Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day Seventy-Nine: "Too bad your rats got saaaaaaacked!"

Kim tells me she has to sack something like 14 mice at work. The correct spelling is probably "sac," but this becomes problematic when I make it past tense, so I'm going with "sack." I assume the correct spelling is "sac" because she tells me it's short for "sacrifice."

Apparently, saying they have to inject the rodents with something that will kill them sounds harsher than it actually is. (In fact, it's quite descriptive of what it actually is) Therefore, "killed" has been nixed in favor of "sacrificed," shortened to "sac." This way, the creatures aren't being killed, but rather giving themselves for the good of mankind!

Fantastic! How noble of them!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day Seventy-Eight: Not much to say...

...only the briefest of updates for now.

Hockey is currently on the TV. Playoff-like atmosphere for the Stars and Coyotes.

And the Stars are losing.

Also, I'm opening Microsoft Word with a new short-story idea.

It's a good night, friends.

Update: Maybe the "playoff-like atmosphere" comment was a bit of an exaggeration. The Stars started Stephan tonight. Apparently they've packed it in for the year.

Well, that's sweet, too.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day Seventy-Seven: A Day of Rest (?)

Kim and I have been going a fantastic job of keeping our Sundays free from work, whether it be job-related or chore-related. We've both started taking extra loads on Saturday to keep the first day of the week completely clear of everything except morning church and AWANA.

Sometimes, however, life just makes that literally impossible.

Today, we didn't make it to church because of car failure, so I spent a good chunk of the day either dealing with that or brainstorming how we could deal with a worst-case scenario. There was jump-starting of good car with Evil Car more than once, driving around a newly-rejuvenated Good Car to make sure it would keep going, and a Wal-Mart trip for some battery fun when it was apparent that Evil Car simply didn't have enough goodness to keep Good Car running.

There was also some hammering that became necessary as Robbie was playing in his "garden" (a.k.a. the back patio, which he's covered with some of Kim's potting soil) and I noticed how many nails were sticking out of the fence on all sides (the pointy sides, of course). Best moment of the day = banging hammer to bash the points which were nearly eye-level to my child into harmless nubs, then looking over and seeing Robbie standing a few feet away, banging on the fence with a rock that he'd found to help. Fantastic.

There was also some spider-killing going on today. It was a trying day. We ordered pizza.

And it was good.

Day Seventy-Six: I Am Magnet Man

*insert awesome guitar riffs here*

Seriously. Technology is revolting against me.

First, my computer monitor for my desktop computer dies. Kaput. My desktop is useless until I can get it fixed. Thus, any program I only had on that comp is now gone. Adios, msn messenger. Goodbye, itunes. Fare thee well, several documents I'd been trying to maintain daily.

Today, my work laptop malfunctions at rehearsal. It changed its mind later and decided to work, but had to tell me that it had recovered from a serious error first. I thanked it and we went on with our day.

Now my car is dead. Seems to be a battery problem. Don't know how we'll get to church in the morning.

If you have any mechanical device that is currently keeping you alive, stay away from me until this mystery is solved.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day Seventy-Five: All Caught Up with No Place to Go

I like that title. I don't think it's accurate, but it's catchy.

We are caught up, friends! Huzzah for a return to linear numbering of posts!

Imagine if I'm ever away from a trusty Compy of Lappy for more than a week!

My Compy is good and trustworthy. Unfortunately, my Monitory appears to have given up the ghost. I have an old monitor or two around the apartment, so all the stuff on the computer should be safe. Good thing I bring my work laptop home at night so I can work on...work...work.

Wow. Can you tell it's Friday night? Check out my MAD VOCABULARY SKILLS! I mean seriously, how many times can you work the word "work" into a seventeen-word sentence and still make it work? Behold: work as an adjective, then as a verb, and then...oh!...oh!...an adjective describing ITSELF as a noun!! Eh??? Eh????

Eh. Whatever works.

I've been unabashedly silly all day today. I have not slept too much this week, and I did stay at work past nine every night but one while coming in at nine every morning, and I know that has had much to do with it. Today, though, was special. We had an all-day booking of Biff, Bang, Kapowie! (Exclamation point part of the title; I'm not really that excited about the show itself) I had a nice big sugary caramel frappe just before we left, but that shouldn't have left me wired the rest of the day.

I wondered today if I come across as ridiculous on this blog as I do sometimes in real life. Dave? Tarvis? Mom? Anybody care to comment?

My friend Deb commented that she loves it when I come on bookings, because I instantly make them ten times more fun by just being around. And that's good, I think. I really do take life quite seriously, and I can be somber when the occasion calls for it. Sometimes even profound or, perish the thought, wise (so I'm told. I've decided it's unwise for any man to comment on his own wisdom unless he has a signed document proclaiming it from somebody wise and cool, and I have none). Really, though, when I look around me, I generally see a world full of people who could use some cheering up.

'I've come to a crossroads,' he realized of a sudden. 'This post could get away from me, and quickly, with either of two discourses which are equally valid.' Nevertheless, he really wasn't "feeling" either of them at the moment, and so he abandoned that train of thought all together for now.

Anyway, the booking was fun. Rehearsal for A Phoenix Too Frequent was fun. Come see this show, folks, if you are able. I've a feeling it could end up being the best thing we put up on our stages this season. Another 7-hr day at work tomorrow, but it'll be good, I think. Or maybe not. Either way, Sunday is almost here, and I've really started enjoying those since Kim and I have made a concerted (and largely successful!) effort to keep those days work-and-chore free. (Man, what a neat idea. I wonder where that came from...)


I'm hungry.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day Seventy: Vacation Wrap (Not Vacation Rap. That's totally different)

****Finally catching up for the time I missed while in Oklahoma, here's Sunday's post. Regular day-numbering will resume tomorrow. Today's short post is below*****

Well, my vacation is over tomorrow. It’s been a really fantastic time. Very restful. Very peaceful. It’s been one of those vacations you hadn’t realized you needed. I think perhaps those are the best kind.

Slightly dreading tomorrow’s plane trip. Robbie wasn’t crazy about the first one, but he didn’t really start fussing until the last 10 or 15 minutes. If he follows that path again, I think we’ll be fine, but if he recognizes the early steps of boarding the plane and relates them to the trauma from the end of the last flight, we may be in for a long, embarrassing, painful ride home. My mother informs me this would be payback. Ah, the sympathy of a grandparent. ;-) Also not certain there’ll be anyone at the airport to pick us up, and I was getting all up tight about that before I realized my sermon this morning (out of Habakkuk) was on, among other things, trusting in God’s ability to provide in any and all circumstances. So it would be hypocritical of me to get worked up about that today. Drat.

I hope I haven’t fallen too far behind at work since I’ve been gone. I kind of doubt it, since things were so slow while I was there. On the other hand, there are a couple of things I hope managed to get done while I was away, though I’m not holding out hope there, either.

These next three weeks will be tough. I’ll be in at work all day and then in rehearsals for A Phoenix Too Frequent every night until 10 p.m. as well as rehearsing Saturdays pretty much all afternoon. While this schedule would not kill me in and of itself, I basically won’t see Robbie except for Saturday nights and Sundays, and I’ll see Kim only slightly more than that. I’d appreciate prayers for my family as we try to make this trying schedule work for the best.

If I’m figuring right, this post will be online on Thursday. Man, a lot can happen in four days. I’ve come to realize some things on this trip, some of which I’ve touched on in previous posts, and some of which I’m just going to have to keep to myself for now. I do think I see myself moving back to this area someday. I like living in Houston and have no plans to leave there anytime soon, but I don’t imagine I’ll be there the rest of my life. I don’t even necessarily think that, when I do leave Houston, it’ll be to come back to the Midwest. But I think, at some point, I’ll be back here. We’ll see, though.

All right, this has been a pretty this-and-that post, and those should never get too long. Besides, it’s almost 11 p.m., my family is already asleep, and we have a plane to catch. I think I’ll do a little bit of writing before letting the howling Oklahoma wind attempt to sing me to sleep.

Good night.

Day Seventy-Four: Lame Unnecessary Bush Slam of the Day


You hated President Bush. I get that. I'm fine with that, really.

You want to slam President Bush whenever the opportunity presents itself. Hey, fine. Go for it.

But this? (It's within the first sentence of this story) Come on, lady. Completely out of the blue, not clever in the least, and totally irrelevant.

What say you, readers? Pass or fail? My vote goes toward "fail"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day Seventy-Three: Aero-Love

For anyone who might care (hi Dave and possibly Tarvis!), and in honor of former Houston Aero Cal Clutterbuck breaking the NHL single-season hits record with seven hits tonight against the Islanders for a total of 317 or so (the stat has only been kept since 2005, but still), here is a video parade honoring our former Aeros playing in the big leagues!

First up, it's really not a good idea to fight John Scott.

Cal Clutterbuck sticks up for his teammates. Key quote: "We were expecting some early fireworks." Yup, that's Cal. (He's a scrappy little bugger, but I think he comes out slightly on the short end of this one)

Not a ton of Petr Olvecky highlights just yet, but he's a hardworking guy. Nice to see him get a shot!

This is actually a really cool story about former Aero Josh Harding, one of my favorite current NHL'ers.

And here's Josh showing off his mad skills.

Man, was I frustrated when the Wild let go of Joel Ward. (Sorry for the poor video quality)

Dedication: breaking your leg in a game, going through a full year of rehab, and making it back. Stick tap, Kurtis Foster.

Would I link to a video of a former Aero getting clobbered? I might if it were Ryan Jones...

Man, Patrick O'Sullivan has skills. Wild could use a winger like him this year. Too bad they got rid of him...

I always liked Aaron Voros. But the dude. Is. Not. A. Fighter.

In closing, just learned the current Aeros won a big road game in a TOUGH arena tonite. Nice job, boys. Playoff picture is looking pretty darn good these days...

Day Sixty-Nine: Grover's Corner moment?

***Still catching up for the days I missed while in Oklahoma. Here's Saturday's post***

I came to a bit of an unusual decision today. The decision itself isn’t really that unusual, yet the realization of the decision and the ramifications of said realization are a bit alarming and possibly a tad morbid.

I want to live to be seventy.

I know, seems to be a no-brainer, right? Living = good, right? And yes, I do thoroughly enjoy my life as well as living in general. Nevertheless, I think I’ve always assumed that I was going to have a pretty merry journey toward fifty, when some bad habits of mine (poor posture, poor eating habits, etc) would really start catching up with me, and I’d spend five or ten years feeling pretty physically miserable but enjoying my family until I, ya know. Was done.

I’ve never really dwelled on this for too long, don’t worry. I realize it sounds terribly morbid when I put in out in print (possibly why I’ve never actually done so). Contemplating your own death is kind of a creepy thing to do, anyway. Nevertheless, when I have looked forward as far as I can, I really never saw myself getting to sixty, and I’ve been pretty okay with this. I have always been prepared to live good, full years, no matter how many of them I have. And that’s a good thing, right?


Today, however, I realized something: that isn’t how I want my life story to end. I’m twenty-six. I was just barely twenty-five when Robbie was born. When he’s thirty, I’ll be well into my fifties. According to my earlier plan, I’ll be in the home stretch.

Well, I thought today as I watched him sleep for a couple of hours, that sucks.

I do want to live to be old. I do want to have a shot at a 50th wedding anniversary, like Kim’s grandparents are celebrating tomorrow. I don’t want to leave Robbie and any siblings he may have wondering how to take care of their mother while they’re essentially still establishing themselves in the world.

I realize I’m not even thirty yet, and it’s odd to talk this way so young, but dangit, I want to live!

Me dying would be such an inconvenience for everyone else I care about, ya know? ;-)

So with that said, I gotta change some things, starting now. I have to eat better. I don’t eat that poorly now, but it would be a stretch to say that I eat healthily, and I know things I can be doing better. (Plus, Kim knows ever more things I can be doing better) So objective A: eat like I want to live to be seventy.

Second, I gotta get into some sort of exercise routine. I mean come on. I haven’t exercised regularly in years. It’s a miracle I’m as healthy as I am. And I can get away with not working out and not eating well for now, but if I’m looking down the road… easier to change now than later, right? And exercise is hard for me because my day is so stinking full all ready, and I want to spend what time I can with my family. But it’s gotta be there, so I have to find a way to make it work.

Third, I need to get this sleep thing under control. A huge part of my problem is that I can only write at night. I don’t know if there’s a way around that or not, but that’s not all of the problem. I’ll go to bed after writing and still not fall asleep for another two hours. Got to figure out what the problem is, and got to take care of it. (Hopefully, addressing issues one and two will help me out on issue three)

Finally, I have to sharpen my brain. I’m getting better with this one; I’ve been reading more lately and writing more lately, and those things are good. I need to find things to study *coughSCRIPTUREcough* and focus/discipline my brain toward a path that’ll lead it to more focused intellectual behavior when I get to the point where I should just be getting loopy and confusing the sock drawer for the microwave.

So there we have it. I don’t plan to institute a series of life-changing routines right now. Little by little, one step at a time. We’ll start with fewer French fries and candy bars and see where that takes us ;-)

May, 2052, I’m coming for you!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day Seventy-Two: Sometimes, you just have to be heard

Today's post was going to be about sportsmanship, and I had some interesting reads both on Washington Capitals all-star Alex Ovechkin and Colorado Avalanche goalkeeper Peter Budaj. I probably would have tried to dig up one or two other links on the subject.

But that'll have to wait.

This is far more important.

The polls are changing every day, I think, and are only up for 24 hours, so find the most recent still-open poll and vote!!!

Day Sixty-Eight: While the wind comes sweeping down the plain...

***Catching up from my recent time off in Oklahoma, here's last Friday's post***

On the one hand, it feels like it can’t possibly already be March.

On the other hand, I can’t believe it’s only the third month of the year.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, Oklahoma is fantastic. I have slept so much more than I usually do. I’ve actually been able to sleep in until I’ve been ready to wake up most mornings, I’m falling asleep an hour or so earlier than usual, and I’ve had the luxury of taking at least one nap per afternoon each day we’ve been here. I feel like I may finally be catching up on everything I’ve been losing the last month or so, and that’s exciting. The prospect of returning to work well-rested is an exciting one, especially with rehearsals for A Phoenix Too Frequent beginning Monday night.

Not writing anything just now, but it’s not for lack of trying. When that happens, I generally just need to move away from the project that is currently foiling me and move on to something I haven’t been thinking so hard about. (Which, in this case, will necessitate me listening to less Powerglove, sad to say)

It’s beautiful out here, by the way. The air is nice and cool and it’s not saturated in 99% humidity all day every day. The sun’s been shining pretty much since we got here. Robbie has spent several hours outside just running around or playing with rocks both days so far (Kim’s grandparents have a house out in the country with tons of land to play on). It’s also been nice to have family around so that one can hand him off and not worry about what he’s doing for an hour or two or three. Everybody stays fresher that way 

Also, I’m preaching at First Baptist Church in Coyle, Oklahoma on Sunday. It’s a position I filled for a month my senior year of college. It’s Kim’s grandparents’ church and it’s very, very small (we’re talking running between 20 and 30 on a Sunday morning last time I was around, and while that was four years ago I doubt it has grown too terribly much). It will be fun, because a) preaching is generally fun, and b) there’s a ton of family in town for the weekend. That should be more nerve-wracking than it is, I think. Maybe it’ll hit me tomorrow night.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day Seventy-One: Time warped

So this is unusual.

I'm sticking with the "real" numbering in my catch-up blogs, meaning that the next posts will go 68, 72, 69, 73, 70, 74, and then we should be back to regular numbering. (Side note: Seventy-one? Really? That's, like, close to a hundred!) If this is too confusing, let me know, and I will quite possibly not do it again in the future.

Or, I may continue to operate in a similar fashion simply because it is confusing.

Anywho, we're back from our vacation in Oklahoma. I'd like to tell you how awesome it was and why, but I think I already wrote about that yesterday, and then you'd be getting rehash when we get to day seventy's post on Thursday (which will actually be Day Seventy-Four). Thing is, I'm not entirely sure what I said on days sixty-eight through seventy, and so I'm hesitant to talk about anything from the last week for fear of giving you reruns so soon.

Therefore, this may be an awkward time for us all, but we're going to get through it. Things will be running normally once again come this weekend.

Day Sixty-Seven:In the News

***Catching up for the four days I missed while in Oklahoma without Internet, here's last Thursday's update***

Blog post for 3/19/09

So Tuesday, something pretty significant happened in my little corner of the world, and while it’s not particularly something I’d like to dwell too much on, it is worth remembering. Furthermore, whether it was my original intention for this project or not (it wasn’t), this blog is going to end up being a good way that I can look back and reflect on this year for quite awhile (at least as long as blogspot keeps it around), so I’d probably better use it to keep note of the significant things that happen over the course of the year.

And the reason I didn’t write anything about this Wednesday was that I knew I wouldn’t get to update again until Monday, and I didn’t want to leave this story at the top of my page for nearly a full week.

Last night, as my friend Sarah and I were driving home from work (see: Kim’s car tried to kill me so we grounded it, thus we became a one-car family), we saw a helicopter hovering in the general direction of our apartment complex. Still a good mile or so away, we wondered what they could be looking for/at.

As we pulled up to our complex, we noticed that all of the major local news stations had vans parked on the lawn of the complex across the street from ours and cameras pointed across the street toward our homes.

As we pulled in the gate, we found police cars blocking off the portion of the complex I was used to parking in (back when I had a car to drive) and police tape prohibiting anybody from going to the guest parking, laundromat, and dumpster behind my apartment.

Now, this is pretty awful, so before you read ahead know that this story has a good ending. Not “happy” necessarily, but everything ends up all right. Besides, if you live in Houston and watch the news/read the paper, you probably already heard it anyway.

Seems that about 3:00 p.m., one of our neighbors went to take out his trash when he heard something crying from inside an old spare dryer that was sitting beside the dumpster. He peered inside, expecting a cat or other animal. Instead, he found a newborn human girl with the umbilical cord still attached. The child was wrapped in a black plastic trash bag.

The man and his roommate pulled the girl from the dryer and called 9-1-1 immediately. Fortunately, there is a fire station only three blocks from our complex, and paramedics were on the scene in minutes. The baby was air-lifted to Texas Children’s Hospital, which is located in Houston’s own medical center, where she was immediately treated. Doctors afterwards said the baby was around an hour old when the man found her. That was miraculous; God only knows if she’d have survived any longer the way she’d been abandoned.

As of Wednesday morning, the girl—named “Mia” by the hospital staff—was recovering and was going to be all right and live a normal life, medically speaking. That’s the good ending.

The bad news is that it doesn’t look like the police will ever find the child’s mother. No one interviewed can remember seeing a last-trimester pregnant woman around the complex. I can’t remember seeing her, either. The bloodhounds weren’t able to pick up a scent, which isn’t surprising given that it was the only dumpster in a fairly large complex. No eyewitnesses, nothing. She “gets away” with this one.

As I mentioned before, it isn’t far from the complex to a fire department. According to the “Baby Moses Law,” this woman—or an accomplice, if she wasn’t feeling up to it (understandable after just having given birth)—could have taken the girl to the fire station and left her there, saying “I can’t care for this child,” and they would have taken her to get proper care, no questions asked.

Instead, she wrapped her up in a plastic bag and left her to die in a dryer. Thank God she did that much instead of just slinging the baby into the dumpster!

I wonder what the woman thought when she saw the news that night? Relief that they still had no idea who she was? Relief that her daughter was going to live after all? Disdain that little Mia didn’t die? Any shame or remorse whatsoever?

Or just a tired sort of relief that the whole inconvenient thing was over?

Surely this isn’t the sort of thing you can forget having done. I wonder how one goes about living with oneself after a thing like this?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day Sixty-Six: Want to get away??

I don't particularly want to get away, but off we go to Oklahoma!

It's not that I don't want to go to Oklahoma, it's more that I don't really want to leave Houston right now. There's a lot going on here that I hate leaving for five and a half days. And I am looking forward to the time with Kim's family (and hopefully some with my folks this weekend if possible and some OKC friends), and there's the chance I'll get to step into the pulpit for some preaching Sunday morning, and that's something I haven't done for awhile. Nevertheless, I'm a little bit sad about leaving just now.

Ah, duality!

Anyway, I'll keep my laptop and do some blogging while I'm away, and we'll get double posts next Monday through Thursday till we're all caught up again. (And there's plenty to blog about, too)

Until then, adios. And here's hoping there's someone to pick us up from the airport when we get home on Monday! ;-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day Sixty-Five: It's St. Patrick's Day...

And I can think of no better way to celebrate than with this musical number from an Indian Superman film.

Warning: mildly explicit content following...I think...

Day Sixty-Three: Assigment

Blog post for 3/ 15/ 2009


I’m doing some research, so I’d like a bit of feedback, if you’ve got the time.

Here’s your scenario: you’ve figured out the perfect way to surprise someone special in your life. Either a really great friend, a significant other, a fiancĂ©, someone you’d like to make your fiancĂ©, a sibling. I’d like to stay away from ‘a spouse’ for now, but you can use whatever stakes you need to make this next part plausible for you: you’ve figured up the all the costs of putting together this little surprise, and it comes out to right around $6,000. However, you have come to the conclusion that this is $6,000 you must spend in order to get this to happen (again, you can fill in the circumstances that would make this realistic).

So my question to you: how do you raise this money? Let’s say you could put together $1,000 without too much trouble. $1,500 would be stretching it. The rest, you’ve got to handle on your own. You could probably put about $750 of it on credit without crippling your future. That leaves you at least $3,750 short.

You’ve got six months. How do you raise this money?

Be creative and practical; you don’t have to do the whole thing yourself, but it’s probably not fair asking your buddy to sell his car and give you the cash.

Percolate on that a bit, good readers, and please report back with any ideas you come up with.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day Sixty-Four: Wiggy math

You probably think I missed a couple of days, but I didn't.

See, my sister-in-law is over, and as a result my Internet time is wonkified. Plus, Saturday and Sunday were both packed, and guests sleep in the living room, so I can't be up on the living room computer late like I normally am. Fortunately, I had my laptop with me, so I did my blogging on there so I could copy and paste it here today.

Which is what I've done! Scroll down and you'll find Saturday's post. I'll post two a day until I'm caught up. (Which will be tomorrow)

Sorry I forgot to warn you. Here's a fair warning: I'll be out of town and someplace with no Internet access from Wednesday night through next Monday afternoon. I'll similarly type while I'm away and two-post until we're all caught up. It does, however, mean the numbering will be all wonky until everything is normal again.

So there's your warning.

Now, I haven't got a ton of time for blogging this morning, and I've got quite a bit of work to do, but hopefully tomorrow I'll get a chance to fill you in on my weekend. It was a fantastic one, folks. Probably the best weekend I've had in months.

If not, I'll post some silly limericks.

Day Sixty-Two: Nothing to see here, folks...

Blog post written March 14th, 2009

You won’t actually read this ‘till Monday, but this is Saturday’s blog. See, I didn’t miss a day, I just didn’t have Internet access at a time I could blog.

So the other day, I was at a gas station, waiting to wash my hands in their restroom because some gas spilled on one of my hands—long story. (I know, that’s always the best way to start a story, right?) I go in the convenience store door and head toward the back. The man behind the counter calls after me, “Hey, restroom?” “Yeah,” I reply. “It’s busy, man.” “Huh?” I asked, mostly because the guy spoke with a fairly heavy accent, and I wasn’t sure what he’d said. “There’s somebody in there,” he said. “Okay, I’ll wait,” I said.

Odd that the cashier would warn me of that sort of thing. Usually they just let you find out the door is locked for yourself. I figured maybe the lock is broken, so this guy is just keeping an eagle-eye watch out so there are no awkward moments.

So I stand and wait. For a full five minutes. At that point, I decide it’s a good idea to knock on the door, just to make sure there is, in fact, someone in there, and the cashier hadn’t just missed them leaving.

Knock, knock, knock.

“WHAT?!” a woman’s voice replies. I step back, satisfied. Yes, there is still someone in the restroom, I tell myself. And apparently she doesn’t like people knocking at her. So I wait some more.

After another three or four minutes (keep in mind my wife and son are in the car waiting for me all this time), another guy goes toward the door. I’m wondering why the guy doesn’t notice that I’m standing in line, and also feeling for the guy who’s about to get his head bitten off. He knocks on the door. The woman inside gives a slightly more polite, “Yeah?” Then the man starts speaking to her, and they converse. I don’t know what they were saying, because a) it’s not any of my business, and b) it was all in Spanish anyway. Regardless, after a moment the door opens a bit, and now they’re speaking through an open crack in the door. Then, a purse is passed through the door to him, and the man turns and exits. Moments later, the woman emerges. At no point was there the sound of running water or flushing.

Whatever, right? Finally time to wash my hands, take the family to the grocery store, and get home in just enough time to chow down on something quick and head back to work.

While standing at the sink, I can’t help but notice something unusual about this particular restroom (aside from the general small-gas-station-restroom disgustingness, of course): the toilet has been entirely stopped up with papers. Now I’m curious, so I squint to see if I can figure out what kind of papers they are. Of course, they’re all mangled and crumpled and wet, so they’re nearly impossible to read, but I do see the word “prisoner” several times on more than one sheet.

I wash my hands and leave the store. Nothing suspicious going on there. Not at all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day Sixty-One: Posten sie Pikturen (Non-German: John Scott update!)

******Editor's Note: Today's title, while German in appearance, is not actually true German.*****

Production photos for The Hero Squad vs. the Princess Snatchers are up on the Players' flickr site now. I've posted some of my favorites on my facebook, but for those of you who read this and don't check that (Hi, Mom!) I'm going to give you a taste here.

First, here are our heroes!

Next, here's a villain! And a bored princess!

And finally, here's a link to all the rest of the photos! Check 'em out, folks! They're neat-o!

Happy Friday the 13th!!

*******Update: Following up on our John Scott story from two days ago: Big John had his first NHL fight last night. Colorado Avalanche pest Cody McCormick cross-checked teammate and former-Aero Cal Clutterbuck...IN THE FACE! Mr. Scott too exception to this and later decided to take the law into his own massive hands.

And here's the video. I have to say, I love the commentary.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day Sixty: Will 3, Deadline 0

I, who generally have a problem with self-motivation, seem to rock deadlines like a fishing boat in a hurricane.

First deadline: 50,000 words by the end of November. Finished a week early.

Next deadline: finish novel by the following Saturday. Done on Wednesday.

This deadline: write two one-act plays by the end of Friday. Finished at 1:30 this afternoon.

What's crazy is it seems like I barely write anymore unless I'm under these crazy deadlines, at which point I binge on it and, as they say in the south, "Git er dun."

Incidentally, deadlines up my caffeine intake considerably and screw with my sleep schedule even more so than my career, hobby, and daily schedule normally do.

Of course, when I say I barely write outside of deadlines, I'm not including this blog. Oh, this blog. I have written something, even if just an introduction for a guest blogger, for sixty consecutive days. For those who know me and my struggles with self-discipline, let that sink in for just a moment.

Yeah. Wow.

Daunting: adj. The realization that you still have three-hundred five consecutive days of blogging to meet your specified goal.

It will get quite interesting next November when WannabeWordslinger and NaNoWriMo are fighting for my attention. We may see lots of links posts, guest bloggers, haiku, and facebook-esque memes that month. Or just excerpts from the lesser-explored corners of the Hero Squad universe (currently my planned NaNoWriMo project for 2009).

So, yes. Two plays (scheduled to have readings this Saturday, hence the deadline!), woot. Sixty days of blogs, woot. Three-hundred-plus days left....eh, sure. Woot.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day Fifty-Nine: Big John Scott

You know what I haven't really blogged about yet? Hockey season.

Veterans of my former attempts at semi-regular blogging will tell you that I post entirely too many hockey-related blogs. Well, it's been fifty-nine days, and I really haven't touched on the subject yet. Plus, the well of blogging ideas has never run drier than tonight, so we're going to touch on that subject, just a tad.

A couple of years ago, I caught my first glimpse of hulking Houston Aeros defenseman John Scott. Scott's got a lot of things going for him. First, he's on my local team, so that's working in his favor. Second, he's a product of American collegiate hockey, and I'm always in favor of seeing the NCAA boys make it. Third, he's six-foot-eight-inches tall and two-hundred forty-seven pounds. Johnny is a big boy.

His story's pretty cool. Scott used to lie about his height and weight because people would associate athletes of his size and build to be basketball players, and he desperately wanted to be a hockey player. So he always said he was six-seven, because apparently that is much more acceptable for a hockey guy. He played in college and went undrafted before finally signing a tryout with the Aeros. Houston's NHL affiliate, the Minnesota Wild, really liked the kid's size, so they signed him to a pro contract after his first season in Houston. He's now in his third year with the club, so there's your classic underdog rising above story. Everyone loves those!

I really like Scott. In fact, I've really only got one knock on the guy:

He's one of the worst hockey players I've ever seen at this level.

To be fair, he has improved leaps and bounds in his two-plus seasons in Houston. He's gone from being atrocious to merely not very good. I remember going to games at the Yo (which is what I've nicknamed the Toyota Center, by the way. Spread the news, it's the Yo now) Scott's first year here and wondering who on earth would pay this man to play professional hockey. On more than one occasion, I swear this is not an exaggeration, Scott was on the ice for every single goal against, and was a key contributor to more than one of them due to his being out of position, slow, screening the goalie, running into his own guy, falling down. Whatever. You name it, Scott could do it. (Favorite Scott story: I was at a game once and Scott took a 2-minute penalty. I turned to the guy beside me and said, "Scott's in the box. AT least we know they won't score for the next two minutes." And sure enough, they didn't. FOUR SECONDS AFTER THE PENALTY EXPIRED, when the man stepped on the ice and took two large, lumbering strides toward the action, they score.) He skated like one of the Easter Island heads put on ice skates. His stickhandling was worse. If Scott had the puck, you could rest assured that, within ten seconds, it would be on an opponent's stick.

The news wasn't all bad. The man plays well in the corners, mostly because he's immovable. He also plays his role as The Giant Guy very well, and he likes to go with the other team's big guys if they start taking liberties with his teammates. He's a good guy to have around, at least on a minor league level.

BUT the coaches didn't just use Scott as a goon. He was on the ice killing penalties! He was on the ice ON THE POWER PLAY!! Guys are skating around him left and right! He kinda shifts his weight to one side or the other, and if he gets close enough he'll knock the other guy on his can due to his girth and strength, but usually they just go merrily on their way to an odd-man rush. I once saw Scott defend a two-on-one that ultimately ended up in our goal. The man sitting in front of me said to his companion, "With Scott the only D back, it's more like a 3-on-0!" The man wasn't wrong. (To be fair, a few months later I saw Scott in a similar situation, and he actually broke up the play. He broke it up because the guy with the puck tried to skate through him, and there's no going through John Scott, but nevertheless Scott gets credit for making a play there, even if he didn't have to move his feet for it)

Now as I say, he's gotten better. His passes aren't as awful, and his skating has improved by leaps and bounds. (Not literally) I still cringe when I see him on the powerplay or the PK, but it's not quite as bad.

Why am I talking about John Scott (aside from the fact that I had nothing else to talk about tonight)? Well, as I said, I really do like the guy, and I think he's got a great story, and now you can add another unbelievable accomplishment to his resume: Scott is currently wearing #36 for the Minnesota Wild in the NHL.

Not only that, but the coach loves him! And not in that "I love the guy, he's just not that good" tone you're getting here, but in the "I love to play John Scott in NHL games" way! Scott's played seven games so far (with limited ice time, but still. Them's NHL games!) and here's what Mike Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune says that the coach says about big #36:

"He also continued to praise 6-8 defenseman John Scott, whom he says keeps it simple, doesn’t try to do too much, makes great first passes out of the zone."

Re: great first passes, I haven't seen much of it, but then that's not really his role with the Aeros, and I haven't been able to attend a game since late December. (*whine!*)

Re: "keeps it simple, doesn't try to do too much": WHAT??? I always assumed that was because he was painfully slow! Sure he wasn't doing much; you mean to tell me that all this time it's been intentional? The reason I never noticed him doing anything good aside from throw his weight around in the corners was because he was staying low-profile?

Could it be that I (and many Houston Aeros fans) have been completely wrong about John Scott for almost three years now?? Could this have all been part of the same masterful plan from the brilliant mind that concocted the infallible "lie about your age so people stop bugging you about basketball" plan???

I don't know, man. I just don't know.

I do know that it's been a ton of fun watching our young players develop and--some of them, at least--make their way up to the NHL, either with the Wild or other teams. My minor-league hockey experience in Wichita never got anywhere near that. It's a blast seeing future-NHLers every time I go to the Yo, and usually even a few former ones. Guys I've seen come up from Houston in the almost-four seasons I've been here to become regulars in the NHL, even if only for a year: Erik Reitz and Aaron Voros (most recently NYR), Patrick O'Sullivan (EDM), Ryan Jones and Joel Ward (NSH), Josh Harding, Colton Gilles, Cal Clutterbuck, Peter Olvecky, and Kurtis Foster (MIN). Plus a bunch of other guys who've gotten a cup of coffee in the bigs. It's been fun. And the hockey's been great. And you really want to see a lot of these kids succeed.

As for Scott: Hey, the coach likes him. He's a great teammate and a good kid. Maybe he's in Minny for the rest of the year, maybe he's back home in a week or so. Whatever the case, you're playing with the big (well, relatively speaking) boys now. Enjoy it.

Somehow, you've earned it.


By the by, here's a link to a John Scott fight on youtube. See how small he makes the other guy look???

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day Fifty-Eight: Lest I Forget (part II)

**** Part 2 in my attempt to remember all I can about my post-hurricane Katrina experience my second week in Houston

I stood in a long line of volunteers headed upstairs at the Reliant Center, which is the big showroom-type convention center building that came with the new football stadium ten or so years ago. (It was before I got here, I don't know exactly when) To this day, post-Katrina is the only time I've ever actually been inside either Reliant-named structures. They were ushering us to a large area upstairs in groups of two-hundred or so for a very brief training-type lecture. Then they'd count off a certain number of people or ask for volunteers to do a specific job, or for people who had a specific skill set, and send us on our way. I went with a small group who headed back downstairs to the main showroom to one of the food tables. We were distributing sandwiches, chips, and drinks to anybody who wanted them. There were tables lined up all the way down the wall, probably fifteen or twenty in all, and they all had pretty much the same thing to offer. The area was set up for a massive rush of people, but that wasn't happening just then. In fact, there was scarcely anyone in the room except for the volunteers. I saw rows and rows of cots lined up all across the showroom floor--easily two thousand beds in all--and a few of them were occupied, but they were mostly empty. On top of that, it really wasn't meal time anyway, so there weren't too many people coming up for food, but there was, at the very least, a steady trickle of folks, mostly younger adults or else mothers with children, coming to take snacks.

The table I was stationed at had three other workers. They were all a good deal older than I was, probably in their forties, and it seemed like they all knew each other (or else had been working enough hours together now that they knew each other a lot better than I knew any of them, or they me). Basically, we didn't spend any time trying to get to know each other. I just sat around and waited for us to run low on something so I could run and get us some more. Again, there weren't enough people, and we were at the end of the line, so that really didn't happen either. Instead, I had plenty of time to sit there and listen to everything that was going on.

The room was pretty quiet for the most part. There was a loudspeaker that was constantly paging people. "Mr. Trey Goodson, please report to the Family Rescue Booth. Mr. Trey Goodson, please report to the Family Rescue Booth." (I made that name up, by the way) Five seconds later, a page for someone else. Then, ten seconds of silence before another page. So many people searching for lost loved ones. I don't know what the criteria for sending a page was; I'd imagine if everyone who was looking for someone got to page them, then they'd never get through the line. I do know they had a check-in center, so maybe they only tried calling folks they knew were in the complex somewhere. Either way, there was a very steady streams of names called. It was kidna eerie. I remember thinking it would be an interesting backdrop for a play. Now I'm not so sure. Then again, it's probably already been done.

Because it was Sunday morning, they brought in three holy men to deliver spiritual messages over the intercom. Which was thoughtful of them. I mean, one of the speakers was a Rabbi (holy day = Saturday) and one was a Muslim (holy day = Friday night-Saturday afternoon), but I understand what they were going for. The first speaker was the Protestant preacher. I remember his words ringing particularly hollow, at least to my ears. I'm sure the three men were told to keep things pretty generic so as not to offend anybody with their own individual deities and to keep any talk of a higher power to a nice, ambiguous "God," but still. "You are going to be okay, because we know that you are a people of great faith! We know that you believe in God! We know that you are trusting in Him now!" That was pretty much the best he had. We got more of the same from the Muslim. More of the, "Hey, God loves you, so don't worry." And I don't want to knock these guys too much; I know they were handed limitations, and it's entirely possible that their words brought incredible comfort to some folks who were in dire need of it. And really, I could see them being flustered at the gravity of the assignment. I wouldn't want to have to think of what to say to three massive buildings' worth of displaced families, many of whom don't know if their loved ones are still alive or not. I guarantee I wouldn't have done any better.

The Rabbi, however. His name was David (I don't remember the last name, and I postulated that there are a lot of rabbis out there named David). He was fantastic. I wish I would have written down everything he said. Now I've forgotten most of it, but I remember being moved. I do remember two tidbits, which I will paraphrase here. The first: "They say that you are refugees of Hurricane Katrina, but I do not see it that way. You are, each and every one of you, survivors. You have made it here together, and you will make it, you will rebuild your lives, because you are not only refugees, you are survivors." The second: "You may be asking yourself, 'Where was God in this tragedy?' He was in the bus driver who volunteered his time and his business to bring passengers from New Orleans to Houston, unloaded, and then turned right around to bring another group. God was in the first hand that reached out to help you off the bus. He is in the hands that offer you food and drink. He is in the policemen, the Red Cross volunteers, everyone who has left their home behind to encourage you, to nurture you, and to tell you that you will survive this tragedy." Something along those lines. On that day, in those circumstances, it was good stuff.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Day Fifty-Seven: I know my artistic limits...

...and one of them is that, no matter what I wrote, I could not add one iota of awesome to this story.

So I'm not even gonna try.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day Fifty-Six: A pot, a pan, a broom, a hat.

"Someone should have put a match to this place years ago."

Ah, good times. Here's a little bit of this and that to start off our week.

* Since my last deadline-setting project worked so swimmingly, I'm doing it again. This week's goal: I will finish two one-act play scripts I'm currently working on by the end of Friday. I will do this because I need to have them workshop-read for me before rehearsals for A Phoenix Too Frequent begins, which did give me two weeks until I learned Kim and I (and Robbie, of course) will be headed to Oklahoma to celebrate Kim's granparents' 50th wedding anniversary with ALL of the family in two weeks. That leaves me the window of next Saturday to do this reading, which leaves me the window of this week to finish both scripts.

The good news is that one of these scripts I am writing specifically for my workplace, so I can work on it during my downtime at work and be completely justified in doing so. Huzzah!

* So I heard a comment third-hand recently that I should have just forgone this entire 365 writing exercise a posted a new picture of my baby every day, since that was all people wanted to see anyway. That stung, at least for a little while. Then I realized that I hadn't expected anyone other than maybe my mom and Sherri to read this semi-regularly, and that content comments are encouraging and a bonus! So, yay!

Incidentally, here's the biggest issue with Robbie pics: he really doesn't hold still for very long anymore, and most of the cutest things he does involve lots and lots of movement or else audio. I do have a camera, but it doesn't tend to handle movement well, so if I were to post any of the pictures I try to take with my camera, you'd generally get a nice big Robbie-colored blur every day for three-hundred sixty-five days. Almost doesn't seem worth it.

Now, my birthday, Mother's Day, and Father's Day are all around the corner, so if we suddenly ended up with one o them nice camera, we might just see what we can do toward that end ;-)

* I'd like to brag on my wife for just a moment. She got up in front of the whole church this morning to sing a special. This took some guts, because she's been sick for the last ten days and wasn't really even feeling too well this morning, but she felt that God really wanted her to sing this particular song in church, so she went for it. And did great. And I'm way proud of her.

* I'm now getting Facebook friend requests from parents of people I knew in high school. That's all.

* Who's not watching the Watchmen? *raises his hand* Not until Redbox, at least. I read the book, and I just really wasn't crazy about it. I understand and appreciate everything it did for graphic novels, but the combination of this story with this director plus this economic picture equals nothing I want to spend nine and a half dollars on. Wait for Redbox, movie for a buck, fries for a buck, drink for just over a buck. Done.

* I'm pretty sure somebody's gone back and made BubbleSpinner more difficult.

* And finally, an update on yesterday's post: According to what I last heard, everybody's going to be "fine." I use quotation marks, because I can't imagine trying to go back to normal after something terrifying like that, and I'm pretty sure all four victims are going to have lingering health issues of varying degrees. But it sounds like they'll all live. So that's a miracle and a blessing.

* Okay, one last finally: Old-school Disneyland fans of the world, unite! (Oh, um, I don't recommend reading the comments...)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day Fifty-Five: Request

Hey everyone.

I want to use this space today to ask for prayers for my cousin Darien. She was in a car accident last last night. All four people in the truck were ejected; none wore a seatbelt. There was apparently not another car, and none of the four passengers can remember what happened.

My cousin cracked a bone in her neck and one in her pelvis. Plus, there's some slight liver damage. She won't require surgery; she'll have a neck brace and crutches for quite a while though. She got off better than her friends, injury-wise. One had a torn liver and had to have surgery; one had a torn aorta and needed multiple surgeries, and one is going to be paralyzed.

This is just the latest in a string of horrible things that's happened to this family in the last couple of years. Please pray for them.

Thank you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Day Fifty-Four: The Crimson Cowboy

Meh. At some point between yesterday and today, the shades disappeared. Really. Nobody had any clue where they were today. So we replaced them with this old-school Lone Ranger-type mask. Took away a significant amount of the "Bad-A" quality, but gave him kind of a cool, classic look.

These pics were taken by a good photographer with my bad camera in a room with so-so lighting, so it should all even out, right?

Said photographer really wanted to get a close-up, too. I don't like it as much.

Side note: Look! I can add pics! This is another weapon in my arsenal of "Things to do when I can't think of anything to blog about that day!"

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day Fifty-Three: Bring it on, week!

This has been a very unusual week. Between Kim's car trying to take me down with it, the cast party Monday night, typical Tuesday morning weirdness, learning Biff, Bang, Kapowie! on Tuesday, performing said monstrosity on Wednesday, and rewriting one of my scripts to allow for a new performer (me again!) to sub in one male actor in a role that was supposed to be a female actor.

That was today's adventure.

For one day only (hopefully), the character of Queen Victorious (president of the International Union of Superheroes, Amazing Persons, and Otherwise Outstanding Citizens--or IUSAPOOC, for short) has been replaced by a kid-friendly version of a Dark Tower rejected character-meets-Hero Squad Universe villain.

I went into the costume shop to figure out with Deb what my new character would look like. The idea: we just throw something together that works, and I'll make the character fit the costume. Result: The Crimson Cowboy. Black pants, button-up shirt, and boots, black hat with a red ribbon, red full-length sleeveless coat, and red belt with a silver star. Oh, and shades.

That's right, kids. I look hardcore.

And my name's an alliteration involving a color.

And that is how you find the perfect balance between adult post-apocalyptic western/fantasy epic and grade school comic book character-building one-act play.

I'll post a picture if anyone gets one tomorrow.

Edit: I will be posting a picture, because my wife has just informed me that I need to make certain that it is taken. Very well, then. I'll post a pic tomorrow, may it please ya well.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day Fifty-Two: I saw "you", you say "blog!"

Another shortie, because I'm not entirely sure how long I can crank out coherent sentences tonight.

I'm tired, kids, because I fell asleep at the regular time (around 2) and woke up an hour early (which was impressive, because I was supposed to wake up at 4:50 a.m. Leap out of bed and shower and ready to go by 5:10, when my ride picks me up to take me to work for the 5:45 call for the 8:30 a.m. show at Commonwealth Elementary.

I have to say, I think I did pretty well, all things considering. I really doubt you could tell that I hadn't even seen the show before yesterday afternoon. I can't recall anything that was left out, and there were no awkward "what comes next?" moments (only awkward "this script is awkward" moments) at any point. The rest of the cast couldn't think of anything I'd blown, either, and the teachers, students, and PTO moms all thought it was fantastic.

So I guess we chalk this one up as a win, aye?

As for today's title: there's a rap at the end of the lecture scene of the play in which we recap the five tactics for preventing violent situations from occurring. Our production has decided to make this an audience participation moment, so with each of the five techniques ("Ignore!" "Move away!" "Tell nice!" "You warn!" "You tell!") we encourage the audience to join us in all of our hip-hoppity glory with something like "When I say 'You,' you say 'Warn!' You!" Unfortunately, there's no audience participation earlier in the script, so the audience has to pick up on it really quickly if they're going to get it at all, and today we had first through third graders...yeah...


Oh well. At least the crickets learned the five tactics for preventing violence.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day Fifty-One: Biff! Bang! Ka-whaa???

So this'll be short, and here's why:

Every year, somebody leaves the A. D. Players National Touring Company at some point (at least, every year since I've been around), and usually it happens when there are three or four performances of different shows coming up. That means that somebody usually has to scramble to pick up these shows so we can make our performance commitments.

Well, friends, it's that time of year again, and this year the scrambling coverer is...drumroll lease...ME! Had my first and only rehearsal of Biff, Bang, Kapowie!, a show about bully prevention in which I'll be stepping into one of the smaller roles, but the character who delivers every single point made in the entire script in lecture format. (Then we recap the whole thing with a rap. Yup.)

So, I'm brushing up on lines tonite, and learning that rap, and then my ride will be here to pick me up at 5:15 tomorrow morning for our 5:45 call time. (Remember yesterday's story about Kim's car trying to suffocate me? As Spider-Man would say, "Ah! Good times!")

So I'm off to do that. I'll probably post a report of some sort about it tomorrow afternoon (before my energy totally bottoms out at around 2 p.m.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Day Fifty: Intermission, folks. You can smoke, those who smoke.

I'll keep touching on my post-Katrina experience and probably wrap that up pretty quickly, but today I've got to tell my "what happened today" story.

Also, thought it worth noting that this is my 50th consecutive day of blog posting. Woot.

Tonight, we're hosting a small post-show cast party for the Hero Squad group. That's supposed to start at eight, so Kim and I both get off work a bit early to clean up a bit (and, in Kim's case, to make a three-layer chocolate cake which, if described in two words, would be "Awesome McAwesome."). Around five o'clock, Kim asks me to take her car and go pick up Robbie from the babysitter's house, but warns me that it may be low on coolant. So I go to pick up the baby.

Now, from here to JoAnn's house is typically about a twelve-minute drive, stretch it to maybe eighteen due to five o'clock traffic. I'm almost to her house when I notice the temp gauge, creeping slowly toward the H for most of the trip, is now moving at an alarming pace past the H and into the "danger zone." Additionally, a very heavy vapor-type substance that smells bad seeps from the all the vents. I decide this is bad, and I roll down my windows to air out the vapory stuff and I pray my car into the driveway and park it, leaving the windows down to air it out. I pop open the hood after I stop, but nothing is smoking, so that's good. Hopefully, I tell myself, the car was simply reacting to going faster than it wanted to on the highway, and if I treat it more gently it'll get me home without further incident.

Pick up baby, talk to baby sitter, give car time to cool down. Strap Robbie in the back, head for home. Get about five blocks and the temp is higher than it was the last time, and the smokey-vapory-stuff (it's not really smoke, though) is very thick. I pull over into the first parking lot I can find and call Kim to come pick up the baby.

For twenty or so minutes, Robbie and I walk back and forth on this little strip of sidewalk outside of Discount Tire Co. just off of I-59. Kim shows up, and I move the car seat to her car and tell her I'll drive her car back home, four blocks at a time if I have to, and I'll get there as soon as I can.

Turns out, five blocks was a very generous estimate. I make it a little over three before having to pull over again. Wait fifteen minutes, let the car air out, take it another two and a half blocks, have to pull over again. The vapory stuff may not be smoke, but it's not good to breathe, I can tell that. I stop this time at a gas station and buy some coolant (you'd think maybe they'd have had some at Discount Tire, but nope. Just tires) for Kim's car. It's not the right type, but by now I've realized (judging by the huge puddles I'm leaving everywhere I park) that the car is just leaking it back out anyway, so it's not like it'll set in and do any damage. I pour the ENTIRE BOTTLE into a tank smaller than the bottle and still don't fill it all the way up--bad sign--and pray it gives me just enough to make the last seven minutes or so home.

Well, it does, mostly. I keep the windows rolled down so the creepy Stephen King-ish mist airs out, because it never really stops at this point. Whenever I'm stuck at a light, it simply gathers on my windshield, and I have to sink down into my seat to find a spot I can still see out of. Almost home, almost home...

Finally, I pull into my complex. The coolant has held Heat Monster at bay pretty well, but now it's lost the battle. The gauge races past the H as I make the last turn into the final spot. The vapor is now gushing out of the vents, and it's actually difficult for me to breathe as I pull into the parking space and shut off the car, opening the door as quickly as I can, leaning my head out, and taking a very deep breath.


Now, Kim's car is old, and we are planning to replace it as soon as I've saved up three pay stubs to apply for government help in replacing our old car with a new, more emission-efficient model, and that'll happen next month. However, I think this old car has had it. Whatever is wrong with it now, it's probably not worth the money to fix it. I expect it'll sit in the lot until it's off to the scrap heap.

So if you find me asking for a ride at any point in the next month, please be kind. We are a one-car-family for the time being.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Day Forty-Nine: Lest I Forget (part I)

"Write it down, everything you can remember. You must write it all down, lest you forget, and it is lost for good..."

It seems like a lot of people I meet who move to this city absolutely hate it within about two months of it. It's too crowded, it's too dirty, people can't drive, it smells, it's too big, it's too easy to get lost in. I've heard a lot of reasons, and most of them are very valid reasons one would choose to hate a city. (Most often, the reason seems to be "It's not home," though that's rarely expressed)

My first month in this city was probably the hardest month Houston has had in the three-and-a-half years I've lived here. They say you see what people are really made of when you throw them into a crisis situation. If that's so then it was less than ten days before I got to see the "real" Houston, Texas.

I only spent half a day at Reliant Park in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As you'll recall, Katrina was the storm that basically destroyed the city of New Orleans in the late summer of 2005. They gathered all the survivors and threw them onto buses to get out of the city, and Houston was destination numero uno due to our proximity and our capacity. Reliant Park, the Astrodome, the George R. Brown Convention Center, and other such facilities around the city became refuges for thousands of people, many of whom had had no way of knowing whether their family and friends had survived, let alone made it to the same city they had. Some of them had endured worse horrors while waiting to be bussed out than they had in the storm. The number of lives that were torn apart within hours was staggering. And then they were on our doorstep, needing help.

As I say, I was only able to spend a short time as a volunteer (I tried more than once; one time I was turned away because the city had responded in such great numbers that they actually didn't have use for any more help at that time), but in those few hours I saw much, heard much, thought much, learned much. I don't know why I'm choosing this as the right time to finally make a written record of my memories. I've wanted to do so for over three years, but haven't found the time/motivation to do so. I suppose the combination of not having anything to write tonight and wanting something of substance to balance the glut of silliness we've had around here lately is enough to finally get me to this task. If that's the push I've needed, I'm grateful for it.

If you'll indulge me, friends, I'm going for a stroll down memory lane these next couple of days. And if you won't, well, I'm going to do it anyway. :-)