An unexpected Christmas gift.

What a surprise that would have been…

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My son turned 14 the other day and he had 7 of his friends over for a sleep over after a trip to the movies and for something to eat.   I know, I know, at this point you are already probably shaking your head because yes you are right, it was a bloody stupid idea.

To be fair to them they are a pretty nice bunch of lads but that said they are still 14 year old boys and therefore also a huge pain in the arse.  As expected they were loud, they smelled awful and they all think they are most funny when they are not.  Even when they were still pissing about at 2 in the morning it was kind of expected so for the most part I just let them be.

The next morning though there was a rather unexpected surprise when I went into my Amazon account to order a last minute Christmas gift.  Seems they had been using the Amazon Alexa search and order functionality to pick up some last minute Christmas gifts themselves.

Below is just part of the Alexa search history and the item I found awaiting my check out.

Well at least the wife says it was them…

Such thoughtful boys…

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Going Underground

I am not a good person at all…

I am a firm believer that to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to unforgivable.  If you need to be somewhere then you ought to get there early because anything else is just rude.  It was very much to my horror therefore that earlier this week I was nearly an hour late for a training course I was due to attend in London.

Now I would like to blame everybody else but it was my fault which only serves to make the whole episode that much more frustrating.

I was visiting an office I had never been to before and as I usually would gave it a quick google, checked which tube station to head to from Waterloo and set off with enough time to get me there with a good half an hour to spare to allow me to have a bit of a wander about.

As a seasoned visitor to the capital I like to think I am pretty good at getting about but alas I was so very, very wrong.  Boarding at waterloo I had a 50 minute journey with a change and this alone should have set the alarm bells ringing.  I knew roughly where it was yet I ignored that quiet whisper that told me that I ought to double check.

I don’t usually ignore this voice, not since that time I decided to install a kitchen and I measured how much I needed to trim off the work top in centimetres yet cut it off in inches.  There’s no hiding that from the wife when she gets home I tell you, but alas I did ignore it.

Now if you have not experienced rush hour on the London tube then trust me it is  as bad as you might imagine.  I was crammed so close to other people that in some cultures I am pretty certain that I am now engaged to at least two women and one bloke and there was a point where I had to explain to a fellow that I really couldn’t move up any more as if I did my groin would be closer to the face of a rather diminutive Sicilian looking old lady than I would be comfortable with.

Not that I am otherwise comfortable shoving my groin into the face of old women of any description regardless of where they come from, I am definitely not.

Anyway after half an hour and about 10 stops the whisper had become a scream and my desire to be on time and to not end up on the sex offenders list caused me to panic and I alighted at Earl’s court.  Unable to get a phone signal I hurried to the surface still smelling of the bloke who had been pressed against me since Knightsbridge to figure out where the bloody hell I was.  It was at this point I hit an all time low for me on the tubes.

If they are crammed I will usually just let everyone go before me and wait for the next one.  That is all part of why I leave extra early and it normally means I stay relatively calm and unflustered which I think is why I enjoy London so much.

Anyway so my plan is to drop a text to the trainer and explain I am late but will get there. It’s only a course right, hardly that important.  Now at this point I dropped my bank card as I took my phone out of my pocket and bent over to pick it up.  As I do this my bag swings from my shoulder and clips a fellow rushing past me and as I stand up he glares at me with a dark and ominous scowl.  Well, this seems to trigger me and for some reason I become possessed by the devil and decide to inform him that…

“Look at me like that again mate and I’ll punch you in the throat.”

I am a little more tense than I realise and for a moment we stare at each other.  I am hoping he is thinking “Shit I better get out of here he looks a bit handy” whilst I am thinking “Oh fuck I have no idea how to fight and the last thing I smashed was a carbonara pizza and I haven’t had a fight since 1990 (and ended up sat bleeding from the nose sat in a waste paper bin on that occasion) and I should apologise probably because that is just rather inappropriate and I am not Jean-Claude-fucking-Van-Damme.”

Fortunately he was obviously also late for something and scurried off as I leaned back against the wall in relief at not having to explain that I was late for a training course on emotional resilience because I was arrested for fighting an Albanian looking backpacker in Earl’s court tube station and rubbing my crotch in an Octogenarian lemon sellers face.

After that it was plain sailing really.  I worked out where I was actually meant to be going, got there an hour late, did the course, learned a few things and convinced the trainer to let us finish the session in the pub instead of the classroom and had a couple of pints of Guinness and a Cornish pasty and a sausage roll.

Life eh…

Probably well deserved.

You’re not all special!

I popped to the engravers this morning to pick up some trophies for a rugby festival I am running tomorrow and noticed a large pile of parcels for the local grammar school.

Seems they are awarding 4 trophies for their top ‘A’ achievers, a good recognition for the ‘merit’ pupils and two very special ones indeed.

Nice to see the school telling it like it is.

Don’t go touching my chicken!

I like to just keep my hand in now and again…

My most black sorrow

Like pitch it sticks to my insides

Lungs fill with it’s acrid darkness and I choke

Spitting and cursing your name as it cooks me from within

And so serves me up on a platter of regret and guilt

As the crows feast on my eyes, devouring my soft pink tongue

And the rats feast and rutt in my rancid entrails


 

Whoah….that’s all a bit much isn’t it.

Sometimes I like to see if I can write like other people and come up with some twisted dark shit but mostly I prefer stick figures being filthy.  Guess it takes all sorts right…

asfasfasfasfasf

 

You know this might be my first attempt at a political cartoon though to be honest I think the symbolism is far too obvious.  Plus my eagle looks like a big chicken and I was a bit wary of actually drawing pictures of men having sex with gigantic birds then I thought the kids might see it and…well..so mostly the whole thing just gets a bit weird but hey, perhaps there is still a cause to be fought for out there.   Some sort of anti  American chicken fuckers alliance.  Hmm.

 Perhaps I should just go to bed.

On the street where I once lived.

I’ve been all around the world and today I stood back where it all started.

I have lived in many places, both  north and south of the equator but in the beginning there was Hull.  I left when I was 9 but there is something about the place that resonates with me still and despite the many roads that took me away from the place there is still part of me that thinks of it as home.  Perhaps it is because it fills my very earliest memories and names and places that I should have forgotten remain with me still.  Maybe it is because the accents and turns of phrase hold for me a comfort and familiarity which I cannot describe but that make me feel part of something in many ways long forgotten.

Whatever it is I always enjoy the occasions when I get to go back.  Today was one of those days when I got to met up with family on my Mum’s side to celebrate my cousin’s son’s 21st.  My mum is one of 8 and at last count there were at least 48 of us on that side of the family so there are always reunions to be had even if we don’t always remember each others names.

Whilst the day itself was great it was the detour on the way home that I enjoyed most.  I decided to go and take a look at the house I grew up in as I had heard that the estate is now mostly derelict and scheduled for demolition.  Sadly it is and the photo below shows the house now.  It is only the left hand side of it.

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So many great memories came flooding back and as sad as it is times change and things move on and whilst it was a quite wonderful place in the late seventies it’s days are now sadly numbered. I remembered old Stan from across the street who we would taunt with songs of ‘Stan stan the mucky old man washed his face in a frying pan.’  God kids are bastards.  Stood outside I could still hear the sounds of kids laughing on a late summer evening and playing ‘Kerby’ as cars passed us by.  With a smile I remembered painting the electricity box with oil paints and my dad being so angry and I could still see snow falling through the amber lights in winter.  I also remember where I was when I was told that a friend of ours had died that day.

Such a mix of emotions and memories but it was not all sad though, and in fact it turned out to be a pretty amazing trip when we saw what had been done to a number of the properties in the area.  Keep in mind that there are probably a few hundred of these places being demolished and though the memories and lives that have been lived will remain eventually there will be nothing left of themso to see what some amazing graffiti artists did to lift the place was just fantastic.

I think the photos say it all.

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The homes will be gone in 6 months and will be replaced with new builds and the hope was that there would be less chance of people vandalising them if they were decorated.  The more things change the more they stay the same I guess as eventually new families will move in and the cycle starts again.

 

24

24 posts in 24 hours. I know I know – I have no idea why either…

I do apologise terribly for filling your reader the last 24 hours.  I simply decided to do 24 posts in 24 hours because Ive never done it before.  Ive been struggling to write of late and feeling weary and just rather lethargic so I thought maybe a challenge might be good for me.  I wanted to do more but I was quite busy so didnt get to do some of the stuff I planned but such is life.  Well I think it was 24.  I think maybe I missed one but the intention was there.

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to My Blog – The after party – clean up

My thoughts on keeping up momentum with your blog.

You might wonder why the dickens I am posting so much today, and if so all will become clear eventually.  For now though I will continue and post a little more about my experience of blogging this last year.  I wrote a bit here, and another bit here already.

In the last year I have posted almost everyday.  I did a count and in total I think I missed 30 days which isn’t bad.  That is not to say I haven’t written a lot – I have written about 1100 pieces – it’s just that I actually just like to get them posted once I have written them instead of scheduling them in some organised schedule.  I will schedule perhaps to the next day if I have a lot to post but I found that scheduling posts for say the next week took some of my focus away and made me a little complacent.

Now I don’t write for any reason other than to write and to hopefully leave something my kids will read one day and perhaps their children too.  I don’t dream of publishing a novel or changing lives or anything so noble.  I write because I love doing it and I should have been doing it for the last 30 years.

I realise this can be somewhat boom or bust at times and this week is a great example.  I have been pretty busy at work and at home and low on energy as I get used to my new diet and this ungodly warm weather so I managed maybe a post or two a day at best.  I made notes in my notebook and scribbled down ideas but that was the extent of my creativity.  By the time Friday came around I felt this surge of creativity and energy and so decided that I would do a post an hour for the next 24 hours.  Monday might be lean when it eventually comes around but for me writing is all about writing in the moment and following the urges I feel.

Now I should say that I would also advocate writing every day even if it is something small.  Keep the brain going and maintain a degree of routine and you wont find yourself slipping too far behind.  I have occasionally taken some time away and to be honest it was a bad idea.  I found it really difficult to get back to my writing as other things took up the time I put aside and I am unlikely to do anything like that again.

If you can’t be arsed with all that here are a few bullet points for you on my experience that you might find useful:

  • Keep a notebook to hand you never know when inspiration will strike.  Or text yourself.  Or write it on your hand.  I know Ive forgotten some great ideas.
  • Write something every day and you wont drift too far from your blog
  • When inspiration strikes follow the urge.  If that means ten posts in a day then sod it – do it.
  • Make time to write and ask those around you to help you stick to the schedule because creativity matters

Michael

x

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to My Blog – The after party

My thoughts on keeping up momentum with your blog.

I wrote here a couple of weeks ago about the one year anniversary and threatened to impart a few thoughts on my year of blogging, so here you go.

My thoughts on keeping up momentum.

A lot of people seem to start out with much gusto and quite quickly falter when they realise that you wont actually get many readers at all when you first press submit.  Hitting the first year was important for me as I read that 90% of bloggers throw the towel in before they reach that point and I was determined to not be one of those.  Apparently 80% of people who hit the first year don’t make it through the second so yes, the chances of success are slim, but then again what do you regard as success?

Whether you write for pleasure or for profit I think it goes without saying, though I am going to say it, that you have to have a degree of tenacity.  You need to love what you are doing and if you do and work on your craft and engage with others then over time you will build up a following.   Perhaps that is the best you can hope for?  You can only control yourself and not others so as brilliant as you may be and as fabulous as your writing is you might just struggle at first.  I think some of my first posts had four or five views at best – and even now when I have 650 or so followers I might still only get 40 or 50 views for a piece if I’m lucky – so you have to be patient and work for the reward.

For me I have always avoided the idea of a follow for a follow.  I will check out most people who follow me in the hope that their work or they themselves are interesting – and if they are I follow – otherwise I move on.  It is not at all personal – I just like my reader feed to be full of things that I can engage in. I know of bloggers who work damned hard at flitting around from blogger to blogger liking and commenting (often with the same comments) to try and get them to follow them in return.  From what I can tell this does not necessarily create an engaged and interested following.  You reap what you sow and I think that type of insincere approach gets the same in return.  You can tell because the blogger will have a complete lack of engagement with their work despite a number of likes.  Comments aren’t everything, and people can comment without reading, but when a piece has 40 likes and no comments at all on a subject that cannot go without comment that makes me wonder.

I might be wrong but I don’t think I am.

So where was I heading with this?  Not absolutely certain but here’s a few bullet points on my thinking if you can’t be arsed to read all of the rest of my thoughts up there:

  • Write regulary.  If I follow you I want to read your stuff.  It will make you a better writer too.
  • Engage and be engaging – people can be more interesting than their work
  • Consider the length of your post.  I’m surprised you got this far.  People have a short attention span.
  • Don’t be afraid to repost earlier posts.  They are probably fab and worth another look.
  • Take joy in what you do.  It shows and it is infectious.
  • Don’t take it personally if no one likes your stuff.  It might be shit, it might be that people don’t get you.  Who cares – you’re creating stuff and that’s awesome
  • Share someone else’s work now and then.  I should do it more and will.  You should too.
  • When you think you can do it anymore or don’t want to then that is precisely when you sit your backside down and do something,  There isn’t enough creativity in the world.

I think that will do for now.  Until next time.

Michael

x

 

 

Photo courtesy of pixabay

 

 

Happy Birthday to My Blog

What a difference a year makes eh!

Just the one post today I think while I reflect on exactly one year of blogging!
It’s all a bit of a blur to be honest and mostly I thought I would just say thanks to all of you kind souls out there who have taken time to read me, comment, and provide me with such wonderful encouragement. I had no idea that I would enjoy writing as much as I have and I think it is now something I will likely have to keep doing given the pleasure I get from it.
I do want to start thanking people individually but I worry that I will forget somebody which I would not want to do. There are those who read and like and comment every day and whom I feel I now know so well and then there are those who like away merrily day after day and I do not know you at all but I remain grateful for you all taking the time to pop in.
I have taken such enjoyment from so many of your blogs too, and if I ‘like’ it then I have read it. I wish I had time to read more really.
I will write more about my year blogging later this week but for today this will be just about it I reckon, I have quite a lot on.
Thanks always
Michael x

Razor’s edge

A random ramble about things that you cant find.

I’ve never done a post where I dictate it to my phone before so I’m going to give it a go. It’s a bit of a ramble but something I thought I would share. About a year and a half ago we started some renovations on the house and we packed everything into storage. Over the last year we have unpacked everything and we are pretty much now at a point where there may be a few boxes outstanding but everything is back in the house.

Apart from my razor that is.

I had a fabulous electric razor which I used because I’m just too tight to spend the fortune on razor blades which probably explains why more often than not I have a particularly large beard.

So all the boxes have been emptied yet my razor remains unfound and it has been driving me absolutely insane. In an attempt to find it I have mostly wondered around the house grumbling and complaining looking in the same places I’ve already looked into and finding nothing.

Today I went back down into the cellar and found a small suitcase I had forgotten about. The zipper was rusted closed so I needed to use a knife to open it and behold guess what I found inside.

No not the razor that would have been easy a story wouldn’t it. I found the charger for the Razor and obviously that sent me into a complete grump and I again had a look in all the same places I’ve been looking at for the last couple of months and guess what, it’s still wasn’t there.

And then it hit me, an epiphany , a moment of clarity as I sat on the edge of the bed.  I knew exactly where it was. A year ago I placed one of those things on the back of the door which has lots of pockets in it and into those pockets I placed all the wires and cables and connections that I collected over the years and trust me it is a substantial amount.  Seeing the charger triggered something and I knew straight away that it was there on the back of the door and I walked across to it and there it was. I even knew which pocket it was in and me, my razor and my charger are now Reunited.

I know it may not seem like a big thing but lordy the relief after searching for many months.  If I was a dog I would have wheeled around on the carpet dragging my bottom behind so elated was I.

***Note to self – find the carpet cleaner and lie to wife about the state of the  hall carpet.***

It is currently charging and once it has enough charge I am looking forward to giving my beard a jolly good trim and I might even give my head a shave which is something I’ve never done before but I mean how bad can it be right, lots of people cut their own hair I’m sure.

 

 

 

On the matter of quite terrible gifts

I am not great at gift buying, a fact to which my wife will surely attest. She, on the other hand, always absolutely nails it which seems to further accentuate my inabilities. And whilst I have yet to plunge to the levels of service station flowers, socket sets or head torches I have a record of missing the mark on birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas’.

It is not a recent thing though. Only recently my mother reminded me of the time that I was given money by my dad to buy her something nice for Christmas. The story goes that I spend the majority of the money of books or comics and with what I had leftover bought her a lime green shower curtain.

Apparently she feigned some sort of appreciation as any good mother will do but thirty five years later she still recalls the event and retells the story without a great deal of mirth. She is just probably worried about what level of support she will get in her golden years from a child so wholly selfish and beastly.

When it comes to Mrs Michael, I admit that too often in the past have I resorted to the old staples of books, CD’s, jewellery etc so two years ago I figured I would try to make up for it and buy her something both practical, fabulous and unique at the same time.

Mindful of how regularly I am still regularly reminded of the time I bought her a number of vegetarian cook books I headed to Kick Starter to find her something no one else would have. For those not familiar Kick Starter is all about investing in the ideas of people and helping them bring something to market.

So after some browsing and thorough investigations I invested in YECUP, a picture of which you can see below. Given how much she enjoys a cup of tea, and how much of the winter she spends standing on the touch line of a rugby pitch in winter I figured it would be perfect.

So what is it I hear you ask? Well, the Yecup is a thermos cup that had a built in heating and cooling element so can warm or cool your beverage. How amazing is that! No? Yeah you see this is where it all started to go wrong because I said it was and she seemed wholly underwhelmed. It might have been because I insisted she needed to be careful to not get it wet because of the built in electrics and we live in the third wettest part of the UK. Maybe.

All hope wasn’t lost though and I informed her that not only would it keep here warm drinks warm it also had a port to enable her to charge her phone. She asked whether it needed a cable to do that and I explained yes of course. The idea of sheltering her mug from the rain whilst plugging it into her phone was, I admit, not a great selling point. Neither was the fact that it can be charged wirelessly which I thought was quite fabulous.

(You know, the more I write about this the more I realise just how shit I am at gifts.)

Buy now my hopes that there will be fabulous grateful birthday sex is fast waning so I decide to play my last card in the hope of recovering the situation but it turns out that she was less enamoured than I had expected by the idea of it also having an App that could be installed on her phone to allow her to control the temperature or change the colour of the build in LED lights.

Oh, I forgot but there was also the small matter of the item not actually being available due to delays in China so it arrived over a year late in the middle of the summer. Also turns out it is absolutely massive and quite thin so has a rather phallic feel to it. No one wants to be know as that woman who always looks like she’s eagerly guzzling latte from a big silver cock.

You know, thinking about it, this might be why, no matter how early I think about gifts for whichever special occasion it is, she always seems to have just ordered something from me and it’s always just what she wanted.

Still, I absolutely love it and I got a nice cup out of it in the end so happy days 😉

What do you see?

A moment of your time please…

I seem to be having a few problems with WordPress at the moment. Just yesterday I was told that I no longer had a follow button on my website because I had chosen to add a widget. What sort of world is it where you would have a Blog but not have the option for somebody to follow it? Honest. Today though I’m just wondering whether you would mind leaving me a comment if you read this post as to what you saw when you were trying to get to it. Is it like everybody elses blog where you see a link in the reader and you click on it and you’re taken to the piece that I have written? Or, more annoyingly, do you see a link similar to the one in the header and below which asks you to follow a link to view the post.

A seemingly unnecessary second click to get to the peace that I have written. If you wouldn’t mind just letting me know what you saw and maybe whether you were in the reader or finding my post another way say perhaps through an email . It would be most appreciated because the WordPress happiness engineers seem to be really struggling to help me with this.

Worse things happen at sea

I’m just kidding. Honest.

There’s a saying that runs in our family, coming from fishing stock as I do, and it goes something along the lines of “Worse things happen at sea.”  It’s pretty patronising and somewhat dismissive and gets trotted out most often when you bemoan a situation that the other person couldn’t give a monkey’s chuff about.

“Mom I’ve banged my knee…”

“Oh it’s just a scratch, worse things happen at sea son.”

with me?

 

Thing is there comes a point though when through indifference and old age I am finding it becoming my standard response to even more serious situations and it has me thinking that perhaps things really were quite terrible at sea and granddad was a quiet man not because of all the time he spent out on the water but because of all the awful things that must have befallen him.

Should my kids want sympathy then you know, I want to see a leg dangling limp with bone sticking through the skin because I am pretty sure something worse happened to granddad Tom at sea and it probably involved biting down hard on something and crying for his dead mother.

Should they be feeling a little blue then I find myself resisting a fatherly hug but instead insisting that it is considerably more taxing out on the waves and that they should pull themselves together, pack their bags and stop crying over being put up for adoption because it is just a waste of good tears and they should keep them for the orphanage because they’re going to need them.

I know it may seem harsh but I tell you, they just don’t make them like those salty sea dogs do they.

Mission Primary – Part 7

Seems a nice day for it.

These things tend to be short pieces that may or may not be the beginning of something else. Originally they were 101 words only. I’m less strict about that now. They dont always finish, I just like to try and evoke a certain feeling or scene.

I’m going to tie them to M’s prompts this month.  The prompt was “It went off with a bang and a hiss”.  What followed was this.


Part 1 can be found here.  

Part 2 can be found here.

Part 3 can be found here.

Part 4 can be found here.

Part 5 can be found here.

Part 6 can be found here.

Sylvester sat in his favourite chair and watched, mouth wide and bowels churning as the end of the world arrived. His first thoughts as he watched events on the television unfold was that it was a Tuesday, and if  Armageddon was going to arrive on any day his money would not have been on a Tuesday.  If he was a gambling man, which he was not, he would likely have plumped for a Friday afternoon because Friday was wholly more interesting as a day than a Tuesday and far more likely to deliver events of interest.  Even a Monday would have been worth a few dollars as a side bet given its position as one of the least favourite days but no, he would most definitely not have picked a Tuesday.

“Charlotte” he called shifting uncomfortably in his chair, “Charlotte I think you might want to come through and take a look at this.”

“Must I really” his wife replied from the kitchen sounding a little flustered.  “I really want to get these pies in the oven.  Can’t it wait?”  She was a patient woman for the most part but his constant hollering from the comfort of his chair made her want to smother him in his sleep.

Sylvester continued to watch the television and turned up the volume.

“That’s a bit loud” Charlotte shouted.  He really needed to wear his hearing aid more often.  She paused for a moment listening.  “Did they just say something about an attack?” She asked.  Sylvester did not reply.  “Sylvester, what’s going on?” she shouted.  “Sylvester?”

“Confound it woman” he snapped turning in his chair and shouting back across to the kitchen , “you need to come and look damn it.  The pies can wait.”

He heard the oven close and his silver haired wife shuffled through from the kitchen, her ‘Grandma Knows Best’ apron covered in flour and wiping her hands on a dish cloth.

“Oh my” she said looking at the screen as she approached, her face a mix of shock and confusion.  “Is that a…?” Her voice trailed off.  She sat forward and then spoke again.  “Are they..?” she continued but again she didn’t quite have the words and they were left hanging in the air more in hope more than expectation

“Ahuh” Sylvester replied as Charlotte sat down slowly in the chair next to him.

“And what are all those red dots on the map?” she asked pointing to the screen as a graphic flashed across it.

“Same thing all across the planet” Sylvester answered quite matter of fact.  “Looks like this is it Lottie…”

Charlotte picked up the Bible from the small table next to her chair, placed in it her lap and folded her hands together on tip of it.  “I don’t think this is in the Good Book.” She said without turning towards Sylvester, her eyes fixed on the screen.  “What’s going on Sylvester?” She asked.

“End of the world, that’s what it is” He answered standing up and heading over to the drinks cabinet.

“On a Tuesday?” she asked shaking her head.  “Make mine a double.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission Primary – Part 6

Beyond the moon.

These things tend to be short pieces that may or may not be the beginning of something else. Originally they were 101 words only. I’m less strict about that now. They dont always finish, I just like to try and evoke a certain feeling or scene.

I’m going to tie them to M’s prompts this month.  The prompt was “Time blossomed then shrivelled”.  The idea filled head with thoughts of time passing and age and forgetting the important things that have gone before.


Part 1 can be found here.  

Part 2 can be found here.

Part 3 can be found here.

Part 4 can be found here.

Part 5 can be found here.

Henderson looked out into the void of space, the moon now disappearing into the distance as the Callista prepped for her faster than light jump.

“FTL Jump in twenty” barked the Comms, the service deck eerily quiet save for the odd scurry of activity in prep for her first leg on the journey back home.

“We had to, you know that right” came a voice, causing him to start.  It was one he recognised and one that made his stomach churn and his fists clench.  “Marcus told me you’d were down here.”

Henderson turned around and stood to attention.  “Captain, yes sir” he answered, shoulders and chin up.

“Carl, at ease” Grenville said, “It’s just you and me you can drop the Captain shit.”

“You had to?  Really?” Henderson snapped.  “Christ on a bike James do you have any idea how many people you just fried?”  He took a step towards the officer, fists still clenched.

“You think I don’t know that?” Grenville replied, “You think I did this without a thought for those that might still be alive down there?  You know as well as I do that if that thing gets off planet all the colonies will suffer the same fate.”

“There were people we could have saved, we could have helped them still.”

Grenville paused, loosened his jacket and pointed out across the deck towards where the moon.  “You know I’m second generation colony Carl, you know I probably still have people down there just like you do.”

“Then why the hell couldn’t you wait?” he asked turning to face him.  “I guess you’re going to tell me you were following orders.”

Grenville looked old.  Older than he ought to.  He was barely recognisable from the man he had known for so many years – and as a boy for as many before that – and that he had served under on the Juliana, the Aiden and now on the Callista.

He put a hand on his shoulder.  “So what now James” he said turning to look back out into space.  He wanted to help, to tell him it was okay but it wasn’t.  They weren’t kids anymore and sometimes you needed to knwo that things weren’t going to be alright.

“We’ve burned the earth’s atmosphere, saved the colonies and now we head home to a heroes welcome?” he said sarcastically.

Grenville buttoned up his jacket again and sighed.  “It’s not quite over yet Carl” he said, a new sadness in his voice.

“Command are still nervous and despite wiping out every living thing they’ve just sent new orders.”

Henderson balled his fists.  “Why the hell are you telling me this James, why me?  Serious don’t you have a first officer or a dozen senior officers you could tell?”

Grenville turned to walk away and then stopped, pausing before speaking again.

“Five minutes after we jump the entire store of Fed nova clusters in the bunkers just outside Berlin, Shanghai, Los Angeles and Singapore will detonate and rip the whole damn planet to pieces.”

“My god James, I don’t want to know okay.” Henderson snapped, his eyes wide and nostrils flared.  “Just do what you have to okay and leave me be.  Please.”

Without turning around Grenville headed off towards the service deck exit.

“Sorry Carl” Grenville said and the service deck blast door began to close and the comms confirmed 5 minutes to FTL jump.  “I’m just sorry…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back it up baby

such a relief…

I’m not writing at the moment.  I am instead doing something I should have done long ago and in fact this should have been part of my ritual from day 1 of writing this blog.  As a programmer by trade I should know better yet each night I go to bed and still almost every word I have written in 9 months of blogging remains without back up.

I have written more than 800 posts in that time, tens and tens of thousands of words, hundreds of ideas poured onto the page yet I do so with little regard for protecting it from chance or stupidity.  The thought of losing it all now is just bowel churningly awful as I intend to put a load of into into a number of books this year.

When I started my blog I did not really think much beyond signing up to wordpress and then beginning to type.  To this day that is mostly what I do with very little plan or real agenda.

I realise that you can export your entire Blog using WordPress functionality, and this I did though I will admit that I think there may well be an issue with the file as I am encountering all manner of issues trying to export it from XML.  Instead of buggering around with the file I instead chose to open every single post I have made and copy it to an appropriate word document (one for poems, another for flash fiction etc) and then save that both locally and to the cloud.

I realise there are better more efficient ways of doing this but if 15 years of programming have taught me anything, it is that if you don’t back up regularly you will get your arse spanked on this matter before too long.  It will still take me a couple of days to complete but already I feel far happier knowing that I am not leaving such things to chance and I will most certainly be far more disciplined in such matters going forward.

I’m sure you all back everything up though right.  Probably just me.

Mission Primary Part 5

Somewhere out in the dark of space

These things tend to be short pieces that may or may not be the beginning of something else. Originally they were 101 words only. I’m less strict about that now. They dont always finish, I just like to try and evoke a certain feeling or scene.

I’m going to tie them to M’s prompts this month.  The prompt was “Spacing out in shadow’s doubt”.  Mostly it had me thinking of confusion and consternation.  The story continues for now I guess…


Part 1 can be found here.  

Part 2 can be found here.

Part 3 can be found here.

Part 4 can be found here.

Cal scoured the holo screen looking for any sort of sign that there might be something still out here.  The scans were picking up the moon about three hundred and eighty thousand clicks away, and it was visible through the port windows but that wasn’t what he was after.  He knew earth should be here, the maps weren’t wrong.  The coordinates weren’t wrong.

“It should be here Desi” he insisted.  “I don’t understand where it could be.”

“Maybe it’s just a myth Cal” Desi said staring out into the darkness.  “Do we really know it was ever here.”

“Hell Desi of course we do.” he said angrily.  “This is where we’re from, this is our home.”

“It’s not my home” Desi replied.  “And it’s not yours, you were born on Seranos just like me.  Let it go Cal, let’s just go home we are already in enough trouble as it is.  Dad is going to kill us when he finds out we’ve taken his ship.”

“Do you never wonder why we’re forbidden from returning Des?  Why they always tell us that Earth was abandoned to protect us all but no one even knows where it is anymore.”

“Not really no” Desi replied.  “It’s a myth Cal, a bed time story. ”

“Then why were dad’s maps locked away?  Why has no one even been back to look in 800 years?  That’s not right Des.  It must still be out here somewhere.”

The screen flashed briefly and a data stream ticked across slowly. Cal stared at it for a while.

“What is it?” Desi asked not really caring.  She just wanted to go home before Dad found out they were gone.  Cal was always getting them into trouble, and despite him being a year younger she always found herself drawn to whatever wild plan he had in his head.  Once Cal had found the Maps in his father’s unlocked safe a few months ago he had become obsessed with the idea of Earth.

“Just what looks like an asteroid belt, nothing major” Cal answered.  “We could go take a look I suppose.”

“Cal come on” Desi said turning off the screen.  “Let’s just go home Cal there’s nothing out here.”

“Then why the Moon?”  He snapped bringing the screen back up.  “If the moon is here the earth must be here.”

“Cal let’s just…” She began and then stopped and pointed slowly out into the darkness.  “What’s that?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission Primary Part 4

Somewhere out in the dark of space

These things tend to be short pieces that may or may not be the beginning of something else. Originally they were 101 words only. I’m less strict about that now. They dont always finish, I just like to try and evoke a certain feeling or scene.

I’m going to tie them to M’s prompts this month.  The prompt was “Jumping Jupiter can’t get stupider”.  I didn’t get much further than the idea of Jupiter.  Let’s see if I can continue the story with it.


Part 1 can be found here.  

Part 2 can be found here.

Part 3 can be found here.

 

The Callista’s comms crackled into life as the roar of her huge primary engines fought to steady her descent into orbit around Ganymede.  Saturn’s gravitational pull was massive but if they could land on the moon it would give them the protection they needed to work on replenishing their hydrogen supplies.

“All crew standby for important comms” it ordered.

Henderson sat up in his bunk and reached for his chewing tobacco.  Stuffing a wad into his cheek he banged a fist against the bottom of the bunk above.

“Marcus, wake up” he shouted.  “You’re going to want to hear this.”

Marcus stirred, mumbling incomprehensibly.

“Serious man, wake up.” Henderson barked.

“Okay, okay” Marcus said throwing back his blanket and swinging his legs over the edge of the bed.  “I’m awake see. God man how serious can it be after what we just witnessed?”

Henderson chewed slowly before responding.  There are some things you’re never going to forget seeing and what the Callista had just done was one of them.

“They’re going to say it was for the best, you’ll see.  They will have some excuse for what they did but there is no justification for it.  None at all.  You don’t do that to an entire planet you just don’t.”

Marcus jumped down from the top bunk and walked over to the small sink in the corner of the room.

“What do we know man” he said filling a cup with water.  “Things have been messed up for so long now.

“Messed up?” Henderson snapped.  “My god Marcus what we just did goes way beyond just ‘messed up’ surely you see that.”

“Honestly?” said Marcus taking a drink.

“That a question?” Henderson asked.

Marcus put the cup down on the edge of the sink.  He was a tall lean man, about 6 foot 2 with broad shoulders and a narrow waist.  A large green and black tattoo of a snake across his right shoulder seemed to writhe as he moved.

“You know how I feel about Earth” he said, “it’s not my home and they are not my people, I’m a colonial and I’m proud of it.  My allegiance is to my family and my clan and the only reason I’m on this ship is because I need the money.”

“Do you really feel nothing? ” Henderson asked.  He knew Marcus was an off worlder and like so many of his people he hated Earth but even he must feel something, surely.

“Sorry no, I don’t” he said defiantly, pulling out a chair at the small metal table in the middle of the room and sitting down.  The ship lurched suddenly and then, with a roar of the engines , was again steadied.  “Earth have done nothing but steal from us and use us Henderson” he continued, “I almost feel relieved that it’s over.  Things will have to be different now.”

Before Henderson could respond the comms sounded again.

“This is Captain Grenville” it began.  After a lengthy pause it continued.  “Today you witnessed the destruction of our home planet…”

Mission Primary Part 3

“You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.”
-Gary Allan

These things tend to be short pieces that may or may not be the beginning of something else. Originally they were 101 words only. I’m less strict about that now. They dont always finish, I just like to try and evoke a certain feeling or scene.

I’m going to tie them to M’s prompts this month.  The prompt was “The stars stood on standby”.  Mostly it gave me this horrible sense of foreboding so that is where I am letting it take the story which the prompts are dictating to a degree.


Part 1 can be found here.  

Part 2 can be found here.

Stella rolled the smooth white pebble between her fingers as she watched the sea lapping at her feet.   The sky seemed to melt into the grey of the water and it was hard to tell where one started and the other ended.

“So where to now Jess?” she asked not looking up.  “What are we meant to do?”  It would be dark soon and the nights were getting colder.

At 18 Jess was 5 few years older than she was, so her natural instinct was to let her make all the decisions.  Jess had found her scavenging for food in one of the empty houses in the neighbourhood and helped her to bury her parents and had looked after her ever since.

“I’m not really sure Stella” she answered looking up and down the pebbled beach “we probably need somewhere to settle in for a few days to rest up and then work out how we get off planet.”

“You think we need to leave?” Stella answered throwing the pebble into the sea.  “You really don’t think things are going to get better then?”

She really liked Stella, she was a good kid and had been through a lot but despite all the death and destruction things still seemed to surprise her.  Stella envied that about her.

“The Transporters are all shut down and we haven’t seen any sign of Fed forces for weeks now. They’ve abandoned us for sure.  There aren’t even any Fed instructions coming through on the short wave anymore.”

“But why would they leave us Jess” Stella asked looking confused.  “The government are meant to be making everything better.”

“Stella…” her voice trailed away as she looked up at the sky, the clouds parting and stars already visible in the inky black of night.  “Stars Stella” she said pointing.  Jess looked up and smiled.

“Dad knew all about the stars” she said.  “He used to take me up to the observatory in the summer and teach me all about them.”

“Do you know which they are then?” Jess asked.

Stella laughed, “No I just went because it meant I could stay up past bedtime and it was a chance to spend time with him.”

“I think it might be Sirius” Jess said smiling.  “I remember from school that it was the brightest.”

They both stood quietly for a while.  The idea of school and family and a normal life seemed such a distant memory now.

“Are stars supposed to move” Jess asked breaking the silence, the sky now rapidly turning dark.  “Because that really does look like it’s getting bigger”

“Do you think it could be someone coming to rescue us?” Jess asked, her voice filled with hope.

“Maybe sure, why not” said Stella.  “We’re not sick so why wouldn’t they want to help us.”

The light in the sky grew brighter still and was soon surrounded by others and a silhouette began to emerge high in the atmosphere.  The

“That’s no star Stella, that’s a ship of some sort.”  Jess said excited.  It’s pretty high up but it’s definitely a Fed ship.  No one else has anything that big.”  It had been weeks since they had seen anything up in the sky, or on land for that matter and Jess knew a Fed battle ship when she saw one.  They were always on the news a few years ago when they made first contact with the Genaris and everybody thought it was going to be the end of the world.

Jess walked forward as if to try get a better look, the waves lapping at her feet and covering her boots.  “Its huge Jess” she said smiling.  “They surely have room for us” and she began to wave her arms.

Stella laughed.  “Jess, Jess they can’t see us from up there. They’re miles and miles up.”

“Really?”

“Yes” Jess answered.  “But at least they’ve returned and that’s surely a good thing.  She stepped into the shallow surf and took Stella’s hand and squeezed it gently.  “Don’t worry Jess” she said, her voice calm.  “It will all be over soon.”

 

 

Mission Primary Part 2 – Room 101

These things tend to be short pieces that may or may not be the beginning of something else. Originally they were 101 words only. I’m less strict about that now. They dont always finish, I just like to try and evoke a certain feeling or scene.

I’m going to tie them to M’s prompts this month.  The prompt was “Chewing Chewbacco” which had me thinking about Star Wars obviously but more the type of American you see in folms that so enjoys stuffing a wad of the stuff in his cheek and chewing and spitting the vile black filth back out.  This had me thinking about cowboys and then engineers and then suddenly the piece below emerged.


Part 1 can be found here.  

The Callista rounded the moon slowly, the shadow of her massive bulk creeping across it’s surface as her primary engines exploded into life and propelled her towards earth.  Henderson steadied himself against one of the huge fuel lines and stared out into space, wiping his hands on the rag he kept in his belt and spitting a mouth full of thick black tobacco onto the service deck.

“You boys ready for this?” he asked to anyone willing to listen.  “You know what this is right?”  No one looked up.  Henderson was always spouting off about one conspiracy theory or another.

“This is then end boys, I’m telling you” he continued.  “Rumour is that it’s now spread so far that they need to frag the whole damn planet to stop it.”

“Shut the hell up Henderson” Franks barked back looking out from under the Interceptor he was working on.  “Some of us still have people down there.  There is just no way the brass would do that.”

“I’m telling you” Henderson answered spitting again and wiping his mouth on his sleeve.  “Last few weeks have seen all Fed troops recalled.  You saw how many ships there were dark side.  The whole fleet has puled back.”

Something about his words rang true.  “You really think?” Franks asked sliding out and getting to his feet.  He walked across to where Henderson stood.

“Afraid so man” he answered.  “Seems pretty obvious to me, just look at what a mess it is down there.  They can’t stop the spread and now they’re worried about it getting off world.”  He paused waiting for his words to sink in, he did love an audience.

Franks rubbed his chin.  “Shit man, my cousin is still in Singapore working on the docks there.”

“They already had to shut down the dimensional transporters planet wide when the Washington site was over run, there’s no way they can risk it reaching the colonies.”

Turning to look out across the deck towards where the earth could be seen through the launch bay Franks felt Henderson stood next to him.  It was oddly reassuring. “You really think they’ll frag the whole thing?” he asked.

Henderson put a hand on his shoulder.  “We’ll know soon enough.”

Mission Primary – Room 101

Stomach pains…

These things tend to be short pieces that may or may not be the beginning of something else. Originally they were 101 words only. I’m less strict about that now. They dont always finish, I just like to try and evoke a certain feeling or scene.

I’m going to tie them to M’s prompts this month.  The prompt was “The explosive egg hunt” which had me thinking about the film alien and all this eggs filled with creatures just ready to burst out and crawl inside you…then there was the idea of the easter egg – the type that gets hidden in games and such.  Anyway this is what came of it.  Seems my preamble is longer that the piece itself.


Caleb brought the ship out of sub space, her beam engines humming into life as the faster than light drives fired down.

Desi unbuckled protesting “Dad’s going to kill us Cal, we shouldn’t be out here.”

“Oh relax sis” Cal answered “he’ll never know.  I just wanted to check.”

Cal tapped the holo screen that appeared before him and initiated a scan of the area.  “there must be something out here” he insisted.  “It’s meant to be out here somewhere.  The old charts in the vault pinpoint it to this sector.”

Desi looked out from the cockpit across the inky blackness of space, stars littered the darkness but nothing more. “Cal there’s nothing here, let’s go home.”

Cal turned to her, frustration etched across his face.  “But the charts Desi, why do you think Dad kept them locked away.  It’s for a reason surely.”

Desi looked up at the holo screen, it blinked confirming what she already knew.

“Earth isn’t out here Cal, It’s been gone for 8oo years now.”

 

 

A Few Days Off

Those of you who have followed me for any length of time will know I love to post.  Since I discovered blogging I have enjoyed almost every minute and am happy posting as many times a day as inspiration takes me.

For the last few days though I have taken some time away and just let a few scheduled pieces trickle through.  I’m still as inspired as I was but I just felt frightfully tired and was busier than normal at work and therefore decided to concentrate on simply sleeping more.   I have never been one for a lot of sleep but this week I have craved it terribly and am thoroughly enjoying the idea of an early night.  Instead of the 5 or 6 I usually get by on I have been aiming to get more in the region of 7 to 8 and I feel a lot better for it.

I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with my writing but right now I am just going to keep writing down ideas and scribbling in my notebook and I will return to writing in a couple of days.

Right now though it’s time for bed 🙂