Sunday, August 23, 2015

InfoBarrel Author of the Week: RoseWrites (Interview by Vic Dillinger)

Vic Dillinger Presents: My Interview of RoseWrites

(copyright 2015)

So, occasionally we meet up with people on the danged ol’ internet and, while most of them are wastes of protoplasm, there are many who stand out as sincere, entertaining, interesting, quirky, or tenacious.

Wulp, I’m here to tell youse that Rose Webster (not to be confused with that other Webster) is one woman with some seriously BIG, brass ovaries.

Emmanuel Lewis (aka "Webster") Copyright CBS, Fair Use application of promo  image, cropping and other adulteration by Vic Dillinger
"Webster" (Emmanuel Lewis). © by CBS television, Fair Use application of promo image, cropping and other adulteration by Vic Dillinger

She's chosen to do battle with HubPages (one of the larger "content" sites, though what passes for content there can be laughable) after the sale of Squidoo and its content to HubPages. Her Squidoo material, as well as that of many other "squids", was involuntarily moved from the defunct Squidoo to HubPages. While trying to regain control over her moved articles she started a battle with HubPages.

In the meantime HP earns money from hers (and others’) material that they did not necessarily want moved to HP.  She continues to fight the good fight over hers (and others’) intellectual property rights re: the HubPages thing, having filed complaints with the IC3, Consumer Affairs, and the Federal Trade Commission (even though she’s a Canuck living in Ontario).

And beyond that, she’s quite the pinup gal for the interweb.

Rose Webster (Facebook); Elvgren pinup, c. mid 1940s  (fair use); composite, photomanipulation, lettering by Vic Dillinger (2015)
"Interweb Pin-Up Gal" . Images: Rose Webster (Facebook) ; Elvgren pinup, c. mid 1940s (fair use); composite, photomanipulation, lettering by Vic Dillinger (2015)

In keeping with her format of these IB peeps’ interviews I guess I’ll play along and say: “Without further ado here’s my interview with the lovely Rosalita.”  [She lets me call her “Rosalita”; we’re tight like that, yo!] 

David Copperfield Kind of Stuff

Over the past few years I’ve learned a few things about you.  For example, I know your cup size and the fact that you have produced at least one offspring (of the female humanoid variety). You have a relative who cannot handle gluten in foods; thus, you’ve written many things about gluten-free comestibles to help those with genuine gluten allergies (not those New Agey jackholes and hipsters who simply think “gluten free” is a hot trend, rendering their smugness even more intolerable). I also know you love the little woodland critters.

So take a moment and tell us more about yourself.

Q: Are you a true Canuck born and raised or are you a transplant?

A: Born and raised in Canada.

Q: You seem to be smarter than the average bear—what’s your educational background (and if you say “The School of Hard Knocks” I’m gonna deck ya!)

A: In high school, despite a troubled home life, I managed to remain on the honour roll (with an overall 87 percent average). From the age of 16 until I finished college, I also worked part-time as a server/bartender in restaurants. I studied piano and music theory since childhood. I also left my parents’ home as a teen and have been paying my own way in life since I was 16.

I applied to the orthotic/prosthetic program at George Brown College (Toronto, Canada) but was placed on a waiting list. I was, however, accepted into the nursing program at St. Clair College (in small-town Chatham). So, I studied nursing and achieved a 4.0 GPA which enabled me to snag a coupla government grants.

When I was finally accepted into the orthotic/prosthetic program, I qualified for some course exemptions and was able to tutor students through the college (which helped pay the rent). I also worked part-time in a restaurant. The cost of living in Toronto was triple what it was in Chatham.

After graduation (only 11 of us out of 25 graduated), I attempted to run my own business. But I looked “too young” and often people wanted to know if my father (or some technical guy) was helping me make these devices. [At the time, only 4% of graduates were female.]

A lack of job offers led me to pursue ophthalmology, and I studied and obtained JCAHPO certification. [Whatever the hell that is! =Vic] I had the pleasure of meeting and working for some world renowned ophthalmologists. After I had my daughter and lost my job I was offered about half my former salary for jobs that were in excess of 60 hours a week.

So, I decided to pursue writing so I could be with my daughter; I even breastfed my baby for a few years, actually. The money is not as good [Breastfeeding pays? =Vic], but everyone is healthier and happier.
Q: Name two things aboot Canada you love (other than their national health care system and their pretty money).

A: Overall, I find Canadians to be more accepting of people that are “different” or “challenged” [Jerry’s Kids? =Vic] in some way. And Canadians do seem to have a better sense of humour. We will carry on with a joke for as long as we can. [No doubt—Canada’s biggest joke is Justin Bieber and that’s gone on a REALLY long time!! You can stop now! =Vic]

Cartoon Map of Canada (How Most People See Canada) by RoseWrites 2015

"How Most People See Canada" by Rose Webster (aka RoseWrites) / All rights reserved

Q: Now gimme two things aboot Canada you hate (I personally don’t get their excessive, and seemingly morbid, love of donuts as a fast-food item).

A: We still have plenty of sexism, pay inequities, and adult bullying in Canada. And, I'm annoyed at the lack of involvement by onlookers. I find Americans (in general) to be more willing to fight for their rights. Guess I gave you three things. [Yeah, we’ll fight for OUR rights as individuals but if we see someone else’s getting trampled, like gay people who just now got the right to marry here, we’ll generally look the other way.=Vic]

As for the donut thing, I think the coffee shop tradition (or addiction) is more of a social one. In Ireland it's the pub; here it's the coffee shop. [Here, it’s the crack house! =Vic]

Writin’ & Cipherin’

That’s enough about you. Let’s talk about me now. [I'd love to Vic.] Just kidding.

Let’s talk about writing some, shall we?

Q:  How did you get into writing?

A: I didn’t actively pursue writing at all. In high school (and even grade school) my teachers praised my work. My fifth grade teacher even said she thought I would become a writer. In college, I won an award for English studies (which surprised me). It was mainly for an in-depth research paper; my prof told me it was good enough for publication. So, I submitted to a Physiotherapy journal. Oh, and the college award consisted of a certificate and a “wine and cheese party” with the English department staff—which I think was the main reason for the ceremony. [Wine, I know you love wine. You know I love cheese, at least the Gub’ment Cheese variety.=Vic]

The reason I might be okay at writing is this: I feel as if I am the most misunderstood person on the planet. And, I've always been in jobs where someone says to me: “Can you show so-and-so how to do that?”  Or I’ve had to explain things to morons, many morons. After awhile (to save my own sanity), I became good at writing succinct instructions.

But as serious as my occupations have been, I've always wanted to make people laugh. I enjoy one-on-one interactions with people (not crowds). For some reason, though, I'm always being pushed into leadership roles (even though I never pursue them).

Q: Are you as voracious a reader as you are prolific in your wordsmithing? If so, whatcha like to read (and if you say Fifty Shades of Grey I’m gonna deck ya!)

A: I read research studies the most. I get notices about CME (Continuing Medical Education) seminars all the time. But I also read a great deal about endangered species and the environment. My father was an environmental engineer and worked most of his life for the Ministry of Natural Resources, so that is probably where it stems from. He loved his job.

As for my love of animals, well, I owe them. The love of a pet has sustained me throughout some of the lowest points in my life. And I find wild animals incredibly resilient and inspiring. Not only are they crucial to our ecosystems, but they are critical for our survival.

For example, I just wrote a piece on Paw Mane Fin (one of the magazines the InfoBarrel owners put out) about the drastic decline in monarch butterfly populations. The thing is, these butterflies (along with other pollinators, like the honey bee) are the reason we have fruits, nuts, and vegetables to eat.

We are all interconnected—every living species. And I'm thoroughly convinced that humans have wrought the most havoc with our Earth (and with each other). It’s sad that we haven’t evolved more (socially and emotionally).

Q: Other than me (nyuk-nyuk!) who’s your favorite author (in the real world, not online) and why?

A: Gary Zukav, Eckhart Tolle, and (more recently) Osho (Shree Rajneesh). All three have helped me delve deeper and examine how I interact with the world (and others). They've shown me a way to deal with crushing challenges and helped to heal my soul. I live far more fearlessly (and fully) than I ever have before.

Q: Howdja get hooked on web writing?

A: Hmm, I don’t know how or when I became hooked, but I like the immediacy of having an online presence. [I kinda like that, too, a sense of being in the here-and-now daily. =Vic] It keeps me feeling connected to fascinating people (like you Vic) that I would never have met otherwise.

I've also had "beginner’s luck" since I’ve asked some fairly prestigious people to help me (e.g., world renowned psychology expert, Dr. Robert Hare;  Soraida Salwala; Arturo Vittori; and Scott Faulconbridge, among others) with my pieces—and for some reason they said “yes”. But also on that list is you, Vic.

Q: So considering you were on other sites (the late, and not-lamented Squidoo, for example), what made you meander your way over to InfoBarrel (tell the peeps—was it by accident or was it because of Introspective or mommy3—I don’t recall)?

A: It was DebW07 (Introspective) who recommended InfoBarrel. I trusted her and found her articles on Squidoo to be top-notch. After reading some pieces (including yours), I knew I had finally found a high-quality writing platform.

Cat Kady on Rose Webster (aka RoseWrites) lap | Boobs drawn using Pixlr
Kady on my lap | Boobs drawn on with Pixlr by RoseWrites
Up Close & Personal

Okay, back to your private life.

When you first became a brothel madam did you know it was the right career path for you? [Jest yankin’ yer lariat there, little darlin’!  =Vic]

A: Nah, I had no idea that writing would be one of my career paths. I actually tried to avoid any job that involved computers.

Vic cont'd: Seriously, you generally put yourself out there, and this site’s Free the Nipple piece you did is no exception to (literally) how often you expose yourself.

So, here’s some more stuff to get your gentle readers knowing you better.

Q: Other than roller-skating pole dancer what other kind of jobs have you had? Best job? Worst?

A: As mentioned, I worked in restaurants and tutored college students (anatomy and physiology) during my education. I worked in a sports medicine clinic, in a rehab facility, in refractive eye surgery clinics, and in four Ontario hospitals as an ophthalmic assistant/technician.

Worst job: I tried telemarketing as a teen and I lasted two days.

Best job? What I do now.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

A: When I was in college, I decided to take a fun (and cheap) bus trip to Florida for spring break. Partway through the trip, the weather became treacherous. We were travelling along US Interstate 75 South and in the midst of The Storm of the Century.

I was one of the oldest “kids” on the bus and a non-drinker (since I was studying for exams during transit).  When a state of emergency was called, we were stuck in traffic beside the Cumberland Mountains. It was a narrow stretch, and we only moved about a mile in eight hours.

There were kids on the bus that were becoming dehydrated (from drinking booze) and those who were crying quietly when reports of a possible avalanche were issued. I prayed if that happened, my skull would be instantly crushed so I wouldn’t suffer in pain for long.

Finally, I overheard the bus driver tell the tour guide there was a rest station “a mile ahead” (that had vending machines). Since traffic was barely moving, we stretched our legs outside every few hours. At this point, I emptied my backpack and headed towards that rest station with all the quarters I could muster.

It took me an hour to get there: the snow was thigh-deep. I plunked in quarters and soon discovered that most of the pop was gone except for grape soda. When I ran out of quarters, I pounded on the machine with all my strength. And—boom!—fourteen more cans were dispensed.

I felt as if I’d won the jackpot.

I brought some 20-odd cans back on the bus and distributed them. I told everyone that we need to keep our fluids (not alcohol) up. Later, the kids thanked me. One even said, "You were the only one who really cared about us."

Base image: promo shot from the movie Nanook of the North (1922)  [public domain]; free use clip art; composite, lettering by Vic Dillinger (2015)
"Soda Saves!" . Base image: promo shot from the movie Nanook of the North (1922) [public domain]; free use clip art; composite, lettering by Vic Dillinger (2015)

This is something I am proud of.

Once we arrived in Florida, one of the kids had to be hospitalized for dehydration and promptly flown back to Toronto, though. [Wuss can’t hold his liquor. What’s a little dehydration in the subtropical climate of Florida?  Sheesh!  =Vic]

Q: Besides cyber-stalking me do you have any other hobbies?

Mathias Appel donated to Public Domain Red-Ruffed Lemur photo
Red-ruffed Lemur by Mathias Appel / Public Domain
A: I like to experiment with pretty much everything. [Hmmm . . . any BDSM? =Vic] Actually, I enjoy mutual pleasure far more, Vic. And you?

I get bored easily so I end up creating new recipes, drawings, songs, and crafty things like woodworking and sculpting.  

Lately, I've been designing products on Zazzle. I also enjoy solving things. 

[Have ya figured out that danged “meaning of life” crud yet?  I’d sure like ta know the answer to that one! =Vic] 

Well, here's my take on anything like that: be free to live your own life because people who claim to know what is "best for you" rarely do (including family).

But my favorite thing to do is collaborate with like-minded individuals (which is rare, but magical). [I didn’t know a ménage a trois was considered “collaboration”. =Vic] Hmm, it's not all it's cracked up to be Vic (so I hear).

Am I cyber-stalking you Vic? If so, I will stop, darling. [Stalk away, doll face—I love it!!=Vic]

Q: Earlier in your response about how you started writing you said you may be one of the most misunderstood people in the world. I have noted that some people tend to think of you as a “goody-two-shoes”, based upon your chosen subject matter (almost, but not all, very “SFW” and “family friendly”) and how you conduct yourself online. [As you know I’m about as subtle as a 9-lb. hammer.  =Vic]

But, considering my considerable experience with wimmen I know there’s a bad girl in there somewhere. Within discretionary boundaries tell us about one of your baddest “bad girl” moments (of what I’m sure are many).

A: Hmm, those discretionary boundaries really limit me Vic. I had a fling with a member of a famous rock band (but I don’t kiss and tell). [Was it one of the guys from The Kings? I love The Kings, best thing Canada ever gave us after William Shatner. Oh, and back bacon.=Vic] Nah, it wasn't one of the guys from The Kings. 

And the hilarious thing is I didn't know who he was (at first).

Niamh in the Limo by Brian O'Donovan (odonovan on flickr) CC-by-2.0 (Background image) | Rose Webster Facebook photo added using Pixlr (2015 by Rose Webster)
Inside Limo by odonovan CC-by-2.0
All I can say is the episode (which I'm sure he's long forgotten) involved a limo ride [sounds like Zero from The Kings=Vic], an upscale location, and the most luxurious bath robes (I should’ve stolen one).

[Devil woman! =Vic]

Oh yeah, you could say that Vic. I have dated a couple of men at the same time (to the dismay of my friends). I wasn't intending on marrying either of them, so I didn't understand what the big deal was. 

I told my friends, "men do this all the time." But still, they dissed me.

Promo shot from the movie, My Man Godfrey (1936); [fair use;  composite, lettering by Vic Dillinger, 2015]
"Man-Servant at Work". Promo shot from the movie, My Man Godfrey (1936); [fair use; composite, lettering by Vic Dillinger, 2015]

You have mentioned having a “man servant” on more than one occasion (around 112 times or so, I think). So as to not embarrass him and to ensure that his privacy as a roller-skating pole dancer named “Ruff Ryder” (I know you helped him get his start) doesn’t get violated I’d prefer not to use his real name. We’ll call him “Biff”, okay? I, and the readers, wanna know all about him, so dish, toots!

Q: Howdja meet Biff? Was it when you were both roller-skating and pole dancing on a co-ed bill at Vancouver’s “Meat Manse”?

A: Met him while I was trying to launch my own business. He was extremely polite and highly responsive to questions about computers (his field). We met for lunches to discuss my setup. I didn't realize he had a “thing” for me [who wouldn’t???=Vic], he was so polite and always maintained eye contact. It was me (after a month of dating) that had to finally put his hands on me (when we were alone).

Q: What does Biff do for a living?

A: He's a computer geek.

Q: Is he taller than me?

A:  Don’t know. He’s 5 foot 10 inches. How tall are you Vic? [5’11”; I never lie and claim I’m six feet tall. =Vic]. Ah but that measurement doesn’t matter, does it? I'm about 5 foot 7 and most men are taller than me.

Q: Screamer? (Him, not you!)

A: Yes. And it’s so bad that I have to remind him to keep quiet so he won’t wake our daughter. I think the whole neighbourhood knows when we do it. [Stuff a sock in his piehole. =Vic]

Q: Okay, now you—screamer?

A: No way. I silently enjoy the act (might moan or sigh, though). I used to talk dirty but sometimes it became funny, so I stopped doing that. Got to keep the action going, you know.

Q: Back to Biff. When you’re not clawing his back and writhing around like a cat on a hot tin roof, I know you write sometimes. What does he think about your writing in general, and how does he feel about your flaunting your love for me in his face? [Tee-hee!]

RoseWrites on InfoBarrel with Cartoon of Vic Dillinger in bed together
Images: Rose Webster (Facebook) and Cartoon of Vic Dillinger (previously granted permission to use)

No, the real question after the writing thing concerns your war with HP—is he down with that, yo? [I’m frankly shocked that no one over at HP has thought to file a libel suit just to shut you down for a bit . . . your pieces about them are both funny and vicious.]

A: He thinks you are hilarious, Vic. And I don't think he has a jealous bone in his body. [Neither do I. That’s a very healthy attitude. Good for you, Biff! =Vic] I could flirt right in front of him and I doubt he’d even notice. He knows where I am, and he and I trust each other. If I were to arrange an overnight date with a man, though, I'm sure that would bother him. [I’d deck ya! =Vic]

As for my fight with HubPages, he supports my efforts. Frankly, he’s shocked that they haven’t tried to claim it was a glitch or mistake of some kind.

Hmm, libel, eh? Well, satire is completely legal in the US and Canada. There is nothing fabricated in my 30 plus articles about HubPages. Everything is based on fact. It’s just that, collectively, Paul Edmondson (and others) “look bad” once all the pieces are put together.

Sure I offer my opinion, but I have based all of those on clearly referenced facts.

My work has been combed extensively by HubPages’ execs and shills for anything they can pin on me. My Google Analytics reveals an unmistakable pattern. I dare anyone to find something that is truly libelous. [While all of that is true it still wouldn’t stop them from bringing a frivolous suit anyway if they wanted. Ultimately, it would be tossed but in the meantime you’d be jammed up and out-of-pocket. That’s what Scientologists do to their naysayers. = Vic]

But, Vic, in one part of this interview you mentioned I have a “goody-two-shoes” image and yet you found my HubPages articles to be “both funny and vicious”. [I actually said others perceive you as goody-two-shoes, not me, I know better. =Vic] Seems there are two camps out there. And oddly enough, this has been the case much of my life: people either like me or hate me. [For the record, I adore you! =Vic]

Edited image from the graphic novel, The Black Orchid, Vic  Dillinger, 2013
"Dillinger in Love". Edited image from the graphic novel, The Black Orchid, Vic Dillinger, 2013.

What I feel makes me tick: I value the truth more than money. Money does strange things to people (even highly educated people).

Teachers often wrote I was “very conscientious” in report cards; employers have described me as having “a lot of integrity”. But I don’t get that. I see myself as insanely curious and I want to know the truth and how things work (more than anything).

A part of me (naïvely) assumes everyone else is like me. So, when I discover (and point out) a new fact or finding, I feel enriched. But I notice that many people don’t really want to know the whole truth. There is something too painful about being wrong, having to re-examine our assumptions, or to simply apologize for it (if need be).

I'm not suggesting I'm “right” all or most of the time [I am.=Vic] it’s just that I'm usually the first person to say, “Oh, I was wrong there, my bad. I just found out . . .”

We humans want to be viewed as perfect and it is foolish because it can never be achieved.

“And We’re Back . . .”

Time to get serious again. One of the very positive things you’ve done with your interviews of IB’s contributors, whether it’s a newb or a vet, is to ask them what their three favorite articles are that they have composed. I have been fascinated by their responses (and many of the things noted I’ve read).

So, keeping with your format:

Q: What are your three (or seven) favorite articles on IB that you’ve written?

A: My favourite humorous piece (of late) is Do Celebrity Endorsements Work? Five Brilliant Must-See Videos. [It also contains some excellent marketing advice.]

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – Is This True? [My first article on InfoBarrel and one that delves into team dynamics, why some teams fail, and adult bullying.]

Calling On Scientists and Doctors: Fukushima and What Doesn’t Add Up [After I extensively researched this disaster, including a piece I wrote on Environment911, I felt compelled to write this wake-up call.]

Q: Yer kinda all over the interweb—other than IB where else can we find your stuff (and don’t mention HubPages or I’ll deck ya cuz that one doesn’t count)?

A: Other than as RoseWrites on InfoBarrel, my work can be found at:
Google + Rose Webster

And of course, here on A Blog for the Underdog.

I don’t Tweet (too much noise).

Q: One last question—where’d the name “sousababy” come from? You gotta thing about marching band music?

A: Oh that's Biff's fault. Well, okaay, it's my fault for asking him to set up my profile on Squidoo. One day, I mentioned I liked "onesies." Biff asked me, "What's a onesie?" So, I went online and typed in something sloppy like "so . me . . onesies" (I meant to write "show me onesies") and Sousa Baby onesies on Cafe Press came up.

When Biff set up my profile on Squidoo, he assured me I could "always change it later." But I couldn't. After I had written a hundred articles, I read somewhere that I could have changed it (once). By then, though, it was too late.

Truth is, I think "sousababy" sounds like chick that is a total ding dong. When I joined InfoBarrel, I was relieved to finally get a more respectable-sounding pen name. Even though I'm not completely "respectable" (wink).

In Closing 

This was a joy to do.

And just so everyone knows Rose did not approach me for this. It was my idea predicated upon someone’s mentioning somewhere else that he/she would like to know more about our resident sex kitten.

I hope she sticks with us for awhile—in the immortal words of Hannibal Lecter (in reference to not killing Agent Starling), “The world is a more interesting place with you in it.”

Hope you mugs enjoyed my interview. Take care.