Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stop me if you've heard this one

Owning a home is rough. The House that the bank bought for me in exchange for a few decades of my life has a deck. A deck that has been roughed up by a few hail-storms and was probably long-overdue for some TLC before we decided to move in. So, in blinding flash of optimism, we've taken it upon ourselves to refinish the deck. Stripping off the remains of the current covering, cleaning, sanding, and then repainting the wood. We are now at phase three... the sanding. That's what I'll be doing tonight. I hate it already. In my mind I am calculating numbers. What number of moneys would I pay to not have to do that tonight, tomorrow, and weather permitting, the next few days. But that's defeatist talk! Despite the difficulties with the weather things have gone relatively smoothly. The stripping of existing covering was a little messier and involved than expected. With determination and elbow grease we've gotten the wood to a state I would call "Good Enough." Whatever the detergents and oxidizers didn't dissolve shall surely succumb to the abrasive charms of my new orbital sander. For the detail work around the bannisters (of which there is more than I consciously realized when planning this work) I have a smaller sander that, I believe, will be able to fit into the narrower concave ares with a smaller sanding surface. If not... I have a sanding block and hands that can grip. Woe is me.

In other news... We've started watching Heroes again starting at season one. Hiro's enthusiasm is quite infectious.

In other other news. We had great news yesterday. If things keep going this well there may be more great news sometime down the line but at this point we're going one step at a time. Cryptic. You're welcome.

More soon!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Interrogation Logs: Resistance Subject 00342

Listen, the mind is a terrible thing. It can betray you. These words are hitting your consciousness and you're already discarding them as 'silly.' That's your mind protecting itself from the truth. My name is Michael and my mind betrayed me.
I don't know how I am speaking to you. My body hasn't been my own for so long, my senses bludgeoning my awareness with data I have no way to respond to... maybe I'm finally insane. Maybe you're my delusion. A spark of comfort imagined from this sea of torment. I was never this eloquent in my body. I had the words. I was educated, damn it. But my vocal cords would stumble and blunder while enunciating, so I keep things simple. When you're a cop in a big city big words come from the people that make your day hell. Nosey detectives. Supervisors. The Governor's office. Any number of alphabet-goons looking down their noses at the local 'talent' they are saddled with. So you keep it to yourself. Internalize. And slowly it atrophies. That itch between your eyes when someone says 'irregardless.' That sigh when you're reading barely legible memos from your superiors. You trade it all in for the occasional slap on the back and the invitation to the neighborhood barbeque. The alternative is lonely.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not some suffering genius. I'd say I'm comfortably above the median of the bellcurve. Hell, I'm dumb enough to spend 25 years on the same beat, when I know damn well the asses that needed kissing for me to move up the chain of... Don't go! Wait! It's been so long. I can feel you there. I know you want something from me. This part of me. Otherwise I wouldn't be here.
My memories? Memories are strange here. Out there they seemed like fleeting mists. Distractions. In here... I wish I had better memories. I wish I could bear to face her without... You want the beginning.

I remember being afraid. I am sitting at my desk at the station. My keyboard under my fingers, my eyes on the pages of my pocket notepad propped under the screen. My eyes are on the words, but I don't see them. I feel my pulse pounding in my ears. Sweat beading on my skin. The constant drone of the big room filled with people is a muted hum in my ears. I can hear the electronic whine of my monitor, I can see the film of dust forming around the pictures of my family under the screen. My legs are shaking. I can feel the panic forming behind my eyes. I know that it is panic. I know what my body wants to do. I know that I'm losing control. My hands shake as I lift them from the keyboard and slowly reach for the foam globe my shrink gave me during our last session. Destroy enough office equipment and they send you to a shrink. I close my eyes and my hand tightens around the foam. Knuckles cracking. Tendons stretching and contracting. Skin white from the pressure. I don't scream. I don't wail. I keep it inside. I don't scream. I don't scream. My chest hurts. Hurts bad. Like I've been running. I hunch forward, eyes closed, fist pulsing, and try to breathe. A phone rings. It won't stop. Stop! STOP!
The room is silent except for the whine from dozens of screens and the traffic outside.
I keep my eyes closed. I know what's coming next. The muttering. The anxious laughs. The concerned coworkers. The meeting with the supervisor. I take deep breaths while wondering if I managed to kick my chair away when I lunged forward. The room stays silent. I smell gunpowder. I SMELL GUNPOWDER! My hand is holding something. I know it's my pistol. I KNOW it's my pistol. Why am I holding my pistol? When did I... My eyes are still closed. I can't. Why? I'm shaking but my shoulder and arm don't. I can't feel them. What did I do? What have I done! I don't want to see this. I don't want to see the fear in their eyes. The doubt. The disgust... I can't. I picture the gun under my chin. The flash of heat. I open my eyes and see my arm holding my smoking pistol. It is gripped in fingers I can't feel. Can't twitch. The arm held forward rigidly while the rest of me shakes like a leaf. I see the others in the periphery. I see my fellow officers, secretaries, perps, persons of interest... and none of them are looking at me their eyes fixed on the floor in front of my desk. I can hear the screams now. Screams that don't matter because there's something laying in front of my desk, out of my sight. I'm panting. I can't catch my breath. I picture a child. I can see enough of the floor to know it couldn't hide a man or woman unless they were small. WHY WON'T ANYONE MOVE TO HELP!? Suddenly my arm drops and the pistol rattles off my keyboard and onto the floor. I can move again and I stumble sideways to see what I have done.

That was the first time we saw one. One of them.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Taking a break

Happy Tuesday!
Thanks to an extended network outage at one of the offices I serve I got to work late yesterday. This means that the deck sat idle for one more day. The project started last weekend and at this point 75% of the wood surface has been stripped and is ready for cleaning and sanding. I am hoping to finish the harsh chemical phase either tonight or tomorrow, weather permitting, and move to the sanding and possibly starting the painting this weekend. I can't tell you how much I didn't miss working with harsh chemicals again. The nostalgic sting of chemical burns on my arms brought back ghosts of crappy jobs left long behind. The tightness around the chest when you get a faceful of fumes. Good times...
I've finished book seven of the Dresden Files and now I face a dilemma. I purchased those seven books as e-books at a huge discount. "Huge discount" is also known as "a rational price for e-books" in my world. 
The odds of the remaining books being discounted any time soon is pretty slim, and for as much as I'm enjoying the books while I'm reading them, the odds of me revisiting the stories are also pretty slim. It might be time for me to venture out and see if I can suffer through visits to my local library without damaging my anti-social persona.
Until then I'm digging into some titles that have been sitting on my to-do pile for a while now. More on them if they tickle my fancy.
Reading through the Dresden books did give me some food for thought. I am back to sketching out my story ideas and was struck by the effect of a forced first person narrative. Since the universe I am imagining has many moving parts I am considering pulling together a few first person narratives in essay or short story form to help me flesh out the rules of the world. A day in the life of a mining-crew engineer. A day in the life of a trading-base vendor. How do people inhabit these scenarios. What is their motivation for maintaining the infrastructure I'm forcing them into... sounds fun and something that may provide content for my larger narratives.

I really need to find those writer-workshop podcasts I keep hearing about.
Time to prep for work!