These Posts Are All Old

Hiya. I just wanted to let you know that I’m no longer updating this blog. I appreciate the blog, as it got me back into writing for myself after a long stint of burnout due to too much freelancing. But I have decided to discontinue updates on it and will be focusing on my creative writing exclusively for the time being. I may re-open it at some point. Everything else on this website is up-to-date; just not the blog. If you want to read new material written by yours truly, check out my Patreon instead.

You can also find info about my books here.

Feel free to read through the old blog posts – just don’t expect any new ones!

The First Rule of Samurai Ball is You Do Not Talk About Samurai Ball

I was getting out of my car the other day, and I saw a thing in the back seat of another car, and I was like, “Oooooooh, is that a samurai sword??”  But it wasn’t, it was a stupid baseball bat or possibly a softball bat.  Best case scenario, it was a pickleball bat, but I feel like that’s being overly optimistic, because life is usually pretty disappointing.

But then I got to thinking.  I would be much more into sports if more of them featured samurai swords.  So maybe I should invent one.  Samurai Ball.  It’s gonna be a thing.  Here’s how you play (starting with rule two, because I already told you rule one above):

2.  Yeah, I know in Fight Club the second rule is also not to talk about it, but Samurai Ball is going to be significantly more relaxed than Fight Club and also have better uniforms.  The second rule of Samurai Ball is to split into two teams.  This will be a complicated process, in which everyone will count to three, and on three will either jump in the air or squat to the ground.  The squatters will be one team and the jumpers the other, but if there wasn’t an even number of jumpers and squatters, then you will need volunteers to change teams.  These volunteers will close their eyes and spin around until they fall down.  They will join whichever team is standing closest to them when they fall over.  If the teams are still uneven, repeat this process as many times as necessary.

3.  Flip a sword to see who swords first.

4.  The team that wins the sword toss will get the ball first.  The ball will be made of tumbleweeds.  The swording team will appoint a joddlehopper,  and then crowd into a huddle, facing outward, with the joddlehopper holding the ball.  The other team, the sword defenders, will form a loose circle around them.  In between the two teams, there is a circle of samurai swords on stands, with the points facing the swording team.

5.  Everyone counts to three, and on three, the swording team begins to pass the ball around the huddle, until someone decides to throw it onto a sword.  The defending team can now come into the circle of swords, and tries to prevent the ball from hitting the swords (and also to avoid impaling themselves on the swords).

6.  Defenders cannot touch the ball with their hands.

7.  Once the ball has hit either a sword or a defender three times, the teams switch, for the top of the swording.  There are thirteen swordings in a game.

 

Any questions?

The uniforms will be ninja outfits, even though ninjas and samurai are totally different, but their outfits are way cooler.
Image by MichaelWuensch from Pixabay

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The Scone (with audio)

This story was based on a moment in my life. It was a few years ago, and my friend Hayli and I were at a vegan, gluten-free bakery in Portland, because that’s what Portland does. And Hayli got a somewhat disappointing scone and made a remark that has stuck with me. I wrote it down at the time, and I just spent quite a while going through my old notebooks to look for the exact quote: “So many things get away with being called scones, that just aren’t. And it’s just not really helping me have faith in life.”
“I’ve never been a big fan of scones,” remarked Tracy, as she and Elizabeth exited the bakery. 
“I like them if they’re done right,” Elizabeth mused, tucking her raven-colored hair behind her ear. “But I feel like there are a lot of baked goods these days that are being passed off as scones, even though they’re clearly something else entirely.”
“Like what?” 
“Oh, sometimes they’re obviously biscuits, particularly the savory ones.  Often, they’re just muffins, but dry and shaped like a triangle. But usually they are . . . I don’t know . . . something else, and I can’t quite figure it out, but they’re definitely not scones. So, it’s gotten to the point where, anytime I go to a new place that sells scones, I get one, just to see if they’re on the level.”
“And?” Tracy raised a quizzical eyebrow.
“Well, I haven’t tried this one yet,” said Elizabeth. “I’m not quite hungry. It’ll be my afternoon snack. Anyway, this is me.” She gestured to her blue Subaru Outback. “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”
Later that day, Elizabeth sat down at her olive-green metal desk with a sigh. She pulled the brown waxed paper parcel from her drawer, removed the scone, and eyed it skeptically. Then she closed her eyes and took a big bite of crumbly, blackberry-studded pastry. 
“Oooooh, holy crap,” she uttered. Now that was a scone. 
Then she opened her eyes and found herself in completely unfamiliar surroundings.
“What the-?” Elizabeth dropped the scone onto a suddenly-wooden desk. Her computer had been replaced by a typewriter. The photos scattered around the desk were in a completely new configuration, and they were all black-and-white. She squinted at one, confirming that it was no one she knew.
Just when she thought things couldn’t get any stranger, a severe-looking woman walked into her office, dressed in some kind of early-20th-century costume. They stared at each other for a shocked moment.
“Who are you?” The newcomer recovered her wits first. “What are you doing at my desk?”
“I’m- I’m sorry, I thought this was my desk,” Elizabeth stammered. “This is the Van Winckle Building, isn’t it?”
“It certainly is,” the woman narrowed her eyes, pursed her lips, crossed her arms over her ample bosom, and looked Elizabeth up and down.
“And what is more, I know every single person who works in this building, and you, madam, do not. If you are going to try to pass yourself off as a professional, I suggest next time you do it in a less outlandish outfit, and you try it with someone other than the CEO’s secretary.”
Elizabeth looked down at her drab business casual togs. Outlandish? She began to have a suspicion about that scone. 
“What year would you say this is?” she asked.
“What year? What year? What kind of a joke is this?” the other woman snapped. “It is 1922, and you know it. What year, indeed. Now, you better blouse, or I’m calling security!”
“I better what?” 
The secretary put her hands on the front of the desk and leaned over the typewriter. “You heard me. Scram! March your fanny back to whatever flapper cult you rolled out of!”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. Flapper cult, indeed. “With pleasure.”
Picking the scone back up, she closed her eyes again and took another bite. She paused to pray that this would work. 
She opened her eyes.
Everything was back to normal. Breathing a sigh of relief, Elizabeth wrapped up the rest of the scone and dropped it in the trash.
“Just my luck,” she said. “The first good scone I’ve had in weeks, and it turns out to be a trigger for time travel.”

The Scone

This story was based on a moment in my life. It was a few years ago, and my friend Hayli and I were at a vegan, gluten-free bakery in Portland, because that’s what Portland does. And Hayli got a somewhat disappointing scone and made a remark that has stuck with me. I wrote it down at the time, and I just spent quite a while going through my old notebooks to look for the exact quote: “So many things get away with being called scones, that just aren’t. And it’s just not really helping me have faith in life.”
“I’ve never been a big fan of scones,” remarked Tracy, as she and Elizabeth exited the bakery. 
“I like them if they’re done right,” Elizabeth mused, tucking her raven-colored hair behind her ear. “But I feel like there are a lot of baked goods these days that are being passed off as scones, even though they’re clearly something else entirely.”
“Like what?” 
“Oh, sometimes they’re obviously biscuits, particularly the savory ones.  Often, they’re just muffins, but dry and shaped like a triangle. But usually they are . . . I don’t know . . . something else, and I can’t quite figure it out, but they’re definitely not scones. So, it’s gotten to the point where, anytime I go to a new place that sells scones, I get one, just to see if they’re on the level.”
“And?” Tracy raised a quizzical eyebrow.
“Well, I haven’t tried this one yet,” said Elizabeth. “I’m not quite hungry. It’ll be my afternoon snack. Anyway, this is me.” She gestured to her blue Subaru Outback. “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”
Later that day, Elizabeth sat down at her olive-green metal desk with a sigh. She pulled the brown waxed paper parcel from her drawer, removed the scone, and eyed it skeptically. Then she closed her eyes and took a big bite of crumbly, blackberry-studded pastry. 
“Oooooh, holy crap,” she uttered. Now that was a scone. 
Then she opened her eyes and found herself in completely unfamiliar surroundings.
“What the-?” Elizabeth dropped the scone onto a suddenly-wooden desk. Her computer had been replaced by a typewriter. The photos scattered around the desk were in a completely new configuration, and they were all black-and-white. She squinted at one, confirming that it was no one she knew.
Just when she thought things couldn’t get any stranger, a severe-looking woman walked into her office, dressed in some kind of early-20th-century costume. They stared at each other for a shocked moment.
“Who are you?” The newcomer recovered her wits first. “What are you doing at my desk?”
“I’m- I’m sorry, I thought this was my desk,” Elizabeth stammered. “This is the Van Winckle Building, isn’t it?”
“It certainly is,” the woman narrowed her eyes, pursed her lips, crossed her arms over her ample bosom, and looked Elizabeth up and down.
“And what is more, I know every single person who works in this building, and you, madam, do not. If you are going to try to pass yourself off as a professional, I suggest next time you do it in a less outlandish outfit, and you try it with someone other than the CEO’s secretary.”
Elizabeth looked down at her drab business casual togs. Outlandish? She began to have a suspicion about that scone. 
“What year would you say this is?” she asked.
“What year? What year? What kind of a joke is this?” the other woman snapped. “It is 1922, and you know it. What year, indeed. Now, you better blouse, or I’m calling security!”
“I better what?” 
The secretary put her hands on the front of the desk and leaned over the typewriter. “You heard me. Scram! March your fanny back to whatever flapper cult you rolled out of!”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. Flapper cult, indeed. “With pleasure.”
Picking the scone back up, she closed her eyes again and took another bite. She paused to pray that this would work. 
She opened her eyes.
Everything was back to normal. Breathing a sigh of relief, Elizabeth wrapped up the rest of the scone and dropped it in the trash.
“Just my luck,” she said. “The first good scone I’ve had in weeks, and it turns out to be a trigger for time travel.”

An Epic for the Ages

My left wrist has been achy and sore and occasionally excruciating for the past couple of weeks.  If I’m being totally honest, this just happens sometimes, because I have worked a wide variety of jobs in my life that have worn down my hands and wrists.  And then I do some stretching and I have my massage therapist work on it, and it’s fine for a while.

But where the hell has total honesty really gotten anyone?  Here’s what really happened:

It was a cold and windy Tuesday afternoon.  I sat in a dark corner of a cantina, sipping a locally brewed amber ale and munching on a basket of fried unicorn toes.  The door flew open, slamming against the wall, and a huge man strode in, hummingbirds flitting about his head as he stopped just inside.  The door flopped shut behind him, as all conversations stopped and everyone in the place stared.

After a moment to catch his breath, the man, who bore a strong resemblance to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, sauntered over to the bar, ordered a rusty nail, and turned to glare around the room.  Almost everyone hastily looked away, focusing back on their tables and companions.

I met his gaze and lifted my glass in a mocking salute.  His eyes narrowed.  He picked up his drink and came over to my table.

“You got something to say, lady?” he demanded.

“Not a damn thing,” I replied.

“Ooooooooh,” said all the people around us.

“You’re not gonna bully me,” I expanded.  “I don’t think you’re as tough as you look, anyway.”

“Ooooooooooooooooh,” said all the people around us.

“That’s it!” he snapped.  He sat down and placed his elbow in the middle of the table, in an unmistakable invitation to arm wrestle.  I smiled.

“Hold my beer,” I said to one of the hummingbirds.  She flitted down to hover next to me and I set the glass on her back.  It balanced perfectly.  I looked at his hand, and my smile grew wider.  He was a lefty – I was going to be Princess Briding this match.

Princess Briding is a term that can refer to several situations: deliberately developing an immunity to a poison, referring to your future spouse by a demeaning pet name based on their occupation, running into a fire swamp because the authorities are chasing you….  But in this case, it refers to using your secondary hand because you’re so good at something that it will be no challenge if you use your dominant.

I put my elbow down and smacked my palm against his.  After a few moments of pushing my hand to the right, I began to have doubts.  This guy had supernatural strength to match mine!  My eyes met his, and I realized with a start that he had the crazed eyes of a werewolf.  My heart sank, but I steeled myself for one more push, giving it all I had.

It worked!  My hand began to inch forward, moment by moment, and suddenly, with one final burst of strength, I forced my way though the last few inches of air, smashing the back of his hand against the table.

“Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooh!” said the crowd.

The werewolf jumped up, howling, his face contorting as he struggled not to change into his animal form in his rage.

I grabbed my beer from the back of his familiar, chugged it, and hightailed it out of there.

And that, dear readers, is why my wrist hurts.  Obviously.

I don’t want to enrage any more werewolves by posting a picture of them, so here’s a hummingbird instead
Image by Domenic Hoffmann from Pixabay

 

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