I’m Still Here

Sorry for the super long absence folks, time sure does fly and all that.  I’m not sure what’s going on with the broken images on some of the posts, I’ll look into it.

On an unrelated note, here’s the Bern:

 

I am Pocko

Hi, I’m Pocko. Jeff doesn’t know I’m writing this. He’s finally taking a break from sitting in front of his computer. You can’t imagine how much time he spends in front of his thing. He used to play Ultima Online for hours and hours. Then it was Galaxies and then World of Warcraft. Gah. He finally grew up and now he works on more projects than he has time for, and blogs. Every once in a while I convince him to call his Mother.

During the drunk time, I took care of Jeff. He claims that he was a high-functioning alcoholic, but I’m the one who did all the high functioning. He’s had the same job for seventeen-and-a half years: all the bills got paid, the kids got to school, taxes got filed, and he never got in legal trouble of any kind. Often that was thanks to me.

I was born when Jeff brought me home from work. He had a work-friend who told him the story of how his sister would torment her fiancé. Most of the time they were fine together, but sometimes the poor guy would ‘misbehave’. They would be sitting at dinner and he would be irritating her by balancing spoons on his nose, and she’d ask, ‘Does Paco need to come out?’ Usually that was enough – he’d settle right down. But sometimes it wasn’t, and Paco would come out and sit on his shoulder, or order dinner for him in a very high, nasally voice, and was always sure to get the order wrong in every way possible.

Jeff thought this was such a funny story that he brought me home to his kids. I became an instant celebrity. I was the only one that could get HB to eat her vegetables. I read entire bedtime stories. I kissed boo-boos, gave hugs, and became the leader of the Pocko Pack (PB’s got Baby Pocko and now Dr. Pocko has made an appearance). Jeff’s kids tell me things they won’t tell anyone else. They trust in me. They talk to me.

I’m glad I don’t have to take care of Jeff anymore. I’ve had time to get out a little, to spend time alone. To reflect. I’m always around, though. Sometimes I still whisper in Jeff’s ear when I know there’s a cop waiting around a bend so he can slow down to avoid a ticket. I like to get him humming a tune on the radio before it actually starts. I remind him of people before he sees them that day, just so he won’t be surprised. But mostly I enjoy time with his kids.

I know I’m not much to look at. Really, I’m a nod to Señor Wences’ Johnny, sans makeup. But I enjoy my life, such as it is. I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.

I…am… Pocko!

 

Road Trip: Burning Photons

goodfather road trip

Last Friday afternoon, I bade farewell to my Beautiful Wife and our girls, and climbed into my imaginary monster Winnebago. I had some serious ground to cover if I was going to make it to the East Coast by sundown from where we live in the Seattle area.

Willie Nelson in the 8-track? Check.

Fuzzy dice hanging on the mirror? Check.

Pocko sitting in the co-pilot chair…? Just when I thought this trip wasn’t going to get any weirder.

I strapped myself into the Captain’s chair and turned the key. The monster roared to life with a banshee whine and the clump of an engine that’s been held together with chewing gum since 1973.

“Punch it, Pocko!”

“Arggggddggg,” said Pocko, in his best micro-Wookie. We took I90, and at 300 miles per hour, Snoqualmie Pass felt like a speed bump. We slowed down coming into Spokane just so I could live out my high school fantasy: rolling through town in a vehicle bigger than anything else on the road.

Leaving SpokVegas

After taking out a freeway sign (and realizing we were running behind schedule), I decided to go for broke. There was only one way we were going to make it over there on time, and although it seemed extremely unlikely we would survive, it was our only hope. Pocko read my mind with familiar ease, and shook his head violently.

Pocko: I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
Me: She’ll hold together. Hear me baby? Hold together…

I pulled back on the steering column and we were airborne, dodging power lines and a platoon of traffic helicopters that had apparently flown over to see just what the heck we were driving down the road. With a jolt, the impulse engine kicked in – a heartbeat later we were in Miami as I struggled to keep us on course.

Miami_at_nite

“Turn right,” said Pocko, his lips flapping from the acceleration. I did, and then unbuckled my seat belt. “Pocko, you have the conn. I’ve got to locate our guest.” I went aft to the rear compartment where the computer console was bolted onto the bunkbed/formica table, and started punching in calculations. With any luck, my skills in metaphorical physics and Pretend Mathematics would aid me in finding my friend.

OK, that’s it, I thought. Energize…

The small shower cascaded light, and the shower turned on as well. A second later, there stood a dripping Irish Gumbo, with a wet celery stalk dripping peanut butter on my floor. He walked out of the stall, and surveyed his surroundings.

“You built a transporter… out of a Winnegabo shower?” Just then, the tiny microwave oven dinged, and the smell of warm stew filled the bus as I opened the oven door, and handed him the bowl. His eyes closed, as he breathed in the scent. I could see him ticking down the list of ingredients in his mind, as he took the spoon I offered, and tasted my version of Irish Gumbo. Suddenly, the Winnebago lurched to the side.

“That wasn’t phaser fire. Something hit us!”

“GF, get up here!” said Pocko. I ran to the front and looked out the windshield at an impossibly close New York city skyline. We lurched again as I pulled hard to starboard. Irish Gumbo stood where I left him, seemingly unperturbed, eating stew.

“Strap yourself in, IG, we’ve got some cruising to do if we want to make it up to Canada by tomorrow morning.”

“Canada?!” I thought we were going somewhere warm…?”

“Oh we will. I hope. We just have to pick up someone first. I’m a pilot, not a Captain! But I know where we can find one…”

New York City flyby

Road Trip: Fueling up

Gotta go see my good friend Irish Gumbo this weekend. I don’t have time to do this in real life (not that blogging isn’t real life), so I’m driving my blog over to where he lives: the Metaphorical East Coast. I think America’s Sputnik Moment landed there. We’re gonna pick up some friends along the way, and fulfill his greatest desire: to be warm.

One way or another.

Pre-crazy-roadtrip-checklist:

  1. My special road trip banjo, which is different than my normal banjo. You never know when the mood will strike.
  2. 20 pounds of pork rinds. It’s a long trip.
  3. Frozen Irish Gumbo in tupperware. Ironic that I’m going to see a frozen Irish Gumbo, and I’m bringing him frozen Irish Gumbo. Let me know if that makes sense, eventually.
  4. Warm clothes. It’s not Hell-frozen-over where I live, but it sure is where he is. I might even pack the red long johns with the butt flap. Heheh, I said butt flap.
  5. Dilithium crystals for the warp drive. ‘Cause I gotta get there, like, tomorrow. Impulse power just isn’t gonna cut it.

Open letter to Sputnik

Dear Sputnik,

When people ask me, “What’s a metaphor for?” I always think of you. Or at least I’ve thought of you since about 6:18 PM PST yesterday evening, when President Obama used you as a metaphor to describe America’s comeback opportunity, our “Sputnik moment.”

See, the United States is feeling a little threatened at the moment by the prospect of another Superpower (cough China cough) surpassing our economy. The media is repeating phrases like, “The Decline of America”, and “China is Eating Our Lunch”, and “Speaking Of Lunch, Let’s Go To The Olive Garden After the Press Conference”. In response, the President invoked you, dear Sputnik, as a metaphor for that awkward moment when we realize that we owe China 1 trillion dollars – look! Shiny object! Ooo, it’s beeping!

Yeah. No offense, but I don’t know why President Obama didn’t go with a more current metaphor, like China’s proposal to replace the U.S. dollar, or China’s stealth fighter – both of which, while not necessarily shiny, work as real-life metaphors for China’s ass-whuppin’ capability.

But you don’t need to be a metaphor, already firmly ensconced in your place in history. In fact, I think some of your shiny coolness was lost in cold war propaganda machinations. Who remembers that your antennae had a nearly spherical radiation pattern that enabled you to transmit your legendary beeps heard ’round the world independently of your rotation? Or that your were filled with dry nitrogen? Or that you actually performed several scientific experiments (atmosphere, radiation, magnetic field, and cosmic rays), the results of which were encoded in the very beeps you sent back?

I, for one, had no idea. But perhaps, my shiny Russian friend, the President is asking me to consider his metaphor literally. We should respond to this threat of economic superiority by taking our jobs back from China, along with our technology, factories, and innovations, pay back our trillion bucks, and eject the politicians that sold out America into space and let them fall back to Earth in fiery splendor, like… satellites! Is that it? Is that how we can recapture our greatness?

“Пожалуйста, позвольте мне Бог напьюсь до смерти. ”

Sincerely,

Goodfather