Come Friday, it's all about catblogging. And since I took a picture of a cat this morning, I might as well post it. Right? Right.
It's not my cat. I don't have a cat, actually. It's a cat that a friend is catsitting. From one of her housemates.
Friday, September 30, 2005
Remember that episode of Farscape where they all went to Earth? Season 4. "Terra Firma," it's called. Well, anyway, instead of donuts in the office kitchen this morning we have popcorn, and that made me think of Noranti and Rygel discovering all the wonderful Earth foods. Particularly, popcorn.
Over at the grill, Noranti holds a jar up for Rygel to see.
Noranti: "Rygel, have you tried this?"
Rygel: "Another delicacy?"
Noranti holds the jar up and pours popcorn kernels into Rygel's open mouth. They're the happiest of the crew. They're in gastro heaven.
Rygel: "What's it called?
Noranti reads off the jar: "It's called... cop porn."
While funny, I think they held back. Censored themselves. Because if Noranti confused the pronunciation of Cs and Ps, she wouldn't say "cop porn." The accurate remix of Cs and Ps in "popcorn" would have her say "cock porn." As I said, they censored themselves...
Headlights approached and I figured it was the pickup at first, but then I saw it was a car––a police car, I saw as it flashed by. I could tell by the unlit red-and-green lights on top and the stripe down the side. I didn’t catch what the stripe said, though. I watched the cop in my mirror, but he didn’t turn around. Maybe they hadn’t made us, after all. I hoped.
I almost didn’t recognize the pickup––a house’s floodlights were on. Was the pickup driver going to shoot at me? Did he recognize the car? I slowed, uncertain. Maybe I should just blow by, as quick as possible. But I didn’t see anyone in the truck or near it. Maybe they were hurt and needed help. It was all Zhíno’s fault, but I’d carry the guilt if they died, not him.
I pulled off the highway and got out, hurried across the road to the truck. Its windshield was nothing but a spiderweb of broken glass. The door window only had a few shards remaining. I hesitated a couple steps away, but leaned forward, looking inside. Nothing. Nobody. I got close to check. Nothing but broken glass and some empty soda cans. The back of the truck was filled with boxes and furniture. Moving day. Just like me but with a lot more stuff.
A foot crunched on gravel. Way up near the house, a chubby old man in pajamas walked backwards, slowly.
“Hey!” I called. “Did you see where the driver went?”
Only then did I spot him lying on the driveway, rifle aimed directly between my eyes.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
The old guy talked so fast I could only understand one word in ten. I was going to have to get a lot better at speaking Sarıman if I wasn’t going to flunk out of college here. Four years of high-school classes and a couple vacations don’t mean you know the language.
He had me wrapped in his puffy coat, herding me to the house. I still had my gun, though. But only one bullet. I stopped.
The old man bumped into my back, almost pushing me over. “What’s wrong?”
I didn’t know the word in Sarıman, so I pointed at the bullet chamber and said “bullets” in Zhuphísan as I turned back to the pickup.
Five steps and I heard a car coming––from the other direction this time, I spotted the headlights.
“Get down!” I barked at the old man even though he hadn’t listened before. I dropped to the gravel, pointing the rifle down the driveway.
The car got closer, slowed––it was the same old brown car! My pulse throbbed as I aimed the rifle, the gun slippery with sweat. The car stopped directly across the road. I held my fire. The door opened and out stepped a skinny blonde woman about fourteen years old––mid-twenties in Earth years. Dark sweatshirt and light-blue jeans. Was this really who’d been trying to kill me? She didn’t have a gun in her hands. I couldn’t see if anyone else was in the car. Maybe the gun was under the baggy sweatshirt, tucked in her belt. I blinked sweat from my eyes and held my aim as she looked both ways and crossed the highway to my pickup. She’d come back to finish me off. She looked in the cab, glanced at the back, and only then looked up the driveway at me.
Happy Michaelmas, everybody! Go out and celebrate today by . . . um, how do you celebrate Michaelmas? What is Michaelmas?
Let's ask Google. . . . They pointed to Wikipedia:
During the Middle Ages, Michaelmas was a great religious feast and many popular traditions grew up around the day, which coincided with the harvest in much of western Europe. In England it was the custom to eat a goose on Michaelmas, which was supposed to protect against financial need for the next year. In Ireland, finding a ring hidden in a Michaelmas pie meant that one would soon be married.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The boy with the gun kept looking west toward town. Something was happening. I considered calling for Vata to unlock the door, but I didn’t. Instead, I took another step down the driveway and called, “Good evening!”
Still twenty meters away, the boy offhandly replied, “Hello.” He rubbed his bare gun-arm with his free hand.
“Do you need help? Would you like my jacket?”
He didn’t reply and I was just about to repeat myself when he fell to the gravel, facing the highway on his stomach. He hissed something urgent at me but I didn’t catch it.
And then I heard a car approaching. A pair of headlights came over the hill to the east and proved themselves to belong to a highway patrol car, which just rolled on by, heading into town.
The boy got slowly to his feet, looking older than me. He was shaking pretty bad.
I waved him towards me. “Come here, son.” He started walking––limping almost––to me, so I continued encouragingly, “Come on. Me and Vata will take care of you. Something has scared you bad, I know, but me and Vata will give you something warm to drink and a couch to sit on and we’ll get all those nightmares out of your head.”
We’d reached each other by then and I pulled off my down jacket. I draped it on his shaking shoulders and held it there with both hands as we walked towards the house.
“It’ll be all right, son.”
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Before I knew it, I was in the driver’s seat, seatbelt on, putting the car in reverse. Thank the gods it was an automatic. I twisted the wheel and hit the gas. The tires screeched and I shot backwards around the building. A dumpster! I stomped on the brakes, but the car crunched into the big metal box. Never mind. I shoved the gearshift into drive and floored it. The window beside me was still open and I heard Zhíno shout, “Fírí!” as I sped onto the highway and back the direction we’d come.
I knew Zhíno wouldn’t shoot. Not for my sake, but because he’d spent all his money and risked his life for the stuff in the trunk. And there was no way he’d take the chance of losing all that in a box-office fireball caused by him shooting the gas tank.
I looked in the mirror. Zhíno had run to the road, but he was just standing there now.
I suddenly realized that I hadn’t used my turn signal. I hadn’t stopped either, before turning onto the road. I glanced around to see if a cop saw.
Laughter burst out of me, sending me practically into convulsions. Happy tears flowed from my eyes so I could barely see the road. What a silly woman I was, worrying about a traffic violation when I’d just almost been killed.
I laughed even more, clutching the steering wheel with both hands. Now I was free.
Happy birthday, Jim and Bexley Lister!
Twins, sons of Deb and Dave Lister, half-brothers to Dave Lister...
They were ... um, will be born a little over three million years from now. But today's their birthday. I know these things.
Monday, September 26, 2005
My heart was still racing. A second bullet was in the rifle’s chamber, ready for the car to come back. I lay there, silent except for my heaving lungs. The desert was silent, too. Wind in some brush was all I heard. No distant engine. No more gunshots.
I shivered. Deserts got cold at night, I knew that. And I was lying out here under the twinkling stars in nothing but jeans and a tshirt. I started to get up.
I dropped back down and froze. My blood pounded in my ears. Which way was the car coming from? I couldn’t hear! I lifted my head slightly and peered through the cab. Darkness. And the other way, too. Darkness.
And then it dawned on me––the light came from ninety degrees off the road. I twisted my head. A house with a hundred-yard-long driveway. Gravel. Why was there a house out here in the middle of nowhere? The front door opened and a fat old man came out, peered towards me.
The wind tugged at my tshirt and I shivered again. I climbed out of the truck and started walking up the driveway, glancing down the highway where the brown car would surely appear any second, guns blazing.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
I didn't blog this summer because I was too busy hiking. Here are some photos.
Halfway up Mt. Dickerman:
Bridal Veil Falls, on the way to Lake Serene:
Mt. Daniel, from Robin Lakes:
Morning campsite visitors at Robin Lakes:
Mt. Rainier, from Lake Lillian:
Amalia at the little peak near Panhandle Gap:
Hiking north from Cascade Pass:
Tomyhoi Lake and Candian Border Peak:
Getting near Ingalls Pass:
Mt. Sotosoroto (um... Stuart) and Ingalls Lake:
Sunrise from our Ingalls Lake camp:
Morning on Cooper Lake:
'Twas a good year, indeed. I'm a bit hiked-out now, though. This weekend would've been another great one for hiking. Oh well. I'm already in winter mode.
“Pí‘oro, what was that?”
I looked at the bedroom’s black window. “Gunshots, I reckon.” I handed the remote to Vata. She took it jitterly, but flipped the tv over to the home shopping network quick enough. “Stay here.” I swung my legs out from under the covers and pushed myself up, sliding my feet into their slippers.
It took me far too long to get to the front door. Back in the day, I’d have been out of the bed and down the driveway like a shot. As it was, it took me a full minute to hobble to the entryway and flick on the outside lights.
“Take your coat,” Vata croaked from the bedroom.
I pulled my old greenish-black down jacket from the closet and slipped it on, one arm and then the other, over my flannel pajamas. Finally, I opened the door. The cold night air swirled into the house and I quickly stepped out and closed the door behind me. My keys weren’t in my pocket. I checked the knob. It was locked. Oh well. Vata could open it for me.
As I walked down the concrete path to the gravel driveway, I glanced toward the road. It was almost too far away for even my halogen floodlights, but I spotted a big pickup truck parked right where my mailbox used to be. Something moved in the back of the truck. I needed new glasses. A person, I could see now. He rolled out and landed on his feet, facing me, a rifle clutched in his hand.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Shards of glass flew from behind me, hitting my head, landing in my lap. Zhíno jerked the steering wheel, but accelerated down the highway. Through my ringing ears, I could hear Zhíno shouting, “. . . bastard! Fucking bastard! Fucking Pétíso-damned bastard! He shot me!”
I turned my head to look and window glass fell from my hair down between my shoulders and the seatback. In the dim light from the dashboard, I saw black blood spreading quick on the arm of Zhíno’s pale tshirt.
“You’ve been shot.”
“That’s what I fucking said, you dumb bitch!” He raised his hand to hit me but winced awfully and dropped his hand back to his lap.
Light up ahead. Buildings. A gas station. I could tell it was closed, but I held my tongue as Zhíno whipped the car into the lot. Other buildings and street lights down the road signaled a town was starting. Zhíno screeched the old car to a halt just in front of the store’s glass entrance and hopped out, the engine running. Bandages. He was looking for bandages. The gas station’s glass door shattered. Zhíno gingerly stepped through.
I stared at his back as he disappeared into the darkness. I’d had my fill of Zhíno, that was for sure. I couldn’t take one more minute of that jerk.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Thanks to Becki, I now know what I'd look like as a South Park character:
Directions copied from Becki:
Once you've clicked the link above, you have a couple more steps before you can create your character. To get to the "design studio" you have to click on "South Park Studio" Flash (it's over towards the right) and then click on South Park Studio (towards the top, in the middle). Then you'll probably want to click on English (unless you speak German). Once you've done that, you're in. Just click on the cartoon or one of the categories (hat, hair, eyes, skin, etc...) and start designing.
Mé‘ısí had hit something, but I couldn’t see what and I didn’t have time to figure it out. If that idiot wanted to kill me, he might just be back very soon. I calmly turned off the engine and jumped out of the cab, slamming the door shut out of habit. In the back, with all the rest of my boxed-up belongings, was an old rifle. But where had I packed it?
I vaulted up, balancing on the two-inch-wide side wall of the bed, holding onto an upright chair leg for support. Over there, by the ironing board Mom forced me to bring. I carefully leaned over, laying on top the boxes of clothes and books, and reached behind the ironing board. The gun case. I yanked it up just as I saw the headlights.
My heart pounded so hard I could barely work the zipper. Adrenaline rushed through my body, finally catching up with my situation. All sleepiness was gone. Time slowed down. That little brown car was taking forever to get to me. But I needed all the time I could get. Laying on my back, I pulled out the rifle, holding it parallel to the ground so they wouldn’t spot me. I hoped they wouldn’t spot me. The headlights illuminated my nose.
Bullets. Where were the bullets? Side pocket of the carrying case. Unzip, grab, lever back, bullet in, lever down, and I was ready. My aim would be way off with my high pulse, but I was ready.
It was the same car. He fired. I fired. He fired again.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Finally, spring is here! Or there, actually. Australia, South Africa, Argentina, those kind of places...
For the majority of the population of our planet, however, it is now autumn. You like autumn, right? Leaves and pumpkins and all that? Yeah, I thought so.
“Zhíno, that wasn’t a cop!” I shrieked. I breathed deep, trying to calm the rising panic.
“Could be. They’re using unmarked cars more and more these days, trying to catch speeders. I saw it on the news.”
He slowed down and spun the steering wheel with his right hand, his left still clutching the gun.
“Oh please, Zhíno, leave them alone. If it is a cop, he’s going to have a gun.” I did not want to get shot. Just having a gun in the back seat had been bad enough. I’d felt like climbing out the window when I first saw it there next to my suitcase. But that was yesterday––that was before I saw what was in the trunk.
The blue pickup was stopped alongside the road up ahead, its lights off. Zhíno slowed the car. “Roll down your window.”
“Roll down your window!” He hit my shoulder with the gun butt, the barrel brushing my hair. Pain stabbed down my arm, but it wasn’t the butt of the gun that terrified me. I cranked the window down and Zhíno held the gun right in front of my nose, his eyes on the motionless truck coming quick.
“Zhíno, don’t,” I squeaked.
“Shut up, bitch.” And then he fired. It was so loud I couldn’t even hear his second shot.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
I hadn’t seen any road signs for over an hour, and that got me worrying that I’d missed my turn. I was getting tired––maybe I’d messed up. Nothing around here but dark desert and stars. The gas gauge was on half. There’d have to be a gas station soon––sometime in the next hundred miles, there had to be. Or so I hoped. My pickup was a gas guzzler.
At least there was another car on this road, about a half mile ahead, heading the same direction. I hoped they knew where they were going. I’d unconsciously matched my speed to theirs, about fifteen over the limit. Their glowing red taillights topped a rise and winked out of sight.
I gave Mé‘ısí more gas and we charged up that hill. I wished my radio still worked. Maybe when I got to Suívıpíko, I’d stop and have someone look at it. Until then, Títımítí Day songs jingled through my brain––even though it was still the middle of summer.
Headlights cut through the air above me, then we each crested the hill and the other guy’s high beams blinded me. I flashed my highs at the jerk, hoping he’d show some courtesy or get a fricking clue.
And then my windshield exploded.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Zhíno tossed his empty beer can out the window and reached into the backseat, fishing around for the gun. The fifteen-year-old sedan flew straight and true down the open highway, Zhíno’s left hand tight on the wheel, his eyes straight ahead. I twisted around in the passenger seat and looked out the back window. The pair of headlights chasing us fit between two of the defogger lines on the glass, that’s how far back they were. Whoever they were.
I listened to the engine whine on a slight hill. I didn’t know much about cars, but this little thing didn’t have much power. “Zhíno, if they were chasing us, they’d have caught us by now.”
“Shut up, bitch.” He found the handgun and checked the bullets using both hands while his knee took the wheel.
“I mean, maybe they’re just lost tourists or something.”
Zhíno grunted. “We’ll see about that.”
His right hand back on the steering wheel, he slammed on the brakes. The seatbelt hit me hard in the shoulder and between my breasts, pinching painfully.
The little car fishtailed to a halt, but before I jerked back against the seat, Zhíno spun the wheel and gunned the engine. We bumped off the road across dirt and then back on the pavement, hurtling toward the other car.
I'm bored. I don't think I'm cut out for an eight-to-five job. Oh, I can do the work, of course. I'm quite capable. I just don't like it. And this is a great office to work at, so it's not like I'll be any better off someplace else. Maybe if I worked part-time. So I had enough money for the mortgage, etc. More time to paint my condo, write my books, go backpacking, read, drive really fast in the middle of the night. . .
Is twenty-nine too young to be having a mid-life crisis?
Friday, September 16, 2005
Today is the 5634th birthday of Seth, son of Adam. Well, by my count, at least.
Happy birthday, old guy! Sorry about your brothers.
If Adam and Eve were the first humans, does that mean that Seth married his sister? Or was there other spontaneous human generation that the Bible doesn't mention? I mean, Adam and Eve were created, but then is it possible that God created other humans for their children to reproduce with? Or, if Adam and Eve suddenly got the spark of humanity that raised them from apes, does that mean that other apes got their humanity in the same generation? Or did Seth mate with an ape? Beastiality in your family tree?
Or all we just the descendents of massive interbreeding?
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Happy Independence Day, Ticos and Ticas! And I'm not talking about Mexican Independence Day tomorrow, but further south. It's Independence Day for Costa Rica. And Guatemala and Nicaragua and Honduras and El Salvador... But I've never been to those other places, so I can't recommend them in good faith.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
"Jimmy threw the empty beer can out the window and reached into the back seat, fishing for his gun. . . ."
And so begins another novel of mine. My brain was stalling out on making King So'osolopo's problems seem noteworthy and interesting and this other completely-unreleated first sentence pops into my head. Twenty-seven pages later, I actually have a plot and a bunch of characters who are doing things on their own without consulting me. It's almost like watching tv. Except it takes longer. But Naraka is on hold for now--at least until I figure out who's gonna kill Jimmy. Because, really, he's a jackass.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Kings are commoners, peasants are nobles. Drink up and have a good time!
You better not be working today, that's for sure. Unless, of course, your harvest isn't in yet. In which case, honor Korutuzho and get back to work.
Happy Korutuzho Day!