Monday, May 28, 2012

Homecomings, Happy Times & Hurricanes

Those of you who follow this blog probably read my last post about the impending family fracture that was going to take place during the USA vs Scotland soccer match that went of over the weekend in Jacksonville. I am happy to report that the family is still intact despite the 5-1 thumping that my Scottish lads had to endure. It was hard to feel any sort of ill will when the weekend was just so much fun.
Me and the kids at Jacksonville Landing


Friday night and Saturday afternoon was spent at Jacksonville Landing, a location that had pretty much been taken over by the invading Scots. It was my people doing what they do best; drinking like fish and mingling with the locals in good-natured fun. I almost forgot where I was on Saturday afternoon, exclaiming loudly to Penny, "Look, that boat has a US flag on it."
Penny sporting her colors with the kids

There were too many highlights over the course of the 3 days to pick just one, so here are a few. My daughter being given a pheasant feather for her cap after asking about the feathers in the Scotsmen's hats. Penny and my son's excitement at being in the midst of 45,000 people and watching their first live soccer game. And for me, it was meeting a few American fans at half time after they had been giving it to me pretty hard during the game. It was all fun stuff and some great banter back and forth. We took the time to talk for a few minutes, sharing our love of the game and the atmosphere. As we stood to leave at the end, with me feeling very humbled at the scoreline, all the lads in that section stood and applauded us as we left. A class act indeed, and one that made a horrible result seem somehow okay.

We left on Sunday, sad to be on the road, yet happy to have had the experience. What we didn't realize was that we missed Tropical Storm Beryl by a mere few hours. It pounded Jacksonville on Sunday, closing bridges and grounding the flights of the Scottish fans who had come to visit.
It was a little surreal to watch the news last night and see where we were a few hours earlier get pummeled. Most would blame Mother Nature, but I like to think of it as the Scottish soccer god's exacting a wee slice of revenge for the pummeling we took the day before.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Family Divided

There is nothing more important in this world than family, but where I come from, soccer runs a pretty close second. The two worlds collide this weekend when I travel down to Jacksonville, FL for the US vs. Scotland soccer friendly.

I may have been gone from my homeland for 25 years, but that doesn't mean that my heart doesn't beat a little faster when the bagpipes start to play and the Tartan Army sings in full voice. I can't wait for the game, and it's made all the better by the fact that my wife and kids are coming along to join in the fun. My kids have already pledged allegiance to the flag of Scotland (even though they were born in Canada and have spent the past 8 years in the US). That means that my poor wife is going to be wedged between me and her beloved step-kids, not to mention a bunch of hairy highlanders with all sorts of nasty items peeking out from below their kilts.



To her credit, she has her US jersey ready to go and is more than prepared to unleash her fiery, redheaded temper on anyone who dares question her country.....myself included. For my part, I have the kilt ready to go and can't wait for the action to begin. But more than that, I can't wait to get away with the family for a few days, even if it does mean one of us may have to make the trip home tied to the roof rack...fingers crossed for a tie game.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Price Of Procratination

I have always said that story ideas can be shared by many, and that some calls of plagiarism or intellectual theft are sometimes just a case of great minds thinking alike. Of course, there are cases where entire chunks of text have been copied, but that's something entirely different.

You can't really copyright an idea until it has been put down on paper, otherwise I might have a nice little lawsuit on my hands. I have story ideas flit in and out of my head all the time. Some find their way out, while others bounce around until I fine tune them for writing. One such idea sprung up a few years back, with the working title "The Ghosts Of Chernobyl." The idea came from watching a documentary about urban exploring called "Urban Explorers: Into The Darkness."

It's a very cool look at modern day adventurers who explore abandoned building and hidden parts of the city that most never get to see. That got my mind whirring and wondering how it would go if they were dropped in Chernobyl, with wackiness ensuing of course. The idea bounced around. A few scenes came to life in my mind, but I never put anything down on paper and eventually set it aside for the moment. A couple of years passed and then I see this:

It bears a striking resemblance to what is in my head, but unless Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity) has somehow bugged my subconscious, it's just a case of mind's thinking alike. Who knows, perhaps Mr. Peli saw that same documentary and had the same idea as myself. Whatever the case, even if I had it written down with scenes that came close to being the same, how could I ever claim plagiarism if no-one saw it but me?

The lesson here is that I really have to get my act together and start writing this stuff down. I've always dreamed of penning a Hollywood horror flick,,and it seems that my ideas aren't as wacky as I might have thought.