Tag Archives: writing challenges

100 Word Prompt – Room

Yes I am back! It’s slow at work today, and I saw a prompt in my email, one that inspired me within seconds. Thin Spiral Notebook’s challenge, a reminder of past challenges (Trifecta, Ketchup with us – ah the memories).

So here’s 100 words on…

ROOM.

We walked past cubicles, down the carpet, plush save for a slight indentation from the front desk to my office door. Many miles back and forth for me and the students.

I held my breath as we walked to my new space. This next step was what I had been waiting for. Several years of hitting my head on another university’s glass ceiling had been giving me headaches.

She unlocked the door. “You’re the most experienced new guy, so we gave you the big room.”

It was a big room, with a big glass window, the morning sun shining through.

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Eight H Songs

So I am double linking this idea for maximum exposureness, and also because inspiration came from all angles!

First, would be for From My Write Side, who in turn linked from Ambling & Rambling. Songs with an H theme. Since H is the 8th letter of the alphabet, my twist is 8 songs/albums/bands that start with the letter H.

Also since this is a numbered list, it goes along with Ms ODNT and Melmags in their June Blog Post by Numbers Month activity (and you thought they were just about Ketchup and angry letters.)

Sorry but I will not link these up to Youtube or something, because coding gives me headaches sometimes. If you are curious go for it!

1. H. by Tool – From the CD Aenima, it was one of my favorite albums of the mid 90’s. I played this straight through pretty much every day, and then the favorites over again. My friends and I put our own interpretations on the lyrics, a typical fawning gesture. Yet we were the same people who rolled their eyes when people would go on in the same manner about Radiohead. Looking back, yes we were those obnoxious fans. Such is life. Anyway H. is about inner conflicts, ‘the snake’ is mentioned throughout the song, likely a symbol of temptation and self-serving choices, which even if good or bad for us, are to our benefit first and foremost. With the drowned snake at the end, we have regret. The song fades into the sound of a record reaching the end, and the needle cycling through white noise.

2. Hope Tonight – a new CD (and a title track) by my friend Melanie Penn. What’s it like? Well I’ll tell ya…

Maybe things haven’t been going so well lately. After a gloomy end to 2013 (from Fall through November), and a snow filled start to 2014, as early as February, things may have looked to be just more of the same. Even the few nice days have been bookmarked by rainy weather. We deserve more. A song perhaps. One that doesn’t force rhymes, and that doesn’t take too long to learn.
But now it’s Spring (I think it is), the days are lasting longer, and now something else has come up among the flowers. Right now, you can purchase “Hope Tonight”, Melanie Penn’s sophomore release! It will remind of you of the hope, happiness, bittersweetness you have, and how much wiser you are from family and your own experiences. I was lucky enough to get a copy some time ago, and it is absolutely brilliant.
So download, listen, listen again, and you’ll hear it, see it, feel it.
It’ll turn around.
Things always turn around.

3. Hurt – Nine Inch Nails. Later Johnny Cash offered his own rendition, probably the best cover of any song, IMHO. The Downward Spiral was brilliant in its raw sound, which I don’t feel they duplicated afterwards. Like with garage bands, when the tech production goes up, and songwriting becomes a process, that cheap, dirty anger gets buffered. Still, this haunting track completed an incredible dark concept album.

4. Heaven Can Wait – Meat Loaf. Bat Out of Hell was a brilliant record. Yes record. I still have it, salvaged from the ol’ heave ho that your record collection rightfully deserves. Anyway, Heaven Can Wait, is the first of two love ballads on the record that are ironically sandwiched in between songs about horny teenage boys and bad bikers looking to score and split on innocent girls. Still, the emotion and sincerity stand out for Mr. Loaf, and I’m sure this song made it’s way onto many wedding dance floors back in the day.

5. High and Dry – Radiohead. The other band that has the annoying fans. The Bends was a foreshadowing of the complex style and vague lyrics that would grow (at least to me) incomprehensible, or at least an in-joke that I wasn’t going to pretend I got. Released in the midst of grunge, it did not fold to that pressure or sound and that’s why its still listenable.

6. Hung – Napalm Death. My first deep foray into grindcore/death metal and it happened by ‘accident’. At the time, I was into Metallica, pretty much the first step in any teen’s basic metal comprehension. Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Sepultura were also staples. Slayer was harder, faster and darker. So when we came across a cassette given to one of us, we put it on and were dumbfounded by the guttural vocals, chaotic guitars and lyrics that were sputtered out, and would stop mid sentence. We smirked, shook our heads, and were going to eject it, when I convinced everyone to just give it a few more minutes. After all what the hell else did we have planned that day? No foreign diplomats were waiting on us to arbitrate any peace treaties. So we sat there, and suddenly, as the song chugged along to the 2:50 mark of the song, the riff comes in. Jaws dropped. Heads banged.

7. Hats off to the Bull – Chevelle. An obvious reference to bullfighting and rooting for the underdog, this album and title track are built around the state of society and culture these days tied in with a traditional ‘sport’ that is criticized for its cruelty and machismo. Probably my favorite CD by Chevelle since Point #1, as they seemed to return to those roots indirectly, but keeping the sound fresh and perfectly done (see my note on NIN about stale, repetitiveness).

8. Head Down and Half – Both off Soundgarden’s Superunknown. This came out 20 years ago and damn I remember buying it with some of the last crumbs of my lean college student budget. The rest I spent on dinner out at Pizzeria Uno’s with my friends, while we listened to it on my portable CD player. I nod and smile just thinking about how dated that sounds. Anyway, those songs in particular were written by bassist Ben Shepherd, and were seemingly out of place among Chris Cornell’s memorable riffs and structure. It took me a while, but I would later get into them, as I would refrain from hitting the ‘skip’ button. That button made things much easier – no need to wear out the ‘ffwd’ button.

(Hidden Track- various) Ahhh you see what I did there?! Hidden tracks are fun things. Nothing was a better sight than when the track listing was different than the listed version. Even better was when there was no extra track, just the last song having seemingly endless minutes of silence before these odd outtakes or messages. There’s an angry parent calling Marilyn Manson’s hotline, a poetic, if not disturbing phone message 15 minutes after track 69 (as if ‘Disgustipated’ wasn’t disjointed enough, and yes we waited those extra 15 minutes- see #6 again for our work schedules), “Iron Gland” stuck between songs on Alice in Chains’ Dirt, a hidden track before the firts track on Korn’s See you on the other Side and Nine Inch Nails, who on Broken, dragged you out to tracks 98 & 99 for the last songs.

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Filed under Life, Lists, Music, Reviews, Writing, Writing Challenges

The Spices of Life

I noticed this daily wordpress prompt, and was immediately inspired. Like the Ketchup prompts have instructed lately, I wrote this in exactly 10 minutes.

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Growing up, I was never a fan of spice. When my dad made his famous chili it had to be mild or no one would eat it. I would sometimes get into BBQ sauces and they were a little vinegary, but as far as heat, I didn’t even put pepper on my food. Even in college I wasn’t so daring. I do admit going through a bottle of KC masterpiece sauce every month during those days. In fact by the end of that time, I was also popping pepto-bismol and dealing with what would be severe acid reflux. I had to do on a bland diet and upgrade to Prilosecs for a while, and blandness became a habit. Pretty much was my personality as well!

Then I turned 30 and everything changed. Suddenly I loved pickles. And suddenly I loved spices.

My girlfriend at the time made a mean salsa verde. Essentially smoked jalapeno peppers cilantro and other ingredients. I went to Indian restaurants and insisted that the Shrimp Vindaloo be extra spicy, essentially not to tame it down for the white boy. One time after stressing that the Pad Kra Prow be cooked with extra chili oil, the Thai restaurant waiter ‘playfully’ taunted me with the pitcher of ice water, which he would pour into a very small cup.

To bring the point home, if the adrenaline wasn’t pumping and I was not getting a food ‘high’, it wasn’t hot enough. Even my father couldn’t believe it, and by that time, his own tastes had kept the chili milder. His signature dish, and my mother’s chicken cutlet batter began receiving spoonfuls of chipotle sauce, and sandwiches got a dab mixed in with the mayo.

In my recent trip to Chicago, I went to Frontera, and with the boldness of a blood orange margarita, I generously slathered the house bottled chili sauce on my tortillas, and while spooning up the last of the salsa provided with my appetizer, I belatedly thought – waitaminute, this is habanero sauce isn’t it. Survey says – number one answer. Or number two. Yeah WordPress you wanted to know.

I have calmed it down a bit these days, but I do like my spice. Pepper is now a friend. I make a nice buffalo sauce for wings (but really its easy) and a little Franks or Durkees is on hand for a slice of pizza.

It’s still about the flavor though, spicy doesn’t have to be deadly.

Then again, I haven’t taken the challenge at Brick Curry house. Doubt I will. The description I got from a friend was something along the lines of ‘hurting’. But hey, he got that t shirt.

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Filed under Food, Restaurants, Writing Challenges

Ketchup With Us #38 – Homeward Bound

Ms Mel and ODNT Are giving you 10 minutes to write something, anything. Ketchup With Us


I’m on my way to Chicago tomorrow morning, returning home Friday. I will post pictures and stories upon my return. Until then, I began to think about whatever travels we go on, we somehow seek home again.

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What is home to you- Where the heart is? Where your hat is hung? The newly defined dwelling that love turns a house into?
For me it was an apartment building where I spent my formative years. 18 years to be exact, and we lived on the 18th floor. We had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a balcony. I would sit out there on summer afternoons and ‘plane spot’ – the route to one of the airports was along the way and I would read the rear wing design. Most were American Airlines, sometimes I would see something unique. Alaska Air had an Eskimo on it. I even went to the liberry once and found a book with an entire index of them. The Concord would roar by at 8 or 10 am on weekends, cutting through the air sharp as it looked.

I’ve moved several times since 1995; lived in a house for 3 years, then my parents bought a co-op. I would buy one nearby a couple years later, where I still live. Still in Brooklyn.
I am a vivid dreamer. Colors, words, sounds, the whole shebang. Emotions and tension as well. A vividly detailed dream can be over-stimulating even if it’s a good one, and for someone who watches horror/thrillers, played Quake almost exclusively for several years and used to listen to death metal all the time, you can imagine the types of dreams I had. Sometimes I had to get home – for safety, or pick up something, a home base…not sure. It could have been any of those reasons. It was, many times, run-down. Not always post apocalyptic. But something that fell into disuse and disrepair. Things did change when we were moving, criminal elements started to move in and we really were forced to get out asap. Not the terms we wanted. But still there was something that made me go there. Nowhere else. I would reach my floor and sometimes just reach the door but never got in. Never got to that balcony again. Never looked out my parents window at the NY skyline with the twin towers still standing.

Guess I never truly made it home again in those dreams, maybe the new ones became more real .

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Filed under About Me, Ketchup With Us, Life, Life in NYC, Writing, Writing Challenges

Ketchup With Us #36b – Hi, Tee!

Ms Mel and ODNT are giving me another 10 minutes to write something, anything. Starting…now! Ketchup With Us

I guess this is a sequel to the other entry about T shirts. Or further evidence that I am a hoarder.

Well I found some boxes in my parent’s closet (well what was my closet when I lived there), and guess what? I found another stash of memories and yes they are t shirts. Band/music t shirts to be exact.

Through my college days and for a few years after I used to go to as many concerts as I could. My favorite bands (metal & industrial mainly) toured frequently and hey, it was a night out. I admit I couldn’t stand many aspects of it. Having to stand around waiting between bands, which venues did to boost beer sales or something like that. My favorite venue was Roseland, which has just shuttered its doors, since they had an 11pm curfew. Places like Irving Plaza have 1 am. Not that I wanted to end early (yes I did) but that it made bands go one right after one another when a lot of them were playing. So standing around with the 1-2 friends who actually liked the shows got boring.

People are another factor of course (aren’t they always?). Being squished, pushed, kicked and crushed by others wasn’t fun. I got to stand in the front row to see TOOL, and the forward push thankfully didn’t break my ribs. The crowd surfers were landing on me all night. I would go home, sticky with sweat (mostly my own, gah) and the stench of smoke, patchouli and weed on me (they allowed smoking in most venues back then). The shirts are faded now, and trying them on*, psht I look like the ‘rock and roll will never die’ guy hanging on to a memory. All I need is a mullet and white sneakers. *If I get a dozen likes on this, I’ll post a picture!

So will I keep these? Hell no, I bet some punk would love my broken in metal shirts. I see them at these trendy community flea markets sometimes – they are old enough to be ‘retro’. Somewhere I know I still have the ticket stubs.

One of the last big shows I went to was Ozzfest. Rainy weather, shitty crowd and the bands let me down with the level of their suckage. To culminate, a roadie took out his life’s frustration on me, leading to an ER visit.

October 2001 I went to see TOOL again at Madison square garden this time. SEATS!, but everyone stood?! It was a sold out event but since 9/11 was fresh in minds, people couldn’t give away their tickets.

So I’m done with arena/stand around rock. Now I see my friends and other indie bands in the lower east side. I sit in tiny tables and rickety chairs, sip wine or cocktails, sometimes tea, say hello& thanks afterwards to the musicians, and enjoy it all without injury or strange smells.

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Filed under clothes, Life, Retro

Ketchup With Us #35 – Breaking the Bank

Ms Mel and ODNT want to know in 57 words or less, the last time you scored big! Ketchup With Us

Though being the “We have a winner!!!” on Mr G’s Friday Foolishness makes your week complete, and is only slightly edged out by winning the Friday night lottery drawing, I was reminded of this one from a while back…

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At a local fundraiser, there was a table selling pull- tab instant win tickets- ‘scratch offs’ without the scratch. So I buy a couple- in support! – and…jackpot! $50!

However they had just started and didn’t have that much cash yet, so they had to pay me from their own pockets. Only I can completely defeat “fund-raising”. 

 

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Filed under Creative Writing, Humor, Ketchup With Us, Life, Writing Challenges

Trifextra 101 – Life 101

On to this week’s Trifextra challenge. This week we’re asking for 33 of your own words inspired by the following picture. If you use the picture on your blog, you MUST give proper attribution to the photographer by providing a link to the photo, not just to Trifecta. Failure to comply will eliminate you from the challenge.


Thomas Leuthard / Foter.com / CC BY

She’d watch everyone else come in through the semesters, the black elixir providing energy if not inspiration. Followed their progress, learned their drinks, and they moved on. Now it was her time…

“Break’s over.”

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Filed under Creative Writing, Life, Trifecta Writing Challenge, Trifextra Writing Challenge, Writing, Writing Challenges