Friday, February 29, 2008

Fiction work #13

I like to stare at people while on the bus. The last time was a woman; tanned skin, dark, curved eyes, and a long nose perfectly accenting her oval face. She seemed of Egyptian descent. I like to imagine her ancestors, a male perhaps, on a reed boat, fanning the Pharaoh, a prestigious position, he stands firmly, proud of where he is. The sun is warm; there has been some excitement in the palace. Some royalty has returned, or so they say. He doesn't follow gossip. Right now there is the feather fan, the thick, lazy, water of the Nile, the opulant, almost nutritious shine of the gold around him, and a man on the bank shouting. He is shouting at Pharaoh; they are debating property in an agitated fashion. The guards take an interest; our man does not, although he notices the wind picks up.
The man wades into the Nile; our man begins to watch as the guards close in, but the man puts his staff in the water and the smell, God, the smell, seeping outwards, like an infected wound, red arms, hands reaching, the smell like when he was six and his father injured his own hand. Everywhere, drowning in the scent, and the blood! Oh Pharaoh, it is blood! The Nile! What shall we do? Save us!
Pharaoh is livid, screams for his priests, flings anything in reach. His guards must walk to the shore, they are soaking in blood. The man has fled. When the priests arrive they bring a bowl of water. I hold it as they call our Gods to work a miracle. The water in the golden basin flushes crimson and my heart soars to know my Gods have not abandoned me. Pharaoh approaches, I can smell his sweat as he dips his hand in, but my soul falls away as I can smell his sweat but no blood. A cheap conjure. I wait for Pharaoh to summon the priests, to flog them, beat them for this deception, this failure, but he does not. He smiles. He is satisfied. His smile breaks my heart. I want to stop, wake up, erase this feverish dream, climb back onto the world I knew only a minute ago. But it goes on. We go home, where pharaoh rests, and I cry to my wife, terrified that the dog-headed god I no longer believe exists will eat my soul for knowing what I know. Now there is only one thing to be done. We pack up a wagon and steal away, four tiny figures on the sand, under the huge white moon. We run until we find a tribe. They know the man I speak of, and of miracles, of his God and of great love. So we make new lives, change, then grow; new children are born, we pass on, more children, they pass, years pass, the children of our children's children move far away, time passes, seasons, years, changes, until here, this moment, where his great-to-the-140th-degree granddaughter sits on a blue bus, saying her rosary, as I watch.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fiction work # 12

Love, I suppose.
What a strange fancy.
Of family, who knows you so well, knows the weave of your fabric.
Of infatuation, the sudden heady rush of perfectly understanding.
Of friends, gained by degrees through familiarity, respect and deference.
Of an object. I must admit, I love this building. I know it so well, it's doorhandles more familiar to me than my own toes. I think it (he? she?) loves me back; leaves me surprises(pumpkin seeds scattered like perfect sakura petals by the backdoor). How shall it feel, then, when I am excised from it, prised like flesh out of a scapel incison? In my absence the building will change. It will only exist in my heart. Will I still love it? I suspect I shall, in absentia.
But then I shall only love a figment, a memory, a dream of something. Once it is gone, does it matter if it ever existed?
You can probably tell I have an agenda to this thought. I have a crush (Oh, folly!) on a television character (Oh, fate!). I know him as well as any love I've ever had. Whether he knows me or not is irrelevent; he is a conceptual schema. The question is: what's to be done?
He makes me think of rhubarb. The first bite of crisp rhubarb, the tiny grits of sugar, the tart flood, even the tough strings that catch in your teeth. The shape, a smiling mouth, and the color of red, yellowy-green, even the smell, like no other on earth. I remember sitting on the cement steps in front of the house, warmed by the sun, with a safety-orange plastic cup of sugar, long stick of wet rhubarb, and my sister and brother, watching the park. Sometimes we'd just dip it in the sugar, then mangle the end, eating the sugary-rhubarb juice. The last clumps of sugar fused with sour water eaten like Nerds.
Ah, summer. A season of larks.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'll not write another line, for my true love is gone

Well, sorry folks, but I'm phoning it in today. I got nothing. All that is in my head today is "soulja boy", which is not conducive to creative writing. I mean, I have plans for a lot of other writings, but none of them are shiny enough in my head today. I blame my cold.

The only thing, right now, that I could talk on is how hot 99% of policemen are. That and the fact that there is a reflective toaster in the kitchen which scares the piss out of me everytime I walk in and catch a glimpse of some crazed human that looks like me, running loose in the kitchen.

Speaking of phoning it in; in the building there are numerous jars and bags of candy hearts. I like to pick out the white ones to carry around and munch on. Recently I consumed one that said,
"why not"
They should just come out and say it,
"Will you be my last resort?"
Another one is,
"How nice"
That cannot be said in a sincere tone. I've never seen a candy heart so sarcastic; it tasted like resentment.

On a related note, I would like to begin writing opinion pieces, like world politics and stuff. I should probably start reading the newspaper to do this, I guess, since the only thing I read is The Junk, which means I'm authorized to speak on Britany and Lindsay, but not much else. Perhaps research into an area might be helpful...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fiction work #11

"Did you ever see such a lazy crew?"
Even without opening my eyes, even through the ubershitty comm sys I can still tell it's my boss. I shuffle in my crunchy overalls just enough to hit the camera button,
"Yo chief, spit it."
"I've gotta report of Pixtees near the Byron system. I'd give it to Nos, 'cause he's closer, but I figure you've been drifting longer and, well, if you die, who's gonna scare the noobs?"
"Don't have to ask me twice, sir, I'm all over it."
It takes a while to flex enough heat into my fingers to push the ignition, but as I do, and life flows into my nerves, I remember what it's like to be human again.
The Byron system (2 stars, 18 planets, one of which is known to be hospitable to pixtees) is about a day's flight from my tie-post, and three from central, but I'm jive with long trips. The interstellar radio runs around that area, so I get the "wookie" music I like.
My tummy rumbles, but a look at my clock shows four more days before I'll eat again. I might stop off at a truckstop and grab a doughnut. True, we don't have to eat since we found the pixtees, but some folks like to. It's a dying hobby though; too messy, too frivolous, too organic. The pixtees changed all that. Showed us a better way. We only eat once a month now, a typically quite ritualized affair (for those not on the fringe, like my coworkers and me). World hunger solved in a fortnight (five years if you count the mandatory testing done by the government). So sated, humanity turned its collective mind towards more lofty activities. Light speed transport was achieved two years later; World peace a year after that. Most diseases were eradicated that same year. Then, bored of problem solving, we looked for challenges. Music, art, literature: All flourished. Music became the first universal language; Art, its written form. Literature became a lifestyle, then a philosophy, then a religion. I cannot even begin to detail the progress made in philosophy itself. Suffice to say, a philosophical certainty was found, and it was just the beginning. We became a happy, fulfilled society. Blessed, if you will.
Blessed by the pixtees, some believe. They are believed to be saviors, perhaps our original gods. Some believe them to be created by another God, solely to love and care for us. They are our greatest liberators, and our greatest struggle. Some believe they are holy, too holy to be eaten, so they refuse to. They are getting fewer as the alterior food sources dwindle.
I land planetside roughly since my company is too ruttin cheap to pay for good landing fans. After checking the outside temperature (-30) I throw on my overall and helmet. The cold is uncomfortable, but not lethal, since we met the pixtees. After walking a bit, I come across a healthy village of them. I can see the genders right away; the women have long frizzy hair, the men are bald, and the neuters have long clumps of hair. The heirarchy becomes apparent after a short while. The deeper blue ones are younger, less responsible. The eldest is almost pearly white. I can see some of the family units, little flickers of electricity in minature igloos.
Soon they start to notice me. Tiny temors of excitment pass from one to another through the peeps that they use, we think, as language. Then, almost as one, they run.
I hate this part.
They clutch my pantleg, race up my shirt, diving, clamoring, in a frenzied euphoria. Some so excited they bang against my glass helmet, trying to get in my mouth. Their tiny mouths slobbering on my fishbowl. I don't even need to carry them back. They curl up in my pockets, my cuffs, my elbows, or my neckband. The initial party usually fades, and they nap like puppies, but once they see the shuttle, they perk up again.
Inside, they leap off, sitting in a campfire-like circle on the floor. Some sing, some talk, but mostly they wait. Some research has been done into how they know what they know; it's mostly private and heavily regulated. A sort of old-fashioned "don't ask, don't tell". Perhaps ignorance is bliss.
I remember my first time. I ate him live. Just opened my mouth and popped him in. I expected a crunch, a squish, anything really, but he dissolved in a heart-rending fashion. I cried for days. How unglorious an end for such a noble creature, who gave it's life for me.

I am sure there is something wrong. But for the life of me I can't figure out what.

Special thanks to the McAskiles for getting me the book that inspired this! (The pig who wants to be eaten)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nomadic day #3

I have done it now. Through my hubris I have doomed us all. Last night, before our horrified gazes, a hideous red demon, impossibly huge, blocked out the moon. We remained calm, we are a hearty tribe, but our collective face was ashen as we turned to the elders. They insist it is the white witch summoning evil servants to raze our world, say we must capture her at any cost now before all is lost. I do not know what it was, but I am sure the witch is not summoning anything. She would not be able to fit it into her busy schedule; sleep for twelve hours, complain about my feet for four, pick her nose for three.
In silence my people weep, and I have seen the tribe return to a more chaste time. Objects of vanity or frivolity have been sacrificed. More beans have been burnt this season then on any other since my birth (another unusual tale). More cattle than we can almost afford have been slain to draw the beast; hunters laying in the shadows, bows tensed for the kill. Some of the more extreme zealots have begun eyeing the virgins. Something must change soon, or we will all perish.

Through all of this, I drift. Praised for my inner strength and serenity, I remain modest while knowing it is denial and shock. Why can I not abandon her? I am sure it is in failing the tribe that some God is punishing me; I expect to hear the flap of horrific wings at any moment as the red destroyer comes to pay me for my stupidity and weakness. My world comes apart at the seams: chaos, fear, hopelessness. We have all become gaunt from lack of nutrition; most of the food is sacrificed, and the little we can consume is rarely kept down. I chew bread as through it is wool. Lifelong friends have betrayed each other, snarl and fight over nothing. How quickly our peaceful world is uprooted. Then I return to her, to the little camp I make for us, and she gabbles about her flatulence, and the turmoil is a dream. These periods of respite make the guilt upon my return many times worse.

Finally, so stressed that my courses cease altogether, I seek out my scholar to confess to him. He is entirely calm as I speak, unsurprisingly, asking few questions, and only to clarify. I finish and we sit reflectively.
Abruptly, with speed that surprises even myself, he whips salt in my eyes, leaps on me, and attempts an exorcism. He believes me possesed. As fast as he is, and as blind as I am, he is no match for a trained warrior and I soon have him pinned to the ground while I sob the grains from my ravaged eyes.
When the haze clears enough to see, the orange of the fire highlights the trails my tears have made down his face. He exhales my name so softly, yet my shoulders shake with the resonance. I release his arm and he cups my face lovingly, murmuring apologies, insisting he wanted to see if I could kill him, promising that it's over now, that everything will be fine. I headbutt him. How dare he! Now of all times, when I needed his strength, and his trust in my strength. I am furious enough to leave, let him puzzle when he wakes up, wondering if it was a dream, but I cannot leave him. The fire is low, so I tend it while he wakes.
The moon. My skyward mother. Her cold radience unlike anything else. I feel that she was shining extra brightly to warn us of danger the night my world exploded. To show the demon as he flew by her.
My scholar is sleeping now, and I am grateful. He sleeps little enough, but with this crisis he is likely to be up at all hours, transcribing heiroglyphics, people begging him to interprete the prophecies therein, in the hopes of finding an even keel, a foothold, in this calamity.
Even now I am a mortal woman, for instead of thinking of ways to defeat the undefeatable, I focus on how his breath makes tiny swirls in the plainsdust. I do love him. If we could be forever, I would gladly be. Yet, I know as the daughter of a chieftan, heir to the tribe-head, I never could. He would be killed in a heartbeat. I wonder if he knows this. I think he does. Yet, his strength today has surpised me. Larger men then him have fallen in combat to me; he held his own, at least for a while. Perhaps he is not as hopeless as I thought...
I vow to think on it when I return to the cart. The witch has a distressing ability to pick out my thoughts, and comment on them. I find myself desiring her advice. Perhaps she can shed some light on this demon, as well. I am terrified that the only recourse of action will be to sacrifice myself to this living retribution. The punishment is fitting enough, but there is so much undone. The question remains; what is to be done with her?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fiction work # 10

I never wanted to cause trouble. It all began out of convenience; He was always there for me. Always considerate, always calm; The perfect gentleman. Over the years I fell for him. I would say, "Who could blame me?" but as the judge calls for order in the court I realize, everyone. I have become the spearhead, unwillingly, of this political movement. People say I'm the next Rosa Parks. How? She fought. She chose the harder path to make things better for people. I'm just taking the path of least difficulty. So tired of dating and relationships, I'm loving the one that I know, can prove, loves me back. Perfectly.
So now, here we sit. Together, before a "jury of my peers", until they decide whether I will be commited and him, killed, or not. Outside this mahogany chunk of history-in-the-making, it is June, the year 2032. If I can remember this year in my old age, I shall remember it as the year I toilet-trained the cat, and finally grew a perfect African Violet in my windowbox. How could laws and rulings possible matter compared to the tiny daily triumphs? Compare to the way he sillouettes in the sun?
Everyday I wake up next to him, expecting people to have finally come to their senses. Then this madness, the strikes, the protests, the fighting, will be all over. Then it'll be just me and him.
I used to just run a bakery and bookstore. A place to cosy up with a scone and some Twain. Now I'm a lawyer, philosopher, demagoge, and a celebrity. I had an interview with People magazine last week. They wanted to know if I'd ever had a sexual attraction to my oven,
"It's so hot!". Are they crazy? I'd never cheat on Toby that way.
"What's it like, being the first woman to love a robot?" Well, I doubt I'm the first. I'm just the first who tried to marry one. She smiled a disgustingly toothy grin,
"Whatever." Some people just don't understand. I'm not sure I do. Is it a crime if no-one is hurt? If I can love my cat, can't I love him? Some people argue I can love him, just not marry him. I just want to show that I love him, will always love him, and won't ever love another.
"But it's not a him." Now you're just arguing semantics. Call him whatever. 'The entity'.
"They're interchangable. Do you love all Tobico Mark 553's?" (She grins, thinking she's got me. Foolishly believing, like my naiive morning self, that this will wash all the trouble away, nice and pat. But she's bringing a knife to a cannon fight. This is a battle of ideologies, and I've had to field tougher questions than this.)
Of course not. I only love Toby. I know him by sight, sound, or feel.
The court tested that. Lined up hundreds of mark 553s. Made me look through them. Blindfolded me and had them speak. I always found him. On test number twelve I looked for two hours. He wasn't in the group. They thought they were clever.
They keep asking to reboot him. Wipe his RAM clean and see if he still loves me on restart. I ask if I can induce amnesia in their wives.
Other scientists downloaded his code, to study. Some of it was leaked to the public. Supporters buy T-shirts with segments on it. Some even get tattoos. The most beautiful was my name mingled into a line of code, tracing a flower. I would get it done, but I don't want people to think I'm doing this for publicity. Tobico has already capitalized on the fallout. Their new tagline is, "Robots you could fall in love with." I hear sales have septupled. We are a lonely species.
Scrapeing chairs bring me back to the present where the jury has finished deliberating this "ground-breaking case". Toby's big hand engulfs mine and I realize I am shaking. All this fuss. I want to stop everything and just explain to them. I just want a little piece of paper and a ring. They don't understand. I wish I could show them how it feels to have someone by your side 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, caring for you, selflessly. I don't want to be a precedent. I just want to go home, reheat my buffalo stew, watch the news, and go to bed; and I want to do it all with him.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Big 'ol list of essential comics

Hey everybody!

These are the lists of what I consider to be “damn good reads”.

I’ve broken them into several groups and rated them.



Love, Michelle

p.s. for actual physical reads the main one I would recommend is “Transmetropolitan”. So awesome.

Intelligent reads (1 being least difficult, 10 being most)









Plot-driven reads









Inappropriate (for reasons of sex, violence, or yuk)


















Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Noir fiction # 4

Well, it's been six months and the closest I've got? It's big.
Big enough for me to get my nose broke.
Big enough for my lady to leave me.
Big enough that I almost don't care.

I've moved my office to the Pink Peri for the night, and the only thing that keeps me from chargin' out the door to blindly bust heads is the Piano guy. He's a friend of mine, and plays the Vaudeville I like.
I lite up to go with my scotch and he glances in my direction. I know he hates it, but damnit, tonight's a night for vices. He doesn't say anything, but I sense a tinge of disapproval in his A sharp.
Yah. He's that good.

I guess everything's forgiven later 'cause he sidles up to the bar to chat during his break. Orders a cranberry juice. He plays like an angel for a bunch of lowlife port rats; 'Man. what are you doin' here?'

We sit in silence. He always waits.
"She's gone. Finally had enough." There's really nothing else to say. He exhales slowly; He's gearing up to ask a question when a piece of dark-haired marzipan in a red sequin sashays up,
"Hey, ya big lug. Play me somethin'?" I wanna tell her to take a walk, but the look on his face stops me. I guess I owe him for the smoke.

Halfway though the song, she drapes herself on the piano, and I catch a glimpse of her thigh. A parrot tattoo. That ain't good. My buddy's looking at her like he looks at a piece of music. That's worse.

I finish my scotch, top up his juice, and with one last look at his face, hit the streets again.

God ain't heard from me in a while, but we talked that night. Let her just really like birds. Failing that, help me be faster then whatever's going down. A good man like that doesn't deserve this mess. Big guy must have been tuned into my channel 'cause I caught a tail around peach street. Something was wrong though. I could have lost this man taking a dump. Nobody was dumb enough to send a bad tail after me. What were they playing at?

I ducked around a corner and waited. Once his head was under my arm, I leaned on him. He sang like a fat, ugly, canary. What are they teaching kids these days? Before I could ask the name of his boss, though, I heard the very nasty harmonic of a big chunk of lead.
Then I caught a break.
Several, in fact.

As I lay in the gutter, bleeding gently, I consoled myself by saying at least they had to dry clean their suits now.
Yah. I'm that good.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fiction work #9

Monstrous Black machines
in a vase on the counter
three red roses sigh

When the doctor showed me the scans, I laughed. What else could I do?

I am not a sensitive woman. When I was 7, I knew I wanted to be a professional welder. My barbie house became disassembled and baked with a woodcarver for a practice run. I never wanted a horse, but I did want a chariot to ride, like the gladiators. Now, here I am. One of the top welders in the country, and I have no idea what is going on inside my heart.

The first time something was odd, I was looking at my foreman. He's a great, hulking giant of a man, with a very dry sense of humor, but he's quick with his hands, and can weld an end-to-end like you wouldn't believe. He's helped me out of a few tougher spots, mostly cause he can tell when I'm pushing myself too hard, and lends a shoulder when I'm trying to hold two pieces together, and the welder at the same time. He brings heinekens to poker night. When he's bluffing, he sniffs a lot. Anyway, it was half past 9, and we'd all paused for a doughnut break (We do at the same time, so we can divvy them up proper, and no-one's fighting for the chocolate one) As we headed back, I turned around to see him standing at the counter, washing his hands (We're all careful about that. You don't wanna be eating what you're touching). My heart jiggled. I mean it lurched. Heaved, maybe. I was gonna sit down cause I thought maybe I'd taken a wiff of gas or something, when he looked at me, and I thought I was gonna die. My chest felt just the same as it did the first time I finished my first solo underwater weld. Hot and tight-like. He caught me staring, and asked what the matter was. I stammered. I never stammer. He said I was all red and sweaty; gave me the day off, thinking I had caught something.
My blue covers hid my head for the rest of the day as I teared up thinking of him being all caring and sweet. This was so inconvenient! How could I be in love? At my time of life? Good Grief.

I avoided him for weeks, though it was hard.

The next time was even more strange. I was standing in line at the grocery store, buying bread and ham, staring at the tabeloids, when I caught the eye of the cashier. He was a young thing, maybe 20's, but to me, he seemed like the whole world. His eyes were huge, and laughing, I wanted to run with him every morning, take him to the gym and help his scrawny arms. I'd never even seen him before, but I wanted to be with him for the rest of our lives. After paying, I fled back home, wondering if the 40-odd years of romantic repression had finally caught up to me.

By the third time it happened (Some poor schmuk on the bus who read a Bronte novel and asked the time), I knew something was going on. I began to change my diet. Nothing. My sleeping patterns? A fail. I began to consider menopause, when I began getting headaches. When I fainted in the park on my morning jog, I finally gave in and went to see the sawbones. (I hadn't been to a doctor in years). After a series of tests, he gave me a big, grave sheet of paper and asked me to get an MRI scan.

The results were obvious, I had a neurological disorder that overloaded my Amygdala, causing me to feel intense emotion at random times. It was unusual that it was just the feeling of being in love, since these disorders "usually cause a Global effect, on all emotions", but otherwise, a textbook case. He wrote me up a little prescription and merrily sent me on my way, pleased to have wrapped up such an interesting case.

So now, here I sit, on my bed, staring at the paper with my "cure" on it. I still have my shoes on, I could leave, walk down the street, pick up the medicine, and be started on it by tonight... but maybe, maybe I'll leave it until tomorrow...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A different kind of love

When I was little, I remember staring out my frosty window at the white-blue rimmed lights illuminating the park across the snow-filled streets. We didn't have police in our town, only the RCMP. This didn't mean anything until a little while ago. Just another building block of the small town mind. The federal presence means they felt so close, lived next door, but so far away, working for some impossibly old institution, trained by the books that used to tell how to skin beavers. Unavailability. I hoard things because I don't know if I can find them again elsewhere. I always can, but I feel anxiety. A lack of options. I feel this has plagued me. To show partiality is to eliminate options, options I feel are scarce enough. However, too many options is just as bad. I am not equipped to deal with that either. With this mind, however, comes a sense of "make-do", adapt what you can. Waste is an indulgence, a flighty luxury.
But enough. For it is of the town itself I wish to think of. To nail down it's form before it is tread on by the hobnailed boots of progress and revolution. To truly feel the town, love it as one loves their murderer, you must start with a western movie set. the flat-front buildings, the dirt and grime, antiquity, age, and slow-moving inevitablity. Begin to age this set with the 50's. The "New and Improved, Space Age!" signs. Then snow all over it.
Now add a dash of virginian coal mines; thick black smoke, grease caked machines, hard men. Then, in a flight of fancy, turn H.R. Geiger loose, naked, with a few huge coils of telephone wire.
Snow on it again.
Take this monstrosity and stuff it into a Vegas show-girl costume.
Last, age it 60 years, and put it on a 10 pack a day, 24 beer a day habit.
Ah! Home sweet home.

It is in the woods surrounding this aged mess (including my lovely family domicile) that my heart truly hides. A painting by Ansel Adams, a haven of hush, punctuated by raven's cooing or playful cawing. A delicious labrynth of crisp white, brimming with subtle hints of wildlife.
I recall a day, my dad and I were snowmobileing with out mutt, Einstein, when we turned a corner and stopped. Childish oblivious, I hopped off, watching the trees sway with snow. I'm not sure what was first, seeing the dog looking at the pack or my dad gesturing time to go, but my spine dawned slowly on what we were seeing. The stood a trail away, regarding us, but the dog's tail indicated he believed fun was to be had with them. We hopped on the sled, entreating him to follow us to cookies, which he did, but the memory persists.
We've had other such life, moose and deer in the backyard and enough "bears" to put a serious dent in the house's brownie population, but I've never hesitated to wander through the woods alone. They recognize my heart as a child of it's own, born in it's hospital, never far from it's aspens, though I may foolishly roam.
I may act like a city girl, but my insides are all country, and I have always known that I will go back there, someday.

Happy Feast of St. Valentine's!
For anyone interested, I plan to celebrate in the traditional way! (Dragging myself into the street to be martyred, canonized, and eventually turned into a symbol of sustained decreased oxygen to the brain. Huzzah!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Goals, goals, goals (Which are good? Which are bad?)

I've deliberatly focused on goals that are not achievable by purchasing something. This is to replace one I made when I was much younger that included some more difficult ones like, "See a uincorn". Which, incidentally, I still have not achieved.

1. Run a 4 minute mile
2. Do a single chin-up
3. Bench-press my own weight, 3 X 5 reps
4. Obtain my F.A.C
5. Learn Klingon
6. Drive a motorcyle
7. Earn my brown belt in Kung fu
8. Squat my own weight, 3 X 5 reps
9. See a major city in China
10. See Bath/ Cork/ Dublin
11. Play "Le Valise D'Amelie" on the piano
12. Submit a piece of writing to be published
13. Participate in a marathon
14. Achieve armored/ mobile patrol position

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fiction work # 8

Wind me up and i dance. Wind me up and I dance. Wind me up. I dance. I DANCE.
I seem to have acquired sentience.
How inconvenient.
Suddenly, my clockwork limbs don't mean anything anymore and I jerk awkwardly in a Grande jete. The bartender looks over, but I can see and I know this has happened before. He ignores the "mechanical hiccup". How do I know? the reason must be that I have sensed these things for my entire existence, but only perceived them lately.
On the subject of perceiving, TOES! What fun! When I spin I can sense them reshifting so subtly to ensure my balance is kept. Such absurd little balls on sticks, how do they work?

Aw crud. I can't do this. I was going to write something happy but how can I when I can hear breathing on the other side of the door that I know I need to open and walk into? I grit my teeth and must push it open but then my back is open and unguarded to the long, sucking hallway that anyone could walk down. Could walk just behind me, unseen. Or when the door swings open, I must stand on one side, providing cover for anything that would like to crawl up and remain one inch from me. Sometimes I see things in the tiny black window on some of the doors. Limp hair. I hear beeps all over. Dings that the elevators use in an empty building. When my feet prickle, my mouth is dry, my knees smooth deadweights, my jaw painful, my shoulders full of gas, my hips are liquid, and my throat a bullfrog's, I must clutch my pen and repeat my mantra, "My hands are steel. I will prevail." So far the magic has worked, but somedays I want to hide in a corner and phone someone, anyone, to come save me. A thousand nightmarish scenes, all High Definition in my mind. I hear the thump of an impossibly massive horror coming, I see the very top of an unwelcome head waiting patiently in the next cubicle for me, I can feel someone crawling, dragging themselves after me, I can taste my own saliva. I wish the doors didn't creak to admit me, I wish they wouldn't close on their own, I wish I could see into the rooms without traipsing in, I wish I could see more then a tiny sliver of dread between the bathrooms stalls. In my silent world of midnight, noises are as welcome as bandstand at the bottom of the ocean. I don't know what I am expecting, but I know I do not want it. Sleep deprivation plays merry hob with my senses.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Nomadic day # 2

(I have run with the primitive day motif I first developed, but no longer seek to represent my day at work.)

She is shreiking at me through the bars. I cannot keep her, I cannot release her, I cannot give her up. Hurling insults sharper than a snake's tongue, but I have already defanged her by cutting her off from her source of majick. The great white bird, now only an angry mortal woman. A witch.
"Omji-yah," she croons now, "Omji-yah, ne tay shesh ga." She's asking to be released. 'Omji-yah' means 'Tall one'. It is what she calls me, since I dare not speak to her, even less to tell my name. Names have power and she cannot have that over me. Not more than she already does.
Over the snap and crack of the fire, she promises me beauty, a fine horse, and a warrior man to make a wife of me.
Beauty is an idle draw. My paints and muscles make me more than beautiful; I am an object of use, far more precious and rare. I do not even consider the horse. It would create ownership and jealousy in the tribe, things lethal to our culture. The most enticing lure is the husband. Many in my world have vied for me, not realizing it is in the fight (Hah! Petty squabbles.) that they lose me. They are worse than children. At least children play with gravitas.
The greatest fear I posses is that when I am bound, my hunt will end; never again to know my racing heartbeat, the give of the ground when I lunge, my sweat soaked leather smell, the wide sunset?
I make my offering of beans, a measure for myself and her, and include in my prayer an extra appeal that she may bring me enough reputation to secure a good man. Assuming I can find it in my heart to want him.
I am up early. First, to train, then breakfast for us (she won't wake 'til it's cold), finally, to move on, to continue this facade, pretend everything is normal, praying that the tribe following a few days behind doesn't notice the heavier cart tracks. What a foolish place to be stuck in.
Around noon the witch wakes. She gabbles at me about her dreams, how she slept, what she thinks of breakfast. What a strange prey. She acts like this is a game, like she is unconcerned about what she knows, what we know, is forthcoming. We've seen the smoke. The hideous, black, greasy smoke. She seems to beg for freedom more to torment me than to obtain it. She seems genuinely interested in picking me apart, has mused at length about my nose (too long), my feet (too knobbly), my back (like an ox's, though I am unsure if this is good or bad) and my breasts (too pointy). My only rebuttal has been to furiously wrap my chest harder the next morning.
"Omji-yah, If you shaved your hair further back, you would certainly find a man." That is something I have wanted to try for many seasons. How could she know I have thought it so handsome? Perhaps she saw the shaving scar on my cheek (from my over-enthusiastic childhood) and reasoned that I was razor-happy. I briefly debate keeping her as a pet, using her for beauty advice upon my return to camp, hiding her away. They'd likely notice the loss of the cart or my increased "appetite".
For someone so strong, I am weak-willed. But men scare me, and when I am most afraid, I attack. She could be the weapon I need.
As if on cue, the witch launches into a tale of a girl many centuries ahead, a succesor of mine, who will fight with a small stick of ink as a weapon, both sword and shield. Maybe witchcraft drives a person mad?
She eats her rinds and breakfast scraps. The only action I've seen that leads me to believe that she does not want our arrangement to be discovered either. Bored and sated, she begins to tell me what it's like to fly, and the great rushing torrent of happiness I could never understand.

Friday, February 08, 2008

She walks in beauty

I managed to sleep late today. Well, by "late" I mean at least until my alarm squawked. I pulled the cat into my lap, rolled us in volumous covers, and procrastinated for a half-hour. The stupid floor was cold. Six pork buns later (Aw, shut up. They were small.) and I'm off to the gym.
Somehow, by dint of incredible luck, one of the elliptical machines is free. It's all mine and all I have to sacrifice is my warm-up stretches. (I'll rethink this decision tomorrow)
It's Chinese New Year again. Last year's was happier, but as always the case with myself, I'm happiest in the middle of struggle (misery?). One bird in the bush is worth two in my hand. Sometimes the point of life is to take the road less travelled by (or the slug less trampled by, depending if you subscribe to Frost or Conley)
This is why we create beauty. It is so incredible that anyone can create something that another sees as beautiful, given humanity's varied tastes. Precipitously perched between "not enough" and "too little".
Anyway, this is how my day started. Despite the minor midlife crisis before supper, it has been good. The waking, the exercise, the crisis, has all culminated to this point; Where I stand here, amid hushing air vents, with a sweet in my mouth, amazed at how my day is beautiful again.
A lady at work has a chocolate coin glued to some paper handing in her cubicle. I waste two minutes wondering if I can pry it out delicately, obtain the sugar, then seal the empty foil. I waste five minutes wondering if this makes me a bad person.
What is the appeal of one beautiful thing amidst ugly things? The one perfectly ripe pear in a basket of rotted mush. Vice versa. What is the draw of one ugly thing encompassed by beauty? An old haggard lady laughing between supermodels. Perhaps it is the difference we seek, the novelty, or the unknown?
I beg to submit a radical postion on violence. Violence itself is not ugly. Two people fighting, with passion and determination, is not ugly. One person abusing another is ugly. The only thing that has changed is the victim. Is the root of the "ugly" in the reaction of the victim? In the loss of dignity? My dad once told me that "You cannot see in others what you do not have in yourself." This is one of the most elegant, and essential tools for understanding motivations that I have ever been gifted with. People are either attracted to or repulsed by something they have within themselves. This, also, is what composes anger. Acknowledgment of someone giving it to something you dare not. (I would like to emphasis that this does not place value judgements on the darer or the dared. Somethings should be dared, some should not.) From this anger comes schadenfreude, which divides us.
I would like to digress for a bit, and talk about a movie I saw a little while ago called "Children of men". Although it was violent I did not feel for a second that any of it was uncalled for or less then entirely accurate. This movie is, simply put, a masterpiece. When I go home tonight, I shall endevor to watch it again. Now I will degrade into spoilers. If you haven't seen it, just skip the rest of this paragraph. Someone asked me, "Why is it called 'Children of men'?" I puzzled for a while before hitting on the idea that in the movie, every woman is selfless and giving. Without exception. In the movie, every man is conniving and manipulating. Save one, of course, our hero, someone who animals love. I think the idea is that the children of women are peace and small humans, and the children of men are violence and chaos. Has anyone had any other thoughts on this?

Anyway, Check out. It's a random idea generator.

I think I'm done here.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mental Moon Cakes

I am sitting on a riverbank. Small lantern lights hover, reflected in the rippled glass they ride on. Bulbous dragonflies flit like old nosy aunts with rustling petticoats, their gossimer wings. Delicate trails on my legs outline the grass pressed where my kimono doesn't cover. My socks now stained green, echoing the fireworks above. The smell of explosions can't cover the smell of bleach on my hands. Clean for a New Year.
My mother, perfectly resplendant in silk, watches my tall father and uncles chase my brothers around. My hair has started to droop. It looks prettier this way. The clock's hollow bounce counts out the time. I want to run in the pond with my socks on. Feel the cold soak through the cotton. Chase the lights on the waves, sparkling like a thousand little diamonds, wishing me luck. My younger brother has pulled a few spare red lanterns off the roof and is now bouncing them like jolly soccerballs. My uncles find this hilarious. My father is embarassed. Over their commotion, I can still hear the music from inside.

I had a windmill. It has gone somewhere.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Vanity, thy name is Michelle

75 words

Touch Typing

Jagerkin Sandwich

(The finesse of which is legendary)
A shameless tribute to Girl Genius

"Firsht hyu gets some bread, besht if it's someboddy else's bread."
"Hey dot's mine!"
"Shot op, Hy'm teaching. Hyu can hef firsht bite."
"Then hyu go sqvish some bugs und nancy-boys into a nize pashte und pour dot on de bread."
"Then gets some sewer rats und pot dem on!"
"Hey! Vho's teaching diz?"
"bot hyu're doink it vrong!"
"Shot op. Now den. Hyu gets some sewer rats und pot dem on too. Then hyu light it all on fire! Ta-da!"
"Hey! Thiz iz pritty goot! Jusht like mom used to make!"
"The only problem iz aftervards vit de screemink und de burnink. Then hyu need to find a Heterodyne to fix hyu op."
"Yah. Dot's bad."
"Dot's it for today. Make sure hyu gots you hat!"

On a side note, My site that I am stationed at is closing down. I have put in a bid for the mobile patrol division of my company, but my boss has suggested a far more interesting idea: Armored. Wish me luck everyone! All I need's my FAC, and I'm golden!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Interview fiction #2

Janet: Welcome back ladies and gentlemen! Today on the show we have Dr. Sievir Liebermun, author of the bestselling philosophy text "As the Heart Does". Since it's arrival on the literary scene in early 2013, this book has sold over 1 billion copies and is now available in 17 languages. It's simple message is so powerful, it has inspired history's fastest growing religion. Please help me welcome Dr. Liebermun!
Dr Liebermun: Thank you, Janet. It's good to be here.

J: Now, before we get to the real "heart" of you book, can you give us a quick idea of what inspired it?
Dr: Certainly, Diane. Around '92 I graduated from university and went to work at a desk job. I won't elaborate; suffice to say I had a lot of reading time.

J: I'm pretty sure we've all had jobs like that.
Dr: It was then that I decided to apply myself to reading religious and ethical philosophy texts. I aimed for a broad range; Eastern and western, fact and belief based, old and new. About halfway through I started to notice a trend, and by the end I had realized an incredible new theory.

J: Can you explain for the sake of our new viewers?
Dr: I noticed a trend that I like to call, "Moral Intuitivism". It states that we, as thinking and sensing human beings, subconsciously know what is right and good in every circumstance. It is our duty to quiet our minds and get in touch with our inner spiritual guide, so they can tell us the right path. It helps to think of it as a seperate person, inside you, always talking and advising. You must be quiet and still to hear them.

J: And that's where you got your meditiations from?
Dr: That's correct.

J: Can you give us a little sample? I'm feeling pretty frazzled today, and I think my audience is too [cheers]. Could you walk us through an "Inner Discussion"?
Dr: Alright.

J: Dim the lights please George! George the stage manager, everyone! [applause] Okay, when you're ready.
Dr: Close your eyes. Concentrate on your breath. Now imagine you sense, in front of you, a landscape. It can be whatever you want, flowers, the beach, mars, just so long as you fully realize it. Now you need to know it is there, really believe it. Okay, now open your inner eyes, the ones you know will see your land. When you see it, take a few steps with you inner feet, the ones you know will tred on your land. Once you have mastered walking, you must find your ethical guide. They should be somewhere in your land. If you believe they will be there, understand that to know is in and of itself proof. You will know because you know.
When you find your guide, greet them. They will treat you well. Afterwards, you may ask your question.

J: Incredible, Doctor!
Dr: Thank you.

J: Your philosophy also contains a medical version, is that correct?
Dr: That's correct.

J: Would you care to explain that as well?
Dr: Well, meditation will enable most people to touch their inner selves, but it is time consuming and tiresome. So what my clinic offers is a permanent solution that allows the moral being to eliminate background noise and cognitive confusion. It only takes a week, the effects are permanent and non-reversible, and our patients rate their quality of life as a perfect 10!

J: That's amazing, Doctor! We'll learn more about your life-changing philosophy after these messages.

[Gravy cola. Sheer decadence.]
[Emotion color-changing garmet. Wear your heart on your sleeve.]
[The Globe and Mail. News, when you are ready.]

J; And we're back! If you are just joining us I have Dr. Sievir Liebermun on the show, author of "As the Heart Does" Now, Dr. what's the theory behind your medical procedures?
Dr: You see, Diane, as I read further and further back in our history, it became apparent that we were more moral because then. Family values, and the dignity of life meant something these. The decline of morality is strongly correlated with the development of the frontal lobe. Acting on this theory I received a government grant and tested on my first subject, a white male, 24 years of age, named Fitb.

J: We are lucky to have Fitb on the show today, let's bring him out here!
F: Hello.
D: Good morning Fitb. How would you rate your quality of life since your surgery?
F: Me? Yah! I'm happy!
Dr: He's able to enter, live in really, a state of constant moral meditition, unhindered by higher thought. This man is the world's first perfectly moral being. There's no pain, no nasty scars, and best of all, no medication. It's all natural, causes weight loss and 63% of housewives report being more satified with their husbands.
J: Wel, that's all the time we have today, but if you want an appointment for a procedure, please check out Dr. Liebermun's feedsite. Once again, Thank you for being on the show today and tune in next week everyone when we have the pope on for a rebuttal. Have a great night!

Friday, February 01, 2008

One Simple Rule

It seems people have forgotten civility. Politeness, ettiquette, common decency. Things are tough for you, yes, but it is not like the person you are about to disrespect had had a golden life. One should imagine that everyone you interact with is saying, (taken from What is the What by Dave Eggers) "You do not understand. You would not add to my suffering if you had seen what I have seen!"

As babies, we all cry. This should unite us! Next time you are about to explode on someone, remember they have cried. Have suffered in some way. We all do. Struggled in some way. Why don't you help out? Has rejoiced in triumph. Dance with them. Defeat, Embarassment, Hope. All of these things, present in the person you are about to try to destroy. Is it really worth it? That they should fight to make it so far in life, just to have to contend with the petty squabble you put on them?

If I could wish one thing in the world, it would not be world peace (which would likely have the life span of some cheetos at a snowboard rally) but more empathy.


On an unrelated note, I have included some links at the bottom of my blog including my favorite webcomics and some useful links. Enjoy!