Posts by gwenflager

Surface Tension

“When we fill the glass with water, we notice right away that it can go over the brim of the glass without spilling. This is because of surface tension. Surface tension holds the water together and acts against what would normally cause the water to fall – gravity – because each molecule of water is attracted to the other water molecules around it. This attraction causes the molecules to stick together and avoid spilling down the side of the glass like gravity would like them to.

Unfortunately, the attraction between the water molecules is only so strong. As we add coins, the amount of water spilling over the edges is getting larger and larger until the water just can’t take it anymore! Gravity is pulling on too many of the molecules for their attraction to keep them up, and the water spills down the side of the glass.” – American Physical Society ©2020

Been thinking quite a bit about “surface tension.” I had my molecules spill down the side of my glass last week. I had driven the long way to the grocery store. I was looking for a spot at the far end of the parking lot, when “Life Line” by Harry Nilsson began to play. It was all I could do to park my car. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to the plea to “please send down a life line.” The gravity of life had become too much. The surface tension was no longer strong enough to hold us together.

I was overwhelmed with information – real and imaginary. I was disappointed in people in positions of power and authority who refused to act on behalf of the sick, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, the children and the list goes on. I was weary of trying to sort out the facts. I was saddened by the loss of life which I believe was facilitated and hastened by incompetence, greed and political ambitions.

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Ornamental Cabbage

The onion died. I may have over watered it. Over watering is a common occurrence in Houston. I purchased four little ornamental cabbages and a lavender about a month ago. As of this morning, the plants are thriving on the back porch. While the cabbages need a moist soil and the lavender prefers drier conditions, they are peacefully existing on the same porch, enjoying the sunrise and ending their day by the light of the moon. You ought not eat an ornamental cabbage. While eating it won’t kill you (or so I’ve been told), I hear the leaves are bitter. There isn’t enough salt pork in Texas to make that right.

Just because you give something a name, doesn’t mean that’s what it is. There’s a lot of name calling going on these days. You can read the vilification of men and woman on all social media platforms and hear it spewed from radio and tv stations, read it on websites and so-called experts’ Facebook and Twitter pages. And if you look a bit further, you’ll be informed by no one in particular who is to blame for your troubles.

I suspect many people do NOT comprehend what they read. I suspect many people do NOT understand what they hear. I know many people refuse to question the reliability or accuracy of information, whether in a headline or a stay-tuned breaking news teaser.

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Hail, High Water and One LONG Hot Summer

This about sums up Houston weather from May to October. Hail exploded in the Spring Branch area on May 9th. As we drove home from a theatre fundraiser, the skies darkened the further west we traveled. Pea size hail began to fall after we turned north. In another block, the pea size turned into marble size and then golf ball size hail. There was no running from the icy onslaught. It felt and sounded like we were in a rock storm. The windshield cracked before I  could pull into the driveway. The roof on the house didn’t fare any better. A new windshield and body work repair fixed up the car. A new roof took care of the hail damaged shingles.
September 19th brought flooding to my subdivision. Streets became impassable. The rain was eerily unrelenting.  The water rose quickly. There was nothing to do and no place to go. Within an hour water had reached the middle of the front yard. Neighbors on the low side of the street held their breath as the water climbed into their driveways and, in some cases, flooded their homes. I watched the lightning explode and felt the thunder rattle the house. Once again, Houston “flooding” made the news and once again, lives were up ended by the uncertainty of tropical Texas weather.

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Once Upon a Time . . .

Wait for it. . . . long, long ago . . . . in a place far, far away. And the story begins. I’ve been occupied with re-writes and re-writes of synopses and re-writes of character breakdowns. There were script submission deadlines for contests and then for good measure I sent various “submission packages” to a few theatres. I am a “long-winded” storyteller. There is no short version. There is no “cut to the chase” or “land the plane.” I may, in fact, have developed an even slower pace of sharing my Southern tales as my hair has grayed. Some things in life cannot be rushed. Like a good roux. You can’t hurry it along. Ask anyone from Louisiana.

And that’s were the thorn lives. Compressing a heart pounding, breath holding scene into an intriguing phrase or at best one sentence takes concentration and persistence. It is creating the sizzle. It is what a writer does. Isn’t it? My hope is that the reader of this one page synopsis will want to read more. That “more” means the full script. And with script in hand, the artistic director will not stop reading until she reads “End of Play.”

Then, the story begins.

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Hand Signals

I drove a tractor in January while visiting dear friends in Palacios, dumping buckets full of sand/gravel/rock to spread in the low spots washed out by too much rain. This small tractor had a front loader on it. I have driven a Mack truck and a Pontiac GTO, but never a tractor. Chuck, my tractor instructor, told me there were standard hand signals for tractors and other construction equipment. Who knew? I did a little research and, sure enough, “[h]and signals have been used by the military, construction workers and factory laborers as a means of communication when voice communication is not possible. Consistent hand signals are essential when people must work together in noisy, hazardous work environments. Hand signals can also make work safer in the agriculture industry.”* The hand signals I am most familiar with are those used on Houston freeways. For example, the Yukon salute is a favorite along I-10. Perhaps you know it as the one finger wave.

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