Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spring Break – Three – Spencer World


After wandering through the burg talking to artist, seeing wonders of creativity, and sipping some bad wine, I move my worldly belongings over to another vehicle. With sweet kisses and hugs and sad goodbyes, I move on to another adventure.

Now with a friend but what a friend from long ago is he, we travel the unknown ribbon of a highway only to get confused by technology. I cannot give directions for I know not where I am.

A period of conversation no one else will ever hear, but it is not the time.

Arriving at the mountain castle, I am assigned a room and we settle down to wine, cheese and puppies
Again, I’m in another’s world observing and adapting to the family dynamic. A few strum on the guitars following presets, but the hour is late.

The next morning brings fresh coffee and Doctor Who?

We tend to assignments of grocery shopping in a different yet similar world of providers of substance.
Again all I can offer is a sharp knife, yet the seafood brings back memories of a beach far away.

Introduced to a young lad named Mike, who may or may not become a member of the family, buy is interested in a lady whose mom is interested in him.

Crossed the line with the mom, but I didn’t know where the line was.

And another family setting, without knowing the family, I participate in a kitchen pre-cook ceremony, bringing back memories of the beach. Oh what a sharp knife can do.

Ah, dinner with critters outside and casual but knowing the limits of the unknown. The dishwasher is as busy here as in the last residence.

The next morning it is easy to get out of the way in a gated community to play an Epi violin bass bottom to the Spencer folk songs.

No revelations except a few from 40 years ago, so coffee, wine, television, album covers and an iPad toy took precedent.

Ordered a tickets online, but you just can’t get good help, when it is printed too small.

A breakfast burrito gets me off to the journey back home (probably the best meal ever). Thank you for a brief experience in the life of an old friend who I don’t know anymore and his wife who is forward, but have had little time to find the level playing field.

Upon arriving at the departure station I see this.

While I wait with the first black people I’ve seen all weekend, I think about sending my uncles’ military information for research and making PDF of CD covers of another project and paint diagram for the hallway for a volunteer weekend.

I’ve observed two family’s interactions as a stranger invading their space and now am heading home.

Once aboard, I settle in to watch NCIS on an IPad (see there is a reason for these things) I am fascinated by the huge wheeled boxes people use to carry their personal belongings in then are so eager to get on or off the transport. What is the hurry?

After miles with a stinky geek coder, a talkative cab delivers me back to dust and dirt call “home”.

The adventure was worth the travel, but it is good to be back to the familiar with a fresh approach.

Spring Break – Part Two – The Rice Patties

Welcomed by a smiling face and a torrential rain the adventure begins.

After a 30-minute transfer in the huge marble station and another two-hour ride, I am chauffeured to the hilly Rice landscape.

Hamburgers and beer and long night of conversations getting adjusted to being in someone else space and though they are more than accommodating, I am an intruder in their world.

I observe the surroundings of what makes these two comfortable. An earthy hue is the tone with sparse arrangement and one overall theme – family.

We talk and talk, not only scratching the surface of years apart until the rainy night brings sleep.

Tonight I sleep on a blowup bed. I vaguely remember having one, but this is the super-sized version. It is always interesting sleeping in someone else’s bed for it is the most personal of spaces.

The next day, after sweet goodbyes and a cup of Joe, my tour guide directs me to his hometown of “New Cumberland”(I wonder what happened to “Ole Cumberland”?).

With the possibility of rain, we wander down the pavement lined with new American homes on one side and woodlands waiting to be plowed on the other. Suddenly the houses change from a former time, lay out in a simple grid of narrow streets not ready for automotive city traffic. Every lawn and bush and tree is meticulously groomed showing the lushness from the recent rains. My tour guide meticulously extracts a few discards of the unthinking being a good citizen of the planet.

The first stop, a “favorite” coffee shop / bakery, not crowded with guest, but the empty shelves show how popular this establishment is in the township. We settle down by the window as I am taught the history of every storefront across the street obscured by the signage painted on the glass. The stories are fascinating and my host seems to understand the importance of knowing the history of his location in intimate detail. He would be the perfect author for an updated book since he is drawn into the wondrous adventure of history, even to the point of becoming a reenactment participant.

We wander down the concrete sidewalk where storefronts turn to home fronts. A steady stream of traffic on the two-lane main thoroughfare, but at a slower “small town” pace is the only sound in the quiet of the mountain venture.

A beautiful Gaelic shop with delicate lace and Irish silver surprises the observer. The next stop for a cold drink and a bite to eat under familiar music is, of course, next door at an Irish pub. The bar maid is welcoming and the dark wooden walls give a feel of a comfortable evening with friends having a pint, and maybe a winch or two. Then to the amazing art shops, with fine examples of creativity trying to make a living through display. From the visions of craftsmanship a flood of ideas spout, bringing back an earlier discussion of a “Joe’s garage & Tiki Lounge”. A purchase may have been a nice gesture, but like children, you don’t give couples what they “may not” want, so we move on.

Avoiding the drops, we retrace our path back up the long climb on the mountain trail, without my guide losing a pace or breathe.

I need a drink. He needs to start the Turkey Chili.

He knows the recipe, so all I can offer is a sharp knife and conversation. The ingredients come together quickly onto a boil as we relax in stories of far away adventures and distant dreams.

His bride interrupts the cocoon of comfort, frustrated by the late start in cooking, but more so the soggy setting she has endured for several days. She is a Southern girl who needs sunlight to refresh just as I have needed space to recharge my batteries after the winter’s chill.

Cake and fresh fruit topped the dinner, cooked to perfection. With still a funk in the air, a game of “Scrabble” is suggested. I had not played this game in over a half a century, but as a polite guest, I was willing to try. The hostess revealed in her champion skills, yet tonight she would be second best.

Competition is not my forte, but laughter filled the evening. How many words can use three Os, a Z and a W?

Morning came as the plastic bed wrapped around me. Like Marion’s front tire when I returned home, air only holds a space where there are no holes.

Several breakfast franchises are recommended for our morning venture, but I suggest a small diner we passed walking yesterday. With some anticipation, my host agreed. The intimate dinner of a couple of tables and tiny counter seemed the perfect reflection of where the locals go. The cramped customers knew the owner with smiles and familiarity while giving us the stares of “outsiders”.

Our next stop was to get Triple G wired. His bride waited patiently while we traveled from one-un-opened-music-shop-to-another. We found one chord that fit the requirement and wandered back as I wondered how such a small community could sustain so many music shops. As we looked in the window of one of the shops, a long-haired proprietor came out and gave an excellent sales pitch on the sidewalk. “It will be $79 tomorrow too,” He continued. Without touching the guitar, it seemed like a good deal, but we had spent enough time here.

A few more local sites of beautiful mountains, then our journey moved onto the Chocolate Factory. Being in Penn state, the town built around chocolate was a must. I had a vision, but no idea just how big a deal candy was here. Parking lots the size of football fields held rows of school buses. Even on a Friday, not even in the vacation season, hundreds were wandering the factory where Kisses are made. The free ride in the slow moving roller coaster swivel car held a Disney presentation of singing cows (luckily I forgot the song quickly) telling how cocoa, sugar and milk are blended into a variety of dentist delight. It is obvious why America is overweight. A woman talks about an ingredient for brownies but I think she is planted. This is commercialism at it’s finest. All those hyped up kids on a field trip to a sugar rush center?

We continue on with a bypass around a curve to an empty son’s house with unbelievable bracing and a curious snake. See where the projects are and the strong family ties.

Later that evening, the Triple G Boogie Band plugged in and jammed, throwing caution to the wind.
The weekend chatter of ideas for “Joe’s garage and Tiki Lounge” man’s land, description of an unknown artist’s painting, guitar stair step, and settlers vs. explorers turns to the Big Event!

A citywide wine tasting that wasn’t really “the event”, but an excuse for a grand opening to a coffee, ice cream & bookstore. Parking the chariot on Main Street, I was told the history of the third floor apartment with a bathroom in the hallway.

A flag marked the spot and rabbits opened the doors as deco booths awaited readers and eaters in the flush of excitement. After pleasantries, we continue our journey allowing the proprietor to assemble her thoughts.

Down the narrow street, the history of the oldest establishment in the burg was quoted by verse, and being a tavern we had to investigate. To my disappointment there were no tankards but an information center requesting foundation money for viewing an old building. Remembering people were shorter then, I bang my head on the wooden beams before we travel to the civil war to gather glasses and another participant for the next adventure.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spring Break, Part One

Not much sleep the night before. Anxiety runs wild thoughts. Did I remember everything? Did I pack everything? Should I lock up everything? Should I tell anyone? What happens if I’m robbed while I’m gone? What happens if the house burns down? What happens…..?

So finally, I’m up and I stop fighting it. Early, early news, coffee, oatmeal, and water only this time the morning exercise ride will be excused.

Said “Good bye” to the yard. It is tough to leave the existence of life.

Waiting for the cab on the porch, which arrived on time (a good omen of the day). Pleasant ride to the station, which was, further than I had remembered so I’m glad I didn’t walk.

Figure out the scanner for tickets wasn’t as difficult as I made it until I followed the instructions.
Live news coverage shown on big television of the camera crew out front talking about train security. Thanks, that helps settle the frequent traveler.

The train arrives on time and the journey begins.

The slow rumble and rocking settle the nerves of a long ride about to take place.

The “Squash a Penny” crossroad store caught my eye and we slowly passed through small towns and villages. The thick forest countryside was untouched as if it was the same view seen during the Civil war or by John Smith.

Across the isle computer solitaire filled one passengers void.

Old discarded manufacturing plants in little sleepy towns. Next to our path, older rusty rails held forgotten boxcars. Green bogs shimmered from the recent sprint rain but the sun held out today. Stretches of green fields looked like golf courses. A little white church sat on a hill between the trees at the end of a long winding black pathway. The blur of homes holding generations of families who listened to the sound of us passing everyday. The “Snakes” tagged their territory. A stone pyramid with a small red sign too small to read in the instant passes by as a monument to something unknown. New wooden ramps attached to old paint flecked buildings showed the age of Fredericksburg. Rows of cars sit silent in a muddy dirt parking lot at the Purena plant. Crumbly concrete with years of patches testifies to the weight of the mighty engine and the frequency of its journeys.

A young brunette sleeps in front of me, her long hair draping between the seat and the window waving back and forth in the sway of the travel. I want to touch it, but I’ll restrain myself. Her solo slumber does not relay any information about her, but her bitten down fingernails do.

Chain link fences topped with barbwire surround Quantico. Does it keep the bad guys out and the good guys in or vise versa? Hundreds, maybe thousands of rusty metal hulks lie in between the trees like left over warriors. The Alexandria sprawl with it’s own metro line. Into the cave of the nations’ capitol, we sit for a half an hours without power. Walk up and down the isle to get feeling back and stretch for the continuation of the journey as others pace the concrete. The rain comes washing away the smell of DC.

Another small town with it’s own monument to the railway – a red caboose in a yard.

A flirting blond and a load of Hispanics replace the brunette. A father and his small son take the seats the blond and her gentleman companion vacate until they return with their coffee. The conversation stops as the gentleman goes back to work on his laptop. How much was that coffee?

A young man takes off a huge stuffed knapsack and immediately plugs in his email and music. Is it distraction or necessary on a long journey?

“Light”, “Light”, “Light”, “Light” is the word a small boy finds enjoyable for all to share.

Passing over a river, old stone pillars to a long forgotten bridge are the only reminders of it’s existence, but nature shows its softening manner of growing green sprouts out of their tops.

I always find the ancient rough decrepit Baltimore row house neighborhood fascinating.
Several people start coughing. Great! Trapped in an enclosed space for hours surrounded by sick people.
Old freight cars line the rusty rails to the side of our path. Who knows they are there?

Transfer to the huge marbled Philly train station with the three story tall statue dedicated to the Pennsylvanian train employees who died in WWII. Rows of fast food cafes line the perimeter as the an-an-ous-ous-men-ments are echoed to the high ceilings. These sounds of my childhood are still not understandable. Where are the Red Caps?

A line forms at Gate 9 before our next departure, but the leader moves to Gate 7 and we all follow. We love lines.

Find a seat next to the pleasant looking guy named Gene; a prostate cancer patient who worked as a nuclear engineer in the navy and retired to Parksville. Nice conversation as the train slowed down for “Signal Problems”. Take your time and get it right, I’m not in a hurry. Gene points out a deer next to the tracks with the excitement of a small child traveling for the first time while the girl behind softly sings to her iPod.

Horses, silos, and dirty plots of farmland, not green yet like the previous land.

Small towns have interesting old houses close to the tracks while the cities have broken down graffiti covered warehouses with broken or boarded up windows. The rubble of bygone days lines the rails as a discarded history of trash.

Patches of purple flowers pop up between massive jutting boulders.

“Harrisburg. Eight minutes. All doors should open”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Getting To Know YOU

“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you
Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me”
Maybe you remember these words from “The King and I”? A little ditty declaring a connection between two very unlikely combinations of cultures caught my ear the other day.

When you meet a stranger, maybe through a networking occasion or a casual gathering of associates or an introduction from a friend, you want to know more about them.

Appearance in dress and mannerism can immediately communicate signals to the brain firing up perceptions similar to previous dress or stance.

The overall “something” that caught your eye draws you closer. Maybe the fashion, unique or well fitting or classic styling worn with comfort is the attraction. Maybe it is the hair color, if it is real; or the way she tosses it in the breeze. Maybe it is the shy smile, or the eyes looking up from the tilted head or the scent of sweetness overwhelming your senses.

Whatever the attraction the introduction statement usually ends up being a lame question to start the conversation.

If the situation is a family gathering the questions tend to wander to “Who do you know?” trying to find a person known by both.

If the situation is a networking gathering the question tend to inquire what each other can accomplish for the other. “What do you do?” is the most popular question referring to employment title and a brief job description. Not knowing their bosses, associates, schedules, or even the photos in their lockers is not important.

If the situation is an informal setting such as a party or a drink establishment the questions may become personal.
“Getting to know you, putting it my way but nicely
you are precisely, my cup of tea!”

And though, we may welcome the information about the other person, do we ever really know who they are? We listen to stories of tales and adventures and people who have made impressions on them before we met. We learn their taste and likes and desires. We follow the mystery of the unknown and yet, we never really know about them.

We know what we think we see and know, but do we?

For they have different perceptions of our presentation and adjust, as we do, to comply with the environment of the two sharing the same space.

“Getting to know you, getting to feel free and easy
when I am with you, getting to know what to say”

We learn to compromise our ideas, wants, desires and lifestyle to be with another human being. We adjust our life strategies so that the two can live harmoniously.

But do we give up too much?

Certain factors as health or extended family change our life, as we grow responsible for others. Inner desires may wane over time adjusting to a new way of life with another. Self-feelings can be buried under the burden.

“Haven't you noticed, suddenly I'm bright and easy
Because of all the beautiful and new”

So for the past two years, I’ve learned how much I did not know about myself.

What makes you happy? Not the smile or laugh at someone else’s joke, but the internal happy. The chuckle that comes automatic. It can be the simple action of people at the grocery store trying to struggle over a stuck metal cart or the antics of the critters running over your feet.

The basics break down to warmth, food, shelter, and rest. After that comes the adventure of life.
And the other hours are spent finding the golden ring of satisfaction. It may not be what you originally intended, but when a few moments come, you know.

Sitting alone in a quiet room with only your thoughts can be more revealing than any doctor’s prescription. Slowly you will get a feeling for the person you are.

Enjoying a summer storm on the front porch in the midnight hour, listening to the water splash in the pond drawing in the flight crew, being escorted by the dive bomber Robins in the morning, or just recording the waves of patterns as they pass across the plot of land you own. Hearing the call of nature in the morning yet worrying about the creaks in the old wood hoping it will last a few more years, before getting into a zone of rhythm and rhyme to the days sounds.

Finding your strengths and weaknesses has been an interesting journey not many will follow.

Learning cleaning is not important, but necessary. Dust and spider webs can be overlooked, not necessary for a comfortable environment. Finding out the lack of motivation that has held back exploration for years, but in retrospect, it is not bad. It made what it made and that is what I decided. Knowing an empty bed is only for rest and yet the dreams find their own turmoil. Absorbing the morning dew breathing in birth of a new day without a time clock.

Such is life.
“Things I'm learning about you, day by day!”

Saturday, May 14, 2011


We as a species seem to like to make noise. Endless hours of filling the air with sounds seems to be object of our existence here on this planet.

No other creature requires constant communication with one another as we do. And when we can make the noise, we create electronic devices to reproduce sounds and images in our likeness.

We gossip, spread rumors, create sensational events, and pass on history between family generations through word of mouth. So much of the noise is idle chatter with little redemption except to make our opinions heard.

Sometimes the talk is cheap and sometimes it is intimate and thought provoking, but we must continue to pass our thoughts on to others.

And when we stop, do we ever think about what we have just said? Even though you may think you knew what you said, the other person’s interpretation may be different and when shared through those filers to someone else, may become an entirely different story.
Some plan before they speak, examining the thought and the correct response. Each word and sentence is carefully crafted before spoken.

Several days may go by when I do not breathe a syllable into the air, and when I do it is usually to some inanimate object or small woodland creature who only hears Martian gibberish while only recognizing the sound of my voice in relation to being fed.

With that in mind, I now review what I have said in conversations with others who speak the same language. Much like the air in a balloon, the words rush out of me as I describe the mundane existence as if I had to get it all out before our brief time together is over. Solitude will do that to an animal that is used to saying whatever comes to mind without worrying about the consequences.

So, if you talk to me, and I start to go on-and-on about something remotely weird with crazy talk; just tell me to “Shut Up!” I won’t be offended, cause I don’t know no better.

Hitting The Wall

After almost two years of projects and schedules and payments and assignments and organization and chaos I’ve hit the wall.

The projects are still on the list with numbers and dates and ideas, but I’ve lost my motivation. With all the materials at hand and the time and weather conditions to do the next item on the list, I’ve lost the will to move on.

It is not that the next projects are difficult or more time consuming, but they rely on ME to do them and I’ve not found the energy to continue.

There are no distractions or reasons for the fault of reaching the next goal; it is a lack of interest.

Perhaps I don’t want to finish what I’ve started? Perhaps I’m just lazy. Perhaps I’m busy to finish this project, though it is all I have to do? Perhaps I need a kick-start in the trousers?

Whatever the reason is, I’ve stopped. I’ve grown lethargic, much too familiar with the surroundings and the overwhelming sense that there is no end to this.

Perhaps it is time to take a break? Take a vacation? Get a new location for a period of time to refresh and revive the spirit?

I’ve wandered before but either at arms length or in the company of a support group or to remember a shared occasion, but now it may be time to make the break.

Maybe a few days in another place far away with new topics and different diet and a strange bed to sleep creating new dreams? Shake it off and rub some dirt in it!

Maybe spending almost the same amount of time to travel to a different continent will refresh and energize? Maybe a conversation with others than trees and small furry critters will bring back the drive?

Like washing your face with cold water in the morning then looking in the mirror to attack the day, a time away may be needed to rejuvenate?

Then returning to the spider webbed dusty lot called “home” will refocus the notes on the calendar of life.
Perhaps it is too overwhelming and I need to take another direction? But then what?

We’ll see.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

During It’s Day

It was the best of the best. Super hi-tech. Huge hard drive, big screen, plenty of RAM, and loaded with a ton of the latest software, plus a CD burner and DVD player.


Like most things, it became a problem. Obsolete with slowness on the web, hard to boot up, inadequate memory and slow processing.

After getting the monitor replaced, thanks to cats jumping on it, I decided to use it simply as a word processor. Even that became too much for the old computer to bear.

So after several attempts to bypass error messages and multiple restart efforts and various diagnosis, the only conclusion was “She was gone.”

She had done her duty and entertained the non-technical with all the possibilities of the time, yet I had to decide it was over.

Not knowing what was on the hard drive, even though I do not keep any personal information on the computer, I sat a magnate on the body hoping that might erase any attempt to access whatever was there.

Still unsure that was enough, I went the ultimate route.

A hammer onto the keyboard and everything splintered. Parts of plastic and metal flew thru the air exposing the inner workings of this machine. A few more whacks and it was done.

Goodbye old bud, it was fun while it lasted. You did what you were programmed to do and provided entertainment and comfort for a few years.

It Must Have Been A Great Party

The empty kegs and loaded on the back of the pickup with the giant chrome grill. The folding chairs and tables are all put away. The empty coolers are dumped beside the wheels forming a mountain of ice. The sound is fading or maybe numb.

It was quiet a day to be part of an occasion with complete strangers. It was not on my bucket list, but when I was invited, I decided to take the risk.

I had been to the location on several attempts to have fun.

The State Fair used to preside there with its sawdust paths and giants tents offerings strange wonders only seen on Sunday matinees. The rides made me sick and all my change would fall out of my pockets, the food was sticky and sweet, but I was vulnerable to the Carney talk. Never learning how to pitch, I could knock over the bottles, but I could shot the targets, only to get a huge stuffed animal I had to carry around until I got tired of it and gave it to some kid about the same size. A display of sharp knives fascinated me to the point where a couple of years ago I ordered a set from an infomercial. One of my fond memories was the guy with the three cups and the pea. My father and I stood there watching and knowing we could guess which cup the pea was under. He dropped about $50 at my persistent prompting and finally broke off and we walked away. That was the only time I saw him gamble.

Years later, a gathering of local businesses were putting on a show. All it meant to me was getting out of work for a few hours. I got a ride in the afternoon and enjoyed the free beer and food in the sunshine. We wandered the grounds looking at exhibits until boredom set in, at least for me. Without a ride, I decided to walk home. Since I lived on the other side of the city, it took me through nightfall to make the journey, never realizing I was walking alone through the cities projects.

A few years ago, my wife wanted to go to a craft show there, so I looked at the bus schedule and mapped the route. We rode our usually Churchill 41 downtown, then took a transfer by city hall up north through a beautiful neighborhood of old houses and dilapidated sidewalks under huge trees. The narrow streets held the suburbs of the post-civil war era, now occupied by the low-income tenants and gated convenient stores on every corner. We rode pass blocks of stately homes now in disrepair and packs of men staring at us as if we were in a foreign land.

So here I was, about to make the adventure again to one of my town’s crowning events. I was invited to attend the event, not so much to join in the group activity, but to bankroll the occasion.

Without knowing the number of folks in attendance, we went to the grocery store and I packs grocery carts with my favorite drink, fully thinking if there were leftovers, I would use them. Silly me.

Back in the alley, we emptied the cartons into iced coolers. After filling every available space, the rest were placed on the floorboard in the backseat. “But they will be warm.” I questioned. “By that time, we won’t care.” was the replay. She was right.

We traveled a few blocks to connect with the rest of the herd. Several cars and a pickup truck sat in the middle of the street with about two-dozen youngsters in shorts, t-shirts and baseball caps. They were already drinking.

All piled into their vehicles and the caravan was off. My job was done.

I was not a true participant, but an observer.

A site was claimed and a canopy was set up between all the cars. The grill was unloaded and fired up, and of course, the coolers were opened and the contents spread throughout the crowd. In the background was the roar of noise that would become too close for comfort.

Food and jokes and names of people I did not know were passed around with black trash bags filling with tin. A washboard bucket was iced and a keg was tapped. There would be two more before the night was over.

The entire afternoon was a mass of people growing in numbers and wandering back and forth in a procession in front of our site. Children were running, parents walked by with colorful shirts and drinks in their hands. Everyone was screaming over the roar that blanketed the area.

Finally, it was time to observe what we had come for. I hadn’t bought a ticket, but one was handed to me. We walked in mass into the arena of power and noise.

The gladiators strutted around absorbing their adulation, signing signatures and answering questions. Their chariots were lined up in multi-color splendor. The redundant presentation of the nations banners seemed as familiar as pledging the alliance to the stars and stripes every day in elementary school. I wonder why that stopped by the time I got to high school? The national anthem was sung through a bad sound system by a local someone and the crowd cheered as if they knew the words as the fly over marked the beginning of what would be a long evening.

I had become captured in a time and place that was not comfortable, but here I was. I was not going to walk home or take the bus tonight. I put on my yellow headphones thinking it would block the sound as my brother had suggested, but I would be subjected to a heavy metal song that would not end for hours.
Even the seats vibrated.

The blinding lights flooded the landscape of a mass of humanity reveling in screaming without a voice heard. Only hand gestures and reading lips communicated the next beer run.

The mobile billboards blurred by over and over, in speeds that did not appear as fast as on television, but faster than I could imagine. Lights would flash and they would all slow and follow one another like ducklings following there mother, turning into a preset area and surrounded by people in matching uniforms performing a delicate ballet.

Finally fireworks, smoke, and the spray of liquid quieted the anxiety panic that was performed before us.

The group splintered into their escape pods, hugging and waving, horse from the excitement. The girls gathered in a clump and gestured to each other in a secret code only know to them as the guys staggered about passing silver flask of unknown alcohol between them. Everyone seemed happy.

A young woman in a tank top and cut off jean shorts threw her hands up and twirled around dancing knowing she was going to get nailed that night as the vampires moved in around her.

A kiss, not so much of passion but of appreciation signaled the end of a fascination day. It was worth it, but I won’t have to do it again.

The next day’s ride had a bit of a wobble, with several unanticipated stops.
Just another day in Just Another Life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Chat Book

Nimrod48: Hey Stinky. I’ve got an idea
StinkyRU: Now what have you come up with?
Nimrod48: UR gonna like this 1.
StinkyRU: Does it involve Florida, sunshine, drinking, and nasty women?
Nimrod48: U wish.
StinkyRU: OK, I give. What do I have to do now?
Nimrod48: What about writing a book in a “chat” format?
StinkyRU: What?
Nimrod48: U No. Just like this. It would be an ongoing chat.
StinkyRU: Why??
Nimrod48: Well, it could be a different format; also a current understood flow of conversation.
StinkyRU: But, it has already been done.
Nimrod48: ?
StinkyRU: “Sleepy n Seattle” was an email communication movie.
Nimrod48: No I’m thinking something else.
StinkyRU: ??
Nimrod48: How about you write it like comments on Facebook.
SkiLite: You know they have already written a movie for this
Nimrod48: ?
DooDooBoy: Yeah, “Sleeping n Seattle” or “When Harry Met Sally” or something like that.
StinkyRU: See!
Nimrod48: Wait a minute. This is a different take.
WeeeGirl: You know they already have a movie like this?
HinDry: Hey, man, what are you talking about?
Goofdog2: I’ve got an idea, what about a chat book?
Nimrod48: There you go.
BrzBrain: What is this guy talking about?
StinkyRU: I think he is off his rocker.
Nimrod48: Wait a minute. Here is the idea.
Goofdog2: I’m waiting?
Nimrod48: What about a book or story in chat form.
WeeeGirl: About what?
Nimrod48: Suppose there was an event?
DooDooBoy: Like what??
StinkyRU: Yeah?
Nimrod48: OK, take UR story about ye ole country vampires and have all the characters talking about them in comment form.
SkiLite: Dude, vampires?
DooDooBoy: I love vampires
Nimrod48: Read some of the comments on sites about Bin Laden
WeeeGirl: What does that have to do with anything?
HinDry: You mean that old guy who knocked down buildings
Nimrod48: Look at all the twist and turns people brought to bear discussing the event!
SkiLite: So?
DooDooBoy: Hey I think I see what he is talking about
HinDry: Dude, fill me n
BrzBrain: Yeah, have all the characters talk about “the event” in a chat.
WeeGirl: Yeah, they could all do their own take on whatever it is
Goofdog2: You mean I could be a star????
BrzBrain: When do I get paid?
SkiLite: Where do the vampires come in?
Nimrod48: It is just a style to tell the story.
StinkRU: It might work if….
HinDry: Dude
DooDooBoy: Each person would have a different point of view
WeeeGirl: And each person would tell the story
HinDry: When do we start?
Nimrod48: What do you think Stinky??

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How have you been?

Listen carefully! There will be a test.

“Me, not bad. How about you?”

“Oh, well, I got this ache. I think it is from picking up too much stuff on Saturday.”

“Yeah, I had that once. Took two Ziyckick pills for two weeks.”

“Did that help?”

“Not really, but it cost me a fortune.”

“You know what I would do is Yoga. I hear that stretches everything out.”

“Do you do Yoga?”

“No, but I have heard from people that go to classes that it really helps.”

“How old are these, ouch, people.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I work with them. They have only been there a couple of months, so I’d guess they are in there twenties.”

“I’ve got shoes older than that.”

“What have you done for your ache?”

“Well, I’ve been sitting around a lot and watching television. Have you seen that new series about the terror of aliens invading and turning into vampires?”

“Which show is that?”

“I don’t know. It’s got that hot girl dressed in black looking very mysterious. I think it’s called “Demon” or “Dynamic” or something like that. It’s got that guy who was in the show about the plane crash and that other guy who was the president in that series about, uh, invading aliens who weren’t really invading but were born her or something.”

“Well, if I were you, I’d see a doctor and get a prescription. My aunt Sally had an ache like that and she….”

“I am not your Aunt Sally and I’m doing just fine. When you can cut me open or write me a prescription, I’ll listen to you doc. “

“I’ve got a rash that doesn’t want to go away. I think I got into something in the yard.”

“Or you are allergic to yard work. (Laughter)”



“So who are you seeing now?”


“I saw you last weekend with that little redhead. What the name?”

“We were just going to a music concert. Just a friend and….”

“(Snicker) A friend in the end.”

“Yeah. I wish I could have a friend, but…. (Laughter)”


“Why don’t you bring your “friend” over for dinner this weekend? We would love to meet...”

“Yes, let’s make it a party!”

“…..but I….”

“It’s the derby weekend. We could make it a racing theme.”

“I’ve got some leather chaps I use on my motorcycle.”

“No, dummy. It’s the Kentucky Derby weekend.”

“But I’ve got a Stetson and a holster with two six-shooters and spurs and….”

“This weekend is for bourbon and big hats. (Snicker) We love playing dress up.”

“I’ll bring some pigs-in-a-blanket. I’ve got a full bottle of “Jack” I haven’t cracked yet. This should be fun.”

“Bring your cash so we can bet on the winners and drink to the losers.”

“And don’t forget to bring that red head. Hot! What’s the name again?”

“(Snicker) Yes, tell us more about her. How long have you been….(Snicker)?”

“Stop it, you are embarrassing him.”

“Come on, it’s “Derby Weekend”, we’ll cook out and drink and play cards and….”



“It’s none of your business.”

Now, the test of what you just read.

1. How many people are talking?
2. Are they men or women?
3. Which one is the doctor?
4. Which one is the lawyer?
5. Is it anyone’s business?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Suppose I came to your house….. And died?

No, not really. That would be just creepy, but then again, supposed it did happen. What would you do? I mean, I know this isn’t one of those subjects brought up around the dinner table. You sure don’t want to mention it in front of the kids; or your insurance agent, but supposed it happened?

It could you know. We are all going to go sometime. No one gets out of here alive.

We all would like to think we will drift off in our own beds surrounded by family and friends, but the truth is we will probably be in a hospital or hospice bed with tubes and liquids flowing through us and pumps keeping our decrepit body going longer than it should. Then again, "it" could happen at any time and we should be prepared.

Besides it would be very rude to accept an invitation and never leave.

So the next time you have a large gathering and you look over in the corner and see Aunt Sally dozing off, just think if she doesn’t come back, what do you do?

Put a tablecloth over her and tell everyone it’s a little game she is playing until the rest leave? Do you tell everyone else to run outside and look at the UFO flying over, then drag her into the bedroom and stuff her under the bed? Do you make a scene with a phone call to emergency vehicles who will come lights flashing and jump up and down on her then strap her to a board and carry her away while you are standing there trying to explain to everyone else it was not the potato salad she ate.

Well, if it happens to me, let me make it simple.

Call the taxidermist and have me stuffed, then put me in the corner as a hat rack. I would make quiet a conversation piece. Or dress me up and put me in the garden. I’ll scare aware the varmints unless a little girl in red shoes and her dog stop by. Or just drag me outside and feed me to the dogs.

But don’t let it happen too many times or the neighbors will start to say you live in the Bates Hotel and no one will come around any more.