Category Archives: Music

Make Me Feel… Something.

” Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions.” ~David Borenstein~

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I love books and movies that make me seethe in anger, weep with tears and belly laugh. The fact of the matter is all of us want to feel this way and at the end of the day – emotional writing is what sells books and screenplays. The question most of us have is “how?”

Some of the basic emotions we all read about (or have experienced) are some of the ones people expect in our works. Being in love, fear, surprise, envy, sadness and anger are just a few of the basic emotions a person goes through. This might happen to a person all in one day. Our characters need to experience these feelings as well. When they do, our readers feel connected with them and as a result, they connect with us, the writers, as well.

Pick an emotion. Any emotion. Then add the sensory experience. If you wonder what I mean by that, let me give you an example. I’ll take sadness. When you experience an extreme emotion your other senses heighten. So when your character is sad, let them taste the salt of their tears. Let them squint at the sunlight, which further depresses them. The the merry laughter of others in the room echo around them and overwhelm them. Maybe they will feel the bond of a piece of paper they are rubbing together with their fingers, a piece of paper with the words “good-bye” written on it. Who knows? The sky is the limit.  Allow yourself the time to let the emotion wash over not only your character, but YOU. It’s okay to get emotional while writing. Once you’ve written what you want, let it simmer and come back to it later. Then maybe you will have a new perspective on both your character and yourself you wouldn’t have achieved otherwise.

When I’m writing emotional scenes, I usually set the scene to music. Most of the scenes in my book have a corresponding song that goes with them. One of my favorites is Gary Jules “Mad World.” The haunting tone of that song (originally done by Tears for Fears, but this one is better) is great for a sad scene. This is one of the reasons why music scores / soundtracks are so powerful in movies. If you haven’t tried it before, give it a shot. Be the music director and set the scene with a song.

Finally, you’ve probably heard the advice before, but I’m telling you, no – urging you, again. If you do not keep a journal, do so. You will find tidbits of emotion that come out on journal pages like nowhere else. If nothing else, those entries can help “get you in the mood” when writing what can be a terribly hard thing to do.

Emotion. You cannot fake it. You will destroy your readers confidence in you as a writer if you do.

(Photo courtesy NYTimes)

The Superbowl, Halftime and Advertising

“The reason women don’t play football is because 11 of them would never wear the same outfit in public.”
Phyllis Diller 

It’s almost time for the Battle of the Titans… figuratively, not literally. In February the Superbowl will again be played.  It will be the first time the game will be played in a non-domed stadium as it will be in the Meadowlands (MetLife Stadium) in New Jersey. This also means that there will be two “host teams” (the Giants and the Jets) as they both play in the same stadium. As this is the first time the game will be held in a non-domed stadium, there is speculations there will be a winter storm / blizzard. Personally, I say, “Bring it on.” Come on folks. Wouldn’t that be just awesome – to have a Snow Bowl?  


And for those who watch the game for the Halftime Show… It’s Bruno Mars. 

I like Bruno, but logistically if it is snowing, it will be more interesting to see technically how that will go down.  I mean Bruno plays guitar and sings. It’s got to be harder to play a guitar with gloved/mittened hands and the cold definitely affects one’s vocal chords. But he has two platinum albums so I think he will be okay. 

And speaking of halftime shows. It’s been 10 years since Janet Jackson’s performance with Justin Timberlake and the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” took hold in pop culture. Her exposed breast during the half-time show almost caused the internet to explode. That bit was better than her actual performance. I believe she meant for it to boost her career, but ten years later, her brother still has more success and she is but a pale reflection with a Jackson name. Timberlake; however, walked away from the incident pretty much unscathed and has had a successful career. Ahhh… Nipplegate. Who will ever forget? 

Finally, let’s talk dough. Commercials for the SuperBowl are $4.0 million each for a mere :30 seconds nationally. That’s some serious moolah. I know a lot of folks watch the game for the ads rather than the game. I go back and forth from year to year – it depends on who is playing and if the ads are any good. This year (2013), in my opinion, the ads weren’t really worth the money. They kind of sucked.  

However, at this time there are some companies already announcing their plans to air ads in the SuperBowl:

Announced Super Bowl Advertisers for 2014:
Anheuser-Busch InBev
Dannon
Doritos
General Motors (Chevrolet)
GoDaddy
Hyundai
Intuit
Jaguar
Mars
Nestlé (Butterfinger)
Soda Stream
Wonderful Pistachios

Anheuser-Busch, Doritos and GoDaddy will probably have some of the best commercials during the game as they usually do. I’ll expect to see some Clydesdales, excessive cheese and Danica Patrick muscled up for starters. 

Rumor has it at least one of the car manufacturers has purchased a two minute commercial time slot. It should be interesting. I believe it will be Chrysler, who is not on the list above, but they have been making heavy national ad purchases lately and if I were to make a guess – it’s them. 

Dannon, Soda stream and Pistachios had better be new and creative otherwise that’s going to be some serious bank that’s just tossed out the window and could have been spent during the Olympics instead.  Now THAT is truly a marketing dream. 

Ridin’ the Storm Out

“Ridin’ the storm out, waitin’ for the thaw out…” 
– REO Speedwagon – 
It’s a beautiful, bright and sunny day in the Texas Panhandle. Not a cloud in the sky dampens the horizon. Yet, here I sit procrastinating. The storm of change is coming and I should be preparing for its onslaught, but I’m not. I’m in a state of fear and denial. I’m like the proverbial ostrich sticking its head in the sand. However, like the bird, my butt is sticking up in the air and I’m sure I’m about to take one for the team with no lube, if you know what I mean.  

My spousal unit tells me I don’t have to carry the burden alone for what’s going on at home. I’m cynical and jaded right now. I feel like I do.  I have to-do list after to-do list made up.  They grow longer by the day and there’s not enough hours to tackle even a portion of them. So I suppose that’s why it’s easier to sit and do nothing than to get off my ass and do “something.” But as the deadline for having all this stuff done grows near, the self-loathing for not having anything done sooner will grow to biblical proportions and I’ll be kicking myself in the hind-end that already took one. Double-whammy.

How does one prep for change when one doesn’t want things to change in many regards, but does in others? How does one know if they are doing the right thing or the wrong thing? How does one make decisions that alters their life, but also the lives of so many people around them for good, bad or indifferent and those people don’t have much say? It frustrates me on a level that’s almost unbearable. I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing and there’s at least one person I need help from that’s is unwilling to do so. It’s frustrating beyond the tolerable and I try to shove that fed-up part of me in the back of my mind, but it niggles at me from time to time and I just want to break like a squall line dumping rain across the plains.  (Long run-on sentence. Sorry.)

I wish I could say more as to what’s going on, but I’m not at liberty right now. Just know that my life is upside down and I don’t like the view. I’ve lost my rose-colored glasses. If I can just ride this storm of change out and wait for the thaw out, things will be okay. But right now, I’m feeling the outflow boundary, the winds kicking up and the rush of air blowing across my face. I see the lightning on the horizon and hear the distant rumbles of thunder. The storm is coming and as it hits I will just pray for the best. 

Okay… going to suck it up and get to work. Tally-Ho!

The Silver Reunion and 1988

25 years ago (not to the day) I graduated from High School in the middle of BFE. I enjoyed school for the most part. I wasn’t part of any particular crowd – had friends in all the crowds which was a good, good thing. We had the jocks, the preps, the geeks / nerds, the stoners, the … wait… hang on… I feel like that scene in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off when Ed Rooney’s secretary Grace says, “Oh, he’s very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.”  But I digress…. 

This weekend is my 25th reunion weekend and I’m not going / didn’t go. 
Please don’t feel sorry for me. 
I don’t want to go.
Friday night was extended Beer 30 at a local bar, with a pre-bar before-hand. (Like really?)
There was a fund-raising walk early this morning, which I can’t do right now, Wonderland Park this afternoon (about 100 degrees out) and then dinner at the Wolflin House tonight. I’m sorry, but really none of that interests me. I don’t drink. I’d do the walk if I were able. I spent the day helping mom, which is MUCH more important than spending time at Wonderland, and Wolflin House was something like $30-$40 a head (I’m broke.)
But beyond that, I’d probably be bitching about the food and want to leave early anyway. Why? A lot of the people I really wanted to see couldn’t make the reunion. There may be a few here to see, but overall. I just don’t care. Is that just wrong of me? I don’t know. 

However, I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about some cool things about 1988. Here are my top three favorite movies and songs from 1988. 


Die Hard – Yeah. In 1988 I developed a major crush on Bruce Willis.  He was charming in “Moonlighting,” but this movie did it for me. I’ll probably be a lifelong fan. He’s better looking now, not a bad actor and I’ll forgive the divorce with Demi Moore. She’s flaky anyway. 

BIG – Released in 1988 as well, Tom Hanks pulled off a fun movie (I believe it was shot in one of my all time favorite stores, FAO Schwartz.)  My children enjoyed seeing it when they were younger as well. I dare say this movie is timeless.

Cocktail – With Tom Cruise before he went Bat Shit Crazy, what 80’s girl didn’t have a crush on him. As a side note… in ’89 I got into a shit ton of trouble by accidentally playing the Beach Boy’s “Kokomo” released from this soundtrack on the air. Wrong song for the wrong format. My bad. I’m truly sorry. 


Speaking of favorite tunes from ’88…

It was number 2 on the Billboard Top 100 from 1988, but it’s my favorite song from that year. INXS‘ “Need You Tonight.” Michael Hutchence had a voice to die for and I can remember wearing out two… count them TWO cassette tapes in my car.  A lot of Friday nights were spent cruising around town while listening to INXS’s album, “Kick.” While I love all of their work, it was possibly their best. 

Most people would guess this would be my number one pick from 1988. Surprise, it’s my number two. It fell on Billboard’s Top 100 at number 19. Def Leppard – “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” The other song that made the charts in ’88 was “Love Bites.”  Hysteria was released in 1987 and it was a monster album for the band. It’s not my favorite song on the album. That would actually be “Love and Affection.” However… on the flip side (album) of “Sugar”, the band re-recorded one of my all time faves – “I Wanna Be Your Hero.” Awesome stuff that is. 

The third pick is very, very hard from me because music fuels my soul. I was in radio at an early age and will probably always have some part in the industry. There were SO MANY good songs and groups that I could say all the rest of them, but I will do my best to pick one and only one for number three. I’m trying to pick from George Michael, Guns and Roses, Van Halen, Whitney Houston, Foreigner, Cher, Sting, Richard Marx, Debbie Gibson, Rick Astley… Wow… lots to choose from. 

However, this last spot will go to the Bangles – “Hazy Shade of Winter.” Billboard’s Top 100 logged them at number 35. However, there’s something about this song that haunts me. I scrolled up and down the list of songs and knew the words and melodies to almost all of them. I always came back to this one. 

“Hazy Shade of Winter” was written by Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel in 1966 so you know automatically you have a master of the craft of songwriting taking care of business. Combined with the feminine harmonics of the Bangles, it comes together beautifully. It has staying power and will outlive me, just on lyrics alone. 



A HAZY SHADE OF WINTER
Time, time, time
See what’s become of me
While I looked around for my possibilities
I was so hard to please
But look around
Leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter
Hear the Salvation Army band
Down by the riverside’s
Bound to be a better ride
Than what you’ve got planned
Carry your cup in your hand
And look around you
Leaves are brown, now
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter
Hang on to your hopes, my friend
That’s an easy thing to say
But if your hopes should pass away
Simply pretend
That you can build them again
Look around
The grass is high
The fields are ripe
It’s the springtime of my life
Seasons change with the scenery
Weaving time in a tapestry
Won’t you stop and remember me
At any convenient time?
Funny how my memory skips
Looking over manuscripts
Of unpublished rhyme
Drinking my vodka and lime
I look around
Leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter
Look around
Leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground
Look around
Leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground






…The Time of Your Life

“Yes. I would like some cheese with my whine. Now be a doll, pour me a glass and cut me a slice of sharp cheddar.” 

Last weekend, my youngest, darling daughter graduated high school. (Insert cheers and clapping here!)
After 13 years of schooling, she’s emancipated from the world of high school and all that entails. I’m proud of her, the young woman she’s become, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for her future.  (Oddly enough Greenday’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” is on right now.)

J graduated Friday night and then we had a graduation party Saturday night and an “impromptu” family reunion Sunday night.  Both parties at my little house. I went to work Monday morning thankful I didn’t have to have yet another party. I was “partied out.” I think I’m getting old.

With J’s graduation came “The Scrapbook.” OMG… It’s STILL. NOT. DONE.

It was SUPPOSED to be done by last Sunday. It’s not. Saturday (at party #1) I received more items people wanted in the scrapbook. I asked some of these folks for the items in the first part of May. (A month ago.)  I told them I needed them by like May 20th or so. I got them June 8th. I love my family.  But it’s not their fault it’s not done. That’s on me.

I don’t always procrastinate. I honestly thought “I had more time.” You see, I swore I wasn’t going to do this year what I did last year working on K’s book – a last minute decision with something I had ZERO experience doing. (J and I spent a total of 160 hours in two weeks to get it done.)  I promised myself I would start early. I did. I started in early May. So why it’s not done on time… I didn’t work as hard or as fast as I should have… I simply ran out of time / out of money? Heck. I’m not sure. It’s very close. I’m lacking (by my best calculations) 12 pages.

This weekend, I’m going to be finishing up “The Scrapbook,” a summation of J’s first 17 years of life and as she’s my youngest, my last… it’s hard to do. Maybe that’s the reality of why it’s not done. I’m just not ready for my baby to be “grown up.”

(Cue Music…)

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life. 

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life. 

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

~Green Day~

C’est Cirque du Soleil


Ceci est d’avant-garde. C’est magnifique. 
C’est cirque du soleil.

I didn’t have the opportunity to see Cirque du Soleil in the theaters when it was released in 2012.  I would say it was my loss, but one never knows, eh?

Last night, for lack of anything better to do, we rented Cirque’s “World Away.”

This is not the first Cirque production I have seen.  In 2001, Cirque released “Alegria,” which I found to be rather magnificent in its own right.  The live show was filmed over the course of three days and I was transfixed -mesmerized by the skill, strength and agility these performers exude.

Fast forward to last night.  This was a dimension of Cirque, a perspective as it were, that couldn’t be captured by sitting in the audience or by sitting and watching “Alegria” or another performance on DVD at home.  The scenes were shot from the rafters on much of this so you see the wires. You see the performers “hanging” what looks to be 70 feet in the air and it’s breathtaking.

If you have a chance, rent it.

If you have a 3D TV – definitely rent it.  This movie was MADE for 3D and while I don’t have a 3D TV I am willing to bet it is spectacular, spectacular..

And if that’s not enough convincing… decent storyline and kick ass soundtrack round it off.  You can never go wrong with the Beatles and acrobatics.

Hot Stuff

“Sittin’ here, eatin’ my heart out, waitin’
Waitin’ for some lover to call
Dialed about a thousand numbers lately
Almost rang the phone off the wall

Lookin’ for some hot stuff, baby, this evenin’
I need some hot stuff, baby, tonight
I want some hot stuff, baby, this evenin’

Gotta have some hot stuff
Gotta have some love tonight….”
– Donna Summer –
(12-31-1948 to 05-17-2012)


When I was a child, I went to a Catholic school in the heart of the Bible belt. It shouldn’t be any wonder that the first time I got in trouble for my musical tastes was because of Donna Summer. I don’t recall how many “Hail Mary’s” I had to say, but I learned it probably wasn’t in my best interest to go around singing “Hot Stuff” or “Bad Girls” in the halls of St. Joseph’s.   

When I was in junior high, she released, “She Works Hard for the Money.” Again, I was back in a Catholic School, but by this time the rules had relaxed and neither she nor the song were nearly as taboo as Madonna who had managed to piss off the Pope and the entire Catholic Church with “Like a Virgin” which was released the following year. Ahhh… how music takes me back to my youth. 

I remember fondly of listening to Donna Summer with my sister in her Ford Pinto  while cruising around drinking cherry limes from Mr. Burger and I thought that it was the coolest thing in the world. You know what… it was. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. 

Donna Summer left this world this week, but she left behind a legacy of some of the best dance music out there. Thanks Donna…. “beep, beep, uh, uh,…… beep, beep, uh, uh….”