Monday, February 21, 2011

Painting Winner/Finished Map

After compiling all the entries, messing with the random number generator for a while I turned to Mr. Twitter to provide a number and we have a winner.

It's Number 8!

Sorry, I meant Dawn. Yay! Hand claps for Dawn.

Normally this is where I'd ask for her to send me her address or give me a week to ship it as I'm going on vacation but since I'll be seeing her this weekend I think this painting can be hand delivered.

Thanks everyone for entering. Maybe I'll have another giveaway when I have new paint to test and canvas board to get rid of.

Also if you're at all curious, last night I finally finished my Map:

Probably the best part is that I got to burn things for the edge. I couldn't find any simulacrum of char that made me happy so I actually printed off a version, set that on fire, photographed that then layered it on top.

And just because it makes it look fancy, my map in a frame all professional like:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Map Maker

"You can't map a sense of humor. Anyway, what is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know that There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs." - Terry Pratchett

I always loved this quote by the master of fantasy humor and generally agreed with it. What was much the point of fantasy maps for lands that didn't exist? And so smugly I went about my life not making maps for things I didn't create anyway.

Then comes November and out of a caffeine fueled month of insanity fell my first novel and thanks to me basing it on the humor of fantasy cliches held up to the glare of reality I suddenly found myself actually having to come up with topography and boarders and cursed mountains.

Late at night I'd curl up with pen and pencil in hand and sketch out and give form to half thought and barely considered brain puffs onto my sketch pad. After weeks of shading, sketching, and god damn mountaining out came this:
Nice, but it doesn't quite have that classic aged parchment look. Enter photoshop

Okay, it's working pretty well but time to up the contrast more. Really make all the different lands pop.

Probably the hardest part - aside from those damn mountains - was choosing a font for the main title. I scoured the internet before stumbling across one that gives the same sense of scrawled but fancy I was looking for.

Slap on a boarder and boom:
It still needs some more smoothing of edges and lands, and of course the addition of the names of all the placed, but this is my first ever fantasy map.

May the paragon's of fantasy have mercy on my soul.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tree Painting GIVEAWAY!

Sometime, when I get a bit shall we say bored of doing the same thing I like to branch out a bit and try something new. This generally ends in gnashing of teeth and breaking of bones. 

This weekend, while stocking up on the usual bits and bobbles (at everyone's favorite Bits, Bobbles and Shit store) I came across some paint to make things shiny. Never one to turn down shiny, I snatched it up and headed back to my lair with nary an idea how to test it out in my head.

Armed with just a sponge, the paint and a piece of canvas board I set to work and out came this tree painting.
It's hard to tell but the background glitters in the sun as does parts of the tree (the highlighted parts).

So . . . I hear you asking, why in the hell do I care? Because I decided to give away this painting to one lucky customer, I mean reader.

It's a 16X12 on canvas board which means it can be framed or set up somewhere nice, lit on fire or fed to goats. It would probably retail for about $40 on a good day.

How to enter?

It's quite simple really, just leave a comment. It can be what you had for breakfast, who you think will win the world series of cup stacking or just what the Mayan's really think will happen in 2012 (If they don't come back 40 feet tall shooting lighting from their eyes I will be very disappointed).

If you'd like another entry follow me. Oh you may also want to include that in your comment as well just so I make super sure I can count right.

You want a third entry? Shesh, you are demanding. Okay a bit of a bigger challenge then, you must tape a picture of one of my paintings to your forehead and walk backwards down the street singing yankee doodle (big poofy hat is optional).

Once again, GIVEAWAY!

Even better, Giveaway of a painting.

Leave comment, follow and make a fool of yourself are the ways to play. I'll be announcing the winner in a week (and you better believe I'll be mentioning this sucker a lot).


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tw' iter - part 8

After discovering a give us $40 and we'll inert your name and a few traits into a book thing I got a wild and crazy idea to write my own oh we'll call it story and instead of inserting just myself and my eye color (blech) I shall use all of my various twitter friends in some for or capacity. This is what follows.

Part 1- here 
Part 2 -here
Part 3 -here
Part 4 -here
Part 5 -here
Part 6 -here
Part 7 -here

A pair of shadows leaned into the light their noses pushing against the thick glass. One of them pulled out a clipboard and jotted down a few notes while the other bounced on his heels.

“Things are progressing well, a few more rounds and we should have the order filled,” the first shadow said.

“Good,” the second leaned in closer watching the experimental subject float by.

“Our employers should be rather happy. I didn’t expect such a haul,” the shadow’s voice thinned as it watched its companion.

“Hello. Hey in there! Are you sleeping,” the shadow thumped his finger against the glass as snot nosed brats would in an aquarium right before the genetically modified shark smashed the glass and ate his arm off.

The first shadow sighed and swiped her clipboard across his hands batting them away, “Knock it off. We have work to do,” before vanishing back into the eternal light.

“Fine.” Taking one last look, the shadow turned and left Experiment tube #1-3 D to continue beeping away in the forgotten corner.

Experimental subject #1-3 D’s dreams shifted as he leaned precariously over a bar trying to stay upright enjoying his foggy high when a woman whose face he couldn’t quite make out floated in on black clouds. She knocked on the bar, hard. Rap rap rap. Then looked in his eyes and said “Are you a bounty hunter?”

Devtony shuddered, digging deeper into the warm amniotic jelly that kept him immobile.


Having made certain to once again escape the bony (or if you are from Histamo – 5 the tissue covered) grasps of the reaper the groups amicable friendship splintered into factions.

Erica, having lost her weapon to the powerful coffee cannon suddenly came upon the realization that her ear piece was being corrupted by the lord of the rats, sorry shrews. This, naturally, sent the beleaguered tour guide into a tailspin of epic proportions, “What am I going to do? Where will I go?” She grabbed onto the Amazonian’s hand in her fret.

Hellena; however, was in her own foul mood and shook it off turning her anger on Erica, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” breaking her heart she turned to the source of her wrath, “And you stole my sword!”

Steph who had always been able to talk her way out of any situation found her interminable charm running into the very thick wall that was the Amazonian, “Borrowed, I borrowed your sword.”

“YOU STOLE IT!” she roared, waving the source of ire at her in a not well controlled but still pants wetting way, “And then tried to sell it to that . . . K thing!”

She parted her hands, stepping back into the wall, “Me, oh no no. You were gone. I looked all around for you guys in the forum but you were nowhere to be found, only your sword so I . . . saved it for you.”

The Amazonian whipped herself into such a frenzy nothing short of a round or twelve of Ent punching was gonna break her out. Or the cool lifeless gaze of Pearl, her appointed den mother. “Hellena, please. We’re going to need all the help we can get.” Her gloved hand touched the Amazonians and slowly lowered the sword, which came inches into connecting with Erica’s head. She squealed and ducked under the Amazonians legs.

Pearl rolled her eyes again, turning her motherly voice on Steph, “What happened on level 500? You vanished,” her you just got caught smashing into a vase with your tonka trucks motherly voice.

“Oh, that,” the smuggler leaned back trying to look as nonchalant as possible snagging her rugged jacket on a loose nail, “I needed to meet a . . . friend, yeah and when I looked back you were all gone. Something about a stampede, many crushed. You’re wanted in about 30 different levels, you know.”

“I see,” Pearl didn’t like the sound of that. She still needed to appeal to the leader of this station for help and being a criminal wasn’t going to help her case. “And you just happened to find the sword and in that time wander down here and sell just as we’re about to fight off some rats mortal enemy and save us all? Must be quite a story.”

“Not really,” Steph tried to stare the mask down but found her eyes crossing, “Completely boring, would put you all to sleep. Lots of sandwich eating.”

“WHO ARE YOU?!” Erica cut in, her eyes brimming with tears pointing a finger at the newest addition to the party (forgetting that she had no idea who Steph was either). It was hard to stay mad at her, after all she did save them, sort of.

The woman was short, about four feet tall or so and dressed for a winter in Cardiff, a floppy brown hat perched on her head and her 15 foot rainbow scarf trailing on the ground. She twirled some long thin snack wrapped in paper in her fingers occasionally biting off a piece when no one was looking. Pushing her hat back she stuck out her non food arm and smiled, “I’m little monmon.”

“I can understand the little, but what’s a mon mon?” Hellena asked having troubles looking even further down for this one. If the humans kept getting smaller she was going to need binoculars soon.

“Well,” she twisted her face up looking at the brim of her hat, “I’m a mon that’s so good they named me twice!”

“Where are we?” Pearl asked, tired of asking that all the time.

Monmon blinked, or tried to. She never could quite get it down at the same time, “You don’t know?”

Erica started to cry again, “This whole year has gone wrong?!” as she caught the look in Hellena’s eye turned to sob on Steph’s shoulder. The smuggler patted her on the head dislodging a few more regulation pins.

“We are from out of town,” Pearl said diplomatically.

Monmon looked at the strange group: a masked woman who showed less skin than the Insectians, a giant dressed for the bikini competition, one of those insipid tour guides that was always getting in the way and oh yes that one, “Nice hat,” she nodded to Steph, who shifted uneasily at the familiar greeting. She’d never seen this woman in her travels before. “You are on Level 434, but not Level 434,” Monmon grinned, she loved this part.

“How can we be and not be on one level?”

“Oh god, we’re dead!” Erica screamed.

Monmon chewed thoughtfully on her snack, “Nah, you’re all alive thanks to ol’ Joe here,” she patted the coffee vat strapped to her back which seemed to gurgle in response, “There are places on the station, forgotten places. Locked places,” she shifted her eyes from the right to the left her smile cracking to the side.

“Locked places? I don’t like the sound of that.”

Monmon stood up straight her smile back in place, chomping down on her snack, “Nah, is no big deal. There’s lots of locked places all over. Perfectly safe,” she looked down at her fist. Manners were more of an afterthought in the locked areas and her bosses hadn’t been to keen on teaching her the finer things in life but she felt she should offer her new friends something. Holding her snack out to them, “Bacon?”

“Uh, no . . . no thanks.”

She shrugged, shaking ol’ joe, “Suit yourself. If’n you’re done arguing I need to be taking you to my bosses.”

Pearl and Hellena shared a look, Steph tried to get in on it but a glare from the Amazonian shrunk her back to patting Erica’s head. Pearl shrugged, what else have we got to lose. Hellena tried to mimic everything but she was out of ideas. “Your bosses?”

“Yeah,” Erica grinned, her bacon vanishing in her coat, “you’ll like ‘em. They have waffles!”

“Well,” Pearl gulped, hoping these wouldn’t be her last words, “lead on.”

Monmon turned, smacking her traveling coffee pot into Pearl’s arm and marched towards her destiny and the possibility of more bacon. Hellena leaned into Steph pulling the smuggler under her arm, “Yer gonna stay real close so I can keep my eye on you.”

“Yes, mam!” How in the hell was she going to get out of this one?

Erica, realizing that everyone was leaving turned her hysterics a bit more nonsensical, “Oh WHY DID I EAT PUDDING?!”

The locked areas seemed a lot less foreboding with little monmon leading the way. Perhaps it was the easy way with which she traveled almost mindlessly through the maze avoiding traps (that she herself planted) and downed bulkheads from other cannibalized locked areas, or maybe it was how she whistled under her breath “It’s a Small Universe” on an endless loop. Whatever the case, Pearl found herself falling into a strange ease she hadn’t felt since well truthfully since she’d been chosen by the elders as the one sent to find help amongst the humans. Curse her . . . specialness, that was what the called it, that took her so far away from home. It should have been someone, anyone else.

Monmon, in the middle of her song, turned to warn the others, “It’s a space of pain, a space of fears. A space of fame, a space of tears. . . Hey you may want to stick close to the wall, there’s a giant hole here.”

“How giant?”

Monmon paused, trying to decide how best to explain this to the humans, “You know a hole that would be really really big. Well, this is three point four times as deep,” she smiled at her and started to slide along the edge, “‘There’s so much that we share, and hey look that’s a bear it’s a small universe after all.’”

Pearl turned to Hellena, “Apparently there’s a big hole ahead so we’re supposed to be careful.”

“Who puts a giant hole on a space station?”

“Sith Lords,” Steph responded forgetting that she was enjoying a bit of peace in the Amazonian’s blind spot. “Oops.”

Hellena cracked a smile that would have sent trolls scurrying under a bridge saying you can keep your damn billygoats and pushed the smuggler forward. “Any sudden movements and we test just how deep this hole is,” she shooed her, “Well, go on.”

Steph gritted her teeth, adjusted her hat and took one large step forward onto what she thought was a very black bulkhead. “AHHHH!!”

“Welp, now we know where it is,” Hellena wiped her hands when out of the pit a crack echoed and the end of the smuggler’s trusty whip curled over the blade of the Sword of Endless Smiting.

“A little help would be nice,” a voice called out from deep in the hole. Pearl went to grab onto the end of the whip but a strong gravity field froze her hand as a strange purple light appeared hovering over the giant hole.

“Oh gods, not again,” Pearl said as a woman flew in the middle of a jump out of the wormhole and landed a perfect 10 on the edge, her conquistador helmet shifting in the drop.

She pinwheeled her arms a bit and as she got her balance turned away from the wall to look at Pearl now holding onto the whip wrapped around a giant sword. “Oh this is perfect,” a small notebook appeared in her hand, “Where am I?”

“A space station,” Erica offered, figuring she was being helpful.

“Excellent, I haven’t done sci-fi in ages. Okay and you are . . . “

“On a quest,” she answered again. Ooh she liked this game.

“Of course, of course. And you have a large sword on a space ship,” the woman’s face shifted as she tried to take in this new piece of information, “Hmm . . . I don’t know if I can work that in.”

“HELLO!” Steph called, her forearms getting far more of a workout than was strictly necessary in her line of work.

The strange woman leaned over the pit, her right hand stopping her helmet from sliding off, “And you have a woman dangling over a bottomless pit. Excellent, excellent. I have a few more questions.” All were held in sway by the woman’s magic and authoritative voice. She moved as though she knew the secrets to the entire universe. Thumbing through her notepad she picked a few lines, “How big is Disco? What cola do you drink? Have they invented jet packs?”

“What’s a Disco?” Erica asked, unsteady on her feet.

“Amazonians only drink Diet RC Cola.”

“Royal Crown?” the pen was flying.

“No, Random Crushing. 9 out of 10 eunuchs can’t tell the difference,” Hellena added happily singing the jingle under her breath.

“Oh interesting. And about the jetpacks?” They all shook their heads, sadly. “Still? Oh well, thanks anyway.”

“Is anyone up there going to help me?” Steph tried once more before she’d try taking her chances with the hole.

The screams of their compatriot . . . traveler . . . person in the pit broke whatever spell Pearl was trapped under, “Who are you? And why are you wearing a dress made out of silver tape?”

“Oh, you like it?” the woman turned a bit, making sure her sensible boots remained grounded, “It’ll be all the rage in about 1,000 years. Sorry, forgot to introduce myself. I’m Caissie,” she handed them all her business card that simply read ‘Caissie – Writer: from past – now. If you want to give me money yes please.’

“What are you doing here?” Hellena asked.

“Research, you can’t write a story without research. What, you think writers just make everything up?” a beeping emanated from her watch, “Damn, looks like my time’s up. Well it was very nice meeting you all,” she shook their hands her feet never leaving the floor and with a push of the indigo light button on her watch was pulled into the time traveling wormhole.

Lil monmon, having walked all the way to the end of the corridor and realized she was alone came hoofing it back, “What are you doing? We need to be moving it. Waffles wait for no man,” she waved her arms forward and swayed. It was rather hypnotic.

“If you’re quite finished up there having a bit of an afternoon chat do you think ONE OF YOU COULD RESCUE ME?!” the pit yelled.

Pearl glared at Hellena who shrugged and grabbing on the end of the whip yanked the smuggler up hard. She flew up high screaming and crashed at the java cannon’s feet. “I’m feeling a lot better,” Hellena smiled swinging her sword around.

“Is this day going to get any worse?” Pearl asked sliding carefully around the pit.

Erica, from the back cried out to the universe, “And why don’t I get any free Applesauce?!”

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nerdy Valentines

The day of pink and roses and strange anthropomorphized lips and humping dogs that sing Katy Perry songs is almost upon us. Which can only mean one thing. Time for more geeky Valentines:

These first two come from Doctor Who:

An MST3K valentine for those that like to mock things (I can't imagine what that would be like):
A valentine featuring everyone's favorite loveable robot - Bender! for Futurama fans:

One for the Lovecraftian fan:
 And the last one for those who would prefer if every holiday was more blood and bones than love and boneing:
And if you're in more of a pendant mood I have a new zombie valentine one freshly off the workshop:
Happy STD-Day!

Edited to add two new Who ones I made tonight:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tw' iter - part 7

After discovering a give us $40 and we'll inert your name and a few traits into a book thing I got a wild and crazy idea to write my own oh we'll call it story and instead of inserting just myself and my eye color (blech) I shall use all of my various twitter friends in some for or capacity. This is what follows.

Part 1- here 
Part 2 -here
Part 3 -here
Part 4 -here
Part 5 -here
Part 6 -here

“Does this crossbow make my butt look big?”


“Okay, how about the war hammer?”

She sighed, “No.” The rats, sorry shrews, were known throughout the universe for their rather sticky fingers and on a station as large and obtuse regarding law enforcement they accumulated the largest random arsenal this side of a deathstar. Hellena practically squealed as she took in all the goodies, a bit like a homicidal maniac in an armory.

Pearl was finding it hard to keep lying to the Amazonian as due to the cramped conduit system that made up the shrews life all that contained her world was Hellena’s posterior. She had to lean to the left lest the small laser pistol she cluelessly picked up dug into her hip. Her people were known best for not requiring weapons.

“Wow, this thing is amazing. I wonder what this button does. Oops!” On cue the group dropped down as another lancing green blast arced across their heads. “Sorry,” Erica called from the far back, grinning sheepishly. It hadn’t taken much to rouse her from her shrew-induced nap (a quick splash of old mop water) and she took the news that a horde of space born rodents had ordered the group kill something called a Kouban lest they themselves be killed rather irritatingly well. She’d spent the entire claustrophobic trip pushing the demo buttons on a laser sword, and left a very convenient burn trail should they need to get back unguided.

We are getting close, I can smell them

“Oh, thank the creators,” Pearl exclaimed, fighting back the urge to scream and dig the walls to pieces. Instead she shrank in on herself finding comfort in the black folds.

“Hey, ratty,” Hellena started, poking the guide the Killer Shrew king gave/forced upon them.

For the last time my name is not ratty. It is Spidey, I am the fourth Spidey in our generation.

“Yeah, whatever. You guys got any fully automatic laser guided nuclear warheads?”

Spidey, gaping up at the strange red woman turned his attention to the one in black, The Kouban are here. I can smell them his little nose twitched either from a bad smell or allergies or possibly both You will descend out of these ducts onto the ground below and smite our enemies

After having been nearly vaporized by a strange green/yellow face, nearly stomped to death by a rampaging horde, wormholed, whatever that Volman woman was and now attacked by giant killer shrews (how in the hell do you get shrew in space anyway?) Pearl was getting a bit snippy. “So we just waltz down there, say hi and then blast this Kouban into smithereens?”

For some reason sarcasm was a national pastime of the shrews And maybe you can have some milk and cookies after

Erica settled in next to Pearl, “What are these Kouban anyway?”

“You’ve never heard of them?” she was getting more and more confused as to what exactly she was good at guiding for.

“There are over 3,000 different species on this station not including the rat thing here.”

Shrew, for the last bloody time. I’m a shrew

Hellena joined in on the cozy huddle, dropping the war hammer with a loud bang ahead, “Hey, why don’t we kill ratty and then escape. No one would know.”

Spidey – 4 shifted back and forth on his paws Ah but you forget, I uh I have this telepathic connection. Yes. All of my fellow Shrews would know the second you tried to lay a finger on me

The Amazonian grinned, in the torchlight her face twisted like a mountainous god that just found a new blasphemer to play with, “I bet we could squish you into a stain before they got two feet out of their little hole.”

Pearl, for some reason the silently democratically appointed leader, leaned her head back against the cool bulkhead, “No, we won’t kill the rat, shrew, sorry. What are the Kouban like, their strengths and weaknesses?” But the rat, sorry shrew didn’t stick around long enough to answer. It knew that glint in the red one’s eye and left little tracks in the metal as it scrabbled back down the ductwork to find a safer vantage point for the slaughter.

“Damn, shoulda let me kill it. I bet roast shrew’s pretty tasty with the right sauce. Maybe ketchup.”

I’m trapped in a tiny metal coffin with a woman who’s armed to the teeth and another that will probably shoot off our feet before anyone elses and no one knows we’re here. Think, now is not the time to panic, think, think. There ahead of them sat a small ventilation grate in the floor of their little metal tunnel. Pearl gathered up her robes and slid forward pushing Hellena with her to take a peek down at the open world nearly throwing up as she did.

The floor fell away a good two stories to a shadowy concrete floor below. Only a single lamp illuminated the circle, throwing the two parties that were meeting across enemy lines into deep shadow. It was like something out of a really bad gangster film.

Light dimmed momentarily as one of the shadows stepped in. From her vantage point all Pearl could make out was a very bald head and a lot of shiny duds. “We Are The Kouban. All Of Your Technological And Biological Advances Will Be Added To Our Own. Resistance is Futile. Have a Nice Day.”

A familiar laugh chuckled from the other side of the circle. “Oh yes, I certainly am,” into the light stepped a fedora and khaki covered woman . . .

“Steph!” Hellena shouted, the sound bouncing off each metallic surface and echoing back upon their ears. Erica and Pearl glared at her, lowering her volume, “What’s she doing here?” the Amazonian mimed.

Pearl shrugged and Erica followed suit uncertain if she should know this person or not – maybe she was on one of those reality shows like Death of a Celebrity or Wheel of Mammals, she never watched any TV anymore. Luckily the shout did not catch the attention of the players below.

“You Have Brought The Package,” The Kouban demanded, extending an arm that looked like it belonged in a starship manufacturing plant not attached to someone.

Steph grinned, “That’s what I like about you Kouban’s, all business.” She turned and struggled to drag out a long package almost twice her height and placed it on the ground in front of her.

“Show Us.”

Slowly she unwrapped the string and lifted the lid off the box to introduce the harsh light to. . .

“THAT’S MY SWORD!” Hellena roared, forgetting the echo problem.

“Hellena, shut up!” Pearl shrieked at her.

“But THAT IS MY SWORD! The little NERFHERDER stole it!”

“I never could figure out what in the hell a nerfherder is. It isn’t that hard to keep track of those little foam footballs,” Erica unhelpfully added as she, bored with the proceedings below, took to fiddling with her weapon again.

 “Shhhh!” Pearl waved her arms madly trying to get everyone to stay quiet, but it was too late.

The Kouban turned on its rather stylish heels and looked up at the grate. “We Are Not Alone.” A red robotic eye zoomed in on the source of the sound and scanned the area. Three life forms found, destroy with extreme prejudice. Maybe go out for soup later. Tomato. Initiating kill sequence. Steph stepped back, unhooking her whip as the weird cyborg’s chest whirred, lasers and other weapons appearing as chunks of its chest opened and shifted.

Huddled around the grate, Pearl and Hellena watched helpless as the small bald man transformed into the deadliest fighting force this side of the Killer Shrew army. For one last touch it pulled a pair of ray bans out of its pocket before taking aim at the ductwork.

“Oh gods, RUN!” Pearl screamed, Hellena fast on her tail.

“Hey guys, whatcha think this button does?” Erica asked as the other women tried to shove her back down the ductwork getting clogged in a mass of limbs.

“Bon Voyage, Baby,” the Kouban said before firing one well timed shot towards the sound of the strange interlopers and returning back to his business. It would have worked too if not at that exact same second Erica lost her balance a bit from all the shoving and pushed the final button on her weapon. A long beam of energy lanced out slicing through the floor, the ceiling and the very important support that was the only thing holding the duct work away from the very hard floor.

“AAAAHHH!” All three women screamed together as their world fell out from beneath them.

Erica tumbled out first, Pearl smashing into her tender hold and cracking her fingers. The two rolled end over end screaming as the concrete floor came up to smash their bodies to very bad broken bits.

Steph looked up at the familiar women and smirking to herself cracked her whip past the Kouban that was shaking its fist up and down trying to unclog its arm. “Gotcha,” and just as Pearl and Erica were about to meet the ground on very unfriendly terms pulled a palette of boxes in the way.

Time slowed, literally, as the boxes contained their own micro black hole and each event horizon combined to lower the speed of the women’s decent. “AAAAAaaaa aaa aaa?” Pearl cried as her fall turned into more of a controlled bounce in a pool, she righted herself and landed feet first crushing the only blue hole in the known universe.

Still caught up in the drama Erica waved her arms like mad though now it looked more like someone messed up the speed on their camera and was making fun of grandpa. “NOOooooo!” she shouted mere inches from the end of the fall.

“Are you quite finished?” Pearl asked.

Erica landed, and looked up at her coyly, “Yes. Sorry.”

“Well, I’m really glad that worked out so well for you both but I could really use some HELP!” dangling precariously off her finger tips swayed the Amazonian from the remaining wreckage of the ductwork.

“We’ll get you down,” Pearl called and turning to look at the smuggler who also noticed Hellena paled, “Can you help her?”

“Shit!” was all Steph said as she tried to scoop up the sword that weighed about as much as her and scurry off.

“Oh no you don’t you little thief!” Hellena cursed. Rocking back and forth once more she let go of the bulkhead, “SMEG HEAD!” and thanks, perhaps, to the small black holes and the Amazonian’s legendary gymnastics team she landed in front of Steph hard but still in one piece. “Drop. My. Sword!”

The smuggler looked down the slotted arrow gracing the crossbow Hellena managed to keep cocked and aimed her entire fall and made the economical decision to write this one off as a loss. She tossed the sword towards the Amazonian’s feet her hands raising of their own accord.

“DUCK!” Pearl yelled. The two hit the ground, Hellena making sure to get to the sword first. A flaming ball of fuel passed inches over their heads burying itself into the wall behind. The Kouban having finally gotten itself cleared out came around for another shot. Pearl shook her small phaser up and down, uncertain how to take the safety off. As Kouban calculated his shot he took deadly aim and rebooted as a phaser cracked into its skull plate.

Pearl stepped back, the pieces of the phaser clattering to the floor. “What was plan B?” Erica asked as the Kouban started to twitch and move towards them.

“Um, that was Plan B.”

The red eye refocused. “I’m Sorry, I Can’t Do That Dave.” And once again the Kouban took aim (about all it seemed capable of), Pearl opened her mouth to scream when the door whished open and a short person entered.

Her eyes glittered like Hellena around a Guns N Ammo magazine, a giant power washer strapped to her back. “I’m lil monmon. I’m here to kick ass and look at donuts and I’m all out of donuts!” She screamed as the contraption on her back unleashed a caustic stream of a russet burning liquid at the Kouban. It smelled of late nights and breakfast near an oven on clean mode as the Kouban began to shake and smoke as open circuits met liquid..

“RUN!” someone shouted and they all made for the door except for the Kouban who was quickly melting away in a pool of coffee without a biscotti in sight.

From far above hiding in the still intact metal maze Spidey – 004 watched the carnage sending his report back to the King of Killer Shrews.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tw' iter - part 6

After discovering a give us $40 and we'll inert your name and a few traits into a book thing I got a wild and crazy idea to write my own oh we'll call it story and instead of inserting just myself and my eye color (blech) I shall use all of my various twitter friends in some for or capacity. This is what follows.

Part 1- here 
Part 2 -here
Part 3 -here
Part 4 -here
Part 5 -here
Part 6 -here
Part 7 -here

Aside from the shadow infested gritty walls, the flickering green light that made visibility a neat idea, the smells one would get if a radio shack crashed into a dry cleaner that they then set on fire, and a disquieting howl that belonged on some craggy moors of Scotland not in a space station these old warehouses weren’t so bad. A new coat of paint, some power washing, a few air freshners and it could almost be a nice place right up until your body was found jammed in the gears two decks below.

“Ww . . where are we?” Pearl asked, her gloved hands sliding along the wall for fear she’d take a tumble and figure out what sticky thing she kept stepping in.

Erica tipped her head back and forth, “Hang on, I can’t quite seem to get a signal,” she raised one hand high then bent over like an airplane in a bank.

“Does that help?” Hellena asked, about the only one having a blast. It was like going home for her, which she was surprised to find she missed.

The guide looked up at her, a few of her hairpins slipping loose and clattering to the floor, “Not really.” She dropped down to her knees and began to search.

“So what you’re saying is that we’re trapped in some dark forgotten cesspit, we have no idea where we’re going and we have no way to get back?”

“No,” she was having trouble finding her pins. This wasn’t good, she didn’t have the credits to buy a uniform replacement and of course the council of tour guides insisted you get everything replaced at the same time, “the cesspits are on deck 789. We’re on 434.”

“Wait, I thought we were on 500,” Hellena rolled her eyebrows together attempting to do Amazonian calculus. “That’s like another 60 or so levels. When did that happen?”

Pearl paused, certain that some strange lights ahead kept winking in and out, “It was that Hu, the Doctor Hu. He pulled us into something and we woke up here.” There they were again, an eerie red.

Erica, resigning herself to Ramen for a month stood up pinless, “Oh, why didn’t you say? Doctor Hu has his own section of deck 434. It’s on the other side of the station.” She shifted nervously as a surprising weight skittered across her foot, a new prize clutched in its poisonous jaws.

Breathing calmly inward Pearl turned from her gaze down the darkened corridor to stare back at her companions, “Wonderful. Let’s just turn around and see if we can talk that green woman into letting us somewhere else.”

The howling, which became an almost comforting background dropped away to be replaced by the sound of millions of tiny nails scrabbling away at metal sheets. Hellena lowered herself, an arduous task for the statuesque woman, the only one in requisite sandals she’d felt the rising tide far earlier but chalked it up to the ways of these humans. But old hunting triggers were firing. “Hey, did you guys see . . .” her hands snagged one in mid bound across her big toe, “Gotcha.”

Into the groups line of sight pinched between her two fingers she raised a small mammal not much bigger than a mouse with a long pointed nose and burning red eyes glared back at them. It shook, not out of fear and snapped its jaws. “Awe isn’t that the cutest little fuzzy!” Erica started going eye level. As she went in for a tummy rub the creature curled and bit her on the finger dropping to join its brethren “Sonnofa . . . hey get back here you little bastard!” she screamed, picking up a long abandoned broom from what was once the Janitor’s Storage swinging madly after her attacker.

“Wait,” Hellena’s scalp was itching, a very bad sign. But nothing was going to stop the tour guide in her quest to get after the worst category she could think of “non-tipper!” The broom swooshed back and forth kicking up long abandoned hunks of what most thought were derelict spaceships (actually mop buckets. What? Even Janitors need cool equipment sometimes).

 “I’ll get you my pretty and your little, uh, rat too!” Erica narrowed in on her prey. It, finding this strange woman fascinating, paused mid-scurry and looked up at her. Pearl and Hellena chased after from behind, slowing to watch the proud hunter circle her prey. “Now, that wasn’t very nice was it?” she got down on one knee to look the creature in the beady eye, “what do we say when we bite someone?”

The creature turned its head taking in the other strange beings in the back, this was a tricky situation with six large stomping obstacles but he’d got top marks in the AMOL and casting one last look from the red and black then back to the strange blue creature in front it made a calculated decision. Like a cat, the rodent jumped two feet straight into the air and chomped down hard on the blue woman’s nose, a trickle of blood flowing down.

“AHH!! GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF!” She rose whipping her head around. The rodent unclenched its jaws disappearing airborne deep into the corridor of the damned.

Pearl grabbed the hysterical woman by the shoulders, pulling her face down to her, “I don’t think it’s bad,” she started to rip sections of her robe off from inside.

“Guys,” Hellena started.

“Is it infected? Do I have rabies? Am I gonna turn into a werewolf?!” Erica sobbed as Pearl dabbed at her nose.

“Something’s not right,” the Amazonian wasn’t certain how to get their attention, at least not without her giant sword.

Pearl sighed, trying to fight through the babble of hysteria, “No, you’re going to be fine. Look it’s already stopped bleeding.”

“Seriously, this isn’t good,” running out of ideas, Hellena tried poking the two in the shoulders.

This only set the normally subdued Pearl off on her second tirade of the trip, the elders were going to have a field day with her when she got back home. Assuming they were still alive. “What?! What is it? What is so damn important?”

Hellena blinked, leaning back from the unexpected rage. It was like getting attacked by a precious moments figurine, “The rodent?”

“What about it?”

“It didn’t make a noise.”

The anger dissolved into something new and even sharper, “What do you mean it didn’t make a . . . noise,” her brain started to slide the pieces together, the blinking lights, the sounds.

Hellena feeling like she was back in school having to recite the Amazonian code in front of the class, First Rule of Amazonian code is don’t make any stupid Fight club references, shuffled her feet, “When she threw it, it should have made a whomp clang thud noise. But it didn’t.”

Through the black cloth Erica peered from one to the other, her fear blocking all the psychic training she spent 6 months living with no heat for. Pearl’s head turned slowly to where the nose cruncher slipped into shadows that were darker than they should be. “I think we really need to get out of here.”

As those words left her mouth the darkness parted as a million small red eyes opened. Before any of the women could think to scream, the horde rose up; a multitude of plague carriers descending from the heavens biting and clawing carrying them out to sea.

Oh creators, not this again. Pearl mumbled under her breath as excruciating consciousness broke across her. Cool metal froze her forehead, which helped cut the impending headache from the goose egg forming on the back. But the rest of her sat in surprisingly warm shredded paper. The light was dimmer here than in the hall but still had the same strange green tinge.

“I am really getting tired of this,” Hellena swore next to her.

“Are you okay?” Pearl asked trying to rise but her back collided into the ceiling. The walls were no more than a few feet high and unsure of what to do she sunk down to her knees.

“Oh yeah, just great. Who doesn’t love getting attacked by an army of rats?”

“Can you see the tour lady? Is she okay?” Pearl was getting woozy, the smell of fur and cedar and possible dual concussions getting to her.

“I can’t really see anything other than the stupid Maurice and his Amazing Rodents poster tacked to the ceiling,” The little creatures having lost a large number of their fighting forces to the Amazonian’s fists hadn’t taken any chances and tied her down Lilliputian style to the bulkhead. Tiny, but surprisingly strong ropes covered her entire body cutting off circulation to everywhere.

Ah, you are awake bipeds. Excellent.

Pearl turned at the voice thundering across her temple. A few heat lamps switched on and perched like a toad in a tree glared the biggest rat she’d ever seen. This thing would put some collies to shame.

First contact with an unknown species is something people spend years learning and training for. How to make sure to keep your voice neutral, make no sudden movements and never ever itch your nose lest you insult the good people of Taxolia and are vaporized on the spot. Sadly Pearl flunked out of FC101, “You can talk?!”

Yes, with help from the blue one

The blue one? Another light flickered on, this one stolen from an unguarded desk. Zonked out next to Hellena snored Erica, her nose bandaged up with a few supplies nicked from an old first aid kit.

“You took her ear piece!” Pearl’s old FC instructor would be having a series of 6 heart attacks right about now.

Yes the voice oozed smugness in her head which set a chain reaction on Pearl’s fragile emotions. Dangerous signals screamed from deep inside her and even with a giant talking rat talking to her brain she began to recite the meditation.

“What the hell is talking?!” Hellena yelled from her non-vantage point.

You killed many of our brethren

“Damn right, I’d have killed more too if ya hadn’t of snuck up like that. Lousy cheating using the pitchfork like that.”

Pitchfork? All Pearl remembered was the horror of thousands of nails digging and climbing up her robes scrabbling as they fought over top each other. The terror was enough to take her down; the rats didn’t need to do a thing.

  You must atone

“I ain’t toning fer no rat,” Hellena’s grammar became atrocious the more she trash talked. If this continued any longer she’d start sounding Welsh.

The voice roared I AM NO RAT!

Pearl finished her meditation as a multitude of red eyes opened ringed around the small nest. ‘Oh sweet sister who saved us from the fires of unending fury . . .’


This didn’t quite have the impact the king was going for as the one woman was still focused solely on the ceiling and the other rocking back and forth keeping herself trapped in her own safety zone of bubble kitties and fuzzy baths.

Oh for the love of . . . Jerry? Cut the big one’s ropes

Yes, sir the one, I guess called Jerry scurried forward and made record time of slitting each of the ropes with his teeth. Hellena not needing any encouragement sat up, snapping the rest. She shifted from one side to the next and tried to reach up smacking her hands into the poster ripping it down. “Oh great, my bum’s gone numb.”

NOW GAZE UPON THE GREAT KILLER SHREW ARMY! The king wasn’t about to let one of his best lines fly by like that.

Hellena looked up at all the murderous rodent faces as one warrior does to another across the battle line. They even nodded their heads at her, all at the same time. “I see ‘em. So . . . now what?”

The king grinned in their minds, a gut wrenching experience for both of the women, You are to fight our mortal enemies or we shall kill you At the signal each shrew snapped and snarled its jaws, barking the only way a shrew can.

“I see,” Hellena tried to lean over to Pearl who shuddered as the Amazonian made contact, “I could take maybe 700 – 800 tops. That leaves about 550 for you.”

She looked into the Amazonian’s serious face, then turned to look at the Giant shrew, “Who do you want us to kill Mr. Killer Shrew sir?”

They call themselves the Kouban

Sympathetic Magic

Tell me your name. It's how we greet each other generally. Hello my name is such and such and I do this and oh yes I do seem to have a shrimp tail in my hair. Thanks for noticing.

It's a script that only years of societal hand wringings can wrought and yet, there is something disconcerting about giving away a small piece of yourself to complete strangers. A feeling that with your name that unknown and untested person can now do with it and you whatever they like.

Or that's what countless ancient civilizations believed. To know a person's true name was to know their true nature which was to have power over them. Why do you think it was wrong to take the lord's name in vain? It had nothing to do with the church caring much about curse words. But to dare speak Jehovah was to call upon God himself (who in the early days was pretty big on the smiting and not so much the forgiving so I don't blame them) to try and take some control over the all mighty too. And on the other side if you could learn a demons name then you can control and cast it off.

Even now, the old fears still dance through the pages in fairy tales (Rumpelstiltskin) or even new creations (Gandalf or The Doctor), someone with great power will have many names they answer to and yet never reveal their true being lest everything they worked for would be undone.

This idea that a piece of you can be taken by someone to do whatever they want with is sympathetic magic. A person's essence rests within every cell in her body (kinda like DNA), so with just a tooth or hair a witch could own your soul. IE a voodoo doll.

I've been thinking a bit about Sympathetic Magic and the idea of keeping your true name to yourself and how with the still relatively young world that is the Internet this is once again the case. For fear of someone finding you and doing unspeakable horrors (there were a horrors talked about in the early web days usually with a really interesting weapon like an ice pick or a penguin) people hide behind usernames and avatars.

When meeting someone on the web you feel more secure telling them you're flowerfan143 than Sue Smith from Red Cloud area code 87564. Googling yourself has become not just a pointless exercise in narcissism but a necessity on occasion to make sure that someone out there in the wilds of the web hasn't taken your actual name and used it to do untold damage, or worse link it back to your home and with blackmail get you to do whatever they want.

Some of that is again hyperbole, there are not roving packs of demons outing every username that crosses their path nor are they using the fact that you failed third grade history to get you to send them money in a dollar sign marked bag (demons are such purists). But the idea, the fear, is still there. And that's what I find interesting, the need for humans to through subterfuge and masks keep control over a situation that can be purely random.

Do I believe in sympathetic magic? It's hard to say. All I know is that I shall keep myself somewhat hidden behind my veil of Introverted Wife for a while longer until this new world doesn't seem quite so dangerous.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tw' iter - part 5

After discovering a give us $40 and we'll inert your name and a few traits into a book thing I got a wild and crazy idea to write my own oh we'll call it story and instead of inserting just myself and my eye color (blech) I shall use all of my various twitter friends in some for or capacity. This is what follows.

Part 1- here 
Part 2 -here
Part 3 -here
Part 4 -here
Part 5 -here
Part 6 -here
Part 7 -here

Consciousness was a hard mistress as the Lady Pearl’s eyes fluttered open. She remembered a lot of light and pain then the world ebbed away as the mass of people converged in a strange haze as if slipping through a dream or on a really crappy television during a rainstorm. Then, darkness.

Rather impressed to still find her disguise on she rose carefully, blood still uncertain of where the best places to pool were. This is normally where one would say that their vision swam or did other interesting water acrobatics but the Gogo clan was known for having no truck with metaphors and through sheer willpower she brought her surroundings into focus as other groans and murmurs of “Mommy, save me,” stewed around her.

Level 500 and its teeming mass were long behind them. Instead of the curious mixture of sweat, cooking spice and butane it was disinfectant burning upon the nose and the constant buzz of voices just above normal speaking range were silenced to the beep and blip of machinery and whispers which somehow managed to seem even louder here. The blinding white floors, uncomfortable bed, and strange religious symbol nailed to the wall could only add up to one thing: hospital.

She would ask exactly where they were, but it seemed to matter little as she hadn’t been certain where they were before. Pearl slid off her bed, cursing the lack of peripheral vision, turning her head in exaggerated fashion to take in the large healing ward the severely diminished group found themselves curled up in. Beside her plugged in to her own stretcher Hellena lay, her arms twitching and pawing at her nose in the midst of what looked like a nightmare.

“Hellena. Are you all right? Wake up!” the last part emphasized with a quick jab of her finger.

“Wha?” the amazonian’s eyes slid open, “I was having the best dream. There was running and swinging and I think the bounty hunter was there.” She looked down at all the wires crisscrossing her chest and stomach.

Pearl put her hands up, “I wouldn’t remove them just . . .” with one quick swoop the warrior stood tearing all of the wires free from their dueling machines (who weren’t actually doing anything important and had started up a rather exciting game of pong to pass the time), “never mind.”

Hellena ripped off the wires glued to her skin the pain forgetting to register and being left out in the foyer to stew, “So, where are we now?”

Pearl opened her mouth to explain how she had no idea and it didn’t really matter anyway as they had no ideas where they started at when a woman appeared seemingly from nowhere, “I can tell you that.” She was dressed in a blue skirt number, her dark hair pinned up in an all business manner but the plastered smile and large nametag spoke differently, “This is the seventh infirmary on this ward, generally reserved for those that have motion or transporter sickness. In the year 560 of the Argonian calendar it was used to house the spill over from the space boil plague victims.”

The women’s mouths hung agape, both blinking slowly before exchanging a look. Hellena shrugged, and in doing so realized something vital was missing. “Hey, where’s my big stabby?”

“Beg pardon?” the new woman asked, her smile never wavering.

For the first time since meeting her in that cantina thousands of words back the Amazonian panicked. “My sword, it’s really big and scary and if I lose it the Godmother will have my head on a casserole.” She began to dig through the back of her bed and Pearl’s even though there were very few places for a 7 foot long sword to hide.

“Godmother? As in fairy?” Pearl asked, smirking beneath the cool exterior.

Hellena’s head popped up from beneath the tossed mattress, “Oh gods, you used the F word!” she whipped her head around not caring that the Godmother was millions of light years away and probably didn’t have too many spies on the space station.

Turning her attention back to the woman Pearl asked, “Who are you?” a phrase that was fast becoming her most popular.

For a moment she paused, her script broken. “No one’s ever asked my name before,” her eyes welled like saucers (which was really strange to think as no one had seen a saucer in over 5,000 years since the great Tea Wars). She started to hop from one foot to the next clapping her hands before rushing forward to envelop Pearl in a giant hug. “I’m Erica, tour guide number 6794.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Pearl gasped out through her surprisingly crushing hug. She nodded towards Hellena who was doing her best to maintain a calm by throwing things at the wall “This is. . .”

Erica cut her off, back into business “Hellena, of the Heavenly brood from the feared and traitorous Amazonians. Fresh off the transit PSS Harbringer in search of the . . .”

In the middle of throwing the machine to measure heart rate and play Angry Birds Hellena turned on the woman, “How do you know that?!”

“It’s my job,” she cocked her head and raised an eyebrow (she’d spent months working on it) “I am trained to know how best to serve all who require a tour guide through the station.”

Pearl paled under her mask, “And me, what do you know about me?”

She turned, fearing that she said something wrong, “Only what the registry at disembarkation said. You are a Lady Pearl and you brought exactly no luggage with you.”

Thankful for the necessary disguise Pearl breathed again before asking, “Then how did you?”

“How do you know all the stuff about me?” Hellena butted in, trying to put fear into a government official, which bounced off like a super ball.

Erica sensing the growing tension slowly raised one hand to her ear and with a ‘please don’t be mad’ face pulled a small metallic object no bigger than a quatloo (which is the size of a dime but saying something’s the size of a dime doesn’t seem very spacey) from out of her ear. It buzzed almost out of hearing range in a surprisingly soothing fashion, “The latest in teleconferencing. It allows the user to synch up with the onboard computer and any others in the vicinity to retrieve vital information.”

“Oh,” Pearl smiled, “so you could talk with the computer.”

“Yes,” Erica smiled, happy that everyone was happy again, “and her brain.”

Hellena reeled back, “YOU CAN READ MY MIND?!”

“Only tiny bits, small parts of information,” this wasn’t going at all how the 3 hour seminar with rather stale donuts and Bob who wouldn’t shut up about his fungus collection said it would, “It’s a skimmer, gathering and ciphering the important parts for my job and generally ignoring the rest. All tour guides have one.”

Pearl put a calming hand on the Amazonians shoulder and pulled her down for a huddle, “We need to figure out what happened to Devtony.”

“But she can read my mind, my thoughts. She knows the things I think!” Hellena peeked out back at Erica who was absently picking at some lint on her blazer.

“Yes, and despite that she seems willing to help us.” Pearl had heard of this technology before but it had little affect on her people, they had far bigger problems.

“Yeah but I . . .” Hellena’s mouth opened in the hopes some good reason to not trust her would fall out but all that came was a small squeak.

“Er, excuse me,” Erica waved to them, trying to get their attention, “Is the sword you are searching for about 2.1 meters long with gold inlayed cross guard?”

The Amazonian gulped reminded of how truly dead she now was, “Yeah, did you see it?”

“No,” then Erica touched her ear piece, “but I believe I just scanned someone who did.”

Hellena looked from Pearl back to Erica, “All right fine, but you stay out of there between 6 and 9 PM. That’s Hellena’s time!”

Erica clapped her hands together, ecstatic to have a new job, “Excellent, now if you will take these brochures and put on these VIP badges we can be off.”

Pearl and Hellena signed away most of their rights to sue should their corpses be found mutilated and ripped to shreds by a pack of space hyenas or the $5 removal fee when they wind up in a sand worms belly and after double checking with one of the onboard lawyers they were off.

“Now this deck was dedicated in memory of the warrior of the great Time Battle from 3590 to 2574 and was called Clockwork Ange right until they finally repaired the tear in the space time continuum deleting all traces of that terrible war.”

Hellena leaned down to Pearl, “I don’t remember that,” Pearl shrugged, as far as she knew it was the year of the Cantaloupe and time travel was impossible, “and how do we get her to stop?” Hellena asked as Erica moved from history to architect plans for the three decks above them.

She’d slipped straight into tour mode and lead the two backwards through each deck of the mostly abandoned hospital rattling off every fact that could be squeezed from a computer that wasn’t being used for porn (about 0.5% of them). Due to tract building being the wave of the future in the 34th century each room lead perfectly into the next right down to the placement of the scalpel and trash bin to the point where she was no longer certain exactly where they were.

Pearl cleared her throat trying to interrupt the latest string of words, “I say, I was wondering if there was something you could help us with once we find the sword.”

“Sword? What sword?” Erica paused mid backstep (she was top of her class at walking backwards without hitting anything important and causing a Rube Goldbergian chain of reactions that ended in the tourists getting hit with flying syringes).

“The Sword That I’m Missing,” Hellena growled.

“Yes, of course.” She smiled and turned away from them furiously processing her request to find the way to the main desk.

In a stage whisper Hellena was certain their tour guide would hear, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

“We don’t have a choice, she may be the only one who can lead us to Devtony,” Pearl was worried, she thought their tour through different wings of the hospital would uncover the bounty hunter but aside from a few serious hammer knocks to the head and a giant mass of people from the ClusterFuck who got a bit too close to the wormhole and were now having a bit of a fused problem there was no sign of the giant.

“Oh right, I forgot about him. You, tour lady,” Erica turned at what became her call name when she took this horrid job 5 years ago, “we’re looking for me best friend. He’s really tall, drools a bit and smells like swiss cheese left out in the sun for a week.” Tour lady smiled, her finger already to her ear.

“Hellena, I think she’s going to need a bit better description than. . .”

“Devtony – designation Demon Dog, Bounty Hunter class 9. Not to be trusted around anything sharp.”

“Wow, you are good.”

Erica paused, something wasn’t right with her ear piece. Every time she asked the computer for his location it buzzed at her like a wrong number on those antique video phones, “Hm, I seem to be having some interference. Luckily there’s always a plan b. I’ll ask the secretary.”

She approached the door pad and instead of pushing the open button entered a strange series of numbers. The floor grinded a bit and a strange light flashed through the small cracks of the door frame before swishing open from right to left. “After you,” Erica stood in the door jam, a necessity after the doors became sentient during the last reboot and liked closing on people cutting off limbs or that one time half a head.

Pearl and Hellena passed from a cold sterile sick bay into a cold hostile waiting room. The walls were a strange pale green that from the corner of your eye looked yellow and the other a speckled brown. Chairs specifically chosen to be uncomfortable and bile inducing ringed the baseboard edge with small reading pads locked to issues of Octogenarian Vogue, Better Ships & Terraforms from fifty years ago and the recent Highlights clinging to strange glass tables.

At the far end a menacing command center with the words “Main Desk” loomed, covered in wood from the Tree people of Pandora-2 (they had a bit of an axe to grind). Erica, having locked the door in place took the lead and walked up to the Main Desk, knocking softly on the closed paneling window.

Pearl expected the window to fly open and an old woman with a pinched face and pencils in her hair to poke her head out. Instead a whomp and then flicker noise sounded behind the window, the lights in the reception area dimmed a bit and woosh as the fog machine kicked in. Through the haze a gigantic green hologram of a woman’s face appeared upon the window, “Who Arouses the Wrath of the Great and Powerful Volman?!” Her voice echoed across the small room as eyes that burned with the vengeance of a white dwarf ripped into each of their souls and judged them as unworthy.

Hellena and Pearl gasped, each grabbing onto the other begging for forgiveness for every crime they ever thought of commiting. “I’m sorry I took the last biscuit.”

 “I forgot to clean up the blood pit!”

“I never should have lied to my mom!”

“I had no idea human pelvises were so fragile!”

Erica stumbled through her briefcase, “Oh sorry, I forgot,” she pulled out a small card covered in holes and slid it through a scanner on the wall.

“I swear the terrier’s not mine!”

“I had no idea witches weren’t water resistant!”

Something grinded behind again as gears geared and cranks cranked, the fog machine turned off and the air flipped on pumping the haze out. The lights raised back on and the green face vanished from in front of them. Pearl and Hellena exchanged a glance, realizing they were still holding onto each other they let go each smoothing down their clothes nonchalantly.

The wooden window flew open and a woman asked, “Yeah, whatcha want?” It was the same face earlier about to devour their souls through their eyes and spit the rest down the garbage chute but this one was of flesh and blood, still just as green and somehow even more terrifying in person.

“Sorry to bother you,” Erica started trying on one of her best smiles, which the secretary rolled her eyes at, “but I was wondering if you could help with a bit of information.”

“What’s it say up there?” she pointed to the top of her window to the world, her eyes never leaving the crossword desk.

“Um . . . Main?” Erica asked back.

“Exactly, no information. Good day,” she began to close her window but Erica wedged her hand in suppressing a cry from the pain.

“Please, I, uh, what’s your name?” she asked grasping at straws.

The secretary paused in mid window slam, her costume glasses sliding down her nose. It wasn’t often that she got to play this part and damnit if she wasn’t going to put her all into it, “Why do you want to know. Are you writing any of this down?”

“No,” Pearl stepped forward into the line of sight, “We are lost travelers who are looking for a friend. He was taken.”

The eyes calculated, well it was a while since she’d last had a bit of fun, “Taken you say,” the voice was maple sweet with a hint of bacon, “must have been one of the poachers.”

“Poachers?” Hellena asked, “There are Egg People here?”

“Poachers,” she enunciated at the Amazonian, “who take perfectly healthy people and remove all their organs and sell them on the red market,” This was a good one, she’d have to share it on the big board.

“Don’t you mean the black market?”

“You try keeping a market black when it’s covered in livers and spleens and things. No, definitely the red market. Yeah, it’s terrible. We’ve had five no fifty go missing this week alone,” she slid her glasses up a bit so she could do the ‘look over the rims for dramatic effect’ move.

“Oh no!” Erica who still had her fingers wedged in the window exclaimed. “Where are these people held?”

Pearl shook her head and mumbled, “If they knew where they were don’t you think they’d have stopped it by now?”

“The old warehouses, down by the lab. Yeah, scary place that is. Full of, zombies. Robot zombies that . . . shoot bees,” did she still have access to the closed circuit for the old warehouses? Oh and there were the popcorn credits left on the counter.

Erica put out her steepled hands, “Please good woman, we beseech you . . .”

“We do?” Hellena asked.

“Give us access to the warehouses so that we may claim their dear friends mangled and organless corpse.”

The air was getting a little thick and for fear that the spell she’d weaved and her face might crack the secretary punched a few numbers on her computer and out spat three passes, “That should get you to the warehouses, good luck.” She turned her attention back to her crossword but peered up at them through her eyelashes.

 “Thank you, thank you so much,” Erica grabbed up the passes, and pushed the other two towards the door they came in. She punched in some new numbers off the papers and again the ground shifted and the light shone, though dimmer and more green this time.

“Oi, does that ear thingie go into your brain or something?” Hellena asked, “and quit shoving.”

“No time,” the door opened again though now to a dark and forbidding green hallway with a flickering light at the end. “Thank you again,” Erica called once more before pushing the group into certain death.

“Oh and watch out for the cybernetic hair dressers! They’ll rip your skulls right off,” the secretary called out once more before the door to her world closed for good. Turning her attention back to the puzzle she counted under her breath lest the three try to claw their way back through before the shift finished. Emily grinned to herself and once the Waiting Room was back in place, slipped out of her costume and read her beeper “A surly cab driver with a heart of gold? Sure why not.” Her arms slid the wooden window back into place for the next unfortunate soul.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cthulhu Valentine Spam

As part of my strange string of making valentines for nerds/geeks (IE my horde of Dragon Age ones) I asked for suggestions and my friend Monica threw out the idea for a Lovecraftian one.

An idea hatched in my brain and out of it strode this:
Pretty simple idea, terrifying tentacled god wishing you to be his or face the some not very nice wrath. I, like most of my wacky ideas put it on my Deviant Art page expecting it to wallow in obscurity again like all of my wacky ideas.

For the most part I was right until I woke up this morning to find a comment left on my Cthulhu Valentine:

"You might dig this

Oh goodie, early morning viruses. But wait, I hover my cursor over and see that it's none other than an Etsy link. Okay, Cthulhu getting mad now.

I click it and lo and behold the thing in a fairly sparse shop has already sold. And oh look so did another one two days before. Which means this person decided to search for anything Cthulhu on either all of Deviant Art (or possible google) and leave a link to their little plush toy all over the damn place.


People plead ignorance when it comes to self promotion, yes you can share things you make sparsely and surrounded with something helpful or in a fan opt in community. Do not go around posting links to your stupid little store wherever you see a vague mention of something that you think applies. You might get a few sales but numerous other people will hate you and tell others.


This is also why Etsy links have been banned all across the internet leading shop owners to try and find creative ways around it.

But if you really want your own cuddly Cthulhu I have a much better recommendation over the fleece spam I got.

Cthulhu Chick has crocheted adorable monsters in whatever color you can think of:

If I wasn't certain that anything plush coming into this house would die a quick death at Essies paw I'd get this little guy:

Spam - bad/ Crocheted Cthulhu - good.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tw' iter - part 4

After discovering a give us $40 and we'll inert your name and a few traits into a book thing I got a wild and crazy idea to write my own oh we'll call it story and instead of inserting just myself and my eye color (blech) I shall use all of my various twitter friends in some for or capacity. This is what follows.

Part 1- here 
Part 2 -here
Part 3 -here
Part 4 -here
Part 5 -here
Part 6 -here
Part 7 -here

Menacing doors passed on both sides as Steph lead the terrified group down a narrow hallway that kept curving in on itself like an ouroboros that got a bit confused and tried to eat its midsection first.

“Didn’t we already pass the ‘Danger Tiger Eating Men’ sign?” Pearl asked, shuffling in the middle of the group. Devtony took up the rear under the pretense of guarding them should anything really big and scary try and outflank them. In reality he was hoping for a chance to bolt once everyone’s back was turned but every time he slid back a step Pearl would follow suit. She must have eyes in the back of that cloak, he mumbled before reminding himself that there was a very good chance she did and possibly on the balls of her feet. The universe was a very strange place and had its own laws when it came to biology.

“Not much further, around the ‘DM’s to Nowhere lab’ and past the ‘Something bad has happened’ lounge,” Steph had her ‘everything’s perfectly cool, no reason for the authorities to watch me’ walk on which could only mean some really bad shit was about to go down.

Hellena bounced beside her, grinning from ear to ear. This was a lot better than sitting in some tree blind waiting for another ship full of men to land so they could have another raid party. She had high hopes it would even top the bunga bunga after. “So what does a space station need with a Whale department anyway?”

Devtony and Steph paused panic on their faces before both started yelling out, “I didn’t here anything about a Pail. Why would you want a rail? Does anyone have my gel? I could really use a trail.”

In a clutch of panic and visions of nets in his eyes Devtony kept calling out everything that rhymed with whale as Steph pulled Hellena to her side, well nudged nicely she knew how much damage that sword could do all to intimately and whispered “Do. Not. Use. The. W. Word.”

“What W word?”

“The one that sounds like a cry.”

She furrowed her brow trying to go back over what she said, “Oh, you mean . . . gotcha. Why?”

“You don’t want to know. I think we’re in the clear, I don’t hear any wings flapping.” Steph paused putting her ear to the wall, “yep it missed us.”

Pearl stepped forward, “Are we getting close to this forum?”

“What? Oh yeah we passed it back there, it’s through every door on the right.”

The group started at her, “You mean we could have just walked in all the way back by the lift.”

“Well yes and no, look you’ll see,” she slipped off her glove and pressed her palm against a small panel and a voice quite a bit like MoCoddle read out “HELLO USER @STEPHAROONI, PLEASE ENTER” and out spit a small card with a strange symbol on it.

“Come on, come on we don’t have all day, get your hash tag so we can get in.”

Pearl and Devtony exchanged a look, he shrugged he had no idea what a hash tag was – sounded spicy. Hellena, never one to back down from a small box on the wall wiped her hand off on the small bits of fabric she wore and made contact. “HELLO USER @HELLENAHEAVENLY, PLEASE ENTER,” she grabbed her hash tag grinning. “It looks like a game board. Ooh are we gonna play . . .”

“Tic Tac Toe? No.” Steph butted in.

“You call it Tic Tac Toe? I only knew it as Eye, Tooth, Toe. Huh, this place is backwards.”

“Well, we don’t have all day.” Shrugging Pearl and then Devtony both placed their hands and received their own hashtags. The bounty hunter turned his over and over trying to figure out what the small sheet was good for.

MoCoddle having processed her newest best friends grinned and with a smirk opened up the door to Level 500 Forum – or as it was known throughout the rest of the station ClusterFuck #1.

They all, even Steph who spent most of her illegal life inside one of the ClusterFucks, gasped (they were going to run out of oxygen at this rate) at the mass of life ringed around a huge stage where a distant spec stood his words magnified back through the loudspeakers “And I say we didn’t not try not hard enough!” People, so many people, all the people not out in the corridors stood there a few patiently and most not so patiently waiting in a huge eternal twisting line to get up to the platform. Barriers in the form of velvet ropes were erected keeping each coil of the line separate though a few amorous souls would jump when the mood striked.

Where a gap formed, generally from someone vacating the premises so to speak a business or two would spring up. There were small booths selling every kind of ware imaginable and some most would rather not think of. Life was lived in the line, babies were born near routes 35, 56, or 150 depending on how long one waited. Bathrooms were the first business ventures established. Level 500 was proud to boast a pay toilet once every 50 people. But of course those who lived in the line had no way to earn coin so the entire line economy was based upon trade for goods and services.

This was where a smuggler thrived, guards were forced through the line and could be avoided easily enough if you had the right numbers or were really good at ducking under legs and people forced to mingle and wait were willing to try anything to get their minds off it. Business had been booming for Steph as she turned to her terrified compatriots, who looked like they were about to need one of those much boasted toilets. “Welcome to the forums. Now quick get in line before someone takes your spot.”

The human urge to beat out their neighbor over rode any sense that this was an incredibly stupid idea and Pearl followed by Hellena and Devtony fell into line behind the swirling masses. “What is this place?” Pearl asked Steph who started to disrobe out of her sterile garb, leaving a rather dashing young woman in a curious adventurer’s outfit behind (the fedora was a bit much).

“It’s the forums, I thought everyone knew about the forums.”

“I’m from . . . out of town. I don’t understand why is everyone standing in this line?”

Steph paused as she dug through her pack for the ceremonial whip (a must for all smugglers), “You know, I’m not sure. It’s just what everyone does.”

“So you all get in line for something but you have no idea what lies at the end?” Truly these people were baffling.

“Yeah, exciting isn’t it?”

The line moved surprisingly quickly for the large masses, the same voice still droning on from the center stage. This was not due to people finally reaching their lauded end but a trick of engineering and the use of wormholes to put those at the front back to the end. A bit of space sickness from the trip kept the travelers confused enough they never noticed.

Pearl and Steph were locked in conversation, arguing over the point of it all. Hellena turned to Devtony, “Whatcha think’s at the end?”

The giant looked up easily over most of the heads and placed a hand over his eyes, “Looks like a stage surrounded by barriers.”

“Oh, like a ring. You think there might be some wrestling?” The joy on her face belied the terror that the bounty hunter was certain must be somewhere in the Amazonian. The idea that she actually enjoyed getting into danger wasn’t a possibility.

He looked up again, willing his eyesight to get better but when he turned back Hellena was talking to a strange man with a pumpkin on his head. “Hi, I’m Hellena. I have no idea what I’m doing here.”

“Mmph mmmphh fump (translated as ‘I am pumpkinsam and I am standing in this line with a pumpkin on my head’).”

Devtony shrugged his shoulders his footsteps slowing to a crawl, he let a few of the people behind him pass by. This was turning into a mad goose chase and he was in no mood to be the remaining loon. Maybe he could talk his way into the lift without Steph’s card and . . . and get vaporized two seconds in.

“Hello dearie, you seem lost.” The bounty hunter turned around searching for the grandmotherly voice, “Down here, you big stupid . . . dear.” The voice changed for a second becoming harder and younger only to have the syrup poured on extra thick. A woman, well what was probably a woman, doing her best to appear as a crone right down to the fake nose and warts that kept slipping off blinked up at him. She had a small stand set up, nothing more than a few curious knick-knacks surrounding her. “You are the Tony yes, once known as Splutnik.”

“How did you,” Devtony started, “Not even my parents knew that!” Then again what his parents knew could fit into a thimble for a pixie.

“Come,” she waved her hands pulling him into her web, “you must take this,” and with almost no force placed a strange looking fruit into his palm. It was brown and probably half dead covered in spines that poked into his flesh.

“I really don’t think I . . .”

“You take, trust in Rebis-AZ. I never let you down.” The woman winked, causing her nose to slide down and drop to the floor. She scurried down looking for it, just then Pearl appeared looking as mad as a porcelain mask can, “We were looking all over for you.”


“Well actually not, it’s surprisingly hard to hide here. What’s that in your hand?”

Devtony looked back towards where the old/young woman had been, now only a crowd of teenagers talking animatedly about a singing beaver in her place. “I have no idea,” and hurled the strange fruit deep into the heart of the crowd.

The pair got back to the place Hellena had been saving for them, noticeably absent was one woman who carried their only way back home “Steph’s gone.”

“What do you mean, Steph’s gone?”

“She said to stay here and that she’d be back,” Hellena smiled once again reminding the panicking pair who was carrying the giant weapons.

Devtony and Pearl exchanged a look and trapped in this strange place no one to get them out and with no idea what else to do sat down on the side of the line letting people pass them. The Amazonian was in the mood to sight see and with the prodigious use of the threat of the giant sword on her back got some people to act as the bottom of a pyramid.

“Wow this place is amazing. There’s a huge board lining all along the wall that keeps flashing small messages.”

Devtony snorted, in no mood to play along. He was beginning to overheat surrounded by all these people. He thought about taking his coat(s) off but didn’t like the looks of anyone else with their thieving hands of thievery. Pearl responded, “What do they say?”

“Mostly gibberish. M-t-n-b-k-e Hey look at me I’m eating a sandwich, Smarmy Jerkface – my sandwich is better than your sandwich. There’s an awful lot of sandwich talk for some reason. Perhaps there’s a Subway in the middle. I hope so, I could kill for a club.” At the words kills and club the pyramid scattered back into the fold figuring that dealing with stern looks and muttered words from fellow patrons were better than the Amazonian.

Pearl turned from Hellena who managed a perfect dismount from atop a pile of squirming bipeds hell bent on getting far away to look at the pile struggling to breathe beside her, “Oh my NerfHerders!”

Hellena turned to see her new best friend slumped over, his skin an unsightly shade of green with a strange white goo foaming over his eyes and mouth. He turned a bit at the masks cry but could only make out strange shapes as the world around him melted into a grilled cheese sandwich. The last of his energy drained and the giant plowed forward crashing on his face and stopping up the line.

The Amazonian gritted her teeth, at last a bit of action, and as Pearl yelled for a Doctor Hellena picked the slowly cannibalizing himself Devtony up onto her shoulders. “Which way to a doctor?”

“I have no idea, all I see are people!” Pearl scattered, trying to be heard over the din of whoever’s thoughts were being blasted across the vast space. “Doctor? Is anyone a Doctor! Surely someone is a Doctor?”

Hellena, sensing a bit of fun and using the unconscious giant as a battering ram plowed through the line in record time. Pearl ran behind offering platitudes as she went.

“I’m so sorry, yes please excuse us, our friend is very sick. We’ll make it up to you.”

This was taking too long though, the barriers made sure the line which seemed immensely long to the observer was actually infinite times bigger. “Bugger it!” she yelled turning from the people waiting in line and took to bashing down the barriers with her best friend.

He was unaware of anything going on around him and kept mumbling, “But I don’t want to go to the asteroid belt today mother.”

Line Authorities would have butted in and stopped the group making a dash for the center ring if they hadn’t of all died out about 300 years ago when their uniforms all malfunctioned and played a continuous loop of “It’s a Small World After All” on high speed. No one ever bothered to replace them and the place had been self serve ever since. People left in the wake broke from whatever spell the velvet ropes put them under and began to mob behind the dashing Amazonian making their own break for what they believed was freedom.

“I think I can see the podium!” Hellena yelled back to Pearl who was hot on her heels. Except there was an unexpected problem, unnoticed all these centuries by the swarm, the fact was the eternal line and simple barriers had no connection to the center ring at all. It was barricaded on all sides so none of the riff raff could get near the microphone.

“Bloody Hell!” This is going to hurt, Hellena thought and with all her strength tossed the giant high into the air and in one fast move pulled off her sword and sliced a hole through the chicken wire circling the stage.

“Hellena, that was amazing,” Pearl said.

“I know, right,” the Amazonian pulled back on the wire so the masked woman could slip through completely forgetting the giant still in the air. He hit the ground with a thud that knocked the other line patrons off their feet. Luckily his head cushioned the fall. “Oopsie, Daisy,” she picked him up again and made for the strange arena.

Pearl was ahead of her, looking furiously for someone in charge but no one was there. Only a chair sat upon the stage near the microphone with a small puppet near it that was surprisingly familiar. She looked towards Hellena who was getting a bit tired of the load and set him down on the stage with a hard crack.

The women approached the microphone. Hellena picked it up and handed it to Pearl. She pushed her mask back and cleared her throat, “Excuse me,” her voice echoed back across the mass of people, “I say, excuse me but is there a doctor in the house.”

Much as someone who spent their entire life near a highway suddenly moves to the country every ear turned and mouth silenced as the constant hum of the voice changed becoming higher and softer. Pearl swallowed again, the crushing weight of attention full upon her, “Our friend is very sick.”

Hellena, her focus on the hole she made and the mass of arms and legs fighting through it called out, “Uh you might want to hurry up, we’re gonna have a lot of company soon,” she looked at Pearl and the chair beside her, “Hey isn’t that Mr WordsWorth?”

“Is anyone here a doctor?!”

A flash of purple light blinded everyone on the stage (which was getting rather crowded quickly) and a man dressed in a strange blue jumpsuit walked through, “I’m a Doctor.”

“Doctor who?”

Hu actually,” he said slipping a small disc onto his patient.

“What?” Pearl was getting tired of this game.

“No time, take this,” he placed a disc in her hand and one in Hellena’s, “This is gonna get a bit bumpy, try not to throw up.”

The mob broken from whatever spell the new voice had began a resurgence towards the microphone, their holy grail of a wasted life. Doctor Hu smiled and with a quick wave to everyone on queue pushed a small button on his suit and the entire group vanished in the purple haze.

People crashed into people as all of level 500 converged in one giant pile of limbs.