Friday, August 31, 2007

I WAS at a pretty mellow place...

Until, Norton tried to commandeer my computer.

I'll right myself but I must say that engineers, mechanical or software or whatever breed they be, are the lowest self-absorbed-monosyllabic- single cell scum on this planet!!!

(L.I.S. is granted an exemption.)

Just start a system scan whenever. No concerns about the work I've been doing for about three months and totally disregard the system setting wherein it is written, "Norton will perform a full system scan at 0300 on Wednesday night." (Which, by the way, it never seems to DO!)

Oh-no. Let's wait until David is writing, then we'll put a stop to that!

OK, ok, okay...




30, Check.

Artist? (Please say it's not Zevon.)

Nope, worse, Tom Petty...

Alright now... Tom Petty with a J.J. Cale tune.

I feel my balance coming back.

15 days with 5 to go...

What the hell was I gonna say here?

I haven't posted a lot. I have written a lot. Frankly, I loose track of what I have posted and what-not.

So if I repeat myself, it's probably a sign of things to come!

I have a mouthful of a writing project. Kinda explains why I got a little hostile when Norton tried to save me from myself. I had two word projects open at the time and was feeding each one with the other.

I was frantic. Worried that I might loose all of the work I've done.

Even when I realized it was all backed up and on other computers, no less.

It still spooled me up.

Still having trouble getting back on track here.

I'm tempted to just post one of the things I was afraid I'd loose a little while ago. It's a fictional stream of spit balls. Thoughts about a character really.

Oddly, or maybe not so surprisingly, I'm apprehensive about posting it when all the while it's supposed to a part of something I not only want to post but to publish.

Gut check time huh?

OK. Just remember. It's only David shooting spitballs at the board to see what kinda pattern I can make...

Mr Man

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.

Chivalrous even.

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.

When pushed...

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.

Some do.

Some don't.

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 detached.

More distrustful of others.

"Others" equal betrayal.

He sets about Mans most independant endeavor.

Sailing solo.

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.


Now before ya get all weird and worried think about all you've ever heard about writing. (OK, skip all that gramar stuff for the moment.)

"Write every day."

"Write what ya know."(t0 that I add, "Write what you feel. If you don't feel it why the hell would anyone else want to waste their time reading it?")

Etc and Et Al and all of that stuff.

What do I know?

Well, for one thing, I know a lot more than I get credit for sometimes.

I do know a lot of real characters!

I do know a lot of places.

I have figured out a way to begin to merge all of that into one 'place'.

It's a sort of fictional place.

Populated with fictional folk.

Laced with facts.

Woven together.

I'm still learning the weaving part but I keep gathering wool. I'm trying like hell to make something out of it.

I'm probably gonna get smacked in the head with a keg for this but what the hell. I laid it out there and it might just get whacked...

I'm trying to build literary architecture.

Building it on a solid place where parts of it are real and existing and have verifiable history but most of the stuff in the story are 'pigment' of my imagination.

OF COURSE... All places, characters, and events are ficticious and not based on any individual or place or event and any resemblence is a pigment of your imagination.

I've been doing a lot of reading about writers. The ones that have influenced me or at least made me think.

A lot of research into history, geography, politics and even bathyometry. (Say that three times fast.)

A lot of recollecting as well. Basically, just a lot collecting.

Collecting my thoughts.

Every now and then they collide and I go back into the file and let them roll off of my fingers, doing my best to let my mind stay out of the way.

I said today, "... I WANT to rush it but I'm not GOING to rush it..."

I do feel an urgency.

That urgency seems to bring frequently deliver a burst of notes.

Notes and details and dialogue and motivations and sight and sounds and, and... all of it.


That's what it brings. The emotions of at least three if not four of the characters are taking shape. Coming to light. Playing a part. Their parts.

I've been here at the keyboard for the better part of 12:39:07 seconds working on this today alone.

It's gaining weight.

I'm going to have to print what I have tomorrow because it's getting to be a pain to scroll back and find stuff I want to refer back to.

It isn't that I have all that much written but I'm trying to build the first 15 or 16 chapters from all of the notes I've made.

Going back through those notes looking for and discarding things.

Going back through those notes trying to gather up things about individuals that didn't come out all at once.

I saw on the news yesterday, a couple with 16 kids and one on the way. I feel like I'm trying to name and describe and have viable history for all 17 of them, At Once!!!

But it's a damn cool feeling to have. (Whoa, characters! Not 17 kids! That's nuckin'futs!!! Six kids. Six is a nice round even number.)

Thus the title of the file above "Mr Man".

That's got to sound pretty weak. I haven't settled on a proper name although I'm digging into the poor bastards head.

Same goes for "Miss".

And for the "Kid".

As well as for most of the others at this point.

Only character has a fairly well defined name. The 'pattern' is set for his name. Only his first name is pretty well decided. "Howell".

More significant to me is their emotions and motivations. I can let them name themselves, eventually.

Why the hell am I telling you all of this?

I just deleted a bunch of 'maybes' here.

They weren't the right reasons.

The root is, I'm creating and creating is pointless without sharing.

So, in that spirit and with that spirit, I'm not going to proofread this for the 24th time or even run 'spell check'.

If it's a gut check then let it be a true one.

Afterall, the only thing more important than sharing is the truth.

Look closely. Only two vehicles parked in front.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

This Internet Thing...

This Blog Thing...

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. . I watched young Dean head West. Trujillo and Guanaja and La Ceiba were skimmed. Bob has moved from Guanaja but Sharon has not . Hal lives in Washington but flys helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico. I wondered what the storm 'meant' for him . 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. .

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.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Music

Back to the formative days.

Back to the 'Squad Room'. No not a military reference, per quod.

The room in question was a converted garage.

The conversion of the garage was a result of, "What the F*&K are we gonna do?! We raised three boys. I retired. Now, we've got Four More To Raise!"

Logistics were something the Ol' SGT Major understood very well.

He played his part to the "T".

Amongst his losses and sacrifices, the garage was a small thing. It became a barracks for four boys.

We adapted.


All things considered though... It could have been worse and WE could be worse men...

Oops. This was supposed to be a music post.

A week or so ago the Architect reminded me of the lyrics to "Duncan" the Paul Simon song. Today I picked up the "Essential Paul Simon" and "Cat Stevens' Greatest Hits".

That's how I found myself back in the old Squad Room.

THAT'S why I love music so much.

I might be stealing this line and I don't mean to but, music has a way of turning my outsides to see where my insides have been.

Even though some of the tunes on these discs are a little, blue, sorta, they take me to a time when all was not well but there was still time.

Time to fix everything.

Time to fulfill dreams.

Time for it to all work out, in the end.

The time when I fell in love. When I fell in love I was listening to some of these very same songs.

I still believe in dreams and love and the future.

Good thing too because when I stop believing it will be time for some of ya'll to start checking tide tables.

In music, or the appreciation of music, there is music that we discover, music we grow into, and music that 'discovered us'. Songs that found us at the right time and place. At the moment, Mr. Simon is reminding me of all of this and oh so many other things. I appreciate that.

"... had a heart like a bone... there's a mean individual stranded in a limousine... left that neighborhood just like a rattlesnake sheds his skin.. Lord, Lord... gonna divvy up the reward but the mean individual vanished in the black of night'!!!

(A sorta not really related aside here, "Coach, I got's my Dave Clarks in my hand. I think I'm ready to get back in the game." We'll soon see. I'll squawk 123.72 to let ya know.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007

Ah, tranquil Cibolo Creek...

I stopped along I35 this morning to get a few photos of Cibolo Creek before it (eventually) gets developed out of existance. Actually, I stopped to get some contrast or perspective photos for this post. The photos of the high water are from July this year. The picture at the bottom of the page is from today.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Deadline Day

Earlier this week I went up to Brightledge to help out with a load of data that needed to be post marked that day.

Pretty cool it was! Fun really. Looking at the craftsmanship of another and appreciating the effort that went into the proposal.

It was all business there for a while as we assembled the pieces.

We carried the big box to UPS and launched it with HOURS to spare.

It felt kind of like sending a message in a bottle. Set it out on the tide... then see who responds.

So, it was time to pop the cork and say bon voyage to the big box as it drifted away.


It was a 'Holy Shmo' moment as it hit me, "I THINK Johnny Winter is playing at Texas Pride BBQ tonight!? Gotta go! See ya."

Shmo 'nuff.

I made it to the show that I wasn't sure was going to be with time to spare.

I am so glad that I did.

There were five other bands up prior to the Legend.

I have only good things to say and remember about all of them!

The acoustics at the outdoor venue suck but it didn't stop the heart and soul coming through.

Mike Milligan and the Altar Boyz were first up.

"Great Ghost and Mrs Muir"!!! Can Mike Milligan play the harp.

HarpS. He had a case full that would make any wannabe drool. I think he played them all.

I followed him around after the set. I got a chance to talk with him. His autograph is the only one on my show poster. Nice guy.

(I have found that 90% of the people I've heard play lately are very approachable and friendly.)

The beat rolled on as band after band played.

Johnny Winter took the big stage pretty late in the evening.

It seems to be quite a struggle for him to make it from the trailer to the stage but when he sits down... All of the years seem to melt away and his hands work their voodoo.

The Ratio

It's not as bad as I thought. 106 posts out of 138 drafts. I really expected to see that I had more than 32 unposted drafts.

I do wonder what other Bloggers ratio might be.

I'm sure there are people that post everything that comes to mind. Also, people that meticulously craft and perfect each draft and see it through to posting.

There must be many stages in between those two types of Blogger.

I fall somewhere in between.

There are times when I want to shout every thought or feeling out loud for the world to hear. Then when it comes time to hit the publish or send button, I decide to keep it to myself.

Sometimes just the act of writing it down is enough.

There are times when my emotions get the best of me and I just hit the send button and question the decision later.

Oops! There ain't a retract feature. Can't take it back. I've had a few of those moments lately.

I tend to keep most thoughts and feelings bottled up. I either don't care for anyone else to know what I'm thinking or feeling OR I worry about what someone else is going through and don't want to bother them with my trivial emotions.

Sometimes I do something stupid like put that bottle of stuff on a hot surface. For some reason it always comes as a surprise when the lid blows off and the stuff goes everywhere!

When we were kids my Brother the Master SGT had a picture of a large primate. The caption was something like, "Sometimes I sits and thinks. Sometimes I just sits."

That's me, sorta.

Sometimes I sit too much.

Sometimes I think to much.

What's the problem with thinking too much?

Well, I'll tell ya what...

If you think too much about a problem without having the correct formula and try to solve for all of the unknowns without having the correct known values, you get the wrong result.

You might feel certain that you have the best answer.

When it comes time to exchange papers and break out the red pencils, it's too late to ask questions.

The best answer isn't always the right answer.

There are times when the risk reward ratio is inverted. By that I mean the risk of burdening someone else is far less than the reward that results from open hearts.

Another long night...

It's almost 0100 hrs. I've been on this cursed machine for hours now.

I've been sending email. A grand total of TWO emails. Both if which I struggled with the topic. Both of which I wrote, read, re-read, deleted and edited repeatedly.

To give ya some idea, I'm on about my fifth CD. It's been an eclectic mix.

RUSH "FEEDBACK". It's a great set. RUSH covers a load of 60's tunes that they listened to as kids.

A Molly Hatchet greatest hits disc. (Sometimes that Southern Fried stuff can snap a funk for me.)

A Joe Ely disc. I could pull it back out to see which one it was but it doesn't matter. It has 'Row Of Dominoes' on it. I lost track of how many times I hit rewind on that tune.

I can't find our "Live at Antones" or "Live at the Liberty Lunch". They are here somewhere, I must of miss filed them in the latest CD reorganization.

'Liberty Lunch' is my favorite Joe Ely. It has THE BEST version of "The Road Goes On Forever".

Yes, Robert Earl Keen wrote it. We saw him play it live.

At the beginning of the show I said, ''If he plays it, I'm going over the fence.''

The Architect just grinned at me. Ya see, I didn't say what "IT" was. He just knew.

Well, Robert Earl hit that first chord. I looked at the Architect. He looked at me with that, 'Sumbitch, you weren't bluffing?' look.

Over the fence I went, hell bent for leather headed for the stage. I made it about three steps before I met a VERY large and very polite young bouncer,

"UH, Sir you are going to have to go back where you came from."


"OK, I just had to win a bet."

Sheepishly, I climbed back over the fence.

The Architect and I laughed ourselves to tears!

So, tonight Sir Elton John was up next, "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy".

By the time I loaded it in the CD player I already knew that it wasn't going to be enough so I backed it up with "Madman Across The Water".

I backed that up with "The Essential Bob Dylan" disc two, just in case.

Well, here we are and 'Rotten Peaches' is almost done and I'm still typing.

I warned ya. Another long night.

I am beginning to appreciate some new music.

There is a "13 year old guitar sensation'' playing here this weekend and I've got a free admission, he is playing the blues. (Hey, apparently the kid has two or three CDs out already and has appeared with some heavies.)

Anyway, new stuff can strike me sometimes but it's the stuff I grew up with or grew into that I turn to in times like these.

Nights light these.

When I'm deep in heavy thoughts.

It's the familiar I guess. Everybody loves a song they know every word to. Or an album that ya know what the next track will be. (To wit... I just backed up the stack to "Captain Fantastic..." it has three 'bonus' tracks at the end. That's nice. They don't belong though.)

So what is it about these tunes?

None of us have identical sound tracks to our lives or histories but many share the same feeling about the songs and singers that have said SOMETHING to us over the years.

Tonight, rather this morning (we're pushing 0200) my theory is; they are familiar and comfortable and we don't have to think about what comes next because we already know.

That frees us up to think. It works for me as long as I can keep from sinking into the past and times that the songs represent for me.

Thinking, dangerous stuff for a man like me.


The sun is up now. I finally turned this thing off at about 0300. This morning I reopened this post and deleted a huge portion.

It just got too dark, morbid and depressing.

I'm not going to rewrite the thing but I don't want to be cryptic either.

Two airplane crashes began to press down on me. I have a personal connection to both of them.

Ten years ago I witnessed the first one.

The other occurred last year. I know nearly everyone involved in that one. Including two of the four people that died in it.

See, ya really didn't want to hear all about that did you?

I didn't want to delete it entirely or send it to the draft bin with so many other crippled incomplete posts. I wonder what my Post to Draft Ratio is? I haven't done the math yet but I'm going to.

It's a brand new day. Let me see what I can make out of it!

Maybe I should stick to music...

I have seen a bunch of live shows lately. Mostly local and regional folks. I've got a few photos to pick through and post. (A ''FEW''!!! LOL!!! I took 505 photos at one event alone!)

Among the fodder-fotos are a couple of real gems. Including...
"The Man, The Legend, The Myth! Mr Johnny Winter!"