Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Survival tips

      Someday soon, you might be chased by a huge reptile, a huge fish, huge cockroaches, huge prehistoric birds or a huge land shark that has genes of a human. This happens to people all the time, as evidenced by the endless number of movies produced by the Sy-Fy Channel. Here are a few important survival tips should such a calamity occur.
      First, your chances of survival are much greater if you have both a first and last name. When introduced to anyone, make sure to say both. Insist everyone call you by both. Because if you're referred to as Private Simmons or simply Nurse, you will be eaten by a strange alien beast. If you're just "Hey, you," you might as well shoot yourself immediately. Likewise, if you're beautiful and/or handsome but not the heroine or the hero's girlfriend, you're simply there to heighten suspense so wander off to take that hot, steamy shower and make it easier for the alien to dine on your stupid bones. If, however, you are the Brawny Shy Scientist (male) or the Brainy Frigid Scientist (female), the odds of your survival go up.
      Second, try to be the only person of your skin color or ethnicity. If there are two blacks or Hispanics or whatever, only one of them will survive. So if you see someone like you, kill him or her as soon as you can.
      Unless, of course, that killing makes you into a Crazed Military Man or Evil Corporate Toady. The alien will kill you terribly, but you will have a lot of fun bedeviling the hero and his blonde scientist girlfriend before the alien sucks out your brain through your nose.
      Third, if you are called on a mysterious mission to a mysterious military complex located on a mysterious island, in a mysterious volcano, at the mysterious North Pole or under the mysterious ocean, don't go! Leap out a window, head for Latin America, and never look back. But if you have to go, make sure you're divorced and that your former spouse has to go with you, even though your ex vowed to insert pencils in your eyes if he/she ever saw you again. It helps if you are still secretly in love with your ex underneath all those layers of seething hatred and disgust, because you will end up falling in love again before the danger is over.
      Fourth, after you shoot the monster or cut off its head or drop a car on it or gas it to death, go over there and cut its head off! If you don't, you can count on it rising again to menace you. Just pretend it's a budget produced by Congress and keep hacking away pieces of it until the budget balances or it's dead, whichever comes first.
      Fifth, genetic tampering ALWAYS produces a monster. As soon as someone mentions it, immediately start planning to face a hideous creature with superhuman strength and an insatiable appetite for human flesh. You'd think scientists would learn, but right now some highbrow is mixing the genes of an innocent bear with the genes of Rush Limbaugh or some other horrible creature.
      Sixth, radiation will also always produce a monster. And if you throw in some alien DNA or other genetic tampering, you've got real trouble. It's well known that Bill Clinton was the result of just such an experiment.
      Seventh, never go off alone. Unless you've always had a hankering to find out what it feels like to be dismembered. If you must be alone, take your portable stereo along and play Celine Dion's Greatest Hits. Monsters will either flee from you or decide that you'd make a lovely bride. Either way you're alive, although if the latter happens, you might not want to be.
      Eighth, most aliens want to devour us. Beware them. Yes, I know it seems strange to travel across hundreds of light years just for a snack, but humans are the galactic equivalent of potato chips. We're just dang tasty as most of us know.
      Ninth, watch out for the so-called friendly aliens. A relationship with them will only end in heartache for all concerned. The "friendly" aliens will cause a lot of death and suffering, be imprisoned by the military and/or secret government agency, be tortured, and then leave and/or die in a all-consuming explosion without giving us any of their amazing technology. For advanced beings, you'd think they'd do a bit of research on us before landing. Just watching one reality show should give them plenty of reasons to stay a few stars away.
      Tenth, it's entirely possible that you might survive the ordeal. I regret to inform you that if you do, you'll suffer a fate worse than death -- you'll be asked back for the sequel.

Monday, August 29, 2005


      I went to the gym today and over-did it. Way over. I was okay until I stopped moving and sat for a bit watching TV. And then I was still okay except for most of my body was pretty well shot. (My left ring finger is fine. Doesn't ache at all.)
      I also realized that I was more shallow (shallower?) than I had thought. While wrestling with my involvement with the local theater group, it occurred to me that I'd be happier if someone would just pat me on my head every now and then and say, "Good job." The whole group has problems with appreciation. Well, really the whole world does. We humans are quick to pull down but slow to build up. We should really work on that.
      I need to take a couple Advil and go to bed. Catch y'all tomorrow.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Random weekend thoughts

      We've had the strangest August here. Rain and more rain when we're usually very dry. I wonder what the winter is going to be like. Wet and warm or cold and dry? Or some mixture thereof?
      Minute Maid makes a most excellent Cherry Limeade. Poured over crushed ice from my fridge, it's as good as a Sonic Cherry Limeade.
      Tina Turner's CD All the Best is great. Highly recommended if you like the lady with the best legs in the music business.
      It's such a shame that we don't have passenger blimps today. It's so cool to look up and see that huge object in the sky, floating there in seemingly full defiance of gravity.
      Talyn still hasn't arrived. I checked my local Wal-Mart for any of Holly Lisle's books as I think I read that Wal-Mart was carrying them, but no luck. Our Wal-Mart doesn't have many books, but does have hundreds of hip-hop and rap CDs. The country and rock racks are always nearly empty, but they never expand those sections. Curious stocking policy.
      If someone says he/she has no ego and is willing to do whatever is best for an organization, don't ever ever ever believe it. He/she has an ego as large as the Hindenburg and twice as volatile.
      Ego-driven people will hurt others around them and then claim they are the injured party. I saw that repeatedly this weekend. And I think a reckoning is being planned. I intend to avoid being there when the boom is lowered. People have long memories of insults and slights, and it's going to be real ugly. I can't do anything to stop it so I think I'm just going to get out of the way. Life is too short to subject yourself to bad things that you don't have to, and I have conflicting feelings on this person, anyway.
      Wal-Mart will eventually own the world, at least the part that Microsoft doesn't. I just wish they'd get it over with so that we could assume our slave duties.
      I added new scrollies and a new Quote of the Week. I also fixed two links that had changed and deleted one that didn't work anymore. I added Word Verification to the Comments. I was getting blog spammed for several comments a day. Word Verification is a good solution until we can find the spammers and subject them to torture and endless pain -- make them watch "The Real World" over and over. Well, maybe even they don't deserve that.
      $3 gasoline. Wow. Makes me sick to my stomach as I look at what the high prices are doing to my budget. It's going to be a lean Christmas.
      I wish my local library stayed open later on Saturday. It closes at one. You'd think they'd stay later on Saturday and close sooner on a weekday, but maybe they tried it in the past and it didn't work. It's probably hard to find people to work on Saturdays.
      The post office has some really cool stamps. Don't just choose the regular flag stamp that comes in the rolls. Ask to see what else they have. They all cost the same, and you might as well spend your 37 cents on stamps that feature flowers, planes, clouds, artwork, ocean life, famous Americans, historical American flags, etc. It's a small pleasure, and we all need more of those.
      I want to go to the gym five times this next week. At least that's the plan.
      People who cheat on their spouses will lie about other things, too. You can count on it.
      Chocolate-covered strawberries really are the food of the gods. Easy to make with chocolate that's made to melt in the microwave. Chocolate-covered banana chunks are good, too. Apples slices aren't good dipped in chocolate.
      We fall in love with the people we fall in love with, and that's that. Doesn't matter who is perfect for us or who would be better for us. Our wayward hearts choose, and we have to go on from there. We can waste our lives on a wrong love or choose to walk away and find a different love. Or live alone. And the last two choices aren't as terrible as they sound. They're really not.
      Too many people are unhappy in this world. They need to try to change that. Motion is almost always better than staying in an ugly room simply because it's familiar. Life is risk. Harbors are good places to rest, to learn, to heal and to relax, but life takes place out there on the boundless blue. Cast off, and let the winds fill your sails. Don't forget to write.
      Good night, and have a great week.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


      Whew! What a day at work. Busy without much chance to take a break. I'm hoping tomorrow will be calmer. I'd like to reduce that pile of paperwork on my desk. It's amazing how much paper we generate. I remember when magazines and business pundits said the era of the "paperless office" was upon us. You don't hear much about that anymore. It went the way of the idea of having a federal balanced budget.
      Paper continues to be ever present. In fact, it seems we generate more paper every day. Eventually we will be buried under reports and forms. But we're a hardy race. We'll dig tunnels through the paper and learn how to digest cellulose and ink. We'll ride giant bookworms and battle ravenous silverfish … Oookay, I probably need to get some rest.
      I have a busy weekend planned: housework, publishing the family newsletter, catching up on my budget, going to the gym, attending a play, writing, writing, writing, etc. As always, I probably won't get it all done, but it's a plan. Oh, I need to go to the library, too. I'm trying to cut down on my overdue fines. I hope they budget for that. I’d hate to think some aide would lose her job because I was timely.
      I received an email saying they had shipped Talyn. I've read a few reviews about it, but have tried to stay away from spoilers. I like to approach a book fresh. One review mentioned that author Holly Lisle switched from first person to third person throughout the book. I've toyed with that with Dragons Gather (my fantasy novel) but I haven't committed to it. I'm curious to see how she handles it.
      Time for bed. I've been sleeping strange the past few days, probably because of the cold and the meds I'm taken for it. Odd dreams wander through my night. I'd like to have a good night's rest. And maybe tonight I'll get one.
      Good night!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


      That's the sound of my head hitting my desk. It's been that long a day. I hope I get some rest tonight. I've been fighting a stupid summer cold, and it's draining all my energy. I really needed to get to the gym tonight, but couldn't bestir myself to go. And tomorrow promises to be just another such day. My desk is loaded with mind-numbing and soul destroying paperwork. Sigh. When is my ship going to come in? Or am I going to have to row out there, board the blamed thing, toss its crew overboard, and sail that sucker in the harbor myself? Probably.
      I finally had enough money to order Talyn by Holly Lisle. It's a hardcover, and I've been so broke that I couldn't spring for it. But today I got it ordered from Amazon. I hope it comes in soon. I can't afford the Next Day shipping or the Two Day shipping. I have the free It-will-get-there-some-time-before-you-die shipping. Apparently it's being delivered by a pack hamster. With a limp. But it's nice to know it's on its way.
      Hey, I think we need some good news. As you know, I've been working on a debt reduction plan for the past several months. Well, this month, I paid off my first credit card! I've been waiting to announce it until they send me a statement with the zero balance, but why wait to share? I appreciate all your support. The next payoff will take pace in August of next year. Slowly but surely, I'm heading for debt free land. Hope to see you there.
      I'm going to call it a night now. Y'all take care, and catch you tomorrow.


This is the original of the photo below before it had Photoshop applied to it. It would have been a cool shot if it had just been in focus.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Little mysteries

      One of the more curious pieces of mail I received is a handwritten postcard. It refers to me by name and was sent from Oklahoma City. It reads:
      The Lord bless and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26. May God bless you for all that you do.

      It's not signed, and I've not been able to figure out who the handwriting belongs to. I thought it was nice, but I'd like to know who sent it. I have it penned up on a shelf beside my computer.
      Pinned beside the postcard is the fortune from a fortune cookie I cracked open a few months ago. The fortune reads: "Beware the black dragon in your life for he is untrustworthy." I'd never got a fortune like that before and haven't since.
      A little further down on the shelf is a hook on which hang several keys. I don't know what the keys open. I think one is for the gate in my backyard, but the others have slowly accumulated over the years. I'm positive at least three of them are for cars I no longer have. But I could be wrong. Does anyone else end up with orphan keys?
      And finally in my little gallery of mysteries, I have a painted card that I think might be a Tarot card. I found the card in an old, deserted house that a friend was thinking about buying but didn't. The house had been empty for years and was in sad shape. The carpet was falling apart, and you could actually see through the roof. In a back bedroom, I found the card stuck in the baseboard. The face of the card shows a tree with animals and human faces in its branches. The back of the card is a red and green interlocking grid. I've always wondered where the card came from and how it came to be stuck in that baseboard. I look at it and make up stories, and this imagining keeps my muse primed when I'm writing fantasy.
      I think everybody should have their own little mysteries. They fill our lives with everyday wonders. Sometimes it's better to have the questions than the answers.
      Good night, and hey, surprise everyone by having a great day tomorrow.

An interesting mistake

Obviously I applied too much Photoshop to this photo
of carnations, but I think it's an interesting mistake.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 22, 2005

A day like today

      I was reading Downtown Guy today and discovered that I had been nominated for an award! I or rather 51313 Harbor Street has been nominated in the Best Writing Blog category in the OkieDokie awards. I didn't even know the awards existed. Probably everyone else did, and I'm just behind the curve. I stay behind everyone else, but just remember as you walk in front of me that I'm giving your figure the once-over ... and leering.
      Anyway, the nomination was a nice surprise, and I appreciate whoever did the nominating. Thank you. I would send you money, but I realize that is too crass for someone of your discriminating taste. I'll make a donation to a museum in your honor. Someday.
      I needed a nice surprise today as work was particularly grueling. It started with a customer yelling at me and ended with a different customer yelling at me. There's a symmetry in that, but somehow it's not the Zen feeling you might suppose. If you suppose such things, and if you do, then I wonder about you and all the time you have on your hands. Maybe you need a job. Take mine.
      It's always interesting to me -- well, not really, but curious nonetheless -- when a customer begins with yelling. It basically leaves them nowhere else to go unless they resort to violence, which so far, thank God, none of them have. It's better to start out reasonable and calm, and then later go into your impression of Jack Nichelson in The Shining. More effective that way.
      Another curious thing to me are the customers who threaten my company with a lawyer. I actually like it when bad customers get a lawyer because then it goes to our legal department and I can no longer speak with them. Unfortunately a lot of them just threaten even though I anonymously mail them the membership list of the Bar Association. More people need to follow through on their word these days. Particularly Congress.
      I happen to like lawyers, which is odd, I know, but I think everyone should have a lawyer of their own. Properly prepared by a skilled taxidermist, a lawyer makes a good coat rack or hitching post (if you have horses or a more active dating life than I want to hear about).
      Just kidding! I love all people, including lawyers. One of my best friends is a lawyer, and someday I'll have him over for dinner when I move out of this restricted neighborhood. Or maybe I'll just give him a gift certificate for Wendys.
      As you can tell by the babbling, it's been a long day. And on a day like today, I like to gather my friends together and head off to the islands for a frolic in the sun and surf. Wouldn't that be nice. Ain't going to happen any time soon, but we can imagine. As I see it, the beach is long and curved and has white sand. A cool ocean breeze refreshes us as we sit in loungers under huge umbrellas and sip drinks in coconuts brought to us by half-naked waitresses ... Sigh. Someday, my friends, someday. But until then, have a good night and a good tomorrow. I'm rooting for ya!

Purple carnation

Purple carnation.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

First, an apology and then the bloodletting

      First, let me say right now that the majority of women are great creatures. I love them completely, particularly the ones who comment on my page. So I want to apologize for what follows. Because there are some woman -- one in particular -- that I'd like to shake until her teeth rattled. So please know that what follows is for her -- not for any of my commenters or regular readers -- even though she will never read this, and even if she did, she lacks the self-awareness to realize that I'm talking of her.
      To the whiney weasel woman:
      Shut up. Yes, that's what I most want to say to you. Shut up! Give us some peace and quiet, would you? Can you for once stop being so moody and whiney and self-absorbed? You could be a decent person if you'd stop thinking the whole universe revolves around you. But you can't do that, can you? You're just a child in a woman's body, and like a sugar-crazed toddler in a glass shop, you wander around shattering things and thinking that somehow we shouldn't blame you.
      I'm tired of you. Tired of your amazing ability to turn everything into a discussion about your life. Hey, I don't care what men have done to you in the past. I don't want to hear about your countless boyfriends who didn't recognize what a delicate flower they held. You were the only constant in all those many relationships. I'd say the problem was you. Got that? Let me repeat: YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.
      Stop lying. To us. To yourself. HAVE A BACKBONE! We all know you lie. The first thing out of your lips is a lie. You lie even when there's no reason to lie. And you've told us so many lies that you can't keep track of them, and we've stopped trying. Couldn't you stop by the truth once in a while? But no, the truth is too hard to face. Here's one truth for you: If you are unloved, it's because you are unlovable.
      Here's another one: Need isn't love. You're lonely; isn't that sad? You're depressed; isn't that terrible? Why is that anyone's problem but yours? The rest of us have crappy things that happen to us, too. The difference is that we don't stop our lives so that we can wallow in the ruin. We make it through it. We survive. We go on.
      I don't have much sympathy left for you. If this were an island, you'd be beaten up and voted off. If this were a jungle trek, you'd be tied up and left as a gift to the hungry natives. If this were a starship, you'd already be pushed out the airlock where we couldn't hear you whine.
      The worse part is that you know better. YOU KNOW BETTER. And you can run from it, you can drink until you forget, you can pop those pills, you can sleep with all the men in the phone book, but when you get done, when you're finished, you'll still be left with you.
      The best thing would be for you to grow up. You have a lot of things going for you. You could be a lovely, decent, talented, smart, wise woman whom anyone would want to love. Of course, pigs could fly, too.
      But until the day when we see pork in the treetops, I have only one request of you. Shut. Up.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Blue carnation

I "photoshopped" this blue carnation from a red
carnation. I think it looks kinda eerie.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Clouds gather

Clouds gather over Oklahoma City.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

The long haul

      I can't claim to have much wisdom. It's obvious that I make mistake after mistake in my personal, financial and spiritual life. However, I do know one thing: True loves stay with you for the long haul.
      It's easy to have that first rush of passion, that glorious feeling when your beloved can do nothing wrong, where every single thing that she/he does is perfect. So she peppers her speech with profanity? So he eats with his mouth open? So she cries enough to start a flood? So he wears clothing that the homeless would discard? None of that matters because she/he is so wonderful that all the imperfections blur in your beloved's glory.
      But let's give it a few months. Let's get to that point where you can't stand her cat, you can't tolerate his mother, you can't stomach another one of her wholly organic dinners, where you dream of holding a pillow over his face to smother his snores. That's the beginning of the long haul. If it's truly love, you'll make it past that. You'll learn to accept the faults, and hopefully your love will learn to accept yours.
      But then you discover your beloved has cancer. Or MS. Or a thousand other diseases that reduce their victims to unlovely wrecks. No quiet wistful dying as on TV, but a gut-wrenching battle for survival where you clean up vomit and bedpans and hold grimly on, where a single laugh is a hard-fought victory.
      That's the long haul. Some people make it through it. Some people don't.
      Friday, a middle-aged man came into my office wanting to talk about my company's product. As we talked, he told me that his wife was in a hospice. She'd been fighting cancer for a couple of years now. Because I have that kind of face and maybe because I was a total stranger, he started to share their battle for her survival. He told of long hours at the hospital, he told of struggling to care for her at home, he told of losing their house because they had no health insurance and he couldn't get help from the government agencies unless he was destitute. He had tears in his eyes as he talked. I gave him a box of tissues.
      And then he told me that the doctors said her cancer was terminal and that they said all they could do was help her die less painfully. But then he stopped for a long moment.
      "I don't believe it," he said. "She doesn't believe it." They chose to keep fighting. "I can't live without her," he said. "I know people think that after she's gone, I'll be able to go on with my life. What they don't understand is that she is my life."
      We finished our business. He didn't buy my product as our price was too high. He thanked me for listening. He shook my hand and left, going down the street to his truck, heading back to the hospice and his true love, returning to the long haul.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Copper sky

Copper sky.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Long day

      It's been a long day. I worked at my regular job until 1 p.m. and then took off the afternoon so that I could work at the theater cleaning it and setting up for the patron party this evening. Then I worked the ticket booth and oversaw the party tonight. My feet ache, my back aches, my arms are tired, and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. But tonight officially ended the patron drive. We ended up with 46 patrons, 13 more than last year. That might not seem like much, and it's four less than my goal, but it means more money for the theater and more people in the seats. So it was finally a success. And the party tonight went well. I got a lot of compliments about it. It's something to build on for next year.
      I still have to update the web page and do a few other things, but the majority of my tasks are finished for a while. I intend to be firm in saying "no" for the next couple of weeks.
      By the way, y'all should go over and wish Michelle of Soul Patches a happy birthday. I always feel that everyone deserves as much humiliation ... uh ... recognition on their birthday as possible. By the way, look at her photos while you're there. They're quite good.
      And now I'm going to call it a night and lay my weary bones down to sleep. Have a great night and a wonderful tomorrow.

Painted sky at dusk

Painted sky.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Sunshine finally

      This morning we have sunshine! It rained again last night, but the clouds are rolling away. I am completely a child of the sun.
      I got to go to the gym yesterday. Not as long as I would have liked as I had to be down at the theater again, but ... Hey, isn't that weird? I was disappointed at how short my gym visit was. I worry about me sometimes. Anyway, it was good to go as much as I did, and I intend to go there again today. I think it's helping to burn off some of my stress. Or something.
      Jean likes the recombinant bike at her gym. (Read her blog for more on recombinant/recumbent.) I think it's my favorite, too. I just get on and peddle away, listening to my music. I can't say that I don't notice that I'm exercising, but it doesn't seem as hard as some of the other machines.
      Like the SkiTrac machine which duplicates the motions of cross-country skiing. Uphill. In a blizzard. While stalked by hungry bears. And telemarketers. Most people don't know that the SkiTrac was developed by the Chinese communists to break the will of political prisoners. Five minutes on it and I'd be willing to tell all.
      As I walk around the track in the fitness center, I walk past the aerobics room. One side of the room is a glass wall. Last night I noticed a heavyset woman at the back of the class. She was waving one arm in the air in an attempt to duplicate the gyrations of the bouncy instructor. As I walked and watched, the woman brought her arm down in a dismissive wave, made a disgusted face and then marched wearily to the door and left. She passed me on the track as she headed for the elevator. At first, I thought it was funny. Her face expressed exactly what I've felt many times when attempting to fight the battle of the bulging belly. But the longer I thought about it, the more sad it became. I hope she's not so discouraged that she gives up and doesn't come back. I've certainly given up many times before and have only got this far through the help of Weight Watchers and good friends. So if you're out there and reading this by some weird chance, try again. And keep trying. I'm rooting for you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


      I discovered something irritating last night: All the work I did Sunday night designing a program for the local theater group's production this weekend was wasted because the director had already made a program. It ticked me off. Not so much that my program was better but that I wasted three hours of my time. Time is very precious to me these days. If I'm having to take time away from my personal projects, I want it to be worth the sacrifice. It didn't help either that everyone's attitude about it was hohum, big deal. Made me grit my teeth, but I didn't blow up. They're in dress rehearsal now and will open Thursday night. No reason to make a stressful time any more stressful than it is. However, I won't do a program again unless I'm certain that my efforts won't be discarded. Life is too short.
      Mikey started school yesterday. The pre-K program. He doesn't like it. Sigh. I was hoping he would take to it from the start. I'm sure he will grow to like it. He likes other kids, but he's not too keen on their lessons or how they order him around. He gets that honestly; I was the same way.
      It has rained, rained and rained here. I know we need the rain, but it makes it impossible to get out and enjoy the remaining days of summer. My internal clock says autumn is coming, followed by the dreaded winter. Man, I hate cold weather, absolutely hate it.
      I didn't get to go to the gym yesterday. Didn't feel like it, actually. My IBD flared over the weekend, but I'm back on my meds for it, and it's better. There are a lot of things I hate about IBD, but I think the time it steals from me is the one I resent the most.
      Okay, enough complaining. It's time to start the day.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The sky at sunset

The sky at sunset.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Upsidedown Mikey

Upsidedown Mikey.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.


Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

My Mikey

My Mikey.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Borneo Oklahoma

In these dark places only the hunger survives
In these places we learn who our friends are
It's in these places
that the girl goes home
that your brother returns to his family
that your sister stops speaking of you
Eyes gleam in the shadows
flashes of crimson in the gloom
jungle creatures circle
waiting the fire to die
waiting for gasps of terrified breath
waiting for your back to turn --
Seize a flaming brand
Stalk to the umbra of the trees
Set the forest afire
Let them see your eyes
in the burning, burning, burning light

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


      I have spent my entire weekend working on projects for the local theater group. Well, that and keeping the wonderful Mikey. (New photos to follow!) It's almost impossible to do anything on the computer when Mikey is here because he wants to play on the computer if I do. And now when he's returned home, it's starting to storm so I can't blog. I certainly owe you some posts, but now I must get off the computer now. Catch you tomorrow.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Lack of a life

      I spent all evening working on the newsletter for the local theater group. And it's still not done. Some changes had to be made. I need a night to work on it, but I probably won't be able to do so until Friday night. Sigh. And I still need to work on September's Gazette. Double sigh.
      I've been going to the gym at least three times a week. I can't tell if it's working or not. I seem to be gaining, but I'm not sure if that's all in my head or not. Last night, I might have actually felt one of those sea creatures. You know, those endolphins ... I always buy endolphin safe tuna, don't you?
      Anyway, I was walking the track and listening to my MP3 player, and suddenly I realized that I was enjoying myself. WHAM! Immediately my body began to hurt, but up to that point, I hadn't noticed. So maybe that was an endorphin. Or the lack of oxygen was giving me hallucinations. I do know to not go toward the light.
      At this point, I'd like to say that my workout routine is the one of champions. I'd like to say that, but it's not true. I walk a mile on the track, spend 10-20 minutes on the exercise bike, do 50 reps on the Triceratops machine (yes, I know it's triceps, but I like the dinosaur image) and then 50 reps on a biceps machine. Other than some stretching, that's it so far. But I'm hoping to add more machines as my body can stand it.
      The exercise bike is major cool. It has an actual chair seat as opposed to those uncomfortable bicycle seats that used to attempt to split me in half. I think I like the bike best so far. Not enough to take it to dinner and then a movie, but maybe in a friend sort of way.
      A friend of mine teaches aerobics at the center, and she's trying to get to come to her class. Not yet, but maybe someday in the future, I'll be fainting to the oldies.
      In other news, I had to change the comments to allow Registered Users only. I got spammed nine times last night in the comments. I had to stop it before it became flood. A blogger I know was away from her blog for a few days. She came back and discovered she had over 400 comment spams. Unfortunately she had the comments sent to her mail box so she had to spend several hours weeding through what was spam and what wasn't. Not fun. I know this change means that Randall, Slim, Roen and Susan2 can't comment, but hey guys, you can register for Blogger without ever having to make a blog. If you have problems with it, email me and I'll set up an account for you.
      Well, I've got a full day of work in front of me. I'll talk to you guys later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Life or something like it

      I spent all last night writing and designing a newsletter for the local theater group. Another last minute task, but I got it done. Mostly. I was pretty proud of myself since I turned it out in less than two hours, but it deflated me when I found a lot of errors this morning and a friend found a major one last night. Still, I should be able to correct and print it this evening, and then I will get it photocopied tomorrow. I had forgotten -- or maybe chose to not remember -- how a group can take all your time, energy and emotional strength if you let it. I just have to remember to step back, take a deep breath and take care of myself.
      That's probably true for lots of situations. If you can center yourself and remember to breathe deeply, you can usually keep your head. Or at least not let it roll too far away. The trick is remembering to do that when everything is exploding around you.
      I didn't get to launch my rocket this weekend. We had rain and storms. Maybe next weekend.
      Time to get ready for work. Y'all have a good day.

Monday, August 08, 2005

More flowers (with a bit of Photoshop)

White and purple flowers.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.


      I think I made a mistake yesterday. A tactical error. I won't know for a while, and maybe the whole thing will blow over, but I have this disquieting feeling that I may have set something in motion that I will regret later. That's the problem with any move. The repercussions from it will travel, sometimes in unexpected ways. All you can do is try to plan for the obvious results but stay loose enough to adapt to the unforeseen.
      That's life.
      I have a lot to do today. I've been making my list. I haven't been making a list for the past few days, and I've let some things drop that really need to be picked up again. We'll do better this week. I hope.
      Figments, a play I've been working on, finally has its own folder. I've been jotting down lines of dialogue and bits of scenes into a notebook as they occured to me, but no concentrated effort to complete it. Well, it's grown to the point that it has a plot, characters and an outline. So it was time for it to get a project folder. This doesn't mean that it will be finished soon, but it is moving in the right direction.
      It's time to get ready for work so I'd better go. Have a great day.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Steamboy & other things

      My roomie and I watched Steamboy tonight. The animation was impressive, the story okay, but it needed to be about 15 minutes shorter. And that would have been easy to do. They just needed to cut some of the shots of machinery. There are dozens of scenes featuring huge machines, belching steam, moving huge gears and pistons and so on. No people in those scenes, just incredible looking machinery, but no matter how good the machinery looks, you can only see so much of it before your eyes glaze over.
      I'm also a bit unclear about the message. That science is corrupted by the military? That no dream is safe from human greed? That even good people can do bad things in pursuit of their goals? Watch it, and then we'll discuss.

      I had a fairly productive day. Didn't get as much done as I had planned, but that's always how it goes. Never enough hours in the day.
      I did make it to the gym today. My plan is to go at least three times a week, and so far, I've kept to that. The gym hasn't been very busy, but I've been told that it will pick up when the weather turns cold. Fall isn't that far away. How's that for a depressing thought? I prefer spring and summer as I've pointed out several times before.
      Otherwise, I did laundry, dusted, washed dishes, ran errands, posted a couple of times, took a few pictures that will probably show up here eventually and did a few other things.
      Trixie has launched her EBay store, selling very cool knives. Click here to check it out. I think this is an awesome move by Trixie, and I'm hoping she experiences a lot of success.
      Happy Writing has become Wry Words, a name change that Gloria and I hope will reflect more of what that blog is as it progresses.
      I hope you have a good day tomorrow. Good night!

Toys gone bad

      Trixie did a clever picture post in which we discovered Gumby had a drinking problem. Click here for the whole story. This was my comment on her post.


It's very sad
when toys go bad.
Gumby over-drinks.
In the bar, Barbie slinks.
Skipper becomes a ho
as she dallies with GI Joe.
Ken finally comes out
while Mr. Potato Head touts
worthless Enron stocks,
and candy rings cause teeth to rot.
Crazy Little-Bo-Peep
roasts her sheep.
Shoddily-built Erector Set buildings
collapse in a heap.
It's sad to say
that the toys today
feud, fib and fuss
and are just like us.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Harder than it looks

      I tried to "Photoshop" the picture of the orange flowers posted below. I have Photoshop Elements 2, and according to the box, anyone can "easily fix flaws" in any photo. There was an ugly brown leaf showing in the photo so I thought I'd cover it up. Surely it would only take a minute or two. Cue mad quivering laughter.
      An hour later, I gave up. I fiddled with the photo, cloned things, changed colors, moved parts of it, cropped parts of it, made layers, flatten layers, etc, but basically I couldn't make it look any better than it did. You can see a flower floating at the top of the picture. I did that with the clone tool. It looks like I did, too.
      There's skill involved in making those cool digitally altered photos. I don't have it. It was fun to play with Elements, but I can't see me ever using it in a serious fashion. Maybe I'll feel differently the more I play with it. Maybe I'll be able to improve on nature. But for right now, I think we'll just let God do the flower designing.


Orange flowers.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Zinnias galore

More zinnias.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

Don't get me started

      I'm not one for debate on the Net. For one thing, I've seen too many so-called debates become vicious flame wars. Or if not that, then someone gets his/her feelings hurt and goes away in a huff. For me, it's not worth it.
      Besides I know I'm probably not going to change your opinion and you're probably not going to change mine so why waste our time together? I'd rather look for the things we agree on and talk about them.
      But the other day, I got invited to join a debate on another blog. I got riled up, I did. I went in with elbows flying and shot here and shot there and generally behaved like the Hulk on a bad day.
      Afterwards, when the red haze had disappeared from my eyes, I was abashed and a bit embarrassed by my anger. I prefer to maintain a certain civilized tone in what I say and do. I thought, Well, let's not do that again.
      But then I get an email from a young lady who says that she never finds me sexier than when I'm in full storm and that I should do it more often.
      What do you think of that?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Zinnias from my front porch.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

The Fifth Horseman

      It's definitely a sign of the End Times. Something so unexpected and unprecedented that you just know earthquakes and floods will follow, dogs will go mad, and Republicans will actually balance a budget. What is this astonishing and traumatic event? I signed up for a gym membership!
      Yes, that's right. The guy who has been so sedentary that his knees grew together, who can't wear corduroy because the friction might start forest fires, who has his own zip code -- yes, that guy has joined a gym.
      Of course, they don't call it a gym anymore. It's called a "fitness center." The difference between the two is obvious: One is filled with torture machines to which people offer their tender bodies; the other is filled with torture machines to which people offer their tender bodies as they sip expensive designer label water. It's a difference of atmosphere.
      Not that both places don't both smell the same, because they do. That peculiar odor of gym socks and sweat just doesn't go away no matter how many gallons of lilac-scented air-freshener you spray.
      This fitness center is a new one. It has all the latest expensive machines. They're frankly a bit scary with all those gears and electronics. Somewhere a mad scientist is missing several of his robots.
      The electronics monitor your heartbeat, the rate of your breathing and your bank balance. Should something terrible happen -- like you have a seizure or your check for the monthly gym fee bounces -- highly trained professionals will immediately rush to you and throw your sorry self out of the building.
      Around the outside of the gym, they have a walking track. It's cushioned, which gives your step that youthful spring and protects your joints, particularly your knees. I'm going to appreciate that cushioning after a few times around the track. It's going to keep me from cracking open my head when I collapse.
      To give the impression that everyone is having fun despite their agonized faces, the gym plays lively, loud music. It's to keep your pulse pounding and encourage you to work harder. It also drowns out the shrieks of pain as people discover that their bodies really don't bend that way.
      Besides the exercise machines and the walking track, they have old-fashioned weights. Naturally everyone using the weights looked like normal, flabby people, except for that one guy who was supremely fit, every muscle clearly defined as he lifted 250 pounds to impress the admiring and giggling gym groupies. Of course, I'm not jealous of the poor dolt. It was obvious he wasn't very bright. I don't know how he's able to keep his job as a nuclear physicist.
      They also offer aerobics classes for people who don't want to wait for that heart attack and a swimming pool where they offer water aerobics for those who would rather quietly drown after their heart attack than be bothered by those pesky EMS technicians. They also offer lap swimming. If you're unfamiliar with that term, lap swimming is where you -- and I do mean you since I'm certainly not going to do it -- swim from one side of the pool to the other side and then back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, never getting anywhere. That's an excellent metaphor for every session of Congress.
      Now, don't think I'm going into this with the wrong attitude. I'm not expecting to become a movie star. I'd just like it to help me get into shape. Well, a different shape than the spherical one I have now. And I have been told that after a few months of exercise, I will even begin to enjoy it and look forward to my workout. But I tell you now if that happens, it really will be the end of the world because the Fifth Horseman is Exercise.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


       A few changes on Harbor Street that I wanted to bring to your attention.
       First, I added Mama Rose's blog SAHW to my Blogs of Interest. Mama Rose holds a special place in my affection because she made me feel welcome when I joined Forward Motion. While I am not active on FM anymore due to time limitations (although I still read the posts and drop in chat once or twice a month) I still remember how helpful and kind she was to me. Well, really to everyone, but hey, it didn't mean less to me just because she treated everyone that way. You'll find her blog full of interesting and entertaining reading.
       Second, Holly Lisle's blog Silent Bounce has been renamed Pocket Full of Words. Are you reading Holly's books? You should be. Purchase her romantic suspense novel Last Girl Dancing here and her fantasy novel Talyn here.
       Third, I added Dave Ramsey's site under the financial links. I hadn't done so previously since his site has so many commercials for his products that I thought the content was a bit light. However, having spent more time looking it over, there's good free financial advice there so I added it.
       Fourth, I added Tom Morrisey under the author links. Morrisey is a Christian suspense author. Sort of like an evangelistic Clive Cussler or James Rollins.
       Fifth, a new quote on Quote of the Week. More changes coming later this week.

Monday, August 01, 2005


      A very busy day at work. I'm worn out so will keep this short and just throw out a few things.
      A new humor piece will be posted on Wednesday.
      This Dave Ramsey Financial Makeover will get me out of debt, but man, it's hard at times.
      A lot of people's problems are basically caused because they're lazy.
      The patron drive is going okay, but has yet to get more patrons than what they did last year. Sigh.
      Darkness is not the follow-up to Gottehemeh, but there are some similarities. Several clues will be posted here for enterprising Defenders.
      I haven't written a poem in about two months now. I just realized that.
      The book is rolling along. I don't know yet if this new direction will work or not, but so far, so good.
      I intend to launch the Snapshot this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes. Maybe with photos.
      I also have some new flowers on my porch that I need to take photos of and post here. I'll try to do that tomorrow.
      Time to rest. Good night and have a great day tomorrow. We deserve it.