One unfortunate night at the bar.

It was a very rough day at work. Instead of working 8 hours, I put in 12. Countless deadlines, aggravated clients and misguided negotiations boosted my stress levels beyond tolerable levels. By the end of the day, though, everything jelled and worked themselves out to everyone’s satisfaction. But my nerves were still shot.

On the way home I stopped at a bar for a drink. The mood here was festive as a live band played its string of contemporary hits. I sat at the counter and saw dozens of bottles on the shelf along the mirrored wall behind the counter where the bartenders worked. Curiously, there were also lit candles along the bottom of the shelf.

A bartender walked up to me and placed a coaster on the counter in front of me. “What can I get you?” she smiled.

“I’d like a Bloody Mary, please.” I replied.

The bartender leaned forward and said, “I’m sorry, it’s really loud in here. What did you say you wanted?”

“Bloody Mary,” I repeated.

“One more time?”

“Bloody Mary!” I shouted.

Suddenly the candles behind the bartender began to float as bottles began to fall off the shelf. The entire bar fell silent as the lights began flickering. All eyes were focused on the mirrored wall that was now trembling and shaking to the point where it almost looked ready to break. Suddenly a ghostly woman with deathly pale skin and long black hair leapt out from the mirror with her hands trained on my throat.

As I lay on the floor weakened by the attack, I could see the bartender take a piece of chalk and draw a diagonal line over four short vertical lines on the chalkboard behind the counter.

“That’s the fifth time tonight,” she announced. “Now taking bets for number six.”

Free alternatives to Minecraft.

I’ve always been intrigued by the world of Minecraft but have been reluctant to part with my hard-earned money to buy a copy. When I looked around to see if there were some free alternatives, I was surprised to see there are quite a few to choose from.

My favorite of the bunch is Minetest. You can play offline using various world version modes or you can easily join one of the online worlds and do some building of your own there. I’m still new to the game myself but there are plenty of  friendly people online willing to help me get acquainted with the rules of the game. It seems like I learn more and more about the game each time I play.

There’s also an Android version of Minetest so you can take your mining ventures on the go.

Crime scene in the kitchen?

kitchen

There’s an interesting story behind this photo.

On the night of October 17, 2010, I was preparing a rotisserie chicken for dinner. At the same time, I made a pitcher of fruit punch. Somehow, in the midst of these two separate events, I accidentally knocked over the fruit punch and it spilled on the chicken and all over the floor. That’s when I noticed with some bizarre amusement that my kitchen had just become something resembling a crime scene and I had to get my camera to record this moment for posterity.

Oh yeah, fruit punch flavored chicken doesn’t taste half bad either.

Ian’s weird situation.

Ian stood by the window in the hallway, trying to assess the morning’s traumatic events.

​Let me get this straight. I’m on the 89th floor of a hospital where the doctors and nurses dress in black. My dad’s here because he had a stroke. The doctor taking care of him went to medical school for 50 years, yet he himself is 45 years old.

​Then it gets weirder. The nurses take my dad apart like a robot and the doctor takes the head and cracks it open like an egg. Out comes the brain, being the tangled mess it is. Then he unravels the brain so it’s one long slimy strand and right away he sees the cause of the stroke, a single rubber band clamped tightly to cut off circulation. He cuts off the rubber band, throws all the body parts into a box and attaches the box to a machine that will shake it vigorously. Then, with a loud P-TOO sound, out flies my dad in one piece and he lands on the bed, fast asleep. And all that’s left to do is wait for him to wake up before he can go home?

“Ian?” his mother called from down the hall. “Let’s go. Your father’s awake now.”

WHAT IS GOING ON???

More favorite albums on Jamendo.

Here are some more enjoyable albums I found on Jamendo, in no particular order:

  • Freestyle Percussion Magik – Catchy rhythms that will put a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
  • La Marche Des Lutins vs Punish Yourself – I usually don’t dance to music but I must make an exception with this mind-blowing track with an irresistible beat. Make sure you have plenty of room.
  • No Trump.et – This album has an 80’s sound to it yet manages to work in some catchy contemporary dance beats as well.
  • Bazooka – A self-titled album from a jam band of the same name. I can hardly hear the vocals but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the contributions from the rest of its very talented members.
  • Space Traveller – This single, cinematic track effectively captures the feel of drifting somewhere in deep space.
  • Sailboat Bed – I was pleasantly surprised to find a band from the United States on Jamendo. This mellow, soulful track had me listening to it again and again.
  • Living It All Wrong – One listen and you’ll see why this album received such critical acclaim. Melodic vocals, very gentle piano music with occasional orchestral accompaniment add up to a very soothing album that’s a joy to hear again and again.
  • Sleepwalker II – The Haunting – With the exception of the last track, this album has no music, instead it creates an atmosphere of horror using simple electronic sounds and scary sound effects. I got a good scare from listening to this myself, so be warned.

Extraterrestrial spaghetti found?

Years ago I made a parody page of SETI@Home called SpaghETI@Home that gave details of a search for extraterrestrial spaghetti.

This morning I read an article that astrophysicists have discovered what could be the strongest material in the universe, a material known as nuclear pasta.

And from which familiar edible substance do we earthlings often concoct from pasta? Spaghetti, of course.

Extraterrestrial spaghetti, to be exact.

Let the screaming begin.

A freewriting experiment.

I’m going to try something different with this post. Instead of agonizing over what to write about, I’m just going to type away and stop only when I’ve reached the 500-word limit. Well, WordPress doesn’t have a limit on the number of words in a post, but 500 words should be enough for a few minutes’ worth of reading anyway.

I still don’t know what to write about but already I’m on the second paragraph, so things seem to be going according to plan. I could write about my job but I really don’t want to turn this blog into a diary. Rather, I want my blog to serve as a digest of my literary creations, be it a poem or a short story. Not do I want to express any political opinions, although I certainly have strong feelings about the state of things in Washington right now, but I won’t go there either. Again, the strong emphasis is on my poetry, stories and miscellaneous thoughts.

Wow, this is going better than I thought. Already on the third paragraph and the words just keep flowing. I could write about the weather or my plans for the day but for now I want to cast all those boring thoughts aside and just write as fast as my fingers can type. The funny thing is, that when I started this post, I had no idea what I was going to write about but a few minutes later the post is filling up nicely.

When I was in high school, I took creative writing as an elective course as I thought I’d have some fun with it. I’ve always enjoyed writing as a way of expressing my thoughts and to let out some steam at the same time. One of the things I learned in class was freewriting in which I just pick up my pen and write whatever comes to mind, and along the way, ideas start popping up and my case of writer’s block is instantly solved.

Lately I’ve been short on ideas for what to write about in this blog so it was time for me to do a freewriting experiment to keep things going. I just renewed my domain for another year and if I am to get my money’s worth I need to keep it updated with fresh stories and thoughts. There will certainly be more of that along the way.

Or perhaps I could go through the 17 saved drafts I have and see what I can do to finish those and get those posted for the world to see. Too often I feel I’m too busy to just sit down and write for a few minutes, let alone work on those drafts to completion. There;s been too much on my mind lately with work and money matters, but I cling to the hope that I could possibly utilize my writing talents to ease my financial woes a bit.

And I still have those unfinished novels I’d like to get published someday and get my name up there with the literary greats. I need only the time to work on them and get them submitted.

Well, I’ve exceeded the 500 word limit and looking back, I think I have another fine post for the world to read. There were times when I paused to ponder my next sentence but other than that the words came out virtually nonstop.

This concludes my freewriting experiment. That wasn’t so bad, was it?