Remembering Cool: Resharing Some Posts for an Old Friend

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A few days ago I learned that a friend from my college days died.

Sue was one of the heroes in a two-part comedy story I did about my awkward time working in a grocery store bank. Here are the links:

Sue was an artist. She was hilarious with a very dark sense of humor. She was wicked smart. It took me a few months to figure out when she was actually caring about what I was saying or when she was just saving it away for a story she would tell others later. Of course, either way you had her undivided attention.

One of the valuable thing she did for me is show me how someone who is more on the artistic side of things can survive in the real world. And many times since then whenever I was in an office setting I would wonder if I was acting like Sue at that moment.

I lost touch with Sue after college but then a few years ago she found me on Facebook. I verified that everything I said in these two blogpost were correct with her. When she said they were and said how much she liked them I couldn’t stop smiling for days. I felt like that was something I earned. She went on to also read some of my books which made me soar.

Today, I regret not reaching out more outside of Facebook. It would have been interesting for me to see her life since our bizarre banking days. But like most people I always felt like there was more time.

I hope you will check out these blogposts.

Goodbye Sue. You were one of the coolest.

Lawn Signs

clinton-kaine-yard-sign-in-yardI’m going to share with you my one real crime.

And I got away with it completely. There has never been an arrest or a warrant on this one. So the big secret is about to come out. Are you ready?

I once stole political lawn signs from neighbor yards!

Yes, I am a thief. Here is what I would say to a judge:

But your honor, I was young! Only 18! And it was a joke. A practical joke, honest! You’ve done bad jokes in the past, right? Well, that is what this is! Just a simple laugh.

See, I had this friend in high school who had very strong opinions about the election that year (she was one of those souls that has a strong opinion about everything).  She wouldn’t stop talking about it. It drove me crazy! If I wanted to get her goat about it, I would point out that she would not be able to vote, she was only 17. But I would be able to. It actually was my first time voting and I was pretty excited about it.

This was the first election of Bill Clinton, going up against President George Bush and Ross Perot.

The friend detested those who were considering voting for the President. While I was looking forward to voting for Clinton (even though my first choice was Paul Tsongas), that ballot felt like my first step into adulthood. I vote… then graduate from high school… and then enter college. A real American grownup.

Anyway, so one day I had heard enough about her opinion about the election; and after school thanks to a free hour, I went out and collected about half a dozen lawn signs from the yards of strangers. I stuck them all around her mom’s front yard.

That was my one crime and I was never caught.

Judge, can I plead the fifth? I already talked and admitted it? Damn…

Continue reading

The Night I Stopped Being a Model

Originally, I was planning to share five of my worst book reviews. It felt like a fun idea at first, but then I began to imagine what the author might feel if they find the post thanks to a tag or a search. When you put your heart into something, hearing that your art did not work… well… it sucks. And it’s not just a bad review, it would be part of a list of the worst reviews!

Frankly, a bad review can sting. On the flip side, I’ve been the target of a few as well. With sites like GoodReads and amazon, you get the full spectrum of readers and reviewers now. My only thing about a bad review is I want their argument to be clear and well-founded. “Because-I-say-so” is just not a strong argument why a book is worth leaving on the shelf. After one nasty review, I wrote a post on how to write a bad book review. You can check it out here- https://sdsouthard.com/2013/10/07/the-troll-under-the-bridge-how-to-write-a-good-bad-book-review/

So… instead of sharing a pile of nasty, I’m instead going to reshare this blogpost. It also appears in my book Me Stuff which you can find on Amazon (https://amzn.com/B00LEUKLUY). Enjoy!

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

ModelsFrom around the age of 8 to about 13, I was a model. Yes, I once worked it.

Before anyone gets overwhelmed by images of catwalks, raining money, national commercials, and maybe bulimia, this was all local stuff; the work was not even unionized. And, to be honest, even locally I was not very popular. My brother was the popular one. He even had an agent before me. He is six-years younger than me, did a lot of local theater and had cute long curly hair.  He played the camera, I stared dumbly at it.

So in a way, I was the twofer. “If you need an older brother for the cute kid, we have one ready for you!”

The first ad, I ever did was for a holiday commercial for Meijer. It was around GI Joe action figures, and for some reason they had me and this other boy dress…

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Seven Favorite Book Review Discoveries

Books! Everywhere! Books!One of the cool things about doing the book reviews for WKAR’s Current State and this website is when I discover a book or author that might have slipped through the literary cracks if it wasn’t for that review copy in my hand. A little bit of an unexpected treasure. And some publisher just sent it to me? For free? Sweet…

While I don’t love writing a bad review (even though I can have an eerie Dorothy Parker-esque talent for it from time to time), writing a good book review is a lot of fun. Many times, it is difficult for me to edit the review down to the necessary length. I’m gushing about the book, and I want to gush more. It’s a gush-tornado!

Here are seven books I’ve done over the years that I recommend you check out (and the links to my reviews):

 

 

The Classics I’ve Reviewed

Books
So, things have been… distracting.

For the last year, I’ve been working with an agent on my latest novel (which I still can’t talk about here). I really hope we are close to locking down the book soon. Whatever the case, I can easily promise it will be ready before the next book by George R.R. Martin.

Anyway, all of that jazz has distracted me from this website. And it might distract me for a little while to go (including my work on Uses of This World). So until I can find time to write something new here, I’ll be sharing something from time to time. Bear with me, this will all pay off in the long run, I am sure of it.

I’ve had the pleasure on WKAR to review quite a few classics on their morning show Current State. I love classic literature so these were the moments I savored like a great meal. The kind of meals with a half-dozen courses and they give you a nice mint at the end.

I hope you will check out (and enjoy) these reviews:

 

 

 

 

Uses of This World: Chapter 7

GhostDenmark 1926. The world is on a powder keg, the old world is in conflict with the new, still recovering from World War I. Jazz and flappers. Cocktails and parties. In this tumultuous time, the king of Denmark is found dead… but his spirit is not at rest.

Uses of this World is the tale of the people around the events of Hamlet, from the soldiers to the royal family. Each is tied to the outcomes around the crown. And the country, as well as the world, is waiting to see what happens next.

Previous Chapters

Chapter 7: Father

The night air was stale and cold. It lingered not on the skin, but on the tongue, on the breath and in the lungs.

“The air bites shrewdly. It is very cold,” Hamlet said, a little louder than a whisper. Yet, his voice traveled easily among the group waiting on the parapet walls that dark night.

Horatio replied before the two soldiers. “It is a nipping and an eager air.”

Was that sarcasm? Even here? Hamlet couldn’t help but be impressed by his American friend. Yet, the more he studied Horatio in the shadows of the torches, he was not like his old self. The smiles were forced, the face more pale and wrinkled; like the blood was dripping from him, but to where?

The previous nights of the specter were marked by a fog, an eeriness, as if the world enjoyed taking part in some foreboding. Now, there was nothing. Just nothing. Like the dry air in a tomb.

“What hour now?” Hamlet asked.

“I think it lacks of twelve.”

Hamlet shook his head. “No, it’s struck.”

“Indeed? I heard it not.” Continue reading

Lingering Questions About the Drunk One-Legged Man

LegIt was after 9 o’clock on a weekday when a drunk one-legged man knocked on my door.

Let me begin by saying that my house is not in a particularly busy neighborhood. This is not any major city; it is a middle-class suburb. The kind of neighborhood, where you see the same old couple walking their dog at the same time every single night. Like clockwork. Everyone living near us is so familiar that my wife and I have given them nicknames. Nicknames I dare not mention here.

On the night of the one-legged man, my wife was out, and my son and I were watching Lord of the Rings (his recent obsession, which shows how much we are kin), my young daughter already fast asleep upstairs.

Typically, a door like ours does not get knocked on very often. I remember once during our first few weeks in the house when the knock came from some Seventh-Day Adventists. I told them that I was somewhere between atheist and agnostic. You would have thought they had won the lottery. They were so excited to meet me. Finally, I had to tell them I wasn’t interested and shut the door.

So this, in this neighborhood and at this time, was odd. The knock was loud and quick and both my son and I jumped. Even our dog, who is usually so aware of everything seemed surprised. I told my son, to go back to watching the movie, held my dog back and opened the door.

There was a white truck running in my driveway and the one-legged man was standing on my porch, hunched over like he was having trouble with his balance. There was no cane. His hair was disheveled and his clothes were filthy. His shirt was an old t-shirt, that was probably white once, but now yellow. I was never able to make out the image on it, and I did spend a few minutes squinting at it. He was wearing sweat shorts, so it was easy to see his artificial and metallic right leg going down to his tennis shoes. The man was so drunk I was not certain he could even see me.

“Is Julie in?” He asked.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know a Julie.”

He looked confused. “Julie lives here.”

Now my wife (not named Julie) and I have been in our house for almost ten years, and we did not buy it from someone named Julie. She was Cindi or Cynthia or some other kind of peepy C name. So this man was somewhere out of the distant past… Assuming, of course, a Julie even lived at my house at one time. Continue reading

My Struggle to Like Batman V. Superman

I will always give the DC guys in capes a second time. Yes, I just finished sitting through the three-hour ultimate version of it. While I think it fixed a lot of the pacing problems I felt were there in the original version, it doesn’t change my complaints I made during this post, so I am resharing it.

This weekend I will be seeing Suicide Squad. My fingers are crossed, but they were about this film too. So we’ll see….

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

Look up in the sky! Is it a bird? No, it is spoilers!

Mr. BatmanI’ve always considered myself a DC guy.

While I appreciate Marvel and enjoy the movie empire of it (especially the Captain America films), my heart belongs with the 52 worlds of DC Comics. One of my dreams has always been to write a Captain Marvel film, for example. Granted, I know that will not happen (they are planning to make a film soon and, sadly, no one called me).

I remember the thrill of seeing Christopher Reeve fly. I saw Michael Keaton’s Batman three times in the theater. And I remember loving the Super Friends each Saturday morning. I still watch the DVDs with my kids!   

Yet, as I sat there watching the latest DC film, it felt just off for me. Something was off the rails. It was as if the heart and joy of…

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

Yes, I devoured the new Harry Potter book in less than two hours. Here is my review with only MINOR SPOILERS.

On my book review page, you can find the reviews I have done on WKAR as well as reviews I have done on the site over the last three years. Almost 80 different books, contemporary to classic, genre to literary fiction. I hope you will check them out. 

If you are interested in reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (and you sholud be) you can find it on amazon here

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry PotterWhen the war is over and the last battle has been won, we like our heroes to ride off into the sunset. They have earned the peace.  Of course, the snag with that earned peace is that there is nothing more to say. Plain and simple, you need conflict for a story. A hero without an adventure to back him up is just any old normal dude… even when he has a cool lightning bolt scar on his forehead.

After the epic seven years that span the Harry Potter series, our young hero definitely earned a break. He had lost family, friends, and heroes in his quest to destroy the evil he-who-must-not-be-named, Lord Voldemort.  When we last saw Harry he was older, saying goodbye to his two sons on Platform 9 3/4  and watching as they race off to start their own studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. To emphasize the story was done, even his scar was just a scar.

Yet, we can’t let our young boy who grew up under the stairs go. We gave him almost twenty years of peace, it’s time for some wizarding action. Wands out! Just released, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (with John Tiffany and Jack Thorne) is something a little different and still the same. This is the continuing story of our boy wizard and he is dealing with something many parents deal with, a conflicted and jaded teenager. Continue reading

Uses of this World: Chapter 6

OpheliaDenmark 1926. The world is on a powder keg, the old world is in conflict with the new, still recovering from World War I. Jazz and flappers. Cocktails and parties. In this tumultuous time, the king of Denmark is found dead… but his spirit is not at rest.

Uses of this World is the tale of the people around the events of Hamlet, from the soldiers to the royal family. Each is tied to the outcomes around the crown. And the country, as well as the world, is waiting to see what happens next.

Previous Chapters

Chapter 6: Watchman to My Heart

Ophelia was always running, because Ophelia was always late.

Through the hall, into the kitchen, past the guards outside the queen’s chambers (no time for a wave, but she did hear the soldiers call after her), a sprint down two hallways, down a flight of stairs, through another kitchen, and she was in the quarters that her family and the other families of the advisors called home.

He didn’t come to the library today. She was not surprised, considering the state he was in at the morning assembly, but she was still hopeful. Forever the optimist. Now she was late. That is where hope got her.

Her shoes were in her hands as she ran barefoot. The shoes were not made for running and the dress wasn’t either. Usually, she would be adorned in something more casual, more comfortable (but still presentable), but her father expected her to wear her best dress because they would be presented before the king and the entire court. He thought with this look she appeared more nobly. She just thought it made her look childish.

When would her dad see her as an adult? Of course, he would have to first see her.

Around a corner and down some stairs, if she was in a different dress she would have been sliding on the banister. This part was home to her. She past two maids, she heard them snicker as she past. She must have looked like in such a state.

Her governess (who should have retired two years prior) put her hair up in the style of a decade ago. It would have been the height of fashion then, now it was just frustrating and kept flopping in front of her face with each step.

Ophelia was unhappy with her entire look. She dreamed of a short haircut like the bobs the Americans were wearing in her magazines and silent movies, but her father would never have approved of that. She was so certain of that, she never bothered to ask.

An entire childhood of “no’s.” Ophelia had no reason to believe that another word was possible from his lips.

Another corner and…

There was her handsome older brother, ready with suitcase in hand, leaving his room. The look he gave her made her blush. He knew why she almost missed his departure.

He knew she was waiting for him. Continue reading