Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blog of Thunder

 face in door
Sometimes inspiration hits in the strangest of places!

I was reveling in my childhood again (it's a recurring theme) by blasting Kiss' "Destroyer" through my minivan speakers from my portable disc player, enjoying one of my favorite albums now on cd when track 3 came on, "God of Thunder"; as bassist Gene Simmons would say "OH YEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!" (those who know will understand;-]).

Well, I like a play on words as much as the next person, hence "Blog of Thunder". Now if I only had the means of keeping that intensity year round, I would rename this little hovel of the informational superhighway accordingly.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

No Matter Which One You Celebrate

I'm a Christmas guy. And I still find, 26 years after learning the truth about Santa, there's still a magical quality to December 24th and 25th. Sure some years the magic has slipped by me, but then I seem to find it again.

I also find that Christmas Eve and Christmas go hand in hand with trains and Egg Nog -- rather, a specific brand and flavor Egg Nog, before all of those frou frou gourmet varieties hit the store shelves starting a couple of years ago. Yes, I have discerning tastes.

Any rate, there was something surreal about sitting at the desk at work this evening (The first Christmas Eve I had to work in roughly 15 years!!) listening to Christmas songs on the radio. Surreal but pleasant.

Which brings me rather nicely to my point: No matter which Holiday this time of year you celebrate; be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus or something else -- It's with hope that you find it enjoyable.

Merry Happy Joy Squeal

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Random Thoughts from My Brain*

*The first installment can be found on my first blog by digging hard enough for it, or if you wait long enough it will likely migrate here...

If I ever appear on Wheel of Fortune and I have the opportunity to buy a vowel, sometimes I'll ask for a Y.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy 'Versary

December 17 marks Fleeting History's birthday and what better way to celebrate it than by having a number of underpaid foreign wait staff come in and sing "Happy Anniversary" to the tune of "Happy Birthday" (hey, it worked on my honeymoon cruise).

And while Fleeting History is actually older than one year, we're not going to count it's previous incarnation over at another venue, as it never truly developed over there as it has here.

So Happy Versary, Fleeting History. Have some cake, and eat it too!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hopewell Animal Hospital;August 1988

In one of those rare times when I open up a little to reveal a private smidgen of myself to the Universe at large, I present to you, dear reader(s) -- a poetic recounting of a particularly hot August Sunday morning in 1988.

This is what happened moments before my poetry professor arrived for one of the final classes of the semester. Upon entering, he glanced over my shoulder, seeing that I happened to be writing, read my clipped lines rather quickly and stated it was the best piece I'd written the whole course!! So, in it's December 7, 1995 glory I offer:

Hopewell Animal Hospital; August 1988

Hot summer day
Humidity for deoderant
Chocolate chip cookies for breakfast
Junkyard dog for entertainment
sun for a clock, the car a sundial
we wait for the owner
to open his garage
and fix our burned-out automobile.

We asked the question
"Why is the Animal Hospital
Open long before the garage?"
Was it because of Sunday

An unwritten law
stating "No business important to travellers
shall open its doors before nine a.m."
We wondered if the Animal Hospital served food
The deli was closed
Actually, it was gone. The store was empty
Elvis was dead -- we knew -- for eleven years

The town was asleep
We'd been towed into the Twilight Zone
The State Police didn't know what state they were in
Rod Serling was mayor

The tow truck freshly painted the night before --
awash in metallic speckles
like a Hot Wheels car
that's kept in its package
shared the stall next to our Chevy
As batteries charged and grinders wailed

"Memories" the King sang
"Pressed between the pages of my mind"
And why was it the Hopewell Animal Hospital
when we were in Fishkill?

Could we cross the street
and escape the ordinance
and the wrath of maneating mosquitos
The yellow line a mock border for insanity

We yearned to examine the town boundaries
For a way of finding civilization
certainly there must be people there -- the Animal Hospital was open

Reality was evading us
But this was very real indeed


This was one of the many close calls I've had in my life (you'll remember the near drowing in Pine Creek and the glancing blow from the airborne automobile).

After stopping at the Stormville rest area, my father, family friend and I climbed back into the 1973 Monte Carlo and continued to our ultimate goal of Binghamton, NY, for a day's worth of train photography. FAIL. Not five minutes later a fog develops, except it's not clearing from the windows and we all start coughing. So we pull to the shoulder of Interstate 84 once we realize the fog is an asphyxiating smoke from the car.

We trace the source to where my heavy hiney was deposited and pull the rear bench seat from the vehicle, discover a smoldering cancer melting the foam core of the seat and delve into the cooler of drinks to cool the ulcer and prevent further damage.

Having negated the crisis, we pile everything back into the car and prepare to head home for repairs. The car won't start.

This is in the days B.C. -- before cell phones -- so we're stuck in the breakdown lane of the highway for over 90 minutes. Did I mention nearby Newburgh Prison was under lockdown and no State Police officers were available? That's why the three of us guys were being eaten alive by some very hungry mosquitos while we sat on the guardrail in Fishkill, NY, awaiting rescue.

Yes, once off the highway and at a service station, we waited ANOTHER 90 minutes for further repairs to get us limped home. That's how we found the deli, animal hospital and nothing else that quiet Sunday morning. It truly was a surreal experience.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Pizza Hut or Frog Hut??

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Also Inspired by Actual Events

My Audi is an Innie.

Five points for anyone who gets that :-)

I really do enjoy playing with words...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm Not Part of the Target Audience

Movie Train Power

As a railfan photographer, that is as a person who is a train enthusiast who takes pictures of trains, anything new or unique is more interesting than the day-to-day routine. But before I go any further on that thought, let's back the train up to Labor Day weekend 2009. For almost two decades (that's right ALMOST 20 years) I'd wanted to visit Letchworth State Park in order to photograph a train crossing the Genesee River.
Eastbound Freight
While talking with another railfan friend of mine about my plans, he suggested since I was spending the long weekend in that area, to visit the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad only a little further west, and I'd not only be able to catch one or two of the regular jobs which run, but also the specially made up freight train, eloquently called "the movie train" as well. So naturally, I followed his advice, and I'm glad I did.

Once I finally found where I needed to be, I spotted the movie train (see top most photo) and learned from other visiting railfans that it was for filming the movie "Unstoppable". Well, at the time, nobody knew much about the production other than it would star Denzel Washington. Once home I did a little research to learn the plot. Okay, it boils down to a cross between "Runaway Train" the sensationalist flick starring Rebecca DeMornay from about 1985, and that sensationalist Rob Lowe made for television movie about a runaway train carrying nuclear materials. Well, it DOES have trains in it, it's likely worth a look.

You can see the weather was fantastic the Sunday of Labor Day weekend 2009. Rental security kept an eye on the train in a futile attempt to prevent images from leaking onto the interent so other production companies don't steal ideas and designs. Well, rental security had no jurisdiction over public property in full view!

Now, I explained all of that to say I was shown a preview for "Unstoppable" this evening.

It's not fair for me to review the movie based solely upon my impressions of this trailer. But I will say, I won't be seeing this in theaters, unless it's a matinee and I've absolutely nothing left to do with my free time, which we know is not likely. While trains may play a prominent role in the flick, the plot came across as rehashed and sensationalistic. The only positive thoughts I took away from watching this trailer was the interpersonal character development, and not enough of that comes across in the preview either, though as a writer myself, I saw a potential for empathy and championing, but I just know I'd be the one in the heater moaning at the silver screen mumbling "That's not how it's done" just like I did when "Armageddon" was popular and the crew was drilling the asteroid. When an improbable result occurs for the sake of the plot which goes against what I'd been trained (no pun intended) the project loses its credibility with me, and I see a lack of credibility all over "Unstoppable" just from a 60 second preview. Obviously, I'm NOT the target audience for this motion picture because I know better. Is it a great fantasy that poeple who know nothing about railroads will get scared and excited and forget the troubles of the real world for awhile? Absolutely, but then there's that other side of the double-edged sword: the movie will capitalize upon these people's ignorance about railroads and that ignorance will harm the genral public's perceptions concerning just how safely railroads transport dangerous and non-dangerous materials. What's worse is the promo boasts the film is based on actual events. That'll hype the public's ignorance.

Now, if they made a movie about a trucking convoy of radioactive waste (or something much more sinister) which wrecked on a superhighway within a wind's blow of a crowded city; a cross between "Convoy" starring Kris Kristofferson and "The Day After Tomorrow" I'd probably make an effort to watch that when it hit cable.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Love this Season

It's all about the spectacle:
Eye candy costumes (and ingestible candy...mmmm, caaannnndyyyy, chocolate aaaaahhh)
Scary Decorations (or at least campy ones!)
"Haunted" Rides and attractions

There's something about going out into the dark unknown night traipsing through barely familiar neighborhoods as the chill night air seeps through your costume slowly so that you don't notice until a couple of hours later when you're done trick or treating or having successfully navigated the attraction you went through and you're in the car warming up getting oh so toasty.

But also, and this goes along with the eye candy and ingestible foods, there's the colors, smells and tastes of Fall/Autumn. Reds, oranges, yellows, and browns in the trees and fields, not to mention pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns!
Deerfield Pumpkin Patch
And the unsettled weather, whose blustery winds make strange noises in the trees and the rain which turns the streets into a Noir film adding to the sense of general unease.
PnW train CT-1x at Mill Rd 10_28_04

Foot steps echo down the hall, some lights are on but not them all
The Spirits wait with baited breath, to see who's next upon their death
Within this night of unbridled doom, A creature wakes within a tomb
The casket lid slides to one side, there is not one place to hide
A piercing shrill splits through the night, another person falls to fright
Heed the words of those who know, or else wind up six feet below.
---Mark Osmun 10-18-2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Grab an Apple Cider and Some Donut Holes; Here's a Spooky Story

Nightly Spirits
The temperature was way too mild for two weeks before Halloween, but that didn't stop the feelings of uneasiness. The gusting winds battered the trees raining orange, red, and gold leaves onto the narrow, well-worn streets around the cemetery. The full moon illuminated dark black clouds that just radiated doom, even to the casual observer.

"This really isn't the night to be out," she told her date as they walked back to their car from the restaurant. The young man and woman, in their mid-twenties, hadn't noticed that the other couples had seemingly disappeared as they walked until their footfalls on the macadam made eerie reverberations off of the headstones, "I don't feel comfortable."

"What do you mean?" he asked looking at her.

"It's a little scary that's all. Passing the cemetery, the wind blowing the trees, the moon making shadows on the ground like that," she pointed at a particularly lattice-like shadow which darted and swayed across the ground and nipped at the toe of her pumps. If she weren't trying to be so bold, she would have run back towards the restaurant again.

"Really, I don't see what the problem is," he turned to face her and just then grasped the situation, "outside of the wind" which kept whipping her hair across her face while it blew the neighborhood flora into a frenzy. He grabbed her arm reassuringly (and to lead her because she seemed frozen in place) and she gripped his arm a little too eagerly she felt, but then she'd do just about anything to get out of there.

Little by little the golden glow of the neighborhood lights went out as homeowners went to bed and less vehicles were on the roads. Dan and Jennifer graciously eased into his car, grateful for its reprieve from the elements. Their sense of security was dashed though as Dan found the car wouldn't start.

"Let me try," she offered climbing over the floor-shift into the driver's seat, knowing it wouldn't start for her either. The battery was too weak.

"I'll call for a jump," he reassured her, only to find he couldn't get a signal on his cell phone. He figured the weather must be affecting satellite transmissions, "I'll have to find a payphone or something. Wait here." She nodded sheepishly. Staying put was certainly better than having to walk past Darklocke Cemetery two more times tonight.

Jen brushed her ash blond hair back out of her face. Something moved out of the corner of her eye on the left. Darted really. Too quick to see what it was. But as much as she wanted it to be Dan, she knew it wasn't him. She leaned out from behind the steering wheel to close the door and lock herself in the car and that's when she saw it. Her scream gave out with an unanswered whelp and had Dan made it back to the car, he would have seen she was gone. Instead, Dan was found the next morning alongside the cemetery fence, having been struck dead by a felled tree limb of some girth, never having made it for help in getting the car started. The only trace of Jennifer was the beret from her hair on the driver's seat.


The above story first appeared on October 21, 2007, on my first, now rarelY!, used blog. The trolley happens to be relevant as the weather and location were inspiration for the above story, although I doused it heavily with creative license.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Haunting Season

For those who may not be reading along I've stated numerous times how much I really, I mean REALLY love Halloween. One day just isn't enough. I like to stretch it from the Tuesday after Labor Day until roughly Veteran's Day. It's a time frame I call Haunting Season; not just for the spooky tales and urban legends, but also for the chilled blustery winds which thrash at rickety gnarled limbs and the contrasty sky of dark cumulus clouds against a setting red-orange sun. The kind of weather a person wants to bundle into cozy clothing and sip hot beverages.

The colored leaves; the spooky, scary decorations; the Halloween costumes and the suspenseful ghost stories when all combined really excite and entice me. And yet as a youngster since when the actor in the Jaycee's funhouse in my home town "spooked" my mother when I was roughly six up until I discovered the legend of Ichabod Crane - The Headless Horseman -- through Troll's at home Library -- I couldn't stand to be scared, I hated being scared, and didn't want to be.

In the following years I was more mature, smarter, more cynical, more of the scientific belief than the spiritual belief and frankly, it got really had to scare the wits out of me. Sure, I startle fairly easily to this day, but out and out scared, not so much. So I went in search of the scare thrill after college. I'm not one of those risk taking thrill junkies who plays chicken, but I do enjoy a good theme park decked out in spookiness, or a "haunted" trolley ride, or a spooky maze.

So I'm looking forward to the spooky, macabre, dark, murky, damp, ghoulish fun this year as in past ones. Rest assured I'll be sharing more examples of why I love Haunting Season. It's not ingestable candy anymore it's the eye candy.

Why yes, that DOES happen to be my home in these photos.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Thriving Garden

One of the recurring themes throughout my five years of blogging is "Not everything is gloom and doom". Yes I've experienced more than a few close calls (some a little too close!) recently. Yes, my finances aren't as secure as I'd like them to be -- which means I need to get busy if I want heat this Winter...and yes, I've fought off two court summonses this Summer alone from outfits I owe money to.

The bright side is, the debt monkey is again standing on his paws and not on my back for the time being. Both outfits have been willing to negotiate new payment plans. I feel a little bit like I've made a deal with he devil, but these were the best options available at the time.

Yes, metaphorical dark skies (and literal dark skies) loom in my future, but as long as trouble comes knocking one at a time, I'm confident I can muster through it all. Indeed, this year has been the first in five where I haven't felt oppressed and depressed about my life situation. Life is intimidating and daunting, and I've been so scared and overwhelmed that I've been nauseous and heartburned for weeks on end and afraid to go to sleep, but for the time being all of that has passed and I feel confident I will be able to sleep a little more soundly these next few nights.

Fortunately, I recognize that I am currently blessed to have the job I have, the people I work with and the understanding to be grateful for it all.

I also wish to thank my friends (close and internet pals) and family, and God.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

En Route to my Final Destination

"What are you doing tonight?" one of my co-workers asked me as our shift wound down.
"I'm going to Yonkers for train photos," I replied, "So if I'm not in on Monday I'm either arrested or dead."

I thought I was joking.

Here's the thing: there's at least a small supernatural aura or something connected to my family. My Mom has had two or three premonitions come true, I'm pretty certain I had a brief subliminal conversation with my then wife's dead uncle (who passed 20 years before she was born), and there's been other instances in which I've hated to have been right. Little did I know at 3pm how close I'd be to both of those terrible outcomes.

Things were going well, my friend offered to drive (in contrast to our scrapped attempt the previous week) and we indeed recorded the images we set out to photograph. Even we he'd forgotten his portable one-way radio on the station platform in Ardsley it was still where he'd left it upon our return 30 minutes later. That's where our story begins.

Now, I've only been working in public safety for one month and I'm not even on the street. I'm inside at a desk, but hearing about questionable people, and having lived in a larger city for eleven months I recognized this individual was of questionable stature, and he was milling about the entryway to the station platform. As I approached he kept his hand in front of my face and began verbalizing something. I immediately disarmed the situation with a stern "No" and avoided eye contact, mounted the steps and retrieved my friend's electronic device in the time it took said friend to round his compact car and say "how are you," to the questionable character. Since one of the trains we wanted to photograph was approaching we stayed at Ardsley -- a hamlet of Irvington.

Low and behold, an Irvington patrol officer pulls into the train station parking lot. We're driving an out of state vehicle and parked in a permit required resident's only parking lot. Uh oh.

BUT, the questionable male milling about is the policeman's top priority as he's likely been troubling the previous commuters passing through. My friend and I can overhear the conversation between unwanted and officer and the unwanted gives the officer a story about waiting for the next train to head home -- which he's lied about twice up to that point - and the unwanted comes on the platform to join us, followed not long after by the officer.

Well, you had to be there to get the full understanding, but my friend engaged the officer about why we were there ourselves and though he could have done without it, the officer got a brief working knowledge about the local freight operations!! Okay, so said our goodnights after the freight train passed and using some judicial editing and leaving out the stuff that happens next for a future blog entry, we're on our way home after a long but fun (and briefly dicey) night of train photography.

Since my friend was driving, and neither highway nor parkway home are the most user friendly I suggested since he was driving he should go with his gut as per which road we should travel.

This was one of those "if only I'd" moments. "If only we'd left for home earlier than we did" or "If only we'd taken 95 instead of 15"...

There wouldn't have been an airborne car headed right at us at 2:15 in the morning.

I was in the midst of explaining how major freight railroading would never return to Connecticut when my friend yelped as a car came flying through the air from the southbound lanes, clipped the center median guardrail and gave my friend's car a glancing blow as we swerved across two lanes to avoid it. THANKFULLY my friend did a great job of keeping the compact under control, but what a scary thing to see!!

And what a way to be reminded of one's mortality. These close calls are becoming more frequent I'm afraid. February 2009 I was the passenger in a vehicle which did a 720 degree spin (That's nearly two full rotations) on the way down a hill slicked with black ice. It took me eleven months to not get shivers driving through there. July 3, 2010, a condo fire destroyed the building immediately next to mine in the complex, I still sometimes have trouble falling asleep in the dark seven weeks later. At the quarry four days before my last day there a loader operator chose to get too close to my truck and miraculously didn't hit it, but had my co-worker put his arm out of the window, or had he gotten out of the truck he would have been clobbered. Now this incident.

I've watched the first two Final Destination movies, and though I know it's Hollywood fiction, there's definitely an element of truth in it. I've believed from a long time before those films that a person dies when it's their time -- and I have also wondered about when it was MY time to go. Sometimes scared of it, sometimes able to accept it but ultimately, that's one of life's and God's biggest mysteries and until the end; after I'm deceased and in the coffin, I don't think I want to know when my last breath is. Honestly, I don't even want to think about it, ignorance is bliss, but that too is an irresponsible way to go about life.

It always seems too that the bad things always compound on top of each other (not just always come in threes -- but that can apply too) and I tend to feel that evil is just a centimeter away when I'm overly stressed by life's responsibilities which makes getting back up on then proverbial horse which threw me that much more difficult and I just want to hide, which begins to bring about agoraphobia. I'm not sure how much more my poor heart can take.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I've Got More Facets Than A Gemstone

C'est vrai. It's true. After all I'm a writing, photographing, musical, train guy with a yearn for adventuring once again. Usually my wanderlust will come about when the stresses of life begin to oppress me. Tonight, it seems more akin to the old saying "idle hands make the devil's work".

Life is good overall, which is something I haven't felt for at least five years. Three weeks at my new employment have me feeling settled in and the more I develop my work abilities (I'm developing a new set of skills at an entirely new career than railroading) the more confident I am that I will in fact succeed, of course there's a long way to go still, but my new employers already knew such and in fact have been pleased with how I skewed the bell curve.

Back to my original thought though. After four somewhat grueling days on duty I have a pair of days off. The first I basically wasted by taking it easy despite having home chores in desperate need of getting done, but the tingle to experience re-ignited today, and with such personal freedom at my disposal, and so many places to visit and things to be experienced I just can't decide where to go. But, as Whisperin' Bill Anderson sang "I get the fever"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Poor Substitute for a Small Bird's Vocalizing

As a comic reader and fan-fiction writer, I naturally looked up one of my favorite scribes, Marjorie Liu, and discovered her blog and Twitter. This weekend (second to last in July 2010 should you be reading this years into the future from tonight) is the great big San Diego Comic Con -- of course, Ms. Liu is participating. So I followed a link from one of her tweets and discovered Stan "the man" Lee's Twitter.

But the only thing that crosses my mind is "Stan Lee is the Hugh Heffner of comics". Granted, my brain is super-fried after it's first week on the new job (there's an incredible amount of information to learn in conjunction with my new career and it's overwhelming at times. I've been almost vegetative upon finally trudging through the door well after dinner each night so that needs to be taken into consideration).
seriously, though. They both smile non-stop, with a genuinely big and sincere smile -- because they love what they do and it shows. Both are of the same generation, that awesome one mine can't even comprehend how to come close. And they're both insanely successful publishers (I won't go into the perks train of thought). Just sayin' -- even if I DID take an awfully long round about way to say one sentence!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Last Train

Last Train
It's official. With bittersweet feelings I swing off of the stirrup as the locomotive engineer eases the line of hopper cars to a smooth and gentle stop. My cooler swings from my hand much as the traditional conductor's lantern would as I trudge across the wide driveway to the time-clock. Upon climbing the stairs to the locker room, I hang up my hard hat and reflective safety vest for the very last time.

After ten and a half seasons of being a brakeman, I'm no longer a railroader. I've worked my last train. This crazy world we call home has forced my hand and necessitated a radical change of careers. It's for the best and it will benefit not just myself but many others as well. However I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sad to be walking away. Railroading is in my blood. I've said before the iron in my bloodstream is of the iron horse. Leaving railroading is like leaving a piece of myself behind.

There's a lot to look forward to in this new career also. For one, it's indoors. No more being pelted by rain, sliding around in the mud, or the cold, or as of late: the extreme Summertime heat and humidity. My eating habits will improve instead of forcing down a lackluster hard roll because I don't have time to eat. No more renegade particulate matter finding its way into my eyes, ears, nose, or mouth regardless of personal protective gear. There's other drawbacks I will no longer need to deal with also.

Perhaps some day in the far future I'll be swinging aboard that great fast freight, or the crack passenger limited for that glimmering ride along steel rails into the sunset.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Lobster I Can Fight, A Fire I Cannot

"Get out of the building! There's a fire next door!" Greeted me upon answering the earth shattering pounding at my door at O Dark Thirty this morning.

"I've got to put something on," I sheepishly pleaded in my underwear and socks, with my ragged work shirt in my hand -- as it was the first scrap of clothing I grabbed jumping out of bed to answer said pounding -- though it never made it on my body.

The heavy knock upon the door in the middle of the night is never a good sign, and when one's eyes open and the walls are reflected emergency vehicle rotating lights parked right outside of one's window -- there's only so much time to discern what NEEDS to get done.

And so I grabbed the work shirt and flicked the hall light switch. When that failed to light, I flipped the stairway light and realized the electricity was cut for the first responders. Dash down the stairs to the first sentence of this entry.

"Okay but make it quick," the fireman allowed and made sure I was exiting the building before moving to the next unit.

"Fire next door" to me means the adjoining condo in my building. Fortunately for me, that wasn't the case. It was in fact, the neighboring building. Next concern, make sure the people I know from that building have made it out. They have.

Next concern, how will my own building fare in this disaster? Again fortunately the wind is carrying embers away from the buildings and over the parking lot. How big is the blaze? Sadly, when I looked, my suspicions were concerned and it's burning inside of two units. Then the roof collapses. Hope is beginning to flee.

The water lines become active and a ladder truck from the next town over arrives to assist the one on scene. Whatever the flames didn't get the water has. The eaves begin sagging and the crowd of evacuees is pushed back further from the blaze.

The conflagration is angry but the firefighters are aggressive and they beat the fire down until it's only spotty smoldering. A safety check to make sure the residences closest to the fire are habitable and everyone in the neighboring buildings are allowed to go back inside. There's no official preliminary cause yet and following the building inspector's examination, the structure may need to be razed.

What a way to start the morning. My own adrenaline finally abated seven hours later while at work (which I called in late for because I was blocked in by fire apparatus). The blaze was lead story on many broadcast stations, including the morning radio show I listen to on the local rock radio station. This rock station occasionally plays a sounder about a renegade crustacean which goes "Everybody get out of here there's a lobster loose" etc. etc. (it's a soundbite from somewhere).

Well, I can fight a lobster if I had to save my home, but if I had to fight a fire, the flames would win.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

In Another Life

In another life I could have been a sailor.
Throwing off the ropes holding ship to dock.
Sailing the high seas to God knows where
Feeling the wind blow my hair wildly about my face
The salt air filling my nose like the comforting scent of hot biscuits
Hard work bulking my body and soul.

In another life I could have been a cook
At a roadside diner, Italian restaurant, hotel kitchen, fast food joint
Flinging meat, dunking products in the fryer, sloshing drinks
Stains on the apron, smells that never come out
Creating fine blends of tastes to please the pallette
From a multitude of ingredients

In another life I could have been a doctor.
Bringing to life little babies
Girls and boys new to the world
Postponing the loss of loved ones
Through medicines and life support
My vast and specialized knowledge doing the work of miracles.

In another life I could have been a long distance trucker.
Hauling goods ‘cross country.
Living the glamorous life like a gypsy
Hitting all of the hot spots for pleasure
Seeing the great USA every day
Beauty and savage hand in hand.

In another life I could have been an entertainer
Not just an actor in motion pictures
But a singer, dancer, narrator, mime
Multifaceted crowd engager
Reinventing myself to stay in the public’s thoughts
Through good or bad press

In another life I could have been a lumberjack!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why Does it Always Have to be Spiders??!!

If I may steal from Indiana Jones and make it my own (his phobia is snakes). As written in the previous entry, the quarry where I work sees its share of nature in its wild element. I mentioned Jurassic sized bugs (how's that for an argument about Steven Spielberg's influence upon society? -- I digress) well, now it's time to relate a tale starring a much smaller sized insect. In fact, many dozens of smaller sized insects; allow me to explain:

Every morning my responsibility is to trudge along the railroad track leading out of the facility and open the property gate which stretches across the rail entrance. One early June morning I notice a very pregnant black furry looking spider hiding in the space between the upright bracket and the hinge bracket. Plenty of room for her to nestle into and go for two rides daily without getting smooshed. I dislike 98% of spider types but since this one appears to be leaving me alone, and since I'm trying to better myself as a person, I leave her alone too. I even tell her if she leaves me alone I'll return the favor.

Each morning I'm very careful to not get my hands anywhere near her, and her silken web is a visual reminder to keep my eyes open and pay extra attention. (Like that neon lime green reflective safety vest I wear on the job). A couple of weeks go by and all is well. One recent afternoon, closing up shop I notice she's changed her stance, her big bladder is gone and dozens of little tiny pollen sized black furry spiders are scurrying everywhere. I felt almost like a proud uncle...ALMOST. Well, I might have said "congratulations" I don't recall as I had other things on my mind that afternoon and my brain wasn't interpreting much at that time other than the important stuff -- which didn't include a brood of spiders running amok.

The next morning I swung open the gate, noticing the new momma spider wasn't where she normally was, but my hand had already grabbed for the pin which keeps the gate form swinging back shut. The brain told the hand to pull back and when it did I saw the momma spider drop from my glove to the ground and disappear.

"okay, don't panic" went through my thoughts, "she realized she messed up too, no harm no foul right?" and then I thought "Why'd you have to go and do that Charlotte?" in honor of the well known star of book and movie. I shook my head and carried on with my day, knowing I'd never see her again, having disappeared in the grass and weeds. But around lunchtime a new thought came to me. I was mulling over how respectful I was to her and how she unnerved me and it made me realize...what if she were saying thank you for my respect with a ladylike handshake before moving away to raise her clan?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So There I Was

So there I was, hopping across the rocky desert thirsty as hell praying for salvation. I'm not religious by any stretch of the imagination, but I got myself into quite the fix. I was getting worried, anxious as to whether I was ever gonna get back home. Oh what I wouldn't have given for an ice cold beer and air-conditioning!

I'd gone too far to just turn around and go back. Lordy but I thought I could make the trek, until I'd been moving along for a seeming eternity. I struggled to keep going, becoming desperate, but knowing keeping going was the only chance I had at survival. At my wits end I asked the Almighty for help. I was just about to offer my soul and welcome the sight of the Pearly Gates when this disconcerting deafening noise, worse than a Bull Frog convention, filled my ears to runneth over and then stopped.

Huge two footed creatures, world's tall, pounded the ground as they approached me. By all means was I scared!! Then one of them split off from the other, but the one, he kept coming. I had nowhere to go, there was no protection from the pending death in this dusty rocky desert, and the being bent and reached towards me. Oh why couldn't I have a massive coronary and deny the intended fate this being had planned for me? Why wasn't I worthy enough to master my own destiny?

Then the darndest thing happened. The being scooped me into its leathery hand and carried me away from that desolate floor. Golly but there was air! A cool breeze blew across my parched back as he moved himself along that barren outland. I'll never know if he sheltered me from the blazing sun out of kindness or because he planned something more sinister for me and didn't want me to escape, but either way the shade was welcome for that brief time.

All was not looking swell, though, because the being previously with him had joined up with him again. Man, I kept a wary eye on that one, but he seemed to not be too interested in me. They conversed in some bizarre language I didn't understand and we seemed to be headed back in the direction we had started from. Oh this was not good at all...

Then, the creatures stopped. The second one split off again as I was carried over to some greenery. I could see water from way up in that lofty perch in the giant's hand. Perhaps it was a miracle, I don't know because this toad never believed in them, but I was being set down in the soft moist stuff near the water and the giant walked away, allowing me my destiny after all.


And so that's how I imagined what must have been going through the mind of a toad that my co-worker plucked from the quarry floor today as we went about our daily routine of locking railroad cars.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Beauty in Nature

NR-4x startles some deer
While the above photo is NOT from my work, it was photographed by me and exemplifies what I am privelidged to witness while toiling at work.

This post was inspired by "The Other Side of Hunting" on Thoughts from a Yodeling Goatherder.

I'm employed as a railroad brakeman in a stone quarry. Not exactly a place which instills visions of owls, turtles, deer, frogs, or ravens is it? At first I didn't think so either. When I began employment I was warned about the black snakes and copperheads and I've seen and shared the same space with them subsequent times, all thankfully with positive outcomes (I think the copperhead was more frightened than I was that day)!

Deer frequent our facility, as we border water company property there's lots of land for them to roam, and most of last year I was able to spot a doe and some others either lazily sunning themselves in the grass which borders the quarry, or hopping the berm to get away from the obtrusive pick-up truck and noisy train. Some of them are brazen though. My first encounter was just a shadow of a frightened deer which ran along the travelway next to our train between two front end loaders (one backing up and the other approaching) which were busy loading the empty rail cars.

One morning while cutting new flangeways in the mud between the rails, a turtle happened to try crossing our tracks. The locomotive couldn't stop in time, but the space between the ties was large enough for the turtle to duck and avoid becoming soup. The loco backed up and the engineer and I scooped the critter up and drove it across the street to the swamp where we let it go. (There's a photo in my collection of the turtle in the back of the pick-up. I'll have to go digging for it).

I almost forgot to mention the geese which graze on the quarry's front lawn for passers-by to see, and the swans that live in the swamp across the street.

One day at lunchtime, during a Winter shut-down for repair, we men were summoned up into the mill. An owl had made its nest near the top of one of the spires in the complex, and seemed to tolerate all of us gawking hardhatted workers. The day before start up a wildlife specialist was brought in to relocate the owl so our noisy production wouldn't disturb it or the family, but each Winter for three years the owl returned to that spot. It even made the company magazine one year.

There was the Summer the track department was installing a spur and one of the crew discovered what appears to be a tomato horn worm. It looked like a green caterpillar but with a spike on its rear, and it stabbed at anything it felt provoked by!!

Then there's the spiders and deadly flying insects. I haven't been fond of spiders since being bitten in my youth by a hairy brown arachnid (I had a lump on my neck from the bite for over ten years). So when I see the eight legged beasties scurrying about, I usually scurry the opposite way, especially if they're larger than my big toe.

Speaking of Jurassic sized bugs: how about dragon flies and gypsy moths with six inch wingspans? Yeah, we got 'em.

Anyways, 90% of these encounters generally bring a smile to my face, as I'm witnessing nature in the wild, all by myself. Nobody else experienced it, just me, and that tiny connection is a special thing (like the chipmunk my father would feed every morning by tossing a piece of hard roll from his front end loader while he parked for coffee break).

Of course, work isn't the only place I can find the beauty of nature in the raw. One afternoon while in college, I photographed a squirrel eating a brownie.
Squirrel eating Brownie SU

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Those Old Classics

I'm of an age to have grown up on 33 1/3 rpm records. I fondly recall being a little boy rocking in my Mother's oversized rocking chair enjoying The Beatles, Barry Manilow, the Grease motion picture soundtrack, the Bee Gees, Bread and letting my imagination wander. Their lyrics painted locales and situations which formed in my mind and I could watch the story play out to its conclusion three to four minutes later.

Within a few years I received a record player of my own and my own records to play on it. Saturday nights after dinner were spent listening to the radio and the music of my parents's generation. I grew up on the rock and roll and country tunes of the 1950s, sixties and seventies.

One of my favorite albums was K-Tel's Kookie Klassics featuring Ray Stevens "Ahab The Arab", The Royal Guardsmen "Snoopy vs The Red Varon", Blanchard & Morgan "Tennessee Bird Walk", "Little" Jimmy Dickens "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose", and many others.

Well, with the digital age many of these songs have seemed to have been forgotten about. The other day, my father handed me a two cd set of classic humourous country songs and spoofs and all of a sudden, my childhood came back for two minutes at a time. Honestly, nothing beats a good comedy song. That's why "Weird Al" Yankovic does so well.

In fact, I have to give a shout out to "Weird Al". Don't just listen to the lyrics (which are quite ingenious really) but listen attentively to the musical arrangements too. Sure, his earliest works are rather simple, but his stuff since is quite extraordinary (listen to "Pancreas" or "Hardware Store" for instance) and I'm not just espousing raves because the liner notes included with the 2disc "Essential "'Weird Al'" hope to encourage the reader to petition for "Weird Al"'s nomination and hopefully induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But really, he does deserve it.

Anyways, I digress a bit. Karaoke the other night was refreshing also as one of the singers belted out Johnny Cash's "One Piece at a Time".

Well, there you have it I guess. In this day of lack-luster television (which I've felt for a few years now) I've really only missed having watchable t.v just a couple of times -- and only when I haven't been able to listen to tunes or write.

Hopefully, I'm not regressing in the face of current life stressors...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Comics Convention in My Own Backyard

Well, not literally, but less than a mile up the main drag from my childhood home, still dwelled in by my parents. Naturally, this is right up a comics fan's alley. Of course I attended.

Show Banner
There was much in store for the first 125 people to buy premium level tickets (proceeds went for the Tommy Fund) and there were many exclusives done just for the show. There was a nice mix of comics dealers, toy and figure dealers, re-enactors, and artists.
The show organizers did a good job of getting people to come. In fact, 30 minutes before show open someone told him there were a lot of people in line. He came outside to see for himself because he didn't believe it. The line at that point was wrapped around the building's corner.
Stormtrooper Crowd Control
Stormtroopers ensured no one would be cutting the line, or blocking vehicle access. The 501st Conn Squad and Rebel Legion-Kamino Base groups were absolutely fantastic all day and roamed the convention. There was even a working R2-D2!
"You're Our Only Hope"
It towed the builder's children and even played "Born to be Wild" while leaving the show at the end of the day. That R2 is a cool droid.

There were many comics artists on hand as well, including a couple names I recognized and I sat in on the artists discussion panel (no spoilers, this was more of an informative discussion about Charlton Comics of Derby, CT, and how many of its employees migrated to D.C. in addition to honoring the late Dick Giordano).

But the real reason I was compelled to go (besides comic back issues -- which I didn't even peruse...) was the costumes. You've seen how well the Star Wars groups looked, here's some of the attendees:
Green Lantern & Clark Kent
Girls of Super and Invisibliity
Invisible Girl's costume was so well done, she and Supergirl kept disappearing throughout the day!
Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman took home first prize for her costume.

Organizers are promising 2011 will be twice the size. I'm looking forward to it already.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Godspeed Friend


"I can't STAND dogs! I don't want him," I insisted in August 1993, especially when the mixed mutt of some terrier descent kept yapping all afternoon. But it was cute to watch him struggle with a stuffed plush toy half again as big as he while he dragged it around the kitchen.

I acquiesced though as I was headed back to college and my Mom was determined the little guy would stay regardless of my feelings. Over time of course I came to love him. How could I not? I mean, look at him.

Growing up I was traumatized by ill behaved dogs who either intimidated me through loud scary barking and growling, or by jumping on me and knocking me around. Winston, though, helped me understand how to behave around dogs and to no longer be afraid of them.

His mellow (and sometimes mischievous) personality made the acceptance super smooth.

The canine contingency had to say goodbye to their best ambassador today. The Honor Guard Dogs all lined up for their 21-bark salute in their coats of arms as the old fellow was taken on his final walk to eternity.

Winnie lived the best 17 years any dog could ever hope for, and even though I don't feel I was ever super close to him, his loss is saddening. In some unexplainable way, this song seems appropriate:

Godspeed, Winston, I'll miss ya, bud.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I, Wood.

Cue the musical fanfare horn section, toss out the throw rug (admittedly this piece doesn't deserve the red carpet in some people's opinion) I hereby solemnly introduce -- re-introduce actually as it's been published on my former blog: the college poem which made my classmates groan!!! That's right! It's the one which rhymes EVERY line.

I, Wood.

My name is Woodrow.
I live in Buffalo.
Near Ohio,
Not Colorado.

I just ate an Oreo.
I found it on the window.
How long it's been there? I don't know.
Momma, in cleaning, has always been slow.

My Mom's name is Flo.
She watches her t.v. show:
"Search for Tomorrow"
I prefer "G.I. Joe"

I broke my toe.
I was playing with Daddy's hoe.
Eenie Meenie Mineey Moe
It fell on me when Billy let go.

I'd like to go to Tupelo,
but on board a boat I'd have to Stowe.
It'd have a motor, I hate to row.
I have no money, I'd need to owe.

My sister is the one who sews.
Except for seeds my uncle sows.
They ask me to work but I tell them no,
I'm headed out to catch a doe.

"Earn some dough!"
Yells Auntie Zoe
While doing so,
Cooks Chicken Gumbo

I used a bow
and arrow
to kill Yoko
Oh, no!

(revised May 13, 2010)

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Power of Words

If a picture is worth a thousand words, and the pen is mightier than the sword, doesn't it stand to reason that words can invoke infinite imagery?

The time has come for another dredging of my first blog, as I've been inspired again through words and I again reminisced about my college days. The following originally appeared on December 3, 2005:


There are many talented and thoughtful people in the world who share their talent with the rest of us who share not as broadly. Poets, sculptors, musicians, novelists, orators, talkshow hosts, comedians, blog writers...

I'll stick with writers for now for this entry. I was inspired tonight by a compact disc I've had for about ten years and never listened to until tonight called The United States of Poetry. Ladies and gentlemen there is such a diverse group on this earth. I grew up being told that's what makes us great. But I'm digressing. The real point I want to make is it reminded me of Poetry 101 at Susquehanna University, once nestled in the borough of Selinsgrove,PA but now has grown quite a bit since I graduated in 1996.

In this class were about 12-15 eager poets with ideas and convictions and a voice in their fingers which sometimes blew me away. After all, here were the next bards of rhyme with a sharp wit and biting sarcasm. Benders of irony (what an image, as when a blacksmith forges iron so do writers with words). Many of my contemporaries I admired for their words and mental images such words brought forth.

Then there was me, odd man out, the pop sell out poet who rhymed EVERY line in a poem making my classmates groan in painful disgust as if my ignorant childish creation had ripped out their hearts and left them beatless and torn jaggedly on the tabletop like forgotten thawing chicken breasts oozing goo. yeah.

This is what my blog was gonna be all about, thoughts and phrases and twists thereof. Profound thoughts for a moment's ponder, because they're not meant to be slept on really, more like a passing hmm. But feel free to let it grasp you. Should something really grab you, then continue to think about it. Let it brighten or sadden your day however you feel because once its out here its everybody's and you can keep your own little part of it as it applies to you. Like a song. (sharp turn of thought) Music is a mystical, wonderful entity and many feel this way. We each are touched in our own way by a song or note or lyric and we connect to it. Music isn't just passive, its dynamic, entrancing. Songwriters are poets and imagists too. Again I'm digressing.

Ultimately, this compact disc drew me in tonight with its words and support music, leading my brain from review to reminisce. And the irony is my ten year college graduation anniversary comes around in June 2006 and I wonder some days what happened to my classmates. Are my future world changers in power now? writing and invoking and provoking? or did they turn out to have traditional work overcome them and suffer among the bourgeoisie?


Since the above first appeared the Facebook phenomenon and my 10 year college reunion have both occurred. It turns out one of the above poets is a father and seemingly lives a normal life best I can gather.

As for the four year old 10 year reunion? There were so many classmates jammed into the private room at the venue I couldn't hear anyone and was entirely overwhelmed, winding up out on the sidewalk tables with six others who aren't mentioned above, but who are still awesome if not world changers.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Number 3's Revenge

It's well established I like trains.

It's not so well established I'm a professional railroader. Yes, I get to work on life sized real trains, as a brakeman in a stone quarry.

When I was promoted to this position in 1999, there were two pretty tired small locomotives, number 3 and number 5. Throughout that year we were swapping between the two because each would suffer some kind of crippling ailment.

In August 1999 our facility received an acquired used slightly larger small locomotive and number 3, being the more ailed of our two went into storage in 2002 (yes it took three years to be sure we wouldn't need her anymore).

Number 3 languished out back for another six years, becoming quite the habitat for insects and rodents (and a bird's nest for a little while until a predator discovered it).

Fast forward to 2008. Old Number 3 is finally getting attention again, albeit the wrong kind if you're a locomotive with operating aspirations.

That's right, Number 3 was getting dismantled. The parts in good order which were becoming hard to find on the market would be saved and the rest sold to a new home or scrap.

But priorities shifted, and like that purply-bruised and swollen prize fighter in the eighth round, near the end of his stamina, Number 3 got a stay of execution so to speak. Dismantling work was stopped.

Skip 2009 to today. Near the end of the shift, some parts were wanted for a project and so myself and two others crowded the dilapidated cab and wrestled the pieces loose. In addition the remaining headlight shroud and glass were needed -- but wouldn't budge (the whole reason they were left on two years ago actually). Today the bracket met a hacksaw, but upon finishing an asphyxiating cough overcame me as I clung to the front railings of Number 3.

Perhaps we'd stirred up microscopic dust particles, or maybe particulate matter of a more serious nature. Whatever the cause, Number 3 got in a lick of her own before the bell rang marking the end of this next round, exacting if for just a moment a bit of her own revenge.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm Still Here, I'm Just Feuding with My I.S.P.

Well, through my own stupidity, my account became disconnected. But not just disconnected, it was as if I had disappeared. Well, I hadn't, but it didn't matter.

I've been fighting, frustratedly for nine days to get my account reactivated, and need to wait another three.

Just saying, if I were this slow in my job, I'd have been fired.

I promised I wouldn't complain here on Fleeting History, but I felt all y'all deserved to know what happened to me.

See you soon.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Beautiful Blogger

The secret's out. I'm a beautiful blogger. Okay, yes I look scary in a little black dress and heels...I'm not talking THAT kind of beautiful.

Feral Female of Thoughts From a Yodeling Goatherder
awarded me with the beautiful blogger award and I thank her very much. I'm quite honored to have been bestowed with such a prestigious offering.

Ten things about myself, in order of how they came to mind (not in order of importance or relevance)

1. After 5 pm I am unable to do math.

2. I really like trains and enjoy photographing them.

3. Despite being scared out of my wits at the tender age of six, I really, REALLY love Halloween and everything associated with it; especially haunted attractions and the costumes.

4. Although I have a crippling case of claustrophobia, I like spelunking.

5. Pizza, 'Nuff Said.

6. I harbor a secret desire to be a world famous musician/singer

7. I'm an award winning documentarian (don't bother looking for it on Amazon or E-bay, it was a high school project...)

8. Timothy Leary's dead -- oops, this is supposed to be about me ;-)

9. My favorite color is blue.

10. I accidentally dumped the same carton of french fries into my lap at a Mass Pike rest stop twice during dinner.

There's my top ten, er...well they aren't all in my top ten, and they're not even my ten best or greatest hits even. But they're ten things about me, and one concerning a 1960's pop culture icon. Hopefully, you've learned something new about me. There may or may not be a quiz...

Now, some of these blogs aren't necessarily beautiful, but they are what I read:

Now, I went exploring, because it wasn't fair of me to not discover new blogs. In doing so I discovered all kinds of families sharing their lives, on-line versions of baby books (should I rephrase and say on-line biographies of a child's life written by a parent?), the ubiquitous fashion bloggers, foreign sites written in all blank squares, a version of the beautiful blogger in which the recipient must post seven items one finds beautiful and pass on to seven new recipients (hmm and I thought I would be the one perverting the premise) and the occasional gem such as:

That's all I've got for now. I know there's other wonderfully enjoyable blogs waiting for me to find them, so off I go...

(for whatever reason links won't function. As usual you'll need to perform the labor intensive action of copying and pasting into an address bar to follow the URLs, sorry)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Evenings

There's something about a cool but sunny evening, between 4 and 9 pm that is really magical. Creatures and people mingle (not necessarily mixing together mind you but among their own species). Maybe it's a special dinner or a fun activity. Maybe it's the tranquility of a blissful sunset and/or the excitement of what's to come in the nighttime. Whatever the je ne sais quoi, it spurns the sentimentalist in me. Tonight as I tried to discover its origins in me I found myself recalling my Freshman year in college, after a month of gray and overcast days, after most of a semester feeling down, the sun came out one evening and I just sat in the windowsill of the dorm building's lounge for some time.

Another recollection was a Saturday evening in my parents' basement operating the HO gauge model trains listening to the radio and killing time waiting for pizza.

Maybe it's the warm fresh air after a Winter of cabin fever, when folks can finally get out and socialize for hours and hours into the night laughing and partying and playing Frisbee or Wiffle ball in their yards.

Whatever it happens to be, on those nights, it's a wonderful thing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Conversation at Work

Boss: "How are you feeling?"
Me: "I'm exhausted...dehydrated"
Boss: "Good :-)"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Limited Edition X-Pansion Luminar Bishoujo Statue

For those readers who aren't aware, I write fan fiction stories over on the Mighty Message Boards about my own team of mutant superhero X-Men, called the X-Pansion team.

One of the characters is code-named Luminar and I'm proud to publicly unveil the Limited Edition Luminar Bishoujo statue!
What makes this very rare besides its limited availability (only one was made *snicker* and it's privately owned) is the straight hair. Normally, Luminar's brunette hair is curly.

She joins previously released Black Widow (both Natasha and Yelena versions), Rogue, and Scarlet Witch. Future editions will include Psylocke, Phoenix and Dark Phoenix (I've also seen a possibility of the White Queen as well).

Now it's back to the little ones for my model trains :-)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Here's What I've Been Doing Lately

This past three months have been almost a whirlwind of train photography. And why not? The only way to get the photos is to go photograph them, right? And who knows how long I'll even be able to keep photographing trains and other stuff? (sorry to get all existential there for a sentence)

Well, suffice it to say I've been having some pretty good times trackside, enough to want to share some of my pictures with you.

While the story begins in mid January 2010, we're actually only going to look at a some of the most recent images, beginning with March 17, 2010 -- Saint Patrick's Day (there were at least some green containers on board the train)
The Car is Gone!!

Two days later I was along the same railroad, but with a much different train at a different location
EDNB at 427

The whole reason I was even out so soon was to get THIS photograph
VRS northbound 3-19-2010
Which I could only guarantee getting on a Friday.

Lastly, a good friend and I explored a new area for us and found this setting
NE-1 at Meadowdale

That's our last stop this trip. Hope you enjoyed the ride!

I'm not quite sure why the embedded linked images are getting chopped like they are though, I assure you the originals are composed quite well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Amazing Adventurers conclusion

Okay, really quickly, I think this is a better name for our new adventurers -- now back to our story!

Unfortunately, there was no trail of breadcrumbs to follow. Robbie had had to refuel the bus twice in their exhaustive search for Priscilla, who, when she woke up on the moving baggage cart was less than thrilled to find herself in such a skimpy outfit and very cold.

Little wooly beings, like Ewoks, powered the cart at all four corners. Pris figured she could just jump off if it weren’t for the fact she’d likely snap her ankle in such high heels.

Their language was funny. It had to be speech, as not even grown up teddy bears laugh or giggle or make gibberish sounds all the time UNLESS it was speech.

“Hello?” she tried speaking to them. The two in front turned around and freaked out. All four had raised their gibbering voices and they sped the cart up to a blistering rate of speed which seemed it would topple the cart and Priscilla at any moment. And there was no handhold for her because when she went to grab an end, it made the Ewok creatures scared even more.

It took a lot for Rock-head to be scared. But if someone asked him at that moment he would admit to being cautiously anxious, which is quite the revelation for such a hard headed stubborn man as he, but between looking for Priscilla and Robbie’s stunt driving with the bus, Rocky may have been wearing down some. About the point when he would have thrown up, Rock saw without a doubt the baggage cart

“Robbie, stop!” Rock shouted over the cacophony of the bus interior, which Robbie had redecorated into his own version of the Disco Arches.

Robbie slammed on the brakes, and for the second time this adventure, Rocky proved how strong his head really was by slamming it accidentally into a part of the bus. With a bleeding scar reminiscent of a former Russian leader now adorning his head, Rocky ran from the bus to the empty cart, turning it onto its side with a mighty heave in frustration. That’s when he heard the giggling gibberishness of the walking furry midget bear beings.

“You think that’s funny? I’ll show you funny,” Rocky threatened, sending the creatures who were responsible for Priscilla’s disappearance running, “Come back here you overanimated stuffed teddies and I’ll SHOW you funny. I’ll be laughing so hard I’ve wiped the road with you, you’ll need to be rebuilt at that mall store!!”

The creatures fortunately stayed ahead of Rocky. They ran back to their lair for safety, which led Rock and Rob (tweet tweet tweet) to where Priscilla was held captive. Upon breaking down the thatched doors Rocky was speechless.

“Don’t just stand there ogling, compose your bad self and get me out of here,” Prissy instructed.

Rocky set about a destructive rage not even the hotel bathroom had seen and it crescendoed with the whole building collapsing on top of the adventurers (no bipedal teddies were harmed in the action sequence of this paragraph or any other).

When the dust settled, The three adventurers stood up and climbed over the wreckage to get back on the bus with an orange sunset and triumphant sounding music behind them.

The End

Monday, March 15, 2010

Disaster Blockbusters

(Portions of the following entry were originally published on mY! first blog in March 2007. Some editing was done to make it appropriate for re-print).

Along the top of Fleeting History I have a feed from my photostream. Many Flickr users have created something unique through fd's flickrtoys. I decided to do the same and the image below is my result. Railroad 2007
I played on the name Pan Am Railways (yes they were/are also an airline and in fact are supposed to be serving my local regional airport, but that has nothing to do with my image.) and through this name recognition (that it was once a popular airline) I spoofed the AIRPORT movies with this movie poster for RAILROAD 2007, high flying adventure on the rails. (Airplane! and Airplane II were also inspirations).

The idea came to me because I wanted to make something with one of fd's flickrtoys but I didn't want to do something that everyone on Flickr is making. I haven't seen too many (actually none) movie poster images, so that's why I chose that toy. The inspiration, as you read came from PAN AM and I happened to notice AIRPORT was on television, so it wasn't hard to put two and two together and make a spoof movie poster. I used all made up names to avoid any trouble with Hollywood, but I'm sure George Kennedy would star. Or maybe Peter Graves, David Hasselhoff, John Travolta, Harrison Ford? Nah, Eileen Toodarite is much hotter and sexier (except that one leg is shorter than her other)... Anyways, I digress. Just wanted to share my poster with you and drop some celebrity names.


Fast forward to March 15, 2010. As you've no doubt learned Peter Graves has passed on. In tribute, I made a sequel to my Railroad 2007 movie poster with Railroad 2010 again spoofing Pan Am Railways
Railroad 2010
Again with more made up names. Sadly, the entire cast, and 99 percent of the production staff were unable to be signed for the sequel. Only one original cameraman and the poster graphic artist have worked on both films.

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

"We have clearance, Clarence"
"Roger, Roger, What's our vector, Victor?"*

Ever wonder what the consequences of turning down one of those impossible missions was? I've not seen every episode to know and it's been probably 20 years since I've even seen one, but I can spout "Airplane!" dialogue when triggered.

RIP Peter Graves

*from the motion picture "Airplane!"

blog title comes form the television series Mission:Impossible

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Play Guitar and Sometimes I Play the Fool*

These are the times that try men's souls, or whatever. I found myself tonight psyching myself for another Saturday night of karaoke jockeying. Sitting or standing through nine acts of moderate to little talent just for that one great amateur singer to blow me away. To shorten this tome, there were a pair of young ladies who have been regulars at the establishment from the days back in November when I started training (in fact longer than that) and while shy at the microphones (unless one of them is doing Cher, then she's just like the recording) they are fun to share the same room with.

Well, I haven't seen them since the Saturday before Christmas and to be honest I've missed them. Therefore it was a pleasant surprise that they were present this evening, if only for a short time.

Now, I'm a fairly confident guy (well, except for the nursery school underoos stage dive and um...a few other instances) but really, one can't be shy and a public performer (okay I admit it happens but not in my case).

I thought I looked presentable this evening, and in my capacity of jock assistant dealt briefly with the ladies as they handed in request cards.

About two hours later, and well after they had left the venue I was washing at the men's room sink when I noticed my neck was covered in dried blood!! COVERED!! Now, I wasn't bleeding when I left the house, I made sure of it. I purposely shaved so as not to look grubby tonight and made sure I wasn't nicked anywhere -- yet I was covered in dried blood. And nobody told me!! It never fails, whenever I'm out to put my best foot forward in front of a lady, fate seems to conspire against me.

Back in my college days I was walking down the hallway of the campus center, taking my dinner back to the radio station in advance of an air shift I was substituting in, when I dropped the ketchup packets on the floor after saying "hello" to one female student.

Another time, during Winter on campus, I was walking along a sidewalk as two female students approached me from the other direction. I promptly fell on some ice!!

I've got a decent singing voice, better when I stay within my vocal range, but many times I wind up clearing the room. I may be a relatively confident fellow, but people leaving -- especially the pair of lasses who used to attend every week but who don't on my night any longer blows my self assuredness into smithereens.

So I was in a funk after looking like an idiot half the night, but then my confidence was restored by realizing the world isn't about me. I can hold onto the pipe dream that somewhere some girl will love me for who I am and that anyone, male or female, who doesn't isn't meant to be in my life. Frankly I'm not even interested in any kind of relationship with the aforementioned singers other than singer/jockey, because my dysfunctions preclude any successfully lasting one.

At least with trains, there's a certain kind of stability there. I pretty much know what to expect, and if I look like a fool in front of one, I won't have made a negative impression.

*This entry's title comes from a recording of John Lennon introducing himself at a Beatles concert.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Nonseq Explorers part 3

Out in the parking lot, a Mariachi band whisked them away into a cacophonous street festival. Though Rock and Priscilla suffered a bit of dizziness from the supersonic body slide, Robbie was having the time of his life, jumping up and down (like the convertible they previously rode in – it was also at the street fest) and saying “fun fun fun” in his own version of the song of the same name recorded by a Californian beach group.

How, you ask, did they get out into the parking lot? They ran, natch.

Yes, I did forget they were in the dressing room at a sci-fi/fantasy/comic convention, but that’s not important right now, because somehow while changing clothes they ended up back in the Disco Arches parking lot. Yeah, it confused them also (well, Rocky and Priscilla at least. Robbie was having fun dancing with the convertible up on it’s rear tires, *shakes head* but you knew that already).

Pris was determined to keep what shaky little balance she had left. Between the lightheadedness of getting jostled around so quickly and the stilettoes threatening to topple her, she was just about staying upright.

“I could kill you right now,” she barely rasped at Rocky, “If I could stand long enough to do it.”

“Come on, Pris. It can’t be all bad,” Rocky said from a Storm Trooper costume. Priscilla’s itsy cloth coverings were hardly sufficient for the cool night air, even though it was borderline mild. She was about to attempt to deck Rocky anyway out of sheer frustration, ruining her reputation as a lady of manners and finishing, but that’s when the Mariachi band came in, playing their famous tune (you know the one. It’s in all of the commercials on television – which I no longer am able to watch but that’s not part of this story, I digress).

The dust and the hot dry sun compound Pris’ nausea. It took her and Rock agonizing minutes for their eyes to adjust having instantly gone from cool night to blazing hot day. Asphalt to dirt. Appropriate clothing to...

From across the street someone whistled a cat call at Pris but she couldn’t see from where. After coughing, she and Rocky began walking in order to find Robbie.

“No, this isn’t working,” Pris alerted after 30 minutes, “but I’ll be damned if I’m walking barefoot in this environment. You’ll have to carry me.”

Of course, Rocky was all for that and an uncontrollable smile the size of North America spread across his face.

“I’ll be happy to accommodate you.”
“And no funny business. It’s bad enough you got us stuck here in the first place,” Priscilla chided after climbing on his back, then kicked his waist like she was spurring a horse. Rocky’s smile faded.

They searched the town three times over and the desert sun was taxing them. Near the point of exhaustion, Rocky set Priscilla back on her spikes and they tottered into the shade behind an old western looking bank building, discovering the surprise of their lives.

Robbie had found their bus. Some body panels were missing and Robbie was deeply immersed in polishing his baby, whistling “You are so Beautiful”. The sight was enough to bring tears to the others’ eyes. This went on into the evening, Robbie seemingly oblivious to his teammates, and they too enthralled to interrupt him (well they were probably too tired also as Priscilla fell asleep on an old baggage cart).

“You got her running,” Rocky noted walking over to Robbie sometime around 11pm. The bus gleamed in the glow of the bright white spotlight and her motor hummed a good road tune. The interior beckoned Rocky and he turned to call Priscilla, but the baggage cart and she were gone.

“Oh, *rhymes with rap*, we need to find Prissy!” Rockster called over the roar of the bus to Robbie. The semi-mute driver donned a Chauffeur’s cap and dove into his beloved seat, happily reaching for the door handle. He made a clenching motion to his seat to tell Rocky “hold on!” and away they sped off into the night

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bloggus Interruptus

Don't worry friends, our adventurers are just fine (well as fine as they can be with law enforcement agents bearing down upon them while they're in the midst of changing clothes at a comics/sci-fi/fantasy convention)

While we wait for them to slip into something less comfortable (and while I dream up the rest of the story) I would like to share with everybody the great time I had on Tuesday, March 2, 2010.

It's well-established I'm a big fan of trains and that I photograph many images of them. Well, one such train (which in fact operates over the stretch of trackage which appears in "The Ride Home") was delayed several days as a result of the wicked winter weather the Northeast U.S. had in the last weeks of February 2010. This delay caused the normally nocturnal train to run in daylight (well, overcast mostly cloudy light -- which didn't bother me because that's how I cut my teeth as a burgeoning railfan photog along that very same route. Piece O cake)

But I decided against chasing after this train for a pair of personal reasons, in spite of the fact I would have given almost anything to chase one last train through the scenic Delaware River valley separating New York and Pennsylvania.

Hard cut ahead to mid Tuesday morning when my cell phone jars me awake from sleep. A friend of mine asks if I'm willing to help him on the near impossible task of photographing said train I'd decided not to (hey, he knows where to go to beat the odds!) so we got together, learned the late train's progress and hit the road like underdogs. We had a feather in our cap as one of our friends who lives closer to the action was out photographing this train also, and kept us apprised of it's progress (which was terrible in comparison to the old days) In contrast, I made sure we made better time than the freight train, and not just because it had such a big head start over us.

Dissolve to four in the afternoon, my friend and I are trackside in Hancock, NY, in position for the train's arrival 30 minutes later. It was a train chase to rival one I did with my father and brother 22 years before almost to the day (early by three).

My friend and I were indeed successful in beating the odds and catching this rare event a number of places along the route until the train reached its destination at nightfall, we cut it THAT close. The goal on Tuesday was to catch the train crossing Starrucca Viaduct, and we did, but my slides of Starrucca from that 1988 trip aren't here to be scanned and offered as comparison. Instead I offer the next closest at Gulf Summit, New York:

NTV-9_Gulf Summit_3-5-1988
March 5, 1988

SU-99 Gulf Summit NY 3-2-2010
March 2, 2010

You'll notice a number of changes occurred during those 22 years, the obvious one being the closest track has been removed.

Ironically, this is only a side step from our adventure, as the inspiration for the "Disco Arches" lies along this railroad, albeit just a lowly normal appearing Golden one and not the version I depicted.

We'll return to our scheduled blog after this break.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nonsequitor Explorers 2

Their bus was missing! Someone of short-mindedness had the audacity to steal their thoroughbred. Robbie was devastated. He loved driving that bus.

“Aw, it’s okay, Robbie,” Rocky consoled, “We’ll be able to find it at some point. In the mea...”
Rocky had only glanced away from his partner for the briefest of seconds but it was enough that Robbie disappeared.

Priscilla, the female member of this team, called out to Rocky upon finding their driver around the corner in a sky blue convertible with an appropriate name. Robbie was jamming the person’s mp3 headphones into his ears and yelled “Vrooom!!!” in his rather brusk, harsh tone and the car miraculously sped forward.

“Just our luck,” Priscilla muttered, “he found something that understands him.”

“It doesn’t just understand him, it LIKES him,” Rocky noted, “Hop in before it changes its mind!”

Burly man and proper woman entered the car in each their own way (by jumping in over the side and using the door respectively). Once Prissy was belted in Robbie yelled “Vroom Vroom!!” and they sped off.

The convertible was ultra sensitive to Robbie’s desires. He could look right and the car would turn right, Robbie could close his eyes and the car would stop for a red light. When two very attractive young ladies passed going the other way on the sidewalk, the convertible spun around 180 degrees and hopped the curb, reared up on its back tires and strutted up alongside them, but Priscilla glared at Robbie and the car slumped down on all fours again and slowly turned back onto the road.

Our three adventurers searched every bus terminal they could find, without turning up Robbie’s pooch coach. They’d driven around all day cruising like movie stars and evening looked like the cover of that Californian hotel album everybody seemed to have back in the old days.

“Yes, Robbie, that misfit is a glimmering knight,” Rocky confirmed as they passed a person in a shining suit of armor. Then just beyond were scantily and not so scantily clad men and women in recognizable fantasy costumes.

“Looks like some sort of convention,” Priscilla remarked as they pulled up to the valet outside of the hotel entrance. Once the three were out of the car, Robbie said “Vroom Vroom!” and the convertible sped off before the valet could get in. With the headphones still dangling from his ears, Robbie jumped up and down laughing with glee and skipped into the convention. Though she loathed to, Priscilla looked at Rocky (cuz she couldn’t stand him) and asked:

“Do we dare follow him in?”
“Alright!! Sexy Ghostbuster!! Where’s your patch?” an over zealous conventioneer gawked sidling up to Pris.
“On my arm.”
“Where? I don’t see it,” the OZC said, leaning to look for the slashed apparition. Prissy rolled up her sleeve and showed OZC a nicotine patch and apologized, emotionally crushing the kid.

“I didn’t know you smoked,” Rocky commented trying to make small talk.
“I don’t. I wear the patch,” she deadpanned and stared at him.

For twelve seconds.

Until she decided to continue looking for Robbie in silence.

Rocky felt like an idiot, and he needed to use the Men’s room. Once inside, he lost his composure and started bashing his thick head into the wall above the urinal, caving in the drywall and making the hotel manager (who happened to be in the same Men’s room at the same time) angry. When confronted, Rocky grabbed the manager by his belt and collar and threw him out of the bathroom.

Now dishonored in front of a convention full of patrons in his own hotel franchise location, the hotel manager called the police to come arrest Rocky for his rage of destruction. Panicking, Rocky grabbed Priscilla and Robbie and dragged them into the costume contest where he mugged three contestants for their outfits...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Consider This Your Warning

Two years ago I tired of the three adventurers form Hartsdale (you'll be happy to learn that the contingency to change the town's name failed to garner enough support so the town keeps it's name), and I figured I'd likely never write about them again. To this day, that holds true (granted, I did repost their exploits, but have not written anything beyond the one-shot which will likely not repost anytime soon. There's no point in doing so at the moment).

However, revisiting their exploits (in addition to sheer inspiration upon waking up not long ago) you have nothing to fret over. In other words:

Second upon a time three intrepid explorers were properly dressed for what they were about to do. Each wore a beige jumpsuit, a little baggy looking, but still figure flattering; finished off by black leather belts and heavy lug soled calf high boots.

Robert, Priscilla, and Rockefeller – Rocky (cuz it’s easier to type and he happens to like HIS nickname) stand looking like unarmed Ghostbusters on the polished, smooth concrete floor of the otherwise empty building, save for the bus with the dog pictures on it which once belonged to a popular cross country bus line. The three clomped their way to the awaiting vehicle. Rocky stopped at the open door.

“Ladies first, Pris,” he smiled trying to offend her. Of course, she really was prissy, so she just smiled and boarded. Rocky stole an admiring glance at her derriere and swung on board once Robert had.

“Okay, Bobby boy, where to?” Rocky asked once Robert had made himself comfortable in the driver’s seat. Robert couldn’t talk that well, so he made a bizarre series of hand gestures which neither of his teammates could ever dream of deciphering, and he tore off out of the hangar like the Magical Mystery Bus. Robbie (as we’ll now refer to him) made a sudden gesture with his arms like he was protecting his face from pending impact and even vocalized a whine or moan of some sort which caught the other two’s attention. The bus swerved a little bit without Robbie holding the wheel.

“Robbie, this isn’t ‘Speed’ and there’s not a bomb on board so you can relax, buddy,” Rocky called forward from his seat across the aisle from Prissy. She sat with her feet together and her hands in her lap. Rock raised an eyebrow at his thought of pranking her, but relegated that to the back of his mind.

The sunset was tropical, like those photos of Californian ones, which go from purple to orange top to bottom, and they were driving into it. Priscilla eased a demure set of headphones over her ears and after the lull of a cushy ride, soothing music and the monotony of nightfall, had fallen asleep. Noticing Prissy’s eyes were closed, he quietly made his way to the floor at her feet and stealthily undid the bows of her boot laces, intertwining the round cotton/polyester strings into an utter mess capped off with all kinds of knots that would keep a genius busy for hours trying to correct.

Their ride came to an abrupt stop halfway across the Pennsylvania Turnpike, causing Rocky’s dense skull to smack against a seat mount. He picked himself up just as Robbie was immediately returning from a pit stop (it was THAT instantaneous).

“All set already?” Rocky asked. Robbie nodded yes and was closing the door again, but Rocky had moved alongside and stopped him. Priscilla’s eyes opened at the cooler night air wafting in through the open door and the suggestion of vision dictated her desire to also visit a restroom.

“Give us time to go too, Robbie,” Rocky instructed and dismounted before knowing Priscilla was awake. He would have enjoyed watching her struggle to walk with her boots tied together. Instead he witnessed first hand how strong she could be when she punched him as they passed in the parking lot; she going in laces flailing and loose so very unladylike, and he on his way back to the bus feeling really good until her punch.

Once Pris had clomped back onto the bus and seated herself, Robbie hit the gas and they were off like a spit ball out of a straw, leaving dual trails of rubber in their wake. Their highway coach’s tail end swung to the left out from behind it but under Robbie’s skillful racing appendages, came back into line obediently.

“Hey, this isn’t ‘Spice World’ so cool it,” Rock-head instructed to his teammate at the helm of the highway vessel.

As the next morning awoke, the three jumpsuited adventurers dismounted their rubber clad liner into the chilly pastel Spring air amidst yawns and stretches. Rocky leaned to his left to glare at Priscilla’s figure as she bent at the waist to finally retie her heavy boots. She caught him though in her peripherals.

“You’re a jerk,” she informed facing him.
“What?” Rocky defended playing innocent. Robbie made an M with his arms like he was dancing to the Village People. It was a bizarre sight as he was in direct line with the golden arches of a famous fast food location. It was after all where he wanted to eat breakfast. While it looked empty and normal from the outside, once they walked inside however it was more like a disco club. A driving disco beat loop lulled the hundreds of patrons into a trance like state of keeping the beat with a part of their body (some their feet, some hands or fingers, some their heads, some their tails).

Their tails realized Pris as she slowly walked along the full to capacity bar rail. All kinds of lights and lasers in all the colors of the spectrum danced about the establishment and reflected off of mirror balls which spun at different rpms and really disoriented her and Rocky. Robbie whipped around the far corner of the bar making a ‘yummy’ gesture with his hand on his stomach and headed back for the bus. The other two followed knowing they walked into a bizarre adventure they weren’t ready for and exited the Disco Arches only to find the real adventure had begun outside...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Ride Home

One of the pieces I've looked forward to sharing with you here at Fleeting History is a fictional story I wrote for a class in my Junior year at Susquehanna University. While I had initially enrolled in Advanced Composition as part of the required core curriculum, the class was really enjoyable with a great professor and my experience there (coupled with an awesome advisor and a desire to have a Minor) inspired me to make the effort in Senior year to Minor in Writing.

Let's go back fifteen years, to February 28, 1995, in fact, for the second essay assignment, lovingly hand transcribed on February 22, 2010 (as I've long ago lost the disc with the file and don't feel like scanning the paper copy). Keep in mind as you read this that GPS wasn't commercially available to the public, let alone talking ones, but that didn't stop me ;-) It's like the hover car, someday it'll happen, and talking GPS is readily available nowadays. (now if only I could get a hover car, jet pack or the ability to fly...) Anyhow, here's:

"The Ride Home"

Five hours is a very long time to spend in a car, especially if it's a compact automobile. My trips to and from college weren't as long as they used to be. I believe it takes less time now. After all, I must have made the trip at least nineteen times, like a nomad with wanderlust that just keeps walking in a perpetual wide circle. They once seemed at least nine hours long, but now it's almost as if it only takes three to make the trip (though the clock never lies).

Well, there goes Lung Fung Restaurant -- we must definitely be headed somewhere -- I never pass this way often. The in car compass says, "We're heading North."

"Cool," I think, "this compass can talk. But can it hold an intelligent conversation?"

The river appears on our right and way off in the distance is the quaint mecca of Sunbury. Boy, do I really feel privileged...passing this way must mean they're taking me someplace important. Why else would the person driving bother to navigate the maze of streets of Northumberland? A lack of schoolwork probably.

"We're headed North," the compass says again. Smart compass; and it's oriented too. The other branch of the Susquehanna River spreads itself to our right, as if jealous of the first branch having already met us.

Onto the Superhighways of America for a thrilling ride through the Commonwealth. After riding I-80, I now know how a pinball must feel after a really intense multi-ball session. Masochism aside, we turn onto the second superhighway. This one I recognize because it has a red S painted on its chest. Kryptonite has no effect on this roadway, tough, because the Pennsylvania State Department of Transportation have just finished making it invincible.

"We're headed North," the compass spits out again.
"Obviously," I figure, "it's incapable of an intelligent conversation."

To the left and in the valley are the sprawling ruins of the anthracite empire of Wilkes-Barre and just up the road is its partner in crime, Scranton.

If Interstate 81 is the Superman of highways, than I-84 must be the Boy Wonder. It wonders if any cars will ever ride upon it.

"And now I know why," I think out loud, scaring everyone else in the car.
"What?" they all ask. They never expect me to speak; I'm always secluded behind my headphones.

"We're headed East," the compass drones.

The road looks like something a seven-month old would draw on an Etch-A-Sketch; up, down, curly-Q...

There's a car -- oh, sorry, that was just a hallucination.

Way off in the distance is the monument that marks the corner of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey; Robin swings into Port Jervis and we stop for a quick snack.

The section between the Delaware River and the Hudson River is like a bad acid trip; the Dead Tree Forest, The Permanent Detours, the Flying Debris...

"We're STILL headed East," the compass is really getting ticked-off now. It reminds me of a manager I once had when I worked at a local fast-food joint in High School.

I snap to attention for an instant upon reaching the Shop Rite warehouse in Middletown, New York.

"Oh, you and your trains, have you seen one yet?"

"No," a very long pause and then a resounding, "but I still might."

"I swear, those tracks must be abandoned by now."

"Perish the thought," the compass says sarcastically. Then it changes its attitude and breaks into Jerry Read's "Eastbound and Down" from one of the "Smokey and the Bandit" movies. This compass isn't as dull as I'd first thought.

Seventy-five cents in tolls and three-fifty in tips later, we're approaching the Connecticut border. Captain Kirk beams into the economy car we're in...cramping us even tighter.

"Warp factor two, Mr. Sulu," he manages to squeeze out. There's a loud whooshing noise and the windows rattle.

"No -- US -- THE CAR -- oh, never mind. Scotty, Beam me up," and he disappears.

We cross the border at Saw Mill Road. It's not long now, only twenty seven more exits to go until Cheshire, then an infinite number of traffic lights and backroads until I'm home.

"You can't go home again," the song goes. I like to argue.

We pull into the garage and enter the house. It's just as I'd left it -- plenty of leftovers in the fridge.


I'm going to revisit this project, freshen it up, fix some bad grammar, and present it more along the lines of my original intent, which I was incapable of producing back then, but think I know how to do now. It's going to change the tone of the piece quite a bit but it'll still be a fun journey to make.

Sadly, in the fifteen years since this was written, Lung Fung fell to progress. The toll has increased to one dollar. I learned you really can't metaphorically go home again, although you literally can and do after you've been out -- I digress. Those train tracks are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. If it weren't for commuters, there'd only be the one freight train a day. (sigh) Permanent Detours and Flying Debris -- can't recall the circumstances, lol, and are obviously no longer a factor (at least in that section of the ride).