Thursday, August 23, 2012

My First Novel!

The years I worked in corporate accounting were mostly spent trying to force my round self into a very square hole.  I did my job, sometimes fairly well, and spent most of my free time obsessing over office politics, my upcoming performance review, answering asinine emails from my bosses, and drinking.  When I was fired from my last job, I finally made myself stop the madness. I decided even if I had to work for minimum wage, I was not ever going back to a windowless cubicle to stare at spreadsheets and have conference calls about the best way to fool our company shareholders into believing we were profitable and had sound management--it was a very "Scarlett O'Hara As God As My Witness" moment, you should have been there.

     So began my journey into my true passion, writing, and also my new job as a minimum wage earning pharmacy technician.  I have been working the past two or three years at improving my writing skills, deciding which way I wanted to go with my work, and trying to better myself in hopes of getting published.  I also can count pills in a thirty, sixty, or ninety count at remarkable speeds.

      It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I remembered I had already authored several entire books. These books were written when I was around eight years old. Thankfully, my mother loves me and kept a few of my better pieces of work in one of my Star Wars folders. I found it in a drawer at my parent's house. It is no coincidence that the folder has the great Obi-Wan Kenobi on it.  He was a master Jedi trainer, and I was in training to be a Jedi writer. Even though my stupid sister, Eugenia, and stupid sister-cousin, Tracy, defiled Obi-Wan, the magic of his presence is still felt.

(Notice the hair, eyelashes, boogers, and mustache. Thanks Sis and Tracy. Stupidheads.)
       I want to share with you, my lovelies, my first novel that my mother so painstakingly preserved. I think you will find, as I did, the great potential and superior knowledge of what the public wants in a good story I had even as a mere boy in the 1970's.  It is amazing I waited so long to write again!

 That's right. The name of my first novel was Super Person.  Even as an eight-year old child in 1978, I was politically correct.

Laying the groundwork, building the characters. You know, writer stuff.

Oh yeah, building the tension. Three people were not happy, and who was one of them? A vampire. That's right, Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer, I started the vampire craze, not you. Suck it.

Also note that I had originally spelled "were" as "where." I made the mistake of letting one of the local librarians, Mrs. Hood, read my book. She had the nerve to correct my errors! I was appalled then, and I am appalled now.

Maybe my life in corporate accounting is not all that surprising as I decided that the devil, witch, and vampire would have meeting to discuss their unhappiness.

Obviously, the devil is the ringleader of this gang of misfits.  I like the splash of color I give to his word bubble, although I must have seen I didn't have room to write "skeleton" in the bubble so I just abbreviated with "sc," which I believe is the medical abbreviation for the word "skeleton."

Damn straight it was some skeleton. Seriously, look at that thing. I am scared.

Again showing my finger on the pulse of the coming fads in this country by spelling her name funky. I didn't use the traditional "Linda." Oh no, I went with "Lynda." This opened the floodgates in the late 1970's and 80's for names like "Brandi," "Stephfannie," and "Tawd." Looking back, I see an apology is needed. My bad.

I love Lynda's hair in this drawing. I think it is very realistic to the big haired women I grew up around, and her walk says she is confident and jaunty.

The action and tension at this point in the novel is overwhelming.  Props to Superman for allowing me to use his tag line here.

This is the climax of the book and it is riveting.  When you read "POW," you actually feel Super Person hitting that skeleton.

Introducing a new character on the final two pages of the book is a twist that most authors are afraid to try, but not me. By bringing in an angel of death to kill the witch , the reader is stunned.

I also make sure this is a true page turner by leaving the reader hanging with the word "and." Genius.

At the end of the book, we discover that the angel of death also killed the vampire and devil.  Lynda has apparently been made a princess, and the angel has converted herself back to a Christmas angel.  You can see the cape of Super Person as he or she flies off to his or her next adventure.



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Olympics for the Rest of US

"Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge."  
  -- George C. Patton
I am sure General Patton was talking about war in the above quote, but after clicking on three different links from my Google search for "good competition quotes" I gave up and went with that one. I could have kept looking for just the perfect nugget of wisdom, but I don't have that kind of time, plus I have been invited to have dinner at my sister's house tonight, so I need to get on with this post.

(controversy, every time)
My point is this is not a post about war.  It is about competition. We face competition on a daily basis.  It comes in all shapes and sizes.  It can be as simple as something like who guess the superior weapon in "Rock, Paper, Scissors"--a game that now I am thinking about it isn't all that simple.  I don't recall ever playing "R,P,S" when all players involved did not have to stop and argue over whether Paper was better than Rock or if Scissors were the school-safety kind or the type of shears used on Project Runway.  

(not really a prostitute, thief, or murderer)
Sibling rivalry is a great example of a competition that rarely gives the winner any glory at all. In fact, society sometimes even gives the loser sibling sympathy and understanding.  "Well, she would have never turned to prostitution and murder if her younger brother hadn't been so smart and popular at everything he did." It burns me up every time I hear somebody say that. I want to scream that she probably would have done more than both those things, like drugs, grand theft auto, and hunted without a license if it HADN'T been for me trying to encourage her to get clean. (Sorry, Sis)

Perhaps competition at its best happens every four years at the Olympics.  The Olympics are addictive and compelling.  It is the only time we Americans watch sports such as track & field, swimming, & and badminton.  Okay, I still don't watch badminton, but now that players have been thrown out of the competition over some controversy (again, I don't have the kind of time it takes to get you all the details, my sister is fixing meatloaf), I may watch it in Rio in 2016. 
(I bet they never eat ice cream)
The Olympics, however, are for our modern-day gods.  Athletic specimens of rare and beautiful form.  We can't sit on the couch eating our nightly bowl of ice cream watching a man run one hundred meters in three seconds or a lady on a gymnastics mat do a five-rotation twist while putting both legs behind her head and think there is a chance that we could someday do that.  No, sadly, the Games of the Olympiad are out of reach of most of us.

But never fear, I have researched a bit and found three competitions at which some of us could possibly be successful.  They aren't as well-known as the Olympics, but the glory of winning will still be as sweet, and the look of crushing disappointment on your opponent's face will still be as satisfying when you are able to say, "Suck it. I won Gold, loser." 


(mmmm, they're pickled)

This is a competition I think I would have shot at winning.  I enjoy a nice pickled egg, and quail eggs are small, olive sized bites. The rules are pretty simple: eat as many as you can in one minute, and you must keep them down.  To add to the drama, there is a perennial winner, Lester, who always dominates and holds the record (42).  The classiness of this competition can be summed up with this quote from the Dallas Observer: "The beer-swilling, bargain-hunting crowd got what it came for too, when one of the eaters spewed into a trash can." Watch out Lester, I may be coming for you next year.
Pictures of the spectacle can me found HERE


Stupid Invention Winner

(Imagine this on a stick. Boom.)
I don't want to scare anyone away from entering the Stupid Invention Contest, but my friend Rebecca and I have invented a little something we like to call "Tape on a Stick." It is very handy and useful for retrieving things dropped in hard to reach places.  It would totally kick the ass of the stupid invention the 10-year old boy won for in the video above. Totally.

(Actual picture from the competition. Creepy? Yes.)

This competition takes place in Helsinki, Finland, giving it international prestige and flair.
  The rules are pretty simple--whoever can sit in the sauna the longest wearing only a bathing suit going eight inches down the leg wins. You can wipe sweat from your face but not your body. You cannot cover your ears with your hands. You may not lean over too far. Ambulances will be standing by, if needed. The winning time in 2010 was 12:26 in the 250-degree room.  I am probably going to sit this one out, but I am betting any gay man who has been to a gym in Orlando, New York, or San Fransisco knows a feller who could, and does, sit in a sauna much longer than that most every day.  Just saying.

So there you have it.  Three competitions that you can try if you catch that Olympic spirit this summer.  Would it be easier to just train for a 5K run or a bicycle road race? Sure, but how much cooler would it be to say you were the Pickled Quail Egg Eating Champion?  Booya.  You're welcome.

Let me know of more strange competitions in the comments below!