July 26, 2007

It was a dark and stormy night.

I love reading. I consume books like a beggar invited to a buffet. Non-fiction or fiction, it does not matter. As long as it is something that interests me and makes me want to turn the page. Half-Price Books in Dallas was my favorite spot to play, especially during the long, hot summers. Not having anything like that here, I find myself scouring the libraries of Orlando to satiate my habit.
Now, as I am aspiring to be found on the shelf next to these works, the writer in me always notes the style, structure, language use, etc. One can study how to write, but the best way to learn is by example. And there are plenty of those in this world.
My favorite part of any work of fiction has to be the first sentence. This almost always tells me how much I will enjoy the rest of the story. Admittedly, there are many best-selling authors whose first lines will not grab you. Either it is because they know people will read them anyway. Or they prolong this "hook" for the first paragraph. But all in all, those stories that hook you with the first sentence have become stories I will read again.
These are some of my favorites:
"Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing." Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." 1984 by George Orwell

"He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." Scaramouche by Raphael Sabatini

"Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person." Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins." Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Did you know, the title of this post is actually from a novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton called Paul Clifford? He's also the author of the line "The pen is mightier than the sword."

July 25, 2007

My Blog, My Topic

This is from the comic strip "Pearls Before Swine" by Stephan Pastis. He fills the void left by "Far Side" and "Calvin and Hobbes" quite fittingly. And this seemed utterly appropriate.
(Also, check out the strip from 7/20. I think he's reading these blogs!)

July 24, 2007

Be Careful What You Ask For

Okay, John. Just out of pure snarkiness, I present to you this:
This is Ming Court, located in the attractions area on International Drive. In truth, I have eaten there once, and it was a few years ago. I had Mongolian Beef. I was more impressed with the atmosphere than the food, however. The entrance winds its way across a koi pond and the transition from Florida to somewhere in China is well done.

And even as I post this, I realize that NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU HAD FOR LUNCH! OR IF YOU HAD LUNCH FOR BREAKFAST! OR WHAT YOU HAD FOR DINNER! Hell, I don't even care what I had, and I ate it!

For anyone thoroughly confused, or simply bored, it all started right here. Then continued here.

July 21, 2007


Today's post on my other site is the seed for this post. Please read it first. Some of my ramblings may not make sense.

I am constantly amazed at how interconnected this world has become. My parents get to watch their grandson play at "school", because they have cameras in each room hooked up to the internet. In less than a four-hour plane trip, we can be in Dallas. I can rant and rave and have a word wars with my oldest and best friend as well as a new friend I have not met in person. And because of City Photo Blogs, I get to share my home with others as well as see the places they call home.

With all that said, I don't feel as connected to Orlando as everywhere else. I am sure I have said this before, but when we lived in New Orleans I did not allow myself to get close to anyone or get involved in any groups or such. I knew it was a temporary stop and was not going to invest the time or energy into futile endeavors. But now, those are habits for me that I cannot seem to break. And with a 16 month old, it has been even more difficult to search out good friends or groups.

I am not trying to complain. I was hoping that writing this down in such a public-type forum, may help spur me to break the habits. First step is admitting you have a problem. The second step?

July 17, 2007

Check This Out

Sorry, I haven't felt inspired lately. Plus things have been hectic, with something new popping up each day. I have only had a few moments to even get on the web.

What I have been doing is playing with my new blog. I found these City Daily Blogs, and got inspired. Please check out my small contribution and tell me what you think! Orlando Daily Photo is mine, of course.

I'll be inspired soon, I promise!

July 10, 2007

Lessons Learned as a Child - Part One

1. Glass is something you can see through. But you cannot go through it, no matter how fast you run.
2. Bed covers are impenetrable to any and all monster attacks.
3. When Mom is mad at Dad, do not let her brush your hair.
4. Dogs like green beans, but they don't like brussel sprouts, either.
5. If I want to see Daddy run real fast, I only have to say, "Uh, oh."
6. If I want to see Mommy run real fast, I just have to be very quiet.
7. When Mommy was little, they only had one song, so they changed the words. That way they could sing about a star, sheep, and the alphabet.
8. Daddy will tell you when you get there, so please do not ask him several times.
9. Putting food in your napkin is not cleaing your plate.
10. Water tastes better when someone brings it to you in the middle of the night, and you don't have to get out of bed.
11. Daddy is messy. That is why he has to cook outside.
12. Mommy's spit has many uses.

July 07, 2007

Seven Famous Sevens

Just for the hell of it, in honor of 07-07-07.

1. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
2. Seven Deadly Sins
3. The Magnificent Seven
3. Seven Continents
4. Seven Days of the Week
5. The Seven Seas
6. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
7. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Honorable mentions include: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 007 James Bond, Seven Card Stud, 7-11 and 7-up.

Seven is an enigmatic number. There are mathematical properties that are inherent with seven. One example, take any number not evenly divisible by seven. On a calculator (or on paper if you so choose) divide it by seven. Pretty amazing. Take another number, three digits this time, and do the same. Freaky, isn't it?
Seven also figures into many religions. But nowhere more so than in Judaism and Christianity. Seven is God's perfect number. In occasion after occasion, seven comes into play. Seven days of creation. Jericho is circled seven times and the walls fell. When Peter asked how many times he should forgive someone, he pointedly asked if seven times was enough. Jesus responded with 70 times 7. Revelation is filled with several instances using seven.

I wanted to post this at 7:07, but that isn't possible. Instead, I settled for 7 minutes into the day. And I used 217 words to write all this...

July 06, 2007

This I Believe - The Site

NPR has never been something that I could listen to for very long. Being a visual person, I always had a hard time with the concept of a painter or sculptor talking about their work and experience, but not actually seeing their work. And don't even get me started on when chefs discuss their creations.

But one thing I do like is a segment called "This I Believe". These are essays by people, both famous and unknown, in all walks of life, who express what it is that they believe. (Thus the name...) This is a revival of Edward R. Murrow's format from the 1950's. The idea is for people to voice what drives them. But the important part is that others hear them out. During the 50's, there were very few outlets where people could opine, especially to more than just their neighbors and family. This format must have been very liberating.

Now, anyone with internet access and time can have their opinions, rants, and ramblings read by people all over the world. In mere seconds. But is anyone really listening?

That is one of the main reasons for reading the essays. I admit, there are many I do not agree with. But I read them all the way through. Mostly because I respect the fact that the person has taken the time to put their belief out there for all the world to see and hear. If you were to do this, wouldn't you want others to listen to you? Check it out. To be continued.