Finally, it’s March.

March 4, 2008

Mobile post sent by JP Chambers using Utterz Replies.  mp3

voice of God

January 25, 2008

So I was actually out in public the other day and I heard a father yelling at his daughter. This guy was completely flying off the handle. Yelling. Screaming. Bellowing. Right near the end of his tirade he bellowed, “I AM YOUR FATHER!” and with that, half of the people in the store looked up, since he could have been talking to any one of us. It actually sounded like the voice of God. Well, God or Darth Vader, I thought. Both of them are big on the “I am your father” thing. Frankly, either way – God or Darth Vader – it’s not great news for the kid. Both of them can and will kill you. Darth Vader can do it with a thought and he doesn’t even have to be really angry.

Now, I know a little bit about God. I read a book once. Really, just about everything I know about God came from that book, but anyway, He can and will kill you too, He just has to be more angry than Lord Vader. Remember, God is the guy who sent fire from the heavens down on Sodom and He is also the guy who flooded the whole world. Except for one guy! And he didn’t even take that one guy up to heaven while the flooding was going on. He put that guy on a boat with his wife and a bunch of pets. So I’m thinking that God wasn’t really feeling all that great about Noah, either.

What I don’t get about the flood is that Noah knew the flood was coming and all he did was build one boat. And his plan worked! But Noah wasn’t the only guy in the whole world who had a boat, was he? There had to have been other boats, right? I imagine some guy on his boat, it rains for 40 days and suddenly the land is gone and the guy thinks, “Well, what the hell, where’s the land?” Then, of course, the guy’s wife starts in on him with, “Well, you wouldn’t ask for directions, would you? Now look. NO LAND! Nice work, Mr. Navigator!” And then the guy would say, “One, I’m not lost, the land is just gone. And Two, I wasn’t getting out of the boat because IT WAS RAINING!”

Lucky for that guy and all the other guys with boats, besides Noah. God took pity on them. And drowned them.

Now, Noah, on the other hand, was set up relatively well. His wife knew what was going on, so she didn’t bug him much. Also, he had plenty of food. I don’t know how many animals Noah had left on the boat when the flood was over, but I’ll bet you it was a lot less than he began with.

OK. I really don’t know where this story was going, but now you know what happens in my brain when I’m out somewhere. Somehow it goes from some guy yelling at his kid to me wondering which animals Noah cooked.


December 20, 2007

If the light-up, decorative reindeer in my front yard falls down one more time, I’m going to leave it on the ground, surround it with empty beer cans and call him “White trash Rudolph” because I have HAD ENOUGH!


November 22, 2007

Just when I’ve convinced myself that no publisher or agent will be interested in a collection of personal essays and memoirs from some unknown writer, and I decide to break up the collection and try to sell it in other ways, I just can’t let go. I’ve been considering writing for Associated Content and also looking into paid blogging. I know you’re thinking that I don’t even update my own blog often enough as it is, but being paid and under some deadline might be just the kick I need. The problem I have? Rights. I just don’t want to give up any rights to my work to a non-traditional publisher. I just don’t feel like I can trust them. I really love most of the stuff I’ve put up on my website and, although I realize much of it would need to be edited and rewritten to be truly publishable, I’m willing to do that. I’d just hate for those essays to be in the hands of some internet content producer and unavailable to use in my book. It may be time to take a fresh look at them all, including many I haven’t released yet, bundle them all up and ship them off to the real world. Nothing to lose, right? I just want it to be right. I want to make the best decision.

And I want to sign on with someone who will publish Young Adult Novel also.

See, there’s just no satisfying me, is there?

AND, happy Thanksgiving.

AND, I ordered Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle from Amazon because I couldn’t find it elsewhere and I also needed a few more dollars on my order to qualify for free shipping. What did I order initially? Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas in SURROUND SOUND! Whoo, Baby, I can’t wait for that package to arrive.


August 27, 2007

I had to make a trip to the supermarket today and took my 4 year-old with me. He always likes to ride in those huge kid-friendly carts when we go there. You know the carts I’m talking about? They have a slightly smaller than normal shopping cart attached to the rear of a plastic car or truck that is big enough for 2 kids to sit in. They have little seat belts and annoying horns and fake steering wheels. Thank God, they’re fake. These contraptions are so large and difficult to maneuver as it is that the only way to make it worse would be to let pre-school aged kids steer them. If normal grocery carts are regular cars, these things are stretch limos. So, we grab our purple stretch limo and do our shopping.

When we are ready to check out, I get in line behind a Deceptively Normal Looking Young Woman. She stands directly in front of the cashier with her cart behind her. I have to be behind my cart in order to reach the stuff I’m buying because the kid car thing is too huge to reach over. So it lines up like this: her, her cart, my cart and then me. I can’t reach the belt to unload my stuff, so I just wait for the woman to realize that she needs to move her cart, which is already unloaded. She doesn’t. The cashier scans the Deceptively Normal Looking Young Woman’s groceries, the D.N.L.Y.W. MOVES TO THE END OF THE CASHIER STAND TO BAG UP HER STUFF and leaves her cart right in my way.

I feel my annoyance begin to burn inside of me.

I wait until she moves back in front of her cart and then bump it. Just a little.

“Oh, sorry!” I say. “Couldn’t see the end, there. Sorry. Couldn’t see.”

“That’s O.K.” she replies, still not moving her cart or sensing any possible reason why she should. I thought that maybe she was afraid of me hitting her heels with my cart and that was why she kept her cart in between us, sort of as protection, but then she moved back to the end of the stand to bag some more, leaving her cart right in the way.

Now, my annoyance is a full burn. The grocery belt is empty and I still can’t reach to put my stuff up there. I don’t like grocery shopping in the first place and I really hate checking out. I want to leave! My kid isn’t going to be good forever. At some point, he will see the entire rack of chocolate and chewing gum that is easily within his reach. I NEED TO MOVE. What is this woman thinking? Anything at all? That’s it. I mutter under my breath. I place both hands on the handle of my cart, make sure Bud (4 year-old) is sitting safely, look casually to my left and BUMP. I hit her again. Harder this time.

“Oh, sorry again!” I say. “I’m really sorry. Trying to reach … um … can’t see … sorry … really sorry … he he … whoops.”

“That’s O.K.” she said, still not moving her cart or sensing any possible reason why she should.

Unbelievable. How could she be so oblivious? Why wasn’t she run over by a car in the parking lot when she was walking in here? How did she find the door to the store? How on earth does she have any money to buy things with? This person, this D.N.L.Y.W. is either so self-centered that she doesn’t notice anything around her that doesn’t affect her directly, or she is so unaware of her surroundings that she shouldn’t be allowed out or she did it on purpose and she’s just a jerk. No matter what, I don’t need the hassle. Next time, I’m getting in front of her and pulling my cart through backwards, so she’ll have to deal with Bud. Face to face. And he’ll be armed with chocolate.

blank page

August 16, 2007

It’s been so long since I’ve posted an update that this morning I just clicked on the “New Post” button without anything in mind to write about. Let’s see where this takes us, shall we? Good. Buckle up.

I love my local library and I’m really looking forward to the opening of a brand-new branch which will be about the same distance from my house but in the opposite direction of the one I’ve been going to. I’ll still go to the old one, but I’m hoping that the new branch will have a better selection of YA and Middle-grade stuff for me to read. They have these inter-library loans, so I can get anything I want by going to the same branch that I’ve been going to (I like the people, and they know me) and asking for them to grab what I want from the other locations. Evil plot, I know.

I’ve purchased a few books that are not available in my whole library system (mostly new releases) and now I’m torn between keeping them for my personal library and donating them and making them available to the whole county. I’m leaning toward donation, as I think it will help those authors expand their audience and I like the idea of being part of that, but you know that will result in me buying those books all over again so I have personal copies also. Maybe that would be a good use of my first royalty payment. See how I just assume there will be a first royalty payment? Positive thinking, yo.

Speaking of writing books (we were, weren’t we?), Scrivener has lived up to my expectations. I’ll be buying a license. It is so cool to have the whole thing right there and so organized. I just wish I knew how to pronounce “Scrivener”. Does it have a long I sound or a short I sound? The first E makes it seem like the I is long, but the guy who named it is British and sometimes they throw in extra vowels. I think there may be an abundance of vowels in the UK and they just want to get rid of them. I don’t know about you, but when I speak with someone and they tell me all about how great something is and then they pronounce the name of the thing WRONG, it makes me question everything they said about it. How can you love something so much and not know how to say its name? Are you a nut? Well, maybe I’m a nut, because I love Scrivener and I don’t know how to say its name. Heck, I haven’t even paid for it yet. I hope that after I pay for it, they will send out the top-secret email with a pronunciation guide, but rarely do these types of things actually happen.

I was cleaning out the pictures from my cell phone and found one of a hideously decorated life-sized donkey that was sitting in the back room of a pizza place we went to during the Beach Torture Event. The pic isn’t worth posting, but trust me when I say that the thing looked like it was designed by an angry, blind mental patient. I don’t know how they can expect people to eat and enjoy their pizza while sitting in the same room with that thing. Then again, this pizza restaurant is located right on the boardwalk and it’s likely that most everyone who eats there is already in shock, wondering where all their money went. Most likely, their money went toward the 75 games of Skeeball they had to play in order to win their kid a plastic whistle. Skeeball, by the way, was probably also designed by an angry, blind mental patient.

whew. I told you to buckle up, didn’t I?

I have a five-dollar coupon for Borders and so I’m planning on going there and using it soon. I hate for those things to go to waste and they know it. I’m looking for Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle, Rules by Cynthia Lord and maybe Queen of Cool, by Cecil Castellucci which has just been released in paperback, so why not? These are all titles that are not available in our library. Yet. Wait until I get finished reading them and/or receive my first royalty check.

My own middle grade novel, which is tentatively titled Middle Grade Novel in an obvious nod to Daniel Pinkwater’s Young Adult Novel and also my own lack of imagination in titling, is coming together. It is amazing how the more work I do on it, the more work there is to do. Even worse, the more work I do on this first book, the more ideas I have for a second. I really need to focus on the first one, however, since actually finishing a book is a goal so many “writers” don’t achieve. I will. Maybe it will be great, and maybe no one will ever see it. Either way, it will be complete.

and the second book will be sooo cool!

Maybe one of them will get me an agent. And hopefully, that agent is not an angry, blind mental patient who is out to get me because of my blog.


August 8, 2007

Let’s see. The high temperature here in sunny Maryland today was around 100 degrees. Gaaaaa!

The high temperature in Dublin, Ireland (where I threaten to move my family every summer) was around 64 degrees.

Do you see now? Do you? Huh? Well, do you?

I love this picture

June 26, 2007

Poppy fans

Little man

May 19, 2007

My four-year-old son is getting to the point where he wants to help me do everything, so I have begun letting him take our Schnauzer (who I call “Schnozzie” due to her penchant for nudging things with her nose) out for her afternoon walk to the end of our backyard. I won’t get too graphic here, but her afternoon walk is when she does her “number 2”. She’s on a schedule. It’s very important to me that she stay on her schedule, since that frees up me up from having to constantly watch her and ask her over and over again if she has to go out. No one likes to have their day revolve around what might be coming out of a dog’s butt. So the point is that the afternoon walk is a big responsibility and is key to my daily sanity.

I, in my wisdom, have assigned this duty to a pre-schooler.

Since it’s so important to me that the Schnozz stay on her schedule, I have implemented a daily debriefing session with the four-year-old (Bud) immediately upon his completing of his dog walking duties. Here’s an example:

ME: How’d it go?
BUD: She did only one thing.
ME: Was it poop?
BUD: Yes. And pee.
ME: Wait a minute. Did she only do one thing, or did she do both things?
BUD: Only pee.
ME: She didn’t poop?
BUD: Yes.
ME: Start over. Did she pee?
BUD: Yes.
ME: Did she poop?
BUD: Yes.
ME: Ok. Thank you. Good job.
BUD: She only pooped.
ME: C’mon Dude! Did she pee or poop? Which was it?
BUD: Only poop.
ME: Are you sure? Only poop?
BUD: Yes. Only poop.
ME: Only poop.
BUD: Only poop.
ME: Thank you.
BUD: And she peed a lot!

The debriefing lasts twice as long as the dog’s walk and at the end of it, I’m never quite sure if the walk was successful or not. Bud, on the other hand, feels very good about himself and his ability to do a “grown-up” job and feels that he is really helping me out. So I let him continue to do the job in the hope that, someday, he actually will.

Simple man

April 5, 2007

Quick little update here. I’m still working on the Easter essay for the site and it seems to be turning into a piece about the chocolate Jesus controversy. Well, that’s how it works. Sometimes writing takes its own direction. Last year’s essay turned into an expression of my guilt over hoarding large quantities of Matzo, which by the way, ended up being fed to chickens. Chickens are God’s creatures too, so relax. I mean, I guess they are God’s creatures. It is possible that they are spawn from Hell, though. Great. Now I feel bad for feeding all that Matzo to chicken Hell spawn. Thanks a lot.

Also been enjoying my tea EXCEPT for the Honeybush Vanilla. Sorry, Teavana, the Honeybush Vanilla gives me a headache. I don’t know why and it doesn’t really matter as long as I stay away from it.

Hmmm. So I’ve mentioned chicken Hell spawn and headaches. I guess I should end on a positive note. I’ve been playing the guitar for the better part of 20 years, never really well, and rarely in tune. I’ve never had a really good tuner. I’ve had pitch pipes and I’ve had those tuners with the needle gauge that never completely stops moving back and forth. The technique with those is to get the needle to wobble somewhere near the center and hope for the best. Well, I finally got a good tuner. It’s the Sabine STX-1100 and it rocks. Here’s a pic for you.
Sabine STX-1100

I’m such a simple man.