Enterouge Season 5 Premier

I was really looking foward to it, but I have to say that I was disappointed with Entourage’s Season 5 premier. I didn’t hate it, but I was pretty underwhelmed.

The plot of the episode itself was good, and it looked good visually, but there was a certain lack of energy throughout, like they were all just going through the motions (except for Ari). The timing felt like they were all a half-step behind. I don’t know if it was the writing, the direction, or some combination, but something waI was really looking foward to it, but I have to say that I was disappointed with Entourage’s Season 5 premier. I didn’t hate it, but I was pretty underwhelmed.

The plot of the episode itself was good, and it looked good visually, but there was a certain lack of energy throughout, like they were all just going through the motions (except for Ari). The timing felt like they were all a half-step behind. I don’t know if it was the writing, the direction, or some combination, but something was off.

Hopefully this was just a one-episode glitch. Otherwise, Entourage might be officially heading south.

Philadelphia Wedding

Last weekend Liz and I drove down the Philadelphia area for a friend’s wedding. It was really a spectacular event, even with the monsoon that came pouring down during the ceremony. But more than anything, I realized yet again what I sometimes forget about weddings:

No matter what preconceived notions we might all have about them, the joy experienced at the wedding (both ceremony and reception) has almost nothing to do with venue or expense. It doesn’t matter how much you spend, whether youLast weekend Liz and I drove down the Philadelphia area for a friend’s wedding. It was really a spectacular event, even with the monsoon that came pouring down during the ceremony. But more than anything, I realized yet again what I sometimes forget about weddings:

No matter what preconceived notions we might all have about them, the joy experienced at the wedding (both ceremony and reception) has almost nothing to do with venue or expense. It doesn’t matter how much you spend, whether you have a band or a dj, summer or winter, big wedding or small wedding.

It’s all about tone. You can spend a million bucks and still throw the most boring wedding on Earth. And you can do it completely on the cheap and have the most fun you’ve ever had. You don’t need to serve fancy shmancy o’ dourves or crystal goblets, and you certainly can’t serve perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist.

At least in my mind, a wedding is supposed to be a joyous occasion, and if you allow your joy to come out, chances are, your guests will be joyous, too. Of course, there’s all sorts of unpredictable happenings that can challenge any wedding, but that’s almost half the fun.

Get your friends and family in a room, make a proclamation of commitment in public, and then par-tay in whatever way suits you best. Big or small, expensive or not, weddings are about bringing people together, and when they come off, they’re really something to see.

The Terrifying Cruise from Hell

You better hold onto your life preservers for this one, because it’s a bumpy ride:

I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, but I think they’re great. It’s like a floating hotel that stops at all these great places around the world. I’ve been on a few, and hope to go on more. Unless they’re like this one.

About a month ago a cruise ship that left from New Zealand got absolutely pulverized. It got hit by a storm so bad that the ship almost literally tipped over. Tables smashedYou better hold onto your life preservers for this one, because it’s a bumpy ride:

I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, but I think they’re great. It’s like a floating hotel that stops at all these great places around the world. I’ve been on a few, and hope to go on more. Unless they’re like this one.

About a month ago a cruise ship that left from New Zealand got absolutely pulverized. It got hit by a storm so bad that the ship almost literally tipped over. Tables smashed, many people were badly injured. It was a terrifying ordeal. One of my best friends–and the inspiration for the Theo Barnes character in [i]Finders Keepers[/i]–was on that ship with his family. His kids are still traumatized.

Thing is, the cruise line–P&O Cruises–has been downplaying the event–naturally–saying it really wasn’t that bad. Just a little bad weather, but everything’s A-OK. Well, my buddy says it was like the Poseidon Adventure. The ship almost tipped over! The press coverage, for the most part, has under-reported just how bad it was, although I did find one story that seems to more accurately portray the severity of the incident. I’ve pasted it below.

In all fairness, P&O isn’t all bad. As a gift, they’ve offered passengers on that cruise a 25% discount on their next cruise! Are you friggin’ kidding me?!

So my buddy is now trying to get the story out to the media about just how terrifying–and dangerous–the experience actually was. His son, who’s about 10, still comes to him and says that he can hear children screaming, the boat is turning around and tables are smashing.

I’m not trying to say that cruises are all bad, but this just goes to show what companies–of any kind–will do protect their reputation rather than acknowledge that something went terribly wrong, and that, going forward, they will adjust accordingly. Remember 25 years ago when those Tylenol tablets were tainted with poison? The company recalled every bottle, acknowledged the danger, and repackaged everything. As a company, they seem to be doing just fine. But that kind of accountability is rare.

Is there a moral to this story? I don’t know. But speak up when things go wrong. Because if we won’t, who will?

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=68&objectid=10524889

Terrified cruisers back on dry land

5:00AM Saturday August 02, 2008

By Yvonne Tahana and David Eames

Henry Garrett is one of 42 cruise passengers who needed medical attention. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Bad weather rocks the Pacific Sun

"We had split-open heads, broken bones, blood everywhere. It looked like the Bali bombings," Pacific Sun passenger Jonathan Woodward said.

"There was stuff smashed throughout the whole ship, paintings on the wall – I’d say 80 per cent of them were smashed. It was just chaos."

Mr Woodward was one of 1732 passengers and 671 crew aboard when the vessel was caught in the tropical low that caused chaos across New Zeland. They disembarked when it docked in Auckland about 1pm yesterday – a day later than scheduled.

Sixty passengers have now cancelled on the next voyage – due to leave Auckland for New Caledonia around 5pm tonight. They were given a refund and the 1650 venturing out will get a 20 per cent discount after two nights were cut from the now eight-day voyage.

A spokesperson for ship owners P&O Cruises said a specialist team was checking overnight for any damage – but an initial check by Maritime New Zealand showed no structural damage.

The Pacific Sun was caught in the storm, when 600km north of New Zealand, and battered by 7m swells and near-100km/h winds, which sent the vessel pitching 20 degrees, smashing furniture and fittings.

P&O said 42 passengers needed medical treatment, with three remaining under medical supervision for the rest of the journey.

Spokeswoman Sandy Olsen yesterday confirmed two passengers had been taken to hospital with suspected rib and pelvic fractures, but said rumours one passenger had lost a foot were untrue.

"It was like watching The Poseidon Adventure," Sunshine Coast woman Betty Appleton said, referring to the ’70s blockbuster in which hundreds die after a cruise liner is flipped by a rogue wave. She and husband Jim – veterans of a combined 39 P&O cruises – yesterday described the storm as the most frightening they had encountered at sea, "because of all the flying crockery".

But the couple were philosophical about their ordeal, with Mr Appleton considering it "just bad luck" that the ship had to endure "three lows back to back".

The Appletons were due to set sail out again on their 40th cruise today.

Cynthia Hoban of Waiwera, north of Auckland, was concerned a number of items aboard ship that should have been fixed down, were not. She said listening to items of furniture and other pieces "sliding from one side to another" were alarming. "We thought ‘God, what’s going to come through walls or the ceiling’."

Ms Olsen said there were "some loose items that did move around", and the company would investigate.

Counselling was being offered for passengers and crew who were shaken by their experience, she said. The storm-affected passengers would be offered a goodwill gesture of a 25 per cent reduction in the value of a future cruise.

– NZPA

Sarah Palin is No Joke

As you know I don’t write a lot or political themed blogs, but a friend sent me an email today about McCain’s selection of Palin, which just baffled him. A mutual friend of ours–an absolute die-hard extremist Republican–sent him some Republican-slanted email, and got him all riled up.

As for me, Sarah Palin for VP comes across as a risky strategic move … a move of desperation. It’s not about what’s best, it’s about what McCain thinks gives him the best chance to win, which is what all As you know I don’t write a lot or political themed blogs, but a friend sent me an email today about McCain’s selection of Palin, which just baffled him. A mutual friend of ours–an absolute die-hard extremist Republican–sent him some Republican-slanted email, and got him all riled up.

As for me, Sarah Palin for VP comes across as a risky strategic move … a move of desperation. It’s not about what’s best, it’s about what McCain thinks gives him the best chance to win, which is what all candidates do, so I don’t blame him there. It was an inspired choice, I’ll give him that. Never saw that coming. She’s got her baggage, but then again, all the candidates do.

The problem with the Democrats–and I’m a lifelong Democrat–is that coming off 8 years of Bush (in my opinion the worst president in my lifetime, at the very least)–is that Obama is still just barely ahead of McCain in the polls. How is that even possible? Based on the last 8 years, the Republcians have nothing to stand on. This should be Obama in a landslide, but it’s not. Which just goes to show how lame the Democrats can be, just giving the Republicans the very ammunition they need to prove the Democrats shouldn’t be in power in the first place.

I’m voting for Obama. But to underestimate Palin is a big, big mistake. She’s good looking, tough and a very good speaker. She might totally blow up and be an utter disaster in the end, but then again, she could become very popular throughout the campaign, giving the Democrats a run for their money.

The Democrats need to fight–hard and tough and ruthless–until the very last ballot is counted, or else they could let yet another 4 years slip through their fingers. It’s still early and we really don’t know enough about her, but from I’ve seen so far, Palin is no joke. McCain has always been a maverick, and Palin as his choice for VP certainly proves that once again. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.

In the Writer’s Chair: I’m Better When I Move

When it comes to how I figure out story sequences or bits of dialogue, and sometimes the more complex plotting, I’m reminded of my favorite scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Paul Newman and Robert Redford are in Boliva, hiding out from the U.S. authorities, and they take a job as the security detail protecting the payroll of a mining operation. But before they get hired, the boss wants them to prove they’re worth hiring. So the boss chucks a tin, and tells Redford’s Sundace KWhen it comes to how I figure out story sequences or bits of dialogue, and sometimes the more complex plotting, I’m reminded of my favorite scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Paul Newman and Robert Redford are in Boliva, hiding out from the U.S. authorities, and they take a job as the security detail protecting the payroll of a mining operation. But before they get hired, the boss wants them to prove they’re worth hiring. So the boss chucks a tin, and tells Redford’s Sundace Kid to shoot it. Standing in place, he shoots, but misses by about a foot.

Looking distraught, Sundance does this quick pivot move and blasts the tin like four times in a row. The boss looks at him, amazed, and Sundance says, "I’m better when I move."

Well, that’s how I am when it comes to thinking things through. When I’m writing, and need to figure something out in my head before I can really get going, many times, although not always, I get stuck, just sitting there at the computer. My fingers hover over the keys, twitching, wanting to clack away, but I don’t know where to take them. In my mind’s eye I can’t see where to go.

So I physically get up from the desk. I walk around my apartment and I think out loud. I talk it out. And usually I grab my whiffleball bat and twirl it around, take a few swings, and just get my body going. There’s something about motion, about the physical act of swinging my arms and getting my blood flowing, that helps me think. And during this process sometimes I’ll get inspired, and head right back to the computer and clack away, and sometimes it lasts, sometimes not.

Other times I’ll flop down on the couch, thinking, and then I’ll walk around some more, into the kitchen, into the bedroom, even out on the balcony. And then I’ll head back in, take a few more swings, and slowly but surely the ideas start coming. My mind loosens. I can see where I need to go, and can think it through. There are usually a lot of starts and stops, thinking I’m on track only to realize I’ve thought myself into a corner, but ultimately, I find my way.

While writing for me takes place at the keyboard, the writing [i]process[/i] is much more all over the place. The ideas comes to me when they come to me. I need to be active, to get physical.

Like the Sundance Kid, I’m better when I move.

In the Writer’s Chair: Why Futzing Means Move On

I’ve been tinkering away on a new project lately–one I will chat about soon–and I realized that it’s been a while since I talked about the writing process itself. And what came to the forefront today was … futzing.

When I say futzing, I mean, tinkering with the same sentence 10 different ways, when the rest of the paragraph, or even the whole section, is otherwise done. When I say futzing, I mean playing around with where to break a paragraph, or adding or subtracting one or two words I’ve been tinkering away on a new project lately–one I will chat about soon–and I realized that it’s been a while since I talked about the writing process itself. And what came to the forefront today was … futzing.

When I say futzing, I mean, tinkering with the same sentence 10 different ways, when the rest of the paragraph, or even the whole section, is otherwise done. When I say futzing, I mean playing around with where to break a paragraph, or adding or subtracting one or two words in a string of dialogue.

Typically, I try not to move on from a section until I feel that it’s in good shape, but sometimes I can linger, I can overstay my welcome. So when I get to a point in the writing process–like I did today–when all I’m really doing is futzing, it’s time to move on.

So how do I know when I’ve spent the right amount of time? A-ha. Well, it’s different in every situation. It’s a feel thing. Either a section works, or it doesn’t. Writing is one of those truly subjective experiences, where 100 different people can have 100 different takes on the same piece of work.

And then there’s the question of why I’m futzing so much. Sometimes it’s because I don’t quite have a feel for it, and I’m not confident that I’ve hit all the right notes, and if I just hang around, inspiration will come. And sometimes that’s exactly what happens. Then again, sometimes I’m just tired, or otherwise distracted, and am off my game. So when I futz with the writing just to stay connected to it, and then I’m usually back on track the next time I sit down.

And yet other times I’m procrastinating. I know I don’t know what comes next, or there’s a difficult bit I need to work out that I just don’t want to tackle yet, so futzing is a way for me to be a chicken! It’s my way of hiding, from ducking my storytelling responsibilities. If I spend session after session futzing with one section, I don’t have move on to the next. Ah … good ol’ procrastination.

But that doesn’t last either. Ultimately, when it’s time to move on, I do. So I’m done when … I’m done. And today I was futzing … for the third writing session in a row … so I figured, yep. That’s it.

Time for the next section. Until the next bit of futzing comes along.

Publishers Update: New Players Emerge

So here’s the latest on the publishing front with [i]Finders Keepers[/i].

Through two different connections I’ve made over the last few months, I now have two new publishers in play who have both requested to read [i]Finders Keepers[/i]. Naturally, I’m pretty excited about that, as the more publishers who are interested in my book, the better.

And once everybody is back from the Labor Day weekend, the publishing world–like most other industries–will be back in action, so I’m hoping So here’s the latest on the publishing front with [i]Finders Keepers[/i].

Through two different connections I’ve made over the last few months, I now have two new publishers in play who have both requested to read [i]Finders Keepers[/i]. Naturally, I’m pretty excited about that, as the more publishers who are interested in my book, the better.

And once everybody is back from the Labor Day weekend, the publishing world–like most other industries–will be back in action, so I’m hoping to get some killer feedback soon. Meaning … sign me already! It’s time for a book deal!

I know, I know, be patient, be patient.

Trying to break into any creative field is tough, as there’s so much competition and so many variables that I can’t control. And who likes to feel as if they’re not in control? LOL!!!!

Still, my book is written and my agent and I are pounding the pavement to get my book in front of as many publishing eyes as possible, so it’s only a matter of time at this point. It’s not a matter of if Finders Keepers gets a publishing deal, it’s a matter of when.

Naturally, I’d prefer when to be [i]NOW![/i] But I’m patient … I’m really and truly … p-p-p …. (deep breath, deep breath) patient.

As always, I’ll keep you posted.

Cape May Vaca … and No Near Drowning!

Liz and I are back from a few well-needed days off in Cape May, and it really did the trick. We lucked out with great weather, spending the bulk of the time on the beach. If you’ve never been Cape May is at the southern tip of New Jersey, just a breezy little beach town with lots of B&Bs.

We stayed at the Bedford Inn, just a block away from the beach, so that was quite nice. It was just a real relaxing few days, with our most difficult decision being what to have for dinner. And no vacaLiz and I are back from a few well-needed days off in Cape May, and it really did the trick. We lucked out with great weather, spending the bulk of the time on the beach. If you’ve never been Cape May is at the southern tip of New Jersey, just a breezy little beach town with lots of B&Bs.

We stayed at the Bedford Inn, just a block away from the beach, so that was quite nice. It was just a real relaxing few days, with our most difficult decision being what to have for dinner. And no vacation is complete without at least one night of lobster, which hit the spot. The service at that particular restaurant was pretty lousy, but the food … yum.

Our other big adventures included a long walk down the boardwalk and an intense game of miniature golf, so I think you can tell that this wasn’t exactly a high-impact trip, which was perfect for us. And unlike last year, we didn’t almost drown!

Sweet.

This weekend also helped recharge my writing batteries, as I’ve got loads of projects in the works and a bunch of surprises I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks. So now that I’m back, I’m really back.

Stay tuned …

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/09/15 21:19

Re:Day of the Dog

If we could ever be so lucky as to get a dog like Dusty, I’d sign up for that 10 times out of 10.If we could ever be so lucky as to get a dog like Dusty, I’d sign up for that 10 times out of 10.

Drunken Wiffleball

Liz and I will be heading down to Cape May within the next two hours, but I’m still a bit achy from last night. We went to a party in New Jersey for a friend of ours who turned 40. It was a big backyard type party, with a margarita machine and kegalator, and, much to my surprise and joy, they had a regulation issue whiffleball field–with the lines–in the backyard. I couldn’t believe it!

For an old whiffleball junkie like me, this was a little slice of heaven. I hadn’t played in years. AsLiz and I will be heading down to Cape May within the next two hours, but I’m still a bit achy from last night. We went to a party in New Jersey for a friend of ours who turned 40. It was a big backyard type party, with a margarita machine and kegalator, and, much to my surprise and joy, they had a regulation issue whiffleball field–with the lines–in the backyard. I couldn’t believe it!

For an old whiffleball junkie like me, this was a little slice of heaven. I hadn’t played in years. As a kid–and even up through my early 30s–I used to play a lot. I spent endless hours as a teenager in front of my house, playing one-on-one games with a few friends of mine. It was great.

But last night we were playing 3-on-3 on this giant field, beers in hand. In my pitching return, I was just a little bit off the mark. Okay, I walked in 10 runs in the first inning! But I redeemed myself. I went on to nail two home runs off the house–including a grand slam–and walked three other times. So, all in all, I had a damn good night.

But I’m paying for it now. I’m in pain!

Well worth it, though. I’m ready to get back out there again.

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