Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Empty Copper Sea

With the title of a later Travis McGee novel, I mark my return to the Web, only a few hours later than predicted. A few trees came down on my block, thankfully none into anyone's house or car. Power was out from 5:35 Monday afternoon, shortly before Hurricane Sandy made landfall, until 8:30 tonight.

The South Shore of Long Island was not so lucky. Portions of two major parkways are still flooded. I hear a chunk of the Ocean Parkway is gone, as is the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, and almost the entire Queens neighborhood of Breezy Point.

Sandy was the most devastating hurricane in a generation, and I thank everyone helping the affected states to recover, especially, in my case, the reassuring voices of Andrew Cuomo, Mike Bloomberg, Chris Christie, and the reporters at CBS Newsradio 880.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Tan and Sandy Silence

A Travis McGee title seemed especially appropriate for the power outage/silence that may follow Hurricane Sandy. I am not in a flood-prone zone, but the roof and basement have succumbed before. I hope to be back to normal computer usage by Wednesday, but that's up to Sandy. Wish me luck, and stay safe yourselves.

At The 5-2: "Inspector Abberline" by Bradley McIlwain

For Halloween week, a poem inspired by Frederick Abberline, who investigated Jack the Ripper.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The CW's Arrow

When I heard The CW was planning a grittier superhero show with Arrow, I approved, but concept is one thing, execution another. Developer Greg Berlanti's work on 2011's live-action Green Lantern was nothing outstanding, but I was a fan of Susanna Thompson, here playing Oliver Queen's mother, from NCIS, and of Paul Blackthorne, here playing Dinah Lance's father, from SyFy's The Dresden Files. I had also enjoyed producer Moira Kirkland's work on Castle.

Most important, I was a fan of Green Arrow from Justice League Unlimited and Smallville but had not read any Green Arrow comics. My friends at The Nerdpocalypse were quick to point out much of the pilot episode's cheesiness and how it seemed to deviate from the character's canon. For the first seven of its ten seasons, I criticized Smallville for similar departures. Later I realized Smallville was trying for, and deserved to have, its own take on Superman. This prepared me for the liberties taken with Green Arrow.

The producers say they're going for realism. They want a show as much about family dynamics as about heroics. It remains to be seen how realistic they can be, but with each episode, Arrow grows on me. I think it helps that I'm less invested in Green Arrow than I was in Superman. I can watch the show objectively and for entertainment value.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reaching the Threshold

Yesterday at Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room, New Jersey mystery writer Jeff Cohen had enough of the Tom Cruise-as-Jack Reacher jokes and defended shorter actors' ability to deliver big performances.

While the size discrepancy struck me funny, I never doubted Cruise could fill the role; I just thought Reacher as played by Cruise would be similar to other loner heroes he's played.

My comment on Jeff's post concludes:

In the best scenario for moviegoers, Reacher becomes so associated with Tom that they can't imagine another actor playing him. I'm not sure it would be best for Reacher to become one of many loner heroes Tom Cruise has played. I liken it to Jason Statham's playing Richard Stark's master thief, Parker. If you weren't a Parker fan already, you might easily forget Statham's Parker among the many tough guys he's played.

The more we see actors, the better we get to know their nuances. Over time, we pick up on every one, and later performances are more the character becoming the actor than the actor becoming the character.

Monday, October 22, 2012

At The 5-2: "Aftershock" by Amy Pollard

This week, a poem by poet, student, and writer Amy Pollard.

You can now take our first year of poems wherever you take your Kindle or Nook with The 5-2 Volume One ebook.

The 5-2 is currently seeking holiday-themed crime poetry. Deadline: November 30, 2012.

And check out the new t-shirt, mug, and calendar poster in The 5-2 fan shop.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Available Now: The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly, Vol. 1

The 5-2 Volume 1 ebook is available now for Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook. It collects The 5-2's first year of fifty-two poems.

Poems by Nyla Alisia, R.A. Allen, Margaret Anderson, Michael A. Arnzen, Randall Avilez, Jack Bates, Alec Cizak, Robert Cooperman, Ray Daniel, Michael Chacko Daniels, Cassandra de Alba, C.J. Edwards, John M. Floyd, Kent Gowran, Bruce Harris, Clarinda Harriss, Chad Haskins, Kathleen Hellen, Kyle Hemmings, Paul Hostovsky, Peter Ivey, Dorothy James, Tonia Kalouria, Susan Kelley, Ian Khadan, Rauan Klassnik, Lola Koundakjian, Dennis Mahagin, Catfish McDaris, Trevor Nelson, Brett Peruzzi, Thomas Pluck, David S. Pointer, Kimberly Poitevin, William Dylan Powell, Charles Rammelkamp, Keith Rawson, Stephen D. Rogers, Nancy Scott, Jackie Sheeler, Hal Sirowitz, Duane Spurlock, Jay Stringer, and Ray Succre.

Monday, October 15, 2012

At The 5-2: "Kilmahog" by Nigel Bird

Teacher, poet, and fiction writer Nigel Bird brings us a tale of wrong turns.

In related news, I've done some additional testing of The 5-2 Volume One ebook, and will need a few days to make corrections. It will be on sale November 1 at the latest.

Lastly, I'm seeking holiday-themed poems to run the weeks of December 24 and 31. Deadline: November 30.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Christmas and New Year's Poems Needed - Deadline: November 30

I'm seeking poems to run on The 5-2 the weeks of December 24, 2012 and December 31, 2012. The poems can involve Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, or any holidays around the same time. Aside from the themes and deadline, the usual guidelines apply. I am accepting regular submissions at the same time.

How I Came to Write This Poem

Patti Abbott, a contributor to the Lost Children: Protectors anthology, asked her fellow contributors to take part in her regular blog feature, "How I Came to Write This Story". My poem, "Hushed", is one of two in the anthology, and here's what inspired it.

I'm pleased to share the space with my friend, Charlie Stella, who discusses the inspiration for his contribution, "In Dreams". Thanks again, Patti.

Friday, October 12, 2012

THE BIG BANG THEORY: "The Higgs Boson Observation"

Sheldon hires Alex, a female grad student, to comb through his childhood journals for ideas with the most scientific merit. This episode's log line said that Amy would feel threatened by Alex, but more significantly, after seeing Leonard and Alex talk in the cafeteria, Penny felt threatened.

The gentle pressure on Penny to face her feelings for Leonard continued for a third straight episode. Amy's prodding helped Penny discover she was bothered by how easily Leonard and Alex talked.

From Leonard's perspective, the conversation was innocent, though he probably wouldn't have had the confidence for it in earlier seasons. Since Season 3, we've known he loves Penny. How Penny feels in return is still in question. If she doesn't find the words, she may very well lose Leonard.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Friday, October 05, 2012

THE BIG BANG THEORY: "The Decoupling Fluctuation"

A key point of last week's season premiere was that Penny had never told Leonard she loves him. This week's episode kept the pressure on Penny, opening with the girls cataloging Bernadette and Howard's wedding presents. Their conversation turned to how Amy saw herself marrying Sheldon in exactly four years. Penny had no plans to marry Leonard, prompting the girls to ask if she loved him. She answered without enthusiasm, unsure what she felt was love. "Maybe," she said, "this is a new, better, boring kind of love."

I'm still invested in Big Bang after five seasons because Penny and Leonard's relationship isn't playing out the easy way. As close as they've gotten physically, Penny still has a problem telling Leonard how she feels.

Hearing that Penny was considering breaking up with Leonard, Sheldon tried to intervene. In previous seasons, he wouldn't have cared or might have even tried to bring on their breakup. Here, he showed concern for both Leonard's and Penny's feelings.

In the end, Penny failed to discuss her feelings with Leonard yet again, but I like that the show's focus has moved back to Penny and Leonard without feeling forced. Penny's complex feelings for Leonard show that theirs is Big Bang's most complex relationship while the others are more often played for comic relief. This also makes Penny and Leonard's relationship the most satisfying on the show.

Still Pensive After All These Years

At last the circle is complete. The calendar has come around to my birthday again. I've always looked past the surface of life, tried to see how nature works and what motivates people. I don't know that I've become more pensive with age, having spent what I'm told are the prime partying years happily sober in institutions of higher learning.

In the past few months, I have done more physical work, learning some yoga and qi gong on my own, moving when I might be brooding. I've never been far out of shape, but neither have I moved or felt as flexible as I want. That's starting to change. Most important, I'm doing this for myself. I may not look that different. Indeed, no one but my mother has said anything. But I know the work I've done, and I want to continue raising my standards.

I have nothing special planned for today, but last Thursday, I walked about two miles to the nearest train station and had lunch in Times Square with three college friends. To make time for each other in our busy lives is a gift.

As always, if you want to give me a present, read my work (including my editing work). Enjoy it and tell me so.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

#verseday Dialogue

#verseday is a Twitter hashtag I came up with to promote poetry writing. I invite Twitter people to suggest poetry topics by noon Eastern each Thursday. Participants must then draft poems by noon Eastern Friday. The resulting poems can be submitted anywhere.

Even if you've never written a poem before, you're invited. Taking the time to think poetically can help your creativity on other projects. If you'd like to participate, tweet your topics, tagged #verseday, by noon Thursday, October 4. My topic this week is dialogue.

Write a poem involving dialogue by noon Friday, October 5.

Monday, October 01, 2012

At The 5-2: "Pawnshop on Alameda, Downtown L.A."

This week, U.S. Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis gives us a poem on the adult theme of mortality.

In other news, I am in the final stages of proofreading The 5-2 Volume One ebook. It should be on sale for Kindle and Nook by October 15.