Thursday, 29 September 2016

Yes, But Is It Apocryphal?

'apocryphal': well known, but probably false

Many well known things can turn out to be apocryphal. It's not unusual at all. It could be as simple as a fraudulent advertising slogan (at least back in the past when people did believe advertising), or a story about a famous statesman's early life, or very commonly a historical point which never actually happened. The apocryphal quote is a classic example, it being a quote which the person or character involved never actually said. For example, these quotes are apocryphal:

"Beam me up, Scotty." -- Captain Kirk;
"Elementary, my dear Watson." -- Sherlock Holmes;
"Markets can stay wrong for longer than you can stay solvent." -- Adam Smith;
"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." -- Sigmund Freud.

Yes, the quotes are wrong, but they're still famous and mean something. So, does it matter if the quote is true or not? Well, it's good to know if they were actually said, but they still function as worthy aphorisms in any case. Oh, those aphorisms are what make the world go around.

The word 'apocryphal' is heavily linked to its original use, in defining the books that were declared 'wrong' and were excised from the Bible as 'The Apocrypha' as a result. Yes, there were bits cut out of that sacred tome, and then re-included in some rare ancient versions! Whatever we might feel about religion, the Bible is one of a small number of books to have been in print for more than a thousand years, and it was censored several times!

Even as a principled agnostic, it can not be denied that the Bible has definite historical importance and immense significance. Why do you think that 'library' is called `bibliotheque' in French? I would be amazed if library didn't have cognates in other languages. What an interesting thought. Would 'library' in Hebrew be based in the word 'Tanakh'?

Ah, it's good to think from time to time, especially after a few hard days. It's also rather nice to be able to break down a blog into something much nice by adapting a text from an English lesson...


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Television: 'Quantum Leap: Catch A Falling Star' (Episode 2x10) (1989)

Sometimes 'Quantum Leap' falls too heavy, and sometimes too light, but its sweet spot is a fascinating one in that it falls somewhere in 'other' or 'not easily classified'. When it works, it just blows everything else out of the water. 'Catch A Falling Star' is one of my favourite episodes, and one of the earliest that I saw repeatedly. It's a departure from the heavy seriousness and solemnity of the preceding shows, without selling the show out to pantomime, and it's also a wonderful mini-adaptation of the stage musical 'Man of La Mancha' into the bargain.

The curious thing about the series, is that it only really lives when the problems to be solved are comparatively small and trivial. Yes, it's good to talk about social issues, but 'Quincy, ME' does that better, and without throwing leaden weights of drama into the experience. This time, in contrast, Sam leaps into an understudy, who must stop the headlining actor of an off Broadway (way off Broadway) production from falling down some steps and crippling himself, but really it's about dealing with the crush he had for his piano teacher when he was a kid. You see, she's the new understudy for 'Dulcinea'...

It's a great little episode, and indulgent with the stagecraft. We may not have really needed to see and hear so many excerpts from the production, but it really makes this one distinct. You get the feeling that the whole thing popped out of the production schedule as the one they all wanted to make. Also, in a rare moment of infatuation, I can be entranced all over again in empathy with our time travelling hero by his unrequited love. Donald P Bellisario, for all of his sometime sexism, absolutely knew how to cast his shows to the best effect, and this time we got Michele Pawk, the divine Dulcinea. Nowhere else is she to really be found easily on screen, but just for one episode you get to watch entranced and enraptured. Sometimes it's okay to do that, if the story is substantial enough, and its not obvious cheesecake. She was special in this episode... Sam's journey into maturity by finally rejecting his own scheme to not save the day, and therefore stay with her forever, is one of the great ones.

This is also one of the episodes where Dean Stockwell is used minimally but perfectly, as one of his greatest moments approaches in a later episode... Never again will that climb up the steps on the stage, at the end of this show, be forgotten, as he and Bakula chat to one another after his musical performance, and it finally climaxes in the grand blue flash of Leaping. Maybe it's just because I watched it early, but this is one of the great ones. Go, 'Quantum Leap', go! You're finally on a roll!

Coming soon: 'Future Boy'. Yes!


Thursday, 22 September 2016

Off To The Smoke

The world isn't just a great big onion, but sometimes it might as well be. Wouldn't it be more interesting, or at least more teary? No, probably not. Please cancel the comment and erase it from the short-term memory banks. Sometimes a song title can be taken just too far, as any glance down the list of 80s pop songs and vintage country and Western songs would tell you.

Once again, this blog will hibernate over the weekend, as the writer vanished off to the Midlands to have one last nice weekend before the full onslaught of GCSE tuition becomes known. Yes, a few last days of relaxation await. There may or may not be a post on Saturday evening, depending on the activities planned. Be warned, Muffineers! Even the most prolific nonsense writers have to take a break from time to time!

Oh, the joy of a long journey by coach. It seems the nicest option of the ones available. There's something very satisfying about lounging in the most comfortable seats available to travellers and working through a long-neglected novel or writing project. It will be nice indeed. One of the other joys of existence at the moment is the great opportunity provided by making notes for English students. For example, today the proofreading text was about a bicycle wheel found floating through deep space. Why was it there? What was its story? Not all was answered by a short extract, but these things can always return as the kernels of larger endeavours.

It has been a rough week, with multiple new students and several sleepless nights, and now the time is right for some rigorous sleeping. Sleeping is an addictive past-time. Perhaps it should only be indulged by prescription? This is really the worst kind of gibberish, isn't it? It's good to be a tutor in the weeks when everyone learns; one of the best ways to get through life. If it weren't so tiring and evening-based.

The Quirky Muffin now rests, probably for a long holiday weekend.


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Movie: 'Metropolis' (1927)

This is a difficult one. 'Metropolis' is a legendary movie, and one which for most of the last eighty-nine years had thirty minutes lost from its total of one hundred and fifty, and is only now mostly restored from a damaged print found in South America. Watched in its proper historical context, it is an amazing achievement, and a grand epic that is the peak of Fritz Lang's silent movie career, even if it does take a while to get going. It's much better that 'Dr Mabuse, the Gambler', Lang's other epic (indulgently and ridiculously epic, in fact) of the time, and has some magnificent model work and production values. Watched out of context, the modern viewer might get bored, but you shouldn't watch old movies if you can't get into the setting.

I'm being serious. Get into context! You can't watch this, or 'Dr Mabuse', if you can't get yourself into an era where everything you see is being done for the first time. Everything. There may not have even been a dystopian future story before this one. There was 'The Lost World', though, the great dinosaur epic of 1925. Would that have made it to Fritz Lang's Germany of the 1920s?

Should this be a review or a critique? Or both? The story is comparatively simple. In a futuristic city, a metropolis, the decadent rich are living freely and luxuriously in the outer world, while the downtrodden workers are living underground in the Workers' City. The son of the city's genius architect falls in love with the workers' prophet or seer, and becomes aware of the horrors of the underworld existence, but his mission to reconcile the brain and the brawn of the city is complicated by a mad inventor and his brilliant robotic woman, in collusion with the architect. Got it? Can you answer questions posed at speed?

That robotic woman is the image forever associated with the film, but she actually doesn't feature very heavily in that form, but rather in her disguised form as the seer's evil double. The image wins out, though, and has done for almost ninety years. Even if the rest of the movie were terrible, then that imagery and the crazed performances of Rudolf Klein-Rogge (Dr Mabuse himself!) as Rotwang the lunatic inventor, and Brigitte Helm as the seer and robotic double, would make it a worthwhile watch. The only significant problem with the movie is structural: Each act is patterned after a piece of music, escalating in action and energy with each change, leaving the beginning of the film a little flat. However, as a counterbalance, the finale is frenetic!

'Metropolis' was definitely worth seeing. It was scary in prospect, but much better once it was de-mystified and simply a movie on the television. Are there any more silent era classics to check out? Only time will tell. Now, if only you could believe that that architect was worth saving and reuniting with the workers. He was rather a cad and a fiend...


Sunday, 18 September 2016


Greetings, felicitations, and welcome to what is sure to be another astounding ode to insubstantiality here at the Quirky Muffin! After a weekend of unusual relaxation, including both 'Superman: The Movie' and Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis', nothing can truly harm the tranquility of this blog. Ha ha ha! We're immune, I say, immune!

<cackles madly>

Ahem. Apologies to the notional readers of the Quirky Muffin. Normal service will now be resumed. That 'Metropolis' surely was a strange film, but I think it was good. I think so. It was so long that it almost defeated itself, but it was definitely a sterling example of silent film, and much better than 'Dr Mabuse: The Gambler', which wins the prize for self-indulgent lengthiness.

Good grief, I've not written about 'Superman: The Movie' yet! The Donner cut of 'Superman II'? Yes. 'Supergirl'? Check. 'Superman Returns'? Yes-aroo. That only leaves the movie that kicked it all off. Well, that can be a cover post for next weekend's travelling. Another trip to Nottingham, and one which is the final rest before the double ordeal of an Open University course and the new GCSE season. It's going to be an interesting time, and one with many pressures, but also with lots of new experiences! If nothing else, I'll become so familiar with GCSE content that my DNA will rewrite into circle theorems and conversion graphs.

Meanwhile, pre-preparation for the upcoming degree continues at a snail's pace, as it will until the beginning of October! What are the opening modules? 'Exploring Languages And Cultures' and 'Bon Depart: Beginner French'. It will be a rough ride, but certainly easier than a PhD! Perhaps it will even help rebuild the mental stamina needed for the rest of this writer's life? Meanwhile, 'Wordspace: Phase II' will continue, as will all the other stories. They really need to be focussed on more, if anything is to get publishable.

Could one of these stories really end up publishable? How much would need to be added? Are there any candidates other than 'Wordspace'? All these questions and more will be almost certainly remain unanswered in the coming weeks...


Friday, 16 September 2016

Television: 'A Very British Coup' (1988)

It's downright unsettling. I can't write about the Chris Mullins novel that forms this basis of this Channel 4 mini-series, as I haven't read it, but the lengths to which private interests go to maintain the status quo in this story about a socialist prime minister coming into power is deeply unsettling. It's true that the new government in question is a little blunt and extreme in its methods, but you can't help but wonder just what it would take for a government to be allowed to change anything in the modern world. Is it possible at all?

It's difficult to write about politics when you're fundamentally neutral in a right-wing country, so let's talk about the show itself. It was adapted from the source novel by the magnificent Alan Plater, which is a ringing endorsement in itself, and has one of the most solid casts you could assemble from the British acting corps of the time. Ray McAnally necessarily stands out as Prime Minister Harry Perkins, as does Keith Allen as his press secretary Thompson, but the batting runs very deeply indeed.

The tone is bleak, with hints of dark humour, and no punches are pulled in what hard tactics would need to be employed for a left-wing government to get anything at all done while facing the official opposition, as well as the unofficial, in the form of hostile press barons, the civil service, the secret service, the United States of America, and practically anyone else who thinks they might lose from a new system in Britain. As Perkins progresses in attempts to do the things on the mandated manifesto, it goes from bad to worse. Assassinations begin to happen, conspiracies unwind in the darkness, and finally the most perfidious kinds of blackmail unfurl against the backdrop of an implied military coup.

The television adaptation is pumped up a little in emphasis by the insistence on closing US bases in Britain, and on nuclear disarmament, both of which strengthen American paranoia within the plot. The underlying question, which is not necessarily a partisan one, is who rules the country? Is it the elected government, or the unelected one?

Deeply unsettling, and now prescient. What would happen if today's Labour party got into power? Would they be allowed to do anything at all?


The Heat Is On

The pressure is on, as the first of the endless round of GCSEs looms on the temporal horizon. It's not the nicest of propositions for the students of today, is it? From my contacts, it seems that year eleven has been pretty much abolished due to the pressure on the schools to do well, maybe even moreso than the pressure on the students. Instead, they have a long string of exam revision sessions in a bid to beat other schools on the league tables. We live in a strange world where schools compete with each other instead of cooperating, as do hospitals and various other public services. If that doesn't make sense to you either, then congratulations. It's most likely the Bizarro Universe! Please check the person next to you for a little stone label on a chain. As a private tutor, my list will double for a month, and then subside as the exams go away for a few months.

However, let's not be too serious. Far more important things are going on! For one thing, I missed a Quirky Muffin yesterday, which is a crime punishable by withholding of cocoa powder and exile in Scandinavia without smorgasboard privileges. Yes, it is THAT BAD. Indeed, the last person to miss a post here, Sven Morgansbeard, hasn't been seen since the mid Nineties. Ah, Sven, you had such a varied selection of rutabaga recipes. What is a rutabaga anyway? Isn't it a hybrid of some kind? All I know is from references to the foundation of the Kingdom of Sendaria in the Belgariad.

<some minimal research ensues>

Right, a rutabaga is a natural cross between a cabbage and a turnip, that was first written about in 1620. Apparently the crossing resulted in a doubly dense chromosomal nature, and a shift in the plant's classification as a result. I've not knowingly ever seen a rutabaga, except... It's also known as a swede! Now it all makes sense. You weren't expecting the next Quirky Muffin to be late, and a mix of examination and swede talk were you, hallucinatory readers of this blog? Oh, the accursed swede! That endless supply of mush! No wonder Morgansbeard was sent away, that swede-loving fiend!

It will be a rough few weeks, which might play havoc with the blog as it currently stands. Principal writing will shift to the daytime as eight evening students take their toll. It's not easy for a diurnal person to do that much evening work, but people need to be helped, so helped they shall be! Whether they like it or not. Mwahahahaha. Short term exam preparation is the worst kind of tutoring, but almost always necessary somewhere.

With that, it is time to tap the last strokes of this post, and move on to the next. One penalty of dereliction of duty is double posting...


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Story: 'Diary of a Laundry Robot', Week X

( Week IX , Week XI )


Good grief, we are safe nowhere! Mrs Wilberforce just dropped in with three boxes of feather boas. She found us in an entirely dimension in space! The Quergs are at a loss in understanding it. She just flounced in, dropped off these gigantic packages and flounced out again, utterly oblivious to the change in locale. Now we have feather boas, and our supervisor recommended we just wash them and then they'll drop them off in an undercover operation. How bizarre it is! Celia actually giggled for a whole hour, off and on. At least they're not hats!


I've just realised, my diary, that I never followed up on the singed hats. There they were on our return from the Ring of Querg. We found out the next day, after explaining that being singed is not the same as being dirty, that there had been a small expedition to a volcano planet in the Iocane system, with some damage being taken as a result. It sounds like a very interesting planet, even if it is part of a very unlikely story. Incidentally, the Blots are just sitting there, outside the laundry. I'm somehow tempted to drape the feather boas on them, but Celia just looked at me disgustedly when I suggested it.


A mystery has been revealed! Egbert is actually a time-space continuum correction to the Blots problem. Yesterday, he visited us here at the laundry, traversing the road from our new communal house, and tripped over one of the interlopers, who promptly vanished! Astonished, the Quergs took some readings and discovered that some agent had put him there for that purpose. He trumpeted with glee and began running about and wildly tripping over them at every opportunity! There are now no Blots left, although our maintenance/therapist Querg thinks they must begin accumulating again soon. He seems to think that we weren't as unimportant to the natural timeline as they had thought, or that something else is badly wrong.


The boas have been shipped back to our home time, finally! We managed to get a note put in as well, with the Quergs' agreement, asking for some necessary supplies to come back the squad. We really need some new sensor wipes and Celia misses her robo-bear! What madness! I gave up my robo-raccoon years ago, and she still has a bear!

Egbert has begun meditating in the middle of the night. I wonder if he has been told something about going home, as he seems rather melancholy recently. Barely an 'Egg!' has been heard for days.

There is a Blot outside the laundry. Celia is looking worried.


A brief note for today: The Grand High Querg has summoned us, including Egbert, to the Dome. We had never even heard of a Grand High Querg or a Dome! I wonder what we've done! Tomorrow, we will go. Celia's robo-bear growls at me when I sing in the wash facility.

There will be more...

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Just One More Turn

It was (and still is) a dangerous era. There were whole tribes of computer games (usually devised by the arch villain Sid Meier) which devoured your time in both real-time and in turns. Unsatisfied with merely having one success, Meier devised 'Railroad Tycoon', 'Civilization', 'Colonization' and even 'Pirates'. He used up decades of people's lives, not even including 'Silent Service' and 'Gunship'. His real success was in the 'one more turn' temptation of 'Colonization' and 'Civilization', though, which haunts me even now, decades later, in the form of 'Colonization', published in 1994. It's fiendish. It should be nothing compared to later offspring 'Alpha Centauri' and 'Civilization IV', but it's definitely better in its simplicity. Curses!

'End of turn' is an addictive phrase. With one click you could be off exploring the consequences of all your actions, moving cargo and military units, preparing for the inevitable end game. It is a strange and compulsive process, and one that taunts this writer even now. At this moment I could be selecting 'Declare independence' and rushing off to see if I can ward off the evil empire and liberate everyone, but instead discipline is holding and a blog post is being wrung from the keyboard of fate, which complains at not having to just provide an 'enter' key from time to time. 'One more turn' is a phenomenon wherein the game player repeatedly puts off finishing a session by thinking to themselves that they will play 'just one more turn' over and over again. Hours later, the player looks up and out of the window and sees darkness. A whole day has vanished, their eyes are bleary, and they haven't even build that fort in Baltimore yet...

You can guess what kind of weekend it has been now, can't you? Swimming, cycling and lots of turn taking! In other news, 'Strangeness In Space' (look it up) is going to Kickstart a two-episode season finale (featuring Sylvester McCoy?), 'Quincy, M.E.' is proving far better than I remembered or even predicted during the confused first run of episodes, the Labour leadership elections grumble on interminably, and 'Star Trek's fiftieth anniversary rolled by. 'Star Trek' is fifty, and I spent the weekend playing 'Colonization'. What kind of weird world is this? What else happened? Oh, the movie 'Hellzapoppin' arrived via DVD rental, and I'm not entirely certain how to react. It was... indescribable.

More 'Star Trek' thoughts will follow in the week to come. My students will certainly get bored with it, if nothing else! Maybe I should 'Deep Space Nine' on DVD after all. Maybe.


Friday, 9 September 2016

Story: The Glove, XV


Megan's Story

"There are things we weren't told when we were growing up. Nor were our parents, or probably our grandparents too. It's not easy to understand, or it wasn't for me, but this world is... crooked. We were one colony once, and then supposedly we split up into two cities to forestall some crucial disaster, which never happened.

Suppose for a moment, that we were wrong, and that crisis did happen, and that it was covered up over time.

There's a town up North called Baleine, where some researchers discovered a buried ship which we assumed to be similar to those that the founders of Ganymede used to get here, but they were baffled by the lack of anything like an engine. Where did the motive power come from? One day, they turned up at the site and discovered that the ship had vanished. Completely. It was nowhere to be seen, with only a smooth indentation in the ground, as if it had been scooped out with a giant ladle. All the records were lost. Even the piper records were wiped.

Six months ago, I encountered a strange man, claiming to be lost and confused. He had wandered in from the countryside, wearing some pipes and traditional Burgh costume. I led him to an inn, and explained the situation to the landlaird, who took him in. When I went in for a drink the next day, the man had departed after spinning tails of space flights on the back of a comet, and being shot around the moon from a giant cannon. They couldn't make head nor tail out of any of it! The landlaird surrepetitiously passed me a book. It was called 'Off On A Comet'.

Later, in the privacy of my own chambers, I looked up 'Off On A Comet' on the colony database. There was no trace of it. It was a ghost form another world, a story by some man called Jules Verne, about a soldier and some companions whose bit of land was knocked off their world into space on a fantastical journey as part of a comet. The book simply didn't exist!

The man was never seen again, but I kept the novel in a secure place. The spaceship was never found, but the people still remembered. Things were being kept from us. Maybe they were small things, and maybe they were large. A few people banded together, or conspired to collect all of these incidents.

This calendar year, to date, we have catalogued one thousand two hundred and seventy incidents of interference and unusual events. Seven hundred were attributed to the Pipers themselves. The shooting here will in all likelihood be one of them. We're accumulating a small library of texts left behind by strange vagabonds which are for all intents and purposes apocryphal.

Something is going on here. Something secret. Are you interested?"

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Zoot Zoot

The nights draw in, and the Autumn is truly upon us after the rigours of an almost entirely non-existent Summer. Oh, that's not true, for there were some sunny weeks, but the murk and rain predominated in the most welcome of ways. There's nothing quite so nice as a damp Summer, and the consequential ignoring of sunscreen and hats. Now, Winter is looking us dead in the eye, and what will we do? Wander around, taking sanity preserving long midday walks in the pale sunshine? It's not the worst idea in the world. Visit castles in solitude, free from the crowds wandering around in the other seasons? Brilliant!

Looking back at the Phrontistery, the great repository of rare or archaic words, I'm reminded of the word 'nihilism', which I've seen a thousand times before, but never fully understood except from the context. It's actually a far more shocking word than you might think:

nihilism - denial of all reality; extreme scepticism.

Yes, a nihilist is someone who completely disbelieves in any of the reality all around us. All of it. Completely. Even I, as someone who routinely assumes all of life to be utterly ludicrous and supremely mockable, still believe it is somehow real. There are things and people to care about. No, a true nihilist is at the very minimum extremely sceptical of everything. Everything. Shoes. Busses. Themselves. The world. Then, if you're not convinced that anything is real, you also believe that none of it matters, and then the most dangerous conclusion is that you can destroy what you like because it's not real to begin with. Nihilism in its truest definition, is a very dangerous thing. You're only ever one definition away from new ideas and insight into both the wonders and the fears of the world.

Now, in one of the more pleasant parts of being a tutor, it's time to write a reply to a letter from a former student, and encourage her English on every level that I can! It doesn't end with the lessons, especially when people are nice.


Monday, 5 September 2016

Story: 'Wordspace' Phase II, Part V

( Part IV , VI )

"There is hope." A voice said from somewhere. It wasn't Cloud, because her voice was softer, and it wasn't Sorpresa as he spoke some other language. Yes, the words speak in their own language, which may or may not have been composed of... words. Where did those words in turn live? Is there a bottom to a recursive chain, and is it possible we're all just words that live in someone else's language? These are questions for another day. Preferably a day with icecream.

Cloud repeated what their mighty friend Earth had done some days before, and crashed into the giant at near to ground level, but with much less bulk. The result was a whole load of nothing, as the giant merely wobbled and Cloud glanced away.

"Cloud?" Mystery enquired tentatively.


"Was that entirely pointless?"

Cloud sighed. "Yes, it appears so."

"What are we supposed to do now?"

It was a good question.

"There is hope."

"Cloud, did you just hear something?" Mystery asked while looking behind at the behemoth. It was crashing along behind them. Sorpresa was still holding on, but with a thrilled look on his face.

"No, only the collision. Must... fly... faster..."

"¡Rapido! ¡Rapido! ¡No te rindas!" Sorpresa was getting in on the action. The invader was definitely getting closer.

"We have definitely got to find Translation, wherever he may be." Muttered the enigmatic word as Cloud accelerated onward. "Hey, are we headed where I think?"

"Not yet. Hold on to something." Cloud warned them tersely. She had already talked to him more in this chase than in previous decades combined. He had hardly grabbed on to something when Cloud executed a high speed u-turn and swooped around the alien's leg syllables. Sorpresa threw something from a small bag as they went by, which Mystery couldn't identify in the rush. It seemed as if they were heading back towards War and her troop, but what could they do against such a giant? It made War look like a youngling!

A sudden conjuration of light erupted behind them, and Mystery almost looked back out of habit. Almost. He hoped War had a plan.

To be continued...

Saturday, 3 September 2016

A Free Weekend

Why is a free weekend different to the curse of a bank holiday? Why does one feel so much better than the other? It's a curious thing. Perhaps Bank Holidays are permanently soaked with that legacy of times gone by, those family day trips of stress supreme... --- No. There's no need to think about past bank holidays any more. This is a Saturday at the beginning of September, drowned under a day of perpetual rain, and enlivened by the return of a classic old game: 'Colonization'. No, not the remakes but the original game. It's still amazing, and has sucked up what would have been a whole day of writing, rather appallingly. Yes, 'Colonization' still has it, and is available once again. Ahhhhhh... 'Click herer to end turn.' Yes, I will, thank you.

It feels as if a weight has lifted after horrific Summer of news, a silly season so filled with venom that the upcoming US presidential elections are actually a light-hearted relief, despite the equally loathed candidates carrying the flags for the two main parties. Oh, how wonderful it would be for a third party to sweep the board and save (or would they?) us from the Trump or the Clinton. Ah, what a dream! It has to happen one day, when people realise they're allowed to vote for any of the listed candidates.

A free weekend is quite a luxury. The remaining part could be spent in any number of ways... More 'Colonization', in a complete surrender to the sleep deprived lack of creativity, Spanish practice, the podcast recording happening in a scant couple of hours, or even eating tea! Oh, what luxury it is to be free! Next weekend might be fiendishly more complicated and next month the inundation of degree work will begin, but now there is freedom. Freedom to play a game, write a blog post without pressure, and to read the book version of 'The Beiderbecke Trilogy'. What a strange feeling it is...

There shall be reading, and writing. Writing has come upon me all of a sudden, and very unfortunately since I left my idea pad at a student's house, and the impulse must be quenched by something other than yogurt and a small migraine. There shall be writing...


Thursday, 1 September 2016

Story: The Ninja of Health, XIII

( Part XII , XIV )

The picture in the rearranged tablecloth was a little abstract. Well, very abstract, when you consider the means used to create it. Originally it had been multicoloured, striped, and studded with polka dots. Now, the weave had been altered onto a pattern of the karmic substrate of the universe. The Oracle could have explained it less opaquely, but he was asleep after his mind bending exertions.

"Is that a lighthouse?" Asked the Man.

"Maybe. Or a rocket. Or a lightbulb." Responded his lady companion. "Over there, is that a cliff?"

"I think so. What do you think it means? Including the rocks at the bottom?"

"Those are cookie remnants, you dope!" The Woman swept off the tablecloth. "What would a lighthouse be doing in the middle of a great big crater?"

"I don't know. Perhaps this is where that space marble came from? Or where it's going to?" After a moment, the Man continued, "This image might not even be connected to that entity. We'll have to wait for him to wake up. I wonder who's minding the shop?" He traced the edge of a large swirl, that might have been a baseball, as he mused, before moving aside so the Woman could document the vision with her camera.

The two went downstairs to the shop. There was a woman behind the counter that they didn't know. They wandered over to the wheel and stood on either side, facing each while holding the spokes.

"We should be doing something. Not just staring into each other's eyes while a mysterious entity is roaming the country and our tame soothsayer sleeps off a small prognostication that manifested as a rewoven tablecloth." The Man didn't shift his gaze.

"Love is a curious thing. Sometimes we just need to be together, gentle man."

"That's true, milady." The Man cocked his head sideways. "Do you sense something?"

"Yes, and it's not the pizza."

CRASH. The two looked over to see the woman behind the counter collapse to the floor, striking her head on a corner in the process. The Woman looked at her companion, and then rushed over. "Suddenly, I wonder if our friend upstairs is really sleeping off a vision. Go."

The Man went.

To be continued...