Mathematics in the Elements

A picture in 100 words:

Taken 9 July 2006 out a car window while driving over a bridge somewhere between Sydney and Brisbane

Taken 9 July 2006 out a car window while driving over a bridge somewhere between Sydney and Brisbane

Heaven was in the water while  river in turn claimed sky. Symmetry flanked the blackness of sun-stripped hills, and my eyes were irrevocably captured. Mathematics knows no boundaries. It was in the air and water and the earth that divides, alive in the elements and the cloud that streaked ever outward, an explosion of soft violet.

The blemish I now plainly see, a stark failure of light and technology captured upon this moment, took years to pierce my awareness.

‘How can you not have seen?’ Jude asked in disbelief.

I ignored the scepticism.  No human error could ruin this magic.

 

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Hodmandod: Mating Ritual, Instrument, or Snail?

Been doing lots of reading. Getting a little annoyed with some somewhat sub-standard editing that caused me to give a book that I otherwise enjoyed  3/5 instead of 4/5. The second book in the series, which I finished today, was about to get the same treatment, but it achieved 4/5 despite these shortcomings because I don’t remember the last time I’ve gotten quite so emotionally involved, upset and angry – mainly angry – over a story.  Tricking, lying, abuse, and pure evil are bad. Not that I was ever unsure of that. But … wow. Had me feeling sick, hot and nearly shaking …

A new round of Balderdash below – have fun navigating my nonsense.  Remember, no googling until you’ve had a guess which option is correct.

And now, let’s play Balderdash …

Category:  Words

Hodmandod

a) The name given to the mating ritual of the North African Red Scorpion involving a scuttling dance from the males that expresses sexual availability, females stalking the males as prey, and, once caught and the mating ritual is complete, concludes with the female slowly devouring the male, thus providing her main source of food until she gives birth to her live young.

b) A seven-stringed instrument similar to the sitar

c) A snail that has retreated into its shell

Chip Defeat

Got home at around quarter to three this morning. Had a midnight Anzac Day service to sing at in the city, then did the Pancake Manor with all the lovely choir peoples. At least it’s a public holiday – slept to around ten, then had a two-hour nap in the afternoon.  Not exactly helpful in carrying out my wishful plans of spending the day editing.

Back to the Pancake Manor. Ordered a bit less than I normally do – short stack of buttermilk pancakes, basket of chips, and a glass of coke. Twenty dollars for that.  Bit painful, I think.  More painful, though, is that the basket of chips (by chips, I do mean the hot potato french fries-y ones, not potato chips in a packet) defeated me. Suppose it’s a good thing that I can’t eat as much as I used to. But I hate wasting food, particularly chips. Chips are … I have a certain liking for chips.

Used to have a fantasy thought of travelling as a chip connoisseur and writing a book entailing chips around the world – all the shapes, seasonings, and the best cafes and restaurants that serve them.  We’ve already located the best chips in Australia – at least, of all the places we’ve been in Australia.  If you’re ever at the Flinders Chase National Park Visitors Centre on Kangaroo Island, order the chips.  Not McDonald’s skinny, not KFC thick, cooked in sunflower oil (I’m pretty sure that’s what it was) with the most amazing herb seasoning.  We had to order a second basket the moment the first was empty.  Don’t know if they’re still served there, though – this was quite a few years ago.

The chips aren’t too bad closer to home, either. The Pancake Manor, of course, has wonderful chips, hence my reluctance to admit defeat this morning. Another good place for chips is Wordsmiths Cafe at the University of Queensland. When I was eating them more regularly as a uni student, it was a small gamble to order these – one I always took – as sometimes they just didn’t arrive at your table right: oily aioli, lukewarm, or heavily under-spiced. But when they were cooked right – which was more often than not – they’re just brilliant.

Wordies chips are ingrained in my mind as part of a normal uni experience, so much so that they appear in my first novel.  I bestowed student Eva with one of my uni habits – often if I felt anxious about an assignment or an exam, I would go and order a massive bowl of Wordies chips and devour them, all alone at a little round sandstone table.  She does just that in chapter eight – I think it’s eight – only that time, it’s not uni that’s got her feeling a bit tense.

Can’t think of any other moment in my writings when chips get to shine. And I do so love writing descriptions of food.  Maybe I could pop a chips-in-a-paper-cone shop on the Fourth Crossroads in Pulp Runner. They could work in Missing Exhibit, as well – the world is based roughly on late 19th century England/Ireland/Scotland/Wales, so there would be chips around about somewhere.

Probably not important to include chips in writing. Might even be a bit silly. But they work with Eva.

And I do like chips …

🙂

March 1 1978: Famous for Chaplin’s Coffin, Volunteer Release, or Rabbit Plagues?

Couldn’t get in the right frame of mind for writing Treading Twisted Lines over the weekend, so I started editing my first novel again, instead.  That should keep me busy in the evenings for the next few weeks.  Or months.

Have a guess which option is true. Remember, no googling until you have a go.

*

And now, let’s play Balderdash …

Category:  Dates

1 March 1978

a) Charlie Chaplin’s coffin was stolen in Switzerland

b) Two British volunteers kidnapped in Vietnam were released after five years of imprisonment

c) New Zealand’s rabbit infestation officially reached plague status.

Dry Spell Released

Decided now was as good a time as any to release Dry Spell, an uber-short story that I wrote in January.  It’s up for free on Smashwords if you’d like to have a look.  Young adult drama with a hint of fantasy, Dry Spell tells of teenager Paul Fields’s difficulties getting through drought when an inner voice keeps urging him to hurt anyone nearby.

cover2Paul Fields has had a rough few years: elfin mother assaulted, well-known father arrested, and unfairly turned away from his rugby club. Now, the weight of the clouds is upon him. And as Paul sits unwillingly through his younger brother’s school play, intrusive thoughts of violence assail him, demanding he act. His brother in his arms, will Paul break him to ease the suffering of all?

Click here to have a look or download 🙂

Crimson Remnants

A picture in 100 words:

Taken on 25 November 2011 somewhere that is quite impressive in autumn in Kyoto, Japan

Crumbling remnants of crimson autumn drifted damp and dispersed with moss on the creek’s bank. The passing season’s lingering wholeness was evident only by reflection; a maple stretched its limbs down deep into clearing skies.

‘If they keep piling up, they could block the flow,’ Jude noted, indicating where inlet streamed into river. Fallen leaves were abundant there, but even should every leaf above drop, the current would not be dammed.  I said so, distantly. Though the world was tranquil and seemed still, I was struck by how very old I felt.  Time just kept passing.

And winter was coming.

(Forgive me; couldn’t help it :))

Face Salon Shears

And now, a randomly generated scene …

Nouns: lentil, salon, swimming, chameleon, pile, trap, limit

Adjectives: absorbed, befitting, hallowed, better, thinkable

Verbs: enter, propose, rectify

Adverb: exultantly

MP900386678

It was on tentative, creeping toes that the brothers did what was barely thinkable to the other boys on their block—what remained barely thinkable to poor Ronan:  they cracked its broken back door and entered Bellinger’s salon.

They had never been allowed inside, barely been allowed even to peer inside the large square front windows. No child had.

“That stuff’s not for kids,” their mother explained each time she returned, poking her face, her generally critical fingers caressing with such admiration.

The darkened salon appeared empty. Damon stared about him. The walls were stacked tidily with tools and books. A little wheeled cart nearby was loaded with ointments, tweezers, needles, and scissors to be whizzed around the shining floor to any of the numerous mirrors. Apart from the strong smell of disinfectant, the air was scented with curried lentil soup. It drifted from the upper level. Bellinger must be there.

Ronan was understandably nervous. “This is hallowed ground to him,” he reminded his absorbed brother in a mutter. “The place he practises his craft. If he ever was to catch us here …”

His eyes jumped beyond his will, drawn to movement. But it was only a trio of GM goldfish swimming in their aquarium, near fluttering behind the glass with their outsized fins and massive bobble cheeks.

“And the man is a chameleon,” Ronan added when Damon didn’t reply, now engrossed with, of all things, a small rubbish bin. Ronan saw some blobby, yellowed substance spattered on its rim. A shred of flesh-coloured tissue – he didn’t want to think what – flopped over the edge, as well. Why were all the adults obsessed with this place? “Literally, Damon. And you’ve heard Lon’s stories – “

Along with his brother’s pride, Ronan cursed Lon long and lewdly in his mind. It was that smart-aleck that had proposed Damon take up this absurd quest in the first place.

“ –Bellinger likes nothing better than to trap kids that sneak in here. He needs faces to practice on, and refine his craft.”

“Pile of rotten mincemeat,” Damon at last spoke, a confident grin breaking through the general awe of what they’d done.

“I don’t care if it’s a pile of rotten mincemeat,” Ronan whispered harshly. “Hurry and pick something – nothing he’ll notice is gone. We have a time limit, don’t forget. He’ll be finished his evening meal any moment.”

Despite his brother’s urgency, Damon considered his surrounds lazily, drawing out his time in that forbidden salon and relishing each moment, on the lookout for their proof of entry.

“What prize is befitting … ahh, here we are! These ought to convince Lon.”

Damon chose a small set of bone shears and lifted them exultantly into the air.

“Fine,” Ronan said tersely, glancing over each of his shoulders, fine hair prickling sharply along his arms. “Let’s get of here.”

Prize held high, Damon’s jubilant smile melted into a perfectly round O of surprise, muting his intended reply. His arms dropped.

Bellinger, thin as straw and entirely unwrinkled though decades curved his spine and shoulders, stood directly behind Ronan.  He wore a face that Damon, through his icy shock, was sure had once belonged to the florist around the corner.

Ronan stood perfectly still.  He felt the looming presence behind him, and though he dared not look, knew who it must be.

Damon eyes remained locked with Bellinger’s – that lightning violet-blue wasn’t a shade he offered in the catalogue the brothers had leafed through – for several long, tense seconds. Only when he blinked did Damon think of the bone shears he’d taken, cold in his tight grip.

Perhaps he had time to rectify that proud theft before they discovered Lon’s story – every word of it – was true.