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Monday, September 22, 2014 30 comments

Underrated Treasures BlogFest (Hear Gary Scream!!)

Today is Alex’s Underrated Treasures blogfest.

Everyone has a favorite movie or band that no one else has ever heard about. For whatever reason, they remain undiscovered and underrated. Now is your chance to tell the world about this obscure treasure!
Post about your favorite unknown – MOVIE – BAND/ARTIST – TV SHOW – BOOK
Post about one or all four – dealer’s choice


I’m going with all four, (sadly there is no Hawaiian Hula Attire For Men section.)
To keep it real, y’all, one of my answers is, gasp, not real! It’s a Red Lemming.
Can you guess which one is the colorful cliff-jumper? :)

Movie: Traffic (Powerful movie shows how drugs do so much so evil, so quickly…)

Band: Rick Astley (Never Going to Give You Up? … Anyone? :)

TV Show: Luther (Available on Netflix. Alice should be in chains :)

Book: On Writing by Stephen King (So many people haven’t heard of IT :)

Thanks, Alex and happy Blogfest everyone.
PS: Gotta dash to Gary’s blog… can’t wait…I’m sure he’s been on pins and needles waiting for his post to go live :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014 11 comments

Writing and the Angels...


For those who enjoy baseball, you may already know that while you were sleeping last night, my beloved Angels won the 2014 American League West Division.

It was such an improbable way to clinch!! If you want to check it out, here's a 3-min compilation video .

For those who don't give an owl's calling about America's Pastime,  bear with me.. there is a point... on how the Angels compare to you at home, writing alone :)

The Angels were not supposed to finish well this year (or say, complete an ms)

They had a lot of major setbacks in the middle of the year (kinda like when plot holes, "life," or no time to write happens.)

And yet, the team never quit... they never gave up on each other. (just like the Blog community coming together to read, crit and support all.)

Today, the Angels are in the playoffs, but they still have to win the Division, then the League Championships before they get to the World Series...
..And then they have to win that to be the big dogs...

(Which sounds a little like when an ms is written, you need to find an agent/publisher OR work through the various challenges/needs of self-pubbing.)

My point is...

At the beginning of the journey, so much is hoped for, but must be earned.

In the middle, *something* will happen to try and derail you.

And, in the end, it's how you handle the trials that lead you to the triumphs :)

Happy Writing.. and here's to the Angels and  playoff baseball in October :)

Photos Credit: Angels Media.

Thursday, September 11, 2014 11 comments

9/11 - Memories of a Former Foreigner

(This is the annual "reprinting" of my inaugural post on Sept. 11, 2011 - lest I one day forget why I wrote it.)


The thing I remember most about 9/11 is how selfish I felt - at the very beginning.

September 11th was supposed to be the day I paid my debts and made some serious money. I clearly remember the last thing I said as my balding head hit the soft pillow on the 10th: "Tomorrow is going to be a great day, man, tomorrow is going to be a great day."

Source: Anthony Grimley
Five months prior to 9/11 and new to California, I had met several fellow Irishmen at a pub or six, which networked into an interview with a starched suit who looked me up and down to see if I could sell gold coins.

"I can sell a Yankees hat in Boston, or a Cowboys jersey in New York, surely I can sell a little coin over the phone?" I said, full of the optimism of the uninformed American sports fan.

My new boss didn't really care. I'd earn a bare stipend for a couple of months, and then work on one hundred percent commission, so no skin off his nose.

They call the big investors "whales," and it took five months of living off credit cards to reel two in. One lived in New York; the other was in Jersey. I arranged great deals with both retired men; deals that culminated on Monday the 10th, and happy as a pig in a blanket, I later went for a few drinks with the boys, having promised my whales that they'd receive the official paperwork via fax before noon EST Tuesday.

That's the only reason I was up at 5:50 a.m. PST, but as soon as I saw the plane hit the second tower just after 6 a.m. my time, I knew the deals were done - and so was I. (I had no clue how bad it would be - did anyone?)

I wallowed in pity for about thirty-five minutes until I heard another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Driving to work in my new, unpaid-for Mustang, I jumped up as far as my seatbelt would allow, and let out a scream of hurt and anger I hope my ears will never again endure.

As an immigrant with naturalization papers in process, I had no doubt that the attack was on my country (I swore in July 3, 2003,) and my people.

In October 2001, I tried joining the USAF, but the recruiter told me a 19-year-old's pay "ain't going to take care of the credit problems belonging to a 31-year-old."

On 9/11, as always, I'll wear my Liz Claiborne WTC shirt that I bought 'cos the Statue of Liberty looks cool in the forefront (it was 2002 before I "saw" the Twin Towers for the first time.) I will also reflect on how I awoke thinking only about me, but ended the day thinking only about "U.S." and the thousands whose lives had been destroyed by hate and fear.

May the good God bless the souls of all those lost on 9/11, and Lord, please continue to protect those who, with a servant's heart, always run into harms way while we scream to get the hell out of there.

Thomas J. Foley, 32, Rescue 3, FDNY, died in the collapse of Tower 2, WTC, New York, 9.59 am, 9/11/01. RIP

Monday, September 8, 2014 32 comments

A Coconut Bra, a Straw & a Sunflower for Tina :)


Tina Downey and I were part of a small writer's group that could.

One day, after Tina shared that she was ill, she asked if I could update the (in)famous picture I took wearing a coconut bra and grass skirt for St. Patrick's Day, 2014.

Tina wondered if I could add a real coconut with a straw sticking out of it?

Being a typical male, I kept saying I'd, "Get to it next week" or that, "I couldn't find a fresh coconut," (which is hard, here on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu...)

... Then came the devastating news on August 23rd, and I felt so guilty for not finding the time to take one silly picture...


Today, in honor of Tina, the A to Z Team hosts a sunflower tribute (a flower Tina loved) and people all over the blogosphere will have sunflowers front and center to remember a friend and fellow writer whose blog was called "Life Is Good."

(To assist in the continuing education of Tina's two sons, the family has set up the Downey Education Fund. To donate via secure link to PayPal, please click here.)
I'm grateful I got to know a little more about Tina... and for the chance today to fulfill her simple request.

So, I'm sure she wouldn't mind that a few in our family got involved to honor a friend who always believed Life Is Good.

Here then are three generations, two grownups and one sunflower for Tina:

Sunflowers and a Coconut Drink (avec straw:)

Wow, it actually tastes good!!

#1 Son Chilling Like Papa :)

#1 Grandmother relaxing :)

Thanks for the laughs - and now for all the wonderful memories, Tina :)

Rest In Peace...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 65 comments

IWSG - Life


It’s Insecure Writers' Support Group time, and as always, a huge thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, who founded IWSG (and is owed an adult beverage for his troubles.)
Oh, and the co-hosts for this month are Laura at My Baffling Brain; Shah Wharton; Sheena-kay Graham and some bald dude who scares people when he walks outside with his coconut bra and grass skirt.

Last month, I had nothing to report because all was good.

Since then, so many things have changed, and the loss of Tina Downey has made me reflect on my own mortality.

So, I guess I'm "only" insecure about life this month.

Moving forward, I aim to focus more on my writing goals - and achieve them - instead of making excuses.

What a shame - how insecure of us - to waste even one of our precious days.

Monday, September 1, 2014 7 comments

A New Day, A New Dawn...

It's A New Day; A New Dawn

Though loved ones are gone

We'll Never Walk Alone

Memories strong, they'll always belong

Love is true, friendships strong

It's a new day; a new dawn

You'll Never Walk Alone

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