Thursday, August 31, 2006

21 Days

It has been, or will be this evening 21 days since my last cigarette...sounds like the beginning of a confession-huh? That's 504 hours, 30,240 minutes, 907,200 seconds...etc. Well maybe it is a confession on the eve of my potential death.

Tomorrow I have to get on an airplane--I'm supposed to be heading to Atlanta for DragonCon and I hate flying. It will be hell for about 90 minutes or so of sheer freakin terror for me...on a good day. That in itself is enough to start smoking again but the weather is going to complicate matters with a little hurricane/tropical storm named Ernesto. So this is bound to be interesting. It always seems that when I do work up the gumption to fly--some form of crap like this always arises...must be my luck I guess.

This is why I usually take trains or drive. But every once in a while I have these little attacks of confidence that tell me...You can do it and its no big deal. And they always say...its so much safer to fly. But you know what--there aren't any breakdown lanes up there is there?

I can offer no explanation as to why I hate flying so much. I have flown...I don't know...maybe a hundred times and you would think I would be used to it. But no. I pretty much sit through the flight in terror, palms sweating and in complete control of the armrests. Word of advice-if you ever fly with me--don't touch MY armrests!

I really hate...and I mean REALLY HATE those people that sleep on flights. I know that's not nice but its sooooo true! I have stayed awake for days prior to a long flight so that I too might be able to sleep--but no. I just end up wired even worse.

It will probably take me a day to wind down from the flight but by then I am getting wound up for the return flight--go figure. Side note: Read my short story, Have a Nice Flight!

So I am thinking that I will pack a cigarette with me...if the damn plane goes down, I'll smoke the bastard on the way down...what are they going to do, arrest me? At least I'll die happy:)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Deja Vu or the invasion has begun...

This morning about 530AM I let the dog out and I was standing outside the house sipping a cup of coffee. I glanced up toward the eastern part of the sky and saw this extremely bright green object flash across the sky. Now I have seen many a meteorite in my time and this was huge in comparison. The freaky thing about it was that it looked very similar to an image of have seen before as is seen below:

What's really strange is that image also appears here on the cover.
I know I was very awake at the time and I was chewing some of that lovely nicotine gum so I don't believe this was an hallucination. But if that is not the case--then what was it?
A coincidence then?
A cheap plug for my book?
Or maybe my fiction coming true?
All I know is what I saw and I guess I'll leave it at that.

By the way, the electronic version of the book became available as well today...Coincidence...perhaps. Maybe so but I never knew that the book was going to be released from Fictionwise.
Alien Deception at Fictionwise.

However, I am glad to report that there was no ostrich citing at the same time of this unusual event...that's Emrya...yes spelled it right this time. I saw her later that day...

Friday, August 25, 2006

2 Weeks Plus & Where did that ostrich come from?

Type of blog post: Fun

Well as I mentioned in the last post, there was a rough patch that crept up and I’m glad to announce that it is behind me and hopefully stays that way. Tonight is 15 days smoke free. Feeling kind of good about that and even a little surprised, but of course I still remain cautious.

Now onto some more interesting stuff. Something that cropped up recently in several emails I have recieved is: where did that ostrich come from? It appears in several posts prior to my quitting smoking so it must have an origin rather than just being a product of my nicotine hallucinations.

So placing on my Sherlock Holmes hat(Jeremy Brett…you’re the man)I began the tracing the origin of this mysterious creature. Now I have never had any affiliation in any way shape or form with an ostrich which meant that it had to come from some outside influence. Checking my past readings I discovered what I believe is or I should say who is the culprit. The ostrich appears in a blog entry by Emyra where she makes some ridiculous claim about an ostrich breaking her ankle, which we all know was not true but rather a ruse at hiding the fact that she tripped over a curb in an inebriated state and…well that’s another story. So she started this whole ostrich thingy…so it’s all her fault.

Now of course there will be those that say…well I was the one who wrote about it, but that was after it was in the public its free game at that point. So just deal…

So in honor of the notoriety that the ostrich has attained, I suggest that as a point of honor, after all, I am a gentleman about these things, we name it Emyra after its creator. Now I know that Emyra will balk at such an honor, but it is the least I or we for that matter can do. After all, she could have picked a duck or something.

So Emyra here you go…this bird is for you! (sorry…couldn’t resist the fowl humor).

Addendum to post:
Further justifcation of the naming of the ostrich Emyra has recently come to light:

(1) Emyra is in possession of a stuffed ostrich
(2) Emyra communicates with ostriches...I have recently seen such acts and is even in possession of a video of said act.

What else can be said. I believe the evidence stands on its own two legs... This is killing me...he-he...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Withdrawal Symptoms and the Type A Personality

Caution: There will be some whining in this post I apologize in advance.

After yesterday’s post on how well I was doing, (I even printed out a full scale copy of the ostrich and hung it up) I had a massive withdraw attack last night and today. Here I am on the crescendo of 2 weeks and WHAM…I get handed the slap in the face reminder that’s its far from over. Why?

Of course a majority of it is the physical addiction which includes some side issues that are also becoming quite nagging. Again I thought I was over these but apparently not—I guess I have always been a late bloomer. The newest one is the inability to sleep or at least sleep restfully. The past few days I have been up until 1-2AM and then wake up at 6 or so. This of course is adding to the irritability factor and the littlest thing sets me off. The headaches are worsening but are still manageable. And the answer that keeps plugging away is to have the smoke and everything will be okay. What is surprising though is the weight issue. Instead of gaining which is the traditional result, I keep on losing. I started out this summer at about 168 and weighed myself this AM and was surprised to see I am down to about 153. I don’t get that one unless it deals with the other issue to follow.

I suspect part of the problem is the Type A personality. By type A I refer to those that are control freaks…myself included. We are/want to be/or think that we are in control of everything in our lives. We run our lives in a certain way that reflects this. For example, for me it was spending time in the military which is of course the perfect location for the Type A personality especially if you are an officer. When I retired in 2001, I thought that that part of my life was behind me but it really wasn’t. I loaded myself down with new responsibilities and marched forward and I was still in control—no fate or predetermined destiny was going to intervene or change that—nope!

To the point, this type of personality is extremely volatile when they are not in control. I know that I cannot handle things that do not flow as they should…I need to tame or arrange them in a certain way to manage them. So now—when both the physical and mental aspects of my body are in revolt, I am completely without control and that frankly just sucks. When type A’s find themselves in these situations, and of course this applies to a wide variety of issues dealing with life beyond smoking or similar addictions, we tend to screw things up. I for one am an expert at this. I either clam up completely and just batten down the hatches and isolate (oh I could tell you stories) or I tend to not even bother putting a shoe on my right foot because it will undoubtedly spend most of its time in my mouth. I have mastered the first reaction and am now working on the second.

I have discovered one thing though…it is possible to change or at least keep the type A in check. It’s hard but possible. The mind and its configuration has to be rewired some which of course leads to a new outlook on things. And some of those are scary too—it’s a big leap and the fall is quite menacing. My daughter once said to me that she wishes that she could accomplish as much as I have in my life. My type A answer to that was that was what life was all about—the accomplishments and I would continue to do so until I died. I have begun to rethink that answer to…well maybe that philosophy is okay as long as you don’t ignore the important things that go along with those accomplishments—like living. I’m trying babe...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Rambling Ostrich and Odds and Ends

Special thanks to Bryan J. Prindiville,, for supplying the truly "appropriate" artwork seen here. Now I have proof that I was not hallucinating...either that or Bry and I are drinking out of the same bottle:)

Isn't she cute...hmmm...
I have a feeling that this image may become my new look rather than the usual dark and brooding image I am known for. Heck, I'm going to have to get a T-Shirt made.
Thanks Bry...much appreciated.

Well I am closing in on day 13 and seem to be adjusting to the nicotine deprived state--well sort of, I expect I will be doing the gum for another 10 weeks or so. But on the bright side, the death looks, verbal abuse, and the shaking hands are starting to ease off. My daughter is still alive along with the dog, the birds, the chinchilla and any snarky acquaintances. This last category is really surprising:)

Odds and Ends:

About the story: I must admit I am surprised at the number of responses from folks that like alternate ending number 4. In all honesty it was my least favorite...very interesting. I like to hear more why this ending was so well liked. Maybe even expand it some more.

What's next...well I don't know. I am back to teaching next week with a killer load of 6-7 classes for the semester which will be interesting. Maybe, with some encouragement, I can get another story going:)one with both a short and long answer this time:)

Conventions: DragonCon is the beginning of next month which should be interesting--it always is. Book'em in October, MileHiCon in October, Astronomicon in November and maybe Philcon as well.

On Writing: I am sure there will be one more go around of edits on Book I of the vampire series, Operation Immortal Servitude, which I hope to see this Fall. Then we switch back to the SF Book, Alien Revelations, which is due in the Spring and then I have to finish up second vampire book which is to be released toward the end of next year. So busy...busy...busy which may be a good thing as we wind down an interesting year...

That's it for now. A closing thought: Remember--it is always better to duck rather than to stick your head in the sand. You might miss something. Don't ask...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Alternate Ending 4

Okay...yes there is another ending, isn't there always? But before that a brief update on my deteirorating mental (well status quo there) and physical condition. Still nictoine deprived, still without high speed internet, still on pain meds and now...I have a the semi-ability to do, whats the scientific do the number 2. So for all of you out there who have always claimed that I am full of it...for this one instance you might actually be correct:)

Anyway...on with show:

Alternate Ending 4
(Original Story Lead In):

"So what about the bra?" I asked? "It is physical evidence that proves her existence?"
"It is much more probable," the shrink began, "that you went out and bought it subconsciously as part of your fantasy and somehow managed to block it from your mind. It's the only reasonable and plausible answer."
This seemed to be a sticking point so I thought it best to just agree with him and move along. Once I did, I was deemed fit to return to my meager existence of life as I knew it. I agreed readily with the shrink because he could not touch those dreams that were locked up in my head. Those were mine and I kept and cherished them.

Since that eventful weekend, I still go to conventions and I haven't changed my routine very much while there. I go to panels, talk with friends, and just hang out. I sit in the bar and have a drink. I will grab a table that has two chairs and make sure that the other chair is left unoccupied. I leave a rose at the front desk at each hotel for Trista. I don’t know if they are ever picked up or not but I leave them anyway.

It’s been a few years now and I still honor the ritual I started. I always tell myself…just one more convention and then I should stop, but there always seem to be one more convention and one more ritual of hope to go through. So I do it.

I was at another convention. There I was, sitting at the table sipping my drink as usual when there was the flash of light that blinded me as something settled into the empty chair next to me. In a few seconds my eyes cleared and then I blinked them several times not believing what I saw.

“Whoa…” I said. “You’re a damn ostrich!”

“Of course I am,” the large bird said non-chalently.

“And you talk as well,” I said as I reached into my pocket for my cigerettes but then realized I had quit smoking about ten days ago. So instead of the comforting feel of a pack of smokes, I came up with the little square pieces of nicorette gum. I quickly took one and stufed it into my mouth and chewed it until I could feel the nictoine.

“Correct again,” the ostrich said.

Not seeing to much of a choice of ignoring whatever it was that sat next to me, and of course not having any previous interaction with such a creature, I asked the obvious question. “So what do I call you?”

“My name is Nora.”

“Well by the way…er…Nora,” I began trying to keep my voice calm, “ostriches can’t talk. Which means you aren’t real. I don’t know what you are…maybe you are an hallucination of some kind brought on by my nictoine deprived state or a result of the pain killers I am taking for my…injury.”

The injury was a result of an intergalactical slide…well that will all become clear later.

“Like I was saying...Nora, ostriches can’t talk.”

“Is that what you r-e-a-l-l-y believe?” she asked in a very snarkisk manner.

Is it me or is this snarkish thing becoming a trend or something lately?

“Well there isn’t another rational explanation is there?” I asked. “I mean how often is it that an ostrich shows up in a bar for a bit of conversation?”

“I see,” she said and grinned as if she knew something about me but wanted to lure it out of me. “You talk of rationality,” she continued, “yet you sit here waiting for something that is not rational either—isn’t that so?”

“What?” I said acting as if I didn’t know what she meant.

“ You don’t lie well,” she said with a sly smile. “Your eyes give you away. I know you’re waiting for a fairy.”

“Now how do you know that?’ I asked trying to keep the surprise out of my voice.

“I know a lot about you,”she said. “I have the ability—”

“Wait a minute,” I protested, “if you know that, then that only proves my point about you being an halluciantion from my own thoughts.”

“Maybe,” she said in a very neutral tone. “And maybe not.”

“That’s not much of an answer,” I said.

“But does it really matter?” she said. “If I am a hallucination, then you are really just talking to yourself. No harm there because you do that already.”

“True,” I agreed.

“And if I am not an halluncination, and I am just an ostrich, well then you are just having a conversation and there is no harm in that is there?”

“Well I…,” I tried to come up with an answer but couldn’t.I hate it when delusions get so damned rational.

“But to make you feel better, we can just go along with your assumption that I am an hallucination brought on by your deprived state. Feel better?”

“I suppose,” I said but I really did feel better. I mean which is easier to explain—that I was talking to myslf via an hallucination or I was really having a conversation with an ostrich? Chances are the first one would get you some odd looks but the second one would get you thrown into a psych ward. So I decided what the heck and just went along.

“So what was her name?” the ostrich asked.

“Her name is...wait a minute…you should know her name.”

“Well I do, but I want to hear you say it.”

“Well…her name is Trista,” I said and felt the warmth well up inside me as the syllables crossed my lips.

“So..what would you do with her?” she asked. “If she showed up here right now?”

“Well there’s a short and a long answer to that question” I said.

“Which might be?”

“That’s a pretty personal question from an ostrich that I don’t really know,” I said.

“Are we going to go through that again,” she said as she cocked her head to one side.

“No,” I smiled. “But still that’s…”

“Oh…so its for her ears only—is that it?”

“Kind of,” I agreed.

“Well I think I know what it is,” she said and smiled what I assumed was a sly grin…for an ostrich. “And she thinks the same?”

“Well I…think so,” I said hesitantkly but then chanmged my mind and said, “no, I’m sure she feels the same way.”

“You have such faith—that is good,” she said. "I think they, whoever it is that is behind all of these kind of things, like for us to work through it on our own. Says something about the nature of faith right there."

“Sometimes its all we have,” I said.

“And sometimes it is enough,” she said. “Just enough…but now I must be going. I wish you luck in your search and what you are looking for.”

“Thanks and…”

There was a sudden flash of light and the ostrich was gone. I felt an emptiness at her departure. In the short time we conversed I felt as if I had known her in an odd sort of way. But of course if it was an halluncination—then I should know her because it was really myself. This gets kind of confusing…eh?

These thoughts about Trista made me really want a cigerette really badly. I knew the gum would no longer be enough so I got up, limping slightly, and made my way toward the doors which led out into the street. There was a little convienence store I remembered where I could get a pack of cigerettes and calm my nerves.

As I stepped out of the hotel and into the street. There was the sudden and violent transition as the vortex swept me back to my own world. My mind received the neural input that rearranged the other information that had been implanted in order for me to function in that past environment. Now the two information streams intermingled and the purpose of the trip became clear; the date was 200 years in the future of the period I had just come from.

“So how did it go?” the man standing at the the console asked.

“No joy this trip. But the other problem…it’s getting bad,” I said. “I’m seeing the ostrich more and more. It must be some form of interplanetary dimensia caused by vortex interference during the time travel. The feedback is getting quite convincing. But the summoning device to call me back, the need for a cigerette, worked fine.”

“Well you were in there for quite a while, a number of years according to their time so I racheted up the craving to draw you out. Did you see them?”

“No. Not this trip,” I said.

“Do you think they really exist?” he asked.

“Yeah I do,” I said. “The story we uncovered about them is one of the greatest stories our world knows. It gives us hope to go on in our lives and if we can find them, then we can regain what we have lost and save our planet from the mundane death that awaits it.”

“But don’t you ever wonder if it was just a fictional story? Maybe it was just something that was made up.”

“No…I don’t believe so. Besides with a title like that, The Importance of Undergarments—it has to be true. Why else would anyone write something as ridicloulous as that if not as a sign of hope of what is the greater good of life?”

“I suppose,” the operator agreed.

“Going back into time is the only way to find out for sure,” I said. “If I can duplicate the exact situation by doing what he did, I might get the chance to meet her or even both of them.”

"But you risk changing the course of history as well. It was this other man's dream or passion with this woman--not yours. Each trip makes it seem more like your reality to the point where you are him."

"I know. I feel myself being drawn into what he felt and experienced. It's damgerous I know but we have to risk it."

"You might even get stuck the place of the man who..." a beeping alarm emanated from the console. "The vortex is becoming unstable. It’s time.”

“Close the gateway,” I said.

As I watched the time vortex close, I said softly, "I will find her..someday.” I smiled as I imagined her...


Back on Earth, a large clap on thunder disrupted the magnetic field over the house in the rural area of Suffolk, Virginia. The sleeping man rolled over on his side and smiled.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Just One More Day Maybe...

Somehow I survived the turmoil of yesterday…not by much…the characteristic response of surviving by a hair would be an exaggeration—yeah it was that close. I know I tested the ties of a relationship or two by my selfish quest for need and attention and for that I apologize--the aches were bad on so many levels.

The closet door is still closed and the carton of cigarettes remains, yet the monsters still peer out at me. In fact they have been joined by a few more.

It’s been about 8 days now since my last cigarette and I have come to a realization…well several actually. The thought process, although still in a bit of disarray has enlightened me to some things while at the same time made some things more confusing.’s strange…and if I had the answers to share with you I would, but like many of you...I am still in the dark on much. At this point, I have rewritten this posting several times trying not to make it an airing of my life and the way I look at things kind of post. You all don’t need to hear that. Simply stated I need to change some things.

They say…things happen for a reason. there some snarky angel or something with a twisted sense of humor who likes to play with us? I don't know about that but I do think that what we do with these things that happen for a reason makes all the difference to ourselves and others.

Note to the giver of things that happen for a reason: For those of us that are sometimes about a little help? Maybe a sign or two or an occassional nudge would be appreciated. Things are tough enough as they are. I'm not asking for much the you have anything to do with that ostrich?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Not A Good One...

Rough day...physically as well as emotionally--its amazing how closely the two work together. Seems like all the cards want to come down at once and I'm about ready to let them fall and just give in. Maybe its better to live with the addiction rather than be miserable without. Now there's a debate...but then what happens to the ostrich?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Delusions or Illusions

What we see and what we want to see...they may rhyme but that’s as far as they go together.

Well another nicotine free day is winding down. The tough moments get tougher and I basically feel like…well like something the wolverine dragged in on a wet stormy night.

By the way, I am convinced that the world is against me…the onslaught of tests of my will continue…today they took away my high speed internet. Actually the storm last night that resided directly overhead at 4AM, which literally rocked my world is probably to blame somehow. But I know it wasn’t really a storm, but rather the opening of a gateway. But enough about that weird and unexplainable stuff, I think its time that we discussed more practical stuff…like the ostrich that has been hanging around.

So what is this ostrich fixation thingy? There can be several different meanings of course. The first and most obvious is the delusion factor; that I have gone off the deep edge…lord knows there was not a whole lot of maneuvering room to begin with and depriving me of my smokes may have been the last straw. And now I am seeing things that are a bit bizarre, or at least more bizarre then usual. Okay—you can’t all vote for that one yet so sit back down! At least you can hear the rest first.

Now there is another possibility which falls more into the illusion area. The ostrich may represent something other than what it appears to be. Uh-oh—I sense a lucid moment coming on—must be that nicotine gum kicking in…or is it the Vicodin? I guess it really doesn’t matter. Back to the ostrich, maybe there are things that we want or need and they appear in our thoughts in all different forms. Why you ask? Well my guess is that we don’t want to readily admit what they represent so we make them something silly. They pay psychiatrists big money to come up with this stuff. Maybe we do that because we are scared of the truth it represents or the change that it brings. Maybe I should stop using the “we” and just use the “I.” Hell why not—it’s my ostrich right? Maybe the ostrich represents a cigarette or maybe it represents something much more than that.

Sounds kind of serious huh? Well to lighten it back up, think of it this way, for Bram Stoker it was Dracula, for Mary Shelly it was Frankenstein…and for me…well it’s an ostrich. What can I say, I’m a simple kind of guy who has had their head in the sand and finally took it out and looked around. And what did I see…why another ostrich.

By the way, I still think she’s cute…

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Random Mutterings

Well I just couldn't seem to get on track with too much today but as I have been relaying the events of my current state, if nothing else for posterity sake, I thought I would keep going—anyway it passes the time.

No cigarettes—lots of drugs—a little pain on the side. This is one meal I wish I could skip. However being couch bound was semi-exciting but even that is wearing me out. I fidget after a couple of hours. I firmly believe couch sitting and movie watching is always better with company.

Started working on a syllabus for one of my classes and then realized I had the wrong course. Then after I got that part straightened out and got a rough draft together, I checked the roster and saw that there aren’t enough people signed up so the class might be cancelled anyway.

Watched the ostrich roam by a few times. I think she is trying to get my attention…

Worked on the revisions to the vampire novel—thank God they were pretty mechanical because that’s about all I could handle. Two hundred pages down and two hundred to go. Wish the love scene was in this book and not the second one—or is it the third book—anyway I could have used the excitement.

Flirted with that ostrich…I think it’s stalking me...

Watched Constantine—glad I didn’t pay anything for it. However I did watch a Cary Grant movie called I was a Male War Bride—great movie—with some really priceless lines I will have to try and use some day on some unexpecting female.

I replaced a band on my watch which took over an hour…and then saw that the watch has stopped so probably needs a battery. Threw said watch against the wall.

Had a serious moment ot two thinking about some of the personal changes I need to get working on…started making a list of things to do so I can procrastinate over the list rather than just the ideas.

Called for my surgery appointment and was told I would have to go for about a month which at this point seems ludicrous as it is painful to walk—military medicine. Also was scolded about my schedule of medication—I wrote it down this time so I won’t forget.

The ostrich has a pretty interesting personality although it does have a sharp edge at times. Still kind of cute…

Had a lengthy conversation with my dog about tennis balls; she reminded me that I got two with the mower last week and they need to be replaced.

Had a mental debate with myself: Have you ever wondered if bologna has a right side up? I mean is it the way it comes out of the package that it should be placed on the bread?

Looked in the paper randomly—you have to wonder why apartments don’t get cheaper. There is so much new construction of homes these days—you would think that they would be giving apartments away. Where do all these people come from?

Ate Cheerios from the box. It seemed the right thing to do at the time. Even shared with the ostrich; I think she liiiiiikkkkkes me…

In my head I counted the packs of cigarettes that I know are still in the closet. I avoid going into that closet for obvious reasons.

Does an ostrich age the same as a person? Just wondering, I mean you have to be aware of these things…

And finally, was pretty succesful in fighting off the pissiness disposition during conversation.

Well that was pretty much my day--a random collage of events.

Tommorrow I might make a move on the ostrich…

Monday, August 14, 2006

Something’s Gotta Give…

Keep an eye on that ostrich…I hear they have a mean kick…

Well here we are…or more like here I am approaching the fourth day of no cigarettes. There have been no murders or aggravated assaults—so far. And that of course is the good news.

If you have noticed in the previous posts, there have been other events that have decorated the halls of my endeavor of quitting smoking. They in themselves have been enough to drive even the sanest person back to the nicotine wagon. Fortunately I lay no claim to being sane.

However, dramatic (yes—full of drama) developments have continued. The story goes as follows…one is suppose to increase their “physical” activity when they quit smoking to keep occupied and of course prevent the weight gain. So I have been doing that (don’t ask—don’t tell). Well I began to experience some pain in my leg; the obvious assumption is a strain. One puts smelly stuff on, takes pills and maybe slaps a heating pad on for good measure and life is good. Well almost.

However said leg shows no sign of improvement but rather the opposite. This AM movement is extremely painful. So I go to the see the doctor. His prognosis…after several coughing fits—by me as I am squeezed where…well you know where, is that I have a new addition—a hernia.

So something had to give…and apparently it did. So now I am fairly immobile for the time being. I have drugs for the pain. I have nicotine gum for my addiction. So now on top of the lack of physically smoking a cigerette induced hallucinations, I have drug induced hallucinations as well. Or I think they are…its getting awfully crowded around here.

The ostriches are running amuck...and now they’re smoking too. What’s worse is the female ostrich is looking pretty good…

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Still with the living...

Well I'm at the...hell, I don't know, somewhere between 2 and 3 day mark without smoking. Its hard to focus on the exact time or anything else for that matter. My apologies for not getting the next ending of the story out--but like I said, its kind of hard to focus.

Anyway I am still with the living...well sort of. I am running out of things to clean--I have tackled the garage and a good part of the shed and have only punched the walls out far. (I'm not counting the mutilated stuff animals--they don't really count--do they?)My daughter has been extremely helpful--she leaves the house so she doesn't get abused. Smart girl...

My mind keeps telling me how foolish this is...there is an entire carton of cigarettes in the closet. They're right there and the madness will be over. Temptation is very close...oh so very close.

How close? A very fine thread at best. I have never realized how much of an addiction I have with smoking. Hell I was shocked when I figured it out that I have been smoking for thirty years. One of those kind of things we try not to remember.

If it wasn't for the special friend whose calls are keeping me from making that mistake--I'd be right back there--there is no doubt in my mind about that. I don't know what I would do without you...well yeah I do, I'd be smoking...

Warm thanks and a very special hug for you:)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Somebody's Got Some Explaining to Do...

Well as I approach the 24 hour smoke free period, yeah I’m counting because I am earning each and every one of them…the hallucinations have begun. Actually they have been going on for quite a while since...well never mind. That's another story...

I am not really seeing things, just an errant ostrich or two, but rather I am coming to an understanding so to speak. I wish I could blame it on the giving up smoking excuse, but to semi-quote a favorite line from My Cousin Vinnie…I don’t think its going to hold much water.

Now I am not going to bore you with the gory personal details but I experienced this form of epiphany today (or some other un-drugged produced state) that—well, lets call it the how could I be so blind syndrome.

What the heck does that mean? I think I can best explain it by saying that I think we wear many faces in our lives…some by choice and some by default. At times we hide behind them based upon commitment or something else rather than the right reason.

Then suddenly we are exposed…naked in front of everyone—and what’s worse is that everyone knows…in fact you’re like the last person to find out that everyone knows what you were trying to hide from them as well as yourself. But that’s not enough yet, then there is even the bigger shocker—they all agree with you.

It’s like some mass form of family heresy or something. It beings exhilaration, shame, relief, and even remorse all at the same time—talk about a mixed bag. I guess I have some explaining to myself.

Picked a great day to stop smoking…where’s that damn tube of glue…(s-n-i-f-f-)I’ll fix that ostrich next time I see it!


Well this can be a really good thing or a really foolish thing but I have decided to try and quit smoking after 30 years. So...please accept my apologies now in the event that I try and tear your head off at some point during this endeavor. Hopefully it won't come to that but I have a feeling there will be some stressful moments. Any support out there will be greatly appreciated...

Last cigarette: approx 15 hours ago.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Acting One’s Age

A short interlude from the alternative endings...and yes there is at least one more in me yet so don't stop reading yet.

Acting Ones Age: this is an interesting topic and recently brought to the forefront of my thoughts by a conversation with my own daughter. Let’s get to the point: How many times have you heard or even said to someone to “act their age?” Probably quite a few I bet but most times it is meant in a joking manner. Now of course if there is a maturity issue here…such as a grownup acting as a child—or the act is irresponsible in some way—that is a whole other story which I do not want to get into. But for now, let’s just assume that the crowd is all grownups and acting, relatively speaking, as adults.

So what does this mean then? Are we all supposed to act or feel a certain way about things because of our age? Now granted, age reflects a certain statistical reference as to perhaps having experienced more by the default of time, but in my opinion that’s just a lot of bull-hockey. Time is just that—a statistical measurement. Don’t believe me—ask a tortoise and see what kind of answer you get. Because we are older or younger, does that mean that things we experience and our reactions to them are not still good and bad? Of course they are. Nothing really changes in that regard. The old laugh and the young cry and vice versa, there is no difference.

So should one act one’s age then? Well lets break out the age manual and look up our age and see what…oh wait a minute…there isn’t a manual is there? So how does one know how they should act then if they aren’t given instructions? Silly question which of course dictates a silly yet simplistic answer—you should act the way you feel is right based upon everything but a statistical fact. Its all about heart and soul and what you feel is right.

It’s amazing sometimes what our kids tell us especially when we actually listen for a change. They make us proud even with all the hell they have put us through and then they aren’t kids anymore as they climb their own statistical ladder.

Lessons come from both old and young—you just have to recognize them.

I still like the Buick...that's one thing we can't agree on:)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Alternate Ending 3

Alternate Ending 3
(Original Story Lead In):

"So what about the bra?" I asked? "It is physical evidence that proves her existence?"
"It is much more probable," the shrink began, "that you went out and bought it subconsciously as part of your fantasy and somehow managed to block it from your mind. It's the only reasonable and plausible answer."
This seemed to be a sticking point so I thought it best to just agree with him and move along. Once I did, I was deemed fit to return to my meager existence of life as I knew it. I agreed readily with the shrink because he could not touch those dreams that were locked up in my head. Those were mine and I kept and cherished them.

I still go to conventions and I haven't changed my routine very much while there. I go to panels, talk with friends, and just hang out. I sit in the bar and have a drink. I will grab a table that has two chairs and make sure that the other chair is left unoccupied. I leave a rose at the front desk at each hotel for Trista. I don't know if they are ever picked up or not but I leave them anyway.

It's been a while, maybe a few years since that weekend and I was doing my usual routine at a convention and toasting the memory. I was sipping my third or fourth drink of the evening when suddenly there was a flash of light and the seat in front of me was filled with a shape. In a few moments the form stabilized and Trista was there.

"Hey," she said.

"Hey," I answered as I looked upon her image and then added, "I missed you too."

"And I have missed you," she said as she leaned closer and placed her hand upon mine. When her hand touched my own it was like someone had opened a floodgate and the warmth that it contained washed over me.

"Thanks for the roses," she said, "I have all of them."

"You're very welcome. I just wanted to do something nice for you."

"That's what I like about you, so honest and simple. Your heart is so open."

"For you it is always..." I allowed my words to trail off.

She let her hand trace the outline of my face. "So silly and yet so sweet."When her hand returned to mine she said, "I've watched you sit and have these drinks late at night."

"You have? Why didn't you come to me earlier then?"

"Rules. There are only certain things we faries are allowed to do. Actually I m breaking a quite a few right now by coming to you."

"TristaÂ, I don't want you to get in any--"

"Hush," she said and placed her fingers to my lips. "I am here because I want to be here. I wanted to see you."

"Well in that case then, I guess I won't argue," I said and felt my self satsifying grin stretch fromn ear to ear.

"Good, we never have argued and I don't want to start one now. Besides you would lose anyway. "

"I see we still have that snarkyness streak in your possession after all this time."

"You seem to bring it out in me," she countered and smiled that grin that drove me crazy--the one oh so innocent and yet oh so evil mixture that only she could do.

"Glad to know I'm good for something besides entertainment," I said.

"Entertainment? Where did that come from?" she asked.

"You know us mere mortals. We must be amusing with our daily lives as compared to you fairie folk."

"Ah I see," she said, " is that what you really think?"

Her question and serious tone of voice caught me off guard.

"Well I don't know."

"It's actually quite the reverse," she said emphatically. "We can't expeieirnce the same joy that you do. We have in a way beome immune to it after so long of a period of time."

"Trista I'm so sorry. I didn't know."

"Of course you didn't," she said sincerely. "But that's why I have been keeping my eye on you."


"You see, ever since we were together. I have been grounded so to speak because I behaved abnormally when I left you the...ah...item."

"Item? Oh, you mean the bra."

"Yes. That is against the rules. You see why obviosuly."

"No," I said adamantly. "If it wasn't for the bra, I would have questioned the entire..." My voice trailed off as I saw what she meant now.

"That's exactly the reason," she said. "It can have an adverse affect on humans and cause emotional stress. It's not supposed to seem like it was real but rather just a dream of something that might have been."

"I see," I said. My voice reflected dissapointment.

"But I'm glad I did. And the way you have kept that time in your heart is what convinced me."

"Convinced you of what?" I asked.

"I'm staying this time--with you"


"I'm staying," she repeated

"Trista, I'm so glad to hear that but...can you do that?"

"If I give up my immortality, I can."

"That's a lot to give up," I said.

"Well a woman has to do what she must," she said and smiled. "Beides, you're worth it
and I only have so many bras."

"I don't know what to say," I said.

"That's a good start to a relationship. Let me do all the talking and we'll get along just fine."

"Snarky," I said.

"Yes, it comes from years of expierince and of course genetics as well," she proudly stated.

"By the way," I began, "now that you brought it up, seeing as how you were immortal, how old are you anyway?"

"Don't you know you should never ask a womans age. Shame on you."

"Well I was just doesn't really matter."

"And you may keep that curiosity to yourself young man unless it deals with a more physical nature as to where I am concerned."

"Well then, shall we adjourn to the fourth floor?" I asked.

"We can't go there anymore honey," she said looking sadly at me. "We have to--"

"Trista this hotel has six floors."

"Well then," she said, "don't you need to work on that undergarment collection of yours? Hmmmmmmm....."


Alternate Ending 2

There always seems to be more than just one ending to a story and in The Importance of Undergarments at a Science Fiction Convention, is no exception. So for a blog or two, I will explore some other endings that I toyed with.

Alternate Ending 2
(Original Story Lead In):

"So what about the bra?" I asked? "It is physical evidence that proves her existence?"

"It is much more probable," the shrink began, "that you went out and bought it subconsciously as part of your fantasy and somehow managed to block it from your mind. It's the only reasonable and plausible answer."

This seemed to be a sticking point so I thought it best to just agree with him and move along. Once I did, I was deemed fit to return to my meager existence of life as I knew it. I agreed readily with the shrink because he could not touch those dreams that were locked up in my head. Those were mine and I kept and cherished them.

I still go to conventions and I haven't changed my routine very much while there. I go to panels, talk with friends, and just hang out. I sit in the bar and have a drink. But there is one thing I do differently since all of this happened. But before I get to that I need to warn you that it might sound a little bizarre, but if you had experienced what I had, then perhaps you would feel somewhat differently about it. So let me go through this before you decide anything.

When I am at a convention, I carry my small carry bag with me. Inside of the bag wrapped up in tissue paper I carry the bra. When its late and most of the people have gone to bed and things are quiet, I take the bra out of the bag and place it on my head and snap the clasps under my chin so that the the cups face upward toward the ceiling. I figure Trista had to have left it for a reason other than just a sovenier, perhaps it is some kind of lightning rod that points upwards...perhaps even toward the fourth floor. That fabulous place that I can see only when I sleep and it comes to my dreams. It truly is a fantastical place where only the most wondrous things happen or have happened--not sure which really applies but I guess it doesn't really matter.

As I was saying, the cups point upward. I figure maybe...just maybe if all of this is true, then perhaps there is some way that Trista can tell I'm here and waiting for her to come back. Perhaps it even acts as some form of fairy GPS system or something. After all, with all the conventions that go on all around the world, even fairies are bound to get lost sometimes. It makes sense to me, heck, I get lost going around the block sometimes so its only fair to assume that fairies might have the same kind of challenges at times.

So if you are one of those folks that can't sleep and you wander down to the bar in the wee hours at a convention and you see someone in the bar sitting there quietly having a drink and wearing a bra on the top of their head, don't be so fast to judge. But rather if you have the time to stop and sit and have a drink, I will tell you the story of The Importance of Undergarments at a Science Fiction Convention. Getting the story in person is always better than in writing. You get to hear all those subtle nuances in the voice rather than supplying your own in your mind. And for those who do stop by and chat for a bit, maybe I can put in a a good word for you the next time I see Trista and maybe she can pull some strings for you and get you a con-fairy expierenence as well.

Now, I can imagine what you're thinking. Guys will read this story and think that if they come to the bar and place a bra on their head, they too can attempt to have their own con-fairy expierience. Then before you know it there will be a bunch of men sitting in the bar with bras on their heads and then the women will join in with their own assortment of men's undergarments such as briefs, boxers, and perhaps even the dreaded banana hammocks or something and it will look like the most ridiculous thing anyone has ever seen and there goes the whole con expierience thing. But if you think about it, it is a science fiction convention and you know what--probably no one will notice. And if any of the mundanes do notice we will just tell them that there is a Victoria Secrets or Fredericks or GQ or whatever gathering is going on and they will nodd in agreement and with complete understanding accompanied by a very sly grin on their faces from both men and women alike. And if they don't well that's okay too.

So after of all this you might ask yourself at some point if any of this makes any sense. Some will say no and others will just silently nodd their heads in agreement. As for me, I am off in my own little world and for all I know I may be the only person that has made it to the fourth floor...after all I have the bra to prove it. Oh and one other thing, did I mention the label inside the bra? The one that reads: "100% cotton mixed with magic fairy dust for enhanced lift." I guess I forgot to mention that.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Books and Birds Don't Mix

It's funny how one event can leap frog or take precedence over another. I had a book released earlier in the year and of course with it came the usual celebratory associations with it. So out of curiosity sake I checked that date for other events and of course...there was a bizarre occurrence which completely obscures my book release but which is...well too bizarre to pass up without comment.

The story goes something like this. Man and Ostrich Get Drunk. read correctly. Apparently the man had reason to celebrate so he gets some champagne. However, he decides to share said champagne with his pet ostrich. Okay...not to bad yet...but wait for it.

Man and ostrich get drunk and decide to go out to an outdoor concert. Now of course one would think this was a bit odd if seeing man and large bird...however no one really paid any attention until...the bird attacked woman. Did I mention the ostrich was a female? Keep that in mind...

So apparently the man showed some form of attention to said woman and the ostrich did not care for it in its apparent inebriated state. So ostrich attacks woman and knocks her down a curb. Woman breaks leg--police come--man and bird are arrested.

In court the man is charged with endangering of the public and of course charged all associated medical costs of woman injured. Fair enough. As for the bird...the court placed the ostrich in a zoo and gave the man visitation rights.

Okay, now at this point you think alls well that ends well...right? Well apparently not.

The woman that was injured wants to adopt the ostrich from the zoo! Apparently they have reconciled their differences. How so--you say? Well said woman during the incident--met bystander--fell in love and is now engaged to be married to bystander. Hence the ostrich is associated with the happy event and the woman wants to keep the bird around now as a reminder of said event. So a nasty custody battle is now in progress for the ostrich...

Had too.

Anyway, I think the next time I decide to have a book release event, I will pick the most obscure time that I can possibly imagine and hope for the best.

I hate to have anything get "fowled" up next time.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lesson for the Day-Avoid Being Pissy

Well I need to get something blogged today while we are taking a break from the next short story project. So today is about being pissy.

Now pissy can have numerous meanings, but in this case I will define it as being irritable or overly sensitive to words or actions which leads to not so nice results...Namely all parties getting pissed at each other.

Go ahead and ask...And were we pissy today?
The answer is yes we were and yes we feel bad about it and yes we apologized...

Now many people are just pissy from the get-go. No matter what you say or do to them, they are just that way. But there are others who are pissy for certain and more specific reasons. Some are even fairly legitiment within specific realms of reason.

Let me be clear about this--there is no excuse for being pissy with people--its wrong--no doubt about it.

So perhaps it is better to examine the causes of perceived pissiness. (I know its not a word--but it works at the moment).

Pissy Causes Top Three List:

These apply to both parties-the sender and receiver

(1) Miscommunication is a biggie. One might say words with a particular intent in mind, but they might be received in a different way. Understanding the meaning of words or phrases can be interpreted completely different especially if there is an age or cultural difference. Clarification should be sought.

(2) Doing something that is a known irritant to another party should be avoided if at all possible or perhaps refraining from the action itself which might lead to a pissy confrontation. If you know someone well enough and you know what their pet peeves are...try and understand them.

(3) Being in a bad frame of mind to start mowing the lawn in a heat wave (with heat advisories) and not drinking water until far into the next day but instead consuming copious amounts of coffee instead.

Okay...I'm Guilty to that one....okay maybe all of them...

Like everything else in life--it's a give and take scenario. Being pissy is wrong, but understanding is always better--on both sides.

Me personally, I'm checking myself into pissy rehab...maybe my book sales will go up--it works for movie and sports stars...right?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Importance of Undergarments & Science Fiction Conventions

For ease of reading, you can access my webpage where you can download the complete short story in pdf format.