“They” Once Stood On This Spot

I wrote back in February that a visit to Chesham, just outside of London, made such an impression on me that I decided it would be a good setting for part of Conventions. Bath is so well-known, I’d thought – especially in 18th century terms – I’d use somewhere “lesser known” to many readers. That pleasant town really does fit the bill.

Parish church, Chesham, England. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Parish church, Chesham, England. [Photo by me, 2016.]

We know for most of history traveling was not nearly as easy as now. Fiction has also always been around. Clearly given how difficult and expensive travel once was, many authors never got anywhere near the places they wrote about and neither had probably most of their readers.

Times have changed, of course.

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Perils Of “Predictive Text”

Ah, texting/instant messaging on our phones. Part of the great communication revolution. A wonder of our time in history.

You may recall a “Valérie” from the conference call(s) post about my wife’s airline consulting role. Given that, this Messenger chat we had yesterday was perhaps, uh, unintentionally hilarious. Having opened an exchange between us with a reference to “Valérie,” my wife was reminded how “autocorrect” and/or “predictive text” may catch us out at times:

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“They were really just boys….”

Today is U.S. Memorial Day. The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains it:

Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle.

That includes, of course, remembering and honoring those killed in World War II:

U.S. troops in Normandy, France, summer 1944. [U.S. Army photo. Public domain.]
U.S. troops in Normandy, France, summer 1944. Click to enlarge. [U.S. Army photo. Public domain.]

It is likely at least a couple of those in that photograph did not return home alive.

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Conference Call

Recently my wife started doing customer service consulting work at a major airline. Naturally she has quickly had to pick up the company’s approach to it: good and bad. Yesterday, she shared with me some “highlights” from a Friday phone-in, in which staff from locations around the world addressed operational problems over the previous 24 hours and how they were/are handled.

That staff is understandably a varied, international bunch. A “Giuseppe” called in from Italy. “He sounded like you would expect,” she said.

A South African in Cape Town spoke a million miles an hour, she noted. Over what was at times also a poor phone connection, she said she had some trouble understanding him. “I had to keep asking him to repeat himself.”

And there was a guy in Mumbai (Bombay). “They handle mostly email and web inquiries there,” she told me.

It’s actually fascinating, she says. In just a few days so far, she’s learned a great deal about the internals of how an airline functions in customer service terms.

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a business man sitting in an airplane.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a business man sitting in an airplane.

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I’m Not Ignoring You, I’m In “Airplane Mode”

I try to do a blog post here each morning. However, it is often a challenge doing so. Yet I push myself to do it not only because daily posts are unsurprisingly a good way to keep visitors coming back, but also because writing one usually spurs my thinking about what I may be writing novel-wise afterwards during the “work day.”

After the post goes up, assorted “life necessities” are dealt with. And if he’s with us, the hound gets his walkie. Then it’s time to go “to work.”

It has to be seen as “a job.” I lock myself away from distractions. Usually I play familiar music softly in the background (often to muffle external noises), and, possibly for several hours at a stretch, attack more of the tale that is currently “under construction.”

Print working cover for "Conventions." Click to expand.
Print working cover for “Conventions.” Click to expand.

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Remembering The IHT

We’ve been catching up on Madam Secretary episodes. In “The Middle Way,” the Secretary of State’s husband, Professor Henry McCord, is momentarily glimpsed reading the International New York Times at the breakfast table. (McCord is the sort of lecturer I had always wanted to be; and I suspect one most students also want to take.) That newspaper is meant for an overseas audience, not for the U.S. domestic market.

I have a yellowing copy of its forerunner, the International Herald Tribune (IHT), filed away somewhere. In January 1988, it was the first one I’d ever bought. Place of purchase: Why, France, of course.:-)

Iconic Paris landmark. [Photo by me (1994, I think).]
Iconic Paris landmark. [Photo by me (1994, I think).]

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Elevator (Not Sliding) Doors

It’s Saturday. Time for a smile. How about a bit of [romantic] fun this morning?

Paris street scene. [Photo by me, 1995.]
Paris street scene. [Photo by me, 1995.]

Paris; apartment building elevator; uncooperative door; Americans: A few moments in “Valerie’s” thoughts:

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Make Your Own “Friends”

The road we all travel….

Street. Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Street. Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. [Photo by me, 2016.]

And why do I say that?

My eighteen year old English niece loves a certain American TV program. I detect based on what I see around me that she is hardly alone in that. It seems to have quite a following in her age group and slightly older.

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In Black And White

I pulled the colo(u)r out of this one. Just to see….

Me, in front of Teide - black and white version. [Photo by Mrs. Nello, 2016.]
Me, in front of Teide – black and white version. [Photo by Mrs. Nello, 2016.]
Everyone looks “cooler” in black and white. Or at least we hope we do. Maybe a future author photo?😉

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