Author Archives: sgtmajcarl

About sgtmajcarl

A little crusty on the outside...but inside?

Decision

~ by Carl McIntyre

(This episode is based on an actual conversation)

Previously:

And finally, just before dawn, they were greeted by a smiling Big Mac outside Joe’s Café & Coffee…

Season 8—Chapter 8—Changes—Episode 2:

Continuing our story—outside Joe’s Café & Coffee… “I figured you’d end up here,” Big Car Mack was grinning ear-to-ear.

That transparent, huh?”

Big Mac & Boomer outside Joe's Café & Coffee

“That transparent, huh?”

Yeah, but you were less-than-forthcoming at Silverthorn’s.”

What do you mean by that?”

You said you were contemplating reverting the blog back to the way it was in 2007.”

Yes?”

I may be off-base, but I think you were considering ending the blog.”

The thought crossed my mind. Visits ARE way down, and since the virus attack, I’ve lost Photoshop 7, and now am stuck with Photoshop 11; which seems to be a far less capable program for drawing. Besides, many of my blogging friends quit a long time ago. No blog lasts forever.”

Hmmmm… I seem to recall that when you lost that old MS-Word program you used for original drawings, you thought you could no longer make drawings, and when you first got Photoshop 7, you thought the same way, yet you found work-arounds, and the illustrations actually improved.”

Okay, there probably is one, but I’ve yet to find it, and still, readership is way down.”

You ever look at the sidebar? There are 488 subcribers there.”

Most of whom never actually come to the site. Some have feed-readers, where they can read the blog without ever actually logging-in, so they don’t show up on the blog-stats. Others simply delete the email notice.”

So, it’s settled then?”

I need coffee, Carl, let’s go inside.”

Inside Joe’s Café & Coffee—the conversation continued…

Well, lookie who’s here,” Trigg Guudelender made note of Boomer’s arrival, “The blog-killer himself.”

Hello Trigg,” Boomer grinned, “Hyperbole, much?”

Inside Joe's Café & Coffee

“The blog-killer himself.”

Proud Czech Josef Rusicka chimed-in, “I just get this fancy new café and you’re gonna kill us off. I suppose you expect some coffee?”

Yeah, that would be right.”

Good luck with that!”

How do you feel about being erased?”

It sounds to me, at least,” Camille Farkleberry grinned, “You’ve made your decision.”

I have.”

Well?”

We’re all still here. Where we belong.”

To be Continued…

Preparing the Café

By Carl “Big Mac” McIntyre

A little background—if you don’t mind too much:

The original coffee shop was set in the West 7th/Fort Road area of Saint Paul, MN. Because our WordPress blog’s cheesy fiction takes place in the fictional “Moosehead County,” located along the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior on land “borrowed” from Cook County near Grand Marais, and more importantly because Boomer has already drawn most of the characters and locations, and is unlikely to agree to making drawings just for me.

Moosehead City, is the largest in the county, there are two others, Williams’ Station and Port of Danger Bay, but they will not come into our story as it is in Moosehead City we find “Joe’s Café & Coffee” owned and operated by Proud Czech Josef Rusicka.

The usual suspects at Joe’s are here…

Early morning at Joe's Café & Coffee …And there is plenty of room at the counter for guest victims—and for you.

I am currently enjoying my final retirement after a career in the US Army (Vietnam era), a second career at the Ford Plant in Saint Paul, and a short 3 year experience selling cars for Saturn. I am younger by a decade than as portrayed in the old coffee shops series having just turned 72. My wife and I are living the dream, motoring about the country in our RV, and only occasionally return to Saint Paul to visit our kids and grandkids.

I have our first conversation in draft form, and will publish it fairly soon…in the meantime if there is anything you would like us to discuss from the point-of-view of folks outside the RE business, please let me know.

Thanks in advance.

Saturday Spam

Old Men & Coffee Shops ©Jack BoardmanHanging out this morning with Boomer at our favorite early-morning haunt, Joe’s Café and Coffee “Pretty Good Food & Great Coffee” and sharing a couple of comments which didn’t make it past our filters.

Now deleted…but too funny not to share!

Spam comment 1 [from "Homepage"]: “The luxury proposed may be incomparable; citizens are never fail to looking for bags is really a Native goals. The concept numerous insert goals uniquely to push diversity with visibility during the travel and leisure arena.”

Spam comment 2 [from "My Homepage" - they must be related]: “You made some first rate factors there. I seemed on the internet for the difficulty and located most people will go along with together with your website.”

Old Men & Coffee Shops—998th Post!

Collie and I are parked in our biggass motorhome in front of the Grand Canyon Park Headquarters here in Arizona as we prepare to continue our dream of visiting all forty-nine North American states. After leaving Saint Paul December 2008, we’ve spent extended time in thirty-eight states. This is, in part, why I don’t often post/comment here on The Port of Danger Bay. On Tuesday I received this email from Boomer with my marching orders:I received this email from Boomer

So—after the obligatory Old Men & Coffee Shops Banner display—required by this blog’s owner—we’ll begin or early morning meeting:Old Men & Coffee Shops Mini Banner

I’m here at Joe’s Cafe & Coffee (Pretty Good Food & Great Coffee) and with me are the usual suspects: Medford Ambrose, Erik Hare, my lovely bride Collie McIntyre, Me & Boomer. Behind the counter is Proud Czech, Josef Rusika dispensing vast quantities of Organically & Shade-Grown, Fair-Trade, French Roast Coffee. There are a couple more usual suspects seated at a table by the windows, but they are not part of this particular post.July 21 at Joe's Café & Coffee

Med looked askance at Erik, “What words of wisdom are you about to share?”

The 1,000th post on any blog is a bit of a big deal—a big deal that I have done extensive reading and analysis on. Did you know the first blog ever to reach that milestone was the…”

…Yeah, yeah, Erik,” Boomer interrupted his friend & neighbor, “I know this isn’t the first-ever blog to reach 1,000 posts. It IS the only blog I’m interested in—save for Barataria—of course.”

I had to laugh, “You two crack me up!”

Coffee, anyone?” Josef had the carafe at hand, as always, and filled the mugs as required.

So what is the plan for that post?” Collie set down her mug and covered it with her hand signaling she was coffeed-out.

The plan is to monitor the post for comments through Sunday. Either Boomer, Daisy or I will reply to comments. We will also encourage multiple visits from current & alumni IRL characters along with any of our GENTLE READERS who wish to interact on the blog,” I replied.

Now I’m looking at YOU, GENTLE READER—Please accept our thanks for your support and please stop by and…

JOIN THE PARTY!

Old Men & Coffee Shops—May 2011 – Month End Blog-analysis

Old Men & Coffee ShopBoomer & I are enjoying the early-morning air of Old Saint Paul, Minnesota, outside Joe’s Café & Coffee (Pretty Good Food & Great Coffee) where it is 68°F and partly cloudy.
We are also enjoying our custom Joe’s mugs of organically & shade-grown, Fair-Trade, “Upper Town” blend of dark coffee as we contemplate this little hobby-blog’s May stats.
After analyzing all the data, comparing month-to-month statistics for unique visits, Google-searches, comments to post ratios, and top secret blog-analysis tools to which almost NO ONE else has access (only those of us important enough to be invited) and consulted absolutely no “SEO Experts” (they don’t know anything—REALLY); we feel confident enough to offer the following detailed Blog-Data-Review:

YEEEE-HAAAAW!


Thanks for your support, GENTLE READER!

Making People Drawings

The usual suspects remained at their usual places at the usual time at Joe’s Café & Coffee (Pretty Good Food & Great CoffeeTM), as this story-line thus far occurred all on the same morning. Seated at the table by the windows we see Andy (blue shirt), a retired mail carrier, and Stan (Gray Shirt), recently retired from 3M Company out there in Maplewood along I94. Standing by the table we find John—the only non-codger early morning regular at Joe’s, at the counter are me, Carl “Big Mac” McIntyre, the now officially a Codger, Boomer Jack, DaisyLegsBeagle, Ambrose and Erik. “Proud Czech” Josef Rusicka is behind the counter, dispensing his famous organically & shade-grown, Fair-Trade, Sumatran-Roast coffee, and occasionally unwanted advice.

At Joe's Café & Coffee—Layed Off

"...dispensing his famous organically & shade-grown, Fair-Trade, Sumatran-Roast coffee..."

Let’s just pick up the conversation where we left off when…Boomer mulled the suggestion, “But is there a market for that, and would it have an acceptable ROI? Those drawings take hours…”

How long?” I asked.

Oh—I’m guessing here—as long as four hours…”

You don’t know?”

Not really. I generally try to do multiple drawings at a time. I have an entire page of just heads, just jackets, hands, mugs, pants, caps and other parts I use to create or update characters.”

You can’t use those for avatars?”

Real World people are more finely defined than cyber-people.”

But we’re talking avatars here…not realist paintings.”

I notice YOU don’t use your avatar-drawing anymore, Carl. Neither does Erik. Ambrose uses one, but not one I drew, his is actually a good caricature avatar.”

Ambrose had been listening to all this, “Why not at least put it out there? Who knows? There may just be a market for your drawings and unless you make it known that you’ll do them, you’ll never know.”

I’ll have to think it over…”

What is there to think over? You make the drawings for fun—why not make them to help pay the bills?”

Okay,” Boomer gave in and turning his gaze towards YOU, dear reader, “If I agree to draw for hire, are you interested and what’s it worth to you, Gentle Reader?”

Well, I guess we convinced our reluctant friend to make an effort…the rest is up to you.

Photo-Graphic by Jack Boardman

Self Employment

The usual suspects were at their usual places at the usual time at Joe’s Café & Coffee (Pretty Good Food & Great CoffeeTM) Seated at the table by the windows we see Andy (blue shirt), a retired mail carrier, and Stan (Gray Shirt), recently retired from 3M Company out there in Maplewood along I94. Standing by the table we find John—the only non-codger early morning regular at Joe’s, at the counter are me, Carl “Big Mac” McIntyre, the now officially a Codger, Boomer Jack, DaisyLegsBeagle, Ambrose and Erik. “Proud Czech” Josef Rusicka is behind the counter, dispensing his famous organically & shade-grown, Fair-Trade, Sumatran-Roast coffee, and occasionally unwanted advice.

At Joe's Café & Coffee—Layed Off

...and occasionally unwanted advice.

Picking up where the conversation left off…

What happened?” I asked, I knew Boomer had been sweating out lay-offs especially when GM announced that the Saturn brand, along with Saab, Hummer & Pontiac would be discontinued, and had survived several rounds of layoffs. And I knew that had been on his mind. But after they picked up new franchises for two of their stores, it seemed things had settled down.

They let me go, Carl, business had dropped off after we stopped handling Saturn parts.”

Yesterday?”

Um…no…November second.”

You waited until now to say something, it’s been almost two months!”

Sorry, I didn’t want to talk about it.”

Have been looking for work?”

I check with all the places I go—no one is hiring. I’ve been networking like crazy. There’s one possible opportunity, thanks to my son, come January that pays less than what I was earning, but has much better health coverage.”

Unemployment insurance?”

I began the the application process, and applied for Social Security. Believe it or not, Social Security is less involved and makes it easier to return to work than State Unemployment.”

You like to draw,” the heretofore silent Ambrose joined in, “Why not draw custom avatars for Twitter and Facebook?”

Yeah,” Erik added, “You drew all of us…”

Boomer mulled the suggestion, “But is there a market for that, and would it have an acceptable ROI? Those drawings take hours…”

To Be Continued…

Photo-Graphic by Jack Boardman

Unexpected Day Off

The usual suspects were at their usual places at the usual time at Joe’s Café & Coffee (Pretty Good Food & Great CoffeeTM) Seated at the table by the windows we see Andy (blue shirt), a retired mail carrier, and Stan (Gray Shirt), recently retired from 3M Company out there in Maplewood along I94. Standing by the table we find John—the only non-codger early morning regular at Joe’s, at the counter are me, Carl “Big Mac” McIntyre, the now officially a Codger, Boomer Jack, DaisyLegsBeagle, Ambrose and Erik. “Proud Czech” Josef Rusicka is behind the counter, dispensing his famous organically & shade-grown, Fair-Trade, Sumatran-Roast coffee, and occasionally unwanted advice.

At Joe's Café & Coffee—Layed Off

“Proud Czech” Josef Rusicka is behind the counter...

Boomer usually doesn’t linger very long here during the week and I thought that he was enjoying a vacation day or maybe a “mental health” personal day—I was wrong.

Day off?”

The first of many, I suspect.”

Josef made the rounds with the coffee carafe, “You been there for some time, must have a lot of vacation time.”

Almost twelve years. I had four weeks, total, including five personal days, Josef.”

Nice. I could use some time off.”

I suppose,” Boomer didn’t sound like his usual self this morning. I couldn’t quite put my finger why I thought so; at that point, it was just a feeling.

When you are self-employed, days off are a luxury,” Erik looked up from the newspaper he was reading, “One we can seldom afford.”

That’s a fact. How’s my web-page coming?”

We need some better interior photos, Josef; the lighting was just wrong on those we took the other day.”

Lighting is better in the afternoon.”

I’ll come back this afternoon. Jack, I’m noticing you speak in the past-tense regarding your vacation—’had’ instead of ‘have,’ did something change with your time off?”

Oh—you could say that…”

Spill it!” I was now certain there was a problem he was edging towards…

My ‘vacation’ has become very long indeed,” Boomer sighed, “I’m unemployed.”

To be Continued…

Photo-Graphic by Jack Boardman

The Adventure Ends

Previously:

They flew on..and on…and on over this desert. The scenery was indeed spectacular and with the air conditioning working the three were actually able to enjoy the experience. Of course, not knowing when—or even if—this part of the “adventure” would end certainly was on their collective minds.

The mysterious cloud returned and again just as quickly and unexpectedly as before.

What’s next for our intrepid travelers?

Chapter XII-B—Big Mac’s Adventure—Episode 12 Conclusion:

The cloud dissipated quickly and they found themselves flying over their home—not the Port of Danger Bay—but old Saint Paul, Minnesota. It had been a long time since they were last here; in cyber-time many years. Mac felt a yearning he’d never realized he had—this was home!

"...they found themselves flying over their home..."

Oh Mac,” Boomer said, “This may not be anyone’s description of an ‘adventure,’ but right about now it fits mine.”

I know,” Mac replied his rumble on low, “brings back memories of when we used to meet at Joe’s with Med, Jay, Harold and Fred for our ‘porcelain, not china, but made in China Codger Collectible mugs of organically grown, Fair Trade, Sumatran Roast coffee and give our views on what was going on in our hometown.”

Those were the days.” Boomer replied, “But that was a long time ago…”

We’re done with the clouds,” Daisy arfed.

How do you know?”

I’m hungry and I gotta p..”

My watch is running,” Boomer interrupted his somewhat loyal and trusty hound, “and I have a sudden craving for one of Joe’s lousy burgers.”

Mac made a very gentle landing near the “Upper Landing” within easy walking distance of Joe’s Café and Coffee.

Mac made a very gentle landing near the “Upper Landing”

Ya know, Carl,” Boomer said as his arthritis began to make itself known, “You coulda just written us at Joe’s.”

Where’s the fun in that?” He rumbled, “You didn’t have arthritis in Danger Bay.”

I’m s’posta be on a leash, y’know.”

Forgot that too, by the way, in Saint Paul, you can’t talk.”

No way I’m giving that up! Write it in or I’ll conveniently forget my no-bite rule.”

Done,” Mac laughed, “Feisty, aren’t you?”

They arrived at Joe’s; the place looked the same as they remembered. They paused and looked up and down West Seventh Street; it too was much the same: cars trying desperately to run over unwary pedestrians, buses trying to run cars into the curb or parked cars—normal. They talked quietly for a while and made a decision—one that you’ll have to wait a bit to learn.

Josef Rusicka looked up as they walked up to the counter and as if they’d never been away, poured them coffee, except Daisy—she received a bowl of spring-fed well water to slurp.

They arrived at Joe's

Nice to see you guys,” Josef said, “You’ve been missed.”

We’ve been on an ‘adventure’ and you wouldn’t believe what we saw,” Daisy barked.

I’m sure not…hey, you’re a dog…and you’re talking…and I can understand you…”

Yep.”

H-how long are you staying this time?” Josef asked as he began to regain his composure.

We’re not going back,” Boomer replied, “Except maybe to visit.”

We’re leaving that story in the capable hands of the Danger Bay characters,” Mac added, “They don’t need us hanging around there getting in the way.”

This concludes Mac’s Adventure.

Comments Always Welcomed & Encouraged!

Photo Credits: Night photo backgrounds courtesy of Teresa Boardman

Now Where Are We?

Previously:

As suddenly as the entered the cloud they found themselves once again in a bright blue sky—a very cold blue sky over some spectacular scenery. There were…

Antarctica!” Mac exclaimed, “The instruments are back! GPS indicates this is Antarctica!”

C-c-cold, turn up the heat.”

Before Mac could turn up the now functioning heater they went back into a cloud. The airplane began to warm a little, and then it became almost unbearably hot.

And again the little plane burst into bright blinding blue…

Chapter XII-B—Big Mac’s Adventure—Episode 11:

It remained hot aboard the plane, but like before all systems did not fuction and charts were of no use—they could not see the ground—all they could see was blue.

Everything here is computer controlled,” Boomer said, “When I started the Danger Bay series I made that clear.”

And no matter how I want to write this adventure, I’m stuck with that,” Mac replied, just a little frustrated.

Hmmm, computer controlled? The famous ‘blue screen of death’?”

Perish the thought!” Mac laughed in spite of himself. It was, after all an adventure; even if he’d lost control of it.

“Hmmm, computer controlled? The famous 'blue screen of death'?”

What passes for human humor baffles me, sometimes,” Daisy barked, “I’m having a great time!”

Although there was no way to tell for certain, hours passed before another bank of clouds appeared directly in front of them. The air failed to cool in spite of the dense clouds; but happily the temperature did not rise.

And then the clouds were gone and the reason for the heat became known.

The Sahara?”

“The Sahara?”

GPS says that’s correct, Mac,” Boomer replied, “thankfully I feel the air conditioning kicking in.”

AR-ROO!” Daisy bayed, “More adventure. Lets land and check this place out.”

We can’t land.”

Why not?”

Do you see any water, beagle-breath?” Boomer answered testily.

Dammit, I need to stretch my legs.”

They flew on..and on…and on over this desert. The scenery was indeed spectacular and with the air conditioning working the three were actually able to enjoy the experience. Of course, not knowing when—or even if—this part of the “adventure” would end certainly was on their collective minds.

They Flew on

The mysterious cloud returned and again just as quickly and unexpectedly as before.

The mysterious cloud returned

What’s next for our intrepid travelers?

To be Continued…

Comments Always Welcomed & Encouraged!