Grilled Peaches

We had a neighborhood party on Independence Day. I always enjoy these activities because there’s plenty for the kids to do and I get a chance to chat with neighbors and get to know them better. And there’s the food. A big, yummy potluck dinner where I get to try new things to eat. The highlight was trying grilled peaches—something I had never considered grilling before. Here’s a pic as they cooked on the neighbors grill.

Before you cook then, you brush on a light coat of oil on the bottom so they don't stick to the grill. Cook them on the top shelf for 5-10 minutes. (Cooking time varies depending on how hot the grill is on the inside. Cook until their slightly squishy when you squeeze them. To server you top them with a spoonful of a delicious mixture of Greek yogurt, honey, and cinnamon.

The result is this warm mouthful of yumminess. It's like manna from heaven. Only better.

Random Thoughts April 2011

(With apologies to Thomas Sowell) Parents in Pennsylvania have discovered that one of their high school English teachers has been writing racy romance novels on the side. So long as she’s not reading the books in her class, advertising them to her students about them, or using class time to write them, I fail to see what the big deal is. The bigger problem Buranich now faces is that now that her secret is out, it’s going to make the teaching part of her job much more difficult.

I love that Kindles and other e-readers are turning the traditional publishing world on its head. As Bob Dylan sang, The Times They Are a-Changin.

Speaking of e-readers, it’s no surprise that the iPad isn’t a big reading device. There’s too many other things you can do with it. Besides, people like me who spend the entire work day staring at a computer screen, prefer the on-backlit Kindle.

Superman has decided to renounce his US Citizenship but willl “continue working as a superhero from a more global than national perspective.” I’m sure that this part of some larger story arc the writers are working on to take Superman comics to another level, but it also smacks of another marketing ploy trying to gin up interest in comics which are having a difficult time competing against video games and the Internet. The future of comics and superheroes isn’t print—it’s movies, video games, and the web. If comics and superheroes are going to survive, that’s where they need to go.

I’ve been sitting on the sidelines with the NFL and its players squabble over a $9 billion pie. But after reading NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s take on football’s future if the players win, I’m firmly on the player’s side of things. If anything, it shows how the current work agreement stiffs the best players. And I have no problem with a league without a minimum team payroll, minimum player salary, no limits on free agency, and no league-wide rule limiting the length of training camp or required off-season workout obligations

There’s only a handful of websites I visit every day but The Passive Voice is the site for authors, wantto-be authors, and those thinking about going the Indie publishing route.

I don’t understand why someone needs a state sanctioned cosmetology license to braid hair for money. For that matter, why does someone need a cosmetology license at all? A cosmetology license is no guarantee of good work or attention to detail. With or without a license, if you do a good job you’ll succeed. If you don’t, you’re toast.

It’s April 29 and snowing outside as I write this. I feel like I’m trapped Naria when the White Witch is in charge—always winter and never spring. Where are Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy when you need them?

Star Trek

J. J. Abrams puts new life into a sagging franchise. It doens't matter if you're into Star Trek or not. The movie rocks. Go see it.

LOST: Follow the Leader

LOST: Follow the Leader

Ryan, you were right. Faraday died. And I think the episode was worse off for it. Jack seized on the whole destiny thing and had the standard clash with Kate. Now he’s off to set off the bomb. I don’t know what it is about Jack that’s bothering me but he seems so determined to set the bomb off, he comes across as a little unhinged. I’m glad Kate at the guts to walk away. And I agree with her, not all of the last three years were bad. It’s a shame Jack can’t see it.

And my gut tells me that Locke is leading yet another disastrous mission despite his self-proclaimed ability to communicate with the island. I can see the mission ending in disaster typical Locke disaster. They don’t find Jacob or if they do people die and all the self-doubt that has been a constant part of Locke’s character will resurface and Ben will try to take over the group.

I’m hoping we’ll learn more about the Others soon. Even though Ben gave us a couple hints about Richard Alpert, we know so little about them. Now we know they have tunnels and managed to move a bomb, but on the whole they’re still a mystery. Maybe when we get to see that mysterious statue, we’ll know more. A lot more.

Thankfully it looks like the season finale is going to be two hours long. LOST addicts need that to get us through the next nine months. And from one of the spoilers I read, it looks like we’re going to get a little back story on Hugo as well as stop all the time travel craziness. Looking forward to it.

LOST: The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

Lost; The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

I was relieved to see that Locke didn’t kill himself. When he was getting ready to hang himself I was worried that LOST was going to turn into Dead Poets Society. Had Locke actually done himself in, it would have ruined the show for me forever.

The reasons that people kill themselves are extremely complex and rarely understood. So trying to make a suicide of a major character credible in a book or on TV or the movies is extremely hard to pull off. When Locke was getting ready to hang himself I didn’t buy it. Sure, I think the writers did a good job of showing Locke’s lack of influence with all the survivors (except Sun). And I could see why he was depressed that no one could come back to the island with him? But depressed enough to be suicidal? Not by a long shot. It was completely unbelievable.

At least they somewhat saved the scene but having Ben kill him. Still, why couldn’t they just have Ben take him out in the first place? Why go through the whole suicidal thing in the first place? Why have Ben talk him down only to end up killing him? But I think everyone is going to cheer when Ben finally gets what’s coming to him.

But the episode wasn’t a complete waste. We learned a lot more about Charles Widmore, Matthew Abbadon, and the woman Locke loved. We also opened an interesting story line with the new plane crash and survivors. Apparently Lapidus didn’t disappear with Jack, Kate and the others (why?) and was able to put the plane down in one piece. And seeing Abbadon get killed through the back windshield of the car was a very cool shot.

The big two questions, of course, is why did Locke came back from the dead? And where in time are the new survivors? Back in the 1970s with Jack and the gang or are they somewhere else in time? I don’t see how the Dharma Initiative could have not sent some people over to check out the crash.

Where's Abel?

Q: It’s been awhile since you updated your blog. Where have you been? A: Writing, writing, writing. Oh, and did I mention I was writing? Just not on my blog.

Q: Can you give us an idea what you’ve been working on?

A: Aside from all the direct response marketing writing I do at work, I’ve picked up a bunch of new freelance copywriting clients. Oh, and I started a new book.

Q: I had no idea you do freelance copywriting. How long have you been doing that?

A: A couple years. It’s a fun way to stretch my writing abilities and pad my writing portfolio. Oh, and the extra money is nice too. I spend it on Marathon Girl and my kids.

Q: Wait, what was that about starting a new book?

A: Yeah, I’ve started a new book.

Q: What happened to the book you were working on this summer?

A: I finished it. Right now a 95,000 word manuscript is sitting on my hard drive – backed up, of course – waiting for me to do something with it.

Q: How come you haven’t submitted it to agents, publishers, or others who might be interested in it?

A: Because something’s wrong with it. I don’t know what, exactly, but it’s not ready to send out. I’ll probably rework it after I get book done.

Q: Can you give us a preview of this book?

A: Not at this time. I can say that I’m very happy with this manuscript and hope to shop it around in January 2009. Look for more information then.

Q: So have you given up writing on the blog?

A: No, of course not. I love writing on my blog.

Q: What can we look forward to on this blog in the coming weeks?

A: An essay on the selfishness of grief, my curiosity over Hillary Clinton accepting the Secretary of State job, and (hopefully) and update on baby #4.

Q: I’m glad you haven’t given up on the blog. When can we expect to see your next post.

A: Early next week.

Q: Do you –

A: Sorry, there’s no more time for questions. I have a lot of copy that must be finished by the end of the day. Catch up with me later.

Q: Thanks for the update. Looking forward to your next post!

Dealing With the Suicide of a Spouse

My latest post on the HopeToHope blog is up. It's a response to the following question: I am angry at my wife and angry at God. My wife shot herself after receiving the news that she had been fired for a drinking problem. How do I deal with the fact that my pastor says, “God does not give more than we can endure?” Some days I feel like jumping off a bridge but I have two boys to raise. Any advice? You can read my answer here.

Eight Years and Counting

Eight Years of Exercise

Eight years.

That’s how long it’s been since I stood in front of the mirror aghast at the marshmallow shape my body was taking.

Eight years.

That’s how long it’s been since I tied a worn pair of running shoes to my feet, drove down to the local high school and discovered I couldn’t even make it once around the track once without gasping for breath.

Eight years.

That’s how long it’s been since I decided to change my life, cut out soda and junk food from my diet, and get myself in shape.

The results of eight years of hard work?

I can run with Marathon Girl for an hour (pushing a double wide stroller while I’m at it), bench my weight (a big accomplishment since my body came with almost no muscle mass), do over 100 sit-ups without breaking a sweat, run 7:30 miles without getting tired, and am extremely happy with the way my body looks. (As is Marathon Girl.)

But the best part? Running into people (no, not literally) that I haven’t seen in roughly eight years who don’t recognize me because of the changes to my body.

Yeah, that last part is the icing on the cake.