Friday, January 29, 2010

Last Night

Pure panic
Terror strikes, swift and deep
Cutting me off from all things safe
Trapping me
Gripping me
Pinioning me to the vortex of evil
A new horror everywhere I turn
Screams fill the void sending shivers down my spine
I realize they are mine
Try as I might, I can’t silence them
On and on they echo
Adding to my fear for the shrieking draws the vile creatures
I sense their presence even before I hear their snarls
They come at me, clawing my shuddering form
Gouging my flesh
Leaving stripes flayed open
The smell of blood permeates the cavern
Sending the beasts in to a frenzy
They feed as I scream
Why don’t I die?
Sharp incisors tear hunks of meat from my living carcass
The pain is unbearable
The terror, crippling
I’m petrified, paralyzed
I can’t move to defend myself
The massacre wages on yet still I live
Soon they’re snapping open my bones
Sucking out the marrow
There’s nothing left yet I remain alert
The truth dawns
Another dream
Nothing to fear
My breathing slows
My tears dry
My trembling ceases
My throat is raw but I am fine
Until it begins anew…

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In The News

PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have sent a letter to Punxatawney Phil’s handlers recommending they Use a robotic groundhog as a stand-in for Phil in the upcoming festivities. PETA’s entertainment specialist suggested retiring Phil and his cronies to a sanctuary rather than letting them live on in the Punxatawney library. He says tradition if no excuse for cruelty. The president of the Punxatawney Groundhog Club responded that the whole idea of a mechanical groundhog is blasphemous. When asked, he wouldn’t predict whether he thought Phil would see his shadow or not but did offer that he’s had enough of both winter and the folks at PETA.

Recently an experiment was undertaken by Stanford University to determine the feasibility of a drive-through medical clinic. Patients would queue up in their cars to have doctors lean in their window in order to take their blood pressure, listen to breathing and discuss symptoms. The test showed that instead of a typical 90 minute wait in a traditional clinic, a drive-through exam only took an average of 26 minutes. The researchers declared the trial a success, stating that during a pandemic this type of clinic could expedite seeing a large number of patients with a lower risk of spreading disease.

On the local crime scene – upon release for a minor offense the suspect stole a police SUV parked outside the station. He then led police, once they noticed it missing, on a brief chase which ended with him being zapped by a stun gun and wrestled out of the car. So he’s gone from a misdemeanor charge with a $300 fine to being sent to jail, bail set at $500,000, with felony charges of theft, receiving stolen property, obstructing administration of law and related offenses. But, in his defense, the car was unlocked and the keys were poking out from the visor.

In another local incident, a man tapped on the window of a delivery truck while stopped at a red light and informed the driver he’d like to rob him. The driver pulled away and notified police once he arrived at his next stop. When police went to investigate, the would-be robber had moved onto a convenience store located on the corner at the same intersection where he was witnessed urinating on the gas pumps and then trying to break into an employee’s car. It took three officers to take the man into custody, two of which were treated and released at a local hospital.

And last, but not least, some celebrity news. Actor Kiefer Sutherland was allegedly scammed in a recent cattle deal. He purportedly gave money to a man who was to purchase steers in Mexico and then resell them in the United States for a profit. Sutherland is reported to have lost his $869,000 investment when the man he gave it to failed to buy any cattle. He did sell some though, however the beasts he sold never actually belonged to him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Get It

I think I may have finally figured something out today. Took me far too long but fortunately a brick wall didn’t need to fall on me for me to get this. Whew since I seriously suspect that would have been next. The subtle clues the universe has been handing me haven't been sinking in so it was probably gearing up to do something blatant.

You see, I‘ve been saying forever that I want to have a nice day. That’s it. A nice day. Not often. Just one every now and then. And not spectacular. I know that’s asking for far too much. Nice, average with nothing going wrong is all I’m looking for at this point but for years that’s been expecting the extreme.

My big revelation today is why that is. Do you know? No? All right, I’ll tell you. Things go wrong constantly because this is not what I’m meant to be doing. I’m in the wrong place doing the wrong thing. That’s why nothing works. Fate keeps throwing roadblocks in my path to get me to change directions to show me that this is simply not my destiny. And no matter how hard I struggle to make a go of this particular set of circumstances I am never going to fit.

But that doesn’t mean I should just lie down and give up. Nope. It means I have to switch tracks and seek my bliss elsewhere. Ah, that’s the tricky part. If I knew what exactly that was and where it would lead I’d already be there doing it. No, I really don’t have a clue but I’ll come up with it somehow. I have to. I don’t know how much longer I’ll survive this holding pattern I’m in.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rather You Than Me

Want to get in touch with your inner rodent? Yes, that’s right. You’re not hallucinating – and neither am I, in case you’re wondering. I really did say your inner rodent. What’s that? You didn’t know you had an inner rodent? Me either but apparently we all do. Or so say the creators of La Villa Hamster, a new hotel in Nantes, France.

For the low, low price of $225/night you can stay in your very own people-sized hamster cage. Yup, your rodent romper room will include things like water tubes for drinking, containers of grain, beds of hay and a huge hamster wheel. Who could resist? Well, um, me and very easily. But if you can’t, we want pics!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Around Reading

I went for a bit of a wander over the weekend. There’s this really cool bridge that I pass on my way to work every day and finally decided to take a closer look. While I was poking around I came across a PA historical marker. Amazing what you find if you take the time to look a little, isn’t it? In my defense the marker is located on the opposite side of the bridge. I go home a different way so I never see that side of it.

As it turns out, my nifty bridge is even cooler than I thought. Read the marker to see why. And if you’d like to see the bridge itself, it’s located on N. 6th Street leading into the area where Reading’s Outer Station once stood, between Buttonwood and Oley Streets.

I also drove by the old factory building that burned on McKnight Street. I’d heard they were tearing it down and wondered if they’d finished yet. Nope. It’s about half gone. Yep, I couldn’t resist walking around on the wrong side of the barricade. Hey, I managed to stay out of most of the spots that were obviously very unsafe. And I didn’t try to play with the heavy equipment the wrecking crew left behind so that should count for something. Right?

Friday, January 22, 2010


Here we go again, right? Yep, you got it. PBR stands for Professional Bull Riders of course. Headquartered in Colorado, this organization was created in 1992 when a group of visionary riders broke away from traditional rodeos in order to feature and promote the sport of professional bull riding. They felt it was America’s original extreme sport and could stand on its own without the rest of the rodeo events.

And they were right! Since its inception, attendance at live events has climbed from 310,000 to over 1.5 million with 90,000 people attending the World Finals alone. Thirty-four of the events are televised in 84 countries and have a viewership of over 500 million households. After just fourteen seasons, the annual prize money has grown to more than $10 million. Not bad at all.

So how do you join the other 1200 bull riders who are already members of the PBR? Fill out an application, pay your $350 and you’re all set for a riding permit that will allow you to participate in PBR sanctioned events. Earn more than $2500 in prize money and you qualify for full cardholder membership. Now I know that sounds simple and that part of it is. However I left one thing out. You must also be able to ride a 2000 pound angry bull who doesn’t want you hanging on to his back with just one hand. The PBR recommends a reputable bull riding school unless you’re already very experienced and all the latest in protective gear.

I do too since part of their organization is the Rider Relief Fund. This is something that was set up because professional bull riding is a fierce, grueling and downright dangerous sport. Yes, you really can get killed or maimed while participating so think carefully before you decide to take this up and make sure you know what you’re doing.

Wondering why I’m yammering about this today? Because there is a PBR event in Reading this weekend. It’s at the Sovereign Center this Friday and Saturday at 7:30, both days. Anyone want to go with me?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


You may remember me mentioning that I’ve undertaken a knitting project after 30 years of not picking up a pair of needles at all. Well I finished the front of the sweater I’m working on and I’m so pleased.

Isn’t it pretty? Yeah, I’m damn proud of myself.

And having so much fun! The back has a panel that’s different so I’ll show you when I’m done with it too. And probably again when I have it completely finished. Sorry. You’re gonna be sick of seeing this thing but as I said, I’m having fun so tough!

Off to dinner with the middle child and then more knitting. Don’t know if I’ll be here tomorrow or not. If not, have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I know, huh? Right? IGKT stands for the International Guild of Knot Tyers. This is an organization originating in the UK for people who have an interest in knots and knotting techniques of all kinds. Stop that. Think outside the box for a minute here. You’d be amazed at the variety of things you can create simply by tying a bunch of not-so-simple knots.

Founded in 1982 by a mere twenty-five members, the ranks have swelled to over 1000 world-wide. Unlike other professional guilds, the IGKT is open to anyone, no matter what level of expertise.

The goal of this group is to preserve traditional knotting techniques, act as an authoritative reference source for anyone interested and promote knotting aspects, practical, recreational and theoretical, to one and all. The various branch of the Guild hold periodic events which are open to the public and include displays along with hands-on demonstrations.

If you become a member you can attend local and international meetings where you get to share your love for knotting and trade knowledge with other knotters in your area. You will also receive various newsletters and publications throughout the year.

Interested? Go here for the IGKT or here for the North American branch. And if you’re thinking of checking out an event, let me know. I’d like to tag along.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I am so tired of people being rude and thoughtless I could just scream!

I work in an office. Fine. An office where people come in off the street to apply for jobs that may become available. Fine. People who sometimes take the application with them and bring it back later. Fine. Or people who sometimes sit down and fill out the application on the spot. Fine. People who sometimes bring other people with them who wait while they complete the application. Weird but fine.

If they sit quietly and wait, that is. However, when they want to sit in my space and yammer non-stop on their Bluetooth gizmo. Not fine. Loudly. Oh hell no, not at all fine! The man today had one of those booming voices that carry which he made absolutely no attempt to lower. He also had the volume on the earpiece turned up loud enough that I could hear that half of the conversation too. Talk about annoying! I was very close to tossing the application of the individual with him just for having such bad taste as to bring him with her to apply for a job. I resisted but it was damn hard!

Oh did I mention the keys? The keys that he sat there and fiddled with the entire time? The numerous keys that made lots of noise? I watched as they left. Yes, the keys belonged to the car parked right out front. The car where he should have waited instead of coming inside with her.

Yeah, in case you haven’t figured it out, I don’t much like people today.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Has

Exploding Head Syndrome. Be back when it's safe again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Beyond Disgusting

I was in need of sugar today, yep, it was that kind of day. So much so I tried something against my better judgment. Mallow Fries with Sour Kandy Ketchup. Oh yeah, they’re as absolutely ucky as they sound.

I was hoping they’d resemble the marshmallow candy peanuts. Nope. Not even close. How to describe them? Hmm. Ever walk into a super-cheap shoe warehouse store? One that smells like weird plastic? That’s the closest comparison I can come up with for the flavor of the fries. As for the texture, well, I think that’s best not to discuss. The ketchupy yuck was touted to be sour strawberry. I don’t know what variety of strawberries it’s supposed to be patterned after but I sure never had any of them.

It’s been hours and I’m still shuddering at the thought.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010's List of Banned Words

Did you even know there was one? This is the 35th anniversary list issued by Lake Superior State University. Words or short phrases make the list by being submitted and then voted upon. The criteria? They must be mis-used, over-used of generally useless. Thousands of nominations are received annually which are pared down to the worst offenders.

Now don’t think just because something makes the list that it automatically disappears. No, there’s no indication that being banned has any real effect on word usage at all. Things like bailout and carbon-footprint were on last year’s list and are still flung around today.

So here goes, this year’s list:

1. Shovel-ready
2. Transparent/transparency
3. Czar
4. Tweet and any variation thereof
5. App – short for application
6. Sexting
7. Friend, as a verb, also unfriend
8. Teachable moment
9. In these economic times…
10. Stimulus
11. Toxic Assets
12. To big to fail
13. Bromance
14. Chillaxin’
15. Obama, as a prefix

Hmm, okay I agree with a few of these. Others I can’t say as I’ve ever heard anyone I know personally use them. If you need more of a definition for any of them, go here. Opinions?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Explain Please

Perhaps I’m not paying enough attention here because admittedly I’m not a baseball fan by any stretch of the imagination. But I do listen to the radio and hear things now and then.

This morning the there was a bit of chatter about Mark McGwire admitting to steroid use and how he’s been hired as hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t steroid use have a direct impact on performance, thereby potentially altering the outcome of any game he participated in? How can he still be associated with baseball and eligible for the Hall of Fame?

Pete Rose bet on teams other than his own, which might have been unfair to the bookies since he had more knowledge of player performance than the average Joe but in no way had anything to do with final scores of the games he bet on. Yet he’s banned from all things baseball for life.

I’m sure I’ve over-simplified this and there is probably much more to it but I really don’t think I understand.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Indulged

By chance I wandered into a Yankee Candle store over the weekend. Yeah, I should know better but I was delusional and had a moment where I was positive I could resist the temptation. Boy, was I wrong!

After sniffing everything in sight I limited myself to three scents. Amazing, right? Patchouli, cinnamon, lime and, oh wait, make that four. Greenhouse which really does smell like warm growy things, kind of like the inside of an orchid house. I wasn’t so sure about it in the store but, after burning it yesterday, I’m very happy to have it.

While I was there I even got Howie a present. Now that he’s stopped smelling like crayons – I simply couldn’t let his taillight melt forever, I decided he needed a new image. Guess what I got him? You’re thinking lemon, aren’t you? Nope! Lime. Because the thought of having a little yellow car that smells like limes just made me laugh so hard I couldn’t resist. Howie thinks it’s funny too, in case you’re wondering. IF he hadn’t I was fully prepared to exchange it for something else but he was so happy I had to open it for him right there in the parking lot.

Oh, I should probably mention that Yankee Candle is having their semi-annual sale, should you now be inspired to race off to your local store. And if you look really pathetic the lovely individual may use a coupon at their discretion and give you the buy two-get two free special in addition to the sale price. See? I really wasn’t as badly behaved as it seems. I might even permit myself to go back again since there were flavors I did manage to leave without.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Some Days

Ya just gotta...

Friday, January 8, 2010


A grizzled golem of goliath girth
Grunts and growls, swearing sonorous snorts
Staggering, swaying with its galumphing gait
Searching, scavenging, scything a gruesome swath
Beneath the sweltering sun on this gory surface of sludge.
The snarling - sinister from its savage snout
As it grinds and shreds its garnered spoils
Snatching and grabbing those designated sacrificial
Gutting them with its serrated grapnel spurs.
Great gatherings of solitary souls
Guests of gentry suffice to gratify the gangly goblin of suffering Once satiated the gargantuan ghoul goes to ground
The season of slaughter ceases.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dinner Roulette

My new game.

How to play. First you need a kitchen stocked with food of questionable origin. You know. Stuff that you wouldn’t eat on a dare and have no idea how it got there. Then you need a restaurant you like on a busy, busy street so parking is often impossible.

My current restaurant of choice is a little Spanish place right around the corner from where I work. They make the best roast pork and it comes with yellow rice, beans and fried plantains. Extremely cheap and enough food for two meals.

The point is to eat up all the weird food I’ve accumulated but to make it less painful with an occasional reward. Days when I really, really can’t face another strange meal I permit myself to stop for dinner. Yeah, I’d do that just about every day but there’s not always parking. On those days, I have to come home and eat something I have. Ah, now you’re getting it.

Last night I lost and had spaghettiO’s. Tonight I won and have my nummy roast pork and even got a meat-filled potato ball to go with it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Today's History Lesson

I was reading an “on this date in history” list and stumbled across something in 1873 that made me curious. Congress began investigating the Credit Mobilier scandal. Raise your hand if you know what that is. Nope, you wouldn’t see mine going up. Not a clue.

Originally known as the Pennsylvania Fiscal Agency, Credit Mobilier of America was a construction management company. It began as a loan and contract company in 1859. In 1864, George Train from PA Fiscal and Thomas Durant, a VP of the Union Pacific Railroad restructured the company into Credit Mobilier. Its primary purpose soon became to be the principal construction and construction management firm for the Union Pacific Railroad Project. Specifically, it existed to generate excess profits far exceeding the actual cost of building the railroad for a select few individuals who couldn’t wait for the operating railroad to generate sufficient income to make them rich.

Simply put, Union Pacific contracted Credit Mobilier to build the railroad. They were invoiced way above actual cost and happily paid. Credit Mobilier would then use the extra to purchase Union Pacific stock at a discounted cost only to turn around and resell it on the open market at a huge profit. The officers of Credit Mobilier, who happened to be the same officers of Union Pacific, earned over $43 million but only reported $23 million.

When Congress was asked to allot additional funds for the construction which was costing way over the initial estimate, they readily approved them. Why? Because many Congressmen were presented with Union Pacific stocks and would then earn a tidy sum of their own.

It all fell apart in 1872 when an associate of the Congressman Ames, an instigator in this scam, had a falling out with someone who leaked the sordid tale to the newspapers during the re-election campaign for President Grant. Nothing much more than a few slaps on the wrist ever came of the investigation however. There were over thirty representatives from both parties involved, including the current vice president at the time as well as future president Garfield.

There you have it. You know something of the Credit Mobilier scandal. Your life is now complete.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Today's Drivel

Hmm, let’s see. Things I know. As I write this it’s Tuesday. Deliciously cold enough for my head not to hurt at all, always good though somewhat rare.

This morning before work I harvested my crops on Farmville, something I do often. Today however, my critters were scooting all over the place. They usually move a little but stay put. Not so today. Surprised the heck out of me, so much so I was distracted from my task watching for the next one to move. And then, when a black and white kitty took off into the middle of my chickens, I just had to laugh. Yeah, I’m easily entertained sometimes but don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it

One of my squirrels has a new game. She brings the nuts I put out for her over to my windowsill and sits there while she eats. I think she’s lonely. I wasn’t paying close enough attention today so I missed her arrival. She must have gotten annoyed with me unintentionally ignoring her because she tapped on the window to let me know she was there. I wonder if she’d like me to start having my lunch outside with her. Maybe I’ll try it tomorrow.

My muse has been leaving me notes on my cell phone during the night. I’ve learned to check it in the morning to see if she’s been there. Hey, don’t want to miss it and have her angry at me. You should see some of the stuff she’s come up with lately. Today’s line – The gargantuan ghoul goes to ground, the season of slaughter ceases. A perfect ending for the little something I’ve been working on. Let me know if you want to see it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Another Year Gone

2009 has come and gone and now it’s time to do some reflecting. I can’t say it was particularly good or bad though I did experience some of both. It averaged out to being just another year. Kind of sad, that.

What does 2010 hold? Not a clue but I’m okay with that. I have an overall plan for my life and hopefully keep things moving in that general direction but other than that I don’t usually dwell on the minor details of things. Not when it comes to me anyway. I used to but then I was always bogged down by the little things and occasionally lost track of the big picture. A very frustrating way to exist so I quit.

I learned to let go of things but I’m beginning to wonder if I may have overdone that one. In the past year I’ve come very, very close to literally letting go of everything and just wandering off without looking back. That probably wouldn’t be the way to do it but you must admit it could turn into one hell of an adventure.

Yes, I definitely need more adventures. 2009 held some minor ones but not nearly enough. I’m working towards more in 2010. Nope, can’t say specifically what I have in mind. As I see it there are some things the whole world really doesn’t need to know.

Hmm, what else about last year? I tried to help as I could and not to hurt anyone in the process. I think I did kind of okay with that although there are always other ways to help so maybe not. I spent a lot of days not liking me much but that’s nothing new. Yes, I’m working on it. There are people I trust who do like me so I suspect my judgment is a little skewed and I’m not really quite as bad as I think I am most of the time. Have to wait and see how that turns out.

Family stuff? Best not to get into that. Work stuff? Well I go every day and try to do my job as best I can. As always though, I believe work should pay for your life, not become your life. Writing? Hmm. Yeah. It’s been scary quiet inside my head lately. Not sure why or what to do about it. Really hoping it doesn’t last because I miss hearing the chaotic chatter that usually rolls around in my mind.

I don’t do resolutions. Never have. Why wait for a certain date to make a change in your life? I live more by the Nike philosophy myself – just do it. What about you?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Warning

It’s my fault. It’s always my fault. Everything that has ever gone wrong in the entire history of the world is my fault.

Pretty fucking powerful, aren’t I? Yes indeed, I am. Extremely so and in ways you’ll never understand for it’s not the kind of power anyone would ever want. Not the kind anyone should ever have. No. It’s not something that can be harnessed for good. Hell, it can’t even be harnessed for evil. It’s just there, eating away at me, day after day, year after year with no outlet save one that is inaccessible, no current purpose other than to destroy me.

Amazing that I can still function at all. A weaker individual would have been torn to shreds by now. God, I wish I were weak. I wish this were finished. I wish I didn’t have to do this one more second.

But I do. I will. Until one day, the power welling within me will fill me to overflowing, lightning shooting from my fingertips, the ground melting beneath my feet with every step I take and my head finally explodes. Only I’m afraid that still won’t be the end of it. What if I’m a gremlin at heart and each shard multiplies the power? Exponentially, it would corrupt the world as you know it and then there will be trouble. Oh my yes, trouble with a capital “T” that rhymes with me right here in River City, kiddies.

So do what you can to keep me calm. Appease me however you might because trust me, you don’t want me pissed off. It takes a lot but I’m getting very close to being just that. It’s only at me for now but how quickly that could change. And then it really will be all my fault in the most literal sense.

Hmm, perhaps it’s time. Yes, I think it is. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Friday, January 1, 2010


So once again the noisemakers of choice in my neighborhood were guns. Granted they do make lots of noise but what goes up must come down. As has been my habit the last few years I made sure I was upstairs, away from windows in plenty of time before midnight. If I’d been able, I would have taken Howie with me too. I checked him today and he made it unscathed. Yay, Howie!

Some of the local businesses sponsor a fireworks display on top of the mountain every year. This year was wet and foggy but they went off anyway. I used to go out on my second floor porch to watch them. Until the year one of the noisemaker rounds bounced off the wall of my house right next to the porch. Yeah, I wasn’t really exaggerating at the beginning of this.

I peeked out the window and the fog was so heavy all the lower fireworks did was color it. There were a few high enough to break through and look traditional so I suppose it wasn’t a waste. The radio today made a big deal out of how we need to continue celebrations like that in order to reassure people things are getting better. Hmm, not so sure I agree with that one. I really don’t think people are that easily fooled or pacified but I could be wrong. I’ll have to ask around Monday, see what others think. Anyone have an opinion? I’d be very interested in hearing it.