Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Spasm

Last minute 5SF post!  Too late to make it to the links at Lillie McFerrin's lovely site.  But I had an urge to get back in the flash game.  Fiction, that is.  So here's one for the prompt: faces.

If he's smoking while he makes a political point, his lip will curl up the same way it does when he's tearing lettuce leaves. After a long walk, he'll hold your hand lightly in his because he says he can feel the pulse in your fingers. “Still breathing,” he says. Noses never stop growing and his will only get longer. But you'll be under by then; leaving the trace of all these gestures.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction: Candy

Not everything is in ruins.
But most of the good stuff is gone.
One morning I crank up my scrapped together go-kart and motor up the coast to a block of boutiques and cafes in a tourist town where even the always red horizon seems a bit dimmer.
I stop into a sweet shop and and there isn't much left, but I do find a Fun Dip under the cashier's drawer (which is still full of useless money).
I lick the marshmallow flavored stick all covered with cherry sugar from its little paper packet, and damn if the last sweet thing on earth doesn't taste just like it did when I was a girl, legs dangling in the water at the Yosemite Avenue Rec Center on a July afternoon in 1987, my eyes still burning from chlorine as “Like a Virgin” played on somebody's radio and was carried away on a hot breeze.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Once Upon a Time Writing Contest Submission!

     What More Is You Lookin’ For?
     A limo pulls up in front of the new aquarium.
     In the backseat, Nick’s mother straightens out her cocktail dress.  Nick’s earbuds are blasting some thudding trash.   She leans over to straighten his tie.  He slaps her hands away, flipping her off as he crawls out the door. 
     He shoves his way past old rich hags in diamonds and elbows a photographer in the stomach.
     His dad is CEO of Bex Oil.   Nick doesn’t know what CEO stands for.  He does know something about the beach.  His dad is killing the beach, destroying the earth, collapsing the universe.  Or whatever.  His biology teacher gave him nervous looks when they did papers on environmental issues.  Every kid in class talked about Nick’s father.  But Nick knows his dad is an asshole.  He heard the aquarium is some bone to throw at green people. 
     He snags booze and sniffs out an intern with shaggy hair who’s most likely holding.
     On a catwalk over a massive tank, Nick is stoned right into the floor and guzzling Dom Perignon.  The intern is babbling about selling out, Greenpeace, college girls...  Nick lies on his stomach and leans over the water.  There are tiger sharks in there, and manta rays, and other freaky creatures.  There are also stone statue things covered with barnacles and shells.  Nick blinks into the depths.  He can’t even see the bottom. There’s something in the corner of his eye…
     He squints.  Can’t see it straight on.  Something out of sight…  Boobs? 
     He sees boobs.  Almost.   But he can’t quite look at them.  Weird?  Boy, is he high.
     He hears a whisper and since he feels like he’s floating anyway, he pushes himself off the cat walk and into the blue as the whisper becomes a water logged scream.
     It’s three o’clock in the morning and their impossible, no doubt rehab-bound son is vamoose.  The mother growls obscenities and frowns into the manta ray tank, thinking that an ugly as hell little stone formation shouldn’t be blocking the pretty coral.  What dumbass put that there?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

5 Sentence Fiction!: Tears

Private Radeena Spal has no qualms about the memory wipe, she’s just nervous about the possibility of it hurting as she clenches and unclenches her fists in Dr. Green’s waiting room.
She hasn’t slept properly in weeks.
Memories of those grey scaly humanoids exploding into bits, and of women and children who stared up at her with pleading yellow eyes keep her up at night in her quarters, hunched and sweating in the dark corner of her bunk, unable to put out of her thoughts how the shriek of the land fire sounded so much like a melancholy violin.
Dr. Green calls for her and she all but leaps to her feet, smiling tightly.
Thirty years later, she sits next to her second husband in a velveteen box seat at a performance of an interplanetary orchestra and as the gamey tentacle of a talented Vuol brings his bow down over the strings, Radeena feels an inexplicable sorrow so deep and aching that she must be escorted out of the theater because her weeping causes a disturbance.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

5 Sentence Fiction: Scorching (Part 2 of 2)

Part 1 of this 5SF "two parter" is below, might want to read that one first.  But it's not like it's Breaking Bad or something, so whatevs.

The fourth grade girls play Chinese jump rope and the thin soles of bright white Keds meeting that September-hot blacktop pavement right in the middle of Los Angeles make them jump high and quick like popcorn.

Bridget Cassidy curls her toes at the heat but remains still as a sentry as the band of elastic makes a thin indentation on the backs of her sweaty knees.

“You’re a slut and your mom’s a slut,” Katie Norris hisses  in her ear, appearing from nowhere and making Bridget jerk her head, startled.

Earlier that day, a strange woman pulled their teacher aside and said she needed to talk to Katie and two other girls in class–all of them are kids that Bridget also goes to church with and she thought it must have something to do with church, so why didn’t they want to talk to her?

There’s some connection here between the mysterious lady talking to Katie and the other weird stuff going on like how Bridget was suddenly not allowed to go to Katie’s slumber party (she cried for an hour) and her mom having a screaming fight with two people from church in the middle of the grocery store while Bridget watched, baffled and clutching a Betty’s Diary comic, and she wonders now as Katie stares at her with pink cheeked rage, why the girl is so angry when Bridget is always the one who’s left out.

5 Sentence Fiction (Part 1 of a 2 Parter): Wicked

-Catching up on the ole Five Sentence Fiction.  This prompt is a few weeks old.  Bit...heavy. I dunno, I'm tryin' somethin'.  Also, maybe not so much strictly inspired by the word 'wicked' which connotes a bit of playfulness. Ah well.  This goes with my next 5 Sentence Fiction for the prompt 'scorching' which I'll put up next.


On a Monday afternoon in 1985, Lydia Cassidy calls Barbara Norris and makes her fears known: That new man at church is obviously trouble and shouldn’t be babysitting children, and did she know that  Barabara's daughter burst into tears at Vacation Bible School and pounded her group leader with tiny fists when the older girl tried to escort her to the bathroom? 

Barbara’s hands shake as the adrenaline flows and she says, “You must have a really dirty mind, Mrs.Cassidy, and I think you have mental problems.”

She tries to slam the phone down but she is shuddering with such violence that she misses the receiver.

She stands from the dining room table, grimacing at a nick in the otherwise flawless walnut and plans the rest of her day, shoving the phone call to the back of her mind as it will be dealt with later (“Lydia Cassidy screamed horrible things at me over the phone!”).

Barbara catches a reflection of her own stubborn beauty in the glass of the china cabinet and glances away, thinking that Lydia Cassidy has always been so dramatic, and these things are quite common.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction: Coincidence

The lumbering corpse doesn't really see David, all he sees is: blood, life, meat.

But David sees the corpse who used to be Justin from #10B; he knows that apartment up and down and he knows Justin enough that tears well up as he recognizes what used to be him under the peeling putrid skin and milky pupils.

The thing corners him behind a Carvel shop; now half blown up from some riot or another.

David's got a bad leg, which he injured jumping a third story roof to get away from an endless line of corpses, and there's nowhere to go, so he falls to his knees in the narrowing gap between the Carvel and the Kinko's, praying.

As the thing that is not Justin rips into his lower bowel with its decimated grey fingers and he screams at no one, he wonders if some part of the corpse remembers that morning when Justin walked into #10B to see his wife up against the refrigerator, mouth parted and wet, with David's hand shoved down into her jeans.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction!: Enchanted

I shall never find love,” Noinin said with a sigh, her turquoise wings faintly stirring as she dipped a fingernail into her stem glass of rose wine.
As the man who lived in the house had gone for the day, Estirir was hovering in front of the giant bedroom mirror, pinching her cheeks.  She turned her head to cast a glare in Noinin's direction and it wasn't necessary for her to say what Noinin already knew she was thinking: Not with the human, dear- the logistics alone boggle the mind.
Noinin flitted over to the human's nightstand where there were pictures of him grinning with a big group of other human men; muscular, blonde, sweaty, and free.
Also,” Noinin said, “he's got a boyfriend.”

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ten Favorite Books (At This Particular Place and Time)

Hello, friends!

So, numbers 1-3 I consider ranked.  The rest could be in any order.

I think it's telling (depressing?) that of my authors; five are British, one is a British Indian, one is Irish, and two are American.  Anglophile much?

Much of this list explains my love of Downton Abbey.  Somebody really enjoyed their Modern British Lit class in college and that somebody is me.

TWO are by the same author! Which surprises even me.

1.A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
I don't know how many times I've read it.  Five?  When I was fourteen I attempted to make my own audio book of it.  I can't remember if I saw the movie or read the book first, as the movie is such a great adaptation.  I wrote a paper on it in high school and again in college. 
This is a love story for the smart girls.  All we're asking is to meet a handsome noncomformist socialist in Italy willing to run around naked in the forest who will say things like, "I want you to have your own thoughts even as I hold you in my arms."  Oof. 
It's also a comedy of stuffy manners and snobbiness -even of the good- and I think it's responsible for my inward resistance to convention.   Oh, how I love this book.

2.1984 by George Orwell
Not much to say about it that hasn't been said before.  O'brien says, "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -forever."  That's pretty much the entire book right there.  The exploration of controlling the populace by controlling its history and the distribution of information is so deep that we still commonly use words like "doublespeak" today.  The first time I read 1984 (in high school, I think), the idea that you could an erase an idea by erasing all the words that could describe it blew my mind and chilled me to the bone.  The concept that a system desiring power in and of itself would destroy you only after you had learned to love it is even bleaker.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Sigh.  I'm sorry!  I can't help it!  I'm such a girl.
Like A Room with a View, Pride and Prejudice fondles the egos of many the brainy chick.  Liz Bennett is all wit but subject to the mores of her husband-hunting era.  You know the score.  The thing is all charm.
Plus it contains phrases like "insufferable presumption" and that's what I call a good time.*
*Dowager Countess agrees.

4. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
And thus we chug onward via the Merchant Ivory adaptation train.
Good God, this book will break your freakin' heart.  The man of duty who will sacrifice not only a chance at real happiness, but the well being of the innocent (at times) or his own morals, for the good of...well, duty.  Or is it just fear of change? How very British, yet universally human.

5. Howard's End by E.M. Forster
I really don't know what to tell you. It's like at the Oscars when the same movie wins trophy after trophy.
Worth noting that these days I'm reading sci-fi and fantasy almost exclusively.  Although, even back in high school when I fancied myself high minded and read Moby Dick and Kerouac and Thomas Hardy, I was also reading a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation novels (anything with Data or Q on the cover).
Bringing to mind Helen Bonham Carter (AGAIN) and Emma Thompson (AGAIN) and Anthony Hopkins (Hello, Clarice), this is a gorgeous heartbreaking book of the new rebel Schlegels versus the old school Wilcoxes and the poor schmucks of a lower caste who get caught in the middle.  Just that image in my mind of lowly Mr.Bast chasing Helen through the rain after the Beethoven concert to get back his umbrella has probably cemented all my girly ideas of bittersweetness and romance.
"Only connect."

6. The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie
Oh, geez!  Finally!  At least we're moving further into the 20th century.  Let's see, how to do describe this book...
Well, basically it's a post-colonial variation on the Orpheus myth with rock stars that takes place in a slightly different universe than ours (oh, one of those again?).   It's about rock music and India and love and death and lots of craziness.  It's pretty awesome.  It's also got a U2 connection, which might be why I read it in the first place.  There's a band in it that Rushdie considered a sort of homage to U2.  Then U2 recorded a version of the song "Ground Beaneath Her Feet" (which is in the novel) and put it on the soundtrack for The Million Dollar Hotel (which is a horrible movie, but a solid soundtrack).
Anyway, the book is epic and beautiful.

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Finally with some genre already.  Hard to pick a favorite Potter (because there has to be one on the list).  I'll go with this one because it got me emotionally more than any of the others (even the last!) with the death of a certain character.  Which I'm still not over.  I mean c'mon, he fell through a curtain!  Obviously, he's just waiting backstage somewhere! 
Seriously, that character death DESTROYED me.  Not since Buffy...
Also, it's got rebellion against fascism and that's always a good time.  And I liked angry angsty Harry.
Also, Luna.  'Nuff said.

8. A Portrait of the Artist as Young Man by James Joyce
Reading this and studying The Modernists (with a capital M!) in college may have done more harm than good.  Because after -mo there's po-mo and there's nothing after that but an abyss of deconstructed e-waste and Mr.Brainwash installations.
I mean it's not the kind of book that you feel warm and fuzzy about necessarily, but the whole non servium "I will not submit" thing will really mess with your head in college. And then you promise that one magical day you will get all the way through Ulysses and then you're really screwed.
So maybe I should've gone with Dubliners.
If you want to know where to point the finger per my manic rambling Five Sentence Fiction stories, it goes right up that Irishman's nose (not necessarily because of his direct influence, but because Joyce begat all those po-mo whippersnappers who instilled in me a bottomless obsession with the semi-colon).

9. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Board certified as the book that I most often stare at on my shelf while muttering, "I gotta read that again."
Granted, as a little gentile from Eagle Rock, I had to look up "gollum" because I hadn't seen that episode of "The Simpsons" yet. 
It's been years now and my memory is fuzzy, but what I remember is that this book had me invested in the characters in a way that few contemporary novels do.  At least for me.  Also, I'm constantly rereading the first chapter just to get an idea of "a perfect first chapter."
Chabon is badass.

10. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse Five is the kind of book that if you read it at the right age the thing will blow your hair back with the power of a thousand winds. 
Freakin' Vonnegut, man.
Maybe the thing you think most often while reading your first Vonnegut is, "Oh, you can do that?"
The book reads much like a snarky anti-war memoir.
Except it's science fiction.
You can do that?
Vonnegut's the kind of guy I forget is a sci-fi author.  I don't think of him as "sci-fi" or even "literary fiction."  To me, he's Vonnegut.  Class by himself.
Cat's Cradle could easily have made this list.  It definitely scared the crap out of me more than any other novel.

And there it is!  I reserve the right to change this list at any time!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction: Yearning

You're walking through an outdoor mall; one of those so charmingly designed monstrosities that all have a Sephora and an Anthropologie and a train on a circular route to transport you from Starbucks to Coffee Bean, but it does create the illusion of a community where teenagers have lover's quarrels in front of a fountain, and families go at Christmas to watch a tree lighting or sit on the perfect squares of lawn to eat from gourmet food trucks and watch 80's flicks on movie nights.
It's almost a place.
You're walking down one of those faux cobblestone streets outside the multiplex when you see a woman wearing a certain kind of quilted jacket -the sort of thing hand sewn by an artsy type who grew up in the 60's and makes jewelry out of polymer clay- and maybe she has long salt and pepper grey hair so you slow your pace and squint a little.
She might be too tall or too thin, but for a dizzying moment you come close to shouting for your mom as you imagine this woman turning her head to grin with a big overbite, eyebrows raised in amused expectation.
It's almost real.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction: Exquisite


It's the Homecoming Dance 1996 and Davey Alvarado is miserable in the biggest tuxedo his mother could force him to rent -which is still too tight and making him sweat harder than when Coach Kring kept barking at him to run the mile and he thought for one moment that he was truly on the verge of a heart attack but kept running anyway- and he's sipping punch, standing in the darkest corner of the gym with Billy Fincher, who is about a quarter his size.
 That god-awful song, “Mr.Personality", starts playing and the flashing multi-colored lights pulse and sweep patterns of blue and white stars over kids who have actually summoned the gumption to start dancing, but all Davey can think about is how that song makes him feel like an even bigger loser, and that's saying something.
 Finally 20 Fingers stops shrieking and “Tonight Tonight” plays as Davey takes off his jacket because it's about ninety degrees in the room and that's when Sheila Sutter walks in the door; red lipstick and strawberry blonde curls (with some of that weird extra hair that girls like to slap on the back of their head for some reason), and a pink corset with a big ballgown skirt that reminds Davey of the princesses he likes in fantasy novels who, at some point, usually hike up their dress and grab a sword, and the image of Sheila doing just that pops into Davey's head so viscerally that it makes him smile for the first time in exactly a week.
 Davey Alvarado stands silently sweltering for the next hour watching Sheila Sutter, who is always really nice to him when they're paired together in English -going so far as to pretend she doesn't wish she was partnered with someone else- as she gets mercilessly groped by semi-handsome but fully-douchey Kevin Banks on the dance floor and he fantasizes that things will change and he'll really talk to her; the wretched boundaries of high school crossed, the beauty deigning to couple with the beast -until the songs end, the lights come up, and the dreams become as absurd as the dragons he draws in his notebook at lunch.
Almost twelve years to the date of the Saint Augustine-Adams Homecoming Dance of 1996, Davey Alvarado -having lost weight and gained perspective as well as a pretty hip beard- runs into one Sheila Sutter (who has since learned that sex doesn't equal security and assholes aren't interesting) at a trendy new gastropub in East Hollywood where she flirts with him because he happened to be ordering a very specific microbrew recommended to him by an actor friend of his, and it takes an hour of buzzed conversation before they realize that they seem familiar to each other because they have shared this thing that has crystallized into the exquisite sadness of past lives.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Find Your Characters on the D&D Character Alignment

Full disclosure, I've never played Dungeons & Dragons.  I have, however, seen that awesome episode of Freaks and Geeks and that awesome episode of Community (if you don't know what I'm talking about, go watch both those shows front to back right exactly now; this post isn't that important).  But I do know about the Dungeons & Dragons character alignment, mostly due to Chris Hardwick talking about it on The Nerdist podcast.  Hardwick kept talking about his favorite alignment, which was "chaotic good."  So I googled away, to see what this meant.  Basically, it's a way of creating characters for Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games.  Soon enough I became obsessed with plotting the characters in my novel on the alignment grid.
Let me be clear, I just used this as a basic tool to get a better sense of my characters' traits and personalities.  Ideally, the characters you create are deep and complex and might do things outside of their alignment because people do weird thing sometimes. 

Sooo, let's take a look at the grid.

Yes, I know it is the most boring JPG in the history of JPGs.

Let's break it down.

Lawful Good: A lawful good character is all about honor and following a code of justice that works to the benefit of the people.  A noble knight would be lawful good.  When the law conflicts with the lawful good guy's sense of rightness,  angst shall ensue.

Examples: Sir Lancelot, Apollo Adama from Battlestar Galactica, almost every character from The West Wing, Riley from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (before he went rogue).

Neutral Good: I think sometimes it's tricky to the tell the difference between a lawful good character and a neutral good.  Neutral good characters just want to do the right thing all around.  They'll follow the law,  but they don't have too much trouble side-stepping it when it goes against their sense of morality.

Examples: Buffy Summers, Luke Skywalker, Spider Man, Captain Kirk

Chaotic Good: Ah, the fun heroes!  These are the do-gooding rebels.  They do what they think is right with no regard for what the law might be.  Screw the law.  Reckless but gold-hearted.  All about personal freedom.  The lovable rogue!

Examples: Captain Mal from Firefly, Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, Harry Potter*, the Weasley twins, Ferris Beuller, The Doctor from Doctor Who (a madman in a box)

*I would say Harry Potter is chaotic good more than neutral good because the kid really has no regard for rules at all.  Who's got time for school rules when you're trying to save the world?

Lawful Neutral: Characters who follow the law without regard for the question of good vs. evil as a means of keeping society organized and peaceful.  My chaotic good heart has trouble differentiating lawful neutral from lawful evil.

Examples: Captain Picard, most lawyers on lawyer shows,  Cornelius Fudge

True Neutral: Characters motivated completely by self-interest rather than any regard for good or evil.  Or characters following a belief in a 'balance' between good and evil and therefore not committed to either.  Kind of a weird and interesting alignment.

Examples: Han Solo (in the beginning),  Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica, the Observers from Fringe 

Chaotic Neutral: Anarchic characters who might do any crazy thing at any time.  They might be with the bad guys or they might be with the good guys depending on their whims at any given moment.

Example: Captain Jack Sparrow, Spike* from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bugs Bunny, Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation
*Definitely chaotic and often evil, but he works with Buffy to save the world from Angelus because he happens to like dog racing, Machester United, and Happy Meals with legs.

Lawful Evil: Order at all costs!  Characters who rule through fear.  And isn't it easier if you just oppress everybody?  Or types who enjoy following orders to do terrible things a little too much.   Tyrants and minions.  Obey or die!

Example: Darth Vader (obvi), Dolores Umbridge, Big Brother, Admiral Cain from Battlestar Galactica, and, well, Nazis.

Neutral Evil: Not madly evil for evil's sake but not into any oppressive codes.  Evil for their own ends.  They'll do anything to achieve their purpose.

Example: Lord Voldemort, Glory from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, George Costanza (yep)

Chaotic Evil: Evil madmen!  Violence and destruction for no reason at all.  They might destroy themselves if it looks like fun.

Examples: The Joker (especially in The Dark Knight), Angelus from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alex from A Clockwork Orange, and possibly Nicholas Cage if we don't keep an eye on him.

So obviously this is the sort of thing that geek types could argue about all the livelong day (and the types who would are probably lawful neutral).  Is Spike chaotic neutral or chaotic evil?  Is Lord Sauron lawful evil or neutral evil?  I don't know!  It's just a tool, people!  But it's a fun way to play with character dynamics.

Take every cop movie ever.  There's often a chaotic good type of cop (Riggs) partnered up with a lawful good cop (Murtaugh).  Can these two opposites find a way to work together? Spoilers: Yes.

I'm no expert.  I'm finishing the first draft of a first novel, but I had a lot of fun deciding whereabouts my characters fell on the alignment.  My main character is very chaotic good, but her love interest is somewhere between lawful good and neutral good, and he's forced to work with a guy who's lawful evil.

And it doesn't just have to apply to epic fantasy/sci-fi.  You can find these dynamics anywhere, especially if there's a system or social structure the characters are working under; a courtroom, a high school, or any workplace at all.  Dwight Schrute?  Lawful evil! 

For a seemingly endless and in-depth analysis of the character alignment go to this TV Tropes page.

If ever anyone wants to debate the alignment of Buffy characters, tweet me @spoonflipper.  It would be a joy.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dancing with Fairies: The Fairy Ring Writing Contest!

Born This Way
“I'm a goblin.”
I frowned. “Don't say that. I think you're good looking.”
Benny was average at best. But I liked his shaggy hair and too-big mouth.
He glanced around the cafeteria and leaned in close, making my heart go hummingbird fast. “I'm serious. I'm a goblin. You know I'm not lying.”
Thing was, I did know and it wasn't so shocking. Just this year, three fairies and an ogre had come out. Minnie Patterson and Delia Troy went so far as to go to school in fae form, even when the jocks threw sodas at their wings. I blinked stupidly. What was I supposed to say? Was he sad? It's not like I cared if he was a goblin.
“Come on.”
Bennie led me out of the cafeteria and into the janitor's closet. It was dark and I thought he was going to kiss me, when he turned the light on.
I shrieked.
He was two feet tall, his nose like a clown horn, his mouth much bigger. And his hair was everywhere.
“You hate me.” He had Bennie's voice.
He had Bennie's eyes too. They were bigger, but I could see his soul; sweet and funny.
I said, “Did you hang the principal's car on the flagpole?”
“It's my goblinness! I must make mischief!”
I crouched down next to him. “Is this why you didn't ask me to the dance?”
I kissed him. My heart fluttered. Yeah, it was Bennie. When I opened my eyes, he was human.
He grinned. “I should tell you,” he said, “I was raised by an evil sorcerer who kind of wants to take over the school and turn the freshmen into trolls.”
“It's okay. I hate my parents too.”


Friday, February 3, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction

5 Sentence Fiction, yo!  The word is: Shiver.

So I have no idea how these 5 Sentence Fiction stories keep ending up all spazzy manic but so it goes.  I don't like this one as much as the last one but eh, it was fun to write.  Obscenities below!  The title's probably too cutesy for a short fluffy piece, it came to me just now while watching Archer.  What do you want? Sorry for the comma madness.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that sentence #5 miiiiight not be kosher.  What do you want.

Walk Down This Street and Smile That to My Face

There's no money it and other than maybe a long comment thread on Flickr, there's no fame either (unless you're that Banksy guy or the Obama poster guy and then freakin' everybody knows who you are, even old people), but Sacco does it anyway pretty much every night he can manage it and swear to freakin' CHRIST, there is nothing better than finishing off a particularly cool piece on top of a building,  getting away clean, and shivering in the cold night air under the streetlights; you feel like you own Los Angeles!

The only thing that's almost better is hearing back from people about it like “Yo Sacco, is that you on Third Street?” and then, oh holy shit, is that ever sweet.

He lets slip to his ceramics teacher, Miss Marlow, that he's into art and Obey Giant so that she gets this crazy excited look in her eyes and brings him a book of this old white-haired dude's pictures that -once he's done looking down her shirt- he gets really interested in and now he's completely obsessed.

What Miss Marlow probably doesn't figure is that Sacco decides the old white-haired dude was really on to something and it would be cool to do stencils of some big celebrity and then put them everywhere like everywhere, so instead of everybody watching the celebrity, the celebrity's watching everybody else. 

Sacco picks Tom Cruise (since everybody knows who he is and the dude is crazy after all) and once he learns stencils, he puts Tom Cruise all over the city and people are starting to notice, but it's not enough: he recruits two guys, then five guys, then a dozen guys from school, and teaches them stencils, and soon every other street's got a Tom Cruise peaking at you over his shades; pharmacies, banks (oh, especially banks), bus stops, schools, freeways, empty bookstores, take-out joints, liquor stores, sidewalks, broken down shacks and then the big cojone; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple Tom Cruises all along the subway walls at the Vermont/Sunset stop, but Christ, it's so beautiful that when they finally drag him off in handcuffs (under the watchful eye of his buddy's camera phone) he screams to the palm trees and Sunset Boulevard and the cayenne peppered fruit carts and Mr.Brainwash, “I FUCKING LOVE THIS TOWN!”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction!  The word is: Clandestine.  This entry may or may not be grammatically kosher.

Smoke Break

Mario is long unkempt anarchy hair, brown stoner eyes, a fifteen year-old's half mustache, a smattering of acne on his chin because he leans on it in Biology when he's bored (which is always), his brother's hand-me-down uniform pants; his brother being taller, they're too long, so he rolls them up just enough that he steps on the hem to give them a respectable fray.

Clinton ('Clih-EN everyone in this town says as no one seems able to pronounce an -int) is a buzz-cut redheaded white boy and British, and he's even been to Africa on “holiday," and he rolls up packs of cigarettes in his sleeve because he saw it in a movie and because he thinks it makes him look like he has better biceps which might also give him the impression of having a six-pack.

Sister Dorothy (young but vicious and chinless and who can trust anyone with hair from the 70's?) goes on the war path at lunch time so Mario and Clinton sneak into the ball shed (heh, balls) behind the soccer field for their smoke and it's lucky no one is already in there making out; the place just smells like sweaty rubber and possibly sex.

They light up Marlboro Reds and laugh about poor ole fat Dave Alvarado's pit stains, Mrs. Abner’s gross thighs, Marley Benjamin's disturbing foot odor, and Mario eventually makes half-hearted mention of Sheila Sutter's tits just before he takes a drag and glances away at deflated footballs while picking at a zit before he thinks of what he's doing, and his hand does a weird fluttery thing that Clinton notices which alone makes his nakedly open Anglo cheeks go red for no reason that he can name.

There's a quiet moment during which Mario sees that his black Chuck Taylor is touching Clinton's steel-toe and with exuberant heart hammering and nicotine thrill he edges closer still staring at the floor, not realizing that Clinton has already taken great notice of how Mario's hair falls over his shy stoner eyes just so, and the really great part is that neither can figure out who made the move when their lips met or how the other knew to take the chance but both later agree to make underage smoking a regular habit.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Blog Hop Entry

There was a lightbulb hanging over Daika. She laid her head back on the steel chair and focused on the glare of white. The pain hit her kneecaps. Excruciating. It was as if they could pour it like water over her; gushing and torrid.
“Where's the base?” Mr.Green said.
Daika rolled her head to the side and squinted at Mr.Green in his clover suit. Staring at the light had clouded her vision and all she saw were spots where his head should be.
“Where's the base?”
“This...” She cleared her throat. They hadn't given her water in a day. “This reminds me...of something...”
Mr.Green said, “Turn it up.”
The pain came again. With authority. Daika grit her teeth and groaned. “Aww... You...” Her head lulled from side to side. “You guys suck.”
She thought she could feel the movement of the ship under her. But that was impossible. You could never feel the movement on a ship of this size. She closed her eyes and let herself settle into the agony as she had been taught. It was almost a thing of beauty. Feeling good had no flavor. But true pain and mortification; there were so many colors! She opened her eyes and saw the light of the bare bulb. No, it was the light of the sun. The sun in Marny Forest. That's what it reminded her of. That last morning on earth she had wandered off into the trees and flowers to stare at the sun. The next day ships landed. No more forests.
“Where's the base?”
“I guess...” She whispered.
Mr.Green leaned in. “Yes?”
“I's everywhere.” She blinked at him. Didn't he understand? It was obvious. But he was all light spots. “Isn't it?”

Friday, January 6, 2012

12 Reasons I Don't Want to See War Horse

1. I'm a cat person.

2. Weinstein threw out my 40 page treatment for Peace Horse.  I'm still bitter.

3. Saw the play.  Thought I was going to see Daniel Radcliffe in Equus.  Was very disappointed!

4.  Hot to Trot is the only horse-related movie I'll ever need.

5. Sooo not interested in World War I unless Maggie Smith is there tartly quipping.

6. Awaiting a Metallica video in which the horse becomes a blind, deaf, and mute quadraplegic.

7. What the hell did Kristen Stewart do to her face?!  Oh...ooooooh.  Sorry.

8. I preferred the original title, We Brought a War Horse.

9. Tree of Life RUINED me for movies without symbolic dinosaurs.

10. If I want to see a movie about Britain and a powerful beast, I'll see The Iron Lady.

11. Fassbender's not in it?  Then why are we still talking about this?  Let's watch Jane Eyre again!

12. I'm still all cried out from Chipwrecked.
3 Geekiest Quotes of the Week:

"Faster than a bullet!  Smaller than a mouse!" 
-James Adomian as Huell Howser on subatomic particles in the Large Hadron Collider, Comedy Bang Bang (alright, it was a re-aired clip from an older show)

"They could've been any fracking trees.  They could've been Ents for all it mattered."
-Matt Smith (but not that Matt Smith) on the trees of Androzani in the Doctor Who Christmas special, The Doctor's Companion

"Who would sit down and watch a football match?"
-David Tennant on soccer, The Nerdist

5 Podcasts for TV Nerds
All of these awesome shows are available on iTunes or on their websites, if I've included a link.

1. Breaking Good
After every new episode of Breaking Bad, Jim and A.Ron of discuss the latest misadventures of White and Pinkman with a lot of thoughtful analysis.  If you're as obsessed with the show as I am and feeling the hiatus already, it's worth listening to the back episodes.  They started this show with the fourth season of Breaking Bad, and they've talked about going back to recap previous seasons.  The format is nice and tight; in dept discussion, predictions, predictions with spoilers, listener feedback.  Good stuff.

2. Watching Dead
Same guys as above, but it's about Walking Dead!  They've said they're thinking about picking up a new show to cover.  I hope it's Game of Thrones.  Ooh lordy, I hope it's Game of Thrones.

3. The Doctor's Companion
Scott and Matt of Geekshow Entertainment recap and discuss both new (starting with the fifth season) and classic episodes of Doctor Who.  I find this especially helpful for getting through classic episodes which bit...deliberately...paced.  They're a little fanboy about things, but their critiques are solid.  They definitely call Moffat on his B.S. when warranted.

4. Previously On
David (of Battleship Pretension, which is a great movie podcast) and Sean go over a variety of shows as well as TV-related news.  They end every episode with a more lengthy discussion of a particularly big show (your Breaking Bads, your Homelands).  This show can be a little bit tricky to listen to if you aren't interested in whatever show they're discussing, although they're good about avoiding spoilers.  But they're thoughtful enough to include a general breakdown by minute/second mark of what they're discussing, so you can skip to the Big Show Discussion if you like.

5. /Filmcast and Reasonable Discussions
This one's a twofer because these shows don't discuss TV all the time.   The /Filmcast from /Film is a movie podcast (hence the name) and A.V. Club's Reasonable Discussions discusses (quite reasonably) all manner of pop culture.  But at the closing of certain series' seasons, they'll put out episodes of analysis and chat about it.  /Filmcast has had good talks about Game of Thrones, The Wire (I dug that one up in the archives and it was very worth it), and Breaking Bad in particular. 

What have we learned: It's possible I've had dreams about Bryan Cranston time traveling with Aaron Paul in a fetching ginger wig.

Monday, January 2, 2012

No Kiss Blogfest Entry

  So this is my post for No Kiss Blogfest.  It's a scene from a work in progress called The Twenty-seven Jewel Movement.  It's YA sci-fi, borderline fantasy, I s'pose.

 Here's a quick unofficial synopsis:
There are countless other worlds.  Some are just like ours, some are very different.
In the town of Roca Loca, New Mexico, fifteen year-old Jojo Rath just wants to take care of her brother, Elliott, and kill digital zombies online until the pain of her father's death goes away.  But when her uncle gives her a mysterious watch, strange things start happening.   Why is there a girl in Austin who looks exactly like her?  And what is the thread of blue light in the desert that beckons her in the night?

And... here is the No Kiss Blogfest scene:

     "Jo, tell me what happened in there." Maron kept glancing at her as he sped down Route 10. Jojo was hunched in her seat, hugging her knees, staring at the button-eyed voodoo doll hanging in the pick-up's rearview as it swung back and forth.

     "Did you see her?" Jojo said.


     "My mother."

     "Your mother? Like your actual mother?"

     Jojo closed her eyes and saw her mother's face again; a little softer than she remembered, a little less lined. Her mother, who had abandoned her, somehow living in a house with a girl identical to Jojo.

     "I saw her. I talked to her. It was her, but just a little different.” Jojo swallowed the lump in her throat. She pulled the sleeves of her hoodie down over her wrists. “I don't understand what's going on."

     “I don't get it. Why would your mom be in Austin?”

     “None of it makes sense.”

     Maron rubbed his eyes and sighed. “I keep wanting to say, maybe you were seeing things. But if you were, so was I. 'Cause I also saw the girl who looked exactly like you.”
    Frack that. She was me.” She leaned her head against the seat and gazed out at the endless miles of desert. “Don't be shy about it. I know you think I'm crazy anyway.”

     “Sure, but I always thought you were crazy.” He sneaked a faint smile at her and she rolled her eyes at him, smirking. A jolt of pain shot up her arm and her breath caught. He squeezed her shoulder. "Are you alright? You don't look so good. Is something wrong with your arm?"

     "No.” It took all her self control not to scream. She bit her lip until she thought she might draw blood. “I'm fine. I'll be fine.”

     They were silent as Maron drove and the radio played Portishead. Jojo felt nauseous and her head was starting to ache. Maron took an exit at Fort Stockton and she looked up, alarmed.

     "We gotta grab some coffee somewhere," Maron said. "I've driven like five hundred miles today, my brain is scrambled."

     "Okay. Do you think we're gonna get home in time, so you don't get in trouble?"

     "Not a chance. I just hope they don't ground me through Loca Fest."

     Jojo didn't say anything as Maron pulled into the parking lot of a diner next to a gas station. She hopped out of the truck and her Chucks crunched on the gravel. Night was coming on and the desert was getting cold. She gazed blankly at the retro diamond shaped letters spelling Restaurant. Roadside diners were so reliable. She clapped her hands to her face when a sob surged into her throat. Maron locked the truck and trotted to her side.

      "I'm so sorry!” She burst out. She pressed her sweat-shirted wrists into her eyes as if she could shove the tears back inside. It was embarrassing. She hated crying in front of people, particularly Maron. Her life was so depressing and weird. She never wanted him to think that she, as a person, was depressing and weird. "I'm so sorry I dragged you into this. You're going to get in trouble and it's all my fault. I'm just going crazy and I don't know what's happening to me."

      She felt his hands rest on her shoulders. “Hey... Hey, Jo. Come on, it's okay.”

      She shook her head like a little girl and he pulled her hands away from her eyes. Jojo blinked at him until the dark splotches cleared and she was looking at his mop of disagreeable dark curls and too wide mouth.

      "Don't worry about me. So I get grounded, it's no big deal. What's happening with you, that's a big deal. And I don't know what this is, but...” He squeezed her hands and Jojo searched his sad brown eyes. Maron always seemed happy and easy going enough when he was talking to other people. When he talked to her lately, he always looked a little sad. “It's gonna be alright.”

      Jojo couldn't help but titter at that. “People keep saying that to me. It's going to be alright.” She shrugged and stared down at their tangled hands. “But it never is.”

      “Fair enough. But even if it's not, I'll always be here.” He wrapped his arms around her and she sighed into the familiar embrace. He was tall enough to rest his chin on top of her head. Lanky, tall, dependable Maron with the calloused guitar fingers. He leaned back and smiled down at her. "I'll always be here for you. Okay? You're never getting rid of me, Jo. You'll have to kill me."

      Jojo gave him a shaky smile. "You're too good a friend, you know that? You throw off the curve for everybody else."

      Maron brushed a tear from her cheek with his thumb. They were standing very close. Just kiss me, she thought. Please kiss me. He got closer, just a little closer.

      He whispered, “Jo...” His lips brushed her forehead and she tipped her head up. A ghost of warm breath touched her lips as he pressed forward. A burst of white hot pain shot up her arm and she gasped, falling back against the truck. The pain was so extreme, she trembled and held her arm like it was broken.

      Maron's eyes were big. He stepped forward and cupped her cheek, all concern. "Seriously, what is wrong with your arm? This has been going on all day."

      "Nothing," she breathed. She forced a smile. "I fell this morning and I have a bruise, that's all." She backed away, trying very hard not fall down. "I'm just gonna go inside. To the bathroom. Get us a table."


      She walked backwards away from him and shrugged. “It's gonna be alright.”

As it turns out, the first post of my new blog is for the 3rd Annual No Kiss Blogfest which sounded like too much fun to pass up.  I was going to do my first post about my favorite podcasts, but that will have to wait.  This is all very last minute.  Oh well.
Second post for this brand spanking new blog will be a scene from my work in progress, The Twenty-seven Jewel Movement, and there will be no kissing in it!