Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Save travels, everyone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I didn't have to make this one up

I found a good typo. Someone please define "vegilant."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm totally freaking out

How long can this last?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Distorted viewpoints

I have a scene in my MFA creative project in which people try to obtain information from a newscast but the digital reception is poor. I describe the distortion of the newscasters' faces as resembling rotting corpses or burn victims, which is what it looks like to me. Late one night this week I was trying to watch Charlie Rose and I decided to try to capture some of the lovely images with my camera. The result is sort of a "Night of the Living Talking Heads." Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

That sinking feeling

Here's today's fiction entry for Three Word Wednesday, inspired by the space shuttle Endeavor's wayward toolbox. Here's another article about it. Today's words are tension, corrupt and intellect.

Also, please visit Purple Houses again tomorrow. I'll be posting a new minigallery of photographs. Something different.

They were adrift in the airless maw of space and the only way they were going to get home is if they repaired the drive and restored power to the ship.

Michaels hated spacewalks. In the endless eternity he always felt incongruously claustrophobic, like the heavy blackness around him would envelop him like a sea monster and crush the life out of him. He prayed the corrupt leaders who had funded the mission had not used the lowest bidder for his life support equipment.

He reached behind him to pull the tether holding the toolbox, but there was no tension on the line. He turned slowly in the airless space and saw that the toolbox was floating away from the ship.

His intellect told him that the toolbox was out of reach. He desperately rationalized, though, that there was a way to retrieve it – that he could reenter the ship and find something to snag it. Or that there was some other way to open the hatch that protected the crippled drive.

There wasn’t.

Soon the toolbox would be invisible, just another white gleam in the eye of the monster.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Strange interlude

An anchovy puppet reads Thomas Pynchon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Words I Made Up While Doing Schoolwork in a Hurry #12

Someone please define "sisconcerted."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Things you can do when you quit your job #11

Wonder if you did the right thing.

I don't, really.

Just sometimes I think, what if this doesn't work? What if all I end up with is a good-sized student loan and no way to pay it off?

This, only a week after I was all inspired.

Doubt's a powerful beast.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Grandma Betty and the Underground Bake Sale

Here's my fiction for Three Word Wednesday, inspired by California's bake sale ban. The words are blush, quiver and tenderness.

Thank God that Ralph the janitor was on their side.

Every Thursday night Ralph left the key to the school at the pick-up/drop-off point and set up the folding tables in the dank basement room. If it wasn't for him the kids wouldn't have that new set of Fancy Nancy books, nor would they know the crumbly goodness of a fat-filled treat.

Grandma Betty and Aunt Myrtle set out the plates of merchandise -- chocolate chip bars, coconut bars, pumpkin bars, peanut butter cookies, apple bars.

Aunt Myrtle looked over the goods. "This is quite a stash."

Grandma Betty’s cheeks flamed. “You’re making me blush!”

A knock at the door. They shut up.

Aunt Myrtle went to the peephole. “What’s the secret ingredient?”

A middle-aged female voice whispered, “Molasses.”

“Let her in,” Grandma Betty said. “Get that barricade away from the door. Hurry, hurry. Did anyone follow you?”

“I don’t think so,” Henrietta said.

“Did you bring the stuff?”

“Yeah, yeah.” Henrietta pulled a bag of freshly baked cinnamon rolls out of her quilted bandanna-print purse. The rolls promised to melt with tenderness.

“Good,” Grandma Betty said, taking the rolls from Henrietta. She bumped the corner of the folding table, causing her enormous polyester-clad thigh to quiver. “This is better than the stuff you brought last time.”

“Yeah, and I been handing out free samples so we’ll sell more this week!”

Grandma Betty slapped Henrietta in the mouth. “You dumb bitch! You’re gonna get us caught!”

Henrietta touched her fingers to her mouth and they came away bloody. She spat on the floor. “Relax, Grandma. I got it under control.”

Suddenly, the door burst open. Three federal agents in black suits jumped through the doorway, guns drawn.

“Everyone down on the floor!” One of the feds yelled. “Drop the spatula, lady!”

“Here they are,” Agent One said. “Cinnamon rolls! The fat content's got to be near 100 percent!”

“Let go of my buns, you sick bastard!”

Aunt Myrtle began to cry. “Those aren’t ours! We’re holding on to them for someone! We didn’t know what they were!”

Agent Two wrestled Grandma Betty to the linoleum floor. “What’s this, huh?” He pulled a butter knife out of her apron pocket.

“Well, I don’t know how that got in there.”

"Come with us, Grandma. You're not gonna be baking anything for quite a while."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Things you can do when you quit your job #10

See Croatian guitarist Robert Belinic at the Fox Valley Symphony. Thanks for the tix, J.E.

Friday, November 7, 2008

And today...

I've been waiting to write about the election because nothing I wanted to say seemed adequate, or it seemed too idealistic. But here's the thing: It's suddenly okay to be an idealist again. A word aptly used on NPR and elsewhere on Wednesday: euphoria. Suddenly the world looks different.

Because so many people, including myself, finally were voting for someone instead of against someone. Because the democratic process actually worked the way it was supposed to. Because we've been hearing speeches meant to motivate and unify rather than to frighten. Because civility and cooperation are valuable again. Because we have a chance to repair how America is viewed from the outside, and yes, it does matter, because ultimately that makes us safer. Because we've already changed how America is viewed from the inside, in a historically and monumentally transforming way. Not only for one group of people -- for everyone.

And strangely today I feel like doing better: Taking care of myself better, doing something good, doing things well. Pride. This is the America that I know, the one I've been missing. Tuesday was one of the greatest days ever in American history, a history which is full of courage, perseverance, triumph, sorrow, wounds and scars. Our history has shown us what we want our future to be. Look at what the nation can do in 140 years, in 40 years, in 4 years.

What can we do tomorrow?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008