Archive for category 52 ways to say I love you

Jack of Clubs: Don’t slip on the ice


Buggy kiss goodnight

Don’t trip on the ice; the pain ain’t numbed because it’s colder.
Find somewhere cosier to dislocate your shoulder.
Trip up on a chair, trip down flights of stairs, trip over a rug.
Don’t trip on the ice but trip on a safe and legal drug.

Don’t fall on the ice; they won’t believe you when it’s melted.
There are more likely ways to end up bruised and welted.
Fall from peaceful bird strike when your plane’s hit by a dove.
Don’t fall on the ice, that’s not very nice, but fall in love.

For you can live with broken bones, but not a broken heart,
and if your heart is ice then you are dead right from the start.
So break yourself in ice-free ways and when you can’t run free,
leave your bones in my safe cage, and leave your heart to me.

Don’t slip on the ice; your body slows down the Zamboni.
If you must lie still, be a hurdle for a pony.
Slip to fill holes in roads, get hurt in a loads-more-useful way.
Don’t slip on the ice but slip on a sweet wee negligee.

Don’t drop through the ice; you’ll wreck the lake-top’s smooth complexion.
Break your own skin to manifest your imperfection.
Drop out of the game, drop into a flame, drop dead flambé.
Don’t drop through the ice, drop into my life, warm me today.

For you can live with broken bones, but not a broken heart,
and if your heart is ice then you are dead right from the start.
So break yourself in ice-free ways and when you can’t run free,
leave your bones in my safe cage, and leave your heart to me.

Don’t trip on the ice but trip on a safe and legal drug
Don’t fall on the ice, that’s not very nice, but fall in love
Don’t slip on the ice but slip on a sweet wee negligee,
Don’t drop through the ice, drop into my life, warm me today.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Four of Diamonds: A Pirate Story


Jim was a respectable middle-aged man who suddenly became a pirate. He didn’t just start downloading art in ways contrary to the artists’ wishes. He actually became a pirate. One minute he was looking at cat pictures on the internet at work, the next he was standing on an enemy ship, with a cutlass in one hand and a hook on the other, sporting a peg leg and eyepatch, and plundering the booty of the crew he’d just murdered.

“What on Earth is going on?” he said. What came out was, “Shiver me timbers, I’ve lost me bearings!”

The parrot on his shoulder mocked him with echoes of “I’ve lost me bearings! I’ve lost me bearings!” The dead bodies surrounding him did not respond.

Jim figured he may as well get back to business. He staggered around the ship, swearing like a sailor at the lack of peg-leg-accessible spaces.

In one of the berths was a naked dead man. Jim was about to congratulate himself for having been so thorough at the crew-murdering when a sneeze came from the top bunk.

“P… pl… please don’t kill me!” pled the young, fully-dressed and clean-shaven pirate on the top bunk.

Jim instinctively waved his cutlass at him. “Who are you, ye lily-livered mast mugger?” he growled, putting far more emphasis on the ‘arrrre’ than he had intended.

“I’m…, I be uhh… bl… yarr, I be Cap’n Toothbeard. If ye spare me I’ll be swabbin’ yer decks twice a day ‘n’ barely touchin’ yer wenches.”

Jim let out a pensive arrr. He wasn’t sure how many of his crew had been lost in the battle, nor whether he had any wenches. But without remembering any specifics, he felt as though he’d already killed and swabbed enough for the day.

“Arrright, matey. But if I catch ye in any monkey business, ye’ll be keelhauled.” He extended his right arm to shake on it. Toothbeard cowered from the sharp hook.

Jim contented himself with touching elbows with his new crew member. “I’m Jim.” He suddenly panicked at having revealed such an un-piratey name as ‘Jim’, until he realised that the name that actually came out of his mouth was ‘Cap’n Stede Bonnet’. A pretty funny-sounding name, in Jim’s opinion, but convincing enough. So that was his name then.

What with the missing hand, leg and eye, and the lack of any real knowledge of how to be a pirate, ‘Stede’ was glad to have help. The two of them gathered up all the gold from the vessel and swung from a stray rope onto Stede’s ship. There were no wenches, no surviving crew, no food, and a mess of spilt blood, grog and urine under the tattered threads of a Jolly Roger. They swung back to grab some more useful supplies.

Toothbeard was true to his word. Before long, the decks, walls and cannons gleamed, the meticulously-restitched Jolly Roger flapped proudly in the wind, and colourful semaphore flags spelling out motivational messages complemented the tasteful off-white of the sails. Stede and Toothbeard got along fabulously.

Piracy was difficult with only two crew, but Toothbeard turned out to be excellent at sneaking around disabling cannons and stealing treasure while Stede parleyed with a rival captain. Once or twice the friendly chat didn’t go so well and he had to slice someone open and swing back to his own ship before the rest of the crew retaliated. If anyone invaded their ship, Toothbeard would make sure the flags were rearranged to balance out any browning blood patches.

Without the aid of a GPS, Stede steered the ship mainly on instinct, until the day they arrived at a tiny deserted island with a single coconut palm growing out of a mound of white sand. Toothbeard wasted no time in suspending a large, sparkly red hammock between the ship and the palm and relaxing in it with a tot of rum, while Stede dug idly into the sand.

“Well, blow me down!” Stede exclaimed when his shovel hit something hard.

“That I will!” boomed a voice from above. No actual blowing occurred, but Stede was so shocked by the sight of a woman in a bright olive leotard and sparkly red cape hovering in the sky that he fell backwards anyway. His parrot flew from his shoulder screeching “Pretty birdy! Pretty birdy!” at the lady.

Jim was quite used to being Stede Bonnet the pirate by this time, but it was moments like this that reminded him how very strange it was. “Ahoy thar!” he called. “Thar be no flyin’ wenches on my ship! Against the pirate code, it is!”

“May I remind you, sir, that you are on land, and the law of the land says no piracy is allowed, and the stolen gold and love letters in that chest you’re digging up belong to me and my partner Agent Chlorine,” said the woman, with a stern look.

Love letters? Agent Chlorine? In all his time pretending to really be Stede Bonnet, Jim had never been at this much of a loss before. But there was gold, so the obvious thing to do was keep digging.

The flying woman’s booming voice had woken up Toothbeard, who had spilled rum on his chest in his sleep. He ran to Stede and stared bewildered at the flyer. After a few moments he seemed to recognise her, and started to go pale.

“Thank you for your service, Agent Chlorine,” said the woman.

“Y… you’re welcome?” said the whitening agent.

“You salty moose. A secret agent?” yelled Stede.

“It’s not like that! I mean yes, I am a secret agent, sent to cleanse the waters of piracy, but I… I like you! I don’t even know what she’s doing here! And I’m not Agent Chlorine. My real name’s Agent Chlorine!” Agent Chlorine looked as confused as the rest of them at the last remark.

“He knows you’re not a pirate now,” said the flying lady. “You may as well admit to the rest. You hung out my spare cape to signal me because he led you to where he’d hidden what he stole from us.”

Agent Chlorine looked back at his hammock, and back up at the woman. “Uh… yes, yes, of course, Flying Thulium, I hung up the cape to signal you. I knew he was digging up our letters because…”

“Because what else would it be?” she said confidently. “I can read them from here with my x-ray vision.”

Before Stede had a chance to wonder whether x-rays were known about in the age of piracy, the Flying Thulium swooped down toward him. In an instant, her cape was tangled in the branches of the palm tree, and she dangled by her neck, strangling herself a little every time she tried to fly away. “You’ll live to regret this!” she asserted. As if to emphasise her point, a coconut fell and hit Stede’s spade, whose digging motion propelled it into the water. The parrot flew after it, but was unable to lift a coconut without the help of a second parrot and a piece of string.

Stede turned his attention to Agent Chlorine, formerly known as Toothbeard. “Th’wench says this be my treasure, looted from you. We split it?” he tried to lift the treasure chest from the hole, but couldn’t grip it well enough with his hook, and fell onto it. He cleared room for his legs and made himself comfortable sitting on the chest.

“Those are our love letters, you filthy pirate!” said the Dangling Thulium. She shot laser beams from her eyes and melted the sand around him. When the melted sand cooled, his peg leg was stuck fast, and he was surrounded by walls of vitrified sand. Not for the first time, he wondered why the peg leg was not removable.

Agent Chlorine tried to pull him out, but slipped on the glass and found himself lying over the hole, arms on one side, feet on the other. The parrot left a dropping on his back while echoing, “You filthy pirate! You filthy pirate!”

Stede stood up, headbutting Agent Chlorine’s stomach. Agent Chlorine slid forward on the glass and his feet fell into Stede’s face. Agent Chlorine pulled himself up and slid on his belly toward the unmelted sand, defeated. Stede nursed his bloody nose, and the parrot came and sat on his head.

Stede let forth a stream of insults which are not suitable for a general audience, but which came out as “You scurvy yellow-bellied scallywags!” Being a pirate was no fun any more. “I be nay e’en a real pirate. I work on thems bewitch’d boxes.”

“The path to understanding,” began the Dangling Thulium authoritatively, “begins with an open heart and ends with proper English.”

“I think he said he’s not a real pirate,” said Agent Chlorine, who had learnt quite a bit of pirate lingo during his time as a spy. “Which suits me fine, because I’m not a real secret agent. I’m an interior decorator, as you should know, Flying Thulium. I just found myself in a pirate’s bunk one day, wearing a smart black suit with a lot of secret pockets. Next thing I knew, there was a big commotion outside and I had to give my bunkmate a cyanide pill and and take his pirate clothes before Captain Bonnet found me.”

“You too?!” exclaimed Stede and Thulium in chorus. The parrot on Stede’s head perked up and repeated after them.

“You’re not alone,” said Thulium heroically. “I was once trying to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem while mourning the anniversary of my heart being broken, when I found myself rescuing a princess from a pirate crew.” She said it in a way that inspired all of them to try to become heroes. “I didn’t know Agent Chlorine was here until I saw the cape.”

“Aye, but how d’ye know Cap’n T… Agent Chlorine?”

“Sometimes,” she said, “the answer you seek is directly beneath your derrière.”

Stede snickered until Thulium’s heroic glare caught him. He stood up and tried to turn towards the treasure chest, twisting his pegged leg as far around as he could before falling backwards, ending up parallel to the chest with his back against the side of the hole. He undid the clasp with his hook, and watched as the chest sprang open and a golden glow lit the space where the lid had been. Stede pushed himself upward with his good leg so he could see into the chest.

Stede’s confused arrr for some reason reminded him of Scooby Doo. There was no gold, just letters. He fished them out with his hook, and tried to get himself upright to close the chest, but fell and ended up sitting in it. That would have to do.

“Read to us” commanded Thulium, who was levitating as comfortably as she could next to the top of the palm tree.

So he did. They were love letters between childhood sweethearts: a lass studying mathematics and her beau studying interior decorating on the other side of the country. Jim had never heard such a touching love story, having been raised in an orphanage, left there by unmarried girl who had been impregnated by a passing sailor, and then been sent to an asylum for telling crazy stories about spies or something. He was almost in tears, but Levitating Thulium and Agent Chlorine were in stitches hearing their words read in his unintentional pirate dialect.

Stede was so absorbed in the letters he didn’t notice Agent Chlorine climbing up the palm to reminisce with Thulium. When he finished the letter he was reading and saw them, he couldn’t help chanting, “Chlorine and Thulium, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.” The parrot, who was not so good at spelling, echoed only the ‘aye aye!’ as it flew up toward them. Surprised, Thulium lost her grip on Agent Chlorine, who fell into the hammock. The force of the falling agent caused the hammock to come untied from the tree, and without its makeshift tether, the ship began to float away. Agent Chlorine hung onto the hammock and tried to pull the ship back, but before long he was drifting with it out to sea while Thulium tried desperately to untangle her cape from the tree.

Meanwhile, Stede read the last letter silently. Things had not ended well. Agent Chlorine had had some kind of existential crisis and couldn’t continue his relationship with Thulium. He hinted that he’d met someone else at design school.

Well, Thulium and Chlorine had seemed pretty friendly moments ago. Stede wanted the love story to continue, even if it meant losing his first mate. He stood up in his glassy sand hole and tried to free his peg leg. Thulium hovered at the top of the palm tree and tried to free her cape. Agent Chlorine clung to the sparkly cape-hammock for dear life as the ship pulled it away from shore.

Stede moved to close the chest so he would at least have somewhere comfortable to sit while everything went wrong. At the bottom of the chest, he saw the source of the golden glow: a diamond ring with a small note attached from the Flying Thulium. “I shan’t keep this, then.”

“Yo ho!” called Stede, waving the ring in the air.

“Yo ho!” answered the parrot as it grabbed the ring from his fingers.

“Oh no!” gasped Thulium as the parrot flew off with the ring. Then “Oh!” as the ring landed in her hand. Her cape was almost indestructible, but diamond can cut through anything.

“Noooo!” Agent Chlorine completed for her, as he lost his grip on the cape-hammock.

Thulium quickly cut her cape free with the diamond and flew to Agent Chlorine’s rescue. She boarded the boat with him, and they sailed off into the sunset.

Stede sat back down inside the treasure chest with a dejected arrr, unsure if he could call this a loss or a win. After some time, he discovered a false bottom in the chest. Underneath it was some gold jewellery, and one last note, which he recognised as being in Thulium’s handwriting. It was a note he’d seen once before when he was a little boy, but been forced to throw away. “Please call my baby Stede, after the pirate who helped bring his daddy and me back together.”

Jim was glad the orphanage staff had not obeyed. Stede was a pretty funny-sounding name.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Fake Ace of Diamonds: Chemistry Live


Last Ace of Diamonds, I stalled for a week by posting a video of a poem I’d written previously. I’m not sure if I’ll have the real Ace of Diamonds done in time, so I’ll do the same again. The real Ace of Diamonds, which I will publish as soon as it’s ready, is a a sequel/prequel to the last real Ace of Diamonds, and it’s also about stalling and procrastination, which seems appropriate. This is me reading my poem Chemistry (which was the two of diamonds, and already has a video) at the open mic night on JoCo Cruise Crazy 2:

And here’s a more close-up video of it that Jason recorded:

I sure am stalling a lot this round. It’s embarrassing considering I started with something I really like that was done in time. But hey, I still have an hour till the deadline, so maybe I’ll get the real Ace of Diamonds done in time anyway. If you’re wondering why I’m onto diamonds now when I went from Spades to Hearts last time, it was simply the next card in the first deck I looked at.

In other news, here are some things that music lovers in Europe might want to do:

  • Back Marian Call’s kickstarter or otherwise support her European Adventure Quest to get Marian and her very talented guitarist Scott Barkan playing in your country or even your living room. If you want to know what she’s like and somehow find video more appealing than downloading music, you could watch my videos of her two concerts and Scott’s concert on JoCo Cruise Crazy.
  • Go see The Burning Hell if they come near while attempting to break a record by giving concerts in ten countries in 24 hours. If you want to know what they’re like, you could watch the videos I’m currently uploading of them at Viertel (my favourite concert venue on land) where they will return for the world record tour.
  • Keep an eye on Jonathan Coulton’s tour schedule, because he’ll be at Union Chapel (my second favourite concert venue on land) in London on September 20, and will no doubt visit other places in the UK and Europe. If you don’t know what he sounds like yet, you haven’t been paying attention; pick a video from my YouTube channel at random and he’s probably in it.

I know I’ll be doing all three things.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

King of Spades (Moxy Früvous parody)


This is a parody of King of Spain by Moxy Früvous, written by me and sung by my not-so-top-secret collaborator, whom some of you recognised as Hello, The Future! She was sick for a while, which is why this is a week later than promised. There’s an mp3, but it probably makes more sense with the video.

Here are the lyrics (forgive the spacing; if I could have a superpower, it would be to always be able to make WordPress space lines the way I want):

Once I was the King of Spades              now I’m just a playing card

Oh, how I planted that naked lady          now I’m just a playing card

I’m telling you I was the King of Spades   now I’m just a playing card

And now it takes lady luck to play me

Wan, 2 3 4!

Chicks dug me, spades really suited me

digging up bones from the late Cretaceous or planting downy birch trees

Now I eat humble pie whenever the ace is high

Caught in a flush for a poker cheater, plotting to crush the other guy

Once I was the King of Spades             now I’m just a playing card

A pirate’s deckhand, burying lucre        now I’m just a playing card

I’m telling you I was the King of Spades  now I’m just a playing card

And now my hand sweeps the deck at Euchre

Once this was the King of Spades

Folks would rave, they’d die so I’d dig their grave, the people said:

“King, how are you such a genius?”

“Your mounds are convex”

“and holes are concave!”

Kill chafer grubs so I would have safer shrubs

I’d do yardwork all through the weekend

and dig diamonds to give the lonely hearts clubs

Once I was the King of Spades                             now I’m just a playing card

Old tree falls, new sea walls, you sat back, I’d hack that.   now I’m just a playing card

I’m telling you I was the King of Spades                     now I’m just a playing card

Now the Ace hits me up to save you at blackjack.

Once this was the King of Spades

Ladies and Gentlemen, make your bids for the instrumental bridge!

Now some of you might be wondering how I came to be a playing card

after being a real life king of spades. Should I lay my cards on the table?

(shouting)

Deal me in!

You see late one day, I’d just dug a wishing well

Clearly I had to test it, I’ve pride in the service I sell.

And I thought, well this number’s fun, but I should be in the pictures

Next thing my heads are pounding, I’m upside down,

and I’m too legless for britches.

Ship and flatfish, banquet and cat dish

How I wish I’d never made that wish.

Counter to all intentions, I only have two dimensions.

If you’ve felt you’re bored with the cards life dealt

Remember, real life beats royal flushes

so dig your way to gold rushes!

Once I was the King of Spades                      now I’m just a playing card

I was dealing out gem stones from pyroclastic      now I’m just a playing card

I’m telling you I was the King of Spades           now I’m just a playing card

And now my dealer is Angelastic.

Once this was the King of Spades

It was obvious I should parody this song for the King of Spades. I assumed I’d end up writing a nonsense song describing all the Kings of Spades I have in rhyme, and that it wouldn’t make any sense at all without a video showing the cards. Sort of like Jonathan Coulton’s Flickr. But to make a video, I’d need someone to sing it. Naturally, I thought of Hello, The Future! since she has already written one King of Spain parody, and when I first met her she was wearing a ‘Hello, The Future! is the name of my Moxy Früvous cover band’ T-shirt. Also, I knew she had a fez and had experience wearing a fake moustache. I commissioned her to do it even before I’d written anything. Once the lyrics were written, I sent her my shouting parts, some noises I made with my rainstick (which I am determined to use in everything now) and a plastic box full of kings of spades, and the one line which I realised, to my horror, would only make sense if I sang it myself, and she mixed it all in. It ended up being some kind of story about a real-life spade maven who turns into a playing card, and it might make some kind of sense without the video, but it’s still more fun with it.

One thing I hoped I could make clear in the video was that the ‘naked lady’ line was referring to amaryllis bulbs; I’m not sure how widespread that name is. But alas, amaryllis is out of season here.

One of these days, I should put this and several other things on my podcast. Unfortunately, I chose a podcast hosting platform which is a real hassle to use, so I’ve been lax in adding things to it.

I used cards from several new decks of cards this week. Obi-Wan Kenobi from a Star Wars Heroes & Villains deck I got in Sweden made an appearance (he’s a King of Spades, but was the ‘Wan’ as I shouted ‘1 2 3 4′), as did a Queen of Hearts (in the lonely hearts club) from the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. Also in the lonely hearts club is a King of Spades from a Kama Sutra deck I found while searching for panties to throw at Paul and Storm. Underneath the ship card, you can see some information from a Golden Gate Bridge deck I was given on JoCo Cruise Crazy 2, and somewhere in there is a King of Spades from a pirate deck I bought in Aruba (the same place I got the rainstick) during that cruise.

, , , , ,

1 Comment

Six of Spades: The Barely Finished Story


Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t read of watched The Neverending Story, and you intend to, you might want to wait until afterwards before reading this.

He just imagined that in front of him, there was a giant requirement to do what he had committed himself to do. Taylor ran from the insipid story ideas that came to him, squatting in trashy distractions until he thought the ideas had left. But as soon as he stopped distracting himself, they came back. He had 18 hours to write something, and this would have to be it. He still ran, until the interruption of a pleasant procrastinatory conversation with a friend gave him a door, and he ran inside.

On the shelf was a DVD of the movie ‘The Neverending Story’. A story of a boy who saves Fantasia, the world of human fantasy, right when people were beginning to lose their hope, to forget their dreams. What if Fantasia were being destroyed again? What if that’s why there were no good story ideas left? If only he could get to Fantasia, and get a child to give the Childlike Empress a new name, he would be able to restore his hope and the wealth of fantastic story ideas he’d once had. He poured himself a frozen lemonade with vodka and sat down with his laptop to write.

He just imagined that in front of him, there was a giant Apollo White Room, where he could prepare to enter his craft and travel to unknown worlds. He’d had the training, read a summary of the book, watched the movie, and he knew exactly what he had to do. He would journey to the Moonchild.

It would be easier for him than for Atreyu. He just had to keep his chin up as he crossed the deadly Swamps of Sadness, keep his grip when speaking to Morla, find a luckdragon, keep his self-esteem up as he walked through the Sphinx gate, keep his cool as he saw his true reflection in the mirror of true selves, feign surprise when the Southern Oracle told him the Empress needed a new name, and hope he’d written the story well enough to capture a child’s attention.

Taylor stopped to take a sip of his drink, check his email, and try to forget how unlikely it was that a child would read his story and give Empress Moonchild the new name she needed. He’d cross that bridge when he came to it.

Ahead of him, the Nothing had already devoured the landscape. To the left and right was more nothingness. Behind him, he could see the Ivory Tower glowing in the distance. Andy, his Andalusian horse, had no problem galloping over the featureless landscape. When they arrived at the Ivory Tower, Taylor approached the bearded man.

“I’m sorry. But this is not the time and the place for adults. Adults do not have the imagination required for this quest. I must ask you to leave.”

“If you don’t want me here, you shouldn’t have sent for me.” Taylor had his lines memorized.

“It was not you we sent for,” said the man. “We wanted Taylor.”

“I am Taylor,” he said.

“Not Taylor the worn-out adult! Taylor the child!”

That is not what they’d said to Atreyu. “I’m the only Taylor you’ve got,” said Taylor. “I’m old enough to know what to do. But if you want, I’ll go back and write advertising copy.” Taylor turned away and pretended to leave.

“No, wait, come back, please,” said the man. Taylor turned back.

“If you really are the Taylor we sent for, you would be willing to go on a quest?”

“Yes, of course.” This was the script Taylor was used to. “What kind of a quest?”

The man gave the usual spiel about finding a cure for the Empress, to save Fantasia. It would be very dangerous and important, and he had to go alone, weaponless. Taylor feigned bravery as he accepted the challenge, knowing that having already seen the movie, he would be in no real danger. He did not need to feign awe as he was given Auryn, the amulet which would guide and protect him.

Taylor rode off into the sunset, knowing that the creature of darkness which would be tracking him down would be an easy kill. After riding for hours, they stopped and decided it was time to eat.

Taylor looked up from his laptop, suddenly aware that his stomach was growling. He topped up his frozen lemonade and made some toast. “Not too much,” he said after the first few bites. “We still have a long way to go.”

Taylor and Andy had searched the Silver Mountains, the Desert of Discarded Drafts, the Crystal Heads and the Sadness Swamp without success. He saw there was only one chance left. To find Melpolia, the ancient muse, whose home was in the deadly Forests of Disbelief.

Taylor led his horse off a cliff, and into the treetops which appeared ahead of them and disappeared behind them as they walked. Everyone knew that whoever stopped believing in the forest would fall to the bottom of the ravine. Taylor kept himself aloft by describing the feeling of branches underfoot to himself as he went, but the horse soon began to fall. “Andy! Can’t you feel the branches poking into your hooves? Can’t you hear the twigs cracking? Andy, please!”

As the horse fell into the void, Taylor could see just how impossible the forest was. He fell, but instinctively reached out and grabbed a branch that his muscles still knew was there. Of course it was there. If he could write it well enough, it was there. Taylor climbed back to the top and ran with his eyes closed, letting out shrieks of delight as he realised what a marvelous reality he had created. When he got bored with that, he just imagined that in front of him there was a giant red tabby, and then he collided with something soft.

Taylor rolled his chair back from his laptop and sighed loudly. This was a ridiculous idea. A giant cat? A giant cat was the best he could think of as a muse? Well, it would have to do. It was dark out. He was running out of time.

The wind seemed to sigh as Taylor looked up at Melpolia the giant red tabby.

“Oh, no. Not an adult,” the cat hissed. “Adults are no fun.”

Taylor sniffled a little, remembering his cat allergy. “Look, if you would just help me in my quest to save the Childlike Empress… I have a deadline, you know.” He grabbed Melpolia’s fur as the treetop beneath him threatened to give way.

“Oh, we know the Empress is sick, but it doesn’t matter.” Melpolia turned away and started licking itself.

Taylor sneezed violently, and fell a metre or so when he forgot to believe. He climbed back up.

“Do you even care?” Taylor remembered this line from the movie.

“You don’t really care whether or not I care,” said Melpolia.

Taylor started to protest, but realised Melpolia was right. He didn’t care. He just wanted to get through the story, get some readers, and save Fantasia so he would have ideas to write other stories and keep food on the table.

Food. Taylor finished a piece of toast. Why wouldn’t the characters ever just do what he wanted them to? He only had eleven hours left. He took a last gulp of frozen lemonade and slammed the cup down angrily on the table. Fine. If he wasn’t going to save the Empress, he may as well have fun.

Taylor sneezed again, and his tree swayed with him. “You know how I can help save the Empress, don’t you?”

“Not that it matters, but yes,” said Melpolia while it licked its left side.

“It does matter!” screamed Taylor. “If I don’t save her, the Childlike Empress will die, and I always wanted to meet her!”

“It’s really not important. I have some preening to do, you know.” insisted Melpolia.

“If you don’t tell me, Fantasia will disappear, right when I’m starting to enjoy it!” yelled Taylor.

“Oh, alright,” said the giant red tabby. “The truth is, I don’t know. Maybe you could ask the Southern Oracle…”

“Right, 10 000 miles away?” Taylor had forgotten that from the movie. The only point of going to see Melpolia was attracting a luckdragon to take him to the Southern Oracle.

“Yes, as it happens.”

“Great. You wouldn’t happen to know where I could find a luckdragon, would you?”

“A what? Luckdragons don’t exist. They were just made up for a book.”

Taylor started to fall. Melpolia found a patch of fur near its right front paw that hadn’t been preened for a while, and went to work on it.

The falling sure felt real. Taylor closed his eyes and waited to hit the ground.

Taylor poured himself another frozen lemonade, without vodka this time, the way he’d always loved it as a kid. He’d had so much of it one summer that his friends had started calling him Frozen Lemonade. They still did, sometimes, but it embarrassed him more now. He’d started adding vodka in his mid-twenties. The vodka made it taste terrible, but what self-respecting adult drinks virgin frozen lemonade?

Taylor woke up next to some kind of giant goat. “Are you a luckdragon?”

“Goodness, no. I’m a deus ex machamois.”

Taylor giggled. “A deus ex machamois? And let me guess, you can fly, and you caught me when I fell from the nonexistent treetops?”

“That’s right. A giant flying squirrel would have made more sense, but I guess you panicked. Panic is sometimes good for creativity.”

“You mean… I just made you up to save my life? And you’re really here?”

Taylor could picture it in his head. A giant chamois, flailing through the air, always looking for footholds in the clouds. Eat your heart out, Rudolph! He laughed so hard he almost peed himself. On the way back from the toilet, he spotted the bag of sour miniature easter egg candies he’d bought for his nephews, and opened it. Forget the waistline; a little sugar once in a while couldn’t harm him.

“I’m here, alright. You passed out before I even caught you; you’re not used to landing on giant flying goats any more. My name’s Rudolph.”

Taylor laughed. “So… how far away is the Southern Oracle?”

“Why, it’s just around the corner!”

Taylor grinned. “Do I have to go visit that gnome couple and drink eye of newt to make me healthy, now?”

“Only if you want to.”

Taylor secretly wanted to know what the potion would taste like. He found the gnomes’ home, where Urgl hurried to make him a healing potion. “This one will do you good. It has eye of newt in it. And wing of cat, hair of tortoise, face of gnat, eyelash of porpoise.”

Taylor gulped it down in delighted disgust, feeling the eyes slide down his throat and the wings try to flap their way back up, chewing the eyelashes so they wouldn’t tickle.

“This one’s eye of newt,” said Taylor as he put a sour egg into his mouth. He grimaced as the sour taste electrified his tongue.

Then it was Engywook the scientist’s turn to tell him about the Sphinx Gate he would have to pass. “The sphinxes’ eyes stay closed until someone who does not feel his own worth tries to pass by. They can see straight into your heart.”

Taylor did not stay to watch a hesitant traveller get shot by the Sphinxes’ eyes. “Thanks for the newt eyes!” he yelled as he ran down to the gate.

Taylor approached the Sphinx gate with confidence.

Taylor couldn’t think of anything good enough to write. All his ideas seemed stupid again. He decided to write as quickly as he could whatever came to his head, whether he liked it or not.

Taylor ran between the sphinxes as he saw the eyes beginning to open. The sphinx eyes fired a blue laser of self-doubt at him, but he could jump over and under the laser beams like a character in a bad science fiction movie. He leapt over the last one and rolled along the ground giggling on the other side, almost wanting to go back for another go. There were plenty of other roll marks in the sand. He wondered if anyone was really confident enough to keep the eyes closed, or if the survivors were just the ones who ran through anyway.

And now for the mirror of true selves. When he started the quest, he would have been afraid to look at it, but he wasn’t afraid any more. The mirror showed him as a young boy, enthusiastically writing into his notebook. And then a middle-aged man, typing into his laptop just as excitedly.

Finally, he arrived at the Southern Oracle. As expected, it told him that in order to save Fantasia, the Empress needed to be given a new name by a human child.

Taylor swore and wished he’d put more vodka in his frozen lemonade. He’d forgotten to think of a solution to the ‘human child’ problem. In the movie, the human child is the reader of the book, but who would ever read this one? He hadn’t even made the deadline. He made some more toast and settled down to write an unhappy ending.

Taylor rode Rudolph back in the direction he’d come, trying to enjoy the ride even though he knew he’d failed in his quest. Fragments of Fantasia floated around the void like stars. They flew toward the brightest: the Ivory Tower.

The Childlike Empress was beautiful. She reminded Taylor of his first crush.

“I have failed you, Empress.”

“No. You haven’t. You brought him with you.”

“Who?”

“The child. The one who can save us all.”

“No I didn’t. Nobody is going to publish this. No child is going to read this.”

“Yes, you did,” said the Empress with conviction. “He has suffered with you. He went through everything you went through. And now, he has come here. With you. He is very close. Listening to every word we say.”

Taylor could barely believe what he was writing. He popped another sour egg into his mouth.

“Where is he? If he’s so close, why doesn’t he arrive?” A piece of ivory fell from the ceiling and narrowly missed Taylor’s head.

“He doesn’t realise he’s already a part of the story.”

“But it’s just me!” Taylor protested. “I know I’m in the story. I know I’m writing the story. I know no kid is reading this story.”

“The child began to share your adventure as soon as you let him. As soon as you started believing the story.”

“But there’s nobody here but me!” Taylor said.

He was right.

Taylor almost choked on a sour egg. “No way!” he said aloud.

“He’s been a part of you all along, but you slowly stopped listening to him, when you thought you had to keep you feet on the ground. He’s still inside you. You just need to let him call out my new name. He has already chosen it.”

“This isn’t real. I’m just writing this. This isn’t real.” said Taylor under his breath. He could make them say something else if he wanted. He could make the Empress look up a name in a baby name book herself.

“What will happen if he doesn’t appear?”

“Then our world will disappear, and so will I,” said Empress Moonchild.

“How could he let that happen?”

“He doesn’t understand that he’s the one that has the power to stop it. He simply can’t imagine that something he’s writing can be so important.”

“Maybe he doesn’t know what he has to do!”

No baby name book. The characters wouldn’t let him. But he didn’t know what to write next. “What do I have to do?” Taylor wondered aloud.

“He has to give me a new name. He just has to call it out,” said the Empress.

All Taylor called out was “But it’s only a story. It’s not real!”

“Taylor! Why don’t you do what you dream, Taylor? Why don’t you live the fantasy life you created?”

“But I can’t, I have to keep my feet on the ground! I’m a grown man!” Taylor was already yelling loud enough for his neighbours to think he was a nutcase. What harm would there be in yelling a name as well?

“Call my name! Taylor, please! Save us!”

Taylor was confused. “Me? My horse died, I almost died falling off trees, I swallowed porpose eyelashes, and I could have just come straight here and given you a name myself?”

“Not you. The Taylor who’s writing the story. You needed to go on the adventure so he could find the child in him.”

“Alright! I’ll do it! I’ll save you. I will do what I dream!” Taylor grabbed his cup and held it up in the air triumphantly. “Frozen Lemonade!” he screamed.

And then it was dark. “Really? A power cut, now?!” he said in frustration, wondering when he’d last saved his writing. Taylor jumped as a beautiful voice responded.

“In the beginning, it is always dark.”

“What the…”

Taylor saw a tiny glow, and watched it grow to reveal the face of the Childlike Empress. “Seriously? You can’t tell me this was all real! I was just making excuses for my lack of ideas! There is no Fantasia.”

Taylor felt the floor beneath him tremble. It was not the floor of his apartment.

“Not any more,” said the empress. “But now that you have named me Frozen Lemonade, you can begin to rebuild.”

“Wait, I have to rebuild?

Frozen Lemonade showed Taylor the glowing object she’d been holding. A pencil. “Give me your hand.”

Taylor held out his hand, and Frozen Lemonade placed the pencil between his fingers. “Now what are you going to write about?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then there will be no Fantasia any more.”

“How much can I write with one pencil?”

“As much as you want. You don’t even need to use this pencil. The more you write, the more magnificent Fantasia will become.”

“Really?”

“Try it.”

So he started writing. He barely noticed when he was transported back to his apartment and the pencil became a glowing laptop screen. He and his laptop had many other amazing adventures, but they are other stories.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , ,

2 Comments

Four of Spades: What Jane Knew


Jane knew she wasn’t supposed to feed chocolate to the lizard. That’s why she did it. She knew Mrs. Beagle always gave a chocolate to whoever got the best score in the maths quiz. That’s why she studied. She knew Mrs. Beagle always left straight after school on Wednesdays. That’s why she chose that day to sneak back into the classroom where the class lizard was kept.

What Jane did not know was what would happen to the lizard when it ate the chocolate.

Jane also did not know that Mrs. Beagle had left her keys behind. That’s why she jumped and dropped the lizard when Mrs. Beagle opened the classroom door. Jane did not know where the lizard went when she dropped it. That’s why she was surprised when it bit her on the ankle a few minutes later, while she was writing out ‘I will not feed chocolate to the lizard’ 100 times on the blackboard. Jane did not know that the chocolate lizard bite would make whatever she wrote come true. That’s why she kept writing. She did not know why she was writing it, since she had never fed chocolate to the lizard, and she wouldn’t, even though she wanted to. That’s why she stopped writing. Jane did not know what to do next. That’s why she started writing a story on the blackboard:

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Jane who knew everything and didn’t need to go to school.

And Jane knew everything. That’s why she wrote that some cake would appear. Jane knew that everything she wrote would come true, and stay true until the bite from the chocolate-fed lizard healed an hour later. That’s why she was worried. She knew that she would have to feed more chocolate to the lizard and let it bite her again when that happened. That’s one of the reasons she wrote that a lot of chocolate appeared. But she knew that she could not feed chocolate to the lizard after writing that she wouldn’t. That’s why she lived out her wildest dreams until the spell wore out just before Mrs. Beagle returned.

Mrs. Beagle still knew what Jane had done. That’s why she came to make sure she’d completed her punishment, even though she’d rather have gone to her mathematics society meeting. Mrs. Beagle did not know what the chocolate-fed-lizard bite had done. That’s why she was surprised by the faint smell of ponies and chocolate cake that disappeared just quickly enough to make her wonder whether she’d ever smelt it. Mrs. Beagle did not know that Jane wanted to feed the lizard again. That’s why she dismissed the girl and left.

Jane knew that Mrs. Beagle would write a disciplinary report detailing everything she’d done. That’s why she put the lizard in Mrs. Beagle’s bag, with her chocolates.

*

Mrs. Beagle knew that something was up when she saw what happened as she wrote about Jane feeding chocolate to the lizard. That’s why she wrote that Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem could be disproven.

, , , , ,

3 Comments

Three of Spades: mp<3


Three of spades saying 'fill their handbag or briefcase with cut out hearts'Note: The whole time I was writing this, I was rapping it in my head in the voice of Devo Spice, or maybe Luke Ski. I guess I can’t really blame them for it, though. A few months later I recorded myself rapping it out loud and also changed one word below and added a stanza and colouring to better represent what happens in the recording.

Are you the kind of person with a song in your heart?
Well, how about a thousand? This is state of the art!
Only Auricle will do, that’s A-U-R-I-C-L-E,
bringing hearts and ears together with the m-p-less-than-three.
With Langendorff technology to keep alive each atrium
and keep the heart cells pumping that potassium and natrium,
Introducing Beat Box, it’s a heart drive full of fun,
a briefcase full of rabbit hearts, a song in every one.

Well, I’m that kind of person, and so when I saw that ad,
I wanted that new Beat Box really really really bad!
but I didn’t have the money and I didn’t have the doe,
so I waited for the copycats to give it a go.
The Tucson Diagnostics artificial heart looked nice,
but how could processed tofu go for such a meaty price?
The chicken hearts were cheap, and beats per minute were comparable,
but animal rights groups said the battery life was terrible.

Well how about this earthworm with its five aortic arches?
It fits straight into the ear and plays imperial death marches.
My hacker friend said he could make a second one for free,
so we pooled our cash to get him one and he made one for me.
At the twenty-somethingth segment he proceeded to hack,
and we waited three long weeks for both the halves to grow back.
I loaded mine with compost and I put it in my ear
heard the music starting up as it climbed into my cochlea.

After that it wouldn’t budge and the controls were disconnected,
and every couple o’ seconds it screamed ‘Copy protected!’
Well I really should have paid to get an Auricle instead,
’cause now my earworm’s in a loop and I’ve a song stuck in my head.
Well I really should have paid to get an Auricle instead,
’cause now my earworm’s in a loop and I’ve a Copy protected! head.
Well I really should have paid to get an Auricle instead,
’cause now my earworm’s Copy protected! I’ve a song stuck in my head.

Well I really should have paid to get an Auricle instead,
Copy protected! earworm’s in a loop and I’ve a song stuck in my head.
Well I really should have paid to get Copy protected! instead,
’cause now my earworm’s in a loop and I’ve a song stuck in my head.
Well I Copy protected! have paid to get an Auricle instead,
’cause now my earworm’s in a loop and I’ve a song Copy protected!
Well I really should have paid to get an Auricle instead,
’cause now my earworm’s Copy protected! I’ve a song stuck in my head.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments

Ace of spades: It’s not a (real) heart


I told you I wouldn’t just be writing this time. Here’s a music video for Jonathan Coulton’s Dissolve, using footage from my unboxing of the level 4 bundle for the album Artificial Heart, which this song is on, and some from JoCo Cruise Crazy and the things I did in Florida before that. I really hope you like it.

Long before I received the package in the mail, I heard that simply opening the box was quite an experience. I carefully avoided reading about what exactly was in the mysterious box, and decided to turn my unboxing into a music video for this song about a mysterious box. As it turned out, a lyric from the song was on the lid of the box. Clearly somebody had to create this video. Maybe somebody else has already done it; I still haven’t watched anyone else’s unboxing videos. If you want to understand what I’m doing, search for level 4 unboxing videos online. Some of them probably include the instructions we’re following.

I eventually received the box just four days before I flew to Florida to visit Universal, Kennedy Space Center, my very first standalone Paul and Storm show, and of course, JoCo Cruise Crazy 2, so I used some footage of those things in the last part of the video. Victory in the warm sun!

If I’d thought about it, I’d have started on the ace of hearts this week instead of the ace of spades. But a spade looks a lot like a heart when upside down, and there were a few other references to hearts on my aces of spades. It’s not a real heart, but it is a real artificial heart.

I filmed this using my new camera, a Canon PowerShot S100, which shoots in full HD and autofocusses while filming. My favourite moment is when I open the box and the camera automatically focusses on the lid of the box, then focusses back on me just as I start smiling. That was quite a lovely fluke. There’s also some nice changes of focus wile the nostalgia device moves around. Everything in this video was shot only once with no rehearsal, while I was opening my level 4 box, or in Florida, or on JoCo Cruise Crazy.  This is new for me; usually I spend far too long getting the footage exactly right. There is a small mistake on the calendar part; I did not do the KSC Close-Up tour two days in a row. I also left in another clip which I think I intended to replace by something else, but if I don’t tell you which it is it’s not bad enough that you’ll notice it.

In case you’re wondering, this video contains 11 ‘dissolve’ transitions, but the transitions that occur when Jonathan sings ‘dissolve’ are actually ‘fade to white’ transitions. Also, the yellow country you can see when he sings ‘here’ of ‘If you need me, I’ll be anywhere but here’ is Jamaica. That’s on a big globe at Geneva airport which I filmed as I was on my way to fly to Orlando.

, , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments

Ace of Diamonds: Fork and Tongs, the play


No new writing this week, just a video and mp3 of my reading a love poem I wrote previously. What can I say? I was only following instructions. I chose this one because it’s more finished than the love poem I wrote last week, I’ve already read it for an audience, and I have all the props required.

I didn’t particularly want to put it on YouTube, since it’s my first video featuring me and I’m kind of self-conscious about it, but I couldn’t find a decent host for it elsewhere. So you’ll just have to suffer through it.

There might be a more novel ace of diamonds next week; one of the cards is perfect for a final Thing. In any case, there will be a second joker, and then this adventure will be over. It won’t be my last adventure, though. Among other things, I’ll probably continue making recordings of Things. Let me know if there are any Things in particular that you’d like recordings of, or any of the Things-with-tunes that you’d like to sing if I sent you the tune I had in mind. There are a few Things I don’t think my robot choir can do justice to. To make it easier for people to follow them, I’m setting up a podcast for them and any similar audio I might produce in the future. It’s not up yet due to various technical problems with the host I planned to use, but I hope to get it working eventually.

, , , , ,

3 Comments

Two of Diamonds: Chemistry


espressocupI’m really glad to meet ya,
you seem just right to me.
You’ve oestrogenic features,
and facial symmetry

and even just the scent of you’s
a whiff of possibility,
it shows without a centrifuge
our histocompatibility.

Whenever we’re carressin’,
I find you quite engrossin’,
I’m filled with vasopressin
endorphins and oxytocin.

Your mouth is like no other,
I kept your kiss-stained cup.
Oh, be my children’s mother!
Your DNA stacks up.

Hold tight while we make lurve
and during the sweet act I’ll
be glad I had the nerve,
especially C-tactile.

What’s that, my anti-phosphodiesterase?
You say you are conscious, too?
In that case, I’ll rephrase:
I meant that I love you.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , ,

3 Comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 749 other followers

%d bloggers like this: