April 29, 2011

Texas Frightmare Weekend 2011

I’ll be heading out to the Texas Frightmare Weekend on Sunday. I have to make sure my girls are feeling better first. The kid has a fever and Doc says it just takes time with this particular virus causing it. The wife has her chemo sickness, so it will wear off too.

I’m not usually a big horror fan. Nowadays what passes for horror is just glorified gore and that’s just not me. I long for the days of Hammer Studios (affiliate link) and the likes of Vincent Price. The original House on Haunted Hill (affiliate link) is a classic and Price is . . . well, Priceless.
Robert Englund Freddy Krueger MaskI am excited about the show though because they’ve brought in some great actors. Yes, Carey Elwes is there for all you Saw fans or even you Princess Bride ones. But, I’m holding out for Malcom McDowell, Robert Englund, Angus Scrimm (Phantasm franchise), and Doug Bradley (Pinhead of Hellraiser). It would have been really sweet, but Keir Dullea cancelled out on the show. The name may not be familiar, but he played David Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey! (affiliate link) I’m sure he had good reason. The musician Voltaire, who I did not know was a film maker also, will be there and hopefully performing somewhere close by. I’ll let you know if I find out.

Oh, and mentioning Hammer Studios, May 4th at the Royal Lane Studio Movie Grill, it’s the Horror of Dracula! It’ll play at 10:00 pm and I’m definitely trying to get to that. Anyone want to watch a wife and kid for me? (that’s a joke people)

April 22, 2011

Changes to the website

You may have noticed that I’ve been posting a little bit more as of late. With the loss of the old job, I’ve had some time on my hands. Even though the wife still struggles with her brain tumor, she is back at work and that is a big blessing, but I need to try and fill in where I can. I’ve been cleaning house, doing laundry, and making sure that she and the kid are fed on schedule (more the kid than the wife) and taking care of all the little things that we weren’t able to get to when I was working. It also means that our weekends are free. Getting the girls out of the house and into the sunlight helps everyone and moods are lifted. I’m able to plan meals which means less eating out and healthier choices.
As these are all big pluses, there is still a lack of funds coming into the coffers. So, by utilizing what I have, I am trying to remedy that. One of the ways that I’ve started is by hiring myself out to local authors to help promote their works and themselves. It’s slow work, but the gentleman that I reviewed last week has become one of my first customers. Ronald Dunn is the local businessman who wrote a novel as a bucket list item and I was impressed with his first outing. He was impressed that I was impressed and so we’ve become associates of a sort. I will be putting a disclaimer on that review, so that someone doesn’t think that I was coerced. My opinion of the novel was developed well before the work relationship.
Another way of making a little scratch is by monetizing this site. You’ll see some affiliate links to Amazon. Yes, I know after the failure of my bookstore this seems a little ironic, but I don’t see Amazon as being the great destroyer. There were a lot of factors that led to the downsizing of Borders Books. I will also be placing a Netflix widget on the page. I’m a big fan of Netflix and have used them to replace my cable. With streaming technology, I’ll be saving almost $100 a month and I’ll watch a lot less TV.
If you have any suggestions about other ways to make money using my blog, let me know, or if you just have suggestions in general, I’m always glad to listen!

April 20, 2011

The Society for Fantastical Research & Exploration

Always on the lookout for new and intriguing groups around the area, I found this one centered in Plano in my email box this morning.

A place for those interested in steampunk, dieselpunk, clockpunk, cyberpunk, circus & cabaret as well as a bit of mystery, mayhem and the paranormal. Gather, talk or create havoc...we'll decide as we go along.

The above description from their page sounds like a lot of fun and I may have to check it out. I’ve been in a steampunkish mood as of late. Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) by Gail Carriger (affiliate link), The Affinity Bridge (Newbury & Hobbes Investigations) by George Mann (affiliate link) and now I’ve got The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale by Mike Resnick (affiliate link) in queue. You can join The Society for Fantastical Research & Exploration through here. If you know of any other groups in the DFW area, let me know.

April 19, 2011

Great Weekend: Art Show and Air Show

One of the benefits of unemployment is the ability to have weekends off no questions asked. My wife’s job is one that she has that option but in the retail business it’s almost out of the question.
Art in the Square DoggyWith a full tank of gas (yikes! the prices!) we were off to Southlake for Art in the Square hosted by the Southlake Women’s Club. I had actually heard about this from a friend on Facebook and thought that it would be good to get the wife and kid out in the sun. It wasn’t too warm and the wind was blowing. Breezy, not hurricane. Tons of artists with really cool works of art and lots of ideas for the wife’s beading hobby. The kid just was happy to be mobile and she got to meet some nice doggies.
Sunday we were off to Fort Worth for the Air Power Expo at the Joint Reserve Base. They were celebrating the 100th anniversary of Naval Aviation! Being a former Navy twidget (that’s electronic technician to all the civies) I wanted to see the Blue Angels and all the other beautiful aircraft they had. We decided to leave the kid at a friend’s house due to the heat and noise. We got there a little after eleven not realizing that there were no signs off of the highway pointing to the base. I hadn’t been there in almost fifteen years, so I was little fuzzy on the location. Missed one of the first demonstrations but not a lot I could do about that.
Plenty of classic aircraft to go round and awesome air power on display. Below are just some of the aircraft we saw and you can follow the link to my Facebook page to see the rest. Granted, we didn’t see the Blue Angels. The wife’s cancer saps her strength and with the all of the walking and them flying late, we just couldn’t do it, but if you live in the area and ever get the chance, don’t pass it up. It’s free and so is the parking.
DSC02558 DSC02572
DSC02587 DSC02622
DSC02612 DSC02606
DSC02624 DSC02635
DSC02639 DSC02644

April 13, 2011

Blips on the Radar

This upcoming weekend has few options for you to get out of the house and enjoy this lovely weather before the heat kicks it up a notch. 

If your headed out of town, say, Oklahoma City (it could happen), then be sure and visit the Steampunk Exposition April 15th through the 17th. If your not sure what is steampunk, here’s a good description from their website. Unfortunately, I want be able to make this one. I was hoping to make it up there to see the Hellblinki Sextet. The lead singer, Andrew, is my wife’s cousin and I really want to see the band live. Check out some of the videos here.

If you have no plans of leaving the area, then head over to Ft. Worth for the Air Power Expo 2011 at the Joint Reserve Base. The Blue Angels will be making an appearance as well as other demo teams. The really great thing about this show is the fact that admission and parking are both free!

April 10, 2011

Book Review: The Wisdom of Solomon by Ronald Dunn

This article has been edited 9/28/2011 to reflect changes in availability of the book.

While on vacation, Rob discovers an alien space ship that had been entombed in a mountain cavern for centuries. They exit the cavern together and their future becomes inexorably intertwined, both mentally and spiritually. The ship, named Solomon, and Rob discover time travel with the help of an alien woman, Torena. Rob becomes obsessed with returning to his boyhood days as Torena becomes his mentor in his quest. The Wisdom of Solomon is a compelling story of how we influence each other as we speed down the rocky roads of life. Many decisions will affect the future, but some may even affect the past!

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HIS Publishing Group (August 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615519180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615519180
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces
Let me start by saying that I never ever will tell you that you shouldn’t read a book or see a movie. I will tell you if I liked the story or not and then I’ll explain why. You, as a grown adult (or young person) are smart enough to make your own decisions based on what I’ve written here.

I read the back cover of The Wisdom of Solomon and thought to myself that it sounded vaguely reminiscent of Stephen Coonts’ novels Saucer (affiliate link) and Saucer: The Conquest (affiliate link). Typical “Hey, we found a saucer. What do we do now?” fare, but upon getting into the first couple of pages, I soon realized this would be anything but that. Having not read anything from the first perspective in some time, I was a little thrown off at first, but I soon settled in and started to question what was happening and wondering what the characters would do next.

The synopsis at the top of the page pretty much says it all, so I won’t go into too much detail for fear of giving something away, but let it be known that a sequel to The Wisdom of Solomon is required and I, as well as his fans, have let Ronald know that. The book is a very enjoyable read and one that didn’t take me very long to get through, which is really saying something when I’m juggling a child, a job, a sick wife, and a other duties.
This is considered Christian fiction and I know that some readers turn their noses up at it, thinking that it will just be preachy and heavy-handed in verses, but let me stop you there and just say that it is a well-told story and to give it a chance. You won’t find any colorful language, in fact, he tells me how his wife questioned him on the use of the word “damn”. This is a story of whether, to borrow from another story, the tin man can get a heart. Not a lot on showy space battles, but plenty of “what if” makes this a thought-provoking read.

I think what makes me enjoy the book even more is the story behind it. Ronald Dunn admitted that he wrote the book as a task on his bucket list. Being a fan of the TV show Star Trek, it was an idea that he had been bouncing around for years. Finally, he decided to do it and after a little over three years of working in secret at his office, he handed a copy to his wife for Christmas. He kept it secret from her the entire time!

In parting, I like the book. It’s simple story-telling that leaves you with questions to mull over. Nothing jumps out as a disappointment, so I don’t think you would be at a loss to check out this book.

Ronald Dunn will be signing copies of his book on May 7th at 2 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble of Highland Village. Here’s the link.

You can contact Ronald Dunn at his website, his Facebook page, or The Wisdom of Solomon Facebook page. The book is available through the author's website, Amazon.com and in eBook format through several websites.