Thursday, December 15, 2016

Happy 75th Birthday, Dad.






My father turns 75 today.

A milestone birthday, and this year, I was away, once again.

What can I say, my father is better Dad than I am

Happy birthday Dad, from Texas.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Writing Power of the Dark Side




Laying in bed on Thanksgiving Eve this week, I came to the realization that not much writing has been accomplished in the past year.

The major project - not yet completed.

The prequel - title and idea only.

It would appear that I write better from the Dark Side, when there is disharmony in the galaxy.

Apparently, I have not yet understood the Writing Power of the Dark Side. 


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Happy 21st Birthday




In Australia, it is November 17, and my youngest child turns 21 today.

It has been 4 years to the day since we last spoke on the phone.

It has been 4 years and a day since her mother said she would never allow her to visit me in the USA.

It is 7 years since her mother violated court orders and moved her 3 states away.

It is 8 years since I last flew back to Australia, and her mother withheld her from me.



It is almost 12 years since I left Australia.

Her 21st birthday marks the end. It is over.

It's too late for my girls, lessons learned:

- Manage your child child support. Make it your second job and ensure you receive credit for everything.
- As bad as it may be, stay close to your children. You cannot immediately rebuke that which is told to your children, from 7811 miles away.
 
Had I known I would lose both my children to their mothers forked tongue, I would not have left to remarry and have the family structure that was missing the first time.

I would have stayed a single, Dad.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Favorite Photograph



When I was a child, my parents divorced. As a teenager I visited my father at his place of work one time and saw a photograph of my brother and I on his desk. It was an old photograph, taken when we first started school. 

When I asked my father about it he said "It's my favorite photograph."

Earlier this week I was sitting at my own work desk when an employee asked about a photograph of my own daughters. The phrase rolled off my tongue.

"It's my favorite photograph."

And in a moment of revelation, I learned yet another thing about my own parents divorce. My father's favorite photograph was just that, because,  that is all that he had.

The young girl in my photograph will be 21 in about three weeks. It's been four years since we spoke on the phone, and nine years since I have seen her. I have no idea who she is now.

With reverence to Ringo Starr, now, all I've got is a photograph.



Saturday, October 8, 2016

Some Days Are Harder Than Others



Some days are harder than others.

The writers copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles arrived today.

I cannot even look at the cover without crying.

My first copies usually go out to community organizations, libraries, and my Alma Mater Villanova College.

Not this time. They'll be going out to those who carried me through the story.

Anthony, Dave Parker, Judith, and one other.

One copy will be held back for his children,  to read of their father impact.

One copy will be held back for my children, to read of the impact of their father.

Vale Mark Goodwin.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My Friend, My Partner.



In Australia, the last Thursday in September is National Police Remembrance Day.

My personal list is...heart breaking.

Tony Greaves.
Lenny Hoooper.
Dave Shean.
Perry Irwin,

and my friend, my partner, Mark Goodwin.








His story comes out in the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, Angels and Miracles, on 2 November 2016.



Monday, September 12, 2016

Delta Airlines Leaves a Disabled Soldier Behind on 9/11





On September 11 2016, Delta Airlines completely forgot about a 75 year old disabled retired serviceman at Los Angeles International Airport. After being booked on a commuter flight from San Diego to Los Angeles, with connecting flight to Australia, +Delta Airlines dropped the ball when the original flight was late to leave the terminal.

Forgot to document his emergency contacts.
Forgot to document he needed a wheelchair.
Forgot to call his local family, when requested.
Forgot to advise on rebooking his connecting international flight.
And while they did give him a bed for the night...
Forgot to feed him.

Shame on you +Delta  Take a good look at the disabled soldier you left behind on 9/11.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles





A story twenty five years waiting to be written, represents the second appearance this year and the fifth overall.

For Alyse and Meghan, who never knew their Father.



Sunday, August 28, 2016

Halfway



Halfway to the finish line.

The first 50 has been great.

The next 50 look to be awesome.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

In Memorium, an Honorable Gentleman.



This week I have been in Orlando, Florida, enjoying a vacation. The day after I arrived, news reached me from Australia of the passing of a honorable gentleman. The man left behind a wife and two children. He had just celebrated his 50th birthday three months ago.

At the same time, news reached me about a story that has been 25 years in the making. In 1991, a friend passed away leaving behind a wife and two children. He was barely 25 of years. His passing profoundly affected me, not only because he was my friend, but because we graduated in the same Police Academy class, and worked side by side in Law Enforcement. For 25 years I carried a guilt over his passing, not for the event that took his life, but for the children he left behind.

His children were just two years and eight weeks of age.

I always wondered if there was more I could have done for his children, but I didn't. I isolated myself from his family, and as it turned out, from my own family. I eventually wrote about him, and that story will appear in November this year.

The honorable gentleman who passed this week left behind two children, who had just completed school and were making their way in the world.

It will not be 25 years before I write about how great, their Dad was, and how lucky I was to know him.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Put a Tablet On The Shelf



In the real world, writers complete major works, editors correct within a short time, publishers get the book out and royalties begin rolling in as every book is a major success.

When was the last time you purchased a book with a cover, paper and a spine?

E-Books are generally less cost to process, and open up a new reader base, but lacks the authenticity of a book on a shelf.

I'm just not ready yet to put a tablet on the shelf.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Third Book in 2016



Which Australian author has signed for a third book this year?

:) 


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Disaster Management - Just Another Day at The Office



I'd like to thank the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for all their exception training.Without their help, today's disaster could have been much worst.

Sunday morning and I had just settled down to watch the Nascar race. The green flag had just waved when this blood curling scream erupted from the other end of the house.  Daughter #3 came a running.

"There's a mouse in my room."

Normally such exclamations do not phase me, however,  Daughter #3 followed it up with "It's a disaster, I don't know what to do."

Disaster? Emergency Management? Incident Command? This, is what I train for.

Daughter #3 debriefed me on the situation. "I'm not equipped to handle this."

So much for the Preparedness cycle, we'll move straight into response.

"I'm sorry sweetie I cannot help you until you expend all your own resources attempting to get the mouse out." No sense breaching any procedure today.

Minutes later she returned claiming to have cleared a path for me. Having received the "Emergency Declaration", I moved in.

The place looked like a bombshell had hit. First of all I couldn't see the floor let alone the mouse - I was going to need some Resources - probably a Type III cat. Jasper Kitty was first of the Cat Corps to arrive. Debris management went into place as Jasper begun his Search and Destroy mission.

"I'm out of here," Daughter #3 stated. "I can't sleep in here tonight with a mouse running around."

Good - self evacuation, saves me issuing a mandatory evacuation order. "You shelter in place on the couch while we continue with the Response Phase."

The mouse was located but the debris was too excessive - drink bottles, empty Cheetos, how many shoes does this girl have - I was going to need another Resource, something a little stronger. I'm going to need a Type 1 cat, and in came Jacob. Just in time too, I had to release Jasper on Safety Grounds when he started to show signs of Stockholm Syndrome towards the mouse.

Jacob wasted no time and had the mouse cornered.

"Don't hurt it," Daughter #3 said, peeking through the door from the edge of the disaster perimeter.I swore under my breath, I'd forgotten about Animal In Disaster.

Within hours, I had the mouse worn out, cornered, and captured. Removed from the Disaster Zone, and I was now into Recovery, returning all the bedroom equipment back to it's original position.

"No," Daughter #3 cried. "All my shoes go back under the dresser."

"Not any more," I said throwing them into the cupboard. "Mitigation."

Had to be my own CERT team as well, sending out and paying for own pizza once the job was down. And Papa's Johns still messed up my order.

Disaster Management - it can turn your Sunday into Another Day at The Office.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Geocaching With Murphy



This 4th of July weekend, Murphy has given me the opportunity to have two Amazon best sellers in a month.

Presenting, Geocaching GPS: Stories of Geocaching First, Geocaching With Murphy, now available on Kindle and in hardback starting 4th of July.

Thank you to my geocaching buddy.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Murphy




Coming soon to a geocaching book near you.

#murphy



Saturday, June 11, 2016

Because the Night


Because the Night

Belongs to Writers

...and Bruce.




 ...even if Nils does steal Patti's spotlight.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Spirit Of America Goes Out to First Fans



International copies have gone out to the First Fans.

Domestic copies go out next week.

It's a wonderful day to be Straight out of El Cajon.




Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Unauthorized Account Access Sanctioned by Verizon



Have you ever dialed a cell phone carrier's Customer Service division? You call in, punch in your pass code, provide your secret answer, and if you get a real person, they want to know who they are talking with. They ask for permission to access the account, and then they confirm that they can talk to you because you are listed on the account.

That's how it should work.

Earlier this evening Customer Service at Verizon Wireless confirmed by date and name, that they have have been talking to someone, who's not on the account, is not authorized to operate on the account, and who has authorized changes to the account.

It's taken 7 months to locate it and 4 hours on the phones in the past two days alone.

Who needs a better network as explained by colorful balls when Verizon Wireless sanctions unauthorized access to account.

#verizonwireless #verizon #admissionswithoutcorrections




Saturday, May 7, 2016

Witness to The Fall of Saigon



The Fall of Saigon.

Earlier this week I got to listen to the first hand account from the man on the right in this photo.



















Look for a feature article in a major publication soon.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mission Control is Dark, Wall Street has Fallen.




Umm...

"Mission Control is Dark. Wall Street has fallen.."

Last week I wrote about the loss of a long standing computer, Mission Control.

Unbeknown, my files for several financial matters had been backing up to the recovery disk of the computer, instead of the external drive.

"Houston, we have a problem."

The recent American taxes were completed but the Australian taxes may have to be paid late. Extract files, transfer to another storage - maybe more money than I I'm willing to invest to recover just a couple months difference from my US taxes.

Lesson learned form the last crash several years ago - all the writing is salvaged including the major project which is now back on the menu. 


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Mission Control is Dark.




Umm...

Power outage must have happened today.

No problem, I'll just turn the computer back on.

Ut oh.

Huston, we have a problem.

"Mission Control" is dark.

Launched February 2003, loss of operating power April 2016.

Not bad for a Windows XP computer.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Chicken Soup for the Soul #Stand4Heroes



Chalk up another appearance within the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise.

On 7 June 2016,  the next in their series of books will be released, titled Chicken Soul for the Soul: The Spirit of America.

My story, "Straight out of El Cajon" highlights the discussions I still  have, ten years after arriving in the "new country" The irony of an Australian writing about the Spirit of America, has not been lost.

Royalties form the book will benefit the Bob Woodruff Foundation's #Stand4Heroes program for veterans.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

California Franchise Tax Board Needs 130 Days to Answer A Letter



  How long does a state department need to respond to a letter of inquiry?

  14 days?

  30 days?

  How about of 130 days for the California Franchise Tax Board.

   In November 2015, I inquired about assets not received, (for the third time) following the completion of the 2014 tax returns. The California Franchise Tax Board needed 4 months and 9 days to identify which department they intercepted funds on behalf of.

  I should consider myself lucky however. In March 2016, the California Franchise Tax Board requested $30 million in funding to enable them to meet service standards. The request was made based on their policy for the timely processing of correspondence within thirty (30) days, but they acknowledge that the average turn around time has been eight (8) months, (Page 14) with 70,000 items of correspondence unaddressed.  This is further complicated by the inability of consumers to speak to a representative when they telephone.

  Is it any wonder that businesses are leaving California for other states like Texas?

  I wonder how forgiving the State of California would be on April 15 if I delayed the filing of my tax return by 130 days? 



  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Recovering Passwords; A Writers Workshop



  Have you ever tried to log in on a device and not been able to remember your password?

  Have you ever tried recovering your password where all your emails are connected through your cell phone?

  Welcome to a Writers Workshop, Recovering Passwords. You could write a novel based on the password recovery process these days.

  Long gone are the "what is you mothers maiden name" insert the answer and welcome back to your account. Now, it's cell phone codes, what was the last password you remember, send an email to your recovery email account (assuming you can remember the password to that account - which I didn't) answer the Captcha symbol where certain numbers always look like a letter but the Google images makes me think that my own street address numbers will eventually show up, reset your password, would you like to add another email account in case you can't back in like you just have (no thank you), confirm your new password, add a safety image so that when you do log back in the image you have selected will identify that you are not at a phishing site, reconfirm, please log out to ensure that the changes are made, log back in on the cell phone - laptop - tablet - desktop - the work computer - the work laptop, answer all the "your password was changed on another device notification and did you authorize such password change" question on each of the devices, and reload the web page.

  I forgot why I was going into the email anyway.

  Got my 30 minutes writing completed for today.

 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

All Is Good



  The major project - back on the query trail.

  Another anthology book has accepted one of my stories.

  The local newspaper is looking at my articles again.

  All is good within the writing world.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Peering In On My Life.



  I have been a resident of the United States just on 11 years. I am an accomplished writer, published in a number of magazines and books.

  I never expected that my writing would take on such admiration from those whom have no contact with me. I'm not talking about distant fans, I'm referring to those whom once were part of my life, who's own choice was to have nothing to do with my life, who apparently seem unable to let me continue on with my own life, without them peering in.

  Stalker? Crazed fan? Or just crazy?

  Recently I discovered that my professional life has drawn the attention of someone, who's last conversation with me about seven years ago included the words "We need to have better communication." I haven't heard from them since, and they have gone on to omit notifications, that they would have expected from me.

  The internet leaves a digital trail everywhere you go. If you're going to peer in on my life, and want to remain anonymous, you probably shouldn't do it while logged into your own profile.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

You Let It Be



     There will come a time when"those" will look upon the actions of "them" and ask themselves, "How did we let it get to be this way?"

     And those in the know will turn to them and say "You did it to yourself."

     As the plans commence from the Day of Righteous,  it is not without notice that another Date of Infamy arrives. Had not the loss been, I would not be the writer that I am now.  Someday, that story may appear in a book, maybe in a Chicken Soup for the Soul publication. They will read and wonder "How did we let it get to be this way?"

     You let it be.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

On The Day of Righteous



On the Day of Righteous,
Look over the fence back at the barren earth.
Feel the grass between your toes,
Smell the fresh cut green.
Be gracious -
Your work is done.

 - a discarded paragraph from The Book of Pioneer.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Protecting the Writing Time





     Nothing I like better on a Saturday night, my designated writing time, then tending to the necessities of the business week.

     I might write during the business week to make amends.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Parental Alienation



  To the First Fans: thank you for your wishes. Recovery is underway and I have returned to work.

 In Brisbane Australia, comes the story of a Family Law Court Judge who awarded custody to the father of three children, after finding that the mother engaged in parental alienation by coaching their children in lies. Not surprisingly,  the grandmother of the children was equally culpable in the lies and deceit.

  One father's work to remain in contact with his children, has not been in vain.