Sunday, April 29, 2018

Reading- "The Four Agreements"


So a friend / coworker loaned me this book. It's well worth your time. I thought I'd share some of what I got out of it. What are the agreements? 

1. Be impeccable with your word.  
2. Don't take it personally.
3. Do not assume.
4. Always do your best. 

A few initial thoughts. 

Being impeccable with your word means more than keeping your word. It also means not using your words to hurt others. Don't gossip about others. When you do it is more a reflection on yourself than the person you are talking about. Words can be very powerful for hurting or helping others. Choose them with care.   

Don't take it personally. Whatever people say about is mos often more a reflection of themselves than you. Stay out of the rumor mill and remain unconcerned about gossip. People are going to talk. Let them. Know yourself. 

Don't assume. Ask. Not sure what someone means or wants? Ask them. I like repeating back my understanding, "... Do I understand you correctly?" If not, they can correct me. One of the biggest lessons from my work is learning not to assume something based on looks and appearances. The guy in a tee shirt and jeans, covered in tattoos bay be a plumber or could have a PhD in linguistics. There is no way to tell based on appearances, yet we do it all the time. Try not to. 

Do your best at anything you do. Work in fast food? Be the best worker you can be. If that is not where you want to be, know nothing is forever and you will move on from it. Do the best you can. Your best can very based on how you feel. Late in the day you are going to be tired and worn down. Your best will be different. Don't get upset with yourself.  Retire your inner judge. 

I will remember these by assigning each to a person in my life:

Dad kept his word and did not gossip, 
Uncle Chip judged no one, including himself. 
My friend, Dave, makes no assumptions. 
My wife, Thu, always does her best.

There is a lot more going on in this great little book! Too much to cover in a short blog post. Buy / borrow this book and see what you can learn from it.        

Sunday, April 15, 2018


So I got the new pacemaker a few months ago and it seems to be doing well. I've not been writing much lately but that's finally changing. Over the last few months I've missed more work than I like just from not feeling good. I hope that is behind me also. I may have found an answer.

This is a RoScooter, a muscle powered mobility device. Under the black dome are essentially bike parts. It is geared so you can do hills on it. I'm not that strong yet but getting better.  It is as close to running or jogging as I'll ever get. But still great! After just a few weeks of consistent use, I feel better, sleep better and my blood pressure is lower.

Somewhere I read or herd bodies are meant to move. I think that's true. Disabled or not we all need exercise. If you don't feel good no amount of money is going to make life all that enjoyable. What fun is a fancy car if you don't feel like going out? Travel is difficult enough but add feeling bad and forget about it! Tasty food may still  brighten your day some but too much of that leads to an early one way ticket to the cemetery. The roscooter may not be for you but something is. Find it and make something happen.

I'll do an update in a few weeks on this. In the mean time old Sam Fallen has been telling me another story. He is not patient. So look for that soon!      

Monday, November 27, 2017

My Big Heartblock Adventure.... Continued

After four more trips around the sun with my pacemaker, I went in for a review which included a heart sonogram. How was my heart doing? Not good news. Yup, heart was indeed getting weaker due to pacing, a lot weaker. This happens from time to time and this was my time. I was told a new pacemaker with three lines into the heart should get me back on track but this is life there are no guarantees. It will most likely but not for sure. The old pacemaker had two lines. Do nothing? A heart attack and possible early grave are not that far off. So I opted for the three lead machine and more fun in the sun! It was successfully installed a few days ago. The first one took less than an hour to install but getting this new one was a whole different deal. Two and a half hours of uncomfortable semi conscious in an operating room the temperature of a beer cooler and it was over. They only kept me one night to be sure the new unit was working properly and then- HOME! There is no ride like the ride home from the hospital, both painful and hopeful.

I don't think any of this would be possible without trust in medical professionals. You have to have a doctor you believe. Still ask a lot of questions. Trust has to be earned after all. Look up the doc on line and see what others say. Get a second opinion. It is not time to be a total cynic about health care here in the USA. I trust my doc is not just making a Bentley down payment and is looking out for me. I trust the five or six strangers wearing masks gathered around me in the meat locker with plenty of sharp tools are not there for anatomy class for profit. They are on my side and know what the are doing.  If you feel unsure make changes before going on the operating table. Now how we pay for all this fun I'll leave for another time.   

Less than a week later and so far so good. I think I can tell a difference with a more normal heart rhythm and better blood flow. And no dizziness or passing the hell out. So that's all good. Yeah, I cannot drive for a week but that will pass in a snap. I feel good about my doc and treatment. Looking forward to returning to work and getting more active. Life is fragile. So be kind, do stuff and live it!  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Talkin about Service

So I gave a talk awhile back to a local Rotary Club. Went well. "Service above self" is their motto. I can relate.  

You see, I've had a lot of help from others along the way from family, friends, strangers and why even the state.  I give back by helping people find careers and jobs. We are all interconnected as we make our way through this thing called life.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Arthrogryposis Stuff
About the condition I have and those still thriving with it.

Ward Foley 
The most Famous AMC'er of them all?


Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Let's have a closer look at Sam's universe, shall we? If you look back a few posts you will find Sam Fallen literally doing the Devil's work on child molesters, abusers and other less desirable types. He's more or less a good guy with all the powers of Hell at his fingertips. Don't forget he works for God. There is no need to get all upset or freaked out, these are just stories after all. I'd like to think there is a source of ultimate justice out there somewhere. Sam would agree, justice is up to us ultimately. There can be no apathetic by-standards here on Earth.



     Like all employees, I had to go see my boss for a review. Bill Barker lives deep in the Mississippi backcountry and that's where I had to go. Both he and I are given a lot of power in this world for the special work we do. Misusing that power leads to dark places, very dark places. Bill Barker and I work for someone else you may have heard of, Satan. Yes, that one, the Prince of Darkness himself. He also works for God as much as he does not care to admit it. We do more than just stir shit up. Our real role is justice. Offend God enough and he calls Satan, who calls Bill, who then calls me. Yes, there are those in the underworld who like to do evil shit just for fun, including Satan himself. But they can only go so far. My job is taking care of errands for Bill. I like my job too much to fuck it up. So reviews are never a problem for me. One nice thing about the Deep South is it's warm even in winter. I decided to take my bike, a 2016 Hayabusa with a custom turbo set up.
       A review for a job like mine can take several days. It had been a few millennia since I had seen Bill in person (we operate on different timescales), so I decided to show up a day early to catch up with my mentor and old friend. When we started working together, the Pyramids in Egypt were just an idea. In more recent times Bill had taken over an old plantation after the previous owner was killed in a freak farming accident. Be careful with those machines boys and girls. I zipped down the windy back roads through lush pine forests unconcerned about cops. They could not see me but a few felt a cold chill as I passed. I had worked this area before a few generations back. They were dark days my friends. A barking dog pulled me back to the present. There was still evil here, now a little more hidden. This was not my area. Somebody else would deal with it sooner or later. Bill had other ideas. I made my way up Bill's long driveway shortly after sunset.
       “You're early," Bill said as I got off the bike and took off my helmet.
       “Yes, but I brought Crown Royal," I answered.
       "I knew I could count on you to do the right thing, Sam. Come have a seat."
       Bill's human form was a large black man. On the plantation, his workers were all white. "A little throwback to dark times past," he called it. Few, if any, of his employees had any idea of the irony. History degrees were not their thing. Although Bill worked directly for the Prince of Darkness, he had a good heart. All of his workers had long criminal histories and could not get jobs anywhere else. Bill saw to it they learned several skilled trades and in time would send them on their way back into the world unlike this place's original owners. Other locals knew not to mess with Bill or his employees. Grim things could happen, very grim things. He had no worries from those who did not appreciate his special kind of irony. He beckoned me to a chair across from him. I sat down and cracked open the Crown.
       "Molly, bring two glasses of ice please."
       A moment later a small woman dressed in a white uniform with neck tattoos appeared and put the glasses down before us. Was it the greenish porch light or did she really have purple and pink hair? I wasn't sure.
       "Thank you," Bill said. She nodded and left. "A new project, she was one of the biggest coke dealers in the entire south east. Knows more about business than most MBA types. She can have a real future one day."
       "And speaking of the future what's mine look like?"
       "Gone to the dogs," he answered getting up.
       I watched Bill slowly go into the house. He returned in a moment with another tall glass of lemon aide. “Molly does not like cops.”
       I heard a car coming down the long driveway. Sure enough, it was a sheriff’s car.
       “Expecting another guest?”
       “You might say that. Sheriff Walton. I think he may have a little work for us.”
       The Sheriff looked the part, tall, clean, spotless uniform, and very white. He strode over and onto the porch. Something few people who knew Bill would do.
       “Have a seat, Sheriff. I’ve been expecting you.” Bill slid a chair back with his foot.
       “New hand, Bill?” He said looking my way. He may have looked uptight but he gave off good vibes.
       “Old hand, actually, very old.” Bill answered. “This is Sam. Sam, this is Sheriff Walton.” He had an honest, firm handshake.
       The Sheriff sat down and took a long drink of lemon aide. He was not the Crown Royal type.         
       “Gonna be a big show tonight. The Reverend Kyle Sheppard is putting on a dog-fighting tournament in the God Damn auxiliary building of his own church. Starts at 11PM. Seeing how he bought Judge Finley, I cannot go near it.”
       Bill filled me in. “Good ole Reverend Sheppard, real dapper guy. Owns a string of nudie bars from here to Atlanta, runs a meth distribution network all across the south and sponsors a Christian little league for orphans. Orphans he sometimes sells that is. And he likes dog fighting.”
       “You know where I’m talkin about, where his church is?”
        “I do. I do indeed,” Bill answered.
        “Fix it.”
         Bill nodded politely. The Sheriff drained his glass and left without another word.
         “Sounds like fun,” I said as the sheriff pulled out of the driveway.
         “He and I have an understanding. I ”fix” things he cannot. I was thinking you would join me on this one. I also had a feeling you would make it in time.”
         “I got an idea…” I said. Yup, there was only one way to handle this.
         The church was not far. So a little after 10:30pm we piled into Bill’s car, a blacked out 1976 Cadillac Limousine. We had no need of weapons as you all know them, a nice perk of being a demon. I was wondering how the good reverend’s flock felt about the use of the community building for such an event? Turn’s out he had several auxiliary buildings. The show, if you will, was taking place in one way in back of the church property, supposedly abandon. I had never seen so many redneck vehicles in all my life; rebel flags, gun racks, mud flaps and many all beat to shit. There would be a lot of KKK in the house tonight, which put a smile on Bill’s face.  We parked pretty far away among some trees. Bill saw a guy guarding the parking area and approached him.
         “Who the hell are you?” The guy asked.
         “Special Agent Barker,” Bill answered flashing a FBI badge. “We have no time or patience for little fish. Might want to let your buddies know there is gonna be a raid in about two minutes.”
          The guy’s eyes got huge and he darted in. Inside, there were just your run of the mill rednecks, some bikers and a few gamblers. None of whom had any desire for interaction with Federal types. We stood off to the side in the shadow of the building well away from the yellow light above the door. In a moment or two, people came running out making a beeline for their cars, trucks and bikes. But they were not moving fast enough for Bill. He made a small circling motion with his index finger and the woods around the place came alive with sirens and blue lights. This scattered most of the brave few who had remained behind in the building. All but the good Reverend Sheppard and a few of his closest associates. I followed Bill inside. One took a shot at us. I looked at him and he dropped the gun and started to run. With my mind, I froze him in place. Bill was focused on the Reverend.                        Reverend Sheppard stood in the now empty fighting ring with a few men eyeing Bill and myself unconcerned. He, after all, was a good and great man who operated above the law. FBI types were nothing new to him and certainly not anything to be afraid of.
          “Gentleman, you have ruined a perfectly good evening with your intrusion. You better have a warrant because I have lost my good humor.”
          “Mr. Fallen, proceed,” Bill said.    
           I stepped forward and Bill sat down in a near by chair.
           “Who do you think you are dealing with?” The Reverend asked.
           “You. And we are not the FBI. I work for that guy there," I said nodding toward Bill. "He works for God. Indirectly. Think of us as God’s cleaners.”
           “You men can go. We are here for the Reverend. Of course you are welcome to stay and share his fate.”
            His guards got the point, darting out the back door. Sheriff Walton could get them later on any number of pending warrants, charges or whatever. They certainly took the easy way out. Reverend Sheppard had stopped believing in anything other than himself a very long time ago. He laughed nervously as the last of his men fled out the back door.
           “What is this?” He asked.
            The building fell away and the three of us found ourselves in a foggy field of dead grass next to a forest of leafless trees. Deep growling grew slowly from behind me. Three massive, three headed dogs came into view from the fog behind me. Bill smiled, impressed. I stepped to the side, clearing the path for the predators of old. The growling and barking rose steadily as the creatures focused on the pray moving slowly forward. For a fat guy, the Reverend moved pretty good. Too bad the dark woods had more dogs just waiting. 

Bill found himself with thirty new dogs to care for on the plantation. No worry, it was good for employee morale. After awhile, the news moved on from the disappeared crime-boss / Reverend from Mississippi. I passed my review and Bill and I agreed to not wait three thousand more years before working together again.