Thursday, January 11, 2018

Woken At 6:37AM.

Afternoon, Kids…

So, I was woken from a dead sleep by our Lhasa apso, Chewy’s barking his head off on the other side of the house at the backdoor.  You know when you’re jolted from a dead sleep for whatever the reason, you’re disoriented as hell, right?  Chewy’s one to alert us for stuff out of the ordinary I can count on my hand how many times he’s woken us from a dead sleep since he showed up on our doorstep five years ago …so, this was serious business.

Joey woke a second after me, and climbed out of bed, crawled across the house with Chewy leading, then, I heard the backdoor chime, and Chewy haul out.  He had to pee.  After, everybody came back, and Joey had to pee herself and climb back in bed.  45 minutes roundtrip with a bathroom break herself, which isn’t easy without her shoes for support, so she has to use a urinal on the floor.

This has me thinking about being vulnerable.  OK, Joey’s more ambulatory than I am, I’ll admit.  What she can do, I help, and vice versa…BUT, like I said, it took her 45 minutes roundtrip.  She was worn out, and her provider comes at 8:30.  That ain’t a long time for a power nap, and Joey’s not one to get back to sleep easily when she’s been scared awake.  Thankfully, today wasn’t one of those days; she said she got an hour in.  I didn’t, but I can get by on minimal sleep unless I’m dog tired.  I’m a vampire by nature, bouncing up and ready to go, is nothing to me…hence, being awake to hang with you fine people.

Anyhoo, we want kids, always have.  But, there’s a lot of thinking that’ll go into making that happen successfully.  And, I’m not just us, because we’re crips, no, I know no kid comes with a handbook whether abled or not.  To take a catchphrase of sorts from Hitch, that’s really when you go skydiving without a parachute…and, hope to God you stick the landing.  We’ve talked about the “What ifs” and hows.  Would we have the crib by our bed, or let the baby sleep with us?  Feeding, dressing, getting to and from doctor’s appointments, how’d we make that happen?

Joey has a collection of reborn babies that range from micro-preemie to toddler that she’s constantly practicing on.  She gets frustrated dressing them, but she gets it in the long run.  Like she says, “It’s hard to be a perfectionist crip.”

Then, there’s the outsiders, who mean well, but again, they don’t live our life.  They only see certain aspects, and still they don’t see.  Joey and I joke that they’re not seeing 4th dimensionally, thanks Back to the Future.  All kidding aside, we wonder how others’d make it in the same situation, because we’ve actually been told not to have kids, because it’d be too hard for us.  We’ve thought about these things.  But, where there’s a will, there’s a way, right?

Be good to each other.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Don't Underestimate Freaks.

“Gobble gobble, gobble gobble. We accept her. One of us, one of us,” chant the freaks in Tod Browning’s ’32 cult classic Freaks during midget, Hans’ (Harry Earles) and normal, Venus’ (Leila Hyams) wedding reception put on by the rest of the freaks while the one who really loves him, Frieda (Daisy Earles) looks on sadly.

So, last night, Joey and I watched Freaks for the first time this year.  It’s another grounding movie to us.  OK, so, for those in the know knows that Freaks is ultimately a revenge horror movie of the highest order, getting banned in the day in several countries and theaters here in the States, because it was deemed too extreme even with a rumor that it sent a viewer into labor…now, that’s a powerful movie…because, they were honestly freaks from Barnum and Bailey freak show.

Everytime, we watch Freaks, we root for the freaks, because they’re obviously the underdogs.  Now, in the day and probably to some extent today in some crowds, having who I’d call crips, which, in some crowds, would be considered derogatory and uncouth un-PC, on a movie screen depicting in a horror sense is considered uncool and exploitative.  But, look at the premise.  BEWARE, SPOILERS!
Hans pines for the ‘normal’ Venus when he has Frieda, a midget just like him, right in front of his face.  Venus realizes this, and uses it to her advantage with the help of her real lover, Hercules (Henry Victor) to get Hans’ perceived fortune by slowly poisoning him…except, the other freaks get wind of the plot.  The ending is considered one of the most shocking in movie history.

Browning, who worked in a circus before, got the idea for Freaks from this history.  He gave them jobs, which might’ve been there only movie credit, but they were stars and they were out there.  Now, after the movie came out, a few freaks reneged on liking their participation, because it was the first time people saw them...and, to be painted in that light.  Still, to me, it’s human nature to fend for oneself when threatened no matter the level of able-ness.

Be good to each other.


Wow, A Week!

So, wow, man, we’ve been online here for a week!  And, you guys are the reason, thank you for taking an interest in our rambling about life from the perspective of our world…Two Feet Below.

For the longest time, Joey and I’d been trying to figure out an activity we could collaborate on either outside or inside the house.  Well, of course, doing stuff afterhours is kind of hard when you factor provider schedules and lives, bus schedules, and sunset schedules to walk.  We decided early in our relationship that come sunset, we’d only do stuff close to the pad, because we walked home from the theater when one of the Lord of the Rings movies on.  One of the first major streets is Wadley, which normally isn’t that bad, but when I looked to the right, the sun was right in my eyes, so I was totally crossing by hearing.  After that, I decided never again.  Joey agreed.  Like I said, I’ve pulled some crazy stuff, especially by myself, but now, I’ve got Joey’s life I’m responsible for.

Then, she thought of Two Feet Below.

We’re both writers, granted with different styles, but if we were carbon copies, we’d be a boring pair with nothing to learn from each other…and, trust me, the world doesn’t need another me, LOL.

All kidding aside, thanks so much for letting us into your lives, and I hope we can keep delivering.  OH YEAH, feel free to drop us comments.

Be good to each other.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Riding the Fine Line of the Hard Role Model.

So, Mom just came by, and said she’d read a few of our blogs.  Although she said she liked it, she said I drop the f-bomb too much.  She said it made her think I didn’t have a wider vocabulary, which I’d heard before in other psychology articles and blogs.  It’s a flaw I’ve got, I admit…among many others.

While I think about it, I do want to be a role model to other crips, young and old, and sailor cussing isn’t one of the things I want to imbue in the kiddos…we already have a hard enough time making an impact in the able-bodied world without some jackweed crip spouting off unabashedly when there are hundreds of other ways to get the point across…I’m an English major after all.

I know I’m gonna get judged for being a pussy for listening to “Mommy,” because this is our blog and business, but oh well.  Either way, I’m here solely to put myself out there whether I drop an f-bomb or not (no apologies) for better or worse, and get people thinking and HOPEFULLY involved.

Be good to each other.


In a Love/Hate Relationship with the ADA.

So, I went to 7-11 for a couple drinks and a couple lottery tickets for Joey and me on Saturday.  We have one relatively close to our pad that I can walk to without having to cross any major streets, which really isn’t a problem, but why make things harder on myself, right?

Anyhoo, it reminded me of my school year '90. Noe and I’d been split up by my folks, because going to 7th grade, I’d be going to Alamo, and my brother’d apparently had a hard time.  So, since Joey had a hard time, it stood to reason that Jason would too…at least that was their reasoning.  But, that’s another blog.

Noe and I were waiting for a football game to start at Midland Christian, and we were getting thirsty, so we went to a 7-11 for provisions.  We get there, and, damn, they didn't have a ramp. So, we went to another...same. WTF! By the time we got back to the school, the gate was closed, so we just walked around town until we made it back to my pad.

That year, the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) was passed calling for accessibility for crips in public places; however, places were fighting saying it was too costly to make simple ramps to let us in to give them business. Even at that age, we were pissed at the injustice, so Noe and I boycotted 7-11. That was the last free summer we had together. He died the next Summer. Mortality's a bitch.

Fast forward to today. Joey and I've got a love/hate relationship with the ADA. Yeah, we can get into most places, but once inside...yeeeeah. Here's the rub, and go with me on this, the ADA was made as a one size fits all made by made crips (ie. not born crips), which doesn't do shit for Joey when the toilet's a geriatric toilet set so high from the ground (Target), so a crip can't transfer from the floor like she does.  So, taking a leak when out is not happening…not cool. Furthermore, no crip wants to sit on a toilet where their feet don't touch the floor for stability, and, no, some bathrooms don't have handles...and, even then, they’re too high to hold as well…damn again.  There are millions of combinations of crippages.  Sound off.

Monday, January 8, 2018

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all our friends born in January <3

Whip It Good!

Who remembers roller derby that used to be on TV in the day?  The guys were meh, because they were…guys…being guys.  Now, the girls that was something to see.  It was crazy to see those chicks, some prissy princesses, some butcher than the biggest roughneck…and, they could whip the hell out of each other around the track…great fun to experience.

Now, instead of dudes or chicks on skates, think of the same thing with a wheelchair!  OK, so, I got my electric wheelchair before Noe got his, so what we’d do going through the school halls or the mall is he’d hold onto the push handle of my chair as we went.  Every now and then, he’d stretch his arm to get as much slack as his arm could stand…then, he’d pull as hard as he could, and shoot past me for as long as his momentum would carry him.  I’d catch up to him, and we’d have another go.  Yeah, it was goofy fun and people’d stare, but they stared anyway.  So, why not give them something to remember us by, right?

The thing was, when I whipped Noe, like the roller derby chicks, there was no steering or stopping.  It was just a joyride to wherever...hopefully, a straight shot, but more often than not sideswiping a trashcan or the rogue kid…or worse the girl whose ass we were following.  If his wheels started shimmying, which was pretty easy to do in the old rickety manual chairs back in the day, he wasn’t gonna be going straight.  If his wheel caught something, that was his ass!  Thankfully, nothing happened to that extent.  Picking his ass would’ve been a bitch.  Still, those were fun times.

Be good to each other.


Never a Dull Moment.

Man, a crip’s life is never boring.  Case in point, this morning, Joey’s chick called in sick.  She’s actually gotten better, because she used to call when she was supposed to already be here.  Today, she called an hour early.  So, I called Nurses Unlimited, and hoping against hope, didn’t get Bob the GM.  Bob’s cool, when Joey needs something, he’s on it ASAP.  Wanda, the manager, not so much.  So, who do I get…Wanda.  Wanda has the air of the “paid to care” type, with that nasally tone, you know the one…the one that you just want to throat punch the person on the other end.  Anyhoo, I keep it short and sweet, keeping to the pertinents.

She says she’ll get on it, but we’re not anything soon, so I got on FB to start contacting providers she’s friended, Nattlie, Diana, and Treca, but we hadn’t seen Treca in ages after she’d gotten sick, and had to take leave.  We know she’s still kicking, because we’ve both played her on Words with Friends.  Still, we thought it was a long shot.  But, desperate times call for desperate measures, right.  And, she was getting to have to take a leak!  Not good.

So, we wait for an hour before I call back when the office opens at 8.  Ophelia answers, and says a new chick’s coming.  Hmmm, did they really call ALL the providers on Joey’s known list…I think not.  OK, so getting a new provider over first thing in the morning, or any shift for that matter, is a crapshoot.  Either, they’re on it and Joey loves whoever, or they’re complete idiots with absofuckinglutely no common sense whatsoever.  I know that sounds cynical, but it’s the God’s honest truth.  We've both been having providers since we were both 18.  It’s that black and white almost across the board.  At the same time, Wanda’s on the other line to tell us the exact same thing.  The rub is, the chick won’t be here for another hour.  Oh, and her name’s Victoria.  OK, fine.

Another hour and 15 minutes, and no Veronica, so Joey calls the office again.  They’ll check up on her.  OK.  So, she shows up, and, of course, it’s awkward, but fuck it, she has to get up…let’s do this.  Long story short, she settled down, and Joey wound up liking her.  But, man, all that just to take a leak…at the least!

Today was a legit day with Adriana saying she’d been vomiting and such, but A LOT of times they were at hair appointments knowing they had to be here at a certain time…people’ve even had the balls to tell us they’ve got hangovers, or that they’re at a party…really?!

SMH, such is life.  This why I say, to be a successful crip, one has to deal with shit and be able to adapt.

Be good to each other, Kids.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

I Got My One.

So, damn, I just wrote in my Epiphany Showman post how that movie showed me how I’m doing what I was always supposed to be doing and that if I just touched one person, I’d done my job.  Well, damn, I got that affirmation by way of my girl, Rox.  She told me her fave blog so far from me is my crip tat blog when she said, “Jason Rhode your 1st tattoo story and how You came across joey and the shop story I thought it was moving and funny all at the same time lol.”


Seriously, growing up, I had a tolerate/HATE relationship with my cripness to the point of trying to commit suicide with my inhaler for my asthma.  God, who the fuck was he?  Bastard made me THIS way!  What kind of fucking god would damn a person to deal with the shit I dealt with growing up?  I only went to church, because my folks made us, more often than not daydreaming for an hour or so.  I had no need for religion, praying meant shit, nothing happened.  Hell, my best friend died a slow death even!  Yes, I’ve always been loud and outgoing, but death’s a bigger bitch than I could ever be.

I learned…SLOWLY.

I always made friends pretty easily.  Now, whether it was pity friendship, I don’t know.  Kids crave acceptance anyway they can get it.  But, I rolled with it for better or worse.  When Noe and my brother died, I learned true friendship, because those that I’d run with both times of my life, came back to me to lift me when my heart was coal with grief and hatred.  They were the friends that took me out to keep me occupied and out of my own head.

I’ve always thought I had something to give the world that was just me.  People always said I was inspirational to them, but the cynic in me always played it down as people just talking nice…lip service, because that’s just what people do when they’re just trying to be nice to the strange crip that won’t go away.  I’ve always hated lip service and feeling like a charity case.

I took Psych classes in college.  It became part of my double minor with Computers to go with my English major.  Anyhoo, Dr. Andrea Zabel would invite me to speech in my classes as well as others after I’d gone through all her courses.  My way of doing speeches was, of course, unorthodox…I wouldn’t have it any other way, right?  I’d open with a little background, then, open the floor to any and all questions…nothing was off limits.  You can’t be a true crip with limits.

After school, I’ve strived to portray myself as the badass crip, but inevitably, my heart shines through whether at work or on the streets.  A funny thing Joey and I’ve noticed…well, I’ve known since I’ve lived here since six, is the new officers on MPD…the old timers have seen me walking the streets for years.

But, I digress…again.

With that single little post from Rox, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, I’m getting something right.  I got my one…and, I bow to you.

Be good to each other, Kids.

How is your Sunday?  So, last night, Jason and I watched The Greatest Showman, with Hugh Jackman.  What an Amazing movie!  Yes, I capitalize words on which I want extra emphasis.  I can’t say enough good to justify this movie’s greatness.  Positive, uplifting, sensational!
Well, it got me thinking.  I don’t express myself very well sometimes.  Not to toot my own horn, but I’m an extraordinary person-we All are-but we should be out there, showing ourselves.  Something I forgot to say in my intro is I have 21 tattoos.
I’ll post later about them all, however, one tatt in particular came to my mind as I watched The Greatest Showman.  On my right bicep, I have the phrase “Mutant and Proud”.  You probably recognize this from X-Men: First Class and later said in the rest of that X-Men trilogy.  Apart from those movies being among my favorites (and James McAvoy being my Hollywood boyfriend) I relate to that phrase very personally.
Growing up with CP was very hard for me, mind, body, and, well, every way, really.  I am the first daughter born-the 2nd child-in 5 kids and the only one who is disabled.  My parents made it clear they thought I’d just be nobody-their handicapped daughter-relying on them all my life.  Peers all through school were merciless.  I hated my life.  I had/have an incredible brain.  I have eyes, ears, a heart, but I felt like a mutant.
I can’t say immediately after watching X-Men: First Class my entire perspective did a 180.  I mean, I always knew I was meant for way more than what others thought of me, but to pick yourself up over and over… However, hearing that phrase-“Mutant and Proud”-and putting it on my arm, I feel extraordinary-like I Should feel!  Movies like X-Men and The Greatest Showman reinforce the love, the acceptance, the wonderfulness of people who are different and how amazing we are, too.

As always, I never know how to end a piece, like I’ve spent all my words for now.  Have a great day-and watch The Greatest Showman.

A Spicy Convo with Rox.

So, yesterday I was on Facebook when my friend, Rox, posted that she was listening to the Spice Girls, so we got talking about the songs we like the most.  At the Spice Girls’ peak, my sister, Kat, and her crew listened to them, so I had to listen and know.  Of course, the internet was relatively new, and surprise, surprise nude pics of Ginger Spice, Geri Halliwell, from her model days surfaced.  For my teenage and early 20-something self, this was NOT a bad thing!  My sister had her music, and I had my masturbatory fantasies…life was good.  But, you know when you hear something so much, it starts growing on you…and, you’re like, “fuck,” but you listen anyway?  That was me.  I actually started to dig the Spice Girls…especially Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham.  She had that right mix of fashionista with a slight undercurrent of goth.

Now, I wasn’t into the more Poppy stuff, I liked the slower, more heartfelt tunes like 2 Become 1, Viva Forever, Mama, and Goodbye, which I always kinda thought was their swansong.  These songs sang about love, friendship, and letting go…everything I’d gone through with my best friend, Noe, alone…not to mention getting out on my own with my own relationships with no parental security blanket right there.

From there, this got me thinking of other bands that’ve touched me along the way in this thing we call life.  There was New Kids on the Block that my brother, Joey, and I sang to since shared a room from the time I was adopted.  My favorites were “Please Don’t Go Girl,” Cover Girl,” and “Step by Step” to name a few.  We used to watch a show titled Kids Incorporated on Disney.  It birthed Martika...swoon.  I loved and still love her song, the haunting “Toy Soldiers,” which Eminem remade with different, but haunting results.  Oh, and Belinda Carlisle’s “Mad About You” and “Nobody Owns Me”…swoon again!  Back then, I didn’t know Ricky Martin was actually singing to me!
Then, there was Motley Crue, Extreme, and Poison, who we were ironically watching the video for their song, “Life Goes On,” when everything was going down at Noe’s before the ambulance took him away and he died.  Extreme’s “More Than Words,” Noe and I’d sing together in the guest bedroom of our Chatham pad when we’d have sleepovers.  I know, I know, gay and cliché, but hey, we were kids and bros in the late 80s, early 90s.  And, who didn’t like the Crue…if not for their heavy hitting metal, but their androgynist look with their pentagrams that we thought were Satanic back in the day… Sigil of Baphomets, pentagrams with the goat’s head in the middle, are Satanic.  It was the release of teenage angst.  To this day, I still keep up with those groups if they’re still around or the members’ projects.

Of course, these are only a few of the defining groups that made my teen years and 20s, and that I hold dear 20 years later even still.  So now, it’s your turn.  What groups, singers you’re your past define you now?  Sound off.
And, be good to each other.


Having an Epiphany with the Greatest Showman.

“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me,” sings Lettie Lutz, The Bearded Lady, played by Keala Settle in the musical biopic The Greatest Showman, based on showman and modern circus creator, P.T. Barnum.

First off, who would’ve thought that Wolverine could sing unless you were fortunate to see him on Broadway!  Holy shit, Hugh Jackman sings with so much feeling that he literally had Joey and me in tears.  I mean, boohoo, we can’t help, but feel…especially in the opening number “A Million Dreams, “ which begins with young Barnum played by Ellis Rubin with the vocals by Ziv Zaifman, whose voice is so angelic, I immediately fell in love with the movie regardless of the possible trainwreck I might be subjecting myself as well as Joey to.  The remaining 95 minutes was far from a trainwreck.  As a matter of fact, and Joey admitted she was thinking the exact same thing as I was the entire film…we are exactly where we’re supposed to be, doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing…reaching out to people across the human rainbow regardless of abled-ness or cripness.

Now, reading about the making of the movie to the real story of Barnum’s coming up, I know director, Michael Gracey, and writers, Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon, took some creative license with some of the happenings and Zac Ephron’s and Zendaya’s characters being made for the secondary romantic plot.  This didn’t detract from the movie by any means since it fit nicely into the grand scheme of the film of acceptance, making your path regardless of people’s perception of what you should be because of your upbringing or the way you look.

The movie depicts Barnum as kind of a shyster and someone always in need of proving his worth since he was orphaned young, but with good and lofty intentions in that how he gets the loan to start his oddity museum, which worked two-fold, to give the freaks jobs and to support his family since he had two daughters.  The real Barnum had four.  But, before he had those daughters to support, he had to prove he was worthy of Charity’s (Michelle Williams) hand to her well to do father.  Of course fame came with the price of being labeled an exploiter by his critics, specifically James Gordon Bennett, NY Herald head, played by Paul Sparks.  While I’m on the character subject, the casting and look of the characters mirrors their real-life counterparts damn near perfectly.

Since this is a musical, the tracks have to coincide with the goings-on on screen.  Pasek and Paul’s lyrics are so profound and strong, Joey and I couldn’t help bob our heads through the tears of pure joy with melodies that were sweeping and exploding with feeling whether it was the anthemic “This is Me” sung with so much tearjerking emotion by the beautiful Keala Settle or the sad “Tightrope.”

Jackman has said in interviews that Showman took seven years to make, because studios didn’t want to touch it thinking it would take with audiences…wrong!  Eventually, the combined team of Chernin Entertainment, Seed Productions, Laurence Mark Productions, and TSG Entertainment bit and produced the movie with 20th Century distributing.

God, I can’t say enough about this movie without giving the whole damn thing away, and this is a movie that NEEDS to be seen in theaters.  I don’t say that much anymore since we have a 4K TV, and most movies, though are mostly good and are bigger, the picture’s just meh.  This movie is that damn good.  Hell, like I said at the beginning of this blog, Showman reaffirmed Joey and I (freaks by some in society) am right where we’re supposed to be, doing exactly what we’re doing whether we get noticed and go viral or get donations.  If we’ve touch that one, we’ve done our jobs.  Given that, why the hell are you reading this, and getting your asses to the theater?!  Oh yeah, it’s 3:45 AM.
Until later today, be good to each other.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

The AT AT: The Badassery of Star Wars.

So, anybody that knows me or read my review of The Last Jedi, knows I’m a geek for Star Wars.  Yeah, I know the factions, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, and I dig both…but Star Wars came first for me.  Joey, my brother, and I wore out our videos, yes, videos of the OT, the original trilogy, a couple times over.  We indoctrinated Kat, our sister, into the fold.  And, don’t play Star Wars Trivial Pursuit with me apparently.  Joey, my wife, says the only person she knows that could keep up with me is her big brother, Tony.  Hmmm, might have to make that match happen.

Anyhoo, the PT, the prequel trilogy gets shit on a lot, and I’ll give you that it’s got its flaws, but I’ll disagree with you that Jar Jar fucked up the whole damn thing like a lot of people want to say.  No, there are a bunch of other kiddie sequences that can momentarily take you out of the movie.  Star Wars has never been known for its perfectly flowing dialogue…and, that NOOOOOOO at the end of Sith…really, George?  Just wrecking the place in pure force power would’ve sufficed.  Then, adding that same NOOOO to the end of Return of the Jedi when silence was needed, Dude!

But, I digress.

Christmas for me was a Star Wars Christmas Joey swears wasn’t by design.  She got me some Star Wars pants, and her providers got me Star Wars shirts.  Then, my provider at the time, got us a gift certificate to the movies, so we were able to see The Last Jedi at the ritziest theater in Midland opening week while snacking on pretzel dogs and a HUGE pretzel the size of Joey’s head!  Another cool thing about that theater was Joey and I could sit in the middle instead of the nosebleed, because of our chairs…way cool!

But, the piece de resistance is…drumroll...

My AT AT lamp!

Only seen in the Hoth battle in TESB, The Empire Strikes Back and a cameo in Return of the Jedi, these badass transport battle vehicles seriously got the shaft.  I LOVE these mothers!  And, God bless Gareth Edwards and Rian Johnson for seeing their badassery and including them in Rogue One and The Last Jedi!

The Moreau Family Diary Synopsis

Morning, Guys!

Let's step away from the crip thing for a bit, shall we?  Now, if you guys have anything pressing you wanna talk about, give us a heads up in the comments, K?

So, while I was in school I got into writing stories and poetry.  This carried on through college.  Mom gave me an advertisement for a Halloween writing contest, which I jumped on.  I wrote a short title, Secrets of the Moreau Family, but didn't win...such is life.  Anyhoo, the fam read it, and especially my sis, Kat, liked it and said I should do more.  So, I wrote Pandora's Box, but then, I had these two shorts.  What to do, what to do...  I set out to write the backstory of Secrets and Pandora; thus, Crimson Love and Crimson Love: The Last Dance were born.  I recently put all four together to finally make The Moreau Family Diary.

So, without further ado, here's the synopsis for you to check out.  If you have suggestions, sound off!

Be good to each other!


Let me introduce Nick Moreau, an up and coming lawyer.  He has everything he could possibly want: money, rising power, a loving wife.  He's living the American Dream.  He's cut throat, balls to the wall in nature coupled with chiseled good looks…curly brown hair, deep, dark eyes, strong jaw line.  Everything Marissa ever wanted in a man.

Let me now introduce Marissa Moreau, a lawyer in her own right, a lawyer with potential.  She too is living the American Dream; however, unlike Nick, Marissa isn’t so direct, blunt if you will.  From years of abuse from a perfectionist, alcoholic, glamour model mother, Marissa has learned how to get things done in a round about, devious way.

And friends, here’s the Timothy Peters, lead singer of the Wicked Dreams.  Everything he touches turns to gold.  The world’s truly in the palm of his hand as it should be with his chiseled good looks…curly brown hair, deep, dark eyes, strong jaw line.  No is not a word in his vocabulary.

Last and definitely least, let me introduce Marcus Sucram, one of Nick’s coworkers.  Marcus has contacts…contacts he’s not afraid to use to better his position in the firm or in life for that matter.  Tis through Mr. Sucram’s contacts and Mr. Sucram himself that Nick comes to obtain a certain pair of front row tickets to one Wicked Dreams concert that one Marissa Moreau would absolutely sell her soul to the devil for.  And, unbeknownst to Mr. Sucram, tis through him that Pandora’s Box is opened to unleash that should be left well alone.

Come join me in Nick and Marissa’s world after a chance meeting.  Come join me in a world marred by past demons, deceit, lust, and vengeance…and death.  Monica Hatfield, Marissa’s tormented mother, Gary Moreau, Nick’s vengeance-filled father, Nicodemus MacIntosh, a Mounty only wanting to help mend wounds and bring peace to his community, Bethany L. Harris, Nick’s “friend,” and many more await the chance to make your acquaintance.

So, sit back, take a load off, and look inside The Moreau Family Diary, a sordid tale of a couple generations in a family with secrets so deep and entrenched that death might be the only solution.  The Moreau Family Diary grabs you by the throat from page one and doesn’t let go until the last word drips off the page.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Synopsis for The Howl

Hi again.  This is Joey.  I know I mentioned I have a published novel: Quest for Freedom, btw.  However, my 2nd novel, called The Howl (no relation to Quest) is ready to be published, as soon as I find a home for it.  I need advice, though.  I know you have not read the book yet, but I'm gonna share the synopsis.  I think it needs to be a tad longer-it's 200 words.  Will you tell me what you think?  Thanks:

Meet straight “A”, High School Senior, Logan Greene, who, since childhood, was taught the most important thing in life is a prestige status.  Hard work, honest living, and loyalty only count for so much here, but everything can be fixed by knowing the highest person in charge or by having enough money.  Born into a wealthy family with no other siblings and not a care in the world, Logan’s life is about to be turned upside down when the family’s beliefs are tested.  Friends getting divorced, job situations, awry, secrets unheard, now coming to the surface.

Then, mysterious and odd Julian enters the Greene’s lives.

Having grown up on the not as rich side of town, Julian’s values and morals are so different from Logan’s.  The stranger is hard-working, dedicated, loyal, true.  And Julian’s obsessions for peace and justice, as well as animals, are simply puzzling to most people, but that’s half the fun.  The other half is how the two combine what they know and how they figure out the things they don’t know.  With help from Julian’s twin sister, some family friends, untold secrets, and even unearthly enemies, the two find they have quite an adventure to unravel.

What Happened to Miss Rose

Hi.  So, here's an older story in poem verse by me.  I can't remember if I mentioned I write in several genres.  If you love it, hate it, anything, feel free to tell me :)

What Happened to Miss Rose?
JD Rhode

I was married, had been for sixteen years
We had a daughter, and she was almost eleven
We would have had a son, too, but he died before birth
It nearly killed us, we had hopes and dreams for him
We had hopes and dreams for our daughter, too, of course
But when she was five, she was in an accident
An accident that stole her sight and most of her speech
The same accident that killed our son
That was another dagger through our hearts
I cared for her night and day
It’s sad how, when you’re a parent, you feel responsible
For every single aspect of your child’s life
Our daughter’s name is Rose

One night it rained particularly hard
My husband had to work late
So I had a drink with dinner before putting Rose to bed
She begged me to let her stay up-
“Just until Dad got home”
But I said no
Why spoil her just because of her disability?
That isn’t how to raise a child
It’s true that she was afraid of storms
But she had to overcome her fear sometime
I read a book and sipped another drink
Until the thoughts in my head made the words on the pages too blurry
I thought about my husband’s call just earlier-
Explaining his delay and asking if Rose was okay
Not outwardly wondering about my wellbeing
I thought about his family, their hateful words-
They think I killed our son
Why would I ever even think about it?
I thought and thought until something startled me
The hail hit the window, and the power went out
And a minute later, Rose screamed,
“No, AAHHH, Mommy!”
I ignored her, however, and went to bed

It was terrible
Friends, neighbors, and family asked,
“What happened to Miss Rose?”
I was ashamed to answer that I didn’t know
My husband didn’t come home that night until well past three
I barely remembered it
I felt like I was hit over the head; I almost passed out that night
When we awoke the next morning, the most terrible thing happened-
Our beautiful Rose was gone
Had we been robbed?
Was I knocked unconscious?
Why would they take away our only baby?
What did she do to anybody?
It’s heartbreaking; she couldn’t even see her killer-
She could barely call for help
The support of the town helped-
They all loved her
But I wouldn’t rest until my baby was found

Police, family, everybody asked questions
Was anything taken?  Broken?
The answer was always no
Nothing in the house was disturbed
But my baby girl didn’t leave on her own-
I know she wouldn’t do that
My husband was distraught, as was I
But then glares turned toward us
Did they think we did something?
Days, weeks went by, but no clues were found
I drank more, it calmed me
And my husband was gone more often
Was he believing his family’s lies against me?

Months passed before…
Something was found
A shovel-
With my finger prints all over it
My life crumbled before my eyes
What could I do?
My husband left me just weeks after Rose…
He couldn’t deal with my drinking
I don’t remember not drinking
I drank when I was a kid
I drank when I met my husband
I drank when we married
I drank when I drove our car into a tree
Killing our unborn son and severely crippling our daughter
I drank when our daughter cried because she could no longer see her favorite movie
Or even the beautiful blue sky
And I drank the night I crept into Rose’s room,
Took a pillow and put it over her face until she didn’t make a sound anymore
She knew it was me somehow
Because as I approached, Rose screamed,
“No, AAHHH, Mommy!”
I carried her to the backyard, and, with the shovel
I dug a hole and put her in
Then I drank when people, who only wanted the best for her, asked,
“What happened to Miss Rose?”
My life is ruined
But now, deep in my soul

 I realize I have nobody to blame but myself

Rory O'Shea is Here to Pull Our Heads Out of Our Asses.

Good afternoon, Peeps, how goes it?

So, what grounds you when you’re having your pity party?

The movie we watch when we need to pull our heads out of our asses is Rory O’Shea was Here.  It stars a young James McAvoy, one of two celebrities Joey’d leave me for if she got the chance.  McAvoy plays Rory, a 20-something with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, who’s dad moves him to a home for crips.  Rory’s a free-spirit, so he ain’t having it, and fight’s it from the get-go with the introduction, “Rory O'Shea. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Besides the full vocal range, I have the use of two fingers of my right hand, sufficient for self-propulsion and self-abuse. You can shake me hand or kiss me arse - but don't expect me to reciprocate.”

Now, people that have known me for a while, know this is totally me.  It was my best friend, Noe, before me, and who had Duchenne.  He taught me everything I know.  Now, you know why this movie means so much to me.  Almost everything that happens in the movie, I’ve either experienced or saw in some way or form.

Anyhoo, at the home, Rory meets Michael, who was brilliant played by Steven Robertson.  Michael has spastic Cerebral Palsy that affects his speech, so most people can’t understand him…then, Rory shows up.  Michael is Rory’s polar-opposite.  The home’s the only place Michael’s known.  By the way, Joey has CP.  While we were watching Rory the first time, Joey said I was her Rory, because, although she’d done some stuff, she hadn’t been as outgoing and adventurous as I had.  She knew my past with Noe.

The thing that got us was how well acted McAvoy and Robertson played their roles.  Now, both these actors aren’t crips by any means; although, McAvoy’s played Professor X in the First Class series of the X-Men franchise for almost a decade.  McAvoy said he spent at least 12 hours in his chair getting the part down.  And, Robertson, dude’s a fucking genius to get that spasticity down from the way he held his arms, and especially in one shower scene, where we get to see how he held his legs…then, the slur of his speech, OMFG!

Rory tries to play nice at the home while coming up with schemes to spice life up like taking funds from the home fundraiser to the pub to get him and Michael drinks and chicks, “It's funding for the needs of the disabled. I'm disabled and I need a drink.”

So, Rory’s forever scheming how to get out of the home, and get an Independent Living Allowance, but he’s always turned down, because they don’t see him mature enough with a concrete plan to live in the real world.  He knows he’s on borrowed time, so this has to get done…like yesterday.  That’s where Michael comes into play.  Not being as brash, he gets the Allowance, regardless of his speech impediment…Rory’s his interpreter.

They spend their time going around Dublin looking for a crip pad in a montage that had Joey and I rolling, because in one scene, a realtor takes them to an apartment that has steps to the front door.  Rory watches him go up the steps, and asks, “There's a bit of a problem. Can you guess what it is?”  They also need to hire a provider to help care for them, which they find (Siobhan played by Romola Garai) at the market when Rory sees a pair of legs that he likes.  Then, they settle into a place to live their life.  Joey and I’ve tried to do the joint provider thing…it don’t work.

These sequences are exquisite as they depict crip life perfectly from figuring things out to the screw ups like Michael brushing his teeth himself and dropping said toothbrush countless times on the floor to him figuring how to do his hair spiked like Rory’s.  Then, life gets real as feelings come into play, and dynamics have to change.

The end comes inevitably, which I could relate to (see Morality’s a Bitch!).  And, like Forest Gump says, “That’s all I’m gonna say about that.”

After we saw Rory the first time, we raved to everybody about...even buying the DVD and making the fam watch it.  Mom said it was a sight to see my dad and BIL sharing a box of tissue on the couch in silence.  Seriously though, if you want a glimpse into our world check it out…but, have tissues.

So, after that long ass explanation of our grounding movie, sound off to share what grounds you from your pity party.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Uniqueness in Writing

Hi all.  Joey here.  BTW, my pen name is JD Rhode, so don't worry if you see posts with that author.  I though I'd share this:

All writers, famous or not, have their own style of writing.  Maybe “style” isn’t specific enough here.  What I mean is every writer has such a specific uniqueness to what they do that one can open up a title-less book, read a few pages, and say, “Oh yeah, that’s Stephen King, all right,” or whoever it may be.  I really hope that somebody does that for my books-if only one person did, I’d consider myself a great author.
So what is this unique style, and how does one get it?  Life experiences, likes and dislikes, imagination, the list goes on.  I thought I’d just take a couple minutes here and share with you a few things that identify my stuff as being JD Rhode’s.  Has anybody noticed:

1. In all of my stories, if whoever goes out to eat, it’s always at IHOP.  Why, I don’t know.  I love IHOP, but it is not my favorite restaurant.  Nonetheless, that’s the place to go. (BTW, that isn’t the ‘hot spot’ anymore; guess you’ll just have to read my newer stuff to find out where is.)
2. In everything I write, story, poem, whatever, the title is always in the piece.  I think this one got started by accident, but once I realized I was doing it, I liked it enough to keep it going.
3. In every story (novel, short, etc) I incorporate the music I like.  Now, this one’s very hard to notice because a lot of bands are not known to many people-everybody likes a different genre of music.  Here are some examples.  “She could still hear what they were doing, even being three doors down the hall”; Three Doors Down, anybody?   “Boss gave me a three days grace period to do my project.”  Three Days Grace.  However, what do I do with the bands I love that have one word names or weird names: The Dreaming, The Cure, ACDC, etc.  Fear not guys; you, too, get a plug, although harder to detect by people who don’t know me.  I use a whole line from a song; “Exactly what do you want from me?” she demanded in frustration.  “What do You Want” by The Dreaming.  Of course for that, you have to be familiar with that same song, or you’ll just read on, but if you do know it… J
4. Literally every time you read the phrases “shining in the darkness” or “dark force”, they Are nods to Sega, my all time favorite gaming company.  I might say “shining force”, or “miracle warriors”, too, but, for some reason, they’re harder to work into the sentence.

Let’s see…what else do I do?  Those are the four biggies, but a magician never tells all her tricks.  I guess you’ll just have to get reading.  Also, I hope this inspired you to delve into you own little, unique bag of tricks for all of your works of art.

Johnny Got His Gun-The Morality of Assisted Suicide in Film.

So, Joey and I saw ‘71’s Johnny Got His Gun, made popular through Metallica’s “One.”  It’s the story of a guy in WWI, who took a missile header and lived, but came out a quadruple amputee while his face and ears were burned off.  His Medulla Oblongata’s the only thing keeping him alive.  Feeling isolated and unable to communicate with anybody, he uses morse code with his head to communicate his wish to die.
This made Joey and I start thinking about other movies that deal with assisted suicide after someone becomes a crip for whatever the reason.  Now, being born crips, Joey and I’ve considered suicide because of our perceived situation, but as we’ve grown up, we learned to deal, hence, us referring to ourselves crips (see Life from Two Feet Below).  It seems like if you become a crip in film, the best thing to do is off yourself.  For instance, ‘04’s Million Dollar Baby cleaned up in that year’s Oscars. 
OK, now, I love Hillary Swank and Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman are legends, but…really, Eastwood, your boxer chick gets hurt, and the only recourse she has is to have help offing herself, because she perceives she has no future?  Really, Dude?  In the real world, there are athletes that’ve become crips, and they’re still active in their sport in some capacity…and, are valued additions.  So, having a well-known director concoct a story that condones this recourse in the name of entertainment drama is bullshit.
More recently, ‘16’s Me Before You perpetuates the same sentiment, but this piece of shit takes it a step further when the dude still offs himself knowing people love him and want him around!  Really?  I understand people’ll do whatever the fuck they want to do regardless of how many people express love to them, but it’s a chicken shit, douche thing to do to the people left behind.
Then, there’s Johnny Got His Gun.
This’s the dark grey area I find myself in.  Yeah, here’s a guy that, for all practical purposes should be dead…but, for whatever the reason, he’s not.  Now, delving into religion here, God kept his ass alive for some reason…for better or worse.  On the other hand, he’s a vegetable, and only by the grace of God and an observant nurse, was he able to get through to the people caring for him…but then, it was just to tell them to kill him.  Hmmm, the quandary.  I don’t know where I sit with this one.
Guys, sound off in the comments.  And, as always, be good to each other.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

There's Always a Master and an Apprentice...and Back Again.

Yoda says, “Always two there are…a master and an apprentice,” in The Phantom Menace.
So, considering today is the cusp of new beginnings, I started thinking and considering the people that’ve touched me and the people I’ve hopefully touched.  Of course, coming up, my folks’ve been in been integral in molding me while finding my own path this year alone.

Growing up, Joey, my brother, and I were pushed to try.  Only after we proved we couldn’t do something, were we helped.  We had chores like all of our friends, and if we screwed up, which was a lot for me, we were grounded.  Anybody who knew me growing up, knows during the school year, I could be grounded for 16 weeks on and off depending on whether I tried or not.  In third grade, I met my best friend, Noe, at the CP Center during physical therapy.  He had MD, and was slowly failing.  He was pissed at the world, and took it out on everybody.  Me being the hard ass that I am, I stayed with it…including getting a pencil tattoo from him during one fight.  Eventually, he calmed down, and we settled into a brotherhood.  I was there the day he died, and he taught me how to check out with dignity.
While Noe and I were friends, my sister, Kat, was born.  We’ve always been close from day one whether I was singing her to sleep at night as a baby, or I was teaching her how to walk as toddler.  Yeah, me, I crip, taught my kid sister how to walk.  I’d let her pull up on the back of my chair, and go real slow as she toddled until she didn’t need to hold on anymore.  And, yeah, we had our phase where we weren’t the best of friends and I know I’ve cramped her style once or twice…or more growing up, but we’ve always found our way back.  She was especially there when Noe died.
When my marriage was going south, Joey was in the hospital, and after 18 months, gave it up.  In life, we had a love/hate relationship.  We were as night and day as you can get.  I didn’t get him more often than not with his passive-aggressiveness to my aggressiveness.  I thought he was childish.  I was wrong, I was the one that was childish…he was child-like.  There’s a difference, y’all.  I didn’t learn that until the last 18 months of his life.  Lesson in death # 2.

The summer of the year Joey died, I met Joey.  We’ve been together ever since…17.5 years together, 14.5 married.  She’s been with me through my demons and high points.  She’s seen me an atheist to an agnostic to a believer, and helped me remain so.  We’ve been through so much shit, and have come out on the other side.
When I worked at the office, I was asked by a teacher friend patient to mentor one of her kids in her class.  He was in a wheelchair with skeletal deformities of his legs mainly, and she thought it’d be cool that we meet, so he might have someone to look up to.  I went to his school a couple times to hang with him and his classmates, so we could all get to know each other….and, have little races the kids got a kick out of.  Kivan was a cool kid.

Finally, whether it was with my family growing up, with Noe walking the 80s and 90s Midland streets, or with Joey out as a couple, I hope we been able to help people “see.”  I know they’ve helped me.

Woken At 6:37AM.

Afternoon, Kids… So, I was woken from a dead sleep by our Lhasa apso, Chewy’s barking his head off on the other side of the house a...