Sunday, February 1, 2015
I met General Grant in the can at the Spirit Guide Bar.
I'm not kidding around.
Here is my shameless link to the audio version of the story:
Stories From the Spirit Guide Bar
Producer Gary Gidak is a stinking genius.
Fred Perez's work on the banjo has been described as beautiful - haunting.
Steve Poyter is nothing short of brilliant as General Grant.
I'm not kidding around.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
I call it Abraham Lincoln Tells a Joke.
It seems that Abraham Lincoln really was a funny guy. He once asked, "If I had to faces, would I be wearing this one?"
As for the witticism of Iron Mike. The champ once said, "Everyone has a plan 'til they get hit in the mouth." Looking back on my life, more often than not, my plans have been disrupted by punches in the mouth, and things things usually worked out okay.
Week seven as a junior high reading and English teacher included a few crisp punches to the pie hole. Still, there has been progress. The end of the week left me physically and mentally exhausted, but grateful to me back in the education game.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
I call it
LINCOLN EATS A BANANA .
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Recently finished James Michener's Poland. I've been a huge Michener fan for a couple of decades. My first Michener book was The Source, the history of the people and events that surrounded a well in modern day Israel. What a ride. I've pored through Michener's books on Alaska, Colorado, Texas, Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay, and Hawaii. Reading the last page of a Michener book never fails to leave me feeling disappointed that the great ride is over.
Poland was missing something. It could have been difficult Polish names that slowed me down. Long technical passages about Chopin and other Polish composers derailed me as well. I just didn't have the background knowledge to follow. While I drifted off from time, Michener always pulled me back. Poland's geographic positioning has lent itself to invasions, lots of invasions. The Polish people have withstood invasions by the Tartars, The Turks, The Swedes, Russia and the Soviet Union (3 times), Germany (twice), and I know I'm leaving someone belligerent county out here. The point is Poland remains. The Nazis were responsible for the death of more than 20 percent of the Polish population. Hitler fully intended to exterminate the entire country. After Hitler, the USSR, after centuries of invasions, Poland remains. Michener's story of Poland is one of those great triumphs of the human spirt.
While I list Poland the worst Michener book I've had occasion to read, it's still falls among the best books I've had occasion to read.
* Whoa, this is embarrassing. Michener did write a book called Sayonara. While it was an interesting book about American soldiers who married Japanese women during the Post World War II occupation of Japan, Sayonara wasn't nearly as good as Poland. I totally forgot about Sayonara.
It's not like I'm going to rewrite the whole post.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
I'm sitting at the computer enjoying a Fat Weasel Ale, listening to some extra smooth Miles Davis, and trying to make sense of season six of Sons of Anarchy. I binge watched the thirteen episodes over a three day period. All I can say is the violence would make a Mexican drug lord cringe. It's become damned ridiculous. We've got this small town in Northern California with hundreds of murders going down. In the real world the National Guard would declare martial law. Come on. And none of that bang, bang - you're dead business. Each killing has to be more shocking, more gruesome than the last.
Six seasons, hundreds of killings, and there is just one one character with any semblance of ethics. That would be Nero, played by Jimmy Smits.
Nero is the only good guy in the whole damned show. Then again, it could be that Smits is such a cool cat that I can't help pulling for his character. Where has Jimmy Smits been the last 25 years anyway???
What the hell is the point of this show?
There is no honor among thieves?
Violence begets violence?
What compels me to watch this horrific blood fest?
The truth is I will watch season six at some point.
Mind you, I'm not proud of this.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
In case you're new to SNYDERMANIA, you can get your copy of Spirit Guide Bar, The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son, and the Stories from the Spirit Guide Bar CD on Amazon.com.
Spirit Guide Bar is a is a different kind of Christmas story.
Gotta admitted it, sales have really tapered off. I'm thinking of heading out to the local mall to do some selling out of the trunk of my car this week.
"Pssst. Hey pal, wanna buy a book?"
I guess I really need to finish that last chapter of my new book.
So I'm five weeks into my return to the teaching biz. It's been tough taking over a class that was taught by at least five different people, but there has been progress. Most of the students can now raise their hands to speak and refrain from tacking classmates while entering the room. I'm now working on getting them to stop banging their pencils on their desks while I'm talking. It's been at least a decade since I last taught junior high and I completely forgot about the psychotic pencil banging phenomenon. Some of the little squirts obviously do it to see if they can make make scream at them until turn red, and fall to the ground gasping for air. Others, and these are the ones that baffle me, seem to pound their pencils on their desks completely unaware that they are making a commotion. I knew I has accepting a great challenge when I signed on. Surely, I'll figure something out.
Sound proof pencils?
I do like my students and it is pretty cool to have a two week break after five weeks on the job.
Maybe I'll take another crack at that last chapter.
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Early Friday morning, I was making my way through the school hallway when I came face to face with a cockroach the size of a Buick. A month ago I would have terminated the poor sap. In case you're new to my BLOG, I spent the last seventeen months in the pest control business. Exterminating insects never felt quite right. Looking at that giant cockroach, I smiled and stepped aside to let him pass.
I drove home Friday night satisfied for two reasons. One, I didn't kill anything. Two, at least I tried to do something good.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Here's my pal, Richard Rios, reading his Thanksgiving story "A Rite of Passage." I read tale to my students on Thanksgiving Eve. The little squirts loved it. The final line of the story never fails to to make me smile. Richard Rios is one of America's greatest story tellers.
You can order a copy of his collection of stories, Songs From the Barrio, from Amazon.com.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Arizona cockroaches, ants, and scorpions are breathing a little easier. My career as an exterminator is officially over. No more walking into trees and spider webs. No more squirting myself in the face with chemicals. No more getting chased by bees and German Shepherds. I've walked away from the bug biz and returned to the teaching game. After my first week back in the classroom, I can honestly say I'm…tired. Really, really tired. Perhaps I'll bring my held exterminating can to work with me Monday.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
I've been stuck on the last chapter of my third book for over a year. The slump began when I left teaching, and the fly in the buttermilk is I left teaching to focus on writing. You know, I think this is the first time I've ever used the term "the fly in the buttermilk is..." in a sentence. Richard Boone used the term in the "The Alamo." The 1960 version of the Alamo is one of my favorite movies and Richard Boone was one cool cat as Sam Houston. So there it is, I've used "the fly in the buttermilk is..." in a sentence. Hah, this is a fine example of what's been going on between my ears since I left teaching. I just can't seem to get any semblance of focus going. I'vebeen bouncing around between pest control, contract writing, tutoring, and adjunct teaching. Right now I'm working three jobs and it seems like I'm spending the bulk of my time, working, driving from one job to the next, preparing for the next day's work, looking for better jobs, or sprawled out on the floor staring at the ceiling. So there it is: I left teaching to write, but the fly in the buttermilk is I'm too darned scattered to write.
You know I haven't had buttermilk since I was kid. Come to think of it, I really hated buttermilk.
Heck, I might as well go back to full time teaching.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
A KNOCK ON THE HEAD, A FLAT TIRE, A SWARM OF BEES, A FACEFUL OF SPIDERS, A BOOK READING, A STACK OF PAPERS, AND A CD FOR SALE
My life as a bug man/writer/teacher has been quite pretty hectic as of late.
The extermination biz was exceptionally busy this week. I had a flat tire, got chased by a swarm of bees, walked into a tree, and a nest of spiders fell onto my face. It would make for a better story if these events happened in a row. Looking back the spider incident was the most disturbing. I was too hot, tired, and irritated when the spiders landed on my face to be properly freaked out. I walked back to my truck and squirted my face with pesticides for about 30 seconds. Okay, I didn't squirt myself in the face.
Professor Halberg invited me to her English 101 class for a reading Saturday morning. As usual it was an uplifting experience. Kinda made up for the faceful of spiders.
I pretty much spent the rest of the weekend grading and prepping for my English classes. Grading papers and pulling brushing spiders off of my face is an unusual juxtaposition.
Life as a bug man/writer/teacher is always interesting. I just thought of something, I may be the only bug man/teacher/writer in Arizona, maybe the world.
Hey, STORIES FROM THE SPIRIT GUIDE BAR is now available for download on iTunes
iTunes STORIES FROM THE SPIRIT GUIDE BAR
and you buy the CDs from CD Baby.
CD Baby STORIES FROM THE SPIRIT GUIDE BAR
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Here's Lyle Tucker's latest creation for the illustrated version of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son. Tucker does an outstanding job at depicting Sister Agnes and nun brutality in this charming little scene from "Danny Gilroy and the Number 2 Pencil."
Stories from the Spirit Guide Bar, an audio collection of seven stories from Criminal's Son and Spirit Guide releases September 13th.
Arizona High school teachers have been using the Dave Cruz story on Youtube in their classrooms and I'm getting good feedback.
Here is the link to Dave Cruz.
You can purchase my books here: William Snyder's books
Here is the link to my website: WilliamSnyder.biz
Saturday, August 16, 2014
"Stories from the Spirit Guide Bar," a collection of seven stories from The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son and The Spirit Guide Bar, is sooo close to ready to roll. We have a front and back cover and the CDs have been created.
The release date is set for September 13th, and the collection will be available for download and in CD format. Details on the Arizona kick off event are coming soon.
You can listen to one of the stories at this link:
Teachers around the world have incorporated The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son into their curriculum. Okay that was a stretch, but educators in California, New York, and Arizona are trying out the book in their classrooms this fall. A few Arizona college and high school teachers teachers are already using the book for independent reading, narrative writing, and journaling lessons.
Gary Gidak and Pred Perez work on the music for "General Grant."
Here's a wacky Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son project created by an Arizona high school student.
"Stories from the Spirit Guide Bar" will be available at The Book Frog in Rolling Hills, California on September 13th. Co owner Pete Ledesma has agreed do his Elvis impersonation, and his right arm hand man Jackie has agreed to wear a frog suit to help celebrate the CD release. Okay, I just made that up, but Jackie does have frog suit and Pete does do an Elvis impersonation. It wouldn't hurt to ask.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
An illustrated version of THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON is in the works. I've teamed up with a brilliant illustrator by the name of Lyle Tucker. Like me, Lyle is from Hawthorne. He currently hangs his hat in Roswell, New Mexico. Roswell, New Mexico. Gotta tell you, I'm jacked up to be able to say I'm collaborating on a project with an artist in Roswell, New Mexico. The fact that is a crazy talented artist doesn't hurt. I'll keep you posted.
STORIES FROM THE SPIRIT GUIDE BAR is finished and will be available September 13th. Produced by Gary Gidak of Gidak Digital, this CD includes sound effects, background music, and an outstanding collection of voice actors. Gary is an extraordinary engineer, musician, actor, and writer. I might point out that he is from New Mexico.
What's the deal with New Mexico?
A few Arizona teachers have incorporated the audio version of "DAVE CRUZ" into lesson plans.
You can listen to "DAVE CRUZ" at this link for a limited time: "DAVE CRUZ"
The CD cover was designed by Angel Gidak. The Gidak's are quite a talented couple. Angel is a madly talented graphic designer, and she's also a commendable voice over actor. She is a hilarious and just a little bit scary as the man hating lady doctor in "THE BIG V," a story that should be carefully considered by any man considering a vasectomy. By the way, I really enjoy reading this story at events. Men invariably wriggle in their seats and groan uncomfortably, while women seem to take great pleasure in this painful little narrative.
TEECHUR, CONFESSIONS OF A RELUCTANT EDUCATOR, is ridiculously close to being finished. I've been stuck on the last chapter for several months. Things have been hectic since I left my job as a high school teacher a little over a year ago. I've been doing contract writing, tutoring, and pest control to make ends meet. I'll begin teaching as an adjunct at a local college in a couple of weeks. Somewhere in the midst of contract writing, teaching, marketing, and bug squirting, I'm going to sit down and finish that last chapter of TEECHUR.
I'd like to finish with something clever, but I have a chapter to finish.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of dog, it's too dark to read.
Get your copy of THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON and THE SPIRIT GUIDE BAR here