Monday, January 22, 2018

You're at the wrong place

From now on, Losing the Internets has a new home.  Find me at  Go there now.

Seriously, click the link and read stuff.

Come on, just click the link.  I have to go to the bathroom, and I can't wait all day.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Go Fund Me -- If You Want

I don't accept help well, and I don't know why.  It's not a "don't show weakness" thing as I routinely list all the things I do wrong.  My pride and ego live in a tiny shoe box located in the  upstairs closet, so I know they don't get in the way.  I guess I could blame the ingrained stubbornness of American ingenuity, but that seems way too philosophical.  I just have trouble with help.

For instance, I could be hauling a player piano up 30 flights of stairs in 105 degree heat.  Each step pulls my back further out of alignment, resulting in excruciating pain, and I'm pretty sure I just tore my ACL.  On the third flight, a professional piano mover comes up and lets me know that they'll take this behemoth the rest of the way up -- free of charge.  I still would say, "No, that's ok, I go this," while mentally highlighting who gets my Bugs Bunny baseball picture in the will.

So when a Friend of the Blog suggested that I run a crowdfunding campaign to "elevate and promote" my writing, I initially blew a mental raspberry.  I calculated the numbers, and with web hosting fees, writing conferences to meet agents and publishers, and the mandatory self promotion, I would need around $2,000 to make a go of it.  Asking friends, family and strangers for $2,000 made me severely queasy. Like I just drank Christmas eggnog in July queasy.

Then, as I dug through my old Yahoo! archives trying to find an old Interpersonal Communication syllabus, I found an email from 2007.  When I served as the executive director of a non-profit college access center, I apparently replied to a board member who showed hesitancy in asking for donations.  I wrote:
... I always have trouble seeing donations as means for programming.  Instead I see them as investments in family, friends and neighbors.  As sparks of encouragement that can change lives.  After all, the world is a better place when dreams can come true...
Hating that my own words that contradicted a very eloquent raspberry, and after a scientifically inaccurate Facebook poll, I have started a Go Fund Me page (  The goal is set at an uncomfortable $2,000, which I understand asks a lot.  I did set some reward levels, so I can justify this work as transactional.  Also, I really want to write a bunch of fake doctor's notes for some fictitious maladies.

What Funds Will Fund
Here's a breakdown of the cost to begin a real writing career:

  • Hosted website with custom domain: $144/year
  • Custom email: $60/year
  • Indianapolis writing conference (w/agent audit): $276
  • Writing classes (x3): $525
  • Personal writing/publishing coach through Carnegie Center (Highly suggested): $540
  • Shameless self promotion through social media: $600
Total: $2,145

Thank You in Advance
If you feel moved to contribute to the Go Fund Me Campaign (, let this be the first of a thousands of thanks.  I will not let you down -- or maybe I will.  I'm not too sure of your disappointment threshold.

If you don't feel the mojo, that's ok.  I'm glad you made it down to the bottom of the article and hope you come back.  Losing the Internets will always be here and will always be subjectively funny.  Just do me a favor, and share the blog on Facebook.  Unless you don't want to.    


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The curse of optimism

From the beginning, I thought optimism equaled survival.

I didn't get over the hemiparesis effects of a neonatal stroke by accepting my lot in life.*  No, I bucked up and said, "With physical therapy and determination I will run like everyone else.  One day I won't have to wear my shoes on the wrong feet to force them to turn out.  One day I will place fourth in state in the 400 meter dash -- even if it is only among private schools.  One day it will be better."

When never-ending mind-numbing migraines knocked me out of work, I didn't lay down and whimper.  No, I staggered up and quietly proclaimed, "So what if the doctor, the hospital and a nationally renowned neurologist can't figure out what's wrong with me.  One day I'll stop these headaches.  One day I'll be able to remember that bills get paid in the mailbox, not the front dresser drawer.  One day I'll be able to understand why critics call Reba 'middling and pedestrian.'  One day it will be better."

Through depression, premature births, and family cancer scares things will get better.  Corrupt companies, layoffs and a depreciating housing price can't dent my optimism.  After all when I'm stuck in a day that's gray and gloomy.  I just stick out my chin and grin and say...tomorrow! tomorrow! I'll love you tomorrow! You're always a day a way!

Man, they should write a song about that.

Optimism can be that fuel that drives you to achieve the unachievable.  You can't climb Mount Everest without first visualizing yourself reaching the summit.  When you fail at an experiment, it can show you the pathway to success.  A rousing pep-talk is all you need to take a team of misfits to win the Hockey Pee-Wee League State Championship.

Optimism lies in the future. Things may be bad now, but later they'll be better.  No matter what, an oasis lies just over the next sand dune.  Just wait until you get older, the girls will be all over you.  Optimists may not think as the glass half-full today, but definitely believe that it will overflow tomorrow.

I used to live in the future of optimism.  I could easily erase a disappointing event with a good night's sleep and fresh perspective.  That now has changed after seven harrowing months of day to day bad.  FDA recall, family company bankruptcy, car problems, a diminishing bank account, thyroid surgery, thyroid cancer, missing Christmas with the family, and the cancelation of Lego Dimensions.  If I wake up tomorrow and find the dog cooking meth in the downstairs bathroom, it wouldn't surprise me one bit.

Now, I haven't gone over to the dark side of pessimism.  I don't expect crappy things to happen, I just don't expect good things to happen either.  If you base life assumptions on a teeter-totter, I would rest directly on the fulcrum.  I just don't have the emotional stamina to roll over to one side or the other.  If you rather relate philosophies to candy, I'm the Now, not the Later.

Let me give an example of what I mean: 

Last month I found out I had papillary thyroid cancer, and even though the doctors called it the "Cadillac of cancers," it's still cancer.  To eradicate the cancer cells I had to do some pretty awful stuff, like cut iodine out of my diet, take a highly radioactive pill, segregate myself from all of humanity (and pets-manity) for seven days, and then lie still for 45 minutes while a machine invaded my personal space.  Merry Christmas to me.

I could have spent the entire time worrying about what the scan results showed.  I could have planned funeral arrangements or celebration menus, preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.  But instead I watched Trading Places, built Lego models, talked to the kids on FaceTime, and fought the never ending battle of kitchen space with a horde of ants.  And because these weren't just time distractions until the big reveal, I could really enjoy them.

The scan came back showing an absence of cancer cells, and of course I was elated.  But if it came back that 24 lymph nodes were infected, I wouldn't be surprised.  Sad, yes, but not surprised.  And I didn't waste a week by myself worrying about it -- especially when there's a Lego A-Team van to assemble.

Before all you optimists and pessimists pity me, I challenge you to try and free yourself from expectations.  You'll be amazed at the happiness you find in the details of life.  Watching your kid struggling to free a loose tooth becomes thrilling.  You relish sitting on the couch with your partner, even though you're not talking and working on separate laptops.  Even the new Star Wars movie can turn into a pleasurable experience when you don't worry about legacies and discarded canon.

Disappointments do come, but they don't stick around for very long.  Like, sure, this blog column now ends, but somewhere there's a Seinfeld rerun on to take it's place.

*Sorry for the science-y sentence.  The less arrogant sentence is "You don't get over muscle weakness after a stroke before birth..."  I just wanted to make sure you read until the end.