To all my readers and followers, please keep in mind that I have now moved over to my new blog, Father Nature's Corner, so Cedar's Mountain is now on a semi-permanent hiatus.

If you're looking for the wit and wisdom that Cedar's Mountain is known for, please click on the link up above or to the right, and I promise you that you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday At G's, pt 5

Part 4

Okay, a thousand pardons for leaving everyone under the nice shady tree from last time. I didn't think that it would have taken me so long to get my act together. So without further ado, the conclusion to Sunday at G's. This particular picture, as well as others, are basically of Mother Nature during the late spring of '09. This shot is looking north down Connecticut Avenue and as you can see, the trees are just starting to bloom. To the right, you can see another funky tree like the last shot on part 4 and to the left a very nice house that is now currently on the market. This street is usually like this on the weekends, quiet and light of traffic.

I took this particular shot because I wanted to get another view of Cedar Mountain. As you can see, some of the trees are starting to show their leaves a little bit better than their counterparts in pic #1. The pink shadow in the foreground is my finger, which you will see in greater detail in the rest of the pics. Anyways, a small percentage of the time, I detour down this road as it takes me directly to the mountain, which takes me directly home. The hill at the end of the road is pretty steep and is a great cardio workout when you walk it.

The idea behind this picture was that I really wanted to a good clean shot of my thumb. Unfortunately, that pesky flag wot got hidden yonder jumped out and invaded the picture.


This shot is looking east towards Cedar Mountain. You can get a pretty good idea on what kind of view I usually get when I'm walking home from my morning errands, or driving home from work.


This shot is looking down my street and has another good view of Cedar Mountain. My street is pretty much like this year round: very quiet and very deserted.


And finally, a shot of my backyard. The little white thingy used to be deck for an above ground swimming pool. The little pond that you see, along with the small St. Francis of Assisi statue, is where the pool used to be. We took it down about four or five years ago, mostly because it became too costly to maintain (since the kids swam mostly at the campground) and it was becoming vandalized by the neighborhood miscreants. Just off to the left, is the road that runs directly next to Cedar Mountain, which is featured somewhat prominently in my short story entitled Saturday.
Well folks, I do sincerely hope that you enjoyed this little walk around my neck of the woods. It certainly was a blast having you join me on one of my weekly walks, and I sincerely hope we can do this again in the fall and winter.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What The?

Warning: this post is not about blogs in which the owner is taking a brief vacation from, or in which the real world beckons, the owner has to re-org their time, and thus posting becomes sporadic. Please keep that in mind as you read this post.

Ever have this happen to you?

Okay, got done with publishing the latest batch of comments, gave thoughtful responses to the comments and tidied up a few things on the blog. Now I think I'll go read a few blogs. Let's see, I'll go to this one....hmmm, last post was about a month ago.

Or worse, had this happen to you?

Okay, got done with publishing the latest batch of comments, gave thoughtful responses to same, and tidied up a few things on the blog. Think I'll go read a few blogs. Let's see, I'll go to this one....WTF?! It's closed?!

Yes my friends, you have just stepped into the world of "The Abandoned Blog". I'll be your guide as we navigate treacherous waters and dangerous grounds, where abandoned and orphaned blogs wait with baited breath and dull teeth, to hook the innocent reader and pull them into a world where time stands still!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
That last paragraph may sound amusing, but the overall reality of the situation is a serious and sensitive topic.

Abandoned (or orphaned) and closed out blogs.

In a strange way, I seem to have the unfortunate gift of finding blogs that become within a couple of months either orphaned or closed. I'm not really sure why that is, but I will tell you it has become as of late, incredibly frustrating.

For the most part, I do differentiate between orphaned and closed out blogs. I also differentiate between very good reasons for doing so and very bad reasons for doing so.

For orphans that I used to read, they can be broken down into two distinctive categories: 1) orphaned for a reason and 2) orphaned without a reason.

1} Orphaned for a reason: There are a few blogs that I still follow, even though they haven't been updated for awhile, simply because the blogger was kind enough to explain the reasons behind their action. This would basically be a serious re-org of one's life due to the real world economic downturn. Sometimes, when the real world beckons with a golden opportunity, you simply got to take advantage of it.

These blogs and their owners I will forever respect, simply because of the way that they handled the issue.

2} Orphaned for no apparent reason: These are the types that bother me the most. They start their blogs with enough gung-ho to feed an army, then just as quickly, they flame out. No goodbyes, no explanations, no nothing except leaving their readers in the lurch.

I actually have two followers in the collective who fit this category. The time their blogs were last updated it was Thanksgiving and Christmas 2008 (I will not provide links because I don't want to publicly embarrass them). No reason was given for the orphaning of two very good blogs, but orphaned they were. Perhaps they simply didn't have the get up and go to maintain the blog (Blogging is not for the faint at heart. It is something that you want to do. You simply can't do it at 50% and expect it to survive).

Now, closed out blogs. Believe it or not, closed out blogs fall under the same categories as orphaned blogs. Yeah I know, you're gonna say, "Bullshit." Well, hear me out on this one.

1} Closed for a reason: Now at one point I was following a couple of blogs that were closed for what seemed to be on the surface no apparent reason. One was a blog on interracial relationships and the other was someone's personal creative non-fiction blog (for lack of a cleaner description).
In regards to the first one, which was written by an incredibly talented college student, I found out through someone else's chatterbox (nifty widget you can get for your blog) that he closed it out due to being harassed and stalked on his own blog.

Sad really, if you're harassed and stalked bad enough that you close your blog to make it stop.

As for the second, she announced that she closed it out due to the rather unsettling comments she was getting on it. From what I understand, it's reopened by invite only.

And now the one thing that really irritates me.

2} When they're closed for no apparent reason. I have followed about five or six blogs that have vanished like that. I'd original found these through comments that the owners themselves had left on mine. I would investigate theirs, get hooked, then suddenly find it nuked and gone.

Bugs me to no end. I very rarely give any blogger a second chance when they nuke their blog and reopen it under another name.

I've had a total of three bloggers do that so far. All reopened under a new name. One I immediately purged when I found out that they reopened. And by purged, I'd stopped subscribing and removed links.

The other two are a bit more difficult. One has orphaned his second blog and the second nuked her second blog. I like them a lot, but I don't know if I"ll go back to them again.

If there was one piece of advice that I could give to anyone that was going to nuke their blog, it would be this:

If you're dead set on nuking your blog, please, please, please give your readers a goodbye post explaining why you're taking your blog home with you. You have a 50/50 shot of your readers understanding the why.

Also, if you plan on making your blog an orphan, please, do the same thing. Give your readers one last post explaining why. Trust me, we will understand the reasoning behind it. Shoot, we'll even take possession of it for ya and make it a group collaborative out of it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Double D's

This story is part 1 of a serial called "Persona Non Grata".
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The twins came roaring out of the desert and entered the sleepy little town of Lhaso Apso. Their Harleys belching white smoke, they pulled into the parking lot of the local chuck and puke.

Parking their bikes ass backwards, they got off and brushed the desert sand of one another. Taking their helmets off, they shook their jet black hair loose until it was hanging down to their ass. In stereo, they unzipped their jackets, put on their Texas mirrors and walked to the diner.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Click here for the full story and to leave a comment

Monday, August 24, 2009

The 4 Cats

Four men were bragging about how smart their cats were.

The first man was an Engineer.
The second man was an Accountant.
The third man was a Chemist, and
The fourth man was a CT State Employee.

To show off, the Engineer called his cat and said, "T-Square do your stuff."
T-Square pranced over to the desk, took out some paper and pen and promptly drew a circle, a square and a triangle.
Everyone agreed that was pretty smart.

But the Accountant said his cat could do better. He called his cat and said, "Spreadsheet, do your stuff."
Spreadsheet went out to the kitchen and returned with a dozen cookies. He divided them into 4 equal piles of 3 cookies.
Everyone agreed that was good.

But the Chemist said his cat could do better. He called his cat and said, "Measure, do you stuff."
Measure got up, walked to the fridge, took out a quart of milk, got a 10 ounce glass from the cupboard and poured exactly 8 ounces without spilling a drop into the glass.
Everyone agreed that was pretty good.

Then the three men turned to the State Employee and said, "What can your cat do?"

The State Employee called his cat and said, "Coffee Break, do your stuff."

Coffee Break jumped to his feet....

Ate the cookies....
Drank the milk....
Shit on the paper....
Screwed the other three cats....
Claimed he injured his back while doing so....
Filed a grievance report for unsafe working conditions....
Put in for Workers Compensation....and....
Went home for the rest of the day on sick leave....

AND THAT, MY FRIEND, IS WHY EVERYONE WANTS TO WORK FOR THE STATE.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Excerpt From My Unpublished Story Entitled "E"

Yowza.

Today's weekly installment of Flashing Georgie's Shorts will be something a little out of the ordinary.

Instead of posting a short story, I thought I would share the prologue from my unpublished chapbook entitled E with everyone.

A little background info: this was a short story originally titled Cedar Mountain Ecstasy that I started in the early spring of 2007 while I was waiting for an "agent" to sell my first book. I worked on it sporadically until the early fall of that year, when I came up with the lethal combination of writing myself into a corner and writer's block.

At that point, I put the story aside, and for the next year and a half started working on other things (blogs, other short stories, incomplete novel). Earlier in the spring of this year, I gained enough confidence in my writing ability and returned to the writing of this story.

From scratch.

Withing a month and a half, I had written my way out the corner and out of the writer's block that was created from writing myself into that particular corner. I wound up finishing the now sixty-two (up from about thirty) page story in mid April. As for the plot, I haven't quite figured that out yet. If you assumed from the original title that the book was about drugs, you wouldn't be too far off the mark. It still may be about drugs. I know, its pretty sad when a writer finishes a story and hasn't a clue on what it's about.

In any event, this particular excerpt (in fact, it's the beginning of the book) takes place in an apartment, thus the lame title The Apartment. Please let me know what you think of it.
~~~~~~~~~~
A clarification is in order. Charles Gramlich was kind enough to point out that he felt a little disoriented while reading the excerpt, because he didn't have any background info on how the various participants were connected. As it turns out, the excerpt isn't the actual beginning of the book, but is in fact, part 1 of the book. As a special bonus, I will post the prelude today (8/22) so that the excerpt that this post is connected to, will make a lot more sense.

My apologies for the apparent brain cramp.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

G's Adventures? Now! (5)

When we last left our intrepid hero, he had mailed back his revisions and was anxiously awaiting the second galley and the new cover to sent to him. The cover as you can see on the right, was done more to his satisfaction. The cover is more darker with a shade of purple thrown in, and the letters were done all in gold.
~
As for the galley, the errors were fixed, but he found two more that were a bit more obvious then the others. Since he didn't want to spend $100 bucks for fixing just two errors, he decided to let them be.
~
With everything all done to his liking, he sent his approval in. After a tense e-mail exchange with the design team over using UPS (he really don't like using those clowns) for delivering his free copy, the book never arrived*. After having a very heated exchange with the book ordering department, he was finally able to purchase 25 copies of his book to sell.
~
So without further ado, our intrepid hero presents to you the reading public, his very next book entitled:
~
BETRAYED!
~
Available, for the time being, through his book blog, Books by George! for the ridiculously low price of $7.50 (plus sales tax and no s & h). It is available at the AuthorHouse website, with it dropping at Amazon and Barnes & Noble by the middle of September.
~
I hoped you enjoyed this little journey of one man's adventures in self-publishing, and always remember that sometimes getting to the destination is just as challenging and adventurous as the destination itself.
~~~~~~~~
*Okay, here's the skinny on what exactly has gone wrong in between giving my approval and actually getting the books. I gave my approval on 7/29. The book wasn't shipped until 8/10 via UPS (which I sent back a half hour after I received it). I tried on four seperate occasions to order copies of the book, only to be told that they wouldn't do it until I had gotten my comp copy. Which makes sense, but at this point, I didn't really care because the book went live on 8/4 and so far I haven't been able to advertise the fact that it's for sale. Think about this: the book went live on 8/4 and yet I can't order a single copy because I haven't gotten my comp copy to give a "final" approval on. Wouldn't it make more sense NOT TO HAVE THE BOOK GO LIVE UNTIL THE WRITER HAS GIVEN A SO-CALLED "FINAL APPROVAL" ON THE COMP COPY??? So, on the last attempt at trying to order books (8/11) I was told I had to sign a waiver stating that I was turning down final approval of the comp copy that I haven't gotten (indemify them from me asking for my money back if the book didn't look like it was suppose to. Like I was going to spend $150 just to have them re-open the file). So after another battle to get a fax number, I wound up signing the waiver and faxing it in. Depending on the publishing date of this post, will be when I actually have copies of the book to sell to the general public.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Laziness. Simple, Pure, Unadulterated Laziness.

I'm being a bit lazy today. How lazy? Well, for one thing, I'm borrowing a great idea from Travis Erwin, so I'm digging out a few of my older posts from last year. Last year, my readership was about zilcho, or pretty close to it. At that time, I wrote a few good posts that people really didn't get a chance to read, simply because they didn't really know me that well.

I'm gonna resurrect about a half dozen posts or so, give you a brief intro to each one, and let you explore the early history of Cedar's Mountain. Feel free to leave a comment either at this post or at the original one.

Enjoy.

1} This one was a prime example by me why I hate labor unions and why labor unions are the tails that wag the collective dog known as the State of Connecticut.

2} The fear of the unknown, or rather, the fear of not living up to one's expectations was a theme that I touched on during the early months of this blog. This post is one such example.

3} Coming from the chat rooms to the blog world was something of a sticker shock to my system. It took me quite a while to get used to the freedom of saying what I wanted, when I wanted and not worrying about being censored or warned by moderators.

4} Memories.

5} Early on in my blog, one of the topics I covered was relationships. I quickly ran out of things to talk about, but I did make some extremely thoughtful posts while I was doing so. This one is what I consider to be the best of the lot.

6} Censorship. I talked about censorship a lot last year, and I managed to turn off a few bloggers while doing so. This particular one did the trick.

And finally, one about bad language. I am notorious for using foul language in both of my blogs (you already know what I do with the short story blog). With this one, I would tack on a disclaimer warning people about the content of a given post. This particular post was in response to what happened to my good friend Jannie Funster one particular week in January. It's called Select Adjective Hypersensitivity

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oh My God! G Has Just Written His 300th Post!

Yup, I done got to my 300th post on this little bitty blog.

Howdy do folks!

Today you're gonna experience a rarity: a post in which I absolutely say nothing of consequence, importance or of note.

Unlike my 200th post, in which I got a few friends from the chat rooms to stop by and write a few good/bad/strange words about me (and which nasty people in the chat rooms used for cannon fodder for insult purposes back in January/February), this time I have no all star spangled lineup waiting to pinch hit for me.

In fact, the problem I had at the time was trying to figure out what to write about for such a special occasion. When I first decided to finally sit down and write this post, I drew a blank for about fifteen minutes or so. Then an idea finally popped in my head, which was this:

HOW 'BOUT I WRITE ABOUT A DAY IN THE LIFE OF G?

So I whipped out my handy dandy pen and paper, and began writing about a day in the life of G. Well, after writing about one and a quarter pages, I said to myself, "Golly gee, this is terrible." (I actually didn't say that, but I'm trying to keep this blog unfettered by select adjectives, so work with me on this) and tore out the pages and made a couple mini paper basketballs out of them.

So back to the drawing board. A couple of hours later, after getting back from running an errand, I thought, "G, why don't you write a story about sound effects?" (not really, but refer to the previous paragraph) Righto, so I whipped out my pen and paper and did this:

TAP,TAP,TAP,TAP,TAP,TAP,TAP
BANG,BANG,BANG,BANG.
"Hold your horses, I coming!"

Plus several more stupid cliches, plus a silly hundred word story, plus a bad reference to Don Music (if you don't know, then you simply didn't watch the right kind of kiddie t.v. while growing up), plus a bad reference to Monty Python, plus worked in the following lyric:

"I'll talk to you later, I don't want to hear it again tonight, I'll just see you around."

And you know where that little ditty wound up, right?

So back to the drawing board we go.

I could write a thinking out aloud post, but I'm fresh out of ideas at the moment.
I could write a post about writing, but I already covered that in the previous post.
I could write a post about why I started blogging and all things blog related, but I worked that death here, here, here, here, and especially, here, here, here, and here.

But since I won't torture my readers with endless links to other posts within my blog (gotcha!), I will leave you with this simple revelation to look forward to:

Number 350 will be appearing on November 24th (I know, I know, it's sad, but the pattern of one post every other day makes it incredibly easy to state that the post will pop up on that day). I'll be looking for a volunteer (or volunteers) who would be willing to run amok for a post on this blog. That is your topic of conversation for the late summer and fall.

In the meantime, here's the thought for the day: If you try to fail and succeed, which have you done?

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm Thinking About Writing, Does That Count?

Time now for another leisurely writing update (like you haven't gotten enough of the writing related tangent that this blog has seamless swerved to. I promise, like a politician, to throw in a few non-writing posts for this month.). It's been pretty hectic since I last gave an update. Between trying to get my upcoming book ready and tackling things in the real world, my writing has been somewhat sporadic.

Nevertheless, this is an update post, so updating it will be. We will begin our update with the two major stories I've been working on for the summer.

1} A Lascivious Limbo: I have a little over forty-one pages written right now. However, I've been at the same spot (arriving at the airport) since early July. On the plus side, I have added thirty-one pages of new material to the story. On the other plus side, I really don't have a concrete deadline to get it done, beyond the year 2011. Which is mostly due to the fact that I got one other story already in the can.

2} Blackness In The White Sand: I've been working on this one a little bit more than the previous one, simply because I'm writing this one with pen and paper. I've averaging about one handwritten page per week, which when I transcribe to the 'puter, it comes out to about 1/2 to 3/4 of a page a week. I will say that by the end of the year, I'll give everyone a brief excerpt, so as to give you a basic idea of what I'm writing and what direction my writing is going to. Also by the end of the year, the prologue entitled "The Sand" will make its appearance at Flashing Georgie's Shorts.

3} Flashing Georgie's Shorts: After a whirlwind of writing about forty stories for the blog within the span of five months, our output has dropped considerably. I started a total of about five stories in the past month or so, but only have two completed, of which one will be a ten page short (mentioned previously here) that I will post over the course of ten weeks.

However, all is not lost. While my flash output has declined (temporarily), I have come up with the idea of doing more mini-story arcs. I've already got one going and near completion (Inner Sanctum) and got the makings of two more on deck. As you know, I like challenges, and this will be no exception. The challenge will be making the stories both unique and connecting at the same time.

And to help me along, I'm once again on the prowl for more inspiration. Got a few ideas so far, but more will be on the way.

Overall the short story blog has been going well, but I think for the upcoming year, I'm going to try and introduce longer stories (or serials if you prefer). It worked out well at this blog, so I want to give it a try there.

4} This blog: Is humming along quite well. I've been firing on all cylinders with my blog writing (go figure) and got about two weeks scheduled at any given time. As of late, most of my blog posts have been meticulously thought out enough for people to really sit up and take notice (yay!!!).

I think that covers all the main points that I wanted to cover about my writing. Everything else that I've been doing with it has mostly revolved around these four points. But I don't want everyone here to leave empty handed (you know I can't do that to my loyal readers, hanger on's and the wonderful drive-byers), so to make this a proper writing related post, I must throw in a query.

I'm looking to conclude my story arc called "The Inner Sanctum", so to that end, I am soliciting suggestions from you the reader, on how I should conclude it. The female lead was upset about something early on in the story and wanted to tell the male about it. What was the something that she was so upset about? Give it some thought and let me know. I'll be linking this post on my blogs so that you good people can leave me some ideas to work with.

And in case you need a small refresher, here are the stories in sequential order: #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In Control

A little D for your reading enjoyment

Susie was all woman and she used it to her advantage. From her petite body to her super tight ass, from her sensuous mouth to her naturally oversized boobs she was the complete package.

Hard nosed and driven, she did whatever was necessary to achieve her goals. From having certain high ranking people so completely besotted with her that all she had to do was flash her cleavage, to giving the shy son or daughter of a disposable ally their first sexual conquest, she did it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Click here for the full story and to leave a comment

Monday, August 10, 2009

How Your Exacting Standards Can Do More Harm Than Good

We all have, to varying degrees, exacting standards. Sometimes they're uniform, so no matter what the situation calls for, the standard remains unchanged. Other times, they come in multiple shades. In other words, a given situation will in turn dictate what particular standard to use.

A majority of the time, the exacting standards that we hold, helps to get the job done, and done right. But what about those times when adherence to these cause nothing but grief, consternation and the wanting of taking yourself out to the woodshed. What do you do then? Do you continue to blindly reach for the standards, no matter what the consequences? Or do you bend a little?

Today's post will serve a dual purpose: One, it will show that sometimes holding yourself to these same exacting standards that you inflict on everyone else, is at the very least, counter productive, and the most, self destructive. Two: it will show you the positive outcome of holding yourself to those same standards.

Writing, like most things that are based in creativity, lends itself very badly to exacting standards. No matter what you write, be it a short story or a blog post, applying any kind of standard beyond the bare minimum is like playing Russian roulette with four bullets: You just can't win.

Let me give you few examples of how applying one's exacting standards on one's self can potentially set you back weeks in writing. In the span of about one week, I wrote then nuked, two blog posts, that either didn't meet my standards of excellence or my standard of taste.

The first one had a catchy title, to which I'll probably use again in the future, called "The Basement of My Adultery". Whereas the title immediately implied that the content of the post was about committing adultery in the basement of my house, the reality was much more mundane.

Books. The post was about my bookcase and the contents contained within. While the idea in principle was good (what I read), the execution was fatally flawed. It started out promising, but wavered at the middle and sunk like Peppermint Patty's ability to get above a D-. In essence, it did not meet the exacting standards that I have for my writing.

The second one was a little more difficult to nuke, and in hindsight, I shouldn't had done it. What I should of done was postpone the schedule date for another week or two, in order to think about it some more.

The blog post was about controversial and tasteless music, and while it met all of my key criteria (lively, witty, well researched and provocative), by the time I finished writing it, it crossed (at least in my eyes) over from being provocative to highly offensive.

I portrayed the post as a typical conversation that a father might have with his son, if he happened to see what his son was doing, was something he didn't particularly care for.

In the conversation, I managed to skillfully weave in the following references and songs (plus a great bunch of links to boot):

1} Elvis Costello/Radio, Radio
2} The Boomtown Rats/I Don't Like Mondays
3} Ram Jam/Black Betty
4} Ledbelly/Black Betty
5} The Dead Kennedys/I Fought The Law
6} The Sex Pistols with Ronnie Biggs/Belsen Was A Gas (along with a description of a truly tasteless album cover)

After I'd gotten it completed, I started thinking about the last part of the post (The Sex Pistols) and came to the conclusion that a lot of people would find that particular reference specifically and the post in general, highly offensive. So I nuked it.

I may bring it back eventually, in some kind of other form, but for now it will remain a classic example of something not quite meeting my particular expectations.

Writing short stories is another example of something where my standards can clash with the final product. Whenever I start a story, most of the time it would go off on a rambling tangent. And more often than not, I can recover by reining it in, narrowing the focus (or rearranging the focus), then relaunch it to a satisfactory conclusion.

A case in point would be a short story that I started about week after I wrote this piece of non-fiction. I had gotten about two pages written when I reluctantly gave up on it, simply because I wrote myself into a corner. About several months later (June), having the need of another story for a planned mini-story arc (more on that in a future post), I took it out, dusted it off and after about twenty minutes of staring at it, I was able to jump start my brain and bring it to a satisfactory conclusion.

By the same token, I've had stories in which they started promising, but quickly fizzled simply because I wrote myself into a corner with no hope of getting out (have five like that, but I may be able to salvage one of them for future use).

Now that I've given you quite a few examples of how your standards can inflict near mortal wounds, this entire blog post is the positive outcome of meeting my exacting standards.

How? Well, for one thing, It took me four days to write this out because I did it with pen and paper. As most of you know, writing by hand is my preferred method of doing things. When I can, I do. When I can't, I don't. For multiple others, it is long without boring the reader to tears (in other words, informative), witty, well researched, self deprecating, thought provoking and questioning.

And most importantly, it answers the question that this entire post was about: exacting standards can be detrimental to one's writing if one treats it like O.C.D.

If not, why not?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It's Surveying Time!

To clarify for everyone: I'm not looking to do wholesale changes to the blog again. It seems like I inadvertantly touched a nerve with this post, for which I'm truly sorry. All I wanted to do is simply find out what people like about the blog and concentrate a little more on the things that people like.

Hiyas!

Today's post will be basically me asking you the reader your opinion about my blog. This morning, I got my latest blog report and the result was a little bit shocking to say the least. For the first time since late August of last year, the amount of people that choose to take the exit to Cedar's Mountain dipped below my personal Mendoza Line of 100 weekly visitors.

For those who don't know the real trivial stuff about baseball, the Mendoza Line was named after a ball player who struggled get his batting average above his actual weight. Example, if your weight was 190lbs, you wanted your batting average to be above .190

Because of that small drop in the amount of people stopping by, I decided to do a poll and ask you the reader what you would like to see a little more of in this blog. I also decided to tie in that poll with this post, since one of your choices is 'Other', and you need a place to elaborate on what that 'Other' should be.

So please, make your voice heard. Offer your opinion on what you would like to see a little bit more of in this blog. Let's actually have this blog do what it states in the second to last sentence of my profile:

What you'll experience is entirely up to the Cyber World/Real World

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wthwyt?

"I gather you're a little bit angry over what had just happened."
"Damn straight. What the hell were you thinking, doing what you just did?"
"I needed you."
"Excuse me? You needed me?"
Seeing how what I just said amped up her anger again as she quickly got ready to punch my lights out, I said,"Let me rephrase that."
"You better."

"I needed you back on Planet Earth."
"Excuse me?"
"Planet Earth. You know, the here and now. The present. Today."
"I get the point."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Click here for the full story and to leave a comment.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

G's Ultimate Chat Room Survival Guide

For those of you who are recent newcomers to my blog and thus know very little about me beyond what you read in my profile, I have spent the last two and half years (to be precise, since 2/10/07) tramping around the chat rooms, specifically, the chat rooms run by Topix. I have learned many a thing in those past two and a half years, and I would like to share a few of those things with you, so in case that should you decide to take that mammoth CyberWorld plunge into the phenomenon called "chat rooms", you'll be able to do it with eyes wide open and armed with enough knowledge to make the chat room revolve around you, instead of you revolving around it.

First off, let me tell you a little bit about myself as it applies to the chat rooms. I currently post under my former name here "Georgie B" and have been doing so since September '08. I have also posted previously under my real name (Rule #1a, don't use your real name) and under the monikers "Da Bishop" and "Cedar Mountain". I've also posted under a name called "Baby Gooey" but that got binged and purged when I got suspended for a week.

With the brief bio out of the way, let's begin at the beginning.

Rule #1b: It is only a chat room, therefore, DO NOT TAKE WHAT IS SAID IN IT SERIOUSLY. I repeat, DO NOT TAKE WHAT IS SAID IN IT SERIOUSLY. I've seen (and experienced) way too much heartache because people took what was said with 100% seriousness (did I mentioned that I got suspended for a week?). Remember, this is the Internet. Which brings us to....

Rule #2: People say things that they wouldn't dare say in real life. Some people lie, in order to build up their tiny self esteem so as to make themselves feel superior. So keep in mind when someone starts spewing unrighteous anger, dropping F-bombs, dropping other select adjectives, and saying that your momma howls at the moon on a regular basis, it don't mean diddly/squat to you.

Rule #3: Constructive debate is a good thing. You can actually learn a lot and make friends while constructively debating a topic or constructively talking about a topic. I've made a ton of friends during my time spent in the chat rooms. I have found that if you treat people the way you want to be treated (just like in real life), more often than not, they'll have your back if a particular discussion you're participating in (called a "thread" in chat room parlance) happens to turn nasty. Which leads us to...

Rule #4: Being able to control the situation 100% of the time. When a discussion turns nasty and the venom seems to hitting from all sides, don't respond in the same way. Rise above it all. Keep cool and stay the course, because if you do, the more irrational the jerks get, but more importantly, you'll get respect from others who may not agree with your point of view, but will admire what you do.

I've been able to deal with troublesome people simply by keeping my posts rational, thoughtful and respectful. Troublesome people hate that. The more rational I get, the more erratic and hysterical they get. More importantly, I can find a person's button to push with my viewpoint and hammer it home with enough efficiency to make an interrogator proud.

Case in point: Gay marriage. My viewpoint on gay marriage is that I don't believe in it. However, throughout all the debates I've participated in with it, I managed to keep my posts rational and above board. Because of it, I've had a couple people from the LGBT community compliment me on my rational posting style in the face of the vitriolic name calling/condemnation/unrighteous anger that I've gotten buried with. I simply hammer home my point without being disrespectful.
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Rule #5: If you need to fight fire with fire, do it in a way that doesn't make you look like a jerk. There have been many occasions where I had to fight fire with fire, and for the most part, they were chain saw jobs done with razor-like efficiency. I don't normally recommend doing this, but if you need to seriously reign in a nasty malcontent that is creating havoc for you and your friends, this is the way to go. First off, find that particular something that you know will set them off, and secondly, keep working it (in a respectful manner of course) until they implode.

Example (and this is one of my more memorable ones): I was dealing with a former friend who was waging a one man campaign of stupid and bothering the daylights out of me and countless others, so I thought I would give him a taste of his own medicine. I would come across him on a thread with him ranting and raving like a lunatic about some perceived slight, so I would let loose with a nasty insult post (eventually, it would just become a couple of lines) and would close it out with the most tasteless comment I could come up with. I won't tell you what I said, because I don't want to give anyone the impression that I actually approve of what I said then, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I will only say that it touched such a major nerve in this person that I believe to this day he has never really forgiven me for the comment.

Rule #6: Keep your friends close by not giving them too much ammo. I know that this sounds really strange, but if you want to stay friends with the people you meet, don't give them too much personal info. Only give them what you're willing to share with everyone else online, because you can never tell what that person is really like in the real world. I've seen firsthand, the total destruction of people's personal lives, simply because one party got offended over an imagined or real slight, and decided to get even by using info that was given to them in confidence. Even had it done to me, although on a smaller scale. To this day, I'm very leery of what might happen to me with some of the leftover info that former friends still have on me.

Rule #7: Don't be afraid to report someone to the moderators. Seriously, if you're being stalked, harassed or made to look like fool (trust me, there are ways), report the troublesome person. The moderators do pay attention to complaints. They give you helpful links to their complaint form and have step by step instructions on how to do it. Just don't spend the $19.99 for the rush service. They'll do the job without you spending the money.

So my friends, if you remember these seven golden rules for the chat rooms, then you'll always have a decent time participating in this or any other chat rooms.

And, if you want to get a basic idea on how not to behave in a chat room, this particular post from the early days of my blog is a excellent starting point. If you read the entire series (located under the tag "Topix"), you'll get a very good representation on one person's experiences in the chat rooms, self-inflicted and otherwise.
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A brief postscript: If you want a good demostration on how the above rules are being applied, please take note of the conversation I'm having with a friend of mine from the chat rooms in the comment portion of this blog. Right now, rules #4 & #5 are being applied with great gusto in regards to the aforementioned topic mentioned in rule #4 (gay marriage). For better or worse, what we're talking about is typical behavior in the chat rooms.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Book Review: "Dad, Me and Muhammad Ali" by Felix Manuel Rodriguez


As most of you know (or not if you're a recent visitor to my humble blog), this past spring I started doing the occasional book review of select titles of adult fiction/non-fiction. The closest I ever got to doing a review of a YA/Juvenile fiction title, was a tongue planted firmly in cheek review of Alice in Wonderland.

Today's review is a little bit out of the ordinary, as it will be on a self-published Juvenile fiction book, entitled Dad, Me, and Muhammad Ali by Felix Manuel Rodriguez. The reasons why I chose to do a review of a self-pub book is as varied as it is interesting.

First off, I would like to state that I find Felix a very warm and engaging person. I can attest to this simply because Felix and I work for the same government agency and have on occasion crossed paths during my three year stay.

I first found out that Felix was writing a book earlier in the spring when he asked me a few questions about my self-pub book and my experiences with self-publishing. We chatted for awhile about his book and mine, before parting ways.

Fast forward to June. Felix's book came out to great fanfare, so he took a couple of hours of vacation time to hold a book signing at work, selling autographed copies (of which he donated a portion of the total sales to charity) and worked the small but steady stream of visitors to his table (of which I was one). I picked up a copy and as I usually do with most new books I acquire, I read a couple of pages on my way back to my cube.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I had promised Felix when I purchased the book that I would read it and write a review on my blog. Somehow, things came up and I didn't quite get the chance to start it. However, Felix happened to stop by one afternoon and asked me my opinion on it. I told him that I didn't get a chance to read it yet, but I would bring it home that very night to read.

If you've ever experienced state government on any scale (DMV for example), you know that Murphy's Law is a given. As it so happens, less than twenty minutes after Felix stopped by for a visit than our wonderful payroll system crashed. With time on my hands, I took out the book and began reading it on my break. I finished it thirty minutes later.

The book clocked in at ninety-three pages in an easy to read format (double spaced) specifically designed for the pre-teen. The story is of a son who was playing around in the house with his sister and accidentally damages his father's most prized possession: an autographed picture of Muhammad Ali, and then his unique adventure in trying to secure a replacement for it.

The illustrations for the book are superb and are an excellent introduction to each chapter. Felix's writing style is incredibly warm and he truly puts you in the boy's shoes so that you can feel every emotion, from his sadness over what he did, his sense of optimism over a possible solution, and finally to the happiness he experienced from accomplishing the goal that he set out to do.

This is truly a story for all ages really, not just for the 'tweens. What made this story so refreshing and unique was that for the most part, it happened to Felix. In my opinion, the book isn't so much Juvenile fiction than perhaps Juvenile creative non-fiction.

In addition to it being a very well written story, it was also well researched, as it has an excellent bibliography to it. If you happen to be a bit of a sports nut, or if you want to teach your child about one of boxing's more dynamic individuals, the book also contains a very nice chart on Muhammad Ali's boxing career and a nifty quiz on things about Ali, complete with a certificate.

Felix is among other things, a member of the Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators, a boxing inspector, a vice-president of a local human service organization, a child welfare worker and most importantly, a proud father of two. This is his first book and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has children and is looking for a good first book for them to read.

Dad, Me and Muhammad Ali can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Iuniverse.com (in both soft and hard cover). Please check out his cool website: http://www.dadmeandali.com/ for more info on Felix and his book, which includes a small excerpt from the book.
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Update: Here is a link to another review that was posted on Boxing News Magazine (UK).
Update (9/13/09): Here is a link to another review that was posted on Que Pasa Magazine.
Update (11/11/09): A link to a short interview done by Jill Dearman for the Barnes & Noble Book Club called "Unabashedly Bookish".
Update (12/4/09): A link to a very well produced video trailer for the book. Click here to view.
Update (2/3/10): A link to an award presented to Felix Rodriguez by Mom's Choice Award and a link to an interview done by Desiree Fontaine of WTNH Channel 8 (New Haven CT)
Update (5/3/10): Felix is now available for speaking engagements and his book is now available at the Muhammad Ali Center.

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) 2008-16 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