Monday, October 30, 2006


      So there I was at 4,500 feet looking out the open doorway of a plane, staring at the ground far below, and I thought, This might not be a good idea.
       Of course, that was a long time ago, back when I was in college. I worked for the college newspaper, and my editor had assigned to me to write a story about the ROTC. During the writing of that story, I discovered that they were taking parachute training. And then one of them -- someone who hated student journalists -- suggested I try it, and lo and behold, I agreed because I wasn't smart.
      They had a training tower that we jumped off first. You jump, and then these cords would catch you and that was supposed to help you learn how to keep your knees bent. That way if you hit the ground too fast, your legs wouldn't break -- well, they would break, but the impact wouldn't drive the broken bones into your body. Yes, they explained all this to us; I said I wasn't smart.
      I jumped five times off the tower. Supposedly that prepared us for the real thing. It was all unreal to me.
      Two days later, we heard a lecture about our chutes. We didn't pack our chutes, of course. Later I was to learn that proper packing is the single most important factor in having a successful jump, but these chutes were packed by some government contractor for the lowest bid. They were drop chutes, meant to get troops on the ground as fast as possible. No leisurely swinging above the earth. Just a quick drop to give enemy snipers less time to fill you full of holes.
      The next Saturday, I drove out to the airport. I hadn't eaten breakfast because I was afraid I would throw up in the plane. I felt light-headed. The newspaper photographer who was supposed to go along and take photos didn't show. So the only photo I have is one that a ROTC cadet took. Perhaps the color has simply changed after all this time, but I look green in the photo even though it's a black and white shot.
      A few minutes later, I stepped up into the plane. A grim sergeant checked my chute and harness. He made some joke about making sure my jewels were out of the way. I wouldn't realize what he was talking about until the next day. Thankfully they were or I would have painfully had that realization sooner.
       We had to wait for someone to arrive so I had time to think about the jump. I nearly got up and left, but the plane started rolling and then we were in the air, my stomach dropping to my feet.
      As we rose to jump attitude, I thought about my parents and how they didn't know what I was doing and wouldn't it be terrible to get a phone call saying I hadn't survived and they wouldn't ever forgive me, and then I almost backed out, but everyone was standing up and an officer was attaching our clips to a bar above us and guys were walking to the open doorway and jumping out. A guy that was two places in front of me balked at the door. I couldn’t hear was what said, but the officer at the door "helped" him jump. And then I was at the door, looking at the ground, thinking what a bad idea the whole thing was.
      I don't know if I was pushed or not. I don't remember deciding to jump, but I was away from the plane and falling. The parachute deployed. Thirty seconds or so later, I was on the ground. I kept my knees bend, but fell over anyway. I lay there on the ground until the chute started to pull me. Two of the officers came over and helped keep me from blowing away.
      We were supposed to roll up our chutes, but I did such a lousy job with mine that the sergeant took it away from me and told me that I was lucky I wasn't in ROTC. I agreed fervently. He didn't seem to like me agreeing with him.
      I rode back to the airport in an old Chevy pick-up, seven of the cadets in the truck bed talking about it and how we felt. Lots of male bravado and swearing. Except for the kid who had to be "helped" out the door. He rode on the tailgate, looking up at the sky silently.
      I've been asked why I jumped. Don't have an answer. Everyone else was. I didn't think about it. Why not? You only live once. I was young and immortal. Could be all of those. Or it would be none of them. But sometimes I remember that feeling of looking at the ground and knowing that all I had to do was step off into space and fly.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


      Well, I feel better. The play opens Wednesday. My male lead seems to be feeling better, also. Keep your fingers crossed. The local paper hasn't given us much publicity and ticket sales are terrible, but I'm hoping things pick up this week. If we're lucky, the paper will run a story on it Monday or Tuesday. They've had the story for a couple of weeks, but they had a feud with former members of the local theater group and they can't seem to get over it. I actually go to church with the publisher of the paper. He doesn't know me, but I keep looking at him and wondering what type of man he is that he could allow the feud to continue.
      Did I mention that I nearly cut the tip of my finger off? I was looking in the knife drawer in my kitchen and reached for a pair of kitchen shears and cut my middle finger nearly to the bone. A lot of blood. They actually glued my finger back together. I thought they'd give me a stitch or two, but no, they used glue. Anyway, I have this bandage on my finger, and it makes it hard to type. I keep hitting two keys at once.
      I appreciate all the support I've been receiving during the play. Wish I could have you all in the audience. Any of my blog buddies who wishes to come, let me know and I'll arrange a seat for you.
      And now I'm going to bed. I need the sleep. Hope things are going well for you. Take care! Night!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Best laid plans

       Remember when I listed my concerns about the play? I forgot one. Illness. My female lead has an eye infection, and my male lead has strep throat. We can work with the eye infection -- after all, red, bloody eyes kinda go with a murder mystery -- but the strep throat is a problem. I can only hope he recovers before we open Wednesday. And I, because I never want to be left out of anything, am fighting a cold and an IBD flare. Sigh.
       We picked up the last item for the set today. The sofa will be in place tonight, and I should be able to share some photos of the set tomorrow. We are practicing tonight, but no practice tomorrow. We'll have full dress rehearsals Monday and Tuesday nights.
       I wish that all of my online friends could see the play. We will be making a video of the play, but it will be, obviously, too long to post here. And the quality won't be that good, but I will enjoy watching it at a later date, and I think the cast will, too.
       Well, it's time to get ready to go down there. I hope you're doing well. I'm not doing much besides the play, but my life should get more interesting after next week. Take care!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wednesday Writers Group & The Elderly

      "What I want to know is why every older person in a book either has to be filled with wisdom or is decrepit," Farawa said. "What's wrong with having a mature person who is just like the other characters in the book -- messed up and passionate."
      Divine looked startled. "Passionate?"
      Farawa frowned at her. "Don't tell me that you believe old people don't have sex."
      "I believe they do, but I try not to think about it," Aromance muttered. She shuddered.
      "America is aging," Farawa said, glaring at Aromance. "The Baby Boomers are going to be in their sixties and seventies soon. They won't be content to wither away quietly. Books should reflect that, and they don't. Instead, books feature young people. TV shows feature young people. Movies feature young people. Listen, kiddies, I don't worship in the cult of youth. I never met a teenager yet that could carry on a decent conversation about anything important."
      "The blueberry muffins I brought have fiber added," Cookbookins said. "And we each get two. TWO. No more, no less." She held up two fingers.
      "Did you say two?" Realer asked, with a smirk. He waggled three fingers at her.
      "I think fiction will change to accommodate an older audience," Begenre said. "I've recently read several mysteries that feature sleuths in their sixties and seventies. I think fiction overall will reflect an active maturity as we see more vital people in real life who are in their sixties and seventies. Remember, it's only been in the past few decades that medicine has allowed people to live longer and healthier lives."
      "TV is to blame," Eongo said.
      The others sighed.
      "Even I can see that TV isn't the greatest evil on earth," Divine said. "And I write letters protesting that degenerate MTV all the time."
      "No, listen to me," Eongo said. "Advertisers want to buy advertising on programs that target young people because young people spend more on disposable items."
      "Like bling," Farawa said.
      "Exactly," Eongo said. "So networks and television studies make shows that feature young people because those are the ones that make the most advertising revenue. Remember what happened to Murder She Wrote when it was placed opposite of Friends?"
      "That was more of an audience decision," Begenre said. "More people wanted to watch Friends than Murder She Wrote. You can't blame the networks for that. They're only giving the public what they want."
      "I can blame them and do," Eongo said. "They create the demand for the shows. They only show us programs with young people so people are influenced by those shows to want more shows with young people. They create the demand for youth-oriented shows and so they produce youth-oriented shows and that creates more demand for other youth-oriented shows. It's a vicious circle."
      "If the choice is between older people and hot young people like Matthew Perry, the hot young people are always going to be the audience's choice," Aromance said.
      "Angela Lansbury is just as hot as Courtney Cox," Eongo declared.
      Realer spewed muffin across the room as he coughed. Begenre thumped him on the back.
      "Just because you wasted a good muffin doesn't mean you get another one," Cookbookins said.
      "That's my point," Eongo said, pointing at Realer. "We've been conditioned to think youth people are desirable. What's wrong with showing older people who are desirable?"
      "I'm not sure that has anything to do with fiction," Begenre said. "I think it has to do with babies."
      "Babies?" Eongo asked.
      "Throughout history, men have wanted younger wives because they could produce more babies," Begenre said. "If you believe in evolution, then we have a biological need to reproduce, and so we orient toward young people because they can have more babies than an older person can."
      Divine frowned at the mention of evolution.
      "Then you saying fiction will continue to feature young people," Farawa said. "That's unacceptable."
      "I agree," Divine said. "We are more than biology." She looked at Begenre. "Much more. Fiction doesn't just reflect reality; it can also shape reality. As writers, we have a responsibility to write books that uplift the readers and change their values in a positive way. To claim that you're only giving the public what it wants is to cater to the lowest common denominator. It's using your writing gift simply to profit yourself and not others. Great fiction challenges the reader. It helps them grow."
      "It's like chocolate-dipped pineapple chunks," Cookbookins said, shaking the crumbs of a muffin off her dress.
      The others looked at her.
      "See, I was dipping strawberries in chocolate for my niece's wedding reception," Cookbookins said. "But I didn't have enough strawberries because the store was out. So I looked around my kitchen and saw several cans of pineapple chunks. I drained the chunks and then dipped them in chocolate." She smiled at the group.
      A pause.
      "I don't quite follow you," Begenre said slowly. "How does that relate?"
      Cookbookins sighed. "Isn't it obvious? I wrote in my newspaper column about using pineapple for dipping, and several of my readers wrote in to tell me that they had tried it and liked it, too. I wrote about it yesterday. Doesn't anyone read my column?"
      "I haven't had a chance," Farawa said. "But I will as soon as I go home."
      "I don't take the paper," Begenre muttered.
      "My point is that by writing what I did, I influenced my readers to do the same," Cookbookins said. "So I -- how did you put it? -- shaped reality."
      "Ah," Begenre said. "I get it."
      "That actually made sense," Realer said with wonder.
      "And it related to what we were talking about," Aromance said.
      "Of course, it did," Cookbookins said. "I always make sense. You just don't understand me."
      "We'll try to do better," Realer said. He exchanged bemused glances with the others.
      "Since we can shape reality, we need to careful to portray mature characters in an active and interesting fashion," Farawa said. "Old age is not the same as useless and uninteresting."
      And on that note, we were out of time.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

First tech rehearsal

      It went okay. Well, actually it didn't. There were starts and stops and sound effects in the wrong places and doors that were closed that should have been open and open doors that should have been closed and misplaced props and the whole thing went on too long, BUT there was nothing we can't overcome. It should go faster each night as the cast and crew learn what they have to do.
      First tech rehearsal is always rough. What seems easy on paper can be quite complicated in real life. Best laid plans and all that. But as I said, there is nothing here that a few practices won't fix.
      So far, it's coming together the way I want it to. I think it's going to be a good show, a step above what's common. At least I hope so. Privately, I'm looking forward to when it's over, and I get my free time back. I'm enjoying the process, but I'm also exhausted and worried and all the emotions that come with opening a play.
      I hope that some of my family will be able to come and see the play. I think it's something to proud of, and I'd like to share it with them. I'm hoping my brother and his family will be able to make it. I don't really expect anyone else, but it would be cool if they did come.
      Perhaps this is bragging, but I'm proud of myself. I've actually directed this play with my back as bad as it is as well as working every day and keeping caught up at home. It's been hard, and I've really had to push myself, but I've done okay. In less than two weeks, I'll be able to relax and veg a bit.
      Anyway, I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I'm still out here, still thinking of you all and still hoping life is treating you well. Adios!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New music

      The other day I downloaded some new tunes. "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol, "Move Along" by The All-American Rejects, "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield, "Strict Machine" by Goldfrapp, "Breaking the Habit" by Linkin Park, "Walk Away" by Kelly Clarkson, "You and Me" by Lifehouse, "I know" by Max Serpentini, and "Streetcorner Symphony" by Rob Thomas. I like them all, but "Chasing Cars" and "I know" are my current favorites.
      I like listening to music as I write. I have about 500 songs on my computer, and I start up the music player and let it go. I've spent all day listening to my computer. Probably a waste of computer power. I can't remember the last time I turned on my living room stereo, other than when I'm watching a DVD and running the sound through it, the poor man's answer to expensive home theater systems.
      The big advantage of the computer over the stereo is that I can listen to the songs I like and not have to skip those I don't. A lot of groups just have one or two songs on an album that I like. Of course, I can burn a CD with my favs, and I do have many such compilations, but it's hard to beat the computer for convenience.
      I like ITunes, but I confess that I usually download from or Both of the lesser services have bare bones interfaces and make it easy to buy a song or two. ITunes always feels like it takes more effort. Perhaps if I had a Mac, it will be different.
      Today I signed up to The Freesound Project Forums. I needed some sound effects for the play (Murder at the Witch's Cottage, opening November 1-5, if you've forgotten and I don't see how you could have), and TFPF offers sound effects for no charge as long as you abide by the Creative Commons license (which I am). You can find the TFPF here. Registration is free and useful if you ever need some sound effects. They seem to have a good selection.
      There are also sound effect CDs. The local theater group has a couple and I have several. I got most of the sounds needed for the play from those CDs. I moved all the sounds that I needed to one CD. The sounds needed included: telephone, dog howl, grandfather clock chiming, ticking of a beetle, gun shots, several different storm sounds such as thunder and rain, howling wind and so on. It actually has about 20 sound effects. More than I realized until I sat down and started putting them together.
      We start tech rehearsals tomorrow night. Then we'll see how it goes with all the lights, effects and costumes. I think it will go okay. I'm running the sound through a computer so that should go okay. The lights still need to be rigged and the light board programmed, but those are minor really, compared to what we've already done.
      Just two more weeks and the play will be over. We have seven nights of rehearsals before it opens. Basically all the directing of the actors is done. I'm just a cheerleader now, just giving them a few reminders and helping when they get confused. This is the point where the cast either spreads their wings and flies or doesn't. I've mostly done all I can do.
      I get a little frustrated at this point. I look at things I should have done differently earlier and question what I've done. I try to stretch myself in ways to keep up the actors' spirits and enthusiasm. I mostly pat shoulders and give pep talks. I wonder if coaches feel this way as they send their teams on the fields. You have to trust in what they've learned and their own desire to succeed, and you say a little prayer.
      I'm listening to my new music now. I'm going to have to check out more music from Snow Patrol. I really like "Chasing Cars." I hope things are going well for you. Have a great Sunday.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Between here and then, we exist
in that moment when our lips met
when the heat rose until we burned
all the live long night

Then we loved each other
imperfectly. Our jagged edges
tore apart what struggled to grow
and we were helpless then.

Now we love other people
as best we can. Smoothing over
hurts and sorrows with imperfect lies
we pretend ourselves content now

But if you called me if you wrote me
if you sent hunger blazing
across the endless night
I would choose joyous imperfection

For all our faults for all the fights
for all the words we shouldn't have said
for all the pain we caused for all the tears
I would still throw myself into your flames

But we're past that with different lives
and different lies and many miles long past
All that's left of us, the forgotten inferno
is only embers now in the between

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday Writers Group & Sex

      I got involved in an interesting discussion with some other writers the other day -- WAIT! Don't go away. This discussion involved SEX! I thought that would peak your interest -- about SEX in books. I had struggled through a book recently that featured fairly explicit SEX and had wondered out-loud what made that book "literature" and not just plain porn.
      "Because the sex was integral to the story," said Writer Aromance. "It wasn't just thrown in to titillate. It revealed the characters."
      "Yes, it revealed they liked sex," Writer Begenre said. "But doesn't everyone? Sex scenes are put in books to increase sales. And give lonely writers a thrill."
      "Are there any more cookies?" asked Writer Cookbookins. "I only got one."
      "I don't read books with explicit sex," Writer Divine said. "In fact, I'm quite happy to read about a sweet kiss and then a sunset."
      "Today's readers want more than that," Aromance said. "They want to feel the characters' passion. They want to experience the hot, steamy moments, the indescribable sensations." Aromance panted, head rolling slightly, eyelids fluttering. "They want details. Oh yes! YES!!!"
      The rest of the group moved their chairs away from Aromance.
      "Isn't reading a sex scene the same as renting a porn movie?" Begenre said. "Just because they're not watching a sexual encounter with their eyes and instead 'watching' it in their minds, doesn't mean that it's not for the same purpose."
      "Well, I don't read romances for that!" Aromance said, scooting over to join them again. "I want to read about true love, and sex just happens to be part of it. We need to turn the air-conditioning on."
      "There were enough cookies for two apiece," Cookbookins said, looking around. "Someone had to have three."
      "True love is more than just sex," Divine said. "It's a marriage of spirits, of souls reaching out to each other."
      "Those souls come with various pieces of plumbing attached," Begenre said. "I think fading off into a sunset leaves the reader hanging."
      "Some things are better left to the imagination," Divine said with a sniff. "It totally kills the romance when a writer starts describing ... er ... how the pipes fit into the joints."
      "We're going to run that plumbing metaphor into the ground," Begenre said.
      "I blame TV," Writer Eongo said. "People have become accustomed to seeing everything right before them. They don't exercise their minds. So they can't even imagine people having sex!"
      "You know, I brought those cookies to share," Cookbookins said. "I think it's a shame that someone is go greedy that he or she deprived another writer of their cookie."
      "Eongo has a point," Divine said. "What's wrong with letting the reader know that the characters have had sex, but not showing the sex? When two characters make love, that's one thing, but when we invite the reader along, that's an orgy."
      "Not really an orgy," Begenre said. "Or least I don't think that's one. It's been a long time since my college days." The others looked at Begenre. "I heard about them back then," Begenre hastily added. "But I think a good case could be made for it being voyeurism."
      "I love ocean ones," Farawa said dreamily.
      The other writers regarded the elderly writer carefully.
      "Not voyages, dear," Begenre told Farawa. "Voyeurism."
      Farawa frowned. "I don't think I'm familiar with that. I do like to travel, though, so perhaps I'm a voyeur, too."
      Divine's face turned red. Eongo choked back a laugh.
      Begenre patted Farawa's hand. "I'll explain later, dear."
      "I guess readers' tastes are just varied," Divine said. "Some people like to read inspirational, morally uplifting books while others prefer filth and gutter-life."
      A long pause ensued.
      "Hmm, I hate to agree," Aromance said. "But she's basically right. Readers' tastes vary. Some people like stuffy, boring, moralistic and simple books while others like to read about a complicated, adult, intelligent world view that reflects contemporary life."
      A longer pause.
      Divine smiled too brightly. "Perhaps we should discuss this afterwards, dear."
      "Oh, let's," Aromance said, smiling just as brightly.
      "I brought cookies because I thought that would be easier to divide," Cookbookins said. "When I brought pie last time, someone took nearly half of it."
      "To return to the original question, I think intent has a lot to do with it," Begenre said. "If a writer is writing the sex scene and the whole point is to simply give the reader a sexual thrill, then maybe it strays into the ... let's not say porn, but the titillation arena. But if the scene is for character development and illumination, it's firmly in the literature arena."
      The clock chimed nine, and that was all the time we had. They filed out, leaving Farawa and me. She gathered up her large purse and her notebooks. I smiled at her and asked, "How was that third cookie?"
      She winked at me. "Delicious."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dialogue Beta or On Souls

      So I've thinking about the nature of our soul. Is it connected to our bodies or is it separate?
      Uh. Okay. What brought this on, dare I ask?
      I've been reading a series set in medieval times, and it raised an interesting philosophical point.
      I'm thinking you need to get a life.
      The question that they were looking at involved a man who lost his limbs in a battle but survived the injuries. The question was whether the man's limbs should have a Christian burial, too. In other words, did parts of that man's soul die when those limbs were cut off?
      Oh, yeah, you need a life. And a woman. When's the last time you had a date?
      So I was thinking about that--
      You would be.
      --and wondered at what point would a soul become detached. If you could keep just a person's brain alive somehow, would that person's soul still be attached or would it have moved on?
      You're assuming we have souls. We might be Republicans and sold ours already.
      Hardy har har. For the sake of this discussion, weasel, we're assuming the subject has a soul. And we all do. I won't argue about that.
      Well, with that assumption in place, then I'd have to say that the person's soul would still be attached and pretty angry about not having a body.
      So you're saying the soul resides in the brain?
      I don't know about resides there, but since it's where our thoughts originate from, yes, I'd have to say that was the soul.
      Okay. When a person is brain-dead but the body alive, is the soul still there? You will recall this was discussed when that poor woman in Florida was starved to death by her husband.
      Oh, I never knew how you regarded that case.
      During that time, many people argued that since she were brain-dead, then her soul had already went to the afterlife. Others said it had not, and so the death of her body was a release of soul. Of course, I never thought she was brain-dead.
      Of course. You never let any facts sway your from an opinion, do you?
      Watch it. All I have to do is take my meds again, and you're going away. So keep a civil tongue in your ... well ... our mouth.
      Sorry. I shall endeavor to make my conversation agreeable to you.
      You do have a gift for sarcasm.
      Wonder who I got that from?
      Personally I've always blamed my faults on the company I kept in high school. But to get back to the subject, the idea of a soul persists today, even though science has never detected one.
      And you take that for evidence that there is one.
      If there isn't one, isn't it curious that the idea of a soul or spirit has arisen in so many cultures? There isn't a society of any size throughout the years that hasn't had belief that something of us survives our deaths. Plato, for one, believed that the body and the soul were separate and said that the soul or psyche was immortal.
      That's Greek to me! Sorry, I couldn't resist.
      You should have. Rene Descartes, who helped to shape the scientific view of the world, believed that the reality was made up of two different substances: material substance and thinking substance. The interaction between the two produced reality.
      Sorry. I can't think of a pun for Rene. Where are you going with this? In other words, what's your point?
      I actually don't have one. I've just been thinking about this and trying to read some on it. It's a subject that has fascinated and confounded thinkers throughout the ages. It's unlikely we can solve it in a 10 minute discussion. But we'll come back to it because I think it's exciting.
      You've got to get a date. And soon.
      From your lips to God's ears, dude.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday roundup

      Good news! My uncle John is doing better. He has been moved out of ICU and is talking to people. I got the impression that he's not making much sense right now, but I hope that will come. Please continue to nag the Big Guy about him. I appreciate your prayers on his behalf.
      We had play rehearsal this evening. It's coming together. We are now just two weeks and two days before the premiere. Yes, I'm nervous, but we're on track, and I think it should come together. I just have to finish the program and the poster. In fact, I will finish the poster tonight before I go to bed.
      We had a great visit with Michael. He's growing up so fast. He's smart and funny and sweet. Can you tell I dote on him? It's easy to love him because he's such a joy. It was quite depressing when his mother picked him, but he handled it better than I did. Or seemed to. And I'd rather he'd be happy.
      We've got a lot of rain today and tonight. I'm hoping that it rains tomorrow, too. And Wednesday. And Friday. We need a lot of rain. It just needs to be clear the week of the play. The truth about ticket sales for community theater is that the weather is the overwhelming factor in attendance. You have rain or snow or bitterly cold or hot weather, and your audience simply won't come out. That's just the way it is. The last play I directed had a tornado watch one night and a storm the other. That's hard to overcome.
      Well, it's time to go now. Y'all have a good week. Night!

Friday, October 13, 2006

"At Day's End"

      Somehow I ended up on the mailing list for a newsletter published by the Church of Christ. I've never attended one of their churches and have no friends that are members so I don't know why I'm receiving the newsletter. Perhaps someone thought I needed it.
      The newsletter is named House To House/Heart to Heart, and in this issue, there is a poem by Anonymous. Anonymous is a busy person(s); I notice all sorts of things are attributed to him/her/them. I Googled the poem and discovered that besides Anonymous, several people claim to have written it. Whoever authored it, I like this poem. It may lack poetic technique, but its message fits nicely in what I wrote a few days ago.

At Day's End

Is anybody happier because you passed this way?
Does anybody remember that you spoke to them today?
The day is almost over and its toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word to you?

Can you say tonight in parting with the day that's dipping fast,
That you helped a single person of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?
Does the person whom hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?

Did you waste the day or lose it? Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say,
"You've earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today?"

      It's something to think about. Well, I have to get ready for rehearsal now. You have a good night. I'll be talking with you tomorrow, God willing. Night!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dialogue Alpha

      Visitor numbers and comments are down.
      What did you expect? You haven't been posting regularly, and what you have posted is rather dull.
      I do so appreciate you for pointing that out. I must remember to thank you properly soon.
      Now, don't get your drawers in an uproar. I didn't say it was your fault. You've been involved with that play and rehearsal and work, and so nothing interesting has happened in your life to write about. You can't help it if your boring life bores other people. Look, I'm yawning right now.
      Was that supposed to comfort me? If so, might I suggest that you NEVER work the suicide hotline. You'd be the only counselor who wouldn't have any return callers.
      Well, it came out differently than I meant it. I was just saying that you're busy and that keeps you from having adventures to share.
      That's true enough, but I read other blogs, and they seem to have something to say even when there's nothing interesting going on in their lives. For instance, yesterday I was reading a blog by a young lady, and she wrote an entire long entry about how she bought some apple candles and how the scent of them reminded her of her grandmother cooking and how her grandmother once marched in a civil rights rally and was beaten by police and later shook hands with Martin Luther King.
      So your relatives have never done anything exciting?
      Well, sure they have, but I can't say that I'm particularly motivated to write about them or to relate what they did to my current life. The apple blogger neatly tied in her feelings about the Iraqi war and violence in the movies and ended with an impassioned plea for peace throughout the world.
      That sounds interesting. Do you have her web address?
      Yes, it's ... wait a moment ... NO, I don't have her address. You just want to leave here and go to her blog!
      I didn't say that.
      You were thinking about it, you blog tramp.
      I was not.
      Okay, maybe a little, but let's be honest here. You've got to do something interesting to keep my attention.
      I updated all the scrollies today. And there's a new quote on the sidebar and on the bottom bar.
      Heh heh. You said bottom.
      Good grief.
      I appreciate the new scrollies. And the quotes. I really do.
      I also added coding so that the comment line shows who commented.
      You're jaded and can't accept the simple joys of blogging. You want fireworks and violence and sex! You want me to pander to man's basest instincts! I won't do it! 51313 Harbor Street will stand against the rising tide of darkness!
      I'll just start humming the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" while you climb on your soapbox.
      I think I hate you.
      Now, now, now. That's no way for the defender of truth, justice and web politeness to talk.
      Yes, it's definite. I DO hate you.
      If it makes you feel better, this entry has been interesting.
      Really? You're not just saying that?
      Welllll, actually --
      No, that's fine! You don't have to say anything else. I'm content with that.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Same old song

      My uncle John seems somewhat better tonight. There's talk that he might get to move out of ICU if he continues to improve. We still don't know the extent of damage or even if he's going to make it through this, but there are encouraging signs. I know your prayers are helping. Thank you and please continue.
      Rehearsals for the play are going well, I think. I still have a couple of cast members who have yet to fully commit to their parts, but they're heading that way. As I've watched the play come alive, I've become more and more excited about it. It's hard for me to judge my own work, but I think I may actually have something good here. There's still a lot of work to do, but I feel good about it.
      I have a list of things that still have to be done for the play. Every day, I try to check off at least one of them. So far, so good. If I can continue at this pace, everything will get done on time. In fact, I'll even be able to do some little extras that I think will enhance the audience's experience. We'll see how it goes. This is assuming my back lets me, and no other disasters happen.
      I am very, very VERY tired of my back problems. Not that my frustration changes anything, but I have to vent occasionally. I'm hoping that my back continues to improve and that I can resume normal activity at least by December. The thought of going through Christmas like this is depressing. But I will do what I can do, and I guess that's just the way it has to be right now.
      That seems to be all my news today. I hope your day was good, filled with wonderful things. Night!

Monday, October 09, 2006


      Please continue to remember my uncle John in your prayers. At present, he is unresponsive, but there are good medical indicators, too, so we'll just have to wait and see how things develop. Uncle John is my mother's brother and is the last living one of her siblings. I've only seen John twice over the past few years -- at my mother's funeral and then at my father's funeral. I don't know him very well, but he has always been kind to me. I'm hoping he will pull through.
      By the way, I finished the July family newsletter (finally) and would have mailed it today, but of course, it's a holiday. I have started on the August issue and hope to finish it over the next two weeks. (Actually I'd like to finish it this week and print it this weekend, but I don't think I can manage that with everything else going on. We'll see.)
      Speaking of this coming weekend, Mikey's coming to visit! I'm so excited. Nearly two days with that wonderful wild boy. It's going to be fun. Yes, I know I'm in the middle of a play, but I don't get to spent enough time with him, and frankly, he's more important by a thousand times. I'll still have two weekends before we open to get all the last-minute details done. I'm really looking forward to seeing him.
      No change on my back. It's improving, I think, but the improvements are measured in inches instead of miles so it's hard to tell. I am experiencing less pain overall. If I could just figure out how to get a good night's sleep, I think that would go a long way in making me feel better.
      Well, it's time to go to play practice. Have a good evening and a great tomorrow.

Prayer request

      Please remember my Uncle John in your prayers. He has suffered a stroke, and his prospects don't look good. Thank you.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Here 'n' there

      It's been difficult lately to think of titles for these posts. I wander around a lot, touching on various things as they occur to me. Rarely do overall themes develop. So think of this as a ramble, just walking around here 'n' there.
      First stop: a back update. Well, it's getting better, but s-l-o-w-l-y. Very slowly. I have to be extremely careful in all my activities, and some things simply aren't possible right now. I'm tired of the limitations and restrictions, but I'm hope as I lose weight and then can begin back exercises and more vigorous therapy, I will regain my former freedom of movement. I'm tired of hauling my cane and walker everywhere. And don't get me started on the joys of a wheelchair. I shouldn't complain. After all, I have the possibility of leaving all of this behind while many people have to adapt to spending their whole lives in a chair.
      And that leads us to the weight loss plan. I'm on a 1,200 calorie a day diet. So far, so good. I'm hungry a lot of the time, but it's not so terrible I can't control it, and there's plenty of low- and no-calorie treats in my house now. As the diet continues, I'll get used to it and eventually won't feel hungry. Or as hungry as I do now. I'm willing to go through this to regain my health. And when I can exercise again, I'll be able to lose weight more rapidly as well as add more calories to my diet. Eventually the doctor says that I'll be able to consume 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day, depending on my activity level.
      The play is going well. I gave everyone the night off Friday. They were doing well, and we were needed a break. Truthfully, I was exhausted and desperately needed a night off. I watched TV last night and slept and generally recharged my battery. It was a good night. We'll resume practice on Monday night. We'll be three weeks from production then. Yeah, there's a bit of panic on that, but we're on track. And I think it's going to be a good show. So far, the cast is upbeat and positive and seem to be enjoying themselves. It's got some suspense and some laughs and even a bit of depth to it. I think the audience will enjoy it. We'll see.
      Today I spent in doing some light housework and laundry as well as attempting to organize my desk. I also worked on the community theater webpage and the poster and program for the play. Otherwise, not much.
      And that's it for tonight. I hope you had a good day and will have a great day tomorrow. Talk to you later. Night!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Time enough?

      If you say you haven't had time to do something, then it's because you don't want to do it.
      Is that true?
      In the short term -- say over a few days -- no. You can literally have no time due to prior commitments. There is only so much you can get done in one day.
      But over longer periods of time -- say a month or two -- yes. If you can't find time in a month or so, it's because you didn't want to do the request in the first place.
      Of course, this depends on the request. We're not talking building bridges or putting up a house. We're talking about those day-to-day requests that are asked of us by our church, civic clubs, the PTA, etc.
      I've always held the belief that you make time for the things that are important to you. And if you don't, then they weren't really that important or they were less important than what you put before them. I've had several friends divorce because the wife felt that the husband put his job before her and their children. Although their husbands would deny it, it was true. We put our time where we want to put our time.
      Of course, there are a thousand exceptions to any supposed absolute, but I think there is a disturbing truth here. We make time for what is important to us.
      Do you want to disagree? I know I do. I don't like where this line of thought leads me. For instance, I claim to be a Christian, but how much time do I spend in sharing the message of Christianity? I claim that I want to be a full-time writer, but how much time do I invest in writing, in sending out stories and articles, and in attempting to get my writing published? I claim that my family and friends are important to me, but how much time do I spend talking to them, helping them and being with them? Where, truly, are my priorities?
      Our life is the only thing that truly belongs to us. How we live it is where our priority is. We may give lip service to lofty goals and soaring dreams, but what we actually do is the truth.
      If someone looked at our lives without being able to hear our explanations for our actions, what would they think were our top priorities?
      It's a balancing act, of course. We have families, and families need food, clothing, and shelter so we work our jobs to raise the money to provide those things to our families -- even though that means we have to spend a lot of time away from those we love. Churches need our tithes to carry out their ministries, and to have those tithes to give, we need our jobs even though those jobs limit the time we can work in soup kitchens and visit the sick. And so on. When we spend our time in one area, that time is lost to another.
      Those are the limitations of this life. We can't do it all so we have to choose and pick what we can do. And we have to try to choose wisely because this is the only life we have down here. It's a sobering thought. But it's also part of what makes life so interesting and so complicated. I don't think I'd have it any other way ... unless I could clone me or live several hundred years. Then let's talk.
      Gotta go back to work. Have a good day!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


      Tired. I'm very tired. Too many irons in the fire. Must hit release button before gravity of combined projects pulls me into the singularity of doom. Too ... late ... NOOOOO00000oooooooo......
      Well, you get the point. Projects are getting done, but not at the rate I'd like them to be completed. I'm hoping to get the set finished this week. That's my plan. We'll see how it goes. But once it's done, a lot of other projects should fall into place.
      I almost have the July family newsletter done. Yes, I know. July. But I should be able to print it and mail it this weekend. And then I'll start on the August one. I'll take two weeks to do it. Then in November, I will do the September and October and possibly the November. I know I'm capable of it, but a lot depends on what articles and photos my contributors turn in. And then, of course, December's will be in December. That's the plan. And you know what they say about plans.
      What else? Let's see. We're having disgustingly clear skies here. We need rain and lots of it, but so far, the clouds haven't been obliging. Ponds and lakes are still diminished. Can you say dustbowl? Do you know of an effective rain dance? Why aren't you answering my questions? Why? Don't give me any lip! Just answer my questions!
      Did I mention I'm tired? No, seriously tired. My feet are tired, my eyes are tired, my hands are tired, my back's in pain, my neighbors are tied up in my basement, my legs are tired, my brain is even tired. Tired, I tell you! Don't argue with me! I have a collection of Manilow albums and I'm not afraid to use them!
      I've always liked Barry Manilow. Not all of his songs, of course -- for instance, "Why Don't We Be Lonely Together?" is bad, bad, bad, and no, I didn't make that title up -- but many of his earlier songs were quite good. Later he would over-produce and over-orchestrate his music until it reached mind-numbing sameness, but even then, you could hear some touches of true musical genius. Yes, now you know. I like Barry Manilow's music. I see that smirk! When I release the rabid robot monkeys, you're going down, bucko!
      My house is slowly piling up. Eventually the piles will collapse and kill someone. But not me. I don't go there. I just toss things into the house from a safe distance. It's like a sport, except I don't get paid obscene amounts of money to do it. No, there's just that grim satisfaction that comes when I imagine future archaeologists digging up my collection of socks without mates. They will devise all sorts of theories to explain this: A tribe of one-legged mutants or a cult that sacrifices one sock of each pair to the great sock god Toesagar or even a group of pacifists who burn one sock to protest the world's evils. As the archaeologists debate, my dryer comes up behind them. It's huge now, having fed on socks for years. It pounces on them! They don't even have time to scream. The next day search teams find their dried, Bounce-fresh bodies. Some things are not meant for man to know. Or woman, either.
      I have to go back to work now. What justice is there in that? I ask you. You have a good rest of the day, okay? Okay.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Fun with chocolate pudding!

      Are these great photos or what? Sweet Mikayla decided that she would paint with chocolate pudding. What a doll! And her mother, being a great mom, didn't get upset at her two year old, but grabbed a camera and recorded the artistic event for everyone.
      Mikayla is adapting to her new brother Zack well. She wants more attention from her mom right now, but overall she's doing wonderful. And she likes to love on her little brother. She's a wonderful little girl.
      I'm hoping to get to spend more time with them both when the play's over. I wish they lived in my town instead of an hour away. It would make it easier to drop by.
      Speaking of the play, we worked on the set yesterday and got a lot done. It needs to have the trim put up and the fireplace finished, and a few more items done. I hope to get a lot of them done this week and finished next Saturday. After that, we need to: get the furniture (we have all we need except for a couch) and accessories, move the lights to the proper places, program the light board, collect the sound effects, finish the poster and the program and print them, print the tickets ... whew! But we're on course and doing very well.
      My back is, I think, improving bit-by-bit each day. It's still a long way from being right. I have to walk with a cane, and it's a bit of a lurching walk, but at least I'm up and around, thank the good Lord.
      Today I'm hoping to do a few household chores, collect some sound effects for the play, and work on a few things like that. I'm also going to get outside and walk around a bit. Enjoy this sunshine before winter takes it away.
      I hope you have a great day. I might be back later. Posts have been scarce around here lately so I could post a couple of times to make up for it. We'll see how the day goes. Take care and talk to you later.