July 30, 2008

Growing Pains

"One in each leg will look cool!"
the arm wound
The sponge bob sticker he got for living through it all

Today I was Afforded the distinct pleasure of accompanying my four year old to the Doctors office to get his shots before he begins pre-k. We spoke to the nurse about paperwork, they took his blood pressure, measured his height and weighed him. He comes in at three feet six inches tall and 38 pounds... Then we went into the examination room to await the nurse practitioner. She came in with a whirl wind of gum smacking and trying to tell me all about my kid. I let her go on because I knew that we were there for a specific reason... shots. When she was done riding the charming train and realized that I wasn't traveling along with her she got down to business. I learned that he had to have three shots to get his records current. He was nervous but still doing fine. The practitioner then fetched the nurse that was going to administer the shots, she came in and introduced herself, and we followed her to the back room for the torture to begin. He wanted to sit in my lap while he got the shots and we were told that would be fine. I reached out and lightly pinched his arm and said, "It will feel about like this" He smiled a nervous grin at me and said, "That's ok dad". She let him choose the spots, he wanted one in each leg and one in the arm.. he said it would look cool...
The nurse wanted me to hold his arms and wrap my leg over his legs to help hold him in place. Then the look of panic set in... She squeezed his arm and stuck him good... That child let out a primal scream that was deafening, he decided then and there that I was the biggest asshole in the state and that the nurse had been sent here straight from the darkest pit of hell to torture him. He was not having any more... Try as we may, he twisted, screamed, fought, cried, and slung his limbs in every direction. We managed to get in the second shot, but gave up after that and stood in the middle of the room panting and mopping our brows... He was stomping around telling us that he wasn't getting another shot. When we had recovered I told him that he only had one more to go, the nurse said that we might have to lay him on the table... I let him choose, he wanted no tables involved, so we resumed positions, the second she started toward him he began the screaming dance of death again, at that moment I hopped up and took him into the other room and sat him on the table, telling him that we had to do it in here. He didn't want to lay down, so he sat up and we finally made it through the ordeal... The very second she applied the cotton ball and band aid he jumped down and announced he wanted to go back to the waiting room to play with the toys.. When I rounded the corner to the "business window" all the nurses were looking at me with droopy sad eyes...I looked up, haggard and disheveled, and smiled a bit... "Did you guys hear all that?" they all nodded in the affirmative... "Well... that was me... he did fine" They all laughed a bit.. Meanwhile, the four year old was happily building a Lego tower in the waiting room... When i came out to get him, he stood up in the middle of the waiting room and announced for all to hear that, as he pinched his arm, "You said it would hurt like this" he then squeezed his arm harder and said, "But it really hurt like this... I don't like you dad!" The people all started snickering and I told him I was sorry... I know that this is all part of the pay back arrangement my parents set in place... I just know it is...

July 28, 2008

Primal rage revisited

As a preteen run a muck with hormones and testosterone I found my way to the writings of Robert Howard. I carried a copy of Conan around with me for an entire school year, although it was a copy of the novel done from the script of the movie Conan the Barbarian it still filled my head at every available moment of free time during a most trying year in early high school. Who am I kidding, all the years in school were trying. When I finally moved on to the actual writings of Howard I had been through most of the other authors who penned his adventures, but there was just nothing like the original.
One of my friends had a ton of Conan books and gave them all to me one night. I was grateful to say the least. I spent several nights ripping through these books like a starving Ethiopian at a standard American Thanksgiving meal.... Then one day he showed up at my home, after a few years absence, and wanted to know if I still had the books. I took him into the den and showed him they were all in tact, ready for reading. He informed me that he was going through some sort of mid life crisis and wanted to know if he could have them back. I understood the nostalgic pull and simply couldn't refuse. He did give me quite a bit of redemption in the form of gift cards for a local book store. I didn't think too much about this for several more years......
This past birthday I was asked if there was anything in particular I would like from my kids. Out of nowhere came, "Conan the Cimmerian" by Robert Howard... Sure enough the evening of my birthday rolled around and I was presented with a very nice edition of the book handed to me by my four year old.... Being that I have the luck of Charlie Brown at Halloween, I was then informed that the tub wasn't draining... happy birthday dad!! After a long looking over, I discovered that the plunger mechanism that blocks the drain had broken so I fixed it. Amazingly enough I did it without getting my wife to handle it or calling on a little drunken Irishman to lead the way. When the sweaty task of ripping into the wall, finding and deciphering the plumbing, taking it all apart, getting to the broken piece and removing it was finished I settled in with the new chocolate covered Conan book, I did say my four year old handed it to me. Twenty five years had passed since my last reading so I wasn't really expecting much but I pressed on.
To my complete amazement I thoroughly enjoyed it. This go around what I liked about the character was pretty straight forward. Where as twenty five years ago I loved the pulp and gore, now I found myself enraptured by his disdain for useless people and mindless authority. His solutions are savagely simple to say the least and it takes no time at all to get through the books, a literary Jerry Springer as it were, no offense to the dearly departed's talent, I could never write that well, as you know... I just like the idea that when a threat appears you drop all pretense and go for the throat, literally in most of the stories. When Conan looks at a problem he sees it for what it is and begins to hack it apart until its gone. This ranks right up there with the "I just won the lottery" drive home or lay in the bed and stare out the window day dream. Think about it... there you are in line at the kwickie mart and the human stain in front of you is buying lottery tickets to the tune of, "Gimme six number fours, three number eights, two powerball quick picks..." then you step to the side... You take a deep breath and begin with, "Stand down slime covered foulness from the depths of the nine hells! May Crom show you little mercy when I slay thee for thy idleness and rudeness in keeping the line from moving!" Then you proceed to slash at all vital points of anatomy, filling with the lust of battle until none are left standing... You slowly drop your dollar fifty for the peach slushy in the blood dripping till and walk out with no remorse, no worry or thought of security surveillance or any lingering feelings of guilt. Sure there is always the danger of running across the better slayer, but your mind is clear and conscience clean, you are prepared to stand before your god and hold your head high knowing that you acted in a just manner. Damn, this would make going the mall a lot more fun than it really is....

July 26, 2008

A true Southern Gentleman

This is reposted at the request of a dear friend.....

On Monday February 11th 2008 my father, Delmos M. Perry passed away. He had been diagnosed with cancer and had taken his 2nd round of chemotherapy the week before, the strain on his health was simply more than he could take.
If there ever was a text book example of a Southern Gentleman, it was my Dad. Always ready with a story of his childhood to delight a guest or an opinion of current events to spark a debate or discussion that could last for hours or even days… he was always the consummate host. He made sure that everyone was comfortable, well cared for, and lacked for nothing. I think that the driving force behind this was love, and love he did. He was truly larger than life.
I didn't really get to know him until I began to work with him, before this I knew his moods and personality, but not the man, for that experience I will be forever grateful. He was hard, but fair, always fair. I said this to my Mother the other day and her reply was "He always simply wanted for you to be happy, not with material goods, but with life in total." I hope that he realizes that I am happy, a beautiful wife, two good sons and friends that have really been there for me in the last week.
I will always miss his smile, quick wit, and genuine concern for the well being of those around him. Over the last few years I have been fortunate to live next door to him, there have been times that I have stepped out onto my porch late at night, or strolled up the driveway a little and noticed him sitting on the patio playing cards. On a few of the occasions I walked over and sat with him for a while, sometimes for ten minutes, sometimes two hours. I said to him once as I sat down in the chair across the table from him, "Give me some life advice Dad." He put his cards down, sat back in his chair, looked up thoughtfully toward the sky and said "Chase as many women as you can, even if you don't want to catch them, buy all the property you can get your hands on, and don't take any shit from anybody."
There are a multitude of words and phrases that will forever be linked to him in my mind: boggle butt, hoss, s.o.s. pads, I swanny(southern for I swear), gone to chicago, are you deaf boy(pronounced deef), the sound of Dixie being whistled, we'll all be killed, come here you good looking thing, the sound of change and keys being jingled in a pocket…. I could go on for a while. But the one thing that has really had a profound affect on me is the deep sense of loss and a void that I can't imagine ever being filled again, pain like I've never felt. I will always love you Dad.

Weekend trip

I was sixteen and had sculpted a few things and put them in a show at high school. Some of the work was chosen to go to the Savannah College of Art and Design, in, of course, Savannah Georgia. Members of the Art club were going down to visit the college, participate in some classes, and attend the show that was featuring work from various high school students around the country. I had not planned on going on the trip since I wasn't a member of the club, but one of the teachers approached me the Friday they were to leave and started trying to get me to go since I had pieces in the show. I thought about it and decided to give it a whirl. As I had made no arrangements I began to plan out the rest of the day. I had the most useless class in educational history that year, sixth period study hall. I had not attended the class all year, spending those hours working on various projects in the art dungeon. It was the last period of the day... I mean who in their right mind would bother to show up to sit in the cafeteria for an hour before you go home? I had my mind set that I would leave school after fifth period, go home and pack, and be back at the school by 4:30, the assigned time of departure, a simple, reasonable plan by any standards. I had never signed out of school early before, I always just left when I wanted to. The teacher in charge of the trip was going to have no part of this and demanded that I do everything by the book. (her ass was on the line since she was responsible for 10 - 15 kids, so I understood)
Off I went to the office at the appointed time to be a good minion and do as I was told. When I entered the office I told the head bureaucrat what I was doing and she began to recite the handbook to me... "In order for you to attend an extracurricular activity, you must put in a full days attendance the day prior to said activity" So I began to earnestly explain the situation, and the fact that all I was going to miss was study hall. The she devil was having no part of it. She spoke over me constantly... I maintained my composure and began again each time from the place she interrupted me. She had far too much authority and was so important to the functionality of this particular educational consortium that she was determined to make me follow the rules to the letter, less the entire system come crashing to a halt. With twenty five years of real life experience since that moment I now label this syndrome as either "justifying your position by sly use of pure bullshit" or more commonly "stupid arrogance laced with massive self importance." In other words, she was a useless meat sack. As we all know meat sacks permeate this world on all levels, they always show up at the most inopportune moments and tend to make our existence a bit harder so they can feel good about themselves while maintaining absolute control over their lives by exhibiting a false sense of control over our lives. Most times its best to just ignore them and let them exist in their piles of pitiful lies because they actually come to believe that their versions of reality are actually, well, real... and that scares me. Other times it becomes necessary to simply step on them and put them out of your misery... She finally called out the assistant Principal to slice me to pieces, the woman actually had a look of triumphant indignation on her face as she crossed her arms and waited for the final authority to enter the battle of wills...
He came out of his office followed by a cloud of cigarette smoke and yelped his arrival, standing directly behind the acid tongued she devil, who sat on her throne of control. The spider witch glared her look of devastating power over me as her enforcer began to recite the same passages from the handbook she had just thrown down as a challenge to my brazen effrontery. I was demolished and would go to the table in the cafeteria to wait my hour; her absolute control of this building would remain in tact. The end of my world was upon me, and she had brought it down with her mighty boobs of justice..... I really hate people who overestimate their importance in the world. I mean let's face it... most people's opinions and guidelines who reside in self appointed middle management in corporate or social America really mean very little to those of us who actually have something to do.
Unknown to my self appointed overlord, as Mr. final word was parroting the official stance for tugboat's benefit he was giving me the nod and hand motions to just take off and keep quiet about it. I made a mental note to thank him at church next Sunday...
I steamed and cussed all the way home about people who thought they had control over me, packed my stuff and headed back to school, stopping by my mother's office to inform her of my absence for the weekend. I had never been to Savannah and was looking forward to the trip, the teacher in charge had some tourist info and I spent the ungodly ride down there (if you've ever made the ride from Macon to Savannah you know what utter desolation lies between the two cities, although the bathrooms at the Dublin exit are very clean) reading up on the history and mysticism of the place. I became curious. My only knowledge of the place was several stories of past school trips classmates had been on. My favorite of these was the one where Eric was taking a group picture of all the girls that went on the trip... He kept getting them to "take a couple more steps this way".. It wasn't until they got the pictures back that the teachers realized that he was positioning them under a sign that read "two for a dollar"... classic... What followed was a spectacle of illicit substances, under aged drinking, naked bodies, hung over workshops and a hot dazed multiple hour ride home with agitating sunburn. In other words, a typical trip to Savannah. Yet the seed was planted in my psyche. The city was in my blood and will forever have a home there. Indeed, when I make the turn from the Islands expressway onto US eighty toward Tybee, the windows always go down so the horrible smell of the salt marsh is allowed to free flow over my person, I breath it in deep and feel as if I am at last at home. The pre civil war slave embedded voodoo and humid eroticism of that city could turn even the most straight laced among us into a sweat covered whore determined to experience every vice known to human kind within the span of a single weekend. The history there is as alive as the very salt marshes that have laid claim to my soul. I was fortunate enough, years later, to go on a tour given by an extraordinary gentleman that drove a carriage, it was unofficial and lasted all day. He told me about things that you couldn't find written in most places, like the unmarked spot on River Street that the city will never develop, letting it stand untouched as a silent reminder... It was the spot of the slave block, where people were taken off ships from the river, only yards away and made to stand while they were sold into bondage. I've stood on that spot and watched people go in and out of tourist shops and actually felt the fear and uncertainty of thousands that stood there over a hundred fifty years ago. I have been afforded the privilege of traversing the tunnel that was used to send people who had been kidnapped into lives of harsh labor when they awakened aboard a ship at sea only to realize what had happened when it was too late. I have sat in the room where Edward Teach used to get drunk and bed whores before he returned to terrorize the Caribbean. I've gotten to lay down on a couch where Sherman napped after burning and raping his way across this state. I have eaten food prepared in ways that are long forgotten and will make you really know what its like to be sated. I have watched countless sunrises from a beach that the very hand of God touched with wisdom and grace. I have sat and talked for hours with a man who makes a living playing a saxophone from his wheel chair, who has seen more in his lifetime than most history professors have read about. I have walked in awe, hand in hand with my family around hallowed ground where blood was spilled defending against an enemy that slaughtered all who stood in their way. I have sat on a balcony and watched an entire fireworks display at such a distance away that the entire show took place in an area no bigger than my thumbnail. I have stood amongst live oaks, hanging with moss at midnight and listened to the dead speak. Not a bad way to spend a weekend at all.
The Monday morning after my first trip there I made damn sure to stop by the office at the high school and hand deliver the coffee mug from the gift shop at the Days Inn on Bay Street to the mountain goat who tried to keep me away from one of the greatest cities on earth.

July 23, 2008

A conversation with my Grandfather

It was late, the night before the fourth of July barbecue, I was sitting on the tailgate of his truck. He came up and sat down next to me saying, "I'm worn to a frazzle" as he took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped his bald head. I asked him if this made him so tired why do it? He looked toward the fire where he burned the hickory to get coals for smoking the meat. There was a huge group of people hanging around listening to my Dad and uncles telling stories about when they were young.
" 'cause they all love it so much and it brings them together."
"But you can see everybody any time." I said. I was only eleven or twelve and existence seemed timeless then.
"You'll get it when you're older."
I asked him if he enjoyed all the work or just did it to get everybody here, he told me that it was a little of both because, "One, you never know when folks ain't gonna be around anymore, and two... you just cain't get good barbecue anywhere." I laughed, but he looked serious.
He told me about how he and my Grandmother walked the property line when they moved over here from "the village" and how he felt like he was doing something good for his family by settling down and trying to get some "real roots" stuck in the ground.
That kind of thing didn't didn't stick with me at the time. He told me about building the house and how he liked working second shift because it gave him the mornings to work around the place and he was at the mill during the heat of the day. I didn't really understand about "shifts" and just nodded my head. Then he went into a long story about going fishing in Florida and how much he enjoyed it. He went on for quite a while about the place they stayed and the type of fish he liked to catch, but I had never heard of a grouper before, and couldn't imagine what it looked like or why you would enjoy "fighting like mad to get it in the boat." He started telling me about some nice fish he caught down at the pond behind his house but they "Weren't fit to eat" so he threw them back.
Somewhere along in there one of my cousins came running by with a huge pack of bottle rockets and I jumped up telling him that I would be back in a minute. He called after me to "Have fun! But don't break nothing, or hit no cars!"
I became enthralled with the fireworks and never made it back to the tailgate. Years later when he was sitting in his wheelchair after having both legs amputated because of diabetes I asked him how he was doing. It's a common question that you ask when you go to visit someone.. he looked up at me and said, "I'm worn to a frazzle." Then he smiled, I sat down on the porch next to him and wound up spending about five hours listening to him as we finished that conversation we had started all those years ago.
I have played that conversation over in my head a million times, I have sat there in my mind and talked with him for several hours at a stretch. The man was full of wisdom. He worked hard and provided for his family with no complaints. He put his faith where he wanted to and was comfortable with what people thought of him. The peace of mind that he carried with him is something that's so elusive it becomes a pain deep in the pit of your soul.
At Christmas time and the Fourth of July I always think of him sitting on the tailgate of the truck talking to me, or him and my Grandmother talking at the same time and volume when you asked them a question. All you could do was just look back and forth between the two and try to keep up, because they were not going to slow down. The day he died I was quiet, I didn't say a word through the entire experience. When I feel overwhelmed I will go out on the porch, sit down in a chair, take a deep breath and say "I'm worn to a frazzle." He shows up every time, now with my Dad, Donald, and Granny.. They just laugh at me and always say, "Boy, you just need to get on with life and don't let things bother you so much." It always makes me smile...

July 22, 2008

The scariest thing that has happened to me to date

Screaming bridge… I had heard about it during high school but paid little attention. The story seemed to come up from time to time in class. South of town there is a bridge that goes over an old railroad bed that sits in a deep ravine. The bridge lays in the beginning of a sharp curve to the left, in the midst of the curve an old house sits on your right. It’s a stately old place left alone for quite a while, looking abandoned by its last residents.
Legend had it that a woman lived in the house and that a train had hit a child under her care across the street from the place a hundred feet or so north of the bridge. The procedure you were to follow was two fold, first you were to stand on the bridge at midnight, look to the north and you could see a ghostly figure come out of the woods, stoop down as if picking something up and move back into the woods. The second part involved going into the house and looking on an old mantelpiece in one of the rooms, if your picture was on the mantel, you were being sought out by the evil spirits that inhabited the house and were, quite simply, marked for death. But, as I said, I paid little attention to it.
One night we had gathered to play a game. Somehow conversation turned to the house and bridge. Eric, it seems, had not only been to the bridge but had also been inside the house. It was one of those moments when eyes shifted from person to person and a decision was made without any verbal communication taking place. We jumped up and began to collect the necessary equipment one needed when going on a ghost hunt, flashlights and a bb gun. Eric filled us in on the layout of the place while we made our way through town. He told us about the house and the times he had been inside, we were beginning to get scared and excited at the same time. He told us about seeing different people’s pictures on the mantel, and how the ghostly figure looked when it moved. Heading south out of town we turned left onto the road where these evils dwelled and made our way up its snaky path for a mile or so, then came to the curve and there it was. We parked the car on the right-hand side of the road just before the bridge railing connected with the ground. I took a minute to let the setting wash over me when I stepped out of the car. It was one of those steamy Georgia nights when you could see the humidity and actually smell the color green, a fine film of moisture developed on your skin as soon as you left the air-conditioned comfort of the car. All manner of night creatures could be heard around us as we stepped onto the span. The construction of the bridge told its age, by any modern standard it would be labeled rickety. We examined the structure and looked in both directions at the railroad bed some thirty feet below us. Randy informed us it was near midnight and we lined up at the rail on the north side of the bridge to begin our surveillance. Eric called out the countdown ‘til midnight as we waited, holding our breath, for something otherworldly to occur. It became evident that nothing was going to happen after fifteen minutes of silence. We laughed and breathing became easier, assuring ourselves that we knew all along nothing was going to happen anyway. You couldn’t help but feel that we were somehow relieved. We looked at the railroad bed and made silly remarks and challenges to whatever ghosts held forth in the area.
When the bravado died down a bit the inevitable discussion started. Should we or should we not take a stab at the house… I, personally, was up for a trip to waffle house to enjoy a bowl of Bert’s chili, or perhaps a nice greasy plate of steak and eggs. Eric seemed all up for the adventure, Randy was game, my brother seemed noncommittal and I was along for the ride, admittedly I did want to go in, but was afraid of the legal ramifications of our actions. Eric decided our fate as he walked toward the house, we silently fell in lock step behind him and I got my first good look at the place as we broke through the brush at the edge of the road. It was a two-story affair with a wide front porch. Painted white, though a bit moldy and graying, it seemed a miniature version of a classic antebellum plantation house. We stood silently staring at it until Eric moved forward. I was the last in line and got a little nervous watching the wisps of fog rising from the grass envelope the three people in front of me. We reached the front porch and crossed it toward the door, various creaks sounded as we made our way. We all looked at the doorknob as Eric reached for it… it was locked. We then made our way around the left side of the house toward the back. The smell of slight decay and wet earth permeated my senses as we walked up the back steps and entered the screened in porch we found there. The back door stood slightly ajar and opened with some prodding from Eric. We had entered the kitchen. There was a smell of wet plaster and neglect hanging in the air. Some of the cabinets still contained cans of food. Making our way to the left we entered a hallway that seemed to run the length of the house, to our right was a bathroom, to our left was the front door at the end of the hall. Two rooms were off the left side and one on the right, toward the front of the house. In the bathroom there was a claw foot tub and toilet sitting up on a pedestal, the toilet had the same blackened interior you always see in horror movies. We faced the front door. A set of steps was to our left, so we headed up stairs first. On the landing it was clear that you couldn’t get to any of the rooms up there because there were hundreds of lidless mason jars set all around completely covering the floor. Finding this disturbingly strange we made our way back down and into the two rooms on the left hand side of the hallway. In the room closest to the front door we found the famed mantelpiece. There were indeed pictures of people sitting on top of it. Some of the people we knew from school. We determined that these were left as jokes since most of them were wallet sized school pictures just propped against the wall. Everywhere there was an inch of dust and the decaying smell you usually find in mausoleums. We then made our way across the hall to examine the last room in the house; Eric unlocked the front door and peered out as we went by. When you entered the front door it would be the first room to your left that we wound up in last. There was a rug on the floor, too thick with dust to make out any pattern, a pipe extending from the wall facing the door, where a heater of some sort was once attached, and a richly carved thick table sitting to our left in the corner. Eric headed toward the window across the room; I headed to the table. Further examination showed it to be a piano; on top of it were several opened letters. I picked one up and began to peruse it; I said, “listen to this” and began to read the letter out loud in a normal tone and volume. Randy and my brother were standing directly behind me, one on one shoulder one on the other as I held up the flashlight to read the letter. The letter was written from a daughter to a mother, thanking her for letting her children have an extended visit with their grandmother. As I continued to read, Randy and my brother began a whispered conversation and moved even closer to me. After a couple of minutes their close proximity and increasing volume began to annoy me. I turned around with the intention of saying – “Would you guys move back and be quiet!”… All I got out was “wo…” They were both standing on the other side of the room from me!!!! Their flashlights pointed in each others faces, a look of complete terror stricken across each one. Eric was still by the window; we looked back and forth with comprehension dawning on us that we were not making the sounds we heard. Imagine a person whispering, unintelligible, growing louder by the second, the sound seemed to be coming from everywhere at once, no definable source. Randy and my brother both ran for the front door, quickly followed by Eric, I wasn’t going to run, I wanted to find out what it was… but my body began to move of its own accord…. And I wound up being only half a step behind the rest. We stood in the front yard breathing hard and cussing loudly, wondering what in the hell that was. We went back to the house once, months later, with another friend after telling him about the experience. But on that trip the only untoward thing to happen was the policeman that came around and had us sit in his car as he checked the place for damage, informing us that “If anything gets broken around here in the future, we will be coming for you guys first!”….
I have seen and heard many strange things before and since that night, but to date that is the only thing that I can not put a sensible explanation to.

July 20, 2008

We should never forget this.

July 19, 2008

Quiet time

Saturday morning and everyone is on the weekly supply run to walmart. In some ways I envy my wife's ability to handle the air in that accursed place. I simply can't breath when I'm in there, the smell and feel of the chinese retail god makes it seem like I'm in some sort of twisted version of Logan's Run. Do you really need a monitor every ten feet to remind you of what it is that you should be buying. She hates it too, but it's the cheapest place around to buy food.
Friday nights are movie nights when each person gets a turn to pick a movie that they would like to watch. Last night my son picked Conan... Needless to say half way through the movie, my wife was on this devil devised computer, one son was taking a bath, and the other one was making sport of the dogs via grenade practice with anything small enough to throw, yet with enough mass to cause damage. I was alternating between carving a stick and playing a hand held tetris game, while bothering my wife about what she was doing on line.
The supply run will take a couple of hours, it's the time for perfunctory duties about the place to be done - dishes washed, floors swept etc. Yet here I am on the satan feed while Ben Stein drones on in the background about where to place your money. Regardless of his investment prowess, all I can hear is him calling for Ferris.
When the supplies are off loaded and put away it will be time to begin tackling the set up of the wooden swing set that we have piled in the yard. I have a five pound bag of nuts and bolts, a four foot high pile of lumber and no instructions; sure to be a smooth operation.
There was to be a service call from the isp drones this morning but they called to inform us that the connection from and to hell was up and running at a good rate; which baffles us since they were adamantly holding on to the position that the reason the connection was so sporadic was a mystery application that we were running on the computer that was blocking the feed. Strange how these things can fix themselves when the power to said unit is off... But we faithfully tried it again, as good little subservient minions should, and what do you know... I felt it necessary to call them to find out why this was so and was informed that the connectivity was low due to updates in the area... "How is it possible that the last 77 minute call we had gone through we were told that it was our machine causing the problem, yet now, it was an update issue?" Then the question came... "Who told you that?"... "Some guy named Bob from india" enough said... They actually told me not to listen to customer service from overseas, now that instills confidence in a company's ability to take care of the customer doesn't it? Be sure to have plenty of ky lube on hand when you call them....
Now the background feed is having trapper from MASH telling me that eight dollar a gallon gas is coming because owl gore is trying to make sure that we have all of our electricity powered by the wind and sun within ten years... When was it exactly that this society as a whole fell into an episode of Gilligan's Island? Think about it, we have Alfred E Newman as President and comedy stars telling us about financial investments and energy policies... just damn.
The dogs began the ubiquitous barking an hour or so ago so I had to leave the computer in order to check for mexican gas rustlers and was met at the door by... yep you guessed it... an isp drone... He was here to "repair our internet connection" so I informed him of the latest developments and told him that we canceled the call when the automated system called us to check the status. He shook his head, looked around and wound up buying a cane I carved for fifty bucks... good, now I can get almost a full tank of gas... We talked about his employer, wood carving, polished off the rest of the breakfast leftovers, he checked everything out just to justify his time, then we ended the "service call" by enveloping ourselves in aromatic clouds of cigar smoke while discussing the usefullness of kawasaki mules. He was a nice guy, he gave me his cell number to contact him directly when we have our next issue, and you know we will. It's always good to have a contact thats willing to bypass company directives and work for cash. So I must be off to get the place cleaned before the supplies begin to roll in...

July 18, 2008

Another Friday night (be warned, its gross)

It was all Randy’s fault. Way back when, about twenty-five years ago, there was no garbage service in the outlying county areas. What you did was collect the garbage around your house and “take it off” to one of many dumpster sites around. The closest one to us was about three miles away on Witcher Road. There were two or three huge dumpsters that were just dropped on the side of the road with a small gravel area around them for parking. There were no limits as to what you could put in them… furniture, household garbage, you name it. One night Randy was hanging out with us and asked us if we had ever been rat killing…. We had no idea what he was talking about. He then explained that you took a bb gun to the dumpster and waited for a rat to run from the dumpster up the embankment and try to get back in its hole. The competition was to see who could get more with their bb gun.
It’s sick, twisted and very disgusting, but hey.. When you are sixteen and full of raging testosterone it sounds twisted enough to be fun… We piled into Randy’s car loaded with all manner of weaponry and headed off into the night in search of rat trophies. He parked the car just right, with the headlights shinning on the space between the dumpster and the embankment. He jumped out of the car and started shooting at rats that were scurrying away. We had never really been to the dumpster at night. We had seen the rat holes in the dirt near the top of the embankment but just never paid attention. I had no idea there were that many rodents alive let alone all in one place. They settled down after a few minutes while we walked around to try to find the ones we got, no, you didn’t pick them up. Except for that one that found its way into that mailbox… but that’s fodder for another post… (“Someone put a field mouse in our mail box” field mouse my ass, it was a four pound disease ridden dumpster overlord, picked up with an empty pizza box)…
We were stalking around looking for the dead ones, bb guns shouldered at the ready; a wary eye on the rat holes. Randy waited until we were between the dumpster and the embankment, he was safely on the other side, and began to bang on the side of the dumpster. What followed was a ten minute literal flood of rats that came pouring out and ran right toward us, some people ran, some people froze in place, I started swinging the bb gun in fear for my life… they were running up our legs, jumping all over the place. There is nothing quite like seeing the air full of flying dumpster rats. When calm finally returned to the scene Randy was laughing his ass off, I was standing white knuckled and breathing hard, the car was full of wide eyed teenage boys staring over the dash board, my brother was white faced, not moving and shaking slightly…Randy knew what he was doing… The swinging bb gun move did give birth to the use of a hickory axe handle in place of the bb gun. We traveled around for a while after that with various “rat sticks” in the car.
Over the next few months we treated selected individuals to the experience, always starting the same way. “You stand right here and we’ll go over here to get them started…” I still can’t believe Troy made it from the ground to the dumpster top in one leap… “Man that was not cool” was his response, but he was laughing as hard as any of us.
If I had to classify this disgusting behavior I would place it in the right of passage category of teen boys, like knocking down mail boxes or cutting down a tree with an axe. Albeit not many people have participated in this activity outside of various third world nations.
Years later when I was moving out after getting married my wife looked at the red tinged, crusty axe handle propped in the corner of my closet and asked “What is that?” I smiled to myself and quietly replied ”Rat stick.” Being new to the area, having just moved to Georgia from Illinois she backed away from the bags we were putting clothes in and looked around warily…

July 16, 2008

I don't like the internet

Yep, I did it. I set up a myspace web page a couple of weeks ago. Dear God. I had a facebook page for a while, but dropped it a few months ago because of the silliness of the applications and the shameless self-promotion. A friend of mine told me that a band we liked in the eighties had made him a “friend” and I was shocked that they were still around. He seemed fairly proud to have been befriended by the band so I went to check the page out; they have over 680,000 “friends” I’m sure they would recognize the guy in the street as an acquaintance.
Since setting up the page my email has been flooded with friend requests from accounts being represented by pictures of scantily clad whores. The software is fairly easy to circumnavigate, yet cumbersome as hell because of the amount of advertisements and pure b.s. that comes up on each screen. It seems that you must use the correct combination of browsers, the moon must be in the right phase and you must hold your mouth a certain way to get everything to work correctly and load properly. I wonder if “owl” Gore envisioned the internet he created as being used to promote people and their interests by posting “cool” out of focused pictures with catchy phrases designed to entice me to click on them in an attempt to call them a friend… only to be turned down because I myself am not that cool.
I have found a couple of people on there that I haven’t spoken to for quite a while, so that’s been interesting. I had to tweak on the settings to stop the flood of email from the whores, who I am sure are interested in my looks or political views and not my wallet, its almost as bad as classmates…. Here are all the people that you wanted to catch up with right here! You simply must pay homage to us by giving us a few measly dollars so that you can speak with them…. All I have to do is update to the benevolence of “gold” status..
I haven’t been able to load pictures on the page, it just sits there, I haven’t been able to access quite a bit of crap on the site, it just sits there. I have, so far, been admonished for using the “F” word on my page and told I don’t have enough friends. I have only had anywhere from three to five friends at any given time in my life why should on line be any different?
I listen to people talk about what they do on the internet and most of it seems silly. I will not purchase anything on line; I will not sell anything on line; I will not seek out romance on line… my wife wouldn’t like that… Thus far I have used it to express a few thoughts here, keep up on current news and read what others have to say about different subjects, and look at the odd naked person
As an information retrieval system it seems to work well, but as a working tool… I have my doubts. I have no interest in watching women eat poop, playing on line games, or watching people trying to become famous by doing silly things on video sites. I don’t send forwards in email or take quizzes or make reservations, so why do I pay fifty bucks a month for a portal to human vice? So I can keep up with what people who hate me have to say? It seems so sometimes....
It becomes a question of human nature. I can find things that I need sometimes; I can converse with people I haven’t seen in a while. I can also keep people I like who live far away informed as to what’s happening.
Those things are good about the information exchange I suppose. But I think it really comes down to folks just wanting not to be alone and getting their ideas skewed a bit by others influence. Things that aren’t that important suddenly start to seem as if they are, that’s what I hate about what the internet has done to me. Even microsoft word dictates that I should capitalize the word internet, not to mention the word microsoft… I have a strong feeling that my relationship with myspace, the internet and indeed computers in general is coming to a hasty conclusion….

July 14, 2008

One Friday night

As you can see by the previous post I found out the other day that a dear friend of mine from high school passed away in 2005. My son Patrick was asking me about some of the things that we had done together. There was one story that was innocuous enough for his fourteen-year-old ears to hear, so I shared it with him.
One night Troy and I were hanging out at my house watching Pink Floyd's The Wall, when the movie was over we began to talk about this guy that was in one of the art classes we had. His name was Greg. Now Greg was as about as straight-laced as you can get. The guy was at church everytime the doors were open and always did exactly what his parents told him to do. Greg had just gotten a job at a grocery store that had opened recently, Piggly Wiggly. As an example of what we then considered the iron thumb of oppressive parents that Greg lived under, he was complaining that day in school that his parents took his paycheck, tithed ten percent to the church, gave him money for gas and put the rest in a savings account for him, we were all aghast. Being 41 now, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. This was one of the first nights Greg was working as a bag boy. So naturally, Troy and I decided that it was imperative for us to go buy some things at the store. We discussed our purchase on the way so that everything would be worked out ahead of time. We stood outside the store until we spotted the lane that Greg was bagging at then entered. We snuck by him so that he wouldn’t see us until it was too late. We browsed through the store until we had all of our items then made our way to the check out. We were behind a lady with multiple carts of food so we had to wait for a long time. Greg saw us in line & smiled, waving recognition, albeit looking slightly nervous. Greg was a nice guy, always pleasant and funny, ready to help out with any problem you may have. But an easy target being that he was so straight, no cussing, drinking, or smoking. We constantly gave him a hard time about it, so he was looking around waiting for whatever it was he was sure we were up to. He would glance up at us, as we stood demurely by with our hands crossed in front of us wearing angelic expressions of innocence, patiently waiting our turn to check out. When the lady in front of us finally left we plopped our purchases up on the counter and the cashier actually made an uproarious snort and spit out some of the drink she had just swilled. Greg’s eyes became panic stricken as he looked around for the cause of the scene; he then glanced down at the counter and began shaking his head while turning beet red. We were buying two of the largest cucumbers in the store along with a pack of condoms and a jar of Vaseline…. Keeping straight faced as we paid for the items and walked out was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, all the while Greg muttering under his breath that he would get us back. I had no idea a person could turn that red. The stares that Troy and I got from the people in the store were priceless. The second we cleared the window we damn near fell over laughing in the parking lot. Of course the purchases didn’t go waste. We promptly lubed up Greg’s door handles on his car with Vaseline and tied off several condom balloons to his radio antenna. When we made it back to my place we sliced up the cucumber and ate it with ranch dressing.
The following Monday in art class we sat, again demurely by, as Greg came in giving us the best stink eye I think I’ve ever gotten. He said that the people at the store were talking about “those funny guys” that came by Friday night all weekend, he kept trying to change the subject, not wanting to admit accidentally that he knew us… mission accomplished

July 11, 2008


Today I learned of the passing of a friend of mine from highschool, Troy Barlow - pictured above with his band Damnage (he's in the center), I had not spoken to him in the last ten years.I did not know that he had died until today, although he passed away on May 27th, 2005. We had a lot of good times together and I will miss him terribly.

July 09, 2008

Just random images

when you're in here at river street sweets, get the pecan pralines & ask for a banana smoothie, the smoothies aren't on the menu, but they will make them & they are perfect....
the chart house for lunch, a blackened mahi mahi sandwich on the balcony...
Aiken's tomb stone, there's no greater place of reflection on the planet.
when in Bonaventure you must sit on the bench, enjoy an adult beverage & watch the shrimp boats. that's the way Aiken wanted it.
mom at christmas
spiderman at four
dad at christmas
jr fireman
river street candy shop, can you say pecan praline?
james waiting at the aquarium
bay st. Savannah
julie's favorite spot in Bonaventure, Corinne Lawton, the face on the sculpture is an actual death mask of the girl... creepy but calming somehow
dad working in his shop
james a few years ago
inlaws, good folks
inlaw clan
it actually snowed once in georgia
i liked this for some reason
me, patrick, several guns & a fax machine i hated
renn fest
for peace & solitude, you cant beat Bonaventure
when i first woke up
it was only $400
they live under our porch

a msg to grandma

July 08, 2008

We keep getting sucked in

In the BBC today:

"The first US shot on Iran would set the United States' vital interests in the world on fire," said Ali Shirazi, an aide to Iran's supreme leader.

"Tel Aviv and the US fleet in the Persian Gulf would be the targets that would be set on fire," he said.

Tehran denies Western claims that it is seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

It has repeatedly rejected demands to halt enriching uranium, which can be used as fuel for power plants or material for weapons if refined to a greater degree.

The European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran in June.

But it has offered a package of incentives to persuade Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

Iran has said it is prepared to negotiate with major world powers, but insisted the talks must address Iran's nuclear rights.

No 'bullying'

Ali Shirazi is a cleric working as representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the naval unit of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards.

His comments come amid reports of possible US or Israeli plans to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.

"The Zionist regime is pressuring White House officials to attack Iran. If they commit such a stupidity, Tel Aviv and US shipping in the Persian Gulf will be Iran's first targets and they will be burned in Iran's crushing response," Mr Shirazi was quoted as saying by Iranian news agencies.

"The Iranian nation will never accept bullying. The Iranian nation is a nation of believers which believes in jihad and martyrdom. No army in the world can confront it," he said.

Last week, the top US military officer said opening up a new front in the Middle East - after Iraq and Afghanistan - would be "extremely stressful" for US forces.

Adm Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was commenting on the likelihood of US or Israeli military action over Iran's nuclear programme.

President George W Bush has maintained that all options are on the table but that military action against Iran will not be his first choice.

I don't want it, but it's coming....

July 03, 2008

Freedom and the Fourth

As we all know July Fourth is the celebration of the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of this nation from England. There was a price to be paid by the people who backed this document, I’m sure we’ve all seen this:
Of the 56 signers, five were captured and tortured by the British. Nine fought in the Revolutionary War and died from their wounds or hardships. A dozen had their homes destroyed. Four had sons that were killed or captured. When Congress moved to Baltimore as the British advanced, John Hancock's infant daughter died from the hardships of the winter trip. William Ellery lost his house and property. Richard Stockton was beaten and jailed, and while in jail, his estate burned. Carter Braxton lost his fortune as well. Thomas McKean served in the Congress without pay, and kept his family in hiding. Heyward, Rutledge and Middleton were captured by the British and jailed for a year. Clymer, Hall, Harrison, Hopkinson and Livingston lost their properties. Thomas Nelson lost his home and died bankrupt. Francis Lewis lost his home and property as well and his wife was jailed for two months. John Hart lost his farm, hid in forests for over a year, and when he returned, found his wife had died and his 13 children disappeared. Seventeen others lost everything they owned. Taken from Cin. Enquirer.
Some of these things are known to be false, some exaggerated and some are true, but you get the picture. There is always a price to pay when you go against the grain of accepted thought. That is what these people did. Throughout the history of this nation we have seen this time and again. Only one third of the people here wanted to push for independence from England. If you read life magazine from world war two you will find that it reads much like the New York Times does these days when referring to the current military actions taking place in the middle east now. There were articles published during that time that say exactly the same thing that people who don’t agree with current policy are saying now. “Too many insurgents” “We will never get out” Do a little research, its actually pretty interesting that the exact phraseology was used in seemingly all opposing stances to any military action this country has been involved in at any time.
To me, this is what makes this country so great, that a genuine theater of ideas can be presented and discussed without fear of political imprisonment or worse. The movements put forward in the recent past are somewhat disheartening because it shows more credence to be given to mob mentality and a grand show than actual ideas. Take into account the recent marches and demonstrations on behalf of illegal aliens that took place in major cities here in the U.S. Other than making a pretty picture for the television what did it accomplish? In reality it made the actual citizens of this nation that pay for the services these people use pretty damn mad. A classic example of shooting off ones foot. While it is true that the last thing that citizens of this country desire to see is the flag of a foreign nation being flown so predominantly in the streets (that we pay to pave) of our own nations cities, it is also true that complaining on line or on radio talk shows does not help. The only way to get anything done is to work within the legal system that exists and was set up for this type of thing. Shouting and yelling in the streets is a tool used by third world nations that govern by polls and force.
Statistically speaking our country is on the downward slide of societies lasting for more than two hundred years. But I cling to the thought that Freedom is an inevitability when you have human beings involved. It is a bloody and painful fight that can not be dropped for an instant, but it will happen in the evolution of human society, unless of course we perish suddenly from a plague or an asteroid.
Freedom. Freedom from tyranny. That to me is what this nation was built on and stands for. Thousands of innocent people died and their bodies are mangled in the foundation that this country is set on. People have been wronged by this nation, murdered by this nation, displaced by this nation, yet in this nation lies the greatest hope for the future of freedom on this planet. Nothing is perfect or ever will be, we all know this to be true. As a people we must learn from the mistakes of the past and move forward as individuals who cherish our freedom. That is the way of hope for our nation, and indeed this society as a whole.
When you are celebrating this weekend keep these things in mind, and be proud that individual freedom still exists in this land.

July 02, 2008

The great 2008 gas caper

It was late, 11:15 or so, when I heard the first noise that caused me to suspect something foul was afoot. Everyone but me had gone to bed; I was carving a piece of wood while listening to a debate from the House of Commons on c-span. My thoughts drifted to some sort of armadilloish malfeasance making its way through the underside of the estate, or ratty trailer to be precise… Then there was the definitive sound of someone sniffing just outside the door. I froze in place. Looking around to locate implements of destruction, my eyes drifted from the carving knife in my hand, to the compound bow on the wall, to the various walking sticks I’ve carved by the door, to the nine shot 380 on the entertainment center. The choice seemed fairly obvious. The biggest problem was getting to the gun without rousing suspicion from whoever it was outside my door. I tried to convince myself that it must be someone coming to visit at a strange hour, but being the most hated and made fun of people in the county narrowed that option down to nil. Then I heard the deciding factor; someone was on the Kawasaki mule that had belonged to my Dad… Without further contemplation I took the gun out of the “safety” pack and stomped to the door, pulling the slide back as I made my way. In the split second I stood before the door I made an executive decision. Buffered by the mounting hatred I now felt for anyone that would attempt to take what doesn’t belong to them (we are all guilty of it in some form or another, but at my age I have no patience for thievery). Stealth wasn’t called for. I kicked the door open and pointed the gun toward the mule. The sight I was faced with was two of our Latino brethren, here legally I’m sure, with one of my five gallon gas cans in hand and a siphoning hose hanging out of the mule. My usual suave demeanor took over at this point…”What the fuck are you doing?” The one with the can threw it in my direction, turned and ran, the other guy just ran. I yelled out “freeze!”… It just came out… Then I fired into the ground; oddly enough they both stopped running. I ran up to them and told them not to move. I didn’t have the phone to call the police. Ok, what do I do now? I asked them if they spoke English, they replied in the affirmative and then I went into a long-winded diatribe about taking things from people that worked for it, I guess my knee jerk reaction was to bore them to death. I asked them repeatedly why they were doing this and the broken English responses were full of “I’m sorry” and “We needed it”. They needed it. Just Damn.
“I suppose I don’t need it, I suppose I just bought it for nothing, I suppose you felt it was alright by me for you to sneak up here in the middle of the night and just get whatever you felt like you made need.”
“No, no, no.”
My disgust at this point forced me to make them get up and walk back to the porch. I told them to sit down, my wife was awake and outside by then asking what was happening. I asked her if she would get the phone and call the police. I then noticed that the can he threw at me was on its side and leaking gas out of it. I told them to give me twenty bucks for the gas. They fumbled around and handed over two tens. Fifteen minutes later the police arrived, I tucked the gun away as they were making their way down the driveway. The police gave the usual speeches about letting them handle things like this and how I could’ve been hurt or worse over gas. They even became surly when I wouldn’t hand over my gun, but they let it go when it became clear I wasn’t going to comply. They took the two guys away after asking them a few questions, by this time I just wanted this over and all of them gone. It was very interesting to me that I got the more severe dressing down...Needless to say I didn’t get very much sleep after all that, if this year gets any better I just may explode.