Screwing around AND being productive

Extra, Extra, read all about it!

The league s6 e7 Netflix

Name: Dr
Age: 50’s
Clothing: Dr’s coat and stethoscope
Talk: She gave instructions on the use of a fecal sampling kit

Name: Penny
Age: low 30’s
Clothing: Dressed like a white girl from the 90’s trying to seem edgy
Talk: used French accent, annoyed everyone. Talked about her business making over cats to give them catitude.

Name: Father Maldoone
Age: mid 40’s
Clothing: basketball shorts and t-shirt
Talk: played rough basketball with main character, fouled him a lot, and said “I preach hard I play hard”

I liked this assignment because it’s interesting to call your attention to the side characters. For the most part they’re just story fodder, but this makes you look more closely at their acting and how legitimate they seem. I think this would have paired well with the write a side character background assignment, but alas the steak won the other assignment slot this week. I had been wanting to watch the new season of the league, so it was a good chance for me to catch up on my binge watching and get some work done.

WritingAssignments, WritingAssignments1693

Oh, I’ll describe my food… IN SOOOOOOOOONG


Steak and potatoes with wine

Oh, steak so juicy and pink
With some California red to drink
Potatoes mashed with butter and salt
If it’s not delicious it’s your fault

Takes about an hour to make
Except the wine, that comes ready to drink
Sear your steak on high in pan
And baste with butter when you can

Boil potatoes and mash with milk
Salt and butter are their ilk
Empty all into your tummy
Then go write this poem dummy

I wrote this post on Memorial Day, so we were doing dinner up. We bought a $50 bottle of wine and made everything from scratch. I was really proud of this dinner, so when I saw this assignment, I got excited. I opted to do it as a poem because I’m a musician, and I like to rhyme things.

WritingAssignments, WritingAssignments1688

You’ve heard of the reapers scythe, now let’s talk about his arch.

I used the story Grim Reaper from this week’s offerings
I like this because it doesn’t quite fit into those curves. First, I have to decide who the main character is. I think William Shatner is. He starts above average because he has an apartment in the city, he is successful, and he has a plan to gain some wealth and fortune. His plan gets a bit unsettled when he meets the new husband, but it certainly hasn’t dipped below average yet. I would say it goes back up when his plan starts to succeed, and he manages to kill his Aunt and her husband. Then, starts to decline when he begins seeing visions. At the end, his story curve plummets as the picture fulfills its dark legacy.
If you look at the story as a whole (maybe that’s how Vonnegut meant it, but it seemed to me it was more character dependent). I would say everything starts above average, then goes down below as people die, then comes back up slightly when the murderer gets what’s coming to him. I would argue that it never returns above average, since a bunch of people died. I think this arch more closely resembles one of Vonnegut’s, though it doesn’t finish as strong. In conclusion, I would say his arch can be loosely applied to horror. It certainly doesn’t encompass everything. But he does touch on the generic aspects of films that are mass produced for profits by major sources. Also, a bit on the stagnation of innovation in storytelling as a whole.

You’ve got to believe me!!!!

The Lottery
I’ve actually read this story before, and I really like it. On the surface, it’s more eerie than scary, until you peal back the layers a bit. It tricks you into a false sense of comfort because at first the townspeople are so casual. You think it’s just a normal benign story because they act like it’s just another day, like they’re going to any other town hall meeting. Then, they all come together and commit this act of great evil, even the children, with unflinching devotion. You really can’t even picture that being the ending when you first start into it.
Shirley Jackson does a great job of slowly building that tension without giving away too much. It’s a lot like a rollercoaster. Everyone is laughing and joking as they’re sitting down, then they gradually become more nervous as the inevitable drop approaches. The jokes stop, the silence builds, you start to reconsider getting on in the first place, but it’s too late to get off now…
Where this story gets really scary for me is when I think of parallels between this and real life. You can see examples of people today having that unflinching devotion to insane ideas, and even people willing to kill for them. The fact that people can be so utterly manipulated into thinking they’re doing good work by murdering someone is terrifying.
It really makes me appreciate how far science and culture have evolved to push things like this out onto the fringe, instead of this stuff still being a part of our everyday lives. Think of the Salem With trials, as few as 300 years ago we were doing things very similar to this. We can be horrifying in our own ignorance.

The Grim Reaper
The thing I liked most about this story is that you couldn’t really be sure it was an evil force until the very end. I thought it was going to tie back into the Aunt being the killer, and was pleasantly surprised it didn’t. Using today’s horror formula it probably would have. I wish there would have been a little more backstory into the picture though, some reason why it was cursed or evil. But it did make me ask the questions of whether or not her Nephew would have come to kill her had she not purchased it, which is very interesting.
I liked the way they made the Aunt a mystery writer, because it threw me off. It made me think the whole painting story was her invention, and she was using it to get back at her husband. I should’ve known when she called the shat man a boy scout though, that he would end up being the killer. That was a great bit of foreshadowing, making fun of him for being too straight edged. We all know people don’t work like that, everyone has quirks. That was a very strong hint that there was more to him.
I also liked how she likened the situation to her books, and mockingly talked about her nephew saying “you’ve got to believe me.” He kind of unknowingly gave her the opportunity to catch him by saying that. She knew he was full of it, she just didn’t expound on it enough to catch him.
This would be a good story to build into a movie. I would add in some backstory about the Aunt having strange tendencies, carrying out odd rituals and things. Then I would have linked that to her somehow attaching her soul to the picture, so she could always be a part of the house she helped create. Her ghost would have come back as the murderer through the power of the painting to get her revenge.
I would have had the girl try to destroy the picture by burning the house down, and in the rubble, the only thing left standing would the pristine picture. My version would end with the picture being sold to someone else so that the cycle could continue. Also, as I mentioned before, more background into the history of the picture (maybe the artist sold his soul to be able to paint his masterwork, maybe he seduces people into feeding the picture their souls because he feels foolish that he did).

Week 2 Summary

This week I learned a lot about the basic structure of the class.  What’s expected of me, which mediums to use for which type of posts, and how to tag my work.  I’m still getting used to twitter, but I did get to play with it this week more than I have in the past, and installing tweetdeck has made the process a bit easier.  I’m still uncomfortable with it, and it intimidates me, but I’ll keep at it.

I learned about the origins and history of digital storytelling, as well as about the slender man, which were both interesting.  I spend a lot of time on the internet, and I have a paid something awful account, so I’m familiar with the slender man.  He also still comes up on reddit from time to time.  I hope I was able to add to the class with my suggestions of other horror media.

The daily creates were a bit harder than I expected, especially today’s.  I don’t really do much with photoshop, and I haven’t messed around with other digital picture editing programs before.  I’m worried that my creative attempt to make a real life toast post was too far off the mark for the assignment.  I think I’ll look at some picture editing options over the weekend and see if I can become more familiar with one.

I enjoyed the creative writing I was able to do, and that came to me a bit easier than I expected.  I haven’t done much of it, and I certainly haven’t had any critiqued before, so I’m interested in seeing what others think of my work.  The Rambo coloring book was probably the most fun I had this week though, and I’m glad I could make some folks laugh with that.  I really enjoyed looking at everyone else’s pictures, especially the one where Rambo joined KISS.


A walk in the city (3 star writing assignment)

My bucket list (2 star writing assignment)

A lot on his mind during his big day (3 star writing assignment)

Toastpaste (9/3 daily create)

Why so deerious? (9/1 daily create)

Something big is about to happen, and none of you will like it… (8/31 dailycreate)

They’re coming to get you one ankle at a time, and there’s nothing you can do about it (response to the weekly viewings)

response to the readings

A walk in the city

The animal I have chosen is a Kangaroo
As Patricia walked blindly through the unfamiliar streets, her dress covered in a crust of dust, she couldn’t help but wonder where she had left her guidebook, and how she would find her way out of the city. She could hear her mother’s words echoing in her head, warning her everything in her life would go haywire if she ever left out on her own to the big city. Her mother sheltered her too much, and she was determined to prove her words wrong. She would change her mother’s perception of her as a helpless child, she would not call for help, she would not admit defeat, and she would finish the trip on her own.
As she wandered the city looking for the bridge back into the country, she felt content in her endeavor. Maybe the trip hadn’t gone perfectly, but she had a lovely time at the theater last night, and loved every minute of spending her first night in the city. She giggled to herself as she remembered the silly kangaroo from the play, tripping all over himself and causing so much mischief. The kangaroo would get into the explorers food rations and he’d get so mad and yell at the beast, but they would always end their days as friends. She saw parallels of her own relationship with her mother in that…
As the songs of the sparrow ushered out the calm hush of the early morning time, she rounded a corner and realized that the giant wall she was staring at must border the outside of the city. A rush of excitement fell over her as she realized she had but to follow this wall until it eventually lead her to the bridge out of the city. She would relish her walk back home, down that old familiar country road, knowing that she tried something new, challenged herself, and managed it all without anyone else’s help.

I chose this exercise because I enjoy creative writing, and I relish the chance when I am able to do it. I tried to sign up for a creative writing course last semester, but I didn’t meet the pre-requirements, so challenges like this take the sting out of that a bit.
When I got my list of words, guidebook was the first word I latched onto. I immediately associated it with blindly, then being lost and needing a guidebook. A picture of a young man lost in the city came to mind. I glanced up at the words again and saw dress, so a quick gender swap later and I was establishing my female character and the backdrop of the city with dress and crust. I knew I would need another character for warning, so I added the mother and tried to knock out a few other words in her actual warning. I suppose I could have used it on a sign somewhere, but I didn’t feel like I would get as much utility out of it. Also, the city a pictured was more rustic and the time period I imagined was maybe a couple hundred years ago, and I didn’t want to spoil my city with signs and whatnot.
Originally, I forgot to use Kangaroo until I was writing this part of the assignment (I just realized it, so I’m writing this as if I’ve already gone back and added it). I think it should be easy to go back and make the kangaroo a comedy relief element in the play, as I can’t think of anywhere else it would fit in this context.
I’m pretty happy with the overall work. I feel like it tells a complete story in a very short space, and those are the stories I enjoy most. I’m a huge fan of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, but I have a very hard time reading the books. They get so bogged down in detail that they can become boring, and I feel like they hold your hand too much by describing the exact shade of green on the grass. I like to make a story my own by adding in those details myself in my mental picture of the scene. Because of this, I try to stay away from great detail in my writings (ironic, because this portion is getting super detailed).

For the busy professional who doesn’t have time for a conventional morning routine, there’s Toastpaste.

Toastpaste is a revolutionary new breakfast innovation that combines the delicious nutrition of a healthy breakfast with the maintenance of one’s teeth in one amazing package.  Toastpaste, when there’s no time to brush, and you’re hungry as futz, Toastpaste.

le listo de bucket… uh… o.

1 – Learn another language – As the title to this post might suggest, I don’t know Spanish.  I have always been interested in learning though.  I think it’s a marketable skill, and the process of learning a language has always fascinated me.  I took a few Spanish classes in high school, but I don’t have a firm enough grasp on the subject to be able to use it.  I’ve always regretted not going farther with it.

2 – Go to Las Vegas – I originally wanted to go to Las Vegas to see Penn & Teller, but I just recently saw them on Broadway, so now it’s all about the poker baby!  Las Vegas has always fascinated me by how different it is from the rest of the U.S.  If I simply wanted to gamble, there are closer places I could go.  It seems so glamorous when it’s depicted in movies, and I want to experience that for myself.

3 – Making 6 figures – One of my life goals is to earn more than $100,000 in a single calendar year.  We all want nice things, but more than that I want the feeling of accomplishment that comes from reaching a goal most people never manage to.  In a lot of ways making 6 figures is like my Mount Everest.

4 – Learning to cook – I’m a strictly microwave man most of the time, but cooking has always fascinated me.  I like to watch food network, and looooove good food, so it’s only natural that I’d want to be able to make it myself.  Sadly, most of my past forays into the kitchen have been mediocre at best.  Hopefully one day I’ll find the time needed to become truly proficient.  Fun fact – I almost went to culinary school in Richmond before I decided to move to Fredericksburg and attend UMW.

5 – Building a motorcycle – Out of everything on this list, I think this is the loftiest of all.  I don’t even have a garage, and I’ve never worked on a car before, but this seems like it would be great fun.  I had a friend who attempted to build a motorcycle a few years ago and failed horribly.  While the result was pretty discouraging, the endeavor itself was very interesting.  Maybe if I ever do it I’ll let him ride it…


I picked this assignment because it seemed like a pretty effortless task, and it was something I actually had thought about doing from time to time.  Life gets so busy you forget to make time for the small things like this list, so it’s nice to take a second and indulge my inner fantasies.

While I was writing it I noticed most of the things on the list were things I’ve attempted in the past (in person or by proxy) unsuccessfully.  It seems a bit ironic that a list meant to facilitate having some interesting experiences in life turned out for me to be a list of past regrets.  I guess that’s one of the purposes of the list though, to make sure you don’t have any regrets left to list.