Friday, December 22, 2006

Writing Update: December 2006

It’s been awhile since I’ve mentioned what’s been going on with my writing. Indeed, for awhile there, very little was happening. We’ve moved three times in the past year and I’ve been working the day job as well. But now that I’m coming up on a short holiday break from work and will be able to steal away just a little time to write, I thought it was an ideal time to look ahead at what I hope will occur on the writing front in 2007.

Zooming Thru Life

My first nonfiction book is finally nearing completion. It’s been a long time coming. Some history: The idea originally came as a series of travel tips that I either figured out on my own or learned from traveling companions while globetrotting. Since I’m an artist by nature and not very well organized at heart, I figured out how to apply a lot of what I learned to every day life to help streamline things. The original title of the book was going to be “Travel Tips For Every Day.” But I had a problem with it sounding too much like a travel book and not enough like an everyday how-to-streamline-your-life book. So the title changed to “Zooming Thru Life: Creative Tips To Bring Sanity To Your On-The-Go Lifestyle.” And that’s the title to this day. In fact, since the title solidified, I’ve started either writing or outlining several other books in what will become my “Zooming” series. Titles you can look forward to are “Zooming Thru Your Move” (which capitalizes on what I’ve learned moving both cross country and locally over the past ten years) and “Zooming Thru Disneyland” (which finally gathers into one place all of the tips and tidbits I’ve learned about streamlining your visit to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA).

And I’ve taken the Zooming “brand” even further. At this point, I’ve written three tip-laden Zooming articles (and have more in the pipeline). The current ones are “Zooming Thru The Holidays,” “Zooming Thru Your Book” and “Zooming Thru Your Work Day.” I do have specific plans for these as well as their yet-to-be-written siblings, but I’ll share that at another time. For now, they’ll remain unpublished (even on this blog).

One of the Girls

For those of you who have not yet read my Young Adult contemporary superhero fantasy, “One of the Girls,” please feel free to order a copy. It’s currently available only from my website (

When the book came out in April of 2005, my dad was really sick. So, instead of focusing on distribution and promotion of the book, we were more channeled toward selling our house in Colorado and getting back out to California to be with him. We didn’t make it in time and my dad never did read OOTG. As a side note, all four of his children had something put in his casket. So he is buried with his copy of OOTG. But let’s be real. He still isn’t going to read it.

However, three moves later, I can now turn my attention to what to do with OOTG. I’d love to write a sequel, but to be honest, no one knows about the first book so that would be impractical. The idea now is to take OOTG into the elementary and middle schools of Southern California and speak to the kids about writing and creativity while offering my books there.

So, with that in mind, Lori and I put together a proposal packet during the fall. As a former elementary school teacher, Lori’s help was invaluable in prepping this thing. We presented it to a school in Bellflower and it sounds like they like the idea so much that they’re going to try to do it as an assembly for all of their fifth and sixth graders sometime in January or February! So this is exciting news, as I’ll finally be able to get readers for this book (a flyer will go home with the kids prior to the event telling them about the book and how to purchase a signed copy for their child). The idea is to replicate this event on a classroom and/or assembly level at other schools as well. I currently have another lead for a school in Long Beach, so I’ll pursue that after the holidays. The plan is to sell enough books and get enough of a readership that a major agent or publisher will take notice and take this book and (hopefully) series to the next level.

So if you’re reading this and you have any clout with any elementary or middle schools, please contact me at and I’ll get a proposal packet put together for your lead.

The Fairlight novels

With “One of the Girls,” I utilized a new publishing model. We basically started a small publishing company and went for it. While I don’t think I’ll go that route again in the near future, a couple other publishing options have come to my attention. The current reigning idea is to test one of them with ZTL (see above) and to test the other with a re-edited Special Edition of “Chance for the Future.”

I have two issues with the current edition of CFTF and, for that matter, the other two published Fairlight novels (although not to the same degree with FITP as with the other two). The first issue, which I’ve always had, concerns the cover price. $20.95 is just too much money to ask for fiction from a new author. When I’m at signings, I feel like I’m asking people to do something I wouldn’t do myself.

The other issue has to do with my growth as a writer. Since CFTF first came out, I’m a much better writer and editor. My work in OOTG is far cleaner than it is in the version of CFTF that is currently available. But I love the Fairlight stories and characters and hope to continue them one day. So I’ve taken the time over the past two years to squeeze in edits here and there. The result is a shiny new and leaner edition of “Chance for the Future.” It won’t be any less story, mind you. Just less words in the telling of it. The idea is to give “Hope for Tomorrow” and “Faith in the Past” a similar treatment and re-release them over the course of 2007.

If you’ve already got a copy of these novels, the new ones will still be worth picking up. The idea is to re-publish each of the three novels with an additional short story. HFT will probably come with “Riot Act.” FITP will probably come with “Saint Nik” and the idea is to write a brand new Chance story for CFTF called “Give Chance a Piece” (“Taking Chances” has since been folded into the narrative of FITP).

When I go to the middle schools, I’ll take along the Fairlight novels as well as OOTG but they’re probably a bit much for the elementary schools.

And then Lori and I had this idea to promote my writing that has to do with arts festivals and interactive, on-the-spot storytelling. But more on that another time.

I probably won’t post again until 2007. So, for now, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See you on the flip side.

What I’m Watching:
TV Series Returning Next Year (part four)


Psych is a pretty new show. It sorta plays off of Monk and The Dead Zone. The idea is that there’s this young, irresponsible punk who is reminiscent of Ben Stiller in his Meet The Parents mode. His dad was a no-nonsense police officer so, growing up, the kid’s powers of observation were honed to a level to rival Sherlock Holmes. Of course, the kid is a rebel so he doesn’t wanna be a detective when he grows up. But when he starts solving mysteries from the outside and tries to explain how he knows facts about cases that haven’t even been released, he realizes he has to tell the police something. So he tells them he’s a psychic.

So now he’s a fake psychic who can unearth clues that the police miss. What else can he do but start up a psychic consulting agency? And as if to throw it all in everyone's face, he names the agency Psych. Of course, the kid is too irresponsible to run such a company on his own, so he brings along his straighter-than-straight man friend Gus. It’s part mystery, part comedy, and never to be taken seriously. Only seven episodes aired over the summer but they were pretty funny. Lori and I are looking forward to new episodes returning on January 19. Check it out on USA (check local listings for times).

So as you can see, despite my growing family, I still manage to watch some of my favorite shows and I’ve even got Lori on board for most of them.

Movies? Not so much. At least not until they reach DVD.

But that’s another story. Or three.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Pursuit

The U.S. Constitution guarantees us life, liberty and THE PURSUIT of happiness.

It does not guarantee us the attainment of happiness. That is for each individual to achieve. And therefore, there is no guarantee for constant and eternal happiness either. Well, at least not in the constitution and not on earth.

So it occurs to me that this may be a major problem with American culture. We’ve been taught through fairy tales and Disney movies that what we’re shooting for is “happily ever after.”

Ever after…

Does that mean forever?

I submit that happiness is a destination, not necessarily part of the journey. I also suggest that there may even be various levels of happiness for us to attain. When one journey ends, it is time for another to begin.

But let’s take a moment to examine this idea of constant bliss. The human being is not meant to experience endless happiness. We’re not even built to handle happiness for an extended period of time.

When I tickle Melody, and I do tickle her, she laughs really hard. But ultimately, I have to stop. Why? Because her sides hurt. She can’t continue to laugh forever. It’s painful!

The sexual orgasm is perhaps considered the pinnacle of ecstasy. But if you had one for hours on end, your organs would hurt. You can’t do it, nor are you meant to.

But increasingly, we seem to be obsessed with constantly being happy. People leave marriages because they’re “not happy.” People leave jobs because they’re “not happy.” People abandon their kids because they’re “not happy.” Where is the endurance? Where is the joy at achieving a goal, even if you didn’t feel like striving for it at the time?

Half of what I do, I wouldn’t do if I did it based on how I feel. Do I always feel like getting up and going to work in the morning? Family obligations? Disciplining my child? Changing a diaper for crying out loud?

No. But I do these things anyway. Why? Because there is a goal to be achieved: A paycheck as a reward for my reliable work. A blessing to my family for putting them first. An offspring who ultimately knows the difference between right and wrong. And after toiling through the swampy guacamole burrito, a clean bottom and fresh surrounding air for all to enjoy! Each of these results can and usually do elicit happiness for all parties involved.

In the end, it is the pursuit of happiness that is the important thing. It is the journey. We seek to follow our dreams. We seek to better our world and ourselves. Sure, we’ll attain happiness now and again. We may even enjoy entire seasons of happiness. But all good things must come to an end. We may even be happy as we set off on the next journey. But we can’t expect to be happy one hundred percent of the time. And it is dangerous to maintain that expectation.

We need to accept that there will be times of unhappiness and when that time comes, it is time to persevere…to journey onward…to overcome the circumstances and face another day.

We need to be content in the knowledge that we can and will achieve happiness on occasion and we must relish that time.

For it does not last forever.

Word Play: Phobia

As a writer, I often cringe at the misuse of words and grammar in everyday life. More often than not, we collectively look like ignorant fools based on how we communicate. So I thought I’d start a series of short “Word Play” articles to shed light on the truth behind some of these common misuses.

So Rosie O’Donnell just talked smack about The Donald and it sounds like he’s not going to let her off very easy. All this reminds me of something I saw her say on a promo for "The View" the other day. Her exact line was “I find that a very homophobic remark.”

I don’t know what the remark was. But, in my experience, there is very little homoPHOBIA left in mainstream society. Anger? Maybe. Disgust? Perhaps. Mostly I see tolerance. So I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look at the word, Phobia.

American Heritage Dictionary
pho·bi·a (fō'bē-ə) n.
- a persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous.
- a strong fear, dislike, or aversion.

So perhaps there are still people out there who are unwilling to merely sit by and hold their tongue as they watch their modern society slide into a dung heap. But I highly doubt that it was a phobic remark of any kind.

What I’m Watching:
TV Series Returning Next Year (part three)

The 4400

Before there were Heroes, there were The 4400. This series started as a six-part miniseries. In that miniseries, 4400 “abductees” from over the years (starting in the twenties, I think) were returned to America all at once without aging a single minute. Immediately, these people are quarantined and a government agency is set up to deal with the “returnees,” many of whom no longer have any surviving family members or whose families have moved on after assuming their loved one had somehow perished. Soon after their return, many of the 4400 started exhibiting special powers and abilities. Tom Baldwin and his partner Diana Skouris work for the newly formed government agency and are sent out to deal with the “freak of the week” aspects of the show. But they’re involved too. Tom’s son Kyle was with one of the returnees (his cousin Shawn Farrell) when he was abducted and has been in a coma ever since). Diana winds up adopting Maia, a young clairvoyant from the 20s. The lives of other 4400s interweave throughout the series. Questions permeated the original miniseries. Who abducted these people? Why were they returned? How did they get their abilities? Why were they given abilities? At the end of the miniseries, we discovered that humans “from the future” had abducted the 4400 and had returned them to avert some future catastrophe. We still don’t know what that catastrophe is or how it comes about and there is some speculation now that re-introducing the 4400 back into the earth’s population might be what causes the catastrophe. We can only watch to discover more.

The show was picked up as a series and then ran for two seasons until it went on hiatus at the end of this past summer. But it’s been picked up for a fourth season (they apparently count the miniseries as a short first season). The 4400 deals brilliantly with issues of the day in a way that has elicited comparisons to The X-Men. The characters are rich and invested in the increasingly interweaving political aspects of the world in which they live and, when it’s running new episodes, I consider it a much-watch, edge-of-your-seat show. Not so much for Lori, but it’s pretty high up there on the geek-o-meter for me. Check it out on USA (check local listings for times).

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What I’m Watching:
TV Series Returning Next Year (part two)

The Dead Zone

It may have been the first of what is now common cable programming protocol: The summer series. Based loosely on the Stephen King novel of the same name, Johnny Smith (played deftly by former brat-packer Anthony Michael Hall) survives a near-fatal car accident but just barely. He’s in a coma for six years. In the meantime, his fiancé marries the town sheriff and they’re raising Johnny’s son that she had while he was in the coma. When Johnny wakes up, he discovers that he can read a person’s future by touching them.

Lori and I both like The Dead Zone, which apparently has been picked up for a sixth season. The sci-fi stuff is cool, but the core success of this show is in the characters and they’re dynamics. I won’t get into all of them but some of them started out seemingly as bad guys and have shifted. Agendas clash. And then there’s the vision of Armageddon that Johnny had when he first touched sleazy politician Greg Stillson (played with ultimate abandon by Sean Patrick Flannery, who I loved as Young Indiana Jones).

So check out The Dead Zone on USA (check local listings for times). Repeats are abundant right now, but a sixth season has been promised.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Is The Holiday

Okay. I understand that we have a diverse culture here in the U.S. I realize that there are people of Jewish descent and that there are people who adhere to the Hindu, Muslim and Buddist religions. I get it that there are multiple races swirling together in our melting pot.

I’m not ignorant of these facts.

But there’s another fact that seems to always be ignored at this time of year when “the season” brings out our more litigious nature (rather than the jolly one that should be present) and that fact is this:

Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are the only two actual legal holidays on the calendar. It is for these two days that the mail stops and it is for these two days that businesses cease to operate.

In light of this irrefutable fact, any arguments regarding the preeminence of Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, etc. during this time of the year in the United States should be moot. You can personally celebrate whatever you like. If you want to hang a Star of David and light a menorah, please feel free to do so. But the celebration of any holiday other than Christmas and/or New Year’s Day should not eclipse or supplant the days that have been set aside by this country as legal holidays.

Which is why, whether you like it or not, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What I’m Watching:
TV Series Returning Next Year (part one)

In addition to the aforementioned Eureka on SciFi (see the previously posted “What I’m Watching: Tuedays), there are four other currently running shows that are on hiatus, mostly because they usually air during the summer. But not always. Usually their already cable-short seasons are split in strange places. So let’s take a look at these more obscure shows so you’ll be ready for them when they come back.


Is it a crime show? A mystery? A comedy? A character study of someone who has been seriously damaged? How about all of the above. Adrian Monk is the hilarious, if overly flawed, obsessive-compulsive detective whose multitude of phobias and nervous habits enable him to be a sort of modern-day Sherlock Holmes. Monk is portrayed expertly and with great complexity and finesse by Emmy-winner Tony Shalhoub and it’s almost worth your time to tune in each week to watch Shalhoub work. It’s impossible to watch Monk without feeling sorry for him a little but you’ll laugh out loud more often than not. He’s also sometimes quite a jerk (he’s stingy, cheap and self-centered). But because you know his story (he was a quirky police detective who, when his wife was killed by a car bomb, went off the deep end and has never recovered) you usually wind up on his side. Like Holmes, Monk is a pulled in by the Police Department (in Monk’s case, it’s San Francisco) almost every episode to help solve one crime or another and like Holmes, he brings along an assistant. The crimes are sometimes more difficult than others, but watching Monk solve them (even if you’ve figured it out yourself) is 95% of the fun. It’s maybe the one show Lori likes probably as much as I do. There’s a new episode on December 22 (strangely airing in black & white and then in color immediately following) and then new episodes return on January 19. Check it out on USA Network (check local listings for dates and times).

Monday, December 18, 2006

Random Thoughts: On Books

So I noticed something the other day when I was putting Melody down for the night. She loves books. Now, this isn’t a new observation. But as she was cuddling up in her bed with both arms wrapped around a book, it occurred to me why e-books have never caught on.

Kids are just smaller, uncorrupted versions of us. They’re what we were before we were hurt, damaged and forced to go earn money. So I often watch Melody’s reactions because they are so telling. She pulled that book up to her chest and she would only let me have it if she knew I was going to read it to her.

Which, naturally, I did.

But that, my friends, is why a printed book will always be in demand.

What I’m Watching: Sundays

Welcome back. Hope you had a great weekend. Continuing the series, we’ll catch up by tackling Sunday and then we’ll do something slightly different for the rest of the week.

Without a Trace

I don’t watch CSI. Never took to it. But this other Bruckheimer produced procedural, Without a Trace, is pretty cool. Lori took to it as well. Unfortunately, neither of us seems to like the show now (it’s in its fourth season) as much as we did when we first started watching it. And that has little to do with the show itself and more to do with us. You see, every episode, someone goes missing and this team of FBI agents then must search for them, usually by starting with those closest to the missing person. And since Lori and I have been married and had Melody, these episodes and the accompanying real-life Missing Persons bulletins that go out with the show each week (apparently they’ve been really successful in helping to find real missing persons) really hit you where it counts. So, Jack Malone and team, you’re doing a great job. Keep up the good work. But I’m making sure my little one is tucked safely in bed before Lori and I settle down to share in your adventures. Check out new episodes on CBS and reruns on TNT (check local listings for exact time).

So that’s my usual TV week if we’re not in a repeat slump, as we are now. Of course, there’s always the stray monkey wrench. Sometimes we’ll have a special miniseries (like last week’s The Lost Room on SciFi), a cool made-for-TV movie (like The Librarian: Return To King Solomon’s Mines on TNT from a couple weeks ago) or one of my favorite summer series returns at an odd time (as is happening on December 22 with the next show on my list). So swing back by tomorrow and I’ll touch on the first of some running series that are currently on hiatus.

Friday, December 15, 2006

What I’m Watching: Fridays

I rarely watch my Friday night show on the night it airs. And because it’s Lori’s least favorite show out of all of the ones I watch, I sometimes go weeks without watching it and wind up squeezing it in late at night or while she’s running errands. But I couldn’t call myself a true SF geek if I didn’t watch every episode of…

Battlestar Galactica

Hailed by many as the greatest drama currently airing on television, the gritty modern update of this beloved classic sci-fi series may even be more revered than its predecessor. Taking the basic premise of the original 70’s series (twelve human-occupied planets are destroyed by Cylons who then relentlessly pursue the remenants of the human race as they search for Earth) and turning it on its ear, Battlestar Galactica manages to surprise with every episode. And it’s not just the gimmicky twist-at-the-end kind of surprise either. Even though the universe of this show is realized expertly, Battlestar Galactica is all about characters and how their relationships intertwine and change. And this show does change. Watch any random episode from season one and then watch another from season three. The differences will blow your mind. So many things will have happened that you’ll have no idea what’s going on. The relationships between the characters shift. Agendas change. Perhaps for these reasons, SciFi often runs full-day marathons of BSG, maintaining the original airing order. They also usually run a “the story so far” recap show between seasons or during hiatus. Check out what you’ve been missing on SciFi. The last new episode for awhile airs tonight (check local listings for exact time). New episodes return on January 21, when the show moves to Sundays.

I don’t really watch any television shows that air on Saturday, so come back next week to check out thoughts on my favorite crime drama procedural. It airs on Sundays. Can you guess?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What I’m Reading: December ’06 (part 2)

Okay. I tried and I tried to complete the allegedly Harry Harrison novel, The Hammer and the Cross. And, while it wasn’t horrible, it just never grabbed me. As a writer, I’ve been told to grab the reader in the first five pages. I went through half of the book and I could still care less that the main character had lost his true love, been sold into slavery and had his eye gouged out. Those are pretty major things for a character to experience and one should feel at least something. I didn’t.

Last week, I was writing a companion article for my upcoming nonfiction book (Zooming Thru Life) called “Zooming Through Your Book: Ten Creative Tips To Keep The Pages Turning On Whatever Book You're Reading.” At the end of the article I gave a bonus tip that reads as follows:

Bonus: Read only what interests you
Life is too short to read a book only because you started it. Don’t waste your minutes on this planet plodding through something that bores you to tears. Follow this simple rule: If you can put it down, you probably should. Then, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, read something enthralling. Something that captivates you. Something that you can connect to. Something that speaks to your heart. Something you cannot put down.That’s what reading should be about.

I realized after I wrote it, that I wasn’t making much progress in my current book because I didn’t care about it. I had forgot why I was reading to begin with and it took giving potential readers my best advice to snap me out of it. So I took my own advice. I retired that book as well as its two companion novels in the trilogy. Sorry Harry. Life’s too short.

So now I’m reading a Batman novel. It’s fairly new. It’s called “Dead White” and it’s by John Shirley. So far, it’s pretty cool but I’ve only read one chapter. It seems to marginally take place in the universe of the Batman Begins film, which is fine by me.

Let’s see if I can zoom through this one.

What I’m Watching: Thursdays

Thursday is a full night for me. Good thing I tape these shows.


Ever since I was a kid, I was always a big Superman fan. I loved the old George Reeves TV show before I could ever imagine what Christopher Reeve and modern special effects (at the time) would do with the part. I even dug the new Bryan Singer movie that came out this year. But Smallville, although it plays fast and loose with the Superman mythos, does a great job of touching on the under-the-surface things that makes Superman tick… Clark Kent. And in recent seasons we’ve been seeing Clark inch closer and closer to the Man of Steel he eventually will be come. And we’re getting to see Lex creep closer to his dark side. Rumor is it’ll go one more (a seventh) season. What else does CW have that’s as big? Even so, I say it’s well-deserved. Even though it’s got that WB vibe, it’s a pretty cool take on Superman. And that’s okay in my book. Lori usually watches it with me, but I think she’s just humoring the geek in me. Check it out on the CW (check local listings for exact time).


The idea for this show was simple enough. Two brothers (Sam and Dean Winchester) drive a classic 1967 Chevy Impalla cross-country searching for their demon-hunting dad and finishing off supernatural beings themselves as they go. It was billed as one very dark and spooky hour of television and it has pretty much lived up to its promise. Along the way the mythology has filled out and the banter between the brothers has become more believable (and just downright funny). They found their dad at the end of last season and he kicked the bucket early on this year. And still, they’re searching. They’ve just switched gears as to what they’re searching for. I don’t think they even know. But, to my surprise, the show is more interesting than ever now that they found what they were looking for. One thing I like about this show, even though it can be extremely dark, is the acceptance of the fact that we live in a world where supernatural powers are at work. Sure, it’s fictionalized here. But it’s nice to have acknowledgement of our spiritual nature. This is one that Lori actually likes (but we never watch it until Melody is down for the count). Check it out on the CW right after Smallville (check local listings for exact time).

Six Degrees

I gave this show a chance for two reasons: 1) Alias and Lost mastermind J.J. Abrams was behind it and 2) I thought my wife would like it since it features multiple romantic story lines (although not all of them are romantic) and takes place in New York. I wasn’t wrong either. It is Lori’s favorite show this season and the writing is good enough that I enjoy it as well. Borrowing from the popular “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” theory, the show revolves around six individuals in New York who cross paths, unknowingly (usually anyway) affecting the others as they go. It’s sorta the “coincidence” aspect of Lost set in New York. Unfortunately, it hasn’t had the staying power I had hoped it would. It went on hiatus in November but ABC is promising to bring it back in January. I suspect if anyone other than Mr. Abrams was behind this show, it would’ve already got the axe. There’s a rumor there might be some retooling but I liked it as it was. It’s a good show so maybe when it returns, it’ll finally get the audience it deserves. Watch it on ABC if you can (check local listings for exact time when it returns – hopefully – in January).

Tomorrow we’ll wind up the week with my Friday pick. By now, you surely know where I’m going.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What I’m Watching: Wednesdays

Continuing my series on my favorite current TV shows, what sucks up my time on Wednesdays? Let’s explore.


I’ve been following Lost since before it was a phenomenon. The show broke new ground in TV storytelling and has continued to surprise. These are some gutsy writers. Since it first aired, they’ve killed off at least four major characters and a handful of minor ones. Something you don’t usually expect of standard prime time TV fare. It’s on a short hiatus right now with new episodes to return next year. They dropped a couple “other shoes” this season and it’s been pretty good. The cliffhanger before the hiatus was awesome and I have a new respect for the acting chops of Matthew Fox. The slow pace of the show may be a turn off to some but, of course, I’ll watch it until it’s off the air. Day Break is currently airing in its slot. Didn’t look much like a worthy successor, so I passed. Not doing too well either, from what I hear so it was probably a good call. Check out Lost with me (and Lori, she likes this one) when it returns (Feb. 7) an hour later than it has been airing on ABC (check local listings for exact time).


Of the new Lost wannabes, Jericho has been the most successful (unless you count Heroes, which does borrow from Lost’s slow storytelling style but otherwise is unlike Lost in most respects). Instead of being stranded on an island a la Lost, the inhabitants of a small rural town (Jericho) are stranded in their town following the sighting of a distant mushroom cloud followed by losing contact with the rest of the outside world. Everyone has to fend for themselves or pick sides as politics, family feuds and more than a few secret agendas come into play. Like Lost, they had the guts to kill off a pretty major character and, also like Lost, it’s taking some time off until early next year. This is another one that Lori likes too so check it out on CBS when it returns February 14 with a recap show. The next new episode is on February 21 (check local listings for exact time).

I watch more shows that air on Thursdays than any other night. Three of them! We’ll find out about them tomorrow. Oh, and feel free to share your own thoughts about these shows or even chime with your own favorites as we go.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What I’m Watching: Tuesdays

Continuing my series on my favorite current TV shows, let’s look at what’s out there of note on Tuesdays.


Okay, so it’s in repeats right now and will be for the foreseeable future. But I’m not really watching anything else on Tuesdays so I thought I’d mention Eureka. Besides, it’s been picked up for a second season so now’s a good time to catch up on what you’ve been missing. Eureka is a small town where all the country’s best scientists reside. The action revolves around the newcomer sheriff who must cope with the alternative geek culture. Naturally, hilarity ensues. It’s a quirky show, funnier than a lot of sci-fi fare, which is probably the only reason Lori tolerates it. Check it out on SciFi (check local listings for exact time).

Tomorrow, we’ll check out the two shows I watch on Wednesdays. Can you guess what they are?

Monday, December 11, 2006

What I’m Watching: Mondays

So the new television season has been up and running long enough now to see what sinks and what swims. As we reach this time of repeats for most shows, thankfully, most of my current favorite shows and the new ones I opted to try are still afloat. I’m gonna go down the list briefly of what I watch on each night of the week and share some random thoughts. So let's look into what I watch on Mondays.


Possibly the coolest show this season, new or not (although Lori would no doubt disagree). This show holds the bar pretty high in telling multiple interweaving stories simultaneously that continue from week to week. The action revolves around a group of seemingly unrelated individuals who all seem to be experiencing the onset of super powers. Pretty cool! Check it out on NBC. Repeats the same week on SciFi (check local listings for exact times). Despite the high register on the geek-o-meter, Lori does watch Heroes with me.

Tomorrow, we’ll check out my Tuesday night faves.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Daddy Is No Go To Work

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Melody got spoiled.

You see, Melody gets up at the crack of dawn every morning. It doesn’t matter what time she goes to bed or whether or not she had a nap the day before. Our little two and a half year old is still up at roughly 6:30 every morning. So one of us, either Lori or myself, has to get up with her.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, that task fell to me more often than not. And Melody reveled in it. Because, you see, Daddy watches Disney movies with Melody and makes pancakes which is a step or two up from PBS and oatmeal.

So when it came time for me to go back to work, Melody put this little pout on her face and said, “No. Daddy is no go to work.”

And I said, “But Melody, I have to go to work. Otherwise, we won’t have any money.”

“No. Daddy is stay home for Melody for awhile,” she replied.

“On Saturday, I can stay with Melody, but today I have to go to work,” I sighed. I decided to try a different tact… to get her excited about something else. “But today Grandma is going to come and watch you.”

“No,” Melody stated, “Grandma is go to work.”

I laughed. “Grandma doesn’t really have Photoshop skills,” I explained.

Melody thought for a moment. “Okay. Mommy and Melody is go to work. Okay?”

Sounds good to me!

Have a great weekend.

Reflections on The Creative Underground

So it’s been just over two years since I put The Creative Underground (my UCCS internet radio program) on permanent hiatus. Since then, we moved from Colorado to California so there’s little chance of reviving the show through UCCS.

But the subject comes up often enough in conversation with Lori. Wouldn’t it be cool to start it up again out here? Wouldn’t it be cool to do a TV version? Maybe on public access? Or college radio? Or even through podcasting? Naturally, I’d love to do it on commercial radio or TV.

There are a lot of options, but right now I have no open doors (other than maybe opening the podcasting door myself).

So what thinks you, the reader? Should I seek a new broadcasting avenue? Anyone out there know how I can break in? If anyone out there would like samples of The Creative Underground from its Colorado Internet run, let me know.

I’d be delighted to help perpetuate the existence of the show.

Click for more info on The Creative Underground.
Choose the "radio" link in the site main navigation.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

On Shaving

Oh how my wife would love me to be clean shaven every day.

But here’s the thing. It hurts! My skin must be sensitive because I don’t know how some of these business types shave their faces every day. I mean, most women I know don’t even shave their legs every day. Why should I shave my face every day?

That said, I do find myself shaving more frequently than I used to. Maybe Lori will be happy if I meet her halfway.

That would be Wednesday and Saturday. Right?

What I’m Reading - December 06

As the year comes closer to an end, I’m wrapping up my latest fiction read which is by Harry Harrison… or at least it says it is. It’s called "The Hammer and the Cross" and it’s a fictional alternate history of the Vikings and the Christians through the eyes of Shef. This character starts out very low in the pecking order and, I’m assuming through the course of the trilogy of books, he eventually becomes the ruler of some place or another.

I say the book is supposedly by Harry Harrison (Stainless Steel Rat, Deathworld, To The Stars) because the writing style doesn’t really seem like him at all. And indeed, upon further investigation of the book’s copyright, credit for the writing of the novel seems to be shared between Harrison and someone named John Holm. I find it odd that Holm doesn’t share credit on the cover. The fact that the book doesn’t read much like Harrison makes me wonder if Holm wrote the bulk of it with merely input from Harrison. If so, Holm got screwed.

All said though, it’s a decent book. Epic storytelling (each of the three books are somewhere in the 500 page range). I’m most-the-way through the first one and intend to, of course, read the remainder of the series. Although it’s pretty good, I don’t think I’d characterize it as my favorite series so far… and some of Harrison’s stuff I do rank as such. So we’ll see how it goes.

I am also looking forward to getting a few books for Christmas. My guilty pleasure of reading the Star Wars novels continues. I’ve been a little behind of late, but Christmas oughta catch me all the way up on Clone Wars, Old Republic and the new Legacy of the Force series. I’m also gonna get the new Walt Disney biography by Neal Gabler. I can’t wait to dive into that one.

A friend of mine also sent me a book by Don Piper, "90 Minutes In Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life," about his experience dying for 90 minutes and returning to earth. Sounds intriguing.

So much to read. So little time.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The N Word

Michael Richards recently re-opened this can of worms. Truth is, this has never been a very nice word to toss around, no matter what race you are.

And, to my way of thinking, this kind of language in comedy only underlines a laziness in the comedy writing. How many comics resort to tossing language around rather than actually come up with some clever or witty remarks to wow the audience with? Most of them these days. It used to be for shock value but now it’s “just the way it is.”

Perhaps if one good thing comes out of the Michael Richards event, it won’t be the banning of the “N Word.” I don’t think censorship is really ever the answer to anything. It’ll be writers and comics actually doing their job and coming up with the funniest stuff they can rather than dressing up schlock in dirty language.

There’s plenty of stuff in this world to laugh at. What we need are people to point it out to those of us too busy to notice it.