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I wanna Rock…

photo from yahoo

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Last week I took my family out on a very specific mission. We were going to find the most famous rock in America. Dragging and screaming, my kids and wife were subjected to a torturous journey across America. And now thanks to the power of the internet, you are welcome to follow along.

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you the most famous rock in America?”

“No! I am a broken piece of concrete.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you the most famous rock in America?”

“No! I am a skate, but you can touch me if you want, big boy. All the cool kids do it.”

“Uh..I think I am in the wrong place…I have to go!”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you the most famous rock in America?”

“No! We are just pebbles.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Do you know the most famous rock in America?”

“Not in the Biblical sense. I am a Lady. Stop looking up my dress; you pervert!”

 

 

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photo from rob akers

“Hey Betty Clucker, do you know the most famous rock in America?”

“Yes! It but only the pure in heart will find it. You don’t have a chance.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you the most famous rock in America?”

“No! I am just a bell that never gets to ring.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Do you know the most famous rock in America?”

“No! But I love tea parties.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you guys the most famous rocks in America?”

“No! But we see old dead people.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Uh…yea…never mind…”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Do you know where the most famous rock in America lives?”

“No! But I love the new Stone Sour Album. Hydograd ROCKS!”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Do you guys know where the most famous rock in America lives?”

“Dude, seriously? We are as sharp as a brick wall.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Do you guys know the most famous rock in America?”

“Wrong city, dumb ass.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Hey can I get a ride to the right city?”

“If your name isnt Billy Grimes, you can’t afford this. Go find some cheap public transportation.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you guys the most famous rocks in America?”

“No, but we are relatives. Go ask Reggie around the corner.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Oh NO! Those meddling kids just threw Reggie into the water.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Can you help me find the most famous rock in America?”

“Yes! Go that way young man.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you guys the most famous rocks in America?”

“No! We are in rock prison. Follow the stone wall and look down.”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Keep walking and rock on!”

 

“Now Look Down…”

 

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photo from rob akers

“Are you the most famous rock in America?”

“YES, how many other rocks have their birthday tattooed on their chest?”

“Holy Cow! You are Three Hundred and Ninety Seven years old.”

“Yep, Contrary to popular belief. I’m in my prime.”

 

 

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photo from rob akers

“GOAL!!!!!!!!”

 

“Kids I hope you had a great journey and learned something about American History.”

“Dad, next year can we just go to the beach like regular kids?”

“I was thinking about finding the most famous ball of twine in Kansas for the family vacation next year…”

 

photo from yahoo.

Until next time, keep on rockin!

 

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Dude..where have you been…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Y’all,

I would like to apologize for this unexplained absence. Well…huh…let’s see…you know how it is… To be honest… I ran out of gas. I… I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts!

 

 

Actually, I have been doing quite a bit of working this past month.

 

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No, not that. This…

 

 

The only reason I am here tonight is that I ran out of smokes. But I still have coffee and doughnuts. Life is good.

 

Seriously, I have been on a writing tear since the last post. I am going to give you my estimated word count this month. Before you have a heart attack please know that most of this was already written several years ago. So it is probably considered heavy editing rather than pure writing. Since I finished training and started finishing book number two until right this second, I am at 72,874 words.

 

That is a lot for experienced writers. For someone like me who is able to crank out 500 words an hour, it is exciting and frighting all at the same time. I am really close to having book two finished. My plan is to go back and hit book one hard with the edits and suggestions that my friends have made. The it will be time to start thinking about pouring money into this thing. Wow, this is getting serious.

 

This weekend I took a break from writing to go to the Knoxville Fanboy/Comic Con. I was there working and I thought I would share some of the photos and observations. I hope you enjoy and that life is good!

 

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Before you ask, yes I did dress up. I went as a short, fat middle aged dude named Bill Grimes. No one asked me for my picture. photo by rob akers.

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Love that costume, her purse pulls it all together. Not sure who the tall guy dressed in all black is though. photo from rob akers.

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In case you can’t tell that is Lou Ferrigno. I read today that someone in line was having a seizure while they were waiting to get his picture. He rendered first aid to them until the EMS arrived. He is still a cool dude and yes I was scared (too cheap to pay) to meet him. photo from rob akers.

Lou back in the day. photo from yahoo

 

 

 

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This is the guy that I was dying to meet. Bob Flick from the super folk group Brothers Four. What a great guy. I have no idea who the blond behind him is but Bob is so cool that he charged a bunch of people pay him 20 dollars just to talk to her. He didn’t care, he just put the money in his pocket. I think I will start charging people to talk to my wife. photo from rob akers.

There Bob is with that blond woman. Twenty bucks for a picture too. What a dude! photo from yahoo.

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I think they were the Star Trek people. Photo from rob akers.

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Now this is a guy that I know. I love me some Colonel. photo from rob akers.

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I felt like I was looking in the mirror. This kid will be never be President. He is way too cool. photo from rob akers.

 

The real reason, I went to the Comic Con was that I wanted to find some writers and see what they have going on. Here are the three that I was most impressed with.

 

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I spoke to J.P. for about thirty minutes. He is a thinker. For fun, he like to build worlds. He has been doing that since his youth. A couple years ago, he decided to try to write a novel. Instead of using one of the five worlds that he has already created, he just made a new one. Check out his website. photo from rob akers

 

Kenyon is a regular dude who had an idea for a novel. His idea was based on the Bible and what he would do if he had a spiritual gift. One thing led to another and here he is. I spoke to him for about thirty minutes as well. Open, honest and very straight forward, Kenyon is a guy that real about everything. Please check him out.

 

A.J. has it going on. First of all, he doesn’t write under name or pen name. He said that is what suckers do. ( my words not his actually), But he chooses to write under the Fiction Factory INC business name. He said that he chose this because it frees him up to write multiple genres without being type cast into a certain mold. He has about eight books,most of them are different genres or for different target audiences. I asked him who he stole the idea from. He said he made it up on his own. I think it is brilliant and I told him that I would probably steal the idea from him. He didn’t seemed threatened. Go check out his site. He is 100% about business. I really like what he has going on there.

 

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I’m putting this picture last. Please if anyone knows what characters they are rockin, please let me know. photo from rob akers.

Until next time, keep on rockin!

 

 

 

 

New Book “Twenty-Four Days” By J Murray…

Hey Y’all,

 

Our good friend Jacqui Murray has a new book out and I am honored to have been asked to help her promote it. It was only nine short years ago when I had the bright idea that I would like to write a novel. As of today, I am still hopeful that one day I will write a novel. But Jacqui is dropping her second full length novel as well as a already published book documenting the steps her daughter took to go from High School student to Naval Academy Graduate and Naval Officer.

People like me, sit around and dream of success while people like Jacqui make it happen!

Please go over to Jacqui’s side of the internet and check out what she has going. Over Five Thousand seven hundred people are following her site as she dishes on all topics related to writing, publishing, and being a Navy Mom!

Do yourself a favor and head over to Amazon to grab her two novels. It is summer time and we all need something to read on vacation.

Until next time…keep on rockin!

 

 

Is this a great cover or what! photo from J Murray

 

What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the sentient artificial intelligence who thinks he’s human:

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

World-renowned paleoanthropologist, Dr. Zeke Rowe is surprised when a friend from his SEAL past shows up in his Columbia lab and asks for help: Two submarines have been hijacked and Rowe might be the only man who can find them.

At first he refuses, fearing a return to his former life will end a sputtering romance with fellow scientist and love of his life, Kali Delamagente, but when one of his closest friends is killed by the hijackers, he changes his mind. He asks Delamagente for the use of her one-of-a-kind AI Otto who possesses the unique skill of being able to follow anything with a digital trail.

In a matter of hours, Otto finds one of the subs and it is neutralized.

But the second, Otto can’t locate.

Piece by piece, Rowe uncovers a bizarre nexus between Salah Al-Zahrawi–the world’s most dangerous terrorist and a man Rowe thought he had killed a year ago, a North Korean communications satellite America believes is a nuclear-tipped weapon, an ideologue that cares only about revenge, and the USS Bunker Hill (a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser) tasked with supervising the satellite launch.

And a deadline that expires in twenty-four days.

As America teeters on the brink of destruction, Zeke finally realizes that Al-Zahrawi’s goal isn’t nuclear war, but payback against the country that cost him so much.

Kirkus Review:

A blistering pace is set from the beginning: dates open each new chapter/section, generating a countdown that intensifies the title’s time limit. Murray skillfully bounces from scene to scene, handling numerous characters, from hijackers to MI6 special agent Haster. … A steady tempo and indelible menace form a stirring nautical tale

What customers are saying about this series:

J Murray’s long anticipated thriller, To Hunt a Sub, is a satisfying read from a fresh voice in the genre, and well worth the wait. The time devoted to research paid off, providing a much-appreciated authenticity to the sciency aspects of the plot. The author also departs from the formulaic pacing and heroics of contemporary commercialized thrillers. Instead, the moderately paced narrative is a seduction, rather than a sledgehammer. The author takes time rendering relatable characters with imaginatively cool names like Zeke Rowe, and Kalian Delamagente. The scenes are vividly depicted, and the plot not only contains exquisitely treacherous twists and turns, but incorporates the fascinating study of early hominids, and one ancestral female in particular who becomes an essential character. The narrative might have benefited from language with a crisper, sharper edge, but that is purely my personal taste and preference and takes nothing away from the overall satisfaction of this novel.

One thing I enjoyed about this read is the technical reality Murray created for both the scientific and military aspects of the book. I completely believed the naval and investigatory hierarchy and protocols, as well as the operation inside the sub. I was fascinated by her explanation of Otto’s capabilities, the security efforts Kali employs to protect her data, and how she used Otto’s data to help Rowe.

The research and technical details she included in this book had me in complete awe. A cybervirus is crippling submarines–and as subs sunk to the bottom of the ocean, I found myself having a hard time breathing. It’s up to Zeke and Kali to save the entire country using their brains. If you love thrillers, this is definitely one you can’t miss!

 

 

Book information:

Title and author: Twenty-four Days by J. Murray

Genre: Thriller, military thriller

Cover by: Paper and Sage Design 

Available at: Kindle USKindle UKKindle Canada

 

Photo from J Murray

 

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and  Twenty-four DaysShe is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

 

 

Another cool cover. photo from J Murray

 

If you want to get into the Academy, then you need the gouge. Here it is. photo from J Murray

 

Quote from author:

What sets this series apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the Naval battle that relies on not just fire power but problem solving to outwit the enemy.

Social Media contacts:

http://twitter.com/worddreams

http://facebook.com/kali.delamagente

http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

https://plus.google.com/u/0/102387213454808379775/posts

 

 

Sample chapter:

Monday, August 7th

HMNB Devonport England

Until last month, Eyad Obeid considered himself a devout Muslim. He prayed five times a day, proclaimed God’s glory in every conversation, and performed the required ablutions when confronted with uncleanliness. When his brother was executed by Israeli gunman five years ago, Obeid swore retribution. No nobler purpose could he imagine for his worthless life than dying for Allah.

But instead of a suicide vest and the promise of seventy-two virgins, the village imam enrolled him in college to learn nuclear physics, thermodynamics, chemistry, and math so complex its sole application was theoretical. Much to Obeid’s surprise, he thrived on the cerebral smorgasbord. In fact, with little effort, he attained all the skills required by the Imam.

By the time he earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics, he had learned two lessons. First, he was much smarter than most people around him, and second, the western world was not what he had been told.

Now, just weeks after graduation, Eyad Obeid approached the dingy Devonport pub on the frigid southern shore of England and wondered how to explain to the man responsible for giving Eyad Obeid this amazing future that he would fulfill his obligation, but then, wanted out.

He squared his shoulders and entered the pub.

His stomach lurched. Rather than his mentor Salah Mahmud al-Zahrawi, he found the Kenyan and his three henchmen. He had first met these thugs in San Diego California where he learned to run a nuclear submarine under the friendly tutelage of British submariners. When Obeid finished his studies, the Kenyan slaughtered the Brits. No warning. No discussion, just slash, slice and everyone died.

As did Obeid’s belief in the purity of Allah.

The nuclear physicist jammed his hands into his pockets, hunched his shoulders, and approached the table. The Kenyan had never introduced himself and Eyad Obeid lacked the courage to ask.

“I was expecting Salah al-Zahrawi,” Obeid offered as he slipped into the booth.

The Kenyan stared past Obeid, eyes as desolate as the Iranian desert, thick sloping shoulders still, ebony skin glistening under the fluorescent lights. Danger radiated from him like the hum of a power plant. He had three new fight scars since their last encounter, like angry welts but otherwise, he looked rested, clearly losing no sleep over the slaughter of innocents.

“You have one more job before you are released.” In a quiet, toneless voice, the man without a soul explained the new plan, finishing with, “If you fail, you die.”

Obeid was stunned. His gut said Run! He risked his future—his life—staying a moment longer with this crazed zealot, but Obeid did little more than croak a strangled, “If I succeed, I will also die!” His University friends called it a Sophie’s Choice.

The Kenyan shrugged. “But less painfully.”

Obeid twitched as heat washed his face. As he sought an appropriate response, the waitress arrived with tea. She poured a cup for each of them, chattering to no one in particular about how she had forgotten her blarmy slicker because her boyfriend kept her up the whole bloody night, di’n he, and she was frightfully knackered. No one responded.

“Shall I tell you the specials on offer?”

The Kenyan slowly ratcheted his head toward her. “Go.”

The waitress backed away, almost knocking over another server and his steaming tray of eggs, bacon, black pudding, and baked beans.  “Well, aren’t we in a bloody mood,” and she left.

The Kenyan did not seem to notice, his flat dead eyes back on Obeid. The physicist squirmed. He was but one man. His only hope was to quietly warn the authorities.  He folded his hands into his lap to hide their shaking.

Insha Allah, I will help. What do you require?”

“Do you remember the training you received from the Parishers?”

The British submariners you butchered? Obeid nodded.

“You must ensure the sailors perform their duties after we hijack the sub.”

With no further explanation, the Kenyan tossed a fistful of notes onto the table and left. As Obeid hurried after him, he surreptitiously thumbed a message into his phone and pushed send.

There was no signal.

The Kenyan parked in the crew lot outside Her Majesty’s Devonport Plymouth Naval Base. Obeid changed into a uniform and emerged from the car carrying a loaded gun in a prayer rug. Maa shaa Allah.

The storm broke and quickly turned the parking lot slick and shiny. Obeid shivered despite the heavy pea coat with the warm fur-lined collar. How did the British stand the weather? When this ended, he would never again leave the sparkling sun and cloudless skies of his beloved Iran.

“Eyad!” It was Tariq Khosrov, with two other friends from Obeid’s graduate program, all with PhDs in nuclear physics. Tariq was one of the smartest boys Obeid had ever met and the most naïve. “Are we going to steal a nuclear submarine?”

Obeid hissed, “Quiet!” and the Kenyan nudged him toward the base’s thick metal gates. They had been designed to stop an AK-47 or a firebomb, even an RPG, but not the weapon Salah al-Zahrawi would use. Faithful Muslims who worked for naval personnel had replaced pictures of the dead San Diego Parishers with Obeid and the rest of the hijackers. By the time the Royal Navy realized something was wrong, HMS Triumph would be gone and missing.

“Next!”

The man in front of Obeid passed his ID to the bored security. He checked the man’s face, his computer screen, and waved him through.

It was Obeid’s turn.  “ID, please.”

Obeid’s chest tightened as the stern-looking sentry, blonde hair trimmed close to his scalp, collar turned up against the wind, fingers like thick sausages on powerful hands, turned a flint-eyed glare to Obeid. The nuclear physicist froze and the guard’s boredom became suspicion. He read the name stitched on the right breast of Obeid’s uniform. “Haim is it?”

He looked Obeid up and down, as though to determine if the name matched the slight figure in front of him with wire-rimmed glasses and the thatch of black hair dripping rain down his forehead. True, he couldn’t tell Obeid’s stomach lacked the six-pack of muscles the real Haim had been so proud of, but he could see Obeid’s slender hands and they were those of a scientist, not a sailor. Surely, the guard would say something.

Obeid fumbled, almost dropping the ID before shoving it forward.

“Anything to declare?” The guard’s gaze flicked to the prayer rug.

Sweat broke out under Obeid’s arms. Should he tell the guard there was an AK-47 in his prayer rug or would he shoot before listening to Obeid’s explanation? No, better to deal with the problem onboard. Besides, the Kenyans claimed they were simply leveraging demands against Britain backed by the threat posed by the sub’s weapons. They would never use them.

He bit his lip hard, tasting blood, and forced anger into his voice. “You suspect me because I am Muslim? Do you want to examine my prayer rug?” His voice dripped with righteous indignation as he had practiced and he extended the tightly-bound bundle, taking care to keep the ends turned away from the soldier. “Maybe I am carrying an A… K.” He purposely stumbled over the name.

The sentry flushed and stepped back as though burned.

“Now I didn’t mean that mate, did I? O’ course you’re fine,” and waved Obeid through.

Across the yard, limned against the grey sky, towered the domed shape of the HMS Triumph, its deck slick with rain, sail glistening in the early morning light. The warheads it carried could reach the vast majority of the planet but the bustling sailors, some in oil-stained uniforms, others nattily dressed in white with jaunty officer caps, greeted each other, oblivious to the danger approaching them in the uniform of shipmates.

What had he done?

“Keep going,” the scar-faced Kenyan hissed between clenched teeth.

Obeid balled his fists to stop their shaking and forced his steps to be slow and measured as if in no rush to start what would be a three-month deployment.

When the group reached the Triumph, they were greeted by a cherub-faced seaman. “You the Parisher blokes?” He stuck his hand out. “Name’s McEwen. We’re the Second crew. First came down with food poisoning.” He chuckled, eyes crinkling with merriment, brows like gray steel wool. “Brill, you think? Who wants to play hide and seek with a Diesel?”

McEwen poked the Kenyan in jovial familiarity while Obeid combed through his training for what a ‘diesel’ might be.

“Enough yakking. Get sorted, blokes. We leave in an hour.”

 

 

 

Looking California but feeling Minnesota…

Chris Cornell wrote the lyrics “Looking California..Feeling Minnesota for the song ‘Outshined’ photo from yahoo.

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Slight departure from what I had planned today but sometimes off course maneuvering towards real life is appropriate.  On Wednesday, look for a promotional article about our good friend of this site, Jacqui Murry as she has written a new book…

The rock world lost a really talented artist on Thursday. Chris Cornell, was the lead singer of two different groups; Soundgarden and Audioslave. Being very honest, I was not a fan of either group, but I was familiar with both groups. That isn’t a slight to the guys in Soundgarden, it is just that they were on the leading edge of the grunge movement in the early 90s. That was the wave that replaced the hard rock music that I grew up on in the 80s more commonly known as Hair Metal.

 

Metal dudes dont smile, laugh or be happy. They are angry,all the time especially when they are feeding your soul to the devil. This is grunge and I rejected it. photo from yahoo.

 

Those who know me the best, know that I am a person that can hold a grudge for a long time and since Soundgarden was in the same genera as Pearl Jam and Nirvana, then by default I would never be a fan. That was the music of the next generation and I moved on looking for other forms of entertainment. Yes, I did fall into Nu Metal in the later 90s. Limp Bizkit was an infatuation because I did like to break stuff. Slipknot scared me but not enough to keep me from listening the first time, twenty years later they are still on my must listen playlist on YouTube and Pandora.

 

Thirty one years later, I still haven’t resolved my issue with these two guys. Don’t go off and buy me a flannel shirt. photo from yahoo.

 

I was talking to a close friend last Thursday afternoon. He told me about another close friend who is having some health issues, again. Since I don’t officially know, I am going to be very vague but here is a short summary. Five years ago, our friend got the cancer. It a was very serious form of cancer and required a very high amount of radiation and chemo to fight down. There were points along the way where the doctors were not hopeful for a positive outcome. He survived and even came back to work. Hardly a year later, he was on the other side of the world when his doctor called and told him to come home.

My friend said that he would be back in ten days. The doctor said be in my office in two days; it is that serious. Two days after he got back, he was in surgery having his kidney removed. The cancer had returned to a different part of the body. Now, he has another tumor, they don’t know what it is yet but I feel pretty safe in saying that Cancer sucks.

Last Wednesday, my family went over to another friend’s house to watch three of their youngest kids. Their oldest kid was at football conditioning after school, he is a big strapping kid so he doesn’t need anyone like me watching him. Their number two kid, Katie is in the children’s hospital in Cincinnati fighting a serious case of the cancer. I refuse to give cancer the dignity of a name because cancer sucks. If you would like to know more about this incredible family, check them out here or on Facebook.

http://courageouskatie.weebly.com/

 

Picture

This is the family before cancer. They are more beautiful today than they are in this picture. I wish I had faith like them. photo from courageouskatie.weebly.com

 

Saturday afternoon I was thinking about my friend’s new health issue, my other friend’s little fourteen-year-old daughter wasting away in a hospital with tubes of toxic medications flowing through her body and the untimely passing of Chris Cornell. Then I read this from one of the few religious blogs that I follow. I don’t read anything from anyone who writes that “good old time gospel of pie in the sky mixed with the you’re going to burn in hell if you don’t repent” style of preaching. If that is your thing, good for you. Not trying to make anyone mad, I just prefer to hear/read different viewpoints.

Anyway, now that I ticked everyone off.

Reading Jason Micheli’s article really hit home for me. I can’t say that I believe everything that Jason had to say. I’m really not even sure that I am smart enough to understand what he is saying. I know that I don’t have the faith to really believe what he said, which is more about me and not him. If you choose to read it, here it is a copy of his sermon that he conducted for a funeral of a young man who committed suicide.

http://tamedcynic.org/sermon-for-a-suicide-do-you-believe-this/

 

Jason Micheli. I am not sure if this is pre or post cancer. photo from tamedcynic.org

 

This is a book that Jason wrote about cancer. photo from tamedcynic.org

 

I don’t know if he put it up because of Chris Cornell or it just worked out like that. But I spend a large part of Saturday afternoon watching Soundgarden videos and coming to appreciate how musically gifted Mr. Cornell and the other guys in Soundgarden are. I realized that I was wrong about them. They not grunge. They are metal.

Another of the groups that I really like is called Machine Head. Started in the early 1990s, I thought they were anti-grunge and I followed them off and on until I heard their album ‘Unto the Locust’ in 2011. Wow, what a great anti-establishment album. If you ever see me on an airplane, sitting in an airport, writing in a Starbucks or walking the streets of your fair town on a layover, you will see me with headphones in. There is a 50% chance that ‘Unto the Locus’ will be rattling around between my ears.

The lead singer is named Robb Flynn. I have never met Mr. Flynn but he is an example of what America is about. He is the driving force behind the Machine Head brand. While they are not commercially popular like Metallica, Megadeth, Slipknot or even Soundgarden, he has managed to make a comfortable living doing what he loves while remaining married and raising a family. It is fun for me to follow Mr. Flynn via a mass email list. There he writes about what is going on with Machine Head and himself in general. He is not doing the straight promotion of the group, but he writes very detailed and long emails about the things that he cares about.

 

Robb Flynn doing his thing. I bet he is President of his kid’s school parent/teacher organization. photo from yahoo

 

As you can tell, I like to know what real, honest people think no matter what if I agree with it or not. I feel like it helps keep me grounded, relevant, and current. Anyway, Mr. Flynn sent this out Thursday evening with a follow up Sunday. Mr. Flynn’s words are not for the weak or easily offended. He is real, honest, direct, blunt and lets you know how he felt about Chris Cornell. Read it at your own risk. This is the link to their Facebook page. I hope it works.

https://www.facebook.com/MachineHead/posts/10154745571783823

He added another article on Sunday about talking to his oldest son about suicide. I bet my wife and I had a similar conversation with our kids about Katie and her cancer. Cancer Sucks and Suicide Does Too.

http://machinehead.tumblr.com/

According to the media, if you can believe them. Chris Cornell was taking an anti-anxiety medication named Ativan. I’m not a doctor and I just go what I am told. But two of the side-effects of that medication is depression and thoughts about harming yourself. My wife had a family member commit suicide several years ago. Lynn, was a man’s man. Big, tough, hard but fun to be around. He was an engineer on the trains. He had worked around trains all his life and he was well respected by the hard dudes on the train lines.

He got hurt on the job and after several surgeries he still had nerve pain in his elbow. The doctor put him on something to help with the pain but the two side-effects were that you don’t sleep and you get depressed. Sometime after starting the medications, he was gone.

The following are the words of Robb Flynn. I totally agree with him. If you are in a bad place and you have nowhere to turn. Give me a call. Trust me, if you are down to my number then you are officially in a bad place. Please talk to someone if you are thinking about hurting yourself or someone else.

Seriously, call me and we will figure something out other than hurting yourself.

304-617-1101

Robb Flynn said this in his Sunday message:

“Talking about it on our group-text helped a lot, talking about it with my guys at practice helped a lot.  Writing the journal helped a lot, reading you’re replies helped a lot.

 

And so I’m sharing your replies to hopefully help anyone else struggling with this.

 

It needs to be discussed.

 

His suicide, depression, mental health, whatever we want to call needs to be addressed.

 

We need to get over our uber-macho, alpha-male-society, and be able to talk about these things.  For ourselves, for our kids, for our future.

 

My oldest son had heard Genevra and I talking about Cornell.

 

Driving him to school 2 days ago, he asked me how he died.  I told him. He didn’t understand why someone would do that.

 

It was tough conversation.  And my first thought was to not tell him what it meant, but then my larger fear went to “what if he feels this way already?”  And before you go, “oh kids don’t feel that way, kids are just happy all the time”, I have 2 friends who are going though it with their tween/teenagers.  So we spoke about it, and I told him “I hoped that him and Wyatt never felt that way because THAT scared me even more.”

 

It was heavy…

 

How any parent lives through that I’ll never know.”

 

 

Lyrics to Outshined. Power stuff. photo from yahoo.

Some Chris Cornell videos.

This dude turned a sugary Michael Jackson pop song into a masterpiece. Way cool.

 

He was so cool that he got to do a James Bond theme song.

 

He did about a thousand covers. Everything from Prince to Whitney Houston. He does an amazing combination of U2’s song ONE and Metallica’s song ONE. It is crazy and it makes my brain hurt because it is so cool. I have no idea how he could do that. I hate that I have learned about him like this. Life is good, don’t throw it away.

 

Until next time, keep on rockin!

Happy Baby Mama Day

Just another Mother’s Day. photo from yahoo.

 

Hey Y’all,

 

I have an update from the last post. I want you walk to outside your house right this second and look at your roof. If you do not see the tail of an airplane poking out of the chimney; then you can rest assured that you survived the threat of me flying overhead and that is what we call in the aviation community as Good News.

 

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That is what happens when the instructor goes to the back for a minute. Opps. photo from rob akers

Now the Bad News. The FAA has determined that I am qualified and I will be regularly flying over your house without adult supervision from now on. Actually, it is worse, I am the adult supervision. Good luck to us all!

 

I’m not sure how they can tell it is a boy. But It sure is cute. photo from yahoo.

 

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. The kids and I had a great plan for my baby mama, but like always she threw a big old monkey wrench into it.  Our plan was very simple. We, (the kids and I) were going to sleep until noon:30. Then we would pull ourselves out of bed for an exotically complicated meal that our baby mama cooked for us. After we filled our little bellies, I wanted to lay on the couch and watch the NASCAR race while my daughter would put her ear buds in and watch YouTube videos. My son was going to ride his bike up and down the road with the dog in trail barking like she was rabid. After baby mama finished the dishes, doing the laundry and cleaning the house; she was welcome to start working on dinner. What a great day the kids and I planned out.

 

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I think my kids spent more time on the tires than anything else. photo from rob akers

We almost pulled it off exactly like we had planned. Except for a couple of minor changes. We got up early and went to church. We ate pizza for lunch (her choice by the way). She took a nap on the deck while the kids and I washed her van. She and the kids had a water balloon fight in the back yard. Our neighbor brought over their dog to play in the back yard while I finished up vacation plans. I think it worked out okay for our favorite baby mama.

 

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This is a lesson for all the future baby mama’s who want a boy. My son helped to wash the entire van. He played in the soapy water. He used the soapy sponge and brush. And he played in the water…photo from rob akers

 

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He still had dirt on his  hands. Don’t be surprised when you discover this fact for yourself. photo from rob akers

Hope all the baby mama’s out there had a great day! Until next time, keep on rockin.

 

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My son and I went to the movie Saturday night and someone found my truck and rolled us. Looks like the work of a Baby Mama and her mini-me. photo from rob akers

Take Cover This Week…

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The hotel guy said that this was the Addams Family house in the movie. I don’t know about that, but it is a cool building. photo from rob akers

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Almost finished training with just one little thing left. I have to actually be able to safely operate a aircraft. What that means to you is that this week, there is a good chance that I will be over your head and you are just a heartbeat away from me being solo in a transport category aircraft. That heartbeat would belong to my instructor. So, for public safety’s sake if you live between Syracuse New York and Memphis Tennessee, you have been warned. Later this week, if you live between Memphis and Great Falls Montana, again you are now warned.

 

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I guess they put the sign here just in case you thought you were in Buffalo. Right behind this is a memorial to thirty five students who were killed in Pan Am Flight 103 that blew up over Lockerbie Scotland.  photo from rob akers

 

However, I took advantage of the warm weather in Syracuse and walked the wonderful campus of Syracuse University. My initial thoughts are that I think it is a beautiful campus. I was expecting the regimented and sanitary campus motif that most college campus’ have today. They all have the same red brick or tan brick or stone buildings like Notre Dame, Tennessee, South Carolina or Arizona State. But thankfully, the leadership of Syracuse has embraced diversity. Their buildings range from the Gothic to the 1960s modern to the clean style of today. I never found the building for the galactically stupid so I assume that I couldn’t qualify to attend here. But I will encourage my kids to apply here if they want to walk the extremely large campus in the blowing snow. All things being equal, I would choose a school in Florida. I guess that is why the Syracuse football team isn’t so good.

 

 

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Ernie Davis statue in front of the Carrier Dome. I love the idea of a on campus stadium. photo by rob akers

 

I donned my blue tee shirt, faded olive shorts and blue shoes and took a thirty-minute walk to the campus. Once there, I switched into invisible mode and walked everywhere without a single glance from the college kids. I could have had a one hundred bill taped to my forehead and not one single person would have noticed. It is tough being an old, fat guy. But I got some good pictures. Hope you enjoy.

 

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The Carrier Dome. I went inside to get some pictures but my invisible cloak failed and a middle aged security guard asked who I was. I told him I worked for FedEx, my name was Bill Grimes and I live in New York City. He took all the information and escorted me out of the building. photo from rob akers.

 

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This is the music building on the corner of “The Quad.” Actually I have no idea what the name of it is. But the violin band was playing. That was cool. photo from rob akers

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Just a little Monday afternoon concert. photo from rob akers

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More buildings. Note they they are all different styles. photo from rob akers

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The Library. That guy in the picture was going to trample me but I stopped to let him pass. photo from rob akers

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How about that. It does have a name. photo from rob akers

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The chemistry building. I bet it is cool when the ivy fills in during the summer. photo from rob akers

 

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I tried to find the chalk board with the math equation so I could solve it. But another middle aged security guard tried to question me. Asked him if he knew who I was. He said Bill Grimes, then he kicked me out of the building. photo from rob akers

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By this time on my little walk, there was a campus police car following me. photo from rob akers

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That guy in the blue shirt was looking at me because of the police escort. photo from rob akers

Until next time, keep on rockin!

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They escorted me to the end of the campus and told me to never come back. By the way, my hotel is at the very end of this street. They didn’t offer me a ride. photo by rob akers

Is it safe to come out…?

They say it is safe to come out now, but I am not so sure. photo from yahoo.

 

 

Barry came out yesterday too. It is so hard to keep a secret so I am happy for him. But was I the only one that didn’t see it coming? photo from yahoo.

 

Hey Y’all,

 

I have been out of pocket for almost two months. Here is a quick update, training went relatively well. I still have a couple more events but have completed all of the big stuff and I am waiting on flying to be scheduled. Way back in February, when I met my sim partner we had a very brief discussion about what it would be like. Chris is a really good dude who worked his tail off during training. But he is a single seat, zipper suited, sun god whose vast experience mostly included dropping bombs on the sand people. At the time; I don’t think he believed me I told him that it would be one of the most painful and humiliating experiences in his professional life but if he agreed not to judge me, I promised not to judge him. Today, I promise you he is a believer.

 

The Sand People thought it was safe to come out since Chris is in training?” photo from yahoo.

 

Chris translated Luke’s words for me. “You dumb old bastard, your going to get me in trouble.” photo from yahoo.

 

I was asked by a friend to describe why training is so hard. The closest thing I could come up with is to think of your family doctor. I am sure they are wonderful, competent and a highly skilled general physician with many years of experience. Send that same person back to medical school in China. It is the same human body with the same organs but totally different language and procedures.  After thirteen years of working with my company, and twenty-six years of flying, I still found this training cycle to be a real kick in the pants.

 

I wanted to come out of hiding to help people. Maury said that was a lie too. photo from yahoo.

 

I have been thinking about buying a sports car after I finished training. I was thinking that I had earned it and that I was probably responsible enough to safely and legally operate it. All that changed this past Monday night. I was driving the second fastest production car in existence on a round trip finishing up a short three-day training cycle. You might be wondering what the second fastest production car is so let me break it down. It is the economy class rental car from Enterprise. By the way, the fastest production car in existence is your friend’s economy class rental car. Crossing the state line into West Virginia, I was pulled over for going 82 in a 65. The officer told me that the speed limit dropped when I crossed over from Kentucky but that he would have still pulled me over for 82 in a 70. I didn’t tell him that I knew the speed limit would drop and I had just slowed down five miles an hour. Yes, it is a fact that I am not mature enough for a Corvette.

 

The only reason a cop gets out of his car. Maury said this was the truth. photo from yahoo.

 

Which leads me to today which is my birthday. I have been racking my brain in the few free moments on suggestions for presents from my wife and kids. Last week they settled on the gift that keeps giving. Yard treatment from a local yard care company. My wife decided that I finally needed to have the best-looking yard in the neighborhood. To say that I was psyched would be an understatement. Thick, luscious, green grass that is free of weeds and needs to be mowed every three days is exactly what I have been dreaming of since I was twelve. My Dad had that kind of yard and when he made me mow it, I did my best to make it look bad so he would fire me from that chore.  The good news is that she had not signed the contract so when I told her I got a speeding ticket, she said that she was canceling the yard treatment and I would be paying the ticket as my birthday present. I want to thank Officer Kennedy, the City of Kenova and the State of West Virginia for getting me out of that. Happy Birthday to me!

 

Finally, tonight I have to head back to training and tempt fate. The last time I was in airplane on my birthday was April 6, 2003 in Iraq. On that birthday, I used up three of my nine lives on one flight and I promised myself that I would never fly on my birthday again as my present to myself. Well, I have to climb on board that airplane but since I am ridding in the back, I am going to use pilot reasoning to trick myself that I am not breaking my promise to myself. I am going to include the links to the set of stories about that night. I wrote them in mid-April 2013, so they are new reading for many of our newer friends. I hope you enjoy.  By the way, my heart still starts racing when I think of what happened that night.

https://robakers.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/happy-birthdaypart-one/

https://robakers.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/happy-birthdaypart-two/

https://robakers.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/happy-birthdaypart-three/

 

 

I am going to spend the rest of the day watching the crab grass grow and thanking my lucky stars that Officer Kennedy gave me that ticket.

 

Both Chris, Maury and my neighbors agree. I need to come out and work on the yard. photo from yahoo.

 

Until next time, keep on rockin!

Francis Bass

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