Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The ride

This morning's ride was an experience:

The fog had visibility down to about 100 feet in some places, and slowly creeped inside my protective gear and robbed me of any warmth.

A moron in a minivan keeps whipping past me like he's preparing for Daytona, then getting caught at the next light. He does this three or four times before I pull up, put the bike in neutral next to him and flip my visor up, looking at his vehicle and shaking my head.

The driver rolls down his window, asks, "What?"

"Just looking for the race-car stickers. Those kids in back getting paid to be on your race team, bub?" I reply.

He gets crosseyed once he figures out what I said, and what it means. I motor away while he tries to formulate a response.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Really? I mean, really?

Today was a court furlough day. I planned to spend it completing the second of seven phases in the project I have been assigned. I even hoped I might get started on the third phase and maybe get some work in on the novel. Nope. Not to happen.

Here's why:

Scanner/printer/copier arrives. I get said piece of wondrous tech out of the box. Shattered touch-screen. Blood begins to boil. Why package the thing this way? I need the scanner to fax my signed contract back.

I call Best Buy. Best Buy lets me hold for ten + minutes. Steam begins to trickle from my ears.

I get a sales rep, who tells me that he'll transfer me to customer service but adds that .com purchases must be returned through .com. I begin to burble, incandescent curses popping from my lips in superheated time to my pulse.

I wait another ten minutes, only to be handed back to Abe, the sales guy. I tell him my condition. He starts to show his teeth. I tell him I realize he is doing his best, and ask that he hand carry my call to the customer service people who are ignoring the phone. His teeth withdraw before he breaks them on my skin, and he takes care of business.

The customer service rep assures me I can return it in store and they have the scanner back in stock.

I go. Tiny customer service rep handles the return, asks if I want to get the new one off the shelf. I look at her. She probably weighs a mere ten pounds more than the scanner. I go, I get back. I am out the door.

Pressure slowly subsides as I listen to Muse on the way home.

I get home. I hook it up. I can print, just can't scan.

Really? I mean, really?

I check network, I do all sorts of things for two hours. It just doesn't want to work. Blood boiling, curses sputtering.

My daughter is being patient, and only asks ten times if I can play with her. I really want to, but I just have to get this done. She's such a sport, she doesn't even whine or pout. Dad is miserable enough.

Finally I remove the power from the router then plug the fucker back in. It works. Everything works. I email the scanned contract off.

I even have time to play Wii with Isabelle. Feeling a little Hitler, as I do:

I sat down after playing with her, feeding her, and putting her to bed. I finished the rough draft of the second phase and sent it off. I read Mark's post and watched the video.

Inspired, I wrote this.

All is right with the world, for now.

Monday, January 18, 2010

When Being An Adult Can Really Suck

I get to see a lot of people behave badly. I see a few people behave well. I see most just trying to get through their day to day without doing themselves or any other harm.

Friction arises when someone's behavior is illustrated as sub-standard: When the children in the courtroom behave more appropriately than the adults. Like when the madman sits, sweat popping out on his forehead from his struggle to control himself and the supposed regular Jane sputters on about how persecuted she was when stopped because her registration was three months out of date...

Most everyone has their personal excuses for whatever it is they've done.

And, as Carlin said, "Your stuff is shit to everyone else."

It's hard, to be a true adult and own all of your shit. Many of us are knock-off Captain Queegs; screwing up, refusing to accept responsibilty, putting it off on our subordinates, and playing with our balls to render ourselves more comfortable with our shortcomings.

And yet we have, on the whole, less reason to act like that paragon of paranoia.

It is even harder to own the shit of our offspring. Being a parent and not making excuses for either our children or our parenting can be the moment when being an adult can truly suck. Many don't bother to even try. I do, but it's hard.

I fear our culture is predisposed to making an armada of little Queegs...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Tears

This just gets me, the tears welling in his eyes as he rockets through town are just too much. I laughed my ass off.

I needed it.

Sergeant's exam didn't go as well as I'd hoped. There stand about 200 bodies between myself and stripes. I am not sure what I did wrong. I did quite well on the oral portion, but somehow scored below average on the written. There will be a lot of hiring from this list, and many of those who tested well have bad things in their work history. Regardless, no stripes for me till 2013 or so.

Ironically, and also good for my mental health; the contract for the game company is ready for signing.

Balance in all things, I suppose. Perhaps I will get promoted at the same time my first novel is being published.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hunting, after the Apocolypse

When we got out of the shelter, after the bombs stopped fallin, we found things were bad, real bad. There were new critters running around. Some of the old critters had changed. This one got Bob an' three a our dogs afore we could end 'im. Took a full clip o .223, the big bastard. Don't let the fuzzy tail fool you, he's got nasty, pointy teef, more'n I do, as a matter o fact.

My survival team: straight 'pocolypse...

While I can't talk about any specifics of what I am writing, I thought I'd talk about the game I am writing for. It is a post-apololyptic roleplaying game called Twilight 2013. This is the third edition of the game, which was very popular with military and non-military roleplayers in the eighties. Think 'Red Dawn' with realistic combat instead of Hollywood magic. The world had gone over the edge, with the Soviet Union and NATO fighting the war we so long prepared for. The current rendition has a more varied political landscape, and a far better rules system.

With recent movies and the History Channel's current addiction to apocolyptic fare, I haven't had to look very far to find inspiration. The other night I was thinking on who I would want around me for some future event,something my friends and I would often do when we were teenagers.

Today's post is an extension of that. In clear terms, who among my friends would I need around me in the end times:

Mr C: A dentist, he's also a hunter (crossbow and shotgun), brewer, and vinter, not to mention sausage maker, keeps big dog.

Mr M: Talk the pants off you and have you thinking you had the good deal out of it, army medic, not afraid of guns, keeps big dog.

Mr M2: Police Officer, does his own hand re-loads, big son of a bitch, bit of ranch experience.

Mr N: Police officer, carpenter, fast shot, great teacher. Keeps big dogs.

Mr K: Police Officer, martial artist, ass-kicker, silverback, frighteningly accurate with pistol, good teacher

Mr D: martial artist, good shot, very fast learner, industrial/disaster safety and security specialist, can do anything he sets his mind to, sick driver, not a bad wrench.

It occurs to me that I need more agriculture specialists, medical skills, and electrician/engineers. It's hard to get it all together and of course the families of each will have to be provided for.

This list only scratches the surface, and is meant only for surviving a straight apocolypse, not rebuilding after or surviving a Zombie apocolypse. Those are for future posts...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

And the Worry Remains...

Cranked through several thousand words on the new project, and lots of ideas on further stuff to do next.

Then my agent and I sat down and checked the contract out.

Some small issues with it had me sending it back with a respectful request for clarification and response. That was on Thursday. Now I worry that I might have spooked the commission off entirely. Of course, the weather there has been absolute shit, so there might be any number of reasons for a slowed response.

Still, the worry remains, like nerve-wracking worm digging in the rot...

Anyone who knows me has probably learned I like taking doors. No, I love to pound doors open like the herald of an avenging army. You never know what's behind the door, and I love that feeling of suspense: your watch-mates prepped behind you, waiting for you to crack the walnut and let them at the meat.

There is fear and anxiety in that, but it is a type of fear I find easy to deal with.

This is not the same. It's low-grade, syrupy, and gnarled. A constant background noise instead of a momentary thunder in the pulse. Not life-threatening, the outcome can improve my life and situation.

Failure means I must go through it again.

Success means I will have to go through similar experiences again, but I will have been through that door before...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Muh brain urts

Tonight was fidget central, causing me to think on what I'd like to do:

I'd like go to these people's place of business and natter on in their ear while they try and get shit done.

I'd like to send juddering waves through their seat with a jackhammering knee while they try and roll their joint.

I'd like to thunder on pots and pans while they try to put baby to sleep.

I'd like to suck my teeth and mutter under my breath while they do their day-to-day.

I'd like to ride the bus, sitting far too close to them after a ten day bender in the wilderness with no soap.

I'd like them to repeat themselves for me, not becuase I can't hear, but because I'm special, and they should know that!

I'd like to smack some sense into them. Not gently, but like only an angry mom can smack. You know what I'm talking about: that smack that tells you exactly how fucking stupid you are.

I can't do any of what I'd like to do, so I vent here...

Oh, and I turned in my first bit of paid writing. I am told the check is in the mail. I've already been asked to do another project, and am waiting on the contract.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hey Buddy, Did You Just See a Real Bright Light?

Terminator is on MGM tonight, and I had to ask myself, and you, the hordes of mighty readers, "Is Bill Paxton in every science fiction or action movie of the eighties?"

Notable quotes:

As the punk leader, "Hey man, must be laundry day"
Chet the booger demon, "Cover yourself, for God sake!"
The Marine commenting on whether someone knows, "We just got our asses kicked."
As an intercept officer, "Sir, they're talkin'"
As a cop wearing a less than subtle suit, "Hey man, subtle is my middle name!"

In other news:

My buddy Tom from my Peoria High School days is here (Well sort of, he went out today to pursue a lady). We've had a good time. I didn't get too drunk on New Years. I even made it home before 0100 and got up at 0900. Tom did get a bit more destroyed than I, but then he's entitled, having returned from Afghanistan only a few short months ago and not having been in one place long enough to really decompress.

I've been working on my first paid writing gig over the last week, and just had the work accepted by the guy who commissioned the work. I'll have a conference call with him tomorrow to discuss any issues and some further projects he wants me to tackle. I find myself incredibly excited. Even though the work will be published in small print and PDF only, at that. It is a paid writing credit, and a good thing.

Overall, 2010 is starting nice, real nice.