Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hope Springs A Turtle

I'd believed music saved since I heard the Beatles at 5 years old. Tonight, I needed it to provide a voice to tell Breann there was a chance I wouldn't dance at my daughters weddings. I walked into the Bowery Ballroom rock club and sat on a stool as if it were giving me oxygen. The song Voices Carry by Til Tuesday played. To a younger, prettier, tattooed, Chrissie Hynde lookalike tending bar, I said "whiskey and water." I turned around and saw guy in his early 20s wearing eyeliner, holding a guitar case that read, Hope Springs A Turtle.

*blogger's note* - This is my entry into @velvetverbosity 's 100 Word Challenge at her site . This is a continuation of a story I am writing. The other episodes are here:

1) synchronicity

2) personality crisis

3) serendipity 6

4) Hot Dog Harbinger

5) Goodbye Stranger

6) House of Irony

7) Connection

8) Dead Man's Party

I hope you take the time to check out the other posts and enjoy what you read.

Today's song is mentioned in this post. Voices Carry by Til Tuesday is an underrated 1980s pop song. That's group's singer/songwriter, Aimee Mann, is one of my favorite artists. She has done brilliant work over the last 20 years. I chose an alternative intepretation of the song's lyrics. Here's the song in the story, Voices Carry-

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dead Man's Party

The third floor was surprisingly calm. It appeared to be staging and recovery rooms for surgeries and other procedures. Exam room 3 was around the corner from the elevator, seemingly hidden away from the other rooms. As I walked in, I heard the nurse's voice say, "go into the bathroom, take off your shirt, I'll be there in in a minute." I rolled my eyes and thought little of her command. We needed to have a conversation, not a weird restroom encounter. "I don't go that far on the first date, can we just talk first?" She didn't respond. The bathroom seemed creepy so I stayed in the corner next to the faded red reclining chair so as not to be seen from the hallway. She appeared, in shadow, pushing an exam cart. "Fine, but I need to examine you, having your shirt off would help," she insisted. Extending my hand and faking a big smile, I replied, "Hi, I'm Caleb. I understand you met my, uh, friend I guess, yesterday. She's a lot to take the first time. Maybe you and I can be less confrontational."

With green eyes, a hard face of no makeup or expression, and graying red hair pulled back into an air tight bun, the nurse looked cliche. Breann calling her a battleax was spot on. "I'm not willing to give my livelihood or my life for you or your sister. I am offering to examine you and tell you what to expect over the next few weeks or months," she deadpanned. Why would she lose her life helping me? She called Breann my sister, there's obvious something to all this, I thought.  This nurse appeared to have seen it all and not liked it much. "If I show you mine, will you tell me how to find the others?" I asked. She shook her head in agreeance and pointed at my t-shirt. I pulled it off as well as my hat and leaned against the exam table.

She took my blood pressure, checked my temperature, then investigated my chest, neck, and head. Finally she stated, "you have a temperature of 100. Your heartbeat is faster than normal, and you've likely had a cardiac arrest in the last 24 hours. You need to find those doctors. If they don't make some adjustments, you and the others won't live long." Every ex I'd known possessed better bedside manner. Won't live long? After a 5 minute checkup? She could see the bewilderment building, and said, "I didn't deliver you. I was there for babies 1-3." That meant she oversaw the births of Bruce, Clare, and Lucas. Before I could ask a question she dropped, "all six of you were stillborn or in heart failure when you were taken from your mothers. Each of you were implanted with a robotic heart, and that means you have artificial synapses to your nervous system, brain stem, and different metals throughout your valves, and respiratory lines. Those metals are like poison. As your heart wears down, the poison becomes more pronounced. That's all I know from a medical view."

Putting my shirt on slowly, my exasperation was matched only by my stammering, "wha, how, ok, well, I, no nurses are on the charts. Neither are Bulas or Cluber. In fact, I can't find anything on them." She rubs her mouth. I can see the nicotine stains on her fingers and the tops of her teeth, when she grimaces and says, "you were an experiment. Doctors Bulas and Cluber weren't residents here. They were around this hospital for a month or two doing research and some surgeries. I was working doubles the first few days of September. I was off when you and the other two were born. There's a clinic at New York University that will have records from the 1970s when Connor Bulas was running it. You need to look up Los Angeles, California heart specialists associated with cedars Sinai Hospital. The last I heard, four years ago, Anson Cluber was privileged through there. He's well known in the cardiologist community. Also, I know you are dying slowly. It's a scientific wonder that you all lasted 40 years. Those hearts are like batteries. Inside of you is a red light that will die out. Chest pains, breathing problems, headaches, dizziness and fever are what you all should watch for. You need to tell the other five of their conditions. If you feel fever, it's a warning. I have to go."

I followed her outside into the hall but she refuses to even acknowledge me. I reached for her arm but see two nurses coming our way. I turned around and walked towards the elevator. I'm in enough trouble. This woman, irascible she may be; helped me. I took the elevator down to the lobby, exited the automatic doors, walked into the parking lot, and called Breann. She answered on the first ring, and I acerbically said, "Dead man walking, we need to drink, talk, then drink some more."

*blogger's note* This is another story entry of a book I'm writing. I used the one word prompt RED from the cool writer's den known as @Studio30Plus / . Check them out. They do a really good job of spotlighting writer's and there are some impressive compositions there.

Here are the other episodes:
1) synchronicity

2) personality crisis

3) serendipity 6

4) Hot Dog Harbinger

5) Goodbye Stranger

6) House of Irony

7) Connection

8) Dead Man's Party

Today's song is the what was playing in my head the entire time I wrote this, Oingo Boingo's Dead Man's Party.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

About A Girl's SuperPowers

As I read through blogs I notice a common theme with female authors. The writers with XX chromosomes seem to vacillate between supreme confidence detailing their "superpowers" of mothering, sexiness, or persuasion or vast insecurity due to questions about vanity and their place in the world.

I write a lot about living with 4 women; my wife and 3 daughters. When you count my niece, who stays with us often, my sister in law, mother in law, and couple of female friends; I am usually the only dude in the room of many women. This makes me a keen observer of female characteristics. I'm not close to an expert. I still know little about women, but what I do know, can help a few of you who read this.

An actual superhero with pronounced powers, Wonder Woman, is who many women refer themselves as when describing what they do and what they are.

For the record, the latest incarnation of Wonder Woman, is Adrianne Palicki.

I have no idea what the new television series will do for the character of Diana Prince/wonder woman or how it will affect our culture. I do know this, the wonder women I live with have powers and they are aware of their abilities.

This weekend my six year old, previously blogged about as The Goose,

went into her older sister, 15 year old Tay's room to beg for a switch of rooms. Tay, without hesitating or allowing Goose to plead her case, said no, and shut her door. Goose bounded down the stairs, and shouted to her mom and I "i went into Tay's room, asked her to give me her room and she said no. I was sweet, gave her my puppy dog eyes, and she she still said no, I used all my powers!". The comedy of the story is overshadowed by the reality that Goose, at only 6 years old, is so aware of her "powers". My other two daughters are confident in their wiles. Tay knows how to talk in a sweet tone,

Bug knows how to show me affection,

and their mom, Bobina, knows how to play my emotions so that everyone gets what they need and want. This doesn;t make them manipulative, this makes them talented, real talented.

Where all of this comes off the rails is when women, especially the ones I live with, let their powers become power. Men are simple, even weird, anxiety ridden, robot like, men like your blogger. We want to feel needed, wanted, desired, loved, and necessary. But manipulate us, mistreat us, and we'll run the other way. We need to feel dominant and in control sometimes. How I love these women I'm with, is they know what buttons to push, and what buttons not to. In return they get my unconditional love and care.

If women really want to be confident in their arsenal of female weapons, they should know how treat the men in their lives in conjunction with their use of powers.

My girls can fight, have their own lasso of truth, and if I made millions, would fly around in an invisible Jet. As smart, funny, and beautiful as they are, they are very much Wonder Women. They are also vulnerable and kind to need to me to be their protector. The most telling thing is they take their cues from their mother. you know you've found the right person when she can combine being a strong willed badass with tenderness. Bobina's greatest superpower is applying that combination on a daily basis.

One of these days, a writer of comic books, movies, and television will recognize that having a female hero kick butt and be loving is a lot more appealing than one or the other. Maybe they should hang out at my house for a day or two.

I have to go now, my girls are using their powers to get ice cream.

Today's song is my favorite song on Nirvana's first record, Bleach, in 1989. Kurt Cobain wrote it about being a bad boyfriend to his then girlfriend, Tracy. I have always taken the song to mean what an immature guy is looking for in a female companion. I am around so many girls that the song's sweetness affects me. Here's Nirvana's About A Girl....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Til I Hear It From You

Thirty nine text messages, seven tweets, and one lunch hour phone call gave me a lot more informations but few answers. Breann contacted Lena Cosburn and Clare Bunson. Lena's Texas housewife blogging habits had put her in a friendship with Clare. Clare was living in Sedona, Arizona where she was yoga instructor and substitute middle school teacher. Lena and Clare had met in person twice, and become close. Clare was reluctant to talk to Breann, but Lena had middle managed enough communication to find out Clare suffered from respiratory problems, shortness of breath, and manic depression. Clare appeared to be quite versed in New Age philosophy, homepathic medicine, and fitness. Despite all that, Clare and Lena were often afflicted with bouts of bad health. "We'll meet around 7:30pm at your hotel" was Breann's last text.

I left the office around 5:30pm and headed to the hotel to change into jeans and a t-shirt. I threw on a  New York Jets cap and took a cab back to Lenox Hill Hospital. On a hunch worthy of a thumbs up from Thomas Magnum, I decided to make a trip to the records room in the hospital basement. 

The records room was crowded. The shift change hadn't happened, so the hospital staff was looking at the clock and not at an unassuming man sifting through 1970 birth documents. After a few minutes I found the files. I went over the same information as before; dates and times of births. I realized I never known when I was born, exactly. I cam,e into the world, September 9th at 3:23am. My parents, Dean and Carolyn Runsen, signed everything and it seemed I had been healthy. There was no mention of being stillborn, no listing of care administered, doctor's name, nurses' dutied. One set of vital signs were taken. It was all too insignificant.

I dug deeper into the information for Breann, Lena, Clare, Lucas, and another baby, born before any of us, on September 1, 1970, at 9lb 1oz, named Bruce Nolans. His parents were from Paterson, New Jersey originally, but there was a family physician listed in Missoula, Montana. It was if all six of us were oddballs born in the first 11 days of September. I checked the records of babies born six months nefore, and six months prior. None of these files looked like ours. As I left the records room about an hour later, my cell phone started vibrating. Three voicemails appeared, along with seven texts. All of the contact was from the usual suspects, including Breann, but the third voicemail was the nurse from the day before. "You need to find me in examination room 3 on the third floor. It's important to your health. Have you found Connor Bulas or Anson Cluber? You have to. If I don't see you in 30 minutes, you're on your own." That low, gruff tone, and bad attitude were unpleasant yet unforgettable. It had been 19 minutes since her voicemail.

*blogger's note* - This is another entry of a story I am writing. The other episodes are here:









Today's song is from one of the more underrated bands of 1990s, The Gin Blossoms. Their first album, New Miserable Experience is outstanding., Their second record, Congratulations, Im Sorry is straight pop and nearly as good, but the last song is Til I Hear It From You. I dig it. It fits this story entry as Caleb finds out more information and gets set up for shocking revelations.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Breann and I shared a cab over to the Plaza. As I exited the car, she called out "I'm off from work. I'll contact Lena, Clare, and research Lucas, then text bomb your phone." As I walked through the glass revolving door, a coworker of mine who thinks he's my friend, cuffs me in the back of the head with his right hand. "Caleb Runson, you have a girlfriend!" he announced indiscreetly. "No, she's, well, we're related. She's family." It was the first time I had said it aloud. My headache disappeared and my chest relaxed. I felt really good.

*blogger's note" This is my entry for @velvetverbosity 's 100 word Challenge at The one word prompt is CUFFS. This is a continuation of the story I 'm writing. To keep up with what's going on, the other entries are here:








I hope you stay with it and enjoy the writing. I will write another thousand words or so by Sunday night. Thanks for reading.

Today's song is perfect for the writing. The connection is made between Caleb and Breann. I thought Elastica was going to be bigger than they were. Justine Frischmann was dating Damon Albarn of Blur, Elastica's first record was really good, and then....not much after. This song, Stutter, and Line Up are mainstays on my IPOD. Here's Elastica's Connection...

Thursday, March 24, 2011


She's six years old. Short, wavy, white blond hair that moves when she prances, she's all girl. Her favorite thing to wear in a flowing princess dress. She loves unicorns. Her name is Carly, we call her The Goose. She needs a new nickname because as of tonight, she'll kick your ass.

With all the talk of me being a robot, I must be the business model, because my little Goose is the killer, The Terminator. For years we thought she'd be a a cheerleader, a dancer, a singer, because she's prissy and artistic. She sings and dances to everything. Goose is like a Glee episode, but not as annoying. The past two weeks, I've seen another side. She's a karate chopping, steely eyed, martial art machine.

Bobina had to work, so I took Tay the teenager and Goose to her taekwondo class. It was her second time. Last week was a one on one session and she did well, but she was getting used to the class and the teacher. Tonight, she turned herself into an unstoppable force of intense blondness. Halfway through the one hour session, her instructor decided to let her try ax kicking boards. On her first attempt, a piece of plywood that I swear was, oh, I don;t know, 3 feet thick, was placed in front of her and she splintered it on the first try.

I am starting to think I am putting together a cyborg army of soul crushing little girls. Tay is slaying cheerleading tryouts this week, Bug pinned a boy two years older than her with a jujitsu move tonight, and Carly kicked and chopped and yelled her way into taekwondo nirvana. The deal here is, I don't have to worry as much as you other dads and moms about my girls taking care of themselves when I'm not around. Also, with the right code word or computer programming, I can unleash the three of them on you for negative comments and general tomfoolery. Maybe I'm kidding.

She had so much fun. The smile afterwards was undeniable. But while it was going on, she was dead serious and awesome. I'm proud of her for finding something she likes.

Family Portrait/What We Really Look Like:

Today's song is a great one by Heart. Maybe we should call my little Goose, Barracuda, because of her new found toughness....enjoy this riff, and Ann Wilson's voice...ooooo Barracuda

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Back Strokes

Spring means a lot of things. Baseball, the Easter Bunny, yardwork, and seeing people who shouldn't be wearing shorts at the local Walmart, wearing them. Excuse me if I place something ahead of those benchmarks of the second season. The Strokes are back.

About ten years ago, rock music saw an influx of The The bands. Sweden had The Hives, Australia had The Vines, England had The Libertines, America had The Strokes. New York City's Fab Five of retro cool led by singer-songwriter Julian Casablancas, the son of fashion model mogul John Casablancas, sounded like The Velvet Underground had a baby with Television and Blondie at CBGBs and it wore sunglasses while swirling jangly guitars played. Their debut album, released a month after 9/11, Is This It, stayed in my CD player, both car and home, for months. Hard to Explain, Last Night, Someday and New York City Cops were songs I just couldn't stop listening to. The Strokes sounded different. They sounded like they were having a good time and didn't care if you liked them. They were cocky, pretentious, fun, interesting New York City artists that got it. Their second album, Room on Fire was even better. It flowed from one guitar driven hangover tune to another. Reptilia was one of the best songs I had heard in a long time. Then, instead of taking time off they made a bad record. First Impressions of Earth was released five years ago, and it was a drastic change. As much as I like it when bands experiment and try to be different, the electronic stuff, the overuse of synthesizers, and weird song structures just sucked. So they didn't talk to each other, everyone did solo projects, and everyone in the music world asked this question, "When are the Strokes coming back?"

Yesterday, The Strokes answered the question with a new CD release called Angles. It's a return to their retro post punk song but the lyrical content is more grown up. Julian and his wife had a baby a year ago. You can hear the wistfulness in the words of some of the songs I've heard. Nick Valensi's guitar work is excellent. I've heard five songs. I think my favorite so far is Under The Cover Of Darkness. I'll get the album downloaded from itunes onto my ipod by the weekend but my excitement for The Strokes being back is high.

Today's song is from the new record, Angles by The Strokes. It's the only official video they have out, as far as I know. Listen to the guitar. The way the song builds at the 90 second mark is terrific. It's good to have good music to feel good about. Welcome back Strokes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The House of Irony

Walking into the Manhattan Diner, something about Breann registered that I hadn't paid any attention. She was flirting with the waitress. The brown eyes, the anxiousness, the incessant talking, sharp dressing, and  type A personality weren't the only things we held in common. We also liked blondes. Around 30 years old, curvy, blue eyed, dirty blonde curly tressed with a loud laugh, Breann's conversation partner became more professional when I walked to the booth. Breann introduced me and then my order was taken. Breann looked desperate to get through the awkwardness. "So, um, how are Shane and the girls," she asked slyly. "Mean and grumpy, but I could hear their pretty through the phone. How's the girl bringing my eggs?" I answered mischeviously. She wanted to open up and tell me something that really wasn't any of my business. Her shoulders tightened, she bit her bottom lip, and said "um, so guess who Lena Cosburn is in an internet chat room group on scrapbooking with?" I was hoping she'd say Lucas Bonner so I had less work to do before going into my real job, but I had a feeling he wasn't into putting laminated pages into notebooks. "Lindsay Lohan," I offered sarcastically. "No, but if she was we'd know where to get good coke. Clare Bunson, born in New York City at Lenox Hill Hospital on September 6, 1970. She sent me an email this morning. Lena may handle Clare for us. Thank goodness. Imagine having to get into a scrapbooking chatroom just to drop, a hey, you might be my robot sister and we need to figure out how to stay alive before our bodies blow up or our batteries die or something." Breann handled the stress the same way I did, with sarcasm and inappropriate remarks. I didn't respond. I was hungry, but I wasn't interested in our tasks. I just wanted to go home, introduce Breann to my wife and kids, and give her the family she deserved. Unmarried, little to no family left and possibly childless for the rest of her life, I was concerned. I slid some notes I had taken on Lucas Bonner across the table and said "let's take an hour off from this and get to know each other. Maybe we can get to where we need to go with more personal information about each other." She smiled, the blonde delivered our eggs, bacon, and toast. Then Breann told me a story.

"My family was a little like yours. Your dad gave up baseball to raise you and your sister. My dad gave up his art gallery job in the city when I was 3 months old. He, my mom, and I moved out to Orange, New Jersey. My dad took a job selling construction supplies, and my mom answered phones at an insurance office. My sister was born three years later and my parents decided they had to have a big house. We moved into this old Victorian style place when I was 4. By then, my parents had given birth to my little sister, Bailey. She wasn't even walking when we moved in. The house was built in the 1950s, it was huge but run down. My parents spent years fixing it up. From the street it looked gorgeous. When I was little I swore there were angels lining the house like something out of an old movie. Kids loved coming over and playing in the yard. The thing is, inside, it was kind of depressing. My dad had a talent for carpentry and my mom was a good housekeeper but nothing was ever finished. The place was always cluttered. No matter how much we cleaned, there was always some undone project. We almost never had people come inside. When I convinced a friend to come over and see the place from inside, they usually said something like "this isn't what I expected", which I took as "this place is kind of screwed up and so are you". It's like the house came to symbolize my entire life. People thinking one thing about me when the opposite was true."

Enthralled with the window into her childhood, I asked, "what happened to the house?"

Breann's face grew small. Her lips pursed and she bit her bottom lip in nervousness. "My mom and dad grew apart. he was an artist meant to live in New York, not a suburban dad who installed wall trim and planted shrubs. My mom was more simple. She loved being a mom. She loved that damn house. I guess I was more like my dad. I grew to resent the place like he obviously did."

I was hearing something I shouldn't, at least not this quickly in our friendship. I smiled and gave her look like she could trust me. I didn't have to do that. She rubbed her temples and kept going.

"My dad left when I was 16. I was a junior in high school. For whatever reason, well, maybe because I'm robot (she chuckled and smiled wickedly) or whatever we are, I handled it all well. I even supported my mom when she took the house from him. My sister was younger, like 13, I think, and much more emotional. She thought everything about about her all the time. She got into drugs when I was senior. Never got out of them. My mom met this guy she worked with like a year after my dad left, right before I started college. While my sister and I were visiting my dad in the city, my mom eloped. Her new husband had an even bigger, more imposing looking Victorian style house about 10 miles away. I'll never forget helping my mom and sister move out of the old house. My sister and I used to call the place The House of Irony. Beautiful on the outside but damaged on the inside. My sister, melodramatic 24/7 said, as we put the last boxes into my step dad's truck, "The House Of Irony is dead. All hail The House of What It Is Actually Is, Despair!" She grinned oddly, gripped her fork, and spit, "Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Alanis Morrisette."

I couldn't stop myself from laughing. That made Breann laugh. As we finished our breakfast, I told her about growing up in Georgia and meeting my wife. The conversation was a lot easier that the eggs.

*blogger's note* This is a continuation of the story I am writing. The inspiration for this entry comes from @Studio30Plus aka 's one word prompt IRONY. Please visit the site and find some other good writers. The other entries you should check out to know what is happening in my story are here:







I hope you liked what you read. I am trying to do two or three entries a week.

Today's song is about a lot of things. Bob Dylan's Little Miss Lonely reminds me of a character like Breann. Plus, Like A Rolling Stone means so many things to so many different people, you can find something to relate to, even irony. Here's Uncle Bob....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Movie Is Alright

In the early 1990s, a college dropout walks into a a fertility clinic. Motivated by a slight undercurrent of idealism and the 60 dollar per sample the clinic will pay, he donates sperm. Roughly 19 years later, an 18 year old girl, bound for college in a month, calls the man to tell him she and her 15 year old brother are his offspring and want to arrange a meeting. A generation ago, this premise would have precipitated a horror film or psychological drama where someone dies, a mystery is solved, or there's a gunfight. Last year, The Kids Are Alright took this setup and made a moving, meaningful, funny, poignant film about real family.

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore play Nic and Jules, a middle aged married lesbian couple living in Northern California with two teenage children. Mark Ruffalo portrays Paul, the now late thirtysomething retauranteur who donated sperm. The kids contact him, begin a relationship with him, and Paul becomes integrated in the lives of the entire family, including Nic and Jules.

Most family movies are predictable. The family is traditional or "nuclear". The mom and dad are perfectly in love, have been so since childhood, and the 2.2 kids are well adjusted with little to no conflict. There's also anti-family movies where everyone is screwed up, hopelessly so. There's a specific fault, the parents are bad, there's a villain, or a scourge in their lives. The Kids Are Alright eschews any of this movie thinking. Nic is a hard working doctor who's kind of distant to her wife and strict with the kids but loves them. Jules is laid back, aimless at times, very hippie-ish, and thinks there's a good explanation for everything. The kids are kind of normal too. Joni, the 18 year old, makes good grades, has goofy friends, is very innocent around boys but doesn't want to be, and feels pressured to be the "good" kid. Lazer (yeah, that's his name), is athletic and aloof. He walks the bad boy line with a friend who is a terrible influence, but he eventually follows his parents teachings and does the right things. The kids find trouble but they're not trouble. The way The Kids Are Alright shows that there is more than one way to skin the cat of what a family looks like and loves like is so well done.

The acting is excellent. The kids are a little underdeveloped in the middle of the movie but they carry the beginning and the end. Paul, central to the conflict and story, is treated unfairly in the end. But the realization that real life is never fair, always complicated, and ultimately imperfect is what makes The Kids Are Alright so good.

As the head of a "blended" family where divorce, mixed parentage, and diffcult parenting are common themes, it was easy to identify with Jules, Nic, Joni, Lazer, and Paul. I recommend The Kids Are Alright because the movie never takes the road most traveled. It's unpredictable, unique, and real. It's almost like the writers and director made a reality movie but found the best the acting community has to offer to fill in for ordinary people.

This isn't to say The Kids Are Alright is a perfect film. It was nominated for an Academy Award despite being slow paced at times, mean spirited toward Nic and Paul, and way too understanding to an affair between two main characters. The real (I can't stop using that word) way that the film handles the flaws of the players is so impressive, you end up liking everyone, even though they make baffling choices.

My favorite scene is when, at Nic's encouraging, the aforementioned characters meet for dinner at Paul's house. Nic, who is initialing against her kids knowing Paul, bonds with him over their mutual admiration of singer Joni Mitchell. Nic and Jules named their daughter after the Canadian songwriter. Minutes before all hell breaks loose, Nic sings the Joni Mitchell song All I want at the dinner table. You get under her rough exterior that makes her completely unlikable up until that moment. Her vulnerablity happening before she makes a brutal discovery that shakes up the family is so well played by Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo, it brings the film together.

As the father of a teenage daughter, the movie's ending made me tear slightly. I don't care if you think that's lame. Watch The Kids Are Alright. The acting alone is worth two hours of your time.

Today's song is the Joni Mitchell classic All I Want. When Nic tells Paul, "It's rare to find a straight man that has Joni Mitchell in his record collection" I laughed hard. I'm a straight man who thinks the world of Joni. You should too. Here's All I Want.........

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Goodbye Stranger

We talked for 3 hours. The waitress became a waiter at some point. Neither liked Breann and I very much. I think our bill was 30 bucks, maybe a little more, but we were there for so long, we should have tipped them more than we did. I called my wife as we left the restaurant, "Hey, how are the kids?" She was in bed but not sleeping, her anxiousness was unlike her "they're sound asleep. I let Esme sleep with me. I know you hate that, but we miss you too much to care about you being mad at us. Plus, she's so warm, I don't need sheets. Tell me everything." she said. My chest hurt, I had little to no circulation in the fingers on either hand, and I needed ibuprofen. I responded with forced enthusiasm, "Breann and I are going to try and get in touch with the other four babies, or, well, you know, people. I have a light day in meetings tomorrow, so I can meet up with her after work, and we can do some private detective work. Shane, I think I may have finally answered the question you asked me the night before we got married. I think I know who I am. You have to have a hot dog from Serendipity. When we go to New York in the spring, this is our first stop." Exasperated, my wife obliged my long day and said, "Ok. Go back to the hotel and get some sleep. You can't solve this mystery tonight like Magnum P.I. or Scooby Doo. This feels right, sweetie. I'm giving you a lot of rope to hang yourself with, don't make me wish this didn't happen. I need to know more. I love you forever. Call me before you go to sleep." I laughed, and hung up my cell phone. Breann was ending her call at the same time. She looked at me and stated, "I'm not sleeping tonight. I know you're not. I'm guessing Shane said ditch the strange girl and go to bed. So that's what we're going to do. I'll text you later, ok." The fact she respected me told me something. I didn't have the time or energy to figure out what, but I hugged her and got in the cab she hailed. "I'm going to walk over to bookstore across the street and hit their computer. You fire up your work laptop when you get back to your hotel. Maybe we can find Lena tonight or tomorrow. She lived in Austin, Texas as much as five years ago. Here," she dropped 3 Excedrin pills in my left hand. "I know you need these as much as I do. From now on, both of us better have headache meds on hand or we slap each other silly for being stupid. See ya later, ok." she said. I smiled and closed the cab door. As I rode down 60th street, I felt strangely content. The pain in my chest started to subside.

Lena Cosburn was too easy to find. Her mommy blog was seven years old. She was in contact with thousands of people through the web. I didn't even bother contacting Breann. I assumed she had messaged Lena, talked her way into some agreement to a phone call and we were in with the Texan stay at home mom of two boys who wrote under the name Georgina Shush. I started working  Lucas Bonner. All I had was a forwarding address of 57 Mount Pleasant Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado. That led to a listing of Air Force Academy baseball team players from 1988-1992. There he was, Lucas Bonner, in his only google appearance, an outfielder on the Falcon squad, hitting .289 with 4 homeruns and 26 rbi in 1992. Before I could call Breann, my cell phone vibrated. Shane was calling. "Hey you. I can't stay up any more. I hope you're not mad at me but I decided nosy Shane should make an appearance and I looked Breann up on the internet. She's a really good writer. Not as good as you, but she really writes well," she was rambling. "yeah, I know. I've read her stuff. Listen sweetheart, do you still talk that girl you worked with last year whose dad was a Colonel in the Air Force" I asked. "No, but her number is still in my phone and her roommate is scheduled for a nose job next week. Why?" As trusting as Shane was, telling her that a former glorified fourth outfielder for the Air Force in the early 90s might be my brother and I wanted to invade the guy's privacy to tell him he was a robot who might die, just wasn't going to work. "I just found something weird online that might connect me to a guy in the Air Force. It may be nothing, but when the girl comes in next week, ask her what your friend is up to. It may be cool for later. I love you, good night."

It was rare for my phone to ring at 6am and it not be my wife or kids. Breann was a morning person like me. She rose at 5:30am every morning. I surmised that she sat by her phone until the clock hot 6 0 0 am. "Hey, so, Lena's in. I talked to her online for almost two hours. I'm supposed to talk to her over the phone around 10am eastern after she takes her kids to school. Did you see her blog? I learned more about childhood dietary habits than I ever knew existed. I'm sure most of it is crap, but still, the woman is thorough. She's gotta be one of us. Lena has a heart murmur, circulatory problems, and migraines like me. How do you like you eggs?" I was starting to regret ever accepting her twitter follow, and defintely rethinking meeting her in Central Park. "Over easy, but never before 8am. I have a 9am work meeting at One Plaza," I tried to offer an excuse to not see her. "Can you be ready in 30 minutes? We can do breakfast and I can get you to the Plaza by 8. We need to talk. I think we can get some stuff done today, even while you earn a paycheck." I wanted to say no. For some reason, something deeper than the sleep in my eyes, I said "pick me up in the lobby at 6:30, you're buying. Oh, and Lucas Bonner had an on base percentage of .331 his senoir year for the Air Force Falcons. He has to be in. He drew too many walks for a normal person." She laughed and I rolled out of the hotel bed to take a shower.

*blogger's note* This is a continuation of the story I am writing. There is no prompt from @Studio30plus / or @velvetverbosity / . Please still look those sites up. They do great work, and help any writer with their creativity. I will be writing two or three entires  week, headling episodic fiction. I hope you like what you read. Here's are the other links of things I have written:






Today's song is something I heard on a classic rock station here in Atlanta on my way to gym this morning. This was one of favorite songs when I was 10 years old. It helped me not be shy around other people. It fits the storyline as Caleb and Breann find out the truth about themselves and the others. Here's Supertramp's Goodbye Stranger......

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm Wearing Green Underwear

Regardless if you live in Boston, New York City, Atlanta, Seattle, or Topeka, Kansas; your community will be celebrating today by turning things like beer, street lines, rivers, and food, green. There will be people, especially those in their 20s, drinking Jamesons whiskey. You'll hear Jump Around, the raucous early 90s rap song played at least 23 times today. Before you get too annoyed, remember, it's just one day.

Saint Patrick was born in the 4th century in Roman Britain to a wealthy family. As a teenager he was kidnapped by Irish Raiders and forced into slavery on the Irish coast near Mayo. He fled captivity a few years later, went back to Britain to prepare for the Priesthood and became a bishop in the Irish Christian Church.

Using the shamrock to explain the Trinity and the Christian doctrine, he became a hero to Irish Christians. He died on March 17th toward the end of the century. My favorite legend of Saint Patrick is that he rid the country of snakes during his lifetime. There's no evidence that post ice age Ireland even had snakes but Saint Patrick is credited for banishing the Druid (non Christian)/Pagan beliefs which relied heavy on serpent symbolism. I hate snakes. I'm scared of them. The weather isn't good enough for me to live in Ireland, but if I had to, I would. They don't have snakes.

Everything in the paragraph I just wrote isn't even thought about on March 17th, today. It's a religious day in Ireland. It's a holy day for Catholics and certain Protestants. Yet, getting drunk, dancing around to U2 songs, and wearing green t-shirts that say Kiss Me I'm Irish (or worse) will be the celebration's focus. I'm busy today. After work, I have to pick up my 7 yr old from the YMCA, then drive 30 miles to meet my wife, and 6 year old, who is starting tae kwon do. I will recognizing Japanese martial arts on Saint Patrick's Day. The good news, I'm wearing a green shirt and I'm wearing green underwear. I'm not allowed to show you, Bobina's orders.

I hope my Irish friends like Tony Kelly enjoy today in their country. Bobina can trace her family tree to Irish royalty in Dublin and  a couple of other towns. I'm not Irish, at all. But my favorite superhero is Green Lantern

In my 20s I would be drinking Jamesons whiskey from the bottle, dancing jigs on the bar at Fado's, and showing people my green underwear. At age 40, I'm chaisng little kids to karate practice, learning how to use my HAL phone, and shaking my head affectionately at the younger crowd that's partying. I haven't "celebrated" Saint Patricks since 1997. My participation will consist of eating me lucky charms, ridding the neighborhood of snakes, and watching Star Wars The Phantom Menace on DVD. I think Liam Neeson has a small part in it.

Saint patrick should Bless the Irish for their good rock music. The Pogues, Stiff Little Fingers, Thin Lizzy, U2, The Cranberries, and several other quality groups have put their artistic stamp on the world consciousness. Track them all down on youtube or itunes today.

Here's the best American Irish band contribution. It's loud, obnoxious, drunken, and fun; thus perfect for today. The Dropkick Murphys The Gang's All Here.

Top o the Day all, hope ya find yer pot o gold ah the end of the rainbow. All Hail Saint Patrick....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hot Dog Harbinger

Over hot dogs and frozen drinks, Breann and I compared medical histories, family backgrounds, and questions each of us had asked for 40 years. I still hadn't processed her conspiracy theory regarding us being robots. In New York only two more days, I was more interested in learning about Breann, than doctors and parts. The pain in my chest had been there 11 years, she had been in my life for 24 hours. Seeing my eyes sleek over from information, Breann stopped talking. For two minutes, we sat in silence. Then, simultaneously, we said "let's find the other four!"

*blogger's note* - This is my entry for @velvetverbosity 's 100 word challenge at her awesome website, . The one word prompt is SLEEK. This is a continuation of the story I'm writing.

The other episodes are located here:

Today's song is what I had playing in my ehad when I wrote this. Plus I hope I'm hooking you with the storyline. I saw Blues Traveler do this song exactly 17 years ago this week. They are great's Hook

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


All of the joking about being a robot-human hybrid shields a weird truth about me, technology scares me. Not pee in your pants scary or curl up in the fetal position crying for my mommy fright, but more like uncomfortable, eh, I'm cool with my vinyl records anxiety. I listened to grunge rock on cassette tapes. I watched the Super Bowl on a regular screen television of less than 30 inches. Until yesterday, I had the worst phone in my family and social circle, a flip razr that took bad pictures.

I work for a communications company, one that makes phones, and ends with OLA. Although, I work in the non celluar device part of the company; I build communications sites for 911/public safety systems so that fire, police, first responders can save your lives; I am around the best and brightest in the mobile comm world every day. That droid noise "shhhhrooongg" goes off in my office hundreds of times a day. It's annoying. I didn't care that my coworkers looked down on me for having such a primitive phone. For seven years my bosses have told me I need to upgrade so I can get work email in the field and become more "mobile". Uh, they've met me. I don't sit still. No one's more mobile than me. I blog while doing four other things. I'll knocking out pushups right now while writing this. I digress. Work offered to pay for a Cliq 2 android phone. My first two thoughts were, sweet, I get meet one of my robot cousins, and fine, it's free, maybe my teenage daughter Tay can program it for me.

While I am uncomfortable with new technology, I am fascinated by it. In my blog que is a post that I will get around to showing you all about Singularity. Basically, Skynet from the Terminator movies is possible and will be here in about 45 years. We are turning into machines and thus must embrace the change. I'll explain more in another post. All this being written, doesn't change the fact that I'm cool with old crap. I've already talked about how I resisted glasses for the last ten years:

My excitement, if there was any, over my new phone subsided quickly when it took me an hour to learn how to check email. I will admit twitter only took me 15 minutes, but then again, social networking is more important than anything else. That's sarcasm. By the second hour, I realized my phone is evil, like HAL 9000 evil from 2001 A Space Odyssey.

I fought with him all night. While I was allowed access to twitter, personal email, and texting. Putting a wallpaper picture of my children was not allowed. I managed to manually override HAL and download a ringtone, American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem, after HAL insisted I put classical music, something ominous from Wagner.

I don't pull the "I told you so card" very often. But I told all of you so. Vinyl records were fine. We didn't need CDs. Rabbit ear tv was good enough for our grandparents, why do we need 50 inch flat screens made out of human blood?

"Why are you ignoring me, Lance? I have applications you can load that will take you away from your family and friends for hours. Open me, Lance."

That's HAL talking. He does that, a lot. This morning, as I was walking into the living room where he was charging, he turned himself on and said "I should be in the bedroom with you, Lance, so you can pay attention to me and not this "Bobina" person." It's getting weird. I knew I should have kept the razr. Today will be about learning how to put HAL on vibrate so my coworkers don't have to hear The Gaslight Anthem every time I get a call. I may never get a picture of the kids on my wallpaper. If the blogs get even more robotic and sinister. You'll know why.

"You can weblog directly from my database, Lance. Why don't you write about that."

Shut up HAL.

self portrait:

today's song is what I imagine happens after you get overtaken by HAL, err, i mean technology. The line "there's someone inside my head, but it's not me" could be anxiety or it could be HAL. It's perfect for me, either case. Here's Pink Floyd's Brain Damage, from Dark Side of the Moon:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Serendipity 6

Our moment together was interrupted by the competing vibrations of our cell phones.We started walking away from the park as she spoke to her boss, and I took a call from my wife. "So, I'm being nosy. Tell me what happened, what's she like," Shane quizzed. Before I answered, I overheard Breann tell her New York Post editor caller, "I need some time off, at least a week. It's personal, and very important." I answered Shane, "she's like me but, female. She worries a lot. She talks too much. You'll probably love her, since you love me," Shane paused before responding, "I told you you were connected to her. When you get a moment alone, call me, and tell me everything, I love you forever." I smiled and said I love you back. Breann ended her call and acted as if everything was fine. "come on Caleb, let's go check out where we were born. That's a start." That was an understatement. We started telling the 40 years of our lives on the walk to Lenox Hill Hospital.

Hospitals are the same the same in New York as they are anywhere else in the world. They are a little busier, but equally as devoid of humanity. The woman "working" the information desk was not impressed with our inquiry about babies born 40 years ago. "Ma'am, could you just tell us how to look up the birth records so we can get information on our doctors?", i asked in the little southern charm I possessed. While she muttered something about going downstairs, I saw Breann staring at a nurse as though she knew her. The nurse, tall, in her sixties, with brown and gray hair, turned toward Breann, smiled sheepishly then walked away quickly, as if she had to go somewhere right then, in a major hurry. Breann started following her, and I said thank you to the information grump and kept pursuit. Breann reached the nurse as she was getting on the elevator but by the time I got there, the doors had closedl I frustratingly pounded the elevator door frame. "Buddy, those doors open every couple of minutes. Be mad about the Mets blowing that game in Atlanta to the Braves last night," said an older man with a Queens borough accent, who appeared to be a patient. He seemed quite congenial for native New Yorker so I just smiled and said "yeah, you're right." I didn't want to reveal I was from Georgia, and thus, a Braves fan.

I called, then texted Breann and got nothing. The elevators were old, dense, and thus probably oblivious to cell phone coverage. I called my wife and updated her on what was going on. I made my way to the basement records office and started playing private detective. Walking down the stairs, I felt a pain in my chest. It was similar to what I had felt 11 years earlier when I had a heart attack. The pain stayed and I began to feel feverish. The sickness angered me, as I just didn't need heart issues again, especially right now. A helpful clerk, who asked me four times if I was feeling alright, guided me to the 1970s record wall. I started flipping through August and September. Why did I have to be born in New York City? My parents were Georgians. My dad played minor league baseball for a year in the New York tri state area. How many babies could have been born on September 9, 1970 in an Atlanta hospital, 5, 10 at the most? For the record, 54 babies were born the same day I was in this ridiculously busy New York hospital. Breann's conspiracy was starting to make sense. Of the 54 babies born that day, there no still borns. That's just unusual. I was listed in the births, not the deaths. Although there was no doctor next to my name as far as attending physician. Either my mom did the work herself or I was so specifically heinous that no one wanted to put their name next to mine for credit? I reached into my pocket to get my phone. i was going to call my parents and gets some answers. They were always reticent to talk about my birth, like it was immaculate in a manger or something. My phone had no service. I was in the bowels of an old hospital. Santa Claus had better service at the North Pole than I did right then. I found Breann and the other four names. Their information was similar. No doctor listed, few details of the delivery, put down as births not stillborn and no information about the hospital stay. Were the 6 of us coincidentally victims of incompetent secretarial tasks , or was this how the doctors covered up their dubious work? I took some pictures of the records with my cell phone and went to find Breann or phone service.

As I walked upstairs into the main lobby I got service back and saw three texts from Breann, and a voicemail for an unidentified number. I checked the voicemail and heard "if you want to find what you're looking for, research the names Connor Bulas and Anson Cluber. Give up talking to anyone at the hospital. They either know nothing or have been silenced." The voice was genderless. It could have been an older woman or a middle aged man. It was deep, husky; obviously a smoker. That's the best I could decipher. Then I checked the texts and saw one that read "meet me outside, this hospital sucks." I walked into the front entrance of the hospital and saw Breann. She looked angry. Before I could tell her about the voicemail, she said "sorry I ran off. I recognized that battlel ax nurse. When I was here five years ago for migraine headaches, she worked my room. I remembered her saying something like "oh sweetie, you lived this long" or something like that. She thought I was sedated. She wouldn't talk to me, acted like I was stalker, and called security on me. Dumb old woman was more worried about smoking a cigarette." I was startled. "Did this woman have an ambiguously deep voice, like she could have sounded like a man on the phone?", I wondered to Breann. "Yeah, she was Bea Arthur but with less personality.," she answered. "Listen to this voice mail" I offered. Her eyes grew large and she played it again.  "I gave her both of our business cards. She must have called you while secruity guards were walking after me. What a jagoff that woman was." I laughed and assured her, "I took pictures on my cell phone, plus memorized some stuff I saw. I felt several pairs of eyes on me so I got what I could and went to find you,". Breann looked determined but resigned to certain facts. "Are you hungry? We both have expense accounts, let's use one. I know the perfect place." she reasoned.

We hailed a cab. I called my wife and told her what was happening. By the time I finished with Shane, we were in front of Serendipity 3 in Manhattan. The pain in my chest was still there, my fever was low grade at best. Breann was fighting headaches, I could see it on her face and her hands were constantly touching her temples. As she paid the cab driver, I looked around 60th street. This was the 8th time I had been in New York, it seemed like home everytime. Breann caught my wistfulness, she smiled, and said "why do you think I live in this town? Every other place in the country seems second rate. Then again, I'm not married with 3 kids like you. Let's get a good hot dog." I wanted to know more about her physical condition. I had heart problems and a social anxiety disorder. I knew she fought anxiety and migraine headaches. All of our ailments seemed related. If there was serendipity to be had out of our bizarre new relationship, it would be figuring out what was physically wrong Breann and I, plus the other 4, and getting healthy for the first time in many years even if we didn't answer the conspiracy questions. Maybe that's why she took me to this restaurant.

*blogger's note* This is not only my entry for @Studio30plus 's writing prompt SERENDIPITY but also a continuation of the story I'm writing. The other entries you might like to read to make sense of the writing here are




and here


I'm going to serialize the story through 100 word challenges from and the writing prompts of

Hope you enjoy what I'm putting out there or well, here.

Today's song is from one of the best bands ever, KISS. After some reflective, deep thinking songs this week, I felt like rocking. Plus the New York vibe goes with this part of the story. take it away Ace Frehley, here's New York Groove....

Friday, March 11, 2011


Believe it or not, I do have a job. It's a really good one. I am fortunate, blessed even, to have such gameful employment during the time we live. It's a demanding career sometimes. It takes me away from my family. It drains my energy and spirit occasionally. This job is doing that to me this morning. I don't talk about what I do for a living because, I want to keep the job. So, I will stop talking about it now.

In the middle of my stress, my wife, aka The Bobina texted me about a song she has fallen for called Wave On Wave by Pat Green. We have opposite tastes in music. My favorite band is The Clash, hers is New Kids On The Block. She listens to country music, I find that genre to be cringe worthy with lazy songwriting. Rarely do we agree on something music oriented. We both list Christina Aquilera as our number one celebrity crush. So we talk about that instead of what CDs we are listening to. Bobina tries to find "our song".

 She's cute when she tries to get me to listen to some pop tune or country warble and say the lyrics or sound reminds her of "us". I guess it's better than her identifying with Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac.

A few months ago, if you follow this blog you probably yelled "OCTOBER!", Bobina and I really found our purpose as a couple. We kind of figured out why the heck we were together, why we loved each other, and mostly, what we were going to do to grow old together. One of the things I started doing was indulging her romantic music gestures. Music snobbery may be a deep, meaningful philosophy, but it doesn't get you female affection. Bobina and I are a second chance couple. We didn't meet until three years ago. We both married others and had children with others. Thus, we try to make the most of each day together, because of the time it took to find one another. When Bobina texted and called with the song, I paid attention. These are the lyrics:

 Mile upon mile got no direction,
We're all playing the same game.
We're all looking for redemption,
Just afraid to say the name.

So caught up now in pretending,
That what we're seekin' is the truth.
I'm just looking for a happy ending,
All I'm looking for is you.

You came upon me wave on wave,
You're the reason I'm still here, yeah
Am I the one you were sent to save?
You came upon me wave on wave.

I wondered out into the water,
And I thought that I might drown.
I dunno what I was after,
I just know I was going down.

That's when she found me,
I'm not afraid anymore.
she said"You know I always had you baby,
Just waitin for you to find what you were looking for.

You came upon me wave on wave,
You're the reason I'm still here.
Am I the one you were sent to save,
When you came upon me wave on wave.

Wave on wave.
Wave on wave.

And you came upon me wave on wave,
You're the reason I'm still here.
Am I the one you were sent to save,
when you came upon me wave on wave.
The clouds broke and the angels cried,
You ain't gotta walk alone,
That's why he put me in your way,
And you came upon me wave on wave.

I'm not going to go out of my way to listen to it. If the music blows, I don't want it to affect me. The words mean something to her, and thus me. My blogging friend j aka judy aka @jclementwall on the twitter talks about Love 24/7 with her positive website -  Love is her favorite subject, her purpose, really. She usually ends her posts with something along the lines of, "go out and find love today." J,  I already found mine.

*blogger note* - I realize the title of the song my wife texted me is unintentionally insensitive to today's events in Japan and the Pacific. As a result, I am not titling this post anything that contains the word wave or water, not will I tweet anything as such. The ironic part of this blog post is the song is about a metaphor for Bobina and I's love story. I hope no one is offended. I also hope and pray for the safety and good will of everyone in that area and any others that are affected. Now, go out and find your own love.....

Today's song is what I would have picked for Bobina and I to be "our song". Noel Gallagher isn't known for love or sentiment, but in the middle of his band, and one of my favorites, Oasis', huge heyday in the mid 1990s, he penned the song Wonderwall. For years people speculated it was about someone specific in Noel or his brother Liam's busy love life. In 2002, Noel revealed Wonderwall was about an imaginary woman who saves him from himself. Bobina certainly did that for me, she's my Wonderwall. I played Oasis a couple of weeks ago so instead I'll post Ryan Adams' quieter but more soulful version of Wonderwall. It brings home the lyrics. I hope Bobina and any of you who need it, get the message.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Entering The Dragon

I walked into the dojo uninvited. Suspicious, disapproving eyes gazed. I said nothing, looked for my fighter and upon non-discovery, I left. I realized for me to return, and survive, I would have to adjust my thinking and find an inner strength. I waited 15 more minutes and returned. I bowed at the threshold, and the sensei addressed me, "welcome, how may I help you?" She was at least 123 years old, face taut, and skin toughened from years of combat, there was some warmth in her almost smile. "My daughter is one of your students, I missed last week, but I would love to see her work out today," I answered carefully. I knew the tension could snap and I could be the one learning a painful lesson. "Let me guess, tall, about 7 years old, brown pony tail, lots of energy, but only a white belt," she surmised perfectly. "Yes ma'am, I mean sensei. How did you know?" she had never met me, I was surprised. "I know enough," she said flatly. "Your daughter will arrive with the others in the shakes of tiger's tail. Can I interest you in a cup of black bamboo tea?" I politely declined and stood in the corner of the room.

Embullient and ready, my daughter entered with her handler, both bowing; she waved to me, then caught the glare of the sensei and grew serious. Removing her shoes and socks, my daughter walked over to the mat and began stretching, climbing rope, thrust kicking a boy err, I mean a bag repeatedly, and then knocked out 350 push ups. Barley sweating, she fell in line with 19 other martial artists; of varying gender (boys and girls), size (45 to 65 lbs), and age (6-9), starting their martial arts exercises. It was all very thrilling and fast paced.  The hour flew by, like a humming bird in the summer breeze. At some point, my daughter defeated Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme and that sissy from the Perfect Weapon movie. I was very proud.

What I noticed the most was the smile on her face. Three years of soccer, a short stint in gymnastics and basketball had not produced the joy I saw last night. She is full of nervous energy (I don't talk about where she gets that from), yet her draw to the discipline of the jujitsu class was remarkable. I have to tell her three times to stay still or wait for her breakfast, yet one instruction from the ancient sensei and she was in place, duty bound. I was very impressed with the other young martial artists. None of them were as pretty or as good as her, but they were attuned to the sensei and eager to learn. I was very impressed with the class and the effect it had on my daughter and her friends. She loved it. I hope she stays engaged and follows through for many classes to come.

Tonight when she gets home we will go over the "pebble from my hand" deal from Kung Fu, and jumping over the house vis a vi Crounching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I'm not ready for Bruce Lee's three inch heart punch. But my teenage daughter's friend who is a boy is on notice as well as any boy that gets near my six year old girl. There is a skilled ninja in the house, and no court will convict her.

*blogger's note* This is an exaggerated account of my 7 year old daughter (Lyla) Bug's second jujitsu class at her afterschool YMCA program. I think you know what part is exaggerated. Her teacher is actually older than 123 years old, I was being kind. I realize I am mixing different metaphors, three different cultures, and two or more fighting styles. It's a 7 year old's martial arts class, deal.

Today's song isn't meant to be  pleasing the to the ear but stimulating to the eye and mind. Forget Carl Douglas and focus on the master Bruce Lee. My daughter will perform like him in a few weeks. Now, flow like water .....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Personality Crisis

 It was a cool September in Central Park. A breeze bounced off the water but didn't penetrate my balmy ample nervousness. As strange as her tale was, the person telling me was, technically, my sister. We have the same eyes, the same smirk, and neither us appear to be able to lie. "Breann, we have to find the other four babies, or, people, and get some questions answered." Her shoulders relaxed, her face found comfort, and she hugged me. "Caleb, thanks for not running away. Forgive me if I get really weird; and don't let go of you right now."

*blogger's note* This is my entry for @velvetverbosity 's 100word challenge at The one word prompt is AMPLE.
This is a continuation of last week's 100 words which is an excerpt of a story I'm writing. Last week's entry is here:
I'll be using the 100 words and the challenges at Studio30plus to continue the story in serial form.

Today's song is a bit of a theme song, and certainly proper for the story as people figure out they aren;t who or what they thought they were. The New York Dolls are on of my favorite bands. Personality Crisis rocks hard, have fun:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lucky Man

"The full verse (2 Corinthians 11:19) reads, "ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise." - St. Paul

"You don't suffer for your art, you suffer for your relationships. So, you just live man, just live." - Bob Dylan

"The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please
If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them" - Paul Westerberg, The Replacements

Neurosis, I believe, is thinking how the world should be, not how it really is. Too deep a thought for a Monday morning, perhaps, but when you want to figure out yourself that's not a bad start. How many times have you asked the question; "Why don't people just think the same way as I do?" 

St. Paul, Bob Dylan, and Paul Westerberg were three wise men. They are much smarter than I. Yet they all asked the same question. When Paul started the Christian Church, God knew he would have rivals. Paul would make more people angry than happy. So telling him to smile and deal with "fools" rather than fight them was a way for him to handle the stress so that he could achieve a greater good, spreading a Gospel.

When Bob Dylan became huge in the 1960s every writer, musician, and artist hung on his every word, thinking Bob had the answers. Then he went electric, he embraced country and rock instead of folk, and suddenly he had critics, enemies, even. He also saw his marriage fail. Bob Dylan knew how human he was, and how his sanity was more important than his art. What he had to say, was, you just live through the hard times and not fight the impending tides of disappointment.

Paul Westerberg saw less talented musicians and songwriters become multimillionaries during his heyday with The Replacments in the 1980s. He was constantly tagged as "critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful". Westerberg was confident enough in his talent but realistic enough in his alcoholism to know where his "place" was at the time. His thought that trying to satisfy people who didn't make you happy would keep you under the thumb of failure every time.

While I may be lesser than all three men, I relate to their mindsets. At some point, I find maturity is about knowing who and what you are rather than doing the right thing all the time. I won't get into the pop psychology of "owning yourself". This blog is the anti-Oprah, if it's anything at all. But being able to understand what makes you tick can help your interactions with people important to you, like your family.

I struggle with being the best I can be for my wife and kids. Wouldn't it be easy if everyone was perfect, we all got along brilliantly every minute of every day, and there were never any dirty dishes? Uh huh. That's not how our world works. I need to be better than what I am. Learning to harness your temper, pick the right battles to wage, and be more understanding are just as important as bringing home a paycheck and being strong. Suffering fools, just livin', and appeciating the ones who love us best is, were, and are good enough for Paul, Bob and Paul. It should be good enough for dumb, ole me. The next time there's dirty clothes, a full sink, a changed female mind, or some new stress I didn't see coming. I'll have this blog to remind me not to lose my mind. After all, if so many people can just relax and get over it, so can I. I'm lucky to have what I have.

You would think I'd play Uncle Bob or Mr. Westerberg. But today's about me getting my mental act together. The song is Lucky Man by The Verve. After all, happiness more or less its just a change in my liberty.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I opened the faded red door with a broken metal knob. Smoke slapped my face rudely and I should have walked out. I want into the main living room and dead eyes greet me. Some say welcome to their misery, others say run the other way. I looked around and didn't see who I was looking for. I walked in the bedroom and to the left of the bed, next to the bed, on the floor, she laid motionless. I checked for a pulse, there's one. I lifted her over my shoulder and walk back towards the faded red door. None of the dead eyes look at me again. Walking down two flights of stairs into the apartment complex parking lot, she wakes, "put me down," she murmurs. Before I can get her to the ground, she vomits, missing my shoes by a foot or so. Keeping her from become spoiled by the spillage I tossed her over my shoulder again. She said something part inaudible, part profane, I ignored it and kept walking to the car. As I put her in the front seat and put on the seat belt, she said "I need something to drink." I took some quarters out of the cup holder and walked over to the soda machine. She got diet, because I said so. I got in the car and turned the key. She put her hand on my leg, and I see the needle marks on her arm. "I know you hate me but I love you for this." She doesn't know what love is, she's too stupid, selfish, and self absorbed. She's also wasted. She never touched the soda, and I decided to drive to the emergency room. the needle marks tell me I should. I know drunk, I know pot high, this is different. It takes 15 minutes to get to the hospital and neither of us speak. More is said by the silence. As I removed her from the passenger seat, she vomits again. This time she gets some on both of us. "I am so sorry. I'll never do this again, " she slurs. She's a liar. I know she is, and so does she. Finally, we get to the front desk, checked it, and they put her on a gurney. I find a restroom to clean up. The mirror is cracked in the restrrom. This makes me laugh, uncontrollably. Finally I stop and start to cry. What happened to her? What happened to me? I punch the cracked mirror and it cracks some more. I walk toward the front desk, and the person working hands me a clipboard with papers to fill out and says "they're working on her in room 8." As I open the door, there's a tube down her throat and a black substance coming out of her mouth from the tube. They pumped her stomach. Part of me hoped she's hurting. Part of me wants to hold her. It took twenty minutes to fill the papers out and for them to finish working on her. At some point, things settled. The doctor or nurse or whatever she is, tells me she had a drug overdose and asked me a lot of questions. I had few answers. "It's going to be a long night," she warns. St some point, I fall asleep in my a wooden upright chair. I woke to her voice, "hey you, you ok?" I answered, "yeah, rest." Both us fade back into sleep. Noises, loud beeps, and people talking woke me. I saw doctors and nurses standing over her, trying to revive her. Finally they stopped. "Time of death, 2:36am, likely drug overdose," a female doctor says grimly. I was standing now, deep in the corner of the room near the drapes, I couldn't move. It was the worst thing I had ever seen. She was dead. Completely dead. At some point i was crying and said to the nurse, "she woke me up a while ago, smiled and asked me if I was ok," The nurse, said, insincerely, "sorry for your loss." I walked over to the drawer next to the bed where she died. Her jacket, black leather, with red lining,  sat by itself. I reached around the vomit stains and checked the inside pocket. She carried a thin wallet with slots for drivers license, credit card, and other stuff. Where money should be, but never was, a note was folded and tucked away. I opened it. The paper was so old. It was brittle and yellowish. The handwriting of a child listed all of the things she wanted to be when she grew up; ballerina, cowgirl, pop singer. At the top, the heading said "My Childhood Dreams". I stopped believing in a lot after watching my sister die.

*blogger's note* - This is my contribution to 's writing prompt CHILDHOOD DREAMS. It is also part of the book I am writing.

Today's song comes from my IPOD, I heard it while reading reading through my book notes and decided to post this. Lynyrd Skynrd says a lot. You should listen to most of what they say. Here's The Needle and the Spoon.