::Words of Wisdom...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

::History of Me

I was born a poor white child in the bayous of Lake Charles, Louisiana approximately thirty-three years ago.  My lineage dates back to the original colonists on both sides of my family.  When I was younger, history didn't mean a lot to me and thusly didn't hold a lot of my attention.  This of course did nothing to stop my older relatives from giving me an earful of folktales and readings from the family memoirs.

The Talkingtons and The Chances both left England for reasons I have yet to discover to begin a new live in the savage lands of America.  My father's grandmother's on several occasions claimed Sir Francis Drake was her great-beyond-great uncle.  The evidence to this was in that her maiden name was "Drake", so make of that what you will.  Beyond that I know from family records that both families moved south after the Revolutionary War.  The Chances were awarded parcels of land in Georgia while The Talkingtons ended up in North Carolina.  The Civil War prompted another story from the Talkington annals.  My father's mother told a story of her grandfather who fought in the Civil War.  He fought for the South and his brother fought for the North.  Blood proved thicker than anything else in the world when they would meet each night to share coffee and food with one another.

After the Civil War, the stories and memories seem to be lost until the Second World War.  My father was named after an uncle he never met.  His uncle was shot down by German anti-aircraft artillery while performing bombing runs over the African Coast.  My mother's father lived up to his surname a couple of times during WWII.  He was present at Mussolini's execution when they strung him upside down to let him bleed to death.  This was after nearly being killed when a mortar shell exploded beside him leaving him unharmed but killing the guy next to him.  His most extraordinary story to date is of a German incursion with his infantry regiment.  His regiment was stalemated against a regiment of Germans.  Both sides were cut off from supplies, and the waiting game began.  Days went by until finally his group had run out of ammo.  The Germans, tired and hungry, didn't notice or care as they raised their white flag in surrender.  A charmed life indeed, and coincidentally his nickname back home was "Little Boy".

My father's father missed the war luckily due to him taking up the calling just as four generations of Talkingtons had done before him.  Casting off his career as an up and coming minor league baseball player, he joined the ranks of a different army.  He was an ordained minister, a soldier for God.  He served his country and his congregation through ministry, keeping hope and faith alive in America.  My father's mother did her part as well by working as a general worker building schools and sweating as a factory worker just as "Rosy the Riveter" asked of all women during that time.

As I grew up and began to put these stories into their proper context, history became more personal to me.  History was still boring but I at least felt more a part of it.  Now I find myself reconnecting to my country's founders through the writings of Thomas Jefferson and the unsung patriot, Thomas Paine.  I am discovering that history, as cheesy as it might sound, is more a part of me and who I am than I had ever given it credit for.  I look forward to exploring more of my past through family stories and examining how they fit into the bigger picture of American History.

Monday, August 20, 2007

::Queen of Rock


Last night I fulfilled the dreams of not one but two princesses.

Yes, I am THAT good.

I took them to see the Queen of Rock, Pat Benatar
She's still pretty hot and can still wail!

It was an awesome show.  The opening act was Lennon, who played her music on piano beautifully despite being a metal act.



benatar and elyssa I think the best part was sharing it with my daughter.  She was SO excited to see "Benatar" and Lennon she screamed for because she thought the piano was great!
We danced and sang along, it was a blast.

My son was a little bored with the concert but he managed through it.

We are looking forward to INXS at the end of the month, maybe he'll enjoy them more.

Overall, it was a great time and it was truly fantastic to be able to fulfill the childhood dreams of both my beautiful princesses.

::Mr. T Presents: Playing with Wood

I am a self-professed Jack of Trades.  I had a pretty decent southern upbringing; just short of seasonal hunting trips, I was taught by my dad to be self sufficient when it came to home repair.  I can install a ceiling fan, install a toilet and sink complete with plumbing, wire an electrical outlet and can even float dry wall.  I amaze my wife on a regular basis with what I can do. *nudge nudge* *wink wink*  On occasion, I wow my land lord who thinks its a godsend to have a tenant that doesn't need to call out for a repairman for every little thing.  "Imagine all the money I'm saving," I can hear him think when I tell him I fixed this and that.  I'm ok with that because otherwise I would have to wait for him to call someone, then take a day off of work to meet with the guy.  It just saves everyone a lot of hassle in the end.

Anyway to the point of all this.  I wanted to share a glimpse into where I've been hiding myself the past few days.

In addition to being a novice-class handyman, I am also a self-professed member of Geekapollooza.   And one of the most coveted items that a coterie can have bragging rights to is The Ultimate Gaming Table!!  Of course there are several out there claiming to be the ultimate but thus far, NO ONE has beat this design.

Building such a table would require several heavenly bodies to align themselves just so and until I can master the powers of the universe to make this happen, I will have to settle for a smaller design.

One of those "heavenly" bodies would be my wife who has a list of items she would like built before I set my sights on the table of adventure and splendor.  A coffee table and a curio cabinet top the list.

Also, building such an artifact of dorkish proportions would require tools of the carpentry trade, time to build it and a workspace away from little children.

As you can see the table has become a long and arduous journey likened to that of a certain ring carried by a certain young man with hairy feet.

So with the help of Parabolist, my Sam to his Frodo, we took up the task of creating a workshop to build all these wonders in the hopes of ushering a new age, aligning that heavens as we could.

First on the list was the workspace.  I needed a place to work and put all the tools needed.  Scouring the webbed lands of the internet, I came across this handy handyman's site with a design that seemed to scream, "BUILD ME...!!!"  And with a failed Will save I am doing just that.

The design presented above was to fit into a 16 ft. garage, nearly twice the space that I have in my current garage, so we had to scale it back some.  I decided to go with a 9 ft. tablespace and keep the other variables (depth and height) the same to save me some sanity.

Parabolist being the CAD whiz that he is came up with this:

KarlanWoodWork 002


And so, I'm turning this: KarlanWoodWork 003

with these:

KarlanWoodWork 004 KarlanWoodWork 005

into this:

b_leadResults May Vary... 

Friday, August 03, 2007

::Thar Be Booty Har

A few days ago in an enchanted land far far away, a group of adventurous pirate princes and pirate princesses gathered on the Dread Pirate King's ship, The Mini Pearl, to celebrate his daughter's fifth year on the open seas. gathering of pirates
receiving the map At the climax of this celebration, the Dreaded Pirate King presented to his princess his most valued possession outside of his lovely children and his Queen.  A map of their island and marked upon it, the location of riches beyond their imaginations.
The "X" was coffin rock, a well known spot to his children as they spent many days watching the sunset there.
Before they leave, they retire to the royal palace to prepare for their adventurous journey.
preparing the journey
coffin_rockCoffin Rock
"Within My Tomb, Lies A Pirates Boon.  Free It From My Deathly Grip By Going On A Daring Trip.
Search the Land Far And Wide For the Keys Numbering Five
Seek Ye First A Pirate Curst.  Play His Game To Set Him Free And For Your Prize, A Skeleton's Key.    ~ YAAARGH"
Upon reaching coffin rock, the adventurers scoured the area for clues to the location of the treasure.
Finally, the first mate came across an etching in the rock accompanied by five keyholes.
After digesting the riddle, the group eyed each other with excitement and wonder.
A cursed pirate held their first key.  "Only one pirate I know of that fits that bill," The first mate declared.  With a wave of his arm, "To the Mini Pearl!"
ship The Mini Pearl Aboard the Mini Pearl, the first mate took them to the brig.  Dark and dank and smelling of rotten fish, the brig was empty.  The pirate princesses bravely stepped forward into the darkness.  Suddenly a ghastly visage appeared to them.  It was the Pirate Curst!  "Play my game or join me here forever!" he cackled.
Frightened at the thought of spending their days in this smelly brig, the group cheered each other on as they mastered his game of ring toss.
Victorious, the group was given their first key.
But not without a few words of gratitude from the Pirate Curst.
key_the_first The Pirate Curst

"Lads and Lasses, Thank Ye For Lifting The Curse To Free Me.
Now Here My Tale of Woe.  The Captain's Key I Stole And Hide It I Did In a Clock.  Swallowed Whole By a Wicked Ol' Croc, Off He Swam Without a Trace To His Home; A Boggy Place"

Looking at the map, they find only one place where this Croc with the Clock could reside.  The foulest place on the island, Black Bog.

"Ewww," cry the princesses but they trudge on for the greater good.  They can buy new dresses with the treasure that lies in wait for them.

The stench of the bog was only slightly overwhelmed by the vast swarms of mosquitoes, flies and other bugs.  Sloping through the bog, the group searched for the Wicked Ol' Croc.

"This is hopeless, we are never going to find anything in this mess." One princess said slinging off a clump of swamp from her feet.  As if on queue, the growl of a crocodile was heard in the darkness accented by the tic tock of a clock.  "ITS HIM!" they all whispered loudly.  Creeping closer to the sound of the Ol' Croc, they find it stretched out on a bed of moss and peat.  Its yellow eyes scanning the bog for its next meal.  Hoping it didn't spot them, the group hid behind a log.  Finally, it slid off into the swamp in search for dinner.

Quickly, they search the Ol' Croc's bedding for the key.  "Got it," one of them whispers.  Wrapped in a cocoon of moss, they find the key secured to a piece of parchment.

"Brave Must Ye Be, In Search of the Next Key.  Along the Coast of Shipwreck Shore, Enter Ye Must Through Death's Door.  Your Fear Ye Will Face For In Davey Jones' Locker, Yer Hand Ye Must Place."

ShipwreckShore Shipwreck Shore Off to Shipwreck Shore they set, to the two spiraling spires named  Death's Door.
At the foot of these spires is a swirling pool of black.  The local legends say this is only one of many "portholes" to the land of the dead.
Bravely they each stick their hands into the pool
searching for the key.
 The color drains from each of them as Davey Jones sucks the life from them.  "Be Brave" they say to one another scrambling to find the key.
A boy dressed in green and goes by Peter Pan jerks his hand up out of the water.  A tentacle is wrapped around his arm but in his grasp is the KEY!
They make short work of the tentacle with their magic wands and dirks.
And examine the key for another clue.
While they look,  A ghostly voice echoes from the pool.
key_the_third"At Table Rock Collect Your Debt.
To Find The Key, A Wager Ye'll Bet.
Throw the Bones With Davey Jones.
Three Changes to Stay Alive.
Win the Game, Roll a Five.
throwing_the_bones2 "Last Key to Find in a Ballroom Divine.
A Princess Bride Full of Dread
Her Greatest Fear Ne'er to Wed.
Without Her Slipper Made of Glass
The Prince's Test She'll Not Pass.
With Closed Eye Numbering Two
Make This Princess' Dream Come True"
Off they set for Table Rock and the fourth key.
After a short climb they reach the top of Table Rock and find a feast waiting for them along with a sealed box and a pair of bony dice.
"I have a bad feeling about this." The first mate says as he chomps down on a piece of cake.
While they eat, they each take a turn at the bones.  Three rounds go by and soon they begin to worry if this is the end.
The Dread Pirate's daughter makes a wish and with the final throw of the dice....  a five!
The seal on the box cracks and inside is the fourth key and a parchment.
Finishing their feast, they cry in unison, "The Royal Palace!"
After a quick march down the rock and to the palace, they slowly enter the ballroom not sure what to expect.
In the center of the ballroom is a Prince at the feet of a beautiful Princess frozen in time.
Several slippers of glass and shiny quartz lay around them.  Closing their eyes they each pick up a slipper and try to place it on her foot.  With uncanny accuracy Princess T slipped her slipper on the princess.
the ballroom divine The Royal Palace - Ballroom

The Prince and Princess released from their spell thanked the brave pirates and gave them their final key.

"Back to COFFIN ROCK!!" they sprinted.  The princesses remembering their manners stopped to curtsey on their way out.
opening_coffin_rock Each of them took a key and inserted it into the keyhole.  With a grinding turn, the sound of a lock opening could be heard.
With the final key, the Princess E opened the final lock.
Together they lifted the coffin opened and peered inside.
they screamed with excitement.
The Dread Pirate King and his first mate lifted the chest out.
BOOTY treasure2 The glittering of gold and jewels was blinding.
The treasure was legendary.

"We should take this back to the palace to split it up."

They all agreed and headed back to the palace...
Where they enjoyed the rewards of working together, facing their fears and overcoming great obstacles.

Happy Treasure Hunting
and Happy Birthday!!
Princess E!!

Special Thanks to the Curst Pirate for assisting on creating this magical day.  I think we had just about as much fun building the adventure as the kids did running through it.
Creative design by
Mr. T (The Dread Pirate King)
Mrs. T (His Queen)
Parabolist (The Curst Pirate)

Map work by
Parabolist (The Curst Pirate)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

::Happiness is a Warm Gun

The last rays of the day glinted off the polished barrel of the Smith
& Wesson .45 revolver Gary held securely to his temple. Gary licked
his lips. The tear-salted taste mentally reinforced him of his resolve
to pull the trigger.

"Soon, this would all be over.  I'll finally be free," he reassured himself.

Gary tensed his index finger gently applying pressure to the trigger.
He listened anxiously for the inviting click of the hammer of the gun
but instead the grating shrill of the phone was all that he heard.

Grimacing at the interruption, Gary tried to ignore the relentless ringing.

"I should have unplugged the phone from the wall," though he seemed to remember he had.

Begrudgingly, Gary released the hammer on the pistol and set it on the table.  The tarp he had laid out crunched beneath his feet like dried dead leaves as he walked across the room to rectify his forgotten task.  As he reached for the phone, something inside of him urged him to answer it.

"Curiosity?" he thought.  "More like sadist intentions to endure yet
another 'generous' caller wanting to save me loads of money on long

"Inconsiderate pricks," the words reverberated through the bare
kitchen. "I'll give them something to remember me by," and yanked the receiver from the cradle of the phone.

"Listen here you miserable FUCK! I don't want whatever you are
selling. After today I won't be much in the market from much of
anything short of a mop, a bucket, and a pine box. And I already have
two of the three."

He was answered with silence. He stood puzzled for a moment, almost taken back. He hadn't meant to be so abrasive but the swell of emotion took over and erupted from his insides. He suddenly felt guilty.

"Hello?" he squeaked.  "Didn't mean to give you both barrels."

Still the reply was dead air. He slowly hung up the phone and a
chuckle bubbled up inside of him which escaped through his nose in a

"Both barrels," he smiled at his own joke, "I'd be happy to be getting back to my one."

He walked back over to the table straightening a crease in the tarp as
he went. He wanted this moment more than anything but he was not
inconsiderate of others. He had planned this event out with a
meticulous mind ensuring that his actions would not cause whomever found him a lot of work in cleaning up. He had set out a large blue tarp on the floor of his kitchen and even hung an orange tarp on the wall opposing his chair to catch any bone or brain matter that might explode from his head in the next few minutes. A mop and bucket were set next to the back door with a gallon of bleach and a hose. A box of rubber kitchen gloves completed the ensemble. He was generally a tidy person and he wanted to be sure that he provided the means to keep his home clean after he was done fulfilling his destiny.

He sat at the table and picked up the pistol. He felt the weight of
the piece in his hand. He particularly like the way the pistol molded
in his grip, reassuring him that he was on the right path. He felt at
ease. Placing the barrel against his right temple, he rejoiced at the
coldness of its touch.

"Death's finger upon my brow.. Sweet darkness take me now." He had practiced the cheesy lines many times and now that he was speaking them at the moment of truth, he felt reinforced.

"Did you unplug the phone? Did you check?" The random thought jarred him from his daydream of quietus.

He snarled and placed the gun down on the table once more and trotted over to the phone. He followed the cord of the phone to the jack. He nearly jumped out of his skin when the phone blared into his ear.  Catching his breath, he ignored the ringing and continued his search for the end of the cord.

"Not this time, mother fucker," he grumbled as he followed the cord to its end. He pulled the cord quickly through one hand and stood erect as he reached the plug. Holding the plug in his hand he turned and eyed the still ringing phone.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

::Lost Memories

Locked boxes,

each a fragment of time,

float in a vast sea of etched metallic keys,

not a one a mate of the other.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

::Words to live by (Signs of the times)

These are the times that try men's souls.
~Thomas Paine

Our enemies...never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
~George W. Bush

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official...
~Theodore Roosevelt

The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people.
~Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis