Thursday, 31 March 2011

Sketchbook 5: Flossty The Snowman

Flossty The Snowman

On Tuesday my hugely price-reduced not-the-current-version animation software arrived.  Today I shall mostly be playing around with it.  Quite excited.  (I also have some t-shirt designs to do...)

Link of the Day: Dr Bandaid

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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Girl Who Went Bing, Part Twelve

Shortcut to: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven

"Why do you return empty-handed?" demanded The Woman In The Pretty Dress.

"They was too quicks for me," said the midget.

"I see."

"I follows thems, Miss."

"Go on, Collins."

"I finds their hideouts, Miss."

"And you weren't seen?"

"No, Miss.  Scouts' honours, Miss," grinned Collins.  "I dones good works, Miss.  Asks Collins anythings, Miss, that's what they says.  Cans I have cake, Miss?"

"Alright," said The Woman In The Pretty Dress, "but a dry one.  You can have one with icing when I have seen this hideout for myself."

***

"Chosen?" said Zena.  She gazed around but she could not see for a light sone bright in her face.

"Yes," said Mr Bonathon.  "Chosen."

"Why?"

"Because it is meant to be."

"What is?"

"This." 

"Oh.  Where am I?"

"Luton."

"Luton?"

"Not exactly."

"Oh.  How did I get here?"

"You were chosen."

"Who chose me?"

"Well, no one chose you."

"But you said they did."

"Well, yes, but - well, not exactly.   It is meant to be."

"I don't understand."

"Few people do.  You have been laden with this burden, charged with a quest for which you did not ask, and -"

"I've been what?"

"You've been lade with this burden.  And charged with this, erm -"

"I don't understand."

"You have been chosen by fate."

"What's fate?"

"I'm sorry?"

"What's fate?" Zena repeated.  She really didn't know.  She had never heard of fate before, or being a 'chosen one'.  It was hardly surprising.  She was only six, after all, and her parents had never taken much interest in her, so her general knowledge was pretty poor, even for a six year old.

"Oh really!" exclaimed Mr Bonathon, dimming the lights so that Zena could see.  "You really DO know how to ruin a sense of occasion, don't you?  Go on, Anunciada, you explain it to her."

"Erm," said a girl stood next to Zena.  She had olive skin and dark hair, and Zena recognised her voice immediately.  It was the girl who had led her out of the dark.

"It's those things that are supposed to happen," said Anunciada after a little thought.  "No matter what you do, it is destined to happen.  It will happen."

"Okay, right," said Zena absent-mindedly.  She wasn't listening.  She was distracted by the extraordinary room in which she now found herself.  She'd never seen anything so tacky.

Large cardboard cutouts of golden pillars were stuck at intervals on the uneven, grubby walls.  Purple and green drapes were hound between the tops of the pillars.  A large pendulum clock made out of old egg cartons and pipe-cleaners hung high above Mr Bonathon's golden papier maché throne.  Tucked away in the far corner was a framed picture of Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen, hanging over a tea trolley laden with candles.

"Well, I can see you're tired," said Mr Bonathon.  "So Anunciada will show you where you can lay your head."

Zena realised that actually, she did feel rather tired.  Her eyelids suddenly felt very heavy, and even as Anunciada took her hand, she was barely keeping them open and started to drift away.  The next thing she knew, she was awake.

To be continued...

***


Link of the Day: Chopin & Liszt

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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Girl Who Went Bing, Part Eleven

Shortcut to: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten

 Zena opened her eyes.

That was odd.  They were already open.  It was dark.  Well, it was BLACK.  It wasn't the sort of dark where you may stub your toe on a stone if you didn't look very carefully where you were going.  It was the sort of dark where you were going to stub all ten toes on something whether you were careful or not.

She could not see a thing.

She reached forward with her right foot to check the ground and stubbed her toe.  She yelped quietly.  She had been stood with her face just millimetres from a hard rocky wall and the ground didn't feel much different.  From the echo, her yelp made it seem as though she was in some sort of cave or tunnel.

Zena crouched down and felt the ground around her.  She started to crawl across the cave floor, when…

Footsteps!  Someone was coming!  Zena didn't know what to do.  Presumably she couldn't be seen, but perhaps she WANTED to be found.  If she couldn't be seen then whoever it was might run into her, and that would hurt - the footsteps even seemed to be quickening.  So she pressed herself firmly against the rocky wall.

The footsteps came quicker and closer, and closer and quicker, until…

They stopped.

Then there was nothing.  Nothing except the inky blackness.  Nothing except the cold hard rock against Zena's cheek.  Nothing except the slow, indecisive and almost imperceptible crunch of feet shuffling in the sandy gravel.

"Who's there?" said a voice.  A girl's voice.  Little older than her own, as far as Zena could tell.  It sounded concerned, yet confident.

"Please, who is there?  We must go!" pleaded the voice.  "Please, they will come!"

"They"? thought Zena.  Who are "They"?  And why must we go before they come?  What will they do?  If I can't trust them, why trust you?  Zena suddenly realised she did not know what to do.  She started breathing more heavily, and fought desperately to keep it under control, lest she be heard.

She wasn't the only one to start to panic, but she didn't notice.  The shuffling of the feet became more nervous, the voice more desperate.

"Please, they see you arrive too!  They see everyone arrive.  We must go.  I will help you.  I am here to help you.  Come with me.  Please."

Zena let out a tiny whimper.  A crunch of gravel followed.  She'd given herself away.  She felt such a fool.  How could she give herself away so easily?  But did it matter?  Maybe she should trust the other girl.  Maybe They were really coming after her, whoever They were.  But maybe They were coming to save her from this girl.

Oh what could she do?  She'd always looked after herself so well but she was still just a small girl; she only turned six yesterday, for pity's sake.  She was just a foolish little six year old girl who was rubbish at Maths, and all she wanted was a hug from someone to make her feel safe, something she'd never even got from her parents.  She couldn't even speak to this other girl because of the Binglish.

Just a few minutes before she'd been optimistically talking to a new friend who seemed to be helping her, who she thought might make everything better.  But then she'd just ended up here and she couldn't imagine how anything could get any worse.

Zena burst into tears.

"Don't cry," said the voice.  "Don't cry.  They hear you.  They hear everything."

"I don't care!" shouted Zena.  And she didn't.

"Please stop.  What is your name?"

"Ze - what did I - ?"  Zena didn't understand.  She was cured!  She was cured of Binglish!  Or at least -

"Okay, no time now.  Will talk later.  Nice to meet you, Zee."

"No, it's Zena, but - oh."  She realised that she wasn't cured.  The voice was speaking in Binglish, and so was she.  It just sounded so … normal.

"Talk later.  I hear them.  Come now."

A hand grabbed hold of Zena and yanked her to her feet.  She found herself hurtling arm-first along she-didn't-know-where, grazing herself each and every time she met the rocky wall.  Yelping in pain with every trip, with every fall, every time she stubbed her toe.

And then came the light.  The blinding light.

"Glad you could join us," said a familiar voice.  "It seems you have been chosen."

To be continued...

***

Link of the Day: On Thursday I clicked "Stumble" (taking me to a random page recommended by The Internet) and it took me to this lovely bowl.  Which was made by my very good friend Zena West.  For whom I wrote this story.


By the way, the real Anunciada speaks perfect English.  Not sure exactly what I was doing there.  Oh well, just wait and see what I did to Collins...

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Thursday, 17 March 2011

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Infinite Scarf

The other poem that I wrote on the train at half term at the same time as Sublimation, was about Laura's new scarf.  Which has no ends.

The Infinite Scarf


Laura's new scarf
is in a loop.
An infinite,
Möbius scarf
(possibly).

A purchase inspired,
I like to think,
by my tales of
The Infinite Hotel,
during which she
only pretended
to look bored and
disinterested.

I ought to explain
to her lofty
mathematical
concepts
more often.

***

Link of the Day: Maureen

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Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Girl Who Went Bing, Part Ten

Shortcut to: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine

"Bing. Bing-bing," said Zena. She reached out tentatively and held Mr Jamin's index finger with two hands. He shook it gently and lifted her feet off the ground.

"Er, may I come in?" he enquired politely, holding up Zena so he could see her better.

"Er, Bing bing. Bing," replied Zena. The man was a veritable giant, and seemed to be slowly getting bigger. He could have crushed her like a fly, yet she was not scared. There was something very … reassuring about him.

He started to duck his head under the doorway, but then hesitated for a moment. "Er, should I take my shoes off first?"

"Bing-bing bing, bing bing. Bing bing bing."

"In that case, I will," smiled Mr Jamin. "That happened to me just the other week. My ears are still ringing."

He stooped as Zena led him by the finger through the hallway and front room to the kitchen. She wasn't quite sure why she led him there, she just knew that was where he wanted (and needed) to go.

"Ah," he said, kneeling down so that he didn't have to keep stooping. He approached the counter and started inspecting the microwave. "I haven't seen one of these models for a long long time," he said. "No wonder it's so severe."

"Bing!" exclaimed Zena excitedly. "Bing! Bing! Bing!"

She had quite forgotten that this had all started with the microwave, although she didn't know how she could forget such a thing. But, now that she stood in front of it again, she felt deliriously happy, even though she knew it was the cause of the whole episode.

Mr Jamin furrowed his brow and looked quite concerned for a moment. "I'll go and get my tools from the van."

"Bing! Bing-bing? Bing!"

"Yes, that would be lovely. Milk and two sugars please."

To be continued...

***

Link of the Day: Best. Amazon. Reviews. Page. Ever. via @douglasgresham

Also, Laura and I have given up moaning for Lent.  Which is nice.

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Saturday, 5 March 2011

Sublimation

Whoops.  Forgot to upload the next episode of The Girl Who Went Bing before coming to Laura's for the weekend.  Oh well.  Here's a (sort of) poem instead, written on the train at half term.

Sublimation

"Try using sublimation,"
she said.

"Direct your thoughts
and feelings
onto an object.
A piece of fruit.
A nectarine."

"Like dry ice,"
I said,
deliberately
confusing
the poetic
and scientific
definitions
of the word.

I wrote in my notebook:

Your cold dry ice for me evaporated
as I watched your carbon dioxide
diffuse into the air.

You're no great loss, I realised.
You're no oxygen.

"Have you ever,"
she asked,
"been seduced
by dry ice?"


"No,"
I replied.

"Hmm," she mused.
"I still prefer
nectarines."

***

Link of the Day: This film looks interesting. I *MUST* see this film.

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