Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Didn't Know I Was Back On The Plantation

I have this as an avatar in the chat rooms:

Underneath it, I have this saying: "Labor unions are good eats!"

Disclaimer: I am a dues paying member in good standing. I have also seen more than my fair share of the good, the bad and the seriously ugly, simply due to the particular nature of my current job.

That being said, I hate state labor unions with a passion. Scratch that, as hate isn't that strong of a word. Despise would be a much better word to use.

I'm sure you're sitting there, asking the computer, which in this case is asking me, "G, according to your disclaimer, you're a dues paying member in good standing. Why would you say such a thing?"

A very good question. And hopefully with this post, I'll be able to give you a satisfactory answer to your query. At the very minimum, you'll get to uncover another part of my multi-faceted character.

I work for one of the 51 closed shops in these Fractured States of America. For those of you that don't quite understand what a closed shop is, a closed shop is by definition an entity in which you must be a member of a trade union or a guild in order to work for them.

As for the 51 biggest, the easy way to answer that is to whip out a Rand McNally and turn to the map showing the good old F.S. of A. That will show you the first 50. Number 51 is Washington, DC.

I actually make a distinction between unions for the regular slob (AFL/CIO and Teamsters for example) and the useless money siphoning pits of incompetence that fall under the umbrella of AFSCME (The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).

In my world, there is a saying among people like myself (clerical and other assorted drones who don't get no respect but are the ones who really run the work place): the tail wags the dog. Which basically is the state version of the inmates running the asylum.

The unions have got most state agencies so thoroughly cowed that they don't even put up a fight when they're right. Literally, they will cave in on an issue and actually pay someone to go away. Thousands upon thousands of dollars are wasted annually because the state pays bad employees to go away.

In the real world, bad behavior will get you fined and that you should thank your lucky starts that criminal charges aren't pressed. In my world, you can get caught doing most anything wrong, get fired, claim some bullshit nonsense and get some local yokel who doesn't live in the real world agree with your bullshit nonsense. The end result is that the taxpayer foots the bill for paying off these idiots to make sure that they go away, if they go away.

My other beef with the whack jobs that run the various labor unions, is that they follow the philosophy of no good deed goes unpunished. They make it a practice to save incredibly bad employees from themselves and help them keep their stupid job, but won't lift a finger to help save the job of a good employee.

I've seen a few very good employees unfairly disciplined and made an example of, simply because the union chose not to put up a good fight. I've even been on the receiving end of such behavior. The good employee makes one small slip up and they're instantly branded as incompetent for the rest of their state career, while the bad employee can perpetually screw up and yet somehow always finds a way to keep their job.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Something Old, Something New, Something Strange, Something True

While I was visiting the chat rooms the other day, I got to thinking about what other neat things I could add to this blog. Yes, I know its weird, thinking about something while doing something completely unrelated.

Yes, I learned my lesson about making any kind of change to this blog without first getting input from the people who would be most affected by it, which are the good friends who read this thingamajig.

The idea I came up will not take anything away from this blog, but in fact, enhance it greatly (I hope).

I'm thinking of doing a weekly post that will showcase the early history of Cedar's Mountain. This little old blog came into being some sixteen months ago, and while I presently have a fantastic reader base that appreciates what I write (for which I'm eternally grateful for), back then it wasn't the case. Why? Well, for starters, not too many people knew that I existed, and for enders, I didn't do as much surfing back then as I do now.

So what do you think? Would you be interested in experiencing this blog from the very beginning? To see how G has evolved from a blogger who used to post up to ten times a week to the blogger that he is today? To see what kind of topics he used to write about then, as opposed to what he writes about now?

Inquiring minds really want to know what your opinion is of this potential new feature.
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Moving onto a different tangent, I have another question to pose to you. Or at least after I write this particular part, maybe you can find the question for me.

Yesterday, I was over at Beat To A Pulp reading the latest piece of fiction that was published at the time (A Wild And Crazy Night by John Kenyon. Good story BTW), when I decided to take a look at my story to see if anyone left any more comments to it.

Sure enough, someone did, although it has left me somewhat puzzled. The comment that the commenter left said this: Very nice George. I like this side of you better. Keep up the good work.

Now I appreciate any and all comments I get for my writing, but this one left me stumped. Why? Well, for starters the person who left the comment knows me from elsewhere, and by elsewhere, I mean the real world. Secondly, the name that the person left, although cryptic, does give me a few hints as to their identity.

I guess what I'm trying to ask is this: Have you ever had someone who made a comment about a story or blog post of yours, who may know you rather intimately but leaves their identity surrounded in murkiness, and thus throw you for a loop with the comment?

Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm Popular? Shoot, I Thought I Was Respected.*

*Many thanks to Joey's Pad for the blog idea

"I'm popular. I have lots of cash, I'm popular. I drive a new car, I'm popular"-Nada Surf.

"RESPECT MY AUTHORITY!!!"-Eric Cartman.

Popularity. Obtaining popularity is like hitting a beach ball with a whiffle ball bat. In other words, easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Respect. Obtaining respect is like hitting a golf ball with a javelin from two hundred yards away. In other words, wickedly difficult but not utterly impossible.

We all strive to be either one or the other in the Cyber World. If you become insanely popular, does that mean you're respected too? Or, if you're incredibly respected, does it mean that you're popular as well?

I follow a few blogs that have become insanely popular. By insanely popular, I mean that they have at least 1,000 followers and in one case, about 5,000 subscribers. But do I respect them? Not particularly. Sure they're wickedly funny and incredibly informative, but I certainly don't go out of my way to visit each and every day. And I certainly don't worry if I get into a war of words with another commenter and get warned by the owner to tone it down.

On the opposite side of the coin, there are a slew of blogs, that while not approaching that level of popularity (but are popular nevertheless), I have the utmost respect for. They're thoughtful, witty and insightful, and most importantly, treat the reader with respect and courtesy. With those blogs, I play nice.

This leads us to the big question of what do you strive to be as it pertains to your blog? Do you want to be popular, have gobs of acquaintances, and very few friends? Or, do you want to be respected, have gobs of friends and be known as an all around good egg?

I'll start the ball rolling with me. I think that in the beginning my main goal was to become popular in the blogging world. I knew early on that I would be facing an uphill battle, simply because I wasn't writing a humor blog. As the months progressed, I became popular, though not in the way I originally envisioned. I also started to become a little more respected during that same time period. Eventually, becoming respected easily out distanced becoming popular.

I like to think that its because of my eclectic mix of topics that I chose to bloviate about and the way that I go about writing them. The reason why I think this way is because last month, I wrote a post about having my weekly numbers drop. I decided to ask my good readers what they would like to see more of.

Unfortunately, the way I went about wording the post and the genuine reaction to what people though I might do (change the content), convinced me that to do any kind of major changes to the blog would alienate my regulars and potentially turn off any new people who might stay longer than a quick drive by.

While change can be a good thing, sometimes making a change to where a change shouldn't be made can be fatal.

Remember this? Coke, Coke II, Coke Classic.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Green

They say that green is the color of spring. Some may say that it's simply a matter of yellow and blue, and therefore not as important as the two primaries that created it. Still others say that green is what you become when you're passionate about the environment.

Finally, the majority of us become green, because green is what we're flushed with after every payday. Yes, green is a multi-faceted word that is easily manipulated to suit one's needs, no matter what that need may be.
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Click here for the full story and to leave a comment

I Am So Good That Sometimes I Truly Scare Myself

Yes, I know this is a rare double post, but something happened to me last week that I want to share with all of you. Consider this to be another warning about chat rooms.

As many of you are aware, I still spend quite a bit of time in the chat rooms. I go there mostly to socialize with some of the many friends that I've made in the past couple of years, simply because there are no topics worth discussing about.

But, the reputation that I developed in the first fourteen months of my chat room life, apparently can still pack a mean wallop. About a week ago, I decided to visit a particular forum that I hadn't shown my face in quite some time at.

Due to a falling out that I had with a group of people of Facebook, I made it a point to surf for a thread where none of these former friends of mine were at. Out of sight, out of mind, you know, time wounds all heels. Anyways, I found a little poll that someone made accusing a group of people of being a troll.

Even though one of my earlier personas (the namesake of this blog) hasn't been used since December '08, apparently someone decided to privately accuse me of being this particular troll. Which I thought was incredibly hilarious, but in all seriousness, demonstrated a serious lack of judgement by the person who made the accusation to begin with.

If you go here, scroll down to the post left by this blog's namesake, and you'll see the tamest opening and closing salvo in this latest skirmish of Internet stupidity. If the link doesn't work by the time this post kicks in, it means that the thread was removed by the Topix moderators.

The reason for this post, is threefold: 1) it shows the lasting power of a well developed reputation in a chat room; 2) it also shows how a particular someone spends their spare time in their pathetic little life, which is harassing and stalking people online, both in the chat rooms and privately through e-mails; and 3) it shows that to needlessly drag someone into a juvenile pastime can eventually backfire, simply because the dragee might have enough weapons at their disposal to make life a living hell for that individual if they so choose.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Music Makes My World Go 'Round-The Vinyl Edition

Vinyl.

I adores vinyl. Actually, adore is too weak of a descriptive word. Love is much better.

Take two: slaps a piece of wood down on the table

I loves vinyl. While I may have been pulled kicking and screaming into the modern times by becoming a 21st Century Digital Boy, vinyl has always been my first true passion.

So take a seat in my Mustang convertable and join me in a musical road trip, as I explore my extensive vinyl collection, as well as the various back roads that I will explore whenever I feel the need to take a road into the unknown. When you see this *, it denotes that a future post will cover it in greater detail.

We'll first start off this road trip by introducing you to my record collection. I have, at last count, about 2,500 albums and about 1,000 45's. I acquired these in the usual ways.

1} I purchased new or used (Intergrity n' Music is an excellent store for slightly used music in all genres, with a heavy specialization in Jazz).
2} I acquired through non-nefarious means (got as leftovers from friends, co-workers and family).
3} Received as gifts (brother would find stuff while on road trips or doing home improvement jobs. got a batch of about 100 45's that my brother found on the side of the road one day).

I have about 90% of the most frequently used albums properly stored away (heavy duty wooden cubes that I got at a place called the Mill Stores, with the remaining 10% stashed away in large storage tubs.

I have almost every genre* imaginable that could be found during the time frame of the mid-1950's through the early 1990's. I also have about twenty or so boxed sets* scattered throughout my collection. I have an extensive reissue* collection as well.

As for the 45's, I haven't actively pursued or purchased them in a couple of years. The reasoning is pretty simple. I prefer to by the album for the song, because the true adventure in music lies in not listening to the occasional hit from an artist (that's why I loathe greatest hits collections), but from exploring the album from which the hit song came from.

I want to close out this particular post by sharing a strange tidbit about myself. Before sticking my collection in a database, I originally put it on index cards. First the albums went on 5x8's, then the songs were crossed indexed on 3x5's. This took me about six years to do. Now, in order to keep myself occupied while doing this, what do you think I listened to? That's right, music.

And what music?

That's right, my entire music collection. I listened to (at the time) all 1,000 albums, all my boxed sets, and all of my 45's while doing this. From the beginning to end. Good music. Average music. Mediocre music. I listened to it all.

I loves vinyl.

But more importantly, I loves music.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Is Motivated

"Testing, testing, 1, 2, 1, 2. Are we good?"

sound engineer gives him a thumbs up.

"Good, good. Are we ready then?"

director gives him a five fingered countdown

"Good afternoon and welcome to 'How do you do what you do when it's due?', where we tackle the topics that only a show whose Neilson rating is lower than a re-run of Davy and Goliath on C-Span 2 would have the gumption to do. I'm your host, the effervescent Bobby Bummer!

"Our topic of choice today is motivation, and here to share his lack of viewpoint of the subject, the wonderfully-talented-with-the-ginormous-ego-owner-of-two-only-important-in-his-mind-blogs, G".

G gives a puzzled look, then answers in tone dripping with sarcasm: Thanks for that gracious introduction Bob!

BB completely oblivious to how pissed off his guest is: Thanks G. So, let's get right down to the bare minimum, the rock bottom, the dirt cheap...

G: Bob...

BB: the skinny, the low down, the I can get it for you at wholesale..,.

G: Bob!

BB Bob falls out of the chair and cracks his head on the floor: Oomph!

G shakes his head in disgust, looks at his watch and holds it up.

the scores for the local football league suddenly appear on the screen: 25-21, 21-19, 19-17, and 2-0

Stoner dude walks across the stage, gives G a low five, then grabs Bob by the ankles and drags him off the stage. He then reappears and takes the seat formerly occupied by Bob

Stoner takes a deep drag off his roach: Dude! It says here on this piece of paper that I should ask you how do you get properly motivated to write?

G takes the roach and takes a hit for himself: Good stuff there kiddo.

Stoner: Gnarly.

G: Right-O. Anyways, it all depends on what kind of story I want to write. For instance, if I want to write a story that is either angry or sad, I think about something that makes me either incredibly angry or incredibly sad. Nothing worse than trying to write something angry and you're happy as a pig in shit.

Stoner takes the roach back and takes another hit: Whoa, that is so deep. Is that all you do before you write?

G: Pretty much. takes out a bottle of tequila and takes a swig Wanna hit? Good stuff, make you mellower than a cat laying in the grass on a sunny afternoon soaking up the sun with its tummy.

Stoner: Sure.

G takes the bottle back: Anything else you wanna ask me?

Stoner: Ummm...wait a minute. searches his pockets for a few seconds before pulling out a crumpled piece of paper Yeah...why are most of your characters raving sex maniacs? Furthermore, why do you use sex as a weapon? Finally, what's it like to know that you'll always be an unpublished has been?

G leaps out of his chair and spears the stoner to the ground. Quickly climbing on top, he pins his shoulders with his knees and starts dropping heavy bombs, turning the stoner's face into a bloody crimson mess.

Suddenly, the screen goes blank and we hear the breathless voice of Bobby Bummer over the X-rated verbiage spewing forth in the background say


"Tune in next week for our exclusive pay per view broadcast of the second part of this interview!!!"
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My good friends, since this post was such a boffo hit, I will try to write the pay per view followup to this. Don't touch that dial!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Black and Black

A look of total surprise and shock appeared on her face as I emptied the bucket of pond water all over her. I handed the empty bucket to Jon, clapped my hands and took a pond lily off her head and handed it to her.

Jon must have seen something that I, being in the middle of a happy dance, didn't see. He dropped the bucket, took a couple of steps back, said, "He did it!" then took off running.
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Click here for the full story and to leave a comment

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grunt Retail: My Morning Is Your Night

For about thirty years (mid 70's through early 2001) I used to work what I like to call, "grunt retail". Grunt retail is defined (in my humble opinion) as working in jobs for low pay, requires no brain cells and there's at least a 98% chance of no advancement. Actually, the same definition can be applied to government work, but I digress.

My version of grunt retail basically covered the following industries: Newspapers (paper boy), Groceries (supermarket cashier), Restaurant (pizza delivery) and Retail (gas station/convenience stores, or c-stores for short). Although I have quite a few stories to tell about the first three (most notably, meeting up with a hooker while delivering pizzas), today's post will kick off a new work series entitled 3rd Shift Grunt, which will cover my third stint (1992-94) working the overnight in the gas station/c-store industry. The first two were back in the mid-80's which totaled about six months. They weren't really noteworthy (was in my early 20's), so this will be the only mention those two stints will get.

I originally didn't start out to work the overnight. Being a diabetic (and a very stupid one at that) it would require really screwing up my meds in order to work the shift. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed working 1st and 2nd shift, because it gave me some decent flexibility throughout the week.

But as luck would have it, the one time I brought a book into work to read, it basically cost me my sanity for the next year and a half. I had a customer come in one night and after he'd made his purchase, I returned to my book. I eventually saw him leave about ten minutes later. The next day I was called into work and got reamed out by the owner. Seems that the customer opened an entire box of expensive baseball cards looking for a special insert, thus making the box unsaleable.

Suffice to say, after being reamed and spending the day sweeping up the sand around the parking lot (thing was about a quarter mile circle) I was given the option of either losing my job (fired) or moving over to 3rd shift.

Well, since my wife was pregnant with my son at the time, and that there weren't no other opportunities on the horizon, there really wasn't any other option for me.

I said yes.
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Up next: Mentally and physically preparing myself for the overnight.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm A Somebody!

Greetings and Salutations!

It's simply a great day to be someplace else, isn't it?

So please, come join me as I take a leisurely stroll to visit Beat To A Pulp, where my short story Cedar Mountain has found a brand spanking new home to hang ten at.

Three cheers and a tiger for me, for I am now a commercially published somebody!

YAY!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Going Native

Sal was leaning over the hood of his car, studying the road map, when something bright yellow briefly crossed in his line of vision. Looking up, he caught sight of a young woman about the age of twenty-five, carrying a backpack and strolling casually across the parking lot.

He checked her out as she walked towards an idling muscle car. Black hair the color of coal, tan complexion, palm sized tits, tight ass, super tight blue jeans, halter top, a see through floral printed top, and high tops. Hoo boy, this woman is hot, thought Sal as he watched her lean over to talk to the driver.
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Click here for the full story and to leave a comment

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's Never Simple

Good morning everyone! I am back and feeling somewhat better from Thursday's minor medical procedure (boil on neck removed). The three day break helped tremendously, because between the procedure and seriously jacked up sugars, I was pretty much burnt toasties for the weekend. Hopefully, the culture will come back negatory tomorrow and thus the worlds can be properly aligned. And now, on with our show.

Writing a blog post.

Sometimes, writing a blog post is incredibly easy. You pick a topic or the topic comes to you, and just like that, the words start flowing out. Next thing you know, you got a brand spanking new post that is ready to be unleashed to the world.

But sometimes, writing a blog post is like pulling teeth. You sit there, staring at a blank document on your computer screen, or in my case, staring at a blank piece of paper, and nothing comes out. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Or say you come up with a topic, but you have problems on what to say, or you know what to say, but you can't rein yourself in. What do you do then?

Using me as an example (and why not?), I can truthfully say that I write wordy posts. Always have and always will. A a matter of record, the only short posts I've written, were the lead in's to my shorts on my other blog. Go on, I'll wait for a few minutes while you click on the tag "Two Page Shorts" and verify my statement.

Whistles "Life Sucks Then You Die" by the Fools while waiting

Was I right? Of course I was.

I will say that I have admiration for the following people:

Lynn
Jannie Funster
David Cranmer
Pamela Villars
Talon
Septembermom

These people can write the shortest posts imaginable and yet get their point across like no other. I salute their ability to do what I can't.

Now back to me.

I actually had a topic of choice for this post, which was walking. But somehow, it morphed into writing about writing a blog post. So the only mention that this post had about walking, was this short paragraph.

Also came up with another topic while writing about this one. And since we're near the end of the post, now would be a good time as any to share it with you.

I spent the past half hour writing this post outside today (8/5, yeah I know. I really am that far ahead). I sat on a rocking bench in my front yard and savored the cool evening breeze while writing this post. The breeze was an enjoyable switch from the mugginess of the day. Directly in front of me and directly to my right, I saw people walking their dogs.

Off to my left, I watched the sun slowly drop in between the trees and get ready to go to bed. Off in the distance, I can hear the high pitch whine of someone's lawn mower. I can hear a child down the road laughing. I can hear a few birds from the mountain chirping and singing.

Yes indeed, it is never quite that simple.

But sometimes, it really is.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming Yet Again.

Hiyas.

In keeping with the unique nature of this blog and the fact that I believe that a well informed reader is always a good thing, the spiffy post that you would normally see here is in fact not.

In its place is a simple announcement that I am taking a brief hiatus from blogging. I had a minor medical procedure done yesterday, and so as not to inflict my sure to be incredibly irritated frame of mind on everyone here, I will not be around until the 7th.

I should be back to my semi-abnormal self by then.

Until then, please explore the tags off to your left and have a sparkling day. Or, enjoy reading about one of my worst customer service experiences ever, and still have a sparkling day afterwards.

Also, while I won't be responding to all of your comments until I get back, I will make sure that they are published in a timely manner. Nothing worse than you making a comment and having it hang for three or four days.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Eyes Are Following

Gerald walked into the bakery, inhaled the sweet aroma of glazed honey buns and fresh brewed coffee, and yet somehow, felt uncomfortable. Granted the pastries in the baker had enough sugar in them to make the aroma jack up his sugar fifty points, but still felt something was amiss.

The uncomfortable feeling started the minute he stepped off his apartment stoop and began his daily walk. It was a beautiful sunny day in the city and it seemed like everyone was doing the exact same thing as he was.
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Click here for the full story and to leave a comment

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Inspired By...

Ever wondered about those annoying little inspirational do-hickeys that seem to open every single story on Flashing Georgie's Shorts? Didja, huh? Didja?

Well wonder no more, because the cough, cough legendary COUGH, COUGH G is gonna explain it to you.

Like most creative people, I simply can't just sit down and write something. Be it a blog post (like this) or a short story, I have to be inspired (or motivated, take your pick) by someone or something, before I can start writing.

I say about eighty percent of the time, a song inspires me to write something, while the other twenty percent is split among other items like people, places, things, chance snippets of conversations or other stories. Even wrote a short story based on a verse from the Bible.

Because I feel that the way I get my inspiration to write is somewhat unique, I want to share it with the world at large. That's why I put those little blurbs at the beginning of my stories, so that you can get yet another glimpse into what makes G, G. Google some of the songs that inspire me.
~
If anything, you'll be pleasantly surprised at my taste in music.

Almost forgot the requisite question that is the de rigeur of this blog: What things inspire you to write?

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) 2008-17 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