Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
May 11

6 Things I Learned From a Rock Music Festival

I spent my Saturday at the first-ever Northern Invasion. It was an amazing time and surprisingly educational as you’ll see below!

1. Bands Don’t Give A Fuck About the Rules

..and it’s kinda cool! Although crowd surfing and sitting on peoples’ shoulders might be “strongly discouraged,” bands are still going to tell you to do it anyway, and you may just! Of course, if you’re the chick who fell and had to be hauled away in the ambulance, you take full responsibility — financially and otherwise — for your actions.

2. People Will Find Anything to Bitch About

Lines for merch, food and bathrooms? Bitch. Parking? Moan. Weather’s too hot when the sun is up? Bitch and moan. Too cold after sun sets? More damn bitching and moaning. When you’re told there are no re-entries but you expect you’ll be able to leave and come back? You guess the crowd’s response. I mean, seriously. Are people actually that stupid? Oh, right. Yes. Yes, they are.

3. But It Is Impossible to Dress for the Weather in Wisconsin

I wore jeans and a tank top for a day that wasn’t supposed to get warmer than 70. It was 10 degrees warming with the sun blazing, no shade and just a hint of wind. I was sweating standing still let alone while rocking out. But a few hours later, the wind picked up and it dipped to the 50s. Since we weren’t allowed to go back to our vehicles and most people didn’t want to carry layers, there was a lot of jumping going on just to keep warm during the later shows.

But we all forget about it when Slipknot was playing!

4. Everyone Loves Don’t Stop Believin’

It might be a hard-hitting heavy metal and rock fest, but when that infamous Journey song came on, every damned person in the place sang along.

5. You Don’t Have to Love a Band to Love Their Performance

Listen, I like Slipknot. I don’t love the band, but I like them. However, after that single performance, I might be a convert. It wasn’t just how crazy the crowd went, how hard the music was, how amazing the show was with fire, giant LED-light goats and spinning drumkits or how Corey Taylor showed amazing amounts of love and appreciation to the fans. It was none of that, all of that and more.

And the band I went to see — Halestorm? Rocked with amazing energy and a sadly-too-short-show because they were sticking to the schedule and relegated to second stage. They didn’t miss a beat, though. Singing along to the songs from their new CD that I’ve already memorized and rocking out next to a dude who looked surprisingly like a young NPH was awesome!

6. There’s Serious Demand for Rock and Metal in the Area

The Upper Midwest has sadly been looked over by big concert venues, with little coming further north than Chicago or Milwaukee. However, a venue just an hour out of the Twin Cities makes sense. People drove at least 4.5 hours, if not more. All tickets sold out, and there were thousands there.

I’m not quite sure what the final numbers are, but I’m so excited turnout was this good because I can’t wait to do it next year! I’ll have to work on my core for next year, though. I wasn’t prepared to be that sore absolutely everywhere. My legs, my hands, my ankles and feet, my neck and my throat. But that’s what you get for rocking so hard and screaming so much you nearly puke!

And that’s why I love rock ‘n’ roll!

Dec 03

What Clients Need to Know About Freelance Writers

On the heels of the post where I show off my brand-new business cards that advertise that, yes, I am a writer and blogger, and it is real enough to print on paper, I have a post detailing the things I’ve learned that clients need to learn when working with freelance writers.

Yep, this is about right.

Yep, this is about right.

Have realistic expectations
Fortunately, many clients realize that the piddly price they’re paying for word isn’t enough for us to research a project, add HTML to their specifications, add images and promote the content. Do as much for the writer as possible to get a faster return rate and higher-quality writing.
We do what you tell us to
So tell us exactly what you want — the first time! Don’t send something back because we didn’t meet expectations that you didn’t tell us existed. It’s no fair, and it wastes both of our time. Don’t write the entire article, unless you’re looking for a rewrite, but give us enough information to produce what you want. Assume that writers know nothing about the topic at hand.
Differentiate between suggestions and guidelines
If you want us to write like, tell us. If you want us to use the exact same points in what is, essentially, a rewrite of an article from, tell us! Lots of clients provide suggestions and examples, and some people want something a little closer to the source. We can do either, but we need to know what you want, first. Similarly, don’t tell us to cover specific points if you actually want those to be the headings.
Your article might be one in a stack twenty high
You get just as much priority as the next. You might even be going through dozens or hundreds of articles submitted from writers yourself, so you can probably understand.
Web content/copywriting isn’t like writing a book
Blog posts are casual. They use slang. If you ask for a blog post but reject articles because they’re too casual, then you aren’t asking for the right thing. If you’re outsourcing chapters for your written book, then using writing broker sites doesn’t make sense. It will be a poor fit.
Writers don’t always see the same thing you do
I see this all the time on certain broker websites. I send HTML, it breaks. You send a link, it gets cut off. You add a note, but I can’t see it. I might not be able to see your name, client number or even the article I just submitted. When in doubt, send a message.
Don’t be afraid of being communicative
At best, we’ll ignore you or opt out of your messages, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Enough with the damned keywords already
We’re sick of adding 16 instances of the same keyword in 200 words. It’s not readable, and some of your phrases are impossible to work into an article grammatically. Let writers use connecting words or, even better, focus on quality instead of search engine optimization.
Not everyone knows HTML
Yes, you’re using this content on your website. No, your writer isn’t responsible for adding all the tags. Many writers aren’t also bloggers. Markup is your responsibility, and just because I happen to be a writer who knows HTML doesn’t mean that I will do your job.

So, writers, what do you have to add to this list?

Apr 04

The Girl With a Fire

I bought myself a Kindle Fire. When I realized that taxes weren’t going to be as much as I thought, I decided I needed to treat myself. I rarely do. I’m always trying to save for something that doesn’t exist and fretting about every dollar, but once I made the decision to get a Kindle Fire, there was no going back. I loved it in the store, and it far surpassed the Nook Tablet, which was the only other option I was really considering.

I’ve already gotten so much use out of it. I’ve acquired over 20 books, I’ve borrowed two from Amazon and I’ve used my free Prime membership to purchase from the store. Some apps, like Angry Birds Space, just work so much better on the screen. I’m finding the screen super easy on the eyes and the thin profile is just so preferable to actual books, especially clunky hardcover ones. In fact, I think my Kindle has made me realize that I hate physical books. Le gasp, I know.

I just want to read and read and read and read.

Mar 20

All Better

Last night, I was down in the dumps. I feel one million times better today. Here’s a quick list why.

  • My legs feel so good guys. Amazing shave.
  • Last year’s shorts fit — loosely.
  • Today’s weather is amazing.
  • And it’s not even dark yet. I love DST!
  • I smell amazing.
  • I’m not quite as broke as I expected.
  • Goliath’s yucky fur is all clean.
  • Cupcake and Mountain Dew.
  • I don’t live in a third-world country.
  • Kwik Trip makes amazing carrot cake.
  • I am awesome!
  • To be announced.


Aug 22

Life: Complete

Although these last few weeks have been stressful and hectic, they’ve also been incredibly rewarding. I am eternally grateful for the time I’ve had to spend with family and friends and would like to think that I spent it well. I’ve done a bunch of new things that I’d never done before, things I didn’t really have a chance to do while I was married. It all serves to remind me to be grateful for where I’m at.

Two really significant things happened to me in the past week or so, however. The first is that I had a chance to meet James O’Barr at Comic-Con. For those who don’t know, he is the creator/writer/artist of The Crow, the graphic novel behind the cult classic. I originally saw the movie but it didn’t take long for me to acquire the graphic novel, even though it was already out of print.

I believe my copy is from 1994 and it was already pre-loved when I bought it. Since then, it’s followed me across the world and country so it’s definitely well-loved. I packed it up, anyway, when I accidentally discovered that the man himself would be at Chicago Comic-Con. When we set out for the convention center, I slipped it into Wendy’s satchel, even though it barely fit.

I present it to James O’Barr almost sheepishly. He’d just sold his last copy of The Crow: Special Edition which was all shiny and new and mine.. was not. I apologetically asked if he’d sign my well-loved copy and he said that well-loved it just how it should have been. I could not imagine a more redeeming, relieving comment. I felt completely validated as a fan.

I took a picture of his signature that’s on Facebook. Exciting stuff.

But it really gets better or, at the very least, remains just as awesome. On Friday, I finally was able to see Pat Benatar live in concert. We drove a couple hours to the Wisconsin Dells and piled into one of those formal-ish, assigned-seating theaters. We arrived when some cover band was doing a bunch of classic rock. Not bad but not nearly as awesome as or appropriate for Pat Benatar. We were among the younger people there which made me sad. I don’t know why other people don’t love her more!

Everyone stood when she came on stage and she started in one a popular song. I can’t remember which one, except that she played most of the songs from “Best Shots” minus “Outlaw Blues” and “Painted Cowboy” for sure. She also added “Sex as a Weapon” and “You Better Run,” both of which I knew but I wasn’t super familiar with. Guess who is now?

Even though I was sick, I sang my freaking heart out all night. I’m sure it bugged other people and I only got more into the music as the night went on. One thing I noticed was how much harder, rockier her music sounds in person. Perhaps some of the dynamic-ness of the guitar and drums are lost during recording but while she may sound poppy on the radio or CD, there is no mistaking that she is a rock goddess in person.

We snuck down to the front of the aisle to take some pictures. Unfortunately, we were off center so I didn’t get so many amazing pictures of her but I did get some great shots of Spyder. I appreciate him even more as a guitarist now. He would definitely rock in a blues band, I think. Pat also loves it: she was air guitaring most of the time. Her attitude indicated that she was having fun, she was informal and silly. All in all, she seemed super personable, even flirting with her husband a bit.

I sang along until the very last song which was an awesome version of “Heartbreaker” with some “Ring of Fire” mixed it. I don’t know if she usually does it but it sounded great. The concert flew by and, before I knew it, I was covered in sweat, hungry and walking out the door. We finished up the night with some fast food and finally hit up a Dunkin Donuts because Captain America runs on it, don’t cha know.

I thought I’d see her once and feel satisfied but, now, I just want to do it all over again.

I’ve jokingly said that my life is now complete and I could die happy but it’s sort of true.

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