Wednesday, January 27, 2010

040.) A Lesson in Perseverance -- Sort Of.

If I haven't already mentioned it, I am a staunch supported of the West Memphis Three (also here and here). I have been known to stalk people through the aisles of my work establishment, brandishing my little orange strips of protest and berating them for not being willing to even set foot in the library to gain access to free internet service -- and beating them with couch pillows when they get snarky.

Okay, not really. But I do hand people those aforementioned strips of paper whenever they question me about the dog tags round my neck. So, in effect, they deserve whatever reaction they get from me concerning the case and their indifference to it; how does no one seem to know or care about these three men?

Obviously, this is something I'm very passionate about -- and while it might not come anywhere near my feelings of love and adoration to a dead man and his ideals (the truth to Jon Krakauer's lies can be found here), I do still have a whole heck of a lot of fight in me for three Arkansans I have never met.

Among other things, I have sent a letter a month to the President. Well, one to that git and all the rest to our current President. October through July or August, I can't remember. So it wasn't quite a year (which must say a lot about my character, as I seem to have been struck with a condition at nineteen that has left me nigh unable to finish anything I start (more on that here) -- or perhaps I take on far too much (like the four books I'm reading, and the three novellas and half a dozen novels I have planned, and the play I can see only one scene of, and the quilt I want to make though I cannot sew...). Anyway, I wrote the letters and clipped them to the mailbox and become completely downhearted when I didn't receive a response to a single one.

Then what happens?

I gather the mail yesterday  to find a simple white envelope, return labeled "The White House". There my name is, beautifully written by an unknown hand who knew not that the abbreviation for Wisconsin is not WO but WI).

The envelope was not thick, nor was it a fancy cardboard thing hinting of a hand written response one should frame immediately.

I opened the letter anyway, with my special golden sword letter opener (this was a special occasion after all).

I was a little saddened to see that it wasn't hand written, but then I perked up when I saw the signature. "Barack Obama". Maybe it's a stamp, but it looks true. There are even tiny puddles where the pen paused to breathe.

He calls me "Dear Friend" in his letter, though I'm sure he calls everyone that, and while he doesn't specifically mention the West Memphis Three by name he does inform me about his agenda to completely overhaul the criminal justice system.

So it's a form letter.

I got a form letter from the President of the United States of America.

How cool is that?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

38.) Why Is This Not Working?

So, I've joined this site Authonomy dot com with the intention of posting "Side Order of Fries" there and being seen and heard, right?

I create my profile, upload an older picture of myself and start setting up the book. All of this goes very well - right up until I'm asked to start posting chapters.

First I'm asked "How many chapters?" would I like to upload.

So I choose a number, any number, between one and fifty.

Then I go down the line (after saving each and every chapter of my mystery novel in a different format, in its own separate file), naming my chapters as I go, and then I hit "NEXT", assuming that I'll now be going to the "GO LIVE" section of the process and start peddling my work.

Of course this doesn't happen.

Apparently, neither my Word nor Rich Text Format documents are valid documents.

Apparently, these are still not valid after re-formating, re-saving and re-saving my chapters again. And then again. And then for the third time.

Even trying to upload my chapters one at a time is no good.

I dislike technology with great intensity.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

037.) Baseball and Tears Go Hand-in-hand

Sodding Yankees.

At least we're holding onto the Wild Card - barely.

Friday, August 21, 2009

036.) Meditation at the Tattoo Parlor, Part Troix

Like any other session day it began on the bench reading a book ("Requiem for a Dream") without actually reading the book, for I was far too consumed with what was to transpire inside once the signs were flipped and the parlor opened.

It had rained earlier; the wooden slats of the bench's seat were damp. So, of course, as I sat there with an ever chilling ass, Dropkick Murphy came out of the shop. We exchanged greetings and for a while I reverted back to my book, wanting to finish a paragraph before I went inside. By doing so I must have been in Dropkick Murphy's way. He lit up on the sidewalk, obviously waiting for me to vacate the spot on the bench nearest the ash-bucket (and without a broken slat).

When finally I did move away from the bench, I cast a pathetic glance at the OPEN sign in the window, lamented the shyness which dominates my very existence and said:

"I know I sound anal-retentive for saying this, but your sign is crooked and it's bothering me."

It really wasn't, not badly enough to mention it, but I was desperate to say something. I would very much like to be a social butterfly.

I went inside to sit on the couch in the lounge.
Pete Kugel
(also here) was guest spotting in the parlor (and if you haven't - buy some Wisconsin Skinny merch now. I mean now. This very instant - you can come back to my blog later). Or maybe he just booked the day to hang out. Either way, he was already tattooing the back of a very large man (but that's fine because he didn't appear to be a child rapist or axe murderer or anything; a nice man) with very exquisite tattoos.

Meanwhile, the artist slaving away over my insanely tedious work placed third at the Milwaukee Beer City Tattoo Convention in the Men's L competition for a backpiece he did. Congratulations to him!

When Dropkick Murphy finished his cigarette break, he pulled back the black blinds to straighten the very crooked OPEN sign.

It was bothering him as well, or so he said.

I wasn't about to tell him that the "CLOSED" marker for Monday's business hours seemed to be peeling away from the sign in an almost moth-like way.

Speaking of winged insects, as I sat on the couch reading my book a blonde woman came into the parlor. Not having raised my head to see who had walked through the door, I at first thought she was someone I knew (the voice was familiar); however, she was simply a random stranger who wanted Dropkick Murphy to cover up an existing tattoo that she hated with quite a bit of passion.

Dropkick Murphy proceeded to explain that in order to cover up the tattoo (which I thought I heard her say was a Celtic cross) he would need to make the new work larger and darker - and even then,

"You know it's there, so you'll still see it."

He then asked what she might like.

"A flower."

Not being one to read minds, Dropkick Murphy gently asked what kind of flower - because

"There are a lot of flowers out there."

To prove this statement, or to help the woman along, he turned to the computer and commenced an image search. He rattled off a few genera of flowers.

The woman then announced that she would be fond of a cross (or, rather, another one to cover the old one) or a butterfly.

Dropkick Murphy took a picture of the offending tattoo on the woman's arm. He then wrote down her name and phone number, explaining that he would need to draw out a design but would get in touch with her later.

"Like an hour?"

I would have liked to have seen the look on his face, but I was too busy trying to hide behind my book. It would have been rude of me to laugh.

The woman said that she would stop in in a few days, a week, and was politely refused.

"I'll call you."

One cannot rush an artist after all.

He then left for his station before I could comment on the woman (and how bleeding hearts or another type of vining flower might go well - but, then again, what do I know?).

After this, I met with Renoir who once again did a superb job. I'm so much closer to being complete.

But one thing worries me.

If Renoir opens his shop in West Bend like he's always intended to (I heard that might be in October) and passes down this tattoo parlor to Dropkick Murphy and K├Ârperpiercing... I know that they're capable of doing fine work because if they weren't I'm sure they wouldn't be working where they are, but still.

The last thing I want is to kick K├Ârperpiercing in her pretty face if she's the one to work on my feet.

What about Dropkick Murphy, then? Do I want him tossing obscenities at my chest while he slaves over a chest piece I have yet to envision? Or gnashing his teeth as he figures out a way to stretch a line of text from ribcage to ankle without it getting wonky over time?

I needn't freak out. I am just slightly resistant to change, that's all.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

035.) Both the Bane and Lifeblood of My Existence

Sometimes I keep typing, even if what comes to the page is from no known language on earth, hoping that the sweet sound of clacking glass-covered keys and 1940s-era chiming bell will spark something deep within me - something of a magnitude hitherto unseen in literature.

Other times I simply bang my head against the mocking "Royal" decal.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

034.) Keepsakes In Other People's Suitcases

At my job I often rescue quite a lot of things from certain death. Solid steel typewriters from a bygone era (one of which I have sitting beside my bed and use to write my novel before transferring those rough copies to the computer, a typewriter I shall post pictures of at a later date), books, handbags, bed linen (with a slight tear or two easily remedied by a needle and thread), freaky yet awesome miscellaneous items and too many other things to name.

One of these many other items I rescued is this:

A farmer's suitcase from a long, long time ago (that's a genuine Bakelite handle there, folks!) which I've dressed up with equally mature postcards, the majority being from my own ancestry. Sadly, the suitcase did not come with a key so I do have the occasional nightmare of finding the latch closed and the precious contents inside forever lost because I would be loath to destroy this handsome piece of engineering (and the family photographs, postcards on it).

The precious cargo inside the suitcase?

Among other things, I have:

An "I Rock With Obama" t-shirt which should not at all be in a wooden suitcase. (I cast my first ever Presidential vote and nearly died from the pride of it all - and Obama still lost this county in which I live). But, the other day I came across a brand new, still in the package "t-shirt frame". Very soon will this cotton slice of American history be showcased in a proper place. Where, I haven't decided; I haven't the wall space.

Three ornaments from one of my late Grandmother Alys's themed Christmas trees. This is the same grandmother who collected lawn gnomes (by that one guy who stuck a penny on the gnome's underside) and who collected so many that they were everywhere. Outside on the lawn, on benches, in the garden, the dooryard, the concrete patio, the driveway. Inside on the fireplace mantle, on side tables, in bedrooms.

I have had a horrific fear of lawn gnomes since my infancy.

An empty toilet paper roll from the slumber/"Bon Voyage, Lora!" party which took place my freshman year of high school. Topics of this party included but were not limited to The Burning Bed (purchase here or here), "Teaching Mrs. Tingle", houses which needed to be and were toilet papered, and a single question asked by Ms. Burning Bed regarding a certain school wrestler who reciprocated my feelings of adoration in kind (though I realized this far too late in that bitter gift of hindsight; at the time, all I did was blush and revel in my clinical depression, resulting in this crush of mine turning ornery and hateful).

Also, a plastic bouncy ball from the local Chinese restaurant where I went with Apt Teacher (9th paragraph down if you'd be so kind) and a boy who I thought I loved (because he somehow reminded me of that wrestler in the 9th grade).

A soda bottle from the first and only car pool to MATC for the Graduation For Dummies Class scheduled Career Profiling. We drove in a mini van, ate pizza, and drank these Black Bear sodas bought at Pick 'N Save from the kid who reminded me of that 9th grade wrestler. Said kid fell out of the van. I still have the pictures taken of that fall...

And you may notice the writing in blue ink behind that soda bottle. It reads

RFD #1

So, Mr. Klein or any surviving heir(s), I have your suitcase. It is serving me very well and I promise to take good care of what was once yours. Thank you, Sir.

A signed -


SIGNED head shot of Ellen Burnstyn. The Ellen Burnstyn. I sputter just looking at that picture, which some idiot decided to get rid of at a tag sale (the plastic document sleeve the head shot is stored in bears the disgusting price of "$3.00") and unbelievably poor signed Ellen Burnstyn didn't sell at the tag sale and went to the thrift store from which I snagged her.

She is even stored, in her plastic document sleeve, along side of

President Lyndon "Let's-Go-Kill-Your-Husbands-and-Fathers-and-Children-in-Vietnam" Johnson. Notice the location of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My mother went to college for 40 years at Pennsylvania State University, some 91.6 miles away from Harrisburg at University Park. I wonder if she went to that gathering? I wonder if this gathering was anywhere around the time her college sweetheart and first husband was murdered in that war no one belonged in?

So that's it then. A peek at some of the numerous items I have crammed into Bill Klein's suitcase.
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