SoCS — Liquewhat?

9CDAFFA8-6128-493A-9250-B68B2673EC67Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt this week challenges us to find a word that starts with “liqu” or has “liqu” in it and to base our post on that word.

The word I’m using for this prompt is “liquefaction.” You may not be familiar with the word “liquefaction” if you don’t live in an area that is prone to earthquakes. I know that when my wife and I first moved to San Francisco about a decade ago, neither of us had even heard of that word.

The real estate broker that we were working with advised us to avoid looking at houses or condos built in “liquefaction zones.” I misunderstood what he said and asked him a really dumb question. “Why,” I asked, “should we stay away from juice bars?” I thought he had said “liquification zones,” and related it to sticking fruits or veggies into a juicer to liquify them.

I soon learned that liquefaction is “the process by which saturated, unconsolidated soil or sand is converted into a suspension during an earthquake.” The effect on structures and buildings in liquefaction zones can be devastating, and it is a major contributor to urban seismic risk.

I also learned that there are many neighborhoods in San Francisco that are designated as liquefaction zones. If you own a place in such zones, you face the prospect of major damage, tilting, and even collapse in the event of a significant earthquake.

Yikes! I knew about flood zones and fire zones and even landslide zones. I had briefly lived in what is known as “tornado alley,” as well as in areas frequently hit by hurricanes. But liquefaction zones were new to me.

Anyway, my wife and I ended up buying a place in a section of the city that is not considered to be built in a high-risk liquefaction zone. Still, in the event of a significant earthquake in San Francisco, I’m pretty sure we’re going to be bending over and kissing our asses goodbye.


SoCS — The Wingman

4F874038-F332-4568-85A6-16D0CDC66F2C“Hey man, you’re supposed to be my wingman.” Craig said to his best friend. “Instead, you’re cramping my style.”

Clearly disappointed by Craig’s assessment, Richard said, “Why would you say that, Craig? You know I wouldn’t deliberately cramp your style.”

“I don’t know, Rich,” Craig said. “Your head isn’t in the game tonight. Your timing is off. You’re flubbing your lines.”

“No worries, Craig,” Richard promised. “I got your back, man.”

Richard headed over to a corner of the tavern and waited for the magic to start. Within a few minutes, he saw Craig start up a conversation with an attractive brunette. Richard waited the designated three minutes and then headed over to where Craig and his new friend were talking.

“Hey Craig,” Richard said, “I thought I recognized you, buddy. Man, how long has it been?”

Craig mocked a surprised look. “Wow! Richard. When did you get back into town?” Craig gave Richard a man-hug. Then he turned to the brunette, who Richard saw was even more stunning up close than she appeared from across the room. “Where are my manners?” Craig asked. “Tammy, let me introduce you to Richard. He and I were best friends in high school.”

Richard reached out to shake hands with Tammy, but she moved in, pressed her body tightly against his and gave him a warm embrace. “Any friend of Craig’s…” she said.

Richard blushed and backed away a little. He knew it was his turn to say something, but he was flustered and couldn’t remember his next line.

“Oh, uh, so yeah,” Richard stammered, “Craig here was the man back in the day. He lettered in all the sports, got into the National Honor Society in his junior year, got elected to president of the student council, and was voted most likely to succeed in our senior class. He was the big man on campus.”

“That is impressive,” Tammy said. “What about you, Richard?” she asked. “What’s your story?”

“Richard hung out with me,” Craig said before Richard could respond. “I let him share my aura, you know. He was like my shadow.”

“I see,” Tammy said to Craig. Turning back to Richard, she asked, “Well, Richard, since it appears that you haven’t been shadowing Craig since high school, what do you do now?”

“Me? I’m a programming team leader over at Excelsior Automation,” Richard answered. “It’s not all that interesting, though, compared with my man Craig. He’s an actor.”

Tammy turned her attention back to Craig. “Have I seen you in anything?” she asked.

“I’ve done some commercial voiceovers and had a couple of small parts in a few indy flicks,” Craig answered. “I’m between gigs at the moment, but my agent is lining up a few things that look promising.”

Tammy looked at Craig, a strikingly handsome, charismatic young man who exuded confidence. Then she looked at Richard, who was pleasant enough looking but clearly uncomfortable.

“So you’re the wingman, right?” she said to Richard, whose face turned a deep red. She grabbed Richard by the arm and said, “Let’s get out of here, Richard. I think your friend Craig is cramping your style.”

Written for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill. The prompt is “cramp.” Image credit: Ian Francis.

SoCS — Dare to be Different

When I was in the fifth grade, I dared to be different. Most of the other kids in my class were using ballpoint pens. Not me though. My choice of writing instrument was a fountain pen. A classy Parker fountain pen.

It was one of those fountain pens where you inserted a small, frosted plastic tube filled with ink (aka, the cartridge) into the barrel of the pen, and then screwed the nib onto the barrel. The inside end of the nib would penetrate the cartridge so that the ink in the cartridge’s reservoir would flow down to the nib’s point when pressed onto the paper. It was a magnificent piece of engineering.

And to further differentiate myself, I used turquoise ink. Not blue, not black. Turquoise!

My homework and my in-class papers were easily recognizable because of the color of the ink I used. No one else in my class used turquoise ink. No one else dared used turquoise ink.

I was a weird kid in the fifth grade. Fortunately, I had grown out of my turquoise fountain pen phase by the time I entered the sixth grade.

Written for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill. The challenge this week was to write a post using the word “ink.”

SoCS — Are You Talking To Me?

For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill, the challenge is to write a post starting with “psst,” or any other attention-getting noise or word.


I looked around and saw a shady looking guy standing in the shadows.

“Are you talking to me?” I asked.

He motioned to me to come over to him. Against my better judgment, I moved toward him. I could smell him even before I got close enough to see his face clearly in the dimness.

“What?” I asked.

“Dude, I’m in a bad way,” he said. “Fallen on some hard times, you know. I could use some cash.” He reached a skinny arm out toward me, a small piece of paper between his thumb and forefinger.

“What’s that?” I asked, pointing to the paper he was holding.

“It’s a Powerball ticket, dude. It fell outta some dude’s pocket. It’s for tonight’s drawing. Could be worth a lot of dough,” he said. “It’s got ten picks on it. Cost you twenty at the liquor store. But gimme five bucks and it’s yours.”

I couldn’t remember the last time I played the lottery, but this was too good a deal to pass up. He and I made the exchange, his Powerball ticket for my fiver.

“Good luck, dude,” the guy said as he slinked back into the shadows.

When I got back to my place, I threw my keys and the Powerball ticket on the sidebar in our foyer and greeted my wife, who was fixing dinner in the kitchen. I told her about giving some creepy homeless guy five dollars in exchange for the lottery ticket. “You’re nuts,” she said. “You know he’s just going to use it to get booze or drugs.”

“Yeah, that’s probably true,” I said. “But you never know. We might have a winning Powerball ticket.”

My wife woke me up the next morning, whispering into my ear, “Psst, I just checked the Powerball ticket.”

“And?” I asked.

SoCS — Spelling Matters

The group of about a hundred armband-wearing radicals gathered in the armory awaiting the speech by their local organizer. When he finally arrived, the audience members swarmed around him, shaking his hand and encouraging him before he got to the podium.

The attendees were silent as the speaker started talking. “My fellow Americans, I sincerely thank you for coming out on this very warm night. The only way for us to live in harmony with our American brothers and sisters is to sound the alarm. Those who wish to do us harm want to take away our rights and destroy the very fabric of our beloved county.”

After a large round of applause, the speaker continued. “Don’t allow yourself to be charmed by the rhetoric of the east coast globalist and elitists who want to disarm you with their flowery words. You must raise your arms toward the sky stand tall against the harmful ideas that would take away our God-given right to bare arms.”

Loud cheering ensued and the speaker raised his arms to quiet the crowd. “So before you go back to your homes and your farms tonight, in an act of solidarity and to demonstrate our harmoneous commitment to our cause, I command you to bare your arms!”

At that point, throughout the armory, the sounds of ripping fabric could be heard as the hundred attendees tore off the sleeves of their shirts and bared their arms.

An attendee in the back of the auditorium tapped one of the exuberant men on the shoulder and said, “What’s going on? I thought this was a rally to support our right to bear arms.”

“Oh no,” responded the other guy. “The rally for the right to bear arms is at the high school. This here is the rally for the right to bare arms.”

“Huh?” said the first guy.

“Spelling matters,” said the second guy.

Written for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill. The challenge is to write a post using the word “arm,” either as a stand-alone word or as a word with “arm” in it.