Tuesday, October 6, 2015

InfoBarrel Author of the Week: LPerry (With Vic Dillinger)

InfoBarrel Author Vic Dillinger Co-Hosted on Blog for the Underdog
Vic Dillinger Ready for Interviewing
September 2015 (© Vic Dillinger, 2015)
This week I have a special announcement. Not only did I hear back from three amazing InfoBarrel authors, but Vic Dillinger agreed to co-host the show.

And I was tickled by how much he contributed to this interview with the lovely and talented LPerry. Without me even asking, Vic put together four images for this piece.

On the day of the interview, the photo at right is how Vic showed up at the studio: smoking and drinking Rolling Rock.

And yes, his eyepatch looks part of the ensemble – but it's not. Vic recently underwent eye surgery and needs to keep it on for another week.

Vic, we are all wishing you a speedy recovery and continued good health. Ah, keep up with your meds (and booze and smoking, I guess).

Our Special Guest

LPerry Avatar on InfoBarrel / Used With Permission
InfoBarrel Author LPerry
Used With Permission
LPerry is someone who caught my attention in InfoBarrel's forum.

When Seekyt changed hands (again), mommymommymommy (Hannah Gold) posted the news in InfoBarrel's forum.

LPerry's impassioned posts immediately resonated with me. She reminded me of how I felt when Squidoo sold out to HubPages.

I completely understood her rage.

Here's a snippet of what she told us:
"I have 448 articles that I want off that site immediately. They have inserted their AdSense into all my content and locked me out from removing anything."
Well, of course I had to chime in (even though I never joined Seekyt). And in that forum thread I came to revere LPerry.

Getting to Know You

Q: One of the qualities I've noticed you have, LPerry, is putting things into lay terms. And you use analogies. I quite like that quality. I'm guessing that you've had to explain things to morons, many morons (like me). Do you teach? What other occupations have you had? Best one? Worst one?

A: It's funny that you mention teaching.  After my parents declined to accept my ballet ambitions as a real career, I went to college to study Early Childhood Education. I had a very short stint as a Pre-school Teacher, but burned out from having to talk too much. I have had several retail jobs: Woodward & Lothrop, Sears, Montgomery Ward, and Hecht Company for fun money and discounts.

Little by little I drifted into the healthcare field and became a Certified Hospice Aide. The best job I ever had was working for my county hospital making visits to post-op patients, cancer patients, and comforting those who went home to die. Although I still do this today, I am venturing into Veterinary Office Administrative Support. I adore animals. [Vic: I adore bunnies; I know Rose likes kittehs.]

My very worst nightmare job was in high school as a food server for the elderly residents of a nursing home. My sister and I were hired together, part-time in the evenings. The dining room consisted of four round tables with four residents at each table.

Lee Coursey (leeco on flickr) cropped image of "Inside the Thirsty Whale Tavern" (CC-by-2.0) Talk and think bubbles with text added by RoseWrites October 6th, 2015
Cropped image by Lee Coursey on flickr (CC-by-2.0)
Talk and think bubbles with text by RoseWrites
No sooner did the dinner shift start, then the residents started calling to me, "Miss, you forgot my prune juice! Miss! We don't have any butter. Miss! Where are the forks? Miss! We need napkins. Miss! You forgot our water. Miss! I can't have salt, I need salt substitute. Miss!"

I grabbed my sister and hightailed it out of there before the food was even served. I didn't last 30 minutes. 

To this day, I have the utmost respect for ANYONE who can do that for a living and not be bald from stress. In case you are wondering, I was the older sister with the car, so she had to quit when I did or walk home. [Vic: “I’m going down, sis, and I’m takin’ youse wit’ me!”]

Q: On your profile page, you leave instructions for readers that wish to comment. I'm guessing you've had a jackhole (or several) bother you in the past. Is this true? And do you care to share anything about it? [Vic: I would point out that no one can “moderate” comments on IB articles—you can only delete the ones you find too ornery.  I like ornery, though—gives me a chance to publicly point out stupidity in others.]

A: I was so angry and peeved the day I wrote my IB profile page. I was very naive about the Internet in general back then. I actually thought that people would show MORE restraint with their communication methods because it would be online as a permanent record of their "manners". Doesn't that sound ridiculous?

In the weeks prior, my articles were being stolen left and right. People were leaving rude comments on my blog and Xomba articles. I had a few people starting debates with each other and forgetting why they stopped by my article in the first place (much like the Yahoo experience of today). 

After being comment-stalked by a serial debater on IB, I couldn't take it anymore. Normally I am very peaceable and dislike argument for argument’s sake. My feathers have to be very ruffled to jump into a debate with a stranger online. Perhaps rude isn't the right word.
InfoBarrel Authors RoseWrites and Vic Dillinger Wearing Pale Pink
Me & Vic Dillinger's Avatar (modified) Used With Permission

For example, I would mention loving the pale pink color of a sweater. I would then get a comment like this, "I don't know if you can call that pale pink. Anyway, nobody wears sweaters like that anymore." 
[Vic: I like pink.]
[Rose: Yeah, me too.]

Now I understand that I was being "flamed" on purpose by individuals who have serious issues. I had to make the same type of announcement on my blog; if you don't like it, leave. Don't comment. Just go away. 

Q: After reading Unitards And Leotards For Men - Professional Garments For Male Dancers, I have to admit, the leotard for men with a white shirt sounds extremely sexy (think I'll get my man-servant to wear that).

Image of Vadim Muntagirov in London  production of Swan Lake, balletnews.co.uk, Fair Use; additional free-use clip art, airbrushing, composite by Vic Dillinger 2015 for "Package Enhancing Tights"
Package Enhancing Tights
(Vadim Muntagirov; Fair Use; additional
free-use clip art, airbrushing, composite
by Vic Dillinger 2015)
Also, do male dancers wear jocks or something? Because they look like they are really packing something (compared to swimmers). 

A: Professional male ballet dancers wear a garment called a dance belt. It is very much like a jock strap. The front portion is quilted, the hips are elasticized and the back fits like thong underwear. It's typically made of opaque material so it doesn't show through tights. The quilting creates that extra "presence" in the front groin area.

Vic: I recently did a photo shoot with my wife in which we wore Renaissance-period clothing.  I wore tights; mysteriously the woman taking the pics said I did not need a cod-piece!  Tights rock! [You do the math.] 

Rose returns (after being somewhat distracted): But seriously, do male dancers ever do "pointe work"? And if not, I think ballet is healthier for men than women. I have seen some women's feet looking pretty abused from years of ballet. How are your feet? And do you recommend any other form of dance?

A: Men on pointe cause huge debates in the ballet world. Traditionalists feel that a male dancer cannot move in the delicate, graceful way a female ballerina can. Although there are male dancers that will go on pointe as part of a practice class, people prefer the traditional roles. Men dancing in tutus on their toes are seen as comedians. Les Ballets Trockadero is a good example. The heavier weight of the male dancer makes it harder on their foot bones to tolerate pointe work long term. 

Ballerinas take a real beating on their feet. It's amazing how effortless they make it look. They get bunions, blisters, and bruising. Their toes can be bloody after a performance.

I took pointe from age twelve to age twenty-two.  I have a wonderful collection of pointe shoes, but don't go up on my toes anymore. I have bunions, but I attribute those to old age.  

Other than Classical ballet, I personally love Tap dancing, traditional Irish dance and watching Ballroom competitions in the Latin dance genre.

Rose interjects: Well, hats off to Mr. J. Leotard who invented the eponymous apparel item. I also wonder if women "swooned to see men in such tight clothing" (but then again, he wore a mini skirt—at least that’s what it looks like from that photo in your article).

LPerry: Speaking of swooning, I took my 89-year-old Grandmother to The Kennedy Center to see a ballet. When the male dancer came out on stage in his tights, my Grandmother's eyes became as big as quarters. All she did was mutter, "Oh my . . . oh my . . . oh my!"

Rose: So, what happened to the mini skirt for men? (I can almost feel Vic holding himself back from commenting).

Vic: I’d wear a mini-skirt, but I’ve already been to jail enough times already.

Pro-Arch for best possible arched foot for ballet dancers on Amazon
Amazon image of Pro-Arch
To purchase, see LPerry's article
Rosie comes back:  Given my background in orthotics I had to read your article Ballet Arch Enhancers - Do They Really Work?

I can understand how an arch would need to be anatomically deformed to become "banana foot." And, you are absolutely correct when you wrote:

"Although Svetlana may have gained added flexibility from her daily practice routine, she was most likely born with an incredibly high arch to begin with."

And gee, that device to stretch arches looks like the female equivalent of a barbaric male enhancement device.

I also thoroughly enjoyed your piece, Boycott Internet Job Searching - Get A Job Faster The Old Fashioned Way because of the blackhat recruiting and prying for personal identification (like SSNs) that you mentioned. And I loved your ten reasons for going “old school” (this is a must-read for any job seeker, of any age).

Paul Reubens (aka Pee-wee Herman) at 60th Annual Academy Awards, Apr 11, 1988 (photo by Alan Light, 1988, used with permission)
    Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) photo by
           Alan Light / Used With Permission
Vic: In your writings (on HP as well as IB) I notice you focus a lot on consumer goods (clothing, jewelry, etc.) as well as the ballet-oriented material.  You are a capable writer: any chance of your leaving your comfort zone and writing, say, about longshoremen any time soon?  Maybe a quick bio on Pee-wee Herman?

A: I do write a lot about products. Before I learned how to make websites I was aiming for sales through articles. Now I write product articles to see if the topic/product gets enough traffic/sales to build a website around.

I am writing a children's eBook and outlining another book.

One interest off the beaten path (for me) is writing more articles about the challenges of the workplace; backstabbing coworkers, office gossip, drama, bad bosses, etc.. I have so much going on that it's hard to find time for all of my plans.

I would like to say that you, Vic, have an immense talent for writing biographies. This is something for me to think about; I tend to write about things and not about people. One day I will have to try writing a biography. In the meantime, I can always make a draft for Pee-wee Herman Joins the Merchant Marines Wearing a Tutu.

Vic: Pee-wee in the merchant marines with a tutu—that is hilarious!  You know he’s got a new movie coming out, right?

Mo’ Writin’ Stuff

Q: How did you end up on IB?

A: I followed a link from a bookmark on Xomba and decided to sign up. InfoBarrel was getting good reviews.

Q: Do you have any weird (or helpful) writing rituals?

A: What's important for me is to find this very peaceful, Zen-like relaxation in my mind before I write. Some writers call it "flow".  If I feel any type of urgency, my brain slams shut. I give myself permission to block out those things that scream for my attention and totally embrace the time I spend giving attention to my own thoughts.  Relax, breathe, flow, enjoy the process.

Q: If you could change one thing about the online world, what would it be?

A: Pop up ads should be against the law. Surely whoever invented them needs to go to prison.

Q: What famous person, author, TV character or cartoon character do you most relate to (and why)?

A: This is such a hard question! Who do I most relate to?  Let's see . . .

After giving this a lot of thought, I would say my favorite female singer, Karen CarpenterNot only is her voice the most beautiful thing I have ever heard, the emotion behind it is haunting. I can relate to her sensitivity and how that part of her flowed out to create music that touches the soul. I believe that our hidden emotions find a way of expression; many as artistic masterpieces.

Rose: Did you know that Vic wrote an incredible piece about the death of Karen Carpenter? It's currently ranked 10th on InfoBarrels' Top 100.

Q: Three or more articles you are most proud of?

A: I like my Ezine articles and one I have on Wizzley:

Q: Where can readers find you?

A: They can find me on my blog or Twitter: Pointe Shoe Brands and Ballet_News on Twitter.

Highly Inappropriate Questions 

Q: Ever made out with a male ballet dancer?

A: Well, he was a male and after dressing him in a pink chiffon ballet skirt he did dance around a bit and plant a slobbery kiss on me. Does a pet Boxer count?  [Vic: Now that’s funny right there I don’t care who you are.]

Vic: Ever made out with a female ballet dancer?  ’Cause that sounds kinda hot!

A: At my age, the only thing that gets hot are the light bulbs. 

Ballerina Farting (free-use clip art; composite, lettering by Vic Dillinger, 2015)
2015 Flatulent Ballerina (free-use clip art;
composite, lettering by Vic Dillinger)
Rose: Got any good "plié" fart stories?

A: I believe ballet schools do mandatory methane testing these days. With leotards as tight as they are, gas leak buildup could get very dangerous!

Q: If you could use a time machine, which past decade would you travel to and why?

A: Without a doubt, the 1950s. I love everything about that era: the pink kitchens, the fashions, the cars, the music, the family values, everything. Dad wore the pants, Mom wore the dresses, kids respected authority, and the world seemed so safe and cozy back then.

Q: Are there any other writers on InfoBarrel you'd like to see interviewed? And if so, is/are there any questions you'd like me to ask him, her, or them?

A: I can relate to curiosity44 as a self-taught writer. His health-related articles are very interesting; most of them have eye-opening videos. He mentioned starting a novel, so I wonder if he reached his goal of completing it.

Also Young Hopes is very nice and her articles are good. I believe she has an InfoBarrel account, but I may be wrong. She is on HubPages and Wizzley.

In Closing:

I want to thank LPerry for allowing both Vic Dillinger and I to ask about her life online and offline. She obviously has a wealth of life experience that reaches beyond the ballet world.

And since my private jet was just collecting dust, I decided to take LPerry, her grandmother, and Vic to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia. Vic felt a little lost and LPerry's grandma followed some male dancer backstage.

Jane Rahman on flickr (CC-by-2.0) Bolshoi Theater in background. Additional images added by RoseWrites Oct 6, 2015 via Pixlr.
Bolshoi Theatre uploaded by Jane Rahman (CC-by-2.0).
LPerry, Vic Dillinger, and I added Oct 6th, 2015 via Pixlr.com

Tune in again next week when I interview a Top 100 InfoBarrel author. And hopefully Vic can co-host if he's not too busy.

Funding for A Blog for the Underdog is provided (in part) by my earnings on Zazzle. I feature over 200 "slice of life" products (many with humorous designs) in my Sousababy Zazzle store.


  1. Most excellent! That arch thing looks like some kind of medieval torture device (or what Chinese footbinders would use in the modern world). And LPerry WAS a great sport for putting up with us!

    1. I agree. LPerry was one of the most hilarious guests "on the show" and I love how she tells a story.

  2. Hopefully, the flatulent ballerina will be okay doing solos for the rest of her career LOL

    1. Le Pétomane would've been proud!

      Thanks for doing this--it was fun!

    2. Ditto and thank you Vic for doing so much of the leg (and codpiece) work. You corrected many errors too.

  3. I really enjoyed this interview! LPerry, I took Vic's advice years ago to branch out and it has been to my benefit. Why not try writing a biography of a ballet dancer that most of us lay people have never heard about?

    1. People don't necessarily need to do bios, but they are a good way to diversify. Pop culture stuff helps, too.

    2. Oh I agree Hannah and Vic. Nothin' beats real life experience for good storytelling.

      And I feel that pop culture is a way that people feel connected to each other. As C.S. Lewis said, "Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . ."

      I think some people underestimate how much they have to offer. Thank you so much for dropping by and supporting these interviews (and our fellow writers). It means more than you know.