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Monday, September 30, 2013

Simple Photographic Composition

            I’m a big fan of black and white photography; I like the interplay between light and dark. So it’s not surprising that when I do decide to take a picture, despite my previous rant about taking pictures on vacation, I like ones that have strong elements of light and dark, such as this picture of the White House with the Washington Monument behind it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

F3 Mob Rules

            “See,” Alex said with a thick New Jersey accent, “yer all part of my outfit, my organization, just like Nicky and Pauly, here. He gestured to the two hulking men in black suits. Nicky gave a solemn nod while Pauly smiled at the room.
            “And since we’re all in this together, we gots to work together. We’ve got rules. That’s what makes for a happy family, after all. And family, family is important. And when something happens to the family, well, it’s sad for all of us. Nicky, Pauly.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jason's Big Heist

            Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece is one of the more well-known stories. Told in the Argonautica and other stories, it chronicles a group of heroes sailing into parts unknown, braving monsters, facing perils, and doing many other questy things. However, what the stories don’t tell is that the whole thing is an elaborate heist.
While most heroic quests follow a group of people out for treasure and facing peril, Jason is out for a very specific treasure, one that already has an owner. Sure, he’s doing it in order to appease a king so he can prove his worth, but theft is theft.

Read the rest at

Monday, September 23, 2013


            I wrote last week about finishing things, about completing tasks to the best of my ability. Most of the time this is a very good thing, but there are times when it works against me.
            I had a job once where I had actually done too good of a job. My job was to catch mistakes, and I was good at it. Unfortunately, my ability to find mistakes and pass this feedback onto those responsible for fixing these mistakes cost time. Not my time. I was fast and efficient in my efforts, but the people who had to fix the mistakes became bogged down.
            I was instructed by superiors to start letting certain mistakes go. Obviously, my completionist nature rebelled against the idea, and I began to lose respect for the job. I began to not care and even resent the work. I didn’t remain at that job much longer.

            It’s just part of who I am. When I’m asked not to do the best job I can, when I see people who don’t care, it goes against my nature.

Friday, September 20, 2013

F3 Out of Time

           Isaac Reyes looked over the pile of material left from what used to be a patron of the theater. Isaac looked over the statements he had gotten from them while the crime unit did their thing. The scanners, no matter how advanced, still were as big as an autoincinerator can. Fairchild did his thing with the scanner while Isaac shook his head.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


            I’m a big believer in finishing things. I’ve completed multiple college degrees, many projects, and drafts of books. Being able to finish things is a very good trait for a writer to have. One of the most difficult aspects of writing is actually finishing a book. It’s easy to start one, but having the fortitutde to finish out is something else altogether.
            Whenever something goes unfinished, I feel an itch in my mind. Sometimes I can put off that itch for a time, but I will always, always come back to it and finish off, finally putting that itch to rest.
            Unfortunately, this same itch also means that I feel like the project, job, whatever, has to be completed to my satisfaction. I can’t do a half-ass job and be satisfied. Whatever I do, whatever the project, I have to give a full effort to the best of my ability.

            There are times, however, when this is not a good thing.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Multiple Jobs

            I’ve described writing as a full-time, unpaid job (currently), which must be balanced against the teaching job, which pays. The problem, as I have written previously about, is that writing often gets subsumed by the teaching because of urgency.
            It took me two weeks of vacation on the other side of the country to try and recover my ability and desire to write instead of focusing so intently on teaching. Now that I have it, I don’t want to lose it. I realized just how much I missed writing.
            Part of this restoration of my writing has also led to me not as enthusiastic about teaching. I don’t want to go through the loss of writing again, so I’m naturally trepidatious about how far I go into teaching. I can’t afford to let myself be as distracted from writing again, but I also don’t want to do a disservice to my students.

            I need to find the balance.

Friday, September 13, 2013

F3 Leisurely Swim

From the sky I had no idea where to go. The trees obscured almost everything. I hopped off my cloud next to a stream about six feet across.
"Hello?" I ventured. The woods didn't respond, and muffled my voice. Moments later a head surfaced from the stream.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


            September 11th 2001 left an indelible mark on our nation. While undoubtedly New York suffered the most, I felt it more acutely in DC. With the number of federal buildings and museums in our nation’s Capital, nearly every place I went had metal detectors and security screenings. It became a regular thing to have to divest my pockets of everything and step through the metal detectors, which was the majority of the lines to get into places. I understand the necessity, but it’s yet another sad reminder of tragedy, and what the modern world is.

Monday, September 9, 2013

It's All in the Duds

It is said that “Clothes make the man,” but that may be true for some more than others. I’ve been thinking it over, and found a pattern when it comes to clothes in crime fiction. Detective characters stand out in the crowd. Usually their manner—curious, attentive to detail, driven, and intelligent—sets them apart, but there’s more than that. The way they dress is actually quite conspicuous.
            A deerstalker hat, a mantled coat, a snuffbox, and a pipe. Just from that brief description we come up with Sherlock Holmes. The hat alone is enough to name him. Throw in the pipe and he’s unmistakable.

            Read the rest at

Friday, September 6, 2013

F3 Little Pleasures

I walked in the arboretum enjoying the cool weather and light cloud cover. Most of the clouds we're cirrus, wispy and high up. Some were cumulus with just a hint of grey, a sure sign of the density and rain within.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vacation Sans Pictures

            I own a (now obsolete) Nikon D70 camera. I’ve got a couple of lenses for it, and it’s a good, entry-level professional digital camera. The last time I used it was on my trip to NYC. I just haven’t felt the need to pack in the extra bulk and weight. More importantly, I found that I spent too much time trying to line up shots instead of enjoying where I was and what I saw. So I’ve toned back on my camera usage to the point of almost never using it. I’ve realized that in the digital world in which we live I can easily find pictures of what I see taken by other people. I only feel the need to take a picture if I’m going to be in it or it’s something unique that I want to preserve.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Necessity of Vegging Out

            On my trip to Boston, I didn’t set a strict agenda. Actually, I didn’t set an agenda at all. My intent was simple: rest, relaxation, and restoration. I would go out and see things as the fancy struck me, but only if it struck me. It gave me the necessary mental break to bring myself back. I focused a lot on writing and not thinking about teaching.
            It was necessary.

            I think I need to make sure I do it after every semester.
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