The Small Pond Talk

Last Thursday a colleague asked me to give a talk to his Public Speaking class about serving on Lamar Town Council, working as a teacher, and how I balance the two.  Below is the written version of that talk, which is adapted in part from my post “Small Pond” (read the full version on SubscribeStar).

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Reflections on Self-Publishing

I’ve released my first book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot (available now in paperback, pre-order for Kindle).  For years I’ve wanted to dip my toes into the self-publishing space, but I finally had time to do so a couple of weeks ago.  I decided collecting my absurdist, postmodern detective stories from high school and college into one volume would be a relatively easy and fun way to learn the ropes of self-publishing on Amazon.

If anyone else is thinking of publishing your works this way, I would definitely encourage it.  I don’t expect to make tons of money off of my silly short stories (although that would, of course, be nice), but the process was quite easy overall, although slightly more involved than I anticipated.  Still, it’s an effective way to get your work out there.

To that end, I thought I’d share some of my experiences using kdp.amazon.com—Kindle Direct Publishing.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: High-Rise (2015)

Lately Hulu’s algorithm—in the bleak future math problems determine our entertainment choices—has been suggesting tower-based movies to me.  Yes, it is a genre:  films that take place in the claustrophobic confines of apartment buildings, like the 1993 thriller Sliver, starring Sharon Stone and William Baldwin.  That flick was so-so, and the character motivations didn’t really make sense, especially the dashing computer nerd Baldwin portrayed, but it was one of several Hulu has recommended lately that depends upon a high-rise for its setting.

So it was the Grand High Algorithm suggested 2015’s High-Rise, a film both set in and an homage to the 1970s, specifically the dark sci-fi flicks of the decade.

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Lazy Sunday CVI: Adventures

One irony of The Age of The Virus is that while every event and institution found itself shuttered, I got out and did way more than I would have in The Before Times.  The constant demands of The Before Times—the sheer tempo at which I forced myself to operate—also prevented me from getting out and doing the sorts of things that make life worth living.

Indeed, I was bitter about it for a time.  I spent most of my twenties working and hustling, sacrificing many of the social opportunities of those salad days in order to store up my acorns for the future.  Now in my mid-thirties, I’m beginning to enjoy some of the fruits of those sacrifices, though most of the acorns are locked up tightly in my HSA, 403(b) and IRAs.

That’s all to say that The Age of The Virus forced me to slow down a bit, and granted me the time to do some exploring.  I will hasten to add that the misery and death of The Virus was not a cost worth paying just to grant me some more free time; rather, I’m acknowledging the silver lining, and stating the reality of the situation.  It’s not an endorsement of The Virus to take advantage of some it’s few, more positive consequences.

All disclaimers aside, here are three posts for this Lazy Sunday, detailing some of my adventures over the past year:

  • Road Trip!” – I filed this post while heading to my second of five Universal Studio trips (which consumed a lot of acorns) since February 2020.  The primary focus of the post, however, was to detail a trip through the backroads of South Carolina, an off-the-beaten-path excursion from Columbia to Aiken that took me through Pelion and New Holland.  It was a beautiful drive; New Holland’s vast swaths of cattle pasture were particularly beautiful to see on a summer’s day.
  • Midweek SubscribeStar Exclusive: Sloshing through Lee State Park” – This post—a midweek exclusive for $5 and up SubscribeStar subscribers—detailed an adventure to Lee State Park, a 1935 Civilian Conservation Corps project that is still open to the public to this day, and just seven miles from my house.  My girl and I ended up sloshing through a flooded-out equestrian trail—on foot!—along with her two-year old German Shepherd.  It was great fun, and a memorable adventure.
  • Backroads Exploration: Una Adventure” – I own an aging, dented, dirty minivan—a vehicle I love dearly, even if I don’t always give it the TLC it deserves.  To keep its battery charged, I like to take it for short excursions, little jaunts around the backroads.  One recent Thursday evening I took a longer-than-planned trip to the tiny community of Una, South Carolina, just to see what’s there.  Turns out it’s not much, but it’s all about the journey, not the destination—right?

The weather is getting warmer and the days are longer.  It’s a great time to go out and enjoy some adventuring.  Let me know about yours in the comments!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Inspector Gerard Preview

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

This Thursday, 1 April 2021, I’m releasing my first book, a collection of ten of my Inspector Gerard “one-minute mystery” stories (the paperback edition is available now).  The collection, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot, reproduces stories I first wrote twenty years ago, starring the hard-boiled, absurd, postmodern private eye, Inspector Gerard.

The whole “gimmick” of Gerard is that the solutions to his cases involve evidence and details denied to the reader, making the cases hilariously unsolvable.

For my generous subscribers, I’m sharing here three of the best Gerard stories:  “Dial ‘M’ for Malfeasance,” “Sleazebag in the City,” and “Inspector Gerard and the Video Rental Caper.”

Preorder The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard for Kindle or order now in paperback.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Inspector Gerard eBook is Coming 1 April 2021 (Out NOW in Paperback)!

This announcement is no April Fool’s joke:  next Thursday, 1 April 2021, I’ll be releasing my first-ever book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot, available as a digital eBook (available 1 April) and a physical paperback (available now!).

Inspector Gerard is an absurdist, postmodern, film noir private investigator who always solves his cases—sometimes before he’s even seen the clues!

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TBT: Meetings are (Usually) a Waste of Time

It’s no secret—I do not like meetings.  It’s somewhat humorous, then, that I ran for an office that pretty much requires me to attend at least one meeting a month.  But at least in a Town Council meeting we cover relevant information necessary to the functioning of the town, and occasionally discuss or debate useful topics pertaining to the interests of our residents.

But in professional settings, I typically find anything longer than an occasional half-hour meeting to be a tedious waste of time.  I can never shake the sensation that most meetings are opportunities for Karens and busybodies to peacock, fanning their feathers to signal their virtue.

This piece, which is actually one of my favorites I’ve ever written, details that we waste 11.8 hours a week in meetings—over 25% of our workweek.  I wonder if remote working has increased or decreased the amount of time spent in meetings; my hope is that it is the latter.  At least with Zoom meetings, you can always switch off your camera and do something productive while the social justice commissars in your human resources department drone on about their latest fad.

Well, let’s hope your week is wrapping up without any more tedious meetings on the horizon.  Here is 25 January 2019’s “Meetings are (Usually) a Waste of Time“:

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The Joy of Coffee

H/T to Mogadishu Matt for the inspiration for this post:  coffee is one of the simple pleasures in life.  File that observation under “obvious and non-controversial,” but coffee brings so much joy for just pennies per mug.

I came late to coffee.  I didn’t begin drinking this spirit-lifting brew until I was twenty-six, when I returned to classroom teaching.  I was in the midst of my 2011 Weight Loss Odyssey, when I lost around 110 pounds in about eleven months.  I realized I needed a low-calorie pick-me-up, and determined to overcome my distaste for coffee’s trademark bitterness.

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More Pillow Hoggin’

Well, it looks like self-righteous twerp David Hogg’s proposed progressive pillow company is, so far, a colossal flop.  Hogg announced a pillow company to rival Mike Lindell’s popular MyPillow, and immediately the mainstream press went to bonkers:  Washington Post published a fluffy feature before the company even had a name, and Newsweek thinks that Twitter followers are a substitute for actual clients.

Hogg is so clueless that he failed to register the trademark “Good Pillow,” the ultimate name of the company; a clever individual from North Carolina snagged it the day after the Newsweek piece was published on 10 February 2021.

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