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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Entertainment Beyond the Written Word

Head PhonesI for one am a big fan of the written word. When it comes to my reading choices I often prefer the feel of a page turning in my fingers over the swipe of a finger on a screen.  I don’t mind that small smell of paper, or chemical, which comes from the turning of a written page. It may not happen with every book but that physicality of the book makes it so much more real when reading. However, I am not one to shy away from the digital format as I have found some great books in that format that just enjoyable to read.

The problem is there is not always enough time to sit and read a book, regardless of format, during the day. Often you will find employers will frown on your reading at work as they want you to do what they pay you for.  There is the break and lunch periods that could be used but really is that enough time?

I do need that distraction, something to help focus my mind and shut out the background noise of the cubicle world. This is where headphones and a smart phone come in handy. In my case it’s neither the IPhone nor an Android but a Windows Phone. Yep you read that right as just about all my electronic devices are Windows based. Heck I should see if Microsoft wants to cut a deal for this unpaid for, unsolicited advertising, of their products. I say products as not only is the phone, desktop and laptop all Windows but I even have a table that is Windows based. See I like being able to easily share information across all the devices but that is not the point of this post. Oh anyone at Microsoft seeing this? If so how about hooking me up. (Ha ha in my dreams)

So back to the topic the things I use to help with focus and noise cancellation is the standard music of course. I listen to a lot of eclectic music choices but seem to love the music of 1980’s hair bands like, Def Leppard, Ratt, and AC/DC to name a few. I’ll spare the reader a long list of favorite bands as that in it is another LONG post.

Instead I want to share with people the other things I listen to as I have found in discussions some people have yet to hear of podcasts.

I describe a podcast as a form of television show, and those old enough to know them an old radio program that was serialized. If that wasn’t confusing enough it’s basically a type of program that is recorded and distributed to the world through the internet. A podcast can be ongoing multiple episodes that have new episodes coming out on given time frames. The discussion can be about anything the host(s) wishes to discuss. Another form of podcast is one called a podiobook. In this instance it is a book, often read by an author, sent to the world in the form of a podcast. I know most thing of Audible when they want a book in that format but there is something to a well down podiobook. As you will find later in the post there is a website dedicated to podiobooks which are just as enjoyable as any “book on tape”.

So let me know take a moment and introduce you to a handful of my favorite podcasts and the Podiobook’s site.

First Podiobooks.com is the place to go if you are looking for books in serialized format read often by the author. These are books that come from mainly the same type of authors I review, independent, small press authors. This is a way for authors to introduce fans to their work and some do it very creatively. There are stories out there that make use of sound effects and full casts of voice talent. There are also those that are just well read books with minor flourishes.  The books are all FREE to listen to and people have an option to donate to the author with much of that money going to the author. It’s a great source for finding new books that will engage the mind through a great tale and in some cases great sound effects.

Now, as for podcasts there are several more than this list has that I listen to. In truth it’s not easy getting, finding time to listen to each of the ones below but it is something that I can do between reading a book.

The list is in no special order as they came from the Podcast application I have on my phone. I often found out about these podcasts but searching the web, the ITunes store, Podcast Alley or a large number of sites that can help you find a podcast of your choice.

Case Closed

This is one of two shows I’m mentioning that comes from the people at Relic Radio which have many shows that feature a genre from the days when radio was filled with serialized radio shows. They covered so many topics in their network but in this case the show features Radio Detectives. There are shows that may have featured old Hollywood stars but the one thing in common these where detectives. The episodes are often about an hour in length as they will have 2 shows with a small break between them and the narrator will tell you the episodes contents and the programs will begin. In many cases you even get to listen to an old radio commercial.

Darkness Radio

This is the podcast of the radio show with the same name from News-Talk radio AM1130 out of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. This often features about 3 hours of entertainment as they discuss the supernatural. There will be guests, supernatural news, and even take view ghost stories. This radio show is well done and covers a large piece of the supernatural without the commercials in the podcast. The host Dave Schrader can even be found filling in as host on Coast to Coast AM. He has a great cohost in Tim Dennis and the two bring an entertaining show to your ears.

Big Problems – An Advice Podcast

At the writing of this blog post Big Problems is just fresh on the scene with just a few episodes produced so far. It features actor Stephen Tobolowsky who many remember from “Groundhog Day” and other films and TV.  He along with his co-host takes listener questions and tries and offer advice to the letter they receive. A will produced podcast and after listening to Mr. Tobolowsky the advice can be taken as well thought out. It’s something that will certainly get listeners thinking about the problem presented and advice given.

Legacy of Laughs

This is the second of the entries from the Relic Radio team that in this case focuses on the comedians from radio. Listeners can find shows from Abbot and Costello, Martin and Lewis, Stan Freberg, Bob Hope, and so many other great classic comedians. You know they are doing their job if you find yourself laughing out loud at the jokes presented in the classic radio broadcasts.

The Tobolowsky Files

This is another podcast that is done by Stephen Tobolowsky and David Chen. In this instance they took their idea for the podcast from a movie that Tobolowsky did where he spoke of some of the events in his life. This podcast involves an introduction by Chen and Tobolowsky is free to do what he does very well share his life with the listener. His stories are engaging and not always fun but can be uplifting. You learn about the trials he has seen in living but at the same time much of the joy he has found. The way the stories are told makes this a must listen whenever a new episode hits my podcast feed.

The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio

The last show I’m going to mention is another great program that features the detectives of old time radio. What makes this one different is that the host, Adam Graham, takes time to give the listener an insight into the episode featured. The feed will have episodes in the best order that can be done and will feature a certain detective given the day of the week. He has shared Sherlock Holmes, Johnny Dollar, The Saint, and Dragnet. What set this apart from Case Closed are the introductions that Graham gives each episode. Also this is one show per episode averaging about twenty to thirty minutes per episode.

 

I do hope readers find and give one, if not all, of these podcasts and see if they help give them that needed focus/distraction. Again, this is a “short” list of the number of podcasts I download and try and listen to. There just is not enough time in a day to listen to them all but enough to get pleasure from what I hear and most importantly keep the mind engaged.

 

**Disclaimer, I do not own any license to products mentioned in this post. ITunes and Microsoft are owners of their respective items and all rights to podcasts named belong to their respective owners. I am not receiving any type of benefit for mentioning anything within this posting.
 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Personal

 

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Weepy The Dragon by J.J. Hebert

weepyThere are those moments in life when you get to the point that there is enough drama going around you. A change in perspective is wanted, more needed, so you look back to a childhood moment. You could also be looking to relive a bit of your youth and pick up a book meant for children. This is the case of the book, Weepy the Dragon, by author J J Hebert.

Weepy the Dragon like many children’s book is not long but does provide the reader a great reading experience to share with a child. The book has beautiful illustrations thanks to the great work done by Ed Jones. The illustrations capture the moments in the book masterfully and provide a great visual to go with the story.

The books opening helps to introduce the reader to a story that took place long before the digital age. A period before children, and adults, get their scares from movies and the internet. Instead the book is set in a world where dragons are the scare creatures. Their long scaly bodies, large teeth and fire breathing are mentioned in this opening. Along with the mention of the dangers there is an exception to the fule and that dragon is Weepy.

The story is told in such a manner that it is not hard for a child, and adults, to find the story interesting. It tells how Weepy is different from the rest of the dragons and must do what he can to fit into this world. The illustrations that accompany the passages are well done and tell the story almost by themselves. They allow for a child’s imagination to take the words read and see them in pictures to engage them more.

Books like Weepy the Dragon are what I consider the type of book that will help start a child on their way to love reading. The story is told thoughtful enough it will engage a child, and the illstrations add to that build. As I believe it is important to encourage reading early this is a book that will hopefully start a young reader to want to read.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Reviews

 

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Bullying Will Never End (Opinion Piece)

Bullying Not StopI know this is a title many do not want to read. There are schools across the world working on stopping bullying but often have misguided policies. There have been documentaries, books, and TV shows that have addressed the subject. Yet, the fact is bullying is still happening and there will always be plenty of blame to pass around.

I’m going to take a moment and address some of that blame. The first is the easiest thing to look to. It’s something that has made this world so much smaller but also so much meaner. It’s the same thing I wrote a paper on in college in which I predicted just some of the phenomenon we have going on today. I cannot say I had a premonition of what was to come; it was all based on common sense.

I am talking about the internet, the World Wide Web and one of the greatest inventions to unite people and the world.

I wrote at the time how the internet would be a great tool allowing the exchange of ideas across the world. Business would be able to use it to reach customers and talk about new products. I had no idea of the impact of internet sales on the global world.

The other side of the coin is how easy it would be to hide behind a screenname, and not see a person in person. It would put a divide and change the way people interact as you no longer would hear the voice, see the face and the emotions of hateful speech. It would make it easier for people to hide who they are and be ruthless to each other. It would lead to hate.

This is such a true fact as people use social media to ridicule people with opposite ideas. You can be a member of a select group, felt held down for much of your life, and felt disrespected. They get their voice, acceptance and what do they do? They attack those who may still have the nerve to disagree with them. They cannot stand that group, those people, that thinking is still out there. They take to social media and attack, death threats, close the business, attack the family and forget they have just gone through all of the same hate in the past themselves. I’m being careful here as I do not want to point to any one group of people as not all are like this. I may be somewhat generalizing but please I am trying to be clear this happens to all.

The shear amount of people on the internet makes this destroy our enemy speech grow and grow. Before people know it it’s beyond the original intent and has gained its own momentum and cannot be stopped. The original comments may not have been based on fact but just a good rumor, a well told “fib” can get thousands involved not caring what the truth is. The scary thing much of this is done by adults.

The last statement brings me to the top reason why I believe bullying will NEVER END. One simple word explains it and that is adults.

Why adults? Aren’t you one of them?

Yes I am an adult and I have learned over life children will watch their parents, sports heroes, teachers and people they trust. They will watch and learn from the behavior they see as well as what they are taught. They mimic their parents in stores and you can see this as they walk with the parents. Yes, not all children may connect with their parents to the point they follow the same behaviors but it happens.

What’s wrong with a child being like their parent? Oh now that’s a good question and here is why.

When a child sees their parent yelling and screaming at another driver will the child not learn that is ok? If the parent is online cussing out someone, venting hate on how someone thinks, or just yelling at the idiot on TV the child gets the same lesson. All of this is ok and you are free to do as I do.

The children of today grow into the adults of tomorrow. Ask yourself how many of the things you see yourself doing today are things you saw your parents doing? Yes you may hate those things you see now but how much of those actions are you doing today is behavior that was learned as a child?

We expect children to behave and be good citizens and to be the generation to stop bullying. How is that going to happen when you turn on the news and see a business being destroyed, lives ruined just because people disagree with their way of thinking? The fact is we have become a society where opposing views are not welcome. It’s a world where you think our way or we will destroy you and who you are. This will be done by cyber bullying, hate filled phone calls, internet postings and any way they can. How dare they not accept my way of thinking they need to be stopped.

This more than ANYTHING needs to stop. If you don’t like someone’s policies you cannot force them to change their thinking. I mean haven’t we seen enough of this type of hatred hold groups back across history. Skin color, sexual orientation, religious belief and so much more has held people back. So as they get their voices and instead of practicing the tolerance they wanted they follow the examples of what had been done to them. They spill hate and will bully a people all in the name of tolerance, acceptance and justice to get their way. It’s just plain old bullying at its core and is what makes us adults the most hypocritical voice to stop bullying out there in the world.

The fact is until us adults remember that not everyone is going to agree with us will bullying really stop. Ok you don’t like that business then DON’T go there. You don’t like that person, block them on social media. You hate the hate, then IGNORE the hate and focus on what the world truly has to offer. This is what makes the internet so great that you can unite with others with the same thoughts and do something positive over spilling hate in the other direction. I mean does everything in life need a “pissing” match to determine who the winner is? We get enough of this during political elections must the free thinking people of the world follow their examples.

I will not say I am a perfectionist as I am only human. I know I may be guilty of some of the things I have written about in the past but the fact is I have learned from those mistakes and moved forward. There are places I won’t go due to the company and their decisions but at same time do not expect everyone to follow my example. They have free will and do not need to think my way. This shows where I have learned from all the hate and why I wish people would stop growing the hate and maybe just MAYBE bullying will get smaller. However, as long as adults force their wills on others there will ALWAYS be bullying.

Now I know this post could cause hate and in return if it hits a nerve. I expect to see the same type of respect I showed in writing this post by not pointing fingers at a group or a people. Disrespectful responses will NOT be tolerated as I’d rather start a conversation than a shouting match.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in Personal

 

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