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Five Minute Fiction 20

December 12th, 2011 7 comments

Five Minute Fiction is an ongoing experiment. The goal: To write as much as I can in five minutes.  Don’t think.  Let the fingers do the work.  Once done walk away then come back later to clean it up.

Enjoy?

Skin Deep

Mark looked up from the table when he heard Professor Smith walk into the room.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the Professor said as he slopped his way to the podium, “This is the day you’ve all been waiting for.   Now, if you would be so kind,” he said, twirling a finger in the air.

Mark turned, and saw her.

He recognized her immediately; those delicate cheekbones, that beautiful button nose, and skin so white and soft that in his dreams she cast an ethereal glow as she slowly walked across the quad on a moonless night.  But whenever he saw her on campus, more often than not with her startling blue eyes buried in a book, Mark couldn’t bring himself to approach her.  He was always good with numbers, esoteric literature, and complicated laboratory experiments.  In all ways a genius, and best described by his pre-med professor as “one of those rare cases of true human potential”.  Mark had the gift.  That much was certain.  But his one weakness was speaking with the opposite sex.

But when Mark saw her now, on the opposite side of the room, with Jerry.  Jerry, that bastard!  Well, this was enough to push him over the edge, man up, and finally make himself known to her.

With hands unconsciously clenched into tight little fists he slunk his way through the maze of steel tables and firmly planted himself in front of his nemesis.  “Jerry,” he said, trying to control the jumble of emotions boiling away in his guts, “You, uh…you wouldn’t mind swapping with me, would you?”

Jerry peeled himself away from a book that was propped open on the table, looked Mark in the eyes, and saw something strange and unsettling there.  A certain amount of strain and mad confusion.  And, were his eyes welling up?  “Um, no,” he replied, sensing that something odd was going on, and right now he didn’t have time to deal with Mark and his world-famous moods.  “Doesn’t matter to me, man.  Just let me grab my things.”  Jerry rolled up his kit, gathered up his books, and made his way to a table on the far side of the room.

And there Mark was, looking into the most beautiful, peaceful face on the planet.  “Hi,” he said, brushing the back of his hand against the subtle curve of her cheek, “My name is Mark.”

“All right, boys and girls,” the Professor bellowed from the front of the class, “I think we’re ready to begin.”

Mark unrolled his kit.

“I want you to make a ‘Y’ incision,” Professor Smith said, “Extending down from the sternum to the pubic bone.  Remember, this is a deep cut.”

Selecting a scalpel, Mark looked down at the still body and slowly ran his gloved fingers through it’s soft blond hair.  “I’ve been wanting to tell you something for a long time now.  I think I love you,” he whispered, diving the blade deep into her flawless, milky skin.

 

Categories: Writing Tags:

Ten Steps

December 9th, 2011 8 comments

Dan Frommer over at SplatF has just published a post entitled “10 Steps To Better Blogging”.  In an effort to better understand not only myself but also the reasons why I blog, I thought I’d take a moment to tackle his list one point at a time:

1. Above all else, factual accuracy and attention to detail.

- If I’m writing a bleeding-edge article detailing the intracies of complex molecular structure, then yes, I agree with Dan.  Where details are key, writing in-depth blog entries that can better human kind should be truthful and factual.  But I’m writing about cats, bizarre ancetdotes, and the occasional cult movie.  For this, facts have a nasty tendency of just getting in the way.

2. Write the site that you want to read.

- It’s a good thing that I don’t even bother to proofread my posts (at least on some days it seems that way…see step 7).

3. Be more skeptical.

- I’m as skeptical as the next skeptical skeptic, but when a skeptic asks me to be more skeptical, my head just wants to asplode.  (Fact: The more you type the word “skeptical”, the sillier it looks)

4. Attribute well — the way you’d want to be attributed.

- “Giving credit where credit is due is only fair, but to take credit is even better.”  -Ghandi

(he did say this, right?)

5. Add context.

- Hey, I get roughly 200 views a day.  I’m a small fish in the gurgling belly of a bigger fish in a forgotten pond well off the beaten path.  I’m here to supply a quick jolt of whatever’s on my mind after work.  Rare are the occaions when I write about a topic so esoteric that a background in mathematical induction or physiological disorders is a required prerequisite before you can even begin to comprehend my many fringe hypotheses.  Again, cats.

6. Be critical, but don’t be unfair.

- Now you’re just getting personal, aren’t you?

7. Care about your writing.

- Oh, I do.  But there are nights when I’ve had a few beers and somehow manage to write and publish a post at 2am, and am horrified at what I see online the next day.  But then again, I’m sure we’ve all had weeks like this.

8. Care about your design.

- Two words for you:  WordPress.  Templates.  With these, there really is no need to worry about site design.  Which reminds me, my site really is overdue for a design overhaul…

9. Don’t be the 10th person to write about the same thing.

- So, no more postings such as “Flowbees: Not Just For Cutting Hair Anymore”, “Is This A Rash Or A Skin Disease?”, or “10 Steps To Better Blogging”?

10. Try new things, all the time.

- By saying this you do understand that you’ve just given me a license to kill, don’t you?  I’ll be sure to use this as ‘exhibit A’ at my upcoming trial.

But in all seriousness, Dan does make some excellent points that, if I were serious enough about blogging to want to make money off of it, or vain enough to expect thousands of unique daily hits, then I’d be the first to adopt his suggestions.  But, I do this for fun.  I blog just to keep the brain engaged and to touch base with both IRL and online friends.  I blog just for the sheer fun of it.  I do try to keep it interesting, but it’s far from a money-making enterprise.

I do this because some people are crazy enough to want to occasionally swing by from time to time.   :-)

Long live the blog!

 

Categories: Blogging Tags:

Strangely Hypnotizing

December 8th, 2011 4 comments

Perhaps it’s just me, but I found this video to be strangely hypnotizing.

I wonder how long it took him to perfect this?

Categories: video Tags:

Cryptonomicon

December 7th, 2011 8 comments

I just finished reading Neal Stephenson’s novel Cryptonomicon.  Coming in at a whopping 918 pages, I was ready to settle in for the long haul.  Having read Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash (which I’m looking forward to reading again), I was expecting a heady science fiction story.  Alas, I was sorely disappointed…and surprisingly amazed.

Cryptonomicon is actually two stories in one.  The first story, taking place during World War II, centers on code breakers and their race to decipher encrypted communications from the enemy.  It’s here that we meet Waterhouse, the mathematical genius who’s part of the elite Ultra Mega intelligence group, and Shaftoe, the Marine who unwittingly serves as the military’s “go to” guy for tricky behind enemy lines missions of dubious nature.

The second story revolves around the descendants of the individuals from the first story and their quest to build a “data haven” for online information, as well as their obsession over a large cache of gold that was buried near the end of World War II.

Cryptonomicon is often described as a “geek’s book”, and in my opinion that’s a very apt description.  Delving into cryptology, higher mathematics, game design, corporate espionage, as well as computer networking and programming, this is one story that keeps your brain constantly engaged.  But if this sort of information doesn’t float your boat, don’t worry.  Everything is carefully explained and is easily digestible.

Hopping not only through time, the story also juggles a multitude of locations from around the world.  Highlights of the theatrical operations during WWII center on the Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe and his counter character the Japanese soldier Goto Dengo.  Modern-era characters revolve around Randall Lawrence Waterhouse, a computer systems and network engineer, and Avi Halaby, Randall’s business partner.  Both men not only seek to build the world’s largest computer data haven in Kinakuta, a fictional pacific island nation, but who also have a dream of creating a new world economy funded by gold that was buried, and nearly forgotten, just before the end of WWII.

Globe hopping, intellectually challenging, and with a bizarre time-travel feel, Cryptonomicon was engrossing and much too quick a read.  I personally could have used more Bobby Shaftoe and Goto Dengo (their side stories were nothing less than astounding), but in the end their fates were well justified and honorable.  Oh, and the bits with Shaftoe/Ronald Reagan and Goto/General Douglas MacArthur were strokes of genius.  Here’s hoping that I never dream of lizards…

This novel ranks high on many of the “best of” lists for sci-fi books, but I don’t really consider this book science fiction.  It’s missing many of the key features that make up science fiction books, yet retains enough of the fringe details to qualify as one.  Strange…

Regardless, I have nothing but high praise for this hefty tome of a novel.  I burned through it in two weeks, and honestly wished that there was more to the story when I flipped the final page.

Categories: Books Tags:

School Pictures

December 6th, 2011 5 comments

It’s funny how children can change your jaded view of the world:

Categories: Kids, video Tags: ,