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.