Month: June 2007 Page 1 of 6

Sleepless in Sideways

(fragment)

I have this talent for sideways time, so when I graduated from high school, I got recruited by TimeLines Unlimited, Inc. Which is just a glorified bus company, for shuttling people around. Since most people can’t do sideways time, we just load ’em up on the bus and let them “sleep” the whole time I’m driving. Poof! Instantaneously in New York City. Poof! Instantaneously in Dallas! While yours truly spends twenty-seven hours driving their corpselike bodies from here to there.

I’m based out of Omaha. Great place. Better than Sioux City, anyway. I don’t complain–much–I mean, I could be driving cows. Live cows. Dead cows. Pigs are scary. Some of them don’t sleep.

Anyway, I was on the route from New-New Orleans to Minneapolis and all stops between, just minding my own business, when I noticed one of the passengers was awake. Bugger, thinks I. I won’t be able to stop in Memphis and boost a few ribs this trip. But I keep driving, because I don’t want to let him know that I know, you know?

Look it up…

…on the Internet!

Author Stephen Brust posts the following in his blog:

“Does anyone remember the given name of Vlad’s father? I think I do, but I’m too lazy to look it up, and it would be so embarassing to be wrong.”

–One the commenters responds:

“Maybe Sethra Lavode is his father too…Vlad, I am your father…come to the dark side of necromancy.”

Theramin Amazement

Crazy” played on a theramin.

…and here’s the original song, by Gnarls Barkley.

Bibliophage, Part IV

At first, it was shocking to see Martin–but she called him the Bibliophage–eat her books.

First, he would inhale, savoring each part of the book, sometimes individual pages. Then he would remove the pages–either with a scalpel or by hand, keeping the edges as neat as possible–a sensual purr of torn fiber. And then, while he soaked the binding in a mixture of warm water and salt, he ate the pages, tearing them into bite-sized pieces, almost absent-mindedly, while chatting with Marina about books he had eaten, books only he remembered now.

There didn’t seem to be any magic involved.

The first book he had eaten was, naturally enough, a children’s primer, back in 1943, its pages already warped from the drool of his two older brothers (whom he had not seen in years). The best book he’d eaten was a copy of the Bible, too common to itself disappear, but populated with the family tree of one of the women killed in Salem, Massechusetts, as a witch; it had also contained pressed wildflowers and a few lines of erotic poetry addressed to another girl’s boy-friend, rhyming skin with sin and again and again.

The Chandler?

Marina felt the book–that is, the book’s name, which was all she knew of it–lift out of her, like a bird in flight, somewhere between the mastication of pages 107 and 108. But the memory of her husband, handing her the book, smiling, kissing her forehead, etc., etc.–all of that remained, as liminal and pervasive as ever.

Marina knew then that Martin must be killed.

Word of the Day.

ataraxia (at-uh-RAK-see-uh) also ataraxy, noun

A state of freedom from disturbance of mind.

[From Greek ataraktos (not disturbed), from tarassein (to disturb).]

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

Bibliophage, Part III.

“A burglar? Of a sort,” the man whispered. His voice was as worn as Marinas, but rougher. “My name is Martin. I’m here to kill you and eat your books.”

“My books?” she asked. “You’re going to eat my books?” At that, she stepped forward, flicked on the lights, and took a good look at the man, in case she should need to describe him to the police.

He was tall and spare; both his cheeks were scarred and hollow, as if his babyfat had been cut away with a dull knife and patched back together with a soldering iron directly onto live flesh. His fingers were like divining rods, long, wide-spread, and jerking toward the floor at odd moments, making the light flash (laboriously) from the rusty chef’s knife as he talked.

“I am a book-eater,” he said. “I steal into houses and kill the owners; then I take the books I want and steal them away to eat them. Of note: they must be rare books. Forgotten books. Because when I eat a book, it stays eaten, unless it is a common book. I have been passionately fascinated with Pride and Prejudice, but its taste is hollow, overstretched.

“A certain book dealer tells me which houses I want…he often has the pick of everything I’m forced to leave behind.”

“Samson,” Marina lisped under her breath.

The man nodded.

But a plan had already formed in her mind. “Follow me,” she said, and led him toward the guest room, and the Chandler.

Hey, Rube!

Isn’t there a world’s record category for the most awe-inspiring (geek inspiring?) Rube Goldberg machine?

(via bOINGbOING.)

Quiz-o-rama.

(via Doyce.)

WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Sort of; I think one of Dad’s ex-girlfriends was involved. Not Deanna Durbin.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
A week ago?

DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
I used to; now it’s just my handwriting.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Really good ham for a tomato, ham, and mayo on wheat toast.

DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
One daughter, Ray, without whom I would have neither an amazing store of experiences nor an unflaggingly warming (take that both ways) presence in my life.

IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
If there were two of me, I would be friends with the other me, but I would frustrate me to no end. If I were someone else entirely, it would depend.

DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
No, stupid.

DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?

TMI!

WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Nope. I would pee my pants, through the action of gravity, if nothing else.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
I loved that “What cracklin’ oat bran?” commercial. Really? I don’t like cereal all that much, now that as an adult I can declare it muffins and danish day whenever I want to.

DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Depends on the shoe; some shoes DON’T HAVE SHOELACES. Sheesh.

DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Not unless Ray’s life is at stake.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Yes.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Their hands. If people are talking and waving their hands, I’ll watch their hands.

RED OR PINK?
Deep red.

WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?

Currently? Not only am I critical of everything that isn’t me, I’m very critical of me. Right now what’s driving me up the wall is that I didn’t used to care whether I was pretty or not. This year, all of a sudden, I worry that I’m not pretty anymore! Gah!

WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
Oh, lots of people. But I want to go visit Heather sometime. I never manage to stay in contact with her for very long before we lose track again.

WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Black pants. Green crocs.

WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Mrph? Excuse me, mango smoothie.

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
A very muted saxaphone-based jazz track I don’t care for very much.

IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Lime.

FAVORITE SMELLS?
Baking bread. Fresh sheets. Peaches and apricots. Coffee. The people I love.

WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
Guy from Huntsville, AL, whom I was sweet-talking into giving me some files.

FAVORITE SPORTS?
I can’t tell you! –and cooking.

HAIR COLOR?
Brown.

EYE COLOR?
Brown.

DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Not since Ray was born. Maybe before that.

FAVORITE FOOD?
Soup and smammitches.

SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Yes.

LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
The entire Star Wars series…that is, the good ones…for Father’s Day.

WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
White with the lime green dancing brain.

SUMMER OR WINTER?
Spring!

HUGS OR KISSES?
Hugs. I like kisses, but I’ve mastered the hug.

FAVORITE DESSERT?
That trifle turned out pretty damned good. But usually it’s cheesecake.

WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
I’m not reading a book now; I’m reading a blog. My blog. See? You are too.

WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
A mouse and probably a kid-sized glass with the dregs of some sort of sticky fluid.

WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT?
The last TV I watched was on Friday night, I think — Rachael Ray on the food network. Business trip makes strange bedfellows.

FAVORITE SOUND?
The sound of one hand cla–uh, I mean, the rustling sound of wind through trees.

ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Stones. Ever since “Paint it Black” was the theme song from China Beach.

WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Mentally or physically? Corpus Christi, probably, or a few nights in college, mentally.

DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
I have many special talents, none of which, other than my ability to make an ass of myself, spring immediately to mind.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN?

Ever since Dave pointed out that the location of your birth was something often used as a security question, I have quit revealing that info. Not in South Dakota.

Bibiophage, Part II

Marina’s voice had faded years ago; for days at a time she was completely silent. She coughed, and the stranger, a dark man half-buried in shadows, glanced at her: the whites of his eyes flicked at her, flicked away.

“The drawers are all full of books,” he said. “Where are the knives?”

Marina lowered herself down the stairs as if into a slippery bath. “To the left. Bottom drawer. Under By the Light of the Fairy Moon, by Arthur Miller. Poetry.”

The man opened the drawer, pulled out the book, ruffled its pages. His nostrils may have widened to take in the scent of its slowly decaying pages. “First edition?”

Marine nodded, and the intruder set the book aside slowly, brushing its cover with his fingers, as if promising it to himself for later.

The knife was old and, shamefully, spotted with rust.

“Don’t you have–?”

Marina shrugged. “I’m old. Two orderlies bring my meals to the door, already hot. And I never liked to cook. I keep it around in case I need to cut the tape on a package.”

“He said you’d have a lot of books, but–” He gestured with the knife.

“This is–yes, it’s 1984. The year I finally admitted I was old and no longer needed to go through the motions of fussing around in here.”

“1984?”

Marina explained about the years. “Not many books in this lot I would mind losing, to tell you the truth,” she said. “Sometimes–but what are you doing here? Are you a burglar?”

Word of the Day.

pudibund (PYOO-di-buhnd) adjective

Prudish.

[From Latin pudere (to make or be ashamed).]

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

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