Sunday, March 29, 2009

So I went to my first Writer's Conference..

I had never been to a Writer's Conference. Every year The Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group holds "The Write Stuff" conference around the last weekend in March. They bring in authors, experts, agents, and editors to talk about a variety of topics, and let the local writing community interact with outside sources.

This year I attended, and I signed up to pitch one of my writing projects during a private, one on one session with an agent. Anybody who has ever tried to get a book or novel published knows that this involves a process that is best described as "discouraging." So I went in expecting to get what many of the other participants got hit with, which is a polite "NO, not interested." When I came out and told other hopefuls that the agent had requested my full manuscript, many damn near went into shock. I got some high fives, but I also got some very envious looks.

I've got several projects in my portfolio that are serviceable, but I spent all Sunday getting my work ready to mail to the agent Tomorrow. Yes, a hard copy was requested, not an email or file.
So we will see what happens, I'm not going to hold my breath on this, but I am proud of this particular work, and those who have critiqued it have all raved. Sigh. But that doesn't mean a thing, does it? The hard work could just be starting, and that would be a good thing.
I'm fortunate I have a very good editor pushing me. Some aren't that lucky.

Villanova, Team of Destiny?

March Madness has to induce more heart attacks among American Sports fans than anyother sporting event. There are 64 games in the tourney, so there are 64 chances for heart attacks.

That game between Pittsburgh and Villanova last night literally broke my heart. I had Pittsburgh winning it all, so I am done in the pool.

From what I have seen this year, it loks to me like Villanova has put it all together at the right time. I think they will win it all. UConn, another Big East beast, is dealing with the distractions of a scandal. UConn is most likely the only team left that can beat Villanova. I don't see Louisville or North Carolina doing it, do you?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

If you didn't hear... Mrs C has completed her MBA!

I am so proud of my wife. We will have been married for 13 years in September, and for the first few, she constantly talked about earning her MBA! in Business Health Care. After we moved to Trexlertown, I encouraged her to do it, and finally she did.

On this Tuesday night, March 24, 2009, she attended her last class. Earlier in the day she received in the mail her graduation information. It will take place May 16th at Desales University. I will be in the stands that morning as she dons a cap and gown and marches down the aisle to accept her MBA!

I just can't put into words how proud I am of her. She has worked very long and hard to achieve this goal of hers.

So if you didn't hear or read it the first time:

Krista Casey has earned her MBA! WOOHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Way to go Krista!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blogging as a Utility for daily life

Last night I explained Blogging to a group of people. I did a page by page, step by step explanation of how blogs work, and how to best use them.

It was the first time I had ever done it for a group, I usually do it one on one, by request.

I'm definitely going to have to change how I do it for groups, because 6 different people have 6 different questions, and I'm going to have to change my format to do it better. Last night was just as educational for me, as I learned where my weaknesses were. I also now see what preparations I am going to have to undertake in order to do it better.

First, one hour is not enough. better make it at least two. Second, I will start at the blogger home page, and talk them through the creation of a blog, picking out a template, etc. I will start them in naming their site, then work through settings, then layout, then posting.

I will have them compose and put up a short post, and then trouble shoot from there.

There are so many people out there blogging who don't realize all the tools that Blogger has available for them. Many neophytes don't know how to create links, personalize the colors of the offered templates, or even how to change the default settings that allow their posts to be given individual addresses or emailed to another person.

It may seem second nature to many of us hard core veteran bloggers, but to so many newbies it isn't.
"The Daily Me" is coming to life, replacing the old information gathering model of news journalism. To be linked in, many are going to want their own blogs. We owe it to them to share the information. I'm going to try.

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Monday Monday, how I hate that day..."

About the only good thing about Monday is that Friday is only 4 days away. As promised last week, here's a picture of our dog Sally, after the haircut.

Can you feel the pity? Do you feel as guilty as I do? Don't. She got a clean bill of health. We have no idea how old she really is, but she still thinks she is a puppy. After almost 6 years she has us trained.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

As if you needed it: More proof I am an idiot.

Saturday afternoon was lovely wasn't it? Mrs C and I were out on Reading's west shore, and enjoyed lunch at one of our favorites, BUCA! Buca di Beppo!
We were having a rather happy day. after lunch, I dropped her at Target, pronounced by in the know shoppers as "Tar- shay" and headed over to the nearby WaWa to get fuel for "Ruby" my Red Vue. (That's WaWa, pronounced WAH-WAH)
That's when my idiocy once again reared it's great big, over sized head. I had lost the keys to the gas cap. They weren't anywhere in the car, and not where I usually kept them. Even worse, we were a good thirty miles from home, and the little blinking, "You are almost out of fuel, dumb ass!" warning light and noise had been going off.
So what's a guy to do?
Panic? Start cussing and creating new words?


I am Chris Casey, thinking man, and I did something smart. I went back to Target, (pronounced Tar - shay) and picked up Mrs C. Then I drove to the Saturn Dealership a few miles away and explained my situation. With a pair of channel locks, the cap was quickly removed.
(Hey I lost the keys, it had to be done.) I drove to another Wawa less than a mile away, and saved the day.

Now after all that, you might ask, "But Chris, what about this makes you an idiot?"

Most people would keep the keys to their gas cap on the ring with their ignition key, but not me, no, I had to keep it hid in the car, or at least I thought I did. God knows where the hell the key went. Not only that, I kept both copies of the key together.

Go ahead, give it to me: DUH!

Mrs C will tell you, that in our home, at the kitchen door to the garage, there hangs a basket. That basket is for all the keys. Mrs C can always find HER Keys, but me?

There's a game I play often in our house, and has a very simple title:


I am dumber than a box of rocks sometimes, but at least I admit it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Lost Cruller

Yesterday, a local columnist who I think highly of had knee surgery. I felt for him. When I had my hip replaced, and when I had my gastric bypass, it was a great comfort to me that many people who knew me in passing stopped by to see how I was.
So I stopped by the gentleman's home this afternoon after work, and I came bearing comfort food: a half dozen crullers from Vallos bakery.

Those of us who live in the Lehigh Valley know how wonderful the products of Vallos bakery are. Their loaves of bread are made WITHOUT preservatives. Sure, the mold will show up in a week, but whose loaf last that long? Their pastries are without parallel. During lent they make their standard glazed and powdered sugar crullers, as well as chocolate glazed and Blueberry glazed crullers. Talk about LARD! Just put an IV of cholesterol in my arm, it wouldn't be as dangerous as eating one of those crullers, but it damn sure wouldn't taste as wonderful!
I stopped by Vallos on the way home from work near Montgomeryville, and picked up a half dozen for my ailing friend, who was grateful.

I also purchased 3 powdered sugar crullers for my wife, as well as one chocolate and three glazed crullers for me. I did purchase a fresh loaf of Vienna bread, that was still warm from the oven when they bagged it. Try driving home with that smell in your car!

So anyway, I went to the gym and worked out this evening, and when I came home, Mrs C broke the news: "You lost a cruller."
How do you lose a cruller, you might ask?
What happened was Mrs C decided to indulge in one of her powdered white sugar crullers, but somehow dropped one of my glazed crullers on the floor.
Now with three dogs in our house, what do you think happened when that cruller hit the floor?

I love my dogs. I just hope nobody goes into sugar shock.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The 5 Worst TV Miniseries of all time ( My Opinion)

This is off the top of my head, from reading other blogs, but here goes.

I like Stephen King as a writer. The guy has scared the hell out of me, starting way back when with "Carrie", "Cujo", and the original scary movie, "The Shining." Those were great books that were good movies, with the Shining being a very good movie I still get shivers at the utterance of "redrum!"

Unfortunately, Mr. King has allowed just about everything he has ever written to hit one form of screen or another, and with some pretty awful results. The lone TV miniseries exception was "The Stand" which had the brilliant foresight to cast Rob Lowe as a mute. It was quite good. But other than that lone shining bright light, Mr. King's TV adaptations have, for the most part, SUCKED.

So I present to you, the top 5 WORST TV Miniseries of all time, from bad to Worst:

5. The Shining (Recent TV Remake) Why mess with a good thing? Did you need the money?

4. Rose Red A haunted mansion that devours souls? On Network TV? That's Ironic.

3. The Tommy knockers Digging up an alien spacecraft buried in the woods, it powers itself off your brain waves, and makes you build green glowing, floating typewriters and exploding soda machines.

2. The Langoliers Cross Pac man the video game with the Friday the 13th movies. Say what?

And the worst Miniseries ever made is, drum roll please...........

1. The Storm of the Century! Where a Satan like demon holds a town hostage during a blizzard until it gives him an apprentice. Satan holding a small town hostage? Man, like that has never happened before! Politicians do that all the time!

I would have put "It" on the list, but I have a soft spot for the late John Ritter, and having Tim Curry play the demon/shape shifting clown was a pretty bold stroke of casting.

Stephen King is a great writer, but his books on the big or little screen? That's hit or miss, and in recent years, it's mostly been a miss.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Time to Shave Sally!

This is Sally Ann Casey. Sally does not liked to be groomed. She does not like to be bathed either. Once a year, usually in the spring, when it is warm enough, Sally goes to the vet for grooming. They put her under anesthesia to do it.
We adopted Sally from the humane society shelter on Dixon street in Allentown way back in 2003. She is very fearful of strangers, and because she runs and hides every time I unravel a garden hose, we believe that she was beaten with one by someone. Everyone who has tried to groom her ends up getting bit. We are able to give her occasional trims, as she will let me hold her while my wife uses the scissors.
When we first moved to Trexlertown, right after we got Sally, she was afraid to go off the porch because the invisible fence shocked her. Then she learned that if she ran fast enough, she could get through it, no matter how high we turned it up on her collar. So see, it wouldn't work on your kids! I know some of you were thinking that!
So Sally has a run that allows her a radius of 50 feet, and allows her to chase the rabbits and cats at fully Sally speed, at least until she hits the boundary of the invisible fence. Lucy and Ethel are both approaching 13 years of age, so they are content to let Sally do all the entertaining.
Monday I took Sally to the vet for her yearly check up, shots, and the required blood work before anesthesia. You don't want to know how much it costs, but for all the love and protection our Sally dog gives us, it is a bargain in my book. Wednesday Mrs C drops her off before 8 AM for her shearing, and we will pick her up tomorrow night. I'll post an after picture on Thursday.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Proof of my own ignorance

Sunday morning I had a post ready to go, that was all about a sign in front of a local Volunteer Fire Department. The sign promoted an upcoming fundraising event "Adult Bingo."

I had all these witty lines about Adult Books and Movies, and wondering aloud if "Adult Bingo" meant Firemen (Or Firewomen) running around selling instant games in thongs and G-strings. But alas, Mrs. C smacked me back to reality by informing me that "Adult Bingo" meant no kids allowed.

As an Irish Catholic, you would think I might have realized that, God knows, I've worked enough Bingo games in my time. I don't ever remember seeing that many kids at them though, it was something of an unwritten rule, right?

This episode just goes to show how stupid I can be at times. So give me DUH!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Lost" in Trexlertown

I don't watch all that much Television anymore. What I do watch is HD episodes online, when I can watch them at my convenience. That is exactly how I watch "Lost"

I watch Amazing Race the same way, but other than Battlestar Galactica, that's it.

Lost is, by far, the best show presently on TV. The story, the mystery, the tragedy of a Paradise lost, it is so compelling to try and follow.

I read the TV watchers blog on, and I debate with some of my twitter friends about what has happened so far, and what will happen yet.

When you consider that the story arc concerns an island that can not only move its physical location, but it's location in time, using the term "what will happen" has a different kind of relevance.

So to keep my Twitter peeps happy, here are my predictions on what is going to happen in coming episodes.

1.Anthropologist Charlotte, Love of Daniel Faraday, is not dead. He's going to do something at the Orchid construction site that changes the time arc. I know he said it can't be done, but he found a way to use Desmond to contact Eloise, didn't he?

2. What did Kate do with Aaron, Claire's son?
Aaron is now with Claire's Mom. Due to the Island's time hopping ability, I predict that Aaron shows up in the final season as an adult, looking for his Mom, and he ends up as the new leader under the tutelage of Richard Alpert.

3. Why was Ben so bloody before he got on the plane?
Because he killed Penny Widmore, love of Desmond's life. Which will lead to Desmond returning to the Island with his sole purpose being to kill Ben Linus. And Desmond's son, Charlie?
The raging argument among certain Lehigh Valley Lost Groupies is that either Charles Widmore is his own grandson, having been marooned there during a time jump after Desmond kills Ben, or Charlie will be raised by his grandfather, and come to the Island in the expedition along with Aaron in the final season.
Two good hypothesis, but they could both be wrong.

4.How the hell is John Locke alive?
Just like Michael trying to kill himself, the Island won't let him go until he fulfills his purpose. I like the idea that he is a facsimile of himself, created by the island, just as Christian, Jack's father may be.

5. My last one. The Dharma station that blew up was built as a counter balance to the time wheel. The reason it was frozen when Ben moved it was because the Dharma group had figured out how to neutralize it. Blowing up the Swan station removed that counterbalance. Things went along fine until Ben bumped the turntable, so to speak. So now, everybody is back in the past before the counterbalance was built. I have a suspicion that once that counterbalance gets built, everybody gets back where they belong. That's my wild guess. Okay guys, have at it, what's your guess?
I won't even touch the Mayan Temple/Smoky defense system today, I'll wait until we get another appearance. One theory floating around is that as the earth approaches the galactic celestial plane on 12/21/12, that the machine the Mayans built is to stabilize the Earth as it passes through that plane, and all this tinkering has knocked it off kilter.

Nice theory. It's as good as any!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

If I were a Superhero!

The Things you find out on the Internet! Do you want to be a Superhero?

I always give credit where credit is due, I saw this over at Redhead Rantings and followed the links.

Of Course, Every Superhero has a partner! Meet my lovely Wife:

I am in so much trouble for this!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dogs don't care about Time Changes

Last night, I worked on my literary endeavor off and on again for about 6 hours. The three dogs watched my every move, and every time I rose to stretch or get a drink, they followed, so I let them outside for a few minutes.

Dogs don't use clocks to tell time. They don't really use their master's habits either. What they do use is their own internal clock, one that says "time to pee, time to eat," or "time to sleep".

This morning, long before sunrise, Sally hopped on the bed to let me know that it was time for something. My clock said 4:30, which was 3:30 in old time, but that's about the time I usually get up, and sally had needs. So off to the door we went, with Lucy and Ethel dragging along.

"Everybody go poop" I commanded, and of course they did. Right in the middle of the sidewalk, as if displaying trophies of their accomplishments. Lucy is the smallest in height, but the biggest in girth, and she is proud of her poops, all in one place, one big pile.
Ethel though, likes to walk down the sidewalk while doing it, as if writing a message to the Gods. Translated, I believe the pattern may say something like "Send more Puppy treats."
Finally, there's Sally, who likes to cover all the bases, literally. Sally likes to spread the fertilizing wealth, so to speak, around. One poop here, one poop there, then one over there, and another over here. It all ends up in the Rose garden, but still, she tries to share.

But to them the Time change means nothing. When I get up, it's time to go. When I leave for work, its puppy treat time. When Kricket gets up at 6:30, they go out again, and when she leaves it's puppy treats for the road. when I get home after 3 PM, it's time to run outside and poop once again, after holding it all day.

Between Brinks security, with alarms on every door, and motion detectors, our dogs don't worry about time changes or intruders. all they worry about is sleeping, eating, pooping, and chasing squirrels.

The sun comes up, and the Sun goes down, and all is right in their world. What a life. I'm sort of jealous.

Friday, March 6, 2009

When you wish upon a star...

Whatever happened to Jiminy Cricket? Did he end up in a third world country's frying pan?
Or maybe in a box of chocolate coated crickets? one has to wonder.

Tonight I was putting out the garbage, and I took a moment to stare into the night sky. Lo and behold, I caught sight for barely a second of a shooting star, so I made a wish. Because I want that wish to come true, I'm not going to tell you what I wished for until after it comes true. (if it does.)

One thing I will share, is that I believe the past belongs behind us. Those grudges and slights that we would carry against one another are not badges of honor to be shown with pride.
Those are things that are burdens we bear of our own accord, that we had the power to put down and walk away from long ago. There is no honor in bearing them, only heartbreak, as they take up space in our lives that should be reserved to shoulder that which is new and good.

I'm not saying that we should forget those sins, but I am saying we need to forgive them and move on.

So tonight I wished upon a falling star. Let's all hope for the best.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


In the past week, I've written about our credit card/household shopper dogs. and a suspected Serial Killing Kitty, so I figured, hey, I should write about our Prehistoric monster looking fish, who Mrs C has named "Bob".

Why did she name him "Bob"? Good question.
Bob is the kind of fish (algae blennie) that eats all the slime that forms on the side of the tank, as well as all the stuff that exits from the other fish. To make it easy, Bob deals with all the crap, much like my brother in law Bob, who is a plumber.

Makes sense, doesn't it?

Among the other new additions to our Salt water tank are 20 snails, and a spidery looking crab that I named "Cranky." Cranky isn't a big fan of being seen, and hides a lot.

Bob, on the other hand, has moved right in and become the "Alpha" fish, displacing our very bossy Blue Damsel fish from her home in the rock cave, and taking it over for himself.

Bob replaces the Chocolate Chip Starfish named "Chip" who died and now resides in a ziplock bag in our freezer. He turned white, and buried himself immediately after the move. I think he knew his days were numbered.
Cranky replaced Bug/Lazarus/Floater, who died within a week after we adopted him. We also have Plellow, Dory, Nemo, and Paint. I have no idea what Plellow is, but Dory is the Blue Damsel, and Paint and Nemo are truly some kind of clowns.

We are 5 weeks in, and everybody seems to be thriving, even though Plellow had a close call when he inadvertently found his way into the filter. Thankfully he survived, and no one has told him that he is supposed to be the most aggressive of all the fish in there.
We have incredibly managed to get the salinity to the correct level, and the snails and Bob are keeping the tank pretty clean.

For the immediate future, there will be no more fish purchases. Mrs C wants a bigger tank. I want to see if the ones we have live another six months, then we will see.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Beware the Serial Killer Kitty!

Last night I was somewhere enjoying fellowship and good conversation when the discussion happened to turn on the topic of the cat that can predict who is going to die.
Now please don't ask how we got on that topic, okay?

Anywho, somewhere in America there is a Nursing Home where they have a cat that has an uncanny knack of visiting the patients who are about to die.

The day before they kick the bucket, most likely before finishing their bucket list, this cat will meander down the halls, pick a room and pop in for a visit.

Next thing you know, the resident of that room is dead.

Observers say it is uncanny, but me?

I'm wondering if something more sinister is at work here.

Y'all ever see them "chuckie" movies, about the psycho killer whose spirit gets trapped is some kids toy? Well, I'm wondering if some "Angel of Death" type once worked at that place, and now their soul is stuck in the cat.

Whose to say that cat isn't unplugging the oxygen machine when nobody's looking, or putting a crink in the old IV line?

I gotta tell ya, if I was a resident in that Nursing home, and I saw old "killer" kitty bouncing down the hall towards my room, I'd be shutting and locking my door.
Then again, there might be some people who would want the old kitty Kevorkian to drop by and ease their pain.

In some ancient cultures, cats were worshipped as guardians of the underworld, you have to wonder if maybe one of them is up and around, trying to bring back the old tradition. "Hi. my name is Kevorkocat, you ready for the afterlife?'

With my luck, when it's my time, I'll get the cat reincarnation of ol Jeffy Dahmer. I don't think a bag of Meow mix will hold him off. Looks like I better plan on double dead bolting the door at my room!