Archive for the 'Writing' Category

19
Mar
14

There Will be Change

I took a vacation in July of 2012.  It wasn’t a very good one.  I had gone into northern Wisconsin seeking elk photos and ended up with only one good set.  I returned home, mosquito bitten, sunburned, tired, and crabby.  While I was on vacation my coworkers were informed by corporate headquarters we would be closing April, 2014.  When my coworkers informed me that I would be losing my job, my mood instantly improved.

Allow me to explain.  I work as a lab technician in a microbiology facility.  We make medical diagnostic devices for microbiological testing.  Stuff that’s used to determine what is making someone sick.  Microbiology is basically trying to see little tiny stuff.  For those few here who know me, you know I have a degree in History.  I graduated from North Carolina State University, Magna Cum Laude, in 1998.  To say the last thirteen years spent working as a microbiology lab technician have been fulfilling would be an outrageous misrepresentation of reality and a statement so devoid of truth—it would make Herr Adolf Putin envious. 

In the United States in order to get a high school diploma students have to pass a set of science classes, which usually includes Biology.  During my high school years I found a way to get my diploma without taking Biology.  I managed to graduate from high school without ever having to peer through a goddamn microscope.  I took an outdoor earth science class, and since this blog features mostly outdoor photography you can get a sense of how that class actually contributed to my fulfillment as a free empowered citizen of God”s green earth.

During my time at the various universities I’ve attended, I also managed to get my degree in History without setting foot in a Biology class.  I actually got my degree without ever taking a class that involved a science lab.  The course I took to fulfill that science credit involved, again, outdoor activities.  I ended up with this lab rat position because I needed a night job so that I could pursue my daytime activities—such as photography, which, of course, many of you who have taken photos know you can get better photos during daylight hours as opposed to taking photos in the dark.

What does this all mean for my future?  And the future of this blog?  My future is, obviously, a bit uncertain now.  Eventually, I will have to find another job.  I have absolutely no intention of accepting a position anywhere in the microbiology field ever again. 

The future of this blog will be determined by my ability to post.  Last summer, I bought a new truck and a new camper.  When this job ends on April 4th, I will be moving out of my apartment, and on May 1st, the countdown date, I will be leaving.  Where?  Hopefully the where will make you glad you’ve stayed.  One of the things all people are recommended to have on their to do list; whether they be American, European, Australian or elsewhere, is to see the western part of the United States, which is where we are going.  For anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months—maybe six—I will be traveling to places like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone and, hopefully, I will be able to share this adventure with you on this blog.

24
May
12

So You Like Furry Things

When I’m behind the camera, most of my time will be spent in pursuit of furry things.  What could be furrier than some Canadian Geese with their goslings still in their downy fur?

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Some of you are personally aware that I write within my writing, speaking specifically to you within the general context of my stories or articles, all in an attempt to keep this blog personal rather than professional.  After-all, when I first conceptualized and then created this blog it was to open lines of communication to one specific person.  However, my list of blogs I follow has grown very long, which makes it very difficult to carry on speaking specifically to one person.

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The blogs I follow and the bloggers who follow me are from every corner of the world.  Those of you who post a few pictures with a few lines are my favorites.  I get to learn about your culture and the wildlife in your part of the world and that’s why I’ve continued with blogging even though the reason I started this blog has long since moved on.

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What has prompted this post is to welcome one new follower.  I’ve read through some of your blog and feel compelled to follow along, although your claim of being “somewhat mouthy” would usually warrant me to walk away without so much as a second thought to my choice; I would just like to say, You are always welcome here and I hope you find some peace here.

With that said, is it inappropriate to eat a salad for lunch and follow it up with a hot fudge brownie sundae made with vanilla caramel fudge brownie ice cream?

30
Mar
12

A critic

I’ll be Simon Cowell today and hope you’re paying attention.

If I’ve taken the time to press the follow button WordPress has provided me, then I read your posts.  I can actually envision a day where I’ll have hundreds of posts to sift through and will have to develop a criteria for the ones I read and don’t read.  How about the first sentence?  If the first sentence is well written that would probably compel me to read further.   So write those first sentences well.

I love it when you get personal.  Lets me know who you are and what you do.  What life is like in the Philippines, or in Australia.  But not too personal.  I really don’t want to read any crap about that new sex-toy you’ve just bought.  I think there is plenty of porn on the internet without inducing me to read yours.   I don’t care for poetry either, and I’m a published poet so I doubt I’ll read your poems.  I think it’s a dead art anyway.

Is, Are, Was and Were:  I don’t ever want to see these passive verbs.   You may only use these words in a statement of fact.  The sun is shining.  Randy was a young man.  Once upon a time there was a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith.

You might be asking yourself by now, what’s going on here?

What’s going on is one of you has tricked me into reading your blog and attempted to make me read something that was poorly written and you attempted to pass it off as a taste of your writing.  Well, I had a taste and I spit it out.

The very first sentence caused me to yell, “Seriously?”

Here it is:

Jordan opened the door to his room as quietly as he could, it was three o’clock in the morning after all and he didn’t want to wake Rachel from her sleep.

This sentence is wordy and redundant and there are other issues as well.

First of all, if you are going to write about a couple then you have to be a couple.  The door to his room, should be the door to their room and since they are a couple the bed takes on heightened meaning making it the door to their bedroom.

The part that caused me to ask my computer screen, “Seriously?” was he didn’t want to wake Rachel from her sleep.  Do we really have to wake Rachel for her sleep?   Can’t we just wake Rachel?

So I would rewrite the opening sentence.

Jordan quietly opened the bedroom door because it was three o’clock in the morning and he didn’t want to wake Rachel.

Better, but I still don’t like this sentence because it tells me the time rather than shows me the time.

Jordan quietly opened the bedroom door because he didn’t want to wake Rachel.  He looked at the alarm clock on the nightstand next to their bed.  Oh no, he thought.  Three o’clock.

Showing creates action which engages your readers.  So there you have it, some basic instruction on creative writing.

Remember to ask yourself, Do I really need this word and is it the right word?  Am I using passive verbs, is, are, was and were?  And by all means, be personal.

I’m sorry if I bruised your ego.  I guess I should have had more than decaf for breakfast.

25
Aug
11

The Red Wing Sings

Here’s a newly released novel that I’m certain the author won’t mind me borrowing the cover art to describe.  Why, won’t he mind?  Well, because in the lower left-hand corner of the cover art is one of my pictures.  If you follow this link to Amazon.com for the novel you can click on the novel cover and it will give you the acknowledgements (where I’m mentioned) and the first three chapters of the novel.  Enjoy!  http://www.amazon.com/The-Red-Wing-Sings-ebook/dp/B005DN1WO2

You can also find out more about this novel at:  http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000002631982/Tom-Omstead-The-Red-Wing-Sings/

 

The Red Wing Sings cover

The Red Wing Sings

by Tom Omstead

Will Anderson has chosen to live a simple life until the morning he wakes from a dream to discover that a nuclear nightmare has just begun. A madman has put in motion a witch’s brew of events which catapults the current state of fear in America to new heights and leads to the US armed forces occupying Canada. Cut-off in Ontario, with 3,500 kilometres of occupied territory separating him from his long-time girlfriend Sydney, Anderson embarks on an ‘off-the-grid’ journey to rejoin her in their BC Rockies home. En route, he finds refuge with strangers who become his friends: a French family living in a log cabin in Québec, an eccentric professor, and a native tribe in Ontario holding fast to their traditions and customs. Discovering the lost diary of Sir Isaac Brock, renowned strategist of the War of 1812, Will learns of Brock’s timeless strategies to drive out the invaders and feels compelled to inspire others to join him in active resistance to the occupation. As the story unfolds, some believe everything they hear without question, but others start to question everything they believe.

05
Jan
08

To Shred or Not to Shred

To shred or not to shred? 

I recently completed a process that I began about a year ago of trying to limit the amount of money I waste on television.  I’ve been scaling back on a bill that would be well over a hundred and forty a month. 

Yep, I watch TV through the Internet.   MobiTV provides me with the History Channels, which I simply cannot live without.  Well, I could, but why should I?  I also have access to the Weather Channel and a few others.  Since I work at night, when I get home all that is on cable is infomercials, but through the Internet I’ve followed the Heroes saga, Lost, and have been able to watch other network programming when I want. 

I know the detractors of Internet TV are going to say, but you don’t get current sports.  Well, all the pro sports like football and Nascar are on Sunday and that’s when I start work, so I don’t get to watch the sports when I have cable either.  So for me, it’s nothing lost.

CNN has free newscasts on the Internet and I have access to Fox News and Fox Sports through MobiTV.  I have plenty of TV and tons of movies, as a matter of fact I just finished watching Bridge to Terabithia on Vongo.  Still a sucker for Walt Disney.

So why to shred or not to shred?

Charter — my cable provider — just sent me an offer for Limited Basic Cable, Internet access, and telephone for $69.97.  It’s a twelve month promotional package and I have to sign a contract.  Seventy bucks a month for what Charter charges their regular loyal customers over a hundred and forty bucks.  If only you could hear the sound of my shredder.

04
Oct
07

McJob

1535 – The first complete English translation of the Bible was printed in Zurich, Switzerland.

1777 – At Germantown, PA, Patriot forces and British forces both suffer heavy losses in battle. The battle was seen as British victory, which actually served as a moral boost to the Americans.

1915 – The Dinosaur National Monument was established. The area covered part of Utah and Colorado.

1957 – The Soviet Union launched Sputnik I into orbit around the Earth. Sputnik was the first manmade satellite to enter space. Sputnik I fell out of orbit on January 4, 1958.

2004 – SpaceShipOne reached an altitude of 368,000 feet. It was the first privately built, manned rocket ship to fly in space twice within a two week window. The ship won the Ansari X Prize of $10 million dollars for their success.

Interesting definition.

Mcjob: (as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary) tedious employment with few prospects.

Here is why I very rarely blog about my job.  The company tattler noticed one of my coworkers finishing a task.  During that task he discovered that something had been done improperly on the previous shift.  He informed one of the group leaders, who informed a supervisor.  That was last week Thursday.  On Monday, at the very beginning of my shift, it began.  One of the quality control people asked me what had actually gone on and who had been involved.  My answer, “I found it.  I noticed it.”

Why?  Because I knew retribution from the other shift would follow as soon as the questions started.  I have two new people on the crew I work with.  One is brand new and prone to frustration, and worker frustration is the number one cause of people quitting a job in the first ninety days.  The other new person has a temper and will probably shoot his mouth off at the wrong time.  Bottom line, I don’t feel like doing their work if they should quit or get fired.  The person who actually discovered the problem, well, she’s on the verge of quitting and I really didn’t want to give her the extra push she needs to walk out the door.  So my answer, “I found it.  I noticed it.”

The company tattler has been walking around the place all week just pleased as plum pie with himself, and I’ve been walking the gauntlet between management and my co-workers and catching hell all week.  My job sucks.  It sucks because the people suck. And that is why I very rarely blog about it.  Oh, and what was done about the problem?  Nothing!  Not a damn thing!

I’m going to find a nice quiet place to write and write the most hateful chapter I’ve ever written.  Chapter two synopsis, kill everyone from Chapter one, except the hero.

07
Sep
07

First Lines

“Once upon a time there was a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith”

Stranger in a Strange Land; Robert Heinlein

“It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.”

A Tale of Two Cities;  Charles Dickens

“To the red country and the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the sacred earth.”

The Grapes of Wrath; John Steinbeck

“Call me Ishmael.”

Moby Dick; Herman Melville

“I am a rather elderly man.”

Bartelby, the Scrivner;  Herman Melville

“Hapscombs Texaco sat on Number 93 just north of Arnette, a pissant four-street burg about 110 miles from Houston.”

The Stand: Stephen King

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

1984; George Orwell




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