Thursday, 27 February 2014

Sneak Peek!

Hello, all!  Today I have an interview, and it's possible that I may get to resume my career as a driver!  On paper it looks a lot like the gig I had for ten years, only instead of office supplies it's dry foods.  I promise that if I get the job, I will continue to work on the new book!  One thing I've always liked about being a driver is that I can formulate stories without too many distractions.  I suppose I should pick up a dictation machine.  Oh, wait, I have an IPod Touch.  Ah, modern tech, gotta love it.  I suppose I can share that the new book is set in 2003, so most of the things we've taken for granted for these last short few years wasn't around quite yet.  Anyway, here's a sneak peek at the new book!  I hope you enjoy, and please feel free to leave comments.

(Working title: Mike's Eye)
Chapter 1

I found myself sitting in a group therapy function at a community center. This was not the first time I felt the urge to get things off my conscience. To purge the annual guilt that lingers in my bones all year, every year, that seeps back into my blood in early November. The room I was in this time was minimally brighter, and cleaner, than most of the rooms that hold these kinds of gatherings. Usually the rooms are dank from the stench of alcoholic tremor sweat, bodily excretions and expulsions, and chemical mixtures that don't ever mask the smells as much as they add to the naturally nauseating aromas. I was in a small town outside of Memphis, where I had recently completed another new office building networking installation. That was the kind of work I hadn't planned on when my reason for going to these gathering happened. I had been a junior in high school then, with hopes and dreams like most other kids had in my graduating class. I was going to be a computer graphics designer, with a focus on video games, or a federal computer analyst, or anything that had to do with the wonder machines that had just broken away from the simplistic word processors which ruled the eighties. I had gotten the idea for the spell from an old Atari game, and with the assistance of my old friend, Mike, got the ball rolling. Things went wrong back then, very wrong. Now, ten years later, at the age of 27, I found myself in these groups most years. I didn't really belong at these meetings, as my poison wasn't from a bottle, although I have been known to down some beers when I think about that night. There is no group set up for my guilty conscience though, and I rejected mental therapy after two sessions on my father's dime, ten years back.

The meetings always start the same, more or less. First people file in one at a time, over a period that can last ten minutes, or an hour depending on what kind of group it is. The court ordered groups are much more strict about what time you show up. I avoided those, mainly because I don't believe in big g god, and real AA groups require that you attend what they deem the only true god's house. So I typically find the small local gatherings of no affiliation. Where the people don't really plan on quitting the bottle, or the drug of choice. More that they feel guilty about something they've done, and want the chance to speak their peace among fellow addicts. Hell, most of the time as the meetings end, I've seen half the attendees walk to the nearest bar or alley, in an attempt to wash away the memory they'd just relived out loud for the first, or fiftieth time. When the meetings start, and the doors are locked, I try not to go first or last, but somewhere in the middle. This time was no different. I stood at the front of the group after five of the thirteen at this meeting had slurred their way through their ongoing addiction problem, before saying “Hi, my name is Adric, and I have a problem.” After the most alert of the bunch muttered “Hi, Adric”, I sat down again. My full name is Adric Albrecht Filmort, and on this night, I wasn't planning on sharing my story. Instead I listened to the sad stories of driving a family, or wife/husband away, losing five jobs a year because they can't show up sober to work, or the grim favorite of murder by way of drunken use of a vehicular device. My story doesn't have anything to do with alcohol, but it did kill my dreams.

When the sob stories were done, and the head of the meeting thanked everybody for their honesty, pleading halfheartedly to find a place to worship, I walked back to my motel. I had no intention of hitting the replay button on that memory tonight. It had been an early meeting, and with so few in attendance, it had gotten out earlier than normal too. I grabbed the keys to my rental car, as I didn't want to risk getting a ticket in the work van, and headed out to find some dinner. Memphis has your typical chain name options, but in my travels I've found that the smaller, non national grub hubs are the way to go. Each town is different in that way. The bigger the nearest metropolis, the better the options. The smaller the town, the more likely options are one of three fast food chains, the obligatory sit down slightly less fast food dining by any hotel you see, and one or two truck stop diner or greasy spoon. But being so near one of the two major cities in Tennessee, I had no trouble finding a place named Deb's. I didn't know what Deb specialized in, or if there was even anybody named Deb working there. All I did know was that it didn't have a giant flashing sign, and the mostly full parking spaces were occupied by local license plates only.

What I found when I walked in and took a seat at the bar, was that Deb did in fact work there, and she was also my waitress. I ordered a local brew, and it came with a menu. After ordering a platter of food, Deb put the order in and came back to chitchat with me. It turned out that she had bought the place years back, after working as a bartender for fifteen years, and had no children to suck up all her tips. Now she preferred working a counter that held more food than drink, and making sure the staff was happy. When my food arrived, she went off to talk with some locals who had come in, and I enjoyed some true southern bbq. After one more beer, I settled up the tab, left Deb a decent sized extra, and headed back to my hotel.

After taking a long shower, I fired up the laptop, and turned on the television. I had just finished logging in the job completion, and was watching the nightly news when a knock came at the door. Getting off the bed, and putting on a shirt, I opened it. Nobody was standing on the other side, nor was there anything on the ground, or taped to the outside of the door. I figured somebody had knocked at the wrong room, so I closed and locked the door, and climbed back into bed. I'd done a pretty good job of not thinking about that night years ago while awake, but my subconscious had other plans. I fell asleep quickly, and then the video player in my mind chose a popular repeat, and the directors cut too boot.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Rethinking the Winter Games

Hello, and welcome to my almost brilliant idea for changing the winter Olympic games.  This came to me this morning, while I was slicing up a banana for my breakfast cereal and I had a minor epiphany.

As many of you have most likely heard, Russia (who had seven long years to prepare for the 2014 games, but waited until there was about a week to go to do anything) has really pulled off some dreadful debacles, to put it mildly.  I have heard and seen some of this, which the major network that carries the games has barely touched on, but other news sources have reported the atrocious conditions that the athletes and full time residents alike have been dealing with in Sochi.  For example, incomplete bathrooms and living quarters, the guy that flubbed the rings (and was later found dead having fallen on some knives, which sounded more like something that would have happened in Japan), local exterminators hired by the local mayor to walk through the streets of the town and shoot every stray dog dead, and the local mayor also proclaiming that there are "no gay people in my town."  This is not only an embarrassment to Russia, but an absolute insult to the athletes who work so hard in their respective sports to be invited by the Olympic committee to partake in the games, all animal lovers/caretakers/owners, gay rights supporters, and basically anybody who believes that all people should be treated equally.  I quipped that North Korea may have done a better job, though I doubt they'd win a bid to host the games.  I shifted my thought to the demilitarized zone, but took a second to think about that before realizing that wouldn't work.  Then it hit me.

I propose that we take the winter games away from any country, and hold them on international water, on cruise ships.  Yes, cruise ships.  You know, those ginormous and insanely built boats?  Well hear me out.  First of all, nobody would have to worry about the living quarters for the athletes, they're already built in, and well maintained.  Secondly, some of them already have olympic size swimming pools that could easily be converted to an ice rink, for all of the skating events.  For the cross country skiing, who really needs a shuffleboard on the deck?  Just have them ski around the perimeter of the deck.  Some cruise ships also have those huge water slides, which could rather easily be converted into both luge runs, and ski jumps.  On the topic of ski jumping, we could make it more challenging for those athletes, and have the jump on one ship, and the landing on another!  For those who fall a little short, those boats already have life boats, for pulling them out of the drink!  The only event that might suffer a bit is the biathlon, however they would have a great chance when the pirates show up.  They could stay sheltered from pirate shots, by racing around the below deck track, and shooting at the pirates through the port holes.  This might not make it into every winter games, but it would sure be a lot more fun to watch.  Those ships also have gyms built in too, though slightly smaller than usual Olympic quality gyms, but imagine the added camaraderie among the athletes.  And imagine, if you will, the amazing camera shots, when the cameras pan out to show the surrounding area, they could film the whales, sharks and dolphins!

As for the spectators, I'm slightly undecided.  Since most people around the world simply watch from their couches at home anyway, they could simply make it a televised only event.  Alternatively, we have decommissioned, yet perfectly sea worthy aircraft carriers, that could have stands built on the flight deck.  This may be a good thing, since the airforce could lend some aid against the pirates, in case the biathlon skiers have a hard time adapting to shooting while standing up.  I'd also like to propose that the medal winners could all board another cruise ship, say a six star ship, that can circumnavigate the entire ocean (yes, it really is all the same ocean), and take the athletes back to every country that they come from, in luxury and style!

I think this could all work, and then no country would have the chance to drop the ball, and it could become a truly international world event, on international waters.  There may still be a few wrinkles in this plan, but we have a couple of years to work those out.

In other news, my new book is slowly but surely coming along.  As for my first book, it is still available on Amazon, in both kindle and kindle app form, and in print.  I fudged the print size, so the printed version is not a standard paperback size, so it'll look a little funny on a bookshelf.  In case you forgot, the title was changed from New Life (as it was first called here), to Daemon Infiri.  Please also be aware that I am aware that I can't edit my own work all that well.  In short format form, like this blog, sure, more or less, but in a format the size of a book, I'm rubbish.

Alright, if you think my new proposal for the winter games sounds good to you, make sure you tell your local Olympic Committee member about it!  Alright, that is all for now, folks.  As per usual, I hope you all remember to smile, laugh, spend times with your favorite peeps, have some good eats, and enjoy your favorite beverage.  Peace out, y'all!