RIP President Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln died on this day a long long time ago (144 years). I have been thinking about Lincoln a lot lately as I’ve recently been reading a book about his life I downloaded from Google Books.

Anyhow, this is the book I read by the light of the nightlight when my wife is feeding the baby in the middle of the night. I find if I don’t read I wind up falling asleep, and that is no good because my snoring tends to wake up the baby!

I was doing some cruising at Wikipedia and came across the above photograph. I find these old photographs fascinating. This one is of President Lincoln and Gen. George B. McClellan in the general’s tent I believe at Antietam. We normally see Lincoln on our money, so it is very surreal to see him in an outdoor setting, sitting and talking with somebody. It’s surreal to me at least.

Fun With Beards


Well, it’s playoff hockey time, and you know that that means? Playoff beards! As you may recall, last year I grew a bit of a playoff beard in honor of my Pittsburgh Penguins and they nearly won the Stanley Cup. If you’re curious, use the search thingy on the blog up there.

I’m not sure if I’ll be growing a beard this year. For one, the wife and daughter were not big fans of the beard. Secondly, that thing got itchy! At least one member of my family decided to get in on the act, though. That’s my son in the picture above sporting a very stylish beard.

That’s actually from a website called Beard-a-thon. You can create your own beard pictures there. You can also sign up to raise money for charity by growing a beard or sponsor somebody who is growing a beard. Check it out.

Finally, Let’s Go Pens!

A Bad Experience at a Bookstore

I didn’t think it was possible either, to have a bad time at a bookstore.  I mean, the place is filled with book!  However, I did in face have a bad experience yesterday.

It started out with me finding out about a cute little independent bookstore in the town I work in. It looked pretty nice inside from the pictures on their website.  Plus, they boasted of having books, tea, and food. Hey, I though.  I like those things, why not check it out?

Well, I park the car, right beside one with an Anti-Bush sticker.  Not a bad sign, and not really surprising at an independent bookstore in a college town.  Well, that was the end of the positives.

It started when I opened the door.  The reaction was a mixture of nobody acknolodging my entrance and a scene in the movies where music is playing and all of a sudden the music screeched to a halt.  The place was clearly filled with “regulars”.  I would’ve turned and walked out right then, but I wanted to check the place out.

Well, there weren’t many books really.  The list should have been: food, tea, and a few books about Buddism.  That’s mostly what they had.  Still, they had a children’s book section, so I thought I’d check that out.

So I get over to the kids section and they did have a few cute books.  I might have even made a purchase.  While I was standing there, there were two ladies sitting at a nearby table, enjoying the “food” portion of the shop.  I overheard one way to the other in a not so subtle voice, “This is why I hate sitting here.”  I don’t know if that was directed at me, but it seemed to me like she was offended that somebody had the nerve to look at books while she ate.  I left moments after that.

The whole this is disheartening, especially because I love independent bookstores, and would rather shop at those than the big places.  I don’t think I’ll be going back there, though.  Who knew that it was possible to not like a bookstore?

A Comedy Of Errors

Today started out with me going to work, getting my cup of coffee, and then realizing I’m supposed to be in training someplace else. Things went downhill from there. Sigh.

Also, I didn’t win the writing contest I entered.

Also, there is a mess in the attic from the installation of the new roof.

At least I got done with training early and got to perform my “Easter Bunny” duties.

Positive vibes, please?

I’m Oozing Creativity

First of all, I don’t think my story was picked for the writing contest. I haven’t heard from the newspaper yet, so that probably means I didn’t win. Bummer. I hope they at least picked something interesting I can build upon.

Now on to the good stuff. I’ve completed the next installment of my webcomic, Knuckle Ball and posted it to the site. I’m really happy with this one because I tried some different backgrounds to make it more interesting. As I’ve said before, I’m still learning.

Here’s a thumbnail of the comic. Click on it to get the full version. Feedback is welcome (and encouraged). Pretty please?

Derailed by a Baby

First of all, I just noticed that I have posted 1,000 posts on this here blog. That astounds me for some reason. Still, I find it fitting that the one thousandth post was some fiction I wrote, which was the point of this blog in the first place.

Now on to the post for today. At lunch I sketched up a pretty cool web comic I had hoped to post to the web today. All I had to do was ink it and scan it at home. As soon as the toddler and the baby went to sleep. Wellllll, it didn’t happen as planned.

The toddler, my daughter, went to sleep at 8:30, having fallen asleep while waiting for my wife to get done feeding the baby. The baby, on the other hand, decided to be the King he is and stay awake until 11:00. I even drove him in the car for 45 minutes, only to get him in the house and have those little eyes stare back at me, wide awake. He’s lucky he’s cute.

It was a bit frustrating, but I hope to finish my comic tonight. I can only hope.

I Did Some Writing

Well, I’ve had that enormous headache again yesterday, but I still managed to get some writing done. In fact, I though I’d share a bit of what I wrote with all of you. Comments would be greatly appreciated.

This was for a writing contest with a local newspaper. They started the story, and the readers were to finish Chapter 1. The winning chapter will be printed in Sunday’s paper.

Here’s what the newspaper wrote:

She hadn’t meant to come in, but she couldn’t remember when she’d last eaten, and the aroma of fresh-baked cookies wafting from the Old Gregg School was irresistible.

She stepped inside the old gymnasium, looked around at the shoppers milling through the farmers market that had taken over the space and tried to convince herself that it wouldn’t hurt to walk over a buy a couple of cookies. Those blocks of cheese were pretty tempting, too.

After all, she told herself, she was just a face in the crowd. And it had been years since she last seen the inside of the school. Even if she ran into someone she knew, God knew it wasn’t likely anyone would recognize the girl she’d once been in the face she now showed to the world.

Bang! Startled by the loud noise, she whirled and slipped, her feet going out from under. Her posterior made rather painful contact with wood floor.

A hand reached down, offering help, and she looked up into a pair of green eyes.
Those eyes fastened on her face, and widened in surprise. “Sidney! Is that you?”

Here’s my entry:

Sidney blinked, hoping that when she opened her eyes the man who had been in front of her would be gone. Maybe her Senior Prom date was only a hallucination caused when she bumped her head.

No luck. Flex Thompson stood staring at Sidney. He had a little bit less on top, and a little bit more in the middle, but those eyes were unmistakably Flex.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know who you’re talking about,” lied Sidney as she accepted his outstretched hand while imagining how ugly her dirt-encrusted face must look.

“Don’t be silly,” said Flex, pulling Sidney to her feet. “I don’t care how old I get, there’s no way I could ever forget Sidney Lane.”

Sidney’s cheeks burned. “Nice to see you again, Flex,” she said. “Thanks for the hand.”

Sidney turned and made her escape toward the door. A cookie would have been nice, but the hunger pains in her stomach were no match for the embarrassment in her heart.

“Wait,” yelled Flex, jogging toward Sidney.

Sidney quickened her pace and was soon outside.

“How about lunch?” said Flex, a step behind.

Sidney turned to face him. “Well, I don’t really have any…”

“I’ll pay,” said Flex, grinning. “Gotta make up for all those times in high school you paid for me, right?”

“Well,” said Sidney, the nerves in her stomach beginning to drown out the growls of hunger, “I should really get a shower first.” She followed that with a lie about having worked in her garden all morning.

“I don’t mind,” said Flex, still struggling to catch his breath. “To be honest I haven’t had a shower either. I just want to talk.”

Sidney bit her bottom lip. A free lunch would be nice. “Okay,” she said. “But just for a quick bite. I have a lot planned.”

“There’s a Sheetz up the road,” said Flex. “They have picnic benches outside. I’ll drive.”

“Fine,” said Sidney with a sigh.

Following the silent ride to the convenience store, they ordered their food and then took a seat in the shade. Sidney ate her hamburger, quietly savoring each bite.

Flex, ignoring his food, began asking questions to Sidney’s dismay. “So,” he said, “Married?”

Sidney sighed. She knew it was going to come up eventually. “He disappeared on me,” she said without taking her eyes off her food.

“He ran out on you?” said Flex. “Jerk.”

Sidney paused. It was very unlikely she would ever see Flex again, so she might as well tell him the truth.
“No,” she said. “Disappeared. One minute he was there, and the next he and the house were gone. The worst part is nobody remembers him or the house except me.”

“Oh,” replied Flex.

Sidney casually pulled the remainder of her food closer to her body, just in case. “You think I’m crazy, don’t you?” she said. She knew the answer to that question. Of course, he thought she was crazy.

After a long silence, Flex looked Sidney in the eyes. “I’m not gonna lie to you,” he said. “That is hard to believe.”

Sidney got up from the table, her expression unchanging. “Thanks for lunch, Flex,” she said.

“Wait,” said Flex, rising to his feet. “I can’t say I believe you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to help you.”

Sidney looked at her old friend. “I don’t need any charity, and I don’t really care if you believe me,” she said. “I could use a ride home, though.”

“Where’s home?” said Flex, curious where somebody whose house disappeared might live.

“Rec Hall,” she said. “Locker number 2027.”

Need a Quick Writing Boost – Go Outside

We are finally emerging from the harshness of winter, my once proud tan Greek skin now a sad pasty white. Seriously, it has been a long and harsh winter, and it finally feels nice to be getting out of it.

I go through this every year really. We welcome the Fall and then winter after the brutal hot days of July and August. We even have a bit of fun in the snow in December and January. And then, slowly but surely, the streak of five and ten degree weather days starts to sap our energy. Before you know it, the depression of Winter sneaks it’s self in (only slightly for myself luckily). And then you get sick. This all ways heavily on my writing.

Today was different. I’m finally no longer sick and we hit seventy degrees and sunny. The family and I were even able to escape our house a bit. I planted some Asiatic Lilly bulbs and some other plant that’s supposed to attract butterflies. It was a good day.

And now I find myself with some energy. Some writing energy. I haven’t had that in a long time. I thought maybe I lost it, but now I know that’s not true. I feel like I’m Super Mario and I just grabbed an invincibility star. Nobody can stop me.

Or, maybe I feel so good because of this:

Great Theme Song – Gummi Bears

Well, I was out of commission today with an epic headache, probably the worst I’ve ever had. Not much blogging today. This cheered me up a bit.

Here’s the theme song to the Gummi Bears cartoon, one of the most underrated theme songs of all time in my opinion. In fact, I would even say the theme song was better than the cartoon, as I don’t even really remember the cartoon. The theme has stuck with me, though.

Also, I could’ve really used some of that Gummi Bear juice back on the High School basketball team. Maybe I’d have gotten some more playing time that way.

April Tool’s Day

Feeling much better today. Still not to 100%, but definitely on my way there.

So, today is April Fool’s Day. I had fun with that for about five seconds. Then, it just got annoying. Some of the stuff on the internet has been fun, but it’s a bit of a chore having to interpret every single headline through the April Fool’s Day filter. Especially annoying are the sites that have converted to 100% April Fool’s Day.

OK, rant over. Not much else new here. I did another webcomic yesterday. Check it out, if you get a chance. This one started 100% hand drawn and then I cleaned it up in Photoshop. That seemed to work a little better than 100% Photoshop.