Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Order Your Copy NOW!



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That’s right, boys and girls! You can have your very own copy of

“The Adventures of Ike Patterson and Ginger Bonneau”.

Adventure, mystery, action, and fictional figures based on real people.

What is the Dusty Rose?
How can A2O2 destroy the country?
What is the Enigma Club? (with the permission of the adventurer author)
What are the names on the notches mean?
Can they ride out a hurricane?

Oh what excitement! 83 pages of easy reading!
Easy, fun and full of fantasy.


Send your email address and you will receive a PDF copy of
“The Adventures of Ike and Ginger”.

And as Bluto said, "It don't cost nothing!"

Authors Note: Only one request; send back your review.
Doesn’t matter if it is good or bad.
There may be another adventure if enough like Ike and Ginger.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I’m So Busy I Don’t Have Time To Worry



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Is this what the work-a-day world has become?

With instant messaging, emails, social media, cell phones, texting ….. Our minute-by-minute access to everything that goes on in the world takes it’s time away from some of the basic human traits.

Laughter, concern, caring, worry and many more emotions are what makes us human, but do we have time for these?

But we are too busy for all these things. Sure, we pass the daily chores and trend to forget the last stress only to find another, but we are just too busy to worry about it.

The world revolves and the rain falls and the sun shines and trees grow and flowers bloom then fade and drop to the ground to evaporate into the dirt, but are we too busy to notice.

Reports are prepared and meetings are attended on an ever-increasing schedule requiring more time spent confirming the electronic calendar. Evenings are spent reviewing the day’s process while upgrading software and emails while tending to self-indulgence.

Sometimes it takes a hurricane to turn off the power to realize what else there is.

With enough time to breathe and reflect and ponder and think, one might just become aware.

Aware of the surroundings we pass everyday so quickly with only the thought of does the grass need trimming or the automobile need washing. Perhaps the dinner out can be in the backyard sharing with some of your furry neighbors.

While all the craziness that is reported on the news everyday of financial crisis or destruction or natural disastrous events, a mind could go crazy contemplating all this stuff.

So maybe we stay busy so to blur all the real world activities that would make a sane man cry.

Stay busy as long as you can, because when you are alone, the truth comes out.

And you have no one to look to except in the mirror.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Rabbit Died



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The sun was out and the rain had stopped, so I thought it was a usual day. After instant coffee with French vanilla creamer and fake sugar and a bottle of tap water, it was time for a ride.

The neighborhood was getting back to normal after all the weather, but still some stumps leaped up cracking sidewalks as a reminder that nothing is permanent.

Young women walked their dogs or babies and smiled as I rode by enjoying the fresh air and seeing that Leo will be working hard after 11 inches of rain.

As I rode up the hill to my block, I noticed something to the left. It appeared to be a critter in the road. I slow as I always do to see if it was going to cross in front of me yet as I grew closer I realized it was not going to move.

I normally move past, with some respect for the deceased, and say, “Sorry bud” then rides on knowing the crows will feast tonight.

But this time it was different.

I expected to see the usual gray of a Petey or a small brown stripe of a Bo-Bo and hoped to see it was just a pile of leaves, but then I saw the white tail.

The rest of the ride was contemplating what might have happened in front of my house yesterday.
Returning home, I rehydrate and checked the silliness of the Internet.

I peered out the front to look again but could not see the carcass. Perhaps nature’s morticians had already done their duty.

Continuing my day’s routine I returned from the store with seed and p-nuts spread in the usual feeding areas.

I watched the yard critters scamper for their lunch but was saddened than one of our family would not attend the feast.

After an hour allowing them to settle into their normal feeding, I started up to the house to prepare my own lunch when to my surprise, what did I see?

There was Bun-Bun!

She was sitting in her usual spot munching up some seed.

I stopped and with a soft tone acknowledged her.

After watching still, I backed off to allow her space.

Sometime later, she appeared to the second feeding spot, then munched on some grass and disappeared in her yard.

As darkness set in, I slowly walked to the house hoping not to disturb anyone.

Under her shelter of bamboo and grasses, there was Bunny stretched out napping in the last of the sunshine.

So you never know when it will be a good day.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Seeing Something Strange


Saw something strange today.



Not like I don't observe strange activities or occurrences or even interactions, but this one truly surprised me.

After the hurricane, the neighborhood was filled with more than the usual white trucks fixing roofs, making repairs on gutters, removing wood, patching streets, so it was not usual to see heavy equipment on my daily routes.

City employees spray yellow and blue marks on the pavement one day, then blocking off the street the next to dig holes and stand around in their hard hats and stare and discuss the hole they had just dug. It become a routine site in an old neighborhood, but this was something different.

On the way back from the grocery store I noticed a house in the middle of a block of similar houses that had all of it's aluminum siding missing. It had all been removed.

What surprised me was that the house didn't seem to be damaged by the storm and looked like every other house on the block. I had to assume it was getting new siding and thought no more about it.

The next day on my ride I passed the same house and noticed more white trucks in front of it with men scurrying back and forth. The front door was open and I could see the studs where there had been walls. A large dumpster on the lawn was being filled with plaster and other materials.

This a new owner (yes, the house had been for sale) gutting it to make over the antique wiring and plumbing from post-WWII construction. I smiled to see someone was making an investment in the neighborhood and moved on.

I could understand the problems with quickly constructed houses made after the war to accept the influx of GIs and new families. In the past year I have tried to sure up my own home of an similar age so I felt good that someone had purchased the home and decided to make it new again.

Today I rode by the same location and much to my surprise, the house was gone.

A huge mechanical machine had dug up the foundation to the dirt and only a dirt plot surrounded by a plastic fence remained.

What happened yesterday?

My first thought was the neighbor had bought the house and had it removed so the lawn could be enlarged for more grass cutting, but the construction sign out front suggested a new building was to take it's place.

How would it fit in the neighborhood? All these homes are very similar and though some are unique in their presentation, the repetitiveness of the rows give familiarity to the neighborhood.

The neighborhood behind me, well, the neighbor before the neighbor before the...., well you get the picture, bought a plot of yard from another neighbor, cut down a huge and beautiful tree and built a three-story house. The style did not match any of the surrounding buildings, but the yard was kept clean and the family didn't cause a fuss, so the diversity fit in.

Other houses have been dropped in between rows of established families trough the years, but this was the first time I had seen a house demolished.

So this fall and winter and next year, I will watch what will come of this now plot of land.

Like the fallen trees from the hurricane, many lost their homes, but I could welcome them into my little plot of ground for safety, warmth, water and food.

Other than that, I can only observe.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cooking



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It is a funny thing that the kitchen is most popular room in the house. All the pots and pans and water and heat giving all the household the process and space for preparation of food and chores of cleaning up, yet it can be a lonely place.

The kitchen is the meeting room, where you post the drawings of the children, put up the grocery list, calendars, with the television running and cook books stacked in corners, the microwave beep and hustle and bustle of preparing the next meal.

We seem to be consumed by the making of food spending hours cutting and slicing and sorting and shopping for ingredients to fill our bellies, then starting all over again.

Stores are filled with appliances to make the process easier and faster and cleaner with the latest additions of timers and ice makers without a thought of what we really enjoy about being in the kitchen.

Yes, the preparation of food, if done correctly and properly can be an exciting experience with the reward of a wonderful tasting meal, but is that all?

Over the summer, I realized it was too hot to cook, not that I was all that adventurous into the cuisine.

My mother was not a great chef but she fed her boys every night. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, cheese and pickles sandwiches, dry scrambled eggs, milk, peanut butter (no jelly) sandwiches, and for a treat the hidden M&Ms were found, but we never starved.

We ate out occasionally, probably more than I remember due to my father’s connections with the food industry, with Chicken in the Rough, and S&K cafeteria, and Duson’s Steak House. Mostly ordered beef and potatoes that was the custom of the time. Big plates of fried chicken covered in honey and lots of biscuits or giant slices of roast beef or fried steak followed by huge desserts of chocolate pie was the norm.

But over the years, the taste buds change.

The routine of going to the grocery, selecting the products, and preparing the meal has not changed much, but what is wanted has.

Over the years, I’ve been exposed to many techniques of cooking. Grilling, baking, deep-fry, steamed, and stir-fry have all been experimented with outstanding results.

Now remember I grew up with a wealth of substance available to me. I did not think twice about pulling a steak out of the freezer, dropping it into an iron skillet and making a sandwich covered in mustard.

And as my taste buds matured, I found certain flavors I enjoyed and others I knew I should appreciate.
So the cool months come on and I realize this is the season to cook, since the summer was all sandwiches or chicken tenders and salads.

Last year I went through all the foods I thought I liked including flank steak (which I made in college as a special meal), peanut butter cookies, a variety of pizzas, stuffed potatoes, slow-cooked chili and stew, tacos, and even noodle dishes.

The conclusion was the preparation was fun, but the clean up was too much. Plus if you cook a huge pot of “stuff” you have to eat it for several days.

As the season turns, I am preparing myself for a new adventure into the realm of cooking. I’m not so interested in the spices, for after watching several cooking shows I know what they use and what I like.

I’m not so interested in following a cookbook or recipe because I can judge the intensity of the flavor and as any good cook will tell you, continue to taste through the process.

The fun of cooking is to share the experience with another and get a review on the final product.

If I cook alone during the cold and raining nights, I will reward myself with a glass of wine and toast my success.

Missing Work?



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Since the day is mostly filled with work related activities, what happens when you no longer work?

They call it retirement.

The time when you do not have to get up early, dress in formal attire, arrive at a location on a specific hour, mingle and interact with people you would not ordinarily associate with.

The alarm goes off and you can turn over and go back to sleep.

Now, it takes a while to get over the daily rut and stress in trying to accomplish goals set by an unknown management dictating visions of former accomplishments.

First the realization that one can do whatever without scrutiny is revealing. That immediately reduced the stress level. (Note: if there is someone else at home that is unaware of this occurrence, be empathetic.)

Second, as you settle into this new life, put your “work” clothes into a space where they won’t be seen.

For that matter, put all your “work” associated materials into a box and place them away. Later you can go through them and realize you do not need them anymore. If you want to save this junk it is up to you, but your kids won’t want them.

Third is to change your routine. Go out for a walk during that 10 o’clock meeting time. Have lunch at 2 o’clock instead of noon. Take a nap or work out in the garden in the afternoon instead of trying to wrap up the endless problems of the day.

It takes a while to realize what “not” working means, but it will sink in.

Dreams fascinated me. I kept having dreams of problems and people at work as if I was still there. Slowly, they started to fade away to problems in new situations with faces I did not recognize. Now I am awed by the stories that my brain creates for me in the darkness with people and situations I was unaware of.

Also, if you allow yourself, you can relax. There will still be the interactions between family and friends and the constant daily occurrences that are unpredictable, but there is time for YOU.

Like when you were a child, the day is yours to explore and the adventure can behold wonders not covered up by the daily grind but available for the viewing as it always was.

This time, you get to learn who you really are. Without the restrictions of the work-a-day world your inner self comes out.

If you want to volunteer, do so. If you want to enjoy your family, do so. If you want to find a new relationship with your maker, do so. If you want to be a beach bum, do so.

It is up to you. These are the “golden years”, but the other side of the coin is the purpose for being on the planet, the reason for existence, is evident.

So the goal of growing up, being educated, finding substantial employment, and making a life for yourself, suddenly comes to an end; what will you do?

I thought about some opportunities that became available to me, but I compared them to the economy and the market and the daily stress and decided not to follow that path. I was lucky enough to be able to make that decision.

Looking back I learned a lot and met some wonderful people and had some good times, but missing work?

After two years, I get calls from old associates telling me tales from the office, yet I sincerely don’t care.

It is not a bad feeling. I know someone has taken my chair. Someone else is doing my duties. Someone will fill the void.

But I have accomplished more than I had anticipated, so I can release the balloon and relax.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Losing Interest



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This is a Carol King song I liked for some time and in review, I understand it better.
"Pierre"

[Prologue:]
There was once a boy named Pierre
Who only would say, I don't care!
Read his story, my friend, for you'll find
At the end that a suitable
Moral lies there

[Chapter I]

One day his mother said
When Pierre climbed out of bed
-Good morning, darling boy, you are my only joy
Pierre said-I don't care!
-What would you like to eat?
-I don't care!
-Some lovely cream of wheat?
-I don't care!
-Don't sit backwards in your chair
-I don't care!
-Or pour syrup on your hair
-I don't care!
-You are acting like a clown
-I don't care!
-And we have to go to town
-I don't care!
-Don't you want to come, my dear?
-I don't care!
-Would you rather stay right here?
-I don't care!
So his mother left him there

[Chapter II]

His father said-Get off your head
Or I will march you up to bed!
Pierre said-I don't care!
-I would think that you could see -
-I don't care!
-Your head is where your feet should be!
-I don't care!
-If you keep standing upside down -
-I don't care!
-We'll never get to town
-I don't care!
-If only you would say, I care
-I don't care!
-I'd let you fold the folding chair
-I don't care!
So his parents left him there
They didn't take him anywhere

[Chapter III]

Now as the night began to fall
A hungry lion paid a call
He looked Pierre right in the eye
And asked him if he'd like to die
Pierre said-I don't care!
-I can eat you, don't you see?
-I don't care!
-And you will be inside of me
-I don't care!
-Then you will never have to bother -
-I don't care!
-With a mother and a father
-I don't care!
-Is that all you have to say?
-I don't care!
-Then I'll eat you, if I may
-I don't care!
So the lion ate Pierre

[Chapter IV]

arriving home at six o'clock
His parents had a dreadful shock!
They found the lion sick in bed and cried
-Pierre is surely dead!
They pulled the lion by the hair
they hit him with the folding chair
His mother asked-Where is Pierre?
The lion answered-I don't care!
His father said-Pierre's in there!

[Chapter V]

They rushed the lion into town
The doctor shook him up and down
And when the lion gave a roar
Pierre fell out upon the floor
He rubbed his eyes and scratched his head
And laughed because he wasn't dead
His mother cried and held him tight
His father asked-Are you alright?
Pierre said-I am feeling fine
Please take me home, it's half past nine

The lion said-If you would care
To climb on me, I'll take you there
Then everyone looked at Pierre
Who shouted-Yes, indeed, I care!
The lion took them home to rest
And stayed on as a weekend guest
The moral of Pierre is: CARE!

Perhaps it age or time, but I realize I am losing interest in so many of the things that filled my time and space.

Things that used to interest me are now boring. Even football.

Sure football is the only sport I ever paid attention to, but it was only for the coaching, yet now it is so predictable that I’ve become bored watching a game. I even turn down the sound and listen to music while watching it, but there are too many commercials for autos or pizzas to keep my attention. If I miss something there will be replays or I can catch it on the web.

Maybe it is the “microwave mentality” that forces me to surf through channels where Dr. Phil presents a set of actors describing some heinous symptom of bad behavior so he can cast ratings, or RR will mix up another burger with the same ingredients, or old time antenna television showing crummy movies surrounded by terrible commercials for lawyers, guns and money.

Books, magazines, television shows, even music on the popular radio bores me. I look at the bestseller list and find no interest in fiction or fact or even biographies of people I don’t care about. The magazines are filled will advertisements and little reveling information. Television, which has always been a visual wasteland, now presents flash and fluff with little substance. Even the “news” shows have talking heads with little credibility for analyst or viable thoughts.

Internet messages about celebrities I do not know or care about bores me. I look at the movie trailers realizing I have just seen the best scenes. Without an interest in flash and burn and special effects or vampires or zombies or stupid gooey predictable love stories, I avoid the popcorn and sticky floors of the darkness.

Even walking through the super market looking at noodles, tomatoes, potatoes, tacos, ice cream, chips, frozen dinners, baby food, depends…. None of these things interest me. I survive by preparing minimal easy food that doesn’t require a lot of prep time or clean up. The important part is to stay hydrated. Perhaps in the cooler months ahead, cooking will occupy my time while the rain and snow comes?

I look at the latest technology and wonder what will it do for me? I go to the shopping centers and walk away empty handed. I walk past restaurants with little desire for there preparations.

Every now and then something catches my eye or ear or my fancy, but now it quickly fades because it doesn’t meet my expectations. Maybe I have high expectations.

Even conversations must present themselves as thrilling or unexpected yet I find them only to become boring and a waste of sharing air.

So what interest me?

Finding a feather on the ground left by one of my buddies after a feeding, not in a panic of attack for they know they are protected here, but as an afterthought.

A light and shadow pattern on the road or a distant sound of a crow chasing a hawk.

On a cool morning ride, the smell of fall filling your nostrils takes your breath away.

Stopping at a stop light with a girl on a three-wheel bike and commenting on it with her response that I also had a nice bike before we smiled and rode off in different directions.

The bright sky in the morning, the silence of the darkness of night and the comfort of the wooden stalks protruding from the ground around me holding an array of furry creatures, some of which I will never see.
A sound of fireworks in the distance and knowing it is the baseball team celebration.

So many things have lost importance through the years, yet a few remain to keep my curiosity of the future.

Music still fascinates me, though I listen to more of the classical now. A phrase or riff can always catch my ear, but I only listen to music that I know. Even the music I grew up with when replayed becomes dull due to little evolution.

Expression will catch my eye and ear if creative and innovative, but it takes a lot to make me follow it. I don’t want to be disappointed by the second act.

So as the weather grows cooler, the windows will close quieting the crickets. Surrounded by four walls without the escape of freedom into the sunlight, I must reevaluate my interest.

Check the project list, but this winter music will be a main interest. I’ve got a lot of recording and writing to do, so it is now the season to get busy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Telephone Etiquette



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What happens when you don’t identify yourself or confirm the caller?

Me: Hello

? Girl (with party sounds in the background): Hi

Me: Hi

? Girl: Did I wake you?

Me: No

? Girl: I thought you might have gone to bed already

Me: OK

? Girl: mumble mumble??

Me: Ok

? Girl: Are they in bed?

Me: Yes

? Girl: mumble, mumble

Me: Sure

? Girl: Are you sure it is OK?

Me: Sure

Click. I hang up so this doesn’t go any further. Two minutes later the phone rings again with the same number. I don’t pick it up this time.

OR

Me: Hello

? Guy: Dude

Me: Dude

? Guy: Just wanted to make sure I can use your truck this weekend.

Me: Sure

? Guy: And that loaned I asked about last night. I really need it. Peggy has to have an anniversary present and I just don’t, well you already know cause we talked about it. She is kinda like really mad if she doesn’t get…

Me: Yeah

? Guy: I can swing by about five if that is good for you to pick up the truck.

Me: Do you know who this is?

? Guy: (pause) Hank?

Me: Nope

? Guy: (pause)

Me: Dude you got the wrong number.

Click

OR

Me: Hello

? : I want a large pepperoni and black olive pizza

Me: Sure

? : And a large cola

Me; Sure

? : Wait. What? (he speaks to someone in the background). No make those two large pizzas. One with pepperoni and black olives and the other one with pineapple and sausage.

Me: (waiting)

? : And two colas and an order of breadstix.

Me: Address

? : (gives me an address)

Me: OK, it will be there in 30-minutes of less or it is FREE!
Click.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oh, I thought you were talking to me.



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Since it has been a rainy day and kinda of cool and I’ve already seen the news and played the guitar and had my dinner and bath, I thought I’d sit down and write about one of my favorite subjects: communication.

I probably like this subject since I spent much of my time in advertising that is a type of communication. Imagine a room full of people who are all talking and there is one guy over in the corner yelling. That is advertising.

Advertising is sort of the rock star of communication. It has to be flashy and trashy and in your face to get our attention for the purpose of advertising is to sell you something you didn’t know you wanted or needed.

But enough of that, this started when I got my electrical power back to enjoy the creature comfort of watching the news and there was this report about the progress of returning the rest of the world to the state of light. A representative or spokesman or whatever they call the guys who read the script was Skyped to the news station to answer the obvious. He was pleasant looking and well mannered in a calm setting with a frustrating objective.

He smiled and answered the reporter’s questions in what I call “govspeak” which means he didn’t tell the viewer anything new or important, but gave the impression he was communicating with the public.
When asked how the work was proceeding, he responded the crews working “diligently” to restore power in overwhelming circumstances.

Then he reflected questions showing the companies feelings by expressing he understood the “challenges” their customers were going through, with great pathos.

Continuing with his infomercial he noted the on-going information of where the crews were working was to be the “transparency” required by the public.

At the end of the presentation I only wondered what had he really said?

He had used all the buzzwords and the politically correct procedure to present a positive public relations piece to the blurry-eyed public, but nothing was said.

In this day of microwave mentality, we send electronic messages and comment at the blink of an eye with little to no meaning. It is a kneejerk reaction to another’s statement.

Back in the day of letters, each word scratched out on paper had to take the trip from the mind to hand with a thought of proper sentence structure and the overall meaning of each phrase. Some letters were written several times to get what was hoped the reader would comprehend.

And face-to-face communication may be totally lost. It used to be called conversation, but today I find it lacking.

Few comment to each other in passing and if so they make bland statements like, “How are you doing?” (Which we all know they don’t really want to know) or if you say “Thank You” to someone his or her response is “No Problem.” (Don’t get me started on that one).

Then talking, actual conversation with another humanoid takes many paths I never expected or realized before. Some start at one point and then turn into disgusting complaints. Some start on personal introspective revelations only to turn in to bombastic egotistic self-pity. Some start on the usual format of family, health, wealth, and food before quickly declining into an abyss of lack of interest.
When there is no interest between the compatriots, there is little else to say.

There was a time when people gathered, without distinction of race, religion, or ideology to discuss the topics of the day. Each was respected for their point of view to present to the group broadening the thought process. Even if the communication became heated at the end, everyone gained.

The self-absorption of today allows us to immediately converse to others our pains and complaints and problems without a thought of the listener. If the other person talks of their plans, we are all too quick to give our opinion and directions without any basis of knowledge.

If we continue the path of electronic communication, will we loose our voice? Why speak to one another if we can just text them. LOL.

And if we lose our voices, how will we ever again sing?

So I speak out loud every day.

“Hello Bluejay.” “Hello Petie. Do you want a peanut?” “Hello crows.” “Hello Bun-Bun.” I say out loud to ears that stop and try to respond but do not understand the language.

If anyone else hears me, I’m sure they will be calling the men with the white jackets that tie in the back, but these are the only ones I have a meaningful conversation with.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Creature Comforts



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Recently, due to inclement weather, the electrical power was interrupted.

So a few days there were no creature comforts. The electronic devices that conform our daily life were useless. No television, no radio, no CDs, no fans, no lights, no refrigeration, no cooking, no washing cloths, and no computer.

Did this blip in electrical server change our lives?

To some it seems to.

Neighbors went out and bought generators to keep the connections with the outside world and the dead animal products fresh. Others decided to pack up and move to another place where there was electricity.
Is this power source this important to our every day life? Do we have to have the creature comforts to survive?

Yes, I adjusted my environment around the change, ultimately knowing that the big trucks would come in and bring back the power.

And soon the truck appeared and the lights came back on.

But in the meantime, I didn’t miss any of the elements of creature comforts.

Television is a global wasteland with little to offer now, the repeated playing of CDs I’ve heard many times before were not missed, without light when darkness fell seemed to be the time to rest until the sun arose the next day, and food can be prepared without electricity.

Of course, this situation may not be as comfortable as the normal routine, but one learns to adapt. If not, how can we adjust to the future?

So when the power goes out, get a glass of water and sit outside on the porch. It is an amazing world out there that we miss everyday.