Saturday, December 31, 2011


New year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

As promised (still nothing)

 Those piers/pillars are the problem with the block, notice the stack bond, no other way to do it. That corner at the right side of the house, same problem. Also, the caps on the pillars, same problem. Aged caps are useless for this application, went with a 14 inch double sided product and, again, split our own ends.
 The pavers are Mista, a product I have used before. I like them, they are strong, standing up to my method of installation (tap devil), which I can't find anymore. I also use heavy rubber mallets, avoiding the dead blow that many contractors are using, I tend to break them, which makes a mess!
Had a helper on this job (several in fact), John straightened out some of my mistakes and did a great job setting that big step. Dalton and Logan carried all the pavers in from the street, the ground was too soft to  get them back with the spider! John and I wheelbarrowed 18 ton of modified, the boys and I hauled in 2 ton of sand, and I swept in 1/2 ton of river jack today, again, all from the street!

All in all it was good job, these pavers (with the river jack swept in) are mostly permeable, limiting run-off. If we do get water laying in that curvey spot, I will drill some weep holes, but I don't anticipate this occurring.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Because I got nothing

Techo-Bloc: a good product, but, as with anything, drawbacks. I just finished a job using Mini-creta plus, 6 inch block. No stinkin' corners. Okay, that is not exactly true, but the corners they supply are almost useless. The above picture is the corner supplied. Notice that this is a double sided block, so any corner has to be 'split-face' as well. That block can be split with a splitter or a chisel, but only to about 2 inches from those grooves you see. This forces cuts elsewhere in the wall to make up distances. Another drawback to this type of corner is the fact that all the other joints in the wall are tight, but when you have to butt up against a split face block, gaps are left, hurting the final product. 
So I am going to head to the showcase and try to explain to the sales-people this problem. I know the solution is expensive for Techo, and that they are going to tell me to use another product for square corners, but Techo is not the only manufacturer with this problem. Perhaps pointing that out will open their eyes. They need to understand that some of us smaller contractors can't force our customers to change products, that might cause us to lose business.
Tomorrow I will post photos of the job in question.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Long, cold, day

I do not like it when the wind howls and it is below 40 degrees. It sucks to be outside. And then I can't get warm. And I forget to pick up stuff cause I am cold and tired. Maybe I will pick up the monitors tomorrow, when I maybe finish the job I didn't get done today 'cause it was so damn cold and because it was bigger than I thought. Oh goes on, and now I am procrastinating on everything.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day one of the new habits

Yes, I added all the food I ate and my workout to the calorie counter thingy. I finished the day with calories left!!!
Played with my awesome Christmas presents, new shoes and pedals for the bike. First time with a cleat type pedal, thankfully in the basement of my torturer/friend. Completely different feel, better, more controlled, and easier to think about the technique of pedaling; yeah, more to remember than in a golf swing.
He had me do half and hour of one of Coach Troy's hill climb workouts, I am sure there is more pain in my future!
So that is two out of three habits I wanted to start, right? Now I need to get cracking on that novel I have been working on for years.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Other habits

So, now that blogging is a habit, here are some other habits I need to be saddled with:

YMCA Resolution Revolution; it helped me drop about 15 pounds last year, most of which I gained back because I lost the habit.
My Fitness Pal; This helped me lose the original 25 pounds a few years ago, watching what I ate was very important...then I became busy and lost the habit...
More bike rides!

That will help me with my Triathlons next year; yes, plural!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Off the cuff

Because now it is a habit of sorts and I probably wouldn't be able to sleep unless I posted something, I will just fiddle around with the keyboard for a little bit.
Christmas is over, again, another year, more changes, and more happiness. Smaller gathering, great food, and pleasant conversation.
Read about some Christmas Zombies, rather disturbing but interesting at the same time. The mind works in odd ways I guess, and when something needs to get out, it needs to get out!
Work, work, work...and then some more work in my future, hopefully back in the pool tomorrow evening though, ran some today, and got awesome bike stuff for Christmas!!!!
Now that things are settled, even though I say it all the time, I hope to get back to the story, it was moving for a little while, then it stopped, then it moves, then it stops, like life I guess.
The rest of the world is going nuts, has anyone noticed? Each side of every issue has been taken of by fringe activists; there is very little compromise. No taxes, raise taxes. No cuts, cut everything. What happened to targeted cuts and targeted taxes? Oh, and don't get me started on Social Security. Now all of a sudden it is a tax not a contribution to a retirement fund? Really? So when Republicans wanted to privatize the program, letting people take care of their own money, that was a bad thing, but now that a Democrat President has cut the rate of our contributions, allowing us to keep more of our money, it is a good thing. Freaking hypocrites, the lot of 'em.
Okay, now that I have fallen into the political trap it is time to hit Publish.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Before Him

Before the shepherds saw the star
Some tended flocks of men,
This was not new.
Before the birth of one
Came other births foretold;
This was not new.
Before the tree, adorned for Him,
 Other trees were decorated;
This was not new.
He was given this day
Not to create a faith,
But to renew a faith.
He was given this day
To open the eyes of those who could not see:
A gift of life,
A gift of sight,
A gift of love.
He was given to be taken,
So we wouldn’t be:
This was new.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Rumi, pg. 63

“If we are not together in the heart, what’s the point?
When body and soul are not dancing,
There is no pleasure in colorful clothing.” (Barks, The Big Red Book, pg. 62)
Ahhh, Rumi! Timeless again, don’t ya think? Live it, love it. Embrace your “God”, live your faith, whatever that faith may be. Imagine life without faith…it is so empty.
Gotcha…immediately some readers assumed I meant religious faith, Christian Fatih, when all I meant was faith, a belief in something. There are powers greater than we puny humans, and as soon as we admit it, we begin to have faith in something other than ourselves. A belief that nature will continue to thrive is faith, thinking that nature is weaker than humans is not faith, it is blasphemy against Mother Earth. A belief in Reincarnation is faith, belief in God is faith, and belief in your fellow man can be faith as well.
But it isn’t enough to just have faith, one live the faith as well. Going to your church on your Sabbath and then ignoring your God the rest of the week is not faith. Joining in with the faithless to denigrate the power of nature, to claim that humans are more powerful than nature, and that humans can change something as immense as the planet is not healthy; walking along in a local park, picking up a few pieces of trash along the way, and reveling in the beauty that surrounds us while understanding that at any time, nature can take us out, that is faith.

Okay, disjointed as hell, and useless, really, but that is where the brain went when I sat down to type. The body and the soul have to be together or life is no fun. Worrying all the time about things we can not change, that is part of the no fun, let it go, let your heart dance with your soul!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nada (9) the real end

Yeah, not bad at all. $250,000 to split in half, the drugs to the third member of the team, free and easy. He was spending the money in his head, so he didn’t notice the police car behind him. He did see the two cars nosed into the road in ahead though, but wasn’t worried about that, there was nothing to connect him to the shooting back at the parking area. He slowed as he approached the two cars, glanced in his rear-view mirror, as everyone does when they hit the brakes, and had his first taste of fear.
Can’t be for me, he thought, must be a coincidence.
He let the truck glide to a stop on his side of the road, taking in the scene before him. Four officers, one of them holding the leash of what had to be a drug sniffing dog. They were tense, seemingly expecting a fight.
Ransom lowered the drivers side window with his left hand while leaving his right hand on the top of the steering wheel where the officers could see it. He had learned this long ago, keeping your hands in sight helps the officer relax during a routine stop. When the window was down he added his left hand to the top of the steering wheel.  Ransom had expected to see the other police car pull out and around him so he was surprised when the first officer to address him did so from behind.
“Please turn the vehicle off and step out, sir,” the officer called.
Ransom looked in his side mirror and saw the officer that had addressed him, he was standing behind the truck, in a posture that allowed Ransom to know there was a weapon in play. Keeping his left hand on the wheel, he reached for the keys in the ignition with his right, all the while the fear was growing. When the truck stopped running he very slowly exited, he did not want to get shot, not now, not when he had $125,000 to spend.
“Lay on the ground with your hands and legs spread,” the same officer ordered.
Now Ransom was truly scared. This was not a routine stop, this was not a simple road-block to question all comers. It was as he was laying down and spreading his legs when he realized that he had not seen another car in either direction, none had passed him as he drove toward town, and none had pulled up behind the police car. He laid his cheek on the asphalt which still held the heat of the day, closed his eyes, and began to wonder what had gone wrong.
He barely heard the cop explain his rights, only half grasped the ramifications of the Hello Kitty bag the dog had found in the back of his truck, and just could not register the appearance of an automatic weapon from behind his passenger seat.
“Where’s the money?” a police officer was continually asking him, using different words, different tones, but always the same question, “Where’s the money.”
Ransom couldn’t bring himself to tell the officers where he had put it, mostly because he knew it wouldn’t be there anymore, but also because he wasn’t 100% sure it was Joe who set him up. Even as he was placed in the back of the patrol car that had idled behind his truck this whole time, Ransom wouldn’t tell them where the money was, always the optimist, expecting it to be there when he got out of prison.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nada (8)

“I think I’m just gonna head home,” Ransom replied, “Jane will be wondering where I’ve been, I forgot to call.”
“Alright,” Joe said as they headed down the hill to Ransoms truck, “leave your bike here, we’ll ride on the weekend.”
“Sounds good,” Ransom said as he climbed into his truck and fired it up.
Pulling out of the drive, Ransom flipped open his phone and searched for the home number while driving with one hand and trying to put his seatbelt on. He gave up on the phone, realizing crashing would be a bad thing, and got the seat belt fastened. At the first stop sign, he found the number na dhit send. His normal drive home would take him straight through the stop sign, but he turned left so he could drive past the parking area. He and Joe had heard sirens but didn’t comment on them as they were building the wall. He had just achieved the 35MPH speed limit when the phone was picked up on the other end.
“Hey baby,” Jane said, the smile in her voice evident, “didja get lost?”
“Nope, we did a little work on the wall after the ride,” Ransom explained, “ and I forgot to call, sorry about that.”
“No problem, I knew who you were with,” Jane said, “on your way now?”
“yeah, be there in 20 minutes or so.”
“Just in time for dinner then,” Jane said, “I did chicken.”
“Great, I’m starved.”
They reaffirmed their love and each hung up about the time Ransom rounded the bend that concealed the parking area from the north. The lot was jammed with cars; marked and un-marked police cars, two ambulances, and a couple of trucks. There was no one directing traffic so there was no reason for Ransom to stop, but not slowing to rubberneck might set off an alarm in a more seasoned cop. He slowed, took note of the two zippered up body bags on gurneys behind each ambulance and flipped his phone open again.
Hitting the right name he began to accelerate around the southern bend that also hid the parking area. These two bends were the main reasons Mario had chosen the spot for the deal. It shocked Ransom that Luigi had accepted, it was more secluded than most Sicilians liked for their drug deals. The phone he had called was answered.
“Nice shooting,” Ransom said.
“We almost didn’t make it out of there before your crazy buddy stuck his head up,” Craig said, sounding pissed, “Frank thought he was made switching out the goomba’s gun.”
“Joe didn’t say anything,” Ransom said, “I don’t think he would have crossed the street had he seen Frank.”
“Yeah, well, did ya get the stuff? We were too busy scramming to see how that played out.”
“Perfectly,” Ransom replied, “I told you I knew him. He grabbed a bag before I even suggested it, he thinks it was all his idea.”
“You better hope so,” Craig said, “did you put the money in the wall?”
“Yeah,” Ransom answered.
“Good. How about the coke?”
“He’s planning on dumping it in the creek tonight, until then it is in the pile of stones at the south-east corner of his house, under a couple of granite pieces.”
“How the f*&^ am I supposed to see granite in the dark?” Craig spit out.
“Just wait till he comes out to dispose of it,” Ransom said, “Then take care of it, take care of it all.”
With that he pushed the end button, held it so the phone would turn off, and turned up the radio. Not a bad day after all, he thought.

Question for my readers

I was driving along today and realized I didn't tie up a thread...first reader to let me know what I left hanging gets a prize.
Oh, and is it a good thing or a bad thing that I am thinking about Joe and Ransom while driving along?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nada (7)

(December 20, 2011) A slight aside here; the characters and settings, while very close to reality, are about to change. For those who have been following, who think they know Joe and Ransom, please do not take anything that happens next as a premonition, a desire, a need, a want, or anything that might occur in reality. Seriously. Ideas are often fleshed out in this manner, using what is comfortable, and then, BAM, that character you thought was you turns out to be an axe murderer on the side, or that character you thought was your wife was really Chuck Norris in drag and she/he’s about to kick some ass.
In other words, as the characters develop, they will move away from the comfortable, and I, the writer, will go with them. I can’t help it. I can’t stop it. It just is.

Ransom then grabbed the cord and headed around the house to the outlet, arriving back at the mixer just as Joe walked up with the drinks.
“Am I mixing or are you?” Joe asked.
“If I remember correctly, it’s your turn,” Ransom replied.
Joe set to work adding the water, sand, and mortar to the spinning drum as Ransom began to pick out stones for the wall. He was looking for mostly white stones so they would remember where the bag was hidden and so the lack of mortar would not show as easily. Ransom had devised a plan while burying the bag and plugging in the mixer. The face of the wall where the bag was hidden would look mortared solid, like the rest of the wall, but the back wouldn’t be mortared at all. Above the bag they would place a large stone that could be lifted off when the time came to count the money.
“Any ideas on how to do this,” Joe asked, breaking Ransoms train of thought.
“Yeah,” Ransom answered, “We’ll work on this section where the back is lowest. The bag will go in first, we’ll pile stone around it, and set that big one over there above it. We’ll use a couple of thin stones on the face here, then we’ll do the same thing about 6 feet down the wall. One big one in back, thin ones out front. It’ll look like we know what we’re doing.”
“Sounds good, I’ll dump this batch and get the next one started, looks like we have a lot to do.”
They worked on the wall for a couple of hours, Joe’s wife Linda had come and gone and the sun was dropping behind the trees in the west.
“That’ll do it,” Ransom said as they set the second big stone. “Now it looks the same, no one will think to look in a stone wall for a bag full of cash.”
“Let’s clean up and grab something to eat,” Joe said, “I’m starved.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

A little politics

Since no one is clamoring for more J & R, time for some politics.

Bullcrap Congress in not headed for a stand off, Democrats are. The house passed the bill with a year extension (something I do not agree with at all), and the Senate sent back a bill with a two month extension. This is a cut in 'payroll tax', like if you dropped your 401k contribution 2%. This is NOT a good thing people, this is the tax we have to pay if we are to keep the Ponzi scheme alive.
But, of course, it all has to be framed as 'partisan' because the children in Washington have no clue what it means to either work for a living, or, GASP, pay other people to work for a living. Not telling companies what percentage to pull from paychecks in two weeks is INSANE, and then expecting companies to simply change again in two months? Really?
This is going to be an insane election year, maybe for fun the Democrats can actually pass a budget (1000 days and counting, when did the constitution become moot?)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Nada (6)

…too connected to either of us.”
“That’s way to Law and Order for me,” Ransom said, tossing the drug bag into the fire pit after gazing longingly into its empty depths.
“But if we were seen and the cops search our houses or work we’ll be SOL.”
“We were SOL when we crossed the road with our cell phones still in our pockets,” Ransom pointed out, “and by experience, when you hide something in a place that is not connected to you, sometimes that something is found by somebody else and you lose your something to the other somebody and they won’t even give up a little of the something.”
“If we stash the money under a rock on somebody’s farm, the farmer’s daughter might find the money, and even though we would have the start of a bad joke, we would be out…how much was there again? Oh, that’s right, you didn’t want to count it.”
“Linda could come up the drive at any minute,” Joe pointed out.
“And when we finally count it, how will you explain it to Linda?”
“The same way you explain your stripper money to Jane.”
“You mean my ‘used to be stripper money’; I use it for gas more often than not these days,” Ransom corrected Joe. “But back to where to stash it. I say we quick mix a batch of mud, wrap the Pokémon bag in a couple of trash bags, and stick it in the wall we’re building out back.”
“How would we get to it?” Joe asked.
“We’re smart feller’s,” Ransom pointed out, “we’ll figure it out as we build. It wouldn’t be the first time we worked on the wall after a ride and it would explain why we finished early…other than a very slight concern for my continued use of the Earths oxygen for something other than decomposition.”
Joe tossed the other black gym bag on the fire, added another two logs from the pile, and grabbed the Hello Kitty bag.
“I’ll stash this in the rock pile over there,” he said, pointing to one of the piles he and Ransom had collected over the past few years in anticipation of building a large retaining wall, “the disturbed stones won’t draw attention if we are working on the wall.”
“And I’ll go spin a batch. Is there water in the barrel?”
“Yeah, but I wrapped up the cord, you’ll have to drag it back down to the front door.”
Ransom grabbed the bag full of money and started up the hill. The parkland to his left was quiet and as the warm smell of burning poplar followed him up the hill he thought: this might not be so stupid after all.
“While you’re in the house grabbing the trash bags can you get me a water please?” he called to Joe, “and bring the speakers and your iPod, we have a couple of hours of light left, might as well use it all.”
“Okay,” Joe replied.
When he got to the work in progress, Unfinished Wall he liked to call it, much to the dismay of Linda, he set the Pokémon bag down next to the mixer and grabbed the extension cord. After he took a couple of steps, he realized how silly the bag looked; very out of place. He stopped and pondered the situation. After dismissing several ideas, he settled on covering the bag-full-o-money with one of the half mortar bags that had not yet been loaded on his truck for disposal. He moved the Pokémon bag to a spot next to the pallet of ‘Nancy’, grabbed a couple of empties, and after slipping one over the riches, spread the rest out over and around. He then pulled the tarp off of the full bags and let it fall, seemingly randomly, over the pile of ‘trash’.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nada (5.1)

Joe returned as Ransom was blowing on the tinder, trying to get the fire to catch; he dropped the two bags from the parking lot next to the two bags he had brought from the house. Into the Hello Kitty book bag he stuffed the cellophane wrapped drugs. Ransom watched with disturbing ideas floating through his head.
“Can you dump that stuff in the creek?” Ransom asked, “I gotta admit I don’t trust myself with that crap.”
“Sure, it doesn’t bother me,” Joe answered.
“Thanks,” Ransom said and went back to feeding sticks into the fire. It had caught well and was beginning to grow, soon it would be hot enough to burn the bags.
Joe had finished transferring the drugs to the ‘must have’ book bag of last year and began moving the money to the ‘must have’ book bag of two or three years ago.
“Shouldn’t we count that?” Ransom asked as he fed a log onto the fire.
“We’ll do that next week sometime,” Joe said, “we should just pack it up and hide it somewhere that isn’t…

(Crap, have to leave for a party, and it was too cold in the sun/writing room so I was distracted by the tv…I am so weak)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Joe and Ransom take a break

For tonight, they are on hiatus. Put pen to paper instead and that isn't ready for this blog. Another blog, yes, this one, no. And no, the other blog isn't ready for prime time so no linky.
But I have to post, it's that whole 21 day thing...getting pretty close, I think. Tomorrow is going to be tough, I can not figure out when I am going to have time to post anything, I might have to take the laptop to the side job and hope to steal someone's wifi. Would that be wrong? It is in the name of creativity, and I wouldn't be doing anything illegal with the bandwidth.
So that's it for tonight, just silliness. Rest in Peace Christopher Hitchens, I wasn't a fan of your militant atheism, but you had some points about how religions can mess society up, especially those that are having trouble getting out of the 7th century.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nada (5)

“I guess we can’t call the cops now, “ Joe said.
“Your goal all along,” Ransom pointed out. “I really thought I was the bad influence, why can I never be the bad influence?”
“We’ll have to figure out what to do with the drugs,” Joe said, setting his bag down and heading towards Ransom.
“Lots of straws, we’re gonna need lots of straws,” Ransom said, “or needles, I guess, I have no idea what is in the bags.”
“We could just cut them open and dump them in the creek,” Joe said as he reached into the bag and grabbed one of the cellophane wrapped packages, “trying to sell the stuff would be really stupid.”
“We could save some for a rainy day,” Ransom said, half joking.
“Or we could dump it in the creek,” Joe said, “that would be the safest route.”
“We’d have to do it at night,” Ransom pointed out, “too many people wander up and down the trails, too many kayaks and canoes.”
“Yeah,” Joe agreed, “should we open one to see what it is?”
“No,” Ransom finally admitted, to Joe and himself, “that would be an even worse idea than, say, crossing the street and taking the bags in the first place.”
“Okay, I will run in and grab a couple of different bags, you start a fire.”
Ransom left the stuff right where it was, on the garage floor, and fought the urge to count the money. He went down the hill to the fire pit Joe had created in his back yard and began to build a pile of small sticks, looking around for leaves and dried grass to use as tinder. By the time he was ready to light it, Joe was handing him a package of matches.
“Fire it up, I’ll grab the stuff and be right back.”
“okie dokie,” Ransom replied, the nervousness returning now that he could breathe regularly.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nada (4)

Joe had already pushed his bike, with the bag on the saddle, into the woods just off the macadam path, where he was waiting for ransom.
“You didn’t touch anything except the bag, right?” Joe asked.
“I’ve got gloves on,” Ransom replied, “with fingers,” he added, rather smugly.
“Yeah, well,” Joe started to reply when they heard another car, this time slowing down, “Let’s get going, we don’t want that car to see us.”
“I thought we were calling the cops,” Ransom whined. Okay, he didn’t really whine, but it sure felt like it at the time.
“Just ride,” Joe called, 15 feet away and picking up speed.
Ransom clambered on to his bike while holding the gym bag on the top tube with his left hand. “Still not smart,” he said to the same person he had talked to before.
Both riders managed to round the first bend before the car entered the lot, they wouldn’t be seen, by that driver at least. They pedaled in silence for a while, each to his own thoughts, until Ransom dropped his chain down a few gears and put on some speed.
When he caught Joe he asked what next.
“Headed home, I guess,” Joe answered.
“Gonna be tough explaining to the cops how the bags from the murder scene got to your house,” Ransom pointed out.
“That car’ll call the cops,” Joe pointed out, “or, at least, the driver will.”
“Fine,” Ransom gave in, “but no more effing hills, it’s hard enough to keep on e hand on the bag and keep up with you as it is.”
“Okay, straight home, just that little hill at the end.”
“whatthefu%$ever,” Ransom muttered under his breath, “Small hill my ass,” he said out loud, dropping in behind joe, finding his cadence, and doing his best to keep up. He thought he heard Joe holler something about his ass not being small at all, and something about walking past a Doritos’s bag, but couldn’t really be sure. The last 200 yards to Joe’s drive was straight up hill, and the driveway was actually past 90 degrees, it was that steep. Or so it felt after a long ride.
They coasted the bikes into the open garage, Joe looking fresh, Ransom looking like death warmed up, but much better than he had a year ago when the torture started. It usually took him  minute or two, but he always thanked Joe for the ride, for putting up with his whining on the hills, and for not leaving him in  the dust.
“You’re getting better,” Joe replied when Ransom finally got the thank you out, “another year or so and you’ll be ready for that bike to the shore thing you want to do.”
Ransom had leaned his bike against the garage wall and was contemplating unzipping the black gym bag when he heard Joe inhale sharply, followed by a “holy F#%$.”
“Mine’s full of money,” he said.
Ransom opened the bag to find exactly what he expected, plastic wrapped powder. It looked like confectioners’ sugar though the cellophane,  but he was pretty sure it wasn’t that.
“I got the bag full of drugs,” Ransom said, “and now we’re both gonna die.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nada (3)

Hurrying to catch Joe, Ransom was almost nailed by a car coming from the other direction, on the opposite side of the road. After muttering a few choice words and thanking God for sparing him, this time, Ransom joined Joe at the back of a large, dark car. They were still alive and no one had yelled at them to get down or to stop or to reach for the sky.
“Neither one has moved,” Joe said, “I think they may have killed each other.”
“Good, let’s call the cops and ride away,” Ransom said, “We really don’t have the time to get involved with all of this.”
“And you’re supposed to be the responsible one,” Joe pointed out.
“Yeah, well, that was before guns were involved,” Ransom admitted, “and I guess while we’re standing here, being seen by every passing car, including the two that almost hit us, we’re getting in deeper.”
“So let’s check it out,” Joe said, leaning his bike against the Cadillac.
“And then call the cops,” Ransom added as he too leaned his bike against the ten year old stereotype.
They slowly stepped around the car right into a scene from Law and Order.
In front of them, on his back, was a very dead man. He was dark haired, or he was light haired and the blood had stained it dark, it was hard to tell, there was so much blood. His face was mostly missing, and the chest of what was once a white shirt was torn and blood soaked. The ground around the body was soaked as well. Next to him, between the body and the car, was a black bag, the ubiquitous black gym bag of hundreds of cop dramas. In his right hand, falling out of his right hand, was a small Uzi looking  gun. When they were able to tear their eyes away from the dead guy at their feet, Ransom and Joe found the man who had shot him.
He was laying next to the other late model sedan in the parking lot, about 15 yards away, parked pointed towards the Cadillac beside which dead guy number one was lying. (hmmm, laying and lying in the same sentence, nice)  Dead guy number two (and yes, he was dead, obviously, his gun, and the arm holding it, was behind him, with most of his head. From 15 yards, it looked pretty bad, but as they got closer it looked even worse.
“Do we really have to do this?” asked Ransom as they neared the mess that was once a man.
“I guess not,” Joe replied, “but aren’t you even a little curious about the gym bags?”
He pointed to a bag identical to the one dead guy number one had splattered with blood. Or, to be more accurate, the bullets from dead guy number two’s gun caused to…oh hell, Ransom thought, stop trying to analyze it so much.
“I’ll grab this one, you grad the other, and we’ll open them. Then we’ll call the cops,” Joe said as he carefully avoided the blood puddles and grabbed the bag lying between dead guy number two and Cadillac number two. Ransome hurried back to dead guy number one and grabbed that bag, also being careful to not disturb the evidence, thinking all the time about his sneakers and how he was going to have to burn them now so the cops couldn’t trace the patterns. Joe wasn’t going to be so lucky though, he had those expensive bike shoes that Ransom hadn’t bought yet, and was leaving very obvious bike guy prints with every step. Of course this was a popular bike rider parking area, so maybe there were plenty of…Ransom stopped his thoughts again, grabbed the bag and his bike and headed across the parking lot.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Liebster Award

I am starting with posting the award on my blog and thanking J.R. Wagner for highlighting this blog on his. I will spend some time in the next few hours looking for other blogs to award, but as I am very new to the blogs about writing scene (I have dealt mostly in the political realm until recently), I am unsure if I can fulfill the rules behind the award.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nada (2)

The sharp crack of small caliber weapons is unmistakable, it’s not the boom of a shotgun and not the loud bang of a deer rifle. When those sounds are so close together to sound almost continuous, it has to be more than one weapon on full automatic. Ransom had all of these thoughts as he dropped his bike and jumped the guide rail on his right. Joe had done the exact same thing. They looked at each other through the underbrush they had landed in, shock and fear on their faces.
“What the &*$*&,” mouthed Joe.
Ransom didn’t answer; the gunfire had stopped almost as soon as it had started and the surrounding forest was mostly silent. The distant murmur of water over rocks was the only sound until the tell-tale hiss of rubber on asphalt was joined by the low purr of a well tuned, large engine.
Ransom poked his head up and tried to peer under the guide rail to the parking area across the road, his view was interrupted for a second by the passing car he had heard, but he saw enough to know that he couldn’t see anything so he slid back down the embankment and glanced over at Joe.
Joe had crawled all the way up to the guide rail, positioning himself behind one of the support posts. Ransom had visions of a recent paint ball battle, then realized that these were real bullets and that while Joe was fit, he wasn’t thinner than the post.
“Get down,” Ransom whispered as loudly as he could.
“I can see two people laying on the ground over there,” Joe called back, not even trying to be quiet, “and no one else.”
Ransom crawled over to where Joe was slowly standing up.
“What are you doing?” Joe asked, “What if there are more of ‘em and they want to kill us for just being here.”
“Didn’t you see the two guys in the parking lot as we came around the bend?” Asked Joe.
“No,” Ransom admitted, “ I was too busy trying to catch my breath; don’t you know any roads without hills?”
“If you could pass by a bag of Doritos’s, the hills wouldn’t bother you so much,” Joe pointed out while climbing back over the guide rail.
“Bite me,” Ransom replied, joining his friend in the miniscule line of grass between the white line and the galvanized steel that pretended to stop cars from hurting the trees when the drunks driving them failed to negotiate the curves.
Joe started to cross the road, then stopped as another car whooshed past. Muttering under his breath, Joe changed his mind and leaned down to grab his bike before starting across the street again.
“What, the bike gonna protect you from the next nut that flies around that bend?” Ransom asked as he too picked up his bike and started across the road. “This is not smart,” he said to no one in particular.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Titles are the hardest part

Especially with poems, but that is for another post.
Only one of my readers answered my request, so scenario #2 it is. Maybe she can supply a title so when I pick up the thread in future posts I will know what to call that post.
This is going to be raw, pure writing. No editing other than spelling and a little grammar here and there, so please, allow me the normal mistakes writers make.
Here goes nada:

(Oh, nice title)

Damn it, Ransom thought to him self, another freaking he trying to kill me? He downshifted and began the climb, at least it's not too long he began to whine in silence, and then stop it, you idiot, if it was all flat and easy there would be no point. With that he glanced down at the gears to make sure he was in the middle ring and got up out of the saddle, both adding speed and resting some of the muscles in his legs while creating that wonderful/painful burn in his thighs. He was concentrating on the white line, concentrating on keeping his knees in, concentrating on not wobbling the front wheel back and forth like he did when he was a kid on a BMX bike (he had learned early on that these street bikes were set up differently and his feet would hit the front tire if he turned it too much while pedaling.
In this manner, while not looking at the top of the hill, the climb was over before he knew it, and the granny gears were successfully avoided. He pushed the front to the big ring, looked up to discern how far Joe had strayed ahead, Joe was a much more accomplished cyclist than Ransom, but, while appealing in his own way, not nearly as drop dead gorgeous as Ransom. Ransom chuckled to himself as that thought flitted through his mind, chuckled because it was so far from reality.
Ransom was in his forties, his almost 6 foot frame was still carrying  some of the beer-gut he had earned before quitting the stuff, and he was just beginning to finish these rides without considering a call to 911. His slightly pudgey face was clear of blemishes, his blue eyes complementing his short cropped brown hair (kept short to hide the grey), and one would normally find him with a week or two of stubble on his face. His black and grey beard grew extremely slow, almost a natural Don Johnson look.
Joe on the other hand was in his thirties, slim, fit, about five foot eight with one of those faces that detective novelists call rugged. Quick to smile, his light brown hair was kept almost non-existent (mostly naturally), which added to the rugged look.
Ransom noted that Joe was only a few hundred yards ahead so he replaced the water bottle he had just taken a few swigs from and began pedaling, while telling himself to remember to pedal while drinking, pedal while drinking. Keeping his eyes on Joe in order to figure out how hard it was going to be to catch him, he didn't notice the two cars pulled into the walking trail parking lot on the other side of the road. Didn't notice them until he heard what had to be automatic weapons fire, that is.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Challenge me

Below is a post with 4 kernels, four little plot nuggets. It was suggested to get more creative here, so, in that vein, could my three readers please vote on your favorite scenario, I will try to write a short story, in installments, over the next week or two!

Thank you for helping.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Yes, it has come to this. I am exhausted, need to get to work in half an hour, work all night, meet a truck at 7, dig till done digging...long day ahead!
But such is life, really, and that life is important to me. So I do it.
Volunteer and bike on Saturday, or church, volunteer, and bike on Sunday.
Bike for sure.
Cleaning out an interesting building on Sunday and other days in the coming week until pavers and wall block are delivered, should be fun, interesting, and extremely dirty.
Entered an elementary school tonight that has been a part of my life for 12 years now, I found that to be rather fulfilling, but not nearly as fulfilling as using a tool my father gave me to retrieve a couple three stuck balls. Don't you just love when a little boy or girl says thank you before his or her parents say "What do you say to the nice man?"
From the above:
1. Man finds body while digging for a patio, realizes it is his real father whom he thought had left them...chops up and stashes in dumpster to protect mother.
2. Two friends on bike ride witness drug deal gone bad, all parties killed in shoot-out, what should they do with money and drugs?
3. Man finds alien object while cleaning old sanitarium garage, becomes object of frantic search by black helicopters and sexy alien chicks.
4. Man spends life helping others, falls onto hard times, and realizes that Clarence and his bell are fiction.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Unions and unions

See what I did there? Capital Union and small union. The capital Union sucks, those are big businesses that thrive on the paychecks of some of the hardest working people (and at times, lowest paid). The smaller union is the group of employees who band together to try to make work a better experience for all. When the small union is swallowed by a Union, things inevitably go bad. The union is proud of the work, the Union needs all workers (who pay dues) and cares little for quality. The union  protects those who come to work every day, the Union protects those who abuse the system.
I am interested in starting a union, one away from the Union to which I belong, but have been thwarted every step of the way. It amazes me that workers do not mind being lumped in with lazy bums, but they do...I guess because so many are related to the bums...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Climate Gate 2 (again)

The best collection so far, showing context, showing how the lies have been pushed. Now, the 'cause' might be important, to them at least, but still, the ends do not justify the means. Mann and Jones are complicit in this, and I can't swear it is about the money, but that money sure didn't hurt. It is the 'cause' that bothers me though, the thought that by destroying the economies of 1st world nations and never allowing 3rd world to pull themselves up out of poverty.
All one needs to understand is that humans are insignificant. We mean nothing in the grand scheme of things but 'progressives' just can't handle that. They have to be in charge, they have to have have control over everything and everybody. Think of the list, it runs from fat and sugar to where we can smoke!
Then think about Keppler 22b. This is a planet that could support the same type of life we have here. And it is 600 light years away.
Yeah, 600 light years.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Free Thought and Hate

A long time ago I wrote a letter to the local taking to task a journalist that used loaded derogatory terms to describe a group who wanted to march in Valley Forge Park. The language may have been legitimate, most people who are members of the KKK are probably bigots and racists, but to dismiss the entire group with that language does a disservice to open communication.
The same goes for the Free Thought Society. They like to use disparaging language when talking about religion and those who are religious. Right now they are whining about not being able to glom on to the religious Christmas Holiday. Yes, I know that the date was picked for political reasons, but after hundreds of years I think we can safely say the tradition is set, and widely accepted.
It would be nice if those who call for free thought allowed others to think in a manner different from the free thinkers, wouldn't it? Trying to silence Christians, or, trying to distract people during a traditional religious time is not free thought, it is bordering on censorship. And that is the goal of these free thinkers, we all know that, and so do they. Remove all language and thought that does not tow their line...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

posting to post

Tired, sore, and needing to get this out of the way. It has been suggested that I use this space for fiction, I am not real sure about that. I think I would have to create a new space for fiction. Then I think that creating a new space is a cop out. Then I realized that this space is my space and I can do anything I want. There are very few readers anyway, and those who come here do so because they like the way I write, not so much for the content. This I have been told, along with the fact that some of my posts have helped people see political things in a different way.
Fiction is fun for me, Poetry is a passion. Perhaps I can play with that here as suggested, and then, perhaps I can just keep positing about posting.
And politics, I will never give up on the politics, next year will prove to be a very important one in the United States, and we are voting for our lives.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Life, they say it's what happens when we are making plans. I say that sometimes, the plan making is part of life. Perhaps spending an hour or two with local residents, planning the future of a great piece of open space could be considered life. It is never just the business meeting, it is the other discussions, the fact that many feel comfortable enough to bring kids along, and the fact that West Bradford is one of the best places I have ever lived.
The Embreeville complex is going to be sold, one way or another, and if West Bradford is going to continue to enjoy recreation down there we had better step up now. Sure, our lease is not up, sure, all the plans show WBYA expanding, but what happens if something falls through? Are we prepared to scramble for fields? This is why one of the participants this morning was dead on when he said the plateau was the first item of business. We can deal with the Indian Hannah area, that seems simple, but we need to plan now for utilizing the open space that exists right now on the property.
The homes of Tattersall would love us if we kept it open (yes, soccer, lacrosse, baseball and maybe rugby fields are open space), and even though it is probably a desirable section of the property, I think we can make great use of the space.
Now it is a matter of selling the idea to the Township and the state, all while keeping our lease on the rest of the fields.  The plateau is a perfect area for expansion, WBYA is expanding, and the Township needs to find a valid reason to buy the whole parcel.

The plateau is above the parking lot shown in this view.
Something new to obsess over!

Nice link for Ryan Blvd, Coatesville PA

Friday, December 2, 2011


Another couplet from Rumi's Bowls of Food (Barks, The Big Red Book, 2010, pg 50).
The core of the seen and unseen universe smiles,
But remember, smiles come best from those who weep.


Awesome. Perfect. Timeless. And oh, so, simple. Without the full gamut of emotions, single emotions just don't hold as much weight if they can't be compared to their opposites. Pure grief is impossible without pure love, pure happiness can never be found without once having been truly unhappy. The first line? Who knows what the poet was thinking just before he wrote the second line, but smiles were on his mind. So he reached out, wrote the first, and perfected the second. That is what we do, poets are simple individuals, the current copy of Poetry, The Q &A issue be damned. It drives me nuts when poets discuss the writing of a poem in language that no one can understand. A poem becomes, and that is it. Nikky Finney gets it, her stuff is vivid, but understandable, and her explanations are real. The poem for which her book is titled, Head Off and Split, was a phrase she heard in a fish shop, wrote it down, and created a poem. And is not afraid to say just that on NPR. She is real. These other posers? The professors of poetry? I am sure that they also write poems in the normal way but they have to justify the title "POET" as opposed to people like me, who are poets. "smiles come best from those who weep", that is poetry. "There goes the screen door slamming shut/
You better do what you're told/When I get back this room better be picked-up/Car wheels on a gravel road." Lucinda is a poet. And then there are poets who don't know they are poets. For instance:

You're a writer. Let everyone else get bogged down by doubt.  Get up and see it through. Trust the mind that created your story to see you to the end.  To what end?  To your end, not the sheep's end.  You decide how your journey will end. Without punctuation and some well placed breaks, that paragraph (and many others written by J.R. Wagner), are poetry, just in prose form. Poetry is the words mixed with the idea, not necessarily the couplets, the quatrains, the rhymes or the breaks (and even I fell into the trap above). Sure, we recognize it by the breaks, the rhymes, and the schemes, but it is the words chosen to create in the readers mind an idea, a place, an emotion, or a face.
Sometimes the only way for me to create is in free verse, because I feel I lack the grammar skills to pull off a novel. I feel I lack the descriptive skills to create a character's face for my readers, so I stop, I fall back into disjointed verse, playing with words…and then, I realize. I am a writer, just as Wagner is a poet.
And to paraphrase Rumi: words come best from those who sometimes cannot find them.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Climategate emails (2)

Picking low hanging fruit, that's what discussing the global warming issue has become to those of us who understood from the beginning that humans have very little effect on the overall system that is our planet. We knew from the start that this was simply another left-wing scare tactic, based on two flawed premises. Premise #1, humans are stronger than God (or Mother Nature, if you prefer) and can alter the planet. This allows the good little leftist to feel superior to that silly conservative who goes to church. Premise #2, humans are too stupid to see through the power grab. It was power they were after, the power to keep the poor in those developing countries poor, and to lower our standard of living as much as possible so we all suffer the same (socialism). These emails are not cherry-picked, not out of context, and show clearly that the upper echelon of the alarmist crowd have been pressuring journals, fudging data, and black-listing any scientist who dares to question the 'cause'. The best place to find these emails is Watts up with that. There is great analysis for both the normal reader and the scientist alike. Give it a chance, all you alarmists, you may find that Al Gore was lying to you the whole time, all while pocketing billions of dollars from his carbon credit scheme.