Archive | February, 2010

Help Wanted!

28 Feb

Alright team, here’s the thing. I’m doing a creative writing course and I have to submit my first draft tomorrow. I’ve been reading short stories and the like as research, but I think I’ve settled on my usual format, that being surrealist humour aimed at audiences my age and younger. So, knowing that my story attempt will be read widely as part of the course, I thought I’d post it here and get some feedback and suggestions from my charming and attractive readers.

My biggest problem is that I don’t know where this story should go. The only conclusions I can come up with involve hideously hackneyed “and then he woke up, tra la la la.” So, I will post as much as I have so far and if people can see it going in a direction (remembering that it’s a shortish story, and I have to finish the draft by tomorrow), please enlighten me!

________________________________________________________________________________________

There was a crunching noise, and he swore loudly. As he pulled the steering wheel violently to the left, he felt his world tip upside-down. He tumbled once, only vaguely aware of the huge sound around him. Everything was grey like the upholstery, then black like the dashboard, then red like whatever it was that was running from his forehead, then blue as a window flashed into view. It was a gorgeous day, he thought, before realising how utterly ridiculous it was to contemplate the weather whilst inside a rolling vehicle. What should he be thinking about? Shouldn’t his life be flashing before his eyes by now? He was particularly looking forward to seeing himself as a twenty year-old again, back when he had hair.

His mind hadn’t wandered this much since his last staff meeting.

Shouldn’t he be at least mildly aware of the pain in his head and the sound of glass tinkling to the ground? He became aware of the gentle chirping of birds, then he noticed the absence of the sound of metal being wrenched and pulled. The car had stopped.

“Any crash you can walk away from…” he whispered to himself as he pulled his rather rotund body from the car. This involved exiting through the back window, which was pointing uncomfortably towards the sky. The rest of the car was buried completely in a mound of earth, so his car resembled the top of a vegetable protruding from a garden bed. He held his hand to his forehead, identifying the stickiness as a drying cut. He turned from the car and looked at his surroundings. Because he was expecting to see the familiar country road between his house and the township where he worked, he was understandably confused to see a small forest of tall, slim trunks topped with broad, flat leaves. That forest had never been there before, or perhaps he’d just never noticed it. Yes, that was it. It had always been there, of course. He was always so tired when he drove along that road, whether he had just woken up and was heading into town for work, or he had finished work and was heading home for a nap, that he had just never taken it in.

Regaining his senses, the man reached into his pocket for his mobile phone for the purpose of calling his wife or a taxi, and found instead a small, flat stone. He was confused, but only for a second. His phone must have slipped out of his jacket while the car was rolling, and the stone must have slipped in as he pulled himself out of the hole his car was currently resting in.

He turned back to his car with the idea of climbing back into the wreck and locating his phone in the forefront of his mind. His car was gone, which was more than a little bit unusual. In its place was a carrot the size of an SUV. At least, Mr Pennant-Cord assumed it was a carrot, because the root of the vegetable was buried in the hillock that had once housed his car. Convinced that he was suffering from concussion, he asked a nearby post-box to quiz him, to check for signs of amnesia

“Your name?”

“Melville Pennant-Cord.”

“What year is it?”

“1998, I believe. March, isn’t it?”

“Yes, the frosts are early this year, aren’t they?”

“Golly, yes. Just the other day, my wife and I went for a stroll after breakfast and she tripped on a heel and fell into a snowdrift! Imagine, snowdrifts in March!”

“It really is unusual. Global warming, I suppose.”

“That’s what they’re saying.”

Mr Pennant-Cord finished his conversation with the post-box none the wiser as to whether he was concussed.

* * *

It was later on that day that Mr Pennant-Cord came to the realisation that he was no longer in ‘Kansas’, so to speak. He had, in fact, never been to Kansas, so he could actually be there now and not know it. As that thought entered his mind, he tried to recall various titbits of information he had been told about Kansas. No one ever mentioned that Kansas consisted of condominiums shaped like oversized mushrooms, or that the Kansas Postal Service employed talking post-boxes, at least four of whom he had met as he wandered down a lane paved with curiously sponge-like stones. From this, he deduced that he was neither in Kansas nor his own township, the post-boxes in which never said a word.

“Do you have a clue where you’re goin’, guv?” A vaguely cockney, vibrantly red mail-postage-facilitator asked Mr Pennant-Cord as he passed by. It was nearing the evening by this stage, and the sun was setting and throwing an orange glow across the plush road and seemingly empty mushroom-houses.

“I’m quite ashamed to say that I haven’t a clue where I am, where I’m going, or where I’ve been, for that matter.” Mr Pennant-Cord said, panting only slightly as a result of his lengthy trek.

“Well, where are you usually at?” The post-box enquired politely.

“I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean by ‘at’.” The round, bald, sweating man collapsed onto his broad bottom, surprised by how comfortable the spongy paving-stones were.

“When you’re not here,” The post-box gestured widely with a long, arm-like appendage unusual for a post-box to possess. “Where are you?”

Mr Pennant-Cord pulled a small box of mints from his jacket pocket and popped three into his mouth.

“You mean to ask me where my home is.”

“Yeah, your normal place of residence.”

Mr Pennant-Cord sighed a long, world-weary, lonely sigh.

“Brookdown. Have you heard of it?”

The post-box shrugged and scratched an eyebrow. Mr Pennant-Cord bristled.

“Please keep your armlike appendage away from my eyebrows.”

“You just seem very tense, is all, guv.”

Mr Pennant-Cord sighed once more, and began to explain that he was, in fact, quite tense. This was due to the fact that he usually spent Thursday evenings at home with his wife in front of the local news with a snifter of brandy and a pair of delightfully cozy slippers, and so found it unusual to be thrown into a strange and befuddling world in which inanimate objects caressed his eyebrows and cars turned into vegetables.

“I don’t believe my insurance covers that.” He said, shaking his head sadly.

Advertisements

The Beginning of the End

23 Feb

Emotions are stupid. Let’s face it, if human emotion didn’t exist, I would NOT have had to have written so many essays about poetry back in college.

And what a blessing that would’ve been.

But there’s one thing I’ve learnt, and that is that people are idiots. It’s programmed into us. We do stupid, stupid things. We do foolish things that we then regret, and we do foolish things that we look back on and smile, and we do foolish things and don’t even realise that they were foolish, and so remain indifferent towards them.

No matter what we do, or how much we claim to ‘have learned from past mistakes’, when we find ourselves on a path that looks more than a little familiar, knowing full well that last time, it ended badly, more often than not we shrug our shoulders and think this’ll probably work this time. It’s like Bart Simpson touching the electrical muffin, but often with vastly more painful consequences.

And it’s strange, because you see other people do it ALL THE TIME, and you look at them, filled with self-righteousness, shake your head knowingly, and wonder how they can be so thick as to fall into the EXACT same bearpit over and over again. But when you’re staring at your own bearpit for the umpteenth time, all that goes through your head is oh this is a little familiar…woooo….deja vu…it’s so funny…

And then you’re struggling not to pass out from blood loss all over again.

The smarter members of society are almost worse at this! They SEE the trap, then rationalise to themselves some sort of loop hole. Oh, they won’t eat me THIS time, because of indisputable facts A, B, C… and sure, some of the facts are certainly helpful to the cause, but to be frank, it’s STILL A FREAKING BEARPIT. They KNOW it’s dangerous, but do it anyway.

So, why do we do it? WHY, when we have conclusive evidence that a path we’re desperately trying to take has once lead to failure, misery and volcanic explosions, do we expect that the path has changed? Is it blindness, or naivity, or just dumb hope?

I guess I’ll let you know when I find out.

Day 1

22 Feb

Today was Day 1. Day 1 had a flying start.

Day 1 then had chemistry and biology, both of which were pretty okay.

So far, so good.

7 days til HvZ. Z.E.N is the way to go. We shall be triumphant, and if we’re not, we’ll have a whole heap of fun in the process. I hope.

This is a pretty useless post so far. Here’s a song.

I don’t know. I just thought to myself, what sort of music would my readers like? And the answer was dodgy ska versions of Disney songs.

How about another hilarious Omegle encounter?

One more…

And here’s a haiku!

The smell of the pie
Wafts on the summer breezes
And fills me with joy

An Epic Poem

19 Feb

Sitting on the ocean,
In a boat of yellow gold,
With sail made of purest silk,
The water surged and rolled.

My hand clutched at a telescope,
For far and wide I gazed,
And waited til I saw the glint,
Prepared to be amazed.

But as I watched, always alert,
My golden boat was struck,
A beast from far beneath the sea,
I loudly exclaimed “fiddlesticks!”

The tentacles were long and vile,
And jaws were opened wide,
And as I trembled in my boots,
I had a peer inside.

That gaping void with dripping fangs,
The stench of rot and mould,
This creature’s mouth housed the bones
Of victims young and old.

Alack, alas! Upon its tongue!
A figure thrashed and fought!
A living thing had been ensnared,
In cage of teeth was caught.

I cried with rage, ‘He must be saved!
I cannot let him die!’
So I loaded up my harpoon gun
And aimed for the beast’s eye.

A howl of pain, and blood did rain
Across my silken sail,
But that beast at least released
Its victim, tall and pale.

Shaken and still terrified,
The figure swam my way,
Nervously, I said hello,
He softly answered ‘hey.’

He told me how the fearsome beast,
Had stolen him one night,
From the castle on the hilltop near,
He pointed out its light.

I said ‘I’ll take you back there now,’
He said ‘On one condition,
I am the prince of this whole realm,
I must offer you a position.’

Curious, I asked him what,
He answered with a smile,
‘You saved me from that wretched beast,
That chomped me for a while.’

‘And so to you I offer this,
I beg you take my hand.
That would make you my princess,
We could together rule this land.’

So I said ‘That sounds pretty good.’
And towards his home we went.
I decided my little fishing trip,
Was quite rather well spent.

Through the Hazy Jungles of Chattering…

15 Feb

There is this thing, and it’s kind of weird, but hear me out. It’s called Omegle, and it’s a pretty fantastic idea and I’m not likely to get bored of it any time soon. Basically, you go instantly into a one-on-one chat with some complete random. Be warned; a lot of opening lines are ‘male looking for female with webcam’, although not in as finely crafted English.

But!

It is a fantastic place, thanks to the complete anonymity of the whole deal. I’ve met a couple of people I genuinely enjoyed talking to (you then have to decide if it’s worth exchanging email details…luckily, I have nothing remotely important linked to my hotmail, so I’m not too worried) and I’ve met a large number of nutters. I thought I would start screenshotting my favourite conversations thus far and sharing them with you every so often.

The first thing I should mention is the use of ‘asl’. For those of you cultured enough to avoid chat rooms, ‘asl’ seems to mean “hello and how are you? I would like to ask you what age you are, as well as your sex and location, if you’d be so kind as to oblige this information.”
It really gets to me when people start a chat with just ‘asl’. No question mark, nothing. The most interesting conversations I’ve had so far, I haven’t known the other person’s age, gender, or whereabouts until we’d actually started properly conversing and learning about eachother.

So, I now tell people this…

…aaaand more often than not, the response is a hasty disconnect.

Interesting.

I decided to ask people deep, involved questions about themselves, and they tended to get a bit defensive.

I’ve learnt never to ask people about sex, politics, or celery.

Sometimes, people surprised me with their randomness.

…but I guess my randomness is a little hard to beat.

So far the pattern is that I scare people away. But I enjoy every second of it.

Get brave, get involved, make people’s mundane lives a tad more surreal… I dare you.

You be the judge…

13 Feb

I was checking my stats, and here’s a fun search term someone used to get to this blog…

I like that this person clearly thinks Jimmy Giggle is worthy of stalking (do you agree?), but hasn’t taken the ‘imdb to find his real name before searching for his facebook account’ approach. That said, I’m making a huge assumption…perhaps his name really is James Giggle. He was destined for children’s TV if that’s the case.

At the moment, I am listening to this song on loop, and I think everyone should listen to it and tell me what it reminds them of. I’ll give you a hint; classic N64 game… What do you think?

EDIT: Give this a listen, and see what you think of the resemblance. I’m not trying to accuse anyone of anything, I really love when songs sound like each other. It crosses up all the little nostalgia wires in my brain.

Terror

12 Feb

I am in maths mode.

‘Maths mode’ refers to any state of anxiousness, anger, sadness, restlessness, or uncomfortableness that is induced by numbers. The term can, however, be used to describe emotions brought on by other aspects of life such as betrayal, illness, famine, heartbreak, Jane Austen, pregnancy, and cheap ABC kids’ shows.

So, it’s a handy phrase to have.

The symptoms include chewing fingernails, self-induced isolation, swearing loudly when beaten on tetrisfriends, homicide, poetry, drastic haircuts, over-eating, dreams of revenge, sniffles, foolishly romantic decisions, and long train voyages.

I have not written a list of things I have learned for a while. Here is a list of things I have learned.

  • The Gram Schmidt Process. Who comes up with this nonsense?  Misters Gram and Schmidt, I suppose. Nevertheless. Stupid.
  • Jimmy Giggle from kids’ show, Giggle and Hoot has a charming way of struggling to play an F chord on his guitar while serenading his pet owl with a hilariously altered version of Hickory Dickory Dock.
  • A whole lot of quite interesting stuff from QI, the best show in the history of British panel quiz shows. Better than Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Stephen Fry is the greatest human ever. Alan Davies is also alarmingly endearing. I kind of love him.
  • How to play Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa. It’s a fun little riff. Hooray!

Vampire Weekend
is the only thing keeping
me from going mad.

Word Fun

11 Feb

Just watch it.

A Post About Ping Pong

9 Feb

It’s not, actually. I tricked you, didn’t I?

Ah ha ha ha.

This post is actually going to be about Big Day Out, 2010. I posted our proposed schedule a while back, and we did a fairly good job of sticking to it, despite the OVEN-LIKE temperatures.

All up, we ‘saw’ about 11 bands. I use ‘saw’ as the music festival term for ‘witnessed for an amount of time exceeding a minute’. I was armed with a camera all day, and took 90 something shots (most quite blurry), but I would like to share the very few half-decent ones of the awesome musicians we were lucky enough to see.

Bluejuice in yellow jumpsuits, sweating like the heroes that they are. If you study the picture carefully, you may be able to make out the subtle reptile balloon they had with them on stage. Bluejuice are an awesome live act, but they got really tired really fast. I don't blame them, it was very, very hot.

Passion Pit were mindblowing. By this stage, it was at least 40 degrees. In the crowd, it was closer to 45 thanks to the miracle of body heat. It was worth it though. They were dynamic and fun and amazing. In the opening beats of Little Secrets, the drummer lost a stick. It flew like a wonderful wooden fruit bat, arched across the stage, and landed softly off to the side. They had to restart the song, but we won't hold that against them. After their set, my vision began to vanish in patches, and I had a brief spell of mini-faints. Passion Pit, you are worth risking life and limb for.

So, this is Devendra Banhart. He was not on my original schedule, but lucky for me, a friend warned me of his awesomeness earlier in the year. When Lily Allen proved a disappointment, we followed a trail of hippies to catch Devendra's set. He won me over immediately. I find it really frustrating when people say awful things about big stadium type festivals like Big Day Out. Obviously the point of going to them is to see big (not necessarily good, but big) acts with big crowds and a pretty relaxed vibe. The other upshot of going to big, mainstream festivals, is that when smaller, slightly left of centre acts play, they play to tiny crowd of genuinely interested people. Devendra Banhart's set was fantastic, and the small crowd made it better; interactive, personal, fun. If he'd been playing a big hippie fest, the doubtlessly bigger crowd would've detracted from the sheer radicalness.

Ladyhawke was amazing. Like, this girl is just a rockstar. I haven't heard much of her stuff, but the hardcore fans I talked to after said it sounded really different to her recorded stuff. More raw, I think. That makes sense. Anyone who can give me any information about her keyboardist will be given lollies. Seriously.

More photos can be found in my album here, including (less good) shots of Kasabian, Hilltop Hoods, Dizzee, Calvin Harris, Lily Allen, Muse, Jet, and Temper Trap. There are also some creepy photos of cool people I saw and decided to snap. Yeah, I do that a lot.

Sorry, people in photos. I meant you no harm. : )

Squark

9 Feb

So, I’ve started going on Twitter more than I used to, and I’ve also decided to deny myself Facebook for a while.
For science.

I’d like to point out that my Twitter feed has a HUGE 4 followers, and that this makes me truly, truly sad. So, if you have Twitter, please be my friend.
I’ll try to be witty and hilarious.

http://twitter.com/Elamanor

Perhaps I shall write some Twitter poems. We shall see.