The funny thing is, motorcycles really startle me


Picture of motorcycle racer on bike that is lying close to the track

This would not be me

Truth to tell, motorcycles really startle me. If I’m not paying attention, or I’m deeply focused on something in front of me (lost to the world), the sound of a motorcycle scares the daylights out of me.

It’s been that way my entire life.

But it hasn’t kept me off the back of them.

I’m not a driver. Not a pilot. I have trouble with getting distracted and coordinating my hands and feet. The very idea of working a clutch and shifting gears in the proper order sends images of me pitching headlong over the handlebars flashing through my mind’s eye.

And that’s a good thing, actually, because it keeps me safely off the roads. It saves others from having to deal with me when I’m having a bad day of sensory overwhelm and can’t coordinate putting my pants on, let alone getting on a motorcycle and going somewhere.

Some folks can do it.

I cannot.

And I Know It.

But I’m not opposed to riding. In fact, I think I’m a pretty decent rider. I follow the driver well. So long as I have something and someone to orient to, I’m good.

I just don’t belong in the driver’s seat.

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From the book – Winters of our discontent


FlowI was more than happy to quit traveling after three back-to-back trips. I love to travel, but I also love sleeping in my own bed in the heart of winter. Most of the nomadic enthusiasm was in the hearts of middle managers, who seemed to delight in turning their direct reports’ lives upside-down for the first three months of each year. It was expensive, counter-productive, and it came at a terrible time of the year. Every traveler had to pay out of pocket for up-front travel expenses; company credit cards were available, but reimbursement usually lagged enough to require personal funds to cover the amount.

What’s more, three trips to Paris in the first quarter was murder on project planning and execution. A full schedule in the US is not helped by a week of trip prep, followed by week-long absences from the offices, followed by another week of jet-lag – for every trip you make. To top it all off, northeastern snowstorms had an uncanny ability to coincide with my travels abroad, which put me in deep debt to neighbors who repeatedly cleared 18-24” of snow from my driveway, so I could actually reach my house on my return. And to top it all off, being away from U.S. winters was no great relief; the weather was often just as crummy in France as it was in the northeastern United States.

I’d had some less-than-stellar visits, with gray skies and damp cold, in the past. But the 2013-2014 winter was one of the most challenging ones in recent memory – and that was on both sides of the Atlantic. Winter in Paris is seldom fun, with lots of rainy, gray days, and sometimes a bit of snow. But the weather had turned nasty in a big way, dumping more snow than the Paris municipality was prepared to clear out of the way, and screwing up the flow of their already cold and gray daily grind. Several times that winter, they’d gotten not one or two, but four inches of the stuff. And without proper plows, shovels, and ice melt, the city and its vicinity had skidded to a halt. Buses didn’t run. Drivers were told to stay off the roads. People were told to lay low. Many folks worked from home, but nobody went to the office. And from home, their connectivity wasn’t great, which made communication even more of a challenge. In short, that winter sucked.

Get your own copy of the book on Amazon – click here for paperback and Kindle

Annnnd we’re back – time for more Zen Moto action


rear-view-helmet-streetviewI took a few months off to finalize the print book (get it in paperback as well as Kindle here), as well as dive into spring and early summer.

I also had to do some fancy footwork at the office, because they’ve been downsizing, and I needed to really bring it, to remind folks that I add value every day… and keep the paycheck coming in. Maybe it’s just me, but I like having a roof over my head and food on the table.  Plus, they’re easing out folks who are 50+, and in less than a month, I will fit that description, so it was time to reprioritize and kick into high gear.

To be honest, I haven’t done much serious traveling for months, and watching all the videos of motorcycles and Paris was just more reminders that I’m not on the back of a bike in France. I don’t miss the job that took me to Paris, several times a year. Doing that trip in the middle of winter is no fun. But I do miss Paris… it grew on me.

So,the box of books arrived in the mail last week, and I just opened them up yesterday (they were sitting in the back seat of my commuter car, just waiting for the right time). Holding the results in my hand, after months and months of work on it… well, that’s quite a feeling.

So, I’m back.

Should I keep my book on Amazon Kindle?


Stay or go?

I published my book on Amazon Kindle last month, thinking it would be a great way to get out there. I was never a Kindle fan, until I bought a tablet last year and started downloading eBooks. Now I’m a regular. And I like the idea of getting my book onto eReaders everywhere that Amazon reaches.

But now I’m rethinking it. Basically, Amazon takes a huge cut from the purchase price — even from a digital product, which costs them nothing to produce. And their KDP Select program keeps you exclusively with them for the first 90 days. This will last until May 22.

I’d like to reach more people… and also have more control over the price. I really don’t have to use them, to get out there. I’ve got other options for distribution which are actually better and easier and net me a bigger percentage of profits. I will definitely pursue those options after the 90-day period is up. The KDP Select program just doesn’t seem to be helping me at all.

What do you think? Stay on Kindle till late May, or cut my losses and go it alone?