Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Anniversary Week—Part III

December 17th was the one-year anniversary when Jack Flacco: The Official Site went live. In celebration of this milestone, I will present the Top 5 Most Popular Freedom Friday posts of 2013.

But before anything else, allow me the gift of your attention to thank you for supporting me during 2013. This certainly has been a year of surprises, for sure. For instance, if you’re curious as to how many views and visitors I had this year, you can read this week’s Monday Mayhem post for site statistics. Also, in keeping with my wanting to express gratitude, I wouldn’t have thought my book would have been the success it is today without the help of my review team and all those who paid me kind words after its release. Thank you so very much, folks!

Onward. When choosing the Top 5 Most Popular Freedom Friday posts, I first wanted to present them based on amount of views. The more I thought of it though, more it didn’t make sense. For instance, a visitor may pop into the site and hit the same post several times within the day. I didn’t think it fair, considering there could have only been two visitors for that day and a hundred views.

Next, I thought I’d use comments as the benchmark. You know, the more comments a post has, the more popular it is. Again, I didn’t think it represented a good way to measure popularity given I can comment on my own post a dozen times and push it ahead on the popularity scale.

No, what I used is the number of “likes” a post has garnered throughout the year. It will not only present a fair representation of popularity for a post but also prevents users from gaming the system with multiple “likes”.

Okay, now for the list. You’ll notice that for third place we have a tie. Other than that, it’s straightforward. Are you ready? Here it is.

The Top 5 Most Popular Freedom Friday posts of 2013:

  1. Canada's Wonderland Water Fountains
    Canada’s Wonderland Water Fountains

    My Favorite Things“For a long time, photography has inspired me to travel great distances, survive sour weather and mangle my body into weird positions all in the expectation of capturing that perfect shot. Today, I hope you enjoy this edition of Freedom Friday because today, I’d like to give you a tour of my favorite subjects. As…” ~86 likes

  2. Dinosaur Paws
    Dinosaur Paws

    Royal Ontario Museum“During this year’s spring break, my family and I skipped the idea of going to the Ontario Science Centre and decided to hit the Royal Ontario Museum instead. It was a cold and dark morning, raining to no end, and we thought it great if we could be in among history. Besides, I wanted to…” ~79 likes

  3. A path to the foot of the woods
    A path to the foot of the woods

    Autumn Photography“Every autumn I go on safari. Not really. I treat it as a safari, though. I pack my camera in my satchel, slip on a warm jacket, and head for the woods. What am I hunting, you may ask? Trees, leaves, nature—anything really to depict this glorious season we call fall. And that’s my Freedom…” ~77 likes

    Niagara Falls
    Niagara Falls

    Niagara Falls“Recently, my family and I took a trip to Port Colborne, a small town west of Fort Erie, half-an-hour away from Niagara Falls. Due to the nature of the trip, it was only for a couple of days, we traveled most of the time in and out of the car, and in and out of…” ~77 likes

  4. Thunder and Lightning Storm
    Thunder and Lightning Storm

    My Dark Secret“I have a secret. A very deep and dark secret. It’s the kind of secret that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Yet throughout the past year, holding my tongue, I never thought it possible I could ever admit to having this secret. This is my Freedom Friday…” ~71 likes

  5. Avocado & Lemon
    Avocado & Lemon

    Avocados“Did you know avocados are a fruit? I didn’t know that for a long time. Much like tomatoes, they have a seed inside. According to science, that’s what makes it a fruit. In cooking, however, it’s a different matter. Served in delicious savory meals, chefs define it more as a vegetable. Avocados also provide an…” ~69 likes

That’s it! Thanks for a great first year here at JackFlacco.com. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be back next week with more posts for your reading pleasure. Have a great weekend!

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Do you have a favorite Freedom Friday post you’d recommend to your friends?

Posted in Freedom Friday

A Bad Haircut’s Like…

For those who don’t know, I cut my own hair. You can read my entire journey to hair follicle grooming in my post My Dark Secret. Suffice it to say I’ve had mishaps but none so challenging as last week’s clipper misfire. You can stop holding your breath. This Freedom Friday post will not have pictures of the dastardly deed.

Burnt Toast
Burnt Toast

How did it happen? In all honesty, I had good intentions. Cutting my hair for over a year, I guess I became too cocky. I only wanted to trim the top. Allow me to rephrase—I ONLY WANTED TO TRIM THE TOP!!!!!!!

That’s as much information as you’re going to get from me regarding this educational melee of sorts. The best way to describe the feeling I felt, when it dawned on me that I’d made a mess of things, is to compare the incident with others I’d experienced.

What you are about to read below is true. I did not embellish it in any way, and I certainly did not make any of this up. Each episode is my own and mine alone.

A Bad Haircut’s Like…

  • …smashing your thumb with a ball-peen hammer while attempting to hang that picture of the wonderful vacation you had last summer, and realizing you had dropped said hammer on the beautiful hardwood floor creating a dent you will never forgive yourself making.
  • …turning on the computer to the sound of whirring and sparking then smelling smoke as it fills the whole room, and knowing something’s not right since the splash screen is nowhere on the monitor.
  • Raccoon (Photo by: Cliff Nietvelt Photography)
    Raccoon (Photo by: Cliff Nietvelt Photography)

    …seeing your nine-year-old son open the shed door to freeze in his tracks, watching the color drain from his face, and knowing there’s something terribly wrong when he closes the door ever so slowly but then tells us we have raccoons living in our shed.

  • …meeting someone at a party with tousled, matted hair thinking they had just woken up and gotten out of bed without practicing proper hygiene, and realizing that’s as good as they will get because that’s how they look all the time.
  • …driving on the highway late at night with no cell phone and the car stalls forcing you to steer to the curb, walk to the nearest service station, call for a tow, and wonder if they’d yet caught that serial killer preying on the homeless.
  • …standing in conversation with someone going on about how their impacted molars collect food particles causing inflammation and swelling, all the while you’re trying to swallow your delightfully tasting hors d’oeuvres.
  • …following the instructions on the GPS when prompted with a twenty-minute timesavings option then realizing halfway you’re in the middle of redneck country with no form of communication for miles.

I have a lot more, yet that would take days to unravel and I don’t have days to entertain y’all with my silly stories of mayhem with haircutting clippers.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Do you cut your own hair? Have you ever made a haircutting mistake that’s taken you days to fix? What other experiences can you think of that would compare with my haircutting nightmare?

Posted in Freedom Friday

My Dark Secret

I have a secret. A very deep and dark secret. It’s the kind of secret that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Yet throughout the past year, holding my tongue, I never thought it possible I could ever admit to having this secret. This is my Freedom Friday series, and this is my secret.

Thunder and Lightning Storm
Thunder and Lightning Storm

What is it? Well, I could tell you it’s something simple. It’s not. It’s something life altering. Something that goes against nature. Something really, really bad. How else can I describe that which can cause grief and frustration to everyone around? There’s no other way to say it than to say it openly without reservation.

I cut my own hair.

There, I said it. I know. It is bad. Last summer I decided to put away childish things so as I may concentrate on the things grown-ups do. It took some convincing but I did it. I took the plunge and cut my own hair for the very first time.

Cutting hair is up there with food preparation and construction. If you know how to cut hair, you’re good for life. That’s exactly what I was thinking too. I’ve wanted to learn how to cut my hair for a long, long time. I don’t know what held me back. How can I describe the feeling?

It’s awesome! Yeah, that’s how I can describe it.

How did I finally learn to do the deed? I’ll tell ya. One of my good friends told me one day he cut his own hair. It came as no surprise because whenever I saw him, he stood before me an immaculate individual, well groomed and clean cut. It wasn’t until I delved further into his hair wizardry that he confessed his evil, little secret to me. He said it didn’t take that much time to do and it saves him money.

I thought, here’s a guy who learned on his own how to cut his own hair. It fascinated me. I’ve always wanted to do that. He went on to explain how he accomplished the whole process. I listened intently and took notes. This is what I learned.

WAHL Clippers
WAHL Clippers

I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world but in Canada, we have this retail outlet called Canadian Tire. I purchased a set of hair clippers (WAHL 23-piece haircut kit) there for $30. It comes with clippers, guide combs, scissors and a styling guide.

The first time I used it, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had to go to YouTube for a few instructional videos just to remove the initial fear of putting blade to hair. They were helpful and made life easier for a novice in disarray. I learned how to clip in levels, blend, trim, and spruce up the sideburns. I also learned how to cut my hair without getting any of the hair on my body—to cut my hair naked. Yup, buck naked. It’s the only way to have a clean familiarity with clippers.

Since cutting my hair, here are a few things I’ve gained.

  • I’ve made mistakes—bad ones. But I read somewhere the difference between a good haircut and bad haircut is three days. No matter how bad I goofed, it’ll take three days to fix itself up.
  • I’ve saved oodles of time by doing my own hair. My first haircut took me an hour-and-half. Crazy, huh? Nowadays, it takes me twenty minutes, tops. I don’t have to wait in line for a free barber. I don’t have to rely on anyone. I can do it whenever I want. Even midnight on a Sunday night…if I want.
  • I figured I’ve saved $160 so far on myself only. When I subtract the cost of the clippers, I’m $130 richer. That’s enough money to go out to eat at one of these fancy schmancy restaurants. Oh, and that doesn’t include the cost of cutting the kids’ hair. If I added them, we’re talking about big, big bucks.
  • My confidence level has skyrocketed. Hey, no telling what I’m capable of now that I know how to cut my own hair.

Do you cut your own hair? What do you use? Is it something you’ve wanted to do your whole life? If you don’t cut your own hair, have you ever wanted to?