Monday, February 18, 2019

What I Did This Weekend Instead of Writing

Part of the fun of having a large family is running out of space as the kids get older.  Because getting rid of a kid is apparently off the table according to my wife, I am left with two options:

1. Buy a bigger house

2. Add living space to what you already have.

Since option 1 is not viable due to student loans and what not, we decided to enclose the garage. Also since we are poor we are forced to do the work ourselves which means it's taking even longer than if we'd hired it done. We've been at this since March, 2018. Needless to say everyone is getting antsy to have it done.

My brother was in town last week and this type of stuff is right up his alley, so he gave me a jump start. (Thanks Bro), and this weekend I got quite a lot done.


The unfinished room is the laundry room we're also adding.  Yes, I know there's no drywall in there, but there's still plumbing and electrical to do in there.

As an extra I learned that this light is great for seeing to dig out splinters and metal shavings from poorly manufactured drywall screws. You're welcome.


Now it's Monday and the ibuprofen has kicked in and I am at my desk at work.  Have a good week, I'll try to get this damnable story finished this week around the mud work that comes next...Lord willing.

-Tole

Friday, February 8, 2019

A Few Things to Ponder

My brain is ever so slowly letting the story I'm working on ooze out onto my keyboard. It's like waiting while cold motor oil drains out of an engine. Unlike an engine though I can't start my brain and let it run until the story warms up to make it flow faster. All of that being what it is, I was feeling bad for not posting anything the blog, so I thought I'd throw a few personal updates out here.

First, I filed paperwork yesterday to start my self-publishing company. Now if I can just get myself to sit down long enough to polish something into a form worth publishing.  Baby steps. As much as I grouse about it, I am kind of excited.

Second, Lawdog and and OldNFO drug me out yesterday and I got to meet Larry Correia. Super nice guy.

Lastly, I get to round out my week with a jazz concert tonight featuring my oldest progeny on the piano. Hearing/watching my kids do what they're passionate about makes me feel lucky to be their dad.  All three of my kiddos blow my mind on a regular basis.

Well, that's about all I've got to say about me for now.  Guess I should see if I can squeeze another couple thousand words out of my brain today. In the meantime, here are some ponderables I got from my dad.

-Tole

Do twins ever realize that one of them is unplanned? 
 
What if my dog only brings back my ball because he thinks I like throwing it?
                                                       
If poison expires is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous? 
 
Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and it just takes 75-100 years to fully work. 
 
Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty. 
 
The word “swims” upside-down and backwards is still "swims".

The word "nun" is just the letter "n" doing cartwheels.
 
Intentionally losing a game of rock, paper, and scissors is just as hard as trying to win. 
 
100 years ago everyone owned a horse and only the rich had cars. Today everyone has cars and only the rich own horses. 
 
The doctors that told Stephen Hawking he had two years to live in 1953 are probably dead. 
 
If you replace "W" with "T" in "What, Where and When", you get the answer to each of them. 
 
If you rip a hole in a net, there are actually fewer holes in it than there were before. 
 
100 years ago a Twenty Dollar bill and a Twenty Dollar gold piece were interchangeable. Either one would buy a new suit, new shoes and a night on the town. The Twenty Dollar gold piece will still do that.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

What I'm Working On

Thought I'd pop in and rattle off a little blurb about what's been going on lately.

First, my muse decided to come back from her vacation and has started putting me to the lash. Consequently writing is happening. It's not happening as fast as I'd like, but it is happening.  More on why it's slow to follow.

I have finished the year-end tax related mess that's associated with my full-time job. Personally, I think that is why my muse was on vacation as long as she was. She has no taste for the dry business of accounting.

The thing that has been slowing me down though is car repairs and house renovations. My eldest offspring's car has been down for a couple of weeks due to a bad fuel pump. I'm actually planning to get that taken care of this weekend. Fingers crossed that goes to plan.

After that mess is taken care of, I have a garage enclosure to wrap up.  My middle offspring wants his own room and promises have been made.

The last thing that I want to mention is that I have been convinced to start publishing my works. There's so much work that goes into that endeavor that I've almost run screaming into the woods on more than one occasion. Lawdog and OldNFO keep tackling me and bringing me back though, so hopefully I'll actually push my first short stories out by the end of February.

Below is a quick preview of the short story I am working on now. The plan...as it stands now...is for this to be the backstory behind how Tole acquired Mikey and the armoire he calls home and workshop. I'm kind of excited to see how it all comes out in the end.

-Tole


It was quiet in my room for the first time all night, and I was just about to drift off to sleep. You know that feeling when the world is kind of detached, and you know that blissful unconsciousness is only moments away? Yeah, that’s where I was, and it was awesome. Well it would have been if Serilla hadn’t laid her hand on my chest and whispered in my ear.

“Killer, there is something not right about that cabinet in the corner.”

When a creature with centuries of experience and magic as strong as Serilla has makes a statement like that you should listen. I do and it brought me straight up into full consciousness again with all thoughts of sleep flying away. I sat straight up in the bed, started gathering pointy things, and asked her, “What cabinet? What’s not right?”

“Calm down Love. Nothing is trying to kill us…yet, but that armoire in the corner where you keep your clothes is enchanted with magic I do not understand.  It irks me. I tried to open it the other day and that damned wooden snake bit me. I was able to expel the poison before it did any serious damage, but I was never able to open the doors. I do not like there being something in this room that I cannot protect you from.”

I sat back down on the side of the bed and relaxed. I should have realized that she would eventually notice the enchantment on my wardrobe/weapon locker/safe room. I started putting all of my emergency weaponry back into the locations where they are stored around my bed. No point in being pointy right now.

When I was done I lay back down beside her, kissed her forehead and said, “You have nothing to fear from that armoire. The snake is simply the security system. It protects what is inside. I should have expected you to notice the enchantment, but every time you come to my room I always seem to get…distracted. It was a gift from a client…well part of his payment actually…kind of like a tip.  Frankly, I think he was trying to get rid of it.”

“Why do you need something so well protected to house your clothing?” she asked cocking an eyebrow at me.

“Oh it does a lot more than that Lover. Let me show you.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

From the Pile of Unfinished Junk

A few years ago Lawdog and I had this idea for a story set in the Forgotten Realms. Fan fiction at its worst, but after a while we realized we might actually have a story in the making. The only problem was the mammoth task of removing everything that could get us a C&D letter delivered by scary guys dressed in black from Wizards of the Coast. It has sat in the "to edit" pile for a LONG time.  What you see below is one of the MANY starts and stops to the story.  Yes, it's trite and cliche and all that, but it was fun.

I figure since my muse is still on hiatus I'd dig this out and share it...for what it's worth.

-Tole


Journey from Terra

There were nine of them. All of them are lethal alone, but together they had been dubbed the Hand of Death by those who even knew they existed.

They all had grown up together in the same small town. They started out as a small security/bounty hunting firm in a small city in Texas. Not long after capturing their fifth “Most Wanted” mostly whole and alive and often without any serious injury to anyone on the team, a man in a dark suit who supposedly worked for a government agency he just called “Command” had contacted them about learning to “do it in the big leagues.” 

The team had been together for a little over a decade and had gotten out of more nastiness than any one person should have to see. They had all been trained together and they knew what each other was thinking often without even realizing it. Watching them move through training exercises was a thing of both beauty and terror. The number of missions was lost to history, but if there had been trouble, The Hand had been there.

Morgan is the unofficial leader of The Hand. They all hold the same rank, but Morgan always seems to provide the guidance and planning.  He is ruthless to his enemies, but fiercely loyal to his friends. Like the rest of The Hand, he is well beyond proficient with almost everything that can make folks dead.

His wife, Kit, is an expert in covert tactics and the one who keeps Morgan from being a serial killer. She is his second in command and his stabilizing force when his eye gets twitchy.

Gene is a hulk of a man, which is unusual for someone who makes his living being sneaky. His 6’5”, 325 pound frame didn’t seem to affect his ability though, and the last thing many of his targets had thought was “where the hell did he come from?” He is an expert is close combat. If he gets close enough to touch you, it’s already too late.

Gene’s wife, Carrie, is the demolitions expert. She has a master’s degree in chemistry and a PhD in “blowing shit up.” It’s been said that if she can’t blow it up, it can’t be blown up, but she’ll sure as hell try. She’s tall enough to compliment her husband, lithe, and not too shabby with a blade in her hand.

Jason, Danny, and Matt are the scouts and recon for the group and a trio of death and destruction. They almost function as a single being and help to put Morgan’s plans back together when it all goes to hell. The rest of the team swears they share a brain. More than once Gene has threatened to hit one of them just to see if the others will bleed.

Mike is the sniper and the one who usually covers The Hand’s extraction point and his wife Lauren is his spotter. They can both handle themselves up close and personal, but some of Mike’s shots have been put in the record books. Not any record books that Joe Average would have seen, but they were written in a book somewhere.

The team’s current mission was the last for the month and was supposed to be a cakewalk, or at least as close to a cakewalk as they get out here in the sand. There was a Taliban cell holed up in a cave protecting a Mullah who had topped the government’s list of those who need a lethal dose of lead poisoning. The Hand had been tapped by Command’s local office to take care of it.

On this particular occasion however, there was a problem. It did seem as though the team was getting more and more of the shitty assignments lately. So here they were, target neutralized, but pinned down in a cave after running a fighting withdrawal. Mike’s position had been compromised, so he and Lauren were forced to join the rest of The Hand in the field. They were pinned down by some machine gunners who weren’t in the intel. As per their s.o.p. there was no contact with support because they weren’t supposed to be where they were.

“Why can’t things ever be as easy as they sound in mission briefings?” Morgan exclaimed as he fired his weapon over the cover the group was pinned down behind.

Gene’s answer came through everyone’s ear piece with more than a little static. “Because life would be too boring if it all went to plan. Besides, you’d be frustrated and bitch about how there never was any challenge. Fucking crybaby.” The last bit coming around choked off laughter.

“We are so screwed,” Matt shouted into his headset.

Kit yelled back, “What I want to know is where they hell those guys came from. They weren’t on any of the satellite photos that I saw.”

“Me either,” answered the other eight in unison.

Jason, being the conspiracy nut of the group, piped off with, “Smacks of a set up to me. It was bound to happen eventually. We’ve been at this too long. We know enough to make some dangerous people nervous. That is almost always a recipe for unpleasantness eventually.”

It was at that moment that a glow appeared at the back of the cave where The Hand was taking cover. The distraction cost them. Jason took a round in the leg when he turned to see what the commotion was all about.

“Man down!” shouted Mike. He grabbed Jason by his webbing and began to pull him to the back of the cave and towards the glowing aperture that had appeared in the formerly solid stone wall. The rest of the team fell back as well, and Mike broke out his med kit. “Shit! It got the artery! I’ll clamp it for now, but if we don’t get some help soon, he’s gonna bleed out.”

“Perhaps I can offer a more acceptable alternative.” The voice had come from the direction of the light, and when everyone turned they found a woman in traveling leathers standing in the cave. “Quickly now, I believe that this area is about to become most inhospitable.”

It was then that the group heard the familiar whine of a drone on a bombing run coming from the mouth of the cave. “Those fucking PRICKS!” shouted Morgan, and with that they all followed this stranger through the gateway.

When the haze cleared and everyone could see clearly again, the woman was knelt over Jason giving him something to drink from a flask. He cried out and Morgan was immediately on his feet with his weapon in hand. “Stay your weapon Sir. They likely no longer function in any event,” she said. “I have given him an elixir that will tend to his wounds. The process is painful, but he will be right again soon.”

“Welcome to my world,” she said as she stood and regarded the team. “Well that is unexpected…It would seem that you have left your humanity behind somewhere along the path. Interesting indeed, but what shall we call you? You are obviously elves, but not a race I have seen before.”

It was only then that Morgan noticed that his team had undergone something of a transformation. It was also that moment that he noticed that he felt better than he had in over a decade. Their skin was dark, almost ebon, and they all had flame red hair. “Hold on just one damned minute lady,” Morgan barked. “Exactly where the hell are we, and what the fuck just happened? Shit like that just doesn’t happen.”

The lady cocked an eyebrow at Morgan and the rest of The Hand, who had all come to their feet and were eyeing her with barely contained urge to kill. “No, I suppose it does not since magic hasn’t existed on your world for some time. It took a great deal of effort to gather enough in that one location to open the Way.”

The Lady then paused to consider the group, “Yes. You’ll all do fine. My name is Sylandriel, and I have been searching for a group such as you for a very long time. So long in fact, that I had been forced to expand my search to other realms of existence. I was overjoyed to find you. You were destined to end your lives in that cave. In fact, as far as anyone on your world is concerned your bodies are there to be found by those who abandoned you to die. The transformation is unexpected, but you could have become anything. An elf is probably the best we could have hoped for.”

“I would ask that you join me, and serve me and those whom I protect, in much the same way you have served your old home. Only here you will be more powerful and dangerous than you can possibly imagine. I will never abandon you and will never ask you to do anything that you do not see as just. All I ask in return is your loyalty to me and to the citizenry of my realm. For now please consider my offer as we travel. It is not safe to stand around in the open in these woods. It almost dusk…hmm…Dusk Elves. Yes, that is fitting.”

With that The Hand of Death became The Wolves of Sylandriel and a new legend began. That was a long time ago, or at least it felt that way now.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Vacation

Apparently my muse took a vacation to Fiji over the Christmas holidays and apparently likes it there.  I got a postcard from her last week that said "Fiji is here. Wish you were beautiful."




She'll be back eventually. 

In all seriousness though it's January in the life of an accountant, so I'm busy preparing W2s and those damned ACA reporting forms for the 250 people who work where I do. By the time I get out of here my brain is pretty well wiped, so there's not much for the muse to work with at the moment anyway.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Happy New Year! - Reflections on 2018


Everyone keep railing on 2018 for what a horrible year it was. To be sure there were things I would have rather not had happen, but that can be said for any given year. I think most of the angst is coming from losses. 

We did have some significant losses in 2018, Stan Lee being a shining example.  As I have aged, I have noticed that loss becomes of ever more present part of life. Youth is given the gift an growth and the prospect for wonder at the world they are just beginning to explore. If that was my only view on the world I could very easily drown in remorse and wail at how horribly the passing years have treated me too.

However, I choose to look back at things that make me reflect on the previous year and smile rather than mourn, so I thought I’d share, in no particular order, a few of those moments with you.

First, I didn’t die…again. That alone should be cause for celebration, especially considering 2018 marked the tenth anniversary of when I did…for a few brief moments…in fact…die. There are a few posts on here from 2008-2009 that can speak to all of that mess. So…YEA…I’m alive!

Secondly, my wife and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary in the summer of 2018. We have now been married longer than she had been alive at the time of our wedding. We’re only a few years away of blowing past that mark for me as well. It’s crazy how fast it has gone, but I am a better man for it.

Next, 2018 saw the oldest of my progeny graduate from high school and start college. My pocketbook weeps but I rejoice. I am so excited for the adventure that CJ is on. Life is out there waiting and I have no doubt cowering in fear a little in anticipation.

I don’t want to carry on all day, so I’ll wrap up with this last thing. I came back to my blog and started writing again. For me that’s a positive. For the rest of the world, well…I’ll leave that judgement up to the readers.

Here’s hoping 2019 brings many more chances to smile everyone. Lord knows we need them.

-Tole

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas from The Bar

On behalf of Tole, Bobby, Serilla, Valsh, and all of the other voices in my head, here's wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


What I Did This Weekend Instead of Writing

Part of the fun of having a large family is running out of space as the kids get older.  Because getting rid of a kid is apparently off the ...