Tag Archives: snippets

Snippets, newly minted

The new year is rambling on…

Writing
I mentioned a while back that I had submitted a poem that was accepted for an online publication. It is posted here, in The Front Porch Review, or at the link Periodicity under Published Work, down at the lower right of the menu bar. I am fond of this poem, as it captures some actual experiences of my life, and rolls some of the meaning into life’s cyclic nature. There are some other excellent poems in that issue, I invite you to give it a read. As always, I welcome your comments and thoughts.

I’ve started off the new year writing (attempting to write) some flash fiction pieces. I may share something here soon, but I’m also contemplating moving/reorganizing my blog site to accommodate things differently.

Music
After bingeing on holiday/Christmas music since mid-November, I have been cleansing my musical palette with “oldies.” That’s such a relative term, isn’t it? One generation’s oldies are not the next. When I say oldies, I mean 50’s and 60’s jukebox tunes. Doo-wop and British invasion songs are peppy enough to gloss over the general ‘suckiness’ of January weather. I don’t mind the snow…but the bitter cold. What do you listen to on a winter day?

Some random statistics
Since my unemployment began, I’ve applied for approximately 125 positions, mostly through internet application processes. I’ve gone through 12 phone interview processes (with different companies) resulting in 1 onsite interview. That means almost a 10 % conversion from application to phone interview, and only about 8 % of those result in a site interview. This gives a whopping 0.8% likelihood of a job interview based on internet applications – I think. This is biased due to my specific area of expertise and experience level, but it demonstrates the level of difficulty in finding the right job. Sorry about the math…I have to keep my skills up.

Reading
I wish I could say that I did a lot of reading over the last part of 2014 and the Christmas holiday…but I didn’t. I’m still nursing Philip Kerr’s novel Dark Matter:The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton– A Holmes-esque mystery novel during the time when Newton was Warden of the Royal Mint. I’ve read some interesting journal articles about anthocyanins that I mentioned in a post a while ago in December. And, my MIL gave me three Jack Higgins novels to read…which I am excited about. I read The Eagle has Landed when I was in high school and really liked it. Also, I dusted off my copy of The Silmarillion (after seeing the third and final Hobbit film), and leisurely read a few sections to try and jump start my interest in the book…sigh…the names.

Thanks for visiting and reading.

More snippets from summer

What I’m doing.

“On the first day of my summer vacation…I woke up.”

If you recognize that line, you are probably a child of the 70’s or at least a fan of Cheech and Chong (Sister Mary Elephant).

It occurred to me that my life for the last month has followed this essay format very closely. Should someone ask me about my recent work hiatus, and how I’ve spent my time, I would describe it this way.

I wake up and drink some coffee. I eat breakfast and job hunt on internet boards, send correspondence, apply for some jobs, and read a little news. Then I get a shower, and work on *insert home improvement project.* Occasionally, I realize that I am missing a key item and have to run to the mega-home-warehouse-store to find it.

Is that the same as going “downtown to hang out in front of the drugstore?”

What I’m reading

I recently finished Bee Ridgway’s The River of No Return, which interested me because of the time travel premise. There are some good things there: the notion of people having time-jumping ability, the historical period possibilities, and some of the characters are very well written. The backdrop of the story becomes more of romance than a mystery, and it unveils many compelling plot points that are never resolved. I am sure Ms. Ridgway is writing/planning to write more in this series. However, I found myself wanting to know more about the titular river (which is a major plot device in the resolution of this book) – which ends as more of an explanation. I like the universe that these characters inhabit and I love the background mysteries…I just want them to be more than conversational points in a love story. I’ll be on the look out for her second book in this series…and maybe my questions will be answered.

I just started Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton, by Phillip Kerr. Assuming I don’t get distracted by another book, I should finish it soon. This one is showing itself to be a good thriller.

What I’m cooking

Because I have more free time…I’ve been cooking for me and the missus. I’ve discovered that you can do many things with crescent roll dough – besides make crescent rolls. There are many layered “casserole” dishes you can make with an 8 x 8 baking dish and two packages of crescent rolls. My favorite has been layered smoked turkey with bacon and swiss cheese. Put down a layer of the dough and press together to make a crust. Add a layer of turkey (deli sliced), then bacon (cooked), then swiss cheese on top. You can also add a layer of sliced tomatoes in here if you so desire. Add a layer of the crescent dough on top. Scramble two eggs and pour half over the layered concoction. Repeat the turkey, bacon, and swiss cheese layers and top with the last of crescent dough. Pour the last of the egg over the casserole. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cover the dish with foil (loosely), and cook for 20 minutes at 350 deg. in the oven. After 20 minutes, remove the foil and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Delicious.

And really good the next day for breakfast.

More Snippets

I was reminded this week that I could update snippets, those that I briefly discussed here back on February 14th. I did that because I felt like it, not that it was a regular featured aspect of this blog (most of which is just rambly poetry things).

What I am reading. I finally did finish reading The Monuments Men back in May. Interestingly, I read most of it while on a trip to Germany, when suddenly all the place names made much more sense. On the trip, my son, father, and I visited Neuschwanstein Castle, where one of the pivotal finds in the book takes place.

20140518_091951

I cheated a bit as well, since one of the in-flight movies was The Monuments Men. The book, as mentioned before, reads as a very dry account of events.The movie was a little better than I expected, given some of the luke-warm reviews that it received. I felt that it did a reasonable job of dramatizing, by combining some characters, making you a little more invested in their work and relationships. What you do come away with is a sense of dedication of these men, who weren’t soldiers and didn’t really fit in, but were very passionate about the art they were trying to save. And much respect goes to Rose Valland, who single-handedly collected information about looted art shipments while working at the Jeu de Paume Museum in occupied France.

So with that book finished, I have moved on to The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway. Billed as a time travel novel, it is something of an anomaly…at least to me…think of The Matrix, The Time Machine, Wuthering Heights, all rolled up into a historical fiction plot amid the political times surrounding the Corn Laws and Reform Acts in Great Britain, and about an unknown society of people who have the gift of controlling time.

What I am listening to: I am a man of eclectic tastes. Earlier this year I discovered The Decemberists and The Henry Girls. Very good working music…I’ve also become enamored with the soundtrack to Les Miserables, even the movie version in which everyone involved (even Russell Crowe) gives a very good accounting of themselves. And for another version, check out this video of the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps performing an encore of their 2013 version of Les Miserables. Very, very, nice.

What I am writing In February, I mentioned that I entered an essay contest. This was sponsored by The Center for Homeland Security and Defense. My essay was not selected among the finalists. You can read the finalists’ essays here. All are quite good and well-deserving of recognition. If you’re curious/a glutton for dry reading/ really, really wish to read my essay, drop me an email and I’ll send you a copy. I thought about posting it here…but it doesn’t really fit the intention of this blog.

In other writing, I am looking for other poetry contests, journals, online literature blogs, and am still considering how to construct a chap-book. I haven’t had any great concept ideas yet, but I’m still interested in doing this. I know I need a reader/editor to help me with this, and I guess I haven’t found anyone suitable yet.

Any volunteers can email me. 🙂

brief snippets

…just because I feel like writing a post, and I don’t really have any poetry ready, this is what you get.

Milestone: This week, I reached 1000 followers on the blog. I am thrilled that this many people and/or bots have decided to link and check an update every now and then. For you semi regular readers: person in India who likes my poem “Respite,” friends of “Earful of Cider“, and those that search for sonnets and happen upon mine…..Thank you.

I hope you will continue to visit, comment occasionally, and enjoy my poetry.

**********************************

Adjacent tunes on an mp3 player: Shuffle mode can bring some interesting songs together, particularly if you have eclectic tastes. This week I listened to
A Mighty Fortress is our God , performed by GLAD (a Christian acappella group – not the antidefamation alliance group – which has 2 A’s) – and Happiness is a Warm Gun, by the Beatles. Definitely an odd pairing, but the musical transition was remarkable.

***********************************
Still Reading: A few weeks ago, I commented that I had started The Monuments Men, in anticipation of the movie release. As typical for me, I have slowed down the reading…and the book remains rather dry, but apparently the movie reviews are saying similar things about the film.

***********************************
Writing:
This week, I submitted an essay to an essay contest. It was a personal challenge to see if I could put something coherent together in a short period (a week) that wasn’t in iambic pentameter or filled with rhymes and near rhymes. We’ll see how that goes. Announcement of finalists aren’t made until May. Until that time…

**********************************
Thanks again for getting me over the 1000 hump. Hopefully 2000 won’t take 3 years.