Thursday, October 24, 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

What's the date? Oh, that's right, October 24. So, is it weird that it snowed today? Maybe a little. It's not wholly unheard of for it to snow in October here where I live, but it's certainly not overly common. It also snowed a bit on Tuesday. Now, it didn't amount to much at all. It did not accumulate either time. The sky was just sort of spitting snowflakes.

Here's the thing. I like snow. I really do. As I've said before, alongside autumn, winter is one of my favorite seasons. And the snowfall that comes with it is beautiful, beautiful in that enchanting sort of way. (Yes, it's cold, but it's still beautiful.) But, I usually prefer to at least make it past Halloween before I see the first snowflakes. One reason for this is that the threat of frigid temperatures and snowfall can really diminish the number of trick-or-treaters on Halloween. And I really like handing out candy (and eating it, of course). So I hope the snow holds off for Halloween. Thereafter, I'd be happy to see the ground blanketed with snow.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

So, Monday, we meet again.

Yes, that's right. Tomorrow is Monday. Alas.

I made sure to end this weekend on a good note, though. How? I stirred up some brownies, used a new recipe that involved lots of chocolate and orange extract. Tasted delicious, if I do say so myself.

So now, with my stomach full of sugary goodness, I'll do my last rounds of internet surfing and some reading before turning in for the night. Then I'll be prepared (or at least as much as possible) to meet up with Monday again. I guess it also helps to know that I have leftover brownies for my Monday evening snack. After all, brownies fix everything. Even a Monday. Right?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Word of the Day

saffron: a spice obtained from a particular plant in the iris family

Honestly, my favorite use of this word is its use as a character name in the late TV show Firefly.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Riddled with Holes, Episode 2

Here is the second installment of Riddled with Holes. I guess I'll make the following my storytelling disclaimer: I cannot, and certainly will not, promise a masterpiece. This is a story I am writing purely for fun, as practice in, and in some sense attempted parody of, my favorite genre of fantasy. I write it with the hope that it will serve to liven up this blog a bit, to offer some entertaining variation in posts. So enjoy, if you can, if you want to.

Riddled with Holes, Episode 2

There I stood, frozen, and not merely because the icy air was seeping into my bones. A shiver ran through me as the crimson eyes in the bush shifted position. Was that thing moving closer? I couldn’t tell.

A belated idea hit me. I stepped back and reached my arm through the doorway into the kitchen, my hand fumbling along the wall until I found the panel of light switches. I flicked random switches up and down until I found the one for the outdoor light. The light fell over Puff and me, but its radiance failed to reach even as far as the edge of the patio, let alone the bushes where the red-eyed creature hid.

A low growl rumbled in Puff’s chest. I placed my hand on his head. Feeling suddenly bold, I called out, “Hey! Who’s out there?”

There was a rustling in the bushes, another shifting of those red eyes. But there was no verbal reply. Not that I had actually expected one.

I allowed my attention to be drawn away from the bushes when I glimpsed movement to my left. There, another shape moved within the shadows. Something was approaching the patio. I tensed, as did Puff, and a woman came out of the darkness and into the light. I blinked, once, twice, three times. She had long dark hair, a milky complexion, and wore a silken blouse of royal blue. Despite the chilling situation at hand, my mind still possessed enough clarity to realize that she was the most gorgeous woman I had ever seen. She stepped directly beneath one of the lights on the patio, and I saw that she had the bluest of blue eyes, and in the patio light they gleaned. And so did the knife in her hand.

 “Whoa,” I said, taking a step back, holding my hands out in front of me in a defensive gesture. “Who are you? What’s up with the knife?”

”It’s not meant for you,” she told me, her voice low and smooth. Then she waved her knife-wielding hand toward the bushes, where I was pretty sure the red-eyed whatever-it-was had drawn closer. “It’s for that.” Then she turned back to me, looking me up and down, and asked, “Don’t you have a knife? A sword? Anything?”

I cocked my eyebrows at that notion. I couldn’t help but say, “Not on me. I must have left them in my other boxers.”

She looked at me strangely, with an expression that I read to mean, I think you’re joking but I’m not entirely sure. “Aren’t you Cody Jones? You meet the description.” She examined me once again with those blue eyes, top to bottom.

“Cody Jones. Yeah,” I replied slowly, “that’s me.”

“And you have no weaponry? At all?”

“No. But in my defense, it’s not like I came out here expecting to need any. All I wanted was to let my dog inside. And then to go back to bed. To sleep. Where it’s warm.”

Puff suddenly shifted and bark-woof-growled. Turning, I barely even registered the rustling sound of the bushes before I saw that thing bolting toward us. In the split second it took for it to cross from the back of the yard to the patio, I noted that not only did it have red eyes, but also fangs. Really long and really sharp fangs. It was pale and gangly, and I noted how it looked human, or at least humanoid, but not really.

The woman with the knife shoved me aside and offered the non-human humanoid an uppercut to the chin. It growled as it was knocked to the side. But then it righted itself, all too quickly, and it came back with a vengeance. With her knife, the woman slashed at it, and I could see blood glisten on its gangly arm, but it still managed to elbow the pretty lady aside.

And then it ran at me. I did the first thing I could think of, and kicked my foot up between its legs. The monstrosity—which now had a long strand of drool dripping from one fang—stopped, but it looked more confused than pained. Yet the momentary pause lasted just long enough for the mysterious woman with the knife—the exceptionally large knife, I just realized—to dart back into the scene. With one hand she grabbed the snarling creature by its long greasy hair, and with the knife in her other hand she made a single slicing motion. The monster’s body slumped to the ground, hitting the pavement with a thump. The beastie’s head remained in the woman’s hand. Looking at it, she grimaced and even snarled, and then she tossed it aside. I watched her do this, then watched the head fall to the ground, next to the decapitated body, all with a strange detachment that both surprised and disturbed me. I guess I should blame that on too many videogames? Or too many horror movies, maybe?

“That,” the woman said, snapping me back to reality, whatever reality was anymore, “is why you must always remain armed. Do you understand that now?”

I opened my mouth, but not to answer her question. Instead, I asked one of my own: “What is that thing?” I pointed a hand down at the slain creature.

She looked at me, eyebrows raised, as if that was the absolute stupidest question. Finally, she uttered, “A werevamp,” as if that was the most obvious answer in the world.

“A were-what?”

“Werevamp. You know, a werewolf-vampire cross. A hybrid.”

“No. No, I don’t know. How would I know that? Werevamp? Those exist?”

“Well, obviously.” She looked away and pinched the bridge of her nose, hid her stunning blue eyes behind tightly shut eyelids, as if collecting her thoughts. She eventually mumbled, “Good grief. I can’t believe you’re it.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

She gave me a hard stare. “No offense—well, I guess no offense—but so far you’re proving immensely underwhelming.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“You sure you’re Cody Jones?”

“Pretty sure.” I scratched at my scalp, even though it didn’t itch. “What’s this all about, anyway? What did you mean, I’m it. And what am I so underwhelming for?”

“They said you would be some great warrior. But...” she trailed off, looking me up and down.

They said? Who’s they?”

“The oracles. The scrolls.”

“What?” I spluttered. “Who are you? Maybe that’s the better question. You know, I usually trust the pretty ladies, and you really are plenty easy on the eyes, and, for what it’s worth, you are in really good shape.” I realized my eyes were wandering, as was my mind. I forced myself to snap out of it. After all, there were more pressing matters at hand than her looks, no matter how distracting I found them. Again, I asked, “Who are you?”

“The name’s Avadoralinea. Ava, for short.” She almost smiled, but it was strained.

“Ava,” I repeated. I felt bad how uncomfortable she looked, trying to give me a smile that was only obligatory at best. ”That’s a pretty name.”

 “Um, thanks.”

Suddenly, a strange howl-squeal rang out in the distance. Ava looked over her shoulder, up at the moon, then at me. “That one,” she said, pointing at the cadaver at our feet, “was just the first. More will come. We need to get out of here.”

“What? What’s going on?”

“They’re after you. They know we’ve found you. They want to kill you, before you can fulfill your destiny.”

That sounded all-around terrifying. But I could find no words to express that sentiment of mine. Had she really just said that someone—they, whoever that was in this case—wanted to kill me? And what was that about my destiny?

After yet another howl-squeal filled the night, Ava said, “We definitely need to leave. Now. Does your house have a closet?”

“Uh, yeah. Tons of them. Why?”

“Tons of them?” Ava gaped at me, eyes as wide as saucers.

“Well, not really tons, but a lot of them. I don’t know, maybe seven of them.”

“Well, hopefully one of them will work.”

“Work? How does a closet work, exactly?”

She looked at me, her brow furrowed, pretty face set firm around the edges. “We don’t have time for this right now,” she finally declared. She spoke none too soon, because there was suddenly another screeching howl, much closer this time. “Inside. Now. Take me to the nearest closet.”

“Not until you tell me why.”

“Why? Because that’s how we keep you alive, Cody Jones. At least for now.”

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Word of the Day

falafel: a deep-fried patty made with chickpeas, fava beans, or both

I have been hearing this word a lot lately, for some reason. Most recently, I came upon it in the book I am currently reading, American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Riddled with Holes, Episode 1

Here is the first installment of Riddled with Holes. I cannot (and certainly will not) promise a masterpiece. This is a story I am writing for fun, as practice in, and in some sense attempted parody of, my favorite genre of fantasy. I hope it will serve to liven up this blog a bit, to offer some entertaining variation in posts. So, enjoy (if you can, if you want to).


Riddled with Holes, Episode 1

I awoke with a start, a gasp actually escaping my lips as I shot up in bed. I had been dreaming. But, it’s not like I knew what about. I never remember my dreams. Ever. Once I had even tried keeping one of those dream journals—not that I told anyone, though, because that would have given my buddies a lifetime supply of ammunition for mockery. But it didn’t matter anyway. Keeping that journal had been pointless, because, like I said, I never remember my dreams.

I swung my legs over the side of the bed, and a wave of panic ran through me. Crap, I thought, my mind still fringed at the edges with sleep. Did I leave Puff outside? The floor was cold beneath my feet. I wore nothing but my boxers to bed, year-round, simply out of habit. It felt like an icebox in my room. I tossed on a maybe-clean pair of sweatpants and a definitely-not-clean shirt. Then I slipped on some sneakers, shunning the concept of socks, and headed into the hallway.

Tripping over someone’s discarded backpack, I fell against one of my roommate’s closed doors, and of course was profanely scolded from within. I continued to stumble down the hall until I made it to the top of the stairs. The television was on downstairs, sending lightning-like flashes across the dark walls. When I had reached the bottom of the steps I could see the back of someone’s head—most assuredly Landen’s, given the wildness of the hair—and with a glance at the television I could see that he was well into one of his late-night videogame marathons.

I crossed through the kitchen and fumbled my way through the dark to the backdoor. I placed my hand on the deadbolt, but I didn’t need to unlock it, since apparently no one had bothered to lock it in the first place. When I opened the door a cold breeze hit me, biting at my cheeks like a thousand tiny teeth.

“Puff,” I whispered into the night.

I received no response. Maybe he was giving me the silent treatment. After all, I had forgotten to let him back inside before turning in for the night.

This time I whispered louder. “Come on, Puff. Sorry I left you out here, boy. My bad. But come in now, bud. I’m seriously about to freeze to death.” It really was freezing. I expected it to be chilly, or cold, but not freezing. After all, it was barely October. My breath came out in a plume of steam, and the arctic air threatened to freeze it into icicles before it could dissipate.

There was a huffing, grumbling noise off to my right. Followed by a sudden movement that I could only barely discern in the inky blackness of the night. Then something slammed into me, hard, knocking me into the doorframe. It was Puff. All two hundred pounds of him. He was as black as the night, so all I could see of him was the moist glisten of his eyes, roughly a foot in front of me. He let out a quiet woof, and then I sensed him turning back around to face the yard.

Puff was not a barker. He was as quiet and gentle of a giant as you could find. So when he woofed again, louder this time, I knew something was off.

“What’s the matter, boy?”


“What is it?”


Something was definitely wrong. I stepped out onto the patio. Puff was next to me, and I could feel him inch closer until he was touching my side. Peering through the darkness, I could finally tell that Puff was staring out towards the bushes against the back fence. Turning my eyes to that portion of the yard, I tried to see what he could see. I looked for an opossum, raccoon, even a cat. Puff didn’t usually care about those kinds of things, had never even chased a squirrel in his life, but something had him riled, so I had to start somewhere.

Once my eyes had fully adjusted to the dark, I didn’t see an opossum, or a raccoon, or a cat. What I saw was a shadowy shape suddenly dart between two of the bushes. It had been big, at least the size of a man. And it was fast. Like greased lightning fast.

Then, from within the depths of the bush that the...thing...had run toward, I saw red. Two red dots. Glinting, like two little pools of blood just floating there. They were eyes, I presumed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Storytelling Fun

As a child, I constantly wrote stories. All kinds of stories. Stories about puppies and kittens, aliens, time travel, magicians, knights and castles, even one about a lonely teddy bear. And I even illustrated them. Now, when I come across those childhood stories in my old notebooks, I cringe. They were horrible. But I must have thought they were pretty good at the time, because I kept on writing them. And I still do. I enjoy writing as much as I enjoy reading.

Where I am going with this? Well, this is what I was referring to in my previous post. In that previous post I indicated that I would soon begin something new on this blog. That "something new" will be some fun ole storytelling. I won't (or perhaps I should say can't) promise much from it. I simply enjoy writing, so I figured I'd formulate some semblance of a story to liven up this blog.

A few details about the story that is thus far rattling around in my head:

1. The genre will be fantasy.

2. As a fan of fantasy, I have accumulated an extensive list of cliches within the genre. With this story, I must admit (or perhaps warn is the better term) that I intend on making a play on a number of those cliches. Why? Because that will be part of the fun of it. After all, why not attempt a parody-esque play on my favorite genre?

3. I will post installments of the story as often as I can (but of course this frequency will depend on things in life such as work, family, etc.). Some installments may be short, some may be long.

4. The story will be titled Riddled with Holes, for various reasons (the reader is free to decipher those various reasons as he or she wishes).

5. I have a basic idea in my head, but past that the story will be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of thing. There will not be much forethought or planning going on within my head. That being said, things could unfold within the story in any given way or direction, likely depending on my mood at the time each installment is written. Also, I have no idea how long the story will be. I guess it'll reach its conclusion whenever the time seems right.

6. As I stated before, the reason I am writing this story is, simply put, for the sheer fun of it. As previously noted, I enjoy writing (and will take any chance I can to practice the hobby). Furthermore, I think this blog needs something different. So, I'll give this a shot.

That all being said, the first installment of Riddled with Holes will be posted soon.