Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Yawn...

Do you ever have one of those weekends where you do as little as humanly possible? Yeah, I’m having myself one of those. Oh, sure…I still managed to get a little writing in and I even sent off a short story submission, but for the most part, I’m doing everything in my power to have a lazy weekend.

It hasn’t been easy, my day job had a few needs, but nothing too taxing. I think it’s good to have a few days where you can just let your mind kind of....go into idle mode every once in a while. The opportunity doesn’t present itself very often.

Well, I’d love to say more, but…hey, I’m being lazy. I will leave you with a question. What’s your favorite “lazy day” activity?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Special Request

I received an email yesterday wondering why I didn’t have any flash to post yesterday. She said that she had waited all week for it and…it never came. Even though, I mentioned that I was going to slip away from shorts for awhile, the email put a big ol’ smile on my face. So, without further ado, Ms. Delphi, here is a blast from the past, just for you.

A Soldier’s Choice


It is quite unnerving to be summoned to the Battalion Commander’s office, even on a good day. However, when your Section Chief bails you out of a German jail just two days prior, you know your visit will not be a pleasant one.

I don’t know which bothered me more, the armed guard at my side or the fact that no one would believe that I was justified in my actions.

As we approached the closed door of Colonel Radcliff’s office, I found it odd that he had two guards stationed on either side of it. They must have been newbies because I didn’t recognize either one of them. This was not my first trip to his office, but then it was the first under these circumstances.

“So much for his famous open door policy.” I muttered as we came to a stop three paces from the door.

“You’d do well to check that attitude soldier.” The guard at my side scolded, before announcing our arrival.

“Send him in!” Colonel Radcliff barked at him from behind his desk.

I marched into the room, snapped to attention, and saluted the Colonel. “Sergeant Crow, reporting as ordered, Sir!”

“At ease trooper.” He commanded, returning my salute before retrieving his cigar from the ashtray.

I let my gaze drift over the two men in the room as I assumed the at ease position. One bore a single star on either shoulder that marked him as a general. The other soldier was a Command Sergeant Major. Both men bore the much-coveted Ranger tab and were holding black berets. I guess JAG was sending in the big guns for this one.

“This is General Seaton and Sergeant Major Stevens. Sergeant Crow, I have just been going over your records here. This is quite a mixed bag I’m holding in my hand. On one hand, I see several medals and achievement awards. This is absolutely stellar for a soldier your age. On the other hand, you are constantly in some sort of trouble, always pushing the limits of the law. Did you know your squad leader recommended that we seek your discharge on a section 8? Do you know what that means?”

“Yes sir, I do. It means Lieutenant McCrae thinks I’m crazy.” I answered, hoping it wasn’t a rhetorical question.

“Your damn right he does. It says here that he observed you jumping out of your barracks window and nearly landing on him. Your room is on the second floor, why would you do such a thing?”

“Sir, we were almost out of beer and the PX was about to close. I thought the window would be a much faster means of egress than the stairs.” I replied, trying not to let my face slip into a smile.

“Well, your just a regular comedian aren’t soldier?” Colonel Radcliff asked, clearly boggled by my audacity.

I knew better than to say anything. There was clearly no right answer to that question.

“It says here that you have been busted six times for assault. You must really enjoy fighting. Do you have an inferiority complex son?”

“No sir, I just have a little trouble knowing when to stand down.”

“And now you have stabbed a German civilian. What’s worse you did it in front of the Polizei. Of course, you couldn’t go with them quietly, you took it upon yourself to fight with them as well.”

“Sir, I stabbed him with the same knife that he tried to stab me with. That is what I was trying to explain to the Polizei. It was self-defense. I would have went with them quietly but they were handling me rougher than I thought was necessary, especially when I hadn’t done anything wrong.” I interrupted to plead my case.

“Oh, I see now. It is all a conspiracy. I suppose everything else in this report is just some sort of misunderstanding as well and the Polizei just happened to miss the fact that their boy had the knife first?” He baited me.

“No Sir. I have done everything else that you see in that record and worse, but the Polizei rolled up just in time to see me sink the knife into that German’s backside.”

“You stabbed him in the ass?” He asked as he shuffled through the papers on the desk in front of him.

“Yes sir, I told him when he pulled it on me that if he didn’t put the knife away I was going to shove it up his ass.”

All three of them broke into laughter. I guess the German Police had omitted that part of the altercation from their report.

“Well son, at least you warned him first.” Stevens quipped, still smiling.

The colonel nodded at him before returning his attention to his papers. I could feel both the General and Sergeant Major appraising me as I stood there.

“Your report also says that you have a knack for languages. You have listed six different ones that you are fluent in.. What drives a man to learn so many languages?” He asked, peering up at me over his glasses.

“I found it’s a great way to meet girls, sir.” I replied through a smile, rousing another round of laughs from my otherwise silent observers.

“You applied for Ranger training within two months of your arrival here. There is a war going on son. We are liberating Kuwait. You don’t feel that my unit is good enough to fight with?” He asked, leaning back in his chair.

“Sir, the way I see it, I am going to fight in this war sooner or later. I just want to be as highly trained as possible when I do it. You have a fine group of men assembled under you, but when the shit hits the fan, I don’t want to be surrounded by good soldiers. I want to be surrounded by the best.”

“Why was he rejected Colonel?” Seaton asked after casting a glance at Stevens.

“His squad leader claimed he was psychologically unstable.” He replied with a shake of his head.

“Ah hell, who isn’t in this day and age?” Stevens added with a nod.

“Well son, have you given any thought of what you are going to do when all of this is over?” The Colonel asked, returning his attention to me.

“I’m afraid I don’t understand the question sir.”

“I mean to say, you can’t soldier forever. You tour will be up in another year and they won’t let you re-up with the criminal record you have amassed. If the Army doesn’t want a man with a criminal record, how many civilian employers do you think will be willing to give you a chance?”

“I guess I haven’t thought that far ahead, sir.” I replied softly, realizing for the first time that I was not only accountable for my actions, but for the affects my actions would have on my future.

“What do you think, Sergeant Major Stevens?” The Colonel asked, watching him rub his chin.

“He is a little rough around the edges, but he has the look that could blend in with about any of them and it sounds like he has the tenacity to get the job done.”

“We have a mission for you that is highly unorthodox. It will put you through a highly modified Ranger course. If you choose to accept it, your record will be wiped clean and you will never see a courtroom over your latest transgression.”

“What’s the catch?” I asked wondering what they wanted from me that would be worth so much to them.

“You will only have two months of training in an undisclosed desert location. You will live off of goat meat and dried dates. You will live, eat, and sleep with the six men that will be with you on the mission. You will learn to speak as much Kurdi as possible in that time. When you deploy for your mission, you will not be wearing your Army Uniform.”

“Will I be issued an Iraqi Uniform then?” I wondered aloud, not sure if I liked where this was heading.

“The clothing we have seen worn by the Iraqi troops makes a mockery of the word uniform. But you will be given something that will pass for one.”

“What’s the assignment, sir?” I asked, realizing that this was sounding more and more like a suicide mission.

“I can’t tell you that, son. The only other thing I can tell you before you make your decision is how long you will be on the mission. We are asking for two weeks. Just two weeks worth of work and you get a brand new start.”

So I must decide between a life with no future and a life that will probably be cut short. I wondered what I would be doing for those two weeks. Oh well, sanity has never been my strong point.

“Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!”

Friday, April 28, 2006

Cinderella Update

My mom sent this to me and I just had to pass it along. Enjoy…

Cinderella is now 95 years old.

After a fulfilling life with the now dead prince, she happily sits upon her rocking chair, watching the world go by from her front porch, with a cat named Jake for companionship.

One sunny afternoon out of nowhere, appeared the fairy godmother.




Cinderella said, "Fairy Godmother, what are you doing here after all these years"?

The fairy godmother replied, "Cinderella, you have lived an exemplary life since I last saw you. Is there anything for which your heart still yearns?"

Cinderella was taken aback, overjoyed, and after some thoughtful consideration, she uttered her first wish:

"The prince was wonderful, but not much of an investor. I'm living hand to mouth on my disability checks, and I wish I were wealthy beyond comprehension. Instantly her rocking chair turned into solid gold.

Cinderella said, "Ooh, thank you, Fairy Godmother"

The fairy godmother replied, "It is the least that I can do. What do you want for your second wish?"

Cinderella looked down at her frail body, and said, "I wish I were young and full of the beauty and youth I once had."


At once, her wish became reality, and her beautiful young visage returned. Cinderella felt stirrings inside of her that had been dormant for years.

And then the fairy godmother spoke once more: "You have one more wish; what shall it be?"


Cinderella looks over to the frightened cat in the corner and says, "I wish for you to transform Jake , my old cat, into a kind and handsome young man." Magically, Bob suddenly underwent so fundamental a change in his biological make-up that, when he stood before her, he was a man so beautiful the likes of him neither she nor the world had ever seen.

The fairy godmother said, "Congratulations, Cinderella, enjoy your new life."

With a blazing shock of bright blue electricity, the fairy godmother was gone as suddenly as she appeared.

For a few eerie moments, Jake and Cinderella looked into each other's eyes.




Cinderella sat, breathless, gazing at the most beautiful, stunningly perfect man she had ever seen.

Then Jake walked over to Cinderella, who sat transfixed in her rocking chair, and held her close in his young muscular arms.

He leaned in close, blowing her golden hair with his warm breath as he whispered...

"Bet you're sorry you neutered me."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Writing FanFic

There have been some rather lively discussions about Fan Fic.

Is it blatant copyright infringement? Is it the ultimate compliment to the original creator of the characters/universe? If, as in the example above, the author actually sells copies of the book, should they owe monies to the people they tried so hard to emulate?

Let’s face it, Fan Fic has been around as long as…well, as long as there have been fans swept away enough by a story to want to be a part of it. Even if this instance, leads to litigation, people aren’t going to stop writing Fan Fic. Having said that, they may be a little more careful about how they go about sharing their vision.

Personally, at this point,I think they should take it as flattery and move on. Convince me otherwise. She self-published the poorly written work and handled all the details herself. It’s not like this poorly written story is going to be a break out bestseller, deterring funds from the franchise and if it did…surely, there’s something that could be worked out between them. Hell, maybe even a book deal could come of such a phenomenon. I don’t think there’s any worry of that happening here, but I’m just saying.

What’s your take on the situation? Should there be such a fuss over what Lori Jareo did? Should there be action taken? If this thing does wind up in court, should Amazon share the responsibility for what happened?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. What do you mean I can’t make it? Do you realize how expensive this car is? Duh!

(6 January 2005, Johannesburg, South Africa) Massive thunderstorms had turned the Braamfontein Spruit into a raging river. It was a little past midnight when police warned Barbara, 33, that a flash flood was inundating the bridge ahead. They urged her not to cross. But Barbara was driving a BMW X3, an off-road vehicle with xDrive all-wheel-drive.
Brochures assured her that the luxury SUV with Sensatec upholstery and an 8-speaker stereo system had "virtually unlimited agility." So Barbara laughed off the police advice, and continued towards the bridge. xDrive all-wheel drive lost its grip as the floodwaters swept her BMW X3 off the bridge. Her body was found later inside the vehicle over a mile down the river.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Review: Guilty Pleasures

I finished reading Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton .

This was a fun book. Anita Blake lives in a St. Louis where vampires, ghouls, zombies and were-animals are common place. When she’s not busy hunting the most evil of vampires, she’s raising the dead so they might answer questions from beyond the grave.

In a town where vampires are a tourist attraction, anything can happen. When someone starts murdering vampires, a few eye-brows are raised. When they realize that something is killing Master vampires, all hell breaks loose. THE Master Vampire, a thousand year old monster, “recruits” Anita to solve the murders. Anita has spent her life protecting humans from vampires, now she finds herself in the dangerous position of protecting vampires from something even worse. What could be more powerful than a Master? I guess you will just have to read to find out.

This book is a little Fantasy, a little Horror, a little Mystery, a little Noir, just a touch of Romance and a whole lot of good. Seriously, if you enjoy the paranormal at all, this genre-bending book is a must read.

Rating: 5 Stars




Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday Musings

A friend of mine asked me about this poem over the weekend, so I decided to re-post it. Enjoy!

Mindless Meanderings

I move without motivation.
I am idle though a flurry of activity.
My lack of conformity scares me.
I feel without touch.
I touch without feeling.
My emotions scare me.
I see though I’m blind.
Passion effects perception.
My visions scare me.
I hear all, but listen to nothing.
My callousness scares me.

My tears are almost as poisonous as my laugh.
My fears are unsubstantiated, but then…so are my comforts.
My pain gives me strength, but my pleasure will be the death of me.
My joy should be feared as the calm before the storm.
My reasoning abilities lack the conviction of execution.
My heart is too big for the tiny mind that wants to control it.
My tongue is rough, but smooth enough to change the world.

The rust around my heart will protect me from everything but lightning
And my wife’s breath on my neck
And my wife’s words in my ear
And the song on my son’s lips
And tears on my son’s cheek
And laughter
And sorrow
And birth
And death
And…
My heart is unprotected.

My life will not be wasted dwelling on things I cannot change.
It will be wasted on dream.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sunday Funny

Legion of Decency

Index Liberis Prohibitorum - Index of Forbidden Books for Children

The Boy Who Died From Eating All His Vegetables
Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence
Daddy Drinks Because You Cry
Dad's New Wife Robert
Eggs, Toilet Paper, and Your School
Fun Four-letter Words to Know and Share
The Kids' Guide to Hitchhiking
The Little Sissy Who Snitched
The Magic World Inside the Abandoned Refrigerator
The Man in the Moon Is Actually Satan
Places Where Mommy and Daddy Hide Neat Things
Pop! Goes The Hamster...And Other Great Microwave Games
The Pop-Up Book of Human Anatomy
Some Kittens Can Fly
Strangers Have the Best Candy
Things Rich Kids Have, But You Never Will
Whining, Kicking, and Crying to Get Your Way
Why Can't Mr. Fork and Ms. Electrical Outlet Be Friends?
You Were an Accident
Your Nightmares Are Real
You're Different, and That's Bad

(source: Steven Olderr, Webmaster, Anglican Library Society)

Pimpage

Friend and author, Sandra Ruttan has a new short story (with a very catchy title that you will just have to click on the link to see) in the latest issue of Demolition Magazine and she is in some very impressive company. Stop by and give her a read. While you’re there, it might be a good time to check out the other stories as well.

While I have you in the reading mood, I would also like to refer you to the works of another friend and author, David Niall Wilson. He has Parts One, Two, and Three of The Orffyreus Wheel available on Amazon.com for 49 cents each. He is serializing a novel through Amazon Shorts and I have to tell you, I’m already hooked on the story.

Have a great weekend…

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday Flash

The Long Road


The warmth is comforting. I hear drums in the distance. They play a soothing melody. Is it meant to lull me? I’m not sure how long I’ve been here, but I’m sure I’ve been here before. I push out with my foot, exploring the limits of my confinement. I press against something yielding, pliable, viscous. It bounces back as I retract my foot.

It’s dark here. I can feel my eyelids open and close, but it makes no difference; the darkness is complete. Yes, I’ve been here before. When was that? What happened to me? How did I get away? Why would I want to leave? The closeness in here is so…comforting.

I can feel something moving around me. No…I’m being moved. Where are they taking me. The drums are beating faster. I remember the drums from…perhaps, I don’t remember after all. Why are they important? It seems they should be. What are they doing out there? Vibrations disturb my peace. I can barely hear the drums. I push with both hands. Please make them stop. I like the drums. Yes, I’ve been here before.

Something is wrong. I can’t place it. Something’s…changed. It’s getting smaller in here. The walls are crashing in, smothering me, squeezing me. This isn’t déjà vu. I remember this now. I know where I am. I remember--

I’m being crushed. Oh my God, I remember. This can’t be happening again. It hurts so bad, I want to cry out. I can’t. Not yet. I feel their hands on me. The light burns into me. I remember. Please don’t do this to me…not again. I see the glint of steel looming closer. The lights are so bright.

No please! Don’t cut that. If you cut that-- No, it will all slip away. If you cut me there, I’ll forget. I don’t want to do this again. NO, NO, NO! Get away from--

The doctor stands, wraps the shaking body in a blanket before turning to face the expectant faces.

“It’s a boy!”

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Twilight Zone

I had a ton of errands to run the other day. As I bounced from locale to locale, I realized the time had slipped well past my usual lunch break and decided to stop for something quick to eat.

The golden arches came into view when I turned the next corner. Most days, it doesn’t get much quicker than good ol’ Micky Ds. When I pulled into the parking lot, the drive-thru line was just damned near ridiculous but the open parking slots abounded, so I parked and ventured inside.

I strolled in and took a glance at the big screen plasma TV hanging on the polished red wood walls. I watched a kids head appear and disappear between the plants that occupied the spaces between the brass poles to my left. This is no longer the McDonalds I remember. I vaguely reminded of a Fuddruckers or Red Robin. Or order my burger and find a place to sit. No sooner do I unwrap the Big Mac an attendant stops by to see if everything is alright with my order.

“Everything seems to be in order,” I say with a shrug.
“Well, would you like a refill or anything?”
“Thanks, but I haven’t even had a sip of this one yet.”
“Well, if you do…you just let me know, ok?”
“Will do.”

I watch her walk away wondering if I will need to start tipping when I eat there. I get a few bites into my burger when another girl comes by and offers me a complimentary mint for after my meal.

Did I step into another dimension when I entered the front doors?

I wolf down the rest of my meal, anxious to be out of this twisted reality. I stand and pick up my tray only to have yet another woman rush up and relieve me of my burden.

“Oh, sir. Here let me get that for you,” she says with a bright smile as she stands in front of me and grips the tray.
“That’s ok, the receptacle is on my way out.”
“It’s no trouble, really.”
I release the tray realizing that she isn’t going to. As we discuss who is going to throw away my trash, nice lady number one joins us.

“Here, let me get you a refill for the road.”
“Actually, I was going to throw away the cup because I’m on my bike.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah…I have no cup holders.”
This was met by chipper laughter.
“Ok, then have a nice day and thanks for dining at McDonalds.”

Yes, I think that sums it up. I didn’t just drop by for a quick bite, I had a full on dining experience…under the golden arches. What a strange day that was.

Yet, not every experience is like that. I just talked to my sister-in-law earlier and she had a…less than pleasant time at the land of the Happy Meal. She went through the Drive thru and the kid behind the counter messed up the order she went in to fix it and they told her they would bring it out to her when it was ready. She waited and when they brought it out, they forgot the drinks. She goes back inside to correct it and the kid from the drive-thru yells expletives at her. Nice…

I wonder if he will still be working there when the managers are involved?

Yes, strange things are afoot under the golden arches he

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

PSA

Well, this is something I should have done long ago, but better late than never. I originally read the list at the Writer Beware Blog. Then I saw it mentioned again over at Miss Snark’s. I even saw it heavily discussed over at Making Light. Now, I realize that these are all high traffic blogs, but let’s face it…there’s still a chance that of the two hundred or so of you who slide by my humble blog(s), there are still a few who haven’t heard the word.

Knowledge is power. In this instance, the more the knowledge the public holds, the less power these scam artists have. Power to the people. Yeah…I like the sound of that. Please spread the word.

So, without further ado, here is today’s Public Service Announcement:


Below is a list of the 20 agents about which Writer Beware has received the greatest number of advisories/complaints during the past several years.

None of these agents has a significant track record of sales to commercial (advance-paying) publishers, and most have virtually no documented and verified sales at all (many sales claimed by these agents turn out to be vanity publishers). All charge clients before a sale is made, whether directly, by charging fees such as reading or administrative fees, or indirectly, for "editing services."

Writer Beware suggests that writers searching for agents avoid questionable agents, and instead query agents who have actual track records of sales to commercial publishing houses.


THE LIST:


The Abacus Group Literary Agency
Allred and Allred Literary Agents (refers clients to "book doctor" Victor West of Pacific Literary Services)
Capital Literary Agency (formerly American Literary Agents of Washington, Inc.)
Barbara Bauer Literary Agency
Benedict & Associates (also d/b/a B.A. Literary Agency)
Sherwood Broome, Inc.
Desert Rose Literary Agency
Arthur Fleming Associates
Finesse Literary Agency (Karen Carr)
Brock Gannon Literary Agency
Harris Literary Agency
The Literary Agency Group, which includes the following:
Children's Literary Agency
Christian Literary Agency
New York Literary Agency
Poets Literary Agency
The Screenplay Agency
Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency)
Writers Literary & Publishing Services Company (the editing arm of the above-mentioned agencies)
Martin-McLean Literary Associates
Mocknick Productions Literary Agency, Inc.
B.K. Nelson, Inc.
The Robins Agency (Cris Robins)
Michele Rooney Literary Agency (also d/b/a Creative Literary Agency and Simply Nonfiction)
Southeast Literary Agency
Mark Sullivan Associates
West Coast Literary Associates (also d/b/a California Literary Services)

If you have been dealing with any of the above, please drop by one of the following websites:

Writer Beware
Victoria Strauss
AC Crispin or
Writer Beware Blog

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. For today, I’ve decided to give you several accounts that are short but…sweet. Enjoy.

Robert, 37, shot himself while explaining gun safety to his wife in Glendale, California, when he placed a .45-caliber pistol he thought was unloaded under his chin and pulled the trigger. Shovestall's wife told police that the incident occurred after her complaints about her husband's 70 guns prompted him to demonstrate their safety.

A 23-year-old bar-brawler who had been escorted out of the Turtle Club in Florida by a bouncer, sneaked back in and leaped off a staircase, aiming a kick at another man, but was killed when he landed on his head.

Iraqi terrorist Khay Rahnajet, didn't put enough postage on a letter bomb, and it came back marked "return to sender." He opened the package and was blown away.

Two animal rights activists were protesting the cruelty of sending pigs to a slaughterhouse in Bonn by freeing a captive herd. Suddenly all two thousand of pigs stampeded through the gate they were opening, and trampled the hapless protesters to death.

News of the Weird reports that in September 1996 a man was crushed to death on a stairway at the Sammis Real Estate and Insurance office in Huntington, N.Y., while he was stealing the office's 600-pound safe. He apparently violated that cardinal rule of hauling massive objects: Never stand on a step lower than the one the safe is on. The safe was empty at the time of the incident.

In San Jose, California, Herman, an avid hunter, used the butt of his shotgun to bash his girlfriend's windshield during an argument. But his loaded gun accidentally discharged into his stomach, killing him and ending the argument.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Things that make you go hmm...

Well, I’ve been playing around with short stories and flash fiction for a few weeks now, but I think it’s time to return to my true love. I have an idea bouncing around in my tiny little mind that’s just begging to be set free.

I wrote a few more chapters for a sequel to Darkness on the Plains, but that just wasn’t where my mind wanted to be. I hear the call of something darker. I feel compelled to write something…horrible. I want to write something that affects the reader. I want to disturb. I want to explore new lows of human depravity. I want to someone to read the finished product and be…scarred, fucked up for life even. I want to hear about someone keeping my book in the freezer to protect them from the characters I’ve created. I want to scare myself. I want to have chills as I type.

The reality is, I’m just not to that point in my writing yet. Can I make memorable characters? I’d like to think so. Do I know how to build tension and even, dare I say, induce a bit of fear in the reader? So, I’ve been told. However, I don’t think anything I’ve written to date really gets under people’s skin. I hope to change that with this next book. Presumptuous, you might say and you’d probably be right, but it’s a goal.

If I’m doing my job, everything I write will bring me closer to being the writer I want to be. I’m a sponge, I take in everything from readers comments to out and out critiques from fellow writers. Do I apply everything I receive? Of course, not; quite frankly there are times when I get conflicting suggestions. I do look at what the underlying problem is and try to use that information to improve my craft.

So, eventually my books will have to come with warning labels, “Not to be read when alone with your thoughts” or something to that effect. Until then, your mind will be safe while buried between my pages.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Long Weekend

We had a family filled weekend. Lots of good food, new memories and of course a few Easter egg hunts. It has been an interesting weekend to say the least.

It seems almost unimaginable, but it was warm enough yesterday for the kids to have water balloon fights and swim in the pool. It’s going to be a great summer.

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday weekend.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

Why does the Easter bunny have a shiny nose?
His powder puff is on the wrong end.

Is it true that bunnies have good eyesight?
Well you never see a bunny wearing glasses, do you?

What is the difference between a crazy bunny and a counterfeit banknote?
One is bad money and the other is a mad bunny!

Why did the Easter egg hide?
He was a little chicken!

Why did a fellow rabbit say that the Easter Bunny was self-centered?
Because he was eggo-centric!

Why is a bunny the luckiest animal in the world?
It has four rabbits' feet

What do you get when you cross a bunny with an onion?
A bunion (Sorry, no relation to our Bunions.)

What did the bunny want to do when he grew up?
Join the Hare Force.

What do you call a bunny with a large brain?
Egghead!

What does a bunny use when it goes swimming?
A hare-net.

How do you make a rabbit stew?
Make it wait for three hours!

What did the grey rabbit say to the blue rabbit?
Cheer up!

What do you get when you pour hot water down a rabbit hole?
A hot cross bunny.

How do you post a bunny?
Hare mail

How does the Easter Bunny say Happy Easter?
Hoppy Easter

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Flash

In Sickness and In Health


The love Marcus held in his heart knew no bounds. Sabrina was everything he had ever hoped for. She occupied his every waking thought since the moment he met her. It broke him up inside to see her so angry, hurt…sad.

“Why won’t you just talk to me?” He pleaded with her back as she refused to face him.
“What have I done to deserve this?”
He stepped closer, letting his breath move her hair. Her scent was intoxicating. He wanted to soothe her, to take her in his arms, to squeeze away her sorrows. He knew better than to touch her. Nothing good ever came from his touch when she was in one of her moods.

“I know you’re upset, Sabrina,” he began, letting his fingers glide just above the skin of her exposed shoulder. “Please just talk to me. Let me be here for you. I can’t fix this, if you don’t tell me what’s wrong.”

Her shoulders slumped, moving farther away from his touch. She let her face drop, chin resting on her chest. Is she going to fall? he wondered as he watched her fold into herself. He couldn’t resist; he had to help her sit down before she fell down. He cupped her elbows softly, guiding her to the sofa. She fell into the cushions, defeated, broken, still refusing to meet his eye.

He studied the trail of mascara that washed over her cheeks. Though the center of the stream was still fluid, the outer edges had already begun to dry and flake. Seeing her face in such a disheveled state reminded him of a painted mask. It couldn’t be real. The doctor said she was uninjured. Maybe he was dreaming. Maybe she had been dreaming. Nothing he could have said or done would have brought such sorrow. The pain couldn’t be real, the doctor had said there was nothing wrong. Her anguish must be imagined.

“Tell me what I can do,” he began, choking on the last of his words. “Anything…I will do whatever it takes to help you get through this.”

He reached out to caress her face, but something in her eyes gave him pause. His fingers hovered so close he could feel the heat from her skin.

“Go away,” she whispered.
“You can’t be serious.” He stared at her, willing her to look him in the eye. “What has gotten into you?”
“It’s not good for me to talk to you anymore.” He watched the muscles of her throat contract and expand as she swallowed hard. “You’re hurting me. Your being here isn’t right anymore.”

“That’s ridiculous, Sabrina. The doctor said there was nothing wrong with you.”
“How do you know that?” she whispered.
Her eyes unfocused as she stared at the wall behind him.
“I was there, remember?”
“No.” She whispered so lightly, he could barely hear her. “We were at the party and--”
“I’m not talking about the party, God damn it.” He struggled to contain his emotions. Why is she doing this to me?

“Oh, Marcus,” she sobbed. “That other car, the red light…I can still hear the scream of our brakes. That sound…the sound of glass breaking and metal bending--”
“I know it scared you and I said I’m sorry. So, I had a few too many glasses of wine. It couldn’t’ have been that bad or they would have thrown me in jail.”
“You rammed us into that other car.” She let herself fall to her side on the couch, staring up at the ceiling.

“But you’re alright. You came out of the crash with a few scratches.”
“But you didn’t.” She looked at him suddenly, finally seeing him, seeing through him. “You died.”

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Movie Review: Undead

I made my wife suffer through Undead. She is not nearly the fan of zombies that I am.

I laughed myself silly through this film, featuring Australian zombies, over anxious constables and wait for it…aliens.

Yes, this was a very cheesy zombie movie, but then I went into it expecting nothing more and I was entertained. My wife picked up her book and read after less than twenty minutes into it. It was a shame she missed the zombie fish attack the strong and silent protag weeks before the actual “outbreak”.

Berkeley is a tiny little fishing town. The quiet and calm are about to change in a big way. Meteorites fall from the sky, the particles of which spread the infection that turns the good townspeople into flesh eating zombies. To make matters worse, they have continued run ins with visitors from another planet.

What do aliens have to do with a zombie flick? Well, you will just have to watch it to find out.

If you are a fan of zombie movies (and I am), by all means check this out. If not, well I would skip this one.

Rating: 4 Stars




Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

(30 May 2001, Hillsboro, Oregon) Ismael, 25, was driving a Toyota truck when he lost control of the vehicle, which careened into a mailbox, collided with a utility pole, and flipped onto its side, knocking down high-voltage power lines in the process. At that point, Ishmael climbed from the truck and into the path of evolution.

He surveyed the situation with a pair of pruning shears in his hand. Police speculate that he reached up to clip the snaking, arcing cable lying across his truck, and was electrocuted when the shears touched the 7500-volt cable. A medical examination found that the current traveled across his heart and out his left foot. He was found lying motionless, face-down on the power line, with a pair of pruning shears in his hands.
His dazed passenger survived, only to be arrested on an unrelated warrant.


When it rains…it pours.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A History of Violence

We watched A History of Violence the other night.

This was a pretty good film. It dragged in places, but when it came time for the action, this movie packed a wallop.

It is the story of Tom Stall, a mild mannered owner of a diner in a small town. He foils a couple of killers who come to wreck a little havoc in his diner, instantly catapulting him to local hero status. Unfortunately, all the publicity brings him to the attention of some really bad men from his past. Things get a little sticky and a whole lot of interesting as he struggles to maintain the new life he made for himself and protect his family.

There is (obviously) quite a bit of graphic violence in this film, but with the addition of some fairly graphic love scenes and fair amount of nudity, this is definitely not a kid-friendly movie. For everyone else, have at it; I think you’ll enjoy it.

Rating: 4 Stars




Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Few Laughs...

One night, a Delta twin-engine puddle jumper was flying somewhere above New Jersey. There were five people on board: the pilot, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, the Dali Lama, and a hippie. Suddenly, an illegal oxygen generator exploded loudly in the luggage compartment, and the passenger cabin began to fill with smoke. The cockpit door opened, and the pilot burst into the compartment.

"Gentlemen," he began, "I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that we're about to crash in New Jersey. The good news is that there are four parachutes, and I have one of them!" With that, the pilot threw open the door and jumped from the plane. Michael Jordan was on his feet in a flash. "Gentlemen," he said, "I am the world's greatest athlete. The world needs great athletes. I think the world's greatest athlete should have a parachute!" With these words, he grabbed one of the remaining parachutes, and hurtled through the door and into the night.

Bill Gates rose and said, "Gentlemen, I am the world's smartest man. The world needs smart men. I think the world's smartest man should have a parachute, too." He grabbed one, and out he jumped.

The Dali Lama and the hippie looked at one another. Finally, the Dali Lama spoke. "My son," he said, "I have lived a satisfying life and have known the bliss of True Enlightenment. You have your life ahead of you; you take a parachute, and I will go down with the plane."

The hippie smiled slowly and said, "Hey, don't worry, dude. The world's smartest man just jumped out wearing my backpack."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Evolution of the Shark

So, I open my email and wouldn’t you know it? The scammers are evolving. Check out the latest iteration of the “I’m gonna trust a complete stranger to handle my large sum of money” scam. Oh man, they’re pulling at my heart-strings in this one.

I hope you enjoy it. I know I’m still smiling.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a British citizen by birth who was taken to Saudi Arabia by my father 10 years ago when i was only 15 years old. He deceived me that I was going there on vacation and later married me out to a wealthy Prince of the Royal family of Saudi Arabia who is 30 years older than me.

I was thus forced into marriage at such an early age and when I objected I was abused by this Prince. I was locked up in a house for two years after which I submitted and decided to accept my faith, knowing that was the only way out. After I got my freedom back I have been allowed by my husband to have access to his account funds and crude oil businesses.

Over the years i have been able to accumulate and divert $66,000,000.00 (Sixty six million dollars) into a private finance house in Saudi Arabia without his knowledge. Right now I have mapped out a plan to move out of Saudi Arabia and live in a free World.

First of all I want to move the fund out of Saudi Arabia. This is where I need your assistance, I will move the fund out of Saudi Arabia on your name with the help of the finance company to their branch office in Europe to avoid been detected by my husband. After which you will help
me secure the fund before I get out of Saudi Arabia.

If you know you are capable of handling such a huge amount of money respond to me and I will compensate you by giving you 10% of the total fund. Note also that you must keep this transaction secret as my life is at stake if my husband or any of his relatives hear of this transaction they will stone me to death or hang me. I await your quick response.

Yours faithfully,

Haja


Sorry Haja…no dice.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Book Review: My Death

I just finished reading My Death by Lisa Tuttle.

I had this story figured out fairly early on. I read on, nearly every page lending itself to support my thoughts on where the story was going. I was wrong.

This novella is painstakingly crafted to suck you in, lead you along a clear-cut path only to have the path…no more than that, your reality yanked away from you.

The narrator is a writer living a life of isolation in Scotland. She struggles to get her life back in order after the death of her husband a year and a half ago.

She realizes she has to move on and meets with her agent to discuss a book proposal. She arrives in Edinburgh early and takes the time to visit a museum. A painting by W.E. Logan, Circe, inspires her to write a biography of the model for the painting, Helen Ralston.

As the story unfolds, the writer realizes she and the 96 year old subject of her book have several events in their lives that mirror each other.

Throughout the story there are hints that this indeed a genre story, but it isn’t until the very indeed that you truly know that this is a fringe horror story.

I highly recommend this book to anyone. I don’t care what genre you prefer…chances are you are going to enjoy this book.

Rating: 4 stars.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

"Fish-Impersonation Deaths On the Rise in Melbourne"

(29 November 1995, Australia) The badly decomposed remains of Neil of Melbourne were discovered in a paddock near Toolondo Reservoir Neil's death was shrouded in mystery, tragedy, and a fish suit.

Local law enforcement officials said the 49-year-old man was wearing a "heavy green plastic bodysuit," constructed from old waterbed material. The suit, from which one could only be extricated painstakingly after unfastening a full-length zipper along the spine, constricted his legs into one mermaid-esque tail. The only openings, aside from the zipper, were two eyeholes.

Neil's garb, enclosing his entire body like a maritime mummy costume, restricted his breathing as well as his movement. He was discovered in this attire, which the Melbourne Fish Costume Bureau stresses was "not approved," less than a kilometer from Toolondo Lake. He apparently had attempted to swim home.

A second yellow-colored suit was found in his garage.
The psychological motivation for Neil's fatal excursion remains unclear. Police have learned that he was taking medications for epilepsy and diabetes at the time, and speculate that his behavior may have had a chemical basis, but locals have their own theories about the aquatic abberation.

"He wanted to be a fish," disclosed one unnamed resident, recalling incidents in which Wilson would swing from a rope while wearing the suit at the lake. Other comments from the Australian community included "bollocks" and "criminey."

Wilson's death brings the Melbourne fish impersonation fatality toll to one, up infinity percent from zero in the previous year.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

From Books to Big Screen...

I would like to give a giant CONGRATS to David Niall Wilson whose first feature length movie, Godhead premieres this weekend at The Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee.

If you are in the area, be sure to check it out.

Here is the pertinent info:

Tivoli Theater/Westport
4050 Pennsylvania
Kansas City, MO

April 9, 2006
5PM

As an added bonus, any and all reviews from confirmed viewers will get their choice of one of David’s books.

Monday, April 03, 2006

If it only it weren't so close to being true...

I apologize in advance, but this was too funny not to pass along. Enjoy, but not too much.

Muldoon lived alone in the Irish countryside with only a pet dog for company. One day, the dog died, and Muldoon went to the parish priest and said,
"Father, my dog is dead. Could ya' be sayin' a mass for the poor creature?"

Father Patrick replied, "I'm afraid not. We cannot have services for an animal
in the church. But there is a new denomination down the lane, and there's
no tellin' what they believe. Maybe they'll do something for the creature."Muldoon said, "I'll go right away Father. Do ya' think $5,000 is
enough to donate for the service?"

Father Patrick exclaimed, "Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus! Why didn't ya' tell
me the dog was Catholic?"


Terrible, terrible…I know. *Snickers*

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Few Laughs...

I found this at a wonderful website, Jokes 2 Go and thought you would enjoy it.

Review: The Cat in the Hat

by Dr. Seuss, 61 pages. Beginner Books, $3.95


The Cat in the Hat is a hard-hitting novel of prose and poetry
in which the author re-examines the dynamic rhyming schemes and
bold imagery of some of his earlier works, most notably Green
Eggs and Ham, If I Ran the Zoo, and Why Can't I Shower With
Mommy? In this novel, Theodore Geisel, writing under the
pseudonym Dr. Seuss, pays homage to the great Dr. Sigmund Freud
in a nightmarish fantasy of a renegade feline helping two young
children understand their own frustrated sexuality.

The story opens with two youngsters, a brother and a sister,
abandoned by their mother, staring mournfully through the
window of their single-family dwelling. In the foreground, a
large tree/phallic symbol dances wildly in the wind, taunting
the children and encouraging them to succumb to the sexual
yearnings they undoubtedly feel for each other. Even to the
most unlearned reader, the blatant references to the
incestuous relationship the two share set the tone for Seuss's
probing examination of the satisfaction of primitive needs.
The Cat proceeds to charm the wary youths into engaging in
what he so innocently refers to as "tricks." At this point,
the fish, an obvious Christ figure who represents the
prevailing Christian morality, attempts to warn the children,
and thus, in effect, warns all of humanity of the dangers
associated with the unleashing of the primal urges. In
response to this, the cat proceeds to balance the aquatic
naysayer on the end of his umbrella, essentially saying,
"Down with morality; down with God!"

After poohpoohing the righteous rantings of the waterlogged
Christ figure, the Cat begins to juggle several icons of
Western culture, most notably two books, representing the Old
and New Testaments, and a saucer of lactal fluid, an ironic
reference to maternal loss the two children experienced when
their mother abandoned them "for the afternoon." Our heroic
Id adds to this bold gesture a rake and a toy man, and thus
completes the Oedipal triangle.

Later in the novel, Seuss introduces the proverbial Pandora's
box, a large red crate out of which the Id releases Thing One,
or Freud's concept of Ego, the division of the psyche that
serves as the conscious mediator between the person and
reality, and Thing Two, the Superego which functions to reward
and punish through a system of moral attitudes, conscience,
and guilt. Referring to this box, the Cat says, "Now look at
this trick. Take a look!" In this, Dr. Seuss uses the
children as a brilliant metaphor for the reader, and asks the
reader to re-examine his own inner self.

The children, unable to control the Id, Ego, and Superego
allow these creatures to run free and mess up the house, or
more symbolically, control their lives. This rampage
continues until the fish, or Christ symbol, warns that the
mother is returning to reinstate the Oedipal triangle that
existed before her abandonment of the children. At this
point, Seuss introduces a many-armed cleaning device which
represents the psychoanalytic couch, which proceeds to put
the two youngsters' lives back in order.

With powerful simplicity, clarity, and drama, Seuss reduces
Freud's concepts on the dynamics of the human psyche to an
easily understood gesture. Mr. Seuss' poetry and choice of
words is equally impressive and serves as a splendid
counterpart to his bold symbolism. In all, his writing style
is quick and fluid, making The Cat in the Hat impossible to
put down. While this novel is 61 pages in length, and one
can read it in five minutes or less, it is not until after
multiple readings that the genius of this modern day master
becomes apparent.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Kick It!

Oh, I forgot to mention that I tested for my Orange Belt at Apollo’s Karate on Thursday night. Yep, I’m moving up in the ranks at my dojo. In a strange coincidence an offhand comment by the instructor in charge of the testing made me realize that I actually went to high school with him for a year. It’s a small world…

Yesterday was just a gorgeous day, temps in the 70s and little of no wind. What else could I do? I called up a few friends, picked up about thirty pounds of meat and proceeded to throw an impromptu cookout. It was a good time indeed.

I know this is short, but I have a ton of catch-up stuff to get to today, so I’ll leave you with a poem from my archives.

A Writer's Journey
I answer the call
From my inner voice.
When the muse tickles my ear,
I have no choice,
But to put pen to paper, fingers to keys.
And so, the journey begins
With eyes so bright.
Innocence abounds
As my imagination takes flight.
The masterpiece takes shape
And my mind reaches for the stars.
I envision interviews with Leno
And my poetry read in bars.
The book is complete.
I hold it up with trembling hands.
The only thing left
Is for it to find its way to the fans.
I drop queries in the mail
And hope for the best.
My patience and resolve,
Will soon be put to the test.
Still the fantasy remains.
I will be the next big thing.
My fame will surpass
Anne Rice or even Stephen King.
Days, weeks, and months go by
Without so much as a word.
At last, I receive a letter
Address, written in my hand.
It is addressed to dear author
And they're not buying.
Well, what do they know?
Perhaps an agent is what I need.
I answer an ad in a magazine.
They like my work and for a small fee,
I will be published in no time,
Just you wait and see.
They had the speed,
I will give them that.
I had a dozen rejections,
In no time flat.
Don't let it get you down kid,
You've written a best seller.
We just have to find it a home,
Get it in front of the right feller.
Just send me more money
And we will be on our way.
I have a question or two
Before we proceed.
I've read through your list of publishers,
And I have to say,
You, sir, are a hack, a swindler, and a cheat.
If I had more than P.O. Box
With which to find you,
Your ass, I would beat.
My innocence has been replaced
With apprehension.
My sleep is still filled,
With the first timers dreams.
My words will be read
And hearts will be moved,
Emotions will be stirred.
With a single book,
I could change the world.
Someone, somewhere will read my words
And will be inspired to do great things.
I dream of a series of books,
crossing all genres.
I dream of books on tape
And book signings,
With throngs of people waiting
For a signature or at least a glimpse.
I dream of an adoring public
That falls so hard for my characters,
They become a household name.
All of this and more I dream.
No matter what happens,
I will always have my dreams.
My dreams are not goals,
They are fantasies and as such,
They will never be crushed.
I am a slave to the muse,
A whore for her voice.
I am a man that hears voices.
I argue with myself
And put it on paper.
I am a visionary,
A dreamer,
A fiend for the written word.
I am a writer.



Have a great weekend!

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