Tag Archives: occupational hazards

Top Ten Perils of Freelancing and Working From Home


In the dead of Chicago’s punishing winters, I am reminded of the many occupational hazards of being a freelancer. In no particular order:

10. Yolander Prinzel nailed it with her post about the freelance life, As A Freelance Writer, I Notice My Ass Often Hurts. Too true!

9. If you write for too long while stretched out on the couch, you can forget where you are, stand up too quickly and entangle your feet on the laptop’s power cable. If you have children nearby, they will learn new vocabulary. That’s one reason why I’ll never have kids. The self-censor feature is absent from my brain.

8. Scotch just doesn’t taste as good at 9AM as it does at 6PM.

7. Everybody calls you at 11AM to ask “What are you doing?”. Well, gee. What are YOU doing? I’m earning a living over here. Continue reading Top Ten Perils of Freelancing and Working From Home

The Angry Travel Writer

The worst part about travel writing, for my money, is not the lengthy time you have to spend on the road, the uncertainty of the publishing game, or the constant struggle to find new and interesting things to write about. Instead, it’s the brain-dead conversations you have to listen to while waiting for your plane, train, or automobile. I am writing this post on board an Amtrak headed south from Chicago, and so far today I’ve heard three people on cell phones, definitely NOT using their indoor voices. Here’s a transcript of my current favorite:

“Hello? Hello? I haven’t got a signal. I’ll call you when I get there. I love you. Hello? I’ll see you when I get there. I am wearing white socks. Hello?”

I know I must be imagining this, but it seems that on every trip I take lately, whether to Boston, Springfield Illinois, St. Louis or NYC, there is at least one person in the waiting area or on board who apparently has never used a cell phone before. Is ANYBODY still reacting with surprise that they have faulty reception and dropped calls? The sound of GENIUINE surprise in the person’s voice when they experience call interruption (while using their outdoor voice) causes me great internal injuries as I suppress my laughter.

Equally ridiculous is the fact that at least two people will have truly annoying musical ringers, playing at top volume. Apparently people think the “vibrate” function is somehow hazardous to their health, because they never use it.

One of these days I will make enough from my writing efforts to start hiring private charter jets (ha!) and then I’ll be free of ringtones, clueless cell phone shouters, and rudeness in general. And that will be the day that Satan drives a snow plow to the office. I think this screed is basically the result of having spent too much time on trains today combined with a lack of caffeine. I need a beverage.

How Ignorance Will Make You Sick

Danger–rant ahead.

I’ve just finished watching a segment on WGN TV that’s pissed me off so badly I can’t see straight. WillItBlend.com is a gimmick marketing website for the Blendtec Total Blender. If you haven’t herd of this one, chances are you’ve been living in a cave as they seem to be everywhere lately. Will It Blend? features video clips of a variety of gadgets and household items being pulverized by the Total Blender. The videos are a YouTube hit, and a favorite of guy blogs such as GearCrave.com.

When the WillItBlend.com crew showed up on WGN’s morning news program today, I watched a cell phone blended to dust along with a coffee cup and a working flashlight.

Pretty harmless, right? Until you remember that cell phones, cell phone batteries and ordinary flashlight batteries have toxic chemicals and heavy metals in them. The WillItBlend demonstrators released toxic particulate matter from these blending stunts into the air when they unceremoniously dumped the results of the blending out onto the table in the WGN studios. Neither the host or the guys working the blender wore any kind of face mask to protect themselves from the toxic contents of cell phone and flashlight batteries. Continue reading How Ignorance Will Make You Sick