Monday, August 27, 2012

Even More Video Memories

Ah, the power of what music can do when added to the right video.

We were watching some old family movies the other night and we came across this scene.

Here is the set up: Our 3rd child, Amy, had a habit of falling asleep anywhere she could. On this night, I saw she had fallen asleep at the top of the stairs. With video camera in hand, I turned on the “night vision” (which is why everything looks green) and recorded my daughters sleeping. When I got to the youngest, well … you’ll see.

Monday, August 20, 2012


English can be a confusing language—not only in spelling, but also in pronunciation.

With my dyslexia, I have tried different methods to help fix the many errors I include in anything I write. One way is to hire a great editor. Another trick I’ve learned is to convert my word document to a .pdf and then use the Adobe Reader program to “Read Out Loud” my words. I catch a lot of mistakes by having the computer read to me—things I can’t see by just looking at the words on paper.

This “Read Out Loud” has been a blessing. Yet, it still has its flaws. The biggest one? It has a hard time with heteronyms.

Heteronyms? What the heck are those? Well, they are words that are spelled the same, but have different meanings and pronunciations.

Not sure what I mean? Take a look at the examples I’ve created below to see if you can figure them out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Coward’s Paradise

“You people just say and do racist things!!! When the BLEEP! comes back at you (supposedly) you whine about being the victims of racism. Pleazzze take yourself and the rest of your whinny, whinny, BLEEP friends to a therapist.”

If someone were to say that to your face, how would you react? I guess a better question would be, how would some of the people you know react? I can think of a few who would get rather miffed to the point of inflicting bodily harm. That’s a nice way of saying, they’d punch the person in the nose.

The quote above is something someone actually said to another person. Just not to their face. Nope. It was a comment someone posted on the internet following a story about the 2012 Presidential race.

But political stories aren’t the only thing that can inspire people to comment. Here is a quote in the comments section on YouTube about Journey’s Escape LP.

“you there william philips 22 you are the BLEEP americans who came over here broke into my and perry`s house and tried to stick your BLEEP heroine addicts and wanted criminals in my band like your BLEEP greg rolie and carlos santans,,, like do you really know what you are talking about in fact saying BLEEP like that will land you in court like i don`t need to hear BLEEP like that from the lost and found box of the inhumane and disgraceful americans especially since you have no land def”

What is this about? Who cares? Frankly, I can’t even tell. With the run-on sentences and complete lack of coherency, the way the person wrote it speaks louder than any point they were trying to make.

Yet, when someone argues with them, instead of logically pointing out their argument, the attacks become more ferocious. But why would anyone feel it’s okay to speak to another human being that way? Let me make a suggestion: because it’s easy.

People who write these types of messages have no fear of retaliation—aside from someone else typing an equally lame post.

As an author, I love the idea that good will win out in the end. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, especially in the face of peer pressure, but it’s worth it.

To borrow an idea from Star Wars, the “dark side” of the force is powerful, but it’s easy and quick to access. The “good side” of the force is harder to master, but it’s more powerful.

I see a parallel to this and people making comments on the internet. It’s like the filter between what their brain is thinking and what they say is turned off. Granted, I’ve known a few people that speak that way regardless if it’s face to face or on the internet.

In the end, anger builds upon anger in these comments. Speaking for myself, I’d much rather be happy than angry.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Sing We Now of Christmas" announced

Yes, the holidays are still a few months away, but I’m delighted to announce a project I’ve been able to participate in.

It’s called Sing We Now of Christmas.

It’s the brainchild of author Michael Young.

Here is a blurb about the book: “Christmas carols capture the spirit of Christmas, and in Sing We Now of Christmas, you will see beloved carols brought to life like never before. With one tale based on a carol every day from the 1st to the 25th, this anthology is really like an advent calendar you can read.

Delve deep into the legend of good King Wenceslas, experience what it is like to hear the bells on Christmas Day, and more in these heartfelt, entertaining tales.

A team of authors from across the country have pooled their talents for this anthology for a good cause.

All of the proceeds from the anthology will be donated to the National Down’s Syndrome Society.”

The story I’m contributing is based on the song I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. It was selected to finish out the anthology, to be read on Christmas day.

I don’t have a release date as of yet, but I’ll announce it as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

You have to have the bad days …

I was once told, “You have to have the bad days to appreciate the good days.”

While that makes sense, it’s often cold comfort when you are having one of those “bad” days. I had one of those bad days recently.

It started innocently enough. I was running through my emails and such. I noticed someone had posted a review on my book The Hidden Sun. And it was the worst review I’ve ever received. You know you’re in trouble when the reviewer uses the word “whilst” in the first few words.

Her biggest two complaints were this: First, I used contractions in the book. She said that’s a “big no-no” in English literature. Wait. What? I’d never heard that before.

I checked with some of my author friends. They hadn’t heard of it either. One author said that at one point in time she had a professor mention that, but it was no longer a rule.

The second thing that bugged her was that the book read like “A TV show or movie script.” Meaning I write in smaller scenes, and use several characters to tell an overall story. Well, you know what? That was intentional. And frankly, it’s one of the things many people have liked about it.

Lastly, and the end of her review, she includes two big “spoilers.” Talk about a no-no!

I know it shouldn’t bother me, mainly because the reviewer was obviously from la-la land, but it did.

Intellectually, I was recognized I was in a bad mood. Yet, I couldn’t seem to shake off the feeling of being upset. I’m experienced enough in life to realize that often time is the only thing that will allow my emotions to settle down.

By dinner time, I was fairly calmed down. My wife had taken my oldest two daughters shopping for school supplies. I had to run some errands with my youngest two daughters. Normally we eat dinner as a family, but on that day, we ate it on the run. My two youngest and I went to KFC.

The girls wanted to try the new chicken bites. So, I bought a 10 piece for them to share. After waiting for about 15 minutes, my order number was called. I went to the front and the employee told me, “We are all out of chicken bites.” She even made a slashing motion across her neck to emphasis her point. “I can give you a couple of pieces of chicken instead.”

My daughters aren’t big fans of chicken on the bone. I looked at the menu board and then at my receipt. They had chicken strips, 3 for $3.99. I had paid $4.49 for 10 bites. I said, “Tell you what, give me 4 strips, and we’ll call it even.”

She shook her head violently. “I’ll only do three.”

Now, keep in mind, I was still coming down from a pretty “bad” day. It would have been easy for me to blow up at her. Instead, I took a deep breath and in a calm voice said, “I paid $4.49 for the bites. You’re offering me something worth $3.99.”

Her response? “But when you add tax, $3.99 gets close to $4.49!”

I was flabbergasted. Still, I kept it together—somehow. “I paid $4.49 before tax. And frankly, you sold me something you didn’t have—and you’ve kept us waiting quite a while. Honestly, you should be doing whatever you can to make it right, not trying to bargain with me.”

At that point, she gave me the stink eye and said she would have to get a manager. I could see the employee go talk to him. She was flapping her arms in disgust and also pointing at me. I didn’t hear what the manager said to her, but he came over and said, “I’m so sorry. Of course you can have 4 strips. Can I get you a free side as well for your trouble?” I declined on the side, but thanked him.

Later that night, I thought about that employee at KFC. Part of me wondered if something hadn’t happened to her earlier in the day to put her in a bad mood. It didn’t excuse her actions, but at least I could relate.