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Bring the Paine (part II)

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(continued)

Pacific Ocean, 201 miles off the Oregon coast

May 12th, 2019

There are three decks above the water line on this craft, leaving only the engine room to be surrounded by water on all sides. I’ve been through this ship extensively since the last of my crew finally succumbed to his wounds. I might have cried had I known them any better, but I didn’t. Plus, I haven’t cried since I was a little girl, and I don’t plan on doing it now. I knew how my life was going to turn out by the time I was fifteen, and I don’t regret much of it up to this point.

I’ve had a good life to be honest. It’s been hard, but it’s been fair for the most part. Whatever I’ve earned I’ve been grateful for, and whatever life’s taken from I don’t regret losing all that much.

The monitor on my hip just went from calm green to red on the soundbar. The kid’s waking up already like I knew he would. I was hoping that I’d get at least a little more time, but it’s all or nothing at this point, and there’s no such thing as a reprieve. The Coast Guard’s already been alerted to leave this vessel alone until further notice, and I doubt my employer is going to give the green light until satellite images show me popping green smoke or the boat is no longer visible on the waves.

One way or another it’s got to end today if the Coast Guard is going to do anything. The owner of the vessel must be popping a few blood vessels by now, but he wasn’t given much of a choice. We had to appropriate his vehicle with his permission or steal it and tell him to bite the big one, so to speak. You can guess which option we took. Rich people don’t often want to share their toys, especially if it means they won’t get them back in one piece.

This tub is wired with enough C4 to put a hole in the Great Wall of China, meaning that the moment I dial up the number on the cellphone I’m carrying, speed dial thankfully, there’s going to be nothing left of this craft but a drifting cloud of black smoke and a charred frame waiting for the Pacific to claim it.

I can hear a lot of grunting and straining as the kid wakes up. He’s trying to break his bonds, which would be impossible when he’s calm and contained. But as I continue to listen I hear the guttural, demonic-sounding voice that has plagued my waking and sleeping hours since I met this kid. What kind of condition he’s got I don’t know. The kid is either a mutant like from the old comics I used to love, or he’s possessed. It’s hard to tell since he has the strength of a goddamned bull when he gets going and the temperament of a pissed-off badger.

You think I’m joking? I literally saw him rip two fingers from the hand of one of my guys and shove them…well, that part doesn’t matter. He’s a tough little bastard, that’s all that does matter. And as I keep listening I can hear the sound I was hoping against hope wouldn’t come. The sound of nylon straps ripping and snapping under intense pressure, the cracking of tile as the kid hits the floor, and the animal-like growl that tells me he’s coming.

Game on.

(to be continued)

Damage Control Is Pointless When the Bomb Already Dropped

He changed….one…word. And that’s supposed to make it better. Who are Trump’s writers, who are these folks that think one word being changed out of the entire debacle that happened in Helsinki is going to mean that much? It’s almost as if saying “I’m sorry, you misunderstood my intentions when I threw you under the bus. I didn’t mean to throw you under the tires, just under the bus.”

I would ask at this point if Trump is for real but for the past year and a half it’s become quite clear that we’re not sharing a nationwide nightmare that some people think is sprinkled with pixie dust because of the few good things he’s done. Trump put another nation before his own in terms of who he could trust the most, leaving it very clear on where he stands and just what he happens to think of the USA as opposed to Russia.

He’s ridiculed the USA’s allies, tried to put them in their place by doing and saying whatever he pleases, and is continuing to alienate people even as he tries in a very half-hearted fashion to explain why his faux pas wasn’t what people thought it was. And he changes…one…word. At this point one has to wonder how he passed his exams in college. Did he have another group of writers or fellow students rather on his payroll making sure he passed and was made to look like a genius?

Whoever his writer’s are now, they’re either not being paid enough to care or they’re being paid too much to produce absolutely nothing. Wait, it is a government job…..

What Defines Us?

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There are so many things that define a human being, but many of them have to do with how we see ourselves in this world and how we react when this world attempts to see something different. Life knocks you down with ease as you grow and experience its many different facets, but one thing that defines the human race is that we continue to get back up.

We’re tougher than we think, smarter, and far more determined than we know. While Mother Nature and Father Time can sweep us aside without a single bit of difficulty the truth is that our species continues to rise, to get back up and continue to trod forward no matter what happens. One of the many meanings of life is to go forward, to stride into the future without worrying about what happened in the past. From the moment we fall, and it will happen, we are learning. From the moment we get back up, we’re stating that we might fail, we might fall, but we won’t be stopped.

There is much learned by success, but there is more to learn from a fall, from a failure, as it teaches us how to get back up, how to find that defining moment when we won’t simply back down, when we won’t admit defeat, and when we won’t go gently into that good night (thank you Mr. Thomas). Our species is far from perfect, but we’re not quitters when it comes to life. Like any creature that’s ever walked, flown, swam, or crawled upon this world we know only one direction, and that’s forward.

What defines humanity, at least in one aspect, is that we won’t simply stay down.

We’re All Going Crazy Together…According to Trump

“While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy,”

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/17/politics/white-house-mood-donald-trump-vladimir-putin-news-conference/index.html

How’s that saying go? If it’s one person it might be nothing, if it’s a few people it might be something, but if it’s everyone then it might be true that everyone’s out to get you? I’m very certain that that’s not it, but in this case it might be time to coin a new phrase just for the POTUS. Let’s try this on for size.

“It’s not fake news if everyone’s saying the same thing.”

It might need a little work, but it certainly does seem to get to the point since at this time the only ones thinking that Trump performed admirably in Helsinki would be Trump, Putin (maybe), and those few supporters that aren’t busily scratching their heads wondering just what he was thinking about when he tossed the USA under the bus.

Even his most loyal supporters are wondering what happened. A few of them might be delusional enough to think that he simply had a bad day and didn’t prepare enough for his speech, but let’s wait and see how things turn out before we all really dig in our heels and sharpen our pitchforks.

Remember, his presidency isn’t over yet. Oy.

Critics Have Their Uses….As Long as They’re Critics

“If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

—Brené Brown

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It’s so much more fun to hear praise than it is to hear criticism, especially from those that aren’t paid to critique anyone and decide to take up the role of the keyboard cowboy, throwing out their opinion and treating it as though it’s worth it’s weight in gold. Critics do and don’t have an easy job to be honest, and they suffer a great deal for what they do while the same time act like parasites that only seem capable of knocking those things they believe they understand. That’s the dichotomy of the job however, and the responsibility of those being criticized is to take it, learn from it, and choose whether to accept it and change or deny it and do what they want to do.

Critics aren’t there to actively ruin your life, no matter what you do or how they feel about you. A good critic, yes there are many of them believe it or not, will point out flaws as a way to open someone’s eyes and perhaps inspire them to do something greater, something more worthwhile with their time and talent. Poor critics will attack, good critics will offer constructive criticism that can possibly enlighten those that are being criticized. After all, if someone finds a flaw in your work it could be a matter of personal bias and/or subjectivity, which would be a good indicator of a critic that is in the wrong job.

The argument of the critic being able to do your job however is kind of null and void because unless they have no true idea of what it is you do, then there’s a chance that they’ve studied and even done what you do, so they have the inside track and can make an objective and fair judgment. But again, a good critic, yes stifle your disbelief for a moment, will gladly make suggestions, perhaps even find the good in a project, and give ideas of how things could have gone to make something better. The bad critic is the one that will seek to tear you down without ever bothering to make a suggestion other than to quit, to give up on your dreams.

Those tend to be the critics that couldn’t make it doing what you do, or anything that they might have wanted to do. Those are critics that find it easier to tear people down in order to make themselves feel better so that they can sleep at night knowing that someone else feels as miserable as they do. In other words, those are the people you feel a bit sorry for since they feel the need to be nasty rather than nice.

You don’t need continual compliments, criticism of anything you do is just fine so long as people are willing to see the good in what you’re doing as well as offer advice on how to make something more appealing. Personally I never cared for critics, but as I’ve grown I’ve found a use for them more and more, and it’s helped immensely to realize that good criticism is not an attack, but rather someone granting advice on how to go about one project or another.

You don’t have to accept it, but paying attention is a good idea.

As for those that chime in and act snarky or nasty and aren’t critics to begin with? Treat them like an errant breeze, there to make noise in your ear and gone the next second, as though they were never there.

Going Home

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I was raised in more than one town, but there’s only one town which I’ll claim.

I wasn’t raised there, I came to it late,

But it’s it’s the home my heart calls to all the same.

Home is your family, your friends, and where you feel that you belong. Nowhere in my life have I ever felt this strongly, nowhere have I felt such peace as I do when I’m at home. It’s difficult to explain, as some get it and some don’t, but the sands and the surf of the Long Beach Peninsula have called to me since I was young, an insistent roar in my mind and my heart that’s difficult to ignore, so I don’t.

Being away from home for so long has been hard, but knowing it’s so close does help. Realizing however that it’s so close and yet so far, that I’ve become a tourist in my own home, is perhaps one of the painful things of all. I don’t feel like a tourist, I don’t act like a tourist, and yet my family and I don’t live there, so it’s hard not to let others identify us as such. My family doesn’t yet know the joy of living in a place that’s still small enough to enjoy, the thrill of a place where you know your neighbors, where people want you around, and where the world slows down at some point instead of pushing full-steam ahead every second.

It will change, as everything does, but the feeling never goes away. One of these days I’ll be coming home, and with my family, home to stay.

I’m coming, we’re coming, and someday we’ll walk the sands and say, “We’re home.”

My Books (Of Light and Shadows)

Here’s another three of the series. Believe me I’ve got books for days, just waiting to get to people that love reading a good story with strong, vibrant characters.

The best part of course is that you can preview the books before deciding to buy them at a very reasonable price. But I’ll tell you now, the preview is just a taste, the story is worth more than the little peek you get.

How Long is the Road to Treason?

Or rather, how much rope can a person be given before they finally reach the end and hang themselves? Trump is not making himself look that great, and while it might be wiser to take a look at the things he’s done for the country and turn a blind eye to some of the things that shouldn’t matter, like his odious behavior, his ability to congratulate himself for things he can’t do no matter if he thinks he can. But this is something that people aren’t willing to forget, or at this point forgive.

It’s very amusing that Trump shows no tact with other world leaders, that he decides to perform the act of a pseudo-alpha male with those that won’t call him out on the garbage performance that he enacts in front of them. But when it comes to Putin he’s very soft-handed, doesn’t answer questions in a direct manner, and goes back to an argument that was used before the election had even begun. He has “great confidence” in his intelligence people, but Putin is just “strong” in his denial and telling the truth from his own angle.

The POTUS just threw the American people under the bus to be honest. He had the chance to look at a world leader that is known as a thug to so many and tell him that America won’t be fooled with and won’t be pushed around….and he did nothing. He allowed Putin to speak, which is right and proper, and then promptly defended him after stating that his own team, who has the regrettable task of having to keep him informed and keep him in the loop, was in the wrong. Oh yes, he stated that both sides were in the wrong, but his vague and almost fanboy manner towards Putin has a great many people ready to lambaste him should he step out into the public eye yet again.

Even those that have supported him to this point are thinking twice about what they saw. Those that have denied he’s anything but a narcissistic bully are now looking at their elected POTUS askance, perhaps thinking:

“What just happened?”

He just threw his nation under the bus folks. Trump had a chance to stand his ground and defend his nation, and he rolled over to expose his belly to Putin. That’s the POTUS.

That’s a long, long road he gets to walk.

The Little Things (part I)

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Anacortes, WA

December 3rd, 2018

It was always the little things that counted the most. The big things just got in the way, they were harder to carry, harder to keep, but the little things, oh the little things they….

He lost his train of thought again, and she was going to mad with him again. But if he found the little thing, the little thing that she really wanted, then maybe she wouldn’t be mad. Maybe she wouldn’t be so mad at him. Rocking back and forth where he stood Linus began to moan as he usually did when he thought about how mad, how angry, how FURIOUS Maple would get sometimes when he lost things. She would get so mad that she yelled at him, that she threw things at him, and those things hurted, they hurted so bad sometimes, they-

“Hey!”

Linus yelled and did the only thing he knew how to do when someone grabbed him as he and the bad person fell to the ground. He was aware of a loud noise that was suddenly there and gone, but then he was slapping, and kicking, and trying to bite as the bad person held him, held him down, oh God he didn’t want to be held down he hated being touched he hated hated hated it!

“Okay! Okay I’m off!” the bad person shouted, letting him go as Linus tried to scramble to his feet. It was hard with the ice on the ground and the snow and the melted stuff that made his shoes squeak. But he had to get away from the bad person, the bad person would hurt him again, he would touch him again, and that wasn’t okay, nope, nope, not okay at all, it-

“Linus, look at me.”

He knew that voice. It took Linus a moment, but he knew that voice, and he knew who it belonged to. Raisin his eyes slowly, not wanting to look at the bad person for fear that it might be a trick, he smiled as he saw the familiar face of Todd, Todd Aimes, the nice guy Todd Aimes from the grocery store! But Todd was all covered in snow and ice and melted snow and ice. What had happened?

“You, you’re all we-wet,” Linus managed to stammer out. Todd looked at him funny for a brief moment, Linus didn’t like people looking at him that way but Todd could look at him that way because he was Todd, the nice guy, not the bad person he’d thought. Todd wasn’t a bad person because he was nice to Linus and cared about him. He even let him have a cookie when Linus came to see him, but Maple didn’t let him finish it, she usually threw the last half away.

“Yeah, I had to save someone from walking into the street,” Todd said with a smile, brushing himself off, “You okay?”

Linus blinked, wiping at the snow and ice chips on his person as he realized he was wet too. The bad person, no, no no bad person it was Todd, had stopped him from walking into the street. He hadn’t been looking, he’d been too busy worrying about the little things, when…

“I’m sor-sorry,” Linus almost moaned, grief appearing on his face instantly as he felt like the biggest dummy in the world, “I’m so, so-sorry!”

“Linus, look at me,” Todd said. Those words always made him feel so much better when Todd said them, because Todd really looked at him, not past him like everyone else. That’s why he liked Todd.

(to be continued)

 

My Books (Of Light and Shadows)

I mention my books a lot but since it’s so easy for books to get buried on Amazon I thought I’d share them here and allow you to follow the link if you want. The first three books I’ve got on here are from my series Of Light and Shadows, and detail a fantasy story that takes place in my hometown on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington. The story is one I’ve been working on for the past decade and more and begins when a mysterious woman selects nine high school students as her next Chosen, representatives of the Light and the Dark that will bring balance back to the world, or send it screaming into damnation.

These first three books are something I worked on in my mid to late 20s and still need a bit of editing, but the story is gripping enough that it should suck you right in.