Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Some Good Words About Charter

Charter Communications, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

I've complained on this blog enough times about Charter Communications that I figured when they did something good I should mention it. I decided to drop my cable services and go with Direct TV. At the time I was getting the basic cable package, which pretty much meant local stations and a bunch of shopping channels. For about ten dollars more than what I was paying for this package I could get a package from Direct TV with about a hundred channels. Yes, I know, of those 100 channels a lot will be junk, but I'll get USA, Sci-fi, FX and some others that have some of the shows I want to watch. Plus for the first three months I get Showtime free...which means Weeds and Dexter.

I decided to keep my internet connection through Charter. After talking to some people, including some people at Best Buy, I was told that they offered the best service and best deal with the internet.

I went to the Charter's office with my cable box and explained to the lady behind the desk that I wanted to cancel my cable subscription but still wanted to continue my internet connection. She clicked on a few things and told me that they were offering a special on internet connection for $29.99 for 24 months. I was currently paying $44.99 a month for the same internet speed. And 24 months was 2 years! So she switched me to this new plan.

So for the extra ten dollars or so I was going to spend on Direct TV I'm now saving on my internet connection, which should make the total of all this to be about what I was paying before.

Like I said at the start of this post, I've made more than my share of complaints about Charter Communications, so just had to share with everyone when they do something really good.

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The GIrl With The Dragon Tattoo

This book just came out in paperback and I picked it up after reading a few good reviews of it. The book is written by Swedish writer and journalist Stieg Larsson. It's the first in a trilogy, written and turned in to his publisher just before he died. In Swedish the title of the book is translated as "Men Who Hate Women," but it was changed to the current title when it as translated into English.

This was one of those books that when I started to read it I found it ok, but not really caught up in it. But as I continued to read I found myself being drawn in. It's one of those books that quietly reachs out and grabs you. I found that I didn't want to put the book down.

It's a mystery that spans decades and is a locked room whodunnit that instead of taking place in a locked room takes place on an island that no one could get in or off of when the crime takes place. The two main characters are the journalist Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, a very unique character and the girl in the title with the dragon tattoo.

If you have a chance to read this book do so. The second volume is out now in hardback, The Girl Who Played With Fire.

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A Few Words About Michael Jackson

It's been more than a few days now since Michael Jackson died. I was going to write something as soon as I heard, but I kept putting it off. Michael Jackson was one of the most influential musicians on the planet, in fact his influence went beyond just that of musician. He was one of those few of such supreme talent that we rarely see the like of it.

I wanted to write about that Michael Jackson, but it's hard to ignore the past decade or so of his actions. Somewhere along the way he lost his way and to put it bluntly became more of a joke than anything else.

And while I know he was cleared in the jury trial years ago and everyone should be presumed innocent until proven guilty...it's hard not to wonder. Why was he paying families of some of those children? I really don't want to believe something like that, but it's hard not to.

I know the world will be filled with stories of Michael Jackson's accomplishments and what a loss he will be to the world, but my thoughts went to those children and what it might mean to them.

So I really can't find myself writing too much about the whole thing, I'll let others write about Michael Jackson and what he meant to the world.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

I've written so much about my Dad that I figure that there's nothing left to write. But as long as I can remember I guess there'll be something to write about.

I remember the first time I saw him cry. I had to be around ten or so, because my sister was probably around 3 or 4. My sister was born with spina bifda and especially as a child was in and out of the hospitals. When she was born she was flown to Walter Reed in Maryland. I remember being in the kitchen when my Dad came home from the hospital, my sister was back in, she had a seizure and they were keeping her over night. He was telling my brother and me about my sister's seizure. He said her tongue swelled up and she was turning blue and than he couldn't go on...he was crying.

I remember he'd get so mad at my brother or me when we'd call my Mother "her or she", like if we said something like "she did..." He'd get mad and tell us that wasn't a her or she that was our Mother.

I remember when we were visiting his parents and sister up in Newark New Jersey. I was probably in my mid teens than. We were all talking and joking about something. I made a comment about his height, my Dad was a fairly short man, and he said "Just remember dynamite comes in small packages." Without missing a beat I replied "So does silly putty." And he laughed so hard.

I remember later, when my Mom and he were both retired and living down here. If my Mom went shopping he'd go with her, and while my Mom and sister were traveling through the stores in the Mall he would sit on a bench in the Mall reading a book, waiting for her.

I remember him never saying a bad word about his Father, even though years later, when my brother and I were old enough to understand we learned that his Father was an alcholic and would abuse him. But as kids we just knew he was our Grand Pa.

I remember him getting up early, like around six in the morning, all the time. Even after he was retired from work. He'd get up and make himself a cup of tea and go sit out on the porch and just watch the world wake up.

I remember as a kid sitting in the car with him as we went somewhere and asking him questions and thinking he knew the answer to everything.

Happy Father's Day Dad.


Ok, I have to be crazy. I've started another blog. I know, I know, I can't even keep up with this one it seems and I'm starting another one.

I've mentioned on this site before that I used to write comic books and it's something I wouldn't mind doing again. But the problem with being a writer in the comic book industry, especially trying to break in, is that you need artists. You need someone to turn your words into pictures. And it's hard to find someone to do that.

So I've started a blog trying to do just that. To find artists that may want to try and work with me in breaking into the comic book industry. This blog is going to be more of a resume of my past work so prospective artists can see what I've done. It won't be as time consuming as keeping up with daily posts, since that's not the point of it. So hopefully I'll be able to handle it.

Go check it out and I NEED ARTISTS!

If you know of any artists please feel free to pass this site on. The only way this is going to work is that if I get this site out there for enough people to see it and hopefully some artists will be interested. Spread the word if you will.

Voices to hear

I've been so bad lastely about updating and visiting anyone's sites, but hopefully that will get better now. Between being sick and getting so far behind at work and so much more going on there it's been pretty hectic, but I've got my fingers crossed that things will slow down enough to enable me to start posting again. And visiting everyone.

And with saying that I have updated Voices to hear with some new interviews and songs. I have a Simply Six interview up with a woman from Tennessee named Jennings and the song of the week is from Maggie Brown, one of my favorites. Go check it out.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Old School Fridays: Keep It In The Family

This week's theme is musical families. I went with the Cash/Carter Family. June Carter comes from the first family of country music and here she sings with her family Johnny Cash and her daughters, one who goes on to some fame as a country singer herself, Carlene Carter.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Good Book

I'm not sure why I even picked up this book. Maybe because Stephen King mentioned in a recent column in Entertainment Weekly that Jodi Picoult was more than just a chick writer. Maybe because it was only $5.95, cheap fora paperback nowdays. It was probably because when I picked it up at Walmart and read the back of the book it intrigued me.

Whatever the reasons I picked up the book, I'm glad I did. I went home and threw some hotdogs on the grill. While waiting for the food to cook I picked up the book and figured I'd read the first few pages to see how it read. Later that night I was still reading the book. I couldn't put it down. By the next day I had read it.

My Sister's Keeper is about Anna, a 13 year old girl that was concieved to be a donor for her older sister that is sick with lekumia. Suddenly at the age of 13 Anna decides that she wants to have the last say about what is done to her body and goes to a lawyer to try to settle the matter. But there's so much more to this story than just that plot. Picolut makes these characters live and breath. She makes you think Anna is right and than within a few pages you're wondering why she doesn't want to help save her sister's life. There are no simple answers in this story.

And if you don't have tears in your eyes after the ending you have to be heartless.

This was a truly great book. One that I'm glad I read. There's a movie coming out this month that's a adaptation of the book. I read that the ending to the movie has changed from the ending of the book. If you've read the book you can guess what they changed. There's just no way that they would film the ending of this book.

I've alread bought another one of Picoult's books, 19 Minutes. It's the story of a high school boy who goes to school one day and shoots and kills ten classmates.

If you've been hestiant about reading Jodi Picoult because she's branded a "chick writer" don't be. She's not a chick writer, she's a writer of the human heart.

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Five Years Ago...

Ray Charles died five years ago today. To say he was a genius is an understatement.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Donald

75 years ago Donald Duck made his screen debut in "The Wise Little Hen." Until 1985 he was voiced by Clarence Nash. Legend has it that Walt Disney created Donald after hearing Nash do his duck voice.

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Marva Wright Has Stroke

Marva Wright is a local blues singer. Yesterday after performing she suffered a stroke and was admitted to the hospital. Marva didn't start singing professionally until she was in her 40s and than it was a way to bring more money in for her family. Since than she's gained quite a reputation as a blues singer.

The above picture is one I took at Jazz Fest and is one of my favorite pictures.

Here's hoping she gets better and back singing before long.

Koko Taylor

I'm trying to catch up from not posting for the last few weeks. This last week at work has been so busy but things should calm down for a little while now. One of the things I missed was the death of Koko Taylor. She died on June 3 of this year. She was born in Tennessee in 1928 and was known as the Queen of the Blues.

I saw her a few years ago at Jazz Fest. For her age she put on a show that could put singers half her age to shame. The woman could sing. I feel very honored that I had the chance to see her perform before she died.

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Old School Fridays: My Current Mood Is...

I can't believe how many Old School Fridays I've missed recently. I love doing these, but somehow I have missed more than my share lately and technically I've missed Friday, as I'm posting about thirty minutes into Saturday. The theme for this week is our current mood. Well after being sick for the last few weeks and in the hospital and even afterwards tired and rundown I have to say now...I Feel Good.

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