Phicklephilly – Do It Yourself

“What’s with all the ads on my favorite blog?”

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It’s been an interesting time during quarantine due to the Covid-19 crisis. I’ve had the pleasure of finally taking a rest from working 55 hours a week on my feet in a business that’s incredibly challenging. My daughter and I worked in the same industry, and we both agree that we needed a break. I think the workforce as a whole needed a break.

The first week or so it was just strange. Then we sort of settled into the fact that we couldn’t go to our jobs anymore.

What would we do with this sudden, paid free time?

We’ve had some ideas.  I decided to make phicklephilly.wordpress.com into my own domain. I bought Phicklephilly.com four years ago and own it. So I called the nice folks over at GoDaddy and had that integrated into my site. Now it’s more searchable on Google and has brought so much more traffic to the site. If you google phicklephilly now, it’s the first thing that comes up. That, and my books.

With that came wordpress ads. They run ads on your site, and that generates revenue. You have to complete a bunch of forms for that and give them all of your tax info. Because it’s real income.

But here’s the thing… the revenue for the ads run is minimal. They’ll serve thousands of ads on your site. But the return is tiny. Phicklephilly has been around for over four years and I have a tons of content. (Over 2,000 posts) I’ve always been prolific. I figured, more content, more page views. It worked, but I’d probably need millions of page views to make any money from these free ads thrown to me by wordpress.

I’m not complaining, but I felt I needed to do more. So I recently signed up for Google Analytics. That opens up the world of Adsense. Once that’s processed over the next few weeks, that’ll generate ads on my site which will equal more revenue. I’m looking forward to that. The site is really coming into it’s own. We’ve hit 50,000 page views so far this year, with 84,000 visitors, 2200 subscribers, and over 147,000 page views since its inception. So, we’re growing.

But while writing Angel with a Broken Wing, there was something nagging at me. The itch I had to create was being satiated by writing the book, but I felt there was something more I could do for Phicklephilly. The little blog that started me on this journey shortly after the death of my father in 2016.

I started to think… I’m putting all of these pieces together, is there something else I could do?

While creating Angel with a Broken Wing I would listen to music on Youtube. I’ve been listening to everything! It’s been great, but sometimes between songs they run these commercials. I don’t really mind it if it doesn’t go on to long. I grew up in a world where radio and TV were supported by commercials.

I worked in advertising for 10 years when I returned to Philadelphia from New York back in 2007.

I remember as I was typing one day, this ad came on for a company called, Dr. Squatch. I stopped what I was doing to watch it. Normally, when people are enjoying  a show or listening to music, all they want to do is skip the ads. But Dr. Squatch’s ads were so good, I was captivated by their brand. It was a brilliant, fun campaign to promote their male hygiene products. You know an ad is good when you WANT to watch it because it’s so engaging.

It got me thinking… all I did for 10 years in Philly was sell advertising. Digital advertising. For Philly.com, a happy hour website, and Philly Weekly. I started with nothing at all three of those companies and made it work. Most people don’t like to sell, or can’t sell. Either you have it or you don’t. No one likes rejection, and that’s 95% of sales. You need mad game to sell. It’s a ruthless, thankless business. But perfect for me. An over achiever with low self esteem, and a track record of closing impossible deals. In banking as a broker I was a million dollar producer every year. At Philly.com I was billing $40k a month. It all comes down to who will relentlessly make calls on clients, meet with them, close them, cross sell them, and get referrals. Then repeat that over and over again. That’s sales. Just run down the game and kill it everyday. Like a lion on the savanna, you hunt every day to feed your cubs. Most days you go hungry. But you keep at it. Most don’t have the will to keep at it. But if you do, like anything else, eventually you’ll make a kill.

So, here I am creating content for my dating and relationship blog here in Philly during quarantine. How can I write a blog like this in quarantine? I feel like I’ve been grounded by my parents and I can’t go out and do what I do socially.

But, while I’m waiting for WordPress and google analytics and adsense to all come together for me, I should maybe try to do what I’m good at.

Sell digital advertising while I’m waiting for them to get their act together. It’s what I’m good at. Selling stuff. Any job I’ve ever worked where I don’t get to create or sell stuff I usually fail. Because we have plenty of people that are built to take orders and work hard to build somebody else’s dream. Business leaders love cheap labor.

Don’t get me wrong… Phicklephilly, and writing books isn’t my dream. The only dream I ever had died 40 years ago in Los Angeles as a failed rockstar. Now the only dreams I have come to me during slumber and that’s just my brain dumping thoughts, feelings and images to keep me sane.

Phicklephilly has been a glorious hobby. Yea, it’s a hobby. If you don’t have a hobby, you should think about maybe getting one. It’s a lovely release from all of the things you HAVE to do everyday to survive. It’s a sweet little pleasure that you get to create.

It’s kind of cool to watch something that started as a passion or a hobby become something bigger. It’s like a garden. You tend the seeds and the plants and vegetables, with water, care and sunlight. It starts to grow. Because you care about it. You like it. It’s fun. It feels good. It’s not a job to pay the bills. It’s your thing. It belongs to you. 

I don’t know why I never thought about this back in March, but I guess I was busy writing my book. But it started to work on me about two months ago. Back in May I decided that part of my day would be dedicated to going through all of my leads and contacts. I have hundreds from New Jersey, New York, and obviously Philly.

I would spend only one hour a day for 60 days going through all of my social contacts, (business ones, not you drunken assholes) business contacts, business cards, Linkedin, old sales files from the last 20 years, and see what that would yield. I called on every advertising agency in my old book of business. I knew if I dug into all of my New York contacts, I could mine some gold. Sometimes the one hour goal would stretch beyond that, but I wanted to do it everyday consistently. I didn’t talk about it to anyone, in case it never came to fruition.

Which brings me to this.

The sight obviously looks different. Especially the sidebar. I wanted to fit them all in where I could.

At least for now.

What’s weird is… I remember being contacted years ago by acquaintances that had attached themselves to me like sea lampreys in the industry. They had their websites about Philly, or food, or music. They always wanted me to sell ads for them on their sites. I have no idea what their business plan was for their sites, but I can guess. Write a blog with some relevant content about something they were passionate about. But somewhere they thought they’d like to run ads on their site and make money. Sadly, they didn’t possess the ability to execute that part. So they approach some schlub to do it for them. They have no revenue to pay said individual. Sadly, all of those sites have failed, and hopefully those folks found jobs somewhere. I get it. Great idea. Poorly executed.

But don’t be nice to me thinking I’m going to do your job for you. That’s just fiction, man.

Most writers can write, But there aren’t really any writers out there that can sell.

So, I’ve been digging in hard everyday for the last few months to maybe monetize Phicklephilly. There’s no way I’d do this for free for someone else’s little dream, but for my little hobby…sure.

I haven’t sold advertising since 2017. But I still have all of my contacts from my corporate life. I haven’t had a platform worth selling anything on. But the cool thing is, Phicklephilly just sort of grew like a weed over the last 4 years. It grew because I gave it a lot of love. (Along with all of you reading this!)

So here we are.

Funny what you can accomplish when you don’t have a job to go to.

I know for the moment the site is looking a bit cluttered, but I wanted to show everybody that decided to run on my site. I’ll clean it up, and WordPress and Google will help me out.

I’m blown away by the support that all of these brands have brought to Phicklephilly. 

I want to take a moment and thank everybody!

ALYAKA, AQUATALIA, BERETTA, BERRYLOOK, HARD TAIL, TRETORN, BUXTON, EVERLAST (You guy have been great! I appreciate all of the rapid responses!) FREDRICKS OF HOLLYWOOD (I have a story for you guys from my youth when I first saw your ads in a Hollywood gossip mag!) GRAND SLAM – NEW YORK, JACH’S – NEW YORK, KATY PERRY (Katy… your agency is a delight to work with!) LANCER, LIFELINE, LUVYLE   (I love you guys! Thanks for Berrylook!), MADDA FELLA, MADISON STYLE, PURLISSE, ROYAL DOULTON (Thank you guys in London for being first!), SLEEPSTAR, SMOKO (Beautiful ads, guys!), WATERFORD, WEDGWOOD, YOUNGBLOOD MINERAL COSMETICS (Best models ever!)

You guys rock! You’ve all been so kind and patient with me. I can write, but I suck at all of the technical stuff. I just love that I was able to pitch you guys and you got it. I can’t run all of your stuff all of the time, but I’ll do my best to promote your brands on the site to the best of my abilities!

Thank you!

(If any of you readers have any opinions about the way the site looks, please let me know!)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

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ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING: Inspiration and Behind the Scenes – Part 3

I decided to go back in my memory and try to remember all of the inspiring moments in my own life that helped bring this book to life. I published Part 1 and 2 the last two Mondays, so you can check them out to gather more insight into the book. Anyway, here’s some more stuff…

The Conversations: The interesting dialogue between Christian and the people in his life all came out of my head for the most part. I originally envisioned Angel as a play. It was about two people on a long car ride. The play would focus on all of the cool conversations they have together on a road trip. I wanted the stories to be diverse and engaging. Back in the 90’s, what else was there to do on a long trip? Read a magazine, listen to the radio or simply talk. I liked the idea and as the story grew, I incorporated all of those clever exchanges into the story.

The Villain: Although I’m always rooting for the hero, the bad guys in movies and books are always more interesting than the good guys. When I think about it, the villain has his on perspective of right and wrong. Both parties think they’re right. Superman wants to save the world, but Lex Luthor has his own agenda. The villain in Angel simply wants what he believes is rightfully his, and will stop at nothing to get it. I can’t really blame him, but I don’t agree with his methods. He isn’t based on anyone I know. I just envisioned the classic man in black from modern folklore.

The Route: Back in 1982, I took a road trip from New Jersey to Los Angeles, in a 1969 Volkswagen mini bus. I was with my buddy Frank Roberts. It was February when we set out, so we took the most southern route. It was interstate 10. Remembering many of the details and stops on that trip, I was able to create a similar route for Christian and Jill. Knowing that road and those towns along the way, I was able to bring the trip to life in a realistic way.

The Wagon Wheel: That’s a restaurant that Chris and Jill dine in one day. The name of the place is from a song by the band, Morphine. It’s a song called Thursday. I love that whole album, (A Cure for Pain) The lyrics always seemed so clever and illicit, that I felt that the song deserved a mention. Here’s the lyrics:

We used to meet every Thursday Thursday
Thursday in the afternoon
For a couple of beers and a game of pool
We used to go to a motel a motel
A motel across the street
And the name of the motel was the Wagon Wheel
Oh
One day she said come on come on she said
Why don’t you come back to my house
She said my husband’s out of town
You know he’s gone till the end of the month
Well I was just so nervous so nervous
You know I couldn’t really quite relax
‘Cause I was never really quite sure when her
Husband was coming back
Sure one of the neighbors yea one of the neighbors
One of the neighbors that saw my car
And they told her yea they told her
I think they know who you are
Well her husband he’s a violent man a very violent and jealous man
Now I have to leave this town I got to leave while I still can
We should have kept it every Thursday Thursday
Thursday in the afternoon
For a couple of beers and a game of pool
We should have kept it every Thursday Thursday
Thursday in the afternoon
For a couple of beers and a game of pool
She was pretty good too
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Mark Sandman
Thursday lyrics © BMG Rights Management
I just liked the song so I worked the Wagon Wheel into the book.

New Orleans: Back in 1982, on my real road trip with Frank, we pretty much stayed on highway 10. But I remember the day we left Mobile, Alabama, Frank expressed that he wanted to take highway 12 down into New Orleans. I’m so glad we did that. You can actually read about our whole trip in the series: California Dreamin’ on this blog! Just enter that into the SEARCH box and you can read the whole sordid tale. It’s such a unique and wild place I had to include it into Angel. Did I jump onstage and play with a band in a bar down there? No. But it just had to be a stop for our heroes on their trip because it’s just a neat place. I think after we left there I described it as… Sodom and Gomorrah with a two drink minimum!

Sealy, Texas: That really happened. It wasn’t as bad as I made it in the book, (the roaches!) but the whole bit about the desk clerk, his coloring book and him chasing us in his car down a dirt road, really happened to Frank and I on our journey back in 1982. Difference was, I didn’t have a bulldog .44 pistol. But I did have Frank, who was formerly a member of the Junior wing of the IRA back in Belfast, Ireland. I’ll never forget when he leaped out of the car, with an ice pick in his hand to face the guy chasing us. I obviously changed it up for the book, but yea…true story.

The Car: When I first started writing this book, I thought what kind of car should they take on an odyssey across America. The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz came to mind. It’s an enormous automobile built for the open road. Can you imagine trying to parallel park that beast in the city? You’d never even find a spot for a car that size. Here’s a link to some more info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Eldorado

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible ...

It just seemed like the obvious choice for a long trip across the country. It looks like a 1950’s science fiction spaceship.  Who wouldn’t want to step on the gas and let that massive chrome boat carry you to parts unknown? There was a song I heard on WXPN in Philly, (public supported radio) by a band called Southern Culture on the Skids. There was a song called Voodoo Cadillac that opens the album. It’s some good old fashioned shit kickin’ rockabilly. I loved the idea of the title. So the character, Jean from Haiti was born, and he’s the one who brings the car back to life. As we all know Haiti is where voodoo comes from. I always like the movie, Serpent and the Rainbow, so that was an inspiration as well.

I always loved the car, and even bought a little toy one when I was in Palm Springs with my wife back in the 1990’s! (I still have it!)

The Police: The two officers that visit Christian and Jill in Texas were based on a couple of my childhood friends. Michael Mitchell was a kid I grew up with in Philly. His father was a cop and he became a police officer as well. He had a decorated career but sadly passed away in April of 2020. Richard Sarlo was my best friend in Wildwood New Jersey every summer. He always wanted to become a police officer. Through the years he rose up the ranks and eventually became the Chief of Police in Collingswood, New Jersey. He’s since retired and is living a happy life in South Jersey.

Scene in the Texas desert: The scene where Jill and Chris have to hang for a day in Texas because of the police investigation, was born from an old film. One of my least favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies, To Catch a Thief was the inspiration. It’s just Cary Grant and Grace Kelly riding a scooter in I the Italian countryside. She has a picnic lunch and I just loved the vibe of that scene so I sort of dropped that into the story. To me it’s a throwaway scene from a throwaway movie.

More to come next Monday!

 

Please buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Tales of Rock: Man Accidentally Trips On LSD For 9 Hours After Cleaning A Classic Synthesizer

Eliot Curtis accidentally tripped on LSD while fixing a vintage Buchla Model 100. He was tasked to repair a piece of history, but he didn’t expect to begin seeing history and time in front of him as tripped on acid. With his experience, he added another story to the history of the synthesizer, and it’s probably a good idea to making cleaning old equipment with gloves on a standard procedure.

The Buchla Model 100 was invented in the 1960s by Don Buchla of Berkeley. He completely immersed himself in counterculture, and in 1966, his synthesizers were put on a school bus converted to play music. The iconic bus of counterculture, Furthur, was purchased by Ken Kesey, an advocate for using acid. Among their crew was Owsley Stanley, a sound engineer and manufacturer of a potent strain of LSD. While these links can explain how the drug could’ve gotten on the synthesizer, it’s still unclear exactly how the LSD got on this specific one.

Curtis, the Broadcast Operations Manager for KPIX Televsion, was tasked with repairing the vintage analog music modular instrument they found in a closet at Cal State University East Bay’s music department. It was acquired by two music professors who taught in the university during the 1960s. During his repair, Curtis found something stuck under one of the knobs, and it appeared to be a crystal. He sprayed cleaning solvent on the residue to dissolve it a little bit, then he dislodged it from the knob to continue cleaning the area.

45 minutes later, Curtis began to feel strange tingling sensations. He speculated that he was tripping on LSD but thought that’s probably just his imagination. His original inkling, however, was true. His unexpected LSD trip lasted around nine hours.

Authorities later confirmed that residues of LSD were present on the instrument. According to reports, the place the synthesizer was stored made it possible for the LSD to remain potent. The machine was resting in a cool, dark place, so the drug’s potency was preserved so well that it was possible for the residue to be ingested through the skin. With his unexpected trip, Curtis learned a lot more about the 1960s counterculture than he could have ever imagined.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

A Watershed Moment

A Watershed Moment is a turning point, the exact moment that changes the direction of an activity or situation. A Watershed Moment is a dividing point, from which things will never be the same. It is considered momentous, though a Watershed Moment is often recognized in hindsight.

But not today.

Happy Monday Everyone! Welcome to July 2020. 

It’s amazing to finally get a book you’ve working on published! Back on Valentine’s day of this year I was surprised when Phicklephilly the book, first appeared on Amazon. It was an exhilarating rush to finally have my work published.

 

When COVID-19 struck, it threw us all for a loop. But it opened up the opportunity to do the things we never had time to do. (Because we were all working!) I decided to compile and publish Crazy Dating Stories from my life. I put it out in three volumes on Amazon Kindle, and the Anthology on Kindle and paperback.

But as time went by, I felt the need to do something more. Something bigger. Something that wasn’t a non-fiction account of all of the crazy dates and relationships I’d been in.

I wanted to tell a story. Something that came from my mind and heart. The kind of book I would read.

…and Angel with a Broken Wing was born!

My publisher sent me author copies and I got them today! It’s funny… you write a book and get it published, and people buy it. They send you pictures of your book. It’s really nice to see that they bought it and that the book is selling.

But when you open the box that came in the mail, and you reach in and actually hold in your hands the thing that you made… The thing you created that wasn’t there before, it’s incredible. It’s no where near what I felt the day the nurse handed me my daughter for the first time… but it’s pretty darn good!

Thanks to everyone who supported me during this amazing journey. Thanks to my friends and family who patiently listened to me complain over and over about how much I hate editing. I’m so grateful to everybody at Amazon, AmazonKindle, WordPress, and GoDaddy. I couldn’t bring my stories to life without you guys!

I’m currently editing Phicklephilly 2, and I hope to have it out this Fall. I’m still debating whether I should publish Sun Stories: Tales from a Tanning Salon. There’s just so many moving parts to that book. If it does publish, it’ll be an enormous tome. I don’t know if I want that. I feel that some of those stories need to be told, but only time will tell. It would be a mad book because of all of the crazy stuff that happened there, but I just don’t know. It starts out innocent enough, but then becomes insane. I need to find its voice before I can even attempt to publish such an explosive expose’.

I’m also working on my second work of fiction. (Working title: Below the Wheel) It’s a hard boiled detective story that is nothing like Angel with a Broken Wing. I am in negotiations with a local artist for the cover. It needs a completely different look than Angel.

Once that’s completed, I’d like to write something heartfelt. I’ve always wanted to tell the quintessential summer at the seashore story. I’m not sure what that’s going to look like yet. I’m just going to let it flourish in my mind on it’s own over the next few months.

Anyway, I hope you’re all reading my Behind the Scenes mini series about Angel with a Broken Wing that publishes every Monday on Phicklephilly. It’s a revealing look into where all the ideas for the book came from.

The next book isn’t going to write itself, so I better get back at it. Before all of this all happened, I had short hair and no beard! Now, I’m approaching Big Lebowski territory! But based on my social media likes, the ladies dig it!

(Yea, that’s Jeff Buckley, Aerosmith and Farrah Fawcett behind me in my studio! Two dead, one band still alive and kicking. All beloved… and good inspiration!)

Thanks to everybody for getting us to 50,000 page views so far for 2020 on Phicklephilly! The blog wouldn’t exist without you! Also, a big thanks to all of the great companies that advertise on my site! I’ll keep generating solid content to support your brands. Kohls, Zipcar, Progressive, Geico, Duck duck go, and the rest!

Thanks for the revenue guys!

Alright! See you all tomorrow!

Charles

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING: Inspiration and Behind the Scenes – Part 2

I decided to go back in my memory and try to remember all of the inspiring moments in my own life that helped bring this book to life. I published Part 1 last Monday, so you can check it out to gather more insight into the book. Anyway, here’s some more stuff…

Maria LaParilla: Maria as far as I can remember isn’t based on any one person. But if I’d have to say she’s like anyone I know, it would have to be my friend Maria. She has several posts written about her on Phicklephilly, and is actually the inspiration for me wanting to write this blog. But sadly, Maria LaParilla is a totally fictitious person, and all of the fun stuff that happens between Maria and Christian are completely made up.

Jeeves: He’s the English Chauffeur that drives the limo to enhance Christian’s date with Maria. His name is a poke at the internet search engine, Ask Jeeves that was on AOL in the 90’s. He’s completely made up. But I really like him. The classic, cool English driver. Maybe I’ll bring him back in the sequel, Angel Rising... (Did I just say that out loud?)

Answering Machines: Before the advent of cellular phones, everybody had an answering machine at their house. Unlike today, when everybody has access to everybody else instantly 24/7, that never existed back in the 90’s. If somebody called your home number, you had to wait until you got home that night to listen to the message they left you on a little cassette tape in a machine. It was a slower time back then, but kind of a pain. The only way anybody could reach you immediately, would have to be on your work phone, if they even had that number.

The Finance Company: Andy, Christian’s boss is based on a real guy who was my boss when I worked at a finance company in the early 90’s. He was exactly like the Andy in the book. Christian’s co-worker Paul was also a real guy I worked with in the Turnersville, NJ office. (And all of that horrible stuff really happened to the poor guy) The last I heard he was sober, and making music in Ohio. I hope he’s doing well. The story about the Banker Broker license really happened. The way it happened in the book is how it really happened to me. I did exactly what Christian did, so I loved writing that bit. Unlike Christian, I didn’t just quit with no other job lined up. I had already secured a better job as a branch manager at First Union Bank in Philadelphia for $10k more a year!

Brenda the Waitress: Brenda was a real girl who worked at Charlie Brown’s. She was my favorite waitress when I would go there with my friend. The real Brenda was exactly like the one in the book. Cute, sweet, and excellent hospitality. We loved her!

The Carousel and Sarah Turner: The Carousel is based on The Carnival Book store in Bellmawr, New Jersey. I remember I dated a girl who worked there back in the early 2000’s. I was on a rebound from a toxic relationship, and rebound girl was 20 years my junior. She was also toxic but I kept her at a distance. I remember she used to tell me all of these wild stories about working in that hell hole. Little did I know that it would be great fodder for this book years later. Is Sarah Turner based on her? Not at all. Sarah is just a character that was created for the story.

Here’s some pics I found online:

I love the scene when Christian first encounters Karl Itzky in that parking lot on that fateful rainy night!

LA stories about Celebrities: The tales Christian shares at Honest Files about his encounters with famous people in Los Angeles in the early 80’s are all mine. It’s all true, because it happened to me when I lived and worked in Santa Monica from 1982-1984.

Christian’s Family: The family Christian describes when he’s telling Jill about his life, is my life. I have 3 sisters and I just changed the names and let him describe them to her. But that’s all me.

Jill Adams: Jill is based on another girl I met at Gloucester County College back in the 90’s. We were both taking a psychology course. She was an attractive 22 year old who was engaged to be married. I developed a crush on her, and we ended up at Charlie Brown’s one night. After several drinks we closed the evening by making out in her car. (That’s were the mint game came from.) That’s all that happened that night, and I didn’t see her again. I sort of carried the torch for her for five years after that.

I was working as a manager at Commerce Bank back then and we reconnected when she called the branch. After 5 years of marriage, she was getting divorced from her husband. But, she had two young sons. I was already divorced by 2001, and we started dating. I ended up moving her and her kids into my house in Woodbury. What I didn’t know is that the real Jill had severe bi-polar disorder. If you know anything about that mental disorder, it’s only good in one room of the house, and it’s not the kitchen. Being with Jill was probably some of the best sex I’ve ever had, and I have the video to prove it.

I showered her with gifts, clothes and jewelry. I even sold my Woodbury house because she didn’t want to live in the house my ex-wife and I had bought together. Jill was crazy as a shit house rat. I paid her credit cards, bought her a GMC Yukon Denali, and had a house built in a brand new development in West Deptford, NJ. Jill was unable to hold a job and actually attempted suicide one afternoon while her sons were down for their nap.

After 3 months in the new house she started cheating on me with some scumbag she met at the local gym. Jill couldn’t hold down a job because of her mental illness, so she had a lot of free time on her hands. Idle hands…

I told her if she didn’t want to be with me she was free to go. She moved out and lived somewhere for a short period of time before moving back in with her father and his second wife. She ended up giving custody of her sons over to her ex-husband, and ran around with the scumbag guy for awhile I’m assuming.  Last I heard she had married another guy, who had two kids of his own, and I think she may have had a daughter with him. The real Jill turned out to be a terrible, selfish, wicked person. Mental illness, especially bi-polar disorder is an insidious monster.

I should write about the whole sad saga of my brief life with the real Jill, but this blog has been about my life here in Philly, not Dirty Jersey.  I may tell the story at some point but it’s a dark, shameful part of my past and I kind of want it to stay there.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of a sequel to Angel with a Broken Wing. I was thinking about calling it, Angel Rising, and having Jill in the story mirror the real Jill. Of course my man Christian would have to divorce her, or maybe I just have her killed off.

I ran the idea by my daughter. She said, kill the bitch.

Thoughts, dear readers?

 

More to come next Monday!

 

You can buy Angel with a Broken Wing right here:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

What is the Hinge dating app, and how does it work?

From Tinder and Bumble to Grindr and OkCupid, there are dating apps galore for those who want love at their fingertips. Hinge is a lesser-known app that can easily get lost in the sea of options, but it’s still worth taking note of its special approach. Who knows? Maybe Hinge is the dating app for you.

For starters, Hinge is swipe-free. Focused less on mindlessly flipping through options and more on cultivating relationships, this app isn’t intended for casual hookups. It is, as the website states, “designed to be deleted.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the Hinge app and how it works.

What is the Hinge dating app?

Most dating apps are more or less set up the same way but with minor tweaks. However, Hinge boasts a pretty unique interface. Here’s a breakdown of all its features.

Hinge

Beyond the pictures

The dating app experience is nearly synonymous with swiping—so much so that “swipe left” is now slang for finding someone unattractive. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, mechanically swiping on human beings (often solely based on their looks) can be a little dehumanizing and lonely. It certainly isn’t the most ideal way to find a partner. That’s why Hinge ditched the classic swiping mechanic in 2015 in favor of scrolling through profiles. The app encourages users to focus more on personality traits rather than just photos. Judging from the fact that Hinge got more shoutouts in the New York Times wedding section in 2017 than Tinder and Bumble, this method seems to be working.

Furthermore, Hinge collects a lot more data than, say, Tinder. It allows people to emphasize which “filters,” or traits, are most important to them (e.g., religion or height). This allows the app’s algorithm to find more personalized and suitable matches. Once per day, this algorithm will pick out your “Most Compatible” match, ideally making it a teeny bit easier for you to find your soulmate.

Beyond the screen

Hinge also tries to combat the difficulties posed by a tech-based experience. The impersonal feel of an app makes it far too easy to ghost whoever’s on the other end of the algorithm. To discourage this kind of behavior and to aid the forgetful, Hinge introduced an anti-ghosting feature. “Your Turn” reminds users to respond to messages they’ve left sitting in their inboxes. The developers also made an effort to consider life beyond the app. The “We Met” feature allows users to provide valuable feedback on actual dates they went on with their matches, which aids the algorithm for future pairings.

All in all, Hinge is for people looking for a more personal dating app experience. Here’s how to actually use the app.

fizkes/Shutterstock

Is the Hinge app free?

You can use many of the Hinge app’s features and browse profiles in your area for free. But if you want to get the most out of the app, you’ll want to consider upgrading to the Preferred Hinge membership. The higher-tier option gets you all the features of the free app, plus lets you apply filters on potential matches including “height, whether someone has children, whether someone wants children, politics, drinking, smoking, marijuana, and drug use.” The paid version also saves time by giving you unlimited likes and the option to see everyone who liked you at the same time.

Preferred Hinge membership is offered for $9.99 per month, $19.99 for three months, or $29.99 for six months.

How does the Hinge dating app work?

After setting up your basic profile and photos, you’ll be given an array of personal questions to look at. Choose three of these to answer and display on your profile—keep in mind that these are what will be drawing people in, so pick wisely!

Then, choose all the filters that match up with the type of person you’re looking for, like gender, age, ethnicity, and more. While Hinge is free for everyone, paid tiers offer more filter customization if you have a specific set of desired traits in mind. If there are some filters you’re dead set on, mark those as “dealbreakers” to ensure you come across the right profiles.

Now, it’s time to actually start searching. Go to the “discover” tab on the bottom left of your screen to check out your suggested matches. Then, peruse people’s profiles, liking and commenting on what sticks out to you. If someone doesn’t float your boat, you can choose to pass. Otherwise, you can strike up a conversation and see where that takes you.

Here’s to hoping you find your happily ever after!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

14 Memorable Fourth of July Date Ideas

Wondering how to spend your holiday this independence day? Here are 14 perfectly patriotic and fun Fourth of July date ideas to have a memorable time.

It’s that time of the year again.

For many of us, the Fourth of July is just another holiday to party hard, sleep in or lounge around at home.

But this time around, it’s time you do some something different with your loved one.

This independence day, indulge in a few activities that are fun and yet, patriotic!

14 Fourth of July date ideas

Do you remember the happy Independence Day celebrations you loved so much when you were a child?

What’s stopping you from doing that, now that you’re all grown up?

Instead of just waiting for the fireworks to light up the sky at night, go on out there and enjoy the day.

Here are 14 great ways to make your Independence Day date memorable, fun and oh-so-perfect!

#1 Raise a flag. This is something you can do first thing in the morning!

Plan ahead the earlier night and get together with all your friends or with your lover early in the day, and raise the national flag in front of your house. Sing the national anthem under the star spangled banner. Really, it’s not going to sound corny at all. In fact, it’ll help you realize just how important the day really is!

And finish the morning off by having breakfast out together in the yard, sharing stories or making plans for the rest of the day.

#2 Create a tradition. Do you have any Fourth of July traditions that you and your lover rigorously follow? If not, then this year is your best excuse to start a new tradition with your partner, whatever it may be, and make a promise to follow it every year. It’ll be a memorable and romantic way to enjoy the Independence Day every year.

And many years later, you can look back at this Fourth of July and fondly remember how the tradition started in the first place.

#3 Have lunch at a restaurant. But not just any restaurant. Pick a restaurant with a patriotic menu with little flags all around! It’ll be a lot of fun to try a few new themed dishes, and it’s a great way to show respect to this special day too.

#4 Watch patriotic movies together. If you just want to relax at home, and yet, want to experience the spirit of Independence Day, pick up a few DVDs where the theme of the movie is about fighting for independence *The Patriot is a good one*. And if you’re not into movies, just watch the live celebration shows on the TV.

#5 Cook with your lover. Bake a cake with your lover or make cupcakes. Everyone loves them, and baking the cakes and dressing them up in blues and reds can be a fun time. Or prepare a whole meal with a patriotic theme.

#6 Dress up and take photographs. Dress up in your blues, reds and white on this day. A happy relationship is built on memories, so make sure you dress up in your fancy attire and take a lot of pictures together *even if the photos are too personal to show off!* After all, what better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than by creating more memories that can last a lifetime!

#7 Visit historical museums. Plan a special outing with your partner on this day. Go to historical museums or places of historical importance if it’s a short drive away.

#8 Attend a celebration. Every city has several community activities and get-togethers to celebrate the Fourth of July. Your partner and you could go to a concert, a baseball game, or just spend the day at a picnic or by watching a parade. Go out there and have fun, after all, there’s so many things you can do in your own city.

#9 Watch a war reenactment. If you get the opportunity to watch a war reenactment around your place, don’t miss it. It’s worth watching, especially if there are a lot of people around in their celebratory best.

#10 Plan a road trip. Go on a road trip with your partner. But make sure you adorn your car by sticking a lot of little flags all around it. It’ll be a lot of fun, and even if you’re just driving around a few blocks and not down the freeway, you’re still spreading the good word.

#11 Have a barbeque. Invite all your friends over and spend the evening catching up with each other. As long as there’s an endless supply of  hot dogs and beer, everyone will have a fun time.

#12 Have a campfire. Rent a lakeside cabin or spend the evening on the beach. Light a bonfire and spend some quality time with each other, watching the stars and the fireworks brighten up the night sky.

#13 A night of fireworks. If you’ve got kids around or love lighting up the night sky, buy your own fireworks and sparklers. But if you just like watching the night sky light up, go to a fireworks show with your partner and cheer out loud!

#14 Spend time with family. There’s no better way to spend the Fourth of July than by spending quality time with the ones you love. It’s a perfect way to enjoy the Independence Day. Get together on this holiday with all your loved ones, and enjoy the day by planning the activities together or by taking off to an all day event.

Use these 14 Fourth of July date ideas and you’ll have a great time with your loved one. But remember to have fun responsibly, and most importantly, respect your flag and honor it.

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

 

4th of July Date Ideas (That Won’t Break the Bank)

Here are a bunch of fun ways to ignite some sparks of your own.

1. Plan an outdoor picnic. We know, it may sound a little clichéd, but grab an American flag blanket at a cheapie store (c’mon, show your patriotism), a bottle of wine, and some American fare to share with your guy. You can bring along a Frisbee or Nerf ball to toss around after lunch. Outdoor eating can be much more relaxed and romantic (not to mention more affordable) than your typical dinner and drinks.

2. Hit up a rooftop bar with your guy. You’ll get to enjoy cocktails in the breezy summer weather, and you might even be able to spot a nearby fireworks show — minus the crowds and mobs of children.

3. Go on a romantic “getaway.” Almost every town has its appeal on the 4th, so head to your local tourist hot spot. Breaking your usual routine and taking advantage of what your town or city has to offer will make you feel like you’re on a mini vacation. Plus, experiencing new activities with your guy is exciting.

4. Bake a 4th of July cake. Don’t go all Betty Crocker on your guy, but baking a festive cake with him can be a flirty, fun way to get some one-on-one time. Top the cake with whipped cream, blueberries, and strawberries. Hint: If you happen to buy too much whipped cream, you can always find, um, other uses for it.

5. Head to an outdoor concert. A lot of cities host 4th of July concert and firework shows (what’s not to like about two-for-one dates?). Check out your local paper to see what’s going on nearby. Don’t feel like springing for tickets? You can usually mingle your way close enough to the concert stage, but outside the seat parameter, to listen to the live music for free.

6. Host a BBQ. We all know guys like to barbecue, so let your man be manly as he grills up the hamburgers and ribs. A casual cookout can be a great way to break the ice and introduce him to your family or friends. Don’t forget the festive cocktails!

7. Do something historic. Google your town or city to find out what local American memorials or museums you can visit. You’ll both learn a bit about the past and get a renewed appreciation for your heritage.

8. Get wet. When we think of July we think beaches and bikinis. If you don’t live near a beach, find a friend with a pool or buy a day pass to a public pool. Upload summer tunes to your iPod and have your guy rub you down with sunscreen and cocoa butter. You two can even sport those corny American flag bathing suits if you feel so inclined.

9. Have a movie night. If you’re far away from the beach and fireworks, invite your guy over for a movie night, 4th of July style. Pick out a few festive flicks and cozy up in front of the TV. Some suggestions: Born on the Fourth of July, Independence Day, and The Patriot.

10. Bond over a bonfire. You could always forgo the fireworks and curl up around a campfire with him. Bring along sparklers to get into the spirit.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING: Inspiration and Behind the Scenes – Part 1

The truth behind the story!

This is a 4 part mini series I wrote over the weekend as a companion to my recently published book. It will run over the next 4 weeks, every Monday morning at 8am!

Thank you!

Angel with a Broken Wing is my first work of fiction. It’s got all of my favorite elements in it. But where do these ideas come from? Well, I’m going to tell you.

I’m going to think back and try to remember some of the inspiration for this story.

I am obviously Christian Blackmore. Not anymore, but I was back in the 90’s. I was miserable in my marriage and my job, and I wished  I could just run away from the life I had created. I assembled his name from the word, Christian. Thinking he was a good Christian. He was a good man despite his shortcomings. Blackmore comes from the darkness that lies within him. More Blackness. (As a musician, I always liked the name of Deep Purple and Rainbow founder, Ritchie Blackmore, so there’s also that.)

The Cover: I was an art major all through school. When I think about that now, it feels like a million miles away. I liked comic books growing up, and my first exposure to art was in comics. I always made art throughout my childhood, so art class was a natural progression for me in school. It was the only class that was effortless.

I loved to work in pen and ink. I liked its stark simplicity. I have several works from high school that I still retain in my collection. This one, The Angel is my favorite.

It was an incredibly cold day in February of 1980. I was in my double period, art major class. There were only two of us in the class that were any good. Me and Bill Polini.

I looked out the window as the snow came flying. I took pen in hand, and imagined a beautiful girl. In a warm place. She’s with me. We’re maybe riding horses…or camels. She turns to look at me, and the reflection of the oasis behind me reflects in her sunglasses. I long to kiss her.

“Yea. I should try to draw that.”

Uncle John: I had an uncle John on my mother’s side of the family. I share many of the same characteristics of my mom’s side of the family more than my dad. My mother had four brothers; Roland, Robert, Norman, and John. All of her brothers kept their hair and all died in their late 70’s and 80’s so maybe if my liver holds up, I’ll meet the same fate. John never left me any inheritance, but my uncle Rob left all of us kids some loot and it was substantial. He lived in Florida.

The Pinto: My grandmother, (My dad’s mom) We called her Grammy. I loved her. When everybody thought I was a piece of garbage in my early teens, she was the only one that had faith in me. So She will always have a special place in my heart. She was a cool lady, who liked a cold glass of beer and some good neighborhood gossip. Just an adorable lady. When she died, the last car she owned was a gold Ford Pinto. That car is my last memory of her. So I used it in the story. The car’s fate is based on stories I heard back in the 70’s about an engineering flaw in the vehicle.

Woodbury, New Jersey: I lived in Woodbury from 1992 to 2001. My wife and I owned a house on Barber Street. I modeled Christian Blackmore’s residence after my own house there. So when I wrote about him in his house in Woodbury, I could picture my own life there.

The Phoenix: I remember first hearing about the story of the Phoenix on an old record album. It was a collection of stories about superheroes. It was like an old radio show type collection of plays on one LP. I remember hearing about the Phoenix in one of those stories, probably back as far as 1973. When one of the characters describes the Phoenix, it is a verbatim rendition of what I heard on that record, nearly 50 years ago. I always felt like I could relate to the Phoenix in my own life. I always felt that no matter how many times I got destroyed in my life, I always came back better than what I was before. I think that’s why I have the characters make a stop over in Phoenix, Arizona on their journey to LA. There are some transforming moments for a few of them in that chapter.

Gloucester County College: When I was married back in the 90’s my then wife came from a very collegiate family. I never went to college, but had several college credits from the American Institute of Banking through courses I had taken through the bank I worked for. My wife thought I should go back to college at night and take courses to get my college degree. So I did. I took those classes at night after work, at Gloucester County Community College. I don’t feel that it was a waste of time, because it led to some interesting things. I’ll be getting to them shortly.

The Gun: Everything you read in Angel about the Bulldog .44 revolver is true. I never owned a gun, and like Christian Blackmore, I hate guns. But all of the info about that weapon is from real events. The story Christian tells Sheryl about the girl at the shore is all true. That happened to me in the summer of 1977. Funny thing is, I recently reconnected with that girl from New York on Facebook. (At 57, she’s still hot!) Oh, one last thing, I had to make a slight change in the action sequence involving that gun. During the final edits of the book I discovered that the bulldog .44 only holds 5, not 6 bullets like most revolvers! I guess because those bullets are so big!

Sheryl Stanton: Sheryl was inspired by a girl I met in one of the banking courses I took at Gloucester County College. I pretty much describe Sheryl as how this girl was in real life. We had a good friendship for a brief period and even had some romantic dalliances. She did break it off with me when she moved to California for a period of time. The real Sheryl never worked in a mental health facility. That’s completely made up for the story.

Karl Itzky: The first kid I met when I went to Frankford High School in 1978, was a guy named Karl Itzky. He was the only person I knew other than my older sister. I just liked his name. He is nothing like the Karl Itzky in the book. He was a nice guy, who I sadly lost touch with when I moved up the social ladder in high school.

Honest Files: The name of the bar/restaurant where Christian and Sheryl hang out is taken from a song by the band, Urge Overkill. There are many references in the book about music I was listening to back in the 90’s where this story takes place. It’s from their album, Exit the Dragon. Here are some of the lyrics from the song:

Hey, hey I’m dead on arrival
Hey, hey I’m distant
Crawling right back
Yes, I’m crawling right back
‘Cause I’m honesty, don’t break my heart
Honesty won’t break it
Honesty won’t break you heart
Honest it won’t
It won’t, it won’t, it won’t, it won’t, it won’t…

I thought it was a cool song, and that bar is where I hung out with the real Sheryl back then. It’s where we would spill our guts to each other about everything in our lives. I used to say we were opening the ‘Honesty Files’ about what we were experiencing at that time.

The real place is exactly the way I describe it in the book. The animal trophies on the walls, all of the real bookcases all around the room, and the fireplace. We spent many a night there pounding martinis and smoking tons of cigarettes. (Yea, you could smoke in restaurants and bars back then!) It was a welcome repose from our chaotic lives.

Exterior - Picture of Charlie Brown's Steakhouse, Woodbury ...

Here’s the real Honesty Files… It’s a place called Charlie Brown’s at 111 Broad Street, in Woodbury, NJ

 

More next week!

 

You can buy Angel with a Broken Wing on kindle and paperback right here:

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Tales of Rock: The Most Metal Album Led Zeppelin Recorded

When you look for the origins of heavy metal music, you’ll always find Led Zeppelin as part of the conversation. For all the sweet acoustic ballads and experimentation the band did over the years, the constant on every album was music that got heavy and very loud.

Just ask Geezer Butler, the bass player of metal pioneer Black Sabbath. “Zeppelin paved the way for us,” Butler said. “They were the heaviest thing, up until we came along. They very much started the genre.”

On Zeppelin’s first album, you got several different types of heavy. On “Dazed and Confused,” it was the ominous type that became so popular later. Then there was “Communication Breakdown,” which looked ahead to both metal and punk thrashing.

Led Zeppelin II got even heavier, and the band never shied away from the thunder on subsequent albums. But with Presence, the record that featured almost none of the keyboards and acoustic stylings of the other albums, Zeppelin had its most metal moment.

‘Presence’ contained the metal assault of ‘Achilles Last Stand’ and ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine.’

Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page perform live onstage in 1972. | Robert Knight Archive/Redferns

You don’t find tunes like “That’s the Way” or even “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” on Presence. In fact, you don’t find John Paul Jones on keyboard at all. Jimmy Page, who wrote the majority of the album’s material with Robert Plant, mostly kept his acoustic guitars in their cases, too.

By this point in the band’s life (late 1975), Led Zeppelin had already delivered masterpieces like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir.” They’d also closed the book on heavy blues interpretations with “In My time of Dying.”

With “Achilles Last Stand,” you got what the title promised: a seasoned warrior not leaving the battlefield before thrashing almost everyone in sight. It was a full metal attack.

Between Jones’s heavy bass, Page’s crushing riff, and the thunder of John Bonham’s drums, there was no mistaking “Achilles” for anything short of metal. Plant’s vocals are the only thing you could describe as subdued here, and by the end he too gets loud.

Then there was the unbridled assault of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” On this tune, Plant joins the party in style with full-throated wailing and a sinister harmonica part. Bonham’s vicious drumming on these tunes heavily influenced drummers like Metallica’s Lars Ulrich (see: “One”).

The first record from ‘Physical Graffiti’ is also among Zeppelin’s heaviest offerings.

Led Zeppelin appears at the West Coast premiere for their concert film ‘The Song Remains the Same,’ Hollywood, October 21, 1976. | Frank Edwards/Fotos international/Getty Images

Led Zeppelin didn’t go all-metal for a reason: They considered their music far bigger than that. They never wanted to thought of as one-dimensional. You get a good look at the band’s philosophy on Physical Graffiti, the group’s only double album.

Five of the six tracks go straight at the listener, with Page and Bonham going in for the kill on every song. The exception is “Houses of the Holy,” which obviously came from sessions for the previous album. Had you replaced that “The Wanton Song,” it would be as heavy as Zep ever got.

Of course, the second disc from Physical Graffiti dulled the blow considerably with its acoustic tunes and “Boogie With Stu.” That was the point. And even with monster rockers like “Custard Pie,” the funkiness of Bonham’s drumming stands out.

Put it this way: Led Zeppelin went metal on several occasions (especially on Presence), and metal never got that good again.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly