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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

PROPHESY: Hiding in the Shadows

It was dark, but fortunately for us, the moon was full, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Lucky considering where we live, one of the wettest places in what is left of the U.S. There must have been twenty of us in the building, but we didn't lie to ourselves:  this was no protection. No roof, no doors, not even glass in the windows. If the Taken found us, we'd be as good as Taken ourselves. They were everywhere, and the tension was just on the verge of pouring into the dark woods.

It finally broke when a lady and a little girl broke through the bushes. Apparently, they had found a way down to the beach, a drainage that was partially overgrown, despite it's recent installation. Such is life in the Alaskan rainforest.

We all took off, single file, quietly as we could, though for my own part, I was certain that everyone could heat my fearful heart beating out of my head. Once we got to the beach, the mission was clear: follow it south to the depot, and hope to God there was a van or a bus or something we could cram into. We needed to get away from the outbreak.

The Taken, or specifically, whatever caused them to be so, were vicious. The disease, whether it was vital or bacterial, nobody knew, spread quickly. The result was a being devoid of individuality, a being who could seemingly wordlessly "think their thoughts" into the mind of all the others. I know, it sounds crazy, but once one knows where you are, they all know. And then they all come looking for you. They want to take you.

We got to the depot, and hints of first light was staying to peek over the mountain. Morris, a guy I met in a bar and hadn't seen for years, challenged us. Apparently, they tried to take him, too.

Gently, I assured him we were on his side, still free, and he, in turn, told me he had a surprise for me. He led us to a small garage way up on a gravel hill. A both stained to slide the giant door open. A cloud of must flooded my nose, but the sight if one of my oldest and dearest friends almost erased any fear of death.

Morris had come through. He had found and rescued the BattleWagon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


As you probably know by know, on July 20th, a few days ago, there was a terrible tragedy that happened in my home state of Colorado.  A man walked into a movie theater and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 58 more.  Many questions have come up since then, concerns that gun control laws aren't strict enough, or the converse, that not enough people are carrying firearms for self defense.  I've had conversations about whether or not the death penalty should be considered for the suspect, or if he'll be considered some degree of insane and locked in a rubber room for years without a trial, as is the case with the man who wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed, what was it, nine other people?

Then, there's the reaction.  You see some of the most uplifting things in times like this.  You see the President of the United States speaking at a memorial service.  You see professional athletes and entertainers visiting the surviving wounded and the grieving loved ones.  You see communities and and arts communities with otherwise little in common banding together to diagnose and digest what exactly just happened to all of them, together, without discrimination or judgement.

Unfortunately, there's a bad apple that ruins it for everyone.  I understand this bad apple, but I don't necessarily agree with it, and here's where I share my thoughts.

Earlier today, while perusing some of the standard news blogs and social networking sites, I came across a picture of the suspect's head PhotoShopped onto one of those targets that marksmen use, the ones that look like people.  And while I can't help by sympathize and even mostly agree with the idea that, had someone in that theater had a legal concealed weapon that they went through a permit process to receive, there may have been less death, that short time has passed.  The instant of whether or not they were able to protect themselves has passed.  It's over.  It's done.  We grieve.  And with that, there's a celebration of sorts in calling for the suspect's death.  Not a death in terms of justice as far as the system is designed to accommodate, but a death in the slightly-better-than-the-suspect's-mindset-in-the-first-place-but-not-really terms.  In other words, those who seek revenge instead of justice are no better than those who committed the crime in the first place.  Yes, this guy, if proven to be so, was a bastard.  Does he deserve to die for what he did?  I defer to the court and the jury's judgement in that case.  However, will his death be one I celebrate?  I don't think so.  I think it's a cold and dark place people go to when they decide that anyone's death is worth celebrating.  I'm not referring to those people who celebrate the lives of their loved ones when they pass away.  I'm referring to the people who are so consumed by hatred, anger, and fear that they almost find a joy in seeing others suffer.

Don't be that person.  Raise the bar for yourself if you haven't already.  Death for death's sake is a horrible thing, and when, despite everything you may have lost, you stoop to that level, the level that's only marginally above how these things get started in the first place.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

CHRONICLE: Long Day After a Long Week

Today has been a catch up day for me. I took Malcolm to our daycare lady for a few hours. Then I did a dump run for us and Lyss's boss. I came home, ate a quick bite (grilled cheese with ham or turkey- hard to tell what it was), and grabbed a load of laundry. When this is all finished up, I'm going to grab Malcolm and go home to do done more house work. At least I won't be stuck wearing one pair of pants and undershirts to work this coming week.

Dash has been my companion through all of this, and while I ferrel guilty for boring him, I'm very grateful that he's been here, loyal and sweet. I guess that's the advantage of dogs over cats. All they want to do is love on you when they can. Cats want you to live on them.

Otherwise, we're planning a trip to Wally's cabin tomorrow night. We're going to try to see if this solar flare that happened yesterday generates an aurora worth staying up for. Lyss and I caught one the other night, and it was pretty magnificent, even if relatively minor. The most remarkable part for me was that it actually moves as fast as they show on TV. I always thought they played it back with time lapse to make it more dramatic. Pretty cool.

Here's Dash for you guys, looking happy as always.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

PROPHESY: The Town on the Next Island (1 & 2)


We were in an older building, climbing through narrow hallways up spongy stairs in the darkness. She looked at me as we neared the tip. She could see the lights from the outside world. Streetlights, but still lights.

We left the top of the old rickety stairwell and looked out, from the top of a damp, grassy hill down a tree-lined street. The houses and yards were nicely manicured from what I could see in the dark, and the street at the bottom of this hill led straight away from us up another hill, much gentler than the one that led us here.

As we began our walk down to the street, walls crept out of the ground around us, and we quickly found ourselves in a courtyard with a door leading to the street.

We jogged outside, and the streetlights died out and gave way immediately to morning sunlight. We found a car and drive up that street about a mile towards the end, parking at a small diner, and preparing ourselves for the coming storm.


My father was impressed with this town. The streets were steep, and the buildings were mostly direlects at this point, but I think he appreciated what it once was. He could see those sorts of things, the sort of sight that came with a certain mix of wisdom and imagination.

We carefully strolled up the main street, walking though the three or four blocks of the old business district, and began our ascent up the steep, old, concrete street. As we neared the top, the grade of the road forced both of us and the handful of other refugees to use our hands to help keep us from falling backwards. Once the summit was gained, we looked upon another town, slightly newer, also abandoned years ago. It was pretty. Creeks and ponds meandered through parks. The houses and businesses were built to respect that. No single street or sidewalk was straight. They all followed the water.

Thunder rolled in the distance. We'd have to find our way inside one of those places soon, before the rain comes...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

THOUGHTS: On "At The End Of The Day"

Today, I read a blog that a friend of my wife had written. In it, she chronicles how dynamic life can be at certain times. By dynamic, I mean way up (the sharing of one's life with someone very special to you) and way down (the loss of someone whom you've come to know for any reason). I read this blog, and shared a song with her. It was "Burial on the Presidio Banks" by This Will Destroy You. I don't know why I was especially compelled to post this on her page, but I did. Then I got to thinking of my own dynamic, and dynamics in general.

The next thing I know, I'm reflecting on my past few weeks and hours, thinking about how happy my son was at the parade yesterday, looking at the firetrucks and the dancers and the bagpipes and racecars and motorcycles... eating all the candy! We went to a friend's house and had a huge bonfire and set off fireworks! Dash got to play with two huge mastif/boxer mixes and Malcolm loved every second of it. He watched the dogs play and laughed. He ran after the bigger kids. I even helped him fire off some Roman candles! I was so happy just watching him soak it all in!

Then, this evening, I watched him fall asleep, still exhausted from yesterday's joys and a beach day today. He was asleep by 6:30 tonight. And as he fell asleep, I played that song and watched him as he slept. Suddenly, my thoughts drifted from the joy and love and happiness that I felt with Malcolm. They carried me to a place I haven't thought about in a long time. In far too long a time.

They took me to Malcolm's brother, Tiberius. Suddenly, my eyes swelled up, and my heart fell like it was going to float right out of my throat. I missed him. I miss him. He would be turning seven this November. I never got to take him to any 4th of July parades. I never got to sit with him and watch a bonfire, never got to feed him candy or wrestle around with him on the living room floor. I never got to tell him "I love you" just so I could hear him say it back. I never got to tell him I loved him that last time at all.  I never got to hear him fart in his sleep or giggle while I chased him around. I never got to send him off to his first day of school, or bring him to Alaska, or introduce him to his brother, or his brother's dog, the three-legged wonder named Dash.

I was flooded with sorrow, and I went into the kitchen to do what I haven't done in years. I just collapsed and let it all go. For a while. Then, I made myself a cup of tea, and made my way back into the living room, where Malcolm was sleeping peacefully on the couch. The hours that seemed to have passed were merely minutes, and Malcolm suddenly turned his head and smiled in his sleep.

There are unexpected turns in life, some that treaten to extinguish the very fire of one's existence. And while these moments seem so empty and unfathomable, they are just as much a part of our lives as the converse, the happiness that so often is right in front of us, sleeping on the couch, blowing in the wind, falling from the sky, or fading over the horizon. If we open our eyes, it's overwhelming in its scope and its fortitude, humbling, and all-encompassing.

I encourage the few of you who are reading this to really see the world around you, not just observing it and noting the clutter, but really seeing it. We're given far too short a time to not be continually inspired by the wonders all around us.