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Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

When I started this blog every 10 posts I wrote an ‘introspective’ for lack of another word.  It has been awhile so I figured I would try another.

What have I learned/observed?

1)      People like to read my lessons on Jewish holidays.   While my favorite such post, (there have only been two) was about Chanukkah, it gave me a new found respect for what it is to be Jewish.  You readers on the other hand seem to like the one about Passover.

2)      I’ve written one post at somebody else’s suggestion.  It was not a pleasant experience so while I am open to suggestions, I’m a little gun shy on the whole concept.

3)      If you are going to write a fictional piece, it may be best to create another page for that purpose. The post generated a lot of questions.  The bulk of the story is true.  The only part I made up was the very end.   Since writing that post I have learned that most of the locals do believe the Avondale is haunted, but I made the ghost part up.  When we drove up to the Avondale there were two grizzly men, but one got in a pickup truck, the other got on a motorcycle and they both drove away.  There was no picture of George on the wall.

4)      I learned how to post stuff on YouTube and since then I’ve learned how to embed them on my page.  Now I have to come up with more video.

5)      Foxes are really beautiful animals. Elephants are still my favorite.

6)      One of my most popular posts had to do with a conversation between my mother and myself.  It seems a lot of people identified with it, I’d like to say the conversation was unique, but really it was just normal for my family.

7)      I may suffer from a little road rage.

8)      With some of our pets getting older I am dreading the next few years and the decisions that are going to have to be made.  After the passing of Maya I am finding that ‘dreading’ is to light a word.

9)      Never take air-conditioning for granted, we would have never survived this last week without it.  At the moment I love my air-conditioning almost as much as I love my Garmin.

10)     I still stand by my previous lessons learned.

11)     I feel a little bad about punching Ant because he was just doing what wasps do.  Now I check the van before I start it up.

13)    The most common phrase that people type into a search engine and find my blog is ‘mouse poop’  I find it a little worriesome that people are typing ‘mouse poop’ into a search engine.

14)    I don’t care what people say, possums or o’possums are really cute.  

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One day, knowing nothing about magic, Tony wandered into the magic shop in BC and simply never left.  Even though Tony and I don’t communicate much anymore I still consider him one of my best friends.  I have noticed that I  pick on my other best (and oldest friend) Richard quite a bit so I think it is only fair to have a pick on Tony post. 

I’ve never figured out if Tony was/is crazy, we are all crazy in a way, but if anyone marches to the beat of his own drummer it would be Tony. Speaking of drummers, while not a drummer Tony is one of the most talented people I know, he is a great magician, musician, storyteller, cook and as far as I can tell Husband and father.  Tony, his wife Penney and I were in North Vancouver and he purchased an odd-looking native flute.  In a day he was playing it beautifully.  He told me they were easy to play so I went out and purchased one with an ‘Easy Beginner Guide’  my neighbor thought I was skinning my cat alive.  Tony also plays a killer guitar and keyboards.  I know that when it comes to entertainment Tony is just one of those people who can do it all. 

Okay, so far this doesn’t sound like a pick on Tony post, but alas, now the tide turns.

Tony Time:

I quickly realized that Tony does not go by the regulation time zones.  He goes by what his wife dubbed, ‘Tony Time’ Tony and his wife lived about half a block from my house.  If I stood just right and angled my head out of my window I could see the apartment building they lived in.  At most it was a four-minute walk.   Tony would call on a Sunday so the three of us could get together. 

“Hey Brian interested in going to the stinky red barn today?”  Stinky red barn is a pretty cool flea market in BC.

“Sure”

“Penney is just finishing up a few things, how about we meet at your apartment in about half an hour”

“Sure”

An hour and a half later they would be ringing my bell.  I learned very quickly that this was not the fault of Penney, it was all Tony.  Penney, who I may be throwing under the bus at this point told me the best thing to do was make plans, decide on a time, but have Tony call me just before they leave the house and in this way I knew I still had about 20 minutes after the final call.

Bad Road Conditions:

You know how when the road conditions are slippery you are not supposed to jam on your brakes?  In fact you are supposed to ease off the gas and leave the brakes alone. Tony’s in-laws live at the top of a steep hill.  One thanksgiving night in snowy November we went to his in-laws to celebrate.  On the way home the weather conditions were pretty bad.  Tony was a little worried about the steep roads that led to the highway so we drove around for 40 minutes until he found a road that he was willing to chance, (they were all fine by the way).  It was a very slow painful ride back home because every half mile or so Tony would suddenly jam on the breaks to make sure the car would not slide.  While bracing myself against the seat to avoid sudden neck strain I tried to explain the principle behind not jamming on your breaks.   Do you remember ‘Tony Time’?  It appears there is also such a thing called ‘Tony Hearing’. 

Then there was the Tony stapled his own fingers in the magic shop, oh wait a second, that was Penney! Never mind.

The Skytrain:

Vancouver has a wonderful mass transit system.  The Skytrain is like a monorail only there are two rails which make it a train.  Anyway, it runs over the city with stops every few blocks .  The three of us were going to the New Westminster Quay where it is easier, faster and cheaper to use the Skytrain.  Tony got a little ahead of Penney and I, and I noticed he was checking the structure of the train station.  Penney informed me that Tony was a little nervous about the integrity of the system, as in the foundation of the stations may be weak so Tony, although not a structural engineer took it upon himself to inspect the stations to make sure they were safe before we boarded.  It also appears that you can’t jump on any old section of the skytrain either.   You have to sit in the middle car.  If you sit near the front and there is a head on collision you are dead meat.  I should point out that there are two sets of tracks, they run side by side and they go in opposite directions.  But it could happen.  You can’t sit in the last car because if you get rear-ended. Dead meat! And if you sit in a car towards the front or the back and the front or back car get hit and are rolled off the tracks then the momentum will take those cars as well.  By process of elimination it had to be the middle car.  It all makes perfect sense.   Of course in the 10 years I lived in BC there was never a Skytrain crash.   But it could happen.

Nap Time:

Tony likes to pretend he is asleep when he is driving,  mouth open, snoring, one eye closed, perhaps a little drool running down his chin.  Whole nine yards, I think he once gave his poor mother a heart attack, not to mention other drivers.

Tony has a rather insane alter ego named Billy.  I’m not sure how many people know about Billy, but between you and me, I think Tony may be Billy’s alter ego.  You just never know.

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I enjoy words.  How words mean something.  How hard they are to take back.  The impression they make on people.  The impression you make on people using your words.  Often one hears the expression, ‘Actions speak louder than words’ the problem is there is usually more words than action (which says something in and of itself) but often times words are all a person has to judge by.

Here are some interesting words or expressions I have come across since moving to Central Pennsylvania.  I’m not saying that they are exclusive to Central Pa or even originated here.  I’m saying that this is where I’ve heard them.  Don’t judge my spelling I’m sounding them out so if you are reading them out loud the pronunciations should be correct.  My spell check is going to have a cow!

REDUP:

 A co-worker at the bank said to me, “I’ve got things to do, I really have to redup”

“Excuse me?” I said.

 “I’ve got things to do” She replied. 

“No, I understood that, it is the other part.”

“Redup?”

“That would be the part”

Redup equals get ready.

Yes, that day I hugged my Canadian citizenship.

LEFT:

Left, what is so odd about the word ‘left’?  Well, try this on for size;

“I caught a rabbit, but I left it go.”

GUYSES:

“Excuse me, I found this, does it belong to one of your guyses?”

BORROWED:

Nice normal word, usually.

“He didn’t have a drill, so I borrowed him mine.” 

Yes, I still cling to my Canadian citizenship, eh.

Heard this on the local news:

A tanker truck turned over, the newscaster looked into the camera and said: “Hazmat has been called because the roads are very slippy.”

Youins:

Texas has ya’ll but we have Youins.

Anyway I have a busy night. I have to left the dog out but I have to be careful because the driveway is awful slippy and I borrowed my flashlight to my neighbour.   I hope youins is enjoying my blog, but now I gotta go and redup.  Oh I found a set of keys the other day, does it belong to any of you guyses?

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It is the end of June and for the life of me I don’t know where the summer went.  It seems like I just posted my 60th post, and here I am ten posts later, The season is simply moving much to quickly.

The following are some random thoughts on my writing experience.

Since my 60th post I have started to write ideas down. I have yet to use one idea I’ve actually written down, but I will continue the excercise because one idea leads to another.

I’ve found that the blogging community is quite giving, recently I’ve had two people give me a ‘shout out’ so to speak.   Jeeney who found me through my sisters blog had some very nice things to say and writes on some very interesting topics.  Also this guy in Chicago, picked up my Technology blog and thought it worth re-posting.  He is a mac tech guy and has some interesting tricks and tips on his page.  Both of these ‘shout outs’ has gained me a few new viewers.  I have to admit I do not read a lot of other people’s blogs although I am going to start.  I do follow the ones to the right of this post and I hope for that list to grow.

As I’ve stated before I’m always checking my stats, every time I turn on the computer I check them and read all the comments and it is always a thrill when somebody new comments.  It is also a big thrill when a faithful reader and good friend comments who has never commented before such as in the case with Jesse on my language post.  I’ve known Jesse for some time and he has read my blogs since I’ve started blogging so it was great to see his comment.  And of course I always love and appreciate my regular commentors.

I primarily write for myself, but I do need an audience, after all if I didn’t I would just write in a diary and lock it all away.  Of course what would end up in a diary would be a far cry from what ends up on here, but that is another story.  I was once listening to an actor who said that he acted for the love of acting. I know plenty of magicians who you have to pay NOT to perform and still they will find a way.  I understand it, I’m not sure I can explain it all in a few words, but I can certainly understand the feeling. While I can’t say that I enjoy the writing process, I do enjoy the finished product.  That often worries me because in the end I hope to write a book, get paid, retire…you know, live the dream.  A common thread I hear from writers is that they love to write. The point being, can you act without an audience, is there satisfaction in it?  I imagine there is, there are plenty of magicians who don’t perform, same as singers I am sure.  But I imagine deep down we all want that audience. 

Training a husky, (stick with me there is a point) is not like training a lot of other dogs.  Other dogs want to please you, for a husky the first thought is always, what is in this for me.  Now when I look around I’m always thinking, hmm, how can I work that into a blog. Years ago I was walking through down town Vancouver with Greg Frewin.  Every now and again Greg would stop and take a picture of the strangest things, a lamp-post here, a mailbox there.  Finally I had to ask him what the deal was.  It turns out he viewed everything as a potential magic prop, and when something caught his eye he took a picture.  I should point out that Greg is not only a truly amazing magician he is also an extremely successful magician.  

Perhaps at 44 years old I’m finally understanding Shakespeare when he says, ‘All The World Is A Stage’

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Sixtieth post and what have I learned?

  1. Positive might be better than negative, but negative is funnier than positive.
  2. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Meaning, you can write whatever you want, however you want, but people are going to take away from it what they want, and interestingly enough, that’s a good thing.
  3. Ten posts ago I could not think of anything to write about.  There was a period of posts where writing was like pulling teeth, I was  pretty sure I was done.  Now I feel like I can write forever.
  4. Forever isn’t all that long.
  5. When I get an idea I have to write it down, too many ideas are lost because I’m too lazy to make a simple note. (although I’m still not writing down ideas)
  6. Sometimes my posts are technically difficult to write, other times they are emotionally difficult to write. I’m not sure which I prefer, but I prefer either one of those to the posts that are both easy and un-emotional.
  7. I don’t like the prep or the cleanup, the actual task is never all that bad.
  8. I pay way to much attention to my stats here on WordPress.
  9. HGTV is great, but it is never as easy as they make it seem.
  10. No matter how tired my wife is, if the right song comes on the radio, such as ‘Play That Funky Music’ she can paint, wiggle and sing at the same time (at least for the duration of the song).

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For me, one of the difficutlies in writing is putting some of the random thoughts that run through my head onto the page.  The thoughts are significant but they often don’t go anywhere, no real rhyme or reason they are just there and I think about them and I believe they have a place in my blog. I’m just not always sure why.  Lately I’ve been thinking; do I have to explain them?  Does there have to be some sort of point?  Am I free to hop on my soap box and just post random posts for the heck of it?   Darn right I do, it is my blog dammit so I can pretty much do as I wish.   I will continue to try to keep my three simple rules in place.  I will not discuss work, I will try not rant, (or obviously rant).  And I will try to post at least twice a week.

I was watching Bones the other day and one of the characters mentioned that they don’t like magic. I can certainly understand not liking the way certain magicians present magic, but not too like magic?  It is unfortunate that there are a whole lot of magicians who perform simply to fool, to say look what I can do and you can’t.  A really good magician doesn’t try to fool you, a really good magician tries to create that ‘sense of wonder’ for you. I put the blame of somebody not liking magic squarely on the shoulders of those magi who simply go out and perform without really understanding what it is all about.  Those are tricksters not magicians.  Magicians are (for the most part) wonderful, amazingly talented people who live to entertain thier audiences.

It is (to me) odd that people are ready to dismiss magic because of a bad magician yet still like music even after listening to a particularly horrible singer. I suppose that is because a singer never tried to make a fool out of you when a magician has.  Actually I can think of a bunch of reasons and again it is on the shoulders of bad performers or those pesky tricksters who insist on ruining the magic for everyone.

Paul Daniels a famous British magician had a routine where he had two solid steel rings that link and unlink.  He had a little girl come up on the stage and explained how the effect worked, he explained that all you need is a bit of confidence.  He had the little girl try to unlink the linked rings, of course she couldn’t.  Then he gave the little girl an invisible confidence pill and had the girl try again.  This time of course the rings just melted apart.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on the little girls face.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house when he was finished.  Mr. Daniels created magic. 

David Copperfield performed an effect where he told the story of how when he was a little boy he always wanted to see snow.  Slowly it began to snow as the snow got thicker he started to spin in slow circles .  Pretty soon the whole theatre was in the midst of a small blizzard of snow and through it all David continued to slowly spin.  Somehow in mid spin, in front of our eyes David turned into a young David Copperfield.  Right where he was standing there was a little boy with his arms out looking up slowly spinning trying to catch the flakes on his tongue.  I was watching the audience.  I had to smile, David brought everyone back to their childhood if just for a moment.  I still smile every time I think about that particular effect.  David created magic.  

Can you think of a bigger star than Harry Houdini?  He has been dead 84 years now yet I’m hard pressed to find anybody who doesn’t know who he was.  Can you think of a world wide superstar before Harry Houdini?  I’ll save you some time, no you have not.  There wasn’t one.  Did you know Houdini was one of the first 15 people to fly a plane?  He was the first to fly in Australia.  Because of his passion, because of his fame he helped bring air travel, (for good or bad) to the attention of the masses and made it possible, (again good or bad) in a sense for us to live the lives we enjoy today.

The next time you come to the conclusion that you don’t like magic try to figure out why, then drop me a line I’d be interested to know why.  And the next time you are watching a movie think about the special effects and don’t forget to thank a magician for making it possible.

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Many moons ago I attended (and yes graduated) from Dawson College in Quebec.  I won’t discuss the educational system in Quebec because it’s too long to explain.  Suffice it to say the province figured out how to keep young adults out of the job market for two more years, while being able to ‘track’ (for lack of a better word) students into different career paths.  The school system is not what I’m here to talk about.

My third day at Dawson I went to a creative writing class.  During this first class the teacher wanted us to break into pairs and we had to interview each other about our lives then take the information and turn it into a short composition which we had to read to the class.  In this way we would all get to know a bit about one another.  So the entire class was shuffling about breaking up into pairs and I just sat there.  I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t particularly want to know anybody.  I certainly didn’t want to interview anybody.  I was trying to figure out how to get to the door unobserved.  After a moment or two the teacher asked who did not have a partner.  Two people raised their hands.  George and Myself.  Turns out George and I had  a lot in common.  1) We had both been in the school for three days. 2) George was the first person I had spoken too since being in the school, and I was the first person George had spoken too since the first day of school.  3) Neither of us really wanted to be there. 4) Neither one of us were very talkative and didn’t have much to ask or respond to in our interview. 5) We pretty much agreed that the redhead a few seats down was incredibly easy on the eyes.

However we had to produce something so we interviewed each other.  Fifteen minutes later both interviews were done.  George brilliantly noted, “It is pretty sad when you can sum up your life in five minutes”

That is how I have felt these last few posts.  I have so much to draw on yet it is so hard to write,  so hard to come up with a topic.  Many nights I sit and worry about what I’m going to write next.  I don’t believe I’ve missed a Sunday or a Wednesday yet, but my wife will tell you it has come close.  Many a nights I sit in front of a blank page thinking,  “Forty Four years, there has to be something to write about.” 

In the past it has taken three days to write a post.  A few  moment to get the idea on the page, and then days to shape it into something.  Posts still take three days(ish) to write.  But now it is three days of thinking about what to write and then a panicked hour of writing to meet my self-imposed deadline.  I’ve been at this for about five months now.  Will I have the steam to continue?  I’m not so sure, but I shall continue to try.

Whatever happened to George?

A group of us at Dawson became friends (my ex-wife was one of those people, but thats another story) and we stayed friends throughout University and then some.  Sadly I lost track of all of them about twenty years ago, (my ex-wife about thirteen years ago).

What happened to the redhead?

Suzanne was part of that group of friends.  I was far to intimidated to ask her out, George did manage to sum up the courage and the two of them were together for many years.  They are both still good friends with each other but have moved on.

A few months ago I was able to locate George on Facebook and through him I was able to track down Suzanne. We exchanged a few emails caught up a little, they are both friends on my Facebook but that’s about it.   I don’t have much contact with either one of them.  But it is nice to know they are there.

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