Hands Down

I owe you guys a post or two. I still have more about Wizard World Comic Con in Raleigh to write about and I am trying to get the last of the editing done on a book of short stories. I had a formatting snafu that I am trying to straighten out.

Unfortunately, I have also managed to injure both of my hands. I pulled a tendon in the right on and did something painful and unpleasant to the left, probably from over use. Typing or writing is causes me more physical pain than usual at the moment. (I often get headaches while writing, but that is usually from banging my head against the key board when things aren’t going well.)

I have been told that in order for my hands to heal that I need to leave them alone and not use them. Which means no writing. Which means I am slowly going crazy with the work piling up and the unwritten thoughts in my head.

I read a book once, where the main character was a thief and the woman he loves cuts off his dominant hand. To this day, that scene still effects me. I was horrified.

I was really into the character’s head and he was devastated. I completely empathized and went around for days telling people about the scene. Most of them just looked at me funny and I heard, It’s just a book, quiet a few times.  That one scene made me deeply consider what it would be like to lose a hand and how useful the things are. (He ends up stealing the whole kingdom afterwards, btw.)

I have a lot of respect for people who have lost hands or fingers in accidents or were simply born without them. I had an uncle who lost his arm from the elbow down in a rock crusher. His hand got stuck and it was lose the arm or lose his life. He pulled his upper body free, tearing off his own right forearm and hand. Then, in later years, he velcro-ed a guitar pick to the stump and taught himself how to play.

So right now I am currently using my hands more than I am supposed. But it is in order to let those who read this know that I am not supposed to be using my hands. (Yeah, that made more sense before I wrote it down.) The book release I promised will be delayed as well a few other things.

Also, when I finally get back to work, it will probably take a while for all of the thoughts in my head to condense into a form where they make sense. Right now after just a few days of little to no writing, I have all of these words making a stampede for the exit provided by my fingers. I am going to stop now before my common sense is over ruled and I write more than necessary. I will be back, but don’t be surprised if my usual Monday blogs are delayed for the next week or so.

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Operation Baen Bulk looking for donations

Operation Baen Bulk looking for donations.

Boosting the signal.

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Raleigh Comic Con Part 1: Or Why Sean Astin is my hero.

When I was younger I loved the movie Goonies. I thought it was probably the best movieGoonies-poster in existence next to Star Wars. Kids were the protagonist, they were on a treasure hunt, and the leader was an asthmatic. What more could an asthmatic kid want?

Mikey’s struggles of being a regular kid and attempting to breath at the same time were personal to me. Too many times had I sat on the sidelines and watched my friends run or trotted slowly behind them gasping for air, holding my inhaler, and trying to keep up.

color of magicLater, another favorite was The Color Of Magic, one of Terry Pratchett’s adored Disc World books brought to life.  There was also Rudy. I am not a huge American Football fan, but I loved the movie Rudy because it proved determination can get you places your size and you brain can’t.

Then came The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Everyone knows Frodo would never had made it with out Sam. These were all good movies that encouraged and, in some small way, helped shape me into the person I am.

However, these movies and the many more Sean Astin has on his professional list are not the reason he is my hero.  That begins with the voice of a turtle and time taken for a small boy.

Among the many feathers in Sean’s cap, is the voice of Raphel from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon. I was unaware of this as my son and I stood in line to get his autograph this past Sunday. The line was long and jittery with anticipation.

I was standing in line because of Mikey, Rudy, Twoflower, and Samwise. Maybe also sean astin 2015 raelighbecause I had seen a few short clips in the dvd extras of Sean Astin being Sean Astin. He seemed like a pretty cool guy, and he obviously has good taste, so I wanted to meet the man in person. My son was with me because in large crowds he is never very far away from my side. (His sister was off raiding the concession stand under adult supervision.)

We had gotten in line early because I missed my chance for an autograph the day before. Sean was late arriving and my feet were sore by the time he made it to his table, but all that was forgotten in the excitement of meeting someone famous. (He ran a marathon that morning, so I think being a few minutes late is understandable.)

As the few people in front of me greeted their hero and got their autographs, I was seized by a case of blank brain. Then my son bumped my hand and I looked down.

gaming (2)Blue eyes, under a yellow plush Pikachu hat, looked back at me. I thought of all the times those eyes were clouded in tears because of bullies at school, or the frustration of being mistaken for a kindergartner even though he is in fourth grade.  I thought of the parent teacher conferences where his teacher insisted she wanted him to “be a lion not a turtle.”

So when my turn came I stepped forward…and didn’t have to say much of anything. Sean Astin didn’t over look my son. He said hi to him and greeted him in a voice from a cartoon he watches every morning before school. You could see the dawn of “hey this guy is pretty cool” spread across my son’s face. I got my pictures signed and traded a few words of my own, and then mentioned that my blue eyed boy was in the fourth grade and sometimes got picked on.

Sean took over from there. I had hoped for a few words of encouragement. Instead we held up the line for at least ten minutes, while Mr. Astin looked at my son straight on and talked to him as a person. He passed on words of encouragement of course, but more than that was the feeling that he understood. It wasn’t just empty platitudes. It was: You are an awesome person no matter what your size. I believe in you and I mean it.

By the end of conversation my sometimes shy son, was showing Sean pictures of his dog on my phone and chatting away. We walked away from the table with an autographed picture of Raphel and feelings of awe and gratitude.

raphMy son wouldn’t let me put his picture with mine for safe keeping. He carried it around with him for the rest of the day and read the words written on it over and over to himself. Looking at my son I had to blink away tears a couple of times.

I am sure that the people waiting in line behind us while Sean Astin took those ten minutes were wishing we would hurry up. However,  I will be eternally grateful that the other fans waited while he took the time to talk to a small boy. That is why Sean Astin is my hero. Thank you sir.

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A Delay due to too much fun

Well, it is Monday. There should have been a post here this morning but it hasn’t been written yet. This isn’t the post either. This is a public service announcement to tell everyone that there will be a post forth coming, but at the moment I am recovering from Con-lag.

This weekend the kids and I took a trip up to Wizard World Comic Con in Raleigh, North Carolina. We had a really good trip. More details with be forth coming but at the moment I have to find a cup of coffee and then take my son to the doctor.  Con-lag is taking the form of a fever with him and I am hoping it isn’t Con-crud instead.

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Another Hero Gone

Yesterday on Facebook, I saw that a friend posted about the death of Sir Terry Pratchett. I was on my phone waiting in line for school to let out so I didn’t investigate. I simply posted a question back and then made a mental note to look it up later, because surely it was some kind of mistake.

There are websites out there who go around posting fake celebrity deaths, so I thought she must have fallen for one of those.  We just lost Leonard Nimoy, surely Death wouldn’t take Sir Terry from us on the heels of losing Spock.  It turns out I was wrong.

This morning I found that mental note, among the rest of the detritus in my head, and investigated. We did indeed lose Sir Terry Pratchett and another piece of my heart has traveled to the other side with him.

I never met Sir Terry, but I read his books. I loved them. I still do.

If someone came to me with a magic pen and said: “This will let you write in your own voice but with the genius of another writer, but you can only pick one…”   I wouldn’t have used the pen because there is always a catch with those things; but if I had been foolish enough to give it a go, Sir Terry would have been the writer I picked.  His talent is something I will always look up to.

Another one of my heroes has passed and left me with only memories. Funny how that works. Robin Williams, Leonard Nimoy, Sir Terry Pratchett…I never met any of them but some how my world has been brighter with an extra dose of hope and magic in it because they lived.terrypratchett1

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Sleep not

mugging forkCustomers shake their heads and give me pitying looks at work when they realize I work all night. Usually I smile and say something along the lines of : “It’s not that bad.” Or “The days off make up for the late hours.”  Most of the time that is true.

However, some weeks that is a lie. So instead I say, “I have plenty of coffee.” Which is also true. What I don’t say is that some nights there isn’t enough coffee in the world.

Today I woke up at noon. For you day walkers, think of it as laying down at 8pm and waking up at midnight. It wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t do the same thing yesterday as well. (The day before that I slept great.)

This is going to be a long night and one of our more busy ones. If I get my hands on the sand man, I am going to tell him whomever he has doing deliveries during the day is slacking off.  Then he will probably mumble something about hours being cut, staff not fully trained yet, or that they recently changed suppliers. *sigh*

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Footsteps to Follow

The footsteps of great men have lead the way and we are left alone to follow them. Some have left prints so deep in the sand that they look like mini lakes to those of us standing on the shore and looking forward. How can anyone possibly fill the shoes that left steps imprinted so deep?

The answer is, no one can. Great men never intended for someone to walk directly in their footsteps. They merely hoped that by leaving a mark behind, others may head in the same direction and forge their own paths somewhat parallel.

This does not mean great men never had faults, doubts, or struggles. It just means even when they were brought to their knees they still moved forward. Grief can be strong enough, even for a stranger, that it may feel as if your feet were cut from underneath you. Keep moving forward anyway. It is what those we grieve for did, and what we must do if we want our paths to remain parallel.

Leonard Nimoy, you will be missed.

Leonard Nimoy

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