A New Day

Early Morning on the Lake

Another day breaks
Free of charge
With no guarantees
Much of what happens is random
Our response to the randomness is our own

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Pro-Life, Maybe a different Perspective?

Hearts of Love

I am Pro Life – A Statement of Faith

I am ‘pro’ the life of the teenager, raped by a member of her family, who does not want to become a mother.

I am ‘pro’ the life of the refugee child, who has traveled with hunger as a constant companion for the past year.

I am ‘pro’ the life of the Somalian man, who has been chased from his homeland at gunpoint and is now afraid of admitting to the faith he has held his entire life.

I am ‘pro’ the life of the would-be emigrant woman, who has no where to run and continues to be repeatedly abused in order to keep her seven year old daughter safe from armed terrorists who run her village.

I am ‘pro’ the life of the two year old son of a single mother, who without public assistance can not properly feed him or get him the medical attention he needs, even though her friends convinced her abortion was wrong when she was pregnant and initially feared she could not properly care for an infant.

I am ‘pro’ the lives of the Muslim American family who feel ostracized by politicians and people who brand them without knowing them.

I am ‘pro’ the life of every American who does not look like they are of European descent and is thus made to feel their belonging is somehow less legitimate, to the extent that they fear for the safety of themselves and their children at the hands of people emboldened by ignorant statements.

I am ‘pro’ the life of the Native American who looks on with sadness as the land he holds dear is pillaged for profit, ignoring warnings from almost every direction.

I am ‘pro’ life in every way that perpetuates respect for individuals and their choices for life, love and the pursuit of their own happiness.

Posted in Aging, AIDS / HIV, Family, My original writing, Philippines, Photography | Comments Off on Pro-Life, Maybe a different Perspective?

World AIDS Day 2017 – 30+ Years Later

World AIDS Day – December 1, 2017

It’s been more than 30 years that the world has known HIV/AIDS.

I remember so many days when there was so little hope. So many people, friends and otherwise, who succumbed to the disease early, before anyone really knew what it was, before people knew how to be safe, and before there were therapies that gave hope to those that were ill.

I remember the shame and despair that engulfed many when they were diagnosed as ‘positive’.

Better than that, I remember the hope that the first few drug therapies gave to the afflicted. After that, the fear that losing insurance, and the ability to pay for the therapies, transcended the fear of death.

Now there are many good drug therapies, so much available information on safe sex, and many programs to provide clean needles to addicts. At one time I thought that entire continents might be wiped out for lack of funding to provide care, but the tide has been at least somewhat turned by funding and free / low cost treatments.

While there still is no cure, nor any fully viable vaccine, there is hope in that direction as well.

The thing that saddens me now is that some of the next generation is going to have to learn the hard way. What we don’t go through ourselves seems unimportant, or at least distant.┬áRather than try to go through statistics, if you’re interested, take a look at this site.

Every year on World AIDS Day (and every other day of the year) I pray for those suffering with HIV and AIDS. I pray I don’t have to find out another friend is ill. I pray there will be no more people sentenced to a life of treatment, or worse, because of a night of unsafe sex. I hope I don’t have to hold another person’s hand as he dies of this disease.

That’s probably not how it will go, but everyone should have hope, right?

Posted in Aging, AIDS / HIV, Coming Out Stories, Gay | Comments Off on World AIDS Day 2017 – 30+ Years Later

Minnesota State Fair 2016

As Labor Day and the last day of the 2016 Minnesota State Fair comes to a close, I wanted to share a bit of fun from my two visits. I attended once with some friends and once with family. The second time was with family on the record breaking attendance day…you’re welcome, State Fair attendance counters…with more than 260,000 people counted that day.

My favorite new food this year was the breakfast sausage corn dog with maple syrup. It was a great way to start the morning.

Breakfast sausage corndog
Breakfast sausage corndog

We did some animal barns right after that and this first picture seemed so appropriate…like little links getting fattened up and warmed.

New borns keeping warm and being fed.
New borns keeping warm and being fed.

There was literally a parade of horses pulling wagons as we wandered.

Proud team of horses.
Proud team of horses.

Here’s another group that caught our attention in the barns:

The cutest pair of donkeys and their foal
The cutest pair of donkeys and their foal

Here’s a mixture of Pop culture, 2016 history, and politics from the seed art display:

Two of several tributes to Prince.
Two of several tributes to Prince.
Some pop culture / political commentary.
Some pop culture / political commentary.
Politics...I guess it was clear where the seed artists stand in the political fray...
Politics…I guess it was clear where the seed artists stand in the political fray…

We only partook of one ride. The one built in 1915 – Ye Old Mill.

One hundred and one years of fun...
One hundred and one years of fun…

There are lots of free give-aways at the fair…my favorite this year was the Kare11 sunglasses.

Rockin orange Kare11 sunglasses
Rockin orange Kare11 sunglasses

Machinery Hill is cool from above or below…

Machinery Hill from the SkyRide
Machinery Hill from the SkyRide
My favorite tractor...check out that bench seat! I wonder what that name has to do with farming, though?
My favorite tractor…check out that bench seat! I wonder what that name has to do with farming, though?

Crafts and creative activities are always fun…

State Fair in a box!
State Fair in a box!
Lasercut chess set
Lasercut chess set

An appropriate ending to my 2016 State Fair pictures…for those that know what the “ber” months mean.

The 'ber' months are the official start of the Christmas season in the Philippines.
The ‘ber’ months are the official start of the Christmas season in the Philippines.
Posted in Animals, Holiday, MN State Fair, Photography | Comments Off on Minnesota State Fair 2016

River

Flowing quietly, yet making a difference
Flowing quietly, yet making a difference

The river flows down hill
Tides follow the moon
Sun rises in the East and sets in the West
Man is born, grows old and dies

While each one follows it designated road
None leaves the path unchanged

River cuts the canyon deep and full of beauty
Tide turns the sea, refreshing and feeding
Sun warms the skin and feeds the earth
Man learns, loves, and returns his gains

Trading knowledge and life to ease pain
These choices reflect our inner self

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Inspirational blog post – Transportation

Asia, and maybe Southeast Asia specifically, is made up of sea focused nations and peoples. Two of these nations are archipelagos, namely the Philippines and Indonesia. Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world with more than 17,500 islands, about 6,000 of them being inhabited. The Philippines has more than 7,100 islands with about 2,000 of them being inhabited.

One great way to get around is via outrigger. There are quite a few sizes from tiny one person boats to pretty large ones carrying 25 or more passengers. This video is from one of my trips from Lagen island to El Nido town during a past trip to the Philippines.

Riding the bow of the outrigger
Riding the bow of the outrigger getting ready to go kayaking
Not many passengers on this trip to Lagen island
Not many passengers on this trip to Lagen island
Beached outrigger waiting for the tide to come back in.
Beached outrigger waiting for the tide to come back in.
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Back to the start of the ending…

Psychology of Choosing: River Running
Psychology of Choosing: River Running

A piece of advice I read in an article lately said that writers should start at the end of their story and plan from there. In other words, know where you want to go before starting the journey. It may seem obvious, but not everyone does that.

I literally did this with the series SMUGGLERS IN PARADISE. Almost three years ago (November 2013 to be precise) I wrote the draft of PSYCHOLOGY OF CHOOSING. It’s a psychological thriller dealing with human trafficking and global smuggling.

When I was nearing what I wanted to be the end I was a little word constipated and one day scratched out a new character relationship map in hopes of running across an Ah-Ha moment to loosen things up. It worked and a large chunk of story background literally spewed forth onto my page.

When I finished the draft I decided that I needed to write a prequel to PSYCHOLOGY OF CHOOSING and that turned into Book 1 – GAME OF WIT AND CHANCE: BEGINNINGS which in turn led to Book 2 – ONE FISH, TWO FISH, BIG FISH, LITTLE FISH: SILVER DAWN. Now I’m finally back to the start of the ending.

It’s been a long road and one in which I’ve learned a great deal. Two and a half years…probably three years before I finally publish Book 1 (I hope to have it out by November 2016)…have passed. I’ve taken a lot of classes, published two books via the Indie route, gotten a lot of feedback and, I hope, have continued to grow as a writer.

I’m really excited to be at this point and am grateful to those old and new friends that have read, given feedback and helped do a little publicity to get the story this far. I love hearing what you like, am extremely grateful for your feedback on what you want to see more of in the future, appreciate the constructive feedback you’ve given me and am open to more of all of it.

Thanks for traveling the path this far with me.

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Port and Sea inspiration

Here are two pictures that have inspired my writing about ports and the sea. Obviously this is a smaller port. If you correctly identify the port in the comments I’ll enter your name for a chance at a free e-book version of GAME OF WIT AND CHANCE: BEGINNINGS, which is the first book in the SMUGGLERS IN PARADISE series.

Harbor image
Harbor image
Heading into port, who wins?
Heading into port, who wins?
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Review: The Days of Anna Madrigal

The Days of Anna Madrigal
The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a nice conclusion (in my mind, but maybe it’s not really concluded?) to the wonderful days we’ve had with this beautiful person. I feel like I’ve grown up with Anna and the rest of her on-going party.

View all my reviews

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Inspiration post #3 – Food!

I am definitely one of those people that is easily inspired by food, stories about food or simply stories with food in them.

One of my favorite authors years ago was Lawrence Sanders. He wrote crime and suspense novels and I guess most “gumshoes”, as some of the earlier detectives were known, must have eaten a lot of sandwiches. I remember a friend of mine asking what I was reading one day.

“Why?” I replied.

“Because you’re making the strangest sandwich. I just wondered what the leading character in the book you’re reading was eating,” he answered.

I’m not sure what the sandwich was anymore, but the point was, if I read it and it sounded good, I’d try to make it. I guess that’s why people read cookbooks.

At any rate, in the series SMUGGLERS IN PARADISE, all my main characters eat food, make food, serve food, and celebrate with food. Kill with food? Maybe not in the first two books, but there’s still the third book to come.

I’ve traveled a lot and have always tried to be as open minded about food as possible, without simply asking to be chained to a bathroom for days on end. While most foods won’t actually kill you, if you aren’t acclimated to the bacteria, you may actually want to die.

Here are a few food pictures (all the things that I have eaten) that have inspired the SE Asian cuisine in my stories.

Seafood dinner in Shanghai with colleagues teaching me how to eat crab.
Seafood dinner in Shanghai with colleagues teaching me how to eat crab (a long time ago)
Not such a typical Pinoy breakfast, but tasty and full of fresh mango, watermelon, pineapple, papaya and bananas.
Not such a typical Pinoy breakfast, but tasty and full of fresh mango, watermelon, pineapple, papaya and bananas.
A favorite of mine...steamed soybeans and sushi
A favorite of mine…steamed soybeans and sushi
Dumplings and bar-b-que chicken feet
Dumplings and bar-b-que chicken feet
JCo Avocado flavored donuts
JCo Avocado and Green Tea flavored donuts
2015-04-13 20.06.21
Kare-Kare, sort of a seafood stew in a peanut sauce
2015-04-13 20.06.27
Sinigang Sa Bayabas, a pork dish in Guava infused broth
You want color? Here's Ube (purple yam) cake. Yummy!
You want color? Here’s Ube (purple yam) cake. Yummy!
One of the beautiful, tangy ramen dishes served at the Museum Cafe
One of the beautiful, tangy ramen dishes served at the Museum Cafe
Lechon, from Cebu, Anthony Bourdain's favorite bar-b-que pork dish
Lechon, from Cebu, Anthony Bourdain’s favorite bar-b-que pork dish

Travel often, eat heartily, feed your imagination and your soul.

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