Category: Uncategorized

Common Sense Traffic Rules for Which I Will Attempt to Gain Bipartisan Support

Here are the traffic rules I will enact if and when the good people of the 1st Congressional district of Colorado elect me as their representative:

  1. Just wave. When you find yourself needing the help of your fellow man in traffic, to let you into a lane or out of a parking lot, and and said fellow man does indeed let you in, for the love of God, do the decent thing and give him or her a polite wave before being on your way. This driver was not required to let you in, and yet he/she deliberately halted his/her own progress just to let you in front of him/her, in order to fix an unfavorable situation that was almost certainly caused by your own stupidity in the first place. The least you can do is throw up a kind hand in the universally accepted automotive sign for “thank you.”
    Those who refuse to wave are not only outing themselves as horse’s asses, but damaging the public good, as well. When I let someone in in traffic and they do not wave, I am rightfully infuriated, but unfortunately there’s no recourse against the offending party; indeed, I’ve already let them in, so the chance to get back at them for the slight is unlikely to arise. Instead, it makes me want to let motorists in less in the future. Thus, the asshat is worsening the traffic climate for his fellow man.
  2. Turn signal: use it. It’s there for a reason. No, you’re not above it. Just use it and stop making the rest of us guess.
  3. Zipper merge. It’s a real thing, look it up. Turns out those dudes who wait until the last second actually aren’t being buttholes.
  4. Go. My God, could you just freaking go? I mean, seriously. Move. What is taking so long? What. Just go. Moron. Go. Goooooooooooooooo.


If the words “I’m sorry” are followed by the word “if,” it is not a real apology.

As the saying goes, a good apology has three parts:

  1. I’m sorry.
  2. It’s my fault.
  3. What can I do to make it right?

Only the ego causes us to stray from this formula.

Heading North

grandpa-webThere’s something about a solo road trip that’s always been vaguely adventurous to me. Even if you know the route—even if you’ve already done it dozens of times before—each time you hit the road, it seems like you’re exploring it all over again. Just you and the car and the highway, and some coffee and a big bag of beef jerky. A destination; a goal. A reliance on no one else to get there. Just yourself. An isolation from the outside world, for twelve or sixteen or twenty hours inside that car. Something out of the ordinary.

I’ve always liked road trips. I do one at least once a year, from Colorado to Minnesota, always getting up early, hours before sunrise, to hit the road and watch the first light break across the Nebraska plains. Thirteen hours through farm country—Nebraska (lengthwise), Iowa, southern Minnesota—doesn’t sound appealing, but I love it. It’s the heartland, the calloused palm of our country, and it’s where I’m from. It’s the places you’ll never see if you don’t go past them, because you’ll never travel there intentionally. It’s windmills and rolling green hills and hog farms. It’s America. The real America.

Last Thursday morning I got the call I’d been expecting. Grandpa died, it’s time to come home.

Free Shit


I’m just ducking in here quick to mention I’m doing a Goodreads giveaway for 2 signed copies of The Call of the Mountain. These are actual, real, paper, books. What a concept! It runs for 10 days or so and is free to enter. You can do so here:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Call of the Mountain by Sam Neumann

The Call of the Mountain

by Sam Neumann

Giveaway ends February 08, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

I’ll have more updates coming in a week or two. Until then, hug an otter and stay the course.


Pay What You Want (Or Nothing)

As I methodically put together the second annual Otter Lodge Year in Review, I want to take a moment to direct the American public to this cool site The Call of the Mountain is on now. If you’re unfamiliar with NoiseTrade, it’s a place where folks can download books, audiobooks, and music for free, and then theoretically be guilted into leaving a tip. I love this concept, because you can basically try the product out risk-free, and then pay the creator at the end if it was worth your while, or don’t if it sucked..

Take advantage. Download the book and pay me whatever you want. $5. $1. Hell, $0 – really stick it to me. The world if yours. If nothing else, go check out the other books on NoiseTrade. There’s a shitload of cool stuff on there, and reading’s good for you.

Support My Work!

It happens all the time. Someone posts a thing they made online – product, information, service, or otherwise – and says something to the effect of “click here to buy this and SUPPORT MY WORK!”

Am I the only one who cringes at this?

Here’s the deal: I’m in no way above online panhandling. I write books and run a business, and thus it’s often necessary to hawk my shit publicly. “Here, I made this thing. Click here to buy it.” This is very different, however, from, “Here, I made this thing. Click here to buy it to support my work.”

If you’re a person that makes things and sells them, no matter what those things are, people “supporting your work,” should not be the goal. It’s basically a form of charity; “oh, this person I know of made this thing, good for them. They must’ve worked hard. I’ll buy it and support them.” It’s a nice thing to do – and undoubtedly people have bought my shit for these reasons before (thanks mom!) – but it’s not the goal.

The goal is to create things that add value to people’s lives.

Something they need, something they want. Something they buy because something’s in it for them. Demand, it’s a simple concept. That’s what we’re trying to do. Not make things that people only buy because they’re “supporting” you, but make things that people buy because they want to buy them.

And of course, we all know this. That’s what we’re all trying to do. But when you ask someone to support your work, you’re basically telling them that it’s not good enough to stand on its own merits. This is a timid and spineless way to live. Not “buy this to support me,” but, “buy this because it kicks mondo ass and you don’t want to live without it.” That’s the point. If you made a good thing, stand tall and be confident it is a good thing. Don’t be a dick, but be proud of it.


(I used to see people sign off corporate emails like this all the time. I never got it. “S?” It takes a fraction of a second to write the full name. “Sam.” There. That wasn’t hard. Even long names – “Barnabas” – take maybe a second more than just “B.” You can’t be that busy. If you are, I want the whole email in one-letter abbreviations. It would be fun to decipher. Anyway, that’s all. -S)