In this picture you can see what I’ve been up to lately. The list of synonyms for biohazardous waste is there, and a copy of the WSJ article which one of my fellow choristers brought to choir practice last night, a bottle of perfume purchased online during a sleep-deprived moment, and the very cool coloring page the Northerner’s graphic designer made to go with a lesson plan.

Let me tell you about the lesson plan, because it’s quite an exciting project. My Northerners have this website with a tough name to rank for.

Listen, if you ever decide to start a business, don’t choose the name of the business without checking to see what kind of competition you have for it online, okay? This company is competing for its company name with the following entities:

  • a major school program with hundreds of .edu links
  • a federal government program
  • a division of Amazon
  • a division of Microsoft
  • the Malaysian government’s petroleum company

I mean, what were they thinking?

Anyway, their marketing guy keeps sending me more companies with their same name and saying, “Look and see what they’re doing to get to the top of Google.” I respond with things like, “They’re being the government of the United States.” Not really an area where we can compete.

With the school program, though, I said, “They have hundreds of .edu links,” and then as I was typing I got inspired. “We could do a lesson on paper and the environment as a free download for teachers at the website, and push it hard for .edu and .org links, as Kraft and Disney do. I can’t think of any simpler way to accomplish it.”

“Sounds good,” said the CEO. So I wrote up a lesson plan, and the designer on the team made it look extremely cool.

I write lesson plans all the time, of course, but nobody makes coloring pages for them or gives them snazzy illustrations. It’s amazing how much more exciting it makes a lesson look.

I think this guy should do a book with me. He lives in the Philippines, so it is conceivable that I could even some day afford to pay him to take my collection of lesson plans on fairy tales, for example, and make them all look this snazzy.

Yes, well, I’m adding it to my fantasy list.

Coming back to say — yeah, I did that!

On the real rather than fantasy list, I have an interesting new assignment. I’m writing about living in urban neighborhoods in my very rural state, for a statewide men’s magazine. I didn’t know that there was a special online magazine for the men of my state. Now I know. We have only one city of any size at all, and it isn’t very big. It has only half a million inhabitants. So I’m writing about a few neighborhoods in that town, and then about the downtown in my own city. I remember when we came here we thought the town was so cute, because it was like a toy city. There’s a downtown, with parking meters and everything, just as though it were an actual city! How cute!

So I think I’m going to get #1 son to go downtown with me, to take pictures and to give me the perspective of the young man about town on what it would be like to live in our tiny little urban area. We have marvelous high-end condos built over the downtown businesses, and some great restaurants and bakeries and stuff. It’ll be fun. It would be fun to go do the same in the neighborhoods in the big town, too, but the deadline is tomorrow, so that’s not going to happen. I’ve roped #1 daughter in to get some quotes from urban dwellers.

So yeah, that’s the fun stuff. I also have to grade final exams and try to get my accounting software going, ply the Dark Art for a hypnotist and a lawn care company, and call a chocolatier who might like to hire me — possibly after having seen me in the WSJ article. I don’t like talking on the phone, and it’s essentially a job interview by phone, but I would like to work with their site. Lots of potential there.

I visited my dad in the hospital yesterday, and he was hopeful of being sprung today.