Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Generic Post Number Nine......

I don't know how many people read the last post, but I would like to thank those who did and responded for their kind words. It was a masochistic experience, to say the least. I enjoyed getting it out, even tho at the same time it felt like I was pulling out my fingernails. I don't care much for pain, really, but I hate even less when something simmers deep inside of me and steals some of my inner calm. So I would like to thank Shandi for urging me to write about it, Buffalo for his cryptic yet thumbs up pat on the back, and any other kind thoughts that came in my direction.
As for "A Crossing of Paths", I haven't given up on it, if you were following it......I just got interrupted in my thought processes while attempting to exorcise that last demon. Stay tuned, like I promised, the story takes an interesting turn.
Some have suggested I can write. The way I see it, if I could lay out my ideas in that smooth, mellow way that Buffalo does, then I WOULD be a writer. Right now, let's just say I don't do so bad for a white boy. Like everything, one can only get better if they just stick with it. If I were doing this with any real expectations of getting anything published and actually getting paid for it, then the fear of failure would weigh me down so much I couldn't get anything done. Since I do this as a hobby, an outlet, simply as a joyful thumb in the eye of the establishment (aka: who the hell needs you, I'll just write anyway), then I am free to just do it, for it's own sake. It's like way back in my younger days when I was heavily into model rocketry. I knew damn well I wasn't going to be putting anything into orbit, I just did it for the fun of it, but you know what?
I actually set a world altitude record for a particular class of rocket powered by a certain class of engine. The fact that the record only lasted about a month before some other asshole surpassed me did not in any way negate the pride I had in that accomplishment. It's all relative.
So join my in our next exciting episode, when Doris gets her oats............

Monday, June 27, 2005

This song has no title.....

My earliest memories were of a single wide mobile home, snow, and a beautiful woman who helped me make the buffalo brown in the coloring book. Where this was exactly I have no idea. Next frame.....we are living in an upper-floor apartment, it must be winter, there is ice on the steps. I remember coming home crying because the teacher had threatened to spank me if I did not return the next day knowing how to write out my name. With my parent's help I manage to avoid the spanking. I must have skipped kindergarten.
There are other snippets of different places, different people, but the beautiful woman and my Dad were my earliest truth.
But then, the memories turn more confusing. Now I'm with my Mom and another man, with short blonde hair. We live near the coast, and when it rains, it pours. His parents live near one of those thousand odd lakes in Minnesota, and we drive all the way from Mississippi to visit for the summer. I loved it, although I couldn't understand going to bed with the sun still up and waking up in darkness. I came home from the hospital with pneumonia and they set up a miniature train on a big sheet of plywood next to my bed. One night, after some screaming and hollering, she passes thru my bedroom to get to the bathroom (I'm assuming this house had a less-than-optimum layout to it) and she turns to face me, as I peer out from under the covers, stark naked, and the most vivid picture of stark raving beauty is burned into my mind forever. Then she turns and slams the door behind her. Perhaps this was the night he gave her the ultimatum. I was not HIS child.
Later, she is kneeling in front of my, her face streaked with tears, telling me she wasn't my real mother, that my mother had given me to her, and would I like to go live with my Daddy for awhile. What she was telling me didn't make any real sense to my 6 year old mind, so I just told her, yes, as long as it wasn't for too long. She assured me it wouldn't be. Next, if I have my timeline right, I am living alone with my Dad, and I seem to spend allot of time with him at work at the Toddle House diner where he's now working as a short-order cook. He was in the Air Force, but apparently not now. I never see the beautifull woman, the one I'd always thought was my mother, again. Next I find myself living with a strange woman, a friend or relative of his, I imagine.....I dont remember a man there and she has a little girl of her own. I encounter another little boy there that would become a fast friend for many years, only in a different place.
Then, I discover the concept of betrayal at the ripe young age of seven. We are at the courthouse, and a man they tell me is my Grandfather is telling the judge that my Grandmother is back in Florida with a heart condition, and would not be able to care for a child like me. No mention is made of my real mother. And these are my Maternal Grandparents. After court is over, and having no real understanding of what has just transpired, we go outside, and there is my Grandmother sitting in a cadillac convertible with about five or six miniature poodles. I knew then something bad was happening and that people had lied. Then I am handed over to a fairly large (as in fucking fat) social worker called Mr. Necaise who takes me with him.
We are in his car driving north, deep into prehistoric 1960's era Mississippi. He says I'm going to be living with a new family for awhile. As we pass houses driving deeper and deeper into the countryside, I ask him, " Is that it?", Him saying, "No, not that one." The houses get less attractive as we continue to drive. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, we arrive at an old wooden house with a tin roof, circa maybe 1940, with a huge oak tree standing over it. I am handed over to an elderly couple, in their sixties, a retired old redneck couple who gained free labor and some money from the state taking care of welfare kids. I was now a welfare kid. I was told to refer to these two as Grandad and Granma. I think it was that Christmas that my father came out with another man to visit me one last time. I worshiped this man. From my vantage point he was as tall as they come, tho later they would taunt me saying he was a pretty short man, maybe five seven at the most. Up to that point in my life he'd been the only constant I had known. It was the last time I ever saw or heard of the son of a bitch.
From age seven until about fourteen, when in 1969 Hurricane Camille visited the Mississippi Gulf Coast and removed allot of it, I became a lost child. I had lots of chores including feeding the cow and chickens (and tasked with raising the hog, until those bastards murdered my friend), pushing a plow in the garden, raking leaves, and my all time favorite job, endlessly chopping wood for the wood stove. The only other kids nearby I was either told not to associate with or didn't want to associate with me, being I was that "welfare" kid. Sometimes they would bring out another kid or two who would stay awhile, complicating my life, then leaving to return to normal lives. School was a bus ride miles away, until middle school, then it was hours away. No sports, no dances, none of that stuff, they wouldn't let me participate, I had work to do at home.
I did have one good friend, Leonard, who I would have to walk thru the woods and down a long dirt road to visit, until his mother chased me away, not wanting any of those "welfare" kids hanging around her place. The old couple had a large family of their own, lots of grandkids, and altho I was usually older than any of them, I was not allowed such things as learning to swim or anything that might damage the goods. I was a crate of oranges, they were responsible for taking care of me, not loving me. I read allot, and escaped to far away places in books. But I had a smart mouth. Mr Parker was my warden, as far as I was concerned, not my father. Soon, enraged often by my tendency to "sass back", he stopped swatting at me with this large wooden spoon he kept near his chair, and just started chucking bricks at me. When it became clear I was getting good at dodging those, he came after me with his bullwhip. I thought I could escape by climbing the oak tree out back and keeping out of his reach on the platform I had up there. He just laughed his evil laugh and laid that whip right across my back. Several times. I never forgot that.
Well, the hurricane swept thru, tore up the place pretty good, and in the midst of all the chaos and destruction, guess who was suddenly concerned about my welfare? After all those years, not having contacted me once, suddenly my grandparents were inquiring about me. I told my caseworker that as bad as my life was, I had no desire to see my grandparents. I remembered. Then, the old man up and died, and the Welfare department had to do something with me. I was 15 now.
First, they tried one of his grandsons and his family that I sort of liked. It didn't work tho. So they sent me, against my will, as usual, to live with my Grandparents in Florida. My Grandfather was chief engineer on a mississippi river tow boat, pushing barges up the river. That summer he took me with him all the way to Pittsburgh. Much of the trip was somewhat boring, but I enjoyed the hell out of it nonetheless. The crew was a pretty twisted group of perverts. Anyway, we came back home, and I was left with my crazy grandmother while he went on another run. This woman was crazy. By the time he got home, me and her were at each other's throats, and so that was the end of that. Then they put me with a new family, my first experience of being part of a real family. Ed treated me with respect, got me a job as a bag boy at the super market where he was employed as a butcher. They let me walk to the library or pet store totally on my own, all I had to tell them was when I'd be back. Being trusted and granted some sense of autonomy for the first time in my life was like.....heaven. The two younger brothers instantly adopted me as their older brother, and the older fox of a sister was truly nice to live about eye candy....not just her but her girlfriends. Life was good, for once in my life. I even joined the football team and survived it. But of course, when something is working, they just have to come in and fix it. Ed's parents and family lived in tennessee, right over the alabama border. They would take me with them when they drove up there on visits. But the welfare department told Ed that he had to inform them way ahead of time before he could take me out of state, and that pissed Ed off. So they took me away from my family. My new case worker, with a smile on his face, asked me how I'd like to go live in Father Flanagan's Boys Home, famously known as "Boys-town", outside of Omaha, Nebraska. Looks like they were desperate to find a place to dump me once and for all. I actually didn't know THAT much about the place, but it screamed ORPHANAGE to me and I had a real bad feeling about it. Didn't matter, it's not like I was actually being given a choice. Now I'm on a plane. To Omaha. I was still only sixteen.
Now, while I was still living with my Grandmother, she indoctrinated me well on the truth of my Mother, my REAL mother, and had me believing that it was HER fault that my life was the way it was. So, as you can imagine, not knowing much else, I had no love for this woman, and hadn't even gotten around to knowing how to feel about my Father yet. No one could tell me what happened to him. So shortly after I got settled into this insane asylum they jokingly called a "Boys Home", I received a letter from her, and a birthday card. The fact that I was now 16 and the card said happy fifteenth did not endear me to her.
So I wrote a fairly nasty reply, and got back to trying to survive my new holding pen. Let me tell you, there were NO orphans living there. I shared a cottage with 16 other kids who were sent there for drug dealing, car theft, burglary, and other boyish pranks. Our live-in counselor was an alcoholic, who would wonder the hallways in a drunken rage at night. I never turned my back on anyone, and just tried to keep as low a profile as possible. Then I got an idea. I might have been a "welfare" kid, but let me tell you, friends, I was a brilliant little fuck.
My mother was now living in Fairbanks, Alaska. She had lost track of me as well, and now that she knew were I was, tried desperately to regain some contact with her lost only child. As far as I was concerned, she was at least partially responsible for my fucked up life, but then I realized that she could be my ticket out of this loony bin and a shot at perhaps a normal life.
So, I began a letter writing campaign to my caseworker in Mississippi, since they still had legal guardianship of me, and my casework there at the gulag. I informed them in a most eloquent and logical sounding style that they had one of two choices.
They could put up with the headache of having to drag my underage ass back to Boystown time after time as I would escape every chance I got (there was no barbed wire, no fences, I was not a juvenile offender), or they could do us all a favor and release me to the custody of my Mother, whom I had every right in the world to spend the last two years of my childhood with. My Mother was DYING to have me returned to her, so she was a willing partner in my scheme. I wrote her and with crocodile regret told her I had been mean and that I was sorry and could I come live with her. LIttle bastard. Well, it worked, because although she had to pay for the ticket, I was on a 707 to Fairbanks, finally free of the system. My new "stepfather" was a cab driver and met me at the terminal, and this was my first encounter with COLD! FUCKING COLD! And DARK. It was easily 55 below zero when I arrived there.
Then my entire life changed. We dashed into the small house and there was this petite little woman who took one look at me, UP at me, and grabbed me in a hug, crying her eyeballs out. My heart just melted the second she touched me. Every shred of hatred they had installed in me vanished in that one encounter. THIS was my Mother, my real mother, and I was meeting her for the very first time. Later, as we talked, she told me the true story, of how when she left him, he kept me away from her in an effort to make her come back to him. When that didn't work, he just discarded me, and never told her where I was. And to top it all off, it seemed I had a humongous family all over the south, with not one blood relative stepping forward to tell her where I was or taking me in to care for me. She did try to track me down, but my grandparents wouldn't tell her where I was. This was not an evil woman. She was not mentally ill. Maybe in the end she might have not been able to give me a life much better than the one I had endured......but no one gave her the chance. No one else loved me the way she did. So, although my now "normal" life was not all that perfect, I DID finally feel whole again. And I continued on in my life, fighting for everything as I always had, winning some, losing some, crippled in some respects by a feeling of worthlessness that the system and my Father helped to instill in me, but overcoming it day by day, year by year. I'm sure that my Father would have his side of the story, but his actions and how they effected me speak for themselves. I sincerely hope he's either dead now or that we never cross paths, for I really don't want to have to deal with the shame of kicking the hell out of some seventy year old man. And I would, believe me. I would.
So how did Michael turn out? Well, he never did a day in juvenile or prison. He served four years in the U.S, Navy Submarine Service, and some in the reserves. He has a healthy work ethic, and is doing fairly well in his second marriage. He never beat his wife, or his dog, didn't become a racist or homophobe, and actually believes in quite a lot of old fashioned values. He never had any children, and I don't think you have to think hard as to why. But he does have a pair of twin girls, courtesy of his wife, who call him Dad. He's never become much of a success in life, at least employment wise, but has been grateful for and enjoys the simple things in life. He has a mind and he uses it, if only to rant and rave online in a blog. He has his issues, but truly thinks he is a good, kind human being, and if he had it all to do over again......hell.....bring it on....."We decide what is right, and what IS an illusion".

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Tonights' episode

Never having played such a prominent role in someone else's blog entry, I was suitably impressed with Shandi's address to me concerning our Brotherhood of the Blog. And now, I think, I've discovered something in common between her and I other than our manic depression.....or depressive mania.....we both have a weakness for sweet wine. I'm assuming it's sweet based on another bloggers' comment, so I could be wrong. About the wine, that is.
Another thing we have in common is that we both had fathers we lost track of in one fashion or another. Shandi suggested I write about it. Well, maybe I will. But I must warn all of you now that it will not be a tear jerker reunion tale that pulls at the heartstrings, but rather a release of emotion on par with a thermonuclear explosion. It will NOT be pretty. Sure, I would love nothing more than to write the happily-ever-after version of a father and son reunion, but the reunion never happened, the chances of it happening are slim to none, and again, it would not be pretty. I know perhaps many of you would not look forward to this story in this light, but I think you would prefer honesty over wishful thinking.
So let me recover from today's shift, and tomorrow, between more yard work and loving my wife, I will whip out something that at the very least, will shed a bit more light on what made a Michael what he is today, or rather, what he became despite it all. Till then........cheers!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Things that make life interesting......

The polka versions of "Touch Myself", "Enter Sandman", and "Losing My Religion".
Taking a good hard look at your fellow shoppers in Walmart and wondering how you came to be there.
Taking care of a decorated WWII fighter ace, now in the grips of dementia.
Turning two years worth of composted hay, grass, leaves, and kitchen scraps into thick, rich earth, courtesy of your leaf shredder.
Suddenly discovering you can actually sport a beard, but only because most of it is pure white.
Owning a dog that limps around the house like a cripple, that can do zero to fifty in 3.2 seconds when a passing car is involved.
Owning three remarkable creatures with three distinct personalities who merely by virtue of their appetites reduce my mowing area significantly.
Being called on Father's day by twin daughters who don't make that call to their biological father.
Wishing I'd had a father to make that call to.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Just a post

Ok, gang, don't worry, the story continues (if you are even following it), but tonight this is just filler. Shredded some really big piles of leaves today and ended up with some really quality compost grade material! The very fact that this sounds so exciting to me bemoans the state of affairs as far as what comes as a quality event in my life. The wailing and gnashing of teeth may proceed. Thank you. That was so heartfelt, I don't know what to say........hehe.
Right now we're watching the DVD of "Battlestar Galactica"......the gritty remake of the original sci-fi series us old farts knew and loved so well. OK.......the old sci-fi freaks who enjoyed such shit. I can understand if the rest of you wondered if we ever got a life. We did. We just refused to give up our dreams. What the fuck else have we got?
I've been checking on Shandi and a few others and the song remains the same......get off your duffs and post, dammit, I need my minimal daily requirements of your brilliant insights. Despite the fact that I am an autonomous unit, I do not function as efficiently when I am cut off from the collective consciousness. And yes, I have actually come to really care about you...all of you. I know this is a piss poor example of a family, but unlike the dark side (republicans), I recognize that a family can be comprised of people who do not share your genetics. Or politics. Or kinks. If this creeps you out, get over it.
So, this is my post for tonight. Please read it and reply. If you don't, so help me, I will jump off the bottom step of my deck stairs tomorrow and any damage to my frail, old body will be on your conscience. I'm not kidding. Quit laughing. Fine, laugh, I don't mind......amazing what I'll stoop to to get a laugh, and maybe a comment from you guys.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Crossing of Paths

Chapter Six

After passing him his drink, Melissa returned to the kitchen to slice up the bread she had brought him, and then it occurred to her......"Sir, you know my name, now I thinks it's time to tell me yours!" She tossed out to the living room. She was beginning to think this was one who didn't volunteer ANYTHING easily.
She heard a chuckle from his chair as he replied, "Why, my dear, you have been calling me by name since you first spoke! Come in here and let me show you something I think you'll find rather humorous." Melissa gathered some slices of the warm banana bread on plates and rushed back to the living room to find him standing by the fireplace, looking at a document he had framed and hanging on the wall. He motioned her over, and she stood beside him, handing him his plate. As he took a slice and savored it, she was astonished to see that it was a birth certificate, and sure enough, on the line indicating his first name, was typed SUR. She turned and stared at him......."You GOT to be kidding me, that's really your name......SUR?"
It was obvious he really enjoyed peoples' first reaction to this odd fact. "Well", he said, "I guess I better tell you the whole sordid tale. See, Dad saw even before the sixties came along that it was going to be harder for men to get the basic respect he felt was owed them. Women were emboldened by a new sense of self worth beyond being wives and mothers, and that once expected courtesy of being addressed as "Sir" by ladies and young people could no longer be taken for granted. So, being the diabolical son-of-a-bitch that he was, he decided to name his first born "Sur", so that no matter what, he would be respected, one way or another, or at least in his way of thinking. All I know is I paid a pretty hefty price for it growing up, but I can tell you one thing, I really think it taught me not to take myself to seriously. Lord knows not a hell of a lot of women do!" He told the tale in such a self-depreciating way that Melissa could not help to see the sincerity in it.
"Well, "Sir", I think it's a well deserved name, and I will have no problem calling you that!" She smiled, and took the empty plate from his hand and returned to the kitchen. There she straightened up the mess she'd made on his counter top and returned to the living room to find him back in his chair. Melissa found a seat on the couch opposite him and motioned towards the artwork and sculpture scattered about. "Admiring your taste in art, Sir, I can't help wondering what you do, or at least did, for a living. You don't strike me as the conventional type."
"Oh:, he said softly, "I guess I've done about everything at one time or another. Never stood well with one particular prison or another, as all my jobs felt like to me, until I decided to pare back my ambitions and started worrying more about being happy then being rich. I guess the best job I had was cataloging native american artifacts for the National Park Service, and I put in a good fifteen years doing that before I retired with enough of a pension to keep my head above water while I practiced my greatest joy......a "different" sort of dime store counseling that I happen to be somewhat good at."
Melissa was tempted to ask what that was, but the decor suggested what he was hinting at. Much to her relief, he changed the subject. "So, Melissa, I take it you are pleased with your new house?" She lit up at his question, "Yes, Sir, it is just PERFECT, and I love not having to worry about power outages or paying an electric bill. Whoever designed and built the house was a genius, and I can't believe I got such a good deal on it! I'm no expert in real estate values, but I think it's worth twice the price, especially with the beautiful property that goes with it. There's allot to be said about the peace and quiet of elbow room." Sur listened to her gush about her new home and seemed to have expected it. "Yes", he agreed with her, "The place is certainly a gem. I'd be living in it myself except......oh well, what's done is done.....", He trailed off with a bit of sadness in his voice.
Melissa blinked, staring at him, for this was news to her, that he had owned the place. "Sur, you mean to tell me YOU built my house?! My God, Sir, they didn't tell me you were the owner, I had no idea! Gosh, then, maybe you can answer some questions I have.....oh, wow, this is so cool!" She was thinking of the mysterious hidden doorway she had encountered in the pantry; well, here was the man who put it there, she assumed. Only, before she could ask about it, Sur stood up, gently led her towards the door, and thanked her for the visit. "It's getting on in the day, a bit, my dear, so if you will please excuse me, I have some things to catch up on before tomorrow. It was so nice for you to stop by, and yes, the bread was excellent, thank you. She could hardly get a word out before he had her out the door and was closing it on her. Melissa knew then that she had somehow struck a nerve, and stood there looking at the door, flustered. Oh well, she'd just have to find another excuse to intrude on him, and hopefully she'd find a way to ask him about the door. She headed back down the road, and halfway back, she broke out in a wicked grin when it occurred to her that she'd left her basket in his kitchen. Oh yes, Mr Sur, Sir, I will Indeed see you soon!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A Crossing of Paths

Chapter Five

Melissa rose more refreshed than usual, and once dressed, headed into the kitchen to try out the fancy new stove by creating some of her award winning banana bread. Well, maybe not award winning, but damn good, in her opinion. She shoved the pans of batter into the oven and went to her study to answer some e-mails and pay some bills online while the tantalizing smell of the bread pervaded the house. She wasn't making the bread for herself. She was intent on meeting this mysterious neighbor of hers, and the banana bread was her "in". She never met a man who could resist it.
Pretty soon she was caught up with mundane business, the bread was out of the oven and cooling, and she had to decide what to wear for her mission. She giggled, thinking of an all black body suit with a ninja hood, but this was not a covert reconnoissance, no, she was mounting a full frontal assault. This would require something that got a man's attention, but in a good way, without coming off as slutty. So, she choose a close fitting top and a somewhat modest miniskirt, barely revealing any cleavage or thigh. Studying herself in the mirror, she approved the mission and headed to the kitchen to secure her weapons, placing the bread, wrapped in tin foil, in a nice woven picnic basket, then headed out the door and down the road. She totally forgot to lock or alarm the house, but out here it seemed an elective.
She enjoyed the feel of the morning sun and light breeze on her skin as she set an easy pace on the pock-marked surface of her road, reminding herself to check the budget and get the thing resurfaced if possible. Within fifteen minutes she was close enough to the cabin to see that he had no visitors as of yet, and hoped there wouldn't be any for awhile. Parked towards the back of the cabin she could see a range-rover, which she took to be his, but still no sign of him outside. She wondered what kept him inside so much, with such a beautiful day out here and a nice place to be outside in. Then, she made it to his front porch, and gingerly made her way up to the entrance, where a rather old and elaborate iron knocker was affixed to the door. Seeing no doorbell, she lifted it, and struck the plate a few times, hoping he was not to startled to have an unexpected visitor. Within a few seconds, the handle of the door rotated down, and the door swung open, as she held her breath with anticipation.
The morning sun ran up his body as he stepped into the doorway, creeping up to illuminate his face, and Melissa was struck with the strangest combination of deja-vu and anticlimax. She knew this face without any memory of having seen it, and seeing it was like reading the punch line of a joke she had already figured out. She searched her memory frantically to connect him with perhaps an actor on television or perhaps the portrait of the author of some book she had read, and drew a complete blank. If someone had coined the phrase, "It was like meeting an old friend for the very first time...", she knew exactly what it meant.
The man standing in the doorway appeared to be in his late fifties, maybe early sixties, with salt and pepper hair, and plenty enough of it. His face was graced with a beard that had a dark streak thru the middle, pure white on the sides. He had that well-earned "character" etched into his face that saved him from being considered ugly or plain, while denying him a hands-down claim to being handsome. His eyes twinkled, while his neutral expression could have labeled him as less than pleased. He stood about five foot eight, which in some circles would have been considered short, but his body was perfectly proportioned for his height, with no gut fighting to escape the well worn jeans he was wearing. He could have passed for a mellowed biker or a reformed hippy equally well.
As she stood staring at him with her mouth open, nothing coming to mind as how to greet him, he broke the ice with a puzzled smile and an extended hand........."I've always fantasized about being considered amazing, my dear, and you are coming very close to making that dream come true", he said, "perhaps I can do something for you?" Melissa was torn from her paralysis by his strong yet friendly voice and stammered. "Oh, I's so sorry, Sir, it's just that you seem so familiar to me for some reason, but I swear I've never met you! I'm Melissa", she took his hand and shook it, "I moved into the house down the road there just a few days ago, and I'm sorry it took so long to introduce myself.......well, I wasn't even sure you'd want me to intrude at all, this quickly at least......anyway, I brought you a get-to-know-my-neighbor present, just a little something I baked this morning.....oh christ, I'm babbling, aren't I? She laughed, feeling somewhat silly and insecure in front of him.
His smile of understanding set her at ease though, and he ushered her into his living room with a sweep of his hand, closing the door behind them. She examined her surroundings, a most fascinating collection of eclectic native american crafts and erotic sculpture and prints. The furniture was simple, well built and functional, owing to no particular style except that every piece seemed to fit perfectly. Some of the sculptures and prints would have caused most prudes to run back out the door, but she recognized the taste and talent that created each piece, even if some of them did lean towards a darker expression of sensuousness. As she turned around in the middle of the room, her curiosity seemed to build upon itself, and when she turned back towards him again, he was seated in what obviously must be "The" chair, with a rather large and plump pillow next to it. Instead of asking her to sit somewhere, he motioned her towards the bar that separated the living room from the kitchen. "Whatever you care to partake of, Melissa, I probably have stocked over there. Help yourself." As odd as this might have seemed to most women who would have expected her host to serve his guest, as per normal etiquette, it didn't bother Melissa in the least, and she asked him if he desired anything while she examined his stock of liqueurs and mixers behind the bar. "I have a pitcher of my favorite Sangria recipe already made up in the fridge there, dear, I wouldn't mind a mug of it. I recommend it highly if you'd like to try it, if sweet wines don't bother you, that is." Melissa opened up the ice box and pulled out the large pitcher brimming with the purple stuff, pieces of chopped citrus fruit floating around in the mix, and poured them both a frosty mug of the beverage, bringing them into the living room to begin what would prove to be one of the most interesting afternoons she ever remembered having.

Einstein's Theory of Relativity states........

that if you take seven days off of work, the clock will suddenly speed up, at least from your perspective. Your coworkers will experience 12 hour shifts that crawl by, taking what seems to be about 18 hours, while at home you will actually seem to witness the second hand on your clock spinning like a whirling dervish. You will have aged only about a day, while your coworkers will have aged about three months, all in the same time period. On top of that, your biological clock will, having just adjusted itself to sleeping in about an extra hour, will display WTF? when 6 A.M. rolls around tomorrow morning and you have to get up and return to the grind. Einstein was a sick SOB if you ask me, and if he'd left the concept of time alone, maybe I would have enjoyed a full seven days of my week off. Instead, it seems like I was just at work. Thanks allot, Einstein!

Father's Day...Really?

This is a break from "A Crossing of Paths". Enjoy!

So it's Father's day. Not exactly a heralded day on the calendar. Here's an interesting little statistic. Mother's day is the busiest day of the year for the phone company. Father's day chalks up the most collect calls made on any given day. Flower shops do not stock up with extra inventory, and the card business doesn't see a significant uptake in purchases. Well, it's no wonder, really. Consider the state of fathers in this country to begin with.
I've had plenty to gripe about when it comes to the media in this country, but the treatment of the father figure on television really makes my blood boil. If the average sitcom or animation is to be believed, the father is a pathetic duffus. Just watch the Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle, just about any of your sitcoms featuring a father in the household and he is a dumb, irresponsible, klutzy, child like figure that gets absolutely no respect from his wife or his kids. If you want to see glaring examples of outright disrespect, go no further than hollywood. It's no wonder those of us who actually HAVE stuck around and helped our wives raise the kids don't exactly feel celebrated for having done so.
I have to admit, hollywood starting out in the opposite direction, painting the man of the house as this omnipotent authority figure who was wise beyond measure and could solve any problem in half an hour, who's kids feared and worshiped the ground he walked on, with a loving wife who maintained the household while he brought home the bacon. Boy, imagine how far from reality THAT idea really was! Now, Mom and Dad are both killing themselves trying to keep things together, and trying not to screw up their kids lives in the process. But the media is NOT helping matters. Let your kids watch television, or play with kids who do, and you can kiss any fear or respect they might have had for you goodbye.
I've always believed that one leads and teaches thru example, that walking the walk beats talking the talk anyday. But our children are influenced by the entire world around them, and it's those influences that either help or hinder your desire to raise a rational, well balanced child who isn't on it's way towards being a serial killer. So, I would like to suggest that on this Father's Day, and on all the ones hereafter, that we take this day to go after the media, with email, letters, protest, or whatever, and make them give us our fathers back. The fathers that treated our boo-boos, tucked us in at night, helped us build our tree-houses (without ending up in the hospital), and taught us how to ride our bikes. We are not all Homer Simpsons.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

A Crossing of Paths

Chapter Four

By the time lunchtime had rolled around again, Melissa had made real progress getting most of her stuff unpacked and organized. She was getting tired of soup for lunch and decided it was time to head into town to stock up on groceries and familiarize herself with the area. So she climbed into some jeans and a modest top, got into her car and headed down the road. As she drove onto the better maintained surface of her neighbors drive, she automatically slowed down and scanned the property in hopes of catching a glimpse of her mystery man. Still, he was nowhere to be seen, although there was a car she'd not seen before parked in front of his cabin. Perhaps that meant he's not exactly a hermit, she thought to herself, if the car belonged to a visitor. But now she was well past the cabin, so she sped up and made the twenty minute drive into the small town of Sanity, Oregon, a strange name for a town if she'd ever heard one.
It was the classic small town you see allot on television, with about three main streets, a town hall with a pretty town square in front of it, complete with bandstand and a manicured lawn, and various stores and shops. The grocery store was on main street, nowhere near as large as the supermarkets she was familiar with, but much larger than the smaller groceries she had to settle for in the city. As she parked and walked around, it seemed that there was just about every-kind of business a person could ask for, for a small town. She was especially pleased to see that there were two pubs on main street, and only two churches, so the place didn't appear to be tyrannically conservative.
She made her way into the grocery and was pleased to see that a healthy variety of goods was available, as well as fresh veggies and nice lean meats in the butcher section. The employees seemed friendly enough, and the cashier didn't give her that "you're not from around here" look she was expecting. A nice young man was quick to help her load the car with her bags, and waved off her offer of a tip. "No Maam," he said, "We just want you to come back and not drive all the way over to Waverly to go to that Walmart." She laughed, "Oh, I don't think I'll miss that, so thank you."
On the way back to her house, she noticed the car that had been parked in front of her neighbor's cabin was gone, but another was in it's place, and this time she saw her first person, a middle aged woman waving goodbye towards his front door as she was approaching her car. The door closed before she got in line to catch a glimpse of him, thus seeing what he looked like was once again thwarted. The woman glanced up and waved at her as she opened the door to her car, and Melissa waved back, speeding back up as not to appear nosy.
She thought to herself as she started to haul the bags of food into the house. So, my mystery man seems to have lady visitors. Well, so what? Besides, she had no idea if the first car had borne a woman, so she would have been jumping to conclusions. She needed to stop thinking about it. By the time she'd put away her purchases, the sun was setting again and she decided a nice hot bath was in order. So she turned on some soft music, poured some bath powders in the tub, started the water, stripped off her clothes and headed to the kitchen for a glass of wine. She paused near the couch before heading back, staring at the large bank of windows in the great room, and wondered if she should concern herself with peeping toms. Oh, what the hell, if some young country bumpkin had made it all the way out here just to catch a glimpse of a naked woman, let him get his jollies. She laughed at the thought and returned to the bath, turned on the spa jets, and lowered herself into the hot relaxing turmoil of water.
The combination of bath and wine and soft music soon relaxed her to the point of drifting off, and suddenly Melissa found herself on her knees in front of the stranger in her dreams. She glanced down and realized that she had already donned the outfit he had provided her, a leather harness affair, with a tiny thong and bra that revealed her nipples, which, shockingly, were both pierced with gold rings. She reached up to find a wide leather collar, with metal rings embedded in it, was secured tightly around her neck. A shudder ran thru her body as she ran her hands over herself, never having ever worn such a racy and revealing outfit, especially in the presence of a stranger. Around her wrists were snugly secured leather cuffs, and she glanced back to confirm that her ankles were similarly adorned. My god, she thought to herself, he's got me dressed up like some sex slave! She looked up at him and saw that he had a leather leash in his hand, which was connected to a ring on the collar around her neck. She was not sure what was registering on her face, but he was not perturbed by it, and he turned around and walked towards the other end of the room, jerking her to her feet as the slack in the leash was taken up. Under any other circumstance she would be screaming something to the effect of "what in the fuck do you think you're doing?", but she found herself strangely with no desire to do so. She stumbled behind him, caught her balance to catch up, and suddenly stopped as he paused in front of what appeared to be a beam about waist high, mounted on two timbers sunk into the floor. There were rings at the base of each timber, and all manners of chains and things were hanging from the ceiling on the opposite side. He walked around the beam and pulled her towards him until her thighs came up against the beam, then her pulled down on the leash until the looped end reached a hook that was in the floor, effectively bending her over the beam so that her upper body was horizontal with the floor. With that, he walked around behind her and swept apart her feet with his boots, securing each ankle cuff to a timber. She was trying to hold her upper body up with her fingertips as he came back around, but he took each wrist and lifted it up to secure them to chains that were hanging from the ceiling, so that her arms were spread wide, the weight bearing on them pulling her arms up and backwards. She was already beginning to feel the discomfort of this awkward position, but he was not thru with her yet. She was watching him with wide eyes as he reached into a wooden crate and started sorting out little lead weights, small chains, clamps, and other paraphernalia when the cooling bath pulled her back from the dream. Once again, the dream faded before she the terror of what was happening to her could sink in. Still, as she rose from the bath and grabbed a towel, she was feeling a long dormant warmth in her belly, and giving into it, she retired to her bed and pleasured herself with her trusty vibrator she had just unpacked that day, falling into a deep sleep afterwards, with, strangely, no dreams at all.......just a peaceful oblivion.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Crossing of Paths

Chapter Three

Melissa sipped her coffee sitting on her front porch, while the sun was still rising from behind the tops of the forrest to the East. She could barely make out the cabin down the road that she'd passed on the way, and thus would not be able to see anybody moving about around it. So she finished up her coffee and made her way back inside to unpack the remainder of her things. She was amazed at how much she had brought with her, considering she went to great lengths to reduce the clutter of her life up till then. By lunch time she had her Macintosh up and running, and finally figured out how to get the satellite modem configured. The download speeds were not that great, the uploads even worse, but that was the price she paid for being off the grid.....not a bad sacrifice all told. Technology marches on, she assured herself, so it could only get better. By dinner time she had her office organized somewhat, so she made herself a simple meal, poured a glass of wine, and settled onto her couch to watch a movie. Daniel had picked out the huge flat screen monitor himself, and she was glad she hadn't been left to her own devices in that regard......she'd have picked out any old tube tv.
The movie she'd selected was an old chick-flick she'd seen a dozen times, and halfway thru, she dozed off on the couch, and found herself back on the pillow, next to the stranger in the basement, waiting for the answer to the question she had asked him in the last dream. It was as if no other reality had interrupted the moment, and he leaned towards her and said, "You came here to reclaim something you lost long ago..........your grief, your anger, your ability to truly FEEL." She studied him, not able to disagree, yet not truly understanding why she found herself sharing something so personal with a complete stranger, in a dungeon, no less. "And I suppose you, Sir, are here to show me the way, I presume?"
He leaned back, took a sip from a goblet that was perched on the table beside him. He stared back at her, like some wise old sage with all the answers, and replied, "We all are faced with choices, my dear, throughout our lives, some we are to afraid to make, and thus leave ourselves in a sort of emotional limbo, unable to find peace in our lives. I can open doors for you, Melissa, and allow you to face your demons, giving you an opportunity to make a choice, one way or another, but I cannot make those choices for you. If you are brave enough to trust me, I CAN help you, but as always, the choice is always yours......YOU have the control."
His reply seemed to pose more questions than answers, but within the confines of this strange dream, the courage that had failed her before when it came to dealing with the pain seemed to be within easy reach. The trust this man engendered seemed to provide the safety she needed. Logic seemed to have no importance here, but her instincts did. For once, she decided to give in to them and she smiled as she asked him, "Then what is it you'd have me do, Sir?"
"I would have you surrender complete control to me. Anything I ask of you is understood to be something you NEED to do, and want has nothing to do with it. Understanding fully that I will be asking you to suffer, to some degree, you will place all your faith in me, truly believing that whatever I do or say is best for you. This requires a courage and faith that transcends even any religious beliefs you might have. And to ensure that you know you can turn back at any time, I shall ask you to make up a word; we will call it a "safe" word, that you can use to put a stop to this if you cannot tolerate it. I will honor that word, but you must understand that once you use it, those doors will slam shut, and there's no guarantee you will find them again. Do you understand fully what I have said to you?"
She soaked up what he'd told her and glanced around at the walls with their chains, and the funny looking furniture that was scattered about the room. It made her uneasy, but she could not detect an evil intent in this man. "This isn't just some excuse to perform kinky sex with me, is it?", she halfheartedly joked, for as ignorant as she was about most of the weirder aspects of sex, she knew a perfect set-up for S & M when she saw it. He smiled at her, that smile that seemed so sincere, and replied, "Although you could use some help with your sensuality, my dear, this is not about sex; this is about control, so no, there will be none of that." With that, he took one more sip from his goblet, then rose from the chair and faced her, looking down at her sitting on the pillow. "What is your "safe" word, Melissa?"
She gazed up at him and thought for a moment. The word came to her easier than she would have imagined. "My safe word, Dear Sir, shall be "Rumplestillskin!" She beamed up at him, and he laughed. "I doubt you will have trouble remembering that one, my dear, no matter how discombobulated you become. Now get up, go over behind that divider there, and remove your clothing. Then put on the outfit I have for you hanging there. Return and kneel in front of me when you are finished." She rose as he had instructed, still not as frightened as she thought she should be by now, and headed for the partition. And then the morning rays of the sun crept into her face, and she awoke laying on the couch in her great room, and the dream faded as rapidly as it had before. She sat up, stretched, and headed to the bathroom with a strange sense of anticipation.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Crossing of Paths

Chapter Two

Melissa had sprung for extra crew to unload the van, and they had the job done within an hour. She gave the van driver a handsome tip for showing up when promised, and waved as the big rig and smaller van drove back down the road, leaving her to her newly furnished house, now blessed with her own personal touch. There were still plenty of boxes and suitcases to unpack, but she would leave that till morning; she had to make up the bed and prepare for a much needed sleep. As darkness turned all the windows black, she secured the house, drew a hot bath, poured a glass of wine, and soaked the day from her body in the nice spa bathtub that graced the master bathroom. Clean, refreshed, and slightly intoxicated, she slipped between the covers and fell into the sleep of the dead, and did not dream of Daniel. When she awoke in the morning, rarely remembering her dreams, she would not notice that she hadn't, and thus would not be further disturbed.
What she DID dream about was the mysterious door in the pantry. If she'd been able to recall the dream, she would have found herself being led through the door by a man, an older man with looks one could not classify, with salt and pepper hair, a beard streaked white just thru the middle, and not very tall, but who carried himself with confidence. Why she was allowing herself to be led thus she could not fathom, but he engendered trust, trust enough to follow him down a narrow staircase into what appeared to be the basement, which, again, was never mentioned by the agent or revealed in the floor-plan.
They arrived at the bottom of the staircase which turned to the left into a large room, which seemed to be, for lack of a better description, reminiscent of a dungeon. The walls were fashioned of stone blocks, irregular, cold and rough. Sconces lined the walls at regular intervals, holding thick, large candles which flickered brightly and cast the room in a warm, irregular glow. Also spaced along the walls were iron rings embedded in the stone, from which hung chains, some ending in shackles, just as you'd expect in such a place, but why this house would feature such a horrible thought of a room was beyond her. She could only imagine she had stumbled across the hidden lair of some sick pervert, or worse, a serial killer.
Why, then, was she not frightened of this man? In her dream she calmly followed him as they walked to the center of the room, where a rough-hewn wooden chair, much resembling a throne, was parked next to a large, plump, rather comfortable looking pillow. He motioned her to sit on the pillow as he sat in the chair, which she did, finding it quite comfortable.
The man remained quiet, just watching her, no discernible expression on his face to reveal what his intentions were, but it did not make her nervous. Quite the contrary, she seemed to find a strange peace in his presence. But the big questioned remained, and so she broke the silence and addressed him. "Sir, why am I here?" She did not receive an answer, as she awoke, startled by the alarm she had set the night before. As she sat up in the bed, glancing around, the substance of her dream faded, leaving something nagging within, which she carried with her as she rose to get dressed and carry on with a new day.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Crossing of Paths

Chapter One

Melissa was fleeing conflicting emotions, worth a few years on a couch in therapy. She was driving west into Oregon, the moving van a few states back, having sold the brownstone apartment in New York. She was fleeing the city, her old life, her grief, which she couldn't seem get on with. She was 36, and a new widow, and that was all she was certain of. Before Daniel had died, she had been certain she was living the life any woman could have wanted, a good job with a newspaper, a nice home near Central Park, all the museums and culture one could want to experience, all that crap. Now, she was fleeing one misconception, and not entirely sure she wasn't headed right back into another. All she really knew was that her husband had died, and the tears had not come.
She had met Daniel during her senior year at NYU, not long before graduation, and it was easy, natural, for them to become a couple. He was no jock, not exactly a nerd, not handsome in the classic sense but with a personality that transcended any perception of lacking good looks. And he was NICE. Within a few years, as they settled comfortably into their monogamy, their careers, she began to think she had married her best friend. In most cases, that would have been a GOOD thing. Why that made her uneasy was only adding to her angst. It was not as if a powerful torch had suddenly been snuffed was more like a small candle burning down to nothing, a wisp of smoke in it's demise. He was gone, and there was no emptiness in her soul; it was more like he'd never filled that hole to begin with, and to discover this now, of all times, was numbing. Only a cold, uncaring person could not cry over losing the love of her life. Melissa was fleeing the chill.
Daniel, being the irritatingly responsible and caring person he was, had taken out a life insurance policy covering both of them for a hefty half mil each, and the apartment, due to the outrageous housing market, had netted her another eighty grand. After the tax men took their cut, she was still going to be well taken care of. So, she packed up and headed to the opposite coast, to find some solitude, to reevaluate her life, to discover who she really was, and perhaps figure out why her husbands death was not a bigger blow to her than it should have been. She'd done her search for a new home on the internet, and had come across a nice old place near a national forest,on a good 60 acre parcel, giving her the elbow room and solitude she needed, but close enough to a town to keep in touch with the world. The only caveat would be that her access road passed closely to the residence of another homestead, right thru the middle of his property. The agent assured her that as long as she simply stayed on the road, passing thru, she would have no problems with the owner.
Melissa turned off of the highway onto the the road that snaked into the thick redwood forest that surrounded and protected her new home. It wove three miles into the woods before it broke into a small clearing that announced the end of this swath of protected land and her neighbors. His parcel was heavily wooded, an elegant log cabin nestled into a well kept clearing that faced the access road, with a clear line of sight up that road to her own new home, albeit with a spyglass. She slowed the car as she passed by her neighbor, her curiosity already keen, but she saw no one outside the cabin. The surface of his portion of the road was well kept and smooth, a fact that became glaringly apparent as she crossed the line onto her own property and starting hitting ruts and potholes, a symptom of long neglect. She had been assured the house had been kept in good repair; she was now hoping her agent's definition of "good repair" was better than that of this road.
She pulled up in front of her new house, a two-story post and beam affair with very articulate trim, white except for the exposed framing, a splash of bright blues and reds here and there, with french doors facing the nice deep porch. The roof was covered with the new solar shingles she'd heard about, which in conjunction with the solar panels on the garage and utility sheds, would keep her happily independent of the power grid, and she smiled to see the satellite dish on the roof, which would provide her with internet access, or so the agent said. She was not a gadget freak like Daniel had been, but she understood enough about technology to be happy to take advantage of it. She got out of the car and walked up the steps onto the porch, then pressed the button on the keychain remote the agent had given her, which turned off the security system and unlocked the front door. A happy little chirp told her it was safe to try the door, which she did, and entered her new abode.
It was really more than she needed, with four large bedrooms, three baths, a huge kitchen and an open great-room, but she had all kinds of projects in mind to delve into, so the extra rooms would provide plenty of work space. She hadn't planned to cut off contact with what family and friends she had, so the extra room would come in handy for visits and perhaps even parties. But for now, she just wanted to get moved in and settled so that she could settle herself into her new reality. She walked into the walk-in cupboard connected to the kitchen, which the agent had said was still stocked with some canned goods and dry goods, to put together a simple lunch, and was amazed at the amount of shelving, most of it fully stocked.
She noticed one of the shelf units was out of line with the others, and frowned at finding something already in need of fixing, and tugged on it to see how it had come loose, but it swung freely outward to reveal a hidden door, which surprised her, for the floor-plan had not revealed it, nor had the agent mentioned it. How exciting, she thought to herself, already a mystery to explore!
She swung open the shelf unit, which was hinged with a hidden catch that had not caught, apparently, and tested the handle of the door behind it. It did not budge. She frowned again, and pushed down harder on the handle. It wouldn't move, and she peered closer in the dim light to see it had a keyhole, apparently locked. Oh well, she thought, I'm sure I'll come across the key to this eventually. She pushed the shelves back, and the hidden latch engaged, so that the unit set flush with the rest of the shelves. Only the happy accident would have ever revealed it's secret function.
She grabbed a can of soup from a shelf and walked back out to the kitchen, glancing at her watch. The moving company would be arriving in less then an hour, so she set about preparing her quick lunch and enjoying the ambience of her new, overwhelmingly well-equipped kitchen. If ever there was a place to get one's head on straight, she thought to herself, this had to be it. She was more right about that thought then she ever realized.

Friday, June 10, 2005


OK, folks, I'm really on a roll now. This should purge the doom and gloom from my system.........for a few days at least. I want you to forget everything I said in my last post, all that stuff concerning christians and the increasing attack on our secular government. The point is moot. Really. Doesn't matter. Forget about it.
We all have been aware of the ongoing environmental degradation continuing unabated for decades now. Global warming is a fact, wether the republicans want to admit it or not. The reports are coming in fast and furious. End of discussion. Now, aside from the fact that it is getting harder to find water not polluted with something, fish that aren't loaded with toxins, species disappearing from the face of the earth at alarming rates, all these things are out of sight, out of mind for most people barbecuing in their suburban backyards. Short of a mudslide swallowing your mansion, no one has time for all this tree hugging propaganda. Fine. Then repeat after me......OXYGEN. It is the one thing NOTHING on this earth, except for those odd organisms that use some other respiration process, can do without. No oxygen, you die. Plain and simple. And where do you think this O2 comes from? Walmart? China? Jesus? It comes from plankton in the ocean, from what's left of the forests that are being clear cut and burned left and right to make room for more and more people, and when we have passed the point of no return, there's no amount of money, no amount of political influence, no faith that is going to make more of it for you, for me, for our grandchildren.
But relax. Jesus is coming soon. So why worry? Why do anything about it? You have faith, don't you? DON'T YOU?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Now I'm really getting paranoid.........

Maybe I should just stop watching the news and retreat into my safe, secular shell and stop worrying about shit. I don't know.......that's what the jews did when things started getting dicey back in '37, and you saw what happened to them.
First news item......a majority poll of Americans believe that the church (and which church that is exactly is never specified) should have a direct influence over government policy. Also, they visited a public school in Louisiana where the Jesus freaks seem to have full reign, including controlling the school board. Teachers there are conducting prayers at the start of class, reading scripture, and holding prayer sessions on school property. And this is a PUBLIC school. Seems that the teachers and/or parents who object to this have had to anonymously call in the ACLU (christian neighbors tend to make life very difficult for sinners if they openly object) to try and put a stop to this.
Is the christian right having such great success with their recruiting that this entire country is heading over the cliffs to Jesus in greater and greater numbers? Has more and more Americans forgotten what made this country a safe place for ALL people to live their lives in peace and security? Apparently, many have, for the country seems to be turning more of a shade of red every year. This republican Congress is running roughshod over the other side of the aisle, forcing the confirmation of judges with clear ultra-conservative agendas. Our social safety nets are under attack as never before. Corporations, especially the ones who pollute our air or have some other negative impact on our lives now write the very regulations that oversee them. America, praise Jesus, is headed back to the middle ages, and if you don't think it could get any worse, you haven't seen nuthin' yet.
My friends, I'm sure you are all counting on the good will and common sense of the average american to go to the polls and roll back this tide, that the people will take Bush's so-called mandate and shove it up where the sun don't shine. Well, think again. The democratic party has become weak, inept, with no clear vision that seems to appeal to the "average" American anymore, leaving us at the mercy of "Good old Boy" men who are actually puppets of the corporate machine. One day the police will be knocking down your bedroom door on reports from your neighbors that you and the wife, or whoever you happen to be living with, like to have certain kinds of fun. Television, even cable, will become whatever the local pastor thinks you should watch. If your kids aren't "saved", you had better home school them, if the local christian dominated school board lets you. And prepare to lose them, for the crusades have only just begun; we have allot of heathen Muslims out there to convert, after we take their oil. The hindus will have to wait for now, but we'll get around to them. Oh, and if you get pregnant, my lady friends, no matter how, then prepare for a new life. You'll be having a baby, birth defects and all, if it comes to that, weather you like it or not. I could go on and on about the conservative agenda, but then, so could this post.
If you haven't been paying attention to the world around you, or you think I'm just some atheist who needs saving anyway, then you will laugh at all this and agree that I am just another chicken little. That's how it starts. Life is more comfortable with your head in the sand. Don't worry, be happy. But if you are sitting in a foxhole with me one day, a blue patch on your uniform, wondering out loud how it got this far, don't be surprised if I kick your sorry ass out of the hole and let one of those reds get a shot at you.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Rotten Apples

It was announced this week, much to the surprise and shock of the Apple faithful, that future Macs would incorporate the Intell processor, the same chip that has powered the "dark side" of computing for all these years. This news is akin the housing industry informing the American public it will replace the venerable toilet with french bidets. Suddenly, our idea of being special is being shaken to the core.
We have always touted, with the encouragement of Apple, our Power PC architecture as being superior to that of the Intell x-86. In many ways, it clearly was, despite the fact that Motorola or IBM never kept pace when it came to raw Gigahertz. But what it boiled down to, overall, was the elegant integration of hardware, software, and innovation that made the Mac the Mercedes of computers. The PC guys used to brag of the gazillions of applications written for Windows, while the Mac people bragged of a system that actually worked most of the time. The true nature of the beast in both platforms has in truth been the Operating System.......Windows (or WinBlows, as we love to call it) for Intell based PC's, and OSX for Mac systems. From the very beginning, Windows has been a flawed, pathetic attempt at catch up to the elegant and intuitive OS that has driven the Mac. With the advent of OSX, Apple fine-tuned the OS into an Operating System that laughed at viruses, rarely ever crashed, and just simply worked. Every application written for the platform has been far superior in stability and ease of use compared to any of it's Windows counterparts. And Apple has worked well within the Windows oriented community, increasingly compatible with Windows files and servers. The one major caveat that Apple has had to deal with is price........a BMW costs more than a Volkswagen, and a superior computer doesn't come cheap either. Despite this, it turns out that a similarly configured PC would end up costing the same if not more than the Mac, so even that argument has lost allot of steam. It all boils down to getting what you pay for, actually, and if you want cheap, you get cheap.
Now, due to IBM's inability to deliver on performance promises with it's G-5 chip, Steve has decided that going with the Intell processor will enable Apple to deliver better performing Macs than IBM was willing or able to provide. What remains to be seen is whether or not Apple will be able to continue building computers that clearly stand apart form it's competitors using Windows, and most importantly, maintain the Macs reputation as a computer that works like it should and remains fairly immune to the viruses, trojan horses, spy-ware, and all those other things that make the Windows environment such a pain to work in. We, the Apple loyalists have every reason to be be VERY afraid. But, it was Steve Jobs who made Apple what it is today, and we can only hope he can continue to lead the way in innovation and superior product as he has consistently over the years. If not, we'll ALL be left to rot in the clutches of Microsoft, and that will be a very bad thing.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The WORD according to BOB, as written by his Prophet, TheMichael

Well, it's about time. I had my vision. I used to be secretly jealous of all these self-proclaimed prophets of yesteryear and today, walking the streets with a sign or hawking their truths on television. How come God always talked to these lunatics and never to me? Does one have to go bonkers or wear outlandish makeup in order to hear God? Well, those days of insecurity are over, my friends, praise BOB!
I was making my occasional run into Walmart to pick up cigarettes and my wife's prescription, when I almost ran smack into what I thought was one of their greeters, you know, the old or disabled guys or ladies with the blue vest? Well, he appeared out of nowhere, or so it seemed, and I came to a screeching halt in order to avoid bowling him over. I started to mumble an "excuse me" and dart around him, but he stuck out his hand, smiling, and said, "Howdy, partner, glad to meet you. I'm Bob.........Bob the almighty."
Now, just out of polite habit I took his hand, which he happily started pumping, but I was staring at him, not replying, due to two good reasons. First, I wasn't sure, but I'd swore he just said something about someone being almighty, and second, that blue vest I had assumed he was wearing was actually gold......solid gold.....the real deal gold......maximum bling bling gold. So, as my mind starts to adjust to the absurdity of this situation, I mumble something about being in a hurry and complete my jig around him and dart thru the double doors into the store...........and again, almost run Bob over as he appears in front of me again. Another screeching halt, and I glance over my shoulder to see that no, his twin brother is NOT outside where I first started having this problem.
I turn back to Bob, getting somewhat annoyed, wondering how this sucker moved so fast, and before I could open my mouth, he gently puts his arm around my shoulder and starts walking me over to the bench in front of the in-store McDonalds', you know, the one with the big plastic Ronald sitting on it. My natural fight or flight instincts still aren't kicking in and he sits us both down on the bench. This is all to friggin surreal.
"Relax, Michael, I'm suspending your nicotine addiction for now, and your wife's prescription will be there when we're thru. I've been on vacation for awhile, touring the ether, having a grand old time, and I come back and see I've apparently left a real mess to simmer down here. So, to try and get some sanity going, I'm gonna need a prophet, and guess who got elected?"
Strangely, I had arrived here really craving a cigarette, but for the first time in decades that urgency didn't seem to be nagging me at the moment. But this situation was. So, I take a deep breath to steady my nerves, give this Bob character my best "how's this for a nice, polite eat shit and die" smile, and ask him....."OK, who are you really, and how do you know my name, amongst other things? And, just so you know, I'm about as "saved" as I'm gonna get, so put your bible away, I'm not at all interested!" I glance down real quick to see if for some reason I'm wearing my ID badge from work, and of course I'm not, because I'm off today.
"No bibles, Michael, "he says in that ya gotta love him friendly tone of his, "I had nothing to do with that work of fiction. And of course I know your name, I know everybody's' name, which is only natural, considering I'm part of everybody and vice versa. You see, Michael, I really have no name at all, not even "God", I'm just using Bob because it's a pretty easy going, non-threatening kinda name. You can call me Ray, or you can call me A.J., "he chuckled, at his lame joke", but it's all good. So, I just wanted to reassure you that no, you don't have to have that nagging worry deep down in your psyche that you're going to burn in hell for questioning all this religious stuff, and yes, despite all your flaws, you ARE a good person, and you are where you are supposed to be right now for very good reasons, even tho you may never figure out why, at least in this lifetime."
I'm sitting here listening, instead of looking around for the guys in the white coats, because he's right......he DOESN'T seem threatening to me, and nothing he's saying, so far at least, is the least bit scary. "So Bob", I ask him, "You've picked ME of all people to reveal the secrets of the universe to, so I can run out there and proclaim and end up on permanent vacation in the loony bin, is that what you're telling me? I gotta tell ya, guy, people rarely take me seriously for the SANE shit I think up, much less what some guy told me in Walmart wearing a gold vest claiming to be God. Can I take a rain-check? I'd just as soon get back to reality if you don't mind!"
"No, no, Michael, no evangelizing, no proclaiming, none of that crazy stuff. Your right, one of the burdens you bear this life is being short and not quite handsome enough for many people to take seriously, but you DO have harmless little conversations with friends and coworkers, and better yet, you have this wonderful thing you've gotten involved with called a blog.......hell, I wish I'D thought that one up! All I wish for you to do is take the knowledge I'm sharing with you today, mull it over and let it out in your own words, you're own understanding, and let the peace of this knowledge sort of infect peoples minds. I just want all of you here to know that it's ALL good, that yes, we will all suffer in one form or another, we will all know some sort of joy, and every single minute of it is for a reason. Slaves as you are to the forms you inhabit right now, there is so much I could tell you, but it would only go in one ear and out the other, for it is beyond understanding even by the most brilliant amongst you, but as you inch closer to the collective consciousness that we all share, you gain the knowledge and understanding you need to be one with me, Bob, who is really within you as well as beyond. All things in this universe started somewhere, somehow, sometime, and it's all headed in a direction according to the rules laid down from the very beginning, rules you understand, like math, gravity, and physics, and rules you can't comprehend, as in other dimensions or planes of existence. But, it's all GOOD Michael. Without fear, there is no peace, without hate, there is no love, without the ying, ya got no all amounts to something that, believe me my friend, is well worth this long, strange trip we've been on. That's it. Nothing fancy. No hallelujahs, no Amens, just good!"
I stare at what I'm thinking might not be a figment of my active imagination, and I can't help feeling good, even tho I haven't heard any really good cult-like material. What he's told me doesn't seem to be answering allot of questions, but it does seem to lend a sort of peace to my ingrain paranoia about God, the universe, and all that shit. I stand up, offer HIM my hand, which he takes and shakes, and he gives me that grin, and next thing you know.........well, that's just it. I don't know if I then woke up, or it really happened at Walmart like I think it did, I just know something happened, something I remember as clearly as feeding my goats today, and here I am, hammering it out on this blog. I don't think the dream police are monitoring my posts, or homeland security, or the vast right wing christian conspiracy, so I guess I'm safe. I know this will come across as great comedy, but I really don't mind. I'm doing what Bob suggested, and I'm actually enjoying it. And if you stumbled across this blog and actually read this entire thing, then perhaps, like he said it would, you've been infected, and my job has been done. Oh, and by the way, if you could link this blog to yours so others can read it, I think I might talk Bob into giving you a few credits towards your karma, if I happen to see him again. He seems to be a nice enough guy......I mean, aren't we all, deep down inside?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Pain of Browsing thru Blogger

Sometimes I click on that tab at the top that says "next blog", and off I go, attempting to find something worth reading. It can become a real chore, because I am led thru foreign blogs, mostly from Taiwan, blogs that seem to consist of one theme; that being HDTV MONITOR (let me guess, they want me to buy an HDTV monitor, right?), blogs written by teenagers in some new language resembling english but not saying allot, and blogs by extremely eloquent and lofty intellectuals which, ironically, don't really say allot either. What really gets me are the blogs that seem to be addressed strictly to the individual writing them, as I cannot for the life of me believe that anyone else would have the slightest idea what they are talking about. Oh, there is such a rich and varied universe of thought processes going on in here, and it reminds me of the old days of AM radio, when the sound was bad, you had to use your imagination half the time, which is a talent rarely called upon these days, and you could hear amazing things late at night when those stray radio waves bounced off the ionosphere from who knows where and brought you into some interesting places far beyond the horizon.
However, the pain inflicted by no means reduces my pleasure at finding these little gems scattered throughout Blogdom. I find the most interesting ones to written by people very much like me, very ordinary, yet in their own special ways, extraordinary. Finally, I think to myself, a way to know your neighbors, despite the extinction of the good old front porch, the place from which we used to stick our necks out into our surroundings and get to know people.
So, I would like to leave this particular entry with one well-meaning plea to my neighbors who elucidate their thoughts in deep speak.......stop it. Talk to us the way you used to talk to people before your education hyped your vocabulary and thought processes to such a degree that you left the rest of us behind. We really do want to hear what's on your mind, it's just such a chore sometimes that many of us won't have the patience to decipher it, and that would be sad.