23 February, 2015

Housekeeping Part II

After working on last week's piece under the wire, I decided to make yet another change to the itinerary. I'll be doing a monthly flash fiction piece instead of a bi-weekly one, except on the months when I'll post short stories to Wattpad.

Speaking of, I created a mini-catalog grouping flash fiction works with the same characters, themes, and those which don't need any additional backstory. This is only a mere sneak peak as to what the Wattpad stories will be about since going through the labeling process turned up what else I might conjure up. So what are they?
  • Mini-Sketches: Inspired by Ben Lloyd's London and Paris Sketches over on Ello, I thought about doing some of my own. While "Simplicity" counts as a mini-sketch, the newer entries will be longer, providing a window into the passersby in a small harbor town, possibly elsewhere. I have yet to set a schedule regarding when I'll post one, but I plan on cross-posting it on here, Ello, and Wattpad.
  • Memoir-in-Brief: While I was at university, I took a creative nonfiction class where, after work-shopping several memoirs, I thought I could take it on even as a twenty-something. I mulled it over and, especially with the subject I wanted to write about, thought it would make better fiction. Goes without saying that the more interesting moments haven't happened yet. Like the sketches there's also no set schedule for when I'll write one, but I'll cross-post to the same channels.    
As for other second round housekeeping notes, I making Prompted Clippings, my undergrad publication portfolio, private next week to edit and update it. I initially collated my drafts and finished products posting the latter, but I thought scanning them would work better. All this means is that the post itself is the draft with the published work attached through a hyperlink. I intend on finishing that within the next two weeks with two new articles from last year.

I added two new outlets to my bio's "on the web" section--Boing Boing's BBS and the Internet Archive (which for now is just the bookmarks list)--which wraps up this edition of housekeeping. With it still being Thursday on my end, I'll throw it back to the first Kermodian Rant that got me hooked on one of my favorite podcasts to this day. Enjoy!

21 February, 2015

February 21-22 Weekend Links

I noted in my itinerary about other blog postings and with that, here's the first edition of the weekend links. There's no real format, but I'll usually skim through my own Twitter to see what content I found interesting or topical enough to re-tweet, or I go through my Feedly and bookmark similar reads.

Here's this week's links of interest...

Starting with today as International Open Data Day where people worldwide organize public data and create programs using said data to promote the idea to governments worldwide. The link shows ongoing hackathons and explains what one can do to promote the cause. Examples of organizations which help it include the Sunlight Foundation which promotes government transparency in the US.

Early in the week, Mark Drey wrote an article for Boing Boing about the class insecurities brought up in NBC's Hannibal. I just realized that this is an adaptation of Thomas Harris's book series and now I want to read it!

I also found what is now one of my favorite games in the Internet Archive's MS-DOS collection aside from the Oregon Trail and Crosscountry Canada which localization specialist Clyde Mandelin streamed online last year. That game is called Amnesia; a text adventure where the player has the game's namesake from onset and it plays around with the well-known cliche to mesh it into the narrative.

As for more topical stuff...

I mentioned on Ello last week that I was going to jump on the 50 Shades rant train, but thought better of it because romance and erotica aren't my thing unless it's Christine Sneed's work. There are some really good articles and critiques out there about 50 Shades, starting with Jenny Trout's reading (link goes to the first chapter) along with her review of the movie. Speaking of films, Mark Kermode reviewed it for the Observer and Roxanne Gay wrote a piece on it for the Toast.  Then, there's also some clever copywriting from B&Q spotted by Ben Lloyd and two articles about the whole thing being capitalist erotica for lack of a better phrase from the Guardian's Hadley Freeman and Buzzfeed's Anne Helen Peterson.

15 February, 2015

Flash Fiction: Final Lap

After long bouts of procrastination and work commitments, I finally finished up this week's flash fiction piece--initially prompted by me looking back at some of my older and messier works on here. I decided to revisit one of those characters (Russell) for a special, somewhat Valentine's Day-ish story. Enjoy!  

    The waiter placed a plate of scrambled eggs, sausage, and home-fries in front of Russell. He sniffed the streaming vapors, grabbed his fork, and went to work. There was no time to waste. He had a gig and he would be there. Once he arrived, he would get his notepad out and scribble from “hello” straight to the end, writing out the legend of a local rally car champion for his fellow motor-heads. Russell saw himself becoming more than a hero, but a figurehead  amongst car mechanics. He saw the royalties, the fans surrounding his garage, the invites to auto shows across the world, the—
    Russell heard a clink. He sat up from his plate and saw Warren holding his fork towards his glass. He sighed, “Aren’t you forgetting someone?”
    “Me?” Russell moved the remaining sausage links into a cluster, “Nah!”
    “Russ, I’m serious,” Warren rolled his eyes.
    “Dude,” Russell bit off a link, swallowing the piece whole, “With a job like mine, I wait for no one.”
    Russell tried to stab the stack again, but poked the placemat instead. He gazed at Warren gripping the plate with his fingers. Russell tried to pull it back, but Warren’s grasp did not break. He did not even flinch, even when Russell leaned towards him.
    “Look,” Warren said, “You either wait for her or we leave you here. Your choice.”
    Russell leaned back into his chair and shrugged, “Okay. Fine. You win this round.”
    “Uh, no,” Warren slid the plate back, “I’m pretty sure I won the whole thing. Thank you very much.”
    “But this is just the pit stop,” Russell placed the fork on the plate, “The final lap’s all mine, my friend.”
    Warren groaned, “I’m only doing this because you fixed my car.”
    Of course, Russell thought, he did not need Warren’s little Prius when something else from the garage could make the drive. Maybe that Volvo P1800 that he won from the auction. Possibly the Mitsubishi Lancer GT with the back doors missing. All they needed was a quick tune-up, some emissions tests, some parts, and Russell would make a bullet line towards his destination.
    That was also the problem. Unlike his beloved Millenia, he stashed his two latest wheels in the garden shed out back. He had too many cars to fix ever since he started his mechanic shop. The time he wanted to spend ordering the brakes and engine parts for the Volvo he spent looking for shock absorbers and tires.
    Then, there was Dana, who took the Millenia out for a road trip just to test out the new four-wheel drive and cloaking system. This left Russell without any chauffeurs made of steering wheels, engines, and fuel. Here he was with Warren who offered him a ride up to the dream come true, the begin-all-continue-all, that now turned out to be a continuous drag across the interstate. There were only so many country songs Russell could bear before he decided to go rouge and hitchhike.
    It was then that Warren’s girlfriend, Josie, finally turned up at the table, grinning. Russell grabbed his fork, ready to slice the hash browns further. She pulled out a chair and plopped in next to Warren, “They just called!”
    “And?” Warren perked up, “And?
    “I’m in! The main star! Me!”
    Warren whooped and hugged her, saying how happy he was with a, “So proud! So proud!” Russell sighed and continued to eat. This would all be over. There would be the paycheck, which he promised to pay in full, then on with the ride. Instead, he heard Warren and Joise drone on about all the plays they watched together, the movies they binged through on Netflix for their one-year anniversary, their first date at her senior prom, and so on. Russell finished off the last of the scrambled eggs, leaving him with clean plate. This also left him with the constant smile and nod routine which he got used to during while stuck in a traffic jam with them.
    Russell got up, “Be right back, guys.”
    He went outside and looked at their car—a small, blue Corvette. He was so close to a chance to meet one of his legends wasted on a stop at some run-down diner. Russell sighed and hung his head low. It was over. He would be stranded, not in the parking lot, but at the theatre listening to a soliloquy. Actually, that would not be so bad. He could make Warren owe him yet another favor. If the play captivated him, Russell would give him a discount, but that was it.
    Russell decided that would be the worst-case scenario and sent a message to his rallying inspiration about the slight delay. This was not a race to the finish, but an endurance run and Russell planned to last the longest out there.