Friday, June 02, 2006


"Vinny, go check on the old man," Rafael said.

Vinny nodded and went downstairs, while the others waited for Rafael's instructions.

"My pa called and said that we've gotta move Father Viole by tomorrow morning. He didn't say why, but he said he would arrange for Viole to be picked up from the warehouse downtown tomorrow morning at 9:00."

Nathaniel spoke up, "So we went through all the trouble of covering our tracks, just to move him right away? That doesn't make sense, Raf."

"My father's got enough sense. Maybe he knows that someone is onto us, or maybe he wants to keep the priest on the move just as a precaution. You've been around long enough to know the my father knows what he is doing."

"Yeah, just angry, that's all."

"Well don't be, I need you with it, man. Come on, lets go upstairs, I've got a few calls to make. The rest of you guys, man your posts. I don't expect any trouble, but just to be safe."

Rafael and Nathaniel headed upstairs to their respective rooms, while the guards moved to their pre-arranged patrol routes around the Vivalty Estate. At three garages and three dozen rooms, it currently was the Vivalty gang's safehouse. It housed twenty guards, Rafael Vivalty--son of


Throughout history, the winners of wars are the ones who get to rewrite history. The winners get to hide secrets of their past, they get to recreate history by destroying the truth. Legacies vanish when rulers fall.

Many truths have been hidden by corrupt victors, but in rare occurances those truths are too strong to stay lost forever...


"Crassus!" the young girl shrieked.

Crassus was well-known in his village of Venince, just outside of the growing empire of Rome. He had a reputation for being a speaker and guardian of truth. His father was a librarian and scholar in the most well-known library in the world. Gems from around the world were collected to make up the world's largest gathering of ancient literature. Some of the earliest known hyroglyphs from Scandanavia to Egypt had been moved to Pov Jubile' for safe-keeping.


Use an object in your sight for a story.

"Think of the backlash, Tom."

"I know, but what are we going to do with 2,000 of these on our hands? We've got to do something," Tom said. "Linda, think of this as a sunk cost. We've already spent the money, they have already been made and shipped to us--but they don't work, they leak all over the place--how can we make the best use of them?"

"I don't know, Tom. They've got our name on them, so we can't just toss them in a dumpster somewhere. But nobody is going to buy them from us--or if they do, we'd be in a heap of trouble putting this defunct product on the market."

"You're right, it would get us in a heap of trouble."

"What if we melted them down, wouldn't that save on costs if we melt them down and try to make them right this time?"

"I don't think so, Linda, I think that would just add to the bill, and you know the budget is already out of line."

"Hmm.. you're right, Tom," Linda said.

They sat in silence for a minute, well after-hours.

"Can you think of anyone else that might know what to do?" Linda said.

"This is our problem, we need to fix it without spreading the word."

"What if we just gave them away?"

"Hmm... like a charity thing?"

"Exactly, people can't complain if they are getting these for free. Not only that, but we'd be getting great advertising--giving out free things, but also getting our name out there, because it is on every single water bottle," Linda said.

"I like what I'm hearing, so we give these away on Friday?"

"Lets wait until the weekend, when more people come into the bank. We can start giving them away Saturday morning until they run out."

"Sounds good, great work Linda."

And that is the story of the leaky OnPoint Credit Union "nalgene."


Turn a moment into a story.

Just outside Darrington, WA, a town of about 500 people, two kids rode their bikes to the "County Store." The store was three miles from my cabin. It was along the highway turnoff to the cabin, and it was the only non-residential building between the cabin and Darrington (which was another five miles down the highway).

Everytime I went to the cabin, I would get to bring one friend, and the first thing we would do when we arrived is ride our bikes to the store. The journey was harrowing. Down the steep private road into "Blind Man's turn"-- where it was a roll of the dice. You might coast a few hundred feet past the chickens up ahead on the right side of the pot-hole ridden road, or you might end up in the hospital if a pickup truck met you and your bike at the bottom of the hill.

The next obstacle was the deep-gravel turn that separated the private roads from the paved road to the highway. My sister had once raced my dad and I home from the river. She got a head start because we were riding the motorcycle. Sara didn't want to lose to her younger brother, so she took the turn at break-neck speed--and almost broke her neck. She wound up in the hospital with gravel chunks and eventually 20 stitches in her right knee.

Once you get to the paved road, you'd think you'd be in the clear... but you'd be mistaken. There was still over two miles to the Country Store, and a half a mile ahead was the toughest challenge yet: the rabid dogs. Now, they might not have actually been rabid, but as soon as I passed the yellow one-story house on the right side of the paved road, with about a dozen broken down cars in its yard, the dogs got my scent. And then it was off to the races. Barking and yelling would always ensue. Peddling as fast as I could, I'd see the dogs race from their backyard onto the paved road behind me. I could hear their collars clinking with their metal tags not more than ten feet away. I was sure that one of the dogs was going to grab the shorts off my buns one day.

After the dogs gave up, and I had worked up a good sweat, it was pretty much clear-sailing to the store. There were a few more attractions on the way, including a gigantic trampoline that I always wanted to jump on, but never did; and a model railroad track that brought its owner the mail from the street-side mailbox every day. On lucky days we'd get to see the locomotive going about its retrieval task. Past the railroad was the long straight-stretch to the store.

You could see the store from almost a mile away, with just a flat, paved road between me and my prize. It took forever. Then, when I was 25 feet from two scoops of ice cream for only 50 cents, I still had to wait and cross the highway. Cars whizzing by at 60mph made the weight almost unbearable, knowing that the ice cream was so close. Finally, I'd toss my bike onto the ground and run into the store.

Rickity wooden boards covered the ground inside the store. I only took a few steps into the store, directly to the ice cream display on the right. A baby scoop of chocolate or Rocky Road is what I would get. 50 cents for two scoops. Unbeatable. It wasn't 1936 either, it was the 1990. Baskin Robbins double scoops cost $3, easy. But this gem of a store still only charged two quarters.

Andrew would never settle for a "baby" cone, oh no, he'd go for the "double," which in Country Store-speak meant at least four or five scoops of ice cream. And no matter what size cone I got, or what size cone he got--he would always finish before me. That is why I would usually just get a baby cone (not that I could finish more, anyways). Then, fat-bellied and happy, we'd face the journey back to the cabin.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Memory games.

What are ten things I remember from last year?

1) Being the last member of my family to visit my Grandma before she died. The week before she had to cancel our meeting because she wasn't feeling well. That meant in two weeks I would be living in Portland and wouldn't see her until Christmas. Stacey and I had visited her a number of times since living in Sacramento, so it wasn't a huge deal for us to not see her on our last weekend there. But we did. And it was probably the happiest decision I made in 2005.

2) Moving from Sacramento to Portland. This happened in about a two-week span. Stacey was getting shit from her job, and it was ridiculous. We hadn't even really considered moving seriously until that point. Two weeks later Stacey was up in Portland checking out houses for us and got lucky and found the amazing place we are at now.

3) Stacey and my one-year anniversary--finding Ichi. That was an amazing day. Sure, the cat pees and poops wherever he wants, but that is what makes him my cat :) I went to get pizza at lunch and there he was, crawled into the tire-well of the car next to me. He was dirty and lovey. While I was petting him I said, "If you climb in this car, I'm going to take you home with me." He hopped right in and cuddled into my lap.

4) Potlatch 2005. Amazing time. Found out Wynne and Josh were going out (friends from UPS), and both playing on the Tacoma team. Met up with a slew of old frisbee buddies like every year at Potlatch and reminised. Every year it just gets more nostalgic and makes me look forward to the next year even more. I love the group of people I play with there. Restores my faith in humanity every year :)

5) The mom, ellen and scott's trip down to Sacramento and Tahoe. This was the mom's big move. The move out of Idaho that everyone had been trying to get her to do since I met Stacey. The trip to Tahoe was a blast, it was my last time there. We had a fun little place, not too far off the "strip" and it had a pool table/ping pong table, two hot tubs and a pool. Lost some money gambling, drank a couple of the 'samplers' and got to eat at the place near S+J's wedding (bob's? bill's? .. soo good).

6) Tornados at Central Fireplace. There was one day in the spring last year where we saw two different funnel clouds from the back of the warehouse. Those were the first real tornadoes I had ever seen. Luke ran his ass off to get inside and the rest of us just laughed and walked closer to the storm. It was very calm, but I could see the spinning, sideways tornado not 200ft away. The sky was amazing then, large and swirling slowly on the outside--getting faster the more inward you went.

7) Stacey's treatment. It is still a bit hard to believe that she got diagnosed with cancer when she was 20 years old. She was still under the effects of radiation on her 21st birthday. Wine-tasting in Napa Valley, but she forced through it and was able to drink when I didn't really think she would be. She didn't have 21 shots, nor did she try, but man, what an experience.

8) Stacey and my trip to just north of San Fran before her treatment began. Probably the highest and lowest point in our relationship was that single day. We had fought before, but nothing like this. Getting through that together made us closer than we had ever been before.

9) Living with Joe/Sean/Jeff/Stacey. That was a very interesting experience. Joe and Sean were very much like my friends back home (at least Andrew and Marc). But weren't as active--basically flakey versions of my friends. We had a lot of fun playing Madden and Hockey games together, but we never really tossed the football or baseball much--and we shot hoops once I think. Could have been a much better time if the athletic side of Marc or Andrew was down there with me.

10) I guess it would have to be my Grandma's funeral. It was a lot harder to think of 10 things than I thought it would be. Besides my kindergarten teacher's funeral when I was 5, this was the only other funeral I have ever been to. And the two funerals were on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. My kindergarten teacher had 1000 cranes, he died young from (cancer?), and was outlived by so many friends and people's lives he had touched. My grandma was 95 and outlived all her friends except for her family. She was the oldest person in her retirement home by more than 5 years. Her funeral was perfect though, about ten of us, a short ceremony, followed by dinner at the Indian place Stacey and I went to once while visiting her months before. We just celebrated her life. It felt good to get together with my dad's side of the family and share laughs from his mother's life. That, and my sister and I got our parents wasted at the free drink happy hour at the red lion--I won't forget that for a long time :)

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