The Importance of Good Grammar

In the age of self-publishing, and the ease with which anyone can be a writer and publish his/her own work on Amazon and the like, we find ourselves both blessed and cursed. On one hand, it’s great because anyone who’s ever wanted to write can do so. And be heard. On the other, there is no QA for the work.

Listen, I’m not trying to criticize any particular writer here. I’m sure we all have fine stories. And I applaud everyone who self-publishes for seeing it through, for writing terrible drafts and making them better until they finally have a product they feel is ready for readers! That’s the process we all take as writers. My first manuscripts were pretty horrific. But that was because I didn’t know much about storytelling. The grammar, on the other hand, has to be there.

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Posted on August 16th, 2013 · No Responses
Categories: rant
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The Fear of a Not-So-Scary Movie

I suffered through a horror movie last night, because someone very special to me told me it was the scariest movie of all time. He had never been more scared by a movie than this one. All right! Well, considering the source, I had no reason to doubt him. I’m sure, in fact, that he was being completely honest. However, comma, I don’t think he’s seen many movies in his life. He is, after all, only thirteen.

But I’m not really here to rip on the movie, though it did suck pretty badly. Like a brand new purple Dyson. In fact, I wasn’t scared of creeped-out even one time during the entire film. Not even startled by the Dolby shocks. Seriously. I’m not bragging here. When I watch a ‘scary movie’ I want to be scared. I want to wake up with nightmares when I go to bed. I want the horrifying images I’ve seen on the screen to haunt my waking days for the next week. I want to be terrified. The Possession didn’t even come close.

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Posted on August 13th, 2013 · No Responses
Categories: rant, review
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Walking the Tightrope

So many times my red-haired wife will come home and tell me about news stories she’s read or heard, and I’m always surprised. I don’t read news sites. I don’t watch TV, so I never see the news there. I don’t believe in newspapers. I mean, I’ve seen evidence of them before, but I just really don’t believe in them. Too much like bigfoot. A lot of hearsay and no real proof. And I really don’t listen to any news-bearing stations on the radio. So I guess you could suffice it to say that I don’t really keep up with current events.

I was sitting on the couch today, getting ready for my mid-afternoon nap when I suddenly had the urge to turn on the ole telly. I have one of those real old-school ones that’s not LED or 3D or 4K or any of that. It’s just a simple 1080p LCD. Remember back when those used to be cool? Anyway, I looked through the list of recorded shows – all the Doc McStuffins and Good Luck Charlie and various other Disney crap we record for my daughter – past my Ultimate Treehouses and Treehouse Masters, you know, the good stuff. And I found Nik Wallenda – Walking the Tight Rope.

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Posted on July 27th, 2013 · No Responses
Categories: rant
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I almost died in a horse fire.

Fourteen years, guys. FOURTEEN EFFING YEARS this site has been up and running. And that doesn’t include the slash tilde days before I even had a domain name. You know how long that is? That’s long enough to have a child, watch it grow up through the diaper and talking-back phase and hit puberty. That’s long enough to own a dog, watch it grow old and have to put it down. That’s long enough to own several cars. In short, that’s a long ass time.

Maybe you would think that should mean I have a thousand columns on here. Well keep in mind, that during the early days of the site I had up to six writers at a time (including myself) sending in columns for their publication. So I didn’t write every day. But if you count all those columns other writers wrote, and all the columns I trimmed off as being no longer relevant, plus all the four hundred fifty something I have currently, yeah, you get real close to a thousand columns.
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Posted on July 22nd, 2013 · No Responses
Categories: news
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SpaceBrew Review: Bangs & Whimpers

This book, Bangs & Whimpers: Stories About the End of the World is a collection of short stories by different authors. Most of these stories were written some fifty to sixty years ago. It includes passages from all the greats – from Arthur C. Clarke to Robert Heinlein, Neil Gaiman to Isaac Asimov. I’ve owned it for many years now, but have somehow never gotten around to reading it, until now.

I started it several nights ago, longing for the feel of a paper book in my hands after nearly a year of nothing but audio and electronic books. I just finished it. And let me tell you: if you are in the mood to be depressed, pick up a copy of this volume and give a go. Dear Lord.

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Posted on July 12th, 2013 · No Responses
Categories: review
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The Tree House Bar

I’ve been thinking a lot about tree houses lately. I’m not sure why this is. But Stavi and I have been sitting out on the driveway drinking beer and looking up at my massive trees in my front yard, and it has come to our attention that those are some damn fine tree house trees. I’ve been thinking, therefore, that maybe we should construct a tree house up in one of them there trees.

I’ve long been obsessed with awesome tree houses, and used to try to build them all the time when I was a kid. I was also always jealous of those friends of mine who had really nice ones. My Pop built me a helluvatuff fort when I was a kid. My sister and I had our own two-storey house in the backyard. But it wasn’t a tree house. There’s just a difference. Maybe a tree house can be hidden in the trees. Heck, I even wrote a poem about a tree house when I was younger. Don’t hate.

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Posted on July 11th, 2013 · 2 Responses
Categories: diary
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Here be Space: Collector of Collections

I’ve been home since Saturday. But I’m still getting used to it. Like I said before, it feels like I’ve been in a different airport (and hotel) every week. And indeed, I pretty much have. It’s nice to get home and know you’ll be staying there for at least a little while. Our next trip isn’t scheduled until August, so I have at least a month here before I have to use a suitcase again. Gah, I’m so tired of putting stuff into suitcases.

But you know what I’ve found about being back in the house? Well, besides the fact that when you’ve been gone for a week you get to see what your house actually smells like. I’ve found that it’s too big. You know, 7500 square feet can just get overwhelming for a guy like me. No, seriously it’s only about 2500 square feet, but when you’re home alone, it feels like a whole helluva bunch of wasted space. Of course, when you’ve been living out of a suitcase in a hotel room every other week, you start realizing that you’re doing just fine without all your big luscious space. And furthermore, all your stuff.

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Posted on July 10th, 2013 · No Responses
Categories: diary
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The Sunset Beach Diaries, 2013, Pt 2

Well, we made it back. Sigh. I have to take a few deep breaths. Seriously. A week on the beach is hard work. Another deep breath. I’m going to convince you that it’s hard work, and then you’ll see why I’m taking so many deep breaths. Breathe. And then maybe you’ll also see why I am so happy to be home, while at the same time looking forward to going again next year. Deep breath. It’s very hard work. And I didn’t even take my laptop this year!

Historically, I have traveled with only the bare necessities when it comes to technology and electronics. For instance, my laptop backpack would have in it only the things I needed for the week: computer, netbook, tablet, SD card case with several spare SD cards, an SD card reader (or two), two of every kind of cable I might possibly need, spare styli, a couple of blank CDs, a USB light, screen wipes, my 3G hotspot and every possible dongle, cable and connection I might ever need or want to plug into my computer while I’m there. Seriously, what happens if I take a bunch of pictures on my D-SLR and didn’t bring a card reader to transfer them to the computer, and I lose the camera? Well, simply put, I lose the pictures.

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Posted on July 8th, 2013 · 4 Responses
Categories: travel diary
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Lest Ye Be Judged…

The church I attend is spread across two campuses. I go to the North Campus. Not sure why I capitalized that, but there you are. It wasn’t always like that, though. Not the capitalization thing, the two campuses thing. There used to only be one campus. It was the South Campus. But of course, back when it was the only one, it wasn’t called the South Campus. Or the south campus. Or even the campus. It was just called the church. And if I capitalize that, you’ll start thinking of Under the Milky Way.

Anyway, the point is that when it used to be just one building, and that’s where I went, I was married to a different woman than I am now. I have nothing negative to say about my ex-wife. She’s a lovely gal. We just weren’t meant for each other like I used to think. When we went through our divorce, which was one of the most difficult times I’ve ever gone through, I stopped attending that church. I also lost forty-five pounds. That should tell you how stressful it was, and – therefore – how seriously I took it. I hate divorce, and can often be heard saying I don’t believe in it. But that’s a whole other column.

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Posted on July 7th, 2013 · 2 Responses
Categories: diary
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The Sunset Beach Diaries, 2013 Edition

We got up at 3:45 yesterday morning. That’s not the impressive part though. We had gone to bed at close to midnight the night before, and then lay mostly awake through those very few hours trying to sleep through the sound of the dog clock in the neighbor’s yard. This dog literally barked once per second for over an hour. A true canus tempus. I wanted to kill him in the face. But we were energized by vacationalistic excitement, and thus were able to get up with no problems. Then I set about to making Bloody Marys for all of the day’s travelers. Well, except for the kids, of course. Duh. They drink whiskey sours.

By 5:15 we were on the shuttle (all seven of us) heading for the airport. At the end of the three-hour flight, the stewardess announced congratulations for Bret and Danae who are getting married on the beach. I know. Copycats, right? They’re even getting married on the same slice of beach as we did nearly four years ago. Major rolleyes. But then the flight attendant had us do the wave. Very nice.

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Posted on July 1st, 2013 · 2 Responses
Categories: travel diary
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