Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This Needs Editing?

My particular problem that I need a little help on has to do with editing, specifically, my novel "Line 21", of which you will find at my other blog, the chapter in question, all five pages of it.

I finally found some free time over the weekend to pull out the chapter in question and briefly skim through the parts that the editor had some questions on, and to be honest with everyone, I'm a little confused as to why he had questions. So I thought that a little help from my friends would help clear up my confusion.

He had three areas of concern. The first involved the symbiont Aissa, of which was a multi-part question, and should be the easiest to take care of:

The symbiont is introduced on p3, yet we don't know her name until p27. Why is that? And does everyone have a symbiont? Why does Jeannie have one? Could she afford one or are they just free? I like the idea, but it needs more believability. Can the symbiont accompany her outside?
Adding the name at the point of introduction is the easiest thing to do, the problem I have is with the other questions. I know that I had peppered the first third of the book with some basic info about Aissa and Jeannie and even showed how the symbiont accompanies her outside (the second third of the book covers this) but I didn't really go in depth as to why Jeannie has one to begin with. I guess the question I'm having is this: should I do more of a info dump at the beginning, or do I try to spread it out? Should I even try to answer those other questions?

The second area of concern involves the opening scene of the novel:

There's also the issue of POV, the initial phone call is from Jeannie's point of view, so she can't know Uncle Rudy 'thought about it', he went silent, probably giving it some thought. He gave an audible sigh, what other kinds are there?
I'm not sure if I'm missing the point here. Did I use a bad selection of words for the sentence in question? I thought that by saying 'he thought about it', that meant he already knew about the type of issues she was going through to begin with.

The third area of concern also involves the opening scene, and it's where I'm having the most confusion with:

I wanted more scene setting, where did the phone conversation take place, in the park? Because that's the first indication as to where Jeannie is, when she stretches out on the bench. And if she's stretched out on the bench, where does Ken sit, benches aren't that long. She sat and stretched out her legs? Then we get even more unbelievable, she tells a complete stranger she has to get hold of 2K...sorry, don't buy that.
This is where I find myself at odds with what he thinks is wrong, and this is why.

When I wrote "stretches out on the bench" I didn't mean that she literally stretches out on the bench. I had her stretching out on the bench the same way that some people stretch on a bench, which would be like you were stretching out while sitting in a chair. Not putting your legs up to take a nap.

So if Jeannie is stretching out like I described, then there is plenty of room for Ken to sit down next to her. A poor choice of words? I'm not sure. If you read that particular sentence, does it give you the image of someone taking up the entire bench or does it give you the image of what I just described and intended?

As for the other part that he finds unbelievable, in that she tells a complete stranger that she has to get hold of 2K, I have to respectfully disagree. I have experienced from time to time, that kind of openness with a stranger. It's part of my personality, in that people have shown a willingness to open up to me about all kinds of things.

Maybe I should expand on the conversation between Ken and Jeannie so that it doesn't feel so abrupt? Does that sound feasible?

These are a few of the questions that I have and until I can come up with some concrete ideas/answers, I'm kind of stuck between a rock and hard place with the additional editing of this novel.

So my good friends, fellow readers and fellow writers, got any suggestions that might point me in the right direction with this request?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sometimes, The Best Laid Plans...

...Are laid to waste much in the same manner as Sherman's March to the Sea.

Take this weekend for example (please, take it off my hands). I decided to do the following writing oriented things:

1} finish novella
2} work on the suggested edits to my novel Line 21

Had all the prep work set. I was going to do another round of edits on the novella with the main idea of continuing where I had originally left off at and actually finishing the thing up yesterday (1/28). Then on Sunday, I was going to take my first crack at seeing what kind of additional information I could add to my novel. Plus I had borrowed three movies (No Reservations, A History of Violence and The Spitfire Grill) from the library to watch as interludes while I was taking a break from my computer

However, a personal family crisis of major proportions raised its ugly head and thus set me back quite few days.

Since I don't want to quite burden everyone publicly on what actually happened, I thought I would instead share a dopey video of myself from this past Thanksgiving, which you will find over at my legendary picture blog Shooting Suburbia.

Hopefully you'll find it as amusing as I did after I had uploaded to the blog and viewed it, 'cause I definitely needed the chuckle.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friends? What Are These "Friends" That People Talk About?

Disclaimer: The post that you're about to read is strictly a general observational post as it applies to me. You should not assume otherwise, because you know, I really want you to be my neighbor.

Hi neighbor!

I officially walked into the cyber world and started my second life as a majorly skewed life form in February 2007. I can't tell you the exact day was because I actually have no memory of that day, so the best I can do for the purposes of this post is narrow it down to the month. And for the past 5 years, I have developed all kinds of online friendships, with some becoming more concrete than others.

The odd thing about all of these online friendships is that they really stayed within their own particular cliques. In other words, some friendships that were strictly made in the chat rooms stayed in the chat rooms, some that were strictly made on Facebook stayed on Facebook and some that were strictly made in the blogs stayed in the blogs. Very rarely did they intertwine or mingle, and when they did, they stayed within own unique little clique.

Now cliquish behavior doesn't really bother me much, except when a misguided notion takes hold and the people who develop that misguided notion focus their annoyance on me. Then they proceed to act like petulant little children, in which case I deliver a good swift kick in their buttocks before severing all contact.

But I digress.

I've long ago gotten used to floating in and out of the various little cliques that have popped up from time to time in my online world, but I guess what I still find intriguing about all of these little cliques is how easily you can become out of sight/out of mind.

To whit: There are quite few people that I had carried over friendships from the chat rooms to Facebook, but as soon as I had severed my connection from Facebook, the friendships became severed as well. Same thing happened with a few fellow bloggers, in which friendships that started in the blog world and carried over to Facebook vanished the minute I waved bye-bye. No contact, no e-mail, no nothing. And to round out this trifecta, some friendships that I had made strictly on Facebook also vanished the minute I waved bye-bye.

It kind of bothers me a little that people who I had gotten to know over the past five years chose not to maintain contact with me after I had left the chat rooms and Facebook. I don't think its because those people are shallow, but quite the contrary its because they have a serious case of tunnel vision. People are so heavy into Facebook/Twitter nowadays that it's often hard for them to fathom/understand/deal with someone who happens not to be into that whole Facebook/Twitter thing.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We interrupt this post to point out to you a blinding case of the obvious: the post has ended.

In all seriousness, I had a major problem in trying to write the rest of this post once I had finished the 6th paragraph. How serious? Well, for one thing, this post was in draft mode for a little over a week, as I kept moving the publishing date around in an attempt at coming up with a way to finish it.

However, try as I might, I couldn't finish it. Every attempt at continuing the post failed because I kept going back to that 6th paragraph and saying to myself, "You finished the post. Why are you torturing yourself by trying to add more words?"

Yeah, right. I actually used a few select adjectives while yelling at myself, so what you read is the movie G-rated version of what I was saying.

Since I can't come up with a decent continuation of the idea that is the root of this post, which is about certain online friendships that ultimately last as long as you participate in a particular area of the CyberWorld, the next best thing I can come up with is a question.

Do you have online friendships that are strictly confined to the particular forum/social media that you use? Or do those online friendships cross over into other types of social media, or even into the real world? Or have some of your online friendships vanish because you're no longer participating in the forum(s) that you had first met them?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Story Of One Bull Pup

While the basement was going through a little housecleaning, I happened to find a copy of an old newspaper story that I had photocopied during my days working at the library, which I would like to share with everyone today. The story was first published back in 1901 and its a perfect example of what passed for humor back then. Hope you find it as funny as I originally did back when I'd first read it.


Being documents found on the person of the late Mr. John Smith

I

Bought of Burke & Bight, Dog Fanciers: One bull terrier pup---$75

II

Mr. John Smith-Dear Sir:

Please call at my office and settle for two Angora cats, the property of my wife prior to their destruction.

Thomas Jones

III

Mr. John Smith-Dear Sir:

I cannot afford to feed that bull pup on Plymouth Rock chickens. You will confer a favor on me by sending me your check for $7.50.

Henry Johnson

IV

Mr. John Smith-My Dear Mr. Smith

I assure you, sir, that your bulldog has buried nothing in my yard, and I wish you would endeavor to dissuade him from digging it up every day in search of certain bones which he seems to believe he had concealed under my tulip beds. I am sorry to have to do it, but am obliged to inclose a bill just sent to me by my gardener. Sincerely yours,

Henrietta Brown

Digge & Grugg, Landscape Gardeners, in account with Henrietta Brown--replanting tulip bad and sodding 8 square yards of lawn: $8

V

I. Slaughter, Butcher, in account with John Smith--to dog meat, $15

VI

I. Hassenrod Emerson, Veterinary Surgeon, in account with John Smith---To curing one bull pup of distemper $25; to curing one bull pup of mange $25; Total $50.

VII

Mr. John Smith-Dear Sir:

As that belligerent animal you keep around your place will not allow the carrier to approach your premises, I hereby notify you that you must hereafter get your mail at the post office. Yours Truly,

Henry Thompson, P.M.

VIII

John Smith, Esq-My Dear Smith:

I know that a warm friendship has always existed between us, but I cannot conceive how any man in his right mind can allow such a villainous whelp as that of yours to remain around his home, and I must insist that you pay me the full value of my fine bird dog, which is now lying at the point of death as a result of an encounter with your cur the last time he followed me in your house. He came home three days after I lost him, and if he ever does recover he is ruined forevermore. I don't want to quarrel with you, Smith, but this is a serious matter, and while no money can replace my fine old Brutus, I feel that it will be only justice for yo to pay me $250, which is the price I paid for the dog two years ago.

Charles Kanine

IX

John Smith, Esq-Sir:

Complaint comes to this office that you are violating city ordinance 41.144, which makes it a misdemeanor to allow a vicious dog to run at large. I shall be obliged to send a policeman to your neighborhood to investigate this matter, if you do not immediately take steps to abate this nuisance. The maximum fine in your case is $100 or fifty days' imprisonment. Respectfully,

Robert Full, Chief of Police

X

Mr. John Smith-My Dear Smith:

The Widow Brown is mourning the loss of her four year old child, which while playing near your house yesterday, was seized--

Mr. Smith evidently destroyed the remainder of this letter, as the foregoing was all of it that could be found on his person.

XI

Hard & Ware Firearms, sold to John Smith-one Smith & Wesson revolver, .48 caliber: $12

Extra from Morning Paper

John Smith, a well known resident of this city, committed suicide last night by shooting himself through the head. Mr. Smith was a man of means, of happy domestic surroundings and the motive for his rash act is shrouded in mystery

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rejection! But Wait, There's More!

I don't handle rejection very well.

However, when you're executing the craft of writing to the best of your ability, rejection is one key component of that craft.

So over the course of the past five years, I've learned to develop a very thick skin when it comes to someone (usually an editor) rejecting a story of mine. As most other writers have stated time and time again, the rejection is never personal, but purely business. You can be a fantastic person, the salt of the earth, but if your story doesn't resonate with a particular editor, it won't get accepted.

You may be wondering why I'm broaching the subject of rejection today. Well, for one thing, I like sharing any and all kinds of news when it involves my writing, be it something mundane like what kind of progress I'm making, or something more concrete like a story making it past the first round of a cattle call. For another, the writing news that I'm sharing with everyone today is something of a mixed bag.

You see, I got another rejection of my novel late last week.

However, the news wasn't all that bad. While the editor did reject my novel, he did something that I have not previously experienced in my years of writing.

He gave me feedback.

While he thought the story was good, he felt it could use a bit more self-editing, so he made a few suggestions on what I should do to correct what he felt were the weakest parts of the novel. And when he finished, he also left open the possibility of reconsidering my novel should I decide to fix what he suggested needed fixing.

I actually read his e-mail about a half dozen times and got a second opinion from a trusted friend on it as well, just to make sure I was interpreting his rejection correctly.

In a nutshell, when I decided to get serious with my writing two years ago, this was the end result I was shooting for. Not necessarily receiving a rejection, but getting a novel published. The fact that an editor had stated that my novel is about 99% ready is the second best news I've gotten this year.

So in a couple of weeks, I'm going to wander over to the public library with my novel, pen, paper and the e-mail, and spend some serious time doing what he had succinctly stated in his e-mail.

Go me!

Friday, January 20, 2012

And Your Excuse Is What?

Well, ya see, my excuse for not writing what you expect to see here, which is mainly a post of substance, is that I had a pretty busy and slightly messed up week.

To whit:

1} Computer was out of commission from Monday thru Wednesday, as I finally gave in and bought 2GB's worth of memory. The only computer I had at my disposal was the household, and in two days, reverted back to my old habit of playing computer games for hours on end.

2} Holiday. Monday was Martin Luther King Day, and because of that, I had one less day in order to complete my payroll for the week. Having one less day means the opportunity for screwing up is greater, and it's something that I took full advantage of.

3} It's my mother's b'day this week, so I had to pick up a present for her.

4} I got a call for a job interview, so I had to gather up a few requested documents.

5} Jenelle's Winter Band Concert was this past Thursday. She plays in the 5th grade band, which played the following songs: Knightsbridge March, Polly Wolly Doodle and Rhythm X. However, I only got video proof of two.

video


6} And just for ha-ha's, I shot a video of the Concert Band performing a movement from Dvorak's "New World Symphony".

video

7} What comes around, goes around. I had inflicted serious pain on my parents when I was my children's ages, from 4th grade thru my sophmore year in high school, playing in these concerts. So I thought it would be a groovy thang to share the pain that my daughter inflicted on me with all of my friends.

So those are my excuses. They may not be the best, but they're mine and I'm claiming full ownership of them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Exploring Rhythm And Melody

No, we're not exploring Big Audio Dynamite today, but we are exploring rhythm and melody.

For those of you who have been seriously long term readers of this blog (like since 2009), you may remember my very first foray into writing fiction with blatant sex in it. The story itself was inspired by the song Dani California by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Now, even though the Peppers came to video relatively late (early 90's), they have made some truly interesting conceptual videos. For instance, the video for the song What's Your Story? features all kinds of local bands telling their story and then playing with the Peppers. For Californication, they did it as a conceptual video game.

However, the video done for Dani California is the reason as to why I'm writing this strange little post today. Instead of telling a story, they decided to touch upon different types of music/artists from the past 60 years of rock music.

Now for someone who came extremely late in listening to the type of music presented in this video, this was actually a cool thing. Most of the genres/artists presented in this video I've never really listened to, only read about. Some of them were easy enough for me identify, but a couple others took quite a while (like a year) to identify.

So, without further ado, Cedar's Mountain is proud to present to, a slight musical interlude. The artists that you're about to see videos on, are presented in the same order that the video shows them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did searching for them.

1} 50's rock: This was a no-brainer as they gave you a choice of Bill Haley or Elvis. I choose Elvis and his song Hound Dog.

2} British Invasion: This was also a no-brainer as they gave you the visual of The Beatles. Since the British Invasion was more than just the Beatles, I chose their stablemates Gerry and The Pacemakers, doing the song How Do You Do It?

3} 60's Psychedelic: Another no-brainer as Anthony Kiedis pulls off a very decent impersonation of Jimi Hendrix. Thus, we have the song Are You Exprienced?

4} 70's Funk: Another no-brainer (seems a bit redundant, don't it?) as the example given was from George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic conglomo. The song is Bring The Funk, which to me sort of matches what the Peppers were doing in the video.

5} 70's proto-punk: The only previous exposure that I had to the New York Dolls was through the various articles about the New York music scene; David Johannson; and a fantastic documentary on the late Arthur "Killer" Kane. The song is Jet Boy

6} 70's U.K. punk: The Sex Pistols were the first punk band that I had any kind of exposure to and became the second band that I enjoy listening to and acquiring music of (I have four albums: reissue of "Never Mind The Bollocks"; a compilation called "Flogging A Dead Horse"; soundtrack to the movie "The Great Rock & Roll Swindle"; and a bootleg recorded in Texas on their one and only North American tour). Since some people might still have a strong opinion about the Sex Pistols, I chose not post a video clip on them.

7} 80's California punk/metal: This one was a lot harder to figure out and it took me well over a year to connect the dots. Fortunately, the fetid medium of television provided the answer for me. I was watching an episode of "L.A. Ink" when a drummer for the band The Misfits came in wanting a tattoo on his neck. Once they showed a picture of him performing with his band, all of it fell into place. The video you're about see is called Scream and I'm guessing that it's based on the horror movie of the same name. Because of that, viewer discretion is strongly advised and actively encouraged.

8} 80's hair metal: Love hair metal. Hair metal is the modern equivalent of country music featuring the cowboy hat, cowboy boot, jeans and poppy electric guitar. Lots of bands to choose from, so my choice is Cinderella's Shelter Me

9} Seattle grunge: Anthony Kiedis pulls off a dead ringer impersonation of Kurt Cobain. My favorite Nirvana song is In Bloom

10} Modern rock: Betcha thought I was gonna post another Pepper's video or another Nirvana or even Pearl Jam. HAH!!!! Instead, here's a song called California Dreamin' by the Japanese punk/metal band Hi-Standard.

One last point: I own either the 45 or the LP version of all the songs save 4, 5 & 7. I don't have #5 or #7 and I may have #4 buried somewhere in my record collection.

Yeah, I'm strange, but my family and friends wouldn't have it any other way. Would you?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What's The Word Of Today?

The word of today is "progress".

It may be only incremental, but it's progress just the same. So let's talk about the types of progress that I've made in the past month with my writing.

Blackness In The White Sand

I've made only minimal progress on this particular novella, in that I'd only gotten about three pages written in the past three weeks. On the positive side, I finally figured out how I want to write not only the climatic scene, but the ending as well. On the negative side, this means I have to spend some time studying the beginning part of the novella and write a few notes.

Line 21

I e-mailed another query, this time to a Texas based publisher (no, not the one that Travis Erwin recently published his memoir with) called Black Rose Writing. Hopefully they will find my query acceptable and intriguing enough to make a request for a few chapters.

I've basically written off Solstice Publishing as it's now going on six months and beyond a few answers telling me how far along they are in their slush pile (my novel is currently sitting at #198, and this was back December) I haven't heard thing one on whether they like it or not.

Short Story

I started exploring the Duotrope weekly newsletter near the tail end of November to see if I could find a few homes for a few of my short stories. I e-mailed a submission to an e-zine called "Popcorn Fiction" (no response); one to "Fringe Magazine" (on hiatus due to this unfortunate incident) and one to Cynic Magazine (again).

I also, in mid December, e-mailed a quirky horror story for U.K. based horror anthology. For those of you who have been reading this blog since 2010, you might remember a quirky horror story called "A Day At The Office" that I posted at my now closed short story blog. For those of you who don't recall that particular story, it was written in pretty much the same vein as the flash fiction I had posted here back in December called "Daddy?"

Anyways, I got a response about week ago from the main contact person at the publisher who said that they liked the story very much and that they were going to pass it along. Not sure if that means it's going to get published, but I'm elated over the fact that one of my stories made it pass the initial cattle call and is now being seriously considered for a horror anthology.

Like I said at the beginning of the post, today's word of the day is "progress" and even though nothing solid has panned out yet, the fact that I'm actually doing something concrete with my writing means that I'm still getting up, dusting myself off and throwing myself back into the fray.

And that, my friends, sums up G's latest adventures in writing for the past month.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Riddle Me This And Riddle Me That

I had a very brutal five days this week, so the only thing I was able to come up with was this moldy oldy e-mail from eight years ago.

After the long, miserable spring we had here in the great Northeast, we finally had a nice sunny, warm day. It happened to coincide with my 12 year old son being home from school on summer vacation. I asked him if he wanted to go for a ride, and he said, "Not really, Dad."

Then I said those magic words: "ice cream". He quickly changed his mind.

As we were riding over to the nearby creamery, he turned to me, and said, "I know that one and six is six. But, is two and five 10?"

"No," I replied, "two and five is twelve."

"Then what's 3 and 3?", he asked.

"Seventeen," I responded.

"Oh yeah," he said. "I think I've got it now."

The question is, what the heck were the Dad and his son talking about?

I will update this post on Monday with the answer to this teeny tiny little riddle. Good luck in coming up with one.

1/16/12: you will find the answer to the riddle in the comments section

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Without The Attitude Adjustment, "Customer Service" Is Simply Two Nouns Strung Together

Customer service.

It's a topic that's near and dear to me and it's one that I've touched upon in the past three and a half years on this blog. Usually I talk about the bad and never about the good. This time, I would like to talk about how a large business can produce both good and bad at the same time.

"G, that's completely impossible. How can you have good and bad at the same time?"

Perhaps I should clarify. A large business can produce on two separate visits, a good customer experience and a bad customer service experience.

"Huh?"

I see that you're still confused, so here are two examples of this.

Wendy's

Wendy's, as you know so very well, has a system in place that hearkens back to the day of true customer service in which a business focuses on one customer at a time. Great if you work in a large commercial business or the guv'ment, lousy if you work in the fast food industry. Because of this philosophy, whenever you go to a Wendy's, there's always a line out the door and you can literally waste your entire lunch break (or dinner break for that matter) waiting for your food.

I used to frequent with some regularity, one in Newington and one in Middletown. Both of them are extremely busy and very slow paced at lunch time. However, the one in Middletown, even though the line was always long (about 10 people deep on the average), I never really waited long for my food. They had an experienced person working the register and he managed to work the lines with an efficiency that one does not usually see in a fast food restaurant. The only reason why I stopped going there was a time factor. I worked in one end of Middletown near Portland, while the restaurant was located about two miles from Wesleyan University. So my customer service experiences there have always been on the positive side.

As for the one in Newington, I stopped going there simply because the people working the front were so slow that I didn't want to run the risk of becoming ill while waiting. How? Usually when I go to a fast food restaurant for lunch, I'm by myself, and since people are either 1) nosy or 2) squeamish, I'll go to the restroom so that I can shoot up my insulin in private, then get in line to place my order. I'm willing to do this with Burger King and Arby's, because I know that I won't spend an abnormal amount of time waiting for my food. So my customer service experiences there have always been on the negative side.

Before I continue with my second example, I should point out that I'm not what you call a "typical customer". Why? In a nutshell, I've spend the better part of thirty years working on the other side of the counter, both in the private sector and the public sector, so what might be bad customer service to one, isn't necessarily the same for me. However, that doesn't mean that I tolerate truly bad customer service, because as you're about to see with my next example, I don't deal very well with stupid.

CVS

The end result of my one truly bad customer service experience with the Newington location, was me being banned from ever having a prescription filled there. Please follow me over to my other blog, if you can, to read about the entire ugly incident.

My good customer service experiences takes place at a branch in East Hartford. What makes this unique is that even though I've been living in Newington for the past several years, I still make my minimum twice a month trip to the East Hartford branch. I originally set up shop at that branch while I was living in East Hartford back in the late 90's, so for the better part of 15 years I have been doing a twenty-five mile round trip to pick up my scripts.

I am a strong believer in brand/business loyalty and when I frequent a business that goes above and beyond with their customer service, I make it a point to stay with them. They've helped me on numerous occasions when my scripts have been messed up, or when they've run short on a particular med, called me to ask why I haven't had a particular script taken care of, and on one particular occasion, expedited a script for a heavy duty painkiller after I had a major tooth extraction performed earlier in the day and the Novocaine was wearing off.

So my friends, it is possible to visit a large business and experience both good and bad customer service at the same time. These are my two examples. How 'bout you?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Moving At The Fantastic Speed Of Slow

This post was inspired by this post written by this kewl blogger

Flashback time.

Early 80's, when I had hair, gas was about $1.25 per gallon, there were three grades of gas: regular, no lead and super and I was a newbie driver at the tender age of 22 (yes, I got my driver's license late. It also took me three tries, but that's another story for another time).

Car of choice? Whatever mommy dearest was driving at the time.

One day, while I was driving to the other end of the Berlin Turnpike, I was sitting at a traffic light. Specifically, at this intersection:


Because this is an 80's flashback, you'll have to picture the following item that used to be located in that shot. Just off to the left of the SUV heading towards you, there used to be a weird triangle that had a small tree, in which you had to take in order to make a left turn onto Main Street. Also, the road used to be only four lanes in all directions.

Anyways, I was sitting in the combo right turn/straight lane waiting to go straight, when Methuselah pulled up next to me in the left turn lane. I pretty much ignored him until the light changed to green, when he decided to go straight and cut me off.

Chagrined, I let him go ahead of me until we got to this next intersection:



The light was green, and since I was in the right turn/straight lane, I went straight. Methuselah, who was in the left turn lane, went straight as well. When we got to this next intersection:




I had the green light, so naturally I continued straight...and so did Methuselah.

So far this guy had managed to cut me off at three consecutive traffic lights and almost put me into a very large tree at the first light. Suffice to say, I was mighty pissed off. But there was still one more cut off for him to do.

When we got the next working light, I was in the left turn/straight lane, while Methuselah was in the right turn lane. Since he was overly concerned about staying in front of me, he pulled forward and blocked me in so that I couldn't go around him.

Which turned out to be a moot point since he made a right turn the second the light turned green, while I continued in the same direction.

Moral of this story? None to speak of, other than to point out that I spent about the first two years of my driving life acting like Casper Milquetoast.

However, I would like to point out that had this happened now, the story would've gone something like this:

Elderly driver cuts off younger driver. Younger driver leans on horn and gives elderly driver the finger plus a few choice adjectives. Younger driver immediately sideswipes elderly driver as he accelerates to about 55 miles an hour through the center of town, oblivious to any other cars/pedestrians. Younger driver would also roll down the window and give elderly driver the finger while laughing maniacally and driving erratically.

Moral of story #2: Thug driving is da bomb.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Music Does A Body Good

Over the long holiday weekend, I picked up three c.d.'s with my B&N gift card: "Swordfishtrombones" by Tom Waits; "El Camino" and "Chulahoma" by The Black Keys. "El Camino" will be the focus of today's music review.

I was first introduced to this group and this particular c.d. by noted writer/musician (click here for a song by his group American Falcon)/blogger Chris LaTray, who had posted a video clip of Lonely Boy on his blog about a month ago. The song rocked so much that I decided right then and there that I needed to have that c.d., which for me is a rarity, since I like to experience an artist's output in chronological order.

Anyways, when I purchased my copy the sticker on the wrapper said, "Play It Loud". So I did and the end result was a c.d. that not only kicked ass from track 1, but forced you to listen to it all the way through in one sitting.

Most bands, when they release a c.d., can usually be listened to piecemeal. In other words, it would contain maybe one or two radio friendly hits, a few decent tracks and the rest filler. Thus, you could listen to it for ten or twelve minutes, take a break to do something, then come back and listen to it for another chunk of time, etc..

"El Camino" is written and played in such a way that it's virtually impossible to listen to it piecemeal. Each track seamlessly flows into the next, allowing almost zero time to come up for air and prepare for the next. Even when it goes from a rocker like "Gold On The Ceiling" to a mellower song called "Little Black Submarines", it still maintains that uptempo pacing that allows no room for breathing. And should you be forced to take a break longer than twenty seconds from the c.d., it's almost impossible to go back where you left off at and pick up the current story line, thus leaving you with no other option than to start at the beginning and hope to hell that no one bothers you for the next thirty-eight minutes and twenty-seven seconds.

Overall, I found this c.d. an absolute pleasure not only to listen to, but to experience as well. Everything, from the music to the vocals, both lead and backing, is done in such a way that quite often it's hard to tell who's doing what when. Even if you've never experienced The Black Keys before, this c.d. is a great example of what's being played not only on real radio, but at the smaller (i.e. non-arena) music venues around the country and on the small indie labels (Nonsuch Records is not an indie label, although their earlier stuff found on Fat Possum Records is).

Monday, January 2, 2012

To Be Continued



"Hi ho! Allow me to introduce myself! I is Brown Bear, and I's be the official spokesman for the owner of this blog, G. Without further ado, let's get down to the main purpose of this post."

"What should I do next with my blog?" was the question that G had asked himself in last Friday's (12/30) post, and of which he spent the long holiday weekend thinking about. To refresh everyone's memory, G was seriously examining the future of his blog because he had run out of original ideas and/or thoughts to blog about.

G started his personal debate by examining the two unspoken absolutes contained in that question, then moved from each point towards a happy medium somewhere. The two unspoken absolutes in question were, 1} not continuing the blog and 2} continuing the blog.

So G thought about both options, took into serious consideration the opinions offered by everyone else, and spent the better part of two days melding and assimilating everyone's opinions into the overall answer to that particular question.

I am now happy to announce that G came up with what he feels is a satisfactory answer to this very question.

G will continue to write and update his blog, although he is cutting down to posting at the very minimum, two days a week. He believes that this is the best solution to a most difficult and troubling problem.

So starting tomorrow, G will introduce a new posting schedule of Tuesdays and Fridays. He also told me just minutes before I stepped to the podium, that if he's feeling exceptionally creative and/or original, he will add a third post to the week.

This has been Brown Bear giving you all the blog news that someone has seen fit to clue me in on, and if you'll excuse me, I have a ginormous plate of super spicy nachos waiting for me, which is appropriate, since nachos is the food of choice for Brown Bears such as myself.

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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