Thought of the Day

If you want to move freely, you must be deeply rooted.

The knee is still tender but most of the mobility is back. Still waiting to hear when the MRI is going to happen.

Submitted some writing to the Online Writer’s Workshop for review and have been building up points doing reviews for others. You really do learn alot about your own writing skills when you review someone else’s writing.

Family outing on the weekend saw us taking in Nanny McPhee. Billed as a kid’s film – this is a good film period. Emma Thompson plays the title character and wrote the script based on the Nurse Matilda series of books.

My writing goals are to send something to each quarter of the Writers of the Future contest and continue with work on my novel. So far so good.

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Challenger Remembered – 20 Years Ago!

From Yahoo News – Twenty years ago, space shuttle Challenger blew apart into jets of fire and plumes of smoke, a terrifying sight witnessed by the families of the seven astronauts and by those who came to watch the historic launch of the first teacher in space. The disaster shattered NASA’s spit-shined image and the belief that spaceflight could become as routine as airplane travel. The investigation into the accident’s cause revealed a space agency more concerned with schedules and public relations than safety and sound decision-making.

I remember where I was when this happened – do you? A flashpoint moment. A tragic loss and hard to believe it was 20 years ago already. Man, sometimes the realization how quickly time passes sneaks up and squashes you. This is one of those moments.

MRI Bound and My Descent From Olympos.

Anti-inflammatories are my new best friend. The swelling is greatly reduced and what is left is fluid accumulation. Stairs are still problematic but at least I have regained most of the range. The knee joint is still tender and feels tight. An MRI is due sometime later this month but the doctor’s best guess at this point is a ripped meniscus lining. We shall see.

Just finished reading Olympos the concluding sequel to Dan Simmon’s Illium. The scope of these two books is staggering. Mixing an earth in the far-flung future where technology allows for the recreation of the Greek Gods, Mount Olympus, and the Trojan War; plus cybernetic robots from the far reaches of the solar system and evil creatures out of literature of Shakespeare.

Simmons proves his mastery of writing by mixing these disparate elements into one rip-roaring tale. Read it – you will revel in the work of a maestro.

Not Only Men Are From Mars…

… there is also Veronica Mars. Yep finished another TV DVD boxset. This one is about your typical teenage girl, part of the IT crowd until tragedy strikes. Her best friend is murdered and her father – the local sheriff, is convinced that the girl’s father is the murderer. Problem is that Lilly Kane’s father is a Bill Gates type who employs many of the locals and is very popular and respected. The stance of Veronica’s father does not sit well with the locals and when a drifter confesses to the crime ends up costing the sheriff his job. The stress of the whole investigation breaks up Veronica’s family and she becomes a social pariah at Neptune High.

The school is located in L.A. in 09’er territory as the Haves are referred to. Veronica’s father decides to stay in town and becomes a P.I. with Veronica as her assistant. The change in Veronica is painful to see. Flashbacks show her as a vapid and shallow girl. As her father’s assistant, Veronica is now a cynical and hardened cookie. She is very tough on the outside and veers towards the cruel at times because of the bitterness she feels.

While the show headlines Kristen Bell as the titular character this is largely a male ensemble cast. Its great seeing Bell’s Mars holding her own and often topping all the testosterone she has to wade through. Kristen Bell is a powerful and vivacious dynamo blessed with some great writing that cleverly references other noir sources as well as spearing pop culture.

Witness some episode titles:

Meet John Smith
The Wrath of Con
Return of the Kane
The Girl Next Door
Like A Virgin
Drinking the Kool-Aid
Silence of the Lamb
Lord of the Bling
Clash of the Tritons
Weapons of Class Destruction
Leave It To Beaver

The dialogue crackles and Bell zings with the best of them. My favourite relationship is between her and her father played by Enrico Colantoni.

Veronica Mars has the misfortune to be slotted against Lost and has struggled to find an audience. Fortunately the second season numbers are up and the show seems poised for a season three.

The setup of the series forms a season long arc and, apart from a moment of two of stretching credibility, ends with a powerful climax. Miss Bell is quite the find and coupled with the consistently high level of writing, though there are one or two clunker installments, makes for one of the good shows out there.

Recommended

BSG Continues To Impress!

Finished the Season 2.0 boxset of BattleStarGalatica and in a word- whoa! This series is dark and grim beyond belief. The overall tone of the show is used to great effect. The overall darkness of the series is used to maximum effect so that when brief fleeting glimpses of human courage, compassion, and dignity are shown they blaze with blinding glory. This show has choked me up several times.

The characters have big flaws and they are often displayed, warts and all, for everyone to see. Who would have believed that a cheesy 70s mullet infested TV series could become the springboard for such a mature and grim series. Its like Apocolypse Now in outer space.

The boxset contains the first 10 episodes of season 2 and hangs on a major cliffhanger. In the U.S. they have continued season 2 about a month ago. Here in Canada, we have just started the second season but the good news is that we will be getting all 20 season 2 episodes with no break. Now I just have to wait until mid-March for the series to catch up to me! 😦

HIghly recommended.

On the knee front the anti-inflammatories have done an amazing job and I have gone from not being able to bend my knee and put any weight on the leg to near full range and loosing the crutches. The knee is still tight and tender but markedly better. Tomorrow I will find out my options on further treatment.

Call Me A Gimp

Well looks like I pushed my luck too far. The past year or two my right knee has been wonky at time and my family doctor diagnosed osteo-arthritis in it. Started taking health store joint lubricant supplements and restricting myself to non-impact exercise. It worked pretty well.

Then last night I played pickup hockey, felt a twinge in my knee, and this morning its one swollen locked bugger. Can’t bend my leg or put much weight on it. I’m a crutch boy now and stuck at home.

Hopefully the anti-inflammatories kick in and I hear some good news from the knee specialist on Monday. For now I am a wounded bird.

Aging can really suck at times.

Fan Fiction

I know, I know. Fan fiction is the bastard child of writing. But you know what – a lot of people nervous about creating their own worlds, started out there. Yeah, a lot of it is bad. Very bad. Then again there are a lot of bad books with original characters and worlds out there.

The above is an attempt at rationalization on my part. I have not written much fiction yet and even less fan fiction. The piece below is fan fiction. It is meant to fill in one of those moments in a movie that one knows must have happened but is not shown. This is a missing moment from one of my all-time favourite movies. Read it and see if you can figure it out.

Is it any good? Well that is totally subjective as usual. I like it. Sometimes that is enough.

Tin Box

The sight of the huge oak tree brought Andy to a halt. It had been over twenty years since he had last been here. Hidden by the tree line at the edge of the field, he stared at the tree at the top of the hill. It towered regally over the landscape. Long branches fanned out into the sun-drenched sky; arms raised in triumph.

Nothing here had changed. Andy remembered himself and his wife-to-be walking up the slope of the field towards the tree. He retraced that path again. Being so exposed caused diametric feelings of joy and fear to course through him. One feeling had been a constant companion, the other a distant relative. He walked beside the stone fence wall that bordered the field. On Andy’s other side, a light breeze danced across the alfalfa stalks bending them in green waves.

It felt like time had stopped here as he stepped under the shade of the branches. He smiled at the sight of the grassy bed tucked between the fork of two large roots. It was on that spot they had made love for the first time. In the afterglow of their passion, Andy had proposed to her.

They had come back here several times before work had consumed him. One time, in a flight of romantic whimsy, they had left a time capsule. Andy could not believe that such feelings had ever existed in his earlier self. The small cairn of rocks marking the burial spot of the capsule still stood, undisturbed.

On his knees, Andy removed rocks looking for a unique one. It was soon uncovered. He lifted it out and wiped the dirt off. The black rock’s shiny, glassy exterior gleamed back at him. He hefted the rock for a moment and then placed it reverently off to one side. Handfuls of cool, dark soil piled up at the edge of the hole until he tapped against metal. Tracing the edges of the object, the outline of their time capsule took form.

He pulled the tin cigar box from the ground, sat back, and blew the remaining dirt off the lid. On the lid was the picture of the ocean liner they had taken on their honeymoon. The picture was faded, like his memories. The tin box was the only physical evidence of their relationship left in the world. All the regrets, the self-recriminations, and the guilt crashed through him. Head bowed between his knees, Andy’s body shook with the release of his sorrow.

Some time later he found himself again. Time was pressing and he had to go. Would have been gone if not for a promise he had made. Taking the edge of his T-shirt he wiped the sorrow off his face and took a deep breath. He took in the smells the country air had to offer and marvelled in them all. His coming here had been to offer possible aid to a friend. Now Andy realized that returning to this spot had helped him as well.

Inside the tin box a small bag protected the few keepsakes that were there. The items consisted of photos of them on their honeymoon, a matchbook from the ocean liner, and a lock each of their hair. He replaced that bag with a new one. The original bag contained memories from the past; the other held an offer for a new future.

It held hope.

Eager to be on his way, the tin box was soon buried with the black rock over top of it again. Andy looked around one more time. Twenty years ago on this very spot, the whole world had laid open before him. Today it renewed that offer. He felt the same feelings but with the deeper passion and appreciation that only freedom can bring. He left without a glance back. The world ahead of him had his full attention now.

It was time to get busy.

~~~

If you guessed the movie in question was The Shawshank Redemption you are da winner! I always wondered how Andy Dufresne felt when he went back to that oak tree to leave Red the money and letter. In my own stumbling amateurish way I hope this piece does some justice to that moment.