Sunday, July 31, 2011

Picture Me As A Melted Chocolate Bar

Yeah, it's been a brutal weekend. Went out to dinner with the wife on Thursday and paid an extremely heavy price for it on Friday (can you say in your best Fred Rogers voice, high blood sugars boys and girls?). Sort of recovered by Saturday morning but again paid another heavy price due to the fact that I went to a b'day party at my brother's house in Thomaston (about an eighty mile/two hour round trip drive) and ate late and heavy.

So Sunday is being spent as a lethargic drooling Homer Simpson type of clone, dreaming of cooler days and a full head of hair.

While I can't bring back the full head of hair unless I use spray on hair, I can bring back those cooler days. Specifically, those cool brutal days of winter, with part four of Now That's Winter!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Joy! The 700 Club!

I have seen the light! I have arrived at the oasis that the Almighty Schwartz has created for me, looked around at all of my fellow brothers and sisters and said those word that they longed to hear, for birds of a feather really do flock together.

"Where's the beer? Where's the keg? Where's the nachos?"

Gotcha.

The 700 club that I'm talking about is the one that not too many bloggers can hit nowadays. To hit 700 means that you had perseverance to stick with a blog through whatever obstacle and challenges that life had to throw at you.

For some people, reaching 700 total blog posts for one blog isn't that big of a deal, simply because they can reach that many in less than a year. For someone like me, 700 represents an incredible milestone that will, in all likelihood, never be duplicated again.

For those of you who may be Johnny-Come-Lately to this blog, I have a mild form of ADD, although back in my childhood it was called hyperactiveness. I have touched upon this subject from time to time, not as an excuse to not do anything but more as something to which I struggle to keep dormant and out of my life.

Because of this wonderful "gift", I've struggled with having patience and the wherewithal to stick with something for any kind of length of time longer than six months (marriage and work very notable exceptions, sitting at 22 years and 15 years respectively).

Writing is one example of this perseverance. Because I have such high standards for myself, I always expect to be very good at something within two or three months. If it doesn't happen, I stop and try something else.

When I started to write back in 2006, I had the same stubborn mentality, which as some of you may or may know culminated in self-pubbing a very mediocre novel. But nevertheless, I persevered and kept on writing, simply because it was something I wanted to do. A good friend suggested I move to the blogs from the chat rooms so as to pursue my dream of writing in earnest.

Blogging helped me build up my confidence and discover other blogs that gave me the nudge that I need to get off my lazy ass and really crack down on my writing. Slowly but surely, I improved my writing. I opened and closed a short story blog, met other writers who gave me excellent feedback and by 2011, I had a modicum of success with two short stories published (scroll back up for the links).

Blogging pretty much paralleled by writing. Not only did I have to practice and tweak my blog content, but I had to painstakingly build up my readership as well. Which meant putting myself out there for the world to see which meant "trolling" other blogs so that other would be curious enough to stop by. And in order to get people to not only stop at my blog to check it out but also to return after that initial visit, I had to produce content that was not only interesting to me but interesting to others as well.

Like most endeavors that I choose to partake in, I completely immersed myself. I started off on a punishing pace of two posts per day every other day, which lasted about 4 months. The next phase consisted of one post per day every other day. That lasted until early 2010, when I decided that burnout was becoming such a real possibility that I needed to change things up toot sweet.

That change became a M-W-F posting schedule with more often than not a non-meaty Sunday post.

Throughout the past thirty-eight months, I have been blessed with a seemingly bottomless well in which all kinds of topics, ideas and themes can be endlessly touched upon.

I am incredibly proud of the fact that I managed to write 700 post that contained about 99 1/2% original content. I look forward to doubling up that amount, but since it took me thirty-eight months to reach that total here, I'll be happy if I can hit 800 posts by the end of the year.

Realistically, I'll be happy no matter what my output totals, because doing this blog helps me enjoy not only the little things in life but has opened my eyes and caused me to look at the world with a clarity that I never really had before.

Blogging.

One of life's guilty little pleasures.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm Outdoors People

Way too busy this week (finally got the writing bug back, among other things) to write a well crafted paean to writing today, so I thought I would do the next best thing:

Torture everyone with a video!

However, before I do that, I would like to give everyone a short update on Line 21. I e-mailed a submission to a particular publisher about a week and a half ago, and instead of the standard auto-response saying that they received it, I got a very nice and thoughtful personal response from the editor thanking me for the submission and said that he had enjoyed my short story "Cedar Mountain" that was featured at Beat To A Pulp.

And now, the video!



This is post #699

Monday, July 25, 2011

Reading: 2nd Best Form Of Escapism

Hey-lo!

I thought I would be next in line to borrow a book meme from the bestest blog guy from the other side of the pond. There are lots of bestest blog guys and gals in my tiny little world, but Joey is the bestest from where he's from.

With giving the proper credit safely out of the way, we can now move on to one of my favorite forms of escapism. Without further ado, I bring you a little bit more about myself that you may not have known (if that's possible).

What have you just read? I've just finished reading the book Blood Hunter by Sidney Williams. This little piece of pure creepiness was recommended to me by another regular reader of mine a few months ago and even though I mentioned in a previous post that it made my head spin at times, when I sat back down with the intention of spending about twenty minutes or so reading it, I grossly miscalculated. I spent the next hour or so finishing the book because it kept me spell bound the rest of the way through.

What are you reading now? Arson by Estevan Vega. I wrote about this a week ago, so I've been reading it on my break at work. I haven't read YA in decades, so I'm a bit confused about whether or not what I'm reading is considered to be normal writing for YA. I will give him credit for his characterization though. He has one main character that is thoroughly loathsome and one completely sympathetic.

Do you have any idea what you'll read when you're done with that? Possibly. I have The Covered Wagon and Night Brothers in the queue.

What books did you read as a child? Gobs and gobs of non-fiction, be it pop culture or historical/biographical.

What's one book that you always recommend to just about anyone? None. I usually keep my opinions about books to myself (cough, cough, COUGH).

Admit it, sadly the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis don't they? Nope. Only at the State Library, where I'd worked from 1996 thru 2003, and the only perk I get from that is that I can bypass the metal detector about 50% of the time.

Is there a book that you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don't like it at all? Books that I find interesting (for example, comic strip compilations featuring Bloom County) people give me a seriously weird look.

Do read books while you eat? Absolutely. However, I make an exception for certain types of true crime books (like anything that has to do with forensics for example), because quite frankly, some of that stuff can be a real stomach churner.

While you bathe? I don't take baths, just showers.

While you watch t.v. or movies? Never.

While you listen to music? Never.

While you're on the computer? Normally, I just read e-zines and blogs on the computer. However, I did read this book and left this opinion about it.

What's the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good that you couldn't put it down? Last year I started exploring other genres of fiction in earnest. I found a book by Erica Kennedy called Feminista. Even though it was an interracial romance, the book was such a page turner that I spent about twelve hours spread out over two days (Saturday and Sunday) reading it. Excellent book and I highly recommend it.

Has any books made you cry? Sadly (no pun intended), no. I've experienced a full range of emotions while reading, but never had a book that put me into tears after I'd finished reading it.

This is post #698

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Picture Me Annoyed In Connecticut

That's right.

Annoyed in Connecticut.

For those of you who were smart enough to skip Friday's post (sorry 'bout that, but from time to time, I have a real need to rant about local politics), consider this short paragraph an addendum. In addition to the guv'nor telling the union lapdogs how to clarify his...umm...the concession plan, we are now voting to give back the raises that will appear in our paychecks next Thursday.

With that bit of irritating news out of the way, I now bring you part three of "Now That's Winter!" for your enjoyment.

This is post #697

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Rank & File Ain't No One's Lap Dogs

We interrupt the light humor, witty banter and sharp repartee that is the hallmark of Cedar's Mountain with a major reality check.

For those of you who chose not to follow politics, be it on the national, state, or local level, simply because its too damn depressing, Connecticut managed to become one of the top e-mailed stories from the New York Times website (I don't read the Times, but a good friend of mine pointed this out to me the other day). Why? The "why" is due to the incredibly sloppy handling of the budget and the labor concessions package that the guv'nor and the union leadership is trying to ram down the collective throats of the rank and file.

In the guv'nor's infinite wisdom, he decided early on that to balance a $2 billion dollar budget, the 45K+ state employees that work for him should bear the brunt of the "shared sacrifice". No reduction in expenditures (oh my god, fiscal responsibility!), nor serious cuts in municipal aid (oh my god, no junkie fix!), nor other fiscally prudent ideas (oh my god, toll bridges! you mean people shouldn't be allowed to travel for free?) should be implemented.

So his office and the State Employee Bargaining Action Committee (aka SEBAC) negotiated a concessions package that they deemed to be good, and presented it to the rank and file, as well as the masses and the biased media. The patted themselves on the back and congratulated themselves on a job well done, figuring that rank and file would overwhelming approve a package that included a four year no layoff proviso.

However, there was a small problem with their assumption.

What problem, you may ask?

Problem is called "thinking for one's self". Seems that upon closer examination, the package had a rank smell that would offend B.O. Plenty. Instead of having concessions like a shorter work week and more furlough days (both of which were being floated around by the rank & file), they had things like a higher retirement age, more years to work for a hazardous duty retirement, and most importantly, turning our health insurance benefits into something along the lines of ObamaCare and low cost health insurance for people who weren't poor enough for Medicare.

So the rank & file did research and asked questions. The union leadership attempted to answer the questions by not really answering the questions, which in turn got the rank & file upset. When it came time for voting though, the union leadership still thought it would pass.

And technically, it did. 57% voted in favor of approval. However, due to the bylaws that stated that 14 of the 15 bargaining units that represented at least 80% of the workers must approve it, it failed.

Shocked that the rank & file would reject such a "generous" concession package, the guv'nor went through with his promise of layoffs. So layoff notices went out a week ago today.

Shocked that the rank & file would reject such a "generous" concession package, the union leaders met to discuss changing the bylaws so that a simply majority would be needed to pass something.

You know where this is headed, right?

Correct! The replay of Gore/Bush 2000 was executed and a REVOTE is currently being scheduled for the previously rejected concession package.

But wait, it gets better! Because of this craziness and the tunnel vision being applied by the powers that be, you have:

1} Members of the rank and file who are livid because they feel that they're being chastised and punished for voting what was best for them and their family.

2} Members of the rank and file who have absolutely no confidence in their union leadership because they're playing all kinds of games in trying to get this concession deal passed (which btw, won't affect the union leadership because none of them are state employees)

3} A possibility that the REVOTE will not take place. In the days leading up to the union leaders meeting to accept the vote/change the bylaws, certain statements came out of the guv'nor's office that were interpreted as, "if you do this, then we will do this". Which some people might be inclined to call that "tampering" and those very same people might be tempted to file a lawsuit espousing that very same belief.

And finally:

4} You have Connecticut looking like one big fat joke because it can't get its act together and that it's giving everyone another fine example of why people think that public sector labor unions are evil.

And I'm sure you're asking me what's my take on all this. Well, as a taxpayer, I'm pretty much appalled by the concessions that are being offered because I believe it doesn't really help solve the economic recession that will be lasting an abnormal amount of time compared to other states. I also believe that the state desperately needs to be downsized. As state worker, I'm kind of pissed that I'm being forced to vote again in order to potentially save my fellow co-worker's jobs. Call me callous, but after experiencing first hand all of this layoff crap back in 2003 and having no one being concerned enough to save my job then, I'm really not in the mood to save someone else's job.

Welcome to my world.

Be very, very afraid.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Drawn And Quatros

Sometimes I think, life is just a rodeo. The trick is to ride and make it to the bell.


Lately, writing to me has felt a lot like the opening lyric to "Rock & Roll Girls". If you substitute 'life' with 'writing', it pretty much sums up the death of a thousand paper cuts that I'm going through with my writing.

I started off 2011 with a basic plan: submit LINE 21 to the publishing masses (be they agents or publishers) and continue working on DANDELION TEARS. For the first four months, it worked out pretty well. I did a few submissions and added a few thousand words to my latest project.

However, when summer rolled around, I some how, some way, deviated from the plan. Once I got the last of my agent rejections, I stopped submitting my novel, and it wasn't because of the rejections accrued (long gotten used to that). I think it was more to the fact that when I decided to start submitting directly to the publishers it meant that I had to create multiple re-formatted versions.

So I found myself in the type of quandary that I did when I was creating my query letter and synopsis. If you recall, it took me about a month or so of poking and prodding myself until I finally said, "F this!", sat down at my computer and hammered out three rough drafts of each and then the final product.

Not really wanting to face the inevitable just yet, I put that issue on the back burner and turned my attention to my writing.

Ummmm, yah.

Problem: I gradually lost the incentive and the drive to write DANDELION TEARS. Solution: work on something else. Sounds ridiculously simple, but in my world, it wasn't. I pulled A LASCIVIOUS LIMBO out of my container of unfinished stuff and made another attempt at writing. Since I found myself in with the same problem as before (needing to write a wake, a funeral, a suicide and a semi-HEA ending), I decided to do the next best thing: apply all 108 pages of editing notes to the manuscript and print out a fresh copy.

Yay.

While that needed to be done, I still had the problem of not writing. Now I don't know about you, but the last fresh and completed story that I wrote was about a year ago this month, when I applied the last of the edits to LINE 21. Going a whole year without writing something to completion to me is like riding a bull to seven and a half seconds and then being tossed off.

So I came up with the semi-original idea of tweaking a few of my old stories (all of which I wrote and completed in 2009) in the vain hope of trying to get them published. I did succeed with one of my stories that I wrote during Halloween week 2009, so buoyed with that success, I tweaked another one and submitted that to the same e-zine that published my previous one.

Still left me with the same problem: no original writing. Try as I might, whenever I sat down to work on A LASCIVIOUS LIMBO, I was still faced with the daunting task of writing what I needed to write in order to finish it. At this point, the original story that was serving as an outline had fulfilled its purpose as there were only four pages or so left to use and I've read them so many times that I got the damn thing memorized.

At this point, you can probably guess that I'm doing everything under the sun to avoid opening the file to work on my book. I did complete a chapter prior to all of this pathetic nonsense, but now I'm stuck. No writer's block, just stuck.

I'm almost ready to cry Uncle Elizabeth and simply resign myself to the fact that no original writing is gonna ooze from pen any time this year. But I do have one more trick pony up my sleeve.

Mr. Grainger was kind enough to forward me a PDF file of his fantastic e-chapbook called "The Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles" last week for me to peruse and partake at my leisure. Which is what I did last weekend, and I so thoroughly enjoyed it that I promised to write a review of it. Hopefully writing a review of his e-chapbook will somehow provide the nudge that will allow me to start writing again.

After all, writing original offbeat prose has gotten me to where I am today and I would hate to think that 2011 winds up becoming my Waterloo because I wasn't able to think of anything original to write about.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Almighty Weekend!

Or rather, my weekend.

Usually my Monday posts are somewhat on the strange side, so I thought that for today I would give this blog a reality check.

No, not the Bill O'Reilly version (yes, I know that some of you don't like Bill. That's okay. I'm a Republican, so I like listening to people who actually know how to accept blame when things go wrong), but my version of reality, which at times can scare people.

Anyways, I thought I would bloviate on what I did this weekend. Ready? No, you don't have to fasten your safety belt if you don't want to. Just think of this post as an old-fashioned car that didn't have seat belts. Hit a bump, bounce all over the car. So, are you ready? No, you can't back out. Ready?

Friday

When I'd pulled into the driveway at five o'clock, shutting off the engine was a capper to an extremely stressful week, as layoff notices were given out the day before and the day of. So it was my intent to enjoy the weekend as much as humanly possible. I officially kicked off the weekend by going to the restaurant that is featured both in my avatar and the front page for supper. Got a cheeseburger with ketchup and small order of hand cut fries for the wife and a PBR (pickles, bacon and ranch) dog with locally grown potato salad.

After eating supper, I goofed around on the computer for about an hour or so, then attempted to watch something on the boob tube. No, not boobs, which would've been more interesting than what was on (trust me gang, when your viewing has dwindled down to RFD-TV, you know nothing ain't on). So I went outside to relax and enjoy the summer evening.

Well sir, my evening consisted of the following: watching a beautiful sunset, listening to a concert from The Extravaganza drift in, listening to the dull roar of the traffic drift in, and finally, listening to the symphony that is the mountain warm up then let loose. Oh yeah, listening to the interior of my brain empty itself out. Yes, it does happen and you do enjoy it when it happens to you.

Saturday

Saturday started off like any other normal Saturday, in that I walked to the center to perform my morning errands. It was sunny, it was breezy, but most importantly, it wasn't humid. Which was a very good thing, since my goal that day was to visit the Extravaganza.

I decided to do this thing sans camera, simply because I have two cameras on deck that need to be developed and I didn't want to deal with a third just yet. So after yet again walking to the center and having an expense lunch at Subway and after having an unfortunate detour some three hundred yards from the entrance (I'll elaborate on this in the Sunday section), I walked into the park.

I immediately started wandering through the rides, the petting zoo, and the vendor booths. As I made my way through the third lane of booths, a large canvas display briefly caught my eye as I walked by a particular booth. I stopped about fifteen feet past, gave it another hard look, then went back to check out the vendor. Turns out that the vendor was one that I haven't seen in my years of going to the Extravaganza.

An author.

So when I stopped by this table, Estevan Vega started talking up his latest book called "Arson". He explained how it was a paranormal story about a kid who has the ability to make and use fire. We got to chatting a little bit more and I asked the inevitable question about YA, to which he answered that he started writing the book as adult fiction, but he then decide he wanted to connect with readers of his own age (he was 17 when he first started this book), so it became something of a YA book that straddled the line of adult fiction. In spite of my feelings about YA, I decided to take a chance on supporting a local author (he is from East Haddam and the book uses that town as its main setting), and purchased a copy of "Arson", which is volume 1 of an upcoming series. BTW, this is Estevan's third published book and he is currently attends college.

I spent another twenty minutes or so wandering around the rest of the vendors before deciding to head home. Even though it was yet again a cloudless sunny day, the temps were thankfully in the hi 80's/lo 90's for the day (If you remember last year, I bitched about the temps being in the lo triple digits), so the walk home was leisurely if not completely comfortable. The rest of the afternoon was spent vegging out in the front yard, vegging out on the computer and basically doing no writing (boo).

Sunday

Sunday was spent recovering from about seven miles worth of hard walking and a nasty tumble that I took in front of the library. What happened was that my foot caught the edge of the sidewalk, I turned my ankle, then fell down. Fortunately enough, I was able to roll myself out of serious harm, so I came to stop sitting on my butt. After briefly checking for scratches on my knees, I stood up and hoped that no one saw me. Why? Falling on town or state property is not what its cracked up to be. 'Nuff said.

Anyways, I checked my insulin pen to make sure it wasn't broken and ditto for the phone. I checked the rest of my body and save for a sore shoulder when I jammed it against the sidewalk, I continued on my merry way.

Everything came home Sunday morning. I woke up with two sore legs, two very sore feet (aggravated a possible broken/severely bruised toe from a couple of weeks ago), one very sore hip (landed hard on the insulin pen) and a very sore left shoulder (note, concrete does not give). I spent most of the day walking around like a severely plastered immature adult that you see on reality t.v., recovering from the excessive amount of liquid vitamin D, did my laundry (yay), did my grocery shopping (yay) and basically made an attempt at writing. I also stopped feeding the birds, simply because I'm in the process of mentally reconfiguring where I want the bird feeders and what I want for bird feeders.

Overall, my weekend was a goody for me. I decompressed, forgot about the real world for a while and focused on me.

And how was your weekend?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Picture Me A Toasted Pop Tart

No, I'm not speaking metaphysically or philosophically, I'm speaking physically non-mentally. I spent Saturday toasting myself to a golden brown color with just a hint a red. The how and why will be elaborated on Monday.

Today we're spending the day executing the duties of the day-to-day drudgery that is life, which in this case is grocery shopping and laundry washing.

Yay.

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure and to make you forget about the high double/triple digit weather you might be suffering through in your neck of the woods, I present to you part two of "Now This Is Winter!"

Friday, July 15, 2011

Your Unofficial Guide To Home Tutoring (7)

And finally, the very last part of Your Unofficial Home Tutoring Guide by Dean Davis, animal wrangler extraordinaire. This last part, is in my opinion, the funniest, the freakiest, the most mind boggling incident that I had the pleasure of reading.

However, if due to circumstances beyond your control you can't get to there from here, I do have a more than ample substitute of a post for you to peruse here on Cedar's Mountain.

I have been blogging now for just a shade over three years and I would like to say that not only has it been a blast to do, but it has been beyond a shadow of a doubt, the best thing that has ever happen to me.

I have been fortunate enough to be blessed with readers, followers and friends who have found the various musings that have poured forth from my brain interesting and stimulating enough to return on a regular basis. Without the support of fantastic people like all of you, I would be still spinning my wheels hip deep in a mud bog located mere inches from the roadway trying to figure what to do with myself beyond simply working and dealing with friends via the e-mail and the telephone and writing incedibly bad prose.

You have made all of my struggles, all of my self doubts and my occasional bouts of aloneness in a crowd more bearable and gave me the platinum balls to look within myself and say, "Hey, I can deal with whatever swerve that life wants to throw at me with a shrug, a raised eyebrow and a razor sharp retort!"

For that, I am truly thankful. I am also truly thankful for what you do and say, not only here, but at your own blogs as well. Your comments and your blogs have brought to me at times, a twinkle to my eye, a smile to my face and yes, even a sadness to my heart. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me the privilege of observing and sometimes participating in what you say on your blog.

Not only are we the sum of all the parts of our family, but we are the sum of all the people who have touched us in some small way as we confidently put one foot in front of the other.

I like to think that I'm the total sum of my family plus my friends, no matter where they may be.

May there be peace in your soul, love in your heart, and tranquility no matter what life happens to throw at you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Sat Down...

..one sunny, comfortable and exceptionally fine Sunday morning outside in my usual writing spot, with the intent of soaking up the sun, the warmth, and the breeze, so as to mix them all together and apply them to my creativity in action.

And as usual, a multitude of things (including this post), conspired to prevent me from exercising my creativity in action. First and foremost, I refilled the bird feeder and refreshed the birdbath.

Major mistake.

Instead of getting some natural peace and quiet, which in this case would simply be the harmonious and melodic voices emanating from the mountain, I instead got the incessant squawking of a tiny group of bird arguing at the bird feeder. As for the birdbath, I watched a cardinal, and two robins take a rather noisy bath.

Yay.

Eventually things did quiet down enough for me to crack open my rough draft, briefly take a look at what I wrote this past Saturday (7/9) to finish a chapter (not an easy thing to do), make some edits, then turned to the previous chapter so that I could work on figuring out what I needed to do, which was lay the groundwork for one of the two climaxes.

However, if you think dealing with feathered friend interruptus is difficult, try dealing with people interruptus. And no, I'm not talking about the normal family/innocent bystander kind of people. I'm talking about the kind of people in which you always have to have an ear out for.

As some of you may know, I live between 2 group homes for the developmentally disabled. Due to the natural hyper-vigliance that is today's world, one has a tendency to be aware of possibly unnatural sounds coming from elsewhere. And you become acutely aware of those same sounds when you have one, lots of children in the neighborhood, and two, developmentally disabled people living in the neighborhood.

So when you start hearing screaming or the raising of those particular voices, you have a tendency to stop what you're doing and concentrate on whether or not the people connected to those voices are in trouble.

Sound really does carry here, so it becomes quite easy to figure out what's going on, and thus whether or not you should be concerned. Fortunately, there have been no incidents in which other steps had to be taken. Just the same, it does make it difficult at times to tune out your surroundings so that you can write.

Like I said, I cracked open my rough draft to do some writing, but once again fate intervened to prevent me from doing anything beyond writing this blog post.

Now I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm a bit weird when it comes to writing. I really don't mind listening to the natural sounds of the neighborhood and the mountain while I write. Call it my white noise, if you will. However, I do mind when people are in the general vicinity of me.

Like 2 yards.

When I write, I truly like to be alone. I don't like people being closer than 5 yards to me. Which means if I'm in my den, I'm comfortable with people being as close as the first floor to me. I'm not comfortable with people being in the same room with me. Even if I shut the door to my den, I still have problems.

At this point, I'm sure that you're able to figure out that someone is within the general vicinity of me. Which of course means that the only writing I've been able to do is this blog post.

Yay.

Not sure what kind of point I'm making with this post, or even if there is a point to begin with. I guess you can call this a random oriented type of tangential post that was designed to simply bloviate like a talking head on a vapid news program that deals in factoids, drama, hyperbole and a thesaurus.

In any event, this was a Writing Wednesday post. My name is G, and it's a given that I approve this string of nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives and other types of grammar for your enjoyment.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Read What I See

I thought for 2day, I would share with you some of my thoughts about my recent book purchases from B&N.

To refresh your memories, I'd asked for suggestions from everyone as to what I should buy for books.

Out of the four book that I'd purchased, I've read two and these two are what I'll be offering my opinion on. I will offer my opinion on the other two as well at the very end of the post.

1} The Devil At Large: Erica Jong on Henry Miller

This book was highly recommended to me by a regular reader of mine, so I thought I would take a chance on it. Normally, I don't read Erica Jong, but I have heard of Henry Miller, so I thought that this would be a nice intro to the both of them.

Unfortunately, I gave up about one-quarter to one-third of the way through. I guess the main reason why I did was that the writing was just a little too dry and cerebral for my tastes.

About 20 pages in I actually had to force myself not to jump whole sections just to see if anything of note or interest was going to happen.

I'm sure that Erica Jong is a good writer, but it felt like I was reading a psychological case history that was written by a doctor who was overly intertwined with their patient.

I won't tell you not to buy it, because you should get multiple opinions about a book before making a decision, but I will say that this book didn't leave that good of an impression on me.

2} Beat To A Pulp: Round 1

This book was highly recommended by dozens of people for the past year and a half, and this was going to be one of my primary purchases this year.

For the most part, I did enjoy this anthology. It was a blast reading some of the stories the second time around and some of the other stories the first time around, since there were short periods of time when I wasn't able to read the e-zine.

To answer your question, the reason why I said 'for the most part' was that there were two stories that I didn't like.

One was a story called "The Unreal Jesse James". I wasn't too keen on it the first time around, so I completely skipped it the second time around.

The other was "Acting Out", which started out with great promise, but became so convoluted and disjointed in such a short period of time that I skipped to the last page of the story and started reading backwards to see if I could make any sense out of it.

End result was an epic fail for that story.

Overall the book is a great intro to the concept of the short story and definitely a refreshing change of pace to the overly literary and painfully cerebral short stories that seem to be force fed down the collective throat of the general public (yes, I've read way too many literary journals, and I suspect that for a good percentage of the reading public, that is the only way they get their short story fix). If you're not overly familiar with the short story genre, then this book is a great place to start.

Now, as for the other two books that I bought: Blood Hunter and Night Brothers, the main reason as to why I haven't read them yet is pretty simple.

Lack of down time at work. Work has been rather chaotic and tense for the past month or so, so I really haven't had the time to make any kind of inroads on my reading. I have gotten about 90 pages into Blood Hunter and even though the jumping around makes me scratch my head at times, the story itself has kept me entertained. As soon as I can find some quiet time, I'll try to complete it. When I do, the other will be cracked open and read.

Reading.

Great way to burn a few brain cells. Try it some time. Who knows, maybe you'll become smarter than the people who'd hired you in the first place.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pictured Me Knackered

So I'm taking a leisurely siesta underneath the golden desert cacti sitting next to my humble adobe today. I gots my tequila, my beach chair, and my little kiddie pool to keep me calm, cool and cliched.

While I may be dreaming of juice and making out in a dark hallway, I haven't forgotten about you. For its you, you, only you and I know what I want and I'm sure I can get it.

But if I can't see my way clearly now even though the rain is gone, at least the obstacles are out of my way. Which allowed me to not only write this short piece of free form nonsense featuring lyrics to songs that I've forgotten two of three titles to (the one remembered: "Down" by 311), but will allow me to say that my daughter skated to "Cotton Eyed Joe" Saturday and won a gold medal.

Oh  yeah, one more thing: A brand new series at Shooting Suburbia called, "Now This Is Winter In Connecticut!"

Enjoy!

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Gots Ramblin' On Mys Mind And Happy Feets Fo My Shpirit!

Considerin' it's Friday and the start to yet another lost weekend, because the band was too slick and the people were twisted.

So I followed my heart's desire and asked why me? There must be a thousand other guys and there must be a way to look good in your eyes.

But if I did look good in your eyes, would you hold it against me, or would you tell me to shove off because it's four oh three and you can't sleep without him next to you. Furthermore, what about him? You'll have do without him or do without me. Or at least, without my pina colada which I won't get caught in the rain without.

I tell ya, the things we do for love, is simply taking care of business, if not every day, then it surely does get closer because love is a little stronger.

So tell me, did Venus blow your mind?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In case your brain is already shutting down in anticipation of a fantastic and relaxing weekend, the following artists were used in the preceding little ditty:

Train; 10cc; The Guess Who; Buddy Holly; Rupert Holmes, Shinedown; Planet P; The Tubes
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yes, it's the return of free form nonsense. What's free form nonsense, you might ask? Free form nonsense is when I have nothing of reasonably intelligent consequence to write about, so I create a bit of nonsense from the plethora of information that is stored in my tiny little head.

What? You think it's easy to write like someone who inhaled way too much alcohol and funny cigarettes?

Pfft...it takes talent, chutzpah, a vacant mind, platinum balls, a huge ego, killer self-esteem and no compunction in putting one's self on a pedestal so that people can mercilessly berate you for your so-called "talent".

Anyways, I gets hot flashes of free form nonsense from time to time. The major problem that I have when I decide to act on those hot flashes (no, not shades of menopause, thank you very much), is that I often act on them when I don't have enough time to do them justice.

F'r instance, the freebie that opened this post was first written with about fifteen minutes left to my morning breakfast before I had to get ready for work. For most people, fifteen minutes is more than enough time to write a blog post. Since I'm not like most people, I usually have to take an ungodly amount of time to completely work through that creative urge....In, out, up, down....otherwise if I stop myself prematurely, not only do I lose the rhythm, but I lose that creative urge as well.

Deflated one might say. Flaccid another might say. Jack of all trades and a master of no domain.

What do you expect for nothin'? Certainly not your chicks for free. Unless you're into meat, then we have just enough juice to flavor those chicks. Then maybe, just maybe, your chicks might be free.

Man oh man. Free chicks. Flavored with juice.

sigh

Anyways, it seems that I milked the last part of the post for all of the inside jokes that I could think of that would be even remotely associated with me and this blog. Perhaps, some day, or more realistically, later this evening, I'll elaborate on just what it was I was thinking about when I wrote the last part of this post.

Unless, of course, you've already beaten me to the punch (not that I'm into that kind of thing, the Marquis I ain't) and figured out what the heck the topic of discussion I was chewing on while I was drinking my coffee.

Unless I was drinking milk.

From a baby bottle.

Then I certainly wouldn't be chewing.

I'd be blowing away a few dandelion tears instead.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Greatest Day In Baseball

As everyone here is no doubt aware of (or scared of), I sometimes have a tendency to experiment on this blog with different and unique (at least for me) topics to bloviate about. Today's post will fall under that particular topic of "different and unique".

From time to time on the various writer's blogs that I subscribe to and read, they will have a post that falls under the header Forgotten Books, which to my basic level of understanding, is (usually) about a long out of print book that they either enjoyed reading when they were young or rediscovered while browsing the thrift store/used book store/tag sales, etc etc etc. I always thought that those posts were interesting and informative, and for the longest time I wanted to throw my two cents in, but never found a book that I could do it with.

Until now.


Back when I was but a lad of my daughter's age (10), I discovered this nifty little book in my dad's book collection. Being both a serious reader at that tender young age and serious nut of old-time baseball, I instantly devoured the book. At that age, while I did enjoy the stories (did I mention that I was a newspaper nut as well?), I really had no serious appreciation for the historical value of the stories. But as an adult, I got a tremendous appreciation of the contents of the book.

First off, the book is a collection of interviews performed by the various sportswriters of the Chicago Daily News, which was edited by John P. Carmichael and published back in 1945. It featured stars that for the most part are in the Hall of Fame and if you're a serious aficionado of the history of baseball, you'd recognize that these players were kings of the Dead Ball Era and the early Home Run Era.

Stars like Ty Cobb, Carl Hubbell, Buck Weaver, Cy Young, Ed Walsh, and even Babe Ruth, regaled these sportswriters with stories about what they considered to be their greatest day in baseball.

For example:

Ty Cobb talks about the 1907 pennant race that boiled down to a three game series between the Tigers and the Philadelphia Athletics. Specifically, he talks about the second game, in which the game ended in a tie at 9 to 9 after seventeen innings.

Carl Hubbell talks about his participation in the 1934 All Star game that was won by the American League.

Buck Weaver talks about his participation in the 1917 World Series with the Giants and the background leading up to it.

Cy Young talks about throwing the first perfect game in American League history (1904) and briefly mentions that in his last big league game, he lost 1-0 to a young kid called Grover Cleveland Alexander.

Ed Walsh talks about his greatest game, which was striking out Larry Lajoie with the bases loaded during a late October game with the 1908 pennant hanging on the line.

Babe Ruth talks about his called shot against the Chicago Cubs.

The book also features some great photos of those Dead Ball Era/Early Home Run Era stars as well. Overall, the book was an enjoyable read then, and an interesting piece of history for research purposes now. I like to think that the stars that were telling their stories were being honest with the writers who were interviewing them, because these stories seem so outrageous that they do make the reader question their sanity.

Then again, if you can ever lay your hands on a copy of "Field Of Screams" by Richard Scheinin, you might get a better understanding on how baseball was back then.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Relaxin'

This is just a sample of what thwarts most of my attempts at writing during the Spring and Summer. There is no narration to it, just whatever natural sound that the microphone picked up on. Enjoy.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!


I am not here today, which is why the comments are off. Hope you're having a fantastic holiday.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Picture Me Flabbergasted

Yah, I know, lame title, but I'm running out of good words to complete the sentence "Picture Me...."

SIGH

Anyways, got the final post up that completes the series Is Autumn Winter? for your enjoyment.

But be very very afraid for the next series to appear. If every one could put on their memory cap for a moment and go back to earlier this year, you'll remember that I was bitchin' and wiggin' about the snow dump that Mother Father Sister Brother Nature dropped on Connecticut this winter.
But I had no pictorial proof to speak of then.

This time I do.

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

HAH!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Your Unofficial Guide To Home Tutoring (6)

Hiyas.

I'm not here today, for after an almost three week hiatus, I went next door to visit my favorite house of ill repute.

If you got the ability, come join me at Partially Yours.

If you can't, then please check out this blast from the past circa 2009 for your reading pleasure. I have no idea what it's about, because I simply counted four sets of 25 in that particular year and then chose the lucky number 13 for my post.

Enjoy!

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