Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fancy...

OK, so I really want to keep up, to some degree, with some sort of collaborative writing. I find it fun. Today, pick someone in the blog group (look in the followers section) whom you know very little about. Based solely on their blogspot pic and the name of their blog (not their writing), write a one-paragraph bio of them. The only person who is a follower who is not participating is Salena (the pic with the smiling couple). If you end up writing this late, check on other peoples' pages to see who hasn't been written about yet so that we can try to get everyone covered.

Raised in the Virginia Highlands on a rubber tree plantation, Fancy lived a life of spoiled opulence. Fast, furious and fierce, Fancy burned brightly and left her mark on the world. Whether maneuvering on the Indiana dunes in her converted Subaru ATV or hunting celebs with her trusty Helga hanging from round her neck, she grabbed the world with both hands and shook it til it puked. Known as much for her well publicized rehab for Red Bull addiction as for her short lived stint on days Of Our Lives, she was also a well traveled raconteur that was equally at home at the bar as she was in front of the television. She will be missed.

Jackie Mittoo - Fancy Pants

In the words of Twain

To whom it may concern:

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I'll live for now. And I get to keep the leg too.

Thank you for the well wishes.

And now back to our regularly scheduled bullshit.

Bob

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dead Rising 2

As a big fan of horror, particularly zombie movies, I have typically always had a plan in my head. A zombie escape plan. You know, for if the day ever comes. I had a great one for my old house with Bob that involved walking over roofs and utilizing trees, but that plan is no longer. I have no new plan.So, give us your zombie escape plan. Or your plan for when the apocalypse comes. Or your vampire/serial killer/Frankenstein's monster escape plan.

I once asked my friend Dylan why it seems that I gravitate toward post-apocalyptic entertainment. I love the Road Warrior movies, Damnation Alley, even the one two sucker punch of Kevin Costner's Waterworld and the Postman. I just finished reading "Eternity Road", about a group of survivors, centuries in the future who have lost all sense of history, except for a tattered copy of "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". And don't even get me started on the amount of time I've lost recently playing FallOut 3 aka, "the greatest game since GTAIV".

But I digress. i asked Dylan why i seem to gravitate toward this stuff. He looks me in the eye and replies "Because secretly, deep down inside, you want the shit to hit the fan. You want chaos, you want road warriors, you want zombies, but most importantly, you wanna survive, so you can be around to see it."
Well, those might not have been his exact words, but that was his exact sentiment. Can't say he's too off the mark. I mean, it would suck to lose the advantages of all the modern conveniences that I'm addicted to. And okay, all that destruction and loss of innocent life would be BAD. I'm not arguing in favor of Armageddon. Plus, we might lose our best chance for total annihilation after inauguration day. (Does anybody get the feeling that Bush is watching the shit hit the fan in the MidEast right now, wishing he had a chance to get in on some of THAT action)

All I'm saying is IF the Zombies come, I'm ready. At the very least, more ready that the average bear. Most people move into a place and wonder where the couch will go. I think about Zombies. Most people picture the wall fixtures, I picture Zombies. Bedroom sets. Zombies. My last apartment was absolutely Zombie proof. it had bars on the back windows and door and there was really only one weak spot in the front living room window, but upending a couch and pushing it against the window would help fortify it. It was perfect protection against Zombies, thieves, hoodlums and damn fools. Flood waters were something else altogether, but I guess when the fan is covered in shit, you can't choose how you go out. You just have to be ready.

My new apartment is flood ready. The third floor will keep the water away for a while. The Zombie proofing needs work. Not that I haven't contemplated it.

Firstly, the complex itself is fairly well suited for fortification. It's gated for one thing, and has minimal foot access. You need to type in a code to drive in or use a key to get in through a walk in gate. Now this is by no means perfect. The gate opens automatically as you drive out, thereby allowing shambling Zombies to come in as you attempt to leave, but I'm thinking in the long term. Eventually, after the panic, the runners will have fled, and those that have chosen to stay and fight can get to the business of securing the homestead.

Living on the third floor gives me the advantage of a slight head start. Zombies, or at least classic Zombies don't climb stairs too fast. If it's a plague of those new post modern running Zombies, then we probably won't make it. But, if the new dawn of the undead shuffles and crawls and shambles as God and George Romero (I know, redundant) intended them to, then I should be able to fortify my abode until such time as I am able to mount an offensive. But I can't do it alone.

The top floor of my building is arranged in such a way that there are four units per floor, with two units in symmetrical opposition to the others on each side. Each end has it's own staircase that serves the units at that end. The problem presents itself at the top floor. Rather than merely ending at a front porch landing in front of the top floor units, a common walkway extends across the front of the building and connects both sides. So, every unit above the bottom floor becomes accessible from two different entry points, making fortification more difficult.

But, this same weakness can be exploited to an advantage.

Assuming that I have enough of a head start to begin fortification, the first order of business is open my front door and push my couch onto the stairwell. Zombies tend to not be particularly coordinated and don't possess the necessary agility to easily maneuver over large obstacles. Depending on time, additional furniture can be stacked as needed. The next step is the key to the entire defense.

The walkway that extends in front of the building, and passes before the front windows of the adjoining apartments is made of good old fashioned wood. Beginning as far over on the other side as possible, I use a cordless power saw to cut the boards at each end point, enabling the removal of the board for possible alter use. As I work my way backwards toward my own apartment, the rift not only grows wider, thereby preventing zombies from walking across (they're crap at jumping) but beginning the gap as close to the other side as possible eliminates the need for my neighbor or myself to fortify the front window since they will no longer be immediately accessible.

After this, it is simply a matter of playing for time. After the first 24 hours, most of the initial panic will have begun to subside and the situation can be reappraised. At this point it becomes a matter of head counting. Since the vast majority of the legions of dead will head for areas of high population, having the University of Texas at he center of town is advantageous. Still, there should be a fair number of Zombies meandering throughout the apartment complex. These will have to be dealt with, in a series of fast hit and run attacks. The idea is to deal with them quickly, without getting bogged down with any ONE zombie. Repeat after me. ALWAYS GET 'EM IN THE HEAD!!! My biggest disadvantage is that i don't own any guns. You don't need guns to kill people and you don't need guns to kill Zombies. Bats. Hammers. Knives. Canes. Scissors. Any of these things can be used. The idea is to thin the herd as much as possible. Hopefully, by this time, other resourceful neighbors can assist. If everyone does their part, the Zombie count in the complex can be brought down to zero by the end of the third day with only a minimum of lives lost in the process.

Now this plan of action should be effective for an outbreak lasting no more than a week. Ideally, by that time, the military should be well on it's way toward dealing with this problem. Having an Army base in Kileen assures a fairly quick response time. If, however, the Army proves incapable of dealing with the situation, then this initial plan of defense becomes less than ideal. However, if that's the case, then the odds of humanity in general surviving are fairly slim, so perhaps a strong rope, a razor blade or a fistful of Vicodin and Vodka might be the way to go.


Fela Kuti - Zombie

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not dead yet...

My apologies for being away. I've got some shit going on and it's been distracting me more than I want. i just want it known that i haven't given up on this blog and I'll try to catch up with the missing posts. i think i got a decent excuse though.

For those who don't/didn't know...

A little more than 15 years ago, I came home from a nice leisurely bike ride from the near the Lake outside of Del Rio. As I threw my leg off the bike to dismount, I felt a sudden painful tear in the hip of the leg that was supporting my weight. The worst part wasn't the pain, but the sound. I heard the muscle rip. I collapsed to the ground and pulled the bike down on top of me. I floundered under the weight of the bicycle for a few minutes before I was able to crawl out from beneath it and attempt to stand up. I'm sure it wasn't nearly as dramatic as I make it out to be, but I pretty much felt like the only person on earth at that moment.

I limped inside and called my mommy. There was a doctor. There was an XRay. Diagnosis: A torn muscle, the result of strenuous exercise. I was told that it would heal in a short time and that I shouldn't worry too much about it. My limp would recede as the leg got better.

More than a year and a half later, I still had the limp. What's worse was that the tears continued. Never as drastic as the first one, they happened anytime that I experienced any unexpected weight shift that I wasn't braced for. Even something as seemingly harmless as not realizing that there was one more step left on the stairs was enough to pull muscle. Of course, I didn't realize what was happening at the time. I knew I was broken but, initially, lack of health insurance kept me in the dark about my condition. Eventually, you just learn to live with pain and discomfort. It was never severe enough to worry me. I just had a slight pimp limp. That suited me just fine. During Thanksgiving, my Grandfather commented that even HE didn't limp that badly and he was over 70. I laughed.

The final straw came on a Saturday in late '94. I went bowling for the first time. You can already see where this is going. It's basic physics, really. Tork. Redistribution of weight. A weak stress point. Another loud tear. First frame. First ball. Down I went again. I soldiered on in spite of the pain and managed to lead for the first five frames and even managed a couple of awkwardly rolled strikes. I went home, mindful that I had the following day off to rest my leg. By the following Monday, I still had great difficulty putting weight on my leg. I bit the bullet and went to the emergency room.

I was there for hours. Since I wasn't leaking any fluids, I wasn't high on the triage list. (As an aside, I do have to say that the people at South Austin Hospital run a decent ship. I would return there in 2000 for what would turn out to be emergency gall bladder removal. A nice man stuck his finger in my anal cavity while I was there. they run a decent ship.) Eventually I was admitted and X-Rayed. Reviewing the photo, the doctor used words like tumor and bone loss. I don't recall if he ever used the "C" word, but he may as well have. He did, however, admit that it was all beyond his expertise and said he would call for a consultation. He left me alone with my paranoia and made some calls. He returned in minutes and said that I needed to go immediately to the medical mall located across the street. There was a specialist there that needed to see me right away. He handed me the X-Ray, gave me a pair of crutches and told me I had to go see the specialist NOW.

This was the moment that stayed with me. This was when I knew I had Cancer and that I was going to die. I had the entire duration of the walk across the parking lot and the drive next door to contemplate my finite mortality and I came to the conclusion that I had lived a good life. I'd made some mistakes and failed to live up to certain expectations that I'd had for myself, but otherwise, I was happy. I could accept whatever came next.

I worry too much.

The reason the time rush was much simpler than a terminal diagnosis. As soon as I arrived, they rushed me to an exam room and told me to wait. The doctor came in almost immediately and apologized for the rush. He was actually in town from San Marcos and was late getting back. He agreed to see me on no notice because otherwise, I wouldn't be able to see him for another week. that was the good news. The bad news was that even he didn't really have a grasp on what the hell was wrong with me. He knew I had a tumor. But he didn't know what flavor. There's actually a variety. Time for another specialist.

This one was in San Antonio. Dr. Ronald Williams at the UTSA medical center. I've since been informed that if you have to get a tumor removed by anyone in Texas, he's the one to do it. Lucky me. I was diagnosed with a giant cell tumor. Not as scary as it sounds, but a pain in the ass nonetheless.

January 10th 1995 I was admitted into the UTSA medical center. 24 hours later, I had a 20 inch scar and a metal plate in my leg. They initially underestimated the area believed to be affected by the tumor. The projected incision of 10 inches was revised once the surgery was underway and they realized that the tumor was bigger than they thought. They hollowed out the femur, hence the metal plate.

I was off my feet for a month and used a crutch or cane for another two months. It was a fairly dark period. There was much brooding and introspection. Mostly, I just stayed on the couch and watched life pass me by. And eventually, I healed.

Late last year, I began feeling a slight discomfort in the hip socket of the same leg that was affected by the tumor. I was given a fistful of vicodin and a referal to a new specialist. A new set of X-rays showed slight abnormality that was possibly related with post operative healing, but without a set of interim X-rays to compare, it was near impossible to determine if the abnormality was recent or not. I was told to give it a week or two and if it got worse, then we would go from there. The discomfort has now meandered into the realm of pain and I'm back to using a cane for now. I look cool.

Because of the metal plate, I was told that I could have an MRI (not true according to the good people at Austin radiological), so I had a CTScan this past Tuesday. Horrible little procedure that involves the injection of contact dye into the blood stream. Stings like hell and burns your throat when it flows by there. As I walked around the exam area in my hospital pants, with an IV hanging from my arm, I suddenly had an overwhelming sense of Deja Vu. Kind of like when Jack Torrance arrives at the Overlook Hotel in The Shining.

I have a follow up on Tuesday and I suppose I find out one way or another what is to become of me.

This isn't a confessional post or even a biograpical post, really. I just wanted to explain my absence and provide some back story for when someone sees me with a cane and asks, "What'd you do to your leg?", like it's somehow my fault.

What can I say? It's complicated.

Anyway, I gotta go write about some Zombies.

Missy Elliott - Bring The Pain

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Always Chasing Windmills

(today's assignment is less about the 'writing' part, more about the 'creative' part)Your fictional town has just won the rights to a sports franchise. Decide on what this team will look like: what sport it is, the name/mascot, team colors, star players, etc. How does the town react to the new team? Are they elated? Is there some sort of controversy?


Sport: It's a college team, so the name carries to all sports

Team name: The Quixotics
Team macsot: A thin frail Knight in ill fitting armor...obviously. And a fat squatty sidekick.
Colors: gray and light gray
Logo: A broken windmill

The average season starts with unrealistic dreams of playoff victories that end pretty much halfway through the first game of the season. Always finishing last. There are no star players, but the games are almost always sold out. Mostly, people don't come to cheer. They come to heckle and laugh and pour scorn and abuse on our woefully inadequate team. By seasons end, everyone quits, only to start again next year.

Journey - Don't Stop Believin'

What's in a name

OK, so I got chastised today for the topics being harder this round. Between that and my being so exhausted that I didn't go out tonight and am about to go to bed at 12:30, here's a doozy for you:
Write one of those dumb name poems. You know the ones, from second grade. Yeah, use your name. Let's make it challenging by making you use first and last. And while you're at it, write one about your favorite animal or what you wanted to be when you grew up.
Old school fa reals.
(p.s. I know these dumb poems have a name, but i want to go to bed. feel free to bitch or show me up in the comments section)



Actually
Remembered
That
Thoughts of

Hollywood
Indiefilm
Eventually
Failed to materialize

yeah, not as cool an anagram as Noone Ever Really Dies, but there it is.

Concrete Blonde - Still In Hollywood

Cop Out

OK, so I am a little behind on my writing, so I am giving myself a freebie on this one (you should be so lucky that i would give you one-haha!) So, one thing you may not know about me is that I actually get paid to write horoscopes once a week. Sounds fun, right? It's actually a bit harder than it sounds. But why tell you that, when I can make you experience it? Write a horoscope for 3-5 zodiac signs for this weekend. Check out cafeastrology.com (or find something on your own) to learn more about signs and monthly horoscopes for each one. I often consider what is going on in my life and my interactions with my friends when I am writing (Cancers and Pisces are the easiest, lol), so that might be a place to start.


Hey Leo, stop being such a jerk.

Cancer, get over yourself you big pussy!

Pisces...You're Dead Sexy. Don't change.


Leon Russell - Pisces Apple Lady

Friday, January 9, 2009

Like Bookends...

Today, I am inspired by Susanna and the clever title of her blog. So tell me, what exactly would happen if a squid and a monkey walked into a store? Or what would happen if a bull and a flamingo skip into a china shop? Or maybe a turtle and a gorilla mosey into a saloon? Go ape shit :)


Phillip scanned the menu. Burgers, salads, steaks, vegetable platter...
- How bout a Turkey O'Toole?

Barry stared back across the table at him. This was one of the reasons they rarely hung out anymore.
- Phillip...Look at me! I'm a friggin' Penguin. Do I look like a bloody cannibal. Seriously?
- Well, I dunno. I mean, it's Turkey. Turkey O'Toole. Not Penguin O'Toole. Fer fuck sake.
- You don't see me asking you if you wanna try the monkey bread.
- How is that even a comeback? First of all, it's not like monkey bread is even made out of monkeys. And B, it's not even that same animal. Apes and monkeys are about as different as whales and fish.
- Well, seeing as how I occupy the slot right between them on the food chain, I concede that point. But, I won't eat anything else on the same rung.
- Hawks and eagles do it all the time.
- Well, hawks and eagles can just go fuck themselves, can't they.

They sat in silence for a while. It always went back to this. Ever since Barry started seeing Valerie. Phillip could be civil for the first hour or two, but eventually, the frost settled in and the bickering started. But, they'd known each other for too long to just walk away. They were the bad habit they couldn't break.

- What are you thinking of getting, Barry asked.
- Veg plate. Maybe the fruit platter. I can't decide.
- Yeah. Me neither. I could go with the shrimp cocktail, but I sick of shrimp. I'm sick of fish.
- I guess the chicken's out as well, Phillip said with a crooked smile.

Barry chuckled.

-Yeah. No chicken...Sorry I got upset.
-No. My fault. I don't think sometimes. You know something funny though. You know how you said about monkeybread?
- Yeah.
- I heard somewhere, that Chimps'll eat monkeys.
- What?
- Yeah. Snatch 'em out of the trees and just club 'em or rip them apart with their hands and just eat them right there.

Barry sat open beaked.

- Why the hell do you wanna say something like that before we eat?
- I just though it was funny, how you make a monkeybread comment since I'm an ape and everything, but it turns out that there really is another ape that WOULD eat monkeybread. I mean if it were made with real monkeys...
- What the hell is the matter with you?
- Everyone assumes that we're vegetarians. I mean, gorillas don't really hunt or anything, but we do eat bugs sometimes.
- Do I know you?
- What?
- Phillips! Why can't we have a normal conversation anymore? Did you see that movie? have you heard that song? How's Valerie? You know. Normal shit.
- I don't go to the movies. I don't own a radio. And frankly, I could give a shit about Valerie.
- Here we go.
- No. Yeah. Here we go. You don't wanna hear it, but it's gotta be said.
- You should stop before you even start.
- You're no fun anymore.
- STOP
-She dresses you like an asshole now.
- TALKING
- She's the reason why Justin stopped hanging out with us.
- NOW!
- If you want to settle for for less that's your business, but someone has to say it to you.
- I'm going.
- No one says you have to marry the first girl you lay.
- Phillip. Since you're in the mood for honesty, let me fill you in on something. The reason Justin stopped hanging out with us, is that he couldn't take your incessant complaining. Having a sad gorilla face is no excuse. You bitch all the time and it was bumming him out. It bums me out too, frankly, but I just felt too sorry for you to walk away. I dreaded the thought of leaving you alone in the world, but at this point, I just don't bloody care anymore. You've alienated every friend you have in the world and if you don't do something about it, you. will. die. ALONE!

Barry shuddered with nervous energy. He'd held that rant in reserve for months and had practiced every word in his head. He never thought he'd ever have occasion to wield it, but now that it was out there, he felt a great pressure off his chest. It needed to be said.

Phillip just sat there with his sad gorilla face.

- Aren't you going to say anything?

Phillips was silent. Barry stared back at him and for a moment felt like he'd just made a mistake. For a moment he felt like he'd like to take back every word he'd just said. But he knew that not only was it far too late for that, but it really should have been done sooner. He knew that his life with Valerie was the most important thing he's ever had in his life and that he would do everything in his power to insure that it stayed that way. If that meant severing ties with his oldest friend, then he was okay with that. Phillip would never learn.

- I'm going, Barry said.

Phillip was silent. Barry hopped down off the booth seat and shuffled across the dining area of the Bennigan's. About half way across, he turned and looked back. Phillip still hadn't moved. He just sat there with his sad gorilla face. Barry turned away and shuffled out the front door. Eventually, a waitress came to his table.

- How's it goin'? May name's Brianna. I'll be your server. Can I start you off with a drink order?


Bill Withers - For My Friend

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rinse. Repeat

Routines are a part of our daily lives, something that many of us cannot live without. They can be monotonous or comforting, but without routines, most of us will never get our teeth brushed. Write a descriptive about one of your daily routines.


I don't know that I have any routines. I have habits, which aren't really the same. Odd shit. Like the fact that I always eat the outside of a sandwich first, andslowly make my way to the delicious middle. But I suppose that falls more in the category of neurosis or eating disorder. Along with my habit of eating my least favorite thing on a plate first.

At work, the first thing I try to do is check the stacks of paperbacks to make sure that nothing needs to go out on the floor immediately. But even that gets stymied by the fact that our schedules are fluid and I'm just as likely to start the day on register. Hell, I'm also just as likely to go in at 2:30 or 3:00. It varies from week to week. As does my lunch hour.

I sometimes wake up and turn on my computer first thing in the morning. After that, all bets are off. I might check my mail first. or I might check MySpace or Facebook. Or Digg.com. Or Goodreads. Or I might troll the music blogs for any thing I didn't know I needed more than anything in the world until I saw it for the first time today.

I say I sometimes wake up and do that, because lately, I wake up and switch the XBOX on. Playing a new game will do that to you.

I used to have a routine for making mixtapes that involved sitting in the middle of a room with large piles of CD's surrounding me as I sat there and made it up on the fly, letting the tape form as my mood suited me. It the mixTAPE era, you had the duration of the current song being recorded to decide what would come next. CD burners and itunes kinda killed that.

About the only routine I have is stopping at the Texan Mart before work and buying an RC Cola. Sometimes I get String Cheese. Sometimes a cookie or a handful of Jolly Ranchers. Green Apple.

Oh well. Consistency and Hobgoblins and all.


The Staple Singers - Lets Do It Again

I got a propostion for you.

Anthony Bourdain gets to gallivant around the world indulging in a culinary map of marvels as we suckers sit home, salivating over some rare delicacy, or dry heaving over an even rarer delicacy. If you could go anywhere in the world with Mr. Bourdain, chef and booze-hound extraordinaire, where would you go, and which foods would you absolutely have to try? Pretend that this is a pitch to get him to pick you out of thousands of people, and really sell your idea. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, get out from under your rock, and go to travelchannel.com.


Alright dude. Here's the deal. You have been quite vociferous in your opinion of vegetarians. And that's cool. I don't begrudge you. You coast by on a seemingly endless bank of cool points that others with similar opinions (Nugent, Leary, et. al.) simply don't have. And frankly, after reading over some of the comments on the matter, I find most of my fellow vegetarians to be reactionary humorless morons who simply cannot take a joke. Well, actually, I feel that way about the majority of my fellow Liberals. Sometimes, I'm embarrassed to be in their company. I'd switch parties, but I'm not a racist homophobic mysoginist. Mostly.

But I digress.

My point is, it may seem that we have a great chasm between us, but that's what they said about Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin. And if those dudes could bring peace to the Mid East, than anything is possible. Here is my proposal.

Quid Pro Quo. Tit for Tat. Something for something else. Catch my drift? I've been a vegetarian for almost ten years. But I will put it on pause, if only to let you see that we are not the enemy (well, most of us. I can't speak for the crazy ones, but then again, you can't speak for the nuts on your side either.)

Now, I know this seems a bit one sided. After all, on a hypothetical level, you don't limit yourself to a purely carniverous diet, while I though not vegan, subsist other wise. You always have the vegetarian option, you simply choose to not exercise it. But, have you ever really surrendered to a true vegetarian meal. I don't mean something that has no meat, but rather, something that was prepared with just as much culinary care and consideration for pallette any of your items on the menu at Le Halles. Your fondness for Indian cuisine has been noted, so I know you're willing.

It would make for brilliant television. Each episode, we would stop in an exotic city and you would sample the local vegetarian cuisine. And in exchange, for the duration of the season, I would forego my diet and subject myself to whatever you placed in front of me. Anything. The meaties would tune in to watch me squirm and the vegg's would get a laugh out of watching you grumble and bitch about the food you're missing out on. And maybe, when it's all said and done, you might be willing to admit that there are Vegg items that can stand firmly with some of the other recipes in your life. Sure, it's not marrow on toast with sea salt, but I suppose few things are. I just want this acrimony to stop. I'll take one for the team as it were. Then you can stop baiting Vegg's and they can stop bitching. And honestly, it's not so much your baiting as their bitching that gets under my skin.

But, before we go forward, I do have to admit something in the intrest of full disclosure. I'm Mexican. While this my seem to be a matter of little importance, I should point out that I grew up eating the parts of animals that most people throw away. Stomach. Cheek. Tongue. Tripe. Pancreas. All par for the course. Additionally, I'm one of the few vegetarians that will admit that yes, meat DOES taste good. I just choose to not eat it.

And as to the general image of vegetarians as 90 pound weaklings, I stand testament to the contrary. I've gained 20 pounds since I STOPPED eating meat.

C'mon. It'll be fun. And when we're not filming, we can go drink each other under the table at the hotel bar. We'll be the two coolest guys in the room. The Frenchman and the Mexican. It even sounds like a cool movie. Like a Spaghetti Western that takes place in Texas after the Civil War. We can even stay in touch afterwards. Exchange Christmas cards. Message each other on Facebook. Totally BFF's

Uh, did I mention that I developed a man crush on you last year? Yeah. After I read Kitchen Confidential. Even went out and bought my first heavy Chef's knife like you suggested in the book. Best purchase I ever made. Granted, I use it to slice peppers and onions instead of shanks and loins, but you get the idea. Anyway, think it over.

Seriously.


The Swallows - It Ain't The Meat
Man Crush Material!!!

Hello, it's me.

So it's 1:20am on Sunday, and I was just pondering which topic to do for tomorrow when I got this email from Carol, one of our 30dow compadres. It was effin' perfect:(Carol's note): This blog called "Dear Old Love" is a really fun way to waste a few hours. Similar to postsecret- people mail in their notes anonymously to their exes. The blog owner comes up with the title.Some are sweet, some are sad and some are..vengeful. Write a note to an ex. And don't be shy.

We have to stop running into each other like this. Seriously. I have best friends that I don't randomly bump into as often as I see you. Mind you, it's only been , what five times, in the last twenty years, but still. Considering we started out at opposite ends of the state, the mind boggles. But, this is the biggest small town in the world.

I thought that last goodbye was the last goodbye back in '89. Odd that I should run into you on a school shuttle bus two years later. I left town for a year or two and returned in '93. How was I suppose to know that you were working in the kiosk at the mall directly in front of my store. Or that you would be working at that coffee shop I walked into a few years later. I wasn't dating at the time and actually thought about asking you out again, when you threw me for a loop and showed me the ring on your finger. Boy, that was awkward.

It was the last time that really caught me off gaurd. Last I heard, you were moving out of state, your future husband being a big attourney and all. Your dad told me when he came to my grandfather's funeral. That meant a lot. So, imagine. The last place I expected to see you at was Target. Cute kid. Although I imagine he looks more like his dad. I wonder how old he'll be when I run into you again.

Anyway, i just wanted to say hi. And I wanted you to know that we did good. Sure, we said a lot of things. And I imagine we meant them at the time, too. But, they did just seem like the things you're supposed to say. When you're young and in love as the cliche goes. Or what passes for love at that age. I have nothing but great memories. You hold the distinction of being the only person that I never broke up with and who never broke up with me. Like I said, we just lived at the opposite ends of the biggest state in the world. if this had been Rhode Island, maybe the story would have ended differently. I'm not saying we'd still be together, I just think it'd made for an uglier conclusion. But as it was, shit just ended. And we are the better for it.

Any way, I just wanted to say hi. That's all. I hope all is well. I'm great. I hope you are too. I'll see you when I see you.

The Incredible String Band - First Girl I Loved

Eaten out of house and home

When studying a foreign language, one of the most perplexing, yet amusing forms of speech to master is the idiom. It's one of those things where the literal interpretation usually ends up to be hilarious, offensive, or outright jibberish. Choose an American idiom and use its literal meaning as the basis for a story.

First course, the carpet. With firm fiber and course filament it nourishes the belly and pleases the tongue. Then the walls. Or rather, the wall paper. It tastes not of marigolds and orchids, but sour paste. It is remarkably hard to wash down as it sticks to the roof of the pallet. And when the last panel is stripped bare, the light fixtures go next. The crush of each bulb between my teeth is satisfying. My jaws grind away until I'm left with a fine powder like a bland spoonful of saccharine.

I do this alone. The wife has left. Took the furniture. The children have moved on. There is no one to disturb me today or tomorrow, however long this takes. Looking at the empty remains of what used to be my life, I know this is right.

Feeling brave, I move on to the porcelain. I use a hammer to smash it down to managable bits. I lack confidence in the strength of my teeth, so I avoid mishap by swallowing each piece whole like a bitter pill. I suppose most would have left this unpleasantness to the last, but I prefer to save the good stuff for the end. Best to just get the shit out of the way, up front. The cast iron tub and the fixtures present their own problem, so I decide to declare the victory symbolic and move to the kitchen.

Off come the cabinets. I whittle away slivers at first, but decide that this slows my progress, so I bear down and gnaw away with enthusiasm. For the first time in days, I can feel my face flush with enjoyment. I allow myself a smile and a small laugh before continuing. I don't know how long this has taken, but the sky tells me that it's been the better part of a day. Without interior light, I blindly grasp at chucks of wood. I'm lost in the delerium of deliberate action. I almost don't hear the knock at the door.

Brushing myself off, I answer with the chain on the hook.
- Sylvia. Good to see you.
- Mr. Barley. Is everything alright?
- Yes. Fine. And you?
- Mr. Barley, could you open the door?
- No, I'm afraid I don't want to spread what I've caught. I was trying to sleep. Doctor's orders.
- Mr. Barley, we can hear noises from in there. Is that blood in your mouth?
- Must be the next house. Sorry, can't talk.
- Mr. Barley, if this keeps up we'll have to...
I shut the door.

My eyes are adjusted to the lack of light and I make my way back to the tool box. I use a box cutter to dig a hole in the sheet rock just large enough to fit the point of a small hand saw. As quietly as I can, I start cutting away. If Sylvia Goode has a mind to call the authorities, I know I won't have much time left. Still, the slow mindful sawing keeps me from getting so determined that I don't watch the wiring. The last thing I need is to die of electrocution.

At last, I lay out stacks of square chalk cakes before me and return to my task. By the time I've finished the last one, I've almost run out of bottled water. I have to conserve what remains. Surveying the house from room to room, I grab whatever small objects I'd missed earlier and toss them in my mouth like candy store treasures. A stray drawer knob and the occaisional loose screw. There was even a set of keys that I'd though lost long ago. And as I walked around, I remembered the other things I'd lost and never see again. Mostly days and events and memories. A wife. Children. Parents. It was good, what I was doing. It was the only way.

As dawn broke, I knew that I had come to the last. I would not be able to avoid Sylvia Goode much longer. She would have the police here in no time once I started. I knew that this is how it would end, but I didn't mean I looked forward to it. And by this, I mean the Authorities. No, as to the house, this was the part that I'd been saving room for all along. this would be the dessert.

Walking into what used to be my living room, I stood before the picture window and watched the street outside come to life. The first if the neighborhood children had begun to play in the neat well manicured lawns up and down the block. The last of the sprinklers were shutting off. Across the street, Sylvia Goode watched me from her front porch. She had the face of woman who had met dissapointment at every turn in her life. She didn't know what real dissappointment was.

I cocked back my arm and punched through the glass. A jagged shard tore open a gaping lacertion in my forearm. It was worth it just to see her expression. I could see her run inside, surely on her way to a phone. There was a madman across the street, and goddamn it if she wasn't going to see that something was done about it.

As the blood began to pour from my arm, I picked up glass panel from the floor and put it to my mouth. I wept with anticipation of the taste.

Sparks - Eaten By The Monster Of Love

Sunday, January 4, 2009

In A Paper Cup

So, I was going to do something else today, but since I was so drunk last night (and my computer shut down), I didn't get it in.
This morning (noon counts as morning, right?), I woke up from a dream about being in a town where a small volcano exploded. My brain took lots of strange things and put them together to create the reality of this experience, which ended up involving dinosaurs, antique stores, and banana cream pie milkshakes.
Natural disasters are something that almost all of us will deal with in our lifetime. Earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, tsunamis. They are also great elements in literature, for if it there were no tornadoes, how would Dorothy have made it to Oz?
Today, write about a natural disaster. Either write about your experience with one, or write about a fictional event from a character's first person point of view.



Looking out across the rushing water, a judgement come from on high, I held back the weeping that threatened to suffocate me. Bottlenecked at my throat like some grand crush of sorrow, the cry that had built up all day would hold for now, lest I be the first broken straw in what would surely be the beginning of the collapse of my family. I would remain stoic. For my dear Rosette. and for Emily. Like stone figures, we sat perched upon the roof and watched as God cleaned the slate once again. Reaching down with the hand of flood, He wiped away this minor abhorance. My Father believed this valley was cursed. But you cannot curse what is already damned.


My child can never unsee the the things that have happened today, and for that more than anything, I suspect the permanence of my piety. For if days like this shape us, they can also misshape us. Leave us broken. Leave us unwhole. Gazing down at Rosette, I wonder what part of her will be missing after today.


It started with rain. We awoke to flat loveless thunderclaps. Short sharp bursts that resembled the sound of magnificent boards slapping together. There was no rolling echo, just lightning making its firm declaration of intent. Through the window, the pregnant sky extended beyond the visible horizon, a thick violaceous blanket readying to smother all that lay before it. The first drops hit with weight and authority, slapping against the shingled roof like a swarm of locust. Emily rose from the bed and gathered her robe about her, lured away by the sound of Rosette stirring in the room across the hall.


I stood ground at the glass pane, the opacity of the sky growing more inpenetrable with each passing minute. Across the street, I made out the thin frail shape of Miguel Sanchez. It was the first time in ten years that I'd seen him without his Mahogany cane. He resembled nothing less than a shadow in search of a body as he tried in vain to maneuver a wheelchair across his rain slick sidewalk. Without purchase, the tires slid in haphazardly with each thrust until a slight nudge to the right forced him over and left him rutted in the muddy grass. I watched him struggle for a while, then went to the closet and dressed for the rain.

Bob Dylan & The Band - Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood)

The Ox and the Lady

2009 is the Year of the Ox, a beast of burden that occupies very little space in our literary history. Babe the blue ox has pretty much had to hold it down in that world, so help keep him company by writing an ode to the ox. A poem is probably the most fun way to go, but feel free to write in any style you want. Read more about the year of the ox on Wikipedia.


Ox was starting to sweat again. His hands were clammy and he was having a hard time steering in the rain as it was, but now it was getting worse. Each gust of wind made the car shake a bit more and he thought about slowing down before he reminded himself that it wasn't really an option. He was in this far and getting out was still a long way off. Now there was only Sweetness to deal with and then, he could leave town. At least then, he could feel like some progress had been made.

The next turn was a little too tight for the car to take peacefully and he skidded just enough to bring his stomach up to the bottom of his throat, before the wheels caught and he got the car back. He had just enough of a second to look down at the passenger seat and make sure that the kid was okay. She seemed scared, but even that much wasn't obvious. She should be scared even if she didn't have the sack over her head. And since she couldn't see what was happening, Ox was afraid she'd be nauseous as well. But she never complained. She just sat there in her green overalls and red sneakers with her hands folded on her lap. Her silence was made all the more obvious by the fact that the radio was off. It was starting to get to Ox, just a little bit.

This had been Leroy's play. It'd been his idea to do the kiddie snatch. It was his marker that this was going toward paying off. It was his girlfriends step kid that was getting taken. But somehow, it was Ox sitting here in the driver's seat of a stolen Aerostar van with a mute five year old on his right and Leroy was nowhere. The last Ox had heard from him was about five minutes before the snatch. Up until then, Ox couldn't avoid Leroy if he tried. He'd called every other hour for the past five days, ironing out every last detail. And now, there was nothing. Leroy wasn't picking up the phone. Ox was just short of scared, but not enough to blow the plan. The plan was bible. As long as he stuck to it, he'd be golden. Leroy or no, Ox was getting paid today.

Lee hazlewood - Stone Lost Child

Thursday, January 1, 2009

fashionably late

1/1: It’s the first of the year and you have a blank canvas in front of you. On that glaringly white piece of paper, set your intention for the year. Fill that page with five words that reflect your goals for your life as a writer. Expand upon them if you want, or let them be powerful enough to speak for themselves.


My initial post was going to be awsomely pretentious. It was gonna encompass all my desires in terms of where I would like to get with my writing...

Saramago
Rushdie
Cormac
Irving (John, not Cifford)
Gaiman

And it's still a fair declaration. At least in terms of aspirtion. Great heights, sure, but who aims for the middle? Actually, I suppose plenty of people aim for the middle. But really, What band doesn't want to be bigger and better than the Beatles. Sure, most end up being Creed and Dishwalla, but sometimes you get lucky and end up in Big Star. The point is that without expectations and aspirations, you might as well leave the bat and glove at home, because you're never gonna get a turn at bat.


but that was what i had wanted to say at first. That was my initial pretentious post.

Today, I have to subscribe to these five words.

STOP. FUCKING. AROUND. WRITE. ALREADY.

All I'm saying is that it's a good thing for us all that F Scott Fitzgerald never had an XBOX 360.
That's all I'm saying. He'd have spent all weekend hanging out with these guys instead of getting drunk and writing.


Gotta finish up, so I can get back to killin' mutants...

Dolly Parton - Put It Off Until Tomorrow