I got to talk with a real live Hollywood Producer about my book the other night. I wrote about it here. Go check it out.
September 7, 2010
August 27, 2010
A few years ago I was in LA for Thanksgiving at my, at the time, sister-in-law’s place. It was the night before all the food, and we were sitting in the family room watching TV. I don’t have a clue what was on, but all of the sudden I heard a helicopter come over the house very low, and I saw a bright light through the windows.
At first I didn’t think much of it, but then I heard it go by again. I immediately knew what was happening.
I jumped up, shut off the TV, and ran around the house turning off the lights. I ran to each of the doors and made sure they were locked. I told everyone to be quiet and we sat in the dark watching the helicopter trace back and forth across the sky.
It was erie hearing the whop whop of the blades increase in tempo as the chopper flew towards us, then slow again as it went past. The searchlight looked like something from an alien ship as it traced its beam back and forth from above.
A few minutes later we heard police sirens, lots of them, and a few moments after that, they suddenly stopped. I stared out the front window not sure what I would find, but I saw nothing.
After 15 minutes or so, the helicopter flew off, and the neighborhood went quiet. We sat in the dark for another half an hour or so, until it finally seemed like everything was over. We went to bed, and wondering what the heck had happened.
The next morning I went out to retrieve the paper and there it was on the front page. The police had been chasing a suspect on the street near my sister-in-law’s house, he had lost control of his van and crashed into a light pole. He exited the vehicle, jumped over the fence in her gated community, and ran down her street. He entered a house just down the street where they had a party going on. The fugitive entered the house, went to an upstairs bedroom, pulled out a handgun, and shot himself.
Needless to say, we were shocked. I knew when I saw the light, that the police were looking for someone. I wasn’t sure that he was in our neighborhood, but I thought we’d better be careful just in case. I’m not sure if our efforts prevented him from coming into my sister-in-law’s house, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt.
May 25, 2010
I’ve decided that people don’t just go to Starbucks to get coffee, it’s also a meat market.
My wife was attending classes to which I drove her, and I tried to work in the hotel. Unfortunately the hotel internet has the same IP numbering scheme as my current consulting client, so I could not connect to my machine through the VPN. It was hugely annoying, but with no solution I had to wander off to the local Starbucks to get hooked up…. to the internet.
Unfortunately for some reason a couple of ladies decided that they wanted to get hooked up… to me. It’s not like I am a dashing gigolo or something, I think it was more that they were desperate. That’s the only reason that I can think of. I have a big wedding ring in the right spot and wasn’t soliciting their attention.
I guess next time I have to work at Starbucks I’m going to have to ditch the work clothes, not shave, and forgo the shower. That should keep them away.
May 14, 2010
This is a story sent to me from my friend Marci, who is a fellow motorcyclist. I thought it was funny enough to let you have a read as well.
Hello All. It’s been a while! Thought I would give you an update.
As most of you know, I am back in school to start my next career. I chose Medical Assisting at Everest College for a few reasons. A) With all of the medical crap I have been through in the last 10 years, it should come easy to me. B) If I can get into an office with a hot up-coming Plastic Surgeon, I might be able to get some work done J (kidding…sort of) C) But most of all, I just want to help people when they are sick, to try to feel better.
Today was Orientation and class begins tomorrow. And with that, comes fear and insecurity such as; 1) Will I be the oldest there? 2) Will I do okay or will it be hard for me to ask for help and so on.
So, for the past two weeks, I have been trying to convince myself that A) It’s cool if I am the only Sr. Citizen in the class…I ride a motorcycle. B) It’s cool if I need to ask others for help…I ride a motorcycle, and C) It’s cool if I look like a fat cow in scrubs, because I wear tight black leathers and ride a motorcycle. The cool factor SURELY outweighs the insecurities right?
As I sat through Orientation watching the Staff of morons trying to get each of us to clap our hands and sing the gay “Everest College” song, it was time to introduce ourselves. Damn, I hate this part BUT…I ride a motorcycle! It’s my turn: “My name is Marci. I am married with 3 boys and my hobby/passion is riding motorcycles.” I was so damn proud of myself and could feel the “cool factor” emanating through the room!! I did it!!!!
The smile on my face went to an immediate frown when I heard a voice say “You ride? I ride too. What kind of bike do you have?” As I glanced over to see who was speaking to me, I saw it was the most gorgeous twenty-ish, long dark brown hair, perfect teeth, size 0 chick, sitting at the table across from me. I replied “I have a Gixxer!” thinking SURELY I am still as cool as ever.
Then I heard it. The sentence to beat all sentences. Cool against Cool…”I ride a brand new Street Triple! (aka Chuck Norris because this bike is THE BADASS of motorcycles right now. It draws crowds wherever it is on display). “How long have you been riding?” she asked. Thinking I could save myself and my cool factor, I replied “Probably longer than you have been alive”. (It’s not really a lie if I include time spent on the back of a bike with each boyfriend right? Ok, ok, I lied through my teeth. Geez tough crowd!!!) So she says “I have been riding for 14 years. I have a lot of dirt-bike racing under my belt as well. I am surprised I have never seen you at T-Hill or Laguna for track days. We should go riding together!” Oh yeah…like I would EVEN take a chance riding with her so she can wipe the asphalt with my ass. I had nothing after that….all I could do was smile sweetly. To make it even worse, her name is Dina ands she is from San Leandro. Dina? Dina is a name for The Real Housewives of Silicon Valley.
And so…I was OWNED! It’s going to be a LONG 8 month program (jus sayin).
Well, it’s2am and I can’t fall asleep. I’m going to try again. Must be jitters for my first day! LOL
Don’t worry Marci, you’ll do fine.
December 22, 2009
I played the bass guitar, so yeah, I got all the girls…. NOT
However that’s what’s important when you are 19 and playing in a band isn’t it. Truth be told I did have a girlfriend at the time and she pretty much scared the other women away.
There were lots of stories, but one still sticks in my mind.
We had to cut class to leave early enough to make it to the venue. It was a Prom dance for a little town called Bowdle, located way up in northern South Dakota (oxymoron anyone). Earlier we had used a broken down Ford Econoline van to transport our gear, or a trailer behind one of the bandmember’s cars, but this time we were going in style. My father and I had refurbished an old school bus into sort of an RV complete with stove, kitchen, hot water heater, sink, running water, the works. It was awesome. We spared no expense.
The fact that it still drove like an old broken down schoolbus, was beside the point. To us, this was living large.
On the way up to the event we were excited. We had never played this venue before and it was always nice to go someplace new.We started to wonder what we had gotten into when it took us more than a half an hour just to find the place on our map using a magnifying glass. (Google wasn’t yet invented, so that didn’t count)
We stopped for gas at the only gas station in town on the way up, because we knew it would be closed when the dance was over. We filled the tank, and went to start the engine, but the battery was dead. That was odd. We had just driven it all the way here.
We got a jump from one of the station attendants who ironically had a disfigured face. When we asked him what happened, he told us that it happened when a battery blew up in his face last month while jumping a car. You see the irony right? OK, glad you are still with me.
We played the event, which is another story in itself, and while the dance was happening, we charged the battery, because we just happened to have a battery charger along, you know, in case we needed it. Which we did.
After the dance we set off down the road, and everything seemed fine. We were tired, but still awake enough to keep going. About 60 miles from home, in the middle of nowhere, the bus started running very rough. It was then that I noticed that the alternator wasn’t charging the battery, and that we were almost out of juice. (Don’t ask why I didn’t notice it in the 8 hours of driving that had already happened)
Since it was about 3 in the morning and there wasn’t any traffic visible in any direction, we turned off the headlights and navigated via a flashlight along the edge of the road. When we did meet cars, we turned the lights on right before we met, then turned them off after we passed. Not real smart, but I did mention that I was very young, right?
About 45 miles from home, we ran out of gas. In the middle of nowhere. (Which is pretty much everywhere in South Dakota)
About a half mile away we saw the security light for a farmhouse, so we set out on foot. We woke up the poor farmer, who luckily had a gas tank for his tractors and such, and filled up a few plastic jugs with our fuel. We trekked back out to the bus, gas in hand, but by the time we got there, the jugs were being eaten through by the gas, and we barely got it in the tank before the jugs disintegrated.
One more trip back to the poor farmer to get a jump, and we were off again.
At this point we were approaching the big city town where I lived, and traffic was increasing. The headlights had to be turned on more frequently (pretty much all the time). We reached about a mile from our destination, and the bus just died. We tried to start it by coasting down a hill with it still in gear, but it wouldn’t go. It was as dead as one of the bugs on the windshield.
I hitchhiked into town with a scary movie villain dude guy who turned out to be a friend of my fathers, and snatched a battery from one of my dad’s vehicles.
Sidenote: Right about this time the story of the Uruguayan Rugby team disaster came out. You remember that right? It’s where the planeload of people crash into the Andes mountains and they have to resort to cannibalism to survive the winter. So that sets up the next part.
I drove the fresh battery back in one of my dad’s vans and pulled up to the bus. One of the other band members came out to tell me the bad news. I was too late. They couldn’t wait any longer to be rescued and had to eat Simons (band groupie). We all had a good laugh, got the vehicle running, and drove home.
The next day I found that the charging wire from the alternator to the battery had fallen off because of a loose screw. That turned out to be the source of our adventure, well, except for the rest of the loose screws riding in the bus.
June 13, 2009
I’m sitting at work when my cell phone rings.
“Dad, I’ve just been in an accident and don’t know what to do.”
It was my son.
After dropping everything and running outside the building so I could get a better signal, I asked him what happened. He was driving to San Diego with a friend, they stopped for gas, and pulled onto the Hwy 5 southbound on ramp to get back on the freeway. They were following an eighteen wheeler going slow up the ramp, when suddenly the truck launched a rock about the size of two softballs into my son’s path. He tried to swerve to miss it, but he didn’t have enough time. It went under the front of the car, impacted the subframe, and launched the car in the air.
The impact sensors thought the car had been in an accident and blew the airbags.
When airbags blow, it is actually quite a lot of force. Check out my poor son’s face.
In the case of my son’s car, the design of the passenger side airbag cover is stupid enough, that if the airbag blows, it also frags the windshield. Way to go guys….
So now my son is sitting in the middle of the on ramp, with a blown airbag in his face, glass everywhere, and not quite sure what happened. Luckily he was able to pull off to the side and wait for me to get there.
I wonder whether or not airbags actually cause more damage than they protect from. I’d sure like to see the statistics.
April 23, 2009
What’s the most fun part of the book writing process? I guess that assumes that you think any part of it is actually fun…
For me it is the first draft edit. I’ve spent the better part of a year writing all of the scenes of the book, and the first draft is when I get to put it all together for the first time.
I get to rediscover some of the great, and not so great, things that I have written. Discovering the great ones are some of the best moments of writing. I have literally laughed out loud, or squeezed out a tear while rediscovering some of the best parts of a book that I have worked on, and I just love it.
I print out a copy on paper, and get out my red pen, and read. There are lots of changes, especially in the first chapter, because it HAS to be great, or the reader won’t stick around.
I rewrite entire sections, throw out entire chapters, and cut like a man in a butcher shop, in the hopes that the final product will be worthy for others to read.
That’s right where I am on my latest and I’m having a blast.
April 1, 2009
Adventures in Writing, a blog about writing by a group of authors (including me) is up and running. You can find it here.
Stop by and say hello, leave a comment, and enjoy yourself. We will have tips, tricks, and stories from actual writers in the trenches, trying to make their way through the publishing battlefield, while dodging criticisms, reviews, and rejections lobbed at them from the front.
I will be the Monday post. The full list is available on the blog and includes some very diverse talent.
See you there.
As always check out my latest novel.
March 31, 2009
I decided that since my first novel is an airplane story, I should relate some of my flying stories. This happened about 10 years ago, but it’s still fresh in my memory. It was the day that I almost had a twin as a hood ornament.
I had rented a Cessna 172 from the local FBO at Reid Hillview airport in San Jose, CA. It was kind of a clunker, but the engine was strong, and the wings seemed to be attached pretty well, so I decided to head south for some landing practice.
About 20 miles South is an airport known in the local pilot circles as South County. I think it relates to the fact that it is at the southern edge of Santa Clara county, but I could be wrong about that. It’s located right next to Highway 101 in the city of San Martin.
The airport has a fair bit of local traffic, but not enough to warrant a control tower. It’s therefore known as an uncontrolled airport. Traffic to and from the airport talk to each other on a common frequency that’s been assigned to that airport.
As I got within a few miles of the airport I dialed in the appropriate frequency and announced that I was approaching the airport on the 45 for runway 32. I waited for a response, but heard nothing. I scanned the immediate area but I saw no other planes in any direction.
I scanned down below and located the windsock so that I could verify the wind direction. I saw that the direction of the wind favored landing on runway 14. I changed course to fly parallel to the runway so that I could enter the 45 for runway 14 and started my descent to pattern altitude. As I entered the downwind leg of my landing I got on the radio again and announced my position. At the base turn I did the same. When I was on final I yakked on the radio one final time letting everyone in the area know my position.
I greased the wheels on the runway, applied full power, slowly removed the flaps, and prepared to climb out. I was just doing touch and goes today, so there was no reason to land completely. After about 5 touch and goes, announcing my position on the radio every time, I prepared for my sixth landing.
I once again announced on the radio I was downwind, turning base, and finally on final. I was about 100 ft altitude, airplane fully dirty (power off, flaps at 30 degrees, airspeed at 1.3Vso), when I noticed something at the far end of the runway. There was a medium size twin engine plane landing the other way, coming directly at me.
Luckily I didn’t hesitate, but jammed in full power, slowly dumped the flaps, and started a climbing turn to the right. At first the other pilot must not have seen me, but when he did, it was like he didn’t know which way to go. I was taught to always go right, and that’s what I did. The other guy jinked left, right, left again, and finally turned right. By this time I was away from the airport and climbing, but it was still kind of funny to watch.
Amazingly enough all of the sudden I now hear someone on the radio asking which runway was in use. Well imagine that, now he wants to talk on the radio. I didn’t get upset, though maybe I should have, but told him that the windsock favored 14. A few minutes later I see him in the pattern lining up for 14. He landed and parked his plane in one of the tiedowns close to the runway. On another practice landing I could see that he was an elderly gentleman, alone in the big twin.
On another flight when I landed at the airport I talked to one of the locals, and he said that there were a number of “experienced pilots” that seemed to disregard talking on the radio and routinely made straight in approaches to the runway from miles away. Not the safest thing I’ve heard of today.
If you want to live vicariously through an even scarier landing check out my latest novel.
February 14, 2009
I had a friend once who liked guns. Big guns. Well at least for the time. He had a .44 magnum, with a 12″ barrel and a scope. That thing weighed a ton.
I would go with him to the firing range and borrow his hardware, pay for some ammo, rent the safety gear. But at some point, he got me hooked. I bought a 6″ barrel Colt .357 magnum revolver, in stainless steel.
It was a nice gun, shot pretty well, but kicked like a mule, well, what can I say, I was a newbie with handguns. I fired all kinds of guns growing up in the midwest, but mostly they were .22 cal rifles, and 12 gauge shotguns. Pheasant, gopher, and squirrel hunting were some of my pastimes as a kid, and handguns simply weren’t practical.
One night I stopped by my friends house after a session at the range. He showed me his reloading equipment. I found it amazing. He had the powder, the bullets, the primers, everything necessary to reload most anything he shot. Since I had a bunch of empty brass from the range, he talked me into reloading it.
Only one problem, we didn’t have .357 gunpowder. I am not an expert on all the details, there are other bloggers out there, such as Tam who I am sure can quote weights, specifications, and all kinds of numbers about it, but not me. All I know is that 9mm powder burns fast, .357 burns a little slower, and .44 magnum burns slow.
What my buddy had was .44 magnum powder because that’s what he shot. However after researching in his little reloading book, he concluded that yes indeed, we could reload my .357 using .44 magnum powder. OK then, what are we waiting for?
We reloaded up a box of 50 and went to the range the following week. I put a set of six in the revolver, took aim, and blasted away. Previous to my shooting I heard a number of the lanes to the right, firing rounds, but for some reason now they were all quiet.
I turned around to look at my buddy, who was standing behind me, and he is laughing so hard, tears are rolling down his cheeks. I give him the WTF look and he points down the lanes. I look around the lane barrier and the entire range is looking my way, with wonder in their eyes. I checked, but my pants were still covering my legs, so I couldn’t figure out what the heck they were looking at.
My buddy finally stopped laughing long enough to tell me that what everyone was looking at was the dragon breath that came out of the barrel every time I took a shot. You see, whenever I would pull the trigger a 3 foot stream of fire would shoot out the end of the barrel, lighting up the range like a flame thrower. The other shooters were wondering what the heck kind of ammo I was shooting. We all had a good laugh when I explained.
Turns out that the .44 magnum powder burned so slow, that it was still burning when the bullet was long gone out the barrel.
I still wish I had that gun, but that’s a story for another day, and it doesn’t have a happy ending.
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my latest thriller.