Handlings

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

She looked at her hands for what seemed like the first time in decades. What she saw shook her mental framework. She had been functioning in the same thought bubble and personality framed by her youth. It’s true that she had begun to notice that her fraction-of-a-second assessments of the before-and-after ramifications of a single reaching movement were not spot on anymore. The monthly visits to the massage therapist and chiropractor should have been one of a long line of clues she shouldn’t have missed. But her hands spoke loud rays of stinging images at this moment as she balked at their leathery creases; and for Heaven’s sake where did all the excess skin come from.

For a moment she imagined that some alien abduction had occurred and a foreign plastic surgeon had switched her hands with those of another abductee to observe how these earthlings used such strange appendages…

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Evanovich-Like Description

Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae (5076304681)

 

 

A plethora of greens tumbled down the mountainous hill. Evergreens and bushes scattered amongst other assorted outcroppings. Additional amber, auburn, oranges and browns – sprinkles of brush –  dotted the clay drizzled hills. She knew that she should marvel at its beauty, that deep thoughts should come to her. But for some reason it reminded her of a mint chocolate chip ice cream sundae drizzled with carmel syrup. If it had been a cloudy day she would have counted it for whipped cream and put a cherry on top.

Other Worldly

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

At 40 years, Adelaide Raines allowed herself to take a personal inventory.  She knew she wasn’t well educated or even that well rounded by any means.  She knew her limitations.  She read what interested her and had little patience for all else, regardless of the subject matter’s import to current events, or its impact on the survival of humanity.

Every evening she would drown any possibility of self-analysis during her 30 drive from work with the tap of her iPod.  She’d make progress in the most recent audiobook she borrowed from the library and add it to her “read” list along with those she read the old fashioned way (on her Kindle) on the weekends.  She dedicated her time away from work (the lifelong mission that stole nine or ten hours of her life away, five or six days a week) to either escaping those elements of her life that…

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Back Tuit

Handlebar-moustacheSunlight pummeled the windows, their square-frame lenses outlined through the white cotton curtains.  It was like those false windows on cruise ships that trick the passengers into feeling less claustrophobic, but with the intensity turned up exponentially.  It was as if she were a prisoner, and the Gestapo had just shined the tower spotlight directly into her room.  No.  It was as if Dr. Horrible had shined a gamma-ray freeze beam thingy at her, and the platinum-fiber portal shields, hanging from their rods, had protected her.

It was morning. And although her circadian rhythm had been apt to let her sleep until 0800 nearly every morning this past week of vacation, her eyes snapped open at precisely 0515 this morning.  Fifteen minutes before her alarm went off, her body’s parts all told her, “We know the score.  We get to be useful again this week.  Not like last week where you only used your imagination and went with the flow.  No, it’s time to go back to work and we get to carry our brain around for everyone and everything that needs it.  Don’t bother with the ‘Star Trek bridge door whistle alarm do-hickey,’  we already know.  Just sayin’.”

She had a sudden urge to chew her fingernails.  She thought of all the emails she’d ignored last week and wondered if she’d have time over coffee to get to them.  She envisioned a huge billboard with flashy lights around the edge, and in big letters – her “to do” list, neatly prioritized and made known to her.  Wishful thinking.  Ouch!  She plucked the amputated index finger nail tip from her front teeth and sat up.

Who was the asshole who decided at some point that 40 hours was an appropriate work week?  What huge conglomerate of waxed-handlebar mustached men and thin faced, hair-gel plastered women were “evil laughing” at this very minute at the massive amount of pain and anguish they were imposing on the working masses?  And what kind of “fucked-up in the head” did those damn internet bitches and bastards think she was – those idiots that sent messages about their pyramid schemed “get paid to sit on the beach” web conferences and “get rich without trying.”  She’d memorized some of their faces in the hopes she might run into one of them out-of-the-blue and give them a piece of her mind (not to mention specific fingers of both of her hands).

It was morning, on the day she had to return to the J-O-B.  “Lighten up,” she scolded, “at least you work with happy people …”

“They sure as hell better be,” she thought, as she self-talked her way into the car and turned the key, “or else there better be chocolate.”

How To Be Found

terzahcain:

I’ve decided to make one day a week a day I can highlight some of the other blogs that have captured me that week. This was the best I’ve read recently for introspection and seeking solutions.

Originally posted on Must Be This Tall To Ride:

Worst-hide-and-seekMost of us grow up playing Hide and Seek with friends.

Something interesting happens during the game.

The counting begins: “One! Two! Three!…”

And we all run, run, run, trying to find that perfect hiding spot. It’s important to us that we find a good spot. That we become difficult to find.

If we’ve done our job, the seeker might find others. You hear the screams and laughter.

But there you remain, unfound.

The seeker continues: “Where are you??? I’m gonna find you!!!”

But, no luck. Because you’re stowed away in the best hiding place.

As the cat-and-mouse game drags on, it dawns on you: I may never be found!

And against the very nature of game, you offer little hints to make yourself known.

A little noise.

A stifled laugh.

Maybe you peek out, putting yourself in view.

It’s because, in the end, we all WANT to be found.

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The Bette Davis Project: Three on a Match (1932)

terzahcain:

Love Joan in this. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Diary of A Movie Maniac:

Three on a Match (1932)

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy

The story revolves around the ups & downs of three very different childhood friends. The aloof Vivian Revere (Ann Dvorak) marries a wealthy lawyer (Warren William), but she doesn’t like being a socialite. Partygirl Mary (Joan Blondell) tries to stay out of trouble after spending time in jail. Ruth Wescott (Bette Davis) makes ends meet as a stenographer. Vivian’s sudden divorce changes the women’s destinies forever.

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Taco Boy

Taco (5076902674) (2)
Yesterday at the Seattle ferry terminal I grabbed what will be the last good fast food/restaurant food I will have for at least another month – a couple of Tacos from Taco Del Mar.  Don’t judge.  Living in rural Idaho has given me a new appreciation for … convenience.

The ferry was running late and the terminal was packed.  Crowds are not our kind of scene, but we were fortunate to grab a table and chairs just in time.  Sitting there, eating my dripping taco, a tiny little head and face appeared to my left, just over the table edge.  A little boy was staring at me, or rather, my taco.  It was sort of akin to those times you eat at a friend’s house, and their pet starts to beg.  Awkward, and uncomfortable.

I swallowed my bite and just stared right back at him.  He smirked a little and I smiled back.  His father then revealed himself to be the man sitting at the table next to M, along with presumably his mother and an older sibling who were totally disinterested with the whole thing.  His father called to him, ordering him to leave us alone and come back to their table.  This boy couldn’t have been more than three or four.  He wasn’t helpless (obviously) and also wasn’t talking.  Whether he could speak at all, I do not know.  One thing was certain – he completely ignored his dad, and if I didn’t have ears, I would never have known he was being called just to look at the little brat.

I say “brat.”  It’s not that this child was being extremely annoying.  He wasn’t grabbing at things that were not his or tossing his animal crackers at anyone.  He wasn’t screaming at the top of his lungs or repeating anyone’s words over and over again.  He was just being, independent.  It was soon after our staring contest that he traipsed over to the table next to me and his father got up and grabbed … not his hand … but his leash.

The little dude was wearing a leash.  And not the bungee cord type that expands and contracts, but a bonfire leather, sturdy, on a metal swivel do-hickey – leash.  It attached to a body harness he was wearing over his clothes.  And his dad pulled him back to their table and spoke to him as the little tyke looked neither hurt, angry, or amused.  In fact, he looked elsewhere as his dad spoke and in adult terms, totally blew him off.

The boy attempted to part their company again shortly after his father’s diatribe.  His dad gave the leash a tug and he instinctively grabbed the leash out of his dad’s hand.  Strangely, dad let him have it, becoming to interested in something they were doing at the table.  So, with his leash in hand, the little boy proceeded to traipse around the tables and into the ferry terminal toward the door that lead to Seattle.  His father turned once and called to him, then turned around again.  It was so surreal.

I lost interest when his father got up and went after him at some point after.  I sometimes have to shift gears before what is in my head comes out in real life.

So I thought of a story that my better judgement declined before it hit the page.  It was about a child stealer who watches this whole scene, and easily whisks the boy away.  Later, when the boy is in a box with air holes in the back of a horse trailer headed for who knows where, the evil kidnapper says, “Bet you wish you’d listened to your pappy, huh!”  And the police take the family’s and the witness statements and call CPS.

My beta-reader told me recently I should be very cautious about killing a kid I have in my Malone story.  He said it would turn off any parent readers and make people angry.  I have to agree.  I feel the same way about this story.

What I’m Reading and Why, v3

Writers have to read.  It’s not a chore.   Chef’s taste food; athletes watch footage of other athletes; cars get waxed.

The Story of Ireland: A History of the Irish People

by Neil Hegarty

A project I’m working on requires that I become a connoisseur of Irish history and society.  As someone who has always loved the lore and mystical nature of the average stories of Ireland that are tossed around somewhat casually, I am beginning to be in true awe of how for granted the world (and especially the United States) seems to have taken this island of people.

I had always had this idea that Celtic culture and religion had begun there.  In reality the island served as the perfect geographical location to collect all of the good aspects of historic European culture and (mostly) repel all of the negative aspects.  Who can resist the story of how cattle barons got rich and thus became Irish nobility off the backs of traders supplying the Roman army with their tons of leather?  Suffice to say that Vikings and Normans, while certainly ancient invaders, also became settlers and, along with the trend, melding with Irish-ness and further shaping the culture.  Talk about a melting pot!

I’m further enjoying the overlap this book has to the BBC produced, 5 segment special on Irish history hosted by the author.  I can read more of the book and then watch the segment covering those bits on YouTube and viola! it stays in there.

I’m careful about relying on one source for my information.  While this book and the corresponding documentary collection are very comprehensive and informative, I will also seek other sources for my information.  Bottom line here is – if you are Irish American, or even if you are not, there is much to be loved about an island nation that formed from our best qualities as humans and actually SAVED civilization as we know it through it’s academia and careful recording of history while the rest of Europe was burning heretics and killing knowledge.

 

Foundation

by Isaac Asimov

I’m a science fiction fan.  Bradbury and Asimov are not foreign to me.  So how did I miss this?  I came across an estate sale recently where the deceased was obviously more of a sci-fi fan than I.  There were complete series of Orson Scott Card, and alas, all the series of Asimov.  The Robots were all there.  I bought them all.  Even the set of Fantastic Voyage books made an appearance.  I bought them too.  Now, I was aware of the Foundation trilogy, but for whatever reason, had never cracked it open.  What I didn’t realize was that he was enticed to write three additional books in the series later in his life.  So I got to work trying to figure out what order the books were in to make sure I didn’t miss getting one of the pieces.  This is where the trouble started.

foundation bookThere were actually one book to each story present but for the price of 50 cents per paperback, I could get the one book that housed the initial trilogy all-in-one for just that.  Duh.  Except … the cover of this one (unlike the cover graphic I have snagged for this article) listed the trilogy contrary to the order I understood from the other books.  It listed them as:  Foundation, Second Foundation, and Foundation and Empire.  As you can see from the graphic to the right, the actual order is different.  Without internet to research my treasure trove, I scratched my head and made my purchase.

I couldn’t wait and started reading Foundation as soon as I got in the truck.  Thanks my lovely driver!  It wasn’t until I got home and researched that I discovered that he wrote the three follow up books out of order and was floored, once again, by his skill and capacity.  I gave the idea of reading them in actual chronological order a very brief consideration, but decided to stick to the order they were written.

Aside from the sheer enjoyment, I’m reading Foundation because I want to study one of the great masters of world building, to learn how he imagined and threaded together contrived history married with cutting edge science truthes into the magic of science fiction where, indeed, the reader becomes so enmeshed that they could easily live there themselves.

 

 

Feynman’s Kryptonite

Kryptonite

Terrance screwed his face into one big ball of disbelief.  He folded his arms across his chest and turned to the source of his annoyance.    “Haven’t you heard Feynman’s theory?  Electrons don’t all just look the same; they are the same.  They’re one.  They’re not “they,” it’s “IT.”  There’s only one electron in the whole universe, in all of existence.  It just keeps going backwards and forwards, turning into antimatter, and then turning around again and turning into an electron.  That’s why ‘all electrons’ look the same.  We’re just one gigantic dot matrix for God.  That’s Feynman.  Don’t you know that?  Hey man, those religious types that tell you we’re all one – ‘they in us and I in you,’ mumbo-jumbo?  They’re not too far off the mark, eh?  So quit acting like you’re some kind of unique being that can leap tall buildings .  I don’t care what blazing rock you crawled out of all naked and invincible Kal-El.  You got that?”

Tea Time with Idaho Indians

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

This past week I had tea over at the independently owned grocery store.  Not the “heat your water and throw your tea bag in there” kind of tea.  I had the “British Empire leaves India but the tradition still remains” kind of tea.  My new friends Ekaraj and Mishti, the husband and wife that own the place, had extended an open invitation to the store at 4pm, just about any day, when they host tea time.

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More Malone Snippets – Chance Meeting with a Friend

Child picking nose. Oh - and a Smart Crossblade. - Flickr - exfordy

At the gala she saw Kaylee with her son, Echo, tagging along beside her.  She could tell Kaylee was excited to finally introduce her boy – of whom crayon drawings and amusing stories had abounded up to this point.  Kaylee reached for the socially appropriate hug while Malone shrank clumsily into a simple shoulder tag.  Kaylee smiled, entertained at Malone’s usual social awkwardness.

Looking down at Echo, Malone realized Kaylee was completely unaware of his tiny little finger, deeply rooted in his nostril, and rummaging around.  Malone broke into a huge grin at the boy – sun painted curls adorned his tan, freckled face – pure innocence at its best.  “Hey Echo!  Save some for me, huh?  How about it?” she smiled.  He was instantly charmed as evidenced by his beaming return smile, finger still planted in his face.

Finally recognizing the situation and feeling the impulse to be embarrassed – Kylee dropped his free hand and gently removed his digging finger, wiping it on her jeans.  But the contrast of Malone’s own social anxiety in comparison with her genuine appreciation for her son’s youth caught her at the heart level and she giggled … almost like a school girl.  It was completely unlike most encounters when her son’s childish antics made other adults uncomfortable and led to her hasty apology which always felt like a betrayal to her love for Echo.

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Asimov Tribute Flash

It was once thought that artificial intelligence would be the wave of the future – forming machines into thinking beings, similar but better than humanity.  That was such faulty thinking.  In reality the lessons learned from the creation of faulty AI equipment brought us closer to the full capacity of humanity when emotions and deep thought were set aside for mathematical equations in decision making.  Take for example, the chess game played between chess champion Garry Kasparov and IBM’s “Deep Blue.”  When Blue won the game, one scientist was quoted as saying, “My God, I once thought that chess required deep thought.”  He went on to clarify that is wasn’t that Kasparov was not capable of deep thought, but just that chess did not require it, and therefore, other aspects could be held to this same discovery.  This logic was carried forward into all matter of human decision making, military, science, government.   “AI” became “IA,” Intelligent Artifice – a new strain of logic devoid of emotion and based on mathematics.  Thousands of years later, this was to serve as a single brick in the foundation of Psychohistory.

I Don’t Want to Leave

Originally posted on interruptingcow:

snow caps on mountains, and valleys
barren tan fresh looking basins
green clumps and sprinkles of trees
each inch a mile, and time hastens.

brightness in my eyes –
i tug the blind halfway.
periwinkle skies –
beautiful travel day.

sleepy and warm, i drift to dreams
and wait for the house to fade …
twist back time, unfabric the seams
back to kisses and touches made …

eastbound I-80 – drowsy driver warning

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4-up on 3-18-13 at 11.21 PM (compiled)

Estate Sale

The house smelled like cat urine and mildew.  The estate sale had been picked through pretty thoroughly.  She could tell they might have found something of a treasure … a steal … if only they’d come to this one first.  But it wasn’t a video game, she reminded herself, and there was no level up or missed easter egg.
She found an old pencil sharpener like what she remembered from grade school – the kind that had a rubber bottom and a lever so you could “seal” it to the flat surface.  One dollar – it was marked.  And the wall map of the continental united states rolled up next to it was only a quarter.  “What are the odds of that?” she thought.  She found Grady and rambled around behind her, keeping her finds well in sight of whomever might be in charge of sales.  She didn’t know why, but she always felt worried about that – like someone was going to run after her and firmly say, “Excuse me – but you have to pay for that.”  She’d had people crowd around her half naked body with flashlights before, but somehow this scenario seemed even more mortifying than that.  Ironic.”Look at this.  I love this…” Grady said.  She motioned to a appalling rendition of an upturned hand.  The sculpture was done in white mortar or plaster and was grossly disproportionate.  She didn’t respond, didn’t make a face.  “Only I think it would be nice if it were your hand.”  Grady smiled sweetly and reached to stroke her arm.  A wave of emotion rolled from Malone’s gut and prickled the hair on her head.  Damn, she loved this woman.