In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, they can be found by clicking the labels button "stuff I made up".

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Captcha Code

I don't know why they went to something even humans can't figure out. The best way to describe it:

It Sucks!

I haven't figured out a way to change it, or turn it off, but I will.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Heated Rage

“You missed your true calling, Stephanie.”

“Maybe, but I think I like this work better.”

“Dr. Carlson spent a few moments admiring the finesse of Stephanie’s hands as she sewed up the woman they just finished examining.”

“Why did you decide to not be a surgeon?”

“When I was in school, I worked in the hospital to help with expenses. I ended up in the emergency department, where I observed the daily destruction of drugs, crime and ignorance. I realized I didn’t have much respect for many of the people that came into the hospital and had some soul searching moments to decide what I would do.  After I worked a shift in the morgue, I realized I was fascinated by forensic pathology. “

“Well, the medical profession lost a potential great surgeon, but I gained a valuable assistant. “

“Thank you, doctor.”

“After you’re through, I need you to make slides of the liver and the kidneys. “

“It looked like she had a rough life.”

“I’ve seen this before. With her, I’d say she did something that irritated her pimp. Somewhere in her past, she was beaten severely, which is the reason for the healed facial fractures.”

“Are you leaning towards a drug overdose?”

“I can’t say for sure. The results from the toxicological test will determine if my suspicions are correct. “

Dr. Carlson thought about the autopsy. The woman was young, although her physical condition betrayed years of drug abuse and neglect. Her identification stated she was 29, but she was well on the way to the physical demise that led her to the morgue. Her liver, and kidneys were abnormal, which indicated her body was past the point of healing; it was inevitable she would die early, although he felt there was more that only further testing would reveal.

“What was the significance of the tattoo?”

The doctor really didn’t know. The number “32” didn’t have any significance, as far as he knew, but he felt there was more to the number than an individual whim.

“I really don’t know, but, maybe, time will reveal more than we know at this time.”

“What about next of kin?”

“I don’t think anyone will ever claim our victim. The police will try to find someone, but I doubt anyone will come forward.  Desperation would have led someone from the life she led. I have the feeling she has nobody, or anyone that cared gave up on her a long time ago.”

“Someone did call this morning, although they didn’t leave a name, or number.”

“That was probably someone she worked with, or is verifying her demise. If this was an accident, someone will be trying to settle their thoughts. If not, then someone is satisfying their curiosity. A dead prostitute can be a powerful tool for control.”

Stephanie was quiet after the comment. As she continued with her work, she thought of the circumstances in life that would lead someone to where they died, without family to remember, or mourn. Then again, maybe her family mourned years ago. The thought left her sad.

Dr. Carlson thought of the young woman; only a few years older than her assistant, but the contrast was remarkable. Stephanie was well on the way to a successful, satisfying career; the young woman now refrigerated in his morgue had lived a life of desperation that ended with what appeared as a terrible death. The circumstances of life seemed unfair, but the doctor knew that there was always much more than appeared. People choose, whether they knew their choices, or not.

“Dr Carlson, I have a powerful urge for a Starbucks.”

The doctor was amused. His assistant didn’t care much for his coffee. He didn’t either, but it was easily available and provided by the city.

“Why don’t you go get us one, I’m buying.”

Reaching for his wallet, the doctor handed his assistant a ten dollar bill. While he was shocked there wasn’t enough change to consider, he knew the cost was priceless in keeping his assistant in a good mood. Besides, he liked the coffee, even though it was expensive; it was worth the cost.

“I’ll be back in a half hour.”

The doctor watched is assistant leave and then returned to his work. He had a lot on his mind; including the report that Nick was still missing. Nick was not only a good detective, he was a friend. They started their careers nearly together. They had seen much more than many; their bond was that society can harden, but not change the basic goodness of people.

A few minutes later, the door opened to the morgue. The doctor never looked up. He thought it was either Stephanie, or someone who would bother him with some new unnecessary paperwork. Neither, in his mind, was worth allowing the distraction.

“Dr. Carlson?”

The doctor looked up to find a man that appeared to be in his early forties. He didn’t know him, but there was something about his face that made the doctor uneasy. Maybe it was the total lack of expression, or his eyes, which appeared as lifeless and cold.

“How can I help you?”

“You can help by giving me the locket.”

For a moment, the doctor was confused; then he realized the stranger was asking about the locket that Nick left the night before.

“I don’t know what you mean.”

Pulling a silenced automatic from his coat, the stranger stated: “I’m in no mood for games. Give me the locket and your death will be painless.”

A few thoughts raced through the doctor’s mind, but more than anything else, he wondered how this man knew he had the locket. The ramifications were sobering; few would know the fact Nick was missing. With this man threatening his life, the doctor didn’t feel Nick was missing by choice.

“It’s in the filing cabinet.”

The man stared for a few moments, then said: “Then you need to get it for me. Move slowly.”

The doctor rose and slowly walked to the filing cabinets adjacent to his desk. As he moved towards the filing cabinets, he thought of escape routes, whether he should fight, or resign his fate. Although he feared few things, he found he was more fearful than ever felt since childhood.

Carefully opening the drawer, the doctor slowly reached into the filing cabinet, grasped the object and suddenly turned. Instantly, he fired the taser he kept for protection. The two barbs imbedded in the chest of his assailant within seconds. The startled man fired one shot, which grazed the doctor’s arm. The man fell to the floor and started convulsing.

The doctor held the trigger until he felt his assailant was immobilized and released the trigger. Releasing the trigger didn’t stop the pulsing of electricity, which he could hear. The pulsating snapping noise continued without his control.

The assailant was now groaning and trying to escape, but was trapped by the uncontrolled spasms caused by the taser. As he struggled, the doctor saw something he hadn’t seen since for years. A bluish glow surrounded the man, much like the Saint Elmo’s fire he’d seen while sailing as a youth.  As he watched, the glow expanded, until it almost filled the room. The man was now almost immobile from the electricity, although he still violently trembled.

A bright flash blinded the doctor. At the same instant, a shock of wave of expanded, heated air threw the doctor against the wall of the morgue. Tentacles of electricity flashed, and danced, about the assailant. The doctor slumped to the floor; he could hear the continued release of electricity and felt his hair singeing. The discharge lasted a few moments more, and ended as abruptly as it started.

The doctor, now disoriented, and in pain, slowly lost consciousness. Before he faded away, he looked to where his assailant had been. There was little left, except for smoldering flesh and the rising smoke from the burned body.

I'm thinking this will eventually turn into a novel. What started as a short story, continues to develop in my mind, so I write the thoughts as they develop. Time will tell, but if the final result is a novel, I'm thinking I'll have to find a way to peddle the entire mess, which may involve removing the posts from my blog and never posting the last few chapters. Until then, I hope you enjoy my writing. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Busy

So I don't have much time to write. My blog is working, although it's different because of a required update to make the damn thing work. They call it progress, I call it fixing things that aren't broken. Between Windows and the tons of bloat that is now part of any software, the resource waste is almost unbelievable.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Maybe Having Problems

Either Google, or Internet Explorer had a problem. My problem was I couldn't post.

My first effort to update to the newest version of Windows Explorer left me with the information I either upgraded to the bestest version of Windows, or keep my Neanderthal version, which isn't supported. So, I'm trying Google Chrome for a browser, because Blooger (intentionally mispelled) likes Chrome because it's their bestest, newest version of a browser and allows them to peek into my world, I'm sure.

Anyway, this is my post and I'm still learning about the interface. I'm also learning how to use Google Chrome. If you hear my scream, or find my picture on the wall of the Post Office, you know why.

* Chrome is definitely faster, although getting used to the features will be a pain in the ass.


*Afternoon update: After playing with the buttons and navigating through the interspace, I've decided I like the changes. So, the coffee break is over; everybody go back to standing on you head. 


*I'm beginning to wonder if the lack of visitors today is because of a fear of misery loving company, or because to most people, this is incredibly boring and they have something better to do.

Monday, February 20, 2012

There's Always Good News

Except there isn't much to find today. After reading a news report about Baby Boomers, I realize I'm at the tail end of this experiment in breeding and will undoubtably be faced with limited, to non-existant retirement options.

Blech.

Scurrying In The Night

Suddenly waking, Dr. Carlson lay in the bed trying to collect his thoughts. A bright flash, and immediate loud clap of thunder, made him aware of why he awoke. A sudden blast of wind, and rain, against the window reminded the doctor of the severe weather watches he’d seen before he went to bed.
Glancing at the clock, he realized the alarm was scheduled for ten minutes from the current time. Thinking he might snooze for a few minutes, his mind started racing, so he turned the alarm off and placed his feet on the floor.
He didn’t feel rested, but knew why: he’d worked late the night before, so he only had a few hours sleep. He briefly thought of the last few days before he went to prepare for his day. He wondered what this day would bring as he prepared his breakfast. The heavy rain pounded the window as he worked.
The trip to work was a crawl due to the weather and heavy traffic. Even after he arrived, he had to navigate through an accident scene in the parking lot. Somebody backed in front of another car.  There was little damage, but both drivers were in a heated discussion as he slowly passed. What little he could hear made him decide the discussion was on who was at fault and who would be the first to call their attorney.  Neither looked threatening as they argued under their umbrellas.
Dr. Carlson wasn’t in his department for a few minutes when he received a call: “Hi, Doc. Sorry to bother you on such a crummy morning, but I need your help. “
The doctor responded:” I’ll get my equipment and assistant. Where do we need to go?”
The police detective gave him the location; the doctor gathered his equipment and called for his assistant to meet him in the coroner van. They left the garage in the heavy rain and slowly travelled the partially flooded street to the scene.
As they pulled to the cluster of parked patrol cars, the rain suddenly eased off. Stepping from the vehicle, the coroner warned his assistant: “Pay close attention to everything. It’s easy to miss important details.”
As they walked to the body, the doctor carefully looked at the surroundings. The location was an abandoned group of metal buildings. At one time, these were locations of small suppliers that provided equipment to the now closed food processing plant a few thousand feet away. The entire area looked like a scene from an apocalyptic movie; the loss of the plant caused an economic blight, which was glaringly apparent.
“Hey Doc. I’m sorry to get you out in this weather.”
“It’s part of my job. What do you have?”
Holding up a roll of bills and a plastic bag, the detective continued: “You can see what we found.  This really caught our attention.”
The doctor didn’t say anything; instead he walked to the body and started his examination.
Rivulets of blood flowed off the body and were diluted in the puddles that were around the body. Closer examination revealed a young man; at least the clothes had the appearance; there wasn’t much face left to confirm this initial assessment.
Feces on the body were a confirmation of the doctor’s immediate suspicion. There wasn’t much skin left on the face or hands. The lower body was pinned under a large light pole. The base of the pole was still attached to the base. The aluminum base looked as though it had been melted, which caused the pole to lean and fall.
“It looks like rats had a field day”
“Yes, but it’s my job to determine the state of their meal.”
“We found this roll of money. We haven’t counted it yet, but if it’s all hundreds, like the outside bill, there’s thousands here.”
The doctor looked at the locket in the bag the detective held and asked: “What’s in the bag?”
 “It’s a gold locket and has an inscription: “Sarah’s Treasures.”
“Did the victim have any identification?”
“It’s Squeaky”
“Squeaky?”
“That’s what we call him. His name is Brandon Grainger. He has a long rap sheet of petty crimes. A high dollar attorney always posts his bail and pays his fines. In the last ten years, he’s been arrested a few dozen times.”
The doctor paused for a moment. The name “Grainger” caught his attention, but he couldn’t determine why.
The doctor continued his inspection of the body. Nothing was visible to confirm any foul play. Looking at his assistant, he instructed: “Let’s bag him and get him to the morgue.”
Looking about, the doctor thought of the possibilities of what brought the man to this point and his subsequent death. If he was killed by the pole, it would have been quick and merciful. If not, the death would have taken a long time and would have been excruciating.
After a wrecker lifted the pole, and an examination under the body, the officers helped them with bagging the remains. As they loaded the body in the van, the doctor thanked the detectives for their help and quickly climbed into the van to escape the heavy rain that had started again. As they drove back to the morgue, the doctor pondered over the name of the victim. Something was familiar about the name, but he couldn’t place why.
Later that evening, Dr. Carlson worked on his report as his assistant finished cleaning the room and placing the equipment back where it belonged.
“I’ll see you tomorrow Doc.”
“You have a good evening and be careful. It doesn’t look like the weather will let up.”
After his assistant left, the doctor continued with his report. He described the nature of the injuries and known physical condition of the now confirmed man that ended on his table. Although there were indications of drug use, the final toxicology findings would take weeks. What was known was confirmed with what the doctor found with the fingernail scrapings. The hairs, and blood indicated those of a rodent; the man had fought while the rats attacked. Unable to flee, he succumbed to the onslaught and eventually bled to death.  His lower legs were injured, but the injuries were not the cause of his death. Due to his isolated location, nobody heard his cries or arrived to help prevent his death.
“How did the pole fall?” plagued the doctor’s thoughts. The base was melted, but what caused it to melt? It took a tremendous amount of heat to cause such damage, but there was no evidence of the source.
“Hey Doc.”
The doctor was surprised by the voice. Turning, he saw the lead detective from the scene. He approached the desk and handed the doctor the bag with the locket.
“I thought you should see this. We dusted it for prints, so don’t be worried about contaminating the evidence.”
The doctor took the bag and pulled the locket for examination.
As the doctor examined the locket, he was fascinated by the elaborate scroll work on the surface. Beautiful would be an understatement of the obvious hand crafted gold locket. The chain, like the locket, was gold and the tiny links were smaller than any he’d ever seen.  This caliber of jewelry was hardly the keepsake of a person like the victim. Something like this acquired during a burglary, or robbery, was soon pawned for a few dollars in cash.
“Open it, and look at the photo.”
Carefully opening the locket, the doctor examined the photograph. The young man looked familiar, but he couldn’t place the face. On the cover were words inscribed in beautiful script: “Sarah’s Treasures”
“Don’t you recognize him?”
The doctor looked closer, but still couldn’t place the face.
“Do you remember that trial you just finished?”
The doctor paused, thought of the trial and the person in the photograph became familiar. The man was much younger than the photo he’d seen in the paper, but he recognized the dead husband of the old woman that was murdered. He’d been a successful business man in his day. His grandson still ran the business he started years ago.
“What do you think, Doc?”
“I don’t know what to think. How do you think this he acquired this locket?”
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out.  We’re hoping you can help. You’ve been here most of your life. Maybe you can put some pieces together. Have you determined the cause of death?”
“I won’t get the final toxicology reports for a few weeks, but I don’t think they’ll reveal much, except whether our victim was intoxicated when he died. The rats are the apparent killers.”
“That’s a tough way to go, although it couldn’t happen to a nicer person; Squeaky was bad news. We couldn’t pin a felony on him, but we knew he had something to do with local organized crime. There’s no way he could operate so long without some useful purpose”
The doctor stared at the locket. He felt there was some important fact he was missing, but couldn’t put it in place.  
“Think about it Doc. If something comes to mind, give me a call.”
“Thanks Nick. If you need the locket, you know where to find it.”
The doctor watched as the detective left and turned back to his examination of the locket. He was still fascinated by the craftsmanship and obvious worth. It would hardly be a gift. This type of jewelry lasted for centuries as an heirloom. The fact a petty criminal had it in his possession was baffling.
Dr. Carlson examined the locket for a few minutes and then went back to finishing his report. After he finished, he thought of the ending of his victim. For whatever reason, some tremendous source of heat weakened the base of the pole, which allowed the heavy light fixture to fall upon the victim. Trapped, the victim was unable to escape from rats, which took advantage of his inability to escape. His attempts to survive were futile. In the end, the rats removed enough flesh to cause tremendous blood loss from their prey. Weakened, he eventually died from their feeding. 
The doctor was clearing his desk when a thought entered his mind. Immediately, he started searching through his files, until he found the information he wanted. He read the pieces of paper a few times before it all became clear. He now knew why the name of the young man was familiar. Grainger was the name of one of Sarah’s survivors.  
Dr. Carlson rubbed his eyes for a few moments and then dug into the bottom drawer of his desk for his hidden bottle of scotch. After pouring a few ounces in the bottom of his coffee cup, he sipped and thought of what his investigation revealed. There were pieces missing, but the fact the young man had thousands in cash, and the locket of the dead woman, couldn’t be ignored, or thought as coincidence.
A long rumble brought the doctor from his deep concentration. The thunderstorms were building again, so he needed to leave before they arrived. After locking up, he was deep in thought as he walked to his car. He had a lot on his mind: the death of the young man, the locket and the strange fact the aluminum base of the light pole was melted. A bright flash suddenly brought a thought as quick as the lightning caught his attention. “Could lightning have struck the pole?”  He didn’t know. He needed to do some research. 
As the doctor drove away, he never noticed his instinctive reaction of turning on the wipers, when the first drops of rain hit his windshield.  He was thinking about what he wanted to do tomorrow.
The loud ring of his cell phone broke his thoughts. Answering, he was asked by the voice on the other end: “Hey Doc. This is Eric George. Have you seen Nick? He said he was going to stop by on the way home”
“About two hours ago. He stopped by the morgue to check on the Grainger case.”
“He should have been here by now. He was coming for dinner and hasn’t showed. ”
“Maybe something came up.”
“He would have called.”
Thinking of lightening the mood, Dr. Carlson replied: “Maybe he had a hot date.”
Eric became somber: “I doubt it. After his divorce last year, Nick hasn’t been dating. The only person he’s seemed interested in is my sister-in-law and she’s here. We were all supposed to eat together.”
Dr. Carlson had a feeling of foreboding. He knew enough about the detectives to realize Eric would never call unless he was really worried.  Since they dealt with the worst of society, unexplained absences were cause for worry.
“Call me when you find him Eric.”
“Sure thing Doc. Bye”
Now worried, Doctor Carlson continued reviewing the last 14 hours as he drove.  He felt he was missing something important, but didn’t have  enough pieces to determine what that something was. Maybe tomorrow would bring more information. Maybe Nick found something and it would help put it all together.
A bright flash, and quick clap of thunder, reminded the doctor of the persistent weather system. The forecast was for the weather to remain disturbed for the next few days.  He hoped it would be quiet and he could stay out of the weather. The way things were going, he was beginning to think there wasn’t much chance of this happening.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eh?

I have tinnitus. I hear a constant high pitched tone in both ears, with the left ear louder. The volume will change, and when it's quiet, the "ring" can be distracting.

So, why am I writing about this? It's distracting me today, which it does occasionally. I'll eventually push it out of my thoughts and ignore it once again. Until then, it's aggravating.

It's Foggy

After the cold spell on the weekend, it's warmed and brought fog - dense fog like you find offshore. The forecast is for the fog to remain through mid morning - maybe- but there's no guarantee; it could last until the next front pushes it away on Saturday. Until then, it's dealing with crummy drivers that like to drive too fast in the fog.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Simple Economic Advice

I live by simple economics. If I don't have the money, I don't spend what I don't have. Now, you can say you mortgaged a house and financed a car, so how does that apply? My answer: That was risk I undertook, with me as the only responsible party.

In the past, I could only afford rent, which meant I lived in a house, or apartment, that was within my price range. In the early days, that was an almost dilapidated garage apartment. It was cheap, but it didn't have air conditioning, was very small and really drafty in the winter. It wasn't much, but I got by. At that time, I had no choice. I could only afford the $50 a month, so that's where I lived.

My first automobile was a 1963 Chevy pickup with a six cylinder and 240 air conditioning (that's both windows open at 40 mph). Parts of it were held together with baling wire. I performed the repairs, even though I had no idea how. I learned as I went. I bought it for $300, which was all I could afford.

So, my advice to cities, counties, states and the Federal Government: Don't spend what you don't have and don't risk taxpayer money for any reason. This method worked for me and it will work for you. If you don't, you'll have nothing. If you don't believe this, why do you think businesses and people are moving away before the final economic collapse?

Alternative Energy

It sounds real good, until you stop and realize it's a huge money pit, with the money thrown into the pit coming from naive investors and public funds. Even with this money, the companies that supposedly are developing this "green" energy are not surviving. Meanwhile, enough energy to last for centuries is sequestered by regulations, permitting and political discussion. From my perspective, the asylum is being run by the inmates.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Robots Are Scanning

I received quite a few hits from a site I won't name. The reason I won't name the site because it has taken over Bing and absolutely nothing is linked through the search engine except marketing traps and glowing reviews of a product that few have tried, but are willing to tell you how wonderful it is. Otherwise, the visits to my site are robots looking for a way to sell something, which is okay - if you're a robot. I seriously doubt they're reading the content. If so, what part of my blog do you find interesting?

Update: Within minutes of posting this morning, I was bombarded with visits from the robots. I'm thinking they're on to me. I may need a phaser.

Fire Ants

I found one on my coffee cup. This means they're foraging for food and found a way to get into the office. So, it's time for some poison and bait.

For those that never had experience with these critters, they can build nests in walls and you may find yourself covered with them while you sleep. They don't bite; they grab with their mandibles and sting like a wasp. The toxin is painful and can cause severe allergic reactions. At best, the sting leaves an irritating pistule. At worst, the result may be a trip to the hospital, or death.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Afternoon Epiphany

We're doomed. How do I know? After researching some possible side effects from my medications, I realized I don't trust any of the sources, including the FDA.

Do you ever have the feeling you're riding on a bus, with a demented driver and no brakes?

I may forget....

...but my stomach doesn't, so I need to not forget my Proton Pump Inhibitor medication and eat Taco Bell ever again.

This is not surprising.

Sometimes, you find you're observing a slow motion train wreck. This usually happens with people, especially artists. It's as though their path to self-destruction is inevitable and you can only watch it as it happens.

Whitney Houston is the current example. Beautiful, an amazing voice and the ability to shine in front of thousands without effort. I can only say it's sad and I feel for her family. Losing someone to the ravages of substance abuse and an emotional illness is one of the most horrible things a family can face. All I can offer is prayers and the hope their grief isn't shattered by the viciousness of the media.

It's Cold

It's not freezing cold, which is better than good. We rarely get below freezing and the chances of rain during that time are pretty slim, although it does happen.

In the late 90's, we had an ice storm. Before it was over, the ice took a heavy toll on trees and power lines. For a week, I didn't have electricity, except for a small generator, which was only good for a few lights and a small space heater. 

The entire event was far from pleasant. Heating bottled water on a colander - with a candle -was hardly a soaking bath, although it was far better than no bath. My wife and I would take shifts: one would sleep and the other would keep an ear on the generator to keep it fueled. For the week, I never slept more than a few hours at a time and the final deficit required a 16 hour "nap" to recover and forget about cutting live oak branches in the night to preserve my electrical service drop.

When it was all over, I helped a friend remove two large trees from his house, which made me count my blessings. They'd awoken when the trees crashed into the house while they were sleeping. One tree had missed their son's bed by a few feet. I can only imagine the feeling of surveying the damage with only the dim light of a flashlight.

So it's cold, but far from cold enough to make me worry. I know some people are living what I lived years ago, and I don't envy their experience.

Friday, February 10, 2012

On The Road

Pete sat in the small camp as the heavy traffic passed a few hundred feet beyond the trees and brush that hid the freeway. Deep in thought, he enjoyed the warm sun that felt good after the morning chill.

Pete was thinking of the pain in his gut. It was sharp today, which kept him from panhandling on the corner a mile down the road. The week before, he'd finally succumbed to the advice of his friend, Sid, and gone to the local emergency room. After a day of sitting, shuffling between tests and some stern advice from doctors, he slipped away in the evening and came back to the camp. Their diagnosis was incomplete, though they knew his liver function was not right and more tests were needed to determine the cause. Pete felt closed in and only wanted to escape.

Maybe he should eat. He thought for a moment, then decided to wait. It only hurt worse when he ate and he wanted to avoid the pain. Maybe it would ease off later.

Pete's thoughts wandered to Rhonda. They'd started on the road together over twenty five years ago. Both were first year college students and both wanted to "see the world" before they settled down and started their lives. After five years, the thoughts of settling down slipped further away. Their lifestyle was ingrained and they had lost the resources to escape. Neither had communicated with family for years and neither wanted to make the effort to return to the life that was now alien to both.

Pete remembered when she disappeared. It was a rainy night, she wanted some cigarettes and would only be gone for a short time. She never came back. At first Pete assumed she had just left, but soon realized she was the woman killed by a hit a run driver as she crossed an intersection. He's seen the report in a newspaper at a store where he was buying a beer. He knew he should have done more, but he, also, knew it really didn't matter. His world shifted that moment. He'd gathered his belongings and was hundreds of miles away within days.

"Hey Pete. I brought you something."

Pete looked up to Sid handing him a 44 ounce malt liquor. "Thanks" was his reply.

"I had a good day Pete. People were generous on the corner. Maybe tomorrow you'll feel like making some money?"

Pete replied: "Maybe. I'll probably feel better."

Pete opened the beer and took two long swallows. The cold liquid  immediately burned and caused the pain to increase. Taking two more swallows, he laid back on his sleeping bag and waited for the buzz to dull the pain.

"You hungry Pete? I brought some cans of chili."

The thought of eating turned Pete's stomach. He wasn't hungry any longer. Taking another slug of beer, he answered: "Maybe later. I'm not real hungry right now."

Sid and Pete spent the next hour discussing nothing and watching the sun start to fade. Eventually both were just staring and Pete eventually nodded off. Sid looked at Pete to make sure he was asleep.

After he was satisfied Pete was sleeping, Sid rolled up his sleeping bag and made sure all his belongings were stored in his knapsack. Standing, he approached Pete and pulled his pocket knife from his pocket.

Sid stared at Pete and thought of his time in the army. Advance training had taught him how to kill a man within seconds. No pain, no screaming; just oblivion. He looked down at Pete. In a low voice that was almost a whisper he said: "That's not my job."

Reaching into his stash, Sid took a ten dollar bill, wrapped it around the knife and set it on the sleeping bag next to Pete. He made over a hundred today and he had his boot knife for protection. Examining Pete, he realized his skin was now a noticeable shade of yellow. It reminded him of an old man he'd met a few years before.

They called him old man, although he was probably only in his late forties. His life on the road, and alcohol, had aged him before his time. Sid found him dead one morning, so he flagged down a cruiser as it passed. Three days later, less all his belongings, he realized he never wanted to be involved with another police investigation. He'd done nothing, but the police wanted to be sure before they set him free. They wouldn't give him his belonging back. They'd said something about a health hazard.

Never looking back, Sid slipped from the wooded area and started walking down the shoulder of the access road. Holding out his thumb as he walked, he hoped to flag a ride and be a few hundred miles down the road by morning. He'd head south. Winter was coming and he wanted to spend it in the Keys. The dumpsters always had good food and there were miles of bridges to sleep under.

Sid knew there was one rule on the road, which was there were no rules. Glancing back one time, he pushed Pete from his mind and picked up his pace.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Shocking Statistic

Twenty percent of the people in the United States rely 100% on the Federal Government for food, shelter, medical care and retirement.....and cigarettes and alcohol if you know the local grocer.

I have a lot to write about...

...but there seems to be a short circuit between my brain and my hands.

Bleh

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recognition

I've been nominated for a Liebster Award by Kurt P, which means a lot of things, but the significance of this award is rarely understood, until the history of the award is researched.

Apparently, in 1990, when bloggers were far and few between, a group of blogging brew masters in Germany became despondent when they realized their inspired thoughts were only revealed to a handful of people. After months of correspondence, which was tough, especially when the heavy snows of that season caused problems with the phone lines, they decided they needed to spend time looking for other bloggers to reward for helping in the effort to promote the drinking of good beer.

Over the next year, they found quite a few bloggers and decided to reward these bloggers for their efforts, but couldn't decide the best method to accomplish this task. Agreeing to meet in a secluded location, they spent a weekend deciding the method of recognition and the appropriate prize - or so they planned.

On Monday, three of the brew masters were in the local jail and all the rest were in various states of damage at the local hospital, except Liebster.

Liebster was somewhat of a perfectionist. His brew was perfect, or he fed it to the pigs. While this was best for his beer, it led to poor sales and drunken pigs, which had a peculiar taste and were not well received at the local auction. When he finally accepted a batch, the demand was great and his asking price was never refused. 

So, Liebster, now faced with the fact the money for the prizes was gone to doctors and lawyers, felt obligated to honor the bloggers that were not well known, but offered much that was important. His decision, was to let these bloggers honor their fellow bloggers and do so with a method that can only be described as a pyramid scheme without money. Somehow, the original intent of brew master bloggers was lost over the years, which now leaves everyone in the pot for nominees.
So, here it is:



In honor of this fine tradition, I nominate the following three for this prestigious distinction and recognition, which I know I'm making light of, but it really is an honor....really, I'm not fibbing. I'm just frustrated because I can't find anything on the web on how this all started.

Le Ann- Who inspired my effort to blog.

Janie - Who has super powers and will zap you with lightning.

Farm Girl - Who doesn't blog much lately, but I'm sure that won't last forever.  

So, how did I come up with these three? I took all my favorite links, pasted them in a spreadsheet, gave each a number and used a random access algorithm to come up the picks. No special considerations were taken, no animals were harmed in the testing and continued use can cause unintended consequences over time.

This Is Just Wrong

I was listening to a news report, which stated that 1 out of every 3 people that work is getting food stamps. That means that 2 out of every 3 people that work are paying for food they don't eat. Considering I'm one of those 2, what's for supper?

Monday, February 6, 2012

And Another Thing...

What's this crap about the economy rebounding? Where? Washington D.C.? Green Manufacturing and Tax Pit Inc.? It's not rebounding in my life. My salary is still frozen at a 2008 level, the cost of fuel is going up, the cost of groceries is going up, the cost of insurance is going up and I paid more in taxes last year. So, where's his rebounding economy?

Damn the lying politicians and press.

Why Are So Many Politicians Weenies?

That's my impression. If they had to build, or repair, something, their soft hands would break out with blisters and they'd bemoan their fate in life. Meanwhile, some poor bastard gets up every morning, braves brutal weather and tries to make a living with his hands, while the politicians jet around the country doing what they do best: selling words. They're word merchants and the merchandise is crap.

Be Careful For What You Ask

In the last month, we've received over 6 inches of rain, which is substantial, since that was probably more than we received in the previous six months. It's not enough to make up the deficit, but at this rate, that will happen and we'll end up with more rain than we need. After that, the complaints will be "When will it ever stop raining? We've had enough!"

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Afternoon at The Office

Darlene never looked up from her work when her boss said he was going to lunch and would be back in an hour. She knew it would give her an hour without interruption, which should allow her to finish most of the work she needed to complete for the afternoon. After that, she decided to catch up on filing and start her weekly reports.

In her late fifties, Darlene was in the early stages of starting retirement. Her finances were in order, but she was still undecided on when. She liked her job, but didn't like the location. As the only clerical employee for a small steel fabrication company, she knew it would take some time to train her replacement and this task would eventually lead to a point there was no turning back.

"Teency" was Darlene's mother's description of her daughter. At a shade over 5 feet and around 100 pounds, she was small by any standard. That was a deciding factor when her ex-husband was sentenced for putting her in the hospital. He received the maximum sentence and she was sure she wouldn't have to deal with him again for a long time. The marriage removed any thought of another. "Once bitten, twice shy" she'd tell her friends when they made efforts to find her another mate. She had no intentions of marrying again, or developing long term relationships that bound her to another.

As Darlene worked, she heard the fabricators leaving for lunch. In a few minutes, she'd be the only person there, except for the few workers that took a nap in the break room next to the shop. A few times, a few of the workers tried coming to the office to ask questions about their check, or insurance, but soon learned that was her time and to leave her alone. The automatic phone system removed her only assistant a few years before, so there was nobody else to help with these questions. If the employees had questions, they were to ask first thing in the morning, or after 3:00. Those were her rules and the owner didn't object.

Darlene was a little startled when the front door opened. Looking up, she saw two young men walk into the office. One walked to in front of her desk, the other stood inside the door and glanced around the room.

Before Darlene could say anything, the man in front of her desk spoke: "We're looking for a job." Darlene started to lecture the young men about not reading the sign outside that specifically stated all applications were through the local employment agency, but decided to not waste her time, or increase the time she had to smell the two men that reeked of sweat, filth and alcohol.

"We're not hiring. When we do hire, we go through an agency."

Darlene paid closer attention to the young men. Both had the wild eyed look of druggies and she didn't like their constant scanning of the room.

"Then give me your purse."

For a moment, Darlene wasn't sure she'd heard what he said, but when he pulled a large hunting knife from his pocket, she had no doubt she was being robbed.

Quickly glancing at the other man by the door, she realized he was staring at the security camera behind her desk. She hoped he's say something to his partner, and they'd leave, but he only said: "They have a security camera."

The man in front of her desk now had a panicked look on his face and spoke loudly : "Give me your purse and any money you have."

Darlene, now resigned to her fate, responded: "Okay" and slowly bent down to receive her purse from by her desk.

"This isn't good" the man by the door commented. "Now what?"

The man in front of Darlene's desk was now obviously agitated. Darlene spoke, reached into her purse and said: "Here's my wallet."

The man didn't have time to respond when Darlene pulled the small 380 automatic and placed two quick shots in his chest. He fell immediately onto her desk, as Darlene rose to face the man by the door. She was  hoping he'd retreat, when he made a step towards her desk. Two more quick shots snapped the man's head forward and he slumped to the floor.

Darlene spent a few moments sorting her thoughts before calling 911 to report the incident. Her mind was still racing and the last 5 minutes were repeated over and over again. Realizing her ears were ringing, she thought of how loud the shots were in the small office. At the range, she always wore ear plugs, so the unexpected noise was a surprise.

Looking at the blood pouring on her desk, she thought for a moment of moving the body, but decided she needed to wait until the investigation was over. Looking around, she realized her decision on when to retire had been made. She decided to look carefully at her finances and determine if she could retire earlier than 62. She'd had enough and the thought of cleaning up the mess was unpleasant.

Dont ask me where these stories come from. They appear and I write them down.

  

Some People Don't Have a Clue

About 20 year ago, I worked with a project manager that was the best representative of the "Peter Principle" I ever encountered. Over the year I worked around him, I slowly realized he was full of crap and as disengenuous as they come.

I ran into the project manager a few years ago in a grocery store. After the usual pleasantries, he asked how my father was. I replied: "He's fine" although he'd died a year before I met the project manager. As it turned out, the project manager was enjoying retirement, although I can't figure out how he earned that distinction.

Some people don't have a clue. I'm beginning to think I'm one.

Sometimes, You Get Caught In The Rain

It was a hot summer afternoon; a little hotter than usual at our location between the tall trees that stretched down both sides of the highway.  From my experiences, I knew we'd either be near, or under, an afternoon shower. In a perfect world, stopping and waiting to see would have been nice, but that was out of the question. We had a concrete wing wall to pour and needed to finish the forms.

We'd placed the box culverts a few weeks before. After the general contractor finished their embankment around the culverts, it was our responsibility to place the concrete wings that held the embankment and protected the road from washing away. The creek wasn't extremely large, but the debris in the brush along the banks showed the water could be over a person's head when the creek was full.

Our concrete was set for 3:00 pm. We were finished with the forms by 2:00 pm, but I was checking braces and forms to feel comfortable about the pour. While I didn't expect any problems, making the rounds killed the time I would spend pacing and worrying. Concrete does that to you; especially after you've seen a large form give and lose a few dozen yards of concrete.

As I walked around the forms, I watched a patch of gray to the east. It was growing large in the hazy summer sky, so I knew a heat shower was brewing. Over the next hour, it grew larger and I could see the sky was almost black behind the tree line across the highway. Rumbles of thunder started as the first load of concrete arrived. I had thirty minutes to empty the truck before the finish up load arrived. As we placed chutes and backed the truck, the rumbles became louder and an occasional bolt of lightning would flash behind the trees.

As we placed the concrete in the walls, an occasional drop of rain would fall. At around 20 minutes into the pour, the wind suddenly gusted from the east, dust started billowing and torrential rain started falling. The shift of the storm to the east I hoped for was not to happen. The storm, now in full fury, was drifting over our location. We couldn't pour in the heavy of rain, so we all scattered to the various trucks on site to wait for the rain to end.

As I sat in my truck, I was thinking about the time limit on the concrete and how long it would be before I'd have to "eat" the remainder of the load. From my calculation, I had about 5 minutes left. As I was thinking, the finish up load arrived. After 10 minutes, I decided I needed to tell the driver of the first truck the concrete was too old and would be rejected by the project inspector.

Stepping into the rain was like walking under a waterfall. It wasn't letting up and the dark gray sky was a sign the rain wouldn't stop anytime soon. Cursing our luck, I walked through the mud on the shoulder to look at the concrete  already placed. There wasn't much to look at, since the raging creek was over 5 feet deep and rising. Cursing my new discovery, I went to both drivers and told them they were done. One was leaving with one yard of concrete; the other was leaving with eight.

Rain was still heavy. The crew, now realizing it was pretty well over, loaded what tools were left and headed to the tool house. It was still pouring rain as we finished and headed home. Everybody was soaked and tired. The cooling rain wasn't pleasant any longer. The cool air from the thunderstorm dropped the temperature to the low 70's, so being outside was like standing front of an air conditioner while soaking wet.

 As I drove, I turned the heater on full to warm up and dry off. I called my boss to tell him about the disastrous afternoon. He understood, we'd both been in construction for well over two decades. We'd fought these types of battles before, so it was business as usual. Still, it was a big disappointment.

After about a week, the creek finally drained and the water stopped running. It took two days to clean up the mess, replace the forms and prepare for the pour on the third day. It went without a glitch. Within a week we were through with that location and well on the way of having another ready to pour down the road.