Where the Hell… Episode Three

Where we find out how Darth Vader came to be… sorry, wrong story.

Yes, I’m freakin’ allergic to antihistimines. Ain’t that a drag? When I have a serious reaction, I have two available meds. An Epi-pen, which is a spring loaded syringe of ephinepherine that hurts like hell, and prednisone. Predisone is a corticosteriod that works against allergic reactions by shutting down the immune system.

Huh?  Yep, shuts that sucker right down. All the little guys in there raisin’ hell and trying to kick the allergens out just go right to sleep.  Not a bad deal.

If you live in a bubble.

I work with a katrillion people in an office building with ventilation from Alcatraz. Somebody gets sick, everybody gets sick. Got any idea what happens to somebody on immunosuppressants – somebody with NO immune system – in an environment like that?

Pneumonia, with a capital PNEU, that’s what. So I see my doc, and she sends me to my allergist, who says – “let’s try Benadryl.  Nobody’s allergic to Benadryl.”

(to be continued)

You Gotta Love Those Spiders

You are so not going to believe this!  (wow, that sounds like my 25-year-old)

Internet search engines use programs called spiders to snoogle (how do you like that for a word?) around websites collecting information and building directories.  Google, Yahoo, Ask.com and a kazillion other web indexes use the little bugs.  Anyone who uses the internet for marketing should use these search engines frequently to establish the depth of your brand penetration.

Among the items I Google and Yahoo on a regular basis is “ron chalice” which normally returns 7,500 or so pages that reference my brand.  (I use the double quotes around “ron chalice” so I don’t get 356,000 pages about cups.) Today I stumbled across a new one that just started a rolling giggle.

There is an online business directory called Hot Frog. (The name comes from the old adage that if you toss a frog into a hot skillet he’ll jump out. If you put him in a cold one and turn on the heat, he’ll stay in the skillet until he cooks. — Kind of describes a groundswell marketing effort.)

Anyway, HotFrog.com lists RonChalice as a business — OK with me. The chuckle comes when they list my “products” — in the following order:

Cops
Fiction
God
Thriller
Writer

 

If that’s not enough, Hot Frog lists God as a “product”.  I show up on page 8 as a place to find “God”.

Where the Hell… part deux

Before I continue with the story, check out my new bio page — just click up in the right corner — up a little higher, there you go — where it says “About Ron Chalice.”  We’ll return after the word from our sponsor.

The story continues…

It never pays to be in a hurry. Before I get to the end of this page, you’ll probably hear that again. I have some allergies. Most are the normal kind, pollen, dust, nuclear waste and such. But then I’m also allergic to onions. Have you ever tried to AVOID ONIONS? Most of the time, I’m pretty good at it. I’m, uh, motivated. You see, onions make me stop breathing. Breathing is motivation — and after the last few months, not nearly as overrated as I thought it was.

So I’m in a hurry, coming out of one meeting and on my way to another. Yeah, you’ve been there. I pop in my work cafeteria and grab a sandwich, and yell at the deli guy.  “This have any onions?”

“Nah, only the wraps.  The sandwiches never do.”

One word in that response was very important, when taken in context. Never. They NEVER do.

I unwrapped it, opened the top just to be sure and — pause for suspense — what you you think I saw.

(more…)

Where the Hell Have You Been?

Ok, most people did put it a little more politely than that. The last few months have been a challenge. Heck, it might even be something to write about. Not nearly as funny as the dog-broken ribs or the cookie-broken foot, but maybe somebody will get a chuckle.

Vaguely related to the cookie incident, by way of involving food, the latest travails began in mid-October last year, with a couple drops of onion juice…

(to be continued…)

A Pleasant Surprise While Buying Books – Robert Spiller!

As I wandered through my neighborhood Barnes and Noble – with one of MY books on the shelf by the way – a familiar voice said “what are you doing here?”  The voice belonged to Robert Spiller, a YA author from Colorado Springs, at the store for a signing of his second book A Calculated Demise (Medallion).  How could I not walk away with a signed tome?  However, being the sort of person who begins at the beginning, the book I took home was Bob’s first novel, The Witch of Agnesi.  Robert has a wonderful way of combining mathematics and math history as ways to solve mysteries.

I urge you to visit Bob at http://www.rspiller.com and see what he’s all about.  Good writer and a great guy.  He is the Director of Youth Programs for Pikes Peak Writers, and has some great ideas surging from that head of his.

Long Commute??? Janet Evanovich can Save Your Day!

On a good day, my commute is 75 minutes — one way — I can cut it to 55 by paying ten bucks in tolls. Morning is not my thing, even though Sailor the Dog usually gets my shaggy behind out of bed while the sun is still snoring. So I usually pay the ten, although part of me thinks that an hourly rate for the use of a freeway that equals 512% of the minimum wage is a wee bit exorbitant. By the time you add a zillion dollars a gallon for gasoline — whew! (but I digress).

I figure there are about six ways you can deal with a morning commute. — Ron’s dictionary defines “morning commute” as “terror-filled moments of travelling bumper-to-bumper at 90 mph (144.84 kph to the rest of the world) interlaced with sheer-terror-filled moments of decelerating to ZERO mph (ZILCH kph), hoping the woman behind you in the Hummer will put down her cellphone, hairbrush, and mascara in time to see that you are slowing down.”  Anyway, back to the six ways:

  1. Keep alert with your eyes on the road and drivers around you. (boring)
  2. Unwrap a cheese McMuffin while steering with your elbows and balancing a paper cup of coffee the temperature of Venus on your knee.
  3. Shave (faces for guys, armpits for gals) while applying make-up (gals and some guys, substitute scratching for the rest of us guys) and looking up your daily schedule on your BlackBerry.
  4. Putting on mascara while using your cell phone browser to Google the guy you went out with last night for his credit history.
  5. Trying to catch the attention of the buxom babe in the Lexus just behind you to the left, while avoiding impact with the 72-year-old woman in the 1991 Olds 88 Royale ahead of you.
  6. Laugh your a** off listening to an audio book by Janet Evanovich.

(more…)

No Thanks Chris Whoeveryouare, I’ll Pass

Like everybody else in the isphere, I get a fair share of spam. My alter ego RC Kohler is playing around a bit with the influx of Russian stuff on his website, but I digress. I’ll tell you ahead of time, the moral of this story is research the depth of the water before you dive off that cliff. 

A couple of hours ago, I get this nicely formatted HTML e-mail (first hint), no graphics, no fancy stuff, only one link, so I immediately wonder why it’s HTML. It’s signed by Chris. OK so I know a lot of Chrises, but can’t think of one that would send me e-mail in HTML. Then I look up to see that good old Chris’s e-mail address is HYPERBIZ at some-url-I-wont-mention-here. That takes this Chris off the list of anybody I know.

So in this e-mail, my good buddy Chris is telling me about this new website that I “should be on.” Wow! A website I should be on. The link is right there, will only take a second to click it. (authorsnation.com) I don’t click it though. Why? Because one of the first rules of safe computing is DON’T CLICK A LINK IN AN E-MAIL WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW THE SENDER. However the place does look interesting. So I put on the cybercondom and Googled the name. Nothing bad showed up, nothing exciting either, just relatively neutral stuff. I type the URL into my address bar and hit Go.

The site is classy. Well designed, intuitive navigation. Membership is free. Oo-o-o-o-oh, my kind of price point. I check out the forum, a lot of categories, but not much meat. Most of the categories show 0 posts. Then something that does look interesting. The posts that ARE there have a lot to do with how to publicize authorsnation. h-m-m-m. So the website turns out to be sponsored by a publishing company. OK, maybe. The website wants you to post all of your work on their site — of course the small print says that you still own all the rights — but they don’t mention that no publisher will buy anything once it’s been posted on their website.  Seems to be that nasty language around “FIRST” in the publication rights clauses of most contracts.

So I make sure the cybercondom is snug and check out the sponsor. For $499 they’ll publish my book, or anybody’s book. Good luck, Chris. Whoever/Whereever you are.

Ron

Update on the Big V… an — erp — apology to the Venetian

Ok, I was a little harsh on the Venetian earlier today. I mentioned the issues I was having to the Concierge (a great guy named Barry) and within an hour every item was taken care of. I’m posting this message from the fresh air near the rooftop pool. — There is a happy new bride and her entourage just a few feet away as Peter Tosh (my Toshiba notebook) and I fade into the background. — more tomorrow. I suppose I could let them have their wedding — but I was here first. 😛

Yes, I will come back. 🙂

Ron

How is it? Do what I say — not what I do?

My bad. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve given a workshop, done an on-line chat session, revised and presentation, and am am getting psyched for my session at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference. — Yikes, four days from now! A key piece of advice throughout is KEEP YOUR CONTENT FRESH!

So, I sit in the food court of the Venitian Hotel in Las Vegas (overrated by the way, but more on that later), pop open my blog and see that the last post was JUNE 7.  Crap!

It should prove to be an interesting week. I’m vacationing — sort of — and visiting relatives, while Moni attends a conference. Tomorrow night, we get to see the Blues Brothers (the REAL Jim Belushi/Dan Ackroyd ones) at a special private concert for 6,000 of Moni’s closest friends 😉

We fly home later in the week, and it’s Moni’s turn to vacation while I work (tsk,tsk) at Colorado Gold. My presentation is Friday afternoon, in the two-ish timeframe. It’s going to be a blast!

A short digression here. Did you notice that this post is breaking the two spaces after a period rule? That’s the result of a hard lesson and some hours of editing previous posts. It has to do with the character sets being used to populate the database on a lot of web programming, and the support of machine translators and such. Some database character sets will replace the double spaces with either a space and an A with a carat above, or the symbol for the Euro. It can all get pretty ugly. — Take a look at a couple of the Em Gideon posts below that I left intact. — Simple solution, don’t double space after punctuation. A good practice, highly recommended by a lot of people is to do your drafts in a text editor like notepad (or in Word, then SAVED as a text file), then do a global search and replace of (SPACE)(SPACE) with (SPACE) before posting into your blog or content management editor. (I write that last sentence as I, sitting here surrounded by Vegas distractions, type madly, and directly, into my WordPress editor.)

Yeah, the big V. I understand that they don’t WANT you to stay in your room, so the WiFi is in places that sell things. (Not in the casino of course, don’t want instant on-line results on stuff.)  But Geez Laweeze.  It’s hard to find a hotel anyplace anymore that doesn’t have in-room coffee.  Not the big V.  They said (for $4) they would deliver a coffee maker to our room. I waited up until after 11 PM last night, it never showed.  The rooms are huge, the decor is — decor.  Do I feel like I’m really in Venice?  Not a chance. Too many dings and beeps from the casino. Oh, well. More from Sin City later. (My mom lives here — I love to rag on the place.)

ttfn,
Ron

On the Road Again… a HOT one…

I write this from a hotel room in Terre Haute Indiana at about 11 pm. On the way to tomorrows gig with the 7th Cavalry in Fairfield Ohio. Man has it been hot. Woke up this morning to a tornado warning in Topeka Kansas, and busted ass to get where the skies weren’t dark anymore, then went up in the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. How cool is that? What an incredible view although the ride up is a bit uncomfortable. Tomorrow an Saturday nights in Fairfield, then Sunday in downtown Chicago. We’re planning on rolling back into Denver on Tuesday, then picking up Sailor the Award Winning Dog on Wednesday morning.