Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Last weekend I made a discovery. Watching the piano play itself is as much fun now as it was when I was a kid. Seeing how the tiny holes in a roll of paper translate into music is fascinating.
The cats however, didn’t share my opinion. When I play in fits and starts, picking out notes as I go, they’re fine. It’s been a very long time so my current musical abilities leave a lot to be desired. They tend to roll their half-opened eyes at me and promptly go back to sleep. Using rolls produced entire songs played loudly without stopping. It only took seconds for them to scatter.
They were peering around the top of the steps, trying to determine if that thing making all the racket was going to rumble across the floor at them or if was safe to venture back down when I came across a roll with the lyrics printed on it. As you can guess, the temptation was too much to resist. Oh yeah, the cats were very unappreciative. They didn’t seem to enjoy being serenaded one bit.
Even though I had a blast I somehow doubt karaoke is going to become a regular Saturday occurrence.
Monday, May 30, 2011
You know it’s too hot when a chicken Caesar salad from Wawa sounds like a good idea. And you know there are too many strawberries when you get sunburned picking them. That about sums up my day.
Yesterday was more eventful. I went on a road trip. To Centralia. For those of you unfamiliar with Centralia, go here. For those of you who already know about the place the answer to the question rolling around your heads is “Exactly, to see nothing.”
It wasn’t quite nothing. There are four houses left. And the municipal building. I haven’t been to Centralia since the 80’s. It’s amazing how nature is reclaiming the area, fire or no fire. If you didn’t know there used to be a fair-sized town there you’d have no idea. Most of the strip mine pits are grown over too.
I’m not sure why but the area still holds a certain fascination for me. I think I’ll wait until the leaves have fallen and go back again.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Stay in the light
Stay in the light
It’s so hard
Don’t go near the shadows
But I want to
Don’t go near the shadows
It looks so peaceful there
Step away from the dark
But it seems so serene
Step away from the dark
It’s calling to me
Keep out of the blackness
I know I have to
But it hurts
Keep out of the blackness
It would be so much better there
In a minute
This weekend is not about the unofficial beginning of summer. It is not a reason to break out the grill and through a picnic. It is not the opening of your local swimming pool. It is not an excuse to have a day off from work.
It is first and foremost a day to honor those who have given their lives so that you have the freedom to enjoy those things and so many more. Take a moment out of whatever you get up to this weekend and give thanks to those brave men and women. And while you’re at it, say thank you out loud to all the veterans and current members of our armed forces because they were and are willing to die for you.
Happy and safe weekend.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
...is ridiculous. It's not even the unofficial beginning of summer and it's already too hot for me to function. Back tomorrow.
Or maybe later if it storms. Yeah, that's the one good thing about summer. Storms. I like them. Maybe, if you all think on it hard enough with me we can conjure me one. C'mon. Let's give it a try.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Strawberry season in my yard.
I picked the first pint Sunday. I picked a quart Monday. Today, it was half a gallon. It will multiply exponentially from here on out.
Monday and Tuesday, I took the berries to work and offered them to all who wandered by. There were too many for that tonight but fortunately for me, the neighbor poked her head out to say hello as I was picking. Yep, you guessed it. Her family is having strawberries for dessert tonight.
I don’t much like strawberries on any giving day. Sure, a nice plump juicy red berry is yummy as I’m outside picking them. Once I’ve had that however, I’ve pretty much had my fill.
It’s only day three. And I’ve already had more than enough.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Day dawns, dripping with despair
The death knell drones
Discouragement defeats defiance in the dank dungeon where I dwell
Diseased by down and out desperation
Drowning in depression of dinosauric dividends
Dire deeds do naught to dispel the disasters that develop
Dependence on the dynamic dowsed, drying to dust
Deterioration to the degree of disgusting diffidence
Disparagement dispatched, dispersing disorder
Diabolical devices degrade, destroying determination
Devastation dominates for the duration without deterrence
During the deepening darkness, I,
Monday, May 23, 2011
Nice to see you’re all still with us and that your corner of the world didn’t end as predicted.
I went for a ramble over the weekend, as I do from time to time. I roamed the center of Reading and a bit of the south side though I didn't get quite as far as planned. For the first time in my wanderings I was honestly afraid, so much so I changed my mind about venturing somewhere alone.
Weird. I’d already walked the train tracks that cut through downtown and had to go around someone indulging in an illegal substance. His presence didn’t bother me. I strolled the center city bus terminal and chatted with various individuals that I suspect frequent the location. They were odd but felt harmless.
Then I intended to circle the former passenger train terminal. Only when I left the bus station and headed that way someone followed me. I stopped at the corner and he stopped a quarter block behind me. I turned to approach the station, got as far as the end of it and he turned the corner too. I could hear people in their yards but frankly, in most of Reading, screaming will not make anyone come racing to the rescue. So instead of walking all the way around the building I headed back to the center of town. With him staying a steady quarter-block behind me the entire three blocks until I got to the main street.
I was annoyed. Not only at him, for interrupting my walk but at myself too for giving in to my fear. But it felt very, very off and uncomfortable and I’m not about to ignore that sort of thing. Not with all the other places I’ve been and the people I’ve encountered without feeling that way at all.
I paused to do some people watching, and to wait for him to go away before setting off again, this time in the direction of Howie. I came across a wedding about to begin and stopped to watch the bride have her dress and veil fluffed so she was perfect. While standing there, I was joined by a guy who wanted to chat about his upcoming wedding and the things his son tries to pull. He wanted to see the inside of the church so after the bride started down the aisle we went and had a peek. Nope, not at all threatening.
I guess I’ll just have to enlist someone to go with me the next time I decide to head that direction. I’m sure we can find other interesting things in that part of town if we take the time to look. And then we can have hotdogs at the Crystal Palace. Anyone want to join me for a little adventure?
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Apparently the world is ending this Saturday. I don’t know about you but I think that means we don’t have to go in to work on Friday. I mean, really, who wants to spend their last full day at work? There’s not a job in the universe that’s that good.
I read a few articles about this event and I must admit that I’m slightly confused. One version informed me that the graves would all open up and the dead would rise, Christ first. Um, rise to where? Earth? Heaven? Does that mean all the souls of everyone who has ever been buried since the beginning of eternity have been waiting in limbo all this time? Seems kind of cruel to those considered deserving, doesn’t it?
First there’s going to be a world-wide earthquake of unimaginable proportions. After that happens the universe will be consumed by fire. Ah. So the entire universe is ending, not just the world. Good to know. I guess that means those floating around out in space on the Endeavor won’t have to worry about finding an alternate location to land.
Then there’s the discussion of having all your bills paid up, not wanting to leave them to your godless friends and relatives. Does that mean the universe is only ending for believers? Everyone else will be untouched by the fire? Interesting. As far as I’m concerned, if the world is going poof the credit card company is out of luck when it comes to what I owe them.
I am however, concerned for my furry friends. The folks predicting all this doom and gloom say pets don’t have souls so they won’t be going anywhere. There’s a service provided by 45 atheists who, for the small fee of only $135, will care for your pets after you’re burned up. Ooh, perhaps I could get in on that one, start a care center in my area. And there’s that only-those-who-are-true-followers-are-suffering-the-apocalypse thing again.
Something else about the whole pet issue doesn’t make much sense to me. The date, May 21, 2011, was calculated using the date of Noah’s Great Flood. Um, if Noah was to save pairs of all animals in existence, then why would the pets of believers be left behind now?
Yeah, this whole thing seems a little bogus to me. But, in case it’s not, I think I’ll take tomorrow off. Happy weekend, whatever there is of it.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
This is my blog. It was started with the intention of sharing news about my books. It expanded to include other things that are of interest. On occasion, I share my opinion. At times I posts links. I welcome your comments. You’re free to agree or disagree as the mood strikes.
The one thing however, that I will not tolerate is people posting links within comments. Call me whatever you like but do not advertise on my blog. If there’s something you feel I might wish to have on my blog, send me an email and ask. If I agree, I will post it. If I don’t, I will supply you personally with a reason as to why I feel it’s inappropriate.
I apologize to the 99.5% of you that haven’t attempted to take advantage of my blog. The other .5% of you have caused me to put my blogger comments on moderation and I do not appreciate it.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
It was primary election day in Pennsylvania. At 5:15 I was number 112. Out of a possible 973. Yes, I know it was just the primary. Yes, I know it was raining. But still, isn’t it sad how little people here in Reading care?
Today was the day we were to choose the final candidates for mayor. I know I’ve mentioned the financial distress this city is in before so this really was important. One of the individuals today will have the task of getting Reading out of the current mess it’s in.
There were seven Democrats vying for the post and three Republicans. Granted, I don’t have TV so I wasn’t able to watch any of the debates. Nor have I seen any of their ads. But I did read the propaganda they distributed and the interviews printed in the paper. I listened to the discussions on the radio.
My opinion, and this is just that, is that they’re all scary in their own way. Nothing any of them said filled me with much hope. So the choice for me became one of who will do the least harm. Again, isn’t that sad?
In other news, I met an agent from the Homeland Security office today. No, not at work. On the street. He was stopping people passing by to ask about the possible residents of a certain apartment building. Yeah. That about sums up the state of this city, doesn’t it?
Hope your day was more inspiring.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Dream the dream of having it all
Some will fade
Some will grow
The ones to hold your heart will know
Have no doubts
And fear you not
Patience, courage and talent you’ve got
Always and without question
This I know tis true
Good things are to come for I have faith in you
You know, I really don’t require much. I’d like to have enough that I’m not living paycheck to paycheck as I’ve been doing for longer than I can remember. I want enough that I can share with my friends. Both when they truly need it and when they don’t. Say an impromptu picnic, perhaps.
In the middle of a stretch of chaos today I paused and had a moment. There is so much more to life than what mine presently is. Not more as in expensive stuff. I’m talking intangibles. Unfortunately, the path to them requires money as well so for now, I am here. Waiting. Maybe for just a little while. Maybe forever.
Where are you in your life?
Friday, May 13, 2011
Mutter. Grumble. Rassin frassing sumpin russlin creatins fressin fussin grexin eskin tumblin mumblin fumblin axin baxin bixin phftzin flubbin drubbin dabbin babblin #@%in people. Sheesh.
Yeah. It was like that. And full moon isn’t until next week.
Happy weekend. Enjoy it. There may not be another.
I was digging around in my borrowed dirt today. It hasn’t rained much this week so it was still loose from fluffing it last weekend. The patch is just a tad too wide to reach across comfortably so I’ve ended up standing in the middle of it. Generally in my gardening boots.
Today, however, I didn’t have much to do so I skipped the boots and wore Crocs. Which, of course, started getting filled with dirt as soon as I stepped into the garden. So I took them off. And squigged my toes in the soft, warm dirt. I’d forgotten how soothing that is.
I highly recommend that you shut down your computers and go do the same. Then your life will be good too!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Has begun. For the new kitten, that is.
Beau’s momma had a litter about five weeks ago. But she hadn’t brought them as she’s supposed to. Last Thursday evening a coworker saw her with a little ball of gray fluff, sunning in the parking lot right behind one of the neighboring yards.
Naturally I went searching on Friday. She was there, in the yard, with the cutest tiny gray kitten! I said hello and merely looked through the chain link fence. I didn’t want to scare her off. Apparently, that was enough to do that anyway.
Monday, I confirmed the kitten had a home to go to but when I went back to snag it, it was gone. I saw the momma cat Tuesday heading for the parking lot so I followed her. She went into that yard but then climbed the tree and hopped into the one beside it that is all walled off. Yep, she’s moved the kitten where I can’t get to it.
I guess she’s decided to keep this one. I’m hoping she’ll change her mind and move it back so I can catch it and send it home where it will be cared for by responsible people. If you can, help Beau send out good vibes so Momma Kitty knows it will go to a good home and be as loved as he is.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Alkaline hydrolysis. Currently a little accepted eco-friendly alternative to cremation. So rare, in fact, that the one funeral home in Ohio that has been using the process has been ordered to stop. At the moment, the only places approved to utilize this method for the disposal of cadavers used in scientific research are the Mayo Clinic, the University of Florida, and the University of Southern California. It is legal in Florida though no businesses have a license to perform it just yet.
Here’s how it works. The body is tucked into an over-sized pressure cooker with a solution of water and potassium hydroxide. It is heated for at least three hours. This causes the corpse to dissolve into a liquid which is treated and is then safe to pour away without contaminating water supplies. The whole process is pollution free as it does not emit any of the greenhouse gases that cremation does.
Okay. So I propose we store up the liquid instead of disposing of it immediately. Save it in the event of a drought in the region surrounding the funeral home. Use it to water food crops. Which leads to my question. If I die, get liquefied and am used to water a tomato plant, does that then make you a cannibal for eating the fruit?
Monday, May 9, 2011
I’m not sure why but I was thinking about an older book of mine this past weekend. Drake’s Rules. One thing led to another and I ended up reading it which turned out to be a semi-weird experience.
You see, there were entire sections I didn’t remember writing. I was sitting there, happily reading along and I’d get lost in the story. Then I’d hit a part that I do recall and be reminded that I was reading one of my books.
Do you ever do that? Read something years later, whether it be a book or a journal entry or a poem and hit a blank wall about it? It’s odd and a little unsettling though not in a bad way. I figure those are the spots when the characters took over and wrote whatever they wanted.
Like the rules Drake kept coming up with throughout the book. Rules of couplehood. Um, yeah. I’m not someone I’d recommend coming to for relationship advice to I’m fairly certain Drake himself wrote them.
Friday, May 6, 2011
I was chatting with my friend, author Taylor Tryst, yesterday about the great green bean incident. No, sorry. If you want the details you’ll have to ask her. But it triggered a memory which I will share with you.
Most evenings when I was a child, we ate together as a family. (I’ll refrain from commenting here on that one.) During one meal, my brother said something exceptionally aggravating and I reacted. Nope, didn’t say anything. Nope, didn’t throw a knife. What I did was better.
I can’t recall what it was we had for dinner but I remember it being something he particularly liked. So I took my full glass of milk and poured the entire contents out onto his plate, making his meal inedible. And it just happened to be one of those occasions where there wasn’t anything left after each of our plates was filled. Yeah, I’m sure you get the picture.
As you might expect, there was that glorious moment of stunned silence before chaos struck. Then my brother started whining. My mother yelled. And my poor father nearly choked because he was struggling not to laugh. Naturally, I was banished, which had been my goal to begin with.
So there you have it for those of you who have been wondering. Yes, I am armed and dangerous. I got milk.
Happy weekend all!
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Sorry I went awol on you yesterday but I was out and about for the day. I went for a quick drive across the state and back. I needed to check on something for myself. Once again, gas prices jumped 4 cents in just a few hours. I’ll never get that one. I wonder if they lower them every morning. They almost have to or gas would cost a hell of a lot more than $4.02.
Have you ever watched the movie Duel with Dennis Weaver? There’s a rusted old tanker truck that stalks and terrorizes Weaver’s character. The entire movie. Don’t know about you but I think it’s one of the creepier things ever made.
Long drives like that always get me thinking about it. The weird thing is that it doesn’t bother me until after dark. Yeah, I know. Silly since you can’t tell anything about the truck behind you in the dark other than that it’s a truck. It’s only during the day that you can see what type of truck it actually is.
All I know is that during the day, when I can see, there is no way I will ever pass a truck that resembles the one in the movie. And at night, I make sure I find a friendly truck and stick with it.
What is a friendly truck you ask? That’s a personal choice that I let Howie make. Yesterday, he chose to keep us in between a Swift Trucking and an English Transport, both of which were very comfortable and protective. Yep, they kept us hidden so even if one of those evil tankers was lurking it wouldn’t have been able to get us.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I had a blog all planned. But then I reread it and decided it might be better not to post it. I’m sure you’ve all had moments like this. Yeah, sometimes it’s best not to be impulsive and say exactly what you’re thinking.
So instead I’m going to share a few pics I took a recently. This is what remains of a mill house that is on a back road, halfway between where I grew up outside of Pricetown and Oley. The last time it was occupied was when I was in high school and even then I wondered I might go by one morning only to find it caved in on top of the residents.
Last winter a huge tree fell over onto it so now it’s being torn down. No, I don’t know by who or what, if anything, they have planned for the spot. The mill building is still standing but the dam that held in the pond is long gone. It’s a shame really. I bet in it’s day it was magnificent.
Monday, May 2, 2011
I know I’m generally hard on Reading, and rightly so, but today I’m going to make an exception. Yes, this is not a very nice place to live for many, many reasons and yes, I want out but even I have to admit there are some pretty spots around town.
One of them, I pass every day on my way home from work. This is the Swanona Mansion. It was built in 1891 by James Henry Carpenter who came to Reading in 1889 and founded the Carpenter Steel Company, now the Carpenter Technology Corporation. I have no idea who lives there now, but if one must live in Reading this is the house to have.
Reading, from time to time, also encourages the planting of trees. Many of the old established ones are extremely lovely, dark silver bark with fluffy pink flowers. There are a few across the street from the Swanona Mansion along with some magnolia trees. Between them and the dogwoods, my commute last week most enjoyable.