Shark Week Video Entry – Spiny Dogfish Fishing

I was on vacation the past week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  At the same time as we were down there, there were several shark attacks just to the north of us in North Carolina.  I can see why.  At the beach we were at, in Garden City, South Carolina, which is just south of Myrtle Beach, we saw several sharks at the pier.  The sharks are there all the time because of the fisherman.  I’m not talking little baby sharks either.  These were eight foot long bull sharks that troll the waters.  The weird thing is, the swimmers and surfers didn’t even flinch about it.  There were several of them swimming and surfing only 20 meters from where we were seeing sharks!  Crazy people, I tell you.

Anyways, I didn’t go swimming anywhere near the pier.  I did go in the ocean a few times, but only up to my knees.  Apparently, that’s all you have to be in though to get attacked.  I read some of the reports, and it seems none of the people who were bit were in deep water.

I did get up close and personal with one kind of shark called the “spiny dogfish”.  We caught some when we went on a fishing charter.  Watch the video!

It was rough seas, but we all managed to keep our lunch down.  Sorry that there’s no footage of me catching a shark, but I really did.  You gotta believe me!

A Great Review for O.K. from Readers’ Favorite

The first professional review of O.K. is Great is in, and it makes me want to cry tears of joy.  I didn’t cry, mainly because I’m a man who has troubles showing his emotions, but I’m crying on the inside, like normal.

Readers' Favorite Five Star Review

Readers’ Favorite Five Star Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

O.K. is Great is a preteen coming of age novel written and illustrated by David Tiefenthaler. Otis Kalshwonkee’s been known by the nickname “OK” for as long as he can remember. He hates it because it seems to symbolize the fact that he’s just average in everything he does. His big brother Stu is a gifted sports animal and can do everything better than he does. His sister Ella is a talented pianist and even composes her own songs. Otis is hoping that starting seventh grade in a new school will give him a chance to shine and forget about that nickname and everything it stands for, once and for all. His mom and dad are moving the family to a house in the suburbs, and the new school is for both junior and senior high students. This means, of course, that big brother Stu will make sure everyone knows about the nickname, but Otis still isn’t giving up on his dream of being the greatest.

David Tiefenthaler’s preteen novel, O.K. is Great, is funny, inspirational and exciting all at once. Tiefenthaler’s illustrations make this story feel like a graphic novel, even if it does have more words than one normally finds in that genre, and the drawings work so incredibly well with the plot. I loved the pictures of big brother Stu, especially the one illustrating the dreaded nocturnal elbow drop. Otis and Leo’s training sessions are marvelous and the sports aspect of the story works wonderfully. Tiefenthaler also addresses the subject of bullying and cyber-bullying in a way that is supportive and positive. I had a lot of fun reading O.K. is Great. Otis is an awesome character, and I’m hoping that the author will keep us up to date on Otis’s further adventures. O.K. is Great is most highly recommended.

Shiny Five Star Readers' Favorite Seal of Approval

Shiny Five Star Readers’ Favorite Seal of Approval

Take an #OKSelfie with #OKisGreat

O.K. is Great, my book, is about to take social media by storm.  Here’s my plan to be a trend setter in the world of books.

Step One – Buy O.K. is Great.

Step Two – Read it

Step Three – Take a selfie with the book, but make sure it isn’t a great selfie.  It should only be okay.  Then post that pic on social media with the hashtags #OKSeflie and #OKisGreat.

Want to see some?  Here’s Shelly’s pic!

I'm OK x 2

I’m OK x 2

Next up we have twins with their dad.

Twinning!

Twinning!

Here’s one fan who read the book and then decided to go out for the track team!

Put that tongue back in your mouth, young man!

Put that tongue back in your mouth, young man!

My wife read it!  She couldn’t help but smile for the camera.

I love to snuggle with O.K.

I love to snuggle with O.K.

Finally, here’s one of me.

The camera scares me.

The camera scares me.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Dave, you are much too handsome for an #OKSelfie.  You’re probably right.  I posted this to Instagram and got 11 hearts.  I’ve got to dial down my handsomeness, but I don’t know how.  It’s a curse.

Tag!  You’re it.  Get the book, read it, and take a pic.  I look forward to seeing you on social media as I stalk the hashtags #OKisGreat and #OKSelfie.

Promoting O.K. is Great on my Tips4Running YouTube Channel

If you’re a casual follower of this blog, you may not know that I lead a double life.  No, I’m not Batman.  Then again, Batman and I have never been in the same room at the same time.

I’m getting off topic.  What I mean to say is that I have a YouTube channel called Tips4Running where I make videos about tips for running.  My persona on there is “Coach Tief” because I was a collegiate runner, and a track and cross country coach after I graduated from college.  I’ve got a lot of subscribers on YouTube, so I’m using that site to push my book, O.K. is Great, out into the world.  Here’s the quick video promo I made.

Happy Trails,

Coach Tief!

Stuff Mr. Tiefenthaler Says

Teaching can be a rough job at times, but two kids today surprised me in class with something they’d been working on for a long time. Apparently, all year they wrote down any strange, interesting, or funny quotes I said. They turned it into a PowerPoint and shared it with the class.

I’m an English teacher, and I tend to get carried away telling random stories. (These stories fit well with the Speaking and Listening Standards, so don’t worry you Common Core advocates. The students in my class are getting a well rounded education.) 

I now present the top ten things that I said to my 7th grade English class this year.

10. The only good thing that came out The Great Depression was the term “hobo”.

9. Star Wars: It’s a family drama with light sabers.

8. You have to try demolition derby sledding. Get four friends with four sleds and there’s only one rule. You have to switch sleds in the middle of your ride. It’s awesome.

7. Let your words mingle and dance with each other.

6. I’m going to put my GoPro camera on my Mini Van and go to the drive thru at McDonalds. Extreme!

5. A funny google image search is “fat bears”. Actually, don’t search that.

4. Any cereal that changes the color of your milk to pink is probably unhealthy, but it also is probably amazing.

3. There was a doll for boys when I was a kid. It was called My Buddy! Sing it with me. My buddy, my buddy. My buddy, my buddy. My Buddy and me!

2. I live on a rainbow, and I wear my baby blue pants because those are my happy pants. (I have light blue pants and kids were commenting on them – I had to defend myself)

1. The English language is a hot mess.

Yes, I did say all these things. Some of them I remember why I did, and other’s I’m not quite sure what I was thinking about when I said them.

*** David Tiefenthaler wrote a book, O.K. is Great, and the reviews are in!  ***

“I love this book. It is humorous, but well grounded in reality. The author seems to know and understand well the angst of adolescent boys. If you have enjoyed the wimpy kid books try this one.  It’s funny, witty, has hilarious illustrations, and tells a great story, too.”

*** Pick it up in Paperback, on your Kindle or Nook, on iTunes or at Smashwords.  ***

Something is Wrong With my Stomach – Story Time about Appendicitis

***I’ve been looking for this story for years.  I wrote it a week after I suffered from Appendicitis.  Be careful reading it.  I grossed out my seventh grade students when I read it aloud to them and two of them fainted***

I have been in pain before.  Kick the wall barefoot and break my toe pain.  Split my mouth open and need stitches in my tongue pain.  Have my wisdom teeth chiseled out of my jaw pain, but nothing like the pain I felt in my gut last weekend.

My wife, two year old son, five month old daughter, and I were living at my parents while our house was being completed.  All day on a Saturday, I labored away on various projects in our uninhabitable new house.  Undercutting doorways, painting posts, sealing grout, and running away from yellow jackets were the major time consumers.  With no working electricity I was forced to leave the work site at around seven in the evening.  I headed to my wife’s parents place.

During the drive, my stomach started to feel strange.  When I say feel strange, I mean it was an abnormal sensation that I couldn’t relate to any other pain I’ve felt in my life.  Something was wrong with my stomach.  I arrived at my in laws, Mark and Shirlie.

My stomach pain started to intensify during my visit with Mark and Shirlie.  My wife, Lisa Marie, asked, “Why are you so crabby?”

I grumbled in return, “Could we go home please?”

“We don’t have a home. Don’t you remember?” she snapped.  I hobbled along picking up various building blocks, diapers, and personal belongings. We wrangled Bob the Builder, my son, and snatched up my little daughter, The Flower Child, and plopped them into their car seats.  We headed back to my parent’s house.  My abdomen grabbed and pulled at me as we drove.

Saturday night was miserable.  The Flower Child woke up numerous times.  My stomach kept me from sleeping between The Flower Child’s feedings.  My wife asked me why I couldn’t sleep.  I replied with, “My stomach hurts.  I’m not sure if it’s my insides or my outsides.”

I went to the bathroom and didn’t know if I should sit on the toilet or put my head above it.  Luckily, I didn’t have to use it for either.  Sweat beaded up on my forehead, so I pressed my face against the cool tiles of the bathroom floor.

Sunday morning came, and I tried to figure out what was wrong.  Did I eat too many peanuts?  Did I pull a muscle trying to undercut the door?  Do I need to take some antacids?  Do I need to eat some more or not at all.  Should I drink something or nothing?

As the day progressed, I became more and more useless according to my wife.  She asked, “What’s wrong with you?”

“Something’s wrong with my stomach.”

“Suck it up, Tief,” she would chant.  I tried to hold The Flower Child and play with Bob the Builder, but I couldn’t keep my mind off the pain; the ever increasing pain.  My stomach rolled, ached, and started to stab me in the lower right side.

I took three baths because the water would take some pressure off my body.  My mother said at the dinner table, “Maybe its appendicitis.”

I asked, “What’s that?”

“I don’t know.”

My family ordered me to go upstairs and lay down.  I did, but the right side of my stomach kept needling me.  The pain made my eyes water as I staggered to get up.

I shuffled over to the computer and looked up “appendicitis symptoms.”  The computer spit out a list of symptoms that mirrored the way I felt.  The most dangerous item in the description read, “If you have been feeling these symptoms for more than four hours, see a doctor.  If you have been feeling these symptoms for more that 24 hours, see a doctor immediately.  It was six in the evening.  I started feeling “these symptoms” about 23 hours ago.

I printed out a copy of this wonderful literature to share with the family.  I put on my shoes.  “Let’s go to the hospital, Lisa,” I announced.  My parents stayed back with Bob the Builder, but my wife grabbed The Flower Child, and we raced to West Allis Memorial Hospital.

The nurse took one look at me at the emergency desk, and took me into a small emergency room.  There I had to drink some awful yellow substance.  She said it was supposed to taste like lemon ice.  My wife said it looked like pee.  I gagged it down and chased this substance with four glasses of water as ordered by the doctor in the emergency room.

I had to take off my clothes, and put on a hospital gown.  Luckily they let me wear my boxer shorts so my butt wasn’t hanging in the breeze.  The doctor examined me in some ways I wish not to describe.  The worst was the, “Does it hurt here?” as the doctor dived in with his hands first, pressing all over my stomach.  When he came close to the left side of my stomach his hands felt like a jagged knife stabbing me.  Cold sweat covered my forehead as I laid still.  They gave me an IV of morphine.  After the doctor left, my stomach still shouted with pain.

At nine at night I went to get a CT scan of my abdomen.  It was hard to lay straight on the table.  I wanted to curl up in a ball.  It felt like a giant fist reached under my skin and was squeezing my belly.  The X-ray technician was going to insert dye in my IV that would highlight the area around my intestines, as she said, so they could see on the X-ray anything that would be causing problems.  She warned me, “When I inject this fluid, you will feel very hot.  You may get a sensation that you’ve wet your pants.”  I laughed.  It hurt.  The injected the fluid which made my shoulders hot, and wouldn’t you believe it, made me feel like I wet my pants.  Let it be known that I did not wet my pants, even though my friend, Billy Madison, once told me, “Peeing your pants is cool.”

The X-rays came back along with with the diagnosis of appendicitis.  The doctor informed me that the surgeon had been summoned from his home.  They would have to wait until eleven at night to perform the surgery because I had eaten dinner.  I told my parents and my wife I didn’t want to eat at that time, but they made me swallow down some gooey potato salad and half a cheese dog.  Those jerks.

Eleven couldn’t come fast enough.  I was sweating profusely.  The bright and blurry lights burned my eyes.  My abdomen kept pulling tighter and tighter.  Finally, they carted me off to surgery.  My wife kissed me.  The Flower Child smiled and cooed.  My wife said, “Sorry honey.”  I nodded.

For a moment, I felt worse about my wife than myself.  What if I didn’t make it and she was left with two young children, and no home.

Before I could turn into an emotional wreck, the surgical team assembled: Nurses, Anesthesiologist, Surgeon.  They attached more wires that lead to several different monitors as we rolled into the very bright room.  I couldn’t focus on any one particular thing.  Lights, people with masks, somebody pressing on my abdomen.  They strapped a gas mask on my face.  Someone asked me a question.   The room spun and went black.

I woke up.  Everything hurt.

I fell asleep.

I woke up again and heard my wife talking, I think.  My side sizzled like there was a fire inside my intestines.  My arms and legs I felt so heavy.  I wanted to move, to sit up.

I fell asleep.

I woke up and it was quiet.  The room was dimly lit.  The pain and nausea was intense, and my body remained glued to the bed.  I cranked my neck forward from the bed and my right side blistered with pain.  Carefully, bracing my arms against the bed railings, I managed to sit up.  IV cords dangled on my arm.  A glowing red band-aid was wrapped around my index finger.  Another cord was attached to this light which dangled from the end of my finger.  A nurse appeared.  She helped me with my legs.  I couldn’t overcome the pain and move them with my own power.  She asked me to number my pain from one to ten.  I thought about telling her ten, but I figured that is how you feel when your whole body is on fire or something, so I said eight.

The nurse helped me to the bathroom.  I couldn’t sit down, or go to the bathroom, so I gimped back towards the bed.  Leaning first on the side rail, I sat down on the end of the bed.  The nurse helped me scoot back.  I clung to both rails as I leaned back and my side ached.  The nurse told me about a wire which had a button.  Every time you pushed the button, morphine would go into my IV.  If I pushed the button once every ten minutes, I would get more morphine.  The machine wouldn’t let me have a constant stream of painkillers, because the painkiller would then kill me.  I pushed the button.

I pushed the button again, and again, and then again.  My side still screamed.  The doctor arrived.  He asked me to number my pain.  I said seven.  He looked at how many times I had pushed the button.  67 times in 12 minutes.  He said that I only get morphine every ten minutes.  I told him, “I don’t want to miss the exact moment when my ten minutes are up.”

As time went by, the pain dulled.   It was a battle to get out of bed and shuffle to the bathroom without any help, but each time it became easier and easier.  My family visited.  My brother stayed for a while.  We watched a movie about man eating sharks.  I laughed.  It hurt.

The doctor returned the next day and said I could leave.  He explained in detail what was happening to me when I was in pain.  “You are lucky you got in here when you did.   An appendix is like a dead end in your intestines.  When you get appendicitis, that dead end is swelling up with infectious pus.  If this swollen appendix isn’t removed in time, it will burst and the infectious materials will spill out into your body cavity.  This can lead to death.  In your case, your appendix was just about to rupture.”

“Why do I hurt so much now?” I asked.

“You will get better soon, but I really had to move a lot of stuff around in there to get at your appendix.  It was pushed down under your intestines and behind your colon,” He calmly recited.

“Is that why my cut is so long?” I wondered.

“Yes, I needed extra room because I had to get in there and carefully maneuver around other things to get to your appendix. I know you feel bad now, but you will recover fairly quickly.  You’re appendix was the largest one we’ve ever seen!  We must have got to it just before it was about to burst.  Do you want to see it?”  The doctor asked with a bright smile on his face.

My whole face scrunched up in disgust.  “You kept it?” I asked.

“Yes.  We’re going to use it when we teach Med students about appendicitis.  So, do you want to see it?”

“No.”

Like I popped his birthday balloon, the doctor went from giddy to grumpy instantly.  He asked, “What is your pain number now?” he asked.

“About a three or a four,”  I said.  “Thanks for saving me.”

I shook the doctor’s hand, and he reminded me to see him in a week as he exited the hospital room.   The pain was subsiding.  I could move around.

The nurses detached all my IVs and wires.  My wife arrived, and she wheeled me downstairs.  The storm in my stomach had passed.  My wife felt bad about telling me that nothing was wrong.  I told her not to worry anymore because you only have one appendix and mine is gone.

We laughed.

My stomach hurt.

*** David Tiefenthaler wrote a book, O.K. is Great, and the reviews are in!  ***

“I love this book. It is humorous, but well grounded in reality. The author seems to know and understand well the angst of adolescent boys. If you have enjoyed the wimpy kid books try this one.  It’s funny, witty, has hilarious illustrations, and tells a great story, too.”

*** Pick it up in Paperback, on your Kindle or Nook, on iTunes or at Smashwords.  ***

Embarrassing my Daughter

My cute little daughter is getting older, and it’s breaking my heart.  Before I go into too much detail, I admit, I was at fault in this situation.  That’s not the point, though.  The point is the sadness I felt.

The Flower Child, my seven year old daughter, is in Girl Scouts.  This is the first year she’s been in this organization, and we signed her up so she can be a part of a group that is all girls.  She’s played T-Ball and Soccer before on teams with boys and girls, but she needs some girl time.  Our neighborhood is teaming with masculinity.  Within a quarter mile radius, there are eight boys and no girls for her to play with, so she’s incredibly excited to go to Scouts.

I took her to a meeting last week.  There are 20 other little second grade girls in her troop. I walked with her to the classroom where she was having her last meeting.  Right when we entered the room, she skipped away from me and took a seat in the middle of a gaggle of giggling girls.  I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, so I waded through the crowd to find her.  I snatched her out of her seat and gave her a big hug.  Then I set her back down and went on my way.

An hour and a half later, the meeting ended.  I came back to get her, and as we were driving home, I asked her how her meeting went.

She said, “Dad, you know, you embarrassed me.”

I looked back at her, completely baffled, “What?  How did I embarrass you?”

“When you hugged me!” she declared.

I bristled from her brash statement.  “But why?  I should be able to hug my daughter.”

“It’s not that.  You picked me up and were growling like a bear, in the middle of all my friends.  It’s embarrassing!”

TheFlowerChild

“Oh,” I replied.  I had never thought about the fact that I might make my daughter embarrassed. I just wanted to give her a hug, since she always does that before she goes somewhere.

This weekend, we had a discussion about what I can and can’t do. I asked if she was just uncomfortable by my actions and not just embarrassed about me being her dad.  That would be a total death blow to her father.  She said it was just my actions that bothered her.   I understand the situation now, and won’t hug her like an angry bear anymore in her circle of friends.  I will however still get a socially acceptable hug from her before she runs off to be with her friends.

The Sunday Share – Be the Next Forest Man

I’ve determined that the best way to help the world is to plant trees, lots of them.  I haven’t figured out the where or when, but this guy, The Forest Man did.  He’s an Indian photographer.  About 40 years ago, he started planting trees on a large sandy island.  Now, this island, which is larger than Central Park in New York City is covered with trees.

Why did I determine that this is the best way to help the world?  I don’t know.  Maybe it isn’t, but it seems like a reasonable way to try and help.

Here’s a fascinating animated CO2 map of the world.

It’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere.  Go plant a tree!

 

Review This – Book/Movie Idea (72/365)

I’ve had this idea for a book and or screenplay for a while, but I’ve never really put it all down.

Working Title: Review This (Comedy)

Tagline: Don’t Cross Your Russian Mobster Boss

Elevator Pitch: A financially strapped teacher writes online reviews for household products for extra cash.  His employer, a Russian mobster, asks him to review strange and racy products as well as asks the teacher for his wife to be in the video reviews.  He and his wife agrees, but when the Russian mobster asks for too much, will the teacher be able to say no, or does he no longer have a choice on what he can or can’t review.

Premise: A teacher, we’ll name him James, basically has given up controlling his class (I’m thinking like Kevin Hart or Will Farrell as the lead role).  James is looking for a different job or any other way to earn money.  He’s too proud to tell his wife, we’ll name the wife Sue, about his failings as a teacher, but he knows he’s probably going to get fired.  James breaks the vacuum while trying to help out at home and Sue tells him to buy a new one.  He doesn’t have any money to buy a new one, but he finds a unique add on the internet where he could get his vacuum for free if he writes a 2000 word review about the vacuum he buys.  James does this.  The company pays him for the vacuum, and in turn asks him to review five more.  James agrees and does the vacuum reviews and gets paid well for each one.

Soon thereafter, James is asked by a representative from the company, an eccentric Russian man, to start adding video reviews to his written review.  James is camera shy, so he asks his wife to appear in the video reviews.  Sue agrees, and they earn even more money for their vacuum reviews.  The Russian man then starts asking James to review other products like juicers, dishwashers, mattresses.  He agrees.  The money is rolling in, except James gets fired from his teaching job.  James reaches out to the Russian to see if he has any other products that he can review for him.

The Russian asks him to use his wife to review dominatrix type products.  Sue surprisingly agrees to help out and they end up making more and more money.  Unfortunately, a rival reviewing group notices what James is doing, and starts stealing his reviews and posting them on a different website.  The Russian mobster thinks James is double crossing him and tries to kill James and Sue.

Example section of dialogue.  The Russian is telling James that he has to review and make videos about dominatrix clothing and gear.

JAMES

You want my wife to do what?

RUSSIAN

To model these clothes.  You don’t like these clothes?

JAMES

I don’t know?

RUSSIAN

You don’t know?  You either like them or you like man.  Ha.  That was quite funny.  Funny unless you like man.  Do you like man?  You probably shouldn’t be married to a woman if you like man?

JAMES

It’s men.  You should say men, as in the plural form of man.

RUSSIAN

So you like a lot of man.  You like men?

JAMES

No.  No I like my wife.

RUSSIAN

So it’s settled then.  She will model the clothes.  Don’t worry.  You can be the won she ties up for the videos.  I don’t want to introduce other men into your life.  Should I say man there?  I’m confused.

This idea actually comes from some of my real life experience, and a fun conversation I had with my friend Art.  I used to do vacuum reviews, and juicer reviews for a guy from Slovenia.  That is the truth.  My wife would be in some of the videos, because it was easier for me to film her and such because I have a little more experience using a video camera.  Here’s an example of one of our video efforts.

Art asked me if the guy I was working for was petting a Siberian Tiger while I spoke to him.  Then our conversation went off the rails.  Ta da!  A movie idea was born.  I think it would be fun to watch something like this occurring.

 

 

Fan Art Friday – Turtle, Grinch, and Wanted Poster (72/365)

You want to know what the number one enemy for me is, as far as preventing me from writing?  I’d have to say it’d be nice weather.  It was a gorgeous day today here in Southern Wisconsin.  I got home from work and spent as much time as possible outside.  I sat on the deck, enjoying the nice rays with my wife.  Then I grilled some bratwurst up for dinner.  After that, we took a walk.

Get this.  A couple in our neighborhood was on a walk with a macaw parrot.  No lie!  They had a macaw as a pet, and they were walking around outside with it.  Marlo was it’s name.  I asked a ridiculous amount of questions to the owners because it’s not often you see an animal like that outside of a zoo.  I’ll have to talk about that tomorrow.  You know why?  ‘Cause today is Fan Art Friday.  Let’s see what the kids created this week.

First up is Ivan the Wonderful with a Turtle.

Turtle

Ivan wanted us to know all the body parts of the Turtle.  It has feet, legs, a tail, a shell, a head and much more.

Next up, we have a grumpy picture from The Flower Child, of all people.

The Grinch by a seven year old

I guess it’s okay that she drew a grumpy picture.  It is the Grinch, after all.

Our last entry of the week comes from Bob the Builder.

Wanted Poster by a kid

According to Bob, he was wanted for “Excessive Bee Awards”.  At his school, you get a “Bee Award” if you are being kind, courteous, or helpful.  He does get a fair amount of them.  I understand why he had to make a Wanted Poster.