I Want My Money Back.

You know, 2013 was (as my favourite Chinese blessing/curse goes) a very “interesting” year. I put in a special order for 2014 to be miserably dull, boring, and completely mundane. Kinda like yours truly (well, except for the mundane part – sci-fi fans refer to non-fans as “mundanes”, so I’ll never be one of THOSE! ;) ). But dang it, somebody misplaced my order – probably got lost in the shipping rushes at UPS and Fed Ex. (Did you hear that Fed Ex and United Parcel are putting together a joint panel to look into those holiday shipping problems? They’re gonna call it “Fed Ups”. (Insert rimshot here.) :D )

I won’t bore you with details, but in the last 10 days, we’ve seen a record high temperature, a record-cold high AND low temperature, a precipitation record (in rain – not counting the three snowfalls I had to shovel), plus two loads of wood to be hauled, and capped off by the house next door (the “good people” house) rupturing a pipe. Yep – an indoor waterfall, right through the middle of the living room, from the 2nd floor bathroom raining all the way into the basement. (Sigh.) And since the house is empty and the landlord is out of town, we had to do the emergency clean-up. Well, we didn’t HAVE to – but the owner only rents to good people, so it’s an investment in my sanity. Of course, it couldn’t be the “bad people” house! (Though, if the owner decided NOT to move back in, well, the local arson rate might have a SLIGHT increase this spring…. ;) )

So hang in there (to y’all AND to me), I am seeing posts go by, just haven’t had time to answer yet. I hope to be back amongst you later in the week, and will also have a post here – a follow-up post about the Ranger Josh Hargis, who was thought to be unconscious while being given a Purple Heart, who saluted despite numerous tubes in his arm (caught in a photo literally seen around the world, and captured in my post “You GOTTA See This”). So stay tuned – same Bat time, same Bat channel, same Bats in the belfry!

Posted in Humor, Military | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

My 2013 in Review.

This will be the quick and dirty review of my WordPress stats. If y’all REALLY insist, I’l put up all the nitty gritty details.

I did 46 posts – the exact same number as last year, so I’m up to 92. My blog was viewed over 2,700 times – not too bad. 56 of those views went to my most popular post, my salute to Veterans’ Day “When History Becomes Hearsay”. Oddly enough, number two was my “Unplanned Unload”. Yeah – basically a crabbing session, and it’s number two. Only me… ;)

I scored hits from 45 countries – US the most (no duh), but I got Commonwealth love from Canada and the UK, in that order. My top referal sites, other than WordPress itself, were my grampa Archon, my BFF Frank, the lovely and talented Rarasaur, and the even more lovely and talented Brainrants. (Well, one out of two ain’t bad. I’ll let you figure out which one…. :D ) And my top commenters? Yep – Frankie gets the gold, Her Most Royal and Dignified Highness Elyse the Incomparable scores the silver, truly insane Tom gets bronze, with Fasab and the wonderful Benze finishing out the top 5. Frank alone granted me 63 comments, a dozen more than Elyse and almost twice of the other 3. Frank, in all seriousness, thank you – I would literally be nothing without you!

So that’s it for 2013. Here’s hoping 2014 will have a LOT more posts, a LOT more visitors, and a LOT less drama for my little world. And to EVERYONE who has signed onto this blog, commented, read, or whatever, thanks to you, too. A few years ago, I couldn’t picture ANYBODY wanting to read my drivel. Now, I’ve got nearly 200 followers, I’ve posted just shy of 100 times, and I’ve got people reading me from all over the world. I will never cease to find this amazing, and I will never be able to properly express my gratitude.

Happy New Year!

Posted in 2013 Wrap-up | Tagged | 28 Comments

It seems the world is steering towards putting up some kind of end-of-year post. While I will be lazy, and wait for WordPress to mail me all those stats numbers, I figured I’d drop a few stats from life in general.

It was a year of ups and downs, with a number of “down” periods. A number were triggered by anniversaries ending in “1″. (“1″ means more to my mathematically oriented brain than “0″ does, as it marks the start of a second tens grouping.) We’ve been down here in Ohio 11 years. I turned 51. We had our 21st wedding anniversary. While the wedding anniversary was a happy point, it also marked, just like the other two, that I was starting a new decade here in Ohio. While the state is okay, and while there are some TRULY wonderful people down here (my favourite, FRANKly, being a guy with a great ANGLE on life), Ohio ain’t where I want to be for the rest of my life. So that caused some serious depression bouts. I also lost some good neighbours on one side, but also got ride of the .. um … “donkey voids” across the drive. They caused me several major frustrations, which ratcheted up the frustration level, but now they’re gone for good, and the owner will move in once the place is cleaned out. Not sure how they’re gonna get a dumpster the size of the Titanic up the drive, but we’ll see. I lost my dog Sam back in July. While we’ve added a couple cats, including our “old man” Stryper, I am a dog person, period. That loss still hurts.

It is my goal, though, to write something shortly after the 1st, in my series of “Why Can’t I Have Normal Pets”. Sam deserves nothing less. Other than those, and my trivial (if far too late) “firing” from my church exterior maintenance position, that’s about all. I’m really hoping that 2014 goes a heck of a lot smoother. I’m looking forward to the new “Come For Company“, the multi-holiday enhancement of the older “Company For Christmas”. I’ll be on there New Years Day, when the wife has to work. (I will try to stop by tomorrow, as well, but it’s our 25th engagement anniversary, and the wife is off tomorrow. Yes – romance isn’t dead, it just limps and wheezes and has chronic headaches. :D ) And I’m looking forward to sharing more of my silly stories here.

So there it is. Once again, thanks to all of you, those who comment and those who just support, for taking time from your important lives to share my twaddle. I hope a very Happy New Years Eve and Day for everyone, and may 2014 bring ALL of us many more happy days!

Posted in 2013 Wrap-up | Tagged , | 21 Comments

Shadows and Stardust.

Those of you who know me a little, know I’m a big sci-fi fan. Those who know me a bit more, know that I’ve been a Doctor Who fan for over 35 years. Most probably don’t know that I’m a HUGE fan of Kylie Minogue. So the Doctor Who Episode, “Voyage Of  The Damned”, starring Kylie with the Doctor saving Earth from a crashing spaceship version of the Titanic, is pretty darn near to perfect in my opinion.

And you know my weird little muse.  She hits at the strangest times – though this time, it was perfect. So, as the Doctor realises that Kylie’s character, Astrid, has died, he attempts to save her using something like a “Star Trek” transporter. But she is too far gone, and as he realises this, he is forced to let her remaining energy drift into space. And we see him lost, even though he is technically the hero. So here, for your diversion, is “Shadows and Stardust”.

Shadows and stardust.
A ghost, an echo.
Nothing more. I have failed.

I have stood on a thousand planets.
I have seen 300,000 dawns.
I have faced challenges uncountable.
I have saved billions of lives.

No challenge too great,
No barrier insurmountable,
No army invincible,
Nothing – not even time – can stop me.

And yet -
She only wanted
To see different stars.
To stand on another world.
To travel with me, and see
All the universe has to offer.

And now -
I have saved a world,
And its’ teeming billions.
I have saved a legend,
And its’ small entourage.
I should be a hero.

But I failed her, and now,
I stand here, and can only watch
As she becomes a ghost, an echo,
Shadows and stardust.

 

Posted in Poetry, Science Fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

Open For Business at Company For Christmas.

If any of you lovely people would like to chat, you can drop by C4C and find me at the page:

http://companyforchristmas.wordpress.com/john-e-windycitywonderer-here-i-think/

Or just look under active chats on the homepage of Company For Christmas.

Hope everybody’s having a Merry, Happy, or Joyous whatever. Even if it’s just “Hump Day – Yeh!” :D

Posted in Christmas, Guest Posting | Tagged , | 11 Comments

A Special Wish.

I wanted to put this particular post under it’s own title. While open to all, it is specifically directed at a small, but particularly beloved, group of my readers.

Christmas Eve should be a time for family. Too often, however, many have found themselves without family on this evening. The reason? They are serving their country in military service, and whether in time of war or peace, find themselves in some far off land, away from their loved ones. Nothing I can say, no words I can conjure, can make up for this. No holiday wish I might offer can bring them any closer to home, or reduce the sense of isolation, and even of being forgotten.

But to all those who have taken up this difficult calling, I want to say “thank you”. I have no gift to give, no glorious present all wrapped up in pretty paper, to give you back all the Christmases you’ve spent away from home. The best I can do is offer the gratitude of one soul, who will never forget what you’ve done, and will never allow others to forget as long as I have breath to speak and fingers to type.

So … thank you. And to every soldier, from every nation, may you remain free from harm, and return home to your loved ones, soon and safe. And to those who celebrate it, a hope for a very Merry Christmas.

Posted in Christmas, Military | Tagged , | 18 Comments

A Pardon Overdue, and A Christmas Eve Wish.

Alan Turing has been granted a Royal pardon. That probably doesn’t mean much to you, but it should for three very big reasons. Alan Turing was a cryptologist, who worked at the famous Bletchley Park in England on breaking the German Enigma code. Breaking the code allowed the German U-Boat menace to be slowed and eventually stopped, thus ensuring Britain’s lifeline to the rest of the world, and an Allied victory in World War Two. Turing also worked on early computers, laying much of the groundwork for the advancements in computing and even lending his name to The Turing Test, an internationally recognised method for judging the success of artificial intelligence. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the pardon was granted because he was found guilty, in 1952, of being gay. This destroyed his career and led to his committing suicide. He was every inch a hero, and an amazingly intelligent and talented man. And he was convicted, chemically castrated, publicly shamed, and eventually driven to take his own life, because he was gay. A wrong, half a decade old, has finally been corrected. Call it a Christmas present sorely delayed.

I won’t be so ignorant to believe that everybody out there celebrates Christmas, or even counts themself a Christian. But even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, and regardless of the religion you may practise (if any), I believe that this time of year should bring something to all of us. A time of year when we think less of ourselves and more of others, a time to put others’ needs in front of our own, or even just a time to consider what we have and how lucky we are to have it.

It’s been an up-and-down year for me, and I’ve been absent from the Intertubes far more than I would have liked. But every time I’ve returned to this little corner of the blogosphere, I find more and more people following me. It still amazes and bewilders me, but my mother brought me up to be grateful, even if I don’t understand that for which I am grateful.

So Merry Christmas, or whatever it is you might celebrate. I thank all of you for continuing to follow my blog, and I wish to each and everyone of you all the best of love, peace, and good fortune. May the brightness of a million stars light your path to family and kinship this season, and lead you to dreams and wishes fulfilled in the New Year. And thanks!

Posted in Christmas | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments