I'm beginning to think I may have a few more readers than I suspect. To get to my stories (both Simon and Poo stories), go to my LJ profile page and bring up my memories. They've all been saved under the "stories" category.
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Also, a summary of the Simon-and-Cade universe and backstory can be found here, and the stories are all arranged chronologically here.
Here's another bit of the Rafe/Hollis/robots/zombies storyline. It's an actual scene, not a snippet or an AU or a side story or anything. As such, it doesn't really have a title or summary or anything, because it's really just in the middle of everything.
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Setting: Rafe has been forcibly "hired" overseas, although this is fairly early on during his stint at the lab. He isn't exactly friends with Hollis yet, although they have spent quite a lot of time together professionally and therefore they have probably started to feel each other out a bit. Dashell is Hollis's co-guard, with whom he has an ugly and dangerous past. And Hollis once spent some time in prison, which is why he seems to be having odd concussion-based flashbacks.
The Wrench Scene
Title: A Ghost in the Machine
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Setup: An AU of the main zombie story, I suppose. This doesn't happen in the main story, because I'm pretty sure Hollis would go crazy if I killed off Rafe, as seen here. Also: unreliable narrator ahoy.
Summary: Nothing's ever lost forever.
A bit too large to contain in a LJ entry, so the link goes to Google Docs instead.
A Ghost in the Machine
Title: Before Breakfast
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Setup: This is about 2/3 of the way through the main story (although in the main story, this scene is written from Rafe's point of view instead of Hollis's). Rafe and Hollis kill zombies as a sort of hobby. And this is where the odd semi-telepathy thing comes from.
Summary: Some impossible things are easier to believe than others.
( Before BreakfastCollapse )
So, I've been writing a zombie series. I know, the zombie market is rather saturated, but fortunately the zombies are more a part of the setting than anything else. The overarching story is quite long and unfinished, but I've got a few shorter outtakes that I thought I'd put up here, since I haven't put anything up at all lately.
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I suppose I ought to have a sort of summary, since none of the snippets take place at the beginning.
Rafe: main character. Brilliant, deeply awkward engineer. Moderately asexual (as all good main characters are). He was once hired (under duress) to build killer robot soldiers, which he handled without too much moral difficulty. Later stole his robots back, reprogrammed them, and let them loose on the population to help counter the zombie plague. These wayward androids are usually called Angels by the general population.
Hollis: has boundary issues. Orphaned at a young age by the epidemic and then passed among various horrifying situations. Met Rafe as a guard while he was building the robots and developed a rather unhealthy attachment. Towards the end of the story, Hollis and Rafe have developed a sort of mild telepathy. His life seems to revolve around Rafe, in much the same way as the chain revolves around a chainsaw.
Flora & Michael: Rafe's close friends, a married couple, and quite possibly the only people Rafe has ever attempted to have any sort of sexual relationship with. They aren't aware that the Angels are androids (to be fair, Rafe and Hollis are the only ones who know) or that Rafe built them, although they do know that there is some odd connection between Rafe, Hollis, and the Angels. They are both deeply mistrustful of Hollis in particular, which Flora can be rather vocal about.
Snippets to follow.
So, I think I'll be offered a promotion. Like, tomorrow. Which should be a good thing, right?
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Except that it's longer hours, and more responsibility, and I wouldn't get to work the shift I'm working right now. And having a slacky job with a prime schedule is the whole reason I'm in this job. My ambitions have nothing whatsoever to do with this job. This job is strictly so that I have money and occasionally leave the house.
I figure it's not worth worrying about until 1) they formally offer it to me, and 2) I see if they'll bargain at all. Because maybe they'll let me keep my cushy shift, and if they give me a decent (~$2/hr) raise on top of that, then the responsibility wouldn't be all THAT bad, either. The longer hours will still suck, but...eh. I generally work overtime as it is, so it wouldn't be awful, I guess.
So we'll see if they'll bargain with me, because I'm the only person at my job qualified to take this job right now. And if I don't like it, then I'll leave.
I've got my resume updated, just in case. I think I can do this.
So. Ages ago, I bought a bubble bar from Lush. Then, because it is basically a bath product and I am primarily a shower person, I promptly forgot about it.
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Until this evening. I had an empty squeeze bottle and an excellent idea: what if I crumbled up the bubble bar in my squeeze bottle, added a little water, and just used it like a less gelified shower gel?
Brilliant, just brilliant.
So I got out my whacking big knife and proceeded to pulverize my bubble bar, then bottled it, added water, capped it, and stuck it in the shower. And then proceeded to actually, you know, shower.
Somewhere around shampooing my hair, I noticed that a glob of the stuff was working its way own the side of the bottle. This, I assumed, was because I was a slob when I made it. I made this assumption because I am, primarily, a slob. And so I rinsed my shampoo and dismissed the soap glob.
Then I pulled out my loofah and the now-bottled bubble bar (which had now been sitting quietly for about five minutes, pondering its dissatisfaction with life). And flipped open the cap--
--and the bottle freaking exploded. A solid stream of soap bubbles, straight up four feet. And then, because I lowered the bottle, also a solid stream of soap bubbles going down the wall. WITH A VENGEANCE.
...It should be noted, at this point, that the bubble bar in question is brown, with coffee grounds in it. So the detonation zone on my ceiling is, in fact, a horrifying brown froth with black chunks. It looked like an urgent Medical Emergency had transpired on my ceiling. It looked like I had murdered someone with a length of bowel.
I considered life for a minute at this point, and then sponged some froth off the wall with my loofah and proceeded to get to the business of actually washing myself. And then, because I was still in the middle of my shower, I also shaved. Because these things have to be done in order. (And let me tell you, it is mighty unsettling shaving with the Brown Blast Zone of DOOM hovering over you, frothing contentedly.)
And THEN I sort of used my hands to squeegee off the parts of the shower that I could reach. Which, unfortunately, does not include the uppermost two feet of the room.
And so I finished up, and toweled off, and put on some assorted garments. And drifted downstairs to consult my mother.
"I'm just not sure how to get the soap off the ceiling," I admitted.
"Hmm," she agreed.
The solution, it turned out, was to balance a washcloth on a broom and sort of poke it hopefully upwards until the soap was harassed into leaving. So. All's well that ends well, or at least without any lasting damage.
But, let me tell you, the bathroom ceiling has never smelled so clean.
Yeah, there's a reason I don't write poetry: because I'm rather rubbish at it. But here's an odd attempt; henceforth, I shall stick to prose, thanks.
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no we can't
that is, I can't
you're just so nice
it will ruin our friendship
And you believed me.
It was a lie.
no we can't
that is, I can't
your kisses are slightly too sticky
(and, on that subject,
have a tic-tac)
and your hair reminds me of straw
I have a personal vendetta
against those khaki shorts you own
and your laugh is
too sudden and too loud
it makes me jump
which annoys me
I have no idea what you do
because each time you tell me
I get bored and daydream
about dating someone
less like you
that way you say Yeah
that you think is sexy
and would you please
just have an affair with your ipod
because the way you talk about it
I know you are in love.
I can't hate you
or even summon up
a good solid satisfying dislike
you think I'm funny
I remember holding you
(because your car had gotten a flat
and you didn't have the money
and you were scared)
your blue shirt matches your eyes
But maybe you'd better just accept
that we'll never be together
(never the twain shall meet
And it's not because you're
(whatever that means)
and the only reason you think it is
or maybe just
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（ﾟ､ ｡ ７
So, simply ages ago (that is to say: July) I wandered into Fashion Bug, on account of I can easily walk there from work and I needed clothes for work. And on one trip, I encountered this dress:
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And I thought it was just lovely, but not really at all me, and also I had nowhere to wear it, and besides it was $50, which would mean, like, 5 manga, and I just wasn't willing to do that. Wargh.
But secretly, I was having a love affair with this dress. The shiny! The pink! The ruffles! Eeee! The $50! Ooooh...
At any rate, I drifted down to FB again last week, and discovered that they still had one of this dress, one size larger than I needed it, on clearance for $15. And yes, I can afford $15. And honestly, it's pretty easy to do tiny alterations on something too big to make it a little smaller, and it freakin' ties in the back anyway, so that's convenient.
And therefore I also bought a black bolero jacket to go over it, so my total purchase was about $20 and is like this:
Anyway, the point is, I got it home (after trying it on in the store), put it on again, pranced around for a while, and discovered that it doesn't actually look particularly good on me. Basically, the skirt-pleats are at an odd place on me (granted, if you know anything about my anatomy, MOST places are an odd place on me), and make me look lumpy.
This realization inspired a few minutes of intense depression and naval-gazing, at which point I decided that I DON'T REALLY CARE.
Like, seriously. What's the main problem? It doesn't make me look thinner? Well, who says the sole purpose of all of my clothes is to make me look thinner? (All right, it was a trick question: everyone says that. Every magazine. Every fashion program.) But, like, do I have to care about that? How about I opt out for a while?
It's not like I'm somehow going to convince people that I'm suddenly slim. So, does a "good" outfit mean that it makes me, a size 20, look like a size 18?
And it's not like the dress makes me look bad. Grey, for example, makes me look bad, by which I mean severely jaundiced. This dress doesn't make me look ill or anything. Basically, it makes me look like a cute size 22 instead of my usual 20.
But I think that's balanced out by the cute. Like, cute 22 > average 20. (Okay, that's a cultural fail. Culturally, 22 < 20, although both of them need to stop with the fast food and don't they know they are the cause of The Fatty Epidemic? So screw them anyway.)
Anyway, I hope this isn't just a gateway realization on the slippery slope to frumpiness. But I think that, from now on, I will pick my clothes based more on if I love them and find them adorable beyond words, and less on whether they make me look "skinny".
Craziness at the store today. I shall just touch upon it briefly, because even thinking about it exhausts me.
Disclaimer: I was actually only around briefly for part of this incident. The rest of it was patched in from my co-workers, who sort of kept an eye on it in shifts.
The players for this incident were a guy, his wife, their toddler son, our resident pair of belligerent lesbians, and some old woman. We've vaguely encountered the guy and the old woman before, in a store sort of way, and we don't particularly like either of 'em.
Anyway. Apparently, the kid throws a fit in the store, we think because he couldn't have a toy. Like,seriously a fit. 'Cause we can hear him wailing all over the store, and we're all getting that glazed trying-not-to-kill-people look. Eventually the guy takes the kid outside to tantrum, where apparently the kid throws himself down on the ground and wails for a while longer.
Enter old woman. She goes over the kid to make sure he's okay. The guy at some point goes off about how she needs to leave his kid alone 'cause she's, like, a child molester or something. And she points out that it's his kid that's lying on the ground screaming, and that this is because he's abusive.
(Note: There is nowhere good that the exchange can go from here.)
Eventually the guy goes back inside, since his wife is still in there. At some point the old woman comes in, too. So they scream at each other some more, around the store. Then she tries to make one of our cashiers call the police, which doesn't work because 1) they're intercoms. Good luck calling anyone on 'em, and 2) we hate you both. So they both stomp out again.
(At this point, I actually was up front. And wow, let me tell you, there's nothing like standing at the front of a store holding three bags of money while two wildly unstable people scream at each other while heading towards you. Hello, adrenaline.)
I left again at this point, on account of holding many hundreds of dollars and feeling awkward and mildly unsafe. From what we can patch together she got his plate number and then went next door to call the police. Now, I'm pretty sure their phone policy is something like ours, so it's hard to tell what lie she used. She came back talking on a cell phone, though, now that I think about it, maybe they called her BS, too.
So, she calls the police and, since she's called the police, the guy sticks around too. Also, his wife. And our two belligerent lesbians, who are totally on the guy's side, although how anybody can be on the side of either of two such repellent creatures I do not know. Although the BLs are reasonably repellent, too, so maybe there was some fellow-feeling there.
At some point the cops actually showed up, got all of the repellent people's names and such, and kicked them out for us. And it was quiet once again.
Points of interest:
1) There was a visiting manager wandering around our store. By "wandering", I mean "watching with interest, after calling someone on his cell phone, and also taking notes on a notepad". So someone will probably try to get us into some trouble.
2) Some woman complained. To us. That there was a disturbance. "Well, frankly ma'am, I'd shoot 'em both right here and now, but I left my semi-automatic in my other trousers, and besides the cleaning guys don't come until tomorrow morning, and by then the blood will be all congealed and we'd have the strip the wax from the floors. So I can't do that." I especially like it when they complain to our 5'3", size 1, 24-year-old female floor person. What, you think she's gonna wade in there and give 'em a talking to? Really?
I called my boss and informed him that there had been a rumble, at which point he laughed and appeared to be not at all surprised, but since we are us, there's pretty much nothing we can do. We can ask them to go outside, which they don't have to take us up on. And if they actually start throwing punches, we can call the cops. Otherwise, let 'em scream, and hone your violent fantasy life.
1) If you see a small, screaming child, and there is some adult nearby who is looking upset/embarrassed/frustrated, you've really got to assume they've got it under control.
2) There's really no way to gracefully get out of calling an old woman a child molester. Nobody will ever believe you, and it makes you look like a creep.
3) You can't call the cops on someone just because, basically, you don't like them and they are being mean to you. I mean, it'd be super-sweet if you could, but think of the bills that would rack up.
4) Being louder doesn't actually mean you won the argument. Mostly, it just makes you look like a raging psycho.
5) YOU ARE IN PUBLIC WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE WHY ARE YOU SCREAMING AT A STRANGER IN A STORE?!?!
...In other news, I learned that I live about a quarter mile away from my district manager. I drove past earlier today and admired his Christmas lights, before I knew it was his house. Wow. Awkward.
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So, I was in a silly mood, and do not work tomorrow, and was wondering what Sammy and Vek are up to (crap, have I not introduced Sammy and Vek yet? Oh dear). So here's this: happy belated birthday, J.
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Anyway, Sammy and Vek are from a new story I'm working on, tentatively entitled "The Devil You Know", although I'm certain that will change with stunning regularity (I mean, it took me years to get the arc titles for Simon's stuff worked out). At any rate, this new one is a rather skewed take on the usual misogyny-and-swords sort of D&D-type fantasy writing. I am making a vague attempt to keep it linear, and non-short-story-ish, but this is me, and so far I've got the first chapter and the last chapter written, so we'll see how it goes.
So, the characters in the story thus far are:
Sammæl - a demon. Well, not actually a demon in the afterlife sense, more in the human-superstition sense. Sammy is tall, athletic and reserved (to say the least), and has some sort of fire-based magical powers. Always pictured with a tail, for no apparent reason.
Vek - a teenage human. Worryingly attached to Sammy. Has been traumatized in many ways, and has a resultant mildly-concussed outlook on life.
So, the main story can be found here, on Google Docs.
But now for today's story:
TItle: A Small Matter
Characters: Sammy, Vek
Summary: In which Sammy has a problem, and is puzzled.
Notes: It's a drabble, so 100 words. And the "solution" to the dialogue is a picture, and is under the LJ-cut. Remember: I have more obsessive enthusiasm than I have actual drawing ability. The point is that it's funny, not that it's a particularly good drawing. Go easy on me.
A Small Matter
"Oh! I...um. Hello, small human. I...I beg your pardon. Excuse me? I'm afraid that's mine. I don't suppose you know who you belong to? No, I thought not. I'm afraid I'm not well equipped to handle young humans, really. Hmm. Although you seem to think I am, at least. Um...Vek?"
"Are you busy?"
"A little. Why?"
"I...need you to come here and handle a small problem for me."
"Can it wait?"
"I...don't think so. I suspect it may require a human perspective. Imminently."
"What is it, Sammy?"
"It's...a small matter. Ouch! And yet very pressing, in its own way."
( It's a...Collapse )
Rough day at work. Enough about that, though: it's Simon's birthday! Happy birthday! (Actually, it could be the 9th. It was the 9th for a year or two. I had to relocate it, though, when I realized that I would never remember it unless it fell right after mine. Hence: the 19th.)
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Characters: Simon, Natalia
Rating: nothing in the foreground
Summary: In which Simon is recovering from a rough birthday and a bad assignment.
Notes: Yeah, it's something of a mash-up of my New York Train Adventure. I thought Simon would enjoy it :-P And the punctuation's a bit odd, but that's rather deliberate, to make it feel vague. Oh, just read it and you'll see what I mean.
( ItinerantCollapse )
Well, I guess this means I'll have to post more, at least for the next two months, eh? Not a problem at the moment, actually: I need to talk about AFP, and I have a story and possibly some pics to post. So, that'll be good for a few days, at least.
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My grand New York adventure started very early Saturday morning. It was at that time that I stumbled out of bed, pulled on some plastic pants, got my fedora, grabbed my bag, and caught a ride to the train station.
The train itself was something of a relief: it was better than both an airplane AND the DC Metro, which are both varying degrees of terrible, depending upon whether or not one is me. But in a train, the seats are roomy, the electrical outlets are aplenty, and the bathrooms are certainly large enough for shenanigans, if one so desires. Also, if you are a rather questionable-looking person wearing plastic pants and a fedora, you do not have to share your seat, which is an added bonus.
Strangely, the train goes one way until it hits Philly, and then goes the other way up to New York. Which meant I travelled backward for 2 hours, stopped at Philly, and then travelled forward the rest of the way. Odd and unnecessary, but this is why I am not an adviser for the train system.
After very little fuss, I found myself in Newark. (conductor: "Why on earth do you want to go to Newark?" Me: "I...I really don't know.") This led to an awkward moment of standing on the train platform, wondering how one gets into the train station proper. (Answer: go in the little area with the benches, and then go down the stairs. Try not to look like a spazz.)
And then I drifted with interest around the train station, until Jackie found me. At which point we went outside, greeted her father and dog, sent my bag back with them, and went back into the station to catch yet another train, this one local and much less accommodating. Subways followed this, at some point, and then somehow we found ourselves on the Upper West Side, me with no clue at all as to how we had arrived.
We put our name in at Alice's Tea Shop, which is adorable but has very long waits, and then trotted off to have soup dumplings (dumplings! Full of soup! Soup inside of dumplings, like magic!) at a Chinese place. Halfway through our miracle dumplings, Alice's called, and by the time we got back, they had given away our table. We put our names on the list again.
There were thoughts of cream puffs to occur at this point, but unfortunately the cream puff eatery was closed, and so instead we wandered in and out of various ridiculously expensive shops. (Point of interest: I was carrying my black and hot pink Betseyville bag. It got a truly unprecidented number of compliments from sales assistants, and about how none of them had ever seen one like it. This includes the girl at the Betsey Johnson store, who also commented that we were "very well accessorized." So, um...go us!)
At any rate, we missed the call from Alice's again, and then got to walk back to Alice's in the rain, put ourselves on the waiting list for the third time, and then drift down to the Lush store a few blocks away. We naturally picked out ridiculous things at Lush, which we always do, and stood around having bizarre conversations with the sales assistants for waaay too long (another Betseyville bag compliment! Bizarre!), and Then The Phone Rang. From's Alice's. So we thrust our baskets of stuff at the Lush employees, promised to come back for it, and then found ourselves running down the street in the rain.
Fortunately, we got a table. We then proceeded to order food. Mint chocolate black tea, mysterious multi-flavoured rooibos tea, scones in coconut-lemon, strawberry-banana, and raspberry-chocolate, sandwiches in salmon and chicken-apple-goat cheese, and mocha cake. Wow. Yes. Very, very good. The sandwiches, in particular, were spectacular.
After which, we wandered back to Lush to actually buy the things we had been carrying around before. And it was lovely.
Somehow, during this time, it seems to have turned into evening. So we caught multiple subways to Brooklyn (why were so many of the subways not running?? Why??), found a B&N to wander into briefly, and went looking for Re-Dress, which had (!) decided to close early that day. Having run out of things to do and also beginning to run short on time before the show, we went looking for a subway station.
Unfortunately, the closest one was closed. We therefore tramped off to find another subway station.
We got to where we were going, but it seriously took like four subways. Jackie developed a habit of peering intently at her Pre at a subway map, and then helpfully showing it to me. "Hello," said the map, "would you like a plate of colorful spaghetti?" I was intensely mystified each time.
The Music Hall of Williamsburg, where Amanda Palmer was playing, turned out to be in a mildly sketchy area of Brooklyn, which made sense, as it is a rather sketchy sort of building. We arrived soon after nine, confirmed that Nervous Cabaret, the opening act, was still playing, and then promptly went out to the vestibule to buy merchandise, at which time Beth (Amanda's assistant) commented that she liked my outfit, which made me feel rather quietly overwhelmed.
Nervous Cabaret were quite good, and then they hung around to be Amanda's band as well, which was fantastic. It was a very, very good show, with singing and stories and question-answering and song-lyric-forgetting and Thoughts About Twittering. It was fantastic, and finally wrapped up around 12:30.
Amanda, though, was sticking around to sign autographs, and we decided that it would certainly be worth our time to acquire said autograph. Also, Neil Gaiman was in attendance, which meant a chance to get his autograph as well, which was nearly enough to throw us both into a violent swoon.
(Meanwhile, I availed myself of another bottle of Magical Water. See, I had been feeling somewhat dehydrated and faint at around 11:00 or so, having been up for 17 or so hours at that point, and went to the bathroom, only to discover half a case of Poland Springs in the last stall. I accordingly helped myself to one, and then went back after the show for another. It was something of a miracle.)
And finally, after a bit of a wait (probably. Time was starting to slip off its cracker by that point), we got up to Neil and Amanda. And got their autographs, and got to chat for a minute. I got to ask Amanda why she had YES written across her ("general affirmation", apparently), and Jackie got her name written in her book by Neil, which was also quite fantastic. And then we wibbled our way outside, and began the long, footsore hike back to a subway station.
Subways are surprisingly crowded at 2:00 AM, I learned, with my nose in a Russian man's jacket and some mysterious stranger having more full-body contact with me than I've probably ever allowed anyone. This was about hour 20 of my day, though, and so I was pretty well out of it.
I have very vague recollections of getting back to Jackie's house. At one point, there was a shouting crazy man on a subway, and I remember uncharitably thinking, "Your daughter's a whore," in response to something he was saying, and I remember another time where there was a big bronze ear (?) fastened to a support pillar down on one of the subway platforms. I don't remember taking the local train back to Newark, but I must have, because then somehow I ended up in the car, Jackie's dad having arrived to pick us up. There was then a conversation about (drug-sniffing?) goats, I think, although we were nearing hour 22 of my day, and my recording apparatus was malfunctioning significantly.
At some point, I put on my pajamas and brushed my teeth, which seemed to take FOREVER. And then I plunked down on the couch and waited to fall asleep. At 5:00 AM, I was still waiting, and feeling notably grumpy about it. Seriously. Who's up for 23 hours and THEN can't fall asleep?
I did, finally, for a few hours, although the dog kept trying to stare at my face and steal my pillow, which made for an odd night. Also, the problem with using one's phone as a flashlight is that the light goes off after ten seconds, stranding you in someone else's bathroom in the dark in the middle of the night, which makes for some awkward.
And then, much too early, we woke up and wibbled a bit more about how cool Neil and Amanda were. And then, because we hadn't slept and hadn't eaten for about 16 hours, we went out for sushi. In retrospect, this was a rather questionable choice, but it did seem sound at the time.
We ate and found ourselves briefly at a bookstore (I think I know where the manga section is in about 12 different Borders in PA and NJ. It's sort of a sickness), because that is something that happens to us with stunning regularity. And then we went back to Jackie's house to pick up my things, and off I went to the Newark train station, again.
I had to share a seat, unfortunately, and therefore had to feign unconsciousness until Trenton, when somebody left and managed to snag their seat.
Remember: at this point, I had gotten very little sleep, hadn't showered, was wearing a rumbled blazer, and was motion-sick. I therefore sprawled out on my two seats, put my fedora over my face, and proceeded to 70% pass out until I got to the train station.
I got off the train around 7:00, and was torn between the desires to eat, throw up, take a shower, or go to sleep. I don't actually remember much about that evening. Like, anything, really.
And then the next day (Monday) was my birthday, and I worked at 10:30, although I didn't actually wake up until about 2:00. I vaguely remember one of my co-workers wishing me a happy birthday and laughing hysterically.
Good times, good times. Definitely a fun trip. But also very, very odd.
Pictures will, hopefully, be forthcoming.
I have returned, briefly! And I have come bearing stories! Well, just the one, actually. But anyway.
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I've been working on my new series more, lately, which means I'm pretty much all-consumed by thoughts of medieval peasantry and poisonous plants and fantasy-novel hijinks to appropriate in a satirical manner. At some point I really do plan to give a character sketch of Sammæl and Vek and Vanyard and Janecy and the others, but right now I always seemed to be a little too busy actually writing down their story.
ANYWAY! For today's story: Happy Halloween! I wrote this story, like, last May or something. But I haven't posted it, and it's mildly creepy, and I designed it to be a songfic with a rather insidious song, so I suspect it might be a perfect fit for a Halloween story.
Crap. Does this mean I'm going to have to come up with stories for Simon's birthday and Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's, like usual? Well, I suppose it can be a writing challenge for me.
Title: Seven Circles of Manipulation
Characters: Simon, Mal, Everard Gilford
Summary: In which Simon and Mal torment a freshman, and the mystery of Justin's unusually-discreet roommate is finally uncovered.
Notes: A series of seven double-drabbles (200 words each), each corresponding to a line in Jill Tracy's deliciously creepy song "Diabolical Streak", which has been provided here for your listening pleasure. Let me know if the media embed for the song doesn't work. Also, Everard probably won't be back again, except in passing as Justin's roommate; I just needed to have Simon and Mal torture someone, and couldn't think of a reason for them to do it to any of the main cast.
( Seven Circles of ManipulationCollapse )</div>
Quote of the
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year decade century EVER, courtesy of the inestimable Connie Willis, in Impossible Things, one of her books of short stories:
When you're a writer, the question people always ask you is, "Where do you get your ideas?" Writers hate this question. It's like asking Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen, "Where do you get your leeches?" You don't get ideas. Ideas get you.
You see something or hear something or read something, and unlike the hundreds of other things you've seen and heard and read, this one triggers something--some connection nobody else sees--and you know you'll never be able to explain it. So you write a story about it.
"Idea" is even the wrong word. it implies something rational, a concept, a thought, and there's usually nothing rational about it. It's not a light bulb going on over your head. It's a tightening of the throat, a shiver down the middle of the back, a stab to the chest. Or the sudden impulse to shout, "Get out! Before it's too late! Run!"
Reading it made me sort of bubble up and start giggling to myself, because, well, THAT'S IT! I've never seen it described better than that. That's it, exactly.
Here are my dresses that could be potential Renaissance Faire material. Note: it is very difficult to take full-length pictures of oneself. To that purpose, I took my mirror outside and propped it up in the gazebo. Due to questionable positioning and my desire to keep the camera itself out of the picture (I was concerned that would be a bit meta), you tend to only see about 2/3 of me in any picture. However, the dresses are symmetrical even if I am not, so you get the idea.
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First, my black velvet-burn-out dress, with flowy sleeves and a lacy bra to keep me from flashing the world:
Here, I have gothed-out the black dress. Addition of black corset belt, black lace bow, and Doc Martins:
A bad picture of my embroidered brown flowy-sleeved dress. Also: stripey tights. I look like a monk.
My striped bustier, with last year's black skirt and my lace-up fishnet gloves. Really ought to have a chemise underneath it, but I can put that off for another year, I suppose. The stripes did something odd to the camera and wouldn't photograph. Perhaps they are possessed.
Here is the back of the bustier. I have it laced up with a hot-pink ribbon. The positioning in this photo is very, very awkward.
I really would update more often, but there is very little drama in my life right now. I'm still writing my stories (Martin's backstory is currently at 49 pages. Single-spaced. Ridiculous), but since nothing is getting wrapped up, there's nothing to post.
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Last week I created a backstory for a character of starfall2 's, and I was pretty pleased with it, so maybe I'll post it up here at some point. I really like making up people. This is probably some form of mental illness.
Lately I've been rather wrapped up with helping my mum arrange things for her class reunion. My jobs for this involved: designing the programs (looks like an old train poster, adorable), burning some current-events-of-1969 CDs for everyone (82 CDs...yikes), designing little fake retro gift certificates for prizes (finally a use for those fonts I'm always downloading!), scanning about 100 pictures (*twitch*), and keeping everyone from freaking out when the PowerPoint looked back, by the magical expenditure of adjusting the projector's settings.
Fortunately, I am getting paid for this. Which is good, because I've had to buy 100 lightscribe CDs, 50 CD cases, more ink for my printer, and (oh yeah) a new DVD burner, because mine kind of ate one of the CDs and died promptly thereafter.
Anyway, the reunion was yesterday, and apparently went swimmingly, if my parents' return at 2:15 AM is any indication. *whew* I'm certainly glad that's done.
Then today, needing something relaxing, I restored books for a while. Torn pages, ripped book jackets, loose covers, that sort of thing. They're still being pressed while the glue dries, so we'll see how they are tomorrow. I think book restorer would be a nice job, and I might like it a lot...finicky, exacting, solitary, and dealing with books. Yes, that is me all over. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how a person becomes one, and it probably doesn't make much money or have steady work (especially in C-lizzle, which hasn't bothered to have a bookstore for the last 15 years).
At any rate, I think I've decided that Valerie is probably a book restorer. She's close enough to the city that it might help her get business, and I suspect she's got enough of her own money (and besides, she lives with Natalia) that amount of money made wouldn't matter to her too much. Because Natalia is a little out there, which means Valerie either had to be really wild (female Owen, basically), or else very calm and reserved. I think Natalia likes being the wild one of the pair, though. And Valerie has to be calm, especially if she and Natalia are supposed to be analogous to Martin and Simon. (Simon and Natalia are supposed to be very clearly male and female counterparts of the same personality. Therefore, Martin and Valerie could possibly be the same.) Besides, I think Simon (and probably Natalia) would consider wildness to be rather gauche and unbecoming in a relationship. Fun for a while, but ultimately annoying. AND a wild Valerie would probably scare Martin, who's got enough problems as it is.
I don't know much about Valerie; I may have to write a snippet or something about her. Hmm. Bears thinking about.
Title: A Necessary Question
Characters: Simon, Cade
Summary: Cade has a question. Eventually, Cade's going to grow up and figure it out.
Notes: Just a little double drabble, written because I had Simon's last line stuck in my head, and the scene fit so obviously around it. I was also messing with punctuation, as a precursor to another piece I'm writing, in which punctuation is abused.
A Necessary Question
–Why aren't you nice to me?– I ask accusingly.
He stares silently at me. Eyebrows raised. I recognize it: somewhere behind his mask of an expression, there is a dismissal. Again. I wasn't this irrelevant before.
–You were nice,– I persist –Okay, kind of. I mean, a little. I mean, you were less of a jerk before. You know. When we were traveling together. Before you caught me.–
–You know I didn't mean that, right? That's called acting, kid. That's called undercover.– Finally he's talking. –I know what you want to hear. You want me to just tell you what you want to hear?–
I can't answer. No is a lie and Yes is pathetic, like I don't care if he lies to me as long as he's friendly. It's the truth, but I don't want him to know it. –You do it for Martin and Natalia,– I point out. –You tell them what they want to hear. You do it all the time.–
Simon gives me a long look. –Because with them,– he explains finally, –what they want to hear is a lot closer to what I want to say.–
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So, I was inadvertently reading a blog post the other day (located at http://thenewadventuresofjuliette.blogspot.com/2009/07/fat-is-fantasist-issue.html, which I am not going to link to, because frankly I want nothing to do with her) and I was amazed that anyone could be so...hateful.
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She seems to be personally insulted that people can consider themselves hot without being her personal definition of a "traffic-stopping uber-babe", a phrase which makes me throw up in my mouth a little. (Also: uber isn't a word. If you're dabbling in German, the word is über. Those little dots about the "u" are important, and can easily be reproduced by using Alt+0252. Any of the German vowels with umlauts [ä, ö, ü], can be properly Anglicized by adding an "e" [ae, oe, ue] if you don't want to go to the trouble of adding umlauts. As an added bonus, this makes you look like a person who knows something about the source language, instead of like a complete moron. But I digress.)
At any rate, my thought upon reading it was puzzlement as to why she and others seem to take it so very personally when people they don't think are hot are considered hot. I mean, really, getting worked up because other people see a third party as attractive? Pardon me, but you don't have a dog in that fight. Why does it matter?
After pondering it all day (there wasn't much in the way of mental stimulation at work today), I think I have reached a conclusion: people like that are desperately trying to hide the fact that they have no idea what makes another person attractive. They have no idea how to judge beauty. As a result, they have set up a scorecard (thin, white, long-legged, large-breasted, symmetrically-featured, long blonde hair, moderately-tanned skin). It's easy! You just check off the characteristics of another person, and if they have a majority, then you know they're hot! Nothing to it!
Now, let's use a musical analogy, because I love me some symphonic band. Let's say you're judging band competitions. Unfortunately, you have no idea what actually makes for good music, so you make up some rules: must have three sections, must have common-time, cut-time or waltz-time signature, must not be too fast or too slow, must be in an identifiable key, must not have abnormal instrumentation. And for the most part, that kind of works. You can go by those guidelines and pretty much get by.
And then you come across something like, say, Abram's Pursuit [David Holsinger] or 12 Seconds to the Moon [Robert W. Smith]. "Abram's Pursuit" is played at 176 beats/minute, changes time signature 59 times (often into lovelies like 5/4 or 7/8), and has no key signature. "12 Seconds to the Moon" is like 12 minutes long and involves, at one point, the instrumentation of a hammer and anvil, which have been pressed into service.
Oh, right, and they're both freaking gorgeous pieces. Which completely fail by those guidelines set up before.
Strangely, though, their inability to fit within those guidelines does not make them less beautiful. Rather, if someone disqualified their beauty based on those guidelines, one would invariably come to the conclusion that the judge possibly didn't really know much about music.
Have I lost you in the analogy yet? Do you see how I'm comparing it to the beauty standard? The people who are judging have no idea how to qualify beauty. So what do they do? Make up some guidelines. Hey, if you always use the same set of rules, maybe nobody will realize that you have no idea what you're doing!
But see...there are a lot of things that make up beauty. Some of it's physical. Some of it's personality, sense of humor, attitude, and intelligence. Most of it is subjective. And generally, if one area is lacking for you, then one of the other areas will pick up the slack. (I suppose if you have none of those qualities, and are strange-looking, egotistical jerk with the intelligence of a ball-peen hammer, we could argue that you are not attractive. On the other hand, behold the internet: put up a myspace; someone will think you're hot, sooner or later.)
Unfortunately, the people who are willing to defend the beauty standard are defending it because that's the standard they've been judging themselves by. They've been playing Texas hold 'em, and it turns out we're trying to play seven-card stud. "But I've been dieting and tanning and bleaching my hair for years! Therefore I deserve to be beautiful!" Nooo, you only like those rules because that's the game you've been playing this whole time, not beause it's somehow more worthy than the game we're playing.
And instead of sticking to the same rules...I dunno, wouldn't it be nice sometimes to switch to a game that's less stressful and has a higher payout?