Ribbit

“Be nice to Bernice!”

That was written on a sticky note next to the phone when I worked at the college radio station, WREK. Her story changed depending on who was telling it to you, but the consensus was that she was an older woman who lived alone and spent her time in front of the tv. One day she misdialed a number and got the WREK call-in line, discovering a phone number which almost always had someone there to answer she saved the number and began calling it frequently.

I remember clearly the first time I had a call from Bernice. I was playing some beautiful classical music and the phone rang, the latter being quite unusual during my show because I did the morning shift, 6am to 9am. It was quiet and let me play classical music, low stress, nothing big. So when the phone rang, I answered it.

“WREK.”

“Can rats climb up your drain pipes?”

That’s how the conversation opened.  She had an odd question and called WREK for some reason. I realized it was Bernice and so I let the conversation go on, I had another 10 minutes before the music ended.

“I think so… why?”

And off we went through her babbling story telling about finding a rat in her house and how it must of come through the drain pipes, the evils of rats and such. It was an unusual question and I genuinely tried to be helpful in answering it, I did think rats could climb up drain pipes. That story came back to me this morning after sleeping very deeply.

Yesterday K and I were in transit for approximately 13 hours, from Atlanta down I-75 to US-82, which crossed Georgia to drop grand mom off before getting on I-95 and taking it down to Titusville to pick up Mattie from K’s mom, then heading into town to try and pick up a CD for next week’s episode before finally heading home.

K and I had been getting ready for bed, both in the bathroom (which I had used previously when we first arrived home.) I lift the toilet lid to throw away a tissue, and both K and I jump back in surprise as a frog stares up at us from the bowl. I drop the toilet lid again and K and I just stare at each other in surprise.

I don’t know how he got into the toilet. There are a few possibilities:

  1. He hopped into the apartment when we were unloading the car and the door was open for periods of time, made his way to the bathroom and leapt into the toilet.
  2. He has been in the apartment and found his way to the toilet over the past few days.
  3. Teleportation.
  4. He came up the pipes somehow.

In any case, the frog was quickly removed from the toilet via a plastic bag and a hand. To be released outside, leaving K and I to laugh about it as we finally called it a night and fell into a deep sleep.

I stand by my answer to Bernice: animals can come up drains.

Tears and Laughter

This weekend was emotionally draining. Though, at the end of it, everyone was smiles. I’ll save a more lengthy write-up for later this week as I just got home an hour ago after 13 hours between leaving my brother’s home and arriving at mine.

I shed many tears and cried a fair bit through the weekend, my mother was an integral part of my life and saying goodbye to her is very difficult. I miss talking to her on the phone, I miss hearing her laugh, I miss her puns and so much more. But many things were said and shared this weekend to remind me of so many good times and good memories.

Also this weekend was an event mom would have dearly loved to be in the middle with the family coming together, playing together ranging from Poker to Charades to Guitar Hero 3.

I should also note that the Jarrett clan is looking for any family brave enough to stand against them in a Charades battle, we welcome any and all challengers. We rocked out with some amazing skills in Charades this weekend, by far some of the most fun we’ve had.

More stories to come.

It’s been a year

This weekend makes it a year since mom died and the week has gotten progressively more and more difficult. It’s coming on the back of working 16 out of the past 17 days (including weekends) and so my body, brain, heart and soul are just exhausted.

Tomorrow K and I will make our way up to Atlanta for a family gathering, we’ll pick up my grandmom on the way and we’ll be there through the weekend.

If you’re a friend in Atlanta, it is possible that Saturday night I’ll be looking to go out but more than likely this is a weekend wholly devoted to family and I won’t see any of you. My trips into Atlanta seem to echo this trend frequently and I’m sorry, but this more than others holds true to this meaning.

Sunday will be a memorial service and the actual burial of mom’s ashes at a plot in Roswell. It is just a family event, so no details are forthcoming.

Thank you all for your support over this past year.  It’s been tumultuous and has had many highlights, of which K has been a shining star, I don’t know how I would have survived this past year without her by my side.

That being said, I still miss mom each and every day. Many many times something has happened and I’ve wanted to pull out my phone to call her, only to remember that I can’t.

Adrenaline

I’m okay.

On the drive home from work, I’m slowing down for a stoplight and a bicyclist pops out between cars and hits the side of my car. He flipped off his bike and broke my driver side mirror. Let me tell you, time has never moved slower as I watched him come off his bike.

I stopped and began to pull off, opened my door as he stood up and picked up his bike.

“Are you okay?” I went to stand up out of the driver seat and felt the car begin to pull forward as my foot came off the brake, I had forgotten to shift gears to park and so I quickly sat down and regained control and pulled into the parking lot. I tried to play back the last thirty seconds, had I not been paying attention? How did this happen? Was it my fault? Is he okay? The questions raced through my mind as I pulled into a parking space at the 7-11.

As I shifted into park I checked my rearview and watched the guy bicycle away. I was perplexed by him leaving but relieved that he was okay.

Anyways, I parked the car and got out, looking around just trying to take stock of the situation. Two guys came over. One offered his info as witness to the guy riding off, he hadn’t seen the impact. And the other guy who came over kept telling me to wait for the police just in case someone called in my tag and assuring me it was alright and that he had seen the whole thing from the car next to me. He even said he tried to stop the guy from crossing but couldn’t.

I called 911 to be sure it had been called in, and waited. The chill hit quickly as the sun set and the cold front laid it on. I waited maybe 30 minutes before a cruiser pulled in with a young lady officer. We only chatted for a few minutes, I told her all the details but decided not to get a report. I took her card and she assured me that if it did somehow come back to me I was covered since I had waited for her and my 911 call was logged.

All in all, I only need to fix the mirror and hope the young guy is alright. I don’t know his story or why he rode off so quick but I’m calm and okay.

Can’t wait to call my mechanic and see if they can get a mirror for me, or to go hit the junk yards and see if I can easily find one.

Oaen’s Excellent Adventures

Having played Dungeons and Dragons for a while now, a new character is refreshing especially when he’s not like anything you’ve played before. I find myself all too often falling into a mercenary fighter role, sometimes a valiant hero but that’s much less common. So when I knew I needed a character, Oaen (pronounced Owen) was about as different as I could get.

See, Oaen is 3’4″ tall and about as smart as a rutabaga. As a player, I go into every gaming session looking for stunts to pull which should, in all honesty, end up in the death of poor Oaen. The problem is that Oaen is built, in terms of the game, to be damn hard to kill. Let’s give you a rundown of the latest gaming session.

You know what? Screw that, here’s the story from Oaen himself.

***

Continue reading “Oaen’s Excellent Adventures”

From a character came a whole world

A few years ago I devoted a great deal of time to developing a fictional world, complete with language, history, characters, politics, geography and much more. I still have most of the documents on my computer, though I haven’t looked at them in a while. It’s a hobby which comes and goes depending on my time and moods.  I don’t know if I’ll ever return to the first world I created, the stories petered out and all that was left was to continue to trudge through my lexicon as I attempted to make more and more words.

Much more recently, I’ve had a world blossoming in my head, all from the simple concept of a character. The setting is “Steampunk,” a term used to describe a world without the internal combustion engine, when steam power provides all. Sometimes that world involves magic, but not always. Usually clockwork and steam power has advanced such that it can now mimic much of today’s technology. It’s often Victorian or maybe western in settings, but not always. With this setting in mind, I came up with a character named “Silas Strauss.” A young, barrel-chested man. As my image of him came into a more clear focus I realized that Silas worked in the blue-collar realm, not a Prince or nobility of any sort – he worked and enjoyed it.

His work though eluded me for a long time. Did he work onboard an airship? Or on a train? In a factory? What was it. Eventually I realized he worked either shoveling coal or laying rails for the trains to move on. And from there the world exploded around him, it’s amazing when you discover the key element how much more can come to you. I quickly had to grab a pad and scribble notes to myself.

“Silas Strauss – Burly and barrel-chested. He is the Serviceman of the 7th Rail Squad for the 4th Battalion in His Royal Majesty’s Exploratory forces, his duties alternate between laying railroad and shoveling coal on board one of the engines.”

Imagine the times when we had to first lay railroad rails across the US, exploring into the deep unknown. But imagine if the land was even bigger, what if it had been the size of Asia? One railroad track would obviously be too few as the forces would be huge, laying track for multiple trains only made sense! If your kingdom was big enough and you had the supplies, you could lay two, three or four tracks simultaneously allowing trains to run supplies and keep the forces mobile. Your supply line would be crucial for this large of an exploratory force.

And Silas is a small cog in the machine for these forces. How would life be? He’d work day in and day out. He wouldn’t suffer the fear or questions explorers on the high sea might, the tracks would always be behind you, meaning you could always find your way home. But you’d also know just how far you’d be from home.

The world grows more and more in my mind, my notes in the Google Docs folder are piling up. I guess a story might come out of this. At the least, I’m hoping to put together a steampunk costume for D*Con.

Diesel

K and I took Mattie to the dog park this weekend, the drive there had us worried because it was raining and we weren’t sure if this would all be for nothing. Driving with Mattie in the car is heart wrenching for me, she whines and whimpers from her kennel and so I hate taking her anywhere without it ending in fun – in hopes one day she’ll be excited about car rides.

We got the park and it was still a very light drizzle, so we decide to hop out and wait it out under the pavilion. While there a man came over with a truly massive English Mastiff. Don’t underestimate my meaning when I say massive, this dog on hind legs may not have been as tall as me, but his head was massive and he could have played the Monster in Disney’s Sandlot movie.

The mastiff’s name, as it turns out was Diesel and he was very sweet. K and I asked his owner about what it takes to own such a big dog and he laughed as he ran us through the evening routine. Simply put, the dog isn’t an apartment dog, it needs a big house and yard. Even though Mastiffs won’t run very much, they do still need the space.

14.1 seconds

14.1 on the clock. The Magic take a timeout before they inbound the ball. The entire arena, 20,000 people are on their feet cheering for both the Magic and the Celtics, the game is tied 93 each. The Celtics are the best team in the league, with only seven losses so far this season. The Magic and Celtics have both won on their home turf this season putting their record at 1-1.

Hedo inbounds to Arroyo, Arroyo holds the ball the passes it back to Hedo. Hedo is our go to clutch shooter, he is one of our top players and we try to get the ball in his hands in the final seconds as he has a definite ability to sink them when it counts.

So I watch as he holds the ball and holds the ball, obviously making sure the Celtics won’t have a shot if he misses, taking us to overtime. 3 seconds on the clock he moves left, 2 seconds he slips right, 1 second left with a defender in his face he jumps up and takes a three point shot from beyond the arc.

The alarm blows and the backboard goes red as the clock expires, lighting the ball as it falls through the basket and net. The arena explodes, we’re all jumping around and high fiving. Magic win 96-93! It was one of those magical moments, the world falls away and there is only adrenaline

The NBA, where awesome happens.

I have to watch Sports Center tomorrow morning.

Mattie

So we’re back from Manhatten, we arrived late-ish on Sunday and yesterday I took to recover and return to the real world. K and I had a list of errands to run and then we decide to go to the humane society and look at dogs since they’re normally closed by the time I get off work. Sure enough we fall in love with this girl:

We think she’s a Cock-a-poo that is a mix of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle, the Humane Society had her marked as a Cocker Spaniel. She’s a bit overweight and her fur is horribly matted (to the point we expect the groomers to just have to shave her tomorrow.) She’s darling though, very loving, though I did have to get up at 3:30 this morning to walk her. And as grumpy as I was about it, I was glad she was insistent enough to wake us up rather than piddle on the carpet.

Her name, “Mattie” is short for Manhattan since it is where we just returned from, and she’s got a glitz-glamour personality. In fact, her full name is “Manhattan Mix-a-lot” because baby’s got back. She’s quite overweight, we can only guess that her previous owners stuffed her full of treats and didn’t walk her nearly enough. K and I agreed on the rules, no doggie treats though she does seem to interpret ice as a treat which is good. We’re going to feed her in the morning, and give her 3+ walks a day. We were told about the “Green bean” diet which is supposed to help dogs lose weight, so I’m investigating that as well.

K and I sat on the couch last night, catching up on the DVR, and Mattie laid between us just happy to be with people I think. Yes, we’re thoroughly enamored with her, eager to train her and to take her to the dog park.

My newest Podcast

Yesterday was awesome. The “big idea” has finally come to life. Yesterday we recorded the first episode of my new video podcast, “ManaNation.” I was so excited all day, I was just a giddy school boy. It’s been in the works for over 3 months now and to finally have it rolling and happening is a great feeling.

The show is going to be a weekly video podcast all about Magic: the Gathering. The market is ripe for a weekly video podcast, there’s one out there but it’s closer to a narrated slideshow usually, though interestingly enough the guy who makes it is popular enough that it got him an invitation to the Magic Invitational which is a big honor.

It’s a great feeling for a big project like this to actually take off. A great feeling.

You can check the site out at: My Magic Podcast but the first episode won’t be up until Sept. 24