Friday, September 29, 2006

The Magic Toybox

Sorry for the mistake in the e-mail but this is a review of a short story in the book The Magic Toybox.

Hello everyone and happy Friday!
I’m looking forward to some reading and writing for the weekend. Just to let you know I just finished reading an awesome short story by Oklahoma author Mel Odom. If you’ve been reading some of my past posts you’ll notice a couple of posts mentioning him. To answer your probable thoughts, no I’m not a stalker. He’s a good friend, excellent writing teacher, and you can tell if you ever meet him, he’s just a down to earth guy who inspires people to do what they are afraid to do, which in my case is to write. Back to the short story…

The name of the story is The Affair of The Wooden Boy. It’s in an anthology of 14 short stories called The Magic Toybox, published by Daw. The stories are primarily, you guessed it, about toys.

Mel’s story is set in a "Victorian London-like" city brimming with characters and scenery from the horror genre. Simon, who is modeled after Pinocchio, finds himself transformed into a wooden puppet by means of a mysterious and evil magic. Searching for help on the same snowy night of his transformation, Simon ends up on the doorstep of Lord Gallatin, Private Enquiry Agent who is reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes. Together with his wife Lady Gallatin they track down the magician and the reason for transforming young Simon into a wooden puppet.

The only things I had a problem grasping were a few of the fantasy type props sprinkled throughout the tale, but I’m sure it’s because I’ve never read fantasy. I will now.

This story has an absolute stunning twist at the end that I wasn’t prepared for. I enjoyed the horror / fantasy mix, and especially the setting. Mel does a great job pulling you into the story with three-dimensional characterization, great dialogue, and a solid plot. Did I mention setting? I loved the Londenesque landscape of the city. I felt like I was really there.

Have a great weekend,

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I've got high blood pressure. Do you? Are you sure you don't? I thought I didn't either.

Hello everyone.
I went to the doctor yesterday for possible back problems and found out that I may have high blood pressure (160 over 94) instead of "white coat syndrome." At 37 I’m none too excited about taking blood pressure medication for the rest of my life. So I went to the mega-store and got my prescription filled for the anti-inflammatory for my back, an electronic blood pressure checker and some over the counter stuff that may aide in lowering my cholesterol. I go back in a couple of weeks for full blood tests and all the tricks the doctor can pull from his medical hat. I came home; hopped on the net to see if my computer screen could render any medical wisdom for my newly claimed medical condition properly called hypertension. The results from each web-site was pretty much the same. Some of you may already know this stuff, good for you and have a good day. But for the rest of you who may not know what high blood pressure is, how it affects your health, or how to control it, take a look. I’m not a doctor so always consult yours if you have concerns or questions about your health.

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood against the walls in your arteries. The two numbers derived for blood pressure is called the systolic (top number) and diastolic (the lower number). The systolic pressure identifies the pressure when the heart is contracting or beating and the diastolic is the pressure when the heart is resting between beats.

One out of 3 people suffer pre-hypertension that leads to high blood pressure and most don’t even know it.
Just like what happened to me if you’ve had good blood pressure in the past doesn’t mean you have good pressure now. Generally speaking, for adults an optimal level is 120 over 80. A systolic pressure of 121 to 139 or a diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 is considered "pre-hypertension" and needs monitored. A blood pressure reading of 140 over 90 or higher is considered elevated (high). An unusually low pressure should signal you to seek medical attention to determine the cause.

The only way to detect high blood pressure is to have a medical professional check your pressure. High blood pressure also known as the "silent killer" usually has no symptoms and many people go years without knowing they have it. You should at the bare minimum have it checked at least every 2 years. In some cases have it checked more often.

Increases risk of heart attack
Increases risk of stroke
Increases risk of kidney disease

Part 2 for this blog will be on how to fight high blood pressure.

God bless,

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Have you seen John Gosch?

The mother of John Gosch was sent pictures of her son 24 years after his abduction. They were left on her fron door showing her son tied and gaged with 2 other boys.

You can read the full story here,,-6052861,00.html

John was one of the first faces of missing children to appear on milk cartons after sparking a nation wide fear of child abduction.

This photo is a digitally enhanced age progression of John.
If you've seen him contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at the link to the right.

I will try to start posting a new child every week or very other week. Just think if you had spoted one kid and was part of getting them back home...

Have a great day and God bless!