April 30, 2008

Truly Disturbing News

All the talk lately have been about this crazy ass son of a bitch I show you on that picture there. His name is Josef Fritzl, and he's a 73 year old Austrian [insert numerous bad words here].

I don't know how big of a news item this man is over in the States, but that ugly face sure is appearing everywhere all over Europe at this time. While I don't usually post about news items or anything like that, I can't help but want to get some of this out of my system today.

Before you read on - whether or not you've heard the story - I suggest you read the following news article.

Pictured: Inside the cellar where father locked daughter for 24 years and repeatedly raped her

*Taking a breather to collect myself*

*Not really helping*

I don't know what disturbs me the most in this story. Is it the fact that this man held his daughter captive for 24 years in the basement? Is it the fact that he raped her over and over again down there? Is it possibly the fact that she gave birth to 7 children down in that basement?

Maybe, it's the fact that one of those children died because of neglect, and he burned the dead infants remains inside the house. It could also be the fact that he was able to bring three of those kids out of the basement and have them live with him and his wife in a twisted version of freedom. Or, it could be the simple fact that his wife (supposedly) didn't know what was going on in their house for the past 24 years.

Either way - put all of that shit together in one lump, and you probably have the most disturbing set of news that I have ever encountered in my life.

Three kids - 19, 18 and 5 years old - who have never, since the day they were born, seen the light of day... never ever been outside of that cramped living compartment this man had built under his house to keep his family imprisoned.

I would usually go about analyzing a thing like this - but this all goes beyond my ability to comprehend.

I find this more disturbing, even, than the likes of Andrei Chikatilo, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy or any other serial killer who's spread their terror upon us. At least the victims of these people didn't live to experience the horror every day for years and years.

Can either one of those victims - the mother, or the 6 children - ever go on to live a productive and happy life?

Sadly... I don't think so.

Since I am rather speachless on the subject - feel free to discuss this in the comments, where I'll join in to the best of my ability.

April 29, 2008

WWC / Page 123 Meme

As the week hits Tuesday we all know what's going down by now... that's right - it is all about the Weekly Words Challenge! Hosted by the lovely no-day pretender Tink of Pickled Beef, this week we bring you the words ONE and WATER to play with.

Now, I meant to catch up a bit with all y'all's blogs today, but let me just tell you I've had a horror day of the first degree! Starting off with talking to some imbecile over at the UO (of which details I will not go into, because we're all getting sick of the UO talk), after which I go to the car wash to get my car all nice and shiny. Yup - it got nice and shiny, and will cost me a pretty penny. Fucking numbnuts R.E.H. left the damn antenna up, and will have to replace it. See, I don't usually go to the auto car-wash. I do it manually... so I just didn't think about what the consequences of listening to music in the car would be...

After that, I quickly (is how I thought it would happen) decided to get my summer tires on the car. I had them at this place for storage over the winter (by law in Sweden you have to change tires each summer and winter, and after May 1st you are not allowed to have winter tires on). I sat and waited at the place for over two hours to get the job done... after which it was too late to get to the shop and fix the antenna.

They were nice enough though, and even bought me some ice-cream. Spring has sprung (HA!) upon us in a hurry - almost to the point of skipping it all together, bring on summer straight away. Nice and warm out today.

Ooooh... I started rambling. Let's move on!

I've been tagged with a couple of meme's and decided to get one of them out of the way today on WWC day.

The HOT and SEXY Spiky Zora Jones over at Bit Player Reflects wants to know what book I'm currently reading, and tagged me to do the 123rd page meme that I've seen going around for a while. In case you haven't caught up on her blog, it is about time you do so - her blog is as HOT and SEXY as she is (somebody fan me!).

Let's get down to it - there are rules (but I will not tag anyone else... feel free to do it if you feel so inclined) .

The rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book = Currently picking up on some of the books I missed reading back in the 80's when they were new ;) This one was left behind in the States, and I got it back last year. Only now have I gotten the chance to read it... The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub.

2. Open to page 123 = Oki doki.

3. Find the fifth sentence = "If it happened to me, I suppose I would," the man said.

4. Post the next three sentences = "Well, I hope your mother gets better in a hurry."
"You and me both," Jack said with perfect honesty. And that held them until the signs for the Oatley exit began to appear.

5. Tag five people = Nope!

With that taken care of... let's have a look at this weeks WWC pictures:

Hope you enjoyed the pictures. I was running out of WATER pictures, because I've used so many shots of the river and the lakes in my surroundings for other WWC words - but I was able to find a few new locations.

Next week we'll be playing with the words THREE and FIRE.

April 28, 2008

Unemployed Ramblings

After a bit of rowdy shenanigans over the weekend, it is time for me to do one of those "ramblings" posts again. You know, where I talk a little about this and then a bit about that - stuff that is currently on my mind in one way or another.

And, more so than anything - the fact that I am now officially unemployed (as of today) is one thing that is on my mind. The workings of being unemployed in this country is absolutely crazy, and from what I hear, it is a lot worse now than it was when I last experienced this state of being about 4+ years ago. Hence, the title of todays ramblings are "Unemployed Ramblings".

The Unemployement Office: The place to go when out of a job is the Unemployement Office. This is required for you to recieve payment from the Union (we pay monthly as we work - or not - to a pool of money from which we can collect unemployment benefits for up to six months... after that, we become the product of the welfare system). Unless you are registered with the unemployment office, you can not collect the money.

This all sounds reasonable to me. But, it is how things at the UO (Unemployment Office) are handled that pisses me off. Not only do they treat you like dirt - they refuse to help you, and as you walk in with a million questions (as you don't have a clue how things work around here) they point you to a computer. I don't want a computer, I can log onto that site at home... I came all the way down here because I felt the need to speak to a human being and have my questions answered. You then have to book a meeting, and hope you get to talk with someone who knows a thing or two. From my last experience of this place - very few of the people working here can tell you a damn thing worth knowing.

Top this off with the fact that they force people to take jobs - any jobs they think are suitable for you. That means, that because I have experience in retail - every single retail job available is going to be forced upon me. They don't give a damn that I don't want to work in that line of work any more... and if I refuse - there goes my benefits, and welfare isn't going to give me any money either... so I would stand without any form of income (save from robbing a few convenience stores and the occasional boondocks bank). Lately, I hear from others, they have also taken it upon themselves to force people to move to another city if they can find you a job there... listen - I'm not moving to another city in Sweden - if I'm moving, it'll be a hell of a lot longer than that. I've even heard of some people being forced to take a job in our neighboring country of Norway (see, them Norwegians actually have jobs)... how in the hell is that going to help the unemployment crisis is Sweden?

Beware, as this goes on, that I may have some very angry rants on this blog - it's all coming back to me now. What it is like to be unemployed in this country. I swear to you, I would rather be locked up in jail... hell, they even have their own Union Reps in jails over here - not long ago (and, no I'm not kidding) they were fighting for their rights to have televisions in their cells, and for their rights to have access to PORN!

Guys... these are criminals? Many of them sexual predators... they have NO right for porn. You know, as long as TV and porn is readily available - I'll go to jail and actually enjoy it too.

See how that happens? You talk about the UO, and you finish up in jail. It is all too much of a possibility that this happens too... I might end up hurting someone in one of my visits there.

"HOUSE DOCTORS": A number of years ago, things changed in the local medical centers. We no longer belonged to a certain health facility, but rather to a specific doctor. As these changes took place, I know I filled out the papers so that I could see the same doctor I had been going to since I was a kid. I didn't need a visit to the doctor's office in about three years, and upon my arrival I found out that I did not belong to this hospital, and as such I was not welcome. I was furious!

It's been another couple of years, and for the past six months my left shoulder has been bothering me. It really flares up when I try certain exercises at the gym, so for quite some time I've known that I need to go see a doctor about it... you know - after six months you can feel pretty certain it isn't going away by itself. So, today, I actually went back and was able to sign up to a doctor at the same hospital I've always gone to. Not my old doctor, but some new woman doc... I'll be giving her a call tomorrow and see if I can come in and have a look at that shoulder.

Balloon Angioplasty: Hospitals seems to be the theme today. Interestingly enough, apart from jail, hospitals are a likely place to end up when dealing with the UO. Either on account of a mental breakdown, or from stress-induced heart failure. Heart failure is not something to joke about...

One of my best friends, only 41 years old, apparently had to have a coronary angioplasty last week. He had been feeling down for a couple of months, and when he went out for a walk, he had to stop and catch his breath every so often. And, then he was feeling this intense pressure in his chest. For months he figured he had an infection of sorts, and didn't think much of it. He finally did go to the doctor's to have it checked out, and was rushed to the hospital for the surgery.

These things scare the living crap out of me... these things remind me that I am getting old. My friends are getting old, and dammit do I have some living left to do. Now, 41 is very young to suffer from this - and the fact that he has diabetes is part of what caused it.

I only heard of these news this weekend, and ran into him at the grocery store today. I was going to call him tonight anyway to check up on him. He was doing great now, and was out walking a few miles every day... and he didn't have to stop and catch his breath anymore. For that he was grateful!

Party was wild: I'll finish this rambling up on a lighter note. The party this weekend was a success. Apart from the new woman at my old job, whom I detest, we were a good group of people who got together. This new woman, by the way, has become the manager of the store since I was let go... Thank the Lord I am no longer there!

Anyway... we had fun, drinking, eating nachos and playing Singstar on the Playstation. That stupid game actually figured I hit the notes pretty well... I'm sure the judges of American Idol would say otherwise... I did not sing a pretty tune, I tell you!

We hit the bars later on, and even I spent a lot of time strutting my stuff on the dance floor... I can NOT dance, I tell you (so that leaves me out of favor with the judges of "Do You Think You Can Dance..." as well.)

I also met a couple of old friends that I haven't seen in many years. That's always fun... and then I hooked up with some drunk bimbo for a while, but it ended right there (and all for the better).

Yesterday... as usual... I paid the price for having a bit of fun. It's getting more and more expensive by the year to party... gone are the days when you could get hammered and then get up and be productive the next day. I have a strong resemblance to a zombie the day after...

April 24, 2008

7 Deadly Sins: Sloth

After yesterday's post it is only fitting enough that we continue the 7 Deadly Sins series and have a close look at the sin of Sloth.

When I started this series, and did that little test/quiz it showed me that my most prominent sin was that of Lust. I guess, if we're going to be totally honest, that Lust is what is on my mind more than anything - and let's face it: The questiones asked on that quiz wanted to know what is on my mind. Which is probably why I don't score high on Sloth.

I mean... who's going to choose the option "lie around doing nothing on a couch" over "have kinky sex with a beautiful woman". It is quite easy to direct people in a certain direction...

Sloth, however, may actually be the sin that I indulge the most in. Especially of late, as you learned from yesterday's little post.

Anyway. Before we get too deep into the thoughts on Sloth, lets grab that quote from wikipedia as has become customary in this little series... it gives me a good reference to look at while I write.

More than other sins, the definition of sloth has changed considerably since its original inclusion among the seven deadly sins. In fact it was first called the sin of sadness. It had been in the early years of Christianity characterized by what modern writers would now describe as melancholy: apathy, depression, and joylessness — the last being viewed as being a refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world He created. Originally, its place was fulfilled by two other aspects, Acedia and Sadness. The former described a spiritual apathy that affected the faithful by discouraging them from their religious work. Sadness (tristitia in Latin) described a feeling of dissatisfaction or discontent, which caused unhappiness with one's current situation. When St. Thomas Aquinas selected Acedia for his list, he described it as an "uneasiness of the mind," being a progenitor for lesser sins such as restlessness and instability. Dante refined this definition further, describing Sloth as being the "failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind and all one's soul." He also described it as the middle sin, and as such was the only sin characterised by an absence or insufficiency of love. In his Purgatorio, the slothful penitents were made to run continuously at top speed.

The modern view of the vice, as highlighted by its contrary virtue zeal/diligence, is that it represents the failure to utilize one's talents and gifts. For example, a student who does not work beyond what is required (and thus fails to achieve his or her full potential) could be labeled 'slothful'.

Current interpretations are therefore much less stringent and comprehensive than they were in medieval times, and portray Sloth as being more simply a sin of laziness or indifference, of an unwillingness to act, an unwillingness to care (rather than a failure to love God and His works). For this reason Sloth is now often seen as being considerably less serious than the other sins, more a sin of omission than of commission. The South American animal was named after this sin by Roman Catholic explorers.

Oooh... that's a bit of a longer paragraph than the others got. So, lets get right to it!

It was first called the sin of sadness: You know. I think the vast majority of us when we hear about Sloth, we think of laziness... of not doing anything and basically just wasting time. We picture a dude with an enormous beer belly, sporting a torn and dirty old white t-shirt, and a can of beer in one hand. His other hand reaching under his equally dirty boxers scratching his balls while watching some uninspiring talk show host interviewing sex-crazed teens. I had never even heard of Sloth as Sadness before... but reading it makes perfect sense to me. I don't think anyone can reach the stage I just described without experiencing a great deal of sadness. In essence... is Sloth not just the end result of great Sadness?

Refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world He created: Refusal is a very strong word... inability is more the case for most people who indulge in Sloth, I would imagine. And, I am not writing about these sins with a religious view, so we'll just basically consider the world He created, as the world around us. This would then pretty much sum up my take on the meaning of Sloth. And, am I guilty? Indeed I am... to a certain extent of course. There are a lot of things that I dream of doing, that I want to do, and quite a few that I actually need to do, but yet I find myself incapable of doing just that. I find myself sitting around doing nothing because it is so much easier that way... Yeah, I know - I need to change this pattern. This is not something that I frequently do, though... or at least not always. I just seem to go through periods of doing basically nothing (of importance).

A feeling of dissatisfaction or discontent, which caused unhappiness with one's current situation: Jackpot! Well, I guess this is pretty much hitting the nail on the head when describing my situation. I am not satisfied with what I have accomplished in many aspects of life, and I do feel that I could achieve so much more. One of the major reasons I haven't been able to reach my potential, is based on circumstance beyond my control. If I am to go all therapeutic on myself, I will tell myself that circumstance is just what I choose to blame this upon...

The slothful penitents were made to run continuously at top speed: Sounds like I've lately been planning to punish myself then. You know, I have thought of going out running for a stretch every morning, to start off the day. Ok - let's be honest... this running will be done at a moderate jogging speed - surely not at top speed. I'd be too lazy for that!

Represents the failure to utilize one's talents and gifts: Exactly! Again! Damn, I'm learning a thing or two as I work my way through this little sin. At least, this is how I feel - if I am right or wrong, well, that's for others to decide. But, I do feel that my talents lie in the creative business. I write, I've made movies, I've acted and I've played around with designing computer games. Plain and simple... I love to create. Yet, I don't do it. Not to the fullest anyway. I've got hundreds of stories that I started to write - only a couple of them have reached a first draft stage... still waiting for me to go through them and re-write them. Anyone who thinks that re-writing isn't necessary needs to learn a few things about writing. No one will ever write anything perfectly at first. There are always things that require improvement. Yes - require! Not just... "could use" improvement. I just have a major problem finishing things off... I always come up with some new idea that I can't wait to get started on, and so a lot of half finished (or just started) projects get left behind.

A student who does not work beyond what is required: This is getting uncanny. Yes, I was that student. Teachers would always tell me (and sometimes my mom, in hopes she could turn me around) that I have so much potential, if only I would study more. Truth be told - I went through my entire high school and college years without doing a single homework assignment, and still managed to graduate with average grades (well, I had average grades before I was kicked out of college, anyway). Hey! I had other things to do in my spare time than to sit with my face down in school books.

Sloth is now often seen as being considerably less serious than the other sins: I know this refers to what is important "in the eyes of the Lord", but I would say that this is definitely one of the most serious sins in our personal lives. I mean, most other sins deal with enjoyment or pleasure of some sort - while Sloth really hurts our very own well being. In that respect - Sloth should possibly be considered the worst of all the 7 Deadly Sins.

The South American animal was named after this sin by Roman Catholic explorers: And isn't it one of the funniest looking animals you ever saw?

Well, that concludes my look into Sloth as a sin. But, I will leave you with another song on my playlist which I feel represents Sloth well. And, I do recommend you give this one a listen even if you don't usually listen to the songs I put up there. This is one of the best songs ever recorded in my opinion - a magnificent power ballad by Skid Row called "Wasted Time". I would sure like to be able to sing with the kind of power that Sebastian Bach shows off in this song. Right at the end there, when he starts singing "I never thought you'd let it get this far, boy"... that stuff just reaches in and pulls your heart right out of your chest, leaving a massive chest cavity in which the sound goes right to the core of your spine. Seriously - this is one good tune!

April 23, 2008

Inside Looking Out

I said that I was going to go a little "old-style" on you people this week, and blog a little bit about the current situation that I find myself in. As you regular readers have probably noticed, there has been a lack of posts that speak of what is going on in my life of late... well, let's have a peak, shall we - and I'm sorry I don't have too many good news to share.

Apart from the party happening this weekend, there really isn't anything fun to report.

I mean, as I lost my job, I thought of it as a good opportunity. I hated the place, and under no circumstances would I want to return to work there - I am still very pleased to be out of that hell hole.

But, what I have found out since I didn't have a place to go every day for work is this.

A) I have a tendency to fall into apathy. I am nowhere near as productive now that I should have all the time in the world to be that. I am not utilizing all this freedom to my advantage, and time flies.

B) When looking for a new job, I have only come to the conclusion that there isn't a single job out there that I would enjoy working at. At least not jobs that are available or jobs that I am qualified to do.

Now, I thought about packing up and leaving the country. Fucking brilliant idea (excuse the french, but I get emotional sometimes)! This is in fact the one thing that I really feel would be right for me at the moment. It is right for me if I am being 100% selfish, that is.

I'm still planning to go - but it won't be likely to happen until earliest at the end of the year - probably even next year sometime. In the meantime I need to save up a few dollars to get me started when I get over to the States. I mean, I'm gonna need some rent money, a car, and enough cash left over to feed me for two-three moths until I am sure I have a steady income... or, I could try to get a job from here and have that ready for me when I land. I wonder how that would work?

Either way... I could use some more savings before moving. I am not going to completely drain my current life savings for the move, because who knows the repurcussions I would suffer then! And, saving up money means I need a job, because what I get from the state is barely going to cover my bills. And, I'll probably be living off pasta and... well pasta and ketchup. Water on the side ;) Nah, it's not gonna be that bad... I'll probably be able to afford a bowl of freshly boiled rice every once in a while.

This job that I should get could be anything that pays a decent salary. I can't be too picky, but still I am faced with a few retail jobs as the only choice, and Lord knows I don't want to do retail again. I did see a sales job that would require a lot of travelling, and that I could do - I like to travel. Problem was, salary was only based on sales, no basic payment at all, and I've tried that before. That was the only job I ever had in which I actually lost money instead of made any. At least I got to stay at hotels for free for a month. In total, though, I'd lost about 2.000 dollars on that job in one month... so you can see my aversion towards these types of businesses.

Writing... journalism. This I could do, and I do believe I could do it well. A few years ago I even wrote a few pieces for the local newspaper, and I did a couple of movie reviews. But, try to get hired at a newspaper without a degree in journalism to show... not gonna happen.

So... should I go back to school? I guess - if I want to get a better job than your average junk piece of work. But, going to school right now is a waste of time and money. If indeed I am going to move, that is simply out of the question.

End result of all that I just wrote is - I really don't know what I want or what to do to get it. Not right now.

So, at the moment, I try to spend some time at the gym working out. I've thought about going out into the woods for a jog once every day, now that spring finally does seem to have arrived... I need a pair of jogging shoes for that.

So, yeah. Over all, I am a little down. Have been for a couple of weeks now, and it's taking its toll on my blogging as well. For some weird reason, it seems, getting a job and actually having less free time, would give me more time to effectively be productive and creative...

Apart from that, you might say that I am being a bit slothful at the moment... and we will probably have a little closer look at that tomorrow, as (fittingly enough) I will discuss the sin labeled Sloth of the 7 Deadly Sins series tomorrow.

April 22, 2008

WWC / Party Time

At the blink of an eye, another week has passed us by and it has become Tuesday again. And, as always Tuesday's are when we play a little game called the WWC (aka Weekly Words Challenge).

The fun and games is, as you darn well should know, brought to you by Blogville's very own gorgeous Prom Queen, Tink of Pickled Beef, and the words she has chosen for us to play with this week are FIVE and WIND.

For a second there I thought I wasn't going to get any pictures this week, because there has not been a hint of a breeze in the air all week... but, I started to think outside the box a little and came up with quite a few pictures for you this week.

Another little note. I got a call from a (former) co-worker the other day, and now they've finally decided to throw me a going away party this weekend. It has been something we always do when someone leaves the job - throw them a party in their honor. I was beginning to worry that I wasn't "popular" enough for them to want to party with me... hehe. And, some of these people I still consider my friends. So, it's going to be fun - and I'm going to get wasted.

Yes, I really don't have a choice. This one girl, who made the call, is probably as good at drinking as my favorite party gal Tequila Mockingbird. There is just no way anyone can escape the liqour assault when she's around... and, she's always a lot of fun.

Well, Friday is my last official day of employment at the place - so I guess now is the time to actually go crazy.

Ok - with that said... let's look at this weeks WWC pictures:

Those are my pictures for this week!

Tink hasn't posted her WWC yet, so I'll get back here to update this post with the words for next week once she does.

Tink has now posted her WWC, and announced that the words for next week are ONE and WATER. That should be reasonably easy and fun (last time I said a WWC was going to be easy I struggled like hell).

Don't forget to check out the pictures for the next PFC in case you missed the post yesterday!

April 21, 2008

PFC #4

As we move on the the fourth edition of the Picture Fiction Challenge I can tell you that this thing has become a much bigger success than I could have ever imagined. And, there have been some excellent stories written, so it has been a whole lot of fun blog-hoppin' and reading up on your stories. I would like to take this opportunity give my thanks for participating to those who do, and also a big Thank You to those who do not participate, but still show up to read and comment on the stories.

Any newcomers who would like to try their hand at this writing exercise are of course welcome - last month saw yet another couple of newbies who offered some really good stories. You will be able to access last months stories from the sidebar links all month.

And, don't forget to check out the ARCHIVES for previous PFC entries!

The deadline for PFC#4 will be set at May 14th - May 16th, which should give you ample time to write a story.

If you're new to the game, you might want to read through the rules below. If not - scroll on down and get a peek at the pictures for next months story!

Each picture below represents a certain aspect of the story. Analyze each picture and try to interpret what you see into the specific category the picture represents.

Character(s): The main character(s) of your story. This is the person(s) whose perspective the story is told through. You can have any number of additional characters, but the one(s) on this picture are who we will relate to.

Objective: This is the overall objective of the story. That which our main character is trying to achieve - what the MC is trying to reach. This is the objective of the story.

Setting: The place where the story unfolds.

Item: An item of significant* importance to the story.

Random: This could be a picture of anything at all, and what you see on that picture must have a significant* importance in the story you write.

*significant. That means that these things do not simply appear in a fleeting moment in the story. They hold an importance to the events that unfold, and are as such necessary to the outcome and progression of the story.


All of the picture representations must be present in the final story.

The story you write can be as long or short as you wish.

You can write the story in either first or third person perspective.

The story must be a fictional story.


The deadline to post the story on your blog will be between 14th - 16th of May. Not sooner - not later! (Ideally, everyone posts on the 14th, but I'm giving you a couple extra days because there are many reasons one may not be able to post on a specific day)

Let me know in a comment when you have posted your contribution, so I can add a link to your blog (and story) in a list of all participants on my sidebar.

Read the other people's stories (only after you've posted your own) and comment on their writing.

Those are the rules and here are the pictures that we get to work with for Picture Fiction Challenge #4:



Remember! You can click the pictures here and go to the Flickr page they came from, so you can see higher resolution versions of them.

Lots of colorful pictures this time around, and I'm hoping to see lots of colorful stories to go with it in mid May.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the WWC!

April 20, 2008

Funday Sunday: "Crazy Taxi"

You gotta love those Japanese television shows!

Today I chose a Funday Sunday post which makes you think twice about riding a taxi ever again. I just wish I could understand what they are saying in this clip, but words aren't really necessary to get the feel here.

Anywhere else in the world - the TV-station would have their asses sued if they pulled a stunt like this! This would surely be the ride of your life.

Unless... if you're from New York City, this is pretty much just your average ride. Last time I took a cab in NYC (a couple of years ago) I actually hit my head on the ceiling.


April 19, 2008

Wordzzle / Next Week Preview

After missing out last week, I am back to play the Wordzzle challenge again. This is a fun little word-game that is hosted by the very talented Raven over at Views from Raven's Nest. Head on over to her place to check out the rules of this little game, and find out who else played!

A lot of fun and interesting little stories usually come up during the Wordzzle play, so I recommend going around reading those (they are usually much shorter than the PFC stories).

Lets take a look at the normal 10-word challenge: cocker spaniel, penultimate, fetters, warranty, tarmac, quartz, paparazzi, apple sauce, earsplitting, lackadaisical

And this is the story I came up with:

The paparazzi was there to capture the moment of Adam Sanderman's mental breakdown. His lackadaisical approach during the punultimate race to win this years edition of American Idol was front page news on virtually all of the entertainment magazines.

"You're putting fetters on your own chances to win this thing", was one famous line from one of the judges. Up until the final stages of the show, everyone thought Adam Sanderman would win with ease.

His Quartz watch had stopped working. Not that big of a deal. Get your warranty out and go get it fixed. It became much more of a deal than Sanderman would have ever expected. It's one thing to not focus one hundred percent on winning a competition - a whole other thing not to focus while you're driving a car.

Before he knew what had happened, he had flattened an old lady's
cocker spaniel to the tarmac of the road. In shock, he quickly exited the vehicle to the earsplitting screams of the old lady, and saw a mass that reminded him of apple sauce under the wheels. He snapped. A blubbering mass of incoherent mumblings, he fell to his knees and started to cry.

The paparazzi was there to capture that moment, and the front page of Celebrity Report sported a graphic picture of Adam on his knees crying, behind him an old lady screaming with her hands held out. A close-up picture of the dead dog was inserted, and the caption read:


What is the world coming to?

Ok... I know. I broke one of the golden rules of writing with this one - and I'm sorry about that. I read in a book on writing once that you should never kill a dog if you want to get the sympathy of a reader. Dogs are man's best friend and all - but I have to go with whatever story line pops up in my head from these words. I hope I didn't offend anyone ;)

Then, there is the mini 5-word challenge: spinach, interwoven, compromise, tennis, intangible

Again... I went for the single sentence approach with this one:

There is no compromise to the intangible rule that success as a tennis player is interwoven with eating spinach.

There you have it. My Wordzzle contribution of the week!

Tomorrow is Funday Sunday, and we'll see what I'll have in store for you then. On Mondays of late I have been running my new 7 Deadly Sins series, but will bump the next sin up until Wednesday or Thursday, as I will give you the pictures for next months Picture Fiction Challenge on Monday, and Tuesday's as you all know is reserved for the Weekly Words Challenge. One of those days next week, I am going to go old-style R.E.H. and tell you a little bit about my current situation.

Looks like it will be a busy blogging week ahead!

Don't forget to read up on my PFC story, in case you missed it!

April 17, 2008

PFC #3: "The Spirit Of Loa"

After a bit of a garbage delay and some serious writer's block, I am finally able to present a story for this months Picture Fiction Challenge. I had to bang my head several times against the surface of my desk to shake out a few words today, hehe.

Anyway - as you probably have noticed, I've been keeping the links up to date on the sidebar here, as well as in the archives - so I hope you all got around to read some good stories. I've been longing to do the same myself, but as it is nearing midnight here, I might have to save a couple of them for tomorrow.

I might just as well tell you this before I present my story. The next PFC challenge will be announced on Monday. I've decided to present the next challenge quickly after the last one - that way we get a little more time to write. And - if you're anything like me - the inspiration level is higher right after you have posted and read these things, so maybe that'll help us all get a good jump.

Well, enough of the chit chat - you have plenty of reading ahead of you as it is!

Here is my story:

********** THE SPIRIT OF LOA **********

She weaseled her way down the streets in the Harbor District area, head down and a firm grip on her guitar case. She hurried as fast as she could walk, without running. She avoided making eye contact with anyone on the street. Dressed in a green mini-skirt and a red sleeveless top, her masculine features made her look like some crazed cross-dresser. Anywhere else in town she would draw attention simply by the way she looked. Not down here in the Harbor District. Down here is where all the low lives roamed the streets - the hookers, the tricks, the homeless, the druggies and their dealers. Every now and then she would lift her gaze to check out the surroundings and try to localize where she was, and where she needed to go.

She had to be close now.

An hour earlier she had left the hotel behind. The other girls were asleep, and she had gone up, grabbed her guitar and then she ran down the hall, down the stairs – too nervous to wait for the elevator – and through the lobby and out onto the streets. She was leaving her old life behind. She was leaving the band, the girls and the life she sold her soul to get.

Growing up had been tough. She fought, she drank, fucked around and did drugs and alcohol. Her life was destined to be a short one, likely raped, murdered and left dying in the gutter of some deserted alleyway. She contemplated suicide often, but she loved her guitar. Playing her music made her feel good – playing her music is what would keep her sane and even alive. Her music was angry. She let everything out of her when she plugged the electric guitar into the amplifier.

She wanted stardom. She wanted the world at her feet as she played them her music.

That’s what Anabel had promised her. That’s what Anabel gave to her. And, now she was running away from it all, fearing for her life.

Maxime Steel stopped for a second to catch her breath. She felt her heart pounding in her chest – even in her ears as she leaned against a wall. She looked up, trying to figure out where she was. She didn’t know this city at all – this was the first time she’d ever been here, but this place could provide her salvation. If the stories she heard were true, there was a small voodoo shop in one of the back alleys down here. The magician who ran the place was well known among practitioners of Voodoo. Pierre-Jean Brassard was a master magician, and only he would have the powers to save her from her fate.

Her head snapped to her side as she heard a chirping sound. Her eyes fell on a yellow-rumped warbler as it landed in a small planted tree on the sidewalk. In its mouth was a worm, squirming helplessly for a second, before the beautiful bird cocked its head back and seemed to swallow it whole. Maxime watched in fascination. Spring was in the air – she’d seen a bird just like it outside the window of her hotel room as she dressed up in a hurry and grabbed the guitar case. She had to move on, before someone noticed her guitar, and wanted to steal it from her.

The guitar she could live without. It was the thing that was lying next to it in inside the guitar case she needed to protect. The thing Anabel had given to her - the thing which held her soul captive. The Loa Doll.

Anabel showed up that one day when Maxime and her band “Butch Bitches” were looking for a new singer. The Butch Bitches were just an obscure garage punk band of girls looking to blow off some steam. Occasionally they would play in some backstreet joint where people were generally so blacked out or stoned that they couldn’t make sense of any kind of music, but Maxime always wanted the band to be her salvation. She wanted to play in front of thousands of adoring fans, screaming her name and going crazy as she ripped a vicious solo. But, she was never a good enough guitar player to go beyond an angry, monotonous riff from start to finish of a song.

Anabel was a raw singer. Perfect for the band, and she said she could make the Butch Bitches a raving success. Maxime wanted it – the other girls did too. A ticket out of poverty was the lure.

But, there was a price to pay.

“Sell your soul to Loa”, she had told her.

“Loa?”, Maxime had asked her, thinking she would do anything for fame.

“Loa is a powerful Voodoo spirit. If we give our souls to Loa, Loa will give us fame and fortune”.

So, Anabel had given her the Loa Doll, and Maxime had spilled her blood onto it. She will never forget that day, as she could feel her soul being drained from her body. She felt as if she was high on some incredibly powerful drug, and she felt invincible. From then on she had never looked back. From then on the road to stardom lay in front of her, and the Butch Bitches were now playing in front of crowds of 20-30 thousand fans.

But, there was a price to pay, and as the crowds grew larger the price went up. Loa wanted blood, sacrificial blood. And to honor their God, the Butch Bitches would take unsuspecting fans to a “party” after the show, where they killed them ceremoniously and sacrificed their blood to Loa. It had always struck Maxime as fascinating how easily the fans would let themselves be murdered, but they too – the fans – were under the powerful spell of Loa. Their music drew them in, captivated them and made them want to die for him.

But, Maxime wanted out.

The yellow-rumped warbler took flight and Maxime watched as it flew around the corner into a narrow alley.

Down there, she thought. That’s where it is.

She started walking again. Faster than before, eager to look down that street. She couldn’t explain it, but she just new that the Brassard Laundr-O-Mat would be down there, and behind the laundry machines there would be a small draped passage leading to a flight of stairs to the second floor. That was where the voodoo shop was.

Maxime rounded the corner, and saw what she had been hoping to see. The place looked run down and for a second she thought it may have closed. Forever. That would be just her luck. She could not turn back now. Anabel would know by know that she had eloped, and the punishment for that would be severe. Anabel would evoke Loa’s rage upon her, and her fate would be far worse than death alone.

Unable to hold her composure any longer, Maxime started running down the street. As she stopped just outside the door, she noticed the yellow-rumped warbler sitting on top of a fire hydrant… as if it were looking at her.

She walked inside. No one seemed to be there. All the machines stood still and empty. The smell of incense was powerful, and comforting. The incense assured her that she was in the right place.

Behind a large clothes dryer, she noticed the small passage, covered only with a colorful beaded drape. She went through it and ran up the stairs – praying that Pierre-Jean would be there.

She came upstairs and saw a jungle of paraphernalia. Crows feet, dried lizards and chicken heads. All sorts of dolls, incense and jars full of things she didn’t even want to know what they were. But, no sign of another human being.

She looked at the many different voodoo dolls, and was relieved that she didn’t see one that resembled her own. The Loa Doll was much too powerful, and if Pierre-Jean would have them in the store, Maxime would be worried that he too, like Anabel, belonged to Loa. Loa was an evil spirit.

“Lady, you look like you was run over by a freight train”.

She spun around, surprised at the voice behind her. She came face to face with a large Haitian man, tattooed and pierced like he added one each day to his face… for the past 20 years. He had dreadlocks, and colored beads – making him look like a crazed punked out rasta man. His eyes penetrated her very soul… had she had one.

“Brassard?”, she asked. “Are you Pierre-Jean Brassard”.

“You are a lady of question. You have a purpose”, he motions to an old arm chair. “Let us sit.”

Maxime didn’t want to sit. She needed to know she was speaking to the right man… her life depended on it.

“I asked you a fucking question. Are you Brassard?”

That dead stare of his wouldn’t leave her eyes, and she was getting uncomfortable with it.

“What troubles you, lady? And for what do you seek the guidance of the spirits?”

“I’m not talking to anyone but Pierre-Jean”, Maxime says and sits down in the arm chair. She found she was too exhausted to stand up any more.

“Then speak, troubled lady”. His eyes never leaving hers, penetrating deep. Was he looking for her soul? You keep looking fucker, she thought. You’re not going to find it in there. My soul is trapped in a fucking doll in my fucking guitar case.

As if he could read her mind, Pierre-Jean’s gaze wandered to her guitar case. Then back to her eyes.

“Well, you better fucking be Brassard then. I’m in some deep shit, and I hear you can help me.”

He sits down in front of her, in an identical arm chair facing the one she is sitting in. For a second his gaze shifts back to her guitar case. She gets the feeling he is a little nervous after all – despite his unfaltering eyes.

“Show me”, he says.

“Shit man…”, she begins. “I don’t know where the hell to start. It is bad… it is really fucking bad, and-“, she is interrupted.

“Lady, I don’t want to hear. I want to see. Show me what is in that guitar case”.

“Maybe I need to explain…”, she could almost feel his eyes penetrating her – forcing her to stop talking. “Ok. Fine.”

She picks up the guitar case and opens it up. Carefully holding the guitar up, so that she can reach into the small compartment where the Loa Doll is hidden. As she touches it, she feels a razor sharp pain shooting through her entire body. The doll is small, brown with piercing black eyes. It’s mouth is a gaping wound of blood red with a line of sharp teeth on the top and bottom.

She takes it out and holds it out to him.

His face paled instantly, and she could hear his breath slowing down – almost ceasing completely. But, his eyes never falter.

“Loa…”, he whispers.

“Yes!”, she almost shouts. “It’s a fucking Loa Doll, and I want my fucking soul back!”

“Silence!”, he screams at her, and stands up quickly. “Do not curse in the presence of a Loa Doll! You do not want to anger it, Lady”

“Can you help me?”, she gets up herself. Walking toward him, with the doll held out in front of her. He takes a step back.

“Maybe…”, he says. “Loa is a powerful spirit. Lady put the doll back where it belongs”

“I don’t want it”, she says. “I want you to bring my spirit back to me and get rid of this fucking doll”.

“Put it back!”, he screams at her. “And, stop with the cursing! I will try to help, but I can’t help you here. You can only help yourself, and I will give you what you need. Then you leave here, lady. Far from here, and you help yourself”

Desperate, and defeated, Maxime puts the doll back in the guitar case. Pierre-Jean watches intently as she does so.

“Good”, he says. “I don’t want Loa to see me”. Then he turns and starts going through a lot of stuff in the store. He is putting together some things in a small wooden box, and after a short while he returns and holds out the box to her. She puts her hands on it, and as she does, Jean-Pierre clamps both his hands onto hers and squeezer her hands tight.

“Take this, lady. Go far away - out of this city. Only then must you open this box. Only then must you see what is inside, or your soul will be lost forever.”

Those eyes of his look into hers so powerfully that she can barely breathe.

“Thank You”, she says for the first time in her life. “How much do I owe you?”

“You owe me only one thing, lady. Do not open the box until you are out of the city.” He lets go of her hands. “Now, go!”

She takes her guitar case and the small wooden box, and hurries down the stairs. As she exits the Laundr-O-Mat she notices the warbler still waiting for her on the fire hydrant. As soon as she notices it, it takes flight again. She watches as it flutters down the alley, and lands on top of a car.

Maxime runs after it. The bird was showing the way – she knew that now. The bird was showing her the way to freedom. She had stolen many a car in her youth, and she knew she could still do it. She ran up to the drivers side door and crashed the windshield with her elbow. Pain shot up through her arm as blood started pouring out of the wound. It was a small price to pay for freedom.

She unlocked the door and hopped inside, quickly breaking off the panel underneath the steering wheel, and expertly – as if it was only yesterday – wired it started. The bird suddenly took flight again and disappeared into the night.

“Thank you little birdie”, she said after it and then she drove.

She drove fast, but careful. She didn’t want to be stopped by the police now. Not when she was so close. She got on the highway and left the city behind. Soon after the city lights were behind her, she took an exit and went down a small road headed towards the mountains.

When she was certain that she was far from civilization, and no cars would be passing through, she pulled over to the side of the road, and stopped the car. She grabbed the small wooden box Pierre-Jean had given her and stepped out of the car. Her heart was pounding heavily in her chest. Was this finally it? Was this the end of the Hell she’d been going through for all those years?

No more sacrifices. No more blood spilled. No more death on her conscious. No more Anabel and the girls of Butch Bitches. Only freedom!

She heard something rustling the leaves of the trees to her side, and turned toward the sound – half expecting to see what she did see.

The yellow-rump. It landed on some branches, and sat there looking at her.

“You are my savior, little birdie”. She opened the small wooden box in her hands. Inside was a small black voodoo doll. She didn’t like the look of it, as when she looked at it, it sent shivers down her spine. Next to it was a tiny note, neatly folded.

She took the note out, and unfolded it. Then she looked over to her little savior bird.

“Lets get my soul back, huh? Fuck Loa!”. The bird chirps, as if in agreement. That’s what she thought. “Yeah…”, then she read the note:


“What?”, she read it again in disbelief. “You fucking asshole!”. She crumples the note in her fist and throws it away, as tears begin streaming down her face. She looks back at the bird. “Do you fucking believe that?”

The warbler takes flight again. Right towards her. It came at her so fast she never had the chance to start defending herself as it attacked her face. Pecking at her eyeballs, and flapping its wings. Maxime tried to run, but stumbled and fell to the ground. The bird continued to peck at her eyes, her nose and her ears. She screamed and flailed her arms around.

She struck the bird with the palm of her hand, sending it to the ground. Maxime quickly got to her knees. She was only able to see with one eye – the other one was punctured and she could feel a gooey mass pumping out of it. The pain was unbearable.

It was only now that Maxime remembered what Anabel had told her that night.

“If you ever betray the spirit of Loa, she will come after you and tear you apart. You can not escape from her wrath.”

“Has anyone ever seen this Loa spirit?”, she had asked.

“In our back yards. In the trees. Loa is a beautiful bird”

Maxime had never pictured Loa as a yellow-rumped warbler, though.

The bird was flying again. It didn’t attack. Instead, it landed on the hood of the car, next to the wooden box which still lay open on top of it.

“Alright little birdie”, she says. “Attack me again, and I’m going to fucking tear you apart. You don’t scare me!”

Then, in amazement, she watches the bird dip its head into the wooden box. She feels a burning pain in her left side, as if her entire rib cage was suddenly crushed by an unseen force. She screams in pain and fear. At the same time, her eyes register the small bird flying up to the trees again. It lands on the same branch Maxime first saw it on. In its beak, she notices the voodoo doll Jean-Pierre had put inside the small wooden box. The bird lays it down in front of it. The little black piercing eyes looking at Maxime as if they were hiding an evil smile.

“No”, Maxime said. “No, please, no…”

The little black doll was her. She suddenly realized this. Whatever happens to the doll would happen to her. That’s why her rib cage shattered as the bird took it in its beak.

The bird chirped a happy song, while Maxime begged for her life, and then it tore into one of the arms of the doll – ripping it lose.

So far away from civilization that night… no one would hear Maxime’s screams in the night.

********** THE END **********

Well, that's my story this month. And, as I've said I would always do - here are my little notes that I write on each picture before I start writing - just so you can follow my thought process... for whatever that's worth:


One disturbed main character this month. Now, there's been controversy regarding the sex of this (human) being, but I clearly see a pair of boobies in the chest area, so I am going to go with this being a woman. Those arms... that face, though - there is nothing feminine about that... *shrugs* One butch hard rockin' bitch!

Time to think outside the box... snowy mountains, long winding road, desolate - driving a car. I am starting to think that my hard rocking butch bitch (knowing the story takes place in a city setting) wants to just get away from it all. Maybe she's hit rock bottom, and is looking for an escape?

City lights, night time. Big city, harbor district type area. I'm thinking this is not a nice part of town. Our butch bitch has one final thing she needs to take care of here in the crowded (and dangerous) streets of the city. One final obstacle to overcome before she can escape the city and head for freedom!

This little strange thing will be that obstacle. If this were a movie, that little funny looking doll would not be suitable for use, but I'm hopeful I can describe that doll into something a little more creepy... a voodoo doll of sorts (you didn't think I wasn't going to go all horror on you did you?). That voodoo doll is she - it is what is keeping her in the crazy punk rockin' band. As long as this doll is with her, she will never be able to escape. Getting rid of the doll has its price though!

A bird. More specifically a yellow-rumped warbler. Hmmm... I believe this bird will be following her around. We'll see where that takes us? She notices it, thinking of freedom... but is that what the bird really represents?


Ok... so now I'm off to read your stories. I'm sure there will be a number of really good ones out there this time - I can feel it!

And, don't forget to pop in on Monday and check out the pictures for Picture Fiction Challenge #4!

April 16, 2008

PFC Garbage Delay

As I said yesterday, I won't be making the deadline on the Picture Fiction Challenge this month. Well, the deadline doesn't end until Friday, so I'll be on time really.

I'm just quickly stepping in here to give you guys a post where you can announce your own stories, so I can add them up as links to the sidebar here later tonight when I get back home. Also a good place if you're looking to read the contributions.

So, until I get my own story posted, I will not be reading or commenting on your stories (I don't want to be influenced in any way).

Good luck!

And, in the meantime - check out my WWC yesterday, in case you missed it!

April 15, 2008

WWC / Garbage Day

After taking a week off from (just about everything) the WWC I am back to present some pictures for you. As you all should know by know - the WWC is brought to you by all our favorite walking plant with arms, Tink of Pickled Beef. The words for this week are CLOSE-UP and BACKGROUND.

I offer quite a few pics this week, to make up for my no-show last week.

But, before we go on. Let me just quickly tell you that I will probably be late with my own story for the PFC this month. I meant to start writing today, and finish it up tomorrow. Well, I didn't find the time today - and tomorrow there is this huge project I have to take care of. They're setting up a temporary junk yard around where I live tomorrow, and my mother has tons of junk she's been dying to get rid of. You know, bigger stuff. Like old furniture, mattresses or other things you can't fit in a regular trash-bin.

So, of course, I have offered to go over there and clean out her storage rooms and all that stuff... I got plenty of junk myself to rid myself of so it should prove quite an interesting day. Call it garbage day! After that - I am headed to the gym. So, I'm not likely to return home until after 9PM - and you can understand that leaves little time for writing a story.

When I get home though, I'll quickly gather all the links and set them up on the sidebar here to those who have posted on time. I will not be reading or commenting on your stories though, until I have my own up on Thursday.

Enough of the PFC - lets have a look at this edition of the WWC.

In honor of the word BACKGROUND I have stored each of these images in 1024x768 resolution, so they can all be saved onto your computers for use as your desktop BACKGROUND... just click my name on the slideshow, and it'll take you to the Picasa web album where you can download the pictures in all their glory (how'z that for original?)

Here they are:

And that does it for this edition of the Weekly Words Challenge. I took a quick peek over at Tink's place to find out the words for next week, and they are FIVE and WIND. Great! Thanks... it is always windy around here... except for the last three or four days - what Weather God shall I pray to for some wind?

In addition to my lateness of the PFC - I'll put up a post first thing in the morning where you will be able to announce your stories, so people can start checking it out before I get back home to update the links.

April 14, 2008

7 Deadly Sins: Greed

To begin with...

Short, sweet and to the point. I took a couple of days off... I needed it. I'll get around to reading your blogs again, probably tomorrow as it is getting late, and I wanted to continue my series on the 7 Deadly Sins.

Ah! Today we shall talk about Greed. Now, personally, I would say that Greed is the one Deadly Sin which I do not (really) indulge in. I do not consider myself a greedy person.

Well, lets face it. If someone walks up to me and asks if I want $10.000.000, and I don't have to do anything for it... I'm not going to say no. I'm not, by stating the above, trying to tell you that I don't want money or material things. Because I do. However... I am totally content with life as long as I got a roof over my head, and a daily meal on the table... with a few bucks to spare to enjoy myself every now and then.

If being traditional was a Deadly Sin - that one I would be guilty of... we will continue the tradition of quoting wikipedia for the definition of Greed as a Deadly Sin:

Greed (or avarice, covetousness) is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the Church) is applied to the acquisition of wealth in particular. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed was "a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things." In Dante's Purgatory, the penitents were bound and laid face down on the ground for having concentrated too much on earthly thoughts. "Avarice" is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason, especially for personal gain, for example through bribery. Scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed. Such misdeeds can include Simony, where one profits from soliciting goods within the actual confines of a church.
How do you like that? Lets start at the beginning of this quote...

Greed is applied to the acquisition of wealth in particular: Ok... as I said. I do want money - so in that respect I am guilty. However, I am quite certain that the very vast majority of humankind shares this desire with me... to some extent. Do I need or covet an excess of money? No - not really. I wouldn't say no (we've covered that), but I will easily settle for enough money to be able to live a relaxing and enjoyable life. In order to do this, money is required - this is so payment of bills, shopping of groceries and (buying drinks for the ladies?) having some fun whenever I feel like it...

Whenever I feel like it... ! A-HA!

Yes, in that respect I am guilty. But, it isn't the money or the things that I can buy... my sin is that I want to have fun - maybe we'll have a closer look at that when we discuss Sloth...

Man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things: Ooops... well, my "temporal" fun is important - but it's still got nothing to do with material possession or a bank vault full of un-spent cash...

I found this sentence quite interesting though. I am not a religious man... nor am I an atheist. Lets just say that I am a man of belief who chooses not to go to church (except for - you know - funerals, weddings, christenings... the like). I have always been of the belief that if you are a good man on this earth, and treat your fellow humans (and non-humans) with respect and love... you will have your just rewards when you move on to whatever the afterlife has in store for us. I have never, however, quite understood why things that are enjoyable in this world could be considered evil in any way... that above statement clears a few things up.

I still choose not to adhere to that particular sentiment.

Penitents were bound and laid face down on the ground for having concentrated too much on earthly thoughts: That sounds evil... it makes me wonder what life was like way back in medieval times. And some people say that things were better in the old days...

Disloyalty, deliberate betrayal, or treason, especially for personal gain: Nope. I'm not guilty. Hey, I even refuse to cheat in a game of Monopoly or something like that. Where's the joy of winning if deep inside - in your very own heart - you know you don't deserve it. Same thing goes for money and material things. You know - I bought a nice expensive car... Greed, you say? No - because I earned the rights to buy that car through hard work. Besides... I'm still paying on the damn thing now that I don't have a job, and that is going to hurt my finances... does that bother me? No, not really - not as long as I'm able to make those payments...

Scavenging and hoarding of materials or objects: Now... I don't know why - but one thing comes to mind. Scavenging... could that be the art of trying to get money through playing the lottery? I must admit that I do play the numbers quite often, in hopes of acquiring a sick amount of money. I would use that money wisely, though (is my plan - one can never say for sure how one would react with a gigantic pile of cash in front of them). I would stash a huge chunk in a bank, where I could live off the interest rate. Before that I would buy a nice house - nothing too fancy - a complete film studio (now there's a dash of Greed), and then I wouldn't have to work for the rest of my life. I'd make awesome amateur movies (No! Not that kind! Well, maybe, but not for distribution...)

Theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation: Apart from some shoplifting back in my teenage years, I am probably as honest a man as you will ever find. I'm the kind of guy who wouldn't sleep well for several weeks if someone dropped a dollar unnoticed, and I pocketed it for myself, instead of going "Excuse me... you dropped this". I have entertained the thought of robbing a bank every now and then... you know - don't we all? The requirements would be a) A sure-fire plan, so that there is no chance in Hell I would be caught. b) No need to scar another human, physically or mentally, from the deed. Only two requirements, and I'm sure these are two obstacles I will never overcome, so robbing a bank is pretty much not going to happen anyway...

I got this trait from my mother... she's even worse than I am. I gave her a ride to the store once, to do some shopping (well, I do this often... but this particular once, ok?). When we returned home, and unpacked her groceries, she noticed on the receipt that they had failed to charge her for the soda. Next time she went there - she brought the receipt, the (now empty) soda, and told them of their error, and that she would like to pay for it. Now - that's taking it a little further than I would do... and she's far from a wealthy woman too.

That will conclude my little look into Greed. Hope you enjoyed the read...

HOT DAMN! I nearly forgot (this is an update... you may have missed this part).

To stay with the tradition, I am supposed to offer a song representative of the Deadly Sin of the day... and though there would be lots to choose from on this one, as I had to quickly choose one, I went with the first one that came to mind. That would be the awesome cover of Abba's old hit song "Money, Money, Money" by At Vance. See, how fitting is that???

Tomorrow is WWC day. CLOSE-UP and BACKGROUND are the words... and this week I will NOT miss out! Shame on me, R.E.H.!

Wednesday is time for the PFC (oh, how I love those three-letter abbreviations). So, while there's been a lack of posting of late... now you know you'll get a minimum of three days in a row worth of (possible) entertainment.

Then, the 7DS series will continue... at some point!

April 10, 2008

Nothingness Ramblings

Now... I didn't have anything to say today, really. So I wasn't going to post anything... really.

Then, I thought to myself, when you have nothing to say - what do you do?

You ramble!

Ramble on about nothing and anything, and find out what comes out of your fingertips and onto the keyboard. It is interesting, in it's own way, to see some text devolop on screen while you are barely aware of what you are writing, and where this is headed... so bare with me - this might be a strange and uninteresting read.

KEYS: I'm gonna have to go back to my old/sorta current job tomorrow and hand in the keys that I still carry. They called me the other day and wanted me to bring them in, after which I told them I do not give my keys away until I sign the papers that say I've done so... if some other moron loses the keys, I'm not going to be held responsible. So, that'll be done tomorrow - then there is only two more weeks that the place will pay me, so I better get my ass out of this chair and start looking seriously for some jobs.

THE GYM: Still going there as much as I can - just got home after a third straight day. Did some work on my back and the triceps today... my legs are still hurting from Tuesday's session. I had been neglecting the legs for a while, and sort of decided to work them extra hard - to get back on track with them... boy did I suffer yesterday for that one! Love it!

RANDOMNESS: Did you all know that I have a thing for randomness? Well, I may have created a little something that most people are going to think is outrageously nuts - but I enjoy it immensely. See... I dabble a little in computer programming... well - that's pretty much a lie. I have a piece of software which makes a little computer programming so easy a five year old could almost make their own games. A lot of drag and drop functions, but you can use code to make more complex stuff - and this is what I dabble in.

Ok, ok, already! What is this crazy thing you have done?

I have made a little program which randomizes a weekly menu for me. Yes, a weekly menu of what I shall serve myself for dinner each day. I can easily add all my leftovers stashed in the freezer (and I have a lot of food in there - I always make 3-4 servings, eat one and freeze the rest). I can also add into the mix some new recipes that I want to try out, a bunch of dinners that I often make... then - at the click of a button, a menu pops up, and I go with it for the entire week. Not only does it save me from thinking about what I should eat each day, it also makes sure that I eat those leftovers in the freezer.

I started this little project this week.

I am pretty sure this makes me the only person on the planet who has a randomized weekly menu...

And you guys thought I had an ounce of sanity? No, sir. I'm as looney as they come!

And... at risk of sounding conceited or pompous - well, I've been given yet another award. My favorite little Single Girl in the City bestowed me with the "Gratitude with an Attitude" Award... how sweet is that?

Now, I'm going to pass this baby along - but I'll get back to you on that one, because today I'm not really functioning as well as I like to when deciding who gets an award and who doesn't (this time). So keep your eyes peeled for when I announce the "winners" of this particular one.

In the meantime - if you haven't checked her out (I sure have!). Go visit Single In The City and marvel in her fun posts, and her wonderful persona. She's well worth a visit... or even a little bit of a stalking - just don't scare her... because then I'll have to come after you, and it's not going to be pretty... LOL!

BLOGGING: I haven't been the best of bloggie friend of late. I'm not able to make my rounds to you all and comment like I used to. Part of that is that I've been spending more time out of the house (shocking, eh?), at the gym and out with some of my friends. Part of that is lack of inspiration for blogging of late. I'm sure I'll get back to my usual self in that respect soon enough. Just, you know, if you don't see me at your place for a couple of days or so - it doesn't mean I don't love you anymore.

I still love y'all!

PFC: Oh! Almost forgot! It's about time I remind you all of the Picture Fiction Challenge! It is due next Wednesday... the 16th! I hope you all are finishing up, or touching up, your contributions! It looks like it will be an interesting one this month!

April 9, 2008

Better Than Butter

To begin with... I'll offer my sincere apologies to Tink of Pickled Beef, and everyone else who expected a little WWC play from me yesterday.

I was going to take my camera out yesterday morning and get some pics, but my head was blank. Couldn't come up with a damn thing that was either Rough or Smooth - one of those days when the brain cells have obviously decided that "today is a good day for closing down shop". On top of that, I wasn't home last night to even put up an apologetic post. I will hopefully make up for this terrible behavior next week - and I'll even try to come up with some shots for ROUGH and SMOOTH. Next week, I promise to be back in the action, when we play with the words CLOSE-UP and BACKGROUND.

I am such a pathetic loser!

Yet, I've been handed a couple more awards, and I thought I'd announce them today (how do you like that combo for today's post?).

First up, Jo of Whatever... spent some 8 hours or so in the kitchen, carefully sculpting a chunk of butter into the shape of a heart, and set up some beautiful lighting to take a picture of it. Then she ran it through some photoshopping to add the words "BETTER THAN BUTTER", and handed out this beautiful award to some people. She also explained why she thought we deserved this awesome award:

"REH is a bundle of complex goodies--romanticism, grit, domesticity, creativity that often leans towards the dark, a personality that inspires laughter, loyalty, empathy. It's very special the way these contrasts come together in him & make sense. He shares his life courageously, and isn't afraid to dig deeper."

I loved those words... I think I may have choked up a little there, reading that! Thanks Jo! I am honored!

Then, Freakazojd over at Freakazojd's Palace also decided to bestow me with the coveted E! for Excellent award. That makes it a total of three times I've been awarded this one - and you all should know, by now, that my lucky number is 3! That's just fantastic!

Take a look over at the sidebar to see my Trophy Case, where these awards are now proudly presented for the world to see.

April 7, 2008

7 Deadly Sins: Gluttony

As I continue my "series" of posts about the 7 Deadly Sins, we are about to take a look at Gluttony. As this series is also about me, we will refer to the definition with me as reference... how interesting is that going to be?

Now I'm a guy who likes to eat. I've always enjoyed my food, my desserts and my candies. Not to mention potato chips and a mouth watering bar of chocolate.

Apart from fulfilling the desire of Lust which we talked about last time, the desire to eat is one we need to fulfill or we will die. Lust is only important, really, when taking survival of the human race into account... that's not so important, now is it? Yeah, I'm joking... in case you are one of those people who have a hard time picking up sarcasm and irony.

Let us also continue the tradition of referencing Gluttony from the ever popular web encyclopedia "wikipedia". This is how it describes the Deadly Sin of Gluttony:

Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp
down or swallow, gluttony is the over-indulgence and
over-consumption of
anything to the point of waste. In the
Christian religions, it is
considered a sin because of the excessive desire for food, or its withholding
from the needy.

Depending on the culture, it can be seen as either a vice or a sign of
status. Where food is relatively scarce, being able to eat well might be
something to take pride in (although this can also result in a moral backlash
when confronted with the reality of those less fortunate). Where food is
routinely plentiful, it may be considered a sign of self control to resist the
temptation to over-indulge.

Medieval Church leaders (e.g.,
) took a more expansive view of gluttony (Okholm 2000), arguing that
it could also include an obsessive anticipation of meals, and the constant
eating of delicacies and excessively costly foods.
[3] He went so
far as to prepare a list of six ways to commit gluttony, including:

  • Praepropere - eating too soon
  • Laute - eating too expensively
  • Nimis - eating too much
  • Ardenter - eating too eagerly
  • Studiose - eating too daintily
  • Forente - eating too fervently
This was a bit of a funny read, as I learned a couple more things about what Gluttony really mean... I always thought it was all about over-eating - excessive eating of generally unhealthy foods, while this shows that there are really other forms of Gluttony. Lets not get ahead of ourselves... we'll do the highlighting thing again.

Gluttony is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste: Yup - this is what I figured Gluttony was all about. Am I guilty? Hell yeah! At times, anyway. I come from a long line of family members who are natural born eaters... I have been to other family dinners and actually been worried that there isn't enough food. My eyes scouring the tables, while my brain wondering can I really fill my plate with the goods and still leave something for the others? See... our family always makes enough to have left-overs for weeks after a get-together. We are the kind of family who says "Come on. Have some more. There is plenty left."

Stilll - I am the only one who [was] over-weight.

Add to this a love of pizza, hamburgers and other kinds of junk food. Kentucky Fried, Taco Bells... man, I miss those two! Can't have'em around here.

So, I eat a lot. I don't go hungry, that's for sure. But, let me ask one question? How important is it to eat moderately and healthy? Really?

I lost weight. I've mentioned that before here. I went from 260 pounds down to 186 pounds in about a year. I didn't do this by counting calories on every damn thing I ate. While indulging in Gluttony (of course) isn't going to shed the pounds, you can still enjoy eating some good food every now and then. I ate pizza and hamburgers, and I ate large servings of food. What I did, mainly, was cut the potato chips, the chocolate and most importantly; No evening snacks! Evening snacks are the killer... do not eat 4 hours before bedtime! You can have water to keep from getting hungry. And, keep yourself in motion - excercise is more important than counting calories... the word from Dr. R.E.H.!

So, my take? Eat what you want... moderately most of the time... enjoy some Gluttony every now and then, and keep away from the snacks and the midnight bite!

Where food is relatively scarce, being able to eat well might be something to take pride in: Yes, in a way. We are fortunate enough to live in rich countries where we do not have to suffer from starvation. We should eat, and we should eat well - but that's not to say we should eat excessively... nor too fattening foods. I am, honestly, quite proud of the fact that I can afford to put a decent meal on the table each day.

Of course - I would be even more happy if this was possible for all humans on our planet.

Now. To finish off this little look at Gluttony - let's have a look at the six ways to commit Gluttony. This is the part that I didn't know of until I read about it here on wikipedia.

Praepropere - eating too soon: Guilty! At times I do eat stuff even though I'm not the least bit hungry. Most often the things I choose to eat at such a time are candy or potato chips. Hey! I bought that bag of chips to eat while watching that movie on TV tonight... so what if I just had dinner? Bring on the tasty tater chips! Though... as I said, I have scrapped the chips for the most part. I don't want those pounds back.

Laute - eating too expensively: Not Guilty! I rarely pay too much for food. I rarely eat out even - cook mostly at home. Even when buying the groceries I will often opt for the cheaper brand. Only a few things will I buy from the more expensive well-known producers, and that is a decision which has been made depending on the quality of the lesser known suppliers.

Nimis - eating too much: Guilty! We covered this already...

Ardenter - eating too eagerly: Guilty! Depending on what it is. If it is something I've been longing for... I will dig in fervently. If I am extremely hungry - even more so. Both Nimis and Ardenter is practiced on my birthday to the max. There is a special meal we always have on that day, I would call it "Pepper Sauce"... I have never, ever left the table without being so full I can barely breathe! And, my motto on that day is "the faster I eat, the more I can swallow before my stomach sends warning signals to my brain".

Studiose - eating too daintily: Not Guilty! Sometimes I wish I were. I don't do too well at fancy dinners or anything. I like to sample the foods and I am often a sloppy eater... not to the point that I have grease running down my chin, or eating with my hands or anything. But, soon after I dig in - usually the plate looks like a mess.

Forente - eating too fervently: Hmmm... well, Guilty! I think of that as pretty much the same thing as eagerly... go figure!

We will continue the tradition of adding a song to the playlist which has got to do with Gluttony. I couldn't really come up with any songs that deal with over-eating, except for Alice Cooper's "Eat Some More", which of course was not available in the playlist. Instead, I give you another Cooper classic - which if you use your imagination is quite suitable; "Feed My Frankenstein".

Tomorrow it's time for some WWC fun again. ROUGH and SMOOTH are the words!