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Randomness: Disney/Pixar’s “The Incredibles” Hide and Seek Question

Image courtesy pixar.wikia.com

This is a plot hole I think about. I mean, I don’t lie awake at night pondering it, and we haven’t had deep suppertime discussions over this. Still, I think it’s worth mentioning.

We are all well aware, by the time Mr. Incredible has arrived at Nomanisan Island to battle the Omnidroid, that Syndrome has squirreled away some serious coin. He has jets that fly solely on autopilot (and dispense Mimosas at a passenger’s request, AND have personal mid-flight ejection pods), a monorail system that carries inefficient, single (or double; even so…)-passenger ball-shaped train cars, a gorgeous, well-appointed military-style complex inside a flipping volcano, zero-point energy prisoner containment system (both hand-held and multi-unit), single-person IMAX theater with non-lethal sticky-ball cannons (who couldn’t have used that at least once in their life?), rocket technology, and teams of soldiers and scientists to develop the most technologically-advanced rockets and mass-destruction robots ever seen, just to name a couple of things.

Then there are those wrist-launched combination drone/probe/who-knows-what-else thingies (they probably have a pocket fisherman feature, too; who knows?). You know the one thing it doesn’t serve as? It’s intended purpose! All that money and tech Syndrome dumped into his toys, and that one gadget couldn’t pick up Incred’s bio-signature behind a dead and dried skeleton? With all of Buddy’s technology and forethought (the Omnidroid was battling Supers in order to vet their weaknesses, after all), it could be assumed that he would have developed a probe’s technology to be able to discern between dead bones and warm flesh. Especially given that bones have spaces between them.

I know I’m being petty and there is likely an Incredibles Universe answer to the question. I just find that plot hole interesting. But, I guess it wouldn’t have made for much of a movie if The Villain dropped a new mini-depth charge and took another shot at blowing up The Hero.

So…never mind.

What Do You Write?

Image courtesy Wikipedia

I’ve always found short stories to be the most rewarding for me. I’m terrible about being committed to something until the end. My two greatest successes with that have been the Army, which I couldn’t leave, anyhow, and my wife and kids. When it comes to writing, though, staying committed through an entire novel is tough for me. I am better at finding a plot and getting to the conclusion as immediately as possible. I’m good for between 250 and 3,000 words, and then —- Ooh, look, a SQUIRREL! I don’t have a problem developing characters and a story in that short period, but get wordy and the story turns to fluff beyond 11 or 12 pages.

Those of you who have been visitors and commentors to this blog for some time may be familiar with my “Short Stories” section. From time to time, you may see a story or two disappear from the list. As I begin once again submitting to literary magazines, I will be pulling some of my best stuff from the blog for that purpose. Many titles cannot be published online and submitted simultaneously for potential publication, and I don’t want to infringe on that rule.

Others that I feel are good, but not “submission good,” I’ll be pulling, reworking and re-posting here on “Read All You Want.” I’ll do that, along with posting some new material for your — SQUIRREL! — critique.

Let me ask you this: has there ever been a story you wrote or wanted to write, but felt it didn’t need to be written or read? If so, was it something controversial? Or, do you say, “To hell with it,” and just write what you want? Do you have boundaries, or do you believe in the art of the craft? Even if you have no boundaries, is there a topic you would never write about?

Please leave a comment and I’d love it if you would click FOLLOW to the right.

Are You Entering Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition?

Image courtesy: Writers Digest

Writer’s Digest is holding their annual Short Short Story competition, so I’ve been polishing a short I had written a couple of years ago. It was posted here on Read All You Want for a while, but I took it down in light of the upcoming contest. The deadline is Sunday, 12/15, so I have to buckle down, That’s also just a short week before we go on vacation.

Are you thinking about submitting to this one? Let us know in “Comments.”

Either way, here’s hoping!

Thanks!

Recent Media Reports of Police Confrontations Have Me Concerned for My Son with Autism: Here’s Why

It seems that every other blogger with any kind of following has posted his or her opinion regarding what is being perceived as white police officers committing genocide on black citizens. Or, the bloggers who support the police taking a stand against violent thugs; it mostly depends on your perspective, political leaning or melanin concentration, I’m guessing. A white Cleveland cop with a questionable service record killed a black kid playing in a city park (where kids are known to play) with what looks just like a handgun.  A white S.C. police chief shoots and kills an unarmed black man in a city parking lot as the two argued and then scuffled over a traffic ticket (and there seems to be a pattern in South Carolina—click here for more). Then, there was another scuffle, this time in Phoenix, and a black man was killed by a cop. Officer Daniel Pantaleo v Eric Garner. Officer Sean Williams v John Crawford III. Anyone could do this all day.

If you’ve read any of my writing or know my background at all, you know that my main concern is not that police exercise a “License to Kill” on blacks. Before you get all comment trolly on me, and in case you don’t know me, let me explain. What concerns me more is the wanton protection and then exoneration of police in situations where citizens can be killed at-will. Police are rarely indicted for killing citizens (check this out), either. In fact, hundreds happen that we citizens never hear about (read this; it also explains that the numbers are higher than the statistics say, because hundreds more go unreported to the FBI). White. Black. Male. Female. Rich. Poor. Physically or mentally healthy. Physically or mentally vulnerable. It just goes on.

And there is my biggest concern. I have a couple of kids with special needs. They are in a vulnerable population, and one that is understandably different. There’s a difference (for me) between a cop killing someone who, at the officer’s request, could “drop the weapon.” If they choose not to, they must accept the consequence that follows. Not that I necessarily feel that anyone who disobeys a cop should get a chunk of searing hot lead injected into his or her chest, or strangled until the life seeps from his or her body. But, people in those situations understand that they have options; the choice they make is conscious. Granted, the officer who makes the choice to end a life must face consequences as well. But, based on some of the links I posted above, internal investigations and courts are on the side of cops. That must give them at least some feeling of invincibility.

My concern is for the persons who have difficulty understanding consequences. For example, if I am asked to leave a venue by an employee or (if it got to that point, for some reason) a law enforcement officer, I will comply. However (and for whatever reason), Robert Ethan Saylor had trouble understanding what was being asked of him, or why. It cost him his life at the hands of three off duty police officers. It’s important to note that Ethan’s aide was at the scene already and offered to help. The police ignored her and they admit that Ethan was not violent with anything more than words. It was ruled that the police were responsible for Ethan’s death, which, of course, means they are still on the job today.

In Houston, Texas, Brian Claunch was a schizophrenic wheelchair-bound double amputee with a history of run-ins with police. During one incident, Claunch somehow cornered an able-bodied cop. The officer’s partner noticed that Claunch was waving a sharp object at his partner, and so, shot Claunch in the head, killing him instantly. It was a pen. Claunch lived in an assisted living facility, was medicated, and, I’d like to reiterate, was in a wheelchair. It’s worth noting that the article link states that no Houston cop has been found guilty in a shooting in over 10 years.

Then there is the case of Errol the Yard Man, a deaf-mute who was slain by cops in Detroit. As numerous neighbors hollered to responding police that Errol was deaf, mute and could not respond to their commands, they did the only thing they could do: they fired at him, claiming the man swung a rake at them. Which is the exactly proportional response one would expect. Especially given that, according to the article, Detroit has more fatal cop-to-resident shootings than any other city in the U.S. Still, the police were cleared after what I’m sure was a thorough, transparent and unbiased internal investigation. At least, that’s what the mayor said.

And it’s not just in the U.S., and it’s not just killings (see here and here). But there are many more police violence against disabled people to be written about (read Rosamaria’s story here).

Now, don’t get me wrong. First and foremost, I believe police serve a purpose and I would like to believe that the majority are “guys and gals” just the same as any of us. They want to do their job and get home to a hot grill, a cold beer and a warm hug from their kids. I also get that officers are operating on the premise that they must keep themselves and the community-at-large safe (the Supreme Court has already ruled that police have no obligation to keep individuals safe). Even if that means killing someone in a split-second decision in order to do so. My concern lies in the fact that these are essentially legalized street executions.

I have a son who is a big boy for 9½, and he, obviously, will only get bigger. With autism, he has no true understanding of boundaries or consequences nor the conceptual understanding of the wants and desires of other people. This is a potential problem as he ages. Sure, there is unlikely ever to be a moment where he will not be with someone. But Ethan Saylor had a worker with him, too. A lot of good that does if the police are going to ignore the instructions of those that are with the person the most often and know him or her best.

Someone is with my son constantly. Should he ever not comply, or worse, become aggressive with me or someone else, we who know him know what needs to be done to rein him back in. EXTREMELY HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION ALERT: If I were to kill him (even accidentally; even to keep everyone else safe), I would be arrested, charged and likely convicted for my crime. Cops, however, don’t have that restriction. If he were to act aggressively toward them and misunderstand the consequences of not obeying their cues (he says no even when he’s complying), the police are free from repercussion. They could dispatch him using the same reasoning for which I would be arrested. Because they are cops and their safety is more important than anyone else’s.

Of course, this is just to exemplify that there are those vulnerable people who may not have the cognizance to realize that their behaviors might bring about their own death at the hands of someone who has milliseconds to make a decision. In reality, no group deserves to be treated this way. Sure, bad people do bad things, and maybe the thought process of the police is simply we don’t have time to differentiate or it’s better that an innocent person died when he could have been a bad guy who wanted to kill me or when I’m scared, death is the only option. At least a few of the situations I mentioned above could have been de-escalated with “time.” A few bad words, extreme misunderstanding or resistance do not warrant a death sentence. That goes for all citizens, “disabled” or not.

I do not wish ill on police and I have experience with the stress they are under. I was a Military Police drug investigator and a protective services specialist in the Army; I understand the whole “seconds to decide” thing. But, hiding behind the “in the interest of the public’s safety and mine” in order to dispense what, again, amounts to little more than legalized street execution, is unconscionable. At one time, the job of police was to protect and serve the citizens. It’s now as though they consider this a war and look at all of us as combatants (have you seen the RVs small town forces are employing in order to collect civil judgments?).

So, then, who protects the combatants who don’t even realize that there is a war?

Can You Make Writing a Career Late in Life?

Courtesy: Campfireyarns.blogspot.com

I’ve been writing for almost 40 years now. In that time, my biggest claim to writing fame has been a 50-page autism help booklet that found its way to S. Africa, New Zealand, Turkey, Canada and throughout the U.S. The $4.95 manual earned me a total of about $100 since self-printing it in 2008. Other than that, I had an op/ed piece printed in our local newspaper back in 2007.

My blogs (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5) have only ever found moderate success and I’ve only put a few of my short stories online. I have dozens (or more) of others that have simply never found the light of the Interwebz. So, does that mean that I will never find writing success? Should I pack it in and just stop writing?

If you’re a writer who takes The Craft seriously, you know that the answer is a loud and boisterous “I have no idea!” One thing is for sure, though: if I stop writing,  I can guarantee failure…as a writer, at least. Besides, there are famous names that never gave up, and found success when they “should” have been riding golf carts in Florida retirement communities.

For example, Laura Ingalls Wilder was in her 40s before she took to writing as a career. But it wasn’t until her 60s that she found a comfortable niche, and the amazing success we know today.

Raymond Chandler‘s short stories began to appear in magazines when he was 45.  But Chandler was 51 before he introduced the world to Philip Marlowe and The Big Sleep.

Frank McCourt, the author of Angela’s Ashes, didn’t see that book’s success until he was 66. And he was 75 before Teacher Man was published.

Watership Down is a timeless, beloved children’s story. And Richard Adams was 52 before he saw the classic take in print.

Oh yeah. And then there’s Harry Bernstein. Mr. Bernstein published The Invisible Wall in 2007, in part as a way to cope with the loss of his wife of seven decades. Wait, that would make him… Yeah, Harry was 97 when his book hit store shelves.

Those are some people who prove it truly never is too late.

Do you know other authors who found late success?
Are you one?

Leave a comment and let us know the whole story. Then, follow this blog and (if you like it) share it on Facebook!

Thanks again.

What Did You Do Before You Became a Writer?

Courtesy: Flickr.com

Courtesy: Flickr.com

Years ago I subscribed to a print magazine for aspiring writers called Beginnings. As with many like it, that publication (sadly) no longer exists.  It’s too bad, too, because it  was a well-put-together mag that had potential. The one thing I remember from Beginnings is something I think about whenever I take inventory of the rainbow of jobs I’ve held over the past 30-some-odd years.

In one of the last issues of the magazine, there was a two panel comic depicting a writer being interviewed (oh how I wish I could find it…if you remember this mag or the drawing, please share in comments). In the first panel, the interviewer’s speech bubble said (something along the lines of), “So tell me, what did you do before you became a writer.” The second panel showed the writer’s thought bubble (which consumed 2/3 of the space) filled with the author performing (probably) 12-15 different jobs: baker, janitor, taxi driver, teacher…you get the picture.

I thought how much that comic depicted Me. I’ve held a myriad of positions, but never one that seemed to be able to keep me. Not that I haven’t tried. I don’t quit for bad reasons, though (said my mind). Sometimes the bosses were horrible. Other times the work environment was downright Orwellian. Then there were jobs that just never went anywhere. And there were jobs that simply didn’t need my services any longer. Usually it was stagnant pay that caused me to jump ship (how ironic, for an aspiring writer).

Admittedly, I’ve never been able to make writing stick, either. But writing is different. It’s something I can whittle away at it for the rest of my life. If it never takes, so be it. I haven’t totally abandoned the 9-5 concept in favor of “he just started writing, and never looked back” concept. I have too many responsibilitiesto take that risk. I do have current projects though, and they mainly involve my favorite type of writing: short story fiction.

I’m currently in the middle of cleaning up a 2,500’ish story I wrote several years ago. It’s never been published or even submitted for publishing. It’s a Twilight Zoney, Sixth Sense-type of tale called The Parked Car. The idea is a cerebral story that involves a character whose state of mind causes him to slip back and forth between a delusional world and the one in which he actually lives. I’m having trouble with some action within one of the worlds, but I’ll shake it out. I assume it has another couple of weeks or so of rewrite.

In the meantime, I’ll keep working on flash fiction (you can find some of those within my “Short Stories” pages) and other quickies. You can also follow what’s going on with our Disney vacation over at Our Journey, Our Way. I just wrote an interesting post about the TSA, if you’d like to read it. Other than that, please keep checking back here for more writing stuff.

So, what are some things you did before becoming a writer?
Have you reached a level of success with your writing that makes you happy?
If you have a favorite thing to write (about), let us know that, too!

I’d love it if you would share this story with Facebook, and I’d be grateful if you would look to the right sidebar and FOLLOW this blog.

Thanks again!

Taking a Couple of Days Off

www.pixgood.com

Sorry I’ve been away for a while. You have all been so wonderfully supportive and helpful as I try to grow my readership.

I’ve been under the weather, and then family came to visit. Now I have a couple of college papers due by early next week.

I promise I’ll post by Wednesday at the latest. Thanks for understanding!

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