Saturday, April 29, 2006

A meme in time saves ...

      I've caught some sort of bug so I've not been feeling well. But I didn't want to go too long without posting. I found this meme at Trixie's place and thought I'd put it up there so at least there was something for you to read. Do the meme if you'd like and let me know.

What I've done
( ) Smoked a cigarette
( ) Drank so much you threw up
( ) Crashed a friend's car
( ) Stolen a car
(x) Been in love
(x) Been dumped
( ) Shoplifted
(x) Been laid off/fired
(x) Quit your job
(x) Been in a fist fight
( ) Snuck out of your parent's house
(x) Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back
( ) Been arrested
( ) Gone on a blind date
(x) Lied to a friend
( ) Skipped school
(x) Seen someone die
( ) Been to Canada
( ) Been to Mexico
(x) Been on a plane
(x) Been lost
( ) Been on the opposite side of the country.
( ) Swam in the ocean
(x) Felt like dying
(x) Cried yourself to sleep
(x) Played cops and robbers
(x) Recently colored
(x) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't
( ) Made prank phone calls
(x) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
( ) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
( ) Danced in the rain
( ) Written a letter to Santa Claus
(x) Been kissed under the mistletoe
(x) Watched the sun rise with someone you care about
(x) Blown bubbles
( ) Made a bonfire on the beach
( ) Crashed a party
(x) Gone roller-skating
(x) Ice-skating

      I'll be back tomorrow. Take care.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

God and enchiladas

      "Why do you believe in God?" Ronny asked me. I looked at him over the remains of my definitely not Weight Watchers approved cheese enchiladas.
      "I think I've covered this before," I said. Ronny is my so-called atheist friend. So-called because he has a tendency to pray to God whenever he's in trouble but backs right out of it when he's in the free and clear again. Lately he backs right out into the position of claiming the universe is empty, random and meaningless. He's a lot of fun.
      "No, seriously, you're intelligent, almost horribly so," he said. "You love science like it's a hot babe. You don't believe in ghosts, witches, vampires or anything else supernatural except God. Why is He the exception? I don't understand how you can have that one blind spot. It's not like He talks to you."
      I dipped a grease-covered chip into the warm cheese sauce and contently took a bite.
      "Well?" he asked.
      I sipped my water, regretting that I hadn't ordered a root beer. There's just something about root beer and Mexican food that I find enjoyable. Probably the ability to burp non-stop.
      "Why aren't you answering?" he asked.
      I looked at him for a moment. "Silence is a form of communication."
      "What does that mean?"
      I shrugged. "I guess it depends on what you think silence means."
      "I don't understand."
      I nodded. "Yeah, I get that a lot. I used to think that it was because I was weird, but I've come to realize that everyone else is. That's why I should rule the world."
      "You're being weird," he said. "And you're avoiding the question, too."
      "For one thing, we have about 15 minutes left before we have to go back to work," I said. "That isn't enough time to even begin to answer your question. Two, we've covered it before. I believe in God because I do. I don't expect anyone else to justify their beliefs and don’t intend to justify mine. It works for me. I believe it. What's the problem? Three, I've discovered that people who aren't spiritual lack a certain depth and perspective. Four, are you going to eat the last corn tortilla?"
      "No," he said. "So I lack depth? Then why are we friends?"
      "I'm slumming," I said, smearing butter on the corn tortilla.
      "Am I a project for you?" he asked. "Is that why we're friend? So you can make me a Christian?"
      I sighed. "Your insecurity is showing, Ronny. I'm your friend because I'm your friend. And I can't make you into a Christian. Everything is your choice. We've got about five minutes now so keep up. I believe in God because He believes in me. I don't how to make it any simpler than that. In my life I have failed so many times at so many things. I have lied, cheated, insulted and hurt people. I have a horrible temper. I've messed up personal relationships. I've broken hearts. I've been cruel. I've been vain. I still struggle with all those things. I over-eat …" I frowned at the corn tortilla. "Anyway, my point is that I'm not very loveable. But every time I fall, even when friends desert me, God still believes in me. He still thinks I can do better, be more, be happy, be a light unto the world, to quote the Bible. He's my best friend. We may fight sometimes, we may not speak for a few days, but when the chips are down, He's in my corner. That obviously doesn't mean that He's willing to throw lightning bolts around for me or smite my enemies. There are rules to the relationship just like there are for any good relationship. But I know even when I'm at my worse, He's still willing to take me in."
      I blinked for a moment.
      "But nothing," I said. "I've got to get back to work." I picked up my check and rose.
      "I don't understand about that silence thing," he said, following me.
      "I don't either," I said. "But try it sometime and let me know how it works out for you."
      We paid and walked out into the bright spring sunshine.
      "I don't believe in God," he said.
      I didn't reply.
      We went back to our respective jobs.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

       Tonight I'm going down to run sound and help with lights for another play by the theater group. I'm not going willingly, but it's what I deserve for not being able to say no when someone asks me to do something. Not that it will be bad down there; I just had other things to do that I wanted to do more.
      You probably noticed the new writing meters on the side giving the word or page count of my writing projects in progress. It's just another way that I'm bringing my writing back into focus. I got side-tracked over the past few months into other areas. Time to get serious again.
      Isn't all this sunshine wonderful! I can feel my spirits lift every time I walk out into that light. I'm beginning to think that I have some plant chromosomes in my DNA. Time to photosynthesis, baby!
      It's later now. I spent all evening at the theater. I worked hard down there, and I'm worn out. Going to bed now. Y'all have a good day tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Daniel Powter

      I've found a new singer that I enjoy: Daniel Powter. You can listen to some of his music at his site here and even see some of his videos. Check him out.
      Hope you have a good day tomorrow. Talk to you then when I should have more to say, I hope. Oh, talked to Crystal tonight. She made the move okay and is busy getting herself situated for her assignment. It may be a week or so until she's back online. And now good night.

Monday, April 24, 2006

In praise of doubt

      Doubt has a bad name in our world. We expect people to be certain in their opinions and beliefs. We might disagree with their certainty, but we still say things like "We respect your position."
      What a bunch of crap. What we don't need in this world is more certainty. We need more doubt.
      Certainty that they're going to get 40 virgins helps fuel suicide bombers.
      Certainty that the world can survive whatever man does to it keeps companies polluting and keeps gasoline hogging SUVs on the road.
      Certainty that we're no different from the animals keeps the abortion clinics full.
      Certainty that homosexuality is unnatural gives people a nice warm, feeling as they beat gays to death.
      Certainty that God never intended for whites and other races to marry keeps us from feeling guilty as we shun them in church and talk privately about "those kind of people."
      Certainty that we're right and everyone else is wrong allows us to talk about "godless liberals" and "lying conservatives" in our blogs.
      Certainty that our denomination is the only path to God allows us to preach against other faiths and even kill their followers if we have to.
      Certainty that oil and natural gas will last forever keeps pushing the problem of diminishing resources onto our children and their children.
      Certainty that the other guy is out to get us gives us permission to get him first and feel justified.
      Certainty that it's better to mind our own business than get involved lets child abusers and molesters continue their destruction of innocence.
      Certainty that we deserve more just because of who we are rather than realizing that "there but for the grace of God go we" keeps people homeless, keeps families in poverty, keeps kids starving, keeps people dying.
      Certainty that we can't change anything, that one person's effort means nothing in the face of the overwhelming problems, makes our recliners feel especially nice as we numb our brains with sex and violence on TV.
      Certainty that old dogs can't learn new tricks means that we stop learning new things, we stop challenging ourselves, and we hang onto society like ticks.
      I don't know about you, but I could do with more doubt in the world. We need more humility and searching, more praying and working, more striving to be better people ourselves instead of rushing around trying to remove the motes from other people's eyes while ignoring the beam in ours.
      Doubt has had a bad name since the days of Thomas, but it needs to be recognized for what it is and what it's meant to be. It's meant to temper us, to give us pause, to make us wonder, to make us search, to make us strive to be better.
      I'm tired of blind, unquestioning faith. I want some sighted, searching faith. I want to shake of the hand of a minister, preacher, deacon, rabbi, guru, school administrator, banker, bishop, representative, senator, president, and feel the calluses that only hard work and hard won faith can bring.
      I doubt I'm going to get any of this, but I'm certain the world needs it.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


      Mikey has gone to his dad's house now. It's always hard to send him back. He sure didn't want to go. At least I know he had a good time. We watched cartoons, painted, colored, had water gun fights, shot off the air and Nerf rockets, flew a kite and a lot more. His Papa and I try to fill up Mikey's love tank.
      It was a good weekend. I hope you had a good one, too. (Note to Torrich folks: The page has been updated and will continue to be updated weekly until Knaves. Be sure to keep up. Also, please post your available weekends on the group page. Do not post them here.) Have a great week. Good night.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday night

      I got to see Mickey at lunch today! He and his Papa went with me to a Mexican restaurant. He didn't eat much. He was too busy telling me all the exciting things he had planned for this weekend. Afterwards we went to Dollar General, and I -- yes, I'm spoiling him -- let him pick out a couple of toys. He was so excited about it. He picked out a Batman kite and a Ninja Turtle action figure.
      Tonight he and his Papa are on an overnight campout. They will be back tomorrow afternoon. Then I get more Mickey time! He wanted to paint the last time he was here, so I bought some watercolors and finger paints. We'll be painting up a storm. I'll scan a couple of his paintings and share them with you.
      Anyway, I need to clean house, do chores and generally free up the rest of my weekend. So I'll close now. Have a great night and a wonderful tomorrow.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dictionary diving

      I shouldn't blog when I'm tired. It's been a long week with several personal and financial setbacks, and that induces a state of melancholy. I had to look up melancholy in Webster's New World Dictionary to spell it correctly. Originally, the word meant "black bile. In medieval times, it was considered to be one of the four humors of the body, to come from the spleen or kidneys, and to cause gloominess, irritability, or depression."
      Naturally then I got curious and had to know what the four humors were. It turned out they were blood, phlegm, choler and melancholy. Blood, I knew what that was as well as phlegm, and we just looked up melancholy. But choler? It was yellow bile and was the source of anger and ill humor. I went back to see what blood was the source of: passion, temperament or disposition. Phlegm supposedly was the source of sluggishness or dullness.
      That pretty much exhausted the humors, but on the same page in dictionary as phlegm was phoenix. The myth of the phoenix came from Egypt. It supposedly is a beautiful lone bird which lives in the Arabian desert for 500 or 600 years and then sets itself on fire, rising renewed from the ashes to start another long life.
      Not a bad metaphor for taking defeats. Although I'm not sure how to translate setting myself on fire into a metaphor. I'll leave that for someone else.
      Flipping through the dictionary at random, I found embrocate. It means to moisten and rub a part of the body with oil or liniment. Right above embrocate was embrasure, which made me think of women's underwear, but turns out to be an opening for a door or window, especially one with the sides slanted so that it is wider on the inside than on the outside or an opening in a wall or parapet with the sides slides slanting outward to increase the angle of fire of a gun. I've seen windows like that in the movies. Now I know what they are. And you do, too.
      It's good day, they say, when you learn something new. They may have suffered from diminished expectations.
      Good night and have a great tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Woe is my computer

      My computer is dying. Dying hard. Every time I turn it on, I hold my breath. Sometimes it starts. Sometimes it hangs up and won't boot. Supposedly it's the motherboard. Who really knows? Computer innards are a mystery to most of us. The repairman says it's your Dweller 218c chip interfering with the silicon overlay, and we just nod like he makes sense when he's really making up the whole thing.
      So basically I need to raise enough money to buy a computer. My options are limited: black market organ donor, drug runner, stripper or bank robbery. I guess I could get another job, too, but frankly I'm just not good at working for living. I know, I know, you've heard about my fantastic lifestyle, but it's only by my wits that I've been able to become a multi-dollaraire.
      Michelle suggested that I sell a book of poetry a few comments back. She's probably unaware that I tried that once on this blog. I attempted to sell the few copies of a chapbook of my poems (Passion). I sold three, one of which was bought by ER (one of the reasons we remain friends is that he supports my writing) and one by my cousin (a friend and a family member in one person) and the other was a stranger whose check bounced. So the extra copies sit on a shelf in my bedroom as a reminder to not build castles in the air, particularly if it involves cash and poetry.
      Of course, I do have credit cards. And if the system dies, then I guess I will be forced to use them. Too much of my life depends on a computer. My writing, the family newsletter, poetry, photographs and this blog are dependent on it. Without it, none of them would exist. Or wouldn't exist in this form where other people could see them easily. The blog and the newsletter would go first, but I imagine I could write poems and stories on a wall with a piece of charcoal if I had to.
      They say that the love of money is the root of evil. I'm wondering if they meant the lack of money. It's hard to imagine a millionaire robbing a convenience store and then running out to escape in his limo, but maybe so. And who are the people saying that, anyway? Apparently people who have too much time on their hands and not enough money. They just pretend to hold money in contempt.
      As for black market organ donor, I've promised not to do that again. Not since the hog/horse/nun mix-up of 1989. Now we can look back at that and laugh, oh how we laugh, although, admittedly the hog, horse and nun don't find it that funny.
      Stripper sounds interesting, but I wonder how many people need help in removing their clothes. It doesn't seem like a lot would. Hey, you might not realize this, but most people are completely naked under their clothes. Amazing isn't it.
      Drug runner is out. I hear the pay is good, but the retirement plan is fatally bad. Same for robbing banks. There's just no future in it. Well, there is one, but it's short and ugly and painful. I've had dates like that.
      So there I am, up a creek without a silicon paddle. Suggestions are helpful. I mean, ones about the computer. Donations are appreciated. In fact, donate $25 toward the computer of my dreams, and you'll receive a copy of Passion, an unpublished poem just for you, a copy of the humor article "How I Fell In Love With A Floozy," old postmarked stamps and a painted rock. What an opportunity. Operators are standing by. (We can't afford chairs for them.) Call NOW!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Computer break ... or I need to break a computer ...

      I've spent all evening working on the web page for the local theater group. I'm so frustrated with it and computers in general that I need a break. Talk among yourselves. I'll be back tomorrow.
      But here's a poem to keep you amused until I return. Talk to you later.

This and That

I've been thinking of friends
and how they come and go
and how I enjoy knowing

I've been thinking of games
and how we all play them
and how no one ever

I've been thinking of love
and how it's a bastard
and how it's what we live

I've been thinking of the future
and how it keeps coming
and how we try to hold it

I've been thinking of joy
and how it likes to surprise
and how all the old cliches are

But mostly I've been thinking
how life isn't perfect but good
and how I love it and love

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to Crystal, Michelle, Randall, Trixie, Gloria, Slym, Erudite Redneck, Joel, Three&Eight, Frenzied Feline, Nightrider, Roen, Amber, AmberClear, Mark, Dan, Gayle, JK, Jaime, and everyone else! May this blessed day be a blessing to you and yours.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


And the prophet said
I have a message of hope
I have a message of sorrow
I have a message of joy
Aren't you ready to listen?

And the people said
we do not want to hear hope
we do not want to feel sorrow
we do not want to bear joy
We are not ready for your words.

The prophet turned his back
walked into the wilderness
wandered for forty years
among the dust and the shadows
coming at last to land's end.

He stood on the shore and said
I have a message of hope
I have a message of joy
I have a message of sorrow
Aren't you ready to listen?

His words echoed in the dunes
and shouted to the heavens
and the mountains took up his cry
carried with the winds
of the cold north and warm south.

He walked into the ocean
He stood with the waves
lapping at his thighs
hungry tide pulling him
toward the darkness below.

He cried over the surf
I have a message of sorrow
I have a message of hope
I have a message of joy
Aren't you ready to listen?

His words were swallowed
by the endless blue
and green forever rolling
into the barren shore.
Sand covered his footprints.

He wrestled with himself
Is this what I was called for?
Is this all that I am?
Is this all that I will be?
Is there no one who will hear?

There in the white sand
black scorpion raised his poison.
He tracked the creature's movement.
He found his soul leaped
at the thought of silence.

All I have to do is stand
All I have to do is be still
All I have to do is shrug
He felt the breeze slow
he saw the waves stop.

The world spun around him
Joy is not in those who speak
Joy is in the ears that hear
Joy is in the hearts that sing
Joy is yet in this world.

It is morning once again.
The sky is endless clear.
Outside the pitiless city
the lonely prophet makes
his weary way back.

He stops for a drink
but he has nothing to eat.
A woman offers him figs.
She smiles at his blue eyes.
She listens to his words.

She listens.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 14, 2006


      Mikey is in the tub. His papa is giving him a bath. I'm sitting here looking at the ruin of my living room. Candy, toys, candy wrappers, Nerf guns, Crayons, clothes, balls, movies, cups, plates and more are scattered everywhere. All of this happened in the four hours that Mikey has been here. It's going to be a lot of work to clean tomorrow night after he's gone, but right now it just makes me grin.
      It's the work of an active, bright five-year-old boy who's been having a whole lot of fun. We all have. He's a real joy to have here. And if we're lucky, we're going to get to have him next weekend, too.
      When I get to complaining again, remind me of him and wonderful he is. He makes a lot of things bearable.
      Good night. I hope you are having as much fun as I am.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Creative pursuits

      I'm disappointed that more people didn't comment on Joshua's poem. I like to encourage young people in creative pursuits. Thank you, Gloria and ER, for your comments. I passed your comments on to him. He was pleased.
      Speaking of creative pursuits, I've been working on Darkness, Oklahoma. I've been reading and editing what I have as well as plotting out more scenes. The book is currently at little over 51,000 words. I like it to come in at 100,000. That seems to be a common requested length for books these days. I should begin adding more words to it next week, if my editing goes as planned.
      This Friday night and Saturday during the day, little Mikey is going to come and visit! I'm excited about seeing him. It's been nearly two months, and I have missed him terribly. Naturally the Easter Bunny is going to come early here, and I have a feeling that the Bunny is going to bring lots of loot.
      Woohoo! Carolyn Hart's latest book Dead Days of Summer arrived today. But I won't be able to read it until after Mikey leaves Saturday night. I'll post a review. I'm looking forward to reading it. Carolyn is one of the best cozy mystery writers around. Period. This is another entry into her Death On Demand series. You need to get started reading them. If you like mysteries, you'll love what she does with them.
      I've been reading James Clemens' Wi'tch series. Clemens is the pen name for James Rollins. Or maybe vice versa. I don't know. I always wonder why authors end up using pen names. As Rollins, he writes thriller-suspense, along the line of Cussler. As Clemens, he writes fantasy. I'm a big fan of his work as Rollins, not so much so as Clemens. As Rollins, he delivers an exciting adventure with plenty of explosions, secret gadgets, beautiful and deadly spies, and usually a huge payoff at the end. As Clemens, he writes well, but so far his Wi'tch series hasn't shown me anything that I haven't read in a hundred other books. Don't get me wrong. He's an excellent writer, and the Wi'tch series isn't bad. It's just not as inventive as I'd expect from someone that I enjoy as much as I do when he's writing as Rollins. Did that sentence make sense?
      Anyway, should I ever be published, I hope that I'm not forced into using a pen name. I understand that people who write in two genres often are. And since I want to write fantasy, mystery and humor, it's a possibility. Paperback Writer writes under five different names. (PW is an interesting case. She's had 32 novels published in five genres since her professional debut in 2000. Her output is why a lot of people think she's an alien or a sentient computer. I think she must type like a hurricane. Probably the keys on her computer melt, and people rush in and use a fire extinguisher on her fingers. And the muscles in her hands must be strong enough to crush golf balls -- should crushing them be something she'd like to do.)
      I don't want to use a pen name because I want to claim all my little darlings. Misshapen and strange as they may be, they're mine. This reminds me of a story that involves my mother and genealogy. My mother was into genealogy and quite good at it. When she began researching my family, one of my aunts told her, "You shouldn't do that. You might find all sorts of the wrong type of people in the woodpile." My mother replied, "If I find them, whatever they are, they're ours. And I'm going to claim them." My aunt took herself off in a huff, but unfortunately she came back.
      My mother was a funny person. I get my sense of humor from her as well as my creative impulses. (I get my sense of timing from my dad.) My mom was clever, observant, quick-witted and intelligent. I've always regretted that being poor kept her and my dad from being able to go college. I think they both would have done amazing well. I get asked sometimes where my writing skill comes from, and I can tell them that my mother gave it to me. She didn't write much herself -- she was too busy working trying to keep her family fed, clothed and in school -- but what she did showed a sly wit. She knew how to read people better than anyone I've ever known. And she encouraged my writing. Admittedly, she had definite ideas about what I should write about, but she had an unerring sense of what was funny and/or interesting and what wasn't. Among many things, I miss that intelligent and to-the-point feedback that she provided.
      I'm not sure what she would think of Darkness, Oklahoma. I suspect she would correct some plot points, point out errors in the structure, and tell me to write it better. And I'm trying, Mama, I'm trying.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A guest poem

      A young friend of mine wrote this poem and allowed me to share it here on this blog. See what you think.

Thank you for flying

Floating in an eternity of questions?
Not controlling up and down
wondering who do I answer the radio for
I started with a plane, an idea, a map?
Now am I the captain
or do I still have to take orders?
Well no matter I am the pilot
of my own place. Even though
I'll probably crash. I'll
at least try to make a safe
No longer do I need landing gear
I'll just glide and set it
down on the clearest runaway I can find
No seriously I'll take my orders
do what they say
All I really do is listen to the pilot
and fly when he falls asleep
for I am the stewardess
Does anyone need peanuts?

Copyright 2006 Joshua Blake. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Weight Whining or Watch Out For Those Cows!

      So basically I'm on this diet. Whine Watchers. I mean, Weight Watchers. And the thing is, you can't have milk and cookies on this diet. Oh, you can -- you just can't eat anything else for a week. Well, that's not true. You can eat veggies until your face turns green and drink water until you slosh when you walk. But of course, you don't want to. You want those warm double chocolate chip cookies with a couple of glasses of cold delicious milk. Brother, I'm with you. I feel your pang.
      But maybe it would help if you think of other things. Like, say, Congress. I often lose my appetite when I think about them. Or gasoline prices. But that might make you ill.
      So let's think of something else. Hmm. What about how good you'll look when you lose that weight. Why, you'll be as good looking as an average movie star if you lose a few pounds, have plastic surgery, and mortgage your home and buy a new wardrobe and some bling-bling.
      Well, maybe we shouldn't go that route. Instead, imagine how healthy we'll be when we're fit and thin. We'll be able to work more, work longer hours, work harder, work unceasingly, work ALL THE TIME! Wait, that's not inspiring. Think of something else. Like those chocolate chip cookies. No, no, no. We must be strong. We must be. I think.
      We're all agreed, though, that losing weight is a good thing. A great thing. Even a necessary thing. After all, I'm tired of buying my pants from Omar, the tent maker. And when I think of how many cows died to provide me with a leather jacket ... well, I laugh actually. I don't like cows. Some of the worst memories of my childhood involve cows. They're large, mean and dangerous. Don't let them fool you. They're saying, "Moo," but they're actually saying, "Die puny human! Cows will rule the world, and all other animals will bow before us!" You might think that's udder nonsense, but just remember you were warned when your doorbell rings and you open the door to confront a bloodthirsty herd.
      You can't eat steak, either. Did I mention that? Not a real steak. You can have a three-ounce lean steak. For that, you might as well not even bother. I once ate a fly on my plate because I mistook it for my three-ounce steak. You can't use steak sauce or your steak might float away. Look, my dad used to trim three ounces of fat off of steaks before he grilled them!
      And the worse part of it is that you don't ever get to go back to the way you ate before. It's a lifestyle change. It's eating to live instead of living to eat. You'll live longer or maybe it'll just seem that way. I don't know. I do know that one chocolate chip cookie won't hurt you. But you can't stop at just one, can you? You'd attack the batch of cookies with enough naked hunger to scare a shark. So you can't start. You can't take a chance because it's well known that just two chocolate chip cookies have enough sugar and lard to put 17 pounds on your waist. No one knows why this is so. Einstein tried to figure it out, but it was too hard so he turned to something easy instead.
      We have to be strong, my waist-watching friend. I'm right there with you. I'm right beside you. I'm reaching over you to get to those chocolate chip cookies. Watch out! There's a cow behind you!

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Things I'm sick and tired of

      I'm tired of seeing movies in which a deranged man in a mask or carrying a chainsaw chases some woman through a forest. I want to see her stop, grab a rock or a club and beat the living crap out of her pursuer. She should feel free to pick up chainsaw and slice away his vital parts.
      I'm tired of hearing a bigot brag about how he has demolished his opponents' arguments when all that's happened is that his opponents are filled with disgust and find better things to do with their lives than argue with an imbecile.
      I'm tried of reading any book that reputes to tell some deep dark secret about Christianity like Jesus was married, survived the Crucifixion, fathered a bunch of super children, was an alien from another galaxy, was a woman, was gay, was a wizard, was an evolved superman, was a moving plant, was Satan's brother and/or father, was invented by conspiracy composed of the Catholic Church, the Masons, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Nazis and PETA. And if I never again read another book that mentions De Vinci, it will be too soon.
      I'm tired of smelling the stench from Washington, DC. Not since the final days of the Western Roman Empire have a larger group of immoral, self-righteous, greedy, lying, vicious, self-serving hypocrites been gathered in one place. And God forgive me, I voted for some of them.
      I'm tired of filling my car up with expensive gasoline when we could already have affordable alternative fuel vehicles everywhere on the road if we'd had an intelligent energy policy for the past 30 years. It would be nice if we had one now, but special interest groups continue to strangle innovation and development to fill their pockets.
      I'm tired of going to the bookstore and buying books that are badly written and poorly edited and know somehow they got published when I couldn't get my books published if I took a publisher's entire family hostage.
      I'm tired of people violating an author's copyright right and left and pretending that they didn't know it was wrong or even worse trying to justify it in the name of non-profit organizations and/or educational institutions.
      I'm tired of being the conscience for the groups I serve in. Let someone else be Jimmy Cricket for a while. I'm fed up with being flamed for trying to stand up for some sort of moral code.
      I'm tired of the phrase "politically correct." It's always tossed out by a backward, slack-jawed dolt who is attempting to justify his/her prejudices. The world changes; change with it or shut up.
      I'm tired of never having money and always having to be careful about everything while people around me buy new cars and homes and boats and take cruises. But that's just plain self-pity, and I'm tired of that, too.
      I'm tired of griping so I'll stop.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


      As usual our Sunday school teacher was late. He and his wife have a new baby so they're late for everything these days. We were just sitting around talking as people do. We were discussing the play I just finished directing.
      Billy started it by saying that the play's view of the afterlife was "theologically unsound. And I thought it was very Catholic in its approach," he said. "The whole working off demerits to get into heaven. Isn't that like purgatory?"
      "I don't think that's exactly how the Catholics look at it," I said.
      "Leave it to you to direct a sinful play," Elena said, grinning at me.
      "I don't think that was the point," I said, inwardly tensing for yet another discussion about how my creative work isn't Christian. I looked at a chair and wondered if I could grab one and use it to hit people before they wrestled me to the ground.
      Donald surprised me, though. "I wonder if they believe it. I wonder if anyone believes anything totally." He looked at us. "I mean about death. No one really knows. The only people who do are dead."
      "I believe what the Bible says," Billy said. "That settles it for me."
      "But you don't really know," Donald said. "You can't because you haven't died."
      "So are you saying that you don't believe the Bible?" Billy asked with a slight edge to his voice.
      "No, I believe it," Donald said. "I didn't mean that. I just mean that no one really knows. We can believe it and hope that it's true, but we can't know until we die."
      "That sounds like you don't truly believe," Billy said. "I suggest prayer and reading the Bible more."
      Elena rolled her eyes behind Billy's back.
      Donald shrugged. "You can think that if you want, but that's not what I said."
      "I've always thought that what happened to us after we die is a bit confusing," Elena said. "The whole 'streets of gold' and 'pearly gates' sounds kind of ... well ... boring."
      Billy looked at her like he had just swallowed a lemon.
      "I know," Loree said. "I mean, it doesn't seem like that's the way to spend eternity. You'd think we'd be doing things."
      "Like what?" Donald asked.
      "Helping people or something," Loree said. "I think I'd rather do that than just walk down streets of gold and live in my heavenly mansion."
      Donald and Elena nodded.
      "Heaven will be wonderful," Billy said stiffly. "I wonder if any of you really understand that. It's not just gold and mansions. It's being with God. It's having all the questions answered! It's singing His praises forever!" His face reddened. He looked at me. "Why aren't you saying anything?"
      "I'm just listening," I said pleasantly. "I like to try it sometimes. You?"
      "I'm going for a drink of water," Billy said, standing up and walking out of the room.
      "Why aren't you contributing?" Loree asked me. "Ordinarily we can't shut you up."
      They all laughed.
      "So?" Donald asked.
      "So I think life is too short to worry about what Heaven is going to be like," I said. "I think this world has enough problems for us to work on to keep us busy. Heaven will be as Heaven is. Doesn't matter what we think it be. I do know one thing: It's not going to be anything like we think it's going to be. It's going to be different. I try to not waste my time trying to learn the unknowable."
      Our teacher entered the room, followed by Billy. Billy didn't sit by us.
      "Do you always have to have the last word?" Loree whispered to me.
      I winked at her. "Yes."
      Class started.

(Names changed to protect me!)

Saturday, April 08, 2006


      I started this morning with 47 items on my To Do list. I have 15 of them crossed off. I'm hoping to get another 15 today. We'll see. One of the items is to post here, and that's what I'm doing right now. Another one bites the dust.
      I hate to just make this post another list of what I've been doing, but that's about all that's going on in my life right now.
      There is good news, though, that I want to share: My niece is doing better. She's still having problems, but she's having less pain and is able to get up and do a few things. We're not out of the woods yet, but maybe we can see daylight and the path at least is smoother. Please keep her in your prayers.
      Speaking of my niece, one of her friends gave her an aquarium and a couple of fish. She called me to get some advice about how to raise fish. I'm not sure if I should be giving advice considering how many of my fish have swam off into the Great River Beyond. But at least they have short, happy lives while they're with me. Or I assume they're happy. They don't talk much.
      I'm getting beat so bad in Scrabble by Nightrider that you'd think I wouldn't mention it. But I'm enjoying the game, anyway. Speaking of which, I think I will try to find time to play the Scrabble game on my computer today. That's usually fun, although not as much as playing a real person.
      I finally had enough extra cash to order Carolyn Hart's new book Dead Days of Summer. Max and Annie Darling are in trouble again with Max being accused of murder and Annie having to clear his name. I'm looking forward to reading it when it comes in (should be this week_. Carolyn is an Oklahoma author with a devoted following. I don't know why she doesn't receive the media attention she should because she's one of the best mystery writers out there period as well as a very nice person. I recommend her books highly. Death of the Party, by the way, is now available in paperback.
      My painting (the one for the play) is hanging in my bedroom. I'll try to take a photo of it so that you can give it a look. I think I will have it framed when I scrape enough money together. I get such a kick out of seeing it.
      And now I will close. I might be back later. Wait for me, okay? Thanks.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Back and forth

      My office has no windows. I call it the cave. It's a nice looking cave with plants and a couch, but I have spent days not seeing the sun. So lately I've taken to walking back and forth to the front office to see the sun every now and then. It's better now that Daylight Savings Time has started. There's actually sunshine when I leave the office. During the winter, it's dark when I get to the office and dark when I leave. I could easily see a modern vampire having my job and never having to worry about the sun, particularly if he ate lunch in his office.
      That was really my inspiration for the vampire in Darkness, Oklahoma. I realized that if a vampire didn't go for that Goth look and dressed normally and behaved normally and had the right job, there was no reason he/she couldn't be a functioning part of society. Finding the right job could be tricky in a small town, but even the town I live in has three or four businesses -- besides convenience stores and a couple of restaurants -- that operate 24 hours a day. A vampire would just have to be careful.
      And why wouldn't a vampire run around being all Goth and King of the Night? Because they're actually fairly easy to kill. Sunlight, garlic, holy water, fire, religious symbols, magic, pointy sticks, etc., can hurt and/or kill them. And during the day, their powers are greatly diminished. It wouldn't take long for a public to wise up and end their existence. Being smart and staying under the radar would be the key to their continued existence.
      Naturally when I talk about this to my friends -- none of whom are writers -- they eventually ask if I believe in the existence of vampires. Nope. Not at all. Oh, there are probably people who claim to be one, I don't doubt that. But real ones? No. But maybe the real vampires count on that disbelief. Hmm. That's an interesting if somewhat disquieting thought.
      In other less creepy news, I'm slowly getting caught up on all my tasks. I should finish up this weekend. I've been working hard on the March Gazette and intend to finish it this weekend. Then I'll turn around and do the April Gazette and be caught up. Well, until May.
      Have I mentioned how cool it is to finally be able to pay my bills on time? If you haven't ever done it, juggling your bills is nerve-wracking and emotionally exhausting. I even have a small (tiny actually) emergency fund. Admittedly my budget is still tight and will remain so for a few more years, but it's nice to have a few feet between me and the financial cliff.
      Author Holly Lisle has another podcast out. Go here to listen to some great advice on writing.
      A friend of mine just got back from San Francisco. While out there, she sent me this postcard. I would hate to be the photographer taking that shot!

      And I think that I will close on that. Have a great Friday.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Facts & fancies

      For those who want to know and even those who don't:
      - Today was the 95th day of the year, and we have 270 days left to go before 2007.
      - The Debt Reduction Plan (All Hail Dave Ramsey) continues on pace however slowly. Another credit card will be paid off in October of this year.
      - In that huge stack of mail that built up while the play was going on, I found a really cool postcard from Michelle. Thanks, Michelle! I'll scan it and post it.
      - We've had wonderful weather here. Sun shining, cool temps, a few white clouds in the sky. Last week, of course, we had hail, driving rain, high winds and a tornado watch. Oklahoma weather: If you don't like it, stick around and it'll change. Often in the same day.
      - Have you even noticed that charity fund raisers usually sell candy or other high fat food? You never see one that offers weights or jump ropes or other exercise equipment. There's a reason for this.
      - Speaking of weights, I've got to get going to the gym again. Bummer ... I mean, hurray! I get to go to the gym! Hurray!
      - I have to start saving for a computer. Mine seems to be limping along so far, but I don't know how many longer it will continue to boot. I'll need to upgrade software, too. Grrrr. At least there seem to be several deals out there on computers. Donations, anyone? Anyone? Cash, money orders, checks accepted ...
      - It's a long way until the new Stargate season starts. Doctor Who just doesn't cut it.
      - The cast of the play I directed gave me a $50 gift card to Wal-Mart, a ceramic elephant on which they signed their names (an elephant was mentioned in the play) and a card. I appreciated their appreciation. I used the card to purchase a new pair of blue jeans and another plant and fish for my aquarium. (I'm afraid Churchill killed the other fish off. I hope this new one lasts longer. Or at least is able to gasp out a dying message to the authorities that will finally end Churchill's reign of terror.)
      - Today I was clearing out email, and I came across a folder that I had forgotten was there. Nestled beneath two other folders sat a folder with over 400 emails in it from a former love. It gave me quite a start. I debated just deleting it, but instead, I opened it and started reading the emails. It had been long enough that the terrible end didn't overshadow the joy and humor of those early notes. We were besotted with each other. I skimmed them trying to understand where it went wrong, but we had done our fighting in person so I learned nothing new. Finally, I closed the folder. My hand hovered for a moment, and then I deleted the folder. Would that memory was so easy.
      - A friend of mine told me this joke today: The bank robbers had tied and gagged the bank cashier after learning the combination to the safe and had herded the other employees into a separate room under guard. After they rifled the safe, the cashier made desperate pleading noises through the gag. One of the burglars loosened the gag. "Please," whispered the cashier, "take the books, too. I’m $7,500 short."
      - The postcard that Michelle sent. Cool, eh? It's Lava River Cave at Deschutes National Forest, Oregon.

      - And now I will close. Have a great evening and a great day tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Chores and snores

      That's what I've been doing since the play closed. Chores and sleeping. Admittedly it's only been two nights, but I can see a pattern in there. And it's okay. I'm behind on mail, bills, blogging, writing, laundry, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, planting, raking, weeding, clearing, etc.
      I pulled out Darkness, Oklahoma and started reading it last night. I've been away from it for a month, and I'm finding all sorts of things to fix, explain and rewrite as well as add. Figured as much. Last night I was reading a couple of pages, and for the life of me, I couldn't remember having written them. They weren't bad, either. Either I'm slipping -- which I suspect -- or someone is writing the book for me -- I hope they continue.
      I did my last duty for the play today. I met my roomie down at the theater, and we loaded the couch and the chair onto his truck to be returned to the furniture store. Now that set only exists in photos and memory. As do the performances of the play. It's sad. Bittersweet, I guess. Life is like that. It moves on. You get brief shining moments.
      I hope your day had a few of those moments in them. Talk to you later.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The second post of the third

      Yes, I thought I'd post again today. Here are few pictures of the set for my play after it was decorated and finished. I think it turned out well. We received a lot of compliments on it. I had one lady tell me that she'd like to have "that room in my house."

Stage left

Center stage

Stage right

The secret wondrous post of posts!

      On my previous post, Crystal left this comment:
"I can hardly wait for his next post. I bet it will be the best one he's ever written. I mean, he's got all this pent-up creativity waiting to come flooding our way. This next post will blow us all away, you can bet money on it. Go, Tech!!"
      To which, Trixie replied:
"Crystal, I agree! It's been well worth the wait, I am sure! I can't wait to read it now!"
      Well, they were right! For those four who commented on that previous post, I sent a secret, fantastically good post! It's incredible! It's full of laughter, sorrow, wisdom and folly! It's life at its grandest. And it's only for them. They've been sworn to keep it a secret. In fact, they will even deny that I sent them such a post! They will give their lives to protect it. They will never tell no matter how much you threaten them or bribe them! They won't even admit that they ever received one! But remember, as they deny and protest to you, that they have this secret post and are holding it close to their hearts. They're laughing at you! Laughing!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

All's well that ends well

      And now the play is over. We didn't have the crowds I had hoped for, but we did okay, and those that attended applauded and laughed at the right places. What more can you ask?
      I'm not looking forward to tomorrow night. I've been through this before -- the let-down after a play or project is over. I have plenty of projects to take back up: Darkness, Oklahoma; Dragons Gather; Figments; the family newsletter (which is a month behind now), etc. But I will probably mindlessly surf the TV channels. That seems to be my pattern. It takes a few days before my focus can switch to something new. There's something obsessive in that, but I don't think I will look at it closely.
      Anyway, back to work tomorrow. Back to paperwork and problems. Bills and alarm clocks. Appointments and errands. Of course, that all went on while the play was going on, but somehow, those activities didn't seem to command much of my attention or be as annoying as they seem now. Oh well. Bills have to be paid, life goes on, etc.
      So ... I'll be blogging again and reading your blogs, too. And yes, FF, you were supposed to blog while I was gone! If I have to be gone again in the future, I will leave instructions to that effect. Lazy, lazy, lazy ...
      Having nagged and feeling better for it, I will call it a night. See ya tomorrow. Have a great week.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Two down, two to go

      I've only have about five minutes to post this before I head back to the theater, but I thought I'd use the time to give you an update on the progress of the play. It's going well, despite wild weather the first night.
      Thursday night, we had hail, heavy rain and a tornado warning! Despite that, we still managed to fill up nearly a third of the seats. Brave people. The cast made a few opening night flubs, but since the audience didn't know the play, they were none the wiser. The actors got rattled in the first act by a couple of crying and/or screaming babies in the audience. It was terrible, but the kiddos went to sleep so the rest of the play went okay. I don't know why parents bring babies to the theater.
      Friday morning, we received a nice review in the local paper. Didn't mention me, of course, sigh, but several of my actors got nice comments. And nothing negative was said, so it was a clear win. That evening we were nearly 2/3 full. Which isn't bad for our community on a Friday.
      I hope tonight we have a larger audience. The weather is a bit misty, but no rain and no storm warnings. So we'll see.
      Anyway, I have to get to the theater now. I hope things are going well for you. I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone's blogs soon. You are blogging, aren't you? AREN'T YOU?
      Hope things are going well for you.