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.

Related image
Credit: Guitarforums.com

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.

Image result for autozone
(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

Image result for typewriter

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. 

 Contact: derekodm@gmail.com

 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

Friday, February 19, 2016

I learned something about Jesus from a movie

The gal and I were watching movies, as per usual, last night before bed. The final movie of the evening was “The Encounter: Paradise Lost,” a flick in which I didn't have high hopes for, but was admittedly mildly interested.

In short, random people including a grieving couple, a drug dealer, a DEA agent, a drug addict, and a thug end up in a room together. Along with Jesus Christ —— the actual guy. Not in spirit, in idea, or in any other sense; no, he was there, in the flesh, trying to save the day.

Okay, let’s see how this goes, I think. Pretty ballsy to have the actual dude there, writers.

Well, I feel they did a pretty good Jesus, if I do say so myself, and the movie rather accidentally gave me insight into something I’d sort of wondered about for years: How can he be everywhere, with all of us, at once? I mean, I know he’s supposed to be in our hearts and listens to us individually, but even as a young child, I thought he must be either really fast or... well, I didn't know what.

But in one scene, Jesus is talking to the group and then breaks off into a second Jesus to talk to one of the people individually, completely unknown to the rest of the group. It was eerie and neat, and a bell went off in my head.

It was kind of a durr moment. Of course he can do that type of thing, I thought. He’s Jesus! I do believe I’ve been underestimating him my whole life by trying to understand the science behind how he does what he does. What I should have been doing was accepting that he’s there and focusing more on my behavior and relationship with him.

So I thought, okay, self, I can understand this much clearer, now, but how would I explain what’s in my head to someone else questioning how Jesus can be inside 7 billion hearts? Then it hit me: Computers!

See, God would be like the tower, the main PC. Attached to him are billions of USB outlets, one for every potential believer in this world. Because the end of each USB cord (Jesus) is attached both to us and the main computer, Jesus can only respond as the mainframe would since that’s where he gets his information and commands. It really is a simple input/output scenario.

So yes, indeed, we can have our own personal Jesus! I thought that was kind of exciting. Now, if only I could erase the King Midas image of Heaven that’s been rattling round in my head since I was like five.

Streets of gold. Pfft. Ruined me.

Image credit: Pinterest

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I'm a car guy, plain and simple

I just read an article on Hemmings that really struck a chord. It was about a man who had just sold his old Dart. He’d had it for a decade and had never really liked it, never built it the way he wanted, and never even trusted the blamed thing. But he liked it.

He went on to explain that, although he happened to own the Dart and a Chrysler minivan, he wasn’t a Mopar freak. His friends insisted he was, but they were wrong.

Article here: Sold the Dart

I am much the same. Yes, I’m more of a Mopar guy than the author of that wonderfully written blog post, but I do not enjoy the limitations of exclusivity. If I were ever in the market for a new (to me) car, be it old or new, I don’t only want to consider a Pentastar simply because I’m touted a ‘Mopar guy’.

I cut my teeth on VW Beetles and owned quite a few in my younger years, including a VW-powered dune buggy that provided many, many weekends of pure fun. My first car ever was a yellow 1973 Beetle with a 1600. I’ll never forget that car and it rarely let me down. I have also owned a ’66 Baja Beetle, the Chenowth buggy previously mentioned, and worked on my sister’s Bugs when she became old enough to drive.

But we can go back even further. As a kid, I adored two cars: VW Beetles and early ‘70s Novas. I was all about Chevy. My uncle and cousin, both of whom I adored, were tried-and-true Chevy guys. Therefore, that was the only brand for me, thanks. In the end, I went with the Beetle, mostly because I had heard they were so easy to work on.

I have also held title to a wide range of other cars, including a ’76 Impala that was a hell of a cruiser, a ’67 Ford Fairlane 500 with a big block, my father’s old ’76 three-quarter ton four-wheel drive Chevy Camper Special (my first foray into the four-wheel world), a built-to-the-hilt ’88 Jeep Cherokee, a Ford Taurus (my daily driver to this day), an ’86 Crown Vic station wagon (damn, that thing rode nice!), and the car that sold me completely on Mopar, a ’68 Plymouth Sport Fury —— a ride I purchased at 19 years old and still own today. I will always own that car. Always.

I have also had a few bikes in my stable. My introduction into the two-wheeled world was an ’80 Yamaha 400 Special, if you don't count the 50cc scooter that took me to college for a year. It was no speed demon, but it was reliable as all get out. My next bike was ’78 Honda CB 750 Four. That thing was wicked quick and completely falling apart, which made for some really good times. Currently, I own an ’83 Yamaha 750 Bobber project, an ’83 Yamaha parts bike, and a big, bad old Honda Magna 750 project bike. Most things on wheels remain projects for a long, long time in my stable.

Anyhow, the point is that while I’m admittedly a Mopar lover, I’ll give just about anything a chance. At some point, I also plan on owning and driving an old Jeep full-size Wagoneer (pre-1976 to avoid CA smog crud), a late-sixties Plymouth Satellite, and a diesel tow rig pickup —— only Ford or Mopar on that guy. I don't have much interest in newer Chevy trucks. What I’d really like is a first-gen Dodge, but would take a big, bad older Ford in a heartbeat.

I’m a car guy. I’m a bike guy. I’m an off-road lover and a cruiser. Now, if I could only strike it rich, I could really get somewhere.

Until next time.

Monday, January 18, 2016

I made it: I'm an editor

Well, here I am, an official AP editor for a prominent web news site. I wanted to wait until I’d at least completed my first day to let the dogs out. So now you know who did that.

 Image result for who let the dogs out

And let me just say: I love this gig. I love this gig. Even for my first day, I kept up a good pace and got 13 articles done. I also technically get paid to read the news. But those aren’t the best parts, not even close. The best part is that I get to learn and enforce AP writing in a much more in-depth way than I ever had when I was writing articles.

For some reason, the Googling, the hitting the books every few minutes, the research——it all turns me on, lights my fire, wakes up the not-so-inner nerd in me and lets it shine.

There’s not much I enjoy more in this world than correct writing. A well-structured sentence that coveys its point concisely and obeys all the rules hits a spot deep in my soul, a spot reserved for words and the connecting thereof.

And now I have the official 2015 AP Stylebook to geek out on whenever I want, I have endless websites and sources in which to gather information, and a drive big as Texas. It’s as if someone gave Jason Vorhees all the wooden-handled sharp things he can store, and then three more.

Image result for jason mask 

In short? I’m in heaven and I’m finally, finally getting paid to do something that truly floats my boat. No, I won't be a millionaire soon or even buying a new sporty car, but I’m paying my bills while immersed in my craft. For hours every day, I get to lose myself in the best world there is: The world of the written word.


Monday, January 11, 2016


I ate Mexican food across the street from the parts store where I used to work a few nights ago. Seeing that the parking lot wasn’t full, I figured I’d stop in and see what the haps were. It was slow at the moment and a manager there told me he’d love to see me come back. I looked around and honestly missed the place. He said that other than the inevitable rushes that happened sometimes, it wasn’t bad.

I told him I’d speak with the store manager about a part-time position and bid him adieu.

Yesterday, a Sunday, I stopped in again because I needed Simple Green for some projects I’m doing. In short, it was a disaster. Yes, there were five employees behind various counters, which should have been more than enough to cover the small crowd inside the store. Instead, it was complete chaos because out of the five employees, only one was exhibiting anything resembling a sense of urgency.

People were yelling for help at the register, asking if they were in the correct line, wondering why the hell there were even tills if nobody was going to pilot them. One guy dropped his items on the soda vending machine and walked out digusted, his head shaking.

That is the auto parts store I remember; that is the stupidity I cannot stand to deal with anymore; that is why the store needs to pick itself up by its bootstraps and fire at least three-quarters of its counter people. The managers are all pretty good, but the regular mooks need to go, and in a hurry.

I looked at the girlfriend and was like yeaaaaaaaaaaaa, noooooooo... I bought my item and drove home, simply amazed that so many incompetent people continue to work at that place when there are hordes of folks——many of them surely good and qualified——willing to work for the same pay and vastly improve the store overall.

But they won't fire people. They just won't.

So, here I sit, torn between the facts that I don’t currently have a job and that my former employers are asking me to return to a place that is 100% fucked up, especially on weekends, for pennies over minimum wage.

I’m leaning toward taking my chances, that I’ll find something soon. I do love the place, I truly do, and I’m a strong player there, I just cannot deal with complete and utter nonsense. Life is simply too short.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016: It's gonna be wordy

So here I am, it’s the 5th of Jan already, and I’m doing well! First, a little update on my life: I quit AutoZone, got another job, hated that job so much I quit the second day after my two-week training, and now AutoZone wants me back. Do not want. My Ramcharger still isn’t smogged, the bobber bike still doesn’t bob around town, and the Jeep still isn’t sold. Also, I whacked my IRS debt from $33k to $28k or so last year. Excellent. Now that’s out of the way, we can get to 2016.

Folks, as my last blog post indicated, I’m not really cut out for work. I want to write. I type like a demon, I have endless ideas, and I have the drive. Finally. Not that I didn’t before, but I utilized all wrong. And when I say that, I mean that I didn’t write much, I only told myself I can write whenever I want so it’s no big deal.

Then, the full-time job made it almost impossible and it became crystal clear what I’d been doing wrong.

So for 2016, I’m writing, a lot. A lot a lot. I’m sending out my resume for writing gigs, I’m penning fiction in the mornings so that I can't get too tired and tell myself welp, there’s always tomorrow, and I’m going to focus on getting the unfinished stories finished so that they can be read, and by that I mean purchased. Yes, I’d like to make a dime in this gig, if that’s okay.

I’m almost 35,000 words into a dark romance novel I’m penning under a pseudonym, and I’ll edit and rewrite both Bird in the Hand and Nerd, Illustrated because, well, that’s what they need and they are both decent stories. I’m also going to read more; as Stephen King says, if you don’t read a lot you aren’t likely going to be a great writer.

Words and stories are my passion, my center, my being. Without them, life would be very, very dull, even with my multitude of hobbies. Words have saved lives, have won and lost court cases big and small, have crushed and created dreams——hell, when you get down to it, words are some of the most powerful things in existence. And yet, we each have access to them. All of them.

Isn't that cool?