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Old Geezer’s Tech Writing Tips

Here is the Introduction to my new book, “Old Geezer’s Tech Writing Tips.” The book is available only on Kindle for 99 cents. The tips can be beneficial for most writing, not just technical writing. Any of my books can be obtained from Amazon at: www.amazon.com/author/jerryblackerby

CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION
During 45 years in technical writing, I think I learned a few things. Before I left the field, I saw younger technical writers struggling with some of the same problems I had struggled with. As a contractor, I spent most of my time trying to be productive, rather than share my experience.
It is time to share things I learned in order to simplify someone else’s job. This is a small document. It is not meant to teach anyone technical writing, only to try to simplify the job of writing technical documents and help the writer become more productive.

When I was considering a title for this little guide, I thought of what a friend calls me. This friend calls me an “Old (four-letter word),” which means a “gaseous substance.” I decided to use the words, “Old Geezer” instead.

The definition of an old geezer is a man who is very elderly, which I am. Many times, an elderly person is considered a “stick-in-the-mud” or a person who cannot adapt to change, which I am not. I have always looked for simpler or easier ways to do my job.

I have always said that I am a naturally lazy person, so tried to find ways to make my job easier. Sometimes I would adapt to a different way based on something others showed me. Other times, I came up with another way that seemed easier for me.

I know these tips made my job easier and allowed me to be more productive. I could probably have named this little book, “A Lazy Person’s Tech Writing Tips.” I loved my life as a technical writer and believe in the ‘job’ as a career. I hope this little guide helps others and that they, in turn, will share their own ideas with fellow technical writers.

Mom and Dad’s Secret Wedding

Here is an excerpt from my first book, “From a Sharecropper’s Son to Tracking Missiles,” about Mom and Dad getting married secretly in 1931. This is the incident that intrigued my little sister so much that she began a series of Christian fiction books about a couple doing the same thing when they got married. She currently has four books published and the marriage is one of the few things that is based on a true incident. They books are based on Mom and Dad, but otherwise fiction. Here is the excerpt from my book:

Getting Married

Dad worked hard on the farm for Papa and did not complete high school; he had to help on the farm. He dropped out during the 10th grade. They went to church in the Corinth community where Mom and her family went also. Dad told me the year I married my wife that he knew he wanted to marry Mom the first time he saw her. They did not for a few years, but did begin dating.

Mom and Dad were dating and borrowed Granddad’s car to go to Stamford to a movie. Instead of seeing a movie, they were married. They came back to Anson that evening and kept it a secret because the high school had a rule that a person could not graduate if married. Dad continued to go home to the farm each night and Mom went to her home.

Granddad worked at the Post Office. A few days later, he saw the envelope containing their marriage license. He suspected what it was and asked them that evening. He and granny agreed to keep it a secret until after graduation, but allowed Dad to move in with them. They lived on the outskirts of town and no one would know that Dad was staying there at night. He was there part of every day, anyway.

A few weeks later, Mom graduated and Granny went to the superintendent and reminded him that he had made a statement about a married woman never graduating. She then told him about Mom and Dad. Too late, Mom was already graduated. Mom’s sister, Jo, in a story about Granny and Granddad wrote that Mom told the superintendent. Mom and Dad had told me the story and said it was Granny, which is more like something Granny would do than something Mom would do.

Look of adoration

My wife, Billie, and I were in a cafeteria eating. I looked up as an elderly man pushed a woman in a wheelchair to a table behind my wife. Cafeteria attendants brought the food trays for both the man and woman. The attendants set the plates and bowls of food on the table and left with the trays. We were sitting two tables away.

The man took the silverware from the napkin and tucked the napkin into the woman’s collar like a bib. He rearranged the bowls of vegetables and dessert in front of her. As he did these tasks for the woman, her head tilted back looking up at his face. Her eyes never left his face. She was smiling with a radiant glow on her face, showing total adoration for the man. He moved his chair closer to the corner of the table, near the woman.

As he sat down and offered a blessing for the meal, she bowed her head. When he said, “Amen,” she raised her head and looked at him again with that glow of love.

The man fed the woman a bite and wiped her mouth with a napkin. He alternated between feeding her and eating his own meal. Her eyes never left his face. When she finished chewing a bite, she smiled with that look of total love. Her love for him lit up her entire face.

Tears formed and began running down my cheek. My wife could not see the couple, since they were behind her, and asked what was wrong. I described what I was watching and she said, “You’re getting mighty sentimental in your old age.” I couldn’t help it because the sight of this woman’s love for her caregiver was priceless.

I saw a similar look in the eyes of a classmate’s wife at an Anson school reunion a year before Billie died. I saw a friend caring for his invalid wife. I found out that she had suffered a brain tumor and could do nothing for herself. He not only had to bathe her, he had to dress her, comb her hair, apply makeup and spoon feed her. As I watched him feed her a snack at our reception and then wipe her mouth, I saw the love for each other in their eyes.

I also saw that look in Billie’s eyes a few times during her last days. Some times she would get angry with me about something, but other times she would look at me with that look knowing that I was doing my best to take care of her. That look was priceless and made the time spent caregiving worth every minute.

The Championship Game

THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

by Jerry Blackerby

Lakeland High meets Miller High for the district championship. Each team had excellent seasons and it all comes down to one game. The friendly competition between the rival schools is intense. Players from both teams compete in the same summer recreation leagues and have been teammates and competitors since early childhood. They are all friends, but very competitive.

Kevin, a sophomore, is the Lakeland High starting pitcher and Jeremy, a senior, is in center field. Both Kevin and Jeremy pitch. Jeremy is the starting centerfielder and Kevin replaces Jeremy in centerfield when Jeremy pitches.

Lakeland High is home team and Miller High is batting first. Kevin strikes out the first batter. The next two batters make outs. Kevin is pitching well.

James, the Miller High starting pitcher, is pitching well also. Miller High shuts down Lakeland High in the bottom of the first, three up and three down.

Lakeland High scores one run in the second and again in the fourth inning. Miller High gets one man on in each of three innings, but no score. Miller High leaves three stranded in the sixth inning. Jeremy strikes out to lead off the sixth inning. As he comes back into the dugout, disgusted, coach says, “Jeremy, warm up. You may be needed.”

Jeremy grabs a glove and ball and goes to the warm up mound. Lakeland High strands two men in the bottom of the sixth and takes the field for the seventh and last inning.Coach tells Jeremy, “Jeremy, take center, but be ready to come in. Kevin, see if you can close it out.”

Kevin showed some weakening in the sixth. No in the seventh, he walks the first batter with a 3-2 count. He walks the second batter after a 3-1 count. He walks the third batter with four straight balls. Kevin looks at coach in the dugout. Coach says, “Get the next one.”

The score is Lakeland High 2 and Miller High 0. Bases are loaded with no outs. Kevin throws three straight balls. None are even close to the strike zone. Coach comes out of the dugout and heads for the mound. He motions for Jeremy from center field. Kevin hands Jeremy the ball and the two exchange gloves. Kevin heads for center field. Jeremy throws eight warm-up pitches.

The batter is James, starting pitcher for Miller High, and a teammate with Jeremy for three years in the summer league. James steps into the batter’s box. Jeremy winds up and throws a fastball for a strike. The count is 3-1. Jeremy winds up and throws again. James fouls this one off. Jeremy throws six more pitches in the strike zone and James fouls each one. Jeremy and James each have a determined look, but are grinning at each other. Jeremy winds up and throws a curve for strike three—one down.

Michael comes to bat and Jeremy throws a fastball on the inside corner. Michael takes the pitch for strike one. Jeremy throws a curve that breaks across the plate for a called strike two. Michael pops the third pitch to deep left field for the second out. The runner on third tags and makes it home just ahead of the throw. The runners advance on the throw home. The score is now 2 to 1. Jeremy has thrown 12 straight pitches in the strike zone. Runners are on second and third.

Justin, the Miller High catcher, comes to bat with a grin on his face. Justin and Jeremy have been teammates for four years in summer leagues. Justin had called Jeremy earlier in the day and bragged that if he had a chance, he would hit a home run off Jeremy.

Jeremy winds up and throws a curve that breaks into the strike zone for called strike one. The next pitch is ball one. Jeremy winds up and throws his fastball down the middle. Justin swings and the ball heads down the left field line. It definitely is going over the fence, but curves just foul. A few inches different and it would have been a three run home run.

Jeremy knows Justin loves a fastball. He throws a change-up that drops out of the strike zone for ball two. He throws curve balls for the next three pitches and Justin fouls each one. Jeremy then misses with a curve ball for ball three. The count is 3-2.

Jeremy winds up and throws a low fastball. The runners are moving with the pitch. A hit anywhere out of the infield will tie the game, at least. Justin reaches down and hits a long, high fly ball to center field. Kevin turns and runs toward the warning track at the crack of the bat. He camps and waits. Kevin reaches up and catches the ball.

The game is over. Lakeland High wins 2 to 1.

Copyright © Jerry Blackerby 2014

Bible Studies on Bible misquotes

Bible Studies on Bible misquotes.

Bible Studies on Bible misquotes

“God helps those who help themselves,” is quoted frequently as being from the Bible. Even politicians quote it. Is it in the Bible? During the 2000 Presidential debates, Al Gore quoted, “Where your heart is, there’s your treasure.” He said the quote comes from the book of Matthew. Was he correct?

Check my Bible Studies on Bible misquotes and find out. The studies are available for 99 cents each on Amazon Kindle at www.amazon.com/author/jerryblackerby. If you do not have a Kindle, Amazon has free software applications available for most computers and Smartphones.

Another misquote often used is, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” I have also included some questions, for which you may find the answers surprising. I am working on more Bible misquote studies, including one quote about Jesus preaching to the dead in Hell before His resurrection.

I Believe God Put Us Together – 4

I Believe God Put Us Together – 4.