Tales of Tadeusz

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hohenwald News: Other Aid from the Gov't

This come from the FEMA IHP advice sheet listed in the above post. They recommend calling FEMA on their hotline for references to these other services for those disaster struck. Its in alphabetical order.

Aging Services: Services are available to meet the needs of the elderly who have been directly affected by a declared disaster (i.e., transportation, meals, home care, etc.).

Agricultural Aid: The USDA Rural Development may make emergency loans to farmers and ranchers (owners or tenants) who were operating and managing a farm or ranch at the time of the disaster. These loans are limited to the amount necessary to compensate for actual losses to essential property and/or production capacity. Farmers and ranchers may also apply for cost sharing grants for emergency conservation programs such as debris removal from crop/pasture lands, repairs to land/water conservation structures, and permanent fencing. Further information is available from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). Assistance From Financial Institutions: Banks that are members of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Reserve System (FRS), or the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB) may permit early withdrawal of time deposits, without penalty. Contact your financial institution to see if they have obtained a waiver from their regulatory agency.

Business Loan Program: Disaster loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to businesses to repair or replace destroyed or damaged business facilities, inventory, machinery, or equipment. The maximum loan amount is $ 1,500,000. If you have been referred to this program you will be receiving an application package in the mail. For more information or help in completing this form, refer to your SBA application package or the SBA website at www.sba.gov.

Consumer Services: Counseling is available on consumer problems such as non-availability of products and services needed for reconstruction, price gouging, disreputable business concerns and practices, etc.

Crisis Counseling: Referral services and short-term intervention counseling is available for mental health problems caused or aggravated by the disaster.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance: This assistance provides weekly benefit payments to those out of work due to the disaster, including self-employed persons, farm and ranch owners, and others not covered under regular unemployment insurance programs.

Emergency Assistance: Emergency food, clothing, shelter, and medical assistance may be provided to individuals and families having such needs as a result of the disaster. The American Red Cross (ARC), the Salvation Army, church groups, and other voluntary organizations can provide assistance.

Hazard Mitigation: You may receive funds to prevent future damage to your major utilities (i.e., furnace, water heater, electrical service) by either elevation or relocation of these utilities in your home.

Home and Personal Property Loan Program: Disaster loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to homeowners and renters for restoring or replacing disaster damaged real and personal property. The maximum real estate portion of the loan is $200,000 and for personal property is $40,000. The loan amount is limited to the amount of uninsured SBA verified losses. If you have been referred to this program you will find more information in the "Application Summary" on the back of the Disaster Assistance Application Form. Insurance Information: Help and/or counseling is available on insurance problems and questions, which may include obtaining copies of lost policies, claims filing, expediting settlements, etc. If you have not been able to resolve your problem with your insurance company you may contact your State Insurance Commissioner. For flood insurance inquiries, contact the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Legal Services: Free or reduced legal services, including legal advice, counseling, and representation may be provided to low-income disaster victims.

Social Security: Help is available from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in expediting delivery of checks delayed by the disaster and in applying for Social Security disability and survivor benefits.

Federal Tax Assistance: The federal tax laws allow the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to grant relief to taxpayers who are victims of a Presidentially declared disaster. This relief includes postponing tax deadlines to provide you with extra time to file and pay before you will be assessed any penalty, additional amount, or addition to the tax, or abating your interest for periods for which you received an extension of time to file tax returns and pay taxes because you were located in a Presidentially declared disaster area. Generally, qualified disaster relief payments are not required to be reported in gross income. Qualified disaster relief payments include payments received from any source to pay reasonable and necessary personal, family, living, or funeral expenses incurred as a result of a Presidentially declared disaster. The IRS may allow casualty losses that were suffered on home, personal property, and household goods to be deducted on the income tax return if they are not covered by insurance. Taxpayers may also file an amended return to receive an early tax refund. More information, forms and publications can be found on the IRS web at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=108362,00.html.

Other Tax Assistance: County tax assessors may provide information and assistance on possible property tax relief.

Veteran's Benefits: The Veterans Administration (VA) can expedite delivery of information about benefits, pensions, insurance settlements, and VA mortgage loans.

Hohenwald News: FEMA Video Link

Here is a link to a video from CBS and the Mike Brown, FEMA director detailing FEMA's plans. Unfortunately, I have dial-up, so I'm not offering a review as to how helpful this is.

There are a lot of other Katrina related story links on that page.

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Here is a link to a page for applying for FEMA relief.

Here is a link to their PDF for Individuals and Homes Program.

When disasters take place, the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides money and services to people in the disaster area when losses are not covered by insurance ...

It states that some money is available through the IHP, but most money is in the form of loans from the Small Business Administration that must be repaid. And that applicants may be required to go through the SBA first.

This seems silly on the face of it. If we could expedite this process, and avoid going to a Business related group, for non-business needs, that would seem to be better. (editor.)

IHP will not cover all of your losses from damage to your property (home, personal property, household goods) that resulted from the disaster.

IHP is not intended to restore your damaged property to its condition before the disaster. In some cases, IHP may only provide enough money, up to the program limits, for you to return an item to service.

IHP does not cover business-related losses that resulted from the disaster.

By law, IHP cannot provide money to you for losses that are covered by your insurance.


In other words, businesses, insured and covered damage is not dealt with here. Also, the money is more focused on getting things functional, than getting stuff completely back up...

As a thought example (because I'm not sure they do cars at all.): Its as if they say...The company car isn't covered. Only the deductible on your car, and any above limits is covered, and we aren't going repaint your car, but it will run. Update: Yes, to disaster damaged vehicles.

How to apply:

(To be used by people in Presidentially declared disaster areas.) 1. Apply over the phone to FEMA: Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (hearing/speech impaired ONLY—call 1-800-462-7585). In addition to having a pen and paper, please have the following information ready to give to the person who takes your call:

-Your Social Security Number.
-A description of your losses that were caused by the disaster.
-Insurance Information.
-Directions to your damaged property.
-A telephone number where you can be contacted.

You can use the FEMA money for some repairs on your house, and for some other needs as listed below.

-Disaster-related medical and dental costs.
-Disaster-related funeral and burial cost.
-Clothing; household items (room furnishings, appliances); tools (specialized or protective clothing and equipment) required for your job; necessary educational materials (computers, school books, supplies).
-Fuels for primary heat source (heating oil, gas, firewood).
-Clean-up items (wet/dry vacuum, air purifier, dehumidifier).
-Disaster damaged vehicle.
-Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster (moving and storing property to avoid additional disaster damage while disaster-related repairs are being made to the home).
-Other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA.


Note: This is an amateur skimming through a 24 page PDF, and trying to excerpt the most useful parts, and explain it a bit. Keep that in mind. Hope this helps.

Hohenwald News: Lost and Found List for Relatives

And if that doesn't help, then drop by Instapundit.com and scroll down, or go to this link.

I don' t have any relatives in the New Orleans area, for which I am grateful at this time. Our hearts go out to those who wait in hope, and prayer.

Hohenwald News: Mudville Gazette-Military Helping Hurricane Victims

Northcom, a new Unified Command, is getting involved in Katrina's wake. This is the new group's first challenge. Wish them well.

Mudville Gazette, probably the primary Milblogger, has more on what is going on with the military. Click on over there and see.

Hohenwald News: Inland Damage

A correspondent wanted me to remember that not all the damage was on the coast. That is true. In Ivan, Pensacola got smashed hard, and Atmore, forty miles inland had their pecan crop trashed. Its a difference of scale, but it is something that needs a smaller bit of help too.

A Huntsvillian (that is Alabama, not Texas) tells me they have power, but many don't. However, in a peculiar twist, they are out of telephone service, which almost never happens, especially when they still have power.

Myself, it could have been worse, up here in Middle Tennessee, but I have some minor damage to my roof. The roofline, in one of my rooms sank about two to three inches. Not desperate, but I'm going to have to try to get that fixed soon.

Hohenwald News: Hurricane All the Time News

Today, and the next few days are going to be Hurricane Blogging, or more specifically Recovery Blogging.

Wizbang made a good plea for an end to political squabbling in the Blogosphere, and a focus on finding ways to help the victims of Katrina. I'll second that.

Here's a list of things that he thinks could help (and yes, as you'll see, he got hit hard.)


We don't know how FEMA works. Somebody read the news reports on what FEMA is doing and what it is not... Somebody read their site and distill it for those of us who don't have time for red tape.
Flood insurance? I know the feds handle it. Who do I need to talk to? What do they pay?
Every natural disaster I send the Red Cross my standard $100 donation. I have no idea how to get money from them. It is a grant or a loan?


If I don't actually cancel my phones and my bill is auto-debit do they still bill me?
If I shut off my phone will I lose my number?


Heck- Somebody make an "Evacuee survival guide" with laser precision information on how to get help without clicking 50 links or waiting on hold 2 hours. If you can save 25,000 people 5 hours of looking up the same information, think of the power in that!

Think of the simple things- Thousands of people lost their glasses. Somebody set up a website where they can coordinate donations of (known) prescription glasses from people who no longer need them. Get a freight company to donate the freight. I bet FedEx will give you an account number that will route all the glasses to some agency in New Orleans.

If you do something to help the victims, ping this post... If there is a lot of people helping out, Kevin will set up a post with the links. (I just volunteered him ;)

Think about it for a second from my chair... (I'm not whining but) I'm almost 40 years old.... Here is the sum total of all my worldly possessions: 4 pairs of shorts, 5 shirts, 2 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of blue jeans, a box of family pictures, 2 flashlights, a piece of trench art my grandfather brought back from WWI and my father's hammer. (Hey, it means a lot to me!) That's it. Everything else is gone. And BTW, I'm unemployed.

I tell you that not to whine but to let you see the tree thru the forest. Multiply my situation by about a million. Stop and think about that... A million people homeless and unemployed.

If you're a blogger then (by near definition) you're a self proclaimed talented person. Prove it. They'll be plenty of time for punditry and pontification next month... In the mean time there is work to be done. Figure out how to help the victims.

A very good point, and if anyone has other ideas on how to help the victims, just email them to me, or drop them into a comment.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hohenwald News: More Chicken Little

While scientific literacy has doubled over the past two decades, only 20 to 25 percent of Americans are "scientifically savvy and alert," he said in an interview. Most of the rest "don't have a clue." At a time when science permeates debates on everything from global warming to stem cell research, he said, people's inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process. . . .

Dr. Miller's data reveal some yawning gaps in basic knowledge. American adults in general do not understand what molecules are (other than that they are really small). Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity. Only about 10 percent know what radiation is. One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth, an idea science had abandoned by the 17th century.


Where to begin with this piece o' tripe?

Lets start with first base: Activists often produce press releases aimed at telling society that the sky is falling, and you should send money. Co-ink-eh-dentistry, the Yankee Perfesser, in his Chicago ivory tower, thinks we should spend more money on teacher's salaries to bring them up to the standards of industry.

Perhaps he does not understand that then industry would raise their salaries, and still leave teachers behind. Or perhaps he does realize just that. Because then the teachers could complain again. Its hard to say. Professors often know quite a lot about a very small topic. Eventually, the pay raises would top out. Probably end up driving much of our research facilities into out-sourcing.

Sigh. Basic economics might be outside his scope of understanding. And yes, understanding basic economics is more important to being a good citizen than knowledge of science.

...............I'll get back to this later, Mr. C wants to go wander the world, and blogs come after children.................

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hohenwald News: Bill Quick Has Novel

Bill Quick, the man who named the Blogosphere, and a cranky Libertarian, has come out with an e-book novel of modern conspiracy. You can go to his website, and download the first chapter for free to see if you like it.

I think you will.

I'd been lightly sparring with him a bit, and occasionally having a more friendly exchange, never realizing that this was the guy that had written two, no I think three SF novels I've read.

Dreams of Flesh and Sand was one of the first books to pick up the torch lit by Vernor Vinge. If you've heard about post-humanity then you've had contact with Vinge. Unfortunately, Vinge's ideas were too powerful, too insightful, and still nowadays most SF writers cannot handle them. Dreams proved that at least one guy could, way back then.

And this is where I insert a plug for my Starsong Systems in the upcoming supplement, the 4th Book of Worlds. See, I place myself in the exalted company of guys who got Vinge, and could do something with it, without just gaping at him. In Starsong, I ask the question, what if all the possible advances come true, what then?

Systems is another book by Quick. Here, he ran the word "terrabyte" past this reader for probably the first time in a novel. And for some reason, this novel stayed with me. Its not my favorite, but it was interesting and thought-provoking, I guess. And its hero was not immune to fear and doubt. He seemed more of an ordinary guy who managed to achieve greatness by just working things out, and keeping at it, despite failures and fears. Perhaps that is why it is not my favorite because the hero hits too close to the bone, but at the same time thats why I remember the book.

Well, that and some pretty cool ideas.

And one commenter informed me that the next step up from terrabyte is a petabyte. Which is a measurement of how ethically the user treats his computer? Or is it a virus that PETA sends to animal owners?

Go here to see the thread, and find a link to the novel.

Hohenwald News: Hallowcon Confirmed

I'll be going to Chattanooga for Hallowcon on, of course, Halloween weekend. The plan is too run two Multiverser playtests, and an Iron Dragon board game.

In addition, I'll be doing a seminar on Quick World Creation. I'll toss out some explanation, and then ask for input from the audience, and in short order we will JOINTLY create a world suitable for use in gaming.

This was confirmed today, so that's cool. Thanks Dutch, O' Mighty Hallowmaster, and driver of the Feared and Revered Frankentruck.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hohenwald News: Telecommuting Prospects

Michael Totten, at TCS Station, is a liberal, but a sane and intelligent one which is why I read him with interest. Here he evaluates a couple trends, and forecasts a possible resurgence of small-town America.

I think he is right.

Most people don't want to live in large cities. Oh, they tell you they do. But a lot of it is whistling past the graveyard. They don't like crime, high taxes, and unresponsive government.

If I want to, I'm pretty sure that I could go talk to the mayor of Hohenwald tomorrow, unless he was on vacation. I don't want to, but you get the point.

People don't like paying outrageous prices for small houses. They also don't really like being at the crosshairs of a terrorist.

And while I like people, I also like a little elbow room.

And when people get the chance too, they are going to flee the big cities like a tsunami. And that means, the remants of the Blue State power base are going to be shattered. Cities are going to deplete, and the rural locations like Hohenwald, which is close enough to Nashville for necessities, but also far enough away to be cheap, are going to boom.

Mythology of Multiverser

My current favorite tabletop Roleplaying game is Multiverser by Valdron Press. One of its basic rules is that every story is true somewhere.

This includes tales of Creation. So the Universe being created from Ymir the Frost Giant's body is true, and so is Evolution (punctuated equillibrium, gradualist, and pothole graded unbalanced evolution), and so is a literal Six-Day Creation by the Trinity, along with dozens of other Creation stories.

But these stories are true in one or more of the many universes of the Multiverse. So in one, the Hindu gods built the world, and in another vertical motion somehow turned to circular motion and the stars condensed. And in another, the chaos heard "Fiat Lux" ring out, and indeterminacy obeyed to allow the possibility of light existing in that Universe.

Lets look at it from the other side.

In Eternity Past, the Creator made the gods, all the gods. And He created with the help of these gods the Multiverse because one universe was not enough to contain his creativity. And He gave charge over some universes to groups of deities such as the Nordic Pantheon, and others he gave to spirits of wind and wave, and others he gave to single Masters, and to others he gave it to two Brothers, and for some He reserved to Himself, and onward into more variations than the limited Human mind can list or even comprehend.

And then some gods rose up against their Creator, and challenged him for rule of all of space and time. This is reminiscent, of course, of the Bible. These are called the Anarch powers.

Sauron is a destroyer. C.S. Lewis's Satan in the Space Trilogy is a vicious toddler without any redeeming virtue. Milton's Lucifer might be grander. White Wolf has the Wyrm. Loki schemes, never quite all the way evil, but in the end he chooses evil. Ares, according to Neal Stephen's Cryptonomicon, is a crude, talentless bully...the type of person who eschews a rifle for a nail-studded club.

Other gods stayed true to their vows, and these are called the Alliance. Still others wanted nothing to do with each side which are the Neutrals. Zeus, Athena, and most of the rest of that Pantheon; the Odinite deities even though they are convinced that the Alliance is going to lose; Mithras, Amateratsu, and the Great Spirit are on the side of the Alliance.

In Dungeons and Dragon mythology, the Neutrals are not really neutrals, but Nature deities. In Multiverser, the designers did a better job. A Neutral tends to being a hobbyist. That is, they have an obsession, and they focus on it. Nature, technology, pretty rocks, defenders of a particular country, etc, and so on are the focus of their obsession.

A Master of Technology might not care how tech was used, except with skill. A lover of green, growing things might let the sentients on his planet die off to make room for the plants. A lover of songs, or a guardian deity of particular countries also exist here. As do the Fey who exist more for wild laughter than for good or evil.

An example, and then I close.

For my twin Steampunk Universes, the backstory has Ares and Athena, both Greek gods of war, tussling over possession of two universes. Ares is a crude bully...the sort of tinhorn dictator with a chest full of medals whose only kills were unarmed civilians. Vicious, unprincipled, and chiefly terrifying to the weak. Athena is a goddess of craftiness and talent...a SpecWar soldier.

So these two deities appeal, as Greek deities do, to the nearest judge. Hephaestus, a god of technology who has no brief either way, a Neutral. He gives one world to Athena, and one to Ares, and promises to give both of the worlds to whichever one develops the most interesting technology.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Hohenwald News: Marines Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

This is a thoroughly excellent suggestion by EU Referendum blog. After all, of the current recipients of the doubtful glory of this piece of gold-plated tin include such shadowescenses as Yassar Arafat (shadowescenses being the acronym of luminaries), and so obviously the Prize needs to be burnished clean of all the garbage attached to it, and who better to take care of garbage, in the human form, then the US Marines?

Okay, the Archangel Michael could do a better job, but non-human entities are not allowed, um, except for Arafat.

Giving this to the Marines would restore some luster to this piece of junk.

Hohenwald News: Unusual Spam

I received the following, what I assume to be fraudulent spam or just blanket spam. Because I'm not sure how a Neo-conservative, Christian, conservative, American nationalist, Sci-fi writer would attract attention from such people.

Dearest,

I am very happy to write this message to you,my name is abdulkareem sulaimon son of late alhaji salifu sulaimon who died last two years in cote d i voire in west africa.

The purpose of my message is that my father was killed because he is the only one in his family that converted to muslim because all his family they are christian.

So before his death he has a mosque which he can not complete before he die,so i need your assistance financialy to complete the mosque.

If you have intrest in assisting me i can send you the picture of the uncompleted mosque so that you can seee by yourseif.

If you want to reply try to reply me through this e mail
abdulkareem_sulaimon@yahoo.com.

And you will be bless in the name of Allah.

Thanks.

Abdulkareem.

Thanks, Abdul, but no thanks. For one, while it is possible, I think the killing is much more likely to go the other way. That is, a Muslim born gets a chance at a free choice, and becomes a Christian. Then they kill the poor girl or guy for apostasy.

See, most Christians don't think that a forced conversion is a true conversion. The God of Isaac, and Jacob is not going to be impressed if I shove a shotgun in someone's throat, and make them recite the Apostle's Creed, and call on the name of the Risen Son of God, that is the Christ, the Messiah, Yeshua, the omnipotent Creator of the universe.

Fact is, I think He would be plenty irritated with me.

Now, I sympathize with you on your father's death, if such actually happened. But most of the bloodshed between religions is Christian blood at the hands of Muslim fanatics. Although militant athiests in China do a pretty good job on Christians as well, and they are not nice to Muslims either.

And seeing as I think Islam is not the way to Heaven, for they do not submit to the Risen Lord, I don't see building mosques as an unadulterated good thing. Now its better than building car bombs to blow up Israeli and Iraqi children, but since many mosques are recruitment centers for that sort of behavior, I will find it easy to restrain my enthusiasm.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tennessee Writer: Short Story



Patron Saint of Reason
By Eric R. Ashley

My gaze fell down across the body of my favorite second cousin, Stephanie Moyers. The corpse lay like a blonde-haired doll on the faux stone bricks of the Clarissdale Mall’s main concourse. Her blonde with brown lowlights hair swirled around her heart-shaped face which was tilted upwards toward the skylight beseeching God for another minute of life, and around her right hand was a further swirl of blood which looked as if someone had stepped in it, and smeared it.
Gasps from the strolling shoppers around me, as they paused, and then realized that their eyes were not lying to them. A young American girl, tartan mini-skirt, metal blue t-shirt, and despite the paleness, the almost blueness of her skin you could see that she was the type of girl that would have been the life of a party. Her beauty did not lie.

Despite my wonderful fiance’, and the five years that had separated us, I had occasionally found myself thinking a carnal thought or two about Stephanie. Worse, or perhaps better, she knew. Long experience, I suppose, since I think most guys in her presence were just a bit dazzled. She treated the whole thing as one would treat a horde of enthusiastically affectionate puppies.

Had treated, I corrected myself bitterly. The crowd started coming in closer as I stood over her, and before anything further could be disturbed, I took a closer look. I wanted to remember her which was perhaps unwise as I had many fond memories of her already, and one more of her broken body would not help, but I could not let her go yet. And then I saw in the blood near her right hand, the word scrawled.

“Rite”.

My face grew long and sadder for in death she had continued to cling to delusion, and I stepped back even as someone said something about being a doctor, and began a ritual examination which everyone knew would bear no fruit, but sorrow. But rituals have to be observed, if not for the dead who are, if prepared like my cousin, already beyond all fear, then for the living who have to continue in a world of sin and madness. For it was madness indeed that was contained in her message to me.

She chose such a spelling because of her peculiar approach to the world.

“Why spell ‘right’ when its obviously better to spell ‘rite’”, she had asked me when she was seven, for her birthday party, pigtails bouncing as she flounced up to me, her favored, I think cousin, a serious minded twelve-year-old. I had alternated between exasperation and awe in my dealings with her, and this time, like many I could not find an answer.

My life changed that birthday which was her gift to me, because I went home, and searched up the spellings in the dictionary. Then I became curious of rites and ritual, and the reasons behind such. That and the desire to actually know the answers to her odd questions so as to not look a fool eventually led me to my double major in Political Science and Theology.

I stepped further back to the edge of the gathering crowd, and saw two young fellows, perhaps eleven or nine, both looking scared, and standing by a block-sided planter island amidst the concourse hall. Clad in their tough guy costumes of rock-and-roll t-shirts, and blue jeans with one holding the requisite skateboard, yet they all but shivered. They had been standing there for a long time. I had seen them in the background from the top of my eye as I had strode up, and their horror-struck gazes had drawn mine to Stephanie’s body.

In my neat trousers, and thin tie, and felt black trench coat, I looked moderately prosperous, well-ordered, and earnest. A trustworthy chap, my clothing proclaimed to the world. Policemen usually let me off with a warning about speeding. So armored, I nodded to the boys, and gave them a card.

“If you need to talk about this…” I began. One examined my card. It was for my position as a youth pastor at a local church.

The other began to babble after chancing a glimpse at my card. Something about her stumbling up this way, and staggering, and him wondering if he should do anything.

“And then she fell before I could do anything.” His starched white hair, and pale face looked worse than Stephanie’s. Poor little fellow felt guilty, wondered if he could have done anything to save her.

“Very understandable. You did right.” And then I paused. “I’m sure the police are going to want to talk to you. Not a big deal.” I said that as much for them so that the police would also reassure them. I really doubted the police needed any further witnesses.

“Besides it was hopeless.” The other, an almost solid black-haired guy, except for one deliberately disruptive splash of white spoke, looking elsewhere, anywhere but me or the body of my beloved friend, as he palmed my card, and slid it into an overly capacious back pocket.

“Why?” I asked sitting down on the planter's rim, and inviting them to do so as well with an easy gesture. His bitter look of repressed anger interested me.

“She came from the Suicide Café.” He jerked his shoulder, his left shoulder back down the concourse toward a crowd gathering in front of the mall’s famed coffee-shop. “Bunch of ghouls.” He growled, and I saw real anguish. I looked at his friend for explanation.

“Ah, Kathy, a, ah, friend of his went in there with an overdose of sleepers. She, ah, died.” The starched blonde looked pitiful, and then went to put an arm on his friend’s shoulder who violently shrugged it off.

“They did nothing. Nothing. Just sat there, and watched as she died while sitting at a table. I ought to burn their store down.” The fact that the store was in a mall might have been the only thing that saved it from his wrath. His fingers were balled into fists, and his dark eyes were glazed with tears. Mine were as well.

I’d heard of Strengler’s Coffee Emporium. It was very popular with a certain segment of the young population, but it was also a place where people, mostly young girls, but sometimes boys as well, the rumors said, cute boys, went to have their last cup of coffee. The stories said that the house even would make up a cup of hemlock for you if asked. I didn’t believe that, but I did believe the story of Kathy. And I knew that the town had tried to shut the place down several times, but had failed.

“There’s an explanation for behavior like that, Rick, “ I said after I asked for his and Mark’s names. The black-haired Rick looked up hopefully, at me, wanting a way to understand the senseless. I had only cold comfort for him.

“Its called Evil.”

There was a shock, a moment of connection, in his eyes, and I saw that he tossed off the slack categories, and lazy equivalencies that substituted slogans for real understanding that he had been taught all his life. Some actions were wrong, no matter how much the evil-doer might have been oppressed or how bad a hair day they might have had.

He cursed fluently, and I nodded in understanding. Your first knowing glimpse of Evil often provoked such a comment.

I made certain that both boys would come and visit me, and then I straightened up, and marched down the concourse toward the Strengler’s Coffeehouse. Fury rode me much as it must have had the Christ as he confronted those who looked good on the outside, but inside only held death. Whited sepulchers, mall-side coffeehouses. I stood for life and love, and service to my Friend who embodied both.

The floor clacked under my heels, and I tried to cool off slightly so that I could conceal my rage. Otherwise, I might not get through the door. Predators have an instinct for the fury of the righteous, and avoid it if at all possible.

Stephanie had called me a few hours ago, after a hiatus of several months, for you see, I had offended her. She had found some new friends. Objectivists. I had laughed outright when she had pronounced the name. Stiffly, she had gone on, trying to patiently explain to me her new insights about the Universe.

My anger evaporated as I remembered how I had poked fun at her new friends. You see, I had wanted to get past that boy of twelve who had not understood. I had wanted to be able to answer her questions. And then when she came to me, I had all the answers, and in my pride I gave her the truth.

But nothing but foul sounds came from my ringing of the bells of truth, the carrillion in the church steeple bleated and blooped despite my best grace. So she had said goodbye, sweetly, and I had wondered if she saw her role as stumping me rather than mine as providing her answers. I went to chew on that insight, and she didn’t call back.

Thus when she called me earlier this morning, after several months in the cold, despite my efforts to win her back, I was most eager to come and meet her at the mall. My old, but paid for and oil-changed every three thousand miles car, had taken me through the crisp fall air to the city’s biggest shopping center, the biggest one in the region. I had walked in heading for the Food Court, enjoying being out in the frivolities of commerce. Not for me the hatred of modern America’s love of gaudy display, and shopping. As long as they remembered that it was the tinsel and not the living tree, I would be happy. That was a mistake Stephanie had never made I thought with some filial pride.

Then the gazes of the young fellows, and the impossibility on the floor. I still had not really processed the event. Shattering grief, and the attempt to hold to my faith that all would indeed be well for Stephanie, despite the evidence of my senses waited for me tonight. I would rock and wail in the arms of my beloved wife-to-be, who come to think of it was also blonde. Tonya would weep with me.

But I react slowly in such ways. I don’t instantly get angry, or grieve. Of course, as I stared down the concourse, hiding my face behind some gloves I pulled out of a pocket, I had been a long time coming to my rage about the Suicide Café. I’d heard of this place years ago, and my new pastor had mentioned it several times in our morning prayers. It was the only time I had ever heard him pray for an infestation of cockroaches to cause someone to lose their license to provide food due to health code violations. He had prayed for the wrath of the Almighty to fall on this place. Perhaps his prayer was about to be answered.

Thus I put my anger away behind a practiced smile, useful for both politicians and pastors, and mingled with the remainder of the crowd outside the café. Indeed, it was as my new young friend had said; a few were saddened, but most were trying to get a peek at the dead body from the distance.

In fact, one fellow had a camcorder of her leaving the bathroom with a bloody neck, and then going back in. She had left a bit later with a clean neck. He was showing it around.
Sounds like a discordant chime rang in my head as I stared at the picture. Stephanie was neat enough, and a bit vain, as most girls in my experience are (and for good reason for rare is the man who can compete with them in beauty), but I also think a bit dramatic, and too focused on the essential elements of life. She would not have gone back to ever so neatly clean her neck, not when she was barely on her feet, and not when a lurid drop of blood could have been shown to great effect. I still remember her showing off her boo-boos, even taking off the band-aid so I could gauge the full effect of whatever latest skinned knee or scratched arm, or insect welt she suffered “so nobly” under.

I went inside, and discovered that this coffee shop had a few surprises. It had a lobby, all the way across the front of the store. There were two gates in a black iron grille on either side of a stone counter. These entranceways were guarded, for there is no other word, by a man of perhaps Columbian or Salvadoran origin. He was shorter than I, but his muscles exceeded mine by several inches, especially in the biceps. Frankly, he looked more a bouncer than your typical hyper-thin coffee house caffeine addict barista.

Also, it reigned surpassingly dark with heavy timbers of smoke-blackened wood holding up the roof as joist. The floor of the entranceway, and the counter had what I recognized as a number of spells from various traditions engraven, or painted. They made me uneasy, but I reminded myself of the supremacy of the God I worshipped. No prayer to Dagon could stop me, when Dagon had bowed his statue before the Ark, which had held the Presence of the God of gods.

As to the darkness of the room, with its multi-brown toned tile floor, and its dark chestnut tables, and crimson bench covers with faint lighting in antique, redone gaslights which permitted electricity now, but only just barely did they gleam so that I could make out no detail on the back wall of the long rectangular room. It was oppressive, the kind of place where one knew in one's bones you should not go, even if the skeptical, rational mind could find no excuse to flee.

To my left, the only source of brightness gleamed over the counter, reflected on the shimmering metal and glass display cases about a fourth of the way up the room. The entranceway was not as dim, but it also had metal grating of black iron, heavy and substantial in a way that seemed out of place in a mall which is the haven of the transient and ephemeral. This grating ran all the way across the room behind the bouncer and his solid stone counter, one layer of iron, except for the doubling caused by two gates which looked like they could be easily slid to the side, and locked.

“I wasn’t aware coffeehouses got robbed so frequently.” I tried to laugh to the bouncer, who simply stared at me. I cleared my throat, and asked for a table.

It did nothing to remind me of the glamorous, golden light-filled rooms of the Viennese coffeehouses I had once (and oh yes, as soon as we married, I would show these to Tonya on our honeymoon) had the great pleasure of seeing.

Still it was an attractive, and stylish place, if one is in to heavy timbers and foreboding shadows. If I have to do this effect, I’d go with a Gothic cathedral rather than this, but each to his own. I could see how Stephanie had said there were vampires here. I deeply wondered if she had found some drug here, and perhaps a little sadistic advice from a “friend”. I tried not to think she would be so gullible, but one of her chief strengths was that she was open-minded and logical. Which sometimes meant she stuck her fingers into fires in a spirit of scientific inquiry. But some fires don’t let you go, not easily anyways.

I made to enter, and the bouncer held up his hand in front of my chest. Then he pointed, once I had stopped, at a sign above the counter.

“No praying.” I stared at the simple, unadorned sign with something approaching absolute astonishment. There are some who feel as if a quiet word with the Maker is offensive to them, but I’d never seen nor heard of such a bald-faced proclamation by a business, which is theoretically worshipping Mammon anyways. I ran my tongue around my teeth, while he watched me. No doubt my clothes, and my general manner had given me away. I looked a preacher, especially to the discerning, which a bouncer would be.

Then my eyes fell down, perhaps of chance, and I saw four young men sitting alone at a table. I say alone, because they all sat separately, each in his own little space, despite being two to a bench. Their general air of serious profundity, and social unease, with the militantly cross expression on the face of the one looking my way twigged something in my memory. And I was already speaking before one raised a book, a thick paperback, a full handful of text, with a gold and brown design on the front, one of the most recognized color schemes and designs in the Western world, but that picture only confirmed my insight.

“I’m to visit them.” I said, jabbing my finger at the table of four. “Can you get a chair please?” He looked at them, and then rather irritably got me an additional chair to sit in the aisle in front of the table. It was my small way of reminding him that the customer is always right, and I was the customer. Perhaps it was petty, but then I found to my surprise that I rather did not care. Probing deeper, I decided that I despised the man. Not for his nationality since I’m your basic American who accepts the Other with practiced ease, or for the job which was honorable labor, but for the business which he was entangled with. It was hard to think that he did not know what was happening around here, and an honorable man would not have been associated with this business.

So it was in anger, that I sat down across from the four Objectivists, noting their copies of Atlas Shrugged (two), and the Fountainhead (one), and a small pile of newsletters, and a plastic box with “Dues” inked onto the side of the gray little box with a crude notch cut in the top of it. They had backpacks, and such on the crimson benches, as well.

“I’m Stephanie’s friend.” I said, and they nodded.

“You’re early.” One said, and then I knew. They had just arrived. They did not know. Stephanie must have just left before they got here.

The little vixen had plotted to have me come out here, and would have “innocently” exclaimed that “Here is some old friends of mine. Lets eat with them.” And thus the poor pastor would have been ambushed by four of her Randbot friends.

But that left the question of her belief in vampires. She had said she wanted to talk about the existence of the undead, specifically Dracula’s kindred. Or perhaps it was Lilith’s kin, she really did not know. Seeing as such are completely fictional, either answer or neither could be right as the author of the tale chose.

“So how is she? When is she coming? I thought, ah, that she would be with you.” The club president, Jeremy, asked. I paused and made myself ready to discuss her death with these four young men. Already, I could see that it would hit hard. No doubt at least two of them had been half or more in love with her.

“Not good.” I began slowly, answering the first question as I picked up a menu the redhead to my left handed me, only to be cut off by Jeremy again.

“I know. She’s been hanging out with us. Reading Ayn Rand, going to meetings. Its been good.” He was deliberately taunting me. Thinking that when I spoke of ‘not good’, I was irritable at their doctrines of humanity.

I wanted to raise my hand. Tell the boy to stop, but then so much of the time my job is to listen. So I looked at him closely, and the other three with him. Bright, independent minded, arrogant and willful, but honestly concerned about Stephanie. That made them a better lot than some of the boys who hung out with her whose only concern was seeing if they could get her to take her blouse and bra off.

“Then last week, she tells us she came here, saw a vampire. We tell her that’s nuts as there is no such thing. The supernatural doesn’t exist.” Kyle said with worry on his face, after he made the effort to introduce himself. He sat with Jeremy to my right, but nearest the wall.
I made a small protesting noise, just enough to note my disagreement.

One of the others, the redhead, laughed, and asked if I, a (sneer) pastor believed in vampires. I assured them that I didn’t. I asked him his name. Wayne, he replied, and despite his quickness of lip, I saw genuine concern and bafflement in his eyes. He too was worried about Stephanie.
I drew a shuddering breath, and prayed a second. This would be harder than anything I had done in a long time. So I avoided it, for the moment, telling myself, I needed to understand them better before I spoke.
The last boy introduced himself, Roger.

“So you were sent here to ambush the pastor, but meanwhile you’re worried about Stephanie.” I summarized, and they nodded, a bit uneasily since I was implying an alliance to help her. And to their mind I was probably a bad person, an altruist, a statist, a theocrat bent on destroying freedom and morality. To my mind, they were a bunch of teenagers led by a bright woman who had written some books decades ago, and this long-dead woman had held the emotional maturity of a ten-year-old. Which might be why its mostly geeky guys who follow their prophetess. Not to say they were evil, just a bit limited.

I bowed my head, and then raised it as if I had not planned the whole thing. I told them that I should like to pray for the situation. I did not say Stephanie as she was dead, and in Glory, and beyond my need of prayers. Indeed, I did pray both verbally for the boys and for wisdom under the hard burden, and in my heart for them especially as I was about to tell them of her death. And I knew from glances that at least two of the boys had serious designs on her. It would break their hearts, and expose their souls to the screams of despair.

Finished, I raised my head, and the leader of the boys smiled at me. Then he began to read from his book about a fellow named Ellsworth and his evil. Some sort of religious leader who wanted people to destroy themselves. They smirked a bit, getting back at me for making them listen respectfully to a prayer. In other times, I would have enjoyed the intellectual sparring. Perhaps it is not godly, but I really do enjoy arguing with skeptics. It doesn’t hurt that I’m usually much more equipped than they expected for their arguments. I’m human enough to enjoy wiping a snotty expression off someone’s face.

I raised my hand to interrupt.

“Gentlemen, I would love to chat, but there is a matter of urgent…”

Gasp.

The boy reading almost dropped his thick book as it sagged from his fingers. The others holding their various copies of Atlas Shrugged, or the Objectivist Ideal which had been stuffed in a pocket, with fingers placed on the passage they wanted to read me, turned and looked, and paled. I raised an eyebrow, rearranged my Bible to suit in my left hand, and looked over my right shoulder to see what the matter was. Their manner had the hackles on the back of my neck rising for I had no reason to believe they were anything but serious and well-intentioned young men.

But what I saw could not be prepared for. It walked across the coffeehouse floor. I say it because even though it was clothed as a man, I could not tell its gender. And even as I thought that and spun about to look over my left shoulder as it trespassed behind me, I wondered if such as it had a gender at all. Or if that was just one more thing it had given up when it was kicked out of Heaven.

A bloody mask, with jaw hanging open to expose a row of teeth, human, but for the front canines dripped blood onto its drenched ruffled shirt, and dirty black velvet vest. Its cape was holed and ripped so that I could look through it, but those holes led to other places to screaming faces and to impressions which could not be described in words for they had no meaning in our language but of pain and madness. Bones lifted themselves out of its ribs, and I swallowed vomit.

A young woman, busty, and with her nicely tanned midriff exposed in white t-shirt with some small design on the front the way that my fiance’ had told me she liked to wear around the house when she was vacuuming stood up, and practically wiggled for joy, like a puppy before this monstrous and poor imitation of a man. Near retching, I saw him reach out, and give her a bloody kiss on the neck. I wanted to say something, to shout, but then a waitress swooped up, and scooped the Bible out of my hands.

She was cute, and firm of hand and manner, and shook her head at me reprovingly.

“No, proselytizing allowed in here, Pastor.”

I looked past the trim barista to where the puppy girl had sat, and she had a dazed look in her face even as her friends congratulated her. The monster was gone, replaced by a man, such a man, style and power and wit etched his face just lightly enough to let you know he was a bit older than most of the females, but still in the range for it to be respectable to be seen with him. His black cape, and black vest and leather boots were outre’, but so cute. Even I noted he was attractive.

“Thank you for telling me, young lady.” I smiled at the waiting girl, promising nothing. But she could hardly stand around and force me to promise something I would never do, especially after I had been so polite.

I turned back to the group after the barista left. I tried to swallow. Couldn't.

“That was a vampire.” Roger said. “Perhaps we need to recalculate our theories.” He added weakly, and I noted that the most quiet one of them was probably their thinker.
“Me too.” I said, and then breathed in. This would be hard. “Stephanie is dead.”

They stared at me in disbelief, and then in mute pleading for me to announce that it was all a joke in very poor taste. Jeremy found out, in his secret love with her, began crying immediately. The other, Kyle, went last, and for him I worried, for his tears had the look of someone who had lost all hope. No fight was left in him.

Their leader, Jeremy raised his head, full of woe, and looked at me worried for his flock, in my terms, or a club in his. And I found myself saying words I had not expected to say.

“We can fight back. Its not something I say to everyone who suffers loss. Death and indeed murder are not something we can fight and win. We all will die…”

“He won’t.” The despairing one said.

“And the police are for murder.”

They shifted, and then one smirked. Okay, I’d forgotten I was dealing with Objectivists.
“But this is a creature from Hell, Kyle, and yes, we can fight it, and successfully, I believe, Kyle.”

“This creature is a personification of the death principle that all altruists subscribe too.” Jeremy spoke, and his congregation nodded. Okay, I could work with that. Thing is, most of the people in the room obviously saw the stylish man, and not the monster. He had some sort of spell on them, that even affected me when I had lost my Bible. I wondered as I stood how come they had seen him for what he was, as I had.

I told them that I was going to be right back, promised them, begged them to stay, which I probably should not have. They were children my conscience reproached me, but my reason answered back as I walked past the counter.

Seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen year olds are not children. They were old enough to bear responsibility for life and death. But that did remind me that if anyone had to die, it had better be me. I knew where I was going when I died.

“My friends, please stay here, I will be back very soon.” I looked back into each of their eyes, and caught them with all the intensity I could channel. It was not my own desire alone for which I entreated them, but that had been given to God, and came back infused with the kind of holy fire that is charisma. They looked at me the way a drowning man looks at a life jacket. I had a certainty in a world gone suddenly mad.

I left, and before I got out the door, I saw they were engaged in furious conversation. Not angry with each other, but at a great pace, and with fervent intensity. They were dealing with the issue on their own. I prayed for them, and swept out the door past the bouncer who dared not impede my path for the speed of my steps, or the power that filled me.

Still pushed by something, ah, Someone I realized, I had made my way out of the coffeehouse, and down the concourse to the Radio Shack. Walking in, I pulled out my credit card, and headed directly toward the heaviest looking laptop. Gulping at the price, I studied it for a second to see if it was truly as sturdy as the advertising claimed. It looked like one might usefully use it as a hammer, which is what I wanted.

A clerk materialized at my elbow, and I turned to him and said softly.
“I want to buy this, right now. I want several programs put on it, and booted up. And I want it done in five minutes. If not, I’m leaving.”

The clerk gulped, and took a quick look at the sticker price which was halfway to five figures, and dashed across the threadbare carpeting, and behind the counter. He grabbed a portable card scanner, a charged battery, explained in terse fashion to the manager, and came back in a clumsy sprint, trailing the manager.

“Four and a half minutes.” I announced with deadly calm. The manager accelerated off to his right, toward the back of the store, with his face blotchy speed-walked off to get my software programs. I merely kept studying my watch as the time wore down while the two underpaid young men, the clerk and the manager ripped open packages, and booted computers with a feverish abandon.

Four minutes later, I was heading out the store with offers of selling me speakers falling away behind me, along with some very happy commissioned sales clerks.

I quick stepped back to the coffeehouse, and waved my laptop at the stout bouncer behind the front desk. He begrudgingly let me pass with a grouchy expression as if he knew I was trouble, but could not figure out how. Of course, he was right. I intended justice, an execution. All part of the pastoral duties you might say, I thought giggling madly inside my skull.

If I was wrong, no one would be hurt, except for me who would be toted off to a mental asylum which I would deserve and need. If I was right, well, we would see how monsters liked the truth. And then it hit me. Sure, at least in my view, the Randites were limited and wrong, but was I not limited compared to the Infinite?

They at least believed in the Objective Reality of Truth, and they hated death and tyranny as did I. Perhaps, that was enough for them to see clearly past the enchantment of the monster. Nodding to the quartet sitting nervously across the room, the same four who had almost jumped up as I walked in, I licked my lips. Then I breathed a short prayer. My previous career had not included any opportunities for robbing convenience stores, a defect which I was beginning to regret.

I walked up to the coffee counter‘s line of three, stuck my finger in the pocket of the trench coat, and waited until I was served.

“Your money, please.” I spoke softly, entreatingly to the barista, the same that had harassed me earlier.

She blinked, looked at me, taking in the neat tie, and the subtly understated signs of “decent citizen”, and began to shake her head in denial that this outrage would interrupt her pretty little reality. So I pulled out a bellow from my speech training to pierce her narcissistic bubble. And I shoved my finger forward over the curved glass of the doughnut containing display (alright, they weren’t doughnuts; they were the up-market cousins of doughnuts though, and probably even worse for your health.)

“Give me all your money! Now!” We pastors are well-trained in speech, and my voice bounced off the walls shattering everyone’s pleasant little dabbling in nihilism with the appearance of bloody reality. I really hoped that no member of the National Rifle Association was in the shadowy hall, and carrying despite the signs at the mall entrance’s proclaiming eternal opposition to the citizen’s right to defend themselves. Because, if so, I would soon be explaining this ill-thought out plan to my Maker.

Gulping and gabbling my least favorite barista opened her counter, and made to empty it. That was a wrinkle, I had not considered. I wanted everyone to leave me alone with Mr. Maybe I Am the Undead.

“Get out! Get out!” I screamed the words over and over again, rising to a higher and higher pitch of frenzy. Spinning about, displaying the finger in my pocket to the world as the coffeehouse rapidly emptied, I used the other arm to play at grasping for the money over the counter.

The bouncer came around the counter as a wave of teenagers swished around his rock. I grinned directly into his face with the most malevolent expression I could manage pasted on my face. The message was clear. I would shoot him down, and enjoy it.

He fled, thundering out the front like a rhino in fear.

Panting for breath, hot and red-faced, I came down from the raving fit to look across the tables at the vampire who sat perfectly still and alone like a cigar store Indian I had once seen on a back-country roadside. Only his mouth moved, and that looked as if it had never moved the moment he stopped talking.

“I’m afraid you really chose the wrong establishment to rob today.” He chuckled in a mirthless way. “You and your cohorts.” He shifted his eyes, and it was as if he had flung my gaze like a hand with a rock. Dismayed, I jerked my eyes back to see him standing almost on my toes.
“You are strong-minded for a robber.” He breathed decay and old dust into my face, and I shivered from sheer terror. Nobody and nothing could stand against this creature. “You are mere mortals.”

“Oh, yeah?” The first other person to speak, the fiery redhead Wayne, stepped out of the table’s confinement, and slid to his feet, drew a pistol and dropped into a Weaver stance. His three buddies did the same with varying degrees of success. I was changing my mind, I loved Randites.

“Y-you killed Stephanie.” The leader, Jeremy said his face working between grief and rage.

The vampire turned slowly, and smirked. Then he licked a finger and its long nail with calculated intent.
“The tasty little blonde? I suppose I did.”

And then he breathed at them. And grabbed me by the neck. A bullet stopped his passage behind me, and I felt transmitted through his hand astonishment.

“I will kill your leader. Lay down your weapons, or he will die horribly.” His hand yanked on my neck so that I would soon have a crick in the neck, and then I felt a sproing as a muscle stretched in ways it was not designed to do.

Wayne, and Jeremy laughed. Kyle and Roger stared at him confused.

“Right. Well that might have worked if we…cared!” Jeremy said coldly with just a little pause to let me know what was coming, and then with malice aforethought said. “Fire.” I prayed and lifted my feet off the ground, both at the same time. Suddenly a hundred and eighty pounds hung from his hand, and then slipped with a slap of closing fingers through his bony grasp. A few of my hairs, and some of my skin were sacrificed, and I landed hard on my bottom on the brown tiled floor.

They opened fire. In the tile long, dark room it was incredibly loud with the multi-colored tile floor, the glass display cases, and the metal coffee makers to reflect the noise. The wooden arches, and the foam ceiling, and the red drapes along the walls did their part, but it was not enough.

I rolled away, holding the laptop to my chest, protecting it, and thumped my way to relative safety on the other side of a wooden table from him. There, I looked up to study my opponent, even as my fingers quested over my skull for signs of serious damage. I found none to me or him.

For as the shells hammered him, I saw him yawn, and knew this was not the way. Yelling stop, did nothing so I grabbed a coffee cup off the counter behind me, and slung it at the enraged Objectivists.

That got them to stop. In the silence that followed, we could hear him chuckle.

“Children of Adam, you really think your technological toys can destroy something older than your pitiful planet?” His words grew longer, and breathier as shadows crept up the wall behind him, and the frost rimed the brass of the counter bar’s rail, and laced the curved glass of the eclair display, and wrapped about the biscotti jar. I made to say something, and he pointed a finger at me. The words stuck in my mouth. Fear and embarrassment had a hold of me. Who was I to get in the way of such a magnificent creature?

“Give yourself to me. I am something your pitiful minds only dream of. I am what you call a vampire. A lord of darkness and mists. A thing older than your recorded history. Sadly, because of the curse of a God whose petty laws I broke, I must take of the blood of your kind in order to live. He claims to love you, but He made me what I am to take from you the free gift that I would not, but must.”

His words had me in tears. The grandeur of living century rolling upon another and another until millenia had passed left me only wanting to ask him questions of history for which I would willingly give up my life’s blood. Was there any higher calling that I could use my life for?
But luckily, my allies were less imaginative than me. He pointed his finger at them, and one quite earnestly spoke.

“You represent the death principle. You want us to give up ourselves to you because we are afraid of our true natures.”

That described me. But then, like a Voice, I heard, and have not I given you a new nature, made you alive that were dead? Do you not belong to Me? How then are you worshipping a false god? I fell to my knees confused. How could my God deny this wonderful thing? What cruelty was this? But on the other hand, I knew Him as just and kind.

“Altruist you want us to be.” Jeremy said softly. The vampire looked puzzled, and then with a soul-creasing smile nodded in agreement.

“Why yes, I suppose you could call it that. I want you to do something altruistic.”

He then held out his hands so as to welcome them to him, and somehow I knew that was wrong.

“Altruist!” Jeremy yelled, and then the other three joined in as of one accord. “Altruist!” The first word meant nothing but a puzzled look to the vampire. The second, heated by rage, and sung in chorus smacked him on the face, and left a line of blood down his right cheek.

“What deity do you worship? Who protects you?”

“Objectivists don’t need a deity, or a saint. We just need rational decision-makers.” Kyle explained. “Like Ayn Rand.”

The vampire winced at the name.

“So, you think this saint will protect you with your magic powers? I have killed the children of many gods. You will fare no better.” He sucked in the air, and began to grow, or his shadow did. I could not be sure in the room as darkness grew and lights suddenly lost their potency.
“I am the ultimate darkness. Into me, will all powers fall and fade.”

“Yes, you are the death principle, and like Thomas Paine, I have sworn…all together now” Jeremy, their leader paused to gather them all into a chorus as his line of troops faced down the seeming entrance to the Abyss which was forming in the midst of the vampire’s enlarged chest while his head seemed to brush the ceiling. “Eternal enmity against any form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

“I shall unleash the hordes of shadow and madness upon you. You cannot stand.” The vampire howled, and indeed something inside the blackness where his chest used to be moved. And glasses on the counter cracked, but the display cases did not.

And I saw something then, and begged forgiveness while laughter trickled out of my throat.
“What rot. What utter rot.” I laughed some more as the vampire and the stern warriors facing him turned to me. “Let me show you real power.” I held up a hand, and shouted in jubilation the words spoken at the beginning of Time.

“Fiat Lux. Let there be light.” Gleaming balls of incandescence and fluorescence and bacterial luminescence floated free of my hand, driving back the shadows until nothing remained of them but a shrunken man not even as tall as I.

“The Tempter is ever fond of illusion, and fear. He could not snare you with fear for your oaths protected you, but he could have you fight that which was not there.” I told my comrades who stared at me with dawning respect for Jeremy and Wayne, jaw-gaping amazement for Kyle, and just rubbed his, Roger's own eyes trying to see if the balls of light would go away.

“All right, Pastor, what now?” Jeremy called over to me, as we paused in the combat. Both sides had reason to try to think things over, and come up with new tactics. The vampire recovered quicker.

“Let me show you a word, priest. A word not of shadow, but of bloody power.”

He spoke a dreadful word that left me feeling as if I had witnessed the murder of Stephanie by my own hand, while holding out his arms with the hands palm down and level with the floor as drops of his own blood trickled, a holy, a separate, rain from any normal rain that had blessed the Earth. This rain could only curse the grass and the tree.

The blood pooled into four crosses, upside down, and then raced along the grouting in the floor toward my four young heroes. He then reached out an arm toward me, and squeezed empty air. The air left my lungs, and black spots began to form in front of my eyes.

“You five have given me the best fight I’ve had in the twentieth century…”

“It is the twenty-first, you moron.” Wayne snapped back. Perhaps the blood loss, or inspiration, but I found myself waving an arm at the four as they backed up, and I hung in the pitiless telekinetic hold of a sorcerous monster.

Indeed, they should for the blood grew more black, and malignant as it traversed the floor. Acrid smells, and the cries of demons were heard drifting up from the blood arrows. I seemed to see, in miniature, little demons holding weapons standing by the shores of their bloody Niles, and corrosive gunk marked the path of the arrows.
Bullets did nothing to them.

Jeremy looked at me, and I pointed. But Wayne understood first what I jabbed at. Without thinking, he trusted me. And slammed his precious copy of The Fountainhead down into the path of the blood arrow that was seeking his life.

Suddenly, bright, clear water shot back up the path annihilating the arrow, and shrieked and roared like a new broken dam as it coursed back toward the vampire. Without pausing to gape, Wayne did likewise to the other three arrows. The vampire leapt to safety atop a wooden table, and in so doing let me free for my comrades in arms had broken his concentration.
I rubbed my throat, and took a great gasp of air back into my lungs.

“Hey Vampy? I’ve got a word for you.” I walked over to him, every step going against more resistance as he held out a clawed hand baring my path. But with every footfall, I seemed to gain in immensity.

“As Samson carried the gates of the city, so you cannot stop me, foul and unclean spirit. Now is the time of your judgment.” It stopped its efforts.

“So I shall break your pitiful neck if you are immune to my magics, Servant of the One God.” He laid out his hand on my shoulder as I came to the edge of the table he stood on, and I slammed the Word into his gut. The Bible in NASV, KJV, the Vulgate and Hebrew on CD running on my rather durable laptop gave him a king-sized, no a universe shattering pain in the stomach. He gasped, and the remnants of his illusion faded while faerie fires that looked to be made of avenging Tinkerbelles, all armed with bright flecks of fire like swords sparked all about him. The fires ate at him, as it, a thing more of dead flesh and skeleton than man writhed in agony.
The four Objectivists sprinted up to get close to him, which was a mistake.

Tumbling to the floor at the base of the Objectivists’ feet, he blew cold, and the fires were gone.
“Clever bringing the Logres into my haven, right under my nose. I shall have to remember that trick.”

“I would not worry about it. I’m about to stuff it down your throat.” I roared at him in my divinely strengthened fury flipping the several hundred pound table aside like a television stand toward the wall where it shattered into kindling. I then stepped over him, and raised the laptop over my head.

Really? The voice of evil spoke in my head. He suddenly was standing, and an arm wrapped about Kyle’s neck. Four feet too far. He still could move faster than thought if he wished after he had entranced me.

“Toss it down on the ground.” Groaning inside, I bit my lip looking for some way to avoid this choice. Jeremy looked at me, and winked.

I did as the vampire asked. He, for the creature now clothed itself in illusion once more, laughed like the screams of the dying making fun of my foolishness. Now he would slay us all.
Jeremy dropped his book onto the floor.

The restaurant rocked like a ship in a gale, and the vampire was flung across the room to crash into a wall. All of us were staring at Jeremy in utter shock.

“What can I say? Atlas just shrugged?” Jeremy said with a smirk.

The vampire scoffed at him.
“Atlas is a mythical being.” But he did not sound convinced.

“I wonder. I expect the Earth, the whole Earth just shook.” I replied quite seriously.
“What would John Galt say about this?” I then asked the four Objectivists. With dawning light on their face, they grabbed their copies from out-sized pockets, and a backpack while the vampire tried to get to his feet. It was not quick enough. The vampire stood, and then Roger ripped off a button on his backpack, and held it out in front of him.

"Back you spawn of statists, tyrant, evil-doer. In the name of Objective Reality, and Ayn Rand, I command you." The vampire was sagged and slowed, but then it breathed out, and the Badnarik 2004 button in Roger's hand caught fire so that he dropped it where it guttered out.

But that was enough time. Flipping open pages quickly, the others began out of synch, but soon fell in as one with Roger joining them.

The speech ran on as they turned pages, and the vampire hissed against the wall, pressed there by the words of Ayn Rand‘s protagonist hero, John Galt.

“This spell will not go on forever. Then I will shred you.”

Actually, he was right. I needed something to finish the vampire with, but no need to let him or it know that.

“Um, Mr. Vampire, not to be disagreeable, but this particular speech goes on for fifty-three pages. You’re going to be squirming on a hook for a while.”

“Fifty-three pages?” The vampire said incredulously, sparing a second to bring his head up to look at me, despite the Power of the Faithful which beamed down on him from the copies of the Fountainhead the young men held in their hands.
I just smiled, and waved at him.

Then I leapt over the lowest part of the counter with the aid of the brass counter bar, and began looking in the various items under the counter. Nothing seemed handy to my purpose until I saw a wooden ruler right under the countertop. A pair of scissors used to open coffee bags, and I had a stake, and a mangled pair of scissors.

Problem was, the stake was a thin, flexing thing. What had I been thinking of?
Then I remembered that He takes the weak things of the world to confound the mighty, and I chose to have faith in my Maker.

I took up my laptop, which despite the drop on the floor still functioned. I checked, and it still have four open windows from different sections of the Bible which detailed God’s power over the dead.

Then I walked up to him, holding the laptop in front of me for protection. Laptop-whipping him first on the right and then the left added to his pain as he sagged under the beating of John Galt’s speech (for a moment I had sympathy for the devilish thing as the speech hurt my ears too). But despite my best efforts, and the pummeling of the Word Electronic, he still lived. It shrank him, by an inch, but he seemed harder, and more insane rather than destroyed.
But then I remembered Stephanie, and rage kindled in me a determination to strike for blood.

The ruler went in where his heart should be, and it did not break, but nothing happened except it came out of its own accord with smoke curling about it. He taunted me. I laughed as I had plenty of time while he futilely weaved and wobbled against the wall. The readers were barely to page ten of the speech.

He raised a hand against me, and I swatted it aside with the strength of Samson. And then there, I saw that I had left many strong chunks of wood off to the side of the room. I could go and retrieve one, and then in safety stab the vampire.

A step to the side, and then I wondered. How had I chosen this weapon? And for what purpose, but to show the power of God? If I struck the vampire down with my own good strong stake it would be a testimony to my own power.

“That twig will burn up in the power of my blood.”

The vampire grinned in the midst of his pain at me.

“No, I will not trust to your wisdom.”

Sometimes vampires move their hearts I knew from watching horror movies. Didn’t think pastors did that, did you? So stab. Miss. Stab again. Miss. Getting irritated and fearful as the ruler kept smoking, and small chunks fell off, I stabbed again.

He fell to dust.

I prayed over the dust, and then it too was burnt up in a fire not of this earth.
I looked over at my allies. They staggered, holding their copies of the Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged, and a Badnarik 2004 button as relics to shield against the awfulness we had just dispatched with help.

Too bad I couldn’t have them with me when I fought off the latest attempt by the city government to close our religious school. They would be capital allies, unafraid, serious, energetic, and hardnosed enough to make a fundamentalists blanch. But instead, the police came in, and took me away to jail. I took all the blame which was part of my plea bargain deal I insisted on with the D. A.. Otherwise, I planned on imitating Paul and Silas, and asking the One for an earthquake to rescue me from prison.

I get out on good behavior after four months. I take back all the mean things I’ve said about our revolving door justice system. I love it. So does my fiance’ who is eager enough to marry me, that she offered to have a prison wedding. I opted to wait for the week after I got out. It was grand, and Jeremy was one of my best men. More than a few people claimed to me, in quiet asides, to see Stephanie standing in on the maids of honor side.

Meanwhile, I hear my new friends are preaching the Word of a new Saint with power to make the altruists and the statists and the vampires quiver in terror. Already, our city is passing laws to make medical marijuana legal, and preparing a lawsuit to challenge the Federal government’s War on Drugs. And they bought, and refurbished the coffeehouse, renamed it the Rand Brew, and decorated it in glowing marble and shining gold with a statue of Liberty flanking one door, and Reason the other door. Both look like Stephanie.

Of course, my new friends just say, whenever I twit them, that their new beliefs are the essence of rationality, to which I agree. Faith is rational after all.

THE END.

Hohenwald News: Mosul Madness

Complete with shot on the spot, in action, pictures, Michael Yon tells of a small slice of time with the Deuce Four in Mosul. A man shot in the neck goes into seizure, but is alright, and the damage only turns out to be a flesh wound. The commander and some green troops get into a wild chase through Mosul with an Opel doing above 105 miles per hour that then turns into a foot chase, and the commander getting shot, and his leg broken, but still hanging in the gun battle.

This is quite the story.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Tennessee Writer: Writing Struggles

Two major issues: One, sometimes my grammar is weak in regard to tense and to run-ons.

I'm hoping to improve this by studying some online lessons.

Two: I almost never write a straight, descriptive sentence. Its hard for me, and yet its a tool that most writers use frequently on every page. This helps them place the hero in the world. Sometimes, I instead will rely on hints, but oftentimes, I think that is too subtle.

I get complaints that my ideas also aren't clear, and I think this is related. As in, yes they are clear, if you were paying attention. But, how many times have I read a book with full attention, and a keen eye to ferret out the likely implications of various facts?

Hmm, Mr. Oh so Superior Writer Man?

Umm, let me get back to you on that.

One solution is for me to go back over my pieces, and add descriptive sentences.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hohenwald News: Something Defective

There are those who don't like children. Who don't want to be bothered with children in the museum, or in the store, or in the restaraunt, or around the gaming table.

I'm not talking about those who dislike Specific Child A because he bit their leg, and yelled obscenities in their ear. That's wholly understandable, even if one should try to rise above the lesser examples of this species (although yelling obscenities in one's ear passes beyond the requirement to be gentlemanly, and instead provokes a duty to issue some corrective wisdom.)

But there are those who simply don't like children.

Overly clever, and not wise yet fifteen year old boys, and tired eighty year old men, and all ages in between. For some, its a matter of "Look at me, I'm so clever and quick! I can't be bothered to care about anyone else." For others, its the product of a long life, and they simply don't have it in them anymore to cope with a child's energy level.

Do I say, its always bad? No. Most music does little for me. The number of concerts I've gone to completely on my own hook is less than the fingers on my hands. More tellingly, I have probably purchased less than twenty tapes and CD's in my life.

Do I disdain music? Not so much. No I simply recognize/suspect that others find something in it that I lack the ability to perceive. So yes, I am defective in that regard.

And of course, some people are really trying hard for greatness, and a child is a severe distraction. But, such ambition is often selfish and narcissistic.

Its "I want to be a Great Artist!" or "I want to make the Big Deal!" or "I want to absorb the Perfect Experience!"

Children force one to compromise, and to look beyond our own heads. For that, we ought to be grateful. Moderation in all things is not a bad rule of thumb to keep in mind (as long as one doesn't become moderate in the wrong ways, or consider this rule of thumb the frame of life instead of just an occasionally useful tool. Maybe later, I'll talk more on moderation and extremism, if I can untangle my thoughts.)

Hohenwald News: Singular Lack of Conservatism

Yesterday, Right Wing News took to task a newspaper, and some parents who brought an autistic child in to a theatre. There the child laughed loudly at a family film, but according to the mother, not much more so than the other children.

Problem is, one does not know if she is telling the truth, or if some idiot heard an extra two decibels, and was enough to set him off, and set the manager then went to work. End result, the family is kicked out, they got their money back, the manager may be in trouble (which he probably should not be...some times there are no great decisions), and the film went on.

The paper reported this as a horror for the child. Right Wing News and its commenters thought of it as a case of society protecting itself against a disruptive influence. And they invoked the sanctity of contracts.

Indeed, one fellow went so far as to support jamming cel phones in restaruants, even if the person might be an EMT or fireman, because that was just too bad, and it was the fault of the loud talkers on cel phones who made him block an EMT's cel phone.

Thats not conservatism. Thats being a well-mannered prig, but it does illustrate the problem.
Now he was chastised, but it didn't dent his narcissism. The others were less narcissist, but still an outlier can often show what the more normal have in lesser degree.

The chief logical problem I see here is that people are leaning on one singular value, the Sanctity of Contracts...aka the Movie or the Restaraunt made a contract with me, and they better fulfill it. Well, first, I don't think most Restaraunt's would agree they made a contract with you to keep some overloud boor at the next table from spouting on about his new cigarrette speed boat which he bought with a Christmas bonus. An absurd oversensitivity is at work here driving this choice of Sanctity of Contracts as mental tower of protection from any other values at work in this area.

Conservatism is not founded on one principle, but it uses multiple principles, understanding that any one principle is flawed. Those who take one principle, and push it past the point where it makes logical sense are generally considered Liberals. Those who trumpet rights over responsibilities are not usually considered Conservative either.

The Samurai had their one principle...Obedience. Even if the lord commanded one to slay one's own family, it was to be done. That is not moral to me. Nor is it conservative.

Sanctity of Contracts is not the only value in play here.

There are other more important issues.

For a society to live, it requires compromises from harsh rights. Your right of not being bothered is subject to a ton of restrictions, including Monday morning traffic jams. So grow up, and quitcher liberal whining. Show some fortitude in the face of Adversity which by another name is Life. It is not all about you.

For a society to live, it requires children. And here is the real crux. The childless don't want to be bothered by the efforts of the childed to raise the next generation while of course, they want all the benefits thereof. Selfish narcissists of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but the wails of an infant.

We don't have enough children in America as it is. Without immigration, we would be in negative population growth. Which says that our society is sick.

Let me repeat that. Negative population growth is proof of societal breakdown and maladjustment of a most severe degree.

We need to encourage more people to have more children, instead of increasing the already back-breaking burdens on a family. Make it easier to have children instead of harder.

Be a real conservative. Support your local family.

Hohenwald News: Error in Iraq?

Lump on a Blog is worried that GWB has allowed Islamic teaching too great a place in the making of the Iraqi Constitution. There are some worrying signs, but on the whole, I think it will be well.

Iraqi Talks Move Ahead on Some Issues,” The Sunday New York Times did report, under an August 20 Baghdad deadline, that “Under a deal brokered Friday by the American ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, Islam was to be named “a primary source of legislation” in the new Iraqi constitution, with the proviso that no legislation be permitted that conflicted with the ‘universal principles’ of the religion. The latter phrase raised concerns that Iraqi judges would have wide latitude to strike down laws now on the books, as well as future legislation. At the same time, according to a Kurdish leader involved in the talks, Mr. Khalilzad had backed language that would have given clerics sole authority in settling marriage and family disputes. That gave rise to concerns that women’s rights, as they are enunciated in Iraq’s existing laws, could be curtailed. Finally, according to the person close to the negotiations, Mr. Khalilzad had been backing an arrangement that could have allowed clerics to have a hand in interpreting the constitution.”

That has problems, but sometimes a word means what those in power say it means aka the guys with the biggest guns which happens to be the US Army. Our job in Germany after we settled the unrest was to ensure that 1)The Sovs didn't gobble up the damaged West of Europe 2)Ensure by our very presence that no German nut rose to power because we were there as an extra-constitutional veto on any such thing.

Thats where we are heading with Iraq. It reminds one of Turkey where the Army does the same thing. They step in and step out, but only when the voters go nuts, and they wisely avoid the temptation of a military junta by stepping back out. Which on the whole is a rather remarkable thing; in its way, as remarkable as some American innovations.

Tennessee Writer: Today's Goals

  • Send out several stories. Monkey Singularity, Vacation for a Verser, and I think Sleeping Dragon are on this list.
  • Clean house! General stuff aka clutter patrol, and clothes-washing beg for time. Rreconstruct the back bedroom after the shambles that painting the walls a nice Lagoon Blue created. (One can never fix something, and not create a mess.)
  • Wash the floor.
  • Read a book to Gigglebox
  • Exercise with Gigglebox
  • Try Gigglebox on crayons now that he doesn't try to eat them
  • Edit my second novel, Worldwalker. I need to learn how to do descriptions better.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Blog Update to Come

I probably do need to add Cumberland Centre and the Shire of Delvingrim to my blog, and a few other locals.

If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to drop a note to me, and I'll check out the links offered to see if they fit my sites varied goals.

1. Promote Hohenwald and area
2. Provide News to Hohenwald and area
3. Diary about my life
4. Promote my writing and game design
5. Provide an arena to sharpen my ideas
6. Promote various cool things like the SCA, and so forth
7. Testify to Christ the Risen Redeemer.

Hohenwald News: Cumberland Centre

It is just east of I-65 at the milepost 37 exit. Granted, there's a few roads that lead this way and that that you have to follow, but then there's also signs put out before events to lead you gently by the hand to some good fun.

Here's a link.

Hohenwald News: Shire of Delvingrim Meeting

The local SCA shire, which covers a huge chunk of Middle Tennessee, had their monthly meeting at Lion Park in Columbia. A fair-sized group attended, at least by the time, I arrived, which was late.

They are planning to run Hooves and Paws, an equestrian (that means horses, folks, as in Daddy, can I have a pony?) event at Glaedenfeld, err Cumberland Center (the name has changed, but I still think of it as Gladenfeld) this fall. I'll try to get more data on it later, but it looks good.

And Update: Its November 4-6 which they told me, but I forgot. But Cumberland Centre has a very nice website.

Good food, nice and extensive site, quick access to modern conveniences if neccessary, bathrooms, campground, and entertainment all at a very reasonable price.

I've said it before, but for your entertainment dollar, an SCA event is hard to beat.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hohenwald News: Constellation SF Con

Constellation is coming up at the beginning of October, and I plan on going to that one as well. Granted, the gaming looks thin, even if its run by Wayne Brown who does a good job, but also I'm running which should help (he said immodestly), and its a chance to see a lot of old friends.

I expect Patrick Adams of the Emergency Society will be running his usual brilliantly weird LARP. If you don't like Larp because its full of pretentious vampires, and complicated rules then you need to play one of Adams' games.

The rules are dead simple. A little too simple actually, but workable, and it avoids the hour long arguements of other larps.

And one character I played was something like the undersecretary for art from an alien planet who knew that Earth was being threatened by a giant comet. Unfortunately, the budget for the giant comet gun to protect Earth was going to come out of my art budget.

TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!

Art come first before some piddling little planet!!

That gives you a taste of the Emergency Society's work.

Anyways, I'll be running Multiverser, and probably a railroad game. Hopefully, I'll get to play in Mike Hurley's Twilight Imperium, and I may try Heroscape.

Hohewald News: Hallowcon

Hallowcon, a horror convention, is coming up at the end of October which is also coincidentally near Halloween. Hmm, signs of a clue here as to the theme...

Anyways, with more seriousness. It will be in Chattanooga, and I hope a number of my readers can make it over there.

I'll be running two Multiverser games, and an Iron Dragon rail game.

Also, I'll be speaking for an hour. Not sure of the topic yet, as I'm still in the midst of emailing this back and forth with the director, a gent by the name of Dutch.

I'll get back to ya'll later with more details.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Weekly Update: Gigglebox Just Walked!

My youngest boy, Gigglebox, just walked.

To set the scene: I'm sitting at the computer looking at Right Wing News, and Gigglebox is on my left standing, but attached to his Da. Mr. C is in the playroom just around the corner, and down a step. The boys have been having a good time playing with their toys, and I've been occasionally wondering if I should make them clean up. Gigglebox lets go of my left thigh, which is par for the course for him as he has been standing up by himself for a long time.

Then out of the corner of my eye, I see that he has taken what looks to be a step. I turn my head and look, fairly sure that I'm wrong. Another step slow and contemplative, but not all that slow. More like testing of a theory one is pretty sure is true. Another, and another both faster than the test all the way over to his high chair which he grasps. Four steps for his first voyage. We knew you had it in you, Gigglebox!

Little boy was just cautiously making sure he knew what he was doing before he charged out to take the field (unlike his pleased Da who has a tendency to charge first, question later.)

Too bad Mommy was asleep, but then she was justifiably exhausted.

This is a great day! Now where do I buy a leash to keep him under control? and Thank You, Lord for your good gifts.

Hohenwald News: Harry Potter and the GWOT

I enjoyed the book enough to finish it the same day I got it. Even if Ms. Rowling's politics don't quite agree with mine, at least we are in agreement that confronting evil is necessary.

Its evident on page one that Ms. Rowling doesn't like President Bush. I'm not sure why other than she's adopting class prejudgices. I'm sure there might be other reasons.

Its also evident on several closely following pages that she admires Tony Blair, and that she thinks the way the Opposition smirks at any misfortune to the Land, and considers it an opportunity for political gain is disgraceful. On these two points we are in agreement.

As to what Dumbledore's death represents (and in my mind, the closest person to Dumbledore is George Bush, compassionate, uncanny wisdom, offbeat, and tough as nails with a tendency to follow his own plans), well I'm not sure. I think its pretty clear that he half-expected his death, and that somehow Snape's attack is actually some means of saving him.

Indeed, there are interesting parrallels to Gandalf falling into the Abyss under the Bridge. And then rising more powerful, and wiser than before.

At one point in the story, Dumbledore points out a mechanism whereby tyrants fall. They create their own nemeses. Perhaps Dumbledore wanted to give this process a push, if it came to that. Indeed now, Harry is consumed with determination to finish Voldemort.

Verra interesting. Oftentimes artists speak truths they don't really comprehend themselves.

Tennessee Writer: Work in Spurts

I got nearly four thousand words done yesterday night, along with a quite productive day, so today was a let down day. Other than a couple emails detailing some cons I plan on going to (Hallowcon and Constellation), and some more reading of Our Southern Highlanders, not much.

Perhaps tonight I'll finish Deliver in Thirty, or do some editing of Worldwalker.

I'm looking for conventions in the Mid Tenn area that need a cheap guest, anyone know of any?