More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

The two Resedas

Reseda Theater on Sherman WayI had a wonderful time visiting my hometown of Reseda, California. I went there to do research on my novel, be interviewed by a writer creating a video history of the community, and meet with members of the Reseda Neighborhood Council.

As I went through my hometown, I realized I was seeing two Resedas: The Reseda I Grew Up In and The Reseda That Exists Today. When we look at a community and how to make it better, we can’t confuse the two.

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Why high school matters

Reseda High School front entrance

It helps when your high school has an impressive front entrance. (Image from Reseda High School.)

As I work on The Ghosts of Reseda High (and planning to go there soon to do research), it made me think about high school in general. Why do we make such a big deal about it, at least in the United States? High school is only three or four years. If we live until we’re 80, high school is only 3.75-5% of our life. Some say high school is the “The Best Years of Your Life.” That may make sense when you’re 18. If you’re 45, and you still think high school is “The Best Years of Your Life,” something is wrong with your life.

Yet, we go to reunions and homecoming games. We reminisce on Facebook. We watch Glee, read Harry Potter, and write YA novels. High school pulls on us, especially as we get older. It’s not just because high school was the last time we looked good in shorts.

I believe high school matters because that’s where we start defining ourselves. It’s when we begin to figure out who we are and where we’re supposed to fit in the world.

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Fail to the Redskins

Washington Redskins Logo

Also offensive to those who hate redundant design (from

It’s seems that everyone from Bob Costas to President Obama has weighed in on the Washington Redskins naming controversy. Still, there are those who wonder, “What’s the big deal? Is this just political correctness run amok?” There are also those who feel the truly offensive part of the team name is “Washington.”

I’m going to look at the controversy from a different angle. When it comes to team names, “Redskins” fails.

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Why I like technology

iPhone 5s with MacBook Pro

You could say my gadgets are the Apples of my eye.

“I don’t have techno-fear, I have techno-joy!” — Eddie Izzard

I’ve been in the computer industry for nearly 30 years. Before that, I had experiences with mainframes at UCLA and a programmable Radio Shack calculator. Why do I like technology so much? For a simple reason: It enables us to do things.

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What the Federal budget crisis teaches us about power

Throwing in the monkey wrench

Monkey wrench throwers, unite! (Image from Leasing News.)

Too much has already been said about the shutdown of the United States Federal government and the even bigger crisis that can happen if the debt limit issue isn’t addressed. I also don’t want to add to the chorus of finger-pointing, because there is plenty of blame to go around.

Instead, I’m interested in the power of the individual, especially the power to obstruct. We can think about Senator Ted Cruz’s filibuster or the man who stood in front of the tanks in Tienanmen Square. Depending on how we feel about an issue, we can consider this power to be noble or obnoxious, courageous or egotistical, moral or self-serving. We can’t deny that such exercises show how much power an individual really has.

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