To All My Blog Followers And Friends

My computer

I just want you to know that I appreciate the “likes” and the “follows” that have made my blogging experience exciting and fulfilling.  But, I’m going to take a hiatus from “pumping out the posts” for a few months.  You deserve to know why.

-I’m still exhausted from the 50 or so posts I published during our 13,000+ mile road trip.  It wore me out more than you can imagine.

-I’m still suffering from the vestiges of viral bronchitis that came on at the end of the trip and hasn’t let me go.

-I am going to spend time working on a collection of Adirondack based ghost stories.  I have ideas, I have titles…I’m just working on the endings.

So, stay with me on Facebook, and stay with me on my blog site.  When I’m back on WordPress with some blogs…I may get a brilliant idea, you never know….you won’t miss a thing.

Follow me on Instagram (patrickadk) and see that I can actually take a picture or two.

Take care and don’t unfriend me…I’ll be back with more and better stuff.

Love to you all……Pat


Reality Check: 66% Of The Road Trip Is Behind Us


[Organ Pipe Cactus]

We are roughly two-thirds of the way through our long and event-filled road trip.  As I write this, I’m sitting in a Starbucks, about 263 dusty, windy and empty miles from Tucson.  According to my four weather apps on my iPhone, it’s going to be nearly 80 F today.

We need warmth.  I’m still wearing fleece in the evening.  I’m not shocked by that fact.  As a science teacher for over thirty years, I know that deserts aren’t defined by temperature, but by rainfall.  And we haven’t experienced very much precipitation since it snowed on us in Silver City, NM.

This is the country of the cactus.  I bought a small field guide-book to the shrubs of the Southwest but I can’t keep up with all the varieties of cacti I have seen in the past week or so.

I took many photos of many succulents and I will spend weeks back in the Adirondacks, during our brief summer, identifying them and filing the images away on my 32 MB memory sticks.  I’m sure I’ll find plenty of uses for those close-up pics of spines and spikes, so threatening and so full of that dangerous “Hey, you…yeah you.  Come a little closer and test me…” attitude.  Those spines could sever your Femoral artery.

So, has the trip recharged me?  Has it calmed and satisfied my restless nature?  Am I happiest on the road?

Yes and No would be my answer.  The “bed” in our rPod is making my back feel post-operative.  The “shower” is located in the “bathroom”, but I’ve only used the shower head assembly once since we bought this RV in 2013.

I’m still restless.  I haven’t found what it is I’m looking for on the byways of the South and Southwest America.  I’m not even sure what I’m trying to find…but I have some hope, meager and thin, but filled with promise that there is a place in the Mojave Desert that may be the Jordon River of my creeping old age.  I’ve read about a place of healing and mental regeneration.  I’m heading there.

“I hear the aging footsteps, like the motion of the sea.

Sometimes I turn, there’s someone there…other times it’s only me…”

     –Bob Dylan Every Grain of Sand

I’ll let you know when I get there.  I’ll tell you whether I can wash away the sins of my youth and misspent middle age in the mineral springs of this, most mythic place.  I’ll even post photos.

I’ll tell you the truth about how to cure a cracked and flawed psyche.

And then, I’ll begin posting another set of blogs about our return trip.

Please follow me…read me…and “like” me on Facebook and/or WordPress.  Sometimes I feel I’m a disk-jockey, playing the tunes and spinning the vinyls…late in the night…but the broadcast tower is broken or no one has their radio turned on at that lonely hour…


[Saguaro cactus]

The Perfect Blog


I know with absolute certainty that he will find me.  There is no escape anywhere…ever.  And I have no one to blame but myself.

I moved from Antioch, Nebraska to New York City thinking, for a while, that there would be safety in numbers.  A face in a crowd of millions.  How foolish I was.  I should have stayed in Antioch and spent my last hours of life enjoying what I most wanted: fame and all its trappings.  Now, I could descend into the deepest mine shaft on the bloody planet and still be found.  I could spend a zillion dollars to hide at the bottom of a lunar crater…and it would only be a matter of time.  Spend another zillion on total cosmetic surgery to alter, most completely, my outward appearance?  It wouldn’t help to delay matters for a nano-second.  He would see straight into my soul and know me.

So, who do you think I’m running from?  A mafia hit-man?  Nonsense.  A plague?  Ridiculous.  Death?  Good guess, but I’m smart enough to know we all are going to die.  That’s for certain.  But for what I’ve done, mere death is just the prologue of a play that will be staged until the end of time.

All this for violating one of the Cardinal Sins.  Lust? Been there, done that.  Avarice? I’m an expert.  Gluttony?  Not really an issue, I’m fine with my weight, for a man my age.  Greed? Bingo!  Yes indeed, I wanted it all and then some.  But when you play those kind of games, and dance to that kind of music, you have to pay the piper at the end of the night.

I was well on my way with the talent the good Lord gave me.  I’m a blogger, you see, and I wanted to be the best…not just a contender.  I wanted to be the Mick Jagger of blogs.

You may not know this (if you’re not a blogger, yourself) but we are like rock stars.  There are groupies out there reading our blogs and finding ways to get close to us.  Being a super blogger is light-years ahead of that Nobel thing.  The groupies would email me comments and emails with not-so-subtle messages of what they could do for me.  Every man dreams of that kind of attention.  I’ve received emails sent by readers with internet names like KewpieDoll21, DawnOnU22, SmokinChick25 and SuzieUNameIt666.  And when I opened and read their messages, I could smell Jasmine, Pachouli or Rose Water right through the monitor.

I don’t know how much time I have, so I’ll tell my story to you with haste.  No offense, but I may have to leave abruptly.

My mind was working 24/7 on blog ideas.  I experimented with various styles, different voices and unsettling paces of narrative.  I was growing more skillful with each post.  Some of my blogs were extraordinary, if I do say so myself.  And I had the numbers to prove it.  My Twitter followers grew, my Klout score climbed like a bull market graph on Wall Street.  My Facebook friends were getting in line to have me “friend” them.  My stats, as shown in bar graph form on WordPress, looked like the Manhattan skyline.

Some of my blogs became legendary.  My most popular, in no order, were “The Cat Groomer”, “The Chimney Sweeps of Cincinnati”, “Alpha Males of Coney Island”, “The Urban Legends of Dental Floss” and the groundbreaking, “Hemochromatosis: The NASA Coverup”.

I won “Blogger of the Year” award three times.  Hollywood left messages on my smart phone asking for the rights to film some of my posts.  I guess it was a heady time, I wouldn’t know, my head was in the clouds enjoying the view from the top.

But I wanted more.  I wanted, no, needed more followers.  I wanted my Klout score to be higher than Obama and Justin Bieber.  I wanted it to explode and go over 100.

Ideas kept flooding my brain.  I couldn’t stop.

And then it stopped.

I awoke one crisp autumn day and headed to my MacBook Pro.  After four minutes of looking at my reflection on the blue/grey screen, I realized that I had no ideas.  I didn’t panic at first.  I took a walk stopping only once to stare at a dazzling red maple tree.  I headed back to the house, slowing down to smell a fading rose.

Five hours later the ugly truth hit me hard, like the time I asked a bar maid to please open my bottle of Bud Lite with her cleavage.  The bleeding stopped in about six hours and the number of stitches equalled my age.  But I wasn’t facing a serving girl this time.  I was facing something far more serious and harder to control.

I had bloggers block.

After a few days, my Klout scored dropped by ten points, my Twitter followers began to slip away, as did my Facebook friends.  My bar graphs on WordPress began to look less like Manhattan towers and more like a cheap motel in Waco, Texas.

I went to church and lit candles, not for the memory of my long deceased family members, but for ideas.  I sat in a dimly lit booth of a dusty strip club with my pencil and paper and waited for an idea…a grain of something.  All I got from the night was a bill for six Coors and two shots of schnapps (peppermint).

My spirits began to darken.  I grew listless.  I was restless and agitated and depressed and angry.  So I took a walk.

I passed under the last street lamp (there were only three in this town) and walked along the road.  Even in the dark, I could sense the clouds were building.  Then came a blinding flash-bulb of lightning and a clap of thunder that sounded so close that my hair stood up with the static and my ears began to ring.

I reached the crossroads and stopped.  I took a leak behind a small tree and then found a small dirt mound to sit on.  The rain was holding itself in the clouds above my head, but the wind came in short sharp gusts.

Then another flash of lightning, so bright I had to close my eyes.  The thunder nearly deafened me.  When I opened my eyes, I saw that I was not alone.

At the opposite corner stood a man wearing a black rain coat and fedora.  He was staring at me.  I saw no sign of a weapon so I didn’t feel fear for my physical being.  But something dark and dirty was covering my soul like used motor oil.  He nodded to me and began to walk to my side of the road.  I had an overwhelming sense he knew me and could see deep into me.  When he got close enough, I noticed an odd odor about him.  Something familiar.  Something unpleasant.  Something foul.

“Good evening Mr. Blogger,” he said.


“I hear you have some problems finding words,” he said with a voice that was a mix of Johnny Cash and Richard Burton.

How did he know this?  I told no one about my block.

“Your Klout score will soon be a single digit,” he said, without seeming to mock me. “Need help?”

“I don’t think so,” I said. “Things like this happen once in a while to us bloggers.  Ideas don’t grow like lawn grass, my friend.”

Despite meeting such a strange guy out here at the crossroads,the shock had worn off somewhat.  I felt more confident.

“I can help you,” he said with a certainty that took me aback.

“You want to be on top again, don’t you?” he asked.  I felt he knew the answer.

“I’m not sure what you’re getting at, mister.” I said.

“I’ll make it simple for you, okay? I know you’ve had a long night and you’re tired.  I’m kind of an advisor to people like you, people who need a little boost once in a while.  I provide services and goods, whatever you need, and you need an idea.  You’d like more than one idea, but I can assure you that I can give you the only idea you’ll ever need.  It’s the ultimate idea.  I’m kind of like the genii, granting wishes.  The exception here is that I need to grant only one wish to you.  I can give you what all bloggers seek.  I can save you months of toil and stress.  My friend, I can give you the Perfect Blog.  It will be unequalled.  No one will ever, ever match it.  You will go down forever as the creator of the Most Perfect Blog in History.  But, only you and I know that I was the one who gave it to you.  What do you think?”

“Yeah, well what’s the catch?  What’s your stake in this?”

“Oh, I wouldn’t call it a “catch” really, but there is a fee of sorts.  Nothing is free as you know.  As far as my “stake”, well let’s just say I’m not interested in the fame part of this thing.  I don’t need fame…of that kind.  Interested?”

“So, this ‘perfect blog’, where do I get it and how will I know it’s ‘perfect’?

“I’ll keep it simple, for you, Bailey.  After you publish the piece, I’ll guarantee you 1,000,000 followers on Twitter, they’ll have to reset the algorithms on Klout to accommodate your new standing.

Now, this is the talk I wanted to talk.  All I had to do was find out how I was going to walk the walk.

All this will happen before midnight tomorrow.  When you reach that number on Twitter, I will have fulfilled my end of the deal…and I get my payment.  You did read the fine print, I hope?”

I hadn’t.

“So, if I get you the numbers, I’ll give you about two weeks to enjoy the new position you will hold.  You will be the Greatest Blogger in the World.  Then, sometime soon after that, I’ll come to you to accept your payment.  By the way, I don’t accept American Express or any plastic for that matter.  The cost to you will not be coming from your wallet so don’t worry about being scammed for a few bucks.  That’s not the kind of person I am.  Have a good evening, Bailey.  Oh, I almost forgot, if you don’t get what I promise, our deal is off.  You can keep your numbers to enjoy.  I’ll just move on to someone else.”

“I’m a business man of sorts, so I’ll have to have your signature on this,” he said, holding a yellowed sheet of high-quality bond paper.  “Just here.”

Before I knew it, he had produced a strange-looking quill-like fountain pen.  He did something with the nib and it came to me with a drop of red ink hanging and ready to fall to the ground.

I signed.

“Just go home now and sit with your laptop…it’ll come to you like an erotic dream,” he said as he faded in the drifting mist.  I had failed to notice the fact that we were surrounded by a patch of fog as dense as cotton candy.  As I walked away, the taste in my mouth was anything but spun sugar.

I sat in front of the laptop for two hours and nothing was coming to me.  I began to drift into a neck bending nap.  I must have gone straight to REM because I began to dream.  I was standing on the steps of a great Victorian mansion.  A beautiful woman came out of the dark and climbed the stairs.  Her look, her scent and her eyes all spoke wordlessly to me.  She was inviting me up to her room.  I followed like the lap-dog I had become.  I never realized that her price for her time was to cost me so dearly.  I would wind up gazing through her keyhole while I was down on my knees.

I roused myself.  My fingers were already working away on the key board.  I proceeded to write the “Perfect Blog”.

My instincts told me that it was indeed ‘perfect’.  I put my finger on the PUBLISH button.  I knew that once I hit the key, I would be releasing a million black ravens out of my window.  I would never be able to call them back and re-cage them.

The instant I pushed PUBLISH, the room darkened…just a little, but just enough for me to notice that it was now different.  I felt like I was lying on a beach and a slick of oil from a foul leak in the seabed was washing over me.  No soap existed that was going to cut through this black fetid grease.  I was polluted beyond cleansing.  My head fell back against the leather of my Windsor chair and I fell into a deep dreamless sleep.

I awoke at noon the next day with a neck that felt so painful, I could totally relate to Linda Blair.  I checked my Klout score.  It had risen by sixty points.  I went to Twitter and saw that the number of followers had jumped to well over 900,000.  I had twelve hours until the deadline of midnight, when my deal would be fulfilled.

I went out for a beer and a tuna fish sandwich.  When I returned, my Twitter followers numbered 966,989.  I took a nap just to kill the time.  I went out for several more beers in the early evening and had a light dinner of fries, double cheeseburger and key lime pie.  When I returned to my apartment, I checked my numbers.  Twitter came with 986,666.  An hour later it was 994,567.

Okay, I think it’s time I came clean.  I’m not a stupid man.  I read widely and know a lot of interesting things about the world.  And, I’ve read enough theological books to know something about other worlds, too.  You see, I knew exactly what I was doing all along.  I knew who was offering me the sweet deal and I knew what the cost was going to be.  If you’re not with me here, read Goethe’s Faust.

If I wasn’t so smart, so very clever, I would have been in deep trouble.  But I knew how to outwit the old guy.  I would cancel my post on WordPress a few minutes before midnight thereby stopping the publication and halting the growing numbers.  Hey, over 900,000 Twitter followers?  I’m not greedy.  I’ll take what I got and run with it.  I was in a win-win situation.

So, at 11:55 pm, I clicked delete on the “Perfect Blog”.  I checked Twitter.  I was somewhat impressed to see that the total was now 999,998.  I was cutting it close but I was smarter than Mr. Darkness, himself.  I grabbed my jacket and headed for the door and intended to go out and find me some blogger groupies and get some action.

But, something went very wrong.  At the WordPress office, the guy whose job it was to obey the commands from the bloggers, was, at the stroke of midnight, in the office supply room having his way with the new intern.  By the time he got back to his control panel, it was too late.

Four seconds after I closed my apartment door,  a guy named Sid in Dover, Delaware read my blog.  That was followed by a young graduate student at NYU, named Debi and a teen hacker, who goes by the name GodFree14 from La Mesa, California.  That put me over the 1,000,000 mark.

About 8:00 am, after I closed the door behind Monica, and checked Twitter, I realized that I had lost.

I’ve been on the road for a week now.  I’m trying to find a place to hide from him but I know, in the end, that’s impossible.

He’s been right behind me for all these miles.

I can feel bits of my soul drip away like the end of an icicle’s life in spring.


I Was a Teenage Blogger



The road to perdition is paved with little things.

My own dark and tragic personal story begins with little pieces of paper.  Not small bits the size of confetti that are thrown out of windows on lower Broadway during “ticker-tape” parades.  No, larger slips white or yellow ripped from notebooks, steno pads and the backsides of shopping lists…once the items are ticked off.  I have even been desperate enough to use flattened toilet paper tubes.  These are hard to use unless you have a dark pen because penciled words are difficult to read on cheap cardboard.

Besides, they don’t use ticker tape machines on Wall Street anymore, haven’t for decades.  They just use baskets of shredded documents that probably contain incriminating evidence of fraud and widespread corruption.  Once, that is used up, say during a parade of returning astronauts from Mars or the unlikely event the Mets ever win the World Series, they probably have a warehouse full of illegal aliens, working for a fraction of the minimum wage, punching out thousands of chads from discarded voter registration forms or racing forms from Hialeah.

What was this insatiable need of mine to possess these small scraps of paper?  In a word…words.  I have this uncontrollable urge to write down my every thought, however mundane, goofy or obscene.  I started by keeping these notes in used large mailing envelopes from places like the Publishers Clearing House or the IRS.  Anything would do.  Old letter envelopes, the contents of which I would toss away, only to get to the blank, whiteness of the backside.  Soon, I had shoe boxes full of these bits of my writing.  When I wrote something really interesting (which, to me, was everything), I would stash the papers under my mattress.  I did this while most boys my age were using that sacred place to hide copies of Playboy or, better yet, National Geographic (the Holy Grail, of which is the much coveted October, 1953 issue with the article “The Native Women of Tongatapu Island”).

This accumulation of my thoughts and ideas began to grow to uncontrollable dimensions.  I was running out of hiding places.

That was when it occurred to me that these gems of wisdom were really not for my eyes only.  No, the world needed to see them.  So, I began to paste these scraps onto the walls of men’s rooms and construction site walls and car repair shops.  When the mechanic was bent over to check my parents oil level, I would attach one or two of my paragraphs to the wall behind the quarts of Quaker State motor oil, close to the STP cans and the Valvoline.  Someone would read them.

I was even bold enough to sign my first name because I was proud of these short articles.

But, it didn’t stop there.  As I grew into an older teenager, I began to tell stories and not just relate my thoughts.  I was actually writing fiction, like Dickens or, later, William F. Buckley.

My fame grew.  I would walk past a bus stop and there would be small groups of people reading one of my written pieces, but that was never enough.  I had to have more.  More attention.  More glory.  More places to paste my posts.

I was getting desperate.  Only the people of the mid-sized city in the mid-west where I lived knew anything about me or the things I felt the urge to share.  Once I was nearly arrested for hanging around the soccer field of an all-female private school and opening my trench coat showing my posts super-glued to my hoodie.  This was during goalie tryouts.

Then, the techno-miracle happened.  The Internet was invented.  K-Marts began carrying personal computers.  The need to own them began to spread like swine-flu virus throughout the world.  I purchased, at no small cost, an IBM desktop.  Social networking companies began to flourish.  I set up an account with AOL and was able to send out my writings to the dozens of friends.  My network grew and soon I had several million followers.  But I was always struggling to comprehend the language of the IBM.  They were calling it a “PC”.

Then, faster than you can say Steve Jobs, an alternate universe opened up for me.  I dropped my PC faster than a high-end prostitute would do once she found out you could only afford to buy her a Miller Lite.  I bought an apple, chewed things over in my mind a few minutes, and ordered a MacIntosh.  Now I was cooking with real olive oil.

Those who understand these things and control them, began calling the posts that people were sending out, “blogs”, which I felt was odd indeed.  The very sound of the term conjured up images of “black” and “fog” or “smog”.  Dark imagery for sure.

But still, I could never get enough.  Sending photographs became possible on something some kid started called Facebook.  I began posting pictures of flower pots and kittens but felt that was going to go out of style before I could grab an audience.  I backed away from dogs and cats in creepy sleeping positions on plastic sofas and started writing more.  (I had a moment of self-doubt when, after I posted a blog that I considered a profound meditation on the eternal struggle of human inequality,  I only got 17 “likes”.  A day later, some woman from Toledo posted a photo of her potted petunia and got 1,355 “likes”.)

That self-doubt began to take over my life.  Was anyone reading my stuff?  My Twitter followers remained at a constant number of 32 for months.  I got desperate and began a long slide down to the gutter, literally.

I pawned my iMac and took a cheap room over the Hi Ho Motel along state route 47 outside of Dayton.  The motel was just across the street from Ron Stokowski’s Girlie Galore Gentlemen’s Club.  The flashing red neon sign below the owner’s name read: HOME OF THE ORIGINAL POLE DANCERS!

Friends, the few I had, would stop by to see if I needed anything.  The kitchen trash was filled with empty bottles of Night Train Express and cheap tequila.  On the little night stand next to my bed was a half-empty fifth of Jim Beam and a crumpled pack of Chesterfield’s.

I had hit rock bottom.  The only lower place for me was the first floor.  That would be the motel lobby.  Outside the lobby was the street…the street of broken dreams…the street of red lights, cheap wine and even cheaper women.  I didn’t have enough money in my pocket to afford a shot of penicillin at the local clinic.

It was raining hard the night I began to think of the railroad trestle about a mile out-of-town.  I put my trench coat on, ready for the short final walk to last stop junction…when Pinkie walked into my room.  I called her Pinkie because she wore hot pink nail polish on the nine fingers of her hands.  The hue matched her lips and eyeshadow (and her hair and tattoo and 6 inch stilettos).

“Look at you,” she said, glancing around.  “Where’s your laptop?”

I pointed to the little table with the steno pad and BIC pen.

“Hey, big guy, Mr. Steinbeck…I’m talkin’ to you.  This ain’t the way its supposed to end.  Not for a guy with talent like you got.”

I stared at her two-inch lashes.

She poured a hefty hit of Jim Beam into a plastic tumbler with a Betty Boop logo on the side, in full color.

“Take this and get a grip.”

I put the mouthful away in one swallow.

“Now, get out there.  Get back into it, big guy.  You can do it.  You got the stuff.  I was down there too, once.  Lower than low. But look at me now.  I’m a regular dancer again.  That’s cause I got the stuff, just like you got the stuff”.

I began to wonder what stuff she was talking about, but I got her drift.  She was right.  I was too young to consider myself a failure…there would be plenty of time for that when I reached my sixties.

It had stopped raining.  There was a heavy fog, like a blanket, covering the suburbs of Dayton.  I stopped under a street lamp with my trench coat draped over my shoulder.  I took off my fedora and waved at Pinkie, who was standing on the balcony of the place I once called home.

I went back to the pawn shop.  The iMac was gone!  So, I took what they had.  I walked out with a Dell.  Life doesn’t get any meaner.  Soon, I was staying in a Ramada in Bayonne, but staring at an empty computer screen.

Maybe I had wasted my youth, my good ideas, my so-called talent too soon.  Too soon and too fast.  They say you were born with only so many blogs in your heart.  My heart was empty.

I walked into the church basement with my head held high.  When my turn came, I calmly walked to the music stand that was being used as a podium.

“Hi, everyone.  My name is Patrick and I’m a blogger.”