Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Eight Blind Scorpions

Well, they're not all scorpions, but they're all blind. A quarry in Israel uncovered a cave which had apparently been sealed off for millions of years (or so the scientists say). The scientists found eight previously undiscovered species of invertebrates, some crustaceans and some scorpions.

But, since none of them had seen the light of day for millions of years, they have no eyes. Just another useless appendage that got ignored during breeding. Or maybe the blind ones coped better in the darkness than the sighted ones and thus had more children.

I bet if they start breeding these species in daylight, eventually sight would return. The code is in the DNA. It just needs to be retrieved.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blargh

I want to go back to bed.

It was raining all weekend and now it's a sunny morning.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ni! Ni! Ni!

One song that I quite often find myself singing is "Ya Te Buckety" by wise old King Otto of Happy Valley:

Ya te buckety
Rum ting too
Ni ni ni
Yaoooo!


Of course, when I sing it, it goes more like this:

Yow dee buggerdy
Rum ting f-too
Ni! Ni! Ni!
Yaooooo!

La dee buggerdy
Rum ting f-too
Ni! Ni! Ni!
Yaoooooooooo!


King Otto is well known for this song, but he is also famous for having put to death all the trade union leaders within his kingdom.

Friday!

Okay, I'm wearing jeans today. Are you happy?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

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Support your osteopathic doctor:

Drink Coca-Cola!

Culture Clash

When the English first came to North America, they conquered land. When the Spaniards first came to North America, they conquered people. The causes of this are probably in some history of the old continent, but I only care about the effects on the new.

The English built walls and fences of stone and wood to stake their claims, saying, "This is my land, here, within this boundary. I don't care if you were here first; get out." This method of declaring ownership of land is still very much in effect in the U.S.

The Spaniards built missions and declared, "I don't care if you had your own religion and culture; you must now become proper Christian Spaniards." And the conquerors soon has plenty of laborers.

Of course, any native in either situation who disagreed had an appointment with the conqueror's military.

Do you yet see where I'm going with this? Of course you do: U.S.-Mexico relations and that whole immigration thing. The Mexicans have the cultural history of just walking to a new place and saying, "You must now become good Mexicans." The U.S. have the cultural history of building a wall (or just drawing a line on a map) and expecting everybody to stay out.

Where do we go from here? I don't know. But first we might want to recognize that not only don't we speak the same language, we don't speak the same culture.

Ad

When you see two cars of the same make, model, and color driving down the road together, do you find yourself looking around for the camera filming the car commercial?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Golf

My mini-golf team (which used to be the bowling team) started play last night. On the 18-hole course at Interbay, I scored a 50. One hole-in-one and one six, but a lot of twos and some threes and fours. I was the best on my team, by two points.

The league has now posted the
results. My team, Carpe Cervisia (Crap Cervesa), is ranked 13th out of 15!! Yay! Um. . .

If everybody on my team (or at least four of us, since they only took the best 4 scores) did as well as I did, we'd've placed fifth. The best team averaged a 41. I guess I need to work on my putting!

A song you can really sing along with...

Come on, come on, come on
Let's go space truckin'
Come on, come on, come on
Space truckin'

Come on, come on, come on
Let's go space truckin'
Come on, come on, come on
Space truckin'

Yeah yeah yeah
Space truckin'
Yeah yeah yeah
Space truckin'
.
.
.

Space Truckin'
Deep Purple

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Black Mountain

I'm sure you're all aware of this by now, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

The Montenegrins have voted to secede from their union with Serbia, thus completely disolving the former Yugoslavia. Montenegro has fewer than a million inhabitants, but I think they'll do all right on their own. At least until they join the EU. . .

What season?

I saw my shadow when I emerged from my hole to go to lunch. It was only for an instant, but does that mean we're going to have six more weeks of winter?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Qwest Bait-and-Switch

When I was first tempted to buy Qwest DSL, the advertised price was $25 for 5 mbps with MSN Premium!! After I talked to the salespeople, I discovered that since I had a Mac, MSN Premium would not work for me. So they gave me plain qwest.net for the low, low price of $37. You see, the $25 price was the promotional price, and they didn't lower all their prices to go with it, just that one. The fact that I was getting less, but paying more, seemed like nothing but a humorous antecdote to the salespeople.

I got my bill Saturday. $48: $38 for the DSL and $10 for the ISP. Plus an additional $12 of MSN Premium charges for April, when the DSL wasn't even hooked up yet. The MSN Premium charges were easy enough to cancel. The mysterious $11 per month, though, was impossible to erase. "I'm sorry," she said, "but whoever quoted you the $37 for combined DSL and qwest.net was just wrong." Yeah, they always are, aren't they? If it were a small company, you'd be able to sue them for fraud, but Qwest is a mega-corporation, and thus they have plausible deniability.

I threatened to cancel my Qwest account completely, and her attitude was, "Just pay this month and goodbye!" But is Comcast really any cheaper? And I'd have to run a cable all the way around my living room to get to my computer from the tv plug.

To top it off, these prices are only guaranteed for twelve months. Then it will jump up to $54, if not more.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Smells Like Waffles

Have any of you ever eaten fried Nutri-Grain bars?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

144-oz Schoolgirl

In Thailand, there is a father who is convinced that his eight-year-old daughter weighs only nine pounds. Every day of her life, he's weighed her with the same scale and it's always read the same, so obviously she never gained an ounce. He takes the scale everywhere they go, just to prove his claim.

So, because he believes his measurements over common sense, does that mean he's a scientist? (-;

Friday, May 19, 2006

Live Free or Die

Well, that's the wrong state's motto, but it fits the story. A self-proclaimed State of Washington citizen (not a U.S. citizen!) is being locked up for eight years for failing to pay his income taxes. Mr. Stephenson has declared that the IRS has no authority to collect taxes. I guess he missed that particular Amendment to the Constitution.

I once heard (and it quite struck my fancy) that if you try to live freely and don't pay your taxes, the government will kill you. Mr. Stephenson is well on his way to this result. He has already taken the first few steps by not paying taxes and being imprisoned. Now all he needs to do is try to escape and live freely. After the trial, he declared the proceedings a "sham conviction," so I wouldn't put an escape attempt past him. And that's when the feds start shooting.

Maybe I shouldn't post this. . .

I was reading an article on Freedom House's website, translated from Spanish to English via Google, and came across the following sentence: "The report talks about to the 2005 like an equally lethal anus for the journalists whom the 2004 and the assault wave happened in April describes."

Um. . .

Casual Friday

I never dress casual for work on Fridays anymore. In fact, I often try to dress nicer on Fridays than the rest of the week. Maybe someday I'll even wear a tie. It must be my contrarian nature. . .

Thursday, May 18, 2006

New Yarn at A New Yarn

A yarn store has opened up on the ground floor of my condo building. So next time you visit, make sure to pick up a few skeins.

Better yet, pay for them, too.

Big Bada Boom

Twenty-six years ago today, Mount St. Helens erupted. Death and devestation for miles. I was a month shy of four years old and all I cared about was why wasn't my tv show on? All six channels were showing the same story. Surely one of them could have been showing Sesame Street! Of course, now cable tv has solved that problem. . .

A year and a half ago, the volcano started rumbling again. Nothing near as violent, but smoke and steam and growing lava domes. Only recently have people been allowed near the mountain.

Before that, though, I got to climb St. Helens. It was a lovely late-September day four and a half years ago. Sunny and hot.

StHelens
Everyone looks like they're at the beach, but they're atop an unstable cliff! Constant landslides echoed throughout the crater, even 21.5 years after the eruption.

LavaDome
This view has certainly changed in the past year. This is looking straight down into the crater, looking at the lava dome that formed in the mid-1980s. Now this view would probably be blocked by the new "shark fin" lava dome. It makes me wonder about the term "geologic time." People refer to it as if the planet moves slowly and mountains grow slowly and canyons erode slowly. But it sure looks to me as if the mountains grow quickly and then just sit around for centuries before changing quickly once more.

And now a view of Washington's largest volcano, Mount Rainier, with Spirit Lake in the foreground.
SpiritRainier

When will Rainier erupt? When will the Cascadia fault give the entire region a magnitude 9 shaking comlete with tsunamis? On their average schedules over the past millenia, they're both about due.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Punishment

I believe that this afternoon at work has been punishment for being allowed to drive up to Baker Lake for a jobsite meeting this morning. I should've known a sunny drive in the mountains was too good to be true.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Screed

I have in my head ideas for a long essay about Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness and how they relate to things like comas and rape abortions, but I just haven't found the time yet to write it. Planning a vacation is more fun.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Shucks

I'm not going on business trip to Spokane tomorrow, after all.

Plenty of work here to keep my busy and enough people going to handle things.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mothers Day!!

Happy Mothers Day, Mom!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

La Lune

Look! It's a full moon!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Cali2

I got my Lonely Planet California and Mountaineers 100 Hikes Northern & 100 Hikes Central California books. Maybe I won't have time to go hiking tomorrow after all. . . Lots of reading to do!

RF?

If Tomorrow is the pitcher, Today is the catcher, Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third, I Don't Give A Darn is the shortstop, Why is the leftfielder, and Because is the centerfielder, then the name of the rightfielder is . . . ?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

happy happy day

Here are some photos from my walk home today. Happy sunny day, even if it rained on me during my walk to and from lunch. That was the first rain in a couple weeks, it seemed. Or so it smelled. Is the smell of the first rain from stuff kicked up from the pavement or is it something being brought in on the stormfront?

Anyway, trees:

01-Trees
What kind of flowering tree is this? It's not an apple, is it?

02-Leaves
Looking up through a maple tree. At least it looks sorta like a maple. I don't remember maples being brown in the Spring, though. . .

03-OtherTrees
See? Brown leaves in Spring! Droopy, too. Several trees just like it.

04-NorthgateNorth
Look, a parking garage!

And here's the one you're waiting for:

05-Rhododendrons
A house on Fifth Avenue has these rhodies facing the sidewalk. Six colors I see.

What's the difference?

Alabama
Arizona
California
Colorado
Indiana
Manitoba
Massachusetts
Minnesota
Mississippi
North Dakota
Nova Scotia
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
South Dakota
West Virginia

but not:
Connecticut
New Brunswick
New Mexico
Ontario
Saskatchewan

Going to California

When I got home from work yesterday, a thick envelope from AAA waited in my mailbox. Maps and tourbooks for California! Yay! So all thoughts of working on my novel or going running traisped out of my head to be replaced by an insatiable urge to flip through the books and read about every city, town, and hamlet along my route. I wrote a list of all the places I might see, like a crazily built house in San Jose or a particularly nice drive in Death Valley. I even stayed at my desk during The Amazing Race so I could keep working during the boring bits (cabs, flight reservations, anything with BJ & Tyler).

When my Lonely Planet and Mountaineers books arrive next week, I'll sit down and do it all over again. . . . I'm not sure two weeks will be a long enough vacation.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

dentist

My teeth are clean now.

Time for a coke!

. . . Apparently, I'm a moderate tooth-grinder and the signs have not stopped gradually accumulating over the past couple years. So I'm going to get a nightguard. The mold will be cast next week. And isn't it always fun to have a mouth full of that goop?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Poseidon Adventure Returns

I just got back from seeing _Poseidon_, and I got to tell you, it feels good to be alive!

As far as a movie review goes, well. . . It's entertaining continuously, but I don't need to see it again. Standard disaster-movie fare.

612!

This is post #612!

612?

This is not post #612.

Whoosh!

Don't you just love the sound of deadlines flying past?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Green Desert - Chapter 8

(back to Chapter 7)

8.1.1 - Fírí
8.1.2 - Bhanar
8.1.3 - Fírí
8.1.4 - Bhanar
8.1.5 - Fírí
8.2.1 - Séara
8.2.2 - Bhanar
8.2.3 - Fírí
8.2.4 - Séara
8.2.5 - Bhanar
8.2.6 - Fírí
8.3.1 - Séara
8.3.2 - Vata
8.3.3 - Bhanar
8.3.4 - Fírí
8.3.5 - Séara
8.4.1 - Vata
8.4.2 - Bhanar
8.4.3 - Fírí
8.4.4 - Séara
8.4.5 - Vata
8.4.6 - Bhanar
8.5.1 - Fírí
8.5.2 - Zhíno
8.5.3 - Séara
8.5.4 - Vata
8.5.5 - Bhanar
8.6.1 - Tamé
8.6.2 - Fírí
8.6.3 - Zhíno
8.6.4 - Séara
8.6.5 - Vata
8.6.6 - Bhanar

That's all, folks!

The story is over.

So you can start reading it now, Reni...

Green Desert - Chapter 8.6.6 - Bhanar


The helicopter lifted slowly, heavy with bodies living and dead. I stood beside Séara, shielding her from the dead cops, her friends. Holding onto the wall, she leaned against me, her back to my chest. I wrapped one arm around her waist and we were back on the horse, just the two of us together as one.

“What guns?” she demanded.

Zhíno, sitting on the floor, the tall, dark cop standing over him, looked up at us. The bastard sighed. “Automatic rifles, some handguns, explosives. For Gogzhuè.”

The name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it.

“And you were delivering them?”

Smuggling. Umo had said Zhíno was a smuggler. The mobster had told the truth. Because I was his emperor, after all. A laugh escaped my lips.

Séara twisted her head to look up at me.

“Umo and Lango worked for this Gogzhuè, too. They looked for the guns, for Zhíno.”

Séara looked back at the seated man. He nodded. “They thought I double-crossed them. But I didn’t. I didn’t.”

No, Zhíno’d only double-crossed himself. And killed a slew of innocent men and women in the process. I couldn’t help but smile at the senseless tragedy.

I closed my eyes and hugged the brunette tighter. She put her hand on mine, gently stroking. We inhaled together. I felt her heart beat. We exhaled. Her warm body filled me with life. It was good to be alive. I leaned down and kissed the back of her neck.

Green Desert - Chapter 8.6.5 - Vata


I stepped back as the swirling energy dissipated. I’d done it. Névazhíno had listened. He had come. He had healed Fírí.

The horse kicked a last spasm. Fírí gasped and opened her eyes. Everybody stared at me––Fírí, Sétıpímo, the flannel boys, the newsgirl, and the cameraman and his video camera. I wondered what it had looked like on film.

The young blonde felt her chest with one hand and sat up.

No more hiding. No more sneaking in secret rooms. All the worlds would know my power. All the worlds would be forced to accept the mighty power of Névazhíno. Too many unbelievers these days, but now they’d believe.

Fírí stood up, looked down at her body, back up at me. She breathed in sharply, paused, frowned. “Thank you.” She looked down at her feet again.

I smiled broadly. “You are welcome, dear. I only ever wanted to help.”

She rubbed her forehead, eyed me sideways. “You didn’t . . . You didn’t rape me, did you?”

Kindly, I took her hand. “Never, dear.”

Sétıpímo directed the two youths towards his car, their hands on their heads, their guns on the gravel. The old detective’s neck bandage spread with scarlet and yet he walked strong.

“Sétıpímo, dear.”

He turned to look at me, wary and silent.

“I can heal that for you, if you want.”

He shook his head slightly and whispered, “Doctor.” And he turned away.

Green Desert - Chapter 8.6.4 - Séara


Bhanar! I rushed past Zhudıro and before I knew it, I was in Bhanar’s arms. “You’re alive!” His bare back was cold to my hands.

He smiled at me, his face peaceful. “Yes. You captured Zhíno.”

“Yes.”

We remained in tight embrace. Was he going to kiss me? His head bobbed a bit, but stopped, our noses ten centimeters apart. His eyes glinted with happiness.

Suddenly he looked away, loosening his grip on me. Zhudıro stood beside us. “What do you want?” Bhanar’s eyes no longer held joy. He stepped back, dropping his arms from me.

“I. . . I’m sorry, Bhanar. I’m sorry. I should’ve just kept driving, delivered the guns, and you’d’ve never heard of me.”

Bhanar growled, “You will die for this, I promise you.” And he stalked away. Away from Zhudıro. Away from me.

But what had Zhudıro just said? Guns? “What guns?”

“Come on! We need to get to the hospital!”

I grabbed the prisoner’s arm and pulled him towards the helicopter. Tépíto followed a few steps behind, his gun still drawn.

Delivering guns. But to whom? And why?

I ducked into the dusty wind, one hand still on Zhudıro, the other over my eyes and nose. We reached the helicopter and Míkoízo practically threw Zhudıro inside, as much as helping him up. I hopped in, Bhanar giving me a hand.

Tépíto climbed aboard, shut the door, and we lifted off.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I missed the excitement.

So I get back from dinner at my friends' house and what do I see parked in front of my building? A fire truck! And who's that on the sidewalk across the street? All my neighbors! I pull up, roll down my window, and my next-door neighbor calls, "Your apartment's on fire." I knew he was joking, but I replied drolly, "Oh great." They all chuckled, so no worries. Then the fireman waved me into the garage. By the time I parked, my neighbors were all back inside. Apparently somebody's cooking had set off the alarm. I've lived here three years and not once have I heard the fire alarm. It finally happened and I missed the excitement. Darn.

Where?

Waterfall

I took this photo yesterday. Anybody recognize the waterfall? Where do you think I went? I know some of you have seen it.

What?

If people are dying of starvation, why do you want to use corn to power your SUV? Shouldn't you want to ship it to Darfur or wherever?

On _Now_ (that liberal news magazine on PBS on Fridays), an interviewee stated that the USA can't have energy independence because we only have a small percentage of the world's oil. Even if we didn't buy any foreign oil, the US companies would still be selling the stuff at whatever price the greater world market set it at. And then the interviewee stated that nuclear power would be nice, but we can't run our cars with nuclear. But wait a minute. I thought that's what electric cars are for. Not the gas-using hybrids, but real electric cars. We're not there yet, but we're not on 100% nuclear power anytime soon either. Have the Environmentalists abandonded the dream of electric cars?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Green Desert - Chapter 8.6.3 - Zhíno


The helicopter circled us and touched down thirty meters away. A policeman jumped out and ran towards us, the underwear-clad Bhanar right behind him. One of the deputies shoved my back and I stumbled forward.

Three cops, handcuffs, a helicopter. I had no more escape. Not even if I grabbed one of their guns would I survive a minute. I shuffled towards the helicopter with my head down.

I had totally fucked this up. I should be free now, and rich. Just me and Fírí on our new farm, beautiful green in the red desert. But no. Not to be.

Last night. I fucked up last night. We were in the clear and I freaked out. Nothing bad had happened, so what did I do? I made something bad happen. I freaked out and shot at Bhanar.

I looked up at the foreigner. He and Séara hugged one another just ahead of me. I stopped beside them and they released each other. “What do you want?” demanded the kid.

I sighed and shook my head. “I. . . I’m sorry, Bhanar. I. . .” I shrugged at my feeble apology. “I’m sorry. I should’ve just kept driving, delivered the guns, and you’d’ve never heard of me.”

Bhanar stared at me, his dark eyes unblinking. “You will die for this. I promise you.” And he turned away, walking toward the helicopter.

The policewoman glanced at him, took a step that direction, then looked at me. “What guns?”

“Come on!” yelled a medic. “We need to get to the hospital.”

Green Desert - Chapter 8.6.2 - Fírí


“No, seriously. Where am I?”

The girl tugged a thread from her filthy dress that was not much fancier than a potato sack. “I’m sorry, but. . .” She couldn’t meet my gaze. “But you’re dead. We all are, here.”

Dead. I certainly didn’t feel dead. I stood up, shook out my legs. In fact, I felt really good. I looked up the hill. The haze seemed brighter up there. And the plants greener, as well. I’d never been a mountain climber, but it sure looked nicer up there than down here. Dark shadows, brown-tinged leaves, a funky smell wafting up from further downhill.

“You can try, but you won’t make it.”

I looked at the girl. “What?”

“No one ever manages to go uphill. They always come back down.” She shrugged, her blue eyes sparkling in the dim daylight.

“I’ll try anyway.” Just because she said I couldn’t. I walked up the slope, one foot in front of the other, just like climbing stairs. “See? No problem.”

A wind whipped out of nowhere, swirling around me, knocking me to my knees.

“Told you so!” screamed the girl as she fled.

In the center of the maelstrom stood a teenage boy, dark hair and bright eyes. Clothes from a Renaissance fair. Calmly in the cyclone, he held out his hand and said, “Come with me.”

I took his hand and the winds swelled. I closed my eyes briefly and the tornado stopped. I cracked open my eyes. Night. A small, bloody knife glinting in the light. Vata. I felt my chest. No wound. She’d healed me.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I know it's Friday afternoon...

. . . but get back to work!

Green Desert - Chapter 8.6.1 - Tamé


I parked my truck behind the stuck patrol car. This was insane, calling me out here in the middle of the night. I turned off the engine, but not the headlights. The cops sure did think they could order anybody around, anytime they wanted.

I climbed out of the truck, leaving the door open, and stretched my back. At least it had finally cooled off, down to a reasonable temperature.

A patrolman, tall and blond, walked up to me.

“What’s the trouble?”

“We got stuck.” His face was stiff, his eyes blank. “But we got another problem now. Lieutenant Vorıso is dead. Two gunmen in the gully dead, too. I. . . I can’t leave till the investigators show up.” He looked on the verge of tears.

“So you want me to leave you here?” I couldn’t just take his car, stranding him with three corpses.

“No. You must stay.”

I groaned and rubbed my scalp. They pull me out here after dinner and then force me to hang out with three dead men and a depressed cop. I’d have to charge them triple for this.

“Okay, fine. I’ll stay.”

The teary-eyed patrolman nodded.

“Do you need anything?” Hopefully he didn’t need me anywhere near the bodies. They could stay right where they were, for all I cared.

He sniffled and shook his head, turned away from me.

“Well, I might as well get the car hooked up.” I climbed back into the cab and started the engine.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

our new quarter

Washington State now has our quarter design chosen. This design won a three-way online vote with 45%. It also had the backing of the committee headed by the acting governor's husband.

Luckily, this design's the best of the three in the vote. Surprising, actually. Not too busy, not obscure. Maybe the fish could be a bit smaller, but close enough.



But it's really too bad that the US Mint refused to allow images of people's heads/busts on these quarters. I really wanted a coin with Washington's profile on both sides!

Green Desert - Chapter 8.5.5 - Bhanar


We lifted the dead policewoman into the airlift helicopter. I paused and caught the dark-skinned cop’s eyes. “We must chase Zhíno. I know where he is.” At least, I used to. A starting point, at least. We climbed in after the dead deputy.

“Nulıpésha and Laparıpasamé have gone after him.” He didn’t looked pleased by their action.

The medics lifted Pí‘oro’s body into the helicopter and began securing the dead bodies and checking on the living one.

“We can find them, too, if you know the direction they went.”

A paramedic cut in. “We have to get this man to the hospital. Let’s take off,” he called to the pilot.

The blades spun up and we lifted. I grabbed a handle on the bulkhead and crouched down. The wind made conversation impossible. I’d lost my chance to convince them.

The dark desert blurred by, the trees of the gully beneath us.

Lights. On the ground, little lights swung around. Flashlights. “Hey!” I pointed, grabbed the cop’s arm.

He looked and the pilot must’ve seen, too, because we abruptly began circling the lights, spiraling closer.

The flashlights waved back and forth and I caught a glimpse of a third person without a flashlight, standing with his hands together. Even with just a brief glimpse, I recognized that bastard. Zhíno. In handcuffs. They caught him. I laughed with joy. Séara caught him.

We landed nearby and the tall cop jumped to the ground, racing over to his colleagues. I hopped out as well, running for Séara.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I'm Home

And I have to type in the font style by hand. Blogger and Mac OSX don't get along as well as Blogger and Windows...

Green Desert - Chapter 8.5.4 - Vata


I could save her. Maybe if I showed my helping nature, they’d believe me. If I healed my accuser, surely they’d think I wasn’t afraid of her lies.

I shuffled past the police car. “I can help. I can save her.”

The light-haired young man shook his head, his hands still raised. “She’s dead.”

I glanced at him and demanded, “I can save her.” But I’d never brought anyone back to life. And Névazhíno had abandoned me. But I still had power within myself. And maybe He would listen now, to save this girl’s life, despicable though that life may be.

“How?”

She sprawled awkwardly on the driveway, her feet underneath her. A gaping, wet wound sat motionless in the center of her chest. Bullet to the heart. No breathing, no heartbeat. Quite, quite dead.

“Bring me the horse. And a knife.” Did I need the ceremonial knife? No. I could do without. It was just decoration, fluff, nothing to do with the actual spell. If I focused on the rest of the ritual, on the words and the emotion, the knife didn’t matter. Nor the braziers. Nor the altar.

Raíngozé handed me a multi-blade knife, the largest blade extended. Sévo led the horse to us.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Sétıpímo whispered.

I put my hand on Arıparapé’s shoulder just in front of the saddle. “O Névazhíno!” I raised my eyes to the night sky. “Please hear these words from Your humble servant! I will always honor You.” I touched my hand to Fírí’s wound and flicked blood onto the horse. “I beseech You!”

I guess Lister won't be the first...

LISTER: It's only three feet. They can wade. That's why the animals are gonna hafta be quite tall.

RIMMER: Nice plan, Lister. Excellent plan! Brilliant plan, Lister! What about the sheep? What are you going to do, buy them water-wings? Fit them with stilts? Better still, you could cross-breed them with dolphins and have leaping mutton. (Gesturing with his pen to represent a woolly dolphin leaping out of the water) Baa, splash, baa, splash.

LISTER: You can get a drainage grant these days.

RIMMER: Why bother, Lister? You could be the first man to produce wet-look knitwear.
-Red Dwarf, "The End"

tv

Both Tuvok and Trip were on NCIS last night. Did you notice?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Green Desert - Chapter 8.5.3 - Séara


Bhanar was dead. Those two royalists were dead. It was the only explanation. I slapped the cuffs on Zhudıro’s wrists, right beside the last pair.

“A bit like déjà vu, ain’t it?”

I wanted to smack his smug face. Shoot him. But I couldn’t. I had him in custody and I had to let that be enough. I shoved him eastward, the direction he’d been running. “Start walking.”

Zhudıro began forward. Tépíto stepped to the side, giving the murderer a wide berth. I stayed two steps behind him, watching for any sudden moves.

“Where to?” he asked.

“The Kılímos’ house.” To our cars. To the precinct building. To a holding cell, a courtroom, and hopefully an execution chamber.

Zhudıro turned right, up the slope.

“Hey! Where are you going?”

The criminal stopped and looked down, squinting in the light. “It’s much easier up top.” And he proceeded to continue scrambling up the hill, loose dirt flowing down under his feet.

“Cover him,” I ordered Tépíto, and started up the slope myself, grabbing the few bushes for purchase as I climbed.

I reached the top before Zhudıro and unholstered my gun. Zhudıro was right. It’d be much easier walking up here. I should’ve thought of it myself.

“You can come up, Tépíto.” I leveled my gun at Zhudıro, my flashlight parallel to the gun barrel.

The criminal glanced up and my trigger finger twitched.

Green Desert - Chapter 8.5.2 - Zhíno


I followed the bottom of the slope, fighting through the increasing number of bushes. If I could just make it past the crash site, I could circle down to the highway. Maybe even to the Kı1ímos’ house and get my car back, finally deliver the guns to Gogzhuè. Finish what I started and do something right for a change.

A light blinded me. I stopped and shielded my eyes. Two lights––flashlights. I squinted into the glare. “Who are you?” They held their lights high, overhand like . . . cops.

“Deputies Nulıpésha and Laparıpasamé of the Pívo County Sheriff’s Department. Please keep your hands where we can see them.”

Did they have their guns out? I couldn’t see. If not now, in two seconds. Run? Shoot? My time was up. I held out my hands to the sides. My jacket parted, revealing the gun tucked into my waistband.

“You got me.” If I wanted to live, I had to surrender. And I wanted to live. Only fools choose death over surrender. I could escape again, surely, if I’d already done it once. Twice if you counted last night.

The cop stepped forward on the loose terrain, her light in my face, and pulled my gun out of my shorts.

“Give me your wrists.” Emotionless voice, cold.

I held them in front of me, displaying the previous handcuffs and their broken chain. As she snapped the new cuffs on, I remarked, “A bit like déjà vu, ain’t it?”

She grabbed my elbow, tight. “Start walking.”

Monday, May 01, 2006

New Scientific Finding

Dark chocolate helps sore muscles heal.

April Showers

MapleLeaf

On Saturday, as I was driving in the pouring rain, I passed a house with a big cherry tree in front. The rain had knocked all the blossoms to the grass, the sidewalk, and into the street. I stopped and took some pictures. A passerby (actually, she was visiting friends at that very house) described it as "pink snow."

Neither of us had an umbrella.

Mayday!

Mayday! Mayday! . . . I wonder why it's "Mayday"?

Eh?

The distress call. Why do you say "Mayday"? It's only a bank holiday. Why not "Shrove Tuesday" or "Ascension Sunday"? . . . Ascension Sunday! Ascension Sunday! The fifteenth Wednesday after Pentecost! The fifteenth Wednesday after Pentecost!

It's French, you doink. It's "m'aidez." "Help me." Muh-ay-day.

-Red Dwarf, "Marooned"

Green Desert - Chapter 8.5.1 - Fírí


Raíngozé whipped out his gun and fired at the cop, deafening me. The old man yanked his gun out of his coat and aimed at Raíngozé. The gangster ran at me, trying to get behind the car. A flash of light from Sétıpímo’s gun. I dropped to my knees, holding onto the car’s bumper.

Deep pain in my chest. Heart attack. I was too young for a heart attack! The pain spread. My hands fell numb and slipped off the bumper. I looked down. My white tshirt. A dark red blob between my breasts. A wet hole in the center. The gravel hit my back, slammed my head. I’d been shot. I couldn’t feel my legs, my arms. My eyes closed. Red all around. Pain fading away, except the back of my head. Was I going to live? No pain is a good thing, right?

The red faded to black.

Eternal blackness. Everything faded away, even the pain at the back of my head. I floated in a void. Sleep. Just sleep.

And so I did.

A hand shook my shoulder and I jerked awake. Gray daylight, diffuse. A dirt-faced teenage girl crouched over me. Her eyes lit up and she leaned back.

I pushed myself upright. A hillside covered in low bushes. Dark trees nearby. Overcast skies. The hill disappeared into the haze in all directions, just a continuous slope. I looked at my chest. No gunshot wound. No blood. Just my burgundy sweatshirt. And jeans. And two shoes. I wiggled my toes. I was completely healed. Had Vata saved me again? I focused on the girl, who sat patiently studying me. “Where am I?”

She smiled apologetically, her blue eyes sparkling. “The afterlife.”