Swamp Story

I attended Dave Barry’s book signing last month and picked up his latest book, Swamp Story. I started it, life intervened, and I finally finished it last night. Great story, a very funny book! I won’t spoil anything here, but it’s worth buying a copy.

In the Acknowledgments at the end of the book, I saw Dave started using Scrivener! Scrivener is an amazing writing tool I’ve used for years, and even helped to test it for a while after I helped diagnose a particularly nasty bug that was difficult to reproduce. Scrivener really helps with the writing I’ve done for work and otherwise.

Long Trips with Audiobooks

Long car trips are boring. REALLY boring. A great way to pass the time is to listen to great audio books. A bad way to pass the time is to listen to bad audio books.

I recently listened to The Hobbit. It was the unabridged version. It was very good… except for:

The Singing.

Seriously. Singing.

It was so bad, I finally had to just start turning down the volume every time it started up. Other than that, it was fine and enjoyable.

The other book… Let’s just say it would have been helped by that singing. The other audiobook was The Bourne Objective. To say this audiobook was bad, would be insulting to bad things. Sound effects, really stupid plot…. it passed the time, but wow…

The book was going right along, with Bourne doing his usual thing, when the plot took a left turn off into the weeds. We find out that the “Objective” was to get a laptop and mysterious ring together to find…. are you ready for this: The location of King Solomon’s Mines and fabulous wealth. And, if that wasn’t stupid enough, the key to turning lead into gold.

This came out of no where. No mysterious coins that were half lead and half gold early on, leading to a mystery… no, the book dropped that coin as a character was trying to convince Bourne of this wild story.

It was like the author thought that a Da Vinci Code like plot twist was just what was needed. It was just nuts.
End of Spoiler

Lesson learned here: Don’t walk into a bookstore cold to just pick out tapes. Do a little research first, before you end up with something really bad.

Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop

The weekend before last, I was at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop. It’s the second time I attended.

The workshop is held every two years at the University of Dayton campus. About 300 to 400 people attend for two and half days.

The workshop is completely unlike any conference I usually go to. Some of you may know that I do computer work, and a writer’s workshop is COMPLETELY different. First, the ratio of women to men is completely reversed. I think there less than 20 guys at the workshop. Estrogen galore. Whoa.

Second, the sessions start earlier. At the computer conferences I’ve been to, most sessions start at 10:30 or so. These started at 9am. A hour and half makes a difference to a computer guy.

The classes at the workshop were much smaller, which is nice if you want to interact with the instructor. You could certainly do that if you were brave enough to read any of the exercises you went through (I wasn’t).

Everyone was very interested in hearing about what everyone else wrote about. I did my best to try to explain the 24 stuff I write about, and to my shock, someone I met had actually read it before. And they didn’t want to chase me down with a hockey stick because of it. Theresa Lode, thanks for admitting you read that 24 stuff. 🙂 Check out her blog, The Mother Lode.

I met a writer who gives tours and teaches out to write about your adventures while traveling, Dave Fox. He runs Globejotter Tours, and is great guy to hang out with.

I also met Danny Gallagher, a writer for TV Squad, and one of the guest lecturers. Danny was really busy, and seemed to know darn near everyone. Another really nice guy to hang around with.

I was able to get books signed by Bill Scheft (writer for Letterman), Steve Doocy, W. Bruce Cameron, Christian Lander (From the Stuff White People Like site. Christian’s rise from idea to New York Time’s best seller took about six months. Crazy.

If you’re at all interested in humor writing, be sure and keep you calendar free for spring of 2012, when they’ll hold the next workshop!

Kindle 2 Released Today

As this is an entertainment blog, and not just one about TV (or just “24” or “LOST”), I thought I’d mention that Amazon’s Kindle 2 was released today, If you pre-ordered it, it’ll show up in the next day or two.

What’s a Kindle, and why would you want one? It’s an electronic book reader, but it’s quite a bit more than that. The device has a built-in cell radio that let’s you download content no matter where you are. The key things about that feature are 1) You don’t have to pay monthly fees, so once you buy it, that’s it; 2) You can download new books, sometimes at a substantial discount from Amazon and have them go straight to your Kindle; 3) You can download more than just books – magazines, blogs and newspapers are also available!

If you’re interested, take a look at the Kindle Video to find out more.