Monday, November 30, 2009

Now I’ve seen everything [twice]

A couple of weeks ago a prescription drug to grow longer eyelashes started showing up in commercials on tv. You read that right. A prescription drug to grow longer eyelashes.

Oh, and the possible side effects that are announced while showing film of long lustrous eyelashes are:

Increased hair growth in other areas of the face, redness, itching, swelling, bacterial keratitis from the product itself or a contaminated applicator, darkening of the eyelid skin [possibly reversible] increase in the brown pigmentation of the eye [probably permanent] and changes in the internal pressure of the eye.

That's all. Just those little niggly minor side effects.

But won't it be worth it to have longer eyelashes? I mean it's not like there's ANY OTHER WAY to get longer lashes…….apparently all the mascara and false eyelashes in the world have disappeared into the ether and this is the only way to have eyelashes that will make you the envy of anyone who gazes upon your glamorous puss.

But the killer thing? This isn't the strangest beauty campaign that I heard about this month.

The next thing that I'm going to invite you to consider with me is not the product itself, but the commercial and advertising campaign for the product.

The product is a cleanser designed for daily use to remove dirt and makeup from the face.

If you notice that the music introducing the commercial is from I LOVE LUCY there will be no doubt in your mind that a lot of people in the fifties saw this particular campaign.
[here's the video]

In the commercial the cleansing properties of the product are demonstrated by putting radioactive dirt on a model's face and verifying the dirt with a Geiger counter.

[I'll wait while you read that part again]

Then the announcer calmly states that they tested the leading facial cleanser, complexion soap and Dorothy Gray Cold cream to cleanse the model's face of radioactive dirt and the cold cream worked two and a half times better than the other leading products.

The commercial doesn't say that the radiation no longer registered on the Geiger counter. They just left any details of residual radiation out completely.

So of course after seeing these two things together my mind wove a little time travel fantasy.

What if the model who had already been exposed to radiation showed up in our time plane?

What if she wanted to grow longer eyelashes?

What if the eyelash prescription went ballistic when exposed to radiation?

We could have a model running around out there with really itchy dark brown eyes that bulge from her overly hairy face who can suddenly shoot laser beams out of her eyes at will.

But the sad reality of that scenario would probably be that as soon as she shot the lasers her twelve foot long eyelashes would catch fire.


The things we do for beauty.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Orange you glad it’s over?

Can I get a woo hoo? Because after this there will be no more NaNo posts. I'll be going back to my usual stream of consciousness silliness.

Why? Because Nano is done for me. The challenge isn't officially over until December 1, but I finished today and I'm feeling an odd mixture of emotions about it.

For one thing my 50,000 word "novel" is a hot mess….laughing….oh some of it is good. Some of it is better than good and some of it is stunning. But a lot of it is just awful…….and I mean really really awful. And until I add at least another thirty thousand words the story won't be wrapped up. But the challenge is done and I'll be able to shape it into something great at my own speed now.

Working at the speed of NaNo was freeing, but it also left a lot of room for letting the characters run off at the mouth. I found myself typing things that I didn't even know that I THOUGHT let alone that I would let a character say on the page. But they did. Hey they were under the gun so they just said whatever the heck they wanted. And some of my characters had the tendency to be preachy when it came to human rights. They were of course preaching about alien rights, but it all boils down to the same thing in the end.

Summary: An Earthling and a Cirilian are ripped from their respective worlds and wake tethered together on a space ship bound to who knows where. They are pushed beyond reasonable limits by their captors and find that they must cooperate or perish. Over time the two stop trying to kill one another and bond. Unfortunately one of their captors becomes obsessed with the female of the pair and becomes jealous of the very bond that his experiment has created. When he goes mad and violates the safety protocols put in place to protect his race from contamination from the alien captives and tries to enter the sealed enclosure where the captives are being held his lab partner intervenes and is killed in the ensuing struggle. As the struggle takes place the captives take advantage of a door left ajar. They run down a hall and find to their shock that they are not on a spaceship but in some kind of laboratory. They find a door and burst through it into a landscape so alien that it makes them light headed. As alarms sound behind them they know that they must either flee into the dizzying unknown or go back into the cage.

Steeling their minds against the worrying brown sky they rush headlong into the alien night.


I finally found a stream. I put Marcus down on the bank and explored the water to see if it was drinkable. The landscape still made my eyeballs hurt. Dirt is not supposed to be yellow. Sky is not supposed to be burnt umber. And there didn't seem to be any animal life. Not even insects flitting around the water. I didn't know how to test the water other than tasting it, so I cupped my hand and brought some to my lips.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

I looked around and didn't see anyone, but I wasn't foolhardy enough to drink something after a disembodied voice had warned me not to. I've read plenty of fiction in my life and I understand the concept of portent.

I told some friends that the two biggest jumps in my word count were 1) when I woke up one morning and was suddenly channeling Gene Roddenberry [it makes me giddy with delight that spell check knows how to spell Roddenberry] and 2) when I let the captives loose on the planet surface.

When I started channeling Roddenberry and truth be told also Rod Serling….. [damn spell check doesn't know how to spell Serling….that's a major oversight] I started shaping the moral character of the beings populating the worlds I was playing on. And once that happened, hey I had a lot to write about. And it's interesting how easy it is to show moral fiber. You don't have to just drone on and on. It was amazing to me how you can get an absolute feel for a character in just a few lines. And since I've been writing very short fiction for a while, there are places that I fit whole universes into five or six hundred words.

[Which just killed me since this whole thing is about word count]

When I let the captives loose on the planet it opened up the story so much for me because I could introduce new characters and a whole new civilization into the mix. Oh and once I introduced Crenna, an evil rogue alien who was supposed to be dead, oh….what fun.

Four really great things that came of doing this insane challenge were 1) I met a bunch of nice new people 2) I now possess whole chapters that I can polish and use as stand alone pieces 3) while I was working on the challenge I got a bunch of new ideas for flash pieces and wrote them as well and 4)I found out that the sci fi pool is a lot of fun to play in.

So some of it was fun, a lot of it was productive, and it definitely pumped up my creativity.

But would I do NaNo again?

NO. Absolutely not.

I think that Chris Baty is an awesome person and the whole idea of Nanowrimo is a great one, especially the involvement of young writers and the boost to get people to let go of the idea of "some day" and grab hold of the idea of "now or never"……. but only a young single guy would put something this rigorous at the beginning of the holiday season.

I want to start a movement to change NaNo to March. March would be good. March is the dead of winter and there aren't a lot of other things going on in March.

Ok, here's where I shout "WHO'S WITH ME?" and we all swarm out into the street chanting change NaNo to March! ……

But in this case let's swarm out to a coffee shop, I could really use some caffeine and a big slice of chocolate cake…….

Who's buying?

Oh, and woo hoo! I'm done.

[now I need a nap]

[but someone please buy me the cake first, ok?]

Here's a link to Anton Gully's story "Divine Rage" regarding NaNo.... it's hilarious..... and succinct.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Unavailable -- flash fiction

The phone ringing brought me out of a sleep so deep that when I broke the surface I had to gasp a long breath into my burning lungs.

The arm that I'd been lying on flooded with blood and the awakening pins and needles shrieked as I rolled to check the display. I shook some life into the limb and flipped open the phone to look at the missed call.

"Unavailable." Well I don't do unavailable. Unavailable used to mean a reporter trying to get an exclusive, or a producer trying to get me to love a project, or a woman just trying to get me.

Now it means a bill collector.

How far the mighty have fallen. 3:54 in the frickin afternoon and the best place to be is abed. And alone no less. I slowly slid my feet to the floor and cradled my head in my hands until I could hold my eyes open against the watery afternoon sun. The pain in my head hadn't been helped by sleeping. Nothing helped it these days.

This is just an excerpt now because I'm pleased to announce that Unavailable has been included in Flash an anthology Edited by Chris Bartholomew and Published under the Static Movement imprint.

You can purchase the book HERE.

This week's list of fridayflash at Mad Utopia

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ryan “anything for laughs” Stiles

I love Ryan Stiles and I'm not afraid to say so.

Remember when I warned you that I was likely to deviate from the norm during the NaNo challenge and post a link to my favorite video of all time?

By the way I'm holding up JUST FINE as long as you pay no attention to the fact that I woke to find myself making notes with jam on the wall in my dining room at 4:00am this morning while mumbling about aliens…..

But that's not what this post is about. It's about things that make me laugh.

There are a lot of things that make me laugh. But for the most part there aren't a lot of things on the internet that make me laugh more than once.

But what I want to share with you is something that makes me laugh no matter how many times I see it.

It's this video of a skit from Whose Line is it Anyway featuring one of the funniest things that I've ever seen Ryan Stiles do. All of these guys …..well except for Drew Carey…..[I know that's mean and catty please just deal with it and move on]……. are so incredibly talented and they're all great together but Ryan really shines in this particular skit.

Anytime I'm feeling blue I watch this clip and it cheers me no end. [no end=infinity]

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Here's the VIDEO.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Button, button who’s got the button?

To celebrate my brain being fried by the NaNo experience I'm sporting THREE buttons on my winter coat at the moment.

"I write therefore I am"
"I believe in j"
"Nano '09″

The first one so I will remember why I started this insane challenge,
The second one because judy is going to finish this thing dammit!
And the third one so I can blame NaNo for any possible traffic violations.
The way it works is the literature loving officer will pull me over, look at my wild eyes and frantic hair, see the buttons, realize the pressure that I'm under and say it's ok Karen, I'll let you off with a warning this time….. but that excuse only works in November……..

..….for all other months you have to use your boobs.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Fame, no fortune

I had the oddest thing happen to me a couple of days ago. I was in a store looking at light bulbs and I saw a man rushing at me out of the corner of my eye.

When he got about four feet away he said "You're Karen Schindler! I love you!" which was kind of odd since I have a good memory for faces and I was sure that I'd never seen him before in my life.

He closed the distance between us and when he got right next to me he started telling me everything he loved about Miscellaneous Yammering.

I listened for a while and when he paused for breath I stuck out my hand and said

"Hi, I'm Karen and you are?"

The whole thing was surreal.

I felt like a rock star or something.

I didn't stop grinning for hours.

An interesting thing that came of the encounter [besides a gigantic boost to my ego] was a suggestion that the man made.

He asked me to put buttons on the blog that took people to my funny stuff, to my flash fiction and to his favorite piece … Tail lights and Testosterone.

So I did.

They're now at the top of the right hand column under Easy Navigation.

Now here's the part that boggles my mind.

I've had people from near and far contact me via email about things that I've written. People I know in real life read me and often talk to me about something I wrote that they particularly loved.

My regular readers make my day when they take the time to comment on something I've written and the readers and writers from the flash group from #fridayflash are pretty amazing at commenting too. And I do have a lot of Ohio readers, so Ohio knows who I am on the web.

But to have someone recognize me just when I was out and about and then to take the time to stand and tell me about looking forward to reading some new fiction that I've written, or about anticipating the next wacky thing that I'll talk about on the blog just blew me away.

I guess it was a good idea of Alan's to put my picture on the blog. [he's from Australia]

And I wouldn't have done it if Estrella hadn't made me into pop art. [she's from Romania]

And I wouldn't have started blogging in the first place if it wasn't for Sir. [he's from Virginia]

And if I hadn't started blogging I wouldn't have met all of you wondrous guys either. [you know where you're from]

But it's really cool to know that folks in my near neck of the woods appreciate me as well.

And I found that out because Dave took the time to rush up to me in a store and tell me he likes my work and that he thinks that I'm funny.

It was very cool to be recognized like that.

Surreal, but cool.

And so I just wanted to say thanks and that you made my day Dave. [he's from Ohio]

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just another night in tight jeans -- flash fiction

Invest in a great sound system was the best advice I ever got when I became a long hauler. I don't know how truckers who prefer silence get by on the amount of sleep we live on without "It's raining men" blasting in their cabs in the wee hours of the morning.

I know that I would have plowed this road train into a couple of mountains by now if I didn't own Disco's Greatest Hits. When my eyes start to droop I just crank up the Weather Girls, channel my inner gay boy from the eighties and sing my imaginary, flamboyant, magenta silk covered heart out.

It keeps me awake long enough to get to the next greasy spoon.

Speaking of which, I could see the lights from Sal's up ahead. And not a minute too soon. I was starved and really in need of a bathroom. I wanted the bathroom to be followed in short order by a huge plate of eggs benedict served with a nice glass of dry chardonnay.

Since what I was pulling my rig into was a truck stop, not a cozy little bistro, what I would settle for is a semi clean bathroom, a strong cup of coffee in a mug that might as well be a tin cup for all of the elegance it possessed and enough fat, grease and gristle to choke another couple of my arteries into oblivion.

At a truck stop a semi clean bathroom all by itself earns four stars; strong coffee adds a fifth. Sal's gets five stars. I like Sal's and I like Sal. She's a pip. And she always has a story for me.

As I stepped out of my rig, two teens looked up and checked me out. I smiled at them and one smiled back while nudging the other.

They walked along behind me, apparently thinking that being sixteen also makes your conversations inaudible by anyone over the age of forty.

I didn't hear part of it, but the part I heard made me laugh to myself. The smiling one said something, and the other replied "No wedding ring, but dude, she's old. She does have a sweet little ass though."

I filtered his statements through the appropriate brain waves and took the good away from the encounter.

Smiling, I swung my sweet little ass through the door and saw Sal behind the counter talking to a big hairy yahoo in a ten gallon hat.

Sal looked up and grinned.

"Hey, Chelsea! You got one?"

"Yeah, 'We Polka' - just saw it though, didn't talk to them, but I think it speaks for itself. You got one?"


"Nice. Back story?"

"You know it. I'll tell you while you eat. You want coffee?"

I nodded and went on into the ladies room. I took the grease pencil hanging on a string and added "We Polka" to the wall.

Sal had been collecting vanity license plates for years. If you saw one and put it on the wall, you got a free fill up on your coffee. If you had a back story, real or made up, you got pie.

Sal made great pie and truckers have a lot of time on their hands. There are a lot of pretty wild tales floating around about some of the people who own vanity license plates.

I did what I needed to do and went back out to the restaurant.

The big hairy dude had something sitting at his table perched on a couple of old newspapers. As I got closer I thought that the something he had looked like a numbat. But then I decided it couldn't be a numbat. They're protected under law since they're endangered. But, no when I got right by his table, sure enough, it was a numbat.

The yahoo leered up at me and said, "Hey hot stuff. How are you tonight?"

I decided to ignore the hot stuff remark and asked him about the numbat. He explained to me that he was working on a plan to breed them and sell them to business owners to use as natural exterminators for cockroaches.

He said that Sal had asked him to wait while she looked over his proposal so she could give him a down payment.

Curiosity satisfied, I disengaged figuring Sal had called the cops by now on this looney toon since a) he was trying to illegally sell protected animals b) numbats only eat termites and c) Sal didn't suffer fools gladly, especially big dumb hairy ones trying to part her from her hard earned cash.

I sidled on past him, retrieved my coffee from the counter and selected a booth in the back that was out of his line of sight but had a great view of the parking lot. I grinned when I saw the cops arrive and leave shortly thereafter with the protesting numbnut in cuffs, the numbat in a big have a heart carrier.

Sal came with my free refill, took my order and gave me a paperback to read while I waited.

She came back with my food and told me the back story to "snouts."

Apparently the couple who owned the license plate raised pot bellied pigs and in their house on any given day there were snouts and arseholes as far as the eye could see.

But arseholes was already taken.

I enjoyed that idea, my food and the rest of my conversation with Sal.

Full and empty in the right proportions, I hauled my rig back out onto the open road, Weather Girls raining men all the way……

The list of 46 stories at Mad Utopia

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Danger Will Robinson! Danger!

My marbles are in danger. Serious danger. I don't have any idea what possessed me to try to write a novel in a month with everything else that I have going on in November. I'm making progress but I don't think that I'll actually have a novel when I'm done and hit the 50,000 word mark. I think that what I'll have is a bunch of really interesting scenes featuring the same characters with big gaps in between that I can then go back and flesh out into a novel at a later date. And apparently according to the NaNo pep talks that's alright. This challenge is more about getting the ideas on paper as a first draft than it is about crafting a complete and compelling story that would be ready to shop to a publisher as soon as I type THE END.

It's a weird way to work, but in some ways it's very freeing. My inner editor hasn't reared her head even once in the process. My inner worry wart has made a couple of appearances when I go a couple of days without adding to my word count but I just give her a cookie and she shuts up.

But the weirdest thing is that I've actually written a bunch of new stories this month and submitted them to magazines.

I had an awesome day Monday when I found out via email that three of my pieces will be published in December and January in different magazines. And a fourth piece is slated for publication both online and in a print anthology at the end of 2010.

So I'm producing like mad and being published fairly prolifically.


Maybe having my marbles shaken loose by the madness of NaNo is a good thing after all.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Babies and toddlers and goats…….oh my!

I've always had this thing where babies launch themselves at me. They can't help it. It's like I'm a big beaming beacon and they just have to be in my arms or something. ….which really came as a surprise the FIRST time it happened with a stranger's baby because I was at work and waiting on a customer [retail job in high school] and her child actually leaped out of her arms into mine. I managed to catch him gracefully and held him for a bit while his mom did the oh my gosh did you see that thing ….he's never done anything like that….etc …etc….to everyone standing nearby. Then after I extracted my hair from his mouth where he was busily trying to cut a new tooth on it, I gave him back and he started to cry. So, I had to hold him and let him chomp on my hair the whole time I helped his mom find new shoes and then when we were done I could hear him crying all the way through the store after they left my department.

So this weekend when I was walking through the grocery store and a little bald headed big eared one toothed tot launched himself out of his shopping cart at me I wasn't surprised. His mom was, but I wasn't. And I know the visual that comes from that description isn't appealing, but oh my gosh was he cute. And since my hair is short now he didn't have anything to chomp on so except for a little drool on my lapel I came away from the encounter unscathed and smiling hugely.

Later that day I was driving to the park still basking in baby exuberance and noticed a couple of floppy eared dogs in the car in front of me running back and forth in the back of a smallish SUV. There's nothing odd about dogs in a car especially dogs in a car near the park. Hundreds of people walk their dogs in the park every day. But what is unusual is GOATS in a car. Because the dogs in the car in front of me weren't actually dogs, but miniature goats! Two miniature goats running back and forth looking out all of the windows seeing what they could see. It was adorable.

And speaking of adorable. There is an age when little girls LOVE the color purple. There is an age when little girls love tiaras[um…some girls never outgrow that one] And everyone needs sunglasses.

So when I got to the park and saw a toddler wearing these:


I decided that whoever invented them was probably a millionaire within a week.....a gazillionaire once they added the glitter....and wished I'd thought of it first.

[This has been an update of the things that swirl around in my brain. The thing that occurred to me when I was typing the first baby story was that he'd be grown now and only sixteen years younger than me. Wouldn't it be funny if I ran into him now? It would be like that scene in Here comes Mr. Jordan when the couple meets again after Joe's soul is put into a new body and the love interest looks at him and says ……"I don't know what it is…'s just something familiar in your eyes……." ]

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mid to moderate skill level -- flash fiction

He studied one of the creatures that he had received in his Build your own zoo kit with a magnifying lens and all six of his very alert eyes. It was hideous. All pink and smooth with two large masses in the center of its upper torso. It had two puny eyes on either side of what he assumed was a nose, but he didn't see how it could possibly use such a useless appendage to bring sustenance to the slash below the nose that he assumed was a mouth.

The second creature was dark and hairy like a shrimba. It had no lumps on its upper torso but sported a strange appendage in its lower region that may have been a deformed fifth limb or a small trunk of some sort. Jalri didn't see how it could use such an appendage to reach leaves from the trees he had planted in the enclosure per the instructions that he had received ages ago. You have to let the enclosure acclimate or your specimens die right away. This was Jalri's third attempt and he was determined to get it right this time. The instructions said that the creatures were omnivores, but one of the tips in the back of the catalog hinted that you could make them more docile by feeding them only plant matter.

Jalri was heartened by the jabbering cheeps and chirps that came from the enclosure while he was getting ready for bed. This morning he had seen the creatures cooperating in building a hut from the cut up limbs and string that he had left laying around for them to find. You had to give them something to do or they sickened and died. This current set seemed to be thriving. He had high hopes of breeding them and sharing the litter with his friends.

The breeding instructions cost extra and you didn't get them until your specimens had survived for a month. Jalri glanced at his calendar and realized that his instructions would be arriving the day after tomorrow. He was really looking forward to breeding his specimens.

Jalri was awakened by grunting and moaning coming from the enclosure. He turned on the light and saw the creatures wrapped in mortal combat devouring one another's faces. He looked away sickened. He opened his top drawer and found the cyanide tablet, broke it in half and dropped it into the enclosure.

His mother snapped on the overhead light to his bedchamber. "Jalri, why are you up so late? Are you ill?"

"No mama, I'm fine but my creatures were killing each other again. I've taken care of it, poor little things. These humans are just too hard to care for. I think that I'll try something else from the blue planet catalog next time. Maybe something from the beginner skill level. I saw these things called 'sea monkeys' that looked quite interesting."

This week's list of 48 stories at Mad Utopia

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I salivate at the sight of mittens

My friend Leigh Barlow had that sentence as a tag to his email signature recently. I laughed and laughed and thought that it was brilliant. I instantly emailed him and asked if I could quote him. While waiting for a response [we live in different time zones] I typed it into google and found out that the line belonged to author/columnist Art Buchwald. In the mid sixties Buchwald wrote an extensive list of questions that satirized personality questionnaires. I salivate at the sight of mittens was one of his satiric true/false questions.

While researching the line I found a number of so called "verbal Rorschach tests" patterned on Buchwald's original list.

I'm going to share an amalgam of my favorite test questions with you.

Feel free to shout out true or false as you read the questions in the privacy of your own home.

Or if you're in public feel free to shout out both the question and the answer.

Go ahead. Tell them Karen said it was ok.

Here's the list:

I salivate at the sight of mittens

I prefer spiders to lima beans

I become homicidal when people try to reason with me

God rarely answers my letters

Sitting in the glove compartment makes me claustrophobic

It is hard for me to find the right thing to say when I find myself in a room full of mice

I am afraid of finding myself in a drawer or some other compromising place

When I was a child I was an imaginary playmate

My parents always faced catastrophe with a song

I think oatmeal is erotic

I have an uncontrollable urge to fondle other people's teeth

I am piqued when I find a rhinoceros in my bed

I am often bothered by thoughts of sex while having intercourse

It makes me angry to have people bury me

When I was younger I used to tease vegetables

I am easily wakened by the firing of cannons

I don't enjoy room temperature

I often line my pockets with hot cheese

My dog is someone else's best friend

Walls impede my progress

My toes are numbered

I've lost all sensation in my shirt

As an infant I had very few hobbies

And finally [this is just plain mean]

I like to put chameleons on plaid cloth

Feel free to tell me your favorite from the list and I just BET someone can guess mine.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Three seasons, no waiting

My daughter took me out for my birthday yesterday. We went to lunch and then on to the Botanical Gardens. We love a good adventure and yesterday our adventure began before we even got inside the glass house. If you've never tried to find a parking space in Wade Oval on a Sunday when the Art Museum is having an event, the Natural History Museum is having an event and the weather is so gorgeous that every person in Cleveland decided to go enjoy the green space for a while you haven't lived. We had a parking space safari. I lost count of how many times my daughter yelled "Oh! There's a space! No… hydrant." We got pretty giddy after circling the same three blocks for half an hour. As a matter of fact the parking space quest seemed so much like a driving video game that after a while I started driving on the sidewalk and taking out mailboxes and pedestrians just to pick up extra bonus points.

We finally found a space that was just outside the Botanical Gardens and I managed to parallel park my giant vehicle in it [with all bumpers and paint intact] even though a wee tiny car had just vacated the spot.

The glass house is even more spectacular now than it was a few years ago when I saw it last. The plants have matured and they have added to the varieties of things fluttering, creeping, flying and hopping around from limb to limb. The sheer number and beauty of the variety of blooming plants was astonishing. We walked in and were blown away. Both levels are filled with plants and animals indigenous to Costa Rica. The variety of butterflies alone was mesmerizing. There were places where there were giant SWARMS of butterflies flitting from plant to plant. I was surprised afterwards that my tongue didn't get sunburned from wandering around gawking at everything with my mouth open.

Standing there in the heat and humidity looking at all the blooms and butterflies was like having a big dose of summer tonic poured into my soul.

When we got done exploring the glass house we came back downstairs to get cool and have a snack. There was a room next to the snack bar with an exhibit of fancy floral arrangements. It was a competition of some sort and the entries ranged from artsy and interesting to just "interesting." We enjoyed looking at them, but the best part was the discreet little black and white sign that was on each and every plinth with the arrangements. It said "Please do not touch."

So of course, I had to pretend that I was going to touch the very first one. After that Rachel then announced as we stopped at each arrangement "Please do not touch"…….this might be a "you had to be there" moment, but trust me at the time it was pretty funny. So was standing in front of the potted trees that were placed around the room and "critiquing" their flow and form as though they were also in the competition. [see the "you might have had to be there" statement again]

Then we went outside and wandered the gardens. It was a gorgeous warm fall day complete with fall color, a swarming ant hill that we marveled at and Rachel videotaped, lots of fat squirrels gathering fall nuts and meandering paths full of fall leaves on the ground that crunched under our feet. Bliss. I took a gorgeous red maple leaf to press in a book for a souvenir of the day.

After we wandered around and saw everything that there was to see outside we exited the gardens via the gift shop.

In the gift shop it was Christmas. And I don't mean that they had a few Christmas items, I mean it was CHRISTMAS! Kind of over the top, the mad hatter came in for the day and helped us decorate we love Christmas and all its sparkly glittery glory, CHRISTMAS!

So in the space of three hours I got a huge dose of summer, a lovely fall adventure and a taste of winter to come.

Three seasons, no waiting……..what a lovely day.
[thanks baby]




Friday, November 6, 2009

The Key [rated R] -- flash fiction

I just don't get Simon's problem.

If I know him well enough to let him stick his tongue in my pussy why don't I also know him well enough to know what the damn key he wears around his neck is for?

And he never takes it off.

Not even when we shower.

It's just always there, on that pitiful piece of string, dangling on his hard chest just between his nipples. And since we're the same height when we wrap ourselves around each other face to face it dangles between mine. When we stand together in the shower slowly soaping one another I can reach everywhere that there is to be reached without losing mouth to mouth and nipple to nipple contact.

I love those moments. He's so naked then, so vulnerable. I love to trace the scars and nicks that map the history of Simon's past on his skin. All the little gashes, the bullet holes, the knife wounds. He has that one gouge on the flesh of his pecs that healed to a tiny perfect circle.

The first time we were in the shower and I eased over and inserted my nipple into it he moaned and almost came right then. Afterwards he said that I was the most imaginative woman that he'd ever been with.

But even with all my imagination I just could not figure out what that damn key could be for.

Standing over him now while he slept in this broiling Florida motel, the fan just barely stirring the dead air, his naked torso sporting a tent under the thin sheet that slashed across his waist I wondered do I love him?

Does he love me?

The scissors weighed heavy in my hand.

If I took the key would he forgive me? Would it be worth it?

But then he stirred, opened molten eyes, reached for me. I lay the scissors down, climbed onto the bed and straddled him.

Another day would be soon enough to decide.


This week's list of 48 stories at Mad Utopia

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ten Questions Tuesday with Aaron Bonk

Today Miscellaneous Yammering is thrilled to present the lovely and talented, limber, lithe, artistic, athletic, impossibly graceful and extremely sexy Aaron Bonk. Aaron is a performance artist and an object manipulation specialist…… in other words…..he juggles stuff….often while he's on stilts and what he's juggling is on fire or actively trying to slice him limb from limb. And did I mention he's funny? He's pretty funny…. [no pressure there Aaron] so with only a little further ado, we'll get started with today's installment of Ten Questions Tuesday…..[here comes the further ado]

K: Ok boys, light the fuse…….kids…… don't try this at home …… Aaron's a professional………

Minions, please protect your ears and hold your applause until today's guest is shot out of a cannon and safely deposited into his interview chair and then and only then, help me to welcome Aaron to the stage  by stomping, whistling and clapping [or just throw money].

K: Wow Aaron, nice job on sticking the landing…. thanks for coming in to see me today. I didn't know you were going to show up in costume. What do you call that character?

A: I call him"El Bonko!"  He's a lot of fun. 

K: Ah, and well, I must say, the transparent and mesh parts of your costume really give me some….how shall we say…insights into your talents.

A: Well, you know what they say……Merchandising, merchandising, merchandising...

K: Followed up by "location, location, location"….and I think you nailed that part pretty well too. Oh my, I think you're still smoking a little from the cannon….oh no wait, that's me… can I get a little water here, please?

K: Whew, ok, let's dive right into


K:  Aaron, you have a pretty dramatic hair cut, matched with dramatic facial hair.  When you're walking around in street clothes do people ever come up to you and ask you if you're a magician or musician or something?

A:  No.  Never out of the blue like that.  With a triangle Mohawk and matching soul patch, I think people just assume I'm an artist, punk or general freak.  It has helped greatly with recognition, though.  If they've seen my show, then they know it's me when they see me somewhere else.

K: Anybody who knows me knows that my three goals in life are to learn to juggle, play the guitar and levitate. You've got two of those down, are you working on the levitation?

A: I can levitate birds, but nobody cares.  That's actually a Stephen Wright joke.  Levitation doesn't really interest me much, though.  I want to FLY.  Douglas Adams said that to fly, you just have to throw yourself at the ground and manage to miss.  Unfortunately, I have really good aim.

K: You move around the country so that you don't have to stilt walk on ice and snow in Ohio during the winter.  Do you have a favorite place to perform?

A: Cleveland is my home and it is always so nice to go away for a while then come back and show people the performer I became while I was gone.  I've always received a great deal of support from my family, friends and the people of this city.  So, I love to go learn and grow and come back home and say, "hey, look what I brought you."  That's what the show at the Bridge Project was like--many people in that audience had seen my show before, but they had never seen THAT show.  Other than that, I love any warm place with sunshine and a beach.

K: Speaking of beaches, any plans to try juggling while surfing? Or would that be even beyond the skills of "El Bonko?"

A: I'd love to.  Actually, the 3 things I'd like to do in life are pilot a helicopter, learn stunt driving and learn to surf. Once I get the surfing down, I'm sure that the juggling will naturally follow.

K: The other night when I saw you use a bullwhip to cut a rose head away from the stem while a volunteer was holding it IN HIS MOUTH….that guy was so calm, and he kept mugging for the audience when you weren't looking, was he a ringer?

A: Nope.  He was just awesome.  I never use audience plants.  When I put that rose in the unsuspecting guy's mouth and then crack that whip for the first time and they find out what's about to happen--the genuine reaction is priceless.  And everyone reacts differently.  I love the beauty in that truth and the comedic potential is huge.

K: You use a lot of sharp things in your act. Have you ever been hurt on stage?

A: I've taken countless minor cuts and burns while performing, but once, while performing at a nightclub for a fetish party, I sliced the tip of my thumb off.  It didn't hurt right away because of the adrenaline, but the thumb has a major artery in it, so it started bleeding like crazy. I had about 5 minutes left in my act, so every now and again I would just turn around and nonchalantly suck all the blood off my thumb and continued going.  It was pretty dark and I played it off, so I don't think most people knew, but I bled all over the stage and my partner. Kind of worked with the event, though.

K: Have you ever gotten to a venue and found out that it was too short to stilt walk in?

A: Not quite.  I've found that there were really difficult spots to get through--like a long, low hallway between where I change into the stilt outfit and where I perform. But I usually discuss ceiling height before I get there.  If I need to I bring smaller stilts.

K: Your super power seems to be whirling objects in interesting ways.  When you become a professional juggler is there a ceremony where you stand around in a circle at midnight in hoods and the "elders" make you swear on your props [I know…but  balls was too obvious] to use your powers for good, not evil?

A: Absolutely not.  If I were prohibited from using my powers for evil, I don't think I would be in this business. Wink wink, nudge nudge...

K: If your life were a comic book what would it be called?

A: Probably "the Juggler."  At least, that would be my superhero nickname.  The Juggler would be like a batman-kind of hero--no supernatural ability, just really badass skills and slick gadgets.  All the different juggling props would do different things--exploding clubs and whatnot.  I used to pretend this a lot as a kid.  Okay, it was last week.

And finally,

K: You say you are determined to teach me to juggle……I'd be willing to try a little hands on experimenting. So…..can I handle your balls? [I know! But I refrained the first time]

A: Sure, but you've no idea where they've been. 

K: Aaron thanks so much for coming in to play with me today. To show my appreciation I'd like to present you with this custom three inch wide orange and neon green glow in the dark Miscellaneous Yammering garter to use during your cruise ship voyages. I sewed a little pocket into it that's big enough for room key cards, money orders or deeds to any old  Spanish villa that a lady might have lying around.  Wear it in good health and hopefully it will garner a lot of currency for you.  I'll enjoy picturing you wearing it when you bare your well muscled thigh on stage like you did the other night.

[ok, you guys are going to have to give me a minute]



Aaron performs all around the country. Here's a link to a few videos at his website of him performing.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

I’m on the NaNo train, and it just left the station

Stephen King said, "I don't think my books would've been as successful as they are if the readers didn't think they were in the hands of a true crazy person. When I start a story, I don't know where it's going."

I know some people started writing at midnight last night since that was the official beginning of NaNo, or National Novel Writing Month. But I didn't start until this morning and I really didn't have any idea of where my story was going until I started writing. So in some ways my book is in the hands of a crazy person, but I have faith that my characters are sane and will keep the story moving in the direction that makes sense to them.

If you're not familiar with the NaNo concept you can go take a look here at the website, but basically the whole idea is to spend thirty days producing a novel that is at least 50,000 words.

You can have ideas for your book ahead of time, but you're not supposed to write word one until November 1 and you have to have 50,000 words by November 30 to finish. And no you can't just type one word over and over.

If you could, I might choose the word Mississippi, just because it's fun to type. [and in my head there's that sing song voice that recites M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-humpback-humpback-I. …but that might just be me]

So, this morning I got up, stretched, did some yoga, had breakfast and started writing a new book.

I've been thinking about the story for a couple of weeks. But today was the first time I met my characters.

I like them. And I have figured out their motivations. I know where the story is going and I wrote the first three hundred and ninety nine words without having to change anything.

So, I was stoked. I wanted to tell someone about how excited I was. My plants listened intently and were green with envy. The friend that I woke up at 9:00am on a Sunday morning listened groggily and then asked if I'd call back and tell him everything again in a few hours.

THEN, I had the great idea of updating my word count to my NaNo profile. To show all of my writing buddies that so far this morning I produced 399 words. Which I think is the brilliance of the whole concept of writing with a bunch of other people all over the world. You have someone to tell about your accomplishments and someone to share any and all angst you're feeling.

I have a bunch of writing buddies but only two had posted word counts this morning by 9:00am. Of the two that had posted ganymeder's word count was 2,514 and inkydigits was 967 so far today.

To hit the goal of 50,000 you need to produce around 1,700 words a day.

So back to work for me. I'd like to get a cushion today if at all possible since this upcoming week will be a busy one.

I'll update my NaNo progress periodically but the blog won't suddenly be about NaNo.

As a matter of fact this Tuesday features a new Ten Questions Tuesday, and Wednesday is my birthday so I'll be posting something interesting for that and as always there will be a Things I've seen Thursdays.

So don't fret, I've been gathering things to talk about and just yesterday I saw a lady's wig stolen by a squirrel for nesting material……[not really just finding out if you're actually paying attention]

Thanks for listening to me talk about jumping head first into writing a novel in a month. And any and all encouragement is welcome. My plants are fun to talk to, but they really don't say much.

So stay tuned, keep your fingers crossed for me and if you want to see excerpts in small chunks let me know, I might be able to post some of the less smutty parts.