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Archive for June, 2010

Eden – Week 3

The past two weeks have seen some great action! Here’s just a quick update:

My artist, Axel Torvenius, sent me a sketch of the cover art. All I can say is he nailed it better than I could have hoped. I can’t wait to share it with y’all. Axel really has special talent, and I’m glad I found him.

Tonight we had the rescheduled photo shoot with Miceli Productions. It’s really great working people who are passionate about art – and it helps they are also close friends! Mike is an awesome photographer, and it was a pleasure to watch him work. I’m excited to see Mike & Jenn transform another friend of mine into a character from the book. Here’s where I have to send a special shout-out to Michelle – she was a trooper! After surviving “hair & makeup” with my wife, Michelle nailed some very tough poses. Without compliant, Michelle brought the character to life and weathered the brutal 2-hour photo session. My eternal gratitude! 

During the shoot, Jenn was snapping “behing the scenes” shots, and Miceli Productions will be blogging about our little project. I will link that stuff here as well.

In other news, work continues on the video trailer as artwork arrives. Another talented friend of mine, Mike B, is producing that for me. Hopefully we’ll have a finished product in the next few weeks.

Things are definitely taking shape! I’m off to camp with the family for a week, so I’ll blog again on the flip side…

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(Pod-people in Philly? No, these people were the lucky ones who stayed in the terminal – read on!)

So, I survived the earthquake, but not the thunderstorms. By far, the worst airline horror-story I’ve ever heard is my wife’s adventure back from Vietnam… maybe someday I’ll put pen to paper on that one (sorry – the tired cliché will make sense in a moment). I now have an interesting airport tale.

The story begins in Buffalo… dammit – I shoulda just driven there! Anyway, we were a little late leaving Buffalo because everything in ‘the east’ was delayed. No biggie, we still made it to Philly in time (barely) for me to make my connecting flight back home. As I was sitting at the gate, the flight got delayed by a half hour… no problemo. Then, as the new departure time came and went, I started to get nervous. The gate person mumbled something over the speaker that the flight is delayed another 3 hours and runs for the hills. Okay, midnight departure – still not the worst thing in the world. I wandered to a pizza place and watched the guy scrape the bottom of the metal sauce container for my chicken parm… *shrug* I’ve eaten worse.

After my nuked chicken parm with sauce dregs, I meandered back to the gate and notice my flight is now cancelled – and every US Air booth has a stationary line of people. I wait… and wait… and wait. The lines are going nowhere, but I overheard a bit of a conversation about another terminal with a US Air service desk. Risking my place in line, I dash for that terminal. The ladies at the customer service desk looked worn-down… it was a long day for them. Still chipper, I waited 30 minutes for them to help the 3 people in front of me and I asked about the next flight (I know there’s one on the board for 11:30pm). Without a smile or any trace of human emotion, she told me that flight was sold out and she could get me on a 6am flight… but I’d be sleeping in the terminal (the airport hotel was booked). I asked to be connected to the rental car counters, as I could drive home quicker. That’s when she tells me I need to leave the terminal and head to baggage claim to call them.  (my cell was already dead from calling all-over and trying to call the rental counters too)

By now, that feeling was creeping into my chest – this isn’t going to end well for Matt.

So, I departed the terminal (thru security) and headed to baggage claim. I called each rental company – either they didn’t do 1-way rentals or they were all sold out. Damn! Okay, I’ll just head back to that US Air service desk and get that 6am flight. I hustled to security (which by now is basically closed) and they tell me my old boarding pass is no good – I’d have to wait until 4:30am to re-enter (if I was able to get a ticket).

Fuck salt!

(you should know by now that any link I post in here is probably not safe for work or general viewing)

Anyway, I found a US Air customer service desk in baggage claim and I managed to reschedule myself on the 6am flight. For the next half hour or so, I called every hotel on the “hotel board” in baggage claim – roughly 20 hotels. Each and every one of them was sold out. That’s when I almost lost it, but then I remembered – I’m tough!

… toughISH.

All the chairs in baggage claim had armrests, so I couldn’t stretch out on one of those. So, I found a nice spot on the walkway from the terminal to the garage and opened my suitcase to make a pillow out of my clothes (they only hand out pillows inside the terminal). Whoops – all my clothes are sopping wet from the rain earlier in the day! *hands shaking* All-right… I take my dirty clothes bag and roll it up nice and tight – awesome pillow! I think a Philadelphia hobo walked by me and said “good night” as I curled up on the hard floor – he looked like he felt sorry for me. Through the ~3 hours I was on the floor, I kept moving from side to side – my old bones just can’t take a hard surface anymore… bah, I’ve always been a pansy – I don’t think there was a point in my life where that floor would have been comfortable.

At 4:30am, my phone alarm went off and I dragged myself to the bathroom to brush my teeth and curse my “man-voice” that told me before I left – “you are not a girlie, you don’t need an extra pair of underwear.”

The ticket counter told me the 6am flight was cancelled – at that point I was numb. I was rescheduled to the 7:35 flight and I get to Hartford and my car just in time for CT rush hour…

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So, I experienced my first earthquake today! In Buffalo, of course. Yeah, yeah – if yer from California, pipe down… I know a 5.0 doesn’t even register in your mind. It was actually quite cool – the building shook and the windows rattled a little. At first, we thought a construction crew was working on the building. Then, everyone started buzzing about ‘the quake.’ It wasn’t too crazy, and some people didn’t even feel it. I’m not going to go out and get t-shirts made or anything, but my earthquake cherry is now popped… I have my Hurricane badge… all I need now is a vendetta Twister and maybe some strike-Lava.

This happened right after I finished my lunch at Ulrich’s Tavern in Buffalo. They told me I needed to order the potato pancakes – so I did! (shh… don’t tell my wife)

Yeah… they really looked and sounded better than they tasted. That’s the ‘short stack’! Of course, I’ll eat a potato any which way, and I did enjoy a few bites… but, I only got through one of those suckers before I had to quit… yeah, I’m just as embarrassed as you are to know me at this moment.

Tomorrow I leave for home and for a week of camping! Can’t wait to maroon my cell at home and get back to some basics. Life is too busy, need to find a way to slow it down. Workin on it… workin on it…

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2 Buffalo on 2 Propellers

So, why is it every time I fly to Buffalo I’m on a prop-plane? Okay, I’ve now come here twice (the first time on my honeymoon), but both times I’ve been on one of those old, rickety puddle-jumpers. I’m convinced they don’t have jet engines in Buffalo.

Anywho, my client this week is actually a large cancer institute:

 

As I walked past the main entrance and gardens, I was transported back in time to my stay at Yale New Haven Hospital. Back then, there wasn’t a dedicated cancer institute or anything. I recovered from my various surgeries alongside other ICU and emergency room patients. Recently, Yale New Haven opened a new cancer wing, along with a rooftop garden for healing and meditation. That would have been nice!

I stopped and watched the patients in the Roswell gardens yesterday and I recalled my trips via wheelchair out of the hospital. The first such trip was weeks after my coma and surgery – I hadn’t felt sunlight on my skin for way too long.  I know it sounds like a dirty cliche, but that little jaunt really felt like my first trip out of doors – it was exhilirating! My mom wheeled me around the mean streets of New Haven (hospitals are never in the greatest neighborhoods). There were no gardens or fountains, but I distinctly remember a hot dog stand – and that’s all I wanted. Too bad I was still being fed via a tube down my nose… that hot dog would have tasted better than it had any right tasting.

So, though I am cranky about my low-amenity stay in the hospital, I actually know better. One of my surgeries required an artery replacement (or some shit) from my arm to my neck… yes, you read that right: they took a fucking artery from my arm and put it into my neck. Anyway, I guess 30 years ago, they didn’t have the tech to do that replacement gracefully, and patients walked around with a tube between their arm and neck… yeah, that’s pretty gross. Though I like to shake my fist like an old man, I really have no right to complain.

What’s my point?

I don’t fucking know! I guess, sometimes it’s good to be reminded of the traumas of our past. For me, they have a way of focusing my energies on the present. No, I don’t ever want to go back there, so I’m making the most of the ‘extra’ time I fought so hard for. I’m no shrink (it that an 80’s word?), but my suggestion when you’re feeling crushed about something that happened in the past is simple: focus on the now… sure, you may carry those scars (some more visible than others), but the present and future need not be grounded by some anchor in your personal history. If you can, use that anchor instead as a springboard into your now.

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Eden Blurb!

So, things are crawling along, but that’s to be expected when I’m still working a bazillion hours per week and I’m asking my friends to help me in their spare time. No worries! My artist is working on the cover art as we speak. I’m getting smart on all I need to know as I attempt to tackle self-publishing.

… and I have a special Father’s Day treat for my miniscule fan list! This is the blurb that will likely make it to the back of the book. Enjoy!

 

Eden Blurb

(artwork by Axel Torvenius)

 

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Run for it, Marty!

Oh my God… they found me… I don’t know how, but they found me!”

“Who found you?”

“Who do you think?  The APPLE police!”

Once upon a time, my wife wanted an iPhone. I wasn’t about to pay an apple-cart load of $$ just so she could have a fancy phone. Her old one could send and receive calls — all she needed. Well, one of our close friends was selling his old iPhone and he had an idea – take the SIM card out of my wife’s old flip phone and put it in the iPhone. Sure, she’d only get “data” when connected to a wireless device, but once she had everyone’s house programmed – it worked quite well!

Now, I’m not going to exactly say how long we did this for, but let’s just say it’s somewhere between 1 day and 1 year. We were quite happy! The Cell company was none the wiser – and why should they be? She was using the phone in exactly the same way from their perspective. Why does Apple/AT&T need to force a data plan down yer throat? Why can’t the consumer enjoy the other features of the device (which we pay for in the purchase price) and keep their basic phone service?

Bah, anyway – they found us out on this month’s bill and charged us for the iPhone Dataplan… wankers.

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Mackin’ out in Illinois

So, I got to the AVIS rental counter before the unwashed masses, and I spent about 30 minutes there while they searched for my cheap rental. One customer came storming back into the office yelling there was blood in her back seat.

Chicago is so unique.

Anyway, my sales rep finally gave up and said he’d upgrade me to a SUV… whatever, as long as it has 4 wheels and a minimal amount of blood.

I stroll up to spot F24 and what do I find? Blam-O:

Yeah, that’s my ride this week.  I’ve always wanted a jeep since MacGuyver, but this is a little overkill. I feel like I’m driving around in a gigantic penis and thoughts like “yeah, my balls are bigger than yours” keep popping into my head.  I could run over an entire kindergarten class and I probably wouldn’t notice.  This is “male car compensation” incarnate, and I’m lovin’ it!

Next week, I’m sure I’ll be back to a more appropriately sized car for my ego… but, for now – watch out babes of Illinois!  Matt is on the prowl!

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