Friday, September 28, 2007

Blogging for Strength

I learned (too late) that yesterday was Blog Against Abuse Day. It’s a worthwhile cause and I would have done it had I not found out at around 12:30 at night (i.e., this morning).

So today I’d like to turn the concept around and blog about powerful women. Two women who I’m very proud to know…

First, my dear friend Rachel, who I know will be on the bestseller list as a sci-fi author one day, was interviewed in Jeff’s Vandermeer’s Blog, in a section called Conversations with the Bookless. (Because, thus far in her young career, Rachel has only written short stories.)
Rachel, you’ve made the big-time, you’ve been interviewed!! Damn, I should have been the first to think of that! ;)

The second woman is someone I’ve had the honor of interviewing twice (so far) in my career as a paintball journalist. Bea Youngs, who I speak with in the upcoming book “The Complete Guide to Paintball, Fourth Edition,” was recently named Editor-in-Chief of Paintball Sports Magazine.

Anyone in the industry—and many enthusiasts—know I used to edit this magazine before leaving it to go back to freelance writing and take over RECON, which enables me to work from home. Long hours, low pay, commuting? No thanks, not for me. I consider it a rough day when I have to put on *pants* to work!

But Bea has landed a fair deal that will allow her to work remotely, and still take care of her father who has Parkinson’s disease. For this reason alone—the way she is able to be her dad’s primary caregiver while still remaining a driving force in the paintball industry—I basically idolize Bea. I think she’s exactly what Paintball Sports needs to remain one of the top publications in the industry, and the publisher could not have made a better choice. When it comes to strong women, she’s close to the top of my list.

I’m going to cut this short to hang out with my best friend, another amazingly strong woman who just happens to be getting married to a wonderful man in three weeks. This blog may be coming a day late, but what better way to fight abuse against women than to applaud women who are amazing role models of strength?

(Photo caption, Bea Youngs and Chris Serf, two of my bestest paintball buddies)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

In Memory of Arthur Jones

In the past three days, I have collected more than 7,000 words about Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus equipment, through interviews with his friends, colleagues and business associates. I've also read more than 20 pages of notes and surfed dozens of websites to find out more about this eccentric millionaire who was ahead of his time in so many ways.

His colleagues have described him as charismatic, determined, honest, intelligent and intimidating. I'd never heard of Arthur until after he died at 80 years of age this past August 28, but he seems like someone I would have liked to have known.

His intolerance for stupidity, as described by one of his closer friends, clinched it for me. Arthur was a great teacher, several interview subjects reported, but he had no tolerance for people with no desire or capacity to learn. About the only time he'd lose his temper was when he was trying to explain one of his concepts of physiology--why Nautilus equipment works--to someone who was just... NOT... GETTING... IT.

Wow, as an editor, I can relate. And I'll be nice now, so as not to hurt the feelings of blossoming writers whose stories I have rejected in not very nice ways. :)

But my favorite story about Arthur Jones was reported by Joe Cirulli, President & Owner of Gainesville Health & Fitness. Apparently, Arthur was trying to explain his new workout machines to someone who just wasn't getting it. "You're stupid!" Arthur said. "I'm sorry for saying it, but don't blame me. I didn't make you stupid. God made you stupid!"

How many times have I *wished* I could say that to someone?

But you know what they say...when you're a millionaire and do unusual things, you're eccentric. If you're middle class and do the same things, you're just crazy!

Additional amusing anecdotes about Arthur will be appearing in a feature article in a future issue of Club Business International, authored by Editor-in-Chief Craig Waters.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

FADE IN... 2002

Back in 2002, I launched Dawn Allcot Media and I was working part time in a bookstore while freelancing full-time. I launched a little column, back then, called "It Had to Be Said," sometimes affectionately referred to as Store Stories.

These were short essays about my adventures in retail and comments on human stupidity in general.

It was the most well-received section of my website, lauded by at least five of my closest friends and fellow writers. So it seemed only appropriate that I should title this blog the same. And, let's face it, when you're expounding on human stupidity, there's no danger you'll ever run out of material.

This blog may morph into a paintball advocacy site, or a writer's help site, or something else all together. (Maybe just a way to promote my still-growing writing business?) Maybe I actually need three blogs. Time will tell.

Whatever it turns into, it started as the chronicles of a little bookstore clerk's ("little" modifying the clerk, not the mass market superstore, complete with cafe) daily life.

I hope you keep visiting...and commenting. I will do the same for you!


In my "night job," where I sell sports memorabilia, artwork and jewelry at silent auctions, I am often looked down at (by the attendees). I guess I am viewed as "hired help." It's an experience I haven't had to deal with since I left Barnes & Noble nearly five years ago. Half the time, if the men aren't staring down my dress, they are ignoring me.

During an auction in an upscale area the other night, I started thinking about the concept of class. I know more people who run around in camouflage and shoot each other on weekends who have tons more class (and money, in many cases!) than some of these high-powered execs who shell out hundreds of dollars in cash for a baseball with Don Mattingly's signature on it. In fact, many members of the paintball industry (and some of my closest friends) look like rednecks, curse like sailors, and have more class than an entire room of bankers, lawyers and politicians.. um... hmmmm...maybe not such a good analogy.

A quote from the Brendan Fraser/Alicia Silverstone movie came to my mind... "Turns out, the short and very simple definition of a gentleman or a lady is: someone who always attempts to make the people around him or her feel as comfortable as possible."

In short, a gentleman is someone who has class. And so... my pet peeves about people who lack class, in particular, people at upscale charity events who do nothing to make others feel comfortable at all... (and I promise, my blogs will get wittier as time passes; I am out of practice.)

It is not classy to...

* Haggle down the prices of artwork when it is a charitable donation;
* Ask if the Auctioneer is for sale, as well;
* Stare down the auctioneer's dress (well, maybe this one is okay... I'll write about my views on seductive clothing later.)
* Interrupt people. Whoever they are.
* Interrupt people... yeah, this is one of my top pet peeves of all time.

Stay tuned for my very first "flashback blog."