10112004 Goals

I have been told in sundry times and in diverse manners, that what i need to do is set some goals for myself as far as my writing is concerned.

The idea that, no matter what, I will write three hundred and fifty words every day is a great start but a little tougher than you might at first expect. I think the author of the original article meant that you should add to your current project or projects, but writing about something new each day, or, more accurately, scrawling a thought a day, should get the creative juices flowing. I already write long e-mails to friends on esoteric subjects. I like the idea also because it reminds me that I want to make this my work, not just a pastime.

This brings me to the goals. What do I really want from writing? I think I want two things. I want to make money as a writer and I want my writing to have artistic merit as well. Here is my tentative plan:

1) Complete a short story of 1000 to 3500 words and submit it somewhere, either to a contest or to a magazine before the end of, ummm, er, ah, well, how about before the end of 2005? I will try not to take rejection personally.
2) Submit at least five poems somewhere other than Poetry Dot Com for publication.
3) Work on plotting a novel.

While this will not make me a superstar overnight, we can hope that it will help me to become more organized and more committed to writing. I think it may also influence other areas of my life, such as my business, which I need to kick-start as well.

So, the “Long And Winding Road” may lead, not to someone’s door, but to the door of success and opportunity. I must keep this small, three-hundred-fifty word commitment and meet these goals, and I will be on my way.

The last question I have is something I have noticed when trying this. Why is it so hard to come up with three-hundred-fifty words?

Steenking Dog II

Well, the adventure is pretty much over now, thanks to Margaret’s cleaning prowess. She had everyone doing a year’s worth of Saturday chores yesterday. We threw out Snoopy’s pillow and cleaned, bleached, washed, scrubbed, (did I say cleaned?) everything. Cleaning the carpets a couple of times, anywhere the dog might have been and everywhere else. Wow! What a time. Our house is usually pretty clean and Saturday is the day when the deep cleaning is done, but Margaret had a mission and we are all glad we had to work so hard. There is not a surface in this house that has not been touched by some kind of cleaning something or the other.

Even the writing board on my desk was cleared off! Unbelievable that any part of my desk would get cleaned, but it really did happen that way. Now, I plan to clean it off one of these days, but it is so hard to know where to start. Different people have nagged me about it at different times and I really will get it done. Ashley had come over once to help me, but she didn’t take the 3 or 4 days necessary. I’m not messy, just organizationally challenged.

Snoopy’s 2-can tomato juice bath was a success so we have a normal smelling house again.

Another exciting thing to me was that when I sent out an e-mail to everyone about my ‘blog, I heard back from people I hadn’t heard from in a long time.

Well, ‘tis Sunday School today and I think that the honorable and knowledgeable Professor Fritz Von Googleheimer will explain the difference between clean and unclean animals in preparation for the story of Cornelius. I love the professor; he is one of my favorite characters. I like them all, really. Anyway, I have to get going, folks, so long and thanks for all the fish, er, thanks for reading.

Woo Hoo

I AM JAZZED, JAZZED, JAZZED! As Larry the Cucumber would say, “Oh, yeah!” A personal hero of mine, President Bush, is going to be in Colorado Springs to speak at a rally and I am going to get to go hear him in person! I can barely quit jumping up and down to type this. This is my candidate and I am praying to God to help our country make the right choice and elect him. This is one of the most exciting moments of my life.

Certain gentle readers may question how and why i have chosen this candidate and some may not even agree with me. I know, the idea that someone could possibly not agree with me is hard to comprehend *grins like Zaphod Beeblebrox after his 3rd Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster* but i guess anything’s possible.

I will explain the way i think everyone should pick a candidate. It’s easy. First, you should pick a handful of issues that are important to you PERSONALLY. If possible, issues that are embedded in your very core being as true or false, right or wrong. Then you find which candidate most closely matches your beliefs. I would also recommend, if possible, independent study of the person’s record. How have they voted on those issues in the past? E.g., they say they will lower taxes, but in the past 20 years have voted 98 times to raise taxes including voting for a 50 cent per gallon tax on gasoline.

The issues that are important to me may not be important to you and may cause you to vote differently from me. In addition, even though we may both read the same fact in the same publication, because of whom we are, our upbringing and personality, there may be a difference between us on interpreting that fact.

Since it is my blog, i will share my priorities on the issues.

First priority with me is abortion. All human life is sacred and begins at conception. John Kerry, a professing Catholic, not only does not believe this, he does not want me to believe it either. I say this because he said in the debate Friday that he not only would spend federal money to pay for poor people to get abortions but that he would pay for abortions around the world and that he thinks abortions will stop the spread of AIDS. Listen to what he said. He also inferred that teenage pregnancies were pretty much inevitable. Not only that, but he does not think a parent of a minor child needs to be informed that their child is having a medical procedure that is a physically invasive surgery and has a significant potential to be psychologically damaging as well. As the parent of 3 teenage girls, 2 of whom are still minors, i think either her mother or i ought to know what’s going on. No other medical procedure is treated this way! Senator Kerry also used a heart-rending example in attempting to defend his position, but it did not fly with me as in the example he gave there would (or should, since a minor child is involved) be Social Services and Police and others involved.

Senators Kerry and Edwards also voted against a ban on a heinous, gross, barbaric procedure called Partial Birth Abortion. I will not try to put you off your feed by describing it, but the Pharaoh of Egypt and Adolph Hitler together could not conceive it. The chances of it saving a mother’s life are so astronomically unlikely that the senator’s reasoning was absurd.
President Bush, on the other hand, made it clear that he would do everything in his power to prevent my money from being used for abortions. His moral clarity and the succinctness of his answer on this question alone were heroic to me. This alone would be reason enough to vote for him. He (and his brother Jeb) believe as I do and represent my views.

Now, defense of the nation. First of all I think the president has showed himself to be resolute in the face of our enemies and loyal to those who have been loyal to us. I think that Senator Kerry is a wishy-washy appeaser who believes that Saddam should still be in power. Not only does his record of voting against all the useful weapons systems in the past, he also denigrated a new and powerful weapon during the debate. He and Edwards both discount the sacrifices of our Iraqi and other allies. I don’t trust him to defend the nation or the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. His “global test” remark betrayed his basic ideology that we should put the interests of the U.N. above our own. The U.N. should be moved to Paris, but that’s for another blog.

His photo being taken skeet shooting belies his real feelings and record on the 2nd amendment.

Also, Texans are some of my favorite people in the whole world. Texas is a place everyone ought to have the privilege to visit. I think that Kerry, Edwards and Qadaffi, who would also still be in power, are afraid of cowboys because they live by The Code of the West instead of Situational Ethics.

So, those are my issues and my criteria for thinking President Bush is the only proper choice.

Now, since El Paso county turns out the 4th largest republican vote in the nation, we get to see the Prez! YEEEEEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What A Day

Wednesday Night Bible Study, Pastor Johnson had taught about being excited and full of joy when you are out among people and letting the world see that you have joy.

What a day! The steenking dog episode happened around 4 A.M.ish on Thursday and was just the beginning. Oh yes, i get up around 4 or before almost every day. I got in the habit when i was in the Army and never got out of it. We left for Margaret’s first patient of the day, who lives about 27 miles in the middle of nowhere in eastern El Paso County. The car started acting up. I knew i had several major problems (with the car 😛 ) that need attention, but the minor factors of time and money keep popping up.

We left her patient’s house and went down Squirrel Creek Road, which is as rural as the name implies and is located in central nowhere. The antelope kept running away when i would ask them if i could use their cell phone and, well, a longhorn cow-critter is not a fellow to ask anything from. So there we sat.

Flashing back to an incident that happened several months ago, on a cross road from this one, Peyton Highway, we had seen a really bad accident. It was a rollover with the Flight-For-Life involved. Margaret and I prayed that the person would be okay as soon as we saw the helicopter and emergency vehicles re-routing traffic. She found out the details of the accident later on because one of her other patients out there in the middle of nowhere is related to one of the EMTs on the scene. Apparently, the victim was a young girl whose head was crushed under the car and the folks on the scene had little hope. The terrain out there is such that the car would not only have rolled over 4 times, but would likely have flipped up in the air like a pancake in a cartoon 4 times. The first responders initially started looking in the fields for an ejected body.

So, back to yesterday, a car came along and took Margaret into town to get our son and a tow-truck and so she could call her work and have them tell the rest of her patients she was not going to make it, etc, etc. The woman driving the pickup was the mother of the girl in the accident! Small world and amazing “coincidence,” huh? Well, she told Margaret about how they had to reconstruct her daughter’s face and the daughter is home with almost no scars! She has no brain injury, not paralyzed even though she broke a couple of vertebrae, she is well. We invited her to church, of course.

So, there we sat at the shop and waited. The shop we go to is honest and they help us out when we need it, but car repairs, even if you have an honest shop, are extremely expensive, and i was expecting that the tranny had finally gone, which would be between $1500 and $2500.

In the meantime, the girls were at home giving Snoopy a bath with tomato juice. It took 2 cans, but the smell was gone off of the dog. Now, the whole house still had the odor. This means that we will have to clean every thing the dog could have possibly touched or sat on or rolled on because even the most powerful of sprays don’t work. Normally Margaret has a big, deep-clean on Saturdays anyway, but this will be even more. We did manage to make it livable by cleaning the worst, most likely parts and spraying, spraying, spraying, but, it needs more than that.
The car turned out to be a computerized deal in a command module in the electronic ignition and “only” cost around $300. Well, the car runs nice and the tranny has been put off a little longer, so, all-in-all an interesting day. I am sure it was all so that we could meet the mother of the girl in the accident and not only invite her to church but also hear what happened to our accident scene prayers. (Whew! That was 701 words up to there! Woo-hoo!)

Steenking Dog

Oh, man (I love grammar checker. The little green wavy line came under the word “man” just now so I right clicked it to see what they suggested as a replacement, and they suggest “operate” or “staff” so the interjection would read, “Oh, operate!” or “Oh, staff!”)! Anyway, I just let Snoopy in and, oh man, she has brought the most foul odor imaginable into the house! Oh, man! She must have had it out with a skunk! I went outside and she was digging at the porch but i didn’t see anything. She came in and was rubbing her nose all over the ground like she had a bad itch that wouldn’t go away. Arrrggh! There has been a skunk prowling around and i am thinking that it wanted to live under the back porch and Snoopy did not want her to live there and they argued. Remember the old song in the 70’s, “I Fought The Law And The Law Won?” Well, it appears that Snoopy fought the skunk and the skunk won! Oh, this is bad and i don’t think i am going to make it to 350 words today, i have to deal with this.

10062004 entry

Just a note of explanation now that i have sent out a mail to you all about this blog. I have a wide variety of friends from a wider variety of ideologies. What this means to you, gentle reader (don’t ya love Miss Manners?), is that some of you will wonder why there isn’t more church stuff, or political stuff, or writing stuff, or funny/weird stuff and while you are wondering about that, the other people will wonder exactly the opposite, e.g., why so much church or politics, or who cares about the difference between a trochee and an iambus and if he’s such a big-time, fancy-schmancy writer, why does he use ridiculously long, yea, even run on, sentences?

One of the other cool thing about these guys (blogdrive.com) is that you can have more than one blog under the same account, so, for example, Carter could do one on nothing but the 2nd amendment and one on beer and one on the Cavalry or just do one that has stuff about all three from time to time.

Oh, and i MUST clarify one other thing. I really am not a big-time writer. I have had a couple of very minor pieces printed in a vanity press. This is where this exercise is supposed to come in handy. I get to practice on my friends and relatives and any total stranger that happens to stroll by.

Anyway, thanks again to all of you for being patient and if you have any questions or something you really want to know about, let me know.

General Stuff

Since there are some people that know me and my family well and others know little or nothing I think I will just list off the players and jump in. As time goes on you will get to know more about each of them. The people that live in my house with me are:

The Actors
(Sorry, I am enjoying the Shakespeare thing at the moment)

Margaret: My wife of 27 years

Grandma Pike: Margaret’s Mom who has lived with us about 25 years-ish.

Abigail: My 13-year-old daughter

Tabitha: My 15-year-old daughter

Elizabeth: My 19-year-old daughter

Snoopy: Our dog that used to lie on top of his house, but not on his back.

Fraidy Cat, Fee-Fo, and The Wintergreen Witch: the cats

Blue Sky and Rainbow: The parakeets

Roo Boom-Boom Thiel: A very large white rabbit

Me

Other Players
(That don’t live in this house)

Benjamin: My 21-year-old married son

Isabel: His very nice, nobody knows how he got to be so lucky as to get a nice girl like that, wife.

Baby Thiel: The coming grandbaby

A wide variety of supporting cast and characters

Ashley, Wendy, Ben-Down-The-Street, Ben-Next-Door, The Simonses, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, Robert Heinlein, William Shakespeare, Louis L’Amour, Edgar Allen Poe, Fibber McGee and Molly, Abbott and Costello, The Shadow, The Saint, Mowgli, and many others.

The Scene
A house in a neighborhood near Fort Carson, CO, across the street from Pikes Peak Community College and about 3 miles from the church, the store and the bank.

Now that the introductions are out of the way, I suppose the best way to do this is just start writing, but since I have used up all of the last couple of mornings preparing to blog, I have to go now, but more will be on the way, so stay tuned!

Pinball Wizards

Okay, here is the truth about that fateful day in, oh, what, 1978 or 1979 when Carter King’s pinball machine was tilted. First, let me tell you that pinball was not yet the computerized, digital annoyance that it is today. It used to be a mechanical device of marvelous engineering and invention. You put in your quarter and the steel ball would pop up and a combination of physics, skills, knowledge and luck would come into play all to the sounds of little levers and real bells and clicking counters. Even the counter on the machine we used at Dehn’s Diner and Ice Cream shop in Shawano, WI was mechanical. It didn’t go into a bunch of false millions, either. It had space for 6 digits and that was it. You would just lightly, barely, just ever so slightly nudge the machine and move the ball by an almost invisible fraction to make its trajectory change and hit a bumper just so. The flipper action, the rails, oh, it was a marvel of technology and a thing of beauty. Computer games and digitized pinball or the perverse PC pinball games where you bump and nudge using keyboard keys are just not the same as the real thing.

Now, if you hit it or nudged it too hard or tried to pick up the machine to keep the ball from rolling, it would buzz and a large red light would come on that said, “TILT!” Tilting was and still is considered the most heinous crime in all of pinballdom. Or was until this point in time.

Carter was never much of a pinball player and i used to beat him thoroughly at it. Years and years went by and although he watched “Tommy,” by The Who, 497 times in a row, he was never able to figure out how to beat me. He was certain that i secretly manipulated the little steel ball using my magnetic personality and could get it to do almost anything it could for me. Hmmm, i guess this is an exaggeration, but the next paragraph is a confession of such a low and heinous crime of most vile proportion that i must steel my self-esteem against it. I am about to confess to such a crime that could only be paid by a sentence of death and 2/3 of my allowance.

You see, one day Carter had started having a good day. On this machine, rolling over the score to 100,000 at all was a feat to admired and revered among the local players. This usually took all 5 balls and a earning a couple of free balls as well. Carter had reached 110,000 points on his second ball. Then…well…i…er…ummm…ah…well, felt threatened by it all and…er…tilted the machine. *boos and hisses abound as the disgusted crowd walks away, sadly shaking their heads, saying things like, “i knew he was no good,” “What a vile reprobate,” “What a sorry sack of something,” and etc.*

Okay, so now the story has been told. The truth is out to the entire world wide community. I am a louse and i owe Carter King an apology of the deepest, most sincere sort and someday i will actually apologize, but not today. I saved my crown and that is all that matters! Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Okay, okay, the truth is, i really am sorry, Critter, but my evil twin captured me and made me recant my apology. The truth is, i was pushed by the aliens that lived in the walls at Dehn’s Diner. You can’t deny there were aliens at Dehn’s, otherwise how could you explain the food?

To Blog Or Not To Blog

To blog or not to blog, that was my question
Whether ‘twas nobler in my mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous statements of noodle heads
Or to take up “Pen and Paper” against a sea of troublesome thoughts
And by blogging them out, thereby end them?

Well, okay then. That wasn’t bad for a Shakespeare parody at 5:00 A.M. I have been trying for some time to decide whether to start a blog and, since you are reading this, guess what?

What put me over the edge, you ask? Why did i decide to try this? Will i succeed? Well, if success is measured by a consistent day-to-day entry, i guess we’ll see.

I fancy myself something of a writer and a poet and read magazines like “Writer’s Digest” and “The Writer” and others that i see when i am loitering at Borders Books and Music, which i don’t get to do often enough. A writing exercise i read about in an article in Writer’s Digest said that you should try to write at least 350 words a day and that will help you get going. I had tried it in a series of little pieces you may or may not wind up seeing, but i am really slothful about actually doing it. I am hoping that blogging will help me achieve the 350 words a day and get me going. I guess i am expecting that if i don’t update my blog every once in a while (i doubt i can manage every day. I am going to try shooting for once or twice a week, but you never know. People that know me know i can be a little garrulous at times. Shut up, Carter.) friends, relatives and total strangers will e-mail me asking for updates.

Now i must decide between the services. This is kind of hard, but when i e-mail all of my friends i guess they will know what i have decided. I am typing each entry in Word, first, and then will cut & paste it into the program so i can have a copy and could use more than one service if i wanted, but i think it would be hard enough to keep track of one.

Well, i got to 375 words and have an inspiration for an upcoming entry already! Since i have owed my buddy from High School, Carter, a most humble, yea, even obsequious apology for tilting his pinball machine when he was at 110,000 points on the 2nd ball, i shall write about pinball. I know, some of you are saying, “woo-hoo! Shades of excitement! What next?” But stay tuned…

Okay, it was down to blogdrive.com and xanga.com and i think i will choose blogdrive because when i went to sign up for an e-mail update i didn’t have to register with them like i did xanga. All i wanted to know was when the thing was updated.