Monday, September 18, 2017

Sweet Time at the Beach



Earlier this month I visited my current favorite place on earth, North Carolina’s Outer Banks along the United States’ east coast. Meeting the sunrise with camera in hand is a favorite way to start my day there. Early on I found that another beachgoer didn’t have quite the enjoyment expected. The photo made my sweets addicted partner sad.




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Saturday, September 16, 2017

RIP Harry Dean Stanton



The loss of actor Harry Dean Stanton saddened me last night, but I’m thankful he acted to the end of his ninety-one years. And he seemed to have gone peacefully as possible, of natural causes.

Today my partner sent an article that included an embedded movie trailer of his last project. It’s titled “Lucky”, and is the directorial debut of another excellent actor by the name of John Carroll Lynch. I wish all involved the best success with what looks like a bittersweet treasure of an independent film.

To all of Mr. Stanton’s loved ones, my heart goes out to you. May he rest in peace.

Check out this movie trailer!


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Friday, September 1, 2017

Emerson Barrett's Art



I decided to share more artwork by drummer and artist Emerson Barrett of Palaye Royale. This length of rolled paper hangs in their tour bus, with another ten feet coiled on the floor. This is a screen shot from video shared the other day.

Look at This Detail
Talk About Being Painted into a Corner!

I Want These Shoes

Would you wear these shoes? I think they deserve a display box.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

My New Obsession


I’m having entirely too much fun looking up videos and images of the band Palaye Royale. Drummer Emerson, the prominent pen and ink artist among the brothers, has become one of my writing muses.

No Mischief Happening Here...
Nope
There is nothing like seeing someone doing what he or she enjoys. Rock on, Emerson!

Livin' the Dream
He is just way too cool. Check out this below from a lyrics book. He also doodles this amazing art on walls.

Lyrics to 'Don't Feel Quite Right'
Mom would have approved of the hats. ~grin~ But he even looks adorable with 'bed head'.

I Wouldn't Mind Waking to This...
Guess I have a new obsession, huh?

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Seat on the Council



Sebastion, Remington, and Emerson Are Palaye Royale

The band Palaye Royale has me so hooked that I listen to ‘Boom Boom Room (Side A)’ every single day now and yesterday joined their street team promotional Facebook group known as the Royal Council. Since I already shared their (awesome) official video for 'Mr. Doctor Man', I’ve provided links to one of their fun little promotional clips and an impromptu acoustic performance below.

For those of you who cannot watch videos due to a lack of time, your employer’s permission, data capacity (sorry, my cynical sailor’s sidekick ~hugs~), or what have you, let me tell you a little about the boys.

Emerson, Remington, and Sebastion are three brothers born in Canada and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. Palaye Royale is pronounced 'pal-ay roy-al'. They took that name from the dance hall in Toronto where their grandparents met.

(Isn’t that sweet? I adore origin stories like this.)

Their album’s sound has classic rock influences with a punk sensibility and (I think) a hint of rockabilly. The ‘Side A’ in the title comes from the fact the brothers first intended to release thirty songs, believe it or not. Lucky for us, ‘Side B’ should be out by year’s end.

Not only is their music great, their fashion sense is awesome. And I have to say that Remington’s smoky voice really shines in the acoustic version of ‘Ma Chérie’.

Now I just need to convince their tour manager to book a gig or two at Cincinnati Ohio’s 20th Century Theater. Built in 1941, the building’s Neoclassical Moderne architecture was made for their fashion-art rock style. The venue’s fabulous sound and intimate space are amazing, too.


Do you think I can convince them to play a four hundred person capacity theater? I mean, heck, if they'll play in an equipment trailer, why not?


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Monday, August 28, 2017

Feeling Ducky



A friend sent me a video featuring rescued ducks, which got me to thinking about colorful North American phrases that feature those amazing fowl. They include my title, 'feeling ducky', which means a person is in good spirits.

While I don’t know the derivation or origin, I cannot picture an angry duck except in cartoon form. And Daffy sure can pull a snit! ~grin~ Seriously, do a search on ‘Daffy Duck angry’. It’s a hoot. That boy needs to relax.

There’s another phrase I heard in childhood that indicates a person tackled a task or skill with ease – 'like a duck taking to water'. Or when someone doesn’t allow a bad situation or insult (et al.) to bother them they let it go 'like water off a duck’s back'.

If you want to watch the (quite short) video, I will warn you that the music gets a bit tedious. But the footage is amazing.


Do you know of any other phrases that feature ducks? I imagine the fabulous birds get prominent mention in many languages.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

New Music!



I am a recent media socialite (is that a phrase?) and signed up for Instagram a few weeks ago. Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe fame is one of the artists I follow. The bass player and lyricist extraordinaire never stagnates, always looking for the next artistic outlet. He also stays alert for musicians to promote.

Palaye Royale
And I am extremely grateful to him for introducing me to the group Palaye Royale. A little lighter than my usual listen of late, the album ‘Boom Boom Room’ is playing as I type and I’m liking the sound. A lot.

They consider themselves a concept band according to Nikki, but I agree with his opinion that their sound transcends that description. Check out this great video:


I should see them live, shouldn’t I?

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Cheerful Nihilism



A Facebook friend of mine, whom I’ve known for years through a fanfiction website, shared a post from a group called Cheerful Nihilism. Enjoying the black humor I couldn’t help noting a typo. ‘Though’ should have been ‘through’.

Bless Amanda’s heart, she ‘corrected’ it for me. And she remarked that reading friends’ stories checking for errors makes it hard not to notice them. I had to smile even wider.


Does this make you feel better or worse?

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

New Flooring and an Opportunistic Cat



Our neighbor owns his own flooring business. So my partner, out of the blue, decided to contract him to replace our aged linoleum in the foyer.


Old Floor
Weathered Wood Look
 
A Close-Up
The evening before we emptied the closet. And Jezebel made the most of it.

Peekaboo
 Which do you prefer, carpet or hard floors?  

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Things My Mother Taught Me


Somehow, I volunteered to say a few words at my mother's upcoming memorial service. It remains to be seen if I can get through the roughly minute and a half long speech, but here's what I wrote Saturday afternoon.


Things My Mother Taught Me
 
Comedian Christopher Titus once said, “Mothers give you knowledge. Fathers make you earn it.” Well, I don’t know about that because my father still offers good advice. But there are many things Mom specifically passed along, either by word or deed.

One. You’re never too old for crayons.

Two. Hats are cool no matter what anybody says.

Three. If you can’t remember your new friend’s name, ask her to spell it. Of course, that only works if it’s unusual. But to this day I remember my friend Lanita, wherever she may be.

Four. Hair accessories never go out of style.

Five. Christmas tree tinsel is a seasonal hair accessory.

And something I never thought about until a cherished friend brought it up is that Mom played music with her whole heart. She didn’t let the occasional slip up derail her joy. So don’t worry about being a perfectionist. Well, unless it’s a Buehler's Kitchen Corner pizza for the display case or a church salad luncheon sign.

Last but not least, I’d like to share my favorite scripture, which I’ll paraphrase. It sums up two of the most important things both Mom and Dad instilled, even if I’m not always a good example of them.

It’s from the book of Proverbs. ‘Two things I ask of thee, O Lord, deny them not to me before I die. Remove far from me falsehood and lying. And give me neither poverty, nor riches, lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I steal, and defy my God.’

My mother was extremely honest, and she was ever generous. Thanks, Mom.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Can You Name This Film?


Guilty Pleasures and a Geeky Moment



My modern life is a bit archaic. I don’t carry a smart phone. Our only television is an ancient, ridiculously heavy flat screen. And until we upgrade to a high definition TV, we don’t subscribe to Netflix. We still rent DVD’s out of the Redbox, in fact.

Our last two rentals were the John Wick movies. I enjoyed them. The fact Keanu Reeves isn’t a spoiled jerk of a celebrity doesn’t hurt any. Last night we watched ‘Chapter Two’.

From the start we enjoyed little inside jokes from the first film. One is brief mention of a fight scene we never see in either flick, sort of folklore among Russian mobsters. The allegation is that John Wick once killed three men in a bar using a pencil.

Well, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I turned to my partner and said, “Yeah. But was it a number two pencil?”

The immediate response (and reason I adore this person): “That’s right. Number one lead is much harder.”

We had to stop the movie. It took several minutes for me to stop laughing.

Here are some little known facts about the film if you’re interested. I sure hope future plans pan out.

Have you seen the John Wick films?

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I Write, Therefore I Am



Yesterday my partner told my father in a text message that I sleep in like a teenager. Sleeping until 7:30 or even 8 am doesn’t seem that bad to me, especially compared to my late teenaged habits.

At first intending to defend myself, I decided not to waste the time. After all, I had better things to do. 

That’s when it hit me. I don’t act like a teenager. I’m acting like a writer.

Occasionally I Write Here
I spend nearly every waking moment possible at the keyboard either polishing a tale or storytelling anew. How many folks forget to eat on a semi regular basis until nauseating hunger strikes?

(Okay, I skipped many meals as a self absorbed teen, as well. But some of that was to save lunch money for buying books.)

This is Where I'm Typing This Blog Post
Anyway, I would say that easily a third of my overall sustenance is devoured out of a sandwich bag so dining doesn’t impinge upon writing time more than necessary. Just yesterday I gulped a piece of fruit out of a bag while standing in the kitchen so as not to waste precious seconds cutting my peach into a bowl. The same can be said for those microwaveable burritos that hooked me for a while.

(Who needs a fork?)

Wanted to Write Here (Lacked the Time and it was HOT)
As for those in my family who do rise at 5am (for no good reason, I might add), it’s guaranteed not a single soul stayed up the night before until two o’clock trying to get one more paragraph perfected before succumbing to exhaustion. My partner will admit to seldom spending more than five minutes reading an online article.

Of course videos are a different story. In fact I’m hearing a string of them play in the next room while I type. Meanwhile, I’ve often polished a ten thousand plus word short story in one sleepless stretch.

The View from My Dining Table/ Frequent Desk

Yeah. Don’t wake me before six am unless you’re taking me fishing. Sad to say that hasn’t happened in years. ~sigh~ Oh, well. Maybe one of these days…

What pleasant obsession is occupying your August?

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Disco Demolition



It’s obvious to the most casual acquaintance that I like music, and my tastes gravitate toward rock and roll. Heck, I was raised on it alongside a sprinkling of Dad’s preferred Johnny Cash or The Oak Ridge Boys, some of Mom’s golden oldies thrown in for good measure. Hearing The Man in Black covering a Nine Inch Nails tune still makes me delirious with joy.

Disco, on the other hand, curdles my blood. Always has. I don’t denigrate the talent of its performers, but please do not make me listen. When my favorite podcasters Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant covered the topic on Stuff You Should Know I struggled a little not to shut it off when they sampled the music. And my eyes glazed over hearing the litany of mostly unfamiliar artists’ names (not a good thing when you’re driving, I might add).

I did learn some interesting facts, of course, about the history and whatnot. For example, during that era the number of disparate artists across vastly different genres trying their hand at the campy style blew my mind.

Really, Dolly? How could you?

My favorite part was learning about the so-called death of disco in Chicago, Illinois. I was ten years old at the time and never heard a peep. You can bet I would have cheered at that tender age had I known. However, flinging vinyl at peoples’ heads and tearing up a baseball field were egregious acts.

You can watch the clip if you’re interested. It’s not terribly long and quite fascinating.


Had you heard about this raucous event in 1979? Would you have attended?

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Book Review of Black and White by Nick Wilford



Let me start by saying that my book allowance has dropped considerably in the wake of blessed early retirement. So imagine my delight when author and fellow blogger Nick Wilford offered followers an advanced read copy of his book ‘Black and White’, the first in his YA trilogy.


I first found the writer/editor and his story through the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. Every day’s entry introduced readers to either characters or aspects of the ‘Black and White’ universe. I found it all quite intriguing.

And the book itself did not disappoint. I wanted more, but that’s a good sign for a series. As a youth I would have found Nick’s world provided welcome escapism. This adult found the book’s editing impeccable, one of the finest examples I can point to these days (good promotion for his freelance editing services, if you ask me!).

Even having a good notion of the plot beforehand I found myself surprised by some of its aspects. Help and hindrance to the main characters did not always come from the expected directions. I enjoyed getting to know Wellesbury Noon and Ezmerrelda Dontible (great names, no?), too.

At $1.99 (US), ‘Black & White’ is a bargain. You can pre-order on Amazon here (for the United States) and here (in the UK). I hope you’ll give this new twist on dystopia a chance.

Be sure to check back next month for Nick Wilford’s guest post! So, what are you reading this summer?

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

And Now for Something Completely Different



No, this isn’t about Monty Python, though I adore their comedy. This is all about the music, baby, another thing I geek over. Check out Avenged Sevenfold’s rhythm guitarist taking over vocals for a punk rock version of ‘Runaway’ with Warren Fitzgerald’s amazing contribution.

I’m sharing this every which way I can imagine. Enjoy!

 

Here's Del Shannon and company's great original:




Do you like remakes?
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Monday, August 7, 2017

Ex-ing Exposition



Opening a story yesterday afternoon provided quite a surprise. For some reason, I noticed for the first time after several passes that the opening included a straight five hundred forty-two words of exposition. Whew! Not good.

It certainly gave me a goal. And I’m pleased to say that before evening arrived the important bits became part of a much more interesting telephone conversation between the narrator and her father. That dialog already existed, just in a shorter format with less tension.

They were disagreeing, after all. So the rewrite makes me feel better on many levels. Meanwhile, father and daughter are working things out. ~grin~ The widower dotes on her.

I also made sure not to delete the original exposition, saving it in a different file. As fellow writers say (or lament) again and again, never toss out anything you've written.

What little achievement made your weekend?

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Blast from the Past



Every now and then I find myself missing the refreshing taste of Zima. First marketed in 1994, the malt liquor held immense appeal to this Gen X gal.

Production ended in 2008 yet I still recall the crisp citrus kick. Imagine my surprise when a stroll into a local wine and beer vendor displayed a stack of Zima six packs standing just shy of my five foot two inch frame.

My partner and I brought one home. The taste remained excellent. We treasured each bottle, limiting ourselves to one each per day.

Today we tried to get more at a different store and learned they were cleaned out with no more expected. I picked up the phone and called the place we found it first. The gal told me they had a few six packs left. She laughed when I said we were on our way.

We cleaned them out.

Crisp Ambrosia
Did you ever drink Zima back in the day?

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Day Two Without Mom



It seems Mom sent me a comforting dream. ~grin~ It went back twenty-five years, our whole clan celebrating Christmas in the old house. I sat talking to my five-year-old nephew who now has a military career and four kids. His father (ever the clown) modeled a coat decorated to make him look like a Christmas tree (didn't happen but made my dream self laugh). My currently estranged brother and his now ex-wife arrived late on a wave of good cheer.

All those hugs felt so real. Crazy stuff, but left me feeling good.

So did Dad's email response to my obituary. He wrote, “Perfectly done, that's what writers are good at.” His certainty could not be more heartwarming.

Rest in Peace, Mom
On a random fun note, via Instagram I learned another rocker celebrated a birthday yesterday. So Happy Belated Birthday to M. Shadows, lead singer of Avenged Sevenfold!

Rock On, My Lovely
I’m slowly dipping more toes into the social media pool. Do you have an Instagram account?

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Monday, July 31, 2017

A Sad Bit of Irony


After I posted about the birthday of favored guitarist John 5 my big brother called with difficult news. Our mother, who endured a long battle with sickening health and declining cognitive faculties, did not survive her latest surgery repairing a PICC line insertion.

This is almost a relief, I’m blessed to say. I can’t remember when she felt well. She is survived by her husband and four kids, as well as more loving friends than I dare name.

I even heard from an old acquaintance I couldn’t resist contacting. My first love seemed deserving of the knowledge and sent email lavishing her with praise.

Thank you, Dad, for doing the best you could. And to all those who provided therapy, care, and support – bless you.

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Happy Birthday, John 5



I’ve been fortunate to live in a part of the United States loaded with great concert venues. I can’t begin to list all the shows I’ve gotten to see. But seeing Rob Zombie on tour stands out in mind as the incredible guitarist John 5 celebrates his birthday today.

Happy Birthday, Dude!

During one unforgettable solo he actually played guitar with his face. How cool is that? John 5 has done amazing work with Marilyn Manson, too, which is where I first heard his playing. I learned of his birthday thanks to Rob Zombie’s Instagram page.

Rob Z and John 5 Tearing Up the Stage
Keep rockin’, Rob and John. You guys are awesome. Here you can read a short interview with the down-to-earth musician from 2014.



Have you heard of John 5? His styles range far outside heavy metal. Having read the article above I may have to buy at least one of his solo releases.

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Fonts Matter – Part Two



Yesterday’s humorous discovery led to another great tell about how lettering makes a difference. Check this out and tell me you don’t get a different vibe between the two.



Did you ‘hear’ the two notes read with a different internal voice?

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Fonts Matter



My partner found something amusing today. I just had to share.


What’s you favorite type of humor?

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Why I Hate Heroin and Love the Nineties

I have a tendency toward falling into adoration for great television shows about to be canceled and, worse, talented people after they have passed beyond the mortal coil. Fitting examples include Japanese drummer Kami of Malice Mizer and the wonderful comedian Mitch Hedburg.

Today I wish to honor the latter with a brief early video. Enjoy.


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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Day of the Dog



I grew up calling the hottest days of the year the ‘dog days of summer’, which I thought simply referenced those smart pets lying low to keep cool. The story is much more interesting.

Forget the Heat, We're Rockin' in the A/C

Our term derives from the Latin dies caniculares, or ‘puppy days’, referencing the rising of the dog star Sirius alongside the sun. I thank Wikipedia for that information, including the cool word ‘heliacal’ meaning ‘related to or near the sun’.

The ‘Blood Moon’ novelette series I’m working on includes a tale called The Dog Days of Summer. I find it rather fitting as the Greeks and Romans associated this period of the year with lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. My characters sure endure plenty of that last.

In a converse bit of good luck the weather on my back porch today is quite temperate. I plan to enjoy writing out here as long as it stays cool. It will be nice when autumn lowers the heat index. My backyard is nothing special but does provide a secluded and overall peaceful place to write.

What’s your favorite way to spend a nice day?

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Dream a Little Dream of Me


Thinking of a fabulous experience the other night I couldn’t resist referencing the classic tune, a favorite by sixties group The Mamas and The Papas. That aside, what I want to share is that I’m often blessed by fantastic dreams. More than one has turned into a short story.



Science fiction or fantasy, every now and then delving into world history, the scenarios sometimes play out like a movie. Thursday night I had one so intense that my dream self stood crying in the midst of watching (reading?) a tragic romance.

That one begged to be written. As of now I’m up to chapter three and on the cusp of making the main character’s life change for the better.

It’s been really fun, as well as emotionally moving at times, fleshing out the details. Yesterday I researched what one should do upon finding a suicide survivor bleeding out from slit wrists. Yeah. It’s intense.

I’m thankful to have never been on either side of such tragedy. But my character Tyler has, and is about to find a reason to live again. I can hardly wait to keep going. For now I decided to go back to polishing my fantasy series, letting ideas percolate on where to take ‘Submerged’ next. It’s a working title I may keep as Tyler is a former competitive swimmer forced to quit after a debilitating accident.

And that’s not even what brought him so low! The loss of his spouse to cancer undermined his will, so I guess I shouldn’t let him languish too long. ~grin~ Better get back to writing!

Any new projects have you excited?


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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

News on the Feline Front



We got official word back from the veterinarian. Tilly has a bladder infection. I’m actually relieved considering the possibilities.

Apparently it’s bacterial, meaning I’ll be giving her a liquid antibiotic for the next two weeks. We’ll see how that goes. Then she goes back for another urinalysis. Wish us luck.

I was going to post a picture of the sweet, silly cat. But Blogger seems to be having technical issues. At least my kitty should recover. Maybe the messy water play will end, too.

What are you thankful for today?
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