Filed under: donations

The Temporary Return of the Dreaded PayPal Button

My wife and I decided some time ago to remove me from her insurance because under her current plan, my coverage was an extra few hundred dollars a month that we could use for other things. I do earn money now as a freelance writer and circumstances are improving, but I am paid monthly, and haven’t gotten to the point where I can pay for my own health insurance and still cover other bills and important outstanding debts (income tax being just one example). It’s worth it to note that a ton of freelance writers, many of them much more successful than me financially — that’s gotta be most of them, at the moment — are in the same boat.

I wouldn’t be addressing any of this, but a health issue has come up in the last two weeks or so that I can’t just dismiss or ignore.

Hypertension seems to practically run in my family, and everyone — my mother, father, and 90+ year old grandmother — lives with it just fine. I’ve had high blood pressure off and on since my teens, and it hasn’t mattered whether I was in shape or not — even at an optimal weight of 170 with a 31-inch waistline in 1996, I had above-normal blood pressure.

The new wrinkle, though, seems to be exclusive to me (in the family context) — chest pains and circulation problems. My father, as far as I know, had few if any hypertension-related symptoms of note before he had a stroke 7 years ago. So at least there’s the chance that my body is being nice by giving me some warnings he didn’t get.

The circulation problems — numbness and tingling — could be a lot of things, including relapsing-remitting MS (my MS has proven somewhat benign since I was diagnosed 5 years ago). The chest pains are what bother me psychologically, as well as physically. Even if it’s just a temporary, passing thing, I need to get it checked out.

So I’ve installed the PayPal donation button again on the right side of the page for anyone inclined to send something towards helping me with what will hopefully be a minor medical bill, maybe two. Once I’m paid at the end of February, I may be able to cover any outstanding part of the medical myself. March should be better than February earnings-wise, so I hope to remove the donation button again at that time. I hate putting it up as it is, and I really don’t like talking about medical issues. My own wife doesn’t even know I’ve had chest pains, and she’ll probably kick my butt when she reads this. She does know I’ve had some thumping headaches, but I’ve always had headaches, so that wouldn’t be a worry. (NOTE: She’s the worrier in the family, which may explain why I’ve not said anything to her yet about the chest pains — didn’t want her to fret. Hell, I didn’t want to fret.)

The amount you donate doesn’t matter — every little bit is appreciated, and you better believe it helps.

I won’t reference this again, save to note when I take it down. I will post a semi-permanent note under the blog’s header above, with a link-back to this entry.

Additionally, I’m not slowing the pace of my writing or blogging here at the moment, and hopefully won’t have to.

Thank you as always for reading and participating in the comment threads. Most of you will never know how grateful I truly am for this.

UPDATE, 2/29/08

I’ve got a Dr’s appointment made for early next week (first week of March) specifically to look into this problem, hopefully see about getting a prescription for anti-hypertensive medication, at the very least. Thank you again to everyone who has made a donation, so far.

Short Hiatus and a Personal Request **UPDATED**

Just recently I have received some generous donations via PayPal, and I can’t ever express how grateful I am to the folks who have donated. This post is, in part, to ask anyone inclined to donate between now and Christmas to consider sending the donation to my wife Dana, instead.

Dana is a gifted educator and edu-blogger, and well regarded in the edu-blogging community. She probably has more work to do on the computer on a daily basis than I do, and at the moment, we are sharing a single aging desktop. We also try to give my stepdaughter and our 6-year-old daughter computer time on occasion. I do tend to get dibs on the desktop because the work I do for Radar is occasionally time-sensitive and research-intensive.

I may not receive my first payment for work done for the magazine until after Christmas, so I felt like I had to note Dana’s page on her edu-blog about purchasing a laptop and ask for help from anyone inclined to do so. I’d love to buy the laptop myself, but I’m sure I won’t be able to.

And if you’re an educator or find issues dealing with education and technology in general compelling, you should browse and follow Dana’s links. I believe she and some of her peers focusing on technology and education are at the forefront of changing the way young people learn, and for the better.


I’ve decided that beginning this Monday I’m taking a brief hiatus from posting on this blog, barring any super-compelling crime stories. The hiatus will only be a week and a day, if complete (as in — if something doesn’t happen that I just can’t help but blog about). I still may post to my personal weblog, Random Lunatic News, and will be doing research and writing for Radar the entire time. So I’m not on vacation. If I have a post at Radar that may be of interest to readers here, I’ll add that link to this entry. I will also still respond to e-mails and story tips while on hiatus, so don’t hesitate to contact me that way, if you need to. The hiatus is mostly just so I can focus a little more closely on some other work that fell behind while I was ill over the last 3 weeks or so.

[Edit: Back to the old system for now. Go here to take a look at the comments you’ve made during the interim:]

Do some folks a favor while I’m on hiatus, and check out the links on the right side of the page — both The True Crime Blogroll and “Steve’s Links” — a mixed bag of sites, not all of them true-crime related.


My hiatus may be delayed until tomorrow, making it simply one week long.

NOTE, 12/19/07

My life is weird.

Today, I wrote the following for Radar‘s “Fresh Intelligence”:

Jamie-Lynn Baby Daddy’s Profile?
Kucinich’s Bank Robber Bro is Dead.”

I ain’t telling you about ’em, you just have to read ’em. Remember to recommend the post if you are so inclined, but only recommend once per post, and do my fellow FI contributors a solid and see if you like other posts there and want to recommend them as well (there’s a little link at the bottom of each “Fresh Intelligence” post you click to recommend that entry).

Then, after sending off one of those little bits o’ delight, I drove to my daughter’s school to hang out with her a bit during a Christmas-y party-ish time (the school doesn’t have “parties” per se, just special dates — it’s complicated).

Following that, I came back to my church to sing a solo at a noon-hour Christmas “meditation” service.

Gotta love life in the 21st Century.

Seeking Your Input

Due to the work I’m now doing for Radar, there are certain things I just don’t have the time to do, so I’d like some reader input.

All the old entries from CrimeBlog.US are still available on the servers that held them. I’ve made efforts to move things over, but so far the move is decidedly incomplete. Now, I just don’t have the time or energy to finish any work I’m doing for the magazine, publish new entries here, and then spend hours moving posts from one blog to the other.

So… from long-time readers I’d like to know which posts you’d like to see moved here. You can make your requests/suggestions in the comments on this post. You don’t need to recall the exact title as long as you can remember the subject — I’ll figure it out.

Before you make your suggestion, though, please check to see if I’ve already moved the entry to this blog.

There’s no easy way to move entries that I know of — any software solutions I’ve found are filled with bugs and therefore unpredictable. So the moving has to be done by cut & paste. There are differences in the way this publishing format accepts html code, too, so some editing always has to be done when an entry from CrimeBlog.US is moved to this blog. It’s time-consuming work, and reader suggestions as to old entries you’d like to see posted here would go a long way towards helping me focus my efforts as well as making this weblog more useful.

Also, remember — I’m asking for tips or donations through the beginning of January, then removing the PayPal button, as I have reason to believe I’ll no longer need it. It’s a little like PBS’s pledge drive. I plan to continue this blog, which is, of course, free. If I move an entry over that you’ve been wanting to read again, to comment on, you can consider any donations payment for that, as well.


Long-time readers of my blogs know this is my least favorite thing to do, but I figured now was as good a time as any to remind folks that you can send a donation via Paypal by clicking the donation button on the right, just under the e-mail link. If you are new to my crime blogging and like what you see, please consider a token amount to show your support. Some good things have happened recently that may eventually eliminate the need for donations, but for now anything is helpful.

As always, thank you for reading.