So what have I to catch up on? Well: (1) Visitors to GoodSoupAndAMovie (2) a lazy man on the way there (3) a concert (4) learning Romanian (5) learning Portuguese [but not really] (6) people from Mississippi, and (7) last night’s movie. But maybe not in that order. But probably.
Affable Olive, her sister Marry Me, and their mother all came to visit Friday evening. Affable told me that they were coming, and warned that they may come to the house early. I was out in service all day Friday, and was going to be home a little after five o’clock, as usual, but this week we were meeting earlier because my grandmother, famous for her date balls at Horse’n’Buggy’s housewarming party, was coming. We were watching Walk the Line and it was a movie H’n’B thought she would like. She did. But anyway, I was on my way home from service, and it’s HOT, I mean HOT (yes, that’s bold, italics, underlined, and all caps), so I’m less than presentable, and as part of my regular schedule, come home from service and take a shower immediately. I then have time to check my email, relax, catch up on things before I leave for GSAM. I was behind this car in the neighborhood, and I don’t know why I noticed it, but I didn’t notice the county plate that would have made it obvious that this was the Olive family. I followed them through the neighborhood toward my house up my driveway where I lay on the horn for a while. Summary: all three get out, Mamma Olive decides to go to Fancy Mexican with my parents, and Olive children come to GSAM. The parentals left early, and we weren’t far behind. We listened to good music of one kind or another on the way, and I think Guster was in. Anyway, I drive thru this neighborhood to get to the restaurant because going the normal way, there’s a left turn at a stop sign you have to make where I have sat for literally fifteen minutes. So I go through the neighborhood. It’s a fancy one with big houses that don’t match, and they don’t have a HOA and stuff, and some of the curbs are painted white, and there’s speed bumps, or “traffic calming devices,” as the signs say. So we’re driving thru and we see this guy pull up into his driveway and get out to check his mail. He parks the car at the bottom of the driveway and leaves the driver door open. He grabs his big fat trash can like he’s gonna bring it up to the house and then come get the car. With a twinkle in his eye and a (supposed) spark of ingenuity, he tries to fit the weird handle of the trash can over the trailer ball on his hitch, only, I imagine, to his disappointment, to find that he has to walk it up either way. People are so lazy. (That paragraph takes care of 1 and 2, and I have decided not to discuss 4 and 5 at this time).
This paragraph handles numbers 3 and 6. I got a text message Saturday evening from a friend of mine in Mississippi, who said she was in town and wanted to do something. She would only be here until Tuesday, and wanted to go see a movie or something. That was cool. I had plans Saturday night, a prior engagement, a dinner thing for some friends that are moving away, and I couldn’t not go. I told her that Sunday would work fine, and that I’d give her a call when I was home. She said she had dinner plans with her relatives, but they were going to be early, and then we could go do something afterwards. (Oh, she also had with her some of her friends from San Antonio). This girl NEVER answers her phone, even when I know she’s just texted me or something, and Podunk Mobile doesn’t offer voicemail, so there’s no leaving a message. Didn’t hear from her, didn’t hear from her, called, didn’t hear from her, called again, etc. Then, Cpl Mother (whose nickname will change, but suffices for the purpose of this post) pulled me aside and asked if I wanted to go to a concert that evening. She and her husband were going, and so was Kimmi Stewart. H’n’B was supposed to go, but couldn’t for reasons immaterial to this post. I agreed on the spot, thus dumping Miss MS for the evening. The weather was unbearably hot when I went home to do yardwork, and I showered and prepared to leave to meet at the Cpl’s house. Summary: we packed a delightful dinner (thanks to Kimmi), the weather cooled down greatly, the opening act (Toby Lightman) was AWESOME, and Jewel was spectacular. I don’t have any of her CDs, but she’s a great live performer. She talks between songs as if it’s over coffee, and does somewhat of a comedy routine, but not enough to be annoying. At one point, she stopped and went on this spiel: “This is the best song I’ve written; I don’t want to brag, but as far as song writing goes, this one’s way up there. It’s lyrical, poetic, socially relevant, moving, and emotional. And, like any other classic socially relevant song, it’s a polka!” (Oh, by the way, the rest of the band had moved off stage by now, and everything else she did was solo, so she just had her guitar.) She proceeds to play this jumpy cutesy singalong number that should have belonged on Sesame Street or Barney or something, and it was entitled “Does anyone want to catch a cold with me?” It was HYSTERICAL! Summary: Jewel has an incredible voice, can totally rock out or play the delicate singer/songwriter, displays phenomenal voice control, sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a capella that would make Judy Garland extremely jealous, and can yodel to make even the staunchest yodel-hater jealous and/or highly emotional. She was amazing, but in the end, got the nix because the neighborhood ordinance doesn’t allow yodeling (or any other loud stuff) to go on after 11 pm, and therefore the timers clicked and she lost sound. It was over. She was incredible. I shall elaborate more later.
Continuing with number 6: since we didn’t go do anything on Sunday, we’d figure on doing something Monday night. I had made plans with the Cpl to be out Monday until at least 3 pm, and maybe 5. Miss MS texted me at 2 pm and said they were going downtown to see all the cool stuff that real cities have, and she wanted me to come. I declined unless they were leaving after 3, and she said they were already on their way. She told me she would be back around 4-ish, and that she had to go to the mall to return a few things. I would be home by then and would call her to catch up with them. That was the gameplan, and she had dinner plans at seven or eight, so we had time to bum around before then. I got home later than I thought I would’ve (around 4), and showered. I txted her and said I would be available the rest of the evening. She did not respond. The family and I had to go downstairs and watch a movie for the meeting tomorrow night, and it was only about a half an hour (Oh by the way, H’n’B had called me earlier to see if I wanted to see X-men: The Last Stand that evening, and I said yes. She suggested about a 7 oclocker, and that would be perfect because Miss MS would be having dinner by that time.) My family and I watched the movie, and I had developed one of these tension headaches (or something) that I seem to get, and nothing can cure it. I’ve tried to exercise, drink water, avoid reading, take Tylenol, etc. and the only thing that works is sleep. I lay in the recliner and turned on X-men 2 and slept for about an hour. Dad woke me up, and I had been dead to the world. Feeling somewhat better, I texted Miss MS and it said something to this effect: “Hey, good job with catching up at the mall.” I was tired of her by this time. I immediately called H’n’B to finalize movie plans, and we went to see it, along with IDunno (who I think at one time was called Hugginest Boy).
The movie was awesome. Lots of people die, though, but very, very significant things happen to a lot of characters. It was a little disorganized at first, because there were a lot of factions in the movie that you couldn’t identify with, or know who to focus your attention on, and it made for a busy plot at first. It became more well defined later on, but the one thing I was a little disappointed with was that it wasn’t really long enough to be the grand epic finale that a third (and last) movie in a series should have been (in my opinion), but I would definitely recommend it, especially because Famke Janssen is stunningly beautiful. I was expecting a three hour thing, but it was good. I’ll just have to see it again.
I’m finished for now, and I’m sure more details on all of this will come later, as will numbers 3 and 4.


Hope you're getting a visual

Some things (and one very good one) I forgot to mention about the graduation party last weekend:
1. I saw some of my very dear cousins (one of whom I stayed with for a while and we bonded) (another of whom is identical to my mother, and has a very cool husband) and it made my year to see them

2. My uncle and his son each took turns playing the really old (but cool) piano. It was all dusty and cracking on the inside, and the felt on the hammers were all rotted out. They played all sorts of  things, and it had a very cool (and out of tune) distinct “old” sound, like walking into a ghost town. I took some really cool pictures from my phone and I don’t know why they didn’t get saved, but here’s one, and it’s blurry because the person that was playing it hit me.

Anyway, it was old and the finish had almost turned green, but you could see, if you opened the cabinet, that it was the prettiest mahogany. Oh, by the way, it was an upright piano, the deepest I’ve ever seen. The cabinet itself, before even reaching the keys, was probably three feet out from the wall. Very nice. The sound was like the sound on (I know, I’m a nerd) Bells for Her, from Tori Amos’ CD Under the Pink, because in that recording, the took apart and (speedily) rebuilt the piano she played on, and it has a really cool sound.

3. Now for getting the visual: the backyard of this really cool western-style barn/party hall/shack-looking-thang sloped down into a thin forest where you could just see through to the pond. It was very cool, and was a perfect amphitheatre. The band was set up after dinner to play; they were a local gig, and good friends of the graduate. Dear Cousins and I were walking around after dinner, drinks in hand, (and 300 degrees outside) walking the backyard, and one of them says to me “So what kind of music do these guys play?” They had the “Sound of Music,” soundtrack playing (as a joke obviously) while they set up, so I responded “They’re doing My Favorite Things, a few Mary Poppins numbers and an Ethel Merman medley. My cousin responded with the following, and thus the “Ethel Merman Tribute Band,” was born. You really had to be there, and maybe it was just the scorching heat, but it was hysterical. We laughed about that for quite some time, as it was a real knee-slapper.

I think that’s all for now… except that they played Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, and almost did a really good job.

And as a bonus, which I’m thoroughly excited about but too tired to expound upon, I was informed that someone was thinking of me and bought me a ticket to go see Guster. And no, I don’t have any extras, so if you want to come you must buy your own. You see, I WAS INVITED.

Thank you. That is all.



I haven’t blogged in a while (aka a few days) and I feel it’s about time to fill you in on the nothing that I’m doing.

I made a list a while ago on Amazon.com of a bunch of recommended CDs that are things that were either recommended to me, or were listed on the “if you liked…” type of thing, so I checked out some of my favorite albums and tried to see who was suggested to me, and then looked at the “if you liked…” for them, so I have a huge list of people to check out. The list is very long, and right now I’m listening to Patrick Park’s album Loneliness Knows My Name. It’s really good, and to me he sounds l like a cross between Bread and Bob Dylan… I think. I’ve recently gotten a few Best Buy gift cards, and since they’re not for a whole bunch, I’m going to treat myself to a new CD, since anything I buy makes me feel guilty for not saving the money for my Big Trip coming up next year. So I have reason to buy something, and I’m going to make it worthwhile.

Besides that, there’s not a whole lot going on. I went to my cousin’s graduation party this past weekend, and it reminds me that there’s nothing like family. I have a great one. We had a blast, from playing soccer indoors (with a volleyball) among light fixtures, windows, and an old piano (which I was not fretting about. It looked super cool, but was at LEAST a hundred years old and had not been kept up); we drove home through the nothingland and had the windows down with two of my favorite cousins listening to one of the best CDs I own, and it was all mellow and nice. We came home and put said CD while about fifteen of my family, aunts, uncles cousins, watched graduated cousin open his presents and count his loot. We all ate tons of barbecue sandwiches, complete with jalapenos, yellow mustard, onions, coleslaw, and washed it all down with gallons of Welch’s grape soda. There were, like I said, about fifteen of us, and we barely put a dent in what we had. It was grand. We all crashed around 2 am. We hung out at the pool the next day, and then on the way home enjoyed listening to the Walk the Line soundtrack, aforementioned best CD, and John Mayer, and we all sang all the way home, except when one cousin slept for a while. It was very enjoyable.

Now I’m listening to Will Hoge’s Blackbird on a Lonely Wire, and this may be the one I’m buying, but his voice isn’t entirely unique, and neither is his sound, but I like it. We’ll see.

Nothing else to say right now, except that I’m looking forward to watching Walk the Line Friday, as it is a delightful motion picture.



BackintownTootiredtoblogrightnow WillposttomorrowmorningGoodnighteventhoughitsnotthatlateSeemslikeit…


The last one... and begging for ideas

So I had a wonderful breakfast this morning: a fried egg, two pieces of honey wheat toast, both buttered, and one with peanut butter, and a bowl of honey bunches of oast (con almonds) with soymilk. It was delicious. I was worried about using another frying pan, because I’ve ended up having to wash them all, and didn’t want eggs THAT bad, but dad had already made eggs for I dunno. So I did too.

Anyway, this is the last installment of the Williams’. I found out that two of my readers are out of town, but that’s no excuse for not having any comments for ideas for this poor family. I copied everything I have, including the incomplete sentence at the end, but I added some ellipses afterward, so yes, it does drop off into oblivion. That’s why I need your help. Comments start… (1…2…3…) NOW.


Although the weather hadn’t changed much since he came in that morning, it seemed different: the wind was no longer a gust, it seemed more a breeze; the cool temperature wasn’t cold, it was now brisk.  He felt good, and got in his car but didn’t go anywhere immediately because he didn’t know where he would go. He didn’t want to go home, but he didn’t feel like driving around everywhere, so he thought for a moment, turning off the radio. He looked out across the parking lot and saw some napkins and a small paper cup strewn off in the corner farthest from the building. He thought nothing of it, but it gave him his idea. He started the car and drove away.

Sarah was finishing a small quiz in her Portuguese class. She wanted to spend some time in Brazil in the coming years. A family member had a business that was thriving down there (coffee-related, of course), and had volunteered to let her see what of it she wanted while she visited. The corporate world was booming in Brazil, and she loved the language and the people. Having already taken Spanish, it wasn’t that difficult a jump for her, and she was acing the class. She had the last blank to fill in next to the word “climb,” and she wrote “escalada,” without pausing.  She looked over her work, satisfied with how quickly she had finished, but she wasn’t the type to attempt to turn in the first paper. Her grade was far more important than that. She checked it over again and was happy with it. She stood up to turn it in, and as she walked back to her seat, there was a beep from the intercom, and the pleasant voice asked for Sarah Williams to come to the front office. There were some students that knew that bad things were in their future when they were called to the office, but Sarah knew the opposite. The last thought on her mind was getting into trouble, and she calmly grabbed her things and approached the door.

Melinda was outside with her drama class. She had decided to take drama when she needed another credit to catch some extra grades. It would bump up her GPA, and it was a class she knew she could skip if she wanted to. It was close to the last class of the day, so she could take the rest of the day off when she felt like it, or have an afternoon nap when she needed it, before she went to Civics, another extra, but one she would more than likely use later on.

They were outside performing a “greatest hits” of sorts, trying to decide what they wanted to study next; there was Hamlet’s famous “to be or not to be,” speech, King Henry VIII was sitting next to a Professor Henry Higgins listening for the accent of a confused Puck, and Romeo and Juliet went to get something to drink with Willy and Biff Loman.  She was racking her brain for what character she would play in this mishmash of dramatis personae when she was handed a note by a student that worked in the office. She was needed in the front office, and was told she should probably take her things with her. She was less the student that was confident of good thing when called to the office, but nothing suspicious came to mind if she thought she could be in trouble.

Melinda was there first, and she saw her dad there. She knew he was working today, so was concerned when she needed her to come home. His demeanor dispelled her fears. All was well, and she thought that maybe something very good had happened that required attention, rather than a catastrophe. He invited her to sit down in her own school’s office. They did, and he didn’t say anything aside from the usual greetings and meaningless conversation stuff. Melinda didn’t know what they were waiting on until she saw her sister coming down the hall with more confidence about her fate in the office than she herself would’ve had. When Chuck saw her, he stood up and exited the office with Melinda behind him and they both followed him out. They did not yet know why. He told them not to move; he ran and got the car, drove it up and opened the two doors for them. They put their stuff in the trunk and felt like little kids again. Daddy picked them up from school and they were excited to have the rest of the day off. They asked about the car they had driven to school, and he said they could pick it up later. They were both sitting in the backseat and the smell of their home and the leather brought refreshment from school and a quick start to the weekend. They talked about the day’s affairs and the girls were discussing their classes when they found themselves at the ice cream parlor.

*           *           *           *           *

Diane was glad the family had had a good time today; she didn’t want to be a party pooper or ruin anything, but there were some things that had to be done, and she was going to try to get them to go out to dinner tonight. Nothing really happened on Tuesdays anyway and she didn’t much feel like cooking. She finished putting up the groceries and reorganized a few things in the refrigerator, threw a few things out, and sat down in front of the TV. Last she heard from Chuck, they had just finished ice cream and would be home in a little bit. She flipped around on the television but found nothing of interest. Not long after that, the rest of the family came home very happy. Everyone had been treated: ice cream, clothes, Dad got a pair of driving gloves (a gag), and even Mom, who wasn’t around was brought home a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine. They ended up going out to dinner.

It wasn’t long after they had been seated (which wasn’t long after they got there, for it was a Tuesday, and not very busy) that they began to discuss…




Raise High the Roofbeam, Bloggers

So I’ve started reading J.D. Salinger again. I pulled “Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction,” off the shelf, and read the second story, Seymour. They were published together, and the writing style, very typical of Salinger, is riotously hysterical. I love his writing. Some of the lines are excellent. For example:

“It is (to describe it figuratively) as if an author were to make a slip of the pen, and as if this clerical error became conscious of being such. Perhaps this was no error but in a far higher sense was an essential part of the whole exposition. It is, then, as if this clerical error were to revolt against the author, out of hatred for Iron, were to forbid him to correct it, and were to say, 'No, I will not be erased, I will stand as a witness against thee, that thou art a very poor writer.’”

Well, one of my favorite quotes of his comes from “Catcher in the Rye”:

“Boy, when you are dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a god dam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you are dead? Nobody.”

But back to Seymour:

“What I am, I think, is a thesaurus of undetached prefatory remarks about him [Seymour]. I believe I essentially remain what I’ve almost always been- a narrator, but one with extremely pressing personal needs. I want to introduce, I want to describe, I want to distribute mementos, amulets, I want to break out my wallet and pass around snapshots, I want to follow my nose.”

And the Best:

“But what, at least in modern times, I think one most recurrently hears about the curiously-productive-yet-ailing poet or painter is that he is invariably a kind of super-size but unmistakably “classical” neurotic, an aberrant who only occasionally, and never deeply, wishes to surrender his aberration; or, in English, a Sick Man who not at all seldom, though he’s reported to childishly deny it, gives out terrible cries of pain, as if he would wholeheartedly let go both his art and his soul to experience what passes in other people for wellness, and yet (the rumor continues) when his unsalutary-looking little room is broken into and someone- not infrequently, at that, someone who actually loves him- passionately asks him where the pain is, he either declines or seems unable to discuss it at any constructive clinical length, and in the morning, when even great poets and  painters presumable feel a bit more chipper than usual, he looks more perversely determined than ever to see his sickness run its course, as though by the light of another, presumably working day he had remembered that all me, the healthy ones included, eventually die, and usually with a certain amount of bad grace, but that he, lucky man, is at least being done in by the most stimulating companion, disease or no, he has ever known.”

And that, my friends, is my favorite sentence in all of literature that has graced my mammoth brain. It’s just superb. Despite the fact that it’s horribly long, he doesn’t rape and pillage the rules of English grammar. And what he says is meaningful I think. It’s just delightful. Scrumtrulescent.

But since J.D. Salinger has written most of this blog, I won’t go on about what I’ve been writing lately except that you should expect a post sometime tomorrow about what I’ve been  writing lately and how difficult it has been to continue with it. Don’t forget that, because if I do, I expect you, dear reader, to jog my memory, because if I know anything about my audience, I know they’ll look out for me, if for no other reason than for the sake of making sure I don’t stop posting. Or something.  


Only one more episode after this:

Also, please be aware that after the last installment (the one after this one) or even before, I’ll be looking for suggestions as to where this should lead, either vaguely or specifically. It’s up to you because if I come to a dead end with them, their literary life could be in severe jeopardy: they could be forever retired (or worse).


After the movie was over, they went downstairs and had coffee; Sarah had hot chocolate. She remembered:

“Guess who’s coming to school on Friday! Senator Shaw! I thought that was great! A bunch of the kids are on a field trip that day, and it’s hilarious that everyone’s sitting in traffic fighting and fussing to get a glimpse of him, and all I have to do is go to school. He’s going to spend lunch with us and everything. It’ll be neat.”

Sarah was class president in eighth grade and had always enjoyed politics, not so much the title or idea of politics itself, but the effort to do it and glory involved once at the top, since she could always do it. It was a hobby for her, but to meet the presidential candidate was a big deal, maybe even for the wrong reasons, but needless to say, she was excited.

“That’ll be very nice,” said Mom, without really thinking about it. “Daddy, didn’t you meet him once? You can see if he remembers your dad, sweetie. I’m sure he does.”

* * * * *

He got out of his car in the parking lot of his office building, opened the trunk and stared inside blankly. Somewhere along the line, his wife’s familiar down-home feeling got to him. He loved his job, but he suddenly realized that it was taking more time away from being with his family than was giving him other happiness; the consequences began to outweigh the benefits.

Staring at his trunk, he thought of a time when his trunk, the trunk of a beat-up car-lot sale piece, was filled with old athletic equipment from the gym that he was taking home. He was very excited to take it home and use some of it, for he was in high school now and had never really done anything athletic. It would bring him friends, and he was very excited. Now, however, it was full of toys that belonged to an old office: briefcases, manila folders, binders, phone cords, and an occasional necktie.

Some time later, he found himself behind his desk. There was only one other person in the office that day, Pam Martin. Pam Martin was the secretary for the southeast corporate branch, which Williams ran. She was fresh out of college with a degree in bean counting and needed a job. Somehow she found her way into a job that really didn’t exist until she got there; she didn’t do much of anything, but she was nice, and a pleasure to be around.

“‘Morning, Mr. Williams! Can I get you anything?”

“No, thank you.”

In his pensive state of mind, he wondered what Pam’s lot in high school was and whether she enjoyed it. He obviously couldn’t compare his high-school success with hers, but she probably had brothers or something. His parents were very concerned about his high school education, and he believed it stemmed from the fact that they, as post-depression era adults, were incredibly worried about the future: financial future, medical future, family future. In their opinion, having a good strong education backed by a solid personality and good character was the makeup of champions, and having a solid job with the same company for thirty years would not only secure one’s future, but would solidify his well-being now with all sorts of benefits. He had heard this for some time growing up, and at a very young age felt that it was his responsibility as their child to fulfill, (or assuage) their dreams (or nightmares) for the future of their offspring. He reasoned that if he did not, they would not live a happy life, and he would be responsible for it; so, as their flesh and blood, he resigned himself to doing their will, making his life theirs, and only looking at what he was told was the big picture.

The office was no busier than usual, and it was, in fact, somewhat slower. With a spring of sorts in his step for which he could not account, he walked into the building, pulling the heavy stainless steel doors open and walking inside, straight ahead as if he were on a mission, very confident as he could hear the clack of his shoes on the marble tile below them. He pushed the elevator with his knuckle and waited but a moment, and walked inside the elevator. He heard someone open the lobby door, but it took at least eight or nine seconds to get to the elevators, so he punched his floor button and the doors closed. He did not wait; on his way up, he looked at himself in the one-inch margins between the oak panels, where lay clean stainless steel, and he looked good. It wasn’t until he reached his floor and approached the doors did he realize they were completely open, and he saw all of himself; he still looked good.

Once on his floor, he looked around, and there weren’t that many people in the office. He decided he would clean some. There was a clutter in his office and in some of the public domain places, the printer, the fax machine, where some of the obscure office supplies were. He began with his office, and although a thorough cleaning did not involve scrubbing in torn jeans, it was still refreshing. He sat in his desk as usual, but the gratification was the same. He stacked papers, shredded papers, crumpled papers, moved boxes, rolled across the room to replace things, and slowly but surely more desk space began to appear. He felt better and better, and it wasn’t long before lunch rolled around. He went up to the seventh floor, where there was a small food court. He grabbed a green lunch, a chicken Caesar salad and some Ritz crackers. He wasn’t too hungry anyway. Eager to get back to work, he sat back down in his office. He didn’t eat lunch there for fear he may muss the carpet or leave the trash there, so he came back after he was finished. As he was finishing his cleaning his phone rang. It was a number he did not recognize, but he knew where the area code was from and started thinking of whom he knew in Maryland. He answered. After a few minutes of introduction, the caller was in no danger of losing Mr. Williams on the line, for he sat down to listen attentively. He pulled out his notepad and began to ask a few questions and make notes. They talked a while longer and Mr. Williams said he would be in touch with the caller.

 There wasn’t much left to do, and he decided to take the rest of the day off after he got another thing or two finished. He got some phone calls about some odd pickups on a run, and was unconcerned; he wasn’t uptight, but gave the word to do with it what they felt right.  He handled a few other duties and was out for the day.



The Three Faces of Homsar

I was doing some recreational reading lately in my old high school textbooks, and picked up my high school psychology book to look at the chapter on mental disorders, mostly dissociative stuff like dissociative identity disorder (a.k.a. multiple personality disorder), schizophrenia, psychogenic fugue, amnesia, and other stuff. I was reading the chapter on schizophrenia and it was interesting, but what was more interesting was the chapter on DID (dissociative identity disorder), and decided to do some additional research on the world's best encyclopedia.

(I must explain here the phenomenon that one encounters when reading anything at Wikipedia. I find their discussions to be very thorough, but to have many, many other terms that I am unfamiliar with or interested in that have links to their pages. The right-click, “open in new window” function leads me to having eight or ten windows open after reading one entry, and each of those spawns a few of its own peripheral readings. Check out the passage here about schizophrenia. If you were looking at this article, in the first paragraph, you would notice links to: diagnosis, mental disorder, perception, reality, delusions, hallucinations, Cognition, behavior, and Eugen Bleuler. These are not especially exciting, but are of mention simply because of the abundance of extra stuff, and when I see really super medical terms dealing with these things, I want to read, like, all of them. Hence, the time spent reading all sorts of things on things I had no intention to look up at the outset… thus leading us to conclude that I’m a geek.)

Anyway, I looked up dissociative identity, which lead me toward dissociation, and then all sorts of things like psychosis, delirium, dementia (yes, dementia), psychopathy, insanity, and also to a phrase something to the effect of “thought disorganization” leading people to speak, write, think, or act in jumbled, disconnected ways, often associated with schizophrenia, and a red flag that there IS a serious mental issue.

Aside from the very serious and uncomical aspects of that, the definition of thought disorganization as related to speech is called Word Salad, and they explain it as just that. If you’re not going to go read it, I’ll mention here one of the examples they use: (this comes from Wikipedia.org; I’m not plaigarizing): “In some cases word salad can be a sign of asymptomatic schizophrenia; e.g. the question "Why do people believe in God?" elicits a response like "Because he makes a twirl in life, my box is broken help me blue elephant. Isn't lettuce brave? I like electrons, hello."”

Why am I saying this, you might ask? Well, because ths psycho-medical stuff is fascinating, but also because Wikipedia’s “Pop Culture,” section of the word salad page says this: “The character Homsar in the animated internet cartoon series Homestar Runner is known for speaking in word salads, as are …” I dunno was at GoodSoup yesterday and did his very best HomSar impression, just without the Word Salad, but it’s always encouraging to know that a home-based American internet cartoon character is a solid diagnosis for a serious mental condition.



Why am I still working???

I am sitting in my office, at my computer checking voicemails. Why, you may ask? It is because I have no life, and the few things that people rely on me for consume me. That is why. I have been on the phone with Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania within the past half hour, pretending I don’t mind working when I’d rather be watching an infomercial for “Oxyclean,” or something. Anyway…

I started writing some new things yesterday that are going to be worked in along with something else of mine that you’ll eventually read, that I’m rather proud of, and that someone has a copy of and is hopefully reading by now. Anyway, they’re things I’ve had the ideas about for a while now, but just haven’t started them. Yes they’re depressing, yes they’re disheartening, and even maybe a little morbid, but they’re also real-life. Yes they are. So I’ve decided on a couple of ways to write them and have them be as I want them without people thinking I’m depressed or loathing. Because they’re also not things I MADE UP, but are actual, true life stories (not first hand, but related to me from someone who knew the first hand account personally) and I found them powerful in some way or another.

I’ve had enough of the computer for now. Goodybe. I bid you all adieu.


It hasn't been long but... THEY'RE BACK!!! in a full length episode!

So I was talking to Kimmi Stewart (aka Bottom Level) today and she evidently hasn’t been reading the blog lately or SOMETHING, but she said she caught up on some of The Williams’ and said something to the effect that she was getting hooked, although it wasn’t that intense a thought I’m sure. In light of it, however, I decided to air another episode of the family. I must also say to Horse’n’Buggy that I haven’t read this lately (and don’t have the time to currently) but have dropped names and places of a certain familiar city, but don’t criticize the flippant use of their names, because I know they probably don’t make sense. I had to have something to work from, and in all honesty, see this family more in Virginia Beach or the California coast rather than where they are now… I needed a prop…

Mr. Williams was very successful, but took more pride in being humble than he did in being ostentatious. He was secure in that he knew he did not have to buy anything fancy to feel fancy, and that if he didn’t want something expensive, he could buy something cheap and not feel weakened by it. He knew that anyone who knew good Chianti or leather when they saw it would notice that the Williams’ enjoyed some nice things, but that they did not feel a need to show others. By being humble and modest, he felt that they could live well within their means as well as afford some exceptional items when they felt they were needed, such as Sarah’s private instructor, whose hourly rates were exorbitant. The family mentality was that things that were too expensive would make them nervous, and too much would make them cramped; it was just easier.

Nevertheless, he did earn a living, and he needed to get to work. That was not an issue; he enjoyed work. He walked down the hall back into his office; he put away yesterday’s things while he looked at what was in order for today. He made a list, and from that list made a list of calls he had to make. Running down this list, he left a few voicemails, and was able to scratch off the first few people. The next call was a live one, and he talked to his representative in Tallahassee for over an hour about what to do with things that were not being sold: Goodwill was not taking appliances, and in some cases, the cost of repairs was extremely high. They decided the tax write-offs were good enough.

The call had ended in time for a much-needed bathroom break. His phone rang again just as he left the room, but he cared not. He finished up, washed his hands, dried them on his robe, and walked back to his desk to see what he had missed while away. His wife had called, and left a message. She was ready to meet for lunch. She wanted to go to “the bar,” which was really not a bar at all; it was more of a sandwich shop with spirits. It was called “The Storehouse,” and it rather was. It had a little bit of everything, from breads and pastries to great cuts of meat to fine wines and liquors, all displayed on naked shelves around the restaurant, giving it a homey, general-store feel, but classy. It was near River Street, downtown.

Diane Williams was fighting traffic from the mall, where she treated herself to a new pair of jeans and sunglasses. Friday was her day. There was nothing good on the radio; she scanned through the stations, and finally defaulted to news radio. She put her sunglasses on.

“This is Susan Sanders for Talk Radio WZAP, YOUR source for the news, weather, traffic, and trifles. Republican Presidential candidate Mason Shaw is in town today, signing copies of his book, ‘It’s Not Over Yet,’ on Tybee Island, on Tenth Street, holding traffic up all the way up to the river, with an unplanned parade and visits to local eating establishments down the strip. His acceptance speech is soon to come, and will be given at the Republican National Convention held this year in Atlanta. Shaw says he’s ‘more than ready to change the face…’” Diane clicked the radio off as she passed a billboard ad for John Keys, Democratic Presidential candidate, who had already give his speech and chosen his running partner, a senator out of North Carolina. She became irritated with the banter of politics and sighed. Continuing to fight lunch traffic towards home, she made her way to The Storehouse. She could smell the lotions and oils her masseuse had used and they were relaxing.

Diane was a busy woman, although it didn’t seem like it on paper. It was life, nothing out of the ordinary. She truly enjoyed seeing her children come into their own as growing women, and, like her husband, had a large hand in their lives with regard to being in tune with her children. With Sarah in high school, and Melinda coming out and going to college, she was seeing the fruitage of their efforts. Diane had always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. She had been raised Catholic, and went to twelve years of Catholic school, but later confidently relinquished her parents’ faith (to their dismay), but they were on good terms and came to respect her independence for doing what she wanted to do. Diane Wozniak, as she was known before she married, wanted to try something different, mostly to cleanse herself and have a fresh outlook on life outside the rose-colored glasses of Catholic school. She didn’t realize it, but her desire to have a family was not spawned from her Catholic upbringing, and it stayed with her through college. She majored in English with a minor in business, but never did feel content with the professional world. She held a job with a few local newspapers as assistant editor or part-time writer, and she served well, but her real desire was to raise a family. She and Chuck met in a library while she was still in college. Chuck had dropped out of college once sure of his business success and was in the university library looking at a manual on rotary engines, while Diane was researching for a paper on the literary successes and developments made by Virginia Woolf. Because of her years spent in the professional world, she somewhat regretted not having a family earlier and therefore appreciated them more. She was protective, loving, and made sure to keep things as balanced as possible, trying never to lose sight of what was her dream for so long.

Lunch was nothing special: he had a mushroom-Swiss burger, cooked medium-well, and a root beer made at a local beverage shop; she had a Cuban sandwich with a coke. It would have been enjoyable for anyone to sit in on lunch, as they were really concerned about their children and talked about them as they would close friends. They discussed Sarah’s strengths and weaknesses on her technical and lyrical pieces she was to perform later that day and the Calculus test Mel was taking and what she still had problems with while studying the night before. They had a care and concern for their children that was all too rare in today’s society. It was with that in mind that they departed, as they went back home to drop off one of the cars to go shopping for something to have for each of their children for making it through the day. The coming weekend was a long one, with Monday off.

Chuck escorted his wife out of the restaurant and to her car, where she had parallel parked a few cars down from him. He kissed her and told her he would see her in a moment.

That night at dinner, the whole family gathered around, they discussed the day.

“Holy crap. You wouldn’t believe the Calculus test I took.”

“Before you pulled out your notes, it had been years since I’d done any Calculus,” Chuck said, sitting at the end of the almost square table, just rectangular enough to have two distinct ends. “All that studying we did was probably just as good for me as it was for you. I probably learned more. And Mom’s afraid of the stuff; she took it in Business, but neither of us ever used it.” He glanced at her with a smile, knowing that she was better at science and math  than he ever was.

“I’m just glad it’s over. I was glad we started studying and reviewing a few days in advance because it takes the pressure off learning it all over again. You know you can take your time with it if you don’t get it on Wednesday night, because you have Thursday, too.” She got up to get a glass of water, set it down on the table, stood behind her dad and leaned over him, giving him a kiss on the cheek that said “thank you.” She sat back down and smiled at her sister, who was in a great mood, and took the opportunity to listen patiently before she opened fire on her family, her excitement not letting her be brief about the audition. She was waiting for her sister to ask, and as soon as Mel gave her the smile, she took it as her cue. Mel confirmed and said “but let’s hear about the big auditions!”

“It was amazing, you guys. Remember Dr. Adams, the conductor from Stetson University? He came when we had our annual competition. He was the one that got me going with the lessons from Jen. Anyway, he was there! He had come up to listen to the auditions, but he wasn’t a judge; he was even better. He’s been chosen to commission a piece for the new season and wanted to get a beat on the strengths and weaknesses of the new group. He told me he had a few things in mind, but he didn’t know where he’d go with it. Anyway, there were thirty-four people that were trying out, and seven of them were from school, so that made me more comfortable; I know all them. The Cameron twins were there and one of them had prepared the same lyrical piece as me. I heard him through the wall while I was talking with Dr. Adams, and he messed up on the triplet parts…”

“So all in all,” Mom said, getting up, “you feel pretty confident of your performance?” Sarah didn’t like to seem overconfident or too sure.

“No, not necessarily. Dr. Stratton was a judge and we have never gotten along. He’s also the assistant director and will be conducting some of the weekend rehearsals. He might be organizing a few master classes, too.”

“It always amazes me how politically swayed that whole world is. You have to know the right people, be liked by them at that, and really play goody-goody with your top dogs.” Chuck wasn’t used to that; in his self-employed environment, accompanied by his business savvy, he never had to deal with having connections, or getting in with certain people, because he ran the whole show. He was always fascinated with the goings on and how his little girl dealt with it all so well. She always amazed him, and at times, he even wished he had gotten involved in some of the things she loved so much. He recognized her joy and passion.

“The results come back next Friday, and after we find out, we have our first audition, but it’s really more of an orientation. They’re getting us ready from the get-go, trying to figure out strengths and weaknesses and how we all mesh together. I can’t wait. A few weeks after that, we go back for chair auditions to see who gets what parts for what pieces.”

Dinner carried on in the usual way, with Dad migrating to the couch to watch the news. It was usually the girls’ responsibility to clean the kitchen since Mom makes dinner, but she decided that they had the night off. They were both tired, but decided to go upstairs in the bonus room and watch a movie while they played Scrabble. They popped some popcorn, and brought a few drinks with them. They grabbed “Pillow Talk,” and walked upstairs.



My Language Bottom Ten

Going along with the list, I have another list of my own

As “The Polylgot,” (which was given to me, not self-assumed) because I like to learn as much as possible in every language. If I meet someone that speaks a specific language, I do what I can to try to speak to them. I’ve had short conversations in Swahili, Urdu, German, and Cantonese, but Russian is my serious project. But anyway, aside from my favorite languages, here’s my language bottom ten: the languages I have absolutely no interest in learning. This is bound to change if I meet someone who speaks one of these, but I have met someone who speaks a few of these, and still haven’t cared any more about it. In no particular order, here they are:


  1. Laotian
  2. Yiddish
  3. Cambodian
  4. Thai
  5. Esperanto
  6. Turkish
  7. Anything Creole/Pidgin
  8. Welsh
  9. Basque
  10. Myanmar (Burmese)

I have recently enjoyed dabbling in Finnish, Cantonese, Norwegian, Arabic, Persian, Bengali, and German. It’s fun, but that’s my bottom ten. Enjoy.


Not reading as much anymore

I was reading a whole lot while I was sick ( I really still am, but I can function now), and managed to work my way through a few books. I had started E.M. Forster’s “A Passage to India,” but haven’t really read a whole lot of it yet. I’ve been too busy catching up on all the stuff I didn’t do while sick.

The list I’ve been reading off of was one I got in ninth grade. My ninth grade teacher (one of my favorite teachers ever, who formerly taught at a private school and would strike you 30 points for a comma splice) passed this list out from a copy of the New York Times, where it first appeared. It’s now on the Random House website, and I thought I’d list it. All the readers (all three of them) have  a copy of this list I think, but it still makes me feel important to post it here, so here it is: http://www.randomhouse.com/modernlibrary/100bestnovels.html


I’ve read about 26 or 27 on the list now, and have been impressed by most of them, and have started some others that I have NOT been able to finish (and I obviously didn’t count those). Anyway, here it is, and let me know your preference. Oh, there’s also a “reader’s list” next to it, which was just based on votes and it’s interesting to see the similarities and differences between the two. Enjoy.


Changing Gears

I don’t like the Williams family enough to use it as a representation of my writing… I don’t like it to read personally. What this means is that they’ve been fired… after only two episodes: that’s worse than MTV’s “The Reality Show,” which got a dose of reality pretty quickly… or something.

Anyway, I’m now trying to decide what’s going to take its place, but I really can’t spend much more time on the computer because I’ve still got this sinus infection/head cold/flu/black death that’s giving me the worst sinusy headache I’ve ever had; I think I can feel my teeth moving.

Horse’n’buggy’s description of the Russian events was pretty thorough, and I’ll add to it later. I can’t now because staring at the computer makes my head feel like it’s going to explode even more.


Au revoir

Reading it and deciding I don't like it: the second installment

Delaying his business day yet longer, he decided to telephone in on his family. He had missed his wife’s departure for her facial that morning. He felt guilty about it, as if the routine were in danger; either that or he had missed an opportunity to have his breakfast made for him. He had decided that since it was her day and had started without worrying, he would keep it that way and would not bother her with anything, but he didn’t hold to it. He reached into his robe to pull out the phone that felt more like a brick in his pocket. With it came a crumpled dollar bill, torn on the corner, and a half-used wad of tissue paper. He put the tissue back and the dollar on the desk. He put the headset in his ear and dialed. His wife answered immediately.


“Yes, I’d like two ham biscuits and a large coffee, black.” He smirked.

“Oh! Hello. Got up late and found yourself all alone and helpless did you?” She chuckled. “Listen, I bought some eggs yesterday, and there’s still some bacon left in the fridge. Throw it in the microwave; it won’t be as messy. You can make yourself an omel-”

“No, no. Don’t worry about it,” he interrupted, noticing her tone turn to worry and concern. “Just wanted to tell you to enjoy your day. By the way, why aren’t you in your appointment yet?”

“Traffic’s miserable this morning; I’m almost there.”

“Oh. Figures. Heard about Shaw being in town for a book signing or something. Plugging his presidential campaign some more. Anyhow, be careful, enjoy your morning, and maybe we can meet for lunch, if you’re not too tired after your massage.”

“I’ll call you.”


He could tell that both he and his wife were losing their youth, and he tried to be sweet to her as much as possible. Menopause, or whatever, was probably coming around soon, but he hoped it could at least hold off until the kids were out of the house. He didn’t know how to deal with it.

He did not want to be irritating or needy concerning his family, but he felt it was better than the alternative. His youngest daughter Sarah, a freshman in high school, didn’t look like either of her parents. She had a great figure, was tall and blonde. She was sweet and generous, although not naïve, and was a brilliant student. She had an audition after school that day for the Savannah Youth Symphony. She played French horn and was a superb musician. She had been asked on numerous occasions to perform with various local orchestras and performance groups such as quintets or choirs, but this was could be her big break. She was hoping to win the audition, which would catapult her into the world of commercially recorded performances. She had a private instructor and was determined to win the position. To herself, she was very confident she would win the audition, and was not nervous in the least about losing it, but pretended she was; she was truly humble. Chuck called her cell phone, leaving her a voice message.

“Hey Sarah; it’s Dad. Hope all goes well today. Remember not to drink anything too cold today, and to…” he was well in tune with his daughters training and lessons, and did all he could to help, although he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. He enumerated on the tips and pointers she would need to remember and told her that Melinda, his oldest daughter, would pick her up at five thirty so he could make dinner. Melinda, or Mel, was a senior, and had a darker complexion like her mother, a brunette. She was less refined than either her sister or her mother, and was not the brainchild her sister was, but was far more determined to be brilliantly successful; in short, things did not come as easy for Mel as they did for Sarah, but she fought harder and made things happen. She had more determination because she had to. Her business sense was keen like her father’s and she was soon to move off to college to study business law. They got along well.

Chuck walked into the kitchen and cleaned up a few things that the women of the house had left behind. He poured himself a cup of coffee while listening to the noises it made; he looked around. He couldn’t drink coffee as a child, and he really didn’t know when or how he picked up the habit. His parents did not let him drink coffee, and were even restrictive with sodas or other things with caffeine or too much sugar. The Williams’ were very strict, not allowing him to do much outside his academic career, which they strongly advocated. They put so much emphasis on his schooling and education that he hardly had time to enjoy growing up, much less the experience of being in elementary, junior high, or high school. He had always wanted to be part of the Latin club, or JCL (Junior Classical League), because they always seemed to have a good time and never cared what anyone else thought of their strange parties or activities. He never made any close friends, had any hobbies, had anything he truly enjoyed as a child, and because of that, he put his heart and soul into the only thing that he had to give it to: his education. He was stellar, always a straight-A student, but was never geeky or strange. He kept his social skills, and honed the ones he didn’t have, and this led him right into and out of college.



A Dilemma

One of Horse’n’Buggy’s comments mentioned NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a great idea, and I almost did it once, but didn’t. Anyway, most of the stories I’m working on at the moment have a definitive plot, definitive characters, and a definitive raison d’etre. Except for one. A family who goes by the name of Williams.

You see, most of the things I either have written or am in the process of writing are sometimes, and often by my biggest critics, characterized as extremely negative or downheartening, whereas I see them as realistic (but that’s just me). I have clearly in mind what’s going to happen to this 15 year old kid whose nickname is Saturday, what’s going to happen to a girl who finds herself in a church, what happens to a lady who just got a divorce in Arizona, and what happens to a retired man living in Boston (or somesuch) as he makes use of his newfound free time. No problem there.

But back to the negative thing: I began writing this in an attempt to create something positive, upbeat, and happy. I have failed as of yet. That’s not to say that I’m an unhappy person, but I have NOT been able to think of anything lately to do with a family of four that is upbeat and happy and NOTHING negative that merits literary acknowledgement. I know, some people CAN make those go hand in hand, but think about Ernest Hemingway, or J.D. Salinger. They weren’t the biggest social butterflies by a long shot… Anyway, what I’m getting at is that I’m going to (probably) post their story so far in installments, and see if I can get any ideas from y’all (meaning all three of you). So let me go censor the first installment, and I’ll throw it right up here for you.


Chuck Williams got up from the leather chair in his office, took a tired stretch, and walked down the hall. He had slept with a new pillow the night before, and it had made his neck and back somewhat stiff. He didn’t usually have back problems; he wasn’t old enough for that yet, but his younger days were getting away from him. He and his wife were out last night, too late for him, because he did not wake up on time.

He ambled into the bathroom and put on his robe, took his cell phone off the charger and put it and the headset in his right-hand pocket. He stood in front of his wall-to-wall mirror and rubbed his head. He looked for his comb and brushed his hair. Chuck Williams was not an incredibly tall man, less than six feet, and had “filled out,” but was not too heavy for his height. His hair was thinning, or at least was not as thick as it used to be. It was a very dark blonde, almost copper in some places. He had green eyes. He looked over at the framed picture of his wife beside the sink and said hello to it. He sang as he walked out of his bedroom and into the family room with a slight dancing waltz in his step, his pose holding an imaginary woman. He turned on the TV.

Chuck, who went by his full name, Charles, in professional dealings, walked around the house some more, pleased with his freedom to work from home today. He didn’t have to answer to anyone about not being in the office, but he took the advantage of being at home by himself all day to relax and work. He had only recently gotten up, it being a little after nine o’clock, but found himself at his desk anyway, getting a few minor things done as he was waking. To a certain degree, he had to set the mood, tone, and pace of the office. He was the one to come early, be busy, and stay late. Everyone in the office knew that he hauled his own load and was working far more than they were, but it was a matter of visual confirmation to see Mr. Williams at the office shuffling his stuff.

Williams was a man of junk. Everyone else’s trash had made his treasure. He was involved in a recycling business blended with trash removal and a little bit of garage sale instinct. The company was called Trashaway, and involved the service of removing peoples’ junk, for reasons such as moving, deaths, spring cleanings, and the finesse in the job was to recycle, reuse, or resell the things that were retrievable and make money off that as well. The primary source of income, however, was the fees for services given to remove the junk in the first place, the on-the-side sales as a side business. From humble beginnings as an unorthodox garbage man as a young teen to a savvy, inventive twenty-two year old with his own business hauling junk, he had created a regional corporation covering most of the southeast, and was now in charge of the franchises and the people that ran them. He had divided his realm into territories, and hired experienced businessmen essentially to work for themselves. They had a good setup, and if their business plan didn’t work, they were fired and someone else was given the franchise. Instead of thousands of individual accounts and people to worry about, he delegated the worry and anxiety and only had five or six people that answered to him directly. It had become a great worthwhile enterprise, a true corporate business.

So, that’s REALLY just the beginning, but we’ll see how it goes.

P.S. This is also an exercise in letting people read my stuff… so don’t be too critical, because I never did do a hard edit or revision, so this is all pretty rough, ergo: “Warning: above text may contain plot holes, spelling errors, atrocious grammar (probably not), and really bad wording. Do not be concerned.

Here I am again

So I find myself at The Compy... what happens next?

The weather today... Nope, haven't sunk that low YET.

In my ill health I have been doing a lot of reading, and I read on Wednesday, in its entirety, Thorton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and I would never say it to his face, but I am thoroughly disappointed with Wilder's book. I really enjoyed his play Our Town, but this just wasn't the same. Oh well, but I've finished that, and have moved on to E.M. Forster's A Passage to India, and we'll see how that goes. I like it so far, but it's somewhat removed from the other writing styles I've been involved in lately. I've been enjoying more of the style of James Joyce's Dubliners, which is very minimalist and stuff. It's beautiful writing, and I'm also trying to imitate it in some of my latest writing. I've actually got a storyline worked out that I'm going to try to do a la Dubliners. (Is that how you use a la? To mean "in the style of"? I think so.)

That brings me to my next thing. Every week (hopefully [and depending on the success of my most recent guinea pig reader of my story]) I'll be posting some of my writing, either in whole (if short enough) or in part. We'll see if that goes well, and it'll probably be on Mondays, or Wednesdays if Horse'n'Buggy's HumpDayPhoto would come to fruition. Anyway, maybe I'll start tomorrow with something if I can find something appropriate.

I get ready to leave for GoodSoup now. I love fridays...
(Does the fact that every single (all two) post has ended with me having a meal tell you anything about my hobbies???)


I have conceded

Good morning.... first, I will admit that I have fallen against the peer pressure that IS the blog. I enjoy reading another one, and in my moment of half-asleep, semi-narcotic recovering from the joy that is Tylenol PM, i have created a blog.

There are no commitments here with future posts.

I have been sick the past week, and the symptoms were at least kind enough to divide themselves into days:

Monday: body aches, soreness, and the delightful make-yourself-feel-thirty-years-older-because-you-crack-when-you-move-ness.

Tuesday: day off

Wednesday: worst sore throat in receorded history, out of control mucus production, and a nearly gone nose (Even WITH the lotiony tissues)

Thursday: Sinus headache and slight cough

Hope I'm out of the woods for Friday, cuz I got a lot of catching up to do. Also, I need to brush up on my Russian, because this is Russian weekend, and I gotta be dressed to impress... not really, but I've not been keeping up with it ever since I found out I'm going to China and Japan, and that has diverted my attentions elsewhere.

But now, I must break fast... (not to be confused with "quickly")

A shout out to Horse'n'Buggy, because I may never post again...