Archive for November, 2010

Turkey Day Obligations

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The world (or the handful of people reading this), don’t give a damn about who I am thankful for. That’s a personal thing for each of us, and those of us in our lives should already know they made the list. If they don’t I recommend getting right with it because you never know when tomorrow might not come.

I slept fitfully last night. Not plagued by dreams, but rather by thoughts. The post I made about the friend who’s running through the below-freezing temperature woods in Michigan hiding from the police reached a disappointing end last night. He broke into an abandoned house and found a place where he could shoot himself. In the chest. With a shotgun. I don’t mean it to sound gruesome, but I have to wonder at the choice of options. Not quite as challenging as licking your own elbow I suppose.

The dude screwed up a lot of lives, not just his own. He probably deserved it and had a moment of lucidity where he realized the alternative was the rest of his life spent performing various acts frowned on by the Catholic Church in a prison. Still I’m sad. I knew him when any hint of something like this was just that, a hint buried beneath a charming smile and a winning personality. Lots of people have that little quiver of, “I could snap!” but most of us never do. And of those that do, most aren’t nearly as efficient at screwing things up.

And so, aside from the obvious personal stuff I’m thankful that I knew Sean before he was a woman-stabbing, shotgun-toting crazy man. And I’m thankful to him for helping to remind those of us who knew him (the ones I’ve talked to, at least), of how important it is to value friends, family, and life in general. Not to mention the value of taking a step back to take a breath and maintain our own sanity during times of stress.

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November 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I posted about the crazy stuff going on out here in Moab, Utah. A guy shot a park ranger with a shotgun then ran off into the canyons to hide. Five days later he has not been caught – but the original ranger did shoot back and he did injure him. Lots of tracks, blood, and other stuff going on but the terrain is such that they can’t go ball’s out to try and find him – he’s still armed. Then again, he might have bled out or infection may be setting in. It snowed and got damn cold, so one way or another this guy’s in trouble.

But that’s not what this is about. This is about people and gambling. Not money, necessarily, but just in general. Several years ago I finally landed a job at a decent company paying a decent wage. I worked for a guy who I was kind of annoyed with initially. Young guy, my age or maybe even younger (he turned out to be a year younger), and in a position I’d been hoping to land in for years. The guy had just finished up his MBA, he played football in college at Ferris State, he was talented musically, and he was very charismatic. What’s not to hate?

So the truth was I was envious of the guy. He had a beautiful wife and, a few years down the road, a single child. Everything he touched seem to turn to gold. It was infuriating, but thought-inspiring as well. Couldn’t find a fault with this guy, and he’d even done things right from an early age trying to build up as many skills and interests as possible (hence the ability to play a couple of musical instruments – something I am incapable of and thus my respect).

So with all this going right, why right about him? He’s the guy we all hate because things just go right for them. You can’t hate him once you meet him though, he wins you over through force of personality. In no time I considered him a friend and, as our career paths took us in different directions I even used him as a reference a couple of times. We fell out of communication but would renew it when we realized it. Pretty typical stuff really.

So this guy, I’ll call him Sean because that’s his name, has a life many would be envious of. Not me – I’ve got my own beautiful wife, family, and job. For him it seemed effortless. For me it’s been the result of a lot of hard work but I appreciate it all the more for it. Anyhow, Sean’s cruising through life able to try things that most of us would never dream of attempting – and for him it works. With that kind of background and experience, the sky’s the limit!

This morning I got an email asking if I’d heard the news about Sean. That’s it, no hints or anything. I do a quick Google check and have to pick my jaw up off the ground. It’s a heavy jaw too, it took some time. There’s a manhunt out for him. He’s the prime suspect – on the run after a confrontation with the police no less – in the stabbing murder of his ex-girlfriend who was found in the garage of his apartment.

Wait a minute? Ex-girlfriend? Yes, that took me by surprise too. Sean and his wife are in the process of getting divorced. I suspect this ex-girlfriend had a lot to do with that. According to recent text messages to his soon to be ex-wife, he seems to be increasingly unstable. She called the cops to check up on him out of concern for his safety and they found the body of his ex-gf. Later that night the cops saw him next to a rental car with a shotgun. They called to him but he took off running across a field and into a woods. He remains at large, armed and considered dangerous.

Everyone who knew him is shocked by this. That’s not speculation, that’s based on what people have posted across the Internet. Me, yeah, I’m shocked, but then again I’m not. Before I knew about the girl I theorized a very similar scenario. Then the news reports come out about the girl. Sean’s always been a charmer. A real lady’s man – though in his defense I do not know of any single occasion in which he ever did anything inappropriate while he was married to his wife. There are always rumors, but rumors fly about everyone so they deserve no more thought or comment.

Nevertheless, the tie in to the title (Gambling), is that some of us seem to be born with more luck than others. People like me might be envious of those lucky SOBs, but quite often it seems that luck can run out. Even a 99% success rate at tempting fate still leaves that 1 time in 100 when things don’t work out so well. When your hand gets caught in the cookie jar. Or that time when you realize you’ve thrown away a great life on a foolish risk and now not only can you not get it back, but it’s going to cost you more than you’re willing to pay.

A lot of people are suggesting that he should turn the shotgun on himself and just get it over with. Maybe that would be an easier way out for him, but it’s a lot harder to suggest when it’s not a random face. Regardless of what happens, I feel the most for his daughter and soon-to-be ex-wife. They didn’t ask for this and don’t deserve to have to deal with it for the rest of their lives. The family of the deceased ex-girlfriend certainly fall in that category too.

And yes, I wish Sean the best of luck in this as well. However it turns out and whatever he does, I’ll try my hardest to remember him for how brightly he shone as a shooting star rather than the burnt out lump falling stars inevitably end up as.

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Weekend Update

November 20, 2010 Leave a comment

In our final couple of weeks in Moab now. Last night my wife and I made the drive to Grand Junction, Colorado because her droid sucked. Samsung Fascinate Galaxy, it’s a P.O.S.. Kept locking up and dropping calls. She swapped it out for the Droid X, a larger and more robust phone that cost the same. She’s happy, I’m happy. Now we just had to drive back home…

So we get off on I-70 and are greeted with flashing lights. Red and blue mostly, and a lot of them. No, they didn’t finally catch up to me, they were waiting (not for us). I approached slowly, not expecting to be let through since they were spread across four lanes or so (four cop cars). As we approached nobody moved to slow or stop us, and on top of that, they were carrying shotguns or rifles. I suspect the former from what little I could see, but it was late, dark, and I didn’t exactly have time to gawk or ask them.

So we kept going down 191 toward Moab. Twenty minutes later or so I was passed by two more cop cars (trucks actually) with lights and tires blaring. We kept driving, and a few minutes later saw they’d blocked off a side road (279, which runs along the Colorado river a ways to a Potash plant some 18 miles or so down it).

By this time Dawn, my wife, had figured out how to user her new droid to find news posts. Turns out somebody had had a disagreement with a park ranger, of all people, and gunshots were exchanged. The ranger was hit thre times, allegedly (arm, leg, belly), but not mortally wounded. He called for backup and ended up being flown to Grand Junction for surgery. As far as I know, he came through it and is doing okay but he was considered critical last night. Here’s to hoping he’s doing all right.

The person / people who shot him? Unknown. He / she / they abandoned the car and disappeared into the wilderness. The area was locked down last night but nobody went hunting in the dark. This morning they’re all over the place, with search and rescue, police, and even a SWAT team or two from somewhere trying to hunt the suspect(s) down. Where they got a SWAT team from is beyond me – we’re hours from anyplace busy enough or civilized enough to host a SWAT team. Yes, I understand the irony of needing a certain level of “civilization” to field a SWAT team.

No new news this morning either, fun times in a small rural town. Where we’re moving to shootings happen far more regularly, although we’ll be 20 – 30 miles away from Youngstown proper, where the bad stuff happens. Funny how environment can change your perspective.

Oh, and my chief complaint. WTF are cops doing allowing people to drive into an area with a known danger consisting of an unknown number of gunmen who aren’t afraid to shoot?

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What’s next?

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve been planning on doing some work on Ice Princess, the sequel to Wanted. Sadly, my brain has taken up a fierce preoccupation with the ongoing Voidhawk saga. I’ve got plans, wicked and painful, for Rosh and Logan. Becca as well, although nothing specific has entered into my dark and twisted mind. And the rest…oh yes, there’s enough left over for the rest of them as well.

The next books will be shorter though, I believe. Novellas at best. Focused on individual characters as they are forced into a hiatus while Dexter and Jenna deal with the consequences of their actions. No spoilers here!

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6 am is gonna come a lot earlier

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Or at least two hours earlier. Moving cross country…again. Ten months ago I moved out to Utah to a new job and a different way of life. Much more laid back environment and a very small community. Very small. Population 5000 in the summer, much less in the winter. Beautiful scenery and tons of nature in this high desert region, but alas, the nearest city of substance is 105 miles away.

The job was good too. The only problems I would speak of involved the fact that growth opportunity was limited, at best, owing to the very small nature of the company. Well that and benefits were limited. I don’t fault the company at all for any of that, it’s the nature of the environment and circumstances for their existence. Plus I come from many years in the auto industry and grew acclimated to the fringes associated with such.

And now I return to the auto industry. Solid company I’ve been interested in joining for years, as well as an offer that I simply could not turn down. Okay, sure, I could have, but doing so would have been against the very grain of my nature. I believe in always pushing forward and reaching for higher goals. Without that motivation and drive, I wouldn’t be writing this and I wouldn’t be where I am today. In fact, I’d probably be sitting on a broken down couch somewhere overweight and on my way to a hangover.

I’ll take hard work and eventual success any day. Then again, so many things are going right for me right now that I’m a little worried about what could happen to restore the balance!

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From the land of the medicinally challenged

November 14, 2010 Leave a comment

No, I’m not being held captive by a group of Jehovah’s Witness. I’m just doing my best to over-medicate myself to eliminate this vicious head cold that is hell bent on turning into a sinus infection. Had to do a lot of flying this weekend – covered over 3000 miles round trip, and the pressure changes were a delightful thing to experience. It was a good trip though, so don’t let me sound too down on it.

While lazing away during a layover I found out about a new site to post my books on. Or at least the ones I have full rights too (all of them, at present). So, without further adieu, the website is called I’m not sure what a mato is, but I don’t like to let details slow me down. The address is Thus far I have Voidhawk, Voidhawk -The Elder Race, Wanted, and Dark Earth.

They have an interesting, if pointless, concept in use the is similar to what Microsoft Live does. Or Windows Live or whatever’s it called. They use points to purchase books, either in parts or in whole. For every thousand words in a book the author sets a price for how many points that costs. 1 mato point (I think that’s what they call them) = $.01. That’s why it seems pointless to me. The ability to purchase by sections or chapters is a nice thing though – people can read a little bit at a time and if they’re on the fence about it not have to buy the entire thing. Then, if they decide it sucks or they just don’t have time to finish it, they don’t have to buy the remainder. Conversely if they like it, then they can just buy the remainder.

Check it out, I don’t know if it’s going to take the epublishing world by storm or not but I think it will have a place in it.

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Not so early anymore

November 11, 2010 1 comment

It’s an evening post this time. 7:04 MST. Or MDT, I get them confused. Anyhow, I’m sitting in an airport waiting for my plane to board. Not exactly a location where I’m likely to spout out any great bits of wisdom or other epiphanies.

So instead I’ll talk about my wife. Don’t worry honey, it’s good talk. In particular I’m referring to her hair. Ouch, a woman and her hair, how dare I even consider the topic?

For a while my wife had some mighty blond hair. Blond as in platinum. No, she didn’t come that way, it was a lot of work to get it to that shining condition. It looked good. I enjoyed it very much and so did she. But alas, it takes a lot of work to keep hair in that condition. When coupled with some other environmental and circumstantial factors beyond her control, it ended up causing damage that proved irreparable. And so a week or so back she had to go back to a brunette color and have a few inches cut off. Not devastating, by any means, but it was a change.

Big deal so far, right? Well this is where it starts to get interesting. When she went blond in the first place there was a mixed reaction to it. Some people loved it (the minority), some liked it, some said they liked it, and some claimed to not like it at all. No numbers or statistical measurements to be had, unfortunately. Now that she came back over to the brunette side the reviews have all been positive from everyone who has deigned to comment in person or virtually (aka Facebook). People claiming they like it more even, though a few of us remain on a fencepost and say both were quite beautiful.

It’s the side effects of fringe benefits of the change that really surprised me. Not only did greater numbers praise her move to brunette, but she’s had more women talk to her than before. More eye contact, more smiles, and just more social acceptance. Not anything twisted or romantic, dear reader, but rather just a simple friendly demeanor instead of a cold brush off that she often received before.

This makes me theorize that perhaps blonds, especially the most extreme of them (platinum) need to either have a very outgoing and social personality or the confidence of a NATO weapons inspector looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Okay, okay, it’s a dated joke but I’m distracted and still medicated.

Conversely, as a brunette, she has more the girl-next-door look. Sure, I realize Elisha Cuthbert was blond in that movie but let’s not get caught up in details. When blond people seemed to perceive her as unapproachable and an ice-queen. Now things are quite the opposite. A very interesting study in human behavior.

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Early Morning Post

November 11, 2010 Leave a comment

As unlikely as this might seem, I had something witty to post this early in the morning. Screeching children have shattered any semblance of a coherent thought I may have had, however.

In other news, I have an iPad. It’s my one and only concession to Apple, even though I consider Steve Jobs a tyrannical genius. It’s a PC vs Mac thing and I’m a PC guy. Always have been.

So the iPad, I’ve probably whined or blogged about it before. It’s a neat little toy, but really that’s all it is. It functions very well as an e-reader, my principle reason for buying it. It also plays back movies, music, and has a ridiculous battery life. Those are positive things, but things I can also get out of my laptop save for the extended battery life. Come to think of it, the laptop does a heck of a lot more. Sure it’s heavier, but it’s also got a full size keyboard and a 17″ screen capable of HD quality. I’m a big guy (in a good way), so a little extra weight doesn’t faze me. Oh, and the recent study regarding laptop and overheated testicles? I’m good there too, we have all the kids we need. (check the link, I’m not kidding)

Okay, so everyone says that about the iPad. I’m just a data point, but I still bought it so Apple is happy. Something I discovered this morning while making sure it was ready for my red-eye flight tonight was a free app I had installed a while ago and forgot about: Dragon Dictation. I’m on the tail end of a sinus / chest cold this morning but I fired it up and tried it out. In spite of the fact that I can do a great Krusty the Clown impersonation at the moment, it nailed every word I spoke into it. That sucks out some of my vitriol for the built in touchscreen keypad that, frankly, sucks. Then again if I tried writing via speech on a plane with other people around me, they might very well think they were sitting near a crazy person. Especially if they dared to listen to me and hear what I was saying!

And so the laptop comes with for writing purposes and all those many other things it is useful for. The iPad will be there as well, but it’s purpose in life will be for reading any ebooks or watching any of the movies I’ve put on it. Layovers will see the laptop in use since I can plug it in to keep it fully charged, and when no plug is available…

Yes, I’m a techno-geek…why do you ask?

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Shooting blanks

November 9, 2010 1 comment

No, this isn’t about Hollywood action scenes, nor the nocturnal activities of men who have had vasectomies. Rather it’s me staring at the screen with a glaze over my eyes trying to come up with something witty and entertaining. I think there might even be a spot of drool running down my chin.

Two possibilities exist: 1) I’ve over-medicated myself to defeat this cold. 2) My medication is wearing off 3) My brain really is just that fried. It’s probably not 3 since I can still do simple math and I realize that I offered up three possibilities where there should only be two. Call it thinking outside the box or maybe a living example of quantum mechanics at work.

Quite a bummer too, this will stop me from working out tonight. Lack of focus and heavy weights is never good. Lack of oomph associated with sickness plus the above is even worse. Add in my stubborn insistence that I can still lift the same amount as normal and the end result is a trip to the ER. Nobody wants that except the ridiculously overpriced hospital where I live. Maybe I’m off base but for an in-network claim does almost $600 sound right for a single staple to the back of a kid’s head? No blood tests, no lab work, no x-rays, no medication. Just a single staple and about 10 minutes of time. If it does, not only am I in wrong business but I also need to know where you live so I can start up a residency there after I get my medical degree!

And now I’ve ran out of randomness.

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What’s now vs what’s next

November 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Picked up an obnoxious throat / chest cold. Not a bad one, but between that and medication I had a lousy night and a day of minimal productivity. Didn’t help that the kids don’t understand the time change last night either. Ugh.

And I just drank some pretend chocolate vanilla tea. Not sure how that works. Channeling the imagination of young children could very well be an unlimited source of renewable energy. Hmm, that’s almost Matrix-esque.

But moving ahead, I’m thinking of Ice Princess, the sequel to Wanted. I’m also having a terrible fascination with Succubi, no doubt because of a recent question asked to me in an interview. No worries, no demons will appear in the Wanted universe, but I do have one in the third book of my Voidhawk saga which I’m working on here and there.

And still on the edit of Voices too. Not enough hours in the day…

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