Thursday, July 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad

Hey Dad,

So this is the first one with you gone. No, I'm not going to get all weepy. But, it is your birthday.

Lot's been happening. The house is getting painted. They reached my old room today. Three pink walls and one blue. And that was before the painters got in there.

The room was totally pink when we moved in, but you finally got out a can of blue paint and did make that one wall more fitting for a boy.

You never got around to painting the other three walls. Not in the 26 years since we moved in. The painters have just a base coat down, but the room will finally have its makeover.

Seeing that first coating on that lone blue wall... things really have changed.

And yeah, that means the paintings I did on that wall are vanishing too. I remember the hours spent sketching and then painting those characters and you never gave me grief about marking up the wall.

I was always sketching and scribbling, but you never told me to stop. You did say no to me going to that cartooning school. You just wanted to make sure I could feed myself when I grew up.

We'll put the house on the market after the work is done. Mom will likely move to Virginia. She'll get to see the Josh and Justin all the time.

Not sure what we'll do with Pepper and Paulie. They're older dogs, not easy to get them into new homes. Pepper is still the boss and Paulie runs around like crazy. But he gets tired after a while and finds a nice corner to flop down.

There's a lot to get done yet and I get tired too. You always had that do-it-yourself mentality... unfortunately you didn't always finish everything you started. Like painting my bedroom. Or fixing the plumbing. Or restoring your old cars.

You don't have to worry about those things now. I've got it covered. Happy birthday.

P.S. Mom just found the mess you left under the bed. Guess who gets to clean it up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Noah would pray for a bigger boat...

So here is the new prologue to get folks into the story. Still fiddling with it but I am jumping to the later chapters right now:


Noah would pray for a bigger boat in that storm. Yet dry as summer linen, Thania pushed her way inside her supervisor’s pinkish stucco-molded house.

              “How did you–You drove through this?” Kalvin asked, rain from the open doorway spraying his paunchy cheeks. Outside, the street frothed into a river churned by the windy downpour.

              “Where’s your car? Did you ride here on the back of a manatee?” brow wrinkling as he asked. She belonged 200 miles away on Merritt Island marking up mathematical models on a whiteboard, not leaning on his doorbell at 2 a.m. in Coral Gables.

              “Looks as bad as Hurricane Ezekiel out there. Hey, wipe your feet before you stain the floor. C’mon, it’s Hawaiian koa!”

              Her shoes tapped along the hardwood floors in clear notes, not even a drop of rain squeaked beneath her soles. Thunder pounded against the roof in bellowing displeasure.

              “How do you sleep, Kal?” she asked, turning around to face him. Furrows of worry too deep for a twenty-two year-old woman hardened upon her brow. She combed back her long bronze ripples of hair to unleash a gaze cruelly cold for her warm green eyes.

              “Sleep? Not likely after you called,” he said, taking a slow look at her. “When you said, ‘I come with the thunder’, I hoped it was a proposition.”

              “Step outside and see if the storm can give you a rise. Your conscience apparently doesn’t get it up for you.”

              She marched into the darkened sunroom; splashes of lightning limned her in bright blue as she passed the window. Eighteen months since their first meeting, she stood taller than he remembered with her arms crossed in anticipation.

              “I’m always up,” he said, unsure what to make of her. She couldn’t know, could she? It was far too soon. “I’ve got salt and vinegar in my veins.”

              The black pantsuit hewed trimly to her figure. She had abandoned her cardigans and sneakers that night. Hair swayed down her back in a flowing torrent rather than pinned up. Was she wearing contacts? She watched each breath he took. Her eyes focused like blue-green opals brightly awake and uncompromising. No pretty words perched on her lips.

              “I know the fractals are tedious, but we can’t afford any mistakes,” he said, her steady stare peeled the cheer from his skin. “Launching rockets is child’s play compared to this. I’m mildly impressed with your work so far. Mildly. But let’s see what the morning brings.”

              “Do your toes curl in excitement when Wincott hisses softly in your ear?”

              “Whoa, where’s this coming from?”

              “What did he promise after you pulled the tail from his mouth?”

              “You’re stressed. I get it. Ease down, okay? I can ask Jimenez to cover–”

              “It’s harvest time, right? Taking the next bus up to Hapsburg?”

              “We can’t work with you like this. Babbling nonsense.”

              “You don’t need a math wiz. You need a damn saint to forgive you.”

              “Is that so?” He walked slowly to a side table beneath the window. The keys to the top drawer seemed to fly to his fingers as he spoke over his shoulder. He reached inside. “Let’s talk this out. Have a drink?”

              “Don’t handle me, Kal. I hate being handled.”

              “I suppose you do. We all chafe against our collars.”

              He spun around from the drawer, firing a pistol four times.

              She blinked before the slugs almost gouged her skin.


              The bullets flared white-hot then imploded harmlessly into shadowed wisps.

              “I’ve seen the Man with Two Boxes,” she said, languidly drawing her own long-barreled revolver on him. “He showed me what’s inside. Care for a look?”

              Kalvin fired a fusillade, pale fists gripping the pistol.

              The bullets burst around her in a smoky halo. Thania thumbed back the revolver’s hammer. She aimed and then whispered.


              The shot exploded through his rain-washed cheek.



Monday, July 13, 2009

Police say wife strangled Gatti with a purse - : Top Sports Headlines

This is just an accusation at this time. We let courts decide innocence or guilt

Police say wife strangled Gatti with a purse - : Top Sports Headlines

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I'm not out to comment on the death itself, but do have something to say about the tension between the two.

Some say you are supposed to fight in relationships, work through your troubles. OK but when you resort to pushing or anything physical... when you say insulting things at each other... I will follow-up later and flesh out my thoughts on this.


And I'm back...

From an admittedly limited point of view of this case, we see points of disrespect going on in this situation. Arguments over the clothes the wife wore, the reports of mutual jealousy, hitting, etc. ... there was a lot happening over personality and attitude.

Some folks can be intense in their emotions, good and bad. But that's no excuse. Some people say they are "just being honest/blunt." Still no excuse.

In my experience, people who say "I'm just being honest" are actually looking to justify saying something rude and even misguided. You can get your message across without being flippant or demeaning. Be firm, but don't start insulting each other.

And if being firm doesn't work, maybe it's because the person just isn't listening to you anymore. That is a whole other problem.

They have yet to reveal all the details on this case. More will come out in time.

But let me say this: When you get rude with your partner, it can start an escalation that over time is hard to recover from. Battle lines get drawn and each side will be waiting for the next salvo to be fired.

I've faced a fair share of insults. Even had someone scream "Don't you know who I am?" in my face after I stuck up for myself (without getting nasty). I didn't want to get into an "arms race" with insults. But I admit that later some time later, I did let myself become belligerent. Really, where does that end up? It never turns out pretty.

Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away