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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.
Thanks everyone for visiting.
Happy New Year!…wait, my wife just told me I didn’t sound excited enough, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
This is of course the time of year everyone makes those fascinating lists of the “Top Ten (put subject matter here) of 2011.” We have everything from Albums to Movies, Tweets to Odd-ball stories and one of my personal favorites; Ridiculously obvious studies. (All those links lead back to Time Magazine but I am sure you could find the same lists on almost any website within the next few days.)
In keeping with the flow of flash-backitus here is my list:
The Top Five things myself and members of my family have learned about life in 2011.
5) Always be sure your credit card is secure in your wallet after making a purchase. This one is entirely on me. After making a purchase at a local store I thought I placed my card back into my pocket, but I missed and a person with no morals picked it up and went shopping—spending about $5000.00 in less than an hour.
4) Be careful where you place your fingers when closing a garage door. When our automatic garage door decided to become possessed—it would open and close by itself or not close at all—we disconnected it and began using the manual control, actually bending over and picking the door up. One early morning I wasn’t paying attention to where I was putting my hand and my finger tip got caught in the hinge. I would have screamed if it wasn’t 4:30 in the morning.
3) Never try to push a stalled car up a hill or never push a car period—you choose. When the kid’s car died during rush hour on a two lane road she attempted to move it off the road with the help of her friend. The car decided the only way it wanted to move was downhill and she ended up running over her own ankle. She’s a screamer.
2) When letting out the dogs make sure the gate that would release them into the world is secure. Enough said on this one, we were reunited within 24 hours at a cost of almost $300.00.
1) If you and your mate wish to spend more time together—make sure you get the kids their driver’s license as soon as they are eligible. Trust me, it works.
The Top Five things I figured out about writing in 2011.
5) Don’t rush it. This one is on me, when I published The Set’la last year there was a nagging voice in the back of my head telling me she was not ready. See number 4.
4) Don’t pay a lot of attention to negative reviews. I’m not saying don’t read them, but if you need your ego stroked read the positive ones. The negative ones usually point out some minor flaws in basic editing along with other more important issues like character development. Just fix them, and move on.
3) You can write a novel in a month. My little 31 days of writing did not fry my keyboard in November, but I did manage to put together a good story which still sits in a file on a computer somewhere and still needs a lot of work.
2) Write every day. I am really bad at this, but the more I try and the more I do the better my writing and typing becomes.
1) Try not to work on more than one project at a time. If you have any ideas floating around in your head—write them down and save them for later. At present I have three running projects plus a major edit (see number 5). If you keep your mind on one thing you have a better chance of actually finishing it. Priorities are important.
I have this annoying habit of starting things (home
projects, writing, exercising and the list goes on…) and not finishing them. I
actually have at least three blog entries I started and have not posted or
finished yet. Guess I get too distracted or I just need better drugs, who
This year, I
convinced myself to hit the NaNoWriMo circuit and attempt to finish a novel, no
less than 50,000 words, before the end of November. It sounded scary at first
because I knew two things – one – None of my published works, including the
critically slammed The Set’la , are over 50,000 words. The second thing I knew
– I have at least twenty unfinished stories hiding in a collection of external
drives, thumb drives and even one floppy disk that I can’t seem to read.
However, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it.
The months of
September and October were spent thinking up a nice plot line, at first I was
thinking of doing a sequel to Journey of Tara, I even went so far as to getting
The Marcel hooked up with a twitter account so it would be easier for her to
contact me – I think she fell into a black hole cause I haven’t heard from her
for a while.
Then my mind thought ‘Hey – doo-fuss – do an autobiography,
at least you know how the story ends, so far anyway.’ This was a possibility –
but it would still be more fiction than non-fiction because my fifty-three
years hasn’t been the most exciting, and I did it once a long time ago and in a
universe far, far away.
A small little voice
in my head even thought about writing erotica, but my stuff isn’t nearly as
good as other authors out there like Tara Lain.
I also remembered a detective I created a long time ago –
from the same universe mentioned above, and thought about writing that one up.
I had about five little unfinished stories out there in my wasteland of ignored
external drives, but I had to start fresh.
When October 31st rolled around I asked my wife what she
thought I should do, “Mystery – we have seen too much Sci-Fi lately. Do a
Okay – I’ll give this
a shot. Originally I was going to do him
in first person POV, which most of the mysteries I have read are in, but I
didn’t feel comfortable with using two POV’s. There is still time – I think.
So a mystery it is;
introducing, Nathan Whysmann. This is
just the synopsis I threw in for NaNoWriMo, “Nathan Whysemann, an ex cop and
current Private Eye is swept up in the gruesome homicide of a local lawyer that
brings back more than memories of his dead wife. On a journey that will give
him more answers than he wants he concentrates all his efforts on solving it,
especially after a very close family member is attacked. Now it gets personal.”
My first week has
gone pretty steady;
Nov 1st: 1666 words.
I wrote most of these at work – but I wasn’t too happy with all the little red
Nov 2nd: 1667 words,
still more red lines – but I am controlling the urge..
Nov 3rd: 33 words,
everyone has an off day – but I fixed the red line problem.
Nov 4th: 1793 words,
a wordly record. (Sorry – couldn’t resist.)
Nov 5th: 3203
words. The little writing spree we had
at the local iHop helped I am sure.
Nov 6th: 2067 words. This was my own little two and half
Nov 7th: 10419 is my total so far this month – will do more
when I get home, I have my ear plugs ready just in case.
However, I heard so much about this thing, and I know it is
a great exercise for getting used to typing that much. I still have questions
about it that I can’t even begin to formulate.
I did learn a few tricks to get my count up – When stuck –
write dialogue. I love writing dialogue. Another neat little trick is DO NOT USE
CONTRACTIONS. You can always go back and fix it after December 1st.
My personal favorite and maybe the most difficult one for
me; do not use the dreaded back space key. (Try telling that to someone that
has OCD – or CDO)
But-does it have to make sense. After I wrote the beginning
I came up with an alternate beginning. I didn’t delete the old, am keeping it
on the count – may put it somewhere else. I suppose it really doesn’t matter
what you write or how lousy it is – to some people. To me – I need to like what
I write; it has to sound good to me. That’s just the way I work. I like what I
have written so far, I have no idea where I am going or how it will end. I
don’t have a good solid motive for my killer. I suppose this is going to be a
very rough draft – but I will fix it…. Eventually.
My daily personal goal is 2000 WPD. (Just lock me in a
padded cell and give me good wi-fi reception so I can…ahhh…do research, yeah,
So, how many NaNoWriMo’s have you done? And if you have any
little tricks, dare to share?
Thanks for the visit.
I’ve had a few. (Why is Frank Sinatra running through my head?)
Distractions, as a writer your life is filled with them from the time you take your first sip of caffeine, or whatever beverage you are prone to drink, until your head hits the pillow when you finally go to sleep. Sometimes, they don’t even stop then.
Case in point, for the past four or five years I was distracted by a silly MMORPG called WoW. I had to pull myself away from this thing to write, which is what I love. Now I am suffering from an acute case of WoW withdrawl . I’m sure with the right medication I will be fine.
Monday I began a new blog entry that was originally supposed to be a five to six-hundred word essay on the new Fall TV season. I started at work and typed away until either the phone rang or I had to take care of other people’s issues. By 5pm it was up to 1667 words. That was perfect; I hope I do that well in November during the National keyboard replacement month. (Or would that be December?) We have to pound out 1667 words a day. All I needed to do when I got home was a little research on the net and a few more paragraphs, then figure out where to break it up and I would be fine. The plan was to finish it the minute I got home. After all, the step son would be in his room playing a game, and since the dinner was the step daughter’s responsibility this evening I had faith that I would be able to sit on the couch with my laptop and finish it up. As I turn the corner onto our nice peaceful little cul-de-sac I see not just one car in the driveway – but three. One belongs to a friend of the boy, the other to one of the girl’s friends. J, the step son, is pretty quiet unless one of his games gets him too excited and he starts screaming at his team mates. He is also a little deaf due to the whole portable music thing so the TV is going to be loud. L, the daughter, on the other hand is very hyperacctive and so are most of her friends. This was one of them.
‘Okay,’ I say to myself, breathing deep enough to inhale all the air in my van, ‘I can do this.’
One set of kids (young adults?) sit in the family room, TV blaring, watching old TV shows. Part of the other pair sits splayed out on the couch trying to beat a PS3 game while L is making noise in the kitchen.
Courageously I sit on the couch with my laptop and open up my newest word document. I should have gone up to my office, not realizing that the whenever the little horribly drawn cartoonish character on the TV died she would scream, and L would laugh. This wasn’t working. As much as I tried, my eyes would not stay on my monitor, they kept going to the TV. My mind thought it was a lot more interesting than the white rectangle on my desktop covered with black markings.
Before I realized what time it was, dinner was ready and I had to surrender my laptop so I could ingest protein. Once dinner was done, it was time for Terra Nova. Even though I do record it for later viewing L insists on watching it when it is on. Between the two of them I might have heard one or two lines of dialogue. I have never understood why people yell at the TV, it wasn’t the TV’s fault that the football player dropped the ball or the hero made a stupid wrong turn. We all know there is someone on the other side of that door that he is about to go tthrough.
Too late to start writing again once it is over, and we head to bed. My mind shuts off and the next thing I know, it is Tuesday morning and I have to be at work in a few hours. Tuesday‘s are not too bad, slow and quiet. If possible I may get something written done, but still the distractions occur. Work does take precedence even over my writing. I don’t know why – but it does.
I was looking forward to the afternoon though – the kids would be working until 2pm and I would be blessed with at least three hours of quiet when I got home.
Once I had Star Trek: TNG up and running, sitting comfortably in my office with my computer slowly coming to life – the dogs decided they wanted some attention or a visit outside. They settled for the visit outside and it didn’t take long for them to start barking at something. I surrendered to fate and spotted the tiny icon on my desktop, a bronze colored circle with a big gold “W” in the middle. My mouse was pulled to the dot – calling at me from afar – one right click and the screen blazed to life with the music and design of World of Warcraft – and a small webpage opened up saying “I’m sorry, your account is expired. Would you like to sign up again?”
That stopped me and I came to my senses and quickly closed it – opening up my word document again. But that wasn’t the end, my cell phone went off with a custom ringtone, music and then the voice of Billy Currington singing, “God is great, beer is good…and people are crazy.”
“Yes mom?” I calmly answered…
Three hours later I hung up the phone and now it is time for dinner, TV, and then bed. The day goes so quick!
Now it is Wednesday, I haven’t touched that blog entry since 4:30pm on Monday. But I did manage to type 1034 words in less than ten hours
while I worked had some spare time on my hands (between the distractions).
I’ll get through November, with the distractions and I’ll do it my way. Or someone else’s way –
(Oh a Bunny!!!)
In Wrath of the Lich King (WoTLK) they introduced the Death Knight, a hero class toon that started at level 55 as a pawn to the evil Lich King. You leveled in a specific area and eventually learned the truth about your beloved King. You could play this as Horde or Alliance, I did both. You also got introduced to a new area on the map where everyone struggled played to hit 80, Northrend.
Changes are good sometimes. When I first started you walked everywhere, unless you could afford a ride from one of the few flight points, until you hit level 40. Not only did they change it to 20, they made the cost cheaper. This pissed me and a few other people off because even at 40 I had to grind for days to get the amount of gold I needed to learn how to ride. Other changes that happen during WoTLK included flying. At first you couldn’t have your own flying mount until you hit 70, and the speed wasn’t that fast, yet the price was high. Once hitting Northrend you couldn’t fly until you hit 73 or 74, I honestly can’t remember. You had to shell out 4000 gold for that also. I suppose this made people upset because it was changed again, I’m assuming because of the large amount of complaints Blizzard received. Flying level went down to 60 in the Outlands, where the Burning Crusade took place, and you could now fly in Northrend at 68, as long as you had a character that could already do it. I think the price went down too. This also let you travel faster, if you could get your hands on a good fast mount.
And if you ever got tired of the same old grind you could try some of the achievements they came up with. Artlu managed to get a white dragon after finding 50 mounts, but they were expensive. My step daughter did most of the work in getting them. Now he is up to 61.
Other things began to change, a little for the best. Now you didn’t have to ask in chat to see if anyone cared to join you in a dungeon, all you did was hit a button in the interface and you were in a queue for the next available one. You could either select a specific dungeon or do a random one and have no idea where you were going, hence the term “random.” I had to explain that to a few people that were new to the game – newbies.
The problem with random dungeons is you never knew where you would end up or who you would end up with. In my case – I wasn’t that good, but I wasn’t as bad as this guy,
That video was from 2006. One of the achievements pinned the last name Jenkins to your character if you managed to do the same thing. Luckily for me I had a pretty decent guild that didn’t mind working with level 70 to 80 newbies. To get the good gear you had to do the dungeons or the dailies in Northrend that would raise your reputation with that specific fraction. That was something everyone wanted to do not only to get the good gear, but to get special gear that you could use on any of your toons and never have to upgrade again. There was one batch of daily quests set in the frozen mountain waste of the Stone Peaks that had so many sexual innuendoes in the titles I knew they were written by men.
I surprised myself by finding out I actually liked doing these quick little dungeons, I also figured out how to fight my opponent more effectively and which spells would do the most damage. Not to mention all the advice everyone gave me on armor and talents. I even got to the point where I could go through an entire dungeon and not die. With the two difficulty levels, regular and Heroic, you had to run the dialies and do PvP Battlegrounds to get the gear to do the Heroics. I discovered I enjoyed killing other players, and they enjoyed killing me.
I had some bad experiences doing randoms, but not because I died. Sometimes you would get a great group of people together and manage to run threw faster than ever. Other times you got the idiots that had thier own way, which was wrong. (That isn’t really fair because different people have different styles.)
Once, my Death Knight pulled the Boss that the tank was beating on. The tank does the most damage while every one else pummels him a little softer so the Boss would focus most of his attack on the tank. Well Brilance “accidentally” used a death grip spell (that button was right next to the button I wanted to push.) which picked up the Boss and put him infront of me. Opps. No one died but the tank yelled something insulting and called me a name I refuse to dirty my blog with. All I said back to him was, “I’m sorry, I just paid $300.00 for this toon and this is my first day.” I clicked on the exit dungeon button and he faded away, but not before he said, “Sadly, I actually believe that.”
Mistakes like that made me glad I not only played with random people, they were from random realms and chances were I would never see these people again.
Like the tank that materialized in a dungeon wearing nothing, except shorts. He was immediately kicked and I waited for five minutes before I left. Those and a few other incidents convinced me to only do randoms if I could get some guild members to join me.
My warlock, Artlu, was the first to hit 80 and I yelled “Game over!”
Part 4 hits tomorrow, stay tuned.
Let’s see how quick I can do this before my human comes back. Hi, I’m @Razzziee and I am a whippet, no I am not starving and not a baby greyhound, so don’t ask. My human left his computer on this morning so I thought I would check some things out. Luck for me, I found his blog open.
I was sent this email the other day called “Inner Peace” that I would like to share with you:
If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when the ones you love are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without alcohol,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs
You must be a dog…
…Oh, a bunny….
Oh boy, I’m away for two seconds and that damn dog is at it again, never should have given him that phone. But I’ll fix him. There are two sides to every story.
If you can start the day without caffeine, (Not on your life)!
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains, (I am fairly cheerful and have to ignore my aches and pains every day.)
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles, (If it deals with me it isn’t complaining or boring to others.)
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it, (I am fine with eating the same thing – especially if peanut butter and chocolate are involved.)
If you can understand when the ones you love are too busy to give you any time, (happens every damn day!)
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment, (I am perfect and there is no criticism – and the blame is with others.)
If you can conquer tension without medical help, (Why – drugs are so much easier.)
If you can relax without alcohol, (What is the fun in that – alcohol is a great relaxer.
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs, (I am so important and busy that I can’t turn off my brain unless I use drugs; it’s just the nature of the beast!)
You must be a dog human.
After a fabulous weekend that started off Friday walking around Kings Island, on the hottest day of the summer and riding roller coasters till my brain was scrambled, the wife and I took off yesterday and did absolutely nothing. (I didn’t even write or edit – I am bad.)
Yet I am trying, as a writer and an old man, 54 today, I tried to figure out the attraction of getting locked in a metal box and having your body strapped down into your seat so tightly you couldn’t breathe and then being shot down this winding course as fast as 80 mph. The first one we hit was the Diamondback. This ride starts off slowly, climbing a 215 foot hill. When you get to the top of the hill it is straight down. Well the web site says 75 degrees, my heart said straight down. With twists and turns so abrupt I think my soul left my body a few times. One of the interesting things about this one, they actually have a camera somewhere along the track that takes your picture. Everyone of me is holding on for life screaming as loud as I can. We rode this one 3 times. When we first got there at noon I noticed this little guy around 50 wearing a t-shirt that said, “Diamondback rides 5,400 and counting.” We left at 7pm, our last ride on the Diamondback and he was still doing it.
The Firehawk was a fun one also, first you sit down and right before the ride takes off your seat is reclined so you are lying straight on your backs. Then it takes off, gaining speeds of up to 55 mph. At first I didn’t think this was too bad, until we were flipped over and staring at the ground as you flew by at least 10 feet above it. Makes you really think about your live as you see it flashing before your eyes.
The Vortex wasn’t as bad as it looks from the ground, with all the loops and corkscrews all you feel is the speed and if you keep your eyes glued to the back of the seat in front of you, the loops and other things are not even noticeable.
Fight Deck was cool, after a ten minute walk from the entrance to the ride itself which only lasted about one minute and thirty seconds; we were suspended over tree tops traveling at 55 mph. It had to be the smoothest ride I was on.
Flight of Fear was in inside ride, ahh…air conditioning! You feel like you are shot out of a canon and travel 0 to 54 mph in just four seconds. Twists turns and loops and corkscrews are less scary because all you see is darkness and a few flashes of light. Strobe lights and darkness and speed, can we say seizure?
Riding those convinced me that the reason we love rollercoasters so much is because we need the danger, the adrenaline of doing something that is life threatening. It’s all in the mind.
Between the hard core coasters we relaxed a little doing Adventure Express, Backlot Stunt Coaster and Boo Blasters On Boo Hill. They were all inside, little and air conditioned. Delirium and Invertigo were shut down. For a few seconds, we stood and watched as a couple took to the air in Slingshot. On the third bounce we looked at each other and said, “Nope.”
And of course we rode The Racer, it hasn’t changed much in 20 years except the seats got smaller.
Once I got my wife to the top of the Eiffel Tower, which was difficult because she is afraid of heights, and we took a few pictures. We even got our caricatures done by her daughter.
And she got me the coolest t-shirt, Airbrushed. I May wear this one out.
Add to this the shameless self-promotion I am doing to today, I hope this is going to be a good month.
From now until September 10, 2011 both of my books are free if you grab them from Smashwords.
Journey of Tara, which is normally 99 cents, is free with the coupon code MZ72A.
The Set’la, which is normally $2.99, is free with the coupon code ZR48R.
A word of warning, the Set’la needs a little editing and other fixes. I am trying to get my editor to read it, but she is stalling. I hope that isn’t a bad sign.
Everyone have a great week and a fantastic Labor day.
This weekend was a movie triple header. The first up was “The Kings Speech.” When this movie came out it really didn’t come out and say “Watch me!” In fact, I really had no intention of seeing at all. And of course when it won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a lead role and Best writer/screenplay, I could most definitely say I did not want to see it. When my boss came in one day and said she saw it and it was really good I was beginning to drift a little closer to the thought of watching it. One night as we were surfing through Netflix my wife saw it and asked me to put it in the que. All I got from the trailer was this movie was about a king that needed a speech therapist. I think that is what turned me off to it because I immediately thought of “My Fair Lady.”
I stand corrected, this movie was very good. Colin Furth plays Prince Albert, the Duke of York and tells the true story of his unfortunate stammering, a very serious speech impediment, especially if you do a lot of public speaking. His very first speech, which his father, King George V insisted he do, was a complete disaster. After seeing specialist after specialist he gave up and said never again. His wife, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Helena Bonham-Carter – nominated for best supporting actress by Oscar), found one anyway. Lionel Lobe, played by Jeffery Rush did an excellent job and should have gotten the Oscar for his nomination of best supporting actor – but I guess Oscar figured four was enough. One of my favorite scenes was when Bertie heard his voice for the first time. One reason I felt good about this movie could have been the fact that I sort of felt for King George the VI because I also had a speech impediment – it wasn’t stammering, but I hated not being understood and having to go to therapy to learn how to talk. I think even since this was based off fact what really kept the movie interesting were the actors. As good as it was I couldn’t help but notice all the Harry Potter actors that were in it. It was almost a Hogsworth reunion. Here is another favorite scene;
No String Attached was another movie I was skeptical about, maybe because of the appearance of Ashton Kutcher as Adam, (for some reason I never really liked his style of comedy), a screenwriter for a TV show that combines musical numbers and high school. Hmm, sounds familiar. This also stars Natalie Portman as Emma (I wonder if the writers toyed with the idea of naming her character Eve), a medical resident in LA. The two first meet in summer camp and become friends –through the years they meet again a few times until they find out they both live in the same city. They start as friends but end up as friends with benefits. Guess the question here if there is a question, is can a man and women have a NSA relationship without love getting in the way? Unfortunately we know what happens in this movie and how it ends, I suppose what made it interesting and a little humorous in spots was getting to that point. This also stared Kevin Kline as Adam’s father – a successful TV star that is now seeing Adam’s ex-girlfriend, and Ludacris as one of Adam’s best friends and confidants. (Some people should stick with one profession and go with it.) And as an afterthought, I usually have a little bit of an issue with too much sex in a movie, but I suppose in this one it is needed. It was a cute movie, but I am glad I didn’t waste money to see this in a theatre.
Our third movie was a little chick flick called You again. The story of a girl named Marnie, played by Kristen Bell, and life in high school and after. Seems she was teased a lot by the school bully Joanna, played by Odette Annable (Never heard of her, but she was in a Transformers movie). After high school Marnie becomes very successful in a PR company and also becomes very hot! [When I first met my wife and we were watching a lot of TV and movies, every time a famous actress or even a hot one came on the screen she would ask me if I would do them. At first I was afraid to answer but I finally figured out a way to make it good. The answer is almost always a “Yes – but I would rather do you.” That was how I answered when she asked about Kristen Bell.] Marnie never forgot about high school and the torture she experienced at the hands of Joanna – something she should really work on. It all comes to a head when she is invited back home, to her home town, to attend her brother’s wedding. If you guessed he was marring Joanna, you would be right. Less than an hour into the film we discover that Marnie’s and Joanna’s mom have history also, played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver. Victor Garber also has a role as Marnie’s Dad which he plays very well. Betty Davis has the best lines as Marnie’s grandma and near the end we even see Cloris Leachman in a very small cameo, but worth it. Marnie’s goal in this movie seems to be proving Joanna to be the mean person she really is instead of the one she is playing – all sugar and spice, and very nice. The ending wasn’t too much of a surprise to me but it was a cute movie. I gave it 3 stars on Netflix and it was the worse movie I saw this weekend, so in honor of that, the blooper reel. Enjoy.
As I was typing this out I realized that I had something in common with all of these movies. How about you?
Oh, by the way, next month is my Birthday month so watch for some special offers on my books, yes – even the one that I am trying to get my editor to look at. She seems to be stalling and that isn’t a good sign. And I also signed up for my very first Nanowrimo. The hardest part will be to ignore my editing and spelling mistakes as I pound away at the keyboard at 17 wpm. (Yeah, I’m practicing; however typing with a broken finger is a challenge.)