About Me

My Photo
Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Balloon Time

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will start a week from this Saturday. Ballooning is big business in our little city. Naturally living here for over 40 years with them filling the sky year round, many of them flying over my house and landing in the lot behind me, we had to go up. Balloon rides started at $200.00 a person in the 1990's, not sure how much they are now. With a family of four that's a chunk of change.
Fortunately at the school where I was teaching a fellow teacher was a balloonist and he invited the family to a ride.
The first time we went up with Blair it was a clear day, no clouds and the wind was from the Southeast at around 3-5mph perfect for ballooning. The principal of our school was also invited. She was a harsh taskmaster, but when it came time to enter the gondola she grabbed my arm with a look of sheer fear and said, "Pat, what am I doing?"
The flight was flawless. We went up about two thousand feet in a matter of seconds and then he brought us down over the mesa spotting some large sagebrush. Blair calls them his brakes. We landed and waited for the chase crew and the others going up for a ride. Wife and kids went up next. In all the flight lasted less than five minutes, but it was thrilling. What I intuited without Blair saying anything was the first thing pilots do as they go up is look for a place to land.  Principal was grateful to be on solid ground again. From that time on until she retired we were good friends.
After Blair lifted off, landed, took on another load of passengers; it only held four at a time, and all went up once, we folded up the envelope, did the "Bun's on" by sitting on the envelope as it was packed into the gondola. We did the balloonist's ceremony of getting champagne poured on our heads and drinking a toast. All in all a very pleasant morning and something to savor. My daughter was around six or seven at the time and she still remembers the experience.
The second time was the next week. Blair was putting in hours for experience before the balloon fiesta. It was another perfect day only the wind was from the Northwest and blew us to the river. Principal sat out this day. I was in the first flight again and as we drifted across the bluff at the river's edge he tried to do a "Splash and Dash" where you descend to the river, splash down and lift off. With large cottonwoods on both banks of the river it's not as easy to accomplish as it looks on TV with helicopters videotaping the balloons doing during the fiesta. We tried to splash down, but about twenty feet above the ground the wind shifted from Northwest to East. He lifted up and tried three times and gave up. We drifted over the river and into the North Valley part of the city. Not a lot of places to land on a good day, but with tricky winds at ground level even more difficult. He spotted a lumber yard and headed towards it. Again just as we got close to the ground the wind shifted and it took up out of the yard towards the twenty foot chain link fence with concertina wire on top. I expected he would go back up, but he kept going down and I grabbed on to the two others as they grabbed on to me while we saw the razor sharp wire coming closer and closer. I envisioned it slicing through the basket like hot butter and didn't want to think what it would do to flesh. We bounced off and landed safely on a street.
Blair tethered the balloon taking the others up and down. A few neighborhood kids came to watch and he took them up too until all out of propane.
We went to the fiesta that year to crew for Blair, but he had twice as many volunteers as needed. We've never gone up again and at least I've never felt the urge for another flight.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Issue for comments

There's a blogger I read regularly named Samantha. She's liberating herself from purity culture, the most virulent of Christian fundamentalism. Most of the time I sympathize with her, understand where she's coming from having briefly flirted with fundamentalism as a teenager, fought it at a Baptist college and seminary and lived through the takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention by thieves in sheep's clothing.
One thing we have in common is that we can't find a regular church where a free exchange of ideas is permitted and have resorted to attending a small house church.
I rejoice that she and many of her commenters are fleeing the patriarchy and rape culture it breeds and mind control of religious tyrants. She's had a hard life and even harder effort to build her future while maintaining her belief.
This post left me shaking my head. Please read.

I don't want to reply to it in this post, but welcome comments for a discussion there.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

74 copies

From August 26 through the 30th I did a promo on Optimus. It was free as an e-book on Amazon. On fb I said I would mail a free printed copy for the first three reviews on Amazon.
74 copies were downloaded and I'm waiting for the reviews.
It's nice to know my work is out there and being read.
The deal still stands on the first three reviews and the e-book is only .99 regular price.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Madonna Diaries

S. S. Bazinet is a fellow writer here in town and graciously let me read her book. The problem with a book like this is were I to add more than what I say below it would spoil the story.
This story is in the horror genre which lends background, but it's mostly about the family relationship between twin brothers. One brother is bitten and will turn into a monster, nebulous whether vampire or zombie, not really important. The other brother fights to keep him alive even to the point of sacrifice. 
The story is paced from start to finish keeping the reader guessing concerning each new revelation of the family dynamic. Looking forward to more from Bazinet.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Around the House

Blogger friend Michael Manning had a post with stuff he has around the house and challenged his readers to do the same. Thought I'd try it.

The painting is by my spiritual twin, Anne Littlewolf. The little tiny specs in front of the treeline are cows. The two Nambe ware candy dishes were retirement gifts from APS. One for Dad and the other for Mom. The Nambe platter was from the secretaries union on her retirement. Hard to see but there are two amber oil lamps on the outside and two amber candlesticks on the inside. Mom has a barrel full of amber glass and that is what I chose to keep. When she goes into independent living in a couple of weeks I have no idea what I'm going to do with all that other amber glassware.

From 9th grade, (city champ in 660 yd dash) the running statue on the left until my junior year in college I accumulated a number of trophies. The biggest one for being state champ in the mile is hidden behind the center knobs. Wife and I used to bowl in a church league and we accumulated a number of trophies there as well. Arthritis ruined a good form of exercise.
Under the trophies are the beginning of a complete set of Great Books, given to me by my client to help with research on stories. He needed room in his bookcase, and now I do too.

What can I say, I'm a BS Cowboys fan (before Staubach). My heroes were Don Meredith, Don Perkins and Bob Lilly. The ice bowl game was the greatest ever played even if Lantz Rentzel missed the game winning touch down pass as time ran out. I still haven't forgiven Jerry Jones for firing Tom Landry the way he did and never will.

When first married wife worked as a secretary for a real estate company. The company gave oil paintings to customers when they bought a home. The company disbanded and wife was given her pick of the remaining paintings. She picked this one. It's forty years old, but it's still nice to look at.

Father-in-law worked at the Lincoln/Mercury dealership in Albuquerque for 35 years. From the late 50's into the 90's as parts manager. The owner gave him this set of commemorative glasses in the year the Mercury Cougar hit the market.
Going through all their estate after my in-laws passed away my brother-in-law asked what I wanted. This was it.

Smokey is not only around the house he's all over the house and under foot.

The other animal all over the house.
To all my other blogger friends why don't you try this.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Cloisonne Heart

This is my latest short story. It's only 10,000 words, but everyone was an agony to write. It explains semi-autobiographically a failed marriage. Normally I don't shop my stories around to other writers for their ideas before I publish. I'm usually pretty confident in my writing and as I e-publish and sell for a buck I'm content with how my stories are selling at Amazon.
When I first started writing I would solicit comment from fellow teachers, friends and family. All I got was praise for the most part. My mother helped me in some ways, but usually she fusses at my language and sexual situations.I'm also a little hesitant to ask for help because sometimes what a critic says can shatter your confidence.
This one was a piece of my soul and I wanted to make sure it was done right. I asked a fb group I coordinate if anyone would wish to read a rough draft and give me suggestions. Hank Bruce agreed and he's given the story to his wife and a friend who reviews his work. We agreed he would write a review on Amazon for me and I would write a review of his books. I've reviewed two of his books and they are the previous posts.
Here is his review of The Cloisonne Heart:
 This is a sensitive, well written and well paced story of a young man’s difficult journey through romance, education and faith. Patrick Prescott is a skillful writer who weaves the elements together as the tension builds and the marriage unravels. From the first paragraph to the last the common denominator is a piece of jewelry, a cloisonne heart. In the process the characters deal with religious training, moral issues and cultural expectations. This is a great read that leaves you with a lot to think about.

I greatly appreciate his kind words. He's presently reviewing Human Sacrifices and I eagerly anticipate his review of it as well.
For the cover picture I couldn't find a heart like the one described in the story, but I did find a plate at a Cracker Barrel on the mantle so I took a picture of it and cropped it for my cover. Struggling artists need to be creative.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Cowboy Karma

Do you remember reading O Henry? or watching the Twilight Zone?
Stories that always had a little twist at the end.
Here are four short stories ranging in time from the 1880's to the present set in New Mexico with that little twist at the end. 
A down on his luck cowboy trying to rob a stagecoach and winds up chasing off other robbers and becoming a hero only to...
A woman comes to Mountainair to visit a famous hanging tree and learns the tree is haunted.
Just two of the stories that are very intriguing.