Archive | May, 2013

Innocence and Truth

Posted on 31 May 2013 by Valkyrie

20130530_173726Daniel is a young man that I have been honored to get to know over the last several weeks. He frequents the coffee shop that I do. I am there 2 nights a week for an hour, as my sons practice Martial Arts a few buildings down. I see Daniel on Thursdays.

Thursday, at this particular coffee shop, is open mic night – Daniel is always there, eager to make new friends and is excitedly impatient, waiting for that moment to arrive when he gets to stand up on stage and be a performing comedian, or share with the audience his latest writings. You will usually see him sitting down at a table rehearsing his material, or making his rounds with familiar faces and even new faces that come in. He is a breath of fresh air. Not a shy bone in his body.

At first seeing Daniel, it is apparent he has a handicap. He is slow in his speech and unstable in his physical movements. I assumed it was Cerebral Palsy.

Yesterday afternoon, after ordering my Latte and finding a table outside with the sun hitting my back, I sat by myself – spending the moments enjoying the sights and people watching. I will admit, I was a bit bored. Then, I see the door swing open and Daniel steps out, walking directly to me, as if that was his mission. When he gets to my table, he asks if he can sit down. I agree, happily. He sits and tells me his name; I tell him my name, extending my hand for a handshake… with me making the comment that his hands were ice cold. He says it was due to his iced tea that he was holding as he sets it on our table.

I begin asking Daniel if he is going to perform his comedy tonight. He states he is, and then asks politely if he can read me his material. I oblige, so he pulls out his pocket notebook and flips through the pages finding what it is he wrote that day, to perform at open mic night.

As he begins reading me his written words from his notebook, something happens in me. I soften. I realize that what he is reading isn’t comedy at all, rather the most beautiful poetry I have probably ever heard. His material is right up there with the Greats. He continues to flip through the pages and reads to me, more and more of his writings. I am mesmerized by this young man’s talent and willingness to be so open and share so much of himself. I was very moved.

After he finishes reading to me, we begin to have the most wonderful conversation. I am known in my circles for asking lots and lots of questions, as I am inquisitive by nature. Not in a nosey fashion, by any means… rather, that of pure interest in another person’s experiences. Besides, how often are we graced with getting to sit across from another and connect and have conversation where questions are welcomed and answers are anticipated? These are my favorite times.

Daniel gifted me that – conversation with no barriers or walls. He welcomed my questions and I waited for his answers. It was at this moment where he warned me he was a Glory Hog. So it worked for us… him wanting attention, and me asking my pressing questions of interest.

In this process, this is what I found out about my new dear friend – enjoy getting to know Daniel… I surely did:

Daniel is 25 years old. He was riding his bike home after school one day when he was 7 years old, with his sister, who was 12. He was hit by a car, knocking him to the ground so hard, that his head hit first. This left his life in peril and him remaining in a coma for 6 months with major head trauma.

When he awoke from his coma, he was diagnosed with having Cerebral Palsy on the left side of his brain, and traumatic injury on the right side of his brain. Daniel would never be the same. He shared with me yesterday that he still is not done healing and is getting stronger every day. He also suffers severely from headaches… hence, him being at the coffee shop so frequently. He says caffeine helps with the pain. The Owner at the coffee shop has also hired him to be a Sign Waver at a nearby corner. He states he LOVES his job.

I continued to delve into the mind of Daniel, as he so graciously allowed me… with him offering up that his parents are no longer around due to alcoholism. His father died quite a few years ago due to the disease. He stated that his mom and dad met at an AA Meeting, then shortly after meeting, got married. He did not state where his mother is today, but concluded she wasn’t there for him growing up. He is very close with his sister and loves his niece and nephew.

He lives with roommates at an establishment that helps adults with brain injuries be as independent as they can be. His mode of transportation is the Transit and his two feet – to which he read me a poem about how often he needs to buy shoes. I will admit, it was comedic. He had me delightfully laughing due to the subject matter and the picture he painted with his words… a heap pile of shoes getting higher and higher in his bedroom.

I asked Daniel if he had a girlfriend and he eagerly states, “YESSSSSSS!” But then his face changed a bit to sadness as he shared with me that his relationship is long distance. He states they text all the time and have met only once. She only lives 3 cities out from where he and I reside, but for him, it feels very far – being subject to Public Transit schedules, etc. I asked him if she was pretty, there was a long pause. I thought his answer was going to be ‘No’, seeing as it took him awhile to answer and the expression on his face, but this wasn’t the case at all. He said he couldn’t summon the words to describe her, continuing to say she has the ‘shiniest soul he has ever seen’.

He continued to share with me that he is a flirt. He told me to brace myself because he was going to start flirting with me. He says, “Ready?” And then it started… his poetic words of what he saw in me. I will not give further detail as to what he shared with me… those are for me to cherish and not to publicly gloat in the things he made me recognize in myself.

Daniel admitted to me that he gets sad sometimes seeing that people are always so blind to experiences and always so rushed. He stated that even though he is slow in his movements and his speech, he is somewhat grateful because it has caused him to slow down and see the beauty in everybody and everything. His answer made me well up with tears. I could not have agreed any more with Daniel on his observation.

I felt a pull at my gut to speak my truth to Daniel as our conversation deepened, as I felt free to do so. Sadly, so many times… humans ignore that feeling to express our true hearts content and we let that special moment be lost forever. Daniel taught me in that moment, to appreciate moments like these, even more so, than I already do – so, I said exactly what I wanted to say to this Dear Soul sitting across from me. I shared with Daniel that he was, and is, the definition of Truth. I told him that he gifts others the ability to settle down for a moment and live in the moment. I told him that being in his company makes you want to never have that moment end, as it is such a true and beautiful place to reside.

Daniel shared with me earlier in our conversation that he realizes he is not ‘whole’ like most people are. But after spending 60 minutes with this young man, and being graced enough to walk in his shoes for a spell, I had to express to him that I think he is one of the most ‘whole’ human beings I have ever spoken with. I shared with him that he understands life better than most of us do, and that he lives courageously with no fear and no boundaries.

Our conversation ended when it was time for him to prepare to be on stage, and for me to get my kids from practice. We stood up and he offered me a handshake… I told him I would not settle for such a gesture and asked for a hug instead. He smiled at my bravery. His hug was as true as his words.

Daniel will never be forgotten in my life, and I now know that Thursdays will be my lucky day if I get to open the doors to that Coffee Shop, run into my new friend, and pick up where we left off…

Thank you Daniel, for the gift of You –

 

 

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Abercrombie and Fitch – The Backlash

Posted on 22 May 2013 by Valkyrie

abercrombieI am finding this recent backlash toward Abercrombie and Fitch’s CEO, Mike Jeffries to be rather ridiculous and absurd. Am I the only one thinking this? Apparently, by reading many articles regarding this subject, it seems as though I am.

Let’s back up shall we? In 2006, Mike Jeffries gave an interview to Salon stating that his brand (Abercrombie and Fitch) is “absolutely exclusionary and only wants to market to cool, good looking people”. He continues with this statement, “Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he said in the interview.

Fair enough. So the guy comes off as a bit of an ass, but isn’t America based on free speech? He is the CEO of this popular clothing store and as far as I see it, can run his business as he desires – gearing to any audience he sees fit.

I do agree with him about companies becoming totally vanilla. Or, in my view…  totally politically correct. Have we gotten so used to the mighty ‘Super-Store’ that offers every fucking item under the moon that we have lost sight on what America used to stand on – choice and free enterprise?

Sadly, American’s choices these days are few and far between when it comes to products and stores. Seems the almighty Super-Stores have all but taken over with their bulk items and cheap merchandise. The sad part is, it appears we are okay with this. And if some CEO comes along and wants to create a niche market and appeal to a certain audience, shame on him! We all go on a tirade of attack and pretty much take what he says out of context to fit our own perceptions as to what he really meant.

Okay, so he says he wants to market to “cool” and “good looking” people. Where’s the problem here? He’s not stating who he deems as cool and good looking… shit, that is all in the eye of the beholder. I don’t believe he has placed guards standing outside each of his stores with sniff dogs that discern who is cool and good looking and who is not. I still believe any person can walk in the store and peruse and purchase if they are so inclined. Seems we have gone off the tracks on this subject and have beaten it to death.

With that being said, I am going to continue to do so. Let’s take it a step further then, shall we? If we are all so hyper-sensitive to Mike Jeffries stance, then shouldn’t we be just as upset with other stores and what they market as well?

Should we then be upset with Tiffany’s for only selling high end jewelry that hardly any of us can afford due to that very reason? Should we be upset with Victoria’s Secret for not marketing to smaller busted women? Should we be upset with the Plus Size stores for only carrying double digit sizes? Should we be upset with Petite stores for only carrying smaller sizes? Should we be upset at Wal-Mart for selling so many products on the cheap that is has run its competitors into the ground? Should we be upset with Grocery chains for seldom carrying organic produce? Should we be upset with Organ Markets for only carrying organic foods? Should we be upset with the Snickers candy bar that it contains peanuts? Should we be upset with Diet Coke that it has no calories?

He says something in that interview that sticks with me more than anything else, that most people seem to have bypassed. He states, and I am paraphrasing (exact quote is above), that when you market to everybody, you become vanilla – that there is nothing to get excited about. That’s what sticks out the most for me.

It just feels nowadays that if somebody wants to break the mold and dare to be a bit different, and heaven forbid, speak their mind, there is a backlash of sorts. I am perplexed as to why we aren’t protesting and making a big-ass ruckus towards all these ‘Super-Stores’. They have moved in, taken over, put small business owners out of business who provided competition, and have taken away our options… but yet, for some God forsaken reason (and for reasons I still cannot wrap my brain around), we go there time and time again for cheap goods and products that were made mostly in China by people making pennies on the dollar.

Heaven forbid if a CEO of a company wants to market to a certain audience. He says he wants to market to “cool” and “good looking” people. So what? In some form or another we are all cool and good looking. Mark Jeffries did not define it. He simply is daring to practice his rights of free speech and free enterprise. Period.

 

 

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A Love Affair – The Great Gatsby

Posted on 21 May 2013 by Valkyrie

Gatsby - BlinkinblogsI have a unique fondness for the story ‘The Great Gatsby’. Whether that be in book or movie form, I am sold on its greatness – hook, line, and sinker. Due to many reasons, I believe. Here are those reasons…

I have an older sister. When I was a preteen, she was in High School. She had the arduous task of reading this novel, authored by the famous, F. Scott Fitzgerald. She did not want to read that day, as she had a headache. Me, being ever so eager to help out, and also the fact that I loved to read into escapism and magnificent stories, offered to read it to her as she lay down and closed her eyes to try and rid her headache. It was a Saturday and we were visiting my Grandparents. We found ourselves in their formal living room (to which nobody ever spent time in, even though it was the best room in the house due to the cross breezes from the windows and the natural lighting emanating through the white sheers). She was on the floor with a washcloth over her eyes as I sat on the large sofa, Indian style – to be exact. As I opened the book to read aloud, and flipped through the pages one after another… something delightful happened. I was there, with Nick Carraway, Daisy Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and all the other multi-dimensional personalities.

It was that very day that I was introduced to classic novels and how magnificent they are in their own rite. It was also on that day that I clung to the 1920’s fashion and felt as though I really was invited in partaking of all those bedazzled parties that Gatsby threw, in hopes to get Daisy’s attention and affections. To this day, I still style my wardrobe to have a certain influence of those great rip roaring flapping days. Beads, hats, headbands, swinging dresses, exaggerated flawless makeup. Mass femininity is the attraction here. And let’s not fail to mention the men’s style either. Two words – polished and dapper. That day, I managed to read the whole book to my sister – in one sitting. Three hours of bliss.

I then became the one in High School to whom took American Novel for my accredited English class. The delight I felt when the teacher was passing out the book with the blue cover… The Great Gatsby! I felt ecstatic knowing I got to partake of this world again from the 1920’s and yes, even admitting – could easily coast through, as I had already read the assignment. But yet again, something happened inside of me. I opened the book, flipped the pages, and found myself lost in the story for the second time. What made it even richer, was the fact of coming to class the following days after our reading assigned homework, and having open discussions as to what all these juicy nuggets of words meant. To hear my English Professor talk about the characters in great detail and bringing to light the symbolism of so many things was grandiose beyond belief. Oh, the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg! Once again I was entranced and yes, aced all the assignments and tests regarding the book.

Fast forward many more years. The story fervently stayed in my memory banks and brought itself to my attention again at a store that sold movies in big crates for $5.00 or less. I usually never partake in this kind of ‘digging for gold’ shopping, as it bores me. However, as I was pushing my cart past these obnoxious bins, I saw it… out of the corner of my left eye, The Great Gatsby – starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, circa 1974. Without even realizing what my hand was doing, it had already reached down and put the movie in my cart. The Great Gatsby in movie form for only $5.00. It was a sure purchase. And yes of course, watched it that night. I must admit, Robert Redford did a bang up job playing the role of Gatsby and donning that beautiful pink suit. I was swept away for 2+ hours once again, in Gatsby bliss.

Many more years pass since watching the 1974 Redford version of the classic. I was at the movie theater to watch something (I can’t even remember), and the previews of other movies began to start. Lo and behold, at that very moment, I recognize something in the preview that was playing in front of me. The style, the era, the characters… No! Could it be?! Could this really be what I think it is?! I was taking in every second of that preview and at the end of it, ‘The Great Gatsby – starring Leonardo DiCaprio’ is splayed across the big screen. I was fervently eager to catch the opening date. It was one year away! The release date was 365 days away! I had to see it, but also knew I needed to put that thought on the back burner, try to be patient, and wait.

So I did. I waited and watched other movies between those 365 days, much to which I don’t even remember… as I have a horrid memory for movie retention. During that time, I decided to once again read the book and familiarize myself with the story and drama of it all. Reading it as an adult was so much richer. I had a better appreciation for the characters and their own personal struggles. Then the time came… The countdown started. One month away before the release date of May 10, 2013. Then three weeks. Then two weeks. Then one week – 7 days to go!

During that last week I was so excited, I could barely even focus on menial tasks at hand… which is saying something, due to the fact that I never get that excited about anything. I was like a kid waiting to go to Disneyland for the very first time. I almost started embarrassing myself with my hype and uncontained over zealousness. Opening night was upon me and I even went to the theater hours earlier just to ensure that it would not be sold out. “Two tickets for The Great Gatsby in 3D at 7:00pm, please.” Best sentence I spoke that day.

The hours pressed slowly by. I was anxiously awaiting that moment where I got to sit my tush down in that theater seat and watch the epic movie that I have been clinging to since a preteen. I entered the theater, gave the young man my movie ticket, who then claims the theater is to my right. I go, and the anticipation builds so much so, I begin to feel butterflies in my tummy. What is wrong with me?! I finally sit down and the lights go dim. The previews begin and I don’t know if I can physically handle sitting through 5-6 movie previews. But I breathe – in and out, finding my core to settle and focus.

The moment is now here – 3D glasses on, water bottle in cup holder, no snacks so I am not distracted, and my date to my left. Life is good. Life is in order. Everything is perfect for the next 2 hours and 22 minutes of the 3D journey into the known world of – The Great Gatsby.

The film was epic, beautiful, and enticing. The grandeur was almost paralyzing to the senses. The styles were out of this world. That green light… oh, that green light that showed itself nightly at the edge of Daisy’s dock to Jay Gatsby – to me symbolizes jealousy… the fact that Gatsby could not handle the thought of Daisy ever loving another. The yearning he felt, the desire, the desperateness – all became his own demise. Tragic really. The whole story is quite tragic in so many ways it is hard to count. What amazes me is how two people – Tom and Daisy Buchanan, left so much death and destruction in their careless wake, and really, not even giving a damn.

To finally be able to sit in that theater after so much buildup – which was self-created, and have these epic scenes play out for me, was such a good release. As the movie ended and the credits were rolling up the screen, it also felt like this great anticipated ride had ended for me, it was a full circle moment. It was brilliant on so many levels. My affair with The Great Gatsby felt complete. There was a sense of nirvana and satisfaction as I left the theater that night. Passion – to me, this film encapsulates passion to a connection that I have had for this story that manifested itself years ago.

Nick Carraway says something to Jay Gatsby at the near end of the story that I will never forget. Here is the excerpt from the book regarding that verbal exchange – I will end with that, as nothing else needs to be further written, the story speaks for itself…

“They’re a rotten crowd,” I shouted across the lawn. “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”

 

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Architecture in America

Posted on 17 May 2013 by Valkyrie

architecture in americaIt seems that America lacks architecture of any appeal to a large degree these days. I am not well traveled, and will not claim that I am. However, decorating and studying design has been a passion of mine for many years and I have grown quite fond of architecture from other regions. What I have come to discover in my studying process and noticing of America’s buildings, sky-rises, etc., is that the very concept of true design and architecture has been lost.

Competition seems to have all but taken over. Look to the cities for this prime example – the sky-lines. Every sky-scraper being built seems to want to achieve the winning gold medal for the tallest building in America. I never equated height with architecture (perhaps it is for the mere challenge), but – I am female and I would rather search for beauty, and I think other females would as well. I don’t mean to sound so blunt here (okay – maybe I do), but doesn’t it almost seem that these large sky-scrapers are trying to copycat erect penises? It’s almost as if it is a war of the egos and we are back on the playground with these architects and designers of these monstrosities while they chant, “Neener neener neener… my building is taller than yours!” Viagra anyone?

America is full of masculine architecture. Don’t get me wrong, I love masculinity to the nth degree… in a man though, not necessarily in a building or structure. I heard a philosopher once say that everything in nature is soft and has movement; there are no hard angles and lines. He is spot on. Then man comes along and tries to put everything in a hard-lined, sharp-edged, make-it-fit box. Seems we’ve done quite well at it too.

The modern built house these days is so unoriginal it just about makes me throw up in my mouth. We now have cookie-cutter, tract homes – where every third house is exactly the same as your own, to the left AND to the right. Albeit, there may be a slight change in color – just a different shade of tan, or off-white.

What happened to the styles and originality back in the day? Granted I did not live back in ‘the day’ (whenever that was exactly, as when we age and get maturity behind us… we all think we indeed lived back in ‘the day’). I am referring to the homes that had class, character, and charm. The Bungalow, the Craftsman, the Tudor, the Spanish style… why have we deviated from these beauties? Those homes had personality and told a story. Nowadays, it’s the stucco dream with drywall interior and bull-nosed corners, and if you pay the hefty upgrade price, you may get crown moulding and coffered ceilings… snooze.

I appreciate that drywall prevents fires from spreading as rapidly and that the tract home was in full swing and needed after the end of World War II, but still… I miss femininity in our architecture. Yes, some older and historic cities and neighborhoods still carry this type of style and grace in this country, to which I fully appreciate and cling to when I see it. But, I believe that needs to still carry on in our buildings today.

If you look at our hillsides littered in unoriginal homes, your eyes want to glaze over while scanning – never noticing anything visually enticing that you want to stop and linger at. Now, if you look at the hillsides of Italy, Spain, or Brazil… man oh man, visual delights – color! America is so afraid of color. What is wrong with the quenching colors of Cobalt Blue on a Mediterranean home, the Orangey Brown Adobe on a Spanish style, and the Chocolate Brown with Dark Green trim on the Craftsman, or the Slate Gray with a Red front door on the Tudor? What is wrong with color? Since when has America toned down and gotten so downright boring and wanted to all blend in with the other so badly? We have become camouflaged amongst ourselves… driving down our suburban streets not even recognizing our own home until the act of our garage door opening tips us off. Don’t even get me started on the one proverbial tree in the front yard concept and only two in the backyard nonsense. We, as a country, have become so rigid in our way of expressing and being individualistic.

Architecture in America is sadly a lost art, skill, and talent when it comes to displaying beauty and character. We are a country of erect sky-scrapers, flat strip malls, rectangular super malls, and boring cookie-cutter homes. I think if Frank Lloyd Wright were alive today, he would just shake his head. Now there’s a man that new what to do with angles and hard lines.

 

 

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Me and Caffeine

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Valkyrie

caffeine article - blinkinblogsI can’t do caffeine. Like ever. Never ever. Caffeine, to me – is comparable to speed to a junkie. The difference being that I don’t seek it out. I also love Starbucks, and get my coffee fix a few times a week – decaf only. Nothing like an Iced Grande Vanilla Soy Latte with only 1 ½ pumps Vanilla (say that three times fast).

I shall warn you – this article is written while I am currently hopped up on that drug, Caffeine! Hold on and enjoy the ride folks. I’m hoping my fingers can keep up with my manic drug induced thoughts long enough to string together sentences that make sense, as well as convey what it is I am even trying to say.

I was having a shit day… it went from bad to worse real quick. Decided to get my dirty car detailed before I had to get my kids from school. All smooth right? Yes, thus far… was trying to be easy on myself and was doing a pretty good job until I had a few minutes to spare before the final bell rang releasing my kids from school. So, I stopped by my beloved Starbucks and decided to get the above mentioned beverage of choice, as today is an ‘iced’ drink weather kind of day.

It is habit for me to repeat to the Barista time and time again after placing my narcissistic self-identifying order, “It IS decaf, correct? It IS decaf, correct?” As I know the detriment to me and those around me if it is not. Well, I was rather consumed in my thoughts as to my shit day, that I forgot to double and triple check that my drink is indeed decaf. Also, the Barista is new and probably was so in awe of my natural beauty that he failed to check that box on the cup that states ‘decaf’. I trusted. Shame on me for doing so. I grabbed my drink on the counter after my name was called and happily put my green trademarked straw in the lid, hoping for some kind of soothing as to my shit day.

While sipping my delicious concoction, I noticed it had a different taste to it. Chalking it up to my senses being heightened to my bad mood… I continued on sipping and enjoying as I drove to get the kiddos from the treacherous parent pick up line at school.

When done, and making that final empty sucking sound from the straw to remind me that indeed the beverage is gone, I placed the cup down in the cup holder of my newly detailed car. And it hits me… like the sound of a horror movie right before the Innocent is about to be brutally murdered… ‘Reet Reet Reet!’… my eyes do a double take! What?! That Decaf box is not checked! It’s not marked! “Oooh Daaamn”, I say in slow motion, as if the moment was purposely slowed down for this epically tragic event.

I now am acutely aware of what, I, and my loved ones are in for – for the remainder of the day. My shit day has just gotten worse. Caffeine is now pulsating through my veins like water through a fire hose. I am fucked. Every nerve will soon be in a rattle can. All I can do is brace myself. Oh shit, this is gonna suck. And it does suck.

My poor body is totally amped up with heart palpitations and all. My hands are shaking and I can only imagine what my blood pressure is, due to this harmful drug constricting my blood vessels like a boa constrictor choking its prey.

Sad part is? The day is still young and the caffeine journey has only just begun. My kids are home and are witness to their mad mama, and my husband will soon join in on my lunacy. Poor guys… innocent bystanders to my utter and uncontrollable madness.

It makes me feel like a Superhero and like a complete uncontrollable disaster at the same time. How’s that for Yin-Yang? I want to create, but lay down… I want to chat for hours, but stay silent… I want to take on the world, but do nothing… I want to draw, but use no sketching pencils… I want to crawl out of my skin, but hunker down even lower in this ride.

Oh well. Perhaps I will just go for a walk… as my husband and I do this frequently. But why walk when we can run?! Or, better yet… sprint! Or hey, let’s just go run a marathon… and maybe another! And another! And another! I’m off! Gotta go put on my running shoes….

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My Take on Veganism

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Valkyrie

I'm veganI’m a Vegan. Have been for over 3 years now. I am a dietary Vegan only. Meaning, I do not eat meat or anything that comes from an animal (milk, cheese, butter, cream, etc. – you get the idea). I still wear leather and love my shoes and purses. I love my lifestyle – however, in recent months, I have grown to hate the word ‘Vegan’ and all of its misconceptions surrounded by the lifestyle.

The word Vegan has almost given me a bitter taste in my mouth when I say it. There are all kinds of Vegans and we all abstain from meat and animal by-products for reasons that can span the globe. There are the ones, to who practice the lifestyle for animal rights, those that do it for health reasons, and those that run the gamut by putting all meat eaters in the same category and accusing them of global warming, animal cruelty, and best yet.. murder. This does not sit well with me. Veganism is almost its own subculture to where its own inner world of followers, compete amongst themselves.

I speak from experience. I joined a Vegan community – in hopes to get to know others in my city that I can learn from and we can share things in common, in a productive fashion. This group happened to be having a vegan potluck for all the members. I drug my family with me, and brought my famous Vegan Lasagna. What I tragically and quickly noticed was that everybody to some degree was a right fighter. We all had our own spiel of ideals that we were trying to cast on to the others and make them see our point of things, because after all, we are right! I zeroed in on an individual that clearly needed to take the stage. Consumed all the oxygen in the group and was ever so eager that we all shut up and listen to his thoughts on why oils are bad, why organic is clearly better, why he only eats the same thing for dinner every night – never changing it up, and finally – why his coffee table cannot be moved ½ an inch, or else! He may have been on a dietary tirade of sorts, but all I recognized was an extreme case of OCD. I think what he really needed was some serious counseling and a bitch slap.

My whole observation I made that day, and the point I am trying to make here, is this – why is it, in so many groups, subcultures, communities… whatever you wish to call them, is there so much damn judgment? Not only do Vegans find meat eaters to be the ones destroying the planet single handedly, but they then turn on their own ‘kind’ and judge beyond measure whether you are a ‘real’ vegan or not. Vegan – hate the word. I have now decided to tell people (only if asked), that my diet is a Plant Based Diet. The ascorbic sound of Vegan rolling across my tongue disgusts even me… and I am hard to disgust.  In closing, I think this… Vegans, and/or any other groups that render strong definition or a sense of belonging, need to leave the damned soap boxes at home. The picnic that day would have been so much more pleasant if we sat our homemade dishes down on the table, partook of the great food, and shut the hell up.  After all, isn’t that what togetherness should be?

 

 

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7, the end.

Posted on 13 May 2013 by ~baba

Mr Bill Dodd was across the street looking out the window and enjoying his coke high when suddenly across the street the glass was falling out of a window, he was puzzled as he watched the men break out the last of the glass, and even more puzzled as a visible red laser beam appeared from just below where he was standing and the newly broken window. He was even more puzzled when five or six rockets shot into the air trailing coils of slivery wire, it was so beautiful. As he watched, not one, but two lightning bolts struck the rockets and continued down to and across the laser beam, blasting Mr Dodd across the room and destroying the communications room below him.
The laser room was vacated when the lightning struck and G opened the door to see what had happened. The communications room across the way was a smoking mess. Step one completed. On the way back to the parking garage they came across a security vehicle that tried to stop them, there was a short chase and suddenly the security vehicle vanished in a flash and a cloud of smoke. Good IED thought G. Soon they were in the parking garage and the security vehicles were everywhere. Barely having recovered from the previous rocket/IED attack they were still mad as hornets. Upon seeing the rubble in the street around the parking garage they fired a few rounds and were greeted with a thousand or more in return. Their radios weren’t working for some reason so they sent someone back to get the heavy vehicles. By the time the armored vehicles showed up the security vehicles were Swiss cheese and few of the security patrol were still breathing. The armored vehicles advanced on the parking garage only to meet a monster rolling out to meet them, then another, and another. The monster machines spread out three wide and closed in on the armored vehicles. One of them, the rearmost was able to back out and escape being rolled over and crushed flat but as it reached the corner an IED blew it about 200 feet sideways, no one survived that. As this was happening three modified road graders were rolling out down Casino center, two heading for the Metro building and one plowing directly into the casino used for a dormitory. The blast took off the face of the building and gutted it, having no center anymore, the rest of the building fell inwards making a pile of rubble a little over three stories with almost nothing recognizable in it. The Metro building was better protected, the concrete barriers were solid and nothing could get through. The first grader ran up on the barriers and blew up, breaking virtually every window in the building and leveling the concrete barriers, the second grader went over the crater made by the first, climbed the steps rolled across the reception area and blew up deep inside the building. At first the building had a five storey hole in the center and then gravity took its toll and the center collapsed leaving both ends with 6-7 stories of mangled metal and little else. It seemed that the plan was a total success.
Suddenly the streets were teeming with uniformed security personnel and security vehicles, apparently one of the hotels had a contingent of the officers that we hadn’t known about. They started heading in the direction of the parking garage with red lights and sirens blaring. We were freaking out, we could probably survive the attack but at what cost, we weren’t trained soldiers and these men probably knew what they were doing. Soon the sirens were all we could hear and we were all locked and loaded. The sirens continued past the parking garage into the desert beyond, heading towards LA or somewhere in California, it had worked, we had liberated the town and could live a little more easily. Or until the next nerve gas attack, a new military incursion, a new insane corporation decided it wanted what we had…

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Aftermath 6

Posted on 13 May 2013 by ~baba

I was guessing when we confronted the armored vehicles that it would happen at the parking garage but the building busting road grader conversions would have a good several miles to go to get to their targets, a plan needed to be made to distract the security forces. After a week’s preparations several vehicles went up to North Las Vegas, on the other side of the Metro building and hotel from us. After preparations were done we received a message, the doors to the events center opened as an all out rocket attack was launched from the far side of the Metro building, the diversion was an all out attack. Missiles were hitting Metro and the hotel, as well as other hotels and the security forces were heading out to counter attack. The security forces soon were decimated by IEDs and Claymore mines and the heavy vehicles were searching for the source of the attack. That source had pretty much left the area by the time the security forces left the down town area to ‘fight’ the attackers. Soon everyone was back at the parking garage and the three ‘building busters’ were within blocks of their targets, covered with tarps or within warehouses. The mission had been a success.
The radio traffic about the attack was frantic, the leader of the forces was a Mr Bill Dodd and he was shouting at everyone, causing more confusion that helping. Soon though, things quieted down and the security forces assessed their damage, there was little or no damage other than the vehicles that had been drawn into IEDs and Claymores, there the damage had been 100%, all occupants of all vehicles were dead. A blow to morale but acceptable, big personnel losses were acceptable but this building and it’s equipment must be safe and Mr Dodd was sure that it was. He looked out at the empty city and remembered what it was like before Gas Night, it was a lot of fun to go out and gamble and see shows, Mr Dodd was a big shot back then and was given complimentary meals, shows, drinks, and gambling chips. He missed those days, now he sat in an office running this branch of an empire that had been created years before and launched on Gas Night. What should he do about the attack, should he continue to ferret out and kill the scavengers that were invading the city or should he just hold the fort and wait for some direct order or someone to report to. He decided to snort some more cocaine, he could think better when he was high.
Jack and G and a group of men were across the street from Mr Dodd having a discussion, G said that the cables from the antennas went to the room just below where Mr Dodd was and that that was where to strike first. Everyone began to do their task and soon it was done. The first real strike was in place. The men left the room after replacing the wooden door and frame with a steel reinforced frame and a steel door with a lock that couldn’t be picked or broken into without heavy equipment, this room must be safe! Finally everyone except the forward observation people were back at the garage, last minute plans and details were discussed, and in four hours the radio silence would be broken and commands would be given and reports received. First the converted bulldozers were brought from the events center to the parking garage, ground level, the first time that they were visible since they were constructed. Second, the streets outside the parking garage were littered with huge chunks of concrete and asphalt to stop anyone from coming from any direction other than the main entrance where the monster machines were waiting. Finally all entry ways into the parking garage were mined and blocked off by steel panels or bars. Jack liked it, we were ready he thought.
Back at the building opposite the Metro building the observers reported that the cloud cover was heavier but the rain was still a little away to the East. G and his team went to their room and began to get the power going, the computers up and on the desired programs and most of all, calibrate the laser and aim it exactly at the spot where the cables entered the equipment room they were planning to take out. That done G went to the roof and had the rockets aimed a little toward the East and was sure that they would work. Back at the room again and checked the laser one more time and he signaled the men to break out the window between him and the Metro building.

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Aftermath 5

Posted on 13 May 2013 by ~baba

With the machine shop fabricating panels for privacy in the facility and sets of bars for security, reinforcing the vehicles we were using to be more resistant to collision and gunfire, and a few more specialized projects, Jack turned to the 3rd floor of the basement, the IT, electronics, communication and whatever else workspace, there were even lasers being fooled with. One of the technicians using a laser told Jack that there was a mild short on the metal table he was using his laser on and when you passed your hand thru the laser you could feel the short, pretty funny, huh? As they continued on thru the facility they saw a 14yr old black kid named G making some robotic devices, Jack said hi and everyone moved on. Carl asked if there was any plan involved in the development area and Jack said ‘Lets see what develops.’
Later in the week something ominous happened, from the end of the parking garage furthest away from the Casino and the Strip we heard gunfire, sneaking a peek from the upper floors we saw three heavily armored vehicles assaulting a strip mall and actually battering it down as the firefight progressed. After about 45 minutes the shooting died down and two teams dressed in black entered each of the standing buildings and more shots were fired. A few cars arrived and civilian types looked over the scene and then everyone left, taking only a few boxes with them, leaving whatever bodies and anything else behind. We waited an hour then using as much cover as we could, went over to the wreckage and looked around. There were 25 or so bodies, men, women, and children, and tons of scavenged materials, food mostly, but electronics and weapons too. Everyone had been shot in the head to ensure no survivors. This was a wake up call for our group, these people had probably only been surviving but must have been seen and traced to that strip mall, then executed. We knew then that the security forces were our enemy and the enemy of every free man, woman, and child on the planet. Jack began to formulate a plan.
The special events arena of the casino was dug into the ground but the dome was at ground level. We began to seal off entrances with panels and old rusty chains and locks making it look like the arena was shut down before Gas Night. The seats and equipment were taken out of the center level area and hoists and cranes were brought in. Under the tight watch of many observers much heavy equipment was brought into the arena and the main loading area was made to look unused again. Work began in earnest to protect ourselves from an assault like we’d seen on the others. First several bulldozers were stripped and rebuilt specifically to destroy the assault vehicles that the security forces had used. Next some large graders had building busting metal noses on them and a compartment to hold a couple of tons of explosives just behind the nose. Meanwhile the IED teams had set up more IEDs as close to the Metro police building as possible to aid in the event of any trouble. Within a week it looked like trouble was coming our way, a security patrol vehicle pulled up to the loading dock area of the events arena and two uniformed men got out and started looking around, one got a long piece of pipe and started prying at one of the old locks. Where they were trying to enter was the driveway into our workshop and there was no camouflage beyond that door, only projects that we were working on. Jack sent a message to the communications room and a few seconds later a huge explosion was heard from the downtown area near the hotel and police station. The two security people got radio messages and jumped into their vehicle and left the area. Jack told the workers to double secure that doorway and put an impenetrable jumble of junk between the door and the work area.
Jack had talked to G the young scientist we had working for us and he’d taken over one of the laser projects and Jack wanted to see what he’d done. He returned happy and said that we needed to go out to the desert and shoot off some fireworks. That sounded like fun and a few dozen of us went along. Jack and G and a few technicians set everything up and the first rocket was fired, way up it went, then the next, then the next, till all six of them had been fired off. That’s it Jack said, hope you all had fun, let’s go home. No more was said about it but many of us suspected it was not just for entertainment.
We returned to the compound and talked over some ideas, the machines designed to take out the big security vehicles would certainly do the job and were armored enough that it wasn’t a suicide mission to drive one, it would not stop till it ran out of diesel. The building breaching machines were another thing, no one would escape alive from those so a remote control was operating each of them. Things were going ahead of schedule, just what to do and when were still the questions.

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Aftermath 4

Posted on 13 May 2013 by ~baba

The first order of business was to set up a dozen or more IEDs or Claymore mines on certain routes we would be taking. The IEDs were shaped charges that we put into buildings right by the roadways to take out anyone following us or that we perceived to be a threat and were approaching the facility that we were going to take over. The Claymore mines were mostly put into bushes or areas between buildings that faced the street, a simple piece of cardboard or 12 pack boxes could cover them. When we had set those up we went to the parking garage that was the object of our mission, five stories up and three stories down and housing an electrical system and generator sufficient to supply the casino it had once served for months. It would serve our need for years. After checking the equipment and doing some rewiring, Jack fired up the generator and turned on the lights to the bottom three underground floors. We explored the floors and found that nearly a hundred cars would need to be moved to the upper floors but the bottom floor was perfect for our needs. Over the next few months we had many expeditions to supply the facility, Jack started calling it Eden.

After the drainage system had been checked out, a layer of rock had been laid on the concrete floor, followed by heavy gravel, then sand, then soil. The lighting system was all fluorescent and had every spectrum of light that was in sunlight. Jack activated the well and pumped water into the bottom floor garden space, when the soil was all wet he turned off t he water and watched the level of the water drop as the drainage system took effect. Vegetable seeds were planted immediately and the lights were on 24 hours a day. A few times the security forces drove by the parking garage but the three car pile up at the entrance kept them from wanting to check it out and the jagged spikes at the exit kept anyone from coming in that way. The second level underground was a machine shop and there was a lot going on in there. Some of the new people we had run into in Vegas had skills that we needed and were recruited to work for us in their specialty and they were all eager to help.
We found that the security forces were using the Metropolitan Police Building in down town Las Vegas and that it had been fortified against any ground assault, though why anyone would want to go there I don’t know. The upper building seemed to be the same as it was before, there was a jail and the administrative offices, Chief of Police, etc. There also was a hotel, Fitzgerald’s that was fortified at the bottom entrance and also at the parking garage entrances, probably a dormitory now. We didn’t have any more information on them but with more people joining us we were able to piece together information and see a little of what was going on. The security forces were just patrolling the city to assure that there were no fires, looting damage, or unruly groups. Other than that no one had seen them do anything and they had not mistreated anyone that we knew of, still, they represented those who had killed our families and friends and most of the common people in America and the rest of the world we surmised. We did find that the building could be seen from the back side of the parking garage and for safety sake kept all activity invisible to that building. The building itself seemed to radiate evil, Jack felt that it truly was evil and would be part of the coming conflict if one developed.

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Aftermath 3

Posted on 13 May 2013 by ~baba

After a short Spring and a long hot Summer Jack decided to put his plan into operation, it was simple, to move back to Las Vegas to his own solar home stockpiled with food and water, a generator and a huge underground propane tank that he always kept topped off. It was the middle house in a small gated community of seven houses and faced the entrance gate which was beautiful and functional. The other houses were solar too and similarly equipped. Jack’s place was locked and empty of any living thing when he left so he thought he could move right in. Fred had stayed there a lot while he dated Jack’s sister and had stayed there a lot when they had fights, so he pretty much owned the guest room. Carl and most of the four families and a dozen or so others that they had recruited into their group decided to come along. It was a well armed group that came into Vegas that late morning, wrecked autos everywhere, remains of people and animals in mostly skeletal condition, a few mummified for some reason, probably not getting enough water intake, Jack thought.

First a stop at Mervyns for some shopping, new bedding for seven houses please. The store had been open when the gas came and some of the doors were open. While several of the men kept watch on the outside the others and all the women and children came in and shopped. Soon everyone had new clothes and we were off to Jack’s house. The gate was closed and locked but a manual key quickly opened the gate. Everyone went in and Jack relocked the gate. No human remains in sight. So far, so good. Jack went to his house and opened it up, musty and hot air, but no real odor, three of the houses checked were not so clean, the residents had been there when the gas hit and their remains were removed and the chair, couch, or piece of carpet that they had decomposed on were removed too. Carl said that we should say some words over the remains and Jack said ok, then toss them over the brick wall opposite of the guard shack by the gate please. Soon everyone was moved in, a number of guards were posted in upstairs windows and the guard shack was manned and armed.

The womenfolk got a meal started and Jack and Fred got to work. They took up the carpet in the spare downstairs bedroom and opened a steel door that was usually under the bed, did I mention that Jack and Fred were survivalists. The steps under the door led to a huge stockpile of weapons and ammunition, food, water, tools, raw materials, electronic and communication equipment and the list went on. The guys took several loads up to the den and closed up the steel door, replaced the carpet and moved the bed back into position. That night as the kids and girls were watching one of Jack’s hundreds of DVDs on his big screen TV, the guys talked. There were radio communications for everyone and GPS tracking devices too. It was decided that everyone would have a GPS chip sewn into a permanent part of their clothing so in any event they could be found by someone with a locator.
There had been some type of military or police traffic as they had come into Vegas but they didn’t seem concerned with Jack’s group at all, not even a glance from any of them. It appeared that some sort of public safety organization was in force but after having probably 200 million people gassed by our democratic government, trust was hard to get back, better to avoid them and keep our location a secret. No radio traffic in the compound at any time. Incoming transmissions only.
Now that the places to live and base of operations had been secured it was time to work on another project. Jack and four of the men who were mostly ex military headed out in Jack’s SUV to look over a few spots just off of the Las Vegas Strip.

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Aftermath 2

Posted on 13 May 2013 by ~baba

Heading towards Utah would be the best move, the Mormon people there were involved with food storage, self sufficiency, and had prepared for a hundred years for the government to do something like that, and Fred was a Jack Mormon, meaning he didn’t go to church anymore and drank coffee, but both Jack and Fred thought that that could be forgiven and that they could be taken into the fold up there. Besides, Jack’s sister, who was Fred’s wife, Paula, was up in St. George visiting family, hopefully she was safe up there and they’d have somewhere to stay too.
They passed many wrecks and even more abandoned cars and got to the Utah state line where they were stopped at a huge pile of cars and several police cars. They were waved up by uniformed police officers. They stopped and got out to talk. After identifying themselves they learned that St. George had been gassed, Hurricane had been gassed, and even the little towns of Ivins, Santa Clara, and Pineview Park were now dead zones. Fred broke down and gained us some sympathy and we were allowed into Utah and an encampment of thousands of refugees.
To cheer Fred up I said that my sister Paula and her friends were probably camping out in the canyon area East of St. George known as Hell’s Half Acre, which was a joke as the area was more like Paradise, trees, a big, sparkling stream and huge boulders virtually encircling the place. We asked if the way was clear to there and everyone thought it was, so we jumped in the SUV and headed out. Within an hour we got there and found four families but no one had seen Paula or her friends. We decided to camp there and set everything up. Everyone was friendly and the big Mormon women cooked up a feast and of course everyone was invited to eat. God, it was good, we’d had fried fish and potatoes for breakfast but that seemed like a week ago considering all that we’d been through. That night we had steak, boiled, buttered potatoes, fresh cooked vegetables and cornbread with butter and honey. After we ate the menfolk sat around a fire trying to decide what to do while the kids and women were otherwise occupied. Carl, an older man wearing overalls seemed to be in charge. ‘I say we dig in and see what we can find out, if this is a first strike or if it’s just the eugenic process that they’ve been planning, now implemented. We need to find out if any troops are moving, I haven’t seen much air traffic and if they were coming this way the skies would be crowded now.’ Everyone seemed to agree and broke up into smaller groups and Jack and Fred went to the tent to sleep.
The next morning they were awakened by a small child saying that breakfast was ready and to hurry up and come. Soon they were eating eggs cooked to order, sausage, bacon, fried potatoes and gravy, biscuits and more butter and honey. Jack said he was about ready to convert and would if a pretty Mormon girl was available. Carl came up and asked what we were going to do and that we were welcome to stay with them as long as we wanted and were useful whenever we were needed. We agreed and set off to do something but the women were doing the dishes and the men were sitting around doing nothing, so we decided to do that too, for now. Jack had some ideas he wasn’t telling anyone yet.

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Aftermath

Posted on 12 May 2013 by ~baba

VX-Nerve-GasWhen the price of gasoline went over $12 a gallon there were riots, not serious but still damage to gas stations, stores, some looting and a few deaths. Surprisingly few arrests considering that most countries had developed into police states. The population as a whole was not healthy either, the genetically modified poison food that was really their only choice anymore had taken it’s toll, thousands had died of kidney failure, liver failure, heart problems and lung problems from the horrible allergies that the GMOs had caused. The worst part was even though the food was poison, there wasn’t enough to go around. Soon there were more riots, bigger, worse, many deaths, the very infrastructure of the cities was at risk. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s threat that ‘It is now easier to kill a million people than it is to control them’ came to its horrible reality, the cities were nerve gassed. Millions of rioters, people standing by just watching, news commentators, those hiding in their homes, all, suddenly could not breathe, body spasms, finally death. Millions. MILLIONS.
The cities were littered with dead, everything, pets, rats, birds, and especially, people. The stench must have been horrible, but there was no one there to notice. The wealthy were in their safe houses, waiting out the ‘cleansing’ and their plan was to repopulate the Earth with their descendants, not the stupid, multiracial masses that had made up the world before. Huge airtight citadels were in every city and had the core of the New World Order ready to establish order and take control of the New World.
After a few years the cities began to repopulate as those who survived the VX gas simply by not being in the cities when it happened. People on vacation in the country, country folk and various wanderers came to the cities looking for loved ones, curiosity, to loot, to find food, whatever, the cities slowly began to show signs of life. Of course looters were immediately judged and executed by the roving security forces but plain civilians were largely overlooked for now. For some this was an opportunity to start a new world of their own.
Jack and Fred had been on a camping trip, doing some fishing when Gas Night happened, they didn’t even know about it till they got close to Vegas and started seeing bizarre auto accident scenes, dozens of vehicles wrecked, turned over dozens of times, run off of the highway a hundred yards or more. Examination of the drivers and passengers showed them to all have died before the wreck, almost no blood, heavy mucous from the mouth and nose, nerve gas. Jack had been in the army and along with Fred, his brother in law, was a survivalist. Yes, a gun toting survivalist but not in a militia, not that crazy they had laughed at themselves many times. They decided to get the hell out of the gassed area immediately and find somewhere to stay. There were many places on the highway, some with people still living and wondering what to do, panic was widespread. They decided to gas up and pulled into the only gas station they had seen in 50 miles. The windows were broken and the pump nozzles were on the ground. Jack pulled his .38 out of his waistband and cautiously entered the looted gas station, Fred stayed outside covering him with a 9mm auto. There was lots of junk food lying around, all of the beer was gone an then Jack saw the station attendant lying on the floor behind the counter, he could see three bullet holes in the man’s chest and blood on the shelf behind him where he probably had stood when he was shot. Jack also saw the gasoline emergency shut off button right beside the shelf and it looked like it had been hit hard, it was crooked, more depressed on one side than the other. Seeing that no one was in the store he signaled Fred to come in. They loaded water, sodas, food, anything they could fit in Jack’s SUV. There were batteries, lighters, cigarettes, though neither of them smoked they could be used for trade in the future, and looted the tools available in the repair shop. When they were full up, Jack fiddled with the emergency shut off button till it popped back up. They tried the nearest gas pump and it worked! After they had fueled up and filled any container that they could find with gas they shut off the gas pumps and headed out to look for shelter.

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Chapter 3 Stranger than Fiction

Posted on 12 May 2013 by ~baba

Before dawn we had decided to hastily pack whatever we could easily get to into the SUV and go back into town and see if someone could help us find our missing team members. Just as the sun rose we began throwing stuff into the back of the vehicle, the girls climbed in the back seat and locked the doors, Benny and I got into the front and I started the SUV, or tried to, there was noting, no ‘r-r-r-r-r-r’, no nothing, no sound whatsoever other than the key sound in the key slot. I jumped out and opened the hood, auto mechanics has never been my long suit, I’ve depended on my charm to get me out of trouble till now. There was no clue what could be stopping the vehicle from starting, with some further testing we decided that the battery was totally dead. We all four tried to push the thing up the hill to the road but we couldn’t get it up, we even lost ground and would have lost it to the ravine if we had tried longer. We had to walk, it was a bright sunny day and we felt that if we all stayed together and made noise that we could safely get down the hill to the town before dark. We set off, machetes drawn and my gun in my hand. Within a few miles we were feeling better, walking two across, two deep down the vehicle ruts headed down hill. When we saw a clearing I ordered a stop to drink water and have a small snack.

Benny and I turned our backs as the girls relieved themselves and as Benny and I peed the girls were giggling and Sherry took a photo. Soon we were on our way again and the way became rocky, we were coming down off the plateau, we were relieved, Sherry said look, the road is getting better, I remember this, then she screamed. Jasmine was not with us anymore. We clustered together but there was nothing to be seen, rocks, some shrubs, no giant birds anywhere. We called out her name, not expecting to hear anything but trying anyway. I turned to Sherry and said when did you see her last? She started to say something and looking over my shoulder, screamed again, I turned to find Benny being held 6 feet above the ground by a huge, beaked, wingless bird, I started firing my gun before I knew what I was doing. The bird kind of walked in a half circle and dropped Benny and just fell over. I shot the bird twice more and went to Benny, he was obviously dead his neck was ripped open and his chest was crushed by the huge beaked creature.

I stood and looked at Sherry, we started running down the road, tiring quickly but afraid to stop, we came upon the scooter Tom had taken, turned over on the side of the road, there was no sign of Tom and we didn’t take time to look, we turned the scooter upright and it started immediately, we got on and shot down the road. One of the creatures came from nowhere and pulled Sherry off of the scooter and I gave it more gas, going so fast I knew I’d crash if I made one little mistake. Soon I made that mistake and the scooter threw me off, then rolled over me and stopped upside down a few yards past where I lay. I had the video camera and the tapes of what had happened to our expedition in a satchel over my shoulder and took it off, moving little as I had a lot wrong with me including a broken leg I think. I wasn’t going any further with these creatures hunting me so I tossed the satchel over to the overturned scooter, hoping it would be found by someone. I saw a shadow and raised my pistol and fired, or clicked, it was empty, I felt a crushing on my neck, then nothing………

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Stranger than Fiction Ch 2

Posted on 12 May 2013 by ~baba

As it turned out our attack victim was an overweight 40yr old, one armed man living with his elderly mother. He claims to have been picking hallucinogenic mushrooms in a clearing on the edge of the forest the year before. He had gone down into a ravine, crossed a large, rapidly flowing stream and come up the other side where he had spied quite a few of the mushrooms that he was seeking. He said that as he came over the edge of the ravine a huge bird had attacked him and that he had thrown up his arm to protect his face. He had felt something ‘hit’ his arm and was knocked backwards into the rapidly flowing stream and was carried quite a way down stream. He finally climbed out and discovered his right arm was missing, cut off almost cleanly at mid forearm. He said that he had run quite a while to get out of the area while holding his ‘stump’ to control the bleeding.

His arm was, indeed, cut off very cleanly at a slight angle, the bones could be seen through the skin and were both cut off at approximately the same angle. Jack, our ex-special forces team leader examined the arm and said that a cut like that would allow the muscles to draw up to the elbow joint and pretty much seal off the arteries and keep the person from bleeding too heavily. Seeing the severed arm and hearing his very animated and believable story we decided to proceed with caution, we equipped each member of the team with a very sharp machete with a belt sheath and instructed everyone to wear them at all times as the birds we were seeking could be more aggressive than the history books had led us to believe.

Jack and I even broke out our Beretta 9mm automatics that we had previously had worn only once before when we had been in an area with huge wild boars. We secured two four wheeled all terrain motorcycles and a beat up four wheel drive SUV and after packing all of the equipment, we started up the road to the high rain forest with Jack and I leading the way on the four wheeled scooters. After what seemed like twelve hours and many stops and conferences with the girls and consulting the GPSs, we arrived at what we determined to be the meadow with the ravine and rapidly flowing stream, the dark forest beyond gave me a chill as I looked for a place to put our base camp. I consulted with Tom and Benny and we decided to put the base camp on this side of the ravine and set up an observation post in the center of the meadow and have motion sensors and cameras on each of the four compass points as near to the forest as we could get them and still have them transmit. While Tom, Benny, and I set up the observation post Sherry was putting together something delicious, I hoped, to eat and Jack and Jasmine had gone off on one of the scooters to try to find some tracks, feathers, whatever, and maybe actually see one of the subjects of our search. Jasmine called us on the radio saying that Jack had stopped the scooter and walked over a hill and when he didn’t come back she went looking for him. There was no sign of him and she said she had been yelling his name for ten minutes.

Benny and I took the other scooter and went to investigate. Soon we found Jasmine, crying and wiping her eyes with dirty hands, I felt that something was very wrong, Jack wouldn’t have left for so long without radioing or calling out, some signal anyway. We tried to find some tracks but it was dry in this area and the ground didn’t show much of any of our tracks. There was a wooded area just up the hill aways and I pulled my gun and checked to see that it had a bullet in the chamber and that the safety was off and headed up the hill. It was much lighter in the wooded area there than in the forest below but there was nothing to see, no Jack, no footprints, nothing. We decided to go back to base camp and have a meeting. Sherry had food when we got back but no one was very hungry. We decided to leave Sherry at base camp and go search the area out to a half mile from where Jack had left and for us to stay in pairs at all times. We searched for nearly an hour and it was starting to get dark, there was no sign of Jack or of any of his equipment.

That night was sleepless, we all stayed up monitoring the infrared cameras, the heat detector and listening for anything from the sound monitors, there was nothing. We decided to look again in the morning and that if we couldn’t find Jack that we’d go tell the police, military, park rangers or whoever would handle a missing person in this part of the country. After nearly an hour of searching Tom and Jasmine called and told us to come to the other side of the wooded area, they had found a track, not Jack’s track, a very large bird footprint. When we all got there and had seen the nearly 20 inch long and nearly as wide track with deep gouges at the termination of each ‘toe’ of the footprint indicating huge claws. After photographing the print we decided to go back to camp and get the kit to make a plaster cast and send someone back to the small town to get some law enforcement agency involved.
Tom volunteered to take a scooter down the mountain to get some help while the rest of us got the plaster cast done. We returned to base camp and listened to the radio, waiting for Tom to let us know what he had found out. He never called, he didn’t answer when we radioed him either. It was getting dark and we huddled in the tent with the sensor equipment to spend another sleepless night.

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Stranger than Fiction

Posted on 12 May 2013 by ~baba

carnivSo after having our eye witness to the creature positively identify the object in the water by the shore as being the creature itself we approached cautiously in our boat, idling in towards the three dark objects. When were about a hundred yards away one of the objects raised it’s head and identified itself as a hippopotamus. Having our only eyewitness to the creature lose his credibility, we decided to pack up and leave Lake Bangweulu. Even though we hadn’t seen a creature that didn’t mean that there was no Mokele-mbembe anywhere in the 6000 square kilometers of Lake Bangweulu and Bangweulu Swamp, just that we hadn’t seen one. That’s it for our show today, tune in next week for another episode of Stranger than Fiction where we will head to the unexplored South Island of New Zealand wilderness in search of Upland Moa or Megalapteryx didinus, a twelve foot tall, 500 pound flightless bird thought to be extinct. However several recent sightings and a reported attack on a native in the area has led us to choose this to be our next quest.
Hi there, I’m Jerry Connors of Stranger than Fiction, a one hour show each week detailing our hunt for new and unusual creatures or those formerly thought to be extinct, and bring back photographic proof of their existence. My crew is led by Jack Stratton, a former Special Forces lieutenant with skills in tracking, setting up surveillance equipment, and dealing with the native populations we may run into during our searches. Next are Tall Tom Scott and his sidekick Benny Rosen who specialize in running the equipment we use to record our sightings, both in visible light and infrared, and last, but not least, Sherry Rutherford and Jasmine Casey, our computer and communications specialists.
So we packed up our equipment, left our studio in Los Angeles and flew to Christchurch International Airport on the East side of the South island of New Zealand. We soon found transportation across the island to a small village near the largely unexplored West coast high rain forest  a dark and wet and largely uninhabited area sometimes visited by hunters and herb collectors but by few other people as the area was considered ‘unlucky’ and indeed it had been for an unfortunate local man who had lost most of his right arm to a supposed Giant Moa attack. The Giant Moa has always been considered to be a gentle and awkward creature that was wiped out by being hunted by the early Polynesian settlers and later by the Maori. It is believed that cutting of the forests for agricultural purposes along with hunting them for food was the final straw for the Moa and they were thought to be extinct by the incursion of European settlers 300 years ago. Apparently due to information from many sightings in this area over the last several years, there may be a few specimens left and we hope to photograph one and hopefully bring some type of material back for DNA testing.
We located the man who reportedly had lost part of his right arm to a Moa attack, difficult to believe as the Moa has always been considered an herbivore, perhaps he had startled one or had approached a nest of eggs with a mother Moa guarding it. We began the interview:

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Scanjack – Farewell to a Friend

Posted on 10 May 2013 by Thraxxus

Speechless_DeluxeYou may have noticed, if you ever actually come to Blinkinblogs, that we have been absent for a few months. Babadave was nice enough to kick out a post, which we always appreciate, but beyond that we have been totally incognito. You may have wondered what happened? Rhino’s glorious movie reviews – vanished. Thraxxus’ acerbic diatribe – seemingly lost forever in the nethervoid of tomorrow. And then there is Scanjack – he was on a roll; writings that rivaled some of the most paranoid delusions in the world – in the best of ways. Where did they go? Where did we go? Here is the answer.

Scanjack died.

It was an earth shattering  call to receive. My phone rang, the caller ID said that it was him. He never calls my home, and if he had it would not have said his name on it. Scanjack did things that way. Thus the ID could only mean one thing – his wife was calling my home for the very first time, ever. I knew what the topic was before I answered. A feeling of dread over took me, I grabbed the counter to steady myself, and answered.

“Is this….?” she said, softly.

“Yes. It is.” I replied.

“He… he’s dead. He told me that if anything every happened to him to call you. So I have.”

How do you tell someone that you are sorry for their loss and have it help them in any fashion? I have always found the words to be almost entirely pointless. “I am so sorry.” For what? My loss? Gee, thanks. I am not being my usual cantankerous self here, trust me. No, in fact, I am merely pointing out that our language appears to lack the capability of expressing true sorrow for someone, anyone, who has lost something so dear to them. Thank god it wasn’t her son.

“What happened?” I asked. I had first thought of asking her if she was okay, but again, what a stupid question to ask someone who just lost their life partner. It has never felt right, and never will. Again, loss for the real words.

“He had a heart attack. Massive. Died instantly.” Well at least there is that, right?

Scanjack was a genius, to say the least. He loved to delve into the macabre nature of our reality. He was a retired hacker who once lead an entire group of hackers who were bent on information gathering that those in the know didn’t want normal people to know about. Was it Anonymous? I have no idea, but I would not have been surprised if it had been. Some people liked to label Scanjack as a Conspiracy Theorist – he wasn’t a fan of the term –  a description that was a warning to anyone – don’t listen to this person. I ignored the warnings, the words. Instead I chose to listen, and in doing so I can say, without reservation, that my mind was opened even further to possibility. Was he always right? Doubtful. Who is, anyway? Did he supply facts to support his ideas? Yes, and they were disturbing.

I keep going back to how he died. The details are a bit daunting, and if Scanjack were the one writing this piece about, for example, me, I am fairly certain he would have a theory on the matter. Thus, in the spirit of my departed friend, I will supply you, the reader, with some facts, and you can come up with your own theory.

  1. Scanjack loved gathering information about things that many people didn’t want known.
  2. Scanjack’s son had recently been taken from him and his wife by a doctor for reasons not supplied. They were fighting to get him back. Their son? 23 years old and heavily disabled.
  3. Scanjack had run a website dedicated to hacking. That website, reportedly, also had posts regarding data that was found, or obtained, by its members.
  4. Two week prior to his death he called me and told me, “We need to do lunch, asap. We need to talk.” That was the last time we spoke.
  5. He had a heart attack. Odd? Not really, unless you consider the following: 42 years old. Never complained about health issues. Saw the doctor frequently. Never had a heart attack before that he spoke of. Maybe he had and just never talked about it? But, not likely.
  6. His heart attack happened while he was in his car, parked, in the parking lot of a hospital – the hospital that had taken his son. He was there to see his son and try to get him released again.
  7. The reason for death was announced rather quickly. My understanding was there was no autopsy.
  8. He was disposed of within a few days – three I believe, two of which were the weekend. If you have ever had to deal with this process then you know, that is FAST.

I won’t draw my own conclusions here. At present, I am not even sure I have any. If it were Scanjack that was writing this he would say something like “It sure smells fishy here in beef town.”

All I really know is this: Blinkinblogs lost a writer who was passionate about his trade, and more about the rights and freedoms of humanity. If anything, he was the consumate humanitarian. For me? I lost someone I counted as a friend – and I have never had many of those.

Good luck and godspeed Scanjack, wherever you are. Save me a spot – we can talk about this nightmare of a ride we all called life when we meet up, and hopefully, laugh about how absurd it all really was.

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