Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tiny Update

November ends today.  I've been so incredibly busy that I don't even know where to begin.

1.  I received another rejection letter for a short story.  They no longer sting as bad.
2.  I baked two derby pies, following this recipe.  First time I've ever made them, and they turned out great.
2b.  Bourbon may possibly replace rum whenever I find a reason to imbibe.
3.  Work work work work work.
4.  Christmas tree is up and decorated.  No outside lights yet.  May not be this year.
5.  The 4hr drive to Lambert's Cafe wasn't worth 4 hours.  Maybe 2, possibly 3 even, but not 4.  Not whenever you have a baby that doesn't like car rides.  The food, on the other hand, was delicious.
6.  My good friend Adam let me borrow the entire run of a Daredevil comic series, Volume 2, spanning over 130 issues between 1998 and 2009.  I only know the barest minimum about the Man without Fear, but he assures me that they're brilliant comics (though he said the ending was terrible).
7.  Skyrim progresses slowly but surely.  What a massive tale...
7b.  Not sure if I'm alone here or if this is normal, but a dragon totally landed inside the College of Winterhold, right in the quad, and the fight was pretty cool.  I also had a dragon fight with some mammoths nearby, and apparently the mammoths were peeved at the dragon, cause they took over and slew the dragon.
8.  Our annual class service project comes up this weekend.  Much to do.

I've much to say, and yet I'm blank.  Too scatterbrained at the moment.  All the best!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Voice NT, a Review

I'm not sure if you've noticed, but oftentimes, the bible can come across as stuffy.  Especially if you're reading an older translation.  Conversely, there are many translations that are paraphrases, and while these are beneficial at times, they are also problematic, too.  The Voice is unique in that it's a translation, not a paraphrase, and yet it reads similarly to a paraphrase.  Or, as the publishers would put it:
While care has been taken to accurately translate the individual words from the original texts, careful attention to how the idioms of the original languages are understood in English has also been taken. But it doesn't stop there; The Voice considers the narrative links that help us to understand the drama and passion of story that is present in the original languages. The tone of the writing, the format of the page, and the directness of the dialog allows the tradition of passing down the biblical narrative to come through in The Voice.
I took a liking to The Voice when I was reading Chris Seay's Gospel According to Jesus.  In that book, all of the quoted Scripture came from The Voice.  I'd never heard of the translation before, but I loved the way it sounded.  Now, as it turns out, Chris Seay is among the many contributors to the translation.  In short, the allure of The Voice is that it's a translation made from a diverse group of translators, as opposed to wizened scholars who spend all their time in academia.  In addition to scholars, translators include poets, musicians, story tellers, and other forms of art.  These individuals all seek to maintain the original feeling of the Word, and in my opinion, The Voice reflects this passion.

One interesting formatting choice particularly caught my eye with The Voice.  Whenever anyone speaks, the columns break like a script.  We're given something like "Peter: ......"  This works very well when you have a group people going around, back and forth.  Typically, from my experience, most translations don't necessarily follow the "One Speaker Per Paragraph" rule.

Another interesting gem with this bible is that there are numerous study notes interspersed throughout the text.  Some may be personal challenges, applications for life, or maybe just a clarification about something cultural that we may no understand.  Whatever the case, these supplemental notes make The Voice even more practical for reading.

Similarly, there are also many supplemental words added to the main text as well.  These words are indicated with italics and are added to help the Reader understand the events even better.  On one hand, most of these italics could be treated as parentheticals and skipping them would not generally affect understanding.  On the other hand, these italics are an integral part of what gives The Voice its identity.  Some traditionalists/purists may scoff at these additions, claiming that the translators are adding to the Word.  I don't think this is the case, but the possibility does exist.

Another thing I really liked was the word choice translators used for certain words.  One example is logos.  Typically, we read John 1 as "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  While those behind The Voice appreciate this, they also feel like translating logos into Word doesn't quite grasp the full mmmph behind it.  Many in our culture are desensitized, and something was chosen more active than Word.  So we've got Voice.  Christos is another great example, especially when you consider that so many people think Jesus' last name was Christ.    

Currently, only the New Testament is available in this translation.  It's a cheap paperback you can pick up at your local bookstore if you're interested, or you could also order online.  Furthermore, if you're interested in sampling The Voice (and I think you should at least sample it), you can download a free chapter from the website (here).  The entire bible will be available next Spring, and hopefully I'll be able to get my hands on a review copy.  In the end, The Voice has not supplanted my beloved ESV, but it's definitely taken a spot within easy reach.  It was designed to be read aloud, and this is obvious and useful for when Keisha and I do any reading.  

FTC Thingy:  This book was provided for free by Thomas Nelson Publishers via Booksneeze in exchange for my honest-to-goodness review.  No moneys were traded.  No stocks.  No socks.  No rocks.  No gym memberships.  And despite my constant pleas for accompanying cookies--oatmeal with raisins sounds good right about now--I've yet to receive any.  One of these days...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Photo-Story of Travel

See Daddy, Mommy, and Baby.
They dress funny on Halloween.

There's Mommy and Baby who always seem to match...

And then there's sweet Daddy who makes your eyes need a scratch.

Baby is so happy; Baby is so swell...
Just look at her hair, growing so well!

The Family traveled to the Orchard of Great Apples.

And the Family tripped to the Pumpkin Patch in the Fall.

The Family watched Clint play football with tackles!

Daddy took Mommy to the Place of Engagement--a bench in a mall.

Travel makes Baby sleepy.

Listy Things

1.  Oh Shenandoah!  I am your daughter.  Prior to that, the prior pontificated the perfect diatribe against mean Mr. Mustard.

2.  Having recently experienced funerals, this story about a funeral mishap had me rolling.  Quite funny, quite short, and well worth the read.

3.  Vacation creeps in on little cat's feet in just three more days.  Not many plans but Skyrim, family, and a day-trip out to Missouri to eat at Lambert's.  We've ne'er been there, but hear wonderful things.

4.  Radiohead has a song called "Creep."  According to my latest tweet, I "snagged some #Radiohead tix for the St. Louis show on 3/9/12. Color me ecstatic."  I can't express how excited I am, as a Radiohead concert is one of my "dream concerts."

5.  The previous point contained three sets of quote marks / double apostrophes.

6.  An apostrophe is also a figure of speech that's best explained by referring to Point 1 (particularly the first six words) on this list.

7.  I'm entertaining the idea of next year reading only books on my TBR and/or books I own and/or can get from the library.  The only exception would be something drastic.  I shall think on this more, and if I decide to do so, I should add some more books to my TBR 'ere December's end.

8.  Christmas tree and decorations are going up ever-so-soon.  I can't wait to see Avonlea's eyes soaking it all in.

9.  I think I've mentioned it before, but not certain, but just to be clear, I completely deleted my Facebook account a few weeks/months ago.  Tired of it and the mostly useless newsfeed, I now use G+ and, on the rare occasion, Twitter.

10.  Realized last night that we've taken well over a thousand pictures of Avonlea since her birth.  Wow.

11.  Why does looking at pictures of food make you hungry?  Wouldn't it be great that if looking at the bible we had the same feeling?  I love reading the bible and thinking about its truths and having my mind exploded by God.  More and more I realize how little we are, how tiny, how insignificant, and yet God still loves us and gives us significance.  God, you are amazingly, indescribably, unfathomable, and I am so glad you are.

12.  See what I did there?  That's another example (cf. Points 6, 1).

13.  I'm simultaneously reading a lot of different books at the moment.  I am a multiple-book-reader-a-time, but this may be my record.

Monday, November 14, 2011

First Impressions: Skyrim

[Warning: This could possibly be the nerdiest post I've ever written.]

Oh, but how beautiful it is!  The ragged peaks, the deep valleys, the shimmering falls.  Everywhere you look in Skyrim you see the beauty of nature.  But wait, is that a dragon?  Oh lordy lordy.

So I wasn't planning on buying the fifth installment in the Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim, which released last Friday.  Instead, and smartly, I went to the Redbox and actually rented the game.  Whet my appetite, enjoy a weekend with my little brother-in-law immersed in a new game.  Little did I know that the masters from Bethesda Studios were so devious.

My history with RPGs goes back to when I was a wee lad first discovering FFVII, which led to an unhealthy habit of staying up very late and saving/destroying imaginary worlds.  This habit thrived throughout adolescence and the teenage years, and I spent a lot of time with them.  Then came college and adulthood, where I (mostly) learned to relegate my time and act responsibly.  Sure, I might have blown off a class or four whenever KotoR II came out, and Fable held me spellbound for way too many hours, but by and large, I was getting out of my RPG phase.  My tastes were changing to something more active, less expansive, less turn-based.

The shift in preferences came with Fallout 3, a game my best friend purchased.  I loved the open-world, non-linear style it offered, and behold, a new obsession was found.  But it could last only so long, and soon college days ended and we moved several hundred miles apart.  And a year or two passed without me playing much of antying.  I bought FFXII, but only spent an hour or so with it.  And all was well.  Then along came a game called Oblivion, from the same company that made Fallout, and again my preferences were tingled.

I put a lot of hours into Oblivion.  It was humongous, but it had its flaws.  Fastforward to Fallout: New Vegas, which was/is definitely fun and immersive, but not as much as its predecessor.   Fastforward another year, 11/11/11, and Skyrim is released.  I'd read the buzz.  Followed the videos.  It looked great, but I didn't have the ummph to spend $60 on a new game, plus the time I knew I'd spend in it.  So I rented it and kept it for two days.  And in those days, escapism reigned, heroics flared, and Keisha tells me that I was smiling like a little kid.

I made myself a Wood Elf, complete with pointed ears, a thin nose, a dirty face, deep eye shadows, one dead eye, and oily, black hair.  Named him Clögan Darkhair (original, I know, but Clint+Logan can only yield so much). I've a fondness for Sneak, Stealth, Theft, and the general skullduggery of a petty criminal when it comes to these games, yet I don't (rarely) kill innocent civilians. Still, the dark look suited us, and we were off.
The opening scene was wonderful, and I loved how you get the vantage point from the headblock after watching a fellow criminal get beheaded. I've been mesmerized by the enormous size of the world, made even more so by the 3d elements of mountains and caves. It's definitely the biggest game I've played, and likely the most beautiful video game world ever created. I've already done several side quests and feel like I've not even put a toe in the water yet. The game is much less glitchier than New Vegas (one of its major weaknesses), and so far I've only had one instance of freezing. The giants are intimidating, and I've foolishly fought and died many times over because of them. (Anyone (Dave, I'm guessing, is the only one down here) actually killed one yet?) Trolls are somewhat of a challenge, too, but I've got a slash-block-flee combo down that proves mostly effective.

In short, Skyrim seems to take Oblivion and put it to shame, and pretty much treats almost every other game similarly.  I've never been more impressed by a game in all my years, and that's saying something.

I took Skyrim back to the Redbox yesterday. While at Walmart, I purchased a copy of the game for myself. I'm on vacation next week, so I'm hoping to get some time there, but Real World still takes priority. I have a lovely and wonderful wife that supported my decision in buying the game (Thanks!), and a beautiful daughter that still gets all my love. Still, Skyrim won't save itself.

Anyone else get this game yet?

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Monday brought with it heat and sun, despite it being November.  Inside the funeral home it was simultaneously cold and hot.  Family arrived an hour early.  The parlor was opened and we were led inside.  The body was in a casket at the front, clothed in simple, every day clothes.  A thermal John Deere shirt.  Jeans.  A bandanna around the head.  He looked good, and it was the first time I'd seen him since February.

The feeling of nothingness pressed on.  I stood at the coffin and stared absently.  Throughout the evening, many friends and family members showed up to offer condolences.  For once, I was the recipient of awkward conversation and empty words.  My life was instantly in dichotomy.  One part of me was engaging in normal conversation with familiar people; the other part of me was slightly aggravated/annoyed.  Still, I'm thankful for all the people that showed up.

A funeral is rarely pleasant, and this one was about as pleasant as a dentist's trip, just worse.  I feel for ministers.  Having to stand in front of a grieving family and others and make a eulogy has got to be hard, especially for people who die without knowing the Lord.  For I believe with all of my heart that if someone does not have Jesus as their Savior then they are doomed to eternal hell.  I have no idea the condition of my dad's heart before he died, nor can I begin to fathom how longsuffering God is.  I do know that he was saved at a young age, but he lived a life of drugs and rebellion.  What does that mean?  I have no idea.  The only comfort here is that I know that I am saved through Jesus' sacrifice and that I won't have to spend eternity apart from Him.

A dead body is cold.  It's something any lover of fiction knows.  I've been to many, many funerals, but never once have I touched a corpse (at least not to my knowledge).  I hadn't planned on touching this one, either, and I resisted the urge until the final time I saw him.  We all stood around the coffin, people crying and sobbing.  My typical stoic demeanor dissolved at some point.  Compelled beyond reason, I patted his crossed hands.  Bone beneath loose skin.  Dead muscle.  And cold.  Unnatural.

We all exited and waited in our vehicles until the coffin was loaded into the hearse.  The cemetery was a few miles away.  It was sunny and windy.  A few final words were spoken and that was that.  People scattered, and a few of us went back to Nana's house to eat and be together.  While there, I leafed through a dozen photo albums and pulled out baby/kid pictures of me and Jake.  I have seen very few pictures of our childhood, as most of them burned up when our house burned down, so this find was wonderful.

Now it's Thursday.  I'm back to work again.  It's good to be back to routine, but I'm exhausted.  It's been a taxing few days, and I suspect I'll be tired for a few more before I balance out.  I've got in a little reading time of late, but nothing substantial.  I've also edited a flash fic piece and submitted it to an online 'zine.  And I discovered a 4 volume, 8 cd set of great music at the library called the Anthology of American Folk Music, compiled by acclaimed folklorist Harry Smith.

I'm amazed at everyone's support.  For the most part, I don't know any of you.  Still, it's indescribable how loving and supportive the blogosphere is, and I thank every single one of you for the kind words/thoughts/prayers sent my way.  Seriously.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

My Dad is Dead

My Dad is dead.  His body is laying in the basement of the local funeral home, going through the process of embalming and preparation for burial.  Tomorrow, an 8'x3' hole will be dug in a tiny cemetery atop a tiny hill to bury a 6'-5" man.  Well, he won't be buried until Tuesday, but I'm guessing the hole will be dug early.  That was  my responsibility.  Going to the cemetery with the graveyard keeper, marking the plot, staking the ground.

I'm not sure how I feel.  My relationship with my dad was pretty much nonexistent, and has been this way for the last few years.  In the greater scope, it's been this way for most of my life.  He and my mom divorced when I was but a babe.  So I grew up without my "real dad" an active part in my life.  We--my brother (Jake) and I--would go over nana's and see that side of my family every few weeks, but most of those memories are vague and blurry at best.  I distinctly remember being disappointed in his usual absence whenever we were out nana's, but I also distinctly remember his usual presence whenever we were out there, too.  He would go around singing or humming, hilarious, fun.  Making sweet tea.  Playing chess.  Reading comics.  These things, these positives, I have clearly inherited from him.  I sing/hum almost constantly.  I'm told that I'm a rather funny person.  I (used to) make sweet tea (until my taste buds switched to preferring non-sweet).

But by and by, for most of my life, I've thought of my dad as a man who squandered what he had for drugs and alcohol.  That was why mom and him divorced.  I can remember him being buzzed, eyes glazed over, lethargic.  He sometimes looked skeletal.  These aren't things I like thinking about, nor do I necessarily like revealing them to the Internets, but they're truths that are responsible for me being the man I am today.  From early on I resolved to be a better man than my dad, and now that I have a baby of my own, this ideal has been practiced for five-months strong.

I always intended to see him more.  More than just Christmas and Thanksgiving and the occasional summer time, but I never got around to it.  I could have called or visited, but I suppose that door swings both ways.  Still, it is what it is.  I was trying to think of the last time I saw him, which I guess was back in February, when we got together for Christmas at nana's.  I don't remember anything special sticking out.  Avonlea wasn't born yet.  And that's another thing that's sad.  He never met Avonlea.  Ciara (my sister) showed him pictures of her on Facebook, and he loved looking at them, but in flesh & blood, the two never met.

It was odd, going out there.  I got the call last night about 10pm.  Nana was somewhere a few hours away, on her way home, asking me if I would go out to his house and wait with Ciara until she got in.  I changed clothes and hurried down there, making the forty-minute trip in less than forty-minutes.  There were two cops there when I pulled up, a white van belonging to the funeral home, a neighbor across the street, and my sister and two twin uncles.  I hurried over and got in talking up the last few details with the funeral director.  (Did we want him smooth-shaved?  What time did we prefer to meet and go over the arrangements?)  And we stood around in a huddle in the cold wind, dark night, confused, silent.  Ciara said the cops wouldn't let her touch him.

Soon, the two funeral directors brought out the body.  It was on a stretcher, covered with a brown, squared, simple quilt.  I never saw his face, and I still haven't.  I watched them roll him to the van and put him in.  The cops came up and told us to lock up the place.  Everyone left and we went in.

It was the first time I'd ever been there.  A simple, old, dirty single-wide trailer.  Aluminum foil in the windows for insulation.  A weathered-but-comfortable couch.  It was definitely the home of a bachelor.  Pill bottles lay around, mostly empty.  I gathered that more than a few people had been trying to get him to quit. I soaked it in, still feeling blank inside, headache pounding away.  What am I supposed to think?  How am I supposed to be feeling?  There is no norm.  Every situation is unique here.

Now, after a day of dealing with cemeteries, morticians, and family, everything is slowly settling in.  Even so, I'm still confused, still uncertain.  That's why this post exists.  Writing, and blogging by extension, is the simplest way for me to put my thoughts to focus.  It's personal, yes, but I'm an honest individual that believes transparency is healthy and good.  And when you've stood in a room full of coffins, filled from wall to wall, all different but all similar, your thoughts are bound to be scrambled.  It's late.  I'm tired.  There's still lots to do.  Lots I don't know about.  I do know that my dad loved me, and I think he knew that I loved him.  I know that it hurts knowing that I didn't put forth more of an effort, and that's something I have to live with.  I'm still working on me and this, and I'm sure I will be doing so for a while.  Everybody has daddy issues, and they're influential in personal development.  It's pure coincidence that I started a book last week on becoming a better father/husband and that my mind has been thinking about my dad more than normal these last few days.  I was excited that Thanksgiving was coming up because he was finally going to get to see his only granddaughter.  Not anymore.

I loved my dad, even though I was an absent son, even though he was an absent father.  And now the potential for change and for a relationship is gone.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday: Frost - A Myth

(This one doesn't quite fit the Flash Fic definition, but it's close enough.  Enjoy.)

     “It’s called hoarfrost,” Gwyneth said, scraping at the flakes between her lithe fingers. Fragile as cobweb, the clumped glob turned into powder at her touch, flitting through the garden air into oblivion. 
     “Whore’s frost? Is their ma’am a nightlady or summin?” 
     Gwyneth rolled her eyes. “Hoar. H-O-A-R. It means old, grey, white. The oldfolk thought the stuff looked like an old hag’s hair.”
     Beatrice scratched at her moustachio, trying to look like she was in deep thought. If Gwyneth knew her twin--and she most certainly did--then she knew the girl wasn’t burning any brain cells. She was very likely thinking on roast pig and jammed tarts and spiced beers and boiled potatoes and most definitely not etymology. But like a good sister, Gwyneth suspended her disbelief for the sake of love. Just like she did about the girl’s unfortunate lip hair.
     “Ah,” said Beatrice, smiling wide. “Cause she’s got the dandyruff. Makes sense.”
     “Yes, sweet one, it’s the dandruff.” A wicked thought began pounding in her head, and before she knew it, Gwyneth was spilling lies. “Frost hasn’t always been white, Beat. You know that? No? Used to, back in 1603, I believe, frost was a brilliant gold color. Every morning men and women would wake up to a light dusting of gold, just lovely in the sunrise, and it was warm to the touch. But one day, Sir Edward Florent of Flora and his squire Peeping Joe from Boston went out and changed everything.”
     “You’re lying.”
     “Am not. GOD’S HONEST TRUTH IN ALL CAPS AM NOT. If I’m lying then He can just backspace and erase me out of existence and right off this page.”
     Beatrice wrinkled her brow so heavily that Gwyneth thought the poor girl was turning into an ogre. Her eyes crossed and Gwyneth had to fight every urge in her body to resist slapping her simple sister. Not everyone understands meta, Father had said one night after a rousing game of lawn croquet. They were in the den, sipping on cognac and eggnog, enjoying stimulating conversation and dabbling in the meanings of it all. Beatrice had tried to keep up, but as always, her sister was ever so slow and Gwyneth had soon lost her patience. It was then that Father requested her out in the vestibule for a private conversation.
     “Go on, then,” Beatrice said, enchanted. They sat on their favorite bench, its wrought-iron sides twisting and spiraling in no discernible pattern. It was one of the few things that they shared an interest in. Gwyneth fingered the tiny gargoyles perched on the armrests, collecting her thoughts. 
     “Okay, but only because you’re my sister. So, Sir Edward and Peeping Joe set out on a grand quest to find a mystical fount, the Font of Cheese or somesuch name, not really sure. Anyway, this fount was supposed to give all who drank from it a boon of unimaginable proportions. Many had quested for the Font, but none had ever found it.
     “They traveled long months, over hill and under water, through cave and desert, until finally they happened upon an oracle. This oracle pointed them in the direction of the Font but sternly warned them not to ask for a boon, but only drink from its waters. They promised, but their fingers were crossed, so it didn’t really count, but the oracle didn’t know this, so she let them go. Then, two hours later, they found it. The Font of Cheese.
     “It was massive. A hundred times larger than Fathers fondue, sweet, golden water flowed everywhere. And there at its mouth stood the hag. Bent with age, fattened from cheese, and uglier than the toadfaced boy, the hag scowled a one-toothed grin at the riders. ‘What brings ye here,’ she asked.
     “‘We’ve come for the Font,’ said Sir Edward. The hag nodded. Why else would they’ve come? She knew what they were after, but for traditions sake, she had to make sure they were telling the truth. Honesty and all that. 
     “‘Aye, and you’ve found it, but stay the night first and in the morn I shall take thee to it.’ So they agreed, both being wearied from the road. And that night the hag--”
     “Aha!” Beatrice interrupted. “So she is a nightlady then!”
     Gwyneth gave her twin a thump on the thigh. “I’ve already told you no. No, she’s a hag, and an ugly one at that. She was a lady of ill repute, so to speak, just not like that.”
     Beatrice winked at some imaginary joke. “Okay, Gwyn. Okay.”
     Gwyneth sighed. “Don’t call me that. My name’s Gwyneth, not Gwyn. Do you want me to finish this story or not? I can just stop there if you’d rather.”
     “No, no, go on. Sorry.”
     “Good.” Gwyneth coughed. “Anyway, that night, while the two men slept, the hag wove a spell over them, and when they awoke their vision was changed. Instead of seeing the old woman, a beautiful and nubile maiden stood before them. ‘Erm, who’re you?’ asked Peeping Joe, stretching out the ache from his joints.”
     “‘I’m Ilia, sir, guardian of the Font of Cheese.’
     “‘What about the other woman?’ inquired Sir Edward, donning his cloak.
     “‘Other woman, sir? There’s just me.’
     “The two knights looked at one another and then exploded in laughter. ‘Aye, sure,’ said Peeping Joe. ‘Now you’re a wagonload better than that old ugly hag that met us here last night, I say. Wonder where she got off to?’
     “The maiden shrugged. ‘Would you care for some breakfast?’ The two men were in a hurry to get to the fount, and Sir Edward thanked her kindly, but refused.
     “‘Our breakfast will be from the flow of the Font, if you don’t mind.’ said Sir Edward.
     “And so Ilia led the two men up a winding trail and to the outflow. All the while, Peeping Joe continued to ridicule the hag from the previous night, claiming he’d suffered a night terror on her account. To his credit, Sir Edward remained silent. At the banks, Ilia moved off to the side and rummaged around through an Amish cedar chest that just so happened to be there. Finally, she withdrew two ceramic mugs. On one, the mighty house seal of Flora was emblazoned, a one legged chicken atop the shoulders of an angry werebear; on the other, as proud as its partner, was a single birthday candle painted in pinks and baby blues. Silently, Ilia gave each their respected cup and motioned for them to dip and drink their fill.
     “The two men knelt and dipped. The golden water filled the mugs, and each man quaffed the liquid. All at once, the veil lifted from Sir Edward’s eyes and he saw the hag for who she really was. Peeping Joe, though, remained under her spell, for his rudeness in the morning had irked the witch. ‘And now you each have a boon,’ said the hag. 
     “‘Mine’s simple, m’lady,’ said Peeping Joe. ‘I’d ask to remain here with you for all eternity. Your radiance is as glorious as the sun, if I may be so bold, and I’d be content just to remain here and to hold.’
     “Sir Edward glared at his squire, troubled by the man’s sudden rhapsody of poetry. Poetry was nothing to trifle with, Sir Edward thought, though he did not correct his squire. Ilia nodded, smiling that horrible one-toothed grin. ‘And you?’ she asked, turning to Sir Edward.
     “‘I’ll have your head, witch!’ And in a flash his sword was in his hand, steel glinting like fire in the golden light of the water. Peeping Joe bellowed a Noooo! The ceramic cups shattered on the cobbles. Ilia cocked her head and snickered. Sir Edward flew through the air, slashing wide, tearing through the hag’s aged neck. Off rolled her head, grin still on the face.
     “Peeping Joe stopped, suddenly confused, for the witches spell ended as her lifeblood spilled out. Water bubbled and churned, and in the quiet morning a faint whisper fell from the bodiless head.”
     Gwyneth stopped. She could almost hear Beatrice’s heart pounding. She licked her lips, suddenly regretting her lack of foresight. In the wintry air, her lips would be chapped for certain. After a respectable moment, Gwyneth continued.
     “‘Accursed. A cursssse. A cursssssseee.’ And then she died. Immediately, the Font of Cheese lost its radiance, and the head again transformed, only now to that of an even more beautiful maiden than before. Filled with remorse, Sir Edward turned to his heartbroken squire.
     “‘You must go and tell the world this tale, Peeping Joe. The consequences of my actions will be most severe.’”
     “‘And what about you?’ asked the squire.”
     “Sir Edward held out his soiled longsword, staring at the black blood on the blade. ‘Me? I shall bear my burden until I die. The Font is mine, and I must guard it. Now go.’
     “And so squire Peeping Joe of Boston fled from the Font. The waters were white and silver now, their gold color long gone. He rode all day and night, stopping only when he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer. And when he awoke the next morning, the frost was white.”
     The two girls sat in silence for a second. Gwyneth smiled at her fancy. Beatrice was frowning, rubbing at her moustachio again. “Who was the nightlady?”
     “Ah, see, Beat, now hers is a tragedy. She was once the fairest maiden in all the world, but a small-minded and heavy-handed stepfather put a curse on her, changing her from ideal to hideous. She ran away from home and lived alone all her years. Eventually she learned she, too, could do magicks, but by then she’d forgotten what her true face looked like.”
     The Ten O’Clock Gong reverberated above, deep and sonorous. Beatrice shot up like she’d been struck by lightning. “Brunch, sister! I wonder if we’ll have poached eggs and marmalade pecans?”
     “I don’t--” but Beatrice was already zooming down the hedgerow, moving as fast as her pudgy legs would carry her. Gwyneth yawned, rolled her eyes, and took off in pursuit.

An attempt at humor, plus a fun myth for your weekend.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

there's a monster in my belly, a poem

there's a monster in my belly,
it's colored black and brown.
and every time i'm up about
i think it goes to town.

its claws are sharp and hairy,
they scratch around inside.
poke! screech. twang! snip.
they shear away my pride.

its eyes are always open,
like mine, they're green and blue.
they soak up their surroundings,
and take especial note of you.

its teeth are razor blades and thorns,
made for chomping right through stone.
i've been bitten a time or twelve,
though it's never hit a bone.

from time to time it travels,
but never far it goes,
just up the spine to my brain
or slithers way down to my toes.

i wish, i wish, i wish times three,
that this monster'd leave and let me be,
that it'd sneak off to a closet or under a bed,
and let me sleep and rest my head.


My stomach hurts.  Chronically.  Keisha fell and hurt her neck a few days ago; she's been hardly able to turn her head.  She chiropractered it up yesterday, and is going back again today.  Hopefully she gets well soon.

Halloween was a success.  Avonlea was most beautiful, I must say.  She went as an artist.  She even painted her own pieces, though she was no fan of dipping her hands or feet in the paints.  Still, Mommy & Daddy insisted.  We then framed each of the pieces on some colored poster boards.  Then we took a black drape and taped up all the artwork.  We created a sign that said "Museum de Avonlea."  Keisha dressed up as a museum curator.  I dressed up as an avant-garde art critic.  I splatter painted a onesie and Avonlea wore it, black pants, a beret, and a penciled moustache.   She was quite adorable, though she was not a fan of the 'stache being drawn on.  All in all, Halloween was a success.

Happy Movember to all participants, as well as NoShave participants.  And super happy NaNoWriMo to those brave souls.  Perhaps next year I'll jump aboard again.  We'll see.