Copyright Notice

Copyright: Fred Robel, and Fritz365 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Fred Robel and Fritz365 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monster Mask

I wear a mask all year round
Like a growth or chronic disease
It's hard and black
Covered in QWERTY keys

It takes the socially awkward me
And transforms my interactions
Committing occasionally witty charming intelligent relations
As opposed to my naturally awkward social actions

Behind it my fingers can fly at 65 words per minute
In crystal clear train of thought stream
Much better than any halting words from my mouth
Which slowly chips away at any self esteem

Causing disconnect at that imaginary first meeting in person
With someone who has only known me from my words
As the playdate slowly turns into an awkward silence
Each soon beating a hasty retreat set to staccato thirds

On Halloween I can wear the mask in public though
Without being mistaken for some misshapen elephant
And everyone marvels at the person amongst them
Who seems so outgoing, elegant and eloquent

From behind this monster mask of mine
I could be anyone or anything quietly unseen
Making me wish that I could be like this always in person
Or that every day was another Halloween

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


The flaw beneath my fingertips
It seems so large when I am not looking
As the tips of my digits stroke an otherwise smooth surface
These ridges are as deep as canyons to me

But then I look
And the irregularities are quite shallow
Appearing as no more than a rough scribe line
Though a bit wider for sure

I perform due diligence
I reference my standards
I measure with calipers and depth gauges
Only to find it well within limits

Making note of this
Moving on to the next thing
Not letting it bother me
At least not very much

The next part looks pretty fine as I pick it up
Cradling it in my arms and giving it a stroke and a touch
Closing my eyes and letting fingers help my mind to see
The first little marks again seem as big as mountains to me

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Overtorque Epitaph

Bolt: 1/4 x 24 = 23 inch/pounds wet

That's what the maintenance manual said
And there was nothing special about this particular bolt

So with no further thoughtful thinkings
I applied some light oil to the threads
Threaded on the nut until the locking feature gave it's resistance
And applied the torque wrench carefully
Ratcheting the nut down until it mated gracefully with the washer
Pressing into the casting evenly


The Snap-On quarter inch torque wrench clicked quietly
Easily audible in the near silent cavernous aircraft hangar

That job done
I turned the page of the manual
Where a further instruction said:

Bolt: 1/4 x 24 = 100 foot/pounds (retorque)

I looked at that for a moment
For it seemed a bit excessive for a fastener of this size
But I don't write the manuals
That's what the pros do, eh?

The stockroom provided a bigger torque wrench
I clicked the proper socket onto the 3/8 lug
Set the rotating handle to 100 ft/lbs
Locked it down and set to torquing the bolt again

I half expected it to snap the shank
But it didn't

And after some light muscle flex on my part
The larger sized Snap-On torque wrench clicked
A little louder than the smaller one
But disturbing nobody in it's clickiness

That done
I read further down the page
Where a further retorque was instructed

Bolt:  1/4 x 24 = 800 foot pounds (retorque)

Now this bothered me
There was just no way that a quarter inch bolt could stand up to that
I mean
We are talking big torque here!
Just about the most that I'd be able to apply without some sort of help

But after double checking the reference and revision
I shook my head and walked back to the stockroom
Trading in my two smaller wrenches for the largest torque wrench we had
Which was a two piece affair
Consisting of two four foot sections
The lower part had the torque wrench guts in it
And I set the dial for 800
Installing the handle extension on it afterwards

Soliciting some help in the form of an able bodied assistant
Who removed her cape
But not her top hat
In a bow to bygone elegance

She held the head of the wrench in place
While I applied all my weight to the bar
Watching the bar assembly flex
Until a loud "SNAP" was heard

Well, that did it
We broke the bolt this time

But when she gently pulled the socket head off the nut
The bolt was still intact
As it should be

So reassured that all was as it should be
I referenced my maintenance manual once again
Looking for the next step in our installation procedure
And wouldn't you know it

Bolt:  1/4 x 24 = 12,000 foot pounds (retorque)

I was astounded
I was perplexed
This just couldn't be

I called over everyone else in the hangar
Who all discussed and quorumed over the issue
The final decision being
That with the help of two others
I would apply the torque while everyone else snacked on popcorn and watched

Griping over their brotherly love
I trudged back to the stockroom
Knowing that there was just no way..............

Only to have the stockroom manager hand me a Sweeney torque multiplier
Which just happened to have as it's highest setting:  Twelve thousand foot pounds

"This is surely doom!"
I cried to my comrades
As I wheeled the unit back to the plane

Who took another sip of their Cokes and waved me on
With reassuring thumbs up and smiles

Hanging the torque multiplier from the crane
My two assistants held the socket in place on the now tiny seeming nut
While I applied the breaker bar to the turning lug

The dial indicated 2000 foot pounds
And I felt my joints start to ache
Metal on the aircraft groaned on my behalf
Strange sounds emanating from the center of the fuselage

The needle inched it's way past 6000 foot pounds
My shoulder felt like it was going to come out of it's socket
The two guys holding the multiplier unit were sweating and shaking with fear
Out of the corner of my eye I saw the left main landing gear strut and tire compressing

Still I pushed the bar onward
Making the tool read 9000 foot pounds
And with a sudden leap of motion the right main landing gear tire rose up off the ground
Causing my peanut gallery of people to rush forward with straps
Which they man handled onto tie down lugs in both the wing and the concrete floor
Tightening them down firmly while I paused for a breath

They retreated back to the cheap seats
And I pushed the bar again
Harder and harder I pushed
Blackness pinched inwards on my vision as my blood pressure boiled
Making it seem like I was looking down a long tunnel
The only light at the end of which
Was the torque multiplier's dial
Moving slowly towards the goal

11,000 foot pounds indicated
And the concrete floor cracked
Sending a thunderclap into the air
Bursting my eardrums

But the floor held in place
So I didn't let up
Looking through the now pinpoint of vision left to me
Feeling blood dripping from my ear lobes
Hearing nothing
Seeing only the dial

The dial

The dial

The needle touched 12,000 foot pounds
My heart gave out

The breaker bar clattered to the floor like a falling sword onto stone
A crowd of onlookers roared it's approval
A stadium shaking sound that pro athletes live for

None of which I heard with my dead deaf ears
As I fell endlessly towards a stone epitaph

"Here Lies Wrench
He Wrenched To Live
He Torqued To Die
Keeping Old Iron
In The Sky"

Monday, October 28, 2013

Legless Swimming Beauty

There is such a thing as a mermaid
I met her just last week
Swimming round my boat in the bay
Flipping her tail
Diving down deep

Her hair streamed out behind her
Golden strands of hydrodynamic waves
Pulling on her pretty head
A constant drag for her
But brightening my day

Eventually I was able to lure her aboard
With the promise of hors d'oeuvres and cheap wine
And up onto the deck she flopped
Almost losing her bikini top
Then panting prettily for a short time

In time we chatted snacked and drank merrily
Watching the sunset disappear entirely
It took little urging for her to stay the night
So without further adieu off came her custom monoflipper
Revealing her shapely thighs
Which ended abruptly above the knee
In two softly creases nubs
She smiled up at me and held out her arms
I picked her up and carried her to the bed with me

My legless swimming beauty
Mermaid of my dreams

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Makes An Airplane Fly?

Just a tiny speck in the sky
Speeding across the hemisphere
Begging questions of how and why
As it travels in hours what used to take years

Flocks of geese strapped to the wings
Each wearing a little leather harness
Pulling for all their feathery hearts are worth
To which their harried honking does attest

Fifteen thousand hamsters
Within each humming engine enclosure
Running upon an industrial exercise wheel
Having been duped by the company brochure

Is it launched by a giant invisible hand
Pulled ever forward by a twisted rubber band
Spinning the propeller with deceptive notions
With clackers and shakers for added commotion

Seven angels upon each wing
Pushing the airplane forward
Propelled by invisible heavenly farts
Perpetually percolated with St. Lawrence's own tarts

Lifted by ladybugs
Clinging on by the millions
Counting their wingstrokes by the minute
Losing track somewhere in the trillions

Science easily explains it all
But it still seems like magic
Watching an airplane sail through the atmosphere
As if it were coated with nonstick

What makes an airplane fly?

Bernoulie's Principle

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ramp Up

Junior plodded through the knee deep snow
Looking for a way up the sheer concrete cliff towering above him
Cold soaked into his very bones
Creeping deeper the longer he walked

Finally after what seemed like hours
Junior spied a possible solution

A pile of dried leaves was swept up against the perpendicular cliff face
Each leaf ten times as long as his own body
With a long flexible stem

Junior stepped gingerly upon the one closest to him where it met the ground
It creaked and flexed beneath his foot
But it held him up with no problem

This gave him confidence to take another few steps along the brown leaf's surface
And before he knew it he was half way up the first leaf
Several of his own body length's high from where he had started

"This will totally work"
He said to nobody but himself
Grinning in the cold
With his breath making vapor as he exhaled

The pile of leaves did not quite go all the way to the top of the sheer wall
Rather it was spread out a bit
Much wider than was needed for Junior's climb

So with ant-like exponential strength
Combined with the relative lightness of the leaves themselves
Junior dragged and pushed
Pulled and lifted
With minuscule beads of sweat running down his face
Causing steam to rise off his head in the cold crisp air

Finally the leaves were stacked and sloped
Into a rough ramp shape
Easily climbable by the tiny man named Junior

Up the first leaf
Across the second
A short clamber across the third
And Junior disappeared over the upper lip of the concrete face

Not looking back

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Clipping Daisies

So low as to be called barely flying
With the landscape being eaten quickly by the windscreen
Like something out of a video game cinematic

If I could press a pause button
I could count the blades of grass
The petals of the flowers
See insects upon them with their shimmering frozen wings

But the airspeed indicator loudly proclaims 170 knots
And the altimeter indicating zero

I'd have to get that looked at
I idly thought
Because we are clearly at about 25 feet off the deck

A low hill loomed large in the distance
Causing me to gently pull back on the yoke
The well worn Cessna logo cast into the center coming a few inches closer to my belly

My ears detected a slight change in the twin propeller's pitch
As the sound raised up half a note
Changing from a natural to a sharp
A minor adjustment in a Skymaster duet

At the crest of the hill I spied a small clump of trees a few miles out
Located just to the left of my path

Imagining that I was flying an O-2 on patrol in Vietnam
I kicked the rudder and rocked the wings slightly
Aiming right for these enemy oaks
My thumb hovering over an imaginary red firing button which I'd flipped the guard up on
Ready to press down to release a volley of fictitious rockets from the pods on my wings

The uppermost leaves on the top branches slap at my belly as I pass overhead
Continuing my charge up the valley
Pulled forward by engine number one
Pushed faster by engine number two

If I've flown this route once
I've flown it a hundred times
This place felt like home to me
And if I screwed up a cue and flew into the ground?

Well I couldn't think of a better place for it

"A standard flight
Beautiful weather with light turbulence
No mechanical issues"
I'd write in my flight log an hour later

Then pulling from my pocket a slightly mangled daisy blossom

Laying it gently near the spine of the old hard backed logbook
Before closing it
Pressing the covers together firmly while wrapping it in a rubber band

I'd pulled the flower from a belly panel seam after I'd landed

A perfect little now-pressed memorial
From a perfect low level flying day

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Poet of Bologna

Even as you begin to begin
Your pencil to the paper
Nose to the grindstone
The pressure pressing down
The words on the paper a presence pushing back

But it's all inside your mechanical head
The pen and paper
The pressure and the beginning

Nothing more than electrical shorts within your mechanical mind
A stainless steel dream fueled by belts and steam
As your arm relentlessly slices bologna
Steadily and evenly
Stacking it up and sending it along
In an endless progression of cooked meat paste product

In your dreams you are a writer
A poet most mighty
Rhyming with ease
Wearing naught but a tighty whitey

The meat factory real is blocked away
Smelling of stray pink slime
Always in front of you
Yet many dimensions away

Ye mighty bologna slicing robot
Pause for a moment for a quick sterile wipedown
Beginning again at the press of a shiny red button
Cutting product mindlessly
While simultaneously worlds away parsing verbs and assorted nouns

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Angry Sundae

Two scoops of the hardest vanilla bean ice cream
Hammered into the bowl with feeling
Slowly melting flat spots on their bottoms
As I stand there with senses still reeling

The back of my neck is bright red
There is a vein in my forehead protruding
I have to feed this upset emotion
Lest lighter fare comes intruding

With warm syrup in my hand
I beheld my two scoops of ice creamed dismay
Slowly tilting and pouring out the fudge topping of rage
Grinning evilly as it melts into the surface making way

Cradling the bowl like an infuriated infant
I make my way to some grouchy looking furniture
Slamming myself into cushions of fury
And grimly begin shoveling in my cold sweet antagonistic mixture

But despite my worst intentions of feeding the beast within me
I felt the unmistakable feels of my ire melting away
Paired with the warming of the ice cream upon my tongue
Incensed annoyance retreating in a fancifully concise concessional display

In the end all I was left with was a pleasant sugar high
Plus a wonder that I'd let THAT bother me so very much
Along with undying thanks to that very angry sundae
With it's delicious chocolate vanilla bean flavorful delicate touch

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Big black cantilevered Max
Loaded with bent metal ammunition
Slid in with an audible click
Closed and spring loaded dire coalition

Stand back from the crimping clamping and stamping!

For this is certainly a Stapler Of Death

Monday, October 14, 2013

Daleks don't Trick or Treat

Upon opening the Tardis door
The Doctor spied a Dalek
Grasping a salt lick
Singing "Trick or Treat"
In it's metallic bleat
Showing that it knew nothing about Halloween after all

Friday, October 11, 2013

Calendar On Pause

The desk calendar still defiantly decreed it to be September
Clinging to it's month with fall colored claws
That reeked of back to school sales
And felt like the inside of a chipmunk hole ready for winter

Full of nuts

There was a doodle of a mushroom cloud on the 22nd
I'm not sure why
But I think it has to do with thinking of you
As that begats nuclear fueled reactions within me

Upon the 27th there are numerous hash marks
Like on a prison cell wall
Grouped in fives
Marking time spent in a nondescript day
Performing a job in common ways

Upon a spare square four days past the 30th
The name "Frero Gelan" is inscribed
Was there a meeting with this person for that day?
A day seemingly outside of time
Taking place after September
But before October

A mystery too big for this moment
When my brain needs to be doing other things
So I tear off the September page
And face October's blank staring rage

Eleven days late

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Birthday Wishes & Doubling Tyres - pt2

I have no recollection of why
But on my eighth birthday I small tyre fell from the sky
Bouncing twice and rolling to a stop at my feet

I picked it up and wondered at it
As it looked just like the ones I still had at home from last year
Except that it was eight inches in diameter
And the other five were only four inches across

I puzzled over it for only a few minutes
A newly eight year old boy  has little attention to spare
There are frogs to capture
All the better to chase the girls with

One year later
Upon my ninth birthday
Another tyre crashed to the earth from some unseen height
This time bouncing several times
Smashing a chicken coop
And scaring a cow before rolling to a stop and flopping onto it's side at my feet

I picked it up and looked at it
And it looked so familiar
Just like some other tyres that were back in the house
But this one was bigger by quite a bit

I carried it to the porch
Setting it next to the bench there
And going up to my room to get the other tyres

Returning in a minute with two smaller tyres
I laid them all on the wooden planks of the porch from smallest to biggest

I made another trip to my room
This time coming back with a tape measure
And applied it carefully to each tyre in turn

The smallest was four inches in diameter
The next biggest was eight
With the newest one at sixteen inches

The funny thing was that other than their size
They all looked identical in every way
With the same shiny chrome rim
The same tread pattern
The same lettering upon the sidewall

And I remember the one from last year
When I was over at a friend's house
How it came down and bounced before rolling to my feet

Now this year the same thing had happened
But here at my father's house
But exactly one year later

I looked up into the sky and thought to myself

Somebody up there must like me

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Birthday Wishes & Doubling Tyres - pt1

"Happy birthday!"

It was one of those birthdays
Where so many people wished me a happy seventh birthday
That I lost track of the whos whens and whats

The two things that matter here
Amongst the things I received as gifts
Was the small package of replacement tyres for my remote control car
And the lamp

The tyres were smallish and bouncy
And not having my car handy at the moment
I ended up childishly rolling and bouncing them about
Until all but one of them were stuck under the orange plush couch

The lamp was from my great aunt Francis
Who had gotten it originally from gosh knows where

It looked just like the small brassy oil lamps that genies pop out of in the cartoons

So naturally
At the first private opportunity
I rubbed it

Out came a genii
Whose name happened to be Pete

Pete had this to say to me
"My name is Genii Pete
You  may call me Pete
And I am here to grant you one irrevocable wish
After which you shall throw my lamp into the sea
And remember me no more"

I toyed with the rubber tyre in my  hands
And thought with my seven year old brain
Before blurting out
"I want a tire just like this one
To be thrown down from the sky every year on my birthday
So I can see how high it will bounce
And every year
I want it all twice as big as the year before!"

Pete nodded his head
His little spike goatee wiggling a bit
"It shall be so
Every year on this day at this time"

And with that
A tyre identical to the one in my hands whistled down from the sky
Bouncing four feet back up in the air
Before landing at my feet

I laughed and turned to thank.......someone
But there wasn't anyone there
Just a dirty old brass oil lamp on the ground
Which I had the urge to take to the ocean pier and throw into the water

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Half Lit Memory

Under the arcing arm of the Milky Way
Knee high swaying sage grass all around
A rippling pale ocean as far as the eye can see

Upon this stage when the moon and stars are just right
Love's long past memories materialize for one night

To twist and turn within one's arms and the breeze
A dance never forgotten
Steps that come naturally
Whatever the half formed spirit decrees

And it always ends the same
With a final almost felt touch of wispy fingers to cheek

Oh you, who is made of stardust

Monday, October 7, 2013

Blowups Happen

I looked at you
With my xenon bulbed flexible long eye
Spinning your parts past my view
First the top half
Then the bottom

Looking for all your flaws
Any erosion of your character
Cracks in your persona
Distortion of your world view

But I found none
Despite my best efforts
And I gave you a pass
Sending you along for a try out

Where you came apart
Spreading your parts in a fiery display
Frightening onlookers
A living nightmare in day

Now once again you lay before me
But this time in an autopsy situation
Where I get to try to find the flaw I missed
The little thing I should have caught
To prevent your self conflagration

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Day In The Life of a Choose Your Own Adventureman

Five AM finds me rolling out of bed
Shaking my brain awake
Everything a blurry fury
Until I find my glasses

Six AM finds me showered dressed and fed
Walking into the morning dark
Still wearing a carpet of stars overhead
To the twenty one year old car that is my everyday ride
Later I could legally take it out for a beer

Seven AM finds me falling into a wormhole
Which had suddenly appeared right where the old Bear Track Inn used to be
Swallowing my car and myself
All travelling at a sane 57 miles per hour

There was no way to mark time after that
For after crashing nose first into a copse of maple trees
My iPhone was cracked wide open
Sputtering sparks upon my old car seats
Setting them ablaze
With such speed that I barely escaped with my shoulder bag
Full of many useless items and papers

The more useful things it held were numbered three:
My lunch
My Leatherman
My extendable mirror

But I hadn't even inventoried the bag as of yet
Having just tumbled from the burning compact car
And flopping flat upon my back in a nearby clearing
Staring straight up at the sky
Which contained the aforementioned wormhole's South exit end

At least that's what I called it
As it was the end that I had popped out of
Like shit from the South end of a North bound chicken

I can't guess with any accuracy how long I stared up at the wormhole
It was full of stars
Twisting and turning along with clouds and curds and whey
Along with a million other things I had no hint of a name for
Their appearance being so alien to me

Presently I realized I was getting a headache from the chemical smoke
Which was still coming off of the remains of my car
So I rolled to my side and slowly gained my feet

Turning in a slow circle
Seeing mostly dense forest all around me
I realized that I was standing on a sort of path

Maybe it was just what I'd call a deer track
Or it could be a lightly traveled footpath

In one direction it appeared to head towards more open ground in the distance

In the other
It quickly disappeared into a foreboding dimly lit forest thicket

~If you choose to go towards the open ground, go to page 77~

~If the foreboding thicket seems like a better choice, run to page 89~

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Long New Old & Gone

Everything was new
The concrete was smooth and white
Glass so clear it was almost not there
Metal polished to a mirror sheen
Reflecting the sun in a blinding gleam
Cutting through the eye in a flash and bang
Time almost standing still
A Polaroid of perfection
With some Sharpie notation

Until one day everything was old
With cracks in the cement swelling in green eruptions
Windows smudged and dirty with "Wash Me" instructions
Corrosion pockmarking the alloys
Flaking apart with intergranular tendencies
Just as surely as with a deftly placed wedge by a woodsman
Time is still frozen but has clearly progressed
The instant photo of the day hanging yellowed from a tack
Marked in black writing of days long past

Then everything was gone
Dirt and grasslands drifted over man made rock
New crystal silicate joining the natural sands
Iron oxides and aluminum hydroxide blowing in the winds
Salting the soils of faraway lands
Poisoning and coloring the ground
Time is meaningless with none left to count it
A piece of film left sticking from the earth
A haunting unidentified image of a now fantasy ghost

Friday, October 4, 2013

Small Love Great Love

Witness the love of Great and Small
Small loves Great
Great loves Small

What do you see in me?
Small asked of Great

I see everything I do not in myself
Great declared in earnest

Truly though
The truth of the matter for Great
Was that he had never had a choice
For loving Small was his fate

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Programming Reality

No time like the present
To send this one home
His voice is untuned and cracking
Standing up there all alone

Is this reality or fantasy?
It's so hard to tell these days
Trying to win prize or contract
By singing 
By dancing
Or a million other ways

The best is when they get mad or cry
As the crowds enthusiasm swells then wanes
Earning their five minutes of fame
Far easier than painting a bunch of soup cans

In the end our attention moves on
To the next ugly person with a lovely voice
Holding our collective breath for the next big thing
As if we really have a choice

New thing new thing
Shiny like a penny
Leap into my eye
Fill up my ear
Razzle me
Dazzle me
Please bring a tear

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cæcus Concisor

I see the woodcut so clearly
Traced by my fingers in the darkness
Relation to the woodblock just so
Gravers chisel cutting the lines
That are so vibrant in my mind

Sunlight unseen upon my face
Warming the skin and bringing a smile
As my hands continue their work
Inversing the image in second nature
Scribing and cutting now almost done

Blowing the wood chips away with one breath
I drag my fingertips across the block
Seeing the image in it's reversed entirety
Not my best work but certainly not my worst
This simple advertisement for the local tannery

Nothing left now but to ink it up and do the sample
To be handed off to my secretary for a visual inspection
Black ink rolled on smooth and thin
I press it to the thick paper and hold it up
Hanging now before my sightless eyes

Only seen as through a glass darkly