The Bullworker Iso-Bow




Bullworker ISO-Bow (My image of it © 2021, F. P. Dorchak. Equipment is registered to Bullworker®)

I have been lately posting about my rediscovered use of the Bullworker. Though I am a fitness “fanatic,” I’m not a fitness blogger. But I have to tell ya, this Bullworker stuff has seriously got my attention, and recently I purchased another item: the Iso-Bow. If you cannot swing the Bullworker-proper, or or nervous about it, then I highly recommend the Iso-Bow. Here is a video all about it. I got it for stretching purposes, but the more I learn about this extremely subtle piece of incredible exercise equipment, the most psyched about it I am!

In my humble opinion,this is literally the simplest and easiest of any exercise equipment I have ever come across! And it’s only twenty bucks! It comes with an exercise manual, just as compact.

Here is a video that shows a basic workout.

There’s not much more I can add to the above, but say, give this stuff a go! You’ll be as impressed as I am, if you have any interest in fitness. And you can’t get any simpler…well you could just use your body for for “hand-to-hand” exercise, true, but this little bit of nylon and plastic adds so much more to your isometric, isotonic, and yes, isokinetic routines that will utterly amaze you.

And, no, I’m not getting paid for any of this. I am simply freaking amazed at the new Bullworker family of exercise gear and eager to share my finds with everyone!

Fitness Posts

New Bullworker Workout Update – 4 Weeks

Strong Like Bull — The Bullworker

Gym Closed? Used Bodylastics!

Total Hip Replacement Surgery Links

Knee and THR Surgeries—An Update

Total Hip Replacement – Four Months

Total hip replacement surgery, October 23, 2019

What A Spazz, November 24, 2019

Total Hip Replacement Update 8 1/2 Weeks, December 21, 2019

Shoulder Surgery Posts Links

Shoulder Surgery, August 29, 2018

Post Shoulder Surgery, 2018

Knee Surgery Post Links

Knee Surgery – Meniscus Flap Tear

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Bullworker Workout Update – 4 Weeks

The Bullworker is Redefining Fitness! (My Image ©2021, by F. P. Dorchak. Equipment is registered to Bullworker®)

In my “Strong Like Bull” post on March 26th I mentioned that I would get back with my revised workout program. I’d since put together a full-body workout for three days a week, where one of those days I went to the gym. I’ve since tried it, and found that it doesn’t work. The reason for this is because gym machines aren’t really built for isometrics. Yes, you can use them as such, but you risk hurting yourself, and not just from over estimating your usable weight, but because most machines are not designed to stop their weight bearing movement before a full range-of-motion has been reached, per each designed machine movement. I don’t know all the terms, but just try doing isometrics on all of your favorite machines, then compare that to the Bullworker equipment itself. I’m positive you’ll see what I mean. The Bullworker is a far safer, superior, and well-designed tool to get your fitness business done.

In any event, I tried a full body workout this past week, at the gym, doing just that and did not like how the machines felt. And that being the case, I’m going to just stick with the Bullworker exercises, 7-10 second contractions as well as the isotonic reps. I’m just going to have to get up a wee bit earlier to fit everything in first-thing, which is not a problem–if you recall, I’m use to getting up at Oh-Dark-Thirty to write before going to my old day job.

I also found that my cardio levels had somewhat declined just using the Bullworker–but not by much. At the end of my Elliptical session, I found myself only slightly short of breath, but I’d also developed the beginnings of a side-stitch!

A side stitch?!

I hadn’t had one of those since high school! So, I’ll definitely have to get back into the gym to keep up my cardio levels to where they should be.

On another the positive, though, I found that my knee issue is completely gone!

Apparently four weeks of isometrics strengthened my strained knee enough and so well that I no longer felt it at the gym, doing leg extensions, or while doing the Bullworker routine–or using stairs! That is quite impressive in and of itself, since I’ve had that issue since about December/January (3-4 months)!

I also found that my strength had increased! And it did so far quicker than when I was weight lifting! When I was noticing it, the increase was about an additional 20 – 40 pounds of weight moved above when I was last in the gym, a month ago.

I had put together a full-body Bullworker routine, before finding one on their website, so I may post that here, in the future. I did this routine Monday and Friday of this week. It’s a good routine. You can do it 2-3 times a week, depending on your recovery rates. But after having tried that and giving it all some more thought, I really think I’ll stick to the 4-day routines, which will take up less time/day (the full body routine of just doing the compressions but not the reps takes 20 minutes for one full set, so 2 – 3 sets will take 40 and 60 minutes, respectively).

So starting next week I go into week five of Bullworker training! I am quite impressed with the equipment, but I do need to rework on my cardio routines, which will remain at the gym.

Have a great workout!

Fitness Posts

Strong Like Bull — The Bullworker

Gym Closed? Used Bodylastics!

Total Hip Replacement Surgery Links

Knee and THR Surgeries—An Update

Total Hip Replacement – Four Months

Total hip replacement surgery, October 23, 2019

What A Spazz, November 24, 2019

Total Hip Replacement Update 8 1/2 Weeks, December 21, 2019

Shoulder Surgery Posts Links

Shoulder Surgery, August 29, 2018

Post Shoulder Surgery, 2018

Knee Surgery Post Links

Knee Surgery – Meniscus Flap Tear

Posted in Health, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Write Stuff

What Sells What? (© 2021 F. P. Dorchak)

I Got Issues

As I have mentioned a few times, I have been having difficulty working the first draft of my newest work-in-progress. I keep thinking I’ve figured out one problem, only to have another emerge…and just this week I felt I’d conquered yet another issue! To that end it seems as if I am taking forever to eek out the main character’s words and life. I’d recently come about another epiphany for him, but it wrought still more issues, and it is those issues with which I’m now working.

However…

The characters and story are becoming more clear…and are slowly manifesting into a more cohesive–if more intricate!–story. So, it’s good things are manifesting as they are, because the story is becoming far more dense…and is heading in the direction I’ve been hoping it would. But it is this process of discovery that is so weird to me…why does inspiration come in fits and starts? Why can’t it, well, you know, just come to you all at once?

I guess if we knew that, all writing problems–including “writer’s block”–would be solved.

Style, Brand, and Platforms

I’ve also dealt with some discussion about a writer’s platform.

I’ve always maintained that a fiction author’s platform doesn’t really matter–it’s their books that matter. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t help…or that nonfiction authors don’t need platforms. It just means that fiction authors do not need a platform to sell their novels. In all my research and discussions with industry professionals (including my and other agents), I have heard less and less from professionals who have flat-out said that novelists need a platform. I only hear that from writers who think they do because some *publishers* keep asking for it (this is not necessarily the same thing as “editors”), and these writers continue to parrot that line without really thinking about what is said, or if it even makes sense. Just because someone says something does not necessarily makes it true–that person in a position of authority or not. Investigate that something’s veracity.

I recently got into a discussion on a private writers forum about this with some authors, Indie and/or traditional. There are clearly misunderstandings as to exactly what a platform, brand, and author style is–even among those who appeared to be “publishing knowledgeable.” “Writing sexy or muscular or [fill in the blank]” is not a platform. It could be a “brand,” it could also be a style of writing, but it is certainly not a platform. A platform is what you stand for; it’s your ability to sell books because of who you are. Saving the planet is a mission.

Writing sexy–can you really call that your life’s mission?

I suppose it could thinly be described as a “platform,” but according to today’s environment, “platform” is more than that (see above). That more describes how an author writes. That’s how books used to be sold: an author wrote horror, literary, of whatever…but that has apparently been deemed lame, so now everyone needs to have something about them that is akin to some life mission that can theoretically be immediately translated into selling books without a publisher writing out a promotional check. And, yes, a platform can help you sell fiction, but I have never heard a non-industry reader talk about an author’s platform. Just how well done the book was, how good a read it was, that’s what I always hear from readers.

What’s Stephen King’s platform? Who cares? He writes horror…and does so like nobody’s business. That‘s what matters.

How about John Grisham?

George R. R. Martin?

From the above Jane Friedman link, she even comes right out and says this of “platform”:

It depends. If you’re a fiction writer, no. Fiction writers should focus on crafting the best work possible. That’s not to say a platform is unwelcome if you have one, but an agent or publisher will make a decision first based on the quality of your manuscript and its suitability for the current marketplace.”

Some of what was said in my author forum was “one thing or the other,” but not wholly “platform” nor “branding,” and sometimes it was even neither, but a book’s style, which is something entirely different. And the other part of the discussion was its necessity, which, as you can see above, has been repudiated by yet another industry professional.

I have heard this stance from more than one industry professional…yet I still hear it from Indie, hybrid, and professional authors about how utterly essential it is for novelists, and that is just not…right, I’m sorry. And though one industry person (e.g., a writer) may insist on talking about a great book’s brand or platform each and every time they talk up a book, I do not at all believe that rank-and-file readers do! I maintain that they just do not care. It’s all about losing yourself in a good read, for whatever that means to the reader. Most of the reading public does not know about all this “inside industry” talk nor care about it. Again, it’s not that it isn’t helpful, just that it is not necessary–for novels.

Again I iterate: Readers talking up and recommending books to others is what sells books.

But…I also understand how confusing this is!

In any event, the whole thing got me to thinking about my own brand, platform, and style.

What is my brand?!

When I examine what it is I write about, when I ruminate at what my agent told me years ago that I write “thinky” books…I come up with that I am a very philosophical and metaphysical individual and I want that to come out in my work. Sometimes, and usually with short stories, I will write up something even if it’s pure horror or suspense and not so much Zen or philosophical because it just grabs me, but largely my novels try to get us to think about our lives, how we’re living, and how we’re effecting everyone and everything else in Life.

#ThoughtsMatter.

I write about my viewpoints about what may happen in the background of our lives–not that I have all the answers, but my viewpoints could help others re-examine their own points-of-view (POV) and also reexamine their moment-to-moment actions, beliefs, and thoughts. I used to define my work as “self-help fiction,” but no one like to be preached to…though an argument can well be made that absolutely every novel out there promulgates and defines a particular POV as to how an author views life.

So who’s preaching to who?

Entertainment and Transparency

Given all this talk about life missions, philosophies, and metaphysics, there are two other very important aspects to my writing. You see, I really do want to entertain and be transparent in my operation of said entertainment.

While I’ve always been writing (since I was six years old), I really hadn’t given much thought to the whole “platform thing,” and–to be totally honest–am quite annoyed that I even had to. It makes all my writing appear too planned. Too surgical. And I do despise that.

I wrote, plain and simply…because it liked to write.

I wrote…because it was what was inside me.

I never wrote to wax philosophical nor promote metaphysics…but along the way those things were also inside me. I am not a religious man, but I am spiritual. Metaphysical.

As I learned to better my writing, I learned many things, and one of those things was, as Stephen King put it, to be transparent about your writing.

I don’t know if I totally hit that mark, but it is my goal: for me to disappear as you read my stories and that all of YOU become so immersed in them that they cease to be something written, cease to become something you’re reading, and become, instead, something you’re experiencing–without the benefit of you thinking that someone wrote what you’re…immersed…in.

Transparency.

And therefore, because of this, you have been summarily–

Entertained.

That has always been my main goal, publishing antics be damned: to write the best possible story that others would also want to read.

I never had a platform nor a care to have one. Just to be utterly captivated by a story that I had no choice to write and that the reader had no choice but to become captivated by. Period.

My Style, Brand, and Platforms

So, after all this unpleasantness, and some brainstorming, consideration, and bouncing it off my agent (who, incidentally, said that she hasn’t been asked by a publisher for a client’s platform in a long time), we came up with the following (Yes, I’m quite aware my platform is a bit long, but then *I* always run a bit long…):

Platform: I write novels that lend something to the Human Condition. Leaves readers with an intellectual curiosity…a sense that yes, this could happen…and the unwritten plea to have an open mind to the weirdness—the good weirdness—around us. #ThoughtsMatter

Brand: Thinky, introspective, philosophical yet realistic; Twilight Zone like.


Style: Edgy, introspective, stream-of-consciousness. Transparent.

So there it be, my redefined platform, brand, and style as I see it today. As to which words sell words…I’ll leave that to the readers.

Posted in Books, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Strong Like Bull — The Bullworker

Bullworker Image 1

A couple of weeks ago  I made a change in my personal fitness training, aka my workout: I purchased The Bullworker.

Now, this is not a new piece of exercise equipment. The Bullworker (originally called “The Tensolator”) has been around since 1962, and was invented by Gert F. Kölbel. My dad bought one when I was a kid, back in the 70s. It was a neat piece of equipment, even then. Since then I’d long thought it had gone out of business, because I’d literally never heard of it again. Then I became heavily immersed in the “Gym Culture” of weightlifting (among other things, e.g., martial arts, running swimming, biking, et cetera x 2). I’d always performed good form at the expense of heavier weight in the gym, because I’d learned from others’ mistakes. I was free from serious injuries until my fifties. Then last year (2020) amid the Stay-at-Home orders, I thought about what version of home exercise equipment I should get and bought an updated version of some equipment I’d used when I was still employed and traveling a lot, called Bodylastics. These worked extremely well, and I used them a lot while traveling and during the initial COVID crisis, but I have to admit that they are a bit, well, funky. For one thing I never really liked how they worked for leg routines (it seems many such pieces of home equipment have this issue). There’s also a lot of fiddling around with the handles, straps, and tubes, even when you lay everything out before working out. They were not ideal, but certainly functional, give great results, and definitely worth using…however…

It was late last year that I’d discovered that The Bullworker still existed!

So, I did some research into the equipment and isometric exercise. It turns out that isometric training has apparently made, and is continuing to make, quite the comeback. Here is a list of 20 reasons isometrics is a really good way to go (the link is from the Bullworker site). Many of those reasons are why, now, at my age, I’m gravitating toward isometrics rather than isotonics. Most of what I now read about isometrics praises it as the exercise program to perform, but, yes, there are still a few places citing the same issues (keep reading). In the long run, however, there really is no one perfect work out program. You have to find what best fits you and your needs.

As far back as I can remember, and until just a few years ago, isometric training had been touted as not the best form of exercise, because the strength built was only good at the angle-of-performed isometric contraction. I thought, gee, that sucks—if’n it’s somewhat strange sounding. I’d wondered if that was really true. When I used the Bullworker as a kid I’d never had any issue with my fitness…granted I also performed high school training for all the sports I’d been in, not to mention all my very physical chores around our mini-farm/homestead, which involved animals and clearing brush, digging ditches, chopping wood, and moving rocks and logs and snow. Lots of rocks and logs and snow. And hefting 80-pound feed backs up a steep hill. Over my shoulders. I just never noticed any issues.

For the next 40-plus years I became a gym rat and got stronger and even a bit bigger, though never gained the sized I’d envisioned for myself (have you met Arnold?), but strength, yeah, I could build that, and I ended up entering only one powerlifting competition, when I was in college. Initially I didn’t place (took the unmedalled fourth place). But some days later I was quietly notified that the guy who had taken third had been disqualified (don’t remember why) and I had now taken third place…um, out of three! Anyway, a day late and a buck short. I’d never taken steroids, which I now know usually plays a role in pretty much most bodybuilding. I just never had the genetics and burned off all my calories waaay too quickly. Ask anyone. I was largely a beanpole most of early life, but a strong beanpole.

Then, I hit my 50s.

I continued pushing the fitness limits, but did so smartly—or so I thought.

I continued to use strict form. But at fifty-seven, I surprisingly, if gracefully, imparted upon myself a wicked partial-thickness tear in my left subscapularis while doing dumbbell bench presses with 95-pound dumbbells. The weight wasn’t hard at the time, and it certainly wasn’t the heaviest set of dumbbells I’d ever pressed, but there it was, after a lifetime of trying to do everything right…I got nailed. The tear occurred over a weekend (or should I say a “weakened”), literally without my knowledge. You read that correctly. All weekend long I had no idea what had happened…or was to happen. No pain, no limited movement, nothing. Not a single indication of anything. Then I came into the gym on that Monday, went to lift my 65 pounders to warm up—and, whack: KNIFE JAB!

I probably actually tore the muscle that moment I did my warmups.

Long story short, since then I’ve had three fitness-related surgeries.

Fitness related.

Do you know how ironic that sounds?

I currently have a strained knee issue that so far isn’t yet a problem, but does get aggravated when I do gym legwork (specifically, quad work). No other inherent knee problems have shown up, but I’m erring on the conservative side and looking to further modify my fitness routines. Isometrics are great for strengthening tendons and ligaments without stressing them (if done correctly), and I seem to need that (or should is say “knee’d” that…).

All this has therefore prompted me to reconsider my current fitness tactics. The Bullworker  seems far better for one’s joints, and apparently really is the muscle training we should all have been doing all along, according to my research. I mean, I still have my paper copies of the Charles Atlas isometrics training system he called “Dynamic Tension,” and look at how he turned out without lifting iron (if that’s really true…). Heck, I didn’t even know Chuck (may I call you, “Chuck,” Mr. Atlas?) was still in business after all these years, until just now, writing this post. So, if you really can’t afford $200 for the Bullworker, give the Charles Atlas course a try. But the point is Charles Atlas got big and strong just by pitting his own strength against himself, so there has to be something to this whole isometrics thing that is being largely ignored and downplayed because it isn’t “bright and shiny,” sell sexy sports gear, or make money with ongoing memberships.

Anyway, I’m seriously considering giving up the gym-rat existence–or sparsely using it. I thought I could continue the gnarly exercises at the gym well into advanced age—just do them properly and with strict form, a little less weight—but as it turns out you really can’t. Or maybe it’s just my genetics. You have to adapt to age and lifestyle changes, and at sixty, retired, and given my previous issues, I have to be smarter than the iron I used to push around. Someone coming into weightlifting later in life might be able to do so to some degree, but someone like me, who’s been lifting weights since I was maybe fourteen years old, has apparently worn out his body (in those terms) and needs to take the multiply delivered hints.

And I’m good with that! It’s called adapt or die (aka “getting hurt”)!

Sure, I’ll miss the comradery and all, but I have to stop causing these stupid little issues from popping up. Take it from me: you can do everything right…but after a while Life does catch up with you. One way or the other. Even my eighty-four-year-old dad told me just the other week, when I told him about the rediscovered Bullworker, that he now realized that he wished he hadn’t worked out as gnarly he had way back. It’s rare that older gym rats don’t have injuries—and if they say they’ve never had any, well, more power to them, but I’d call “shenanigans” just the same. If you see a much older dude working out like a beast, chances are they hadn’t done it since they were a teenager or they’re hiding things (from my experience). And I have to say that since my surgery, I’ve seen many people at the gym (and have been working out for years) also getting surgeries. I know only know one guy who’s eighty-eight, a retired doctor, with two hips replaced, who’s still hitting the weights, but as in machines, not free weights. Next time I see him, I should ask him when he started working out.

So, if the Bullworker really can deliver on all its promises, I’m in.

I’m also so busy now that spending 1.5 to 2 hours a workout at the gym takes up far more time than I wanna give anymore. As I do the two sets Bullworker workout, it takes about 40 – 50 minutes depending on what exercises I do…but I still have my daily preventative physical therapy (PT) to do before that, for other structural issues that had manifested because of age and genetics. All added up I’m still doing an hour-plus of PT and working out every morning, but my new workouts are far easier on my body. My tendons and ligaments, which do get stronger through isometric training, but not as much through isotonic training.

As I did my research into isometrics I also found that when the fitness craze and gyms exploded onto the scene in the 1980s, it’d stomped the hell out of any other form of fitness that wasn’t a moneymaker, and I’ve seen more than a few come and go…but isometrics really does appear to holding its own these days. It continues to maintain that it is the best form of muscle and strength building out there. And it isn’t limited to “performed angles of mechanics” anymore, as had been earlier claimed, through a modification of its exercise protocols. The Bullworker incorporates some isotonic exercises this time around, to help cover that argument, and I think also hitting similar exercises from different angles, which has a gestalt “full angle of exercise” effect. Check out this fascinating article.

So, what I am doing is jumping head-first into the new Bullworker training program to see where it takes me and see if it’s all it claims to be, because believe me when I say, I’ll miss the gym and don’t really want to forever leave the gym…but I’m open to innovation, results, and not hurting myself with stupid little issues anymore. My lifting results have never been what I’d striven for, anyway, so this might be the perfect format for older-and-wiser me. And if I need to I can return to the gym to do lighter, isotonic workouts, which you can incorporate into your isometric training if not performed to exhaustion, then I will.

As it currently stands, I’ve been working the Bullworker for two weeks. I’m working on developing my own routine, which I’ll post soon, and I’m working on it with the help of Bullworker’s Joe Myaki and Chrisman Hughes. They have both been extremely helpful. As I performed the Bullworker exercises, I found areas not specifically covered in the training manual sent with the equipment. Maybe it is covered in their blog posts and videos, but I just don’t have time to check all that out, so feel free to check them out.

I’ll also say that in comparing the 70’s version of the Bullworker with current version, the best single innovation is the addition of extra springs to better adjust your workouts. Swapping them out is a breeze. The next best addition to the equipment is the addition of the isotonic reps in addition to the seven-second single rep, which used to be all the 70’s Bullworker gave you.

Thanks for stopping by, and give isometrics exercise a try! If you’re a “sit down artist,” like a writer, you’ll need to get up off your ass and move around anyway, and this can all be done far easier than heading to gym, so you can get back to your keyboard!

Fitness Post

Gym Closed? Used Bodylastics!

Total Hip Replacement Surgery Links

Knee and THR Surgeries—An Update

Total Hip Replacement – Four Months

Total hip replacement surgery, October 23, 2019

What A Spazz, November 24, 2019

Total Hip Replacement Update 8 1/2 Weeks, December 21, 2019

Shoulder Surgery Posts Links

Shoulder Surgery, August 29, 2018

Post Shoulder Surgery, 2018

Knee Surgery Post Links

Knee Surgery – Meniscus Flap Tear

Posted in Health, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

To Honor and Remember

Please honor and remember those lost at the shooting at the Boulder King Soopers this past Monday.

Also honor and remember all those lost in any and all acts of violence.

Posted in To Be Human | 2 Comments

A Dead Man’s Eyes—An Interview with Author Lori Duffy Foster

A Dead Man's Eyes, © 2021, Lori Duffy Foster, Level Best Books

A Dead Man’s Eyes, © 2021, Lori Duffy Foster, Level Best Books

I met Lori Duffy Foster (“LDF,” below) virtually. I no longer remember where or how, but meet we did, and found we grew up in the same place: upstate New York’s Adirondack mountains! She lived in the village of Saranac Lake, where I went to school, whereas I lived eleven miles away in the hamlet of Lake Clear.

Lori—please tell us a little about yourself!

Most important is that you are I both grew up in the greatest place on the planet, Saranac Lake, in the heart of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. I have lived in many places over the years, and I have loved them all, but a piece of my heart will always remain there. You already know that though, so on to the rest. For eleven years of my writing career, I worked as reporter for The Post-Standard in Syracuse, NY, mostly covering crime. Journalism was awesome, but fiction kept tugging at me. So, when my husband landed a new job that took us to Arizona and I learned I was pregnant, we agreed it was a good time for a change. I spent the next twenty years working part-time, raising four kids and writing fiction. I went through two agents and one other publisher before landing at Level Best Books with six novels under contract, including my debut, A Dead Man’s Eyes, which releases April 13, 2021. I should also mention my nonfiction book, Raising Identical Twins: The Unique Challenges and Joys of the Early Years. I self-published that one and it was a blast.

F. P. Dorchak: I do freely admit that a part of me does remain up there, in the Adirondacks! Such a wonderful place! Interesting how we’ve also traveled similar roads!

What inspired you to go you into writing?

I am not sure I had a choice. Writing was therapy for me as a kid. I got into trouble a lot (temper!), which means I spent loads of time in my room, writing and sketching to calm down. I’d get so immersed that I would forget to come downstairs when my punishment was over. I also won a local poetry contest as a kid and wrote radio commercials for my Catholic elementary school (good ole’ St. Bernard’s), so it would seem logical that I would become a writer, but I fought it. I grew up with very little money and writers don’t earn much. I didn’t want to be poor. I tried studying geo-chemistry in college, but I was addicted to English classes. Finally, I gave in, studying creative writing and communications, which prepared me for my first career as a journalist. I always knew I would go back to fiction though.

FPD: St. Bernard’s. I remember it well! I only did grades 1 – 3. Had my knuckles rapped by the nuns, I did! But that’s where I began a lifelong association with my classmates as we all went through the Saranac Lake school system. To this day, I still maintain contact with many of them!

Do you have a “scariest moment” in your journalistic career?

I have had plenty of encounters that others might find scary. I have seen enough fresh corpses for my lifetime. I have walked into the homes of killers and murder suspects, unarmed and without telling anyone where I was going. I have been escorted off properties by Native American and U.S. Navy security. But the scariest incident, the one in which I actually feared for my life, happened when I was returning a photo. A teenage driver had died in a high-speed crash. I didn’t write the story, but a well-meaning editor added my byline to the front-page article, because I had convinced the family to give me the photo. I hadn’t read the story before I stopped by the next day. When I arrived, the family kindly invited me into the house, where they were all gathered, and then turned on me, threatening to kill me. Turns out, the reporter had led off the story with a litany of this kid’s speeding tickets, giving the impression that he deserved to die. My name was also on the story, so they blamed me. I tried to explain, but they were yelling and yanking me down the stairs into the basement. Another family member rescued me, only to threaten me himself on the front lawn. It was terrifying, but I don’t blame the family. The kid was dead. The article was sensationally written. There was no news value in ripping the kid apart like that. I was ashamed to have my name on that article. My heart still aches for that family.

FPD: Geez, what can you say to something like that? “Glad you’re alive!” comes to mind! Did you ever “thank” that reporter for giving you that little task? I wonder if that’s why he gave you that duty to begin with…?

LDF: It was the editor who asked me to pick it up. I was working in a bureau office just a few miles from the family’s home at the time. The reporter knew better than to even talk to me for a few weeks after that!

Great cover! Did you have any input on the cover?

Thanks! I did. Level Best Books is great about that. The most important consideration for me was there be no eyes on the cover. Book covers with eyes on them are creepy. I didn’t want people turning away from my novel because the cover creeps them out. I was given three concepts to choose from and I loved them all, so it was a tough choice.

FPD: I, on the other hand, love to “creep out” readers (wink). But, outstanding—and I really love that cover! It’s always nice when you have some say in anything about your work, especially the cover art!

How did you find your publisher?

I have known one of the owners, Shawn Reilly Simmons, since she and the other two Dames of Detection announced their purchase of Level Best Books at New England Crime Bake, a writing conference, six years ago. At the time, they published only anthologies. I got to watch them grow, responsibly, into the successful publishing company they are now. When I walked away from a contract with an unreliable and unresponsive publisher, trust and honesty became my greatest priorities. I immediately thought of Level Best and submitted. I had a contract within a few weeks for my series and another contract a year later for my three standalones. It was a great decision. They are wonderful people to work with.

FPD: How fortuitous and advantageous! It’s especially neat when you’ve been aware of a company you want to do business with and know their roots and intents—and especially an owner!

What was your inspiration for your series?

I was covering a house fire one night on a city street in Syracuse when an obviously pregnant 15-year-old began talking with me. She was in foster care, but she was determined to keep the baby and make something of herself. She struck me as extraordinary—smart and capable—and her name seemed familiar. I looker her up in my old notes when I returned to the newsroom. She shared a name and age with a girl who had witnessed a fatal game of Russian roulette. I forgot her name over time, but I never forgot her. She is the main inspiration for the novel along with a couple of colleagues who were single moms and successful, one with a toddler-in-tow and no father in the picture. That is not easy in journalism.

FPD: Your life is certainly not without its drama, but I guess as a journalist, you really are putting yourself out there into unique situations….

Is the publisher requiring anything specific from you for promotion?

Level Best Books does not require that I do anything, but it benefits us both if I do promote the book. I am really lucky. Level Best does more for its authors than most big publishers do for their authors (big publishers tend to focus on the predicted best-sellers). They send ARCs out to the larger review sites, host a podcast, design ads, offer co-op ads, all kinds of things. We also have an awesome authors group that meets virtually every month or two to get company updates and discuss promotional ideas, and we communicate with each other regularly through Slack. It is a welcoming and supportive group.

FPD: Nice that you know the drill and aren’t just taking things easy with the no requirements thing! But it’s also really cool they put all that other promotion toward you! I certainly wish you the best!

What book that’s already been published by another did you wish you wrote?

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. It is one of my favorite books of all time.

FPD: Okay, now I have to look that book up; I’ve heard of it but don’t remember what it’s about…okay, looked it up. Sounds quick layered and…deep.

Why do you feel reading (and writing) fiction is important?

That’s a big question. Fiction is, first and foremost, an escape for most of us. It takes us out of our realities and off to other worlds, and we need that sometimes. Think of all the children raised in difficult situations who say books pulled them through some of their worst times. But we can also learn a lot from fiction—about human nature, about other cultures, about the challenges people face who are not like us. Consider Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. It is a love story set during the Japanese internment. There are people who were totally unaware that we locked Japanese Americans up in encampments during World War II before they read his book.

Novels teach us so much. They help us think critically, develop empathy and live out our fantasies. We get to experience it all—fear, love, compassion, horror, loss—from a place of safety, and then we get closure in the end. Real life doesn’t work that way. Real life is messy. When we read fiction, we experience the extremes of life with no risks or consequences.

FPD: So many discount fiction as worth a read, and those are exactly the kinds of readers who need to read it. I think there’s also a resurgence of some fiction reading, if the industry stats (adult fiction consumption increased 26.4% from Feb 15, 2020 to Feb 15, 2021; note that this doesn’t necessarily mean it was all read…could have been given as gifts then politely shelved/regifted/et cetera…) about increased fiction consumption is any indication. I think, like gaming, there’s also a cathartic release to some fiction. But in all cases it does expand one’s perspectives and teach as you mention.

Do you have any other burning need you want to get out to our readers?

I want them to know what a fabulous writer and human being you are! You grew up with my older siblings, but you reached out when you learned I was a writer and treated me like an old friend. You have been nothing but supportive and I have enjoyed your writing. Buy his books! F. P. Dorchak!

FPD: You are way too kind! Thank you and I return the compliments—you have proven yourself to be a kind soul and extremely easy to get to know and interact with! Thank you for YOUR kindness and for participating in my interview! I look forward to reading your work and I ask all my readers to buy LORI’S books!

A Dead Man’s Eyes is set for release April 13, 2021.

Pre-Order Links:

Amazon A Dead Man’s Eyes Pre-Order.

B&N A Dead Man’s Eyes Pre-Order.

Visit Lori Duffy Foster at:

  • Website: www.loriduffyfoster.com
  • Facebook: @loriduffyfosterauthor
  • Instagram: @lori.duffy.foster
  • Twitter: @loriduffyfoster
Posted in Interview, To Be Human, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

When Harry and Meghan Met Oprah

NOTE

This post is my Substack newsletter I posted this morning. The criticism of the Meghan and Harry interview incenses me so much that I strongly feel the need to respond.

 

I watched the Oprah interview, and while I have issues with Oprah in general, I thought it was well done and revealing. A long time in coming. Then I read some of the aftereffects.

Should it really come as any kind of a shock (especially Oprah and her dramatic open-mouthed reaction at one point) that such a lengthy and haughty a tradition as “The Royals” (aka “The Firm”) would behave in such a manner? History and reality are replete with all manner of secretive evil-racist-et cetera practices-versus-public practices. And people are people, no matter what they do, what language they speak, or what clothes they wear: some are nice and some are not. And when someone says they thought about suicide, who the hell are we to reject that? Are you freaking God?

You are not in her head.

Even if perhaps exaggerated (as some claim), place yourself in that kind of situation and be honest:

·         You’re used to doing as you please, what you want. Come and go as you please. Now…marry into a family with extreme rules and traditions that require you to give up who you are (note that Meghan was even willing to go All-in with doing the Royal biddings!).

·         You could only do what was approved, and much was not.

·         You no longer have an individual life.

·         You no longer have your identity.

·         No longer have any freedom.

·         Your every movement is prescribed, analyzed, and refined. Restricted.

·         And when you feel you’re having serious issues adjusting and go seek help from your employers, you’re told, no, no one can help you and you just have to suck it up… “We’ve all been there”…put on your Big Girls pants.

·         Oh, and BTW, that child of yours? We think her skin tone may be just a wee bit too off-white.

·         Then have your status cunningly and insidiously reduced to a non-person and your security detail yanked, yet you’re still demanded to go out into the public….

What would you do if all of the above were done to you?

How would you feel?

I’d be swinging figurative fists left and right and taking all manner of people out with me.

I don’t like being caged or ignored or manipulated. Dismissed for age, background, experience, or anything else of that caliber. In my employment history I have a documented history of not taking shit from anyone, boss or not. Yes, it’s gotten me in “momentary trouble,” but I didn’t care. If shit was wrong, I identified it. That doesn’t mean all things were all fixed. Big corporations are Big Corporations, just like The Firm is. So, if inequities had been thrown my way like this, yes, I would have found “a way out.” And were I utterly unable to find a way, then I am pretty damned sure I’d be thinking similar thoughts. You cage a tiger, you kill that tiger. Tigers—all life—need space and freedom to be a tiger or whatever animal or lifeform they are, and when you restrict that, that thing dies.

So, yes, while I might—in a single dramatic moment of epiphany—mentally voice “not wanting to be alive”…I would have actually been thinking of alternate ways out—escape—and that is exactly what they eventually did.

Who could fault a person not brought up in The Firm’s highly restrictive environment to conform?

Meghan was not raised in that environment but was raised to think and act and be herself.

The Royals were not.

Even Harry didn’t realize his predicament until he saw its effects on his wife and children. And now that he’s left that circus, he is totally aware of how “trapped” he was—and how all of his family currently is.

You only know what you know…until your perspectives are broadened.

None of this is farfetched, and I do credit Meghan for bringing that clarity to Harry. I do not “blame” her for anything other than for giving Harry and the world a much wider perspective to The Firm and what has been and is currently going on there behind closed doors. The fact that The Firm hasn’t yet commented tells me that there is truth to their words, otherwise they’d have been outright condemned from the get-go. I mean, why wouldn’t they, if these really were all fantasies? Delusions? A power struggle?

Then to have someone like Piers Morgan say and behave as he had on global TV is exasperatingly [expletive!] reprehensible.

Sure, he “apologized” and backtracked-the-hell afterwards…because you can bet he had time to be coached/talked to and/or maybe even reconsidered his own bullying, Freudian behavior and words. How someone initially reacts to any situation speaks volumes about that person, and how he and others like him reacted was utterly deplorable and angers me. I have never been a fan of him for this reason.

The fact that he and others took the issues they did with that interview and did not hearactually listen to the words and emotion and content of the interview, without regard to who was asking the questions or giving the answers…stuns me. Is this really the beginning of the end for our race where the idiots are taking over and drilling our civilization into the dirt and rock and dust, like the ancient Roman Empire?! What the hell is wrong with everyone? Why are we giving voice to the Crazy out there? I could have sworn there used to be a nobility to the media, years ago, where they only put creditable, honest content on-air. Now it’s all about ratings. Stirring things up. It’s not about reporting anymore. It’s about weaponizing.

This saddens me…but in the long run I do believe things will be as they will be and everything happens for a reason. Things do need to change…it is the nature of Life, the prime immutable. And if people—institutions—are not willing to change, they die. It’s that simple. That said…if we end up wiping ourselves out, then so be it.

We have it coming.

Posted in To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Curse of Knowledge?

I read this article the other week and I had to, well, chuckle. I have read scientific and engineering papers and I’m one who does read all those freaking Terms-of-Service contracts we are all deluged with whenever we select anything on the Internet—okay, sometimes I scan—but I do look them over, because they are mostly the same and I want to make sure what I’m agreeing to (yes, I have turned things down). But with all the technical-and-scientific papers I’ve read in my life, within and without the technical field, I have been consistently perplexed that I could not understand what was being said in some of those sentences upon a first pass! I have worked in the technical field for nearly forty years, have a technical degree, and I’m a writer (and have even been professional technical writer as well as a novelist), so I know how sentences are constructed and, yes, even used as tools…or weapons. I look for this stuff. Immediately characterize how anything I read is constructed.

So when I read the above article (the gist of which is that “…the curse of knowledge is the single best explanation…of why good people write bad prose“) I felt I also had to add a few other reasons I feel also exist. I’m really not trying to top what Mr. (even this article about Mr. Pinker didn’t adequately convey his status: yes, he’s “Harvard,” so that implies…but does it? He could have a Masters, not a doctorate…) Pinker said, but I do feel it is a tad too limiting. I have applied what he said to my next few topics and they just don’t seem to cover it for me.

Poor Writing Ability

Many are just not good writers. Period. Not everyone is. No matter how well they know the topic upon which they writer, they just cannot get out of their own way. Some people are great cops, great actors, or great orators…but that does not immediately nor necessarily qualify them to write about their expertise. Some just do not know how to construct well-written anything. And that’s okay. Those writers only need to realize this and find someone who is a good writer, work with that writer, and employ some of what’s written about in that above-mentioned article (though, ironically, Mr. Pinker used the term “argot” without definition!). Please, work with those who do know what they’re doing.

Legal Writing

Where do I begin?!

Yes, legalese is insanity-in-print.

How many huge, complicated words can we string together before employing any punctuation?

There must be some award out there for this. Yes, an abundance of knowledge may indeed afflict these writers, but more so they may be “constrained” by protocols-of-convenience” to construct writing they way they do. There are so many “necessary” modifiers and dependent clauses employed in the attempt to cover every possible legal base—and in the same sentence (sometimes even without commas or semi-colons)!—that there’s almost no use in even trying to clarify things. I feel you just cannot do that if you keep to that same “legalese template” most corporations appear to use. To me it seems that the only way to avoid this type of writing is to avoid using this type of writing. Don’t use the template, and write as a normal, intelligent writer would write, well, anything. One recommendation I have would be to employ more lists and less words. Explain stuff.

Intentional Obfuscation of Writing Content

Yeah, this is a thing, and it’s performed for a reason.

Such writing can be employed for concerns such as national security or secret clubs. Wherever there is a concern to not give away too much information, or to intentionally muddy the waters for one reason or the other. Again, not too much you can do here, except clean up basic grammar, but the astute reader will more than likely find all kinds of issues with the missive…and rightly so.

Egotistical Writing

The ego is a powerful thing.

It’s good to have a healthy ego, but there are those who always have to let others know they’re better—and it may even be unconscious—but in any case it can manifest in print and make for quite difficult reading. There are many reasons for why this is, but the point is that these individuals go out of their way to appear “better” in whatever way they can. Not all egotistical print is poorly written, but it can be. If one cannot get past their ego, they also can’t get past other things, and one of them is clear and concise writing where you just get the intent of your piece across and don’t have to navigate through the an egotist’s heavy use of adjectives and adverbs and circumlocutious sentences, blah x 3, let alone attitude, which effects whatever it is is being written about. It’s tough to get said writer to see this, so good luck with trying to better that type of writing.

Parting Words and A Secret Technique

When anything is written the writer must always consider their audience.

This is an absolute must.

When you do this you write appropriately to the intended reader. That doesn’t mean all readers will “get it,” because you can’t be everything to everyone. And it is not your intent to be everything to everyone. In university, technical, legal, and scientific fields, for instance, you can get away with employing more complicated terms and sentence construction…but that does not relieve you of your primary responsibility: to write concisely.

And even with experienced writers, it is also recommended to have at least another set of eyes read whatever has been written. And if you have the time, set it aside for at least a few hours or a day or more to give you a fresh perspective. I know, you don’t always have that luxury. These blogs, for instance, I don’t always write them up weeks or even days in advance (though I had written this particular post over a few days), in trying to adhere to my self-imposed schedule of one per week. So, yes, you are most likely going to find a stupid error or two. That’s the nature of the beast. And it’s usually only my eyes that read these before posting. There’s not nothing wrong with that, again, it’s the beast. But I usually catch to huger (literary license…) errors before posting, though not always. In my more official writings, I do give myself at least a few days to construct something, print it out, and ready it aloud—this, alone is perhaps the best writing secret I can pass on. You catch so many errors by reading anything you’ve written aloud, or having another read it to you. Absolutely every novel or short story I write I read aloud.

So, please, no matter how smart you are, if you’re not that great a writer, admit it to yourself and bring in someone who is. At the very least have someone else read whatever’s been written, and do read whatever’s been written out loud, even if someone else has written or reworked your words.

 

Posted in To Be Human, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Newsletter Changed Over To Substack

This past week I made the move with my newsletter to a new platform, called Substack. I decided on this for a few reasons, not the least of which was that the new platform is designed to promote one’s newsletters and it’s also set up to do paid subscriptions, should I decide to go there. Not sure if or when I would go the paid-subscription route, but for now it’s free.

My Substack headliner for my relaunched newsletter is:

What Am I Thinking? What Are My Views? What’s The News?

I plan on continuing to publish my newsletter [at least] once per month. And of course will continue to post blogs (Reality Check and here). With my previous newsletter platform, it was quite difficult to use and would take me a day or so to compose the actual newsletter. Took a lot of time. Substack is far easier. But another area where Substack also seems to excel is that it’s designed to promote reader discovery, which is largely the battle for someone like me with little discovery and promotion. My first issue has already been read by about 2.5 times the number of my subscribers.

I thank you for your support and hope I will continue to be worthy of your continued support!

My Substack page is F. P. Dorchak’s Newsletter

Please share this post! Thank you!

Posted in News, To Be Human, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum

Discus Thrower, United States Olympic Paralympic Museum.

Discus Thrower, United States Olympic Paralympic Museum.

On February 5, 2021, my wife and I visited the United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum (USOPM). What an incredible museum! I mean, they even have a coat check. This, as well as the incredible museum experience itself, led my wife to state:

“It’s like fine dining for museums!”

First off the parking area is directly across from USOPM and runs $15 for the entire day (as of this writing, February 2021)—which you will need, if you do the museum right. You park, go to the narrow kiosks at the exit of the lot, and take your stub. We put ours in our vehicle. You don’t need it inside the building. The paid parking is worth it. And the museum’s easily accessible from the lot…and there are cameras in operation throughout the lot.

The Flame Grill is up and to the right of the museum’s entrance. Very nicely designed and quite comfy seats. “Trey,” our smiling and six-foot-whatever-masked greeter staffing the entryway respectfully and pleasantly redirected us up to the Flame Grill until the museum opened (“Eight minutes!”), since it was pretty chilly. The grill wasn’t operating when we showed, so can’t talk about the consumables, but its accoutrements were nicely designed and the seats quite comfy. And a perfectly splendid view of Pikes Peak.

When we entered the museum at our appointed time, Trey knew who we were, because of our reservation. In the entranceway he verified our identities, took our temperatures, gave us our quick-and-dirty (Clean! I mean clean!) brief on how things worked, and handed us our Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) passes to hang around our necks, like the event passes that they are. We were also both given a stylus, for ease in screen selections and to help reduce spreading COVID to/from the touchscreens. Our RFIDs herald our presence to all the right technology at the appropriate exhibits, so that we’re greeted by our names on-screen. We felt like famous peoples (you know, adding to the coat check, above…).

This was the most technologically advanced exhibit either of us had ever been to. It’s literally got Star Trek/Minority Report-like technology, with such things as in waving your hand in front of (but not touching) screens to make selections. Exactly, like Minority Report…except that you can’t move things around. But you do have touchless contact. #Oooh

Our first stop was where we selected basic identifying information on us, as in the name and favorite sports/athletes, which are used for the rest of the exhibits. Here we were handed off to “August,” also masked, who helped orient us. Both Trey and August were like Disneyworld people—happy and friendly! Made us feel welcomed, valued, and respected.

We’ve never been better treated at any other museum we’ve ever been to. Ever. In fact, even those who worked there felt honored to be working at the USOPM—some of them telling us so!

But Trey and Autumn answered all of our questions and treated us like dignitaries. August helped us make our selections and explained how the technology worked. She also mentioned an interesting thing (if a subtly subtle method to keep us all masked) in that maybe we’d like to take our pictures with our masks on to “remember the times” in which we visited the museum. Nicely done, Autumn—and actually great advice! Another interesting aspect of all this setup is that when you’re done, you have access to a “digital locker” of things you flagged throughout your visit. And if you did things at the interactive exhibits (keep reading a little bit) there were aspects of those activities in that locker you could access for some amount of time (not sure how long). Once done, we hung out and sampled the first exhibit of athletes.

NOTE

As you progress through the exhibits you have to remember to “bookmark” and otherwise select those things that you might want to revisit later in your Digital Locker. I kept forgetting to do this, so didn’t have too much in my locker, except for the interactive exhibits I describe below, including advice on how to get better at the interactive exhibits.

Now, you gotta keep this in mind: there is no way to properly see the entire USOPM in one day! I would hazard it’s impossible (unless you’re a speed reader), there’s so much to take in! It reminded us of Cooperstown, NY, and the Baseball Hall of Fame (BHoF). When you stand before the BHoF building, it’s so unassuming and small…but once inside the staff has managed to assimilate every last square inch of space in there by winding your way through a serpentine route with subdivided cubicle walls and increased internal surface area. The BHoF defines the term “density.” But I digress. The USOPM is not structurally that way, but it is that way in content. The USOPM’s design is actually inspired by the discus throw, what with the angled building and the internal winding passages. In fact, the first statue you see (at the very top of this post) inside the museum is that of a discus thrower.

(Aside: I threw discus in my last year of high school and was the #1 thrower on my team, so I was really interested in seeing whatever there was on discus throwing, but didn’t find much; perhaps I just didn’t make the correct selections. As a favorite sport I also had to select “Track and Field” instead of “discus,” but discus is my favorite event in the Olympics, along with the decathlon, gymnastics, ski jumping, skating, the triple jump…oh, never mind…).

Once in-processed by both Trey and August, we traversed across an open area that has an immense floor-to-ceiling IMAX-like screen with incredible resolution. It’s something like thirty or forty feet tall. High tech. As in the image below, you can see a glass deck (on the right, sticking into Simone Biles’s left elbow) where you can come out and view this wall from the other floors (also note how danged tall that screen is with an image of my wife standing before it, two images below). At the elevators, we were sent up to the top floor first, and meandered and spiraled our way down by ramped passages. No stairs that I noticed, so it’s quite friendly to those who would have difficulty navigating stairs. But, yes, there are elevators.

On the third floor is a brief history of the Olympics. Here’s a link. The exhibits cover the perimeter of the area, but the really cool stuff is in the center: the Olympic torches! There’s one from every year since the 1936 Berlin Olympics. There are displays you can operate that show the history of each torch and its journey for each Olympiad. Two torches went up into space: on the Space Shuttle, Columbia, went the one for the 1996 Atlanta Games, and one torch went aboard the Space Station for the Sochi Games, in 2014. Also during the Sochi torch travels, the torch went under water and remained lit. The video doesn’t tell us, but I figure it must have been a magnesium flare. Here is a great Torch history link.

In the image directly below, you’ll see one of the first discuses. It says that ancient athletes used to toss five-pound disks one hundred feet. In high school we tossed a 3.3 pounder and my tosses were just over that. However Olympic records today are in the 230-foot neighborhood, though I found conflicting distances between 229 and 243 feet. Anyway, a far cry from my 106 foot 8.5 tosses.

After this exhibit, which we spent a lot of time in, we wound our way down and into the next exhibit, which has visitors perform various Olympic-related skills to see how pitiful you are as compared to world-class, Olympic athletes. What humbling fun! There were exhibits for archery, skiing, skeleton, sprinting, and reflexes. And one for determining hockey game outcomes, if I remember correctly. I’ve done archery and know I can hit the broadside of a barn, and it looks like I can do that with an electronic bow as well. Nice to know if I ever get caught in The Matrix. At the interactive skeleton station, you leaned forward in a skeleton sled and tried to subtly angle your body around a video track. Not easy, but fun trying. The last station we did was for reflexes. I did this twice. On my second attempt I got the top score for the day. All three of these interactive displays were in my digital locker, with a video-taped athlete offering advice to better my performance.

One of the other things I really loved about the museum were all the positive quotes from those involved in the Olympics. It shows the Can-Do, Kick-Ass, Do-Good spirit of those involved. How all limitations were overcome. Visualization of goals met. It’s a reminder that we should all be more like this: thinking positive, optimistically, be the best you can be to yourself and others, in all ways, and always look forward, and not just in sports, but in everything we do.

We then spiraled our way down into a Paralympic area that also displayed some prostheses. These were amazing. The exhibit displayed actual legs prostheses. Wow, quite high-tech. It’s amazing what technology can do today. I have a bit of a personal interest, here, since I have an internal prosthesis: a total hip replacement. I do have quite the appreciation for technology that allows one to feel “whole” and “normal” again. Help you get your life back. Granted, mine is not an entire limb replacement, but I can tell you that had I not replaced my hip, I would be sporting quite the pronounced and painful limp, with extremely limited physical range. So, yeah, I appreciate the joy of being able to having part of your body replaced with technology…though I am not allowed to run or jump with my prosthesis, or do full splits, like I used to be able to do. But looking at these, holy cow, these athletes can.

Also at this exhibit is where you just had to wave your hands above (touchless) the touchscreens to select things (see immediate image below, that “Lab” screen).

Then there was this really cool animation of a “Blue Man” that was an exhibit for showing how things affected parts of the body, like drugs, food, training. As you selected something to read, it highlighted the Blue Man to display organs, muscles, and bone. It was a neat rendering!

We then proceeded through a narrow passage that led us into a circular room with a 360-degree movie abstract of the Olympics. After watching that we entered a Paralympics exhibit, with a few other sports, like baseball, skiing, and fencing—and I saw an interesting image of a younger General George C. Scott—I mean General George S. Patton—during a 1912 Olympic fencing match. You’re all most likely familiar with stereotypical images of General Patton, so this was a curiously different point of view. En Garde!

Note how much larger Patton’s weapon was than his opponent’s. That is so Patton.

Powerful:

Right outside this exhibit was a wall list of all the athletes who boycotted the 1980 Olympics, in Lake Placid, NY.

We then wound through some more winter sport exhibits and into a larger room that displayed the “history of the day” for certain Olympic periods, on floor-to-ceiling displays. Here was also a back-to-back kiosk housing two displays where you could “talk” with an artificial athlete (there was a selection of athletes to pick from). And they looked so danged lifelike! It was kinda unnerving. More great graphics resolution. You could ask questions and they would respond. Not really AI, because these questions and answers had to be scripted, but still it was cool how it worked. If you asked a question that had not been prepared, there was a response, including appropriate facial expressions, but don’t remember it. The rest of the room was about the history surrounding each Olympic event. We picked our birth year and watched.

Then we wound past a Wheaties Wall display, which was a display of the athletes who graced the eponymous cereal box, which was amusing. We saw the Olympic mascot (Sam the Eagle), then entered an Olympic art exhibit, as painted by LeRoy Neiman. I absolutely love his artwork! There was even an exhibit there where you could stand before a display and your image could be manipulated to display in certain artsy LeRoy Neiman configurations.

The last exhibit was a “Hall of medals.” It was quite interesting to see how each set of medals were/are different.

This was an absolutely incredible museum! I really want to go through it again! We spent just under four hours there and still didn’t see everything. This was truly the most cutting edge museum either of us had ever been to. It is an amazing compilation of all-things Olympic and Paralympic, and is a must-see destination if you have any interest at all in Olympic or Paralympic Games!

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum was extremely…inspiring.

 

 

Posted in Art, Health, Technology, To Be Human | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments