Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nap With A Duck Is In My Future

Oh, how I wish I was kidding!

   I was supposed to work from noon to seven tonight, but things were slow and I came home early.
   Our bedroom is accessible from the bathroom, or from the dining room, and both doors were closed. I thought my wife might be taking a nap, but she doesn't usually close the doors when she does that.
   I found her in the living room, and she was surprised to see me.
   "Don't let the cats in the bedroom," she said. "There's a duck in there."
   "Okay." I blew her a kiss and was about to head up to my den. Took two steps and turned. "There's a duck in the bedroom? Am I plucking it, or thawing it."
   She smiled until she realized I was serious. "No! It's not for dinner. It's a duckling. I brought it home because it got too cold at Mom's house last night, and she didn't want me to leave it in her bathroom."

You should probably know that my mother-in-law does not keep ducks as pets. She has a pond on her property, and my brother-in-law tries to raise ducks there. The ducks never last long. Dogs and other animals find them to be easy pray. wife was telling me that there is a duck in our bedroom. We return to the story...

   "There's a duck," I said in the way a man trying to wrap his brain around a strange idea might say, "in our bedroom."
   "No. There's a duckling in our closet on the bureau."
   "You do know there's no closet door, right? ...Just that curtain."
   "It won't go anywhere. It's a duckling and it can't fly yet."
   "I was going to take a nap."
   "You still can. He won't go anywhere."

So there you are. I'm going to take a nap. With a duck. You can take the boy out of the city...and he'll freak when he finds a damn duck in the bedroom.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More Fun Than A Pocket of Monkeys


Looking for a little fun?
   Are you looking for quick burst of entertainment? Have you ever wished you could put the contents of this blog in your pocket and pull them out when you want a when you're in the urologist's office waiting for, you know, unmentionable stuff?

Bursts of Steele can do that for you. I'm having a lot of fun writing this blog, and I put over a hundred choice posts under covers (but not under cover) in a book. It's available by clicking the link in this post.

Order your copy today!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Artichokes Made Me Abandon My Car!

I'm not kidding!
   They look like pods from the monster in Little Shop of Horrors. Artichokes. I love them. There are several ways to prepare an artichoke, but I like the simple way: I boil them. They're not cheap in this part of the world. They can cost as much as three bucks a piece. I boil them until the leaves are soft. To eat them, you peel the leaves off, dip them in melted butter, and scrape the meat off with your teeth.
   Tasty. Darn tasty. They were a rare treat for me when I was a kid--because they're expensive vegetables (succulents, really, but let's not get bogged down), and because they're not easy to find.
   When I was fresh out of college and got my first paycheck, I went grocery shopping and found artichokes. I was thrilled. I bought four of them, went straight home, and started the water boiling. I ate all four of them all by myself.
   The next day I was minding my own business, merrily driving up I-75 toward the office, and I my nether regions. There was gas building up inside me and there was no stopping it. I released the gas with a satisfying sound most mothers would not approve of. Then I released more. And more.
   This might be hard to believe, but a green cloud rose from under me. It was noxious. It was palpable. I think it's name was Guido! I tried to ignore it--but it was like trying to ignore a fist shape block of tear gas. A greasy film covered the windshield and windows. The green cloud rose to my shoulders. I couldn't hear the radio. A flock of birds flying overhead swooped over passing vehicles--I'm sure in an attempt to warn the drivers of the toxic substance filling the Chevy Cavalier in the right lane.
   Rolling down all four windows did not provide release for anything except my screams of terror. Have you ever tried to scream without inhaling after you emptied your lungs? It ain't easy, but by golly, I wasn't going down without a fight!
   After about 48 seconds, maybe 49, I stopped on the shoulder of the road. The noxious gas--Guido to his friends--won. There was no way I could remain in that doomed vehicle. Cars swerved to avoid the fingers of gas forming a log fog-like cloud over the interstate. And no one...bothered  to stop and ask the man standing on the shoulder staring at the vehicle with a mix of pride and horror if he needed assistance.
   I think I was late to the office that day, and I'm glad I didn't have to explain why. I got back in the car eventually...but I waited a good ten minutes per artichoke before I got back in the car.

Artichokes -- eat at your own risk.

Six Weeks Out From our 20th Wedding Anniversary, and I'd Like to Beat the Tenth

This is one of those "Do as I say, not as I did" kind of stories...

For our tenth anniversary, I bought my wife a house. Closed on the house. The first time she saw the house was two hours after the movers left.

The Story:
I was going to be the new Assistant Scout Executive (number two professional) in the Boy Scout council headquartered in Racine, WI. It wasn't our first move with the BSA, and we had a deal: we would try not to move during the school year because my wife is a teacher.

One Saturday afternoon, I went to Racine on a house hunting trip. My wife had never been to Racine, Wisconsin...or Wisconsin. She couldn't come with me on the house hunting trip because she was testing for her black belt that day. Here's a tip for you--don't mess with your wife, especially if she's skilled in the martial arts.
   I asked, "If I find a place I think we'll like, should I buy it?
   She answered without batting an eye. "Yes."
   "I'll take a check with me for good faith money."
   I'm not entirely stupid. I also took a video camera so I could tape the houses I saw, just in case I lost my nerve and couldn't just buy a house without my wife seeing it.
   Armed with a list I had to convince her to make, a list broken into three areas: 1) what she required from a house, 2) what she wanted in a house, and 3) what would be bonus material in a house. We agreed on the list. It should have three or more bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, a fireplace (which fit #2), a big yard, and--bonus--a wood shop. She works with wood. I'm a lefty. Power tools are my ticket to an ambulance ride.
   The realtor showed me several homes. if the heavens opened up and beams of light shot down, we pulled up to a nice ranch house on a corner lot with a big green lawn, and a long porch in front. The two car attached garage wasn't on our list, but I liked it. There was a living room, a family room with a fireplace, three bedrooms, a bath and a half, a finished basement perfect for a home office, a separate room in the basement...a woodworking shop.
   I looked at the realtor, looked at the little sheet of paper with the price and other information, and said, "I'm offering the asking price and I'll write a check for a thousand bucks good faith money."
   The offer was accepted before I left for home an hour later.

   When I got home, I got a phone call from my mother-in-law. I get along great with my mother-in-law and always have...but I pushed it that day.
   "Did you find some houses for my daughter to look at?", she asked mildly.
   "Did better than that!" I was full of happiness. I found the perfect house!
   "What do you mean, you did better than that?"
   Men, be warned!  When your mother-in-law, no matter how nice, phrases anything with "What do you mean...?" You're in deep poo.
   "I bought her one." I had no idea I was standing like Wile E. Coyote...on nothing.
   "You did WHAT?"
   I discovered I was in trouble. Too late. "Put down a thousand bucks. The house is ours."
   "She'd better like it."
   That was the end of that phone call. There was a bit more chat, but I was lost in a haze I like to call "Oh Lord, what have I done."
   My wife was thrilled I saved her the trouble of house hunting, by the way. She was happy I got everything on our list and was still safely in our price range.
    She was in school when I closed on the house with power of attorney for her. It's legal, but it's a pain in the hand. You have to sign your name, and her name, and write, "Her attorney in fact" under each signature you put on the paper for her.
   Then the weird part -- over the next month, we didn't have the opportunity for her to go visit her soon to be new house. The movers came and packed up our old house on the second-to-last day of school for her. That was our 10th wedding anniversary. I spent that night in a hotel about a mile up the road from our new house, and she spent the night in a sleeping bag in our old bedroom. We talked on the phone.
   The next day, the movers moved our stuff in. They left at about two in the afternoon. Using directions I gave her, my wife drove to Racine, WI -- her new town--for the first time. She pulled into the driveway of her new house...for the first time.
   She loved the house. The house we own now is our fifth house, and it's a nice house. But it doesn't have quite the thrill of that house in Wisconsin. Unlike that house...she was here when we bought this one.

Still--if I had it to do over again, I'm not sure I would. She loved the house and enjoyed the surprise. I felt the pressure. I spent $150,000 on something she had never seen!

That was almost ten years ago. She's still as loving and trusting...but how the heck am I going to top that for an anniversary present on our 20th? ...I probably won't, but you can bet I'll try!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How to Freak Yourself Out Washing a White Shirt

In a previous post, I mentioned the secret to having clean underwear is to own a lot of underwear.

It should come as no surprise that the secret to having a clean white shirt is to own a lot of white shirts. I don't have as many white shirts as I do white underwear. I have fourteen long-sleeved white dress shirts. Seriously! I didn't come by that many on purpose... I just have fourteen white dress shirts.

One of them, my favorite one (Hey--when you have 14 of something, one of them is going to be your favorite), had some blood stains on the sleeve. The stains were well-earned: I did first aid on someone while wearing it, and got a couple of blood stains on the cuff, and a couple of fingertip sized stains at the bottom of one sleeve near the seam.)

I've tried bleach on the stains. I've tried spitting on the stains (on the off-chance that it was my blood). Tried baking soda. The stains have faded, but they're still there. A friend of mine suggested hydrogen peroxide.

Tonight I finally attacked the stains with hydrogen peroxide, and it worked. The stains went from rusty-brown to bright red, and got a little lighter. In fact, they spread pink through the wet area. I moved to the kitchen sink to rinse the pink away.

I forgot completely that I had just made a pitcher of red Kool Aid. That's important to this little story.

I was merrily rinsing the pink out of the sleeve of the shirt, marveling at the effectiveness of this H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) on the blood stains... WHEN SUDDENLY AND WITHOUT WARNING... I saw bright red on the tail of the shirt nowhere near the pink on the sleeve!

I howled, yea, verily, howled, "What the hell? The stain jumped!" My wife rushed out of the bedroom to see what was the matter. The cats stopped fighting long enough to look at each other, then at me with that mystic contempt they mastered when the first Cleopatra was stroking something Caesar wanted stroked (his laurel)...

And I realized the blood stain didn't jump at all. The Kool Aid (bright red) was still on the spoon I used to stir it in the pitcher, and the shirt was on the spoon.

So much for the Mysterious Jumping Blood Stain. ...And so much for the dignity of cleaning my own shirt.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chapter three of Sexton (Sexton Chronicles I) audio

Here's the third chapter of the first book in Sexton Chronicles.

Click Here for Chapter One                                                                         Click here for Chapter Two

Links to buy the book are on this page. I sure would appreciate it if you'd order your copy...

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Going After Bobby" my first award winning short story

--Warning-- This is a cautionary tale. If you want humor, take a look at "What They Never Taught You in Sunday School".  I wrote this when I was twenty.

Going After Bobby

   Rain fell like pearls on the gray sidewalk, the sparse brown lawn, and the scattered, rusted toys cluttering the cinder block porch. Thunder rumbled above the neighborhood.
   Inside the white, battered house, two boys watched television. The cartoons were getting boring, someone blowing someone up again, and with that silly music playing, but what else was there to do on a rainy summer day? Their parents were both working...and had left the two boys alone.
   Bobby sat in his favorite chair, the beaten black recliner, and tried to read a dog-eared paperback he'd read five times before. Five years older than Jimmy, he knew his little brother looked up to him. He had to think of something for them to do. For Jimmy's sake. Then it hit him.
   He flashed his half grin at Jimmy. "I know something you don't," he teased.
   Jimmy's eyes lit up like Christmas morning. "What?"
   "Nah," Bobby groaned. "I can't tell you."
   "C'mon! I can keep a secret, honest!"
   Bobby laughed easily and flopped out of the side of the chair. He couldn't resist ruffling Jimmy's hair. "That's right. You can."
   Slowly, looking both ways as if someone was watching, Bobby leaned down to his brother. He could hear the cartoon music filling the air as he let Jimmy's excitement build. "I found Dad's gun. Wanna look at it?"
    Jimmy felt his stomach dance with excitement. Just like the cop shows on TV! "Let's look!"
   They sang as they nearly skipped to their parents' room. "Daddy's gun! Daddy's gun! We're gonna look at Daddy's gun!"
   It was in the closet, just where he'd seen his Dad hide it. Way back behind the work boots. Under the faded coveralls. Bobby reached in with his hands shaking in boyish excitement.
   "Is it there? Is it there!"
   Bobby stared in open-mouthed awe at the sleek blue-black revolver in his hand. It was just a target pistol to his Dad--a toy--but to the boys it was a marvel and a symbol of everything they imagined a man to be.
   Jimmy squealed like a little pig and jumped on the creaky bed. The flowered bedspread rumpled under his moving feet. His little hands wrung each other like they always did when he was excited. "Lemme see it! Lemme see it!"
   Bobby couldn't help laughing. The gun felt good in his hand. Shiny. Smooth. Powerful. When he held it in his too small, shaking hand, he felt like one of those heroes in the movies he loved to watch. Like Dirty Harry.    Srunching up his face in his best mean man look, he pointed the gun at the window."You feel lucky, punk?"
   "Great!" Jimmy squealed. He stopped jumping on the bed and hopped to the hardwood floor. "Come on, Bobby. Let me hold it."
   Bobby looked at the sleek gun in his hand and then at his brother's expectant face. He knew he shouldn't let his brother hold the gun. It really wasn't a toy. Just like Dad said.
   Outside, the rain intensified. Lightning flashed. Jimmy was so excited about the gun he forgot to be afraid of the storm.
   "Uh... I don't think we should be playing with this, Jimmy."
   Jimmy didn't want to hear that. Not when he could see the gun in his brother's hand. Everything in the room seemed too dull. He had to touch the gun. "Let me see it!" he screamed. A half second later, he grabbed the gun away from his brother and darted across the room.
   "Jimmy! Give it back!" Bobby reached for his take the gun back. Come on, Bobby, he thought. the kid's safe. Dad wouldn't leave the gun loaded...
   "Look, Bobby," Jimmy grinned. "I'm gonna kill myself."
   He touched the muzzle to his birdlike chest. The barrel looked even darker against his mustard stained t-shirt.
   "Jimmy! Don't do that!"
   Jimmy shook his head almost like an adult. "It's not loaded, Bobby. Watch."
   With his little fingers, Jimmy pulled back the hammer--just like the cops on TV--and squeezed the trigger.
   There was nothing but a dull click and the sound of rain against the windows.
   Bobby began to shake. What if the gun was loaded?
   "See Bobby. I could even point it at you."
   The shot split the air. Bobby jerked into the wall. His youthful face flashed shock. Then pain. Then it went soft as he slumped to the floor.
   Jimmy leaped to the spot where his brother fell. Bobby's stripped t-shirt was stained red just below the left armpit. Bobby's eyes were closed. He didn't move.
   "Bobby, wake up! Wake up! Come on! I was only joking."
   Jimmy knelt beside his big brother. For the first time he could remember, Bobby was quiet. He cradled the older boy's head in his lap and tried to smooth his light brown hair. "Please, Bobby. Please wake up. I didn't want to hurt you."
   Bobby didn't answer. Bobby was gone to heaven. Jimmy knew...and he wanted to be with his brother.
   Slowly, he turned his eyes on the gun in his hand. He closed his eyes tightly as he put the barrel on his chest in the same spot he shot Bobby. His little ears picked up the sound of his parents pulling into the driveway...but he knew what he had to do.
   "I'm going after you, Bobby. I'm going after..."
   And Jimmy went after Bobby.

Enjoy a Steele short story -- "Things They Never Taught You in Sunday School"

This is a fun little piece I wrote in college for Eureka College's Literary Magazine

Things They Never Taught You in Sunday School
The Real Eve and the Apple Story!

   "My fault!" Eve screeched. She pulled her hair. She threw her fig leaf to the ground, ripped another from a nearby tree and hastily covered herself with it. She glared at Adam. He blushed politely and gave her a little wave. She thought he was an apathetic twit, but he was, after all, the first and only man on earth.
  Eve looked into the perfect heavens and screamed, "God!"
   Silence floated over the garden. Birds stopped mid-chirp. Fruit trees and vines cringed. Brooks stopped bubbling and streams stopped streaming. Even the grass seemed to hold its breath.
  Eve, slightly taken aback by the silence--which was almost as thick as Adam's body odor--looked to Adam for support. He just stood there with his knobby knees together, adjusted his fig leaf and gave her another little wave. This only made her angrier and strengthened her resolve to give God a piece of her mind.
   "God!" she roared, "I want to talk to you!"
   A face appeared in the sky. It was the face of a gentle old man with a hooked nose and flowing white beard. There was the smallest hint of anger in His eyes but Eve missed it. She never had been very good at interpreting warnings. God sighed and looked down at her. "What do you want? I thought I told you both to leave."
   Eve shook her fist at Him. "You did. But we're not leaving until I explain this to you! Isn't that right, Adam?"
   Adam waved at Eve.
   Adam waved at God.
    God waved back. Eve didn't.
   "So go ahead," He commanded. "Explain."
   She looked at the beautiful garden around her. She didn't want to leave. She had no idea what could possibly exist outside the garden, but figured if God wanted them out...she wanted them to stay. "Well God," she began, "I know you blame me for this...ah...misunderstanding...about the fruit. But this isn't really my fault."
   He arched an eyebrow. "Did I not forbid you the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge?"
   "," Eve stammered. She tapped her foot until her anger pumped itself up her leg. "But I didn't exactly eat the fruit of my own will, you know."
   "Oh, I can't wait to hear this," God mumbled.
   Eve continued unabashed. "The serpent made me do it."
   "Five points for originality--although I've a feeling I'm going to hear that line a lot--three for enthusiasm," God mumbled under his breath, "...Zero for accuracy."
   "So.." Eve concluded dramatically, full of her own righteousness, "You can't kick us out of the garden. You have to kick the serpent out!" She crossed her arms in triumph, spun on her heel, and glared at Adam. "Don't stand there picking your ear! Unpack our bags. We're staying!"
   Adam nodded. "Yes dear." He began frantically looking between the trees for their bags.
   "Just hold on a minute!" God bellowed. The ground shook; lightning flashed. Eve fell to the ground. Adam waved and winked at God. The birds giggled into the tips of their wings.
   Eve tried to look dignified as she stared up at the laughing face of God from her asinine position on the ground. She failed rather miserably. "What's your problem?"
   God sighed. These humans are so dense sometimes, He thought. I really should have given the world to the mice.
   He spoke slowly. "Eve, you allowed the serpent to tempt you. I gave you the run of the place. Said you could eat whatever you wanted as long as you stayed away from my two favorite trees. Could you do that? No. The next thing I know you'll eat from the Tree of Life and live forever. Can't have that now, can we?"
   "Besides, I really have to punish you. Think of the example it would set for future generations if I let you get away with this. What would I say to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah? Should I say, 'Oh, it's okay for Eve and Adam to disobey a direct order, but you people can't make a little whoopie?'"
   "It might work," Eve added hopefully.
   "No, I really don't think it will."
   "Couldn't you just banish us for part of the time?" She smiled. "Say every other Sunday?"
   God pulled His beard. "No, I don't think that will work either, but I will tell you this much: I'll punish the serpent. It's only fair."
   "How?" Eve asked. She didn't like the idea that her punishment might be worse than the serpent's.
   God shouted, "Serpent!"
   The ground rumbled and a deep voice could be heard from the bowels of the earth. "I'm not coming out until you speak nicely We're not exactly on the best of terms, Number One, but that doesn't give you license to be rude."
   The heavens rumbled as a frown creased the Brow of God. "You want me to kiss you? Forget it."
   Eve jumped back almost into Adam's arms, pushing him back into the trees as a tall man popped out of the ground. He was handsome in a devilish way with bright red skin, a long tail, and horns that stuck cutely out of his curly black hair. Adam waved at him.
   The newcomer looked up at God's frowning face. "Sorry to disappoint the kids, Number One, but the snake suit was beginning to bind in uncomfortable places."
   At this point Eve noticed the red man was naked. She blushed but continued staring at his forked tail with a smile on her face that would someday be called a Mona Lisa smile. Adam cleared his throat and tried to hand the Stranger the latest in fig leaf fashion. The Stranger refused.
   "Cut the nonsense," God barked. "Eve tells me you told her to eat the fruit I forbade. Is that true?"
   The red man smiled. "Yep! Then she did."
   God crossed His arms in front of His chest and stared down at the red man. I will now hand down your punishment..."
   The red man smiled again and leaned against his tail. "I knew you were going to do this. After all, it's ordained. You tossed me out of Heaven because you needed a bad guy, so give it to me with both barrels, Boss. I'm ready."
   God smiled. "Adam, get a pen and write this down. Call it The Bible."
   Adam rushed to find a pen and paper. Not finding a any, he grabbed a rock and a stick and tried his best to scratch down God's words. "Are both The  and Bible supposed to start with capital letters?"
   God smiled. "Completely up to you."
   A flicker of annoyance under the white eyebrows. "Capitalize them both. Ready?"
   "Yes Sir!"
   God nodded at Adam. he cleared His throat. "Because you have done this," He boomed at the red man, "Cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. That ought to do it, Adam. I want you to call that Genesis 3:14."
   "Three fourteen. Is that the time, Sir?"
   God shook His head and wondered what He was thinking when He made this guy the father of men.
   The horned man muttered something about unfair treatment of character actors and disappeared back into the ground.
   Eve giggled. God frowned at her. "You're not exactly in for nuts and honey either."
   Now Adam smiled. God fixed His glare on him. "What are you laughing at, bright boy? You ate the fruit too. What's your excuse?"
   Adam looked at Eve. Swallowed. Looked at God. Swallowed. He feared God. God could punish him. So could Eve. Eve cut off sex when she was mad...and God wasn't that mean. Still, with God on his side Adam felt like he might have half a chance against the Wrath of Eve. "Well Sir, you really don't know what you've stuck me with here." He pointed at Eve. Her cold stare gave him a chill but his speech picked up in pace. God's eyes looked surprised but the Old Man seemed to be on his side. "All I hear all day and all night is nag, nag, nag! Adam, I want some fruit! Adam, i want a house! Adam, touch me there and I'll rip your arms off ! Adam, I want a fur coat! -- A fur coat! Why should she need a fur coat? She's already got hair! And too much of that to hear her complain about it--look at her legs and underarms!"
   God nodded. "Yes, I can see how that could grate on you."
   "You're right it grates on me! So one day she comes in and she's She says to me, Adam, I brought you a nice piece of forbidden fruit. eat it. It'll make you feel good. Well, Sir, I didn't want any forbidden fruit. And there we went again! Nag, nag, and more nag! So I ate the damn fruit."
   He seemed to run out of breath for a moment. Adam folded his arms over his chest and stared at something between his elbows and the ground. "I know this is probably a bad time to ask a favor," he continued sheepishly, but if it's all the same to you and not too much trouble... I'd like to trade Eve in and get my rib back."
   God chuckled. Sorry, old boy. You're stuck with her. Procreation is the reason--can't have you tying yourself in knots; it's just too ugly." His good humor vanished. "Besides, I'll have to punish the both of you."
   Adam shuddered; Eve pouted.
   "Eve, I had planned to make childbirth your right and pleasure, but since you disobeyed me that's going to change..."
   Eve beamed. "You mean you're going to let Adam get knocked up?"
   "Not quite. No Eve, you shall give birth...and it's going to hurt! Additionally, your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you... at least until you figure out that he really isn't in charge of anything. Got it?"
   Eve nodded and looked at the ground. We'll see if Adam is going to be in charge! She smiled and looked at Adam. He missed the significance of the first woman's death-ray.
   "Stop grinning, Adam," God warned. "You're in trouble too. From this moment on, you're going to have to work in order to eat."
   "Work? No, God, please no!"
   "You want to appeal to a higher court?" God laughed at His own joke, which passed over the heads of Adam and Eve in every sense of the phrase. "Sorry. Yes, Adam, you will work. You will toil the land for your food."
   Adam and Eve held hands and looked up at the face of God.
   "Oy! Stop looking so pathetic," God groaned. "It won't be so bad, you'll see. You'll work a bit, figure out new things, learn to fend for yourselves... Just so you don't forget I love you, I want you to have something."
   God snapped His fingers and Adam and Eve suddenly found themselves dressed in fine animal skins. They stopped and admired each other...and decided they both looked better covered up.
   "Thanks!" Adam said brightly.
   "Yeah, yeah, yeah." God sighed. "Now get out of the garden, please. I've got a lot to do." He vanished back  into the heavens.
   Adam and Eve, still standing hand in hand, looked at the world around them. The garden was gone, but they saw the world spread before them. The sun was hotter and there wasn't much fruit on the trees, but they knew. They knew they would make the world a good place for their children.

I took a few liberties with the story from the Bible, but the core of it comes from Genesis.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sexton -- Audio. Listen to the first chapter of the first book.

I'm learning slowly, but surely. On a lark I decided to publish my books as audiobooks as well as print, and ebooks. I started looking for advice online about how to make audiobooks. I searched for software. I got a microphone and started to read.
   It's been a long slog already, but I don't mind. I'm learning about audio recording, I'm learning how to use Audacity, a free software program that handles sound files. I'm learning about iTunes, and mpeg, and all sorts of file formats I have never played with before. When I'm done recording, I'll find a way to sell the books online.

Until then...please enjoy listening to chapter one of the first book.

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Read an eBook Week -- Have one of my books for free

Smashwords -- a great side to get electronic books in many different formats (one or more will work for you) is running a promotion during the week of March 4-10, 2012.

I'm offering one of my books for free, and I hope you take advantage of this great price of No dollars and no cents

The coupon code is


Just for Fun: A Little Sexton, and Some Other Stuff

By David J. Steele
Published: Nov. 06, 2010
Words: 56334 (approximate)
Language: English

This is vintage stuff: some short stories I wrote in college (a couple won awards from the college literary magazine), my personal journal from the 9 weeks I spent in Peru in 1987, and a partial never-to-be-completed Sexton manuscript for die hard fans.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Key to Having Clean Underwear is... need to have lots of it.

Hello, my friend! Welcome to the Wonderful World of Guy Logic. This might be your first foray into the Wonderful World of Guy Logic, and if so, I bid you warm welcome. You might be an expert, or you might think the entire World of Guy Logic is a myth, or even an oxymoron. It's real.
     As a young executive fresh out of college, I found myself living on my own in a rented house with no washer and dryer. That meant regular trips to the laundromat, about once a week when I ran out of underwear. I don't enjoy trips to the laundromat. You sit around on plastic, waiting for some machine to finish its work so you can shove your stuff in another machine and wait for that machine.
   I had a solution, and my solution has its own logic.
   Underwear comes in packages of three. It's not very expensive. For the price of a McDonald's meal or two, you can buy 6 pairs of Fruit of the Loom briefs.
   ...Actually, for the price of washing and drying a load of whites at a laundromat, you can buy 6 pairs of underwear. What's a guy to do?
Ta da! Got the answer yet? Do you really need me to give it to you?

Own a LOT of underwear!

   I had been in the working world, on my own, for three years before I met the woman who became my wife, got married, and had a house and a washing machine. By then the die was cast... I had 60 pairs of underwear. (And a dozen or so white dress shirts, but that's a topic for another day.) 
   There are some side benefits to having a lot of underwear. Not only did I only need to do laundry six times a year, my cost per pair of clean underwear was really low! Divide the cost of one load of laundry by three pairs of briefs, and it's expensive! But if you divide the cost of one load of 60 pairs of Fruit of the Looms, and you're talking pennies! Frugality, baby!
   Sure, some of you are laughing! But you'll laugh with the other cheeks if you're in an accident and need a clean pair of underwear. With 60 pairs of underwear, you don't have room in your drawers. Like me, you'll keep a pair or two in the glove box of your car, you know, just in case.
   I got in the doghouse a little bit early on in our marriage. My wife asked me to do some laundry--I'm enlightened; in this household, I'm the laundry guy--because she was out of underwear.
   "Out of underwear?" I asked, puzzled. "How did that happen?"
    She said it was because I hadn't done laundry in a month.

So... I went out and bought her a lot of new underwear. Guy logic.