May 30, 2014

Is There Such A Thing As Bad Writing?

I had this idea bouncing around the interior of my cerebellum for the past few days and thought now would be a good as any to regurgitate said idea to see if I could make it more delectable the 2nd time around.

Bad writing.

We've all seen it from time to time, whether in books, magazines (online and print), news/sports/entertainment websites or newspapers (print and online). And I bet a lot of you can raise your hand and admit to churning out some pretty horrible stuff early during those early years (guilty as charged).

But have you stopped for a moment and asked yourself what constitutes bad writing?

After all, somehow we instinctively know bad writing when we read it, and we certainly know good writing when we read it. But have you ever thought about what differentiates bad writing from good writing?

May 28, 2014

Holy Cow! 6 Years!

I was rambling through my blog subscriptions the other day, when I read about another blogger celebrating their 3 year anniversary. While I was congratulating her, it suddenly dawned on me that I made a major league faux pas with my own blogging activities.

Basically, I clean forgot that on May 24, 2008, I published my very first post. And here we are, some 6 blogs and 1389 posts later, belatedly celebrating my 6th blogging anniversary.

Considering we're doing this on the fly, this post will be just a tad scatter shot, in that for the first time in a very long time, I'll be a disorganized mess.

For those who have read about my blogging beginnings ad nauseum in the previous years, you may be excused from reading the next few paragraphs. For those who haven't, here is the condensed version of my blogging life which will cover the time frame of 2008 thru 2014.

May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

No matter what side of the fence you lean against, please remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice that allows you to lean against your particular choice of fence.

National Civil War Museum; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania {2008}

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

May 23, 2014

My Brain Is Empty!

That's right manly men and manlier women, my brain is empty. Empty of a topic that is. Last Friday I wrote a C.M. Classic Post, and it went over like Sarah Palin speaking at Columbia University.

Like, crickets chirping and tumbleweeds rolling roughly down the deserted road.

So I thought for stale change of pace, I would randomly string nouns, adverbs, adjectives, verbs and conjunction junctions together in a sincere attempt at creating sentences and paragraphs.

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, eh?

Anywho, a query for you. What's the strangest thing that happen to stumble through your cerebellum long enough for you to momentarily not pay attention to what you were doing? The other day, I was at my local library standing in line waiting to check out a book (a memoir by Jerry Reuss) and a movie (Machete), thinking about nothing really in particular, when the guitar break to this song started playing in the background.

May 20, 2014

The Voice Within

Your voice.

How did you find your particular voice for writing? Was it something that gradually popped into your head? Or, was it influenced by what you read/watched/listened to?

For me, I would like to think it was a mixture of both.

Many many many decades ago, back when I was 1} the age of my son and 2} still had a head full of hair, my particular voice was semi-clean humor. I always had fun doing imitations and parodies of commercials and songs, and although I never wrote anything down (I kick myself with high heels over the years because of that faux pas), I was still a interesting person to be around.

So as the decades flew by, my particular voice gradually changed. No long was semi-clean humor the norm. Instead, the norm became a mixture of sarcasm and what I like to call "sick puppy dog" humor. I won't really elaborate on what "sick puppy dog" humor was other than to point out that a good chunk of late 90's/early 2000's comedy on pay cable was pretty much like that.

Eventually, that fell by the wayside and for the next decade or so, the voice fell silent. I'm not really sure why it did, but if I had to venture a guess, I would say that real world responsibilities took precedence over enlightening the world with my special humor.

May 18, 2014

Vampires Are So Yesterday

I was never really a big fan of vampires, celluloid or the written word.

I certainly didn't watch any of the plethora of vampire/Dracula movies from the 30's through the 50's, nor did I watch the blaxtoplation films that were all the rage of the 70's. And I certainly didn't watch any of the comedic ones featuring the likes of George Hamilton, Eddie Murphy and Leslie Nelson.

Come to think of it, I haven't watched the Brad Pitt vehicle either, although I do like the theme song by Oasis. And I definitely didn't watch any of the 90's t.v. shows and as for the HBO series, it didn't really impress me much, as I was basically one and done.

As for reading about them, up until this year I have not read one story about them. And to complete this wonderful circle, not one of my six dozen stories features straight up vampires. Hybrids, yes, but vampires, nada.

Having now enlightened you with a decent info dump, we now move onto the main topic of discussion: vampires, or rather, some decent realistic portrayals of such.

As I've mentioned in the 3rd paragraph, I have not read any stories of vampires. That is until I saw a short story collection by John Lindqvist at my local library. The reason why this name actually resonated with me is due to the simple fact that two of my favorite horror movies (there are roughly five all together that I will watch) were created from his novel "Let The Right One In".

The reason why I say two is that the first version is done in Swedish and for the most part stayed true to the story, thus making it more of a psychological horror movie. The 2nd version was done in the U.S., and although it also stays true to the story, was just a tad more graphic.

Normally I wouldn't recommend the reboot as reboots usually suck (Total Recall for example), but I highly recommend both movies (the original does have subtitles) as I feel they have a very realistic flavor to them.

The other vampireish movie that I got to like and appreciate is Byzantium, was filmed entirely in the U.K. Not only does this one have a realistic flavor to it, it shows both the compassion and the ruthlessness of the mother and daughter. Even the flashbacks are masterfully woven in.

So there you have it, three movies about vampires (along with one book) that I admit to joyfully watching. I'm still not a horror aficionado (wife, mother and 13 year old daughter are) by any stretch of the imagination, but there are times where I do enjoy watching/reading the genre.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

May 16, 2014

A C.M. Classic: Post #104

Time now, for the redundant portion of Father Nature's Corner, in which produce another post in the occasional series entitled "Cedar's Mountain's Classics" in which we take an old post from the original five year odessey that was my first blog and retool, revamp, regurgitate, reactivate and simply reanimate to something new and shallow.

Today, we rewrite classic post #104, A Blinding Case Of The Obvious, dated September 27, 2008. In that post, I was attempting to answer the challenge of writing a frivolous post. For those who have known me the longest, or even the shortest, you know from past experiences that I'm just about 98% incapable of writing a simply frivolous post.

I'll write post that's in-depth, insightful, innocuous, involuntary, inauspicious, inedible and delightfully inaccurate. But frivolous? Not on your sweet bippy (if you have to ask, then you know nothing about pop culture from the late 60's).

Anywho, that post asked three of the simplest questions and one declaration that you'll come across, especially on Facebook. In this post, I'll ask the same three questions plus the declaration., only with a new twist.

May 13, 2014

Turning The Page And The Short Story

Summer is just around the corner here in Connecticut, and this past weekend was no exception. With daytime temps hovering around the lo 80's, that and listening to bluegrass finally inspired to write a short story. Yes, you read correctly, a short story. Full blown with plot and everything. This fun little story can be had at my adult blog, so if you can, take a stroll over to It's Always Saturday In Suburbia and let me know what you think of it.

And now, for the main entrée of this post, we start it off with a video.

This is my debut novel, which in the next few months will be going out of print. Why? Simple basic economics. All businesses need to maximize what they sell. If a product isn't making the grade, the door is opened and for a nominal fee, is given the bum's rush.

Such is the case with my book. My publisher, for which I will always be grateful for taking a chance on me, has been busy retooling/tweaking what they sell for books for the past several months. Because of this tweaking/retooling, my novel has become the odd man out. Not that I blame for cutting ties with me early, because the sobering reality is that while it's very difficult to sell/pimp erotica, it's doubly difficult when it's your debut novel.

In hindsight, this book probably should've sat on the shelf for a while until I had established myself as a writer in other genres and then gradually build myself towards that end of the spectrum. But, it is what it is, and as a writer it's may basic duty to make the best out of this rights reversion.

May 11, 2014

Lounging In The Lizard

I really enjoy listening to cover songs. Not cover bands mind you (which are a dime a dozen) as those kind of bands, in my mind, really show no ingenuity or testicles to move beyond playing the same old same old. I'm talking about cover versions of old songs by new bands and artists no matter what the genre may be.

For instance, I've heard some phenomenal covers of pop/rock standards done in bluegrass (i.e. The Devil Went Down To Georgia) that have simply blown me away. And I've heard others done in genres that I haven't given a second thought to before that have blown me away as well.

But for every good quality cover song that has made the airways, there are those that should have not seen the light of day. Just because a band is ginormously popular (i.e. U2) doesn't mean they need to do a cover song. To me, when a well known band does a cover song that immediately gets airplay, that tells me the band has nothing new on the horizon and they need to keep their name out there.

Here is my short list of bands who did cover versions of songs just so they could either keep their name out there or prop up a mediocre c.d.

1} U2 "Everlasting Love". The definitive version by Carl Carlton is what you need to listen to, not this piece of crappola. This version is way too poppy and it feels forced.

2} Five Finger Death Punch "Bad Co." Sorry my friends, but this version really bites. They take a nice bluesy song and turned it into a metal mush. Here's the original.

3} The Ataris "Boys Of Summer". This a crappy Alt/Rock version that makes Don Henley's sound positively brilliant. Go with The Hooters for the definitive cover.

4} Pearl Jam "The Last Kiss". Their cover of the J. Frank Wilson classic, while not completely terrible, is about the only way they can get any airplay on radio stations that play The River style format, which is M.O.R. that has been scrubbed to make it presentable to the masses. Strangely enough, or not surprisingly, this song is never played on rock radio

Now, the good cover songs.

Now there are cover versions of songs that simply put the original versions to shame. There's at least one song on this list that I can safely say inspires my writing. Also, the genre that has the best covers, in my very humble opinion, is bluegrass.

1} The Hooters "Boys Of Summer". Hands down this version puts every other version, including the original, to shame. This, my friends, is how the song should be played.

2}Bill Corgan "Landslide". I used to like the listening to this version of the Fleetwood Mac song before they really killed it on radio. A very nice acoustic interpretation.

3} The Mike Flowers Pop "Wonderwall". This is the ultimate lounge lizard version, as this is the best of swing version of the Oasis hit that I've ever heard.

4} Stevie Ray Vaughan "Superstition". Hands down far superior that the original by Stevie Wonder.

5} Robert Palmer "Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley/Sailin' Shoes/Hey Julia". Robert Palmer did an excellent job with this trilogy for the album of the same name. Check out the album as it really kicks ass.

Like I said, this is a very short list of cover songs. So my question to you is this: Do you have any examples of cover songs that suck? Cover songs that don't suck?

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

May 8, 2014

A Brief Regurgitation Of What's Been Going With Me

I is still back.

Since I was basically M.I.A. for the entire month of April, I thought I would regale you with tales of brave Ulysses and how his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singing.

Yeah, right. Fat chance that I'll be singing like Eric Clapton any time in this century, that's for sure. More like I'll be singing like William Hung (if I have to explain to you who this is, then my friend, you know diddly/squat about pop culture), if anything. Or Barney Fife, take your pick.

Anywho, for those who are curious, here is a brief regurgitation of the non-food variety of what I have been doing out the real world for the past month.

1} Work. Work sucks. Still doing my damnedest to get out my current job and find something new to do. I'm looking to do either a lateral (I'm a payroll clerk so I'm willing to transfer within my own pay grade), a promotion (like human resources, which I'm not overly fond of, but sometimes we gotta do things for the Benjamins), or a demotion (yeah, I actually took an exam in order to do the voluntary demotion. minute cut in pay, but hey, sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do for peace of mind). I've been interviewing like crazy (6 interviews in the past calendar month) but so far, nothing.

2} Home. Home semi-sucks. Still lots of stress, some family related, some related to external issues that I have no control over but as a family we are peripheral players. 'Course, the perfecta of the previous point and this one has created health issues that I'm not overly fond of right now either.

3} Writing. Writing sucks. On all fronts. No new writing plus dealing with book going out of print soon plus finances still in pieces equals the plaintive wail from Larry Verne, "What am I doing here?!" I shouldn't say no new writing because that's not entirely true. I did manage to write a couple of paragraphs to my slush crime novella (someday I'll illuminate everyone once again on what that is all about) and I did figure out what movie I pulled the idea from: Animal Kingdom (no, it's not about animals), an Australian crime movie. Not for the faint of heart.

4} The other part of writing. The other part of writing, namely generating new product for the masses is still stuck in neutral with no discernible way to shift out. I have two completed novellas, of which one is ready for publication. The sticking point, as always, is money. Money makes my world go 'round, and if you were visiting me during the recently completed blogging challenge, you know that the money isn't going towards paying someone to publish my book, but to a graphics company for two covers and perhaps someone who can format my book for print.

5} There is no five, unless you dig Peanuts (yeah, another pop culture reference for ya to think about). Four is more than enough because to be brutally honest, do you really want to read about me prattling on and on and on and on and on about nothing at all?

So as not to end this on a downer, I bring you another commercial flashback from the 80's.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

May 6, 2014

To Recap The 2014 A-Z Blogging Challenge

I is back.

I had a wonderful weekend off, thanks for asking. Before getting back into the swing of things, I thought I would share of few thoughts and give a happy recrap (as Ralph Kiner once said) of the recently complete 2014 A-Z Blogging Challenge.

First off, I would like to thank all of my new readers, new passerbys and my faithful regulars for stopping by and/or putting up with my successful exercise in mental gymnastics for the month of April, as I really couldn't pull this off without your support.

And now, to the happy recrap.

I managed throughout the month of April to get a very nice uptick in traffic courtesy of my fellow bloggers and Facebook fans. Whether this stays the course remains to be seen, but am truly honored by the fact that my follower's list more than doubled from 12 to 27 last month.

For the most part, I managed to meet my modest goal of commenting on at least three new blogs per day for the majority of the challenge, although I did stumble a bit at the end. Also, I decided to do a little housecleaning on my blog subscriptions by terming out about a dozen or so blogs and replacing them with ones gleaned from the blogging challenge, which will eventually make their way into the reading list on the lower half of the front page.

Another thing on the plus side is that two of my posts (the letter L and the letter Q) were shared elsewhere, so I'm pretty happy about that. And you have to admit, the whimsy at letter W was one of my best flash horror in quite sometime.

Finally, I can honestly say that although I had a rockin' time doing this ginormous blogging challenge, I think this is going to be just one and done. I wanted to see if I had the patience and the stomach to actually see this challenge all the way through to the end, and ultimately, I did.

And that, my friends, is the happy recrap of the 2014 A-Z Blogging Challenge as it applies to this blog. Until next time, I leave you with yet another flashback.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

May 2, 2014


Hi there.

I decided to take a very brief break from blogging about the meaty juiciness that is my life and enjoy the late springtime weather that has recently cropped up here in Connecticut. So for today's post, I leave you a brief selection of videos.

One is from the early 90's band Living Colour. I happened to pick up their c.d. entitled "Stain" a few months ago, and while listening to it in my car this week, I came across this particular track that in today's "enlightened" climate, is about the best song out there that doesn't preach as it makes a point. Please note, there might be an objectionable word or two near the tail end of the song.

If Living Colour isn't your cup of tea, then I have for you one of my favorite summer time songs from the 80's band, The Hooters. No need to tell you the title as it has made a few appearance on my other blog over the years.

Have a fantastic weekend and I will return not quite bright eyed or bushy tailed on Monday, with a short post recapping the recently finished 2014 A-Z Blogging Challenge.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.