Saturday, 25 July 2009

Saturday Wordzzle

Once again, I only managed a mini and a 10-worder. Go to Raven's Nest to find out what the heck is going on.

Words to include: riverboat, procrastination, drank, demons, invisible, candle, enough, film stars, summer job, computer For the mini: general demeanor, surprisingly, masked man, reach, standards

The Mini
He was a masked man of the old school, you know? His general demeanour was surprisingly threatening given he was only four feet ten. When he robbed you, you knew you were being robbed by a hoodlum with standards. Yes, sir, just because he could hardly reach the counter top didn’t mean you could mess with him. See this? He gave that to me when I was working security for First National. Damn near shot my kneecap off. I'm not complaining though, if it’d have been one of these young drugged-up punks like you get these days, they’d have been carrying me out of there in a pine box. Yep, standards.

The 10-Worder
So, after a few weeks' procrastination, Harold got himself a summer job at the Riverboat Inn. This came as a bit of a surprise to the rest of his fellow demons, as infernal folk generally did not do well in customer service jobs, preferring instead to make a living in the computer industry where their particular talent for tormenting mortals to distraction were richly rewarded (who do you think came up with the Microsoft paper-clip?) . Harold, however, knew that many famous film stars drank at the inn and he was an avid follower of Lolita LaChaise, rising young starlet and heroine of the cult movie Invisible Candle. Sure enough, in she came one night. Harold plastered on his friendliest smile.
"And what can I get for Madame tonight?" he asked.
"I'd give my very soul for a properly mixed vodka martini" she purred.
Harold's grin widened...

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Saturday Wordzzle

I thought I'd try my hand at a mini and a 10-worder this week. To find out what is is all about go to Raven's Nest.

I found this week's words a real challenge, but at least I found out what a corn pone was.

The Mini

Words to include: lavender cowboy, over the moon, preparation, zebra, area rug

In my head I'm the lavender cowboy
Riding over the moon.
My sturdy steed is a stripy zebra
Drawn from a kids' cartoon.

In my head I'm the lavender cowboy
My range is the area rug.
My preparation is ostentatious -
I'm about to go huntin' bug.

The 10-word challenge. Apologies in advance to genuine american people for my dreadfully stereotyped rendition of a rural american accent in this piece.

Words to include: corn pone, delegation, nectarines, happiness, 12 going on 13, prancing horses, magenta, butterflies, fragmentary, arthritis

I would have been about 12 going on 13 when our little town played host to a delegation of bigwigs from Big Oil. They was gonna make everybody rich, they said on account of there being black gold underneath us. Well, we put on a bit of a show so's they wouldn't take us for dumb hicks or nothing like that. We had us a little fair and Ma baked corn pone and set out some of that jelly she used to make from Frank's nectarines. What I wouldn't give to taste some of that jelly again, it was quite the delicacy around these parts. Happiness in a jar, my old Pa used to call it and I reckon there was a grain o' truth in that.

Well, these folks showed up in their fancy magenta carriage with their prancing horses an' all, and we all turned out in our Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes to see 'em and give an ear to what they had to say 'bout this here oil we was sittin' on.

The old church was the only place big enough for everybody, so we all went in there and the bigwigs started talkin' about geological surveys and contracts and all kinds o' stuff that didn't make a lick o' sense to me, nor most folks there neither I reckon. I passed the time countin' the butterflies on Mrs Colley's hat or just starin' into space while they droned on.

I've only got the most fragmentary recollection of what went on, on account of the butterfly countin' and whatnot, but I do remember Old Man Perkiss gettin' up out o' his chair and wavin' his crooked old arthritis-stricken hands until they hushed up an took notice of him.

"When do we get the money?" he asked in his crochety old-man voice.

"Well, sir," replied one the bigwigs (a greasy fellow in a fancy suit, as I recall), "The money will be paid out when the oil comes in and will be paid in installments over the next ten years, proportional to the amount of oil we find down there."

He said a whole lot of other stuff too, legal soundin' stuff.

Now Pastor Jackson was supposed to be representin' us at that meetin' on account o' his bein' an educated man, but I reckon those city-slickers was just too smart anyway, because even though the oil flowed for years we never did see a red cent of that money, no sir, not one red cent.

Pastor Jackson moved away soon after that. Freddie Wallace said he saw him once drivin' one o' them fancy new motor car doo-hickies, but I don't give much credence to it, seein' as how Freddie Wallace was soft in the head, or so most folks said.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Shameless Plug

This is just a quick note to anyone who's even remotely interested, that Delusions of Adequacy is now on MySpace. You can head on over there by clicking here.

Some recent reviews:

"Of all the songs I've heard, these are by far... the most recent" Ivor Tinear, NME

"A triumph of hope over ability." Turner Deafun, The Times

"Proof, if any were needed, that there is a village somehwere missing an idiot." C Sharp, St Jude's Parish Magazine

And so to bed.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Saturday Wordzzle

It's time for a wordzzle, curtesy of Raven's Nest

Words to include: Sober, knight, peak, blueberries, owl, drugstore, lampshade, keyboard, economy, ladder, Micheal Jackson, spoilage

The Hands Remember

Miss Krupskaya, alone in her sober black dress, sits down at the piano. The daylight is fading but that does not matter as her sight is going anyway. A single naked lightbulb dangles from the ceiling of her one-room apartment. She has removed the lampshade to get more light, but the growing darkness cannot be held back by mere electricity, tungsten and glass.

Downstairs, Mr Zimmerman the drugstore owner, is selling a face-cream enriched with blueberries to an owl-faced woman. The economy may be bad, but there's always money for face-cream it seems.

Miss Krupskaya's fingers rest lightly on the keyboard and instinctively find their proper place. For a moment, she remembers the old days, the crowds, the flowers, the whirlwind concert tours. How she had scrambled up the ladder of fame and fortune! At her peak, she had commanded five-figure fees, had been courted by film-stars, oil magnates and at least one knight of the realm. Oh well, you know what they say: laugh and the world laughs with you, but it's the second half of that saying that bites. As time went on, the bookings became fewer, the phone rang less often, the gentlemen's attentions went elsewhere. She slipped imperceptibly into the persona on the discreet brass plaque beside the door to Zimmerman's: Miss Ylena Krupskaya. Piano Tutor. The last pupil had departed years since.

Downstairs, a kid whistling a Michael Jackson tune comes into the drugstore and asks if there's anything going cheap. Mr Zimmerman mutely points to a shelf of goods Reduced to Clear because of spoilage.

Miss Krupskaya's old eyes can no longer follow the neat structure of printed music but that doesn't matter. Her fingers begin to dance over the yellow ivory. E, E flat, E, E flat, the opening notes of Fur Elise float up into the evening air. The hands remember, as she used to tell her pupils. The hands remember.

Downstairs, Mr Zimmerman and the Reduced to Clear kid look up as the music floats down to them. Zimmerman's lined face crinkles in a smile: Miss K plays at this time every day and he looks forward to it. The kid, never having troubled to become acquainted with music older than himself, looks baffled, without a clue.

Upstairs, Miss Krupskaya is once again playing at Carnegie hall.

Too Much TV

I really must stop watching so much TV.

For a start, it's a real time-Hoover: I sit down to look at "just one" programme. Three hours later, I'm yawning and looking at the clock and, good grief, where did the night go?

That's not the only reason I should stop watching so much TV, though. I should stop watching because, over and over again, it drives home the point that I'm just a completely inferior person.

Have you noticed that:

• In shows that contain "scientist" characters, that character knows how to do everything even remotely scientific from conducting an autopsy to building a nuclear bomb. Where did they find the time to learn all these different disciplines? I've spent more than 20 years in IT and still only have a couple of closely-related specialist skill areas. A subspecies of this character-type is the Computer Geek who can access any computer system anywhere, regardless of what security the system has and can also do miracles of image-enhancement, face recognition etc. Yeah, right! And uploading a virus onto an alien spaceship a la Independence Day, don't get me started on that one!

• Everybody knows martial arts. This certainly seems to apply to all criminal characters (except maybe the 90-odd year-old Mafia Don, but even he can surprise you). It definitely applies to shows with supernatural or superhero characters. It used to annoy me in, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when a character became a vampire, they suddenly acquired all these fighting skills, regardless of what their physical condition had been before the change. No years sweating it out at the local Karate club for them!

• Everybody seems to be a superhero, a secret agent, a demon/angel or a combination of all three (hmm, maybe there's room in the schedules for a demon who works as an agent of the FBI by day and solves crimes in a daft costume by night... ach, maybe not). Assuming they're not a scientist, that is.

My school just did not equip me for this kind of world. Where were the classes in hacking and Bomb disposal? An O-Level in Geography just isn't going to cut it when the zombies come.

To be fair we did have a fairly vigourous Arson programme (several bits of the school have been burnt to the ground over the years).

I have two choices here: enrol in whatever Academy teaches the accelerated learning programme to make me a multi-disciplinary scientist/Geek (at the same time whipping by body into shape with some intensive martial arts training)


Just stop watching so much TV.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Not Quite a Wordizzle

Following the the footsteps (pawprints?) of the ever-brilliant Watercats. I thought I'd try my hand at the Wordizzle thing from Raven's Nest. Being a numpty, however, and not reading the rules properly, I didn't get that it was supposed to be just one paragraph (duh!).

Thing is, it's now 23:38 and I can't be arsed to trim my obese opus, so here it is anyway.

Words to include: florida, spit, child bride, operatic, busy, holding pattern, sunflowers, ginger jars, office, superintendent.

I am eight years old, perched precariously on the high wooden stool that I have had to climb like a mini Everest. My feet dangle inches from the floor and I swing them back and forth in a slow holding-pattern.

Mum is busy at the table, making sandwiches. A small ziggurat of Hovis is emerging from the flat plain of the gingham tablecloth we had back then.

I watch the brisk, precise way the knife whisks across the bread, leaving a perfect layer of yellow in its wake.

"Why can't we have butter any more?" I hear my childish voice whining, "I don't like that marger-, madge-".

"It's margerine, and you know why we have it." The knife whisks a little faster. "Mummy's not been well and the doctor says this will do me good," Mum replies wearily. We've had this conversation before and will no doubt be having it again. "It's made of sunflowers. You like sunflowers, don't you?"

"Not to eat!" I protest, "Not to eat!" I pretend to spit out an imaginary mouthful of the evil Marger-whatsit.

"Stop being silly now and eat you tea. Dad will be home soon." She pushes a plate containing a layer of the ziggurat towards me.

Even back then, her face was beginning to show her age. She'd married late - hardly a child bride – to a gorgeous-looking man several years younger. That was my Dad, the handsome superintendant of the building where Mum's office was. None of her friends could believe what a catch she'd made.

Putting off the moment of having to eat, I pick at the bread. I pinch little bits of it off and roll them into perfect little balls and drop them onto the floor.

"Trisha, stop that!" Mum snaps. The loudness of her voice is startling in the quiet of the kitchen. "What's got into you today? First you break one of my ginger jars, now you're making a mess for no good reason."

Defeated, I pick up the sandwich in my two hands, like she always told me to and, watching her to make sure she's watching me, I bite resentfully into it.

As I chew, a thought comes into my head.

"Mum, where's Florida?"

"Oh, it's hundreds of miles away in America," she answers, expertly back-heeling the fridge door shut whilst balancing a plate of sandwiches and a jug of orange in her two hands. "Why?"

"That's what was on Daddy's ticket."

"What ticket? What are you talking about?" Her voice is sharp now.

"It had an aeroplane on it and it was in Daddy's drawer, under his socks."

I wish I could say that Mum did something appropriately operatic at this point, like dropping the plate and the jug to smash dramatically on the tiles. Instead, she just sighed, set them down on the table, thunk-thunk and sank down into the chair.

"You shouldn't go looking in the drawers, I've told you that before."

And that was all she ever said about it.