Monday, January 10, 2011

Life is Good

Life Is Good AwardThe wonderful and awesome Patricia Timms of Simplicity in Volumes has given me an award (She was wonderful and awesome even before she gave the award, by the way).  The Life is Good Award.  And it is, you know.  So I gladly accept it.  Thanks, Patricia!

The award comes with a series of questions (“What…is the airspeed velocity of a sparrow?” “African or European?”) which I will endeavor to answer.  I’m also supposed to pass this award along, but I’ve been so swamped lately, and it’d take me hours to decide which of the many great blogs I follow I should pass it along to.  So I’ll wait on that part, and dish them out later.

So here are the questions:

1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? If you are not anonymous, do you wish that you had started out anonymously, so that you could be anonymous now?
I don’t blog anonymously and never intended to.  The original impetus was to “get my name out there” and build a platform for my book should I ever get Published.  It’s funny to think back to my motivations and expectations of just a few months ago.  My blogging experience has become so much more than I ever imagined it would.

2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side.
I could come up with quite a few examples where I’ve stood my ground or beat my head against the wall over and over rather than admit defeat, but I’ll go with this: I refuse to abbreviate text messages.  Not only won’t I even acknowledge that LOL, OMG crap, but I’ll even eschew acceptable abbreviations like Sat. for Saturday or AM for morning.  I cannot really do anything about this brutal on Mother English, but I refuse to participate.  I also use punctuation – correct punctuation.  I might be the only person who consistently uses semicolons in his text messages.  I’ll often spell out the numbers, too, though my resolve’s kind of slipping on those lines.  Try typing on a phone keypad “seventeen” while your trying to check out at Wal-Mart. 

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?
I see my life, I guess, in the gray hair at the temples, the extra pounds around the waist, the heaviness under the eyes.  Looking in the mirror reminds that I’ve lived, a good life, too, for the most part.  But most importantly, a life.

4. What is your favorite summertime cold drink?side.
Iced tea with lemon, no sugar.  I also like lemonade, but it’s really hard to get it just right.  God, I’m old.

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?
Time for myself?  I…I don’t understand what you’re saying.  Seriously, I love spending time with the family on the rare occasions I’m not working or doing something related to writing.  It doesn’t even matter what we do, as long as we do something.  I don’t want to blink and open my eyes to have it be twenty years later and I missed everything.  Even if we’re boring, we’re boring together.  And that’s what counts.

6. Is there something that you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it?
Of course, I want to be Published.  I want to be read.  I want crazy-loyal fans who dress up like my characters, who write fan fiction based on my books, who get into heated arguments over which boy my MC should date, who carry with them an encyclopedic knowledge of my made up worlds that surpasses even my own.  Of course that’s what I want.  That’s what we all want, in some manifestation of that; that’s why we’re here.

However, there is something else.  I’ve been wanting to go back to school again, but time and money constraints have made that impossible.  My goal is to complete a political science degree.  I’ve been fascinated with politics for a long time – just ask me about anything remotely political and wait through my twenty minute response – and have thought about some sort of political career.  I wouldn’t be a politician, per se, because I hate going up to strangers and talking to them (which is, of course, why I’m both a paramedic and a reporter).  I’d love, however, to be a speech writer or some other behind-the-scenes type.  I’m getting older, but there’s still time.  For now.  Just look at John McCain: he’s 132, and he still blocks progress and bipartisanship like a forty-year-old.

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching?
I guess I was the shy kid, although I wouldn’t have described myself as such.  I never really like talking to people back then, even in person (I’ve gotten over that, at least) so I usually didn’t.  It wasn’t so much shyness as a lack desire, but either way, I stuck around my little circle of friends and rarely ventured beyond.

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?
I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “poignant” in my life, so forgive me if this answer doesn’t quite fit the bill. 

I got a dog years ago for my birthday; my ex-wife “gave” me the gift of going down to the humane society to pick one out.  The first dog I saw was a black and tan shepherd mix of about medium height, clearly a puppy and clearly on his way to be huge.  And clearly covered in dog shit.  I didn’t want to pick the first dog I saw, so we walked the whole place the the end result was that I picked the first dog I saw.  We connected somehow, I can’t explain.  Dr. Jeckyll was him name.  Good enough for me; I called him “Doc”.  He was such good dog, so full of energy and love, and we bonded like I wouldn’t have thought possible.  A boy a his dog, even though the boy was in his mid-thirties.

Long story short*, after less than a year, my marriage fell apart and my wife moved out.  I’d already been working sixty or more hours a week and I was then compelled to work more.  I decided to give up the house.  Doc was already faced with spending sometimes thirteen or more hours at home sometimes ten, fifteen days in a row.  And now I was moving into an apartment.  I made the difficult decision to give him up.  Fortunately, my soon to be ex-mother-in-law already had two dogs and a big enough house to support a third.  She took him in.  My plan was to spend one last day with him, all day, just the two of us before my ex took him, but because of work, and because of schedule conflicts, she took him before my next day off.

She still let me have my day with him, though, two weeks later.  She told me how happy he was in the bigger house with the other dogs and constant attention.  He was happy to see me, but not like before.  We played catch, I took him to the park and to Pet Smart.  We even stopped in the McDonald’s drive-thru which he loved because they always gave him a free kids cone.  He seemed happy but subdued.  I think he’d have preferred to stay at his new home.  His attitude was what I can only describe as polite, and when I drove him back home, he was at the front door before I could get his stuff out of the back seat.  He went inside without looking back.  That was the last time I saw him.  I know he went to a better home; I know he was happier, but I just can’t help feeling I let him down, that I failed this lost soul that put his entire trust in me.

Anyway, he’s happy.  I still get reports on him from time to time.  So it all worked out.  Well, you asked for poignant, damn it.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?
Um…did you just read the doctoral dissertation I wrote for number eight?  It’s probably too easy for me to share, at least that’s what my readers might say.

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?
If I had the choice to stick a porcupine down my pants and do lunges or to talk on the phone, I’d ask where I could get me some porcupine.  So it’s not a fair contest.  I HATE talking on the phone.  I have to call four or five people tomorrow – today actually – for a story I’m doing, and I’m absolutely dreading it.


* too late!


  1. Congratulations on the award!

    It was lovely reading your answers to the questions and getting to know you better. I totally understand where you are coming from with number 8. My father-in-law (who passed away five years ago) had a Jack Russell called Sam. I would look after him when he went on holiday and towards the end walk him twice a day. I loved that little fella but he was 12 years old and very stubborn. He was also used to being with someone 24-hours a day. So, he could not be left alone. When my father-in-law died we had to re-home him. He was miserable on his own and the same with a dog-sitter we hired to take him whilst I was at work. He started pulling out his fur and not eating. In the end the vet said we had three choices: give up work to look after him, put him down, or re-home him. We chose the latter. Even though I know we did the right thing for the dog, I still feel quilty. My father-in-law had always said he didn't need to worry about Sam because I would take care of him. So, like you, I feel like I let both him and the dog down.

  2. Congrats Dan. Pardon me my bluntness, but what is this award for?

  3. @ Ellie - thanks for sharing that story. Pets can brighten our lives in ways nothing else can, but they can also tear our hearts out. Just remember, you did what was best for him, and that's what matters.

    @ Ben - Why, it's for me being awesome, of course. It even says so right in the corner of the picture, "Dan is Awesome." You just have know...really zoom in.

    ...or not.

  4. You are awesome!

  5. Congratulations on the award!

  6. This was great. I'm still giggling over the text messaging. I'm terrible at shortening phrases into acronyms. I try to be cool but I'm not pulling it off very well. I write out a lot of my text messages.

    Okay, politics. There's where we could get along and yet probaby never see eye to eye. I love politics. I wanted to write a non-fiction book you could probably help with. So hurry up and get your degree in political science. It's never too late.

    Now here's my question: Didn't Jimmy Carter once, recently, say he was the best president EVER? Go! You have 20 minutes to elaborate and give a thorough overly opinionated explanation. Even if that's a, "No, he never did" finish with, "but in my opinion. . ."

    Haha! Have a great day!