Posting my index cards on history

I tolerated history in junior high school and high school, with the exception of my fall 9th grade year where I had a very prepared teacher who I thrived under.  But otherwise, I was generally a B and C history student.  This is unfortunate, because now that I am an adult I realize that I find history fascinating and spend a lot of time reading about it.  I am starting to document what I know about history (not much :)) so I don’t forget it and can review it.  Plus, I just like to “write” (i.e. type) stuff down.

 

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Posting my index cards on history

There Is a Canadian In My Garden – Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

The Canadian is in my garden again…

I woke up in the morning, went downstairs to grab my cup of coffee, and saw him once again shoveling in my garden.

I forgot about my coffee, immediately stormed out into my porch and was starting to shout when something caught my eye, and I stopped.

It wasn’t just Joseph this morning.

There were tents all across the neighborhood.   Cars were parked on my neighbors’ lawns, and there were so many campfires that a smoky haze had settled over the street.  “What the heck…” I said to no one in particular.  I could feel that my mouth was hanging open.  I didn’t care.  I was too stunned.

There were men — Canadians, presumably — all over the place.

Several were digging holes, one was hoeing, and one was hacking at the Johnsons’ tree.  One was even building a small house in the (appropriately) Woodsen’s backyard.   I looked at Joseph, my utter surprise surely written across my face.  He had a satisfied — smug — expression on his face.  “I told you,” he said.  “This is my land.  And this (he waved out at the entire neighborhood– is all of our (he motioned to all the men and tents) land.”  After a moment, he added, “And we are from Canada.”

“Holy heck,” I said under my breath, looking all around me.  I didn’t know how to respond.  What was happening?  It seemed like another hallucination.  But it wasn’t.  What does one do when something so outrageous as this happens in a civilized city?  I’ll just call the police, I thought.

Already my neighbors were appearing on their porches.  The Crosbys stood in stunned disbelief.  Mr. Johnson raced to protect his tree.  Suddenly, Woodsen, an older gentleman — a Vietnam vet and a notorious hothead — emerged with a gun.  “Get off my property!” he hollered, and when no one moved he leveled the gun and shot the Canadian building the house.

Before the echo of the gun had died away, all chaos broke loose.

The wounded Canadian screaming in pain, neighbors chasing after the Canadians, some Canadians racing to the aid of their friend while others ran for safety.  One of the Canadians hurled a shovel, which narrowly missed both the Crosbys.

It was mayhem.

But soon the Canadians were climbing in their cars.  The sound of many cars roared to life, the cars all pulled into gear at once as though on queue, and soon after there was a louder roar as the Canadians raced to safety.

As the last of the cars turned onto the street and drove away, we all whooped for joy at once.  We’d chased off the Canadians!  But then the joy settled into bemusement and even perhaps a little fear.

Wait a minute, we all seemed to think at once.  What was happening?  Why were Canadians treating our neighborhood like a campground?  Would they come back?

Clearly my incident with Joseph had not been an isolated event by a wigged out Canadian.  Something more was at work here.  But what?

Copyright 2017, all rights reserved.

There Is a Canadian In My Garden – Part 2

Self-published a booklet for fun

A few years ago I published a couple of books on Kindle, just for fun.  I even got a positive review or two (I got one reasonable-but-bad review about my formatting so promptly took that book from the shelf since I don’t want to waste people’s money) and got a commission check for 100 bucks based on a few years of royalties.  But I’ll never be more than an informal, self-published writer: I love to write but a) only like to write first drafts, b) have a short attention span so get bored after just a few pages, and c) don’t need the hassle of actually trying to get things published, so Kindle is pretty easy and ideal for a hobbyist hack like me.  Anyway, I haven’t done it in a few years since I’ve been busy and tired, but took a couple of hours and published a short booklet last night.  I have an interesting sales pitch: I am brutally honest with the quality of the work.  I’ve found that it is very important to charge a cheap price and to be perfectly honest in my write-up (i.e. saying it is self-published, has typos and may not be very good); that way if someone buys it (rare) and hates it (common), at least they only spent 99 cents on it and were warned.  I do it for fun, not for money, recognition or false aspirations of being a published writer, and my favorite part is just seeing once or twice a month that a book was purchased.

 

Self-published a booklet for fun

A momentary understanding of poets

Standing here at the bus stop, beneath a hazy sunrise with literally a silver colored sky above me, I have a momentary understanding of why a poet might write poetry. I feel a rush looking at this, and a poet probably needs to channel that rush. Unfortunately, I am no poet (not really). In college, when I took a poetry writing course to improve my descriptive writing skills, I was obviously a hack when it comes to poetry 🙂

A momentary understanding of poets

Michael Crichton’s “Travels”: His Decision To Not Become a Doctor…

Continuing to read Michael’s Crichton’s wonderful autobiography, “Travels.”

Almost from the beginning of medical school, he knew he didn’t want to be a doctor.  In fact, he tried to drop out, but the school’s counselor kept convincing him to stay another year.  First, it was that his classes might be better the second year, then he owed it to himself to at least try to see how he likes his residency, then he was nearly through with medical school so he might as well stick it out.  Incredibly, he was writing successful paperback books on nights and weekends during this entire time.  And he was certain he wanted to be a writer.  So when word got out with his peers that he was not going to become a doctor but a writer, they thought he was crazy.  Until “The Andromeda Strain” became a best seller and the movie rights sold for a bunch of money — while he was still in school.  Now, suddenly, he was a celebrity and all these felllow medical students who thought was crazy suddenly wanted to be his friend 🙂  After medical school, he separated from his wife, left Boston (he was going to Harvard) and relocated to Hollywood to write and make movies.  

Michael Crichton’s “Travels”: His Decision To Not Become a Doctor…

One of my favorite things about mysteries (movies) are that characters can find, interpret and connect all kinds of obscure articles in just an hour or two…

In the world of mystery writers, there are untold numbers of journalists publishing all kinds of articles with big, bold and clear headlines about every topic imaginable, and always-available librarians can access these articles in just a few minutes. Our characters then can read countless numbers of these articles, interpret their meanings, sift them for small clues, and tie all the dots together — all in just a couple of hours after lunch at the local library.  And if the protagonist has a friend or partner with them, that person can read over their shoulder and there is never any bickering or sniping at each other despite being locked away in a windowless room reading small print on a computer or machine.  Field of Dreams, The Changeling, The Ring, and countless other films have all used this neat trick.  I wish life were like that – it would saved me a *ton* of time writing thesis papers in college, plus would help me diagnose — and help my doctors cure —  a few of my mysterious health ailments.  

One of my favorite things about mysteries (movies) are that characters can find, interpret and connect all kinds of obscure articles in just an hour or two…