Sunday, December 30, 2007

Novel Day 9 - 1639 / 9179

”We need your help” Lexa explained.

Kiri continued to look about the room examining everything but, her eyes kept coming back to the sword above the mantle that looked so out of place.

“If you need the help of an old man who is so far removed from society, you must be in bad shape.” the hermit said. “I cannot help you.”

The hermit shoved a steaming mug into each of their hands. Kiri sniffed to see what was in the mug and was repulsed by the smell. She blew on the liquid to cool it and attempted to take a sip, not wanting to offend the hermit.

“We have no one else to turn to and nobody we can trust. We are only looking for you to confirm our suspicions about what is happening to the town. I have heard that you are supposed to have knowledge of the surrounding towns and we needed to know if the rumors of those towns are true also.” Lexa said.

Kiri took a tentative sip of the drink and was pleasantly surprised to find that it tasted much better than it smelled. She listened to the conversation and took a few more sips of the tea, slowly realizing that it didn’t taste as good as the first sip. She resigned to just holding the mug and listening.

“What makes you think that I of all people would have any knowledge that could possibly help you?” he asked.

“We have heard that you travel to the different towns and that you listen and know information even before the towns people do. It is just that information which we are looking for.” Lexa said.

“You barge into my home, demanding information, expecting to just tell you all the secrets of the world when I don’t even know who the hell you are or what you really want.” he said.

“I’m Kiri, I own the bar and this is Lexa, she works for me.” Kiri offered.

The old man froze and starred at her. “You … you own the bar? You mean … you mean the town inn?”

“Yes, yes I do.” Kiri said smiling, “Well, it was actually my father’s but now that he’s gone, I guess it’s mine.”

The hermit glanced towards the fireplace, looked about the room and grabbed his spear and screamed. “Out, out! Get out of my house!”

He started to poke the spear at them. When they weren’t moving fast enough or started to question why the sudden change, he started to swing the spear breaking anything in the way.

Lexa and Kiri dropped their mugs and ran out of the hut and into the woods as fast as possible, hearing the door slam shut behind them. They ran for a short while, making their way through the woods.

“What happened there?” Kiri asked.

“I don’t know, it almost seemed like something you said.” Lexa explained.

“But I didn’t say anything.”

Kiri and Lexa made their way back to the bar just in time to here the first patrons banging on the door.

“Hang on. Hang on.” Kiri said as she unbolted the door.

The door swung open and the first few patrons of the evening strolled in. A few grumbled about the door not being open.

“There you go. See I told you it wasn’t any kind of a conspiracy; the young lady was probably busy with something else and hadn’t been able to open the door yet, nothing to worry about.” one of the patrons said to another, “Evenin’ miss.”

Kiri busied herself by getting the first round of beers for everyone. She set a couple of beers in front of the two gentlemen.

“When you came in, you mentioned something about a conspiracy, what did you mean?” Kiri asked.

“Oh, nothin’, Sam here thinks that there are people trying to take of the town and doing it without any of us knowin’”

“Oh, how’s that?” Kiri said, pulling up a chair.

“Ted doesn’t even believe that what I think is even true. You probably won’t either.” Sam said.

“I’ll tell you what, you tell me your story and I’ll give you guys a round on the house. Whether I believe it or not, let’s just say that I like a good story.” Kiri suggested.

At this, their faces lit up.

“Go on Sam; tell her your story, ‘sides my beer’s about empty.” Ted said.

Sam took a drink of his beer and looked around cautiously, “Well, it’s not really a story, you see, it’s just a bunch of pieces but when you put them all together, well they become mighty interesting. I believe that someone of something is trying to take over the town and there won’t be anything we can do about it, because the way they are doing it. Have you noticed that there are a lot more people in town lately?”

Kiri nodded her head.

“Not just people but men” Sam continued,”and they all seem to have a presence about them like they are in the military or something. I even heard a few talking about captains and such. There all going about doing what they are ordered to but quietly, so they’re not noticed.”

Ted piped in, “Tell how they’re going to take over the town.”

“Shut up. I’ll get there. Whose story is it anyway?” Sam asked. “Well all these men have a purpose but, it’s not to fight. Don’t get me wrong, they have weapons and will use them if they need to. But their purpose is to put pressure on the townspeople. You see, they don’t come into town brandishing their weapons and start a fight, instead they get into people’s minds and threaten their lives and their families until the townspeople do what they want and the soldiers have control.”

Sam stopped and took a drink emptying his beer mug.

“Tell her when they are planning on doing this.” Ted said.

Sam shot him an angry look, “Well, I don’t know for sure but it appears like they have everything prepared. I’ve also heard the may have the mayor under their control. That would be the major piece they need to pull this off. So I think it will be soon that they are going to take over the town and the people won’t even know it because they will be too busy worrying about new laws the soldiers put into place. By the time they realize something has happened, it’s too late.” Sam looked around and whispered, “I’m trying to get the townspeople together to stand up to them and fight. I figure if we can stand together, that makes their tactics even weaker. If I can’t get the people to band together, then I will leave quietly, on my own if I have to.” he shot a glace at Ted. “Well, there you have it”

“Isn’t that one of the best stories you’ve heard in a while?” Ted asked.

Kiri put the chair back, got up walked to the bar and filled two mugs which she placed before Sam and Ted. “There you go guys, two beers, on the house. Yes, that was one of the best stories I’ve heard in a while. And Sam, let me know if you have anymore to go with that story, I’d like to hear more about it.” Kiri said.

Kiri turned towards the kitchen, wanting to let Lexa know all that Sam and Ted had told her. Before she got to the door, an argument started on the other side of the room.

“No it didn’t!”

“Yes it did, I tell you.”

Kiri stood and watched for a second to see where this would lead, grabbing the rolling pin beneath the bar.

“The Port Town is as strong as it ever was.” the first man said.

“My cousin just arrived from there, barely got out with his life. He said that Port town was taken over, quickly and quietly and that we were next.

“Never! That’s a lie.” the first man said as he grabbed the second man,

Before he could throw a punch, Kiri rang the bell she used for last call.

Brandishing her rolling pin, she said, “Alright listen up! Take it outside or settle down. Anymore outbursts like that and I’ll throw you all out and shut the place down for the night.”

There were a few boos from the patrons. As the two men began to sit back down, they kicked each other’s chair. Kiri rang the bell once and pointed her rolling pin at them. They sat down. Kiri watched them for a second and then went to the kitchen.

Kiri was in the kitchen explaining everything to Lexa when the commotion started.

“Not again.” Kiri said as she grabbed her rolling pin and headed for the bar, “Come on, I may need your help.”

Kiri stepped through the doorway into the bar and stopped causing Lexa to have to force her way through. There in front of them, picking himself up off of the ground was a young boy who had tripped over a chair as he was pushed through the door by the two very large men who stood behind him.

The boy stood up, brushed himself off and unrolled a scroll. “Hear ye, hear ye! By order of Mayor Tillman: From hence forth, the town is under martial law. Any executive orders or decisions will be made and confirmed by Captain Voler. There will be guards placed at every entrance to the town and nobody will be given permission to pass without written order. The townspeople must surrender any weapons immediately. A curfew will be enforced and all townspeople must be off the streets by dusk.”

The boy turned, nailed the parchment to the door and left with the guards.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Novel - Day 7 & 8 - 0 / 7540

Laziness strikes its ugly head AGAIN.
I didn't write anything and so now I have a lot of catching up to do.

at day 8 I should be at 12,904 words and I am at 7540. That puts me 5,364 words behind.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Novel - Day 6 - 1023 / 7540

Mayor Tillman sat behind his desk. He ran his pudgy hands through his thinning hair and across his chin. He stared at the blank wall across from him.

“How can I do it?” he thought, “How could I not do it?”

He closed his eyes and rested his face in his hands. His mind was searching for answers. The door swung open and in walked a man.

“Haven’t you ever heard of knocki…” the mayor’s voice trailed off, “Oh, it’s you. What do you want?”

It was the man who Kiri had found so annoying in the bar. He stood tall and even though he wore civilian clothes, he gave the appearance of being a military man.

“I think you know why I am here. I am here for your answer, your decision.” he said.

“I know I know I was expecting this.” the mayor said.

“I hear that you were spending the day running about, trying to get help where you could. No doubt you were trying to find a way out of our, ahem, agreement.” he said.

“You’ve been watching me then have you Voler?” Mayor Tillman asked.

“I have better things to do than to watch you all day. But I do have subjects who report back to me about comings and goings of people I may have an interest in at the moment. And let’s say that these subjects who report to me are all about so, when you think you are alone, you are never really alone.” Voler said.

Mayor Tillman glanced nervously around the room.

“So what is your decision? Will you accept our generous offer, or do you choose to go it alone?”

“What offer?” the mayor questioned as he stood up and walked towards Voler, “It’s more like a threat. You’ve given me the choice to be your puppet, your figurehead, doing your bidding as you wish. Or I can say no and you will destroy my career, my name, my family and my life. What kind of choice do I have?”

The mayor paced about the room, searching for an answer, some relief. As he glanced out the window, his answer came! He saw a small wagon pulled by a single horse.

“That’s it! That’s it. I’ll just leave. I’ll take my family and leave I won’t care what you do to me in this town or to my name. You can have the position and do with it what you want. We’ll go far away from here and start over. You may destroy me here but I can begin a new life somewhere else, where you can’t force me to be your puppet.”

The mayor strode proudly towards the door. Voler backed towards the fireplace, one finger gently pushed a crystal vase onto the hearth, landing with a crash.

Mayor Tillman turned in shock, “Stop! What are you doing?”

“My dear Mayor, I see the flaw in the choices I gave you. Please go, but I would be concerned I would be concerned what would happen before you were even outside the limits of your own town. You see, I would hate to see what 30 of my men would do to your sweet little daughter while you were strung to a tree and if she didn’t survive, there’s always your wife.”

The mayor’s face filled with hate, “You! I will kill you and every one of your men that touch my family.”

“Now, now mayor, there is no need for violence. As I see it, even though you gave us another option, and my men would be quite grateful, we are still left with our original choices. You can keep your position as long as you give allegiance to me and follow my orders or you can have the news released of how you abused your power, stole money from the town and have been having an affair with the blacksmith’s daughter; who happens to be underage and a friend of your daughter’s.”

“LIES! That’s all lies and you know it. I can prove it, nobody will believe you.” the mayor screamed.

“Are you willing to stake your life on it? Remember I have many people who are, let’s say willing to do or say what I tell them.” Voler explained.

“I won’t let you do this! The people of this town know me and know that I am a man of my word. I can and will fight you on this.”

Voler whistled, the door opened and a young boy entered the room. Voler reached in his jacket pulled out a couple of scrolls and handed them to the boy. “Take these where you have been instructed, make the necessary arrangements and then make the required announcements.”

The boy took the scrolls nodded, turned and walked towards the door.

“Wait, stop! Don’t do this.” the mayor called after the boy, “Can’t we discuss this?”

“We have discussed it and you have made your decision. Although it may prove to be a poor one.” Voler said.

Mayor Tillman’s face went white and he stopped breathing, “ok”.

Voler didn’t move.

Panic began to overtake Mayor Tillman, “I said OK! I’ll do what you want; I’ll agree to follow your orders. just STOP HIM!”

Voler whistled again, just as quietly. The boy entered the room and handed the scrolls to Voler. The mayor realized that he had been duped but, he also understood that Voler now had complete control over him. The mayor hung his head.

“Your first order is that no one is to know of our arrangement. I don’t care what you must tell people, if this comes out, the town will know the information on these scrolls. You will find a way to explain the presence of myself and my men in your town. I will be in touch when I have need of your services.” Voler started towards the door, “Remember, I have subjects who report back to me about comings and goings of people I have an interest in.”

The door closed behind Voler. Mayor Tillman collapsed into his chair and buried his face in his hands and cried.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Novel - Day 5 - 1638 / 6517

“I still don’t understand”, Kiri said, “if they are trying to take over the town quietly, why do they need the weapons? And if they have the weapons why don’t they just use force like everyone else would?”

Lexa shook her head, “Their goal isn’t to kill everyone off they want to be able to use the people and either treat them like their slaves or convince them to join their forces. That is where most of those men you saw in the woods came from; they were ‘convinced’ to join their forces. Besides they don’t have the numbers to wage a proper battle. If they were to win, they would lose so many people that it wouldn’t be worth taking over the town and they would be easily driven out. Also, the news would reach the capital city and a larger battle would be fought and they would lose even more people and those who they forced to join them would turn on them. But, if they can weaken the town from the inside and quietly step into powerful positions, they may be able to take over the town without anyone knowing or putting up a fight and may even get people to help them do so.

They have the weapons just in case they do need to fight or if a farmer or some townspeople do put up a fight or become unruly. Besides, once they are in their positions, the weapons then become a good sign of force and power.”

“I would never join them.” Kiri remarked.

“You wouldn’t have a choice.” Lexa replied. “They have a way of not giving you the choice. They force you into a situation in which the only way out seems to be to join them and if you don’t, what they hang over your head, will destroy either your life or that of someone you love. At least that’s how it happened …”

“How what happened?” Kiri asked.

“Nothing!” Lexa snapped. “Now I think you are beginning to see why your mayor was running around today in such a hurry. I would think that they are beginning to get to him. It won’t be long until he either gives up his position or begins to make strange proclamations. Once that happens, it won’t be long before the town is completely under their control. I would guess that it will be at that point when you will start to hear ‘rumors’ of the port city being taken over. The only problem is, they won’t be rumors and it will be too late to do anything about it and even if you had the foresight to warn the capital city; you would be stopped before you could do so.”

“So is there anything we can do, or do we just sit and wait until they have control over the entire empire?” Kiri asked.

“I don’t know if there is anything we can do, but I am sure that we wouldn’t be able to do it alone.” Lexa said.

“Who would believe us even if we could let others know? Why wouldn’t they shut us down before we even got things going?” Kiri asked.

“Exactly, that’s why we are not going to let everyone know. But, we do need help and I know where to find it. Come on!” Lexa said as she grabbed her jacket and headed for the back door. Kiri sat stunned for a second and ran after her.

Lexa turned right out of the back door, up the alley and in between buildings. Zigzagging her way through the alleys and buildings, not running but at a fast walk towards the woods on the other side of town opposite of where the activity of all the men was. Kiri was always a step or two behind. When they finally stopped at the edge of the woods near a barely distinguishable trail, Kiri stopped and panted for air.

“Where… are… we… going?” she managed to ask.

“Through here.” Lexa said pointing at the trail. “Don’t tell anyone about this.”

Lexa looked around, pushed past the brush and disappeared into the woods. Kiri followed right behind her. She tried to follow Lexa as close as she could, the brush and brambles cutting and scratching her and catching on her clothes. The rough overgrowth soon opened into a smooth trail. The path was smooth and wide enough for the two of them to walk side by side. The woods enveloped them, blocking out the afternoon sun. Kiri noticed that it was quiet, very quiet, except for the occasional bird twittering in the treetops. They walked for a short while before Kiri noticed it. She smelled smoke. It wasn’t long until they made a turn and she saw a small whisp of smoke coming from what appeared to be a makeshift chimney of a tiny hut.

“Where are we?” Kiri asked, “Who’s is this?”

“Sshh”

They approached the small hut. It was nestled amongst the trees and growth, if it wasn’t for the smoke; Kiri thought she would’ve walked on by it. As it was, when she first saw the smoke, her first reaction was that the woods were on fire and she started to scream. As she looked around, she noticed there was a wheel barrow for hauling wood, an axe and a chopping block and nestled a little further away was what even looked like an outhouse. The unusual thing that Kiri noticed was that everything seemed to blend into the surroundings as if it belonged there and yet, nothing was missing.

They came to the small wooden door of the hut; Lexa raised her hand to knock. Before she could bring her hand down, the door opened a crack and a spear came out as the point rested under her chin.

“You move, you die.” an old voice crackled.

Lexa froze.

Kiri’s mouth dropped open, wanting to scream, too afraid to scream, too afraid to move.

“Leave!” the voice commanded.

The spear backed off about a half an inch.

“We need your help.” Lexa managed to say, moving as least as possible, only her eyes following the direction of the spear.

The spear remained motionless. Nobody said anything.

“Why are you here? Who are you? What do you want?” the voice questioned.

“I am Lexa, this is Kiri, the barmaid. People are taking over the town and we need your help to stop them.” Lexa explained.

The point of the spear backed off about 6 inches as the door opened another inch. Lexa turned her head to look, it was too dark inside to see anything.

“Barmaid? . . . yes, barmaid. Yes.” the voice confirmed.

Kiri’s skin crawled.

She wanted to shiver, or scratch or run. But she dared not move.

There was a long pause.

The spear moved back to its original position. Lexa’s head snapped upright and she faced forward again. She felt as though her chin was raised even a little higher. The door closed, almost slamming the spear in it.

“Leave now! While you still can.” He commanded.

“Can you help us, please?” Kiri begged.

Lexa grunted a warning.

Kiri continued, “The bar is all I have left. It’s all I own and it’s the last thing I have left of my father.”

The spear didn’t move, the man didn’t respond.

Another long pause.

The spear disappeared through the crack of the door, much to Lexa’s relief. The door slammed shut. Lexa and Kiri looked at one another and started to turn and leave. The door opened fully.

“In, quickly!” the voice commanded.

The girls glanced at each other and stepped in. The man shut the door behind them, slamming it shut and dropping a cross bar into place to secure the door. He shuffled around grabbing items and moving things around. From underneath piles of junk, he produced two stools and slid them near the fireplace.

“Sit”

The girls sat on the stools cautiously. As the man shuffled about the small dwelling, Kiri looked around. Along the wall opposite of the fireplace was a bed with a pillow and several quilts. At the head of this was a table which was covered with tools and what looked to be half completed projects; with enough room cleared away for one person to sit at the table to eat where a chair sat. The fireplace was stone, not very pretty but seemed to serve the purpose. With in the fireplace were two long metal poles which could swing in and out of the fireplace upon each which hung a cast iron pot. Both of which were hanging in the fire at the moment.

Kiri noticed that the place looked quite dirty and nasty. She expected to see rats crawling about the place and had actually placed her feet on the bottom rung of the stool so that she could keep her feet off of the floor. What seemed to overwhelm her was the stench. She couldn’t tell if it came from the food cooking over the fire, the entire place or the old man himself. It was all she could do to keep from gagging.

The one thing out of everything in the little dust covered hut which stood out the most to Kiri hung above the fireplace. A sword! It was the only thing in the entire hut which was not covered in dust and grime. It actually gleamed; the sword was of brilliant colors which seemed to change as the firelight danced across it. It was very intricately carved. Kiri wanted so much to ask about it but, considering their welcome, didn’t think this would be the right time.

“I will offer you a cup of tea but of my dinner, you will get none.” The old man explained. Kiri quietly gave thanks.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Novel - Day 4 - 0 / 4879

** Merry Christmas **
I didn't write anything on the novel, too busy running around and playing with toys.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Novel - Day 3 - 1628 / 4879

“Who was the man you were talking to outside?” Lexa asked.

“My ticket outta here, but no, I have to be stuck here. Cleaning this stinking place and having strangers live in my house again, because the mayor needed help.” Kiri complained, punctuating her frustration by throwing a log onto the woodpile by the fireplace.

Kiri placed a few more logs on the pile while Lexa swept the floor.

“What about you” Kiri asked.

“Huh?” Lexa replied

“How did you end up here?”

“I was traveling with a group from the port to the capital city. We stopped here to replenish supplies and spend the night. The next thing I know, I wake up in the morning and my group is gone.” Lexa explained, “I tried for a while to connect up with another group but, nobody would take me on and all my money and belongings were with the first group.

So I ended up staying here and I’ve started to like the town so, I just figured I’d stay and try to start new and then I ended up here working for you.”

“Where do you come from?” Kiri asked.

“What? Uh, umm. Shouldn’t I get washing the linens? They are quite dirty and may take some time.” Lexa stalled.

“Here, I can help you with those.” Kiri said.

“No, no, that’s ok, I’ve got them” Lexa said as she pushed her way towards the kitchen.

Kiri shook her head and finished straitening the room. She grabbed the broom Lexa left behind and looked around; it had been sometime since she was up here. She liked the view from this room; it overlooked the main street and looked out to the woods beyond. It was the room she had shared with her Father when he was still here. After he was gone, she moved into the storeroom off of the kitchen, to have another room to rent. When it became too much for one person to handle, she had to quit renting rooms. Kiri grabbed the broom and headed downstairs.

Kiri walked through the kitchen doors and Lexa was at work washing the linens.

Kiri pointed out, “You never did say – “

“Do you think this is clean enough?” Lexa interrupted.

“Yes, fine. Where did you –“

“Because if there not, I can wash them again.”

“WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM? I was just trying to ask where you came from and you interrupt me and try to avoid the question. I was just trying to find out a little more about you.” Kiri said.

Flustered, Lexa stared at her. “I, I don’t like to talk about it” Lexa said quietly. “I walked to town from the capital city looking for a new home. Can’t that just be enough?”

“Yeah, yeah, that’s fine but, I thought you said you road with a caravan from the port town.” Kiri questioned

“Ah yeah I did, Isn’t that what I said? That’s what I meant. That’s right, I rode here with a caravan from the port city, I meant we were heading for the capital city.”

Kiri looked at her for a few seconds, grabbed a tray of mugs and carried them to the bar.

Kiri filled one of the mugs with beer and took a drink. “Still tasted good”, she thought, “But nothing like it used to.”

She now had beer delivered from the port town or made by local brewers. It was too time consuming for her to brew the beer herself. “But, she thought, if business really picks up and get even more help, I could start brewing again using the old recipes.”

Kiri stacked the mugs behind the bar, wiped off the bar top and went into the kitchen. Lexa was hanging the last of the linens to dry. Kiri opened the pantry, looked up and down, and opened a small crate next to the door. “Shoot, I forgot to get onions. I’ll be back.” she called as she grabbed her money bag and her sack and ran out the door.

Kiri ran down the street, headed for a local shop, as she walked through the door, the mayor was walking out.

“Kiri my dear, I’m so sorry. I haven’t forgotten about you but, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t been able to find anyone to help you. But, I will get on it as soon as I can. I’m sorry, I can’t chat; I’ve gotta run.” The mayor said as he ran off.

“But … what do you mean?” Kiri called after him.

He responded with nothing more than a wave.

Confused, Kiri got the onions she came for and made her way back to the bar. As she went, she saw a few men slip down different alleys as she passed.

Kiri walked through the back door of the bar, dropped the onions in the crate called out, “Lexa!” and walked out to the bar. As she was starting up the steps, she heard a noise come from the kitchen, she ran back just in time to see Lexa slip out the door. Kiri ran after her and followed her down the alleyway across the road, through another alley and towards the woods. Kiri slowed as she started to see a number of small groups of men heading in the same direction. Kiri looked around and realized that she had lost sight of Lexa. Intrigued, Kiri began to follow the men, walking parallel to them, trying to keep out of sight. She ducked behind a fallen tree and some brush and watched. The men began to uncover something; she realized that it was a wagon. One man approached and barked a few orders, as he turned, Kiri recognized him as the annoying man from the bar. Kiri began to stand up, unsure of what she was going to say or do. A firm hand wrapped around her mouth while another grasped her arm and pulled her to the ground.

“Mmmffpp” was all Kiri could manage as she struggled to free herself.

“Shut up” a familiar voice whispered in her ear.

It was enough to relax Kiri. The grip loosened and Kiri turned to see Lexa.

“Wha-“

“Sshh” Lexa responded, “follow me . . . quietly or you’ll end up dead!”

They crept slowly out of the wooded area. When they reached the street, Kiri ventured, “Who?”

“Shut up.” Lexa said under her breath, “and keep walking.”

They reached the bar, Kiri walked in; as Lexa came through the door, Kiri grabbed and spun her against the pantry door. “Who the hell are you and what were those people doing?”

Kiri barely got the words out before Lexa knocked her feet out from underneath her.

“I’m the one who just saved your life.” Lexa responded as she started to walk away.

“So are you going to tell me what’s going on and who you are?” Kiri called after her, “or are you just going to try and feed me some more lies?”

“What are you talking about?” Lexa asked.

“I know that the mayor didn’t send you to help me and you weren’t to clear on your story of how you came to town. So how about you try something different, like the truth?”

“I never said the mayor sent me”, Lexa said, “You just assumed. You would’ve known that had you not been too wrapped up in talking to that guy you’re never going to see again. I overheard you and the mayor talking this morning and I need a job and a place to stay, so I thought I’d take a chance and try to get to you before he could find someone.”

“Horace will be back.” Kiri responded.

“Not for you, not that it matters.”

“How did you get to town then and what was all of that going on in the woods?”

“Those stories are connected. I made it here by following those men in the woods or some of them, different ones from time to time. I traveled mostly on foot, getting food when and where I could and trying not to get caught. Those men are the ones who are trying to control the ports and trade routes so they can bring down the capital city.” Lexa said.

“Come off it. Those are just stories and gossip which are spread by drunk patrons and old women.” Kiri replied.

“Weren’t you the one who was trying to teach me to keep my ears open to listen for bits of news? Well that’s exactly what those ‘rumors’ are. I have followed these people from the port city and was barely able to leave there without being noticed.”

Kiri sat on a stool. “What was in the wagon and who was that man?”

“The wagon is where they are hiding their weapons and supplies. They have also been hiding certain items from the townspeople there.”

“The thefts!” Kiri exclaimed.

“Exactly, now you are catching on. They are storing them there and that man you noticed is the one in charge. Let me tell you; you don’t want to get on his bad side.” Lexa said.

“Too late for that; I had a small run in with him the other night.”

“They are planning on quietly shutting down the port city and taking it over without force. By the time news reaches here, this town will be taken over quietly and without force. Likewise, before news of the port city or this townbeing taken over reaches the capital city, it will already be under their control.” Lexa continued.

“Then why all of the wepons?” Kiri asked.

“Insurance.”

“We have to do something, we have to tell someone, we can’t just sit here.” Kiri said as she jumped up and began pacing back and forth.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Novel - Day 2 - 1635 / 3251

Kiri woke the next morning, more at ease than the night before. She slipped out the back door into the alley behind the bar. As she walked through the alley into the street of the town, memories came over her of when she was quite young and how her father would take her for walks through the woods that surrounded the bar. Now those woods were getting further and further away.

“Daddy always said that a town would build around us”, she thought, “and an inn would be the first thing weary travelers needed and the last to go out of business if times got bad.”

He built the bar about half way between a growing port city and the capital city. At the time, it was only a small trail between the two, the trade route had not yet been established but, he always said that it would only be a matter of time. The port city was growing and needed a more direct route to the capital city. He had discovered this path during a hunting trip. Now, not only did the main route go through here but, two other, smaller routes converged here and their bar sat right in the middle of it. When it was built, the bar was actually an inn with a bar on the bottom floor and rooms for rent on the second floor. Since her father had gone, Kiri found it difficult to handle the business of both establishments and had to stop renting rooms. Since that time, there had been a few boarding houses which opened up to house travelers but nothing the size of her place. She often wondered how she may be able to begin renting rooms to travelers again but it always came down to having to hire help and she didn’t know if she would bring in enough money to afford to hire help.

Kiri noticed the town was beginning to bustle with activity even at this early in the morning.

“Good morning”, she called as she passed assorted townsfolk. her greeting was always returned with a pleasant smile or wave.

“Kiri, Kiri!” a short, rotund man called as he crossed from the far side of the street, waving her down.

“Good morning, Kiri” he said as he reached her, “may I have a word with you?”

“And good morn’ to you Mayor Smithson, what can I do for ya?” she replied.

“Kiri, we have a problem that you may be able to help with. Could I ask you to reopen your boarding rooms? We have people sleeping in the streets and alleys, not just people but strangers. It’s beginning to be a problem and there is now talk that things are being stolen or places broken into and townspeople are blaming the ones who are sleeping outside. There’s no place for them to go, the few places which rent out rooms don’t have enough beds or have quit renting. I need your help; I don’t know what else to do.”

“Here’s all you have to do. Anyone you find sleeping outside, you arrest. Everybody’s happy.” she offered

“How’s that?”

“The traveler gets a warm place to sleep, a nice bed and a good meal. You have them off the streets and nothing gets stolen. Problem solved.”

Mayor Smithson stood there with his large jaw hanging open, “I can’t go around locking everyone up. That would just cause more problems besides, what kind of reputation would the town get. Also, with the cold season coming up, your place is needed, Kiri, the only good solution I see is for you to reopen.

“Mayor you know I can’t do that, I can’t run the whole place myself.”

“Kiri please.” he begged.

She thought for a second, “I’ll consider it, but only if you can find me some help. And, I’m raising my rates, I need to come out ahead to keep the old place running.”

“Oh thank you, thank you. It’s a deal.” he said, shaking her hand until she thought her arm would fall off. “I think I should be afraid for my job with the way you can get people to side with you. But before that happens, I will bid you good day.”

Kiri smiled at the thought. She always did have a way of getting what she wanted and she took pride in the fact that she didn’t have to use her looks to do so. She thought of the women that hung out in her bar, using their looks to get the men they were after. Kiri was pretty enough that she could resort to those tactics if she wanted to but, she felt that was beneath her.

Kiri went about her business, in and out of shops gathering or ordering the items she needed, sometimes stopping to chat with friends and other times, leaving quickly to avoid those people she had no desire to see. At one point in her travels, she saw two men leaning against a wall when all of a sudden, they stood up but what caught her eye was the man who had approached, it was the annoying man who was in the bar last night. She darted quickly to the other side of the street, trying to avoid being noticed.

Kiri noticed that it was harder to walk through town with her purchases; there were so many more people than there usually are here. It was as if the harvest holiday was taking place. But, something felt different, a few were traveling but many appeared to be staying. There seemed to be very few women and children. While it was true that many did not pass through as it was, there were even less if that was possible. Kiri looked around and noticed that everywhere she looked, there were small groups of two or three men. They were doing nothing except standing there or looking around and they weren’t going anywhere else.

“Good day Kiri.” someone called and waved.

“Good day”, she called back as the thoughts slipped from her mind.

She realized that the day was getting later and that she should get back to prepare to open, especially if she were going to be opening the rooms back up for rent, there was much to be done.

As Kiri approached the inn, a young man on horseback approached and stopped beside her. “Kiri!”

“Horace?” Kiri questioned.

Horace jumped from the horse, “I just came to say goodbye.”

“Where are you off to?”

“Capital city, Pa is letting me go now that harvest is over and I’m old enough.”

“What are you going to do?” she asked.

“I hear that they will take about anyone for the militia and if taking orders isn’t your cup of tea, there is always someone willing to pay for protection while on travels; or if you are really lucky, you may even hear tales of an adventure.” Horace explained.

“Ah, to go off on an adventure, I hear so many people in the bar talk of adventures. I wish I could be a part of their adventures, the excitement and thrill.”

“Excuse me.” a voice interrupted.

“You should come with me”, Horace suggested, “we could have our own adventure.”

Kiri’s face lit up with excitement.

“Excuse me.” the voice interrupted again, a little louder this time.

“What!” Kiri exclaimed as she spun around.

“Are you Kiri?” a young woman asked.

“Yeah. Why?”

“Mayor Smithson sent me, he said you would have a job for me.” she explained.

“Damn it!” Kiri looked at the young woman, glanced at the bar and turned to Horace. “Be safe and come back, you are the only available man for me in this town.”

Horace gave her a hug, kissed her on the cheek and climbed onto his horse and rode off.

“Come on” Kiri said to the young woman, “We can get in through the back.”

Kiri opened the back door and set her packages on the counter, “So Mayor Smithson sent you. You got a name?”

“Lexa. The mayor said you may even be able to put me up, is that true?” she asked timidly.

“Yeah I can do that but, it would be part of your pay and I can’t offer much.”

“I understand. I’m only looking for a decent bed and warm meal.” Lexa explained.

“You can put your stuff in there.” Kiri said pointing to a door off of the kitchen, “There’s a spare bed in there you can use. Then I’ll show you around, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done if we are going to open this place back up to rent rooms again. I hope you can cook. With renting out the rooms, comes a lot more mouths to feed and I can’t do it all myself.”

Kiri spent the rest of the morning showing Lexa how everything was going to work. They spent the afternoon sweeping and cleaning linens. Kiri also ran out to spread the news that she was beginning to rent rooms again.

“I am going to teach you Lexa, what my father taught me, to always keep your ears open and listen for any news you may hear.”

“Why?” Lexa questioned.

“Because as liquor begins to flow, people’s lips begin to get loose and often they say more than they ought. It is the best way for us to discover any news or dangers which may befall us. And as your new boss, I expect you to share anything you hear with me.”

Lexa just nodded and said, “OK, you’re the boss”.

Kiri new that Lexa hadn’t fully grasped what she was trying to tell her. She also new that as soon as she came across some surprising info, the lesson would never be forgotten.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Novel - Day 1 - 1616 words per day / 1616 words total

Chapter one

Kiri glanced up from drying a mug as the old, heavy oak door banged open and a cold wind blew up her skirt.

“Shut the door”, she called.

It was one of her pet peeves, people just couldn’t seem to simply open the door slowly, slide in and shut the door quickly and quietly. They always had to throw it open with a grand gesture, banging it against the wall. As if they were announcing to the world that they have entered.

The man just stood there.

“Are you deaf? SHUT THE DOOR!” she yelled anger welling up inside of her as she set down the glass. Reaching for her rolling pin, she was beginning to entertain the thought of marching over there and using it on the stranger. He slowly reached out and shut the door. Disappointed, Kiri set down the rolling pin as the man approached the bar. “What can I get you?”

“A beer will do”, the man replied as he tossed a few coins on the table.

Kiri filled a mug and took the man’s money. She thought of how her life might be different if her father was still alive. It was his bar after all, she only ran it because of the promise she had made to him the last time she saw him. There were many times she wished she had never made that promise. She had always wanted more out of life, more than this little town could ever offer her. She missed the company of friends and the attention of men. She had begun to accept that she would most likely become an old maid, the men who came through here; she wanted nothing to do with. She also missed the friendship of other women. The only women that ever made it in here were the barflies who would find an unsuspecting man to latch onto for the evening whether it was just for companionship or for money.

Even though she felt trapped in this town, she had grown to at least accept it if not even love it a bit. It was the bar that she loved and cared for. Everywhere she looked, she could see her father, from carvings which hung on the wall to an old apron which smelled like him that still hung in the kitchen.

Kiri looked up and saw the old miller who was sitting at a table near the bar lift an empty glass at her. Kiri filled a mug and took it to him.

“Here you are miller Johnson”, she said.

“Thank you dear. Your father would be so proud.” he said

Kiri knew that it would be the last drink for him for the evening; she knew that when he began to reminisce about ‘the old days’ he was done for the evening, any more than that and it would be an embarrassing situation for everyone. She felt that this was her town and in some way it was her duty to protect it, even if it was only from people embarrassing themselves.

Her father felt a need to protect this small town, not just from embarrassments but from larger threats. He would always say that our bar is where plans are made and battles are lost through a simple slip of the drunken tongue. He tried to teach her that a lot could be learned if you only listened and used common sense. Her father also had a store of weapons under the bar in his storeroom, but that had rarely been touched.

The town isn’t anything special or at least that’s how it appeared to Kiri mostly because there was never anything to do here and nothing exciting ever happened. It is just a small little town on a trade route between the port and the capital city.

The man, who had left the door open, pushed his mug forward and laid a few more coins on the bar. Kiri filled his mug, put the coins in her pocket and wiped the bar clean of the spilled beer.

“Do you have any food?” he asked.

“The kitchen’s closed”, she replied as she really looked for the first time into his white face, “but I’ll see if I can fetch you some bread.” as she headed through the door behind the bar.

“Thank you miss”, he said as she placed a hunk of bread in front of him.

“Are you OK?” she asked.

He looked about, “I fear that …” a glass slammed on the table with a shout. The man jumped and looked about, seeing nothing; he shoves a piece of bread in his mouth and averts his eyes.

“WENCH, bring us more beer!” the disgusting man at the corner table bellowed as he slammed his mug on the table; his friends yelling in agreement.

Kiri filled several mugs and carried them to the table. She set them down between the empty mugs and swords lying across the table.

“Be quick about it next time, or I’ll have this dump burnt to the ground.” he warned.

Anger flared up in Kiri as her hand brushed the hilt of a sword on the table. She grasped the sword and pulled it to point it at the rude man who dared to threaten to burn her place down. Kiri was shocked at how heavy the sword was as she pulled it from the table and it dropped to the ground. She just stood there with her mouth hanging open and a look of shock across her face. She could see anger well up in the face of the stranger. He leaned closer towards her, “You think you are able to use Kroc’s sword against him?”

She could smell his rotting breath and see the broken teeth in his mouth.

“Ha! You can’t even lift his sword. Now fetch us more beers, wench”, he commanded as a hand slapped across her ass, “and be quick about it or you may end up among the burning rubble of this place when I am through with it.” She ran off and got the beers they wanted. Not wanting more trouble, the rest of the night she made sure they had their beer but other than that, stayed as clear of them as she could.

She went about taking care of the other patrons in the bar. She set a cup of coffee in front of miller Johnson as she walked past his table. She felt him grab her arm with a firm but strong grip, “Don’t let them get to you dear. They’ll get their due soon enough. The clouds of change are coming.”

Angered, she tried to pull away and found she couldn’t. She looked down into his soft but gentle eyes, “I can’t afford to lose this place. It’s all I’ve got.”

“I know dear, just keep your cool and steer clear of those ones.” he said, releasing his grip on her.

She left to clean an empty table. She gathered the half filled mugs and wiped the table with her bar rag.

“It’s an invasion I tell you,” she overheard someone saying, the old lessons her dad taught her still a part of who she was.

“They’re taking over quietly. Anyone who gets wind of it or starts to make noise is silenced. You know what I mean?”

“Yeah right,” said another voice, “this is just another one a yo stories.”

“I’m tellin’ ya,” said the first man, “they quietly take over the port towns and then they control the trade routes.”

“I ain’t seen nothin’ goin’ on”

“Of course not, they’re all quiet like. They try to make it business as usual and once everything is in place, they’ll shut everything down and take over the capital city.”

“Aw you’se just had too much to drink.” replied the second man.

Kiri shook her head and carried the dirty mugs back to the kitchen, setting them into the sink, she thought, “It’s getting close to closing time, I’ll get them later.” She glanced at the apron hanging by the door. Grabbing the edge of the apron, she sniffed; she could still faintly notice his smell on the apron. She collapsed against the wall and slid to the floor, weeping.

“Why did you leave me? I can’t keep this place running all by myself.”

Slowly she got up, wiping the tears from her eyes. She walked out to the bar, rang the bell that hung at the end of bar and cried out, “Last call!” A few of the patrons raised their mugs, asking for more, while others emptied theirs and wrapping their coats around themselves headed out the door.

“Another round.” the annoying man at the corner table called, motioning to himself and his friends. As Kiri was bringing the beers to the table, she noticed the two men she overheard, pull their cloaks around them and head out the door. They looked familiar but she couldn’t place their names. As she was about to ask their names, she heard the annoying man call out, “Here, give us our beers.” She set the beers on the table and by the time she looked up, the two men were gone.

As usual, miller Johnson was the last one out, he took it upon himself to see to it that all the riff raff left before he did, to make sure that Kiri was safe for the evening.

Kiri wished miller Johnson good night and shut and locked the door behind him. She looked around and thought, “It wasn’t much but it was all she had left and her Dad left it for her.” She slowly cleaned up the bar.

Friday, December 21, 2007

What am I doing?

Every year beginning on November 1st many ambitious (read: half-insane) people attempt a feat unlike many others; they attempt to write a novel. That is because November is National Novel Writing Month. This is so proclaimed because that is the month that has been set aside by the ones who created it at www.nanowrimo.org

I bring this up not because I joined in the festivities this year. Actually, I did try it one year and did not get very far. This year however, I did not try. But, my story does not end there. I discovered a co-worker had attempted to write a novel in 30 days this year. Sadly, he fell short by just a few thousand words. This co-worker decided on a new challenge, in which he included me.

For the next 31 days, we will attempt to write a 50,000 word novel. He chose 31 days because I guess as they say, “if you bring the ball you get to make the rules”. So for the next 31 days, I will be posting the results of my attempt at writing a novel. That works out to exactly 1613 words per day. Which is about 5 1/2 - 6 pages per day.

I'm looking forward to the adventure but, I haven't got a clue what to write about.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Slow Food

Our society has become a fast food nation. We often eat out, if we are lucky, it is at a sit down restaurant but most often, it is a fast food restaurant while we are on the run. I remember growing up, we as a family would go out to eat usually when my Dad got a raise, as a celebration. We would usually eat as a family and have conversation around the dinner table.

I don’t often remember us cooking as a family. Unless you want to count the time that my brother and I were supposed to put a meatloaf in the oven. I tried to tell him there was plastic wrap on it. But as older brothers so often do, he didn’t listen to me. Needless to say, the meatloaf didn’t turn out very well. There were other times like this, where we had to work together to fix dinner for the evening, most of them turned out with better results.

I love to cook. As I got older and now have my own family, I have found one of the best ways for a family to interact is to cook together. During the process of cooking, everyone feels needed and wanted, they are helping each other. The activity allows everyone to enjoy being with each other. Then when someone is asked a question, the spotlight is not focused directly on them and they can be a little more open about answering. It is also a good time for adults to discuss issues concerning the family. I also believe that couples who are planning on getting married should spend time together cooking because it can teach you a lot about one another.

Most kitchens are very poorly designed; usually the biggest problem is that they are too small. However this can work to your advantage, in a small kitchen you must touch someone to get by them or it is easy to give them a small hug. This is especially important if your family consists of teenagers. Most often teenagers are not very receptive of physical contact and will even shy away from it. This allows you the opportunity to give a small hug or touch which means so much to a parent who doesn’t get enough hugs from their children. But, this is also helps the teenager who is ‘too cool’ to accept affection openly.

Cooking is an opportunity for growth. It allows everyone the ability to share, experience one another and be creative. When you have finished it is not something that has no meaning. Instead it is just the opposite; it has more meaning than food from a fast food place or even a nice sit down restaurant, simply because everyone had a hand in creating it.

-Bon App├ętit

Monday, May 21, 2007

Good morning kitten.

OK, so I broke down the other day, I gave in. I agreed to get a cat!

My wife had wanted a cat and after much begging and pleading, I decided that it would be ok. Actually, it was more like she kept talking about it and wouldn’t stop so I agreed. I just felt it best to give her a hard time about it. I grew up with both dogs and cats so it didn’t bother me to get a cat. Growing up with both cats and dogs, I learned a few things. Cats are nice when they don’t have an attitude. Although I must admit that it is great when a tiny little cat can control a Very Big Saint Bernard.

We decided to adopt a kitten from a local animal shelter. We chose Emma because of her beautiful markings. She quickly became a part of the family. She enjoys being held so hopefully that will continue as she grows older, instead of having the standard attitude most cats have. While the wife felt that we should redecorate the Living Room in cat toys, the one she gets the most enjoyment from is a very inexpensive ball of yarn.

However, the most enjoyment I have received from having a kitten came at 6:30 on a Saturday morning. It was then that I woke up to go to the bathroom. Since I was too tired to fight with the kitten, I let her explore the bathroom, while I did what I needed to do. In the middle of my early morning ritual, the kitten decides to jump up on the edge of the toilet and proceeds to fall in, all while I am peeing. She immediately jumped from the toilet and took off!

I hadn’t laughed so hard in a long time. Needless to say, Emma received her first bath later that day. This was an experience in itself and luckily, no injuries from giving her a bath.

They say cats are smarter than dogs but, I don’t ever remember hearing of a dog jumping in a toilet, let alone, getting peed on. I have heard from so many people who say that the cat will remember that experience and won’t ever do that again. But after that, nothing would surprise me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dreams of a boring life.

When we were kids growing up, how many of us said, “I want to grow up to be someone who gets up everyday, goes to the same job and do the same boring, repetitive, meaningless task, day after day”?

I could just about bet that none of us ever had a dream like that. But that is exactly how most of our lives end up. Most of us had dreams of being somebody who did something incredibly exciting. Whatever happened to those dreams? Why did we let them go?

We would probably respond that life caught up to us, we began to listen to those who told us we couldn’t do it, we realized that they were dreams and we had bills to pay. While this may be true, why can’t we as adults find those dreams again and live life with some excitement?

While the dreams would have changed from the time we were kids, the idea is the same. Many times, it is just the fear of taking a chance and failing that stops us. Sure we may rationalize it in many ways but this is what it boils down to. So how do we recapture those dreams or more specifically, the dreams which ignite a fire in our heart?

Building passion is the beginning. By starting to focus on the thoughts, feelings and desires of what it is that you want and simply getting excited about it. As you do this, start taking some action towards your desire no matter how small. Now while this may sound somewhat like you’re hanging out in the self help section of the bookstore. What you are doing is changing the repetitive, day to day actions into something you enjoy. The more you increase doing the thing which you enjoy, the more you can decrease that which you don’t. Eventually you will be living your dream.

So if it is so simple, why don’t more of us take the step and begin changing our lives?

FEAR!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

For Mom

Mom, as the time approaches where we set aside one day out of the 365 in an entire year to honor you, I thought I’d take a few minutes to give you some thoughts on how much everything you have done has been appreciated.

Being the youngest of three boys, I realize that by the time you got around to raising me, you had ‘given up’. Now most people may think that this is a bad thing but, I rather enjoyed it; it allowed me to get away with more. Now when I say you gave up, let me clarify, you didn’t give up as in quit, rather you just had enough and got to your breaking point, things just didn’t seem to bother you quite as much and because of that, I was able to do things that my brothers weren’t able to get away with. So actually, it isn’t you I should be thanking but, instead my brothers, for breaking you in and training you in the right way.

Now that we are ‘adults’, one of the more enjoyable times is when we are sitting around the dinner table, telling stories of our childhood. We can share these stories and tell you about them now just because you can’t ground us or punish us any more. The best part comes when we look over at you and you have this blank stare on your face and you respond with, “I never knew you did that!” Well now you do.

All humor aside, I do enjoy our relationship now. I am so thankful that I was raised with such love and care in such a wonderful family. This family has now grown to not only include children but grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. You have been the guiding force of this family. Thank you for everything you have done for me and for our family. Thank you for such wonderful love and guidance.

I’m proud to be your son!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Regrets of Time

Time travel is a concept which has intrigued people for a while. Even though Einstein theorized that it is possible, it is something we are not capable of proving right now. Although the idea has some interesting possibilities and even some dangers involved.

I watched to movies over the past weekend, both of which dealt with time travel but in different ways. ‘Click’ with Adam Sandler was about a man who has a ‘universal’ remote which allows him to control time by pausing and fast forwarding with the remote. The other movie was ‘The Lake House’ which had a unique spin on time and time travel. Two people communicated with one another yet they were separated by two years. Needless to say, after watching these movies and thinking about it, my brain would hurt a bit, although this has always been a subject I’ve enjoyed.

I wonder, if we were given the opportunity to travel back in time, how many of us really would want to. Memories are there for a reason, I think even if we were able to go back and relive the good times, just being able to watch and re-experience those events, it wouldn’t have the same effect on us. We would probably find our memories dull and boring compared to what they once were.

Everybody has regrets in their life which they wish they could change. It is these choices and our decisions (even the ones we regret) which make us the person we are today. Changing those decisions and correcting the regrets would make us a different person. Since we would be a different person, our lives and how they have turned out would be different. This is one of the paradoxes of time travel. A good example of this is the movie, ‘The Butterfly Effect’. Each time something in the past is changed, the future is changed.

One of the best stories I have read on time travel was a short story. I believe it was even called ‘The Paradox of Time Travel’. It was about a man who has a sex change at some point in his life, goes back in time and as a man, meets himself, as a woman. They create a child, which is he. Yes, it’s a hard concept to understand but, long story short, he is his own Father, Mother and Grandfather in the story. It’s a very interesting and unique story.

There are several paradoxes of time travel but, the question remains; would you really want to change anything? Regrets are there in your life to help you make better decisions the next time you are faced with a situation, it is a learning tool. One life, one time frame is hard enough to navigate; I couldn’t imagine trying to understand more than one. Making the right decisions, even if there are regrets down the line, allow me to become the best person I am capable of becoming.

For now, I think I will just leave time travel as something for the movies and stories. Instead, I think I will go take an asprin.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Common cents?

I watched a video from “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”. Jay did a segment entitled, “Dealing with the Public”. The episode played calls to 911 which included everything from a lady who was locked INSIDE her car, a man who wanted someone to come down and scrape ice off of his car windshield and a lady who wanted help with a taco.

While I laughed at the video, there was once a time when I would have just shook my head in disbelief and think that they just made it all up as a gag for the show. I realize now that they couldn’t make this up, it just wouldn’t be as funny or as original. I don’t laugh at it as much as I once did because, I deal with the public.

I work tech support for an Internet Service Provider. It wasn’t until I began to work at this job that I started to realize that when they handed out common sense, most people got change for theirs.

Sometimes I wonder if it is because it has the word ‘computer’ associated with it that people get overwhelmed and begin to think that everything needs to be confusing and have a scientific sounding name to it. For example, people think that a support technician may refer to one part as a “wired alternating conversion module”, but instead, it is simply called an electrical cord. For those who are short on change in the common sense area and having difficulty understanding this, think of your toaster for a second, an electrical cord (or power cord) is the part you plug into the outlet in the wall to make your toaster work. This is the same thing you plug into the outlet in the wall to make your computer work.

There are some things which you should never mail in the rebates for and common sense is one of them. Using your common sense is in part, simply just thinking about the situation, quit being lazy and figure it out for yourself. However, this is not always the case. I have known some very intelligent people and yet for as smart as they were, they did not have two pennies to rub together in the common sense area.

So the next time someone calls in to tech support, saying their computer isn’t working and wants me to jump through hoops to fix it and I ask them what is on the screen and they tell me they can’t see it because the power is out, I’ll just make a note of it so I can share it on my blog another time and just assume they spent their last penny in the common sense department.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Big Moving Day

I’m looking for an electrical cord.

Not just your average electrical cord but, one that goes with a rechargeable air pump that I have. Without it, I can’t recharge the air pump and therefore, I can’t put air into my bicycle tires. It’s a horrible catch 22.

Sure, I could not worry about it and just take the bikes to the local gas station to put air in the tires. But then, I would have to load the bikes up and haul them and it would just be so much easier to just use the battery operated air pump to fill them up and before you ask, no I don’t have an old fashioned hand pump.

The whole idea of this article and the point I am trying to make is NOT about an air pump, an electrical cord, bicycles or even the fact that I am too lazy to take the bikes to the gas station. The point I am trying to make is why I can’t find the electrical cord. I can’t find the electrical cord simply because my wife and I just purchased and moved into our first home. I know the cord is actually here somewhere but, the question is where?

We began to pack almost as soon as we put the offer on our house. I thought I would try to make it as easy and as simple on us as we could. I began by labeling everything that was in the boxes and even listed which room they should but put into on ‘The Big Moving Day’. We had more than enough time to pack, clean and throw out garbage while we waited for the offer to be accepted and to settle on a closing date, only to have the closing date pushed back. Then we had more time to pack when the closing date got pushed back further. Needless to say, very few, if any of the labeled boxes made it to the correct room once they were moved. Most of the boxes made their way to MY basement, no matter what label was on the box. The list of items in the box would help, I was sure of it, if only I could remember what I meant by ‘Kitchen Items’ and ‘Bedroom Things’

As we packed, we soon discovered an amazing law of physics. Items packed in a box take up much more room than these same items cluttering up your living space and being strewn about the place. This created a new dilemma, where do we put everything so we have room to pack more boxes? The basement was out of the question, this was its own disaster area by itself. Besides, it needed packed and cleaned too (I didn’t realize how much of an understatement this was until later). Its times like these that you realize what families are for. So we moved our boxes into the garage of a family member, “For just a couple of weeks” (please note above where I mentioned our closing date and what happened to it).

When “The Big Moving Day” Finally arrived, I realized how useless it was to have the boxes labeled. By this point in the whole ordeal, you don’t care where the boxes go, what’s in the boxes or even if you got everything. Those ‘prized possessions’ that you took so much care in wrapping and protecting, you are just TOO willing to just chuck them into the nearest dumpster, just so you don’t have to carry one more box or try to find room for it in the overpriced rental truck you shelled out a weeks hard earned wages for. Of course, you park this truck in your driveway just as your buddies come pulling in with their pick up trucks.

You further discover that the labeling of boxes was by now, a ridiculous idea because on that moving day, you are taking your garbage can and throwing into it anything which is not nailed down, and if you could find a hammer you would get those items too. In your garbage can you find a collection of food from the fridge, telephone books, bathroom plunger and the TV remote. Once you finally have the truck unloaded and get to relax for two seconds, it slowly dawns on you that you still have more boxes in the garage of a family member.

When you have settled into your new home and can take your time opening boxes, trying to figure out what you meant with the strange abbreviations on the boxes, you can take your time looking for something as simple as an electrical cord. Which I am sure was put in a box where I would remember where it was.

But I don’t have the time to look for it now, I need to load the bikes onto the car and go to the gas station to put air in the tires.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Chapter One

All of life includes chapters. Whether it is, the most obvious, in a book or it is within the different stages of life. Today began a new stage in my life, one where I open a new door in my life and try something new.

For many years I have wanted to write and have often fallen short for many reasons. This morning I was inspired and encouraged by someone to begin my own blog. Ralph has written his blog for sometime now and has even been published in the newspaper. You can read his blog at http://race-the-sunset.blogspot.com

As I pondered writing my own blog, I once again struggled with the simple task of what to write about. I say 'once again' because this is not the first time I have toyed with the idea of writing a blog. As Ralph gave me some suggestions, I realized that it is simply putting basic thoughts and ideas on paper.

As that hurdle was cleared, I wondered who was going to read my blog, or for that matter, who would want to? As I settled in to writing this first chapter, I understood . . . It doesn't matter. This is not an excercise to please others and make sure they are happy rather, it is simply an experience for me to enjoy and to learn from, as is all of life.

Why the title? Well I quickly discovered that the title for the blog can be one of the most difficult things to create. Often it is because all the good ones are taken and so you have to keep trying new ideas and different combinations. The title takes into account a few of the things I enjoy, Kite Flying, sailing and flying.

When you fly a kite, you capture the wind. You feel the string spin out of your hand as the wind lifts the kite into the air. you take special care to keep the kite balanced in the air, until you are ready to complete its flight. There are very few thrills in life like that of flying a kite. You experience a joy which many of us have not experienced since we were children. It is this same joy we should be experiencing in life as adults.

It is my hope that together, through these pages, we can experience the joy life has to offer.