Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spend One More Minute....With You?

The third and final post of this three part arc will cover dead end relationships, and whether you should keep using the paddles to resuscitate or whip out that large needle filled with strychnine and finish it off.

Since I'm (mostly) a happily married man, I'll try to answer this question from the perspective of someone who has both resurrected and killed off dead end relationships.

Admitting that you're in a dead end relationship is without a doubt, the hardest ting to do. No one wants to admit defeat in a particular aspect of their life. We always want to succeed in any endeavor that we choose to pursue.

I've had a few dead end relationships, in which not only did it hurt to admit that I failed, but it doubly hurt because I was partially at fault to begin with.

With one in particular, it became a dead ender through my unbalanced behavior during a rather particularly difficult period in my life. The end result of my behavior was that this person slowly and steadily cut me out her life, until it hit the point of contact being so infrequent today, that termination the friendship is really my only viable option.

With others that I had which were on life support, I was able to slowly and steadily resurrect them to the point where although they many not be 100% healthy, they are for the most part, viable and breathing.

I guess it all boils down to just how much you're willing to change your behavior in order to save the relationship. Sometimes, changing just a little is more than enough to resurrect a dead ender. On the other side of the equation, no matter what you change it won't be enough.

Sometimes, cutting your losses and moving on, is the best that you can hope for and the best that you can do.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Golden Texas Tea" (pg 13)

After picking herself up, Azalea again began the process of making herself look beautiful. Five minutes later, looking fabulous, she confidently strolled to the counter and inquired about her car. She also asked if it was company policy to treat the customers like garbage.

"No it isn't. That particular driver will be swiftly dealt with when he returns. Now, you said that you had a reservation with us? Under what name was this applied to?"

So began the process of picking up the car, which took about twenty-five minutes to complete. Shorty thereafter she was in her hot looking rental (Mustang convertable) and receiving directions from the person who drove it over, on how to get to the motel where her reservations were at.

"Ya'll take a right out of the driveway here. Go straight fer about a mile and take a right and your second light, then straight fer 'bout 'nother mile, bang a left at your third. Go 'bout tree quarters of 'nother mile 'n it'll be there on the left. Got it?"

Completely befuddled, the only thing she said was, "Will I see signs along the way?"

"Why suuuure!" said the attendant.

"Thanks!" said Azalea, as she sped off towards the motel.

Along the way, Azalea began to imagine what Walter would say and do, when he found out that she was here to keep him company for a few weeks. Suddenly, a blinding case of the obvious struck again. Damn! I forgot to call Malibu to let her know I arrived safely. I better do that now before I forget again. Pulling into a c-store lot, she whipped out her cell and called home.

One ring. Two rings. Three rings. As the phone kept ringing, Azalea wondered what was going on there that prevented someone from answering. Finally, just as she was about to hang up after the seventh ring, someone decided to pick up the phone.

"Wurld residence. Who's calling please?" Must be the little one answering

"It's me, your step-mom, calling in to check on things. Is everything okay?"

"Step-mother," Damn. I'm still in trouble, "yes, everything is fine. I guess you'll want to talk to Miss Miller. I'll go get her."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

(S)He's Just A Friend....Nothing More, Nothing Less

Part 2 of a three post arc on relationships as suggested to me by my good friend Griff, will cover platonic relationships and whether or not they actually exist.

Using me as an example yeah, I know, I know. I'm always using myself as an example. got any better suggestions? I have quite a few platonic friendships with members of the opposite sex, off which Griff is one of them. I can honestly and truthfully say that they do exist.

Now, having and maintaining a platonic relationship is a rather tricky proposition. Not only do you have to walk an incredibly fine line with the person you're friends with, but you also have to make sure that your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend is okay with this as well. Nothing worse than your partner (or your friend's partner for that matter) becoming supremely jealous of your other relationships.

I want to elaborate further on the two basic statements in the preceding paragraph: walking a fine line and making sure your partner is okay with this.

1) Walking that fine line between "just friends" and "more than just friends". I don't care what gender you are, you really have to use your head when you have friendships of the opposite sex (or same sex, if you swing that way). For me, with platonic relationship in both parts of my life, I find that the ones in my CyberWorld are much easier to navigate than those in the Real World.

In the CyberWorld, you don't have to worry too much about the friendship/relationship getting out of hand. Because I live here on the east coast and most of my female friends either reside to the extreme left of New York and south/southwest of the Mason Dixon line, there is no danger in having those blow completely up in my face. If it winds up becoming too intense (and they have at a few points in my life), I found that cutting myself off at the knees is a viable option. By that I mean not showing up where they do and blocking out their e-mail addys.

In any event, the friendships I have online aren't meaningless by any stretch of the imagination, but they are safely platonic and I've been able to gradually introduce my wife to them, mostly on a need to know basis. As a point of record, my wife and I met one of my online friends this past summer, and she was absolutely fine with it.

Now for the Real World, it has a tendency to be a bit more complex, mostly because of the people I'm friends with. I'm always walking that fine line that I previously mentioned, and it has taken me a few years to become that good solid dependable friend again. I was lost for a little while when my friends decided that a lesson needed to be taught to me, so they gave me some rope and basically pointed me in the direction of the nearest tree.

Took me a while to get it, but I did. Unfortunately though, I did destroy a couple of decent platonic relationships in the process of trying to get it.

In any event, my relationships have been repaired sufficiently enough so that my place in the universe is secured. I now know when to take that extra step forward and offer a helping hand, and when to simply back off and give the parties involved whatever space they really need.

2) Making sure that your significant other is okay with your opposite sex/same sex friendships. For the longest time in both parts of my life, I kept all of my friendships hidden, for fear of what my wife might say or do if she found out. I introduced her to some of my Real World friends, little by little, and over time she has gotten used to them. So much so, that she now inquires about their general well-being from time to time. As a matter of fact, my wife recently met up with some of my friends at an after work socializer this past Friday and got to know them a little bit better.

She is okay with my Real World friends, mostly because she has met them live and in living color. With my Cyber World friends, it has been a much tougher go of it. Because she is so incredibly paranoid about the 'Net, it has literally taken me more than 9 months for me to introduce her to some of my online friends.

For instance, the person we visited this past August. Even though I've been friends with her since March/April of '07, I've only told my wife about her early this year, when she happened to ask who I was talking to on the phone note: I have quite a few phone numbers of my cyber friends. It took quite a while for her to get used to me having a platonic relationship with this person. Recently, I introduced her to another Cyber friend who I've known for about a year, because this friend recently suggested that we should hook up for dinner the next time she and her husband visit CT.

The important thing in all of this, is that my wife trusts me 100% in the platonic relationships that I currently have. It may have taken me a long time to get her involved with my friends, but in the end it was really worth it. She knows that nothing of consequence is going on or will ever happen and she's quite happy and content in that knowledge.

To sum it up, platonic relationships do exist and if treated the right way, can open up brand new worlds and other facets of your personality for your significant other to experience.

Treated the wrong way, and basically you can kiss your sorry ass goodbye, because people will be talking about you as a distinct afterthought.

Maybe.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Practicing Discrimination To End Discrimination

This post is the first of three suggested to me by my good friend Griff, who admirably answered my S.O.S. call for topics to write about in my blog.

Since this is one of my Anger Management Issues posts, I will be giving the disclaimer in modified form, which is due to the sensitive (and perpetually misconstrued) topic I'll be talking about: health benefits for gay couples.

The disclaimer: There will be very minimal foul language contained in this post. However, please keep in mind the following facts about me.

1) I have absolutely no problems with a person's sexual orientation. I don't ask because it's none of my business, and I believe a person should be accepted for who they are, not what they are.

2) I have co-workers who pursue the alternative lifestyle.

3) I work for a progressive state agency that I believe is in the forefront for helping children/teenagers tackle head on whatever GLBT issues they may be facing in their lives.

4) I still have some lingering issues about gay marriage, but I'm always respectful of other people's viewpoints.

5) This may sound self-serving and a waste of space, but I have been hammered so many times in chat rooms for my viewpoints that it has become necessary for me to state these particular things about myself right up front.

Now, to elaborate about the title of the post. Why is it that in order to correct one perceived inequality in one particular segment of life, we have to punish another segment?

Take for instance health insurance. A basic and necessary commodity that politicians and state governments are trying mandate and legislate to death on. A commodity that is very much a premium when one goes job hunting.

Why is it okay to offer it to married straight couples, to unmarried homosexual partners who participate in an officially recognized civil union/domestic partnerships, but not offer it to unmarried straight couples who are in the equivalent of a civil union/domestic partnership (called "common law marriage" in most states, but not universally recognized by most states)?

They meet all of the criteria as homosexual couples. Are they monogamous? Check. In a long term relationship? Double check. Unmarried? Triple check.

So why do we as a country, in order to end a particular type of discrimination against one segment of society (homosexuals), discriminate against another segment of society (heterosexuals)?

I have asked this particular question in the chat room forums on and off for about a year and a half, and most of the time I get a long-winded answer that can be boiled down to this sentence:

"Because if they want insurance, all they have to do is get married."

To which I usually reply, "Bullshit. If a person is in a long-term monogamous relationship and doesn't want to get married, why shouldn't they be able to get it?"

After all, as it's so derisively pointed out to me when I disagree about gay marriage, it's only a piece of paper so why get your panties in a bunch? yes, this has been said to me on numerous occasions.

And on numerous occasions, the following conversation is one that I would really like to have had with someone.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
While yes it may be a piece of paper, why should the both of you who are single and unrelated, who don't really have that particular piece of paper and have been fighting for that particular piece of paper for the past decade, be singled out for special treatment?

"Because we don't have the same basic rights as married couples."
But you aren't married.
"Because we are gay/lesbian and have been discriminated against on slew of issues that married couples don't face because they're married."
But you aren't. For that matter, neither are straight couples, and they don't have the same rights that you're clamoring for, that married couples have.
"But we're partners in a loving and committed relationship."
So are unmarried straight couples. What makes theirs so different from yours?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you strip it down to the nitty gritty, this is what you have at one end of the spectrum: two unrelated individuals, who because of their sexual orientations, are eligible for health insurance. All they have to do is prove that theirs is a civil union (unmarried straights can't really do that, if they did it would be called MARRIAGE) or a domestic partnership (again, unmarried straights can't do that either, because it would be called MARRIAGE), and they're eligible for health benefits.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have this: two unrelated individuals, who because of their sexual orientation, aren't eligible for health insurance. Unless they get married.

Why should we now show special favoritism towards one group in regards to health insurance, simply because of their sexual orientation? Why is it allowed for them to be able to simply show that they're in a monogamous long term unmarried relationship, yet for the same straight couple who chooses not to get married, be told, "Sorry, you don't get."?

Why? Can someone please tell me that?

And if you can, please try to tell me with an answer that doesn't use the following themes:

"Straights can get married" and "We are denied a slew of rights that married couples get (i.e. decisions about life or death for their partner)".

I've heard about one and half years of variations of those two themes in the chat rooms, and quite frankly, it does not do it for me.

On that note, all I ask is that you keep it clean and respectable. I don't moderate comments in this blog and I would like to keep that record intact.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Golden Texas Tea" (pg 12)

Azalea managed to avoid being hit by flying luggage by hiding behind a large support column nearby. Waiting for the pandemonium to subside, she watched rather nonchalantly as a crowd of people began taking their anger out on an airline rep that was manning the lost luggage counter near the claim area. Seeing how the immediate area was relatively deserted, she decided that now was a good time as any to start looking for her missing luggage.

Methodically making her way through the battered and damages suitcases that were strewn about like broken cars in a freeway accident, Azalea finally located her luggage after fifteen minutes of searching. One piece was found quite some distance from the area, resting on top of the motor boat display that was seen as one entered from the outside world. The other was found wedged into a lighted display panel that said, 'Hartford! CT's Latest Falling Star!'

Retrieving both pieces and relieved that they weren't badly damaged, she walked outside to board the shuttle that would take her to the car rental lot. Finding it rather quickly, the driver put her luggage away as Azalea climbed aboard. Finding a seat in the back, Azalea vegetated while waiting for the driver to get the shuttle moving.

Twenty minutes later, she was jarred back to reality as the shuttle lurched to a stop in front of the car rental place. Annoyed at being awakened so abruptly, Azalea saw that she was the only passenger on the shuttle when it stopped. Alarmed, she asked the driver about everyone else.

"You were the only one to board the shuttle. Everybody else that was supposed to be on the shuttle weren't, as they were still arguing with airline officials, airport officials, seeking medical attention and the like. I had a schedule to keep, so we tripped off by our lonesome. Because we were running so far ahead, I made a slight detour to get some lunch."

"Oh?" Not quite satisfied with the driver's explanation about the lack of other people, Azalea became worried that something more sinister went on behind her back.

Before the driver could explain further, his boss's assistant came aboard to yell at him for stopping at the fast food place. "Don't you know that we still have a slew of passengers waiting for you at the airport? Get your butt in gear and get going!!"

"Absolutely! Just let me unload this nice lady's luggage and this nice lady, then I'll be on my way."

Throwing her luggage out, the driver then came back and slung Azalea over his shoulder, and before she knew it, was unceremoniously dumped on the ground. The driver sarcastically laughed at her before taking off for the airport.

Another Update On My Novel

A quick update on my novel.

I just received my complimentary free copy yesterday, to use and abuse at my (frenetic) leisurely pace.

Once it meets with my approval (and so far it has as I've spent part of the day reading it at work), I'll let it loose to the general public on November 1st.

I should have a brand new blog up and semi-running to sell it and (hopefully) future writings on by then.

Stay tuned for more details.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Necessary Accessory

Howdy.

This post will be the first of four that will cover the following topics: relationships and work, in the next couple of weeks. This one is all me, whereas the next three were suggested to me by my very good friend Griff. I had put out an S.O.S. to my friends and co-workers this past Friday, asking for topics to write about because after 156 posts, I had hit the proverbial wall. Her great ideas will keep me going for the next few weeks, and hopefully more people will chime in as well.

Plus the added incentive of getting credit/notoriety in a public forum was too much for her to pass up.

So, on with today's post.

I consider my friends to be a necessary accessory in my life. Whereas my family helps keep me grounded in reality, my friends help spur me on to heights that I would have never thought possible. I am grateful for all the friends and acquaintances that have either come and stayed, or have come and gone at some particular point in my life.

Within the real world, although there have been minute changes here and there, the essential core of people have remained the same. Within my cyber world, people have come and gone at an alarming rate.

Of all the people I've met and became friends with back in '07, most have dropped by the wayside.

There are some who have left simply because the real world took over in importance to the cyber world. There have been others who have completely dropped out of sight and out of mind. And still others, who for some reason or another, have simply refused to acknowledge any and all e-mails sent to them.

However, there are a few people remaining from that time period that I'm still friends with to this day (I think), and I'm honored that they have remained close to me, in spite of me.

In '08, I made a whole new batch of friends and acquaintances, some of which have driven to distraction, and some who have given me some incredibly necessary peace of mind.

In my blog world, I am fortunate enough to still maintain contact and develop a good online friendship with GumbyTheCat, who I originally met from my countless days in the Topix chat rooms; Sy from "The Wheel is Turning, but the Hamster Is Dead" humor blog, who is an incredibly funny and all around great guy; crseum, a kindred spirit whose wit and sharpness of tounge is second to no one; and Vodka Mom, whose trials and tribulations as a kindergartner teacher makes me glad I don't teach.

In my chat room world, there are few people in my local forum that have helped restore my sanity and showed me that being inexperienced about things in the chat rooms isn't necessarily a bad thing. Just A Teacher, Sweet Potatoe, Parent, Sparky and Truth, have shown me a different side of things that I have rarely seen in the chat rooms: the real world on a personal level. When you can start reminiscing about similar things experienced in childhood on a personal level and people really know what you're talking about, then you have struck gold.

As for the forums on the national levels, there are different groups of people that I have the pleasure of being part of in some small way. I have noted who some of these people are previously, but new ones have been added. Each are unique in their own special way and have been gracious enough to let me be part of their extended family. People like Chicago Poet 3, Beaware, Ricky F, River Spirit, Demonic Penguin, Libra Girl 108 from the military threads; Sister Phyllis, Seventies Chick, cotk, Fish and kay from the religious threads; and countless others who I've come across in other parts of the chat room universe. All of these people have touched me and shaped me in ways I've never thought possible before.

As for the real world, the same core of people who were there when I was down and literally out in paradise, are still with me today. The aforementioned Griff, and the legendary R, have shown me compassion and friendship like no other. They have shared parts of their lives with me as I have shared parts of mine with them, and the experiences I believe, have made us stronger people, kindred spirits, and people who absolutely have no tolerance for stupid.

All in all, every single person I've mentioned here has helped me develop and grow into a more well rounded, well grounded and well respected individual.

For that, I'm truly thankful. It ain't easy to admit that you need people other than your family to lean on from time to time. I am glad that that was able to lean on a few of these people in my time of need, and that they were able to lean on me in their time of need.

Life is good.

An Apology

I'm sorry.

For those of you who were fortunate enough to read my post entitled, "A Sunday Sermon", and were wondering where it suddenly disappeared to, this apology is for you.

After putting it up, I spent all day yesterday thinking about how it wasn't up to my usual high standards, and that I should get rid of it and start all over from scratch.

So on that note, I spent a small part of my afternoon sitting at my local mall with my handy dandy notebook and pen, composing a post that would be destined for Thursday (this being my long week of posting).

Because of me being incredibly hard on myself (perfectionism was/is the bane of my existence), that post will be moved up to today, and short story day will be moved to Wednesday. I hope to be back on my normal schedule on Saturday.

Peace.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Music Makes My World Go 'Round

I am a walking contradiction. This is the one thing that most of my friends and enemies can usually agree on.

I am private by nature, but yet about 95% of my life has been exposed to the public view, both on this blog since Memorial Day weekend and in the chat rooms since Feb '07. I have severe problems with my hands (writing, holding, grabbing, carrying, etc.), yet can still type about 40 words a minute with typos/35 without, and even faster on a typewriter (more about my hands in future posts, possibly). I have problems sometimes carrying on normal face to face/telephone conversations with people, yet with the written word, I can speak eloquently, show off my razor sharp wit and biting sense of humor, with a style that I could never quite show off in public.

With music, it's the same thing kind of contradiction. I can listen to any and all kinds of music, yet when I write, I need serious peace and quiet. Or enough quiet to concentrate on what I'm writing about. I find that music is the great motivator when it comes to my writing.

Like most people who write, I have a normal (or semi-normal) 9-5 day job. And unlike most people, my morning and evening commute is relatively short, about twenty minutes each way. So I make the most of my driving time by listening to either the radio (college) or my CD's.

Whatever type of music I decide to listen to, it always gets me into the proper frame of mind for writing. Depending on the type, usually determines the mood/swerve of what I write. If I'm listening to something either relatively upbeat yet strikes a nerve (Matthew Sweet or Oasis); crunchy (Sevendust or Saliva); melancholy (Johnny Cash's last five records made with Rick Rubin producing or The Band); power pop (The Smithereens) or country (Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krause), my writing is going to reflect that current state of being.

Now if you read my profile, you'll notice that my tastes run the gamut from Hard Rock to Country and everything else in between. Just to give you a little idea of the other genres I listen to, here are a few groups/people that I have sitting my music rack: Silverchair, Rage Against the Machine, Oasis, Vernon Reid, Billy Joel, Cracker, Smashmouth and Tom Lehrer.

These, plus countless others, gets me amped up for the day. Usually, I spend the day physically doing my mindless job (payroll) and mentally working on my story or my blog. By the time the evening rolls around, the music I spent listening to throughout the day, has had enough time to sufficiently marinate my mood and influence my writing.

Take now for instance. I spent today listening to some college radio, 45's, Paul McCartney, and Squeeze at work, and the Offspring on the way home. During the day, I was able to create the basic outline for this post, which I was able to flesh out and create this nifty little post.

I love listening to music, as it really gets me into the proper frame of mind for writing. Or blogging. Or even posting in the chat rooms.

Music makes my world go 'round and makes my writing come alive. What does music do for you and your writing, or simply just do for you?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Golden Texas Tea" (pg 11)

Heading downstairs with her luggage, she woke up Malibu long enough to tell her, "that some last minute instructions would be left for you on the refrigerator and that I'll give you a call when I arrive in Connecticut."

Ten minutes later, as she was finishing the last of the written instructions, the cab pulled into the driveway and blew its horn. Quickly sticking the instructions on the refrigerator, Azalea made her way to the front door, where she was greeted by both of the children and Malibu. Giving each one a quick hug, she hurriedly went to the cab as the driver carried her luggage out for her.

Taking off for the airport, Azalea turned around to see all three waving goodbye. Eyes tearing up, she waved back until they were out of sight. Settling down in the seat, she asked the driver, "to wake her up when they get there." Thirty minutes later, she was awakened by the driver, who told her that they were at the departure gate. Thanking him, she paid the fare plus tip, before disappearing inside.

Approaching the ticket window, Azalea got checked in for the flight. Sauntering towards the departure area, she got through the sparse crowd very quickly and plopped down in a vacant seat, and waited to be called for boarding. Within a few minutes, her name was called with the rest of the first class section to begin boarding for the flight. Promptly settling in, she soon fell asleep and didn't awaken until the attendant gently nudged her just as the plane was making its descent.

"Ma'am, it's time to wake up now. We're starting our approach, so you should be alert and prepared for the landing."

"Thank you." said Azalea, as she struggled to get back to the hear and now, as opposed to the there and before of her memories.

After a relatively smooth landing, the plane spent the next twenty minutes taxiing to the gate. While the plane was taxiing, Azalea straightened herself out as best she could, brushing her air and re-touching her face. By the time the plane arrived at the gate, she was more than ready to continue with the next phase of her trip: retrieving her rental and finding a room for the night.

Disembarking, Azalea headed straight for the baggage claim area. About fifteen minutes later, the conveyor belt finally started. Slowly at first, it unexpectedly picked up speed until the belt was going so fast that the luggage flew off, hitting the bewildered and terrified passengers left and right.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Channel J, The Best Public Access Channel Ever!

How many of you out there have good memories? I'm not talking about remembering things from a couple of weeks ago or even months ago, but years/decades ago? Be honest now.

I thought so.

I've been blessed/cursed with partial recall when comes to remembering things. One place that it has reared it's ugly head is here, because you'll find a lot of my posts peppered with one or two obscure reference points, pop culture or otherwise. Example, in my last two posts, I quoted a song from a now defunct college radio program that ended in 1999 and I quoted the opening lyric from a Tubes album that came out in 1983.

Another prime example is the title of this post. Channel J is a public access channel located in New York, specifically somewhere in the five boroughs (I'm sure someone from NY will be kind enough to correct me on what I'm about to say). From what I remembered, this channel is one of the raunchiest and nastiest things on the air today, and has been involved with battles over censorship and free speech.

Now I'm sure you're thinking, "what does a person from CT know about this station?" Well nothing really, other than seeing a very tiny ad for it, buried deep in the entertainment section of the New York Post, a paper that I haven't read since 2004.

One last example: Back in 2004, I had designed and created an Excel database for inactive employees at the previous stop in my state career. Suffice to say, this thing was labor intensive (took about six months to create), information overload of the highest caliber and easy to use, which meant that no one used it. Why? Because people found it easier to ask the person who created it (me), who knew of where every single stupid inactive employee was located, two years running.

I'm sure you're also asking yourself, especially after reading the tags at the end of this post, "What does all this have to do with writing?"

Simple really.

Memories are what shapes our outlook and what makes us who we are. As a fiction writer, memories help shape what you create. They provide a never-ending source of amusement, wit, emotion and ideas to use.

For me, some of my memories have shaped and sharpened my writing. My upcoming novel is based in CT and use places that I've come across and events that I've experienced. Even the story I'm currently re-writing is based in CT, as it uses familiar landmarks and towns to make it come truly alive.

Even for something as simple as blogging or posting in chat rooms, memories can shape your outlook. I got the idea for this post after being ask a simple question over the weekend in two different ways. From one person it was asked derisively, as if somehow remember an incident from Easter 2007 was a bad thing. For him, memories are nothing and it showed as the other person I was talking to, somehow remembered me from last year. Thus, war of attrition between this person and myself died down, as we updated each other on what we were doing.

Note: One cannot change one's writing style, no matter where you're doing it. A person's writing style is like a fingerprint, it's unique as no two are alike.

For the other person, it was asked as a serious question, because they were trying to learn something new. I gave her two examples of what I thought were my best insults along with the appropriate background info, and hopefully, it will lead to further questions and pleasant conversations.

I believe that memories are a good thing, as they have heavily influenced my writing, here in my blog and with the stories that I'm either currently writing, re-writing or soon to be writing.

My question for everyone then is this: how does your memories help shape you as a writer/blogger?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hey! I'm Trying To Be Bored Here!

(Or so said my daughter last year while riding in a car full of happy people)

In any event, today's post will have random snippets about the various things that have been going on in my world for the past week or so. I wasn't able to flesh out these snippets into longer stand alone posts, so I figured to put them all together and make one decent size post. The fun thing about these snippets, is that they'll cover just every major topic that this blog is about: chat rooms, relationships, work, blogging, and writing.

Snippet #1: Right now in the chat rooms I'm dealing with both the blithering idiot and the refreshingly inquisitive. The blithering idiot I'm currently dealing with is located in a wrestling related forum. I'm not sure even how to describe his state of mind, beyond the fact that he really hates to be disagreed with, hates that someone stands up to him and picks fights just to make himself look superior. 'Nuff said. As for the refreshingly inquisitive, it's been a blast to deal with. I met a teacher in my local forum this past summer, and for the past month or so, she has been taking baby steps in exploring the Topix chat room forums. Which means a lot of questions are asked in preparation for exploration. I've been more than happy to share my "expertise" with her, and it's done wonders for my chat room state of mind. I haven't been this relaxed in a chat room for months and I'm enjoying every minute of it.

Snippet #2: My personal relationships are going quite well, in both the Real World and the Cyber World. In the RW, I'm trying to co-ordinate a large get together at the end of the month, for all my former co-workers/refugees from my previous place of employment. Most of the people who have committed to this (13 so far), I haven't seen in over two and half years, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them. In the CW, things are going okay. It's been a bumpy few weeks, but things are slowly getting back to normal. Right now, I think everyone is taking a behind the scenes break from me, which is okay, because I kind of need that right now myself.

Snippet #3: Work is basically SSDD. The highlight of my work week was going to my facility yesterday to do my payroll. Uggh.

Snippet #4: Blogging has gone really well. The slower pace has done wonders for my sanity, and has allowed me a lot of breathing room and time to create meatier posts. The flareup from a few days ago (which was my last post done), was nothing more than that. The other person involved declined my offer to move the discussion over here. What's done is done. I would like to thank everyone again for visiting/commenting on my blog, as I'm very grateful for the uptick in traffic this week, and every week for that matter.

Snippet #5: Writing has come to a standstill again, as the short story I'm currently working on, I'm now currently stuck. The problem I'm having is something I haven't really experienced before, but I'm sure the writers out there have, at one point or another. I'm tweaking one of my plot lines so that it would make more sense as I go into the home stretch with it. The way I currently wrote the small scene doesn't make sense at all. In fact, it's downright confusing, so I can see why some people who read it the story, would be left scratching their heads afterwards. So my goal this weekend, is to hopefully write my way out of this particular quandary and finish up the story. I believe once I can get over this small hurdle, everything else should drop into place.

Snippet #6: Not much really to give as an update for the novel. Right now I'm waiting for it to be printed by the publisher. Once I get that initial copy, I figure I got about a one to two week window to get everything else into place (another blog to sell it on, creating a small business acct., new mail addy, among other things). Until then, it's just...a....matter....of....waiting....it...out.

This is another example of the completion backwards principle. If you can possibly manage the time, please play both sides at one meaning. (Fee Waybill)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Political Zealotry 101

This post will unique in a couple of different ways:

1) It's about politics
2) There is no disclaimer but the tone is nevertheless angry.

That said, let's begin at the beginning.

When I originally created my blog, I made a conscious decision not to talk about politics on the national level. People have a tendency to get incredibly anal and totally hysterical while defending Obama (yes, Obama, because I don't see none of this crap with McCain) or when they're bashing GWB.

It seems like if you even remotely bring up any legitimate negative point, the Obama zealots go after you and do a massive gang banger machete attack, leaving you drawn and quartered in the dust. The end result is usually that most people keep quiet for fear of being similarly stomped into the ground.

This is an indisputable fact that the Obama zealots/GWB haters do in the chat rooms. I have both witnessed and experienced first hand these sickening machete attacks.

Because of these experiences, I have purposely stated away from any blog that is politically unbalanced. There are a few blogs that I do follow, that although the creators are Obama followers, they aren't nasty or sanctimonious about it.

Yesterday (10/8) I was reading one of my favorite blogs, written by someone who is well balanced politically, which means she is respectful of all viewpoints. The particular post I was reading was what she called, "live blogging". What that means is that she was blogging about a particular event as it was unfolding in front of her, in this case the Presidential debate.

So I was reading some of the snide comments that were being made about both McCain and Palin and I must admit, they were starting to bother me. Normally, I would let this kind of stuff slide in the blog world, due to the fact that I'm a relative newcomer to blogging and I'm trying to build a solid reader base for my blog. It's also a fact (known to my close online friends) that I can really push people's buttons at the drop of the hat.

This time, I decided to ask a legitimate question about a couple of Obama's associates/friends: Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers.

The next day, I find a lengthy response which glosses over my question, and instead lists the same lame and tired arguments that have been put forth by numerous Obama zealots on numerous chat room threads.

I responded to that person's comments by saying that I didn't appreciate being dumped on in someone else's blog, and that I would be more than happy to continue it on their blog or mine.

What I wanted to say, but didn't out of respect to the person whose blog this appeared on, was this.

Listen you hypocritical zealot, I asked a legitimate question and you didn't answer it. So I'll ask it again, this time with more detail put into it and I dare you to explain it away.

Rev Wright: How is Obama's association with this man not relevant to the issue of character? Do you honestly believe that his distancing himself from this man this year, really puts this to rest? How can you believe his assertions that he didn't really know the man's viewpoints? Good lord, the man was Obama's pastor for 20 odd years and that he performed his marriage.

Bill Ayers: The man is a legitimate unrepentant domestic terrorist who co-founded the Weather Underground and admitted to participating in bombing the Pentagon. This jerk is currently polluting the minds of the younger generation as a college professor, and was recently featured in a magazine photo standing on the American flag. Again, how can you honestly believe that Obama didn't know the man's background, when documents and public records say otherwise?
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Slight change in the ground rules here: I don't moderate comments, but please try to keep the word count at a respectable level and keep the tone civil. And also, please try to stay on the topic of my two questions. That is all I can ask of anyone who chooses to visit and comment.

One more thing: Be respectable of my views and I'll be more than respectable of yours. Don't try to get into a slug fest with me, because I've seen it all and did it all in the chat rooms, and I have no qualms in applying the same techniques that I used there, here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Golden Texas Tea" (pg 10)

Part 2

With the furiously heavy quadraphonic sound of hardcore rap preceding her, Malibu roared into the driveway at breakneck speed. Screeching to a stop, the car door blew open and two suitcases went flying out to the payment, which were soon followed by Malibu being shoved to the ground. The driver hurled a few expletives in the general direction of Malibu, who was slowly picking herself up from the grass, before throwing the car into reverse. Burning rubber, he threw the purse out through the sunroof, nailing her square in the head and knocking her out cold.

Azalea flew out the door, with the intent of giving Malibu what for, when she caught the tail end of the violent confrontation. Alarmed at her condition, Azalea ran over to give medical assistance. Picking her up, she sat that Malibu's eyes were starting to roll backwards, so she quickly grabbed under her arms and began dragging her into the house.

As this was going on, Jey came out and said, "So this is the bimbo that's supposed to be watching us while you're gone?"

Hissing in the affirmative, Azalea told him to grab the legs and help drag her inside. Entering the living room, they struggled to get Malibu on to the couch. Finally succeeding after twenty minutes of struggling, Jey began propping her up with a couple of pillows while Azalea grabbed a cold pitcher of water from the kitchen.

Reappearing, she first slapped Malibu a couple of times before emptying the entire contents on her head, as Jey laughed in approval.

"What the hell are you trying to do, drown me?" sputtered Malibu as she attempted to get up but failed miserably.

"Shut your face. I do not want to know what just happened outside. Get some sleep, because you will be getting up bright and early tomorrow, to see the children off to school. Do I make myself clear, crystal or otherwise?" she said icily.

Not wanting Azalea to get any angrier than she already was, Malibu simply said, "Yes, crystal clear. I will see you in the morning. Good night." and headed over to the love sofa, where she promptly crashed, curled up into a little ball and fell fast asleep.

Befuddled, Azalea told Jey, "Get to bed, because I'm going to bed to get at least a few hours of shut eye before catching my early morning flight."

The morning arrived way too soon, as Azalea had some serious problems with alertness. Eventually, she was ale to get her tired body up, get it showered and get it dressed, so that she would get to the airport early enough to catch a few z's.

To make that goal a reality, she called for a taxi, who said that someone would be there in about fifteen minutes. Hanging up, she went to the children's rooms to say her goodbyes. Going to Jen's first, she briefly woke her up to say goodbye and give her a big hug and a kiss. Heading to Jey's, she did the same thing and added that a note would be left for him on the refrigerator explaining why he'll be late to school today.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'm A Happy Boy!

Sometimes when creating a post, the hardest thing to come up with is not the content, but the title. Take this post for example. I know what I want to talk about, but the main sticking point was coming up with an appropriate title.

Most of the time, I like to have my title connect, however tenuously, with the topic of choice I'm writing about. Occasionally, blanks are drawn and I wind up creating a nonsensical title that has absolutely nothing to do on God's green earth with the subject at hand.

Like now.

The subject at hand today is that this is post #150 of my blog Hooray! Three cheers and a tiger for me! and I wanted to give a small recap of what I've done so far with this blog. While some of my long time readers know what I'm about (boy do they know), some of the others who have stumbled across my blog may not quite know what I'm all about.

So the happy re-cap is thus:

I started this blog on Memorial Day weekend, purely on a suggestion by a fellow denizen of Topix. And picking the subject matter was at the time incredibly easy:

1) Work
2) Chat rooms
3) Relationships
4) Writing
5) My novel

So off I went, doing what I usually do best, which was to throw myself completely into my blog. I started shooting off posts left and right, on the average making about 8 posts a week. After a few weeks, suggestions were made to me as to how I could possibly attract a few more readers to the blog. Like posting a few of my short stories. Agreeing with the suggestion, I started posting one of my short stories, two pages at a clip.

About a month and a half later, I realized that if I kept up the same frenetic pace of posting my stories, I would quickly run out of stories to post. So we ratcheted it down to one page per post (which eventually got ratcheted down even further as I now post one page a week).

After that initial tweaking, I kept up the blitzing attack of creating 7-8 posts a week, rotating the topics on a weekly basis so that at least two would be touched upon every week. Around mid-summer I introduced the topic called "Suburbia", in which I would talk about where I live and would introduce a few pictures here and there describing my little slice of country living smack dab in the middle of the suburbs.

By the beginning of September or so, I was starting to become a little toasted from maintaining the killer pace I had set for myself. I wanted to keep my blog fresh, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to continuously come up with original material. At the same time, I really wanted to get back to my writing, which was starting to take a back seat to this blog. I also wanted to get everything in place and at the ready for when my self-published novel rolls out.

So after spending some time thinking about it, I decided to cut down on the amount of posting I was doing on the blog, from 7-8 posts including a short story, to 3-4 posts including a short story.

I am now in a much better frame of mind with my blog and everything else that surrounds it. This my fellow readers, is the happy summary of my blog. For more details, please feel free to explore the various links that are available, including the ones that contain some of my favorite blogs.

As for the title? The title is a song by Country Dick and The Beat Farmers, that a jock for a now defunct college radio program used to play when he was ending his show for the day. Even if his show was running over, you still heard this song in its entirety.

Hope your day is filled with nothing but Peaches, Lobsters, and Tequila.

Friday, October 3, 2008

When (My) Cyber Worlds Collide

I was going to make a silly post today about what I usually do when I'm bored and nothing of interest is happening on Topix, but today something happened earlier this evening that gave me something to think about.

Yes, you are right about the fact that sometimes I read too much into things, and that sometimes a cigar is just that: a cigar.

For the second time in about three weeks or so, one section of my life collided with another section of my life. I explained previously what happened to me the first time that the Real World collided with my Cyber World, and how it got under my skin for the rest of that particular week. This time it's a little more different as two major parts of my Cyber Word (chat rooms and blogs) collided with each other, or should I say, sideswiped each other.

Some backing info: back in July I had written a post about encountering trolls and spam in the chat rooms. Among the things I mentioned were a few of the more interesting posters that I had met in my local forum, one of which was a poster called Stephen G. Erickson.

Mr. Erickson was one of those legendary posters in my local forum back in 2007, who managed to obscure any legitimate point he was trying to make (and I admit, he did have some scattered throughout his posts), by being what I and everyone else there came to the conclusion of, overbearing. By the time 2008 rolled around, he either left the forum of his own free will or was politely shown the door by the moderators, as I didn't see much of him during the past year. Or maybe he was/is still there and due to his topic of choice, our paths never crossed.

Earlier this evening while I was checking my e-mail, I was notified of a comment that was made on one of my posts. Looking at what story was being commented on made me scratch my head, due to the fact that the story was posted in late July of this year. Intrigued, I clicked on the profile, and to my surprise it was the aforementioned Mr. Erickson's profile, which had two blogs listed.

Being the curious sort of individual that I am when comes to new people commenting on my blog, I checked one of his. Seems to have a focus on all things political in CT, which I thought was interesting. I decide to leave a comment on one of his posts, and basically stated that for the first time in my blogging/chat room life, I was left speechless. I also thanked him for visiting and I told him I was very much surprised that he did so.

The one thing I didn't ask, but will now, is this: How did you find out about my blog, and why did you comment on a post that was at least two months old? I know I have my blog addy posted on all three of my personas, but as far as I know, I haven't crossed paths with you as a registered poster in quite some time.

I really am curious as to the how and why, and Mr. Erickson (sorry, I can't really bring myself to call you by your first name, it just doesn't sound right to me) if you're reading this, could you be kind enough to grace my blog one more time with your presence to answer this for me?

If not, I will understand, and instead will simply wish you continuing success with your blogs. And again, thanks for visiting my blog.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Yikes! I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Christine Duncan to tell six book related things about myself.

1) My local library was my home away from home, mostly because I had no friends to speak of while growing up. I had an absolute blast wandering from aisle to aisle looking for interesting titles to read.

2) I am self-publishing my first novel, partly because I'm supremely confident in my writing, and the rest stemming from the fact that I can't wait for others to bestow on me their singular honor of representing me and my work. I rather bring my work to the masses, for it is them that should decide my fate. Not agents or publishers.

3) I never understood the appeal of both The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit. Therefore, you can add me to the very short list of people who never read those books (didn't read Dune either).

4) I have read almost every genre under the sun, save romances. My favorite genre is True Crime, closely followed by Historical Fiction. Beng a CT native, I like Mark Twain and I find Laurie King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mysteries utterly fascinating.

5) I am one of those people who had subscriptions to Time/Life books (three all together).

6) I am one of those people who bought the two volume set of the entire Monty Python's Flying Circus television show.

Now, who should I tag? Well, how about....

Terra Chandler, Crsuem, Vodka Mom, Kyle and Sy

Okay, Taggees, this is your challenge, should you decide to accept it:

The rules to play are easy:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random bookish things about yourself.
4. Tag sixish people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know he or she has been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

"Golden Texas Tea" (pg 9)

Two hours later, the meeting was over and done. Getting up from the chair, Azalea decided to stretch out a little before going back upstairs. Slowly arching her back and stretching her arms, she once again became every teenage boy's fantasy. Confirmed by Jey, the one word statement uttered (WOW!) made her blush a deep shade of red. Recoiling, she stammered an apology and dashed out of the kitchen, hell bent on spending the rest of the night in her room packing and meditating.

Running to the stairs, she almost ran over Jen, who was waiting for her brother to help with her homework.

"Sorry sweetie, I didn't see you standing there. Are you alright?"

Brushing herself off, she threw her a dirty look and said, "Yes." before going into the kitchen.

Ignoring the dirty look, she said rather insincerely, "Good. I'll be upstairs packing in case you need me for anything."

Azalea made it to the bedroom and quickly shut the door. She thought about locking it, but opted for hanging a 'Do Not Disturb' sign instead. Closing the door again, she began pacing around like a caged animal on the prowl, all the while trying to rationalize out loud what just happened in the kitchen.

Remember girl, you did nothing wrong down there. The boy was simply making a comment about your bodacious body, that's all! You should be proud about the fact that at the age of forty-seven, you still can make a young boy's head turn. Imagine what you could do to an adult with that same bodacious body. Now relax, you've got a big trip in store for yourself tomorrow.

Agreeing with herself, Azalea decided that jamming to some seriously good music was called for right now. Turning on the stereo, she popped in a disc of mid-80's heavy soul. As the pulsating rhythm of heavy soul pounded the bedroom and penetrated her psyche, she began to sensuously sway to the beat as the feeling of catching an ocean breeze on a hot summer day at the beach began to cool her down. So sensual were these emotions that she spend the next two hours meditating for her trip, until her inner peace was shattered by the arrival of Malibu at 11:30p

The Legal Disclaimer

All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-16 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at georgebjr2006@gmail.com