Thursday, December 10, 2009

Common Academic Writing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

by: Terence Reed

You can never write a successful academic essay until and unless your revise it properly. There could be several mistakes while writing an academic paper which could be easily checked while revising. These mistakes are often spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, typographical mistakes or semantic errors. It is important to understand that writing a language is far different than speaking it.

Let us have a look at some common mistakes in writing an academic paper:

• Spelling Mistakes:

Due to the mobile messaging culture, enormous changes in spelling of words have come in front, for example typing “U” instead of “you”. We should be careful enough to spell words accurately while writing a formal essay or all sorts of academic papers. It is better not to rely on the software’s spell check. Revision and correction of spellings is the only way-out to successful academic writing.

• Grammatical Mistakes:

We often fail to describe the main idea because of the use of wrong tense. The reason behind this mistake is a broader view of topic. While mentioning this information we make shifts in action which confuses you in selecting a particular verb tense. To avoid such grammar mistakes, always use basic verbs and keep control of the flow of your paper.

• Typographical Mistakes:

These types of mistakes are very complicated to find in the academic writing. We make such mistakes while typing for example typing “Then” instead of “Than”. Even typing software is sometimes unable to find these mistakes. Make it your habit to revise every paragraph to avoid typographical mistakes.

• Relying on Spelling Software:

An intelligent and quality academic writer will never rely on the spelling software because sometimes this software will not be able to check all sorts of mistakes properly. Only a human eye is efficient enough to check all the grammar mistakes. Always revise your paper yourself instead of relying on the spell check software.

By keeping these mistakes in mind while writing academic papers and the solutions discussed above to these problems would help you in refraining from such mistakes. In this way you can write better and quality academic papers with no errors at all.



About The Author

Terence Reed is an Academic Writing Specialist, working with a2zEssays (http://www.a2zessays.com/)to serve a diverse body of students with their term papers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Books on War

With the war in Afganistan seeing an increase of 30,000 troops, I thought it might be timely for a review of books on the subject of War.  After 8 years in Iraq and Afganistan and the possibility of Iran or Pakistan being involved in the future, knowledge is power.

Aside from books of a historical perspective, other main topics would include strategy & tactics of warfare, armaments, & leadership.

This brief list barely scrathes the surface of books on the subject. Public and University Libraries would have hundreds on the subject, as well as Amazon.com

The Art of War - by Sun tzu Ping Fa

 The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A - by William L Shirer

 Principles of War - by Carl von Clausewitz

 War Strategy and Intelligence - by Michael I Handel

 A History of Warfare - by John Keegan

 Robert E. Lee on Leadership: Executive Lessons in Character, Courage, and Vision - by H. W. Crocker III

 Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad - by William Craig

 Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs - by Adrienne Mayor

Monday, November 30, 2009

I Dream of Mars

I dream of Mars. Since I was a young boy reading science fiction, I have dreamed of going to, and living on Mars. Fueled by books and movies, news reports of space probes, my interest in Mars has never wavered.

My first career choice was Astronaut. I went to college originally in Aerospace Engineering for two years at the University of Colorado, Boulder. However, in my freshman year my vision degraded below acceptable Air Force Standards and I changed majors, but my interest in space and Mars, has remained high.

Many books have been written about Mars from Edgar Rice Burroughs to Greg Bear, and I have read most of them over the years. Here is a brief list of books,  which I consider the most interesting.


The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury
The War of the Worlds - H G Wells
A Princess of Mars - Edgar Rice Burroughs
Moving Mars - Greg Bear
Mars - Ben Bova
Return to Mars - Ben Bova
Red Mars - Kim Stanly Robinson
Mars Life - Ben Bova
Mars Crossing - Geoffrey A. Landis
The Day the Martians Came - Frederik Pohl
The Empress of Mars - Kage Baker
Blood Red Sphere - Lawrence Barker

And of course dozens of others, read by me in the last 50 years!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Latest Read: "Blood Colony" , by Tananarive Due

Sort of interesting plot and subject, "Blood Colony" is what I would call African-American Science Fiction.  The premise is that an African, 2000 years ago receives the majic "living blood" of Christ, drained from him at the crucifiction.  This living blood cures disease and give immortality.  Unfortunately there is a second group of evil whitemen from Rome who also have the blood, and want to destroy the black folks who have it.  Uh huh.

Evidently, this is the third novel on the subject, and combines a lot of historical and biblical history  woven into the plot.

Overall, I liked it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Last Weeks Reads

"The Empress of Mars", by Kage Baker

"Storm Cycle", by Iris Johansen

"Terminal Freeze", by Lincoln Child

"Outdoor survival Guide", by Randy Gerke

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Creative Writing Techniques

by TRACEY TRESSA



Creative writing is one of the easiest forms of literature. You can write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, basically anything goes. Anyone can learn to write creatively. However there are some creative writing techniques to keep in mind that will help make writing easier for you.


Some of the most important techniques for writing are; point of view, dialogue, flashbacks, foreshadowing, and description.

Point of view is important because you need to pick how you are relaying the story. Are you going to have a narrator? Who will it be? Will it be an omniscient character? Will you tell your story in third person, first person?

Before you begin to write your short story or novel, it's essential to establish who the main characters are and how the story will be relayed.

Most creative writing stories have dialogue. This is where one or more characters are needed. Think of using inner dialogue to convey your characters thoughts, and think of conversations that will help move your story along. It's smart to keep dialogue fast flowing and natural, and it needs to serve a purpose. If you just have talking to talk, the reader will quickly get bored.

Flashbacks are a great way to explain something in the past while keeping your story in the present. Flashbacks are usually used when something happened in the characters past that's important to the story. If it's not useful, don't mention it.

Foreshadowing is similar to flashback, but it deals with the future. Foreshadowing is used when you want to hint about something that may happen in the future. Many authors use subtle hints to keep the reader engaged and to hint at a certain outcome or event in the future.

The last important technique when creative writing is description. Description is needed to build the mood, setting and timeline. This technique is tricky because you need to know when it's too much description and not enough.

By mastering these writing techniques, your writing will be a lot more polished, and you may be closer to landing a publishing contract.

Good luck.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sarcasm......The Ultimate Humor!

Basic research is what I'm doing, when I don't know what I'm doing.

Don't trust anything that bleeds for 5 days and doesn't die.

I intend to live forever - so far, so good.

I like work, It fascinates me! I can sit and look at it for hours.

I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather... not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

I'm not sure what's wrong... But it's probably your fault!

Join the Army, meet interesting people, kill them.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak.

Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.

Sometimes I just sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.

Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.

The number one problem in our country is apathy, but who cares!

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Scents Bring Inspiration For Writing

by: Thomson Chemmanoor


Inspirational writing is a part and parcel of the art of writing. Inspiration is indeed needed for writing. Without any inspiration, it is quite difficult to get ideas and thoughts to write. This is more so for articles or written matter that is more dependent on imagination, than facts. So follow these tips to get some hints on the secret of inspirational writing!

Whenever you feel stressed out or blocked while writing, it is most important to perhaps go for a short break or have a change of scenery. This helps a lot as the mind feels diverted, and refreshed, to start afresh on your writing, and thus produce inspirations for your writing! If you have the habit of typing your first drafts, it is better to hand write them for a change. Feel the difference once the ink of the pen melts into the paper while you let your creativity flow! Inspiration abounds here.

If you feel too stressed or tired of writing, flip through magazines and books. This is because the colors and ideas found in the magazines provide inspiration to spark your attitude. The colors blue and green greatly reduce your stress levels by thirty percent or more, and thus provide scope for inspirational writing. Aromatherapy is great for providing inspirations to you. To do this, you have to add strong scents to the room with lightly scented candles or perhaps take a stroll down to a store that is heavily scented. Or else, find an orange or strawberry, and smell it. The smell is certain to bring about a change in your mood and trigger inspiration in you. All this is possible because smells have always been known to awaken the creativity in you and also trigger memories of stories from the past. These old stories can provide the base for your new stories!

For real life inspiration, you may also try seeing or renting an inspirational movie during your relaxation time. Take a notebook along too if required to record the inspirational phrases in the movie. You can then later pen down thoughts related to these inspirational phrases. Reading poetry is also known to help spark creativity in you. The rhymes and wordings kindle memories and inspiration for the author in you. Reading books too help in this way. It’s hard to believe, but just looking at bold and bright colors for a few minutes too provides the necessary inspiration for you to write! This is because these colors change your mood, and thus makes you more relaxed to think up something to write upon. Change your vibration energy by doing something to switch yourself into high gear. Try taking a shower, going for a walk or turning on the music and dancing naked for a while! All these movements are sure to give you some inspiration to think of and to write about.

Talking with friends about the topic you are writing about also brings out some inspiration in you as it helps in fleshing out ideas and creativity in you. You could perhaps record your conversation, with their permission, and then play it back later to check the nuances that you may have missed. If you have no close friends near you, you could always write an email to your friend, wherever he is, to tell him /her what exactly you intend to accomplish. And that you are stuck and need some inspiration for moving on in your writing. You are sure to get an answer for the email, to help you in your writing. If you have the financial capacity, you could always get a virtual assistant to do the typing for you so that you are free to draw inspiration from the surroundings to continue your writing. You could perhaps fax your writing, or dictate the matter into the computer and then send the voice file for transcription.

God always provides us with inspiration in whatever we do. So to rekindle this inspiration, it is quite beneficial to go to the church for the noon service and whisper a prayer or two. You are sure to feel your energy reconnected with the universe to help you replenish whatever it is that might be missing. Keeping the thought of being grateful for whatever it is that you have, and not for what you are missing, gives you inspiration too. This is because you learn to appreciate what you have, and don’t feel dejected. Dejection tends to lead to depression, and depression, means no completion of your writing! Laugh, and the world laughs, it is often said. And how true it is. Some authentic, raw laughter really frees the psyche, to start the inspiration and creativity wheel moving!

If you are used to writing in a quiet place, make a change and go to a noisy place, like McDonald’s to write. This is because once the place is noisy, you tend to need more concentration and inspiration to go on with the writing process. On the contrary, going for a long, quiet and leisurely drive while listening to your favorite CD too helps to provide inspiration. Sing out of tune, for the sake of relaxing, and see how much inspired you can get! Use your creativity, and your inspiration, to produce a piece of writing that is very much interesting and beneficial for all to read!

About The Author


Thomson Chemmanoor is a webmaster and a search engine optimization expert who operates the following websites http://www.website-promotion-expert.com, http://www.digitallabz.com and http://www.articlenetworks.com..

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Reader for Life

by GEORGE DAIPAN


I have never really acquired the habit of what had become for me a very interesting pursuit of reading not until the second half of the year 1981.I remember it well. I am 13 years old and was then in my second year of high school. It's still so clear to me the first time I saw that book. A book that was supposed to be for elementary pupils.I still remember, it was a tattered book, worn out from many years of use.

Sitting on the doorway of my auntie's little house, the door leading to a three-steps wooden stairs with my feet resting on the last upper step - I began to read that book. It was a book of Filipino legends. I remember reading about " Mariang Makiling," a story of an enchanted lady who are said to be inhabiting a mountain that's named after her in a province we call, Laguna. There was also the story of " Bernardo Carpio," a Filipino version of Hercules. Another is "Biag ni Lam-ang," an epic tale that has its origin in the northern parts of Luzon particularly the Ilocos region. So goes a seemingly endless stream of stories and legends that had also fascinated many an elementary pupils before me. I was hook!

Reminiscing, I have no recollection of reading before that. Reading that is now become a habit, an interest, and something that you do,not because others tell you to like the teachers to their pupils. That you read because you truly desire it, that you truly want it. An interest that is now become an integral part of your life. Something you loved.

And so began my love affair with books. From that very first book i never look back except to give thanks about that time that I began to see the infinite value a habit of reading could actually do to ones life. History books not few, detective stories, science fiction, fantasy books, health books, literature and anything that could satiate my desire to know things and be informed. And what more with the advent of the internet. Now literary thousands upon thousands of books and information made available with just a click of the mouse. Reading materials one could readily access like this one now being written. There is one book that is top of my list. The Bible, which I call the manual of life although it's more than that. Of all the books I have read, this is the only book I have already read for about six times. And still my seventh is undergoing. What a wealth of truth we could received from this book. Wealth that is not just for this present life but most significant, for that one that is to come.

This is now the story that had began with just that one book. One story that is still ongoing, for I would truthfully say, that whether it be the books that had been said above, or the unimaginable vastness of the internet, or the saving truths of the Bible..I had become one - a reader for life.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This Weeks Reads:

OK, strange as it may seem, I read three novels this week. Not much good on broadcast TV.....haha! They are: "The Shimmer" by David Morrell. A sci-fi type of mystery based on actual occurances in West Texas, as mysterious lights and a government cover up holds one's attention.

"Worst Nightmares" by Shane Briant. A really creepy story about an author who commits plagiarism with a strange diary left in his mailbox as his next "break through" novel about a sick & graphic serial killer. Many twists and a great climax keep you hanging on by your fingernails!

"The Lovers" by John Connolly. Another novel about PI Charlie Parker and his interesting, if not slightly supernatural life. I enjoyed it and have read about 2-3 others.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Critical Thinking Essay

The first graduate course I was enrolled in was "Adult Education", at age 40. In the text book, the last chapter was devoted to "Critical Thinking". I thought that quite odd then and still to this day. Not only would it make more sense as the "First" chapter, it would be a logical separate course for both undergraduate as well as graduate programs, even high school. What better way to insure success in intellectual or scientific pursuits, than critical thinking skills?



Critical thinking and decision making is the process to find the truth. An important aspect of thinking is the process that relies on the ability to coordinate and structure our ideas so that they make sense. Training our mind to use the critical thinking process gives people a better understanding of the information. This paper will discuss the three different thinking styles. It will also compare and contrast logical style, persuasive style, and creative style. Critical thinking will be applied to the decision making process by using work environment examples.

The logical style of thinking is a complex process in which reasoning is used to come to a conclusion. This style involves a sequence of steps or thoughts


used to solve a problem. According to Kirby and Goodpaster (2007), along with creative thought, inductive and deductive logic comprise the bedrock and substance of all our thinking. Using the two major elements of logical thinking, deductive and inductive reasoning, solutions can be tested with tried and true methods. This style is very distinct and follows a more structured and analytical path using proven methods in order to reach the conclusions.

When comparing logical thinking to the creative and persuasive styles of thinking, all three require detailed processes to reach conclusions. With the creative style, the conclusions are inspired by the ideas that can be gathered using metaphors, brainstorming and starbursting. While the persuasive style of thinking can incorporate biases, emotion, motivation and even manipulation, it usually requires some sort of credibility to be successful.

Logical thinking affects the critical thinking process because it uses Deductive thinking which “is the kind of reasoning that begins with two or more premises and derives a conclusion that must follow from those premises, a conclusion” (Kirby and Goodpaster, 2007) and inductive reasoning which “usually begins with a set of evidence or observations” (Kirby and Goodpaster, 2007). All three thinking styles are required in the critical thinking process in order reach a valid and sound conclusion.

In real estate, all three of these styles of thinking must be incorporated. For example, when taking on a new listing, a detailed step-by-step process must be followed. This series of paperwork is very straight forward and completed in sequential order. If this order is not followed correctly, company rules, association bylaws and even board ethics could be violated.

During the marketing phase, creativity is a must in today’s world. The listing agent must ask many questions of the seller in order to present the property to the right audience and in the right manner.

When the time comes to show homes to a perspective buyer, the art of persuasion comes to play. The agent must make sure that the properties being shown appeal to the buyer’s needs, wants, values and sometimes even egos.

The persuasive thinking style involves getting your audience to believe, go along, or act in accordance with what you want. With this style of thinking, if a person is an effective persuader you can basically get anyone to agree with just about anything. Persuasion and manipulation have a thin line between the two of them. Persuasion is the act of getting someone or a group of people to agree with your views, and beliefs basing your information on facts and truths. For example; getting people to drink more water because it’s healthier for their kidneys than sodas or fruit drinks is the act of persuasion. On the other hand attempting to have people drink more water because soda and fruit juices cause cancer is an act of manipulation, especially if the presenter is receiving some type of benefit for this fictional information.

Using critical thinking in the decision making process in the workplace is significant. For example, if a bakery is considering getting a new oven for efficiency then all thinking styles can come into play. First, the creative style can be used to brainstorm the different types of oven, performance, efficiency and effectiveness. Second, the logical process comes into play narrowing the field of ovens down to a few which can be decided on. Third, the persuasion process can then be used to narrow the selection of ovens to either the most efficient, quickest, or least expensive.

No individual has a lock on creativity, and that allows individuals to think about unlocking the creativity each possesses (Kirby, Goodpaster, 2007). When one creates a new idea, that individual is taking an old idea and mixing it, moving it, or building it into a new idea (Kirby, Goodpaster, 2007). Therefore, creative thinking can be used by anyone, to a certain extent. Personal barriers such as an individuals brain and the language it contains, limit the amount of creativity one may possess. On the other hand, traits such as humor, laughter, courage, and calm help individuals be more creative by breaking out of structured thoughts and making new combinations by reorganizing these thoughts (Kirby, Goodpaster, 2007).

In the workplace, brainstorming and starbursting during the critical thinking process allows for many creative ideas to be generated. Brainstorming should have no boundaries, so the mind can move from one thought to the next, allowing for the creation of ideas. These creative ideas can be evaluated, picked apart, and restructured at a later time to help meet the needs of the organization. Starbursting is an important tactic to use because the central topic of any problem is already established, allowing for questions and ideas to be created around that topic.

Creative thinking encourages an individual to think outside the box to generate innovative ideas. At Centocor, associates are encouraged to participate on teams that are put in place to improve processes. Creative thinking plays an extensive role in critical thinking because the team must think differently from the normal process that has been used for the past 10 years. At Centocor there are staff members working with a team that is restructuring the training process of new employees. The current process has been in place since 1997, but the process lacks the structure needed to train an individual properly.

A brainstorming session was used to generate over 600 aspects of training that needed to be considered for the improvement to be effective. These topics were evaluated and analyzed for relevance and used as a guide for the formation of important steps in the training process. Because the team already knew the main point was training, questions were generated to help identify where the most improvement was needed. This project is still ongoing, and because of the tactics of brainstorming and starbursting, the project has an ample amount of ideas to continue to move it forward.

In conclusion, each thinking style has its advantages and disadvantages. Logical thinking, persuasive thinking and creative thinking styles have been compared and contrasted. Learning how to use each thinking style correctly will help you to apply the accurate style in different circumstances. Learning each style and applying it correctly will help you to achieve the best results. When these multiple thinking styles are properly combined, solutions to problems are more easily accepted and resolved. “Thinking styles is ideal for use in situations at work where strong relationships are critical for success.” (Flinstone, 2001)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

How to Keep Your Writing Short

Concise writing is important. I often observe folks writing 1000+ word emails! Several courses in Graduate School required a maximum of two pages in an essay exam. Why be "wordy" when you can make the point in a paragraph or less.


by Jane Sumerset

The writing economy is crucial for many applications. In emails, for instance, would you really read anything that went over three paragraphs on a busy day? Most likely, you'll file it somewhere for later reading -- sometimes, eventually forgetting all about it.

With most types of emails, memos and blog posts, keeping your writing short is often key to holding the reader's attention. If you pay enough attention, you might be surprised by how much information you can convey without putting down so many lines.

If you'd like to write shorter and tighter, here's what you should be doing:

1. Write down your core message before beginning to put down the piece. State it in four to eight words as concisely as you can. Chances are, this will be your ideal title for the material.

2. Meet the reader's needs. Even when you're trying to minimize the length of your writing, you'll need to ensure that you're providing exactly what the readers need. Some folks can go overboard with the writing economy, ending up with content that barely touches on all the information that the readers need to learn.

3. Skip the small talk. Naturally, you'll have to skip the small talk and the inconsequential fodder. Even a witty line here and there should all tie into the readers' understanding of the piece, instead of just being random entertainment. Get the point early, stay on course and conclude it.

4. Edit with a good writing software. Writing software not only corrects mistakes in grammar, but often manages to identify words and phrases that you can eliminate without consequences. Use it ruthlessly and get great results.

Watch how innovative Writing Software instantly can improve your writing on a daily basis and learn how advanced NLP technology can help you to write perfect emails, essays, letters or reports. Read more

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jane_Sumerset

Monday, October 12, 2009

Latest Read..."The Last Testament"

My latest read, another religious fiction novel called, "The Last Testament" by Sam Bourne. It concerns a mediator called to help broker the final peace deal between Palestine and Israel. various interests including rouge US Government employees are against the peace and partitioning of Israel.

Throw into the mix an ancient table, stolen from the National Museum in Baghdad, which happens to be the last will and testament of the Patriarch Abraham, to his two sons!

It drags out in many places, during the almost 600 pages, but has several good twists in the plot, that more than makes up for the brief listless action encountered.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Writer, But Not a Reader?

My neighbor, an aspiring writer interested in the genre, memoirs, tells me she doesn't read. She doesn't even have a library card! I was taken aback to say the least. How can one write, if they have no idea what good or great writers have written?

What started this conversation was a statement I made about good speakers need to be good listeners. She claimed she was one...not quite. She likes to talk, but never pauses to listen for comments or clarifications in her rambling 20 minute "stories". That's talking, not listening! I know at least three folks who tell this convoluted long narrations describing the clothes, what they had for dinner, etc. of someone who you will never meet (or care about) and is totally irrelevant to the story's point!

All this bodes well for my point of reading to understand good writing. Your comments appreciated.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Latest Read, "The Mercedes Coffin"

Just finished "The Mercedes Coffin" by Faye Kellerman. I have read all the books by her husband, Johnathan Kellerman and even a few by their son Jesse Kellerman. This was the first by Faye.

Wrong again...now I have another author to read several dozen "new" books from. My reluctance to read female authors is slowly dissolving. Hey, I don't know why, I was just reluctant after reading a few that all the characters were women! My bad.

I like the main character "Decker" because he was not that into rules! I can identify with that. OK, so now I can recommend this book and author. Available through Amazon and other fine book stores. See my Amazon link on the sidebar.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Recent Read, "Blood and Ice" by Robert Masello

My recent read, "Blood and Ice" by Robert Masello kept my attention with a setting I have seen on many a documentary. It starts out with an adventure for a contemporary outdoor photographer going to Antarctica for a three month assignment, and flashbacks in history to England of the mid 1800's with the advent of the Crimean War.

Flashbacks usually annoy me, but each segment was of sufficient length that interest was maintained. It proved necessary as the novel evolved.

The twist in the book occurs when past meets present. The photographer, during a dive under the ice, finds a woman frozen in the ice. Upon breaking the block free, the scientists return with the "corpse" to thaw at their base. Events after this point get interesting. As a fan of the "Thriller" genre, I would recommend it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Wordstock".....a Portland, Oregon Literary Event!



It's October and time for "Wordstock" a yearly event of books, authors, writing, and related events in Portlan, OR........known to some as PDX!

Wordstock is Portland's Book & Literary Festival

Wordstock is an annual festival of books, writers, and storytelling in Portland, Oregon. To date it has hosted over 550 writers, who have read and performed for nearly 55,000 people at past festivals. Wordstock features ten author stages, a book fair with over 150 exhibitors, a special children’s area and children’s literature stage, a series of workshops for writers and for K-12 teachers, a special broadcast of Live Wire!, the popular public radio variety show, featuring writers from the festival, and more. Although it only began in 2005, Wordstock is already the largest celebration of literature and literacy in the Pacific Northwest, and is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the nation.

Wordstock is also a nonprofit that works to promote writing in the classroom. Wordstock for Teachers is a professional development program for K-12 teachers that seeks to improve student writing performance by training and supporting teachers of writing. In other words, it helps kids become better writers by making writers of their teachers. The board, staff, and volunteers who stage Wordstock are honored to help such an important and effective program make a difference in the education of thousands of children.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Great Investment....Me!

I have always worked, taken most any job to survive, feed my family, and pay bills on time. I have been a CEO of two small corporations, a college instructor, and a business analyst for a major software company (see profile). At age 45 I went back to Grad School to work on a M Ed in Instructional Design and a MBA in Management. At age 57 I was laid off from the software company (job went to India). I took a part time job in a bookstore to attempt to make ends meet. It didn't work.....and at age 59, I became homeless and unemployed for over a year, eating in soup kitchens and living in doorways. Even with a Master's Degree, help from vocational rehab, & a few non-profits, I have not had a job interview since 2006 (the book store), so in effect, I have not had a "professional job interview" since the software company in 1999!

Yet, I have not entirely given up. I have many creative skills occluding design, writing, educational software, and organizational research. I however, need a few things to make it all work together....hence the INVESTMENT.

I have a old Dell computer with a 15" monitor, donated by an ad in Craig's List! However, a few disabilities make it very difficult to design anything on a 15" CRT monitor. So if folks were able to invest in ME (even $1 helps), I would like to get the following:

1. a 20" - 23" LCD monitor
2. a graphics tablet and pen
3. a larger hard drive (current one is 8 GB)
4. additional software

I will use the new hardware to desing graphics, write educational courses, and perhaps on-line classes. With much luck, may even get paid for it.

Thank you for reading thisappeal, and any help you may be inclined to give. comments and suggestions also welcome!






Friday, September 25, 2009

"2012 - The War for Souls"

I just finished "2012 - The War for Souls" by Whitley Strieber. One word can sum up the entire book, disappointment! I had previously read and enjoyed "Communion", "The Greys", and "Majestic", and was interested in his view of the 2012 event. While my imagination can arrive at a wide range of scenarios, parallel worlds inhabited by intelligent reptiles, wanting to terraform our Earth and use humans as slaves...well I never would go there.

I do believe there is probably some ancient explanation for various world wide legends, and folks tales, but this probably isn't it. The parallel world characters were interesting; a few good twists in the plot kept my attention, and I kept reading until the end. I can imagine a film version, with copious special effects, would even be entertaining.

Monday, September 21, 2009

2012 Reading List

OK, I am on a "2012" kick.....today makes Three years and Three months" until 12-21-12, known as "The End".

I just read "The Rapture" by Liz Jensen and "Apocalypse 2012" by Gary Jennings. My current read is "2012-The War for Souls" by Whitely Strieber. Each presents a different view of the cause and results of that date, which makes the books more interesting, at least for me!

At my "Library Thing" or "Good Reads" page a full list of my last two years of reading contains many similar and connected titles. I just updated both sites. They are listed under my "nom de plume" of G.M.Makela

Sunday, September 13, 2009

MBA Degree - Is it worth it?

I'll be the first to admit, "I m not the Poster Boy" for higher eduction. I have successfully completed over 300 semester credit hours of undergraduate and graduate couses in business, construction managemnt, education, and engineering. I have a BA, and completed a M Ed with emphasis on Instructional Design. While in Gradute School, I worked on an MBA in Management and lack 4 course to complete. I hve 3.0 GPA in my BA and a 4.0 GPA in Grad School. I hve never been asked for a college transcript for any job, nor been given credit for the degrees with any employer. I am dubious for the need for college education, period!


An MBA or a Master’s in Business Administration is a degree that is granted after one or two years of graduate level education. The degree prepares students in the theory and practice of business management. Graduating with an MBA implies that you are competent in all managerial roles found in organizations and businesses today. An MBA program largely deals with general management topics but some degrees also offer a more specialized curriculum.

There are many combinations and specializations involved with an MBA degree. Some of the popular disciplines are accounting, business management, e-commerce, economics, finance, human resources, marketing, risk management, entrepreneurship, operations management, and technology management. However, since the applications of an MBA are relevant to a wide range of sectors, it will always remain valuable irrespective of the final career path chosen.

Over the past few years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of online MBA programs offered by the Colleges and Universities. Graduating with an online MBA degree has gained popularity especially with more mature students and those who still need to work and earn their degree at the same time. Students who have opted for online education appreciate the flexibility it affords them as compared to programs offered by traditional schools and colleges. While the curriculum of online degree programs and campus-based one’s rarely differ, online students have to manage their own time and study independently. Of course there are online tutorials, lectures, assignments and even one-on-one meetings that students can take part in. But all this can be fit around your own schedule and time.

Graduating with an Accredited online degree from a College or University that is accredited by a recognized Accreditation Body considered by U.S. Department of Education should not raise any problems when applying for jobs and competing for various positions. An online MBA will also give you the option to accelerate your progress and possibly even graduate ahead of schedule. This would depend on how much time and effort you put in but it is possible. Enrolling in an online MBA program is not a decision to be taken lightly. There is a lot of hard work and discipline involved but if you stick with it, an online MBA could be your ticket to the next stop in the world of business.

One of the main reasons to opt for an MBA degree is to increase your salary earning potential and advance your career. When applying for certain jobs, you will soon realize that an MBA is a necessity. Some employers might not even consider you eligible without one. An MBA degree helps you acquire a range of management and people skills and prepares you for positions of leadership. By virtue of the curriculum, training and research involved in an MBA program, your educational horizons expand and your overall vision remains longsighted. This is exactly what employers are looking for when they choose an MBA graduate over another applicant.

An MBA will also help with personality development, leadership skills, and domain expertise. For example, if your area of specialization is marketing, you will learn all the nuances of the marketing world and how to excel in it. As an MBA you will also learn the intricacies of planning, goal setting, and interpersonal skills (being a team player). It is, in fact, due to these personality traits and skills apart from your academics that will place you in good stead in today’s competitive job markets.

Armed with the technical knowledge of business practices, MBA graduates are prepared to run a company. Leadership skills are honed and the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship are instilled in all students. Anyone who has completed their MBA degree speaks of the growth of confidence and self-esteem and the sense of achievement of completing one of the more competitive and high demand degree programs available today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reading eBooks......Do you?

I like the idea of reading eBooks, having tons of information in a small package like a Kindle or Sony Reader. Access to information, maps, dictionaries, and others would save time. In conjunction with a laptop, eBooks would enhance a writer's ability to work anyplace they desired.

The only current drawback is cost. I guess the concept is limited to the affluent or those with a large charge card "open to buy". As eBooks become more popular, costs will decrease, and will provoke competition!

Many eBooks are free. Project Gutenberg has almost 30,000 Public Domain books available, the "Classics! There are many other sites.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What do you read?

I like fiction, as entertainment and escape. while in college and even high school, I was saturated with "classic literature". I bet I read "Plato's Republic" five times for five different classes! After 300 credit hours, I do not read "classics" any longer!

When younger, my favorite books were science fiction, a choice which prompted me to go into Aerospace Engineering in college. I still read sci-fi, but about 20 years ago, discovered mysteries. I've read all the Ed McBain series, Micky Spillane, James Patterson, Tony Hillerman, and many others as fast as they could write them!

I also enjoy the genre of "Thrillers", involving conspiracies, biblical and religious secret cults, nuclear war, terrorism, biological contagions, etc.

I also went through a "western" period for about five years, and still enjoy a good one, now and then.

I have my last 18 months worth of reading listed on "Library Thing" and "Good Reads" under my pen name G M Makela.

What do you like to read?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Blue Smoke and Whispers" by Mick Herron

When a body is hauled from the River Tyne, Sarah Tucker heads to Newcastle for a closer look. She identifies the dead woman as private detective Zoë Boehm, but putting a name to the corpse only raises further questions. Did Zoë kill herself, or did one of her old cases come back to haunt her? Why was she wearing a jacket a murderer had stolen years before? And what's brought Sarah's sparring partner, Gerard Inchon, to the same broken down hotel? Coincidence is an excuse that soon looks pretty unconvincing. Sarah can't leave until she's found the answers to her questions, however dangerous they might turn out to be. Link

An unusual read for me, since I have problem identifying with female lead characters, but the author managed to not only maintain my interest, but enjoy Sarah as she unravils her friends "death". The location of the novel is Newcastle , England, a place I only vaguly remembered as a manufcturing center of dirty factories, but found out it is the home of the author. These facts increase the interest for me, minor as they maybe. I'd recommend this book to nyone who enjoys the genre of "Mystery"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How To Write Articles That Generate Clicks

by: Eric Ouellette


The main reason why people gets into article marketing, is to get more traffic to their website, squeeze page or affiliate offer. It's no secret that the best way to achieve great results is by having optimized articles.

When I say optimized, I don't mean just keyword optimized, I mean, well written and well formatted articles. In the next paragraph, I will show you what to do to best optimized your articles.

I will break this section into each part of the anatomy of an article so that, it's easier for you to grab all the information.

The title:
1- Must Grab the interest or pick the curiosity of the reader.
2- Must contain your keyword in the beginning.
3- Must be very specific about your topic in the second part.

The introductory paragraph:
1- Write 1-3 sentences introducing your topic.
2- Write 1-2 sentences explaining what the article will cover.
3- Write a sentence that leads to the body of the article.

The body of the article:
1- You must pick 3-4 key points related to your title or topic.
2- Either write paragraph for each key point or list each idea in a numbered or bulleted list.
3- To make your article keyword rich, begin each point with your keyword.

Concluding paragraph:
One of the best way to get the reader wanting for more, is to exclude to concluding paragraph. where the reader is expecting the conclusion, instead, he/she gets your bio box that you can start with something like this:

If you found this article useful, check out my new report. You can get it for free here: put your link here.

Author Bio Box:

Immediately after the body of the article, while the reader is still fresh from reading your article, give him/her a good reason to go to your website or squeeze page.

Example:

To download my new free report on (your topic here), click here:
To take a look at more articles just like this one, click here:
To read my free ebook (name of your ebook), click here:
To subscribe to my free mini-course (name of your mini-course), click here:

Writing and formatting:

It's usually easier to write the introduction, if you write the body of the article first, because you can be more specific when explaining what will be covered in the article.

Formatting is also very important, because it can highly improve the readability of the article. What you can do is break paragraphs after 4 lines of text. it makes it a lot easier to read.

To learn more about how to write articles that generate clicks and to grab my free report "How To Write Your Own Expert Articles"here: http://easyprofitexplained.com

Monday, August 17, 2009

"The Sign", My Current Read

I am currently reading "The Sign" by Raymond Khoury, a novel of religious dogma, global warming, and political conspiracy! Different than the dust jacket described, but still a viable read. I am about 75% finished. Will add my review here.

08-18-09 I finished it last night. I thought the last 100 pages was a "sellout" to the reader and a chance for a great ending, missed. Like many books, it sometimes feels as though the author got bored and quickly ended the book for some mysterious deadline. His other two books were OK, but I'll bet the imaginative reader can arrive at a better ending than the author did, in "The Sign". The editor also missed a few glaring misprints on automobile makes, engines, and design. Chrysler does not make the Navigator, nor does it come with a "Northstar" engine!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Reading Memoiers

Well, I finished reading my first memoriers/journal. It was a new reading style for me and one I will probably avoid in the future. I found it boring. Just because your life is interesting to you, doesn't mean it will interest anyone else. Perhaps it was the author's style? Perhaps the subject matter? I know I have thoughts and feelings to share, but does anyone care? Is my life on the streets interesting to anyone? Maybe the length threw me off....120 pages, when 40 would have accomplished the same intent? Probably. I know several people that tell a tale, only to include the names, birth dates, clothing styles, feelings, thoughts, and food consumption of people you don't know and will never meet, as part of their "story". Such details are boring and irrelevant. Telling the information in 500 words when 50 will do, is ridiculous and annoying!

Now that I've freed up some time, I'll try a biography and autobiography. How bad can they be?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Learn to Write Articles in 5 Simple Steps

by: TJ Philpott

I recently added three "Article Writing" web sites to my Writer's Corner section on the sidebar. I plan of doing research on various subjects at the college library nearby, and submit them at these sites. Here is a helpful article that suggest the basics of such writings.


No matter what reasons you may have for writing articles if you do this with any consistency at all it is to your benefit to learn to write in the most efficient manner possible.

With so many businesses now using the internet article marketing has become very popular as a means to advertise goods and services. The need to produce fresh content, and often, can be very challenging if you write articles to generate traffic.

In order to make this type of online advertising work effectively you need approach the writing process in a way that maximizes your efforts while minimizing your time.

Although everybody has different preferences, strengths, and schedules to contend with the writing process will essentially be the same. It's a matter of tailoring what works best for you and your particular situation to get the most out of your article writing.

With that in mind view the 5 step process put forth here today as a starting point for you to consider when organizing your article writing efforts.

Establish Your Topic

The first thing you obviously have to do is to establish the subject upon which you are going to write. I like to do this ahead of time perhaps even the day before. Once you've chosen your topic go ahead and rough out an outline of the main points you want to address.

Maybe you have some direction in which you may want to take your points, if so make notes, brainstorm if you will and then move on to the next step.

Article Research

Now that you've established your topic and a rough outline you have now given your article research some direction. Again like establishing the topic, I like to pull together my research before I sit down to write articles. The advantage to doing these 2 steps before hand is that it gives me a chance think about the content and how I want to present it. When I do actually sit down to write I find my mind more focused on the material and usually bristling with ideas. The longer I think about the content before I actually begin to compose it the more ideas I have and the easier it is to write.

Get an Early Start

After a good nights rest I prefer to make my article writing the first task of the day. My mind is fresher, more focused, and it is usually more peaceful in the morning resulting in less distractions.

Speaking of Focus

As stated previously I prefer the early morning to begin my writing for the quiet and focus morning hours bring. One thing I do not do is get sidetracked by phone calls, web surfing, or checking emails. These are things that can all wait till later in the day. Take advantage of your focus, energy level, and the quiet to be the most productive.

Begin with Opening and Closing Paragraphs

This may sound strange at first to actually write your closing paragraph before the body of your article but here's why. More 'creativity' will go into the opening and closing paragraphs of your article so tap into your fresh mind to get these done first.

Often the opening paragraph is the most challenging aspect of any article. You already know what you want to write about so just create a brief intro and then a concluding paragraph first. Doing it this way will make your writing seem a heck of a lot easier. With this out of the way you can now simply refer to the research material you've already accumulated to compose the body of the article itself.

Writing articles is a terrific way to gain some free online advertising for your business or other projects or interests. The key is learn to write during a time that you find you're the most productive and least distracted. By doing so you'll be increasing the efficiency with which you writes article allowing yourself additional time to focus on other areas of your business or life.

Friday, August 7, 2009

"Frozen Fire", a recent read

From Publishers Weekly

Evans and Jameson follow their bestselling debut, Category 7, about an evil scientist and his manmade hurricanes, with an eco-thriller with an even more imaginative premise. Deep beneath the seabed in the eastern Caribbean near the island of Taino lies a massive bed of methane hydrate, the only truly clean-burning fuel on earth. Megabusinessman Dennis Cavendish, Taino's owner, has built an undersea habitat, Atlantis, from which he plans to mine the methane hydrate, a complicated operation that, if bungled, could imperil the planet. Out to sabotage the process is charismatic Garner Blaylock, Earth activist, unsung genius and Dennis Cavendish's worst nightmare. Blaylock and his team of sex-enslaved women are prepared to die destroying all human life if it means cleansing the globe of pollutants. Readers will race right along with Dr. Sam Briscoe, a methane specialist, and the novel's other good guys as they feverishly strive to save the world. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

rebirth

darkness fades into light
brighter than all the twinkling stars
captured energy ignites long dormant emotions
from a long restless slumber
the soul awakes

awareness flows through emotional channels
like a fresh mountain stream cascading down a hillside
covered with wildflowers in the spring
growing as it makes it’s way to the primordial sea

consciousness flows electron by electron
recharging once dead feelings
kept in check
a glow of hope almost visible
hints of itself in a smile
a sparkle in the eye
feelings grow

sparks of life rekindled by a kind word
a gentle touch of someone just met
that yearning of feeling
the soul is reborn

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Big Top Ten Organic Gardening Tips

Submitted By: Vera Pappas

By using only organic gardening supplies; your gardening tasks will be easier and more enjoyable.

Compost, an all natural soil amendment is made through the use of composters. Composters break down organic materials such as leaves, grass clippings, and food scraps to make a 100% organic, all natural soil additive. Composters come in varying shapes, sizes and designs. Research composters and choose one that meets your needs. Making your own natural compost is a great alternative to other organic gardening supplies you would ordinarily have to buy, and it’s free!

Rain barrels collect water from your roof and store it until needed. Rain water is softer and chemical free. Rain Barrels are great for keeping your plants healthy and saving water. Many rain barrels are made from reused food drums and recycled plastic, keeping with the commitment to sustainable living. You can collect approximately 675 gallons of rain off your roof from a single rain storm. Stored rain water supplies much needed moisture to your gardens during extreme dry spells where rationing is necessary.

All Natural and organic fertilizer supplies much needed nutrients to plantings. Natural and organic fertilizers generally have a slow release so nutrients last over time. Natural and organic fertilizers such as liquefied worm poop and tea from composters, are among the top natural and organic fertilizers and an essential ingredient to your organic gardening supplies.

Push reel mowers are a great way to be organic! Push reel mowers use no gas or electric, only your own energy. Push reel mowers are lightweight, easy to use and gives your lawn that golf course look. Owning a push reel mower is an important part of organic gardening.

Grow native plants. Native plants require less water. They are also naturally more insect and disease resistant than other plants. Healthy, lush gardens made from indigenous plants also make a natural home for birds.

Container gardening is good for planting your favorite flowers and vegetables when space is limited! Use large containers such as steel buckets and wooden barrels for creative container gardening. Container gardens do not require a lot of organic material due to being enclosed. Many gardening containers such as green pots are all natural, made from all natural elements such as rice hulls and coconut fiber.

Using only natural and organic gardening supplies such as Insecticidal Soap, Horticultural Oil or Organic Disease Control will keep your garden healthy, naturally. Organic gardening supplies leave no hazardous residue and break down naturally into the soil. Natural predators such as bats, praying mantis and ladybugs are great organic insect controls. Bat boxes are effective for keeping bats nearby and supplies shelter through the harsh winter months. Enjoying and benefiting from organic gardening is dependent upon the use of the highest quality organic gardening supplies.

Mulch your flowerbeds and vegetable garden to retain moisture around plants. Mulch supplies your plants with much needed moisture throughout hot, sunny days. Mulching also keeps weeds away. Apply all natural worm poop fertilizer around plantings when mulching. Your organic garden will love you for it.

Create a bird habitat by placing bird houses, birdbaths and bird feeders in your yard. Birds are fun to watch and will control the insect population in a natural way. Pick a quiet section of your yard to keep a variety of birding supplies to attract birds of your choice. Bird food such as sunflower hearts and suet are great treats.

Whether you are working on your lawn, flowerbed or vegetable garden, have fun. Remember, all natural supplies will make organic gardening easier and more enjoyable. The following is a list of recommended all natural and organic gardening supplies: composter, rain barrels, organic fertilizers, push reel mower, natural gardening containers, birding supplies, natural homemade compost, These are the best equipment, tools and supplies for keeping your plants, turf and environment healthy. Happy Gardening!

Published At: Isnare Free Articles Directory http://www.isnare.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beating the Heat



When it's too hot to care, climb in a fountian with a few hundred strangers, and enjoy the recycled water!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Writing Effective Content for Your Website

by: Jim Degerstrom

Website owners who offer a product or service have 5 seconds to capture the attention of site visitors. If you do not write effective website content to quickly communicate the benefits of what you do, your audience will bounce to the next website in their search results. This bounce rate is the opposite of stickiness. Is your website sticky? These tips on writing effective content for your website can certainly help.

Content needs to describe as much as possible about who, what, where, when, and why on every page with very specific key words and phrases to connect instantly with site visitors including search engines. Avoid technical terms in your website content writing that only those close to your industry understand.

Key word research is the best way to understand what people really put in the Google search box looking for your product or service. Guess when writing content for your website and your competition may have the edge capturing site visitor attention and converting them to buying customers.

Those key words should be inserted in website content in addition to each page title, description, key word list, and page headlines or subheadings, also. Including photographs or graphics will help convey the message beyond text, so a gallery or showcase can help quickly communicate website content details and create a more positive first impression.

When you use quality photographs to insert in pages, those pictures tell what 1000 words cannot. Your message when writing effective website content needs to be communicated based on real world website visitor behavior. People land anonymously on a website unlike visitors met face to face, so the decisions are different than walking into a brick and mortar business.

People instantly notice graphics and the overall professional look, and then scan headlines and perhaps a few words in the first sentence of website content in each paragraph. The majority will rarely read your text verbatim. Headlines, bullet lists, and graphics attract attention more than narrative, and that critical first impression is what will get them to stay and perhaps buy after they explore details later.

It's important to touch a nerve in the first 5 seconds to convince people to stay on your website. All they care about learning from your website text content is "What's in it for me if I buy here?". Initially, site visitors don't care about the details of features until they are convinced of the benefits, and that message needs to be presented in shorts bits that can be understood instantly.

The strategy for writing marketing material content for consumers is different on the internet, and similar to listening to a joke or reading a novel, people want to know the punchline or ending up front.

Rather than writing website text content that presents your introduction, features, and then benefits in that order like a regular marketing or sales pitch, writing for the web is more effective when you reveal the benefits and outcome first. This writing strategy for online marketing emphasizes the importance of catchy headlines that capture and hold interest quickly.

People will skip over paragraphs on your website that have more than 2-3 sentences, so write content and then edit to eliminate poetic or flowery speech and any unnecessary adjectives. By all means, do not exaggerate.

Keep in mind people go online for one thing: information. Website visitors rarely will buy on the first visit. Most will visit several websites searching for the right mix of content that best answers "What's in it for me?". Present benefits in the introduction, and you can still use the formula of introduction, features, and benefits to enhance your skills for writing effective website content.

Site owners who track visitor statistics probably notice the bounce rate mentioned earlier. The majority of visitors land on a page and leave immediately without fully exploring your site. Stating the benefits twice on each page will strengthen your marketing message. Maintaining a consistent message on every page can result in more business by writing effective content for your website.

Article Source:
http://www.articlecity.com/articles/writing/article_1778.shtml

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"The Fire" by Katherine Neville

I just finished this novel of conspiracy, morality, greed and historical fiction. I try, I really do, but can't quite appreciate female authors of thrillers, mysteries, etc. Almost every book I have read, written by a female, has a female lead character, that I being a male have a difficult time identifying with. Then the underlying theme in "Fire" is chess and it's historical role. Many novels have figured historical characters as Masons, Knights Templar, etc...but in "Fire", they all are Chess Masters! I've played chess, but like most board games, I find chess boring. To read an entire novel based on "Chess"....well, all I can say is wake me when it's over.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Meet the Author

I met Cornelius L. Sawyer, author of "Two Voyages I Remember", while eating lunch at the "Elm Court Senior Center. He was chatting up myself and another friend while we ate, telling us about his book and his career in the Navy and then in the Merchant Marine. While I have not yet had a chance to read it yet, it appears to be a more major effort than I had imagined. It may be worthwhile to check out at a local book store, online, or from your Library. I'll put another small ad on the sidebar!

Today, July 22, 2009, I got a copy of this book at the Library. I will post a review upon completion.

Newsweek's 50 Books You Must Read

OK, I'll admit it, I was bored, so I read the July 13,2009 edition of "Newsweek". I once subscribed to this magazine, back in the 1970's. I was amazed it had not changed much in thirty years. With Internet news sites, Kindle readers, cable TV and other media I wondered why anyone would subscribe to such an antiquated format.

The cover and content of "Fifty Books to Read" is what caught my eye and caused me to peruse the entire edition. I was not surprised that I have read only two of those fifty books since high school. In glancing at the titles and brief summaries, I would not even read those two!

Lists, like rules, just turn me off. I'm inclined to do the exact opposite. I never read the "most popular" novel or go by The New York Times best Seller List. I know what I like and find something that fits. After over 300 credit hours of college course work, I have no plans to read "brilliant" non-fiction or reread Plato for the fifth time! But if you like reading from a "list", here it is: Newsweek's Fifty Book List

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Latest Reads

Finished three novels in the last week. "Grey Apocalypse" by James Murdoch, The conspiracy of Aliens and humans for the past 50 years and the Aliens intent on destroying mankind.; "Screen Shot" by John Darrina a novel of a serial killer using computer technology and live video streaming to kill undesirables: and "The Atlantis Legacy" by Thomas Greanias a double novel centered in Antartica and the lost city of atlantis, lost technology and alien civilizations.

Not Noble prize winners for literature, but I find them entertaining and part of the saga that I read on these subjects, better than summer TV!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Codex Sinaiticus

Codex Sianiticus, the oldest Bible ever found, is soon to be online. From the website, the content sounds like an interesting read. It contains many “missing” books not in the current editions of the Bible, and is in a different order.

I have always had an interest in archeology, especially Biblical Archeology (see sidebar), so to be able to read online artifacts like the dead scrolls and the codex sianiticus stimulates that interest.

According to the website, the material will be available in the original text as well as several language translations. Originally it was coming online today July 6th, but when I went online this morning, the site was not yet working. I believe this probably also be downloaded to a Kindle 2 or Kindle DX to read at leisure…yet another reason to buy one. (See Amazon affiliate on the sidebar)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

5 Important Things for an Effective Web Content Writing

Web content writing is a very important constituent of the websites and this is responsible to establish communication with the visitor. As a writer you must follow the aforementioned points to write a really effective and appealing content.
These are the words through which a website establishes communication with the visitors.Though, visitors are allured by the visuals but their prolonged stay and interest in the website can only be generated with the prudent use of words. Following are the five important tips you must keep in mind for a winning web content writing.

Write to the context: Always keep in mind that you do not digress from the topic and must stick to write only about the subject. This is because Netizens are people in hurry; they do not have time and neither any inclination to read what is not required. Remember, they won’t stay long at your page praising your English. All they want to gain is some valuable information and they are smart to sense that they are being taken for a ride through literary manipulations.

Refrain from simple mistakes: Remember, simple grammatical or spelling errors act as a repellent to the visitors and in various circumstances they can completely change whatever is your original intent. So, proofread the writing at least twice with high concentration before actually putting it up, at the website.

Do not be afraid to search: The more you search the more information you can embed in the content which will make it a useful and appreciated reading for the visitors. It is only replete information that prepares the ground for a ‘”visitor” to a prospective “customer”.
Author:Stacy Parker


Always try to write interactively: The web content must be interactive in genre as you are trying to establish communication with the visitor and in most of the cases the target is to lure him/ her to enhance the commercial aspect of your website.

Write Simple: The basic aim of web content writing is to establish communication and not all the visitors may have the same vocabulary you as a writer may have. And nothing repels as much as something which is too complex to understand. So, you must write precisely and in simple English.

About the Author: Stacy Parker is expert in seo keyword writing and website content writing for leading online marketing company.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sudden Rain #3

It was a gorgeous sunny day, with clear azure skies, and mild temperatures in the mid seventy-degree range. It was almost perfect, unless you like rain, along with dark gloomy skies, occasional fog, humidity, and a generally depressing mood.

Jake loved the rain. He killed in the rain. Now with twenty-three days of bright sunshine in a row since the last rain, Jake was getting sort of “twitchy”. He didn’t like the feeling, as he hated the sunshine nor did he understand why anyone in his or her right mind would like bright, warm, dry, weather! The only thing that could make it any worse would be if that obnoxious song “It’s a Small World After All” was playing loudly. Jake was angry, he was furious, he seriously needed to kill someone…no really; he needed to kill someone soon.

Jake often killed for money, being a type of assassin who preferred blades to guns or bombs. He also killed for his own deviant pleasure, picking random victims always in a different city, never twice in the same city. There were a lot of cities.

The TV was tuned to the Weather Channel, the only channel Jake ever watched. Somewhere in the world, even in the good old USA it was raining. In fact, in Venice Italy it was flooding. Oh, if only he could be there, the body count would be very high, very high indeed.

Just then the local weather came on. There was a hint of a thunderstorm that afternoon between 4:00 – 6:00 PM on the west side of town. Which of course was the side opposite the fleabag motel he was staying at. But rain is rain, and death can arrive on the west side as well as any other compass direction. It was now 3:37 PM, so Jake looked out the window that faced west…not a cloud in sight. But not one to forsake an opportunity, Jake, already dressed in his usual black undertaker attire, grabbed his black trench coat and his newly sharpened K-Bar knife and drove out of the motel lot and headed west.

Twenty-five minutes later he was in the “west side” of town, a mixture of light industrial, cheap motels, and equally cheap apartments. Greasy spoon worker-bee diners dotted the streets. Foot and car traffic was sparse for the time of day, the area being more on a three-shift time element than the 8-5 workday of the office types. Jake found a parking spot near a closed, run down building with only a few other cars on the street. The crappy nondescript car he was driving fit right in. He looked at his watch, it was 4:15 PM and growing dark, as Jake grew calm. Then the rain began, heavy at first, then a deluge. Jake left the car and walked over to the alley entrance. He waited in the rain, rain that already in the space of minutes had the street gutters overflowing the curb. He could barely see, and no way in hell could anyone see him.

Splash, splash the sound of running feet sloshing through the torrent, his victim-mark-hit and all those other nouns, ran right to Jake, thinking the alley a brief refuge from the storm. Wrong, it was the end of the line pal, as Jake planted the K-Bar in the victim’s chest right to the hilt. The body actually made a plunk sound as it hit the ground. Die where you lay pal. He felt better as he drove away, the skies unfortunately were clearing, and then a rainbow came out; how ironic, no gold at the end of the rainbow, just a dead body. He left town, headed to the Pacific Northwest. It always rained in the northwest. It sounded like a plan, since he loved the rain.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Difference One Day Makes

My second wife died on her 21st birthday. I was twenty-four and we had a daughter who was 10 months old. Sometimes, I wonder how my life would have been if that day had never happened. One day would have made all the difference.

I would have taken her to the hospital the night before when she complained of the severe headache. I had kidded her by humming the tune to “Love Story”. When we went to bed, I asked her if she wanted to have sex…she laughed, but said no way in hell! I went to work in the morning and later in the day she called and said she couldn’t feel her legs. I called my mother and asked her to take care of the baby, I would be right home. By the time I got home, she was in convulsions. I called 911, but it was too late. We went to the hospital and I spent the next four hours wondering what was going on. She died. It was a brain aneurysm.

I think about that time and about that day often, as I grow old. I wonder how my life would have been if she had been saved or never gotten ill. We would have been happy. She was the only other person in my life who loved me unconditionally, the other being my Finnish Grandmother. We would have had more children; our next daughter would have been called Sarah. Our son would have been called the same as my current son, by my third wife, a wife I would have never had, nor ever divorced. I think we would have moved to the town my in-laws lived. We would have been close. We would probably have lived in one place for the last 40 years. Our children would have graduated from the same high school their mother did. We would have had roots. It would have been a wonderful life. If only that day had not happened. Thirty-seven years later, I still cry.

Did I mention that little daughter we had? I let her mother’s parents adopt her at age seven. I have not seen nor heard from her since. Thirty seven years later, I still cry.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Deadly Rain #2

The Eskimos or Inuit have over 30 words for snow. He had one for rain…glorious. He loved rain, falling water, moisture, drizzle, deluge, mist, fog, downpour, pouring cats & dogs, and those all those other adjectives. After 73 hours of constant rain, most people would be suicidal by now, or already dead. Grey, dark skies, thunder, lightening, wind, hail, and yet more rain would drive most people to start drinking heavily or overdose on coffee. However, he lived for the rain. He killed in the rain, other people died in the rain. Lately, he had been using the name Jake, not his real name, but it would do for now.

Thirteen years ago, “Jake” was almost killed during a rainstorm in Portland, Oregon. A place that embraced the rain. It was a necessity since it rained constantly from October till April. Rain was Portland’s idea of winter, it’s alternative to the snow and ice of the Midwest and East. Umbrellas, rain coats, and goulashes the coulter dress of the day! One dark wet night, as he came out of a bar on 2nd Ave at 2:30 AM, some asswipe, tweaker, scumbag decided that he was a mark to mug. Armed with a trusty piece of rebar, the mutt played “Wipeout” on his skull. He lived, but the event changed him. He became a hunter, sometimes for pay, more often for his personal enjoyment. Somehow, he found that street trash that beat him like a circus monkey. After he was finished carving on him with an heirloom K-Bar knife, the “victim” became one of Portland’s longest running cold cases.

That was then, this is now, and thanks god or whoever, for this wonderful, glorious rain. He had been waiting for two things, the rain and the victim to finally leave his low rent Section 8 Housing, a flea trap in 12th Ave. Waiting across the street from the “Terrace’ was no problem, street lights being in short supply, even in the so called cultural area. He was unseen, but could see the victim very well. Between the din of the rain, heavy traffic, numerous homeless bums and winos, his presence was not noticed. His favorite blade was at home. Tonight he had chosen an ice pick. Yet another fine killing instrument, that left small or no exit wounds and little if any blood, but killed as effectively as any blade in the hands of an expert killer.

Three blocks he followed the victim, drawing closer each block…well they were small blocks, the smallest in any city. Almost baby blocks, by most standards. The mark turned down the “Park Blocks”, an even more dark, desolate area. At this point, only twenty feet separated the killer and his victim. As they entered the area known as Pioneer Square, filled by the down and out, street punks, worker bees, and tourists wandering in the dark, the killer struck. Faster than many could see, and certainly faster than the victim could react, the ice pick entered and exited his left ear. The victim kept walking two or three paces, but already dead. The few citizens never even noticed the body, assuming just another derelict drunk or tweaked OD, asleep in the gutter. Jake got on a Max Train and left the area, unseen, yet strangely fulfilled. Death and rain, they just seemed to be made for each other.

Tonight’s death in the rain would be written off as gang violence, a random kill, or the homeless mugging each other for dope, statistics that helped Portland’s reputation to become the “Mini-Murder Capital” of the North West. Jake liked to do his part.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How to Write Articles Using Old Blog Posts

by: TJ Philpott


Are you interested in exploring how to write articles by using the same content you've already posted to your blog? If you write articles and also frequently post to your blog to generate traffic you know how labor intensive that can be.

Although these marketing strategies are extremely effective they can also be quite a strain on your time management skills.

What if you could cut your writing efforts in half or to put it differently get twice the results from the same efforts? Well you can and we're going to discuss here how to do just that.

For anybody involved in article writing you know how challenging it can sometimes be to come up with new ideas for content. Posting to a blog on the other hand generally only requires an idea but not much detail.

Let's explore a simple 3 step process you can use to 'transform' your blog post into articles that will decrease your workload while increasing your desired results.

Develop and Organize Your Topics

You'll first want to develop and organize topics upon which you can base your blog posts. Considering that a blog post constitutes a summary of a lengthier thought this shouldn't be difficult. Obviously you'll want the topics to be related in some form or fashion to your niche or blog theme.

Compose Your Posts in Advance

In an effort to focus better on your immediate task you may want to separate composing your blog posts from the time you use for writing articles. This should help you maintain a consistent train of thought making both tasks easier to accomplish.

Instead of composing a blog post then writing an article you'll want to put together a group of posts first. Once this is completed you can turn your attention to transforming these posts into articles.

When writing an article as opposed to posting to a blog you are actually using completely different writing styles. By dividing these two tasks you now only need to focus on just one particular writing style. This in turn will increase the ease and efficiency of your overall writing process and save you time.

Base Your Articles Upon Your Post

Blog posts by design are short summations of a more detailed thought pattern. Upon these summations you can base a more in-depth article. By using the post for your writing ideas you now cut down on the overall time involved in the writing process itself.

As you know every article starts with an outline and your blog post supplies that outline for you.

So now you can see how to write articles easily if you also already have a blog that you post to on a regular basis. Even though both blogging and writing articles are excellent marketing strategies attempting to do both can put quite a strain on your time management skills. By further developing any writing ideas you can get from your own blog posts you're essentially bypassing the additional time needed for more article research. By following this simple 3 step approach and streamlining the writing process you're getting twice the results for little more than a one time effort!



About The Author

TJ Philpott is an author and Internet entrepreneur based out of North Carolina.

For additional online success tips and a free guide that demonstrates how to find both profitable markets and products visit: http://affiliatequickstart.com


Visit the author's web site at:
http://affiliatequickstart.com/



Article Source:
http://www.articlecity.com/articles/writing/article_1731.shtml

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Killer Rain#1

It was raining. A steady, almost misty drizzle; gray foggy tendrils wove their way through the shadows. Gusty breezes rocked tree branches, cutting the infrequently spaced streetlamps glare. He loved the rain. He killed, only when it rained. He carefully followed the person he was going to kill tonight. Victim, person, the mark, subject, prey, the noun didn’t matter. He liked people who used umbrellas when it rained, or wore their hats bent low against the wet, which resulted in tunnel vision. They didn’t notice anything or anyone except that which was directly in front of their water soaked faces. Falling drops and wind also made noise, along with shaking tree branches that all but obscured the footsteps of anyone who followed someone, hiding craftily in the shadows. The occasional car or taxi splashing through the water draining to the curb, also helped drown out any footsteps.

The victim walked on one side of the dark street, the killer the opposite, and a hundred paces behind, when one stopped, so did the other. The victim, the prey, did not notice anyone behind them. The mark's mind was only set on one goal, getting out of this eternal rain to a warm dry room, with an old radio, and a few shots of single malt. Perhaps read a book form their meager collection, wrapped in a terry cloth robe.

The killer, assassin, hit man, reaper, and taker of life: those nouns didn’t matter either. He was humming a show tune in his head, “Singing in the Rain”. He closed the distance to about 5 yards, yet the victim failed to notice. The killer liked death up close and personal, the preferred method being the use of a bladed weapon. Silent but deadly, the rain-washing away most of any evidence possibly left behind, not that evidence was likely. The killer was a professional. He killed for money, as a career, and for his own pleasure. The blade, a personal heirloom, was a blackened K-Bar knife, hung handle down in a nylon shoulder rig, under the black trench coat. A black fedora, black jeans, and black athletic shoes made the killer blend into the shadows; no it made the killer a shadow!

Finally the prey arrived home, soaked and fatigued; the 27 blocks feeling like 127. The lonely entrance light was burned out again; a derelict building in the center of a dark block, the nearest streetlamp hundreds of feet away. Fumbling with the keys, trying one after another in the dark. Dropping the whole ring on the wet, dank stoop, then starting to try the keys all over again. It didn’t matter. The killer drew his blade, at the same time wrapping his left arm around the victim’s neck. Not one sound was made. Blood streaked down the steps, washing away in the increasing downpour, following the killer down the sidewalk. The tendrils of fog making him seem to vanish suddenly, until another rainy night and another victim.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tick Toc, Tick Toc

A true story

It was a crisp, cool early March morning in Northern Colorado. I decide to hike up the Cache La Poudre River canyon, about a 40-minute drive from my house. I was going to hike a side canyon that I had not been in before. The snow had melted, even at that altitude. The sky was cobalt blue, and air very still.

Pulling well off the road, I enjoyed the quiet, before starting out with my daypack. The side canyon, called Pinion Gulch, angled fairly steeply from the road, rising about 500 feet in elevation after about a mile in. Chickadees, and Jays tweeted in the scrub brush; the red rocks, glowing in the early morning sun. A small herd of Big Horn Sheep skittered rocks on a far slope. The ravine had no trail, but was mostly small bushes, a few cacti, and dried grass.

After hiking North about 2 miles and about 1000 feet in vertical elevation, I spied a waist high boulder and decided to rest, eat a sandwich and drink some cool water from my canteen. As I sat there admiring the beauty of that spring morning, I felt something crawling on my leg, beneath my jeans. I pulled up my pant leg and was shocked to see about a dozen deer ticks scooting about. In Colorado these pests carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a disease a friend in college managed to catch from just one tick in his bed.

In loathing and disgust, I undid my belt and pulled down my jeans , horrified to see dozens of these foul creatures all over my legs. I pulled up my shirt, they were also on my chest…feeling no shame alone in the canyon, I took off all my clothes piling them on the rock. I lost count at over one hundred ticks. I picked and shook them from my clothing, put on my pack and literally ran downhill to my truck.

Once back, I was not surprised to find dozens more all over me. Heedless to traffic, but on the side of the truck, I disrobed again, de-ticked, and drove home. All the way down the canyon, I picked the little demons from my arms. March is tick month…never again did I hike off trail in the spring, and never again in that canyon. I truly hate ticks.

Monday, May 18, 2009

If I Die Before I Wake

“Time for bed”, shouted Billy’s mom. It was 8:30 PM and a normal, rainy Tuesday evening. Billy finished brushing his teeth, put on his Spider Man pajamas and came into his room, a very clean & organized room, a factor due to his mom’s fetish for neatness, not Billy’s.

Billy automatically knelt beside his bed, next to his mother. Prayers before bed was another of mom’s heartfelt nightly rituals. Tonight, he figured it was his 300,000 nightly prayer…or at least it felt that way to 4-year-old Billy.

Folding his hands, just like mom, he recited the prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake
I pray the lord my soul to take


Lately Billy was starting to wonder about what that prayer meant. What was a soul? Why would he die during the night? What would kill him and take his soul? He kept these doubts to himself. He didn’t think his mom would like the questions, let alone provide an answer. So Billy thought in silence. He was starting to get a little worried about that prayer, maybe even a little scared.

Billy lay in bed, in the dark, wondering, worrying, and getting nervous. He had just remembered something Grandpa told him weeks ago when he broke a vase, by accident, at Grandpa’s cabin. Grandpa had told him the “Boogie Man” would come in the night to take bad little boys. Yeah, that was it, the “Boogie Man”. Maybe he came to kill you and take your soul?

The old house creaked and settled, making familiar, but still scary noises. Billy could not sleep. He imagined “Him” waiting in the dark, perhaps hiding under the bed? Or maybe in the dark closet, whose door Billy was sure, was closed only a moment before.

His soul, where exactly was it? If he could hide it, or protect it during the long dark nights, maybe he would be safe. Perhaps he would not die or have his soul taken by the ”Boogie Man”. A tissue dislodged from the headboard bookcase by an errant breeze, fluttered down and landed on Billy’s face. It felt like the caress of bony dried fingers, the fingers of “Him” coming to take his soul! Billy screamed. He screamed like his life depended on it. He screamed until his mother rushed into the room and turned the light on. The light saved him. That was the key, light! Light to drive out the darkness and the fear. Light to keep the “Boogie Man” at bay.

From that night on, wearing his Spider Man pajamas, and safe with his Spider Man Night Light illuminating the shadows, Billy was no longer afraid for his soul, of dying in the night…nor of that stupid, scary prayer.

Yes, Billy is safe….safe until the power goes out during a thunder storm, or the bulb in his Spider Man Night-Lite stops working! Good night Billy, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite!” Bed bugs?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Various Types of Ghosts

by: Sean M.Clarke

You have read volumes about ghosts and have browsed hundreds of websites to devour more information on ghosts, but have you ever wondered how many types of ghosts there are? The fact is that there are various types of ghosts out there and all these are minutely described and documented by the Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF).

The Spiritual Science Research Foundation has undertaken extensive research on ghosts in order to demystify this widespread phenomenon and help people in recognising and treating the adverse effects caused by ghosts through proven methodology according to the science of Spirituality.

At the outset, it is important to note that while we use the phrase ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.) as a collective noun to cover the entire gamut of negative energies, there is a vast difference between the lower order ghosts and higher order ghosts such as subtle sorcerers (maantriks) from the sixth and seventh region of Hell. They differ according to their spiritual strength. Ghosts primarily use their spiritual strength to harm humanity.

The generic types of ghosts as identified by the Spiritual Science Research Foundation in ascending order of hierarchy as well as power and strength are:

• Common ghost
• Demons
• Black serpent
• Female goblin
• Jaakhin
• Witch
• Spirit
• Subtle sorcerer

The Hierarchy among Ghosts

There is a hierarchy among ghosts which is based on their spiritual power or strength. Ultimately all ghosts are controlled by subtle sorcerers (maantriks).

Basic shape and form of types of ghosts

The spiritual principle that word, touch, form, taste, smell and its associated energy coexist is also true with ghosts. Depending on their type of energy, they take up generic forms. These forms can however change, depending on what the ghost is trying to achieve. For example, if the ghost is trying to intimidate, it will take up an intimidating form, whereas if it is trying to fool a spiritual healer it may take a form of an angel or a positive energy. They can also take the form of our departed ancestors thus misleading psychics and the people who come to psychics to enquire about departed relatives. This is true in almost all cases.

How does one become a Ghost in the first place?

When a person dies only his physical body ceases to exist. His subtle body however continues to exist and moves on to the other regions of the Universe. Some of these subtle bodies become ghosts. Most ghosts have unfulfilled desires such as cravings for sex, alcohol, revenge, etc. or derive pleasure out of exerting control over and tormenting humans and other subtle bodies. The subtle body of a person after physical death is defined as a ghost if their characteristics and intentions match the above. There is no special process as such which they go through to become a ghost.

How does a Ghost become a particular type of Ghost?

The main reason behind a person becoming a certain type of ghost is due to their predominant personality trait and their predominant thought at the time of death. For example people involved in adversely affecting humanity at large are more likely to become subtle sorcerers (maantriks). On the other hand excessive worldly desires and constantly thinking ill about others may culminate in one becoming a Common Ghost (Bhoot) after death.

Summary

The most reliable way of reducing the risk of being affected or possessed by the various types of ghosts, is undertaking spiritual practice as per the 6 basic principles of spirituality. Spiritual practice and spiritual healing remedies, coupled with personality defect removal and eradication of ego are the tools to access supreme protection from God that insulates one from the attack of ghosts as well as helps us proceed to higher regions in the afterlife.

Visit SSRF’s website to explore more on the salient features of the various types of ghosts, view subtle drawings and pictures of various types of ghosts and discover how they can affect our lives:

Link

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

“Ghost Radio” My Review

I finally finished “Ghost Radio”, a very disturbing book of altered states of consciousness and reality. Perhaps of a spirit world or at least a parallel universe, where focus changes and your past may not be real. In the last five years I have often been made aware of such things by family members scoffing at my very clear memories of an event, which they claim never happened or at least not that way. After dozens of such episodes, who would not question their own reality?

Many times, what I confess are very real dreams, occur to me to be possible memories. If this can happen in dreams, perhaps one’s reality awake is merely an altered state…a dream. At least the dead don’t come to visit. I think I have had only one dream where I was “visited” by the dead…good old dad. He looked like a zombie, and left when I told him he was dead and to go away. Of course I have always stayed away from dark things like Tarot Cards, Ojai boards, séances and the like. No dead people I want to speak to! Why would you? It is enough to make one shudder!

And yet, writing this makes me remember another personal ghost story. I stayed at my maternal grandmothers house two weeks every summer, when I was little. The summer after my grandpa died, I am pretty sure he came to visit. I liked sleeping on the screened porch, where it was cool. Before going to sleep, I always locked the screen door, and yet when I got up to use the bathroom or just awoke, it was always unlocked. Finally, getting a little nervous, hey I was about 9 yrs old; I went inside to the bedroom to sleep. Even then I could “feel” someone nearby. I assumed then, and now, it was my grandpa watching over me. I can’t remember ever telling my mom or grandma that story. I guess I have more ghost stories than I thought. Uh huh.


The real "Ghost Radio", give a listen:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Do you like scary stories? Here is my scary story!



My scary story!

I am currently reading a novel called “Ghost Radio” by Leopoldo Gout. It is a spooky story of voices in the static of radio waves on dark lonely nights. It made me think of this genre. I have read Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and several others, but normally don’t view scary stories as entertainment. I am not sure why, perhaps I am scared. Perhaps I have experienced a dark scary moment or two!

Herein follows a true story. When I was about 21 or 22, a college senior, going through my first divorce, dreading the military draft and other stressful thing of a young life, it happened.

One night I had a dream, the first of many in the decades to come. I was in a disturbing dark place in my dream, a basement, graveyard, woods, etc. “It” began to come after me, darkness, deeper and blacker than the night. A maligned presence, that scarred me to wake up screaming. After a few episodes, my landlady, a nurse, who I also woke up, told me to ask it what it wanted. Huh? I could only imagine it pointing a bony finger at me as shouting “You!” in a gravely voice! What if it was Death, the Reaper? No way.

After a year of widely spaced and increasingly urgent yelling, ”It” kept getting closer to catching me. By then I had moved on, graduation was almost upon me. The draft had been settled by “winning” a high lottery number, never to be called up. I had met a wonderful girl, who eventually became my second wife and mother of my eldest daughter.

Before those nicer times, however, the strangest nightmare of all transpired. Once again, I woke in a cold sweat, strangling in my screams, my girlfriend tried to comfort me. Now fully awake, I noticed I was blind. I could not seem to see my hand in front of my face in the chill, dark room. This was even stranger because the streetlight was just outside my apartment, and normally my room was fairly light. The real strange part was that my now wide-awake girlfriend, also couldn’t see in the pitch black either. OK, I was beyond scared here; it felt to me like a “thing” was taking the light, life, and air from me. I yelled for it to go away and leave us alone. I told my future wife I loved her. Almost instantly the darkness and smothering feel was gone, the streetlight came through the windows. We never spoke about that night much after that. While many dreams of the dark shifting “thing” continued, three or four times per year, for the next 40 years, I never had one quite like that, ever again.

I graduated from college, we moved to Colorado, got married, had our daughter and was happy. On my wife’s 21st birthday, she had a sudden, fatal aneurysm and died. I became a single parent and the loneliness of those days can still be felt. I often wonder to this day, if “It” chose her instead of me. I will always wonder.