Irish Breakfast Tea with an preposterous amount of sugar in it.

That’s what’s hitting the spot right now.

Yesterday was a pretty good summer day. I went to work (seriously) and got some planning and such done. Then I met up with some friends and bought some acetone. (Nothing suspicious, I promise). Then I played about 3 hours of disc golf with the local club. I shot poorly and was attacked by gnats from the onset but it was still nice.

While driving home I saw the sun cast off light at those low angles that seem to land on your heart and not your skin. It was late in the day when the air decides that it can’t keep holding the heat inside and the temperature finally starts to drop. (Below 1 whole “Frick” unit). When the searing humidity drops you can smell the fresh cut grass and the magnolias in bloom. The sea breeze kicks up a little from the east and it carries the sounds of mockingbirds to your weary ears.

You know that feeling.

It’s got me in quite the introspective mood.

Oh, and that earth-shattering conversation I had with a friend a few days ago.

One of my closest friends called me only an hour or so after hanging out with me and began chewing me out for being a jerk the whole night toward him. Apparently my words (and they were few) were only filled with contempt and disdain toward him. He also pointed out to me that I had done this all night, not just to him, but in front of many of our other friends. He felt embarrassed, ashamed, and confused. When he called me I could feel the anger boiling through the phone.

So, what happened between us? Did he do something towards me and I felt I had to retaliate in some childish way? Nope. Did I make a decision to oust him as one of my closest people in my life because of a certain level of jealousy between us? No. Did I feel like ruining his life because of a weird and twisted love triangle? Not that either.

You want to know what lead him to telling me he was mere moments from never speaking to me again?

My sense of humor.

I know text doesn’t translate well into actual speech. I know personality doesn’t translate well either. You might assign a voice in your mind to my words. Maybe you imagine I sound like a cartoon character. A good humored and friendly voice that has a twinge of youth. You can tell I have a joke oriented presentation with an emphasis on self deprecation. Heck, with what you hear in your head, you might want to have a beer with me. And in certain groups, this tends to be true. (Except that beer tastes like fire urine)

But when I’m with people I’m close with, I take a more cynical and darker edge. I make some pretty dark jokes that can really catch the unsuspecting off guard. I’m also an expert at delivering everything with a straight face and a level of dryness that would make the Sahara look like a wading pool. It comes off, more times than not, as a cynical douchebag acting like…a cynical douchebag.

I was making fun of my friend (which only included a few dozen carefully chosen words) and it broke him down into a raving mad man. And I didn’t even say anything that would be considered offensive or outright unbecoming in terms of content. It’s how I said it.

The biggest problem here is that I didn’t see the effects my words were having. I had no idea. My best friend, whom asked me to be with him in his wedding, to help him grow as a human being, and to keep him level when things were shaky, was at wit’s end with me. I had spent countless hours with this guy, and I couldn’t even tell I was irking him. I couldn’t even tell he was upset when he left. I even thought he was joking when he called me and started destroying me with the truth.

Wow.

Some friend I am.

Since that conversation both me and him have patched things up but I’m still ashamed of what I have done. I can’t really look him in the eyes. What if he’s not the only one? What if I’ve been alienating all the people closest to me for years and just didn’t see it? What if they’re too afraid to say anything to me, fearing that I’ll just be extra crotchety towards them?

Would this explain why people around me don’t seem to stay around me? Does this explain why I’m considered a person that’s “hard to get sometimes”? Does this mean I repel people as they try to get closer to me?

But I think of one questions more than those.

“What kind of person am I and what kind of person do I want to be known as?”

That’s what keeps running through my mind.

I know what the advice is that you’d throw at me. “Hey, stop being a douche.”

I know, man…I know. It’s simple, it’s poignant, and it’s likely the course of action that needs to take place. I need to figure out other’s feeling before I blurt out “humor”. I need to check on people and make sure they know when something was a joke. (I’ve noticed sometimes I’ll say a “joke” and nobody laughs.)

So I’m working on it. I’m probably going to make some rounds to friends whom I fear I may have alienated. I might find out that I have been a jerk toward a lot of them and they can forgive me. I might find out that my buddy had a really off day and took a lot of stuff too personally. I might find a mixture of both.

Either way, I’m adding something to the Summer To Do’s List…

Be a Better Friend By Not Hurting People’s Feelings. (Yes, this sounds like something a kindergartner would have to write in an apology letter for pushing Timmy off the steps of the slide during recess but that’s just the situation I’m in right now.)

Now, on a lighter note, allow me to reiterate the pooping of the pants if the U.S. of A. can more forward in the World Cup today. Hopefully Ghana and Portugal tie with double goose eggs and the U.S. and Germany realize they’re BBF and just have passing drills for 90 minutes on the pitch. When the whistle blows they’ll trade very not sweaty jerseys and then they’ll have milkshakes afterwards.

I should also mention I’m going to buying paint for my new place in the next week. I’m pretty lost on how to chose those things…so any ideas are highly appreciated.

D.A.

I Almost Died Today

April 30, 2013

(Kinda sorta, but more of a statement of fact than fantasy)

I shall embellish as necessary. You know, for entertainment purposes. But I think as I write this I will end up being more truthful than anything.

SO THERE I WAS… learning how to play Earth, Wind, and Fire’s song September on guitar. (Yeah, specifically this song) And I hear a little bit o’ thunder in the background. But, hey, I pay no mind to a little thunder. I live in Florida after all, thunder is just as common as senior citizens driving golf carts and theme parks.

By the way, in order to get in the mood, you should listen to this as you read on.

So I keep groovin’ and the thunder keeps boomin’.

Now, I should preface everything I’m about to say with this statement. One of my biggest fears is severe weather and only in recent years (let’s say the past 7 or so) I’ve been able to quell the fear that surges through me when I hear the emergency alert system buzz. Since I’ve been living on my own I have not been in a severe weather event. So… this was a first for me. Facing a major fear while totally alone and helpless.

 

So, as I was saying, I kept playing.

For whatever reason I decided to glance out the window and see if it was even raining yet.

Yeah, quite a bit actually. And the wind was looking rather breezy.

This, in my mind, qualifies as a level 2 threat (on a scale of 1 to 10 of course). This means I pull up a website that has some current radar for my area.

“No biggie” I think to myself. “Tis but a sprinkle.” (Yeah, that’s how I talk to myself)

Then the webpage seems aglow with…colors. Like freaking Christmas trees colors. All of them on top of my homestead.

“Oh eff…” I say to myself (and yes, I say eff as a word, deal with it)

I turn on the T.V. and click to a local news station. I’m immediately bombarded with the familiar buzz of the EAS and it telling me, nay, SCREAMING at me, words I don’t want to see.

Tornado.

Looked and sounded a lot like this.

And my car isn’t even in the garage… MOTHER OF PEARL!

So I do what any responsible, conscientious, well thought out person would do. I put down my guitar, grabbed a pillow and stood in front of the T.V. like a moron.

Then I start to hear the rain start to roar, and my apartment (not homestead, sorry) starts to vibrate flood falling from above. I look outside and see how it’s near white outside with rain and the few trees I can see are whipping around as if they were some wet haired woman in a Whitesnake music video.

Oh boy.

So I put on some house slippers and begin to wonder if I should move to the closet or the bathroom (which is pretty much the same place). My panic stricken mind agrees that the best place would be the shower. More support in the walls as well as the tub to help with reinforcing me in place. (No basement and I live on the second story, I’m screwed no matter what).

So, I stand in the shower until I hear the roar of 1 inch thick hail pound on my windows, door, roof, (and my poor car). I even hear the whipping of the trees outside of my place shake violently.

This happens for about 45 agonizing seconds. In which time I said the foxhole prayer 3 times and started contemplating whether I should pull out my phone and record my last will and testament as I wait for the tornado to sweep me away to the land of Oz. I thought, “This is it D.A., you’re a gonner.”

It really started to sound like something from War of the Worlds was going on outside.

Then it stopped just as quick as it started.

Quivering, holding a small pillow, I stepped out of my tub and into the living room. The updated radar indicated it had passed overhead. I was in the clear.

I picked up the guitar again and played for another hour. Went to the store and picked up a steak. Cooked that steak with some green peppers and onions, with a baked potato on the side. I enjoyed every bite a little more knowing the chemicals in my brain still let me remember that I thought I was going to die on this day, April 30th, 2013.

Let’s recap what we should have learned from this experience.

1. I might want to take notice of the weather a little faster next time, juuuuust in case the giant swirly wind tube of destruction decides my presence is needed elsewhere.

2. I need to consider putting my car IN the garage when I know a storm might be a-brewin’.

3. I make tornadoes happen when I play Earth, Wind, and Fire on guitar.

 

Now, fear me.

D.A.

 

Dr. Phil’d

April 27, 2013

Tonight I drove home stuck in a very thoughtful mood. 

Actually, I drove home and ended up thinking about things I don’t usually think about too often and sort of talked about things (not out loud) that were going on in my life. I think I was my own little psychologist.

I guess you could say I Dr. Phil’d myself in the car. (And no, that’s not a euphemism for “I pooped myself while driving”; though it should be.)

I’m not sure if you get these moments as well.

This isn’t a super rare occasion for me either. Periodically I’ll  find myself feeling incredibly aware of how things in my life really are while I’m just cruising around by myself.  It’s sort of like getting a progress report on your life for that 20 minute car ride. Or maybe it’s my brain’s way of saying “hey, you need to download some updates right now.” It just helps me stay aware of who and what I am.

After that little drive I feel like I’m conscious of why I make/have made/will make the decisions I do/done/will do and it feels good. Makes me feel like I’ve still got autonomy in my life. I think I get some clarity at those times when I wasn’t really expecting it, but it’s greatly appreciated.

Overall, I felt that things were okay. I like my job. I don’t have any major health concerns I’m aware of. I get along with the people in my life. My closet doesn’t have any grotesquely large skeletons inside (except, of course, those of my enemies whom I have slain in battle), and I have money. Those things alone put me in a much better position than so many others.

Now, I’m not saying everything is perfect. Honestly, who could? I still wish my job stability was much more solid (teachers in the sunshine state are only hired on yearly contracts with no obligations to keep said teacher for any period of time beyond that contract). I would like to buy a house but I’m sort of dependent on that job situation. If I try to buy a house and then I get “bumped” from one school to another, would I even want to live in that home anymore if it was far away from my school? What if I simply don’t get rehired and I can’t find any open slots anywhere?

Another byproduct of the quiet ride home is looking as some of those more… troubling aspects of my past. I really look at those whom I’ve lost over the years. There are even some who just aren’t lost (meaning they’re still alive) they’ve just moved on in life to other places.

Still, considering those things, I’m happy. I’m glad I don’t have to walk 3 miles to the nearest “clean” water source. I’m thrilled I have a car that gets me where I need to be. I’m proud I can say I could potentially become a homeowner. I’m even joyed in the idea that I can live a simple enough life that I can share my little moment of existentialism with strangers staring at glowing screens from all across the globe.

I know that’s all kind of general and sappy, but it means a lot to write that down. Thanks for reading it if you did, fellow human. You’re special.

So what about you, where are you when the thoughtful mood strikes you?

D.A.

 

THE List

April 23, 2013

And yes, I wanted to make this clear that this isn’t just any list; it’s THE List.

This list will include items that I’m planning on adding to the docket for this summer. (That’s the 8 blissful weeks that I will not be working and hopefully making a full recovery from the school year.)

I shall also use this opportunity to explain my scheduling methodology with all of you. Feel free to use it.

It’s called … Pencil and Ink.

When things are penciled in it means they are scheduled to occur, but if something else comes up they can be shuffled into another time slot to fit my need. This means they have a 50% chance of occurring at their scheduled time, a 40% chance of happening at another time, a 9% chance of not happening at all, and a 1% of becoming the basis for me hurting myself in some embarrassing accident.

In no particular order:

1. Play video games. Urgency: Pencil

In particular I would like to purchase Bioshock Infinite and just spend a day exploring that world and probably getting frustrated/terrified. I would also like to find a day where I could get the largest number of people together to have a good old fashioned Halo LAN party. (If you’re in Florida, feel free to offer your Xbox/T.V./original copy of Halo)

2. Read. Urgency: Ink

That’s all. Just read. Hopefully lots. But reading is a must. It’s just got to happen. Hopefully every night before bed.

3. Sleep in. Urgency: Inky Ink.

I don’t even really have to plan this. It’s a certainty. You can bet the farm on this one.

4. Writing. Urgency: Ink from a permanent marker that was left in your pocket that you accidentally left in the wash. (You’ve been there)

It’s gots to happen Cap’n. Word? (Obviously I need to get back into the habit of writing in clearly written English as opposed to my life-on-the-streets manner.) But I would like to write (besides this blog) for at least an hour every day. Heck, I might even follow through with a promise I made to myself earlier in the year and actually do that summer version of NaNoWriMo. *But remember yesterday’s post about lies…*

5. Guitar Urgency: Ink from a squid

I recently purchased my first electric guitar and it is a dream come true. I’ll post some bragging photos of it soon enough. I should also mention that this purchase has helped me write my second song ever. That’s right, played gitfiddle for over 10 years now…and have only just written my second song. Sad? Yes. But we’re all weird in our own ways.

6. Magic: the Gathering. Urgency: Number 2 Pencil

This could happen just once over the summer and I’d be thrilled with it. It’s like brain food for me.

7. Board game night. Urgency: Golf Pencil

Because who doesn’t like board games?

8. Decide if I’m going to buy a house or rent for another year. Urgency: Still don’t know but I suppose it has to be Ink.

Put this hear almost as a reminder to myself for a later date.

9. Buy new music. Urgency: Pencil (likely not sharpened enough)

It’ll happen when it happens. But every summer has a distinct sound for me. Some albums help to define what that year will be remembered as. Maybe I’ll write another time that will tell you what each season is represented by in my car’s CD player.

10 Spend one whole day in my underwear. Urgency: Pencil

Why? Because I’ve never done it before. It’s a personal challenge to myself to make me think I could actually pull this off. Stop judging me…you know you want to do the same.

11. Make some silly videos. Urgency: Pencil but underlined in ink.

This is just too much fun for me and I’m sure me and some friends will end up doing it at some point. Just hope they will have the same amount of free time as I will.

12. Apply for a passport. Urgency: Ink (but possibly the erasable kind)

It’s something I should have done long ago. I’m not sure how I’ll end up traveling all around the world without one. Especially when I’m going to be hired as the new personal assistant to the Secretary of State. I’m positive he wouldn’t mind if I spent a whole day in my underwear either.

13. Move some more marbles. Urgency: Pencil (but could be a colored pencil)

I’ll try trumping them up here soon enough. (But seriously, if you live in a country outside the U.S. I might be interested to mail you a marble for the sake of mailing you a marble.)

14. Exacting my revenge. Urgency: Ink

This is already happening. To whom is a non-issue for you. Unless, of course, you are the person in which the vengeance e will be coming to. In which case I highly advise that you get to cover and start praying. Oh…if you only knew of my plans.

15. Preparing for next school year. Urgency: Disappearing Ink

This is a must in the summer. I need to prepare better. If not I will likely drown by November.

16. Take my Pops out to the movies. Urgency: Ink

People should be nice to their parents more often, right?

Annnnnd….that will probably be my entire summer.

So what are you penciling in or inking in this summer?

D.A.

Characterization of Myself

December 31, 2012

If I were to appear as a character in a novel (or any other work of fiction for that matter) I think I would be described as wearing one T-shirt.

It would be this one:

jademeridian 009

That shirt right there defined me for about 7 years of my life. By my gross estimation I have probably worn it over 700 times. It’s now gotten to the point where the material is thin and the art is faded. The shirt has shrunk about half a size in the arms and stretched nearly half a size in the torso. Its solid blue hue is stained with areas of favorite meals and exciting trips. If my memory serves me correctly there’s probably a hole in the right armpit.

I knew it had to be retired after it started to develop a smell. The moment any water touched it it made me smell like a sweaty teenager just getting back from 4th period gym class. So I gave it a permanent home in a nice little T-shirt case where it will rest in all its glory for ever and ever. (That is, if I can find a place I would like to hang it)

There were times when this shirt was worn as a badge of pride. There were instances when it was worn as a jersey for a soccer team. I think I even let a friend borrow it once. No matter the manner in which it was seen it is very important for you to understand that this piece of cloth was my identifying characteristic for so long.

If I were a cartoon, I would wear this every episode.

So what’s the story behind it?

It’s a T-shirt from a band called Jade Meridian. Haven’t heard of them? I hadn’t either until I saw them play about 45 minutes before the band I really wanted to see went on stage. So I listened to them and applauded…only hoping that it would make them feel like they had done a good enough job to finish up and start things up with the next band.

The band that followed them was called Zao. You don’t need to know much about them other than this. It was basically the same band. It had the same people on drums, guitar, bass. Only difference was they had a different lead singer (guitarist just sang). They also didn’t play the more hardcore metal Zao did and stuck with more of a sorta indie rock thing.

It was my first real “show” I had been too. (The quotes have been added because if ask any youth of today they don’t say “concert”, they say “show”. It’s hip. I’m hip. So I use those words.) It was actually the first metal concert I had ever attended. I was thrilled. I was confused. I was tiny in a sea of humans that wear at least 6 inches taller than me. I was a little terrified of the pushing that was happening and there wasn’t even a song playing.

The noises…the crowd…the all-around coolness of everybody involved with the “show”. The thoughts are flowing back to me and I’m getting shivers.

I about pooped myself when Zao (my favorite band at the time) finally took stage. They destroyed our senses in more capacities than I realized they could and went away. Our bleeding ears and watery eyes thanked them.

After the near-pooping experience was finished I did what any newly indoctrinated metal fan would do. I went to go buy “merch” from the band in their little kiosk area. (Yes, “merch” is also the cool cat version of saying “merchandise”. And since I’m a cool cat I use the phrase. Liberally.)

So I made my way over to the kiosk and get to say the same thing that everybody else was telling those sweaty musical gods.

“Hey man…great show.”

Yeah, we weren’t very creative.

Their response was just as enthralling.

“Yeah. Thanks.”

So I find some shirt I want and try to hand the guitarist my money. He turns on his salesmanship and begins telling me that I would save money on the Zao shirt if I also purchased a Jade Meridian shirt. This didn’t make sense to me, but since he had just melted my face off with his sick guitar chops (the hip lingo returns and you know why) I couldn’t really bring myself to disagree with him. I also didn’t want to tell him I didn’t really want a shirt from a band I didn’t particularly enjoy.

I knew they were just guys that were trying to make a living doing something I admired and wished I could do. I also felt like they were really good at it. So why not? Right?

So I bought both shirts.

I bought the blue one. And the blue one just happened to have guitars (Gibson Flying V guitars) in a shape that resembles the Walt Disney logo. (I should also mention that one of my least favorite guitars is the Gibson Flying V).

Despite all these factors working against it…I wore that shirt. I wore it more than I should have. And I don’t really regret it.

I think I was one of my most commonly worn shirts when I played my own “shows” with my own band back in the day…(That’s right, I got to be the same guy  that got to sell “merch” at his own band’s table. I got the same chance to have the riveting conversations of “Hey man, great show.” followed up with the “Yeah bro, thanks.”

Ahh…the circle of life.

So here’s the part where I tell you the whole lesson behind the story of the shirt.

My shirt represents how decisions you’ve made that may not be popular could end up being decisions that define who you are. They can sometimes stick with you the way an old T-shirt clings to you. It’s familiar and comfy, but only after you’ve had it for a time and broken it in.

Yeah…that’s sounds good.

So, do you have any neat stories about anything you’ve acquired in your life that just seem to stick around and help define you? If you do, then you know what to do. Write your own post about it. Make it better than this one. Also, you could comment down below. If you don’t, then I suggest looking up a local band in your area and buying a T-shirt. It might just be worth it.

D.A.

 

 

Year One

May 15, 2012

Hey everybody.

It’s me, Douglas. I’m the guy who usually writes this blog. Actually, I’m the only guy who writes this blog but lately I haven’t because I’m a lazy bum. A tired and tried lazy bum. A man who’s seen the end of his rope in terms of energy usage and he has just allowed this place to collect a weird smell. The same weird smell that sticks to your clothes after you pull them out of storage from the winter. Or maybe it’s closer to the smell found in old china cabinets filled with your grandmother’s old thimbles.

I’m writing right now (despite all my glorious bumminess) because today is a special day. Today marks the one year anniversary of me starting this blog.

Huzzah!

Bookforme was created to serve as a tool so I could practice the art of writing fiction. I wanted to learn how to write something well enough to hold people’s attention as well as serve as a creative outlet for myself. So far, I think I’ve been able to reach these goals.

Now, if you remember, the main goal of me doing this is to write a book. Not to publish a book. Not to get recognized for my writing. Not to begin slipping into the infinite vastness that is the internet. But simply to write a book.

I haven’t done this yet. But I at least feel a little bit more capable of reaching this goal.

Actually, I feel so confident in this goal that I plan on participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Everybody always refers to it. Every says they love it. So I will mindlessly follow hundreds of thousands of others into the front lines of writing novels in the month of November. Wish me luck. It may be my first novel. (I say may because I could fall short of this goal…which is familiar territory for me.)

Other things have certainly changed in my life as I’ve been writing on here as well. I graduated school. I got a job. I got a haircut. I attempted to build a lamp. I started sending marbles around the world. I missed a lot of self-made deadlines for silly goals. I even developed a short lived crack addiction and was invited to join the cast of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

Okay, I made that last part up.

It was meth…and I wasn’t invited on the show…

But despite all those silly things I would just like to write one sincere and complete message for you Dear Reader.

It’s all your fault. Yes, you. Put down that drink and read this! It’s your fault! You did this to me!

You made me feel comfortable writing and that let me feel entitled to write more and more. Your positive comments have only helped push me deeper into this realm, and now I fear there is no turning back. Your kind words and support my have ruined me…

And since I’m having so much fun doing this I just wanted to say thanks. Really. You small band of silly subscribers are the reason why I keep coming back to this place and writing guilt-ridden posts about why I’m not entertaining you as often as I should.

Thank you.

I mean it.

But just saying thank you isn’t enough. I want to give credit where credit is due. Some of you have put up with my self obsessed ramblings for far too long.

Some of the following blogs are made by people that I really admire. They are also people whom I personally feel are responsible for me wanting to do a good job whenever I post something on here. I have and will always look up to them. They are the standard by which I judge myself. If you have ever at any point thought that my ramblings have gotten better (or worse) over time, then you should look in the direction of these people who are directly responsible for molding me into what I am today.

Please support them by clicking their name and giving their stuff a look-n-see. They’re all wonderful and they all do a much better job than I do. I promise that any kind words I say about them were are not exaggerated nor were they bought with bribe money. (Well, okay, not MUCH bribe money…but a guy’s got to put food on the table somehow.)

Still Growing – If my memory serves correctly, she was the first person to begin following my blog. Whether she did it out of pity or interest means nothing, all that matters is that she is an author that I look up to in more ways than one. Her insight and honesty is unfounded and I hope you read her blog and feel the same connection I do whenever I read any of words. She can craft words to make you giggle or cry(and as a man I feel no regrets admitting that ). She can also run a pretty well oiled machine over there. If you read her stuff you will not regret it.

Fish of Gold – This is one of the most interesting people I have come across here on WordPress. Actually, if I knew her in person I would probably think she is the most interesting person I’ve ever met in general. She isn’t afraid to take on any topic and she is always willing to throw down her viewpoint. She’s also sharper than a double edged axe. This makes her wildly entertaining. She is also a professional in the quality of her words and she’s so subtle about it you hardly even notice it.  Plus she does a lot of lists…and I’m a sucker for lists.

Frank C. Bishop – This guy. This guy comes across as a real guy just being a guy. He is genuine and funny. He has his finger on the pulse of pop culture which always results in something great for you. Funny. Smart. Topical. Who wouldn’t like that combination? So…go ahead…click it. You know you want to. (He hasn’t posted in a while because he’s all married and stuff now, but he’ll be back.)

Excerpts From Non-existent Books – This is one of my favorite blogs because this librarian is capable of telling a better story in 200 words than I could in 2,000. All he does is create short excerpts from novels that don’t actually exist. Actually, he writes each piece so well that I’m certain he’s hardly a human being at all. My best guess is super writing cyborg from the future…This is what writing talent looks like.

Covers and Content – This is a personal friend of mine who is wildly creative as well as wildly Swedish. Her writing is astounding, her art is mesmerizing, and her blog is young. She makes my attempts at writing look like they were written by a drunken polar bear and my attempts at art look like they are as creative as a slice of moldy bread. Go support her and help her expose the world to her wonderful creations.

Snotting Black – This lady right here is the real deal. So real that I’m going to give her to official title of “The Real Freakin’ Deal”. She’s funny. Not funny like I just saw some uncle slip into the lake while watching American’s Funniest Videos, but funny like… like…like a good writer that knows how to write comedy and can actually hold your attention. She’s self-deprecating to the point of making your self-defecating. She’s so funny you’ll poop yourself. No lie. Reader beware, you will ruin your shorts if you click that link.

If there are some you reading this who are slightly offended because I didn’t include you on my list, please remember that I only take checks and cash for bribes. If you tried using the Paypal account your money did not get to me it actually went to a prince in Africa.

And to cap things off I just want to reiterate my thanks for you readership/participation in this whole thing. This year has been wonderful to share with you. I hope many more years come after this one. I also hope that you stick around too. I’m going to do my best to finally accomplish my goal this year and after that all bets are off.

Thanks again,

D.A.

Into The Fire

April 24, 2012

Occasionally, the world seems to crash down around you. Other times it seems to put itself on your shoulders like an ugly sweater made of lead. And sometimes the world just keeping poking you until you yelp out in pain, then it keeps poking.

Different people deal with stress relief differently. Some people have to surround themselves with friends. Sometimes people need to be alone.

Most of the time, I’m the person that needs to be alone.

Even if I got in an argument with somebody or I had to make a very heavy decision, I would need to chill out.

Actually, I would need to look into the fire.

I mean this both literally and metaphorically.

Literally, starting into fire is a comforting thing to do. Almost any fire will work but most of the time it should be a campfire. A fireplace would suffice as well. As long as it has an orange flicker and wiggles as it destroys something it’ll work.

Why fire? Well, it’s pretty simple. Men like myself have always stared at fire. Way back in the day when humans were wearing loin cloths and banging rocks together men still stared into the fire. It’s a beautiful thing. The flames seem to draw you in. It’s relaxing.

It also means I can focus on the fire. I can let it cook my thoughts away. Not permanently however, only for a short period of time. As soon as that flame goes out, I focus back on the situation that put me there.

But at least I was able to take my brain off the topic for that little bit.

Metaphorically, looking into the fire could be a way of refining or cleansing my mind. It burns away all the underbrush so it will prevent a much larger fire from starting. Inside of just being a small fire in a confined area, it would spread to the entire forest. This is like a little disturbance messing with my head but later spreading to insert itself into my heart and personality.

We all need to let things burn away every now and again.

If some of these thoughts made you say something like “Wow, this guy’s really saying something here.” then you probably need to stop. I’m not really saying it. It sort of stolen from this couple who writes books for couples and relationships. The book I’m referencing is called Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Read Maps. The people who wrote it are Barbara and Allan Pease.

No, I didn’t read this book, only heard some people today talk about the subject of it. And it sort of makes sense to me right now.

Sometimes I just want to get away from everything, not just people, but from my brain as well. And just like a child being distracted by shiny keys I get distracted by fire.

Of course this doesn’t HAVE to be fire. It could be working out in a wood shop or just browsing the clearance section at Books-A-Million. Either way, I don’t have to talk to anybody, I can just focus on the pretty colors of the covers and move on to the next.

I think this explains my weekly ritual of going to the comic shop every Friday after work.  I unwind by just looking at the same comics that were on the wall last week. I don’t call anybody after work and ask them if they want to take the 25 mile drive just to got buy 8 bucks worth of comics.

And nobody in the store really questions why I’m there. They know I’ll talk when I’m ready.

It’s good to know what my fire is.

D.A.

 

5 Days

April 17, 2012

Wow. Holy smokes. Hot cheetoes and rice.

Five days since my last post. It’s almost like I relapsed. I got a whiff of the laziness and I just fell back into the old habit. It has been so long since any original content on here I think my little red moon has some cobwebs around it. You see that?

I guess it hasn’t all been laziness. A good portion of it can be blamed on the increased workload toward the end of the year. For example:

FCAT.

No, I’m not incorrectly cursing about a cat. It’s the state mandated test that occurs in every school in the state of Florida. This week is offically known as FCAT week.

This means kids take a two hour long test on Monday and Tuesday. Then the school scrambles to make sure that every kid who missed taking it on those days end up taking it on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. If they don’t take the test, they fail the test. If they fail the test, they can’t graduate. Luckily this test is given to the 10th graders. So they got 2 more years to make it up. (That happens the week before FCAT Week).

So, this also means the normal hours of the day change. Kids are shuffled around and classes are shorter. Not to mention, we all know kids who just took the test as tired from taking one of the most important tests of the school year. So your day for teaching new material is pretty much shot.

Then I’m getting kicked out of my room for the Wednesday/Thursday Panic-and-make-sure-everybody-has-been-tested days-so-we’re-going-to-steal-your-classroom-all-day sort of thing. That means tomorrow and Thursday I will be in a room other than my own. That also means 12 kids will probably not remember I told them to go to a different room tomorrow. Which means many kids are going to get tardies (teacherism) for not showing up to class on time.

Since I’m in a different room (with a shorter class period might I add), the kids will be distracted and won’t want to learn.

So it’s an uphill battle all week. A guy can’t win.

Oh, and in three weeks the kids take their End Of Course Exams. This exam determines if they pass the class or not. And yes, it occurs four weeks BEFORE the class offically ends.

So what do we do for those four weeks after the class material has all been taught?

I dunno…ask me in about four weeks.

D.A.

Have you ever read a story that’s so good you it just seems to take over your life? The story puts itself into your mind and you can’t let it go. It’s those books you just can’t put down. It’s those books that make you tear up at the end.  It makes a mark in your life in a way that you will never forget. If you’re an writer/author you have probably felt this at least once in your life.

Moments like that make you want to let other people experience the same thing by reading your own writing. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog. I wanted to write things that not only entertain people, but make an impact on people’s lives.

I can confidently say that since I’ve been running this thing I’ve been given the opportunity to experience that ten-fold. I really feel blessed throughout this entire experience. Not only have I written the stories that change people, but I have also been changed by those stories in the loving responses I have receive from them.

That’s why what I have to say right now is something that I say with a heavy heart…

Today will be my last day running this blog. 

Bookforme will be no more. It will, however, be taken over by another person whom I have tapped to become the next bookforme blogger. It’s going to be an awesome young woman named Jessica “Jessie” Gainer. I’m sure sometime within the next few days you’ll be hearing from her as she introduces herself to all of you. Please treat her with the love, attention, and respect you have treated me with for the long time we’ve had together.

It took me a couple of weeks to reach this decision. It was hard. But I think it’s going to be for the best.

The reason for my departure is because I have concerns in other parts of my life that will be needing my full and undivided attention.

I have taken up another job. That’s right. I am now officially a published author. I know I didn’t share this with all of you, but I have been typing away at my novel since I first started this blog. Back in October I got a callback from some of the lovely people over at HarperCollins.

They read my novel and felt like they wanted to publish it. (The whole thing is a completely surreal experience, trust me).

So you can expect for the novel to come out on June 1st, 2012 (this year!!!). It will be called Speaking of Time.

Now that I’ve told you this…I guess it’s time for me to revel my true identity to you…

My real name is not D.A. Bancroft. It is Phillip Dalton. I know that’s not as fancy of a name as D.A. Bancroft…but it’s the name that came to me at the time.

From this time forward I will be running press junket and some speaking arrangements as colleges and libraries all around the country.   If you want to meet me…I guess that would be your perfect opportunity. I know the itinerary isn’t posted anywhere right now, but if you keep checking HarperCollins.com you will be able to see it.

But this last post shouldn’t be about me promoting my new book Speaking of Time that will be released on JUNE 1st 2012 in major retail bookstores everywhere. It should be about me saying goodbye in the most classy way I know how.

So you remember how I mentioned how I wanted to write those stories that stuck with you? That made an impact on your life? I think those are those little opportunities for us to learn something. Maybe when we put those books down we become better people. I think some of us grow a lot from reading.

So in a way, each good ending to a book is like a new beginning in your own life. We get a new perspective on the world around us.

Now for some last minute housekeeping. Jessie, the girl that will be running this blog, will likely be making a few changed around here. To be honest I think they are going to be significant. I’m pretty sure (based on my last conversation with her) that she wants this place to become more like a social news site.

She says her biggest interests are Justin Beiber and Flowers. So you’ll probably see a lot of those around here.

In the meantime…I’ll be lavishing in my pool of money that I have been advanced for my novel. (A solid $600,000)

I’m rich now. 

Goodbye forever,

Phillip Dalton (formerly known as D.A. Bancroft)

A Letter (if you will)

March 21, 2012

I live in the southeastern U.S. 

When you’re driving down the road you can really tell. Not only are we incredibly flat and chock full of pines/oaks/and scrub brush (I speak for Florida), but we have some common roadside attractions. You can’t really go by many major intersections where you don’t find somebody trying to sell something (beef jerky is very common). You also find a Publix grocery store on most corners. BBQ restaurants are a common (and delicious) site. One may also noticed that they will drive by a huge number of churches.

All the church denominations are represented, but Baptist/Southern Baptist/Church of God are usually the most common.

Many of them share something else in common.

The signs out front.

As a Christian I see what they’re trying to do. Reach out to anybody who just manages to pass by. If you see something funny written (or an attempt at humor) then maybe you’ll think they’re a church full of funny people who will make you feel welcome if you walk in through the doors on Sunday morning. Or maybe you’ll scare people into thinking that they need to consider where they’re going to go when they die.

This is advertising. And I have a problem with advertising church. Not because I think it’s a crime against what God wants for us to do. Advertising isn’t inherently a bad thing. I just think it’s so ineffective that it ends up hurting a church more times than not.

But we live in a culture where advertising is so common place it rarely fails to make any clear impact on people who view it.

Some churches have the mindset of “Let’s reach out to the non-Christians and show them the way.”

This is the group of people that will put up a sign that says, “Live this day as if it were your last.” or “The end is nigh.” (I’ve never seen that last one, but you get my point). This group believes that they will only reach out to people if they point out that they are sinners and should be inside this church getting saved. (Ironically enough there is nobody inside the church at the time you pass this place by because it’s not Sunday or Wednesday, so good luck getting help with that)

The people who put up this sign probably think they are making an impact in the world. They’re not. I think they have the same mindset as the soapbox preacher.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that churches that advertise like this are only reaching out in this way because they didn’t have a congregation member brave enough to stand on the street corner.

It all boils down to the idea of preaching hell fire and brimstone, of which I’m a staunch opponent.

I always thought that the bible tells us to share the gospel to those who don’t believe. The “good news”. Nobody wants to here that they’re going to die and then be tormented for eternity. And they especially don’t want to hear anything about this if they don’t believe it to be true anyway.

What’s the solution? Well I’ll tell you.

Try actually talking to people.

Getting to know them.

Advertising on a sign isn’t the way to spread the Word of God. Word of mouth is the best advertising you can get.

Do good things church. Just go out there and do good things. Lots of them. Not enough to stretch out everybody’s ability to do them. Do enough to make an impact.

Signs on churches should read: “Free dinner every weeknight from 5 – 7 p.m.” or “Food bank open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Everyday.” and maybe “Need somebody to talk to? Somebody is here from 1 – 3 p.m. every day.”

Somebody may actually read that and put themselves in hands and care of a church. Then the church can do exactly what it was ordained to do. Help those in need. Reach out and care.

Like I mentioned above, I have a problem with people advertising church. I don’t have a problem with people advertising what a church can do to help you out. It’s advertising a real service the church is providing for the community around it. Something anybody could be interested in, even if they don’t believe. Even if they’ve already been burned by a church before.

Now all we have to do is make sure churches are healthy enough on the inside so they can be capable of doing these things to edify the Church….

I’m done ranting,

D.A.

P.S. – I probably misspelled “churches” every time I tried spelling it. Today I learned that I have a problem of putting “r’s” before “u’s”.