Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

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

Friday, June 30, 2006

Yank 'em up by the bootstraps

This made me exceedingly happy. You see, I was one of the many vets, whose identities were compromised when some dipshit criminal stole that VA laptop.

I received a not so comforting letter from the VA, telling me that I was on the list, but not to worry. Yeah, why should I worry? It’s only my life they’re talking about… They advised that I monitor…well, everything for any unusual activity and even provided me with a handy phone number should I spot anything amiss. Wow, that made me sleep better at night.

They assured me the database wasn’t the primary target for the burglar and chances are he/she would never no what data was on the laptop. It was just another valuable to be sold with the other spoils of the theft. My first thought was how do they know that? What if some less than desirable was casing the VA worker and realized he was taking home sensitive data?

Alas, it was recovered and they are positive that the information was uncompromised. How can they be so sure? I’ll keep my fingers crossed just in case.

In other news, things will likely be quiet around here over the holiday weekend. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. So, if I don’t get a chance to say it again, have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend.

I’ll leave you with Niccolo Rasetti’s take on Freedom:

Freedom is often as elusive as it is idealistic; yet we all strive for more of it. All freedoms come at a price. Some we attain with little effort. Others we are granted at great expense. Yet in the end, we must all face the saddest of all truths; Freedom is an illusion. By its very nature, it is a permission given and anything that is given can be taken away; still we want more. We want, no, we demand as many freedoms as can be afforded to us. It is in our nature. It is the way of man and yes; it is the way of the vampire as well.

Hey, who wants to argue with the logic of a vampire? Am I right?

You crazy kids have fun…

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Counting It Down...

Ah, it’s finally close enough that I can say it without fear of it being just another dream. My son is coming home. I drive up to Kansas City tomorrow afternoon and pick him up. He has been gone since June 4th, visiting his birth-mother. This marks the single longest time we’ve been separated since his birth. I’ve missed him horribly…still miss him, but it’s almost over.

He has had a blast, though. They’ve been to an amusement park six times (as of last count) and they’ve had a slew of other activities to make sure his stay was both enjoyable and memorable. He needed to have this time with my ex, he hasn’t had the opportunity to see her very much since the divorce. I hope it was good for both of them.

When I spoke to him last night, he sounded as if he were ready to come home, despite the tons of fun he’s had on his trip. I guess, “There’s no place like home” works for any age.

I can’t close my eyes without seeing his smile. When I fall asleep, it’s to the sound of his laughter. When I wake up, it’s to the sound of his voice calling for me. The torment of separation is almost over; he’s coming home. I will sleep well tomorrow.

Life is good…

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

(26 July 1991) Patrick lived to rue the day he planned a record-breaking 20-mile hike across the Badwater Salt Flats, the hottest place on earth. He completed 19.5 miles of his hike before collapsing on the scorching ground, never to rise again. Found with his body were a video camera and an empty three-quart water pouch.
The China Lake Rescue team located Patrick's parched body on his forty-first birthday, nearly two weeks after he set out on his desert hike. He was found only a half mile from his red Toyota truck, where gallons of fresh water waited on the seat. Patrick, a healthy 165-pound outdoorsman, had been dehydrated to 90 pounds by the blistering heat. What brought Patrick to such a sad state of desiccation?
Badwater routinely attracts extremists enticed by the lure of running a 150-mile course from Badwater to Mount Whitney, from the lowest point in North America to the highest point in the contiguous United States. Occasional brave souls attempt the one-way hike across Badwater to meet waiting friends and refill their water bottles. Only Patrick, our Darwin Award candidate, tried to make the trek alone with only three quarts of water.
According to District Ranger Mark Maciha, Badwater is consistently five to ten degrees hotter than nearby Furnace Creek, which registered a high of 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. The summer sunshine heats the ground to almost 200 degrees, and the parched air approaches zero percent humidity. No rational explanation can be found for why this lifelong fitness fanatic failed to take sufficient water with him on his hike into this harsh climate. An estimated twelve quarts of water would have been required to survive the exertion of plodding through muddy salt.
Murder was ruled out by the autopsy, and suicide seems unlikely, as it was his third attempt to complete the trek. The most compelling theory is that he wanted to set the record for being the first man to make an unassisted round-trip hike across Badwater. A friend confides that he purposely kept rangers ignorant of his intentions because he knew they would watch over him.
And extra water is just so heavy!
Before his doomed hike, he boasted to several friends that he had calculated the exact amount of water he would need, and to save weight, he would take not a single drop more. In a lamentable miscalculation he carried only three quarts of water, which were simply insufficient to see him through to the other side.
Dr. Milton Jones theorized after the autopsy that Patrick may have sat down to rest with his truck within sight, but had lost so much body fluid that his heart was unable to pump the unnaturally viscous blood to his brain. He lapsed into unconsciousness and died.
Patrick was a healthy outdoorsman with an extensive knowledge of the desert. His father recalled, "He spent money on only two things: electronic equipment and going to the desert."
The video camera found by his body chronicles the first half of Patrick's hike before the batteries died. It ended with his haunting observation, "The only problem is that we have to hike back... This is the real world. One false move, and you're dead."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Naked Truth

I’ve been having problems with my shoulder for quite sometime now. I injured it in a wakeboarding accident last summer, but was too stubborn thought it would eventually heal up. Surprise! It just continually became more painful. About a month ago, the pain was so bad that I had to take painkillers several times a day, just to be able to stick to my routine (I’m quite active). After a particularly grueling session of karate, I wimped out decided enough was enough and went to the doctor.

He performed a few tests and said that it seemed to be a fairly textbook case of bursitis. He proceeded to give me a big ol’ shot of steroid and Novocain. The needle was longer than I’m used to as it has to be able to really get in there to administer the medicine in the right spot. It was uncomfortable, but worth it to spare me the constant shoulder pain.

That was a couple of weeks ago. I’m still not healed up, so I had a return visit today. This time no shot. He sent me for X-rays and is referring me to a specialist. We’ll have to see how that works out.

One cool thing they did was put my X-rays on a disc that I could take home. I’ve never been offered that opportunity before and I have to say…it’s kinda cool. Anyhoo, here is a picture of me laid bare. Enjoy!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fun with Chemicals

I dedicate the following funnies to my wife, who is quite the accomplished chemist.

A chemist walks into a pharmacy and asks the pharmacist, "Do you have any acetylsalicylic acid?"
"You mean aspirin?" asked the pharmacist.
"That's it, I can never remember that word."

A physicist, biologist and a chemist were going to the ocean for the first time.
The physicist saw the ocean and was fascinated by the waves. He said he wanted to do some research on the fluid dynamics of the waves and walked into the ocean. Obviously he was drowned and never returned.
The biologist said he wanted to do research on the flora and fauna inside the ocean and walked inside the ocean. He too, never returned.
The chemist waited for a long time and afterwards, wrote the observation, "The physicist and the biologist are soluble in ocean water".

What quote did Decartes come up with in his organic chemistry class?
I think, therefore I amide.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Taking A Shot At My Wife

We had our company picnic yesterday. It was great fun while it lasted.

The food was catered by Texas Roadhouse. They provided a wonderful assortment of ribs, chicken, jalapeño poppers, baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, and beans.

For entertainment we had horseshoes, crocket, and wait for it…a dunk tank. The list of dunk tank candidates was filled with quite entertaining characters, including my wife. Yes, she braved the cold waters and wild throws of pasty scientists, but it was for a good cause. You see, they charged for the privilege of throwing the balls that would sink the fine volunteers. All the proceeds from the event went to support the Blue Star Mothers organization. I'm quite proud of her for being such a good sport.

Sadly, burgeoning storm clouds rolled in out of nowhere, putting a quick end to the festivities. Though, it wasn’t cancelled before my wife had her day in the cage. She drew a larger line than any of the previous dunkees.

I would love to stay and chat, but I have other writing I need to attend. I hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend.

Friday, June 23, 2006

No Foolin' Our Great Leader

One day George W. Bush went out to dinner with a Jewish friend. The friend recommended a kosher place nearby.

They arrived and Dubya's friend ordered them both the house specialty: matzo ball soup. The waiter brought the bowls and George looked at the soup suspiciously, but his friend urged him to try at least one taste. So he took a bite of matzo ball and slurped some soup and clearly liked it.

After Dubya was finished he said, "Mmm mmm, that was good! But tell me, do you Jewish folks eat other parts of the matzo, or just the balls?"

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sonic Boom

I submitted 500 words from one of my WIPs to a fun (and educational) little game over at Crabby Cows. Mine is entry #11, stop by and check it out if you have time (be sure to leave a comment :D). As long as your there, read some of the other entries. There are some really good stories up on the site.

In other news, I saw Sonic Youth in concert last night. They gave one helluva a performance. This band has been together since the early 80s and they are still kicking ass! Their stage presence is nothing less than mind boggling. I mean, they were doing everything from playing guitar in the rafters to strumming the strings with a drumstick.

They have a quite interesting history. If you are interested, you can check it out here.

I would love to write more, but I’m having a little trouble thinking this morning. I attribute it to the combination of loud music (mine ears still feel it) and too many libations, but the truth is…I’m old, I stayed up late and I got up early. My brain just doesn’t function well under these conditions.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

(30 April 1987, Arizona) The Kitt Peak National Observatory, located in the desert near Tucson, is home to two dozen telescopes, including the 4-meter Mayall Telescope, once the largest in the United States. It is also the site of the only known Darwin Award involving an astronomer.

Astronomy is normally a sedate profession, mainly conducted from a computer console. But Marc, 36, took "head in the clouds" astronomy to a new level. One evening, Marc was operating the Mayall Telescope. From inside the dome, an astronomer cannot see enough sky to tell if there are cirrus clouds that will interfere with viewing. So he periodically pokes his head out a hatch below the dome, to see if the sky is still clear.

The Mayall observatory dome has an access ladder attached to the side. The ladder rotates with the dome, and is a potential hazard to things in its path. Anticipating "operator error," the builders designed the dome motor to automatically switch off if the ladder approaches the open hatch.

Observers are not supposed to open the hatch while the dome is rotating, but Marc didn't "observe" that key rule. He opened the hatch and peered out at the sky...

The momentum of the heavy dome keeps it turning for a few seconds after the motor is switched off. Long enough for the ladder to impact the outward-opening hatch. Slamming the hatch shut. Crushing the unfortunate astronomer's aspirations.
Marc continued to publish papers for several years after his death.

Asteroid 3277 is named in his honor.

Safety first, pumpkin! Now, I admit this isn’t as blaringly stupid a way to end your life as most Darwin award winners, but come on…who starts something that big turning then sticks their head out their with it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Look, Lime it's new... :D

Tortured Hearts

Spinning, world on tilt
Ebb and flow collide
Stillness…

Laughter, taunting, teasing
The thrill of the chase
The thrill of the catch
Toture of restraint
Pleasure of release
Rapture…

Your love, your hate, your wonder, your eyes
Flashing memories, revisited sensations
The ghost of your touch haunts me
My hands on you, yours on me
Your scent fades, but lingers for eternity
Culmination…

Swaying with the wind
Your smile out of place
Your hand reaching
Mine accepts
You begin to dance
Anticipation…

Planting seeds, sewing oats
Gardens of stone
Grey skies mourn
Averted eyes pretend I’m gone
I live on
Desolate…

The garden grows
No change of heart
You’ve given it to me
It’s in a jar
With the others
On my mantle
Collected…

Spinning, world on tilt
Ebb and flow collide
The cycle is eternal
This is the calm
Before the hunt
Patient…

Monday, June 19, 2006

Literary Laughs

How many publishers does it take to change a light bulb?
Three. One to change it and two to hold down the author.

How many editors does it take to change a light bulb?
"Do we have to get author's approval for this?"
Two, one to change the bulb and one to issue a rejection slip to the old bulb.

How many proofreaders does it take to change a light bulb?
Proofreaders aren't supposed to change light bulbs. They should just query them.

How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Two. One to screw it in almost all the way in and the other to give it a suprising twist at the end.

How many writers does it take to change a light bulb?
Two. One to change the bulb and one to tell a long story about it.

How many literary critics does it take to change a light bulb?
Literary critics don't know how, but rest assured they'll find something wrong with the way you do it.

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She answered, "If I tell you, it will defeat the purpose."

The Shortest Books Ever Written

1000 Years of German Humor
Everything men know about women
The Code of Ethics for Lawyers
French War Heroes
Who's who in Puerto Rico
Americans' Guide to Etiquette
Royal Family's Guide to Good Marriages
Safe Places to Travel in the USA
Jerry Garcia's Guide to Beating Drug Addiction
Contraception by Pope John Paul II
Career Opportunities for Liberal Arts Majors
Cooking Gourmet Dishes With Tofu
Gun Control for The New Millennium: NRA Handbook

Top 10 Children's Books Not recommended by the National Library Assoc.

10. Clifford the Big Dog is Put to Sleep
9. Charles Manson Bedtime Stories
8. Daddy Loses His Job and Finds the Bottle
7. Babar becomes a Piano
6. Controlling the playground: Respect through Fear
5. Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence
4. The Boy Who Died from Eating All His Vegetables
3. Things Rich Kids Have, but you never will
2. Let's Draw Betty and Veronica without their clothes on
1. The Care Bears Maul Some Campers and are Shot Dead

Friday, June 16, 2006

Movie Review: Underworld 2

I watched Underworld: Evolution the other night and I have to tell you…I liked it. Full of special effects, intriguing characters, and an engaging plot…this movie rocks.

It is the continuing saga of the epic war between vampires and Lycans (werewolves). Though there is plenty of “real time” drama unfolding, the story carefully laces in the history of why these two groups are at…er, each other’s throats. Secrets will be revealed and questions raised in the first movie will finally be answered.

Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is betrayed by her own people. Her only ally in this world is Michael (Scott Speedman), a hybrid (half vampire, half lycan) who is stronger than either species. Together, they will try to stop an ancient evil from being unleashed on the world.

This movie is action from the word go. Kate Beckinsale in a latex outfit alone was worth the cost of rental, but this movie has so much more to offer than hotties in provocative outfits. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes, vampires, werewolves, action, adventure, special effects or a combination of them all.

Rating: 5 Star.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Poets Anonymous

A post over at Bernita’s yesterday put me in a poetry frame of mind. I had high hopes of pumping out some truly prolific, mind blowing prose, but as luck would have it, I’m not that good a poet. Instead, I decided to recycle one of my favorites from stack of poetry that should never see the light of day I’ve stored away for a rainy day.

Ode to Writers
I answered the call
From my inner voice.
When the muse tickles my ear,
I have no choice
But to put pen to paper, fingers to keys.

And so, the journey begins
With eyes so bright.
Innocence abounds
As my imagination takes flight.

The masterpiece takes shape
And my mind reaches for the stars.
I envision interviews with Leno
And my poetry read in bars.

The book is complete.
I hold it up with trembling hands.
The only thing left
Is for it to find its way to the fans.

I drop queries in the mail
And hope for the best.
My patience and resolve,
Will soon be put to the test.

Still the fantasy remains.
I will be the next big thing.
My fame will surpass
Anne Rice or even Stephen King.

Days, weeks, and months pass
Without so much as a word.
At last, I receive a letter
Written in my hand.
But it only wants to know:
“Why did you send us this turd?”

Well, what do they know?
Perhaps an agent is what I need.
I answer an ad in a magazine.
They like my work and for a small fee,
I will be published in no time,
Just you wait and see.

They had the speed,
I will give them that.
I had a dozen rejections,
In no time flat.

Don’t let it get you down kid,
You’ve written a best seller.
We just have to find it a home,
Get it in front of the right feller.

Just send me more money
And we will be on our way.
I have a question or two
Before we proceed.
I’ve read through your list of publishers,
And I have to say,
You, sir, are a hack, a swindler, and a cheat.
If I had more than P.O. Box
With which to find you,
Your ass, I would beat.

My innocence has been replaced
With apprehension.
My sleep is still filled,
With the first timers dreams.
My words will be read
And hearts will be moved,
Emotions will be stirred.
With a single book,
I could change the world.
Someone, somewhere will read my words
And will be inspired to do great things.

I dream of a series of books,
Translated into a dozen tongues.
I dream of books on tape
And book signings,
With throngs of people waiting
For a signature or at least a glimpse.
I dream of an adoring public
That falls so hard for my characters,
They become a household name.

All of this and more I dream.
No matter what happens,
I will always have my dreams.
My dreams are not goals,
They are fantasies and as such,
They will never be crushed.

I am a slave to the muse,
A whore for her voice.
I am a man that hears voices.
I argue with myself
And put it on paper.
I am a visionary,
A dreamer,
A fiend for the written word.

I am a writer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

(5 July 1984, Chicago) Near the top of one of the Windy City's mighty skyscrapers, a twenty-nine-year-old attorney named Reginald was locked in a heated dispute with one of his colleagues. "They were arguing about the Olympics," remarked the firm's controller. Determined to settle the aspect under discussion, the two friends decided to have a race down a long hallway on the thirty-ninth floor of the building.
On the way down the hall, Reginald, who was not wearing his contacts due to a scratched cornea, lost his perspective and crashed through a plate-glass window. He fell thirty-eight* stories before striking the pavement, at which point his velocity was zero. A moment before he terminated his 6-second freefall, however, his velocity was approximately 94 miles per hour in a vertical direction. The abrupt velocity change proved too much for Reginald to withstand, and he promptly died.
This fatality marks the first recorded manifestation of so-called "Olympic Fever," previously believed to be a mythical creation of the National Broadcasting Company.
*Beginning as he did at the bottom of the thirty-ninth floor, he technically fell only thirty-eight stories, or thirty-seven if the 13th floor was absent, as is sometimes the case.


So…technically he won the race though, right?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Geriatric Giggles

G RANDMA'S AGE:
LITTLE JOHNNY ASKED HIS GRANDMA HOW OLD SHE WAS.
GRANDMA ANSWERED, "39 AND HOLDING."
JOHNNY THOUGHT FOR A MOMENT, AND THEN SAID, "AND HOW OLD WOULD YOU BE IF YOU LET GO?"

LIFE AFTER DEATH :
"DO YOU BELIEVE IN LIFE AFTER DEATH?" THE BOSS ASKED ONE OF HIS EMPLOYEES.
"YES, SIR," THE NEW EMPLOYEE REPLIED.
"WELL, THEN, THAT MAKES EVERYTHING JUST FINE," THE BOSS WENT ON. "AFTER YOU LEFT EARLY YESTERDAY TO GO TO YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S FUNERAL, SHE STOPPED IN TO SEE YOU!

PALM SUNDAY :
IT WAS PALM SUNDAY AND, BECAUSE OF A SORE THROAT, FIVE-YEAR-OLD JOHNNY STAYED HOME FROM CHURCH WITH A SITTER. WHEN THE FAMILY RETURNED HOME, THEY WERE CARRYING SEVERAL PALM BRANCHES. THE BOY ASKED WHAT THEY WERE FOR. "PEOPLE HELD THEM OVER JESUS' HEAD AS HE WALKED BY."
"WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT," THE BOY FUMED, "THE ONE SUNDAY I DON'T GO, HE SHOWS UP!"

CHILDREN'S SERMON :
ONE EASTER SUNDAY MORNING AS THE MINISTER WAS PREACHING THE CHILDREN'S SERMON, HE REACHED INTO HIS BAG OF PROPS AND PULLED OUT AN EGG. HE POINTED AT THE EGG AND ASKED THE CHILDREN, "WHAT'S IN HERE?" "I KNOW!" A LITTLE BOY EXCLAIMED. "PANTYHOSE!"

SUPPORT A FAMILY :
THE PROSPECTIVE FATHER-IN-LAW ASKED, "YOUNG MAN, CAN YOU SUPPORT A FAMILY?"
THE SURPRISED GROOM-TO-BE REPLIED, "WELL, NO. I WAS JUST PLANNING TO SUPPORT YOUR DAUGHTER. THE REST OF YOU WILL HAVE TO FEND FOR YOURSELVES."

FIRST TIME USHERS :
A LITTLE BOY IN CHURCH FOR THE FIRST TIME WATCHED AS THE USHERS PASSED AROUND THE OFFERING PLATES.
WHEN THEY CAME NEAR HIS PEW, THE BOY SAID LOUDLY, "DON'T PAY FOR ME DADDY. I'M UNDER FIVE."

PRAYERS :
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER ASKED, "NOW, JOHNNY, TELL ME, DO YOU SAY PRAYERS BEFORE EATING?" "NO SIR," HE REPLIED, "WE DON'T HAVE TO, MY MOM IS A GOOD COOK!"

CLIMB THE WALLS :
"OH, I SURE AM HAPPY TO SEE YOU," THE LITTLE BOY SAID TO HIS GRANDMOTHER ON HIS MOTHER'S SIDE. "NOW MAYBE DADDY WILL DO THE TRICK HE HAS BEEN PROMISING US."
THE GRANDMOTHER WAS CURIOUS. "WHAT TRICK IS THAT?" SHE ASKED.
"I HEARD HIM TELL MOMMY THAT HE WOULD CLIMB THE WALLS IF YOU CAME TO VISIT" THE LITTLE BOY ANSWERED.

THE WATER PISTOL :
WHEN MY THREE-YEAR-OLD SON OPENED THE BIRTHDAY GIFT FROM HIS GRANDMOTHER, HE DISCOVERED A WATER PISTOL. HE SQUEALED WITH DELIGHT AND HEADED FOR THE NEAREST SINK.
I WAS NOT SO PLEASED. I TURNED TO MOM AND SAID, "I'M SURPRISED AT YOU. DON'T YOU REMEMBER HOW WE USED TO DRIVE YOU CRAZY WITH WATER GUNS?"
MOM SMILED AND THEN REPLIED..... "I REMEMBER."

Monday, June 12, 2006

Movie Review: BloodRayne

I thoroughly enjoyed the video game, BloodRayne. So, when I heard they were turning it into a major motion picture, I have to say I was quite excited. Then when I heard they cast Kristanna Loken (from Terminator 3 fame) in the lead, my interest level stepped up another notch. Throw on top that a cast of characters that include, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Madsen, Billy Zane, Meat Loaf, and Sir Ben Kingsley, as you can imagine I was damn near giddy with anticipation.

Knowing this one was destined to make my home collection, I resisted the urge to see it in theaters. I was grinning like an eight year old hopped up on Sugar Daddies, when I spotted the cover for BloodRayne prominently displayed in the movie aisle.

I get it home and have to put it on the shelf. As many of you know, my time has been at a premium of late and movie watching is a luxury I just haven’t been able to squeeze in. Finally, I had an extra couple of hours to devote to self-indulgence. I slipped the movie in and kicked back to enjoy the ride.

The story is about a Dhampir (half human-half vampire) hell bent to avenge the murder of her mother, who was killed by…wait for it…her vampire father.

That’s about all the time I’m gonna waste on telling you about the storyline.

It was a let down. The acting was decent, but nothing stellar. The interaction between the characters lacked flow. Way too many scenes felt forced. The lack of chemistry just nearly killed this movie for me. The special effects were pretty good, but weren’t enough to make up for the B-movie quality the film seemed to exude. I’m almost sad to say that the highlight of the movie was getting to see Kristanna’s nipple. That’s right, one nipple and it was the highlight, but again…not enough to save the movie. I had such great hopes for this film and it had the potential to be some the phenomenal, but it feel far short.

It will now be collecting dust until the next time someone around me has a garage sale.

Rating: 1 Star.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Beter Nate Than Lever....

Hell A


Chapter 3


It was already well into May, but there was still a chill in the night air. Johnny shivered beneath the blankets, his sleep fitful. The smell of Jasmine filled the air. Its presence tugged at him, nearly bringing him out of his dreams.

He needed to rest; his mind was playing tricks on him. He could practically her Jenna’s laughter in the other room. As he curled into a ball, gripping a pillow to his chest, he had the sudden sensation of falling. The sensation was a familiar one. He willed himself to wake. It happened often when he had trouble sleeping, weaving in and out of a dream state. He gasped with surprise when his body smashed into something unyielding. The darkness was all but absolute. He held his hand over his face, barely making out the shape of his fingers. He could feel dampness soak into his nightshirt. He turned his, causing tiny tendrils to caress his cheek. The smell dew wafted up as his movements shook it from the blades of grass.

What the--? How’d I get outside? He sat up, his eyes adjusting to their new environment.
He squinted, peering into the darkness. Something moved out there. He held his breath, watching as the darkness folded in on itself. The black mass rolled and contorted, growing exponentially. Johnny felt thunder vibrate the ground as the center of the twisted cloud ripped open. Yellow light spilled forth, making the grass around him look blue. He had nearly mustered the courage to run when a pale arm snaked out of the hole. The long curve of a woman’s calf quickly followed. Bouncing curls, the color of honey, slipped through with the other arm. The hole closed behind her as she fell to her knees in front of him. When she looked up at him, his heart lurched. Her eyes, those beautiful baby blues, held something in them he had never seen there before: A hunger for something he was afraid to guess.

“Jenna?” His voice sounded weak even to himself.
“Of course, silly. Who else would I be?”
“How are you doing this?”
She stared at him, head tilted, eyes narrowed. She pulled her bottom lip between her teeth, released it.
“It’s your dream,” she finally answered with a shrug. “Are you going to waste what little time we have together wondering how I got here or do you want to come play with me?”
“A dream?” Johnny looked around the murky landscape. “But everything feels so real.”
“Don’t all your dreams?”
“I don’t know.” He couldn’t help but laugh. “I can’t remember most of them.”
“Well, I guarantee you’ll remember this one.” She extended her hand to help him to his feet. “Come on. I have something to show you.”

As she pulled him to his feet, he began to believe he truly was dreaming. At six four, two hundred pounds, he was by no means a small man and she was barely a buck twenty soaking wet. Yet, she lifted him from the ground with ease.

“Where are we going?”
“You’ll see--,” she said, tracing a vertical line in the air before them.
Light danced out of the air above her finger, illuminating her trail. Johnny felt moist air wash over his face as the hole widened. The smell of Jasmine nearly choked him from its intensity.

The walls inside the hole moved, pulsating as if to some unheard sonata. Jenna ducked as she stepped through the fissure. She smiled at him over her shoulder, extending her hand back for him to grasp. He entered and nearly fell in the soft floor of the tunnel. He instinctively reached for the wall to steady himself, but recoiled in horror when a body writhed up against his hand beneath the thin film of the wall. He fell to his knees, staring at the spot his hand had touched. He could just make out a shoulder, an arm…a face, then it was gone. He stared down the expanse and the realization fell on him like a bale of hay; the wall wasn’t pulsating, it was lined with countless bodies pushing against the membrane that separated him from an insanity he could only guess at.

He stood to run, but Jenna grabbed him by the arm. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you. It’s not far.”
Her voice echoed in the small space, but it was the only sound he could hear. Whatever those things were doing, they were doing it with an unearthly quiet.
“What the hell is going on?” He swallowed hard, trying not to see the hands stretching the walls toward him. “Screw this…I’m outta here.”
He turned away from her, ready to bolt. The hole was gone. Only those things were behind him for as far as he can see.
“It’s too late for that now. There’s no turning back.”
“I’ve gotta wake up,” he panted, his breathing as troubled as his mind. “This place is seriously messed up.”

“Come.” She took his hand again. “Let me get you out of here.”
Johnny squeezed his eyes shut. He couldn’t bare to see those wretched creatures any more. His only comfort was the warmth of her hand in his. He struggled to focus on that rather than the squishing of his footsteps along the soft trail.
They walked for what felt like an eternity. When Jenna stopped, Johnny nearly ran into her. The floor beneath him felt firmer, but he refused to open his eyes to see where he was.
“We’re here,” she whispered, pulling her hand out of his.
“Where’s here?”
“Take a look,” she suggested with a laugh.

Johnny swallowed hard and let his left eye open just a crack. Seeing no moving walls, he let his open fully. He was in a bare room with cinderblock walls. A single light hung from the ceiling, swaying. It’s caused the shadows in the far corner to ebb and flow with its motion. He jerked his head to the left, to the right. He spun in a quick circle. The shadows only lurked in one corner. He stared into the darkness. What the hell is going on?

“Relax, he won’t hurt you,” Jenna assured him, placing a hand on his forearm.
“Who--” he began, but fell silent as eyes appeared in the corner.
The shadows swirled and drew in tight around the eyes before floating to the floor. What ever it was, it had the shape of a man, but the only feature Johnny could discern were those beautiful eyes with the golden irises. The shadows parted below them, revealing two rows of pearly whites. Is it smiling at me?

Johnny watched in quiet horror as the canine teeth extended into sleek fangs. He tried to back away, but Jenna’s grip on his arm tightened.
“Let me go, Jenna.” Johnny turned to her the plea in his eyes as strong as the one on his lips. “We have to get out of here.”
“But I haven’t introduced you yet. He has a wonderful surprise for us.”
“He’s a vampire!”
“There’s no such thing as vampires.” Her ensuing laughter made him flinch. “He is going to set us free.”
“Damn right.” Johnny growled, jerking free and running for the tunnel behind him.
“Johnny, wait!” Her voice floated just behind his ear.
“I’ve got to get away from that thing!”
“You’re making this much harder than it has to be.” She shoved his shoulders, sending him sprawling face first.

“Are you one too?” He didn’t dare turn to face her for fear of seeing fangs.
“Baby, don’t fight it. Give yourself to me. I miss you.”
“I don’t want to be a monster.”
“Then you had better come rescue me,” she teased, her voice cold.
“How do I get home?”
“You’re already there.” She covered his eyes with her hand. “See you tomorrow.”

Johnny lurched, tumbling from the bed in a shower of sheets. He gulped in air as he looked around the familiar shapes of his darkened bedroom. Sweat rolled into his eyes. His entire body was soaking wet. He wiped his face with the edge of the sheet. He needed to see, needed to be sure he was safe.
“Christ!” He took a deep breath in an attempt to calm his nerves. “What a nightmare.”

As he replayed the events in his mind, the smell of Jasmine faded from the air.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Check It Out Now...

Friend and author, David Niall Wilson has a couple of great opportunities up for grabs.

I know you’ve heard me talk about the serialized novel, The Orffyreus Wheel.

In 1712, Johan Bessler invented a wheel that, under rigorous testing, and in full view of credible eye witnesses, appeared to be in perpetual motion. He revealed his secret to only one man, and the invention died with Bessler. Or did it? Now, almost three hundred years later, Elly Kassel has inherited a fortune, and a mystery. Can she protect it against the machinations of Maxwell Black until it can be revealed to the world, or will the secret of free energy be lost forever?"


Well, he is auctioning off the opportunity to be a character in this book. Click here for more details. This is truly a unique opportunity; don’t let it slip by.

For the writers among you, how would you like the chance to collaborate with a published author with more than a dozen published novels and nearly 150 published short stories in a variety of genres to his credit?

David has also placed the opportunity up for grabs. Click here for more details.

Please feel free to repost this information for anyone you may think would be interested.

Sweet Poetry to My Ears

The Power Within

My arm grows tense with anticipation
Your eyes grow wide with the realization
The light on my blade, cold and pale
The fire in my eyes, a reflection of hell

I whisper it's time to face your sins
You cringe at my smile as the knife slides in
Your blood burns hot as it splashes my face
My heart skips a beat as it quickens its pace

You start to twitch, shiver and shake
I wait in patience for the last breath you’ll take
My ecstasy soars straight for the sky
My power is building as your body slowly dies

Thank you my friend, your help was divine
Transferring the power, from your soul to mine

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. This time we are taking a little journey in the “Way Back Machine” to visit some dumb asses participants who died before knowing there even was a Darwin Award. Enjoy…

(5 November 1605, England) In the early hours of a wintry London night, authorities discovered Guy Fawkes sitting by a pile of gunpowder in the cellar of the Houses of Parliament. King James I was scheduled to attend Parliament when it convened later that day, and he was not pleased by this demonstration of disrespect by his subjects.
A manhunt was started for Fawkes' fellow conspirators, 14 people in all led by Brian Caton.
A few days later the plotters were brought to earth in a house in Buxton and a gunfight ensued. Unfortunately there was a driving rain and the gunpowder of the cornered men was too wet to fire properly. So they spread the gunpowder on the floor in front of the fire to dry. Guess what happened when a burning ember spat out from the fire and landed on the drying powder?
Needless to say, the survivors of the explosion and the incoming gunfire were captured, and hanged and beheaded for treason.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Kansas City Blues...

We made it back, safe and sound. It was a bittersweet weekend for me. We had a blast, have no doubt about that. We took the grand entertainment tour of Kansas City. We went to Dave & Buster’s, played with the animals at the zoo, caught an Imax movie about the Amazon, and swam ‘til our little hearts were content. Then it happened…I had to watch my son climb into the van with my ex-wife to begin a twenty-day visit with her. This is the longest he will have been away from me since he was born. Of course we did get four hours more with him than we expected on Sunday (she was a little late), but still this will be a long time to not hear his laughter, see his smile, or have him curl up next to me on the couch to watch movies.

Well, enough of that, I don’t want to mess around and upset myself…again. I know he needs to spend time with her too and I’m sure he will have a good time. We’ll just leave it at that.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Flood of Information

I stumbled across this and figured what the hell. Warning: This is probably more information than any of you would ever want to know about me. If you want to play along let me know in the comments so I can check out your answers.

You can only say YES or NO! & You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone messages you and asks!


Taken a picture naked?
YES

Shoplifted?
NO

Danced in front of your mirror?
YES

Told a lie?
YES

Gotten in a car with people you just met?
YES

Been in a fist fight?
YES

Been stalked?
YES

Been arrested?
YES

Left your house without telling your parents?
YES

Ditched work/school to do something more fun?
YES

Slept in a bed with a member of the same sex?
YES

Slept in a bed with a member of the opposite sex?
YES

Seen someone die?
YES

Kissed a member of the opposite sex?
YES

Slept in until 3?
YES

Owned a cat?
YES

Owned a ferret?
YES

Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by?
YES

Played dress up?
YES

Fallen asleep at work/school?
YES

Gotten a black eye?
YES

Rejected someone?
YES

Seen one movie at the theater over 4 times?
NO

Been camping?
YES

Felt an earthquake?
YES

Been in a tornado?
YES

Been in a hurricane?
NO

Touched a snake?
YES

Ridden a llama?
YES

Swam with dolphins?
NO

Ran a red light?
YES

Gotten a ticket?
YES

Gotten caught sneaking out?
NO

Read a Harry Potter book?
YES

Slapped someone in the face?
YES

Broken a mirror?
YES

Been a cheerleader?
NO

Had detention?
YES

Slept overnight on a train?
NO

Been in a car accident?
YES

Experienced love at first sight?
NO

Pole danced?
YES

Been lost?
YES

Fell in love with your teacher?
NO

Sang karaoke?
YES

Kissed someone and regretted it?
YES

Been to Central Park?
YES

Been bungy jumping?
YES

Done something you told yourself you wouldn't?
YES

Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose?
YES

Caught a snowflake on your tongue?
YES

Been to Europe?
YES

Been to Canada?
NO

Drank a gallon of milk in one hour?
NO

Dumped someone?
YES

Been to a therapist?
NO

Had a serious illness for over a month?
YES

Shaved your head?
YES

Been in choir?
NO

Sang in the shower?
YES

Got your tongue stuck to a pole?
N0

Stayed awake for 48 hours straight?
YES

Gone to school partially naked?
NO

Smoked a cigarette?
YES

Smoked a cigar?
YES

Chewed tobacco?
YES

Sat on a roof top?
YES

Played chicken?
YES

Been cow tipping?
YES

Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on?
YES

Been scuba diving?
YES

Had surgery?
YES

Been put to sleep?
YES

Cheated on a final exam?
NO

Been expelled from school?
NO

Been told you're hot by a complete stranger?
YES

Broken a bone?
YES

Gotten stitches?
YES

Mooned/flashed someone
YES

Forgotten someone's name?
YES

Slept naked?
YES

Talked in your sleep?
YES

Asked someone out?
YES

Been asked out?
YES

Sleep walked?
NO

Been stung by a bee?
YES

Been stung by a jellyfish?
YES

Blacked out from drinking?
YES

Thrown up from drinking?
YES

Been away from your home for over a month?
YES

Cussed someone out in a public place?
YES

Kissed a complete stranger?
YES

Skinny Dipped?
OH, Hell Yeah

Played spin the bottle?
YES

Been the third wheel on someone else's date?
NO

Played a prank on someone?
YES

Been cheated on?
YES


Made a parent cry?
YES

Cried over someone?
YES

Had/Have a dog?
YES

Been on a diet?
YES

Played an instrument?
YES

Been in a mosh pit?
YES

Drank 25 sodas in a day?
NO

DONE!!!

Now Don't you feel Gratified???
NOT SO Much.

And then I found this one over at House of Lime


1. When was the last time you had sex?
Nonya!

2. How do you flush the toilet in public?
With my foot.

3. Do you wear your seatbelt in the car?
Always.

4. Do you have a crush on someone?
Yep…my wife.

5. Name one thing that you start to get tense about if you are close to running out of it?
Warm weather.

6. What famous person do you (or other people*) think you resemble?
Mike Hampton.

7. What is your favorite pizza topping?
Pepperoni and Mushrooms

9. Do you crack your knuckles?
Yes, quite frequently.

10. What song do you hate the most when it gets stuck in your head?
Fried Chicken and a Country Tune

11. Did just mentioning that song make it get stuck in your head?
Sadly, yes.

12. What are your super powers?
I can see the future.

13. What is the hardest thing you have faced?
War.

14. Where are your car keys?
On the coffee table.

15. Whose answers to this questionnaire do you want to hear?
Anyone who wants to answer.

16. What's your most annoying habit?
Making up words to songs when I can’t remember the real lyrics.

17. Where did you go on your last vacation?
Reno, Baby!!!!

18. If you could punch one person in the nose and get away with it who would it be?
You can’t get away with that?

19. What is your best physical feature?
My left pinkie toe.

20. What CD is closest to you right now? literally?
With Teeth by NIN.

21. What three things can always be found in your refrigerator?
Cheese, milk, OJ

22. What superstition do you believe/practice?
My Karma ran over your Dogma.

25. Do you talk on your cell phone when you drive?
Only when I can’t pull safely to the side of the road.

26. What would your name have been if you'd been born the opposite gender?
My mom said she wanted to name me Latisha.

27. What song(s) do you sing most often in the shower?
Zoot Suit Riot by Cherry Poppin Daddies.

28. If you could go back or forward in time would you and where would you go?
I would go to ancient Rome. Yeah, I think I would have done quite well there.

29. What is your favorite Harrison Ford movie?
Blade Runner.

30. What CD is in your stereo?
A mix CD of Indy Music.

31. What OCD qualities do you have?
A place for everything and everything in its place.

32. How many kids do you want to have?
I wanted a gaggle, but decided I would do better to have one and spoil him rotten.

33. If you could kiss anyone famous who would it be?
Jessica Alba, Carmen Elektra, Jenna Jameson.

34.Would you really want to kiss someone you didn't know, even if they are famous?
Nah, it wouldn’t be worth upsetting my wife over.

35. What do you do when no one is watching?
Drink out of the OJ box. No glass, just turn up the carton and chug.

36. If they made a movie about your life, what actor/actress would be the best for this job?
As long as we are being wayyyy out there, what the hell. I would say either Vin Diesel or The Rock.

37. Would you rather die in a blaze of glory or peacefully in your sleep?
Kick the tires and light the fires, I’m going out of this world standing up.

38. What candy, from when you were a kid, do you miss the most?
Cherry Mash.

39. What is your favorite kid's movie?
Sky High.

40. Favorite musician(s)/bands you've seen in concert?
Way too many to mention here, but the most memorable, would be seeing Danzig play in this timy club in Germany.

41. Have you ever been in love?
Yes

42. Do you talk to yourself?
Way more than I should. I’ve even been known to have my own question and answer sessions when I’m working on a particularly grueling project.

43. Is there anybody you just wish would fall off the face of the earth?
Yeah, but if I name them, it might not ever happen…



In other news, things will be very quiet around here until Tuesday. We’re off to Kansas City for a long weekend.

Stay safe but have a great time while I’m away.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Hell A (Chapter 2)

Here is the rough for Chapter 2. Again, I still have a lot of mechanics to work out before it’s ready to submit, but it will give you a damn good idea about how the story is shaping up.

Enjoy…
Hell A

Chapter 2

“What?” Tom Wiley barked into the phone. Few things set him off quicker than phone calls in the middle of the night.
“M…may I speak to Detective Wiley please?” The unfamiliar voice on the other end held an urgency that grabbed Tom’s attention.

A sudden feeling of dread put the hair of his arms on end. He tried to shrug it off, chalking it up to being still half-asleep.

“This is Tom, but I’m not a detective anymore. Try calling the station if you need to talk with--”
“No, I need to speak with you,” the man insisted. “I understand that you have some experience with investigating…things that are out of the ordinary.”
“Look pal, I’ve already told you, I’m not a detective. They fired me for your ‘out of the ordinary’ crap.”
Tom wondered if one of the fellas from his old precinct was pulling a prank.

“I really need your help. There’s--” He began, but trailed off as Tom groaned. “Is this a bad time?”
“It’s--” Tom grabbed the alarm clock from his nightstand, blinking several times to clear his vision enough to read it. “Midnight on a Tuesday. What do you think?”
“I’m sorry, sir. I can assure you, I wouldn’t have called so late if it weren’t important.”

“Listen…fella.” Tom realized he didn’t even know who he was on the other end of the line. “Who the hell are you anyway?”
“My name’s Johnny Durant.”
“Well, Johnny…it’s been nice talking with--”

“Wait! Don’t hang up,” Johnny interjected in a rush. “Something horrible has happened to my wife.”
Tom tried to ignore the shiver that made the hairs on the back of his neck rise. He had the overwhelming urge just to hang up and go back to sleep.

“Are you still there?” Johnny’s voice trembled.
“Yeah.” Tom let out a sigh of exasperation. “What exactly is it that you think I can do for you?”
“She’s dead and everyone’s acting like she never existed. There’s something very wrong with this whole situation. I want you to get to the bottom of it.”

“I’m sure the detective working the case will be quite thorough--”
“No, they’re useless. They haven’t even found the body yet.”
“Look, I know the loss of a loved one is a terrible thing to deal with, but investigations take time. Let the police do their job.”
“I don’t think they want to solve this one. Everyone I talk to just blows me off. I think they’re trying to cover something up.”
“Who’s working the case?”
“A detective Torrelli.”

“I don’t know him. He must be new to the force.”
“He’s not from Tulsa. I’m out in Los Angeles.”
“L.A.?” Tom all but yelled.

He cast a nervous glance at his sleeping wife. Once he was sure she still slept, he crept into the bathroom, shut the door.

“Are you fucking nuts?” He growled into the receiver.
“I’m from Oklahoma. The only reason I’m out here is to find out what happened to my girl.”
“Surely there is someone in L.A. that could--”
“I’ve already told you there’s something strange going on here. I don’t know who I can trust.”
“There’s no way I can afford a trip to California right now.” Tom closed the lid on the toilet and took a seat.

“I’ll pay you…ten thousand dollars, plus cover all your expenses.”
“If you’re willing to pay that kind of money, why don’t you hire a real private detective?”

“I followed the story about The Puppeteer; I know you think he was driven by something supernatural and I must admit, I was with everyone else who thought you went crazy.”
“You really know how to butter a guy up, don’t you?”
“I’ve seen things…things that make me believe. I don’t think you’re crazy any more.”

“Like what?”
“Take the case. I’ll send you a packet with everything I’ve been able to uncover on my own. It’s not much, but should be enough to make you believe me.”

“I still don’t understand why you want my help.”
“Mr. Wiley, after everything I’ve been through and reading everything you’ve survived, I truly believe you are the only one that can help me.”

Tom took a deep breath. Everything about the conversation screamed at him just to walk away, but his curiosity overrode his good sense.

“Send the packet; make sure you include a good number I can reach you at. I’ll look it over and give you my decision then.”
“Oh, thank God. You’re a lifesaver. You won’t regret this. I’ll have the stuff in the mail first thing in the morning.”

I already do. Aloud he said, “I haven’t agreed to anything yet.”
“You will.”
Yeah, you’re probably right.

Tom hung up the phone; leaned back, barely noticing the cold of the porcelain against his bare back. He dropped the phone when Anna opened the door.

“Jesus, Anna.” He forced a laugh. “You nearly gave me a heart attack.”
“What was that all about,” she asked, crossing her arms as she leaned against the doorframe.
“Some nut job wants to pay me obscene amounts of money to go to Los Angeles.”

“And why would he want to do that?”
“He wants me to investigate his wife’s death.”
“But you’re not a cop anymore.” Her eyes narrowed as she moved to sit on the edge of the tub.

“I know.” He snorted. “That’s what I told him, but he said he picked me because of my experience with that demon last year.”
“Nina or Eramael?” She couldn’t hide the look of shock that washed across her face.
“Does it matter?”

“Well, want of them wanted to kill you and the other wanted to help you, so yeah…it matters.”
“Help?” Tom rubbed his temples before letting his hand slide down his face. “That bastard did something to me. Everything’s different now.”

He leaned forward, letting his elbows rest on his thighs. “I hear things…hell, I see things I know I shouldn’t.”

“I know, baby.” She gripped his hand. “I don’t see where having a better sense of what’s around you can be a bad thing.”
“A better sense, that’s one way to put it. If the winds right, I know when a frickin squirrel is climbing the tree out front. It’s no wonder people think I’m a loon.”

“You’re not crazy. I was there too, remember? I know those creatures were real.”
“Tell that to Captain Duke.”
“He just couldn’t handle all the press. Give it enough time for the story to fade and I’ll bet he’ll give you your job back.”
“If I get enough offers like this, I won’t need it back.”

“What’d he say?”
“Ten large, plus expenses.”
“You’re shitting me.”
“No, if I could get five or so of these a year, we’d be set.”
“So, you’re gonna take the case?”
“Yeah.” He took a deep breath as his conviction mounted. “I’m afraid so.”

Thursday, June 01, 2006

In Heat...

You know that old expression, “Crazy from the heat”? I think there is more to that than people want to believe. My wife and I settled in for the evening, flicked on the news and what did we see? Our local Hottie Fox23 Anchor, Chera Kimiko

telling us about a standoff with police. Ok, that in itself wasn’t too shocking. The fact that it was a mile and a half from my house was what caught my rapt attention.

Here is what they are saying about the incident so far:

An Owasso woman involved in a shooting and a standoff with police is now in police custody. Police tell Fox23 News the woman shot her roommate in the shoulder around 7 Wednesday night. The woman kept officers at bay inside her home. Owasso Police officers and Tulsa County Sheriff's Deputies surrounded the home. The man was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Officers believe the woman shot the man over a property dispute.
We are already well above the number of murders we had this time last year. Violent crime is going through the roof. People are raping, fighting, killing, stealing and just generally running amok to an alarming degree. The experts say it is because of the unusually warm spring we’ve had. The heat wave brings out the inner nut, I guess…

In other news, we are expecting heavy rains today, which will lead to unseasonably cooler weather. It is my great hope the rain chases the nuts back into their shells.

Yeah, there are certain things I like to do more as it gets warmer, but going all gansta, isn’t one of them.
Have a nice day!

Unclaimed Money Search - It is estimated that 9 out of 10 people are owed unclaimed government money and don't even know it! Find out how much you're owed with our free trial search.