March 30, 2012

Trifecta: Trifextra, Weekend Nine

Boyfriend

My phone rings.

“Ya?”

“Jill? Me. He’s at the door, Jill. He’s at my door.”

“Okay sis. I’m coming.”

Crash.

My every sense is now enervated: “Jen! Jen?"

“Jill? He’s got a -- ”

Click.

************************

This weekend's Trifecta: Trifextra challenge was suggested by a well-loved and respected Trifectan scribe, MOV of Word Cut. Here's her suggestion:
"Write a horror story in 33 words, without the words blood, scream, died, death, knife, gun, or kill. Good luck."

March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday


Springing
A tree, not yet in obvious bloom, on a rainy Wednesday, picture taken from my window
Week One of a planned progression taken from my front window

More photos to be had over at Wordless Wednesday. Go link up!

March 25, 2012

Trifecta's Trifextra: Weekend Eight

This weekend's Trifecta: Trifextra challenge is to complete a story using 33 words, wherein Trifecta has provided the first 33. I have a very full weekend but claimed a short block of time as my own. I read an article in The New York Times and knew I had something about which to write. The first two paragraphs are those of Trifecta. The second two are mine.

Update: Whilst this was written for a challenge, I have since revised it somewhat. The 33 words I was allotted did not do the story justice, I needed just a little bit more. And so, for clarity and posterity's sake, I have added two words, which are marked in italics.
 
Trafficked

“There’s nothing cute about it,” he said. The register of his voice indicated decision more so than discussion.

She disagreed heartily and privately, staring past his head and out the window behind him.

She’d handed her pimp the cash folded in a variety of origami sex poses, her “date’s” idea of art. She’d had no time to undo the damage.

Only sixteen, she knew well who’d shoulder blame.

***************


This is the Nicolas Kristoff article I read this afternoon. What breaks my heart is the manner in which high profile companies do nothing but abet pimps, and threaten a young women who dares to take a stand because the monetary profits are so great.

"Alissa" (her street handle) did not feel safe using her own name; she feared retaliation by The Village Voice.

Please sign the petition.

March 22, 2012

Friday Fluff

OMG. How can one person make 12 answers so freaking long? I would wish I were less wordy (you should see how many words I cut out) but then I wouldn’t be me. And what have I told me about wishing away my quirks? Then there would be nothing left of me.

Okay so this week Seeking Elevation suggested we each choose our own quiz to mash. This survey, 12 Out Of The Blue Questions from Quizopolis.com was written by sexxiileanne. (Really? Really!?)

You may select your favourite quiz here, give it the best you’ve got and link’er up over at Seeking Elevation. But do it quickly. “They” don’t call it "Friday Fluff" for nothing.

Hav you ever tried champagne?
Yes. Not only that, I have slurped real live champagne on more than one occasion. Hong Kong 1997 was an especially good season for it.

I believe Champagne is overrated. I'll take Prosecco for $20 any day.

Hav you ever been to a party wen someone rented a stripper?
Nope. But I would probably want to ask socio-political questions of the stripper person, which might put an intellectual damper on the whole affair.

Are you a good dancer?
If by dancer you mean on-stage hoofer then no. When I wanted to learn to dance as a kid, my mother signed me up with the most geographically close teacher for ... you guessed it. Highland dance. I can dance a mean Sword Dance, but my high-kicks and butt shakes leave much to be desired.

If by dancer you mean at weddings and in nightclubs, I can certainly bust an ‘80s-style  move or three. I once bought the C&C Music Factory music VHS video (only video I ever bought, music or otherwise) so that I could get my groove on at home. Suffice to say I practiced till my VHS machine broke down. Polka anyone?

If by dancer you mean stripper, then no, I would not make a good exotic dancer. Burlesque perhaps but peeler? I am likely to crack jokes or talk turkey about sex work, women, patriarchy and politics. And we all know how much men like joke-cracking, politic-spewing strippers.

Have you ever smoked a cigarette?
My first cigarette was the butt of someone else's JP Special I saved from a dance. It was gross.

I smoked it at the side of my house; I was maybe 15 and I was alone. Me being me, I inhaled very deeply to fully experience the nic-kick. Suddenly, and with hefty smoke searing what was left of my teenage lungs, I heard my mom's car as she came home from wherever she had been.

I freaked, killed the smoke, stood up and fell over. It was easily the worst head rush imaginable. I went to my bed and lay down and experienced my first ever bedspins. Sadly they were not my last.

The experience was so horrible, I never smoked again. Oh maybe a puff here or there to achieve that cool look, but I never took up the habit.

Have you ever done drugs?
Like pretty much everyone I’ve ever met, I've taken a toke of a joint, hot-knifed a bit of hash and swallowed a half tab of a pill of dubious content.

Pot did nothing for me and E made each hair on my head stand at attention in each and every follicle. I counted them. There were a lot.

Of the three, the only one I enjoyed to a degree was hot-knifing, but even then it was more because the ritual was so freaking funny and less because I got some buzz.

Hot-knifing, which I mentioned in a comment a week or so ago, is such a Canadian endeavour. Nobody else in my circle of drug-addled Hong Kong friends, be they Americans, British or Chinese, had even heard of it.

It makes sense really. I mean, who else but inhabitants of the Great White North would huddle around a stove, burners on high, their mom’s kitchen butter knives lying there red, hot and aglow, ready to sandwich a tiny nugget of black tar. The object is to inhale the thin stream of smoke that curls upward, hopefully toward madly-sucking nostrils or lips.

A theatre school party I once attended had partiers madly perfecting the art of the inhale: destroying plastic cups, pop bottles, cupping jazz hands, employing salad utensils and the long end of a turkey baster to better capture the smoke. It just got sillier and sillier. I don’t even think they needed the drugs, they were having so much fun.

Ultimately hot knifing ends badly. Many a sad mom has been left wondering what happened to her cutlery, how it came to be so ruined, so black.

What do you usually do at a party?
I, um, try to not talk politics, religion or weather, and spend most of my time trying to not freak myself out. I’m not a big fan of parties, obviously, though I go to them anyway.

What is the weather like where you live?
Last weekend it was sunny while it rained, got to near freezing temperatures, snowed for a while, hailed styrofoam-like drops and was generally overcast. Two days before we had a freak rainstorm with a blinding sun, which combined created a rainbow. Considering it was Saint Patrick’s day, I made a concerted effort to find the other end of the bow.

Now it is spring, and this morning there was frost on the neighbour’s roof and ice on the seat of my child's Little Tykes car. Something. Is. Wrong. Here.

Now you see why I try to not talk weather?

How often do you feel like someone is watching you?
When I'm in front of this video camera on my Mac, I feel watched more often than I’m comfortable admitting. I especially put a sticky note on the eye whilst hanging in my tub watching 30 Rock.

I also have a total of six skylights in my attic that occasionally make me wonder. Covering those up would take a lot of sticky notes.

Have you been on a speedboat?
I have. But I’ve never used speed. You know, just for the record. It would probably slow me right down, knowing my luck.

Have you ever been kicked out of school?
Nope. That would take some effort, and I was always too lazy to attract that kind of attention.

I was once kicked out of an asshole’s class for chewing gum. Grade 12 English Lit. He somehow discovered (my big mouth) that my sister was married to a guy who’s sister was not his favourite student. Swear to god. For the record, I wasn’t chewing gum.

On another occasion he kicked me out of class for removing my sweater. I did have a shirt underneath. You know, for the record.

Are you allergic to any type of food?
I'm food sensitive, but not allergic.

Have you ever had a one nightstand?
I have two nightstands, but I don’t like either of them. They are ugly. I should really get rid of them.

What is your gender?
I identify as cisgendered.

OMG this was so long. Aren’t you glad I didn’t choose the 60 question survey?

Trifecta Week Nineteen, 2nd story

I couldn't resist. I had another use of the word that I didn't see reflected in other stories. Of course I am known for my inexactitude so it may well be there somewhere. This is my second entry for this week's Trifecta word -- clean. Except ... on yet another review of the third definition, I'm not so certain I've used the word correctly for the challenge so ... ya. There's that. Feel free to let me know.

The Trifecta Writing Challenge is to write a story with no less than 33 words and no more than 333. Each story must use Webster dictionary's third definition for a word supplied by the fine editors (or gleaned from writers' Get to Know Me posts).

This week's word is clean \ˈklēn\, used as an adjective:

3 a : free from moral corruption or sinister connections of any kind
   b : free from offensive treatment of sexual subjects and from the use of obscenity
   c : observing the rules : fair

The Betrayal

Every year it was the same story. No matter how hard each of us worked, no matter the time and effort we invested in our own studies, the same person took home each and every scholarship, and each and every bursary made available to our tiny school. Whispers of collusion were grimly shrugged off with excuses of our town’s desperate need.

The rest of us would have been more bitter about the clean sweep at the time, but Suzette was as destitute as we were, and she showed true promise. Ultimately we believed our sacrifices were for a greater good.

Okay, so perhaps the villagers were naive in their hopes she’d choose to return to our impoverished northern outpost to set up her medical practice over the comfortable life of an big-city doc in the South. At the time we were certain she was our only hope.

After all, she justified during her triumphant visit home armed with Godiva chocolates for all, it wasn’t like she owed us anything. She’d worked hard, she’d put in her time. She deserved the life she was living.

March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

New & Improved: The Faces





Drawings by Gigi, animated in Pencil. Sorry it is quite light, pencil drawings don't really scan all that well.

video

More photos to be had over at Wordless Wednesday. Go link up!

March 20, 2012

Trifecta Week Nineteen - Lost, the expanded version

For those of you who were puzzled by my cryptic entry to last weekend's challenge, I present to you the same story, expanded upon on which your curious minds may chew. I think this entry lends itself nicely to revealing more of what I had in mind about crucial meaning being lost in cryptic communication. I enjoyed very much the speculation that ensued, though I also learned what "doesn't" work when restricted to so few words to tell a tale.

The Trifecta Writing Challenge is to write a story with no less than 33 words and no more than 333. Each story must use Webster dictionary's third definition for a word supplied by the fine editors (or gleaned from writers' Get to Know Me posts).

This week's word is clean \ˈklēn\, used as an adjective:

3 a : free from moral corruption or sinister connections of any kind
   b : free from offensive treatment of sexual subjects and from the use of obscenity
   c : observing the rules : fair


Lost

An apparition appears on screen. In the 45 seconds it takes for the pixels to settle, I forget to breathe. But after the past hundred disappointing logins, it’s Joel for certain. I gasp, my mind abuzz.

He’s been missing for weeks after being snatched from my side by alien beings who shuttled past in a hovercraft. We’d been holding hands when they abducted him; it hardly seemed a clean grab. But then nothing in this current conflict -- if one could call it that -- appears fair.

“Your arm looks bad.” The sound is as fuzzy as his picture but I swear he says this. His own left arm hangs uselessly from a drooping shoulder.

My right shoulder and elbow, disconnected during a tug-of-war with aliens, are in an elaborate sling. Ultimately, alien vice-like grips paired with the hydrogen-powered craft were too much for my joints; I handily lost that battle.

Based on the sound quality, I know to not regale him with my status.

My rapid fire:

“Joel?”

“Where are you?”

“You okay?”

 “Can you talk?”
He shakes his head firmly, but mouths one word: “Workshop”.

Some years earlier, these aliens landed on earth in the hovercrafts, shunted us onto “reserves” and only allowed only a few out to aid them. Ever since they had mined our lands for our inferior fuel source, madly reworking the hovercraft engines with our help in a local workshop. They also piped up some substance from middle earth, and shipped it non-stop to their moon-moored mothership.

Furtively Joel and I had been exploring their base and workshop, but their security wasn’t as lax as we’d assumed.

“How can I find you?” I ask, desperate for clues.

“The key is in the door.”

He says the words with such deliberateness, such care.

“Key. In the Door.”

I stare blankly.

“What?”

His eyes, first pleading then desperate as he fades away.

The door?

I log out.

Log in.

Again and again.

Nothing.

He's gone.

March 16, 2012

Fine China Friday

Jana at Jana's Thinking Place has pitched an idea I think is fun. She's turning people on to how terrific it feels to be kick up dinnertime a notch, once, twice, or even seven times a week. You know that china sitting in your sideboard, in boxes or on display? Jana's encouraging you to use it if you've got it. I'm gently suggesting the reluctant among you start with tea.

One of my favourite memories of our family's traditions is that of the mismatched tea cups. At some point in Canadian history, it was popular for young women to collect a variety of tea cups and saucers without catering to any particular pattern or theme. It was common to receive these when serving as a bridesmaid or for a special occasion. I believe this was true in both my mother's and my grandmothers' times.

After dinner on special occasions adults and children alike would choose a tea cup and saucer in which to have our tea. I remember there were so many beautiful patterns -- some painted with scenes, others with patterns. I don't remember one argument between we four girls (which says a lot, trust me) there were so many lovely ones from which to choose.

I would add as much sugar to my tea as I could get away with -- at my Nana's house the sugar was cubed or big thrilling multi-coloured crystals -- and a large quantity of milk. My sisters and I would be a well-mannered "ladies" sipping our tea and having silly conversations. Once we emptied our cups we would sit and compare the designs, talking about what made each special.

I love the way my children reflect our tradition of both fantasy and reality. My two daughters and one son relish in the ritual of having tea. They serve their friends tea too, either in their play set or, on their birthdays, in my grandmother's china. Their friends take their cues from my kids and seem to appreciate both the specialness of the gesture of a birthday table set with fine china, and the trust I have in them to handle it with reasonable care.

But mostly? I love the airs they put on when the fine china comes out.

My Nana's china in play on my birthday
Gigi demonstrating proper tea drinking etiquette







Do you have fine china that gets table time, or does your "good set" sit in your sideboard or on display, collecting dust? Or do you simply not have any? I have more to say on the matter of the fancy, so watch for more Fine China Fridays in the months to follow. By the time I've exhausted the subject, I'm thinking that even the most reluctant among you will have at least a pair of tea cups and saucers, and perhaps even a dessert plate or two in rotation ...

Trifextra, Weekend Seven

This weekend's Trifecta: Trifextra challenge is  to write a story titled Lost in exactly 33 words. The story must not actually contain the word lost. Thankfully I wrote a story called Lost two weekends ago, so I am rather off the hook. Or ... am I?

Lost

“The key is in the door.”

He says the words with such deliberateness, such care.

“Key. In the Door.”

I stare blankly.

“What?”

His eyes, first pleading then desperate as he fades away.

March 15, 2012

Friday Fluff

This Fluff'n'Stuff is brought to you by the inimitable Lisa at Seeking Elevation. The week's chosen quiz, Underwear Survey, was written by Webmaster and can be found alongside countless others at Quizopolis.com. Feel free to link your Fluff here and find out what next week's Friday Fluff entails.

What's your favorite underwear you own?
Simple black ginch. Or gaunch. I never said either of these words as a kid, they were vulgar and too pedestrian for me or my siblings to utter (insert habitual nose wrinkle here). We thought more of ourselves back then. Turns out we're commoners too.

What's the worst pair of underwear you own?
The ginch with the holes in them do not lend themselves to fostering feelings of self worth, that's for certain.

What's the most embarrassing underwear you own?
The granny gaunch with a fake Scrappy Doo printed on them could be considered a bit gauche I suppose.

What's your favorite color of underwear?
Black. Black knickers are always best.

What color underwear will you not wear?
Beige undies are not nice. Big beige ones were all my mother bought for everyone when I was younger. I still gag when I think about them.

What's your favorite underwear on a member of the opposite sex?
I am currently pretty partial to this cute pair of stretch boxers I picked up for my husband recently. They are striped: blue, purple, black; short; tight; hot. TMI?

What underwear do you hate seeing on a member of the opposite sex?
Tighty Whiteys.

Gag.

Have you ever lost your underwear while out somewhere?
Uh, no.

Have you ever found someone's underwear while out somewhere?
Ya, um, no. Gross.

How often do you buy new underwear?
I purchase ginch when I need 'em.

Do you buy underwear for anyone but yourself?
I buy adorable undies for the kids, and whatever catches my fancy for my guy.

Where do you like to buy your underwear?
I told you. I buy 'em when I need 'em, wherever I find 'em. I buy what looks reasonable and is not a hideously priced. I believe I still have a small collection of cute ginch that I picked up at a cute little boutique in a local mall some ... um ... 10 years ago. I was looking for trousers, and wouldn't have guessed the place also peddled underthings.

What?!

Do you have a favorite brand of underwear?
Buying by brand name these days is just sad. Who falls for the brand name thing these days anyway? I mean, we all know by now that the brands are pretty much slapped on the stuff after the company buys it from the OEMs, right? Right?! Gah.

Is there anywhere you refuse to buy underwear?
Hong Kong night markets. *shudder*

Do you own any novelty underwear?
If by novelty, you mean ginch able to perform its own tricks, no. If by novelty you mean edible gauch, no. If by novelty you mean ginch from Temple Street Night Market, no. If by gaunch you mean gauche, well. You get the picture.

Have you ever bought novelty underwear for anyone?
What? No! Ewwwwwww.

Have you ever worn someone else's underwear?
I'm sure that as a kid I wore my sisters' hand-me-down ginch. Everybody did.

Wait.

They did, right? ... Um, right?

Didn't they?

Has anyone else ever worn your underwear?
I have no idea. You would have to ask around.

What type of underwear do you wear most?
Black cotton gaunch.

I think we've been over this. It doesn't get any better.

Is there any kind of underwear you refuse to wear?
This is an impressive amount of questions about an article of clothes designed to act as a barrier between one's clothes and one's personal bits and bobs.

Sigh. Okay, fine. I'll play. Ginch that is edible, inedible, nylon, acrylic, chain mail, big and ugly, striped, branded, coloured, white, beige, logo'ed, Lego, anything with a keyhole, wires, batteries or excess holes. That pretty much covers it.

*********************

Okay. So I decided this quiz was my penultimate opportunity to explore a preference for ginch or gaunch. I now conclude that the word ginch is the bomb. Or at least less offensive. (I shuddered every single time I typed in gaunch. *shudder* See?)

And so:

On this, the 15th March, I hereby declare that from this day forward on Karen is Muttering the word gaunch is defunct. Ginch will be used exclusively for your reading pleasure. Of course you may still use gaunch in the comment section. North America may no longer boast the right to freedom of speech, but dammit, on my blog, anything goes.

Whew. Glad to figure have that one sorted out. I've been ruminating on it for years. Years.

Snort.

Overthinking it ...

You know, my eating disorder was all about not feeling things, and learning and relearning to feel is what I've been all about ever since. You don't read too much about it here because I know that if I am writing about how I feel, I'm obviously thinking about how I feel rather than simply feeling. If you know what I mean.

One of my biggest life flaws is my no half-way rule. (I'm working on it thinking about how to change this going to change this um ...)

Anyhoo.

Many of you follow my friend Lisa, over at Seeking Elevation, but for those of you who have been busy or don't, she's just published a brilliant post entitled How to Seduce Your Own Husband. In it she hits that thinking thing directly on the noggin.

Now. Here's another thing I tend to not write about: My s--s--s-- my s--s--s-- my ... um ... my ... er ... nightlife. But Lisa does, with admirable abandon. And in the above-mentioned post, she has written something akin to my experience, which means I don't have to. Right down to the baking soda hair wash.

View One: how my bath is supposed to look.
Except currently I have no working shower, only a big claw-foot bathtub right in the middle of my kids' playroom. Don't ask; it seemed like a good idea at the time. Listen: when I chose the design, I was still thinking with my "lover's" brain rather than a momma brain. The room was supposed to be our sexy loft master bedroom.

View Two: how my bath actually looks.

March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday -- Lego Tanning

In response to Lucid Lotus Life's Wordless Wednesday photo this week, I have found a photo that includes the shooter too:


More photos to be had over at Wordless Wednesday. Go link up!

March 13, 2012

Trifecta Week Eighteen

The Trifecta Writing Challenge is to write a story with no less than 33 words and no more than 333. Each story must use Webster dictionary's third definition for a word supplied by the fine editors (or gleaned from writers' Get to Know Me posts).

This week's word is trail (verb \ˈtrāl\)

3: to move, flow, or extend slowly in thin streams 

Processing

As the words spill from my mouth, my daughter grunts her usual one-word answers.

Anger. I feel. Lost.

I drop the blades into the processor, use a knife to disrupt the solid cream that rises to the top of the bottle of whipping cream and pour. I slam the bottle down, snap a lid on the bowl, and attach its motor on top.

I feel my lips thin, like my mother’s always were when she lost it. I squeeze hard on the button of the Braun handle, and I can’t help it, I can’t stop.

Why.

Why.

Why.

The child is too old for the attention-seeking behaviour she consistently pulls, but maybe she isn’t. She displays no self-control and this drives me crazy.

Again she grunts answers, offering only the top of her bowed head. This sends me further up the proverbial wall while the engine of my Braun drones a steady high pitch. Trying to quiet myself I lean my head on the counter, watching the creamy white in the clear plastic bowl. Rivulets of the cream trail down its side.

Dammit.

Upright again, I eye the bottle. In my anger I’ve dumped a half litre of liquid into a container that can maybe handle a quarter, a third max.

I look up, knowing that I am not in control.

Tears flow freely down my nine year old’s porcelain skin.

My gaze returns to the bowl. I feel the shift, hear the change, and observe as the liquid turns to a solid. Once it changes, it cannot be returned to it’s soft creamy beginnings.

As I rinse the butter and pour the buttermilk into cups for my younger two to enjoy, I feel the weight of my own exhaustion and I wonder where I can go from here.

March 8, 2012

Friday Fluff

Okay. I believe we are, more or less, back on track with the goofy Friday Fluff this week. As usual, though, I can't help but get serious about stupid fat questions. Give it up already folks, it is old news and totally *yawn*. I'm neither fat nor thin, but I am bored if you can't go deeper than the cheap shots.

This Fluff'n'Stuff, of course, is brought to you by the inimitable Lisa at Seeking Elevation. This week's chosen quiz, Would You Rather, was written by Dani05 and can be found alongside countless others at Quizopolis.com. Feel free to link your Fluff up over at Jester Queen, she's taken the linky honours this week and will point you toward next week's Fluff if you want to get a head start.

And away we go ...

15 Would You Rather Questions Survey

Be a poison tester or suicide bomber?
Poison tester. I’d choose to inflict pain and suffering on myself over taking out anyone, even those who’s opinions and values differ from mine. But I still want to go out with a big bang. Please ensure there’s a big band at the ready every time I test a new poison.

Fat and short or fat and tall?
Hmmmm. I have always prefered my status as less than tall so I’ll pick the former. But I want it understood that I think the question is pitifully thin.

Wet and cold or dry and hot?
Wet and cold. Because at least there would be water to drink.

Vampire or a cat?
Ooh a cat for sure. I’d love to be able to slink around under bushes and shit, all dainty and screw you-ish, chase birds and butterflies, catch mice and get regular back rubs.

That said, I would far rather be licked by a vampire, particularly one of Ann Rice's *swoon*, than get licked by a cat. *shudder*. #sensoryoverload

Be george lopez or brad pitt?
George Lopez. Actually, to tell you the truth, I have no idea who George Lopez is, though the name rings a bell.

I simply don’t want to be world renown, nor do I want to have a body in any shape I’d grow paranoid about losing. From experience I can tell you that this is the best residual of being an overweight teen. I don't have to worry about losing the beauty I didn't think I had at 16.

Eat sand or dirt?
Dirt. Only because I’m pretty sure sand has no nutritional offerings whatsoever, unless it is mixed with dried up seaweed. Regardless I would not enjoy the grittiness of it. For this reason, I’d hope my dirt would be more compost than loam.

Be 30 or 1?
30 for certain. I would do anything, anything, to escape those horrendously painful teen years. Until someone figures out how to make that period of life less angst ridden and shitty, you could not drag me back there, no siree, no.

Pro skater boarder or singer?
Singer. For certain. I do not enjoy falling or getting bumped or bleeding. I do not wish to break bones, become airborne, fall on my head. What I would especially not want to do is tear something in my groin, as one young man with whom I am acquainted. Ouch.

Eat metal or bugs?
I’d of course rather eat bugs. And I’m so glad you’ve asked me this, as my children have just written a story about a restaurant that serves bugs. They spent some time at the blog, Girl Meets Bug, to gain inspiration. Yum!

Be a monkey or wolf man?
I just love monkeys. You have, no really, you have no idea how deep an obsession can be until you’ve met all of my monkeys.


Um, so monkey. Girl monkey of course, which is why I would never want to be a wolf man. I never, ever want to have a part of my body over which I have no control. Seriously. I think that is why men want to control women's bits so very badly.

(My mother gave me the new joy-in-a-box monkey yesterday, in honour of my 45th year. Woot! Mom! Best birthday gift ever!)

Work at google or bing?
I don’t know. I’d have to check and see what the lunch room facilities are like. I hear that high-tech companies’ lunch facilities are rather like the fancy food court at Food Republic in Hong Kong. Only it would have to be free, because I hate paying for my lunches. I'd make my choice based on that factor.

What?!

Make a board game or video game?
I have a great idea for a video game, based on the time I spent a great amount of the '90s being dripped on by faulty and illegal air conditioner drips, ducking under neon signs, zipping past falling cranes, beneath jetisoned dirty diapers and big-screen televisions, and avoiding umbrella points and old ladies sharp elbows in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

That would be one hellofa video game, I tell ya.

I have no ideas for a board game whatsoever. No inspiration. Nothing.

So I choose video game for the win.

Mini cooper or mustang?
Hey! I just drove a Mini yesterday!!! It's part of the fleet of vehicles I co-own in the car co-op ...

Hmmm. I have a pretty sweet sentimental connection to the Ford Mustang. You got a moment?

My paternal grandmother was quite a character: Widowed when my dad was only 10, she turned the war-bond shilling she’d done throughout her husband’s illness into an insurance selling business after his death. When she moved to the coast and married a slick insurance guy who was also an asshole, she also chose a faster life, wining and dining with people who considered themselves movers and shakers.

Apparently her VW Bug did not suit the new image (and image was always big for her) so she turned that insect in for a stallion. A 1967 Ford Mustang in green. The marriage did not survive, but my grandmother’s love affair with Mustang muscle cars lasted the test of time.

Grandma Cox only owned two of those cars: the ’67 which rusted in her driveway the year she slipped on ice and broke her leg, and a Charlie’s Angels Mustang Cobra she carefully picked up to replace it.

You would not believe the stress she caused all of us toward the end of her life, when she absolutely refused to stop driving the car. She could barely see over the steering wheel what with age-related shrinkage, and the lady wore a lead right shoe. She drove fast.

Mix macular degeneration into the mix and as a passenger I white knuckled, white knee capped it through a few trips before I convinced her I might be the better driver. I remember how she'd hold her head turned just so, to better use her peripheral vision which was all she had left, to avoid hitting things. At 100km/hr.

I could have easily inherited that car -- I was totally entitled -- but a younger nephew was lusting after it more. I also knew that it sucked gas like a kid drinks a milkshake through a fat straw and my enviro-conscience was too strong for that kind of guilt.

Ultimately, the nephew couldn’t afford the insurance and sold the car to someone who was cross-eyed with desire. I figure that beautiful car, in all of it’s silver outer, red interior glory, deserved someone with the right kind of lust in their heart. I think my grandmother would have appreciated that.

So I guess, in the end? The Mini. Even though we would have to strap a kid to the top of it because it only seats four and we're a family of five.

Dead or alive?
You know what I don’t want to do? Malinger. If the world goes seriously sideways, I’m not entirely sure that I will be the type that will live at all costs. A blaze of glory, like Elsie. That's how I'll go. But not a suicide bomber blaze, nor glory, that's for sure.


Singer or actor?
Oh both. Always both.

I’m not sure that I could be one without the other.

Which brings me to something I’ve been jonesing to discuss for years, and dying to discuss for weeks: Whitney. But the good news for those of you who might be exhausted now is that I've decided this mess has gone on long enough. I don't know about you, but I'm in dire need of a milkshake with a gigantic straw.

So if you want to know my take on Whitney (RIP), I'm posting that on a separate page sometime later today, or maybe tomorrow. Because Whitney deserves more, don't you think? At least coherent, edited theories on a separate page.

Anyway, it is something to look forward to, right?

March 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

My Treasure Collection

Even the display case these treasures are displayed in has
significant ancestral meaning to my family.





March 6, 2012

Trifecta Week Seventeen

This week I decided to succumb to bug that has caught other writers before me (see LucidLotusLife's Who Shot Mr. Burns Part I and Part II). I've attempted to further a story I started in Week Sixteen, Along the Rails. Below is a bit of back story for the eldest of the children who last week were walking along the railroad tracks.

The Trifecta Writing Challenge is to write a story with no less than 33 words and no more than 333. Each story must use Webster dictionary's third definition for a word supplied by the fine editors (or gleaned from writers' Get to Know Me posts).

This week's word is vulgar, which lent itself nicely to my story:

   c : of the usual, typical, or ordinary kind

And yes. It is precisely 333 words. I need more.

 Along the Rails -- Meet Terry

She was used to it, this sitting at the back of the classroom. She knew this teacher thought her vulgar, not deserving of her attention. But she was determined.

Terry was a good student despite her responsibilities at home. If she couldn’t retain the attention of this teacher she would still work. The previous year Mrs. McCracken had given her what others wouldn’t -- encouragement -- and she stored it internally like gold.

Those nuggets grew like crystals within her resolve, rock hard and glistening. One day the sharp edges would be useful but for now this teacher’s distaste stung.

The child had learned to read early, before her mom reluctantly registered her for school. Her influence came in the form of an older girl, Felicity, who summered in the cabin next door, arriving each season with a tote bin packed with books.

At first Felicity would read to her, the two of them nestled in the hammock between strong trees that stood majestically in the well-manicured yard. Eventually Terry could read to herself, the two whiling away hours swinging between strong trunks, buried in books.

Felicity was older than Terry, a shy, quiet “only” child grateful to finally play big sister. Her mother, quiet too, almost never emerged from their darkened cabin. On days she would, it was only to instruct gardeners or grab the local farm’s weekly vegetable box.

Felicity’s father arrived on weekends and she would be gone from sun up to sun down, chasing fish on the lake. On those days Terry was less happy, paging through a few rag-tattered books at her own house, retelling the stories as best she remembered to her own younger siblings. On those days it was much harder to make herself scarce.

But now, some three years later, Felicity was in the city and Terry was at the back of this miserable classroom. Her hair loose and unruly, her clothes tattered, her pen ready to write. This, she thought, was her only chance.

*************

I would love to list the other ongoing stories I've thus far enjoyed parts of and am dying to read in full. I know there are more than the one below (like isn't there one about faeries?) but real life calls so I can't search. Teachers are on strike, I have more than my own children running rampant and demanding lunch, the drywall is done around our windows and the paint is dried so today I must find time to return my sitting room to a place where one may sit. Feel free to post yours in my comments section or email it to me and I will add it here:

The Ballad of Helene Troy by Lance at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog*
The Land and Under the Land by Edward Hotspur

*yes probably.

March 2, 2012

Trifextra, Weekend Six

This week's Trifextra challenge was to write a story in 33 words starting with the line: "The phone rang at 4 am".  I can't believe there already exist 19 other entries. Zoinks!


**********

Lost

The phone rang at 4 am.

"Um, ya?" I answered huskily.

"Mom? Mom!"

Static on the line.

“Hello? Hello?!”

Nothing. A click and ... nothing.

My kid, missing for weeks, was somewhere. Out there.

Up.

Jeans,

jacket,

shoes.

Keys,

car.

**********

Friday Fluff

I think it's Friday, which must mean I have to to fluff. Only this is not a fluffy survey, so hold on to your hats and wade into the fray.

Join in the debate if you dare, and link up over at Seeking Elevation, but be warned: This one ain't called Controversial Issues Survey for nuttin'. Eat_zombies has hit all the hot-topic buttons here:  

Do you think that gay marriage should be legal?
I do. (See what I did just there? Pretty good, eh?) (Crap, I'll be so depressed if everyone else does this joke too ...)

Do you think that gays should be allowed to serve in the military?
Do you think straight men should be allowed to dance to Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Relax?

What do you think about people who don't believe in god?
I think one can live with a full set of morals without believing in gods. I have known plenty of people who have next to no morals who do believe in a god (or goddess). So ...

Are you pro life or pro choice?
I am for life with choices.

Do you think we should test on animals?
This is a tough question. I really don't have any answers for you.

How do you feel about illegal immigration?
I think we should find a way to live better without borders.

Now, I know you are going to go all Oh, how naive you are on me, but I believe there has to be a better way to organise people than the way we have gone about it do date. I believe the west coast First Nations people were doing A-Okay without our "borders" before we came along. You know, just for example.

I mean, I know plenty of people IN my country who are extremely unethical, immoral folk who want everything for themselves. I would prefer to replace them with righteous illegal immigrants  who were born in countries that lack freedom and basic human rights. So long as the new arrivals are willing to work toward true balanced freedom for all (including the single-money-minded), to foster healthy communities and to live according to a basic universal moral code then I am all for the movement of people toward utopia.

Do you think it is ethical to do stem cell research?
Wow. This survey is really hitting the biggies, eh?

I am not offended by stem cell research. However, I think we should put more focus on that which makes our people ill. That way we wouldn't need to have this crazy addiction to science experiments that cost an insane bundle, cause people to go into moral conniptions, and will likely make the same few people hideous amounts of money. And the cycle continues.

Should we get rid of the death penalty?
I do not believe your death penalty accomplishes much except to create more grief. And your country has sent enough innocent people to the chambers to facilitate an easy argument against the death penalty. Let's face it, taking a random life merely to avenge another doesn't really accomplish justice.

And no, I don't even think one should execute the most heinous of people. #slipperyslope.

Is torture ever acceptable?
Nope.

It is performed by bullies who want what they want, when they want it. I believe there is irrefutable proof that torture does not beget reliable information anyway, so it seems pretty pointless to me. Sometimes people will agree to just about anything to get people to stop. fucking. hurting. them. I'm just saying.

Should the government have a say on our diets?
Yes. The government could start by not protecting Monsanto and others (never mind subsidizing them), so that we may have digestible foods again that can re-seed themselves and don't poison us.

Should the alcoholic drinking age be increased or decreased?
You mean the age that one is allowed to become an alcoholic? Oh, increased. I have known plenty of alcoholics in the 12 to 15 year old set.

But if you mean the legal drinking age, I slowed my drinking right down when I hit legal age, so ... decreased. I mean, the kids will get away with anything they can anyway, so we might as well find a way to teach responsible consuming without arbitrary rules.

Should cigarette smoking be banned?
No way Jose. And I want to be as far from a smoker as I can possibly be.

Instead, we should stop allowing companies to make cigarettes with additives that make them more addictive.



As a panacea to the above intensity, I want to leave you all with this image from a recent UkeFriday post at BugginWord. Elly brings us nothing but peace, joy and full-on inspiration with her adventures in Ukeland. This, folks, is the real Rapture.

March 1, 2012

Trifecta, Week Sixteen

I've managed to squeeze a wee bit of fiction out just before the final bell for this week's weekday challenge at Trifecta. This week's word, wretched (adjective \ˈre-chəd\) came from Let Me Start by Saying.

The third definition, as taken from Webster's Online Dictionary, for wretched:

3: being or appearing mean, miserable, or contemptible (dressed in wretched old clothes)

Along the Rails -- Along the Rails

The children, rag-tag and dirty, kept walking along the tracks. They had no idea where they were going but this path, which was solid before them, seemed as good as any. The youngest, a four year old girl with blond tangled curls, sniffled as she stumbled along. Her brother, a slight seven year old who was light on his feet considering the pack he carried on his back, balanced along the metal rail as best he could. Their older sister, solemn to the point of being grim, held the smaller girl’s hand firmly in her own. She couldn’t have been older than nine.

“Come on, we’ve just got a few more miles to go,” she urged her small charges.

“You’re squeezing too hard! Stop squeezing my hand,” whined the little girl, “It always hurts when you hold my hand. And I’m tired.” She stretched the vowels of the last word for emphasis as only a small child does.

“We’ll rest in a bit.” came the biting reply. “Come on,” her sister said more softly now, loosening her vice-like grip. “We’ll find a place to rest in a bit. I know it’s hard, but we need to keep going.”

At nine years old, she already knew well the art of disappearing. In her own rucksack was enough Oreos and juice boxes to sustain them for the night and through the next morning.

She didn’t know how much further along the tracks her Aunt’s house might be, and she hoped with all of her might they were walking in the right direction.

All she knew was the wretched home they’d been placed in following her parent’s arrest was no place for children, a mere holding pen with rough and brusque adults who hated them so obviously, merely for their lineage, for which they should have borne no responsibility.

All she could hope was that they’d find her Aunt’s house soon, that it was indeed along these tracks as she’d once been told, and that it wouldn’t have been raided as well.

******************

Update:  I've written a second part to this ... you can find it here: Along the Rails, Meet Terry