Monday, August 18, 2014

Waiting on The Bolt (Again)!




Just what is "The Bolt", one might ask. Is it some new superhero? A new "Monster"-style drink, chock full of caffeine goodness?

Well....no.

Some may know it by it's more common name. "The Muse".

My problem is, though, I hate calling it "The Muse".....it's just too....'Xanadu' for me, ya know?

Not that I didn't like the movie Xanadu or anything like that...I just don't want to put the picture of a roller skating, 1980s era, mythological movie creature out there when I'm trying to describe the creative process. And, invariably, when I mention a muse, I think of Olivia Newton John. Not that there's anything, AT ALL,  wrong with thinking of the lovely songstress, I just don't want to distract anyone.....including myself.

No, I prefer to call the process of trying to be creative "The Bolt". You know, like lightning. Something that strikes quickly, out of the blue, and makes your hair stand on end. That twenty-one gigawatts that really gets the creative juices flowing.

Well, that's how I look at it.

Sometimes my wife will ask me what I'm doing when I'm reclining back in my desk chair with my eyes closed, hands on my head and feet propped up. I'll tell her that "I'm waiting for The Bolt".

The reason I even bring up the silly concept of The Bolt is because it struck me hard a few days ago. I'm not talking twenty-one gigawatts, even. More like one hundred and five gigawatts. What little hair I have on my head did stand up on end and my bloodshot eyes twinkled like a couple of fireflies.

I won't reveal the particulars here, but I gave a hint on my Twitter  feed a couple of days ago.

Here's a hint....it has absolutely nothing to do with me trying to grow a beard. If it pans out, though, it could really give me a leg up with this years, NaNoWriMo!

Sticks a metal pole out the window, waiting for the next visit from The Bolt!

Friday, August 15, 2014

So Long and Thank You....

I usually don't do posts like this, but I thought it fitting given, my fondness for movies and television shows of bygone days, to share some memories of two Hollywood greats.

This past week, we lost two amazing talents. Both can be remembered for superb movie and television roles. They were masters of their craft....one with amazing improvisational and comedic abilities and, the other, a smoldering, dramatic, leading lady who just oozed "class".

On a more personal level, I've always been a fan of them both and will always remember them for helping to make my life just that much brighter.


It was 1978, I think, and you probably couldn't find a bigger fan of the show Happy Days than a little, blonde headed, ten year old me. If it was Tuesday at 8pm, you could bet our t.v. was tuned to ABC to watch Fonzie, Richie, Mr. and Mrs "C" and the whole gang bring back the 1950s in true, situational comedic, style. This particular episode featured an alien character....Mork from Ork....who wanted to take "humdrum" Richie back to Ork for further study. Of course, it was up to the Fonz to save Richie and that meant going toe to toe with Mork. In reality, it's said that it was more like Henry Winkler trying to keep a straight face while working with Robin Williams at his manic best.

It was my first look at a young Williams and, to be sure, not my last. They gave the Mork from Ork character his own spinoff show....Mork and Mindy. I was totally on board and loved this one almost as much as Happy Days. The more I watched Williams work, the more I came to appreciate his rapid fire wit, sense of humor, and ability to tie it all together to make us laugh. It wasn't soon after that Williams started getting more and more movie roles. From Popeye...a film I didn't care for, but also believe that no one but Williams could have pulled off....to Good Morning Viet Nam to Hook to Aladdin to Good Will Hunting, Williams continued to impress me with his range as an actor.

Robin Williams was one of those "one of a kind" type performers. Before he burst onto the scene you hadn't seen anyone like him and, now that he's gone, I'm certain you'll never see anyone like him again.

Rest in Peace Mr. Williams and thank you for the laughs.





The other loss, in fact it happened just the day after Robin Williams' death, was that of Lauren Bacall.

The first time I ever saw Bacall was in a commercial which I can't, for the life of me, remember the product. I do remember thinking how gorgeous she was, even though well into her late 50s/early 60s. This was a time before I started getting into old movies, so I hadn't yet grown to appreciate her for anything more than a pretty face.

Mrs. Bogart and Mrs. DiMaggio
Then I saw, I think it was, Key Largo and that was it. I was a bit smitten. I could see how Bogie could fall for a dame like that. In her younger years she was downright beautiful. A gorgeous face, alluring eyes, and that voice....wow. Bogie ranks up there with Joe DiMaggio as far as "famous guys who married WAY up" go, in my book.

I saw Bacall in many roles after Key Largo and was always impressed by her range of emotions and how she could just draw me into any film she did. She was smooth, cool, and always struck me as someone who was just in love with acting. She was a fashion icon and did everything with such flair.

I also think, as she got older, she wasn't afraid to try new types of roles...even if they were on television. She did a two-parter on The Rockford Files and even ventured into animated work, voicing a character not only on a new Scooby Doo movie, but also on Family Guy.

As the song said, she really did "have it all". Rest in peace Ms. Bacall, old Hollywood will be that much poorer for it's loss and you will be missed.





Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IWSG: August, 2014.



The IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and it's purpose is to give writers a place to vent their insecurities as well as comfort fellow writers in their own. This month's co-hosts are Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom. Thanks guys and gals!

Usually when I sit down to write my IWSG post, just after I remember it's the first Wednesday of the month, I sit here staring at a blank screen for a good while.

Not this month, no siree.

This idea came to me just after writing last month's post and it revolves not around the practice of writing as much as what I'm writing.

When I first did National Novel Writing Month, I was really jazzed. I was going to write my novel and take a huge step towards being a "real" writer. I flew by the seat of my pants, determined to finish and "win" (which I did) with my over 50k word count. When I was done, I was really proud of myself. Seriously. I don't do much in the way of patting myself on the back, but in this I did. I proudly told my wife I had finished and, I think, she was just as proud of me as I was.

Then it happened.

We were down at her brother's house and she proudly told him and his wife that I had written a novel.

He seemed genuinely impressed (Mike's a great guy, very laid back and supportive) and then asked me THE question.

"What's it about?"

Right then, it all collapsed in on me. Not that I hadn't really expected this question....I did...I just didn't expect my own reaction to it.

Growing up reading comic books and being interested in sci-fi/fantasy had ingrained in me a certain reaction by others (mainly my parents and extended family) when I told them of my hobbies. You may know what I mean. That eye rolling, smirking, "Oh, that...." response that "normal" people give when they ask what sorts of things you were into. Because, if it's not related to sports or watching sports on t.v. or going to sporting events, it really doesn't "count" and isn't, really, socially acceptable.

Uh huh.

Not that I wasn't used to this sort of response, by all sorts of people, growing up but I hadn't even prepared for it coming up in relation to my new novel. The novel that I was so proud to have done...even though it wasn't quite 'finished', it was still a good start. Right?

That pride turned into quasi-embarrassment.

Here I was...in my mid 40s...and I had been reduced to my childhood, trying to "explain" my interests.

"Well, it's about this.....ummm....robot who...ummm....er....travels back to the 1940s and....uhhhhh....it's called....uhhh....The T.E.M.P Agency....and...."

I felt myself becoming more than a bit embarrassed in telling him what my book was about. That insecurity grabbed me around the throat and really throttled me. What was I doing? I was proud of this thing, doggone it!

Of course, my brother-in-law seemed genuinely interested....which helped...but I couldn't believe that, in all the month I spent writing about a time traveling robot who gets stuck in the 1940s, I'd be gun shy telling others the characters and background I had created.

What did I think was going to happen should it ever be published and strangers were, actually, reading it? To this day, I'm still a little surprised how out of left field it all came.

On the bright side, I've gotten over that little hurdle and feel proud to say that "I'm a writer"....regardless of what I'm writing. I've even taken the true test....telling my parents.

They loved the idea, by the way.

Moral of the story: Write it loud and write it proud!

One insecurity down....about a million more to go! :)




Monday, August 4, 2014

Sleep Blogging....



I had a very strange and, seemingly, real dream a few nights ago. One that stuck with me, even after the fog of sleep had lifted...something that, usually, never happens.

Somehow, I’m not even sure how I knew it, but my wife and I had time traveled back to the 1950s and we were at Disneyland….but it looked, pretty much, like it does today. Just more...retro.

We were in a cafeteria…typical 50s style…..eating and I started talking to a security guard (or, maybe, he was just a cop) who told me he was on this brand new thing called “The Internet”. He went on to talk about how exclusive it was and about this thing called "e-mail". I asked him for his email address and told him I would email him “when I got home” because I, too, had the Internet. He laughed and I had the sense that he didn't believe me, but he still gave me his email address. Later on, my wife and I were watching the nightly Disney fireworks and started talking about emailing the guy when we returned "home", to the present. I had asked him his age and he said 35, even though he looked much younger with his crew cut and big, horn rimmed glasses.


We became sad realizing that, when we got back to 2014, the man would ,probably, have already passed away.


I actually woke up still feeling a bit sad, before the realization that it had only been a dream set in. It felt that real.

I've always read that dreams were your subconscious' way of working something out that was bothering you. Now, as to what my subconscious is trying to tell me through this, I have no idea. Maybe "stay in touch with those close to you before it's too late or maybe it's "don't time travel if you get the chance".....I'm not sure.

Ever have a dream that seems so real that you woke up wondering if it had been? 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Five!

It was a tough week trying to come up with something viable to write about for this post. Not that this is really "viable", but it's the best I could come up with, so be gentle. On the upside....it's short :)

Five things I do every morning.....without fail.

1. Make the bed: We have two bathrooms in our home. One by the guest room, the "public" bathroom, and one in the master bedroom....the "private" restroom. Our bedroom is closer to the game/computer room, so that's the bathroom I frequent....and have to walk past our bed in doing so. I've been (self) diagnosed with mild OCD and seeing an unmade bed all day would, probably, start making me twitch. Plus, it starts my day off with an accomplishment, as small as it may be.

A mug from The Keys
2. Drink a cup of coffee: My mom started me on coffee when I was eight years old. No kidding. She would always make some to dunk her toast in and, me being a kid, I wanted to try what mom was having. I started drinking the coffee after the dunking and, even with the floating crumbs, still found it to be something pretty tasty (yeah, I had weird taste). So, after getting up and getting my bearings, I fire up the Keurig and have a cup of java.

3. Kiss my wife:  To me, it's just as important to kiss your spouse goodbye as it is to kiss them goodnight....and welcome home from work....and "I missed you"....and 'Happy Wednesday...and,well, you get the idea.

Princess Jasmine
4. Pet the cat: Our landlord cat is pretty demanding. She demands a tribute, every morning, of treats....then "lovies". My wife gives her her treats and I supply the "lovies". She likes to stand, walk in a circle, then hunker back down to accept her tribute...purring all the while.

5. Write:  Whether it's something as simple as an email, social media post, blog post, or something to do with one of my current projects, I write something.....anything. The thing to work on, now, is to make it more of my projects and less of the other stuff.

So, there you have it. Five things I do every morning. Why five? Well, any more and I'd have to bring my other hand into it to figure things out :)

Anything you do every morning? Besides wake up, that is.... =D



Monday, July 28, 2014

Staying In Character

I've been thinking of doing this for a while, so I guess now is a good a time as any. A brief character sketch.....emphasis on "sketch"....for one of the protagonists of my ongoing project, Last Chance. It's sort of a mixture of The Avengers and The Wild, Wild, West.

Nothing really to do with the character (besides the Steampunk angle), but just thought it was a cool pic
Source


Alistair (Albert Muldoon, in the States) Moore: A British expatriate on the run from the law for a crime he didn't commit. Deciding to use his knowledge of steam technology to fight crime, he poses as a 'Yankee' sheriff by day and a masked vigilante by night.

Born and raised in London, Alistair's father was an up and coming stage magician and his mother, a very capable escape artist and magician's assistant. He was raised in the wings of the stage and picked up various tricks of the trades from not only his father, but from visiting magicians, as well. By the age of 17, he was almost as good a magician as his father, though lacking the flair for the dramatic. His lack of dramatic flair was due, partly, in his grounding in scientific endeavors. A prodigy from a young age, he began working with the odd technology known as "Steam Tek" as soon as he was able.  

One night, while walking home from one of his father's performances, Alistair heard struggling in a nearby alleyway. Always one to do what was right, he investigated and found an abnormally large, brutish man mauling a young lady. Approaching the man from behind, Alistair hit him with a lead pipe he found lying against a building. The shock of the impact ran up his arms as he struck hard, waiting for the man to fall flat on his face. Instead, the man slowly turned to confront Alistair....a smile on his face. He quickly backhanded the young lady, caving her skull in before knocking Alistair across the length of the alley. Before the haze of unconsciousness took him, he saw the large man take the lead pipe and dip the tip of it into the oozing ichor of the girl's skull, then throwing it next to Alistair's, now limp, form. 

The next thing he knew he awoke in a jail cell, having been charged with the murder of a young prostitute. What was worse, they had an eye witness.....a frail, thin, and respected, doctor....a Dr. Jekyll...who had seen the whole thing. Not knowing what had really happened, he knew one thing for certain. He didn't want to be around when English law played this scenario out. Using skills he picked up from his parents, Alistair escaped and managed to grab some money he had been saving to open his own steam tek shop. Hopping a freighter to a "land of opportunity", Alistair made his way to the "colonies", then to Wyoming where he stumbled upon "Last Chance".

Ole' Alistair still needs a lot of work as well as a lot of fleshing out, but it's a start.

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