Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Scribblings - "Cheese" - 9/27/09

The Sunday Scribblings prompt this week is "Cheese". The first thing that came to mind was a video of my granddaughter Maris.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - The Rendezvous - 9/24/09

Each week G-Man of 55 Flash Fiction Friday challenges us to tell a story using only 55 words. I highly recommend it.

They met online
Lived close by
Traded lies
And someone else’s photos
Innocent chat became suggestion
Innuendo became Cyber sex
Both were married
Without joy
Meeting planned
Discreet little bar
He got there early
Eyes adjusted to dark
Surveyed the scene hopefully
One recognizable woman
Too familiar
Oh No!!!!
What was his sister doing here?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Micromanaging the Homeless - 9/19/09

I am a charitable person, though my resources are very limited. I am one careless night in a nudie bar from being homeless. In spite of my position near the bottom rungs of the economic ladder, I realize there are those below me. My heart goes out to those less fortunate than me.
Though I give for the satisfaction I receive in helping others (I wrote previously about my love of angel trees), I also want my gifts to be appreciated and used to benefit.
Once, as I was driving in Myrtle Beach, I saw a woman by the side of the road with a couple of kids (I am a sucker for dogs and kids) and a sign that said “we are hungry.” Well, of course I nearly crashed my vehicle going back to where they were standing. All I had in my wallet was a ten dollar bill, so I gladly gave it to the mother. She snatched it from my hand and didn’t say a word, not even a smile. I didn’t expect her to curtsey, but a “thank you” would have been nice, if only with her eyes. As I looked back, I saw her fold the ten spot into a large roll of bills that she removed from her tote bag.
I have given money to panhandlers that I am confident was instantly turned into crack or Thunderbird. So I have since changed my approach to philanthropy.
A man approached me Thursday night In front of the Food Lion (for northerners and foreigners that is a supermarket). He explained that he had been out of work for some time and asked if I could help him out. I asked him if he was hungry. I never want anyone to go hungry. He said no, he had gotten something to eat but needed some money to get a place to stay, gas, etc. I again asked if he needed something to eat, I would take him in and buy him some food. He declined and walked away. I had mixed emotions about that encounter. On one hand I felt that if I was destitute and someone offered food I would take gladly take it, even if I was not hungry at that moment. On the other hand, if I give him money, is it really any of my business what he does with it? Is the need for drugs or alcohol any less of a necessity than that for food? As I have never been addicted to either substance, I can never know.

I think instead of trying to micromanage the needy, I will limit my charity to organizations that benefit such people and let them sort it out. I will return to the angel tree this holiday season.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - 9/17/09

Each week G-Man of 55 Flash Fiction Friday challenges us to write coherently using only 55 words. I usually am late posting mine. This week I am early. Give it a try. It is fun.

The crime scene was a quiet, suburban, cul-de-sac.
“Unprofessional robbery homicide, no forced entry.”
“ Two suspects, deceased’s 16-year-old granddaughter and boyfriend.”
“They will be holed up; sex, drugs, Playstation.”
A woman enters, who might have been beautiful had she not tried so hard to be.
“My daughter doesn’t play video games officer.”
Wizened eyes rolled.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fasting For Dummies - 9/16/09

I am fasting today. No, it is not for Ramadan or any other religious purpose. Although by the end of the day I might understand strapping plastique to myself and finding an unpopulated area in to detonate. The military has trained me for such an event.

It is because tomorrow morning I am to be violated by a colonoscopy. You would not think a single day of fasting would be a crisis. but those of you who have seen me know that it takes a lot of fuel to keep this quivering mass moving forward.

Tonight is Wallyball at the Crabtree Gym. I want to go but I am afraid that if I keep passing out that sooner or later the opposing team might score. And I am guessing by the third or fourth such episode, someone will drag me from the court to eliminate someone spraining an ankle tripping over me. This would only happen after my daughter-in-law, Tia, used me as a springboard to get her 4’11” self closer to the net.

I have been fasting for a few hours now and am already starting to get light-headed. I have usually eaten a few rashers of bacon, a couple of eggs, some fried bread, and a quart of milk (skim for health) by now. Skooter is really pissed off as he normally sweats me for some bacon. He has repeatedly gone to the kitchen trying to figure out how to turn the range on.

I thought if I kept myself busy today, writing, I might actually survive. Watching television is absolutely verboten as my subconscious mind equates television to swinging on the refrigerator door during commercials (of which there are many). Skooter is also confused and angered by this as his treats are located en-route to a commercial break. So I might be uncharacteristically creative today, though by nightfall any accidental coherency in my writing will be gone. I will gradually become a monkey with a typewriter.

Most of us are probably familiar with the idea that if you have enough monkeys on enough typewriters for enough time, they will produce the entire collected works of Shakespeare. In 2003, lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth MediaLab Arts course used a £2,000 grant from the Arts Council to study the literary output of real monkeys. They left a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Celebes Crested Macaques in Paignton Zoo in Devon in England for a month, with a radio link to broadcast the results on a website. One researcher, Mike Phillips, defended the expenditure as being cheaper than reality TV and still "very stimulating and fascinating viewing".

Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five pages consisting largely of the letter S, the lead male began by bashing the keyboard with a stone, and the monkeys continued by urinating and defecating on it. The zoo's scientific officer remarked that the experiment had "little scientific value, except to show that the 'infinite monkey' theory is flawed". Phillips said that the artist-funded project was primarily performance art, and they had learned "an awful lot" from it. He concluded that monkeys "are not random generators. They're more complex than that. … They were quite interested in the screen, and they saw that when they typed a letter, something happened. There was a level of intention there.

So stand by. Once I drink all of the Golytely, the monkeys will have nothing on me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

55 Friday Flash Fiction - Man's Best Friend? - 9/10/09

Each week G-Man of 55 Flash Fiction Friday challenges us to write our thoughts using only 55 words.

Most of my belongings are shit. My newest vehicle is 10-years old. My TVs are neither high-def nor plasma. I have indulged myself the single luxury of 800-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. Skooter is not allowed on my bed linen. When he is disgruntled or annoyed with me, he cuddles himself up on my pillow, defiantly.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fishing Programs - 9/7/09

Most television advertisements feature a disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of the screen, repudiating nearly every claim made by the product manufacturer. Miracle dietary products state “results depend on a healthy diet and exercise.” Well, if you eat healthy and exercise you don’t need the freaking product. Another common one is “results not typical.” What, I can't lose 50 pounds in 30 days without an amputation?

I was watching a fishing program on one of the many ESPN channels. The fact that I was, in fact, watching a fishing program pretty much illustrates where my life is at. I wasn’t really tuned in to watch fishing but was waiting for the rerun of the 2007 National Heads-up Poker World Celebrity Championship Texas Hold-em Las Vegas Showdown Tournament. Still not sure why Poker is considered a sport on television but so is bowling, so I am on board.

These fishing programs would lead you to believe that these guys catch a fish every cast, making the rest of the fishing world that often haplessly fish all day without so much as a nibble, feel like total assholes. What they don’t tell you is that they had filmed countless hours of uneventful fishless boredom to get thirty minutes of action. If you pay attention you may notice beard growth, a change of clothing, a change of cast, a change of location, and a change of seasons during this thirty minute episode. They also don’t show the scuba divers attaching fish to the lines in desperation as the director shouts, “we are losing light!”

I propose that fishing programs be required to add a disclaimer, “individual results may vary.”

I would also request that the poker programs include a proviso: “when playing actual poker, participants do not get to see the other players hands.”

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My History of Blogging - 9/6/09

When I first started blogging I depended on various websites to provide prompts, deadlines, and to introduce me to other writers through links on those sites.
I participated in several such websites.
I believed that without those links no one would ever find their way to my blog.
Through those websites I received many comments on my writing, stroking my ego and inciting me to write frequently.
I had not written in a long time and I was so insecure about the worth of my writing that I became a praise whore. Even when the praise was not justified or came as merely chum to reel me to their blog.
After some time I came to realize that most of those comments were made just to lure me to their blog, in hopes that I would leave comments on their writings.
Often, it was evident from those comments that the person had not actually read my blog at all or if they did they did not understand it.
Sometimes the comment was only a link to their blog.
What a turnoff for me.
If I did not visit their blog and make a comment I would often never hear from them again.
It was strictly quid pro quo.
I used to visit a lot of bloggers but found too much pretense. People in love with their thesaurus, writing nonsensical drivel. And I think a lot of people are of the opinion “if I don’t understand it, it must be really good.” And they write flowery comments so no one will think their intellect is lacking. As for me, I have a pretty good vocabulary and if I don’t understand it, it is probably shit.
There are groups of people that follow each other’s blogs, telling each other how wonderful they are. Kind of a mutual admiration society. A person could write a recipe for stir fry and receive hoards of comments proclaiming them as channeling Shakespeare.
I think some people need that sense of community and the positive strokes, even if they honestly know there is no relationship between the comments and the quality of their writing. Or maybe they don’t realize it, like the really bad singer that goes on American Idol and cannot believe they do not get a golden ticket.

Don’t get me wrong, I have come across some fine writers that I read regularly and a handful of my original readers still stop by.
And I am thankful to the people who maintain these sites as they have provided inspiration and motivation that I would not have acquired on my own.
But I became disillusioned and my submissions to those types of sites became less and less frequent.
As a result, the number of comments I received on my own writings diminished exponentially.
I became less motivated to write and I went weeks at a time with no postings.
But a funny thing happened: I began receiving emails of concern from people who I had no idea had been reading my blog.
I have received Facebook friend requests from regular readers of my “Ramblings”.
I came to realize that just because they do not leave a comment does not mean they are not reading.
This realization has inspired me to continue to write, which I enjoy.
I have decided that If one other person gets pleasure from my words, it is definitely worth the effort.
I thank any of you who anonymously follow me.
There is one weekly prompt that I will continue to submit to because it is original and challenging.
That is the 55 Flash Fiction Friday that the G-Man moderates. You tell a story using only 55 words. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Goodbye Summer - 9/3/09

Each week G-Man of 55 Flash Fiction Friday challenges us to write our thoughts using only 55 words. I have not participated lately but owe the G-Man a submission, such as it is.

I mourn the end of summer. Most of my halcyon days occurred in summer. Watermelon, hand-churned ice cream, grilling, bikinis. Nothing nourishes my soul like a tranquil summer evening when the sun refuses to relinquish to the night. I am saddened when darkness steals daylight and I can feel the approaching autumn in the air.