MY ONE HUNDREDTH POST ON THIS BLOG: Quite The Milestone

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An illustration of how I’ve spent my working hours for the past eight years. Photo courtesy of meganwynne.com

 

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS MOMENTOUS OCCASION

 

To be honest, I didn’t realize that this Hartland Chronicles blog was on the verge of its 100th article until recently, when I was looking at the number of posts on the site’s administration page and saw that there were 99 posts.

Knowing that I was going to write this, I gave a little thought as to what I was going to say regarding this milestone; how I was going to approach it.

I found myself looking back over the past eight years, which is the amount of time that I’ve been writing online, working on my book, WALKING ON EGGSHELLS, and pursuing that as my line of work.

Being that my previous choice of career ultimately didn’t work out due to not only me having Asperger’s Syndrome, but also a less-than-great attitude on my part, I had realized that writing was pretty much the only thing I can do work-wise without worrying about trying to please a supervisor or a boss, which caused much anxiety in me.

For the first six years of this pursuit of mine, I posted my stuff on sites that paid royalties like Triond.com and Hubpages.com, as well as write sports articles for two well-known sites, Bleacher Report – who I started with early on, in the summer of 2008 – and Fansided.

I stayed with those sites for a while, the sports sites for a total of seven years, before I felt stymied by the rules and other factors, making the decision to start my own blogs.

To essentially be my own boss, which in all honesty was what I really wanted out of my workforce experience.

Which has resulted in the two blogs that I have now, this one and my sports site, SoCal Sports Annals (here’s the link):  http://www.SoCalSportsAnnals.Wordpress.com

 

Do I think these blogs have been successful?

I’ll answer that with a moderate yes, as in SoCal Sports Annals’ case since I started following games on the blog’s Twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/socalshfanatic,  

The number of followers have increased significantly to the point where they number nearly 550 – not bad for a small independent fan site!

In fact, I’m following the Dodger baseball game in Pittsburgh against the Pirates on the Twitter page as I write this!

And the site’s Facebook page (http://www.Facebook.com/SoCalSportsHub )is a good one with over 100 “Likes” – again, not bad for a little sports site. I encourage you to check it out!

 

As for this site…

It’s been good for me to be able to write what I want without worrying about anyone assessing it like a school essay; in other words, trying to please the monitors who decide if your post is any good.

I certainly appreciate the roughly 40 followers of this site who have shown their interest in my articles by signing up to receive them whenever they get posted.

More than anything else, though I would be lying if I said that this career move has been financially lucrative – at least to this point, as I’m continuing to rewrite and edit my WALKING ON EGGSHELLS tome,

Being a writer and online blogger has given me a benefit that’s every bit as important as money:

FREEDOM.

Freedom to do my own thing.

Freedom from having to answer to anyone – except God, of course!

And freedom to be as creative as I want.

Which I am thankful for.

BOTTOM LINE: I’m quite glad to have this site (as well as the sports one).

One hundred articles is nothing to sneeze at.

I’m confident that in another year-and-a half or so, I’ll be commenting on this blog’s 200th post!

 

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I’ve always liked these outdoor pics, as they are aesthetically pleasing to me and give me a refreshing, pleasurable feeling. Photo courtesy of wallpaperwidehd.blogspot.com

 

 

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ADDING ANOTHER YEAR: Thoughts Regarding My Birthday

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March Air Force Base in Riverside, CA – where I was born and in a full-circle way would very much like to visit next year on my 50th birthday. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

WHAT’S GOING ON IN AND THROUGH MY HEAD AS I ADD ANOTHER YEAR TO MY LIFE SPAN

Not intending to sound pompous, but…

Roughly 36 hours from this writing, I will officially enter the last year of my forties.

Meaning – if I have done the simple math correctly – I will officially be one year away from the ultimate middle-age milestone:

The big five-zero.

Most of my thoughts, as my birthday approaches, is not unlike others in the same situation.

Of course it should go without saying that I’m very grateful and blessed to be able to add another candle on my birthday cake.

Especially since the list of people I’ve known throughout my life, folks I grew up with and others,  who have not made it to 49 (my age as of the 18th of this month) has been growing due to various factors like disease; I can think of several people I knew well who have succumbed to cancer off the top of my head.

Quite sad – again, that goes without saying.

Being the age generally considered middle-aged in general society, besides my health issues that have already been written about, there’s another thing that I’ve been experiencing for a while that has me concerned…

Forgetfulness.

Actually, I have had a habit of forgetting important things since childhood; I remember being locked out of my house more than once as a kid and a young adult because I forgot my keys.

And what’s worse, I wouldn’t realize that I’d forgotten them until I arrived home from school or work or whatever.

This absent-mindedness reared its head again recently, when after arriving home I realized that I had left the hard drive that the book I’m working on, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, at the library.

Which, as you could imagine, would have been devastating to the point of considering abandonment of the whole endeavor if it weren’t for the fact that when I went back to the library, the good people there had it in their lost and found.

I was relieved as I left the place, but couldn’t help feeling a tiny bit frustrated over this continuing habit of forgetting things and not finding out until much later that I had forgotten them.

There have been times when I would wonder if this was an early sign of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, or merely a “senior moment”.

I obviously hope not, as the best thing I can do is wait and see.

One thing’s for certain as I advance in age…

While I’m physically feeling the effects of middle age in the form of not only hypertension – for which I’ve been taking medication – exercising, and changing my diet to combat this issue for the past year and a half,

But also in the form of pain in my upper back (when I’ve been on my feet for a period of time), left Achilles tendon, and particularly my right knee as since early spring, whenever I have done cardio, walked long distances, or played softball, I’d wake up the next morning with my knee hurting fairly badly, which would go away after putting ointment on it and/or spraying it,

Emotionally speaking, I don’t feel like a 49 year-old, at least the way American society says 49 ought to feel like.

Without going into detail – I’ll save that for the book – I don’t always behave the way people on the verge of fifty years old ought to behave according to American norms, as I always feel like I’m “walking on eggshells” (hence the reason why I renamed my book) to fit my square peg of an Asperger’s person into the neurotypical round hole.

Having said all of this…

It is NOT my intention to whine about how crappy my life is; I know full well how blessed and loved I am.

Even if, in my aspieness, I don’t always see it.

As for birthday plans, they’ll be relatively modest, the big highlight being playing softball as it will be the third time I will have played the game I’ve played nearly my whole life on the anniversary of the day I was born.

It should be fun.

Outside of having food from my favorite Mexican restaurant, a place where I’ve eaten for over forty years – if you’re from Santa Monica, you should know what that restaurant is – and cake, that’s basically it.

It’s next year when, like so many other folks turning 50, my birthday will be a relatively big affair.

But for now, I’ll give much thanks to God when I wake up on the 18th, as I always do,

And enjoy this personal holiday.

 

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Where I spent my early childhood – Woodcrest, CA, a suburb of Riverside which to me was most idyllic. Photo courtesy of activerain.com

 

 

REMEMBERING MUHAMMAD ALI: A Tribute To “The Greatest”

Boxing gloves and a message sit amongst flowers at a makeshift memorial to Muhammad Ali at the Muhammad Ali Center, Saturday, June 4, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Muhammad Ali died Friday at age 74. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Boxing gloves and a message sit amongst flowers at a makeshift memorial to Muhammad Ali at the Muhammad Ali Center, Saturday, June 4, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Muhammad Ali died Friday at age 74. (AP Photo/David Goldman) Photo courtesy of macaudailytimes.com.no

A MEMORIAL TO ONE OF THE GREATEST ATHLETES OF THE 20th CENTURY,  (certainly) THE GREATEST BOXER OF ALL TIME, AND ONE OF THE GREATEST HUMAN BEINGS EVER.

 

To be completely honest, there’s not much more that can be said about this great iconic legend that hasn’t already been said in the days since his passing.

As for a personal remembrance, a year and a half ago on this blog I wrote about my encounter with Muhammad Ali in 1996 at a bookstore in Santa Monica, CA, where he was promoting a photography book featuring images from his boxing career that his photographer put together.

Seeing Ali in the flesh would have been thrilling enough if it wasn’t for the fact that just before he was scheduled to leave, he pointed at me and waved me over to him, shaking my hand and asking me if I “rumbled”, probably because I was (and still am) a big guy.

Everyone knows about Ali’s winning the heavyweight championship three separate times, as well as his stance against being drafted into the army and shipped off to fight in Vietnam due to him being a Muslim and a conscientious objector, costing him not only his crown, but his boxing license as he was not allowed to fight for three years.

Everyone knows about his epic upset of Sonny Liston in 1964, his “Rumble In The Jungle” in Zaire (now Congo) with George Foreman , and his three even more epic brawls with Joe Frazier, including the 1971 “Fight of the Century” and the 1975 “Thrilla In Manila”.

And everyone knows full well about his humanitarian efforts in the years since his retirement in 1981 as he battled the Parkinson’s disease that was ultimately the main factor in his death.

 

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Muhammad Ali’s (perhaps) biggest single moment: Lighting the Olympic torch in Atlanta. Photo courtesy of pressherald.com

 

As well as perhaps his biggest single moment, lighting the Olympic torch during the opening ceremonies in Atlanta in ’96, which incidentally happened just a few months before I got the thrill of my life (to date) in meeting him.

However…

There’s always been one aspect of Muhammad Ali that hasn’t been as noticed as it should have been, that not as many people have pointed out over the course of his life and career:

His sense of humor, as Ali was, in my opinion, the funniest athlete who ever lived.

 

 

A video from YouTube.com of Muhammad Ali’s interviews, speeches and various smack talk that showed just how funny he was.

 

 

Every time I watched film of him saying “I’m young, I’m strong, I’m fast, I’m pretty, and can’t possibly be beat!”,

Every time I heard Ali call Liston a “big old ugly bear”, saying how he was “…too ugly to be champ! The heavyweight champion should be pretty like me!”

Every time I heard Ali call Frazier a “gorilla” , punching a toy version of one while crowing, “Come on gorilla, we in Manila!” at a pre-fight press conference,

As well as call Foreman a “mummy”,

Every time I heard one of Ali’s poems and make outlandish statements in interviews,

I just cracked up in laughter.

In fact, Ali’s personality and sense of humor reminded me of someone else who had a similar personal chemistry and humorous nature, someone who I was very close to in my youth:

My grandfather, whose birthday, while not nearly in the same year, coincidentally fell in the same week as his.

Indeed, I’ve always felt that if boxing hadn’t worked out for Ali, he would have made a great stand-up comedian alone the lines of Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, doing comedy routines at places like the Apollo and the Comedy Store.

 

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A triumphant moment in Ali’s career: Knocking out George Foreman in 1974. Photo courtesy of newslocker.com

 

Being the great all-around human being that he was, it goes without saying that the evening of June 3rd was a sad one for me; I was grateful that I was able to report the news of Ali’s death on my social media pages as soon as it was announced, as he certainly deserved that.

Ali’s funeral is schedule for this Friday, June 10th, in his hometown of Louisville, KY.

I obviously won’t be there, as I plan to watch it on whatever TV station is covering the proceedings, but I’ll make a concerted effort to keep my sadness to a minimum as I want to celebrate Ali’s tremendous life.

No one deserves it more.

I’m positive that Allah had two words in greeting for the champ as he entered Paradise that June 3rd evening:

“Well Done.”

I’ll now take this moment to say this…

May you rest in peace, Mr. Ali, sir.

Meeting you that time in Santa Monica was the thrill of my life.

I hope you will and Joe Frazier will bury the hatchet once and for all up there.

Give Nelson Mandela, Jackie Robinson, and John Wooden my personal warm regards.

And if you see my grandpa, tell him hello from me and my family, and that he is very much loved and missed.

 

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One of the most legendary images of Muhammad Ali: Standing over Sonny Liston, exhorting him to get up after his “Phantom Punch” in the midst of their fight in 1965. Photo courtesy of gossiponthis.com

 

 

 

 

AN UPDATE IN THE PROGRESS OF MY ASPERGER’S BOOK: One Big Change

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An illustration of my experiences at school and elsewhere: me being alone and left out. A least, I’ve often felt this way, in the past and even now. Photo courtesy of anxiety.org

 

I reckon it’s high time to update everyone on the progress of the book I’ve been working on detailing my experiences having Asperger’s Syndrome in a non-autistic world, as it has been a while since I’ve done so.

I have started editing and rewriting my manuscript in earnest, as I’m going to take at least one day per week this summer (and beyond) doing so.

Quite a bit of the book will look different from what has been in it before as I plan to change a lot of paragraphs, cut out some things, even possibly remove a whole chapter as I’d like to make the book more precise and to the point; something where the reader won’t get bored.

Which I know is what all writers do when working on their manuscript, the only difference being that rather than have someone else do the editing and telling me what to rewrite like they’re some superior person, I’m doing it myself.

Like I have stated before,

“No one knows my book more than me.”

I firmly believe that if some editor goes through what I’m writing and tells me how this part sucks and that part needs to go, it would cease to be my book and become his or her book.

Which is what I definitely do not want.

In fact (I know I’ve said this before, too), I would rather fail at this endeavor doing it completely on my own than to have this page turner sell a million copies and its movie rights sold for a gazillion dollars while having some editor take over the whole process, telling me what to write and what not to write.

At least if this tome ultimately doesn’t work out, I’ll be OK with the fact that it was all my doing and no one else’s.

 

Oh yeah, about that big change…

I have made it official:

I’ve changed the name of my book from “MY ASPIE LIFE” to “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”.

Here’s why…

“WALKING ON EGGSHELLS” fits in better to what my life as someone on the Autism Spectrum Disorder has been like.

And continues to be like as every time I interact with people, whether I’m out in public or at home, I feel I’m doing what my new book title says – walking on eggshells to make sure I don’t make any social mistakes or faux-pas, particularly of the verbal kind as there are times when I get the urge to say something completely inappropriate and rude, but don’t say it.

For instance, when the phone rings while I’m working on the computer during the day, I often get an urge to answer it and yell, “Go away!”

But I don’t do that, letting the answering machine pick up because I like to think I’m smart enough to not behave so boorishly.

That is also the reason I work at home and have been doing so for the past few years, as I realized that being in a traditional workplace setting, when I have to interact with different people in an appropriate manner throughout the day and every day, is quite draining for me.

Which contributed to me not lasting for too long at any one job.

That’s what I mean by “walking on eggshells”.

And that phrase, I think, will make my book a bit more attractive to whoever is inclined to read about someone on the autism spectrum.

 

As for my target date for finishing and self-publishing “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”,

That hasn’t changed – I want my book to be done by my 50th birthday, which is almost exactly a year from now as of this post.

I think it would be most fitting to have it available by that time.

As always, hold good thoughts for me as I get busy on this.

 

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My feelings exactly with regards to what this caption says; at least too many people have no idea. Image courtesy of ota1622011.blogspot.com