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Monday, March 31, 2008

Short Story: Bus Stop 203

Hey all. In the middle of a long two weeks here, but tonight this just kind of came out and so I wrote it down quick in about 45 minutes. Don't have a lot of time to proof read and adjust, so I'm just throwing it up here and going to bed. Enjoy if you can, comments always welcome.

Bus Stop 203 by Eaglewing

His thumb ran over the indentations on the thin slice of metal as his mind read back the words without looking. It was all he had left, and these days his hand just went to the metal instinctively, over and over again.

Even now, sitting on the green bench with the chipped paint at bus stop number 203 of the late loop, he touched the metal without thinking. His eyes went to the dark sky above, but with no stars to be seen, he just looked back down to the cracked concrete at his feet. It was the nightly ritual after all.

He knew he’d been lucky to get the night shift warehouse job as it was, but he still hated it. There was killing time until something else, but then there was just plain killing time and he knew which one he was doing. Didn’t matter though; he’d do it. He had a reason to see it through, and he was no quitter. It was the least he could do now anyway.

It’d been two years since that man dressed in blue with the medals over his heart had coming knocking on the door. The words the Sergeant had uttered changed everything in a heartbeat, and it had almost been too much. In that moment, he heard the Sergeant tell him how his brother had done what a soldier does, but it didn’t make it any easier to live with the result.

It was a tailspin from there. His brother came home in the worst way possible and was laid to rest along with every hope and dream he’d ever had. He stood there and listened to the bugle play and watched his mother take the folded flag. Then he left as fast as he could, heading straight for the comfort of a local bar and a shot glass salute to a fallen brother.

Except it didn’t stop at the salute. Months fell off the calendar as he went back for the comfort he needed, time and again. He lost it all, and didn’t care. Job, dignity, and faith went too. He was an angry drunk, finding fights for the sake of it, and losing most of them. Why did it have to be that way? Why did his brother have to give it all for some stuffed suit’s war? It was all too much, and he’d have given anything to be able to trade places with his brother, but it was too late.

Heading for the final destruction, he’d received an envelope in the mail one day, and not a moment too soon. He didn’t recognize the return name, but he recognized the country it came from. Inside held a letter, a picture, and the piece of metal on a chain. The letter was from a woman, with a name he could barely pronounce, in broken English. Still, she got her point across and he felt it cut right through the alcohol haze he’d been drowning in. In the middle of the horrors of war, his brother had found true love across the ocean, and now she had written to him to let him know something very important.

She didn’t ask for money, or plane tickets, or even a return note. She simply stated the truth. She loved his brother, and was just as heart broken about what had happened. But she was stronger and was going to soldier on, just as his brother had shown her how. Besides, there was a bigger reason for two souls separated by cultural divides and a war of hate to focus on what really mattered.

His brother had a son.

A little baby boy. Looking at that picture of the smiling baby, his heart almost stopped. It was more effective than any twelve step program could ever have been. He’d have done anything for his brother, and now he knew what to do.

So he started back up that road, getting cleaned up and taking a job he didn’t like. It wasn’t easy, but every time he looked at that picture, he saw his brother and it wouldn’t be so hard after all. Though she never asked for it, he started to send money back for her and the kid, explaining that he would take care of them if it was the last thing he did.

Through every hot night shift, he’d think about his brother and what he died for. It wasn’t for some politician’s agenda, to save the world, or even misplaced patriotism. No, it was for the woman and the little baby that still had to fight on in this messed up world. It had taken many before, and the beast of war would continue to take many more, but without those like his brother who stood on the line, the world wouldn’t be fit for a baby to grow up in. It still wasn’t, but his brother had tried to do what he felt was right. Looking at it that way, the anger went away just a little bit.

Now every night he sat there on that green bench running his thumb along his brother’s dogtag that he kept around his neck. They always came in pairs, but he had only the one. As he’d been told in the letter, he imagined his brother’s baby boy clutching the other one. Someday soon he’d make the trip and meet his nephew. It would take more than a few more night shifts, but he would do it.

It was funny what the eyes of a baby boy could inspire in a grown man. The world would always be a mess, but every night there was a sliver of hope at bus stop 203.

The End.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Well, as anyone can see, the posts around the Roost will be getting a little thin for a while. I got the move up at work which comes with more work, a new location to drive to, different hours, and more money. I like the money part. But it's going to take me a bit to get used to the new rhythm and I bet creativity will take a hit, so I may not have the most productive blog going till then. I'll still try to check in and comment on my favorite blogs though, and maybe still come up with a random post or two.

So before it gets a little quiet 'round here, just wanted to say thanks to all those who have stopped by to read and comment - it was much appreciated - and I'll see ya further on up the road...

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Satisfied Mind

Excellent, thoughtful post here from The Texican about worshiping God and how accumulating wealth is a fruitless chase. His poem brought to mind the old song (written by Porter Wagner, I believe) called A Satisfied Mind. I hadn't heard it in a while, so a quick search and I found a slideshow vid featuring the song sung by Johnny Cash. I'd also forgot that this song was used in the movie Kill Bill Vol 2 of all things. Enjoy.

Old Beats New, Movies and Apples

Woke up today and flipped on the TV. Surfed for a bit, then stumbled across Keys Largo on TCM. Another classic Bogie and Bacall movie. Unfortunately, I missed the first part, but the last half was great from what I watched. Going to have to watch the whole thing soon. Basically, they're holed up in a hotel with a mobster as a hurricane hits the keys and he's trying to complete a shady deal. Bogart's a returning soldier, maybe a wiseguy, and effortlessly cool. Bacall and him exchange looks while the mobster carries on. You're not exactly sure who's going to make it, and there's even some good action at the end. Yep, love the old classics. Then I flipped around the channels and landed on MuchMoreMusic playing XXX2 (the box office bomb with Ice Cube). Talk about culture shock going from a Bogart movie to a lame cash in sequel with some of the worst CGI ever and a dude who can't act. Needless to say, I didn't finish watching it.

I moved on to hacking an Apple TV. Following a beginners guide on the AwkwardTV wiki, I've got the first half done and have network access to the unit without cracking it open. Wasn't too hard either. Very nice. Now on to getting it complete and usable with more than the one or two codecs it ships with. Oh, and this is hacking a version 1.0. Any of the newer software versions require more risk and expertise than I'm up for at the moment.

Then I read the latest Punisher issues #55. This is the start of Garth Ennis' final arc on the title, and I think he's going out with a gut wrenching bang, wrapping up points that have been brewing all through his epic run and going right back to his graphic novel Born as well. Great first issue that has an appearance from Nick Fury getting thoughtful about the cost of war, and the one thing that just might bring the Punisher down. Can't wait to see how this finishes over the next few months.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Nothin' Much

Well, hours are back up at work and I've not got a lot creativity going at the moment. Hence the lack of posting. Could be some other changes at work too, but they're taking their time making decisions so I'm just waiting and working, which is fine by me.

And surfing around the web hasn't got much news either, so yeah, I got nothing. There was the new Incredible Hulk trailer that came out, though. Not bad, actually looks interesting and some good action. At least they won't have yet another origin story that every comic book movie seems to do. Just get into the story and action. Ed Norton as the Hulk wouldn't have been something I'd have thought of, but he'll do fine as Bruce Banner while CGI takes over for the big green. They say there's lots of Hulk Smash action in the movie, so could be fun. Still, it's not in Dark Knight or even Iron Man range for buzz and I wonder before this trailer, how many people even knew another Hulk movie was coming this summer? Either way, going to be a comic book character loaded movie summer - Batman, Iron Man, Hulk, and Hellboy. Still, I'm betting the box office king will be the old snake hatin' professor, Indiana Jones.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Security On A 'Air' Trigger...

If you have a MacBook Air and you're traveling, be prepared to miss your flight while the security folks freak out. This story has been around the web for the last week, so it's a little old, but apparently the Security genius' at airports stopped a guy who had a MacBook Air because they thought it was a suspicious device. They couldn't figure out how it could be a computer laptop without a "hard drive" and no ports on the back. Eventually, another younger security bloke (who must have rare internet access) came over to the group and explained to them (slowly and in small words, I'd guess) what they were looking at. Unfortunately, it took so long the poor traveller missed his flight. Wow, just wow. They wig out about 6 oz bottles of shampoo and laptops with Solid State Drives, and these are the guys who are supposed to catch a real threat heading for the blue skies? Way to stay current there, security. While you're ogling the Air, might want to crack a peak at that bazooka rolling down the luggage belt.

Apple (read, movie studios) has their so called Digital Copy Program adding support from Lionsgate films. This is where the studio puts an iTunes mp4 movie file on the DVD that can be "easily" transferred to your iPod or iPhone. However, this also requires you entering a password when adding it to iTunes and an iTunes account that is logged in (I guess when it phones home for something). Really, what is this for? People who want to put a movie on their iPod can quickly find out how to do that on the net with a quick Google search. With FREE software. Without an iTunes account or DRM or a password. Five years ago this might have been something cutting edge, but once again the Hollywood studios prove just how far behind the times they are.

And over on Warren Ellis' blog (a fun read from a great author - the Desolation Jones comic is excellent), he's been posting about various computer and ISP problems with his DSL down and computer dead. Here is a great little write up on his bandwidth without DSL. Interesting how we pretty much take the 'net for granted (or those of us blessed with high speed anyway) and how our daily consumption of all things 'net related have gone up. It's a one stop shop for our daily media connections and more. I'd hate to be strapped with 7GB bandwidth like he mentions. That'd be gone in a night or two. As it is, my ISP (cough, cough, Rogers ripoff, cough, cough) has recently introduced a hard line on their monthly bandwidth. I get a 60 GB cap per month on my rate. I don't think I've ever exceeded that, but then my download habits used to be lower too. But that's been changing, especially as more and more media hits the web - streaming or otherwise. I downloaded almost seven gigs in one night a week or two ago when I heard Stage6 was shutting down. Had to grab as much video as I could before it disappeared into the ether. Don't like being capped, but then I can't afford the unlimited options either and I have to use cable high speed as my phone lines can't seem to handle DSL. So once again, the screws are tightened on the customers of the ripoff artists known as Canadian Telecom companies. Enjoy that drive on the information super highway.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tag, I'm It

I've been tagged by the Texican, and the challenge is as so: create a six word memoir. To quote from Texican's blog, "This game was appartently invented by Ernest Hemingway while drinking with a friend in some remote Island bar. Hemingway bet $10 he could sum up his life in six words. Here is his summary; For Sale: Baby Shoes; never worn. I liked Beth's better. I hope no one paid him the ten dollars. Here's my entry: The road's been long but doable."

And here are the rules of the Tag:
1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you'd like.
3. Link to the person who tagged you in your post (The Texican) and to this original post , so we can track it as it moves across the blogosphere.
4. Tag five more blogs with links.
5. And, don't forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

So, how to write a memoir in six words? Well, when I started to think about it, I could have done it in two. But that wasn't the challenge. Six words weren't easy, and I don't think I've come up with the best of it, but here it is: "Wanted better, survived worse, this'll do." Do I get 10 bucks from Hemingway now? And thanks to Texican for the tag - it was a fun challenge to think about. I don't know who else to tag, but if you read this and want to try it, have a go at it and leave me a note in the comments and I'll post a link to you. Oh, and it said to post a pic to illustrate, but Blogger is being less than co-operative.

Oh, and for the record, my two word memoir would be "Cowboy Up."

Snow Job

What a March snow storm we had yesterday. Haven't seen snow like this since I was a kid. Was a fun drive home from work in the ol' Dodge Ram. Her engine's still good though, lot's of power when I needed it. Almost got stuck, but after about half a dozen back and forth moves, I got out of it. Others weren't so lucky, and there were a few abandoned cars along the road on the way home. So I guess old man Winter isn't going away quietly. I don't know how much more of this global warming we can take.

Watched a good hockey game this afternoon on tv between Pittsburgh and Washington. Was a tight game, and it came down to the last few seconds of regulation. A Pittsburgh defender shot the puck into the corner, where Sid "The Kid" Crosby gave it a swipe and put it out in front of the Washington net. The goalie made one save and the puck bounced and a Washington player swiped at it in an attempt to clear it away. But instead, he put it in his own net! Whoops! Pittsburgh won the game and Crosby got credit for the goal. Hard way to lose for Washington, but Go Pens!

Got to watch Shoot 'Em Up tonight and really enjoyed it. It's way over the top, but a fun action flick with lots of bullets flying everywhere. Clive Owen and Paul Giamontti are great fun to watch chewing the scenery and Monica Bellucci is always a welcome sight. Just a good old fashioned, fun actioner that we could use more of like we had back in the '80s. I'm gonna have to go buy some carrots now. Who knew they were lethal weapons?

Friday, March 07, 2008

More Criminal

Was going to do a post of a review for the latest Criminal comic issue "Second Chance In Hell", but am too wired 'n tired to do it up. Still, it's excellent. Buy it and read it. Ed Brubaker brings the noir telling "Gnarly's" story, and there's not a written word wasted here. Sean Phillips art is perfect and it deserves extra time to look at. I'll be reading it again to fully appreciate it. Great stuff.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

This 'N That

Well, guess winter wasn't done yet. Yesterday was almost spring like. Then tonight, in came a snow storm all the way from Texas along with some ice pellets and freezing rain. And yet, it isn't really that cold out. Gonna be a fun drive in to work for anyone who works early tomorrow morning. If the snow plows keep their consistency around here, it won't exactly be clear out there.

Picked up some groceries tonight and saw Pringles Chips on sale. I don't eat them often, but I'll pick some up when they're on sale. And get this - the Extreme Screamin' Dill Pickle flavour chips have less sodium than the plain regular ones. Who knew? I gotta say I don't know what's supposed to be "extreme" or "screamin'" about them either. I was expecting something insane, but I think you'd get more screaming action smelling the lid of a pickle jar.

And I found this on the net at Jack Kapica's Globe and Mail blog. Apparently there's a new email scam attempt going around. A variation on the old Nigerian needs your help with millions at the mere cost of 10 grand, this new one is a lot more direct. It's basically a give the mysterious emailer 10 large, or he will kill you. Not only that, it's written up to indicate somebody you know has taken out the hit and he has his "boys" watching you. The faceless hitman is somewhat grammatically challenged, but he creates a fun email. Hope nobody falls for it. And as Jack points out when he got - is 10,000 all he's worth?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Yet Another Wolvie Pic...

Not much inspiration to post of other things on the brain. Might be seeing some changes at work and got some other stuff to take care of, etc, etc. Life is what happens while you're making other plans.

But still, there's some new Wolverine movie publicity shots floating around the net, and had to post this one up. Can't wait to see an actual movie shot though that hasn't been photoshopped. But this'll do for now...

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Publicity StillSee More X-Men Origins: Wolverine Publicity Still at