In Which a Shadow is the Future

IMGP0174As summer draws to a close, and autumn hides just below the horizon, I am reflective. This has been an interesting summer.

  • I’ve reconnected with a long lost friend, though she lives hours and hours away;
  • I’ve lost 12 pounds and my issues sleeping are mostly behind me as a result;
  • Riley has played, like she does;
  • I’ve taken my first real vacation in over 2 years – two weeks in Las Vegas and San Diego;
  • I’ve watched as the Braves gave up the season to the Nationals;
  • I’ve enjoyed the company of good friends;
  • I’ve re-read through my writing, and find myself wanting to write more;
  • And I’ve avoided the heat like the plague, which is a way of life in the heart of Texas.

We continue to live with the idea that the ending of the summer is the beginning of of the end, with rebirth in the spring waiting as the next great adventure. I disagree.

The summer is a time of life, that is true, but it is also a time of heat. It is a time of being a recluse, at least for me. This happens every year for me – once the heat becomes unbearable, I draw the curtains, curl up on the couch, read, and withdraw into myself. This is as true this year as any – it’s as true as the changing of the seasons as they are one and the same for me.

My Mustang is named Summer’s Shadow. She told me this name in confidence but I feel it is acceptable to share with you as well. She chose this name for herself, as a way to remind herself, and me by extension, that there is always something great to come. A shadow is not just a shadow – it can be the future. The shadow can be relief- when we can emerge from our caves after the heat has passed. The shadow can be the future – when we awaken and watch the leaves change colors.

The shadow is the future, welcoming.

In Which the Devils Rule the World

This past Saturday, I had the honor of watching the Dallas Derby Devils’ second bout of the season.

If you are not familiar with the Dallas Derby Devils (or DDD), they are an amateur league of flat track roller derby skaters – in short they are bunch of competitive and fun loving women who mix Nascar and hockey in a thoroughly enjoyable fashion!

I have been asked by a member of the High Sea Hotties named Freaky-Styley to write about the derby from a fan’s perspective. Needless to say, it would be dangerous to refuse a woman who knocks people flat for fun, so here we are. You may have noticed Freaky’s unusual name – it’s all part of the fun of the derby, as each skater chooses their own “derby name” (Cupcake Crusher politely pointed out to me that these are in fact derby names, and not stage names. Good looking out Cuppy!)

The High Sea Hotties are one of five teams. The Hotties are joined by the Death Row Rumbers, the Suicide Shifters, the Wrecking Crew, and the Slaughterers, creating a group of women to be feared as much as they are loved for what they do! I first became aware of DDD through a long time friend who had recently started to skate a few years ago, named ZoeKat Karma (also of the Hotties). I’ve come to know several of the skaters other than Kat and Cuppy, including referee DoS Attack, and skater Rhinestone Callgirl.

In my time in watching the derby, I’ve come to greatly respect these lady devils. They are brave, determined, and committed to both excellence and each other. As a fan, I can tell you that their attitudes are a huge draw, and I think we should all support people such as these!

Each time I go to the derby, I like to look for skaters that stand out, and demand our attention the entire matches. Since I am just getting back into writing (and thanks for those that are reading this, by the way), I want to give out some kudos from the first and second bouts of the season. So, here goes!

***First Bouts from April 5, 2014***

To Onrhea of the Hotties – you showed real grit and determination! You took a few hard hits, but you pushed through and made your team proud!

To Postal Penny of the Rumblers – you were grace personified tonight. It was amazing watching you “thread the needle” and dance past the blockers with such ease!

To Guillotine Grace of the Slaughterers – elegance and power.You led your team well, and proved that the Slaughters are a force to be reckoned with!

And to Anita Riot and Rhinestone Callgirl of the Crew- you were both amazing! When you were on the track, we all knew something special was about to happen, and you never let us down! It was a pure thrill to watch you both and root and cheer you both on!

Lastly, to the entire Wrecking Crew and Slaughter teams – hands down, that was the best game I’ve seen at derby since I started coming out!

***Second Bouts from April 5, 2014***

First, Punchy Brewster of the Rumblers – I can’t imagine what you and your family are going though, but please know that your fans are with you in spirit in this tough time, and you and your family are in my prayers.

To Whisky Hangover of the Rumblers – you hung tough tonight! You’ve always been one of the best skaters on the track, and tonight you proved why! Great determination, and better execution! I really enjoyed watching you and your entire team!

To Ripper of the Crew – the Wrecking Crew has a winner in you! You are tough as nails – it was a blast watching you power your way past blockers, and to watch you take down the opposing jammers!

To Planet of the Skates of the Shifters – again, you were fantastic! You are so quick off the line that the Hotties couldn’t keep up, and if they managed to get in front of you, well they were soon out of your way! Great job tonight!

To Hannah Barabaric of the Hotties – What an impressive game! It didn’t matter if you were jammer, pivot, or blocker, you gave everything you had tonight – I loved watching you chase down the opposing jammer! Great job!

To DoS Attack of Team Zebra – great officiating tonight! The best officiating is the kind that the fans don’t notice – because you are getting the calls right!

And finally to ZoeKat Karma of the Hotties – it was a lot of fun sitting next to you tonight – I’ve known you a long time, and the Hotties could not hope for a better cheerleader! (My ears are still ringing – next time I’ll sit a couple feet further away). Get better soon, and get back on that track!


And to keep you up to date on the results so far:

Bout 1:

Death Row Rumblers defeat the High Sea Hotties, 375-67

Wrecking Crew defeat Slaughterers, 197-195 (literally coming down to the final seconds and a review of the final jam to see who won!)


Bout 2:

Wrecking Crew defeat the Death Row Rumblers, 204-173

High Sea Hotties defeat Suicide Shifters, 175-110


10367691_10152140255633170_3964798356787997240_nIf you are in the Dallas area, I highly recommend you check out the DDD website by clicking here. You can also like them on Facebook. Tickets are available from a skater, online, or at the door.

The next set of bouts are Saturday, June 28, 2014.

True American Hero: Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong circa 1969

Neil Armstrong, a great American hero, passed away today at the age of 82.

I’m not old enough to have been around when Mr. Armstrong first set foot on the moon, but he still managed to capture my imagination and admiration. When we look back at what he accomplished, that he left the planet and actually stepped foot on something other than planet Earth, we can only hold the man in high esteem knowing that he did so with a computer with less power than any of the SmartPhones on the market today.

As a child growing up, outer space captured my imagination. Mr. Armstrong was a hero to many like me, people who will never have the chance to do what he did. He should be applauded for a life spent pursuing a dream that so many of us have.

Wil Wheaton said,

“I met Neil Armstrong once, at a dinner to honor Jimmy Doohan in the early 2000s.

He was not much taller than me, but he was a giant of a man.

I don’t remember what I said to him, or what he said to me, because all I could think the entire time was “This man has walked on the fucking moon.”

Rest in peace, Neil. Because of your bravery and your courage, an entire species will forever look into the night sky and see not a mystery, but a destination.”

Mr. Armstrong, you will be missed.

Liquid Sunshine

Please feel free to link this little writing of mine, but remember to give proper attributions. 🙂

The sun was shining brightly – the sky empty of any clouds. By all accounts, including the ones of the two children jumping on the trampoline, the day was magnificent. Clearly the children believed the day to be nearly perfect, but what the day really needed to reach that perfection was rain. And not just any rain, no. The day needed a downpour, a true soaking was called for! Being children, they had the answer. An Indian rain dance. They were 6 at the time, and had been taught about how the Native Americans would dance when the crops needed watering, and so that the crops would grow tall and strong. Being children, a downpour would make them just as tall and strong as the crops. So they danced. In circles they moved, bouncing on the trampoline. Hollering and laughing and dancing.

At first, the sky refused to acquiesce. In truth, though, who can deny a happy child? The sky, being tolerant of children (in truth is was much more than just “tolerant”,but the sky didn’t like for anyone to know), eventually gave in. At first, it was a single cloud on the horizon. Then, there were more and many. Clouds of all shapes and sizes. Suddenly, the children are met by the blazing thunder and the deafening lightning.

The rain had come.

For hours in child-time, the rain came and showered them with happiness and joy. They were happy then, these children. A boy and girl. Cousins destined to love each other as brother and sister. They were closer than most, and they were innocent of everything that happened around them. They lived, and they laughed, and they loved. And they were drenched.

Things that go Vroom!

Let's Roll!

I’m not a true car guy. I can’t take a car apart and reassemble it on the roof of the school. I’m lucky to know where the gas and oil go. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see the beauty in these machines. In 2010, Uncle Eugene and I went to a car show at the local park. Here are a couple of pictures I took that day.

I have more pictures of this day of course that I may post later, including one where a car owner pays tribute to Odie (yes – the Odie of Garfield fame).

In Honor Of James
Ready to go Vroom

In Which Education Has Become Slavery

Every once in a while, I read an article that I feel the overwhelming urge to share with the world. This morning, thanks to a friend, I found one.

I urge you all to read the following:

A 13-Year-Old’s Slavery Analogy Raises Some Uncomfortable Truths in School

I do not know this girl, but I am proud of her and hope that we can continue to raise such intelligent children. The insight described in this article is profound, and exhibits high levels comprehension and critical thinking; many adults I know are incapable of this.

The fact of the matter is that, while there are many fantastic teachers, in some ways we are still living in a bygone age. The fact that this child would be forced to withdraw from school because she wanted to learn is horrendous and beyond comprehension.

I would love to know what the school’s logic behind this was. I’m sure the official answer from the school is that this was not an official action – however when officials act, the actions become official. Like it or not, the educational staff at an educational facility cannot be considered unofficial by anyone’s definition.

Please read this – in light of all we have been through we cannot allow a few misguided people return us to the stone age. After all, do you want your children being taught  the same message as this girl?

In Which I Had Malicious Intent

Friday night, with malicious intent, I drove down the highway.

Friday night,  with malicious intent, I made a couple of pit stops along the way.

Friday night, with malicious intent, I cracked open a new book.

Tis a harrowing tale that brings us here. A tale of such frightening aspects like counting, and buying, and staying in on a Friday eve! Proceed with caution, if you dare to proceed at all.

After waking on Friday morn, I felt the urge to… correction… I felt strongly compelled (!) to count – yes COUNT – the number of books on my bookshelves. The tally: 303. But oh frightening part, the truly truly truly knee-shaking hair-raising turning-you-into-a-quivering-mass scary part is that I realized I needed more. More!

With malicious intent I counted and knew the number 303 was vastly too small. With malicious intent, I vowed to increase this number.

And so, with no compunction for those around me or for myself, on my way home that evening, I stopped at Half-Priced Books. I had the singular goal, the goal of filling in a gap in my collection. I needed Terry Pratchett‘s Small Gods. (You may have noticed the plethora of Pratchett quotes lately – this has been the result of this growing uncontrollable urge to re-read this very book.)

Alas, Half-Priced Books failed me on this occasion. They had precious few of Pratchett’s books, and Small Gods was not one of them. So I had to settle with the following:

Having been disappointed in my quest, I pressed on. Next on my barrage of book buying: Barnes (and his friend Noble). Surely a full priced book store would help me quench my lust for the printed word. “Surely!” I exclaimed as I fishtailed into my designated parking spot at the front of the lot (Summer’s Shadow had grasped the importance of my mission – she’s a good girl and how I love to hear her growl!).

Barnes quickly pointed me to the malicious intent section (which encompasses the entire store) and I managed to find not one, not two, but three (thank you Count, ah ah ah) books that I absolutely had to have:

And so when I arrived home, after feeding myself, and feeding Riley, (Summer’s Shadow wasn’t hungry), I proceeded to do something dangerous.

With malicious intent, I cracked opened a new book to feed my mind.

One of Love, One of Exhaustion

Candid shots are sometimes the best shots. Today’s pictures come from a visit to the Texas Renaissance Festival in 2010. I’ve found two selections that I particularly enjoy. The first, somehow ironic in my eyes, is of this poor soul who was just really sleepy and tired after a day of walking. Sadly, his choice of roman Toga that day for his garb makes one imagine he passed out from the excitement of the party:

Tuckered Out

From a distance, I also spied a loving couple engaged in some sordid story – or perhaps just recounting their adventures that day. A private moment between two lovers, this shot melts my cold heart when I look at it:

The Lovers

Well that’s all for now. I apologize for the brevity of this post – there is a lot I could say about both of these shots, but the time is 6:30 in the morning and I am not yet awake, I fear.

I do have a homework assignment for you (purely extra credit, of course) – what stories do these pictures tell you?