Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Last Piece of Cake

   Our political beliefs are tied to our view of the world, how we see things and what we focus on.  A lot of our beliefs are purely an accident of birth.  If we were Eskimos we would consider seal eyeballs a delicacy and whale hunting as a right of passage and normal thing to do. Sometimes we believe things without question, often  without thought and seldom with investigation. Often things are not dependent upon belief.  They either are, or they are not and no amount of belief will change the outcome.
   Did you see the story about Japan?  Japan has the largest percentage of old people and the youth are no longer falling in love!  Its population is expected to drop by 20% in the next 40 years which might be good if it were proportionate but it will mean even more older people and far fewer children.  No young worker bees to support the colony!  Young people do not want the bother of a relationship, the commitment or sacrifice. They are trading the future for now.
   I wonder if we are doing that too?  Oh, I think we are still making babies, that is the fun part but are we dealing with tomorrow?  I think who a person votes for depends on how you envision the future.  If it is the last piece of cake on the plate and we have to fight for it or if there will be more.

I am going to begin my book tomorrow!  I still only have that first chapter written but I need the commitment to keep me motivated, Obligation, Look for it HERE.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Denial, it is a river in Africa, right?  My local newspapers are still full of school news after the reporting of graduation rates last week.  Our best High School has an 82% rate and our worst comes in at 58%.
Forty two percent FAILURE! Four out of ten get dumped!  I wonder about a society that can't get a grip on its education?  I care about this because these are the people who are supposed to be paying for my Social Security as I paid for earlier generations.  When four out of ten Future Tax Payers are dumped by the wayside something is terribly wrong.
     There used to be other routes to success besides school.  We used to have factories and they would train their own.  Now they relie on Community Colleges to fill their needs.  More school. We used to have apprenticeship programs, learn as you go if you were lucky enough to find a mentor.  We used to have the Army, that time honored institution as a last ditch effort to "straighten you up" and offer you a skill.  With no education one is walking down a very narrow path indeed and choices are limited all along the way.
   It is so easy to place blame but assigning accountability does not solve the problem.  Over 40 students to a class and not enough classes.  Not enough teachers. Even the best students take only four classes and have free hours during the day.  I can see it would be easy to be a student today and think no one really gives a crap.  It is education by subtraction.  Not enough teachers, not enough classes and we drop four out of ten students along the way.
   There is a huge cost in dealing with this problem later.  In addition to my Social Security not being paid, it costs about $28,000 per year to house people in a prison and about $8,000 to keep them in school.  Think about that.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

There are stories everywhere

   There are stories everywhere and we mostly hear just one side.  They are told by the survivors.
It is the right of the victor to tell the story but I know there is another side.  I wonder what the Northwest Indians called the Pacific Ocean long before Balboa  and Magellan set sail?  The Polynesians, surrounded by the sea, what did they call it?
   You can pick up a good stories right out of the classifieds or Craigslist.  Why does someone sell their most cherished possessions?  And we have all heard stories about death on the Internet.  Visiting old graveyards will give you names and mystery in spades.  Why is a whole family there together, all dying
at pretty much the same time.  What disease or accident or nefarious circumstance took them down?
I wonder about whole families being taken out in a single blow and who tells their stories?  Stories with no survivors, no victory at all.
   It wasn't until the Twentieth Century that stories of the common man became popular.  History has been told from the rich man's point of view.  Famous people and the white point of view.  It has only been in recent years that we have learned the common stone carrier left his name in secret places, carved into the recesses of the Egyptian Pyramids.  Some of the earliest Graffiti. Even the least amongst us wants to leave their mark. I think that is what art is about.  Painting or writing or sculpting,
it makes no difference.  Big Graffiti, colorful and suitable for framing.  Leaving a mark.
   Kilroy was here.
   In the next two years political novels will become popular.  It is election time again and so much runs in cycles.  Novels from newspaper headlines and embellished with the back story.  Herman Cane, the Pizza Guy?  What the heck were we thinking?  There will be novels there too and books have already been written.  Novels and stories about how divided we have become.  Fences keeping people in or keeping them out.  We draw lines in the sand and reinforce them with steel and are pretty set in our ways.
   I know what Newt wanted when he mentioned a moon base.  The response was a quick put down and the cost probably prohibitive in this lousy economy but I know what he was after.  Some kind of rallying cry, something positive and forward and modern, something that took extraordinary effort that we could all get behind.  We long for the "glory days" and find them so difficult to discover.
   The times are changing, that is for sure and I do wonder if the answers aren't "written on the subway walls" like the song says.  There are six High Schools in my town and it's neighbor city.  They just published their graduation rates from last year.  The best school graduated 82% of its class and the worst 58% of its class.  Literally thousands of students don't complete High School.  There has got to be a story there.  We do not really have trade schools any more and apprenticeships are a thing of the past.  The Army, that great equalizer that it used to be, will no longer accept recruits who have not at least graduated from High School.  We have painted a bleak future for our youth.
   We so much want what we want and want it now.  We don't think anything though.  We don't think about consequences, like we don't even care.  Oil from shale and a simple pipe to get it to us sounds so good, giving us jobs and gasoline and everything we need.  It is the dirties oil in the world and its production will increase our carbon output a thousand fold.  I wonder what that means, really, and do I want to find out?
   If you want to see something interesting, Google the "Aral Sea".  It is in Russia, well it used to be in Russia in the 1960's.  It is no longer there.  The forth largest lake in the world is gone.  Ships floating on the dessert sands.  The rivers that fed it were syphoned off to feed agriculture.  The farmers were happy, agricultural business was happy and the lake is gone. 
   Things happen.  They especially happen when they are not thought through.  There is a story there if the lake could write it or the birds could sing it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I have discovered something

I have discovered a basic fear in the process of writing a book. Oh, there is the obvious, what if no one likes it?  All that work to fail?  That kind of reasoning has never stopped me before, mostly I just do it and learn as I go.  So far I have just written the first short chapter and my problem is I do not know where this is going?   Part of me says to outline it first, develop the story and discover the characters.
Surely the Author needs to know what is happening!  I do not know.  I don't do metal work that way.
I'll give the client a very rough sketch of the project but always tell them that it is only the measurements that are important and I don't guarantee the final product will resemble the sketch at all.  What  is important to me as the metal artist is that the final piece belong.  Comfortable where it ends up and looks as though it belongs there, might have always been there.  I seldom weld on a table and perfer my work to be fixed horizontally, fixed between steel posts in my shop.  Much like a painter I can stand back to examine and see what needs to be done.  Seriously, it talks to me.
     The trick for me will be to keep the passion going, not get hung up in rules or regulations or even the order of things.  Much of this tale I spin will be out of order but it is a first draft, unedited and we can make sense of it later, right?  There will be "real facts" to this story but I will change them to make my life and the telling easier on me.  The girl involved is somewhere in Europe and I don't even have a passport so I will put her closer to home where I can be a bit lazier and my Tom-Tom will be of some use.  Parts of the story will be easy, ideas right out of the newspapers.  I just have to find a connection.
   I really, really want your comments and feedback, ideas and contributions.  It is not the story of an ex-cop or a navy seal guy.  The blog world will have a lot to do with it.  You are my investigators and my resource.  When I discover mysterious things washed up on the beach, maybe you could suggest what it is that I have found and where the story needs to go?
    So I am throwing fear out the window and begining Feb. 1st on my new blog:
mybook-stonepost.blogspot.com/ we will begin. There really is no fear.  What is so cool is if this doesn't work we can just click "delete" and it will all go away!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I am Back!

Well, maybe I'm back I want to begin a whole NEW BLOG:  mybook-stonepost.blogspot.com
First let me get you up to date since my last post.  I am still free of cancer!  That is the very good news,
just had my 2 year check up yesterday and passed with flying colors!  I have had a couple very small welding job, nothing to shake a stick at but work in this down and damned economy so I am not complaining. My little studio is finished and I have painted a little, but not too much, no stick shakin g there either.  This Spring I will be adding a window, openable for ventilation and then it will be perfect.
     Since my retirement that came a little earlier than I wanted because of the cancer thing and the economy thing, as you know, I got into painting, a little more with my metal art and blogging!  I really miss the Blogging!  I like it because I have met some great people here from all around the world. It gives me hope for the planet; we still have a chance. I also like it because it helps me think things out.  I have found wonderful kindred spirits here and people who disagree with me.  I like that too as I am not fixed in my positions and like being exposed to various ideas.  I live in Oregon, in a small valley town and if you count the nearby towns all of us might amount to 200,000 people!
No subways, no gangs, not much violence and just a little graffitee.  It is a walkable town, day or night.
   I've learned the computer during these past two years, learned about "Google" and looking up people and discovered I know (and in some cases "really know"!) some very famous people.
   To cut it short here is what has happened.  In 30 years in the construction trades, other than blue prints and the newspaper I had pretty much quit reading.  I was initially afraid to contact people from my past because my language now is pretty much what you might expect from a construction guy.  I can curse up a storm with the best of them, and yes, I have been in bar room fights, and I can dress uo, go to City Hall and get a building permit.  I have those talents now.
    When you go down one road you may not go down another.  Left or right, not both. I don't regret anything I have done and the choices that got me to where I am.  I realized one day while taking my bath that I am not stuck.  Time is a continuum and at every moment we have that choice: left or right, this or that, do I or don't I?
   One of these famous people that I know (wouldn't you know they are both women!...No, that is not true, I know a Movie Actor too!) has written ten books so I began there.  Then, for fun and because I was without direction I went on to read a bunch of books on Art History.  Just so I could know who was doing what and when.  That got me into some history books and I have just been on a reading jag.
   For Christmas I received the latest Michael Connelly books and one by James Patterson and since then have been on a mystery novel roller coaster, reading one a day and trading books with a good friend of mine.
   Last week we had a crime in our town that made the Front Page.  That Never happens!  It was so bizzare that it made the Huffington Post!  Somebody went through a skylight in one of those old industrial buildings and repelled down eighteen feet on rope, just like in "The Thomas Crown Affair"!
It was a metal shop much like mine and the guy who rented it was an artist, much like me. It wasn't your run of the mill metal theft by crazed meth addicted drug addicts looking for a fast buck.  Only 2 things were stolen and a lot of heavy, valuable metal and tools were left.  The prize was a metal sculpture that was commisioned and rejected by a ski resort.  It was mostly made of up used skis with a death mask made of recycled metal in the center.  Not deemed appropriate for a ski lodge!  Someone plotted and planned this theft and took climbing rope with them to do the job.
   So I want to write a story!  How hard can it be?  It is all a formula, isn't it?  You have to create a likable character (ME!), create  a mystery and get him to solve it.  Sounds simple.  Of course I will change all of the names, even mine!  I have the essential ingredients, a small crime that will get very complicated! famous people!  Can you have a mystery thriller book without sex?  Gee, I don't know about that part? 
    I am telling you all this because I want you to know I am still alive but also because I would like your help.  I don't have the story even outlined, so far one small chapter.  No middle, no end. It is going to be half-truths and lots of lies, that is all I know.  I want suggestions and comment and criticism and maybe we can do some of this together?  Find a direction? It might be fun and if it isn't that is okay too.  We will find something else to do!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I Need HELP!

I am alive and well, read your blogs all of the time but don't have much to say! I will get over this hump, you'll just have to wait.  In the meantime I am struggling with this new computer!  Like anything new, some things are better and somethings are worse! I miss the easy live chat from my old system and talking with the very friendly and knowledgeable folks in India.  The 2 problems I am having at the moment are that the "live chat" no longer just appears suddenly when you might try to find me. I can get to it but it seems like a long convoluted process.
My other problem is in sending photos.  My Old Computer always asked me if I would like to reduce  their size for email and this computer doesn't ask me crap! Of course, I am not smart enough to do this on my own, so I need your help!  How do I reduce the size of a photo? Without going into a complicated photo editing program.
Just simple, like I used to have! Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! Jerry