Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hundreds of Halloween Haunty Words

What's this?! Two posts in one day? SPOOOOOOOOKY! The 100 Word Stories Weekly Challenge goes up on Saturday, I need to do these intros?

The theme for this week's challenge was Halloween! And everyone wrote stories for Halloween! Because it's Halloween!

My favorite time of year! I'm not allowed to enjoy the company of children any other day, but on Halloween there's an endless supply, and always more follow to enjoy my special treats.

I can't give you my recipe, it's a family secret, handed down from my great-great-great-grandmammy Wanda. She escaped the old country with only the shawl on her back and a girl scout under her skirt. Very misunderstood woman. She loved children! Loved to make them cookies. Just like me!

Don't be shy, kiddies, have another cookie! Watch your fingers! Wouldn't want them to break!

Prepare to get your pants scared off by spooktacular freaky fest here!

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Moon Over Bourbon Street

This day commonly called Halloween is my favorite holiday, even though I've had some doozies--like the year a boy dared another boy to poke me in a non-Facebook manner, or the year I got all dressed up and no one came to the door--but I posted Thriller last year. There wasn't a misspent second putting puzzles together in the basement while listening to Dead Man's Party, either.

As I got older and more vampiric, I got over the silly idea of needing other people to have fun. Yes, I said vampiric. When you grow up with a tendency to be a bit anemic and smolder in sunlight, you start getting called names. The one I didn't mind at all was vampire. Because, you know, er...well....

There was this dude who asked me if I was a vampire once, and I was so busy giggling girly giggles like the girl I was that I didn't answer. It was probably for the best, but being noticed by a socially-conscious Cure fan for those five seconds was fun.

Since the age of four months I've dressed up to blend in with the visiting ghoulies but I've never actually done myself up as a vampire. A devil, Wonder Woman, Tweety Bird, an Alien, Princess Leia, Apricot of Strawberry Shortcake infamy, a witch three years in a row, a flapper (not a French whore, dammit), Prof. LB Gumby, Freddy Kruger, Beetlejuice, a Simpson (really just a yellow bag over my head), a gangland terrorist, a convict, a Kabuki witch, a pirate, Freakazoid (one of the last-minute ideas involving an F! stuck on my shirt), Queen Amidala, another pirate, Lara Croft, a cat, Harry Potter, Zardoz, R2-D2, some other things I can't remember (which annoys me), pathetic crap like someone with a spider drawn on her hand, and the unfortunate alleged victim of an attack by a supporter of the Great Pumpkin, yes, but never a vampire. I don't know why, I guess I never thought of it as disguising myself. It'd be like going as a zombie computer geek. Which I've already done. This year, I've utilized my orange clothes to the max. I am currently a pumpkin.

Sadly, the makeup never goes well and has contributed to more awkwardness than being naturally pale and ghostly the rest of the time. I've been more greenish than usual and slightly yellow for days, and I was grateful my cousin started stripping the year I had 'flu because no one noticed my Minnie Mouse nose had rubbed off. I regret nothing. Except not having a photo from the year I used mascara on my crazy Italian facial hair and totally had such a fabulous beard going on that I had to shave it off the next day.

After the pumpkin Nan and Uncle Joe picked out in Montauk became undead we got a styrofoam Jack O' Lantern and that is lit again today. All that's left is to crank up the tunes. Like Moon Over Bourbon Street by Sting. Hell, any night is a good night to listen to that one. I believe we have deviated from misspent time this week.

The original version hasn't got a proper video so here's a slightly out-of-sync yet still lovely look at Chris Botti playing with a special guest...

If the kung-fu video sync glitch got you down or if you prefer your Sting sounding a bit more like Tom Waits, here's another nifty version by the Belgrade Dixieland Orchestra that has black cats in it.

Happy Halloween and a blessed Samhain to you. See you on the other side.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Clomb: The Undead

What day is it?! NO! It's not Thursday, it's 100 Word Stories day! Whoo!

The theme for this week's challenge was Peace, and if you've read this blog of mine long enough I probably don't have to tell you where my story came from.

No, really, there's a mountaineering term for n00b: Gumby.

I was told I might die.


Everyone dies, what's the big deal? Not everyone finds peace. That thought scared me all the way to this mountain.

Forty minutes into the climb my muscles hurt so bad I almost believed everyone who told me I couldn't do this, and I wanted to hate them but I was too busy. After my lungs stopped burning I started to feel hungry. Eventually that passed, too.

When I reached the top, an old man greeted me.

"What took you so long?"

Too tired to do anything but laugh, we sat watching the sunset.

Many versions of peace can be found here, and this week features the last story (for now) by Guy David, who is an awesome writer and musician and if you haven't heard his music it's at and now you have no excuse not to go listen to some good music.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Cutest Papercut Givers EVER.

♥ Happy Birthday Rainbow Heron! ♥

I found Paper Pokés!

Now...if only there was a Poker Poké. I had visions of many Pokés playing poker, but then it got weird.

Good health and happiness always, hun. *big hugs*

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Overkill

I've mentioned my insomnia before, I know, but over the years what I discovered it wasn't so much insomnia as waking up with the house on fire.

The house was not in fact on fire, but that was apparently not enough to convince me, and from the third Sunday in October of 1987 on the house repeatedly caught fire at exactly the same time every morning until the summer of 1989, when the fusebox melted for real.

Now, I'm aware the knowledge that the house was in peril was most likely a coincidence, like how I fell into such a deep sleep while the electricians were installing the circuit breaker and I dreamed my Poppy would die right after my 16th birthday. subconscious had a tendency to point out the painfully obvious at the worst possible times.

I say had because after about 15 years of that I stopped trying to hide that I had a problem, gave up the idea that I'd ever sleep the way I wanted to and finally started telling my mind to shut up unless it had something useful to contribute. I still don't get enough sleep and when I do it still leaves me more tired than when I went to bed, but I learned to separate my thoughts and control the toxic ones so well that I've become incredibly difficult to piss off.

I first heard Overkill by Men At Work in the summer of 1983 as my cousin and I were checking out the Return Of The Jedi shirts in Macy's. My cousin pointed the song out, and I couldn't really hear the words over the store radio at the time but I liked the saxophone. Years later I caught the video on MTV, and finally heard the words.

I can't get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications

Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know I'll be alright
It's just overkill

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away

Blew my exhausted teenage mind, I tell you.

The song has made it onto just about every mixtape I've ever made, and repeatedly keeps showing up in my blogs. As a side effect of learning to choose the better memories to hold on to, when I hear the song now I don't think of any of what I've written about, I remember holding my cat in the backyard while we watched a meteor shower. Maybe it's my subconscious letting me know it knows I know it can't control me anymore and wants me to be as happy as I pretend I am when it gets bad, even if I do come off as a forgetful, glassy-eyed, foggy, passive lunatic. I don't know that I'd advise anyone to try it my way, because staggering around deprived of both sleep and concern for the future is bloody annoying at times.

It was my Poppy who started me on the path to not worrying about things unless there was something to worry about. I'm nowhere near the level of mastering anxiety as he was, but he was living proof that it was possible to get up and stop letting the world be a bully. He had a reason, of course. That helps. He also listened to a lot of music. I'm convinced that helps too.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

She is Mad, and If She Lives to An Old Age She Will Sink Further Into Madness. Or something.

The 100 Word Stories Weekly Challenge makes me do crazy things.

Like this week, when the theme was Crushed, I...pulled out the illegitimate lovechild of a Jane Austen character who lives in my head.

Dearest Eliza,

As I'm sure you recall, our cousin Jack has been undertaking the peculiar task of collecting bits of thread for the past seven years, and I am grateful to you for your contribution of the clippings from your pantaloons, however I must report the tragic news that our dear cousin was crushed beneath his great ball of fibers this past Thursday.

Do not grieve, as Jack prized your threads above all others and had little interest in anything save that hideous tangle. Had he not rejected my advances I would have happier news for you.

Regretfully yours,

The total carnage can be heard and read here. Go now before my great ball of fibers crushes you like a tragic Indiana Jones outtake.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How I Failed At Joining A Coven

I would never want to be part of a club that would have me as a member...or something. But some night years ago when I had a bit of free time I got it into my head to attempt socializing again and found a Yahoo! group for Bronx pagans.

This is not going to be as interesting as you may think.

See, I'm all, "Yay trees!" and having shared my life with many many cats and dogs and birds and fish and a more than a few moths and the occasional lady beetle, I dig the whole idea that everything is all magical and has a purpose and the moon is awesome and I've stood outside in 20°F below to catch eclipses and although I can't be around candles, if you've seen Cold Comfort Farm or Labyrinth you have some idea of what I was like as a teenager.

Surely fellow neo-Pagan Bronxites would welcome the n00b and tell me cool stuff like exactly what herb I needed to eat so I'd stop falling over every few weeks. Or at least let me swap tarot readings. Maybe let me run my book idea past them.

The Yahoo! group in question, though, like the puppy training group, had a little test at the door as it were before you could just pop in and lurk, which is generally all I ever did before one Jek Porkins crossed my path.

The letter ended with "BB."

Now, I *know* what that means. Normally. It's not necessarily something I end my messages with, because I don't know what people I write to dig and don't want to freak them out. I know they don't dig outros like, "I would kill for you, man," but I know what BB means and it...isn't a name.

It was late. I was probably not feeling right at the time. I wrote back without hesitation. Which, if you've ever corresponded with me, you realize is not good.

"Hi BB," blah blah blah blah never heard back because I was gotten at the first gotcha.

It's like when I went for the job at the photo store, and they asked me what resolution my video camera was. Keep in mind I was 15 and had a VHS camcorder. You tell me what the resolution of a VHS camcorder is. I don't like smart asses.

I do like videotaping eclipses, though. I miss the lunar eclipses we used to get in the late '90s. Those were good times. The next one visible to this area happens a few days after my 2010. That's saying the weather is good.

This is why I started taking pictures of clouds. Clouds are easy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Hourglass

By now you're probably wondering why I keep going back to 1987 like it's the well of misspent time. I turned thirteen that year, and if you've ever turned thirteen, you may have some idea of why it was such a messed up time in my head. That's too vague, however, so I'll point you to Hourglass by Squeeze and say 1987 was the year I realized I seemed to be moving slower than everyone around me.

It is still occasionally 1987, that's how slow my body is on following through with what my brain is doing. But while I'll never be in a band and I'll never miss the scenery while running through theme parks, stores and whatever that place with all the boats is called, I'm okay with it, and this song is part of the reason why. I could sing the chorus! Who else can do that? Other than Difford and Tilbrook...and other fans of Squeeze.... Hey, I never met anyone else who could do it therefore I have one thing that was unique. Until I lost my voice. But that wouldn't happen for another three years, so my biggest issue was that I couldn't read music as fast as everyone else. Oh boo hoo. One day I'd be like, hey, I'm on the floor, can I have a glass of water? But that's beside the point. No, actually it's not, because while I was lying on the ground unable to do more than flail one arm and cough, my brain was doing advanced calculus and quoting movies and lyrics while coming up with ways to catch up on all the work I was going to be behind on and wondering if I there were any centipedes behind me.

In other words, I totally identified with the words to this song when it came out and I still totally identify with it now. Also, the video was directed by Adrian Edmondson! If you're a fan of British comedy I don't need to tell you who that is. Do I? Bottom? Comic Strip Presents? The Young Ones?! Yes, Vyvyan.

You know what? Since Universal music wants to deprive little girls of embedding Squeeze videos in their drag down memory lane, here's another video involving Ade Edmondson that would eventually save me from death by *headdesk*.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Crap Mariner

The creator of 100 Word Stories is an amazing storyteller. He says he'll write one story a day until he dies, and I hope he has a lot more stories in him.

The theme for this week's challenge was Forty, because that's how many years Crap Mariner's had to put up with the fleshy humans. Knowing this didn't help me write a better story, in fact I went through a record number of rejected takes on this before my inner emcee took over and turned a character based on the man who made me read my own stories again into...King Kong? Hey, I liked King Kong and thought the humans just out for entertainment who didn't expect Kong to be himself deserved to be shaken up.

Come one, come all, gather 'round and see the clockwork kid, the wonder of the modern age! Built by robots on a faraway island forty years ago, a group of opportunistic pirates couldn't let a good thing go to waste so they brought him here, to entertain you! Wind him up and he'll weave you a unique tale guaranteed to blow your mind!

You’ll be dazzled by his wit! You’ll marvel as he interacts with the fiercest of jungle cats! You’ll drool over his delicious bread!

Run, don’t walk! Don't even wait for the bus! Witness the magnificent clockwork kid!

The whole party can be read and heard here, and you really ought to have in your RSS reader by now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Last Chance To See

Several years ago I made a website, or rather my late alter ego made a website. It was called Darth Gumby: I sense a disturbance in my brain. Clicking on that link will take you to the proper official page, which in a few weeks will be all that is left.

There was a mirror site, see. A Geocities mirror. Which, along with every other Geocities site, is about to be taken down.

Yes, Geocities is going away. If you know any Geocities sites you liked, you better go save what you can. Hint, hint. points to the site that won't be going away, so you don't really need to go laying flowers on the mousepad for anything but The Twelve Days of Star Wars and the guestbook.

The guestbook hurts. I love the people who signed it, and while I have about three hundred copies saved on various media, the Internet is supposed to be the immortal repository of all forever and ever and you kinda suck for shutting it down, Yahoo!

The other thing that will be going, never to return, is a decade-old Star Wars Chistmas special of sorts that starts like this:

Yes, I was once even more twisted than I am now.

Yes, I was that twisted once.

My Darth Gumby is mostly dead, so I'm not going to save The Twelve Days Of Star Wars. In a few weeks, there will only be the Netcom page saying I plan to turn it into Flash one day. I did convert it to Flash, mind you, but the file was so large it wasn't worth the load time to watch what was once called a waste of forty minutes by someone who didn't even bother to sign the guestbook.

So that's that's that. The Darth Gumby Geocities mirror is going away, everything but The Twelve Days Of Star Wars will still be available on the Netcom page, and I'll miss the guestbook most of all. There's also a Lynda_N page which, much like its author, did not reach its full potential and is very nearly not worth mentioning.

As a side note, now points to a blog by someone else, someone I don't know beyond the blog but totally enjoy reading. I'm glad the address went to someone I think is a good writer and who I happen to agree with on several things. If anyone is looking for my original blog, Inane Ramblings of a Porkinite, it' that link right there. If the text disappears when you mouseover, don't mouseover. It's another site which will never be updated again because fiddling with the past is pointless and I wouldn't have appreciated myself doing it unless there was something better than perspective to offer.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: I Just Called To Say I Love You

Did I ever tell the story about how I damn near chopped my finger off? This week it'll be twenty-five years since I sat on a lawn chair that had been improperly set up by the parent whose name I did not keep and...felt something I guess I never really forgot.

I was nine years old at the time, and so little things like my dog Pookie being the only one to come running to my rescue and the song that happened to be on when I dragged my injured hand back into the house like Luke Skywalker on a good day stick in my head more vividly than what I ate for breakfast yesterday.

The song was I Just Called To Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder, and only two years later I'd be bitching about how wacky the Bb chord sounded when I played it. I play the piano, you know. The finger that I had to wrap up like a Twinkie until the nail grew out enough for me to pull off by myself gives me trouble, but I don't mind it so much anymore. I don't think it was broken, but to this day the joint sort of aches like it's saying, "Hi, remember when you pulled that nail off and was all 'I can see the nail polish from THIS SIDE' and it took forever but that dog was awesome." Or something. Pookie was also the only one to sit in every day as I learned to play this song.

There was a wicked remix of this song where Stevie sang like a robot and Z-100 used to play it all the time. It's like a metaphor for how much more there is to the story. Like the part where I couldn't listen to the song for years, but that part's no fun.

What is fun is that my main concern the night I crushed my fingertip was whether I'd be able to work the VCR remote to tape V: The Series. Next month, there's a new V coming to TV and I doubt I'll be using the remote to find it. LIFE IS WEIRD. I wouldn't change a second of it, though. Although I guess I'd tone down the whining about my finger while Stevie Wonder is blind.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

And Now It's Time For A Breakdown

I haven't been doing so great. 100 Word Stories' weekly challenge time is not bitching time, but last week happy time and bitchy time intersected spectacularly when my Internet died repeatedly, making work back up and cut into my getting-of-the-topic, writing, and submitting time. Yes, I only have five minutes of free time.

I guess what I'm trying to tell you is I wrote something not great for Wings. I could have gone on at great length about birds, I could've had another Paul McCartney adventure, but for some reason I wrote about something I've never drank in my life.

Red Bulls are so good, I drank a hundred of them and I didn't get wings, but I cleaned my gutters and I didn't even need a ladder to get to the roof, I just jumped! Then I helped change a tire by totally ripping off the tire, and then I threw the tire, and the tire flew all the way across town to the dump and killed a hobo, but I don't feel bad about that--I can't feel anything but pure unadulterated caffeine rushing through my veins, busting up my brain and I think I'm having a heartattack!

I only said I never drank a Red Bull, I didn't say I've never felt like that. I totally clean my gutters all by myself fueled only by Folgers and a deep-seated rage for the gits who put up the gutters without a downspout near the corner where the pine needles collect. Also, I know nothing of hobo clobberings.

Read and listen to my crazy going on and far more focused tales here. The speed at which I read my story is the only thing that saves it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Walk Four Blocks In My Shoes And You'll Be Four Blocks Away From Me With My Shoes

One of many entertaining parts of living in a constant state of having no money is realizing how obscene the price of shoes is. Growing up, there was a store called Alexander's, where shoes were always two pairs for $10. The price went up as my feet got bigger but then my feet never got as big as the women around me so it wasn't like I could share shoes the way we all swap the clothes around depending on who fits into what. Alexander's had the best shoes.

My current shoes are "utility" cross trekkers from Payless. They look like sneakers to me, but they're not in the "athletics" section, which only adds to the flaming stupidity of it all. My first pair was $19, then when those split I had to pay $25, and now they're $27, because I guess the sweatshop union asked for an extra penny to skimp on the glue along the front of the sneaker.

Because I'm a cheap bastard, I occasionally poke around to see what other shoes are out there in the hopes of finding a better deal, see what the cool kids are wearing these days.

Popular shoes my foot!

...they have to be kidding me. $60 for sandals and...flip-flops?

This may offend flip-flop lovers, but I don't like those things, and not entirely because I introduced my knees to the concrete with my face several times while "getting used to" those plastic beach thongs with the button that catches in everything.

I don't need to see dirty feet. You pay $60 for shoes, I better not be able to see your krunky toenails because I will cut you. Same goes for the $159 high-tops. What the hell are they made of? Waterbeds? Clouds? DEAD COWS?

Man, I hate buying shoes.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: I Don't Mind At All

I turned I Don't Mind At All by Bourgeois Tagg into a state of mind.

What what who?

Yes, I was a moody child, but this song used to pop up in the strangest places. On one of my Monty Python tapes, in a card store as I was looking for black balloons for my 16th birthday party, and again on the Monty Python tape the morning I was headed to a funeral. Who in their right mind watches Monty Python before going to their grandfather's funeral? Someone who wants to hold on to better days for just a few minutes longer, that's who.

In 1987 when this song hit mainstream radio, I was in the middle of my Monty Python gathering phase. Every weekend the shows were on Thirteen, and my aunt got me the rest off MTV. To fill the rest of the tape, she taped some videos, and there it was, this song that sounded like the greatest Beatles song never written. My Poppy would watch those Python tapes with me on Sunday mornings, even after I made him sick with the live organ transplants bit in The Meaning Of Life. That time countered all that made me grumpy in the world.

It wasn't just metal in my eyes and great injustices done to those I loved and daft things people would say to me, though. It was all how I took it. Seriously, I cracked and became my own therapist, and this song was my Zennest Zen counsel. I stopped saying I didn't care about things and started saying I didn't mind. I saw a difference. Was it worth being a grumpy bastard? Was it something I could change? Let it go, Indiana.

Embedding the video wasn't allow so you'll need to go here to see it, but thanks to the new obsession, imeem, here's the song:


Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Shadow Toast

The 100 Word Stories' weekly challenge usually brings out brand new stories.

True, my offering for the double themes of Magic Toaster and Who Knows? was written out in a new way for the challenge, but this one is part of something else, something bigger, something really really old.

Life was never the same for Alex after his brother was poisoned by their father. He kept to himself a lot before then, but after his brother began communicating through the toaster, things turned around.

At first he tried to convince himself there was nothing magic about the toaster, he’d been drinking the first time it spoke, maybe he was developing schizophrenia, who knows? Sure, he'd like to do what the toaster told him and throw it in the tub with dad, but it made great toast. Browned evenly, not too burnt. It didn’t even need to be plugged in.

All 11 stories are popping up here, full of mystery and buttery crunch.