Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Cautionary Christmas Tale about my life as VelcroMan

Aloha,
Surfboard Decoration (HI State Law:)

“So this is Christmas, and what have I done?”

This is what I ask myself a few dark and non-stormy nights ago. My wife and three boys sit, huddled outside our house, all tired, some miserable and one (me), bloodied and scraped, while my first annual “Christmas Lights Extravaganza” is a complete and absolute disaster!
What? It did hurt at the time :)


The night, actually, the day started really well. I blocked off a few hours, dusted some boxes and had fun decorating the outside of the house.
I was even smart enough to open an upstairs window, so I didn’t need to shimmy up and down the ladder every time I needed access to the patio rooftop.

Five hours later, and I was ready for The. Launch. Of. The. Lights.
Only one problem, it’s still sunny.

No problem.
Boys bathe, jump in their jammies, put on their shoes and off they go with Mama to do a countdown in front of the house. I close the garage door (too bright) and only seconds from the Launch of The Lights, I scrub the mission... again, deciding the light from the downstairs toilet is also too bright.
“It’ll only be a moment,” I say, turning the handle and face-planting into the front door.

The locked front door.
Which is next to the just-closed garage.
And, below the upstairs window (which, in a moment of clarity, I’d remembered to lock.)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch/sidewalk, my beloved audience waits.
I realize the awful truth: The Koopmans’s’s’’s are locked out.

For twenty minutes, I stalk the perimeter while Mama herds her Red Ninja Turtle, yellow Minion and Silver R2D2 to the chairs on the dark porch.
The boys are naturally bored, so when I come back, they're messing with some of the decorations.
"Don't play with Papa's blow-up toys," I yell out, and then wave to a passing neighbor, who suddenly picks up the pace and scurries by.

A light bulb goes off in my head (the only one I can light, apparently) and I get the (not so) brilliant idea to climb the patio roof to double check if any other windows are open.
Only two problems: Complete darkness and no ladder.

Ten minutes later, MacGyver would have been proud. With the assist from a trash can and a rickety fence, I stand, arms spread, the King of the patio roof (hoping the numerous friction burns on stomach, leg and wrist won’t bleed too much. Sadly, the mission failed: all the windows were locked.

New problem: How in God’s name do I get back down?
Calling Mama, she hustles the children to the back of the house (the little group looking like ComicCon refugees.)
As I position myself, stomach down, I back up until I'm straddling the roof and gutter, trying really, really hard to be the world's first VelcroMan... 'cos there's *nothing* to hold onto. Eventually, Mama's able to catch a flailing, trailing leg and position it atop the rickety fence. From there, I dismount and kiss the beautiful green grass outside home.

With no options left, I take one for the team, especially after our two-year-old tugs on my leg and says, “Help us, Papa. Help us.”
With the assist of a friendly neighbor, an emergency locksmith is called and a wait of “about an hour” begins.
I remember the whole reason behind the renamed Lockout of Lights, so to pass the time; the kids again take position on the sidewalk.

The countdown reaches zero, and I stand in the circle of lights, hands on hips, ready to receive the cheers of children and waves of adoration…
Palm Trees hate my style

“Uh, Papa, is the door open?”
Can we go inside now?
“I’m hungry.”

Feeling as deflated as the now-unplugged Charlie Brown Christmas scene (Snoopy was unfortunately culled by the children) I decide I need to end the Lockout of Lights.
Sadly, this (from the box) is the only picture of Snoopy in airier times

Walking the perimeter, I once more try the [redacted] and no way, the bloody thing opens!!! (Did I, perchance, use an extra ounce of frustration when trying? No, not I :)

Triumphantly, I stride to the front door and with a huge, manly smile (it’s always nice solving one’s own, dumb problems) welcome the family back inside using a weird, deep voice: "Come. Enter. Enter!"

###

Epilogue: The next night, I ask the boys if they want to see the additional lights that I’d placed around the shrubbery.
“Nooo!! We’re okay, Papa. We like it in here…”

Oh, and so what does this cautionary tale have to do with writing?
Simple.
Don’t ever forget the key to your story!


Merry Christmas to you and yours :)



Monday, December 1, 2014

The *FREE* IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond!

Aloha,
 
Released this week, I wanted to help promote the *FREE* Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond,  :)
 
 
 
 
Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer.
 
Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool.
 
Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.
 
 
Check out the promo ad via this Video
 
The guide is available at the following places:
 
 
 
 
 
General INFO:
 
ISBN 9781939844088
 
235 pages
 
Cost: FREE
 
More info at these IWSG sites:
 
 
 



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving :)

Aloha,

Today is my 15th (out of 20 chances) to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Sure, it took me five years, but I get it now :)

Basically, I think of Thanksgiving in three different ways.

Below is a Thanksgiving CardPost made especially to you...

The theme is the classic, "LOVE, LAUGH, LOVE."


Love to you and yours...and Happy Thanksgiving!


                                                                             ##



LIVE:



                                                                             ###



LOVE:





                                                                        
                                                                            













###

LAUGH:



 
 
 



 
 
 





















Happy Thanksgiving!!

PS: If you don't celebrate this US holiday, feel free to punch a colleague's shoulder and reflect on 2014's best memories :)




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day - Hug a "Naked Warrior" :)

Aloha,


Normally, when I go to Bellows Beach, (originally Waimanalo Beach), this is what I see and think about.

It's easy to forget the kids and I on an active, if small, military establishment. (There's no runway anymore, but Bellows Air Force Station is operated by Detachment 2, 18th Force Support Squardron.)

The other day, however, I noticed a lone figure, standing at the top of the beach. He was visible (from the park side) because some trees were recently removed due to age or disease.


So, I did a little research, and below is taken from the Navy Seal Foundation website.

It is a little known fact that the precursors of today’s Navy SEALs, Underwater Demolition Teams, originated on windward Oahu at Waimanalo Beach.

 In 1943, two years after Pearl Harbor, as WWII raged in the Atlantic and Pacific, UDT 1 and UDT 2 were formed at Waimanalo, using Bellows Air Base as their initial training area.

A few months later, they moved to Kihei, Maui. However, the origins of UDT were at Waimanalo, a fact memorialized in the oral histories of frogmen who were there, and recently verified by the UDT/SEAL Museum in Ft. Pierce, Florida.

Years ago, the Museum commissioned the bronze “Naked Warrior” statue to represent the various combat swimmer units which developed over time into today’s Navy SEAL Teams.

He stands on a “horned scully”, one of the many obstacles UDT’s were assigned to destroy so that amphibious landings could take place from Normandy to Iwo Jima. It is a fascinating story of bravery against all odds.

 
 
Of course, it is Veterans Day today, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who wears, or has worn the uniform and served in our nation's military.

Going to the beach just means a little more now...



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My bog is dying... (a non IWSG-sanctioned post:)

Aloha,

My blog is dying...




And yet, I'm looking on, detached and only a little worried.

I'm sad because I've put three + years of work into this here thang, but I think I'm okay if I never write another post again.

I'll always be a writer - just not sure if I'm always going to be a blogger.

I'm a *horrible* return commenter, so I know I've lost a bunch of people due to my lack of support to their blogs, but I do have a few questions:

Have you ever lost the hunger to post?

How did you combat/fix the problem?

I'm curious to hear, if you have the time...

Thanks in advance :)




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