Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ann Crispin has a blog!

Do you remember last week when I did the book review of Storms of Destiny by A.C. Crispin? Well, as luck would have it, she has now started a blog. She will be covering topics that will concern any aspiring writer (and I am sure a few veterans as well). Not only will she offer writing advice, but she will also provide information about scam artists in the publishing industry. Either topic by itself would warrant a drop by, but put them together and…yeah, it quickly becomes a must read.

So, I urge you to drop by and give her a warm welcome to the blogosphere. You can find it here. I will also add it to the blogroll for future reference.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Lucky Lucky

Many of you have asked how my wife’s birthday went. Well, let’s just say that it was a whirlwind of a day. Wait, that would be a bit dull and perhaps more than a little cliché. You want details, don’t you?

As I have mentioned before, my wife really enjoys going to the casino. We don’t do it very often, but when we do, we usually do it up right. Which is to say we lose our asses nearly every single time.

Since this was what some might consider a milestone birthday, I figured that we would go all out. I pulled out $200 with the intention that we each use a hundred. We played a few slot machines with varying success and decided to move on to the Black Jack tables. We each sat down with $50 in chips. My wife realized quickly that the fabled birthday luck didn’t work on Black Jack. She was out relatively quickly. I managed to spin my $50 into a c-note and cashed in.

We moved back to the one armed bandits. It seemed that her luck was on a reversal, as on her third machine she won $90. A couple of hours passed and as is custom our stash dwindled under the attrition of sheer playing time.

“I know what needs to happen,” My wife said suddenly.
“Oh yeah, what’s that?”
“We need to take what’s left and sit you at a Black Jack table. You saw how lucky you were earlier. I bet you can win our money back.”

I shrugged agreement and we waded our way through the crowd until we found an empty seat at the Black Jack tables. It looked as if I might actually pull it off, but then my luck turned south again. Within half an hour…we were broke.

“Hey, you had a good time though, right?” I asked, not really surprised by the outcome.
“We’re not done yet,” she replied, her brow creasing with determination.
“You’re not seriously suggesting that we hit the ATM machine, are you?” I asked, taken aback.
“You damn right I am.”
“Baby, you know as well as I do, that only means that we toss good money after bad.”
“Look, I have never walked away from a casino a loser on my birthday and I’m not gonna start now. You saw how the cards were falling. If you would have had a little more money to start with, you would have won a bundle.”

I reluctantly agreed and we withdrew yet another $200. I passed her half with a heavy sigh. It was her birthday, but this just seemed ludicrous to me. She darted off to the $1 slots and bellied up to a $10 table. After a few hands I found myself down to about $25. I tried to tell her, I chastised myself as I went all in. As the cards were being dealt, my wife slipped by to show me that she was up to $180 from the slots. Well, that’s close to what we just withdrew.
“Might as well stick around, I’m about done here,” I told her, motioning to my cards.

But I won. Then I won again. Then I hit a black jack followed by another black jack. I drew a 17 against a dealer’s ten and asked for a card. The dealer looked at me like was insane. That is until he laid a four on top of the stack. By the time it was all said and done, I had about six black jacks, by the time my wife came back to check on me.

“How are you…” she began to ask but fell short when she saw my stack.
“I am up a little over four hundred. Are you ready to go?”
“One more hand. Why don’t you put all of your $5 chips up. With the left over winnings from my slots, that would put us pretty close to even.”

I obliged and hit another black jack. Yeah, we walked out of the casino with $662 and that’s after tipping everyone heavily. We won back what we lost and then some. Is that crazy or what? I don’t know of anyone that has ever hit the ATM and had it work out for them. I seriously doubt if it will ever happen again, but I sure am glad it happened for my baby’s birthday. It sure put a smile on her face.

Monday, September 26, 2005

You say it's your birthday...

Just a quick note to thank everyone for the Birthday wishes for my wife. She got a kick out of all the e-mails. I surprised her with her very own iPod mini. Now she is faced the not as difficult as one might think dilemma of how to fill the thing (it holds a thousand songs you know).

I will keep this short as I am about to indulge in surprise number two. I am taking her to the casino (tis one of her favorite pastimes). I dropped my son off at school and the rest of the day will be spent playing Black Jack.

I hope everyone has a great Monday!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Run, Forrest, Run!

Yesterday was a day of firsts. My son ran in his first race and my wife ran her first 8K race. We took part in the Hurricane Run. It was held at the University of Tulsa, where, incidentally, my wife received her degree.

The funny (est?) thing about my son’s race is he decided the day before that he wanted to do it. No training, no buildup, no questions, just, “Hey, I want to run in the race tomorrow.” We signed him up for the 1-mile fun run. I figured that would be far enough to let him know he was in a race, but not so far that it would discourage him from wanting to run another one.

The gun went off and he began squirming through the crowd with me in tow. He obviously didn’t need as much space to squeeze through as I did, but I managed to keep right on his heels. Once we had broken into a relatively clear spot, he began to sprint.
“Son, you don’t want to do that yet. You will run out of juice before we finish.”
“But it’s a race. I have to run fast.”
“You need to pace yourself. Save the sprint for the end.”
He slowed a bit, but I could tell he was still going too fast even for this short of a distance with no more preparations than he had. Sure enough, about a half mile in, he needed to stop and walk for a bit. After that, he paced himself and made a pretty good showing. He finished the mile in about nine and a half minutes. Not to shabby for his first time running. Oddly enough, that placed him about 74th in the open (out of over 200)

My wife, well…she never ceases to amaze me. She finished the 8K in just over 45 minutes. I am so proud of her. She said that she left a lot out on the track. She wasn’t sure how to pace herself so that she would still have enough energy for the “kick” at the end.
It was the last time running in this age group as her birthday is Monday. How does she plan to celebrate? She signed up for a 10K race next Saturday. Go, Baby, Go! Just for the record, I will not be running the 10K with her. I will just be there to cheer her on.

Last night we met up with our friends, Rob and Amy. We were brainstorming to come up with something to do for the evening and settled on bowling. We hadn’t been in ages, but it was a marvelous time for all concerned.

Today is going to be spent…doing as little as possible. I plan to catch up on some writing and my wife, she plans to do a lot of reading.

I hope everyone else is having a great weekend.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Things that make you go hmm....

I received this email from a family member and it disturbed me deeply. I am pretty sure it is a bogus account, but I can't understand why someone would make something like this up. I thought I would post it and see what you thought about it. Let me know what you think. Is it real, fake or what? If it's fake, I would like to hear your take on why someone would write it. If it's real, why haven't we seen any hard news stories about it?

My friend Gail's son is an Emergency Room physician
in Tulsa. He's in New
Orleans with other doctors right now, trying to help
with the relief. This is an
email he sent his folks today. Thought you'd find
this interesting...
Here is latest from my son who's in New Orleans righ
now. I have left his
mail unedited and he's starting to share some of the
uglier stuff although (and
some reporters we've been seeing on TV are
confirming this), I think the worst
cannot be even talked about yet --- the absolute
degenerate state to which
the totally "separated" human nature sinks. Within
the past day I've heard more
than one rescue worker or reporter say something
like --- "there was who I
was before this and who I will be from this point
on." Gail

Hi Folks,

Just finishing another long night, and heading to
bed. Email has been hit or
miss for a while with Cox, so yes this is a better
way to chat. Not sure how
much of this you want to pass along... so feel free
to edit. And I'm far from
being any kind of hero... The real heroes are these
crazy CG Divers hanging
from a cord, pulling people from their rooftops
while some idiot neighbor in his
crack house is shooting at them!

Glad to hear that you've passed the word along about
some of the goings on
here in Louisiana... obviously the major networks
won't tell you what should be
told, and Fox is doing a good job about getting the
real word out, but there's
so much more to the story that they just can't
report about... its not in the
publics best interest to hear about the incredible
number of murders that
have been going on, or how the green berets are here
on the roof tops at night
with their night vision goggles. They've been taking
out these looters and
rapists one by one at night when they don' t think
they're being seen. The first
couple of nights here they were capping about 20 or
so a night, now its down to
half a dozen a night... they've been cleaning out
the city very efficiently.
The weird part is you never know its coming... just
a short bright flash from a
rooftop corner somew! here downtown and a few
seconds later, a little muffled
whoomp from the muzzle blast....sad to say it's
gratifying, but with the
stuff that's been going on, it's hard not to feel
these punks deserve it.

The rest of the city is pretty much cleared out now,
except for the corpses
floating in the water. The airport has been our main
staging area for the sick
and injured ones. (Can you walk? Great... go to gate
5 please... and your sir,
you need a wheelchair? Ok, get on this luggage cart
and we'll take you to
gate 7! Just crazy!) There are so many of these
people that probably have
typhoid, or another bacterial infection that will
end up dying that we'll probably
never know the true final death count. The open
wounds from they have on their
legs and feet from the water burning them, are
disgusting. We've even seen a
number of cases of tuberculosis too. Then there's
the people that went to a
NOLA hospital that were so obese that when the water
started rising the staff
couldn't get them up the stair wells to the dry
floors and were forced to leave
them downstai! rs to slowly drown. Nurses were
starting IV's on each other just
to stay hydrated when the water ran out. The bodies
in the streets were being
tied up to fences and lightposts by the Guard so
they wouldn't float away and
could be retrieved later. Have you noticed how the
news doesn't show 'Live'
aerial shots any more? Too many bodies floating...
The only thing thicker than
looked around yesterday and
thought we heard a low flying aircraft and wondered
what in the hell these guys
were doing flying so low only to realize it was a
swarm of flies! We're losing
our minds! I'm sure a lot of us will need therapy
for years to come! There's
so many other things we've seen that I'm not even
sure how to talk about them
yet. I'd almost rather have gone to fight in Iraq
than to see what's happened
here. If they don't tear down the Superdome and
start all over with something
new, I'll never be able to walk into that place
again. It might just be what
the 'Aints need to start winning, anyway! We heard
about some guy who had been
rescued from a hospital and when he asked where they
were taking him and he
heard "another hospital", he jumped out of the boat
because he wanted to go to
the dome since he couldn't sell his crack in the
hospitals. Go figure....

So that's my news for now... I'll try to catch you
up on other things in a
few days. I'll just leave you with one more story
that came out of Baton Rouge.

Yesterday the Rev. Jesse Jackson showed up in Baton
Rouge, I wished he would
have showed up in Sheriff Harry Lee's office as we
would have NEVER heard from
him again. He said, "Bush has NOT appointed a Single
Black to head up this
Katrina Relief, the Black Caucus and Black Leaders
all over America are upset
with him putting the Black Folks on the side and it
is OUR people who are
sitting on their roof tops waiting for Rescue, OUR
people who are standing in line
at the Superdome waiting on Food, Water and a Ride
to a safe place, OUR people
who have been locked down in Poverty..." and so on.

George Sell the Anchorman for TV 9 news responded to
Jesse, "Rev. Jackson,
the Mayors of New Orleans and Baton Rouge are Black,
the Police Chief's of New
Orleans and Baton Rouge are Black, the Head of the
LA State Police is Black,
the Head of the Army conducting the Army's operation
on the Ground in New
Orleans is Black, the Congressman from New Orleans
is Black and for the last 40
years, the leaders of LA have been members of the
Democratic Party, YOUR Party,
don't blame us like you are doing, look in the
Mirror, you pull the Race Card
any time you don't get your way, we are in a
Terrible Crisis and right now we
need to come together and here you come to Louisiana
and holler Racism, just
like you do, it is NEVER EVER your fault, ALWAYS
someone else, but here you are
sitting High and Dry, why don't you go out in to the
waters where they are
shooting at the Rescue personnel and help in the

Hats off to George Sell for putting him in his
place, Harry Lee would have
put Jesse in his place and then some! This is a time
to come together and work
together, not the time to pull the race card!

Love, Brian

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Things you don't want to see on your employee evaluation

1. Works well only when under constant supervision and
cornered like a rat in a trap

2. His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of
morbid curiosity.

3. I would not allow this employee to breed.

4. This employee is really not so much of a has-been but
more of a definite won't be.

5. Since my last report, he has reached rock bottom and has
started to dig.

6. When she opens her mouth, it seems that this is only to
change whichever foot was previously in there.

7. He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.

8. This young lady has delusions of adequacy.

9. She sets low personal standards and then consistently
fails to achieve them.

10. This employee should go far-and the sooner he starts
the better.

11. This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an

12. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

13. Got into the gene pool while the lifeguard wasn't

14. A room temperature IQ.

15. Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold
it all together.

16. A gross ignoramus-144 times worse than an ordinary

17. A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on.

18. A prime candidate for natural deselection.

19. Bright as Alaska in December.

20. One-celled organisms out score him in IQ tests.

21. Donated his brain to science before he was done using

22. Fell out of the family tree.

23. Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train
is going nowhere.

24. Has two brains, one is lost and the other is out
looking for it.

25. He is so dense, light bends around him.

26. If brains were taxed, he'd get a rebate.

27. If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered
twice a week.

28. If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get

29. If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the

30. It is hard to believe that he beat out 1,000,000 other

31. One neuron short of a synapse.

32. Some drink from the fountain of knowledge, he only

33. Takes him 1 1/2 hours to watch the 60 minutes program.

34. Was left on the Tilt-A-Whirl a bit too long as a baby.

35. Wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Storms of Destiny

I would like to take a minute to talk about A.C. Crispin. As many of you may (or may not) know, she is one of the co-founders of Writer Beware. The work she and Victoria Strauss have done to protect writers from scam artists is beyond commendable. She personally helped prevent me from taking a major fleecing from a particularly smooth scam agent a few years ago. Yeah, not one of my prouder moments. I don’t know of anyone that thinks they are gullible enough to fall for a scam, but I nearly took the bait, hook, line and sinker.

Her prowess as scam hunter is not what I want to talk to you about today, however. She is also the author of over 20 novels. Yes, she has been a very busy lady and she has a new book on the stands even as we speak. Storms of Destiny is a fantasy adventure from the word go. In retrospect I would say that it was a mix of Dragonlance and Planet of the Apes. A strange mix, you say? It won’t seem quite as strange once you read the book. More than likely, you will probably read it and think to yourself, I can think of way better analogies to describe this story. Well, good for you. This is my blog and I chose to compare the story to these two! Just kidding, I would actually be very interested in hearing from anyone else that has read this story to see what they thought of it.

Storms of Destiny is the first book in the Exiles of Boq’urain.
"In a world at peril, five exiles must band together to stop a god.

Banished from their former lives, an unlikely group of comrades -- a warrior disgraced, a disillusioned priestess, a fiery revolutionary, a mysterious non-human healer, and an enslaved prince -- are drawn together in a desperate race to stop an invading army. But they soon discover the danger is infinitely greater, for their true enemy is none other than a malevolent, vengeful god who has destroyed many worlds..."

There are five primary characters (for the forces of good):

The Exiles of Boq'urain: Storms of Destiny is the first book in a trilogy about five adventurers who must defeat the demon Boq'urak. The story begins with the warrior-priest Jezzil infiltrating an enemy fortress. It goes horribly wrong and his comrades quickly find themselves outnumbered. His training tells him that he should fight to the death, but he wants to live. He flees for his life, instantly marking him as an outcast to the Pen Jav Dal

Thia is a 19-year-old novice priestess. A wrong turn in a forbidden tunnel, reveals the true nature of the god she worships; Boq'urak. She flees the temple, barely escaping with her life. She finds herself lost, not only in a world that she has never known existed outside the temple, but also in her spiritual direction. She had spent her life in the service of a monster and now has no one to pray to for help.

Khith is a generless, furred creature that lives in the jungles that surround the city of the ancients. He, er “it” is a sorcerer, healer and scholar. His thirst for knowledge about the ancients eventually gets him the boot from his community.

Prince Eregard is the youngest of the King’s sons. The Crown Prince Salesin (his oldest brother) is an overpowering, greedy, manipulative tyrant and he isn’t even the king yet. Even his own father (the King) fears him. In an effort to stop an uprising the King asks Eregard to sail to Katal to discover the source of the unrest (I bet you couldn’t guess that Salesin’s greed has a lot to do with it). On the long journey, the ship is captured by pirates (I love pirates) and Eregard is forced into slavery.

Talis Aloro hates men, plain and simple. She was savagely raped by her uncle and her father did nothing to set things right. She also happens to be the right hand…er, woman to the man who is plotting against Eregard's kingdom.
The story moves between the points of view of these characters, showing the reader the world through many different eyes.

There are a few places that seem to drag as she sets the stage, but they are few and far between. The first book of a trilogy always has the hardest duty; setting up the world and characters for the rest of the books to run with. She did a remarkable job of getting all of the pertinent information across without just spelling everything out for you. The story ends with several unanswered questions, setting us up to dive right into the next book the moment it is released.

Ann Crispin has wove an incredible story here. She fleshes out her characters to the point that they are almost tangible. Her battle scenes are brilliantly laid out; you can almost smell the blood on the battlefield. Swordplay, revolutionaries, magic, strange creatures (both good and bad), not one but two formidable enemies and an underlying moral about freedom (with it’s many levels) and the cost of keeping it, this book has it all. If you enjoy fantasy at all, you will love this book. It was a fun read.

I can’t wait to pick up the next one.

Monday, September 19, 2005

She's Home...

At long last, my wife is home. She had a good time, made a few new friends and managed to get a lot accomplished in the nine days that she was gone. All in all, I hear that the trip was a success.

I would like to given a giant “guten tag!” to any new readers that may have been introduced to my blog by her visit. To Dana Weiss I would like to say: Heißen Sie Willkommen zu meinem Blog. Vielen Dank fühlt zum Machen meiner Ehefrau so zu Hause.

Anyhoo, I am glad she’s back and hope to be back into at least a semblance of a routine soon. I am sure it will take a day or two for her to recuperate after so much time on the road.

Oh, and for those of you keeping track, Oktoberfest was a wash, literally. It rained with enough enthusiasm that my wife decided to stay only long enough to partake of ein bier and call it good. She came, she saw, she drank one beer; I think that qualifies as having been to the world’s largest festival for…er, beer.

I may have some pictures to post for your enjoyment, but I will have to get back to you on that.

I hope everyone has a marvelous Monday.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Jim and Edna

Jim and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Jim suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.

Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom, pulled Jim out and brought him to his room.

When the hospital director became aware of Edna's heroic act, she immediately ordered that Edna be discharged from the hospital because she now considered Edna to be mentally stable. She went to Edna and said, "I have some good news and some bad news". The good news is that you're being discharged because you responded so rationally to a crisis. By jumping in the pool to save the life of another patient, you displayed sound mindedness. The bad news is that Jim, the patient you saved, hung himself in his bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he's dead.

Edna replied, "He didn't hang himself. I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?"

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Madness, Mayhem, and er...Marketing

Douglas Clegg is a marketing genius. Click on this link to watch the trailer for his new book, The Priest of Blood. That’s right ladies and gentlemen; I said trailer. The video is just…brilliant. To read a little bit about his method behind the madness click here. Much props to you, Doug.

Please swing by and check it out. After you see this thing, I will be shocked…nay, utterly frickin’ amazed if you don’t want to read this book.

I wonder if I can get one of these puppies for Drums of the Nunne’hi when it comes out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

DOH...that's gonna leave a mark!

Yes, this is what stupid looks like and yes, I did this to myself. No, I wasn’t trying to be nominated for a Darwin award. It hurts like hell to type and yet…here I am gritting my teeth and doing it anyway.

I decided to venture out of the office today, something that I’ve done quite often of late. My guys were all hooked up on other projects and I needed some information tracked down, part of which required disassembling an existing PLC marshalling panel to trace out wires to see what was on the other end. So, I did what any good supervisor would do; I handled it myself. Well, I gathered up most of the appropriate tools, but I could find my diagonal cutters so I shrugged it off and decided I would work something else out.

As I started tracing out wires, I quickly found myself in a position where the wires were bundled and tucked into a hard to reach corner. I whipped out a pair of wire strippers and attempted to cut the wires ties. There wasn’t really enough room for me to use the sharp side of the cutters on the tie fastener, so I twisted, turned managed to get a little grip on it and tugged. It didn’t come free so I tugged a little harder. This time it came free, but when it did, it came so fast that I rammed my hand into a plastic cover, giving me a little scratch.

Well, that doesn’t seem very safe. I had better figure something else out, I thought.
So I looked around at the tight space and did a quick brainstorm about what I could use to get those damned wire ties loose. Aha! I bet my knife will fit back there. So I pulled the knife and stuck it in the corner, blade turned up and away so that I wouldn’t be cutting towards my body. I could get a good angle on it with the knife. By now I am good and frustrated, so I flip the knife and tried it with the blade facing down. Presto, I found purchase for the blade. However, as I applied pressure the bundle moved left and right. Yep, I took my other hand and put it in there to steady the wire. The blade went through and stuck directly in my hand.

Dumb ass!

Now I know I went into a lot of detail here and it looks like a lot happened, but in all actuality, these decisions were made in a matter of seconds. As soon as I felt the knife enter my flesh, I jumped out of the little lab trailer and into the gravel so that I wouldn’t be slinging blood all over the floors. It was spurting pretty good and I immediately knew that I would need stitches. I started to take a step but I started feeling light-headed. What, am I turning into a weenie in my old age? I’ve had worse cuts than this and it didn’t have this effect on me, I thought to myself. As I stumbling towards the front of my office trailer, my world seemed to be getting smaller. I used my radio and asked the plant manager to meet me. By the time he got there, I had to squat to keep from falling out. He grabbed some paper towels for me and I applied pressure while he brought me a chair. As the bleeding ebbed, I began to feel more like myself.

We loaded up and headed for the emergency room. The doc said the reason that I felt light headed was because I hit an artery, causing my blood pressure to drop rather suddenly. I had no idea there was an artery in that part of the hand. Anyhoo, it looks like I missed the tendons and there doesn’t appear to be any nerve damage. It was a pretty clean wound as far as cuts go. I guess the bone kept it from coming out the other side of my hand.

I suppose I should now be encouraged to spend more time in my office and leave the fieldwork to the field hands. Oh well, you live and you learn.

On a positive note, I managed to meet a few new possible readers. (Howdy and thanks for dropping by if you’re reading this). Yes, as I sat in the chair getting my hand examined, I managed to stay clear headed enough to ask the two nurses and the doctor if they enjoyed reading. With my good hand, I fished out my wallet and distributed business cards with links to my websites on it. Never miss an opportunity to pimp the website.

I talked to my wife about what happened and after her initial concern, she tried to make light of the situation.
“Well, I guess you will have another scar to add to your collection,” she smirked.
“Yeah, but I hear chicks dig scars.”
Somehow, I don’t think she found that near as humorous as I did.

Book News

I have received word from my publisher. It looks like Drums of the Nunne’hi is going to be pushed back a little farther than we had hoped. It will now be after the first of the year before it is released, though it should be in the first quarter of 2006. I will be sure to let everyone know as soon as we get a more solid release date.

Monday, September 12, 2005

We have a winner...

Today’s the day that I announce a winner for the slogan contest. Let me tell you, this was an absolutely brutal decision to make. So many of the entries were just…outstanding, that I found it nearly impossible to pick just one. In a perfect world, I would make them all winners and have a T-shirt made with each slogan. Sadly, there can be only one (kind of like the movie Highlander).

And the winner is: “What’s your fantasy?” by Kimberly Swinehart.
Ms. Swinehart please drop me an e-mail and I will see to it that you receive your prize.

I would like to thank everyone who participated. You’re creativity absolutely floored me. I shall have to see if I can have more such contests in the future.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Easy Like Sunday Morning

By now, my wife must be blazing a trail across Germany on a train. She left yesterday afternoon for Munich. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to take a direct flight. So after spending, what….nine hours in the air, she then has a seven hour train ride to look forward to. I don’t envy her.

On the plus side, once business is over, she will be able to take part in Oktoberfest. The Munich Oktoberfest - known by the locals as the "Wiesn" - is the biggest public festival in the world and will be held in 2005 for the 172nd time. Each year, the Oktoberfest is attended by around 6 million visitors, who drink more than 5 million liters of beer and consume over 200,000 pairs of pork sausages - mostly in the "beer tents" put up by the traditional Munich breweries.

At the foot of the Bavaria statue, the huge Oktoberfest grounds also provide carousels, roller coasters and all the spectacular fun of the fair for the enjoyment and excitement of visitors of all ages.

The festivities are accompanied by a program of events, including the Grand Entry of the Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Costume and Riflemen's Procession, and a concert involving all the brass bands represented at the "Wies'n".

After which, she gets to begin the arduous journey home. It will be a trip that will be all the more pleasant with the hangover that she is sure to have after partaking of the biggest Oktoberfest ever.

My bed sure felt empty last night. I understand why she has to go, but I always miss her horribly when she is on these extended trips. I know, I know…there’s that saying that has something to do with distance and fondness and all that.

So, how is your weekend turning out?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Yeah, that sounds about right....

A writer dies and due to a bureaucratic snafu in the the afterworld, she is allowed to choose her own fate: heaven or hell for all eternity. Being a very shrewd dead person, she asks St. Peter for a tour of both. The first stop is hell where she sees rows and rows of writers sitting chained to desks in a room as hot as a thousand suns. Fire licks the writer's fingers as they try to work, demons whip their backs with chains. Your general hell scene.

"Wow, this sucks," quoth the writer. "Let's see some heaven."

In a moment, they were whisked to heaven and the writer saw rows androws of writers chained to desks in a room as hot as a thousand suns. Fire licks the writer's fingers as they try to work, demons whip their backs with chains. It looks and smells even worse than hell.

"What gives, Pete?" the writer asked. "This is worse than hell."

"Yes," St. Peter replied, "but here your work gets published."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

May I have your attention, please?

I would like to take a minute to pull your attention away from the horror that has befallen New Orleans. As I scrolled through a few new blogs today, I ran across one that stood out with its call for help in a time of need. News from The Zack Company, Inc. is a blog ran by Andrew Zack, a seasoned literary agent.

If you get a chance, stop by and read his take on the state of charitable contributions. I think you’ll find that it makes sense.

In other news, I would like to remind everyone that tomorrow is the last day that I will be accepting submissions for the slogan contest. I am still in awe at the quality material that everyone has sent in so far. I will announce the winner on Monday, so be sure to drop by and see who won the free T-shirt.

Behind the Badge

I received a weekend update from my friend Ronnie. He is a Sergeant on the police force of a town not far from Tulsa. Since most everyone’s holiday stories include how much fun they had, I thought it might be a nice change of pace to look at the Labor Day weekend through the eyes of a Police officer. I have edited the following to remove any association of the story from the town, police department or the people in the story. Other than that, the events are all factual.

I went on patrol on Friday evening at approximately 7:30 PM and worked until around 5:30 AM Saturday. I expected to have a busy night with the Labor Day crowd out at the lake, but the price of gas seems to have impacted the turnout (since the attendance was similar to any other weekend). I went all night without being called to the lake for drunkenness, fighting or any other reason, but I still went out on patrol, if nothing else, just to make sure that nothing was going on. The evening was actually slow for the most part, but these three scenarios were encountered:

1) Shortly after going out, I was flagged down by a middle-aged woman who requested that I use my special tool to help her get her keys out of her locked car as she pointed to her yellow Hummer (H2). At that time, I informed her that we did not perform unlocks for liability reasons. She then proceeded to tell me that she had a tool (yes, I wondered why she had need of such a tool) if I wouldn’t mind to just come over and attempt to open the door for her. I then stated that I could not be of assistance to her and apologized for that. I then stated that I could call a wrecker service to get her door locks for here, but again reiterated that I could not perform the action due to department policy. The ungrateful harpy woman then slightly raised her tone and informed me that I should be in Louisiana and stated that cops there were no help either. I suppose she left the city before seeing exactly how hard the officers worked to help the victims of Katrina.

2) Dispatch informed me that a girl at ???? address (11:00 PM) was requesting assistance and had received a death threat. Upon my arrival, a white female of approximately 20 years informed me that she had just arrived home after work to find the house doors locked. The lady lived there with her husband and her in-laws. As she began to go around the house to find an open door, she observed a neighbor come out of the house across the four lane (main street) and began to yell at her. The male subject (w/m approximately 45 years of age) began to slinging racial slurs, with slurred speech, as he called her names (f-n N-word and so on). Did I mention that the female was white? Yeah, he was extremely inebriated. The male became very belligerent and stated that he would f-n kill “him” if he did not leave. After the man continued to become increasingly convincing, the girl ran to the convenience store to call the police. She stated that he then began to laugh out loud. To make a longer story short: The father-in-law (who was currently on psychiatric medicine) had previously fought this man when they were drunk and had some residual bad blood between them. Upon making contact with the drunk male subject across the road, he stated only that he saw his neighbor (thinking it was the father-in-law) and observed “him” run off, but denied any of the other details.

3) Upon observing a pickup travel across the centerline twice and travel into the grass along the back road on the edge of town, I effected a traffic stop by activating my emergency flashers. The driver (w/f sporting a tube top meant for someone with a 12” circumference) stopped at a stop sign before beginning to drive off, but eventually pulled over after approximately 100 yards. Upon making contact with the driver, I detected the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage and a hint of marijuana ( along with these signs, I observed the usual slow, slurred speech, glassy bloodshot eyes, lack of physical and mental coordination, a general lack of multi-tasking ability, …). As I spoke with the driver, I asked how much they (her and the two male subjects all aproximately 25 years) had to drink that evening. I then obtained the usual: I have not been drinking statement from all three subjects. I then requested that she provide her license and proof of insurance. She stated that she did not have a license, but would be happy to just let one of “them” drive the vehicle as she pointed to the two passengers. One of these two males was shirtless and too intoxicated to even set up straight and the other was obviously under the influence of something (otherwise he, including the hair, would not be looking just like a long-faced Napoleon Dynamite). She again stated that she had not been drinking as I attempted to dodge the odor from her breath. After verifying that her license was flagged, by providing the dispatcher with her name and date of birth, I instructed the driver to exit the vehicle so that I could speak with her and requested permission to search the vehicle. The driver then exited the vehicle as she consented to a search, but stated that their was not anything in the vehicle that I should be concerned about. At approximately that time, two other Officers arrived for back-up as is customary for safety reasons. After I informed Sgt. A that she had given consent to search, he and Officer G began to interview the passengers and to search the vehicle. After a very brief search, Office G signaled that this would be a 10-74 stop indicating that he had found drugs and or paraphernalia. Given the observations that I was making on the driver, I asked her when she last smoked the weed. She then admitted that she smoked a joint earlier in the day (which automatically qualified her for a DUI-D arrest) but that she had not been drinking and was not drunk. After placing the driver into handcuffs (cuffed in the front since she was of no safety concern at 5’ 2” and 110#), “Napoleon” and the driver then both claimed the joint found in the car belonged to them in an attempt to keep the other out of more trouble. This lasted until I asked the driver who was now seated comfortably in the rear seat of my patrol unit if the remaining items were hers (since some paraphernalia was also located) also. She then became nervous, and questioned what items before stating that only the marijuana found in cellophane was hers but that she thought it was all gone. After receiving this question, it became clear that the possession charges would fall on “Napoleon.” The rest is details except: In the process of inventorying the vehicle to be towed, I left her purse in the vehicle at my own discretion. This was fine until she requested sanitary napkins from her jail cell, which the PD did not have in possession. Needless to say, I had to make a trip to purchase the items.

She was charged with DUI-D, Driving Under Suspension, and Possession of Paraphernalia (Zig Zags)
Napolean was charge with Possession of Marijuana (freshly rolled joint)
Mr. ??? was charged with Public Intoxication and later sobbed that his “family was out fighting for our country in Iraq while we were back here doing this to him.”
This individual chested up to Officer G and ended up meeting a metal bed frame face to face (in a CLEET certified maneuver of course). Why do they always think it is a good idea to get in an arresting officers face?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Weekend Recap

Friday night, my cousin and his family came over for a little cookout. It will be the last we share for awhile as they are moving to Houston. Yeah, there seems to be a lot of that going on right now, but they aren’t being forcibly relocated. My cousin found a new job and they made him such a sweet offer, he couldn’t resist.

After dinner we played a few games of Scene It. The first one my cousin just smoked us all before we had a chance to warm up with the questions. The second one was much closer, finding us all rather evenly matched.

I hate to see them go, but I am glad that they have this opportunity to make a better life for their family. They will be missed.

My son spent the night with his Mema on Saturday, so we met a group of friends out for dinner. We quickly found ourselves sipping Bahama Mamas and gorging on some damn fine seafood at Red Lobster. I couldn’t believe how quick the time flew. By the time it was all said and done, we had more than a two hour dinner. With good food and good company, it is easy to loose track of time. I can’t wait until we do it again.

Sunday found us doing very little. We had intended to spend that day at the lake, but as luck would have it…it rained all day. Not to let a little rain, dampen a holiday weekend, we rented some movies and settled in for a little cozy family time. If I get time, I will post a review of the rentals later this week. We rented three movies; two were good and one received a solid meh across the board.

Yes, we actually made it to the lake this weekend and no, it didn’t cost as quite an arm and a leg. By Monday, the lake scene wasn’t near as chaotic as it’s been in prior years. I guess the only benefit of the OH MY GOD high gas prices, was virtual free reign on the water.

We did a little fishing and a whole lot of wakeboarding. My son zipped out his first Raley on his second time with the board. Well, it would have been a Raley, if it hadn’t been the result of a vicious face-plant into the side of a wake. My wife did really well. I think that by next summer she will be ready to learn a few new tricks. It’s hard to believe she has only been doing this for two summers (actually, we only had the wakeboard about two months of last summer). I tried my luck with some hands-free (where you get up some speed and drop the rope) tricks, but it didn’t really work out for me. The most I could manage were a few 360s. Everything else resulted in large amounts of water being consumed.

All and all, I would say it wasn’t a bad way to spend the holiday weekend. Did anyone else do anything exciting?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Time for Reflection

As I scrolled through my blog roll this morning, I ran across this. John Scalzi has written a thought provoking piece on being poor. I don’t know many people (yes, there are a few who don’t fall into this category) that have not experienced poverty, at least on some level. His post stirs a myriad of images, either experienced or imagined, that will no doubt pull at your heartstrings. His readers have obviously felt the effect and have added their own ideas of what poor means to them in the comments section.

Drop by and give them a read. As you do, take a look around you. Is this where you pictured you would be at this stage in your life? If the answer is yes, that’s great. Feel free to brag about your accomplishments. I know I could use a few success stories after all of the hardships that I have watched on the news and read in posts.

If it’s no, I would like to no your thoughts on why you think this is. Are you still striving to get there? You can drop your answers in the comment section or if you prefer not to make that public knowledge, send me an e-mail. I genuinely want to know.

As for me…am I where I thought I would be? My life is so far ahead of anything I thought possible when I was say…16 and younger that I am almost ashamed at how low my standards were then.

My standards are ever changing though, and I think I…we can do better. I want to get to the point that no one in my life need every worry about financial hardships ever again. I am there for them now, but there are times that the help is a strain on me. I see a future when it is not.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Thanks for Nothing...

Good news, the situation at the pumps isn’t quite as bad as I feared. Yeah, most stations have started giving a free tube of KY Jelly with every fill up. At lest that f@$king we’re taking won’t be quite as painful that way. Hey, anything that eases the pain is A-Okay in my book.

In a preemptive move, my daycare raised their cost of tuition by $10 a week. Yes, that’s per child. Citing the cost of gas made transporting our children to and from school economically unfeasible at their current rate and that was before the price hit (and passed in places) $3.00 per gallon.

In what may be the single most brilliant stroke of genius I have ever witnessed, the state of Oklahoma chose now to implore the people to vote in a gas tax for use in rebuilding our crumbling roads. Wait, isn’t that why we have a gazillion toll roads in this state? Hmm, I guess I was mistaken. That money must go into the pockets of politicians some other fund. I can understand the idea behind the proposal, but now is not the time.

We had planned to spend the majority of the holiday weekend on the lake. I know that is a novel idea, but we thought we would try something that no one else would ever think of. After doing a few quick calculations, I realized to my horror that the cost of filling my boat, Sea-Doo and Trail Blazer (to pull them with) at the low low price of $3.49 a gallon (apparently I can’t run the “cheap” gas in marine equipment) I am looking at about $210 and that is if I only have to fill up once. For that kind of money, I could almost buy one of those Soft-Pools and just hang out in the backyard all weekend.

I could go on and on about this subject, but…you are all going through the same thing, so I would just be preaching to the choir. Oh, well I thought it might help if I vented. It didn’t, but at least I have the KY to soothe the pain.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Why is Mona Lisa smiling?

Where do we go from here? That is the question posed more than once in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. It is quite appropriate as I finished the last of his published works. Yes, I have officially read everything the man has written.

I liked the story. It had everything that drew me to Digital Fortress and then some. It was smart, funny and full of action. I love the light he sheds on the sacred feminine. The world is out of balance without it, but then I guess it just takes a quick look around to figure that out.

Robert Langdon finds himself wanted for murder. What was meant to be a night sharing drinks with someone he greatly admired quickly turns into a whirlwind race to find the Holy Grail and clear his name. What does one have to do with the other? I suppose you should probably read the book to find out. Who am I kidding? I am probably the only person who sees this blog that hasn’t read this before now.

Anyhoo, if you like a good thriller and wouldn’t be offended at the thought of Jesus having children, then I am pretty sure that you will dig this book.

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