Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blogtrasound - Where's my prize?

My Google search for "blogtrasound" turned up no pages. What do I win?


These days it's nearly impossible to come up with something original that hasn't been written before.

I hear if you get a million views on YouTube you make mad cash. What do you get for empty Google searches?

Of course, now that I've written a blog about my crazy, meaningless, man-was-I-bored search, this moment in time is over. Blogtrasound will point to one page. This one.

The victory is empty, but it is mine. Almost sounds poetic.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Adult-Couples-Who-Aren't-Married Label Conundrum

I am in a wonderful, committed relationship with a woman named Barbara. When I introduce this woman I love, I say "And this is Barb, my girlfriend."

Girlfriend. I'll be 50 in September.

I'm not necessarily a fan of labels, but I'm an analyst by trade. Quantification, patterns and labels come with the territory. As does obsessing over minute details and trivia. And something about the label "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" just doesn't sound right.

In the grand scheme of things, this labeling conundrum falls in between:
  • If I'm really environmentally conscious, why don't I drive a Hybrid? and
  • What is the appropriate second age (preschool being the first) when it's OK to wear shorts and a shirt of the same material again?
 But what's the alternative?
  • My lady - Hello, 1972. Oh, how I've missed you.
  • My woman - Stated like a true man proud of all his possessions, including his '86 Camaro.
  • My partner - Too confusing. Yes, I'm a gay-rights activist. No, we aren't a law firm.
  • My companion - I'm not 87 and she's not for hire.
  • My steady - Hello, 1955. I wish I still had my letterman jacket. If A/V had a Varsity Club.
  • My wife - We're not married. Yes, we'd love to talk with you, someone we've just met, about our personal decision of why, if ever or when.
  • My common-law wife - I haven't checked the Annotated Code of Maryland recently to see if we qualify. If we do, can we share a health benefit plan? And we're not starring in our own reality series on TLC. Yet.
  • My soul mate - Because that doesn't get old at parties when meeting couples who obviously aren't.
  • My friend - Nothing screams non-committal more than this one. It also implies a hidden relationship. "This is... my friend, Barbara."
  • My best friend - Absolutely true but doesn't highlight the romance. I also don't rank my friends. Believe me, I have at least eight best friends. Wouldn't it be fun to do, though? "This is Steve. He's in the Top 10. Oh, that's Dave. He was at three for decades. But then he wouldn't stop quoting FoxNews. He's been climbing up from eight since the election."
  • My confidante - Maybe if I'm sharing my secrets by candlelight with my ghostwriter, in the Renaissance era.
  • My main squeeze - Seriously? Maybe if I was a C.I. for Starsky & Hutch.
  • My shorty - Sounds hilarious coming from me. She's taller. 
  • My schmoopie, cuddle muffin, precious - Not enough Tagamet to even finish this one.
So unless someone comes up with a better alternative, I'm going to stick with girlfriend. Just know when I use "my" it means "in relation to me" not "possession". And she is my soul mate.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Barbara Garcia: Meet Erin DeRuggiero - When Social Media Works

Many of you have been following the aftermath of the EF-5 tornado that wreaked havoc in Moore, Oklahoma this past week. A CBS TV interview with one of the survivors, Barbara Garcia, went viral when her dog, Bowser ("Bowsey"), was rescued during the live interview.

The story doesn't end there.

One of my friends on Facebook, Erin DeRuggiero, felt compelled to do something. So she started a campaign called Home4Barbara on the crowd-funding website gofundme.

She contacted CBS asking how she might contact Barbara. She wasn't the only one.

Yesterday, Erin's campaign had collected $1,500. This morning, after this story aired on CBS This Morning, the word really got out and money is starting to flow in.

It restores my faith in people because we all want to help somehow. And by Erin taking the initiative to just do something, she's making a difference.

When I watched the story on television this morning, two things struck me. The first, Barbara doesn't have homeowners insurance. This campaign was built to help her rebuild before that fact was known. And second, she said "I didn't know that I was that important." I wept. We are ALL that important.

I happily shared Erin's campaign when she first asked me to on Facebook. It took thirty seconds of my time. I'm sharing it again now.

Today is one of those days when I'm grateful for social media. For forming connections with "strangers" who are anything but. Someone I met on Twitter (posting one of my silly jokes, I'm sure) became a friend on Facebook, and made a difference. And allowed me to help make a difference, too.

I've never met Erin in person. But when I do, she's getting a big ole hug.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Celebration: Kind of a Big Deal - The Life and Legacy of Dennis Lane

I'm sharing this announcement I received from my friend and fellow blogger JessieX, via HoCoBlogs.  I also saw the post on my friend Tom's blog.  I'm just so excited a big event is being planned to honor my friend and fellow writer Dennis.

The memorial service for Dennis Lane, a fellow blogger at Tales of Two Cities and citizen extraordinaire, will be held June 4th at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

A social starts at 2 p.m. and the program will start at 3 p.m.

If this calls to you, consider a contribution to the Dennis Lane Memorial Fund. Checks should be written to the "Community Foundation of Howard County" with "Dennis Lane Memorial Fund" in the memo section of the check. You can also donate online to the Community Foundation of Howard County.

RIP, Dennis! God bless! Jessie


Also, a book club is being formed: Word Bones Memorial Book Club. A great way to stay active with the community and force myself to read something! I've already ordered the paperback on Amazon. I'm going old school for this one.

Hope to see many of you on June 4th. Not to say that I'm not hoping to see any one in particular, I just know not everyone can be there. :-) I just rocked a triple negative.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Lost a Friend, But Not His Inspiration

My last blog post was in February. I never post regularly, even when I first started in 2006, but I really put a halt on things when I started screenwriting.

Blogging provides me an outlet for sharing my thoughts, satisfaction of a "completed" work, and the feeling of validation when I get comments, or likes, or spam bots dropping a URL. But it kept me from my other writing, so I told myself I'd hold on the blogging until the screenplay (I'm in a six-month online course and halfway through a comedy screenplay) and pilot (I'm writing a sit com) are done. But, if something compels me, I'll write a post.

In February, after three days in a row of getting cut off by people right-turning on red into live traffic (meaning me), I got pissed and posted.

Well, a colleague, friend, and constant cheerleader has compelled me to blog again.

Dennis J. Lane,  one of our most prolific local writers, and my friend, was murdered yesterday. I'm not a journalist and feel no need to share the details. They're all over the news. Some of them accurate. But I couldn't let these last 24 hours go by without writing something.

A bunch of us local bloggers got together at Clyde's yesterday because, frankly, we needed each other. Like I said, I rarely blog these days, but I see these folks all the time. In daily errands, in events, for lunch, through social media. I always feel welcome. And I always feel connected.

And, Dennis. Dennis always knew what I was up to, would point out anything I might have done that made him laugh, and wanted to know what was coming next. He had an ability to see what was important to me, and drop a spotlight on it. I'm gonna miss that.

Dennis and Paul Skalny have hosted a wonderful podcast called "And Then There's That" on HoCoMoJo for years. I had a podcast for a minute. They were even kind enough to interview me. Dennis would prod me: "When are your doing another one?" When he knew my focus had switched to screenwriting, that's all he asked about. Writing is writing. And we both shared the love of it.

I saw Dennis Thursday morning. After everything that's happened, I now have to say I was privileged and blessed to have seen Dennis on Thursday morning.

I was in line at a Starbucks (yeah, I'm that guy now), and I hear "Michael." Most people call me "Mike" but I'm not really particular about it, and the way Dennis said my name, I always knew it was going to be followed with something that made me smile.

On Thursday, it was "Michael. How's that web series coming along?" Another project I've been involved with (and with another group of awesome, supportive, funny writers) for over a year. And he knows I can't wait for it to air.

"Great, Dennis. We've posted two promos."

"Yeah, they were pretty funny" -- jeez, he found time to watch the videos. And dropped my favorite compliment: "funny".

"We've got four editors working with us and are hoping for June."

"That's great."

Then I put in my order, he put in his, and I went off to doctor my coffee. I didn't ask Dennis how he was doing. I'm also that guy sometimes.

Tom Coale, another friend and blogger, mentioned in his wonderful piece on Dennis today that he couldn't find any pictures of he and Dennis together.

So I went to Dennis' blog from a post in February to find a picture I remember of Dennis and I together. Nope. It was a picture taken by Dennis. And a funny one at that. Where I focus inwardly, sometimes to the point of narcissism, Dennis had an eye for everything, and everyone, around him. When I was with Dennis, it was never about him.

When I was leaving Starbucks, I saw Dennis was sitting with another gentlemen, both of them in suits (he looked pretty fucking dapper); I knew he was talking business. I almost kept going. I didn't want to interrupt. But then I thought, he made a point of saying hello, and letting me know he's pulling for me and my endeavors. I touched his shoulder and said "Nice to see you, Dennis." He smiled and said "Take care, Michael."

"Take care, Dennis... You. Are. Missed."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Right Turn on Red Is Not a Right

It's an option.

If traffic is coming, you fucking wait until your light changes to green.

It's not a stop sign.

We're not taking turns.

And when you do pull out, like I wish your father had in 1977, you don't do it slower than Steven Wright on a bottle of Lunesta and four pints of Sangria during a Congressional filibuster. You hit that accelerator like Marty McFly and rocket to 88 MPH. Asshole.