Friday, November 20, 2009

What Set You Off

I'm interested to know what, if any novel in particular, filled you with a surge to read. For me, when I was a young boy, my grandfather stopped by one day with a box of old sci-fi / fantasy novels. He gave me all of them, and while I didn't appreciate them as much as I would now, I ended up reading one novel in particular that influenced me into the path of book-hood.

That book was actually a series of novels called "The Chronicles of Amber" written by Roger Zelazny.

This novel started me down a path, or adventure, which helped shape my adolescent mind. It stretched my left brain and forced me to read with a dictionary (An act that I hear isn't as uncommon amongst readers as I had thought). I fell in love with the book and eventually read the second and third etc...

Eventually it led me to read other novels in the fantasy genre, but much like a first kiss, the memory of Zelazny's series continued to prevail in my mind as my favorite fantasy novel.

So, without further adieu, I'd like to know what book really "set you off," as a reader.

Celebrate Good Times, C'Mon!

I'm so excited. I've got my first blog followers! Big thanks to CKHB over at Heim Binas Fiction & Candice at Suffering From Writer's Blog!

I'm proud to be followed by you and hope to inspire, entertain, question or otherwise provoke though for you for a long time to come.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Literary Journey

My story may not be worthy of a best selling memoir, but I'm sure everyone is dying to know just who I am and what I'm all about. So, for all of you passing by this site, let me explain where I got the nerve to claim myself as an aspiring author.

It all started when I was but a lad, 15 years of age, budding student of my charter school in Phoenix, Arizona. In my particular school, many students were re-starting from drop out status which meant, there were a lot of students 18 years of age or older. One of those students, we'll call Kelly to protect her identity, was a particularly beautiful girl. She was 18 and worked in a position as an exotic dancer at nights while she attended school during the day to try to finish her education. At that time, she was my biology partner and boy I couldn't be happier. She was the apple of my eye, the frosting to my cake, the.... ok, you get the drift. I had a huge crush on the girl. She happened to be part of a poetry group, that met every so often. One of the boys in that group approached her with a poem that he had "written for her." _________ fill in the blank with my disgust. She was flattered and, though this particular boy was nowhere near as handsome as I was (biased opinion allowed since I am writing this blog) she became somewhat involved with him in the flirty manner that made me sick.

Here's where it begins...

I approached a good friend of mine and exclaimed angrily "That's so stupid. Poetry is ridiculous... Anyone can write, here I'll show you." My friend humored me and as I took him to a computer I thought of something to transcribe. It took all of 30 seconds for me to kick out a small poem. ( Sadly, I cannot remember what that poem was) My friend proceeded to read the poem out loud and when he was done, he told me with a serious tone, "That's actually really good man!" I re-read it, turned my head to the side like a parakeet being asked a question, re-read it again and realized it wasn't half bad after all.

Of course, you can imagine what any hormone filled boy does, with the knowledge that he can write poetry. I immediately began to write something for Kelly. The next day I asked to join this poetry group and proudly handed her the poem I had worked so hard on. She took it, read it, smiled and hugged me with thanks. She told me that she loved it and that she planned on putting it up on her wall.


I was floating on a cloud. Unfortunately she, being much older than me, didn't have desire to invest her romantic efforts into me. I eventually moved on, graduated at the ripe age of 16 and proceeded to attend a local community college in hopes of getting a degree in software programming. While going to school, I took the typical English classes required for every degree. Those classes re enforced my desire to write, but weren't enough to push me into a career of writing; after all, I was a computer guy and back then the computer industry was exp loading with potential.

During the years to follow, I spent most of my literary effort on personal poetry, but eventually turned to blogging on politics and world views, then went on to blog for the Christian community.

Eventually, after a hard few years of a broken marriage, I divorced and found I had a lot of spare time on my hands after the split. One fine day, I was sitting in my apartment with my roommate watching anime and I had a fleeting idea for a book. I thought long and hard about this book and found myself developing plot. Little by little, the book came alive in my mind and the characters started to surface and even take on personalities. I realized that I was sitting on a potential dream that had taken a back burner to married life. The dream to become published. I had always desired to write something, but never found much hope for poetry. Beyond impressing a girl or two, the poetry thing just didn't have a lot of potential.

Part 2 coming soon...

The Lost Art of Comma-Sense

Ok, if you are anything like me, you may have a comma fetish and be in need of a 12 step program. I cannot tell you the number of times I've submitted papers for classes, in the past, where I was inundated with little red blips and scratches, all surrounding commas. The funny thing is, there are some hard fast rules with useage of commas, BUT and I do mean Big BUT, there are a LOT of exceptions and gray areas.

I'm not even going to begin to go into the rules and exceptions of comma useage, but instead would just like to know if anyone else out there struggles with over/under use of commas. Am I the only one who has a history of comma-problems, or is it just considered the lost art of comma-sense?

Any thoughts?

Mammogram Mayhem

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, known for overseeing and understanding preventative health care diagnostic testing, has issued a statement regarding new recommendations in mammography screening. Previously they recommended that mammogram screenings be performed every 1 to 2 years on women over the age of 40, to help prevent breast cancer via early diagnosis. As with other diagnostic tests involving low dose radiation, mammograms have their fair share of risk involved. The question has always been whether or not that risk out weighs the benefit. Prior to this month, that answer has been commonly believed to be no. Now, however, that answer has come under much scrutiny as new studies are surfacing in opposition to that understanding. What is now being stated by the U.S.P.S.T.F (that's just a long name) is that routine mammography for women between the ages of 40-49 can actually be more dangerous, due to a large number of misdiagnosed cases, causing unnecessary treatment for women who otherwise were healthy. If this were a case of "Take two and call me in the morning," that probably wouldn't be such a problem, but cancer treatment, painful and potentially deadly, is hardly a matter to be taken lightly.

Clinics around the nation now are having to do their own reviews of this information now and will be forced to re-educate their patient base. Ultimately it's still a matter of risk assessment and hopefully patients will choose to educate themselves as much as possible to be as informed about their decisions as they can be.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm Back

It's been several years since I took my blogging hiatus. Much has passed since that time, but ultimately it's led me in a circle back to the community of bloggers at large and now, though I follow many other established blogs, I do not have one of my own. So, here I am. I'm back and willing to bring anything and everything to the table as I did before. Hopefully I'll build my army of literary junkies, bloggers and maybe even a cute stalker, but only time will tell.