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Me in the Real World

The envy of 13-year-old me

The envy of 13-year-old me

Yesterday was my birthday. And I tried ... I really tried.

 I wanted to write a post yesterday that would sum up 43 years of me doing that thing I do. Whatever that thing is. It has something to do with writing, pants, scotch, off-color politics, inappropriate comments and more writing. Especially that first and last part. 


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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How to Have (and resolve) an Existential Crisis in One Weekend

How to Have (and resolve) an Existential Crisis in One Weekend

I attended the 2015 Sterling & Stone Colony Summit this weekend and came away with more than I had expected. I rediscovered my true passion, and I know exactly how to pursue without leaving anyone behind.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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"Edge of Tomorrow" or "Emily Blunt owns a copyright on time travel"

"Edge of Tomorrow" or "Emily Blunt owns a copyright on time travel"

Last Sunday, Kara and I went to see “Edge of Tomorrow,” which turned out to be an outstanding flick. And for most of the people I know, I’ll add “even though Tom Cruise was in it.” Though, c’mon … he’s actually a good actor. You’re reacting to his life crazies, right? I get that.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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A space of my own

A space of my own

This weekend I told Kara that I really need an office — a place where I can close the door every now and then, and dig in. I need a place where, when I'm sitting there at a desk, face lit by my MacBook, cats shooed away, it's time to work by God! That's the place. That sweet spot. When I sit down at that desk, it's work time. It's like a mental trigger, telling me it's time to get going and get more words on the page.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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My cyborg heart, Citadel updates, and why 5% is good

My cyborg heart, Citadel updates, and why 5% is good

Yesterday I had my annual cardiology appointment — a general "pacemaker tuneup" kind of thing. This can be a little grueling, with people stabbing me, stealing my blood, forcing me to run on a treadmill, and making me wait around without my beloved technology to keep me company.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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Affirmative

Affirmative

Every morning I write an affirmation 15 times. It's focused on being a famous and wealthy author — something I've worked for my whole life. I write it because it's a good way to start the day, a good way to get my mind on the something I want, and a good way to ensure that, no matter what else happens each day, I've accomplished something positive. 


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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Seeing me in the real world

Seeing me in the real world

The most profound thing about being paid to write is suddenly seeing your work appear in a public place. 

For years I wrote ad copy and support copy for clients such as HP, ExxonMobil, Baker Hughes, Aggreko ... all of whom have national and international campaigns. And as I travelled, even in other countries, I would occasionally spot something I wrote — on the palm rest of a laptop or in a product brochure or on a billboard — and I'd have that sudden spark of recognition followed by an odd sense of vertigo. Seeing words I labored over to get just right, now on display in this strange place instead of on the screen of my laptop, was a little disorienting. 


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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The Wordslinger Diet

Being a writer and a Creative Director is a somewhat sedentary lifestyle, fraught with overlap. M'bellly overlappin' m'belt, mostly. So, like the rest of the Western World, as of 1 January I started doing things that I hoped would help me trim up. Not unusual, and not my first time. But this go, I decided to skip the "resolutions," and instead make a commitment to changing my actual lifestyle. Instead of dieting, I set up a system that lets me eat what I want and still knock off the pounds. No willpower required. Here's what I've put together — 


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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A birthday every day

gnome-with-a-candle.jpg
I use Grammarly's plagiarism checker because the Wikipedia article I crib as a source for all my blog posts says plagiarism is bad.

Well, there's that, and then there's the fact that Grammarly is a handy, nifty, expedited way to check your grammar online. Helps avoid embarrassing, unintentional faux pas. I like all my faux pas to be intentional. And Grammarly is Wordslinger approved.*

Speaking of grammar, over the weekend I hung out with my family, in celebration of the birth of a great and mighty man. That would be me. Also, it has nothing whatsoever to do with grammar, but I couldn't think of a neat and tidy segue. 

"Sorry my grammar couldn't be there." Dammit. That would have been a good one. 

Big thanks, and big love,  to my wife, my mother, and my dreamy in-laws for a birthday celebration that was truly touching and meaningful. 

Aging doesn't worry me. The framework I've built for my life and my philosophy includes a very healthy dose of living right here, right now. So getting older just mens more now to live in, get it?

Worry and anxiety are signs of either trying to predict the future or trying to recapture the past. Since neither of those things is entirely possible, it can lead to some very uncomfortable cognitive dissonance. And that way, dear friends, lies madness. Or at least horrible unpleasant lifeness. To be avoided.

Take a moment, any moment. Look at it closely. What do you see? Is it shiny and full of opportunity? Or is it dulled, with a mottled patina of anxiety and dread? Are you living or are you passing the time?  

I turned 41 on Saturday, and I intend to treat that "1" as the start of something bigger and bluer and better than what I've had before. So thank you, dear reader, sweet friend, for being a part of that beginning. Every day has one. This one's for you (and me). 

Happy birthday, one and all! 

 

*Which is almost completely meaningless, honestly

 

 


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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shutter the front door

Wood, the way God intended it. In slats nailed to bricks. Today I hung some shutters. 

That, in itself, might not be even mildly impressive to some folks, and I'm not going to hold that against them. But does it garner me any more cool points if I say that I made the shutters myself? I mean, I didn't hew the wood or anything. Didn't make the stain from crushed berries, or smelt iron to forge nails. But I did pull a whole bunch of miscellaneous wood, stain, and nails together into something that more than passively resembles wood shutters. For that, I deserve a Coke.

There was something kind of satisfying about this. I'm not saying I had some profound experience, but I did have a few zen moments. I like this "build things with my hands" stuff. I do it, from time time, and I always enjoy it. I should do it more.

I spend an awful lot of time in front of a computer, and it serves me well. I make a pretty good living, tapping away at keys all day. My income is derived from the word goo that I scrape from the inside of my brain, and that is a career that suits me just fine. But then there are times when I build something, and the sense of "creating" is there, equally as strong, but the flavor is different. 

I think it's good to switch things up every now and then. Frankly, the whole time I was cutting, hammering, painting, and nail-gunning, I had half a dozen stories, songs, taglines, headlines, articles, and other ideas sifting through my brain. The reflex to create turns on that switch in my head, so even though the tools and the output are different, the energy is the same. 

Weird, huh?

Anyway, it's 10p.m. and I'm writing. Which means this is probably, in large part, incoherent babble. I'm a morning person. I don't do nighttime writing. But I wanted to try to keep my streak up, contribute something real for today, and maybe make someone think. That's a good post, if it happens. I like posts like that.

And frankly, I just want to show off my handiwork. I'm proud of those painted slats of wood attached to brick. They're like a coffee-colored, cedar headline, hanging out there for all the world to see. Cool.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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creative apathy and other good times

I'm not a political activist or commentator, and I'm not an advocate one way or another for involvement in politics, so you'll have to take this for exactly what it's worth: I'm not voting.

 

I'd also like to make something absolutely clear: You should be proud of yourself for voting, making your voice heard in any way, large or small. You should be proud that you chose a candidate who closely represents your views. You should be proud that you have the freedom to place that vote. Don't let anyone, especially me, convince you that voting isn't important if it is, in fact, important to you. 
My apathy toward the process is entirely driven by my firm belief that the person occupying the office isn't the problemthe shattered, mangled, openly broken and bleeding system is the problem. I believe that "politically active" should mean "involved in the bureaucracy and mechanics of government," not "involved in the sexiness of politics." It doesn't matter to me who the President is, because he's a powerless figure who can only act as far as the system will let him act. The system, then, is what we should work so hard to change, and then the 4-year-job can practically be filled by anyone.

If you want to be active in government, start ignoring the politics and start digging deeper into the mechanics of the system. Find office holders who actually work to make a change and support them, if that's your bag. But mostly, look for something that needs doing and then fill that gap. IF you want to be active in government.

If you just want the show, the drama, the adrenaline of the race, then you're really, truly in luck. Because that's all this is. The big show. Every four years, a new season. 

 

 


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____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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less of me - 257.8

I'm consuming enough of this now that I should be able to burn hotter than the sun for a few seconds. No one light any matches.With all the video posts lately I bet you forgot that I’m actually the “Wordslinger” and not the “Videoslinger,” didn’t you? Yes? No? It’s no, isn’t it. 

Well, it’s been over a week since my big announcement that I’m making less of myself, and that means I owe you an update of the updatiest variety. 

So last week, I weighted in at a hefty and bulging 265. I was getting out of breath just typing that entry, and I had the aroma of chicken wings about me. Today, though, I can proudly proclaim that I am at a still-slightly-bulgy but working-toward-dainty 257.8. I’m throwing the “.8” in there in the interest of honesty, but the truth is I just drop that tiny little sucker altogether in my head, so I can go around saying, “Yeah, I lost 8 pounds this week. Yeah. I’m that guy.”

Whew! To be honest, I was half afraid when I posted last Monday that I would end up GAINING weight. After all, Kara and I flew to Colorado on Friday for a weekend full of family fun and food frolicking. I was worried that after a few days of travel-eating I’d put back any weight I had managed to shed. But I did try to keep to things like chicken and fish while I was away, and even though I overdid it a couple of times, I more or less kept the calorie count down. I had just one measly mojito in the booze column, too, and I’m pretty sure that helped. 

Oh … and the Aztec Quesadilla Burger. Yeesh. That little beauty was about 1,600 calories all by itself. For those who may be Kevin Spotting, that’s as many calories as I tend to eat in a day right about now. Luckily, I had that huge hunk of deliciousness on a day when I hadn’t had much to eat for breakfast and zero to eat for lunch. Besides, it was Saturday. I’m retroactively making Saturdays my “day off.”

So here’s what I’m doing so far:

  • Light breakfast, usually a banana and an orange
  • Plain ol’ coffee (regular brewed most of the time, an Americano if I’m hitting an espresso bar)
  • Keep my calories under 1,600 per day
  • Exercise (which lets me buffer some “extra” calories), mostly hitting the bike every morning for about an hour and taking a walk in the afternoon for about 40 minutes
  • Drink more water
  • Eat less sugar
  • Eat lots of fish, chicken, and vegetables
  • Take magnesium tablets

That last one probably begs for some ‘splainin. I read about the benefits of getting enough magnesium in your diet, and some of those are pretty relevant to me. Muscle cramps are something I tend to have an issue with, for example.  It also helps “alleviate heart disturbances,” which is kind of vague, but considering my ticker has it’s own backup battery I’ll take any help I can get. It lowers high blood pressure (another Kevin need). It helps cut down cravings for sugar, booze, etc.  It helps calm anxiety. And it helps regulate insulin, sugar levels, excess sweating, cortisol levels, and a bunch of other stuff.

Basically, I don’t get enough of this stuff in my diet, so I suffer from about 2/3 of the things it helps prevent.

Magnesium gets depleted from your body thanks to stress, high sugar intake, and (wait for it) … coffee. Dammit. I probably chug down enough brew to keep my magnesium levels at effectively zero. And that stresses me out. I’m going to eat this entire box of candy bars.

Anyway, I didn’t mean for this to become the “all hail magnesium” entry, but there it is for ya. Magnesium. It fixes you.

So the weight loss thing continues. The first ten pounds are usually “easy” to lose, so I’m not going to get all hyper about it or anything. But know that I am dancing the happy dance of pantslessness on the inside. I anticipate that many more pounds will fall screaming into the abyss. And those that don’t will wish they had never been born.


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____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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making kevin less of a man

If you reverse this image, you'll see the progression to my current size.I am a big fat fatty. Of the fat-fatty-fattiest variety, actually. The worst kind of fatty, because I actually have a heart condition and my blood pressure likes to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight. There’s a history of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and spontaneous combustion in my family, and even though I made up that last one I’m pretty sure I can find a trace of it somewhere.

There was a time, about a year ago now, that I made this whole big lifestyle change. I got aggressive about limiting calories to 1,200 per day. I exercised every day, walking my bulbous buttocks around the block a few times each week. I ate mostly fish and chicken, and various accoutrement that can be considered healthy sides to fish and chicken. I removed all sugary drinks from my diet, consumed water that, when not pure and clear, was often laced with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and/or cranberry juice. And I did good. I went from 278 lbs (I can hear the gasping … wait, that’s me) right on down to 238 lbs (are you actually mentally pronouncing it “elbs?” I am.) in about a 3 month period. I felt great. I looked great. I was on my way to skinnyville, population me! And Calista Flockhart. 

I stayed around the 238 mark for a while, actually. Almost a year. Nine months, minimum. I was kind of frustrated, to tell the truth, because my goal was to get down to a svelte 200, which would put me at (believe it or not) my high school graduation weight, and that last 38 pounds seemed to want to stay. So admittedly, in the back of my mind I figured I’d land around 220 and be perfectly happy. 

Today, I’m at 265.

I honestly can’t tell you what happened. I mean, I can … I ate a bunch of stuff. Chicken wings, cookies, chicken wings, pizza, chicken wings, cake, chicken wings, and possibly some celery, though not a lot. Sodium.

I blame stress, but I’m not deluded enough to believe that stress paid for all those chicken wings. There were literally times when I ordered chicken wings with a SIDE of chicken wings. I may have made a sandwich consisting entirely of chicken wings at one point. 

OK, so stress. I had a rough patch for a bit there. We bought a house. Said house had the typical and normal level of problems that had to be paid for. Kara left her job and went back to school to get her teaching certificate, so that put some financial strain on the situation for a while. I had some contracts fall through and some clients fall out. Some folks I love died. Some other folks I loved moved away. 

That list sounds a lot like “life,” doesn’t it? So, no excuses there.

The truth is, somewhere in my brain is a little voice that keeps telling me, “Eat everything! Consume! You should be fat. You DESERVE to be fat. Eat the whole world, one bite at a time, ya fat loser.”

My inner voices can be cruel man-bitches.

So here’s the deal … 

October is my birth month. I turn forty on October 12, 2012. That’s just over a week away. No chance of getting slim and trim by then, barring some fat-sucking miracle. But as October is my birth month, and I will be turning a round number, and October 1st fell on a Monday of all things, and my birthday falls on a Friday, and, oh yeah, I’m a huge fat ass, I have decided to get my butt in gear and get my life back.

I’ve started riding my bike every morning at 5 a.m. I’ve started limiting my calories again … this time to 1,600 per day, though that’s still far better than the scary levels I was eating before. I’m committed to drinking more water, eating more veggies, and moving around whenever possible. And I’m committed to being accountable to all the folks I’m in contact with via social media, so they can ridicule and goad me. Because goading is the only way I will learn.

So here it is. I’m 265 pounds today, October 2, 2012. By January 1, 2012 I’d like to be 220 pounds. That’s me losing 15 pounds per month for three months. A goal of 45 pounds.

Is that realistic? Tell me in the comments, and maybe I’ll have to make an adjustment. But it seems realistic to me. 

Is my plan healthy? Stupid? The slow way? The fast track?

Got any advice, tips, suggestions? I’ll take ‘em. I’m not proud. I’m also fond of helping other people, any time I can, so whatever you tell me, if it works, will be written about here and posted all over the friggin’ place via social media. 

Let’s make Kevin less of a man than he’s ever been before.

AND THAT’S NOT ALL …

Are you with me? Want to commit to a goal for January 1st? Three months to a new you? Comment with your goal and your progress, and we will ridicule and goad each other away from fatness and toward fitness.

 Let’s do it. Let’s be sexy bitches together. Rarrr.


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____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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something, something, pants joke, it's too hot for this

If I wore my own underwear, I'm sure they'd be soaked through right now. Yours certainly are..My air conditioner has been out for the past six days. 

If you don’t happen to live in the Houston area, you may have no idea what a horror that statement is. But imagine spending six days wearing a soaking wet, full-body, neoprene wetsuit while someone holds a hair dryer turned to high heat on you as you struggle to go about your everyday routine, including sleeping. You’re getting closer. Vietnam hot. Jungle plants are taking root.

The AC went out on a Friday night, and our home warranty company was completely unreachable until Monday morning. We did manage to get a repair guy out on Monday afternoon, with the usual Noon to 5 p.m. window. Which meant that the Tumlinson with the most flexible schedule would have to sit things out in the heat, waiting for the guy to show. That would be me, your friendly neighborhood Wordslinger. Never thought “freedom of work location” would ever bite me in the ass.

Here’s a topper: Comcast went haywire on Friday, too. So not only was our AC out, we didn’t have Internet until Monday morning. 

To quote Homer Simpson, “No Internet and no AC make Kevin something something.”

On the plus side, around 3p.m. the AC guy, Max, did show up and give the whole thing a once-over. And he confirmed what I already knew from the last time the AC made me its mortal enemy. The guy who installed the system was a crook and a thief. Or a moron. Or maybe a moronic crook and thief. You know, I’m really not sure? We’re just going to refer to him as Satan’s Anus from now on.

Everything about my AC is installed wrong. Wrong pipes, wrong copper tubing, wrong condenser coil, wrong vents. I’m pretty sure the goal was to create a horror of technology that would one day consume the Earth and all who walk upon it. Put a check mark in that box, sir, for you have succeeded. I’m positive that my AC will one day rule and/or kill us all.

Because this is a warranty thing, I’m kind of in a pickle. I’m at the mercy of the AC guy’s schedule, for one thing. And the lady answering phones at his office is a sneaky little minx. Her favorite tactic is to say she has to ask “the other girl in the office,” and that she will call me right back. I’m pretty sure “the other girl in the office” is one of her other personalities. I can’t be positive, though, because to date she’s never actually called me back about anything.

I’m making this sound so bad, right? Sorry. Negative nelly, THIS GUY. I blame the heat. And the sweat. Ever heard the term “swamp ass?” Learn it. Avoid it.

I did get word today that the parts have been found. They’re “way up North,” Max says. “I’m going to get them tomorrow,” Max says. “I’ve asked them to put you on the schedule some time over the next couple of days,” Max says. 

Max says a lot of things. Few of them have made me happy so far. But I can’t blame him. He’s the minion of a corrupt and evil system, much like our President. 

Anyway, I’m slowly turning to beef jerky, but I choose to look on the positive side. My skin has never looked more radiant, for example. Soft and supple. I positively glow. I’m thinking of opening a day spa in my living room.


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____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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i am the tony stark of writers

Does YOUR heart get to have bios upgrades? I didn't think so.So, I have a pacemaker. Which, I know, just aged me by, like 30 years. And since I started at just shy of 40 anyway, I’m sure I’ve completely lost my “ladies under 30” audience altogether. And that’s a shame, because I have enormous pens.

I never get tired of that joke.

So … pacemaker. Yeah, I have one. I got it back in 2010 after someone finally realized that a resting heart rate of 30 bpm isn’t technically “normal.” Tests involving treadmills, wires taped to my body, and repeated stabbings from needles ensued. Turns out I have a heart defect that no one noticed before, and my heart was gradually slowing down to the point where I could keep a decent beat in a beatnik jazz club. They call it a “bradycardia.” 

On Monday, I went in for one of my every-six-months checkups. More treadmills and wires and stabbings, but they also roll in a little cart with a computer on it, and then lay something over my heart that looks kind of like a hockey puck attached to a wire. For the next few minutes they tinker with my ticker, running it up and down a bit, reading data, saying stuff that I’m actually not sure qualifies as real language. Then they unplug me and send me home. 

I should mention that the computer they use is old. Like, ancient. There’s something a little scary about the idea that the doohickey you rely on for life is being “fine-tuned” by a computer running Windows 2000. 

Maybe I should object more. “Get a Mac up in here or somthin’.” At least bring in Windows 7. I’d prefer adjustments to my life-sustaining-device be done with a computer that can’t be outpaced by an Android handset.

They made some adjustments and tweaks to when and how often the pacemaker kicks in and does its thing and then sent me on the way. Now, for the past four days, I’m having some trouble. For the first two days I had all the energy and motivation of a used condom. Sorry … for that image … sorry. But you totally get it now, right? Not energetic. Spent. Floppy. We move on.

I’m getting winded just getting up from my desk and walking to the restroom. Sweating a lot, too. Like bending over to tie my shoes is a major exertion now. 

So I suspect something is amiss. 

Or it could be a coincidence, because I seem to have a bit of a sinus infection. So maybe I’m not actually winding down, but instead need some vitamin C. Or maybe I just need to go all Jason Statham and clip my nipple to a car battery. “Crank 3: Sweaty Cursing.”

Anyway, in case you were wondering why I all of a sudden clammed up (by most standards) in social media and here on my external brain, now you have it. I didn’t have the heart for it. I was beat. But on the pulse side, I can still pun. Artery sorry you asked?


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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guy troubles

Shot through the heart, and you're to blame. You give love a reason to be a lesbian. And a bad name.INT. STARBUCKS - DAY

Kevin is doing the tappity-tappity of writer writingness. At the table to his left is a hot girl and a guy who will be better looking some day, and who is clearly trying to hook up with hot girl, who clearly thinks of him as her gay friend. Both are in their mid-20s. Kevin really is trying to stay focused on the chapter he's writing, keeping his attention on his Macbook. His iPhone is sitting on the table next to him. This will prove distracting.

 

HOT GIRL
I'm just not able to open up my heart anymore. I just don't trust guys.

GUY FRIEND
(trying to hook up with her)
I know that can be hard, but you know that there are people who really care about you, right?

HOT GIRL
(sighing)
I know. But I've just been hurt so often, you know? This guy I went out with on Saturday ... It's like all he wants is sex.

GUY FRIEND
(trying to hook up with her, voice cracking)
You deserve better than that. You shouldn't have to deal with that.

HOT GIRL
(sighing)
I know. I just don't trust guys anymore, you know? 

Kevin's iPhone vibrates to alert him to a text message. He looks to see that it's Max.

MAX
(text)
Hey, what are you doing right now?

KEVIN
(text)
I was writing. Now I'm listening to this guy go down in flames with a hot girl right now.

MAX
(text)
Explain more.

The conversation between hot girl and guy friend continues.

HOT GIRL
I just feel like all guys ever want is to hook up, you know? All they want is sex, and I'm not some hoochie.

GUY FRIEND
(trying to hook up with her)
No you're not, and guys shouldn't treat you like that. You deserve better.

HOT GIRL
(sighing)
I know. I just can't trust guys anymore. I think maybe I should be a lesbian or something.

MAX
(text)
What's happening now?

KEVIN
(text)
She just dropped the L-bomb on him.

MAX
(text)
Love?

KEVIN
(text)
The OTHER L-bomb.

MAX
(text)
Leprosy?

GUY FRIEND
(trying to hook up with her, voice cracking slightly)
You don't really mean that.

HOT GIRL
(sighing)
I know.

MAX
(text)
Tell her she shouldn't be out in public with that.

KEVIN
(text)
Lesbian. She said lesbian.

MAX
(text)
Oh. OK. Tell her she shouldn't be a lesbian because "bitches be crazy."

GUY FRIEND
(trying to hook up with her, hesitant)
You need to find someone who is your friend first. Somebody who probably wouldn't even mind if you decided to try being a lesbian for a while!
(laughs, voice cracks)

HOT GIRL
(laughing)
That's true! Oh, you're so funny. I wish I could find a guy like you someday. Your such a good friend.

Kevin frantically types a text transcript of the last few minutes.

MAX
(text)
Damn! Shoot that guy in the face! It'd be a mercy killing.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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i'm way less creepy in digital

You don't normally consider the arrows that make the elevator go up and down. Nature is beautifulSo I’m learning that people are OK with digital quips, but are freaked the hell out when they happen in real life.

I’m totally quipped. Which is a pun, and is in fact funny, if only to me. But it also means that I happen to be very good with quipping it out in public, especially online. Also a pun. Also hilarious to me.

I’m kind of a “reactive” comic. If you give me something to work with, I love to take it and make it funny. Or funnier. Some of you folks are hilarious all by yourselves. You … you need help. Not you, the other you.

On Twitter or Facebook, in blogs or emails, that plays out great. But I tend to do the same thing in everyday conversation with actual, three-dimensional people, and that tends to be a lot more hit-or-miss. 

Today I was getting on an elevator, and being a nice guy who happened to be raised by my grandmother, I stood aside to let three women get on before me. As they were passing through, the doors began to close, and they had to push against them (I helped, awkwardly). They survived, FYI. Barely any limbs were severed.

Once they were aboard, I popped through and the door closed pretty quick behind me. The three women were sort of freaked about the near-door-mashing situation, and one of them “joked” that it could have killed them. And it was at that moment that I said, “That’s why I let you guys go first. This elevator has an appetite for human flesh.” 

If you’re Kevin, you are laughing hysterically on the inside right now. If you’re three women on an elevator with Kevin, you’re looking at him with horror, and expression that says, “You KNEW?!?” 

Why, WHY is it not acceptable to end your statements with “LOL” when you’re speaking aloud? I feel like we need some kind of verbal indicator of humor here. You can’t just laugh, you know. That just makes you sound maniacal and insane, especially when you’re in a tight, enclosed space with three women who think you may actually have tried to sacrifice them to a possessed and hungry elevator. 

LOL.

See? That says “I’m kidding” in a fun, whimsical, abbreviated way. And only slightly creepy and disturbing, which is all you can ask for, really.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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i can't drive 85

Texas. Where 85 is a speed limit. INT. KEVIN'S HOME OFFICE - DAY

Kevin and Max are in Kevin's home office -- a geek-cool paradise built into Kevin's garage, filled with lightsabers, Star Trek paraphernalia, and comfy spots to sit with laptops. Kevin and Max are sitting in plush chairs, each with his own laptop. Important things are being typed.

MAX

Hey, you want to drive up to try out that new 85 mile-per-hour tollway this weekend?

KEVIN

(looks up, arches eyebrow)

Where is it?

MAX

South of Austin, between I10 and Seguin.

KEVIN

That's three hours from here.

MAX

Yeah, give or take.

KEVIN

(dubious)

I dunno. That sounds like quite a drive ... To go for a drive.

MAX

True, but think about ...

KEVIN

And it's not like we wouldn't drive 90 to get there. On a road we don't have to pay to use. I'm not seeing the upside here.

MAX

I sense you do not wish to participate.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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that time i retired from politics

Image courtesy of xkcd.com. Because I'm too lazy to create my own web comic just for this post, and that dude is hilarious, isn't he? Also, I know this doesn't really have anything to do with politics. BUT HILARIOUS.I’ve decided that I can’t do politics.

Not only will no one ever allow me to run for anything once they’ve spent 30 seconds looking me up on Google, but to be honest I just can’t maintain the level of mouth-foaming it seems to take to be a part of the whole political spectrum. Republicans and Democrats seem like two identical twin brothers fighting over which one of them gets to be Preppy and which one gets to be the Goth. I can’t support that. You’re both gorgeous little poo-flinging monkeys. 

And I admit that I’m kind of a goader. Which spell-check is insisting isn’t a word, but which I insist means “Lovable guy who just likes to make funny comments and then has to watch his friends from both sides of the political spectrum take up knives and try to cut each other.” You can see why I need a shorthand for it.

I swear, I don’t set out to stir things up on purpose. How could I? I’m too busy posting endless streams of this stuff to really think about the long-term implications. I’m pretty sure some of my posts cause cancer. I’m already organizing a 5K. But really, if you’d just wear sunscreen … it’s 30 seconds of your day, people. Only you can prevent comment cancer.

Maybe it’s my middle-ground nature, but I decided a couple of years ago that I was a Libertarian. I lean a little to the right, but I think I’m pretty firmly in the middle-ish area of politics, and Libertarianism seems to fit me. For starters, I think government should have nothing to say about what is and what isn’t a “marriage.” I think pot should be legal, even though I’ve never tried it. And I think that IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE WHO BECOMES PRESIDENT. That’s just a conclusion I’ve drawn from 40 years of being an American, but I think there may be a pie chart that backs me up.

I could be wrong, too. Maybe there are advantages to having a President from one party over another. But I’m guessing that if I took some of the political rhetoric from the past 12 years, removed the names and words like “liberal,” “conservative,” “Democrat,” and “Republican,” then fed each line to you one at a time, you’d still only have a 50/50 chance of guessing which line applies to which political party or President. Those are the same odds you get in Tic-Tac-Toe. Does NO ONE notice they’re all saying the same stuff?

Anyway, I can’t do politics. I don’t have the juice to spend the kind of time it takes to dig up the quotes and polls and facts and figures and birth certificates and tax records it takes to show the world that a douchebag is a douchebag. I’m just going to stand aside and poke at both of the amorphous blobs that are our two major political parties with a stick. I may encourage them to breed, and then take command of the hybrid ball of hate that forms, leading it on a journey to conquer the Middle Kingdom. I will call him Billy.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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i'm pretty sure the universe is trying to kill me from behind.

About three weeks ago I got rear-ended in Montrose. 

If you happen to live in the Houston area, that line kills.

My bent-up bumper. Putting this in a dramatic frame makes it feel more like a war-related accident.Anyway, it was a minor fender-bender. I had a sprained wrist and some damage to my truck’s back bumper that was small enough that some people told me I should just take the insurance money and run. But when I bought this truck I kept babbling over and over, “I’m going to drive it until it’s vintage, I’m going to drive it until it’s vintage.” Because, frankly, I never know when a joke stops being funny.

I put my truck in for repairs, and in just two days I had it back again, good as new. Better than before the accident, actually, because not too long after I first bought it I backed into a loading dock and put a quarter-sized ding in her bumper. So now my sins were covered by fine, white snow. All was well.

Then Sunday happened.

I should learn to listen to my instincts, because something was telling me to stay home and mow the yard yet again. “The grass … it GROWS!” screamed the withered, ancient old man that for some reason is my inner voice. But after a week of sweating in my yard I was ready for some R&R, so I loaded my bike into the back of my truck so I could go sweat on a park trail for some reason.

I live in a neighborhood that is separated from civilization by a long stretch of road that, after a while, makes you wonder, “Holy crap, did I take a wrong turn? Is that a cornfield up ahead?” But at the end of that road is Highway 6. And Highway 6 is where EVERYONE LOSES THEIR MIND. Driving becomes a contact sport, and the natives communicate primarily through a form of one-finger sign language and elaborate car honking. Venture forth at your peril.

I had the light, so I stopped. When the light changed, I started moving, and then two cars full of teenagers came whipping around in an illegal U-turn against the light. They were bait, but I wasn’t falling for it. I stopped, let the teenagers have their precious “life moment,” and started moving again. And that was when the back of my truck viciously attacked the BMW behind me.

That’s the way I’m going to see it from now on, because I have to believe that my enormous truck would be hard to miss, and must therefore be some kind of monstrous, bad-ass, reverse attack truck. Because getting rear-ended twice in a row isn’t something that should happen.

Today I took my truck in for the estimate and I was able to drop it off for repair. The guy at the shop is an old buddy now. “Ha ha, repeat business. Ha ha, one more and you get a free slushy.” And that’s when I stabbed him. Because I can have a sense of humor about getting rear-ended twice in one month, but DO NOT screw with me about free slushies. 

They’ve put me in a tiny, silver Mazda (which I promptly lost in the parking lot of Barnes & Noble). And that pretty much brings me full circle, since the first car I ever bought was a silver Mazda Protege. That information did not impress the Enterprise guy. “Yeah, I had one of those, too,” he said.

“Did yours also come cheap because of all the hail damage?” I asked, excited.

“Uh, no. I didn’t have any hail damage. It was perfect.”

“Yeah, perfectly dented, am I right? High five!” There were no high fives. And no slushies. This was pretty much how Sylvia Plath must have felt. 

The hope is that Tankarella will be back by Friday. “Tankarella,” I’ve decided, is her new official name. Because anyone who can be rear-ended twice in one month and suffer only minor bumper damage deserves some kind of tough-sounding name. And that’s the closest I’ve come up with.


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____________________________________________________________
Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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