A New Project, An Empty Studio and A Call for Social Media Help

This is just going to be one of those stream-of-consciousness pieces that I don’t really advertise anywhere and most people who read it will be regulars or at least WordPress users who found me in the Reader. I tend to not promote the rambling posts anymore.

  • I’m writing this today because I’m avoiding work. For the last few weeks, one of the reasons I’ve been somewhat absent on here — and I apologize to everybody whose blogs I usually read — but I’ve been busting my butt creating an online course based on my second book, the one for partners of porn addicts. It’s still easily the best selling book I have. If you haven’t purchased it yet, 1) Shame on you and 2) It’s on Amazon right now at 43% off the cover price. That’s right, you can get it for under $12 Check it out at this link. The course will likely be ready in a week or so and I’ll announce more about it, but it’s been a lot of labor and me doing things that I’m not so comfortable with, like editing video. Oh well, we have to push ourselves to learn new skills or be left behind.
  • I found out my December TEDx Talk will not be given to a live audience in attendance which kind of bums me out. I usually speak well with people in the room. I’m not sure how I’ll be in the new scenario, filming it a TV studio in East Hartford, Connecticut. It’ll be streamed live and the most important thing is the video hits the Internet not long after, but I’m kind of bummed because it means I need to pull the funny lines I use because they will be received by crickets.
  • The picture with this article used to be the one I always used on these rambling pieces. No idea why I stopped, but seeing it today made me realize it was necessary to purge my mind of lots of little things.
  • My parents had their 50th wedding anniversary this last weekend. My brother and I were remembering going to my grandparents 50th anniversary party 24 years ago and agreed that our parents didn’t look as old as our grandparents did back then. Or we’re just a lot older. I grew up basically across the street from Bates College. When I was 10, the students looked like 30-year-olds. Now that I’m 44, they look about 12. I guess it’s all about perspective.
  • If you’re in the US, it’s time to get your absentee ballot. I just filled out my request for mine. Go ahead and vote for Trump. I’m just going to cancel you out.
  • Finally, I had the best week on this website going back at least six months, last week. I posted a link to my article about OnlyFans onto Linked In and thankfully hundreds of people came to check out my website. Quite a few also subscribed, so I feel good about that. It’s made me realize that I really do need to get more onto social media — but based on my last couple of weeks, I don’t feel like I have the time nor desire to learn and I know I’m going to be left behind. If there is anybody out there who is an inexpensive social media manager that is interested in managing my social media presence, please get in touch with me. This is one of the weakest areas I have, but I can’t let it continue to be that way.

Porn Projects, More Frustration, An Eerie Thing and a Zipline Video

Time for one of those random thoughts/updates pieces. Too much rattling around in my head to put 800 words to any of it, and I just need to do some housecleaning in my head.

First, my new book “Pornography and the Pandemic: How Three Months in 2020 Changed Everything” is still scheduled to be released on July 5. I think it may bump to July 6, since that’s a Monday. We had to change the secondary headline from when I last told you about the project because the publisher was leery of a book title with both “Pandemic” and “COVID-19” in the title since some online booksellers are rejecting items with too many references to the virus. I guess it stems from people trying to sell non-book products that claim to help cure the coronavirus. That’s fine with me. I can see the new secondary title as more exciting, but wonder if putting the year in it will help or hurt.

I’ve got to start working on the marketing of the book, but it’s a little challenging. It’s told in first person, but it’s far more of a journalistic-style book that I think will be interesting to a wide audience than either of my first books…but I’m not exactly sure how to tell the world about it with my marketing budget of $0. It’s also strange because there was 22 months between the release of my first two books and only 5 months between the second and third. Last year at this time, I largely took the summer off from this blog and writing, going on a nice road trip. The virus halted most sales of my second book in its tracks because the bulk were going to libraries at that point. I’ve noticed it pick up a little bit as libraries become semi-active, but I think that second book would have sold hundreds of more copies if not for people’s attention, and their lives, being so disrupted by the virus. A library isn’t going to buy a book if it’s not open until further notice. I believe the new book is going to be much less expensive than the first two, but I’m just the writer… I learn a lot of these things when I see it for sale for the first time. I hope you’ll support me and I’ll share more when I know.

I’m trying to calm myself a bit from the anger and frustration I’ve been feeling dealing with and seeing so many ignorant people on television and online regarding both the virus and the changes happening, and being pushed for, regarding race in this country. There’s a balancing act between recognizing as one person I really can’t do much, but just because that’s true doesn’t mean I should do nothing. I’m just hoping that the polls I’m seeing regarding November’s elections end up as true. We’ve given the current administration more than three years to make America great again. They actually went in the other direction. I think Joe Biden’s campaign slogan should just be, “Make America like it was before Trump took over, then we’ll work on the greatness thing.”

My frustration comes from people believing that they don’t have to follow either commonsense guidelines or actual laws because they believe there is some “Constitutional guarantee” they don’t have to wear a mask. There isn’t. I think this is a combination of politics, people needing to feel rebellious and untreated mental illness at work. I just feel bad for the people who try to do the right things and get the virus have to battle for the same hospital beds as those who flaunted and ignored scientific wisdom. Science says the sun will rise tomorrow. Do you not believe it until you see it? People need to remember that science is neither a religion nor a political party. It’s the best collection of provable data we have — even if you don’t like the results. With the race issue, the statistics that prove its obviously a problem are just being ignored by people who would rather argue about knocking over a statue in some Virginia or Alabama park. Who cares about these statues? Black people are dying because of the color of their skin and sick people are dying because people don’t want to treat the pandemic as serious. It’s more important they be able to workout in a gym or get a burger. Great priorities.

So here’s kind of a weird story. A couple of weeks back, on June 13, I got a nice notecard in the mail from my mother’s best friend, Gwen. They were paired as college roommates and share the exact same birthday. You’ve never met two more different people and I think Gwen’s flighty and illogical life choices sometimes frustrated my mother. Depending on where Gwen was living, we’d see her three or four times a year when I was growing up. When I was in jail, Gwen wrote a couple letters that were really quite touching and I wrote a few back. That correspondence never would have happened had I not done time and since I was released four years ago, we’ve exchanged letters once or twice a year. I think I saw her twice, but it may have only been once since I was released.

It was just a typical check-in note, but she mentioned that she had finally got a phone that could do texting — which I’m guessing she’s had for years but just finally realized it. She gave her new number and I texted her two days later on June 15, but heard nothing back. I didn’t follow-up. Yesterday, which was June 29, my mom called me and told me that Gwen was found dead in her apartment on June 20. Gwen’s son was under the belief his mother had gone on one of her little coastal retreats, but when she didn’t contact him upon returning he eventually had the police in her town do a wellness check, where she’d had a heart attack…on the day I received her note.

I feel very bad for my mother. She lost her brother, who was her other best friend in January, and now Gwen. It seems like she and my father, who were very well known in our area since they were school teachers for nearly 40 years each in the same town, have been going to a lot of funerals lately. It’s mainly for their former colleagues or some of their friends, but I can see their own mortality has been weighing on them a bit. I now know where all the important papers they have are, what the will says and in the next few weeks, they’re paying for their funeral expenses. With my uncle gone, I was given power of attorney should they both be unable to make decisions. They’re approaching their mid-70s, so they could theoretically still have 20 years each left in them, but it’s been a different kind of vibe lately.

I noticed a little bit of that vibe changing when my 20-year-old daughter, 17-year-old son, and 72-year-old dad all went zip lining in Massachusetts the other day. We needed to go do something outdoors and fun and my son and dad have never done it before. Ten years ago, my dad would have been planning our next trip. After the two miles of zip lines and mile of hiking through the mountains between the various zip lines, he said he never had to do it again. Of course, he finished just fine. I was the one who forgot to bring water, overheated and had a pretty serious case of the dry heaves between lines five and six…but we won’t talk about it. I’m sure my kids also thought, “Dad is getting old” when they saw I needed to take a break and wretch into the woods.

Finally, I’ve teased that I’m involved in something big and could change the trajectory of my porn addiction education quest. I got word from the powerful overseers that I will be able to announce what I’m talking about next week.

Enjoy the Fourth of July. Wear a mask.

The Grateful Eight – June 2020

Only one day late, which is pretty good for me. If you’re new, this is my monthly dive into gratitude, which is a big part of recovery from alcoholism and pornography addiction. I like it more than the flood of awards out there. I try to get it done on the eighth of every month because of the rhyming scheme, but it doesn’t always happen.

As always, I try to mix the obvious with the mundane and love to hear what you’re grateful for. I think when you sit back and think about it, you’re grateful for a lot more than you realize.

  1. Marriage – Oh, there have been plenty of times when I’ve fantasized about packing up the car and heading west to find my fame and fortune, leaving my nagging wife behind. But that’s usually after an argument, and most often after and argument where I was wrong. Yesterday, June 8, we celebrated our 17th anniversary. The simple fact anybody would be married to me for that long, especially with all the massive life changes and crazy events I’ve put them through is a testament to her… or an indication of an undiagnosed mental condition.
  2. Writing My Latest Book – The book itself is good (I think) but I realize just how valuable those three weeks in May when I was absolutely killing myself 12-15 hours every day to research and write it were to my mental health. I haven’t kicked myself in the ass to get something done like that in a long time. It felt like I tapped into a manic pace of working and thinking that I hadn’t felt since my days at daily newspapers. My body and mind could do this more than a couple times per year, but it was a great way to get through the quarantine.
  3. Outdoor Dining – For the first time since mid-February, I went with my wife, two kids and father out to eat a beautiful country inn about 20 minutes away for dinner Saturday night. They had outdoor seating, and thankful canopies, as a light rain fell for a few minutes in the middle of dinner. My 20-year-old daughter is living at her boyfriend’s house now so we don’t see her nearly as much and with my mom in LA helping with my brother’s new baby, it was a refreshing change to get to eat with just him. There was a lot of laughing, playful teasing, storytelling and great food. I can’t remember the last time I told my wife I had a great time going out to eat, but that was really something special.
  4. Finally Taking a Stand – I’m not going to make this political, but I feel so much better about myself for deciding I cannot support Donald Trump anymore. When all of the former generals and ex-employees (usually fired for standing up to him) came out a few days later and gave their first-hand accounts about his lack of leadership, I felt vindicated. This country needs a leader, not just a guy who has fooled the Cracker Barrel crowd into believing he has their best interests in mind. My natural instinct is to wait until the last minute to make a decision in almost any election, but I feel good for being on top of things here.
  5. Band-Aids – I don’t think I’ve put a Band-Aid on in six months, but I’ve needed two in the last 12 hours. First, my cat gave me a huge gash when I quickly tried to toss it off the bed in the middle of the night. I heard it making “Here comes the hairball” noises and my wife celebrated Kohl’s reopening by getting us new bedding, so I tried to get it off quickly, but it hooked one claw into my index finger and when I tossed the cat it just pulled a huge gash into the tip of the finger. I haven’t bled like that in a while. Then, about two hours ago, I was outside fiddling with the pool and stepped on a stick or something and put a nasty splinter into my fourth toe. I was able to pull half of it out, but the other half is still there. I have no idea who originally invented Band-Aids, but that person has had an impact on basically every life in the civilized world when you think about it.
  6. A Lack of Corporate Writing – I’ve seen my income take a pretty serious nosedive in the last 6 months. My biggest client out of Australia who I wrote corporate biographies closed shop. Then, COVID-19 killed off a major client for the time being and there’s just not a lot of work out there that pays what I require. That said, it’s been a nice break not writing about the business world. There is just so much BS about business that I think the world could have 25-hour work weeks and everything would be fine if pointless meetings, strategy sessions, and dumb reports were banished. I’m enjoying the break from writing about business.
  7. Road Trips – My daughter is constantly complaining after last year’s 28-day jaunt across America that she’s getting really antsy to take another trip (even though she and I went to North Carolina two weeks before the lockdown started) but knows we can’t since so much is still not open. I haven’t mentioned that I also haven’t saved, nor planned for a year. It’s not like I randomly stumbled on a free Haunted Cruise in Wisconsin or free Zip Lining in Idaho, but since she didn’t plan or pay, it probably seems that way. I always dreamed of that kind of road trip after taking a few with my parents as a kid. I’m so glad I got to do it with her, and that the rest of the family joined us for a week of it on the West Coast. I can only imagine the pain I’d be feeling now if I planned this trip for this year.
  8. Drumsticks – Not the musical instrument accessory, the ice cream treat. God Bless the bastard who invented those.

Warning: You’ll Never Get the Three Minutes Back It Will Take to Read This

I’ve been trying to write two blog entries a week and trying to make sure at least one of them is about pornography addiction, but some weeks are easier and some weeks are harder to get up for research and this is one of those difficult weeks, so maybe it won’t happen.

In the past, as recently as four or five months ago, I would have been a little more down on myself for not hitting a blogging deadline, but I’ve learned not to treat this as such a lifeline to a world, or to look for my blog for as much interaction as I was getting. Yeah, my views are down 50% what they were when I was writing every day and that would have killed my spirit in November, but now, I think I have the healthier “it is what it is” mindset. If this blog was monetized, that would be one thing, but a steep dip in stats is yielding just as much money as it did before: Zero dollars, zero cents.

I stopped blogging as much because I had a few projects I wanted to start. Some happened, some are still on the to-do list. And of course things pop-up, like a once-in-a-lifetime plague.

I’ve been recording a lot of podcasts lately because I’ve been following the effect of the pandemic on porn and a lot of people have wanted to talk to me about it. I very much appreciate the slow movement away from my personal story and into one where I serve the role of pornography addiction expert. If you’ve never checked out my podcasts page or listened to one, many of the recent podcasts have been quite good. I haven’t gone back and listened to any of my first from early 2018 in a long time. I’d probably be embarrassed by it.

I also had the very cool opportunity to play interviewer to Tony Overbay on the 200th episode of his podcast, The Virtual Couch. Tony was the co-author of my latest book and I actually first met him through his podcast back when it was only episode 27. These days he gets thousands of hits and is one of the most popular mental health podcasts. Tony’s story is amazing, and it gives a lot of people to see the roles reversed where I’m the interviewer and he’s the subject. When I was a full-time journalist, I was always the interviewer. It was nice to see I hadn’t lost it.

I actually have to play catch-up on my to-do list, since I’m already a day behind this week. Had one of those days yesterday were everything I wasn’t planning jumped ahead of the stuff I was, including reading other blogs. I hope to get to them later today when I need a break from the writing.

Hope you’re hanging in there. We are going to get through this. If you live in a state where things are reopening, be careful. And remember, doctors and health officials know what they’re talking about when it comes to public health… politicians just play to the masses. There’s an election coming up and every politician’s actions right now should be looked at through that lens. Catchphrases like “We can’t let the cure be worse than the disease” make great soundbites, but when there are still states like Texas where 1,000 per day are reporting infection rates and the peak is now, the disease is still much worse than the cure.

I really hope these mainly Republican politicians aren’t wrong with their decision making. If they are, and we see a spike worse than we had before, I think the Republican party can kiss its control goodbye for a long while. Conversely, if everything goes well, I can see them getting stronger. The Democrats have nothing to lose, so standing on the sidelines of caution and staying closed is their best tactic. It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next few months, with the real fallout coming that first Tuesday in November.

I know 45% of people will vote Republican and nothing will change their mind, and 45% will vote Democrat and nothing will change their mind. I’m in that 10% in the middle. I’d guess I probably have voted Republican far more times for national elections and Democrat far more times in state and local elections. I’m going to be one of the few people who help decide the presidential race and right now, I don’t know what I’d do. Both parties could get my vote, but they both have a lot of work to do before November.

No, I have no idea why I chose a picture of Donny and Marie Osmond from the late 1970s for the picture. None at all.

Stay safe, use your head and we’ll get through this.

And then one by one, we will all eventually die someday because that’s the way it works.

The Grateful Eight: New Plague Edition

If you’re keeping score at home, this is only four days late. I was actually working on a long entry about how my tattoos served as a better diary for my life than anything I’ve written. Then, we got a much bigger storm that the meteorologists predicted, leaving us with eight inches of thick wet snow and a just-long-enough power outage to lose what I was writing. Usually if the computer crashes, it saves it, but for some reason, not this time.

Oh well. I used to get upset about that kind of stuff, but now I look at writing as something that just clears my head and passes the time even if nobody ever sees it. Losing a few hours of writing is a lot better than losing a few hours waiting in line outside of Wal-Mart. The one near my house, which winds around the building and back and forth reminds me of lines at Disney World. Except once you get in, it’s not a leisurely boat ride while dolls built in 1962 sing to you. If it were, I’d shop at Wal-Mart a lot more.

Anyway, eight things I’m grateful about:

  1. Equalizers – There are very few things in this world that can put rich and poor, conservatives and liberals, all races, religions, sexual orientations and all of those other little markers that we use to divide us together. Ironically, they’re the same things that they were back during the Spanish Flu: Weather and Disease. I don’t think it’s a horrible thing that once every hundred years that Mother Screen Shot 2020-04-12 at 12.00.55 PMNature reminds us that we’re not all that different. I have no confidence this will bring us together closer as people once it’s over – it’d have to go on a few years for that kind of solidarity – but seeing people who are used to having things their way not be able to manipulate the situation shows people’s true colors.
  2. Daily Press Conferences – To piggy-back off number one, I neither hate nor love Donald Trump and I don’t blame him for the virus hitting America or the “preparedness” of the government in the beginning. No world government was prepared for this. That said, watching him lose his shit when somebody asks him a perfectly reasonable question during his daily press briefings is entertaining as all hell. Watching him say things he doesn’t want to say because he has to admit he can’t control things is entertaining and watching him go off script as one of the world’s most awkward improvisers is even more entertaining. He’s proven, as a person, not to be a good leader during a time of crisis, but at least he’s not boring.
  3. Experimental aircraft – Anything that takes out John Denver is good in my book.Screen Shot 2020-04-12 at 12.02.59 PM
  4. Tiger King – My daughter and I polished off this Netflix show in two days earlier this week. If you haven’t watched it yet, you should. I’m not a fan of shows with 101 twists, but I think it’s because they are fiction and therefore unrealistic. Every twist in this documentary seems plausible. You’ll also start to understand all the Carole Baskin jokes that now exist.
  5. Home at Easter – I’ve been in rehab at Easter and I’ve been in jail at Easter. Home is better.
  6. FaceTime – My parents, thankfully, are taking this pandemic seriously, even though there are relatively few cases in Maine compared to the rest of the country, although, if you look at New York City and Boston, it is making its way up Interstate 95. My wife, son and I just got a FaceTime call from parents, who are only about two miles away. I’ve seen them in their driveway a couple times as my wife sends cookies and other treats over, but I respect them watching out for themselves, even if it puts my inheritance off a few more years. I’ve got to think the Spanish Flu might have ended quicker had they been able to use FaceTime.
  7. Los Angeles – I mentioned I’m home at Easter, but ironically, without the pandemic, I wasn’t going to be. My son and I would be in the middle of a trip to California. We had a couple of fun activities planned. Today was going to be deep Screen Shot 2020-04-12 at 12.04.35 PMsea fishing and Tony Overbay and I were planning on recording an audio version of our book. That project is still on hold unfortunately. If you’ve never been to LA, you really should check it out. I wouldn’t want to live in any other major city in the world at this point other than LA. The weather is great, the ocean is nearby and there’s enough food and culturally options to satisfy any diverse household. Where I live now, the dining and culture options are minimal. I think that’s why the pandemic is that big a deal to my outside life. There wasn’t much here to begin with. I drop hints about us moving to the West Coast all the time, especially since it would be nice to live near my brother, but until I get said inheritance, I just don’t see it happening.
  8. Time for My Own Projects – My clients are starting to pull back on the work they need done. I have a feeling that’s going to happen for a while. I’ve been looking at different unemployment insurance options both as a freelancer and as a “small company” but there’s really not much money out there for me. I’m trying to get excited to have time over the next month or two that I can focus on new projects I’ve been wanting to work on. I think I have to pull myself off caffeine so I can start feeling “up” for anything. Or I need to stop enjoying the smell of hand sanitizer so much. It’s killing brain cells. In reality, I need to get serious about finding new clients once this is all over. I’ve been coasting with the few I have. It’s a nice wake-up call.

 

Your turn. In the midst of the new plague, what are you grateful for?