Saturday, January 28, 2006


Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'd Like to Thank...

Imagine my surprise when I checked my e-mail and saw a comment from Stephanie at Mystickal Incense & More that I had won their short story contest! There were some really good stories submitted, and I know I'd sure have a hard time making a choice among them. So... thank you Stephanie! And thanks also to Greywulf, Kathrin, Rina, and Kn@ppster for offering such good competition!

Monday, January 23, 2006


Thanks to Trée, we've discovered a new fractal program called Tierazon. Haven't really played with it much since the Mrs. and I have acquired colds. She is already feeling better, while yours truly, Captain No Immunity CMV Negative Boy, is going through box after box of tissues. Ah well.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mystickal's "Spooky Girl Contest"

Here's my contribution for the contest at Mystickal Incense & More requesting a short story about a picture found on a box. The picture:

She knew she wasn’t supposed to be up in the attic, but here she was. She wasn’t supposed to go down into the basement, either. But the basement was dark and scary, and probably had monsters in it. The attic had secrets. She loved secrets.

She crept quietly through the old furniture and boxes. Dust danced in the air and made her sneeze. She shut her eyes and froze, listening, hoping, waiting… Nothing. She hadn’t been heard. Wiping her nose absently with her hand, she moved on in search of forgotten treasure.

There! That box next to that old bicycle and runner sled. The box that said “TOYS” in great big letters. She scurried over and opened the box, sneezing again at the freshly-disturbed dust but too excited to stop and listen. These weren’t toys! There were big, funny-looking metal cars, a stick with a string on it. Well, there was a stuffed bear in there, but it looked like something had chewed away parts of it. Eww!

She was so disappointed she was ready to go back downstairs, but then she saw something at the bottom of the box. She grimaced as she moved the chewed stuffed bear to pull out what she had seen.

It was a funny little box with a picture on it. It looked like a picture of a person, but it was very dirty. She wiped at it with her sleeve and saw that the picture was of a doll! She opened the box and saw the doll inside. Squeaking with delight she hugged the doll to her chest. It was a funny little doll, and not like any she had seen before. Was it a clown? But such strange clothes! And what a serious face! Holding the doll in her arms, she wiped away more of the dust and dirt from the box. She wanted to know more about this secret toy. Well, look at that! There’s someone else on the box, holding the doll. She looked hard at the picture. It was a boy! A boy dressed in funny clothes. He didn’t look happy, though. He looked sad, like he was lost. Lost without his mommy and daddy. She held the doll close as she kept cleaning the box. She kept looking at the sad little boy and cleaning. She was sad now, and sniffling. Squeezing the doll tightly to her, she wiped at her moist eyes and continued to clean. He looked so sad; she could almost hear him crying. He just wanted to go home with his doll. Go home where he could get hugs and chicken noodle soup and a bedtime story… but he was lost! She closed her eyes and cried. Her tears were streaming down her cheeks as she held the doll and the box close to her. Her tears were on her face, her shirt, the doll, and the box…

Still crying, she opened her eyes. She wasn’t in the attic. The dust, the old bicycle and sled… all gone. She still held the doll, but the box it came in was gone. And her clothes! These weren’t her clothes! She had seen them before, though. Where? Then she knew. She looked up, out into the darkness, and saw the little boy’s face. The little boy from the box had grown huge and was looking down at her with the same sad look. She stared as the face changed, got old, older than Grandma or anyone she had ever seen. She screamed as it turned into a skeleton and then to dust. Dust that covered her without touching her, as it now covered the box. Dust that covered her expression, forever frozen… lost.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Don't Blame the Puppy

I've made a discovery, and I'm going to share it with all of you. We purchased some toilet paper the other day, and I was surprised by two things about the packaging. One by its presence, and one by its absence. The first was this rather disturbing comparative chart describing the difference in roll sizes. It says (and I quote):

"1 single roll
1 double = 2 single
1 triple = 3 single".

Has our society regressed to such a state where people actually need to be told that a double does in fact equate to two singles, and a triple is no less than three singles? I guess it's a good thing that they didn't also put "1 triple = 1 single + 1 double", as toilet paper word problems might just be too much for some people. However, if people are so incredibly dense as to not know that 1+1=2, then they have absolutely no right to be using toilet paper in the first place. If this mathematical milestone has escaped the grasp of so many that the makers of the product felt compelled to explain it in four vibrant colors, how can we know with absolute certainty that the general populace is using toilet paper correctly in the first place?

Which brings me to the second point about the package.

There's a possibility here for a class action lawsuit, but I'm afraid a few people are going to suffer some (probably hysterical) bodily harm in order to reap the rewards. It's a small price to pay, and it's for the benefit of your fellow humans. See... there are instructions on shampoo, soap, toothpaste; pretty much everything you can find in your bathroom. There are instructions on how to use the product, and warnings as to what not to do with the product. Not so with toilet paper. (At least, not with this brand. If anyone finds toilet paper with instructions, I'd like to know about it.) The only instruction on the package is a warning about the suffocation danger of the plastic bag. Nothing whatsoever about the product contained therein. In the lawsuit-happy land of America, no instructions or warnings pretty much means I can do any damned thing I want with the product and then sue the manufacturer if (when) I get hurt by it. Because they didn't hold my hand and warn me. So I'm going to need some volunteers to figure out how they can hurt themselves with toilet paper. If your story makes it to your local paper, send me a link. Be as creative as you like, but don't send me any pictures.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


If the sky asks you a question, how would you answer? What if you didn't even know what the question was? What happens if you can't answer it? Is it just looking for approval? A "how's this?" kind of thing? Too much blue, not enough orange? Does this need lightning? Or is the sky asking one of those imponderables like "why?" Does the sky even really care what I think? Is it just wondering to itself?

Or is The Riddler up to his old tricks again?

Friday, January 13, 2006

What If...?

What if the canals on Mars were really just the tracks left from an interstellar tumbleweed bouncing along from planet to planet as it rides the solar winds?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My Brain Hurts

I have a headache. ("Headache" = stick a serrated blade into your temple so that the pain makes your eye want to close. Slowly, over the course of an hour, slice the knife around the circumference of your head in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise motion until you get back to the starting point. When you get back to the starting point, repeat.) They are far, far less common now, and for that I am very thankful. It's times like this that I realize that I had this feeling from the time I woke up to the time I drugged myself to sleep, every single day of the week except Saturday. I thought it was something I'd have to live with for the rest of my life. I am amazingly happy that I was wrong about that.

I can't sit and watch TV, because it hurts. Certainly can't lie down. The computer helps take me away from it. A mini out of body experience. Or an out of brain experience. Perhaps out of my mind experience, but it'd be too easy to argue that that's really no different for me.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. Oliver Sutton.

This is a two-part English rant. You've been warned.

As I traverse through them there internets, I see all manner of linguistic skills. If you know me, you know that I tend to respond negatively when I see a lack of English competency in posts. Not toward those for whom English is a second (or even third or fourth!) language, but towards those who should damn well know better. It is because of that ever-expanding demographic I give you the following: "would of", "could of", "should of", and "all the sudden".

Linguistic lassitude. That's the best way I know to describe this phenomenon. Reading is becoming less of a pastime and more of a chore, so people now tend to spell what they hear. Hukt awn fawniks werkt fer mi! The "of" should be "have" in those first three examples, which is shortened with the contraction "'ve". But because people don't know what a contraction is, we are now living in a world where the word "of" has become a verb. As this is becoming more and more common and more and more people replace "have" with "of", then those who are unsure see the usage and believe it is correct. (See also the "apostrophe s denotes plural" phenomenon.)

"All the sudden" is also a result of linguistic lassitude. Oddly enough, it's the result of lassitude upon lassitude. Why? It's what some people hear when others mumble through "all of a sudden". Spell what you hear, and everything is fine!

I think that my wife believes I'm having some sort of episode whenever I read butchered phrases. I twitch, grunt, or just sigh heavily. I'm truly boggled. It takes the smallest amount of effort to check a word or phrase in this magical world of technology, but the things I see online would look like a Christmas decoration stuck on a word processor with all the red and green lines marking the very wrong things contained within. I saw a blog yesterday from an aspiring young writer. She wanted comments on her work. I didn't know where to begin. Her story was, apparently, about someone who was a teenage drunk. I say "apparently" because I couldn't read the whole thing. One of the problems that sticks in my brain: she misspelled the word "rum". How in the hell can you misspell that? (Answer: rhum.)

Here's my freebie to all you aspiring writers out there: would have, could have, should have, suddenly. If you need someone to proofread for you, just let me know. Just keep in mind that I will make you cry.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Out of Phase

I've figured out how to get out of my blue/purple phase. Just make the image in my normal blue/purple mode that seems to just want to come out, and then invert it in Photoshop. Add some color dodging and burning, and you get glowing green alien bugs cavorting at night or deep sea creatures proudly displaying their bioluminescence. Or whatever sort of image that comes to mind to suit your particular fancy. I wouldn't know about that kind of thing, as I haven't had to wear a fancy suit in quite some time.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Ice Melts At Night

I promise that my next picture will have colors other than blue and purple in them. I just like them. Sue me.