Wednesday, December 26, 2007
When you are on the road for a living you take your assignments as they come.
They point and you grunt. You go where you are told.
There will be times when an assignment will change while you are en route.
I left the States, I have no idea from where, bound for Bahrain.
It was football season and the Cowboys were on a roll. I cleaned up that year!!!
Somewhere over the Atlantic the plan changed. I landed in Bahrain to find that I was actually en route to Nairobi Kenya.
This was during the operation known as 'Provide Comfort'.
I did spend some time in Bahrain. Including Thanksgiving. That Thanksgiving turned out to be the very last for a very dear Friend and Mentor of mine.
William G. Schniederhan and I spent Thanksgiving in Bahrain at a Mexican Restaurant with a British C&W Band and Thai Waiters and a Filipino Chef. Weirdness prevailed. But we were Pro's.
On to Kenya...
Barely made it through Saudi Arabia intact.
Landed in Nairobi at Jambo Kenyata Int'l.
On to the oval shaped high-rise known as the Hilton Hotel to meet another Mechanic and two Pilots.
On to Henry Wilson Airport to meet the King Air.
We secured hangar space to do the engine swap.
(Note: A King Air engine change is a three day deal for two guys. No big deal. Usually.)
The King Air was due for dual engine changes and a prop change. All of the parts were in Mombasa.
Not everything was due at once but we had to wait for days and days for the first replacement engine to be delivered from Mombasa.
Every day became the same.
Wake up. Get up. Breakfast in the hotel. Taxi to the big airport. Slug through Customs to see if our engine was there yet...
Back to the hotel.
The crew that had been cobbled together got to be pretty tight. We were hanging out all day every day after all.
We ate, we drank, we shopped, we explored the city, we dealt with logistics like laundry and currency exchange.
We were invited to the 'Florida Room' a, uh an, uh let's just say it's a bar and let it ride.
We went to "The Carnivore". Still my favorite restaurant in the world.
We went to the big airport and slugged through Customs day after day.
FINALLY!!!! The engine arrived.
We set to it.
We did have a couple of 'Monkey with a Football' moments. (For those unfamiliar with the 'Monkey with a Football' phrase, imagine a primate attempting to procreate with a pigskin. That's as much as I'm gonna say about that.)
Most notably while hanging the prop. Too many very kind and helpful people.
Oh, and there was the trip back from the run-up pad. We sorta got stuck in the mud.
OK, REALLY stuck.
Stuck so bad that we had to hike back to the hangar. (A PT-6 makes a helluva weedeater by the way!)
We got her out of the mud the next morning with a Craftsman lawn tractor and 18 grown men.
What a sight that was!!!
At last, engine swapped and rigged and cowled up. We returned to the hotel and told the pilots that we were ready for test flight.
I piped up, "I'm sitting Right Seat!"
I was so accustomed to fair weather pilots and strict regulations that I just thought I was being funny. A Mechanic sitting in the Co-Pilot's seat, on a test flight? No way!!! Hahaha...
It was a running joke through the night and into the next morning.
We sidled out to to airplane.
The would be (shoulda been) Co-Pilots said, "Mad Max is sittin' Right Seat."
The Pilot said, ... Well, I'm not going to repeat it but he indicated his indifference.
Sum-bitch!!! I hoped into the right seat, lashed myself in and grabbed a checklist.
Things got weirder from there.
The PIC (Pilot in Command) began to fire things up. I was reading off the checklist but he was steps ahead or behind or to the side of me...
The P.I.C. and the other Mechanic had worked together for quite some time. Instead of doing a preflight run-up he asked the other Mechanic questions, "What was N1? Torque? N2? ITT?"
AS HE IS TAXIING TO THE NUMBERS?!?!?!?!? (The beginning point of the runway for take off.)
Now, I trust a King Air with my soul. It's Pilots that scare me, sometimes...
This, was one of those times.
That was the longest take-off roll of my life.
Not because I was scared but because he took a looooonnnnggggg time to rotate.
The other Mech and the 'shoulda been Co-Pilot' settled into the seats in back. In fact, I'll never forget, the Co-Pilot was reading a Tom Clancy novel with his feet up in the other seat.
I'm reading off the checklist and PIC is having a Burger King Moment, doing things his way.
Everything was going well.
There we were, 18,000 feet over the plains of Kenya...
(I forgot to add that the engine we swapped was the right hand engine. So, I'm sitting right seat and looking out the window looking at the engine being tested.)
When we shut it down (Yes, in test flights. We shut 'em down.) the prop spun down and stopped as solidly as a rock. Feathered. Steady. No Windmilling.
We call that, 'Sweet". (That's what it is supposed to do.)
After an uneventful restart we continued our checks.
Next thing I know, P.I.C. wants to do an Air Start?
'What?' It was the first last and only time I've been on a test flight or any other flight where an Air Start was attempted.
He shut the engine down.
OK. No biggie. So far.
All of the R/H engine gauges went to zero. ITT, N1, OIL PRESSURE!!! Zero. (Oil pressure controls the prop.)
Except the propeller tachometer. It still indicated 1500 RPM.
Sure enough. The prop that obediently feathered a few minutes earlier was a hummin'!
As I stared out the window thinking, 'What the hell?!?!' I heard...
"Why isn't it starting? Why isn't it starting?"
I looked at the controls. Everything was set except the Ignition Switch, OFF, "Ya can't start a fire without a spark."
"Why isn't it starting?"
Same thing. He had the ignition OFF.
The fuel had been engaged all that time. There was plenty of air...
He hit the switch.
Imagine a fist full of Roman Candles going off all at once.
Real live great balls of fire belched from the exhaust stacks blowing holes in the stacks.
"David, why don't you..."
I was already un-assing the Right Seat and headed aft.
The Co-Pilot peeked over his novel.
I pointed at him and said, "You're up!" and jerked my thumb back over my shoulder towards the cockpit.
It was pretty funny really.
P.I.C. no doubt had a pant load of Uh-Oh. He kept asking Co-Pilot, "Should we try to start it?"
Co-Pilot, "Uhm I don't think we're gonna restart this one."
We landed back at Wilson airport but taxiing a twin engine aircraft with only one engine running is a little tricky and Pilot wasn't quite up to it. The other Mech bailed out with the hand tow bar and navigated us off of the active runway and onto the taxi way. By then we had drawn a crowd and got a tow back to the hangar. (Everyone on any airfield will notice a prop that isn't turning.)
When we put a mirror in what was left of the exhaust stacks we saw the turbine wheel had been burned down to a nub. Hub rather. All of the blades were burnt to the roots.
So, call up the other engine and wait.
Hotel, customs, etc.
We didn't have to wait so long that time.
We did the next test flight en route to Mombasa. I sat in back with a Stephen King novel. It was uneventful despite the solid red radar screen.
The weather radar swept storms in all quadrants. It was cool to watch the radar display and identify individual cells as we descended through them.
Mombasa. High on my list of 'Gotta Go Back To One More Time'.
Well, there ya have it. My favorite Tale From the Road. Like all the rest you really had to be there. They all seem to be anti-climatic but ya gotta survive the experience in order to tell the tale!
This didn't really qualify for the "True Tales" series. It comes from A&P School.
Everyone had a nickname. It was un-taught basic training.
Whether you know it or not EVERYONE on every hangar deck everywhere has a nickname. If you don't know what your nickname is, you probably don't want to know.
I WILL NOT list all of mine.
My favorites were; my call sign, "Comanche" because I picked it. (Safer that way!), "Mad Max", for my deft right hand/ third world driving skills and "Largee".
My best friends in A&P school were; Dodge, Attitude, Fast Talkin' Slow Walkin', Walta, Sharkey, Blastweld, Doxi-Dan, Bubba, Docta Ro, etc.
I was just thinking about a time when Attitude, Dodge and I were all in the cab of a small four speed pick-up.
(Does a nickname like Attitude really need to be explained? Dodge became Dodge due to the enormous 4 door, 4 wheel drive, 440 cubic inch Dodge pick-up he drove.)
In the little truck I sat left seat, operated the 'yoke' and the pedals, and cleared traffic from the Port side. Attitude sat 'bitch' (which didn't help his attitude) and manned the gear shift (which didn't help his attitude). Dodge sat left seat, cleared traffic on the Starboard side and poked fun at Attitude for sitting 'bitch'. (Hey, if you don't have a thick hide you don't belong on a hangar deck or in the cab of a truck with two A&P's!)
We successfully navigated around Dallas and had a great time.
I have no idea what made me think about it but it got me to thinking about friends I have not seen for years.
Almost all of those guys were married when we started school.
School was 7 and 1/2 hours a night, five nights a week for 14 months.
Attitude was one of the upstanding family men. Clean cut, pressed shirt, corporate job, etc.
I of course was among the few as yet undomesticated (and still not house-broke) single guys and lived with similar animals.
Occasionally Attitude would ask, "Where's the party?" That meant that the Wife and Kids were out of town. Yeehaw!!!
[Holy Smokes, I just remembered Attitude, Sharkey and I and the After-Hours Club! I've got the giggles...]
Attitude was the first victim of A.I.D.S I ever knew.
For those that don't know, AIDS is an affliction that attacks air crew of all sorts, 'AVIATION INDUCED DIVORCE SYNDROME'. There is an inversion syndrome, S.I.C.K., 'Spouse Induced Career Killer'.
If you are air crew and have avoided this (these) Syndrome you still know plenty of people that have fallen prey to it (them).
It began in A&P school. The long hours getting through school took a toll. Attitude wasn't the only one to fall. I can think of FOUR guys in the list above that were divorced during or shortly after A&P School.
Dodge and his family came to Alabama and participated in my first wedding. His Wife even stood in as the 'Bride' at the rehearsal. There were some that felt she and I put too much enthusiasm into the rehearsal kiss. Mostly Dodge and my Fiance'. It was just a peck.
The last time I saw Dodge was here in San Antonio several years ago. It turned into a tale not worthy of retelling. Suffice to say it was the last time 4 of us (from School) were in the same room. Dodge, Sharkey, Me and Jose Cuervo.
The last time I saw Attitude was in the airport in San Francisco.
I was on my way to Korea for the first time and had a layover.
Attitude was a no show.
Several weeks later he called the Homestead. He'd been in a motorcycle wreck. 'Holy Crap?!'
Wait a minute...???... Attitude? Motorcycle?
We reset the visit for my return trip.
I had not seen Attitude since school, four or five years I guess.
In the airport, I was headed down a long, steep flight of stairs (or escalator?), looked up and saw an individual in the requisite airline mechanic uniform.
But, his hair was down below his shoulders and... is that... an ear ring?!?!?!
The individual was behind glass and too far away speak or even shout to so...
I shot him the bird.
He fired back and grinned.
We met up in a bar near my gate, I bought a round and we began to tell our tales.
I finished my beer and ordered another, "Attitude, you ready for another?"
"No, I don't need another DUI?"
Attitude?! DUI?! My, how the worm had turned.
Just to throw this in, I don't condone or encourage drunk driving (nor do I get coffee in the drive thru on amateur night).
One stray thought lead to a lot of other stray thoughts that loosely became a post. With any luck, I'm just warming up!!! [Apologies to B.B., I actually warmed up with an email to P'cola this afternoon. But, hey, since they lack a newspaper there maybe they need some entertainment.]
Monday, December 24, 2007
'To one whacky family
came a "New" recruit
Just to say I'm glad it's you'
'Bright lights beacons in the night
Hearth hearts full and warm
From nowhere back safe at home'
'Two to dynamic duo
Keep the fourth from the frio'
They may not make sense to you but I hope they get the points of the Christmas cards across.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
C-17, C-17, C-17!
The Great Fish Hunt continues. I gotta a lunker on the line but it's only ten pound test so it's all up to me.
I can do it.
Hell, I caught two white bass on the same lure at the same time. That's no fish tale. There were even witnesses. Of course, T-Mack began to deny it immediately. Well, it WAS his boat so I guess he can log things the way he wants.
Speaking of fish. I have had the harshest craving lately. I'd choke a duck for a meal at Lago Yojoa.
Where ya select a fish from the stringer, they gut it and deep fry it whole, from lips to tip.
It sounds a little off-putting but when in otro partes, comer como otro gente.
The fried fish and pickled onions and a case of Salva Vida... Cielo!!!!!!!!!!
On a related rumbling tummy note, I heard a guy describe a restaurant yesterday. The Carnivore. I think he said this one was was in South Africa. The one I went to was in Nairobi Kenya.
The Carnivore = Man Food. The kind of thing you'd eat if your wife wasn't watching. NOT A VEGETABLE ON THE MENU!!! Just meat and bread. Nearly every critter on the Continent is on the menu. Plates come by the kilo!
Wildebeest and cold Tuskers... Cielo!!!!!!!!!!
The TV Tabloid News is hyping some mystery bird sited around here.
They claim it's 6 feet tall!
I wonder if it's best smoked, grilled or fried!?!?!?!?!
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
So often, most often, I scrutinize, revise and think about any possible (or imaginary) repercussions that may or my not arise were I to publish my unvarnised opinions or true feelings.
I feel, now, now and very often that such self censorship not only restrains me but retains me in worlds I no longer care to inhabit.
Am I making sense to you so far? No? Good. Because that kind of behavior really makes no sense to me either.
I am acknowledging a schitzo branch of my nature. There are moments that I closely guard my... everything. Other moments when I fillet myself without regard.
Somewhere between the timid and the obscene is my equilibrium.
It has been an interesting summer and as it slides preciticously into winter there are no signs of change. At least, no clear signs... "There's a sign post up ahead..." but I can't read the damn thing.
One definition of insanity is trying the same thing the same way and expecting a different outcome.
"...these wasted words prove to warn that he who is not busy being born is busy dying...."
This has been a summer filled with music, experiments and a little bit of adventure. Just, not enough!
Would I like to go back to the Alcantara Gorge? Hell yeah! Would I care to go commando and try again to conquer it? UHh... no. Or, try scuba diving again without certified training? Not again. I can almost feel that propellor churning over my head still. Or, wander Nairobi at three a.m.? No.
None of those things would ever be the same if tried again. The harder you try to recreate things the bigger the disappointment to follow.
I need more.
Joe Ely is on the CD player at the moment. Damn! What a fresh night in old Gruene that was! I felt viable. I felt that there were adventures to be had. And, I had one or two.
Two 'er three of 'em will go undisclosed but... Here's the tale-
T'was the Twentieth of October at Gruene Hall. Joe Ely was the headliner. It was a Boys Day Out for me 'n Pop and the Architect. We hit a sports bar in New Braunfels to watch the OU game and have a few beers before heading to Gruene, TX which is right next door.
We sat out back of the old dance hall and played horse shoes with a group of school teachers outta Dallas. They were on a Girls Weekend. Four married women roaming out of town in an RV... "Whhooooop Whhooop Whoop! Pull Up! Danger Will Robinson!!!..."
One adventure David Russell Simpson will NOT pursue is another mans wife. Those that knowingly do so are lower than Judas, the kinds of people that would poison their own spouse for monetary gain and other advantages.
And, any woman that will cheat with you will sooner or later cheat on you. (Boomer!)
So, back at Gruene Hall... They hauled all of the tables and chairs out and the place sold out and filled up.
The Ded Ringers opened up the show.
We were very un-stragically located.
I couldn't see a thing. I did have to make a 'head call'. As 'the head' is behind the stage I headed off in that direction. Before I could take care of business, so to speak, I got tapped out and made several new friends, with better standing room. Gruene Hall is just friendly that way.
Two bodies deep from the stage!
Joe Ely put on a helluva show!
We danced around. We sang aloud. I half expected to get hit in the head with a guitar, "Will you keep it down!? I'm trying to work here!"
I had a B&W photo of Joe Ely. It was out in Pop's truck. I brought it to get it autographed. As it all shook out, I had a Sharpie pen and my hat. I got my autograph. (I wish I'd washed the hat first but it is now sweat stained and autographed. I can't decide whether to wear it or enshrine it...)
Joe Ely has been a musical hero and a fixture in my world for a long time. It was huge to me to look him in the eye, shake his hand and tell 'im I enjoyed his book. (Bonfire of Roadmaps)
It was the best show and the best night in so so so long.
Well, the show must go on and the show must close.
Close it did.
I looked around the old dance hall. The smoke had cleared and the only ones left were me and the Sherrif and he was ready to go home.
I walked out front.
Only car in the parking lot said, "SHERRIF" in big letters down the side.
'Well, I could walk up this way...'
'I could walk up that way....'
'HellifIknow! I DO know that I'd better get my skinny ass off of the street and soon!'
Gruene is 60 miles away from home. And, provided I could make it to the interstate without raising the suspicion of local law men... I really didn't want to be hitching at three a.m.
I headed into a parking lot, toward the river. Figured I could settle in 'til sun up.
As it happened, that parking lot was adjacent to a B&B, with a nice patio.
And, nice patio furniture. I hunkered into a white wicker chair with a nice thick cushion.
I no sooner caught my breath when a young spike deer skid around the corner! We stared at each other for a moment. To be honest, I'm not sure who was more startled. I was content that he didn't have a badge.
He loped off and I settled back, for a while...
'Til I heard a skittering through the early leaves...
'Uh-oh!' A skunk was making his rounds. He sniffed around the patio in a totally random pattern, he lingered under my cozy chair. I'd of rather gone to jail than get sprayed by a skunk.
He skittered. I froze, held my breath.
He moved on and soon after, so did I.
I hoofed it off down the road to hot coffee and a faulty pay phone. The night clerk let me use his cell phone to call the Cavalry, I got the Cavalry Voice Mail.
I headed South. The Cavalry intercepted and I get to write about it now.
Still, I need more...
Monday, November 5, 2007
Those that "Know" well, you know what it means.
Am I discouraged? Nope. Just a blip on the learning curve. Every author/ writer I've read about has a stack of rejection letters. So, now, I have my first one and that's out of the way.
In addition, I did a good job. Was it a novice effort? Was it weak? Maybe yes and maybe no.
On both counts. I don't think so. I feel good about it. There was positive feedback from those that already read the piece. Including people I trust to tell me if it was weak. (Trust me. The Board is comprised of educated, literate and published people that would critique me to the milimeter. That's why I trust them.)
I'll paste it below. It wont make a lot of sense since it's out of context but I'll give you an update.
Floresville, TX is in the midst of an upheaval. The local government is being bludgeoned. There are recall elections of City Council members on the table. The (Former) City Manager was trying to fire the Chief of Police. The Mayor was trying to fire the City Manager. (Which he did.)
A third City Council Member is in the sights of the People. (From what I've seen, she will take a hit very soon.)
Now, the Former City Manager has filed suit against the City in Federal Court. That should be a fine home town welcome to the new (Interim) City Attorney. OH, by the way, the City Manager got the resignation of the City Attorney one morning and that evening an Interim City Attorney was installed.
Can it get any juicier?!?!?!
What does it all have to do with me?
I answered an ad in a newspaper to be a reporter. I carried my resume` in, filled out the application and took a writing test. Then, I auditioned. My audition was to cover the City Council meeting.
I had 24 hours to research and prep for the meeting. Who were the players? What are the topics? Where can I find an agenda? What do these people look like? How will I tell them apart? What am I doing here? I did have a moment of, "Please Mister Custer, I don't want to go!" But that was brief. Did I mention that I had never been to a City Council meeting?
Another reason that I'm undetered... The Six O'Clock TV Tabloid Shows. Tonight they teased us with updates about Floresville. I did learn that the former City Manager had filed suit. No surprise. That's his M.O. BUT, they said that the Police Chief had been fired as well as the City Manager. If those idiots can write 'news' then so can I.
"Last night the Floresville City Council voted unanimously to terminate City
Manager Juan Cedillo’s contract.
The decision came after three Executive Sessions and numerous complaints
and allegations from citizens.
Resident David Wall vehemently expressed his displeasure with the City
Manager. He explained that numerous attempts to communicate with Cedillo by
phone and in person had been ignored. He asked for the immediate resignation
of Cedillo, Sanchez and Ortiz.
Juan Cedillo was not present for the vote.
In related business; Police Chief Daniel Martinez along with Attorney David
Leonard addressed the council regarding Cedillo’s request for Martinez’ ouster.
During Mr. Leonard’s opening statement he asked, “Why are we here?” He went
on to cite the Chief’s lengthy tenure and lack of any disciplinary action against
him. In reference to the City Managers allegations of violating the Procurement
Act, he pointed out that the Governor has raised the spending limit from $25,000
to $50,000. The Act had been amended the month prior to Chief Martinez’
$27,000 expenditure for new radios.
Chief Martinez first thanked all of his supporters. He presented a packet of
information to Mayor Tejeda and the Council offering to take any questions.
Mayor Tejeda stated the City Manager had never said anything negative about
the Police Chief and he had no answer to the question, “Why are we here.”
Martinez informed the Mayor and Council the City Manager had made requests
for information regarding the Department’s Forfeiture Account on their behalf.
Neither the Mayor nor the Council corroborated this.
Support for Chief Martinez was evident in many uniformed police officers and a
large vocal crowd in attendance.
Jessie Evans, former Floresville Police Officer spoke out in favor of the Chief,
“Some on this Council don’t have your interest at heart. This man does.”
None of the five Council Members provided an answer and Johnnie Gomez
stated his support for the Chief.
The recall petitions for Council members Rudy Sanchez and Gloriana Ortiz were
validated by the City Secretary. The validated results consisted of 882 valid
signatures for Rudy Sanchez and 885 for Gloriana Ortiz. Sanchez and Ortiz now
have five days to request a public hearing on their recall.
Helen Tieken spoke out against Council Members Sanchez and Ortiz. She called
on them to, “Do the right thing regardless of the recall.”
A number of other items were discussed and acted upon during the extended
Linda Valdez made a public appeal in support of troops serving in Iraq and
Blue Star Families seek participation in their effort to send Care Packages to
troops serving abroad.
The council voted to proclaim the month of October; “Czech Heritage Month’ and
“Caring For Pets Month”.
A request for the closure of C Street between 3rd and 4th Street in support of
Boys and Girls Club Halloween activities was approved.
David McMillan briefed the council on the FELPS 2008 budget.
The council denied a request that a 1979 Mobile Home be located on Buttercup
Lane noting that Mobile Homes older than 15 years old may not be installed.
Ordinance #251, proposed Wilson County Fresh Water Supply District #1 was
Earl McKenzie presented the final plat for Northcrest Hills Subdivision for
approval. Questions about a number of Garden Homes in the plat were resolved
as currently there is no ordinance to disallow them. Concerns about nine lots that
will initially not be developed due to possible flooding were allayed. The creek in
question has been rerouted by the City since the publication of the FEMA map in
1977. The Plat was approved.
The Council approved the new home plat of Issac Castillo and Kimberly
A representative from IESI explained the twice weekly trash collection rates
proposed or container customers, an option available to those that request it. He
offered the possibility of assistance for those people who find maneuvering the
newly approved trash containers. The council passed the amendment to
The entire meeting took place before a packed chamber. Several Citizens took
the opportunity to stand before the assembly and express their disgust with the
current state of City Government. More than one of them, in no uncertain terms.
They made it clear that they were not backing down and had only begun to
rectify the problems as they perceived them. The tremendous crowd that began
to arrive hours prior to the meeting lingered after the final gavel sounded at 11:15
P.M." David R. Simpson for the Whole Lotta Nada
That was my effort as submitted to the publisher.
My objective was to cover the whole meeting and not focus solely on the hot buttons. I also avoided inflammatory statements that were made. "Not my y-o-b man." Just the facts and give everyone I can a voice. (I did feel bad for the folks that just wanted a simple platt aproval. They nearly got lost in the mele'.)
There was a lot of ink in the paper that I auditoned for. Good articles. Several seperate ones devoted to the various hot buttons. But none, that I saw, hit every point of the agenda. My real source of pride here is dedicated to the people that weren't there for the hot buttons. The ones that had already been through all of the hoops and just needed final approval. They had to endure the 4 and 1/2 hours and 3 closed door sessions just to await their due moment in the process.
"In other news"
... At least "News" as far as the Nada goes...
I think it's time to hit the road again!
My Snap-On roll away is in the living room. (Hey, I'm Bach'ing it and decor is in the eye of the decorator!) It's talking to me. Kinda like the plant in "Little Shop Of Horrors", 'FEED ME!!!"
I love San Antonio and I came here for very solid reasons. Some of those reasons have erroded away and San Antonio will still be here when I get back.
I've got resumes and app's out from here to "The Hump" to "Kirkuk" and back. I'm starting to get some feedback.
REO Speedwagon is just a little weak for me to quote these days...
Meatloaf... "I'm gonna hit the highway like a battering ram... I'm damned if I never get out and Baby I'm damned if I do... with every other beat I've left in my heart I'd rather be damned with you..."
Still not quite it... I think I'll have to go with Zevon, 'Mr Bad Example'... "I'm greedy and I'm angry and I don't care who I cross...''
Too harsh? 2007 has been a year of harsh lessons so it should come as no surprise.
I've got a Lotta more to post. Especially the Joe Ely show at Gruene Hall. OHHhhhhh... What a night.... Big fun was had by most. Most of all ME!!! A truly 'Road Worthy Tale' from my own back yard...
"There I was. All alone in Gruene Hall. Well, alone 'cepting for the Sherrif who was quite anxious for me to leave so as he could go home. I stepped out into Gruene Road. Not a car in sight, 'cepting for the Sherrif's cruiser and I really didn't want to take that road. I'm pretty sure I didn't walk to Gruene Hall. What's a Boy to do? 60 miles from home at two in the morning? Well lemme tell ya what he does. He falls back on training and instinct. 'If ya can't run with the Rover Dogs, stay in the hangar!!!'"
Sunday, October 28, 2007
It's out there. Hard copies and attachments and a brief follow up note.
Now we wait.
Ordinarily, it would would be killing me. Patience comes and goes with me.
Before I go long here, to those that don't understand, keep checking back.
We should know something soon...
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The gold Repository was, well, smaller than I expected. My bet is that there's nothing in it.
I did run into a friend on site. We had been roommates in sunny Selma, AL a few years earlier. I've run into him off and on and here and there since then.
That stop was the last time, to date, that I've seen another friend from Selma, JD. He was pretty much the first friend I made in Cell Block 915.
On down to Orlando. Now, that was a great stop!
My wife and daughter came down to stay for the duration.
All three of my "Little" brothers were born in Orlando and I had a lot of memories.
Thanks to Bill U. we were comp'ed into Disneyworld for a day. (Do Not ride that damn 'Small World' ride first, if at all. That song will kill ya!)
Bill U. took a day or two off to go see his cousin get blasted into space aboard the space shuttle!
Work was interesting. Two or three things come to mind...
One morning I was out in the hangar and kept hearing a tinkling noise, like a dog collar. I finally dislodged myself from the plane far enough to look across the hangar. The noise was coming from shackles!
It seems that the place was a stop on the Con Air Express. They were marching con's off of a DC9 and in to the bathroom. (I wonder if they saw Dallas that night?)
We went to Canaveral to see the museum.
We got to work another morning to find that one of the guys had decided to "Sweep Up" the hangar. He even talked a pilot into helping out! They pulled a U21 out of the hangar and fired that muther up!!! Can you say 'counter productive'? Using a King Air to sweep the hangar, while it must have sounded like a good idea, at the time... I can only hope neither of them said, "Here, hold my beer and watch this!"
In second place among the Orlando Adventures goes to...
The lead man of the site and I were out front. OK we were out there smoking. As we talked I saw all of these HIGH dollar rides pulling up to the gate and being admitted to the ramp.
When we went back inside, the previously vacant FBO was full. It was full of really big guys. We were separated pretty quickly in the crowd and I found myself in a 'Steady Bearing Decreasing Range Situation' with the biggest guy of the bunch. I accelerated. Just as I thought I was clear...
This hand came out of the sky and landed on my shoulder. I turned and looked eye to belt buckle with this dude, then craned my neck to look up to see his face.
"Say, Bro, they got a soda machine around here?"
"Sure. Follow me."
I got a cup of coffee and he went for a soda.
When I got back to the hangar deck, the lead man and Bill U. were laughing their heads off.
"What's so funny? What did I miss?"
"Do you know who that was?"
"It was the biggest sum-bitch I've ever seen in my life but, no..."
Rookie year. Orlando Magic.
The single coolest thing about the trip...
Remember, my brothers were born in Orlando during the Apollo days. We'd watch the launches on the Today Show. When it was 'time', Daddy would gather us up and we'd head to the back yard to actually watch the rockets go up.
Remember Bill U's cousin?
The morning of the launch we woke up late! You can imagine my first word of the day. I hit the remote on the hotel TV, "Launch delayed." Sweet words!
I held my baby daughter as we watched the Today Show. When it was time, we walked out on the balcony and watched the shuttle launch.
That, boys n girls, ranks among the Top Moments of My Life! My daughter may never remember it but I will never forget it.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Actually, there was a whole East Coast Tour sort of thing. Since all of the dates and sequences are out of synch these days, I’m going to combine some of the stops from Wilmington to Orlando and back.
Andrews is a pretty impressive sight with several ‘sites’.
During the two trips to Andrews-
I had to wait in Guard Shack at the main gate. Be photo’d and finger printed. (Funny/Scary thing… Second trip they didn’t photo me. The temporary ID had the photo from the first trip.)
While waiting for my escort I read an article posted on the desk. In short it said, ‘if you feel this is an unnecessary inconvenience… we have arrested X# of fleeing felons as they tried to gain admission to AAFB‘.
Saw a helluva air show,
Went aboard the 707 that served as John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One,
Went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and several other monuments,
Played a lot of darts,
Was deterred from further trips downtown by a shot-gun toting maniac,
Went to Thanksgiving Dinner at a new friends home (60 Miles South of the airport!), Went to a Birthday Dinner for Michael Myers (60 Miles North of the airport! Those guys had the worst commutes ever.)
Was blessed out by an Area Supervisor for asking a question during an All Hands meeting. (After which, All Hands agreed, if the Asshole had answered my question it would have answered the 10 questions that followed.)
Met a great group of guys.
Next stop, MCAS Cherry Point, NC
Not so impressive.
I did take a nice drive down the coast. Gorgeous country.
I ran across an abandoned trailer from an 18 wheeler with the logo of an electical supply house from my old home town in Oklahoma. I remember the Mclain boys from camping trips at Ft Cobb Lake when we were kids.
I looked for Ben Scruggs in New Bern but had no luck.
MCAS Cherry Point and NAS ‘Tinker’ were two anomalies. Each bizarre in their own right.
Cherry Point was a wing walking nightmare. Especially when you worked alone and had to pull an airplane in or out of the hangar.
When you move, BEFORE you move an airplane, you go to Maint. Control and request Wing Walkers and check out whistles. Then, you wait for them to show up.
AFTER hours, same procedure except when there weren’t enough hands on deck you had to wait for Maint. Control to call them to duty!!! Yeah, that’s gonna work. After hours, call around and find four sober Marines to come in to work!
One Friday evening, late recovery, 15 minutes waiting for Wing Walkers, One airplane safely pushed into the hangar and a LTC, Marine, Pissed Off One Each….
“Did you just tow that aircraft within ten feet of any object or aircraft?!?!”
He stomped off to tell on me.
I stowed the tow tractor and went home. I never heard another word about it.
That was the ‘Lowlight’ of the first trip.
The second trip was more unnerving.
The site was being divided in two. The former T39 Lead man was to be the new C12 Lead and the biggest idiot from the T39 site was promoted to T39 Lead. YIKES!!!
Oh, yeah Johnny Not-So-Smart was now the H.M.F.I.C. Without simply saying Johnny didn’t know his anus from Uranus let me give a quick anecdote or two…
The Compass Rose.
A Compass Rose is basically a calibrated piece of concrete. The Cardinal Points of the compass are marked off. To use it, you maneuver the airplane to align it with the marks on the concrete.
Johnny Not-So-Smart was all over the map. The Tower called, repeatedly to warn him about encroaching on an active runway!
His response to my concerns? “Oh, they do that all the time.”
The next lowlight happened during engine trim runs after an engine change.
Johnny Not-So-Smart switched the cross feed to the new engine and, left it there. When he turned to taxi out of the run-up area the plane suddenly listed, hard!
One wing tip was 6 feet in the air and the opposite was 6” off of the ground.
“M2, get me outta here!!!”
“All Aboard! Next stop, Ft Knox, KY!”
As is want to happen, another Blogger, Bob B. at FH1100 Pilot posted and it diverted my thought process.
After reading about the ‘Incident in Podunk Pensacola’ I decided to skip ahead…
Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, OK.
Officially, I was posted there “Permanently”. In this case permanently equaled one year.
I was assigned to work with, uh, the Boys on the South End of Tinker. The ones with the big ships anchor at the entrance to their area. (They were a little touchy about their anchor after someone, NOT ME, painted it pink!)
I arrived before the airplane. The plan, I found was to house the airplane in a lean-to, to set up an office in one hangar and set up shop space in another hangar. We were to beg for space inside either hangar when maintenance was necessary.
Both hangars were full of High Priority aircraft. Heavy jets, “roped off” by Red Lines painted on the floor. (Remember the Red Lines. They will become very important later.)
Obviously, the plan was unsat! Unsatisfactory. Having me and my work partner, our tools and shop, the airplane and maintenance space scattered about haphazardly wasn’t going to work.
One of my Pilots had scoped out an unused hangar in (literally) the middle of the airfield. It was a “Hush House” formerly housing fighter jets for engine runs. That had to be a sight to see/ hear!
The hangar was HEAVILY reinforced. There were small electric doors that opened along each side, a larger door in back that opened on a long tube to duct and diffuse exhaust and noise. The office space had a large window that looked out into the hangar. There was a large control panel in the office to control all of the louvers and doors. It was the only hangar I’ve ever seen where I could open the hangar doors without leaving my comfy chair!!!
Problem was. (You knew there had to be problems.) It was smack dab in the middle of the airfield.
The Boys on the South End of Tinker issued us a cargo van (add the cargo van to the red lines.) and a hand held radio. We could not drive our personal vehicles to the hangar.
We could have parked the van at Base Op’s on the North End but after the Painting Pink of the Large Ships Anchor, the Boys on the South End were leery. Parking At Op’s would have saved a lot of trouble.
As it worked out we parked on the South End. We drove to the entrance to the secured area (more Red Lines outside the hangars), cleared security, drove to the edge of the ramp (the outer perimeter of the Red Lines) and called Ground Control on the handheld and drove to the hangar as per their instructions.
Call Security from our office.
Get in the van and radio Ground for permission to proceed.
Drive to the Red Line (IN A CARGO VAN).
Radio Ground and declare ourselves clear.
Wait for Security to clear us into the secure area.
Drive around the hangar and clear security outbound of the secure area (IN A CARGO VAN).
Feeling a pain in the ass here?
Soon, patterns emerged.
Security would pull up, drivers window to drivers window, glance at badges and wave us through (IN A CARGO VAN).
Security would wave us in from afar. (IN A CARGO VAN!)
We would get to the Red Line and Security would be a No-Show. We’d radio Ground for an assist and would be told something like, “They say they are on their way.”
Often we could see the Security truck on the ramp. Usually, under a shady lean-to. We got calloused and began breaching the Red Line. As we drove past the lean-to we would see the guard napping!!! Not just once or occasionally but often!
My time at that Permanent Duty Station was coming to a close. Most of you know that I ten days between the phone call dispatching me to Honduras and arriving in Honduras.
One Sunday night I recovered the airplane and followed the steps to head home.
At the Red Line… Security was a No Show. Ground couldn’t help. After a year of this, I thought nothing of crossing the Red Line.
I drove across the ramp, around the hangar and to the manned checkpoint to get through the fence. I pulled up, the gate opened and a little S.P., USAF, Female, One Each Armed approached the drivers window.
“Did you just cross the Red Line?”
“Wait here.” With that she went back into the guard shack. The gate closed and she returned with reinforcements.
Now, with a face full of automatic weapons, I decided to cooperate.
“Sir! Shut off the engine, put it in park and slowly exit the vehicle with your hands up!!!”
It wasn’t the weapons that made me nervous. It was the NERVOUS pimply face kids wielding them that made me nervous.
I wondered, briefly, if the weapons were actually loaded but decide that I didn’t really want to know.
By now the lights and sirens were approaching.
Soon after, I had a large, loud mouthed illiterate A.P., USAF, NCO, Asshole, One Each Armed getting in my face.
I didn’t like that.
[A quick aside here. As a rule, I ‘Sir’ Enlisted Folks and ‘First Name’ officers. I ‘Sir’ Warrant Officers but that’s because you’re not supposed to. But, that’s just me…]
This BackwardsAssedIlitterate, I ‘Last Named’ as snidely as possible.
A shouting match ensued.
He wanted to lecture me about Red Lines.
I informed him that I had been traversing that Red Line unchallenged for an entire year IN A CARGO VAN THAT NOT ONE A.P. ONE EACH EVER LOOKED INSIDE BECAUSE THEY WERE SLEEPING IN THE SECURITY TRUCK UNDER THE SHADY LEAN-TO!!!!!!!
“NOT MY PEOPLE!”
I’ll give the Cracker this much, he stood up for his people. I can only hope he ripped them later.
I lost the match. It’s fair to say that I was out manned and out gunned. Oh, and hand cuffed for the first and so far only time in my life.
I had to call the Officer of the Day to come get me. I very nearly would rather gone on to jail than ask that particular idiot for help… When he arrived he out ranked slash smooth talked SGT Cracker and got me sprung.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
The departure from Athens was much less exciting.
Of course, by then I was an old hand at this.
I can’t even convince myself of that all these years later.
The first leg, Athens to Frankfurt, I met a woman from Athens.
During our chat she told me about attempts to build a subway line
in Athens to relieve the traffic congestion.
Trouble was, every shovel full of dirt revealed more artifacts and
that caused delay after delay.
It seems the project was more of and archeological dig than a
Public Works project.
The arrival in Frankfurt lacked the drama and trauma of the first visit.
We entered through a jet way instead of deplaning on the ramp.
There were plenty of machine gun toting police inside but no gauntlet.
No time for a side trip to Dr Mueller’s. (If you have to ask, don’t.)
Frankfurt to New York.
I sat next to a silent guy. He didn’t say a word until we were nearly home. The Flight Attendant came around and he ordered, “Two Viskey’s.”
Then he asked for two more and put them on my tray table. (?)
We began to try to talk. He spoke very little English and as it happens I speak no Russian.
He was on his way to NYC. He had a subway map and that was it.
No one was to be waiting for him at the airport. He had some destination.
He showed me on the map where it was and how he would get there.
He showed me pictures of his wife and kids ‘back home’.
Another Soul in pursuit of the American Dream.
I often wonder what ever became of him.
Back in CONUS (Continental United States) it was dark, raining and cold.
Bags in hand I made my way to the rental car counter.
The rental counter was always like roulette. You just never knew what you’d land on.
This time I drew a Subaru Outback Station Wagon, Forrest Green. Yee Haw.
‘Where’s the light switch? Where’s the windshield wiper control? What’s that noise? Oh, rear windshield wiper. How did I turn that on? Where am I? Where am I going?’
I just started driving, glancing at a map without a real point of reference for my location or destination. I recall being ‘pretty sure’ of my direction.
The rain diminished and increased as the miles clicked by. Trouble was, I didn’t know how to adjust the wipers! Each attempt to match the tempo of the wipers to the rainfall resulted in some other system being activated. I finally gave up and just adjusted speed to visibility. That worked until the rain stopped. I had no idea how I had activated the rear wiper in the first place and less idea how to make it stop.
I made it to the Wilmington area but without a local map or a hotel reservation. I tried several times to call the guy on station. Answering machines picked up at the hangar and at his home. I was beginning to see a pattern here.
I pulled into a motel and secured a room. The girl at the front desk gave me directions to the room. I was already two steps ahead. I had a room AND directions to get there.
Back in the Subaru, I rounded the corner of the building and what did I see?
Yup, the airport. The RIGHT airport. Turned out, I could see the hangar from my room.
Wilmington was OK.
The guy on station was interesting, an active member of the “Society for Creative Anachronism”. Seems to me he was also studying. He was already on his way off of the hangar deck before he racked up the scars to show for his time there.
There was a neat bar down from the motel. Decked out in a WWII motif. Sand bags and artifacts/ memorabilia everywhere.
One night we went to the local Holiday Inn for karaoke. And, NO, I did not. I can still proudly say that I have never participated in karaoke (in any English speaking country).
There was one guy that was a real ‘stand-out’. Bad rug and all, belting out “Old Time Rock and Roll”.
Next stop, Andrews AFB Maryland, Thanks Giving, JFK’s Air Force One and Michael Myers. Until then, “… gimme that old time rock and roll, yeah!”
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
After a year at NAS Dallas I applied for and was tapped out as a "Rover".
'Red Rover, Red Rover, Come on over...'
'Over' to where? That varied by the moment. Sometimes, I would learn, plans would change while I was en route and the people at my destination would know before I got there that plans had changed.
It all started simply enough. My then soon to be new boss M2 told me repeatedly, "David, I'll keep ya in the States until you get used to living out of a suitcase. Then, if I need ya, I'll send ya overseas."
Fair Enough. I was anxious to go OCONUS (Outside Continental U.S.) but was ready to pay the dues.
One week before I was to leave Dallas M2 called, "David, I hate to do this but would you mind going to Athens Greece for a week?"
"You know me Boss, team player and all..."
Away I went.
I had never been outside the borders of the USA. Mexican border towns don't count.
The first leg was DFW to Frankfurt Germany.
We landed and deplaned to a phalanx of Police and Soldiers complete with an APC aiming a machine gun towards air stair.
"Welcome OCONUS David."
A layover in a big strange airport with moon mat flooring. (Moon mat is the stuff you see in the galley area of heavy jets.)
On to Athens. I followed the herd into the airport. No hang-ups in Immigration or Customs and nobody I knew waiting on the other side.
I learned right then and there what the phrase, "It's all Greek to me!" means.
I lingered in the terminal, looking for anyone looking for someone. Nobody in sight.
Somewhere I changed Dollars for Drachma and found a pay phone. I didn't know if the damn thing was ringing or busy! I tried the hangar and home numbers for the guy on station without any answer.
I began to get a little antsy. I didn't have a hotel name or rental car reservation and my point of contact was pointless.
'What are ya gonna do now smart guy?'
"David?", my point of contact...
On to the Hotel Brazil. A small place in Glyfada. It was an apartment hotel without any features like a restaurant or bar.
They did have a fridge in the lobby where we drank Amstel and got acquainted. I can't recall the guy on stations name but I met R2 that night and he was staying in the Brazil as well.
My rental car was waiting out front the next morning. I followed R2 through the tangled streets of Athens to the hangar. Every stop light was like the start of a hare scramble. Motorcycles of every ilk worked their way to the front, then launched when the light changed as if the next stop light was the finish line.
We had a lot of work. The unwritten job description for Rovers reads, in part, "Ye shall do the dirty work that the guys on station don't want to do." So, I found myself sitting in the dirt floor of the hangar flow checking fuel nozzles.
I wont get too detailed about a mundane task such as flow checking fuel nozzles. Suffice to say, it causes a 'fuel fog'. Atomized jet fuel hangs in the air and you stink like diesel for a few showers to come.
As I sat in that stinking fog of volatile fumes, up walks a Greek Airman, smoking a cigarette, "How are you doing?"
At night, I explored the area around the hotel on foot. I found a great bar. More Amstel with Expats from a number of English speaking countries. We threw a lot of darts, drank lots of beer and Tequila.
The funny thing was, I was wearing cowboy boots, Levis without tags, unmarked tee shirts and speaking English (it was all I knew at the time) yet when asked where I was from, the asker was always surprised to hear, "Texas.".
I heard, "I thought you were British." "I thought you were French." "I thought you were German." "I thought you were Russian." (Russian? French?!!!) Oh, well.
That Saturday I set off solo to see Poseidon's Temple. That's a mini post all it's own. Driving along that coast highway. The mountains. The sea. Then, to round the bend and see the ruins in the distance... all these years later, it still makes me take a breath. Just to think of all of the sailors that have approached, seen it in the distance and said, "I'm almost home.".
The next day, R2, Mrs R2 and I went to the Acropolis. (They really need an elevator!)
The one week stretched into two and we tried to keep it rolling but M2 was anxious to get me back across the pond.
Late Summer in Greece back to early Fall in Wilmington, Delaware.
Such is the life of a Rover Dog.
I may have posted this before. It's now the first in a series of road tales that I plan to continue for a while.
There will be none of that here, not today.
Saturday morning, I drafted yet another post that got dumped into the Draft Bin.
I woke up that morning with big doings in my head. We had a Family Day planned. Beers and OU Football, etc.
After "The Incident In Colorado"... Well, my mood went to hell.
It wasn't just my mood either. There was a mob chanting, "Get a rope! Lynch Stoops! Hang Him!"
They were eventually subdued with more liquor and German Chocolate Cake.
The bright spot was Echo November running around shouting, "Boomer Sooner!" and "Make Steaks". He reminds us all that there is always 'next week'.
So, here I am. Into 'next week'. Pimping myself out, looking for work as a writer and or photographer. I've got the resume and cover letters out there. Anxiously awaiting the first rejection letter. I have a frame all ready for it and a bulletin board ready for the ones that are sure to follow.
Negative? Pessimistic? Nay, nay, nay! Not so. Realistic.
If the first shot comes back with an acceptance, it will, no doubt, have a line that reads, "David! Congratulations! You've been accepted. Now, if you can recruit five more people who can recruit five more people each who can recruit..."
You get the idea.
I don't say that with simple cynicism. Oh, no.
I've been down that road or one like it.
In a world now far away, a friend I'd known most of my short life invited me to a 'business meeting'. He admonished me to, 'dress nice'.
I did. We went.
We went to a home on the East side of town where a couple greeted us cordially and offered Hors d'oeurev's. This wasn't the sort of 'Business Meeting' I'd imagined but there was free food.
Anybody guessed it yet? They were 'Soap Salesmen' of the legendary 'Soap Sales Pyramid'.
Thanks Again Rick!!!
Years later, I wound up in a B2B cold calling scam for a while. For this post, the definition of 'B2B' is, Bonehead2BrighterPeopleWithRealJobs.
And, later still, what I call, "The Rainbow Road To Ruin".
No, no, no not the colorful, celestial phenom in the sky.
The vacuum cleaner!
Really neat machine. I wouldn't mind having one. But, have you ever met anyone that bought one? Me either. That pretty much sums up my vacuum cleaner sales experience.
I did learn a lot from those experiences. Mostly, if it looks like a duck... well, duck it.
Monday, September 17, 2007
I apologize to those that are suffering.
They are not the reason I'm making note of the 10:PM Tabloid Report.
It's not even the Plasticine Actors that play on the 10:PM Tabloid Report.
It's the girrafix department... This time.
Here is my representation of a background graphic displayed on a (DELAYED BY FOOTBALL!!!) news report from last night...
I don't make this stuff up.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Please don't analyze this one.
And, if you do analyze it, don't tell me!!!
From the "Be Careful What You Wish For Dept."
You heard me lament, OK, whine about not being able to sleep.
We take it for granted that at some point every night we will rest our heads. Literally and figuratively.
When it stops coming you begin to miss it pretty quickly.
It doesn't take long to notice the effects either.
Obviously I must have slept some along the way. Otherwise I'd be dead or institutionalized by now. I've avoided both.
Sleep does come in fits and starts. More like restless naps. They punctuate the hours of cursing in the darkness, cursing the night.
Lately the game has changed.
I knew I was getting at least some minimum amount of sleep. I became certain of it when "They" began.
"They" being the vivid technicolor dreams.
Sure, we've all had the dreams that we hated to awake from. The uplifting and exhilarating kind that leaves you wanting more.
I don't seem to get that channel.
Sometimes it's just an image.
Once, the entire screen was filled with writhing snakes.
Another time it was puppies.
The cute little dogs were just as disconcerting as the reptiles. Just from a different emotional place.
Some have been elaborate nocturnal productions from some serious masters of the macabre.
You know those guys. The ones that can push every or any of your buttons at will and delight in doing so.
The most recent shake up of my psyche came and went a little like this...
I was in a dumpy little motel room.
It was for certain a motel as opposed to hotel. Replete with the Dodge parked right out in front of my room.
Where? Why? Who the hell knows.
I found myself being invaded, for lack of a better term.
The leader of the wave of weirdness was someone I hold as a close and dear friend. Only, their demeanor was unlike anything I'd ever seen of them.
Mean spirited, spiteful, hateful. Laying waste to my emotions, much to the delight of the toothless crackers that made up the balance of the invading force.
When I say 'toothless crackers', think of the worst of white trash stereotypes. These guys were the rejects from "Deliverance" casting!
Filthy of mind, body and temperament.
One of them was seriously deformed.
Another was horribly injured, burned all over.
'They' cared for the burned guy on my motel bed as if he was the King of the World.
My friend's demeanor and the behavior of the crackers all fueled my agitation... Which, of course was fuel for the fire so to speak.
You see how this was shaping up.
The more upset I got the more the crackers cackled the more my friend provoked me. The vicious circle.
I know better, in the light of day than so let on when someone bugs me. (21 years on hangar decks, if you don't learn that lesson quickly you will be miserable!)
I was flipping out.
I couldn't understand who these people were or why my friend was so willing to please them and use me to do so.
Then I noticed they had 'redecorated' my place. (By now it was where I lived and not simply a way station.)
They hung sheets on the walls like tapestry's.
Soon, I realized why.
They were covering up things, or the places rather, where they had carted my stuff out of the place.
I walked through a (previously nonexistent) door and into the room of a black couple. They weren't any happier to see me than I was to see the crackers.
I went through a few more rooms in the same manner until I reached the lobby/ office.
I either didn't or couldn't ask for the help I needed. Or maybe was brushed off. I don't recall.
I looked out the window and the cackling crackers had destroyed my Dodge!
I headed out.
I passed a woman that was looking at pictures on a bulletin board.
She seemed nice and the pictures were the most brightly colored and cheery things in the dream.
I tried to stop and inquire about them but by then I had reached the double glass doors at the exit to the lobby.
There were four thugs there, shoulder to tattooed shoulder.
At first I thought they weren't going to let me out.
Then it was clear, they were not going to let me stay in the haven of the lobby.
I didn't want to stay in!
I wanted out to salvage my Dodge and whatever I could get from the room and get the hell out of there.
I thought I was just a few doors down from my room...
The vehicle I had seen was no longer my truck. It was something else.
I wasn't 'a few doors down'.
I was in a bizarre landscape.
I could see the rooms much farther down than I expected and they were fading fast.
Someone had sidled up to my right and placed a hand on my left shoulder.
There was no pain or tight grip but there was no place to escape to either. (Believe me, I was looking for a way out.)
This person began to speak.
I didn't hear or understand much of it at all.
I was walked up a dirt burm, farther into the rubble.
The farther up the more form it seemed to take. It was like one of those late (late) night heavy metal techno bars you see on in the movies.
Populated by the freaks that only come out after midnight.
Tattooed with phrases about Hell, in positive terms.
I thought this individual was female but the voice turned very husky. (This cannot be good.)
I turned to look.
She was (is) in fact a she.
Someone I knew long ago and didn't like then or now.
She said something like, "I'm dating a porn star now."
(If you knew her that would come as no surprise.)
Then she turned to one of the pits full of people. (There were shallow pits everywhere and people were seated around the edges drinking something and in, I guess, party mode.)
This pit was full of the same types that met me at the door. Tattooed with pro hell and anti social phrases and marks.
It took two more weird turns before I mercifully awoke.
They looked like the rest but were speaking in very effeminate manners and if that wasn't strange enough, they were speaking knowledgeably about changing cam shafts in small block Chevys!
I awoke with a flinch. Blurry eyed in the darkness, "WTF, Over?!"
I got up and put on the coffee, making certain I wouldn't go back there. At least not that night.
He is an astute business man, a helluva artist and an all round great guy.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Who is he and why is he?
What do we have so far...
He has been living alone.
He is lonely.
He plays the "Loner" but he dislikes being alone.
His "Loner" persona is very practiced, he is accomplished in the arts of bachelorhood.
He is disgruntled at work.
He is lonesome at home.
He talks to himself, "I'm the only one that ever listened to me anyway."
He talks to his *pet*.
He dreams of a land not so far away that he visited long ago.
He misses his two children.
His intermittant attempts to reconnect with them are met, more and more frequently with contempt and disdain from the children and acidic animosity from their mother.
He misses the the woman he loves.
Not the mother of his children.
The one woman he trusted.
The one person he trusted completely.
He loves her in the present tense even though she left him long before she deserted him.
Every breath draws back the cold, hollow slap of an empty, silent apartment.
Celibate for years, again.
Long ago, long before he tried one last time to love and trust, he shunned sex as conquest and developed a disgust of those that practice it.
Long ago, intimacy became a matter of trust and devotion.
Now, every genuine human contact is a soulful reminder of what life could be.
What it should be.
What it has never been.
And at nearly 45 years old he has resigned himself to...
What it will never be.
Love has been distilled to a fantasy.
Sex is just a reason to shower twice in the same day.
He is cordial and always polite.
Holding doors and offering aid to the healthy as well as the less than capable.
He is not, however, gregarious.
He never has been.
That skill wasn't offered in the list of high school electives.
Neither was emotional stability and growth 101.
Raised in a sufficient yet less than savory family and home, he developed coping devices at an all too early age.
While effecient, those devices were not adequate to carry him through life.
He is cognizant of the deficencies.
He lacks the tools to repair, modify or improve upon them.
He is not weak.
Certainly not spineless.
He grows more quiet.
It SHOULD be a clear sign.
An astute individual would take immediate note.
And, begin to acknowledge the signs.
The clear and lethal demeanor of a man that has been pushed as far as he is willing to go.
A few wish they had.
The aches and strains of coping grow more acute every day.
The disappointment, the pain gets worse and the soul's shell grows harder.
(...the hurt gets worse and the heart gets harder...)
More distrustful of others.
"Others" equal betrayal.
He sets about Mans most independant endeavor.
A man alone on the sea.
A man growing old upon the sea.
Trusting only himself.
Risking only himself.
Reaping only for himself.
He sets out with a dark, thumbnail moon above.
He forsakes an idyllic departure beneath a full moon.
The full moon no longer represents the things that he once believed.
It shines down harshly on the things he now knows are lies.
No longer is it the old friend he once stood eye to eye with in Nairobi.
No longer is it the anticipated thing of love and sharing that rose over Atlanta every 28 days.
No longer is it the shared symbol of love rising over icy sidewalks.
A semi-celestial reminder.
A symbol of disappointments.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
This, connection to people we've never met. (This long rambling post..)
I have loved ones, friends and family in various States (as in Geography) and states (as in Conditions). One sweeping example of both states is Oklahoma. 24 of 77 counties are in a bind due to heavy rains from tropical storm/ depression "Erin". I'm making and waiting on calls.
Hurricane "Dean" just made his way across the Caribbean. Hopefully he wont double back or do anything else crazy. Mexico and Belize already have their hands full and islands in the Eastern Caribbean got hit pretty hard, regardless of the category of the storm at the time.
Thing is, most of the blogs I read are centered around Central America and the Caribbean. When I see the storms lumbering up and across the Atlantic I am concerned about potential damage to the coasts of the U.S. of course. Hell, look at little ol' Erin. Still causing problems. We, in the U.S. have infrastructure and capital that better equips us to recover.
Lest I go off on a tangent here... [It's hours later, I had to log off earlier and now the TV 10:00 Tabloids are on. Those people piss me off. In no particular order... One of the TV yappers used the "Storm of the Century" term to describe Hurricane Dean. I hadn't heard that one lately... The Texas Governor had mobilized everything he could find and either staged it here in San Antonio or sent assets South in anticipation of a bad hit. Overkill? Only if we don't get hit! I heard a blurb today about how much money had been spent and how it would be "reimbursed". "HUH?" Tonight I hear that the Federal Government will reimburse the expenses. Damn It. Show me where in the Constitution it is written, 'the Federal Government is responsible for bailing me out of any and everything.'?! Put that aside for a minute. The Governor did set wheels (lots of them) in motion well in advance of the storm. The storm changed course as they do sometimes. SO, now, he is being criticized for spending money and desensitizing volunteers!!! Damned if ya do...]
Yes, I'm a little emotional.
For days now, I've been tracking storms and mapping blogs that I read and the people behind them. Many, most of these people don't have the luxury of debating who will or should help them dig out of the aftermath.
Worse, and I think most of the people that I am referring to will agree, the people around them, the people that live in these countries or on those islands, the ones that were born there rather than 'choosing' to be there, they are much less able to recover.
I watch the pretty little computer models. Most all representing storm tracks projected in smooth lines arcing to the North. No erratic gyrations.
I remember a storm that romped like an angry bull. Bucking all projections. I remember the night it started raining...
I remember all of the things that were gone when the sun came up.
I remember the frantic radio calls.
Gone. So many people...
I remember El Centro, a full week after the storm, standing on the bank, watching the river rush. It was all the way up to the bottom of the bridge, usually, it was but a trickling stream some sixty feet below the bridge. I remember looking back over my shoulder and seeing the high water mark on the buildings, some 20' over my head. I remember all of the little 'Homes' that had been along the banks of that trickling stream...
I remember the D9 Cats.
Jen posted today. http://livingdominica.blogspot.com/ . I watched young Dean head West. Trujillo and Guanaja and La Ceiba were skimmed. Bob http://fh1100-pilot.blogspot.com/ has moved from Guanaja but Sharon has not http://www.featherridge.blogspot.com/ . Hal lives in Washington but flys helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico. I wondered what the storm 'meant' for him http://www.haljohnson.blogspot.com/ . Late last night I checked the storm and sent out a "have ya heard from" email. La Gringa sent me a note. I was glad to hear from her. http://www.lagringasblogicito.blogspot.com/ .
These are but a few of the folks that I read about. I didn't think I read that many blogs but as I think about them while the evil blobs trek West, I guess I read more than I realized.
Check them out. You might be surprised. Whether you have or ever cared to live live overseas, it's good to learn about it.
And, just 'cause you're not hearing about it doesn't mean I'm not thinking about you.
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