Ready Play One, by Ernest Cline (Broadway Books, 2012)
March -- that time of year when the seasons begin their dance from winter to spring. Great time. Love to watch the changes in nature
But there's another "dance" that catches my attention during this time of year. It's a madness -- March Madness.
It's the NCAA Basketball Tournament -- and it's my favorite sports event. After the regional tournaments have been completed, the NCAA takes those results and calculates who will attend "the Big Dance". And then it gets wild. People pick the teams they think will win at each level of the tournament. In four days, the first two rounds are played and the field of 64 teams is reduced to 32, and then those 32 are reduced to 16 teams.
My niece got me started, then we encouraged my sister to get involved. We each have our favorites. Mine is Villanova. My sister is a great fan of University of North Carolina (UNC). The only thing I know about my niece is that she HATES Duke. Vehemently.
So it's down to "the Sweet Sixteen". Next weekend, the 16 will become "the Final Four". The following weekend two games will determine the two teams to play in the Final Game.
It's simply madness! I love watching it - and I get mad sometimes when the team I may have picked get's beaten by the team I didn't pick. But, man, is it fun!
from Pearls of Wisdom (Agel and Glanze)
Four years of great animated entertainment. Like saying "goodbye" to a friend, it's hard to accept when so many memories are part of the relationship without any possibility of having any future opportunities.
Following the completion of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Disney produced a second spinoff series focused on and featuring the world of Star Wars. The story featured the adventures of orphan Ezra Bridger who encounters a group of rebels trying to live with and frustrate the efforts of the Galactic Empire in and around his home planet of Lothal.
His acceptance into this "family" brings to him an awareness of the Force, developing powers through the Force (through his Jedi master, Kanan Jarrus) and his growing participation in the rebellion and ultimately the defeat of their presence on and their enslavement of his home.
Like The Clone Wars series, Rebels provides the viewer with a deepening of knowledge into the Star Wars story line through the characters created for the story. Their presence in the world of Star Wars allows the characters to interact with well-known characters of the stories such as Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Asokah Tano, Darth Vader and others. It made them "believable" - and allowed the viewer to recall facets of well-known characters from a different perspective.
Why is this such a big deal? Well, episodic stories which are rich in characters and events that are woven together adds to the depth of the story. And people like to feel a part of things by means of knowing; the more one knows the richer the experience.
I hope Disney will bring new animated adventures with new characters and quality stories. Ezra and his world will be missed. One good thing is that I can always slide a DVD into the player and watch the entire series over again.
Observation - one of the three important steps in Bible study. It's one that many people neglect, but if one is to understand, one must first see completely before understanding. I have written about my experiences with Dr. Howard Hendricks and his course on Bible Study methods, but I'm finding that observation is a skill that can be constantly improved. I remember a story that Prof. Hendricks once shared with the class about the experience of a student charged with observing a fish to improve his powers of observation. Here's a video version of that story:
It's hard to believe but my first novel was self-published on March 1, 2017.
Cause for celebration? For me it is. Regrets? Not one.
I wander by the Amazon page and I still smile --- and I find myself laughing, too.
Stephen King or J. K Rowling can sleep sweetly. I will never be a threat to them. A joke, maybe, but never a threat. (Bill smiles widely.)
But I still take a great deal of pride in my achievement. I wrote about how the novel came about when the book was released on Amazon last year.
And now - I'm working on the second of four stories that I have planned with Benjamin Sunday. It's still tough, and I still get discouraged at times, but I keep working at it. I get a good idea and try and figure out where it fits in the total arc of the book. I reread some of what I've written and think, "C'mon, Bill - who are you trying to kid...?" Still, the fun is in the journey and I keep telling myself, "Hey, you did one. You can do another."
I'm hoping to self-publish "Benjamin Sunday and the Mayan's Secret" later this year. It precedes the first novel and shares the exciting adventure Benjamin has with his mentor, Dr. Jackson Reynolds.
This one will be more fantasy than the first novel. I have been visited by the imagination muse and much of what seems to be invading the book is unbelievable - but I'm trying hard to take the fantasy and write in such a way that I can say, "It could happen..."
So here's to hoping that Novel 1 has a brother this time next year. Finger's crossed...
A somber tune for a tremendous effort...
In 2017, a group of people formed a choir comprised of individuals whose loved ones have gone missing, or individuals who support the work of the group.
The choir is not only a support group. It is also a public conduit which keeps such tragedies in people's attention in the hope that maybe someone might know something and be able to help these grieving families find closure.
In some respects, we are all lost - we have left our Heavenly Father and wandered off on our own way. Like the prodigal's father (Luke 15:11-32), our Heavenly Father is awaiting our return, ready to welcome us home and forgive us all of our trespasses.
My sister sent this to me over 10 years ago. It is still a good reminder about valuing time. When you're done reading this, will you go out and buy yourself some marbles?
It's an unconventional musical to say the least.
P.T. Barnum. Freaks. Circus. Rich. Poor. Prejudice. Dreams. Happiness. Commitment. The Greatest Showman seems to have a little bit of everything. But most of all it has music -- at times tender, at times powerful. It may not be historically accurate - after all it IS a musical - but it is a good story and it's a good time at the movies. Some hated the movie. I thought it was well done.
"This Is Me" is features Barnum's collection of special people. They attempt to enter a room full of high society snobs during the reception of Barnum's newest "show" - the European opera singer, Jenny Lind. But he prevents them from entering on the pretense they have a show they must get ready for, attempting to cover his embarrassment of their presence during his finest entertainment moment. So he sends away the ones who gained for him his new found success; you can almost taste the disappointment. Societal station trumps friendship - and the angry entertainers leave the theater and march back to their circus proclaiming loudly and proudly that they are not ashamed of who they are.
It's never easy when a character is killed in the course of a story. (WARNING: Possible spoilers...)
Sherlock Holmes tumbling off Reichenbach Falls. Hedwig falls after a killing curse intended for Harry strikes her. Cooper, the main character's canine companion is struck by a car. Obi Wan falls to his death with the sweep of Darth Vader's light saber in full view of Luke Skywalker.
They are never easy. Authors of fiction explain them as necessary for the development of their story. Non-fiction authors explain them as part of life.
And if they aren't expected, they can be devastating. I remember reading a book as a teenager when I turned the page and a beloved character is struck by a car and killed. I threw the book down, tears ran down my cheeks, and it was several days before I could pick the book back up and complete the story.
One of my favorite TV programs has killed off one of their main characters. I sat there stunned; I couldn't believe what had just happened.
I remember when I was writing Benjamin Sunday and the Warrior's Companion that I toyed with the idea of killing one of my characters. Thankfully, a good friend told me not to do it. Indeed there are deaths in the book, but this character was central to the plot of the book. It was good wisdom, and I'm glad I heeded his encouragement.
But now that I'm writing the second Benjamin Sunday adventure, I am once again faced with the death of a character - and this time it must be done -- and I'm finding it hard to write. Even though it's just words on a page, writing them into existence is special, and they become not just a part of the story; they are members of my literary family. Even if they are only part of my imagination, a writer has to know the character to write about the character.