Monday, 5 October 2015

Bibliography - September

I read one book in September. Scratch that I read half a book. Wait, wait, wait. Before you think I took things easy let me tell you about the book. It'a called Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It's purported to be a modern-day classic. There was quite the buzz recently about Wallace as a movie about him was released, focusing on his life and suicide. It looked interesting. So I bought his Infinite Jest. It was promoted as possibly the last post-modern novel whatever that is...but it sounded good. As I waded my way through it I often time felt the jest was perhaps on me. A very difficult read. I'd put in about 2 hours a day and then put it down because I was so bloody confused by the narrative. The book weights in at over 1000 pages and while reading I Googled the title and learned hardly anybody finishes this damn book. I made it to about 52% through on my Kindle before throwing in the towel, or iPad if you will. And I did';t even look at the close to 400 endnotes.

Here's the description on Wikipedia, which perhaps I should have looked at before reading the book:

"The lengthy and complex work takes place in a North American dystopia, centering on a junior tennis academy and a nearby substance abuse recovery centre. The novel touches on many topics, including addiction and recovery, suicide, family relationships, entertainment and advertising, film theory, United States-Canada relations (as well as Quebec separatism) and tennis."

Given that, it's almost as if I read 5 books last month. Be that as it may mark this down as a DNF (did not finish). This may well suite a university literature studies class but it didn't quite suite me. I'm glad it was written well after my English literature studies. I think Chaucer was easier to get through than this.

I've read 49 books so far this year.

Monday, 28 September 2015

It's All About the Pants

***first para to be read in a deep voice, with a hand to one ear like the guy doing v/o for a movie trailer***

In a world where global warming screws with our temperature-focused brains I stand tall - well, at least 5'10' - among my neighbours and friends and wear shorts at the crack of spring. No, that's not a euphemism for having forgotten my belt. It's an expression of optimism. You might say that in my house April showers lose long May trousers. (Yeah, I thought of that myself.)

Cargo shorts, golf shorts, cut-offs - you name it, I can't wait to expose my scrawny little legs to all and sundry not to mention all the sunshine. It's as if someone brainwashed me, like in that movie Manchurian Candidate - the one with Frank Sinatra, not Denzil Washington - into wearing shorts from May to October. Thankfully I do not cluck like a chicken.

And once I don shorts there's no going back. Let the temperature take an unseasonable dip, I'm still wearing my shorts. Like several weeks back when I went to see my three grandkids play hockey in two different arenas. Cold? Like, yeah - I don't know if you knew this or not but they play hockey on ice, eh. And I wore my shorts. And now I have a cold. And like my wife told me ahead of time to wear long pants. And I thought to myself "Long pants? Bah. It isn't even October yet".

So now I have a cold and long pants. But it wasn't easy. For me the first sign of autumn isn't a date or coloured leaves or brisk, foggy mornings or early sunsets or NFL football or the end of Master Chef or even the new TV fall line-up. It's long pants. More to the point, I have discovered, it's attempting to pull up those long pants over a somewhat protruding belly that's a little more protruding than it was in May when it started to run unchecked and unbelted. I wonder if I may have had a few too many Sausage/Egg McMuffins over the summer.

I may now need a professional to brainwash me into cutting back on those McMuffins not to mention getting into my pants. Cluck, cluck.

The Studio30+ prompt was brainwash/gaslight this week. I always thought gaslight was something else but I may have been brainwashed on that.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Life Is Full of Little Lessons

He immediately felt remorse for his actions. Brian didn't know why he had been so cruel to his classmate. But it had come so easily. He'd just opened his mouth and the words came flowing out. And then his former friend had cried and now Brian sat in the Principal's office waiting for his mother who had been called at work about the incident.

She immediately felt remorse for her actions. She didn't know why she'd been so cruel to her son at the breakfast table. She'd just opened her mouth and the words came flowing out. Brian had been dawdling, eating a little slowly and she had yelled at him to hurry up. And now the school was calling her about some fracas between Brian and some other little boy. What was that all about?

The Principal immediately felt remorse for his actions. He didn't know why he'd been so cruel to Brian's mother. He'd just opened up his mouth and the words cam flowing out. He spoke without thinking, criticizing her for Brian's ill behaviour.

Later, in the car, on the way home Brian turned to his mother, tears in his eyes, and told her how sorry he was for the problem at school. Her thoughts went back to breakfast. She smiled wistfully and patted him on the head. But she had forgotten she was holding on to the red, hot cigarette lighter. She immediately felt remorse for her actions.

The prompt from Studio30+ this week is remorse/penitence. And I'm sure you're expressing remorse having read this.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A Stumping Prompt

I had absolutely no idea on how to come up with a story utilizing this week's writing prompt. I decided to go for a walk and see if I could get those creative juices flowing. I headed downtown, parked the car and started walking.

On Bank Street I was immediately surprised by the number of buskers and street performers and, while entertaining, found them to be a distraction. I couldn't concentrate amidst the cacophony resulting from the overlapping outputs of these buskers and street performers.

I walked on. I rounded the corner from Bank to Sparks Street. Now Sparks Street used to be reserved for cars. Now, though, it was an outdoor pedestrian mall and was a natural home to many buskers and street performers.

As I marched on I left a few dollars in a few open guitar cases. Some of these buskers and street performers were quite good and I wondered just what life had in store for some of them. I felt they wouldn't be buskers and street performers for long because they were so good.

I wandered back to where I had parked the car and thought how brave these buskers and street performers were to perform in public; just throw it all out there in the hopes that passers-by would appreciate them.

But as I drove home I realized I still didn't have a story idea for this week's prompt of buskers and street performers.

Well by now you may have guessed that the Studio30+ prompt was buskers/street performers. No? Well, it is. Yeah. Buskers and street performers.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Name Game

Bob and Barry didn't know much about the construction business. But having inherited a significant amount of money when their grand pappy died decided to invest it in a construction firm. The first thing they thought they ought to do was come up with a slogan. You know to catch folks' eye when they searched the internet for a construction firm.

So they started bouncing ideas off of each other:

"Let's Get Hammered"

"Awl Do a Great Job"

"You Saw Us First"

"Let Us Nail You"

"We'll Ply Our Wood for You"

"We're Just Plane Good"

But none of their ideas really seemed to work.

"I dunno" said Bob. "Maybe we need to be a little more personal. Let's see. How about..."

"Our Men are Built"

"Our Guys Don't Hoot at Women"

"Woah, woah" said Barry. "Those won't work. They're sillier than the other ones we came up with.

"Oh, I'm sure you can do better" said Bob.

"Well, hold on a sec. Let me try" countered Barry.

"How about this? Bob and Barry - A Couple of Rabble Rousers."

"You twit" said Bob. "That should be A Couple of Rubble Rousers."

"I like it" said Barry. "

And we don't have to hoot at women then."

Rabble Rouser/Gadfly were the prompts from the folks at Studio30+ this week. Was I annoying enough for you?

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Gunther, A Master Swedish Chef

Gunther was quite pleased with himself. He'd made it to the final five of the Swedish version of MasterChef. This was the serious version of the show. There was no hint of the Muppet's Swedish Chef anywhere.

Gunther knew if he wanted to make the final two, and after that win, he had to make a special repast that would impress the judges and, in future, result in his moving on.

But he had to come up with this himself. Matilda, Bjarne, Enok and Lukas - his competitors - would be planning their individual meals too. But he had to go them one better. He had no beef with the other chefs. But he knew he couldn't be chicken about his efforts.

He set to work. When the mystery ingredients were revealed he knew absolutely what to do in the hour allowed. He knew his Kroppkakor, Swedish Meatballs and Toast Skagen required a deft touch. But he knew he was up to the challenge.

As the allotted time wound down Gunther knew he had created something special. But he wasn't sure how it matched the efforts of the other four chefs.

He waited. Finally it was his turn to present his efforts to the judges. They told him his plating was perfect and that the flavours in his dish were simply amazing. Moreover the meal was cooked to perfection.

Gunther breathed a sigh of relief and was beside himself when a judge paid him the highest compliment there was on Swedish Master Chef.

"That's ah one ah fiendish!"

The prompt from the folks at Studio30+ this week was facinorous (say what?)/fiendish, for which I should have posted a pun alert. Ah, well.

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