Inside the Cube: What Do You Do About THAT Employee?

stressed employee        If you are the boss or are close to the boss then you know the one. The one that gets people to cringe every time they hear their voice. They answer their phone in a vexatious tone that they’ll suddenly start using. The one who you go out of your way not to cross paths with.  Dare I even say make eye contact with them because you know the next 40 minutes will be shot to hell as they over-share every minute detail of their seemingly sad lives.

They go on to constantly interrupt you during conference calls because they’re problems are more important than yours, especially when you’re the boss. This person responds to any direction with a whiny “I know, I know, I know!” then turns around a minute later to ask you how to do what you just explained.

How the hell do you deal with them without looking like a bad guy?

I’ve tried the nice guy approach.
I’ve tried the teacher approach.
I’ve tried the buddy approach (THIS NEVER WORKS, BUT I WAS DESPERATE).
I’ve tried the constructive criticism approach. (To which I was met with a deluge of tears.)

Seriously, if you start asking too many questions to get an idea behind what in the world possessed them to carry out an action they dissolve into tears defending themselves.  Last I checked I was trying to help them not attack them. Yet, they react as if they’re on trial for a major crime. Many employers and employees would say they are untrainable.

So, what do you do when you categorize an employee as untrainable, unhelpable, and a drain on company resources? (Not to mention your precious sanity?)

3 Things, Immediately.

#1. TELL YOUR BOSS. If you’re like me, then your boss is already well aware of the current bane of your existence. You’re better off alerting them now. If you do neglect this you could be held accountable. By the time the employee has “hung” themselves they have also lost the company millions of dollars. Keep your boss in the loop so  they don’t freak out about the issue when it blows up months down the road.

#2. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. Everything. I mean EVERYTHING. Anything you mentioned to them. Document it. Anything you forwarded. Document it. Anything you printed. Document it.   An off-handed comment. Doucment it.  When they clocked out for their breaks and were on a  long gruesome personal phone call they took at their desk. Document it. It will all come in handy.

#3. GO TO Human Resources. HR’s first question will be, “Did you document this?” That’s why step #2 is so important. HR will take all your evidence and weigh carefully the options that need to be taken. If you’re part of a large corporation, and not a mom & pop place, you need to be bracing yourself for a potential lawsuit. Unfortunately, people can’t see that the fault of their unemployment lies with them and will often go after anybody they can to get compensations.

These are all starting points to consider when trying to deal with a troublesome employee.  Each company has a set of regulations to follow when dealing with these circumstances.  It is a good idea to check with your company and then mesh some of these ideas with what your company already has in place.

The prepared are who end up standing tallest after the bomb goes off. 

Thanks for reading,
Joy

Life’s Commitments: Where to Draw the Line

F.B.It feels odd to be away from the free writing that I’ve come to enjoy for so long.  It has been almsot two weeks since I sat down to just let my mind wander freely.  This doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing quite the contrary.

Before I began the life long pursuit of self publication I had started down many other paths.  Many of them have the flexibility for me to enjoy all of my commitments while others demand much more.

As many of you parents are aware school has recently begun a new for the 2014-2015 academic year.   This means that I too must return, but this year is a first for me in almost twenty years.  Since I have been back starting in 2009 I have only gone to school two classes a semester.  This was so I could be available to take care of baby Phoebe and be the home maker I decided to be.

This year is the first year, since 1998, that  I am taking four classes a semester.  With this extra load it will finish my collegiate career by Christmas of 2015.  I couldn’t be happier to be this close to the end, especially after six years.

While many of these classes I have been waiting six years to take they are still very busy. I am studying poetry, finance, advanced non-fiction, and I am interning with the Borgen Porject.  Between the reading, assignments, and extra writings I have undertaken I stay busy.  (And that’s just with school. I have a wife, kid, and part time job.)

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: We are only trapped if we allow ourselves to be caught by the net .

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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Recently, I have felt that I have been neglecting my readers.  I cherish each one of you.  While not everything I put up is amazing you still deserve fresh content. (Even I can only read my stuff so many times before turning off the computer.) It got so bad that I felt like I may never come back to my blog and that really started to scare me.

My blog has been what’s given me the most amount of confidence in my writing to date. Without my blog I wouldn’t have the practice or the ammunition to awe editors online.  Without you I wouldn’t have a blog.

I really started to work myself into a panic until I realized the flexibility of my passion project.  My passion is writing and it always will be.  As long as I’m working towards my passion in some capacity I will never truly abandon my commitments.  Even though I may not write every day on the blog, like I once did, it is not going anywhere.

The thoughts and ideas I have put into the world will always be waiting and as long as I don’t forget about them I will always be committed. (I just may not always be consistent.)

However, if you find your self decommiting yourself due to over commitment make sure you are letting go of the right things.  Too often we let go of something important because the commitment has become to difficult or tiresome.  We often find we want it back because what we sacrificed it for doesn’t bare the same rewards.

So, my line is right where it needs to be. I am in control of the pen and I control where the ink flows. If I need a break I take it, but I never forget which commitments bring the most to my table.

You are the author of your commitments. Make sure you have enough ink.

Thanks for waiting on me to catch school up,

F.B.

Concert House Rocks: Return to the Cape and Scowl

scowl
I’ve been kicked, laughed at, made fun of, yelled at, lied to, cussed at, called names, and given unnecessary grief. I’ve caught jumpers, weed smokers, underage drinkers, taken tickets, attached wristbands, and attended the guest list all while working the door.  One of the promoters told me seven months ago that working the door was one of the most stressful jobs you could have at the Concert House.

A truer statement in the world there is not.

Over the past few shows I have been making more and more small mistakes.  This has compounded the amount of stress that is usually brought down on my head. It hasn’t been anything worthy of firing me, but it has brought forth a wave of scrutiny.

As of standing I am no longer the door man.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Big thoughts lead to big reality. Bad thoughts lead to bad reality.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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Your jaw might have just dropped.  I did enjoy the job, but now it weighs me down like a pair of shackles on a chain gang. So, when they told me that I didn’t have the position my back suddenly became straighter.  My mood elevated and I walked back into the venue feeling better than I had in a long time.

This is the same job I started with, roving.  When I first started I was very up tight. I could count the number of concerts I had attended on one hand. I had never been a bouncer.  I had no idea what was in the venue or what people were capable of.  I did my best to look tough. I don’t know if it worked because they put me on the door after a month and a half. After seeing so many people at the door, you start to get a feel of who comes to what shows.  You now roughly how many are going to walk through the door,  how they are going to dance, how much they’ll probably drink, and even estimate the number of ejections.

picture courtesy of music.cbc.ca
picture courtesy of music.cbc.ca

With this knowledge I glide through the crowd looking for the tell tale signs of mischief and wrong doing.  I don’t have to look tough. After being punched in the face and kicked a few times I feel tough and most of the crowd recognizes it. I am coming to enjoy the little things my boss asks of me.  No longer am I chained to the doors I get to be helpful in a different capacity.

For example I had a mother come in looking for her son who wasn’t supposed to be there. So, I got to escort her throught the concert until she found him.  She was not happy and I took the time to shoo away one of his little friends who wanted to ask him something before leaving.  We also aided in keeping several patrons sober of narcotics when we busted a fellow who was the head of distribution ring.  He didn’t have anything on him, but the excessive amount of cash in his pockets was enough to incriminate him. He has been permanently banned from the venue. I help the handicapped up and down the elevators, look for lost items and, clean up when necessary.

I will also have to engage the patrons more. Where it was once my job to keep them out now I have to throw them out. It is my job to escort those to drunk to party to the door. I have to walk underagers out of the venue when they get caught drinking. I take people’s funny cigarettes and crush them in front of them. I shoo people out of the dark corners of the venue.  During foam parties I walk out amongst the foam and at heavy metal concerts I stand near the mosh pit.  I am one of the ones whose job is to keep the heart beating safely of every concert that turns on an amplifier.

There are some rules I have to be tough on, but now that I have a feel for the crowds I get to pick an choose which ones I enforce and how thoroughly I enforce them. It is nice to be able to make those kinds of calls instead of being the puppet at the door.

You never truly start over as your experiences can never be erased from your person.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of Concert House Rocks

Thanks for reading,

F.B.

A Day To Make Dads Cry

Phoebe first day of schoolConfidently and unafraid she crossed the threshold with us in tow.  Just like we had shown her how to do.  Joyous and happy were the only words to come to mind as we embarked on this new chapter.  Phoebe would have smiled bigger, but her mouth wouldn’t let her. She couldn’t stop smiling until we had to say goodbye.  I did pretty well myself until she started to tear up.  My face flushed red and I joined her in little tears as we hugged away the last of her baby days.

It was the first day of kindergarten.

Arriving early we joined the other kindergarteners on the playground just for them.  There were about 75 new kids of various backgrounds.  Most were playing on the swings or the geodesic jungle gym (They still exist.) A few were staying close to their parents and one or two were taking turns talking to Mrs. Payne. Phoebe gave her a hug and a high five.  School began with everyone lining up and following the teacher into the classroom.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: The eternal presence of happiness works not against you, nor for you, but through you.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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Mrs. Payne has decorated her room with a motif of bright learning colors and recognizable characters. There is three computers for the kids to share. A projector was  attached to the dry erase board at the head of the classroom. (I never had any of this.) Enjoying the first book of the year (The Kissing Hand) we watched on as Phoebe sat enthralled along side her class mates.  As this happened Joy and I added Phoebe’s supplies to the piles of others.  At the end of the book the teacher gave all the kids a blue paper hand. She told them to kiss and give it to us.  Then to say good bye until three.

That’s when it happened. Until that point she could look over, we’d wave, and she’d smile.  She now knew her rocks were about to walk away.

Doing my best to distract both of us I pointed out the various shapes, numbers, and colors that were a part of Phoebe’s name tag taped to her desk.  It did nothing.  Pressing her face into my neck she ignored anything Joy or I pointed out.

But she is a good girl and when the teacher said it was time to say goodbye she did.  Even though it was through tears.  Waving to each other Joy and I left the classroom. My tears continued to flow.  I couldn’t make eye contact with any of the other parents as we all shuffled out to our cars.

It may be obvious to many of you, but I had to really reflect on my feelings.  My initial thought was that my routine has been destroyed.  I’ve spent the last five years wiping booty, cleaning up snot, cooking food, and catering to most of the necessary whims of my daughter.  It wasn’t going to be there.  I had this before, but she was in day care when I was in school.  Now there is going to be days where I have the house to myself. This is a good thing.  There is plenty for me to write and work towards.

So, then I’m not upset because of the routine. If anything I may be able to structure it a little better. I had to talk to my dad. After a brief discussion on the topic it was found to be a relatable feeling.  He had done same thing.  Only his reflections yielded the word control.  No longer would I be the controlling force in my daughter’s life.  She has begun to walk down a path that she must walk alone.

And I’m scared.

Scared I didn’t prepare her.  Scared that she’ll meet an obstacle that will crush her and I won’t be there. I know that kindergarten won’t put insurmountable mountains in front of her, but my imagination tends to run away with me when I’m upset. I suppose it could be labeled as a feeling of helplessness.

However, it was all for naught. As the stay at home parent I got to be here for her when she got out of school at three.  She came out all smiles and couldn’t stop telling me what a great day she had.  I too managed to put together a few things for myself to do plus Joy and I got to have lunch just the two of us.

While it is okay to be scared of new chapters the only way to get through them is one word at a time.

Thanks for reading,

F.B.

Fantasticalities Vol. 1 Issue 19

picture by Carl Warner  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/carl-warner_n_3682927.html
picture by Carl Warner
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/carl-warner_n_3682927.html

A thriller that follows dejected Detective Alex Braddach as he tracks down a mass murderer whose M.O. is to leave his victims dismembered and rearranged into grotesque works of art.  This first novel by F.B. Wood will thrill you from page one keeping you on the edge eager to keep flipping pages.  Its set release date is next year, but for you early birds here is an excerpt from Chapter 1.  

Without further ado here is Detective Alex Braddach in  the first chapter of Art Through Flesh.

Art Through Flesh

By F.B. Wood

Ch. 1

        Alex Braddach loathed driving across the river into Devonshire on a Friday night. It began a very long seven-day routine he performs fifty two times a year. The only time he ever calls a weekend is the time from five thirty to six thirty Friday night. His standing time with Madam Itami. From then on it’s one call after another compiling to a huge sea of white, canary, and pink paper. Braddach made an attempt at paperwork, but most of it ended up just occupying half the couch.

That was just life in Devonshire.

Braddach came to a stop at the address that had been flashing on the screen of his radio. It was one of the many mobile home communities that had sprung up in between warehouses. Braddach would’ve preferred to run down a dumped body somewhere then actually have to deal with this. He turned off his headlights and hoped he had blended in with the other beaten cars.  Blue spinning lights illuminated the faces of occupants hidden in the corners of pulled back curtains.  No lights were lit in any of the other trailers.  One of the uniformed police officers came walking over to the car. He leaned down and said with smile.

“Evening Detective.”

“What you got, Skip?” Officer Noirin furrowed his brow at the sound of his first name. Braddach open threw the car door and got out.

“It’s Officer Noirin while I’m on duty.” Braddach looked the young blonde officer in the eye.

“Sure, Officer Skip.” He said with a sneer. “What you got?” Skip inhaled sharply and responded coldly.

“Just another domestic. Guy strangled his girlfriend or something.”

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Enjoying the story? Here’s another from F.B.

He saw the panicked look on Heidi’s face and in an instant Dwayne realized he was going to be ejected out of Mega Mall without the V.C. He grabbed the thirty-five kilogram V.C. and dashed off for the door, his heart pounding in his chest.

 Follow Dwayne Delaruse as he flees from security in “Six Billion Dollars in Debt”  featured in Smithing the Word By F.B. Wood.  Follow F.B. on Twitter @FrederickWoodII 

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“Or something?” Braddach raised an eyebrow. Skip shrugged his shoulders and focused his gaze on one of the taller buildings back across the river.

“Guy shot himself. He’s in there dying on the floor. We’re waiting for the EMS, but you know how far away memorial is.” Skip walked to the trailer with Braddach by his side. The stairs creaked and shook badly as Skip ascended them. Braddach cautiously followed Skip listening to the steps groan twice as bad under his foot. Braddach could see signs of a struggle through the half open doorway.  Skip opened up the door for Braddach a little wider while he made his way up the bowing boards of the stairs. There was nothing on any of the counters. What would have been spaghetti for two lay splattered over the living room. A few shattered dish fragments and a bloody fork litter the area around the dead woman’s body. The young Hispanic woman would have been very attractive were she alive. Braddach took a moment to wonder what a pretty thing like that was doing here. Her long brown hair had been sweat soaked and now sat matted on her blue face. She was right behind the couch face down. Her black boyfriend had managed to blast-paint the other half of the living room red. He lay quivering with his hand under his jaw inhaling short shallow breaths. His red hand was covering a bullet hole that instead of going at an angle toward the brain went straight up and had exited through one of his eye sockets. Braddach stood over the scene just long enough to know he didn’t need to be there anymore. He walked back outside.  The red lights of the ambulance could be seen coming up the road. He trounced down the dilapidated steps. The small structure shook as he tried to stomp out what he had just seen. The last step broke under the weight of his anger. Braddach walked over to the squad car. Skip was standing there with an open notebook.

“Field notes, Officer Skip?”

“Yeah, but they won’t do you any good will they?” Braddach shrugged. He reached for the pack of cigarettes in the right front pocket of his coat, only to be disappointed.  He remembers telling himself he quit smoking, but every time he has to see another scene all he can think about is how well a cigarette can taste.

“How’s that no smoking thing going for you, Braddach?” Skip’s voice pulled Braddach from his nicotine desires

“Have you made it to hell yet, Skip?” Skip slammed his notebook closed.

“I’m done with you. Start doing your fucking job. I don’t want the DA barking at me because you don’t know how to write your name.” Skip’s eyes set like stones in his head as he glared at Braddach. He waived Skip off with his left hand.

“I got it.” Braddach said patronizingly.  He turned his attention back over to the mobile home. “Jesus, I hate coming to these places.  I come to one of these damn aluminum shit holes at least twice a week. It’s always the same damn thing to, Skip. Some domestic gone bad.”

“Cleaning out the gene pool.”  Skip said it without looking up from his notebook.

     “I don’t know what the hell it is.” Braddach scoffed. He thought to himself. “I just know that I’m tired of it.”

I hope you enjoyed reading a little of this future thriller. Be sure to check out the rest of  Fantasticalities.

Thanks for reading

F.B. & Joy

A Family Tree: Memoirs of a Matriarch

Joy' GrandparentsWhether we like to admit it or not every one of us embody a different parts of our family tree. Some parts of the tree are nutty, other parts are broken, some scarred, some cut short, some dead, and others budding to life with new growth. Each part uniquely culminates into the tree that stands today. I like to imagine that our Grandparents are the roots. Their growth and wisdom grounds us throughout life’s journey.

Saturday July 26th my Grandmother peacefully left this earth in her sleep. My father sent me a text the day before asking for prayers for my Aunt and Grandmother. I am not much of a tearful person. (Just ask my husband.) But when I read that my Grandmother didn’t understand why she was still here on this earth, I sobbed.

I haven’t had a good ol’ snotty sobbing session in a long time. On Sunday, when I got up, I got the call that my Grandmother had passed in her sleep. A huge part of me was happy. It is what she’d wanted for a while now. She was more than ready to go and it was just her time. I couldn’t be too upset since, but it is a void that will ache for a very long time.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: The eternal presence of happiness works not against you, nor for you, but through you.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

******************************************************************************

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to make it back east for the funeral. Luckily, I have an amazingly generous family. I was not only able to fly out myself, but I was able to bring my daughter with me. (That is a story in itself for another day). What an amazing experience it was for her. Phoebe got to see where I was born. Where I was brought up until I was four when my parents relocated to S.C. She was able to play where my cousins and I played as kids. She got to share in the delights of our favorite country store. She even colored at a forty year old desk in my Father’s child hood friend’s barber shop. The same desk I got to color at when I was her age. Although she only got to spend a brief period of time in her Great-Grandmother’s presence, my daughter was surrounded by family, love, and her Great-Grandmother’s influence.

No tree has ever stood for very long without a solid root foundation. It is the unseen and most vital part of any tree.  Nourishment, stability, and most importantly connection.  The roots my grandmother spent her life tending to sprouted into the unique tree that I am proud to call my own.   All weekend my daugher was exposed to this flourishing tree of connectivity.  With the love that resides with this tree she will continue to be conneted throughout her life.

My cousin, who preached my Grandmother’s funeral beautifully, said, “Grief is a gift from God, a gift that allows us to feel the depths of human emotions.” That was just what I needed to hear, that everything we feel as humans is gift, no matter how painful.

Thanks for reading,
Joy

 

Wish Granted: Family Man Home Alone

freedomQuiet. That’s all you want.  The work day is done. You don’t have to answer the phone, or take an order, or cater to the whims of a madman.  Rest and relaxation. Except once you get home you find your spouse has meetings they have to attend.  Your child has soccer, piano, or karate practice.  You run around helping them to accomplish their life’s goals. By the time you look up it’s past eight and dinner has begun to be requested.  After it’s served you clean up. Finally, you sit down and find enough time to take a deep breath before falling asleep only to wake up with just as many commitements to honor.

What if it all went away?

It’s a question we ask ourselves.  It’s a secret wish we all share.  We don’t want to give up on our commitments. We just want a break.  Not from one or two, but all of them.  Just a little one.

There was an Ulsh clan gathering in Pennsylvania.  They had come together to mourn the loss of the family matriarch.  Due to low hours at work we were a little short on money. Joy and Phoebe had a ride to the other side of the country, but I did not.  So, I kissed them both and put them on a plane.  Turning around I sensed my newly acquired freedom. I mulled over the question “What do I want to do now?” A day of work had been canceled. I had three days of me time until the one day of work.

I did it all.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Big thoughts lead to big reality. Bad thoughts lead to bad reality.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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Staying out later than usual I partook a little of the nightlife.  I decided not to gamble, but enjoyed myself just the same watching the various patrons of the casinos and bars.   Adding to the very growing collectin of character traits for future stories. Tubing down the river was a blast.  Total relaxation with no one sitting in my lap. Without anyone to be an example for I will say my liver got exercised a little more than usual with some excessive drinking.  I crashed at two in the morning each night and didn’t roll out of bed until noon.  Each morning was a new day to behold.

Something odd began to happen after the second day.  It seemed with each passing hour I wanted to do less and less.  After going out and spending a little money I had that out of my system.  I hadn’t been in town long enough to really form an agenda.  So, I sat in front of my computer more and more.  I wish I could tell you that I vigorously worked through multiple pages of my novel, but I can’t.  The longer I was by myself the worse my case of “Who cares?” got.  WIth the sandpaper no longer available all the rough edges I had been working on began to grow sharp once more.  It’s amazing how many times single people cut themselves without realizing it.

sad manIt dawned on me that many of the projects I have dedicated myself to have been in conjunction with my wife and daughter. Joy and I write together.  This is our site. We push eachother just a little towards the final word.  Phoebe is the largest day to day project.  I have dedicated quite a bit of myself teaching her chores, school, cooking, and hopefully good manners.

When I was single I had unlimited freedom, but couldn’t find what I was looking  for.  Spreading my wings I spent all my time flying around the city, and the woods, or even the ocean looking for happiness. It turns out that it was sitting at home the entire time.   I had freedom, but no direction.  I found a family and direction became innate.  I made commitments because there was someone there to make commitments with.  There was, and is, someone to hold me to my responsibilities.  A lot of men refer to their wives as “the boss”.  But what do “bosses” really do?   Some people would say all they do is yell at you.  This is only partly true.  Boss’s are someone to appreciate your work.  What is work if there is no one to show it to?  People want to be appreciated.  That is who my wife and daughter are to me.  They are the ones that appreciate me.  They are always the first to smile at my works.  They are always encouraging.  I wouldn’t trade my bosses for anything.   Isn’t funny that you can only make that comment when they’ re out of state.

Well, my stint of single time is over.  Joy and Phoebe have arrived safely back in Nevada.  We are back together and moving towards our goals once again. It’s always a little weird to get what you want.  It’s like a dog running after a car.  What does he do with the car when he catches it?  If my weekend was any indication of what the dog would do then I don’t need to know.  I won’t say I didn’t appreciate what I got because I did.  Life without your family just makes you want it back that much more.

Time on the island can be a good thing just don’t set up a permanent residence.

If you enjoyed the inspiration of this blog then you might enjoy the comforting words found in Adrift on a Sea of Not Yet

Thanks for reading,

F.B.

Concert House Rocks: Eye of the Storm

thug fightTheir chubby fists flew in wild arcs in the angry hopes of hitting the man who had insulted them.  One after another fists flew in violent rage falling inches from their intended target.  Instead grazing past my ears and my head.  How did I end up here? Caught between two sweaty chubby dueling machismos. Maybe this is the wrong place to start the story.

When you gear a show towards a specific segment of the population you can generally get a feel for the group that’s about to start partying.  If it’s a rock show you can expect a few belligerent drunks and a lot of noise. If it’s a pop group you can expect a bunch of screaming girls and parents babysitting. If it’s a rap show then you know their is going to be a fight somewhere coupled with every other rule being broken.  Yet, when it’s a hispanic dance show I’m left scratching my head.   I have met some very nice well mannered hispanics and I have met some that you jaywalk across the street to avoid.  Both showed up.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Big thoughts lead to big reality. Bad thoughts lead to bad reality.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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They let a few hours pass before anyone was pushed to throw a punch.  You might say it was surprising, but after working this job for almost a year I have found that young women are just as short tempered as young men if not more so.  I didn’t get involved in when six girls jumped over the barricades to brawl in the alley.  I was to watch the door as four other event staff took turns tearing these women apart as they clawed. screamed, and pulled the hair out of eachother’s heads. They didn’t stop the fight. It moved just beyond our jurisdiction into the street.  They were instucted to let it be as long as it wasn’t in the alley.

It was dancing until almost two in the morning after that.  That seems to be the magic hour.  When half of the crowd has reached true inebriation and the other half has become bored with the venue.  It’s this volatile combination that causes so many sparks to ignite.

Bellowing English erupted six feet away in the smoking section.  Their chests were puffed out.  Both of them were doing their best to raise to their full height of five foot.  Rushing past the barricade I stood a foot taller than the two squaring off.  I was quickly accompanied by my boss and another event security.  The fighters didn’t seem to notice our presence.   One of them ripped off his shirt, threw it into the air, and the fight was on.  It ended before it started.  My boss grabbed one by the shoulders, threw him to the ground, and then landed ontop of him.  The other even staff grabbed the shirtless one and kicked him out of the venue.

While my boss was picking up his perpetrator off the floor the friends of the fighters decided to pick up with their buddies left off.  I looked up from my boss’s troubles to see these two guys throwing gang signs and yelling something.  They both stood up to their five foot stocky statures. Then I heard it. “Well c’mon then. Le’s go.”  I looked around only to see that everyone else was occupied. I was alone. The two scrappers were six feet apart.  There was no need to get into eachother’s faces.  The fight was established and they both were charging into it.   So, was I.

fighting youth

Flying in at a perfect ninety degrees to their charge I tackled the one on the left first. I let my momentum carry us into the barricades, but we stayed on our feet.  Even though I have the power of lethal force I do not wish to break anyone’s bones nor see their blood.  My primary focus is to keep the fighters seperated until they cool down.  Well, I had no back up and I found myself the obstacle to their altercation instead of the cooling agent I was trying to be.

Their chubby fists flew in wild arcs in the angry hopes of hitting the man who had insulted them.  One after another fists flew in violent rage falling inches from their intended target.  Instead grazing past my ears and my head.  This was not my first fight.  I have intercepted a few. I’ve been kicked in the chest, punched in the face, and been called every name in your book while kicking people out.  Up until this point I had been apprehensive with my adrenaline pumping, but this time was different.  Things didn’t slow down. The fight continued at fight speed, but I found myself much more calm than usual.   I was much more aware of more than what was right in front of me.

Spinning out of the fray I positioned myself behind the man that was behind me.  I went for a headlock, but his neck was too short and thick. I managed to wrap my arm around his face. I yanked backwards and started to remove him from the fight. We pushed the barricade out of the way and I took him twenty feet away from the inital fight location. I let him go only to realize he had the other guy in a headlock. He had not let go.   Whipping around he attempted to slam the guys head into the alley wall.  His head loosened and the guy managed to avoid the full impact of the wall by pulling his head out of the lock slightly.

The fight was out of that one. He held his head as the other jumped across the alley.  Joining a friend of to begin kicking some poor soul who had fallen down.  Cowering in the fetal position he did his best to protect his face.  They lost interest and left the man to tend his wounds after a few more kicks.

They always end faster than your brain can process them.   Many fighters are left wondering what happened.  Where did that pain come from? Who was that guy?  What even started that?  Some are left with the simple idea of victory.  If that’s what you can call it.   I left with a different view of myself.  I had been tested many times up until now, but I felt a slight failure no matter what happens.  I have felt my anger or my apprehension get the better of me each time.  This time neither stood in my way. I had a goal of seperating these men.  I found a course of action and held to it.  The results were not what I anticipated, but my actions were unlike anyting I had felt before.

Looking up to see the tornado spin violently around you. To feel the air as physical objects whip around you with enough velcoity to inflict bodily damage on a very large scale.   Then keep your head.  Find the way out.  Commit to the plan.  See it through no matter what.

It is the commitment to a level head that is most important in a storm.

You can find the entire Concert House Rocks series here. Follow the tales of drug users, liars, and general concert rabble from the beginning.

Thanks for reading,

F.B.

Adrift on the Sea of Not Yet

boatsThey have called to you since the early days of your youth.  Like the Sirens of the Odyssesy you have found yourself daydreaming time and time again heeding the call of what could be.  Perhaps your dreams are to soar through the air in a perfect jete only to land effortlessly onto the points of your toes. Maybe your dreams take you to the helm of a 747  where you skim the clouds at over 500 miles per hour. Still others dream only of long sunny days on endless white sand beaches filling their lungs with salty air.  We all have one and we all find ourselves settling there in our minds from time to time.

When it comes to our dreams people act in one of two ways.
1.  Despite all obstacles they hold fast to their goals shaping reality to their ends.
2.  It is decided that dreams are only pictures of the mind and meant to stay in their heads.

******************************************************************************cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Big thoughts lead to big reality. Bad thoughts lead to bad reality.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

******************************************************************************

This post is not directed to those of you who have decided that option two is the best course of action.

This is for those of you who have heeded the Sirens call.  You have walked beyond the borders of your comfort zone.  You have crossed the bridges of experience.  Sharpening your axe you have carved the mighty oak into an unsinkable vessel.  Tearing the very clothes from your back, all you have left, you have fashioned sails.  With a mighty push of satisfaction you cast off of into the surf of the unknown sea.

Congratulations!  Take a moment.  Look back at the shore as you have now gotten beyond the breakers.  There are still thousands of people who have come no where near to what you have just accomplished. Fear of sinking or a storm has kept them, even if they built a good boat, from getting to the point you are now.

So, you turn our attention to the open waters, find what you think is the right heading, and begin the greatest adventure of your life.   It would be nice if that enthusiasm could stay at this exhilirating level.  It would make what is about to come up a lot easier to deal with.   Unfortunately, there was bumps on the path to cast off and there are bumps once you’re in the water.  Those storms people are so afraid are a very real thing.  Boats capsize, but that doesn’t mean the end. There are monsters swimming in the depths that will have little trouble swallowing you and your boat.  But you won’t be stuck inside of them forever.  These horrors can’t even begin to compare to the insurmountable obstacle of a windless day.  The endless hours as you just stare out at the blue expanse with nothing to do but bake in the sun.

These are just a few of the bumps on the road to shaping reality.  There are many more you may be able to think of.  I wish I could tell you that everything will come out smelling of peaches and cream.  That whatever image that is in your head will come out exactly like you picture it to be.  I wish it were that simple. That someone will just come along and want to work the ship’s rigging for free.  Then just hand all the money over to you. I can wish, but I don’t like to type out empty promises.

Instead I can offer you a hand.  And not a hand in your efforts, but a hand to say I’m here. I’m afraid I’m pretty busy with my own sails, but I’m not beyond taking a break.  Especially, if our boats have floated close enough for me to see you have become forlorn on your quest.  I offer my companionship.  You are not alone.  And it makes me feel good to see you.  To know that others are out there working just as tirelessly towards their goals makes it easier to continue typing on my keyboard.  I can only hope that you feel the same renewed enthusiasm for your passion that I do when the winds start to blow again.

Struggles in patience are better overcome when you keep the company of others.

Thank you for reading,

F.B.

Fantasticalities Vol. 1 Issue 18

The progress each writer makes throughout their lives is ever present in the writings they choose to share with the world.   Tina Butler has returned to give us just such a glimplse.  Her poetry has helped her overcome many obstacles over twenty years.  After reading this you will see that like wine she has only gotten better with age.

searching

On into my Own (1974)

by: Tina Butler

On into my own,
Striving for all that is to be,
Challenging, defending,
Livings for what is to be mine.

Carry on a name,
Carry on a tradition,
Carry on the hope,
That will someday be mine.

Carry on the knowledge,
Carry on a life,
Carry on what I believe,
That will always be mine.

On into my own,
Carrying all that I know,
Living a life,
No one else can call their own.

I strive for what I think is right,
The goals that I want to reach,
The knowledge I want to store,
The life I want to live,

On into my own,
Finding new rails to be found,
Living my life as I live it,
Going on into my own.

I am the new, you are the old,
I live in your way but some in my own,
I will carry on traditions,
For I am the generations to come.

From left to right: Heather Watgen, Tina Butler, Fred Wood
From left to right: Heather Watgen, Tina Butler, Fred Wood

Untitiled (1996)

By: Tina Butler

Rejoice, when you think of the life I had
I don’t want you to look into my eyes do sad.
The beautiful sun shining brightly in the sky
The stars twinkling, glimmering, shimmering on high

There are a few of the things that will remind you of me
Do not be sad, I am as happy as can be.
The earthly being yo knew as my body and soul
Has now become a sight only few behold

The joy in my sould and the light in my heart
Is saddened by grief that you think we’re apart
The memories you hold, no one can take
The emptiness you feel, will some day be replaced

Hold me close and I ‘ll never let you go
Each time you look up, each time you will know
I’m the sun shining brightly in the sky
And the stars shimmering on high.

If you enjoyed this issue of Fantasticalites be sure and check out the entire series Fantasticalities 

Thanks for reading,
Joy and F.B. Wood

Ellen Brock

Professional Freelance Novel Editor

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