An elephant (IS or WAS) standing on my chest!

My creepy elephantThe sample chapter (is or has been) started.

Never has a blinking cursor seemed so intimidating. Normally, my writing spans 800 to 1,000 words – tops – and whenever it appears somewhere it exists for a day to a month. I usually bang out these pieces in a day and then revisit them a few days later to rewrite them. But writing a book…

So long. So permanent.


I’m a no-stress kind of guy, but that blasted blank-page cursor on Thursday gave me the ol-elephant-on-the-chest-feeling. Primarily, the elephant existed because of tense. I prefer to write in the present tense and often when I write in the past tense I’ll find myself switching back to the present. I…

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In the Dayton City Paper

I’ve been contributing to the Dayton City Paper since April. The column runs monthly and is supposed to be about the greater Ohio outdoors, although the editor asked me to write a story about the WAIW? quest. I just finished the story and will post it after it runs in the DCP.

I thought it might be difficult to sum up three months into 800 words, but I think I managed quite well.

Until then, you can read the introductory column below the cut.

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The Office: A slob's fight for survival

My Office

Annie had a surprise for me when I got home – an office. She painted the walls, strategically placed the bookshelves my parents contributed, bought a desk and did what Annie does best – made things tidy.

It looked perfect.

And then it happened. I came home.

I’ve always described my dream office as being lined with bookshelves and a place where I could put whatever I wanted wherever I wanted.

I have lots of bookshelves, but that’s where the dream ends.

When I got home I started to fill the space. I put books and knick-knacks such as my lucky Tiki statue, my S.S. Cookie Hut cookie jar, and my autographed picture of Punky Brewster wherever I wanted. I settled in.

Less than an hour…

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Transformers, Made in China

Optimus Prime Would you pay $4,250 for Jetfire or Optimus Prime?

That’s how much they are going for on ebay. This makes me happy because I own both action figures. Sure, they aren’t in the box and have each have swapped some paint with the Deceptagons. But still, it’s about time the world realized the value of Transformers. Although, I think we’ve over-valued them a bit.

Even if my figures were in mint condition, I would not sell them. Not because I have some sentimental attachment to them (I do), but because I wouldn’t want to take advantage of some schmuck who would pay any amount of money to get his hands on an original Optimus Prime (OP, I’m down with…

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Fiction vs. Non-fiction

It might set you free. Mark Twain said when in doubt you should tell it. And sometimes it just plain hurts.

But above all, the TRUTH is expensive.

Two weeks ago Annie and I drove to Kokomo to meet Science-Fiction author John Scalzi. Actually, I bribed Annie to come along with the promise of lunch, and afterwards, while I was in the book store chatting with John, Annie slept in the truck.

Meeting John and seeing his pile of books waiting to be signed and sold got me thinking. A large number of John’s books take place in his head. He doesn’t have to buy plane tickets and spend 3-months living in hotels and eating out. He doesn’t have to pay translators. He…

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My shorts, made in the USA

“I don’ feel real comfortable with this,” said Linda from Champion USA.

I have that effect on people.

I was asking Linda about my 1992 Dream Team shorts. They were made way back in the early 1990’s. So long ago, in fact, that they were actually Made in the USA. I told her that I was pretty sure that factory was not open any more given how the industry has changed, but I would like to know where it was anyhow.

“Perry, New York.”

That’s all I could get out of Linda. I tried to explain to her my quest, but I think it just makes my request to know where my shorts came from look crazier. In Linda’s defense, if some quack called me up and mentioned…

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Part 1: Dateline hidden cameras in Bangladeshi factories

Thoughts on PART 1 of Datelines “Hidden costs” report:

First let me say, shows like this get those guys with the deep Voices and anything they say is way too overdramatic. Not that the situation in Bangladesh isn’t dramatic, because it is. But when the voice says, “barely surviving” you expect someone to drop dead from hunger immediately.

-Nobody loves management. I don’t care if you work for a fortune 500 company or if you sew crotch flaps on boxers, you don’t use the word “love” to describe your feelings for your bosses.

-One worker says that she has to ask her supervisors permission to go to the bathroom. Is this different than any other factory line anywhere in the world?

-I didn’t see any child labor in…

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Happy 4th of July all you Ugly Americans

USA Tattoo

Today, we celebrate all things American. Namely, the cheeseburger! I’ll be eating me a few. (Actually, I’ll probably only eat one. I still have my travel appetite, which is that of an 85 year-old-grandma. That’s what rice for every meal does to me.)

In honor of American cheeseburger eaters across the nation, with their ketchup coated chins, an essay against the term “Ugly American:”

The Search for Ugly America

We’re fat. We’re loud. And we’re proud to be American. Screw the rest of the world! That’s what I say.

Think about Bram Stroker’s Dracula for a moment. Was it one of the tea drinking British twits that took out Dracula, the blood sucking Romanian, in the end? Heck NO! It was red-white-and-blue-bleeding, straight-talking, bowie-knife-toting,…

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Hidden camera in Bangladeshi factory

A little homework for you over the holiday (if you’re not American, sorry, enjoy your Wednesday): watch this Dateline produced video. They take hidden cameras into a garment factory in Bangladesh. There is also an article for you to read that accompanies the movies.

I watched it before I left on my trip and found it interesting enough, but now I’m sure I’ll have much more of an opinion on the piece. Shows like Dateline tend to sex things up a little for ratings. I’ll watch it again too and we can discuss further on Thursday.

When I visited the factories in Bangladesh I didn’t have a hidden camera, but I did have a hidden identity….

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