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Thirteen Things I Can Live Without in 2011 January 3, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited.
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At the beginning of a new year, we often think about the things we need or want more of in the coming year.  Today, I’d like to think about what I’d really like to do without this year.  This list, in no particular order (aside from the first one), should not be considered all-encompassing.  It is simply what came to mind when I started thinking about this.

  1. I can live without another deadly hurricane, flood, volcanic eruption, tornado, earthquake, tsunami, mine collapse, airplane crash, ship sinking, school shooting, hate-based crime or terrorist attack.  Oh, and I don’t need any more wars or sabre-rattling speeches or threats from leaders of any nation or negative election campaign advertisements from leaders or wannabe leaders of this nation, either.
  2. I can live without hearing anything more about Rex Ryan’s wife’s feet or how much he loves them.
  3. I can live without seeing another television advertisement for prescription drugs. I’d especially like no more drug commercials with catchy jingles, plumbing-less bathtubs in the desert (or on the beach), green-colored mafia-backed blobs that move into the lungs and invite their extended family, butterflies that make you sleep and then wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go (with brushed hair and full makeup on), or legal disclaimers about the possibility of death as a side effect. I also don’t need to see advertisements for miraculous seasonal allergy medicines with a side effect of “head cold symptoms” because, like, why bother?
  4. I can live without another oil spill. Unless it’s a nice splash of extra virgin olive oil on a fresh, green salad. Perhaps with a little vinegar and garlic, too.
  5. I can live without hearing about how WikiLeaks is the worst thing that ever happened to the world, how it needs to be shut down, hidden and vilified as a terrorist website and how Julian Assange is a traitor to every nation on the planet and therefore deserves to be tortured, jailed and/or put to death for leaking confidential information.
  6. I can live without hearing about how WikiLeaks is the best thing that ever happened to the world, how it needs to be protected as a true, honest and important source of information everyone needs and how Julian Assange is an international hero who is being turned into a martyr who will eventually be tortured and either locked up or put to death in order to further the cause of leaking confidential information.
  7. I can live without hearing the politicians in Congress talking about how they’ve now come to Washington to “change how things are done around here” and “fix everything that’s not right.”  What the heck have you been doing for all the prior years you’ve been in Washington?  Seriously… every new Congress has said they’re going to change how things are done, but the only thing that ever changes is the portion of the country that’s angry at any given time.  So just shut up and get on with pissing off the 50% of the country who didn’t vote for you.
  8. I can live without hearing anything more about Bernie Madoff. Give a small amount of money to his wife and then let her get a job like the rest of us losers.  Then sell his homes, sell his cars, turn all of his assets over to the victims of his Ponzi scheme and let him rot in jail.  Maybe make him file his victims’ tax returns, by hand, as well.
  9. I can live without hearing another Justin Bieber song. Baby, oh baby, do I not want to hear another Justin Bieber song.  Throw David Archuleta into this category, too.
  10. I can live without hearing about health care reform or about the plan to repeal health care reform (is that called “health-care-reform reform”?).  And if the current plan is called “Obamacare”, will the new one be called “Whocares”?  Seriously, the subject is giving me a headache and I can’t afford to see a doctor about it. And, really, does it have to be this difficult?  As someone who is about to lose health coverage for himself and his family AND has a pre-existing condition, I want solutions, not rhetoric from a bunch of idiots who DO have coverage!
  11. I can live without hearing or seeing anyone being a Lady Gaga copy cat and wearing an outfit made of raw meat.  And this has nothing to do with me being a vegetarian – I don’t think I’d want to hang around with anyone wearing an outfit made out of raw onions, either.
  12. I can live without hearing someone use the statement “Global warming is not caused by humans” as a reason to justify their stance that there is no reason for us to find better, more efficient and cleaner ways to use  and generate energy. Even if climate change is not being caused or exacerbated by humans, there’s no reason we should be breathing dirty air, drinking polluted water or turning the planet into a giant, toxic strip mine.
  13. I can live without an iPad, an iPhone and a Wii. No, really.  I can.

And the Winner Is… October 18, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, General Fiction, Publications, Real Life, Short Stories.
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The first thing I want to say is thanks to everyone who posted comments describing their worst travel experiences. I’m sorry that you all had such harrowing experiences, but I thank you for sharing them. I, personally, have had many bad experiences. One of them includes paint can lids flying out of the back of a truck while riding down Route 95 South in heavy traffic. Another is roofing shingles flinging off a pre-fabricated building that was being pulled by a big truck – this also occurred on Route 95 south.

Still another bad experience, and possibly the scariest (more…)

Launch of the Yin and Yang Books (Chinese Whisperings) October 10, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, General Fiction, Publications, Real Life, Short Stories.

As many of you know, for the past eight months I have been involved with the second set of anthologies coming from the Chinese Whisperings brand. Last year’s debut anthology, The Red Book, was an exciting event consisting of 10 authors from around the world. It is a great book and has generated a lot of interest in the project. (You can read about The Red Book or buy it here!)

Today, the second Chinese Whisperings project launches!  Initially planned to be called “The Jade Book”, this follow-up anthology project was expanded to include 22 authors from around the globe and became two separate but interconnected anthologies known as The Yin Book and The Yang Book (or the combined The Yin and Yang Book). Again, you can learn about or buy these great anthologies right here!

The blurb for the two anthologies only tells a little of what happens in the books:

In the international terminal of a large European airport, Monday morning is about to get a whole lot worse. At 7.35am Pangaean Airlines, one of Europe’s major carriers, is put into receivership grounding all flights, stranding thousands of passengers and impounding tonnes of luggage. But all is not as appears on the surface and the sliding-doors moment of one woman deciding to abandon her suitcase will ricochet through the lives around her.


A Birthday Wish March 16, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited, Humorous.

Yep, that’s right – today is my birthday!  And you know what that means… it means the second most famous dude to be born on the 16th of March is livin’ large and partyin’ down.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide if Eric Estrada is or if I am the first most famous dude born on this splendid day after the Ides of March.  I know where my money is.

But seriously, it’s not really a competition.  I’ve got no beef with the California Highway Patrols or the most famous man amongst those boys.  But I find it silly that everyone else on the planet has decided that The Big E — that’s what I call my man Eric — that The Big E and I spend all of our time worrying about which of us is bigger, meaner and, quite frankly, manlier.  The reality is that we have a mutual respect for each other, a cornucopia of admiration for one another.  All we really want is some peace and quiet so that we can enjoy our birthdays outside of the glare of the paparazzo’s flashbulbs.  All we want is to kick back, enjoy an ice cold root beer or mellow yellow and watch a little Grapefruit League ball on the telly…

But people keep bringing it up.  Every thirteen minutes, my celly’s blowin’ up with people talk-talk-talkin’ at me, trying to drive a wedge where there’s nothing to separate.  People keep wanting to see the gloves dropped and the bikes and helmets all spread around the steaming hot asphalt as we men in shiny sunglasses settle this Birthday Battle as men do.  It’s not right, I tell you.  I, for one, am tired of living in this den of hatred and anger that has been thrust upon us and I will not fight any more!

Can’t we all just get along?  The Big E and me and you and my dog?  Please?  For my birthday?

Chinese Whisperings: The Red Book January 18, 2010

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Publications, Real Life.
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Over the last half of 2009, I was participating in a new writing adventure called Chinese Whisperings.  The inaugural publication, “The Red Book” is now available for purchase in electronic formats.  Print editions will become available this spring.

Check it out on the Chinese Whisperings web site!

I am the author of the eighth story in this anthology.  Through the Writers link, you can read excerpts from each story as well as biographical information and “behind-the-scenes” musings from each author.


Squirrels are Cute… December 15, 2008

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Humorous, Non-fiction, Real Life.
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… no, really! They are.

See? Look. Here’s a nice picture of Sciurus carolinensis, the Eastern Gray Squirrel:

Cute, right?


A Holiday to Remember December 6, 2008

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Fiction Friday, General Fiction, Humorous, Short Stories.

(written for the [Fiction] Friday  prompt on December 5, 2008:  Invent a holiday for which your character is a big fan)


Sally walked down the sidewalk that lined the quiet street, chatting happily with the five fellow carolers she had come out with this year.  They were talking about work, the kids and what they were going to do for the rest of the holiday. 

“Did you watch the tree lighting on TV the other day?” she asked the man, Bill, walking next to her? 


Lost on Earth (Chapter 1) December 2, 2008

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Publications, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories.
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Chapter Seven, Fall 2008

Chapter Seven, Fall 2008

Author’s note: Lost on Earth is the result of a collaborative fiction effort for which I wrote the first chapter.  I have included the first chapter here, but to read the rest of the story, please visit http://writeanything.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/chapter-seven-fall-2008-introduction/.  A full index can be found at the end of this chapter to help you get to the next sections.
Thanks for reading!

Bob Price fought violently against the panic he felt welling up within his belly.

What am I going to do now?, he thought as he leaned back against the door and watched her walk to the kitchen, placing the wet umbrella on the floor and the tray of cookies on the table. He closed his eyes and listened to her humming a song he did not know as she went familiarly to the cabinet to pull out plates. Reopening his eyes he saw his car keys hanging on the hook by the door and considered grabbing them and retreating back to the peace and quiet and safety of his office, where he could submerge himself into the piles of data streaming through the SETI project’s satellite systems. But looking at his already cold, bare feet, still wet from having just slogged home through the rain, and hearing the continued pounding of the rain outside his door, he shook his head and slowly walked into the kitchen to be a polite host to his neighbor. (more…)

Emptiness August 3, 2008

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, General Fiction, Short Stories.

He stepped outside on the cool, gray morning and felt the misty wet air attack his skin. The sound of the highway off in the distance was just a low hum, barely audible compared to the sounds of the animals in the yard. As he walked to the road to get the daily paper, the resident mourning dove called out from its perch on the tall tree beside the driveway. It was as if the song was tightly in tune with his soul, for with each note the bird sang a new set of goose bumps appeared on his skin. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply as he tried to shake the morning’s mourning, trying to stave off the overwhelming pain of his depression for just a minute more.