Monday, December 29, 2008

I read too

I don't always write. Sometimes I read. Yes, it's true. Like most people who try to write, I read. Although it's a laborious affair because I have pitiful vision [just another ailment in my long line of woes] and the precious pooch chewed up my glasses a long time ago and I need an eye exam before I get a new pair.
What was I saying? Oh right, I read.

Currently reading:

Jonathan Strange and Mr. NorrellJ by Susanna Clarke. No, you can't look inside. I just stole that image off Amazon so you'd have something to look at.
This book was recommended by a great a wonderful person who writes Giselle Sauveterre in the novel L'Affaire on PanHistoria. It was recommended to her by her by another wonderful person who writes Georgiana Lyon in Vices & Virtues.

Next on the reading list is Et Apres by Guillaume Musso. This is the book the movie Afterwards starring Romain Duris is based upon. Who knows when the movie will be released in the United States or I can get a copy of it, but the trailer looked really good.

Since the book is in French I'll probably be spending a lot of time with an unabridged French dictionary.
All the books could be useful to me in a way. The Jonathan Strange book takes place in Regency England and I write in "Vices & Virtues" which is set in that time period. I believe it was originally created by people with an interest in Jane Austen. I've never read Jane Austen. That might explain why I have a French character running around.
My French character is in two novels; one set in 1810, the other in 2006. You can imagine how the French dictionary might come in handy. The two novels have fantastical elements to them, and I write in a fantasy novel. So, my leisurely reading is really research!
Amazing how anything can be rationalized.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

from the line cook

I had to share this post from Richie who writes the line cook blog.

I especially liked this part:
Pastry is one aspect of cooking that most hot line cooks will tell you strikes fear deep in their hearts. It's precise and difficult and completely unforgiving. It means early mornings, little to no help on prep, and a constant fight for space on the stoves. It also means a strong lesson in efficency, humility, and cooking delicately. After working pastry your approach to everything from mise to plating changes. Your palate adjusts to appreciate not just taste, but texture. And in the end you are a stronger, more competant and confident long as you've been minding the salt.

Can you tell I do pastry? I love pastry, but I'm one of those who obsesses over the detail.


I'm at the beach. The Perfect Brunette [PB] kidnapped me after she got off work last night. Someone gave her the use of a condo at Orange Beach for a holiday gift so we're taking advantage of it. We drove all night and now PB is sound asleep.

I could be writing for one of the fine novels at, but at the moment I'm sitting on the balcony enjoying the view of the ocean, the wind ruffling the three palm trees, and the fact it's in the mid-70s and it's late December.

When I asked PB what great plans she had for us, she said, "Just the romantic things. You know, walk hand in hand down the beach. Admire the sunset. Push you into the water then run away laughing."

If I go in, she's coming in with me.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Suspicious Activity in Perfumes & Colognes

Apparently I can't resist telling a story to embarrass a friend. Not if it's funny!

My roommate Mike got off work early and decided to go visit his guy, Mark, who works at an upscale department store. Mike changed from his spiffy suit into sexy button-fly jeans. [I added the spiffy and sexy part. You who know Mike, know he does not talk that way.]

Mark was occupied with a customer so Mike strolled about. Luckily for him because he noticed his second from the top button on his sexy jeans was undone. Oh my! Potential embarrassment avoided, right? Right!

Not wanting to draw attention to himself, Mike simply pulled down his shirt, buttoned up his suit coat and oh so discreetly did up the button one-handed while continuing to browse.

To hear Mike tell it, what must have given him away was that after he was finished he looked about him to see if he had in fact drawn attention to the fact that he was fiddling around in his crotchal region. [Mike did say crotchal.]

Noticing that Mark was finishing up the sale he headed toward the shoes, but ah no, it was not meant to be. The intimidating men in intimidating suits who pass for security in the upscale department store intercepted dear Mike. Seems they had noticed Mike and his suspicious activity and wanted to know just what he had been doing fiddling about in his crotchal region. They had it on video and everything. They thought he was shoplifting goodies and stuffing them down in with his goodies.

Poor Mike. All he wanted to do was see his honey after a hard day at work.

Perhaps I should have changed the names to protect the innocent, or at least to not disgust you with the fact that Mike is dating Mark. "Mike + Mark = 2 Cute!" It's true! Miss Montez made a magnet and put it on the fridge.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another Bit of Surreal

Mike, my roommate, and I just went to the post office. Coming around a long slow curve the song "Stop the Cavalry" was on the radio and there's this yard full of inflatable soldiers and little wooden soldiers. I guess they were supposed to be nutcrackers maybe. It was just strange. He stopped the car and we just stared for a minute.

Music mp3 Stop The Cavalry - Jona Lewie

And for whatever reason I keep speaking in a French accent and Mike has picked it up too. "Monsieur, what are wee having for dinayre too-night?" "Oh, wee ayre hafing baked ap-ples, honeyed ham, and but of course zee Kripsee cremes zay haf brought to us."

Something Entirely New

Hanging on my closet door is a new winter coat. My girlfriend PB gave it to me. Last week when it was in the low thirties she saw me walking down the road wearing a raincoat over a hoodie and realized that was it for me. One of the perils of dating a guy without a full-time job is eventually his winter coat gets pretty shabby and has so many holes it doesn't really stop the cold and has to be thrown out. And when you're as tall as I am it's hard to find something that fits in the thrift store.

So she went and bought me a new winter coat.

I've never had a new winter coat before.


They've always been second hand. Even back before the state took possession of me, when I was a tiny little Scarecrow, I remember my sister, Amber, helping me try on coats at the Salvation Army and telling me to make sure it was comfortable with the hood up so I could sleep in it too. The others got new things, but not us. They had grandparents to buy them new things, but not us. The grandparents wouldn't buy things for us because we didn't count. So we got to pick out coats at the Salvation Army on the days when everything was half price.

Even when I've had the money, it's been hard to part with it for something that wouldn't get worn much. A new good coat starts at $100. That's a lot of money. That could go towards rent, or utilities, or food, or towards those medical & dental bills I have that the other guy's insurance is still refusing to pay. So I've always just gone to the thrift stores.

But now I have a new winter coat. No one else has owned it before. It's all mine. And somebody gave it to me. Somebody I love who loves me, gave me my first new winter coat. She doesn't expect me to go out and buy her anything in return. She doesn't want jewelry or shoes or a night out on the town. She just wants me to be warm while I'm out walking around.

That's something entirely new to me too.

People always want something in return. Don't they? Well no. Over the last few years I've been learning that's not true.

Plus she's so confident I'm getting that job after Christmas she doesn't want her Scarecrow freezing walking to work every day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Like an episode of Three's Company

I've always hated the show Three's Company. At one place where I lived I never got to control what we watched on television, and the guys who did for some reason had a fixation with Three's Company. So there I sat during TV time, trying to read a book, but being endlessly tortured by that damned show instead.

Almost every single episode boiled down to one of the roommate's misunderstanding what another roommate said or was up to, then supposed hilarity ensued, lah lah lah. And it all could have been easily resolved if the one roommate just asked the other roommate what the deal was. You would think after countless embarrassments they would all eventually learn to communicate better.

I have a tendency to talk to the television and voice my opinion even then. I got punched a lot, but eventually I, unlike Jack, Chrissy, and Janet, learned my lesson.

Right, so, this has nothing at all to do with Three's Company, although it does involve one person being on a different page from all the rest.

[This was several months ago. Something reminded me of it today.]
I was headed to Birmingham with some friends. We pass through this area on the highway with a lot of businesses, strip malls, traffic lights, and everywhere we look there are banners up for different activities, almost all of them seemed to have something to do with children's activities.

Free Children's Clinic. Karate Lessons. Free Soccer Clinic. Fall Festival. Sports Clinic. Mom's Day Out. Ballet registration now! Enroll in this. Enroll in that. Free this. Tot Shots this Saturday. Low cost that. Your child must do this now or be ostracized forever and you suck as a parent!

There were so many different signs for so many different activities I don't know how any of them was supposed to stand out more than the rest or how anyone was supposed to decide what to do. I see one that said "Learn about microchipping!" and that just seemed weird. Because all the signs I see are pertaining to children. So I'm thinking this is about putting microchips in your children.

So I asked, "They microchip them? Why do they microchip them?"

One person in the car replied, "That's in case they get lost. If someone finds them, they bring them in and they just run a scanner over them and they know who they belong to."

I say, "Ooookay. That's just extreme."

Then someone else says, "Or you know, like if they find them dead on the side of the road and some nice person scoops them up and brings them in then even though they're all squished up and all they can still identify them and send them home."

"What!? What the f-?! What?"

About this time everybody else in the car figured out I was a little slow and began patting my head and saying, "Now now, Scarescrow. It's all right. It's for little furry animals. Not children. It's okay. Calm down. Stop freaking. It's okay."

Warning: this gets a little twisted.
All I can say is Thank Shmoo they decided to let me off easy and immediately tell me it was about pets and not kids, rather than just have a field day messing with me. To this day I still have a mental image of a toddler road pizza being bagged by some kind passerby, who then drops it off at the local morgue. The coroner then scans it, reads the info, puts toddler-pizza into a bag, vaccuum seals it, pops it into a FedEx box, prints out a label, and sends it off. Then parents of said missing toddler-pizza open the box, transfer contents into the box their latest home computer came in, and bury it out in the back yard next to Scruffy, Bootsie, and Bobo. Blech!

Surprisingly I very rarely have nightmares and when I do, I write them down and share the stories with friends.

A Song For Her

Everything - Ben Harper

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rudolph is Dead!

Here's a funny story for the day.

Miss Montez's mom is one of the maid's at a hotel. We dropped by to visit her. She and the cleaning staff were having a good laugh and shared it with us so I thought I would share it with you.

One of the maid's had gotten a call from the school about her son. Seems the little boy, who is in kindergarten, had told everybody that his grandfather shot Rudolph this weekend upsetting all the other children.

Yes, it's deer season. The woman's dad had bagged him a deer. The woman's best comment on it was, "I don't know why he had to say it was Rudolph." I guess it would be less traumatic if he said Comet or Donner.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Be Kind

There are lotsa little ways to be kind, but might I make a simple suggestion that's pretty easy and won't take much of your time.

If a door has to be pulled to open it... please open it for the guy wearing the straight-jacket. He will really appreciate it.

Oh, and bring a straw with his drink unless you want to hold it for him all night. Unless you're PB or one of the goth/fetish models and then he really didn't mind you holding the drink for him at all.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Writing with a Reader

Wyatt, who is the head pimpmeister over at PanHistoria, has a really good post in his blog about writing with a partner in collaborative writing and the methods available to you at PanHistoria. Wyatt at Pan Historia: More on Collaborative Writing. So I'll let you go read that.

What came to my mind was the trick of writing with a new partner who is also a reader.

Over in the horror novel FLESH I've been having a blast with my long time writing partner Miss Montez. She writes Dathne. I write Andre. I had been wanting to create one of the NPCs as a writable character since Andre and Dathne will be separated more and more. I was talking to a friend on Pan who is also a reader and she was telling me about a character she had always wanted to put into FLESH, one geekly Anabel Lee, but said she'd never seen a way to do it or how to keep her alive. I liked the character, I like the writer and her style fits with ours, told her I was creating DiDi, and asked her to join us.

So far it's working out great. Miss Montez and I write at a breakneck speed, and write fairly far ahead, except lately with holidays and other mishaps we've been kind of coasting. [We've still got quite a few posts in the bag and plenty more planned out, at least for her. I'm the one snoozing.] What we've been doing with Ana is a little bridgework to connect her character in with ours and it's been a blast. Her character is going to fit in perfectly with our disfunctional zombie-slaying redneck-thwarting household.

Where's the problem? The only hitch is Ana's writer is also a reader of FLESH. I don't want to spoil any surprises for her. This doesn't mean she isn't a part of the planning. We're both asking her for input on the planning, both short and long term. What we're holding back from her, to keep from ruining the story for her, are little plot twists that Ana wouldn't know about anyway. She's clever, she's picked up on things other people haven't, which is why I knew she'd be the perfect person to ask to join us. So she can anticipate certain things will happen, but I'm not going to spoil it by telling her how. I'm not going to deny her any information she needs to know to write her character or to interact with the rest.

Miss Montez held out information on me. I had no idea Dathne intended to use Andre as a bargaining chip. If I had known that from the start I might have let my knowledge of that cloud his perception of her.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is, sometimes you have to treat your writing partner like a reader. Save some surprises for them. Even if you plan and plot the way we do, they don't have to know everything your character is going to do if it doesn't affect their character. Plus it can also make a difference in how they write in relation towards your character.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Overheard Randomness

Just things I overheard and wanted to share...

Mdme: Who said I was a wannabe cougar? What's that all about?
PB: You totally misunderstood. Not you want to be a cougar. They want you to be a cougar. Big difference.

BK Employee to Obviously Blind Guy who asked where the woman he was with went: I don't know. What does she look like?
Blind Guy: I honestly don't know.

Mekah: Stupid ass white woman getting all uppity with me like she's all upper class when she's got a daughter with a made up black person's name.

Mdme: She's so crazy about him she has butterflies in her stomach and wanted to know how to make them go away. Normally I'd tell her to just f@!# him. They'll go away. But she's a virgin, so what can I say? I am so not equipped to give advice to virgins.

PB: He's totally sober acting like this. Can you imagine what he was like on drugs? [Referring to me being wrapped around her legs because she was dressed like Dr. Girlfriend, white go-go boots and all.]

Victor: You don't get it because you haven't got it. Get it? Of course you don't. There's a reason you've never gotten any and it's not because you're saving it. Unlike your sister, it's because you've never had the choice. I'm sorry. Am I being catty again? I'm feeling like a little pussy.

Prado: [Explaining someone's bizarre tendencies as normal.] Well, he is German.

Lee: Maybe his mother was the other girl he knocked up.
Mdme: Oh! Ohhhhh! That is so sick! Why didn't I think of that?

Miss Montez: Lita's new white in-laws were being so politically correct Turkey Day it was hilarious. I thought the mom was going to asphyxiate when one of the kids told her most of us were swirl babies.

Walmart Customer: Are you waiting on me to pay?
Walmart Employee: No, but everyone else in the store is.

Odd Person: You're so tall that I bet if you fell down and hit your head really hard it on the sidewalk, it would really hurt.

Barney Fife Cop upon seeing my track scars: Let me guess, you used drugs.
Miss Montez: With your powers of deduction why are you a traffic cop and not a detective?
Barney Fife Cop: I think you're being sarcastic.
Miss Montez: In a sing-song voice. Somebody's bucking for a promotion. Stage whisper. I bet he's even noticed you're not short.
Barney Fife Cop: Miss, I think you want to get arrested.
Miss Montez: Darn. There went the promotion. So close.*

*Miss Montez has several criminal lawyers in her family. She knows how much she can get away with, especially when she hasn't done anything illegal. When you know you can get quality legal defense for free, it apparently makes you a little bold. Notice I said nothing.

Captain: I am so a Meredith fan-girl now.

Jayn the Dragon Quote: Don't do drugs. Drugs are bad. Pixies on the other hand are all natural and non-addictive. They can be smoked to provide a pleasant high, but they're screaming can be a little irritating so I suggest ear plugs. They can also be eaten, but the effects take longer to kick in and their little bones can get stuck between your teeth.

Jayn the Dragon is the intellectual property of Madame S. and used with her permission. So if you are a Jayn fan don't go running to her saying someone is ripping off Jayn or threatening to sick Jayn on me. Jayn already wrecked my car. I am on Jayn's phone text list. Remember: WWJaynD? Eat You!


If you have a nickname, I hope it's a good one.

Mine is a good one. Scarecrow. I could have been called Slim. Or one of those reverse names, Shortie or Half-pint. I'll stick to Scarecrow. It's what everyone calls me.

I inadvertently gave my friend Brandon a nickname and with the most recent Scarecrow Day and Miss Montez adding a new addition to it, everyone now calls him by it. The new addition was "Call Brandon Milkshake."

Yes, thanks to me, everyone now calls Brandon Milkshake. Noone even cares why. He's just suffered through the weekend being called Milkshake by everybody. It was one thing when I was the only one calling him that, it was an inside joke between us, but now everybody is.

OK, here's the story of how the name came in to being.

Brandon, Miss Montez, Lidia, and I all hopped into the Fairlane to take a road trip to the big mighty bookstore. Along the way we stopped to get milkshakes. Mine was a vanilla malted. Very yummy. When drinking milkshakes it is obligatory that someone has to start singing Milkshake by Kelis. I don't know who started it just that it got started. Eventually we got over it. Stopped singing. That was the end of it. Or it should have been.

Barney Fife cop pulled us over because Miss Montez when she renewed her car tag several months before had forgotten to put the stickers on the tag. So while she's talking to him the rest of us were talking to each other. Brandon was in the backseat. I was in the front. He is a photographer. I asked him something about how he did this effect with his camera, because he uses film, not a digital camera, and he leaned up and said, "I could teach you, but I'd have to charge." This caused me to snort malted milkshake up my nose. Not pleasant.

Ever since then I greet him with "Hey, Milkshake!"

I didn't mean to scar him for life with a stupid nickname.

Brandon, you have my sincere apologies. It could have been worse.

Milkshake - Kelis


The writing prompt on the One Minute Writer was Scar Story. Just tell how you got a scar.

No problem, except which one would I pick? I have short sleeves on, so just the visible ones... Do I tell about the ones on my left hand that look like my hand was made of plastic and someone kept poking it with a hot stick and my flesh melted. Do I tell about that ugly scar on my forarm, all the way up to my elbow, that's all discolored and disgusting and has that spidery varicose vein look going on? How about the one on my right forearm that starts in the palm of my hand and is jagged and at least not discolored?

Want me to pull off my shirt and then there would really be a variety to choose from? Let me just strip down. I could tell some tales that would make you realize why I spent the better part of my life looking for a way out. And yes, the ones on my arms are the result of my own stupidity, but none of the burns are, none of the cuts, and trust me, I never stabbed myself.

I'm not proud of my scars, nor am I ashamed of any of them. Some of them don't belong to the person I am now. But they helped make me.

I carry the scars of a ghost. I don't carry the ghost.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Be Thankful for Something.

Be thankful today even if it's for having a family to drive you crazy.

I'm thankful I escaped my family. Some may argue I put myself through hell, but I think that hell made me a far better person in the end than if I had stayed with them.

I'm thankful I have someone like Miss Montez and her family that I could spend the day with if I chose to.

I'm thankful I have my sister Amber and her husband, and I'll go see them when I want to play in the snow.

I'm thankful I'm going to be working today at a really nice restaurant.

And as always, I'm thankful I woke up this morning.
p.s. since PB has read this & gone to her family's I can amend the above sentence... thankful I woke up this morning next to the Perfect Brunette!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


How long does it take to get over pneumonia?

I'm tired of this now.

Yes. I'm tired of being tired.

That is all. Thank you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Brame Finds A Key

Meet Brame. I thought I would put up a sampling of my writing. This is my character Brame's first appearance in 666 West End Avenue in the collaborative horror novel at Panhistoria. Although with Brame, collaborative is a little misleading. If you read his whole story you'll see that to date he never directly interacts with anyone in the building, except to kill another resident. Despite that, it does require collaboration with other writers to set up little tie ins with others, maintain continuity, and his presence does get acknowledged somewhat. Maybe someday he'll meet his neighbors.

Fat people float. It’s just a fact of life or death rather, Brame thinks as he watches the dark shape fade away in the water. Fat people are too buoyant and need to be weighted down which only creates more problems. He prefers the skinny ones. Simply toss them in the river and they would sink on their own, far enough down the currents can carry them away so they’re no longer his problem.

Traffic should be his problem as he walks over to the guardrail separating him from the first three of six lanes of the Hudson Parkway. Six lanes of speeding motorists all intent on being somewhere else and not a single one of them focused on their driving.

He slings his battered olive green canvas satchel across his back and steps onto the low guardrail, balances on the dented metal barrier, and happily waves at a mohawked kid who flips him the bird in passing. Only six lanes of traffic to get to the other side and no one takes notice of the slim darkly clad man on the side of the road until he calmly steps down from the guardrail directly into the path of a hedge broker screaming over his Bluetooth while checking his figures on a PDA. The broker slams on his brakes, jerks the wheel, and the guardrail does its job of preventing the shiny SUV from going into the river. Instead it bounces the vehicle back to the left, creating a tight arc so it has turned 180° when it hits the center median, flips the guardrail, and lands in oncoming traffic, creating an instant pile up.

Oblivious to the spinning wheels, hissing radiators, curses and screams, and continuing screeches and thuds of more cars slamming into one another, Brame reaches the other side of the parkway, disappears into the trees and scrub and comes out on a bike path which he follows until he finds a park bench. He’s tired now. He’d like to sleep or maybe get something to eat, but there’s something he has to check on first.

Digging through his satchel he pulls out an object wrapped in a scrap of flannel blanket. His eyes light up when he hears a rattle and he hurriedly pulls the flannel away. The box is ornately patterned tarnished silver, bound with two leather straps, joined by a third to make a carrying handle. He yanks up the sleeve of a ratty jacket, unknots a black silk cloth tied around his wrist and pulls at it until a silver skeleton key attached to a chain slips out.

“Honey, get on this side of me. He doesn’t look right.” A man eases his female companion to the right of him as they near Brame.

Crossing his arms over the box, Brame stares up at the back of a sign, at a tree limb, tries to twirl a lock of hair around his fingers, and feels the box slipping and grabs at with both hands. The woman clutches the man’s arms with both hands as they pick up their pace to hurry past him. He squints at their backs. Sticks out his tongue. He doesn’t like people who judge others just for sitting on park benches. As if there is anything wrong with sitting on a bench.

He loosens the straps a little. In goes the key. A quick turn and a click. The lid is open just enough for Brame to stick his fingers inside and feel around until he finds something. He pulls out a key attached to a metal fob with three raised numbers: 666. He closes the lid, tucks away his skeleton key and the exposed chain, and rewraps the scrap of black.He holds the key and fob close to his face for inspection turning it over and over with calloused fingers. No address. Just a number, but he knows exactly where to go.

A smile splits his face as he tucks the key into a front pocket. Brame is a happy man. The key is just further proof that when he does good things he is rewarded.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sickly Fascinating

I was with my friend Madame when she took these pictures. This thing smelled like a wet dog. Possibly a wet dead dog. It was huge. I thought it was a deflated soccer ball when we were zipping past on a golf cart. She took the photographs, then tossed it at me yelling "Catch!" right about the time it hit me in the chest.
You need to see the bigger versions. Zoom in. Can you find the fly?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Bit of Surreal

My warden finally let me out of the apartment. Miss Montez took me with her doing some running around and we wound up down at the Grill earlier this morning. They told me to make my pneumonia riddled self useful and go over to the big side and help the staff set up over there. Yay! Something to do.

Satellite radio was playing the seventies station and I was singing along, not really thinking about what songs were playing. One should always pay attention to the songs one is singing as well as one's surroundings. Especially the people surrounding oneself.

I looked up from wiping some tables and see everyone is staring at me. Everyone. They are all giving me mischievous looks. What have I done? I have no clue.

Then I hear the song that's playing. "Short People" Oh yah, I was singing "Short People" and by the looks of it, I'm at least a foot taller than every single person on staff that day, with the exception of one and she was hiding in the kitchen, probably laughing her ass off at me. She was at least smart enough not to sing along!

I was backed into a corner and tickled until I wheezed which wasns't very long given my current lung capacity. I hope everyone there doesn't get sick now because of me, but then again, that's where I picked up the flu which led to the pneumonia, so they only brought it on themselves. Of course, I didn't have to go down there. But they could have locked me out on the patio. Yeah, I can play the "It's not my fault" game as well as anyone else.

Yeah, it was strange. Just that moment of looking up and seeing all these people spread throughout the room, just staring at me. Not saying a word just staring.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Official

I am sick. It's offical. Has the doctor's seal of approval and everything. I am sick.

I hate being sick. And that Miss Montez can lord it over me now saying she was right and I should have listened to her.

But I don't mind her babying me when she isn't lecturing me on how men are big stupid babies who can't take care of themselves.

Sometime I'll have to share what she is like when she's sick.

Monday, November 17, 2008

So What Did I Do?

A little of everything. I goofed off a lot. I talked to people on PanHistoria and am thinking about making another character, but I don't know. I'm not familiar with the material and don't do non-original characters well. But I'm still considering it.

I slid down a hill, climbed halfway back up and lay down under a tree for awhile. Hey, if you can't enjoy being unemployed, you don't deserve to be a bum!

Out making my rounds I stopped into a place and was reading the paper. This man came and sat at his desk and said "Hello, Scarecrow. How are you? Where have you been? I haven't seen you in so long." I thought he was messing with me. I finally asked him exactly what did he do this weekend. I saw him just Friday when he came in with his lunch. He had meatloaf. Apparently he had a long boring weekend.

I visited two cats, Tom and Barnyard, who are very funny and if they are in the alley where they aren't supposed to be will act like they don't know me. But once we get to the back of the business where they live, they turn around and greet me.

I made some money helping a kitchen catch up on their prep because there's always someone who doesn't show up for work on Monday or shows up late and everything falls behind. Is it really Monday? Yes it is. The days got all out of order for awhile.

Came home, goofed off, did laundry, talked to fellow writers on Pan, and somewhere in there got the munchie and realized I did not have marshmallows to go with the brownies and mini peanutbutter cups. It was a travesty. And then my roommate tells me there is no more fruit salad. Oh god, no fruit salad! No. Am I the only one capable of chopping up fruit? So he had to go get marshmallows or I wouldn't make his fruit salad. Only wait, he didn't mean fruit salad, he meant waldorf salad.

People should be more specific. Even if they have burned one down. What if I hadn't caught myself in time? He could have had fruit salad instead of Waldorf salad tomorrow and he would have been very sad.

Obviously this is not the place to come when you are looking for brilliance or literary or anything earth shattering. I am just rambling tonight.

I am very tired and all I really want to do is put my head down and her hands on my head and see if she can make the pain go away. But she isn't here. So I keep distracting myself. I want to be very still and go to sleep. I have to keep moving.

What Am I Doing Today?

What to do today? There are so many possibilities.

Miss Montez would have me go to the doctor, just to be sure I don't have pneumonia. Everyone is convinced I have pneumonia. I say it's just that pleurisy and let's not worry about the cause. To go to the doctor costs money and I already owe the GP money, so to get an appointment with him I'll have to pay the money I owe. And to find out if it's pneumonia will require a chest x-ray and bloodtests. X-rays are expensive.

I think this is why 60,000 people die of pneumonia every year. They aren't go to pay several hundred dollars on the off chance it might be pneumonia and wait to see if it gets worse or better.

I'll probably go walking around. It's a cold day, but clear and I have a new jacket. Walking around will make me feel better. I've been too lazy lately.

I could go crunching through the leaves or sliding down the hill. The other day I watched some kids trying to come down a long driveway that was covered with leaves on top of wet pinestraw. They weren't successful. Well, they were successful in having fun, but not in making it down without falling and sliding a lot. Somewhere there is bound to be a pile of leaves at a bottom of a hill waiting to be slid into.

There is always the possibility that I could be productive, finally do all the laundry, go look in the storage room, try to locate all my sweatshirts and sweaters so I won't spend the winter wearing short sleeve shirts with thermal shirts under them and trying not to look cold.

Probably I'll go crunching through leaves, maybe go to town and visit people. It really is a nice day outside.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gumbo with Word Salad

Gumbo calleth me and I answereth it, because it is mighty fine gumbo.

On the way to the seafood market I see not one, but two of my favorite people. I guess they are my favorite couple. Madame and Prado. We talk. They're happy. I'm happy. I get babbly. Babbly is fine with friends.

On to the seafood market. I go in. The guy there is a nice guy. He says, "Hey Scarecrow, did you get taller?" I tell him yes and pat my head. It's sticking up today. No attempt to tame it. What is the point in having crazy hair if you try to make it behave? That is just fighting nature. He likes me says I make him feel short and he's the tallest in his family. Asks what I want and I can't say gumbo.

I just can't. Any word, but that word.

There was another customer in there, a man I didn't know, so I immediately try to correct myself. This only makes it worse. I go from just saying the wrong word to repeating myself, making myself more nervous, and repetitive phrases and substituted words become word salad that have no connection whatsoever to what I mean. So instead of simply saying what I'm looking at or a word I think of when I think of gumbo, it all goes to hell.

"I came in for okra, I mean the is that trout soup? Sorry, I was looking at the - okra, the soup with okra. No. You know. Shrimp. Fish. Okra. Soup. It's not..I was I said it because I was ... I saw the trout... not the trout... I don't want the trout...I want the not the it has okra shrimp fish I know the word it has a word a word one word okra fish shrimp Forgotten Stop the jumbles. Not jumbles. Tumbling rush. Back up. Back. Fish, Scallops. Scales. Shoes. Feet in the sand of the ocean a million little rocks crash together. Crash. Skull. Crack open. Stop. Who stops? Sign. Red. Cup. Plastic. Not plastic. Foam. foaming. Angry. Smiles. She smiles. She is happy. I am happy. Stop.*" Until finally I get my hand over my mouth and close my eyes and I hear the guy in the market telling the customer it's okay, what can he get for him? And then I got all the words to stop rushing around in my head and trying to get out. Got them put back where they belonged and finally when he had rung up the other sale I just formed the sentence in my head which is what I should have done in the first place and said. "Gumbo. And it better be good after all that."

This is one reason I like living in a small town. When I have moments like this people know I'm not crazy or stupid. It's like a really odd stutter. Don't try to help me. It only makes it worse. Just wait it out or ignore me. It'll work itself out. It's a language disorder caused from being young and idiotic in my earlier life. I took one too many bumps on the noggin'. I'm not always aware I do it, especially when typing so if you've ever gotten some odd messages from me, now you know why. You can imagine how I wear out the backspace on my keyboard.

This has almost no effect on my reading comprehension, but when I do substitute one word for another reading something it's very hard for me to put the right word back in, even when I can clearly see the right word. For example, in the sentence Close the door please I might substitute dog for door. If that happened for some bizarre reason, I would know and see that word is door, but my brain has decided it's meant to be dog. That's very rare though. Maybe that's why people say I look so amused half the time. I'm thinking about closing dogs which makes me think of those half dogs in Return Of The Living Dead. I better stop, I'm getting into stream of conciousness now.

By the way, it was damn good gumbo.

*And no this isn't word for word. I can't remember exactly what I said since I was stressing at that moment, just bits and piece. I do say "stop" a lot when it happens because I try to make myself stop talking. Once I can stop I'm fine and can start talking normally once again.

Today's Lesson November 14

Every day I learn something new. I'd like to share with you what I learned today.

When roleplaying hot zombie sex and having to do the moaning, the difference between regular moaning and zombie moaning is the zombie moaning should have a bit of rattling to it and some plegmy sounds mixed in.

Thanks, Jalena. That's why I love you and your tasty brains so much.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nice Day For A Funeral

No it wasn't dreary and rainy and miserable. Yesterday was really nice.

My friend Jeff's dad died this weekend and his funeral was yesterday. Mr. C. had a big family. Jeff was part of the "new family" as it was called. Mr. C was one of those men that had an affair when he got middle-aged, left the "old family" to start a "new family", but Mr. C was such a great guy that both families got along and became one great big family.

I guess family is the important word there. They're a family.

The funeral wasn't one of those dreary things with a bunch of sad songs, preachers trying to get their message across, everyone crying and being sad. Mr. C's funeral wasn't like that at all. No, his was about remembering who he was and sharing in his life. He really was a great guy who knew how to enjoy life. He was the kind of person that if you were having a bad day he'd spend about ten seconds letting you sulk then tell you to "suck it up and get over it." His funeral was about family getting up and telling stories about why they loved him, fun stories. If anybody was crying at the funeral, it's because we were laughing so hard.

The graveside was rather moving. A simple affair. He was military. Navy. And the two men in their blue uniforms waited, white hats and gloves. The immediate family took their seats and it was decided the oldest daughter would receive the flag. The current wife and the exwife didn't sit. Just the children. The bugler played Taps, then the flag was folded. It was quiet and there was just the wind and the leaves. Jeff's friends who are in the service were in uniform. Mr. C's friends who are retired military were all at attention and saluted.

And then it was over and we all started to scatter. Every little group walking away, laughing because we were talking about Mr. C. Elsewhere another group was having a funeral. No one there was laughing. Mostly tears. Guess they were focusing on the death and not celebrating the life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Continuity is for the Conscientious

Over at the writing community PanHistoria I write in several novels in different genres; horror, history, fantasy, and sci-fi. So I have the pleasure of collaborating with all different types of writers. Well, often it's a pleasure. Sometimes, not so much.

In the novels at Pan many writers are often working together to create their stories. Not always an easy thing with people being located all over the world, on such different schedules, and often at various skill levels. Not to mention varying writing styles. And yet still, somehow it always manages to work out for the enjoyment of all. Usually - but I'm getting to that.

The individual writers and characters don't always interact just because they are in the same novel. For example, my character Brame in 666 West End Avenue is fairly isolated from the others even though he lives in the same apartment building. In the future he will be interacting with others, the writers knowing I am slightly neurotic about the charater of Brame and how he behaves, Most writers are very careful when they are "writing another person's character". There are certain things Brame would not do. Ack, I'm sidetracking myself. What I mean to say is, I don't write with anyone else in there yet, but I try to be aware of the timeline and not mess anyone else up. Yes, sometimes I screw up. When my character was going to be blocking the stairwell I posted on the planning boards to let everyone know, so it wouldn't interfere with anyone else, and so they could mention it in their posts if they wanted to keep the continuity in case they were on the same timeline.

Now on to another novel...

A new post goes up last night. I almost didn't read it because it's by someone who doesn't interact with anyone else and to be honest I don't care for her writing. She's too sloppy. Too many mistakes. I'm considered to be a fluent paraphasic and I can take the time to make sure I've chosen the correct words and she gets 'define' and 'defy' confused. Please! It makes me gnash my teeth to read her posts. But this one was brought to my attention because it was snowing. No big deal, except for everyone else in the novel, it's the middle of spring.

Yes, we're all enjoying the beautiful spring, and she's trudging around in a snowstorm. Hmm, maybe it's one of those fluke spring blizzards. I live in Alabama and we even had one of those once. Nope, she's just in her own little world and not keeping up with the timeline. Apparently she missed that whole war on the planning boards when everyone was being so considerate of one another we just wanted permission to move ahead a few hours past two other characters who were lingering around lunchtime.

All I'm asking for is just an attempt at continuity. If you're interacting with someone you should probably decide if it's day or night so one of you won't comment on the beautiful sunrise and the other be admiring the full moon. And even if you aren't writing with anyone else, don't create a blizzard in the middle of spring. That's putting up a big banner on your post telling everyone else in your novel that not only don't you take the time to read what they are writing, you basically don't give a damn.

That said, I think I'll go write a completely unnecessary post where I'm enjoying a perfect spring day or if I can't pull it off ask one of my writing partners to do it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I'm Tall Not Deaf

Let's get this out of the way. It's something that comes up every day. Practically every time I go out and sometimes I don't even have to go out. I am tall. Very tall. Over six and a half feet tall. I'm also thin. I wear a 28 waist if that gives you any indication.

Come on, I didn't get the nickname Scarecrow from standing out in fields telling birds to move along.

Being tall and thin is not like being short and fat. Sure, people who are short and fat get comments made about them, but it's mostly behind their backs. I'm not saying that's preferable. People shouldn't be criticized because of their physical make-ups. A person can't help being short or tall and sometimes they can't help being skinny or fat. What I mean about the difference is when you are tall and thin people make the comments directly to you or in front of you as if you can't hear them. That's why a friend gave me my t-shirt that says "I'm Tall Not Deaf."

I was in a store and a mother pointed me out to her children. People make fun of me for being tall and skinny saying I must have eaten my vegetables but not my proteins or say I look like I was put on the rack and stretched out. I don't hear them telling very short people they look like they were put in the dryer too long and shrunk. Everyone assumes I play basketball. Well, I did, in high school until the board passed a rule making me ineligible which is another rant entirely.

Just going to the store I can be asked a slew of questions. How tall am I, am I tall enough, why am I so tall, do I like being tall, why am I so skinny, don't I eat enough, do I sleep at an angle across the bed, how do I find clothes that fit, do I bump my head on doorways, etc etc etc. I especially like it when people simply ask if I get tired of all the people asking me dumb questions about being tall.

Sometimes I get asked very personal questions by total strangers. Because I have big feet and hands people want to know if "everything is in proportion" or if it's true what they say about men who have big feet and hands. [Usually I answer, "Yes, we wear big socks and gloves."] Is it true that when having sex everyone's the same height? [That one took me awhile to figure out what they were talking about. It's a waist up thing. So the reply to that is along the lines of well, if you're going to be boring and limit yourself and she's not short-waisted or anything, I guess so, kinda maybe.]

I have a girlfriend [I call her PB online which is short for the Perfect Brunette] who is also tall and thin. She's a bartender. I hear people say to her, "God I hate you, you're so tall and thin" and she just smiles at them and often other people agree, even her friends, and they have a bitch fest about how people like her who are just naturally thin are evil. Now what if she were short and fat and that same person came up to her and said, "God I hate you, you're so short and fat." Would anyone agree with that person? Or would they jump to PB's defense?

I'm not really going anywhere with this. I don't have some wise or dramatic statement to wrap this all up. I just thought I would start with something obvious about me. I'm that tall thin guy. That's one reason I'm the Scarecrow.