Sunday, November 20, 2011

A friend of mine died yesterday

A friend of mine died yesterday. Charlie Workman, who would’ve been 91 next month passed after many years of health trouble. I’ve known him for probably more than twenty years, and I’ve been his home teacher for maybe fifteen of those years. I really got to know him and love him. Charlie used to tell us about his life as a young boy. Born in Manila, Utah, he lost his mother at the age of five, and was shuffled around from family to family who raised him. He lived through the heart of the Great Depression, served in the Merchant Marines in World War 2, and worked a variety of manual labor jobs throughout his life. He was fond of recalling his experiences about working for the railroad, and in fact had a model train set attached to a board in his garage that he could lower with a crank. He got rid of that several years ago. He told us of one time when he was working for a refinery and the part of it that he was working on exploded and he was miraculously preserved from death.
He spent time in his later life working for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s department. He loved his motorcycle and could be seen riding around the streets of our neighborhood until old age and health kept him from doing that anymore. Those who saw him thought it was Santa Claus riding a motorcycle.
I remember the times when he would drive up in front of my house in his truck, when I was working outside and would stop and chat for several minutes. As his age and time caught up with him, he needed to get something to help him get around when he went to stores, and he was excited to tell me about his scooter and the lift for it that he had added to the bed of his truck. Eventually, he had stop driving that as well.
As he got older, I began trying to help out more with his yard, especially snow shoveling in the winter time. At first, I tried to be sneaky, doing it in the wee hours when they were asleep, so as not to get caught. Eventually, he caught me at it and chided me for doing it. He was a man of pride and didn’t like to think he needed help. I kept it up though and eventually, he came to appreciate it openly.
He loved his family and took great pride in many of his kids and grandkids. He missed those who had died before him. He had a great heart, and though opinionated, and though he could be prejudiced and cantankerous, he was a good man and will be missed. I have lost a great friend this year, but on the other side, his loved ones are waiting. It will be a great reunion.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A guy tried to get me to fight him today

So I began my first mail delivery of the day stopping as I usually do at 7-11, which is the first stop on my route. Trying to be courteous to those whose cars were parked in front of the store, I parked in front of two empty stalls. No sooner had I turned off the engine, than I heard a honk. I looked to my left and a guy was trying to get me to move so he could pull into one of the empty stalls that I had parked in front of. I gestured to another empty stall down the way and went in and made my delivery. When I came out he was swearing at me: "You blankety-blank think you can take up the entire blankety-blank parking lot."

I should've just let it drop and ignored him, but I couldn't. I didn't like his attitude, and I didn't like his assumption. I had intentionally avoided causing inconvenience to the people already parked there. As I passed him, I spoke up: "Up yours," I said. And continued to my truck.

That was when he turned around and challenged me to a fight. Okay, I kind of wanted to kick his butt, but I didn't think it was worth losing my job over, which would've happened had I engaged in a fight with him. So I just told him to get lost and drove away.

I'm feeling kind of bad about it though. The guy was a jerk and all, but I shouldn't have escallated the situation. I'm sorry that happened.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Penn State death threats

As more and more details of the Grand Jury Testimony in the Penn State child abuse case come out, those of us with any sense of decency are rightly appalled and angered at what took place. Allegedly, Mike McQuery, who has been identified as the graduate student who first caught former defensive coach, Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a 10 year old boy in the showers, has received multiple death threats in regards to his failure to do something more, like attack Sandusky, or immediately call the police. Sadly, it appears that there have been other death threats made to McQuery, from angered fans who are furious that he did anything at all that led to the firing of Head Coach Joe Paterno. That, my friends, is appalling. That there are actually people out there walking around that put the career of Paterno above the safety of children is simply too terrible to contemplate.
Frankly, McQuery was negligent in not directly attacking and trying to stop the incident when it first occurred. Anyone with children can understand the fury a parent would have at his lack of appropriate action. As Jim Rome put it (and I'm paraphrasing here), "McQueary was 28 years old and 6'5" and Sandusky was 58". He could have and should have done something. It doesn't warrant death threats though. If anything, the death threats should be against Sandusky. As a parent (now grandparent) myself, nothing infuriates me more than someone wanting to hurt my children and grandchildren--or anybody else's for that matter.
Of course, the threats against McQueary for getting Joe Paterno fired are from morons and cretins of the lowest order. These are the kind of people who put sports and winning above all else and make head coaches their personal gods.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Editing Cibola

I'm back at it again with a fury. Rather, a sputtering fury, but a fury none the less. I've been going through my old novel Showdown at Cibola and trying to get back into the flow through editing what I had already written extensively. It seems to be working. Already it's at nearly 27,000 words, which is about one third of the total length it will end up needing to be in order to get published.

On a related note, I'm thinking of publishing my novel, Dome World (I'm also trying to think of a better title) on Smash Words. I've never published anything in e-book form, so it's finding the time to learn the ropes that's the difficult part for me. I guess the main thing is getting someone to do cover art.

I'm finding some time to do this--maybe 30 to 40 minutes, in the mornings before heading off to the gym and from there to work. At 30-40 minutes it's going slower than I would like, but I think it's good to just plug away with whatever time one has. Hopefully, I can soon dedicate some time in the evenings as well to work on this stuff.