In memory of Maximillian.


As Hurricane Irma raged through Palm Beach County, I was with my family at my mother-in-law’s house, monitoring the progress of the storm and witnessing the nasty weather unfolding outside. Then I was faced with the unspeakable task of taking her dog Maximillian for his afternoon walk. I borrowed a raincoat and braced myself for one soggy walk. The weather outside was horrific with the rain and very strong winds leaving leaves and small branches all over the street. Needless to say, I was quite miserable, but Maximillian on the other hand loved it. He had always enjoyed the water and this time was no different. He didn’t seem to mind the nasty weather in the least. I think there’s a lesson here somewhere, something about your attitude defining the experience. You can either be miserable because of the weather or you can exalt in it.

Maximillian passed away earlier this week, leaving behind a treasure trove of memories of good times and a life lived to the fullest. That walk during Hurricane Irma is my favorite memory of our time together. I will miss him.

My digital diary.

Back in the 1990’s when floppy disks were the norm, I had one set aside that served as a digital diary of sorts. It contained text files containing my innermost thoughts and fears (such as getting drafted for the looming Gulf War) along with programs I wrote in various programming languages, including TI-BASIC.

Here’s an unabridged entry I wrote that describes an incident that took place while walking the dog at Tequesta Park in Tequesta, Florida. It also contains advice on how not to impress the ladies.

7-16-93 10:01:31 pm
Today I took Max for a walk at Tequesta Park. I walked over to the swings to play. I saw two women who were also at the playground with their kids. In the mood to impress them, I got on one of the swings and began to swing. Higher and higher I went. I soon was swinging high enough to almost fly off the seat, but I still continued going higher. Then, the swing went so high that I floated above the seat and began to fall, all while I held on. I landed back on the swing so hard that the seat broke and I slammed on the ground with my butt. My glasses flew off from the impact. There I was, lying on the ground, wondering why I wasn’t in pain. I rose to my feet.

Then one of the women asked me, “Are you okay?”

I said, “Yes, I’m okay, but I am a bit shaken.” I then began blowing sand off my glasses before putting them back on. I then walked away from the swing, never feeling better in my life.

Ziplining at Icy Strait Point.

Icy Strait Point, Hoonah, Alaska.

The single most memorable excursion on my vacation to Alaska was going ziplining at Icy Strait Point. This was my first time on such a ride and I was a little nervous but at the same time was excited about it.

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Should I or shouldn’t I?

The excursion began with a bus ride through the neighboring city of Hoonah, a seaside community small enough where everyone knows each other. It has its own post office, school and a general store whose motto is “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” Then the bus began its bumpy climb up the mountain on one dirt road after another. At least the driver had enough of a sense of humor to announce that everyone was about to receive a complimentary back massage. Finally, the bus reached the top of the mountain, and from there it was a short walk down a steep trail before I arrived at the zipline. The mountain was high enough for me not to see the ground without the clouds in the way.

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Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

The ride has 6 cables to accommodate 6 riders at a time. After the riders are strapped into the specialized chairs and given safety instructions, they are sent plummeting along the side of the mountain, descending 1,330 feet with speeds up to 60 miles per hour before the ride ends less than two minutes later.

But what was it like? Not scary in the least, not by my standards. Although the ride is fast, the descent is smooth and the view spectacular. At once you can feel what it’s like to be a bird in flight high above the trees. I could use my arms to adjust my view of the surrounding area but it felt wonderful to be alive and so free as I have never felt before. Never mind that it was cold and rainy, never mind that I got rain on my goggles, never mind that I got wet, this was truly a thrill of a lifetime. I’d do it all over again, rain or shine.

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Woot.

My amazing mind.

[An entry from my old journal book, presented here unaltered, unabridged and uncensored.]

An article in Woman’s Weekly said that 1 in 6 Americans have a 6th sense – psychic senses. I have this sense as well as ESP. Here are some incidents to prove it. They are not in order, but categorized for easy reference.

  • The earliest known experience I know of was the time I was a bagboy at Publix. I was bagging groceries when I started visualizing a little boy’s face. A few seconds later, I saw the same boy enter the store.
  • Another time I was working, I wanted to get a piece of bubblegum. So I went over to the gum machine and put the dime in, and visualized a pink gumball that would come out. It did.
  • My abilities are linked with radio waves, which controls my mind. I was cleaning my room when I started thinking of a tune called “Causing A Commotion”. I went over to the radio and turned it on, and heard the same tune.
  • More recently, the radio experience came back to me. This time I was expecting it. I asked myself, “What song is on right now?” Song titles flashed through my mind until I decided on “One More Try” by George Michael. I was right.
  • My first experience in ESP took place when I was driving to jogging class. I stopped at an intersection behind a huge truck who was blocking the traffic light. After a while my foot headed for the gas pedal. The light had changed green the very second it happened.
  • I was looking through TIME MAGAZINE when I saw the People section, a department dedicated to newsmakers. On the page, I saw a picture of a girl. I was immediately thinking of a tune called “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tiffany. The second I looked at the caption, the picture was indeed of Tiffany.
  • June 17, 1988. When I stopped by K-mart to pick up my check, I had a shocking experience about what someone was going to say. As I was parking my car, I said aloud, in a feminine voice, “The checks will be in at 4 o’clock.” I was right about the time!

 

A freewriting experiment.

I’m going to try something different with this post. Instead of agonizing over what to write about, I’m just going to type away and stop only when I’ve reached the 500-word limit. Well, WordPress doesn’t have a limit on the number of words in a post, but 500 words should be enough for a few minutes’ worth of reading anyway.

I still don’t know what to write about but already I’m on the second paragraph, so things seem to be going according to plan. I could write about my job but I really don’t want to turn this blog into a diary. Rather, I want my blog to serve as a digest of my literary creations, be it a poem or a short story. Not do I want to express any political opinions, although I certainly have strong feelings about the state of things in Washington right now, but I won’t go there either. Again, the strong emphasis is on my poetry, stories and miscellaneous thoughts.

Wow, this is going better than I thought. Already on the third paragraph and the words just keep flowing. I could write about the weather or my plans for the day but for now I want to cast all those boring thoughts aside and just write as fast as my fingers can type. The funny thing is, that when I started this post, I had no idea what I was going to write about but a few minutes later the post is filling up nicely.

When I was in high school, I took creative writing as an elective course as I thought I’d have some fun with it. I’ve always enjoyed writing as a way of expressing my thoughts and to let out some steam at the same time. One of the things I learned in class was freewriting in which I just pick up my pen and write whatever comes to mind, and along the way, ideas start popping up and my case of writer’s block is instantly solved.

Lately I’ve been short on ideas for what to write about in this blog so it was time for me to do a freewriting experiment to keep things going. I just renewed my domain for another year and if I am to get my money’s worth I need to keep it updated with fresh stories and thoughts. There will certainly be more of that along the way.

Or perhaps I could go through the 17 saved drafts I have and see what I can do to finish those and get those posted for the world to see. Too often I feel I’m too busy to just sit down and write for a few minutes, let alone work on those drafts to completion. There;s been too much on my mind lately with work and money matters, but I cling to the hope that I could possibly utilize my writing talents to ease my financial woes a bit.

And I still have those unfinished novels I’d like to get published someday and get my name up there with the literary greats. I need only the time to work on them and get them submitted.

Well, I’ve exceeded the 500 word limit and looking back, I think I have another fine post for the world to read. There were times when I paused to ponder my next sentence but other than that the words came out virtually nonstop.

This concludes my freewriting experiment. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Your Shadow and you.

While reading the ground-breaking book The Tools, I had a rare spark of creativity while reading the chapter on the tool that uses my Shadow to boost my self-confidence. According to the book, my Shadow is a physical manifestation of all my negative traits that emerge whenever I talk with someone whom I find difficult or intimidating. These traits can also emerge whenever I find myself speaking to an audience. The book has me focusing not on these people but on my Shadow to channel its presence so we both work together instead of against each other.

And when me and my Shadow both drink a bottle of Diet Coke, my burps will come out twice as loud.

The cool side of curiosity.

One of my favorite radio stations is WKGR (also known as The Gater) which specializes in classical rock music. One day as I was listening to a song I was particularly fond of, there was a short interruption in the signal that briefly took the station off the air. Later the DJ came on and said there was a problem with the transmitter in Martin County that got fixed, so he replayed that same song.

I’ve since become aware that the radio station itself is not far from where I live here in West Palm Beach, and I’ve even driven past it numerous times. On the building itself are logos for some of the other radio stations that serve my area. That got me curious about where the DJ’s work. For years that curiosity kept nagging me until finally I decided to send an e-mail to the afternoon DJ to put to rest this nagging question once and for all.

I have a question that’s been nagging me for quite a while. Years ago I remember hearing you say that the transmitter for the Gater is in Martin County, and I know the radio station itself is on 45th Street. It does look like a rather small building for the radio stations serving our area. I keep thinking it must be crowded in there! Is there a separate location where you DJ’s broadcast from?

Later on that same day I got this response.

Actually our building is huge. There are 50 desks (not all occupied) in the sales area. We have 6 on air studios, a giant bullpen, 10 bathrooms, manager’s offices, on-line too. Call me and I’ll give you a tour sometime.

Even better, the DJ gave me his phone number. I’ll take him up on his offer for the tour of the station as soon as I find some time in my busy schedule. Finally, I’ll get to meet one of my favorite DJ’s in person.

It’s cool to be curious.