Showing 1 - 10 of 206 posts found matching keyword: walter

I ordered something via Amazon Prime last week, and it has taken far more than 2 days to arrive. Screw racism. This is something to get outraged about! (Where's my tiki torch?)

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The September issue of Reader's Digest includes an excerpt from Ben Bratt's book Nabokov's Favorite Word is Mauve. In typical clickbait fashion, the magazine titles its article "Have Bestsellers become Dumber?" There's a maxim in journalism that any question posed in a headline can be answered with the word "no." In this case, the answer is a slightly more complicated "kind of."

The argument Bratt makes is that most bestselling books these days are written on a 6th grade reading level, a significant decline from the 8th grade reading level of most bestsellers half a century ago. Personally, I hesitate to blame this on the "dumbing down" of readers. As a child, I was taught that any writing intended for a mass audience should be written on a 7th grade level. I suspect that modern authors have taken that advice to heart and, in the interest of finding an audience, doubled down. After all, if a 7th grade level reaches the average reader, a 6th grade level casts a wider net.

Of course, reading this made me wonder about my own books. Now that I'm an author myself, where does my personal style fall? To answer that question, I took my first three books and ran them through an online text parser. It gave me an "A" for readability but complained that my words have too many syllables. I didn't realize that was a problem. Perhaps naively, I assumed that words had all the syllables they needed.

Over the course of the three books (255,437 words in 25,235 sentences), I averaged 1.4 syllables per word. That's too high? I like Green Eggs and Ham as much as the next guy, but I also like most of my meals to be slightly more complicated.

Otherwise, what did the text parser tell me about my writing? My books are 37% nouns or pronouns, 21% verbs, 7% adjectives, and 6% adverbs, and they should take about 20 hours to read. That information gives no hint about whether my stories are entertaining, just that humans won't pull out their hair trying to make sense of my grammar. That's better than nothing, I suppose.

The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 1, The Wizards of Ranaloy The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 2, Prince Thorgils' War The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 3, A Quest Before Dying

Oh, it also told me that my writing averages a 7th grade reading level. Surprise, surprise.

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If you've visited this blog in the past week, you've heard about "the accident." (The car has now been totaled, by the way. Totaled by a trailer! They don't make 'em like the used to.)

Anyway, the whole reason Mom and I were in South Carolina was because we were traveling home from our trip to the first practice round at the 2017 PGA Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This mock trophy was more popular than the players

This year's tournament is being held at Quail Hollow, about 10 miles from downtown. We stayed downtown on Sunday night and took a 45-minute light rail and bus trip to the the course on Monday morning. The forecast called for rain, and rain it did. When we finally reached the course, it was soaking wet.

Water, water everywhere

I'm no golfer, so I can't really relate to the course as a playing field for sport. And it's concessions didn't hold a candle to the delicious fare served at The Masters in Augusta. However, I do enjoy a good walk in a well-manicured park. The course was beautiful, and despite the overcast sky, we saw plenty of stars.

Hey, look! It's Rickie Fowler in shorts!

For those of you unfamiliar with the big name golfers, that's Rickie Fowler swinging the club above. We also spied Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Brooks Koepka (who I've called "Cupcake" ever since hearing someone else refer to him as such in Augusta), and more. Rory McIlroy was particularly impressive, not because of his play, but because immediately after completing the course, he spent a very, very long time signing an autograph for every kid who wanted one. It's always heartening to see a pro player appreciating his fans.

All in all, it was a good trip. I think Mom enjoyed herself, and that was really the point. (They were her tickets, after all.) I think she'd do it again.

Well, most of it.

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For reference, this was the "other guy."

Built RAM tough

Like I said, not a scratch.

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Mom always said the car had a bad blind spot

Oops.

I'd say "you should see the other guy," but his truck didn't take a scratch. Some people are lucky that way.

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If you post on the Internet enough, you'll eventually attract the occasional negative comment. Check out these gems left here on Wriphe.com in the past week:

RE: 2012-12-26 Posted Jun. 20, 2017 at 09:22:59 PM
"Just Mom and me" speaks volumes about your existence.

RE: 2012-12-08 Posted Jun. 20, 2017 at 09:35:29 PM
Re-read this post and ask yourself why Trey, and I, am no longer a part of your Mom's life. What 42 year old man says to his mother, upon hearing she is going to be married, "I guess you are choosing him over me." Maybe a 10 year old. You said essentially the same thing about Trey's fiancé, "I resented her taking my time away from my brother." In neither case was there any expression of happiness and joy for your mother or your brother. For you, it was all about you. Sad. Really sad. Grow up.

RE: 2015-08-29 Posted Jun. 20, 2017 at 10:10:42 PM
You say that "Mom and I" attended a Newnan High School football game, accompanied by " her friend Bill." In fact, Nevelle and I made plans to attend the game, and, as we were leaving the house, she asked if you wanted to go WITH US. Again, it's all about you and your needy relationship with your mother. Grow up. Be an adult. Look in the mirror. Do you like what you see?

You'll see from the timestamp that those were all posted on one night. I was inclined to write the whole thing off as someone going on a bender, but then this showed up a week later:

RE: 2017-06-22 Posted Jun. 27, 2017 at 09:05:11 PM
Nice restorative n project. Good work. But "your" garage? "Your" mud room? Dream on....

So it seems this is going to be a thing now.

Obviously, these weren't posted by a random stranger. It seems my mother has been dating an Internet troll.

While the best thing to do with trolls is ignore them, he does make a few great points that deserve repetition. I've never claimed to be anything other than an over-sized child. I have always been overly attached to my mother — my father blames me for destroying their marriage. And I am keenly aware that my me-first behavior is responsible for driving my only brother, formerly my best friend, out of my life. (Really, you don't know the half of what I've done to deserve that.) I'm a shitty person and most of my behavior is indefensible.

He's right about all that. But he's wrong about one thing:

RE: 2012-10-23 Posted Jun. 21, 2017 at 01:23:24 AM
There's a hundred bucks I'll never see again..

You never contributed $100 towards the Dungeon Delver project in 2012, Bill. That Kickstarter was cancelled about 2 days after we started it. You meant to complain about this 2015 Kickstarter project. And you're not the only one who lost money over that thing. I still haven't seen a penny return on it, either, and I assure you I spent way more than $100.

We're both losers, I guess.

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In 2003, my grandfather gifted me a backlit 1975 Ingress-Plastene Coca-Cola clock (Model G017) that he had been storing in his garage. The light still worked, but the timekeeping didn't. I took it apart and tinkered with it a bit, but for reasons I couldn't recall, I never got around to finishing the repair and the clock was put, in pieces, into storage in my garage. Like grandfather, like grandson.

In April, looking for something to do between programming jobs, I finally decided to finish my decade-old clock restoration project. Having forgotten why it wasn't working, I started over at the beginning. I spent $20 on assorted parts to replace the missing winding mechanism before I re-discovered that the original motorized movement was worn out. Then I remembered why I didn't fix it 10 years ago: the company that made the electric motor stopped making clock parts in the 90s.

Time for work

Unwilling to give up a second time, I took to the Internet. Replacement Lux series 2350 movements are available periodically on eBay for prices as low as $25. In fact, the whole clock is common enough enough that I could buy a replacement between $50 and $250, depending on condition. But I didn't really want a replacement; I wanted the clock that my grandfather once owned to tick once again. Besides, I couldn't really trust 40-year-old parts to keep working any longer than they had in my clock.

So I went ahead and spent $40 on a new electric movement — Made in the USA™ — with a set of hands that mimicked what I had. (The original had a sweeping second hand and the replacement steps, but beggers cannot be choosers.) It took a bit of tinkering with a drill and a vice to make the new, shallower movement fit with the original florescent lamp interior, but it worked out well enough in the end.

It's always 2:55 o'clock somewhere

After nearly 15 years, I finally have a working grandfather clock. Now my mud room looks like a little league snack bar, and that's just the way I like it.

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I think Atlanta Tech Edge is backsliding. From this morning's episode:

HOSTESS, cluelessly: "What is Snapchat?"

GUEST, trying not to visibly wince: "It's, um, an app that was introduced 6 years ago."

It's easy to look down on this show, but it does come on immediately after Face the Nation (the #1-rated Sunday morning news magazine). I don't have a hard time believing that the demographic watching network television at that hour has probably never heard of "the snappy chat." I will try to be less judgmental in the future.

Aw, who am I kidding? Damn Luddites!

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I attended the Super Bowl in person twice, in 2007 and 2009. It looks like I won't be doing that again.

In both cases, I purchased tickets for face value directly from the NFL after winning the opportunity in the annual NFL Super Bowl Random Drawing. For years, so long as football fans sent in a certified letter before May, there was a chance they could buy tickets in November for that January's game. Hopefuls could enter only once per physical address, and each year over 30,000 requests were received for approximately 1,000 tickets. Those were long odds. Now they're worse.

This year, the NFL canceled the program.

Why did they do it? Who knows. The NFL didn't explain its thinking when it updated its website to let us know that we couldn't enter this year. The league hinted they've got something else in the works for next year's Super Bowl LII, but still no word on what it might be. Given the league's guiding principle is the same as Gordon Gekko's — "Greed is good" — I'm not expecting great things.

I'm disappointed in this development, but not mad. I did get to go twice, after all. That's two times more than most. Good times.

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About a zillion posts ago, I posted a pic of my grandmother's newspaper wedding announcement. At the time, Cam asked for a pic of my grandfather to accompany it. Never let it be said that Walter doesn't follow through! (Eventually.)

Down in front!

Okay, I confess. That's not just my grandfather, and this certainly isn't his wedding photo. This is three generations of his family circa 1979. From left to right, that's my grandmother, my mother, Trey, my grandfather, and my aunt Kelley standing in the backyard of my grandparent's house. I still haven't identified the dapper little member of the Lollipop Guild in the front row.

(This reminds me of a true story: not too many years after this, I attended a Georgia State University initiative for "gifted" children on Saturday mornings. A local magazine ran an article on the class. I was mentioned, described as a snaggletoothed youngster who wore a fake watch. I cannot deny that I had snaggleteeth, but my Mickey Mouse watch worked just fine, thank you!)

I'm guessing that my father was the cameraman. He was big into photography back in the day. I have no idea why the family was framed so far to the right. That's bad composition technique. Visual scanning tendency in Western culture leads the eye naturally to the bottom right of an image, so you should balance the composition by keeping focus away from that edge. Sorry, Dad, but not everyone is cut out for art school.

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