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I met her in my first year of college. She was then a Biology major and dating one of my friends. The first thing that impressed me about her was her sharp mind that twinkled through her eyes. I have referred to her on more than one occasion as a "walking brain." A couple of years later, after I had returned from a theatre Winter trip to London, we started seeing each other... casually at first and things developed over time. She had by then switched to become an English major. (Our lively discussions on Shakespeare were really something to behold. LOL! ) It was a difficult time in our lives as we were both individually going through the early 20 something angst of lost direction and ideal overload. We helped each other through that... and over the years supported each other through a lot more.

The real kicker is that she married me... twice! Once in a civil ceremony with a group of 10 chained accused not 10 feet away in a rural courthouse. The next time was the big "official" 300 guest wedding that I actually cooked a couple of dishes for. The funny thing is that even though we were legally married... we still had to sneak around for 2 years between weddings because her relatives did not know we were married.

The other reason this was also a big deal for me personally was because I never ever saw me ever getting married... my (warped) reasoning being my handicap. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that someone who is smart, intelligent, beautiful (a stunner actually) and a damn fine writer (really, she's better than me) would actually accept and want me for me. All in all we were together for just over 7 years.

Apart from being a great friend... she taught me how to share. (Believe me, this was a major issue with me being an only child.) The break-up of the marriage was devastating... but we started as friends and still remain so... that survived. Yes, I was hurt and angry but even through that difficult period I have never regretted her coming into my life and sharing some of it with me... and for which I count myself extremely fortunate.

So, Da Count for me this week is my ex-wife.

UPDATED: 8:03 AM pst

And up next the...

weekend movie selection

"Badges? Badges? We don't need no stinkin badges!" Yes, those immortal lines come from this movie. Admittedly "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is really more of a "guy movie". But it is still a fun watch even today. The basic plot is about 3 down on their luck Americans who go looking for this fabled treasure. What begins as an adventurous partnership eventually fritters away into a situation of suspicion and distrust.

Co-written and directed by John Huston it stars Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt . There are wonderful performances to behold in this movie. Just watching Bogart slowly go loco is worth the price of admission. Walter won the Oscar for his performance as did his son John for directing.

Watch this one with a good slug of scotch.

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EDIT: Rearranging this post so ie reads a little easier.


THE IDEA: A weekly appreciation and celebration of what we have... and sharing that awareness. Perhaps just as a reminder to ourselves of how rich our lives really are... probably not in a Bill Gates kinda way but we all have things of value that no currency marker can be placed on.

WHAT COUNTS?: Any and everything... really, the possibilities are limitless. From "Hey, I got new shoes... and the ability to afford them." to "I was drunk off my ass and a good friend gave me a ride home."

HOW SHOULD IT BE POSTED?: It could be a story, poem, sentence, picture, song... any way you want. Sharing your own style and creativity will be your gift to us.

HOW DO I SHARE MY RICHES?: Postings will be on Friday. Just come by and leave a comment telling us you are up. If you are new here and want to tell us you are up... click "home" (top left) or just click HERE!

* I have moved my blog to and the count continues there.

CAN I GET ONE TO THOSE NIFTY LOGO THINGY's?: Sure you can. Look below for the link to the code.



I received an email yesterday... (cont.)

... from my friend Tricia. I very rarely repost emails on my blog but I thought this was worthy on many fronts. She gave me permission and I thought I would post it for DA COUNT on Friday. I thought again and decided to do it today. I'll have something else for DA COUNT on Friday.

EDIT: I have decided to use this post as an example of what DA COUNT can be. (more details above.)

It’s been a year today. A year since I lost my home. A year since I’ve seen my New Orleans friends. A year since I watched in the slow motion of a horror film while my adopted city in a first world nation disintegrated into chaos and misery. A year since the shame of a government, at so many layers, and the Red Cross allowed so many to suffer and others to die. A year in which I lost a beloved aunt.

It’s been a year in which I’ve relied on the kindness of others. I’ve been fed by the Salvation Army, housed by family and friends, accepted clothing from strangers and furniture from neighbors. A dentist and a manicurist, among others, refused payment so they might feel they had made some positive difference. A woman in a grocery store insisted on paying for our
groceries. My god-sister and my brother took time from their own lives and families to help salvage what we could from the remains of our home. A professional acquaintance helped me find a new job, sight unseen. We found a wonderful land-lady and place to live in Naples, FL.

Within that same year we decided FL was not for us. We took a break to explore Asheville, NC. I’ve taken a new position in Vail, CO, where there is a decided lack of hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and most other major natural disasters. More importantly it’s between my sister and the rest of our family.

Because what has been most evident in this last year is that the ONLY things that are truly important are the love of family and friendship. No one and no thing can take that from you. Usually we only talk about that in terms of death, and perhaps part of us died a year ago.

Now the reason I’m writing you is that you are part of what is important to me. You are part of that love I take with me every step of everyday, part of what makes be a better and stronger person. Although I may not tell you directly, or stay in touch enough, you are in my thoughts and in my heart.

There is nothing more I can say than to offer my deepest thanks. Thank you for the ways in which you have touched my life. Thank you for being part of me.

I wish you peace and I wish you joy.


For friends especially... email me for her new contact info.

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... when the leisurely pace of the morning began steadily picking up steam and brought me 2 active full days. I began yesterday doing some graphic work on the computer.

At 3 PM I headed out to do a photoshoot at a friend's art exhibit. I'm helping her create a mini-movie of her latest series of work for distribution to other galleries in hopes for an exhibit. This series of paintings is called "self-portraits" and are of chairs. It is the object that the artist sees herself. Quite interesting really.

Once that was done it was off to a buffet place to share a meal with Kamotion who is visiting from New Jersey. She had flown in for a wedding up in the mountains this weekend and set aside these last 2 days to visit and catch up with friends.

We were a mighty group of 20 at the buffet place... mostly Rogue folk as Kamotion was once our PR Goddess. As I looked around the room it warmed my soul to see a group of people that I have had the honor to know and work with over these years. Despite the craziness that we endure every year to mount the event this is still a happy crew with great hearts.

It was then time to adjourn to our favorite watering-hole for libations and more chat. By the evenings end 4 of us were sitting at a table in my yard under the stars talking untill the wee hours.

This morning I chauffeured Kamotion around town. I dropped her off at a lunch date with another friend and headed for a business meeting. Details are still being worked out but the project is a go. However, I still do not want to jinx it so I will only reveal details next week.

Then it was back to the gallery for some reshoots, more chauffeur service and then headed to the Starline to continue working on their lighting system. I finally got done... hence this post. So, as a result of all this, I haven't really had time to blog, etc. I will catch-up in the morning. I'll have some pictures on this post sometime tomorrow.

A change of pace for sure... but a welcomed one. Hope you enjoyed the videos posted in lieu of writing the last couple of days.

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... so, there'll be a longer post later tonight. in the meantime, enjoy this from Ella Fitzgerald.

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This was a quickie... there may be a nicer one as the week goes by. I'll publish the code later.

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Whenever I begin writing a play the idea of connecting with an audience at large is the last thing on my mind. It didn't always use to be this way. Though I did learn pretty early on that trying to guess what an audience wants only produced mediocrity. So, I quit doing that. Since then, I create pieces that I would pay for and want to see on stage myself. I apply the same rule when directing a play. When the show opens I will usually sneak in and sit in among the audience to feel out what and how they respond to the piece. I do not expect everyone to respond the same way... as long as they respond... and if they do, I know that I still belong to the human race.

I bring this up because as an audience member experiencing a work on stage I will open myself up to connecting with the piece that is being presented. It took me years to re-learn becoming an audience member because I once was one of the people described below.

::warning - I'm about to make a damning generalization::

The trouble with most theatre folk... by virtue of the fact that they have received some training and have had some experience... they end up being the worst audience members you will ever want at your show. The reasons are really quite simple - the need to impose a narrow personal aesthetic and the arrogant notion that there is nothing they can learn from their peers. Many will walk into a theater insulated with the snobby attitude of being an "expert" and that they are doing their friends in a "favor" with their presence in the audience. They will then watch a play armed with the defensive focus of how differently they would have handled the piece or a character. Some carry this attitude in from being passed over in the casting of the play... or never even trying out. Others simply out of a (sick) neediness to feel important. Then, at drinks after the show they will get all pseudo-interllectual and tear into the production and say things like, "I can't believe the audience ate that shit up!" Oy vey! One can learn as much (and sometimes more) from a bad show as a good show. Now I'm all for a constructive critique as a means to improve a show... but that's not what most of these people do. To these folk I sometimes want to scream "If you're not getting paid to do this (and you're not)... IT'S A HOBBY!"

:: damning generalization over::

Now, on to more pleasant matters on the same topic. Last night I chose to re-watch "Shakespeare in Love". I thought (and still do) that it is an excellent movie. Clever, witty, bawdy and unabashedly romantic. Lots of "in jokes" for theatre nerds and Shakespeare scholars but also totally accessible for a general audience to enjoy.

When the movie was over I was thinking about how I related with a lot of it. In general I find that a connection is either found by something that triggers a similar personal memory or a desire for a similar situation being portrayed... or simply empathy. So, phrases like "I remember... " or "I wish... " play out within the inner conversation we have with ourselves while watching something.

My "I remember..." list from the movie includes:
  • The madness and insanity surrounding the mounting of a production.
  • The intensity and passion that explodes with a new lover.
  • The pain in having to lose that love.
My "I wish... " list includes:
  • That episodes in life had neat and tidy resolves like they do in the movies. LOL!
  • I had written that script and made tons of money from it.
So, what movie (or play) did you have those "I remember..." or "I wish... " moments that have stayed with you even until today?

EDIT: 10:30 AM
Here's something you can slow-dance to. I think all Mondays should start off with a slow dance or 2, don't you? Sinead O'Conner doing Cole Porter's "You do something to me". I first saw this years ago as part of the Red, Hot & Blue project and still own the CD. My favorite track though is KD Lang doing "So In Love".

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At this point it's probably going to be a movie night for me. Probably a little celluloid marathon. Haven't had one of those in a while... figured I was due. Have I decided what I'm going to watch? Nope. I'll just go through my library and revisit something that fits my mood... though I'm not exactly sure what that is at the moment.
Was watching "Walking The Bible" documentary earlier on PBS... finally completed all three episodes. It was fascinating. Anything with history and archeology gets me instantly hooked... plus the scenery... especially of the desert was just spectacular. While watching, it also struck me how the continual search for meaning never ends. Whether we are looking for it through religion, history, philosophy, science, etc... the search never stops. It's as if life is one huge detective story that provides clues that we may choose to chase or not. Personally, I think when we stop chasing and think we have figured it out, that is exactly the moment we get into trouble.
OBSERVATION: Is it just me and the immediate world around me or has this year been one of major and sometimes extreme transitions?
EDIT: Here is a musical interlude from Terra Naomi. (There is also a great live version here.) Enjoy.

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... will come later in the day. Be prepared to count your blessings.

EDIT: Noon
I'm starting a new weekly feature on my Friday postings called DA COUNT. The idea is to celebrate, appreciate, and remind myself of what I have. Part of this was inspired by a recent chat with Cosima and something a character in one of my plays said. "It's what you got that counts... not what you don't have. If you count what you don't have... then you always got nothing." (From Bundle Of Wishes - circa 1989) And the answer is YES... if you so desire you may join in.

So, here goes...

I did something today I hadn't done in years... get out of bed at 11 AM. And because this was such an unusual occurrence I have to admit that it was also quite a glorious luxury. Even in the days when I pulled late theatre nights I would always be up no later than 8 AM. It is just something about wasting the opportunities that a new day presents that gets me up early. Now mind you it wasn't always this way. When I was much younger and didn't quite appreciate the fleetingness of time and was under the delusion that physical life was forever... I was a time waster extrodinaire.

So, today I am blessed by the opportunities that life and each day presents as well as an awareness of mortality "to make it count."
Had a grand time with the chat thingy yesterday. Those that came by included Tricia, KFarmer, Lime, Cosima and Kien. The latter 3 were all on at the same time and it was quite the party! Thanks to all of you! It was a grand pleasure... lets do it again soon!
And now the...
weekend movie selection
(new to this feature is the inclusion of screenshots from the movie)
"Elizabeth" is one of those films that comes along every so often that just continues to leave an impression years after you've experienced it. It tells the story of the young princess and her eventual transformation into one of the most powerful monarchs England has ever known.
The title part is played brilliantly by the amazing Cate Blanchett and supported by equally brilliant performances by a stellar cast including Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush and Richard Attenborough.

Of course there is a fair amount of dramatic license with the script and facts are twisted and rearranged to accommodate the plot. However, one has to realize that this is a movie and not a documentary of history... the same can be said for any of Shakespeare's "history" plays. Yet I do not doubt for one second that the intrigue and treachery that surrounded the court life in the film was any less venomous in real life.

Brilliantly filmed this movie is quite the feast for the eyes as well. Perfect for a late night watch accompanied with a good bottle of red wine.

Here are some quotes:

Elizabeth: I do not like wars. They have uncertain outcomes.
Queen Mary: When I look at you I see nothing of the king, only that whore, your mother. My father never did anything so good as to cut off her head.
Elizabeth: Your majesty forgets he was also my father.
Elizabeth: I have rid England of her enemies. What do I do now? --------------------------------------------
I hear too that a sequel is currently being filmed.
Cheers and have a great weekend!

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... so the gang met up for drinks. (When do we not?) There will be pictures later in the day. The connection over here is slower than snails.

Anyway, there was quite a bit of catch-up and drinks... and with Rogue Year Round tonight I strongly suspect it's happening again.

EDIT: 1:35 PM
So, here is a pic. (We're not entirely sure if kamotion is praising the lord or heiling.) SSM will have more since he was the uber shutterbug last night.

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Hmmm... I suddenly feel like a martini!
click to see what yours looks like.

EDIT: Suddenly it all makes sense!

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It's been a while since I posted one of these... so here goes...

(The stage is dark. Music: Ertha Kitt’s “Cest si Bon”. The song slows to a halt and blends into Gyuto Monks chanting. We hear a voice in the darkness.)

JACK: When I was nine years old...I was convinced I was an alien from another planet. My people had come here on an expedition to discover the secret of peace they heard existed here...but something went wrong.... and instead of landing....our spaceship crashed. As luck would have it, I was the only survivor.

(A match is struck, a candle is lit illuminating Jack’s face.)

When I first arrived the creatures of this planet had no shape or form whatsoever. It was a habit they had given up a long time ago. Somewhere in their evolution they had come to the conclusion that shape and form was meaningless...and frankly a little inconvenient. For one, when they did have shape and form...they kept bumping into each other. Initially the occasional bump here and there... was fine...even fun. But as time went on and life moved faster...things got treacherous. And as we all know... the faster you go the harder you bump. So before long, there were mass collisions...leaving piles of injured shapes strewn all over the place. It was horrible. That’s when they decided the survival of the species depended on...nothingness ....a consolidated nothingness...with no exceptions. So a collective decision was reached... they transformed themselves into nothing and lived in harmony ...happy in their own nothingness. This state of Nothingness they shortly realized, was the secret to peace. Since there was nothing here... and they were nothing themselves... there really was nothing to fight over or disagree with ...or bump into.

(The lights come up and we see Jack in bed. It is obvious that he is an artist. His ‘studio’ apartment is almost set up like a gallery with draped pictures on easels around his bed. There is a phone/answering machine stage-right. Stage-left a pile of paintings, sketchings, portfolios and a stereo. Down front a tripod with a videocamera and a small TV as a monitor.)

But then I came along and threw a wrench into the works. After all, I did come in the shape and form of a human baby. Sure, they tried to ignore me at first... But I guess a little pink gurgling bundle of joy that kept messing itself was just too tough to ignore. So, once again these creatures had to reach a collective consensus. After much deliberation, the determination was made to recreate everything just the way it was on my planet... my shape, my form, my lifestyle....every detail. They even went so far as to recreate the problems from my planet...most of which stemmed from disagreements over shape, and form, and lifestyle in the first place. They figured this new existence of shape and form would only last for the duration of my lifetime... and once that was over, right after my funeral, things would go back to the way it was before... back to the serenity of nothingness again. So earth, as we know it, was not really earth, but an exact facsimile of my planet.

This momentous decision on the part of these creatures stemmed I guess mostly from their own great sense of hospitality... they didn’t want me to feel left out or different. After all, they had the ability take on shape and form...and I...I didn’t even have the ability to wipe my own butt at the time. When I was nine I was convinced this was true.

Looking back on that, I am now convinced that when I was nine...I was a dork. Well, Joe said so when I told him my theory. His exact words were...

(as Joe.)
“You are bloody idiot, Jack. Who the hell do you think you are?”

(as Little Jack)
“I swear...I’m from another planet, Joe! ”

(as Joe.)
“And they created all this just for you! These shapeless creatures went through all the trouble to create the entire bleeding world...just for you. My, my, we have a rather high and mighty opinion of ourselves, don’t we Jack?”

(as Little Jack)
“No I don’t! And keep it down or they’ll hear you!”

(as Joe)
“You’re bonkers! Total bleedin bonkers, you are! Only a dork would actually think up something as stupid as that!”

(as Little Jack)
“But its not stupid, Joe! Its not! And for God sakes, keep it down!”

(as Joe)
“Oh go stuff yourself, Jack!”

(as himself again.)
O.K., you’re asking yourself... now if I believed it all to be true...why would I even risk sharing something like this with Joe? Well, Joe was my invisible friend. I had one of those too when I was a kid. So, I felt safe telling him. But Joe was not just any invisible siree...Joe was a large Mexican leprechaun with a very bad English accent. Sort of a cross between Zorro and James Mason trapped in the body of Burl Ives. Here (Picking up a caricature of Joe.) This is Joe. I was 12 when I did that.

(as Joe)
“Face the world, Jack. Its not all as bloody bad as you want to believe it is. And if it was... what do you have to bleedin lose anyway?”

(as himself)
That was Joe. He always said that. I liked Joe inspite of it. We did everything together....well, almost everything. Something about a large Mexican leprechaun in the bathroom was a little intimidating. However, unlike most invisible friends, Joe always kept me on the straight and narrow...always kept me honest. I haven’t seen him since I was 18. He disappeared the morning I plucked up the guts to ask Karen Keen out. Gosh, Karen! That’s right! Yeah! I could squeeze her in. (Going across the room towards a stack of drawings.) She’s around here somewhere. (There is a definite limp in Jack’s walk. He stops.) If you are wondering about that...Polio.... No big deal. I was one and a half when it happened. (Gets to the stack of drawings.) Karen Keen...Karen Keen...

(The phone rings.)

(Phone rings again.)
You know, call screening is one of man’s greatest inventions.

(Phone rings again.)
It provides the license to be rude without apology.

(Phone rings.)
A technological marvel invented solely for the perpetuation of anti-social behavior!

ANSWERING MACHINE: Hi. This is Jack. I really wish I was here in person to get your call... but unfortunately I’m not. So, please leave a message.

JACK: The perfect crime, isn’t it?


Excerpt from "Turn Up The Torment" copyright 1994 Marcel Nunis

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... of the morning seeps into the room from the open door. The glow of the new day is breaking as the dogs yelp at the paper guy. This begins another 3 day stint of triple digit temps before going back to the seasonal 90's. Perhaps I'll take an early jaunt to the coffeeshop and continue this post from there.
Got to the coffeeshop a little later than anticipated. The gang here is not as chatty today. Must be the anticipation of the next 3 days.
So, for the last couple of weeks I've been running into all sorts of folk who at one time or another were involved in productions of mine. Many are now young adults who used to be little bittys when I was working at the Children's Playhouse both as a playwright and director in residence. Last night was a prime example.

SSM and I were having some drinks over at Lipari's when this attractive young woman walks in. We both notice her (obviously) and after a while I ask if she was in one of my shows. Turns out she was. We chat a little and find out that she is on her way to Irvine to pursue a degree in "the classics". A pleasant meet-up all in all.

Sometimes it is a little disconcerting when this happens. Mainly because they call me by name and I have to search my memory as to where I know them from. (Shit, afterall... they called me by name!) I use to be embarrassed when I've had to ask them to remind me about the circumstances of where we met. I have since gotten over this and now just engage them in conversation about what they are doing these days. It's nice to be remembered. Some of them will ID me as that "storyteller guy" who came to their school. Generally the ones who know me by name are either cast or crew members from previous productions or ex-students... and the visits are always good. Sort of a constant reminder of the stops I've made on this journey through life.

It's not a bad place to be... not a bad place to be at all.

EDIT: Residents of the Big NO... you are now on notice!

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... "selective compassion" and "attachments" but decided against it. This topic has been swirling around in various conversations I've engaged in over the past week... but I'm going to let it lie. (If you really want to know... read this interview with the Dalai Lama who is a lot more articulate on the subject than I can ever be.) I decided to take myself out for a drink at the local pub instead. When I return... and if something strikes me as blog-worthy... there will be an addition to this post.

an hour 15 minutes later...

Just got back and for a Sunday night Livingstone's was packed. I did have a drink and ordered some chicken quesedillas that hit the spot. Couldn't finish the order though so there's lunch tomorrow. I use to be quite the regular at Livingstone's since it was sort of the Sardis of Fresno. Most of the theatre crowd use to hang there especially post-show to catch a drink and a bite to eat. (They still do actually.) Sunday nights used to be dead... which I sort of liked... just as a change from the wall-to-wall people place it usually is. It was the night were I could get a quiet drink and ponder the week ahead. So, it was a little surprising to see as many folk there tonight. Just another change, I guess.

Here's a question... "What has changed significantly in your life... from a year ago?"

EDIT: Check out Kien's Monday LIVE!

more in the AM.

EDIT: 9:11 AM

Blogging from the Revue where the discussion is about "Snakes On The Plane". Someone just suggested a sequel titled "Gerbils On The Plane." I read Carleyjayjay's review of her experience seeing this movie. I'm guessing this is going to become the new "Rocky Horror Picture Show" type experience.

Some of you regulars are a little befuddled about the chat thingy. Part of that is my fault. I guess I should list a "how to"... so, here it is...
  1. If you see "lecram" or "lecramoutside" in the chat box with the message "I'm ON" (time PST) you can assume that I am.
  2. If you then want to chat with me... just type in the box provided and hit "enter". You message will appear as "gabber (number)".
  3. If you hate being listed as a gabber... type your name in the box next to "change". You name will change.
  4. I am online sporadically throughout the day. I will make sure to also list the time when I'm off. (Though my friends will contend that this has been so for years.)
Hope that helps.

EDIT: 1:30
So, just after I post the "how to" the net gets wacky n funky for about 2 hours which of course affects the chat thingy. LOL! It's working now though.

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... I'm am most curious about the feel of the place. Every place has it's own vibe. This is true especially about towns and cities.

I've made it a habit to always check out at least one local news broadcast whenever I visit another city. (This happens far to rarely these days though.) But local news departments usually do a fair job of presenting a "face" and mindset of a city. It's usually a pretty good starting point.

I then look for "local" hangouts. If I am in a small town it's usually the local "greasy spoon". If I've never been to a place before I will of course check out the "tourista" spots... but eventually I will spend at least three quarters of the time strolling and feeling out the local joints. I eat local... find out what the specialties are ans try them. Besides, I'm quite a fan of food and taste leaves as much of a sensuous imprint as anything.

It's interesting how places have their own unique collective soul and personality. It's something that the residents of the place share... unwittingly or not. "Just the way it is here." That's what I strive to get at least a whiff of ... it's essence. And I attempt to take it in without the imposition of judgment or prejudice.

The paragraph before this also applies to my experience of people. So, quoting a line from one of my plays.

"If at any opportunity we happen to be sharing a sliver of time together... just lay your bottle on the lip of my cup... and pour."

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  • It's the early AM (3:30) and I awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed. I'm not necessarily a morning or late-night person... more of an anytime of person. This is why the regularity of standard employment just seemed to curb my flexibility and often made me feel like a drone.
  • I do like trimming the lawn with the electric mower which I am planning to do in a bit. The smell of freshly cut grass is wonderful except for the nasal tickle of allergies.
  • Saturday use to be my favorite day of the week. Now it's Friday.
  • Often when creating their own universe people forget to invite others in and are befuddled as to why they feel lonely. They suddenly discover that exclusivity often leaves one standing in the middle in a big empty room.
  • The culture of blame only propagates the feelings of helplessness and victimization. Prolonged practice can often lead to an abysmal need of entitlement and practical uselessness.
Worlds Apart and Strangly Similar
There is a pro-Polygamy rally in Salt Lake City, Utah today and a decision on a woman who changed her religion in Malaysia.

EDIT 2: 7:50 AM
I'm off to the coffeeshop and will sign on as lecramoutside on the chat from there around 8:30 my time. If you're so inclined... drop me a hello!

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... I would get home by 8... 8:30 tops... I got home at 11:30. OK granted this is not the greatest picture in the world... but this was earlier on in the evening... right after the meeting at Lipari's. The other cool aspect about this pic is that everyone at the table are bloggers from the big "no". I guess introductions are in order. From left to right... SSM, Katie, Mustang, lecram and Jaguar.

The only thing that I'm allowed to report (on the threat of a lynching if I report more) is that festivities got pretty loud and jiggy right after this pic was taken. (Really, you should have been there. Good God Almighty!) It could be that the guy taking it was 10 sheets to the wind already... which kinda inspired us to follow suit. And then, even more friends showed up... you would think we owned this place or something. (O.K. we are here a lot... of late.) And this pic is especially dedicated to Cosima who wanted to join us... but is in Berlin. Hope this helps your imagination. :)

Nothing more to report really... no, really... nothing more... I swear! (Dude, they're stringing up the damn rope as I type.) But if I get a wild hair (when these red-neck-bastards-when-they-are-sauced are not around) ... you'll get it later in the day right here! (I'm going to pay for this... I can already tell.)

If you are here for FYF... you may want to read this post.

BTW... the weekend movie selection (yeah, I know you are just waiting with bacon breath) will be posted when I get home after I am sufficiantly java infused.

EDIT: noon As promised here is the...
weekend movie selection! ::tah dah!::

Really nothing says romance more than H.G. Wells chasing Jack the Ripper through contemporary San Francisco, does it? That is the premise of "Time After Time". Starring Malcolm McDowell, David Warner and Mary Steenburgen as the love interest.

I watched this again just the other day and I do have to say that it still stands up quite well. The plot begins on an interresting notion that both Wells and the Ripper were actually friends. H.G. at a dinner party shows off his time machine and Jack, when he is revealed steals it to escape into the future. Sure, there is a bit of social commentary about how our present is THE perfect time for Jack. However, the delight in this film is the civilized bafoonery of H.G. Wells (played my Malcome McDowell... in a non-scary role) as he tries to stumble his way into our time.

The performances are quite good all around and it's a fun movie with a little bit of something for everyone. Try it on a Saturday afternoon with some sun brewed iced tea.

Have a great weekend! Cheers!

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... it's going to be all Rogue all the time today. Didn't accomplish as much as I wanted to on the website yesterday... but we got a lot done with the lighting at the Starline. One more work-afternoon next week and there will be more lighting options at the club.

I don't want to jinx things by mentioning too much... but there may be another option for me to earn a living from home coming up soon. I'll keep you posted when things are a little more firm. BTW all this transpired yesterday at happy hour (see what I mean about forward action and forward motion?)... and the guy bought me a drink as well.

more later...

So, I was gearing up to work on the website when someone from HR at my former employment called to say that my pension check was ready for pick-up. I was out of here like a baseball hit by the slugger! Got it and went directly to the bank for deposit. It's the cushion that will take me all the way to the end of the year... and perhaps early next year. This gives me a little more breathing room to find the next stream of income.

And guess what? It's Happy Hour again today. It's business though... yeah, that's what it is... business.

Yeah, I'm trying another chat thingy here.

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... than I thought it would be. This is not a bad thing at all. Its almost as if the Universe was paying attention and said, "So, you need to move on, huh? Zappo! There ya go!"

I went over to the coffee-shop this morning and chatted with the gang over java for about an hour and a half. I came home and within minutes an ex-coworker called and I met up with her for brunch. I'm home now working on the Rogue website which will be up and ready by tomorrow with some new banners for the stealing. Then this afternoon I'm off to the Starline to continue working on their lighting system. That will carry me all the way to the early evening. Chances are good though that "happy hour" will also be taking place next door at Lipari's once we are done with the lights. It's all about forward action and forward movement, ya know? So, I think I'm going to feel pretty damned accomplished by the time I hit the sack tonight.
If you've come here for HNT... I'm in semi-retirement and here was that post from last week if you missed it.
If I'm in the mood later... there could be an edit or 2.

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... was getting the laundry done. It was either that or going commando or resorting to the 3 size too small speedo that would have pinched where it shouldn't have. Granted that it wasn't world peace but it was an accomplishment.
Speaking of world peace (or the lack thereof) today I was watching an episode of NOVA on PBS. (If you click the NOVA link you'll be able to watch the episode online.) It was about the CSH units stationed out in Iraq and the tough decisions these men and women have to make everyday.

What brought me to tears was the death of a young Iraqi girl who was burned and trapped for weeks under rubble. Her parents had dared not attempt to rescue her for fear of more bombing. She was finally rescued and was one of the lucky few to meet the "criteria" to be treated at the CSH unit. But the poor girl was so malnourished from weeks of being trapped she died hours before she could be flown to the US for medical help. The doctors and medics did everything they could but to no avail. The irony was that she fit the "criteria" to be treated. It was the scene of her mother crying over her that finally broke me.

I generally do not discuss politics (because in my experience talk gets nothing accomplished) but will we ever learn that war is driven by ego madness? It's just one huge pissing contest that destroys. Really, has there ever been a "creative" war?
Perhaps I'll have something happier later.
Oh yeah... I've added a chat thingy on the blog... so, if you see that I am on... feel free.

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... to make arrangements to attend this. Click picture for details.

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... accomplished today. It actually felt good. (Note to self: Get stuff accomplished everyday... just to feel good.)

So, I am starting to get out and about again. My sorjurn is done. Time to move forward once more and step on the pedal. The rest-stop was nice... but there is more world and life out there to explore. (And I hope it never stops.)

For the last week or so I have been thinking about what was and how I got here. ::warning: semi-introspective wanker crap up ahead --- last exit here.::

Kinda explains the nature of posts over the last 3 days, huh?

I was actually thinking that I use to think about more... a lot more. It's not that I have become complacent... just more selective about what I'm going to try to figure out. Not that I've figured out the other things that I use to think about... but don't now. Lets face it... there are some things that one just has to accept. There are some things that just don't deserve the energy to try to figure out. There are some things that hit you in the face and you only understand its impact years later. Some of these we drop along the way just for self-preservation.

Is that section of memory on overload, hibernate or sealed in a secret vault somewhere? Are we moving on or locking away? Do the slivers of experience mount to a vivid panorama or a plain grey room with dust in the corners? Can you just look in the mirror, smile and say, "Yes?"

Go figure... or not.

::wanker distraction over::

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Here is another Google Earth tour. My universe outside of home was centered in this area in the city.
a. This a close up of the Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill) area of the city of Kuala Lumpur. A "green lung" hill situated smack dab in the middle of the city where my schools were located and where a lot of my early life played out. We would wander around this forest reserve all the time. It was quite the magical place.

b. St. John's Primary (elementary) school where I began my education. There are 2 buildings shaped like crosses just south of it. The one closest is the original St.John's Church and the one further south is St. John's Cathedral. (Ask Kien about a date I once accompanied him to at the Catheral.)

c. Once you finished Standard Six... you moved across the street to the big school - St. John's Institution. (click here for a pic.) This was one of the 2 premiere schools in the city. What was cool about it is that everyone fron the fishmonger's to the prime minister's son went to this school... at least when I was there. For a little more on my life back then, check out this Picture Daze post from last year.

d. I once kissed a girl on this corner... when I was 18.

e. While walking on the sidewalk one day I came face to face with a cobra right here. It was coming down the hill and stopped to face me (only 3 feet away)... and once it decided I was still enough... crossed the street and went down the riverbank. Oh, the buildings just south of that is where the girl's school is situated.

f. The scout den where I spent just about every weekend when I was 16-17 years old. There are some "then & now" pics on this post.

g. There use to be a great "chap fan" (rice with anything) place here. Great food! It was practically open 24/7 and was one of "the" places to stop at 3 AM for "Bak Kut Teh" (rib-bone soup) after a night of clubbing. Kien and I watched the sun rise from here on many an occasion in our late teens.

h. This was locally known as "chetti street". Lots of Indian Moneylenders established their businesses here. Also a great place for Indian food. On occasion I would go for a "banana leaf" meal served at the back of the chetti places. (Seriously, eat all you can for US 50 cents.) For a while, instead of going to private tution, Vert and I would end up at a coffee-shop here for Rava Ghee Dosai and Kopi Peng. Once on a bet, we ate ourselves silly and couldn't walk for over an hour.

i. While in primary school I would go for physio-therapy, 3 times a week, on the 7th floor of this building. I would then wait for my Dad across the street (the area to the left) in the parking lot. In this Picture Daze post I have written a little about this time in my life.

j. I use to attend a private college in this building. I met the girl I kissed (see d.) here. Us guys would arrive before 8 AM just to watch the beautiful women walk to their offices. This was sort of the financial district in the city at the time.

Now that you are sufficiantly bored... have a great week!

EDIT: And Kien's MUSIC MONDAY is up!

EDIT 2: Stole this from spitfire... this is what a Micky Dee's commercial should look like, Yo!

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... things I use to want... future plans... that kind of stuff. I remember in my late teens sitting around with friends sharing these ideas. I also remember how a lot of them had it down to amazing detail... as if they had scripted out their entire lives. Somehow, after one of those sessions mine just seemed like random fart bubbles in the bathtub by comparison.

Here are a few... (at least those I still have any memory of.)

To attend at least one Olympic Games. This I accomplished in L.A., 1984. Even got to witness a cousin represent Malaysia in field hockey. Other cousins in Australia claimed to have seen me on the broadcast of that game in the stands holding up a banner.

To float around the entire coastline of peninsular Malaysia on a bamboo raft. Never did it... and am now befuddled as to why I wanted to in the first place. No, I wasn't on drugs at the time. I did however in my teens inadvertently almost float to Sumatra on a bamboo raft with Kien one time. That incident was featured on this post.

To write a play that would be produced. Done that. As of this writing... 51 and counting. My first (at 21) was a musical called "Frogway"... and the most recent was a few months ago with "Lies My Father Told Me."

To become Pope. O.K.... I was 7 years old at the time. (At least you couldn't fault me for lack of ambition,) Even had a "Pope outfit" that I had put together myself. Oh, and if you're keeping score... I haven't done that. Yet. Though I suppose I could get into the blackmarket business of selling "indulgences".

If and when I think of some more... I'll let you know, It struck me strange how unlike most of my friends... career, marriage, etc never really factored into what I wanted to do.

Do you have things that you wanted that may or may not have changed now?

EDIT: Steph did borrow the idea of this and posted it here.

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... for personal reasons I have decided not to continue participating in Fuck You Friday. (Boy, this seems to be the week for me to do this sort of thing, huh?) I do understand that folks need to vent... and for that I think FYF serves it's purpose very well. One does need to release tension and frustration at the end of the week... especially if it has been a challenging one... and why not do it in a fun way? However, I am going to bow out gracefully.

The following is one reason I'm willing to share.

When I was younger, and as a result of my handicap, I was mad at the world. (This is a reality for most handicap people.) And there were times when this did not make me a pleasant person to be around. We all know how tough it is to be a teenager... but add being dismissed from certain activities because it wasn't physically viable (their decision) or knowing exactly why the girls wouldn't dance with you at a party, etc... didn't help my demeanor one iota. It was then I decided that if I was going to be noticed it would be because of my capability and not my disability. I also decided that it was within my power to accomplish this... just didn't know how yet.

So, in my early 20's I had made a concerted effort to take that energy born from anger and funnel it elsewhere... I started writing plays and doing theatre. In fact, it became my vocation in life. If you must know, my first play resulted from a rejection (doesn't it almost always?)... not from the girl but from her parents who deemed that I was not suitable... and part of their justification, I have to believe, was because I was not "whole". It was during this process of creation that I discovered that the motivation to begin writing ("I'll show em...") and the energy behind that can be transformed. In the middle of the process the original motivation seemed moot and silly compared to the creativity I was energized with. You see, energy has no morality or motivation... it just is. It is what you do with it that decides right or wrong, negative or positive, good or evil and creative or destructive.

So from a creative standpoint for me... it's akin to Samson cutting his hair and throwing it to the wind. To MG and Tequila Girl... it really has been fun... but right now I'm saving up for that big one down the line. I hope you understand and also hope that this won't make us strangers on each other's blogs. :)


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This week's Fuck You Friday goes out to all JUNKMAIL SCAMMERS! Especially those who prey on the elderly to part with their money. I so despise what these people do that one flip can produce 2 shadows.

Get a life you sad, sad, assholes! Better still... get an honest job! Oh, forgive me... I forgot... they don't have jobs for the lowest forms of life. Here's some advice... if you see a penny on the street, don't bend-over to pick it up... with your karma you're liable to get sodomized by a runaway rusty bulldozer.
(this paragraph provided by Morty.)

If you are participating in Fuck You Friday or want to... go here or here and these sexy ladies will help usher you in.

Dang, I just read that and I'm thinking, Morty needs to get his own blog.

Now on to other matters...

Here is a feature that I have not posted for a couple of weeks due to the fact that I've been involved in my bliss. So, in a total 180 degree fashion here is the...

weekend movie selection

Of all of Charlie Chaplin's films... this one is my all time favorite. City Lights tells the story of a tramp (Chaplin) who is mistaken by a poor blind flowergirl (Virginia Cherrill ) as being a rich man. He uses this to his advantage and proceeds courting her. There are all sorts of misadventures as he attempts to help her settle some family debts which finally lands him in jail. If you are not moved by the final scene... just go to the nearest parlor and tattoo "heartless wretch" on your forehead. LOL!

If you don't know anything about Chaplin... he wrote, directed, acted, produced and even composed the music to almost all his movies... including this one. Yes, there are all the incredible and funny physical comedy that his tramp character is famous for... but this movie, I think finds Chaplin at his poetic best. Do yourself a favor and watch this sometime... even if it is the only Chaplin movie you'll ever see.


Noodle # 1. How do the idle rich spend their time? I mean... really? I'm not rich but I've been experimenting with being idle and it just makes me bored and restless. I am most miserable when I am purposeless.

Noodle # 2. I've said it before and I'll say it again... who decided that God needed help? And why are these people "helping" by destroying the Almighty's creations... like life? Hello? Hello?

Noodle # 3. News (like History) are only versions of the facts. The Truth? HAH! The best we can hope for others and ourselves is honesty... and that is only a small segment of the truth.

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The usual actor's nightmare is being in a show where you have no idea what the lines are... or appearing nekkid on stage. Does that mean that the audience nightmare is being nekkid while watching a show? Well, if so... this is playing out in my garage theater.

This also marks my semi-retirement from HNT. Not giving up totally... at least not without one last extravaganza like I use to do in the early days. I'll just become a part-timer from this point on.

Yeah, I know there was a pretty sharp edit on last week's HNT... but it was also explained in this post.

It's been a wonderful ride, Os. (For those who just got here... go see da Emperor.) Thank you for the opportunity... not just to express but also allowing HNT to be featured in the 2006 Rogue. For now, you'll see me once in a while... but I'll probably see you more than you see me. Don't be strangers now!

Bila kita jumpa lagi... CHEERS & HAPPY HNT!

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I was browning a big ole chunk of meat this evening... tried to flip it over to get the other side (I'm making a pot roast) when it slipped in the pot and splashed hot oil on my face. OK... it's not as gory as you think. Before you begin fantasizing visions of my face mutating into some Dali-esque version of Rasputin... it was one drop of hot oil that landed just above my eyebrow. Still, did that bugger sting! At least I know there will be food on the table for tomorrow. So, what do you think I should serve it with? Potatoes, noodles or rice?
So I was playing around with Google Earth and decided to check on the old neighborhood that I grew up in... you know... a bird's-eye-view? In fact, here it is. Let me take you on a tour of what use to be. (click the image for a bigger pic.)

a. Where the arrow points is where the old house use to be. Looks like it's been knocked down. I wrote a little about it on this Picture Daze post. I guess it's true... ya, can't go home again. (WTF are they building there???)

b. There use to be a fishing pond here... that was a remnant of an old tin mine. I nearly drowned there once when I was a kid... went fishing alone one sunny afternoon. (yeah, really smart move.) I think I blogged about it once in the early days of this blog... but I'm too lazy to find it now.

c. There was a hole in the fence here where I use to sneak into the Royal Selangor Golf Club. I liked sneaking in there. Kien has some stories too... but they don't count since his parents were actually members.

d. This area was where a whole squatter village use to be. It was featured in this early HNT. I had friends there who I played with... and their sisters who I had crushes on.

e. The actual paved road ended at the point of the arrow. From that point there was a dirt path that led to Kampung Pandan and a whole slew of tin-mining pools. My Tom Sawyer like adventures in my early youth all took place there. Now there seems to be a 4 lane highway cutting through and the mining pools seem to be filled in and housing developments have taken over the area.

f. There use to be a Hindu Temple at this spot. And back then the road ended at a huge monsoon drain. We would always pass it on the way to sneak into the golf club. There was a green located just where the hole was and we would sometimes piss off the golfers by stealing the balls that landed on it.

g. One christmas night when I was 15 or 16, me and a couple of friends were picked up right here and thrown into the lock-up. Our crime: sitting on the side of the road in our pajamas in the wee hours of the morning. (Go figure.)

h. If you actually read the transcript to my show Lies My Father Told Me... the 2 trees featured in this section were here... and it looks like they still are... a temple has been built around them. I guess progress knew better than to try to move these trees.

For the rest of the area... progress marches on, huh?

EDIT: There's a scheduled outage at 4 PM Pacific time... so, I just maybe posting HNT (with a brief explanation) early. To those of you across the pond and elsewhere... I will announce your postings when comments open... if you want me to. Just comment and let me know. :)

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You ever heard that cd by Rickie Lee Jones? I love it. Hadn't heard it for a while and popped it in tonight.. glad I did. Her version of Chaplin's Smile on that cd is still one of my favorite's. I've been a fan of hers for quite a while. There are all sorts of wonderful stuff to hear on her site. That sense of raw vunerability on songs like Lush Life and then a childlike playfulness in songs like the Hendrix classic Up From The Skies just brings me back again and again. And her phrasing... dang!

That's all I have tonight. If I get a wild hair in the morning... I just may add an edit or two.

EDIT: So, this week the lovely Mel has been on the warpath with a hacker who has been trying to mess with her blog. Go there and show her your love.

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Well here I am back in real life. I was reminded yesterday how it always feels like saying good-bye to a lover when my bliss leaves... yet the next day it also feels like I've returned from a vacation.

I knew by last Thursday that my bliss would be leaving soon... which also is the cue to wrap things up. In the past I've tried to continue creating past the presence of the bliss only to court major frustration. This is one of those times I did not fight it. I have learned that the period of the bliss is to knock it all out in a raw and rough state... then comes the work of rewrites, shaping, edits, etc... which I will undertake in a few weeks or so. (I need to fall out of love with the piece first.)

What am I going to do with it once completed? I have no idea. At this point it is a story that could turn out to be a good candidate as a treatment for a movie. I'll let you know when and if that or something else happens to it... not that I seriously think it will be made.

Yes, my bliss also makes me a bad blogger... not responding to comments, surfing to visit blogs, etc. Thank you all who came by to follow it's creation and commenting. If nothing else comes of it I'll know that at least the piece was read. For that I am immensely appreciative. :)

As I finished it on Saturday I also realized that whenever I write on the subject of death... it always signifies the beginning of a major shift in my life. One was a one-act entitled "A Bundle Of Wishes" and the other was a full length play entitled "The Dead Guy Show." (Perhaps I should market all three as a package called "Dead Pieces.) A friend asked the other night if these shifts were good or bad... my answer was that if anything... it was different. So, I guess I should buckle up for a ride.

So, expect regular-irregular programming to resume soon!

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Continued from here.

For those of you who want to play "catch-up" here are the previous sections in sequence.

They made their way through the orchard to the edge of the bamboo grove. On their way there Mina had picked some frangipani flowers and picked some limes. Upon reaching the bamboo grove she gathered the flowers in her hands. She turned to look at Kamal.

“Are you ready?” she asked.

Kamal nodded. She tossed the flowers toward the bamboo not really knowing what to expect. She was relying totally on the instinct… an inkling that compelled her into these actions. Then it grew dark as if a cloud passed above blocking the illumination from the moon and when it brightened again seconds later a path appeared through the bamboo grove. It was the same path that had appeared to her 3 nights ago on that stormy early morning. Mina could not help but think now how that seemed like almost a different lifetime away.

They looked down the path. It led about 20 yards to a stream. She gave 2 of the limes to Kamal.

“Throw one in before you cross the stream… and then the other after you have crossed.”

Kamal asked. “What is beyond the stream?”

“I do not know… and I won’t until I cross it myself one day.” Came her calm reply. “This is as far as I can guide you.”

Kamal took a step toward the path then stopped turned and looked at Mina. “What will become of my wife and children?”

“Those are now the concerns for the living to deal with, Kamal. You just have to trust that they will.”

Mina watched him walk down the path, cross the stream and disappear into the jungle on the other side. She waited for the path to disappear but it remained open.

“You do realize that by guiding him here that you have accepted the responsibility for your lifetime.”

Mina turned around to see her grandmother holding 2 limes in her hands. “Nenek, I thought you had already…”

“How could I? Only the living can open the path. I never influenced your decisions in life… and it would have been unfair to begin in death.” She kissed Mina on her forehead. “Remember my child, unlike the lovers you have had… this is not something you can discard once you tire of it.”

A tear came to Mina’s eye. “I know Nenek… I know.” Mina felt her face flush as she looked at her grandmother. “But how did you… know?”

The old lady smiled sweetly. “You still carry the essence of your last lover with you.” She kissed Mina on her forehead again and began walking down the path.

“Nenek, I understand that the children are those who are yet to be born… but what is the music of the flute?”

The old lady looked at the bamboo around her and said in a very matter of fact manner. “It’s the bamboo singing.”

Mina said nothing thinking perhaps this was one of those things she was supposed to just accept.

But the old lady continued. “Some of them have snapped off at the top… and with the right breeze blowing over the hollows… they sing. Just like people… every grove has it’s own song.”

Mina watched as her grandmother crossed the stream to disappear into the jungle.

Mina made her way toward the kitchen as the kettle whistled. She carefully took it off the fire and poured some into the teapot. She put it on a tray along with 2 cups and carried it up to the verandah.

“Miss Mina? Hello?”

“Ah, Mr. Osman! I have just made some tea for us. Please join me.”

Osman walked up and made himself comfortable in one of the 2 rattan chairs. He took a sip then smiled at Mina “It’s been over a year now that you’ve been here, hasn’t it? Are you still happy here?”

“Yes, yes I am.” Just then the cry of a baby came from inside the house. “Excuse me for a moment.”

“Of course.”

Mina walked in and soon the crying subsided and she returned to the verandah. “She was just awakened from her nap… she’s sleeping again.”

“How old is she now? 4 months?”

“She’ll be 5 months in 2 days.”

“She looks pretty just like you.”

“Thank you. Are you flirting with me Mr. Osman?”

Osman laughed. "Why should I stop now?" When the laughter stopped he continued. “And the father?”

Mina looked at him and smiled... but then decided to respond. “We have been talking. We have not made definite plans yet. He doesn’t understand this world… so, we’ll see.”

“I apologize for prying… “

“No, no… I would not have volunteered the information if I didn’t want you to know.” She paused then continued, “After all the help you have given me… I… I thought you should know.”

There was a quiet moment between the two as they sat on the verandah enjoying the sound of the birds sing in the afternoon sun. Mina then got up walked over to a basket and picked up 2 limes. She then placed them in Osman’s hands.

Osman looked at the fruit then up at her, “All details have been taken care of… my son will be the new arranger. It’s time for the next generation… your generation to guide the village”

Mina looked at the old man with affection. “I want to thank you for everything you have done for me. Without you Mr. Osman… I would still be looking for home. Now come… follow me.”

They walked through the orchard picking frangipani flowers on their way to the bamboo grove. As they approached it a slight breeze picked up and the bamboo began to sing it’s song.

EDIT: Well, that's it... now back to real life and to cage up Morty. For those of you who have put up with this indulgence... thank you for taking this journey with me.

FYI... I will let it sit for a few weeks before I come back to it for edits and rewrites.


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Enjoy a gander at this site that features... DIRTY CAR ART! You can click the image to enter the gallery.

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Continued from here.

You can leave your 5 word sentence starter with every completed section posted.

For those of you who want to play "catch-up" here are the previous sections in sequence.

A teapot with 2 cups sat on the table between the 2 rattan chairs on the verandah. Mina sitting in one of the chairs poured herself a cup, leaned back sipping the rich brew and soaked in the night air. There was a peaceful glow about her. The kind of glow a musician would feel just after completing a piece of music and knowing that it was accomplished without a single thought of technique. She heard a sound, turned her head to its direction, smiled slightly and put her finger to her lips. Just then the door to the verandah opened slightly.

“Over here, Sofia.” Mina gestured invitingly. “I have made some tea for us.”

The young widow walked out shyly. “I opened the front door after I changed into my clothes like you asked me to.”

“Thank you. Mr. Osman will be here soon. I wanted him to know that it was safe to enter now that our ‘women’s matters’ were complete.”

The both of them giggled at this. Sofia sat and took a sip from her cup. “I want to thank you again for doing this for me.”

“It is I who should thank you.” Replied Mina.

“For what?” Sofia looked surprised.

Mina smiled. “For wanting me to… and for being my first guest here since my return.”

“Are you lonely out here?”

“No. But it is nice to have someone to talk to for a change.”

Sofia took another sip but Mina noticed a sense of expectancy about her. Finally she she looked at Mina, “Miss Mina, can I talk frankly with you?”

“Of course. What is it?”

“It’s not that we are not allowed to mourn… but it is our custom not to show grief so that the souls of our loved ones can move on freely. I only cried once since… the accident… when they told me.” A tear began to well up in her eyes. “But then the fishermen on the boat told me what happened. They said that he died laughing. They said that everyone was scared… but he was laughing… then the wind blew hard and a wooden pully hit him in the head and he fell in.” She took another sip but now smiled. “He was always laughing. They said that he was laughing when he fell in. For that I am glad.”

“What kind of a man was he? “ Mina asked as she shot a glance to where Kamal now stood.

“He was a very handsome man. A very… passionate man.” Sofia blushed and giggled a little to herself, surprised by what she was revealing. “A very intelligent man too. You know he went to the city to study engineering… but he came back 2 years later and became a fisherman. I asked him once why he came back. He said that things were moving too fast in the country… especially in the city… that people were losing their ways and their souls in the name of progress. He said that in the city… even hospitality now had rules. He said that if this was progress he did not want to have anything to do with it. He did not see any reason to help the country lose its soul… so, he came back.”

“Was he a good father?”

“He was like one of the children. We are not rich… but I think that he spent more time playing with the few toys we bought them than they did.”

They both laughed. Sofia continued, “I know the children will be well cared for. I know that even if I do not remarry… the men in the village will be good examples for them… and they will know their father through those men.”

“They will be lucky. It’s a luxury I never had.”

“But didn’t your mother remarry?”

“When I was 5… my stepfather is a kind man but I never knew my father like your children will.”

“Perhaps if you stay… you can.” Mina looked at Sofia and smiled. “Forgive me Miss Mina. I think I said that for selfish purposes.”

“Sofia, it’s OK to be selfish sometimes.”

“If that is the case I wish…” Sofia took in a deep breath. “The last 2 days… there are so many things I wanted to say to him… I…”

“Sofia, I should go in and pack all the instruments in the bag. While I’m inside… you sit here and say everything you want to say to him.”

“Miss Mina… I will look silly…”

“No… no… when I was studying overseas I saw something similar being done in grief counseling. It really seemed to help those who lost someone. When I go inside… just pretend that he is sitting in this chair.” Mina rose to go throwing a look to Kamal and communicating with her eyes to sit in the chair she just vacated.

Sofia turned around. “What do I say? How…”

Kamal was now sitting in the chair. “There is a language that men and women share… lovers, partners… just speak in that language you shared together. Just call me when you are done.” As Mina left the verandah she saw recognition in Kamal’s eyes and a deep affection for the woman who sat in the chair in front of him.

For the next 15 minutes Mina sat on the front stoop watching the flying foxes begin to take flight in the night sky in search of ripe fruit. The faint smell of ripe durians floated in the air. Down the road, in the distance she saw the headlights of a car approach. It pulled up and Mr. Osman stepped out.

“Is she ready?” he asked.

“She will be.”

“Good. I saw her walking here earlier so I gave her a lift. A woman in her condition should not be walking alone at night… it’s almost 9 o’clock.”

“It is very kind of you to do this for her.”

“No, Miss Mina… the kindness is yours. She told me why she was coming here.”

Just then Sofia appeared at the doorway. “I’m ready Mr. Osman.” Sofia walked down and slipped on her footwear. “I am very grateful to you Miss Mina.”

“Did you take the medical charts you brought with you?” asked Mina.

“I have them in my bag… thank you.”

Osman opened the car door to the passenger side and Sofia stepped in. Mina stepped over and looked at Sofia through the window. “Remember, we want to keep your iron levels up. So lots of green leafy vegetables and petai sambal once every 2 weeks to clear your kidneys.”

Sofia smiled. “Miss Mina, I thought with all your western education you would be prescribing pills for me.”

“Sometimes Sofia… the old ways are the only ways. Please feel free to call on me if you have other concerns.”

This perked up Osman’s ears. “Can I assume by this that you have arrived at a decision?”

“I may have.” Mina watched the car rumble down the road back to the village.

“Now what do I do?” She turned to see Kamal standing at the foot of the stoop.

She looked at him, frowned a little then brightened. “Now we will take a walk to the bamboo grove at the back of the house.

continued here...

EDIT: Chances are pretty good that the final section will be posted sometime tomorrow (Saturday). I'll try my darndest... unless it desides to take me on yet another ride... and it could be a pretty long section. In the meantime... think of a title and post it when the final section is up. Perhaps we'll set something up to vote for the title. :)


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