Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

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

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday 55

Welcome to Friday 55. The object of the exercise is to write a story using exactly 55 words. If you participate, be sure to drop a comment at G-Man’s blog so others will know how to find your story.


Clouds roll in, a storm on the hunt. It will not rest until it can release its pent up energy. Shadows spread, chewing up streets, marking its territory as the power builds. Darkness rules, the sun turns away, unable to bear witness. With a mighty roar, it unleashes it’s fury, cleansing the world once more.


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Book Review: Darkness on the Plains: The Beginning

I am conflicted, downright unsure of everything I previously held as gospel. My world is officially topsy-turvy. You see, I read Darkness on the Plains The Beginning by fellow RP author Jayme Malvagio and I really enjoyed it. Why is that so weird? Because it is an Erotic Paranormal novel. I don’t read erotica. Not that I’m a prude or anything, but when I sit down to read, I want to be thrilled, scared, and/or entranced. There is more than enough sex and sensuality in my life, I don’t need to read about it to boot.

Then I read DOPTB. From the first paragraph this book drew me in. It was intense. It was dark. It was full of wild adventures, death, love, beauty and… vampires. And yes, it was full of sex. The funny thing is, that the sex scenes all seemed to be pertinent to the storyline. The vampire is a sensual creature in the most popular of folklores, but this book merged sex and violence in such a skillful way, I didn’t even blush as I read through M/M/F threesome. It may seem like a strange comment, but of all the odd sexual fantasies out there, this one probably repels me the most. James doesn’t share women and he damn sure doesn’t get into rolling around with other naked men.

When I finished reading the entire story, I realized something rather profound, for me anyways: This is a great book that happens to be erotic.

I recommend this book to fans of, Romance, Horror, Thrillers, Suspense, Mysteries, Erotica and well… anyone who enjoys a good fast-paced read.


Blurb

When Native American myth collides with the world of vampires, the fate o the entire tribe could hang in the balance…

A storm brews in the Indian Territory. Nightfall is coming, and something lurks in the darkness that is as beautiful as it is terrifying. There is a new hunter on the plains and his prey is… human.

Reunited with his people, Kanati has the love of the most beautiful woman he ever met, and is leading the life he always dreamed of, but a chance encounter with a charismatic vampire will launch him down a path wrought with peril and suprises. Will Kanati be able to preserve the life he loves?

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekend Recap

Okay, this weekend was as low key as it gets, almost to the point of ridiculous. My wife worked twelve hour days all weekend and my son was grounded. I had no one to play with. So, I decided we should spend Saturday getting a jump on a science project my son has that is due on November 23rd.

He brought home a piece of paper that said “Engineering Project” at the top. I just so happen to know an engineer. My wife, who is a chemist, is usually the self-designated helper with all things science related, but this one clearly fell into my realm.

Friday evening we sat down and discussed the parameters of the project. The gist of which was, build a ping pong ball launcher to launch a ping pong twelve and have it land inside an empty 3lb coffee cup. We put together a Hypothesis and a list of steps needed to carry the launcher from idea to completion.

We developed a rough materials list and though I led him with gentle nudges here and there, he came up with the items needed on his own.

A mousetrap to be the launch mechanism.
A spoon to hold the ball
Duct tape to hold the spoon to the arm of the trap
An angle bracket to keep the trap from closing all the way.
A piece of wire to be able to trigger the trap without having his hands in the way.
A block of wood to stabilize the trap when it is triggered.
Screws and wood glue to hold the trap to the block of wood.
A means to “sight in” the trap for accurate launches into the can.
Paint to decorate it.



Saturday morning, I got up early and worked up a series of parabolic equations to calculate the angle of launch necessary to give the ball the proper trajectory. You see it is not enough that the ball goes twelve feet, but the arc of its path has to be such that it is coming almost straight down when it lands so that when it is used on test day, the height of both tables and the height of the coffee can would not be a factor.

By the time my son was ready to begin construction, I knew what he needed to be done, I just had to figure out how to help him without giving him the answers. It is HIS project after all. You would be surprised (I know I was) at how easy it turned out to be.

I calculated the force exerted by the arm of the trap, the weight of trap and used it to determine the best means of stabilizing the launcher was to attach it to a block of wood. Using a two by four, I determined that we needed about ten inches of the two by four to keep the trap from moving when it was triggered.

I asked my son how big he thought the base should be. He promptly placed a large chunk of wood on our work bench, placed the mousetrap on it and rested the spoon up against the spring. He grabbed a tape measure and looked up at me and said, “We should probably leave an inch up front to put the sights on. He moved the trap back and measured from the end of the wood to the end of the spoon. Guess what… it was just shy of ten inches, so he decided to round up for good measure.

We continued on in this fashion until the entire thing was constructed. My only interference came when I asked if I could set the angle of the restraint used to keep the trap from closing all the way. I set it at “X” angle (I’m not revealing that one in case someone else googles this to do their project).

We prepared to launch and though the trap was vertically stable, it moved from side to side on the table as he tried to pull the trigger. I suggested putting Velcro on the bottom, but my son had a better idea. He grabbed the tip of a broken skateboard deck, used a hacksaw to shorten it to the right length and attached it to the bottom. Worked like a charm.

He was read for his first test launch. We measured out twelve feet, put a coffee cup on one end and the trap at the other. He pulled the trigger and it went right into the center of the coffee can and stayed…

I think he may just get an “A” on this thing and I was shocked at just how little I actually had to help. I wonder if this means my boy is a chip off the ol’ block. I guess time will tell.

So, how was your weekend?

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday 55

Welcome to Friday 55. The object of the exercise is to write a story using exactly 55 words. If you participate, be sure to drop a comment at G-Man’s blog so others will know how to find your story.




Economy sucks. Jobs are scarce. So why did I quit mine? Timing plays a key. If not now, then when? If not me, then… well, someone else will get all the money for my blood, sweat and tears. Unfortunately, now I have a real asshole for a boss and I have only myself to blame…

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Movie Review: Zombieland

We are defiantly getting into the spirit of the season. My family and I made a rare visit to the theaters and watched Zombieland. We laughed ourselves silly. Even my wife who is in no way a fan of the zombie really enjoyed this movie. It was a wonderful escape from reality, full of twists and turns, plots and subplots and the underlying message that no matter how bad the world gets, there is always time to laugh. Though, I must say it has an excellent example of product placement. Despite the gore and carnage that accompanied the guffaws, I did indeed go out and buy a Twinkie in honor of the Tallahassee. I will definitely own this movie when it comes out on DVD.




Synopsis


In the horror comedy Zombieland focuses on two men who have found a way to survive a world overrun by zombies. Columbus is a big wuss -- but when you're afraid of being eaten by zombies, fear can keep you alive. Tallahassee is an AK-toting, zombie-slaying' bad ass whose single determination is to get the last Twinkie on earth. As they join forces with Wichita and Little Rock, who have also found unique ways to survive the zombie mayhem, they will have to determine which is worse: relying on each other or succumbing to the zombies.




Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars






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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Book Review: Peacemaker

Some of you may remember my reveiew of Unholy Domain by Dan Ronco. I’ve since had an opportunity to read the prequel to this fine tome. Peacemaker is another fast paced techno-thriller detailing the epic struggle between good and evil, though things aren’t really so black and white. In a world ruled by technology, he who has the ability to stop the flow of data has the power to bring down the entire house of cards. With gritty real world lingo and believable characters, Mr. Ronco gives us a glimpse into the not so distant future and his vision is as frightening as it is vivid. The story will suck you in and refuse to let you go until you’ve turned the last page. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.



Blurb
Software expert Ray Brown is plunged into a life-or-death contest with PeaceMaker, a deadly artificial intelligence that has infected most of the world's computing devices. His determination to eliminate PeaceMaker leads him into a dangerous conflict with the Domain, a clandestine organization dedicated to a new world order.Humiliated by the federal government in an anti-trust trial that has torn apart her software company, CEO Dianne Morgan is obsessed with a plan to unleash PeaceMaker and shut down computer systems across the world. She is determined to crush the global economy unless the nations of the world agree to share power with the Domain. Although Dianne and Ray have never resolved a long simmering passion, she must hunt him down before he terminates PeaceMaker. As the Domain hunts Ray, Dianne learns of a mysterious third force that has discovered PeaceMaker and plans to attack the Domain. Dianne, Ray and this third force struggle for control, but PeaceMaker has its own plans.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Recap

We had a fairly laidback weekend. It was nice to unwind after a stressful first week as a new business owner. I tried to pack two weeks of activities into about four days and several speed bumps along the way, but to avoid getting all wound up first thing this morning, I am skipping over those details and moving straight on to the weekend activities.

Friday, I met with a group of friends for lunch. This particular group meets every Friday, but I hadn’t been able to attend for nearly a month due to various activities I needed to wrap up before leaving my old company. Most of the hour was spent catching up on all of the latest gossip news that came up during my absence. Needless to say, the laughs were in abundance and I had a little extra spring in my step by the time it was over.

That evening my wife and I met with more friends for dinner and we followed it up with series of card games and memorable moments. A good time was had by all.

We originally planned to spend Saturday on the lake, but it has been unseasonably cold in my area and that day was no exception. Instead we opted to hole up in the living room and watch the entire third season of Dexter.

Sunday my wife had to work (long story) and my son was still visiting his biological mother for the weekend, so I hung out by myself. I wrote a bit, watched football and just generally recouped and prepared for the week to come.

In my humble opinion, there are far worse ways to spend some much needed time off.

So, how was your weekend?

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Crazy Like a Fox

I quit my day job… It seems like a bit of insanity in our current economic climate, but I put in my two weeks notice and that two weeks will be up this Friday. What could be crazier than that? I’ve also decided to start my own business in this same crappy economy.

I’ve done a lot of research and to be honest a lot of soul searching as well over the last several months. The result is that I feel like I am at a point in my life where starting my own business just makes sense. I’ve been working as an engineering consultant and an integrator for the last three years, but I’ve been working in my industry for closer to a dozen years. In that time I’ve formed some fantastic working relationships and have built something of a name for myself in my area of expertise.

I will miss having the umbrella of the EPC firm I’ve been working for to shield me during the slow times, but to be honest the slow times have been few and far between while I worked for them. Having said that, I don’t foresee a lot of slow times for my new business either. When I turned in my two weeks notice, my boss advised me of some projects coming up next month and wanted to know if I would be available to help with them on a contract basis. My point is, don’t worry about me, this move isn’t as crazy as it seems.

As of Monday October 13th, I will be launching Orion Industrial Services, LLC. It is an exciting time and yes, to be honest a bit scary as well. Please keep your fingers crossed for the success of my new business.

I spent the better part of last week on the road. I had an emergency trip down to Belle Chasse, Louisiana which required copious amounts of time while I was there. I actually clocked in one 18 hour day during the mix and none were less than 13 hours. By the time I returned home, I was quite beat, so we didn’t do much at all over the weekend.

Most of the weekend was spent lounging and watching football. This, my final week with my current company, is shaping up to be a humdinger as well. I have lots of loose ends to tie up and a few new ones to create.

So, how was your weekend?

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