Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oh Thunder Road

Brad stood in the service plaza gazing at the brochures by the information stand. Most of the pamphlets were the normal fair, advertising local tourist spots or national parks or even "World's largest Ball of String 2 miles east". But one pamphlet caught Brad's eye, it advertised "Thunder-storm travel - Get to your destination in a fraction of the time!", Brad took the pamphlet and started flipping through it. It sounded odd, like a joke or something from a sci-fi novel, but too earnest to be either.

"Excuse me, Sir?" Brad said to get the attention of the information stand's attendant.

The attendant turned around and responded cheerily, "Yes, how may I help you?"

"Can you tell me more about this 'Thunder-Storm Travel' thing? I'm still not quite sure what it is exactly.."

The Attendant smiled as if he'd been waiting all day for this request, "Ahh, yes, Thunder-Storm Travel! Its new! And quite easy to use. If you sign up, which you can do right here, then you get a small beacon which you simply put in your front or back windshield, doesn't really matter which. Then a sort of electro-magnetic current is charged from your car straight up to the troposphere where it signals a group of nan-bots. These nano-bots then group together any extra clouds flying around and VoĆ­la! a storm is born! Then using that same electro-magnetic pulse, the storm clouds do a sort of push/pull with your car, just like opposing magnets in grade school! This allows you to get there in half the time!"

Brad stood with his mouth agape, he then closed it and nodded a bit as if he understood everything that was just said. He tried to act non-chalant, "Well, is it safe?"

The attendant smiled brightly, "Sure! Safe as can be! So long as you can keep your wits about you in a storm. And you save on gas!"

"Well, sounds too good to be true, but I guess I'll give it a try", handing over his credit card.

A few minutes later Brad walked to his car feeling quite like Jack after buying the magical beans. He applied the beacon to his front windshield, put the key in and started the ignition, Brad laughed when nothing immediately happened, then as he put the car into reverse, he heard it: the distinct crack of thunder.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

No Endings

There are no real "endings". Not like a movie when the hero smiles and the credits roll. Or in a book when you get to the last page and that's it. No in life its never that tidy. Instead, one thing comes to a close and maybe there's a brief respite, but then something else starts. Or maybe that other thing had started while the first thing was going on, maybe there's some overlap. But in the end there's a just a little overlap. But in the end there's just little moments, a smile here, a bad grade there, a kiss, a disappointment. Little ups and little downs.

Maybe you're working on a project, have been for a long time now, you finish it and its like a load off you're shoulders. But in a short while there's gonna be another project, another paper, another commitment. It never really stops. So what am I saying? Enjoy the little things, the little endings; those few blissful ours in the sun, but don't curse the rain when it comes too.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Decemberists

Tomorrow my family and I are going to see The Decemberists, it will be my fourth time seeing them and I would say I'm almost as excited as I was the first time. They put on fantastical live shows full of energy and theatricality. At their past shows I have experienced getting eaten by a giant whale, participated in mid-show calisthenics, danced with a variety of drunk people, fought a WW I skirmish with half the band in the crowd leading us, and generally sung along to songs at the top of my lungs.

It is always a good time. This time it will be at an outdoor venue in Cleveland, past venues have included Columbus, Louisville, Kentucky and Cleveland once again. And finally before I sign off for the night, here's their song celebrating July!

The Decemberists
July, July

Stories from Northern Wisconsin

Sun Bathing in the Rain

Me and my dad had taken a kayak ride around the lake. Halfway out I could hear loud rumbles of thunder. Its never good to be out on the water during a storm, so I paddled hard for shore, my dad following. We got back, flipped the kayaks to keep the insides dry and got the scared dog safely in the cabin. The only problem was that it was still twice as hot in the cabin. So out again we all went to the pier, sprawled out waiting for the rain to come.

And it did come, but slowly; pew - a drop here, pew - a drop there. And we laid there cooling off as the rain came to greet us. Eventually it picked up to a pour, so we rain back into the cabin laughing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Psychic Sally

Sally was psychic, she could guess all of her friends' favourite colours before they said them. Everyone thought this was pretty neat, well except for Carl who thought she was simply a good guesser. He thought of a challenge for her.

Carl got in front of the whole group and said, "Favourite colours are fine, but if you're really psychic then tell me what I want to be when I grow up!"

Everyone Ooo'd and Ahh'd as no one knew Carl's ambition, he kept it a closely guarded secret. Perhaps he was afraid that if he told the world, his wish wouldn't come true.

"This will take a minute or two", Sally said as she closed her eyes and sat down cross-legged in the field.

The wind blew across the field and Sally listened. The sun beat down and Sally soaked in its slow, hot pulse. The grass, it whispered to her, she noted each and every word that passed from the green blades. She sat meditating this way for several moments, the other children sat a little ways off, rapt with anticipation: would she be able to do it? Had she fallen asleep? It was near nap time after all...

Just as the other children were about to give up hope Sally opened her eyes. She smiled sadly, looking years beyond her age. She turned to Carl, "Are you sure you want me to tell them?"

Carl was momentarily shaken by the quiet look of confidence in Sally's eyes, but he shook the fear off and replied defiantly, "Go ahead, there's no way you could know just from sitting there!"

Sally frowned then turned to the group, "Is everyone ready?" They all nodded, so she began. "The reason we don't all know what Carl wants to do when he grows up is that he doesn't know. Well that's not quite right. Today he's 100% sure he wants to be an Astronaut, sailing above the clouds, exploring new planets and galaxies. But yesterday he was just as sure he wanted to be a Plumber, keeping houses safe from leaks. And next Thursday he might want to design Wind-mills. Its not that he doesn't know, but rather that he wants to do everything there is to do...he hasn't told anyone because he thought we'd all make fun of him. I'm sorry Carl."

But Carl didn't look angry, he looked just as amazed as the other kids. "Yes, that's right." he admitted shyly.

The Children all gasped, they Ooo'd and Ahh'd again. They all said together, "But Carl! that's the coolest ambition of all!"

Carl smiled bigger than he ever had before, then he hugged Sally and whispered, "Now I believe you"

Back from Vacation

I was on vacation in Northern Wisconsin for the past week. I'm back now, very tired but with a multitude of things that I wrote whilst away.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In the sky

She turned to him, "But, how real is it?"

He laughed and squinted at her, "How real is it? How real is anything?" then he trotted off still laughing a little bit.

She stood gazing up trying to find the wires holding up all the flying people in the sky.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do Not Waste the Day

Friends, do not waste away the day. No matter how badly it has treated you, each day is only 24 hours long, try make the most of it. Don't sleep it all away. Do something fun, productive or otherwise. Make someone smile. Please don't give up before the time is out. Work is hard and you might be tired, but fight it, I know you can. I'll be here...I'll be here. There's time left, don't give up yet. You're tired, yeah, but give a little more. I'll be here, I will.

Take a walk, look at the stars shine in the night's sky. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay. Swim until you cannot move any longer. Bike until your legs are sore. Move until your body is wobbily. Close your eyes, let the world settle around you. Stay until the sunsets on the horizon, colours bleeding together. Grass beneath your toes in the summer night, let it go, let it all the stress go. Find the the bit of light from the sparkles that are the lightning bugs. Let your heart soar, let it fly.

We spend the day riding out the waves of time, but don't get caught up with the future so much that you forget about the present. It will all get done, it always does. And if I'm wrong, and it doesn't, well then it doesn't. There's always tomorrow, just do what you can today - nothing more, nothing less. Read a little, walk a little, drink a little, watch a little. That's all I ask.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


This thing about good fireworks is that like great fiction, there needs to be a suspension of disbelief. You stop questioning what's happening and instead soak it in and enjoy it. All thoughts stop, instead replaced by a sense of awe. You're drawn in.

That's what it was like last night at the fourth of July Fireworks display in the town next to us. I sat there thinking about how it was just going to be the same as always. The first few went off and before I knew it, well I wasn't thinking much at all, just entranced by the bright lights in the night sky. Boom, Boom, Boom! Colours painting vividly on a black canvas. Close to magic.

And its that suspension of disbelief, that immersion into entertainment, that is when you know its something great. You're brain turns off, stops being skeptical of everything and just enjoys the ride. This goes for films, books, video games, music, plays.

Then perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, the greatest form of art or entertainment is then a dream. Well a non-lucid dream anyway, but from start to finish in a dream your disbelief is completely suspended. Usually it is not until waking that you have the revelation that oh! that was all a dream! just a thought..

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Winery Tastings

They each held a glass of wine in their respective hands. His was a Merlot, Hers a Chardonnay. They were each well dressed, He: a white button up shirt with a thin black tie, her a fine black dress with discrete blue polka dots and black heels. It was an outdoor winery in Northern California, the grounds were full of well dressed people milling around stiffly.

She, her name was Christine, turned to him and said, "This is all a bit dull, isn't it?" she raised one eyebrow expectantly.

He, his name was David, nodded and said, "Yes why don't we blow this popsicle stand?"

They clinked their glasses together, downed what was left and started to head out. As they meandered through the crowd, like lions among gazelles, She pocketed as many tapas wrapped in napkins as She could while He grabbed 2 more glasses of wine for them.

"Tiny Ham and Mustard sandwiches?" She asked.

"Ohh, yes! as many as you can carry!" He replied.

After downing the wine and with pocketed snacks stowed, they ran hand-in-hand down the sloping hills that surrounded the winery. Eventually they collapsed upon each other laughing, panting, out of breath.

"Y'know, what's the point of these things? So many people come, yet no one looks like they're having any fun!" She exclaimed.

He laughed, "Well, maybe they don't know how to have fun, so they pretend as best they can?"

They both laughed, and rolled across the lawn, having the time of their lives.

Friday, July 1, 2011


You want all your best friends to come to the parties you're going to, but sometimes they just cannot. So you go, because you said you would or you need to go out or else you'll go crazy. So you make new friends at the party, replacement ones since your usual ones couldn't make it. And you end up liking these people, they make you smile, you make them laugh. You promise you'll remember their names, their faces, hobbies, pets, etc. But the daylight hits like an explosion and you've forgottten all the details from the night before. You wave and smile, but run across the street as if late to avoid embarassing yourself.

Or then again maybe it all turns out different. A wondrous caper pulled off at the party or after, phone numbers exchanged. In the morning a new group of friends, including you meeting at the diner for breakfast at the crack of noon - and not a second before. Smiles on all faces.