Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Christmas and the Dark Side

Posted: December 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

Check out the latest blog post on Christmas and the Dark Side on our new site.  Sorry to send you one more spot, but it is worth it.!blog/c112v


We have moved

Posted: December 8, 2015 in Uncategorized will still get you to our new site, but the actual link to the new blog location is below.!blog/c112v

We will be moving items from this site to the new site over time, and you will still be able to access items here by clicking on The Old Blog on my new site.  Check it out.

author 2

Come and celebrate young adult literature.  Meet the authors and get their books.  The festivities begin at 6:30 at the Millard Branch of the Public Library.

Thursday, May 21st from 6:30-8:30pm

13214 Westwood Lane (Millard Branch of the Omaha Public Library)

Students get to talk to the authors and ask questions about their stories, characters, and style.  It should be an exciting evening at the Public Library in Millard.  Don’t miss it.  6:30-8:30pm on Thursday, May 21st.

I have something in the works that the readers of Omaha will love.  I have teamed up with the following authors, and we are putting together the Author Roadshow.  Check the links to see who is coming.

Lydia Kang, author of Control and Catalyst

John Kalkowski, author of the Golden Sower Nominee, Red Cell

Tonya Kuper and her debut novel, Anomaly

Daniel Kenney, author of numerous YA books

Tamara Taylor and her debut novel, Believers

Chris Raabe, the author of The Phenomenon Trilogy

We are all getting together for one night of interaction with our fans.  The date, time, and location are being finalized with an announcement tomorrow morning.

Randa Hazzard of Omaha, Nebraska requested a song to go with my midlife crisis on the horizon.  Her idea was to take 22 by Taylor Swift and make it 42.  I am a fan of parody and Weird Al, so I cranked out some lyrics to be sung to Taylor’s tune.  I hope Taylor doesn’t mind.  You have my permission to make a youtube video.  Just make sure you send me a link to add to my blog.  Click on the 42 song below and play Taylor’s song in the background to see how I did.

42 song


Posted: May 5, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I was notified today by an Omaha World Herald article that I am about to hit my midlife crisis.  I am almost 42, and according to Spotify, a streaming music giant, that is the average age for a midlife crisis to occur.  Of course, a music website can calculate my midlife crisis by tracking the music that I listen to; what was I thinking?  We are in the age of technology, I guess.

The problem is that I thought I hit my midlife crisis two years ago.  I thought I was a high ability midlife crisis-er.  I was fast-tracked in the world of midlife crisis.  Thank you, Spotify, for ruining my utopia at 41.  I guess I didn’t hit my crisis already.  Crap, things can get worse! And I don’t even use Spotify… How did they know?

I really would like to chat more on this topic, but with the Ash Borer Beetles coming soon and a midlife crisis in about 6 months, I really need to focus on more important things.  Maybe Spotify can tell me how I can get to a soccer practice and two track meets on opposite sides of town all at the same time.  Yeah, didn’t think so Spotify.

Is anyone going to be at Bryan High School on Friday so I can have you skype me into my daughter’s races?  I don’t have time for a midlife crisis now… I have three daughters in sports.

Let me begin by saying that I don’t understand much about music.  I was in my small-town high school choir and had a total of two speaking lines in my three musicals.  We had a great choral instructor, and we did well at competitions because of Mr. Mannasmith’s instruction, but I don’t know much about what goes into judging a district music competition.  Today, I got a taste of music competitions and judges.  It was something like eating a greasy pork sandwich that had been sitting in an ashtray and chasing it with a bottle of rat urine, neither of which there is any proof that I have tasted before.  Thank goodness there was no social media when I was younger.

My oldest daughter was slated to perform her cello solo at 8:54 am.  While standing in the hallway, awaiting what must be one of the most nerve-racking events of a musician’s high school experience, word quickly spread into the hallway that original music was required for all people involved in room 107: the judge, the musician, the accompanist.  It was an astonished buzzing and chatter.  Now, I fully understand what someone feels like when they know nothing about football and watch as fans complain about an official blowing a call.  I was proud of my daughter; she was confident and said she could do it from memory even though she had not practiced it that way.  And her accompanist couldn’t play because she didn’t have an original copy either, but my daughter was going to try.

We entered the classroom, and she waited for her turn.  I had the camera rolling… for 15 seconds.  Then she stopped and said that she couldn’t remember the rest.  She stood proudly and walked to where her accompanist stood, and then she broke down in tears.  From the other side of the room, I sat powerless and ignorant.  Her orchestra teacher hugged her and apologized.  My daughter moved out of the room as I followed.  Her teacher stood, as I hurried past to get to my daughter, and explained to the room of people that her students were going to follow the rules and they weren’t going to pretend that they all had original music.

Again, I was lost and wondering, “What the heck just happened?”  I hugged my daughter and tried to piece together what was going on.  A senior, who had been playing in high school competitions for four years, explained that in his four years, he has never heard of a judge for orchestra requiring original copies for the judge, competitor, and accompanist.  In fact, after more discussion, this appeared to be the only room with this stingy requirement.  Again, I am not an expert, not even close.

I don’t understand why they just didn’t let her play and then scratch the score or downgrade it for not having all original music.  These musicians spend hours upon hours practicing and preparing, sometimes hiring an accompanist.  Then one judge with his own enforcement policy or perhaps his own rules (again, I don’t know), screws the kids.

Here is what I do know: a bunch of kids worked hard to prepare and someone let them down.  Was it a high school orchestra director who didn’t get the right information to students?  Based on the discussions with the kids and my daughter, I don’t think so.  Was it a rule that hasn’t been enforced in the past that became a point of emphasis this year?  Possible, but I don’t think so.  Was it a judge who took the law into his own hands to make a point or to feel superior?  That is where I am leaning.

If it had been a high school softball game that I was coaching, I would have definitely had a discussion with the umpire, and there may have been an ejection.  But this wasn’t sports; it was district music competition.  The rules are different.  From what I can tell, everyone is afraid to ruffle a judge’s feathers by seeking clarifications about rules or asking questions.  I can see why.  An orchestral director who questions a judge could face years of revenge penalization to participants.

Sports have clearly defined rules.  An umpire can pass judgement and make a call based on what they saw happen, but the rules are the rules.  An umpire can’t just conjure up a rule change without coaches questioning it and a discussion between all officials and coaches to resolve the problem.  In this case of original orchestra music, are the rules the rules?  Or are judges with grudges making it up as they go.  Either way, someone let down a bunch of high school musicians who worked hard to prepare for a performance, and then had the rug ripped out from underneath them.  Judging by today, music competition can be just as violent as a tackle in football.  I know my daughter was hurting after her experience at district music competition.