Monday, June 30, 2008

Since Everyone Else is Doing it

I figured I'd do it too. This wordle thing is pretty neat. Here's mine from the latest story to be sent for submission "Killing Time on a Friday Night"

And It's Off

I just emailed my latest story to The Escapist and we'll see what happens there. They're having a fiction issue in September, and I figured why not go for it. I had a story that was mostly done and within their word limit (only 2,000) words. So I polished that off and I think it's good. Special thanks to fellow UCFer Vince for the comments and a new take on the ending. I really think that made it work better. I've decided to post the story after the cut. Now it's gone and I have no control over it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, in the words of Ned Flanders, 'God speed little doodle.'

Monday Monotany Madness: Mr. Softee

Mr. Softee

Mr. Softee is a crafty fellow. His one goal in life is to dish out soft serve to the people of the world. His specialty is chocolate. He is such a crafty fellow that he continues to dish out soft serve, long after you don't want any more. He presents it in such a way that is impossible to refuse. Eventually, you get to the point where the mere scent of more chocolate soft serve will make you want to wretch. The only solution is to clean it up quickly and hope that you can contain him before he tries to give you more.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Funtastic Friday Follies: Grubbin


The first time the guys asked Jack to “go grubbin” he couldn’t believe it. He was walking through the hall on the way to fourth period, when Chet asked him. Jack stammered out a surprised yes, and Chet told him where to meet everyone after school.

Jack was dumbfounded. He had heard the cool kids talking about grubbin before, but he never thought they would ask him to come along. Maybe it was his recognition from the school for almost single-handedly winning the district’s Super Scholastic Competition, maybe it was one of his articles in the school’s paper (his expose on the history of the school’s oldest rivalry had been on the front page), maybe one of the cool kids found out his dad was a big wig at one of the country’s top video game companies.

He flushed with pride and couldn’t sit still until the end of the day when he was to meet everyone just off campus. At 3:30 the bell rang and a very excited and anxious Jack crammed his books in his bag and then walked to the 7/11 down the street. Sure enough, not ten minutes after he got there, just long enough for Jack to think this might have just been a prank, Chet and his buddies, Chris and Tom, pulled up in his cherry red convertible. The top was down and the music blaring. Chet whipped the car around to where Jack was standing and waved him in.

Chris and Tom sat in the back, and each gave Jack a hearty slap on the back when he sat down.

“You ever been grubbin before,” Tom asked.

Jack shook his head and they were off. They drove past the town limits and out into the hilly and forested countryside. When they pulled off into a forest preserve, Chet turned the music down. At the same time, Tom and Chris quieted down as well.

“We don’t want to attract any attention,” Chet said. “You know grubbin isn’t exactly legal.”

“Yeah,” Jack said. “I know.”

“You’re cool right,” Chris said. “We don’t want you to go snitching or anything.”

“He’s cool,” Chet said.

They parked the car and got out, and then Chet led them off into the woods. When they came to a large rotting log he held up his hands and they stopped.

“This is were the prime grubs are,” he said.

Then he reached into the log and pulled out a handful of fat, wriggling grubs and some partially rotten wood. He picked out one from the group, the fattest, and blew the wood particles off of it. Then, with a brief look to the others, he slurped it into his mouth and began to chew. Within moments the enzymes in the grub were taking effect and he began to chuckle at nothing. Chris and Tom didn’t wait, but dug into the log themselves. Jack was still hesitating and so Chet blew off a grub and tossed it to him.

“Go on, eat it.”

Jack looked at the white, writing thing in his hands and then popped it into his mouth before he could think twice. He bit down hard, and the bitter juices flooded his mouth. He nearly gagged, but then he swallowed the fluid and could feel its effects take hold. Colors were brighter, the world seemed to swim, and suddenly everything was funny. He took another, and another, and soon he was in a euphoric stupor. That was when the others snuck off, unnoticed. Some time later, Jack looked up and found them gone. He went looking for them, and when he stumbled out of the woods Chet’s car was no longer in the parking lot. Instead was a police cruiser.

“Son,” said the burly police officer. “Have you been grubbing?”

“N-no sir,” he said, and wiped grub juice from his chin. Then he took another step and nearly fell over.

“I think you’re going to have to come with me. Grubbing is a serious offense.”

And with that, Jack was loaded into the cruiser and taken away.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm Boned

Picked up from Random Michelle, the Animal Attack survival test. Watch out Racoons, you're number's up! Anything else, well, lets just say 'may the best vertibrate win.' Except, apparently, when it comes to alligators.

Brought To You By Adult Toy

Reading Test

There might be times when you say to yourself, hey, the combination of my eyeballs and my brain are pretty good at reading and comprehending stuff. In fact, they're reading this blog post right now. What if they were good at reading other stuff too? Say, a 1,200 word story that I'm just about done with but looking for a critique before I send it off with all of my hopes and whatnot heaped up on its little shoulder.

So yeah, I've got this little story that I want to send out for an open submission, but I don't want to bug the people at work, my wife isn't going to give me much of a critique, blah blah blah. I'd like to get a fresh perspective from a new/different audience.

I'm going for funny with this one, which I'm told I do reasonably well. If you're intested, (it's short, so it wont take a lot of time) let me know and I can email it to you or something.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Brain Hurts

Transcribing today. Ugh, this has to be the worst part of my job. Even data entry is preferable to this. And still 20 minutes of tape to go, which will take forever. Does anyone want to take over for me? Anyone?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Charlotte Misner

Hello fellow UCFers! As promised, chapter 5 of Charlotte Misner is up. Enjoy.

Monday Monotany Madness: The Bigfoot Lady

For any UCFers looking for Charlotte Misner, chapter 5, it will be done by the end of the night, I promise.

The Bigfoot Lady

The Bigfoot Lady stands at the edge of the forest in her long, blue overcoat. Every day she tosses syrup-laden pancakes into the edge of the woods, hoping to entice Bigfoot to come out and say hello. At her feet is a stereo playing a mix-tape of Wookie sounds from the Star Wars movies. While she stands there she hums a soft tune as waits for her hairy man to come. Little does she realize that Bigfoot is more into Star Trek and his favorite color is indigo.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Funtastic Friday Follies: The Repository

I know, I know, I missed last week, but I was busy. Ok?

The Repository

With reverence and more than a little caution Double B opened the repository. The doors opened slowly, the air creating a low whoosh noise. For a minute she stood, gazing at the collection as she liked to from time to time. For generations her family had been coming to the repository, now deep in the wasted lands, to add to its collection.

This was not just an average visit. Today she had something to add, something special. She could sense that it would be a jewel in the collection.

Slowly, almost ritualistically, she removed the black leather glove from her left hand. Her immaculate nails gleamed in the stark, white light. She choose her index finger, always her favorite for extraction, and inserted it in her right nostril. It took but a moment's digging to retrieve, and it slid from her nose satisfactorily.

She studied the specimen, looking at it from different angels. She couldn't have asked for better. Then she had to find a place to set it. Some members of her family were content to flick their treasures anywhere, but not Betsy. She selected a spot in the middle of one of the shoulder-high shelves, among samples, hard and brittle, that dated back 100 years or more. Gently, she pried it from the tip of her finger and placed it on the shelf. Then she stepped back, took one last look around, replaced her glove, and resealed the repository of the Booger Family.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

You Spin Me Write Round

Nathan over at Polybloggimous has started another round robin writing experiment. This time it’s taking on a more serious vein, following the exploits of one Charlotte Misner, a woman in the 1940s who has to make it on her own while raising her deceased sister’s three very young children and working to support them.

It’s a challenge because it’s definitely not in any of the genre type stuff that I’ve worked on before (mostly fantasy/sci-fi). I’m up at bat right now and the task is a little daunting. I’ve got a start, but I’m not sure where I want to try and steer the story. The one thing that strikes me about the four chapters that have come before is that while Charlotte has had some obstacles to over come, those obstacles have been overcome much too easily.

Ugh, what to do? Maybe Charlotte will be attacked by a vicious land shark. Perhaps she will discover that the children are really the three parts of a mystical talisman that will be the key to ending WWII, but to make the talisman work, she must be willing to sacrifice them. Or maybe she’ll discover a secret recipe for spaghetti that will promote peace and love.

Enough blathering. There’s work to do!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Here We Go Again

Ok, so this morning a friend and former coworker sent me this link:

I know, it's evil, but writers are gluttons for punishment right? The basics of it is that Writer's Digest has a genre/popular fiction writing competition. Sounds like fun. I just entered a story in the Writer's Digest Short Story competition not too long ago. I'm working on a couple other projects right now, so I'll have to come up with something new, but I've got time. As of today, the competition is 138 days away.

Here are the basics:
Deadline: November 3
Fee: $12.50
Word Count Limit: 4,000
Genres: Romance; Mystery/Crime Fiction; Science Fiction/Fantasy; Thriller/Suspense; Horror
Grand Prize: $2,500 cash, $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books and the 2009 Novel & Short Story Writer's market

Also of note, Grand Prize winners in any Writer’s Digest competition in the last three years are ineligible. Therefore, since I’ll be winning the short story competition this year (keep positive), I won’t qualify.

For those of you who might stop by and are looking for a story bone to get things going, here is a writing prompt per genre, feel free to use whatever.

Romance: After being prepped for a photo shoot, Fabio catches his reflection in the mirror and falls in love with himself.

Mystery/Crime Fiction: A rich old man dies in a garbage strewn alley on Chicago’s south side. Police are baffled by the fact that only apparent murder weapon is a rubber chicken.

Science Fiction/Fantasy: Rusty the Knight (he is so named because of the condition of his armor due to overactive sweat glands) must travel a great distance to slay the icy Dairy Queen and free the land from her cold, creamy clutches.

Thriller/Suspense: A city is held in the grip of fear as genetically modified gorillas — controlled by a group of eco-terrorists — pillage and plunder, leaving no one safe. Their only hope is a squad of elite military personnel lead by Jane Goodall.

Horror: There’s a reason that no one every goes into the old Mackenzie place at the end of the block. There’s a reason no animal will set foot on the property. And if realtor extraordinaire Kent Turkelton is going to get the commission of a lifetime, he’ll need to go in there and find out. The house knows, and it’s waiting for him.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Being a Geek is Fun

What follows is an actual email conversation between myself and a former coworker, and it all started with this photo. Note: the former coworker isn't a geek, but I had little difficulty in pulling her into a geeky frame of mind.

To: former coworker
Subject: My new ride

Me: It makes the commute much more tolerable.

Former Coworker: That's hysterical!!! :-) Did you get to do an interview for custom plane interiors or are you learning to fly on the sly?

Me: I went on a "green" tour in Oregon. We started in Portland, then went to Medford and Bend. Each day Timber Products, one of the sponsoring companies, used their jet to get us from place to place.

FC: OK. Now I am REALLY jealous!! I went on a forest to furniture tour once
in PA and I only got BUSSED around.

I'm hexing you as we type. $#^$%$^%&*^^$

Me: Good thing I've got my anti-hex ring with a +5 to awesomeness. (Ok, I am a mega-nerd.)

FC: That's no match for my truth lasso (borrowed from my good friend wonder woman) which can also be used to depower the anti-hex ring (making the wearer develop fuscia polka dots the size of a bread plate with purple squares in the middle.) don't know who you're dealing with do you........

Me: Oh yeah!?! Well I'll block it the shield of Perseus, which will reflect it all back at you and I'll call up my buddy the one-eyed, one-horned, flying fuscia-polka-dot-eater to come pay you a visit. Take that!

FC: I see. Well. That leaves me no alternative. I'll just jump in the invisable plane (kept secretly in my yard under the guise of trees and bushes) and run him down mid flight then fly by and drop knoxious gas filled with glitter all over your new ride.

Me: Not glitter!!! That stuff gets everywhere, and even when you've spent hours cleaning up and you think there can't possibly be any more it just keeps popping up.

FC: Well that's why you can't mess w/suburbamom. We know the secret to driving others nuts.

Me: I tremble before your vast and mighty powers.

FC: Now if only my kids believed in my powers...I could rule the universe (known on earth as my house)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Motonay Madness: The Problem with Space Monkeys

I know I missed Friday. My appologies. Very busy at work and being out of town and all.

The Problem with Space Monkeys

The space monkeys of legend are a band of ruthless marauders from a parallel dimension. Much of their origin is still shrouded in mystery. It is known that they are the result of a misguided series of experiments, however, the scientists responsible for their first appearances have all been terminated at the hands of their creation.

The monkeys taste for carnage is insatiable. At their beginnings, their numbers were small, but as they plundered and conquered new lands on their home world their forces grew. There are few that have survived an encounter with this menace. Those that have lived tell horrific tales of chaos and destruction. It was not long before the monkeys gained the means to travel among the cosmos and then between dimensions.

The space monkeys are different from average monkeys in a few ways. Their skin and fur are green. They can come in different shades, but they are invariably green. Engineered with hyper-intelligence, they are adept problem solvers and stand just behind man in their inventiveness. Also, they are generally larger than their Earth counterparts.

Once they set their sites on a planet there is generally no stopping them. Earth is a precious jewel, and coveted by the space monkeys, among others. For the time being, the wombats as well as some other galactic forces stand at our door to protect the planet against interstellar invasion. It can only be a matter of time though, until something breaks through. Whether that be the space monkeys or an unidentified other remains to be seen.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Missing You

It's Tuesday, my second day away from home and I just wanted to write my wife to say that I'm missing her very much. It sucks being half way across the country and not being able to share what I'm experiencing. It sucks having to sleep alone in the bed at night, although the big bed to myself is nice. I miss my wife and son a lot, and I'm not going to get to see either for two days. But that's the way it has to be since I said I'd go on this business thingie.

Brandi, I hope you're not missing me too much. But I would imagine with Logan around, you're not getting a lot of time to think about missing me. I love you, I miss you both. I'll see you in two days!

Monday, June 9, 2008

For a Special Lady

I'm out of town this week from Monday until Thursday and I'm sure my wife's missing me, so here's a little post to cheer her up. Scrubs is one of her favorite shows and she's always talking about how funny this scene is, so here it is.

I miss you honey. Can't wait to see you when I get home.

Monday Monotany Madness: "Well I'll Be"

"Well I'll Be"

Officer Williams stared at the puddle of goo that glowed a dull yellow in the fading light. Farmers in the area had been reporting strange behavior among their animals. Even Williams' dog, a lazy old golden retriever had seemed a little skittish the last couple days.

He saw the glow of the puddle as he drove by on the way to the station. He had been called out on account of the Davis boy who had been caught peeping in young Cindy Barstow's window. He almost missed the glow, and so stopped about 20 yards down the road.

The glowing goo quivered a little, yet there was no wind, and nothing coming down the road that might cause the shake. He picked up a thin stick and squatted down to poke it. The stick sank to its center. When Williams tried to pull it out, it stuck. He yanked harder and the stick broke, which caused him to lose his balance and fall on his rear.

The puddle changed color from yellow to red and sucked the rest of the stick in with a soft slurp. After a moment the stick disappeared, having been dissolved. A butterfly drifted over off of a nearby wildflower. As it passed over the goo a club-like shape shot out and struck the insect. The butterfly, stunned by the blow and caught in its stick grasp was pulled into the center where it too dissolved.

"Well I'll be," said the officer.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Funtastic Friday Follies: The Rock of KI

The Rock of KI

Marcus had finally found his prize, the Rock of Ki, a talisman of ancient Sumeria. After years of research and a lifetime scouring Mesopotamia he found the smooth black diamond in a strange garden full of statues andhidden away in a steep and winding valley. A valley that he felt descended to the very core of the earth until it opened into the great garden of men, seemingly carved from the rock.

Aside from its intrinsic value, he came across one reference after another of the jewel's value as a weapon. Many scrolls and ancient texts said it had the power to decimate mighty armies, to crumble enemy forces and bring their cities to ruin. He read these accounts so often that he believed them to betrue. Only one text warned of the jewel's effects on the unworthy, and he paid this little heed.

With greed, glory and greatness in his mind, He clutched the talisman tightly in his right hand, turned and stepped off the dais. As he walked, a heavy feeling grew in his right hand. He looked down to see his fist draining of color and transforming into unyielding rock. A heavy numbness crept up his arm as the stone replaced flesh. He screamed in panic and tried to fling the stone, but his fist remained closed. The stone spread to his shoulder, across his chest and up his neck. With his last vision he beheld the hundreds of statues. Their faces came in all shapes and sizes, but they all shared the same look of panic and the same frozen scream.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sick, Sick, Sick

As you may have guessed, I'm sick. And it's got me really worried/annoyed. It's no fun and I just want it to be done. I don't want to go to the doctor, because I don't enjoy the doctor and I don't want to get lectured about this and that. It all started last Wednesday when I was at the night job and my son threw up and got a sudden fever. The wife called all in a huff and I rushed home to help out. The poor little guy was laying down not doing anything, just watching Toy Story, a single tear perched on the side of his nose. I stayed home to help take care of him the next day and his fever was high most of the day after that and he got a little rash. My wife called the doctor and she said it was a normal thing for kids his age and to just monitor it and not be too alarmed. By Friday he was pretty much back to his normal self.

So it was all good, right? Nope, sorry, you're not in the clear yet. Saturday evening, my wife started to not feel good and then WHAMMO! out of nowhere she's got this big fever 102 something. YOWZA! So Saturday night/Sunday I'm playing Dr. Dad, trying to entertain the little one and take care of my wife while she's burning up. Sunday afternoon her fever's starting to come down and she's feeling marginally better when...WHAMMO! I'm standing in the kitchen doing whatever and I'm suddenly very dizzy. That feeling lasts for an hour or two and then KERPLOWIE! I'm suddenly very, very cold and I'm shivering despite the warm afternoon temperatures. Then later BIFF! my temperature starts climbing.

Monday morning, I was feeling a little better but still had a pretty good fever going (101 something). Since I had taken Thursday off and I have deadlines coming up fast, I figured that I couldn't take the day off work. Somehow I made my way through the day and actually got some stuff done. Then yesterday I had a very slight fever when I woke up, 99.63, and I was feeling better, but my throat was starting to hurt. Now my throat still hurts, it feels swollen, there are spots on the back of my throat, and I have some kind of rash on my hands and I'm worried.

According to my little amount of Internet research this morning: sore throat + high fever + swolen throat/tonsils + spots + rash = strep. I can't have strep right now. That would not be good for anyone. I don't get a day off until Sunday and then Monday I'm going out of town until next Thursday night. I'm really hoping that it's just a sore throat after being sick. I doubt I'd be able to get into a doctor in the next two days to get antibiotics and I'm worried that I could infect my family or coworkers if it is strep. I mentioned what I thought I have to one coworker this morning and he's (jokingly) acting like I'm a lepper.

Think positive. It's just a sore throat, right? Right?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday Monotany Madness: The Disease

The Disease
The disease ran rampant through the fort, leaving none free of its debilitating force. None, that is, except for Victor, the blind prophet. His magical formulas kept him free of the malignant airs that incapacitated the others. The first afflicted was the young prince, however, he recovered quickly, which heartened the beautiful maiden and the clumsy troll who were his keepers. The maiden feared for her own well being, and sure enough, she was the next to be struck down by the disease. Her body grew so hot as to nearly start a fire wherever she lay. The troll, thinking himself immune of the diseases of man, was suddenly struck with a powerful dizziness, as if he had been blasted with a wizard’s hex. Gradually, his body grew hotter and hotter until it too could start fires with simple contact with the objects around him. The fair maiden recovered enough to care for the fair prince once more, but the troll had not recovered fully by the time he had to set upon his work.