Tuesday, January 31, 2006

fading to hack

My mind is going, I can feel it . . .

This whole blogging thing is really starting to take its toll on my depleting neurons. Call it a slump, call it a block, call it what you will.

Still I will try to continue for the nonce and see what transpires.

Ever ski in slush? I did yesterday with eight little ones in tow. No, not Santa’s reindeer, but eight grade one students learning to ski. My back is not in pain today because the little ones are really starting to get the hang of it. They were even getting themselves up after they fell down.

It was a lot of fun again. I really like helping out. They are so young and innocent and sweet. Now if only they could retain those qualities later in life. Like me . . .

Okay, I heard you choking on breakfast.

This weekend is “the big game”. No, not the Superbowl (Is it this weekend? I don’t know for sure or care for that matter), but the game of Twilight Imperium 3 that is planned at a friend’s house this Saturday. Should be a fun time contesting wills and exchanging salvos of deadly weapons until only one Galactic leader rises from the ashes to lead the Imperium into a new age . . .

Trying to think of something else to write is very hard work.

But the cupboard appears empty at the moment.

I’m staring at my cinnamon raison bagel.

It’s staring back with its raison eyes.

It needs eating.

So, until tomorrow when you will get another thrilling post from me, I’ll be off to consume some carbs.

Monday, January 30, 2006

slippin

Boy, am I out of practice.

Posting I mean.

Two days go by and “poof” I’ve lost it. Well, not really, but it seems like it.

But my weekends now are almost internet free. Oh I check my emails and a few of my fav sites, but aside from that it is work time (the new writing job) and family.

So, what to say today? Let’s see. We have a probe heading for Pluto. That’s pretty cool. It’s now the “Year of the Dog” - woof woof.

Struggling to come up with content here, content that won’t leave you, the reader, scrambling to leave.

Don’t know why I’m in such a state today. It must be the “weather” –

Oh, my god! I almost resorted to posting about the weather.

This must end now!

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Or day after.

Or so.

Or.

Not sure whether to yell, “medic” or “coffee”.

Maybe both.

Friday, January 27, 2006

sweet seventeen, no fantastic

March 25th, 1988 would change my life forever. And it would change it for the good – no for the fantastic.

You see, that was the day I met my wife.

Now you may not believe in love at first sight, but this was close. And it wasn’t just because of her physical beauty but a great deal more. I had seldom encountered such a happy, free spirited woman, and me being the bitter young man, was shocked and stunned and elated and ultimately transformed.

Dates occurred, funny phone calls, dinner parties, chats with my best friends and roommates about her. That Christmas I remember telling my parents that I had met a girl and we were planning to get married. They were shocked, curious, probing and invasive.

I did what all good sons do – told them next to nothing.

We were married in a civil ceremony shortly after that Christmas after canceling the grand church wedding plans. And we were so much in love. It was the best feeling in the whole world.

The first few years we traveled, went out, spent long hours on the couch just basking in each other’s presence.

The early years were mostly a blissful blur. My friends thought I had left the country. I suppose in a way I actually did.

I can’t properly describe my feelings for my wife after all this time. It is so much more beyond mere love, it is sharing a soul with someone you admire and respect but occasionally quarrel with too. But it’s all good – no fantastic. And I would not change one little thing.

I don’t always tell her how I feel about her. But I’ll say it here for the whole world to read.

I love her with all my heart. I can’t imagine a world in which she does not exist, is not an integral part of my life. She has taught me so much, opened my eyes to wonders, and made me feel alive.

And yes, this probably sounds corny, but I hope you read into this my utter sincerity.

Ten years into our marriage the second most wonderful occurrence in my life happened – we had our daughter. And the relationship between my wife and I has grown deeper and stronger since. Mere words do not suffice to convey the joy of a child.

Throughout the years we have faced some very tough times, some losses too painful for me to write about, even now after years have gone by. But the years have also been filled with some of the most fun and exciting times I could ever have imagined. And through it all we were together.

And compared to her giving nature, her warmth and kind heart I have encountered no equal. If I were given a chance to go back and change anything in my life, a chance to do it all again, I would not change one moment with my wife.

Picture if you will, Jimmy Stewart reunited again with his family in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, and you catch a glimpse of the joy our union has given me.

Seventeen years have gone by since we exchanged vows.

Seventeen wonderful, crazy years.

I am one of the luckiest men on earth.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Venus plus

What a sight before me this morning on my trek to the day job.

I saw Venus in all her splendor. No, not the one on the clam shell with Monty Python music as accompaniment, but the actual planet in our solar system by that name.

It was like a jewel in the heavens. Well, actually it was shining more like a bright motorcycle light coming at you from about one mile away on a long straight Manitoba highway at night.

And to its right the sickle moon was also particularly effulgent too. Too bad I had to concentrate so much on driving. I would have liked to stop and take a longer look at our celestial neighbors, but alas I had to get into the slave pits. Must not keep the masters waiting.

Anyhow, the brilliant display stemmed from the fact that the air this morning was really cold and not a drop of water vapor was impeding my view.

It was spectacular. I hope you had a chance to see it.

And hey, to any Aussies that happen by this place today – Happy Australia Day!

Throw some shrimps on Barbie, crack a Fosters, that’s not a knife, kangaroos and bushmen and Christmas in bikinis, so g’day to ya, mates . . .

I’ll bet every Aussie cringes at that skewed, retarded North American view of their culture and people. I do, and I’ve never even been there. The closest I’ve gotten see Australian culture is watching The Wiggles . . .

. . . shudder . . .

Still, Farscape more than makes up for that abomination. To me, The Wiggles make the Teletubbies look like a sophisticated drama, bunnies and all. "Oh, oh!"

Okay, on to something else.

I’ve suddenly found myself with nothing much to yammer about, except (gotta love except, it’s a more polite version of but), last night I had a fantastic call with my co-task master. You see, every week on Wednesday night, I have a conference call with my friend and we discuss our week in progress towards our long term goals.

Well last night we both had pretty positive reviews and the vibes were upbeat. Of course we spiraled off into other general chatter once our business was concluded. And that was the best part for me.

I learned a whole lot of behind the scenes information (which I’m afraid I can not share) about my favorite actress and others. Very interesting indeed. The “biz” in Hollywood is a very unique animal it seems, and I love getting an inside glimpse of how it operates.

And despite this part of our discussions having nothing much to do with our long term goals, it was positive because we were discussing success stories against the odds in a very cut-throat business. I was left feeling great, and it has carried over to today as well.

And my wife and I the day before also had a great heart to heart about the future and other topics too so; end result is I’m feeling invigorated and ready to tackle the universe . . .

Well, let me just start with Venus. But after that - the universe.

My heartfelt gratitude to my wife and my co-taskmaster for boosting my morale which has been less than "up" the last few weeks.

And one last positive - I saw no cats this morning – so the world must have heeded my “keep-them-indoors” warning from yesterday.

Thanks world.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

rubber vs. bone

I was once again brought face to face (actually rubber to fur) with mortality again this morning on my drive in to work (the day job).

Just as I drove into the city proper, a cat darted out from a side street and an SUV, coming the other way, promptly crunched it under its huge winter tires.

Sorry about that.

Just can’t shake the image of the moment. Black and white cat (and no, it was not a skunk). I do wish people in cities would realize that letting your cat run wild all night can lead to a very untimely death.

Just saying.

Okay, now that that grizzly little detail in my mind has been shared, on to this week’s pile of work accomplishments.

The script – continues to progress. One scene re-written and two more new ones added for a total of 29 scenes spanning 22 pages so far. And this is great pacing-wise (well, length-wise) since a romantic comedy script should come in around 90 pages in length.

And movie scripts generally films at about 1 minute per page. I am exactly 25 % complete on my creation, so four times what I have now will be 88 pages when it is finished in first draft. Damn close enough to make me smile at the progress so far.

Now, on to the work-for-cash front.

Still waiting on the one query I sent out. Wait is the writer's middle name. If you don't have infinite patience, then this game is not for you.

This weekend found me digging, once again, through hundreds of markets looking for a home for my three book ideas. I have finished the research on two of the four and found 13 markets to market one idea to, and 14 to market anther to. So far the search for the third book idea is yielding way more markets than the first two with 16 so far and, in my estimation, about 30 more to go.

And you are probably dying to know what these million dollar book ideas are, aren’t you? Well, sorry to get all anal on you, but I’m keeping that information to myself because I want the ideas to be fresh when it hits book publishers. So this will be my three little secrets until they are in print (wishful thinking – hey it works!) Once they are bought I will be more than willing to share the details, and ISBN.

After that I will be searching through the paying magazines listings and plying my craft to that end.

You see, I do have an end in sight.

It’s November 1, 2007. Scares the begeezes out of me, but I am thinking, with a little hard work and good planning, that goal is not so out-to-lunch.

At least is seems so now with it being 20 months in the future.

That’s it for this week.

And please, keep your cats indoors at night.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Einey Mine-orit-y mo

Well, just call me the Amazing Kreskin and be done with it.

Yes, the election panned out exactly as I predicted in yesterday’s post. Minority Conservatives. Which means nothing will get done, any promises they made are moot, and once again our country will bumble along in political hell - until the next time.

At least the head swine is out of office. That mission, at least, was a success. And no, I didn’t help bring about a minority Conservative government. The “Reform Party” platform still leaves too much of a bad taste in my mouth.

At least another 5 percent of the population got off their sorry asses and voted vs. the last election, bringing the apathy total down to 35 % from 40 %.

That gets a big “Whuup” from me. I find it interesting that if those too-lazy-to-vote people actually went and voted, they could have easily determined which party got in.

But then again, they probably wouldn’t care a rat’s ass anyhow.

Enough of that political crap.

Had another great day skiing with the little ones, though one little girl (the smallest in our group) fell down, her legs in a messy tangle, and may have pulled a muscle. I hope she is okay. I really hate to see little kids get hurt and cry. She was up and about by the end of the two hours though, so I’m hopeful.

And after the last run of helping kids ski down the hill (which amounts to holding them up and skiing for them), my legs were feeling like jelly and my body was starting to shut down. I was actually thinking “I can’t help these kids go down one more run” and thankfully their time was up. I had a hard enough time getting to my car to take my ski boots off.

Middle age - not what it’s cracked up to be.

Well here ends another rambling piece of belly-button fluff. Update on the writer’s life tomorrow unless,

Somebody wants to hear about the time me and a friend (seems like that is not grammatically correct . . .) got piss drunk and took my mother’s car out for a spin back in high school – which ended in a bad way?

No takers?

Okay – ending the pain now.

Monday, January 23, 2006

15 seconds of flame

Well imagine my surprise when I was listening to Wil Wheaton’s “Radio Free Burrito #4” only to discover that I, or my poorly voice acted plug for this very blog, appeared as his first and only break.

If you don’t know what Wil’s podcast is like you could check it out. Anyhow, I was excited to be on it, the only other voice besides Wil.

Call it the Paul Darcy - Wil Wheaton extravaganza if you will. Yah right.

And you can just cut to my plug by going to the six minute mark and I’ll be there flogging this piece of cyber-space. You don’t need to listen to anymore of the show since that was the highlight . . .

Oh, and it has been pointed out to me that Wil used my plug because I mentioned I was from Canada and he needed to mock us. So, 15 seconds of fame was more like flame.

But I can take it. And no, it did not increase traffic to this blog. In fact my traffic all but died.

Mocked by Wil.

Death to a blogger’s dream.

Thanks Wil.

Or maybe the traffic is dying here because, like eight month old bread, this site is getting pretty stale. I will need to use some of my grey matter to think up something more exciting to keep casual visitors returning and returning visitors, um, returning.

I know. Get over it.

Today we go and cast our votes here in jolly Canada to elect a federal government. I don’t usually get into government discussions and will only say that I can’t, with any good conscience, vote for the Liberals.

And did you know, or care, that only about 60 % of Canadians bother to vote at all. That is damn pathetic. That means two out of every five eligible voters is too goddamn lazy to make a determination about who governs them.

Now I may not profess to know all the issues and hence make the most informed vote in Canada, but come on – 60 % turnout, that is a bloody travesty.

Apathy. Our national pastime I guess.

And today is once again “ski with the kids” day, and after suffering for a few days with a stomach virus (I win you replicating, enervating leech!) I am up to it and looking forward to it again.

Also stuffed my MP3 player with all my Orbital albums and am currently jamming to them.

Think I’ll crank it up and get lost in electronic harmonics.

15 seconds of flame.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Musings: Origin of me-cies

Some people ask me where I get my ideas and why I’m not like everybody else.

It could be that I’m a INTJ, and according to the studies constitutes only 2.9% of the population, the second smallest group of individuals around. It’s not short form for Integer, though I am good, or used to be, at math. I did manage to bluff my way through an Engineering Degree after all, even though I never, ever cared about it.

I was assured it was a means to a great stable income - and to some degree that has been true. But it has also been the means to a great, stable, dull, and meaningless job that I never, ever cared about

I’ve always been pretty good at getting done whatever people expected me to get done, at work or at home. It’s been a long journey of "doing" because I’m supposed to. I guess I had enough intelligence to get by, even when I didn’t care.

Bt these are merely by-products, not formatives. For formatives we must delve into the dark recesses of my childhood mind and pry loose the stones there and take a peek underneath. Messy work even with rubber gloves and a respirator.

- lifts up large, stuck rock and looks beneath -

I spent a great deal of my childhood glued to the television. Maybe this was a product of the age when large, wood-cabinet, , vacuum tube, color TVs (We had a 32 inch) were the rage and it was the thing to do as a family. My mother always had the TV on, even when nobody was in the living room. I guess "living" meant watching TV.

I watched everything from Romper Room, to Sesame Street, H.R.Pufnstuf, to Captain Kangaroo with eager anticipation. During Christmas, when the specials came out, I was overjoyed - it was pure magic. Frosty lived again, Rudolph saved the day, Charlie picked the perfect Christmas tree, and the Grinch found the true meaning of Christmas. And we all know Bumbles bounce!

Then came British humor into my life. I particularly recall sitting with my supper, mostly ignored, on a TV tray watching "The Goodies". My juvenile mind was the perfect age to gag on my food while laughing at their crazy antics.

Later in life I watched Black Adder and Fawlty Towers, two absolute powerhouses of mirth. I still re-watch them today. I can’t actually think of two better written comedies - for me that is.

And during my mid schooling years I watched countless hours of Charlie’s Angels, Kojak, Murder She Wrote, The Night Stalker, Bewitched, All In The Family, The Avengers, Gilligan’s Island, Columbo, Barnaby Jones, Hart to Hart, and I could go on and on and on - and on, but I"ll stop. You get the picture. (sorry for the pun.)

And, of course, there were the Science Fiction shows like Land of the Lost, Buck Rogers, Star Trek, and Space 1999 to round out my significant viewing hours.

Another little secret about my mind - I never read a book until grade 12. Well, that’s not entirely true, I do think I read a couple of horror ones like "The Prophecy" and "Nightwing", but mostly I was into sports and TV. Books to be read for English class consisted of Coles notes or talking with those who had read the book right before the exams.

No, during those formative years, it was always TV. It wasn’t until after grade 13 that I went on a reading frenzy, consuming as many Fantasy and Science Fiction and horror books as I could get my hands on.

So, is it really surprising that now, later in life, I love quality TV shows like BTVS, Firefly, X-Files, Battlestar Galactica, and on and on? I don’t have cable or satellite, but found that DVDs have rekindled that love of TV that was nurtured in my young soul.

It fits now that as I think to the future my mind wanders towards scripts, creating quality moments others can watch on TV. How cool would it be to have somebody watch an episode of a show that you wrote - even quoting some of your best material?

I wish I had listened to my mind all those many years ago, stuck to what I felt I should do instead of what others convinced me I should do. But the Catch 22 is just this - if I had I may not be on the path I am now. Live is a process of changes and options and it is never too late. TV is an undeniable part of my make-up. So I stand on the shore and look to the waves.

New TV shows arrive in the harbor every year.

One year I hope to be a part of one.

- places rock back down -

Thursday, January 19, 2006

mind and body

I’m in one of those moods today. Not quite sure if it’s euphoria or delusion or excessive endorphin production, but after last night’s pep call I feel invigorated.

By “pep call” I mean that every Wednesday night I have a scheduled phone call with a unique friend and we discuss our ongoing projects. He is working on growing his internet business, and I’m working at my writing projects and we help each other along the bumpy, foggy road to executing our dreams. Last night’s call fired me up for some reason more than others.

My mind awoke fresher this morning and my vision of writing freedom seemed a little bit closer. Four hours a day, I tell myself, four hours a day. My god how good that sounds. I really enjoy these calls and would suggest, if it is possible and you are trying to achieve a tough goal or dream, you try to set one up for yourself. Not always easy to do as I think you need to click with the right person on the other end of the line for it to be helpful. I do hope he (my pep call contact) is being nudged along by me a little and finds the calls useful as well – even if sometimes all we do is have a mutual excuse session.

So anyhow, like I was saying, my mind seems to be in a pretty good space today. Now, if I could only say that of the shell which houses it.

My body is showing its age. Now this is not meant as a gripe session but only as an acknowledgement that my body is older than I would like and I sometimes forget it. It still functions adequately for most daily chores, but when I stress it now (like skiing and skating) – I’m afraid I have to pay the price. I went skating last night even though the aches and pains of skiing Monday were warning me not to try anything funny.

I did okay (no falling down or pulling anything that I know of), but though my mind is healthy my body hurts today. Actually walking to my desk this morning I had a pain down my back, a nerve twitching, trying to send signals of “please lie down now and don’t get up”, but I had to press on, get to my seat and create this post or you would have nothing to read this morning . . .

I am so good at deluding myself. And you are so kind to humor me for it.

I could ramble on for a few more paragraphs, but I think I’ll stop right now. Try not to make this a season 8 and 9 of the X-files.

Enough is enough.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more. And hey, it may even be interesting, but I don’t want to promise then disappoint.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

and so it continues

Ah, the weekly writer's life update – and I do have and update to report on this week. Yeah for me!

I’ve managed to get through a fair chunk of the Writer’s Market, though I still have some more to wade through with regards to my three book ideas.

But let me begin at the beginning. When the Writer’s Market first arrived and I had a quick look through it I became discouraged. It seemed as though so many of the markets were extremely specific. Things like “red potato journal” or “horse hoof magazine” (okay I made those up but should give you the general idea of the specifics) had me thinking on those specific topics and realizing I knew nothing about them.

A few days later I was at it again, but this time I had a plan. A cunning plan . . . you know the rest. So, with three specific book ideas in mind I tackled the huge Writer’s Market again and found that, for one of my book ideas, there was fourteen markets. On another book idea I’m up to six already, and just starting the search on a third, I found two.

It doesn’t sound like much, but all you need is one to nibble and off you go. So I am no longer discouraged but now encouraged. But, I can’t fool myself, this is no cake walk, and do I have a whole heap of work ahead of me. Still, in the long run (and this will be long I am sure) I will have the career I deserve and the lifestyle I crave.

And I know in the back of your mind sits the question – what about the script?

Well, good news this week as I completed three new scenes. I know, I’m supposed to do four, but I’ll get to that. All was going well until last night. You see, I was supposed to crank out a new scene, number four since last week, when I found myself re-reading the scene I had written the night before.

Long story short, the scene from the night before had spelling mistakes (things like using the word know instead of now). I must have been really wiped from the ski volunteering. Anyhow, I rewrote and embellished the scene and was very happy with the results - much better than the original.

And I know, I’m not going to spend my time rewriting ever first draft scene yet, but I couldn’t help myself – it needed doing.

Oh, and the one query I sent out two weeks ago - is still unanswerd. But I know these things can take anywhere from one day to six months. Much of a writer's life is spent waiting - I kid you not.

And one more little tidbit - I’m not going to do any writing (except a blog post) on Fridays. I mean, a poor soul like me needs one day to totally abandon the grind, recharge the batteries, quaff a couple of dark ales and kick back. Let’s call it my reward for a good solid week of work . . .

So, until next week’s update, I continue my snail’s journey across the Sahara in search of an Oasis.

Geez, that wasn’t a hopeful image, now was it?

I’ll try to think of a more appropriate one next week.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

but they don’t fall down

Yah, that is not me in the picture. But I felt like that inside yesterday. First time on a ski hill in over twenty years. What a rush – again.

Well, just the fact that this post has appeared today should tell you that I’m not in the hospital.

In fact I suffered no broken bones, dislocated joints or even a pulled muscle. And I thought I was getting old. Must revise my self-image to “younger and more virile” than I had thought. I may be at the top of the hill, but I have yet to make the descent.

Anyhow, I had a great time yesterday skiing with the grade ones. We had eight kids in our group, including my daughter, and not one of them had ever been on skis before. And, I’m happy to report, each and every one did a fantastic job. Kids are naturally athletic I think, or fearless, or young, or receptive, or something.

Our instructor (born after I stopped skiing I might add) was primarily a snowboard instructor, but he could ski and handled the two hour lesson well. The first hour was all about how to move around on your skis, keep your balance and do the snowplow – a good thing to know once you are heading down a fairly steep slope with trees at the bottom.

The kids were wonderful. It is so much fun to watch how fearless and eager young ones can be. They don’t think about having a crash, hurting themselves or colliding with others. That is what we parental guardians are for. There was myself and one other (a nice lady, same age as me roughly) and let me tell you it was pretty hard work. Even that young whipper-snapper instructor was working up a sweat.

The hard work came in two forms; Picking kids up during the first hour if they got their skis tangled and helping them ski one of the long sloping runs all the way to the bottom.

After the first hour all the little characters (yes characters) got their ski legs on and it was time to try the “big” long hill. This is where the really hard work came. You see, one of the better ways to get the little ones to learn how to snowplow and not go down the hill full speed and out of control, is to stand in front of them and do a reverse snowplow while holding onto the kid in front of you.

So what this means is you face backwards down the hill with your skis splayed outward while instructing the little one to do the opposite – face down the hill towards you and do the frontward snowplow. Got all that visually in your head? Well, if not, suffice it to say it is hard work stopping fifty pounds of kid from pushing you down while holding onto them (actually holding them up in most cases) and trying to get them to snowplow.

As strenuous as it was, it was great fun and the kids loved it. But that was not the best part for them. No, and I used this as incentive, the best part was at the bottom of the run; the lift back up to the top.

Now this lift was unique and I must say I had never heard of such a thing on a ski hill before (but my data is way out of date). I was used to t-bars or tow-ropes or chairs. But this lift was called “the magic carpet” and that’s pretty much what it was. It was the same kind of device you find at large airports. A wide black rubber carpet which you stand on while wearing your skis and it “magically” takes you up to the top of the hill.

Yes, even I had fun on it. It was pretty cool. The kids, tired as they were, really got a kick out of it. My daughter even explained to my wife all about it and was definitely one of the highlights of the excursion.

A fun time was had by all and that, as I mentioned yesterday, was the real purpose. I survived (even though my body is sending me occasional what-the-hell-did-you-do-to-me messages this morning) and actually managed to carve a few good turns and not fall down once.

I guess, as the other parent guardian mentioned, it is like riding a bike. Once you learn you don’t really forget.

Now I look forward to next week when I’ll see those smiling, happy faces again and watch them learn and play some more. I’m very glad I volunteered.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to find my pain killers and do a few stretches.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Weebles wobble

Today is the big day.

I’ll be on the bunny hill corralling and helping (at least I hope so) ten or so grade one first time skiers. And let me tell you – I feel like a grade one first time skier too.

It’s been over twenty years since I hit the slopes. Long before snow boards were even thought of.

I used to be good at it too. So good I was a ski patrol. I hope I don’t need one of those today.

So, I tried on my boots yesterday. I had to vacuum them out because the dust was piled high inside them. Yah, I couldn’t believe it either. It’s interesting to see how much dust can actually pile up inside a ski boot over twenty years.

At least there was nothing living in it. For that I was thankful. I even tried on my skies. I was afraid I would pull them out of the bag to find them rusted and rotted beyond use. But again, I was mildly surprised. There was a slight bit of rust (easily removed) on one ski edge, but otherwise they were completely functional.

At least the bindings worked on the carpet in my basement. But standing on a carpet in one’s basement is not the same as standing on a ski hill after twenty plus years have gone by.

What’s funny is I’m supposed to be helping little ones learn how to ski. Sitting at my desk writing, I can’t actually recall how to do that myself.

But that’s not the point. The point is to be positive, set a good example and have fun. I’m hoping to achieve this today and will give a full report tomorrow – but let’s hope it’s not from the hospital . . .

And you can wish me luck is you like – just please, no “break a leg” comments.

I’m nervous enough about it already.

Twenty plus years.

Oye.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

frightened feces-free

Nothing to it really.

Writing I mean. Real writing for real money. I’ve spent a good three hours (as apposed to a wasted three, or a sick three or a Jackson three . . .) researching markets to slog my incredible (though secretive, cause I don’t want them stolen) ideas for books.

Nothing to it really.

Poring over the Writer’s Market in search of a home for my innermost ideas and humor to find concrete recycled paper to reside on. And, scoop some coin in the process providing a much needed glimpse of the world as I see it to those who need it.

Nothing to it really.

But, now for the exciting up-down side to it. I’m beginning to realize that I can do this thing. I can achieve my goal of a four hour work day with no commute. And it scares the living (insert a four letter word here, like ship or bile) out of me.

Why?

That’s a very good question. I wish I knew the whole answer, but I don’t. I have an idea about the cause of this feeling of euphoric dread. Success. When you begin down a path leading to your dreams there is nothing more exciting and nothing more frightening I can think of on this Earth.

Because if you succeed you’ve got it made. You are achieving what your inner self has been telling you your whole life. And if you fail, fall on your face, crash to the Earth in flames, it hurts worse than red hot prongs to your private parts. (Not literally, but psychologically speaking.) But you know, deep down, that is not going to happen.

Nothing to it really.

I do need to return now to my path and continue my work. I just wanted to drop in here quickly and voice my inner enthusiastic turmoil. I feel that the future is not as dark as our politicians and news media make it out to be.

I can do this thing, and I can do it well.

Nothing to it really.

Friday, January 13, 2006

discombobulating theoretical factoids

Last night I’m pretty sure that I was abducted by aliens. There was a flash of bright light, and then I experienced a feeling of helplessness. I floated through my closed bedroom window, was taken aboard a flying saucer, then placed on a metal gurney, probed and scanned by thin gray-skinned aliens and had my nasal cavity implanted with a tracking device . . .

I may have dreamed it though.

But you know what, about 40 % of Americans will believe me, even if I tell them it’s not true. And now, since I put it in writing, the percentage ups to around 60 %, because, as you know, if it’s in print – it must be the truth.

I love this kind of discombobulating circumlocution discourse.

And I have a theory now, one I’m sure is true though I don’t have concrete proof because the government conceals the truth and kills anybody who has tangible evidence. And dead people don’t write blogs . . . yet (but that’s another technology the government is covering up . . .)

Anyhow, we have finally reached a point in our technology where we can successfully reverse engineer alien saucer drive technology. And let me tell you what that means.

It means we are soon (within ten years) going to be able to travel to the farthest stars in a matter of months – just like the aliens travel to Earth now. It’s called the hyper-dimension drive, and the US government will be testing it within five years. That’s the official news leak we are seeing now (look it up if you doubt me), getting us ready for its introduction.

It’s a gravity drive allowing a ship equipped with such a drive to jump into another dimension where the speed of light is faster than here. So, once in this other dimension we can speed along faster than our dimension’s speed of light, then pop out again farther away, like light years away in only months.

Cool, eh? And it all makes logical sense, doesn’t it. Why can flying saucers do such crazy aerial tricks? Why, it’s because they have gravity drives. The gravity inside the saucer never changes so there are no g forces on the drivers even though the craft is pulling several of them.

And why do UFO’s suddenly disappear. It’s obvious now, isn’t it? They engage the drive and jump into another dimension where we can’t detect them. See – it is so simple.

JFK knew what was up with the aliens and was going to go public . . .

But he was “taken care of”. Did you know the JFK video was significantly altered? Yah, the government redid the video to make it look like a gunshot from behind when in fact he was dodging as many as ten shots. Oh, and 179 people who witnessed the event were systematically popped off so they could not give eye witness reports of what really happened.

And on and on and on.

Now let’s take a look at abductions statsitics. If you believe the leaks, the US government has an agreement with the aliens to take people for testing when they like, but only so many. This agreement was supposed to have happened in 1952, and we are told about 20% of all Americans have been abducted.

Let’s do some math and see what that means. 20% of Americans will result in about 60,000,000 abducties in the past 50 years. Which works out to 1.2 million abductions a year. That’s 3,288 abductions per day. Now if one alien craft is abucting one person a night then there must be at least 3,288 of them buzzing around sucking US citizens through closed windows in their sleep.

But, let’s say one craft can suck out, probe, implant and return four people in a night (busy schedule, but they are grey clone workers anyhow and don’t need to sleep, eat or anything else) That’s still 822 craft buzzing the US sucking people out of windows - every - single - night.

And these numbers are just for the US alone. What about the other countries? The number of alien craft multiplies a great deal if we include them. There must be thousands buzzing the Earth every single minute.

It just boggles the mind doesn’t it? And have you ever personally seen one? I mean, every night they are out there sucking people out of closed windows by the hundreds. And they must mix it up, because how could they do one town without getting noticed?

All this time and no super-clear high resolution picture of any of the thousands of alien craft? Oh, I almost forgot, anything like that is immediately squashed by the “men in black” so would not surface . . .

Have I convinced you yet? And what if I told you that I’m giving you this information because it is true and meant to make you skeptical. You don’t know what to believe now, do you? Lies wrapped in truths wrapped in factual fantasy.

Are you part of the 60%, or part of the 40%?

Oh, and it doesn’t matter if you lock the window, use automatic perimeter lights and wear a tinfoil hat.

It doesn’t matter one little bit.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

tagged like some migrating goose

WTF?

I’ve been tagged to complete a survey or something by Joe. I’m sorta lost here, but will fill out the answers to the questions anyhow.

Don’t know why I’m doing this. Isn’t this kinda like spam, door to door solicitors or phone surveys during dinner time?

Well, here goes nothing. “Gollum…”



What was your earliest film-related memory?

Watching “Godzilla vs. Bambi” in our small town threatre between feature films. Somehting like that would never be allowed today – would it?

Name two favorite lines from movies:

- From “The Pink Panther Strikes Again

Does your dog bite?"...

"No."...

(snarl, snap)

"I thought you said your dog did not bite."...

"That is not my dog."

- From “Dirty Harry

“I know what you’re thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow you head clean off, you’ve go to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?”

Three Jobs You’d Do if You Could Not Work In “The Biz”:

Wrinkle Chaser

Chick Sexer

Laughter Therapist

(Feel free to rearrange any of the first and last words here)

Name four jobs you have actually held outside The Industry.

Small Grocer Store Clerk (before my high school growth spurt)

Roofing Tile Factory Worker (ie: slave labor)

Particle Board Plant Board Catcher (ie: slave labor)

Stock Clerk At Hydro (so that’s why we pay so much for electricity.)

Three book authors I like:

Roger Zelazny

Larry Niven

PiersAnthony

Name two movies you would like to remake or properties you’d like to adapt:

Xtro

Alien Hybrids Among Us – The Michael Jackson Story

Name one screenwriter you think is underrated:

I can’t name one screenwriter which suggests to me they are all underrated. Oh, wait. Joss Whedon. Is he underrated?

Three people I’m tagging to answer this meme next:

Ain’t gonna happen.

Ain’t gonna happen.

Aint’ gonna happen.

This may be the "meme" decade, but I don’t believe in torturing people with these types of things.

grinding gears

Each new day is the first day of the rest of your life. We’ve all heard it. We’ve all dismissed it. We are too busy. We can’t change our ways now, can we?

But do you really want to carry on like before, or do you want a change, an upgrade, a testing of your potential a stretching of your ability muscles? You can start all over again, begin anew, dare to dream and fulfill those dreams. It can be a new beginning, right now, this very day. If you want it to be. Want being the key word here.

But shifting the gears of your lifelong paradigm constitutes some grinding, missed shifts, and accidents and most people are not going to put themselves through that kind of stress voluntarily. I have a stable life, it’s not great, but it’s getting me by.

Yah, that sounds great. How often do you laugh out loud? How often do you smile? How often do you wake up bursting with excitement like you are six years old and it’s Christmas morning? Having trouble coming up with those answers? Well, you are not alone. In fact you are part of a vast comfortable majority. But you don’t have to be.

My dream has always been to work a solid four hours a day from the confines of my own home. But, getting into that lifestyle from where I am now is downright frightening. It actually gives me physical discomfort, my body rebelling at the possible drastic changes. But, today, I work (including commute) roughly ten hours a day and complain about never having enough time.

Well, guess what self, if you set out a plan, followed through with it and used your intellect your dream would be reality. And in doing so you would net yourself about six hours a day more time.

So what is stopping me from grinding the gears this very day? Actually I’ve been playing with the gearshift lever for several months now working up the nerve to depress the clutch and grind away. That moment is getting closer, but practicalities (let’s call them excuses) have prevented the actual shift so far. But it will happen within the next couple of years, or possibly sooner depending how hard I pursue it.

And I know that if I don’t do it, nobody is going to do it for me. If I continue to live my life in the cozy comfort zone, how is this going to stretch my mind and test my abilities? It won’t. I’ll be one of the walking undead, an automaton to social norms. Sound like fun? Not on your life and certainly not on mine.

It’s time for a change. It’s time to grind the gears and change lanes. It’s time to follow the dreams and reach for my potential. But with any huge decision it must be accompanied by planning and thought. I’m good at that and I will succeed.

Enter Mr. Nagging Doubt from stage left. He leers at me, laughs at my aspirations, blows smoke at my ambitions and thinks I’m insane to even think such ridiculous thoughts. I see him there in the shadows waiting for me to fail with, “I told you so” hanging on his lips.

So all the while I’m wondering why I’m even trying to change paradigm lanes and shift gears in the first place. I have to. It’s as simple as that. I’m not content to just quietly fade away. It’s almost time for me to take Mr. Nagging Doubt out back to the woodshed and beat him soundly into submission. The day will come and I’ll take great pleasure in stuffing that all-knowing smile of his where the sun doesn’t shine.

How will I perform this deed? I’m thinking a lead pipe in the billiards room. Remember, if I don’t act soon, he will always be there guiding doubting my every new move. I want to be my own guide, my own master. Soon Mr. Nagging, very soon you will me the real me then we will see who is smiling.

But how to achieve my four hour a day dream? Simple really. All it takes is a little effort every day. I learned that from Anthony Robbins, not directly but by scanning his book, “The Giant Within”. It’s filled with all the things you already know, but are afraid to believe. It’s nice of him to have put it down in words so you can use it like a crutch and say, “see, it’s written, it worked for him and therefore it must be true.”

Which we all know is mostly bullshit. But his bullshit is not so much bullshit as common sense in written form. It is a simple fact. Inside your skull is a vast network of squishy grey material. It is the most complex matter we know of and it’s time some of us actually started using it. Once you do, there is no stopping you.

Gear shifting, grinding and all, becomes a matter of course. A course you start to steer for yourself. And soon, after a lot of effort and time, you’ve changed lanes, and the smile you thought you had lost since childhood returns. Your life becomes your own. You are your own guide, leader and inspiration. Others around you will notice a change in your attitude, begin to take the flame burning inside you and use it to light their own desires.

Now that sounds a hell of a lot better than running on automatic, taking direction from those in shadow, and existing instead of living.

So, go ahead. Stomp down hard with your clutch foot, grab that shifter and give it a good hard twist, and grind away.

What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

oatmeal for the cookie mill

Cooookies! I can still see the Cookie Monster bellowing out that line ever time he spotted a plate of cookies.

I do pretty much the same thing, but I eat them a little more carefully than he ever did. Not going to comment on quantity though. Ahem.

So, over the past several weeks, I have been searching for the perfect homemade oatmeal cookie. I must define “perfect” though to avoid hate mail or confusion.

Perfect to me (as far as oatmeal cookies go) is defined as chewy, low-fat, low sugar, tons-o-oatmeal and easy to make cookie. And I think I’m getting darn close to the best formula.

Now I don’t have the recipe right here before me, so I will go by memory. (for you conspiracy theorists – I’m misleading you, mixing up ingredients and quantities. I smoke too (herbal cigarettes) and hang around the back of FBI offices looking menacing when called upon to do so)

So what have I found so far? Well, first, you don’t need more than ½ cup of butter for three dozen cookies. Any more is pushing the low-fat envelope to bursting. Next, use the egg whites only. Yokes go into the compost in the hopes that they will help grow crops for the needy – or at least produce some methane gas to help alleviate the energy crisis we are told we are in.

Next, you must have at least a 1 to 1 ration of oatmeal vs. flour. I have been using a 3 to 2 oatmeal vs. flour ratio and found this works well. I may try to up the oatmeal content, but may be pushing that envelope to.

- Side note -

Oh, one small side note here. These cookies are “healthful” not “healthy”. You see, healthful means they are good for your health. Healthy means the cookie itself is healthy. See the distinction? If you do, you are one of a very small handful of human beings able to distinguish this. Then again, these “healthful” cookies are not for the masses.

The masses consume store bought toxic cookies loaded with every vile ingredient mother nature abhors. And, those are not “healthy” cookies either, despite the green checkmarks and/or other foolish marketing schemes on the package - like well trimmed supermodel aerobic women. They have probably never eaten a cookie in their lives.

- End side note –

So, next we talk sugar. It has to be brown, not white refined. Brown is better - believe me.

I think I’ve about covered it (leaving out the how-to and key measurements – conspiracy theorists fuel – have at it)

And what is the end result of my experimentation. A “healthful” oatmeal cookie reaching perfection – for me anyhow. It is chewy, low-fat, low sugar and stuffed with great tasting oatmeal. Oh, and I forgot, easy to make as well.

And yummy!

That’s funny. A black Limo just pulled into my driveway. Now, I wonder what they could want . . .

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Short Story: Space Is Limited

What is lost is not always found. What is ignored may be no more.

Or something. And I know it's not Wednesday yet. Close enough.

Enjoy.


Space Is Limited
by Paul Darcy


"Hi, Grampa."

"Hi, Willy. How did the game go?"

"Great, I got one run. We won by three."

"How was your birthday?"

"All my friends came. Mom let me have a new tri-dee game, an L rated one now that I’m ten. It was so cool, we all played it."

"That sounds like a lot of fun. How is your mom, Willy? She should come visit me more often."

"She’s really busy with work right now. Um . . ."

"Don’t worry, Willy. I’m not upset. I’m glad you had a great time at your birthday. And I really like to see you. Come visit me again soon. Okay."

"Yeah, I will. See ya."

"Bye."

***

"Hey Grampa?"

"Yeah."

"I have a girlfriend."

"Really. What’s her name?"

"Angela. She’s great. We hang out together and everything."

"Everything?"

"Oh, Grampa. You know what I mean. Hey, and next year I’ll be old enough to drive and then I can take her out in the car. How cool is that?"

"Sound’s really fun. Well?"

"Well what?"

"Well what does she look like, this Angela?"

"She has dark brown hair. Slender, but not gaunt like some girls. Very, very pretty. She loves volleyball and is really good at it too. She is so cool."

"Sounds like you really like her."

"Oh, yeah I do. Grampa I got to go. I’m taking her to the show tonight."

"You have fun then and say hi to your mom."

"I will. Bye."

"Bye."

***

"Hey, Grampa."

"Hello."

"Kate got her first tooth today. I felt it myself."

"That’s great. How about Annie? Does she like grade three?"

"Yeah she does. I help her with homework a lot. Um, grampa?"

"Yeah?"

"I won’t be able to come bye for a while. Um, my new job starts this fall and Angela and I are getting ready to sell the house, prepare the kids. You know."

"Sure, no problem. How long do you think?"

"No more than three years, I promise."

"Three years, that will make Annie, what, ten. My gosh. That’s how old you were when I moved in here. Wow the time has gone by."

"Yeah, well. Nice talking to you again. I’M sorry, but I have to go now."

"Okay. See you in a flash."

"Nice joke, Grampa. No more than three years, I promise."

"Okay then. Bye."

"See ya."

***

"Hey, Grampa."

"Hello, Wil. How is everything?"

"Not so good, really. Mom is very sick now and can’t get out of the house. That’s why she hasn’t dropped by in a long while."

"Has it been a long while?"

"Four and a half years. Look, sorry our lives took a busy turn. I’m here now though, but only passing by on a business trip. I actually have a meeting in about ten minutes."

"Oh. So fill me in."

"Well, Angela has a new job now too. She sells enhancements. Really good at it too. So good we could buy a bigger house and send Annie to a really good school this year."

"That sounds great. How is Kate doing?"

"Just fine. She loves school and has a ton of friends."

"I wish I could see her."

"Yeah, well you know that can’t happen."

"I know, but I can wish can’t I?"

"Sure can. Oh, there goes my alarm. I’ll catch up with you next time I pass through."

"Okay. Give my family your love, will you?"

"Sure thing, Grampa. Goodbye."

"Goodbye."

***

"Hello, Carl?"

"Wil is that you? You don’t sound like Wil."

"No, actually it’s Simon."

"Oh. Do I know you?"

"No. I just started here six months ago."

"Oh, is something the matter with my family?"

"I really don’t know that."

"What are you visiting me here for then?"

"Company policy really. It’s part of the contract you signed before coming in here."

"Oh. Is there something wrong?"

"No, everything is working fine. It’s just we are running out of space here, and because it has been over five years since your last family visit. Well, in short, we need to evict you."

"What? Have you talked to Wil about this? Has anything happened to him?"

"Who? Look, I don’t know. Really. I’m just here to let you know we need to evict you. Today. In a couple minutes actually. We are running out of space and there is a waiting list."

"But what about Wil? Shouldn’t Wil know?"

"Look, I don’t know this Wil and I don’t really care. Obviously he hasn’t been by and the account has expired so nobody paid your rent, so to speak. My job is to follow the policy and I’ve done that."

"But... Is there nothing you can do."

"Sorry your time is up. I hope you enjoyed your extended life here in virtual-home."

"How can you do this?"

"It’s my job and it’s quite simple really. All I do is dump the memory with a command word like this, type yes for confirmation, and... You’re gone. Begin format for the next resident, and voila. I love my job."

the end.

6... 5... 4 …

007 cuts the proper wire and the bomb is diffused. Three seconds remain on the thermonuclear device counter and the world is saved again. Bravo, Mr. Bond – time to have at the girl – roll end credits . . .

I had another dream last night, just a vivid and clearly in color like yesterdays. But, it wasn’t about any starlets, celebrities or “FALSE-I-REPEAT-FALSE” secret desires – thank you very much!

It was about spiders, big as tarantulas. These spiders had overrun the attic of my old neighbor’s house. I could actually see them crawling in the hundreds just under the eves of the roof as I looked next door.

My neighbors had just found out about the infestation and made a call to the local pest control unit which was still to arrive. I was wondering if these spiders had gotten into my house too. But after a quick attic check, I surmised they were only at the neighbors.

Good for me – bad for him.

Not waiting for the exterminators to arrive, my neighbor decided to tackle the ‘little’ buggers himself. Armed with one can of bug spray, the master of the house climbed onto the roof and headed for the greatest congregation of them near the chimney.

Once there I heard him exclaim in horror and fright. What the hell was going on? I couldn’t see him clearly since he was on the other side of the roof’s peak, but I heard the spray can going off and more yells of horror and disgust. After a few moments I saw him emerge triumphant to the peak of the house.

He walked to the chimney and lifted it up, actually pulling it free and set it down on the roof. Inside, he explained, was the mother spider – gassed and dead. End of threat and end of my dream.

Not sure what can be “read-between-the-lines” into this one. I believe dreams are nothing more than random gibberish searching for form in a vacuum.

Hey, that’s like right here on my blog, now isn’t it.

- Early Progress Report –

Since tomorrow will be taken up with another of my short stories, I thought I would crank out a short update on my writing life. (Short because there is not much to report)

First (excuse) of all my Writer’s Market has still not arrived. This is getting me anxious. I really want to start my new plan of earning cash, but it’s hard to when I’m not sure where the market’s are or what they want. I do hope it arrives this week so I can “get to work” this weekend.

My script is seeing more of its scenes being written, due for the most part, to the reestablishment of order in my household. The little one is back to school, I’m back to work and so is my wife.

Order.

Is.

Good.

- for me as a writer. So, that’s about it. I won’t actually post this in the FM section as I’ll recap for next week this and (with hope) much more.

- End Early Progress Report -

Disorder (which I’ve had for the past week) is good for goofing off, and to that end I’ve almost finished the “Black Oil” X-Files Mythology discs. Still good fun even after ten years – the last time I would have viewed these episodes.

And Lumley is entertaining me with his third Necroscope novel. Cheesy, I know, but I’m finding it good adventure horror fun – though possibly not for the whole family.

Now, I will let you get back to your surfing fun.

Thanks for stopping by and boosting my hit totals . . .

Tune in tomorrow for my short story, “Space Is Limited.”

You know, if you want to. No pressure - except barometric.

Monday, January 09, 2006

sand and dust and winter boots

I had a vivid, color dream last night.

But I don’t know if I should recount it here, for fear of what “others” (others = people I know who read this site) will think. After I jot down a few other things, I may post what I dreamed, if I’m feeling brave – or foolish, or honest?

Oh, and the title today pertains to two things. Dust is what I use to refer to a short story I dug out of my computer archives and will appear on Wednesday. It is pure dialogue, sort of like the Val9000 piece I posted a week or so ago.

But the dust does not refer to the age of the piece, but only to the fact that it got buried in my files (under the dust) and while sweeping my hard drive, I found it.

And now onto the sand. As in the stuff the Sandman (not the Gaiman version) places in your eyes at night and the vivid dream my sleeping mind created.

Okay, at the risk of taking a bunch of heat, I’ll spill the dream out here and now.

Please note – this was a dream. It is not reality. It does not reflect the opinions, beliefs, clothing styles or beverage choices of the dreamt of individuals. Because, as you see, it was a dream, a pure fantasy from my mind in the night as cooked up by my subconscious mind (a scary thing at the best of time and I’m glad it is sub-conscious)

Now, it’s sometimes fun to try to figure out why we have a dream, where the pieces come from. For this one that is pretty straightforward. Slayercruise 2007 coupled with my favorite actress and her hubby.

You see (we are into the start of the dream retelling now – please proceed with caution and ignore the chanting and smoke – it won’t hurt you) I was invited over to my favorite actresses house (reason unknown – like who cares anyhow, I was in the door) and was seated on a couch opposite her husband who was on another couch eyeing me rather oddly. My favorite actress was on my left in another chair, bubbly, happily smiling and being a very gracious and pleasant host.

Outside the front window I could see a large body of water through a line of trees across the road. The neighborhood was somewhat secluded. The house number was 415. Small talk and tea made up the first several minutes and I have no idea what the hell was discussed. At one point a movie was playing (don’t know what it was) and every so often I would look over at my favorite actress then look away again.

Her hubby was obviously getting distressed at my attentions (innocent I may add, more a I can’t believe I’m in this house with these people just having a normal visit) and shooting me less than friendly looks himself, but still behaving nicely enough.

After the movie ended I was asked by her hubby why I kept staring at her all through the movie. I had to admit that the movie was pretty boring and that looking at her was a far better option than viewing most of the film. I will add that I also was looking at him, the rest of the house, the outside waterfront view, the dogs and cats that were present. It wasn’t at all as her hubby had accused.

But I couldn’t deny that I had looked at her. I wouldn’t lie. She was very sweet about it. She pacified her hubby, and then gave me a quick peck on the head, sisterly-like and kind – not anything else. I think this cheesed off the hubby even more.

INTERLUDE – this is a dream, a whole dream and nothing but a dream people. Please don’t shoot me for something my subconscious tossed at me in my slumber. Back to the (insert adjective of choice) conclusion –

Time passed, more small talk, less awkward now that I had been in the place for about an hour and the ice had been broken. I then asked her why she doesn’t do pubic appearances more, and if asked, would she go on Slayercruise 2007. She said she had not been asked, but if she had been, if her schedule allowed, would make the trip. Her hubby agreed that if “they” had been asked, he would love to go.

I knew my time was running short, so I popped the question. Would you guys like to come visit me sometime and meet my wife and daughter? My favorite actress smiled at this, nodding her head, but her hubby quickly said “No, not possible!”, and that was that. I assured them it would be fine and I would even invite her dad as well. This just annoyed her hubby even more, and even wiped some of the smile off of her face too. Oh, boy. I had stepped in it pretty deep.

I had my answer, and had had my one and only visit. And, I was told, my time was up (this immediately following my asking if they would like to visit me) as they were having a party soon. I guess I was not party material for them, but I think the hubby was making sure I was gone before any fun could begin.

So, I thanked them for their hospitality, assured them that their location was safe with me, said my goodbyes, and went to the busy front door with about twenty guests already arriving.

And that’s when the trouble began. I couldn’t remember what footwear I had worn to the house. This being a dream, I had no recollection of actually arriving, so had no idea what I could have been wearing on my feet at the time.

I was faced with a large selection of footwear choices; about sixty pairs of different shoes, boots and slippers awaited me. I was left on my own to figure it out. It was easy to rule out the ladies footwear (even in dreams I don’t go for that, thank you very much!). I tried on a pair of those rubber boots with the red line running around the sole, but they were too small, obviously not mine.

I went outside where more footwear was lined up, wracking my brains to figure out what I could have worn. I went through a mental inventory of what I owned and began to look for my walking shoes. After a few minutes I determined that they were not here.

Then I suddenly had it (aren’t dreams great for leaps like this), I had worn my Sorrel winter boots, of course. And no sooner had I figured it out I had spotted them and put them on.

My hosts were nowhere to be seen now somewhere inside the large house beginning the festivities, and more guests (don’t know who they were at all) were arriving. I left the house as was suddenly driving down the street in my car. I looked at the number 415, and thought to myself what a great visit it was, even if her hubby was a bit cold. I could understand his protectiveness, even though he had absolutely nothing to fear.

END OF SEQUENCE –

Now for those (you know who you are) who are upset about this, please remember this was only a dream. I meant not offense to anybody in the dream or who could be affected by it’s retelling here. I have not named any names, but should certain individuals decipher who the dream people were – I apologize for any inaccuracies of character. I have never met either of them and only my mind’s eye created their reactions, and I am sure they are wrong.

Now with reality calling me toward a new day – I depart.

"Is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream?"

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Horror Book Review: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

What a fantastic movie! (Either version)

What a mediocre book. Now I don’t find Jack Finney, the author, a bad writer - it’s just that something is not right with the edition I read.

And after I finished it and perused the inner cover text, I think I know the reason why.

You see, this story was originally written in a shorter version back in 1954 for Collier’s magazine. A year later it was "fleshed" out and expanded and published as a novel. And the version I read even says it has been "revised and updated" as well.

Hmm. Not a good choice I’m thinking. I found the middle part of this horror tale drawn out and repetitive. And now I see why.

Other sections, I am assuming they were part of the short version, are tight and tense, better written and paced, and move the story forward.

I suppose if I really wanted to go hunting I could dredge up the short version to compare, but I didn’t, so you will have to live with the review of the longer "revised and updated novel" version.

An quiet invasion from outer space is transforming life in Mill Valley. People are literally being replaced with exact (well almost) duplicates of themselves. And pods - you just gotta love alien space pods. Overall a creepy idea with some great horror elements. This is a classic fifties science fiction if ever there was such a thing.

And Finney’s idea was so cool it was made into two different movies (that I know of), and worked very well on the big screen with some changes, of course. The book has a different ending from its screen adaptations, and that is part of my overall disappointment of this novel.

I know it’s not fair, but the way I see it I never did read the "original" short version so can’t make a good judgement here vs the movies. Still, in my mind, the movies were better than this novel.

I’m not going to spoil it though, and tell you the differences.

If I were awarding stars, out of five, in my reviews, this one would rank about a three max. It just didn’t quite work for me, and some of the character logic was painful to believe and utterly stupid in the extreme. But, that aside, creep factor of the idea alone coupled with some well done passages make it actually worth the read.

I would suggest you find and read the "short" version though. But if you can’t get it, then slog your way through the longer work (only 219 pages after all) but expect repetition (kinda like this review...)

Friday, January 06, 2006

hell can wait

You see, as I grow older (and I hope a bit wiser), I realize that time is not waiting for me. The tides don’t bother either. I figure, if I have great fortune, and do all the things which can prolong my life – I’m about at, or passed, the halfway point. This to me, when I take a moment to think about it, is a sobering realization. So -

- I have a goal this year - a goal to actually make money from writing instead of just thinking I should. And there is a reason for this, actually more than one.

Warning – I may get all philosophical during this ride – so bring along a good book, MP3 player or barf bag. If you don’t like that kind of crap, then please, step away from the car . . .

It amuses me to know that ultimately, despite all our excuses and allegations, we do set and follow our own destinies. No masked figures in black, hissing words through diving equipment, is going to tell you, “it is your destiny”. No mysterious emails will arrive in your inbox from Philosopher Kings to direct you on the right track. No parent’s advice is every completely correct.

The journey we embark on comes from inside of us – and despite our close genetic makeup, our insides are all unique. Each and every one. No other person can honestly say what journey another should be taking.

We are not sheep; which really means nothing, since each sheep is unique as well, but we like to use such comparisons, even though they are flawed.

Which leads me to another point. Each of us, unique as we are, has flaws. Not physical, though we may have those too, but psychological flaws. And if you don’t think you are flawed – then, by that very assertion, you are exposing one of your flaws.

But, you counter, there is no baseline for flawlessness. True. But if we were to take one individual and say – he is flawless – does he then become the baseline, a model of perfection as chosen by a flawed majority? And if so, then all others are flawed based on that model, and any flaw, not a flaw for the chosen one, is by default a flaw as well, and so the model of flawlessness shatters.

And if you actually followed that flawed logic above – good for you. I got lost in it and gave it up for gibberish.

Next I may write in tongues, spin my head around three hundred and sixty degrees and spray the walls with Shamrock shakes . . .

Not all things which are written are true, and not all truths are written.

Each person’s truths may be another’s lies.

Okay – enough with the esoteric bullshit.

I have a purpose this year. Earn enough cash to take myself and my family on SlayerCruise 2007. Why do I want to? Because. Don’t you just hate that answer? We all heard it many times growing up and it never quite washes, does it?

Why can’t I go out and play? Because.

Why do I have to finish my brussel sprouts? Because.

Why do I have to learn history? Because.

Why will it make me go blind? Because.

Now, all told, a cruise like the one I’m saving for will fall in around the seven thousand dollar mark for all of us. It lasts seven days. So, that is spending one thousand dollars a day. Holy crap!

How many people spend one thousand dollars a day that are not very, very rich? But that is not really the point now is it? It is the adventure, the memories, the people you can meet, the experience.

Okay, one last bit of philosophical advisory bullshit. Got your bag ready?

Look deep inside the well of your being and find your path. Once found, follow it wherever it takes you. But don’t neglect the currency of such journeys.

Because.

Living life = costs money.

For me, with so much to do before I expire,

Hell can wait.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

abduction

Do you believe in the existence of Extraterrestrials?

I don’t, but I love the Mythology surrounding them and how innovative we humans can be in cooking up evidence and fueling our beliefs. I do want to believe – but with no hard evidence it just isn’t going to happen.

Well, as you may have guessed, I finished watching my present last night – The X-Files Mythology Collection (Abduction).

Geez it brought back the memories of taping these shows and watching them back when they first aired. I would settle down in a comfortable chair and, glued to the TV, watch the mythology unfold.

Cancer man was always a favorite of mine. How could he not be? And last night watching “Paper Clip” I almost leapt out of my chair spilling my popcorn when Skinner said to Cancer man “It’s time for you to pucker up and kiss my ass, you son of a bitch.”


That for me is great TV writing. Not the swearing, but the lead up to this moment when Cancer man gets what’s coming to him. Who in the audience wasn’t right there with Skinner feeding off his emotional portrayal? I know I was. This show was, and still is, great entertainment.

X-Files have always had a special place in my heart because it was one of the few shows that had huge sweeping story arcs weaving through many episodes and even spanning multiple years. Mysteries that were never quite satisfactorily explained, much like those we encounter in real life.

Truly fantastic fiction - and one of the best executioners of the huge story arc device.

And now, with the Mythology collections out on DVD, you can watch all the key (with the exception of a few) episodes where the “truth’ was revealed, and relive again what great TV is all about.

Hey, how did this turn into a DVD review?

Oh well, be that as it may. Now I have to sit down and watch the next set – Black Oil. I need to stock up on popcorn first and find a spill proof bowl.

So go ahead and pull out a Morley, Cancer man. But just watch where you’re blowing that smoke you son of a—

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

reorg et reorg

This week’s writing consisted mostly of reorganizing what it is I want to accomplish this year.

I’ll start with the script, since it is my most major undertaking at the moment. Because of continuing holidays and distractions, I only managed to think about my script this week and not actually do any more writing of it.

I had the time. I had the energy. But my discipline and resolve decided to make an extended vacation of their little hiatus and left me alone to my own devices again -

- which was not all bad. I did manage to design a spreadsheet this week which will track my “non-fiction” adventures for 2006. And I even managed to send out an article to that end. Thanks to my wife for the solid kick in the pants I think I needed for that.

And so my blog here will need to take a hit if I am to continue on my writing odyssey this year. As you will note, my Saturday and Sunday posts will be discontinued (for the nonce). Instead, I will use (at least I hope to use) that time to pursue my “non-fiction” writing in the hopes of increasing the household revenues.

You see, as much as I love to write, I feel that those endeavors should be rewarded with cash. And why not? Oh I have the artistic bone and strive to produce quality writing, but this year I would like it to pay. And so -

- I ordered the “2006 Writer’s Guide” so I can research more avenues for my articles. I will be sure to chronicle (less details so as not to offend) my results here on Wednesdays.

This was one hell of a dry report, eh? I’ll bet you are just dying to know how I wasted an entire week (I didn’t even have to go into work at all); besides those few writing related tidbits. Well, I finally finished watching “Farscape” season 1, and polished off several episodes of the “Abduction” X-Files box series I got for Christmas.

Fuel for my brain – that’s my excuse for TV show doses. And I started, and got pretty far into, the third Necroscope novel by Lumley. It’s a cross between “Bond”, “Buffy”, and “X-Files”. At least I think so. Good, fun horror espionage fiction.

And, truth be told, my family is away this week, and that is why I am wondering while I wonder where my time went. They are the glue which binds me to my writing chair – mostly. When the routine of having them around is disrupted, I tend to drift away from the docks.

Hard to really explain that one, but I feel when they are not around I have all this free time to do “entertainment” things, like DVD watching, reading and playing games.

Well, that’s about it for this week’s writing in review.

What was that? Oh, the Siren’s call.

Quick, where the hell is my wax? And aren’t they humming something from Alan Parsons? . . .

Sounds interesting . . .

What was I looking for again?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

To 006

“Your mission is clear,” said the man standing in a dark tweed suit pointing towards a blurry satellite picture of a mountain range, “you must take out Blowhard and his installation before he can strike.”

“So all I need to do is infiltrate his elite forces, take down the instillation and have Blowhard disappear for good?” said one of two seated men while cleaning under his finger nails with a letter opener.

“That is correct 006. Thought I don’t believe even you could make Blowhard go away permanently. He has more lives than a cat and uses clones of himself to throw off his enemies. It is not a certainty that he is even at this base at all, but those there will follow his, or his clones, orders to the letter.”

The seated man stopped cleaning his nails. “To the letter? Like Q?”

“Yes, like Q. Now, if you don’t’ have any more questions, Q is waiting for you in the laboratory. He will equip you with what you will need for this mission.”

“Very good,” said 006 who rose in one fluid motion and left the room. The other seated man rubbed his chin.

“Do you think 006 can handle this? It is vital that that instillation be neutralized.”

The standing man paced the floor before answering. “I hope so. We are risking a lot on 006, but he is one of the best.”

“But not the best,” said the seated man.

“No, but he is on another critical assignment elsewhere and can’t be spared for this one. I’m counting on 006 to pull this off. If not . . .”

Both men stared at the image on the screen. Blowhard’s grip on the world was growing stronger each year despite her Majesties Secret Services’ best efforts. The success or failure of 006 would be the turning, or breaking, point of Blowhard’s operations.

The fate of their island was now in the hands of 006.

Only time would tell.