100% Brain Function – Still Not Enough

The procedure worked as advertised. Final testing confirmed his brain functioned at 100% capability. He could process information at an amazing rate. There would be some changes at his home to accommodate his new abilities. Faster bandwidth, more screens, more tablets, more phones, more books, the list grew exponentially as he focused on it.

The doctors told him his need for sleep would diminish rapidly. He would learn to put portions of his brain into idling mode when not fully engaged to allow rest. He would master his metabolic rate and restore his body parts without medications. Sickness and disease would become a thing of the past.

He thanked the medical team and drove home. His wife met him at the door with a frown.

“Where are the groceries?” she asked. “Did you remember to pick up my dry cleaning?”

“Um” he responded.

“Did you at least stop at the bank and withdraw cash for the weekend shopping?” she went on.

“Um, no.” he mumbled.

“Still useless I see. I don’t know why I agreed to let you get a brain upgrade. It doesn’t seem to have helped much.” she muttered. “Twelve more days.” she commented.

“Twelve more days and what?” he asked

“Twelve more days until you daughter’s birthday, you idiot. Did they really do the upgrade?” she remarked. “And don’t forget about my mother.” she went on.

“What about your mother?” he asked, cringing.

“I swear. If you didn’t have the stitches and medical paperwork I would think you went somewhere else. You didn’t have a reverse procedure done, did you? Did you donate brain cells instead of getting them all activated?” she demanded.

“Of course not. I got fully activated and tested to confirm it.” he replied holding out the charts.

“Whatever. We’ll have to see if you’re any better after an adjustment period.” she growled.

He didn’t answer. His hopes for humanity were slipping. He had planned on solving the major problems of the world. Hunger, disease, sea level changes, desert growth, famines, clean energy, were just a few items on his personal list.

Here he was at his own home still unable to keep up with his wife in conversation. She changed topics too quickly. Illogical leaps that were completely untraceable to him. The doctors had assured him of 100% capability. It still wasn’t enough.

Let’s assume we do, in fact, use only 10% of our brain. If you could unlock the remaining 90%, what would you do with it?

Connecting Random Dots

A co-worker’s son enjoys drawing portraits. His favorite person to draw is Morgan Freeman. He says it is the complexity of the man’s face with all the dots and wrinkles that adds extra challenge to the task. Sometimes they try to imagine constellation patterns taking shape on Mr. Freeman’s face. What if he were a living star map?

Today’s random quote from page 82 of a nearby book is:

“For example, he retained the custom of calling corporate meetings to order by quoting from the Biblical book of Isaiah.”

Can you imagine doing this?

“All right people. Let’s come to order. Our scripture reading today comes from the book of Isaiah, as usual.”

People will oppress each other—
    man against man, neighbor against neighbor.
The young will rise up against the old,
    the nobody against the honored.” Isaiah 3:5

“Remember to sign up for leadership and sales training by Friday. The theme is maximizing opportunities found in chaos.” the manager continued.

Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.

Well, That is Random


Yellowstone Tree by Tim Pepper


The tree grew where the wind blew steadily most days.
The constant pushing force induced a permanent lean.
The rolling hilltop provided an uneven plane.
Despite difficulty, the pine grew tall and strong.

Random image prompt

Pick a random word and do Google image search on it. Check out the eleventh picture it brings up. Write about whatever that image brings to mind.

I Would Argue Your Side, but You Are an Idiot

Flex your thinking. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. See it from their point of view.


I like the rigidity of my thoughts, thank you. You can keep your foot fungus to yourself. I don’t want to have to install an abdominal window.

I’m reaching a point in my life where I just don’t want to change my mind. I think I’m becoming that cranky old man who shouts at kids to get off his lawn. (Well, I would be that guy if I cared about the lawn. It’s just grass after all.)

Occupy Wall Street? Whatever happened from all that? Did anything really change? Did the protesters get prosecuted for the crimes they committed on one another at their sites? Whose thinking got altered? Not mine.

Media bias? Sure it’s out there. Story distortion? Absolutely.

“Hands up, don’t shoot” was fiction.

“I can’t breathe” another distortion.

“Stand your ground” not applicable to the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case no matter how much it was trumpeted in the press. The facts did not present that as a valid defense, so why did the media bring it up at every opportunity?

Keystone Pipeline? Where’s the debate of the full situation? Pipeline versus rail cars would seem to be a major point to discuss. The two are not even mentioned in the same articles. Safety record of rail cars versus pipeline spills? Good luck digging up the statistics. What we are presented are the numbers for how much oil would flow through the pipeline each day. Where are the corresponding stats for how many rail cars that would take for an equal amount?

Excuse me now while I go check my blood pressure.

Pick a contentious issue about which you care deeply — it could be the same-sex marriage debate, or just a disagreement you’re having with a friend. Write a post defending the opposite position, and then reflect on what it was like to do that.

Getting a State Trooper’s Attention

The scene could have been on a postcard. The red barn crested the top of the green pasture with the fifty foot high white concrete block silo in the center. The view stunned drivers as they drove up the country road. Cars emerged from the cover of the trees into an open space where the sunlight and low stone wall provided an image many stopped to capture on film.

The four teenage farm boys decided to have some fun. They constructed a dummy from an old pair of jeans, flannel shirt, bleach bottle, and straw hat. Filled with hay and tied together with twine, it looked like a lazy man napping in the sun. Too boring. They needed more action.

One of the brothers suggested using the silo. They would hoist the dummy on a rope and drop it as cars made it to the viewing point. The others agreed and put the plan in action. One got the twine rope they had made. At over 200 feet long, it was more than enough.

Next, they argued over who would take the rope up through the pulley at the top of the silo. The ladder started ten feet off the ground and the safety cage stopped a few feet from the top. One brother grabbed the end of the twine rope, looped it through his belt loop, and started climbing the steel cables that encircled the silo. He quickly reached the bottom rung of the ladder and scampered to the top.

A few moments passed where the rope was run through the pulley and sent back to the ground before he climbed down. He dropped the final ten feet onto the soft grass. His brothers had already looped and tied the rope around the dummy and three of them began raising it up the tower.

One brother took a lookout position near the stone wall and listened for approaching cars. The others held the rope and partially hid around the curve of the silo wall. A car approached from the road below.

“Now!” the lookout shouted.

The brothers released the rope and the man-sized dummy fell. The timing was perfect and the image shocking. The approaching car screeched as the driver slammed on the brakes having witnessed what they clearly thought was a dangerous or even deadly fall for a man.

The boys burst out from their positions to check the damage to the dummy. They pointed and laughed at the stunned driver stopped at the lower pasture wall. The driver realized the prank and slowly drove up the road. He frowned and shook his head as he passed the boys. They laughed even harder.

The boys reset the dummy and waited for more cars. They made several successful drops and took turns being the lookout or the one releasing the rope. It was late afternoon and people drove home past the farm after their day at work.

The dummy was ready again and the lookout signaled the approach of another car. The brothers were ready.

“Now!” the lookout shouted.

“Screech!” went the car’s brakes and then, a siren and sudden acceleration rapidly followed.

“State Trooper!” the lookout shouted but his brothers didn’t hear him.

They came out as before, laughing and pointing at the driver ignoring his identity. The trooper did not glance over at the boys as he passed but accelerated directly to the gravel driveway where he braked hard and spun into the turn. He grabbed his door handle and prepared to jump out and assist the “injured man” when he saw the laughing boys preparing to raise the dummy again.

He stopped, sat back in his seat, and closed the car door. He shook his head and pointed at the boys to let them know he’d be watching them in the future. He turned around in the large driveway and slowly drove off up the road.

The boys did a few more drops that day, but none equaled the excitement of gaining Trooper Joe’s attention. From that day forward, each time he drove past the farm, he waved at us.

Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.

Miracle in my Life

My firstborn son has cystic fibrosis. This genetic disorder is currently incurable and will contribute to a shortened life span for him. The first year of his life he was hospitalized three times to fight respiratory infections. We faced an uncertain future with only a certainty of medical issues ahead.

Medical insurance offered through my employer begins each January. We carefully read the offered plans and make the best choices we can each year. That first year’s insurance was going to change in six weeks. The benefit package for the coming year was less robust and greater out-of-pocket costs loomed.

Hospitalization and prescription coverage were the two primary concerns. My son’s three admissions had drained us emotionally and financially. His maintenance medications were absolutely essential to keeping him healthy and appeared to be where most of our costs would be going.

One of his needs is for digestive enzymes. These prescription capsules are taken with every meal and snack. Without them his ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients is non-existent. At the time, he was one year old. His dosage just to prevent stomach aches, bloating, and diarrhea rivaled that of an adult.

I built a spreadsheet to calculate his prescription needs and our expenses under the new plan. The numbers were so disheartening, I titled the file Medical Bankruptcy.  We had no idea how we would pay for it.

At church, at home, with friends, with each other, or alone, we prayed. We prayed for God to intervene. We prayed for strength to go on. We prayed for his healing. We prayed for a miracle.

Our income was borderline poverty level and we had recently been receiving government assistance. One of the social workers referred us to the state-run pharmacy for a consultation. We processed the necessary paperwork and the state pharmacy ordered a three-month supply of his enzymes. Delivery would occur before the end of the calendar year.

The next week, our son got a stomach ache. We had not changed his food or medications, but something was bothering him. His diaper changes showed a day of diarrhea, then nothing. Constipation? Intestinal blockages are common in cystic fibrosis patients and may or may not require surgery sometimes to clear them out. The prospect of our toddler going back into the hospital for surgery scared us.

We planned to take him to the hospital the next morning but he cleared the problem and resumed normal functions. Except for one thing. His need for digestive enzymes drastically reduced. What had been an adult’s loading now tapered down to a level more appropriate for a one year old. The new dosage stabilized there and became his new baseline.

The state pharmacy called a week later. Our order was in. We went and picked up the cartons of enzymes and filled the back seat of our little car. At home we unloaded it all and counted it out. I jumped on a spreadsheet and did the math.

The order had been placed when his needs were high. At his new level, the supply we had just received for free would last us the entire next year. What I feared as certain medical bankruptcy within the next twelve months had vanished entirely from our situation. God had changed our son’s metabolism so dramatically, we had nothing expensive to purchase.

Our son turned 23 this year. He has remained healthy and hospital free since that first year. He played soccer for seven years and his respiratory health remains excellent.

We had prayed for something to change, never knowing what God would do. Change came in a way we never expected it.

Your blog just became a viral sensation. What’s the one post you’d like new readers to see and remember you by? Write that post.

No Rescue for Me

His ankle rolled unnaturally and he heard the ligament pop the same instant he felt it. He collapsed to the lawn in an undignified heap and clutched the damaged body part while fighting the savage pain. Two quick breaths and he turned his head toward his son.

“Go in the house and get your mother. Tell her I need help.” he said between gritted teeth.

The young boy sprinted across the grass into the house shouting for his mother. Outside, Tim waited and concentrated on not passing out. He thought back to the other times he had sprained his ankles. This would be the fourth time for this one, three for the other side. He really should use reinforcing braces when he played soccer now. His ankles just were too weak.

The boy came back out and tapped the ball around the flower bed. Several minutes passed and Tim wondered if his wife had understood the urgent situation. He needed ice, an elastic bandage, and crutches. Where was she? He turned to his son and asked him to check on his mother and see if she needed help coming outside.

The boy went inside for a moment and came back quickly.

“She said she will be out when she gets finished preparing the chicken dinner.”

Tim hung his head and sighed before starting to crawl his way to the front door. His son held the door open for him and he pulled himself inside. His wife saw him on his hands and knees but her attention was on the muddy jeans he was about to smear across the carpet.

“Get up before you wreck my floor.” she stated firmly.

“I can’t walk without your help.” he replied. “Please rescue me.”

Tell us about the time you rescued someone else (person or animal) from a dangerous situation. What happened? How did you prevail?

First Day Married

In my earlier post My Biggest Day PreparationsI went through the day leading up to my wedding. Today, I’ll share some memories from the rest of the day.

The ceremony went quickly. It seemed like almost no time at all passed before the minister pronounced us man and wife. Handshakes and smiles occurred in a blur of a receiving line with family, friends, and several strangers (to me) that were somehow related or connected to the bride’s side. Then pictures, pictures, and more pictures while most of the guests drove off to the reception hall.

We had a sit-down meal and fed lots of people. The two of us ate very little and circulated the hall thanking everyone for coming. Some speeches, toasts, and a hail of birdseed sent us on our way. We drove to her house to change clothes before driving off on the honeymoon.

On the drive to the first night’s hotel, we noticed a strange odor coming from the dashboard vents. It was sour, slightly pungent, and burnt. We didn’t recognize it at all. The odor intensified whenever we stopped. The noxious cloud enveloped the car in the sickening smell.

It was her mother’s car. We were borrowing the little diesel Volkswagen Rabbit for the week. The vehicle was unfamiliar to me and I had no idea what could be wrong. It was past sundown and we drove lonely rural roads with no streetlights for long stretches. We quickly discussed what to do and decided to press on to the hotel and look at the engine in the morning. Fortunately, we did not have much further to go by then.

We parked and I ran to the front desk to check in and my wife waited in the car. When I came back, my new bride had turned an awful shade of green. She looked close to vomiting. The nasty smell had almost overwhelmed her in the few short minutes I had been gone.

I quickly got her out of the car, gave her the room key and pointed her to the nearest hallway entrance. She wobbled off in the right direction and I rapidly grabbed our luggage in one huge overloaded trip. I had no plans to return to the stinking car that night.

I caught up to her at the exterior door. It was locked with a simple quarter-turn spring lock that was opened by our room key. She had not encountered a lock like it before and was forcing the key in full turns before releasing which instantly locked the door again. I stopped her, opened the door and tried to extract the key. It was severely damaged. She had turned it so far that the shaft was almost corkscrewed. Useless for our room now.

I jogged back to the front desk to exchange the key. The desk clerk looked at me in shock and surprise at the key’s condition. He’d never had a guest destroy a key so badly (or quickly). A hasty mumbled apology and I received a replacement. Another quick run back to my new bride waiting queasily in the hallway. The car fumes were still lingering with her. This was not how I planned my wedding night would turn out.

One week later we returned the car to her mother. The smell had been caused by my brothers. They had sabotaged the engine by placing a full brick of blue cheese directly on the engine block. As the engine heated up, the cheese melted and burned down the engine.

We had removed the majority of the cheese the first morning using a metal coat hanger and some engine cleaner we bought at a local supermarket. During the honeymoon week the odor diminished each day as remnants cooked off.

My mother-in-law was upset with my brothers for a long time. She eventually sold the car during a cold winter with many air fresheners.

Tell us about your first day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.

Not Ambitious Enough to Change the World

I have not yet seen someone give credit to a blogger for changing their reader’s life. Will I be the first? Probably not. My ambitions are not that lofty.

For each blogger out there writing their books, building a following, and otherwise improving humanity, I applaud you.

In contrast, I have no book in progress. No passionate cause to promote. No agenda for my blog besides providing a personal outlet and perhaps to entertain some others along the way. That may change in the future, but for now it is enough for me.

You, dear reader, experience a low-risk engagement here. There is no “call to action” to click, buy, or pressure to interact. If you like what you read, a “Like” is appreciated. Comments are always welcome. If you choose to join fellow followers, great. If not, that is fine too. It is up to you.

“Lowered Expectations” is my lifestyle. Too many disappointments may have beat the ambition out of me.

  • People disappoint.
  • Life disappoints.
  • Possessions disappoint.

I’m sure my blog disappoints someone out there too.

If that’s you, please comment and tell me why. If not, whatever.

What change, big or small, would you like your blog to make in the world?

The Wrong Color

The transformation process didn’t work as planned. The goal was to become a changeable representation of any human race. The super spy potential was infinite. An operative with the ability to adapt to local populations and blend without suspicion offered an incredible advantage to the commanding organization. The color changing ability turned out to be extremely difficult to control. The ultimate goal to shift pigmentation to a desired shade at will appeared to be far out of reach.

The intention had been to infuse all pigmentation variables and activate changes with genetic triggers. The operative would ingest a compound and transform shades in a few hours. Full coloration would set in less than four hours and remain until changed by another compound. Numerous experiments provided a broad array of failures.

One early test subject lost all pigmentation. The effect was sickening. With no color at all, the inner workings of the body’s subsurface revealed blood vessels and muscles in action. The skin was there, simply transparent.

Another went purple and locked in that shade. No alteration compounds worked to undo the change. The test subject faced a lifetime of ridicule unless they could find employment as a permanent mascot for grapes, wine, or a children’s show character.

One other unfortunate subject rotated through pigment cycles. Every few hours they became lighter or darker shades of pink, red, brown, and black. They were doomed to become a faceless blogger represented by a cartoon icon.

I ultimately quit the program before the experiments reached me. It just wasn’t worth the risk.

If you could spend the next year as someone radically different from the current “you” — a member of a different species, someone from a different gender or generation, etc. — who would you choose to be?