admitting, I'm going gung-ho with the trash bags. I've thrown more out in the last two weeks than I have in my lifetime.

And it feels good. Great, in fact.

I live in a small house. I do not have space to be a storage unit for crap I don’t need, don’t use, and won't need. Ever. It's one thing to actually keep a few things around that will come in handy, but some of the stuff I have held onto for years makes me question my sanity. Really.

Anyhow, I've big plans for my office, big plans for the garage (BIG!), big plans for the yard. And, unlike the old me, these plans are already in full force, happening now. Remember that old CCR song "Someday Never Comes"? 

Yeah, it doesn't. Someday is today. And today, I'd like some damned room, thanks.



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Good Season!

How was your Christmas season? As those close to me already know, I'm really into this time of year. I love the weather (dear, how I love this weather!), I love Christmas, I love my January birthday, and I love the smell of chimneys and campfires everywhere.

The material stuff -- the things we receive -- come second but boy, I made out this year (again). Each season I'm surprised by the amount of good things I receive, especially because I'm not the best at giving ideas; at least, not giving reasonable ideas. Some of the things I want carry pretty hefty price tags. 

Anyhow, the point of this entry wasn’t to share what I got, but to share how I feel about it all, which is: good!

When you think about it, good is an odd word because it can mean quite a few things. Good can mean so-so, it can mean possessing a true heart, it can mean something positive, it can be a recognition of deeds done by someone else.

"I finally got my GED last year."


To me, this season is always good. As a person who runs very not naturally, the weather is good; longer nights are good, at least for a while; lights and cheery decorations are good; Christmas trees are most assuredly good -- oh, you get the idea.

I have a really good job, I have a good wife, I have good dogs and a good cat. I have a good car and a good house. I try to be a good person, but there's always room for improvement. I normally wish good on everyone, with a few notable exceptions we won't get into here.

Good. It's all good! 

I'll get it out there, right here and right now: I'm doing a resolution this year. Several, in fact.

Now it's time for change.

Image result for crue time for change
Credit: Jar of Quotes

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday Domination

Well, folks, Christmas shopping is done. Not really. Is it ever? I still have a few things to get for the Wizzle but they'll be small, stocking-stuffer type presents because her big one is taken care of already. She went out and took care of the rest for us yesterday. Sure, on my dime. Merry Christmas!

None of the yard work is getting done, mostly because of time constraints. That being said, when I do have a few moments to get out there, I'd really rather just take a breather and unwind. I do get stuff done inside, but I love to be outdoors during wintertime. All my bio stats are low, low, which partly explains, I'm sure, my sluggishness the last few days.

I have a couple new things that I'm loving to mess about with in my precious few spare moments. The first thing is a chess program I've wanted for a good decade, and I'm not at all stretching that out. In fact, it's probably closer to 12 years than 10. I'm finding it's far superior to most I've messed with, and the engine is just exactly what I've been wanting.

The second thing is a cigar box guitar, given to me by a good friend this Christmas. It's quickly becoming my go-to, favorite instrument. It has three strings with two notes and is extremely light and versatile -- it can even be plugged into an amp! Yes, I've tried that; yes, I love it. Seriously, folks, if you haven’t heard of these things, Google or YouTube it really quick. They are downright awesome.

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I need fiction in my life. Lately, I haven’t read much, I haven’t written anything, and I haven’t edited my own last story, something which desperately needs immediate attention. Going to force myself to fiction here, pretty soon, else I'll lose touch with reality and drive my Ramcharger into a shopping mall.

Well, maybe not, but I want to read and write.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December has been busy!

Life has been nutty lately. Go, go, go and then, when it's time to rest, go a little more. I have resorted to getting things done when it's 40 degrees and dark out, but that's OK because at least I have that option.

Just got back from Vegas with the wizzle. We were out there visiting a good friend for his 40th birthday. It was a refreshing trip, actually, as they don't 'do Vegas' the way the rest of the world might. We visited an acres-big cactus garden that was 100% decorated for the holidays, we took a gondola ride, we bought plants for the yard, and stayed in a killer suite at the top of The Mirage hotel.

I'm used to almost the opposite: Stay in the cheapest room available, safe or not, and gamble while getting shitty drunk. Like I said, it was refreshing.

Got some Christmas lights up last night in the dark and cold, as well as our 8-foot-tall Santa and Frosty inflatables, who wave at passersby and spread cheer. We're going for the Christmas tree tonight with the Ramcharger, legal or not. A guy's gotta do what he's gotta do, yanno? California isn’t going to keep me from getting a real tree this year and it's not going to force me to ask friends who own pickups, either. A man takes care of his own business.

Right now I'm jamming Debbie Gibson on Pandora, too, and you can judge if you want. I have had the notion lately that I want to go roller skating -- the four-wheeled, rink kind -- and such music puts me in the mood. Yes, I'm likely going to break a wrist and regret the notion entirely, but I'm still going skating soon.

Welp, almost clock-in time for me, so I'm going to hit the shower and get back to work. I'll be out tonight, doing what I should be doing on weekends, braving the cold and dark, and being thankful that I get to do these things at all.

Until next time, friends.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Winter is here!

This week has been something! The gal and I have been sick. Not throwing up, stuck-in-bed sick, but close enough to mention being sick. Some kind of weird bug, that's for sure.

That being said, on to the cheery! It's raining today. I love, love crisp, clear, rain weather. In fact, it's driving me absolutely batty to sit in here with the heaters on, all dry and warm. I'll be heading out to the garage after this post to do some much-warranted winter cleaning. Over the summer, it gets so hot in there that things just pile up, get trashy and terrible. I cannot stand a clutter. Won't stand it.

Got to do some fun things this week. Last night, for instance, we went out to dinner with good friends and then walked around shops checking out odd and neat things. I value those times. Although I do have a screaming UTI, I went out, anyhow. I figure, I'm going to be in pain either way, why not have a little fun?

An old "Slaymaker Rustless" padlock arrived a couple days back, and now it's just waiting for me to pick it. Yes, I purchase locks with no keys. Picking is tough. I need as much practice as I can get. Here is a picture of the actual lock:


Other than that, I'm still neglecting my story. I'm finding it's really tough to get excited about editing when I edit 40 hours a week for my day job. Still, that is no excuse. I need to get going on this. I do. No famous author neglected his or her stories until they just faded into the woodwork.

The ceiling still leaks like nobody's business, but I'm hoping that whoever installs the new swamp I will buy soon can figure that out. "Say -- say there? When you put that swamp in, fix the roof, eh? Or slather stop-leak tar. Or put your finger in it. Do something so that I don’t have to keep placing bandages on it. I want the leak. Gone. Thanks!"

Always something.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Life is good in November of 2016

Life, as they say, is good.

As many of you know, I went through a horrible, terrible, no-good breakup in late 2015. I won't go into details, and it's entirely possible that nobody was right or wrong; it just ended and that's that.

I moved on, very possibly far too quickly, and am now married and living in the same house. It's difficult. Everyday reminders keep my mind somewhat suspended in time. Moving forward is proving to be a challenge, but not an impossible one.

I no longer work for AutoZone. I miss it, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. I loved that job. That being said, I'm now making more than seven dollars per hour more than I was there, and I don’t have to lift a single car battery or deal with angry customers on a rainy, windshield-wiper-install day. I'm gonna call it a win. Still, that was a fun place to work, sans dipshit management who didn’t care about anything but pinching pennies.

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(Credit: The Inquistr)

Over the past year, I've made quite a few purchases via larger paychecks that have really improved life quality: a 55" smart TV, one heck of a fast and nice LG phone, a really sweet Fender amp, a Fisher F5 metal detector, a massive amount of bark for the middle and side yards (sod for the main front yard to come!), a killer Canon printer, organizing tubs (trust me, this is important), new tires for the car, new laptop memory -- the list really does go on and on.

In short, I'm mending but doing well. At this very moment, I'm on break from a kick-ass editing job that I love each day, and my to-do list includes getting a new credit card and taking a shower. I like that. Simple. Nice. To the point. I might even edit fiction a little later.

2017 will be a good year for me.  On that to-do list is: selling off at least three vehicles, holding the biggest yard sale ever, and concentrating on my love of the written word in all its forms. 

Life's good.

I have weeded out toxic individuals and I am consciously treating my good friends better than I did before. Life's little (and big) wakeup calls are necessary. I appreciate them. Most of the time they sting, but we heal. Onward and upward. Moving forward. Idling isn't in my vocabulary.

Like Nike, I'm just doing it.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Prices for Fiction Editing

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Hi, there! My name is Derek Odom. I assume since you are looking at this page that you need a fiction editor. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your decision to go with a professional edit. So many writers these days do not.

An editor can mean the difference between a reader setting your work down after a few pages and that same reader finishing the story and also recommending it to others. It’s that important. Far greater writers than either you or me have their work painstakingly edited before their work is published.

With that being said, I’d love to work with you on your project. Together, let’s take your story from pretty darned good to really polished and ready to fly.

My rates--like the rates of many editors in the field--will vary a bit depending the condition of the story and amount of work needed. Still, listed below are pretty strong ballpark figures.

I’m fast, I’m accurate, and I actually edit for a living, so rest assured you won't be getting bottom-of-the-barrel work.  I will also edit non-fiction. 


 Line/copy edit: $2 to $5 per page 

• Meticulously scan for misspellings, grammatical errors, and formatting. I’ll polish up every single sentence, making sure what you have on the page comes across the way you want. I’ll also give story feedback, as I check for consistency, continuity, and believability.

Simple proofread: $1 to $2 per page

• As a proofreader, I check your document for major typos, simple grammar mistakes, punctuation, run-on sentences, and so on. This is normally the last step before the story hits the shelves, so to speak.

Note: For those who are also looking for a cover designer, I am fortunate enough to know a very, very good one with reasonable rates.

Farah Evers -- Facebook or  Farah Evers Designs -- Her site