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Monday, March 26, 2012

A Walk through the Waldo





A slideshow of a walk along the Waldo Trail, Colorado Springs, Colorado, on March 25, 2012, accompanied by some soothing classical music. We had unseasonably mild weather. Wear some comfortable shoes for this journey, we'll be walking over 6 miles and going up over a thousand feet in elevation!

Looking west, we see Pikes Peak and some nearby mountain tops.  Directly to the east, in that endless plain, is Colorado Springs.  The road beneath us is the only way out of Colorado Springs into the mountains - it is known as "the cut" or "the pass."  To the south, visible in some shots, is Cheyenne Mountain.  That zig-zag road you see to the south is a famous road finished in 1926 up Cheyenne Mountain.  Cheyenne Mountain, of course, is partly off limits due to SAC headquarters, which is very difficult to visit.

The entire region was once submerged under an inland sea, which accounts for the striations in the ancient sediment that now forms the sides of the mountains.

The white rock at the end is known as Pikes Peak Granite.  There is an awful lot of shale on the paths, testament to the oceanic origins of the entire area.

Cave of the Winds is in the next valley to the south, and just beyond that is Garden of the Gods (I have pictures of both on my Random Pictures site).  Up the road to the west is the gambling mecca Cripple Creek, and further on, Aspen, Vail, and all those good places.

My idea of getting lucky....


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tebow's Great Blunder

Tim Tebow jjbjorkman.blogspot.com
Tim Tebow seeks divine guidance


Word is that Tim Tebow told the Broncos to trade him to the Jets instead of Jacksonville.  I believe this was a huge mistake on his part.

First, preliminarily, ponder for a second that Tebow was a First Round pick with a year of experience in the NFL.  He started during the string of victories that got the Broncos into the playoffs and the playoff win that the Broncos won because of his long touchdown throw in overtime against an overwhelming favorite.

And all the Broncos could get for him was a fourth-round pick, a sixth round pick and cash?

Something is wrong there.

A young, experienced, successful starting quarterback in the NFL normally should go for much more value than that.  Very, very few first-year quarterbacks get that much experience.  Yet, the entire league basically said that his value had gone down this year, not up.

The combined wisdom of the NFL decided that Tebow does not deserve to be starting anywhere.  A fourth-round pick does have value, so they also decided he belongs in the league.  But not as a starter, as a back-up.  Maybe forever.

Given that premise, Tebow had the choice of either going to Florida, where he went to college and no doubt has a legion of fans, or going to New York City.

I know a little bit about New York City.  I grew up in the suburbs and lived in Manhattan for a long time.  I also know about other places, having lived in suburban Colorado for a decade.

Tebow made a huge mistake choosing the Jets.  The stated reason is that he thought they "wanted him more."  If true, that is just fuzzy thinking on his part.  The coaching staff may have been more welcoming, but that isn't going to matter when it's September and he is throwing like a girl.

Nobody in New York City is going to give a hoot about his career or his progress.  The Big Apple has its share of Christians and the sort of people Tebow attracts, but it also has way more than its share of godless heathens, sports haters and malicious gossip mongerers.  Destroying athletes who have pretensions of any kind and don't deliver is a spectator sport in NYC.

Nobody probably remembers a fellow by the name of Eddie Lee Whitson.  He was just like Tebow.  A good, though far from great, player who achieved his success in a fairly rural/suburban environment, San Diego.  He had a moderately good year as a starting pitcher and then became a free agent after the 1984 season.

He got the opportunity to play in New York. Big money beckoned.  The team there wined and dined him and lured him in.  Whitson signed his name on the dotted line, convinced that because the team wanted him so much that success was assured.

The team Whitson signed for was the Yankees.  They were in need of pitching, not having made the playoffs in several years despite having spent a huge sum (for the time) to get free agent Dave Winfield.  Whitson and his moderately good numbers were like a life boat to a sinking team.  If he performed that well, there was no way the Yankees wouldn't make the playoffs for years to come and revive the glory days of 1976-1981.

A problem developed, though.  It turned out that Whitson didn't like New York, but that wasn't the cause of his undoing.  The problem was that he couldn't win.  Despite being perfectly healthy, he went out every five days and got shelled.  The man on whom so many high hopes were placed started off 1-6 with a 6.23 ERA.  Believe me, it seemed worse than those numbers indicate.

Their dreams of playoffs dashed, the fans turned on Whitson.  They would yell and scream and throw things at him.  If they could have beat him up, they would have.  New York fans are like that.  If you produce, you are their boy.  If you fail, they will make you earn every last cent of that big free agent contract many times over.

It got so bad that Whitson refused to let his wife attend games.  That was a wise decision.  In later years, fans would throw batteries and dump drinks on the wives of players who didn't perform or who just irked them.

Whitson did not improve.  In fact, he regressed despite being completely healthy.  The manager, Billy Martin, was beloved by the fans because he was just like them, with an absolute burning need to win.  Martin's anger over Whiton's failures built and built over the course of the year, and finally he had had it.  One night, Martin got into a screaming match with Whitson, chased him through their hotel and decided to beat him up.  They both suffered broken bones, Martin was fired, and Whitson was out for the rest of the year.

Martin was a winner, and everybody knew it, so later he was rehired.  Whitson, well.... 

Whitson just got worse after that.  You could see the fear in his eyes, people said.  His final year, this highly touted starter went to the bull-pen as a mop-up man and had an ERA that was higher than his height.  Finally, the Yankees pulled the plug and sent him back to San Diego for, basically, a broken bat.  He lasted a while longer there but his problems took years to straighten out, beginning 11-20 as a starter.  His reward for returning to New York to face the Mets was a death threat.  Bravely, he started after being escorted to the game by the Commissioner of Baseball and a security team.  He gave up six runs in a little over three innings.

Whitson's experience was hardly unique.  Anyone interested should go look up the strange case of AJ Burnett from the last few years and they will find almost the same sequence of events.  Oh, he didn't break any bones, he just got a mysterious black eye one night.  The broken bone happened only after he left.

The point is, Tebow does not have the goods, and he is going to a city that absolutely, positively requires production.  If he does not produce, they won't give a rat's patooty about his fine upstanding morals or his fervent beliefs or his saving himself for marriage.  All that will only mean they throw Bibles at him instead of hot dogs.  In Florida, he stood a chance, because he still has fans there and there are many, many people in places like that who will support someone because of what they represent.  For Tebow to think he doesn't need that kind of fan support is a major, major blunder, and perhaps the first step in his complete downfall.  That mistake ultimately flows from his own hubris, in thinking that he can produce when the entire NFL has just decided he can't.

I fear the worst for Tebow.  Honestly, though, I am so glad he is gone from Denver that I hope he wins ten Super Bowls in New York.  Just so long as I don't have to listen to the locals here fawning over him any more.

UPDATE APRIL 29 2013: The New York Jets announced today that they had given Tim Tebow his unconditional release.

UPDATE June 11 2013: The New England Patriots announced that they had signed Tim Tebow as a backup quarterback to Tom Brady. Anything has to be better for him than playing in the media circus of New York

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Everybody Stand Back....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Advantages of Blogger

I used to have a full-blown website. You know, my own domain name, a web hosting service, the whole nine yards. Recently, I decided there really wasn't any point. Sure, I suppose there is an ego boost to having your own site bearing your own name and completely under your control (well, insofar as you can get the hosting service to do what you want). But Blogger is a simple set-up, there are no annoying bills to pay for it, it come ready to go like spam in a can, and it provides easy access to other google features. It also is a lot less hassle, not having to worry if your domain is pointing to the right place, that you are using the right code. My host also would go down at night sometimes for maintenance and at other times I would experience inexplicable problems with the site resolving. All sorts of little things are taken care of on Blogger. Another benefit is the feeling of community you can get from knowing there are others using the same service, which kind of hooks you all together. Nice to see other blogs using the same service and seeing what they are doing with it. I would recommend Blogger to anyone else starting out in the blogging field, go on your own only if you really do need more control over a bigger, fancier web site.

You Were Born an....


Don't Let Comparison....


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How Much Sex?

As I work on my novel, the eternal question keeps arising: how much sex should I include?

My natural instinct is to go light on the sex scenes.  At the moment, I have one scene that at first was pretty bold, but now is toned down.  There are, however, other spots where such scenes would fit nicely.  My novel will be aimed at your average science fiction/fantasy reader, and I think too much sex would be both unnecessary and off-putting.

On the other hand, sex sells.  It also keeps things from getting dull, creating a nice tension.

As it stands, I am thinking of writing two versions, one with light romance novel scenes, and another that gets a little more graphic.  If it comes to that, I might just put both up and see which does better.  The winner would probably be the sexier version, but it would be interesting to see the market reaction.

If anyone has any thoughts on this, I'm interested in how you handled similar issues.

Silence is

Monday, March 19, 2012

An Author's Journey

I am hard at work on my first novel.  I've actually been hard at work on it for well over a year.  It has been both the most frustrating and rewarding writing experience of my life.

I first came up with the idea for the novel about five years ago.  I wrote up a chapter on a laptop that soon died on me.  I was able to recover the file, but life intruded and I practically forgot about my little writing project.  Then, a couple of years later, I noticed it on my desktop and thought it might be fun to see how awful it was.  Looking it over, I suddenly got the urge to add a few short chapters because a colleague at my job had irked me and I wanted to work it out of my system.  With no publishing goal in mind, I started posting my 10,000 words or so on my Myspace page.  One of my followers took the amazing trouble to read it, and made some very generous comments.

Well, Myspace was replaced by Facebook, and a couple of more years went by without any progress.  Then, one day, I realized I was never going back to Myspace and thought about the stub of a draft.  I went in and looked it over.  A change here, an addition there, and pretty soon I was writing again.  I haven't stopped since.

I now have a complete first draft - though whether anything ever is really "complete" in a draft is a sort of metaphysical question - and am slowly, laboriously and painstakingly going through and editing/paring/expanding it.  When I told one fellow at work that I was done and that the word count was 180,000 words, his only response was to ask why I used the word count as some kind of measuring stick.  Of course, he's absolutely correct, for a true work of art the word count is irrelevant.  However, in the real word, Microsoft Word is very helpful in keeping you constantly aware of how many words you have down, so it simply is a convenient shorthand to use.  The story is complete, or at least this volume of it is, and in a fairly standard length.

One day in February 2012, I saw a solicitation for horror short story submissions.  My work was neither a short story nor a work of horror, but that didn't deter me!  After making a few revisions to the first chapter to make it "horrorific," on a lark I sent it in for consideration.  Not hearing back for a month, I began to despair.  Then, an editor at the magazine e-mailed me that he "thought the pacing was awfully slow, so I think we'll pass this time."

Now, many authors might take that as a knock.  To me, those words were music to my ears.  My first rejection!  An editor who must read hundreds of short stories actually read my hastily prepared work and did not reject it out of hand.  All right, it wasn't right for his magazine's pacing.  I can see what he means about the pacing being slow - but I can work on that!  Cut here, combine there, and it will be your standard fast-paced thriller.  The truth is, I was raised on the classics like Dickens, Austen and Twain, and they influenced my own creative writing style.  A hundred and fifty years ago, an author could get away with spending an entire chapter on the whiteness of a whale.  I may not be that ponderous, but he saw my natural writing vulnerability right away.

As my first outside editorial input, it was invaluable.  Maybe I'll go overboard and my next submission will be rejected because it isn't reflective enough or something like that, but every bit of feedback gives me ideas for improvement.

I recently saw another call for submissions for short stories on a romantic theme.  I'm adapting another chapter for that and will submit it once it's done.  I expect rejection, but I need feedback.  The bottom line is, I'm hopeful and working hard on my novel.  Life is good.

A woman's guide....

Friday, March 16, 2012

The best way to handle Insults....





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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Never Allow Yourself....





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Batman Fights Dracula


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The one that angers you




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Mom Kicks Ball



This mom doesn't know her own strength!

Everyone You Meet....

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Muir and Roosevelt 1903

John Muir President Teddy Roosevelt randommusings.filminspector.com

John Muir and President Teddy Roosevelt in Yosemite Valley, 1903. Below, apparently, was their destination that day.


John Muir President Teddy Roosevelt randommusings.filminspector.com

Below is a shot of Teddy about a year later.

Teddy Roosevelt randommusings.filminspector.com

Peace Out

Everyone should keep these two words in mind.

Before you Speak....




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Sunday, March 11, 2012