Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions and stuff

I had a very nice Christmas with family. We also car shopped and helped our daughter get a new one. She ran into a deer, on her birthday. She was driving from Bloomington Indiana with her son, where she lives, to our house in Evansville. The deer totaled her car and she has been car-less for several weeks.
My 11 year old son's best friend in school lost his 20year old brother on Christmas day. My son had just spent the night at their house four weeks ago. It was very tragic. The boy was driving his family home Christmas evening and a drunk driver, fleeing the police, plowed into him. The guy was speeding on the wrong side of the road with his lights off at night. It was on the same stretch of road we had just traveled that evening. He was killed instantly. His mother was hospitalized and had hip surgery from the accident. His other brother and sister had minor injuries. There was also a baby in the car. The drunk driver had 6 previous DUI's and, due to an error, had a valid license. The county clerk failed to file his lifetime suspension with the BMV. We had to go to the visitation last evening. The line was all the way out of the building. The mother was allowed to leave the hospital to be at the visitation and funeral. What do you say to someone who lost a son? Over the years I've been to two other similar situations and it is never easy. People take the whole drinking and driving thing way to lightly. I've seen friends over the years who drive because they think they are ok. In this situation, the guy was way over the legal limit. What would posses someone to flee the police? Things like this really make me appreciate what I have.
Here's to a wonderful new year full of happy surprises and good times!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Book Event

I had a wonderful book signing at the Blue Moon Gallery in Vincennes Indiana. The ladies who own the place are artists and very nice people. I met many interesting people and gave a reading from my book. My son took pictures and helped out. We ended up buying things there. I couldn't believe that Vincennes does not have a book store, yet they have a college. That is why the owners decided to add authors and their books to their eclectic shop. I enjoyed signing books and its always nice when someone finds your work interesting. Unlike a regular book store, this signing was more of a gathering of like minded people. It was very laid back. I must make a point to go back and visit the gallery. Its an hour away, but worth it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Writing and traveling

I'll be in Vincennes, December 5th at the Blue Moon Gallery. I like the idea of a small art gallery for local artists. With my sister being a professional artist in New York, I know how important it is to support the arts. It's all about exposure.
Also, anyone in the New York area...the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is hosting a party for their patrons or those who want to start. The CBLDF
was founded in 1986 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of First Amendment rights for members of the comics community. Comic books are a legitimate art form written by legitimate writers and illustrators. Sometimes they are over looked. If you can get your child to start reading, even comic books, you are contributing to keeping their minds active and away from the television. Of course TV is ok, it's what you watch that matters. Too many people are quick to categorize comic books as bad. I've enjoyed many hours reading and researching old comic such as Krazy Kat, Blondie, Pogo, Peanuts and much more. I still love Garfield, For Better Or Worse, Sally Forth, etc. I realize there are bad types of graphic novels but that's where the law comes into play. Defining what is bad, protected or restricted is an important aspect of the printed word. Let us not forget the stacks of classic novels which the Nazis burned and American Libraries banned. One of the greatest things about this country, which many countries do not enjoy, is the freedom of speech. United we can do wonderful things.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Authonomy is a web site from Harper Collins (UK) where authors, aspiring writers and bibliophiles can keep up with new releases and show off their own work. This is from their own site:

"Get Read. Get Noticed. Get Published.

authonomyTM is a brand new community site for writers, readers and publishers, conceived and developed by book editors at HarperCollins. We want to flush out the brightest, freshest new literature around ...

If you’re a writer, authonomy is the place to show your face – and show off your work on the web. Whether you’re unpublished, self-published or just getting started, all you need is a few chapters to start building your profile online, and start connecting with the authonomy community.

And if you’re a reader, blogger publisher or agent, authonomy is for you too. The book world is kept alive by those who search out, digest and spread the word about the best new books – authonomy invites you to join our community, champion the best new writing and build a personal profile that really reflects your tastes, opinions and talent-spotting skills.

The publishing world is changing. One thing’s for sure: whether you’re a reader, writer, agent or publisher, this is an exciting time for books. In our corner of HarperCollins we’ve been given a chance to do something a little different.

We’d really love your help."

It's a win win situation for both Harper Collins and those in the industry. They can find the latest hidden talent and the gifted writer can be discovered. It's a new era in the publishing industry where, within cyberspace, like minded individuals can find each other and do what they love doing. Millions of books, millions of writers and only thousands of publishers. Anyplace that can facilitate the meeting of the two can't be bad.

Friday, November 7, 2008

National Novel Writing Month

We're well into November and if you haven't already started, get out your pens or keyboards and start writing. In their own words: "Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30....Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly."
They have a youth category too. The youth category does not have the word limit. So, tell your kids about it. They might actually find it fun and helpful. My 10 year old son (who is 11 now) tried it. He wasn't sure about it at first. Then, he approached the paper as if it were infected with some horrible disease. Cautiously, he touched it, didn't die, then wrote a sentence. Realizing that nothing remotely fatal was going to follow, he wrote another, awkward sentence. Then another, and another, until, much to his chagrin, the process began to elicit his hidden creativity. He could no longer hide his pursuance for plots, interesting characters and the ultimate provocative finale. He completed his contribution. In the process, he discovered something about himself that he had not know before. He was capable of writing for fun. He had the ability to apply pen to paper and create a tale from from the resources of his own mind. That, he had previously assumed, was something "authors" did. It wasn't something he was capable of. Since the average person couldn't perform surgery, the same held true for writing...or did it? Even the surgeon had to start somewhere. He had to have the interest in order to go to school and study his trade. Without that, nothing else would matter. And so it was, another inner writer was unleashed, if only for a few weeks. Isn't that what its all about?
My daughter, who is in her 20s with her own son, is very creative, but too busy at this stage in her life to stop and write anything for any period of time.
Since there are no expectations other than word count and time constraints, the pressure is minimal. And, who knows, you might find that next great novel hidden within the recesses of your normally confined imagination. At the very least, you'll be writing and contributing to the greater good. Maybe, just maybe, you'll find your inner Faulkner, Alcott, Bradbury or even Shakespeare.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Writing, history and promotions

Promoting a book is a bit like hitting the campaign trail. You have to forget your modesty for a moment and let people know why they should actually buy your book. It isn't always easy for someone who is not comfortable in the spotlight. Eventually, however, you learn to shift into a different mode when you're at a book signing. You must let go of your inhibitions in order to focus on your product. What does this book have to offer? Why should a person put down their hard earned money on this particular book?
One thing this presidential election can teach us is that anyone can succeed. Anyone who is brave, determined, intelligent and confident enough can persevere amidst all adversity. You must keep your eye on the prize and never pay attention to the "dream killers". Sure we can learn from constructive criticism but we have to know the difference. If we stop believing in ourselves, no one else will believe in us. So, here's to dreams in all its wonderful forms. If we follow an honest and harmonious path, the journey will truly be worth the destination.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Second annual Tales Of Terror

I was given the link to the second Tales Of Terror by an anonymous commenter...Thanks! Take credit where credit is due. Lovely, horrifying tales by talented story tellers. Check it out and enjoy! What makes it even better is that the writer reads the tales. Sit back and listen, like before, in a dark room with nothing but the dim glow from your monitor. Better yet, cue up the audio and click off your monitor just long enough to listen.
The title reminds me of the old 1962 Vincent Price movie of the same name. The synopsis from the movie database: Three stories adapted from the work of Edgar Allen Poe. A man and his daughter are reunited, but the blame for the death of his wife hangs over them, unresolved. A derelict challenges the local wine-tasting champion to a competition, but finds the man's attention to his wife worthy of more dramatic action. A man dying and in great pain agrees to be hypnotized at the moment of death, with unexpected consequences.
Halloween is riddled with fun, fear and scary stories. Now is the time to dive right into all the old horror movies. The problem I have with some of the newer horror films is that they rely too much on gore and not enough fear. A scary film or story should be able to scare you with implied doom rather than blood and guts. When I dole out good money for a Halloween haunted house, I want fear, not cheesy red paint splattered everywhere. Who doesn't scream when someone jumps unexpectedly out of the darkness and screams boo! Rubber bones with read paint are fine props but they don't scare me. I'm not much for gore but prefer good old fashioned scare tactics. A good set is fine but the plot within the set, well, that makes the scary tale.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

National Book Festival: Authors

While I was at my own book festival, here is a nice video of what was going on in Washington DC.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shrunken Heads

How to make Srunken Heads: You make shrunken apple heads then float them in warm apple cider. Half the apple or keep whole if you prefer, use a melon-baller to take the core out, peel the apple, use a melon-baller to make eye sockets, use a knife for nose slits and mouth, then bake in oven for two hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve apple cider in mug with shrunken head. Have all the shrunken heads floating in the pot of warm apple cider.
Other options include, leaving them out of the cider and decorate the dried, baked apple heads for props and not for eating. You can stitch the eyes and mouth with thread afterward. You can add hair from a craft shop. You're imagination is the only limit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Writer's tributes to Scary Tales

Last year the Weekend America site decided to honor Halloween by soliciting professional authors to write a short, very short, tale of terror. I am revisiting this since Halloween is just around the corner. The audio of the stories may not be available but you can still read them.
30 Second Tales of Terror (by famous writers no less)

Only someone with an over active imagination can tell a 30 second scary story. So, for Halloween, read the petite tales in a darkened room with only the monitor's light for comfort.

Here's my contribution to really short scary stories:
It was a dark and stormy night as Mr. Collinsworth signed and concluded his will. He thought he heard the floor squeak but decided it was his over active imagination. Suddenly a quick and decisive blow to the head ended
Mr. Collinsworth's life prematurely.
When I arrived at the Estate the next morning I felt a cold chill run down my spine. This was the room my unsuspecting Uncle had drew his last breath. There were still spots of blood on his desk. The butler was being interrogated by the police as I walked about the gloomy study. Just then a blood curdling scream came from the kitchen where the maid was found lying in a pool of blood. I ran back to the study only to find the, now murdered, butler lying limply across a divan. Being terrified by the sudden deaths, I began to panic. The detective told me, as I stood shaking in my shoes, that the maid and butler had been listed in the will my Uncle had just completed. The only other names listed were me and a long lost cousin! I had been studying my shoes in order to avoid the detective's insinuating glare. To my shock, when I looked up, no one was there. Where had the detective gone? For that matter where is everyone else? They had just been here. I could hear the floor squeak behind me and I ran to the now locked front door. I turned in a panic only to see the crazed face of my long lost cousin, Broderick!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Coraline the movie

Another one of Neil Gaiman's books is well on its way to being a movie. It's dark and mysterious with a splash of "Tim Burton", other worldly flair to it. There are some good websites out now which introduce you to the whole Coraline concept. The official site has intense flash animations which may bog down an older computer, but it does take you on a cyber/fantasy journey into the imaginative world that is Mr. Gaiman's mind. I'm glad to see they are making it as a stop animation feature rather than computer animation. Computer animation has its merits, to be sure, but it lacks in the whole "parallel world" realism. Its hard to explain really. Some people just don't get "Nightmare Before Christmas" or "Corpse Bride", but those who do...well, they understand. I was raised during the time the Addams Family and Munsters were on television. I always fancied myself growing up in a wonderful Victorian home full of interesting nooks and crannies. Sure, I watched the Brady Bunch and Partridge Family shows, but I related to the lovable misfits who didn't know they were monsters living in a "normal" world. They could be funny, like Alf who came later, or just plain weird. I live in one of the few homes in my neighborhood which is nicely adorned with Halloween lights and decorations. Halloween has always been a big deal in my family. When my mother was still alive, she hosted a Halloween party which even made the newspaper because her home was decorated up so well. I've always felt I lived in a little bit of both worlds. Which one do I live in more? I'll never tell.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Follow your dream NOW! While you still can.

Writer, Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last December. He has written books for adults, young adults and children. His fantasy novels, collaborations and art work combined make up a very impressive library. His UK interview reveals a poignant and bittersweet look into his world of forgetfulness and diminishing creativity. It is unimaginable to understand how it feels to see your, once brilliant mind, slowly slipping into the abyss of dementia. This website covers all of the books and art in which he has contributed over his lifetime.
Pratchett said in his interview,
"Regrettably one of the best swords for killing demons like this is made of gold - lots of gold.
These days we call it funding. I believe the D-day battle on Alzheimer’s will be engaged shortly and a lot of things I’ve heard from experts, not always formally, strengthen that belief."
Let's hope he is right. Alzheimer's research doesn't just rescue old farts from being lost in their own mind. There are highly creative, contributing adults who are being diagnosed daily. Is it in your future? I certainly hope not. However, it could be in your loved ones future. Who knows? Support the Alzheimer walks and charities as well as the Alzheimer sufferers.
I had a great aunt who had been diagnosed with it. She was an articulate, intelligent woman who watched her mind slowly degrade. In one of her lucid moments, she stated emphatically that she did not want to live out her last days in a nursing home oblivious to the world. Little did we know that she and her husband, who was suffering from advanced heart disease actually intended to avoid such a fate. One chilly fall morning we received a call that they had both passed away. Her husband, in his own words, "mercifully" took her life and then his own. It seemed such a sad way to go, but then again, the only other options they had was slow and painful. I'm not one to judge what is right. I'm just making the observation. So, learn about the disease and support the sufferers.
Do, create, write, read, travel, talk and live!....Who knows what tomorrow brings. Learn from the past and live for today. Today is what you dreamed about yesterday. So, live the dream you envisioned long ago.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's amazing what a group of former kids can do.

The city where the birth of the genius, Jules Vernes was Nantes, France. Let us not talk of literature now, but mechanics.
When you go downtown, near the river Loire, there is a very particular island in which dwell many strange creatures, half steel, half wood. The Machines de L’île is an artistic project situated in the former warehouses of the Nantes shipyard.
Part Vernes, part Vinci and definitely part Dr Moreau, you cannot miss the gallery of the Machines, the Heron Tree and the Great Elephant.
They have also created other giant mechanical creatures. Three new Machines of the Marine Worlds are in the Gallery : the Giant Crab, the Abyssal Bus and the Storm Boat. What a great way to make a living.
Oh to be able to travel the world on a whim. I would definitely stay busy seeking out the unique, unusual and wonderful nooks and crannies all over this beautiful globe.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Neil Gaiman's latest book

Chapter one is read by the author, just click play. (More details and offers.) What a nice way to discover a book. Audio books are a great alternative in literature. I need to check into this. I remember going to sleep, when I was younger, to audio books and recorded old radio programs my father had. It had a profound effect on me. My imagination began its full time journey into the world of storytelling.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The "Best of Blog" day

I've been writing for some time now. I felt the moment had arrived that I did a "best of" entry. It is a day to reminisce and commemorate the archives of this blog and blogs I've linked to. They get lost in the shuffle of daily life and newcomers may have missed them. Without further adieu I shall commence with my first citation. It was in February of 2008 when I came across the beautiful, artistic keyboards. They were pricey but exquisite, aesthetic creations. Here's a link to that entry
The last winter solstice left an icy glaze over my part of the country. The type of weather that is both beautiful and frightful all at the same time. This was my take on it.
Over a year ago, I wrote a passage about myself. I rarely like to talk about myself. I've always felt a bit "different". It's taken me a long time to realize that "normal" is a subjective word. It is all about perception. Here is the entry I wrote about me, at least the me I was then. Everyday, I redefine who I am. That's the way life is, always evolving and flowing.
My last memorialized entry for now is about the subject of time and parallel worlds. Many people will find this essay a bit daunting. But, if you're inclined to the wonderment of physics and time travel you might find it thought provoking. If not, then skip this one. It isn't academic and certainly less cerebral than one might read in a college book. No, my brief take on the subject was more philosophical. That reminds me of a (lame) joke. "what does a philosophy graduate say on his first day on the job?" "Do you want fries with that?"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Banned Books Week

This is banned books week. Let's pay tribute to all the banned books throughout history this week. Here's a comprehensive list of the latest banned books.
Why do some people want to decide what other people read? Sure, there are dangerous books out there like "how to make a bomb for fun and revenge" (not sure if that exists or not) but why do those "in charge" feel threatened? Does the truth hurt? Are they afraid that someone might believe a lie? Do they not know the difference between fiction and non-fiction? These and many other questions wait to be answered, as if they actually could be answered. One thing for sure, banned books tend to get a boost in readership. So, in effect, banning them only gets the opposite effect. People don't like to be told what to do. They want to believe that they actually have the freedom of choice. Go ahead, ban my book, I dare you. Let's promote the freedom to read and write!

Books and things

The Tri-State Book Expo in Evansville, Indiana this past weekend is over and now on to new things. I met many other interesting authors and enjoyed myself. I had hoped that the local media would have covered it better, though. Had I known, I would have done more promoting myself. I bought more books than I sold, but its all about exposure, contacts and the like. In the photo with the three authors, I'm the one on the left. The middle author is B.B. Walters and then Bernice Camp. It is from the Book Expo. That's what I was doing instead of going to the National Book Expo in D. C. I'm now listed on the USA Book News site. I was chosen to be promoted and received an honorable mention from them. I am working on several projects at this time and finding that my time must be micro managed in order to do all the things I want to do. I guess that's better than having nothing to do at all.
Meanwhile, back at the farm (DC book expo), the National Book Expo was alive with action. Alas, I was doing my part in the midwest and missed it all. Good news, however, as I have pictures. They held the "big book festival" outdoors amidst pending rain. My sources tell me that it went off without a hitch and was great fun. Rain here and there did not dampen the spirit of the occasion. I have photos of the dark clouds hanging over the Washington Mall and Neil Gaiman (famed Fantasy author and graphic novelist) signing books.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The birth of Superman

Today is the official launch of The Siegel & Shuster Society, with a celebrity charity auction that'll raise money to preserve the home of Jerry Siegel, creator of Superman. When you go to Brad Meltzer's charitable website, you can:

* bid online for original Superman and comic book art and items by top writers and artists

* buy a Siegel & Shuster Society t-shirt (designed by the legendary graphic designer Chip Kidd)

* or just donate to the good cause.

History is very important. It tells us who we are and where we came from. It shows us where we're going. Political and social history is not the only significant aspect of civilization. Civilization consists of ordinary people. Ordinary people combined make up civilization as we know it. It is the citizens who matter. They elect, live, work, create and follow. Collectively, we citizens of this planet pollute, clean and use the Earth's resources. Any individual who contributes to society in a way which helps individuals make through the day is significant. We must support the artisans who aren't always considered distinguished in cultural circles. The common comic book artist who gives the average kid an escape from his daily trials with peers and school must have his day. Superman is just one of the many heroes and characters who supported many a child and young adult. Support the historic homes of their creators. Support the historical comic books, newspaper dailies and books which holds the foundation of hopes and dreams. The hopes and dreams of everyday people.

Friday, June 13, 2008

NY Architect builds cryptic apartment

An Architect in NY city, armed with money and a great imagination, turns his apartment into the ultimate puzzle box. Starting with an ingenious idea, Eric Clough designed his 4,200 square foot Park Avenue apartment with puzzling nooks and crannies, all clues to his secret treasure. It took his family months to unravel its secrets. As an added bonus, the finished home is visually pleasing as well. The smooth dark wood is etched with wonderful designs and hardware.
Can you imagine a large house made this way? I would put in plenty of secret passageways, which by the way, a company does just that. There are so many ingenious ideas which can be incorporated into the perfect, creative and unusual homes. It's wonderful when someone with the needed financial backing creates such a home. Unique living quarters full of art, design, nuances and the like. I am reminded of the Winchester mystery home where the occupant never stopped adding rooms, dead end hallways and marvelous stairways to nothing. Here's to creativity in all its marvelous forms.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

National Doodle Day

May 8th was National Doodle Day.
I think there should be a National Doodle Month, but that's just me. Doodles can be fun, interesting or just silly. They can also give you an insight into someone's psyche, especially when they don't know you're looking. The Doodles in question, however, are from various celebrities who are donating their doodles for charity. It's for a good cause. Regardless, doodles should be celebrated as an art form all its own. How many school kids have their notebooks covered in doodles? How many of those kids have had their doodle art confiscated by their teachers and displayed for all to see? Sure, the teacher wasn't trying to honor the art. The teacher clearly misunderstood the art and was attempting to humiliate the artist. Indirectly, however, the art was indeed being appreciated by the entire class as it was held up by the smirking educator. Some students would smile while others might aspire to achieve their own great doodle art. Inspiration comes from many sources. Let us celebrate the history of doodles in all its forms. (The above doodle was drawn by Micky Dolenz from The Monkees.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Can anyone do it?

When I spoke to the school kids, I told them how anyone could be a writer. I wouldn't say that to everyone, but I believe kids posses a great amount of potential. Kids know very well what they "can't do", not so much about what they can. Papers are graded with comments on what they did wrong and maybe a smiley face will be added for good measure. I realize that teachers do make positive remarks, its just that, overall, kids receive way more "constructive criticism" than they do positive reinforcement. The teachers are just doing their job. They have to follow the educational guidelines set before them. When I was talking to the kids, I was able to try and motivate them. I wanted them to see their inner passions and how they can use that to follow their dreams. It turns out, however, that I may have insulted other professional writers by saying "anyone can be a writer". I guess its like saying "anyone can be a doctor, lawyer, etc" The intention behind those words were meant to serve as youthful motivation rather than offending writers. I realize that it takes studying, desire, talent and much more to be a good writer. Neil Gaiman (a professional writer) told me once, "if you want to be a writer...write, finish, then write again." He said that's how he did it and still does. Talent stands on its own merits. "Of course," he added, "writers are avid readers, too."
People want to be at the top of their field. They do not want to think that "anyone can do it" (change it to whatever you want). Of course ANYONE can't do it! if they could then EVERYONE would be doing it. I believe that everyone has something they can do, however, and that they should be motivated to find out what that is. We are all valid, contributing individuals on this blue planet. Why not be the best we can be? Be the best parent, teacher, partner, cook, co-worker, student, etc. Find that spark within, for we all possess it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Book signings

I had a nice pre-Easter book signing. I was right next to the children's section where an Easter Egg hunt was under way. There were lots of kids and onlookers. I had a successful signing with some people buying more than one copy of my book. I had a drawing for a free mug and gave away magnets and bookmarks. Now I have to start scheduling more signings. I must decide where and when to do future signings. Its been an interesting ride thus far. I'm still working on future books in this series. I'm also working on getting my fantasy novel out there. I enjoy writing. The marketing part, however, is a lot of work. Oh to get noticed by that big publisher who spends all their own resources on advertising your work. That's my plan.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An outpouring of rain and random thoughts

The rain has taken over my previously ice covered world. Now the world is drenched in a never ending onslaught of rain. My street and yard have various sizes of flooded puddles which quickly turn into mini lakes. We have had our fair share of moisture this year which completely makes up for last year which was semi-dry. I actually enjoy hearing the rain on the roof as I settle in with a good book and something soothing to drink. When the weather decides to go to extremes, I still sit in my home with a deluded sense of security. Reality is what we make it. That's what I believe. Everyone believes what they will and there is no stopping them. Advertising will attempt to sway a person's conception toward something, but in the end people will do as they please. Of course, who wants to be left out of the latest fad? Usually, by the time a person gets past their 30's they will be more in tuned with what they like. As such, they will be harder to reach through advertising. The marketers have to be clever to reach an older audience. Between handing out coupons and free samples, advertisers attempt to show how life can be made easier in some way. They leave the trends and what's vogue to the younger target market.
So, here's to a gently falling rain outside my window which makes me feel secure and safe inside my walls of illusion.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


I spoke to an inner city class about my book and about writing. They were very well behaved. Of course you'll have those who are a bit crude, to put it mildly. I was amazed at all of the great questions the students had about writing and the ideas they had. Then, unexpectedly, one of the less attentive students spoke up. Something I said got his attention. I don't remember what it was but it instigated a dialog between us. Previously he had been making rude faces and such and now he was telling me his story ideas. The ideas were actually quite good. I could see that a chord was struck and he no longer exhibited his rude behavior. This is what makes it all worthwhile. When you see that spark light up in a child's eyes. It is so much easier to talk to students who have all the advantages of a good education and family support. It is frustrating to talk to kids you have a chip on their shoulder. We all know the type. The kid who comes from a deprived background where support is something he sorely lacks. In school he causes so much trouble that he gets labeled and pushed through the system without any prospects ahead of him. He is a forgotten soul who ends up being a burden to society. The child who gets attention through uncooperative behavior and downright meanness is lost. If I am able to let this child see, if only for a moment, that he is valuable then it is all worth it.
I've had kids see me later and remember me. They will tell me the ideas they are working on. The same ideas other adult authority figures told them weren't any good. Is there really a bad idea? Of course there are ideas that are not marketable. But if you get a person to thinking isn't that important? One idea can sparks new ideas. Eventually that person may have hundreds of ideas, with one being just the right one. Brainstorming is the foundation to the advertising industry. Throwing out good and bad concepts until the right one is born. Here's to the kids, our future adults. Let us encourage them all, even the misfits.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


The flagging economic indicators demonstrate that recessionary pressures seem to be at play. What this means is that the middle class is being squeezed between a lower mean income and the rising costs of living expenses. This is not a political issue but rather a personal one which millions of families face on a daily basis. When families are doing all they can just to live, the forgotten children suffer. Their earning potential as an adult is inhibited because they lack the funds to go to college. Many of these kids live in poverty and face abuse and neglect. Every child deserves the opportunity to go to college. Many of them fall between the cracks because they believe they are incapable to succeed. There are many scholarship opportunities for low income children. The problem is that many of them have become "labeled" by the school system. As such, they are not given the hope or means needed to explore their educational options. These kids are hidden behind the labels and pushed aside. All kids learn differently. Some kids learn visually where others are able to comprehend facts through mathematics or reading. The visual students are more likely to be labeled as "learning disabled". There have been many strides in the teaching platforms today. However, too many schools have fallen into the same old academic structures. They promote kids who cannot read above a third grade level and in some cases, not at all.
Hope and self confidence needs to be restored in these kids. They are the future adults and deserve to see the spark within themselves. Parents need to be educated as well. They need to be aware of their child's potential. If they don't believe in their kids who will? Studies have shown that college graduates make more money than those without a degree. It is a combination of the specialized training received along with the fact that graduates have a higher level of self confidence.
Always talk to kids as if they are smart because they all possess an inner potential which tends to be overlooked by many adults.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Glass Trees

My world has been a crystal fantasy. Everything was coated in an icy splendor. It also carried with it a chilling reverence. Every step had to be calculated. Driving was reduced to a snail-like pace, at least at first. Subsequently, the ice melted causing icicle daggers to come crashing down. I drove home, cautiously avoiding the trees full of the abominable icicles. The trees seemed to be waiting patiently for the passing cars before releasing their daggers of ice. I could hear the dreaded crack and thud as a melting icicle struck the car in front of me. I could almost sense the tree's evil laugh as it hit its target. I zig zagged and eventually arrived safely home, or so I thought. As I opened my front door an ice dagger from the gutter swiftly struck the ground only centimeters from where I was standing. One slight move to the left could have left me with a pierced sternum. The sad part would have been the fact that the icicle would have melted away leaving my lifeless body and no one would be the wiser. The only evidence would have been a mere puddle. By the next day, however, it was all but a dream as the sun shone brightly across the muddy lawn.
Unfortunately, mother nature was given a second chance. The following week the fearsome ice returned in full force. Fortunately, the city was armed and ready. The streets managed to throw off much of the ice leaving a city of clear frosty trees. It was a sight to behold. All of the trees looked as if they were made of glass. When the light hit the ice, everything took on a surreal effect. I took pictures in order to remember how it all looked. Of course, no photo can capture adequately what the eye can see. On the final day of ice, we woke to snow. It was a light snow, but enough to cover all of the ice, turning everything white. Again, the camera came out in a feeble attempt to recreated the colorless world of white and gray.
I again drove near the evil tree that released its icy daggers the week before. However, this time revenge dealt an awful blow. The tree had split in half. Its limbs could no longer bear the weight of the thick, heavy ice. Crews were quickly sawing it into logs. It was almost as if it had a look of shock on its trunk.
Once more, the world has melted. It has been a unusual winter thus far. Despite the treacherous driving conditions we all have had to endure, we also, if only for a few days, lived in a crystal world of icy wonderment.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Four Letter Word for Valentine's day.

A collection of new fiction exploring the fascination and allure of the classic love letter. It is written by some of todays most notable writers including Margaret Atwood, David Bezmozgis, Douglas Coupland, Michel Faber, A.L. Kennedy, and Jeanette Winterson.
Amazon included a sample letter, one that I found quite intriguing. It is a love letter to Earth from Mars, written by Jonathon Lethem Here's an excerpt of the excerpt..
No, I'm an edifice, an enigma; to one such as you my science is like magic. Don't delay, act now, give up. You have been selected by a higher being from another realm to be siphoned from among your impoverished species to join me, to be seated in the empty throne beside me (only because I'd never troubled to glance to one side before to notice a seat existed there - not, somehow, until my gaze lit on you) where none of your lowly cringing fellows has ever resided. You're unworthy but you'll be made worthy by the acclaim of my notice. I say again, I'm superior to you. You're tinsel, static, a daisy, a bubble of champagne that went to my head and popped, and I don't even know why I want you and you'd better not give me the chance to think twice."

So, in effect, Mars is enamored with our own blue planet? That isn't too difficult to envision. Yet, this imaginary love letter clearly shows Mars' superiority complex towards Earth. I would think that such a love letter would put the object of affection off a bit. I mean, would Earth really love one so callous and egotistical? It does have its historical precedents, though. Josephine, for whatever reason, fell in love with the narcissistic Napoleon. Look where that got her. Or, for that matter, what in the world did Anne Boleyn see in the egotistical Henry the VIII? That "love" ended quite grizzly, did it not? I would tell the Earth not to listen to Mars.
If Mars truly loved you, Mars would put you on a pedestal, not look down upon you! Wake up dear Earth and see through Mars' self serving adoration. It is you, dear Earth, who supports life, not Mars. Sure Mars is a pure planet of limited diversity. It is unique unto itself, as far as planets go, but superior? I think not. Maybe Saturn, who's to say? No, dear Earth, tell Mars to keep to its orbit and leave you to yours. It most definitely has competition for your affections. There are 6,650,524,661 souls at last count who compete with Mars' adoration. Surely this cannot go unnoticed. The Earth should say, "Mars, thank you very much, but no thanks. I posses quite enough love for all the planets combined. Maybe, dear Mars, you could turn around a see your beloved companion, Venus watching you from afar. Yes, Venus has long since envied your superiority. Venus, named after the goddess of love and beauty, is obviously enamored by your red terrain. She gazes upon you without judgment. Her unconditional adoration is quite obvious to the rest of the solar system. Wake up Mars and see what has been right next to you all along. A mysterious, clouded orb of deep affection. Affection for you, my misguided companion, YOU!
Accost me no more, for I may implore my oversized sentinel, Jupiter, to come to my aid. You wouldn't want to go up against the fearless Jupiter. No, I didn't think so."
Sincerely yours, the venerable Earth

Friday, February 8, 2008

Keyboards: Avant- garde

I stumbled upon the best keyboards I've yet to see. For a writer, they're nostalgic. For a computer tech, they're really cool. For an artist, they're masterpieces in metal. They remind me of a cross between an old time typewriter and an H.P. Lovecraft work. To keep them in the leagues of the true artistic creations they are, these keyboards are not for the low funded individual. Put it this way, if you have to ask... Are they worth it? Probably. There's always something that sets a person apart from the rest. If I had one of these keyboards, I wouldn't keep it tucked away in my keyboard drawer. It would have to be sitting on my beautiful new desk for all to see. I mean, I couldn't exactly put once on my old computer desk. I would have to shell out the money for a dark, carved wooden desk worthy of such a keyboard. Now, why don't they make computers that look like this? Hmmmm, I'll get right on that.
Oh wait...check out their Steampunk Laptop. It defies description.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

We are all time travelers

It seems that we are all time travelers. As we sit at our desks, tapping on the keyboard, time is traveling around us. The future is constantly being transformed into the past with the present only lasting for a fleeting moment (if at all). Everything that we are doing right now is quickly moving into the past, which means we continue to move through time.

Ideas of time travel have existed for centuries, but when Albert Einstein released his theory of special relativity, he laid the foundation for the theoretical possibility of time travel. Now, we may wonder, if time travel were possible, why haven't we met a time traveler from the future? Physicists such as Michio Kaku who wrote a book on Parallel Worlds believe that the universe is full of parallel universes. We are but a tiny atom within the whole cosmic reality. As such, we see the universe from our tiny perspective.
Imagine, like Alice in Wonderland, we could eat something that would make us grow bigger. Now imagine that there was no limit to how big we could become. Think of a tiny ant who became bigger and bigger. This ant would be amazed at what he saw. The world appeared alien the farther away his perspective became. So, let's imagine that we grew larger than the planet (let's assume air is not an issue). We became obsessive and decided to see how large we could become. If our hypothetical ant was amazed at the sight of civilization, he would be totally confused at the sight of the planet earth. The larger we made ourselves the more amazed we would be. That is, until we became so large that we no longer recognized the cosmos. Once we became larger than the viewable universe in which we live, we would see exactly where good 'ol planet Earth fits into the whole scheme of things. I assume we would, like the ant, become downright confused at what we saw. We can imagine that this huge person saw multiple universes existing within some some astronomic something. Maybe this person saw the universe explode, implode over and over. Would he see what runs it all? Would he see the beginning of something? Becoming larger and larger would he see the face of God? Maybe he already did and didn't know it. Is God a deity, an energy or force or maybe all of the above. Does God exist? It all depends on your definition of God. Does it matter? To each individual it does.
Out of fear, this bombastic person would then eat the "get smaller" food, like Alice did. Again, this person being driven by anxiety may get carried away and shrink down to the size of an atom and beyond. And, once again, he would become confused, disoriented and possible afraid. He would see an alien world before him. He would see the energy which makes up our known universe. What would he see? Would he see the face of God?
It all comes down to perspective. Einstein understood that perspective was everything. So, basically, our world is our world and no one else's world. That is because we see it in a way no one else sees it. Does it matter? Yes, it does!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Seeing things in a different light

I was listening to an employee talking in the break room where I work by day. He was young, maybe 21 or so. He was a nice looking when he smiled. The problem was, he rarely smiled. As such, he was not so good looking. It amazes me how someone's looks can change so dramatically by their facial expression. I don't mean he looked mean when he frowned. I mean he truly looked frightful in a surly sort of way. Yet, this same man looked quite attractive when he smiled. I noticed that people looked at him differently when he smiled. It was like a new person walked into the room. On this day, however, smiling was the last thing on his mind. He managed to complain about a whole gamut of hates and things he despises from work to life in general. He accused the company of willful slavery and undermining his usual happy self. We rarely see the latter so I assume the company was winning this one. He raged on about how his pay was paltry to how they simply don't care about their subjugated employees. If one didn't know better they would think this fellow was in a jail doing hard labor. With no escape possible, the inmate would begrudgingly execute the tasks assigned to him as he fumed inwardly. He had lost himself. He was the prison guard who locked himself up. He refused to see any joy no matter how small. To him life was out to get him and the company was behind it all. It never occurred to him that he could find a different job. Maybe one that wouldn't enslave his very soul. It was apparent that finding a better way was not an option for him. He was dependent on his rants and raves. They were his security blanket. Without it he would have to stand on his own merits. If that would happen he would surely fall short. He couldn't take that chance. Its too bad, though. In a parallel world he is a handsome young man full of hope, friends and joy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The book is now available

Amazon is showing a link to my book. The book can be ordered through Publish America and Amazon now. I am in the marketing, book signing and general promotional stage right now. One thing about writers, they can write about anyone or anything but tend to have trouble writing about themselves. Alas, it must be done.
I love to read. This gives me some sense of satisfaction in knowing I did my part by contributing to the wealth of books available for all the happy readers out there. The book has its audience as all books do. It isn't a "mass appeal" type of book. Is there really such a book? It is geared to younger readers and those who admire Einstein and time traveling stories. I firmly believe children are capable of learning so much more than they are given credit for. So many books skim over information because it is considered too difficult for young readers. Children have amazing minds, it is our responsibility to see that our next generation is given the education they deserve.