Hello World

No, this is not going to be an exercise in how to program in some sexy new language.

This is a message of gratitude to all those who have followed me.

Thank you.

In other news, the price of Dream State has been reduced from $9.95 USD to $3.00. Bad decision making on my part as well as my not asking the right questions lead me to the original price. I hope the new price is more amenable to all who would like to buy the book.

If you would like a copy for FREE, go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/7236 before Monday Morning and download a copy for free using coupon code PM84H

Happy Reading everyone, I hope you enjoy.

Namaste

Robert

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Monday Ramble

My absence of late was born out of a need for a break. A break from the stress of the job, the day to day mental maturations that often led me to places I had no business going, and most importantly, a break from the losses I had experienced but was too bull headed to admit.

I have now ended that break and can say that I am glad to be back, though I will not be quite as visible as before, I am still glad to be back. Looking back now on the last ninety days, the one thing that I missed the most was reading the wonderful posts of some of the great authors I have had the pleasure of getting to know. Starting out about nine months ago I discovered Twitter and the fast and furious pace at which it showers us with personal information from our tweeple.

I was amazed at the microbursts of information that came at me one hundred and forty characters at a time. I learned a new language, that after initiation, began to make sense. All the RT and FF and hashtags that flew around those first tentative weeks now are just a part of my online experience.

Thank you to all my friends out there showering me with splendid bursts of your life. I wish you all the very best.

Namaste,

Robert

I’ma rant for awhile

I’ve been a casual observer of what happens to the citizens of the USA. Please don’t be offended by this post if you’re not an American, I have no ill will toward you or your country, just my own.

There are three things I wish to touch on in this post. Pollution, Globalization, and Wall Street.

Before I begin I will provide a disclaimer to the pundits that may or may not read this. Not that I think I am important enough for anyone in the mainstream to read this, but let’s be real, this is the flippin’ internet, anything is possible.

I have no training in any of the topics I am about to rant on about, these are merely my opinions. They are not endorsed by my blog host, my employer, my wife, or even my dogs. As they are only opinions, leave yours if you see fit, if not, well that’s cool too.

Pollution…

Ok We dicked the dog here for awhile with the rampant discharge of harming chemicals into surface streams or in the vicinity of aquifers. Sure, dumping trash in empty fields is a tragedy to nature and definitely needed to end. But there is more to pollution that harmful chemicals, or trash. There is noise, and light. In today’s world getting away from noise pollution is a tough one I understand, but I wont exchange the sound of a highly tuned, open throated V8 for chirping birds, just me though. I can live with some noise, hell I’ve already got nerve damage from too much loud music. Light pollution, really it exists, is another story. Gone are the days I could walk outside and see the full spectrum of stars available in the heavens. The last time I saw a sky full of stars was 2005, when I had pulled our camper for three hours north of Atlanta to the top of a mountain. It was breathtaking. Light pollution occurs when non focused light is used to illuminate a target. Take a parking lot for instance, or a baseball field. When the lights are on the sky takes on a drab grey tone. No Stars. its just sad.

Back to the point. do you want to do something about pollution, or the quality of the air, or the carbon monoxide problem. PLANT A TREE. Trees exchange carbon monoxide for oxygen, natures very own filtration system. Have you noticed the miles and miles of interstates with a 20 yard strip of grass between lanes. Perfect place for trees. Oh and a side benefit to the state, they don’t have to MOW trees. Thus reducing costs to maintain public thoroughfares. Miles and miles of trees providing shade to aid in the reduction of stored heat, this reducing the surface heat retention, allowing a more natural regulation of temperatures. I know that from the main road to my house to my drive way there is a 1 or 2 degree difference most any day of the week regardless of season.

There are a ton of smart people in America that could even figure out how to intelligently harvest those trees to provide renewable building supplies, there again adding a cash crop to the states revenue stream. But hey, I can only pull on one thread for so long.

Globalization…

Does this make sense to anyone? Really? I want differences, diversity. I want to be able to be comfortable where I live and experience the DIFFERENCE when I go someplace. I don’t want to live in Georgia then go to the Caribbean on vacation to be assaulted with a McDonalds on every fucking corner. I want to eat jerk chicken from a road side vendor or BBQ chicken cooked over palm wood.

WALL STREET…

This is the one that pisses me off more than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, we need wall street, what we don’t need is a bunch of guys running around in suits selling off our companies to the highest bidder all in the name of cutting costs. General Motors, once the giant, the pride of the American Industrial Revolution, sold its soul because we had our collective asses handed to us by other countries that had a better vision of manufacturing. Rather than learn the lessons, we sold out, its easier to buy it from across the border. Really, WTF. We mine the materials in the US, truck it to a port, put it on a ship bound for somewhere else, let them convert it to usable whatever, then they build something out of it, and ship it back where it is picked up by a truck and distributed across the country. How the fuck can that be cheaper?

Oh, wait. It’s because there are not pesky rules about pollution in some of the places we ship our raw materials. Oh yeah and remember the REASON the unions were first started, so that everyone could have a safe, equitable, and fair place of employment. Yeah, how well do you like the shoes you are wearing that were probably made by a teenager working 12 hours a day for very little pay?

Wall street was the beginning of the end for the American worker. They drove company presidents, CEO’s and Boards of Directors to make cost cutting decisions simply to improve the bottom line, and increase the EPS (earnings per share). So redundant tasks like call centers started looking for cheap labor to answer the phone when it rang. The best that companies got was that no one called the call center because no one could understand the person that answered the damn phone. If I can’t understand the person that answers, I do the right thing and hang up. I have the internet and most of what I need I can find there. Lets face it, those folks answering the phone, even when it is understandable know less about the product than you do since all they are doing is reading from a script.

America today with few exceptions makes very little within our own borders. Sure we reap the benefit of the GM’s of the world by the taxes they pay, MAYBE. With the bailouts of late I am not sure we will see tax revenue from the giants anytime this decade or even next, but again I point out these are opinions and I have no empirical evidence that supports one view or another.

Here is what I am doing about the three things i ranted on about in this post. Because another thing that pisses me off is people bitching and not acting. Though I am not a huge fan of the incredibly talented late Michael Jackson, I am starting with the man in the mirror.

I own an acre of land that is predominantly aged hardwood trees. I have thinned out the underbrush to allow the stronger tress to thrive. I will be planting more as nature takes it course and some die off or are damaged by nature.

As for globalization, I’m starting to read where products are manufactured, and when i have an option I will pay a little more for an American made item before I buy one from offshore.

Thanks for reading.

 

Robert E. 

It’s finally complete

May 13th, 2009 marked the death of my father, at least in the physical sense.

His living, unfortunately, ended long before that, at least from my take on his life. We lost my momma in 2000 at a young age. I understood her reasons for leaving.

Dad carried on the best he could without the only real friend he ever had. In 2004, he suffered a heart attack that resulted in a triple bypass. Due to allergies to some of the meds and weakened kidneys from diabetes, he was also placed on dialysis. And to add insult to injury, he lost 6 of ten toes to the allergy mentioned above.

The recovery was difficult, not only for him but for those if us that cared for him. He lived in the two bedroom apartment of our current house, and the days and evenings were filled with caring for the wounds left by the amputations, and making sure he had the transportation he needed for dialysis. It was rough on all concerned.

He was not one to follow the doc’s order, but then again neither am I, so over the years his condition continued to deteriorate. Early May of this year he had developed gangrene on one of the amputated toe stubs caused from a blocked femoral artery.

Another surgery.

The artery was repaired, but he had to undergo a weeks worth of IV antibiotics before his system was strong enough to get through the trauma of the arterial bypass.  That week of antibiotics set him up for a condition known to me as C-Diff. The bad bacteria in his intestines took over and completely infected him throughout, and seven days after release from the bypass he was back in the hospital for the last time.

He was offered a surgical fix for the problem that he so politely said “Fuck you” to, literally. I stood on the outside of his quarantine room knowing that he had just signed his death warrant.

Four strokes that resulted in him being paralyzed from the waist down, and several trials at walking toward the light later, Dad made it all the way into the light. It was a beautiful thing. My sister, and my son, along with my fathers favorite doctor eased him from this life into the next one.

Yesterday, we finished out the remainder of his physical existence. The space that he lived in has been completely emptied, carpets cleaned, walls washed, and appropriate repairs made. It is such a neat space with 10 foot ceilings and all the comforts of a regular apartment, I am glad that I could provide that for he and my mother while they were both still here.

Today begins a new era, we have a renter moving in. A great guy that we have known for a couple years.

I’ll miss you dad.

Robert E

01/08/10 ~ An Amazing Life

I have posted a similar topic in the past, but really want to do it again.

I was sitting at my desk this morning trying to setup my latest cell phone. They are such a PITA when you first get them. The numbers had to be transferred (thank God for Bluetooth), all the ringtones, and the assorted customizations, etc. After completing the setup I was doing one of the forty three thousand daily twitter checks when the newly setup phone rang.

I looked at the caller ID and it was a guy I had not heard from since June of last year. Out of the clear blue, there he was. I answered it and it was as if we had talked just yesterday. We talked about his life, where he was and what he was doing, then the same for me. We wound through the tribulations since we had last talked, and found that all was exactly as it was supposed to be. It was a great conversation complete with all the brotherly acceptance I had grown to know from this man through the years.

This evening I have been writing, more appropriately, talking to my computer in the hopes of busting through 20,000 words on my current WIP. I checked on twitter a couple of times to see where I was on the follower count and what I had missed tweet wise in the time TweetDeck was turned off. I responded to a few, RT’ed some, and sent out my plea for 11 followers. At that point I was at 989 so I needed 11 to bust 1000, which I consider to be a significant milestone.

The RT’s were amazing, and the new followers are all awesome people/businesses or bots, I am sure. And I hope to learn more from each of them (except maybe the bot from the strip club in Houston, not sure there is much more to learn about clubs at this late stage of life).

Whats the point of the ramble?

Honestly, I’m not sure any more because this post seems to have taken a direction of its own. I started it out to say that I am one blessed man. That when I look back to the beginning, the socio-economic position I was raised in, the area of the country, and all the other external factors, I am well blessed.

The current phase of my life has lead me to meet more than my share of accepting, supporting, and caring people. I have more great people in my life now than I have ever deserved, and I am thankful.

So if we never share tweets, talk via email, or meet face to face, I am thankful for each and every person that has chosen to at least witness the ride I am on. You are all very amazing people and precious in your own ways.

Thank You.

 
 

Robert E.

 
 

 
 

 
 

01/05/10 ~ Gratitude – Attention Deficit Disorder

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (AADD) affects a lot of people (you like that scientific analysis there). Some more than others of course, point being it’s a real affliction that creates real difficulties.

I was born at a time that people like me weren’t diagnosed, we were given a hearty breakfast and shoved out the door to go out do what we were going to do until it was time to eat dinner. I can remember times that I would spend hours, (measured in Kid Time of course) exploring the back yard of the house we lived in in Bowling Green, KY. There were so many treasures to seek out and discover.

Later, I remember spending time in the woods behind our house in Indiana. I would flit from one thing to the next, discovering this tidbit of nature or that. Those were magical times. All that discovery, the first hand experiences, seeing things happen with my own two eyes, very cool.

With the many good times I had, there were some not so good times as well. School was one of those not so good times. The classes were boring, under challenged, and in my worldly mind, useless. Period changes in the hall, and lunch, now those were the times of school that I thrived. The quest to be accepted by the “in crowd” was far more challenging than anything the teachers could provide me.

As I aged, not necessarily matured, AADD became the bane of my existence. I couldn’t focus on the task at hand, had difficulty in completing jobs, and generally had to force myself to get to end of job on damn near everything. Thank God I found the creative side that had always been bubbling under the surface. My parents both suffered from severe blue collar mentality and took dim views on the creative side of normal people, and since I was their child, I was by God NORMAL. It was better for my folks that drunks and addicts be creative, hippies too for that matter. But not in our family, just wouldn’t happen.

It took time to learn to bring the AADD into perspective and use it as a benefit rather than a determent. I learned through repeated trial that I had to accomplish things differently than what was prescribed. I had to break down tasks in my head into smaller more manageable chunks, because looking at the whole of a task just overwhelmed me to no end and would lock me up tighter than a drum head. I have used this internal breakdown to my advantage over the years, with what I consider great success. The way I make mental connections does not always lead to flawless execution, but it always gets me there.

Creatively, AADD is a true pain in the ass. It irks me to no end how many of my fellow writers say they are going to sit down and write x pages for x days to get their first drafts out. I start with a premise and by the time I get to the end of the outline I have completely changed what the original idea was. Frustrating as hell.

What’s the point, this is a post about gratitude, those things I am grateful for. The point is this, the flitting from idea to idea, the ever running commentary in my own head, and the insatiable drive to create, uses the snippets, the quick connections, and provides great freedom. The pieces fall into place eventually, and the outcome normal surprises me. For me there is no other way to be. I was blessed, some would say cursed, with what I call a dogs attention span. I can be deep in the middle of a post like this and all of a sudden some random mental shiny thing will pop up and off I go to chase that.

So if you suffer from short attention span, an appearance or feeling of disinterest, and often can’t complete the day to day tasks, think about a breakdown. Keep the end of task in mind but focus on the single chunk at hand for as long as you can and give yourself the benefit of going back to something when the fancy strikes you. There are more unfinished “things” in my life than I can count, but I’ll get back to them one by one during the course of my days.

I am grateful for my “disorder”, and can’t think of any other way to be.

Robert E


01/04/09 ~ What do you do when your MC won’t cooperate

Most anyone that reads these titles I likely to think we as writers can always control what our MC is doing. Lets assume that we have a bad guy as our MC. It’s their job to wreak havoc and make the rest of society pay the price, whatever that may be. And we get to a point where the bastard just will not cooperate, they just wont follow the plan we have laid out in our head.

What then?

Do we scrap the story? Most likely not. Do we wait for the MC to behave again, give them a couple days off, maybe.

Here are a couple suggestions to possible whip that poorly behaved MC back into shape.

Try stream of consciousness exercises. Pick the scene and dump out three pages on that one topic. This is best done straight out of bed. (Refer to Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way for more uses of this journaling process) You may be surprised by what is revealed to you about what your character wants.

Think about what you want the MC to be doing and conduct an interview, I blogged on that method last week. But in this usage you are trying to drive specific answers from your MC.

Take them out of the picture for a bit. Put them in a completely different world or situation for fun to see what happens to them. There may be lessons in there that you can use in other parts of your story, or it may unleash that one log jam you have developed with the brat you are working so hard to create.

And lastly, do an exercise of contrasts. Pick something that is the high of the high for the scene and dump your MC smack in the middle of the polar opposite, see how it goes. The changing of flow can sometimes be enough to kick start things again.

I hope this helps with a few possible solutions to poorly behaving characters.

Happy writing, better living to you all.

Robert E.