Once upon a time this blog was called One Word, One Rung, One Day in reference to my pursuit of seeing one of my novel's published. Like all fairy tales that name had a happy ending. Having achieved that goal, I changed the name to better reflect a few of my favorite things in this world.
Not long ago I noticed Blogger had added a stats feature to the dashboard. It tracks stats all the way back to sometime in May of this year so I suppose they added this feature then. Today I thought I'd share a few things I've learned from the data which covers the last 5 months or so.
Sorry for the screwy formatting but cutting and pasting the info from the stat button has things a bit askew.
Pageviews last month
Pageviews all time history
I truly appreciate each of you for taking the time to visit my blog.
If I am not mistaken a pageview is not attributed to an individual post when a visitor comes to the home URL. So I think the reason these post rank so high as they match up the the list of search terms that most often bring visitors here from google, bing, or the other search engines.
Whatever the story. I'm glad so many of stop by to pay me a visit.
200 Pageviews The post detailing the event that made me shun organized religion for nearly two decades.
Otherwise why would the staff of Rick Perry, the governor of this, the greatest state in the union work so hard to garner both my vote and my pledged support.
If you missed my post about Slick Rick and his reelection bid to once again lead the great state of Texas then by all means click here to catch up before proceeding.
Some of you overachievers might have actually clicked but I'm betting most of you did not. So long story short. i am not a Rick "The Hair" Perry fan. I said so once in a post and then shortly thereafter received an email from one of his campaign directors labeling herself as a big fan of my blog. She described me as an important and outspoken voice of Texas and urged me to vote and pledge my undying love for the hair spray manufacturer's of the world favorite politician.
So being the smart ass I am I penned a letter saying that while I have never been a Perry supporter I could be bought and if a book deal suddenly appeared out of thin air, even one from a publishing company owned by a Rick Perry supporter I might change my mind. I signed that post ... Travis "Itchy Back" Erwin.
Needless to say, I wasn't surprised when the Perry campaign team did not respond.
And then today I get a new little message int eh old inbox. From the same woman who claimed to be a big fan of my blog. An invite to attend a local soiree with none other than the Governor himself. A grassroots event they describe as an event where I can ...
"... learn how to help Governor Perry stand strong for Texas values."
A meet and greet session with an opportunity to shake hands and speak with the best man to lead our great state. The only man that shares my ideals and beliefs.
Their words, not mine.
Sadly, I have to work during the time frame they gave me. I could take annual leave but despite the chance to have even more fun here at the blog I do believe I will forgo this "opportunity" and save my vacation time for things other things.
Unless of course the aforementioned publisher sends me a personal invite.
Actually I fear the whole invite may be a setup. Perhaps I would show only to discover to former UT offensive lineman looking not only to change my political thinking but also to reprimand me for the derogatory comments about the Longhorn football program.
And despite my take on Mr. Perry and gubernatorial abilities, I am in no way endorsing the other major contestant for the race, former Houston Mayor Bill White.
Though in the sense of fair play let me publicly state, Mr White, if you happen to be tight with any book publishers interested in a memoir about a boy coming-of-age while working at a dusty Texas feedstore for the world's most morally bankrupt boss .. then by all means I'm all ears.
Wherever you may be ... and whatever candidate you happen to support ... do not forget to get out and vote next Tuesday.
The origins of the word California are disputed. Some claim it is Spanish decent. Others claim the word California spring from Latin roots. Still others claim it to be of Native American heritage.
Most Texans don't give a damn where the word California came from. What they do know is it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. For most Texans California is a synonym for liberal. For crazy. For flaky ideals and shaky morals.
I myself have only been to Southern California once. I had a good time but truth be told that is entirely too damned many people in one place for me. And that hectic pace didn't quite jive with my laid back demeanor. But to each his own. I get the fact some folks cringe at the idea that the Lone Star State is home to an estimated 48 million guns. Given there the 24 million residents that means there are two firearms for every man woman and child in the state.
Don't Mess with Texas might have started as an anti-litter campaign but simple math shows the motto carries a bit of oomph beyond a ticket for tossing your Slurpee cup out the window.
Yeah, I really am going somewhere with this post.
Tonight the World Series begins. Texas against California.
And not just California but San Francisco, California. To the average Texan not a damn thing worthwhile has ever came out of San Francisco, the hippie, homosexual, tree hugging capital of the world.
For the average Texan this world series is a battle of good versus evil. Right versus wrong.
I am not the average Texan.
I have voted for a Democrat. I write women's fiction for God's sake. That alone is enough to make a few of my fellow Texans question my sexual orientation. I would be tickled pink if both the Texas Longhorns and Dallas Cowboys never won another game. Heck, the very fact I used the words tickled pink damn near makes me a commie in this state.
And to add insult. I don't really like baseball. I find the game boring. Especially on TV. At the ballpark with a beer or six and a bag of salty peanuts I can take in a game and actually enjoy doing so, but sitting on my couch watching grown men play a child's game simply does not do much for me. I'd just as soon go stand in front of the mirror and watch myself scratch my own balls.
But there is one thing going for the Texas Rangers that draws me in. Part owner and team president -- Nolan Ryan.
I admire the man. A native Texan he is by far my favorite baseball player of all time. Yeah I know he played for the Mets and Califonia Angels but I don't hold those stints against him. He also pitched for the Rangers and the Astros.
In August of 1993 a 46 year old Ryan made the much younger and larger Robin Ventura look like a fool when he charged the mound.
I loved it.
My second favorite Nolan Ryan memory came in 1990 versus the Kansas City Royals. The Royals Bo Jackson (yes that Bo Jackson of Bo Knows fame) hit a screaming bouncer back to the mound. Ryan misplayed it and the ball smacked him in the mouth. But Ryan grabbed the ball and threw out Jackson at first.
Blood poured from Ryan's lip but he refused to leave the game. He kept pitching and the Rangers beat the Royals, 2-1.
So when the first pitch is tossed I'll be on my couch along with a slew of other Texans cheering on the Rangers.
But of course as I've made clear on this blog for a long time, I can be bought. Especially to advance my writing career, so if a certain San Francisco based literary agent wants to sign me up and start hawking my books to New York editors I'd put on a Giants hat. Hell, I'd even dawn a damned Yankees cap if that what it took, because like Nolan I'm gonna keep pitching no matter how many times I get smacked in the face. The Rangers made the fall classic after 50 years of franchise futility. Hope it doesn't take me that long to reach my goals.
He is karma's revenge for every misdeed I ever committed in my youth.
He is my mini-me. My glimpse at the past.
He thinks, and as my mom takes great joying in pointing out, acts just like I did.
Had he been born first he would likely have been an only child, but he along with his older brother, Tarek, and my lovely wife Jennifer, who I will have been married to for thirteen years come Monday, make my life worth living.
Here is a funny little tale that highlights both his sharp wit and shall I say smug cockiness.
While preparing Zalen for first reconciliation. First confession for you non Catholic readers, my wife asked Z if he'd thought about what he was gonna say to Monsignor.
"I guess, I'll tell them I'm mean to my brother," he said.
A very true statement as Zalen torments his older brother nonstop.
"That's good," Jennifer replied.
At which point Zalen pipes in with, "Besides, he already knows Tarek, so he will understand."
These words are often paired together, but truth be told age is to maturity what books are to knowledge. One can help you discover the other but only if you bother to invest a little time and effort. In other words an entire library of books are not gonna make you any smarter unless you crack open the covers and get busy reading. And a 20 yo dumbass is gonna turn into a 30, 40, 50 and yes even a 60yo dumbass unless he/she learns from their mistakes. Yeah, I could have raised the number but 60 is at the extreme upper end of the life expectancy chart for dumbasses.
I am 37. Soon to be 38.
Yet another ambiguous quandary.
I at least like to think I'm more mature than say Mel Gibson who has nearly 17 years experience on me.
Then again there is Nacy Yi Fan who saw her first novel Swordbird, published by HarperCollins when she was only 12.
Today, shortly after lunch I reached a new milestone on the road to maturity. Like all lessons this one was not pretty, but in the end I will be a better man for it.
What is this new found knowledge you ask? What earth shattering discovery have I made to improve my quality of life? To a healthier and wealthier existence?
I have learned, the hard way that thinking outside the bun, running for the border, and talking Chihuahua's are detrimental to your happiness.
I have a confession to make. I am a tightwad. The fact you can buy 16 tacos for a buck fifty appeals to my frugal side. The fact ingesting those tacos raises your personal consumption of Charmin by 229% negates the saving however. Then there is the physical pain from the stomach cramps.
Like all fast food restaurants the menu board is comprised of numbers. "Give me the #3." Which might be a chulupa and a bean burrito. Or the #6 8 soft tacos and nacho's. All with a gallon of Pepsi on the side. Life would be much easier if the name of each combo mirrored the aftermath ...
"I'll take one Rectum Wreckage Combo and another Anal Punisher but hold the lettuce on both. No scratch the Anal Punisher combo and make it a Sphincter Stretcher instead. And let me have some of those Cinnamon thingies instead of the rice and beans."
And what is up with their drink cups. That plastic is so thin that is provides horrible insulation. Right now I am staring at my Dr Pepper cup which is sweating like a two dollar whore in church. Yep, that was my last visit to the border.since the only place I'm running is the toilet.
Never again will I make like Quasimodo and ring that Bell.
Y'all did better than I expected with your guess. My friend Dee Burks did the best getting 9 of the 10. Dee along with another friend, Liz own and run TAG Publishing LLC. TAG is running a Great American Novel contest but the deadline to enter is fast approaching so if you have a manuscript ready to go jump on in there. click on the link for more info.
And here are the correct answers.
1. Claire Cook
2. Jonathan Franzen
3. Nicholas Sparks
4. Nora Roberts
5. James Patterson
6. Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Ken Follett
8. Sophie Kinsella
9. Janet Evanovich
10. Suzanne Collins
And as much as I would like to have a witty story or funny little anecdote to go add to this post I am simply not feeling very witty after my beloved Cornhuskers greased up their hands and couldn't catch a damn pass to save their life on Saturday.
Losing is bad enough. losing to that vile team from Austin plainly makes me sick. The officiating sucked as well but I don't want to sound like a rambling mad men conspiracy theorist so I won't comment on the fact that the Longhorns pay all the bills in the Big XII including the refs paychecks. I am sure the powers that be in the Big XII are smiling over the fact their orange darlings came out victorious. But like I said ... Huskers catch the DAMN ball!
At least the Saints finally played up to their talent.
I plan to leave the contest from yesterday's post open until at least Sunday night. so guess away. Author #7 has everyone stumped so far. I promise he is a very well known author.
I've been blogging a good long while now and I love sharing stories with y'all but I also tend to be an oral storyteller. The combination of those facts sometimes leads me to forget if I've written up a particular story or only told it to friends over a beer or three. It is possible I've already blogged this, but today while reading Hilary's blog I was reminded of a story about a raccoon. Unlike Hilary's post my tale is sort of macabre. But this October and what better time to share a dark twisted tale.
Peaches Ain't Free
August is no time to be pregnant. At least it wasn't for my wife. Never a fan of the heat, she was having a hell of a time this particular August. Two months. That's how long she had until our second child was slated to arrive, but to Jennifer it might as well have been two years. Add in the fact she spent every day trying to keep up with a twenty-two month old and Jennifer was never in the chipperest of moods when I arrived home from work.
But this particular day she wasn't merely tired, frazzled and hot. She was worried, gripped with fear.
"That raccoon was back today. And this time he didn't run when i yelled at him. Tarek was in his baby pool and that coon came right up and got a drink while he was in there. So I snatched him up and we spent the rest of the day inside."
Generally speaking raccoons are nocturnal. For one to venture out into the bright hot August sun something had to be wrong. "Did it look sick?" I asked.
Jennifer nodded. "It was missing a bunch of fur and it limped like it could barley walk."
"Probably has rabies," I said. "I'll see if I can lure it out from under the house and shoot it with my .22."
So i got a can of peaches and sat them where I could hide but still have a good clear shot.
I didn't have to wait long before out crawled the mangiest looking coon I'd ever seen.
I took aim ... and pow!
The wounded raccoon scurried off toward the woods behind out house. The sick animal did not go far before the life seeped out of it. I picked up the peaches and went to go put my gun away.
I no more than walked into the living room when Jennifer began sobbing uncontrollably. I tried to decipher her wails but couldn't. finally she pointed out the window. There not a few feet from where I'd shot the big nasty looking raccoon was four cute and cuddly fur balls. Baby raccoons. Obviously looking for their mother.
That raccoon wasn't sick. It was mangy because it just had babies," my wife cried. "And I told you to get rid of it. What if someone looked at me with my swollen ankles and big belly and thought I was sick?"
I tired to reason with her but distraught pregnant women are not the most rationale of people and in her eyes we were momma killers. Which I guess technically we were, but we didn't set out to orphanize those critters. We thought we were putting a sick animal out of its misery and protecting our son who spent a lot fo time outside where this raccoon kept showing up.
Our nephew came over and crawled under the house and eventually caught all of the babies which we took to a local vet. Zalen the child Jennifer was pregnant with will turn eight a week from now and I can't help but wonder of those four baby raccoons turned out be half as ornery as he is.
It appears as of Claire Cook the author of such novels as Must Like Dogs and Life's a Beach will win.
I hope they pull this off as authors certainly deserve as much fame and attention as Nicole Ritchie and that Kate gal with the screwy hair-do. After all, writing a book takes more talent than loading up on fertility drugs and having an octopi of little chitlins in one pop.
The whole possibility got me to thinking ... even I ... as a lifelong avid reader ... a devoted writer ... a studier of the publishing world, wouldn't recognize more than a handful of well known authors. Sure i know Stephen King and J.K. Rowling by sight. As well as the writers I have met at conferences and what not over the years.
And there are a few others ... Sedaris, Richard Russo cause he's one of my favorites. Hemingway, given the fact he's dead he doesn't really count. Though if Ernie's ghost is hovering about and read this I wouldn't mind a little supernatural help nudging literary agents in recognizing the potential of both The Feedstore Chronicles and my impending career.
Back to the anonymity of authorhood. I decided to see how well my readers would do identifying best selling contemporary authors.
Time to guess. Yeah there is a prize, but the winner is gonna have to be patient to cash in. the prize is the very first autographed copy of The Feedstore Chronicles mailed directly to you wherever you are in this world. Yeah I suppose it is presumptuous on my part to speak as if my manuscript will one day be a full fledged book, but I believe in the tales and I am confident the tales will see the light of day. The power of positive thinking can be a powerful force and damn it I'm ready to tap into it.
So get to guessing. should there be more than one person to get all ten or if there is a tie for correct answers the names of those claiming the top spots will go into a random drawing. So this little author test will serve two purposes. One how recognizable authors are, and two, how many of my readers have faith that The Feedstore Chronicles will find a home. Otherwise all of you are playing for what little Johnny shot at ... Nada.
Quite often upon learning I work for the US Postal Service the person I'm talking to will launch into a myriad of complaints about junk mail, the fact they often get letters address to their neighbor, or the long lines when they go to buy stamps.
While I believe the average postal worker does a good job within the constraints of bureaucracy, I also realize we are often our own worst enemies as a entity. These videos, while a spoof go a long way proving why. And sadly they are more truth than fiction. All except the Hitler part that is. None of my coworkers can quite fit the bill as the history's most vile person.
Ever wonder why the lines moves so slow? Here is the answer ...
Or what it is like to work for 20 years and still be stuck with a crummy hours and bad days off? ...
Another one about the asinine hoops we postal workers must jump through to call in sick. It includes actual audio from the automated system and is my personal favorite.
First a snippet from something I read this week. From ...
Above him, in the house that owns the pool, a light has come on, and children are looking down on him through their bedroom windows, all warm and fuzzy in their Li'l Crips and Ninja Raft Warrior pajamas, which can either be flameproof or noncarcinogenic but not both at the same time. Dad is emerging from the backdoor, pulling on a jacket. it is a nice family, a safe family in a house full of light, like the family he was part of until thirty seconds ago.
And from something I wrote this week ... .
The first time Grace McEwen stood outside a closed door and listened to her mother squeal and sigh with pleasure she was six. Thirty-one years later, she found the sounds just as awkward. Maybe more so, now that Grace fully understood the source of her mom’s vocal gratification.
The above is the opening paragraph of my WIP, a humorous novel about a woman whose life is being ruined by sex.
Being the 2nd Monday of the month it is again my turn to host My Town Monday, but this week I'm taking my post on the road. Back on October 2nd my wife and I and some friends loaded up in the car and headed 340 or so miles south ... to Fort Worth, Texas.
While there we took in a fall beer festival put on by The Flying Saucer.
The Flying Saucer is a franchise of draught emporiums in fourteen establishments in 6 different states. Each one offers over a hundred different beers on tap. You can find out more about The Flying Saucer at their website ... www.beerknurd.com.
For twenty bucks a person could buy a 4 oz glass and the above card which entitled them to sample 10 drafts of 30 different beers from all over the world.
I had a great time, but I gotta say I was somewhat disappointed with the brews I sampled. If I had to pick a favorite or two would be Avery's Seventeen or Victory Lager, but most of the selections I sampled were too hoppy and bitter for my liking. On top of that most of the beers were warmer than I like. it was a fairly hot day and there was a good crowd so I understand the difficulties of keeping enough kegs cool. As you can see in the above shot the festival took place in the parking lot behind the regular establishment. I never did make it next door to Barnes and Noble which is probably a good thing as I am an impulse book buyer even when stone cold sober. no telling what I would have bought with a buzz.
Inside, The Flying Saucer they have well over a hundred beers on tap at any given time.
Sorry for the poor picture quality. Guess I had one too many before taking that shot.
Flying Saucer regulars can join the UFO club for 18 bucks.Club member get a shirt and once they have sampled enough varieties of beer (100 i think) they get their name on a plate which is attached to the wall or ceiling somewhere in the establishment.
Over all it was a cool place and I had a good time even of the beers I sampled were nothing to get excited about.
For more My Town Monday posts from all over the globe check out the MTM site or the links below.
Day 9 ... of ten straight days of Top Ten lists in anticipation of the arrival of October 10th, 2010. Why do I care so much about 10/10/10? Hell if I know, but a guy's gotta blog about something right. Feel free to join in any or all of the days with your own lists or expand on any of mine.
What a day Friday was. For a while it seemed everything was going to hell in a hurry. I posted a message to both Facebook and Twitter which read ... This day is going into the crapper faster than e-coli tainted sushi.
I'm proud to say the day improved but I failed to conjure up anything resembling a witty top ten list so here are ten pictures for your visual amusement. All involve me somehow. Clicking on the pics should enlarge them.
Top 10 Pictures of Me Being Goofy
10. Pirate Travis Halloween (2007)
9. Snowman Architect January (2010)
8. Santa Travis (2000)
7. Good Time Travis alongside side Good Time Charlie (seriously that dude's name is Charlie and no those are not adult beverages in the fancy red cups. Okay maybe they are.) Homer's Backyard Ball (May 2008)
6. Travis and his favorite Work Shirt (June 2010)
5. A Boy and His Pig (February 1991) Yes, that rosy cheeked boy is really me.
4. Thermal Travis (June 2008)
3. Travis's Roll Around Tool Box at Work.
2. 2nd Grader Travis (Circa 1981) Can you ID me?
1. Fishing and Writing (May 2009) ... If only I could get spend every day doing these two activities.