Category Archives: Misc

It’s Christmas

Christmas is here again. When I was a kid, Christmas was the most exciting time of the year and I could not sleep the night before Christmas. My most memorable gift is that 20 gauge shotgun I got when I was twelve or thirteen. Think I was probably twelve, because the spring after that Christmas, I had my first hunting trip. I’m sure I was thirteen at that point and my birthday is in March.

I also got that pocket magnifying glass a few years ago and it’s something I never go anywhere without. The only time it’s out of my pocket is when I’m using it to read something that can’t be enlarged. I use the magnifying glass to read just about everything that’s printed on paper.

I just turned on A Christmas Story. In my opinion, it’s the best Christmas movie ever made.

I’ll be at Mom and Dad’s later.

Merry Christmas.

Looks like we’ll have a very icy Christmas

shovel

Well, it’s December 24, Christmas Eve. There hasn’t been a heavy snowfall since the last heavy snowfall. I bought a new snow shovel last week and I’d like to use it. But, instead of snowfall, we’ve been having snowmelt and there’s  ice.

I’m staying home today. Got beer and pizza. There’s a bunch of Christmas movies on TV. and I might watch a couple. TNT will start running A Christmas Story at 8 PM and looks like it’ll be rolling back-to-back for 24 hours. If you’re someone who has never seen A Christmas Story, you really should check it out. You might hate it, but you might love it.

USPS workers don’t get the day off, apparently.

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Landmines in Fiction

Yesterday I blogged about how shootings are often weirdly exaggerated in fiction. That brought to mind another thing I often notice, how landmines function in fiction.

How many movies have you seen where a group of soldiers are making their way cross-country and you hear a click? The soldiers stop and look around at each other, and then one of them says “It’s me.”

If the unlucky soldier is really generous, he’ll stand there until his buddies are a safe distance away, and then he’ll lift his foot. Boom, he’s dead.

It’s hard not to think that all the soldier had to do was jump to the ground, cover his head with his arms, and the blast wave might not have done much damage. They jump to the ground when grenades are thrown at them, why can’t they do it when they step on landmines?

Research shows that there were times in real wars when landmines did not function properly and you could stand on them without them going off. But a properly functioning landmine will not give a warning. You won’t hear a click. When you step on a landmine, it goes off. You’re not required to lift your foot for it to go off.

I think the people who create these scenes know this. They might even know that a 12 gauge and .44 Magnum won’t send a person flying backward in real life. Maybe they put those things in because it makes the scenes more thrilling for people who aren’t obsessed with the details like I am.

Personally, I wouldn’t do it that way. I’m overly obsessed with trying to get everything exactly right in my fiction And I’m still afraid that readers of my work will find so many booboos.

Morning, Sam

Morning, Ralph.

I’ve been getting up at 6 AM. I try to have a new blog entry written before seven, but it often takes me longer. And then I work on the novel. If I manage to get ten pages into the novel, I’ll work on a short story and try to get five pages. That doesn’t always mean writing, sometimes it’s editing.

I finish my day by reading no less than  one chapter of whatever book I happen to be reading. Right now it’s Finding Fish, by Antwone Fisher.

I have a checklist on excel, that’s divided into two columns. One column is blog, novel, short story and reading. The other column is chores that I can get up and do if I’m stalled on the stuff in the first column. I don’t always get everything on the list checked off, but I try to.

Think I got back ten years of my life

I shoveled my sidewalk and driveway twice this month. Over the years, anytime I shoveled snow or did any kind of physical work, I’d be coughing and gasping for air. Not anymore.

Since I quit smoking in June, I’ve been noticing how much better I feel. I don’t wake up in the morning feeling like I’m suffocating and I can laugh without breaking into terrible coughing fits, and I seem to have more energy.

I have not had a single cigarette since June 3rd, when I smoked my last one and announced on Facebook that I was going to quit. I don’t know how I managed to just quit like that. For twenty-three years, I failed, failed and failed again to quit smoking. All of sudden, I’m a non-smoker. How did that happen?

Thoughts on Transgender

Recently a friend announced that she is trans, that not so long ago she had the operations to change her sex from male to female. I think that’s awesome. If she’s happier as a woman, then that’s cool.

I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand why someone would have their sex changed. It’ll probably always be a little strange to me. But I don’t need to understand it to be fine with it. I won’t criticize you for it. In fact, I’ll be your biggest cheerleader.

This friend is married. Had been married to a woman for some years now. They got married long before the operations, and they’re still married. I understand it to be a happy marriage.

A common belief seems to be that a man would want to become a woman because he’s attracted to men. And vice versa, woman, man, because women. Maybe that is the case sometimes. But I think often it has nothing to do with whether you’re attracted to the same sex or the opposite sex.

It might not have anything to do with attraction at all. Maybe it’s that some people feel they should’ve been born as the opposite sex. I can, kind of, wrap my brain around that theory. But transgender is a complex subject.

If you’re transgender, whether you actually had an operation or not, you got my full support. If it makes you happy and it’s not hurting anyone, then I see nothing wrong with it.

Though my friend is now a woman, I don’t think her interests or personality have changed. She’s the same person and I’d still have a beer with her. My only complaint is, now I gotta get used to calling her by a different name.

It still works, but I want it gone

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It took me a few years to get around to it, but I finally willed myself to move this old bomb of a TV out to the road for the garbage truck. It had been sitting in a corner of my bedroom doing nothing but collecting dust. It’s one of those big models from the late-80’s to the mid-90’s.
That sucker is heavy. Hope I didn’t give myself another hernia. It still works, but I want it gone.
Next Day Update
Someone claimed the TV before the garbage truck did. Whoever it was, I hope the TV brings them much joy. I still got the remote control here, I should’ve taken it out and left it on the TV yesterday. But the same buttons are on the front of the TV, so at least they’ll be able to work it.

Standing Rock

I guess everyone has heard something about the Dakota Access Pipeline, Standing Rock and this big Native American movement to stop the pipeline from passing through the reservation’s water source. Of course the usual line was drawn. Some people side with the Dakota Access Pipeline and some people side with the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

They were originally going to construct the pipeline through Bismarck. Bismarck residents rejected the pipeline for the same reason the Sioux are rejecting it, they were concerned about their water source. Seeing how the pipe recently burst somewhere down the line, I think their concerns are reasonable.

Why weren’t the residents of Bismarck told that the pipeline was going through their area whether they liked it or not? Why was it acceptable for Bismarck to reject the pipeline?

The pipeline was re-routed to go through the Standing Rock Reservation. The Sioux rejected it, but their rejection was ignored. They’re taking a nonviolent stand and law enforcement is attempting to drive them off with violence. Why is that acceptable?