Friday, January 30, 2009

Slammed, Buried, And Otherwise Disrespected

Well.....but first, the disclaimer:

Warning: This post may contain objectionable grammar and a unpleasant tone. I apologize in advance for the objectionable grammar, but not for the unpleasant tone.

Well....my book has been out for a little over two months, and for the most part, the reviews have been positive.

However, in the past three weeks, a couple of people have stated their dislike for my novel and have decided to tell the world publicly about it. And by telling the world about it their dislike for it, some collateral damage was inflicted as well.

One person, who knows me from way back in the day, bought my book and didn't like it. They disliked it so much that for the past three weeks, they've been posting in the chat room where I hang my hat, disparaging the book and me, through insults, innuendos and obscenities. And to show what a B.M.O.C. they are, they're using a proxy server and have been using my characters names for their name.

Their main problem right now is a conflict of interest: they stated publicly that I crave the attention and if they went away, I would be disappointed (click here and examine post #3226). But for the past three weeks, they been prattling on and on about me with no apparent end in sight.

The second person, what they did was a lot more hurtful, because I considered this person to be good friend of mine. Even though we dropped down to e-mailing about once a month, I still thought of her as a decent person.

But, she came online about week ago, also disparaging both me and my book, just like the first person. However, she soon crossed that line of legality, when in a sad attempt to prove that I had a sick mind, she posted an excerpt from the book without my permission.

Now I really didn't know that it was her until the 26th, when she demanded that I tell everyone about a deal I made with her. That's when it dawned on me who I was dealing with. Let me tell you gang, when someone who you used be good friends with, decides to turn on you because they didn't like what you wrote, it really and truly does hurt.

As for the collateral damage? That happened when, in the process of trying to figure out her identity, I called her "Chris". A poster, who shall remain nameless, took offense because she thought I was talking about her (her real name is Chris). She left two very nasty and disgusting posts, covering the same tired ground that the lies she believed to be true, already covered.

I'm gonna keep fighting the good fight, but it really bums me out that a former friend turned on me so bitterly. The other two posters, one who's a gutless coward and the other a gullible twit, I don't give rat's ass about. My former friend, her I'm giving really serious thought about taking to court about her posting that excerpt. It doesn't bother me that she didn't like the book, but it does bother me that she tried to make it so personal.

Writing. It can be a bitch sometimes. We all dream of being controversial at some point in our life, but this is taking it to the extreme.
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Update: I created this post on Jan 26th. Since then, the post that showed the excerpt that I had linked to has been removed (along with two other posts elsewhere) by the moderators due to a complaint I made about copyright infringement.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Prepping Newspapers For The Runway (part 1)

Part 5 of The Library Chronicles
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So after getting rid of the glue, string, binding and other assorted pieces of debris off the newspaper and turning it into a larger stack of unbound, musty, loose newspaper pages, I was ready to move on to the next step.

Prepping the newspaper for microfilming.

Warning: What I'm about to describe is not, repeat, not for the faint of heart. This should not be read if you're even the teeny bit tired. This should be read during the day, on a empty stomach, when you're full of energy. Seriously, what I'm about to describe to you, will make watching synchronized swimming seem thrilling and suspenseful.

I brought my fifteen+ pounds of newspaper over to my work area and proceeded to execute what 75% of my job duties were for the first four years of career. These steps were deviated from only when the condition of the newspaper required it.

I completely forgot to mention what I did prior to arriving what I'm about to cover in this post, so I will now devote a few words to that particular topic.

Prior to the decommissioning and destroying of a typical volume of newspaper, I did the microfilm programming of said volume. This entailed taking out a calendar for the date range of the newspaper (we had calendars covering 1790 through 1990) and reading the first issue in said volume. To be precise, I read the front page (masthead) and the second page (publisher's statement) to determine the frequency of publication. Once that was determined (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, tri-weekly, daily plus saturday, daily plus sunday), it was the matter of marking on the calendar what days the newspaper published on. More on the calendar issue later.

Anyways, back to the newspaper. Once I brought it back to my work area, I got out the various implements that I would be using to prepare the newspaper for microfilming:

1} Pencil
2} Calendar (remember later? this is later)
3} Pad of paper
4} Micro spatula
5} Scotch tape
6} A bone shaper
7} A razor

Also, if the paper was in extremely poor condition and very old, there was special archival tape that was used to repair said newspaper.

And the deviation? If the newspaper was extremely new (less than 10 years old) and stored in a folded condition (in other words, the way you get your daily non-tabloid shaped newspaper), it had the mother of all creases. These fold creases had to be smoothed out so that it could be filmed properly.

Thus, we used a spray bottle, a clothes iron and ridiculously large manual press. Unless we had a lot to do or if the paper wasn't in good enough condition to handle the press. Then we used a humidifier and a paper rack covered in plastic sheeting to get rid of the creases.

Once that was all said and done, then we moved on to part 3 of our story, which brings us to this post. But since I probably made your eyelids heavy from reading this incredibly exciting post, I will end it here for now and say, "WAKEY, WAKEY!!!"
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Up next: Prepping Newspapers For The Runway (part 2)

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Life Is A Highway" (pt 2)

And so it begins.

The original idea for my second novel was to write a sequel to my first one Shades of Love, by bringing the two main couples, Wally Winslow/Azalea Gold and Jorge Powers/Dorathea Taylor, forward about five years to see how they were holding up.

Towards that end, I began writing a few stories to do just that. One of them, which everyone just got done reading, was called Golden Texas Tea (yeah I know, crappy title) and dealt with the toxicity of the first couple. The second one dealt with the walking disaster of the second couple, originally entitled Dorathea Squirrels (yeah I know, another 'classic' title).

Small problem soon developed though. When I got done with the both of them, I had a combined page count of about 60 pages written. Not even in the same hemisphere for a novel, but enough to make a few decent chapters, if I did some serious stretching out.

Being that I had no idea how to continue with this particular writing path, I put the stories in the flower pot and continued on my merry way. Now, taking into account that in 2006 my personal life was, quite frankly, in a state of constant turmoil, I was writing like a madman. I poured out enough hate/self abuse/self loathing into my writing to make whoever happened read my stuff, be more than just a little concerned about my mental health.

By August, while still in the tightly firm grip of a prolonged breakdown, I had two more stories written. While I was in process of writing story #4, I revisited the original idea I had for the second novel, and decided that it wasn't going to work out. I was quite deep into my comfort zone of writing 35-50 page stories and didn't think I would have the chops to be able to pull off another 190+ page novel.

By the time I had finished story #4, I was still trying to figure out what my next novel project should be. Around Labor day weekend, I was talking to a cousin about my first novel (unpublished at the time), and he suggested that I get a copyright for it (pluses and minuses to having an unpublished manuscript copyrighted) as protection.

So while I was working on filling out the paperwork to get that done and sent in, the idea of what my novel project should be popped into my head.
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Project update: I have one story completely rewritten and retitled (Betrayed, formerly called A Betrayal of Vows), and I'm 24 pages into rewriting story #2, which after writing a very brief outline to get back on track with it, is tentatively titled E (this was the same story that I wrote mysel into a corner back in early 2007).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

To A Trusted Friend

A rare double post from me, but it's something that both pains me to do and that I want to do.

My good friend, Gumby the Cat, is taking a long hiatus from the blog world as the real world has come calling to shower him with economic bounty.

He was the impetus for me in creating my little section of the universe and I will always be grateful to him for that.

So I want to take a moment here to wish him well as he goes riding off into the Ohio sunset. He will be truly missed by me. I will miss his acerbic wit and his thoughtful posts on science and religion.

He taught me a great deal about science and religion, which in of itself, is a good thing.

For all of that and more, I want to simply say, Thanks for the time you spent sprucing up your corner of the world and introducing to an unsuspecting public. You are indeed, a truly remarkable individual.

Have A Shay Day

How-do!

I would like to share with you something I received in my e-mail the other day. Normally, I wouldn't do this, mostly because e-mail is a rather private thing, and I've gotten burned royally a couple of years ago sharing my e-mail correspondence with someone else. But this time, I got something that actually moved me, and after asking (and receiving) permission from the person who sent it, I would like to share it with you.

Now, I have no idea who the original author of the e-mail is, as this was forwarded to many, many people, so I can't give proper credit where credit is due. If anyone knows where this might have originated from, by all means, please let me know.

With that said, here is the e-mail entitled, "Have a Shay Day"
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At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: 'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.'

'Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:

'Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys that Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

'I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

'Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

'In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

'In the bottom of the ninth, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

'Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

'The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over.

'The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all his teammates.

'Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"

'Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on the team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head.

'Shay ran towards third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases towards home. All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the way Shay!" Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!"

'As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home! Run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.'

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.

'Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!'

We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the 'natural order of things'. So many trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.

May your day, be a Shay Day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Think, Therefore, I Rock And Roll*

*nifty little song by Ringo Starr. Quite catchy and very poppy.

¡Hola!

I love music. And I love listening to all types of music (except country pop). But the one genre that I love listening to, especially at work, is children's music. Not the garbage that passes for kiddies music nowadays, but the good stuff that I grew up with.

In no particular order of importance, here's what's hanging ten inside my cubicle at work for my listening pleasure.

Note: I apologize in advance for using Wikipedia as link material. Wikipedia wasn't my first choice, but it does give a decent overview of each.

1) Schoolhouse Rock!: I have the compilation from the mid-90's done with alternative acts on cassette. The update features groups such as the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Moby, Better than Ezra and Blind Melon. So-so compilation. Much better if you can find it, is the original four CD set put out by Rhino records in the late 80's. This excellent set is now unfortunately out of print (short sighted on Rhino's part if you ask me), but the next best thing to that is the two DVD 30th anniversary set that came out in 2002. In any event, I really rock to this CD set and have been known to even sing along at work to it.

2) Free To Be, You And Me: I remember watching this t.v. special when I was kid, and my mom picked up the album for me soon after. Always listened to it whenever I got the chance over the past 25 years or so. Finally found a CD reissue of it. Some of the stuff seems a bit outdated and has a touch of indoctrination to it, but overall it has held up remarkably well throughout the decades. Marlo Thomas, Alan Alda and Mel Brooks are some of the featured performers on this.

3) Really Rosie: Again, this was something I watched as a kid. The entire soundtrack was done by Carole King, based on stories written by Maurice Sendak (this I learned as an adult). The songs are catchy and memorable. I've even taken this CD and played in my car during the past couple of summers.

4) A Charlie Brown Christmas: This was something that I picked up a few days after Christmas, when I was shopping for a CD shelf unit. This is a remastered reissue of the original soundtrack album, put out by Fantasy Records. This is probably the only Christmas CD that I will publicly admit to listening to. I love the Peanuts and I loved the music in it.

This is yet another insight of what makes Georgie B tick.

So tell me, what kind of music did you enjoy listening to while growing up? The kind that you still enjoy now. The kind that if people knew that you still enjoyed and still listened to, would make them question your sanity.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Got Tagged Yet Again

Mr. Popularity that' s me folks got tagged about two weeks ago by Laura from Under The Sheets-Shh. The tag this time was to tell 10 honest things about myself.

I initially told her that I would be more than happy to do so. But, after giving it some serious thought, I came to the sad realization that I was, tapped out for honest things to say about myself as it pertains to the real world.

However, being sound of mind and acid of tongue, I didn't want to go back to her and say, "Sorry Laura, I can't do your tag." That's not my style nor is it part of my character. So I proceeded to spend the last couple of weeks thinking about how I was going to complete my chosen task.

After giving thought about doing a fictionalized version of this thing and discarding it, I came up with the idea of doing it as it pertains to my life in the chat rooms.

So without further ado, here are few fun filled (if not downright strange) honest things about myself as it applies to chat rooms.

1) I have four official chat room personas, plus one other persona that got purged: My original name {suspended indefinitely}, Cedar Mountain, Da Bishop, and Georgie B. The one that was purged was called "Baby Gooey".

2) I have made a combined total of about 16,000 posts in the chat room forums, which is the equivalent of making about 450 blog posts.

3) I am known for telling like it is and frequently getting hoisted up by my own petard for doing so. Which is the main reason for getting one persona suspended and one persona purged, plus sitting out a three day suspension to boot.

4) I have made more than my fair share of enemies in the chat rooms. Last count was that I had about one dozen insulting threads made about me in the past two years. Also, I gathered in the past five months two trolls, one of which followed me to my blog and forced me to institute the concept of "comment moderation" to my blog. The other I picked up about two weeks ago and is making a attempt to trash me and my book. If he/she keeps it up, I'll probably have to write a post thanking it for the marketing/publicity campaign he/she is doing for me.

5) I currently hang around the chat rooms, not so much for the topical material {which quite frankly sucks}, but for the multitude of friendships that I have cultivated over the past two years.

6) Contrary to a lie that refuses to go away, my first novel is not about anyone who I met in the chat rooms. I wrote my novel about one year prior to my entrance to the chat rooms (which I can back up with solid proof).

7) I have been around the chat rooms for so long that I can go to an obscure thread somewhere in those forums, and have at least one person remember me from some place else, under some other name.

8) I did my writing boot camp in the chat rooms. Whereas everyone else in the blog world has gotten their particular writing training doing it the traditional way {schools}, mine was gotten through the chat rooms. In the real world, you can practice and hone your craft until it shines. In the chat rooms, you are challenged by a 4,000 character limit/750 word limit. Thus, you are perpetually writing flash non-fiction/flash fiction for the masses, which is much harder than it looks. Because of my particular writing training, I believe that the transition to the blog world went much more smoother than if I had simply started up a blog without any basic training whatsoever.

Unfortunately, I'm only able to come up with 8 honest things about myself as it pertains to the chat rooms. Since the tag called for 10, I will now attempt to come up with two other honest things about myself.

9) I am pathologically punctual to every single thing in my life. I grew up in a family where being "on time" was/is an obscene phrase. So I overcompensate for it, which has on occasion, irritated my wife or has left me with way too much time on my hands.

10) I practice OCD as it pertains to food safety. After suffering through two particularly nasty bouts of food poisoning in my life, I currently drive my family to distraction with my pitching out of food that is less than two days past date.

And now you have it, ten honest things about myself. Which I'm sure that my current troll will somehow try to weave into future posts about me in the chat rooms, which is due to the fact that this person, even though they dislike me, will visit my blog for material.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Life Is A Highway": An Introduction

Yow-zaaa.

With this post, I'm introducing a new feature which will hopefully (and properly) motivate me to get of my fat backside and start writing again: sharing my second novel.

Much like the short stories I posted last year, this will be done on a weekly basis. My plan is simple right, simple he says : 1) keep people up to date on the novel's progress; 2) solicit advice, opinions and whatever else happens to strike the fancy of the people who read my blog; and 3) talk until I'm blue in the face about it, in the hopes that I can get this thing done by the summer.

So as to get the ball rolling, I'll start out by delivering some back story on the novel.

Back in 2006, I was at my creative zenith. I had finished writing my first novel by early March and was well into the process of writing multiple types of short stories. By the end of the summer, I had about five stories, of varying degrees of length, written out and completed.

While waiting for the tortuously long process of using an agent to sell my novel (who I ultimately decided to drop in late 2007), I decided to start work on my second novel. The topic was simple enough: write about the dark side of relationships.

However, as everyone out there is undoubtedly aware of, no matter what avenue of the arts you're pursuing (writing books, music, stories, blogs, etc.) it's hard to get a start on things when originality is a necessity.

Since being 100% original was out of the question, I decided on the next best thing: 50% original. I gathered up all my stories and gave them the once over. Since the theme of bad relationships was the one constant in all of them, I decided to make a novel featuring them. To make it interesting, I decided to give the novel a Twilight Zone (or Night Gallery) twist. I wrote about a half dozen two to three page short stories that interconnected with the longer ones. And for fun, I wrote them in the second point of view ex: You are walking towards the elevator and for extra ha-ha's, I inserted the reader directly into both the connecting stories and the main stories.

The other problem that I had was what to title the book. That was solved on a Saturday morning trip running a few errands, when the song Life Is A Highway was playing on the radio at one point during my trip.

Viola, a novel was born.

In essence, here are the main components to my novel, which I will elaborate more fully on in the coming weeks/months:

1) The running theme is the dark side of relationships.
2) The connecting short stories are all titled "Exit", followed by the appropriate number.
3) The reader is inserted directly (hopefully) into the stories as the main character throughout the novel.
4) The connecting stories, which have a Twilight Zone/Night Gallery feel to them, are mostly written in the second person.

I'm hoping to have a total of six medium-to-long short stories and about ten to twelve connecting stories.

In the coming weeks, I will be elaborating on the various stories I've written for the novel, as well the overall theme and progress that I'm making on it as well.

Hopefully, you'll learn a little more about what makes me tick as a writer and as a person.

In any event, get ready for a fascinating trip down the highway of my life. It's sure to leave you scratching your head when all is said and done.

A Changing Of The Guard, A Changing Of The Times

"The more things change, the more they stay the same. What is past, is prologue."

The above quote was pulled from a tape called, "Sounds of History", that I bought while I was visiting Washington D.C. back in the seventh grade, and I thought it would be appropriate for here.

With this post, a new road is to be travelled, with new sights to see and new things to learn. Among the few changes that are to be made (which I hope you'll accept in the spirit that they're being done in), is the new avatar photo.
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This photo, which I took on my rare vacation this past August, was taken just inside the Columbus Zoo. It's one of first things that you see when get into the main zoo area.
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I figured since this is brand new year, I should start off the year with a more happy looking avatar. Thus, the frog.
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Now, how can you not get a chuckle (or at least a smile) while looking at this funky frog?
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In any event, I sincerely hope that you'll like the upcoming changes to my blog.
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jUIcY mELONs!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Typical Work Day (Sort Of.....)

Every once in a great while, I get into a rut when it come to my minimum tri-weekly blog requirements. Today is one those every once in a great whiles.

It doesn't happen too often, but when it does, things come to a screeching halt while I search for something to write about.

Now normally, this is an exercise in futility, but while writing these past few paragraphs, I came up with the bright idea of telling everyone exactly what it is I do during a typical non-deadline work day.

My day normally starts at 8a. I say normally, because my official schedule is 8a to 4:30p with a half hour lunch, but my day usually starts whenever I stroll in to my cube, which in most cases is about 7:50a (I know, such dedication).

After unpacking all of my crap, turning the computer on and settling in, I attack the days work. If' it's a non-deadline Monday, the day goes something like this:

(8:00-8:15) check the voice mail and e-mail.
(8:15-8:30) grab a cup of herbal tea from the cafeteria.
(8:30-12 noon) whip out the handy dandy notebook I usually bring in with me and while away the hours, creating blog posts; or whip out an old short story to edit; get up and walk around to stretch my legs {can't sit for more than 15 minutes at a clip}, making sure I don't disturb my co-workers; answer any incoming e-mails or phone calls.
(12-12:45) half hour lunch.
(12:45-4:30) answer phones, check e-mail, and write.
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A non-deadline Tuesday goes roughly the same way, but the following changes are made between the hours of 8a-1:30p.

Print out spreadsheets for use as a checklist for checks and a checklist for timesheets; sort direct deposit stubs into ones that go out to the locations and ones that get mailed.
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A non-deadline Wednesday goes almost the same as Tuesday, except remove printing timesheets and sorting direct deposits and add live checks.

Also, you can add in whatever little projects I can find for myself to do and whatever filing I have leftover.
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As you can see, if I compressed my work day, I would have one full day of work and two days of nothing. Which as an employee, I have no problem with. As someone who has learned excellent time management skills at his previous stop on the career ladder, this is the end result of having too little work to get done during the course of a long, dull day.

Now as a taxpayer, thus someone who pays MY SALARY, I am simply appalled at this blatant wasted of my hard earned dollars. I mean, who do you think you are, wasting my money and not giving me more bang for my buck?

I swear you are the classic definition of a state worker. You are someone who does the following:

1) props his feet up
2) reads his newspaper
3) swills his coffee
4) ignores the phone
5) plays computer games
6) ignores the customers
7) ignores his co-workers

If I had half a brain, I would.....
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This is my typical non-deadline work week, which actually starts on the Thursday after my payroll is officially completed. I really have about six days of nothing and four days of something, of which two of those four days are extremely stressful and one of the days of nothing is actually half and half.

Yes indeed, I am both fortunate and cursed to be working for state government.

Here's a little known fact for everyone to ponder: Two of my favorite work related songs are, "Blue Collar Man" by Styx, and "Working For A Living" by Huey Lewis and The News.

I'll leave it up to you good people to figure out as to why I love these songs.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Wrap Up To "Golden Texas Tea"

How-dy.

So we have reached the end of our little journey. For those of you who have come in fashionably late, a brief recap is in order.

This story was my very first attempt at writing a sequel to my debut novel, Shades of Love. It was supposed to be the first of about two or three stories which attempted to move about four years in the future with the happy couples and show what had ultimately happened to them.

I still intend to write something of a sequel to that novel as I plan on turning about four of my short stories into something more coherent. I've already re-written one (A Betrayal of Vows) and I'm currently in the process of the first round of editing. Not sure if I'm going to keep it as a chapbook or continue to turn it into a longer novel, or do both. In any event, it's a pleasant dilemma to have.

However, that is not the point of this post. The point of this rare double post is to ask you the reader, your honest critique of my story. I'm looking for good feedback, as I plan on turning this into another chapbook, and obviously, as it presently stands, it simply isn't that worthy.

So tell me honestly, what you liked, what you disliked, what needs pumping up, or what needs toning down. Whatever your opinion is, no matter how brief or detailed it may be, I want to know. It's only through readers like you, that can help me grow as a writer.

So as it says in the comment section, Give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this neat little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

I sincerely thank you in advance for your participation in this endeavor.

"Golden Texas Tea" (pg 24)

"MY GOD!! I JUST CAN'T GET ANYTHING TO GEL!! I MUST BE THE MOST INCOMPETENT WRITER ON THE PLANET! MY KIDS COULD WRITE BETTER THAN ME RIGHT NOW!! WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME...." when, in the middle of his rant, Walter came to a complete stop in front of his late wife's picture. Staring at for a few minutes, he became mesmerized by the eyes staring back, nay, taunting to him, as if to say, yes it was your fault that I'm dead.

Feeling like a man possessed, Walter stiffened as he felt the presence of his wife's spirit enter the study. He dropped to his knees in fear as his wife materializes before his eyes. Looking up, he screams in horror as his wife appears to him not as she normally looked like in life, but as she did in death. He cries uncontrollably at the sight of his wife, his wife however, has a look of serenity on her face and complete emptiness for Walter.

Motioning for him to get up and move to the couch, she glides over to the end table. She then motions for Walter to open the drawer, which he does and is shocked at what he finds: a .44 automatic tucked under a cloth. Shakily, he picks up the .44 from the drawer and looks at his wife, who gives him a look of resignation, as if to say, this is the coward's way out.

As she prepares to vanish back to the other realm, she hears him cry out, "So be it!!", then hears the hammer being cocked. Eyes widened, she whirls around just in time to see that....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Deconstructing And Decommisioning (part 2)

Part 4 of The Library Chronicles

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Amazingly enough, no pain was involved and very little blood was spilt.

Now before you start asking the inevitable questions (like, what are you talking about? Blood?), let me begin at the beginning.

We had this monstrosity of a table top paper cutter. As stated previously, it was about four feet by four feet with a big clamp and a huge four foot arm. Could cut through a half inch thick, two foot long newspaper volume cover think wooden ruler in one drop of the blade.

Anyways, what I was doing that day was pretty much what I usually do: removing the glue from the edge so that the paper could be properly processed and collated. I grabbed a section of newspaper and brought to the table, where I took the initial step of putting it under the clamp and raised the cutter arm.

So as to take as much glue off as possible without taking any text off (not an easy feat), I had to eyeball the paper edge so that only glue was hanging off the table. This meant fine-tuning the positioning of the paper.

To drop this particular guard, one had to step on the foot pedal, which in turn drops the clamp can you see where this is leading to boys and girls? . Once you drop the clamp, you can cut the newspaper with ease.

So, as I was positioning the paper on the table, my foot came in contact with pedal.

CHOP!!!!!! SPLAT!!!!!! And for the first and only time in that department, I uttered out loud the one word that is used to explain sexual intercourse.

I won't go into too much gross detail about what I did or what was found afterwards, other than to say that I severed my fingertip. Fortunately I didn't bleed all over the newspaper. As for feeling no pain, well to a certain degree, that is true. My fingertip to this day has no viable nerve endings in it, thus it's perpetually numb.

After spending a week out of work (from both jobs, as I had a second job too), I eventually got back into the swing of things. It took me about three weeks before I felt comfortable enough to use the paper cutter again, and by that time, my co-worker devised an ingenious safety device.

Basically, it was a small electronic button switch that was connected to a solid block of metal that was installed under the guard. In order to use the clamp, you had to press the button that moved the metal block out of the way. As soon as you released the button, the metal block stayed at the ready, until you got done using the clamp. Once you stepped off the foot pedal, the clamp went up and the safety mechanism went back into place.

Neat huh?
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Up next will be a lesson on another tedious, but very important, aspect of my job: Prepping Newspapers For The Runway

Saturday, January 10, 2009

How Much Is Too Much?

Advertising.

It is both a plus and a minus in the blog world today.

A plus in the sense that it can help you earn a few dollars to help defray the cost of whatever it is you need help in paying for. A minus in the sense that it earns you squat and can turn off your readers.

To clarify, I'm only talking about the regular advertising that you see from AdSense and other reputable companies, that are strategically placed around and about on one's blog. I'm not talking about the other bits and pieces of self-created advertising (some of which is very good) that you put into your blog, in order to drum up business for whatever it is that you do for a living or hobby (of which I am guilty of doing as well).

Those ads I have no issues with, as I find that sometimes it's the easiest way to keep your name out there among the public while you're in between projects. Matter of fact, I find those intriguing enough to actually go and check them out.

As a disclaimer: I was guilty of doing AdSesne for the first four or five months of my blog. But I decided that they were more of a nuisance (at least for the structure of my blog) than anything else. Plus, I wasn't earning anything from them either.

I follow with regularity, 40 blogs and 2 websites. Of those 40 blogs, about half have some form of advertising on them. Of those half, all but two keep their advertising tasteful and pleasing to the eyes. What I mean by that, is that the ads don't deter from the distinct pleasure of reading the blog.

Of the remaining two, one has a slew of them on his, which is due to the fact that he's doing a research piece for an upcoming article about advertising on blogs. For that, I wish him nothing but the best of luck, because he had stated at the outset of his project, that he is looking to expand his horizons (and publishing credits) as a writer. In this case, the ends justifies the means.

The last one, I'm trying really hard to keep following. While it was one of the first blogs that I got hooked into 8 months ago (due to the tips on writing, etc.), it has gotten reformatted at least a half dozen times and had nothing but wall to wall advertising put onto it. While this person has stated from the outset that they're looking to maximize the income from the blog, for the average reader like me, having to wade through gobs of ads splattered throughout the main body of the blog, is fast becoming a major turn-off.

In any event, while I don't mind advertising on blogs (and more power to the people who have them), there has to be a happy medium between having just the right mix/placement and having so many of them that it detracts from the beauty of your blog content.

For the record, I do enjoy tremendously all 40 blogs and 2 websites that I follow on a daily basis, and I will continue to support them the best that I know how.

Additional note: I just want to make it clear to everyone that in no way am I slamming people for having advertising on their blogs. If you want to get the most out of your blog, by all means you should try your very best in doing so. Just because it didn't work for me doesn't mean I don't think it can't work for you. Sometimes a good mixture of professional and personal advertising can add the right touch to a blog.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Select Adjective Hypersensitivity

The Disclaimer: This post may contain semi-strong language that could offend the more sensitive eyes of the Melvin Milquetoasts of the blog world. If you're one of those, please stop reading. You'll make your face turn red with embarrassment.

About a week or so ago, a good friend of mine, Jannie Funster, made this post linking to a very funny and riotous blog called, "100 Words A Day". Right up front, she made it crystal clear that the post she was linking to contained a swear word (or what I like to call it, a "select adjective").

Apparently that disclaimer wasn't good enough for two people who dropped their subscription to her blog. From what I understand, as she explained it in a post on December 31st, they apparently objected to the content of the post she linked to. Never mind the fact that it wasn't her post to begin with, the fact that she linked to it at all is what they found objectionable.

My good readers, I can understand the fact that people may find the content to the average blog not to their liking, but they shouldn't fly off the handle and drop their perusal of said blog, just because the person linked to something that didn't like. After all, in this instance, she did put a disclaimer in, that stated quite clearly that cussing is contained in that particular post. And in her blog, she doesn't use that kind of language.

I know how strong the allure of using foul language can be in the world of blogs, because I experienced it first hand. Having come from the Topix chat rooms where foul language was explicitly forbidden (and you had to get creative if you wanted to use a particular swear word), and arriving in a online environment where anything goes, let me tell you, the power to say what you want is extremely intoxicating.

After about a few weeks or so, working in whatever swear word I wanted to say, it soon dawned on me that if I wanted to attract people to my blog, I should cut out on the filthy language. And for the most part, I did.

For starters, if I have to swear, I'll either use a text acronym or I'll simply use a one letter abbreviation. Additionally, I'll use my version of a disclaimer. Essentially, I simply state that the content of this particular may be offensive to you. If so, I'll politely direct you to the side of my blog, where there are enough inoffensive links to suit your fancy. Except I'll try to say this with as much humor as I can, as seriously as I can (see the beginning of this blog for a typical example).

It's simple, it's direct, and there is no beating around the bush. I let you know up front that the post might offend you. No more and no less.

So people, please keep in mind this one valuable reminder: Never, ever, ever shoot the messenger. If someone doesn't use select adjectives to begin with, don't throw a hissy fit if that person is simply linking to a post at another blog that uses it. It's immature, irresponsible, and shows that maybe you should go back to your crib, gather up your bottle of formula, your blankie and that you should leave the adult conversations to the adults.

Because you're sure as HELL showing everyone that you ain't no adult.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"Golden Texas Tea" (pg 23)

Debating whether or not to forcibly remove her from the area, George and Ray caught hold of a sight that left each other profoundly affected weeks later. As each began to walk towards Malibu, they observed a heavy mist hovering over the closed casket for a minute or two, and then slowly descend until it seemed to be next to the casket.

It seemed to take the appearance of a slightly older female, which then knelt down very close to Malibu. Rubbing her back and neck, the spirit was whispering in her ear for what seemed to be an extremely long time. Gradually Malibu relaxed her grip on the casket and silent sat back down on the floor.

The spirit then moved to the front of Malibu and seemed to grab her face and stroke her hair. Whispering a few more words to her, she then gave her a kiss on the cheek and waved goodbye. She then turned around to take a good long look at all the people in attendance and with a tear in her eye, vanished back to where she might have arrived from.

After the spirit had vanished, George and Ray carefully walked over to check on Malibu to see if she was alright. After being helped to her feet, she gave both of them a hug, a peck on the cheek and a gentle slap on the face. Strangely serene, she said, "Goodbye, for now." walked outside, got in her car and took off for home, never to be seen again in the public eye.

As for George and Ray, they finished helping Wanda with the receiving line for the next two days, before paying their final respects on the last day and heading home. To this day, they swear on a stack of bibles that the spirit was indeed Azalea, coming back to help calm down a close friend on the verge of a mental meltdown.

As for Walter, he never did completely recover from his head injuries. A month after his wife's funeral, he was released from the hospital, aged way more than he actually was. Going to the cemetery to pay his last respects, he was for the most part, a broken man.

Both sides of the family became united in their intense dislike of him, believing that he had contributed to the untimely death of Azalea. His ex barely spoke to him, and then only when absolutely necessary. His children despised him and for all intents and purposes, disowned him. Even the woman the he was seeing on the side at the time of his wife's death wanted nothing more to do with him.

Dispirited, he became more sullen and withdrawn, until finally he became a complete eccentric, hiding away from the public in his house. Paranoid, filthy and discontented, Walter also became engulfed in a gargantuan case of writer's block. So huge and consuming was this writer's block, that by the time we meet him eighteen months later, his output had dribbled down to nothing and he was going off on one of his thrice daily tangents about it....

Sunday, January 4, 2009

If It Ain't Broke, Fix It!


Now, doesn't that look wonderfully peaceful? It sure does to me. I received this from a chat room friend of mine who goes by the name of River Spirit earlier this year.

Definitely does lift the spirits don't it?

Now, take a deep breath, hold for a minute. Now exhale.

Ready? Got that paper bag nearby? Good. Because what I'm about say next may start you to hyperventilate.

After giving it some careful thought and mulling it over in my mind, I have decided to once again, tweak the content of my blog.

For starters, the short story post will go on a brief hiatus. I have two more stories that I would like to share with everyone, but I do want them to last for at least a year, so for the time being no more short stories until about March.

I also want to get this blog back to one of the original reasons I created it: writing. To that end, I have a few things I would like to explore. First up will be the addition of some creative non-fiction to the mix. It probably won't be flash fiction length (500 words I believe), but I will strive to keep the length under 2,000.
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Also, since I restarted my second novel, I would like to start sharing my thoughts and experiences with everyone about it. The motive behind this is two fold: 1) I would like to pick the minds of my fellow readers for advice and tidbits, and 2) I'm a notorious procrastinator when it comes to writing sometimes. While I can really churn the stuff out when my life is in a state of semi-turmoil, it is a bit harder when my life is not. I figure if I have to talk and give updates about it, this will help motivate me to write. If I can talk the talk, I should be able to walk the walk.
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Finally, I think I will be dropping the "Anger Management Issue" rants and the "Relationship" topic as well. The first one has basically run its course, mostly because ranting isn't quite my forte. Same goes for "Relationships". I have mined that to the extent of what I feel comfortable talking about, and I don't want to start getting redundant about it either.
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In place of the "Anger Management Issue" rants, will be my personal Op/Ed pieces called, "Personal Opinion". They will cover most everything else that I come across on a daily basis either in the Real World or the Cyber World. In place of the "Relationship" topic, will be everything else that I currently write about, as those topics can fill in the void left by this eliminated topic.
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I would like to thank everyone for their support of my blog for last year, and hopefully for your continued support this year.

The Legal Disclaimer

All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-17 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at georgebjr2006@gmail.com