Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Scoundrel's Pride.

I still remember the first time I saw her.

I was on foot, walking to get some breakfast, or some comics, that part I don't remember. I do remember that it was windy, and it was cool, and I was irritated about being on foot.

Something struck me then, as I walked along, in the forehead, just above my right eye. There was a flutter in the wind, and a rustle of something I didn't recognize, and then pain. I clutched my offended forehead and cursed, and looked around to see what had hit me.

Looking down upon the ground, I saw a long strip of yellow vinyl, trailing away from my feet. It was a streamer, really, that the wind must have kicked up that had attacked me. Following the offensive end to its source, some 15 feet away, I saw her.

She was battleship gray, yet somehow shone in the morning sun, light reflecting off of windshield and roof. Angular yet curved at the same time. I wasn't a "Car guy" at this point, but between the badges she bore, and vague knowledge, I discovered she was a Camaro. The word means "companion" in French, I believe, but I didn't know that at the time.

And she was beautiful. To me, anyway.

I approached her with trepidation, feet creeping up to her, and I placed a hand on the fender. Steel, cool and hard in the morning air. As I rubbed her gently I felt more than saw and heard images from her, visions of charging into adventure and out of trouble, and she sang a siren song of speed and power.

I made a deal. A bad deal, but she was mine 24 hours later. I paid too much, but we often do for the things we desire, when we feel The Call.

And oh, how I did.

Over the next few years, she taught me. She taught me everything I now know about cars, and maintenance, and repair, and mechanics. She carried me to work, to fun, to battle, and gently swept me home when it turned bad. I began to lose count of all the times she had saved me with her strength, speed, and resilience, or I her with my cunning, my skill, or luck. We got better, together, me working on her and thinking about things, repairing both her and my systems, improving them with every turn of a wrench or grounding of a wire.

She saved me so many times. She saved me by breaking down, forcing me to funnel cash into her instead of some stupid girl whose affection I would try to buy. She saved me by being a haven, somewhere I could go to hide, and hide anywhere. She saved me by giving me freedom, and mobiity, and a suit of armour made of steel.

Then things began to happen, and I would forget the bond we shared. She got all but abandoned, if not literally then at least metaphorically. I no longer put my soul into her as I once did, for I was shaken and shorn from the battles in my life. I no longer improved her, or myself. We simply put just enough into ourselves to get us back on the road.

To survive, but not strive. Once again, she teaches me. She's never given up on me, though I clearly did her for a time.

In recent days someone suggested that I needed to make myself a place, a haven, a sanctum. It puzzled me for a time, as I had never recognized that I already had such a place. I drove up to the mountains a couple nights ago, and pulled the t-tops off to look up at the stars. I thought about a lot of things, about so many adventures and misadventures. I chuckled at
rememberances of words said about the pair of us, about how crazy we were to travel so far, in such a "hunk of junk." That we made it at all, is a testament to our combined talents, her willingness to do whatever I ask, and my skill and aptitude with keeping her together.

But she isn't a hunk of junk. And neither am I.

I sat on the mountain for a long time, thinking and looking through my notebook of plans and dreams for the pair of us that I had set aside while I searched for other things. I looked for a long time at the co-pilots seat, and of all the people who had sat there next to me inside her, and it didn't feel entirely right that it was empty.

But it wasn't entirely wrong, either. There was a long time, before any friend or lover that had sat there beside me, when it was just me. And that was okay. Maybe life is better with a co-pilot, but not having one isn't the end of the world. I made it by just fine on my own before. Now is no different than then.

Another lesson.

There are those among you who may not understand how it feels, or may think it is silly to regard a "thing" as a person. "It's just a car," they say. It's just a thing.

That may be true.

But this car, this companion has taught me more about life, and myself, than any other thing or person on this planet. She's never failed me, nor I her, and I do not intend to start now.

She will be my shelter, and my strength. I will be her deftness, and her skill. We will save each other again, in large and small ways.

For from the first day I saw her until the stars burn out, she will remain, The Scoundrel's Pride.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

From the ashes?

A Warrior must understand that failure should never be the end. The Warrior's Code places a heavy load on a man's* shoulders, requiring almost superhuman abilities for them to accomplish all its demands. In large and small ways, all men* eventually fail some of the challenges eventually. We might feel anger, or frustration, or succumb to temptation. We might work against the universe in desperation, even with the best of intentions. We fall from the high ideals we hold ourselves to.

The true failure of a Warrior is not in stumbling or in failing to live up to the ideals we live by. The true failure occurs if, once having fallen, we refuse or fail to rise again. There are those who, having failed in one of their tasks, consider themselves beyond redemption or forgiveness.

I am guilty of this at times myself.

We strive to live up to the ideals that we set forth for ourselves, but when (not if, but when) a man* fails to attain those goals, the only choices are to let the failure dominate his* life, or to rise from the ashes of that defeat and make peace with himself*, and try once more.

Or as the dearest of hearts told me, "Learn to be gentle to yourself."

That is the way of the Warrior.

*Feel free to substitute She, Her, or Woman where applicable. This blog does not contain gender or other bias towards those Woman Warriors out there.

Monday, June 12, 2006


The short version is that I spent most of the weekend in jail, and that it was unpleasant, and that I am now broke.

The long version is worse. I'm not writing about it publicly.

Know that I feel neither protected, nor served.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Seven things, thanks Anniina

Seven things to do before I die:

1 Save the day
2 Find true love
3 Build a Lightsaber
4 Swing from a webline
5 Get the Girl
6 Finish my book
7 Live happily ever after

Seven things I cannot do:

1 Touch my elbows together behind my back. Try it. Especially you ladies.
2 Give Up
3 Forget
4 Surrender
5 Go down without a fight
6 Eat fish
7 Live a lie

Seven books (or series of books) I love:

1 Star Wars Expanded Universe (Various) Specifically the Han Solo Trilogy and the Han Solo Adventures
2 The Belgariad/The Mallorean (David Eddings)
3 The Tao of Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee)
4 The Art of War (Sun Tzu)
5 S.E. Hinton's Coming of age novels (The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, That was Then, This is Now, etc)
6 The Great Brain (From childhood, about Tom Fitzgerald and his adventures in early Utah)
7 I Want To Go Home! (Gordon Korman)

Seven movies I'd watch over and over again:

1 Hidalgo
2 Star Wars (any)
3 LOTR (any)
4 Spider-Man (any)
5 Armageddon
6 Empire Records
7 The Chronicles of Riddick

Seven people I'd like to tag:

1 Anyone with a tattoo of a rose wrapped around a sword or dagger. Tag them with a fucking BRICK.
2 Jim Carrey. With a Wrecking Ball. With a BRICK attached to it. For balance, of course.
3 George Lucas. Han Shot First, you bastard. The BRICK(tm) treatment again.
4 Eddie B. Always there for me. Even though he got me into trouble to begin with. No brick, just a man-hug
5 The staff at the Phoenix Village Inn. They let you smoke inside! Woo-hoo!
6 The good people at the Jack Daniels Distillery
7 Anniina. an Angel, pure and simple.