Monthly Archives: March 2012

Trifecta Challenge X – Zombie Bunnies II

“Write a horror story in 33 words, without the words blood, scream, died, death, knife, gun, or kill. Good luck.”

Zombie bunnies Part 2.
I received such great feedback from Zombie Bunnies (which I dearly thank you all for), and the newest challenge/assignment is horror, so I decided ‘why not keep it going for 33 more words?!’ At this rate it will never make book length, but this I vow – I will keep it going whenever relevant!



The scrape of his axe against the grindstone had the melody of a banshee. As a distraction, she prepared ration packs. Inevitably, they would have to cut a path through fluffy cotton tails.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Trifeta Writing Challenge

WayBack Wednesday – The Ice Cream Man

Today’s Wayback Wednesday has been pre-empted. Well sort of. I have the blog planned, and it is an 80’s clip preciously dug up from YouTube, but as I was searching around I came across a video clip, and it brought me back to summers while growing up. So inspiration grabbed me and I built on it.

I’m posting it first, but I would recommend reading the story first, then watching. It will be worth it, I promise ;).

When I was younger, I lived in a section of Brooklyn that was a complex of tall apartment buildings. It was large, more populated than some national cities, but there were common place, people and other fixtures of the community. One of those people was “Johnny the Ice Cream Man”. He drove a white pickup with the frayed, faded pictures of various ice creams scattered along the refrigerated truck. You’d hear the ‘jingle jingle jingle’ of the row of small bronze bells on the top of the windshield that he pulled as he parked down the loop I lived near. My mom gave my sister and I enough for an ice cream each when she knew we’d be out when he came around. I varied what I would get each time, but “Bubble-O Bill” was a favorite, as it was ice cream with a big gumball nose. That, or an ‘Italian ice’ in a yellow cardboard box; which you always let soften a bit so you could flip it over and scrape off the settled ‘flavor’ on the bottom.

That's about as close actual fruit will come to those ices.

He always knew, without looking, if he had what you asked for, and where it was. The only openings were two small latched doors, and he would duck his head in, sometimes up to his waist, looking for ice cream, and emerge with your treat.

Johnny was about average height, and skinny, always wearing brown pants and a blue shirt. He was balding with white/gray wisps of hair from a comb-over covering his scalp blowing in the breeze. His exposed skin (arms and face) was dark, the tone that older Italian men get when they spend all day in the sun for years. When you paid him, he’d give you your change ‘chink chink’ from the coin slot machine he had attached to his belt.

If you bought an Italian ice, and wanted one of those flat wood spoons, you’d go to the passenger seat of his car where an old man, undoubtedly his father, would give it to you, as well as these little pink candies wrapped in opaque plastic. They weren’t flavorful, had the consistency somewhere between gum and regular candy, and were always ice cold, but you took one anyway. It was free, and the old man liked doing something.

He had a good portion of the ice cream route in our community, and did rounds several times a day from late spring to early fall. I’m positive he was the first ‘owner’ of that route, as the community was built in the 70’s (I grew up in the 80’s), and I can imagine he made a good return on the investment. Even in his old age he wouldn’t quit it; he’d work until he went to his grave, probably just like his old man. I could see it on Johnny’s face already in his late 30’s early 40’s; that tired, non-smiling, but still friendly way in which he worked.

Some years later he got a new truck, a black pickup, but kept the refrigerated section, which now contrasted in color and age. I had stopped getting ice cream for a while by then, but one summer afternoon after I graduated high school, I saw him coming down the loop of the section I had been hanging out in with some friends. He was by himself this time, but physically, he looked the same, just maybe 10 years older. By this time he had sodas as well, so I bought a Clearly Canadian Black Cherry clear soda from him (Damn I still remember that like it just happened). He gave me a nod, I thought maybe I saw the recognition flicker in his eyes, but I didn’t pursue it.

So seeing that video brought me back. It looks like he went bald by that time, and went through yet another truck. You see how he greeted the person taking the video; just remembering names and such brought grown men back to their childhood again, with bragging rights on how long they knew him.

At 26 seconds you see it. When I did, it was like a time warp. Later you’ll see his hand go to his waist for the change dispenser. I’d bet that it was the same one.

I checked around, found out he died in July 2009.

Thanks Johnny, for all that ice cream and for the memories that won’t melt.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Day In the Life, Life, Retro, Uncategorized, Wayback wednesday

Self-Aware: Scintilla Project

Welll just a few hours to go until the next topic, but hey it still meets the deadline 😉

Talk about the ways in which your body is awesome.

–It’s an attractive soul-holder. I mean let’s face it- we’ve all been persuaded to try a product or service based solely on the advertising/packaging.

–A dinner of cabbage or beans provides hours of free entertainment. Perfectly timed, it can also give me some much needed ‘alone’ time.

–It lets me know when I see a gorgeous woman. Sometimes it lets her know too.

–My legs can take me anywhere I need to go; at times towards something, on other occasions- away. They have a great relationship with my brain, so I let them decide and go along with it. Collectively they know better than I do.

–My hands and fingers help me express how I see the world around me (and galaxies far far away when I am talking about Star Wars). Whether tapping a keyboard, holding a pen(cil), or pushing the shutter on a camera, they are the tool that help describe my creativity. They are not good at drawing (BUT when playing ‘Draw Something’ or Pictionary, not knowing how to draw makes the game much more entertaining!), but I can at least describe what my 5 senses are telling ME.

–Speaking of those, everything can be experienced using at least one and up to all 5 of the senses. Though the sixth sense- which can help you see dead people, pick winning lotto numbers or know when Dr. Octopus is behind you – can technically be useful, we seem to get along without it. Depending on how many arch enemies you have.

–I do wonder how with all the efficient, wonderful attributes our bodies are capable of, we can ingest the most wonderful delicious and nutritious foods ever, and turn it all into something terrible. Trying reverse psychology on ourselves, that is, eating junk food doesn’t result in us “leaving” a bunch of flowers, or -during those White Castle binges – a unicorn that grants realistic wishes, and compensates us with gold coins (it is wearing a backpack full) for ones that it cannot grant.

–All kidding aside, I am thankful for each day when I can open my eyes, wiggle my toes, feed myself and my cats, and go to my job. Even on the days when I dread it all.

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Trifecta Challenge – Fetch the Holy Hand Grenade!

The Challenge for week 9. — For your prompt this week, we are giving you the first 33 words of a story. You need to complete it with 33 of your own words.

I bolded their part.

“There’s nothing cute about it,” he said. The register of his voice indicated decision more so than discussion.
She disagreed heartily and privately, staring past his head and out the window behind him.

Outside, a white and brown crowd hopped awkwardly but intent, enraged but confused, with cold wet pink noses, soft fur tacky with blood. Zombies. Bunny Zombies.

“Just put two bullets aside,” she conceded.

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WayBack Wednesday – O Brittania!

Welcome back to another installment of Wayback Wednesday, a theme that I thunked up all by meselfs.

As you can tell, I was always a good student. Halfway decent even. I enjoyed going to the liberry, and read up on the things I was interested in. (Planets, dinosaurs, etc). Occasionally I even remembered to return the books on time. All of these things and less led me on the path to raising my intellectual hunger and awareness. The product below was not one of those factors.


A couple of things come to mind. Useless facts that is. We might go so far as to say points of discussion, if you are so inclined. Seriously, mention these points over drinks with your peers (as long as you are over 34 years old that is; kids these days have NO idea what ENCYCLOpedias are). Plus it’s an excuse to go out for drinks. I know, I know, who needs an excuse? Well the longer you go between interventions, the better.

Well I guess that is point #1. Kids these days only know WIKIpedia, which is user-generated, not carefully and painstakingly by Brittanicans, who are obviously wise men people who shared the knowledge they have preserved over the years. Maybe not as wise as the guy who keeps editing Justin Bieber’s sex as male whenever someone corrects it, but still, they knew a thing or 18.    

2. It’s totally radical how he mentions computers won’t really help him with his research. For that matter, his leather/iced denim hybrid jacket won’t either (he neglected to mention his pristine white high-tops). To his credit, somehow facts and answers were found and essays were written based on information that came from some source. At the time, books contains objective opinions, research and even a chart or two. Now what lies between thick cardboard covers.

Some things should stay lost. As lost as possible.

3. Before Wikipedia, we had Encarta ’95.  ON A CD. FOR THE COMPUTER! And that was state of the art – we thought “NOW computers can do everything, including help us with our research. There is no other worthwhile use for computers or the internet to make anything else in life easier, including bidding on other people’s crap or looking at nekkid pictures.”

4. On the kids TV game show “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego”, the grand prize is the complete set of Encyclopedia Brittanicas. No, they did not get a copy of Rockapella’s greatest hits.

Who needs instruments when you have garish colors?

5. In the recycle storage area of my building’s basement, there was a stack of “Encyclopedia Americana.” I wonder if some Brittanicans broke away from the organization because of conflicting ideals, sailing away or stealing away in the night with some information to start their own encyclopedia and undermine the dominant paradigm. Depending on which one of those factions won the war, the logically they would be the ones referencing it.

6. Every year they would update this commercial, and the nameless kid in his pristine white cell progressed with a more rockin’ mullet, flashier duds, and a more cooperative/resigned attitude that he was starring in commercials pitching BOOKS, not NES games or junk food  like all the other child actors. It was like we were watching him grow up, even if we didn’t want to.

They see me rollin', they hatin'...

7. Well not print, apparently. Encyclopedia Brittanica just announced that they will no longer be printing books – digital media is where it’s at.

8. Finally, if you were the average family unit, you likely didn’t have EB gracing your shelves, educating you with the radiant glows of its awesomeness, and fooling people into thinking that you actually read them. Rather you probably had something less formal, but more fun…

There's an entire volume dedicated to the Red Baron.

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Filed under Computers, Creative Writing, General Nerdliness, Humor, Life, Retro, Wayback wednesday

Lost & Found – Scintilla Project

Of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most. –Albert Einstein (often wrongly attributed to Ghandi)
One of today’s themes is : Show a part of your nature that you feel you’ve lost. Can you get it back? Would it be worth it?
So what have I had that I no longer have.

All things in general (including virginity – 3:28 or so)—well I’ll let George Carlin explain all that.

Hairline – once I had a full head of hair that got the daily treatment of gel/mousse. I would never think of wearing a hat to undo that work. Even in winter. I mean, it was my HAIR, man! Damn that scientific theory that most of your body heat left through your head. Theories can’t be proven right, right? Or is it wrong? Whatever! As years went by I would notice the changes, but interestingly enough, I cared less about it. At this point, I am receding, though it doesn’t seem to be progressing. Also I keep it trimmed with a part, so it’s really low maintenance – maybe a few seconds with a brush and I am good to go. I will, for special occasions (high profile assassinations, peace treaties, annual evil overlord alumni meetings) put a little mousse in there, but that is just to keep it in place. Hats? Oh yes! I have ones for every season, and for sunny days. The way I see it, a hat keeps me warm. Giving a rat’s ass about how it looks or what it will do to my stylin’, doesn’t.

So, even though I am a bit more ‘reflective’ (I don’t have to buy that special day-glow tape that runners stick to their asses, so cars don’t run them down during midnight runs – but then again I don’t run), the FAA hasn’t had me arrested for distracting pilots, and they can’t see me from space in the ISS. I have no interest in any hair restoration treatments; sewing hair up there sounds painful, and Rogaine costs $ and I think you have to use it all the time. If I tried to get my insurance to cover it, I might set off a chain of events that causes an up-to-now-unheard-of polarity between political parties, and Obama dropping a dime to tell me I’m his hero.

Hey Cueball, just wanted to let you know, you are the wind beneath my wings.

My sense of humor – well it has always been based on sarcasm, anecdotes, obscure references, and repeating any of those subjects in a joke (stopping while it is still funny, not creating that awkward moment). I still haven’t lost a step; I can pull out a Star Wars or Simpsons quote on que.

My childlike sense of wonderment– Huh? Oh you mean that idea of how everything is lovely, innocent, and pureeeeeeeeeeeeeee…oh sorry, that was just so boring that I fell asleep typing it. I grew up with Star Wars, GI Joe, and Transformers. I knew that there was conflict in the world (and a long time ago, in galaxies far, far away), and since the United Nations never made a playset, well I put other stuff on my list to Santa, or worked with what I had.

COBRA's forces always invaded and occupied the Street with minimal losses.

Also I had video games that emphasized the ideas of hunter vs. hunted, running from/confronting my personal demons, and of course gluttony , with the realization that completing a task and getting to the next level of responsibilities just means having to do the same thing, only faster and with more difficult over and over again.

Hey Sisyphus.

Rather than look at what I have lost, I think about what I have gained (which is, I don’t know…the wisdom to know the difference. Or something). Besides, I wouldn’t have space for all that stuff anyway.

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Trifecta Challenge – Lost

Yes I am in another writing challenge/assignment dealie.

This time it’s for the Trifecta Writing Challenge.

The current topic/theme – Lost. In 33 words. No pressure. The word lost can only appear in the title.

So here goes. Wish me luck. Better yet, try out the challenge for yourself as well, if you’re not coming from the site already 😉

Suddenly, Lost
One bump / broken grip / spin/ separation – an alien world. More bodies drift past, spirits looking, grimacing, and moving along. No care but for their own. I am someone’s own, he thought.

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Musical Memories (Scintilla Project)

One of today’s themes is about a song that brings back a memory or a moment when you heard it.

While I will go to the 80’s any time I need good music, I do not equate them with any particular moment/memories; maybe sitting around my bedroom with a stack of cassettes, or a ride in the car, wherever we were going. The opening chords of “Welcome to the Jungle”. Rick Astley (the first time around). George Michael wanting your sex (yes YOURS!). Even though I look back on it oh so fondly, does it mean that it was a better time? No, the world had terrorism, political scandals, famine, and a nuclear power plant exploding back then too. But hey, we had a great soundtrack to it.

The Ozone layer never stood a chance.

As I reached adulthood in the 90’s, any hit song from that decade gets me nostalgic; even the ones I couldn’t stand. Like that song by Blind Melon that nobody cares about; just that “The Bee Girl” is in it. I heard it the other day and it’s still…wait for it…buzzing in my head. Searching the internet about that gal I learned a few things;

  • She got cute
  • She inspired more awkward teen girls than Baby and Laura Ingalls, combined.
  • People still dress like her for Halloween

None of which I can brag about accomplishing (I have ALWAYS been cute).

Even during that phase in college when I looked like Ace Ventura.

Then there is Faith No More’s “Epic”. This is from the time at the strip club many moons ago, when the next girl up asked if we had any (musical) requests; we wanted metal! So she indulged us with Metallica, then FMN. “You want it all but you can’t have it/It’s in your face but you can’t grab it”. Consider the moment – have there ever been more fitting lyrics?

These days, anything that is popular is due to it being awesomely awesome (very rare) or awesomely bad (daily basis). A Friday cannot go by without Rebecca Black’s song banging through my head. The “Climbin through yo’ window” rap/newscast song has made me paranoid about locking my windows. And my constant fear that anyone from the cast of Jersey Shore will make a music album.

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Filed under Creative Writing, General Nerdliness, Humor, Life, Music, Retro

Scintilla Project; First Job

So I joined the Scintilla Project, I think. I am pretty sure this is a day late, but hey, it’s done!

My first job. I was 17. It was the local pharmacy/has the same crap as a supermarket but with slightly higher prices store.

I mean really what else should it have, besides–
• Rx
• Lottery
• Cigs
• Candy
?

Nothing, that’s what.

So depending on when you got in for your shift, you either worked in the back area helping fill Rx’es or running the lottery machine, or worked the front where you rang up everything else. Sometimes it didn’t matter; if you didn’t work the front enough, there were grumbles that you were slacking, since it was the busiest part by far.

Each one was a little slice of Hell.

Well first, co-workers were ok, I went to school with half of them anyway- so that was never really an issue. Plus I’m so friggin loveable.

Prescriptions weren’t too bad a racket, except that you didn’t know if there was something wrong with the script, insurance, dosage or availability until after the customer left (well over half the time), and you had given them a time frame, which according to them makes you legally/honor/duty bound. So then they show up and it ain’t ready, and you get chewed out. Awesome!

Lottery was actually fun in a demented pleasure or sociological/anthropological way. You got to see humans at their most desperate and superstitious. People who played sheets of various numbers every day, carefully added up. The guy who would think his lucky numbers up right there, sometimes changing them halfway through, sometimes right after you entered them, in which case you had to void them out and stop “jinxing [his] good luck by entering numbers too fast.” Yep, actual quote. You don’t forget winning phrases like that. You get them tattooed on your forearm, then pass it off as something in Proverbs to anyone who asks, years later. Anyway, there was the lady who brought in the supermarket sale ads, since winning numbers can be hidden within the codes (Dan Brown would later steal this concept). For instance – hmm creamed corn on sale, 2 cans for 99 cents? Gimme 299, 50 straight 50 box. (if you have never played pick 3/pick 4 games, the choices mean that you can bet that it will come out straight, or in some combination). I never recall any of these people coming in with big wins; maybe a box win which paid a whopping $40, which to the lady who bet $30 a day, mean a free day’s picks (which wouldn’t win).

No she never came in to play a ticket. I can say this because she is smiling.

In the front was candy. All kinds. From chips, candy bars, snack cakes and everything in between. There were fish bowls full of small candies, marked 5 or 10 cents. I couldn’t be bothered to remember which was which, so when I was on shift, all that crap was a nickel. I was a bigger hero than Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder version) himself. Most kids grabbed the small bags of chips for a quarter, or the Honey Buns, which were just cheap versions of cinnamon buns or something. Considering that half the frosting was melted to the plastic, I somehow never desired one. This was also around the time Coca-Cola was promoting their vintage type glass bottles, so kids would have those to wash down the candy with. Trouble was, they always asked to have it opened. The bottle opener we had was a twist type and was worn bald. So they asked what they were supposed to use, and I would just shrug in a matter of not giving a rats assy way.

Use your teeth or something. Whatever, just do it on your way out.

Cigarettes. Everyone smoked Marlboro. Seriously we restocked those twice a day, but barely ever the others. Except the old ladies, who smoked Chesterfields*. A cute girl I knew and liked tried to get me to sell her smokes. I refused, which didn’t lessen my chances of actually hooking up with her, since it was about 0% anyway. On the flip side – would it have won her over and I could have gotten 15 minutes in the building staircase with her and her ashtray breath? Wondering what could have been still doesn’t keep me up any nights.

*I should mention that the Lucky numbers guy smoked…no not Lucky’s haha, but Kools. Yes he smoked Kools. He would also steal caramel candies. I guess my markdown wasn’t enough.

So I worked there a whopping 4 months, when I turned 18, graduated high school, dumped my girlfriend and eh, just stopped showing up. By that point they were tired of my dismissive shrugs, and were probably losing thousands of dollars from caramel sales.

College would be a month away, and that’s when I learned to grow up a lot.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Day In the Life, Humor, Life, Retro

WayBack Wednesday – ICS

So in order to keep my momentum going or at least set some sort of schedule, I present… Wayback Wednesday! I’ll post a video, picture or story about something from the wonderful time of the 80’s because there simply aren’t enough blogs posts on the internet about the era.

We’re gonna hit the ground running with this video/commercial from the 80’s/early 90’s..for International Correrespondence School.

When I came across this clip, just by bouncing around YouTube, it brought back a flood of memories. Mainly that of me taunting, trolling and generally razzing Sally Struthers. It began almost as a knee jerk reaction when commercial popped on, her frazzled visage filling the screen, asking us in that quavering voice, “Do you want to make more money, of course we all do!” It annoyed the hell out of me that she assumed we did, and did not even give us the chance to consider our options. I mean as a kid, I had the idea that a good job that paid a lot of money was a good thing; these days I would take the more pragmatic approach that I would rather have a job that made me feel happy and used all of my talents and skills. Like being a Jedi Knight who also did photography for Victoria’s Secret. Then again, more money means the same now as it did back then –“more money means I can buy more video games and toys!”

So I would mockingly retort “No!” loudly at her, even though she was already yapping on about the mail-order school. I did it every time, and I always got a guffaw from myself for it. I think my sister would tell me to shut up, because God I’m such an idiot. Apparently.

Next Ms. Struthers would start listing the courses. This is where the fun begins.

TV/VCR repair – Looking at this again, I was going to laugh, but then I put it into 80’s context. These days, when the $20 DVD player that you stomped over 5 grannies to get at the Wal-Mart doorbusters deal stops working, well you just toss it out (in the recycle bin, of course). However, back in the day, VCR and BETA movie players were big, clunky and they were damn expensive, normally running several hundred bucks! If a VCR broke down (and they did of course; I think the FBI released a statement back then that somewhere/anywhere in the United States a VCR broke every 15 seconds) so of course we need well-trained qualified repairman to fix ‘em! ICS would get you that training!

Learning the Personal/Small Computer- Now keep in mind when they say ‘small’ they’re not talking about MacBook Airs; they mean small as compared to the big ass ‘supercomputers’ you see in 1950’s educations reel-to-reels. Ones that filled entire rooms, and that was just the ones that you punched in with (do you know what ‘punching in’ is?). Later in the commercial, you get a hint of what you might get (at no additional cost) if you sign up for this subject, but computer programming in those days meant thousands of lines of code to make squiggly dots move across your screen. If you didn’t make a single mistake in that code. Which you would.

Interior Decorating- since no salesman will visit you to assess your lovely hovel, for admission you have to send a picture of your living room or some other space. They mail you some cans of paint and a set of curtains, switch up your space and mail ‘em back an after photo.

My absolute favorite topics though, include Gun Repair, which made me wonder what kind of materials ICS sent to you, in order to help you learn. For a final exam or whatever, did they send you a broken hunting rifle and say, “Ok fix this!” Well, then what? Let’s face it, you’re dealing with a population that is out of work, watching tv, and lacking skills to get a good job/salary. I’ve got an idea — let’s mail ‘em GUNS! What could possibly go wrong?!

Your professor has a stict policy on plagarism.

Same with Veterinary Medicine; do they mail you a sick kitty or puppy that you have to nurse back to health, only to demand you mail it back for analysis or you don’t get a grade? That one always goes over well with the kids.

What gets me the most though is that she says “Have your pencil ready” TWICE, like some schoolmarm talking to us like we are five, assuming we ain’t afford no pens in our house. I’m surprised she didn’t get specific, like “have a #2 pencil with a good eraser handy”, like my teacher did when we would take the ‘Citywide Exams’.

There is a new version of the commercial/company that has a new name and is completely online and actually seems sketchier than the University of Phoenix, if that is possible. One of their courses (they partially updated course topics from the above, but Blu-Ray Player Repair is not a major, sorry to get your hopes up), is Private Investigator, which is supplemented by a clip of a guy taking pictures of someone; so if you are a wanna-be Sam Spade or are a creeper enthusiast, here’s a way to make a little extra side cash.

Of course the idea of remote learning is a huge ‘business’ (or educational opportunity as they would call it) now, with many institutions offering courses and degrees, but this was where it started!

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