I am an author, actor, and attorney living and loving in the DFW (metroplex) area. I love books, theatre, movies, and legalese. I've been in plays, short-films, feature films and when I am not working on my debut novel "Black Scorpion Trilogy Book 1: The Veil", I enjoy reviewing plays for The Column Online and representing the down-trodden in legal matters. Thanks for stopping by. If I can help you in anyway, just let me know. I'm your paraclete. -E-

Thursday, August 29, 2013

10 Reasons to Buy a Book.

So as I sat staring at my blinking little cursor it suddenly dawned on me that with the advent of ebooks there were some very compelling reasons to purchase physical books.  Of course, mind you, this is not that list.  Instead...this is my list...
  1. Weightlifting - stack the whole Left Behind series (what, like 12 books?) or hardcopies of Twilight on your weight bar and go to town.  Or, keep a copy of War & Peace on your desk or nightstand for some light curls.
  2. You might learn something.  Books are full of knowledge.  Yes, the "k" is silent and if you read more often you would know (there it is again....spooky) what that means.
  3. Chicks dig smart guys.  Not the professor type with the patches on their sweaters because that just looks pretentious.  But the guy eating lunch perusing a worn copy of Catcher in the Rye or the guy at the coffee shop drilling through an espresso and the Art of War.
  4. Reading - its fundamental.  Or as I like to say...Fun for Mentals.  Remember Reading Rainbow with Levar Burton (Geordi La Forge)?  Geordi La Forge telling you to bust a spine on a book.  Yea, that was sweet. 
  5. It makes you look smart.  Go on...check your back stock of photos or magazine articles and find a picture of someone reading a book.  Heck.  Find a picture of someone carrying a book and you will STILL think that person was smart.  (Come ta think of it...carrying a book could boost your cardio...See #1) 
  6. All purpose hammering tool.  Make sure it's a hardcover and not one you are particularly fond of and hammer away.  You can also use it to smash things such as spiders.  If you like spiders you can smash bugs.  If for some weird reason you are an Entomologist then use it to smash lawyers.  (Oh come on...you had to know that one was coming)
  7. Prop up a table.  Depending on the size and/or shape you can use it to do some serious propping of short table legs.  Also, if you refer to Reason #2 you might find a book that can show you how to fix the leg properly...but hey, we are getting way ahead of ourselves here.
  8. Batteries never run out.
  9. Regifting after reading makes you look like a compassionate and caring person.  Who doesn't look caring when handing over their used copy of The Giver.  Books are designed to be read and passed on....ummm Library? Hello.  Otherwise you look like that crazy hoarder person with stacks and stacks of books and a missing cat named Clarence.  Clarence? Hello...
  10. Books are Fat Free.  That's right.  FAT FREE.  Go on..consume as many as you want.  You will never gain weight.  Heck, consume several after 9 p.m.  No weight gain.  Nothing.  And if that's not enough for you they are Gluten Free and Sugar Free.
                                                                 Get you SOME!   

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sequester - flash fiction story

“How long has it been,” the old man whispered.
He heard a slight stirring from somewhere across the room.  The wool blankets on the cot shifted and pitched.
“How long has it been,” the old man muttered louder.
“What?” the half asleep soldier questioned from beneath the blanket.
“How long have I been here, how long has it been?” the old man shouted.  “Surely, the war has ended by now.” 
The soldier threw back the blankets, swung his feet to the floor and hunched over sleepily.  The large stone room was cold.  It was always cold…and dank.  The soldier remembered a time, not too far in the distant past, when the sun shone on his face and warmed his still beating heart.  The soldier wheezed and coughed. Blood darkened his lips as he spat on the cold stone floor.  “Petraculus”, the soldier coddled.  “It’s been years.” 
“Then arise my friend, look out the window and tell me of the battle’s progression.”
“I need a minute,” the soldier wheezed with pain. 
“What?” Petraculus craned his neck to try and peer around the cloth sheet that divided the room.
“I need a minute.”
“Now,” shrieked Petraculus.  “As long as the war yet rages my oath to the king traps me here in this tower.  We are nearing the end of the war, dear Talus.  I can feel it in my old bones.” 
“Fine,” Talus grimaced as he stood, once wrapped in his robe he shuffled toward the window.  The warm fur robe felt good against his cold skin.  As he reached for the open window, he stopped short as the chain tightened around his throat.  He ran his fingers across the rough stone edge of the window sill and felt the dampness as it seeped through the rocks. He imagined the sun shining on his face as he touched his moist fingers to his lips. 
“I still don’t understand why they keep my bed over here.  It would be easier to win this war if I could simply watch as my spells unfold on the battlefield,” Petraculus mumbled.  He tugged on the chain anchoring him to the large oak bed.
“We have been over this a thousand times.  In fact every soldier before me has been through this with you,” Talus snapped. 
“I know, I know.  My bed sits closer to the hearth where it is warmer.”  Petraculus rubbed his ankle under the chain.  “But why the restraints?”
“It was part of the deal you made with the king.  You were the most powerful man in all the kingdoms.  After you went mad the king captured your daughter and threatened to slay her unless you agreed to use your powers to help win the war against his enemies.” 
“I don’t remember a daughter.”  Petraculus rubbed his forehead as he sat on the edge of the bed.
“Oh yes.  She was very beautiful.  And wise.  She was the wisest woman in all the land.”  Talus pulled the fur robe tighter around his body.  The fever made it almost impossible to get warm.  The chills so violently shaking his soul would soon end and he would finally be at peace. Just one more night, he thought. “Shall we begin?”
“Ah, yes, the war.”  Petraculus stood and walked toward a withered wooden desk standing next to the bed.  A vegetable crate sat nearby on its side as a make-shift chair.  Petraculus threw out the back of his robe like a tail and squatted over the crate.  He grabbed a feather quill from the desk, dabbed it into some ink, and hunched like a gargoyle over some parchment. “Tell me Talus.  What do you see?”
Talus rubbed his face and felt the empty sockets where his eyes used to be.  He traced his cold trembling fingers across the ragged scars.  He remembered the itching and throbbing from the stitches more than the pain of the surgery.  He snorted a barely audible laugh.  “I barely remember colors,” he muttered to himself.
“Nothing.” Talus retorted.  “I said they are flying their colors.”
“What are their colors?” Petraculus hunched back over the parchment with renewed vigor.
“Green and Black, with a large dragon wrapped around a gold ingot.”  Talus coughed again and fell to one knee.
“FAMINE.  Ah yes…, probably using a vast array of undead monsters.”  Petraculus snickered to himself as he wiped drool from his lower lip with the back of his hand.
Talus propped himself up on the edge of the bed with one arm.  “Oh my king, My sweet, sweet king,” he whispered. 
Petraculus cackled with glee.  “A simple spell of undoing will return the majority of those nightmarish creatures to the dust from which they came.”  He began scribbling feverishly.
Talus placed his second knee on the ground and slumped over the edge of the bed.  “What about the crops?”
“The crops?”
Talus’s body shook violently as the fever throttled his bones.  “The crops are withered.  The people will starve.”
“Yes. Yes.  I will undo the withered crops as well.  They will grow verdant and abundantly.”  Petraculus scribbled in an ancient language.  Darkness filled the room from all corners. As it swirled, slowly covering the light, letters appeared on the parchment.  Petraculus slid the parchment under the cloth divider.  “Quickly Talus read this tome out loud.”
The door opened quietly and in shuffled three soldiers wearing fur on the bottoms of their boots.  Two soldiers had their mouths sewn shut with leather straps while the third had his eyes sewn closed with hemp twine.  The two silent soldiers unchained Talus’ cold lifeless husk and chained the third soldier to the wall in his place.  The silent guards carried Talus body from the room as the third soldier picked up the tome.
“Thank you, Lord FAMINE,” the soldier whispered to himself.  Immediately it seemed, the soldier felt his body begin to decay.  He sat on the edge of the bed.  “What about the fish in the sea?”
Petraculus began to scribble intensely.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A dog walks into a bar...

And swaggers up to the bartender. "Arf arf arf". The bartender says "I'm sorry sir, I don't speak dog."
"Oh dear me," the dog replies.  "Meow meow meow".

Yea, I didn't get it either when my cat told me the joke. I thought maybe it was just me.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The adversary…



This is how I imagine the life of a Christian is.  Of course the dragon would be replaced with a serpent but you get the drift.  The serpent, devil, satan, evil one…whatever you want to label it, is lying in wait for everyone.  Believer or non-believer.  In John 10:10 Jesus states “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy”.  However, I believe it is the believer that is the target more so than the non-believer.  How often are we, as believers, whipping ourselves with our own guilt and shame at what we have done?  How often do we expect more from ourselves than we do others?  How often do we tell ourselves “I should have known better”?  The adversary as it is sometimes referred to used to be the Worship leader in Heaven.  One of the archangels of GOD.  The adversary knows the bible, the scriptures, the history backwards and forwards.  For anyone that thinks that enough learning, education or memorization will match what the adversary knows all I can say is what my friend Vizzini says in the Princess Bride…

VIZZINI: Let me put it this way: have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?


VIZZINI: Morons.

The battle has already been won by Jesus Christ.  It’s time to stop beating ourselves up and start pushing for more ground into the enemies camp…it’s time to put on the armor of GOD and get back in the war. 


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Theater Review - A Wrinkle in Time




A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle
Adapted for the stage by Taffy Geisel
Original music composed, performed & recorded by Joey Geisel
Artisan Center Theater

Director – Taffy Geisel
Stage Manager – Bethany Jarrell
Set Design – L.K. Fletcher, Nate Davis
Lighting Design – Nate Davis
Costume Design – Rebecca Roberts
Special Costumes – Beasts - Jeannia Philips;
Wings - Marjorie Bell, and
Flying Creatures – Michelle Schmidkofer
Properties Design – Chris Seil, L.K. Fletcher
Special Choreography – Jennifer Leyva
Sound Design – Joey Geisel, Nate Davis

CAST (production is double cast – this is the cast from the
reviewed performance)

Meg Murry – Morgan Gerdes
Charles Wallace Murry – Parker Wilson
Calvin O’Keefe – Jameson Taylor
Dennys Murry/Camazotz Child – Isaac Jarrell
Sandy Murry/Camazotz Child – Ethan Jarrell
Mrs. Kate Murry/Aunt Beast – Tonya Laree
Mr. Alex Murry – David Priddy
Mrs. Whatsit – Jackie Holt
Mrs. Who – Joanna Philips
Mrs. Which – Katy Wood
Centaur Whatsit/Head Beast – Bob Willey
Happy Medium/Nurse Beast – Joanna Berry
Prime Coordinator – Timothy Raif
Billy Henderson/Paper Boy – Tavin Bohel
Postmistress/Ball Girl’s Mom – Hallie Raymond
Mrs. Jenkins/Camazotz Mom – Susan Spangler
Ms. Porter/Gossip/Camazotz Mom – Christianne Miller
Spelling Operator – Scott Collins
Gossip/Camazotz Citizen – Baylee Smith
School Girl 1/Winged Creature – Shakira Sadler
School Girl 2/Winged Creature – Parker Gerdes
School Girl/Butterfly – Omega Priddy, Chanel Perreault,
Alyssa Yates

Camazotz Child/Winged Creature – Julia Wood
Ball Girl – Alana Thomson
Camazotz Children – Jacob Meyers
Prime Coordinator’s Assistants – Christopher Wood, Josh Yates,
Hallie Raymond, Andre Perreault

Reviewed performance on August 2nd, 2013

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

_________________________A WRINKLE IN TIME______________________

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

A Wrinkle in Time, produced by Artisan Center Theater, is a story of individuality and non-conformity. Based on the classic book by Madeleine L’Engle and read by generations of children, the story opens with Meg Murry, an awkward teenager, being harassed at school by her peers because of her own unique gifts but also because her family is eccentric. Her father, a noted physicist working for the government was sent on a secret mission and mysteriously disappeared.

Her younger brother, Charles Wallace Murry, is a genius on some level but socially inept, and her mother, Kate Murry, also a gifted scientist, is busy with her own work and the disappearance of her husband, leaving Meg alone to face the taunts and trials of teenage angst. Meg discovers secrets that lead her, Charles and friend Calvin on an adventure of a lifetime to save not only her father but also the world.

Taffy Geisel did an admirable job of both adapting this book for stage and directing this marvelous cast. There were some glitches, like rushed lines and missed cues, mostly from opening night trial and error, but overall the play was well done.

The set design was minimal but the large video screens on the east and west walls as well as the large one in the south corner more than made up for any lacking physical set construction. Because of the universe spanning adventure, the videos provided a much appreciated galaxy-traveling quality. The videos will surely keep the younger children engaged.

The minimal set design was due in part to the special choreography by Jennifer Leyva. In a particular scene the ensemble cast spirals and dances through the darkness dressed in black, holding lighted globes of varying sizes. As the scene progresses the darkness devours the light until nothing is left. The dance routine could use more polish, a few of the “stars” ran into others, but nonetheless was a poignant and powerful display of the evil that was being fought.

The costume design by Rebecca Roberts was nicely done but the special costumes were phenomenal. The Centaur Whatsit costume was excellent and provided the ability to sit astride the centaur. The Wings by Marjorie Bell and the Flying Creatures by Michelle Schmidkofer were amazing, but by far the best costumes were the Beasts by Jeannia Philips. The Beasts had a unique look and provided the actors within the costumes the ability to both see and act. They were very well crafted and a wonderful addition to the play.

The acting was superb. Morgan Gerdes as Meg Murry did a wonderful job. She was able to portray a nerdy yet sincere teenager at the outset of the play and then a strong woman of conviction during the final climatic battle with “IT”.

Parker Wilson as Charles Wallace Murry gave an excellent performance.
His portrayal of the odd genius Charles Wallace was realistic and believable. There were a few times where Wilson jumped his lines and fidgeted with his costume sleeves too much but he was very expressive and performed his lines with ease.

Jameson Taylor performed well as Calvin O’Keefe but at times seemed a little too reserved. The quiet way in which he spoke often times was drowned out by the other players.

Tonya Laree did well as Kate Murry but had a more impactful role as Aunt Beast. Given the fact that she was covered in costume from head to toe she was still able to emote well enough to provide an emotional farewell scene with Meg Murry.

Jackie Holt did a masterful job as Mrs. Whatsit, the youngest of the beings that helped Meg on her adventure. Whether she was mumbling to herself or rolling down a ramp, Holt maintained the eccentricities of the character and was a pleasure to watch. She had a heart-warming quality in both her mannerisms and her speech. She had very good comedic timing and was amusing every time she was onstage.

Mrs. Who, played by Joanna Philips, was the second of the ancient beings that helped Meg on her quest. Philips did an amazing job in this role. She had an odd quality that carried through her character into every scene. Additionally, she had an uncanny ability to rattle off foreign language quotes naturally and smoothly.

Mrs. Which, the third of the ancient beings, was more of a leader than the other two and had a more royal air about her. Katy Wood was impressive both in her regal attitude and her commanding presence on stage. She truly acted the leader of this quirky trio and was able to portray a mystic air in both form and substance.

Timothy Raif was excellent as the Prime Coordinator. Raif portrayed the evil and smug personality well. You could feel the disdain and a better than thou attitude dripped off every word that Raif spoke. He was a pleasure to watch but also a bit reserved. It felt at times there was more to Raif than he was willing to give.

David Priddy did a fine job as Alex Murry, even when at times he wasn’t certain where he was supposed to be. He acted well enough and delivered his lines properly but I never got the feeling he was someone that Meg would really be looking for. Murry was the missing father figure and when he was finally found I didn’t get the impression that much was lost by him not being around. Priddy was a wonderful actor but in several scenes the character of Alex Murry almost got lost as an after-thought.

A Wrinkle in Time is a powerful story of individuality. It showcases the uniqueness of the universe and the people that fill it and Artisan Center Theater, at the direction of Taffy Geisel, wove a masterful tale. Each scene had a story within the story to tell and the observant audience member will walk away with a new found appreciation for the quirky yet unique people that inhabit our lives. The play is both engaging for younger audience members and thought provoking for those a bit more seasoned.

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia's THE COLUMN


Artisan Center Theater
418 E. Pipeline Road, Hurst, Texas 76053

Runs through August 31st

Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday evening at 7:30pm
and Saturday matinee at 3:00 pm

For tickets and information please call 817-284-1200 or
go to www.artisanct.com.