The Old Victorian–Illustrated

Most of my readers are familiar with some of our *other* projects…namely The Old Victorian, our Queen Anne Victorian house project. Here we detail the nitty-gritty of the work on The Old Vic project, post pictures and such…

But…I’m also doing something new. Yes, it’s related to the Old Vic…

Some of the stories in and around our adventures in the Old Vic lend themselves to … other … methods of storytelling.

So, check out The Old Vic–the webcomic…and let me know what you guys think!

victoriancomicteaser

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Had to refill the “stop”…

Out of stop. Had to add more.

Out of stop. Had to add more.

An early morning service. Seems I ran completely out of “stop” on the commute home yesterday.

Had to add more…otherwise…the commute to work would be interesting. No problem getting there…just wouldn’t be able to stop and work…

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Not a Damn Thing

Meeting friends for dinner and a movie…in one of those new “outdoor” malls. This is a concept that is probably doomed here in Texas at least. The little “town center” of stores doesn’t have nearly enough parking in the core, and although they’ve built ACRES of parking lot on the outskirts…it’s quite a walk and our weather here can be extreme.

Not many ladies will be much interested in shopping in a quaint little dress shop after walking a mile or so in 100+ degree heat…or the blowing cold…

But anyhoo…where were we? Ah, meeting friends. Yep. So…cold. Windy. Getting dark. Nowhere to park near the restaurant. The plan was that after dinner we would be walking up to the movie theater, meaning it would be quite late when we were done, I elected to drop the wife at the restaurant and park the car up as close to the theater as is possible with this well thought-out design.

The big parking lots are on the periphery…outside the “inhabited” area of the shops. Most of the stores face the center of the quaint little “streets” in the “city center” so you are exiled to the “behind the stores” area when parking. Despite the cars, these lots are mostly devoid of people. Can make for a dangerous area…crime-wise. Wide open area, no help, no surveillance, easy/fast access to several major and busy road systems…just the kind of place the cowards that prey upon others occasionally frequent…and since the policy of the entire “campus” is to prohibit lawful concealed weapon holders from carrying…the cowards have a fair bet that the folks wandering about aren’t armed.

Doesn’t really bother me…6 foot, 300 pound Texan…couldn’t give two spits about anybody’s “policy” anyway…and yeah, getting old but still strong as an ox…and yanno…I’ve journeyed to hell and back a couple times more than I care to so I’m not very intimidated by something as simple as a remote locale…

Yanno the old saying? “Never get in a fight with an old man…if he can’t beat ya, he’ll just kill ya?”

Yep. It’s something like that.

That doesn’t mean I’m not very aware of my surroundings…or that other folks shouldn’t be as well.

Walking back toward the restaurant…a sidewalk in the middle of nowhere…down the backside of a deserted store…and an attractive young lady-thing approaches. Hark! Yes, I notice. I DO like lady-things…I’m a guy. Get over it. She is heading out into the great outbacks of the lot and is pretty much oblivious to anything. Texting and walking. NOT any safer than texting and driving. The crashes are only slower.

As she approached I crossed directly in front of her on the sidewalk and placed myself between her and the curb.

And then I then pulled out my phone and pretended to take a picture of the older white Crown Vic with two guys in it that was creeping up behind her.

I say pretended, because my phone is stupidly slow about getting into camera mode…push and hold this (three seconds), flip it sideways…wait for it to comprehend that…push this button…press okay…wait for it…wait for it…wait for it…WOOT! Picture time! Hey, where the heck did everybody go?

So, pretended to take a picture. Sometimes as good as the real thing.

Yep, my little voice had been screaming. Those journeys to hell? Yeah, I learned a few things. One of them is…when the little voice (some call it premonition, instinct, a hunch…whatever) screams…I’d damn well better listen.

Its suspicions…and warnings…were confirmed when the car took off at high speed and the driver tried to cover his face (not the most intelligent combination). They ran over a curb on the way out but sadly, didn’t disable the car.

I stood there…watching them leave…and wondering if the wild and undomesticated feminine thing would notice anything at all had occurred.

She made it another 6 or 7 steps. Looked up…let the hand holding the phone drop to her side…and turned to look at me.

“What…” she cocked her head and looked back toward the lot, “…just happened?”

I smiled…probably not very disarming given that my stance and body language was probably screaming something like, “I KEEELLLLL YOU AND YOUR LITTLE DOGGY TOO!” at the car now far in the distance.

“Not a damn thing babe. Not a damn thing.”

As it should be.

She looked at me a moment, put her phone in her purse, fished out her keys, and walked on. She turned and waved as she got in her car.

Maybe she has a clue now. Maybe not. Life deals out painful lessons…I’ve had more than my share…when I was young and others held power over me…maybe I’ve spared her one.

I watched until she drove away.

I’m pretty sure the wife and our friends will forgive the delay.

Y’all be careful out there.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

Posted in Blog, Creepy | Leave a comment

Hell of a Scare?

For long motorcycle trips, laundry can be a problem. You can’t carry much, OR the supplies to do it, so it’s expensive and time consuming to do. A stop at the laundry-mat means buying soap, running a full load for just a few items, and experience will tell ya…ya can’t wash everything at once. The cops frown at finding some 300-pound biker-dude sitting in the laundry-mat wearing nothing but a leather jacket and a smile. Creative use of summer riding gloves can possibly prevent an actual arrest…but it will be a damn close thing…Lord help ya if the cop is a fan of the Village People…unless, yanno…that’s your thing.

Now, if you’re a female rider, you can get away with this. In point of fact, I highly recommend you spend quite a bit of time wearing nothing but leather and a smile…and I recommend you send me pictures of these events…for…posteriorarity ur, um…posterity…yeah…that’s it.

AhHem! Ur…anyway, you can get away with wearing the same jeans for a while…and even t-shirts…pretty much until they will stand up and run off on their own…as they don’t tend to smell of much more then leather and gasoline due to all the fresh air rushing by at 80+mph…well that, and the usual and thorough quick-flush washing they get when you get caught in that summer thunderstorm and instead of gearing up, you scream, “Is that all you’ve got?!” and twist the throttle to the stop.

Besides, jeans and t-shirts can be quickly rinsed in a sink, fountain, hotel bath-tub, or showers of the local brothel if they get too bad…

I mean, you KNOW you’re a biker when some mostly naked, sultry chick says, “Hey big boy, I’ll do anything you want for ten dollars.” and you hand her your laundry and say, “No starch please.”

NOW…and this is important…socks and underwear must be kept CLEAN if you hope to stay on the road and make any miles, and not just “rinse clean” either. The word “monkeybutt” describes the results of failure to do this…google this at your peril…and it is debilitating, no matter how tough you are. Once it starts…recovery time is extensive and mandatory.

So, keeping those items very clean is critically important to the distance rider…and I’m not anything if I’m not a distance rider. Still, I don’t have the time/space/’tolerance for arrest’ to attend lots of laundry stops or carry tons of clothes, so starting out on a trip I typically pack the ratty but still wearable socks and underwear, and then just throw them away when dirty.

A quick stop at Walmart or some other department store for a new package of them when I get low (once a week or so) is fast, and believe it or not, is about the same price as a laundry stop. This method also keeps my dresser at home from accumulating lots of worn out socks/underwear that I’d never wear…

SO…

Hot summer. LONG day’s ride. As I came out of the campground showers a guy saw me toss the balled up socks/underwear I’d been wearing that day into the trash.

He laughed out loud at me…”Must have been a HELL of a scare on that ride!”

I’ll see you on the road (but probably not at the laundry mat).

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Brake it…

VERY cold this morning…ice in the alley from the dingle-berries (technical term) that for some reason feel the need to run their automatic sprinklers this time of year…and that means ice patches in various…not always predictable…places around town.

Generally, in a hard freeze, even with no precipitation, I’ll take “Big Iron”…the Dodge 4×4…to work, as despite all my years of riding, I’ve never perfected the ‘art’ of riding on ice.

Not to say I haven’t tried

Anyway, backed “Big Iron” into the alley, put her in drive and was about to holler, “Warp 9!” when then that alarm bell…the little voice…said quietly, “Something’s not quite right.”

Sat there a moment, rationalizing that the truck felt “off” simply because it was so cold…and I was sleepy (not enough iced-tea yet), or any number of other things…and then did what I usually do.

I listened to my instincts.

Pulled back in the drive and pondered…was it the brakes? Something didn’t feel right…not exactly mushy or anything…just different.

“Different” is your machine trying to tell you something.

Opened the hood and could see the brake fluid was low…never a good sign. If brake fluid is low, bottom line is that it’s leaking somewhere.

Quick walk around and a peek underneath…and yep. Blown wheel cylinder on the driver’s side rear. Must have happened on the commute home yesterday.

Not an expensive fix…just kind of a pain to get to…as all the hardware on “Big Iron” is, well, big.

Leaking brake

Fluid splashed in the wheel well. Never a good sign.

Leaking brake

Yep, that’s a mess all right!

So yeah, I took “The Dragon” to work. She was calling for me anyway. Damn cold day for a ride on the big Valkyrie cruiser, but a commute in Dallas is no small thing…possible ice patches are one thing…but I’ve yet to become stupid enough to attempt it in an 8000-pound, 450-horsepower truck with compromised brakes.

I’ll have to tackle the repair…sheesh…when? Weekend’s out…plans already…working next week…supposed to be 19 degrees Monday…ugh. I’ll just have to carve some time out of somewhere.

Wonder where I misplaced that damn time machine?

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Only What You Seek

Dark ponderings…deep in a cold, lonely night.

The bottom line is…some people do not want empowerment.

Don’t want. Won’t seek. Can’t accept. That doesn’t mean they won’t decry not having it…and try to tear down those that do.

Empowerment means responsibility. Empowerment means you and you alone are responsible for your actions. Empowerment means you succeed, or fail, on your own merit.

Enlightenment works much the same way.

The world moves…whether we wish it to or not…whether we’re ready or not. Some folks seek to drive their destiny…to pilot their lives.

But some are just along for the ride. These people seek regulation…and worse yet…since they cannot bide the world where they are responsible and thus can’t imagine that others could be…they seek the regulation of others. Some seek strict religious dogma and interpretation, some seek intrusive government, yet others seek relationships where they can abdicate control. The degree varies from the extreme to the subtle.

This is often confusing for us that struggle to be the masters of our own destiny. Those that give up the responsibility…and allow…nay…*require* that others make the decisions and initiate the actions…often end up hating the very thing or people they have submitted to. It’s easy. Blame the things you don’t like on others. Cry to the world about the injustice of it all, even while doing absolutely nothing to change it.

To stand on the ground and bitch about not being able to fly is pointless…to hate the ones that do fly is dangerous. To try to pull down the ones that you have insisted carry you…will cost you your soul…and worse…it may cost them theirs.

Build your wings and try…and if you fail…well then you can bitch…but you’d better be dusting yourself off and trying again or everything that you are…is wasted.

“Invictus” (Unconquered)  Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.  In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.  Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.  It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.  -William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)As a man…and I mean that not simply in a “pointer instead of setter”, “tripod”, or “caution, contains dangly bits” way, but rather in the, “do what’s right for you and yours even at personal cost” realm, I’ve had to make decisions…sometimes with little input…about the directions and actions taken for myself and those around me. Those decisions haven’t always been popular.

But they got made.

In hindsight, I’ve not always been right. I’ve not always succeeded. I’ve on occasion, outright failed. I’ve got the scars…real AND metaphorical as dubious reward.

But I’m still flying…and learning.

The disdain hurts though. The dismissal. The lack of appreciation…or even…respect. Doesn’t matter. I don’t need those things to do what’s right.

But they help. The ones close to you in life…family, lovers, friends…are the ones that can cause the most pain. More importantly…no matter how hard we try otherwise…at least some small part of us is a reflection of the people we surround ourselves with.

Every man on the planet…every *real* man anyway…has faced this, or will face it. I’m not by myself. Not even close.

So why do I feel so alone?

Yah. I’ve demons to chase. They are entirely too free…in the cold and the dark.

I’ll see you on the road.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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I felt a chill…

honked-at-a-priusI decided to take “Big Iron” (the big Dodge 4×4) to work this morning. We had a hard freeze last night after several inches of rain this weekend so there are ice patches all over the city…”The Dragon” does not really appreciate glaze ice…

The wife had an appointment and was leaving at the same time.

Enter…THE FROST (echoing scary music here).

My truck, her car. Roughly the same color. Sitting side by side in the driveway. No sun yet to melt anything…22 degrees outside

My truck: Covered with thick frost. Top to bottom. Front to back. ALL the glass. All the body.

Her car: Clean and clear. No frost at all.

Now…since if the internet/social media today has taught me anything it’s this: We simply KNOW that correlation=causation, unrelated things are perfectly valid comparisons, and everything on TV and internet is fact, I present this…

Fact: Ghosts are cold. So are demons. Google it. There’s millions of sources so it must be true!

Conclusion: “Big Iron” is haunted.

Now…since the only way I know to exorcise a ghost from a Dodge is to play Barbra Streisand music loud and long…and that only works simply because it repels *everything* living or dead…I’ll just have to put up with the ghost. I mean really…that thing has a 400 watt Pioneer Supertuner deck in it…I’m pretty sure I’d be charged with crimes against humanity if I fired up Barbra Streisand on that.

So…”Big Iron” will just have to remain haunted. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up with a Flying DutchTruck…the big Dodge with my skeleton inside flitting from city to city looking for Priuses weaving in an out of rush hour traffic so we can suck out their engines to power my leaf blower and harvest the souls of the dammed drivers and transport them to the hell of smugly superior type-A douchebags.

That should, at least, add an interesting element to the commute…

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Balloons…go a lot further than you might think.

balloonsYesterday was my birthday…and awesome coworkers were awesome. I got balloons…AND lunch. And chocolate! What else could ya need?

When I left to go home yesterday I took my balloons with me…mainly, I confess, because I’m evil and wanted to see if they would freak the dog or cats out.

I’m sure I smiled…a dangerous smile…picturing the carnage as Shorty the Corgi, Pierre the Polydactyl Maine Coon, and Geronimo the caffeinated cat all attempted to fly about the house to protect us from the evil orbs of flying death. The wife would no doubt join in the fray and if I waited till just the right moment to set the balloons free…like when she was in the shower…well…my day could just get better and better.

Flying pets, orbs of death, and naked woman. Ahhh yes…a good plan.

As I was headed to the parking lot I unexpectedly encountered a lady headed toward her car with her 4-5ish son by the hand.

He looked cranky. She looked worse. I didn’t really have a choice. That silly male brain again.

I stopped. “Balloon?”

“OH YES!…ur please?” she was apparently having a “day”. I don’t doubt it. Chances are if you have your toddler on your work campus (or even visiting this place if she wasn’t an employee) your day probably hasn’t gone as predicted.

I pulled the blue one out of the bunch and handed it down to her. The kid was happy to have his new balloon as they headed for their car.

Later…after a hellish traffic commute, I stopped at the gas station to put about 2.3 million dollars worth of fuel in the truck, and found another mother…with another young kid…Mom was fueling the car and trying to keep the kid corralled. She (the kid) wasn’t happy.

I gave her the pink one. Yeah, okay, I’ve stuck with gender roles so far. It is no doubt, my unconscionable misogynist privileged male chauvinist upbringing…because, we all know…no little girl anywhere likes pink…DOES make ‘em smile though.

At the grocery store I lost another one. Little blond headed girl with blue eyes the size of dinner plates saw them floating around in my truck before I’d even put it in park.

“RED RED RED RED RED RED RED!” There was no choice. She got the red one.

I told her Dad…”She’s gonna be a damn heart-breaker.”

“Yeah.” He grinned and nodded toward the store entrance, “You should see her mother.”

Shortly afterwards I lost the green one to her mother. Lucky fella…that guy. I counted my diminishing supply of balloons while watching the heart-breaker’s mother climb in their car with her balloon and mumbled, “And they think they have no power…”

The yellow one escaped when I opened the truck door to toss in the groceries. I swear it screamed Shakespeare at me as it flew away…something like, “It’s not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves!”

Pro-tip: “Toss in” is not an appropriate way to load your groceries…especially when you’ve been tasked to “pick up eggs”. I think I can be excused though. Shakespearean balloons make me cranky.

I killed the orange one. With extreme prejudice. When I started the big truck the orange balloon stuck to my head with static and started in with more Shakespeare. “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you…”

*BLAM*

Nope. If I prick you, you explode. That’s…handy…actually. There’s some people I could test that on…

Yep, Shakespearean balloons make me cranky…but it was an accident. I swear.

I briefly reflected that perhaps…just perhaps…I’d had too much caffeine today.

Of course, then I came to my senses. “Too much” and “caffeine” are words I understand, but put together in a sentence they just don’t make any sense.

By the time I made it home I only had the foil/mylar balloon left.

According to plan I turned it loose. The results were anticlimactic at best.

The balloon slowly drifted across the living room in the currents from the heat vent, sneaking silently up on the pets, all scattered about in various positions of rest…or death (it’s often hard to tell the difference)…across the living room.

The cats, as cats are want to do…ignored it completely.

Shorty the Corgi opened one eye, rolled over, went back to sleep, and farted. Gah. I’m amazed it didn’t set off the smoke alarm. We’ve really gotta try some different food for that dog.

As for me, well, my evening went just fine despite the sacrifice of my balloons. They made me smile early in the day, and then, when I was done with them they made some other folks smile too.

That’s pretty good mileage for a handful of balloons.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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Launch Me!

launch_meThis thing has been hanging around on the roof of the parking garage at work since we used to land helicopters there (talk about a *commute*!).

Every time I end up parking up here I am seized with the (only slightly) irrational urge to pull the pin, fire that sucker up, yell “launch me!” and ride it down the three stories of ramps.

The ice of late only makes the desire worse…

So…yanno…if y’all don’t hear from me after this evening…

Posted in Blog, Work | 1 Comment

Visual…

kolache definitionWe call these kolaches or alternately klobasnek here in Texas.

Some call ‘em “Pigs in a blanket”…but kolache is how ya order ‘em at the donuts store.

…and me…in my quest to make the world a weirder place (or at least to make a less serious place) am doing my best to convince folks that….

…kolache means “uncircumcised”.

Enjoy your breakfast!

CUAgain!

Posted in Blog, Humor | Leave a comment