Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mistborn Miniature Contest

Brandon Sanderson announced on his blog that the there was a drawing from the folks at BSC who are giving away a set of nice quality patina finished Mistborn miniatures. They're pretty sweet to look at. If you want to enter, check out the official contest here. I hate to wish you luck, cause I want them, but good luck all the same. (For those of you that have read Mistborn, the figurine of the Inquisitor is not how I picture an Inquisitor. I thought of something much more menacing.)

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

I first heard about this contest on NPR a few months back. For those of you that don't know, it's basically a parody contest of literature to honor Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), the creator of such lines as "the pen is mightier than the sword," "the almighty dollar," and "it was a dark and stormy night." The contest involves creating a bad opening for an imaginary novel. The winner gets the international acclaim and $250.

This year's results are available here. They're really quite clever and fun to read.

But the contest had me thinking about writing some bad openings, so I thought I'd try one or two here. You all should populate the comments with your own bad openings. It's a lot of fun. Enjoy.

1. It wasn't the smell of toasty sardines, or of the burning wig sitting on the fish pile, or of the flaming cheap clothes and even cheaper perfume that made Jessica Jameson uncomfortable with the situation; it was that all she could think about was that this was going to ruin her dinner date at Long John Silvers later this evening.

2. They say all men are born, but they've never really met Lefty Joe, the mighty gunslinger from Topeka that stands well over eight feet tall, that's almost two and a half meters, and towers of his horse just like a child stands over an ant hill with a magnifying glass, only Lefty Joe doesn't carry a magnifying glass.

That's it for now. For more info, Wikipedia offers a little, plus the past winners. You can go there from here.

And now, my favorite winner, from 1993, by Wm. W. "Buddy" Ocheltree:

"She wasn't really my type, a hard-looking but untalented reporter from the local cat box liner, but the first second that the third-rate representative of the fourth estate cracked open a new fifth of old Scotch, my sixth sense said seventh heaven was as close as an eighth note from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, so, nervous as a tenth grader drowning in eleventh-hour cramming for a physics exam, I swept her into my longing arms, and, humming "The Twelfth of Never," I got lucky on Friday the thirteenth."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Last Night's Dream

I pride myself in the strange and quirky dreams I have. I also pride myself in my ability to usually remember my dreams. The good ones. The scary ones. The completely insane ones. For instance, I can still remember having this dream as a little kid where I got to join the X-Men and fight alongside them in an anti-gravity room. I remember flying around with them, fighting and saving the world. This was the cartoon X-Men, too, not the Hugh Jackman and gang group. It was the best dream I ever had, mostly because of how real it was.

But my dreams grew stranger and more off-the-wall as I aged. I won't offer any reasons for this, but it happened. Last night I had the strangest dream (I've always wanted to use that sentence).

There was a vast city under the ocean. There was my cousin Ashley. We were playing the Wii and it was of the utmost importance to beat the game we were playing. Then I was a giant octopus/squid/jellyfish thing that had to wrap all around the underwater city, needing to consume it. Ashley was doing an impossibly hard riff on Guitar Hero to beat it. Next thing I know, I'm kidnapped and doing some training for something important. Then I'm suddenly in a strange room with Keisha, and it was actually Keisha that had the training. Keisha was trying to teach me how to use the art she learned when we were attacked. (This art involved dipping Vanilla Wafers or Corn Salsa Chips into blue cake icing. You had to get the corners of the wafer or chip coated in the blue icing. Then, you would stand the weapon up on your face-up-opened hand and flick it at your target. The icing-coated projectile would then either cut through the object or turn it into a blue 2-D image that would dissolve into nothingness.) We rushed about, fighting the giant-morbidly-obese man that dragged Keisha off and up the stairs and I ran after, confused why the giant-morbidly-obese man turned into a giant-morbidly-obese woman. No matter, I dipped and threw my wafers and salsa chips in vain, and the lady dragged Keisha into the room at the top of the stairs. I was at a loss, wondering if I had dipped too much icing or not enough on the chips or wafers. I knew that the wafers were more powerful than the chips, but I didn't know why. Then I woke up.

I lay in bed and wondered what the heck that was about. It was time to get up, so I went through the morning ritual and returned to bed to lay back down for a minute or two with Keisha and Stella. Keisha woke up and said she had a really weird dream last night. "I bet it wasn't weirder than mine," I replied, then proceeded to tell her of our adventures.

"You win," she said.

I like dreaming. It's like Mr. Gump's famous box of chocolates; I know what to expect, but I never really know what exactly I'll get.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


There's a little black spot on the sun today...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Part IX--Rol (The End for Now)

----------Part IX------------
I believe in yesterday.

Rol flew through the Heavens, faster than he thought possible. Even as a god, it takes time to travel, and the universe is a large place. Small debris occasionally hit him, but he ignored the pain. He had to get to Astaran.

He passed by large chunks of rock, some bigger than planets. He passed by stars of every age, from small white balls to massive red spheres. He passed through collapsed stars, their lives ending in an implosion of mass and gravity, spewing metallic colors of blue, green, and red onto the black palette of space. Normally Rol would look on the beauties of the Heavens and Astaran’s Creation, praising God for the beauty He made.

Instead, Rol barely glimpsed the wonders of creation as he traveled, his mind intent on reaching God.

It is difficult to judge time when traveling through the Heavens. It is difficult to judge time when dealing with Immortals. Rol did not know how quickly Golian’s plan would affect the planet, but he knew that the Earth would be in trouble if he did not intervene and act quickly. He could still hear the planet’s cry in his mind…

At one point the Caretaker had to slow and skirt around a Black Pit, a prison Astaran created to punish those that transgressed His will. From Earth, the route to Astaran was direct, but very lengthy. The Heavens are enormous, and Earth is positioned near the Outer Black Territories. It is strange, thought Rol as he circumvented the prison, careful not to get within its gravitational sphere of influence, that Earth is so close to the Outer Black. A planet so far from Astaran somehow rises above the expectations. Perhaps the Steward has been tainted, being so close to the Territories, and that is why he insists on destroying the planet. But what could be influencing Golian from within the pull?

Eventually the Caretaker made his way through the Black Pit region. He flashed on through the Heavens, stars and planets streaking by him as he continued inward, his mind troubled.


Well folks, I hope you've enjoyed my little short story. Part IX is the end of "Working Title TBD" Volume 1. Perhaps I've piqued your interest, perhaps I've bored you to tears. Either way, it's been fun writing. Everyone loves a little zombie story, and I think a zombie-fantasy-scifi work should be a different genre in its own right. I've already written more past this part, but I'll post no more here (at least not for now). Maybe I'll do like Cap'n Joe's and post on Authonomy (which, by the way Cap'n, I've not managed to finish your work, but I've liked what I've read so far) sometime in the future. I'm up to around 13,000 words or so. Not high quality words, mind you, but words that make some sort of sense. Anyway, thanks for reading everybody. Truly. And, as always, thanks for stopping by Rememorandom.

[A note for the Facebook readers: Until yesterday, I forgot that every post I make is simultaneously posted on Facebook. So, if you've been reading along, know that you're most likely missing out on all the perks of reading the posts on my blog, namely fancier formatting, embedded hyperlinks (with usefull/useless info!), colors, and a few other things I can't think of. Plus, your comments only show up on Facebook instead of also on my blog, which I tend to access more often and therefore see more often. You can follow the link (or copy and paste www.logankstewart.blogspot.com into your browser) to get to my blog, Rememorandom. Once there, you can become a public Follower of me, or you can RSS me. But I'd rather have the followers. It's a bit vain, I know, but hey, I bet I think this song is about me. Or you can just read from Facebook, though you'll be sorry to know all the totally-radical and awesome things you've missed.]

[[A note to the random reader: And if you've just stopped by by pure random happenstance, then I welcome and apologize to you simultaneously. A "Hello, I'm so sorry" from the bottom of my heart.]]

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Part VIII--Janosh

Today I've posted two different pieces of the story, Part VII and Part VIII. If you've not read VII, just scroll down or click here.

-----------------Part VIII-----------------
Now I need a place to hide away...

“Brothers and Sisters,” Pralis announced to the congregation. The group consisted of two men and two women, not including Janosh and Pralis. They were all robed in black and green, though their chests were bare and bloody. They all stopped what they were doing and turned to the speaker. “This is Apostle Janosh.”

The group stared at the new comer, studying him, and Janosh grew uncomfortable. They’re staring at my missing arm, he thought.

“Is he the last,” one of them finally asked.

“Yes, he is the last, Arnothe,” Pralis answered. “Lord Golian was specific in picking Janosh to be the final Apostle. He has feasted once and has been Earthing since early morning.”

“When will it start, then,” a woman asked.

“Very soon, Taneil. When night falls, Lord Golian will come and give us our final assignments.” The crowd seemed to grow restless at this, and Janosh reacted with them, uncertain what to expect with the assignments. “Now, I imagine Janosh has many questions, and we will give him the answers we can until Lord Golian appears. He has just Awoken as of last night, after all. But first,” he said smiling, “let us feast.”

At this, the congregation let out a bestial growl, their stomachs rumbling with their voices. Pralis led them to a locked basement door. He regarded everyone for a moment and then proceeded to the lower levels. They walked down a long corridor, the working white fluorescents making them appear ghostly. Janosh noticed bloodstains on the floor and walls, and occasionally there would be a pile of bones. They stopped outside a large, heavy door.

Janosh thought he could hear moaning coming from inside.

Behind him, the other Apostles were growing restless. Pralis ordered everyone out of their clothes. They stripped down, and Janosh marveled at the bodies. The flesh was a mixture of milky white and dark splotches, as if large bruises were under the skin. His own was not as foreign as the others, as he had only recent been transformed. “It’s so we don’t soil the robes,” one of the Apostles whispered to him, clearly seeing the confusion in his eyes.

Janosh noticed that some Apostles looked mostly like skeletons, with a loose layer of flesh and muscle covering the bones. Others, like himself, still had most of their fat and muscle mass.

Pralis turned back to the door and placed his hands flat on it. After a few seconds, the door began to open. It slid sideways, slowly, and as it opened the Apostles grew even more restless. The smell of flesh intoxicated him, and he could feel his mouth watering. “Droe. Reial. Leave two alive,” Pralis commanded as the door finished sliding open.

The people inside began screaming for mercy.


In the second before Janosh rushed into the room, he observed his surroundings. Huddled together in the semi-lit room were nine people. Some were old, some were young. Some were fat, some were thin. All of them were terrified.

Then the six Apostles were on them, consuming flesh and blood. They screamed as their bodies were torn to shreds by the hungry Apostles. Two random victims were thrown against the far wall, their bones crunching loudly as they hit. Janosh lost control of himself to the strong commands from his stomach. It’s almost like there’s something deeper inside me that is telling me to feast, he thought as he cast a bone aside.

It didn’t take long to finish their meal. Pralis stopped them, reminding them that they had to keep two alive. They were all bloodied and dirty. Pieces of flesh stuck to their skin. They were all smiling, temporarily appeased. The thin ones even were slightly bloated, their stomachs bulging a little.

The two survivors were left in the room, along with what was left of the corpses. As the door closed, they began moaning again. Pralis led the group to a shower room, where they washed the filth and blood from them. Once finished, they re-dressed. Pralis gave Janosh a matching black and green robe. Then they returned to the main floor, sitting in chairs and on the floor.

“Now,” Pralis said, taking a seat, “let us help you to understand what is happening, Janosh.”

Part VII--Marle

-------------Part VII----------------
Yesterday. Love was such an easy game to play...

The man staggered as he tripped over something low to the ground. Touching it, he thought it was a stone of some type. He felt the grooves in the rock’s flat face. They were letters and numbers. A tombstone? he thought. He could not see anything but black. A thick, impermeable black. Something was tied around his face, blocking his vision. He reached up, tearing the cloth free and opened his eyes.

And still there was only black. Frantic fingers found only empty sockets. He began to run and tripped again.

Yes, that’s what it is. A tombstone. I’m in a cemetery. I climbed out of a casket and through all the dirt. The man gave me a special task. He saved me. I hunger. What’s happened to me? Why can I not see? He continued on his way, tripping frequently. Although he was blind, his sense of smell was amazing. He could smell the flowers that spotted many markers and the butterflies that nestled in them. He could smell smoke in the air, probably from an industrial section of the city. And, ever so faintly, he could smell food wafting through the air.

Following his nose, he stumbled out of the cemetery proper. It was dark, and no one noticed him. His mind wandered as he made his way to the gates. I died. I saw the Dark Man and the dark things everywhere. I remember now. I tore my eyes out to stop seeing them. I died! And now I live. The man promised me food, plenty of food, and that I should never be hungry again, once I make it out of here. He called me to shed my former identity and gave me my new name: Marle. A name of power, he said. A name of importance.

He walked along the perimeter of the fence, searching for an exit. As he did, he picked up a strong scent of flesh. He took off running in the direction of the odor, tripping and falling like a drunk. In a few seconds, he knew he was close. It was almost as if the black he saw was tainted in red.

Someone was laughing. Marle ran at the noise, colliding with his prey. His victim was a young man who happened to be thrill seeking inside the cemetery after hours. Marle’s hands tore at the man, his fingernails cutting bloody marks into his soft flesh. He pulled the arm to his mouth and bit into the wrist.

Around him, the boy’s friends came to help out their assaulted mate. Apparently they’re some sort of gang or something, Marle thought. His other senses began to bloom as the flesh and blood made its way into his system. He heard a swooshing in the air, but did not connect it with the baseball bat that hit him in the head until it was too late. The first victim was screaming in agony as Marle dropped him from his dazed hands. The bat slammed into his right knee cap, and Marle fell to the ground.

“Let’s get outta here,” one boy yelled. Marle came back up, slowly, and the scent of flesh overtook him. He lost himself in his mind. Deep instincts took over, and Marle pounced on the fallen, injured boy. Marle bit deep into the tender flesh on the neck, blood spewing out. Such sweet food! his mind rejoiced. The blood seemed to fuel him, and he tore free more flesh.


Most of the gang had fled after seeing the monster bite into Robbie. Jason, however, was his best friend, and he would not let that thing get away with it. He pulled his dad’s 9mm out of his backpack and approached the thing. It was crouched over Robbie, ravenously eating his friend. He noticed Robbie’s head lying slightly away from the body. In less that two minutes, the thing had tore the boy to pieces, gorging itself on his flesh.

Jason stepped nearer, aiming the gun at its back. The thing was too preoccupied to hear him approach.

“This is for Robbie,” he whispered, emptying the magazine into the creature. The thing slumped over Robbie, letting out a startling scream as it did. Jason stood still, watching for any signs of movement. He dialed the police on his cell. “My friend has just been attacked and killed. I killed the thing that did it to him. We’re near the mausoleums of Willow Hill Cemetery.” He hung up.

The creature had not moved, but Jason wasn’t taking any chances. He put his last bullet in the gun and walked over to the bodies.


Aahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Marle’s mind was screaming. He had been feasting, enjoying the delicious flesh, when he felt the bullets plow into him. Even though he was dead, the pain still persisted, and it was intense enough to render him momentarily unconscious. His mind was swimming and spinning from the pain, and his whetted stomach was fighting to wake him up and finish his meal.

In the end, however, it was anger that woke him. The shooter was close; Marle could smell his blood. He could also hear the quick beating of his heart. In a flash, he was off the dead body and leaping through the air. He plowed into his attacker, and the two wrestled for a moment. Marle found a reservoir of strength deep inside, and he forced the boy to the ground.

Another gunshot rang out, putting another bullet in Marle, this time his side. The blind man’s mind snapped, and his humanity left him. He was no longer Marle, he was a beast. Furious at being shot, and furious that his meal was interrupted, Marle’s instincts controlled him. He bit into the boy’s face, tearing free his nose. Blood erupted, and Marle stuck his tongue out to taste. He bashed the boy down into the ground, ripping flesh free.

He finished feasting on his second victim, ignoring his pleas for help. After both bodies were consumed, Marle belched, like a small dog that’s overstuffed itself. He stood cautiously, aware of the nausea poring through his body and the pain in his knee. His mind was still in the wild. In the distance he heard a shrilling siren, and part of his brain connected it with danger.

I have to accomplish what he sent me to do, he thought reasonably. But I could stay and have more to eat… He decided to flee, leaving his prey out in the open for someone else to find. The bones are too tough, anyway.

Like an animal, he ran, this time not tripping over stones as he had before. The food gives me power. I am not as clumsy. My body is stronger, too. I need to finish this business, then find more to eat.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Elantris, A Review (Spoiler Free!)

After finishing the Mistborn trilogy, I had to have more Brandon Sanderson. And since I had a 40% off coupon for Borders, I went and bought up Elantris. This book was hailed by everyone and their brother, claiming it to be one of the best works of fantasy in a very long time. Needless to say, I was expecting great things, and Sanderson did not let me down.

Elantris has three POV characters: Daoden, the beloved prince of Arelon; Hrathen, a high ranking Derethi priest of a foreign religion; and Sarene, a headstrong princess of Teod. Elantris was the city of gods. It was beautiful, white and shiny, enormous. Normal people would wake up to find that they had been blessed and then they would go to Elantris, where their skin would shine, their hair would be white, and their powers would be limitless. Then, ten years ago, something happened, and the city of gods died, its once beautiful people becoming ugly, hairless savages. The city was closed off, the people scorned and restricted inside its walls. And the blessing would still come, only this time rendering its victims as corpses instead of gods. The people of Arelon then cast the victims into the dead city, never to see them again.

Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the novel is the extensive religious system. Arelon and Teod are the last countries to resist the Derethi religion, instead staying true to their Korathi doctrine. Hrathen has been sent to convert Arelon in three months, and if he fails, the warrior Derethi religion will slaughter the nation. Not wanting the guilt on his mind, Hrathen piously tries to change the country, but he meets opposition from an unsuspecting source.

Finally, Princess Sarene is engaged to be married to Prince Raoden, their unity forming a treaty between Arelon and Teod. The two have never met. Sarene leaves her country a few days early to surprise Raoden, to get in some alone time before their wedding. However, when she arrives in Arelon, she finds that the prince is "dead." Headstrong and curious, she sets out to find the truth behind Raoden's disappearance.

Brandon Sanderson is a masterful storyteller. He knows his story and where he's going with it, even when the reader does not. He will bring things together and leave no unanswered questions. By the end of the novel, I was breathless. The way he brings things together is completely believable. The conclusion was perfect.

So, would I recommend Elantris to you? Absolutely. Not only is it an excellent novel from a great storyteller, it is a single, stand-alone work in the fantasy genre. That means that you don't have to wait for the sequels to come out. Unfortunately, it also means that there won't be any sequels... If you want to be entertained, thrilled, appalled, and intrigued, then I recommend this book to you. Although I enjoyed Mistborn more, this book was exceptionally well rounded, balancing story with word usage.

Part VI--Janosh

This is a lengthy post. Well, longer than the others, anyway. It's the most-worded part of the story...

-------------------+----Part VI----+------------------------
Yesterday came suddenly...

Janosh stood in a grove deep within the Trails, the shadows cast from the tall trees offering him solace from the burning sun. His orders were simple: wait for Pralis to return, and in the meantime, practice his Blessing. Janosh forced the thoughts of food and flesh from his mind and focused. He would have to be prepared for when Pralis returned.

He opened his good hand in front of him, palm up. Suddenly, the hand was surrounded by an orb of fire, burning wicked and bright orange. He smiled, still awestruck at the ability. In a flash, he tossed the fireball at his target: his old cell phone. It was hanging from a tree about twenty feet from him. The ball struck the phone, which instantly burst into flame. Soon, the flames were licking up the tree limb, consuming the wood at an alarming pace.

After watching for a moment, Janosh formed another sphere around his hand, this one formed from water. He let it build for a minute, gathering strength from his environment, and the sphere of influence grew. Soon, his entire body was surrounded by the sphere. He cast the large waterball at the burning tree, and the flames sputtered out of existence. Around him, the grove seemed to moan. Much more water, he thought, and I would have sucked those trees dry.

Janosh laughed aloud at his newfound powers. The pain in his stomach rumbled loudly, ending his momentary happiness. “Where are you, Pralis?” he asked to empty grove. The man had business to attend, and strictly ordered Janosh not to leave the grove until he returned.

He made his way over to a large rock and sat slowly. A lot had happened over the last day, and Janosh realized he was tired. He vaguely remembered his life before Golian woke him, doing mindless office work for a company with a name he’d forgotten. He remembered Shannon, though. He could see her in his mind, her beautiful dark hair, her matching dark eyes. Hating himself, he wished that she was there with him, only so he could feast on her flesh.

He cleared his mind. He missed Shannon, but she would be better off without him. He was different now. In just the few hours since his Metamorphosis, his skin had started to grey. His left arm was removed below the elbow, but he didn’t know how or why. In addition to his physical changes, his mind was drastically different than it had been. It was almost as if Golian had gone in and flipped a switch, changing everything he knew and thought possible to a world filled with mystery and intrigue. A world with a visible god.

He did not know what to make of Golian. Pralis insisted that he was to be worshipped, that it was him who gave the Blessings in exchange for servitude. After questioning why he was chosen, Pralis said that he was dying and that Golian interceded to save his life. In exchange for his life, Janosh was to serve Golian.

Eventually the old man returned. He sauntered into the grove, shabby and disheveled. “How did your training go, Janosh?”

“It went well, Pralis. The Gift is amazing.”

“Yes, Golian is a merciful and generous god. Present yourself then.”

In an instant, Janosh was up from the rock and poised for an attack. He formed a shell of fire around his hand and threw it at Pralis. At the last second, the old man brought up a protective barrier of water around himself, and the fireball was extinguished as soon as it hit the shell. Before Janosh could react, the man had thrown the orb at him and he leapt away, barely dodging the damaging waterball. It slammed into some trees, drenching them.

Janosh threw a series of fireballs at Pralis, but the old man blocked them all with ease. Soon, Janosh was exhausted, and Pralis took the offensive. With a quick burst of wind, the old man snagged the young convert and threw him against a nearby tree. The boy collapsed on the ground, breathing heavily.

“You’ve done well, Janosh, but there is still much to learn.” He laughed heartily. “You are a fast learner, eh? Golian has blessed you indeed, child.”

“How did you throw me like that?” he asked, rising and wiping the dirt from his back.

“Our Gifts belong to a set of skills called Earthing. As the name implies, these skills are all rooted in the Earth. Thus, any natural trait the Earth exhibits, we should be able to manipulate and use. As with the two most basic elements, fire and water, you can use whatever is in your sphere of influence. When you form a water shell, you are draining moisture from your surroundings. Even the air itself is affected, as you no doubt can feel the humidity change in this grove. And when you use fire, you are leeching heat from your surroundings. With enough heat, flames are born.

“The next two elements are wind and gravity. It was wind that I used to toss you. This skill is particularly useful, as it forms no visible shell around the user, though I am sure a shell is still around us. Windballs are tougher to aim, but you don’t need as much accuracy with them. If the air is still, then the windball is weaker, but can still be formed. Too much, though, and you’ll find yourself ripped to pieces.”

They were walking toward an old convention center, situated near the entrance of the Trails. Janosh was eager to learn all he could about the Gifts, the Art of Earthing. “What about gravity?” he asked.

Pralis cast a glance at Janosh and shook his head. “Gravity is the last of the basic elements. It also casts an invisible shell. It’s quite difficult to use, and building the gravity sphere is a draining process, as you literally strip away the strong force that is pushing everything down. A little gravity goes a long way, from letting you hold something down to crushing something through pressure manipulation. Be wary when you are using this skill, Janosh.”

They stopped outside the entrance to the facility. “As I told you last night, you must be aware of the consequences and reactions from Earthing. Everything has laws and rules. Physically, you can construct an infinitely large sphere, as long as you have the elements to draw from. If you are in a desert, I imagine your ability to form a water shell will be weak or nonexistent, while your fire source will be significant. Do you understand?”

Janosh nodded, his dull eyes eager. “I understand, Pralis. How many elements are there?”

The man contemplatively stroked his mangy beard. If it weren’t for the bloodstains, deformed skin, and dead stares, the conversation would almost qualify as a typical discussion between normal men. “I do not know, Janosh. These are the basic ones Lord Golian taught me, but there are others, too. Each one of the Apostles has a unique skill, and only they are able to access it.”

“How long have you been Earthing?”

“I, I don’t know for sure.” Janosh thought he could sense sadness in Pralis’ voice, but the old man continued on. “I vaguely remember discovering it before my Awakening, but I cannot put a fixed time to when that happened. All I know is Golian saved me, named me Chief Apostle, and blessed me with the Gifts.”

“I don’t remember much either. I remember work. I remember Shannon. That’s about it.”

“Who is Shannon?” Pralis inquired.

“We were to be married.”

“Ah, I see.” Pralis turned and grasped the door handle. “This building is our operation center. The Apostles all report back here. You are the last, Janosh. You will meet those who are here and receive your instructions from Golian. After tonight, you will know your purpose.”

With that, he walked through the door, and Janosh followed behind.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Part V--Melissa

Part I is available HERE. The rest just follows as the blog progresses. And, as always, thanks for reading...

---------Part V------------

There’s a Shadow hanging over me…

Melissa hid in the shadows of her luxury apartment building suspicious that someone was coming for her. For some time she had been searching each room, looking for food. So far, the only things she’d found had been and elderly couple three floors below hers. Either they had not heard the news, or were too feeble to get out while they could. Most likely they realized there was nowhere to go.

She made a quick meal of them, and they didn’t scream too much while she feasted. But, like with Blaine, the experience overwhelmed her with guilt. Even as she was killing them, she was apologizing to them. Asking them to forgive her.

It had been two days since she killed her husband and, for the most part, she was able to control herself again. Burning inside her was an insatiable desire to consume. Every second that passed brought with it the pain of an empty stomach, sharp and stabbing. She tried foods of all sorts, even going so far to fix herself a bowl of chicken noodle soup, but everything she ate that was not flesh made her sick. She found that she could eat cooking meats—beef, chicken, and pork—but they provided little sustenance for her. Still, to combat her guilt, she persisted and vowed to only eat Man-flesh when it was impossible to resist her instincts.

She could feel her thought process changing slowly. She supposed her mind was shifting to adjust to her new body, but had no way to know for certain. How could she know? One day she had been a happily married woman, and in the blink of an eye everything changed. Now she considered herself a murderer.

She moved quickly from the shadows of the stairwell to the nearest door. Room 491. She twisted the door open quietly. Since her change, she had somehow gained an enormous amount of strength, and the door provided no resistance to her. She also noticed that she could move with speed to match a running deer, in addition to her being able to smell blood and flesh from a distance. I’m turning into an animal, but I feel so alive. She was not sure why she was changing, physically or mentally. She tried to remember the events leading up to her transformation, but everything was too blurry and jumbled together.

The apartment was empty, but something caught her attention. Directly in front of her was a mirror. Staring back at her was not the Melissa she immediately recognized. Her features were present, shoulder length brown hair, average shape and size. But her eyes were not the normal reflective blue they were supposed to be; instead, they were dull and grey. I’ve seen those eyes somewhere before. Her clothes, a once beautiful summer dress, were tattered and bloody. Her arms still bore the knife cuts from Blaine’s attack, and the jab to her ribs had left a gaping slit in her side, but the blood and pain had long since ceased.

As she was studying herself, she began to ponder her life. Am I even alive? she thought. She thought she must be, though she did not appear to bleed any longer. She had checked for her pulse, but had found nothing. What am I going to do with myself? Before her change, she had been an electrical engineer, working on establishing a greener power grid for the city. She was intelligent, and had worked with some of the biggest minds in the country on fixing the growing energy crisis. She was twenty-seven years old when she married Blaine. Why do I look so much older?

Staring into the mirror, she could see the blotches on her skin. Once tanned, it now looked like an aging piece of wood, brittle and brown-grey. She realized that she was trying to cry, but tears refused to come. She leaned in closer to the mirror, her face inches from its reflection. “Why is this happening to me?” she asked aloud. In a sudden fit of rage, she punched the mirror. Hundreds of cracks ran through the glass, pieces falling to the ground and shattering.

Anger burned inside her, mixing with the guilt. I should just end it all right now. She walked out onto the balcony, having made up her mind to jump. She paused, hands grasped around the railing. Would it even kill me? Without thinking, she leapt over the siding.

* * *

Seconds before she hit the ground, Melissa had a revelation. Blaine was not trying to protect me. He was infected as well, and just wanted to eat me. I should’ve caught it in the way he walked, the way he cocked his head. But his eyes were the same as mine. Somehow I managed to overpower him and save myself. The irony was not lost on her, however, as she slammed into the concrete.

The Importance of Paper Weights

Ah-ha! I have finally understood the importance of paper weights. All my life, I've thought, "What's the point?" Are they for desk decor? Are they something that people use as thoughtless gifts? Are they murder weapons in a game of office Clue?

But, dear and faithful readers, I am here to tell you they are not. Nay, read on and you shall be enlightened.

I got up from my desk to ask my boss a question, give him a heads-up on what I was working on and so forth. It felt like Antarctica in his office, the window unit A/C fighting to keep our old building cool from the 100+ degree heat index. I was gone for a few minutes, and when I returned to my desk, some of my papers were on the floor. I stooped to pick them up, legs a little stiff from my hour-and-a-half bike ride last night. And then it all clicked.

My desk fan, which I take for granted and tend to ignore, actually stirs the air around my desk. I notice a calendar on the wall behind me gently swaying with each passing rotation of the fan. And, subconsciously, I realize I have my own functional paperweights: a heavy design manual, my coffee cup (this one a hand-crafted ceramic piece from Gatlinburg, TN), my TI-83 Plus Silver Edition calculator. All along I've been holding down my papers from the cooling breeze of the fan, never really acknowledging the importance of paper weights.

Never again will I disrespect you, oh small and barely noticed paper weights. I'll no longer scoff and mock your purpose in my life. You are the constant worker at my desk, never appreciated or even recognized. To you I give thanks.

(Part V is going through the LOGANKSTEWARTVIGOROUSEDITING process. Forthcoming.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Topeka, KS (or A World of Wishing)

I've never been to Kansas. Heck, I've only crossed the Mississippi River twice, and both times was to St. Louis. One of those trips was to the Red Bull National Downhill Soap Box Car Derby. That was a crazy trip. Three buds and myself all bought mullet wigs and headed to the Derby. The event is pretty crazy, with people dressed up all wild and funny. And the soap box cars were decked even wilder than others.

Anyway, the point is, I haven't traveled very much in my twenty-three years. I went to Washington DC for a week, but I was in 7th grade and it was a school trip. I've been to Cincinnati a few times, to Reds games, Kings Island, or concerts. I've been to Florida, and I've been in the ocean. I even went to Disney. But, sadly, I've not ventured too far west. I've covered an adequate amount of the Appalachian region, and that's about it.

I do long to travel and see all that I can see. I want to visit the Grand Canyon, and stand on the side, looking down. I want to see water so blue and green that I feel like I'm in paradise. I want to go to New York City, just to see the enormity of it. I would love to visit Egypt, see the pyramids and immerse myself in history. Rome, Venice, and Florence would be nice getaways. Paris is beautiful, or at least it's made to appear that way. Germany would be nice, too.

But the real place I want to go is Great Britain. First, I'd see Stonehenge. Then, I'd head east, over to Oxford and absorb the history. Once finished, I'd travel up to London, staying a few days, maybe checking out Abbey Road. And then I want to travel on up the country and enter into Scotland, but stopping by Cambridge on the way. I want to experience the rich fields. I want to see the coast. I want to walk in a pub and order something. And once I'm finished with Scotland, I'd head west and stop on the Isle of Man, where I would contemplate and meditate for a while. Lastly, I'd visit Ireland, as it's but a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the Isle. There, I'd learn all I could of Irish culture.

Finally, I'd lose myself in the language. I would learn and master Gaelic from the Scots and Irish. Then, some time later, I would emerge, a new and different Logan. I would return home, to America, to Kentucky, and impress everyone with my world-traveling and stories. I would tell the little ones Old Stories, intending to teach them lessons.

Aye, it would be very nice to go and see. Mayhap one day I will.

*-*-Post Script: I hope you've enjoyed the story so far. I'll post Part V sometime soon, hopefully.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Derrick Lawson

------------------------------------Part IV----------------------------------

Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be…

Derrick Lawson was an artist. He lived in New York City in an artist complex, a type of housing that supported artists. He had been living in the Big Apple for only seven months, but to him it already felt like home. He dabbled in oils and acrylics, charcoal, and watercolors, but his passion was ink. “With a pen,” he’d say, “Anything is possible. I can draw and sketch whatever I desire. Or, if I choose, I can write an eloquent poem. I can write to my senators, or even the President. Yes, the pen is mightiest of all mediums.”

Derrick’s sketchbook was sitting on his desk. It was bound in brown leather and filled with heavy, hand-made paper. Beside it, several ink pens were sprawled about. A jar of Indian Ink was open, and a fountain pen was used as a bookmark.

Derrick’s style was clear on every page. He was a Realist, drawing things as they were. A one-armed man on a street corner, his hands held out for help. A young mother with a babe in her arms. The cityscape minus the Towers. The big suits from Wall Street, autonomous and uncaring. And then there was a series of self-portraits.

The first page was of Derrick. Long hair, eager eyes. The next resembled Derrick, but part of the face was disfigured. Thick, dark marks streaked the page. Behind the focus was another figure, faint and barely noticeable. Another page vaguely resembled Derrick, but was more disfigured. The same marks were slashed across the page.

By the end of the sketchbook, the portraits of Derrick had transformed into a monster. The last did not even look like Derrick. Behind every face, the faint figure gradually became more concrete and noticeable. On the final page of the sketchbook, a paragraph scrawled in a desperate hand read:

I feel it changing inside me. Something is different. I’m seeing things that keep me up at night. Things that I shouldn’t be seeing. At first I thought something was wrong with my eyes, but I think it’s deeper than that. Even as I write this the black things are in the corners of my vision. They’re affecting my art. I’ve left my room only once in two weeks. And when I did I thought I was going to die. All around me, everywhere, the black things were there. Surrounding me. I’ve tried drugs. I’ve tried everything. I can’t get rid of them. I think I’m losing my mind. I’ve been sick for a month, ever since I went to the Live Zombies concert in the Alley. I don’t know why this is happening. I need help. Last night, my mom and dad were sitting on my bed, talking to me, encouraging me to finish my drawings. I listened, finishing the series of portraits I’ve been working on. I didn’t even question why Mom and Dad were there. They’ve been dead for almost a year. And I looked back through my portraits and I noticed him in every one of them. He is standing behind me, ready to consume me. And my portraits were supposed to look like me, but I’ve changed since I began. Each day I look more and more like a monster! Why? What is going on with me? He’s here again. Watching me. Whispering. Demanding.

Beneath the desk on which the sketchbook rested, a shell of a man huddled against the corner where wall met wood. Emaciated and gaunt, he was dying. He had gouged his eyes out to stop seeing the black things and wrapped a bandage around his eyes. Blood streaks stained his thinned face and parched lips parched. His mind was snapped.

Derrick Lawson died beneath the desk. The official cause of death was fatigue, combined with dehydration and starvation. He was found twenty minutes after his heart stopped beating. He was discovered when two newer members of the complex inadvertently walked into the wrong room. Derrick’s door had been unlocked. He was still huddled up into a ball, arms wrapped tightly around his raised knees. Teeth marks were on his arms, which would later turn out to be Derrick’s own desperate desire for sustenance.

He was buried in Willow Hill Cemetery, just outside the city limits. Some of his friends from the complex scrounged for money and paid for a makeshift ceremony. It was a beautiful, sunny day in May. He was lowered in the ground gently by the funeral home workers and the priest said a few words for the stranger. Nobody cried; nobody really knew the deceased, it was just out of respect he was buried.

He should have been cremated.

The service ended and everyone left. The sun burned down below the horizon and the stars came out. A figure stepped out from the trees and onto the plot. He carried a large staff. With it, he thrust it down through the dirt, through the cheap coffin, and into the chest of Derrick. “Arise, Child of the Bite. You are now a Child of the Night!” The old man laughed at his rhyme.

A pulse ran through the staff, and below ground, Derrick gasped for breath.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Way of the Gods

Part three. This makes sense to me, but if it is confusing to you fine folks, would ya let me know? May it do ya fine and I'll Say Thankee-Sai. Thankee Big Big. If you've not read the first few parts, they are here and here.

-------------------------------Part III-----------------------------

I believe in yesterday…

High above the surface of the planet, everything appeared peaceful. The land was a vibrant lifesource, full of creatures great and small. The seas were a brilliant blue, reflecting blinding white light into the air. A gentle wind was blowing, moving the clouds in a circular pattern. Yes, everything appeared peaceful.

Appearances are quite deceptive.

Two figures hovered in the upper layers of the atmosphere, where the blackness of space separates the whites of the protective atmospheric shells. One, garbed in blacks and greens, stayed within the confines of the planet; the other, robed in white and gold, remained on the other side of the boundary.

“It has started,” announced the dark one nonchalantly.

“Yes. It has started.” The two regarded one another for a moment, then turned their gaze toward the planet.

“They will consume themselves, and there is nothing you can do about it. My sickness is already spreading among the inhabitants.”

The bright one frowned deeply. As he did, the stars themselves seemed to dim. “Do not discount their ability to persevere, Steward. They have survived scourges and famines and plagues before, if you recall.”

“I recall,” hissed the dark one. The clouds darkened behind the god in his anger. “But this one is different. I have spent countless years working on this. The fall of mankind is coming, Rol.”

Rol smiled, and with it, the stars grew a bit brighter. “I fear you are wrong, Steward. Perhaps you will succeed in destroying millions, maybe even billions, but you will not annihilate their spirit. They are notoriously full of surprises.”

The dark one moved closer to the boundary, motioning for Rol to come close. “Does it bother you that you cannot cross the boundary, Caretaker? That Astaran Himself set this gulf between us, giving me freedom to rule this planet as I see fit?” The dark one was smiling a wicked smile. Lightning was flashing below. “Since the Beginning, you’ve been unable to come into my domain and I yours. But this time, Rol, you will not win. This plan is fullproof. And once it is over, I will be free.”

Rol smiled even wider, and with it the sun blazed. “We shall see.”

The two remained there for a span of days. Occasionally, the dark one would smirk or laugh to Rol. “See here, Rol! In just three days the world has been decimated. It will not last much longer, I’ll wager.”

The planet no longer seemed as peaceful as it once had. Massive conflagrations could be seen making their way across the plains. The seas were darker, choppier. And the clouds were thick, dark clouds, full of thunder and rain. Rol watched the planet with a deep compassion for the people. He was charged with being the Caretaker of the Heavens, while the other was given the Stewardship of the Planet. The people of this planet, one called Earth, had become a favorite of his. Like many other creatures from many other planets, they sought to leave their planets and venture into the Heavens. Very few, however, had actually succeeded in this feat. The people of Earth, however, had managed to make it out of their atmosphere on several occasions, and gone as far as landing on their Moon. Rol assumed that the zeal to destroy Earth the Steward exhibited was twofold, one because he could not leave the planet, and the other was pure jealousy. In Earth’s early days, the inhabitants did not even dream of things outside their planet; now, they dreamt of things outside their galaxy.

The Caretaker could understand their dreams. He knew what was outside their system of planets. He had been to every system Astaran had created. He had been working in each of them since the Beginning. He had seen the beauty in each and every planet Astaran created. Rol was allowed to visit each planet only one time, recording the planets details, and then the boundary would appear, blocking him from entering again and confining the Steward.

It was during this period, while Rol was on Earth, that he deposited his gift to the planet. Astaran, in His wisdom, had ordained the Caretaker a sacred and secret duty. Though he could not directly interfere with the planet, he could provide a chance for it. His blessing would be bestowed upon an inhabitant, and ultimately spread amongst the nations. The Steward was often unaware of this gift, as typically it remained dormant. However, there were things Rol could do to enact the blessing…

They hovered above the planet. Storms raged below them, obscuring their view. “People are following me again, Rol. They are following me for reasons I am not responsible for. Certain abilities have been manifesting among the people, and I have been taking credit for the powers.” The Caretaker listened, slightly concerned. Perhaps some of the inhabitants have had reasons to need the powers? The dark one’s smile grew darker. “I will break free from this planet, Rol. And when I do, you will die.”

“Listen to me, Golian,” bellowed the Caretaker. Behind him, the sun flared in response. “You will fail in your endeavor. Astaran made you Steward of this planet, and you are trying to kill it. You will—“

“You do not know everything, Rol. Only Astaran is omniscient, and He knows what I am up to. Do you think that I would be able to rebel if Astaran did not will it? You are a proud fool, Caretaker. We were all made for a reason, and I am being true to myself.”

“You are wrong,” said Rol. Even as he said it, he knew he had no argument. No substantiating evidence. He had only his faith in Astaran. He knew the things the Steward said were untrue, but he needed proof. Immediately, he knew what he must do. “I will return, Golian. And you will suffer for your actions. It was the pain of the planet that drew me here, and I will not let it fall.”

With that, he turned and sped off into the Heavens, like a streak of light across the night sky. The dark one laughed a sinister laugh, calling after his enemy. “You can try, Rol. But you best hurry!”

Monday, June 08, 2009

Jacob and Shannon

First off, thanks everybody that read and liked the previous post. I am working on a series of short, micro stories that, when combined, form a mosaic of one story. Most likely, it'll fall to the wayside with all my other stories that I've written, but for now, I'm still writing. Here's part two. Enjoy.

------------------------PART II------------------------

Now it looks as though they're here to stay...

Jacob walked out the office at three minutes past five, running just slightly behind schedule. If he took the Trails, then he would bypass most of the congestion, but he didn’t like taking the Trails. He unlocked his bike and hopped on, pulling out his cell.

“Hey! This is Shannon. Sorry I missed your call. Please leave me a message and I’ll get back with you.” Jacob rolled his eyes, frustrated. She was always nagging him about not answering his phone, and why did he even have one if he wasn’t going to answer it? “BEEP!”

“Shannon, it’s Jacob. I’m running a little late, but I should be home in time to make it to the social tonight. I’m gonna take the Trails. I love you.”

He sped off down the crowded road only for a moment, then turned and entered the Trails. The Trails were a large system of paths, created originally as a recreational facility for bike and ATV riders. That was fifteen years ago. Now they resembled a haunted forest, grown tall and mysterious. The tracks were all dirt, and Jacob had to watch for fallen limbs. However, taking the Trails instead of the highway put him home twenty to thirty minutes early.

He swerved around a rather large log and immediately pulled on his brakes. Standing in the road, not twenty feet from him, was a rugged man. He was clearly homeless. A long, mangy beard hung from his face and his clothes were tattered and dirty. The man stood slightly hunched, his neck turned slightly. There was an unsettling reflection of light in his eyes, cast from Jacob’s headlights.

Jacob started to accelerate when something pulled him off his bike. He hit the ground, hard, and his breath was knocked out of his lungs. It was there, lying on his back in the Trails that the full magnitude of what was happening hit him. Panic overtook his mind, crippling him. He knew he needed to get up, but he could not make himself. He did not even wonder why he was jerked off his bike; instead, he started to whimper.

He became aware that there was a force pinning down his shoulders, keeping him on the ground. He tried to struggle, but his body refused to budge. A wrinkled, bearded face suddenly appeared in his vision, and for a moment Jacob thought he was saved. Then he saw the look in the man’s eyes and all hope left him yet again. It’s the same old man that was in the road, but how did he get over here so fast? he thought.

Unconsciously, Jacob realized he had his phone in his hand, and his fingers were attempting to dial for help. Unfortunately, the weathered man realized it as well. With unnatural speed, he grabbed the phone from Jacob and tossed it aside. Then, in a flash of horror and doom, plus a slight taint of comedy, Jacob noticed three things simultaneously. The first was the terrible pain in his hand that had been holding the phone. Second, he noticed the old man chewing a mouthful of something, with blood drooling from his mouth and a finger sticking out. Lastly, he noticed his phone was ringing.

He could hear it calling through the Trails, blaring out the classic Eagles song that signaled Shannon was calling, “Take It Easy.” Something twisted in his brain was laughing at the irony. How could he take it easy? A deranged man had just thrown him from his bike and was eating his fingers? But there is humor in this, you gotta admit. And Shannon’s probably leaving another message about me not answering the phone.

Soon, Jacob thought, dying, I’ll wake up and tell Shannon about this. She’ll get a kick out of it. And then there was nothing but the ringing phone.


The figure was crouched over the body, slowly devouring his stunned victim. Pralis was the man’s new name, but he was not certain why. He vaguely recalled having a different name at some point in his past, but the hunger that plagued him made it hard for him to think clearly. He tore the arm free with little resistance; the boy was in shock and unconscious.

He tried to resist his hunger, but he rarely ever succeeded. He was not certain how long he’d been transformed, as time no longer seemed to matter. The sun burnt his skin, and so often he would stay hidden in the woods until dusk, spending his time mourning his circumstances and actions, eating whatever game he could find, or serving Golian. He remembered meeting Golian for the first time, just before his changing. He was researching old arts and found an interesting passage mentioning the god. And then he appeared and gave his blessing, renaming him to Pralis and giving him his ability to push on things with his mind.

In exchange for his gift, Pralis swore to serve Golian and do his will, which so far had been making other disciples to follow Golian. Pralis smiled as the boy’s eyes flashed open, displaying the wild glint inside. He started to struggle, but Pralis held him pinned to the ground.

“Hush, child,” said the old man. “You’ve been blessed by the Lord Golian. Arise and take your place in his ranks.” The boy stood, slowly, and Pralis surveyed him. He was missing most of his left arm, but that was much better than his first converts. In the beginning, Pralis recalled killing most of his converts. It was always so hard to stop feeding.

A heavy sense filled the air and Golian suddenly appeared. “Well done, Pralis.” The god turned to face the new creation. “You, child, were once living a false existence. You have been awoken and called to serve me. You shall be called Janosh.” The boy nodded obediently.

“Pralis. Take Janosh to the unworthy ones. Let him feast tonight, for tomorrow he must begin his servitude.” The god paused for a moment. “For your faithfulness, Pralis, you may join him in feasting.”

The old man bowed. “Thank you, Lord Golian. I only wish to serve. Thank you. Thank you.”

With that, Golian vanished into the black. Pralis turned to his new brother. “Come on, Janosh. We have dinner to catch.”

Friday, June 05, 2009

Blaine and Melissa (A Micro Story)

---~---~---~---~---Part I---~---~---~---~---

Yesterday. All my troubles seemed so far away...

“Put the knife down, Blaine,” said the woman, an edge of fear to her voice. They were in their 42nd story apartment, high above the dead city below.

The man simply stared at her, a blank look in his eyes. In his hand a long, wicked blade was held, its edge a dull crimson color. The knife was a standard kitchen knife, typically used for meats and bones. As such, it was extremely sharp and dangerous.

“I have no intention of putting the knife down, Mel. Not until we’re finished here tonight will I put the knife down.” His normal talking voice seemed slightly different.

Blaine was standing in the spacious kitchen, several feet from the crouched Melissa, but still dominating the apartment. The couple had been married for only a month and then it happened. One morning they woke up to find the city in panic. Newscasters reported for one day, calling it a massive outbreak of hysteria or an infection from bioterrorism or a plague from God. No one knew exactly what happened, but the news anchors would report more later, and later never came. All broadcasting—television, radio, Internet, and phone—ceased to function.

He started toward Melissa. “Blaine, please. Put down the knife. You’re scaring me.”

He turned his head at an angle, the way a dog does when it doesn’t understand something. He paused, smiling his dazzling smile. “I’m sorry, baby, but I can’t. You’ve been infected and I have to help you get better.”

Melissa was a cornered animal, literally trapped by two walls and a man with a bloody knife. Her husband walked slowly, and Melissa began thinking about a movie she saw as a child. In it, the dead had returned to life, walking slowly and hungering for flesh. He walks just like one of them, she thought.

And then he was upon her. Unable to flee, Melissa fought against her husband. She tried to swipe away his arms, and succeeded for a moment, but he was too powerful for her. Eventually his blade found its way into her ribs and she screamed in agony and anger. Fueled with adrenaline and something else deeper inside of her, she grabbed for a makeshift weapon. Grasping something, she pummeled her husband in the temple, dropping him to the ground.

The knife, now bright red, fell from his hand. Melissa was surprised to see in her hand a broken coffee mug. Hesitantly, she picked up the knife and took a step back. Her side was bleeding and there were several gashes on her arms.

And then it hit her. The smell was overpowering and her stomach was aching. How long had it been since she had eaten? She looked around for the source of the aroma and then her eyes fell upon Blaine. Slightly repulsed, she cautiously approached her fallen husband.

He was still alive! And he smelled fantastic.

“Poor Blainey. I’m sorry.”

She didn’t remember much afterwards, only that her hunger was slightly satiated. Only slightly. She walked slowly, ever so slowly, to the balcony and stared out at the dead city. It was dark, but full of noises. As the wind blew, Melissa caught a whiff of food in the air. She smiled, already hungry again.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

What Was This Lady Thinking (An Interpretation of Death)

I came across this on CNN today.

Watching this just makes me wonder what the lady was thinking? Maybe she wasn't paying attention and was heading across the tracks when she finally noticed a trail hurtling towards her, so she did the only logical thing she could think of: make like a sheet of paper and lay flat. Or maybe she is a thrill seeker? But the embedded code has a tag that says "israel.suicide.attempt", so perhaps she was trying to check out early. Anyway, this lady was very fortunate to have no injuries, namely death.

Which brings up an interesting point. When you consider injuries in an accident, is death really considered an injury? First we must define injury. Dictionary.com says an injury is a "harm or damage that is done or sustained." Using this definition, then some forms of death seem to fit, but not all. For instance, dying of "natural causes", that is, growing old, falling asleep, and not waking up, does not seem to fit the injury definition. There is no damage done to the body in the sleeping process, only a peaceful ending to a life. But a gun shot wound to the brain causes all kinds of serious damage to the body and often ends in death.

Aha! Perhaps my hypothesis was flawed from the beginning. Death, it seems, is not an injury. Instead, one may die from their injuries, but that does not mean that death is an injury. I don't know about you all, but this solves a great mystery that I've honestly never thought about before starting this post. My mind is often prone to wandering, through the hazy fields of absolutes and uncertainties.

One final note on death. Coldplay's latest full-length album, Viva la Vida, subtitled Death and All His Friends, was really an excellent album. They always produce such amazing pieces of music, and this album was no different. I get emails from the band, and their last email contained a link to download a free live concert cd, which is titled LeftRightLeftRight. I thought I'd share that with you fine folks. Follow the link here to get your copy of LRLR. Also, I did a poem post on Coldplay a while back, which is available here.

As always, remember to brush your teeth when you wakey wakey and right before you go to bed!

Monday, June 01, 2009


I went and watched Up with Keisha over the weekend. Pixar has once again produced an amazing movie. Up is probably one of the funniest Pixar films, and I had to wipe my eyes frequently to clear the tears of laughter. There are three reasons why Up was supremely satisfying.

First, the movie is visually breathtaking. I watched the film in 3-d, which meant that I wore the goofy glasses. This was the first movie I have ever seen in 3-d, and it was awesome. I was like a little kid seeing a lightsaber fight for the first time. In addition to 3-d, the storyboards and animation was beautiful. Vibrant colors and exotic scenes dominated the screen, and I was completely absorbed in the art.

The second reason Up was a great movie was the humor in the movie. As I've already mentioned, the film was hilarious. Not just a few laughs, mind you, but whole-theatre laugh-out-loud-for-several-moments funny. The main two characters, grumpy old Mr. Fredricksen and young and clumsy Russell, are wonderfully dynamic with each other, each completing the others comedy. Plus, Kevin and Dug are hysterical.

Finally, Up succeeds because of the story. Like books, movies often fail if the story is weak. The writers for Up created a heart-wrenching but soul-laughing story, and the director knew where and when to stir each emotion. Mr. Fredricksen is a widower and Russell is a young Wilderness Explorer looking to earn a badge for his scout troop, and the two form an unlikely duo. The development of their relationship propels the plot with a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, this was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. I'll even confess that not all of the tears that came to my eyes were from laughter. The film was fantastic, especially in 3-d, and I urge you all to go and watch it. Take your special someone, your kids, your friends, or your robot-nanny and watch it. Unless you have a heart of stone, I guarantee you'll feel your emotions tugged, too.

A Quick Update (complete with some miscellany)

We moved into our new house on Friday, 5/29. We are now officially homeowners. Everything went smoothly. I signed a million or so papers. The weather was nice for moving. The piano was not as heavy as expected. The weekend went by very, very fast. I'll be hopefully getting cable & internet for home this week. I'll hopefully get the piano tuned this week. I think I might cook tuna for supper tonight. My coffee cup is Darth Vader's head. I bought some new Sketchers. I also bought a pair of Levi's for $11! The ink pen on my stack of papers is a green Pilot Razor Point. Hopefully all the boxes will be unpacked within the next week or two. I like the radio feature on iTunes. I'm going to a Dulcimer Festival this weekend.