A blog for my assorted thoughts and rambling inner monologue.
Welcome to my blog!
I would make some sort of clever introduction here, but most of us already know how blogs work; if you like me and like my writing, you might also enjoy my personal ramblings. If you don't like me, you're probably not reading this anyway... and if you're undecided in your opinion of me, I invite you to read as much or as little as you like and decide for yourself.
Please read on and, if you find something worth discussing, don't be shy about submitting a comment!
My blog is proudly associated with:
|I love pretty much all dogs, but my personal favorite breeds are:
2. Australian Shepherd
3. American Pit Bull Terrier
5. Labrador Retriever
6. Siberian Husky
9. Brussels Griffon
10. French Bulldog or Pug or Pomeranian
I love mixed breed dogs; they always have such interesting features, especially when the parents are recognizable dog breeds. Plus I'm not a big fan of spending the money for purebred dogs when there are so many others in need of adoption.
Oddly enough, neither of the breeds I've owned over the years made the list... I had both Dalmatians and a Vizsla when I was growing up, but I'm partial to breeds with more of a personality and distinct features. Plus, the Brussels Griffon basically looks like an Ewok, so that's a plus.
The toy dogs slipped into the list at #10 because they're my wife's favorite and I've accepted the fact that if/when we ever get a dog of our own, it'll probably be from an entry way down on my list.
|As a complement to yesterday's list of places I've been, this is a list of the places that I still really want to go.
1. Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto)
2. Italy (Rome and Venice)
3. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
4. Chicago, Illinois, USA
5. Washington, DC, USA
6. Australia (Sydney and Melbourne)
7. Thailand (Bangkok & Ko Samui)
8. Cape Town, South Africa
9. Anchorage, Alaska, USA
10. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Being totally honest, Washington, DC was at the top of my list until, oh, January 20 or so. I've always wanted to see the nation's capitol,
but it's a little less appealing with all the stuff that's going on in politics these days.
I'm kind of embarrassed that I've never made it to some major U.S. cities yet, and there rest on this list are places around the world that have always fascinated me and I can't wait to visit.
|When I was growing up, my family was more of a "go to the same places over and over" kind of family, rather than a "new adventures all the time" kind of family. I'm decidedly more of a "new adventures all the time" kind of person (or at least as often as I can afford it!) so this list is a combination of sentimental places I've been to several times, as well as more exotic locales I've visited now that my wife and I have both realized we love traveling.
1. Pacific Northwest (Seattle and Portland, in particular), USA
2. New York, New York, USA
3. Maui, Hawaii, USA
4. Paris, France
5. London, United Kingdom, USA
6. Flathead Lake, Montana, USA
7. Madrid, Spain
8. Bay Area, California, USA
9. Sao Paulo, Brazil
10. San Diego, California, USA
If there's one thing I miss as a Southern California resident, it's seasons. That's probably why I'm so partial to places like the Pacific Northwest and New York and other areas where you can see vibrant fall colors and wear a heavy jacket and actually use my car's windshield wipers. That said,
I'm certainly not going to complain about more tropical/beach locales when I want to relax and get away from the world.
|The following is a list of the teams and individual athletes that I consider myself enough of a fan of to follow semi-regularly. I'm not really much of a sports guy in general, so I don't have anyone I religiously follow, and the people and teams listed below are mostly hometown favorites or people who are so exceptionally good that I find myself fascinated by their accomplishments. This is active teams and athletes only; no one who has retired from their game of choice.
1. Roger Federer (tennis)
2. Team USA (Olympic Games)
3. San Francisco Giants (baseball)
4. San Francisco 49ers (football)
5. Sacramento Kings (basketball)
6. Rafael Nadal (tennis)
7. Mike Trout (baseball)
8. Clayton Kershaw (baseball)
9. Serena Williams (tennis)
10. Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer)
I know there's some overlap with #2 and other people on the list, but it's probably not difficult to tell from my responses where I grew up (Northern California), which sports I really like (tennis, baseball, the Olympics), and which ones I really don't like (basketball, football, and pretty much everything else. ).
I begrudgingly added Serena and Cristiano to the (bottom) of the list because they are undeniably talented and fun to watch, even if I think their egos are out of control and they're pretty obnoxious. Roger Federer, on the other hand, is the one athlete I will keep tabs on throughout the year, from the big Grand Slam tournaments down to the little qualifier events. Tennis is one of my all-time favorite sports and the man is a genius at the game. He makes some of the most difficult shots in the world look easy. Here's a highlight reel if you're interested:
And more than any other athletic event, I think I most look forward to the Olympics every two years. I'm partial to the Summer Games as they have more events that I get excited about watching, but I'll gladly watch the Winter Games too. The United States is fortunate to have very talented athletes in a wide variety of disciplines, so whether it's gymnastics or swimming or alpine skiing or speed skating, there's almost always someone to root for as they compete against the world's best.
I currently work in the entertainment industry, and making movies and television is pretty much my dream job. Over the years, though, I've often wondered what it would be like to have a different career. This is a list of jobs that I'd be most interested in doing if I couldn't work on movies and television. I'm not counting "full time author" because, duh, that one's kind of a no-brainer.
1. Venture capitalist / entrepreneur
2. Chief of Staff for someone in government
3. Teacher (high school history, probably)
4. Managing Director of a nonprofit or charity
5. Trial attorney (prosecutor or civil rights advocate)
7. General Contractor
8. Investigative journalist
9. Police officer or Firefighter
This is one of those topics where I actually learned a little something about myself in the process! Considering that fully half of my choices are in the public sector and another two are ones that I would most likely veer toward the public good (my interests in investigative journalism and venture capitalism would both be firmly grounded in opportunities to make the world a better place), I've apparently developed a desire to work for causes greater than the success of a single company or project.
Still two more are ones related to some kind of demonstrable skill that would come in handy in every day life. How awesome would it be to be able to cook gourmet meals anytime you wanted? Hell, I'd settle for even knowing what to do with half the spices in my spice rack... And I think it would be supremely satisfying to be able to work outside and build things with your hands as a contractor. Assembling houses from the ground up? Being able to remodel your own kitchen? Carrying around a tool belt and actually knowing how to use all of the implements in it?
The only job on this list that's even remotely like my own is an architect, and that's mostly because I think it would cool to design the buildings that people live, work, and entertain themselves in. Plus the best architectural accomplishments are a feat of creativity as much as engineering, which really appeals to me. That combination of art and practicality is also what draws me to the entertainment industry.
I wonder if this list is a bit of a reaction to the fact that I've had an office job for nearly fifteen years and, although I love what I do, it's been fifteen years of working in office buildings under bad fluorescent lighting, in many cases for the primary purpose of chasing profits for the higher ups. Maybe this is my subconscious telling me that I need to aim a little higher.
|This year, I've decided to get in fighting shape for NaNoWriMo by blogging daily. It's been a long time since I've posted anything here and, with Dee 's kind permission, I'm borrowing the idea of posting a daily Top 10 list on whatever topic I feel like creating a list for.
Here are the guidelines I've given myself:
The order will be approximate, but not iron-clad. It will be subjective depending on the day and my mood. Some days I might think Ghostbusters is the greatest movie ever and other times it might be a Se7en kind of day. If you quiz me tomorrow or next week, my Top 10 for any given list might change!
Conversation is encouraged, argument is not. I welcome comments about items you would put on the list, or how you feel about the items I've put on my list, or even what you think of my picks as a whole... but I'm not interested in squabbling over how I could possibly think that a dalmatian is a superior dog breed to a dachshund, or why on Earth I would ever leave kiwi off the list of my favorite fruits. At the end of the day, these are just my opinions and it's meant to be entertaining.
The only actual requirement for myself is that I put thought into and post the list itself. Some days I might expound on my choices, but some days I might just post the list. It'll depend on how busy the day is and how interesting I found the list topic once I really started thinking about it.
Lists will be in no particular order. One day it might be my favorite world leaders, the next it might be my favorite board games or desserts. I won't be grouping things together into themed series or anything like that, so don't be surprised if my favorite fruits show up on Day 10 but vegetables don't get their due until Day 30 (if ever).
I have no particular end date in mind. I'd like to keep this up at least until NaNoWriMo starts, but if I'm enjoying it and keep coming up with interesting list ideas, I'll keep it rolling as long as I can.
Interaction is encouraged! Please feel free to comment on my lists or even participate yourself! It's a great way to get to know one another a little better.
Okay, that's it. Nothing too formal or fancy... just a bit of fun to get me inspired to start thinking critically and writing again.
It's been a while since I've posted here. Figured I owe everyone (especially myself) a little update in terms of what's been going on with me.
I started the year out really determined to be more productive with just about everything, and ended up falling flat on my face in pretty much all respects except work. The day job has been keeping me extraordinarily busy, but I'm still really loving it. The job is really challenging, but it's nice to have those challenges be the result of the really high expectations everyone has for our movies. We've got a premiere coming up Wednesday night of this week and I never really thought I'd be the kind of person who goes for that kind of thing, but the truth is that I enjoy them because they're a great way to commemorate the completion of a project. I've worked a lot of jobs where one project kind of rolls into the next without a lot of fanfare, so it's really nice to be able to go to an event where you can see all the hard work paying off.
My writing, unfortunately, has taken a real hit while I try to get my head around my job. I haven't written anything substantive in a really long time. This past weekend (Saturday) was the first time I finished a short story for a WDC contest in a long time and I really miss the feeling of finishing a piece of writing. I tried another short story on Sunday and didn't end up posting it because it didn't really turn out the way I was hoping. But the exercise taught me that I'm really out of practice when it comes to writing, and I need to get back on the horse so it's not such a struggle all the time.
This blog is part of that practice. I'm trying out a "writing sprint" idea I got from a self-published author I follow, who suggests very focused writing for short periods of time. You can write for as little as 5-10 minutes, or as much as 45-60 minutes depending on your schedule, but the idea is to turn off all your other distractions and not even focus so much on the technical aspects; the goal is just to get words on the page/screen as quickly as possible so you have something to work with. Then you rinse and repeat, doing as many writing sprints as you can handle each day, until you have a draft of something.
The idea of uninhibited writing is new to me, but so far I'm really liking the idea of churning out a bunch of words so that I have something to edit. I've always thought I'm better at molding and reshaping words that are already there rather than staring at a blank page and trying to will the perfect words into existence, so I'm going to give this method a try for a while. Which probably means there are going to be quite a few more blog entries like this, where they're a little rambling and a little steam-of-consciousness-y... on those days you'll know I wasn't able to schedule myself any dedicated writing time for my other stuff, so I showed up here to get at least one writing sprint in every day so I have some writing practice in.
And I'm at the ten minute mark as a I write this sentence, so I think it's time to call it a night.
NONFICTION PROMPT for 1/6/17: Several writers have had their careers made when a famous person read their work, notably when President Ronald Reagan praised Tom Clancy's first book and catapulted Clancy to international fame. If that were to happen to you, which celebrity would you want to be the catalyst, and why?
As much I'd love the praise of a literary hero of mine or someone super-successful in publishing would tell the world how great my stories are (my list in that category include, among others, Joe Abercrombie, Lawrence Block, Lee Child, Ernest Cline, Michael Connelly, Janet Evanovich, Neil Gaiman, John Grisham, Stephen King, Scott Lynch, George R.R. Martin, James Patterson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Brandon Sanderson), I think I'd want my celebrity advocate to be someone who isn't known for their connections to literature.
A head of state or other world leader would definitely be cool... not our incoming President-Elect necessarily, but I would be totally floored if President Obama or Angela Merkel or Pope Francis said they enjoyed one of my works. Hey, as long as we're dreaming, why not have newly-appointed United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres start up a General Assembly book club to read my work?
If not a world leader, a movie star would be pretty cool too. The paparazzi endlessly follow around A-list celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, George Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Scarlett Johansson... it'd be really fun to look on TMZ one day and realize that Chris Pratt and Anna Faris took their family on a vacation and were photographed buying a copy of my book at the airport, or reading it on the beach.
So without naming specific names and only narrowing it down since there are so many choices, I think I'd go for a world leader first, then a movie star celebrity second. Basically, I just want someone not known for reading and/or writing to say, "I'm not known for being a voracious reader, but I simply couldn't put this book down!"
NONFICTION PROMPT FOR 1/7/17: If you could afford to live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If I could afford it, I would live in multiple places throughout the year. The Pacific Northwest of the United States is probably my favorite region that I've visited so far, and I could easily see that being my regular home throughout the year. But as much as I love rain and overcast weather, I worry that I'd get tired of that weather the same way I get tired of the sun and lack of seasons living in Southern California. So I'd want to have a couple other options where I could live for parts of the year when I wanted a break from the Pacific Northwest.
Of all the places I've been, I'd love to have vacation homes on the island of Maui in Hawaii, and Paris (mostly for the history and the food). There are a bunch of places I've always wanted to go but have never been... I have a feeling that I'd probably be pretty excited about living in Italy (again, the history... and the food!), Australia or New Zealand, or even Japan or Thailand. Part of me thinks it would even be fun to live on a remote island nation, like Seychelles or the Maldives or Iceland or Fiji... although, who knows, I could go stir-crazy after a few months.
Based on where I've been and what I've already seen of the world, I think it's be the Pacific Northwest for me.
Kool & the Gang's "Celebration" is one of those songs that's enjoyed perpetual popularity since its release in 1980. I don't think a single year has gone by where I haven't heard it play at a sporting event, wedding, awards ceremony, as part of a soundtrack to a movie or TV show, or something along those lines. Apparently those close to the band predicted its success, with lead singer J.T. Taylor's mother reportedly telling him upon hearing it, "You're going to play this song for the rest of your life, so get ready!"
While the song can definitely get annoying when it's overplayed (like that year where my wife and I went to eight wedding... toward the end we were rolling our eyes when it inevitably came up on the DJ's playlist), I don't know anyone who flat-out doesn't like the song or doesn't start tapping their toes when it starts to play. Like "Walkin' on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves, it's one of those iconic upbeat songs that always put a smile on my face and brightens my day.
As I was thinking of what to write for this entry, I did a little research and, being the trivia junkie that I am, found the following tidbits worth sharing:
The Q'uran (specifically a passage about the angels celebrating and singing praises when God created Adam) is rumored to have been the inspiration for the song.
The song "Ladies Night" (also by Kool & the Gang) was also supposedly a source of inspiration. Its lyrics "Come on, let's all celebrate" toward the end of the song inspired the "Celebration" spinoff.
If you're looking for another connection to the song "Ladies Night," both songs featured backing vocals from the female group Something Sweet.
While the song is routinely used for special occasions like weddings and conventions and the like, one of the most prominent early uses of the song was in welcoming home the fifty-two captives held during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1981.
Eventual frontman J.T. Taylor used to go to Kool & the Gang concerts as an attendee, even trying to sneak backstage and being turned away at one point.
Contrary to its enduring popularity since, "Celebration" was only a #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit for two weeks before getting booted by Dolly Parton's classic "9 to 5." Not to worry, though... it also hit #1 on both the Billboard Dance and Billboard R&B charts, and featured heavily on radio rotations for nearly the entire year.
NONFICTION PROMPT for 1/1/17: Anaïs Nin wrote that, "The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say but what we are unable to say." Write about an author or piece of writing you feel does a particularly good job of saying what others have been unable to say. If you haven't read anything yet, write about an author or piece of writing you'd like to read that fits that description.
Last year, I really enjoyed Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan , which was a fantastic book that told the story from the perspective of a child with special needs. The main character, Willow Chance, like many children with special needs, is remarkably competent, even gifted in some areas (numbers, nature, medical conditions) while simultaneously really struggling in others (social norms, interacting with others).
My wife is a special education teacher and often talks about how misrepresented this population is in fiction, if it's represented at all. Kids with special needs are either shown as deficient, or as some kind of savant. It was refreshing to see a character who acted like a normal person... someone who has a sharp mind for things that keenly interest her, and has trouble understanding why other people think her behavior is odd or unusual when that's just how she sees and interacts with the world.
NONFICTION PROMPT FOR 1/2/17: What are your writing desires? Take the time to put those goals in writing. Or better yet, write an entry for the "Dear Me: Official Contest" and put yourself in the running for a lot of gift points while you're at it!
Fortunately, I already did this one earlier this week: "Dear Me (2017)"
FICTION PROMPT FOR 1/3/17: person about to pawn an heirloom, neglected sibling, wish comes true, wrong side of the tracks
I wrote a little limerick inspired by today's prompts: "Fishful Thinking"
NONFICTION PROMPT FOR 1/4/17: Do you consider yourself a good editor of your own work, or do you prefer to have someone else do it?
I consider myself a good developmental editor and an okay copyeditor. I like to think that my years of reading and reviewing scripts, books, and other creative material has given me a good sense of story, character, dialogue, and the other elements of creative writing, and I've got a pretty good eye for crafting a good sentence. That said, I fully recognize that everyone benefits from outside opinions, especially because writers are so close to their own work, and I know I have a few technical issues that I always seem to muddle (lay vs. lie, tense shifts, unnecessary punctuation).
My thoughts on editing my professional work can pretty much be summed up as "prefer to have an outside editor, will do it myself if necessary." There isn't always time or money to do all the things you want, so I'll do everything myself if I have to, engage a copyeditor if at all possible, and maybe a developmental editor (or at least alpha or beta readers) when schedule and circumstance permits.
NONFICTION PROMPT FOR 1/5/17: Have/would you ever consider using a pseudonym for your work? Why or why not?
The only time I would ever really consider a pseudonym is if I were to self-publish drastically different types of work. I've heard a lot of people say that it can be more difficult to establish a presence and build a following if your author identity is all over the place with multiple genres, both fiction and nonfiction, etc. because people coming to you for your nonfiction, for example, are suddenly wondering why they have to sift through a bunch of mystery novels... or a sci-fi/fantasy author might confuse their following if a bunch of literary fiction titles are popping up alongside their space operas and sword and sorcery epics.
I don't think I'd ever adopt a pseudonym in order to keep my work a secret or separated from my real life, but I would definitely consider one to make it easier for audiences to find my work. I still haven't decided whether I'll actually use pseudonym(s) or not since I do have aspirations in multiple different genres and types of writing, but I suppose that's a bridge I'll cross when I get to it.