Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Merlin, Gandalf and Dumbledore (Redux)

As soon as the last Grail meeting ended, Merlin slipped out the door and lit a cigarette. One of the squires came over.

“Good boy. Is my horse ready?”

“Yes, sir. But are you certain you should go now? Their crusade could begin any month.”

“Listen, that hobbit isn’t going to pull this off by himself and Arthur knows what he’s doing. I’ve got two weeks vacation from Camelot and if anyone gets suspicious I’ll blame it on Morgana. You can blame anything on the old bitch. Two weeks is all I need to ride to Rivendell, from there around the cliffs and I make the necessary cameo to inspire and point him in the right direction again. I swear, if I didn’t show up regularly they’d wander into Las Vegas before they hit the Misty Mountains.”

He combed his beard with his fingers, changed his pointy blue hat for one with a rim and swapped his staff for that sword the elves dropped. Then he turned back to the squire.

“How do I look?”

“Exactly the same, sir.”

“Good, good. If Hogwartz calls again tell them I’m not playing phone tag anymore. If they want me to be head wizard, I want time and a half plus a pension that doesn’t rely on disgusting jellybeans. Playing two roles is hard enough.”

Then the wizard hustled to the stables, mumbling something about how having to make so many dramatic appearances had turned his hair white.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Tripping Brachiosaurs

You can rob a person, you can rob a party, you can even rob the military up north – and if you can get away with it, go ahead. But if you wanted to score a decent haul this age, you hit convoys. It’s been the way since the first time some farmer bought up enough hadrosaurs to drag his stuff across the desert and sell at an indecent mark-up.

Their investment invented my economic class, vis-a-vie, the entrepreneur. Us. They buy hadrosaurs, and I buy a bunch of sleeker sauropods that can outrun them, get my people onto the wagons, and overtake them. Presto: I’ve got enough food to last the frost and can sell the rest at whatever mark-up I deem appropriate.

We inspired a third economic class: the security guard. That’s our natural enemy, or some would say predator, though one hasn’t eaten me yet. These were triclopes and satyrs the farmers hired to ride with their convoys so that I could sneak up behind them, knock them unconscious, and toss them overboard. That is, to my experience, their only function. I always considered them overpaid.

The farmers eventually agreed with me, and put their pay to buying bigger sauropods. The brachiosaur was the worst invention I ever met. They carry so many goods that there are few to a fleet, and thus no stragglers for us to pick off, and they’re so big that it’s very difficult to sneak up to one and climb aboard. They also absolutely always crush you if you slip when you’re climbing. I muchly prefer the security guard to the brachiosaur.

Still, brachiosaurs were a depression in our economy, not an apocalypse. Deluxe-class sauropods are superstitious and spook easy. First time I ever successfully robbed one, a monsoon did all the prep. No sooner did lightning strike the coast, then that big lizard dumped its load and stampeded off. After that, my fellow entrepreneurs and I took to setting off explosives, unleashing deluxe-class carnivores in the area, or one time, climbing all the way up to the brachiosaur’s peanut of a head and banging a gong in its ear. Scared the sin out of it, and we picked up what they dropped.

But farmers are hard people. After a year of what I deemed a spirited enterprise, they began loading their brachiosaurs with fake cargo. We’d spook the critters, they’d drop their loads, and we’d rush in to crack open containers full of zombies. Half of my associates were devoured in the first of these practical jokes.

The farmers began sending two fleets a week, and we had no idea which had goods and which had biters in them. It was supposed to scare us off. We’re entrepreneurs, though, and refused to submit to temporary market forces. We jumped as many as we could regardless, and you know how the farmers responded?

They sold tickets. We struck in a few regular zones, you see, and the farmers had them scouted such that they put in seats and made twice as much as they would off of their crops from all the well-to-dos who thought’d be funny to see my fellow businessfolk devoured. Last week, as I sprinted from a fresh crate of zombies, I spied a woman in a flowing white dress on the ridge above. She was applauding the zombie team.

So tomorrow we’re taking the next step. We’ll ignore the brachiosaurs, and the cargo. We’ll still show up on time, though, because we’re going to rob the damned audience.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Conjugations of Blaze

Have you ever considered what happens to a word when it’s let loose in the wild? The weird relationships people force it to have? The way its meanings slosh around? If you haven’t, please take a moment and consider “blaze.”

Blaze (noun): a particularly bright fire. Duh.

Blaze (verb): to burn with particular intensity. Sure.

Blazing (verb): to burn with particular intensity, in the present tense. Feel like you’re on safe ground? But there’s another present tense verb form.

Blazin' (verb): to smoke marijuana. Now you’ll say there’s a kind of burn involved, but then explain these next two to me.

Blazed (verb): to have burned with particular intensity. Add a ‘d’ and it conjugates to the past tense; but had an ‘r’ and…

Blazer (noun): a semi-formal jacket. This is never purposefully on fire. Never you mind mutations like…

Trailblazer (noun): a basketball player situated in Portland, Oregon.

Blaz (adjective): a particular shade of a color, such as blue.

Blaise (noun): a divine gambler.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: The Restless Dead

“There’s a group of triclopes, The Restless Dead. I don’t know what you’d call them – a denomination? They used to be all over the north, during all the foot-wars. Miserable opponents. They’re a head taller than us, and half a head than a satyr, and quick as either of us. In the few times they were overrun and truly losing battles and with few members left to a regimen, The Restless Dead were trained to collapse in battlefields, near piles of fallen soldiers. They were trained to lie there, unflinching, breathing so slowly they were one with the deceased. Sometimes they catch a horseman, trip down his ride and all. Sometimes they waited until the whole battle was over, for the medics or scavengers from the victory’s army, and would slaughter them. It was last year that eleven-or-so Restless Dead got up the night after their army of two hundred were routed, waited for the camp to be drunk, and let them wake up to find all their captains with their eyes slit and a third hole driven into their skulls. Might be a tall tale, but it can stick with you.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"The Last House in the Sky" Done at 92,000 Words

Five months of work.

Yesterday I completed the rough draft of The Last House in the Sky. The document weighs in at just under 92,000 words, a lighter fighter than The House That Nobody Built. The day was a tenuous fugue of a deep-lung cold and syndrome pains locking my joints, but there were only two chapters left, and the characters were already unfolding their story so well. This may mean I'll have the edit the heck out of the ending later, but it's done for now.

What is a rough draft? To me it's the beginning, the middle, and the end. There is no plot skeleton left; every scene is written. It's covered in notes and bold marks on things to change or look over later, but there is a complete text. It's what needs to be cleaned up into a presentable draft later.

Also, if I died and you published it, I'd come back and haunt you. Please don't do that.

I can't discuss the plot specifics yet, but in celebration for closing this draft, I wanted to tease three things:

1. We'll find out why the three most infamous thieves in the world
                  turned themselves in on the same morning.

2. We'll learn what killed off the gremlins.

3. One of our heroes will fulfill his dream of riding
             an ankylosaurus into battle against a giant robot.

Thanks for all the support while I've been writing it. This morning I'm sleeping in, but I'm already aching to edit.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: Nine Pointers to My Younger Self About Love

1. Just be yourself. This is not because women will be attracted to who you actually are – it is that they will not be attracted to your fake selves either, and pretending will do long term mental damage to you. If you are just yourself, you will be slightly mentally healthier with no real variation in your chances at a relationship. Also, you could exercise more.

2. She has never “got it.” Go pick it up for her right now.

3. If you are waiting for her to ask, she is waiting for you to ask.

4. Never call her on her shit. Don’t expose the “got it” routine, or her waiting to be asked. Silently play along. You cannot win the fight that will ensue. There are only various flavors of losing.

5. Don’t worry so much about shared interests. Beyond the necessary few around which you’ll bond, she only has to be willing to give you the space you need to enjoy stuff alone. Meanwhile, you should engage in lots of her favorite passive activities, like holding yarn while she knits or watching Dr. Who. You will rapidly develop the life skill of being able to mentally tune out while sitting, enabling you to endure anything that pleases her. You’ll be able to sit outside a theatre during Winter for three hours for movie tickets and not really mind. Feel free to let her think you mind and she owes you, but do so in moderation.

6. You are expected to be single-minded. When she wants to fuck, this should be all you desire. When she wants to go to bed, you should be narcoleptic. When she wants to talk, you should be able to parse her tone to figure out subjects. She is the diverse unique butterfly. You are pollen. Harbor a complex internal life so that romance does not kill your soul, but recognize that at any given time she thinks all men are idiots and does not trust you with two motivations at the same time, nor does she like the idea of you having any other motivation than the one she wants you to have.

7. 1-6 are void if she feels like it.

8. Society scorns sexually inactive men. Single women are sad; single men are faggot assholes who are less than human. A female virgin is, at worst, annoying to the man who is failing to get into her panties. A male virgin can be pulling a bus load nuns out of a fire and people will still go, “Yeah, but...” If your experiences lead you to desire being single or celibate, then consider how much you like society. If your experiences lead you to feel society is full of people you’d rather never see again anyway, then feel free to abstain from romance. You can’t stay asleep in a bed with another person anyway.

9. 8 is void if she feels like it. You better have those tickets.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bathroom Diagram: Why Sharks Are Perfect

Everyone should do their duty to expose science to the masses. Recently it was addressed that I haven't done my part, and so I'm taking this Sunday to explain a fine principle of marine biology. The following is an educational diagram for why sharks are just about perfect.

If you require a deeper argument, consider: it constantly swims towards A) eating or B) making little sharks. As you can plainly see, the shark is as close to an eating-things tube as it gets without turning into a worm. And no one thinks worms are cooler than sharks.
Counter est. March 2, 2008