Remember the cartoons with a little angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? Writing is a lot like that.
The angel is easy. I call her Mel, after one of the 9 original muses, and she will sporadically plonk herself down on my shoulder and ram a tale into my ear. Sometimes she whispers, sometimes she screams loud enough to wake the dead. Sometimes it is a short burst of inspiration, sometimes she won’t shut up for weeks. Sometimes she’ll give a snort of disgust and disappear again since the last tale has not been finished. Her visits are nearly always welcome though.
The devil though, he’s a fucker. He never appears straight away. He waits for a couple of days then settles on my shoulder in a comfortable glow of brimstone and says “This is fucking terrible. You should scrap it.” I dread his visits. Sometimes he is right. It is fucking terrible.
I once read the story of Deke Slayton, one of the Mercury 7 astronauts. He was kept from flying in space on a Mercury mission due to a heart murmur. The Apollo 1 crew of Gus, Ed, and Roger wanted to give him something he wouldn’t get officially from NASA: astronaut wings. The men had a pin made for Deke that they planned to take to space with them on their flight, but on January 27th, 1967 the men were killed in a fire during the testing of their Saturn V rocket. The widows of Apollo 1 gave Deke the pin, saying that the men had gotten it for him because he exemplified everything they thought a good astronaut should be. He wore that pin for the rest of his life, even after he got his “real” wings after being medically cleared and flew to space in July, 1975.
I’ve met the modern-age Deke. His name is Brian and he is the strongest man I know. He is a member of the United States Navy and has served as an ordnance man and is now attending the University of Michigan to become an officer. His dream is to become a Naval pilot and then go on to do flight test work, then onward to become an astronaut.
Brian is now battling thyroid cancer for the second time. His first bout with it ended with surgery to remove his thyroid. This past fall he went to get a physical given to him by the Navy and they confirmed what he had feared: they would not allow him to fly due to the removal of his thyroid. A man who’s life has been about becoming an astronaut is now told he cannot fly because he has SURVIVED cancer. What comfort can you give to someone in such a situation? One month later he was re-diagnosed with the cancer.
Next Saturday Brian is graduating from the University of Michigan with high academic standing, an officer position in the NROTC, and a smile on his face. Immediately following graduation he will be completing another round of cancer treatment. Following his treatment he will see if the Navy will keep him on in the officer position he has earned. If not, he plans on going to grad school for engineering, then applying for a job at SpaceX.
Why is Brian like Deke? Because they both embody everything a good astronaut should be: strong, courageous, smart, calm, a team player with impeccable leadership skills. Brian would be THE perfect astronaut if he were given the chance.
So it may not be the gold pin from the crew of Apollo 1 but I thought I would do my best to replicate that gift. Pictured is my graduation present to Brian as he starts the next leg in his journey. My hope is that he will always remember that the world would be extremely lucky to have him in the astronaut corps, remember that even if the Navy doesn’t believe in him, everyone else does, and remember that Deke eventually flew in space after much perseverance and he can too.
Here’s to the people in our lives that fight every single day for their dreams, no matter how many obstacles they may face. Here’s to the cancer survivors who have come through so much to be here today. Here’s to the people not given the opportunities they have earned.
Here’s to Brian.
Some shit just makes you cry.
It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless. —
L.R.Knost (via hopefullyraw)
Doing both is infinitely better.
One of the things I love is watching people take joy in what they are doing. It doesn’t really matter what: painting, singing, writing, just walking down the street. The joy in doing is the key.
It is rare. Possibly one of the reasons I have never really been a fan of porn and only a casual watcher of movies - how many times have you seen actors just having fucking fun? I mean, real fun.
For example, click here. If you have ever seen someone having as much fun with her clothes on, you are a lucky person. 2 minutes 30 in, when she says basically “fuck it” and cranks it up, the smile on her face is huge. No idea who she is, it is just a random vid on YouTube of a song I like. I like it more now. Important enough to me to go in a separate bookmark folder for things to turn the dark away for a short time.
Another friend takes an absolutely irrepressible joy in life. All of it, not just the good bits. You simply can not talk to her or read her posts without smiling. The humor, fondness and happiness shines through everything she says and writes.
Once said that some of us walk in the shadows so that people can walk in the sun. Seeing them enjoy it - that is it’s own reward. Go forth and love life.
Had a strange experience this morning.
It started with a phone call yesterday from my supernaturally organised foreman. A couple were coming in to commission some custom furniture for their new home and they insisted on talking to me. She wasn’t good enough to take the specs, they wanted my presence. Normally I’d say “Tell them to fuck off” and hang up, but we have been damned short on work recently so I quashed my natural bad temper and said OK, I’d meet them this morning at 7.
Get in about 6 AM, check the work orders and the progress on things then start to work on a pulpit we are restoring for a semi local church. Mostly retired from the sharp end of the business now, but I like to keep my hand in from time to time. Besides, it is peaceful.
Tommy, our delivery driver and my foreman’s son is the sweeper and human forklift. He arrives about 6:30 and puts the coffee on. He is a wonderful young man - not exactly all there mentally, we’d have called him slow back in the day - but what he does understand he takes very seriously indeed. There is nothing more serious than making sure I get my coffee in the morning.
7 AM arrives and with it, no clients. Clients are always late, you get used to that fast and don’t let it bother you. The smart ones wait for high tide. We are right on the river and it can get somewhat odorous at low tide. Shrug and carry on working. Vonny (Yvonne to the rest of the world) shows up and starts working out the day’s work schedule. I carry on working on this pulpit.
Finally the clients show up. Normally they ring the bell at the office door and are let in, but these two walked through the open loading door onto the shop floor instead. Tommy greeted them, got my attention, took them through to the office and sorted them with a brew while I cleaned up. All normal. Steve rolled up to start work. Like everyone else, he works a 40 hour week with hours of his choosing.
They looked uncomfortable. There is a lot of small talk involved in doing a design - you design for the people, not what they say. Eventually they stood up and said “We’ll get back to you.” in that tone that you just know you will never see these people again.
I have no idea why. It wasn’t the designs, we had not even got on to that. So it was either the coffee, the work I was doing when they came in, or the people who work there. If it was the coffee, fuck em. Best damned coffee in all of London. If it was me working on a pulpit, fuck em twice as hard. We take commissions from anyone. If it was my staff, I better never see them again.
FB is full of equals signs of varying colors and cleverness yesterday and today - I particularly like the bacon one - and the Conservative blogs are melting down in anticipation.
What is all the damned fuss about? Just do it already. Why shouldn’t same sex couples have to pay through the nose to divorce, same as the rest of us? Caring what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home is the prerogative of cat ladies and hypocrites.
Sure, my religion says it is a sin, but guess what - it is your soul, not mine. Not my business. Of course, my private business is equally not yours, so put down the handcuffs and step away from the whip. That thing has just been oiled and needs to dry out. And yes, it is the regulation thumb’s width in diameter.
Enough hyperbole? Not terribly good at crazy - and both sides are getting fucking crazy here.
I’ll be the first to admit I prefer the term civil partnership, with all the legal rights and duties that entails. Marriage to many (including me) implies a religious aspect. It is a terminology thing - marriage has a long history and that should not be altered. Besides, if a church doesn’t wish to marry a couple for any reason, that is within their rights. Expecting that to change is a foolish as suing KFC for not selling you a Big Mac. Yet until we get a new word, we’ll have to share the M word, with the same degree of comfort as two strangers sharing a motel room.
There are a lot of rumors over the last day or so about some NFL player who is planning on “coming out” in the off season. Firstly, who gives a shit about the NFL? Real men play Rugby. But the thing that is bugging me is that there should be no need whatsoever to come out in the first place. Sex, and who does what and to whom, is a personal choice. Nothing that needs validating or approval, or a fanfare - it is simply how you are and, to be blunt, I don’t give a shit (conditions apply). Your life, your choices. I’ll listen, sympathize, maybe lay some advice on your ass, but I don’t care.
IRC: #Pulp at irc.rizon.net.
Premier Pulp! is a comics anthology magazine released for free online. Founded and run by aspiring comic writers and artists from /co/, they are keen to help new creators through the process of making comics and to find contributors an audience for their work.
They welcome writers, artists, colourists, letterers, editors and anybody else who would like to be involved in comic-creation in any capacity. Pulp! can help people network with potential collaborators; and through their feedback and deadline process they hope to assist every submission they get in becoming the best comic it can be. The magazine is free and lacks adverts – so there’s no money involved and no compensation available. Work published in Pulp! remains entirely the property of its creators and they’re free to republish it anywhere else.
Alongside the regular helping of comics, they hope to provide a range of juicy comics-related material with each issue. The plans include tutorials, articles and interviews – if you’re interested in contributing on this front, disregard the submissions details and deadlines you see elsewhere on the site and get in touch directly.
Visit Premier Pulp’s website and check out the Submissions and Deadlines pages if you are interested in helping out and pushing forward Premier Pulp. If you have something to share, don’t feel bashful!
Reblog and let everyone know of Premier Pulp!
Free comics. Free exposure. Good deal all round.
"It will change life," they said. They did not lie - it did.
"It will release the combined might of all the world," they said. They did not lie, they simply neglected to factor in mob dynamics.
"It will be simple," they said. They lied. I remember.
HTML 1.0 was such a simple and easy mark up language that a 4 year-old could code a web site.It was even kind of fun, like taking a peek under the hood of your word processor. It took literally a day to learn.
HTML 2.0 added some bells and whistles, fixed some broken things and, unusually for the second installment of a series, was actually both easier to use and better. A little longer to learn, but you could have it down completely in a week of part time reading.
I just want to build a simple damned web site. No interest at all in spending 6 months to catch up far enough to be still laughably out of date. So I have made a decision. HTML 2 - maybe 3 if I have a spare 3 weeks - for me. Nothing more. It is my protest at needlessly complicating getting information out.
It is like cars. 20 years ago, my diagnostic kit as an amateur mechanic was a circuit tester, my eyes and a set of feeler gauges. Now I need something to plug in to the onboard computer just to tell me what is wrong. Another chunk of software to fix a problem that used to be fixable with a small screwdriver or a judicious tap with a hammer.
You know how it is on the net. You can talk to someone, debate them, argue with them, then suddenly they disappear. You rarely know why, and it puzzles you before you shrug and get on with your life.
Sometimes you find out, by accident. Such as today, when a message was waiting for me at one of the sites I frequent. Someone I used to argue politics with all the time passed from cancer. Very few people even knew she was ill, she kept that private. Sure, we all knew bits about her. Fairly young, a mother, bit of a party animal on the quiet. That she was dying, we did not know.
She was a lovely person, a bit sharp when hitting us conservative knuckle draggers over the head, but with a core of joy and serenity that shone through even the worst of the insults both given and received.
K8-EEE/Libby. Rest in peace.