Rants

General grumbling, pay it no mind. Unless you want to. ;)

Punctuational Perversity Pervades

I just,
can’t seem,
to keep,
from adding commas to,
my work;
Pausing,
every other word,
like freakin’,
Captain,
Kirk.
Punctuational perversity,
pervades,
within my mind;
I have,
to see,
a comma
at the end of,
every line.
If not,
a pause,
Then a full,
stop, a,
period-ication,
A semi-colon,
dot dot dot,
perhaps a hy-
phenation.
And so,
dear reader,
please,
forgive,
when such,
said things,
invade;
it’s just,
that,
punctuational,
perversity,
pervades.

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I am going to have to concede defeat…

As much as I hate to, I am going to have to concede defeat. I just can’t manage to find the time on my weekends to do the writing that I want to do. I can manage a short post or two now and then, but I just stay so damned busy during my “days off” that I almost can’t wait to get back to work on Monday where I can have a little down time. Crazy, huh? So I’ve decided to relax my self-imposed rules, and let myself have the weekends “off.” I may and likely will still post from time to time on them, but I’m just not going to beat myself up about missing word counts and the like.

Now, that doesn’t mean I am going to slow down during the week. I still plan to write, lots, because honestly, it keeps me sane. But weekends from here on out are going to be spotty, both reading and writing.

Brutal

Few things can match the sheer brutality of a breezeless summer day in Georgia. The sun beats down with unrelenting fury, merciless in its quest to see us mortals wilt, and neath the wicked lash of its rays all surfaces become ruthless irons beneath the feet. The air, sodden with moisture too oppressed by the sun to feel inspired enough to fall, and too laden to drink the heavy sweat that beads upon the brow of man. The sweat lingers, then, a shining, shimmering second skin, unable to cool, and thus it turns it’s frustration to making it’s wearer share in it.

This is not a world for modern man, whose body yearns for the chilling breath of an air conditioned coolness, a frosty respite from the harsh reality of a summer’s heat. How, I wonder, did we last so long as a species beneath this and wickeder climes? How did the men who walked this land even a hundred years past endure this oppression? And more importantly, the question I ask above all others?

Where the fuck is my A/C repairman?

The Axle Grease Tastes Fine

So, I put in another late night at work last night. Late enough that I didn’t even have to come to work today in order to make up the hours that I’ve already put in. But here I am, working another full day, though I swear I am not going to stay over today. Much.

*sighs*

The problem is, I work in a cutthroat industry. What’s that I say? Defense contractors are backstabbing assholes? That *NEVER* happens! I know, right? Yet here I am, treading soft through the viper’s den. Yesterday, a contractor who has fallen behind in their promised production schedule attempted to blame it all on me. It’s convenient for them, because I work for a totally different contractor and no one, save for myself and a very small handful of people in the country, know how difficult and time consuming my job is.

But here’s the kicker. With a few small exceptions, I haven’t missed a single publication date. I have had my portion done, headaches notwithstanding, and pushed out my product before it was due. The fact that they came to me late already is something I have no control over. And more, the fact that the only reason I have to do this part of the job, instead of doing the actual job I was hired for, is that the assholes sending it to me didn’t do their jobs properly in the first place!

So I spent two hours yesterday being grilled by great big government types and trying to justify my job. Which I did, professionally and expertly. With documentation. But it still sucks.

And now, I’ve been trying to ensure that my queue is completely clear, which means long hours. And that makes me a touch grumpy. Thank Og I have this place to stem the boredom of watching a compiler run…

And my, but the underside of this bus is pleasant. The axle grease is so tasty…

 

On the plus side, Camp NaNoWriMo starts today. And I’ve a “Supernatural Sexy” novel brewing in my skull…

There are some things I can no longer excuse… (TRIGGER WARNING: Child Abuse)

Alright, folks. Time for a more serious posting. This one is about someone that I never met, but who has, regardless, had a tremendous impact on my life. She was one of the founders of the living history/medieval group that I am part of, and an incredibly influential writer of science fiction and fantasy. Her name was Marion Zimmer Bradley.

And she was a child molester.

I have known for a long time that MZB was surrounded by controversy. Her husband, Walter Breen, was a reprehensible man who fairly openly molested young boys, a fact that Marion was both aware of and covered for, countless times. As a survivor of sexual abuse myself, I found her excuses to be despicable…but I always found a way to empathize with, if not accept, her position. She said in one of the depositions for his trials to one of the prosecutors, “Clearly, you have never been in love.” That spoke to me. I know too well what it is like to love someone enough to excuse their wickedness, to want to make believe it didn’t happen and to, no matter how wrong it is to do so, want to brush that part of them under a rug and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Then, a couple weeks ago, something happened. Moira Greyland, MZB’s daughter with her monster of a husband, spoke up. She told the world that, horrible as he was…MZB was worse. She had abused Moira since she was three years old, up until she was twelve. She beat her, strangled her, and attempted to drown her for refusing to be her own mother’s lover. It is a horrid, sickening thing to read about, but I read it because the truth is more important than my discomfort. Now, I have to question all that time I spent silently excusing MZB’s actions. I have to gag at how often I mentioned, almost proudly, that she had named and helped found my medieval group.

There are those who will say that we should separate the art from the artist. That these terrible crimes in no way taint the artistic works of the person who committed them. Alas, I am not so able to separate my emotions on this matter. When I was a young boy, I was sexually abused by a teenage cousin. The memories of that stick with me to this day, and it took many years to get over the feelings of anxiety they caused in me. So maybe I am just too emotionally swayed by this to forgive the art of the artist. Thing is, a monster may make beautiful art, but I still wouldn’t have it hanging in my living room.

So tonight, I am going to throw out the books I own that are by MZB. Granted, I wasn’t a huge fan, but I do have some of her anthologies. I will also never buy anything that her estate profits from; her children were disowned, and the money from her estate supports her life-partner/secretary, who also had a hand in covering up the abuses of Breen and MZB. I don’t expect everyone I know will do this. I’m not asking them to. But it’s something I must do.

Here are some links for those who want to read more about this mess.

http://deirdre.net/marion-zimmer-bradley-its-worse-than-i-knew/

http://www.sff.net/people/stephen.goldin/mzb/

Perhaps I’m Taking the Medieval Reenactment Thing Too Far…

The_gout_james_gillray

Gout. The Disease of Kings. In the Middle Ages, it was considered an affliction of the wealthy, for only the wealthy were able to afford the rich foods that could lead to the demon that is gout.

These days, pretty much any one can get it. Mostly those on a protein heavy diet. And those who like to have a drink once in a while. People like me.

It is almost impossible to describe how bad gout hurts. But let me tell you, it’s really fucking bad. It kind of feels like a pair of long, burning hot needles have been pushed into the joints of my  big toe, and are being slowly spread apart with acid as lubrication. Though they are exceedingly rare, as gout tends to mostly strike men, I have met two women who suffer from gout. One of them has had children, and says the pain of gout is far worse than childbirth ever was. It fucking hurts. It hurts so bad that even a light breeze can make it feel like your foot is being crushed in a two-ton press. Ouch!

So, when I first got gout, I changed a lot things about my diet. Cut out a lot of red meat. Stopped drinking beer (not that I ever did so excessively – maybe a twelve pack a month, at most), cut back on meats in general. But, one of the triggers for gout is weight loss, and I’ve been losing a lot of weight, so I should have known this was going to happen.

But god, does it suck. I do have ways to manage it. I have ibuprofen, which helps. I have a med that is pretty damned good at lessening the length of the attack called indomethacin. Unfortunately, I’m also one of the lucky ones who suffers from that drug’s rare side effect of random loss of consciousness. Yep, I just pass out. At random. I’ve done so twice already, just sitting here at work. Thankfully, I haven’t yet fallen out of my chair.

But there’s not much I can do about it. Grrrrrr.

The disease of Kings. Sometimes, I think I take this medieval thing too far.

A tale of two fathers…

Today has been a rough day. My stepson, whom I adore, is away with his father for three weeks. And as I expected, my wife’s ex and his wife are playing games with us. Despite an agreement that we are allowed to call every night to speak briefly to our son, they ignore calls, texts, and when they do respond (rarely) promising to call back later, they never follow through. We have spoken to him a total of 18 seconds in the last week. My stepdaughter, who we all joke is really some time-switched bio child of mine, as our personalities are so alike, had to work a double shift today because her work fired one of their staff and she has been tasked to fill in. I got to see her for all of ten minutes this morning. My oldest bio son was able to share breakfast with me, before having to run off for a week on a Scout’s summer camp trip. I’ll see him briefly next Saturday before he goes off for another week with his mom for her summer visitation. My youngest bio son remained, but I had to spend most the day away from him, as I was helping my elderly father-in-law, with a wicked heart condition, do some emergency repairs on my wife’s childhood home…which they are selling.

But the roughest part of the day was the realization that, for the first time in my life, I didn’t have a father to call today.

I am a man who was blessed with two dads. My stepdad, David, will always be the person I think of most as “Dad”. He raised me, taught me so much about life, and loved me like I was his own. He passed away just over four years ago, after losing his battle with esophageal cancer. My bio dad, Roger…well, as a child, I barely knew him. He was an alcoholic and a career Navy man. When he wasn’t out at see, he was drunk. But he turned his life around, and as an adult, we got to know each other all over again, and I am not ashamed to say how proud I am of the man that he became. All of us, me and my siblings and my mother, felt this way.

He passed this last January.

I’ll be honest…I don’t have a lot of heart for words tonight. I had thought to do some writing with a child-free evening ahead of me. Instead, I have been low, sad, and sleepy. But…my dads would have wanted me to write something, and I felt terrible not doing so. So here I am. I am going to end this piece with the toughest words I have ever had to write in all my life. The first I wrote myself, the second, I collaborated with my siblings. The obituaries of my fathers.

***

My stepfather:

P01 David W. Ruth, USN (Ret.)

Warner Robins – Known as “Jackhammer” to his friends and co-workers, David Whitney Ruth died at the age of 63 on Sunday, February 21, 2010, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He passed in the peace of his home with Rosemary, his loving wife of twenty-seven years, at his side.

Born in Bisbee, Arizona, to David L. and Cora W. Ruth on August 18, 1946, David was the eldest of three sons. He graduated from Bisbee High School in 1965, and soon thereafter joined the United States Navy. It was while serving that he met Rosemary, whom he married on August 27, 1983.

A combat veteran of the Vietnam War, David retired from the Navy in 1985 after twenty years of proud service, having attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer 1st Class. Subsequently, he continued to serve his country as a Civil Servant first at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and then at Robins Air Force Base, where he transferred in 2000 and from which he retired in 2008 due to illness.

An extraordinarily creative man, David had a lifelong passion for woodworking, metalworking, and machining, as well as love of the art of calligraphy. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, swimming, was an avid reader as well as a motorcycle enthusiast and collector. However, of all his passions, none was greater than that for his family, to whom he was absolutely dedicated.

He will forever live in the hearts of his wife, Rosemary; children, Joseph, David, Mark, Julia, Shauna and Michelle, along with their significant others; eighteen grandchildren; brothers, Charles (known as “Bill”), and Jeffery; numerous nieces and nephews; lifelong friend, Ed Liest, and many other close friends and associates. His parents, David and Cora Ruth, and his ex-wife, Sandy, predeceased him.

At the request of the deceased, there will be no public service. In lieu of flowers or other memorials, the family respectfully requests that any such considerations be given to a local hospice organization. The family wishes to express special thanks and appreciation to the staff and caregivers of the Heart of Georgia Hospice.

***

My bio father:

Norfolk, VA:  Roger Paul Baron, died peacefully January 4, 2014 in the presence and prayers of family and friends. He was born September 27, 1943, in Manteno, Illinois, to the late Grace Ross Baron and Orville Baron. Enlisting at the age of 17, Roger spent 30 years of honored military service in the Navy, rising to the rank of Command Master Chief and serving in both the Cuban Missile Crisis and Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

He made his home in the Hampton Roads area for the remainder of his life and was fiercely passionate about family, friendship, and helping those around him, especially those in the recovery community. He was a beloved Father, Grandfather, Son and Friend and leaves a legacy of service and a family strongly rooted in the foundation he helped to build for them.

He loved and is survived by his four children and their spouses: Joseph Patrick Baron (Jennifer), Julia Lynn Escobar (Joseph Wang), Mark Ross Baron (Myndee), and Michelle Kay Henry (Joe); and grandchildren Kevin Baron, Cameron Baron, Hailey Escobar, Katherine Escobar, Emily Escobar, Jaden Baron, Riley Baron, Elijah Sebboy, Robert Lindsey, Anslea Bell, Xander Mann, Adam Wang, his ex-wife Rosemary Ruth and his long-time friend of more than 50 years, Jim Driver.

He is preceded in death by his older brother David Baron and also survived by younger brother Michael Baron.

The family would like to give extraordinary thanks and appreciation to Takeisha Bishop, Raina West and all the Hospice caregivers for their compassion and consummate care and tremendous assistance which will forever be appreciated.

There will be no graveside service. Condolences may be offered to the family at (funeral home website link).  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Roger’s name to the Wounded Warriors Project at http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/.

Four past midnight, but I’ve so much to say…

…and no will to say it.

It was a day of mixed emotions. Some very wonderful things happened, some, utterly draining.

The one I return to over and over is a relationship, long broken, that I can’t seem to let go of. I think, really, its because the breaking was not my fault.

Because I can accept when that happens. For all my good bits, I can be an asshole sometimes. I can become driven and focused and lose sight of the needs of others. I know this, I recognize it as one of my flaws. In the past, this has caused friction and sometimes, yes, broken relationships that I valued.

I own that. I do. I know that those moments were absolutely my fault and I accept the responsibility for creating them. And yes, I’m sorry I did.

This one is different.

This one is one broken not by my direct actions, but by the whisperings and wheedling of another.

And I don’t know what makes it worse – that this person continues to do their best to destroy my ability to enjoy things I love that they have NO other interest in otherwise?

Or that the relationship they managed to break was able to be broken by such things in the first place.

Alas, I know the real problem, in the end…is me.

I shouldn’t put people on so high of pedestals.

Good night, Bloglandia.

I have grown weary of this day.

Kick Fear in the Sack…

Three days of not writing is all it took to make it hard again. Well, not terribly hard. After all, here I am, writing and reading and commenting. The latter part helps more than I would have guessed; reading the works of the brilliant (and sometimes terrible) minds of the people I’ve stumbled across on this journey of habit formation is sometimes the very cure I need to my lethargy. I read your words, my friends, and weep. I read them and laugh. I read them and shout with excitement. I read them…and feel. Oh, so very much. And what is writing, what is reading, if not feeling?

A friend of mine, a fellow writer, mentioned that sometimes, she sits down to write, and wonders if it is worth it, if there aren’t better things she could be doing with her time. She also asked what excites us about writing, and what makes us scared. This was my reply:

Imagine if Hemingway had asked that. Or Tolkien. Or Rowling. The thing is, ALL writing is worth your time. Even if you were a terrible writer (which I doubt absolutely), the time you spent would not be wasted. I have read some terrible, awful fiction…and yet, it got published. And that terrible stuff inspires me to write. Maybe something less terrible. Maybe even something great, that will inspire and entertain, and maybe even teach someone a little. The point is, that wondering, that questioning of worth, is just another aspect of fear. Another way that fear is manipulating you and keeping you from doing what your heart wants. Kick fear in the sack. Write.

My moments of excitement are easy to define – they are the ones where I begin writing and become lost in the world of my imagination, when the words flow from my brain through my fingertips and onto the screen and I can say to myself “this is good stuff!” The moments of fear are less hard to define, as they can be so insidiously subtle. They are the moments where I am too tired to write (but not too tired to play a video game for several hours). They are the moments where I have a great idea, then sit down at the screen and stare at it blankly. They are the moments where I am a hundred pages into a work, then go back and read it and rip it all to shreds and start over. Fear sucks. Fear is, as Herbert so eloquently put it, the mind-killer. But when you conquer that fear? That is the best excitement of them all.

So that is my advice for today. The advice that I am going to take myself.

Kick fear in the sack.

Be excited.

WRITE!