Monday, June 30, 2008

where is the A game

Yup - still no audio Kaylie’s Smile.

And a new twist on the old job. I went in all “where do I sign” last week and they looked at me like I had three effing heads.

“It’s not your decision,” they said.

“Huh?” my stunned look replied.

It seems they will try to place me somewhere else in the building. Just frikin great. I told them not to look too hard and left it at that.

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As for the writing life - well besides doing the Saturday Scribes (a great exercise) I’ve done the square root of nothing. I’ve done a whole bunch of calculations though, and dreaming of being at home - Mr. (writer) Mom.

So, short and sour this week from me with regards to writing. Hard to concentrate right now and it is the start of my summer shutdown vacation for two weeks as well.

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So, in sports related news - I have a B league tennis match tonight and my serve is getting back to the old “Roddick” levels . . . Well, maybe Sharapova then, on her second serve . . .

I was even asked to play for the Ajax A league. The A league - me? 44 years old. The pro that runs the A league wants me to join his team, which would mean Monday night B league followed later in the week by the Wednesday A league.

I keep this up and I may even consider myself a tennis player after all.

Well, off to enjoy the official first day of my “possible” last vacation period - EVAR.

Hey, one can hope.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

the wyvern

The first mate hurried across the gangplank, the last on board. “Hi tide, Captain!”

“Then, let’s be off,” captain Bley grumbled loudly from the port railing, his foot resting on a loaded brass monkey next to a cannon. Like an anthill stepped on, the crew of the Wyvern sprang to frenzied action and in almost no time the sails billowed and caught the wind pushing the mighty ocean vessel out into the harbor.

Once clear of the bay and breakwater, the Wyvern’s sails were trimmed to perfection and the ship cut the relatively still waters like a hot knife. She was perhaps the fastest merchant vessel to sail the seas and her filled cargo hold of spice would fetch them a king’s pile of gold back in England.

For three days the Wyvern rode the waves and then it struck. Straight from hell she blew, a storm which stirred the seas like a god’s vengeful hand and the Wyvern, her sails unfurled and secured except for the jibs, did her best to ride it out.

Several barrels of spice shattered in the hold, and a damp pungent smell of cinnamon wafted upon the sea’s spray every time the waves threatened to wash a crewman overboard. The entire time the captain stayed in his quarters nervously twisting rejected nails into funny shapes.

The thin nails were of no use for the purpose they had been created, but captain Bley took to shaping them with his fingers during trying times. He stared at one shape and the loose maps on his table as the Wyvern tossed again. The papers slid and the twisted nails rolled like bones to bump up against the tables high edges.

An idea sprang to the captain’s mind and before the ship could toss the papers and nails again, he grabbed up the one nail he had been staring at. Next he picked up several papers and applied the twisted nail to holding the papers together. The papers were squeezed tightly between the shape of the thin twisted nail and the captain smiled. When the ship tilted again the entire bundle, secured by the nail, was held fast.

The captain’s smile turned to a frown when the Wyvern tossed so far to one side the he was almost sure she was going to capsize. Leaving his quarters, captain Bley raced for the deck just as the main mast snapped like a crack of thunder.

By the time Bley reached topside he knew the Wyvern was in serious trouble. He grabbed for a lifeline but cruel fate had his tired fingers lose their grip. Captain Bley was washed over the side into forty foot swells as were two others. Swimming his final swim, Bley did not see his ship go down, but down it went taking its cargo and crew with it.

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Static crackled on the ship’s radio then a voice said, “We found it, sir. It’s a beauty. Main mast gone, but mostly intact.”

“Roger Alvin, can you get a look inside?”

“Going through the doorway into the main cabin now. How old did you say this ship was?”

“She is the Wyvern, a British merchant ship from the 1600s.”

“Okay, I’m inside the captain’s quarters. Very nice. The desk is a real beauty, and I think the crabs think so too. What is this?”

“Come again, Alvin. You are breaking up a bit.”

“On the desk, stained in. Looks like they were maps of vellum or something. Rotted now but I can tell what they were. There are about six together, and I’ll be damned, they were held together by what looks like a paperclip - at least the rust stain is in the shape of one.”

“Ha, ha. Get some pictures. You have a lot more of the ship to survey yet.”

“Acknowledged, but damn. When was the paperclip discovered anyhow?”

“Don’t know Alvin. Now move it.”

“Roger, on my way to the cargo hold.”

Monday, June 23, 2008

the yellow wire or the green

Ten seconds on the timer attached to ten pounds of plastic explosive and you are the only one close enough to stop it, but also too close to get away.

Your name is not Bond or McGiver or Clouseau.

What could possibly be going through your mind at a moment like this? It could be panic, frustration, terror or a deep universal calm like a hermit yogi magi in his tranquil mountain cave.

But mostly I think you would be voiding waste and going into brain freeze with this outcome - flying chunks of meat and bone mixed with shreds of designer jeans.

I’m trying to be the good lotus position yogi and it’s working . . .

. . . for the most part.

Panic can be avoided by good planning and by gathering all the relevant facts. And that is what this coming week will be.

For those out there who don’t know.

My job goes “poof” as of September 1st.

It’s not a guarantee, but so far nothing is in the offing as a replacement so it is highly likely I’ll be “out the door and thanks for all your help”.

It is surreal to be panicked and elated simultaneously, but that is what I am.

It means the end of a stable income, but also the end of cubicle hell and commutes.

I can’t wait to spend more time with my daughter to and from school, and I can’t wait to have several hours each day to write and try and make a living from it.

So, I guess this is a kind of writing update. It means, come September, the output from me will increase to match the necessity of putting food on the table.

And you need a lot of compost to grow food . . .

. . . My soul is screaming "Bring it on!", while my practical bank manager side is screaming, "Oh Crap!"

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Oh, and I just didn’t get to recording Kaylie’s Smile again this week. I got sort of distracted by all the “you is out o work” vibes but vow to get cracking once the dust settles and I know what is what.

And, you may have also noticed a little fictiony post from Saturday. Our reading group (well one keen and longstanding member) has created a Saturday Scribes website where, each week, a prompt is set up which we writers must follow by posting some writing. This means I should have additional material up here at the Twisted Mind on Saturdays now too.

And yeah, it will be twisted. How could it not be.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

monster island mythology

The sea of Japan has seen its share of horrors, especially during the middle of the twentieth century as explosive shells from opposing countries blasted each other to hell and back. And you would suppose that this one event, horrible and grim, would have been the genesis of the Monster Island Mythology which spawned Godzilla and his ilk in the minds of the Japanese people . . .

. . . but you would be wrong. Modern weapons of war and their potential to change the surrounding landscape and instantly extinguish human life had nothing directly to do with it - though it may have been a catalyst for their early film endeavors.

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A fiery ball from space impacted the Earth before life truly began some sixty million years in our past. It was not the big one, the one that nearly wiped the dominant species from our globe, but a smaller one - though no more lethal in its own way as primal man would learn.

The Earth recovered easily from this and many other cosmic incidents, and life, given a respite from impacts of this magnitude, began its ascension on the scale of cosmic intelligence. Life flourished, but not only life from this Earth, but something buried in obsidian, something alive, something metamorphing and awaiting its time of feeding.

Attila the Hun had already fulfilled his destiny when the obsidian cocoon fractured at the bottom of the Sea of Japan. It spawned a tsunami and none were the wiser until what had just been born appeared off Japan’s southern shores.

Some thought it was an obscenely huge whale, others an unusual swarm of fish - none suspected the truth until the peace of their primitive lives was shattered by that which they could not truly comprehend. No trick of evolution in the entirety of human knowledge could have prepared them for the devastation and horror of the creature from the stars.

Ugly and gargantuan by human standards, the beast from the stars waded ashore and began a rampage which was to last several days and destroy village after countless village. The humans of the time became feed, as well as their animals. Terror stalked the entire island and imprinted in the minds of any survivors a genetic aversion to something of this scale in living form. Those that did live took solace in the fact that they had survived, but could never forget.

It is not written precisely how many days the beast from the stars ravaged the island but at one point it took to the sky like a dragon and was gone. Some say it left for other parts of the Earth, while others speculated it had ascended all the way to the moon.

In fact it left the Earth entirely, looking for another - the one from the red planet not so far away. It is the cycle and the way of the star beast.

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Colorado suffered yet another earthquake which caused quite a stir at meteor crater national park. Little did they suspect what was about to happen in a few short days. 911 would seem as a pinprick on American soil compared to what devastation and hysteria was to come.

Tourists snapped their digital photos and talked about the quake while men, orbiting the Earth, worked on the International Space Station. Coffee flowed in the morning while bacon fried next to hash browns at chain restaurants and airplanes streaked the skies.

Life in America was grand.

The original black and white Godzilla movie played at night in a motel room, and children laughed at Godzilla’s antics as he crushed plaster buildings in his rubber suit.

Monday, June 16, 2008

then there were two

Rats!

Haven’t heard a peep yet about the ‘Secret Project’, but then I didn’t really expect to by this time. Hard to wait, but still glad I am pursuing it anyhow.

And speaking of rats, which is where this post began, we lost little Feather on Friday. His battle with a tumor was lost and so we are left with only Fluffy and Snow now. Losing pets is always sad and this one was no exception.

I hope Feather has lots of exciting tunnels to explore in Rat heaven.

And it looks as though I’ll be able to get to my hell cubicle today as the blockade has been busted due to a court order. Oh well, not all of life can be good.

After all the turmoil of the past week and a bit I need to get focused again which is proving hard since it looks like summer type weather has arrived.

And I just didn’t get the time or energy to do the voice recording of ‘Kaylie’s Smile’ - but I will, just not sure of how soon now it will happen.

I hope to have more to report on the up side of next Monday.

Until then, enjoy the rays - unless you are one of the many unlucky flood victims this spring - then break out the sand bags and hope the waters recede quickly and that you are covered by insurance.

Monday, June 09, 2008

out of my hands and mind

Well, many exciting things (okay, two and a P.S.) going on in the old twisted mind this day.

But first the writing update, because you know you are here to silently urge me on and dying to know what is up - right?

I have completed the pitch for my ‘Secret Project’ and it is in phase one at the moment. Phase one means it has been voice recorded and sent off to the powers that be. From now on, it is out of my hands as I wait for a response.

There are two responses I foresee to my ‘Secret Project’.

1) What a great idea! Yes, please this has to be pursued. My Gawd why did nobody ever think of this until now - I mean Newton, Eienstein, Hawking or even Data (you know, during their poker game) never thought such a brilliant thought or imagined such a magnificent product. Let me have your babies, make you a sandwich and wash your car for you as a small token of my undying admiration for the greatest creative writing mind this world has, and perhaps will ever, see.

2) Who the hell are you and what the hell is this piece of crap? Never - not even if you were the last living creature on Earth would I consider something so asinine and ill conceived. Away with you - in fact “ALAS NO” is about all you are ever going hear again in your writing career - you seventh rate HACK!

Yeah, my mind knows no bounds - on either side. The cold hard truth is the response will likely fall somewhere in-between. And I just know the word ‘alas’ is going to creep in there somewhere too.

But I remain optimistic, despite my imagination.

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Two other quickies then plus a post script.

1) I’m still unable to get to work because the building I work in is blockaded by an angry union. You would think this is great fun . . . (no comment)

2) Tennis tonight again. As I age and my body starts to play evil tricks on me (yeah, I used to laugh at my dad when he would get muscle aches from curling or tennis or skiing when he was in his 40s) I realize this is the way of things. But I’m doing pretty well on the court (last week we won 6-4, 6-1)even if I’ve lost some speed and skill. It ain’t over till it’s over. Heck, one of the guys I play with at the club is over 80. Yes, you heard right. He may not be fast anymore but he is still pretty darn good with the racket.

P.S. - I am going to try my best to have Kaylie’s Smile in audio format for next Monday. I can’t promise, but if this blockade stuff continues I may find the chunks of time necessary to do a good job.

Until next week, when I may know the fate of the project, tonight’s tennis scores and if I will ever be returning to the cubicle from hell (no comment).

Monday, June 02, 2008

das updat

Well, now that it is June my ‘Secret Project’ is complete and on its way towards its ultimate fate. Right?

Er, well, not exactly.

I have no real excuses for my tardiness, but will try pretty hard to fabricate ones you can swallow . . .

First is fear - cold, wide-eyed, heart stopping, mind-numbing . . . Well, not fear then. I knew you wouldn’t buy that one.

So, it must be lack of time because of . . .

Tennis. Yeah, I’ve been playing so much my ankles are in a state of permanent pain and I need extra sleep, which then cuts down my writing time each morning, which . . .

Okay, that one is lame too.

Did I mention I have no real excuses?

So, with nothing to show this month I’ll just do a quick revision of THE PLAN.

By end of June 15th, the ‘Secret Project’ will be away.

If I fib or tell a lie, may a needle find my eye . . . or something.

And then it will be on to editing my Post-Apocalyptic novel of adventure, mutants, robots and underground bases. Ooh, I almost got excited about it. That’s a good thing.

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Well I was supposed to do a couple more things as well. I was tagged by another blogger (right cross to the jaw) and am now supposed to write eight things about myself then pass it along to eight more bloggers. I’m thinking that would make a good post for say, next Monday.

Fear not, I’m not the chain-blogger type. Call me the broken link.

And, where the H, you are saying, is my audio version of Kaylie’s Smile? Did I mention a lot of tennis playing lately? Hee, hee, er, um. Fear? How about . . .

Okay, forget it.

Just too dang lazy I fear. You see, fear did factor in - sort of.

I will try to have Kaylie’s Smile recorded and posted for the Monday after the eight things about myself. So that would make it two Mondays from this Monday.

There, another plan to stick too like Teflon . . .

Just don’t overheat or use metal utensils, right?

As you were - until next Monday.