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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Surfer Dude

I sat outside the coffee shop tonight with my friend Greg. Last time I'll be seeing him for a while. He's just about ready to get back to Indiana, college; that end of life that is characterized by looking to the future. It's funny, but I feel like I see life from a very similar point of view. It was a strange surprise one night realizing that Greg is the same age as my oldest son.

Many years ago a very wise older couple told me that if you don't keep making friends with younger people you risk looking around one day and finding that all your friends are dead. Greg has been an excellent choice. He brought me a bone carving from Tonga, a stylized surfer currently hanging around my neck. As I sat on the patio at the coffee shop in my shorts, tee shirt, and flip flops it seemed a perfect fit. I think this little surfer dude will be with me for a long time. Greg, I'm assuming you will be too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Jack The Clean Dog

I felt bad. Jack and I have been at my girlfriend's house for a couple weeks, so he has been missing his daily car rides. He loves to ride in the car. He knew today as I gathered things up and shut off computers and fans that we were leaving. When I got his leash he was ecstatic.

He leaped into the car and curled up contentedly in his usual spot on the back seat and rode along merrily. When the car stopped and I opened the door he jumped out, nose high, sniffing for home. Then, joy of joys, he realized we weren't at home, but in a strange but familiar place with hundreds of fascinating smells!

He sniffed, and marked the low wall. He sniffed and marked bushes. He sniffed the wall by the door as I opened it, but before he could add his mark to what is surely hundreds of others he recognized that door. We didn't have my mom's little dog to drop off. That meant there was one reason ... and only one reason, for us to be at the groomers.

Tonight he is clean, and happy. I'm glad he is forgiving.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I May Not Be Funny, But I Know Him

Today I read something really funny, and all there really is for me to do is pass it along.

Click here.

Is that hilarious or what? Who says these think tank types don't have a sense of humor.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I Do Windows

Just not by choice. My mom's computer was severely buggered (and yes my british friends I know what that means to you) and I just couldn't see any course of action short of a reformat wipe. It took almost four minutes to respond to a ctrl-alt-del and the stuff that was running that should not have been wouldn't shut down. In fact it wouldn't allow the computer to shut down. Where this nasty piece of business came from I have no clue, but it has been dispatched now.

Overall I am rapidly becoming an advocate of pure online storage. Reformatting regularly just seems like the best defense.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Does this seem odd?

The latest version of Grand Theft Auto has apparently gone too far. Someone found out that the enterprising player can unlock certain anime scenes that are, shall we say, indelicate. The outcry over this corruption of young minds has the best selling game being yanked off the shelves.

Personally, I can't say just how risque the scenes are. I usually only buy games after they have reached the discount shelf rerelease stage. In fact I just started playing the previous GTA game, Vice City. The animated hookers plying their trade in Vice City are, I suppose, not realistic enough to cause a stir, and they are all consistently upright. Well, unless they get run over, shot, or bludgeoned.

Running people over, shooting them, and bludgeoning them is, of course, the objective. No sex scenes, just good clean fun.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

World Even Smaller

I got a comment yesterday! Always exciting. This time more exciting because it is a voice from the long past; a friend from my Navy days. I have said that blogging is a great way to keep in touch, and I only wish it had been around twenty years ago, when Danny and I were shipmates. Through all the transfers it just seemed like the thing to do was make new friends rather than keep track of old ones. I regret that now, but I did find Dan and we exchanged some e-mails. Now he's starting a blog, and we know he will always be able to find me here. Maybe not the camaraderie we shared in the engine room of the slammin' Sam, but it's good to have old friends.

Old friends and new friends. My friend Greg is back from Tonga and I'll be seeing him this evening. He also is starting a blog, which eases the pending loss inherent in his return to the midwest.

Here's to the internet, and shrinking the world.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Small World

I play Blogshares pretty much every day. At least a couple quick transactions. Okay, most days it's a lot of transactions, and they aren't always quick. Some valuable information comes from the dedicated IRC chat room, so I usually have it open while I am playing. Today I had an interesting conversation there.

Like all chatrooms and other online type things, in Blogshares I have a screen name; Passer. It's a screen name that goes back with me a long long way. Anyway, it doesn't immediately connect to me here or at Noon Spool, where I was suggesting they submit a story. Turns out they already knew about Noon Spool. I don't know if it was a surprise in the distant United Kingdom, but it certainly shocked me when this newly met Blogshares player said that the first blog they ever saw was Arvil Bren's Journal.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

And The Winner Is...

Arvil Bren's Journal.

In my e-mail this morning I got a very spiffy tag for Arvil Bren's Journal, identifying it as a winner of a 2005 Best Blogger Award. I am quite pleased with myself. I also got a link to a brand new serial fiction site called Human Rites, which I added to the list over there. --->

Monday, July 18, 2005

Lessons of Troy

I was chatting with a bunch of friends about the movie Troy. Admittedly what brought up the topic in the first place was Brad Pitt's bare chest. We immediately steered for deeper waters. The girls in the conversation resisted briefly, but we got there.

The final point to ponder that I came away with as the lesson illustrated by Achilles is:

To be a great warrior one must be, at least temporarily, a sociopath...and society needs great warriors.

Tough problem.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Stealing a Laugh

Today I really wanted the blog to be funny. Now I talk a good fight about how the difference between a writer and just someone who writes is that a true writer just writes when they need to. They don't 'wait to be inspired' or whatever they just write.

So this morning the shoe was on the other foot, which was clearly in my mouth. I caught myself saying 'well, I can't just be funny because I want to...' I'm not sure if that is right or not. Johnny Carson did, Jay Leno does, night in night out. There are numerous other examples too.

Anyway, I looked for something funny rolling around in my head all day and din't really find much. I did see this on a license plate frame though:



Now that I thought was funny.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Short Stories, Long Plan

I never really announced it here. Obviously I was remiss, but that's beside the point. Over in the sidebar under 'Check These Out' is a link to Noon Spool. Noon Spool is my short story site; my foray into editing. The announcement that I didn't make was the publishing of the first issue on July 1st. Don't take my failure to announce it as meaning that I don't think it measured up. It has four stories from four authors and I think it was great.

So what brings it up today? I'm deeply embroiled in putting together the second issue, which is due out August 1st, as well as promoting the site. Publishing every month is going to generate a wealth of stories, and the structure of the site allows for a myriad of ways to sort through them for something you like. It seems like a good service to the readers, at least as long as I can keep coming up with quality stories from good writers. If anyone out there has a good writer in their pocket let me know.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I Need A Real Idea

It has become clear to me that reality television is running out of ideas. The process is consistent, whether choosing a 'sole survivor', a mate, or an employee. Now there are reality shows to choose a restranteur and a rock star. Yesterday I heard the next thing would involve inventors.

What I need is to find a reality show that I could play. I don't want a restaurant, and it's too late to become the next lead singer for INXS, and I already have the only mate that I want. But I am the consumate player, there must be something out there on the reality fringe that would be a fit for me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

They pay these guys why?

This morning as my girlfriend was getting ready for work the radio traffic wizard said something about a road closure. A road closure that could have been critical to her. Naturally, neither of us really heard it that well, though she heard it well enough to know that the road they said was closed did not go past the Lockheed hanger they said the closure was near.

So I called the radio station to get the details. Avenue M between 30th and 40th was the report I got, which was good. I returned the favor by pointing out that Lockheed's facilities are on Avenue P, and I noticed that they didn't mention Lockheed any more in their reports after that. Maybe they listened to me the first time.

They didn't listen the second time I called, after my girlfriend called and told me that she had taken a long detour to get to work as the closure was really between 40th and 50th. I let them know they were off (literally) by a mile, and since there is a major business at 40th and M it really makes a difference. They continued reporting the closure as 30th to 40th all morning though.

Even when they added this detail to the story: the cause of the closure was a collision at M and 50th. I guess they figured the wreckage flew over a mile and landed between 30th and 40th.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Good To Be Back

Writing is hard work sometimes. I'm glad I took the break I did. I learned that it seems so nice to not be pushing the ideas and the pen...but that in fairly short order life gets crazy. I understand now the artist who just 'paints because they have to' or the musician. I've got one of those touchstone comments that I keep in my head...

Eric Clapton was auctioning off his guitars for a charity he was involved in. Someone asked if he was retiring, and he didn't really know. Then they said 'well, if you aren't what are you going to do about having sold all your guitars?'

He said that he wasn't selling them all. He kept the twenty or so that he plays every day.

Writing isn't engrained in me like that yet, but it is getting close.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Writer's Block

Actually I'm just taking a week off. The internet access battle I've been in for the last two weeks and 30 weeks of daily posts just put 'vacation' into my head. Be back Monday.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Little Behind In These Parts

We stopped on the way home yesterday for the triple play: gas, bathroom, food stop. In the desolation of Interstate Five through the central valley this turned out to be eating at McDonalds. Not my favorite, but out there there are two kinds of people; choosy and fed. Anyway, it was good for a laugh.

I was eating my salad and looking at my drink cup. Athlete, strange words in foriegn language, flags, and at the upper edge a 'proud marketing partner' logo from the Athen's olympics. As usual my mind filled with conversations...

Franchise holder: Well boy howdy, this campaign y'all came up with is purt' near a good thing, I tell you what!

Mickey D Promo Dep't flunky: I'm glad you like it sir. For the record, which campaign are you talking about? You know we have a new updated marketing campaign for our franchises on a frequent basis.

FH: Well, I'm talkin 'bout this here O-lympics campaign. The Athens one. Athens is back east somewheres, Georgia ain't it? Anywho, these cups with these players are great. Some o' them girls is right purty.

Flunky: Actually, uh, the Athens there was in Greece. And...sir the Olympics were actually last summer.

FH: They was? Well I'll be dad-burned! Are you sure 'bout that son?

Flunky: Uh, yes sir, quite sure.

FH: I dunno son, you might wanna check yer facts there. If they was last summer why would I still be usin these here cups? You tell me that one, mister city slicker.