Friday, July 31, 2009

Sunday At G's, pt 4

Part 3


Now that everyone has been thoroughly refreshed at the CVS, it's time to continue our Saturday morning journey. The first stop will be the post office. Funny thing about this branch is that its not really the town's branch, but is simply a sub-branch of Hartford, or so it says on the outside of the building. The post office here is a prime example of bad management practices as it pertains to the US government. And we know how a well-oiled machine the government is, now don't we. In all seriousness, I have made one or two good friends at this branch and was very sad to see them move on to other things (and not necessarily by choice either). Anyways, this is were I do most of my bill paying, since I don't like the current practice of having EFT's done to my checking account, so I buy money orders. I'm well known in that branch for buying money orders. How well known? As soon as I approach the counter, the clerk asks, "How many?"


This is a nice panoramic shot of walking down Lowery Place (where the post office is located). In the foreground is a nice vacant lot/open mini-field, that right now as of this post, has purple wildflowers in it. Just behind those two white trees, now green, is the local volunteer ambulance. And that bump rising up in the background is good old Cedar Mountain. And in front of those two little white bumps off to the left, is another field, which is featured in my short story "Saturday".

This is at the other main intersection as you come down the hill. This is looking north down Hawley Street. Not much to the shot, other than this is one of the streets I walk down on my return trip home. I walk in a relatively big circle on Saturdays. Actually more like a lollipop, in that about 99% of the time, I wind up back on the street I started on that was featured in Part 1.


I was really trying to get a good shot of my thumb, but that pesky plant/tree display got in the way. I wanted to show everyone a few examples of the kind of green thumbs that a good chunk of the residents have here in Newington. For what it's worth, this person kept their yard in immaculate condition during the spring, summer and fall.

I thought this was a especially funky looking tree, since it had a mixture of green and white in the leaves (now all green). I like this tree so much that for a while it was one of my blog screen shots (I think). As you can see, it was gloriously sunny day when I took these pictures, as well as very breezy and comfortable.


And finally, the other photo that became my blog screen shot for about a month or so. At this point, we're back on the street that we walked up in part 1. I thought this scene was especially inviting, with the blooms scattered along yard and driveway. I actually seriously considered shooting this for part 1, but it didn't look so good on the other side, so I decided to wait until I came back home.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Courtyard

A blue jay flew into the courtyard and landed on Jason's outstretched hand. It sang for a minute or two, then took off, flying in a zigzag pattern before quickly disappearing from view.

Jason continued to stare at his hand for another minute before wiping it against his jeans. Jamming his hands in his pockets, he went back to doing his daily calisthenics, although his heart wasn't really into it today.
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Click here for the full story and to leave a comment.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mojo No Go

For the past several months or so (shoot, lets just say since late summer '08) most of the writing related posts on the blog have been relatively upbeat/positive/informative/downright goofy. Some have even made you think really hard to come up with a good answer.

I've asked you over that time things like why did you pick your particular niche/genre; why you got into writing; your opinion on my writing; whether or not I should post certain types of stories here; even asked for input on how to write sex without turning people off. I've even made a thinking out loud post that really didn't have any question to it.

Today's post is a bit more challenging, simply because it deals with a negative aspect of writing. Negative meaning something that you truly detest and that you try your damnedest to avoid coming into any contact with it.

I was talking to a co-worker the other day about how I spent my last couple of furlough days (for the uninformed, our state is facing a deficit of about 7 billion dollars over the next couple of years. we as state employees gave one day back in FY '09, and are giving back three days for the next two fiscal years). I spent the past two (May 22nd and July 6th) simply walking around town trying to find a quiet spot to do some writing.

Each time my journeys have brought me to the center of town, or to be more precise, the official town park where the town pools and playgrounds are, along with the gazebo, ball fields and waterfalls. Almost everywhere else that I've gone in the past couple of years to do my writing has been positive and rewarding.

Except at the playground.

At the playground, my inspiration for the past thirteen months there has been all negative. No positive reinforcement, no happy sensible writing, and definitely no stories exploring God, Nature, and the opposite sex. Instead, it's all been incredibly nasty and negative.

To explain: Back in June of last year, I was doing the daddy day care thing at the park (family was on a cruise to the Bahamas I believe), when I had the unfortunate experience of coming into contact with the local constabulary. Please click on the link for the entire sordid story. Anyways, since then, absolutely nothing even remotely resembling a positive/happy story has oozed from my pen. All things nasty and extremely negative have oozed from my pen whenever I had the misfortune of spending any time at the playground (only the playground does this happen, nowhere else in the park).

Example #1: The short story Disconnected had its beginnings while I was at the playground one day, which I finished up at home. The rottenness that oozed from my pen while I was there, continued to ooze rottenness when I finished it a few hours later at home (where do you think the ending came from? the same rottenness that permeated the story, seeped into my brain and caused me to write a somewhat disturbing ending).

Example #2: I wrote another short story on the 5/22 furlough day, entitled appropriately enough, The Furlough Day. Friends, this story is probably the only piece of non-fiction that you will see grace my other blog. As a matter of record, I started this story there, worked on it some more when I had lunch in the center, then actually finished it while walking home. I think it's the first and only time that I wrote a story (about two and a half pages) in exactly one total hour.

My mojo is so utterly devoid of anything positive that now I can't even start a story there (at the playground) for fear of having an encounter with the police, and having said police take a glimpse at the content of my notebook. For better or worse, the depraved side of my writing comes out whenever I make a stop at the playground. And that, my friends, really does scare me.

I actually started another one on that 7/6 furlough day while at the playground, thinking that perhaps the lack of children there would somehow be beneficial and break that rotten mojo of mine. No dice, as about twenty minutes after I got there, the kiddies invaded the playground and I took my leave of absence. Funny thing is, I don't remember what story I started on that particular day, but I'm pretty sure I finished it later in the week.

So my question to all of you is this: Did you experience something somewhere that was so negative that whenever you tried to revisit the scene of the crime that it still seriously impacted you and your writing until you got away from it?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stuff You Gotta Watch

Today's post has utterly no connect with the title, as the content is most stuff that has been dribbling around in my head for quite a while. So sit back and relax while I throw out enough pointless stuff and random links to either satisfy your curiosity, or make you scratch your head and say to yourself, "What?".

1} The post title. This is actually a song by Arthur Conley. I first heard the song on a double LP called Duane Allman, An Anthology Vol II. It's a very excellent compilation of Duane Allman's body of work as a session man. If you can find it, I highly recommend picking up both volumes. The first volume contains a good chunk of his work with the Allman Brothers, while the second highlights his work as a highly sought after session man, some solo material and an early version of the Allman Brothers called Hourglass. Two of my favorite tracks on this album are a Boz Scaggs cover of a Jimmie Rodgers tune called "Waiting for a Train" and a solo piece called "Happily Married Man" (contains the best opening lyrics ever: I ain't seen my wife for two or three years I'm a happily married man).

2} Chat rooms. I've reintegrated myself back in the chat rooms, simply because I needed a place to vent, catch up with friends, and do the occasional debate. I don't wander around much there anymore, mostly because the forums have taken a decidedly heavy turn towards religion. While I don't have a problem with religion, it does get a bit tiresome seeing 100 different discussions about why God does(n't) exist. So basically, the only debate I seriously participate in, is about gay marriage. Please note, my viewpoint is this: I don't believe in it, however, I am a realist.

3} Trying to connect with former friends. Sometimes, trying to connect with former friends is a good thing. Sometimes, when the cause of the previous disconnect was indescribable mental/emotional pain, trying to reconnect is a bad thing. This was a bad thing. So after a brief exchange, I wished them well and went back to being my old humdrum self, sadder but wiser.

4} Work. Work sucks. Let me repeat, works suck. Or rather, people and this union and that union suck, which causes work to suck. To elaborate, the other day, someone called to complain that I made an error in their favor. That same someone, after I'd talked to them about it, found fault with the way I went about my dealings with him. I also found out that other people had decidedly low opinion of my people skills and thus instead of confronting me directly, chose to bitch to their labor union, which it turn bitched to my HR person, who in turn passed her concerns on to my boss, who in turn passed those concerns on to me in an early morning one-on-one. The solution to this little tete-a-tete was now after three years of going to my facility to do payroll (and thus, getting out of the office at least twice a month), it will now be brought to me at my office. Where I can inflict some special pain on everyone. Permanently.

And now, for the first of two ultimate link posts.

5} Summertime in Connecticut. I love the summertime, especially in Connecticut. I had a good time traveling last year to Indiana, via New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. But summers in Connecticut is a great thing. Especially when you live next door to the mountain that is your blog namesake. The fresh mountain air, the light chirping of birds, listening to people walk or ride bicycles, it simply does something for me. It relaxes me like nothing else can. It inspires me to great heights of creativity. It simply rocks my world and my peace of mind.

The second.

6} Blogs. This is a short story about some of the blogs that I read on a frequent basis.

One day, while I was walking down a street in downtown Abita Springs, I accidentally bumped into a relatively young lady from Austin. I said, "A thousand pardons, I was most revolting."

She said, "That's okay, good things happen every now and then to us."

I said, "Thanks. By the way, did you happen to find my diary? I think I might of dropped it while I was thinking random thoughts."

She thought for a moment, then asked, "Oh, do you mean a journal of non-sequential tangents?"

I sighed and said, "Perhaps. I think I might of dropped it on a back road somewhere. But first, I think I better take a seat under this tree for a moment and catch my breath."

She said, "Okie dokie. Take care of yourself, because it sounds like you're coming down with cold. Getting sick in the summertime is simply no fun."

"Will do," I said. "I don't want to go to the hospital, that's for sure."

Have a good day everyone, and remember driving around on daily basis can be rewarding.

7} A little reality. Nine days ago I received my lifetime handicap parking permit. As much as I want to delay the inevitable (and trust me friends, this is only part one of the inevitable), my body is breaking down just a little bit faster than I want to accept. I still have mobility, but if you want a good idea on how I walk now, just observe a toddler wandering around during his/her daily activities. I walk about like that.

8} Blog reality. (I keep adding to this post because I keep thinking of new nuggets to expound on) I'm getting ready to go on one of my quarterly search and destroys for new blogs to follow. I've binged and purged about six from my book marked faves, leaving me with about 45 blogs that I follow on weekly basis. I would like to get above fifty, so towards that goal, instead of trekking all over God's creation for them, I'll instead ask for suggestions from my readers as to what blogs might be worthy of my interest. I'm open to just about anything out there, so please give me your best shot. And if you're not sure about your recommendation, please check out my profile as about 95% of the blogs I have bookmarked, I'm a follower of as well. I'm a relatively open minded individual, so I really do welcome this opportunity to expand my horizons.

9} Writing reality. (See, what I tell you?) The other day (7/17) I was running my usual Saturday morning errands when I made a stop at my local CVS. While I was getting a snack and a bottle of water, I caught sight a rather oldish (30's) but still vibrant looking woman with her husband doing some shopping. And as I'm want to do as of late when I observe a good looking woman (yeah, I know, sexist), I was inspired to write a short story. Nothing nasty, but I while I was thinking of what to write, I remembered that my town was having its annual arts/crafts/music/fireworks shindig called "Mill Pond Extravaganza". Presto, chango! Instant background setting for the story. Presto, chango! Instant plot of a simple love story popped up. Next thing I know, within the span of two days, I churned out 7 1/2 pages. I couldn't write the story 100% straight without throwing my typical swerve in, so I had the boy get dumped by his girlfriend because she found a girlfriend. Other than that, it's been clean, straightforward and for a change of pace, has a happy ending.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Study In Character

"I really hate doing this you know."
"I know you do, but we need the money."
"Isn't there another way of getting the money?"
"Sure there is."
Melody thought about it for moment. "No."
"I thought so. I'll go run interference with Jacques while you get ready. And remember," James leaned over and gave Mel a kiss, "I love you."
"Right."

Sighing, Melody got out of the car while James went to take care of Jacques. She took off her clothes and went to put on the outfit that Jacques had sent over earlier in the week. Shivering from the sudden breeze blowing in, she touched up her face and undid her braids. Taking out a mini hair dryer, she then spent the next couple of minutes blowing out her auburn hair.
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Click here for the full story and to leave a comment.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

G's Adventures? Now! (4)



When we last left our intrepid hero, he had given Cedar's Mountain permission to share with everyone an early rough draft of his dedication and acknowledgment pages. Since then a few more interesting things have happen.

About a week and a half ago, our intrepid hero got the first draft of his galley and his cover. Unlike the last time when he was learning the ropes, and thus being difficult about it, this time he was able to cruise along without any difficulties.

One, he got the galley as PDF file for free and was able to download it to his notebook. Two, he got the cover the same way. Quite a few other things had changed as well in the intervening year between books. Previously, when going through the first galley and you found errors in it (due to your sloppiness. yes, you are your own editor when your self publish), it cost you M.O.N.E.Y.

This time, on the first galley you get 25 corrections for free (previously each correction cost you $2.50). On each additional galley that you get and need to make corrections, they charge you $100 for a block (a block equaling up to 25) of corrections. They also state that if you have more than three blocks of corrections, that it's better to simply fix your manuscript and resubmit it because it's a little cheaper in the long run (yup, they charge a fee if you're such a total screw up that you have to resubmit your manuscript). So my dear friends, the important lesson learned here is that you should always make sure that your manuscript is at least 99.9% accurate and error free.
`
With the cover it's just as expensive. Again, the first round of revisions is free, the rounds thereafter are what can get you, so it pays for you to state what your VISION IS FOR YOUR COVER, clearly and concisely the first time, then just do minor tweaking as a revision if need be.

Which is what our intrepid hero did with the cover. Because of the different programming/design systems, what might look good on your computer, comes out very drained as a final product (please see the cover up above). The tweaking that our intrepid hero wants to do with the cover (after getting some clarifying advice from the design team), was to state that he wanted more contrast to the cover (the cover is supposed to be a gradient blend of purple and black) and wants the lettering in a shade of gold. The one thing that didn't need to be changed was our intrepid hero's pen name. Our intrepid hero figures since he's trying to build a brand (brand? you mean like, trying to make something of yourself?), he might as well stick with a name that he secretly liked ever since he came online some two and a half years ago, but only recently started using elsewhere.

As for the manuscript, our intrepid hero took advantage of the 25 free corrections and found about fifteen. Mostly nit-picky stuff that simply helps the story go smoother. However, he found one glaring error that he didn't see when he was originally doing one last re-write before submission. He had his male lead performing one action at the beginning of the page, then perform the same action again at the bottom of the page.

After struggling with that dilemma for the better part of twenty minutes, he was able to remove the offending sentence, with the hope that the story would continue in its same smooth trajectory.

After downloading the necessary forms to fill out, our intrepid hero mailed them out and is now patiently waiting for the second galley and cover to be done and sent to him. If it all passes muster (and considering how much it would cost him if he had to do another round), the finished product should be rolling out in August (unlike with the first one, when it rolled out in November, a mere six months after submitting the manuscript).

On a positive note, our intrepid hero has already signed off on the price for the book: $8 through the publisher's website, $10.75 through retailers like Amazon, and of course it will be a little cheaper if you buy it through our intrepid hero's website, because not only will he pick up the shipping and handling, but he'll autograph it as well. The only downside will be paying the 6% sales tax.
`
One more thing: if you can't expand the size of the picture, this is what the blurb says.
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Theirs was a doomed relationship that even a marriage couldn't fix.
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Ray was the antitheis of a hairdresser. Handsome, muscular and a natural flirt, he was the solution to every woman's fantasies. All he wanted though, was to be loved by the mercurial woman of his dreams.
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Gwendolyn was a passionate young woman with a temper that ran as dark as her complexion. Desirable to both sexes, she was determined to find love, no matter what the consequences.
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Who would be the first to betray their marital vows? Ray, who although was enlightened about the world around him, still had those old fashioned values that made him a hot commodity. Gwendolyn, vivacious and passionate, had the looks and the body that could destroy anyone that got in the way of her ultimate goal.
`
To be uncoditionally loved. Can that particular end really justify the means?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Because I'm A Man

Because I'm a man, when I lock my keys in the car, I will fiddle with a coat hanger long after hypothermia has set in.

Calling AAA is not an option. I will win.

Because I'm a man, when the car isn't running very well, I will pop the hood and stare at the engine as if I know what I'm looking at. If another man shows up one of us will say to the other, 'I used to be able to fix these things, but now with all these computers and everything, I wouldn't know where to start.' We will then drink a couple of beers and break wind, as a form of holy communion.

Because I'm a man, when I catch a cold, I need someone to bring me soup and take care of me while I lie in bed and moan. You're a woman. You never get as sick as I do, so for you, this is no problem.

Because I'm a man, I can be relied upon to purchase basic groceries at the store, like beer, milk or bread. I cannot be expected to find exotic items like 'cumin' or 'tofu'. For all I know, these are the same thing.

Because I'm a man, when one of our appliance stops working, I will insist on taking it apart, despite evidence that this will just cost me twice as much once the repair person gets here and has to put it back together.

Because I'm a man, I must hold the television remote control in my hand while I watch TV. If the thing has been misplaced, I may miss a whole show looking for it....though one time was able to survive by holding a calculator... (applies to engineers mainly)

Because I'm a man, there is no need to ask me what I'm thinking about. The true answer is always either sex, cars, sex, food. I have to make up something else when you ask, so don't ask.

Because I'm a man, I do not want to visit your mother, or have your mother come visit us, or talk to her when she calls, or think about her any more than I have to. Whatever you got her for Mother's Day is okay; I don't need to see it. And don't forget to pick something up for my mother, too.

Because I'm a man, you don't have to ask me if I liked the movie. Chances are, if you're crying at the end of it, I didn't....and if you are feeling amorous afterwards...then I will certainly at least remember the name and recommend it to others.

Because I'm a man, I think what you're wearing is fine. I thought what you were wearing five minutes ago was fine, too. Either pair of shoes is fine. With the belt or without it looks fine. Your hair is fine. You look fine. Can we just go now?

Because I'm a man and this is, after all, the year 2009, I will share equally in the housework. You just do the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the vacuuming, and the dishes, and I'll do the rest......Like wandering around the garden with a beer wondering what to do.

This has been a public service message for women to better understand men.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Re-Learned History From Reading Newspapers

Part 11 of The Library Chronicles
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I'm sorry, I'm getting even worse about reminiscing about my first state job. This one is about 39 days after I wrote the last one. And like I said previously, better late than never (if you thought the gap between part ten and eleven was bad, the gap between part two and three of Sunday at G's was even worse).

Anyways, this post will be about what I re-learned about history while working at the library (for those of you who have come in at the equivalent of halfway through a movie, I spent the first six years of my state career working at the library, preparing newspapers for microfilming). Yes boys and girls, re-learned. I originally learned all I thought I needed to know in skool, with just a little brushing up by trolling around the library for a couple of decades.

Boy was I sadly mistaken. Unlike today's recycled wood pulp/rags (yes rags. what do you think newspapers of the 18th and early 19th century were made out of? actual paper was incredibly expensive) with miscellaneous layers of black ink written by people who have an agenda to install whatever skewered viewpoint that they possess into the unsoiled and untarnished minds of the general public, the newspapers of the 18th, 19th and early 20th century (with the 1950's as a cap) were actually written to objectively inform the masses. No skewered viewpoints, no sanctimonious hyperbole, no hysterically beating the drum (or a dead horse for that matter), none of that useless bullshit that permeates the newspaper industry and is the primary cause of why newspapers have been sticking an automatic at their head, pulling the trigger and wondering why it doesn't go off (hint: up until now, the reading public has been handing you, the media conglomerate, the automatic sans bullet in chamber, because they've been feeling very sorry for you).

Because newspapers back then were the only form of entertainment/keeping informed about the world around them, they had to be both incredibly objective (or non-partisan, take your pick) and mind numbingly dull with information overload.

The good thing about information overload as it applies to the local communities that a particular paper covered, is that you knew everything about what was going on in your town, be about politics, business, your neighbors, or the town at large. Newspapers back then became an absolute gold mine for slobs like you and me, who want to learn more about the town they live in or the people in their lives.

As for me, I learned quite a bit about foreign history and much more about American history than I ever got while going to skool or trolling the library. With newspapers, not only did I get to read about whatever well know event took place then (Hindenburg, Lindbergh, and locally the Hartford Circus Fire for example), but I got to read about the underlying causes and backstory about the events, but I got to read the various small tangents that the journalists saw then, but we really didn't see until only ten or fifteen years ago (again, Lindbergh and the Hindenburg tragedies are two prime examples of this). I even got to read intelligent, multiple viewpoints of the same events.

And what made it more interesting sometimes, was reading about a particular event that you knew how it was going to end, but reading about how the event unfolded to reach that bitter end (yeah, I know, I just repeated myself from the preceding paragraph). Well known murder trials were particularly good for this, such as well known architect Stanford White who was murdered by unbalanced socialite Harry Thaw. That particular trial was really the granddaddy of all celebrity murder trials. It really showed that money could buy a not guilty plea (side note: Harry Thaw remained in the news for decades to come, due to spending more time in the asylum for a vicious assault and for escaping from another asylum. As for the ingenue Evelyn Nesbitt, she disappeared from the scene much like Cato Katelin did with O.J.).

As for multiple viewpoints on the same event, for me locally was the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944. While reading about the initial event, I was later able to read about 20 different viewpoints about the circus fire as it applied to the surrounding communities and the state at large (Note: The CT State Library has the largest and most thorough collection of ephemara related to the Circus Fire in the country, whether you're looking for coroner records, photos of the day, case histories, criminal histories, the unprecedented legal settlement, legal precedents, you name it, you will find it here and nowhere else).

These are just a few examples of the many well know events in American history (in this case, pop culture), that you can get learn a great deal more about from reading old time newspapers than you ever could from reading a textbook or from a book taken from your local library or bought at a bookstore.
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For now, this concludes my look back at the first several years of my state career that I affectionately called The Library Chronicles. I hope your trip back in time with me was a pleasurable one and that you were able to learn a little bit more about me and the world I that I currently ramble around in.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Security

I think you'll like this story. It's a funny twist on prejudice.

The young lady sat there on her little island of nothingness, brushing her jet black hair and looking incredibly bored while doing it. Every so often, her boredom would be interrupted with actually having to execute the duties she was hired for.

Most of the time these encounters would always go the same way. She would make an exaggerated show of throwing her brush down, flipping her hair, sighing heavily, then standing up to flash the attributes (with bra intact) that God had graced her with.
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Click here for the full story and to make a comment

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday At G's, pt 3

Part 2



Well now, I sure hope you had a good time hanging out at Starbucks, drinking coffee and talking to some of the locals. I do apologize for leaving you by yourself while I had to finish up some personal business, but now I'm back to continue with the tour. The picture that you see here is the local branch of Congregationalist Church. It's also the home of Boy Scout Troop #355. And to show you how much this intersection has changed, right where you see that line of cars waiting at the light, there used to be a huge patch of ground in the shape of a triangle (and contained a small tree) that marked where cars had to make a left turn from route 175.

This is another shot of the same intersection, only this is looking south. That triangle I described in the first picture was located some twenty feet off to the right of that crosswalk apex that you see. The "Do Not Enter" sign that you see is at the end of the parking lot to what passes for downtown Newington. Contained in that little plaza is a Carvels, two jewelry stores, a bicycle store, a florist, three nail salons, three restaurants and the local chamber of commerce.

This is the first of my two destination stops when I'm doing my Saturday morning errands. Interesting note about this particular business. I came to this bank not of my own free will, but as an acquisition. To whit: I started at a bank called "Burritt Savings" and when I came back from vacation in 1992, I found out that the bank was seized by the FDIC and I became a depositor of "Derby Savings Bank". That lasted until about 1996, when that bank was acquired by the bank you see pictured here. Interesting thing about this particular branch, was that I used to be a depositor of the previous tenant, "Federal Savings Bank", who was acquired by the bank pictured above. Isn't capitalism wonderful???


This is a shot looking eastward down the other well known downtown area called "Market Square". One of the more interesting things about this street (and for those readers from my neck of the woods, you're probably aware of this annual event) is that every year they hold something called the Waterfall Festival. The close off the road, set up booths manned by local businesses, borrow a large stage from Wethersfield for music, have some games and rides, and the centerpiece of the festival (which I will try in the fall to get pics of) are the chalk drawings/renderings that are done on the street by the local artists. Last year, I believe that they had about 25 participants for it.

And finally, this is a shot of the local CVS (doesn't everyone have a CVS?) I don't remember what the trees are called, since they're now completely green, but they were blooming when these were originally taken (April I believe). The red building in the foreground is the original firehouse for the town (there are now four stations in town: the newer version about a half mile from this; one about two miles from where I live near the West Hartford border; one near the southern end of town, and one tucked way in the back straddling the Newington/New Britain border), and it currently houses an antique firetruck that is hauled out every Memorial Day weekend for the parades.
I think now is a good time as any for another pit stop. I have to run another errand, but the CVS will be a decent place to grab something cold to drink and a small snack. There is a very nice wall just off to the side and I'll meet you there once I'm finished. In all seriousness, it's a pretty quiet parking lot since it's directly next to the lot is the local funeral home. But it can also be a bit boisterous as well, since directly behind the CVS is the local Masonic Temple.
Hope you enjoy this latest tour stop and hopefully, there won't be a two month gap in between stops.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Private Property

Happy Birthday Miss D!

A mixed flock of cardinals and blue jays were lounging about on their favorite oak tree, soaking up the sun and happily chirping away, when their morning revelries were broken by a pair of loud voices.

Frightened by the prospect of human contact, they all zoomed to the top of the tree, where their respective leaders of the flocks were relaxing and chilling. With hundreds of their brethren chirping and flapping madly, it took them quite a few minutes to figure out just what all the hubbub was about. Once they did, the two leaders gave one long piercing chirp to quiet them down, stretched their wings and went off to investigate.

"Charles?"
"Yes milady?"
"Tell me again why we're walking through this icky forest?" asked Dee, who was trying her very best not to touch anything beyond what was absolutely necessary.
"Certainly milady. You wanted to spend some time at the beach and you wanted as much privacy as you could possibly get."
"Okay. But how is tramping through this icky forest got anything to do with it?"
"Everything milady. This beach is located in the heart of the valley, which has been mostly untouched by human hands. And the owners of this beach are very particular as to who can swim and relax there."

Dee smiled at the thought of being one of the chosen few who wold be allowed to swim and relax there. Still, she was very puzzled as to why they were hiking there, instead of driving or flying.
"Charles?"
"Yes milady?"
"How come we aren't driving or flying there?"
"Because milady, it's only accessible on foot."
"Oh."

It only took the blue jay and cardinal a couple of minutes to arrive on the scene. Once they did, the blue jay power dived for a closer look, while the cardinal maintained a sentry outpost on a nearby tree. Unfortunately for the blue jay, his depth perception was a little off, so by the time he decided to pull up, he plowed straight into a pile of leaves.

Out of the corner of her eye, Dee saw a pile of leaves exploded into the air. Curious, she stopped for a moment to take a look. Peering inside, she thought she saw a little bird writhing around in pain. Taking a deep breath, she stuck her hand in, searched for a few seconds and pulled out a bird.

"Charles?"
"Yes milady?"
"What kind of bird is this?"
Charles stopped where he was and turned around to see what Dee was holding.
"Blue jay, milady."
Dee shrugged and placed the blue jay on top of her panama hat, before running after Charles.

The cardinal waited for a few more minutes to make sure that the blue jay was out of danger, then took off to fetch both flocks. By the time he reappeared with them, Dee and Charles were exiting the forest and stepping onto the beach.

Dee took a couple of tentative steps and almost by magic, felt all of her worries and troubles melt away. No more dealing with the unruly peons who didn't appreciate her talents. No more mindless pseudo responsibilities designed to make her feel important. Most importantly though, no more whiny, needy relatives to clog up her days and gum up her nights.

Inhaling the fresh mixed scent of wild flowers, daisies, daffodils, tiger lilies and mountain laurel, Dee felt her spirit take flight towards the mountain tops. Opening her eyes, she took a good look at her surroundings and simply fell in love.

She welcomed the cool breeze blowing off the lake with open arms as she sat down on the blanket that Charles had thoughtfully laid out for her before taking his leave. Digging her feet into the sand, she leaned back and let the natural warmth of the sand gently rock her to sleep.

The cardinal had the flock take up a few strategic positions within a quarter mile radius of where Dee was napping, before casually flying towards Dee. When he was about a couple of feet away, he began circling around her head so as to check on the condition of his friend.

So as not to wake Dee up from her nap, the cardinal dropped an acorn on top of his friend to get his attention. The blue jay poked his head up and flung the acorn back at the cardinal, who batted it away with his beak. Stretching his wings, the blue jay carefully hopped off the hat and waved the cardinal over.

They spent the next couple of minutes chirping in hushed tones, trying to decide on what to do next. Finally, after coming to a mutual understanding, the cardinal took flight while the blue jay hung ten on her shoulders. A couple of minutes later, the sky turned a mixed shade of cherry red and baby blue as the two huge flocks cane flying in for the big showdown.

The blue jay waited until the cardinal came to a rest on Dee's right breast, before joining him on the left. Once they were both properly situated, they began singing. Softly at first, they soon increased in volume until they became just loud enough to finally wake Dee up from her nap.

Dee was experiencing a restful sleep which included a few pleasant dreams when the choral sound of birds chirping gently penetrated her subconscious. Stretching, she opened her eyes and was pleasantly surprised to see two birds sitting on her chest joyfully singing. Looking around, she was even more surprised to see a large circle of birds, numbering about three rows deep, joining the two that were on her chest happily singing to the heavens.

Dee held out her hands and the two birds that were on her chest stepped onto them. Bringing them up to her face, they proceeded to snuggle up to her cheeks and sang ever so lightly in her ears. Dee felt so moved by the bird's singing that she began to cry. Not hard, but very, very softly, almost like when the morning dew drips from the branches to the ground.

The birds sang one final chorus, kissed her lightly on the cheek, and took flight. They were quickly followed by the rest of the flock and soon the sky was again engulfed in shades of cherry red and baby blue. Then, as abruptly as they arrived on the scene, they disappeared the same way, and Dee was soon left with a small seed of sadness in her soul.

With the sound of the bird's happy song still lingering in the air, Dee drifted back to sleep. But no sooner than she drifted off, she felt a hard poke in her side. Opening her eyes, she was very surprised to see her youngest daughter standing at the foot of the bed, holding a breakfast tray.
Rubbing her eyes, she sat up and asked, "What's this?"
"Happy birthday mommy! I made breakfast for you."
"Why thank you sweetie!"
"You're welcome."

Dee watched as her youngest daughter gave her a kiss and skipped happily out of the room. As she began to eat her breakfast of slightly burnt toast, warm cereal and cold coffee, she couldn't help but wonder if last night was all a dream, or did it really happen.

"Nah." she said to herself. Just then, she felt something sharp sticking into her. Reaching under her shirt, she pulled out, much to her surprise, a red feather.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(c) 2009 by GBMJr. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Flashing Georgie's Shorts

How do.

Just a quickie post.

I really would like to know if any of you good people are having problems accessing my other blog. That is, not loading properly, getting the infamous Operation Aborted error message, things missing, etc.

The reason that I ask, is that I'm slowly being driven insane (no pun intended) by the amount of aggravation I'm going through to maintain that particular blog, and if it keeps up, I will close it out and move it elsewhere.

Please, let me know if you have any complaints/aggravations that you're currently experiencing with my other blog, Flashing Georgie's Shorts. I do like producing content for the blog but I don't like getting aggravated while doing it. Right now, I feel like simply crying uncle and starting over from scratch.

Disconnected

Hi.

Todays short story post is an anomaly of sorts, in that I'm actually opening comments about it here. The reason being is that I'm looking for an answer to a question that's been bugging me about it ever since I wrote it.

Does it feel "finished" to you, or does it feel like I ended it too soon?

To me, I can never come to the same conclusion twice in a row about it. I read it once, and it seems finished. I read it again, and it seems that it should go on for another page or two.

Please give it a read and let me know what you think about it.

Note: there is one blatant swear word in the story, which you will see here in sentence number 3. My apologies if that type of language offends you.
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Brianna was sitting in the park, drinking a latte and having a casual conversation with her best friend Dale, when her cell phone went off. Excusing herself, she answered it and was floored by the text she'd received.

It said, "Bri, you weren't that good of a fuck, Dale is much better. Jim."

Click here for the full story and to leave a comment.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Write or Write?

Writing is the art of sitting on your ass and waiting for something to jiggle that gray mush inside your head.

Writing is the art of sitting on your ass and waiting for something to jiggle that gray mush inside your head.

Writing is the art of sitting on your ass and waiting for something to jiggle that gray mush inside your head.

Sounds redundant don't it?

In my case, writing is sitting on my ass and trying to come up with four coherent continuations of four distinct plot lines for four distinct stories.

To whit:

Story #1: I decided to write a story for a friend as a birthday present, much like I wrote one for another friend back in late May, called 1964. So I did the basic grunt work for it a couple of weeks ago, got the 411 and sat down the other day to write it. The problem I'm having right now is that I'm trying to make it clean as possible, but with the locale I'm using (the beach), is making it a little difficult to do. So far, I have two seabirds involved in the story and I just introduced my friend into the story. Just trashed all three pages written, so I'm back to square one on this. Update (7/7), I just finished this story over the holiday weekend. Once I get approval from my friend, I'll be posting it in four days for public consumption.

Story #2: I was in one of my moods about a month ago and went off on a writing splurge by starting four different short stories. I managed to finish three of those, plus one that I started back in December '08. I'm now stuck on the last one. The basic premise is that the main character suffers a cerebral hemorrhage.

Story #3: This is the story that I'm working on called "A Lascivious Limbo". Right now, I managed to create 30 pages of new stuff so far, out of 9 pages. Still working with the basic plot of the lead character stuck in Limbo and retelling the last few days of her life. Update: have cranked out another seven pages over the holiday weekend.

Story #4: This is a new one that I started handwriting also about a month ago. The working title is "Blackness in the White Sand". Basic plot is that the lead character was changed into a vampire and has 72 hours in which to find the person that did it and reverse the effects. Update, hand wrote another page and transcribed the previous 12 to the computer, which converted down to six pages. Pretty bad ratio of 2:1 (2 handwritten equals one page computer).

Also sprinkled in between these four sensible projects, are a few story ideas that have been percolating for the better part of two weeks, which were inspired by the following: tiger lilies, the song "Los Angelinos", and a shirt with a picture of a man BBQing that says "World's Greatest Dad" *(much needed shorts for the other blog. fortunately, what I got in the wings should last me until December). Please, use your imagination on where you think I might go with these. And yes, I am partially inspired by some of the readers of this here blog, on what direction I might go in. * Wrote three paragraphs so far.

Can't forget the trials and tribulations of the new book that's coming out in the fall as well.

And....can't forget the content that I create for this here blog. So boys and girls, simply put, I have both hands firmly implanted into one big fat, juicy apple pie (much like what's his name in American Pie who beats his....umm...thing with a fresh pie from the oven), which of course is a never ending source of amusement for myself and the people around me.

The purpose of this post, in spite of the tag that says Personal Opinion, is to simply give my friends here a basic update on where I am with my writing.

For as you know, the easiest way to blow a writer's mind is to ask him/her one simple question:

Write, or write?
~~~~~~~~~~~
One more question (to quote Columbo): Do you find it harder to write something original for yourself, for future public consumption? Or, do you find it harder to write something specifically for somebody?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

G's Adventures? Now! (3)

Part 2

Among the many things that our intrepid hero wanted to do with his next project was to write both a dedication and acknowledgement page. He realized that not only it was a good thing to do as it made the book look a little more professional, but it also pumped up his page count as well.

So he sat his rather large behind down and gots to writing. About twenty minutes later, he was finished. Now as fate would have it, one day after finishing both the dedication and acknowledgement, our intrepid hero's computer went Pfft~~~~~~~~~> and thus his hard work was temporarily lost.

Suffice to say, our intrepid hero was a bit distraught over this issue. But as luck would have it, three days later, our intrepid hero sat down at the household computer and wrote them out again. The ones he wrote out at that time are the ones he sent in.

Meanwhile, back at the regular computer. The regular computer was fixed about two weeks later, good as new and badder than ever (well, not quite so bad. 'twas the jack connector that had to be fixed). Our intrepid hero was able to retrieve what he wrote previously and was able to save it for use in future projects (two less things to worry about).

Our intrepid hero, being of unsound mind and flakiness of temper, has given Cedar's Mountain permission to post version 1 of both the dedication and acknowledgement pages, in the hopes that you'll appreciate the honest sentiment and heartfelt words contained within those pages.

The dedication page will be first, followed by the acknowledgement page. Enjoy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This book is dedicated to my family and friends in the Real World, who were gracious enough to take time out their busy day to offer robust compliments and gentle critique of my writing. Without their grateful and generous support, I would still be stuck in neutral, stubbornly satisfied with the end result.

I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of my friends in the Cyber World. The numerous friends that I made in the chat rooms are to this day invaluable; the many readers of Cedar's Mountain (http://cedarmountainnewengland.blogspot.com/) and Flashing Georgie's Shorts (http://gbmjr2flashy.blogspot.com/) are beyond a shadow of a doubt, second to none; the blogs that I've had the pleasure of discovering in the past year are too numerous to mention, but all have been a joy to read, learn from and comment on.

The advice given at times was comical, humorous and downright bizarre. At other times, it was brutally blunt and refreshingly honest. Through thick and thin, it was 100% appreciated and at the very least, listened to 97% of the time.

I am forever humbly and deeply in your debt, for without the support of you, I would be still writing for the enjoyment of myself.

Gracias.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Music Makes My World Go 'Round...V

After about a two month hiatus, it's my distinct pleasure to bring to you yet another peek at my CD cabinet. Unlike the last post, this one should be more upbeat and brimming with useless/useful factoids about the music that I listen to.

So as always, let's begin at the beginning.

1} I Need A Man by Jannie Funster. This particular CD was brought to my attention some time ago by the singer herself through her nifty little blog, and is available through her blog and at Waterloo Records in Austin TX. Anyways, all 13 tracks on the CD itself are very good. If you like music from the heart and with a little Texas twang, this CD is for you. My particular track favorites were tracks 1 (Hearts and Bones), 2 (Motorcycle Cop), 7 (What'll I Do With Me), 8 (Sugar Lady), and the lone instrumental on it, track 11 (Mystery Tune). Oh yeah, the reason I bought it? I like Jannie as a person, very warm and down to earth. Plus, she's a great musician.

2} Licensed To Ill by the Beastie Boys: I picked up this CD to replace the cassette I bought when it first came out in 1986 (yes, the Beastie Boys have been around for 23 years). And like everyone else, I bought for the track You Gotta Fight For Your Right. However, there are some other decent tracks on it, most notably, No Sleep til Brooklyn, Rhymin & Stealin' and She's Crafty. The amount of good white boy rap groups that are out there today you can count on two fingers, and the Beastie Boys are one of them. This is where it all began

3} No Depression by Uncle Tupelo: I heard a lot about Uncle Tupelo, mostly as a deceased band who gave birth to the alt-country bands Wilco and Son Volt. I happen to like alt-country, but trying to find it on college radio is damn near impossible. So when I happen to find this reissue of their debut album, I immediately snatched it up, partially because I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about and partially because I like alt-country/Americana. A very fine CD through and through. Contains all 13 tracks from the original release (rated 4 out 5 stars by AMG Guide to Rock music) plus 6 bonus tracks.

4} My Mother's Hymn Book by Johnny Cash: This particular CD was the second to last release by Johnny Cash on Rick Rubin's American Recordings/Lost Highways Records labels (the last being a five CD box set). I like Johnny Cash and I have all five of his previous releases on this label, so I thought that this would make a good addition to my collection. In a way it has, and in a way, it hasn't. The way it hasn't stems from the fact that by the time he made this CD, his voice was pretty much gone (was starting to go on V: The Man Comes Around), so it made it extremely difficult to appreciate the gospel songs that he was singing. If you're a Johnny Cash aficionado and need a CD to make your collection more complete, pick this one up. Otherwise, as much as it pains me to say it, don't.

5} The Dirty Boogie by The Brian Setzer Orchestra: I picked this one up as a used CD at FYE a couple of years ago. I made it a habit of picking up used CD's of certain artists I would want to listen to but was extremely loathe to shell out $20 for a new CD. I liked Brian Setzer from his days with the Stray Cats, and was curious about his extended foray into swing music. About the only song I recognize on this CD was Rock This Town, which was decent cover version, the title track is good, and a duet he did with Gwen Stefani called You're the Boss is fine as well. If you like swing music played the modern way with a guitar and orchestra, this CD is a fine representation of the genre.

6} Sixteen Stone by Bush: Bush was one of those rock bands from the UK that seemed to permeate the 90's with alarming frequency. This particular CD was a reissue of the 1994 release. I bought this one to replace the cassette. And like most bands from the 90's, their debut album was really the apex of their career. They made two more before fading from the scene. This one basically contains all their career chart toppers: Everything Zen, Little Things, Machinehead, and Glycerine.

7} Monster by R.E.M.: Another example of not wanting to spend gobs of money on a CD just for one song on it. I bought this used at FYE as well. Got it for the song What's The Frequency, Kenneth? and nothing else. For those of you who may not know (or just don't care) Michael Stipe wrote this song after an incident in which Dan Rather was attacked by a homeless person who kept asking him, "What's the Frequency Kenneth?" Actually, that sounds like a good idea for a future blog post: songs based on real life incidents One other track that you might recognize that got some radio airplay as well was Bang and Blame.

8} Hopkins (The Witching General) by Cathedral: Sill yet another example of experimenting on new artists and not wanting to spend gobs of money. Spent a $1.99 on it. Haven't listened to it yet, so I haven't a clue on what its all about.

9} Sinner by Drowning Pool: I bought this CD for one song and one song only, Bodies. If you want a good example of what your children are listening to, or what your friends are listening to, this CD is good place to start. Title track is good as well. A little known fact about the song Bodies is that this song was dropped from most commercial radio stations during the weeks that followed 9/11. This was due to the fact that the opening lyric to the song went like this, "Let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the....FLOOR!" Now if you couple this song with some of the images from 9/11 (most notably, I remember seeing a documentary on HBO that showed some incredibly disturbing images from that day), you can get the basic idea why this song was dropped for a while.

So there you have it folks, another look into the musical realm that makes up my personality.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wysinwyg

...and brushed away a few strands of hair from her face. I checked one more time to see if she was back on Planet Earth yet. Nada. She was still on whatever time continuum that the cannabis had originally deposited her on.

Sighing, I knew what I had to do. It didn't make it any easier for me knowing that it was the right thing to do. But yet, I still hesitated in doing it. Why? Maybe because I still respected her first as a person and secondly as a very beautiful woman that can still make the head turn in the male species.
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Click here for the full story and to leave a comment.

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