A Say in Politics/Pressure

And now, a randomly generated scene …

The first, in fact, not generated by random words, but by actual events. Yesterday was weird.

I feel a disclaimer might be in order for those who know something about Australian politics:  I like the outgoing PM; I like the incoming PM. I don’t really know how to feel about the situation, apart from the mildly nauseating anger as to certain issues that were involved, however distantly (some might claim) in the outgoing PM’s departure. This scene did not spring directly from their drama. Rather, it developed from the general focus on politics.

I’ve definitely gone with a certain style here and made a few grammatical choices; I’m not sure how it’ll come across. Suggestions always welcome.

And before vanishing below the picture, I’d like to throw out a bit of admiration and respect to two incredible political women:  the one in Canberra and the one in Texas.

Phone

‘Are you going to do something? You have to!’

The numbers counted up, skewing to the right – far too much skew. The pie charts and bar graphs grew more and more complicated, the experts more excited. The ticker was in a frenzy trying to keep up; results from across the state poured into election offices to be frantically compiled and conveyed to stressed news producers. Supporters chanted and waved on respective screen quarters, cheering whenever another seat was snatched. And MacGyver’s deceitful smile on the right grew steadily more smug. On the left was Tellman, unwavering in her values and as stoic as a wronged rhinoceros, defiant to the end.

‘You are going to do something, aren’t you?’

Shannon asked again, thinking Casey too absorbed to have heard; Casey’s chair was pulled close to the screen, the volume turned high. But Casey had heard.

‘What can I do? I’ve had my say. We all have.’

For all it had been worth.

‘We are not smart enough to weed twisted creeds and falsehoods from pretty speeches. Either that or we benefit from and fund the lies. And you can do something.’

Raucous applause and self-righteous screams from five thousand voices and ten thousand hands to the right. Another seat was theirs.

‘Come on,’ Shannon urged. Shannon’s knuckles were white and cold as though touched by winter. Shannon gripped a phone tight, encouraging Tellman’s troops and firing barbed messages through the fray at MacGyver’s. It was war across the state. ‘You could take control of this. You must have thought about it.’

‘Not my call.’

‘He’ll make that same call on a million people if you don’t do it to him.’

Casey repeated listlessly. ‘Not my call.’

Shannon tried to reason with Casey. ‘It’s not like it’d take an explosion. Just one little aneurysm. No one will ever know. He deserves it.’

Casey had thought about it, of course. It was impossible not to when Casey wanted so badly to act. But what would an aneurysm solve? Tellman was still losing; she would lose. If Casey stepped up on MacGyver’s imminent victory, though the mourning period would be long, the right-hand successor would step in before MacGyver was even in the ground. Those millions souls would still suffer.

It was too late.

‘No one will know,’ Shannon was still saying, the screen focused on pasty faces at Tellman’s community headquarters, their shoulders slumped, signs dangling by their sides and lips long-since drooped and morose. ‘People will think the pressure got to him.’

The pressure. That would certainly be what got to him, if Casey had a real say.

The numbers were now skewed so far it was a wonder the television studio hadn’t toppled.

‘She’s going to congratulate him!’ Tellman took up a phone even as Shannon and a million more sent message after useless message imploring she stop. ‘Casey, please!’

But it was too late. Too late to solve this mess. Too late to save a million souls from the man who had campaigned for and by their fate.

No, not a man. It was evil who sat to the right of the television screen, whose phone now rang.

Casey’s eyes blurred with pixels, so near the television. Casey’s gut wrenched, stomach acids boiled, lungs blew cyclones into being. Casey’s heart burned.

Even as he lifted the phone to his ear and greeted his opponent with courtesy so insincere, MacGyver’s eyes widened. He winced, and touched two tentative fingers to his left temple.

He wasn’t the only one feeling the pressure.

P.T.O.S: Syndrome, Outreach Service or Patent Society?

This is winter in Brisbane. Why is it so cold in my house in the mornings?

Time for Balderdash 🙂 Remember, no Googling until you’ve had a good guess at the answer. This one might be a little easier than some others, I think.

And now, let’s play Balderdash…

Category: Acronyms

P.T.O.S.

a) Post Trauma Oscillating Syndrome

b) Perplexed Teenagers’ Outreach Service

c) Patent and Trademark Office Society

The Pitchfork Option

And now, a randomly generated scene …

Nouns: bomber, craftsman, cucumber, patient, polo, sunshine, tyre

Adjectives: cowardly, sharp, nine, high-pitched, quickest

Verbs: compare, combine, contract

Adverb: madly

Tablets

Thunk

Mallet struck wood and the ball sailed down the field. Horses galloped, hooves tearing up grass as their riders pursued.

Another thunk and a cheer. From his armchair on the patio, Will squinted, but it was impossible to tell who had scored. Whether James or Clive, he now waved his mallet madly as his teammates thumped him on the back.

Nnnneeaaooooowww

Will’s weakened body tensed. His eyes flew skyward, raking the light cloud. The source of the propellers soon cut through the wisps. Bombers. Nine of them soared north over the estate.

A high-pitched gasp and a rattle sounded as Lottie nearly lost the tea-tray she carried.

“Are they ours?” she whispered, clutching her apron. “Theirs?”

“I’m not sure.” Will couldn’t make out the symbols on their rudders. He compared the bombers with pictures he’d seen in the papers, trying to identify them without success. On the shadowed field, the polo game had stalled, riders turning grim gazes to the sky.

To Will’s relief, the bombers flew on, taking with them their haunting shadows. Praying they’d hear of no raids on the evening news, Will collapsed back in his chair. The summer sunshine was cheerful, his friends’ laughter invigorating. He’d almost been enjoying himself, outside again after nine months.

“Nasty fright those bombers give, eh? How’s the patient?”

James, the quickest of them, was first to arrive on the patio. He sat up on the arm of Will’s chair and grabbed a cucumber sandwich.

“Fine, I suppose,” Will said with a shrug. He was alive, at least. Most who contracted tropical viruses died in a week; Will had his family’s wealth to thank for flying him home in time. “Boredom is my chief complaint.”

“There’s plenty you could do with yourself,” James declared, taking a platter of cold meats and cheese from Lottie. She was very pale; near as pale as Will. “You could paint, write poetry. Why not take up clock carving and become a master craftsman?”

“Well, I certainly have time to think about it.”

Will sipped his soup, listening to his friends’ talk of racing odds and enemy towns obliterated by their own bombers as they ate. His doctor then arrived, a signal for his friends to disperse. They left with encouraging farewells and promises to visit soon.

After he’d swallowed his medicine and his doctor went to speak with his parents, Will slowly rose, furtively checking no one was nearby. A cane to support his diminished form, with timid steps he made the short journey to the stables. He meant to return to the saddle as soon as possible now that he’d made it back to his feet. Then he’d be the one brandishing his mallet in triumph.

Ignoring his trembling limbs and the gentle sense his parents’ and doctor’s combined efforts failed to make him see as he petted her warm brow, Will had decided to saddle his mare and ride – slowly – around the back of the house when he heard a sob.

And another. Lottie was inside. All the stable hands were taking lunch. But there was definitely someone else there.

Frowning curiously, Will followed the sound to a back corner. A few massive, worn tyres were stacked there; he’d once liked jumping his mare over them. Resting a moment against the sturdy stack, he peered around them.

The young man huddled there didn’t notice his company straightaway, sniffing heavily to himself. When he realised his refuge was no longer secret he cried out and brought a pitchfork before him, levelling it at Will’s chest.

“Stay back,” he warned hoarsely, eyes very wet. “I won’t go back! You can’t make me!”

Advancing, his broad shoulder knocked a tyre askew. The stack wavered, throwing Will off balance. Feebly fumbling to catch himself, Will hit the ground, cane clattering out of reach.

“Get up and go,’ the young man ordered, desperate and frightened. “Don’t tell anyone. If you do…”

“I can’t.”

“Can’t what?”

An armchair was one thing, but Will realised he was stuck down there until someone helped him up.

“I can’t get up. You’re a deserter,” he realised with mingled pity and disdain – as much as he could feel of either with that pitchfork hovering over him. “Who are you?”

“I can’t go back,” he whispered, but eventually muttered his name. Michael.

“War’s a terrible thing,” Will agreed, thinking it best not to aggravate Michael, call him cowardly when Will would have taken his chances on the front line in exchange for his health in an instant. “But there’s still much to be thankful for. Be grateful you’re still healthy.”

“Be grateful you’re not,” Michael shot back.

“Easy!” Will exclaimed, Michael thrusting the pitchfork threateningly towards him.

“You know nothing!’

“I was there.” Despite his position, Will’s pride was hurt. “I’ve seen what war does to men.”

“How long?”

“I was taken ill barely a month after crossing the equator. They sent me home and now I’ll never be well enough to…”

“Nine times they’ve sent me back! Nine! I’ve had it!”

Eeeoooeeeooo

“No,” Michael muttered, quaking as sirens wailed. “No. They won’t take me.”

His frantic eyes bounced across the stables for inspiration. After a frantic search, they locked on Will splayed helplessly below.  Slowly, haunted by worse than shadows, his eyes burned with realisation.

Michael flipped the pitchfork and drove its wickedly sharp prongs down, aiming to cripple, pierce his own feet.

“Wait!” Will cried in alarm. “Stop!”

Michael froze, mindless resolve shattered by Will’s shout. The prongs floated tantalisingly close to Michael’s thin boots.

“Help me up and we’ll see what we can do.”

Will reached out his hand. It shook with weakness and fear for the other. What Michael must have seen for that pitchfork to even be an option… perhaps Will truly knew nothing.

“Michael.” Will tried to speak calmly as  sirens blared nearer. The pitchfork wavered in Michael’s hands. “Put that down and help me up. Help me.”

Eeeoooeeeooo

Clang

“Help me.”

Tokuji Hayakawa: CEO, Inventor or Actor

I’m away for four days (I think) and WordPress gets a new look to surprise me. Tis indeed a nice surprise, particularly after that random ad scare – in case anyone was wondering, that did turn out to be only related to my computer and was easily fixed. No time to do any real writing, so Balderdash it is… quickly, before the day ticks over. Remember, no Googling until you’ve guessed.

And now, let’s play Balderdash…

Category:  People

Tokuji Hayakawa

a) CEO of Toyota from 1983 to 1997

b) Inventor of the first mechanical pencil and founder of Sharp Electronics

c) A Kabuki actor whose original claim to fame was his role as a would-be samurai in Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurais

My Poor Dear Blog Is Now Sullied

Freaking out because SUDDENLY ADS ON MY BLOG!

Considering other WordPress bloggers don’t appear to have this problem, I am guessing this is a result of my naive attempt to download an old freeware game and what I downloaded turning out to be not a game. Thought I got rid of everything by running the antivirus program. I don’t know much, but I’m guessing it maliciously twisted itself into my code or something.

I DON’T LIKE THIS! I NEED TO GET RID OF THEM!

Unfortunately, I have no idea how. I’ll probably have to wait for sister Frannie to finish exams and beg for aid.

In the meantime, I’m so sorry. If you are seeing these ads on my blog, please be assured that I do not support any of these products/scams/etc. Please do not click on them. Hoping to have my blog cleansed in the very near future.

In other news, it seems I’m apparently not able to keep up my past habit of blogging every two days when I now finish work so late every night. I’ll try to get a couple up every week, but don’t know how regular they’ll be. I’m sure no one will mind/notice.  Also, editing again. Going through Missing Exhibit and Embraced in no particular order, hoping to tart them up a bit. Just in case there’s suddenly a prospect of representation/sale.

Hope all’s well. Just a general warning to those bloggers such as myself who are not particularly technologically savvy and rely on the aid of others and the lovely simplicity of such sites as WordPress:

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU DOWNLOAD

Top 10 Random Things I Can See In My Bedroom

Started writing haikus, but I need to get back to editing and then sleeping fairly soon after. Despite the long weekend, I’ve managed to do very little of anything useful. Instead of haikus, I shall now provide a fast list of the 10 most random things I can see in my room – my home, my writing space – in no particular order. Non-Evangelion fans may need to look up a reference or two.

10) A crochet narwhal

9) A box stuffed with writing notes from the last 12 years or so

8) Part of a spaceshuttle hanging on a picture frame

7) A Geo-front behind a collection of waving cats

6) A candle holder acting as a business card holder

5) A microphone with a charm for success hanging on it

4) A dragon’s shadow sitting on my light switch

3) Pearls draped over a wire heart

2) An iron frog

1) A cello wearing a hat

The Music Remains Radiant

Have to say, I’m thrilled by how radiant the triple j audience’s taste in music has remained for so long. I wrote this post a little while ago trying to narrow down my favourite songs since ’93 in order to vote in this countdown of the greatest songs of the past 20 years. Painfully, the task was managed, and songs 100 – 51 were played today, me frantically swapping back and forth between grainy classic radio and constantly-dropping-in-and-out internet radio.  A quarter of my top twenty songs (not to mention a few from my massive shortlist) have already made an appearance –

#92 – Little Talks (Of Monsters and Men); #88 – Monsters (Something for Kate); #70 – ! (The Song Formerly Known As) (Regurgitator); #65 – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Daft Punk); and #58 – No Aphrodisiac (The Whitlams)

– and I’m expecting a few more to show up in the top 50 tomorrow.  Visit triple j’s website to have a look at the full list.

I think there have been only four songs played so far that I don’t find spectacular pieces of music, and even those four I can appreciate how they might be spectacular for others.  Spent a brilliant afternoon sweeping, washing, and generally tidying, bopping around the kitchen when that was done, singing along to half-remembered words, re-discovering brilliant music I’d almost forgotten, learning how to tweet properly, annoying Facebook by posting every time one of my songs appeared, social networking and messaging sister Erin in Melbourne, squealing and whoo-ing with sister Frannie when yet another awesome song began, and pacing and sobbing near uncontrollably during certain songs (which made it somewhat difficult to sing along – not that tears stopped me from trying :)).

Looking forward to the top 50 tomorrow. However much pure audio rubbish has been released since ’93, if that veil of relative shallowness, auto-tuning and less-than-savory lyrics is drawn back, it’s easy to see just how brilliant the last 20 years have actually been for music.

Thought I’d share a little of the Australian contingent to make it in the countdown so far – its fairly sizable, I’ve been glad to hear.  Regurgitator is a Brisbane band and they have any number of brilliant songs – Black Bugs and Kong Foo Sing come to mind – but their 1997 classic ! (The Song Formerly Known As) is a bit of an anthem, I think, for folks a little like me.  Regurgitator is a life-love of sister Frannie’s and this is the only song to get in the list so far that both sister Erin and I voted for.  The song and film clip are below.  Hope you enjoy it 🙂

A Small Reward

And now, a randomly generated scene …

Nouns: self, mass, damage, reward, growth, act, effect

Adjectives: low, relieved, heavenly, two, curved

Verbs: solicit, edit, extract

Adverb: doubtfully

Feather

One great mass. Two. Their growth was alarming, feathers unfurling rapidly as her friend’s shoulders slumped, vertebrae curved with the sudden weight. May gazed with wonder and want as Sarah gave a relieved laugh and the heavenly appendages carried her into the air with three easy beats, her radiance bathed in the white glow of the low moon.

“A small reward in anticipation of your service,” the slender angel-man spoke up. Their angel-man. He had come to them. For years he’d returned without fail, and now the day was finally here. He’d remained silent all through Sarah’s short transformation into her new self, as terrifying as it had been marvellous, but now May fancied their stern-faced guardian nearly smiled.

Now, it was her turn. But why did he say nothing? Why did he not extract her tightly-rolled contract from his trench coat as he had Sarah’s, letting her sign with a great feather that could have only come from one of his own powerful wings. He would not turn to May, nor look even as she tried in vain to catch his eye.

“What of May?” Sarah saw her silent struggle to gain the angel-man’s notice. “Where is her contract?”

“Yes, where is …”

May’s words stilled as the angel-man turned at last to look upon her. When before it had been almost a smile on his pouting lip, there was nothing uncertain of their set now, doubtfully frowning as he gazed straight through May into her heart and soul.

“There is too much damage,” he said, not unkindly, after an endless minute. “Every act you have done and has been done to you has a lasting effect. Dark acts tear rents and leave scars. I had hoped your purity would remain unscathed. You kept it safe for years, despite your hardships. Only last year it was intact…”

“That wasn’t her fault!” Sarah exclaimed, landing and gathering May in her arms, disbelief and horror melding hideously within.

Only last year she’d been pure…

“Her own acts have not caused this, no.”

“Please,” May solicited the angel-man from within Sarah’s protective embrace. It was all she could do not to beg. “This is all I’ve had to look forward to. Please, don’t take this from me.”

“You promised,” Sarah added accusatorily.

“You are scarred, May. You can protect no one.”

“Fix her, then!” Sarah exclaimed, her tears flowing freely.

Now it was sympathy the angel-man expressed. Beautiful as it was on his face, May wouldn’t look, not trusting her innards to continue functioning and keeping her well. She felt ill. Gutted. Worse.

Worse than last June.

“A soul cannot be un-scarred any more than the past that caused it can be edited and re-written.”

“If she cannot come, I will stay with her!”

May numbly listened to the angel-man’s gentle reminder of Sarah’s contract. Then Sarah gave damaged May a final kiss and fierce squeeze, and the angel-man took her reluctant hand, drawing them apart.

“What am I to do?” May managed to form words. Without Sarah, she truly had nothing.

“You have become one we are sworn to protect,” the angel-man said, reaching out to briefly brush May’s cheek in farewell. She would not see them again, the touch said. Not him, and not Sarah.

“Why didn’t you protect her before?” Sarah demanded, speaking over her new kin. “If you had, she would be with us now!”

“You will have our protection.”

“You will have my protection,” Sarah swore fervently as she and the angel-man lifted together into the night, leaving May alone on the hill. “I can protect you, now. I will protect you.”

Trisaidekaphobia: 13, Repeating or Meds?

Not quite been a full and tidy week since the last post – was out of blogging commission due mainly to a fairly intense schedule of choir rehearsals leading up to our end-of-semester concert. Concert was last night – didn’t get to bed till around three this morning, so still fairly exhausted. Just a quick round of Balderdash before snoozing now. Shall hopefully be back with a randomly generated scene and maybe a picture in 100 words during the week.

Remember, no Googling until you’ve had a good guess as to the correct answer 🙂

And now, let’s play Balderdash …

Category: Words

Trisaidekaphobia

a) Fear of the number thirteen

b) Fear of repeating yourself more than twice

c) Fear of being prescribed and taking anti-depressants

Shall leave it how it is, but it has just been pointed out to me that the correct spelling of this word is triskaidekaphobia. Makers of Absolute Balderdash, please discipline your spell-checkers or I shall have to make it a pedantic habit to check the spelling of every word I use from your cards and not just mindlessly copy them.