Sunday, August 31, 2008

rock crushes scissors

So this is day 3 of 365 of The Twisted Mind Emprium’s Blogonanza “Marathon of Dope” . . .

. . . which has me wondering why Tom Petty’s “Breakdown” just shuffled up on the Media Player.

"The Marathon of Dope" will be an experiment to see it I can sustain a stream of written entertainment stretching an entire 365 days. Will my readership soar to all new highs, exceeding The Twisted Mind Emporium’s all time daily record of 7 readers? I get a tingle in a certain part of my body just thinking about the possibilities.

And the tingling makes it hard to write because that part of my body is kind of key in the whole typing process.

My hand people . . . What were you thinking?

Well, with that introduction to the "Marathon of Dope" out of the way, I’ll get to relating something of personal interest - I hope.

I signed up for Winter tennis yesterday which means my usual hibernation from physical activities and subsequent ten pound weight gain may be staved off this winter season. And that is a good thing - or so most doctors would agree. And you know, most doctors smoke Camel brand cigarettes too. At least I think I read that somewhere . . .

Anyhow, the only drawback I see is the long drive involved. The courts are about 45 minutes from my house on a good dry summer day. Factor in snow and dark and idiots driving with summer tires and that commute will likely hit 1 hour or more.

Still, it’s all for a good cause - supporting a local tennis pro, oh, and keeping my body in the shape of a human being instead of a partially deflated beach ball.

Now on to the Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 1.

Yes, I did like it quite a bit. Nothing beats a good Terminator knockdown drag-out fight scene and The Sarah Connor Chronicles has a few good ones. Summer Glau, as Cameron the female Terminator, does a great job of being tough and clueless at the same time. Not much of a stretch for her if you have watched her performance in Firefly and Serenity.

And the new T-888 models may not be Arnold, but they do a good job of being all Terminator kick-your-sorry-human-arse lethal. It may not be the best TV show around, but it does an adequate job of entertaining my mind - which is all I ask of it.

So, if you haven’t watched it I’d say it’s time to pick up the Season 1 DVD set before Sept 8th (second season premiere) and watch it. I think you will like.

Well, I’m signing off now because I find most intertube cruisers like short passages to navigate.

More tomorrow, and the next day, and the next . . .

Saturday, August 30, 2008

maximum explanation

This week's Saturday Scribes prompts were the following:

Theme: The 5 Senses.
Words: Sympathy, error, fraction.

And I've been watching too much Get Smart lately - not that it shows in what I wrote below . . .

............................................................................................

“So how did you do it, Max?” the Chief asked. “How could have known Kaos was set up here in this particular warehouse?”

“Well Chief, it was really quite simple.”

“Go on?”

“I learned two days ago that Kaos’ lead micro surgeon, Von Gelder, had sympathies with the West India Trading company. So I went to his apartment to check it out.”

“But how did you find that out, Max?” the chief asked. “We’ve had 36 on it for weeks, and he came up with no connection at all.”

“Agent 36 has severe allergies, Chief, and therefore couldn’t smell Von Gelder when he got close to him like I did.”

“Smell him, Max?”

“Yes. While in line at the Quicky Mart I happened upon Von Gelder and I smelled Shock Blaster Dark coffee on him.”

“And this lead you to believe Von Geder drank Shock Blaster Dark?”

“That and the two pounds he was purchasing at the checkout,” Max said.

“Oh, I see. So then what did you do, Max?”

“Well, I infiltrated Von Gelder’s apartment and there too I noticed the distinct smell of Shock Blaster Dark coffee, only available from the West Indian Trading company, and as you know they are heavily into trading micro surgeon secrets as well . . .”

“That’s true, Max. Then you deduced this warehouse location from that alone? There are dozens of warehouses that carry West Indian Trading company goods. And how could you be sure Von Gelder was in league with them? Anyhow, I drink Shock Blaster Dark as well, Max.”

Max raised an eyebrow and looked at the Chief with suspicion, “Say chief, I didn’t know you drank—“

“—never mind, Max. Get on with it, please.”

“Well then,” Max continued, “that was the first clue I had to this exact location, but it was the next piece of the puzzle that was Von Gelder’s fatal error.”

“And what was that Max?”

“I’m getting to that, Chief,” Max said not wanting to be rushed, “but first let me fill you in on some more of the details for your report.”

“If you must, Max”

“Yes, well you do want a full disclosure of the facts, don't you Chief?”

“Of course, Max. Please, continue.”

“Well, one odd thing I found was serveral Escher prints on the walls. I noticed on one particular print that a fraction of it was missing.”

“Missing? How could you know that?”

“I deduced it from the knife mark down the left side which continued across the frame and down the wall. Besides one of the upside down stairs was cut in two. Escher never drew half stairs. Behind the print was an open safe. Inside was a powdery residue I rubbed between my fingers.”

“What was it Max, some illegal substance? Drugs?”

“No, it was dust. Von Gelder is a slob.”

The chief got that pained look on his face and planted his palm on his forehead.

“You okay, Chief?” Max asked.

“Fine, Max. Just getting a bit of a headache. Now please, continue. I need to get this report done by the end of today.”

“But it’s only nine in the morning.”

“I know, Max. I know. Now, carry on if you will.”

“Ah yes. Well at this point I had my suspicions as to Von Gelder’s secret lab location almost nailed down, but the final piece came when Von Gelder’s phone rang.”

“The phone?”

“Yes, Chief. The phone. I took hold of the receiver and answered it using my best Von Gelder disguised voice.”

“Who was on the line, Max?”

“I don’t know. After I said, ‘Gooden Daytog, I ist Von Gelder, Schnell’ they just hung up. Soon after I got the final and deciding clue though.”

“And that was?”

“My hand was stuck to the phone.”

“Stuck? Was it some kind of glue? A trap?” asked the Chief.

“No, it was Mama Butter’s Sugar Mint Lolly Powder.”

“How could you tell that?”

“It took me five minutes to lick my hand free,” said Max.

“So how did that clue you in to this location?”

“Well, once I got the phone free from my hand I placed it back on the hook and it rang immediately again.”

“And?”

“I answered it in the same fashion as before, but this time I got a response.” Max looked pleased with himself.

“Who was it, and what did they say?”

“It was 99, Chief. She had been out walking Fang when she saw Von Gelder enter this very warehouse. Shortly after that I called you and here we are with a major Kaos operation under wraps.”

“So, all those clues at Von Gelder’s didn’t lead you to this warehouse at all, did they, Max? And Von Gelder didn’t make any fatal error.” the Chief looked like his headache was getting bigger.

“Ah well, not really, Chief. But, I’m sure if 99 hadn’t called I would have eventually figured it out on my own. And Von Gelder’s fatal error was not having a fatal error.”

“Thanks, Max. That’s all I needed to know.” the Chief rubbed his forehead again, a pained expression on his face.

“You really aught to get that headache looked after, Chief.”

Staring directly at Max the Chief said, “one day, Max. One day.”

Friday, August 29, 2008

reflections in a broken mirror

In an attempt to blog more often I’m actually writing a post today.

It may be filled with, um, filler. But I need to soak the old blog mind in WD40 and loosen up the post writing rust to get the twisted screws turning at flank speed once again.

Not too sure what will flake off in the process.

I really feel, after finishing the Sarah Connor Chronicles, like I should be a staff writer on some Sci-Fi show, or create a pilot myself. I couldn’t help but edit the dialog and lines while watching the 9 episodes at just about every crucial scene.

I think my internal writing edits were better than what I listened to on TV.

Conceit, or delusion?

Not sure, but I would like to try some day.

However, Inertia is my mortal enemy.

But I’m going to start editing and rewriting my post-apocalyptic novel (Typhoon Rising) next Tuesday. It’s going to be a long haul of pain and solitude, but I think it deserves better than just taking up ones and zeros on my hard drive.

It’s part of the pact I’m making with myself to start writing every single day again.

If I’m really successful in my self-discipline efforts with (Typhoon Rising) maybe you can read it in published book form one day . . .

. . . before 2022.

And come this November I’m going to finish my (can you believe it - I sort of can’t) third novel in first draft form. Yeah, I scare myself sometimes - and others.

But mostly myself.

I have those that tell me they love my writing. Always amusing, often shocking, and just what the witch doctor ordered - mostly.

With my job situation settling down I think I can get more focused again on the writer’s journey.

Distraction is my second mortal enemy.

All too often I find myself reading a new book or watching a new DVD set or playing a new computer or board game. What the hell is up with that? But I can’t seem to stop myself. My overactive mind won’t allow me to simply concentrate on any one thing for too many days in a row before it leaps to something else.

I need to force myself into robot mode to accomplish any specific task - and that is damn hard let me tell you. But, discipline is my friend and something I’ve learned I can count on when I really need to get something done.

Like my latest novel.

I will likely get distracted and give in to sloth on occasion, but I will do what needs to be done because the world needs more twisted mind content.

At least it should. Joss shouldn’t be the only one having fun in his forties.

Complacency is the step child of the devil’s uncle . . . of something.

The chip in my brain gets activated next Tuesday.

Ahead - Flank speed!

Hey, what just fell off the hull?

Monday, August 25, 2008

secret project unveiled

Well, it’s about time I came clean and told you, my loyal follower (I do have one, don’t I?), exactly what my secret project is/was.

Today is your lucky day because not only will you find out what my secret project is/was you will also get a sample of it to boot. So without making you read too much more here it is revealed for the first time on the intertubes.

The Secret Project Is/Was - The Official Alyson Hannigan Biography

Did I just hear a pin drop - or was that a jaw?

No, really. That’s it. I was going to, and still plan on if I get the “Official” go ahead, do it - write a biography of Aly.

Oh, and for the added content all you need do is head over to The Alyson Hannigan Appreciation Society and see that my efforts (as well as Aly’s dads) are headline news. (EDIT - the news item may not appear until much later today, but it will show up eventually)

Over there you will get the audio version of the Pro’s Log - the story of Aly’s birth as well as some exclusive pictures never before seen in the public domain pertaining to Aly’s birth story and some of the key players in the drama.

Well, there. That is a load off my chest.

I feel so much better now.

Maybe this publicity will be enough to convince Aly to take action . . .

. . . but not as in a lawsuit. I was thinking more along the lines of agreeing to have me write her bio.

Time will tell - but I only have an expected life span of another 30 years or so - so Aly, if you are reading this, please don’t take more than two decades in deciding.

As for my Monday updates, I plan on actually doing them each Monday again instead of once on a Blue Monday which seems to be about once a never.

Sorry about that.

I hope you enjoy the audio and visuals over at AHAS.

Until next week then.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

the playground of god

This week's Saturday Scribes prompts were a little more normal - but I just can't seem to write "normal" fiction and so . . .

Theme: Fragility
Words: phoenix, snail, river.

..........................................................................................

Three hundred and seventy six million light years from earth a vast cosmic disturbance took place in the universe. Something began to manifest itself by tapping into the very core of a billion billion suns and by doing so made stars explode and whole galaxies distort.

Like a phoenix rising from a nuclear core the being manipulated matter and energy to its will and took on a tangible form. It had been so long since the creator had visited his creation, and it was good.

Surveying the entire operation, the eyes of god looked everywhere at once. The universe was unfolding just as he had predicted. Then again, how could it be otherwise for he had created it to be just so.

Like a snail emerging from its shell with the first lick of morning dew, god stretched out his unlimited senses and took in the universe all at once. Stretching out his arms he stirred his creation and great gulfs of matter and energy flowed like rivers.

It pleased him to see that all the matter and energy which had taken on consciousness was still there and some had even spread out great distances between the stars already. It had been so long since he had set things in motion and now that he was back all he wanted was to play.

But a moment before he moved out to explore these sentient manifestations of his love and his great creation a voice more powerful and vast than his own reverberated throughout eternity itself and his entire creation vibrated at a quantum level with its harsh timbre . . .

“Melvin! I told you no playing in the star box until you clean your room. Get back here right now or you won’t get any dessert after supper.”

God surveyed his creation and inwardly moped knowing any sort of protest was futile. “Yes mother, I’ll be right there.”

And as quickly and beautifully as god had arrived in his creation, he was off again - to clean his room.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

messing time

Well this week's Saturday Scribes prompts were down right nasty. How? Well, we had to write a bit of fiction without using these five words: the, of, and, a, to.

Sounds easy - believe me when I say it was not.

Still, something squirmed out of my twisted mind. And hey the theme was fiction so I interpreted this to mean "fiction" or "non-fiction" since fiction is contained in both . . .

...................................................................

They come at night. Despite all my power, I can’t stop them. Believe me when I say I’ve tried everything.

Playing music, leaving lights on, sleeping in different beds or rooms with doors locked or not makes no difference.

None at all.

Still they come. But they can’t take away all my memories. I see their big eyes, their spindly bodies but I don’t know exactly what they are doing.

I fear I’m being controlled by them even though I feel as if my free will remains intact. My decisions are crucial. They change lives.

Many lives.

No one can ever know. Even those closest should never be made aware. I would lose everything.

But what is their agenda? Is it war or peace or something more insidious? Do they directly influence my decisions or merely observe?

I can’t be seen with faults.

I can’t appear afraid.

But each night before bed, after I tell my wife I love her, I cower under expensive sheets waiting in fear.

No one can know.

No one.

Ever.

I am this country’s elected president. As god is my witness I make my own damn choices.

Or do I make none at all?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

book em psycho

This weeks Saturday Scribes prompts were,

Theme: Serenity
Words: Potato, Lipstick, Fuselage.

.................................................................................

The arrest came at 9:15 AM in the desert community of Shifty Sands. Brooker was part of the special tactical squad assigned to root out and neutralize terrorist threats in the great US of A. The trailer park looked just like any other with dirty animals sleeping outside on the makeshift steps to idled motor homes. Some of the sleeping lumps were dogs.

The takedown went something like this;

Brooker arrived in an unmarked SUV along with two other squad members. From the other side of the park came the rest of his crew in a minivan and a 1974 Olds green station wagon. Nine crack members of America’s finest.

The first thing Brooker saw, sneaking all James Bond like into the park, was a large woman in a bathrobe and curlers heading his way like she meant business. He looked her over as she bounded his way reminding him of a charging rhinoceros, if a rhinoceros wore gaudy lipstick and curlers that is.

“Youz tha cops?” the behemoth of a woman bellowed some ten feet away from Brooker. Let’s see, he thought, LAPD in neon orange letters across his bullet proof dark blue combat fatigues coupled with the fact that he was packing a taser on his hip and an M16 was cradled in his hands. Pretty astute observation - oops, he though, must not profile.

“Shush!” Brooker yelled back as quietly as he could holding a finger up to his mouth. A dog, or person - Brooker wasn’t sure - stirred on the steps two trailers down. By now the large woman was upon him, her lips slathered with gaudy red lipstick rivaling his neon letters. She mouthed with exaggeration, “over there in number twelve” like she had just revealed the secret of eternal youth or a cure for cancer.

“Thanks, miss” Brooker said. “We’ll take it from here.” Brooker started off giving hand signals for the others to follow. A few steps forward and Brooker could see that the woman followed. “Um, you stay here,” Brooker said half pointing his weapon in her direction. One can never be too careful of rhinos.

Number twelve looked much like all the rest of the trailers, less the sleeping organic mass on the steps. The other highly trained members of the squad had converged on the unit in question. The sun was just coming up and a jet from LAX thundered overhead on it’s way to some sunny destination.

Brooker reached down into his chi and found zen. Always, before a takedown, Brooker spent a few moments communing with eternity, but damn if that woman’s lipstick wouldn’t leave his mind’s eye. Yugh!

Giving the signal with his fingers, Brooker counted down from three. The door crashers were on either side counting silently with him. At zero, they drove the pummel full force into the door which slammed back like a cheap screen door. The first tactical officer to round the open door was propelled backwards and lifted clear off his feet. Brooker’s calm was shattered by the huge explosion and even saw some flame shoot out from the trailer’s doorway. This would require double meditation later in the day.

The officer on the ground got back up, remarkably unharmed. Mashed potato covered the front of his uniform. From inside Brooker could make out the culprit loading up his potato cannon again for another volley. Brooker gestured for the others to attack.

Like clockwork two officers leapt into the trailer and tazered the fool to the ground. It was over in a flash of highly trained expertise.

After Alkabar Jizmat Abkookla Remiliki Asquibilik was handcuffed and carried off, Brooker went inside looking for evidence. It was clear this individual was not right in the head, but then Brooker speculated, who in Shifty Sands was?

On the filthy table next to crushed beer cans and half eaten bags of Doritos, were the plans of attack. Pictures of LAX airplanes with the fuselages marked in red ink like targets dominated the scene. In the top of the trailer a hole was cut and a stand for the potato cannon was crudely constructed from milk cartons duct taped together. Another airliner rumbled directly over the park and Brooker watched it appear for a moment in the hole from the trailer.

A calm washed over him and he grinned. A good day’s work for his country always left him feeling whole. Jumping out of the trailer to let the pickup unit gather the goods inside, Brooker motioned for the remaining troops to pull out.

Another terrorist threat ended.

The US of A was safer again today.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

full stop

This week's assignment from Saturday Scribes goes like this:

Theme: Catalyst.
Three words: lattice, converter and lace.

So what did these prompts do to my mind? - why made me think of submarines, terrorists, cold sweats and wedding dresses . . .

. . . what? Those things didn't pop into your mind too?

..........................................................................

“Full stop,” whispered the captain.

“Aye,” came the instant response from Johnson at the helm.

So this was it, thought Burke, training was over and in a few short hours the way of the world would be forever changed. Irreparably changed. The dirty nuke set off in New York by the terrorists had set the stage, but the USA, as always, wanted to be the protagonist in the final scene.

Sweating, but not from the climate controlled interior of the submarine, Burke reached into his fatigues and pulled out a small piece of white fabric.

It was a small portion of his wife’s wedding dress. It was a piece of the lace hem, made from the finest silk, though not as soft as it had been through his continual handling. He could see Alice’s smile in his mind’s eye, and their two happy little girls playing in the back yard under the elm trees on a beautiful sunny Iowa day.

Before him, the targeting array screen with it’s lattice of objective points flashing, began to blur. A moment passed in silence. The bridge was like a tomb and even the submarine’s regular noises seemed muted, dampened as if it too were holding its breath before the strike.

The silence was shattered by the all alert signal. Like a knife the rising and falling sound speared into Burke’s thoughts, cutting out the joy and leaving him cold and at attention. He used the tiny white shred of happiness to wipe his eyes clear. He would need all his focus on the screens when he inserted the codes and turned the key. Burke had trained his whole career for this one moment, but now that it was upon him it seemed unreal, even more so than in the simulator.

“Attention crew,” came the captain’s voice, “orders coming in.”

Burke and all the rest sat rigid like a long dead corpse. Nobody made a sound. All eyes were focused on their respective instruments. The onboard computer accepted the orders straight from the Pentagon via satellite, its inner converter algorithms decoding millions of encrypted bits of data. Technology unscrambling the minds of men.

Two minutes seemed an eternity to Burke. In that time he evaluated his entire life. Wasn’t this only supposed to happen when you were dying? He wiped at his eyes again, but the tiny piece of lace was saturated and offered little in the way of relief.

“Orders confirmed,” spoke the captain.

Burke, his stomach turning over, looked at his readouts. Central Afghanistan. Two Triton tactical missiles to launch by his hand in thirty seconds. Like a robot Burke followed his training and carried out his orders. With ten seconds to spare Burke had the Tritons ready and target locations locked on his screen.

With a twist of the key, like a knife to his guts, Burke armed the deadly weapons. Each one would make Hiroshima look like a firecracker.

The captain began the countdown, “Ten, nine, eight, . . .”

Burke’s hand hovered over the launch button, shaking.

“. . . Seven, six, five, . . .”

Without being entirely aware of it Burke had ripped the lace almost in half in his left hand. The damp material tore without a sound.

“. . . four, three, two, . . .”

How had the world ever come to this? What the hell had gone so terribly wrong?

Burke whispered so low that only the inner rumbling of air from his lungs registered to him. “Alice, god and the universe, forgive me . . .”

“ . . . one!”