Aug 2013

"Fearless" - Visdare #34

Week 34 for Visdare and the word is "Fearless" with it's usual unusual photo composition, which I've added below. My little 150 word effort is called "Last Meal." Enjoy!

Sheep
Photo Source

Last Meal

Lord Fotherington-Smythe, or LFS as he preferred, had met the shaman whilst on a birdwatching trip deep in a south American jungle. Over a long night ingesting strange fungi and odder drinks the shaman had told him that he could help him come back after his death in the form of his choosing. If he could be with him at his death he would plead to the gods of the winds and animals, whilst all LFS would have to do was focus on his chosen beast.

So here was the shaman doing his shaman thing - muttering, screeching, dancing, shaking sticks, throwing strange coloured powders and the like - around the death bed of LFS.

In his cold sweat LFS dreamt of being an eagle gliding high above the mountains. Lording over the land below. Fearless.

At exactly the wrong moment his last meal of minted lamb repeated on him.


(149 words)
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A- Z Book Survey


(or if you prefer… 26 Questions about your reading)


1. Author(s) you’ve read the most books from:

  • Terry Pratchett,
  • China Miéville,
  • Ian M Banks,
  • Isaac Asimov
  • William Dalrymple

2. Best sequel ever:

In terms of pure writing and great story telling I would probably say ‘The Scar’ by China Miéville, however purely because it proved the first book was not a fantastic one off, and it led to a whole career of reading for me, it would have to be ‘The Light Fantastic’ by Terry Pratchett.

TLF cover


3. Currently reading:

The follow up to The Long Earth - ‘The Long War’ by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

4. Drink of choice while reading:

Coffee or a decent session ale ('Trapper’s Hat' from Brimstage for arguments sake).

5. E-reader or physical book?

Love books new and old when at home and on short travels, but I've got to hold up my hands and say that I enjoy the Kindle Paperwhite when traveling about. Great for it's ability to carry multiple books (including hefty travel books) to save my poor right shoulder any further damage and handy for reading in bed after the lights gone out too.

paperwhite

6. Fictional character you probably would have actually liked to have dated in high school:

Whilst I was at school I don’t think there was any girls in what I was reading that jump out at me, but looking back at books with school age girls ... um, now that is sounding a bit creepy. I think I will leave this one alone.

7. Glad you gave this book a chance:

Stardust’ by Neil Gaiman. Thought it sounded a both a bit light and a bit romanticy for my taste, but it turned out to be a wonderfully written modern fairytale (and even the film is good). Of course that led me to the wonderful ‘American Gods’.

8. Hidden gem book:

The Snow’ by Adam Roberts. I had read his first two books - ‘Salt’ and ‘On’ and thought they were great ideas without the story or writing to do the cool ideas justice. So when I returned to a later book by Roberts I was pleasantly surprised to see that his writing style and story telling had really came on, and I have therefore found plenty more books of his to give a go.

He should go back to the first two books and rewrite them with the ability he has now as a writer, they could be fab.

9. Important moment in your reading life:

Discovering what a ‘carousel’ was. As a kid my grandparents used to get a box of carousel (jelly fruit sweets) and in my head I always read the word rhyming it with arousal. Took me years to discover the truth and then I realised the hidden power of reading - fruit sweet knowledge.

10. Just finished:

The recent wonderful book by Neil Gaiman The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

11. Kind of books you won’t read:

Romance/chic lit or ‘biographies’ of no-mark B list celebrities, sportsmen and the like.

Andre

12. Longest book you’ve read:

Lord of Rings’ - JRR Tolkien (when read as a one book edition) or ‘Perdido Street Station’ by China Miéville.

13. Major book hangover because of:

I was gutted to read ‘Wilt in Nowhere’ by Tom Sharpe. The original Wilt satires in the 70s and 80s were wonderful reads but Wilt in Nowhere was an embarrassment (I doubt if it had been written as a first book it would have made print!).

14. Number of bookcases you own:

Five and a half (one diddy one).

15. One book you have read multiple times:

1984’ - George Orwell a warning we seem hell-bent on ignoring.

16. Preferred place to read:

Bed, train, or a quiet pub. Though sofa, plane, boat... or truth be told even the room with the porcelain seat in it. Okay, let me stick with bed.

17. Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feeling from a book you’ve read:

Any number of Terry Pratchettisms, but if I had to pick one then it will have to be:

One in a million chances crop up nine times out of ten” from the third book in the Discworld Series ‘Equal Rites’ by Terry Pratchett. You’d have to see it in context, but it is laugh out loud. And yet all so true too don’t you find?


18. Reading regret:

Main regret is just not reading enough when I was in my twenties. Damn life got in the way far too easily, so to be fair not a complete regret, but I'm sure I could have fitted in a few classics somewhere.

19. Series you started and need to finish:

Otherworld’ - Tad Williams

20. Three of your all-time favourite books:

  • Perdido Street Station’ - China Miéville
  • Lord of the Rings (trilogy)’ - JRR Tolkein
  • From the Holy Mountain’ - William Dalrymple

21. Unapologetic Fan for:

China Miéville. If you haven’t read any of his books yet then I am dead jealous of you, because it means you have a whole load of books, characters and ideas to delve into. Try ‘Perdido Street Station’, then how about ‘Un Lun Dun’ or ‘King Rat’ and then there is ‘The City and the City’ then... oh forget it, just go out and find them all.

PerdidoStreetStation(1stEd) city and city UnLunDun

22. Very excited for this release more than all the others:

Not sure what’s coming up. I’ve so much to read and to get in to that looking ahead to see something approaching as more important to me than existing writing does not seem a good use for my future looking head. Err that said, the next Pratchett ‘Raising Steam’ in October will of course be on my bookshelf later in the year.

23. Worst bookish habit:

Having multiple books on the go. I find it’s okay to have one non-fiction (usually a travelogue/history book) and one fiction on the go at any one time. But I should definitely not be reading multiple fiction books at once. Concentrate boy!

24. X Marks the spot: start at the top left of your shelf & pick the 27th Book:

Player of Games‘ by Iain M Banks. Such as sad and sudden loss this year to us.

25. Your latest book purchase:

In Siberia’ by Colin Thubron from an Oxfam shop

26. Zzzzz… Last book that kept you up way too late:
Romantics
Young Romantics: The Tangled Lives of English Poetry's Greatest Generation’ by Daisy Hay thoroughly recommended telling of the mixed up sometimes crazy lives of the Shelleys, Byron and cohorts.

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It's All About the Bland - Trifecta - Week 91

It’s All About the Bland


The marketing manager stood up. ‘Right, we’ve completed the market research and all the indicators show that we will be just ahead of the curve here. Perfect timing, we will be riding the wave, we reckon for a good two, potentially three, years. Crispin...’

Crispin, the new marketing assistant, stood up a little nervously in front of the gaudy powerpoint presentation, ‘As you can see the kids absolutely love this Product, particularly after we ran some advert mock-ups past them. The thirty-somethings also feel it is a really good fit with the existing portfolio and can see themselves drinking both Products. With the proposed premium this should result in a projected uplift in profits of some 12% plus or minus 2% for the whole lager range. Err, that’s after marketing costs.’

The CEO stood up below the neon logo and the gold crown seemed to hover above his head, ‘Look guys, if we make it people will buy it. Simple as,’ he said. ‘There’s nothing we cant sell these dumb asses. Our Product is blander than tepid water on a wet Sunday and what do we do? We water it down, that’s what we do. And what do these characters do? They lap it up even more of course. For a premium too. Love it guys, love it. Good work fellas.’

He rocked back into the deep leather chair and took a satisfying sip of an expensive rioja. He rose the glass up to the happy committee and ended the meeting as he usually did, ‘It’s not about the Product guys, it’s all about the brand.’

He left the room with the sound of the committee’s self congratulatory applause still ringing in his ears. It was another great day for the company.



(294 words )



_________________________



Fancy a go at Trifecta? Why not give it a go now? The one-word prompt this week was:

BRAND (noun)
1a : a charred piece of wood
  b : firebrand
  c : something (as lightning) that resembles a firebrand
2: sword
3a (1) : a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership 
     (2) : a printed mark made for similar purposes : trademark
  b (1) : a mark put on criminals with a hot iron 
     (2) : a mark of disgrace : stigma

4a : a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer : make
  b : a characteristic or distinctive kind
  c : brand name
5: a tool used to produce a brand

Please note that we are asking for the noun, not the verb.


Remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words. 
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post. 
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response. 
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 
  • Only one entry per writer. 
  • If your post doesn't meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz. 
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.
- See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.oNGkHimA.dpuf
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MWBB & Trifecta - It's Istanbulicious

Completed a quick MWBB this week following the cue of a Police song 'Secret Journey'. A song about traveling to find faith, love etc. So how did I twist that around to be a story of 2005 and Istanbul then? Probably because football fandom is as close as I get to religion other than being in awe of the odd cathedral.

Check it out here.

Also got to do this week's new
Trifecta which is for 'Grasp' - as in comprehend. Wonder if that will get me to Istanbul too? 6 minutes of football that were hard to grasp… maybe yeah!


GRASP (verb)

1 : to take or seize eagerly
2 : to clasp or embrace especially with the fingers or arms
3 : to lay hold of with the mind : comprehend

Remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words. 
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post. 
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response. 
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 
  • Only one entry per writer. 
  • If your post doesn't meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz. 
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.
- See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.fJrXZF72.dpuf
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"Undecided' - Visdare #33

It's mid weekish and time for another Visdare from over on Anonymous Legacy Blogspot. The word was 'Indifferent' and the photo was a rather odd posed shot of three ladies in the rain.

Umbrella copy
source


I got stuck in quickly and managed to write my 500 words, before I remembered it was Visdare and therefore only 150 words. Doh! Some serious editing ensued! So here is my piece. Fresh air, rain, women, guns and the like.



Fresh Air


Lefty said, ‘It’s that type of rain that gets you really wet. Really wet.’

‘Wet rain,’ Righty replied, ‘Know what you mean.’

The woman in the centre said nothing. Enjoying being out.

‘Couple of guys over by the fire exit looking sus,’ Lefty said.

‘Yes, been four minutes,’ Righty replied, ‘Keep looking at us, but to be fair who wouldn’t?’

‘Indeed.’

The woman in the centre said nothing; enjoying the cool fresh air.

‘They’re moving,’ Lefty said tightening her grip on the gun.

Righty fingering her pistol’s safety.

Geoff nodded at Tim, he was sure and ready. He quickly plunged his hand deep into his pocket. Lefty turned to face him, tensing a little as she watched him pull out his hand.

He was gripping a Parker.

‘Excuse me, any chance of an autograph?’ he said.

‘Why of course!’ said the starlet, ‘Who should I make it out to?’
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Chomp! - Trifecta 33

33 words prompted by the 'Trifecta Tooth'

Chomp!

Tooth, a lonely singular word telling of loss and pain. Toothache. Drilling. Filling. Blackening. Missing. You can’t crunch with just one tooth.

It needs a social collective, union. Teeth - together we are strong!
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"Undecided" - Visdare FF

This week the Visdare word was "Undecided" and had it's usual nice photo composition, which I've added below. My little 150 word effort is called "Fluid."

Glass
source

Fluid


Sun streamed through the curtains onto the glass as Jenna stared at it, sensing it dominate the room even more now that it was under a spotlight. She’d always been a glass half empty person, but this glass was most definitely full. Her trance was broken by the kettle whistle and she shook herself into breakfast action.

She supped her tea then dunked a strip of crusty bread into the egg, briefly enjoying her breakfast, transfixed as the yolk oozed down the side of the cup. This moment was all too short as her mind returned to the glass.

The phone rang and she let the machine pick up.

‘Hi Jen. Just checking up. Have you tried it yet? Just drink it, sit back and enjoy the ride. Don’t believe that Daily Mail nonsense - it ain’t addictive. It’s beautiful. Anyway. Enjoy!’

Jenna looked back at the glass. Still undecided.

(150 words)
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"Cheesecake" - Trifecta FF

Cheesecake

Jeremy stood at the fridge pointing accusingly at the plate. A single crumb of biscuit base seemed to make the point even harder.

‘I didn’t take it man,’ Adil pleaded innocently, ‘I was in my room. There is something odd going on here mate.’

‘Something odd?’ Jeremy sarcasmed. ‘It was here 10 minutes ago before my shower and no one else is, or has been, here. So what you suggesting? Beamed up by a passing space ship perhaps, or maybe thrown out the window by a mischievous poltergeist?’

‘Well man, I don’t know, but I ain’t had it, have I?’ Adil sounded sincere and a little annoyed, ‘The absence of proof don’t mean it didn’t happen does it?’ He looked out the window half expecting to see cheesecake splattered across the path.

‘You are having a laugh mate, I’m not believing in something without proof and reason,’ Jeremy explained. ‘Just admit it and go and get me a new one and I’ll say no more.’

‘I don’t even like cheesecake. Show me something, anything, that points at me. The fact that I am here is just a weak argument man. There ain't no evidence.’

Jeremy looked again for even the vestige of a crumb on Adil's shirt and growled, ‘There is no other explanation. I didn’t have it, so you must have. QED.’

Somewhere between the sofa and a parallel universe the little space alien looked on and laughed. It then looked down and wondered whether the cheesecake had gone straight to his hips.



(254 words)

___________

The story is based on the 'Trifecta' word of the week, namely; 'Weak', 3rd definition;

___________
WEAK (adjective)

1
: lacking strength: as

a : deficient in physical vigor : feeble, debilitated

b : not able to sustain or exert much weight, pressure, or strain

c : not able to resist external force or withstand attack

d : easily upset or nauseated weak stomach>
2
a : mentally or intellectually deficient

b : not firmly decided : vacillating

c : resulting from or indicating lack of judgment or discernment

d : not able to withstand temptation or persuasion weak>
3: not factually grounded or logically presented weak 
argument>

- See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.wUbSvfYo.dpuf
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More FFing

This week I managed to get in the Mid Week Blues Buster again (warning the odd swear word) as well as Visdare and today Flash Friday too.

Busy. Prolific. Ideas. Death. Drinking. Bombs. Swearing.

MWBB

Flash Friday

Visdare
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"Focusing" - Visdare FF

This week the word was "Focusing" and had it's usual nice photo composition, which I may add later… In the meantime, my little 150 word effort is called "Change of Focus"



Change of Focus

The man who’d committed that mornings atrocity had quickly been identified. A lowly clerk with a vendetta against his boss, both dead from the explosion.

IronCogCo made widgets for toys and was unimportant, as was the boss. Nevertheless the State owned the company and an attack on the company was an attack on the State. It could not be seen an easy target.

When it came to morals I often found myself on the wrong side, but for the greater good the rights of the few were unimportant. So I efficiently poured through the hours of footage from CCTV searching for an alternative culprit. Eventually I found a man who looked appropriately foreign, walking against the commuter tide. By tonight he would be the bomber and we could focus our hate in a more appropriate direction.

The State was right and I was proud to be one of its protectors.
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