“I just knew at an early time in my life how important privacy was.” – Daniel Day-Lewis

I enjoy Daniel-Day Lewis.  He is definitely one of my top five favorite actors.  That list pretty much goes like this (not in order this time):

Daniel Day-Lewis (DDL)

Tommy Lee Jones (TLJ)

Gary Oldman

Bill Paxton (B. Pax)

Today we’ll put Willem Dafoe

People, one person, a friend, former friend used to tell me that I look like Bill Paxton.  I don’t see it, but I’ll take it.  Have you ever played that drinking game called Circle of Death or Waterfalls or whatever with the deck of cards and each card is a certain little game/task?  When we played, there was always a card that was “Categories” which I think might be its own drinking game to some extent.  The person who draws names a category (i.e. makes of automobile), then you go around the circle and each person has to name something in that category (Chevy, Ford, Mercedes etc.).  When you get to someone who can’t come up with an answer within about five seconds the round is over and that person has to drink.  I used to play that game with the afore-mentioned former friend.  Do you know what my go-to category was?

Bill Paxton movies.

Because he has been in a ton of movies.  Many of which I have seen.  Even more of which I can name.  Speaking of Bill Paxton, did you know that he “is the only other actor, along with Lance Hendrikson, to have been killed by a terminator, an alien, and a predator on screen (per IMDB).”

Anyway.  Back to DDL.  Because this post isn’t about B. Pax or DDL really.  It’s about privacy.  Or the opposite of it.

I want to talk to you about public bathrooms.

I consider myself a pretty private person.  I use a pseudonym on this here blog and I try not to get too specific or personal.  In real life, I don’t have a lot of friends and I like to take time to get to know someone before I open up and tell them a whole bunch of stuff about me.  I feel like it works better that way for everyone.  I used to avoid public restrooms at all costs mainly because I think they’re pretty gross, but I’ve been working 10-12 hour shifts in a town a half an hour away from my house for the past several months now, so it’s become necessary to use public facilities more often.

Here’s the thing.  I know that stores don’t have to provide a restroom.  Many don’t.  I know they don’t have to provide a spotless, sterile environment for customers or passersby to use at their convenience.  Because that’s what it is: a convenience.  But if you’re going to put time and money and manpower into creating a bathroom for people to use, here are the things that bother me the most.

  1. Warm Seats.  Let’s get this one out of the way because there really isn’t much of anything that anyone can do to eliminate the incredibly unsettling sensation of sitting down on a public toilet seat that someone else has already warmed up for you.
  2. Paper Towels/Hand Dryers.  I am concerned about the environment, but not so much that I won’t grab a handful of bleached, pre-consumer, white paper towels to dry my hands instead of standing there hunched over against a wall trying to dry my giant hands with the equivalent of a warm spring breeze.  If I’m going to use a hand dryer, it’s gotta be an XCelerator (is that what it’s called?) or the Dyson blade, because I need gale-force winds to dry my hands.  Time is money.  The thing that really bothers me about the hand dryers has to do..
  3. Inward-Opening Doors.  There is no place for an inward opening door in a public restroom.  Why?  Because not everyone washes their hands, but everyone has to open that door.  And if you combine that with a bathroom that installed gentle breeze hand dryers, you’re pretty much going to be opening that dirty-ass door with your moistened fingers.  Unless you have one of these bad boys:
    article-2536511-1a8388ee00000578-304_634x502

The StepNPull is one of the most brilliant inventions, as long as it’s probably installed and the hydraulics on the door aren’t set to Herculean.  Speaking of doors.

4.  Gaps in Stall Doors.  There can’t be more that maybe 1/16th of an inch space between the door and the frame on a bathroom stall.  Otherwise, I feel like someone is probably going to peek in.  It’s unsettling.

5.  Automatic toilets.  I would almost rather use my foot to flush a manual toilet that use a poorly calibrated auto-flush toilet.  There’s something really frustrating about an automatic toilet flushing way too early or not at all.  Then you have to push the button on the side which could very well be covered in microparticles.  Of poo.  And speaking of the toilets themselves.

6.  Urinal Troughs.  

stainless_steel_urinal

Quite possible the worst bathroom fixture in the history of bathrooms.  I definitely don’t want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some other dude while we’re urinating.  They had these in my elementary school and I thought it was weird then and I still do.  I’d rather pee outside.

Thanks for listening, Dear Reader.  I know this is a far cry from my usual profundity but it’s been on my mind lately and I thought I’d put it out there.

 

Publicly,

Glass

P.S. – Here’s a glimpse into of one of my favorite restrooms in Central Texas, located at the new Brookshire Brothers off FM 306 up by Canyon Lake.  Each of the two sinks has three spouts like this: one for foaming soap, one for the water, and one for the high-power hand dryer.  The dryer also has a light to let you know that it is, indeed, the device that will DRY your hands.  Bathroom tech at its finest, am I right?

“The word ‘happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” – Carl Jung

I’ve been avoiding this post.  I’ve been avoiding this whole blog to be honest, save for the occasional stats-check here and there.  I haven’t written anything in about five weeks, which is along time, even for me.  I’m going to tell you now that this post is not going to be a very pleasant one, at least in the beginning.  It is going to be very dark and then probably darker and very emotional and then it should end on a positive note, if all goes well.

You see, my dad died on March 8th.  I typed and retyped that sentence a few different ways to maybe soften the blow (I hear I can be overly blunt sometimes), but the truth is that my father is dead.  He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last summer, it was 95% gone by November, then came back with a vengeance and took his life.

My wife and I consulted Betsy Braun’s book Just Tell Me What to Say when we were trying to figure out how to break the news to our four year-old daughter.  We didn’t tell her much during the first round of chemo because the outlook was good and we really didn’t know what all was going to happen.  Then the cancer came back and we felt like we should prepare her for the worst, especially once my dad decided that he would rather stay at home than suffer through another round of chemo.  So Betsy Braun says to be honest and use the medical terminology and avoid euphemisms.  During the first round:  Papa has lumps inside his body called cancer that makes him sick but the doctors have a very strong medicine called chemotherapy that they think will help and they know a lot about cancer so they’ll know the best ways to help Papa get better.  Later, during hospice:  The medicine didn’t work and cancer is making it harder and harder for Papa’s body to work.  Papa’s body is going to stop working soon and he is going to die.  Then:  Papa died today.

This is difficult.  I can remember her reaction to each conversation.  I can remember the works coming out of my mouth feeling like barbed wire but sounding much smoother.  Trying to stay strong for everyone around me.  I think it might be harder now in some ways though, now that the shock is gone, and the memorial service and internment have passed.  I feel like a  lot of other people have moved on and maybe don’t think about him as much as I do.  I know they don’t.  But I think about it everyday.

You see, I’m the one that found my dad.  My wife spilled her heart out to him, we left the room, and when I returned less than five minutes later, he was gone.  I still think about his face.  His eyes.  His hands.  I think about the Medical Examiner coming to the house and the funeral home workers coming to get him in the hearse and how terribly sad it all was and my  through all of it.  I kept/keep thinking it’s a joke and that he’ll call or come around the corner and we’ll all be pissed that he played such a mean joke but so happy that he’s still alive.  I think about all the things he’s going to miss and how I should’ve called more and how I miss him so much that it physically hurts.

My dad is dead and I was not, am not ready for it and each second, hour, dayweekmonth that goes by is that much further from the last time I’ll ever see him alive or otherwise.  I held his hand as the warmth left it and my heart filled with pain and sadness and I sat and played guitar for him while we waited for the official people to come and officially say he was dead and take him away.  I helped the guy take the hospice equipment out of my parents’ bedroom and out of the house so that my mother could sleep in the room again without the glaring reminder that her husband had just died there.

Her husband, my dad, my hero is dead and I keep hoping that I’ll feel better about it if I tell myself a hundred, thousand, hundred thousand times a day, but it doesn’t.  I was not, am not ready for him to not be here.  I was not, am not ready to be an adult without him in my life to provide me with the paragon of what it means to be a husband, a dad, a hero.  There are so many big things coming up that I want his advice on, that I want him to see and be a part of.  I want my daughter to have two grandpas because I didn’t.  I want her to have strong, decent men (and women) in her life so that she grows up with high expectations and standards for interpersonal relationships.  I want my dad around because he was, is the best man I know and I miss him so much it hurts.

It’s almost exactly one day later and I’m glad I stopped where I did.  That train of thought tends to dip into some even heavier stuff that I probably shouldn’t ever put in writing or say out loud.  I talked to my wife last night.  I talked to my mom, too.   I slept better; I feel better.

[My dad’s death is like a semi-colon; a break in the sentence that unifies the pre&post the before&after in all of this.]

One of the biggest thoughts I have about all of this, something that I wrestle with almost every single day, concern the Why’s.  Why him?  Why us? Why now? Why not that guy? Why did the cancer go away in the first place?  Why did it come back?

The truth, The Truth is that our world in its entirety, life  Life as a Whole is beyond our understanding.  I believe in God and Jesus.  My God is not a white-haired old man, but an energy that permeates everything and creates a balance within all of existence.  This thought, this idea of a balance is what keeps me going when the going gets tough.  Faith is a powerful tool in situations like this and situations that aren’t like this at all.  Faith is the current in the river, the warmth in sunlight.  I feel better today, but I don’t feel great everyday.  I have to wrap my head around this and have faith that my dad is in a better state.  That his energy lives on and that his soul is balanced and cleansed and where God intends it to be.

I miss my dad.  I know that it is going to continue to be hard without him around.  But I also know, because he told me, that it’s important to keep living my life.  It’s funny but I appreciate the days like this, the ones where I feel good and energetic and happy? more, mainly because of how sad I’ve been recently.

So, in closing.  I would like to proudly announce that Mrs. Glass and I are expecting Baby Number Two!  We don’t know if it’s a boy or girl yet, but the due date just so happens to be on my dad’s birthday!  We are so very happy and thankfully my dad got the opportunity to see the first sonogram while he was alive.  I now that wherever he is, he’s looking out for us, all of us, and that he lives on in our hearts and our blood and our name and our memories.

I love you, Dad.

 

 

Half-full, half-empty,

Glass

“So we’re gonna walk through the roads of creation.” Bob Marley, ‘Exodus’

[Four Windows by David Glass available in the Kindle Store HERE]

 

Before I get into the bulk of this post, I want to take a moment and say thank you, Dear Reader for all of the time that you’ve spent perusing my blog.  धन्यवाद to my Readers in India. благодарю to all of the Readers in Russia.  This month I celebrate the one-year anniversary of this blog, and while I have not found (made) much time to write posts, I have told myself that it’s time to get back into it and hit this writing thing hard.

Fun fact: The United, India, and Russia are my three largest readerships, however, in 2015 I had views from 50 different countries I believe I have some additional countries to ass to that list from the past two months.  I share this because it blows my mind.  I have a hard time visualizing other people reading this around the world, but it warms my heart to know that they do.  So thank you, thank you, thank you.  I hope you continue to read and enjoy this journey with me.

 

Speaking of writing, I was looking at my Kindle Direct Press report again, realizing that my marketing skills are, well, apparently non-existent.  I keep saying it’s not about the money, so I’m giving them away one at a time for free.  Starting now:

– – –

Exodus Mining Company

The Exodus Mining Company was founded in the southern region of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in 1959 with plans to capitalize on the restructuring of the Egyptian government after the World War II and the subsequent British occupation.  With the creation of the Republic of Egypt looming, the EMC’s founders thought, not unwisely, that the demand for building materials would blossom alongside the burgeoning government.  Exodus’ owners dumped their life savings into the equipment necessary to mine the region’s younger and older granitoid deposits and persuaded the existing interim officials to look the other way as they began making preparations to dig.

It seemed like a foolproof plan.  The granite served a number of purposes appropriate to government building.  Sculptures to heroic new leaders, memorials to the fallen, veneers on buildings and the buildings themselves would all require a substantial yet aesthetically pleasing material with which to be constructed.  The market for abundant reservoirs of said material was set to boom, and Exodus was set to be at the forefront of that financial upswing.

Work began as planned at the end of their first year, but it wasn’t long before unforeseen obstacles slowed the EMC’s progress in the desert.  Despite the fairly consistent makeup of the rock, the machinery could not seem to penetrate more than a few meters.  Explosives malfunctioned or failed to detonate.  The rock itself seemed to resist all attempts to excavate it.  Workers, family members of the founders, began to disappear from the makeshift lodging that had been constructed as temporary housing.  Some of them were found dazed atop the mountains, muttering and clawing at the dirt and stone with raw and bloodied fingers.  As the vehicles had not been moved, the rest of the workers were presumed to have merely wandered into the desert, their trails erased by the blowing sand.

Even stranger were the visitors.  At first it was just people from the surrounding villages claiming to be drawn to site.  Then people from other parts of the region, then the world.  Men and women of all ages arrived unscathed from the direction of the deep desert sometimes with children in tow.  Some of them seemed normal enough, but others seemed to have been pulled like loose threads from the fabric of time, as if there being in the present were more uncomfortable than their barefoot journey through the sand.  Within a week, the only thing common among the visitors was the pull they said that dragged them there, not like a pleasant aroma but like a hook in their heart, as if the only relief was proximity to the exposed stone.  Like the stone itself held the cure to some deep and destructive disease.  And so the came, hundreds of them, drawn into the mountains to find a peace they only understood on the most profound levels.
Another month or so passed and the Exodus Mining Company quickly eroded into history, forgotten by most like the dust is was birthed from.  As for the visitors, their trip into the mountains Sinai was as fragile in their minds as the path they took, but the peace that remained was a lasting vestige of their departure into the desert.

– – –

Seeing as how the whole thing is up, I thought I’d also share some commentary about this piece.  I came up with the general idea years ago, that someone had mined Mount Sinai and turned the rock into concrete which was then used to build a structure that drew people from all over.  Originally it was a highway overpass and there was a sort of homeless modern Moses prophesying from under the bridge, so to speak.  People would be drawn but (a la Cassandra) people would balk at his words until the end of the story when the proverbial camera pans out and people are seen walking en masse to the site as the sun sets over the overpass aaaaaand scene.

A few aspects of this approach didn’t work for me, ultimately leading to a total restructuring of the story.  First, the focus was too much on the man.  The idea was supposed to be that the stone, not the man, was drawing the people and the overpass version veered away from the stone too much towards the end.  In that same vein, the whole idea of a structure at all became a problem.  I thought: overpass, no; street or highway, no; then settled on a government building.  The problem with a highway was that I had originally wanted the story set in the US, but couldn’t conceive of a concise and reasonable way to explain why the US would import Egyptian granite for the building of the any sort of American road when there is plenty of rock here in the States already.

Some research needed to be done around this time to make sure that I was being geologically accurate and establishing a concrete foundation (no pun intended) for the semi-religious premise that would float above it.  The actual site of the Biblical Sinai is not universally agreed upon, so it took so reading to decide which site or region I wanted to use.  Also, I needed to confirm the uses for the materials found in that area.  Finally, after deciding on a government structure as the focal point of the religious aura, I had to find a time in Egyptian history that would facilitate the need for extensive mining of raw granitoids.  I got it all sorted out and got ready to start writing.

One last thing was bothering me, however.  I didn’t want to religiously idolize any government entity and, again, take away from the fact that it was the stone that held the residual-ish power.  So it all came down to the mine.  I had the time and the place,  I created people with a general backstory (focus on the stone) and worked to keep the narrative on the effect of the stone versus anyone or anything in particular.  I chose Exodus as the name of the company because of the Book in the Bible of the same name and because I think it added some connectivity and clarity to the piece.

It was a real joy to research and write and I am very proud of it.  I hope you enjoyed and I encourage you to share it with someone you think might enjoy it as well.

Thank you as always, Dear Reader.

More to follow.

Deeply,

Glass

Five-Minute Betterment: “The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.” – Shigeo Shingo

[Click here to read more about Shigeo Shingo and here to learn more about the Toyota Production System of lean manufacturing]

Let’s keep this healthy pace going, Dear Reader, and follow yesterday’s scintillating teaser with a Classic Glass (Glassic?) Five-Minute Betterment!

Today I want to revisit a topic that I’ve covered in a post a while back:

Simplicity (also here)

I am a fan of streamlining, which I think is part of the reason why I write such short stories.  I don’t like meetings that cover things that don’t pertain to me.  I don’t spend time with people who are toxic or who drain more than their fair share of my time or energy.  I have a hard time doing redundant tasks or ones that don’t have some purpose to them.

I think that we live in a society that can be wasteful.  We waste time on our phones or on Netflix (guilty!), we waste technology, we waste food, resources, energy, etc.  The whole point of FMB is to take baby steps toward a better you so I’m not expecting you to eliminate all of your wastefulness in one swoop.  Just start with your wallet.  Or purse, or backpack/computer bag or whatever you carry around with you.

I have on my person the following items:

my flip phone (what up); chap stick; ‘wallet’; keys (on a 300-lb rated tow clip, not a carabiner); two folding knives; a bandana; and Gerber multi-plier on my; instant emergency rappel belt.  Oh and my comb and a pen.

Believe it or not, I use just about every one of those things on a daily basis.  That’s why I have them with me.  You know what I don’t have?  I bunch of gift cards with less than a dollar on them or business cards from a guy I met at a job fair once or old receipts or notes or other junk.  I also don’t have what most people would consider a wallet.  I carry all the things I do because I use them all the time and also because I started to recognize the early warning signs of Piriformis Syndrome and decided that I needed to nip it in the bud.

I encourage you to do the same.  Give your butt, back, legs, shoulders, neck a break and streamline your #EDC (everyday carry).  It may give you the momentum you need to tackle this year in a less wasteful way.

Efficiently,

Glass

Just a taste

Hello, old friend.

I posted a while back that I had published a collection of short stories on the Kindle store and I sold some copies.  Not a lot, but some.  I stressed in that post that it’s not about money, it’s about getting them out there so I thought I would stir things up a bit and share some samples from the piece and see what you think, Dear Reader.  The first snippet is from the first story, entitled “Volunteer Astronaut.”

Enjoy,

Glass

– – – –

Volunteer Astronaut

    It had been almost two years since Winston’s familiar key had met the unfamiliar lock that his wife had installed in the door of their small, older-than-they-were home.  Under most other circumstances, this might have been alarming, possibly even generating a five step retreat to assess the edifice and ensure that it was, indeed, the right house.  On the day in question, however, the layer of his scattered possessions that coated the lawn had been a preliminary indicator the last straw had, indeed, broken the proverbial camel’s back.  It was shortly after the abandonment of his belongings that Winston had finally gotten off the fence separating him from earth and space.
The Unidirectional Manned Space Initiative (UMSI) had been all the buzz on the radio (that Winston never listened to), television (that Winston rarely watched), and the internet (that had been disconnected days before), but to Winston, the UMSI billboard that loomed alongside the highway, the one that he had passed daily but never really looked at, displayed a proposition that seemed like a message from the heavens.  UMSI was quite literally, a one-way ticket out of a world that Winston felt had given up on him shortly after his arrival in it.

“Four Windows” by David Glass is officially available in the Amazon Kindle store

I have written a collection of vignettes called Four Windows which can be found here for the ultra-low price of $0.99.

#comingsoon

A post shared by David Glass (@thatmanglass) on

The collection is called Four Windows because it gives the reader a peek into four very different scenarios, each one intended to more or less give you the feels.  Please give it a try and share it with someone you know and feel free to comment here or write a review on Amazon.  Thanks in advance, Dear Reader and enjoy!

Briefly,

Glass

“For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.” – William Shakespeare

So I’ve spent the last few weeks working as a merchandiser for a beer distributer in New Braunfels.  For a glimpse at my handiwork, take a look at this:

Man oh man, that beerslinger sure knows how to fill a cooler.

A post shared by David Glass (@thatmanglass) on

There is something really satisfying about filling a cooler case to the brim.  In fact, I think there is a lot of satisfaction in completing tangible tasks in general.  Being able to see the empty spot on the shelf and fill it is about as tangible and straightforward as it gets.

A side note before we continue.  I think that we as a society need to be more appreciative of the blue-collar worker.  These people are real American heroes.  They put there bodies and minds to work everyday for us and don’t often receive any of the spotlight they deserve.  And I’m not just saying this because I I’m working where I am now, I’m saying this because it’s the truth.  America was built by the hands of the working man.

Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to go on a rant or anything.  I want to share with you some of the beer-slingin’ lingo that I’ve learned so far.

Case – A case refers to a package of twenty-four beers, regardless of packaging.  This is important to know from a distributing standpoint because the product, whether it comes in divisions of 6, 12, or 24 units, there are (with the exception of 18-packs and the 9- and 15-packs of aluminum pint cans) always 24 beers in a case.

4×6 – A case of beer, divided into 4 six-packs.  Some products come in a 6×4 (6 four-packs) but, again, 24 in a case.

24 loose – The refers to the cases of loose bottles that are typically ordered by bars or restaurants that don’t require the 6-pack division and come in brown cardboard boxes versus the eye-catching packaging of the..

High-Gloss – They also have 24 loose bottles, but the packaging is geared toward the customer so it’s more visually appealing.

Flats – The cardboard trays that hold two 12-packs of bottles during shipping/storage.  In the industry, you referring to both of the 12-packs together as one case because, you guessed it, there are 24 beers in a case.

Suitcase (or just Suit)  – Twenty-four cans.  Looks like a suitcase.

Fridge pack – Twelve cans.

Tall boys – 16 oz. cans, usually ringed together as six- or four-pack units.  Not to be confused with the 24 or 32 ounce singles which go by several names, depending on the brand (King cans, Crushers, Big Boys, etc.).

Ponies – There are some people in the game who mistakenly refer to 12 oz. cans as “ponies.”  Pony cans or bottles are less than 12 oz. (i.e. 7.5 oz. High Life bottles or Coronitas, or the 6-8 oz domestic beer cans).

BONUS TERM:

Hitchhiker – This is actually the one that inspired me to write this post.  A hitchhiker is a bottle from a 6-pack of bottles in a case that gets caught on the 6-pack that you are pulling out of the box.  This is one of the leading causes of frustration for me because a lot of times that bottle is going to fall on the ground and break or pop its top and spray everywhere, making a substantial mess and taking the rest of the six-pack out of the game.

– – – –

There are a ton of other industry terms, but I thought it would be cool to share this with you, Dear Reader. If you’d like to learn more about the beer industry, which I recommend to beer-drinkers around the world, check out the incredibly informative documentary Beer Wars, which delves into the historical, social, cultural, economic, legal, etc. aspects of beer, especially in America.

Cheers,

David Glass

P.S. – Please drink responsibly.