Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Joys of Lighting the Way

When I got into work this morning my boss followed me in carrying a bag of Christmas lights. Now understand, the office we sit in is only about 15 feet square with three windows and two desks.

I was sure the bag; carrying three strands of 150 lights would be enough. However, it seems I was wrong. She will bring another bag in tomorrow. I never was one that got into the whole decorating thing. Oh don’t get me wrong, contrary to popular opinion, I am not a scrooge. I do enjoy driving through the city – the safe parts if I can remember where they are, and ohhing and ahhing at the displays of people that will be shocked when they see their electric bill next month. I understand why – I was told when I was growing up we did it so Santa would be able to find our house. Of course I thought, “Oh great, yeah he can find it – but since we don’t have a chimney, how is he going to get in?” He always managed somehow.

My only problem with lights or any type of decoration is the fact that you put all that work into them, and then take them down in a month. I mean really – if you’re going to go through all the trouble of making sure they are straight, checking each light to make sure they work and the same color light isn’t next to it – (they have to be separated by at least four colors so if you only have three that still work, your screwed.) than why not leave them up for longer?

One year we used red white and blue lights (I was surprised I got that past my wife too) and we kept them up till the fourth of July.

I personally would rather put them up, real simple maybe one or two strands over the garage door, the weekend of Thanksgiving and take them down after New Years. I have seen lights up since Halloween – that is a little over board.

Inside the house, we have two trees (the wife says it is to even the house out – one in the living room and one in the family room.) One is in a multi-color light show, blinking spasmodically like a neon light on speed. (Of course no two colors are close to each other.) Heaven forbid if one is out, we spend over an hour trying to find it and replace it. Next there is the tinsel. Come on! Who ever thought of these little pains in the butt should be shot, and then hung – maybe on a Christmas tree next to their damn tinsel. Do you really think they look like ice cycles? And they get all over the place. If you try to vacuum them up before you take down the tree they end up back on the floor a minute later. And they clog up the vacuum so you either have to fix it or get a new one. (Wonder if the company that makes the tinsel makes vacuum cleaners too? Na…too much of a coincidence.)

The ornaments are good –but watch out for those hooks and make sure no two are next to each other if they are the same style. And—they have to wrap around the tree from bottom to top in order of size.

One hard part is keeping the horde of dogs away from it; the other part is remembering to turn them on when I get home from work.

We also have a strand, blue lights, across our fireplace mantle that the wife uses to display her Santa Clause statues. This one we leave up all year, even the Santa’s.

How much decorating depends on when we do it – if we wait too long, we may just have a candle in the window, or two. (All straight and exactly even with the one above or below it.)

I have heard rumors that there are people out there that wait until December 23rd to do any decorating. I have never witnessed this display (I never go out after December 15th anyway: Fear of shopping, it’s a mancode thing)

Of all the displays I have ever seen, I think this one is and will always be my favorite;

Most everyone I talked to today has their light displays up, some don’t. I have noticed that the neighborhood displays have dwindled a little, is it that they are just too busy to do it, too poor to afford the energy bill or just don’t want to mess with them at all?
Me, I may wait till this weekend and start the processes by putting up one of our trees up and just sitting in the corner and waiting for someone else to do the lights. I know the house will be unbalanced, but that is something we will have to endure. (I know from experience that my wife will do it over again, but I try to please.)

It is time people, get those lights up and display them in your favorite fashion. My boss did her this weekend at their condo. She said no one else had their lights up and as she worked at them the neighbors started to come out and watch her. Eventually she got the whole section of condos lit up like a night game at the local stadium. Now that is the Christmas spirit – I do hope it is catching! Nothing beats upping the Griswolds!


Is Real or is it Reality TV?

This subject matter of today’s blog is my opinion, if it disturbs you, stop reading it.

Welcome to the day after. Are your feet tired, your pocket book empty? Is the little magnetic stripe on your credit card so worn you can see through it? If the answers are yes, no one told you to get up so damn early and go shopping!

I thought my wife was crazy when she looked at me Thursday night and asked if we were going to wake up at 4 am to go shopping. I just stared at her like she was nuts, but thank the maker she was teasing. She seems to do that a lot. I am almost used to it – but still it is difficult to know when she is teasing.

For instance, yesterday when she came back from getting her nails done – her one addiction, every month she spends a little money on herself and gets fake nails glued onto her finger tips and painted however she feels like painting them. I really don’t mind it, it just worries me when she sits on the couch and files them, making them sharper! OUCH! Sorry, let me get back on track. Anyway, I came downstairs to join her and the step daughter as they started surfing our wonderful cable channels to find something on. (Over 100 channels – nothing but crap!) Unfortunately- the only thing they found to watch was a show called Jerseylicious.

I don’t know who came up with the idea for this show – but I think they should be shot for lack of good taste. But I think that about all reality TV shows. Jerseylicious is not a show about a bakery in New Jersey; it is about a beauty parlor. These women that work there have the most atrocious make up – there eyes look like something out of Cleopatra. (Yeah – it looks good on Mrs. Taylor – but ladies – that aint you.) Have you ever noticed that when cameras roll some people act more stupid than they really are – with these ladies I’m sure that wasn’t difficult to do. After 5 hours of the marathon even my wife decided she had enough. She says she only watches these things because they make her look smart. I am pretty sure I grew a few brain cells during that experience, hopefully they will stick around.

I never understood the attraction of reality TV shows. Why do we seem to like it when people act stupid? It is like Survivor, you know that when the show is over they go sit in their fancy hotel rooms and laugh at all the sucker that think it is real. Just kidding – I know it is real. But why would you even want to do that? There must be something to human nature that enjoys surviving by the skin of your teeth, being attacked constantly, and that is just from the other contestants. All that for ten minutes of fame.

I am so glad they killed Fear Factor – even the commercials were disgusting. And what about American Idol? (I know this is everyone’s fav, and please forgive me – I am just speaking my mind.) I admit, I usually watch the first few weeks – because it is actually funny. Can you honestly believe that the people that get up there think they can sing – and no has told them they can’t! That is just cruel. I tell my kids they can’t sing all the time. I believe during the auditions they find about 25 people that can sing worse than a cat being strangled just so they have their ratings. That’s what it is all about right? Ratings – the main cause of the downfall of Television.

There are a lot of things wrong with TV now days. The following is just a small sample.
1) How long can you break out of prison? (Prison Break)
2) To any good guy that is trying to catch the bad guy as he runs away – just shoot them in the leg, trust me, they won’t get far.
3) DNA results do not take 60 minutes.
4) You cannot pick a safe by listing to the tumblers. Source: Mythbusters
5) An electromagnetic watch will not deflect a bullet. Source; Mythbusters (Wait – that’s a James Bond movie. Those are always true.)
6) Drinking coffee will not make you sober if you are drunk. Source; Mythbusters

At least in the real world – but I know that a lot of times, as a writer you have to engage the audiences imagination – that’s why I like writing Science Fiction – it might sound extraordinary – but no one knows what the future holds, unless you write it yourself.

Speaking of Sci-fi, have a look at my book on Smashwords, Journey of Tara

The Obsessions of a Compulsively Distracted Procrastinating Writer

I did some checking today, as I tried to think of some subject for today’s blog, and realized that I have a detective that no one has met yet; his name is Nathan Whiseman, an intelligent smart ass, a little hard around the edges, but still tries to remain loveable (still working on the particulars to that.) His first name is my unofficial middle name. My wife handed that to me because I didn’t have a one and she needed something to say when she got pissed off at me. “Brian” just wasn’t enough, now it’s “BRIAN NATHAN!”

Whenever I get a thought for a case, I quickly go with the idea and run with it, not knowing where I will end up and scattering my thoughts all over both computers and the database of my phone.
So now I have seven short stories, including one possible novel length story, all starring my detective. None of them are finished.

(Oh, a bunny!)

I admit, my writing habits are bad, WoW keeps interfering, but since they shut the beta down – I may be working on one or two of those until December 7th.

Sometimes, the writing does come easy to me, flowing from my thoughts to the lined paper, (now a virtual keyboard on my phone that my fat fingers slide across, misspelling everything. My OCD hates that.) Getting the thoughts straight and un-jumbled from everything else is a hard part.

I have one mild problem with misspellings, CDO: Compulsive Disorder of Obsessions. (The way OCD should be classified, in order!) I get into the story so much, but if I see one little mistake or catch that little wavy line Microsoft word thinks is the way it should be spelled, I have to fix it. I have tried to ignore it, but it doesn’t work too well when you still have to look at the keys when you type. I will look up after a five minute run of typing and see them all over the page. (I know – I can turn that off – but I still see them.) Another –

(Look, a bunny!)

Little distraction: the dogs barking at all the squirrels that are making stupid squirrel decisions like, running through the dog yard, an area that smells of at least seven dogs. Facebook, Twitter, my sister texting me to ask me about WoW, the kids watching shows on TV-just a little too loud, That goes for their music too. Oh, another one that gets me, listening to the kids play their video games and yelling at the people they are playing with. This is fine when you have a microphone and they can actually hear you – but it makes no sense to do this if they can’t hear you!
And my wife – (but she is a good distraction.)

Also – I know I am a procrastinator. (After I finish this blog entry I will look that up – maybe)

This procrastination flows not only into my writing, but everything else in life. It is a problem when it does that, but I am not saying that you have to force yourself to sit down and pound a key board until your words make since, but you do have to try. That is all it takes.

I’m also working on another Sci-fi story that I completed and which was previously posted somewhere else about three years ago. A little reworking is all it will take, just have to do it. I also have to wait for my artist to make the cover – she is my Step Daughter and did the cover to Journey of Tara (Found here: ) I had to wait a while for that to – but I suppose it runs in the family.

Include all this into the fact that I am constantly Twittering and on Facebook as I spend my days at work in a box – I just have to do it.

What is it they say; knowing you have the problem is the first step in fixing it. Now is the time for fixing!

Step 1) Sit down for one or two hours a day, or more – (quiet helps) and work on one story.
Step 2) Turn off Twitter and Facebook notifications on my phone when I get home.

I’m sure I’ll think of some more later, when I get around to it.

My life in a Zoo

I met my wife a little over 9 years ago. She told me she had a couple of dogs. I think it was a little bit more than a couple. The first day I actually visited her house I rang the doorbell to the sound of what I thought were an army of dogs.

I didn’t meet them right away, we watched some DVD’s on her ex-husbands big screen TV with his super expensive DVD player. Then I met the dogs: one very calm and polite Airedale, two watchful Komondors, one male, and one female about 5 years old, their showing days over, they were now retired. She also had one Komondor that was about two years old, her showing days had just begun.

About a week after she tossed her ex to the curb, the older Komondors decided to have a little unauthorized fun. The heavy breathing woke her up, but she didn’t want to deal with it. I don’t blame her. The outcome was nine puppies. Yes, she had a total of 13 dogs!
My mind was saying “Run!” My heart wasn’t. I stayed, married her eventually. Attended her dog shows for a while and a little ways down the road of life; we managed to sell off or give away the nine puppies and the youngest of the pack. We were left with three. Now three dogs I can handle!

Soon after we settled down and stopped showing, a cat followed the daughter home (yeah, right!). We decide to keep it, even if the Airedale was known for catching cats, it stayed in her room.

A couple years down the road, the Airedale died of cancer, a very sad time for all; she was a Champion and always well behaved. We were now happy with two, it was easy – except for when the female went into heat and we had to separate them. She could have taken care of that, but both dogs were approaching old age now. She didn’t want to risk it.

Four years ago, the female started slowing down, and we decided to get one more dog. I choose this time, a Whippet. Known for their speed and prey drive these dogs were awesome racers, and that is a main reason why we got them. I wanted to race them.

( Meeme, Razzie, Billie)

Now we had three Whippets, one cat, and two Komondors. When the female Kom began to pass, we helped her along, it was a hard decision, but it was time. She went quietly – just the sobs of the family ringing through the Vets office.
About a month later, she was ready to get another one. Maybe a little one this time, a lap dog that she could cuddle up with when I worked second or third shift. After some research, and a lot of looking, she found a breeder of Italian Greyhounds. We went there one night to buy one. We walked away with two – a brother and sister.

The male Komondor, Bully, is still with us, he is getting old, 77 in human years, and has a little trouble standing and going up the steps and holding his bladder – but he is happy, even when the Iggies pay a little too much attention to him. All three whippets are getting along fine, except when the female is in season. I hope this is the last year that we have to separate them when they go outside, it is a pain.

Our ferret count totaled out at 7 eventually and the daughter added 2 rats to her collection. The rats and cat still share the same room – the rats in a cage where the cat just stares at them. The ferrets were old when we first got them, now there are three left. A young one she adopted off of a friend that didn’t want it and two old ones. They are hanging in there.

A basket full of ferrets!

The dominate Whippet male, Billie, has picked up a good habit from the ancient Komondor – he is our guard whippet and will bark every time the bell rings, even if it is the TV. We don’t race them as much as we use to, only because they seem to be out of state and further than we can afford to travel – but they get their exercise.
Me? Well I am a survivor – between letting them outside a few times a day, we manage to keep the messes down. They behave for the most part. Besides feeling like the underpaid kennel help sometimes, life isn’t too bad.

Razzie is wearing number 5
Billie is right beside him in blue

Thanksgiving and beyond,

I find it hard to believe that this is the 15th of November. Thanksgiving is 10 days away. Holy frac! Of course the stores began putting up the decorations for Christmas a week before Halloween. They could at least wait a couple of weeks so the pumpkins don’t feel rushed out.

Also, in the past few days, all I have heard has been advertisements for Black Friday! I hate to say it – it really shows my age or ignorance, but until a few years ago I didn’t know what Black Friday was. I always called it, “NO! I don’t want to go shopping today, are you NUTS!” For some reason my daughter wants to. Sorry kid, it ain’t happening. Sure, you get good deals that will come in handy with this economy – but I don’t feel like getting squeezed together between to shopping carts being pushed by overly stuffed people thinking they are in a Nascar races. (Another age showing gem – I worked retail when the Cabbage Patch Kids first hit the market. I found it amazing that people went nuts over this doll.) I plan on staying home and either writing or playing WoW. Of course this depends on which TV station has the best marathon running.

It seems that we picked the perfect time to Thanksgiving dinner have at our house. Normally it is at her dads, which I can handle a little bit. I really enjoy sitting at the table for an hour, after we eat, so I can listen to hilarious tales and situations about people I don’t know and really don’t want to know. (However, as a writer it makes good material if I can remember it.) I’ll still have to listen to the stories, but this time, the left overs stay here.
Now, if only our heater works and the kids clean their rooms and the mess blob doesn’t escape when they open their door.
In the past ten years, since we have been together, I think this will be the third time this has been attempted. A few years ago, on another blog far, far away:

It began as just a thought, turned into a whole blown date, but that year – Thanksgiving struck our house. I think the turkey we picked up a week ago was named Murphy.

We had planned on it as simple, short – a nice dinner with her dad and our new family. The wife was always a good party thrower, but sometimes things don’t always happen the way they are planed, it would make a boring life if it did. The temperature was a chilling 38 degrees outside as we threw the turkey in the oven and closed the door. The kids were all snuggled and warm in their rooms, playing their computer games and staying away from us, only because they were afraid they would be given something to do.

At about the same time the door to the oven closed, a large pop came from outside and down the street. We noticed the total silence at first – no TV, no nothing. The only sound, that echoed through the house: children cussing because we lost the electricity.

It wasn’t long, about one tenth of a second, that the oldest one bounced down the steps – “Hey, what happened – I lost the Internet!”
“We lost the electric, read a book – it is still light out.” I suggested. That didn’t go over well.
Emergency calls started, the power would out for about three more hours. Her dad, he lived close, still had power so we shoved Murphy in the car and headed that way. His oven was warmed up and ready so Murphy found another home.
As soon as we set the timer, the oldest kid rang the wife’s cell phone, “Power is back on!”

Now is the time to celebrate and congratulate the electric company. I think they lie on purpose so they look better when they take care of it faster. After we unwrapped Murphy from her dad’s oven and pushed him back in the car we rushed home.

Upon opening the door – smoke flew out into the frigid air. Panic struck, the wife runs inside and quickly finds the source of the problem. The oldest one was cold – he only wore thin pajama bottoms with no shirt and bare feet. Instead of getting dressed into warmer clothes he decided to make a fire. Fortunately for us we have a fireplace. However, it usually works better if you open the chimney flue all the way before you light the fire.

Murphy eventually made into the oven where he cooked till done. We decided to take him back to her dad’s house since we still had the faint smell of smoke lingering in the air.

The rest of the night is a blur of conversations and children saying, “Is it time to go yet?” Eventually they got that wish and we piled into the car, taking about half the left overs with us.
Will we have better luck this time? I am trying to think positive here.

Fresh takes on old ideas.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I found some old writing notebooks that I was using a few years ago. At the moment, while I’m working, I’m tapping them into the virtual keyboard of my Droid, using a cool app called Documents to go.
As I read them, I enjoy the characters, the dialouge could use a little work, but the main story is really bad. I’m gonna have to fix that. Something is whispering in my ear to scrap the whole thing and do it over. Possibilities are endless, and in the world of fiction anything could happen.

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Why so frakin early?

That’s simple really, it started as a soft whimper, whispering from the other side of the room. Slowly it began to grow more urgent. We (I) did set the clocks back last night, but my brain was so fuzzy I didn’t know if it was 1:30 am or 2:30 am.
It really didn’t matter, some one had to go out and water the lawn. After I took the two littlest out, started the coffee pot, brought them back in and put them away, grabbed a lightly tanned cup of coffee and sat down in my office, it was the old ancient ones turn.
Once he was taken care of, I finally started up the computer, clicked on the WoW beta icon, and nothing happend.
This was actually a good thing. Yesterday, as I was fishing through my writing notebooks, I found three different bios I had written for my detective and four short stories, and one long one, that I had started. Never finished them.
Now, I had a chance to figure out where I was, and which one I should do first.
Only interrupted once, an hour after I let him out, the old ancient one hobbled into my office and stared at me for a few seconds before a low cry began to grow from his throat.
“Let me guess, again?”
Just a low quiet roar came out as an answer.
“That’s a yes,” I sighed.
There are only a few times the old man gets really excited, when he thinks he is getting food, which is every time someone enters the kitchen, or he gets to go out side.
Or that certain odor is in the air and he is thinking, “Maybe this time!”
Once the five trips up and down the steps were done I began. Now I’m organized, (don’t have a heart attack) and ready to work on them.
First one will be a short story, a way of introduction.
I’ll be back once I get the feeling back in my finger tips.

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My day off and more.

Not really supposed to be exciting and it wasn’t. I spent most of the day playing WoW beta. Yes, I was bad and did not write at all. But the night is still young depending on what I am fixing for dinner – haven’t decided yet, hamburgers or pbj. So many choices, so little time. It was actually neither: hot dogs, beans and macaroni and cheese.

Within the next few days I will be posting either the biography or the prologue to “Appointment with a Dead Body, A Nathan Whiseman mystery.” It is either that title or “The Bad Taste of Death.” He has been around for a while, in my head itching to get out. As I age the walls are getting thinner and he is close to escaping. If not today, maybe this weekend. I started his biography on Friday and suddenly discovered I had two other bios for him…(Maybe I will combine the two of them.)

Things turned out better for my paycheck anyway, I did work yesterday, “Yippee!” Sorry about the outburst, I’ll try to keep it down for a while.

Will it ever make sense

I normally do not complain about politics, but I couldn’t stay away from this;

Last night, we had two major school levys to vote on for two districts in predominantly Republican neighborhoods. The levys lost, which tells me that people are conserned about the rising cost of living, which includes taxes. Then they turn around and vote Republican.

Okay, I’m done. On the bright side, no more political commercials, and as a friend, Jack, said earlier this morning, they can go back to pretending they like each other.

I have a detective series to start, the hardest part is making it different than anything else out there. After 53 years, there isn’t much I haven’t seen in crime dramas.
One of my favorite authors is James Patterson, I love all his books and am simply amazed some times at what comes out of his head.
I heard one author say once, you have to be crazy to write crazy. I don’t consider myself crazy, but I think I can fake it.

Have a great day!

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The first

Years ago, I started two different stories. I didn’t know where I was going with either of them until I put them together.

This may become an ongoing series, thoughts are beginning to form.
In the mean time, I’ll be working on a detective series that has been crawling through my head trying to get out.