Picture Prompt of the Week #2

rainy street

I learned this one at a writing conference in Taos, New Mexico. It does a great job at teaching how emotion not only changes a character’s mood and language, but it also distinguish what and how the character see’s their surroundings.

Using the picture above and a character you’re familiar with, take a stroll down the street and describe the surroundings through your character’s eyes. Here’s the catch. Your character has just had something extremely exciting happen to them. Maybe they’re on their way to see a new born baby at the hospital. Maybe their girlfriend/boyfriend just proposed and they are on their way to tell their BFF.

Next, using the same picture, same character, and same stroll, write another description of the same surroundings. This time however, your character’s emotions are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Maybe someone close to them died. Maybe their significant other walked out on them.

Afterward, compare the two descriptions. Did your character see things differently each time? Did your character greet the other pedestrians, or ignore them? Anyway, you get the idea.

Hope you have fun with it.

Automotive Advice for Clean Hands – The Mechanic

IMG_0115For those who’ve had any experience with mechanics, you will surely understand what I mean when I say they are one of the most unique beings on the face of planet earth. They have their own language. They come in a variety of shape, color, and temperament, and inanimate objects seem to have an unyielding grudge against everything they do.

There are several types of mechanics. Each of them utilize different means and methods for completing their job, but the rate of success is dependent on a plethora of circumstances, the least of which is their decision to start turning wrenches in the first place. Granted, not all mechanics are going to bemuse their fate with dreams of green pastures and clean hands. Some love their jobs, and rightly so. They’re damn good at doing what they do.

  • The Good – These people are among the most helpful when it comes to explaining what a vehicle needs to stay road worthy. The best mechanics will even take you out to the vehicle to show you what repairs need to be made. On top of that, they will only do the repairs that the two of you agreed on. No swindling here, folks. These people are 100% there for you.
  • The Bad – This section probably should’ve been called “The Shady,” but then my bullets would look all kinds of weird, so that’s a no. Anyway, these mechanics are the ones to look out for, and believe me, unless you’re living the fabulous life of the rich and famous, you will have to look out for them. They’re the ones that give you an estimate for over a thousand bucks when you just wanted an alignment. Don’t freak out yet. There are ways around these people. First and foremost, ask to see the worn parts before they do the repairs. Most of the suspension and brakes systems I’m going to talk about can be seen under a lift or after removing the tire. Engine and electrical can be a lot more involved but there is usually a visual symptom. At that point, if you don’t feel satisfied, take your vehicle to a different shop and get a second opinion. Hell, blame it on an outside source. Tell them you have to get your significant other’s permission before you can spend that kind of money.
  • The Ugly – By the time you get to this point you might be expecting me to give you something worse that the category above, but that’s not the case. These mechanics are rough around the edges. In appearance, you usually see them with scraggly hair, grease stained coveralls, and a healthy layer of dirt coating their back. The shops you find mechanics in are no better. Now, I’m not saying these places are bad. In fact, the shop I work in is one of these. Its old, used, and outdated, but it gets the job done, and we make sure we get the job done right.

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If you have any questions, or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me or leave a comment.

Keep those hands clean.