Our House

So many people have horror stories to tell about their childhood. Mine was Disney-like.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Our House.” What are the earliest memories of the place you lived in as a child? Describe your house. What did it look like? How did it smell? What did it sound like? Was it quiet like a library, or full of the noise of life? Tell us all about it, in as much detail as you can recall.

My parents used to let me do everything. When I showed interest in piano, they bought 2 for the house. They supported every idea I had and provided me with the stuff I needed to pursue my talents. I have to admit I am not even as kind to my own kids when it comes to things they aask FOR. I need to be more like that. Our house had a lot of wood in it. It smelled of blueberry muffins and turkey. We had a pool in the backyard that I loved to swim in. That’s why I’m so glad I have a pool now at my own house.

We had some antique furniture and a lot of country kitchen decor. It was the 80’s I recall the most, with all their furnishings and regalia. If you watch the show “Family Ties” with Michael J Fox, you’ll see what my house sort of looked like. I am very grateful for my childhood memories. Of course they weren’t all good but I focus on the positives.

Mirror Mirror, On The Wall

Starting with Geocities websites in 1993 and continuing today with WordPress blog software, I’m a blogger who loves the craft and is dedicated to constant improvement, creation, and innovation.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall.” Think of your blog as a mirror: what does it reveal? Consider your blog name, theme choice, design, bio, posts… what does every element tell you about yourself?

UntitledI started making webpages way back in 1993 through Geocities homepages. I learned about HTML through a site called Dynamic Drive along with the help pages at Geocities. It was like blogging in that people would collect photos and post them to their pages. Unfortunately though, when your content changed, it was lost forever. There were newsgroups that functioned like blogs. The string would remain though the “posts” bumped them down. After a while with Geocities, a friend online turned me on to Blogger (Blogspot now owned by Google). I started reviewing movies I’d seen on that blog and emailing the updates to family and friends. Now nothing would be lost.

Fast forward to 2005. There was no wordpress dot com but wordpress dot org was thriving in it’s infancy as an open source platform. There were exciting themes and plugins and I learned to upload to my wp-content folder via ftp. I could now fully control the look of my blog and that was highly exciting. I made friends online and some I still interact with today. There was a “Sandbox” theme competition that I was drawn to but didn’t enter. I learned tons about WordPress though as I studied those amazing themes. It was a culture that has drastically changed. It was a more tech group and less of a writing group. WordPress dot com now is more writing and less tech. Sometimes I miss the old that has gone. I made all sorts of blogs: education, teaching, mental health, quotes, movie reviews, a personal blog, a strict diary, the list goes on. The blog domain I started with was rileycentral.net. I had an idea I could host blogs for everyone in my extended family. That never panned out but I’ve had fun playing with my blog ever since.

Today, my blog is simple. I like that because my ideas shared are not. I want to present them in the most digestable presentation possible. I have 1) the title for a label, 2) a tagline that includes my full name for search engine optimization. I’ve actually received solicitations for ads that address me as “Mr. Central.” lol. I want to make my name searchable and findable. Riley Central just means like “Grand Central Station” only my last name replaces Grand. My life is pretty busy and my blog is a central place where all of it comes together. 3) After the tagline there are Genericons for some of my social media profiles, in effort to invite readers to connect with me on their chosen networks. 4) I have a photo of a cub reporter typewriter. This artwork was lifted from the first theme I ever used with WordPress aptly titled: “Cub Reporter.” It is highly nostalgic and symbolic to my blogging personality. 5) I put my latest Gravatar here so my readers can see what I look like. I am very personal about my blogging work. 6) Finally, my WordPress theme is twentyfifteen. It has a nice wide sidebar and I llike the font. It allows for a large featured image. I think the history I have shared shows a mirror of me and who I am as a blogger. I’ve been doing it a long long time and plan to continue playing with blogging until I get too old to, which is hopefully never! If there is one thing I have learned, the learning never ends.

Favorite Fall Memory

Every year my family goes to the pumpkin Patch in October. It’s my favorite fall memory for today’s journal challenge.

In response to Journaling Junkie’s October Journal Challenge: Favorite Fall Memory October 8.


Too Soon?

Global communication has exploded with the internet but the basics of successful jokes are the same: consider the context where you tell it and the audience.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Too Soon?.” Can anything be funny, or are some things off limits?

Multiple meanings.Humor is a release. It can function as a coping or therapeutic device. I like to think I’m a humorist on my blog, I certainly have done my share of offense. There are so many contexts one must consider when deciding if a joke is a appropriate. For example, think about a joke told at the Laugh Factory about Fifty Shades of Grey vs. a joke told to a 4th grade class about a turtle. Obviously, one has to draw a distinction and choose ones topic in accord. I think anything is fair game for a joke as long as it is in the right context. The recent college shootings are all over the internet. I was doing a search that started with “Who is” the other day and three suggested searches with massive hits popped up. They all basically said “Who is the college shooter.”

With the horrific shooting being so recent and so tender emotionally, a joke where the victims are being heckled would be flat out wrong. I think most anyone would agree with that. However, a joke that pokes fun at the shooter or shooters in general might go over well. I discussed this prompt with my wife over breakfast and she brought up ISIS as a taboo. I disagree. Perhaps in the right room with the right party being made fun of, it could work. When it comes to communication, context and audience are the most important consideration and if you’re smart enough and take enough time with your joke, anything goes.


Flangiprop! is the term used for worldwide technology that outdoes America through creativity and innovation. It happens a lot more than you’d think. I’ve included a terrifying video of a flangiprop! invention.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Flangiprop!.”
Invent a definition for the word “flangiprop,” then use the word in a post.

Flying-DrawbridgeThis is the famous “Flying Drawbridge” in the Netherlands. Instead of a regular drawbridge allowing the tall ships to pass down the river, a weighted arm lifts a small section of the road above the masts while cars wait at a signal for a given amount of time. When the boats pass, the chunk of street is levered down. We should be learning from Flangiprop technology. When creativity and open minds are rewarded in America, we can be coming up with marvels such as this monster street lifter. We are making strides in some areas but America is not where it could be in competition with flangiprop worldwide. Make it a game, make it a directive, but make it better than the flangiprops out there. Here’s a video to terrify your day.

Sculpt Me A Union

I’d ask a sculptor to carve a “union Strength” arm to represent my 2015. For #ThrowBackThursday I’m reposting this article from my teaching website I wrote in January 2015.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Immortalized in Stone.” Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing or event from the last year of your life. What’s the statue of and what makes it so significant?

16414431556_9695483388_zI am involved in my teachers union and I have to say it is a challenging endeavor sometimes. You are sending out the message that your troubles are the fault of the district. As someone who is always trying to not blame, and failing most the time, I sometimes struggle with this. Unions, like any political organization, can fall into the trap of dehumanizing the district employees. In my district, we have over 300 teachers and about 6 district employees making decisions that affect parents, students, and yes, teachers. My goal in my union is not to attach people but rather show the value of a union. Parents in my district value teachers, they show that by their numbers when they come to our meetings and get involved in organizing with us. I want to be a force that helps their families and specifically their children. Name calling and blaming will only get people riled up for a moment. To gain real buy in from parents, we need to show them what’s in it for them. Continue reading Sculpt Me A Union

A Lifelong Pursuit

Women are the saving grace of humanity. Unfortunately, they are an enigma to us men. We can watch and wait patiently in hopes of gaining understanding. But understanding our lady is a lifelong pursuit.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Lazy Learners.” Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t gotten around to? What is it and what’s stopping you from mastering the skill?

Whether it was my first crush in grade school or after the first few months being married, I’ve always wanted to understand women. I love my wife, she takes sych good care of me and our kids. It would seem the things she does along that path make perfect sense but they don’t always. It seems like men are easier to figure out. They have primal motives. Women are different and that intrigues me.

There is a sort of permeating sadness in all the women I have known. It’s as if they carry an extra burden in this life. That sadness makes them beautiful. Sometimes we men will do all we can to reach out and cure their sadness but we are not usually successful. I think the human race relies on that sadness for balance. Greed, hatred, bigotry, racism … these are all sins that cause wars and strife. Women carry a place for the lost of the world in their hearts. This is partially why we find them beautiful. I learn a little more each year I am married. I wait and watch and discover. Understanding a woman takes time and an open mind the likes of which I never imagined before I got married. It makes me better being married to a wonderful woman but I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand why. I’ve always wanted to understand women but the closer I get, the further it seems.

Rain Streaked Wood Bridge

imageThis is a bridge to somewhere. The rain has stopped, making it even more inviting to a traveler.

This post is a stream of consciousness reaction to a photo.

I imagine a home lay beyond it, a place to belong and to become. It’s a grownup wilderness beckoning. I don’t think there is anything as peaceful as the rain. Sometimes I’ll go through my Tumblr subscriptions looking for inspiration. Tonight I found this one and I find it very beautiful.

I like to be away from the madding crowd. It’s not that I hate people it’s just that I feel them too much. When I am around Sarah and my family, my guard is down and I feel relaxed. I love hotels as much as any world traveler but sometimes a rained-on wood bridge is the path to my rest and creativity. I love photos like this, they take me away.

The Traveling Kind in My Mind

Write an excuse for not working or completing a goal today. Vexing Point’s Writing Prompt #55.
writing-prompt-55-excusesFor creativity’s sake, the mind needs rest. The rested folks are stronger, create better and more interesting solutions that set the world on fire. The careful parcel work on a Google calendar that is bursting with ascii numbers and letters for no one to see. What good are all those scribbles 1’s and 0’s when your dead. Okay so I may not die if I pursue goals today but something else might, the traveling kind in me.

The Traveling Kind
Song by Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris
We don’t all die young to save our spark
From the ravages of time
But the first and last to leave their mark
Someday become the traveling kind
In the wind are names of poets past
Some were friends of yours and mine
And to those unsung, we lift our glass
May their songs become the traveling kind
We were born to brave this tilted world
With our hearts laid on the line
Be it way-crossed boy or red dirt girl
The song becomes the traveling kind
There are mountains worth their weight in gold
Mere mortals dare not climb
Come ye gypsy, sainted, sinners both
And claim them for the traveling kind
When the music slowly starts to fade
Into the light’s last soft decline
Let us lie down in that evening shade
And rest among the traveling kind

Yeah that. So anyway beatnik brethren stuck in normal jobs: tonight I shine. I’ll be back at work tomorrow brighter than the rest of them. For now I’m the traveling kind in my mind.

The Proper Time to Name a Soulmate

Through the ages there has been this idea that finding your soulmate will solve all your personal problems. It’s a false notion. I married well and my wife is definitely the best I ever had! Thank goodness she stooped to my level and said “I do.” For that I feel qualified to write this today. I’d like to give my take on a soulmate. I certainly feel I have found mine after 13 years of marriage (on 11/9/2015).

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Yin to My Yang.” How do you define the term “soulmate,” and do you believe in the existence of such a person — for you?

imageA soulmate is one who makes you better. You go through your teens and twenties learning who you are. After that I think is the best time to start thinking about a soulmate. People say they know the “one” before then but as for me, it would have been darned near impossible. I et my wife when I was 33 and she was 25. The age difference showed up here and there as a communication block but we aways worked through those times. Now it is almost never a concern.

When you decide to marry someone, you should know that labeling them “soulmate” is not the grand panacea or any marital ailment. I think of the soulmate as the one who can fight fair with you. Yes, there is a lot of fighting in marriage, I don’t care what people may say to contradict me. You choose to be with someone over and over until you die. At the end of your life is when you can look back and rightfully claim someone was your soulmate and not before. It’s a choice not a fairy tale. But, if you find someone who can fight fair with you and loves you enough to learn to fight fair, it can e the most wondrous sharing experience of a lifetime.