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Showing posts from October, 2013

The Saturday Evening blog Post presents: My Name is Job.

The following story is true. No names have been changed, because there are no innocent to protect: The wheels of the Otter-9, a plane that looked like a bathtub with wings, touched down in Worcester, and I breathed a sigh of relief that the vacation gone wrong was over. Little did I know that my comedy of errors was just getting started. Perhaps I should have been warned by missing three consecutive connections--but I am a hopeful spirit and paid no attention. I mean, I had broken my shoulder on the first day of a week long skiing vacation; things had to get better. Right? When my ride failed to materialize, I merely threw my skis and bags over my one good shoulder and hoofed it back to my dorm room on Mt. St. James--I later learned there was a bus--as the skies opened and spit a light drizzle over my head. Two weeks later my shoulder stopped aching and I thought it might be time to get more active, so I grabbed my skates and headed up to the Hart Center for some late-night skating

the Thursday afternoon #MINI post: #travelinyourownbackyard #travelswithmydad

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Remember the #MINI post is inspired by the #MINI--short, fast and fun to drive. (And let's not forget easy on the eye.) Today's #MINI combines two of my favorite features, #travelinyourownbackyard and #travelswithmydad. I have a theory (which is mine.) My theory (which is mine) says that that you can not escape problems by running away. All solutions come from within. This theory (which is mine) has a corollary: when you are searching for places to go, look in your backyard, because you have surely overlooked something right under your nose. This was certainly the case in 1999 when my father and I were attending a week long medical conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The lectures finished early in the afternoon, giving the attendees plenty of time to have some fun--as long as that fun didn't involve driving very far. My father wasn't actually attending the conference--although he did go to several lectures out of interest--and spent the morning researching our afternoon

The Saturday Evening blog Post presents: The Day We Stared Down at the Clouds

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It was 1987 and I was in my second year as a Chemistry teacher (yes I was the original Walter White, just without the meth cooking) in Salzburg, Austria. Now, those lucky readers who have visited Salzburg know that it is a spectacular city, steeped in history and blessed with natural beauty. It does have an Achilles heel, however, and I discovered this fact in October of that year. A trough of low pressure built up, and grey clouds scudded in, supplanting the blue skies we had been enjoying--just in time to greet my friend Bill who was flying in to visit me. But I wasn't worried, this had happened before, and the sun had always returned in a few days to dry up the trails for us to hike upon. But not this year. This year the clouds hung up on the mountains and stayed put, and the rain came and went as if it owned the city. Bill and I, however, were not deterred--at least not for a few days. We balled soccer with my friends from school, played poker with the boys, visited every Bie

The Thursday Afternoon #MINI post: The Three Lessons I learned from #VinceGilligan. #breakingbad

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It's true, I am one of those people, you know, the kind that started out bashing #breakingbad before ever watching a single episode. It's because I wanted to hate it. No father wants to see a meth dealer made into some kind of hero. Ultimately, however, my son talked me into watching a few episodes. I mean, your teenager wants to spend some time together, you do it, right? It was not love at first sight between Walter White and I. But there was something there, something I couldn't deny. And the next thing you know, I am sitting next to my son every Sunday night, waiting for the next episode. Why? Because I learned a few things about storytelling from Vince Gilligan, and a writer can NEVER pass up the opportunity to learn from an accomplished storyteller like Vince. Lesson #1. A protagonist doesn't have to be good, or moral, or sympathetic, or even likable; just memorable. #WW may have started out as sympathetic, but he breaks bad away from sympathy, and we lear

The Saturday Evening blog Post presents: The Long (and dangerous) Ride Home.

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If you have read parts 1 and 2 of this narrative, you will know that our heroes--Bill, Chief and Peter--have finally ascended to the peak of the mountain range protecting the southern coast of Gran Canaria, and need only to ride down to the coastal road that circles the island and bike the 40 kms back to their haven in Las Palmas. If you haven't read parts 1 and 2, you don't realize that one of the Mopeds the Sons of Anarchy rented had died, and that the light was waning. (How did you go a whole week without that knowledge?) Let's cut back to the story, where it has finally dawned on us that we should have brought some water, as the only liquid we has consumed all day was hard cider--which was not very tasty to burp up, mind you. Who knew that one should take water with you when traveling in a desert? Oh sure, now they teach that kind of thing in school, but back then? Anyway, we rode down to the coastal road and headed northeast towards Las Palmas as the equatorial son

The Thursday Afternoon #Mini post: #evolvingfiction #ittakesavillagetowriteabook

Ok, something new on the #Mini post. Under the heavy influence of #breakingbad, I have been thinking about memorable characters recently, and how the classic molds for antagonists and protagonists have been smashed entirely. Think Walter White. So, sitting here on this sunny bench overlooking Pico Peak, I am giving a go to creating a memorable character, who is neither protagonist nor antagonist. But, please, give me some help. I have co-published this story on Readwave and WattPad under the tentative title of The Subverting of Dr. Molly Stryker. If you have a second, sign on, read the story as it evolves, and give me suggestions. Without further ado, The Subverting of Dr. Molly Stryker. Molly would never be sure when she had grabbed the knife--during his last round of insults perhaps or maybe when he had gone into the dining room to make a quick call to his mistress--but there was no mistake about its feel, hard and reassuring in her sweaty palm, as she stood by the door to kiss him

The Saturday Evening blogPost presents: The original Sons of Anarchy; Gran Canaria Part 2

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The Canary Islands are a Spanish Archipelago about 100 kilometers west of Morocco. Why am I telling you this? Because it is there, in the northwest corner of Gran Canaria, that my travel companions, Bill and Chief--renamed el Hefe for the trip--and I found ourselves in May of 1988. If you read part 1 of this adventure, you will know that the vacation was a poorly thought out trip gone bad. Ok, poorly thought out is understating it; there was no thought involved. So, three days into our week, we find ourselves trapped in a tiny villa about a kilometer from the coast, on an arid, desert-like plain dotted with low-slung concrete buildings. The beach was out because we didn't have enough money to pay for one of the foxholes needed to get underneath the projectile-filled wind, and the nightclubs--in addition to being sketchy--were also too expensive. As usual, however, el Hefe came to the rescue, by finding a book in the local library that alerted us to the fact we were only about thi