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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

The Daily Post asks bloggers . . . What have you been putting off doing?  Why?

I was actually going to put together a list of things I have been putting off doing, but I think I will wait for another day.

There used to be a commercial for Heinz ketchup . . . “Anticipation, it’s making me wait.”

My theme song should be: Procrastination, it’s making me wait.

I don’t really have a Bucket List, but there are some things I would like to eventually do before I die.

I really want to win the lottery.  I want to prove that having too much money won’t corrupt me.  I suppose I should buy a lottery ticket every day, though, to improve my chances of winning.  Maybe I’ll buy one tomorrow.

I want to write a Broadway Musical.  This is somewhat problematic given that I have little musical talent.  I played piano centuries ago when I was young and clarinet and saxophone in high school.  But I never played any instrument well.  I can’t sing.  I can’t even carry a tune in a suitcase.  The last time I sang in front of other people, my son almost had a stroke.  But I digress.

I do consider myself adept at lyrics–not singing them, but writing them.  For years I have changed the lyrics of other songs, ala Weird Al Yankovic, for humorous purposes.  I have composed a couple of tunes . . . but to give you an idea how long ago that was, they were written on a Mac+ computer.

Sing for me, my Angel of Music!

Sing for me, my Angel of Music!

Perhaps someday, I’ll get around to finishing that Broadway show.

But one item that I have procrastinated on, which I hope is the one I will most likely succeed in finally accomplishing, is writing AND publishing a novel.

I actually have three in various stages of editing (and ideas for half a dozen others). . . one was originated on that Mac + computer back in 1991.

I’m not really sure why I can’t complete one of these projects.  To some degree, I guess I lose interest.  It takes a long time to put together a book!

My most recent effort is a novel about the end of times.  I know.  It’s been done to death.  It’s as old as the end of time.  Pardon the puns.  But so far as I can tell from my Google research and reading, the angle I am taking is pretty unique.  But at one point, I was starting to have weird dreams, and bad things seemed to be happening in my life, and as soon as I stopped writing it, the dreams and bad luck stopped as well.

Coincidence?

Just the other night, I decided to make another push to return to writing this novel.  I was doing some research and watching a YouTube video about the end of times.  When I finished, I was going to go to bed.  I stopped at the kitchen sink to get a drink of water and I happened to look at our thermometer.  It’s one of those electronic monitors that shows outside and inside temperatures.  The outside temperature was 66 degrees.  It just got my attention for some reason and I looked at it more closely.

You guessed it.  It was 66.6 degrees.

666temp

Maybe my novel can wait after all.

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The Daily Post asks, “Why did you start your blog? Is that still why you blog, or has your site gone in a different direction than you’d planned?

They’re kind of nosy that way.

But that got me to thinking . . . and that is always a dangerous thing.

You see, when you think about things, bad stuff happens.  Most wars occur because some politician or military general thought about things.  Einstein thought about things and eventually that led to the nuclear bomb.  If I think about a putt too long, I miss it.  (I miss it if I don’t think about it and just whack away at it, but then missing it doesn’t bother me so much.)  But I digress.

I first started blogging about Penn State football in the late 1990’s.  I had a free site on a place called Xoom.  It was basically free, which was the most significant criterion for my blog at the time.  You are now reading my ramblings on Word Press, so that criterion is still pretty significant.  Some things never change.

At one point, Xoom died as a web hosting site and I went to GeoCities.  It went belly up as well, except in Japan.  I don’t speak Japanese.  I am not a legend in Japan.  I’m not very funny in Japanese.  Or so I have been told.  Actually, I didn’t know GeoCities still existed anywhere, let alone Japan, until I Googled it.  I think they are hiding from me!

The basic formula to date has been to find a free web hosting service and then help it go bankrupt.  (If you have stock in Word Press, you might want to bail now.)

Along the way, I also diversified from a simple football blog to what you are reading now.

Ta Da!  (Jazz hands!)

(Actually, it was not an evolution from one to the other as it was a spin-off.  This is Frasier to my old Cheers blog.  Or something like that.  I still blog about Penn State, but the humor is secondary.)  Both blogs coexist, but they don’t communicate well together.  Kind of like my multiple personalities.  But we digress.

When I first started writing about Penn State football, I pictured myself as the Dave Barry of the football world.  Except for the part that I didn’t have a syndicated column with a gazillion readers.  And I didn’t make up names for rock bands.  But I thought I was funny.  Alas, looks aren’t everything.

I found that football was too narrow a subject and there were times–like when Penn State lost 6-4 to Iowa–when there was no way to make that humorous, unless you lived in freaking Iowa and had a corn fetish.

Humor is cathartic.  It’s what keeps me sane in an insane world.  I’m no longer Dave Barry trying to make a Sugar Bowl loss to Alabama into a joke, but rather Hawkeye Pierce surviving a daily war with humor and surgical skills as my only weapons.

Eyelife

Damn it, Jim, I’m just an eye doctor.

Living the Eye Life.

Welcome to the war.

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A Story About Nothing

The writer woke upon a slab of granite.  It was really just a rock, but being a writer, a rock was simply insufficient to describe that upon which he awoke.  It was too flat to be a boulder.  It certainly was as hard as granite, but he doubted that it was granite.  After all, he was a writer, not a geologist.

He sat up gingerly; his head pounding.  His vision was blurred.  He couldn’t remember where he’d left his glasses.

Curious.

He was trapped in a prison of stone.  Or rock.  Granite.  Maybe gneiss.  That wouldn’t be nice.  But talc would be nice.  He could claw and powder his way out of that conundrum.  Alas, it was a prison of stone.  Why, oh why, had he not taken geology in college?

Even more curious, there was light.  And it was good.  Otherwise, he’d have been trapped in a stone prison in the dark.  Like a tomb.

But there was no apparent source of light.

He rubbed his temples, massaging away the cobwebs.

Squinting, he saw a table and a single chair.  Well, it’s not as though he was going to have company over anyway.  A single sheet of paper was on the table and the strange light with no source seemed centered on that.

He slowly rose and shuffled to the table, noting as he got nearer and could see better that there was a pen beside the paper.  He pulled the chair out with a mock flourish and sat down.  It was an oak chair and table—good and sturdy.  Odd that he would know his wood better than his stone, since he had not taking botany in college either, but life was strange that way.

How could something as simple as a piece of paper seem so threatening?  Yet, it held the key to his prison.

pen_paper

He thought back on the events which brought him to this rocky point.  Or would that be a stony point?

She was playing games with him, but the challenge was proving too great.

Michelle Weber, the evil temptress of Word Press, had cast her spell.

Write about something you would not write about.

So simple, yet so deceptively evil.

As soon as he wrote something on the paper—about anything—then by default he had written something about it and the ink disappeared.

His headache grew stronger as his spirit fatigued.  The paper and pen were the rock and hill in this version of Sisyphus in which he now starred, although in that myth a boulder was probably the proper analogy.  Granite or gneiss was immaterial to the plot, much as it is here.

Each time he tried to write about what he would not write about, the words disappeared, and he was forced to start over.

Write about something you would not write about.

Curse the sorceress Weber!  How can she torture him so?  Why?

He buried his face in his hands, his breathing ragged with a mixture of anger and frustration.

He was a writer.  He could write about anything.  He would write about anything.  So there was nothing for him to write.  No way to solve the puzzle.  No way out of this prison.  He would die here, a skeleton and dust decaying on a solid oak chair before a blank piece of paper.

No way out.

There was nothing for him to write.

Perhaps the stone is basalt.  Is that possible?

Nothing to write.

He took his hands away from his face, a smile carving its way over his haggard features.

He snatched up the pen and with a dramatic flourish penned the words that bought him his freedom.

I would never write about nothing.

He threw down the pen and raised his arms in victory—either that or the field goal was good.

And instantly, the rock walls melted away and he was back in his own bedroom, with a real bed.

Was it just a bad dream?

He still had the headache, and he had resorted to a double negative which gnawed at his soul.  He would never be the same.

Well, maybe never isn’t the right word . . .

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FRESHLY PRESSED!

I only started this WordPress Blog in April.  Maybe I’m expecting too much from the Eye Life.  But patience is a virtue that has eluded me all my life.

You may be wondering what I am talking about, or typing about as the case may be.  I can understand that.  I barely know what I’m talking about myself.  But let me enlighten you.

WordPress has this “thing” called Freshly Pressed which is featured on their website.  It is a kind of reward for “good” blogs which drives more traffic to your site.  After all, if someone writes a blog on the Internet, and no one reads it, does it make a noise?

Two months–well, nearly two months–and 16 posts later, I still have not been Freshly Pressed.  I am wrinkled.  Ugly.  Not even freshly squeezed.  I don’t even know why you are bothering to read this, since my blog is obviously worthless as blogs go.  Print this out and use it to line your bird cage.  Buy a bird if you have to.  I mirror mediocrity.  Maybe I should aspire to mediocrity.  Hope for it.  Embrace it!

So I began to wonder why my incredibly entertaining blog was not getting the limelight it deserves.  After all, I have a catchy title and a beautiful picture.  I am more or less funny looking.  Alas, blogs are not judged by their titles alone.

My wonderment sent me looking for answers.   Google is my friend.  I quickly found an article about Five Ways To Get Featured on Freshly Pressed.  I thought I was on to something here, but I couldn’t be sure.

The author looks young enough to be my daughter and she uses phrases like “video rocks.”  I am in serious trouble here.

I quickly scanned the article, but shamelessly submitting my article was not an option.  Neither was paying her off.  I’m not savvy enough to hack into their system and feature myself.  I am in really serious trouble here.

So I actually tried to read the article.

Write unique content that’s free of bad stuff.

I do that!  I have written about how I named this site, about my two new dogs, how I voted, my MahJong angst, about the recent Rapture that did not occur and Satan visiting my site.    How many blogs can say that!  (How many would want to?)  Whose side are you on?

Include images or other visuals.

They want “original” images or ones that are properly credited.  OK.  Hmmm.  I included my own pictures of my dogs, although my wife technically took the photos.  I have included videos and I believe that credit was paid where credit was due.  The picture of the baby suckling on the cow was my idea and photoshop.  Still not good enough.

Add tags.

I added tags.  I’m three for three, or maybe two and half for three since I probably didn’t credit every single image, but this is not a term paper for a grade or an application for a Nobel Prize here. 

Aim for typo-free content.

Hunt and peck.  Spunt and heck.  I can spell check.  My grammar ain’t too good though.  She’s got rheumatism.

Cap off your post with a compelling headline.

Let’s look at some of mine:  Picking your Noes.  Get it.  Not nose, but noes.  Since I was voting “no.”  Funny, right?  Creative?  Apparently not. 

MahJong MoJo is No Mo.  Unique?  yes.  My own screen shots–very original.  Neat name.  Didn’t tickle any fancies.

Who Let the Dogs In?  Pretty funny story about our two new dogs.  Kind of a play on Who Let the Dogs Out–get it?  Apparently not.

Udderly Ridiculous, a post about genetically modifying cows to produce human breast milk.  Udderly?  Utterly?  Get it?  They didn’t.

I’m flummoxed.  Stymied.  Constipated.

What have those other blogs got that I ain’t got?

Courage.  Free advertising, apparently.

So I checked out a few of these blogs featured today. . .

Happy Towel Day.  Seriously?  “Awesomely Nerdy News and Reviews?”  Sure there’s a Youtube Video–and I guess that rocks.  I guess it’s unique since I’ve never heard of it.  As a Steeler fan, I have a Terrible Towel.  Does that count?  But the final picture is clearly copied . . . you can Google it here.

Homemade Peking Duck with Mandarin Pancakes.  I can’t cook, but I love duck.  If you ever get a chance to visit the Village Inn in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, stop in and have the duck.  Best.  Ever.  But this site has pics of the duck in preparation.   Duck hanging from a string.  Was it suicide or fowl play?  I don’t know.

Egg Farming?  Built a chickencoop.  Now they have chicken poop.  Yea!  [Doing jazz hands.]  Original pictures (and a really kickin’ chicken coop!), but hardly unique.  I tried to farm chickens once.  Nothing grew.  I either planted the eggs too deep or too close together.  I gave up after that.

Six things you won’t be ordering from SkyMall.  I have never ordered from SkyMall so my list is way longer than that!  The pictures look like they were taken from the magazine and it certainly seems to be advertorial, whatever that means.

I could go on but what’s the use.  I may as well be typing at the wall.  And no one is reading anyway.

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