November 5

November 5, 2008

It’s been 3 months since I’ve posted a new blog. I may be the worst blogger of all time. I shouldn’t even be blogging right now. I should be working on THIS instead. Maybe that’s why I’m here banging away at my keyboard. I can only stop procrastinating in one area if I have another area to procrastinate in. So there it is, ladies and gentlemen, my secret to success. Always have something you’re NOT doing, but should be.

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blogging the day away

July 7, 2008

All right, don’t get too excited, but this is my second blog entry in 5 or 6 days. Unreal, right? Man, I feel like all I’ve been doing with my life is writing blogs! Two in one week? It’s definitely time for a vacation or something.

    Could this be the Soul’s year?

What a game it was! What a finish! The Philadelphia Soul are hosting the division championship game for the first time ever. It should be quite the scene at the Center on Saturday. Whaddya mean you’ve never heard of the AFL? It’s football in the spring and summer. What more could you ask?

    The Tipping Point

Now, you people know by now how late I am to so many different things. Could be cultural, could be historical, political, whatever. Could also be literary. I’m finally reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Mr. Gladwell already blew my mind when I read Blink, which was a great book, and he has done it again with The Tipping Point. It’s all about how little things can make a major difference and how things like ideas and behaviors can spread just like a virus would. Like an epidemic. And why.

    Other current events

… but only the ones that center on ME. I am preparing for another round of submissions for Lilly Dances, my sort-of-picture-book-but-not-quite project. It’s more of a very short book with pictures. Actually, it has no pictures right now (I’m no artist), but it would be way better with pictures. Like a picture book would. Like a really long picture book.

but not quite.

The kids are doing fine on their summer break from school. I’m doing fine also, but I CAN tell you how many weeks until the school buses start rolling again.

seven.

What?

June 17, 2008

Ahhh. Summer. Goes by so fast. What month is it now, July? June? June, you say? Wow. Seems like just yesterday it was April. Or November. Or something.

So, what’s been up? Well, we are now 3 weeks into our CSA membership at Colchester Farm. So far we’ve had lots and lots of different kinds of lettuce, radishes, spinach, broccoli, garlic, herbs and flowers and have even gotten our hands on some nice, organic bread. The kids are even getting into choosing their own vegetables and having a great time with it.

Baseball season is over for our boys, but both did really well and had a lot of fun. The younger one will probably move up to Coach Pitch next year, as he can already hit pretty well without the tee. I have two more Tball stories to write and I really should get that done because before you know it, football/cheerleading season will be upon us and I’ll be all occupied with that.

You know how I am.

We finally ditched the old cartridge-type pool filter that has been the bane of my existence for 10 years and now have a sand/micromedia filter. Holy wow, that thing is great! Our pool is clean and clear and all the maintenance the filter requires is a periodic turn of a switch. Heaven.

I recently tried some chocolate covered coffee beans for the first time and they were not too bad. Of course, it goes against everything I’ve ever known about coffee and whether or not you should eat the beans (hint: not). I wouldn’t even think about eating coffee grounds and that’s basically what the bean becomes after you’ve ground it up with your teeth, right? Why not just cover other disgusting things with chocolate? Chocolate covered eggshells. Chocolate covered hair.

Then again, what do I know?

Here is a picture I found somewhere along my internet travels, which clearly demonstrates the importance of making sure your audience has all the relative information.

brownridge whoops

Crazy

April 27, 2008

Well this week has been a bit crazy, but we got through it. My wife had to go out of town for a few days and with five kids all involved in different activities (except the girls, they’ve been staying together for now) that meant a fair amount of running around for me. I had to get help from a few friends here and there and that definitely made things easier. So, thanks, Friends!

The boys’ baseball teams are doing well and the younger one’s Tball team has already inspired one essay to completion and I have another one started. Now, I’m no Rick Reilly (to me, the best sports essayist there is) but it is nice to be inspired, regardless. I don’t know if I’ll be able to write about my older son’s baseball team, because some of those kids get MAD.

This kid will make the team in a few years.
This kid will make the team in a few years.

I finally finished reading “With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa” by E.B. Sledge, which is about as funny as it sounds, but I found it really interesting anyway. That book is being used as part of the basis for the HBO miniseries The Pacific, a companion piece to Band of Brothers.

So now we’re getting ready for another hectic week with more baseball, lacrosse and gymnastics AND I need another book. Maybe I should just get back to writing one.

No thank you.

April 9, 2008

Hey. There is (finally, I know) a new essay over at JPChambers.com! Go! Read! Comment!

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.

quick update

January 21, 2008

jpchambers.com has been kind of wacky lately. I’m having trouble publishing updates to it. Anyway, my “people” are working on the problem and hopefully things are back to normal soon. I’ve been holding off on the blog entries because my site also hosts a blog and I can’t update that one! So as you can see, I’ve decided that things will just have to go on without the main site blog for the time being.

Things are going along pretty well lately. I’m doing a bit of freelance writing work that a good friend was so gracious as to send my way. It’s nothing any of you would be interested to read. It’s technical/business type stuff.

Those of you who are familiar with me know that I’m no big New England Patriots fan, so seeing them play in the SuperBowl is no big deal for me. However, in my basement I did find a relic from my days as a salesman . It’s a full case of plastic Patriots cups. They’re not the disposable kind, either, they’re nice! I’m going to try to get them listed on Ebay as soon as possible and try to sell them off in the next week or so. I’ll let you know how it goes.

reading: the Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

ok. now back to work.

I finally got something done!

December 17, 2007

Hey.
Long time, eh? I’m just relaxing a bit tonight. Listening to some music, answering some messages and, oh yeah, writing a blog post for the first time in weeks. I’ve spent the past few days finishing up a complete redesign of my website, which has had the same look for almost 3 years. I’m really happy with the way it turned out and I’m happy with the software I finally chose to build it with. That was a big decision for me. I was using Frontpage on my windows pc, but I wanted something different to use on my Mac. Finally found it and got the project off the ground. My blog is now integrated into my site, but I still will probably post at WordPress also, to reach a different audience. I’m just happy that I’ve finally been able to complete my move to a Mac workflow and eliminate my need for a windows pc. Good thing, too, as my pc is about 9 years old and takes a LONG time to do anything.

Sometime before the end of the year, I will post my thoughts on all (or most) of the books I’ve read this year. I read more than I thought. The list has 20+ books on it. Not bad, right? That’s about 2 per month. It will take me a while to write that up.

We are just about ready for the holidays here in the Chambers household. It’s funny. Every year we have at least one gift that we are really excited to give to someone. This year is no different. That’s the coolest thing, for me. I took my two youngest girls to a Christmas shop that is just down the road from us, but we’ve never been to before. They have unusual hours. It turns out that the “shop” is located in a huge barn next to an old farmhouse built in 1647. The property is just gorgeous. The shop is great. They must have a million little things in there. Mostly Christmas related, but lots of other stuff as well. Upstairs I found a big crate sitting on the floor. It was filled with old albums. 33s, 45s and 78s. Yes, 78s. I picked up a 78 rpm copy of the Davis Sisters “I forgot more than you’ll ever know”. Released in 1953. The disc is thick and heavy and I think it’s pretty darn cool. Anyway, that’s the kind of thing you can find in that Christmas shop. I’ll be going back.

decisions

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.

take a breath

November 13, 2007

We’re back from vacation, where I blatantly broke the cardinal rule for writers, which is, “take a notebook everywhere you go.” I had some ideas that I thought were funny, but can’t remember them now. I guess I’ll just wing it.

I worked up a good bit of anger and resentment just before we left for Disney when I found out that my short story, Sharpest Knife in the Block did not win the contest I had entered it in. I thought it was a lock! Of course, that’s how I feel about everything I produce. Maybe I’ll let you people read and critique it. It’s different than anything I’ve released to the public so far. A departure, if you will. Experimental. I had fun writing it during the Beach Torture Event, so it lives close to my heart. Also, that might explain why it has a little bit of a bitter edge to it.

There was a recall on Aqua Dots while we were gone. That makes me feel really good, as we gave out Aqua Dots as birthday gifts to a couple of kids recently. “Happy birthday, little girl! Here is a package of poison dots for you to play with.” They are only bad for you if you eat them, which isn’t really the main purpose of the Aqua Dots in the first place. I guess the people who developed these things have never been around little kids, because I’ve seen kids for whom putting non-edible things in their mouths was a complete obsession. If they don’t want kids to put toys in their mouths, then all toys should be made of Brussels sprouts and vitamins.

The end of November is quickly approaching, with a birthday party to throw, friends visiting, Thanksgiving to enjoy, etc. Should be a busy few weeks coming up. Haven’t I been saying that since July?

I’m committed to really decorating the house for Christmas. I’m only telling you that because that will make it harder for me to back out.

And now my sentences are getting shorter. That’s a sign that I have a bunch of things on my mind besides blogging, so I must stop for now.

one more thing: Brandi Carlile is so good.

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Now playing: Brandi Carlile – Throw It All Away
via FoxyTunes