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Preview: Death By Chocolate

Death By Chocolate

For lovers of romance and chocolate.

Last Build Date: Sun, 05 Oct 2014 07:09:17 +0000


Model Call

Mon, 23 Feb 2009 04:07:00 +0000

It's March 2009. And I'm in need of a model. No, not a role model. Not a scale model. A fashion model.

I'm in the process of writing a screenplay called "Redesigning Addison." It's a Cinderella story like The Princes Diaries and Maid In Manhatten. In order to create the poster image (something I do with every screen story I write) I need an attractive woman in her twenties who is willing to pose both in Goth costume and Glam. Which also means she has both types of clothing - or at least access to both in her size.

To the table I bring a good eye (two, if truth be known), a sense of style, a Canon 40D, and an opportunity to grace a web site (credited) that attracts visitors from all over the world,* some images for a portfolio (if you are so inclined), and something to show your friends. If you feel you might be right and are interested in having a little fun drop me a line. Or if you would like more information or know someone who might be Who might be your chance to be discovered!

The Ultimate Dating/Romance Test

Sun, 24 Aug 2008 05:33:00 +0000

Girls, go here to take The Ultimate Dating/Romance Test!

Photography + Romance?

Wed, 16 Jul 2008 05:20:00 +0000

It was a different experience - being on the other side of the camera.

A female photographer, Celestine, saw some pictures I'd posted on the Net. She contacted me and proposed a photo shoot. She said she was visiting from Belgium and in each country she travels to she looks for interesting people to photograph.

Being open to new experiences and not being adverse to being thought of as interesting, I said yes.

I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. As a child I was always camera shy, but was this was no forced family photo op. This was more like play acting for the still camera. And at the same time exposing sides of oneself that are ordinarily hidden in the day-to-day course of work, responsibility, and...just daily routine.

I've posted a few of the photos at There might be more to come later. I haven't decided.

But what has this to do with romance? Imagine it. An evening of your lover posing for your camera, acting out fantasies, being guided by your artistic vision. Or maybe you're the one in front of the camera. For most it will be new and fun and an escape from the reality of daily routine. Use your imagination and whatever you have. That leather couch, the bear skin rug, a tub full of bath bubbles, an artfully draped sheet, candlelight

More blogging!

Mon, 19 May 2008 15:38:00 +0000

More blogging at

Tasia at rest

Sun, 30 Dec 2007 04:39:00 +0000





More photos of Tasia

Sun, 25 Nov 2007 19:49:00 +0000








Sun, 11 Nov 2007 04:28:00 +0000

Introducing my Bengal kitten, Tasia:





The Internet
Watching TV/DVDs
Playing with her toys
Riding on the big guy's shoulders
Climbing the Christmas tree and playing with the ornaments

Favourite movies: Kill Bill, Vol. I, James Bond

Artistic expression + romance

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 16:32:00 +0000


I’m not a fan of IKEA. The chain reinforces the stereotype of Sweden as being bland and boring (except for the occasional splashes of bright orange or blue, that seem like a throwback to the 60s, that dot the store). But I wanted to see what was out there in the way of bed frames before I made a choice and I was in a “leave no stone unturned” kind of mood.

As I wandered through the store I came across a curvy glass vase. The mind started clicking right away. An opportunity for artistic expression and romance – what could be better? I bought the vase ($13). When I got home I poured some coarse black sand into it. Then I went to add a tea candle. I’d believed that I’d be able to place the candle using a pair of tongs which I thought what just fit through the narrow neck.

Well, it didn’t just fit.

So I’m pondering how I’m going to put the candle in place. Being a clever lad, I quickly hit upon using a pair of wooden skewers. I place the tip of each between the candle and the edge of the aluminum tray the candle sits in. Gently, I lower it into place. Then I remove one skewer and use it to hold the candle down as I pull out the other skewer.

I then placed the vase in a white, semi-opaque bowl that I’d purchased from Costco some months ago ($20). As night falls I light the candle. The effect is beautiful. The candlelight shines through the bowl, and the bowl reflects in the glass tabletop upon which I’ve placed it. I wish I could reproduce the effect in a photograph, but a timed exposure without flash casts everything in an orange colour and using flash photography cancels out the soft light and shadows. All I can offer is the daylight photo that accompanies this piece, but it comes nowhere close to doing it justice.

Tea candles burn for a surprisingly long time. It was almost out when I decided to blow out the candle. This proved exceedingly difficult. Due to the shape of the vase and the narrowness of the neck, no matter how hard I blew the candle flame barely flickered. Being a clever lad, I quickly hit upon the idea of lowering a straw down the vase, close to the candle flame, and blowing through it. The flame was instantly extinguished.

But not clever enough. The next day I noticed candle wax splattered on the inside of the vase. I removed this by emptying the contents of the vase, placing the vase in very hot tap water, and pouring hot tap water into the vase. This loosened the wax, which then floated to the surface.

Next time I’ll just let the candle burn out.

The vase and candle will stand on it’s own, without the bowl. And for a cost, including tax, of less than $15 you can create a romantic mood. Even with the bowl the cost in only $35 – and the bowl can be used in other ways. You can add water and float flowers on top, or floating candle. It can be used to hold an orchid (the most exotic and sexy of flowers).

So what are you waiting for? Get busy. ;-)


Strawberry season

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:53:00 +0000

Strawberry season

Lately, I've been addicted to strawberries with whipped cream.

I'm really going to miss strawberry season.


Best shoe stores - Vancouver

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:51:00 +0000

Best shoe stores

Three of the best shoe stores in Vancouver - two of which take orders online:

Gravity Pope



For hip, sexy fashion.

Melting into love

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:50:00 +0000

Melting into love

Connoisseurs say that the best way to eat chocolate is not to chew it, but to let it melt slowly on your tongue, savouring both the taste and the texture. Romance and relationships, like chocolate, are also meant to be savoured. Too often we will treat them like a race to an end result - affirmation of self-worth, the bedroom, engagement, marriage, children. Being greedy for a quick end result we find ourselves unable to enjoy the journey. We are overcome by stress and feelings of doubt and possibly even mistrust...of our ourselves or our partner. But if we let the relationship move at its own pace, when we find the right person it will naturally lead us to those things we desire.

Wrap yourself in the romantic journey - like melting chocolate around your tongue.

Chocolate Confidential

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:49:00 +0000

Chocolate Confidential

A show I just watched on the CBC has inspired this...

Chocolate Confidential

The Sweet Science of Chocolate

Chocolate Health

Psychoactive Chocolate

Chocolate Brainpower

Virtual Chocolate

Chocolate Fashion


Yet More Favourite Things

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:48:00 +0000

Yet More Favourite Things

Part three. Go here for part one and here for part two.

1) Silk

Few things can match the flow of silk over a woman's curves.

2) Satin

I must confess I don't have satin sheets...but I aspire to have satin sheets. LOL

3) Thunderstorms

A good excuse to bring out the candles and cozy up in front of a romantic fire.

4) Crêpes

Discussed in an earlier post. :-)

5) Shoes

The most popular fetish is shoes and feet. Not mine, but according to studies. Check out this blog.

By Your Side

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:47:00 +0000

By Your Side

A year or two ago I went to a performance of the Underground Circus. The show was, "The Necklace." It followed the trail of a valuable necklace coveted by a number of characters. I fell in love with the music of this show. The lyrics were clever and often whimsical; the arrangments were brilliant; and the voice of one of the lead singers (Lindsey Davis) was so smooth it sounded like silk.

During the intermission I wandered out into the concourse and found "Colorifics" songwriter and musician Bernard Boulanger selling CDs at a table. I purchased two of the three that were on sale. I recall how happy he was, thanking me four or five times while beaming a smile. I don't know if it's that easy to make him happy or if he really needed the money. LOL (I should talk. Just the prospect of happiness makes me happy.)

Patsy Klein (yes, it's her real name) is the lead singer on "Where There's Smoke." Lindsey Davis is the lead on "Living City." "Where There's Smoke" tends to be more whimsical and playful. "Living City" is more romantic. And the most romantic song on the latter is...


Every star shining bright is the same
In Paris or in Cairo it's all the same
And if I had to choose between cold or hot
If I could decide between exotic or not
All that would matter is to greet the night by your side

As life floats by more and more I see
Sunrise sunset swirling endlessly
And I can be alone in a far off land
But that would create castles only made on sand
It all means nothing unless I live it by your side

Let's not let the ocean separate our love ever again
I just want to be by your side forever 'til the very end
The sun's made of silver as it touches the flow of the sea
Its beauty is full and I wish you were here for it to see
The beach is mellow full of peace and truth
But nothing can compare to what I feel for you
My life is empty unless I live it by your side

Unfortunately, "Colorifics" CDs are hard to come by. Copies of "Living Color" may be found on or a few other places...but I haven't found any copies of "Where There's Smoke." This Vancouver band was very well received critically, but it's breaks, management, and connections that ultimately determine success or failure in the music industry, just as it does in the arts as a whole.

Living Color -

Living Color -

Fantasy Lover

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:46:00 +0000

Fantasy Lover Category: Romance and Relationships Many weeks ago I promised Gwen I would write about "living in your own fantasy." (See comments under my blog post titled "For being sweet" - Tuesday, January 23.) Only I completely forgot how I intended to subtlety segue into it.New plan. I found a quiz over on Lakana Zee's page. It's called, "What kind of seducer are you?" My result:Your Seduction Style: Fantasy LoverYou know that ideal love that each of us dreams of from childhood? That's you!Not because you possess all of the ideal characteristics, but because you are a savvy shape shifter.You have the uncanny ability to detect someone's particular fantasy...and make it you.You inspire each person to be an idealist and passionate, and you make each moment memorable.Even a simple coffee date with you can be the most romantic moment of someone's life.By giving your date exactly what he or she desires, you quickly become the ideal lover.Your abilities to make dreams come true is so strong, that you are often the love of many people's lives.Your ex's (and even people you have simply met or been friends with) long to be yours.No doubt you are the one others have dreamed of...your biggest challenge is finding *your* dream lover.What Kind of Seducer Are You?These quizzes can be surprisingly accurate. (Sadly, in my case especially the last line of the profile.)I'll give you an example. It's trite, but that's good because everyone can recognize it. You've almost certainly seen this on TV or in a movie. Boyfriend blindfolds his girlfriend (or she closes her eyes) and leads her to the rooftop (invariably with a million dollar view of the city). She removes her blindfold to be greeted by a table set with a candlelit dinner and flowers (maybe there's also a violinist nearby) arranged by her wonderfully romantic boyfriend (or husband).Living in you own fantasy means imagining a scenario (as above) and then actualizing it – to put it in less than romantic terms. ?Why? Why should fantasies exist only in books and movies? Life can be hard. Life can be dull and repetitive. Life can be bereft of surprises and joy. Why not take opportunities to make life what we want it to be...even if it's only for a few hours in a day?Live in your own fantasy. Or invite me to live in yours. {wink}Signed...Your fantasy lover[...]

Words Unsaid (aka: Silent Vigil)

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:45:00 +0000

Words Unsaid (aka: Silent Vigil)

She's watching. Waiting. Curious. For what?

The next line? An emotion? The answer to a mystery?

Why here? Why now?

Haunting. Obsessive. Uncertain.

Expectation? Hope? For good or bad?

The past forms the future. Ruthlessly. Relentlessly.

Unanswered questions, thoughts unspoken.

Passion. Hurt. Love. Hate. Entangled. Inseparable.

Without courage what can there be but an endless string of words unsaid?

More Favourite Things

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:44:00 +0000

More Favourite Things

1. Chocolate

Lindt Lindor, Ferrero Rocher, and After Eight.

2. Pajamas

Silk, satin or flannel...him in pajama pants and her wearing only his pajama top is soooo sexy! (Actually, make that "me" and "her." {grin})

3. Pacific Rim National Park

Romantic Vancouver Island getaway.

4. Wild Blackberries

There's nothing sweeter.

5. Frogs

I just like them.

I want to share all these things with J.

Well...maybe not the frogs.

My Favourite Things

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:43:00 +0000

My Favourite Things Category: Blogging Nothing new to report. :-/Instead, a list of 20 of my favourite things presented NOT in order of importance. These are physical things rather than moments or activities. (Trying to tone down the emotional content of this blog for the moment.)1. Arbutus tree.The Arbutus tree grows in only two places in the world: an island in the southern hemisphere, and on the southwest coast of British Columbia. The thin, reddish bark peels to reveal younger smooth greenish to cinnamon red bark underneath. The branches twist and turn toward the sun and the sea.For some reason whenever I see an Arbutus tree I always feel at home.2. OrchidsThere's something mysterious and sexy about orchids. They come in an amazing array of colours.3. Secret gardensThere's no denying the romance.4. PondsA relaxing place to be on a sunny summer day.5. KoiFor the pond, of course.6. Bird of ParadiseAs varied and exotic as orchids.7. Maine Coon CatsThey combine the best qualities of a cat and a dog.8. Cinnamon bunsFrom Cinzeo or Cinnabon.9. Fish & ChipsThe secret is find a place where the oil is changed frequently and a light batter is used, preferably a beer batter. Fish & chips should be light, not greasy. Moby Dick in White Rock, or Charlie Don't Surf if you don't mind the slow service.10. Banana splitYou can't go wrong with fruit, ice cream and chocolate!11. Black licorice ice creamThe best black licorice ice cream in the lower mainland is found at Dairy Delight in the Lonsdale Quay. In White Rock: Andy's Gourmet Desserts & Ice Cream Café or Seaside Scoops.12. Coca-ColaI bought the phone in Las Vegas.13. BathtubsFor long, hot soaks, of course.14. Cinnamon & ginger, peppermint & spearmintOkay, that's four things.15. 50s DinersI just like them. {shrug}16. Chrysler 300MA great touring car. I'd like to take mine down the West Coast to California one day soon.17. Ambleside Beach and ParkIn the summer I spend as much time here as possible.18. White RockI'd like to live in this area. Small town feel close to the big city.19. Vancouver IslandAnd I'd like to have a cottage on the Island.20. Cirque du SoleilI've seen four shows lives (3 in Vancouver, 1 in Las Vegas) and three more on TV or DVD. I really want to see "O." The circus is my not-so-secret love, and my inspiration.[...]

I think I've found a home

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:42:00 +0000

I think I've found a home Category: Blogging On Sunday, 14 January I toured the B.C. Children's Hospital lottery show home on Morgan Creek Way in South Surrey. I like to see what the architect and interior designer have done in terms of style, mood and atmosphere. This latest show home (said to be influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, but personally I didn't see it) is one of the most appealing yet. The house is quite large (5,365 sq. ft.), yet it feels intimate. And that's no small feat (no pun intended).The spacious kitchen, with its large, marble topped island, is a place where family members can congregate and interact without getting underfoot. (Nearby there is a table with a view of the backyard.) It's easy to serve breakfast almost directly from the six-burner gas stove to the raised portion of the island that fronts three tall chairs. I love to cook breakfast. Breakfast being some combination of three or more of the following: bacon (Mitchell's low salt), sausages, eggs (fried or scrambled, free run), hashbrowns, toast, pancakes (real maple syrup is compulsory, obligatory and non-negotiable) or waffles (with vanilla sauce), and whipped cream with strawberries or blueberries. (Yes, it's artery clogging, but even I need to sin sometimes.)I long for a six-burner gas stove to compliment my cast iron frying pans and grill, and my crepe skillet. Okay, maybe the pans compliment the gas stove, but you get my drift. When it comes to breakfast I'm a purist. Your Teflon coated pans can go to hell. ;-)A tall fireplace in the living room maintains the atmosphere of intimacy. With bookshelves on either side of the hearth and a flat panel TV mounted above, it's the focal point of the room. My only gripe is that it's a gas-burning fireplace. Burning gas just isn't as romantic as burning wood. Would gives off a distinctive scent, it spits and crackles, and evolves. The burning of wood marks the passage of time. Tending a fire takes care and attention. It could be said that a good fire is analogous to great sex.Well, except for the spitting.Moving upstairs, there's a landing that overlooks the front door entranceway on one side and the living room on the other. I could imagine myself standing there, greeting family as they stepped in through the front door, or watching the interactions of family and guests in the living room. The high ceilings above the living room and entranceway create that sense of intimacy. They bring everything together despite the great volume of space. Movement and interaction is not only horizontal, it's vertical, too. (Not that I'm suggesting you leap off the second floor landing.)The kid's bedrooms are fine. I'll bypass those for more interesting territory: the master bedroom. The romantic feel of the master bedroom might lead you to believe you were in a villa out in the country. The big bed looks like you could melt into it. French doors open to a balcony. Cuddle up to your lover and watch a romantic movie on the wall mounted flat panel TV. Or spend a perfect morning in bed with your partner while you share a simple, but romantic breakfast from a single tray. If this room doesn't evoke fantasies...then try the bathroom. There's a bathtub large enough for two, with plenty of space for candles around the tub, and a large panel of frosted glass for letting the moonlight filter in.Not that I'm romantically inclined, or anything. Don't get the wrong idea just because I obsess about it.[...]

The Nature of Giving

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:41:00 +0000

The Nature of Giving

I firmly believe that, unless stated otherwise beforehand, giving must be unconditional. That might seem like an obvious statement, but in reality when most people give something to another person (be it a gift or favour) they have an expectation of receiving something in return. It may be gratitude, friendship, sex, approval, acceptance, loyalty or future gifts or favours. If there is an expectation of benefit it needs to be stated up front. That kind of giving is really a form of contract between people (and there's nothing wrong with that)...and you cannot impose a contract upon someone without their knowledge and approval.

When I give a gift it's because I want to, not because I want something in return. For me, giving is done of my free will and is an expression of my esteem for another. It means I feel that person is worth giving something to and I have recognized an opportunity. An expectation of benefit on my part would only ruin everything. Expectations are burdens we carry with us. When they're met we are merely relieved, when they're not we're angry. Why attach a neutral or negative result to what should be a pleasant and positive interaction? Let your expectations go. In doing so you will free yourself.

We have traditional times of gift-giving. Christmas, Valentine's Day, birthdays, weddings, baby showers. There's an expectation associated with these events. In some cases, a duty. But the best time to give or receive a gift is when it's unexpected (see my earlier blog: Unexpected Packages - Thursday, April 13, 2006) - during those other 350 days a year of generally wasted opportunity.

The ex-girlfriend who is fondest in my memories is the only one who bought gifts for me just because she wanted to. They were small things, but carefully chosen...and that's what mattered. I still have all of them because of how much her thoughtfulness meant to me.

Giving goes beyond gifts and favours. There are those who have what I call a "spirit of generosity." They take advantage of opportunities to help others and share their knowledge and experience. They hold open doors, yield for drivers who need to change lanes, and treat strangers with courtesy and respect. They have a cumulative effect on our lives through the hundreds of small considerations they present each and every year. And it doesn't cost a thing.

Giving can be spontaneous, opportunistic, unhoped for, surprising, and pure. It can be playful, romantic, or affectionate. These are good concepts. Have fun with them.

Ephemeral Beauty

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:40:00 +0000

Ephemeral Beauty This is a story from 7th grade.Two guys in my class walked up to me. One of them asked, "Who's the prettiest girl in the school?" Without hesitation I replied, "Nicole" (names have been changed). Then he asked, "Who would you marry?" Just as quickly I answered, "Erin." He turned to his friend and said, "Everyone says the same thing."Nicole was a willowy (to borrow a cliché, but she really was) blue eyed blonde with hair reaching to her shoulder blades. She was also a princess. She was beautiful and she knew it. In contrast, Erin was a plain looking brunette...not really big boned, but far from slender. But the biggest contrast was in how the two girls looked upon and treated other people. Nicole thought she was special...and you weren't. Erin didn't look down on anyone. I don't recall her ever voicing a criticism about another person. It was relaxing just to talk with her. She had a way of putting you at ease.All the guys thought Nicole was beautiful. But none would have married her.Guys aren't as stupid as people think. Oh yes, we get mesmerized sometimes, but it happens to women, too. All the time. That's just life.After grade seven I didn't seen Nicole again until grade 10. She had changed. The confident, stuck-up air had been replaced by a sadness. You see, Nicole peaked in grade seven. She never got any prettier. In fact, she looked pretty much exactly the same as she had three years earlier. Many girls, including her younger sisters, had eclipsed her in terms of physical beauty. Nicole had never cultivated any other attractive qualities. She hadn't needed to. Now she was no longer the centre of attention, of desire...and their was a hole in her life that she didn't know how to fill.There's another girl I recall from grade 10. She was a cute, short, blue eyed, blonde girl of Dutch origin. Amber ran with the elite girl's clique, suffered from the same character flaws as all her beautiful friends. (I don't expect I need to make a list.) Two years later I saw her as I boarded a bus. Our eyes met briefly as I walked past. I'll never forget that look. It's nothing I can even properly describe. You see, Amber had put on weight. A lot of weight. She'd gone from being the short cute girl to being the short fat girl. There was recognition. Recognition that she'd fallen and now here was another person who knew it. And sorrow. Perhaps shame. It was complicated.I couldn't help but feel sorry for Nicole and Amber. They probably deserved what happened to them. On an intellectual level I know that. Poetic justice or whatever. But I still felt sorry for them. I've known the pain of being an outcast. Of being looked down upon for one reason or another. But it's different with me. I never had anything to lose. I learned not to care about what other people thought. (Perversely, once I stopped caring people started thinking more highly of me!) These girls hadn't developed a thick skin. And is it really their fault that they were the way they were? Society fawns over pretty little girls. Parents and relatives coo, teacher's favour, and strangers praise. For what? The child hasn't done anything. Just being is enough.In the teenage years the boys start coming. They're willing to do anything to please the pretty girls. There's attention, favours, gifts...all free for the taking. Character and personality are still forming. These pretty girls (and boys) a[...]

For Being Sweet

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:39:00 +0000

For being sweet

I used to tell people that I didn't know why I had a blog:"I have nothing to say." Now I'm like...streaming blog. I still don't have anything to say, I just say it anyhow.

The other day at work I remembered that Caroline's birthday was somewhere around the 22nd. So I asked her "Isn't your birthday around now?" And she said it was last Thursday. So after work I went out and bought a small see-through box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. And I attached a handwritten note:

For being sweet. Happy Birthday, Caroline.
Your mysterious & elusive chocolate benefactor.

During my break I put the box into the pocket of her coat, which she habitually leaves draped over the the back of a chair. Later, I was talking with one of the supervisors and Caroline walked up smiling and said, "Sam, I know it was you!" I denied all knowledge. This sort of worked. I mean, it created an element of doubt. Caroline turned and went into the office. I saw her seated next to Kathy and knew what they were discussing. I took off and grabbed some of my stuff because I wanted to go for lunch. When I opened the door to the office to go in and mark down that I was away, Caroline was coming out. She had a form and my note in her hand. The form was in my handwriting. She said, "Look at this! They match!" I replied, "That's obviously a forgery." Caroline responded, "It was you! Thank you!" And she gave me a hug.

When I returned from lunch Caroline was talking with the supervisor. She said she'd already eaten all of the chocolates. That amused me. Especially as Caroline is so thin. You wouldn't expect that of her. It's cute.

I didn't get the impression that Caroline's boyfriend was too pleased with my little diversion. I don't even know for sure that she told him, but...well, I was getting a vibe. But I could be wrong. I'm not trying to steal Caroline away or anything. She's been very nice to me and I thought I saw an opportunity to make her happy. I value kindness above all other things and abhor meanness. I believe that kindness should be acknowledged and repaid. Is there anything better than bringing a little joy into someone's life? Yeah, bringing a lot of joy.

Final word: if other guys feel threatened by me they're just going to have to step it up. ;-)


Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:39:00 +0000


For an artist inspiration can come in small packages. It can be something that would quickly pass through most people's consciousness to be forgotten. An observed sense of style, a way of moving, an unconscious habit, an overheard snippet of conversation...these can form the basis of a novel, or a poem, or a dance.

Inspiration can also come in large packages. For me, one of those packages is the circus. Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Eloize, Cirque Parasol I've been inspired by their creativity and artistry and the talent and dedication of the performers.

I'm not sure why I'm so drawn to the circus. My uncle was an acrobat, but he died when I was very young and I never knew him. (A pole he was balancing on snapped. He died of head injuries.) And my mother was briefly in the circus when she was 17 and was asked to go on tour throughout Europe, but her mother wouldn't allow her only surviving child to go off on her own with people of "dubious morality" times being what they were. But neither of my sisters has any affinity for the circus despite having an interest in the arts. So I don't know what it is.

I do know there is no other art form that has the same power to move me. And I find myself looking for opportunities to place cirque performers in the stories I write. The lead female character of my action-thriller-espionage screenplay, RED MERCURY, is a cirque acrobat. The inspiration for the character is Isabelle Chasse's 'aerial ballet in silk' performance in Cirque du Soleil's "Quidam." More than that, each time I watch a cirque performance I have a renewed desire to create: an impetus to tell stories that will evoke emotion and illuminate the world.

What are your inspirations, big and small?

Unexpected Packages

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:38:00 +0000

Unexpected Packages

I'm always surprised when it happens, but people I've never met in person sometimes send me gifts.

I've received cash (that was awkward), flowers, coffee, a DVD, the CD soundtrack for a movie, a t-shirt, more flowers, an gift certificate, key chains, and more. All in appreciation for some thing I've done for someone or some group.

I've done far more for family and friends...and have received fewer tokens of appreciation. Why is that? Do we take for granted those who are physically in our lives? Or is their a culture of expectation that doesn't exist between cyber buddies?

I don't know the answer.

Unexpected packages...everyone should get one on occasion. I think maybe I'll send one today.

Unconditional Love

Thu, 26 Jul 2007 05:37:00 +0000

Unconditional love

So many people seek relationships in which love is unconditional. But unconditional love only means that everyone should abandon responsibility and standards.

If love were unconditional then everyone would be in love with everyone - and therefore no one would be "in love." It's conditions that create love between two people.

Here's an example of unconditional love: "I love berate and criticize you and destroy your self-esteem...and still you love me."

Conditional love: "I treat you with respect and help you fulfill your potential as a human being...and you love me for it."

Conditions are good. If you're not setting conditions and your partner isn't setting conditions then you have an addictive, disfunctional and destructive relationship. True love happens when both people in the partnership accept and value the conditions they place upon one another.

A belief in conditional love is a sign of self-respect. It says "I have value as a person." And it says "I'm good enough to be loved by people who have standards."