Friday, September 28, 2012

The Post That Almost Was

I've gone through some ungodly cycles during the course of 2012 and let me tell you it has done a serious number on my sanity. As a matter of fact, it has gotten so bad that I had a four page draft all set to throw up on the blog today.

However, after giving it some very careful consideration and weighing the pros and cons, I decided that the draft will stay just that, a draft. But more importantly, it's a draft that will stay within arm's reach, partly as a motivational tool and partly as a depressing reminder of what might be should I decide to take that step.

That being said (cryptically, he implies), I would like to borrow a post idea from fave blogger Granny Annie  and ask you two questions that may give you a little insight (cryptically, he implies again) about the post that almost was.

Have you ever gotten so aggravated or disgusted with doing something that you gave serious thought about implementing the concept of "phoning it in" just so you could get it over and done with it?

Have you every phoned it in and either felt guilty for doing it or not guilty in doing it afterwards?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Autumn 2012

I started this past weekend like I did the other when summer had arrived: I changed my clothes.

Gone were the shorts, the sneakers, the tube socks and most importantly, the pasty white legs. It its place we reintroduced the M-F work clothes to the weekend, specifically the weekend in which we officially introduced the world world of Autumn to New England.

True to form, I stepped outside and inhaled the crisp lo-50's for the morning air to wake myself up. I decided not to ride this:

to run my errands on this particular morning, which was due to the fact that I chose to get up at the ripe old hour of 7:15a. So we walked to our car, hopped in and drove towards the center to run our errands.

Being preoccupied with the events of earlier in the week made me completely forget about Newington's annual Waterfall Festival, which I did not really remember until one, I tried to go my normal way to the center and almost got stuck in a one mile traffic jam, and two, saw cars parked where they weren't supposed to once I approached the center from the back end.

So we made a quick decision and took off for the other end of town, where another branch of my bank was located. The breeze was blowing just right and coupled with the bluegrass music on the radio, I felt myself drifting away to someplace else.

Yes, autumn had indeed finally arrived.

I pretty much spent the rest of the late morning and early afternoon enjoying the fantastic weather, the semi-quiet solitude of the town and after getting home, the gentle roar of the breeze blowing down from the mountain.

As I sat in the backyard writing this post, the only sounds that I heard were the trees gently swaying in the breeze, the leaves dropping to the ground, the occasional dog making their presence known, and wind chimes swaying in the breeze.

In all likelihood, this will probably be the last weekend that I'll be able to sit outside in my backyard and enjoy enough uninterrupted time to decompress and explore the many nooks and crannies of my memory. Not to mention enjoying the mountain in all of its naturally chaotic beauty.

Autumn is a time of rebirth and reflection on things that have passed and of things to come. Don't let it pass you by, especially since Mother & Father Nature are busy getting their palettes and brushes at the ready, 'cause you know Autumn 2012 will be the most original yet.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Blank Piece Of Paper

C'mon. You know you want to. After all, I'm just a blank piece of paper.

Oh sure, I come in various sizes, but traditionally you like my 8 1/2 by 11 girth. College ruled. Yellow with blue lines. Maybe a double red line down one side. Ooooh baby, you know I exceed all of your wildest expectations. I am so totally into you.

Or maybe the exotic and dangerous doesn't do it for you. Maybe it scares you. Maybe you're more of a vanilla been kind of guy. Maybe you like your paper to be lily white with a red line down the side and blue lines vertically scattered throughout. That's it. Your tried and true. Mrs. Dependable.

But wait. We can't forget about the writing implement. You know how I love it when you use a sharpened tip. But extra fun, a rounded tip fills in all of those fibers so incredible snug. But what color? Red is by far the most provocative, the most dazzling, the most exciting.

Black showcases anger. Black showcases rage. Black gives you power. Black makes you the man. But what about blue? Blue is caring. Blue is sensual. Blue shows that you're caring. While Black makes you the man, Blue keeps you being the man.

The rest of the color spectrum doesn't excite me. It doesn't dazzle me. It doesn't do anything beyond making me itch.

But what of the topic? What goodies might you conjure up to grace this blank page? Will it be a provocative story? A quirky story? Something violent and dark, or funny and bland? What about a blog post? The imagination is a bottomless well of potential creative ideas that's just aching to be mined.

And where might you write this mini-epic of creativity? In the front yard with your feathered friends to guide your hand and your dreams? Or perhaps in the backyard, when the spirit soars as the mountain comes roaring back to life after its nightly snooze.

The possibilities are both endless and finite.

Because, after all, I am just a piece of blank paper. Nothing more and nothing less.

But to a certain degree, I am an extension of you. Because only you can make me be more than simply the sum of what everyone else has put into me.

Breathe a little life into me and not only can I promise you the world, but I can deliver it too.

Friday, September 21, 2012

So. You Want To Date My Daughter?

In all seriousness, I will probably need something like this in about 5 years with mine.


NOTE: This application will be incomplete and rejected unless accompanied by a complete financial statement, job history, lineage, and current medical report from your doctor.

1a} Name:
1b} Date of birth:

2} Height, Weight, I.Q.:

3} Social Security Number and Driver's License Number:

4} Boy Scout Rank and Badges:

5} Home Address:

6} Do you have ONE male and ONE female parent? If no, please explain:

7} Number of years parents married. If less than your age, please explain:

8a} Do you own a van?
8b} A truck with oversized tires?
8c} A waterbed?
8d} A truck with a mattress in the back?
8e} Pornography?
8f} Do you have a tattoo?
8g} Do you have earring, nose ring or a belly button ring?
If you answered yes to any of the preceding items, discontinue this application here and leave the premises now.

9} In 50 words or less, what does "LATE" mean to you?

10} In 50 words or less, what does "DON'T TOUCH MY DAUGHTER" mean to you?

11} In 50 words or less, what does "ABSTINENCE" mean to you?

12} Church or Synagogue you attend?
12a} How often?

13} When would be the best time to interview your:
13a} Father?
13b} Mother?
13c} Priest or Rabbi?

14} Fill in the blank. Please answer freely, all answers are confidential. (That means I won't tell anyone ever-promise)
14a} If I were shot, the last place on my body I would want to be wounded is:
14b} If I were beaten, the last bone I would want broken is:
14c} A woman's place is in the:
14d} The one thing I hope that this application does not ask me about:
14e} When I first meet a girl, the thing I notice about her first:

If your answer to 14e begins with either "T" or "A", discontinue and leave the premises. Keeping your head low and running in a serpentine fashion is advised.

15} What do you want to be IF you grow up?

16} What is the current going rate of a hotel room?

17} Condoms come in packages of (circle one): 3, 6, 9, 12, or All the above.

I swear that all of the information supplied above is true and correct to the best of my knowledge under penalty of death, dismemberment, native american ant torture, crucifixion, electrocution, chinese water torture, red hot pokers, public flogging, 3rd world interrogation technique, and/or other politically incorect torture inspired by current world events.

Signature (that means "sign your name," moron)
Thank you for your interest. Please allow four to six years for processing.

You will be contacted in writing if you are approved. Please do not try to call or write (since you probably can't, and it would cause you injury). If your application is rejected, you will be notified by two gentlemen wearing white ties carrying violin cases (you might watch your back).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is Writing Therapeutic?

Good question, which deserves a good answer.

To me it is, although for most of my life it served more as an infrequent outlet for my verbal gymnastics. I can't tell you the amount of times that I'd create a verbal masterpiece of comedic genius and be unable to repeat or reproduce it, or times that I put together a retort or series of retorts that earned me the sobering sobriquet from a former co-worker, "Verbal Nazi".

For the longest time, I actually lived up to that sobriquet, as my mouth would often cause me to get into serious hot water with someone else. It wasn't until I started writing in 2006, participating in chat rooms in 2007 and blogging in 2008, that I decided to put my verbal skills to the test.

I won't bore you with the gruesome details of my early attempts, since those can be found by exploring the early years of this blog, but I can say that writing and blogging has been exceptionally therapeutic for me.

I mean, what other medium allows you endless possibilities in unleashing your inner sanctum and your vivid imagination without getting into trouble? For me, the dual mediums of writing and blogging has been a proverbial depth charge (shot within a beer) of fun.

Blogging is the medium that allows me the comfort to practice my writing, and my writing allows me the comfort to think out loud on my blog.

When I blog, I can express my opinions freely and without worry. I can also practice the different aspects of my writing that I'm good at and some that I'm not good at, and glean both tips and critiques as well.

Writing allows me the freedom not only to be me, but to explore the other aspects of me that I used to keep buried for fear that people either wouldn't understand or would mock me for trying to do something completely different.

Think about it for a moment. Writing allows you to try something that's completely out of your comfort zone, and not have to worry whether or not someone doesn't like it.

Think I'm kidding?

Early on, I made it a point not to write G-rated stuff, because I felt very strongly that I couldn't tailor my writing to encompass all age groups (still do to this day). However, after a few particularly unpleasant encounters, I decided to challenge myself and viola, a G-rated short story called "Cedar Mountain" was born (and published at Beat To A Pulp).

Another example. After many failed attempts at properly integrating sex within my writing, I was determined not to write anything that could be misconstrued as porn. Suffice to say, my upcoming commercial debut is about a young lady who becomes an adult movie actress because she's in debt to her uncle the loan shark.

Finally, the story that I'm working on now, which may or may not see the light of day, definitely explores that inner sanctum and its darkest and scariest contents, with a probing that borders on the horrific. It taps into the darkest book related/movie related memories of my past 30 years and in turn, I have created some truly disturbing prose.

Am I thrilled about this? Absolutely not. Will I stop writing this particular story? No. Like I said, it probably won't see the light of day, except maybe to a select few who I might ask to critique it in their spare time and offer me their valued opinion on it, but by writing this, I'm able to work out all kinds of issues and problems that otherwise might not be resolved if I didn't acquire the ability to string coherent sentences together.

To sum it up, writing and its equally powerful cousin blogging, has become the cheapest and most efficient (and some day paying) form of therapy out there today.

And some six years later, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Story Time!

I thought that for a change of pace, I would concentrate on writing related schtuff. Now I know that for some of you, it might not be your cup of coffee, but I'm gonna attempt to make things interesting enough that you'll sit and stay for a spell.

First up, some book reviews.

For those of you who may not follow me on Facebook (and you can if you want for I now take subscribers to my updates), I finally broke down and purchased three e-books from B&N last weekend. They were:

So far, I've read Killing Trail and Death & The Journalist and left good 4 star reviews for each. Feel free to check out the reviews and the books at their respective links (upper links to the books, lower links to the reviews). Oh, and you're interested in purchasing these, do it at Amazon. Apparently B&N charges slightly higher prices for some of their e-books than Amazon does.

Secondly, for the first time in about four years, I won a book. Anglea M at Jaded Love Junkie had a drawing over the Labor Day weekend and I was lucky enough to win a book. In the tradition of letting people choose new stuff for me, I gave Angela the honor of choosing a book for me. So I wound up with a postapocalyptic romance by Nico Russo entitled "The Last Night" as my freebie book of choice, and I'm looking forward to expanding my horizons yet again.

Lastly, another short story installment.

If you remember from a couple of weeks ago, I posted at my other blog a short story about my muse. Well, today features part two of what I hope to be an ongoing series of adventures for my muse. If you can, please follow me over to my adult blog, It's Always Saturday In Suburbia, for part 2 of "The Muse Is Thy Master".

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Know And You Don't, But I'll Remind You In Perpetuity


Everybody has them, some more than others.

In my particular world view, when it comes to holding secrets, there are three groups and one subgroup of people who can hold them.;

Most of us fall into the first group, in that we can keep a secret that is told to us in strict confidence. Most of us also fall into the subgroup of not keeping a secret if it's detrimental to another person's (or animal's) well being and/or safety. I have complete respect for those people.

Then there are those of the creative persuasion who have a secret, but can only tell us dribs and drabs because of a need to have all of their ducks in a row, all of their "i"'s dotted and "t"'s crossed, contracts signed, etc. before they can tell us what kind of special project that they're involved in. I have complete respect for those people as well, since they will eventually let you know what the hush-hush was all about.

Finally, there are those who fall into the group that bothers me the most and thus, the crux of this post. They are the ones who have a secret, will let you know that they have secret, and will keep perpetually reminding you that they have a secret, but don't you dare ask them what it is, because after all, it's a secret and they're not supposed to tell.

I happen to follow a blog written by a local t.v. celebrity, and he happens to do this with a frequency that borders on being both insulting and condescending at the same time. He will often allude to his "secret" friend on the West Coast, that he won't tell you about but will make sure that you know that this person is a somebody out there, and that's all you need to know about his "secret" friend. And that you should be jealous.

Also, from time to time, he'll serve up another tasty nugget about something, then say, "I know a lot more, but it's a secret."

My point is: So what?

If it's such a secret, why the hell do you keep bringing it up? Must you always add that little tag line "It's a secret" to the end of every interesting point that you write? Do you really have that kind of condescending opinion of your readers?

Is it so hard to say, "my friend from the West Coast"? Is it really necessary to rub it in that you know a somebody? Is it some kind of major ego trip that makes you do this?

When this person, or anyone else for that matter, does something like this, it always reminds me an old commercial about prejudice:

In other words, don't hammer the point home that you have secrets that you won't share. It simply makes you look superior to everyone else. Or worse, it makes you look like someone with zero class and zero respect.

If you got a secret that doesn't put anyone in jeopardy, don't allude to it unless you're willing to suffer the consequences of sharing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

You Need Me

If you're an established writer, you need a reader like me.

Sure it's great whenever you come out with a book and the choir that is your bread and butter sings your praises to the heavens. But you need potential converts like myself.

And whom might I be?

To be honest, I'm not a casual reader who only reads from the best seller lists because everyone else is. Au contraire, I am a voracious reader, and will read anything that strikes my fancy. So long as its my fancy of non-fiction, historical fiction and fantasy, then I'm good to go.

You see, I'm the reader who rarely ventures out of his comfort zone. I'm that kind of reader.

I need to be convinced to try someone new. I need to have my curiosity so incredibly piqued that I simply have to read that book. Word of mouth doesn't really do it. You can be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if the blurb doesn't make me open the book, if the first few pages doesn't grab me, or even if you personally don't grab me, you won't get me.

Note: There are writers out there, and you know who you are, who have moved me out of my comfort zone, so you know I'm not simply jacking anyone with my post.

So I'm asking all of my blog readers, my friends, and more importantly, my fellow writers, what are you going to do in order to get a voracious reader like myself to permanently pay attention to what you write?

Because like it or not, and I say this with no malice, no smugness or arrogance, you need my type of reader more than my type of reader needs you as a writer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Humor Circa The 20th Century

Originally forwarded to me back in July 2000. Enjoy!

In case you needed further proof that the human race is doomed through stupidity, here are some actual label instructions on consumer goods.

On a bag of Fritos: You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.
The shoplifter special

On a bar of Dial soap: Directions, use like regular soap.
And that would be how...?

On some Swanson frozen dinners: Serving suggestion--Defrost.
But, it's just a suggestion

On Tesco's Tiramisu desdert (printed on bottom of box): Do not turn upside down.
Too late!

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding: Product will be hot after heating.
As night follows day....

On packaging for a Rowenta iron: Do not iron clothes on body.
But would this save even more time?

On a Sears hairdryer: Do not use while sleeping.
Gee, that's the only time I have to work on my hair

On Boot's Children's Cough Medicine: Do not drive a car or opertate machinery after taking this medication.
We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we could just get those 5 year olds with head colds off those forklifts

On Nytol Sleep Aid: Warning, may cause drowsiness.
One would hope

On most brands of Christmas lights: For indoor or outdoor use only.
As opposed to what?

On a Japanese food processor: Not to be used for the other use.
I gotta admit, I'm curious

On Sainsbury's peanuts: Warning, contains nuts.
Talk about a news flash

On an American Airlines packet of nuts: Instructions, open packet, eat nuts.
Step 3, fly Delta

On a child's Superman costume: Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.
I don't blame the company. I blame parents for this one

On a Swedish chain saw: Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals.
Did this really happen somewhere? My God!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Can't Sing But They Still Gets The Money

I've listened to all kinds of music over the course of my lifetime and about the only real skill that I'd managed to develop is the ability to differentiate between good vocalizing and bad vocalizing. While the background of being a not-so-serious musician (played clarinet in grades 5-11) help me develop the knowledge of keeping the beat, it did not prepare me for being able to appreciate the good, the bad and the ugly of singing.

While certain genres lend themselves to good singing (country pop, pop & rock), other genres just about demand that you go above and beyond (soul, americana, singer/songwriter and true R&B). And there are those others that don't really require you to carry a tune, but simply have the ability not to make yourself look like a complete idiot (rap and certain kinds of metal).

Today's post will focus on a few "musicians" and styles that in my opinion have irritated me so bad that the second they come on the radio, I will listen to a foreign language station until they go away.

True statement: my wife has personally witnessed me yelling NO! at the radio and switching it to salsa/meringue music.

1} Fred Durst. Fred Durst was the lead vocalist in Limp Bizkit, a pseudo rap/rock band that flourished in the mid 90's. His vocals remind of a cross between a cat and a actress from a slasher flick. No matter what kind of tough guy persona he took on or how pseudo muscular his music was, the second he opened his mouth, I would just want to reach through the radio and slap some smartness into him.

2} Dave Mustaine. I cannot give an honest opinion of what he sounds like without offending my blog reader's sense of propriety, but suffice to say that whatever revolting combination of human noise you can put together, would pretty much describe his singing. Of his guitar playing I have no opinion, simply because I haven't been able to listen to any Megadeth song for longer than five seconds without changing the channel. All I can say is that this "musician" should never be allowed in the vicinity of a microphone ever again.

3} Marilyn Manson. Another singer whose voice leaves me at a loss for inoffensive words to describe, as he sings in the same moronic style as Dave Mustaine. He probably was decent at one point but unlike Alice Cooper, when he morphed into a caricature, his singing only gets worse.

One of the worst singing styles that bugs the crap out of me is talk-sing. Talk-sing is when the singer in question is more known for performing/composing than for singing, so they talk their way through the song. Examples of this type of singing would be Tom Waits and Lou Reed.

Another one that drives me nuts is monotone singing. Monotone is when the singer has almost no vocal range, so they choose to sing everything in one or two notes. The problem with this is that it instantly detracts from appreciating the music, as the listener focuses exclusively on the irritating vocals.

Some examples of this would be a small percentage of mid-90's small indie bands like Modest Mouse (I have the album that is featured on this website, and in my opinion, it sucks) and The Halo Benders, who felt that their appeal was geared more towards the lyric/music than actually being able to properly sing the lyrics.

One last example of vocal stylings I detest, is scat. While I like jazz and jazz vocalists, I cannot stand or tolerate scat. To me, stringing a bunch of nonsensical syllables together and putting it to a beat tells me that you're too lazy to either sit down and let the band play for another few minutes or you're too lazy to end a song at a logical point.

These are just a few examples of musicians/singing styles that simply irritate the crap out of me.

Do you have any that bug you? Do you have an opinion of what I wrote here? Fess up, I can take it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Oh, We Have A Video?

Yes, we have a video.

In between bouts of writing over the Labor Day weekend (got about 10 more pages of my latest story in the proverbial can), I decided to whip out my handy dandy cheap-o camera and take a video of my backyard.

Believe it or not, the only problem I had with the video was loading it to my computer, which unfortunately caused me to delete about 10 pictures from my flash drive. Nevertheless, I did successfully upload said video to YouTube, so for your amusement, or enjoyment, or mockery, or whatever you feel like doing on Lump Day, I have a super duper ultra squeaky clean triple G-rated video for you, which features not one, but one aminal for your visual amusement, and also features not one, but one human to tune out, and finally, it features not one, but more than one bird singing in the background.

So come take a walk with me to my backyard, located at the corner of Cedar Mountain and Shooting Suburbia.

And before I forget, fellow blogger and romance writer Angela McCallister has a nifty contest going in which all you have to do to enter is to leave a comment. Please stop by to check her blog Jaded Love Junkie.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Be Very Afraid For I Is Bored

I is bored.

And do you know what happens when I is bored, especially on this blog?

That's right boys and girls, I write strange stories.

However, it wasn't easy to decide. I had to choose between two very good topics.

Topic 1 was about falling for a scam blog. The scammer wasn't someone who would still your money or identity, but someone who was more insidious. They were someone who preys on the sympathies and good will of people who were/are suffering from a terrible disease, like cancer.

I was alerted to this by a person who sent me an e-mail about it. Please click on this link to find out more about this disgusting issue.

Topic 2 was writing about my muse. As I've mentioned previously, the story I'm working on is giving my conscience numerous fits, so I thought that one way I could work out the myriad of problems was to write a couple of blog-only short stories.

The reasoning behind this is twofold: 1} it allows me to think out loud and kind of punish myself for writing this in the first place (for those of you who have been following me for the past few years, this is something I do well. For those of you who are new, I enjoy picking on myself from time to time), and 2} it allows me to take a small break from what I'm currently working on and write something that I'm more comfortable in exploring.

So for those of you who can, please follow me over to It's Always Saturday In Suburbia to read part 1 of the latest Muse adventures entitled "The Muse Is Thy Master."

The Legal Disclaimer

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