Thursday, April 28, 2011

Going to have to apologize to all six of my readers

I have not posted a new story since January. You are probably already aware of this. I know this blog didn't have a very large readership in the first place, but those of you who've enjoyed it still deserve a regular update schedule (or at least some kind of prior notice for my long posting outages), and I am sorry you haven't gotten one.

I've very much enjoyed doing this, as have I enjoyed people's comments on the whole strange and fun process. I do plan on starting back up again, sometime soon possibly. Hopefully I'll be able to keep a consistent workable schedule going.
I do not want to be one of those guys who gets notoriously bad at updating, but even more than that, I do not want to be one of those guys who promises to update on a certain day and time, and then is unable to do so.

I'm afraid I've been both of those people. I'll try hard not to do so in the future.

In the meantime:
I have another blog besides
"Also there was a doctor." I'm collaborating on a music blog with some friends, and I would very much appreciate your checking it out:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Last Sentence Of Oprah's Twitter Updates From Oct/Nov 2010 #1

“Powerful,” he said. The audience in the lecture hall silently waited for him to continue. He did not.

“Professor McGinsberg,” said the moderator. “I believe the question was about your thoughts on the nature of black holes.”

“Yes,” replied the professor.

“Your personal thoughts based on your years of experience,” said the moderator. She looked down at the small stack of note cards she had placed on the table between them; a few dozen audience questions culled from hundreds of submissions.

“That is correct,” said the professor.

“Yes, but all you said just now was ‘powerful’ and then nothing else,” said the moderator.

The professor nodded.

“Are you sure you don’t want to go into more detail?” asked the moderator.

“Quite sure, thank you,” said the professor.

The moderator lifted the next note card. They finished the remaining questions in less than twelve minutes. That left them with an hour to go before the end of the seminar.

It would be reasonable but inaccurate to assume this was the low point of the moderator’s professional career. Unfortunately the many wordless minutes she spent staring at the tenured college professor as he refused to explore any topic in depth was merely an unpleasant carpet square compared to the dilapidated mansion that years earlier had been her true nadir. Mind you, I’m not actually going to tell you what happened on that day, I just thought letting you know about it would help you understand why she was able to sit there with such a placid smile while she and the professor said nothing for about twenty minutes.

Also there was a doctor. He was in the audience, and was pretty sure their lack of conversation was meant to be some kind of brilliant metaphor for the philosophical silence to be found in the nexus of a black hole; he gave a standing ovation.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Opening Line By a Friend #5: James Maxwell Ebert

I knew the situation was going to be hairy as soon as I walked into the puppy mill. The front entrance to the facilities had been left unlocked, which was an unusual oversight of detail on Allison’s part. It also troubled me that there were no puppies.

“Allison,” I said, calling my assistant’s attention up from the sketch pad she insisted on bringing to work with her each day.

“Ms. Pembrooke,” she said, putting her papers on the counter. “Lovely afternoon, isn’t it?”

“Allison, where are my puppies,” I asked.

“Well, not here, obviously.” She gestured to the empty cages.

I closed the door behind me.

“Allison, please tell me they didn’t all run out on you.”

“Of course not,” she said. She looked down at her sketch pad, pencil turned backwards as if she were ready to erase something. “They teleported out.”


“It started about a minute after I got here. They all just kind of started to pop away one by one. It was interesting to watch. Pretty sure one of them winked at me too. I didn’t see the point in locking the door after all that so I’ve just been sitting here waiting for you to show up.”

“…I don’t understand.”

“I drew a picture of it if you’re interested. I’d been figuring something like this might happen ever since you hired that wizard; went around making everything all magic-like.”

“Allison, I think you’re lying to me.”

“Check the surveillance tapes if you don’t believe me.”

I did. She wasn’t lying. Each puppy disappeared in succession rather quickly. They all looked pretty smug about it too. The whole thing lasted about ten minutes at most.

“Why?” I asked. “Why would this even happen?”

“Well, my guess is that they didn’t like it here very much,” said Allison. “You gotta admit, it’s not a very comfortable place to live if you’re a puppy.”

Also there was a doctor. He advised me not to hire that damn wizard, but at the time I was like “No, it’ll make things so much easier, I swear.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Last Panel Text From A Softer World: #4

“Just spread my arms and go.”

“I know how to frisk people just fine thank you,” Mr. Hansel’s bodyguard began to check for weapons.

“Remember, you want this to be practical, but intimidating,” said Bromley. He laid his palms flat against the indoor brick fa├žade of the night club. “Yes, you’re checking to make sure I’m unarmed, but this is also your chance to make me feel small; let me know I wouldn’t want to get into a physical altercation with you.”

“Look I really don’t need the advice,” said the bodyguard. “I’ve been doing this for a while, and you are not my father.”

“No, no,” said Bromley. “Never point out the fact you have any personal relationships, let alone family. It makes you far too accessible as a character.”

“Too accessible as a character?” asked the bodyguard, turning Bromley around by his shoulders. “What if I want to be accessible?”

“It would never work,” said Bromley, the bodyguard tightening his grip. “The audience would never be able to accept it.”

“On the contrary Mr. Bromley,” said Hansel, appearing from behind the loosely hung curtains. “I plan for all my employees to become as accessible as possible.”

“But that’s mad!” said Bromley, breaking away from the bodyguard. “Next you’ll be telling me their first names or their favorite Japanese techno bands. In a world where everyone is sympathetic, how will people know who to follow? You’ll never be able to do it.”

“Oh, Mr. Bromley, perhaps you are correct,” said Hansel, striding closer, his voice lowering to a vicious whisper as he put his arm around the shoulder of his bodyguard. “Though I feel it’s only fair to tell you, Derek here has really been getting into Fantastic Plastic Machine lately.”

“Noooooo!” shouted Bromley.

Also there was a doctor. Her name was Jennifer Hollider, her favorite candy was cherry starburst, she secretly enjoyed chance encounters with friends more than preplanned meetings, and even though she was utterly inconsequential to the overall story I MADE YOU FEEL FOR HER.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Last Panel Text From A Softer World: #3

They don’t believe in restraining orders.
Instead their culture uses very long poles to beat back people who irritate them. It is wonderful.

I am telling you Eleanor: Switzerland is fantastic and you are missing out by not being here with me. Those freelance tour guides I ran into put together this information packet for me, and they have taught me so much. For instance, I had no idea Switzerland had freelance tour guides until meeting them.

I know in your last email, you warned me against being taken advantage of while traveling alone. Well let me tell you: These guys are money well spent. They’ve been with me nearly every moment of my visit and I haven’t felt safer. They own an inn out in the countryside where I’ve been spending my nights; it’s a part of their long-term guest program.

OH! Interesting fun fact: The design of a traditional Swiss inn is quite similar to that of the common American basement. According to my guides, it was the former that actually inspired the latter.
The love they have for this nation is indeed infectious. The food is more enriching, the sky is more lucid, the trees are better; I see nothing that particularly marks them as different from the trees at home, but I swear to you, they are somehow just better trees than yours.

I have to go now, unfortunately; I may not be able to email back for quite some time. Apparently laptops are somewhat of a taboo in their society and I have been asked to turn it over to them for the remainder of my stay. I feel horrible for offending them, but they used the poles on me earlier as part of a ritual cleansing process so I believe we are pretty much even.

Also there was a doctor. He was there to make sure the poles only hit me in my non-vital areas.
Reginald Grant

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Last Panel Text From A Softer World: #2

There had to be an answer.
“No professor would ever give a test with an unanswerable question, would they?” wondered Lizzie. Rather than chewing on her pencils, she had a habit of chomping them wholesale like a corn cob. She was now on her third.
She raised her hand and waited for Professor Flansburg to sidle over to her desk.
“I’m having some trouble on question seven,” she asked. “I think maybe I’m just reading it wrong, but I can’t seem to find an answer.”
“Well, what would you think to do in that case?” asked the professor.
“I guess write ‘no answer’,” said Lizzie, beginning to do so.
“Oh, no, no,” said the professor, “You can’t leave a question unanswered on the test. I’d have to take off for it.”
“Oh, then am I just reading the question wrong? Cause it really doesn’t seem like there’s an answer.” Lizzie had to push herself not to move onto her fourth pencil in mid-conversation.
“Well, frankly, there isn’t.”
“So then it’s a trick question,” said Lizzie, wondering if the left over pencil cores from earlier in the test could still be used to write.
“I suppose so,” said the professor, looking up at the chalkboard now.
“So then you won’t really be counting it?”
“Oh no, I will be.”
“What, but I- wait is this one of those things where the real test is standing up against the test.”
“No, the real test is the test.”
It was at this moment Lizzie started to regret ever having signed up for Sadism 101.
Also there was a doctor. She was a close friend of the professor’s and, being invited to visit the class on her day off, was asked to go from desk to desk and mess around with people’s papers as they were writing their answers.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Last Panel Text From A Softer World: #1

Are my parents ever coming home?

Because if not, I think I am going to become a space explorer. They can’t stop me if they aren’t here. I’ll do it too. I’m not stupid, I don’t think I can just put on a jet pack, press go and all of the sudden be in outer space. I know you need rocket ships and you need to practice for a really long time before they let you do any of that stuff, but we live like thirty minutes by car from the Kennedy space place where they launch them all. I know cause my dad drove my mom and me there once, and on the TV in the car it took one whole episode of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends which I like more than Spongebob cause they don’t split it up into two small episodes like Spongebob. I know I can’t drive there but I can walk, and I know that’ll take longer that driving but one Saturday I watched a whole marathon of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and if I can get through that then I can get through walking.

Sometimes I dream about it. Once I dreamed I landed on Pluto, which I know everyone says isn’t a planet anymore but it was when my family went to the space place and it was when I dreamed about it. I was the only one there. I thought I was the first one there but then I saw a TV that kept playing home movies of people who were on Pluto before me. They were eating at breakfast tables and opening Christmas presents and doing a whole bunch of other indoor stuff like that, which was weird because they were doing it all outdoors. It was like they’d all been doing it where I was standing right now and then they weren’t anymore and it was just on TV.
Also there was a Doctor. He was on the ship and he told me I was okay.