Boredom and Brilliance

I was spending the weekend at Crystal Cove State Park enjoying the ocean view Crystal Covewith my wife and daughter when I noticed that all my daughter wanted to do was watch a TV show on her cell phone. We couldn’t get her to play in the sand or even take a nice sunset stroll with us. Then while I was going into town to get groceries, I heard an NPR podcast with Manoush Zomorodi about her new book, “Bored and Brilliant – How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self.” All of a sudden, the light bulb went off.

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Manoush has figured out one of the biggest problems with today’s society and made me realize that cell phones and social media platforms are sucking the creativity right out of us as human beings. We’re all guilty of peeking at our phones unconsciously throughout the day, but I didn’t realize how obsessive we were about this until she explained the phenomenon. Of course, I immediately bought her book and am reading it now.

I implore you all to listen to her podcast because it will change your life. Well, if nothing else, it will chance your opinion of cell phone use.

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MARKAWASI AT NIGHT

We thanked the wonderful straw hatted lady for bringing our supplies up the mountain and saving us from scavenging through trashcans to find half empty water bottles. Funny, how a lack of water makes your mind believe that the yellow color in a faded piece of plastic is really just Mountain Dew instead of urine.sphinx rock

After setting up camp, our guide convinced us to use the last few hours of daylight exploring the plateau, so we set off south toward Laguna Negra. He pointed out rock formations along the way in the shapes of frogs, monkeys, seals, condors, sphinx, naked ladies…sorry, at 13,000 feet and deliriously dehydrated,

Indian face in rockeverything looked like naked ladies to me. By now, my wife was comparing me to Seann William Scott’s character in the movie, Role Model; boobs were everywhere!

Just before dusk, we found ourselves in front of the infamous Inferno. I looked down into the sinister gap between the two gigantic rocks and saw only danger. Eduardo told us a infernotale about a girl who jumped down in between the rocks to take a photo only to have her cell phone catapulted out of her hand by “the wind” and tossed down into the abyss below. When he asked if we wanted our photo taken in the crevice, I replied, “Photoshop.”

silhouette at MarkawasiThat night as Eduardo built a fire, we all sat down and enjoyed a bottle of cheap wine I’d
bought earlier in the day. As the stars filled the sky and the temperature dropped, we soon realized that our guide had no intentions of cooking a warm delicious dinner as noted in the travel brochure. When I asked, he innocently replied, “No one told me.”

A funny thing happens to you at 13,000 feet in the air. You don’t feel hungry. The human body seems to shut down all sensory nerve functions related to hunger and bowel movements. We shared a few crackers and enjoyed the pitch-black starlit sky before us. While the Milky Way swirled through the constellations acamp at Markawasi with Eduardo and Lisabove and the Southern Cross glowed like a beacon guiding us into another galaxy, I realized that I was viewing something few people had ever seen: Mother Nature, untouched and unleashed.

I recalled a story about a group of adventurers who’d camped at Markawsi a few years earlier. A falling star had jetted across the sky only to stop midway in the air. It hovered for a moment and then reversed course back in the direction that it originated from. Some say it was a space ship. Others say it was too much wine. I say it was the Gods talking to us from above, reminding us that we are just human and so miniscule in the whole scheme of life.

southern-crossAs the campfire died out, Eduardo told us another story about a Big Foot creature that apparently lived on top of the mountain. He said he’d seen its shadow one night as he took a leak on the far side of the campgrounds. I knew that bones of giants had been found in this area of Peru dating back thousands of years but was pretty sure that nothing had been seen in centuries.

Fire at MarkawasiThe stray dog we’d adopted earlier that day returned as we set off to bed. I’d given it some water and left over food earlier solidifying our bond of friendship. As we bundled down for the night, dusty, cold and sleeping on an unforgiving hard rock surface, I turned to my wife and said, “Isn’t this better than the Sandals Resort?” She unexpectedly replied, “Yes.”

About 2:00 in the morning, the dog took off barking chasing something lingering around our campsite in the dark. A half hour later, it ran off barking again. This became the pattern for the next few hours as images of Big Foot danced in between the different stages of parasomnia. With with one eye open, I whispered to my wife, “I’m sorry for bringing you here. We could be sipping on Margaritas right now next to the beach somewhere.” She yawned and said, “Margaritas are for pussies.”

Split Personality 

split personality

I just realized that I’ve somehow created a “thomaslopinski” account that is connected to a “thomas.lopinski” account. I’m not sure if this is just a normal function of gmail or if I surreptitiously wiggled my way into the inner workings of some cyber hacking network without even trying. Are these accounts two brothers from a different mother or fraternal twins?

deniro in brazil

I didn’t give it much thought until a company wouldn’t send me the information I needed to do serious “things” to another account because my email addresses did not match exactly. Now I’m somewhere between here and there with no place to go. I feel like Robert DiNero in “Brazil” living on the edge of a society that doesn’t know he exist and then being obliterated by a paper trail of zeros and ones.

brazil paper

Click to see the video

Please help! Are there any IT geeks out there who can humor me with a layman’s explanation on what I did or need to do to rectify this horrible misfortunate error?

M.I.A. but not D.O.A.

Hello there,

Tom on bridgeI’ve been missing in action this past month but there is a good reason for it. First, I spent two weeks hiking in the Andes Mountains in Peru, visiting ancient sites and swatting bugs in the Amazon Rainforest…with very little Internet access.

Bugsy 8th Grade GraduationThen I had to bury one of my best friends the next week. Yes, he was the inspiration for one of the characters in my latest novel.

Needless to say, I haven’t felt like writing for a few weeks. That will change soon. On a good note, I just received a wonderful review of “The Art of Raising Hell” from Readers’ Favorites. If you’re not familiar with them, please check it out.readers favorite square

Readers’s Favorites Review

THE ART OF NARRATING WELL…OR HELL

Mark Twain

Finding a narrator to create an audiobook is no fun. Any author who has used ACX knows exactly what I’m talking about.

I must have searched through 2,000 auditions trying to find the right voice…and price. Oh yes, there are wonderful voices out there, but will they roll the dice with you and narrate your book for nothing but hope that you’ll split thousands of dollars in royalties later? Probably not, and I can’t blame them.

SNL Narrator

I’d actually given up looking after countless auditions and solicitations. There was the narrator who was fantastic, but sounded like my grandfather. Did I mention that a teenager narrates my novel in first person? Then there were the narrators who sounded great, but just didn’t know when to pause, when to sigh or when to run with it.

Figure of storyteller

Then came along L.J… In my last hour of desperation, when I was ready to scrap the whole idea, L.J. Ganser sent me an audition recording that sounded like a chorus of angels. He went on to record the whole book in two days and created a masterpiece. If you don’t believe me, please take a listen.

Audio Sample…http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-of-Raising-Hell/dp/B0119F6XFU/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1428593341

The Art of Raising Hell – Book Release

Hello Folks, I am proud to announce the official release of my second novel “The Art of Raising Hell” through Dark Alley Press. It’s a coming of age story about small town teenagers who learn to chase after life instead of being chased by it.TAORHPostcardVerticalFRONT4.33x5.59inchCMYK300dpi The paperback and ebook are available through Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Smashwords, and other venues. I plan on having an audiobook available sometime in July for those of you who prefer to listen to books. Feel free to post reviews online and spread the word to your friends, neighbors, people you meet on the streets, you name it. I hope you enjoy it.