Tag: movies

I stumbled across this today. I love the simplicity of the arrangement. Thought you might enjoy it.

Have a great weekend! πŸ˜‰



Whenever I’m alone I’m thinking,
there’s a part missing from my life.
Wonder where I’d be without your love
holding me together now I’m
watching the time tick, tick away.

Jet City Woman.
Got to find my way home to her.
Jet City Woman.
I see her face everywhere I look!
Jet City Woman.
Just a thousand miles and I’ll be there
Jet City Woman, to make the clouds go away.
Time for some blue sky!

–Queensryche, Jet City Woman (video below)

I’m flying again in the morning.  Not a terribly early start, but it will still put a slight dent in my Saturday.  :)

We’re headed for Pristina, Kosovo.  This kind of flight is what we call an “out & in”, which means I’ll be home again tomorrow evening–unless we run into weather like we did on Wednesday.

But you know it’s hard for me to complain.  I enjoy flying, and I know I’ll miss it when this good deal finally ends.  The person who really gets left holding the bag when I have to leave–on the weekend especially–is my better half, Furnacegirl.  She’s often on her own to take care of the kids and housework and a thousand little chores.  What with my writing and the daydreaming and the constant distractions, it’s a wonder she puts up with me!

But she truly is one in a million, and even though it feeds a part of my soul to fly away over the horizon, or feeds another part of my soul to detach myself from reality for awhile to dream up a fictional world, I’ve found that there’s always a part left behind, no matter how distant I am.

Needless to say, I couldn’t go do my job (at least without losing my mind) if I didn’t know there was someone I trusted implicitly keeping the home fires burning.  For every crazy writing idea she listens to, for every wild anecdote I have to share just this minute, for every raving lunatic scheme I conjure about our future, she’s there with a smile and a steady hand on the wheel.  And I love her for it.

Furnacegirl, I love ya babe! You’re my Jet City Woman!

Sorry.  πŸ˜€  Got carried away.  How ’bout we say enough of the dime-store romanticity (yes it’s a word!) and get down to business?  πŸ˜€ 

I had a relatively good week on the writing front.  After my long lay off, my unused writing muscles are starting to flex back into shape.  I banged out some #REN3 work, and I have a few flash fiction pieces to throw up next week and get your thoughts on.  And it’s a bit of a race against time since we head for Paris on Friday, but I think I can get it all done.  πŸ˜›

So, perhaps I should get off Blogger and go do some writing?  Waddaya think?  Well, here’s some News & Views that have been piling up to keep you entertained in the meantime.  And a nice video to follow…




Finally, to ready you for the weekend, some groovy 80’s Rock to usher in the good times!  Have a rockin’ weekend!

Many moons ago, long before I’d turned to writing fiction seriously, my creative life was an assorted patchwork of endeavors: music, poetry, film, a little bit of everything.  I even dabbled in live theater for awhile.  For two years I volunteered with a local theater company in Corpus Christi, Texas. 

My jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none background made me a pretty good fit for the local drama company.  I helped fit costumes, played music from time to time, designed programs, did what I could on the production side (I was a stage manager in high school), lead the band for a rockin’ production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, even acted in a couple productions.

During my time there, I had a lot of fun, and made many friends.  It was nice coming into the entry hall hours before a performance and hanging with the cast to chat things up, compare notes on the production, laugh at the lame jokes we all made, and wonder aloud whether that night’s house would be full or empty.  It was a wonderful piece of living, frankly, and after awhile, those folks became like a family to me.

But all good things come to an end.  I was moving to Austin, so my days with the theater were numbered.  One of the last events I participated in before the move was the yearly awards ceremony, where we recognized the best performances for the year, the best director, the best production–all the various accolades that could be heaped on volunteers who weren’t often gifted with professional-level talent, but more than made up for it with big, generous hearts and determined attitudes.

Speeches were given.  Songs were sung.  It was a great night, one to remember.

Fast forward a year.  I’d been away up at school but I got wind from a friend that the annual awards ceremony was coming up, and maybe I could make it down for a visit.  Why not? I thought.  What a great chance to see the old gang, catch up on all the news.  My girlfriend (now wife) and I drove down in great anticipation, dressed to the nines and thinking of all the great people we’d get to catch up with and with whom we could share some of our Austin adventures.

Now I know you’ve seen the scene dozens of times in movies and in books: MC is gone for a long time and returns home, only to discover it’s all changed.  Nothing is as it was.  You’da thunk I’d have seen it coming, but I didn’t.

We hardly knew a soul.  It seemed everywhere I looked, my gaze found the face of a stranger.  Where had all our old friends gone?  Who were these other people filling the audience seats and cheering?  I guess in the intervening year, some big corporate sponsor had been picked up, and the down-home, gee-whiz production values that had made the theater so beloved had been replaced by a slick, no-nonsense emcee in a tuxedo who kept smiling too much and doing his best Rock Hudson impression.

Many of the folks we knew had decided not to show up, perhaps because of these changes, or because they had, like us, moved on with their lives.  The actors and actresses who were there to accept awards seemed nice enough, but the whole event felt much more like a contest than a celebration.  Different winners were cheered by different factions of the audience, and some were even booed.  

What had they done with our theater?  MY theater?

I was in shock.  Really, it was so unexpected that we left mid-ceremony, stumbling out the front doors into the cool evening air like two refugees.  The vast parking lot felt like a maze; the flat edifice of the theater loomed over us in the darkness and looked unfamiliar and out of place.  We wandered around–me looking back over my shoulder again and again–until we found our car, climbed in and headed for the freeway.

Even now, thinking about it, I find the experience maddening, not only for the drastic changes that a year of rising suns had wrought on a group of people I thought I knew, but more so because I was naive enough to believe that they would all remain the same, together, as fun and creative and perfect as they still are in my memory.  Over the years, I’ve also come to wonder how much of it was real, and how much of it was simply an over-elaborate fiction in my head.

After a six-month hiatus from blogging, I wondered if, upon returning, I’d have the same experience I did with the theater.  Had people moved on?  Would people still remember me?

But I am pleasantly surprised.  Sure, a few things have changed.  I mean, of course they would, right?  But thankfully, much is the same.  Already, there are a few folks stopping in to say hello, and for every visit to one of the blogs I used to haunt, where I still find the prose crisp and the thoughts clear and inspiring, I smile a little bigger and mark it down as one more small victory.

Maybe what they say is true: you can never go home again.  But I’m not so sure.  Instead, I prefer Christian Morganstern’s view: “Home is not where you live but where they understand you.”

If that’s true, I’m ready to pull up a chair next to the fire and stay awhile.

On an unrelated note, the video below–which I couldn’t resist posting–is one of my favorite scenes from the movie Stranger Than Fiction.  It features Will Ferrell as the MC in a story being narrated by an author he can hear, who after a lifetime of not really living–or playing the guitar–finally starts to figure things out.  It’s a real classic in my book.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to stay groovy!

A quick lazy-Saturday post today.  A few household chores to do, but not much on my plate this afternoon, which is a nice change of pace.  :)

Here in Sicily, the puffy white clouds and hot North African winds are finally starting to yield to cooler temperatures, a welcome change from three-months of non-stop heat.  But the nights here are pretty nice year round.  Since we’re out in the country, the sky is a true sight to behold.  You can see miles and miles of stars spread about above your head, like scattered flecks of diamond dust adrift on a velvet black sea. 

Even though it’s cooling down during the day, it’s still hot enough for a swim, so we may take the kids down to the pool later this afternoon.  If I get a spare few moments, I may even have a look at my recent writing notes and see what’s what. Even during this last break, long as it was, I still couldn’t keep from making a few notes-to-self now and again.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to capturing story ideas and snippets, I’m a compulsive pack rat.  I jot scraps of dialogue, scene or story concepts, interesting words, character descriptions–you name it–down on slips of paper, or more commonly I type them ad hoc into the nearest MS Word-equipped computer.  With the various computers I use on a regular basis between work and home, things can get a little untidy after awhile–mostly because my filing system leaves something to be desired.  Kindle is also a good tool for keeping notes, and I use it voraciously.

So the writing job in front of me over the next few days is to scrounge through my collection and begin to decide where I’m gonna pick up again–a task I’m looking forward to with great anticipation.  πŸ˜€

I also wanted to pass the details of a contest I am planning to enter, and you may find of interest.

Esquire and Aspen Writers’ Association Short Short Fiction Contest

Win a trip to New York to study with Colum McCann, and a scholarship to the Aspen Summer Words Fiction Workshop. If you can beat Colum McCann (in 78 words). Starting now.

Deadline for submissions is October 7th.

Read more: http://shar.es/HTHIY

To get you through the balance of the weekend, I leave you with one of my favorite songs from the eighties.  Re-watching it this morning, I chuckled to see what passed muster for a music video way back when.

Have a great weekend, and stay groovy!

“I don’t care if it hurts,
I wanna have control,
I wanna perfect body,
I wanna perfect soul…”

–Radiohead, “Creep” (video at the end)

SO HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED: I stepped away from my computer for a second–seriously like for the space of time between when an eye starts to blink and the blink ends, and–BOOM!!  Like six months blew by!  No really.  I swear that’s how it happened.  Like some modern-day Rip Van Winkle, just waking from his nap.  I even had more wrinkles under my eyes and couldn’t remember a thing.  When I looked in the mirror, I looked like this guy:

Froot Loops, action figures and all.  Yeah, it’s a bit strange, isn’t it?  Maybe I was hungover.  Or ruffied….

*sheepish grin*

Doesn’t work for you?  Hmmm…OK….

WAIT!  So, OK, like six months ago I was going skateboarding in an abandoned mall parking lot in the middle of the night and this silver De Lorean–completely encrusted in electronic gewgaws and wires and all manner of piping–comes screaming out of nowhere and–WHISH!  The door opens and out pops this dude in a white lab coat talking all kinds of nonsense, something about going back in time and “1.21 jiggawatts” and stuff…and…and…

You’re not buying that either, huh?  Something tells me you’ve heard this story somewhere before.



Maybe I can’t ‘excuse’ my way out of this one.  But the trouble is the truth isn’t near as exciting.  Nope.  Not even close.

OK.  Fine.  I suppose it’s worth a try.  Here goes nothing!

HERE’S WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: I wanted to be a good blogger.  Yep.  That’s it.  No.  Strike that.  I wanted to be a great blogger, a d**n fine blogger–the best blogger on the block, on the continent, on the planet even!!  I wanted to be the Michelangelo of Blogging, to have people marvel at my jokes, go on about my stories, share my witticisms the same way they might share gossip at a cocktail party.

I wanted a perfect blog.

There’s only one problem with that idea, as this chart shows succinctly:

When you get right down to it, I’m a pretty competitive fella, see.  So you probably know where this story is going.

Every time I saw something cool that someone else was doing, I wanted to do it too.  I wanted more mentions and more followers and more accolades and more cool ideas and more pageviews and more comments than anybody else.  And that takes time and work and effort and most of all: more time.

So I kept writing posts and putting them up, writing posts and putting them up, wondering as I was going along Why in Fonzi’s Name I couldn’t find time to write, and somehow it never hit me.

And yeah–you know where this is going!–it got ugly.  Really.  Ugly.

Pretty soon I was swaggering around the house in a bathrobe, over-sized Lightning McQueen slippers–the ones with the flashy little lightning bolts on them!–wearing a beekeepers hat and two gallons of “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” Commemorative Cologne, packing an Old Milwaukee in one hand and swinging a riding crop in the other, screaming Alfred Lord Tennyson quotes at the top of my lungs like the lead singer of that now defunct Eighties band, Cinderella.

Wow!  I, uh, I, I really liked those guys!

Well, maybe I’m overstating this a little, but the bottom line is I lost track of things.  And with trying to top everyone else and myself, I got plain old BURNT OUT.  I didn’t understand what was happening to me at the time, and it’s even kinda hard for me to admit it now, but that’s the truth.  And for my REAL writing life, a similar fate.

We have a term for this problem in the military: mission creep.  You start out thinking your mission is to do one thing, but slowly other tasks get added on, creep in, and then a few more and a few more, until what you’ve signed yourself up for is basically impossible.

If we run real fast, I think we could get airborne, EVEN with a full bomb load.

And like they say, difficult we do tomorrow.  Impossible may take a while.

But yeah, I’m back.  For now.  Not quite sure yet in what capacity.  I’m still getting my wits about me.  And it is quite clear I need to revisit my reason(s) for maintaining this blog, and how it serves my greater writing and creative needs, as well as what I owe to all of you.

So, I’m putting on my thinking cap.  Thinking.  Thinking.  Thinking.  Thinking…

In the meantime, enjoy this oh so awesome video from one of my favorite bands, Radiohead.  Oh yeah: stay groovy too!!  We’ll be seeing you soon.