Archive for August, 2012

One Hundred Post Retrospective and Important Announcement

August 17, 2012

We all knew there would be a time that this would happen.

Well, I did.

I planned on sticking around for post number 100, and that posted at the beginning of this week. You know, the one about Gary Numan that you probably didn’t read.

It’s no problem. The posts don’t leave. They aren’t on a timer.

What’s up is up till the end of the Internet.

It’s amazing that I’ve kept this thing going for a year. Through public lawsuits and private break-ups, Five Hundred Words On… has been there.

Even when I grappled with personal problems, wrestling my own private writing demons, I managed two posts, exactly 1000 words, a week.

Even when I was in Orlando and Boston, I wrote for you people!

Actually, those were written ahead of time. I cheated a little.

But as all good things do, it feels like this has drawn to a close.

And I suppose that’s the true intent of this post, not just a simple summation of the past posts, but a final one. One with a bit of concrete in its feet.

Effective now, Five Hundred Words On is going on indefinite hiatus.

I truly feel like a parent telling his child of a divorce.

It’s not your fault, dear. It’s just how things work sometimes.

I set out with a small challenge at hand: you throw everything you have at me, and I spew out 500 words (no more, no less) about it.

And as the time has gone on, that’s what I have continued to do. But, after almost a year of it, a year of keeping in practice with these little word games I do so much enjoy, I feel the winds of change blowing harder than ever at my window.

And while no one in particular sent this challenge in, it was more a challenge to myself, to hang up my size 500 hat on a polished wooden coat rack and sit for a spell.

Take a bit of a breather.

Now, I’m not saying that I won’t be back. On the contrary, actually. I just need to put this on the back burner so I can free up a bit of stove top for something bigger, something better.

How can that be? Well, you’ll see.

There are plans in place already. SPOILERS: “WE” have been pooling some resources and have planted our asses firmly toward the drawing board.

So, this isn’t a tearful goodbye, although I have found a bit of moisture collecting in the corners of my eyes through this whole post.

No, reader. It is indeed an unfurled flag of accomplishment. I have not yet overstayed my time, and that’s good. I want to leave before I do.

But you’ll hear from me again.

I’d like to thank all of you for reading. I trust you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Truly ghjr

 

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Gary Numan’s “Cars”

August 13, 2012

First off, a bit of clarification.

I was asked to present 500 words on “this” with a Youtube link to the official music video of Gary Numan’s “Cars” attached to it.

I truly felt like being a smart ass and talking about the idea of linking streamed videos in social media, but I just don’t have the guile for it tonight.

Plus, the music and video are just so good that I can’t help gushing about it.

Gary Numan started out in punk music, which is a little weird because he is considered one of the pioneers of commercial electronic music. The story goes a little something like this:

If I remember correctly what I picked up from my days of compulsive VH1 viewing (you know, before it started playing “Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab” and crap like that), Gary went into the studio with a complete album full of music to record, but stumbled upon a synth that someone had left there. He fell in love with the sound, scrapping the entire punk album and writing a new album of electronic music.

That’s the wife’s tale, at least.

“Cars” just happened to be the first song he plunked out on the old analog synth, and it just so happened to be his biggest hit.

The music itself was almost a culmination of all the things that were right with popular music in the 1980’s. It was Styx without the cheese. It was Wang Chung with better lyrics.

It was nothing like Boy George.

It was great!

And it passed around the world like The Clap! That song and video probably went straight to the top of some charts in some country.

Now, the music video is a bit of a different story. Where the song went right, the video kept going wrong.

It basically embodied everything that was wrong with the 1980’s.

Bad video quality, cheesy graphics, big hoop earrings in men, White-Out covered face, goth make up. It was just bad.

And what’s with that ridiculous tambourine with the picture in it spinning around and leaving a trail across the screen like my old Gateway used to do a decade ago when one program would crash and I’d drag another window across it.

Or in those old Solitaire games for Windows. You’d finally win, and the cards would shooting back out of there slots, bouncing around the screen and leaving them trails of pictures behind them.

Guess what, Gary. It wasn’t cool to me when my computer did it (whether it meant to or not), and it wasn’t cool to ANYONE ANYWHERE when you did it in your music video in the 1980’s. Please remember that if you ever get a chance to travel back in time and change your music video.

Believe me, it’ll happen. VH1 had a special about that, too. It was sandwiched between “Behind the Music” and “Pop-Up Video.”

ghjr

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This is not included in the 500 word limit.

You can all thank Samantha Halpenny for this post. It’s her fault that it happened.

Not like it’s a bad post, mind you. Or a bad subject.

But if you don’t like it, don’t blame me. It’s Sam’s fault.

Truly ghjr

The History of Go-Mart

August 10, 2012

So, I can’t lie.

I haven’t for 98 posts, and I’m not going to start now.

Alright, that’s a bit of a lie.

I feel like this is more of a report for class and less of a blog post.

It’s like Mr. Bollinger stepped to the front of the room.

“Now, boys and girls, I’m going to give you an assignment. I want you to write… a theme.”

As the class groans, Mr. Bollinger tells us that he wants 500 words on the history of Go-Mart.

So, just like I would in that situation, I Googled it. And just like I would after Googling most anything, I linked to the Wikipedia article and instantly became an expert.

Turns out, Go-Mart goes all the way back to 1914, damn near 100 years ago now. Three brothers with the apt surname Heater began the Heater Oil company. They sold different greases and oils, things very important to that old-timey world of clockwork machines and crazy steam-driven mechanisms.

Since they lived in Gassaway, WV, they supplied mainly to farms and businesses in central West Virginia and used nifty flat-bottomed boats to tow goods up and down the Little Kanawha River.

Within ten years, the company began opening plants along the railroad, shipping to greater distances than rivers would allow. But the Great Depression hit hard and one of the Heaters died, so the others decided to centralize the company in Gassaway.

By 1964, the company passed hands to the sons of the original owners, who continued to oversee the thriving business.

When self-service pumps where introduced in 1970, the Heaters set up the first fully self-service gas station in all of West Virginia, and they picked Shinnston as the home of the brand-new so-called “Go-Tron.”

I know, I know. It sounds like a really cheap rip off of Transformers, cheaper than Go-Bots or even the recent Transmorphers, but it’s not. Trust me, I’m an expert now.

Soon after, they rebuilt their Gassaway store into their first convenience store, and called it “Go-Mart.”

Personally, I prefer Go-Tron, but that’s just me. It makes me think of robots. Giant gasoline robots.

By the mid-70’s, there were 16 stores. That’s really nothing compared to the 1200 or so that it owns today.

As for the rest, as they say… it’s history. Go-Mart hasn’t been the center of any scandals, controversies or massive spills like Exxon and more recently BP.

Go-Mart still stands today as one of the larger gas stations around town.

And I’m glad. I usually get my gas there. Seems like it runs the best in my car. I know people think that’s generally a load of crap.

These days, Go-Mart is great for gassing up you and your car. Before I shipped out for my internship every week, I’d fill up and great a couple Apple Uglies for the road.

Mmmm… so sticky and delicious…

ghjr

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This is not included in the 500 word limit.

Thanks to Mr. Bollinger for the challenge and for standing in as the teacher for this post. He did an exceptional job.

So, yeah… gas stations are now in the mix.

It’s really hard to tell where these things are going, right?

SIDENOTE: Got to wondering on Monday the 13th why links hadn’t gone out to this yet. Turns out it didn’t post properly because of the internet outage last week. So, today is like a two-fer! Merry Krimbis!

Truly ghjr