One final question

Man: (refreshes his glass of Midleton) So, before you kill me, how did you find me?
Two strangers: (look at each other with puzzled expressions)
Man: I changed my identity ages ago. I went off the grid. Were you clicking through old bookmarks from days? Do you even remember that “last updated” feed they had? I’m still friends with people I found that way. That was the best.
Man: Or was it a random social media link?
Man: Or something more sinister?
First stranger: I did a search for facts about the grunion, actually.
Second stranger: Names for electric cars, here.
Man: (takes sip, says nothing).
Man: Ah.

They sit that way for a very long time. The strangers glance at the bottle of Midleton now and then, but the man ignores them. They will be drinking this soon enough, he thinks, when I am dead.

First stranger: Actually, we’re not actually here to kill you.
Second stranger: No.
Man: Ah.
Man: (Pours himself a fresh glass, and puts the bottle away)
Man: (takes sip) Then you will be going soon, I imagine.
Two strangers: (Shrug, look at each other)
Man: Before you go, I want you to know one thing.
Man: All I want is for you to be happy.
Man: That’s all I want. But I realize that just saying it is useless.
Man: I mean, there used to be people who wanted only for me to be happy, and it had no effect. I disappointed them and myself. Happiness is an elusive target, anyway. I suppose what they wanted was for me to achieve a situation, a mental state and social/economic situation conducive to self-actualization and a condition of agency in life, and here I am, the same lost bobbing cork as always.
Man: But I am content.
Two strangers: (Give each other puzzled looks. One glances at the glass in the man’s hand)
Man: I am sitting in a garden, petting a cat and waiting for death. I have not achieved all I dreamed, but it no longer matters.
Man: All that matters is that you are happy. That you attain a state of agency and personal power. That you can speak of yourself with honesty. (Drinks the last of the whiskey, sets glass on table.)
First stranger: (Licks lips involuntarily)
Man: (Looks at the sky outside) Now I wonder if, when someone told me “all I want is for you to be happy,” they really meant “all I want is for you to have a life of your own and get out of my hair”.
Man: If, when they said, “Do anything you want,” they meant, “do something.”
Man: Hrm.
Man: (Notices the strangers have left)
Man: (Pets cat) (Drinks the last drops of liquid in the glass)
Man: (To cat) I wonder if that is what I meant.
Man: (Sighs, begins typing fresh story)

Writing prompt

Write a story or poem incorporating the following phrases*:

  • Flat sourdough loaf (it could be the name of a western town)
  • Careers in zymurgy
  • Sometimes you’re the
  • translate behold the smart irishman into latin
  • a lady of leisure limerick
  • bifurcated sleep pattern
  • head scratcher
  • flounder facts
  • flounder jokes
  • condolezza rice tits
  • what is inkblot plate iii
  • great white whale facts

*what was life like before we had search results? I can’t remember.

OTOH, this makes me question the sense of writing a blog at all.

Fluffier sourdough

A recent visitor to this site (from Redmond, WA) got here via a search for “fluffier sourdough.”


Until I find out otherwise, I will imagine the following:

“Goddamn it, Melinda.”

“Wut, Bill?”

“My sourdough’s not fluffy again.”

“At least the crust ain’t hard as a rock this time, Bill.”

“Grr. Also it ain’t baked all the way through.”

“Again. Well, why don’t you Bing it, darling? Look up fluffier sourdough or something.”

“I’ll do just that, dear.”

Something like that.

After all these years, I still look at my stats. Such a masochist.

The red wire, or the blue wire?

The scene: a villain’s hide out. One wall is covered with monitors (salvaged b/w TV sets dating from the late 1960s/early 1970s) showing things going haywire around the globe. One wall is made of glass, beyond which hammerhead sharks circle in a tank of saltwater. A shoe containing a foot rests in the sand on the floor of the tank.

Villain: [running around looking flustered] OMG. Where’s that panic button? Is this the panic button, or the self-destruct button? OMG.

[Sound effect: a ringing telephone]

Villain: Hello?

Girl: Hi, dad.

Villain: Hi, kid.

Girl: How do I plug in the microphone?

Villain: Wut?

Girl: I want to play around with your new microphone. I’m sitting here at home in the cellar with the speaker, the mixer (I have the mic plugged in already) and all these cords and cables.

[Sound effect: klaxon signalling security breach, or re-entry of warheads, or both]

Villain: Eh, what?

Girl: No sound is coming out. What do I need to do? I’m just going to plug stuff in at random until it works, then I’ll know I got it right.

Villain: Er. That’s not so good. If you short something out, that would be bad, because I have a theremin performance tomorrow and need some of that gear.

[Sound effects: explosions, small-arms fire]

Villain: Listen. The mixer and the speaker must be plugged into a power source. Their cords are in a white plastic bag in a black cloth bag beside the speaker. Got it?

Girl: There’s only a blue bag.

[Sound effects: henchmen falling into shark tank, splash, snap]

Villain: Listen, okay, blue bag. Full of a mess of cables. The speaker cord is in there. The mixer cord is either in there or loose in the black bag.

Girl: What’s it look like?

Villain: Heavy small black cube with cords coming out two sides. One has a round end that plugs into the back of the mixer,the other end is a normal electrical plug.

Computer voice: Lair will self-destruct in four minutes.

Villain: Sorry if I’m short, honey, I’m a little distracted right now.

Girl: Okay.

Villain: After you get the power sources hooked up, you then need to connect the mixer output to the speaker input.

Girl: I have a cable in the speaker already. Which hole does it go into in the mixer?

Computer voice: Self-destruct in three minutes, thirty seconds.

Villain: Um, what do they say? They should be labeled. Not control room or headphones. Output or line out or something.

[Sound effects: Lasers. Pew-pew-pew!]

[Sound effects: cutting torch]

Girl: Main out?

Villain: Yes, sounds good. L or R should both work for the mic.

Girl: Okay, thanks, dad!

Villain: Have fun, honey. Bye.

[Sound effect: Dial tone.]

Computer voice: Self-destruct in two minutes, thirty seconds.

Villain: [Slaps forehead] Gah! I forgot to tell her to turn on the speaker. She’ll figure that out, right?

Well that’s that, then

Just shipped the last of the first edition of “Little-Known Facts About Various Marine-Dwelling Animals”. If it’s not asking too much, please let me know when your orders arrive. Comments also welcome on the flickr thing. Recipients of complimentary booze included in orders of 5 or more also of course let me know if bottles break in transit and ruin books, still wondering if that was a good idea.

Book update

p1070103smThe first batch of “Little-Known Facts About Various Marine-Dwelling Animals”  orders ships this morning. That orange envelope, for example, contains 3 copies going to the illustrator, Bran. The one on top is addressed to somewhere in California. The one on the bottom, the first one ordered, is going to Denmark.

So far I have bound 40. I am waiting for some more Washi before putting covers on the rest next week. The rest will ship then.

It looks like the limited first edition of 50 copies will sell out this week.  There are about 10  left right now. Or so. Give or take. I haven’t checked my email in the last two minutes to see if any new orders have come in, so one never knows.

More info on the book and ordering on this page here.

International Release Party for Little-Known Facts About Various Marine-Dwelling Animals

The book, Little-Known Facts About Various Marine-Dwelling Animals, is being released today. It is written by me and illustrated by Bran. I know some really critical people and they like both the texts and the illustrations.


You can read a little more about the book here. You can also order the book online from that page, and there is a flickr slide show of all the covers so far. There is some variety, and if you have any preferences you can let me know, but orders will be filled on a first-come-first-serve basis so there is no guarantee you will get the exact book you want.

Only 50, give or take a couple, copies of this hand-bound first edition will be produced. So you might want to order soon.

There is a flickr set showing the covers etc here.

The book is 82 pages, unnumbered, and chock full of neat illustrations by Bran.

The price is €16, which is about $23.50 depending on exchange rates, and includes shipping and handling to anywhere in the world.

Any nice comments may be posted in the comments to this post. Any questions etc should probably be mailed to metamorphosist (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!