…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy! If you are looking for Kaylia's official Website please visit KayliaMetcalfeWriter

Holiday Letter 2009

Yes… it’s a Christmas letter. Why not?

2009 was a banner year for me. I started the year off by being treated to a trip to Tokyo with my wonderful boyfriend Matthew where we got to eat delicious food, see fantastic art, and navigate (and eventually sort of comprehend) the Tokyo subway system.

This year I also moved from my “home town” of San Jose to the quirky and always entertaining Santa Cruz. This town is such an interesting mix of college kids, burnt out hippies, zealots in every shape and size, and, of course, the tourists. Throw in the amazing new gamer/skeptic/geek friends I have made here and is it any wonder that I fit right in? Honestly, living a 20 minute walk from the beach is hard to beat.

I eventually got a job in the Santa Cruz area and was able to stop doing the 2 hour 20 minute commute (each way) over the hill every day. Not only does this mean more quality time with wonderful boyfriend Matthew, but I now proudly work for Big Bothers Big Sisters where I get to help make a positive difference in the lives of at risk and underprivileged kids. I couldn’t be happier with this employment transition!

And lastly, but seriously big, my short story collection Links was published this fall. (Available at This is my first book… but definitely not my last. I am already busy doing the research for my next project while still trying to maintain a social life, a gaming life, and my two blogs.

In other words… even though there were a few hiccups along the way, this year has been outstanding! I hope this letter finds you also enjoying the end of 2009 and I hope you are as optimistic and excited as I am to see what 2010 brings us! (In the works for me: Sharing an apartment with the wonderful boyfriend Matthew, A trip to London in the spring, and Helping a few dear friends get married!)

Remember, whatever you celebrate this time of year… do it with gumption and flair!

As always, warm thoughts and wishes for peace,

Palin is Nutty and Spock is a Mack Daddy.

Hello readers. I am alive, doing well, and just a bit busy with all that life currently has to offer. Things like a job that is both stimulating and at time overwhelming, fun new hobbies (folk dancing and knitting/crochet), the return to the gym, keeping up with my book club reading, trying to bargain my laptop out of imploding, and oh yes, spending quality time with The Maifan-San.

I have a whole long list of blog entries in the half written stage that will hopefully make their way to your computer screens in the not too distant future.

In the meantime, let us enjoy a bit of fun with the always-good-for-an-uncomfortable-laugh, Sarah Palin.

First, as I’m sure you know her book came out last month. No I haven’t read it. No, I am not planning on reviewing it unless I can get a free copy… I don’t really want to give tht woman any of my money. What I did find interesting was this display in one of our local book shops on the day that it came out.

If you can’t read it, they were giving away a small bag of nuts “Sarah Palin Just Plain Nuts” with each copy of the book.. Or if your stomach wouldn’t be able to handle the book, you could buy the nuts by themselves.

Brilliant marketing… and quite possibly the funniest thing I have seen at a bookshop in a while.

(The funniest thing I have seen at a grocery store would have to be this….

… I snapped that photo on November 3rd. Apparently some people –cakes?- were dismayed to learn that Halloween had already come and gone.)

Ahem, speaking of funny…

I have recently been watching the original Star Trek episodes online via CBS. They have them all posted, in order… which is really cool! My internet connection is not so cool so the process has been going slowly.

A few notes: to all of you who said that the whole Spock / Uhura romance in the most recent Star Trek movie was out of left field and didn’t make any sense… I invite you to go back and watch the first three episodes of ST-TOS. There was definitely something going on between the two of them.

“Tell me Mr. Spock,” she coos laying her head on her arms and gazing up at him, “Tell me about the moon on Vulcan.”

And… in a later scene he [plays some sort of stringed instrument an she dances around singing along….The shared moments of these two might not have led to something… but there are indeed overtones. So there.

And speaking of Star trek… William Shatner continues to be one of those people who never really ever go away. From Star Trek to Priceline to Boston Legal to mocking Sarah Palin… the guy is keeping himself in my personal list of “People you Simply Have to Watch”

Case in point:

Aye Sarah, stick to comedy… a lot of us already think you are pretty funny already.

(Is it just me or don’t you get the vibe tht she is going to be on some cable news –coughFOXcough channel in another 6 months with her own show…. A feat of fine that is fit to follow Glen Beck…..

Ok, all, that’s it for no. I’m off to do one of the 28 things on my To Do List…..

GoodBye via GoodWill

I took my wedding dress to GoodWill today.
In a trash bag
In the rain.

But I refuse to look at the situation through specs of symbolism. This, after all, is my real life and not the life of a character in one of my stories.

At least not yet.

I have been divorced for years now. I have moved four times since leaving my husband, (and yes I suppose that fact should be noted somewhere in black and white: I left him) and the dress in its hermetically sealed expensive white box has moved with me.

I kept meaning to get rid of it. But there were hesitations. At first I didn’t want the reminder of what I had been, what I had lost, what I was most afraid of. Later, I wasn’t sure what the protocol was… how long does one wait before disposing of something that had at one point, such sentimental value? Eventually, the box was in a closet (a series of closets to be more precise) and I just didn’t think of it.

It became like the bridesmaid dress I wore to my cousin’s wedding, the prom dress I wore in high school,… symbols of the past sure, but more accurately simply just dresses that I had worn, would never wear again, and couldn’t really pass on to any friends or family members.

In fact I would go months without remembering the dress’s existence and then while looking for a lost scarf, a forgotten pair of shoes, or during the preparations to move yet again I would find the box and vow to actually do something with it once and for all.

That usually ended up with me talking about doing something and then forgetting about it again… and in this way the dress and its gigantic box moved with me to an apartment in San Jose, a studio in downtown, a townhouse in Milpitas, and then finally to my quaint little nest here in Santa Cruz.

Until today. Today I pulled the step stool over and pulled the box down. I planned to grab my purse, hoist the thing on my shoulders and off we would go….

…. And then I found the mold.

The side of the box that had been against the wall was covered and the wall in the closet as well. This meant a few things. 1. I am going to have to call my complex and deal with the mess while also finding a place for my secret cat to live while all that happens and 2 I was going to have to open the box and make sure I wasn’t donating a ruined dress.

I hadn’t planned on opening the box. To be honest, I was a bit nervous. Was I going to suddenly turn into a puddle of misgivings? Was I going to be haunted by the yards of white satin? Was I going to randomly feel the urge to put it back on?

Thankfully no. The dress was fine, the box was ruined. The box therefore was taken to the dumpster and the dress was gently folded into a black trash bag (used solely for its size and not any deeper meaning) and then carried the five blocks to GoodWill slung over my back like a Santa bag.

Two more notes:

Making room in the closet is in part because The Maifan-San will be moving in with me in less than a month.

While I was walking to the GoodWill it started to rain, hard.

Again, I refuse to find symbolic meaning in any of this (mold included).



On a totally unrelated note, I have the overwhelming urge to cut and dye my hair.

Doing Good in the Name of Doing Good

It is December… official month of holiday fun.

I love this month… I love that my birthday is this month, I love that I get to see my family, I love that it is cold and dark but that the turning point of the season happens, I love that there are pretty twinkling lights and excuses to go shopping, I love that baking seems par for the course on December weekends, I love the music….

And I can get all that stuff without needing to really get into the religious aspects of the holiday.

The best part about this season for believers and non believers alike is the importance on family… and the importance of “good.”

Good: good wishes, good tidings, good deeds, good gifts….

Which brings me to my point. A lot of churches and other religious organizations use the holidays as a catalyst for giving, for community support, for charity. That’s fine… it makes perfect sense and I don’t begrudge them this at all.

I just wish that more of us in the secular community could separate the “holy” out of the holiday and do likewise. Without any prompting, I can list dozens of religious organizations that are helping the poor, the hungry, the children, the veterans,… If pressed for their secular equivalents, I can list.. well… fewer.

My point is that we have a great opportunity to help our community in this season. Whether we are religious and help in the name of our deity and our faith or if we are non religious and we extend help in the name of common decency and for the betterment of our world, we all have a chance to do good this winter season.

So, I encourage you, my readers of every faith and non faith alike to find a way to reach out to your community, to help, to encourage, to do some good.

An organization that is near and dear to my heart this season is Big Brothers Big Sisters. This organization helps low income children in many ways… the one-on-one mentoring that I am sure most of you know about, as well as facilitating after school programs in low income and high risk areas. These programs help kids have a safe place to study and socialize. By providing positive role models and giving encouragement to these kids and teens BBBS is making a positive difference in the future of its communities.

I have personally seen the amazing results that occur when a child is treated well, given opportunities, and helped along by a caring adult. A lot of charities this season will ask you help solve some big problems in our society… by helping BBBS you help our society avoid these future problems. Kids in the BBBS program are more likely to stay in school and avoid drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, and gang activities.

In other words, BBBS is part of the solution and I for one am glad to donate to them this holiday season.

Won’t you join me?

If you want more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters, check out their site or ask me!

Evil of Carrots

Eating healthy is a good thing.

Bringing your own healthy foods, like a bag of carrots, to work is also a good thing.

Forgetting a bag of carrots in your desk drawer for a long weekend…. Not such a good thing.

In fact it was a dripping gooey rotten messy vomit smelling sort of thing when I pulled it out of the bottom drawer of my desk. It managed to spread its dripping gooey rotten vomit smelling chunky mess all over my legs, into my shoes, onto the carpet….

Not good at all.

I managed to not throw up and heaved the entire mess into the trash can. Then I set about madly wiping off everything in site and wishing desperately for the floor to open up and swallow me.

I had to go home and change. I had to go across the street and but Lysol and 409. I had to bring in scented candles.

And the smell persists.

The odor is subtle… but when the odor in question is eu de rotten vomit, subtle is still distracting and gross. We might have to get the carpet shampooed… which means besides making this one of the most embarrassing things to happen tome at work, also one of the more expensive. And it is a cost my little non profit organization probably can’t really afford.

Also… I think my shoes might be ruined beyond fixing… a wash and a night spent outside airing out and they still smell something rather horrible.

The lesson in all this should be “go out to lunch!” or “carrots are evil!” but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is “don’t leave things in your desk.”

Hmmm. Nope, I’m going to go with “carrots are evil” and on that note….

Happy December!

Thankfully some things don't change.

I saw my sister for the first time in a few months recently and was shocked at how much older she looked with her new hair cut. Not older as in actually old, she is only 18 for goodness sakes, but older as in more mature. Then I realized that it was more than the haircut… she is a college girl now and with her first semester away from home and the whole doing her own thing while studying something she loves really agrees with her.

She isn’t my little baby sister anymore.

Because, some things change.

People get older.

People you once had school girl crushes on are suddenly a lot less cool.

Musicians that you idolized show themselves to be petty mean spirited curmudgeons.

Fashions that once looked good… okay, in this case it would fashions that we once thought looked good… well, we realized that no, no they don’t.

Same goes for hairstyles.

And then we have the situation where almost iconic movie actors, who we dug, stood in line to see, and defended to our friends and families as “good,” make a movie that has “My Career Is in The Crapper” written all over it.

Oh, but let’s not jump to conclusions… maybe the movie posetr is just insipid and lame. What do the critics have to say?

First the preview:

Based on its critical reception, Disney's "Old Dogs" looks destined to play dead at theaters. The film has garnered atrocious reviews. The Chicago Tribune granted the film zero stars and explained that the movie is "a great opportunity to gather family members you clearly think are stupid."

Online critic James Berardinelli granted the movie half a star out of four and wrote that "there are some experiences no one should be subjected to even in the name of science." And the carnage didn't stop. Entertainment Weekly gave the film an "F" and lamented the disappearance of Robin Williams' dignity. Moviegoers -- you have been warned.

Ok, yes,,, it looks stupid and contrived and such… but those reviews are just harsh! They seem better suited to something like this….

(Trust me on this… the movie looks like it might be good in that whole bad sort of way… but it is just bad, just very very very bad.)

I guess the lesson here is that maybe movie critics are occasionally over critical but more importantly a lot of what we label as good is fleeting.

But my spending time with my more mature little sister? Nope. That is still totally fun.

Especially when we hang out with Stormtroopers.

(And just how and why we were hanging out with Stormtroopers is a story yet to come.

In other words, I’m back in the blogblogityblogblog world! Stay tuned!

Back on TV!

In case you missed it... or don't live in Sacramento...

Here is my 2nd appearance on the Good Day Sacramento show.

A big Thank You to Lori, Cody and Ashley for letting me back in the studio!

FOX + Kids and Comedians (and a shameless plug)

Happy Friday!

A few videos and a bit of video related news for you this morning…

I am going to be returning to Good Day Sacramento tomorrow morning at 8 am. You should be able to watch it live on their website… and I will hopefully get it linked up here later this weekend.

But to tide you over until you can watch me talk with my hands and try to avoid saying “ummm” 12 times in three minutes, here are a few videos!

First off, my continuing crush on Jon Stewart as he does a Gln Beck impersonation to beat the band.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The 11/3 Project
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Next, What happens when you mix well meaning but out of touch ad people with pop culture. Burger King has had some very creepy commercials in its time (Waking Up With The King” being pretty high on that list), but this one just takes the cake.

And lastly… let’s put together our motife of making fun of Fox News an wonky children’s pop culture…. That’s right, you guessed it: Sesame Street.

Not only is the famous street turning 40 this week (wow!) but they made it into the news for allergy overstepping the bounds in relation to, you guessed it, Fox News.

In the October 29th episode, Oscar the Grouch — the founder of the Grouch News Network (GNN) — receives a phone call from what appears to be a female muppet complaining that GNN isn’t grouchy enough.

“I am changing the channel,” she says to Oscar. “From now on I am watching ‘Pox’ News. Now there is a trashy news show.”

Apparently POX News is too close to FOX News for the comfort level of FOX News.

What do you think?

Ok all… that’s it for me for now… enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to click on over to Good Day Sacramento for my TV spot!


I recently changed jobs. My new role is within an organization that is vastly different than my former employer. Instead of working in the world of finance and HR, I now work in the world of Non Profit and Volunteering.

From LSI (internal device and data storage) I now work for Big Brothers Big Sisters (after school programs and one on one mentoring).

It is quite a switch.

I really love my new job. BBBS does mentoring programs for kids. We match a Big with a Little to provide a positive role model. It is a lot of fun and I am learning a lot. One of the things I like most about this job is knowing that I am having a positive impact on the children and youth of my newly adopted county.

I have gotten to play with little kids, help out at a Halloween party, interact with medium aged children, and really see the difference that our organization can make.

There was a moment recently….

On the intake forms they ask the children a series of questions. Fill in the blank sorts of things like “When I am sad I….” and “My favorite thing to do on the weekends is….”

The last question on the list is “Sometimes people are…”

The number one response, the response that overshadows all others, is heart wrenching.

“Sometimes people are… mean.”

I am so glad that I am part of the solution for these kids. Because sometimes, sometimes it is paramount to strive to make a difference.

Sometimes people are worth it.

(This post wasn’t a pitch for donations… but if you are interested in learning more about what BBBS does, let me know.)

Happy Nerd Appreciation Day (not really)

I love nerds.
And geeks.
And all odd balls.

So, in honor of all that and the fact that it is Thursday....

... and that the internet turns 40 today.

NASA + Felicia Day = Nifty Nerdy Fun.

Bible Study + Buffy and Humor = More Nifty Nerdy Fun

Branding your kid a nerd before he/she can even walk….

.. well… that’s just cruel.

Happy Thursday!

An Adventure in Getting Dressed

Ok.. so,

Jeans: Jeans are easy. They zip in the front. It matters not if you are a guy or a girl or where the tag is. Sometimes the tag is in the back, sometimes next to the zipper… but who cares? They zip in the front.

Skirts: Skirts are a bit harder. They can zip on the side or the back. The tag can be on the side next to the zipper or in the back… or not there at all. Usually it is obvious based on the lines and the structure of the skirt if it is a side zip or a back zip. Usually.

Women’s Dress Pants: Ok, here’s where it gets tricky. The tag is next to the zipper.. the zipper… is in the front.. right? Wait… sometimes it looks like the zipper goes in the back (like a skirt) because there is a subtle difference in the amount of fabric in the front/back. Sometimes thought the difference in the fabric isn’t there… and then I have to wonder.. back like a skirt, or front like men’s pants and jeans?

And of course unlike in the photo, with the particular pair of pants I was dealing with this morning, there aren’t any pockets to give guidance.

It is moments like these… where I have put on the pants, taken them off, put them on again…. (this was after the 10 minutes trying to manage thigh high nylons and deciding that the weird little roll that happens would be too distracting at work and under pants) … it is in these moments that I doubt that I am all grown up.

Because… because despite the fact that I have an adult job doing adult things, that I pay rent and clean the cat pot and balance my checkbook and have written a book and have exciting travel pans…

…sometimes I still feel very young.

It Isn't Paranoia If It's Real

The shredder stopped working today. It took one sheet and then another and then another and then nothing. It has been unplugged, replugged, shaken, cleaned, shaken, cleaned, moved, and everything else I can think to do… and yet. No shredding.

Next, the copy machine got all persnickety and didn’t want to copy anything until a mysterious “feed error” was taken care of. I gave it a time out, turned it on and off a few times, opened up every conceivable door and cranny, Eventually it changed its mind and allowed me to make a few copies.

Fresh off that victory I returned to the shredder. But no dice.

Then the fax machine decided that despite all evidence to the contrary, the over was open. “Close Cover” it kept telling me. I replied with “The damn cover is already closed you stupid heap of plastic,” but in vain. So I opened the cover, closed the cover, opened the feed tray, closed the feed tray… over and over again. The infernal machine kept insisting that I needed to “Close Cover” and I kept insisting that it was already closed…. Until at last it managed to clue in, and allow me to start typing in a phone number. Half way through the faxing process, it… and I swear it snickered as it did it, suddenly stopped and declared that the cover was yet again, open.

I wanted to cry.

Or break something plastic and beepy.

Instead I took a breath, and tried again.

Eventually the faxes were sent and received.

The shredder, on the other hand, is committed to making me look silly and has shown no interest in cooperating in the slightest.

Oh the joy of office work.

I'm ready for lunch.

25 is the new 50

According to this lady, women in Scotland should follow the trends of the oh so fashionable and enviable women in London and start getting Botox in their mid 20s.

First thing, is this an actual trend? Are women in their mid 20s getting injections as a way to make their faces firmer and younger looking? How crappy would your face have to look at 25 for you to consider Botox? How low would your self esteem have to be?

Second thing: Ew!

It’s bad enough that the media likes to celebrate youth with the sort of hyper drool fest that I celebrate fresh baked cookies or Jon Stewart. (It’s loud, it’s messy, it’s not for everyone.)


My point is that our fascination with youth is not just gross (cookie crumbs flying everywhere) but also dangerous.

When a Ralph Lauren model gets fired for being too fat (oh my god, size 4… what a cow!) and people start thinking that women in their mid 20s need Botox, we have some serious issues on our hands and faces and asses.

Issues that can really only be solved with education, experience, and positive role models.

This horse isn’t dead… I will keep hitting it.

Join me... let's celebrate laugh lines, wisdom wrinkles, and the fact that we have waists bigger than our heads.

Hippies and Band Uniforms

I should have slept in Scotts Valley last night.

This morning around 6 am they were out cleaning the streets. Namely, my street. There were tow trucks, there were street sweeper trucks, there were trash trucks…. Basically for about 45 minutes there was a parade of loud beeping trucks with flashing lights right outside my bedroom window.

Then at 7, the bands began to arrive. I am not sure how many there are total, but it is now 1145 and they are still coming… rows upon rows of high school marching bands. This part of SC is apparently the staging area for some big competition.

Yes, high school marching bands.

With the whistles and the drums and the yelling and the annoying sidelined parents and the costumes and the general high school-ness of it all. And the whistles. And the drums.

Outside my windows.

The cat is in a mild permanent state of frantic freak out and I keep finding excuses to leave the apartment. I took clothes over to Good Will to donate. I took a box of books to sell to Logos. (What they don’t want, I’ll donate to the library.) I went to the post office and mailed a copy of my book to John S. (winner of the drawing). Really though, I need to be home cleaning, writing, reading, watching Supernatural, and such and it is hard to do that with the incredibly loud bands out there.

Anyway, on my walk back from the post office I ended up walking behind a woman with her two little girls (around age 5). The little girls were pretty cute; one was carrying a big water bottle, the other a rolled up newspaper. As they neared the corner, the newspaper girl veered away from her mother and stopped in the shade of a shop’s awning. She put the newspaper down on the sidewalk and then hurried to catch up with her mom and sister.

“I don’t want it.” She informed her mother.
“Oh, ok, glad we bothered to carry it around all morning.” Her mother replied.

“Hey!” This from me, the unnoticed interloper, “Excuse me!”

The mother turns around. I continue; “Are you just going to let her leave that there on the ground?”

The mother shrugs and turns away.

“Hey!! That’s littering!” Me again, my voice getting louder because I have stoped next to the offending newspaper and they have continued on. “There’s a trash can right over there! Excuse me!”

The mother turns back, the little girls are slowing downa dn looking behind at me, eyes wide. “Stop yelling at my kids! If you care that much, pick it up yourself!”

She grabs the hands of both girls and the one with the water bottle starts to cry as she is pulled roughly down the street.

“Mommy, owww… why is that lady mad/”

“Ignore her.” says the mother, “She’s just a dirty hippy. Come on!”

Dirty hippy my ass, I should have thrown it at her head. Ii didn’t.
I did and pick it up and throw it away. Not because I am a hippy, dirty or otherwise, but because I am a local and I am a decent sort of person.

Then I finished the walk back to my apartment to try to enjoy the starts and stops of random marching songs and comfort my cat.

Ahhh life in a small, beach, college, tourist town….

Starts And Stops

It starts like this.....

It was the autumnal equinox and even though she was a level headed girl, who considered herself beyond the allure of casual superstitions, she found herself blaming the calendar, or perhaps the day to night ratio, for what happened. Of course, blame came later. On the day in question, she was only vaguely aware that it was the beginning of fall. The sun, after all was out and the day was exceptionally nice and warm.
(A Baker’s Dozen)

I am really good at beginnings. I am actually really good at middles and pretty darn good at endings.

You know what I am not so good about? Finishing.

How is that different from the ending? Well, usually when I start a short story or an idea for a novel there is a vast amount of Unknown. And this Unknown is exciting.

We went back to her place because it was closer and because I was legitimately interested in seeing her art. Sleeping with her, sure, but art was what had brought me out to the gallery opening on such a rainy night in the first place and art had been the focus of our conversation for at least an hour before it dawned on me that she might be interested in more than just my ranting about the importance of oil paints as an aesthetic choice. Her overzealous and almost painful exuberance in the cab ride had not only embarrassed the driver but had also made her intentions obvious.
(Surface Dweller)

Sometimes I start with a word, a phrase, a vague ideas…. And I just write. I write and the words come out and the story takes shape. I don’t know how it is going to end. That not knowing keeps me interested in writing. I am on a journey and the only way to find out what happens next is to keep typing.

We came back to the house because I didn’t know where else to go. In the entry hall, I put my purse down on the table and then looked at it as if it were a strange foreign object. I took my shoes off and left them half hidden under the hall table. I went to the living room on autopilot and sat down on the sofa. I waited to feel something else.
Martin was a study of slow movements, taking off his sports coat, checking the thermostat, moving the mail from one pile to another, checking the messages. I sat still, not wanting to move. I had thought that getting through the funeral would be the hardest part, but this sitting here afterwards with nothing to do, nothing to plan or organize, nothing to take care of, this was worse.

(Dead Line)

Sometimes I start with a character. A person sometimes only partly formed, sometimes so severely detailed that they are more real than the people sitting next to me. This character has a story, an event, a moment of clarity but I don’t know what it is. All I know is that I have to write about him/her or they will haunt me. Ben is such a character. He has been haunting me for almost a year.

The ball had dropped hours ago. The streets that had been overflowing with merry makers had dissolved into dark alleys where trash danced in the flickering traffic lights. It was hard for Ben to imagine that there had been hundreds people here just a few hours ago, and that all of them had been happy. Or at least they had pretended to be happy. Ben supposed you shouldn’t go to a New Year’s party and act depressed, even if you were. Depressed people were supposed to stay in cheap hotel rooms and drink cheap whisky and sulk. If you bothered to get dressed up and hit the streets, then you better at least act happy for the sake of the actual happy people out there who don’t want to get dragged down by your low mood.

Really though, whether it is the person, the event, or just an errant line….

I am nothing but a drop of water in transition.
(Night Scape)

…I have to write the rest of the story in order to find out the rest, the pulse, the reason, the message, the moral, the ending.

And as a process it works. Sometimes it works really really well. There have been times when I have written a solid story straight through. All 2000 words or whatever it is… just barreling though not sure what is going to happen, like my future readers, I am along for the ride.

Sometimes though, I get interrupted. I do other things besides write and thus if an idea comes while on a bus or working on a spreadsheet or standing over a pot of boiling pasta, I either can’t start it or at the very least I can’t finish it. At least not right that second.

This is where the problem comes in. The problem of Finishing. It isn’t a matter of not being able to come up with an ending. If I write it in one fell swoop the ending is part of the initial birthing process.

But if I take a break, if I step away, if I SAVE and return to it later…. Then I have time to think.

I think about what might happen. I think about what should happen. I think about what would make sense. And then I write an ending.

When I get home hours later Marty is sitting in the living room, a book on his lap. He looks at me while I take my time locking the door and putting my bag carefully on the end table. I know he knows I came home and then left, I know he wants to know why and where and what it all means. For the first time in months I look at him and see the tiny worry lines around his eyes, the flicker of fear as he looks back.
I cross the room and sit down beside him. For a long moment I hold his gaze with my own and then I kiss him. There are things to do, calls to make, the final edits for the story will have to be hammered out and argued over. The magazine people will have to be coddled and I will probably end up loosing my commission on the story because it is so far past deadline. And Marty.. there will have to be talking with Marty as well. Actual talking, actual communication.
I tell myself I will deal with all that tomorrow. Right now, I kiss him and feel the walls come down.

(Dead Line)

The problem is that once I know how it is going to end because I have spent an hour, a day, a lunch break, a bus ride, a trip to the store, thinking about it… I really lack the drive to put it down on paper.

It’s the same thing that if you know how the movie ends, you are less likly to watch it. You might still watch it, you might still enjoy it. You might even find something surprising about it. But the fact remains that you might just skip it to see something else, something with a Unknown ending.

Which leaves me with dozens if not hundreds of MS Word documents that I just can’t bring myself to finish. Because I already know how they end.

And because I just got a new idea… a new moment of inspiration… and I simply must write it down…..

She awoke and for a long moment she was confused. The room was dark, deeply dark, middle of the night in the middle of winter dark and there was no reason for her to be awake. She had never suffered from sleeplessness and even with the current stresses and upcoming life style changes she had been sleeping just fine thank you very much. Her mother worried that she wasn’t ready, but Anna argued that her ability to sleep like a baby every night obviously pointed to her overall acceptance of the inevitable. Of course when she said things like that her mother rolled her eyes and muttered to herself in Yiddish and usually went to pour herself a drink.
And yet she was suddenly awake and staring at the ceiling. Why, she wondered, why am I awake? What woke me up? Was she finally going to start worrying and second guessing her decision now that it was almost too late to do anything about it? Was she about to go through some sort of crisis of faith? Would her sister arrive home tomorrow to find her shaken and tense, gulping coffee, stammering incoherently, her face pale, her breath reeking of cigarettes?

(One Night)

Here we go again.

I keep myself I’ll go back and finish them if I can forget my plans, if I can tap into once again the freedom of the Unknown.

Sometimes that forced forgetting actually works.

(A few of the excerpts in this blog entry actually made it, in short story form, into my book Links: A Short Story Collection which is available on


So… a bit of news.

I have changed jobs.


Really… this is a great thing. I made an industry switch, a location change, and yes, took a bit of a pay cut… but did you catch the industry switch and the location change/ These things are huge! No more boring financial reports for me! No more 4 and a half hours a day commuting!

Yes, you read that right… I was spending 4 and a half hours commuting.

But no more!

I am very excited about the company, my role, and sleeping in past 545 in the morning!

I’ll keep you all posted…..

Benny and Shrimp

A book review for

Benny and Shrimp written by Katrina Mazetti

Once upon a time….

… and they all lived happily ever after.

Fairy tales are nice… sometimes. Sometimes though as readers we crave something a bit more honest, a bit more rough around the edges, a bit more Romance = washing he dishes and giving your significant other a nice foot massage.

Sometimes we don’t need a cliché storybook ending, we want something vital and real. We want something compelling and true.

It is in times like this that I would recommend a book like Benny and Shrimp.

The story is a classic Boy meets Girl… but that is where the cliché ends. This boy (Benny) and girl (the affectionately nicknamed Shrimp) meet at a graveside. And no, it isn’t morbid… it is sweet and somehow fitting. After a few causal glances at each other, they begin what amounts to two fish out of water stories and some endearing romantic comedy adventures.

But the book, and really the story, keep from being just.another run of the mill romance with the addition of a few key things. First, the narrative device of parallel structure is handled masterfully with the narration switching back and forth between our two main characters. It is worth noting that this tool is used to perfection… the reader never feels that they are getting more of one person’s side of the story and each of the very distinct voices is allowed to be showcased.

Another little tid bit is the fact that the book was originally written in Sweden. Surprisingly enough, this wasn’t as much of an issue as it was an occasional “oh yea, right… Sweden.” I loved the fact that the story itself was so well told that it could have taken place in the Midwest of America, England, or half a dozen other places and it still would have resonated.

Lastly, and I will be vague in an effort to not spoil anything for you, the problems of the love birds are both hauntingly realistic and classically endearing…. There doesn’t seem to be an easy clear cut answer…Because we feel for both of them, it is hard to find a solution. We just aren’t sure what is going to happen next. Much like life, that is what keeps us interested to the very end.

Again, I highly recommend this spirited, funny, poignant, realistic, and magical modern fairy tale.

(Oh… and I guess I should mention that it is tiny and simply a snap to read.)

I Wrote A Book!!!!

It is time.....

My book, Links, is now available for purchase on!!!!

The price is 11.95 (plus tax and shipping) and you can have it in your hot little hands as soon as next week!

How freakin’ sweet is that?

Copies are available for purchase on my website as well. (Initial supplies are limited and there is a bit of a delay for shipping… until we have the bugs worked out, I encourage you to use Amazon or send me an email at letting me know you want to be alerted once the process has been streamlined.)

Thank you all for your support and assistance in this project!

And just to whet your appetite, here is what the back of the book says:

A mother struggling to forge a connection with the daughter she lost years ago, the emptiness and frustration of a lonely marriage, a sweet sexual coming of age, a sisters' shared innocent rebellion, a surprising moment of horrific introspection, a moment of closure that shadows any hope for new beginnings...these stories and more showcase the links that everyday people struggle to create.

These are glimpses of successes, of failures, of hope. They travel deep into the hearts and minds of the regular people who embody our contemporary culture and remind us all of what it means to be human, to be linked.

Although the characters do not know each other, their common desire to find a connection reverberates throughout the collection, connecting each story with themes of loss, change, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Join these extraordinary voices as they weave together a chain of unforgettable Links.

Again, thank you everyone… this personal dream couldn’t have happened without the love and support of my family, my friends, my readers, and yes, even those wacky people on the morning train.


I Wrote A Book

It is time.....

My book, Links, is now available for purchase on!!!!

The price is 11.95 (plus tax and shipping) and you can have it in your hot little hands as soon as next week!

How freakin’ sweet is that?

Copies are available for purchase on my website as well. (Initial supplies are limited and there is a bit of a delay for shipping… until we have the bugs worked out, I encourage you to use Amazon or send me an email at letting me know you want to be alerted once the process has been streamlined.)

Thank you all for your support and assistance in this project!

And just to whet your appetite, here is what the back of the book says:

A mother struggling to forge a connection with the daughter she lost years ago, the emptiness and frustration of a lonely marriage, a sweet sexual coming of age, a sisters' shared innocent rebellion, a surprising moment of horrific introspection, a moment of closure that shadows any hope for new beginnings...these stories and more showcase the links that everyday people struggle to create.

These are glimpses of successes, of failures, of hope. They travel deep into the hearts and minds of the regular people who embody our contemporary culture and remind us all of what it means to be human, to be linked.

Although the characters do not know each other, their common desire to find a connection reverberates throughout the collection, connecting each story with themes of loss, change, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Join these extraordinary voices as they weave together a chain of unforgettable Links.

Again, thank you everyone… this personal dream couldn’t have happened without the love and support of my family, my friends, my readers, and yes, even those wacky people on the morning train.


Between Me and the River

Book Review for Between Me and The River by Carrie Host.

This book was a haunting portrayal of a woman battling a rare and fatal form of cancer.

Sounds uplifting right? Well, no. It is about a woman with cancer, but it wasn’t depressing oddly. It wasn’t a litany of regrets or a weep-fest. It wasn’t full of anger. It wasn’t full of God.

It was full of honesty and poetry.

Carrie Host is truly a gifted writer. Her tone is simplistic and profound. Her words are beautiful and poignant. There are times that she gets a bit verbose, but she does have cancer after all.

What really touched me about Carrie’s story was the sheer poetry of her language. Her metaphors are well constructed. Her imagery is woven with the perfect blend of truth and sadness.

It is beautifully done.

What could have been simply a long run on of “woe is me” became a touching love letter from Carrie to her children, one of whom was an infant when she was diagnosed.

But it wasn’t just her remarkable ability to transcend her expierence into beautiful words and phrases. Carrie Host also told of her pain and suffering with an honesty and an attention to detail that makes the reader feel a part of her personal struggle.

Again, it was beautiful.

The book made me value my health, want to reach out to my mother, and learn more about carcinoid cancer.

Carrie Host is still alive, still writing, and her story is one that will touch and stay with you forever.

I highly recommend it.

Skeptics, eh?


Welcome to October: month of birthdays, gatherings, costumes, candy, changes, goals, a much anticipated book debut, and much much more!

First things first. As some of you know, I am occasionally active in what is sometimes called The Skeptical Movement. I don’t call it that, but others have been known to do so. I call it “Things that Encourage Critical Thinking” and that tends to lead to skeptical thoughts and actions and whatnot.

I read the blogs, I point our woo and logical fallacies when they rear their ugly heads… sometimes I write about Senseless Email Forwards like this one about numbers or this one about socialism. Every now and then I even write about Science-y stuff (science and soda for example).

I also help plan events for the Skeptics Without A Cause, a Santa Cruz Meet Up group that gets together to talk critical thinking among other things.

Oh, and I have a personally signed James Randi doll which is all sorts of cool.

He even spelled my name right!

Along the way I have met some very nifty people who also blog about math, science, critical thinking, anti-woo, etc. (Heck, I’m dating one of them, the always sensationally smart and rationally minded Maifan-San aka Anthroslug.)

Imagine my joy when I was contacted by Steve (Some Canadian Skeptic) who told me that a bunch of the Canadian skeptic sorts were going to be working together to bring us a Canadian Skeptic blog!

No worries my non Canadian friends. I too am not Canadian. However, this new blog will not just be for our northern friends…. But for anyone who is interested in what skepticism is all about, err all “aboot.”

And the new blog will be featuring some of my favorite bloggers…. Like Steve but also the stupendous Kimberly Hebert. Which is just all sorts of awesome. This woman is one of my heroes.

Anyway, enough of my gushing… here is a bit of official copy:

Skeptic North, Canada's first ever Canada-wide skeptic organization, announced today that it will be officially going online, October 1, 2009.

Skeptic North has culled together a wide variety of Canadian skeptic bloggers from coast to coast, including (but not limited to) Scott Gavura (of Science-Based Pharmacy), Desiree Schell (of Skeptically Speaking), Steve Thoms (of Oot and Aboot with Some Canadian Skeptic), Jonathan Abrams (of Ottawa Skeptics), and Kimbo Jones (of Skeptigirl).

"As far as we can figure out, this is the first time that anyone has collected a group of Skeptics from across Canada and gathered them into one spot," said Editor-in-chief Steve Thoms. "Up until now, organized skepticism in Canada has been a strictly regional affair, and I'm really excited to see what kind of work Canadian skeptics can do when we have a national scope and reach."

Skeptic North has contributors from almost every major city in Canada, and expects to grow very rapidly. It aims to affect the mainstream media, government policy and the culture-at-large. The blog will have a special guest-blogger feature on occasion, and Canadians looking to get their voice heard should contact the editor.

So, go forth and check out Skeptic North!!!

Watching the Weight

So a while ago I went to the doctor. It was a regular check up, nothing special. I mentioned that I had put on a bit of weight an was worried about putting on more. I asked her what she thought.

She glanced at my chart and then looked at me. “yeah, you definitely need to lose at least 15 pounds.”

This was not really what I had thought I would hear.


“Yes, join a gym.”

“I… I go to the gym, I walk…’ I was going to say I walked two miles a day and really didn’t eat that much but she cut me off.

“Join Weight Watchers.”

I just looked at her. “That’s…. your advice?”

She nodded and closed my file. Standing up she extended her hand to me, “Yup. Join Weight Watchers, use your gym, drop at east 15 pounds. Okay, it was great seeing you today.”

She shook my hand and was gone before my mouth was even closed.

So… I joined Weight Watchers. I learned the point value of everything I eat. I monitor, I weigh in, I buy special food and eat extra veggies.

And I have lost almost ten pounds.

Which is good… it is nice to see that happen and I guess my doctor would be pleased. I, on the other hand, haven’t really noticed any changes. My clothes fit the same, I do’t have any more or less energy, and I just seem to spend more time thinking about food than almost anything else.

Yesterday though someone said to me “Wow, I can see that you have lost weight. You look good.” And suddenly it mattered.

So, I have about five pounds to go. Not sure what happens when I hit my goal… will I ever be able to eat French toast or cookies ever again?

And on that note… it is the end of September, a particularly trying month. I feel optimistic about October, I hope you do as well.

Mathematical Proof That Blind Faith Sucks

Fun with Math….

I received a forward this morning. (Hee. You know where this is going right?)

The first part was pretty simple… it showed how numbers are really really cool… and how patterns are there for the finding… and how math can be interesting.

Also, that symmetry is inherently fascinating.

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

You get the drift.

Ok, great.

Bu then…

Then there was this part….

We have all been in situations where someone wants you to GIVE OVER 100%... How about ACHIEVING 101%? What equals 100% in life?
Here's a little mathematical formula that might help answer these questions:

Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.
H-A-R-D-W-O- R- K 8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%
K-N-O-W-L-E- D-G-E 11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+ 5 = 96%
A-T-T-I-T-U- D-E 1+20+20+9+20+ 21+4+5 = 100%

THEN, look how far the love of God will take you:
L-O-V-E-O-F- G-O-D 12+15+22+5+15+ 6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that: While Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, It's the Love of God that will put you over the top!


Mathematical certainty eh?

What if I try S-A-T-A-N-I-S-T?

19+1+20+1+14+9+19+20 = 103

So… worshiping Satan will allow you to give more than Love Of God.


Ok, but that’s silly right… I mean, what if you don’t believe in either God or Satan?

How about Blind Faith?


2+12+9+14+4+6+1+9+20+8 = 85

Yikes, Blind Faith won’t even get you a B+…


What’s a befuddled easily led email forwarding reader to do?

Oh right:

Skeptical Thought


19+11+5+16+20+9+3+1+12+20+8+15+21+7+8+20 = 195

Dude… Skeptical Thought will get you almost 200%! That’s… like almost double Love of God!

Just sayin’…..

Happiness is a warm something or other.

Some rather nice things….

Water on the moon! Not a lot... but a little has some possibly big consequences.

Speaking of a little bit... a little bit of success for the AIDs Vaccine

Soon my ifonay will be able to send and receive photos a-la text messages which will make the game "Where ae you?" soooo much more fun!

And then there's this....

From: Yahoo! Reminder
Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2009

Title: Matthew Comes Home!

Date: Thursday September 24, 2009
Time: 9:00 pm

Oh… and apparently some man on the train this morning confused me with Debbie Harry.

“Move it Blondie!” he yelled.
“Yeah, I mean you, let’s go!” (when I turned and looked at him.

Let me point out that we were both trying to board a train at 715 in the morning. Additional information would include that he was behind me, that the train was really crowded, and that I was letting the little old lady get off the train before getting on myself. Even if I had wanted to “move it” unless I was okay with running down that little old lady, I couldn’t.

Also? I'm not blond.

But whatever,

Now I have "Call Me" stuck in my head... and so should you!

Happy Thursday!


From the People for The American Way:

After months of pressure and activism by People For the American Way supporters, through our Dump DOMA campaign, Congress now has a bill in front of it that would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Thank you to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) for introducing the bill. At the press conference announcing the bill last week, the Congressman said, "we can and we will dump DOMA once and for all."

Many inside Washington thought this bill didn't stand enough of a chance to be introduced. But the bill, H.R. 3567, already has 94 cosponsors. And the number seems to be growing every day. This shows the power of activism and what a grassroots groundswell can produce.

DOMA is discriminatory and wrong. The federal government has no right to put up barriers to equality. More and more people who supported the bill when it was passed are now supporting its repeal. Bill Clinton, the President who signed DOMA into law, supports Nadler's bill to repeal it. Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, the 1996 bill's chief sponsor, now thinks DOMA should be repealed.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) wrote a very personal and honest op-ed about his vote for DOMA in 1996, how he regrets it and why he strongly supports its repeal. It's here on Huffington Post. I suggest that you read it, and I ask that you pass it on to anyone you might know who is on the fence about DOMA and marriage equality as an issue.

Here's what else YOU can do:

1. If you have not done so already, sign our Dump DOMA petition -- it has over 25,000 signers so far and we want to get that number way higher so Rep. Nadler can use it to help move his bill. Ask others to sign as well. We'll be taking the petition signatures up to the Hill this week. .

2. Check out the list of 94 cosponsors. If your representative is one of them (or Rep. Nadler), call and thank him or her for standing up and supporting this very important bill. If not, contact your representative and ask that they sign on as a cosponsor. You can find your representative's contact information here.

3. Join (and publicize) our Dump DOMA Facebook group.

4. If you have a bit of extra cash, Donate to our fight to Dump DOMA.

Thank you for fighting the good fight and for showing the power of grassroots activism. Let's keep it up!


Ok… it’s official!

My book has been sent to the printers!

I will get a preview advanced copy to check out and okay before it goes “live” in the next week and a half or so….

Want to see the final cover?

A bit different yes? But oh so nice!

We are still on for an official release day of October 7th! And yes, I will be letting you know of the half a dozen ways in which you could own your very own copy.

For those of you who Reserved Your Copy and entered the drawing… I will be holding the pulling a name out of the hat in the next few days and will announce the winner early next week!

Happy Friday!

The Dentist: He Who Inspired No Faith

Yeah… I’ve been busy.

Let’s leave it at that for now.

A bit ago I told y’all about my misadventures at the eye doctor’s office yes? Well… the fun didn’t stop there… no indeed… I had myself a good old fashioned wacky time at the Dentist’s office as well!

First off, the office was hidden. As in, no sign, no address.

Secondly, the office was tiny. Smaller than my parent’s house in the 1985 (before the remodel)… you know, where there are two tiny bedrooms (big enough for a skinny person and a king sized bed but nothing else) a living room the size of a modern day cubicle and a kitchen/dinning room that could double as either… but not easily as both. In other words… tiny and cramped and maybe at this point my radar should have been screaming but it had been a few years since I last saw a dentist and now that I actually have dental insurance, I figured I would stick it out.

How bad could it be?

I gave my insurance card to the nice little lady behind the desk and sat don in the one and only chair. The waiting room was about ten feet by three feet… it was her desk, my chair, and a fish tank with no fish in it. Colorful plants, yes. Bubbles, yes. No fish.

I filled out the paperwork and then they called me back. Let me point out here that I was a good 20 minutes early and so after filling out the paperwork and waiting, I was shown to a dental chair just about on the dot of when my appointment was supposed to start.

I climbed up in the chair, crossed my ankles, and waited.

And waited and waited and waited.

For Forty-Five minutes, I waited.

Forty-Five long boring silent no contact with anyone minutes.

Eventually I went to see what had become of the rest of the world. I was assured “he” would be in soon.

Back to the chair. Another ten minutes.

Enter Mr. H.

Mr. H: Hello!
Me: Hi.
Mr. H: Why are you here today?
Me: I need a cleaning, haven’t seen a dentist in at least three years, maybe longer.
Mr. H: Any pain?
Me: Nope.
Mr H. Any complaints?
Me: Nope
Mr H: Then why are you here?

This went on for a bit. Eventually I convinced him to clean my teeth.

Which he didn’t really do. He did rinse them with water, poke them with a plaque remover, look at them all very carefully, and then disappeared.

He was back in a few minutes, leaned my chair back, and then (without the benefit of a napkin, paper towel of one of those bibs you expect to get, proceeded to spray, suction, and scrape away for a while.

I proceeded to gag, spit, cough, cringe, and occasionally whimper. Then there was more gagging.

After a bit of this Mr. H (who I guess doubles as both the dentist and the hygienist) told me I was fine. No cavities, but I should brush more often. Then, leaving the chair reclined and me gasping for breath, he disappeared.

I waited. I waited some more.

Ten minutes later I poked my head out of the cubicle… Mr. H was at the end of the hallway.

Oh, he said noticing me, are you leaving now?

No, I replied, I was waiting for you.

Mr. H: (confused) For what?
Me: Is that it?
Mr H: Did you want something else?

I collected my stuff, woke up the receptionist, watched her spend another ten minutes looking for my insurance card “Are you sure I didn’t give it back to you already?” and eventually left.

My teeth did not feel clean.

What a singularly awful dental experience! I cannot begin to describe my severe lack of faith in Mr. H’s ability to diagnose anything regarding good oral hygiene. I am tempted to contact the insurance company and tell them that visit shouldn’t count, that I want a new dentist, and that I want an actual clean feeling on my teeth next time.

Did I mention he was missing three of his front teeth?

District 9

At once buddy cop anti government and freedom fighter while being highly stylized and horribly graphically gory, this movie is not for the faint of heart, or the weak of stomach. Also, if you are annoyed by plot holes and if narrative flow is important to you, I recommend that you skip this one and take refuge in something better executed, like Moon.

I had heard a lot about this movie and was excited to see it. Perhaps my expectations were too high… perhaps my sensitivities for plot holes and break of narrative devices are too sensitive. Either way, while the movie was decent… it did leave me with an overwhelming feeling of “Blech.”

Which isn’t always a bad thing. But in this case… it wasn’t really a good thing either.

First, the movie, which follows the misadventure of a mid level bureaucrat tasked with relocating 1.8 million alien Prawns from their ghetto into a concentration camp sort of place, is an interesting story.

The allegory to apartheid isn’t lost and the disconnect between liberal ideals and reality showcased in the foils of the bureaucratic versus military standpoint is well played. The aliens themselves are nicely done from a special effects standpoint and it is almost refreshing that the entire situation takes place in Johannesburg , South Africa and not New York .

Of course the eviction of the aliens doesn’t go as planned, of course there is an evil conspiracy, of course humanity’s love affair with weapons and violence is showcased. From the Nigerian gangs to the white scientists, a picture of human nature at it basest and lowest is painted. At the center is Wikus who starts off as an insensitive bumbling sort of bigot and turns into a sympathetic bumbling idiot. This is a character only a mother could love… in fact his own mother does appear on screen long enough to admit that he was rather annoying but, after all, he was her son. The only way to not hate the character is to accept that you don’t necessarily like him, but were still going to root for him anyway.

On the whole, not bad.

But there were, of course, problems.

The shtick, besides aliens landing in Africa and then being forced to live in slums, is the documentary style in which much of the film was shot. As narrative devices go, this can be a very decent way to tell a story. A few issues invariably arise however. The first is the constant movement of the camera work that can make many audience members nauseous. (There was also an awful lot of gore, which gets more graphic in shots like this.) I, however, wasn’t bothered by the movement having never had any sort of motion sickness issue. No, what bothered me was more of a breakdown in narrative flow.

If you are going to make a movie documentary style, then you should never have moments that are clearly not part of the documentary. Having times when the shot, the angle, the subject is obviously not part of documentary footage breaks down the narrative flow. Having shots that further the story but don’t fit in… well that is just sloppy film making.

Then there was the element of, what I like to call, Plot Spackle. In this case it was magic liquid that not only could pilot a space ship, but also change human DNA into alien DNA.

These things with some very large plot holes made a movie that had a good idea…. It just wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.

It eventually comes down to how much slack you personally want to cut the filmmakers in the name of “cool idea” and “original idea.” Again, the acting was good, the special effects were believable, the plot holes were distracting, and the overall feel of the movie suffered by being made in a way that wasn’t actually a helpful way to tell what was, at its core, a very nifty story indeed.

Watch the D9 preview here

Here's a clip:


Just in case you need a reminder:

Get your name on the list by September 15th and you will be entered into a drawing for a FREE AUTOGRAPHED copy!

It is easy and free to enter… just Reserve Your Copy on my website.

Visions of America

Book Review for Visions of America

The idea of this mammoth coffee table book was to showcase the idea of Democracy through pictures.

The thing is… Democracy is an idea, it is hard to put an image along with it that isn’t something Congress, White House, Roman Senators, or Simple Waving Flag.

Joseph Sohm doesn’t go that route though…. Instead he shows the reader Democracy by tying the idea of Democracy to the idea of America… something much easier to photograph..

American people: at play, at work, in politics, in sports… American places: rural landscapes and city sky lines. This book is a gorgeous array of several of the puzzle pieces that make up the mosaic of American life. The shots are well composed, perfectly places on the pages, bright, colorful, resonating with patriotism and power.

And they are beautiful.

I like the state by state (even if I wish there had been more of it) I loved the large beautiful shots (even if a few were slightly cliché… clichés are there for a reason, because they work.) This book never failed to illicit murmurs of admiration from the people who flipped through it.

And almost everyone who has entered my apartment over the last few weeks has flipped through it, which is no small task… the book is huge and heavy. But it was worth it. As people flipped, they paused at the photographs, they nodded to themselves, they told stories of their own lives that they were suddenly reminded of because of the photographs.

No one read the text, which is a shame because it is here that Sohm really shines. But, of course, that isn’t the point of a coffee table book. The point is of visuals that impact and stay with you.

This book then, is a success.

Post script: I don’t normally put my own politics into my reviews… and today will be nom exception. However, I would like to point out that our country is currently divided over some pretty big issues and it is nice to see something positive. I think we could all benefit from taking a moment and dwelling on the good parts of our country no matter our differing opinions. I encourage you to visit the Sohm’s website and to enjoy the video below.

Mandatory Bus Ride Fun

I am not going to complain.

Tomorrow is a Mandatory Shut Down Day for my company. In the interests in saving money they are making us all stay home and not work. Which is just dandy for a lot of people… they just tap into that Vacation time that has been accruing and the paycheck doesn’t have to suffer.

Also, Monday is a holiday… again, the “real” employees don’t care… they get paid anyway.

These things are not true for a “Contract” person such as myself. (By the way, I have been a “Contract” person on a three month contract for two and a half years now… This is another source of quiet angst, but I digress.)

I don’t get to accrue vacation. I don’t get paid for holidays. In fact, because they are so concerned about saving money that even though there is plenty of work to be done… I am not allowed to work on these days… so I get a four day weekend and two paychecks in a row get stiffed.

But again… not complaining. Because I managed to make two different doctor appointments for Friday meaning that I won’t have to take time off in the future.

Score one for me!

Now… getting to the doctors’ offices is no small task… I can’t just zip over to them. It is a bit more complicated than that.

Again though… not complaining.

Because really, it wouldn’t do any good. And besides that, I am actually very lucky. I live in Santa Cruz. I work in San Jose. My doctors’ offices are spread out between the two… BUT San Jose and Santa Cruz, (despite being about 40 miles apart) both have pretty decent public transportation options.

Which is a Must Have if you are a non-driver like me.

So, without further ado, I present to you my Transit Schedule for Tomorrow. Knowing that I have a MD appointment at 10am and a DDS appointment at 2pm, I have planned accordingly.

(Take a look at this and then tell me that you hate being stuck in traffic, that you resent gas prices, that your car insurance is too much….)

Leave home at 7:40
Catch the 7:55 HW 17 Bus  San Jose
Arrive San Jose Train Station 8:55
Take the Light Rail (MtV / Wch) at 9:22
Arrive Downtown Campbell 9:35
Walk to Dr.’s office (15 minutes)

Appointment at 10:00
Appointment should end around 11:15

Have lunch with dad in downtown Campbell

Walk back to LR station (leave Campbell at 12:35)
Take the LR (MtV / Wch) at 12:50
Arrive 1st and Santa Clara at 1:12
Take the #23 bus at 1:32  Alum Rock
Arrive Santa Clara and 13th at 1:45

Appointment at 2:00
Appointment should end around 3:00

At this point I could do a bunch of reverse steps to get home… but instead I am getting a ride home with Jaime who lives in downtown… and who will be helping me with that whole “new roommate” thing I hinted at before. Look for photos and news regarding that on Saturday.

And then my long vacation weekend can begin!

Again... not complaining. Just saying that people should really not take the zippiness and speed and ease of driving for granted.

It is a privilege... so look both ways, drive safely and quit complaining about red lights.

And be nice to us pedestrians.