Archive for April, 2010

So the last 48 hours have been pretty interesting. First things first of course, is yesterday’s webinar.

At 1pm I attended a Webinar, ‘How to Publish a Book of Poetry’. hosted by Robert Lee Brewer, writer of the Poetic Asides blog for Writers Digest, and editor of the book Poets Market. So he very literally wrote the book on getting your poetry published.

Anyway, the session was informative and gave good information on what a writer should do.

Ok, now the real deal. I enjoyed the session, but I felt that it was a bit general. Some of the advice that was given I feel like I’ve seen on other internet blogs or just seemed like things a writer serious about publication would know by now. Not to belittle the information however, because sometimes people don’t know. For me however, I feel like it would have been a bit more useful to me a year or so ago, when I had just decided that I would publish a book of poetry.

One of the things that I wasnt clear on before I attended the session however was the status of poems published on a blog. Apparently, that’s just what they are; published. A poem put on a blog is considered a self published work at that point, and more than likely can’t be submitted for contests and such. At this point that’s fine for me because I havent submitted for any contests, but that is also something that I need to change. A big part of starting a following and getting your name out is by submitting for contests.

There was other useful information of course but as I said, some of it to me was a bit repetitive. It did let me know however that I am at least headed in the right direction.

So, later on yesterday night I went to a poetry slam/competition (another tip given in the session was to attend events such as slams, readings, local contests), and read a piece I did which I haven’t published here at this point, but it’s called ‘Til Death’. I might include that later this month. Month meaning the next 30 days, it’s the 30th after all.  Anyway, in listening to the other poets that read before and after me, I realized that while poetry is less restrictive than other forms of expression and writing, there are still rules. I say that to mean, there are certain subjects that can be written about by women it seems, but not men. Or not as well anyway. Simply because of the perception of the words coming from the speaker. At the same time however, because of the real lack of rules in poetry, there’s a lot of leeway. Thats why I enjoy writing much more than anything else. As a writer you can take liberties that you can’t take in other disciplines because of the structure.

Finally, this morning. Another tip in the webinar yesterday was to search out publishers who take submissions of poetry. So of course I went to the all-knowing internet God whom we all worship, Google. One of the things which came up was PublishAmerica. While I feel like I had seen this website before, I was still newly intrigued by what seemed like the ease of the process for getting a book published, and their claim to be a traditional publisher.  Being just a bit seasoned in the process of writing, blogging, and searching for a publisher however, I knew the best idea was to visit Writer Beware. If you are a writer, poet, looking for an agent or publisher and don’t know about Writer Beware, please acquaint yourself with their site and their mission.

Anyway, I checked out writer beware and found out about some of their less than reputable practices which are in no way conducive to writers and their success as authors. Such as ‘suggesting’ that writers buy their own books. Not going through the process to make a book available to libraries. Paying $1 royalties. Paying %8 royalties on the first 6000 books an author sells, then moving to %50 after 6001. Having a writer sign a 7-year contract for their book.  For more information about what im talking about, check out the following links.

http://www.sfwa.org/2010/04/publishamerica-strikes-again/

http://www.lisamaliga.com/publishamericaisprintamerica.htm

http://www.lisamaliga.com/publishamericagetaway.htm

Apparently, over 30,000 Authors have fallen into the trap of PublishAmerica. This is why research is so important, especially as a writer.

Part of me feels like it’s a good thing its this hard to get published. That way, only those who are truly, absolutely serious about getting published and getting their work read will go through all the trouble to get it done. At the same time however, it discourages good writers from submitting as well because they believe it’s too much trouble for not enough reward. You clearly have to love what you’re doing to go through this whole process. And here I am, chugging along.

I think I can I think I can…

Promise in the Dark

Posted: April 26, 2010 in New Poetry, Poetry

A promise in the dark

A shot at what you keep hidden from me because you don’t realize all I really wanted was your heart

You’re playin for keeps but I’m playing for the nature of you

So I come unarmed to the fight where you bring knives and guns and I stand unsure what to do

If u were standing in from of me and I said come here would you ask questions or just realize that I want you closer than close

If I told you how I feel when the lights go down low and the night sounds disappear would you consider me or tell me that I’m doing the most

With my soul at your feet do you tread softly over my dreams or suit up and boot up as if thorns reach to ensnare you

The truth of the matter is and always will be that I care for you

But you have been blinded over the years by the uncaring self serving actions of the few and no longer stand receptive to the love that you need

So the melody that I speak softly into your dreams sounds as indistinguishable as the cacophony that once made your ears bleed

Indeed, there’s an appeal to the process of taking your broken heart and helping you rebuild

But truly my agenda is nothing more than to lead you softly by the hand down the road to helping you heal

I promise it’s real

I come to your unrestrained unchained disarmed and unprotected

Trying to make sure that any disdain you feel isn’t misdirected

Not so long ago it happened this way

I was the man you hated and not the man you see today

Though it wasn’t you it was a you with another name

The characters were different but the story was the same

And today while I stand here telling you I’ve changed

You can’t seem to make yourself believe that someone with such a past isn’t just emotionally deranged

Talking out my ass so I can get that second chance

Not truly considering the dark truth in my past

But the truth is that after long nights alone with my thoughts and the cold fingers of loneliness running across my brow

All the thinking and wondering and regretting have led me to where I stand now

Standing before you with my sole laid bare like an empty bench in the park

Telling you

Assuring you

That I will stand true to what we say here

My promise in the dark

Next Steps

Posted: April 23, 2010 in General, Poetry, Uncategorized

So I finally did it. Ive basically been procrastinating for no reason, but I have finally bought the webinar session with Robert Lee Brewer, who is the editor of the book ‘Poets Market’. He very literally wrote the book on how to get your poetry published. Anyway, the webinar is next week. Im pretty anxious to find out what exactly is going to be discussed and what he’s going to say about how to get a book published the traditional way. Especially since most literary agents and publishers agree that 99% of publishers dont do poetry. But I dont want to self publish. We shall see how this goes.  I will of course keep you all updated. Until then, I  #amwriting. =)

Movies Movies Movies

Posted: April 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

Ok, I got 3 Movies,  to review. Watched them all in the same day, you know how I do.

Death at a Funeral

So, Death at a Funeral was a much funnier than I expected it to be. Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracey Morgan, Martin Short, Danny Glover and a whole gang of other black people all in one movie together sounds like trouble to me. I mean, a lot of times it seems when you have movies with a lot of comedians all together it just gets random and its not as funny as it could be. This movie pulled it off rather well. The last two movies I remember Chris Rock in were Head of State and I think I love my Wife. The first was great, and the second was a complete bust. This one made up for any bad work he’s done, although there is a very obvious moment in the movie when he recycles a joke from Head of State, but I’m not gonna say which one. If you’ve seen the other movie it will be very obvious which one it is. But the slapstick and the irony throughout the movie are classic. Highly reccomended. 5 Stars
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Date Night

Steve Carrel and Tina Fey team up in this comedy about a couple who want to make sure they aren’t falling into a trap of monotony like some of their friends. Deciding to take a trip to the city for a night out, they take someones reservation at an upscale restaurant, and then have to run for their lives from dirty cops, mob bosses and all kinds of mishaps in a case of mistaken identity.  It was extremely funny. And it had a Will.i.am cameo, Taraji P. Henson looking very beautiful as a lead detective, Common as a Dirty Cop, and Mark Walburg as a shirtless ex-military acquantaince helping Tina and Steve survive the night. Lots of slapstick. Great movie. I’ll only give them about 4 stars becuase it wasn’t as histerically funny as Death at a Funeral was.

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Kick Ass

This was a 5-star Bad Ass movie. There were only a few names familiar to me in this one, Nicholas Cage of course, Christopher Mintz-Passe who everyone remembers as McLovin from Superbad, and Mark Strong (<–what a great name) as the chief bad guy, and who was recently in Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downy Jr and Jude Law playing another criminal, Lord Blackwood.  This movie has a lot of 300 like blood and gore, and a lot of all out brawl, Matrix style fight sequences and violence. No slow motion stuff tho, Karate and jumping off walls. Let me just say, the little girl in the movie is a complete bad ass.  Movie has a lot of humor too. But it goes through all the elements of a complete cult classic, pro-nerd movie. Kick-ass goes from being a complete loser with no hope of anything to finding love and turning into a true hero. When he fucks up in the movie however, he fucks up BAAD. Not as far as acting, but his characters mistakes really mess things up for him and other characters.  But I highly recommend this movie. 5 stars and then some.

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The Writers Prayer

Posted: April 13, 2010 in General, Other Writing

My father who art in heaven..inspiration is thy name. Your wisdom come, your words be spun, on my paper as they are in heaven. Give me this poem, my daily word, and forgive my lack of creativity, as we do to those who do not have it within them. Lead me not into vanity, but deliver me from Writers Block. For thine is the verb and the noun, but mine is the pen and paper, forever and ever. Amen.

Every once in a while you get something that you just feel like jotting down. Thats what this is. New poetry on the way, don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten.

Okay, another news article. I promise that soon I will get back to the poetry people, but after the poem a week in March, I’m taking a short break.

Ok, we have a New York Times article released today about a site called. WikiLeaks.org. This site apparently leaks secret government, military, and other hands-off information through informants and whistleblowers in different areas.  The article is about a video that was obtained from someone within the military, decrypted through whatever process they were able to use, and is now posted on YouTube and being broadcast to the world.

So if you only read the headline article, your first thought would be that the military is killing civilians in Iraq and covering it up.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world/07wikileaks.html?ref=world

However there is a second article also published in the paper which highlights details that the first leaves out about the video and the situation. The second article is intended to focus on the reaction of the family of the deceased Reuters reporter who was killed in the attack.  However it also points on that when viewing the video, there appears to be AK-47s and RPG’s on the group at a location very near the fighting position of ground troops in the area.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world/middleeast/07baghdad.html

Now of course I wanted to see the raw footage of whatever they were talking about, so I watched both the 17-minute and the 39-minute versions of this video. In truth, these are really two different videos. The biggest thing about them that you wouldnt get if you only watched the short version is this enlarged, labeled mess that these ‘reporters’ tried to pull. When looking at the original video you see that this is clearly absent, because it doesnt happen in real life. There is no way that these soldiers would have known from a helicopter circling 300+ ft above the ground that the individuals being fired upon were reporters. There is no blinking tag that everyone is issued that says ‘dont shoot me, I carry cameras not guns’.

Now of course I want you all to make your own decision about the video so here is the link so you can watch it yourself. I only ask that if you do watch, you watch the full version FIRST.

http://www.collateralmurder.com/

Its a muddled situation.

I want to say more but Im extremely tired right now. Ive been working all day and starting tomorrow I’m going on a Field Training Exercise (FTX) thats going to last 4 days. Completely ridiculous.

I’ll follow up on this later.

http://nyti.ms/9maya9

In the New York Times today is an article about Special Forces Command in Afghanistan. Apparently, during a nighttime raid three women were killed, and it is being reported that the bullets were removed from the bodies in an apparent cover up. Originally, NATO forces were saying that there was no cover-up and that the women were found dead, not killed by any direct action from the Special Forces operation being conducted.

Now, as a future soldier there’s a few things about this that must be commented on. First, reviewing the partial article and comments left on the Huffington Post website, it seems that some people believe that all the facts aren’t being supplied for this article. Perhaps. The New York Times is said to be a rather slanted Newspaper, and just as well news agencies are not, and should not in my opinion, be given 100% information when dealing with military, defense, or intelligence operations because you do not know how these reports will affect the troops or individuals still in that dangerous situation.

Secondly, if this is true, it is disturbing and unfortunate. And I am not going to say that it is excusable in any way because they are soldiers. However I will say that we do not know the situation. Perhaps details are being left out, perhaps there was some pressing reason for the actions that took place that night. I am simply saying that people should read. Not just one side, try to find multiple sources. Get as many facts as you can. Make your own judgments and decisions. Stay informed people.

*****

Hot-tub Time Machine

“Great White Buffalo”

This movie was hilarious. I cannot recommend that you  go see it enough.  At first glance I will admit I thought it would be stupid and a waste of time. However it turned out to be quite the opposite. Its a great party movie about 4 friends who go back in time and have an opportunity to relive a weekend in the 80’s. It’s really 3 friends, one is a nephew of a main character and wasn’t born yet, but that also leads to an interesting, hilarious twist. Overall, great movie. Highly recommended.

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*****

Clash of the Titans

This was a pretty good 3D movie. It had a high degree of action, and Liam Neeson is always a good actor to watch for. He does quite well as the bearded God Zeus, and it shows yet another degree of how versatile he is as an actor (Taken, Love Actually, Star Wars: Episode I).

The most interesting part of this movie would have to be the creature creations which were drawn up. The winged demons that Hades transforms into are reminiscent of the vampire women in Hugh Jackman’s Van Helsing. The Kracken(sp?) was probably the most imaginative variation which I’ve seen. Anyone who remembers the old ‘Clash of the Titans’ from Greek Mythology in High School will probably remember a claymation, stop-motion, cut-and-paste produced monster which inspired nothing more than laughs and snickers. This beast was more of a combination of Disney’s tentacled beast in Pirates of the Caribbean, the 2000 version of Godzilla, and the hunted aliens from Alien vs. Predator. Even the disgraced King and father of Perseus looked like a creation of another movie, seemingly a combination of the hunchback from 300 and a centaur.

The 3D element made the movie exciting, but overall the movie was pretty predictable, as is to be expected from a remake. I still give it pretty high marks tho. Just as with ‘Dragons’ however, I wouldn’t pay 3D price.

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