Upon the death of my father…

My Father died this morning.

Pale, hardly breathing, unaware of my presence.

Because i wasn’t there.

 

When i held His hand last night,

As He slept,

Memories of half a lifetime flooded me.

Baseball. Glasses of scotch and leather belts.

Teachings and beatings, frequently confused.

Him Finding Religion, lost to me.

Half of His Lifetime. All of mine.

 

And now, a transition to the life beyond His.

my life. and yet, still His.

For i am his legacy. A tribute to

all that He was and nevermore shall be.

 

Perhaps, yet, i shall improve upon his life.

Leave behind children without the scars

That He so graciously gave me.

Again.

And Again.

 

But as i say goodbye,

i shall shed no tears for this man…

Perhaps that makes me the monster after all.

Bleeding from the eyes…

So I’m not a huge horror movie fan but I don’t actively avoid them either. As such, I’ve seen a few zombie movies and some hack and slash gory movies in my time. You would think that the goal of these movies would be to prepare you for real life. You want to be ready when the zombie apocalypse happens, right?

Well…I can tell you that the opposite is true at least in one case.

This weekend, my son got a nosebleed. No big deal. He gets them from time to time. His older sister got them when she was younger, not so much now. My wife and I both got them when we were kids.

We were hanging out, having a quiet Saturday evening watching a movie. Nothing active. My son had played in a soccer game earlier in the day, but he didn’t get hit in the face or have any falls. So his nosebleed was surprising. Not in the fact that he had one, but in its fervency.

This was a gusher.

So he was sitting on the floor in the living room holding a Kleenex to his face and I was on the couch. He turned to say something and then turned back. Slowly, my brain processed what it had seen, but it was refusing to believe it. Blood had welled up in his left eye and had just started to overflow his lower lid, spilling onto his cheek.

We pulled the Kleenex away for a moment to look and it just gushed. This wasn’t a trickle. Not a “one little tear at the end of a sad movie” type of thing. It was gushing blood almost as fast as his nose was.

So we put the New Kittens away and bundled my son away to the ER at the local Pediatric hospital.

It was surprising how busy the pediatric ER was at 9:00 on a Saturday night. Apparently, there are a lot of hard-partying children in our area. We waited for about 90 minutes in the waiting room, during which we finished off half a box of Kleenex as his eye and eventually his nose slowly stopped bleeding.

We were finally shown to a room and pulled the last Kleenex away from his nose literally less than a minute before the doctor came in. At this point, it was 11:30 at night and his nosebleed had lasted just over three hours. And there was basically nothing left to show the doctor. Fortunately (and I never thought I would utter these words prefaced with “Fortunately…”), there was some residual blood on his eyelashes to prove to the doctor that it had happened. Also, three of the intake nurses had seen it. Neither the doctor nor any of the nurses had ever seen that happen before.

But none of them were terribly worried about it, either. The tear ducts are connected to the nasal passages so it stands to reason that if you block an excess of blood from coming out of the nose, it would try to find some other way out. A lot of it went down his throat. And what was left found its way out of his eye.

So they sent us home with a nice pat on the head and a follow-up visit with an ENT this week. We got home and got the kids to bed.

And as they were sleeping peacefully in their rooms, I lay awake in my own bed with every image of a eye-bleeding zombie I’d ever seen in a movie flashing through my head…with my son’s face. ‘Twas a fitful night’s sleep to say the least.

 

New Kittens!

I mean, seriously…is there anything better in the entire world than kittens?

Their playful curiosity, unabashed enthusiasm, and overload of cuteness. What could possibly be better?

Yesterday, we stopped at the pet store to pick up a new fish for my son. We walked out of the store 2 hours later with a fish…and two new kittens. We’re still working out the names, but we’re closing in on them as a family. And this morning, when the black one stretched out across my chest and fell asleep for nearly an hour…everything else just sort of melted away. Thoughts of mowing the lawn and cleaning the house and my son bleeding out of his eye (that’s for a different post)…they all just sort of floated away. And for that hour, I couldn’t have been happier.

Here’s a pic of the newest additions to the family:

20161002_160735

The kittens purr when I hold them and all is right with the world…

Book Review – The Stand, by Stephen King

Full Disclosure: I’ve never been a big Stephen King fan. I’ve only read a few of his books, but I had never liked them enough to pick up other titles by him. My sister, on the other hand, is an avid SK fan. She boasts that she has read every single book he’s written…which is impressive since he’s been writing for about 100 years and has 1,412 55 novels to his name (plus 6 non-fiction books and about 200 short stories).

The Stand is frequently mentioned as readers’ favorite book by SK. I’m all about second chances (but not always 7th or 17th), so I figure, let’s try this one. Surely I’ll like it better than the others. I got it from Audible and, not knowing any better, I got the deluxe edition, not knowing that it was 48 hours long. It’s over half a million words long! Ouch.

Since I typically only listen to books on the way to/from work, it took from July to November to finally finish it. And now I can give a recount of my experience: It was the third most painful book I’ve ever completed. (Can you guess #1 and 2?)

The best thing I can say about the experience is that I didn’t quit. The worst part was that neither did the book. There were at least four times that I was sure I had reached the end of the book…and then it just continued.

To say that I found it plodding would be a huge understatement. That being said, I did like the characterization. Several of the characters have stayed with me after finishing the book. The worst part is (Minor Spoiler — but shouldn’t be a surprise for a King novel) that several of those characters died completely meaningless deaths. It was a let’s build up this character for 30 hours and then just say, “Oh well, he died,” and move on. Get over it. Oh yeah, what was the purpose of the character in the book? None, really. Could the book been just as complete without the character? Undoubtedly.

Now, that’s not to say that I don’t like having random characters that aren’t directly involved in the plot. I certainly do. They are frequently the most enjoyable parts of the book. What I don’t like is having 30k+ words written about a character and then they die off for no good reason and without impacting the story.

All that said, I found the ending to be even more dissatisfying than I expected. (I use the word “end” here very loosely since the story dragged on for another 100,000 words after what I think most people would have considered the ending…)

SK is, of course, a brilliant writer. He has sold about a billion books (ok, I exaggerate…it’s only somewhere between 300-350 million), so he obviously writes what people want to read. The fact that I didn’t like this one book certainly doesn’t change his expertise or the fact that he’s a role model for me. (Although I’d be quite happy selling just half that number because I’m not greedy. 😉 ).

So I did take quite a bit from the book in terms of storytelling notes and tips, clever phrases, and notes about what pieces of the people and environment he found important enough to document.

tl;dr I am glad I finished the book and I got some good stuff out of it as a writer watching a master at work, but I can’t say that I enjoyed the experience.

P.S. The two books that were more painful to complete were #1: The Bible and #2: Thornbirds. Let me know in the comments if you guessed either of these.

Planet Comicon!

I sold my books at Planet Comicon this past weekend and it was a great show! Fortunately, they doubled the amount of space for the show so the Saturday rush didn’t feel as claustrophobic as last year.

I met a bunch of cool people and new friends that I look forward to seeing again. (You know who you are!)

As a bonus, I got to talk to Zoie Palmer (Dr. Lauren from Lost Girl) a couple of times. She was quite friendly and put up with my silliness well. I did feel bad for her that she was placed next to Wil Wheaton’s table. He *always* has a super long line and she frequently didn’t since not as many peeps watch Lost Girl. I’m sure that my bothering her made up for it! 😉

I’m already looking forward to next year.

Guest Essay: How to Eliminate the Gun Control Controversy

Note: The following is a guest essay that I am posting here on behalf of the writer who goes by the pseudonym, “j.s.” Please feel free to comment directly to the story as j.s. will be reviewing any comments, suggestions, etc. If this is well-received, I may post additional essays that j.s. may provide.   –david

 

Proposal for Eliminating the Gun Control Controversy While Solving Other Societal and Financial Problems

by j.s.

In this essay, I offer a concrete, concise, and entirely feasible solution to several of the issues currently facing our country including gun control, financial instability, and prison overcrowding.

These are, to be sure, divisive issues that have plagued America (and other countries around the world) for years. There are valid concerns raised by both sides of the gun control issue and the main purpose of this editorial is to address the main concerns of those in favor of gun control and propose a method for eliminating their concerns.

By implementing the suggestions contained herein, we can eliminate the raging debates that are polarizing our nation and taking attention away from more pressing concerns. We can increase homeland security, lessen our current financial burdens, ensure that all citizens are contributing members of society, and improve the moral fiber of our great nation.
Continue reading

Great Comicon Kc

I was at Comicon in Kansas City this past weekend and it was great! By far the best con I’ve been at.

They moved to Bartle Hall with about twice as much space in order to alleviate the crowding they’ve experienced in past years in a smaller venue. It didn’t work. The place was absolutely packed. There was a line of several hundred people waiting to get in both days. The passage between booths were beyond crowded..they were quite claustrophobic at times. Which is a good thing!

I got a chance to talk to Wil Wheaton but missed George Takei . I even sold out of Sympathetic Resonance and actually made a few dollars (even after cost of show and quite a few free books given away).

But the best part of the weekend was definitely Sunday around noon. A very nice lady had come by on Saturday and bought a copy of my novella,

    The Color of Love

. She read half of it Saturday night and got up to read the rest Sunday morning. She came in Sunday and told me that she absolutely loved it” and she bought copies of the rest of my books. This is the sort of feedback that indie authors (and probably all authors) live for. (Thanks Mendi!)

Now hopefully she’ll convince about 2 million of her closest friends to each buy copies. 😉

Review on Bibliognome

Bibliognome posted a short review of The Happiness Equation. It had a couple of good things to say, but I wish there had been a bit more to it.

That being said, it makes you feel good when someone asks of your work, “What the hell prompted someone to come up with these scenarios?”  😉

 

Check it out here: http://bibliognome1.blogspot.com/2013/02/happiness-horror.html

Review – Codex by Lev Grossman

Just finished listening to this from Audible.com. The purchase was on a whim. Description sounded interesting and I thought I’d get something like Lincoln Child or maybe Dean Koontz.

Instead, what I got was a very slow, meandering story that alway had lots of potential to explode into awesomeness at any point. The good news is that I listened to the end because I was always sure that the awesomeness was just around the corner. The bad news is…having finished the novel, I’m still waiting.

And the ending was so severely disappointing that I was confused how that could be the end.

The writing style was actually quite good in places. The characters were well-described and I identified with them. The detail of the environments was good and there were quite a few places where I said (frequently outloud), “What a great phrase!”

The good writing made the bad plot and lack of action that much more painful. I was expecting intermittant action scenes to keep the story moving along. I think the closest thing to an action scene is when the main character is confronted on the street by some rivals who also want the Codex. As soon as the main character realizes that the two men might actually be threatening him physically, his large friend just happens to show up on the sidewalk, looking imposing. And that’s where the section/chapter ends.

Unfortunately, the actual reading of the book added to the pain. The speaker was actually quite good throughout most of the book and affected the various characters’ voices well. But it was read in a British dialect so that words like “khaki” were pronounced “cocky.” This was very distracting to my stupid, American ears.

Sadly, I can’t give this book more than 2 d’s out of 5.