I love my wife

February 14, 2010

Reposted from 2/22/2009

That title might not seem like a particularly-dramatic statement, but I think it’s worth mentioning. I say this especially because of the sorts of things I’ve heard lately. Some of them, I suppose, not so much lately as just having heard them in general.

Men make fun of their wives, complain about them, and say all kinds of things. I don’t care to make a lot of specific examples, because I’m not trying to call anyone out right now. Just to give you a sense of what’s got me going, though … Read the rest of this entry »


A small writing sample

February 14, 2010

I like this scene, which I wrote some time ago. I’d need to flesh it out some to use it, and obviously go somewhere with it.

I’ve never figured out what story goes with it … though I have dabbled with leaving it as a free-standing short story that leaves the end somewhat open.

I think I’m using it in a YA-level fantasy on which I’m working, though it will need a lot of changes (not the least of which, there won’t be a drunk 15-year-old in it).

The file name on my computer is “Chapter One – defunct.”

Anyway … here goes: Read the rest of this entry »


Pet peeve: The word “literally”

February 12, 2010

(Reposted from my previous blog. 3/18/2009)

Just a quick note here to anyone who wants to use the English language with some level of competence.

I’m not linking to anything, in order to avoid making fun of anyone.

The word “literally” is supposed to communicate something in particular. What it means is that what you’re saying is real, not exaggerated.

The following are examples that I’ve seen recently of its misuse. See if you can figure out what’s wrong:

“Joe the Plumber was literally crucified by the Left …”

“Instead of offering solutions, Republicans are just literally throwing temper tantrums and stomping their feet …”

“Obama has literally declared war on the rich …”

“After I literally starved to death …”

“George Bush literally spat on the Constitution …”

Do you see the problem?

If I see any more of this, I think I’m literally going to explode.

… Just kidding.


In Mourning

February 10, 2010

First of all, I know that I’m behind schedule. I’ll get some more posts up this week.

Right now, though, what’s on my mind is sort of a crisis in my area.

The Waldenbooks store in the Lilac Mall (Rochester, NH) just closed. This is deeply saddening for a couple of reasons. First of all, there is no longer a full-service bookstore in our area.

In Farmington, there is a little shop in someone’s house that’s open about four hours per week. I haven’t ever been there.

In Rochester, there is a comic book store and a used book store. While Jetpack and Annie’s serve their purposes (and I go to both), neither offers what I could get at Waldenbooks.

The closest conventional book store? There’s an independent book store in Wolfeboro (a little more than half an hour away from my house), though I confess that I haven’t been there. The next choice is the Barnes and Noble in Portsmouth. The next real city to Rochester is Dover, which once had the Little Professor and Stroudwater Books … each closed long ago.

Portsmouth is a solid 40 minutes away, if I take both toll booths. According to one of the associates formerly of that store (who now works at McDonald’s), the Lilac Mall store had actually done pretty well. It beat its sales goals and was doing pretty well in comparisons to previous years.

Borders, though, which owns Waldenbooks, chose to close stores simply to downsize. They’re focusing on the online sales side of the business, and they expect not to lose too much in sales.

I’m not sure how that’s true, since they were the only game in town before, and now they’re on equal footing with Barnes and Noble and Amazon. (If you pretend that Amazon isn’t the first site one thinks of when considering online book sales.)

As a personal note, I miss Waldenbooks particularly because that has always been my book store. Not necessarily that location, but that store. When my family lived in Lubbock, Texas it was at Waldenbooks that I bought my Hardy Boys books. Waldenbooks was my first book store, and I’ve always had more than a small allegiance to it.

I am among those who thinks that online book shopping can never replace the book store or the library. The idea of browsing book shelves, examining covers and thumbing through pages is important to me and an important part of really being a book lover. Amazon simply can’t offer that.

So, there we are. Certainly not a crisis in the real sense of the word, but a loss nonetheless.


Friday Report

February 6, 2010

I did a lot better on reading this week. I can’t seem to find Stoneheart (by Charlie Fletcher) now that I’m trying to read it, so instead I’m working my way through the Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper. I finished The Dark is Rising at long last, and then shot through Greenwitch. This morning I started The Grey King, which I should finish before I get the boys tomorrow evening.

I rather like this series. I’ll have specifics about the books later.

After that, I have a few more kidlit titles I want to get through in the immediate future — the sixth book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series by Robert Flanagan, The Siege of Macindaw; and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma, third in that series by Trenton Lee Stewart, come to mind.

I’d also like to make a dent in my stack of books I’ve meant to read for some time. I’ll list those in a different post.

I think I’ll toss a short story up tomorrow. Enjoy it, or not …


As Goes Texas?

February 3, 2010

I started this alternate blog with the intent of avoiding controversial topics. However, I don’t think that I can let this subject go.

Texas is a very important state when it comes to what is in textbooks. Not only in Texas, but around the country. Unlike most states, where local school districts decide which books to use, books in Texas must be approved at the state level. Being such a huge consumer of books, Texas is much-sought by text book publishers. Therefore, books are often skewed toward appealing to the Texas State Board of Education. Read the rest of this entry »


Tuesday Morning

February 2, 2010

I love Tuesday mornings.

My local library has story time at 11, so I bring Eagle (and Zidgel, of course) over there and we read some books, sing some songs, and then end the session with some coloring (usually) or another craft. It’s fun.

My little halfling loves the library, and it’s certainly a good thing. I figure that if she knows the librarians at this age, that we’re setting her up for some good habits.

My wife is able to come every other week … she works late on alternate Tuesdays. This isn’t one of those Tuesdays, but that’s okay.

Last night, I failed to finish The Dark is Rising. I’m halfway through the last chapter, but the two kiddos kept me busy until late enough that I was falling asleep while reading. It really is a good book, I just keep falling asleep while reading it because I’m reading on the wrong side of midnight.

In other news … in speaking to Eaglescoutjonathan at church on Sunday, I found a new title that I’ll have to use some time. He pulled out the contents of one of his pockets (I don’t remember why). He had 56 cents and a ball bearing. “Fifty-six cents and a ball bearing” has a lot of potential as a short story title, possibly a poem.

I just have to write it, now.