Jul 20 2015

The Leaf

The leaf lay on the pavement
In its haven of asphalt and iron
Underneath its fluorescent suns.

Though severed, the leaf still drew life
From the cool and efficient lamps
Slowly becoming a leaf of iron
Cold and resilient
But always missing the warmth
Of its old radiant sun
And the tree to which
It once belonged.

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Mar 20 2015

The Touch

The Touch is a Stan Busch song that was included on the Transformers: The Movie soundtrack. As far as 80’s rock songs go, it is 3 minutes of pure distilled 80’s awesomeness that will make you yearn for ye olden dayes of yore when Transformers and G. I. Joe were cool the first time.

However, the song might have the highest amount of clichés I have ever seen–perhaps even more than most country songs. I have pasted the entire lyrics and highlited the clichés in red:

 

The Touch

You got the touch, you got the power

After all is said and done, you’ve never walked
You’ve never run, you’re a winner
You got the moves, you know the streets
Break the rules, take the heat, you’re nobody’s fool

You’re at your best when when the goin’ gets rough
You’ve been put to the test but it’s never enough

You got the touch, you got the power
When all hell’s breakin’ loose
You’ll be riding the eye of the storm

You got the heart, you got the motion
You know that when things get too tough
You got the touch

You never bend, you never break, you seem to know
Just what it takes, you’re a fighter, it’s in the blood
It’s in the will, it’s in the mighty hands of steel
When you’re standin’ your ground

And you never get hit when your back’s to the wall
Gonna fight to the end and you’re takin’ it all

You got the touch, you got the power
When all hell’s breakin’ loose
You’ll be riding the eye of the storm

You got the heart, you got the motion
You know that when things get too tough
You got the touch

You’re fightin’ fire with fire, you know you got the touch
You’re at your best when when the road gets rough
You’ve been put to the test, but it’s never enough

You got the touch, you got the power
You got the touch, you got the power

My favorite has got to be verse 2, which has 5 clichés in a row.

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Mar 10 2015

Podcast update

Sorry for the delay on the new podcast episode. I’m still learning how to do it, and don’t yet do it efficiently (plus I went on vacation for a week). Recording the episode is easy, but editing is more of a challenge, and it simply takes longer than I thought it would. It reminds me of this interchange from Futurama episode, When Aliens Attack via IMSDB:

LEELA
Uh, g– uh, getting back to the, uh,
matter, uh-uh, if it please the court
… (whispering) Fry, there’s nothing
else here. You only wrote two pages
of dialogue.

FRY
Well, it took an hour to write. I thought
it would take an hour to read.

Anyway, I hope to have the episode posted some time this week.

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Mar 17 2014

Quotable: John August

“Before you write your story, write the whole thing from the villain’s point of view, because the villain views himself as the hero in the story.”

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Mar 15 2014

Quotable: Craig Mazin

“The enemy of writing is silence and inactivity.”

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Feb 8 2014

Krampus comes back from college for Christmas

“Ma, I’m home!”

“I’m in the kitchen, Krampus! Come give your mom a hug.”

“Maaaaa!”

“You know the rules, Krampus–no hugs, no dinner.”

Krampus lumbered into the kitchen, dumped his bags on the floor, and limply hugged his mother.

“Hey, ma, I brought a friend home from college. This is Nick. Nick, this is my ma, Hel.”

A young man with a cherubic face, wispy beard and a bright red coat stepped forward.

“How do you do, Mrs. Hel?” he asked sweetly. “I brought you some taffy.”

“Oh, don’t you have nice manners?” she asked, giving a sidelong glance at her son. “Now sit down, you two. I’ve been cooking all day. I hope you like goat, Nicholas.”

“That would be great,” he said with a wink.

Hel soon filled the table with roast goat, potatoes, cabbage,  and lutefisk.

“I suppose you would like some mead, Nicholas?” Hel asked.

“Actually I would love some milk if you have it, Mrs. Hel,” Nick smiled.

Hel looked at him quizzically, then turned to pull a crock of goat milk out of the cooler.

After the drinks were served the two young men tore into dinner like they were starving, much to the matriarch’s approval.

“Surely you’re not done, Nicholas?”

Hel looked sadly at his empty plate, then at him.

“Oh, I couldn’t,” Nick started.

“Young boys need to eat,” Hel stated emphatically.

“If you insist,” Nick said with a twinkle and helped himself to another plate, and then another.

“That was the best dinner ever, Mrs. Hel. Thank you.”

“Oh, you!” she gushed as she swept away the dishes into the kitchen.

Krampus gave him a look that suggested maybe he was laying it on a bit thick, but Nick simply patted his very full belly and smiled his big, rosy-cheeked smile.

Hel re-entered the dining room with a huge pie still warm from the oven.

“Sorry it took me so long, Nicholas. These old dead feet aren’t a quick as they used to be.

Nick thought the idiom was quite humorous, though the mention of feet drew his eyes downward. What do you know–her feet really were dead.

“You’ll be having dessert, of course,” Hel stated, not asking.

Nick started to object out of courtesy, looking at Krampus, but then the slice was quickly dished onto his plate. He smiled sweetly at Hel and then beamed smugly at his friend.

“Maybe just a slice,” he said. “Or two.”

After dessert Hel again hauled away the dishes, except for Nick’s dessert plate, still occupied by quickly diminishing survivors of his pie.

“Ma, we’re gonna go upstairs,”

“Not yet, Krampus, we have something to discuss,” she called from the kitchen.

She said ‘discuss’ in that tone women use with men to let them know who will be doing the talking.

“Have you been naughty?” Nick asked cheerily.

“I can’t think of anything…she would have heard of,” Krampus whispered back.

Krampus began to sweat, wracking his brain for what have gotten back to his mom.

After several eternities Hel returned to the table with a piece of parchment.

” I received this letter from the dean,” Krampus’s mother started.

“Look ma, whatever he says–”

“Shut it, young man. He says that you have been caught scaring children, smacking them in the face with that tongue of yours,”

“Wait, Ma, I can explain–”

“Picking them up by their ears–”

“Ma–”

“Furthermore he says that you were observed even beating children–small children–with sticks.”

Here she paused, and looked him straight in the eye.

“Krampus,”

“Ma–”

“Krampus, I am so proud of you!”

“Wait–whut?”

“Krampus, I didn’t know if you would ever be ready to take over the family business! I am so proud of you,” she gushed, holding his wooly cheeks in her hands.

Krampus wiped the sweat from his forehead and breathed an audible sigh of relief.

“Well, you really have Nick to thank. He’s the one who got me in on the racket.”

“What?” asked Hel ecstatically, then she reached over and hugged Nick and kissed him on the cheek. Nick blushed happily to the tips of his ears. Krampus looked like he might be sick.

“So what is this ‘racket?’ Tell me all about it!”

“Krampus and I are partners in holiday retail,” Nick began.

“Yeah, ma, it’s like we’re two sides of the same coin. Nick rewards kids for being good, and I punish kids for being bad. The sticks–those were Nick’s idea, but the tongue–that’s all me!”

The smile faded from Hel’s face. She looked at him quizzically.

“So…the point of this is….”

“So children will be good, of course,” said Nick, smiling happily.

“So…you’re not just terrorizing children with sticks…just because? You want them to be….”

“Good,” Krampus started. “Yeah, isn’t it wild?”

Hel’s demeanor became overcast, the storm quickly gathering.

NO, Krampus! What do you think? I’m the freaking queen of the dishonored undead, and you’re trying to get children to be good?!

Krampus could hear the italics in her voice, and that was never good. His eyes darted around wildly, clueless to how things could have turned so bad so quickly.

“Do you realize how embarrassing this is? I was supposed to lead my armies against Odin at Ragnarok last year and then things went to pieces! I thought the stupid Mayans had miscalculated, or that Helheim wasn’t really recession-proof! But it turns out it was you!

“I thought you were happy that I was smacking the little buggers around!”

“It’s your motive, Krampus! How am I to lead an army of the dishonored dead if you keep trying to reform them before they grow up? Your grampa Loki–”

“Aw, ma, not grampa Loki again,” Krampus began, rolling his eyes.

“Your grampa Loki tricked a blind guy into killing everyone’s best friend with a flipping twig! And do you know why he did it?”

“Ma–”

“For no other reason than He. Thought. It. Was. Funny!”

Nick started eyeing the door, looking to make a break for it.

Krampus’s  fingers clenched nervously, his lips bunched themselves trying to stay shut, but the words came boiling out anyway.

“Well, I don’t want to end up chained to a rock ’til the end of time!”

Hel got up silently and stalked off into the other room.

For half a minute neither of the freshmen spoke.

“Loki is your grandfather?” Nick asked incredulously.

“Yeah, kind of. Man, I don’t know how that could have gone worse,” sighed Krampus

There was a sudden jangling and before he knew it Hel had come up behind him and clapped his wrists in manacles.

“Come on, Krampus, we’re going to visit your grandparents!”

Nick looked at Krampus, pointed at the exit, and shot through the door like a rocket.

Krampus didn’t need any further encouragement.

“Ma! No! She’s not even my real gramma anyway! I’m out of here!”

“THEN GET OUT!”

“I’M NOT COMING BACK!”

Krampus ran out the door to his friend’s sleigh, there was a crack of leather, the jingle of bells, and they headed off into the sky.

Hel screamed into the night sky.

“WELL GOOD LUCK GETTING OUT OF THOSE CHAINS! GUESS WHOSE INTESTINES THOSE WERE?!”

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Jan 29 2014

Quotable: Jerry Seinfeld

Questioner: “How do you deal with writers block?

Seinfeld: “Writer’s block is a phony, made up, BS excuse for not doing your work.”

from a recent AMA at Reddit.com

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Jun 26 2012

Quotable: Ernest Hemingway

“Write drunk, edit sober.”

I had to learn this one from my daughter. Not that she drinks–that I know of–but the other night while I was up late working on the script for Vacation Bible School, I was typing so fast because my brain was firing ideas faster than I could record them, and I kept slowing down my own writing by trying to correct spelling and other minor details. She leveled Hemingway at me to keep me on task to finish writing.

Alcohol or not, the point is: write while you feel like writing and while you have the ideas coming. You can always go back and edit when you aren’t feeling particularly creative.

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Sep 21 2011

Most loved and overlooked

Probably one of the gifts I most appreciate–and most take for granted–is a gift that is quite common in the 21st century United States. Most people have it, it is free, and it is available to all. In fact, it is even imposed on a good deal of people quite against their wills–as it was with me.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me how much I love books. I love shopping for them, acquiring them, repairing them. Of course I love reading them; the aforementioned verbs were merely symptomatic of a bibliophilic life. As I have mentioned earlier, some of my earliest happy memories involve books.

But it wasn’t always so.

Literacy was forced upon me in first grade. I had no desire to read. It wasn’t that I was proud of my ignorance or deficiency, but I simply didn’t realize I was ignorant, and wasn’t aware that I was missing anything. Learning to read was easy for me–too easy, probably. It unlocked nothing for me, solved no problems.

From the time I was three I was always drawing and always watching cartoons. Decades after I developed a genuine love for the written word, I would still denigrate writing as the dumb stepbrother of drawing. I remember in one of my many cartooning books the author had stated, “Good writing will carry bad art, but good art won’t carry bad writing.” It was the most heretical blasphemy at the time, but now so obviously true.

There was only one story that I cared about as a small child–The Legend of Sleepy Hollow–and that was because Dad told it to me. Right before bed. When I was three. I loved, and was terrified by, that story.

So when Mom gave me $5 to go take to the first grade book sale to get whatever I wanted, all I wanted was information, not stories. Specifically, information on snakes and dinosaurs. After that lack of literature, I would get my book choices supervised.

Still, Mom did do one very clever thing: she bought lots of children’s books, and then promptly did not make me read them. Just left them around the house. When we hit garage sales, action figures were maybes, but books were almost guaranteed to be approved (providing they weren’t about snakes or dinosaurs).

Tonight I started The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay. I’m still in the middle of reading The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes. As I write this I am flanked by a giant pile of books, two large bookshelves full of books (one of which I built), and in the midst of typing this I had to give in to the sudden urge to purchase Burton Raffel’s translation of Beowulf.

I realize that I owe a debt of gratitude to the following people:

  • My mom and dad
  • Mrs. Handley
  • Benjamin Rush
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Robertson Memorial Library
  •  Trails Regional Library, Corder branch
  • Mrs. Sheehan
  • Mrs. Redden
  • Mrs. Smith
  • Mrs. Alfino
  • Mrs. Craig
  • Any of you who have ever given me a good book

If you can read this, give thanks to God that you have working eyes and a working brain, and give thanks to the parent or teachers who taught you how to read, or how to read better.

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Dec 12 2009

Review: Julie & Julia

julie-juliaI just finished staying up with Heather watching Julie & Julia, a 2009 movie about two women: Julie Powell, as she spends a year cooking her way through all the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking while living in post-9/11 New York with her husband. It also tells the story of Julia Child, living in post-WWII France with her husband, learning to cook and to write and publish said book.

I really, really liked this movie. I know, some of you are probably thinking this is a chick flick, and in some ways it is. However, this movie was about a lot of things I love: eating, cooking, writing, blogging, books, and being married. How can you not love a movie about food and marriage? I freaking love both, and consequently loved the movie.

However, the ending does seem kind of incomplete and anticlimactic, kind of like they brought in Zombie Michael Chrichton to write it for them. SPOILER ALERT: if you think the two women are going to meet you are going to be disappointed.

Speaking of cooking, I made my second attempt at pasta sauce this week, and I was very happy with it (much better than last week’s mediocre maiden sauce).

Also speaking of things in the movie that I can relate to in real life, like the protagonist I am staying up doing one thing when I should be doing another. Good night.

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