Archive for October, 2012


Don’t Look


He was having that feeling again.

The vaguely unpleasant sensation that someone was watching him as he sat on the couch he’d picked up third or fourth hand on the side of the road not far from his new place. He tried to focus on the magazine in his hands, but the words seemed to blur into weird shapes before his eyes.

He had first dismissed the feeling as being in a new apartment after weeks of crashing at friends’ places after Carol threw him out. It was natural; he’d been in other people’s homes for so long that he had gotten used to having someone or something – pets, children, spouses – watching him. It would go away after a while.

But it just got worse.

At first he’d feel uneasy in the evenings after work, when the quiet of his rooms – still smelling strongly of the former occupant’s boiled cabbage – would grow heavy and dense as smoke. It pressed against him, clinging like a wet blanket. Restlessly he would prowl the tiny rooms, flicking on every light even though he couldn’t afford to. He borrowed a radio from a coworker, pleading his obvious poverty, and kept it tuned to a twenty-four hour talk radio station even though he loathed the shows. He needed the sound of voices to fill the silence.

They weren’t helping anymore.

After staring at the same page for ten minutes, he tossed the magazine aside. He had to do something, anything. A shower, that would help him calm down. Provided the hot water from the building’s balky hot water heater lasted, it had taken to blasting him with cold water at random intervals but his complaints to the super had fallen of deaf ears. The  stout gray-haired woman in the stained overalls claimed that no one else in the building was having a problem.

As he walked into the closet-sized bathroom he caught a glimpse of something dark from the corner of his eye. He ignored it, knowing from experience that there would be nothing there. The flashes had begun a few days ago, a slim dark shape that teased the edges of his vision but vanished when he turned to look. He was becoming increasingly sure that the messy break-up had fractured something inside of him, causing the strange feelings and the flickers he couldn’t quite see, but was reluctant to seek help. He could hear his father sneering at him every time he walked past the university’s mental health clinic, calling him weak and useless. He could handle this, he had to.

With a teeth-rattling screech he twisted the taps, sighing in relief as hot water pattered from the nozzle. Steam began billowing around him as he peeled off his sweats and stepped under the drizzle, releasing another sigh as the heat seeped into his bones. This was what he needed, he told himself as he lathered his chest with a bar of pine-scented soap, a good long shower to erase all …

What was that?

Like a rabbit sensing the presence of a fox, he froze. All of his senses strained to identify the noise he had half-heard over the strident hiss of the shower. Was that the loose board near the bathroom door, the one that groaned like a lost soul everytime he walked over it? It couldn’t be, there was no one else here. And that rustling noise had to be the shower curtain, even though it sounded eerily like the movement of cloth against cloth. He forced his hands to move, to continue washing, not even realizing that the water had grown ice-cold.

The single bulb of the ceiling light flickered and he noticed with a sort of detached calm that there was now a dark shadow cast onto the thin blue plastic of the shower curtain. It was just a moth battering itself against the light, that was all it could be. But as it grew larger and more distinct he found himself stepping backwards, away from the water. He instinctively did not want that shadow, now looking more like the outline of a very tall, thin man than a suicidal insect, to touch him. The soap fell from his hand and he looked down at it, watching it bump against the cracked green tiles and come to rest by the drain. He could still smell it, that pleasant woodsy aroma, but now there was something mingling with it; a sour smell that reminded him of the packet of mushrooms that had gone bad at work last week. It made him want to gag, but he found himself unable to do so. He couldn’t move at all, his eyes fastened on that green rectangle and the gleaming silver circle it rested against.

The shower stall grew darker as the shadow came closer. With a great deal of effort he managed to close his eyes, blotting out the image of the bar of soap. If I don’t look, it can’t get me, he told himself. It was the logic of a child hiding under the covers so the monsters couldn’t get him, but he clung to it like a lifeline. Over the pounding of his heart he could hear something that made him shudder – the creak of the tap as it slowly turned.

The hiss of the water became a sigh, far too quickly fading away to a few gurgles in the drain. Above it he could hear what he could only hope was the sound of himself breathing. His cheeks ached with the efforts of holding his eyes shut, but he couldn’t open them. Don’t look, he told himself. It can’t touch you if you don’t look.

Don’t look.

 

Author’s Note – Happy Halloween, folks! Just a little scary fiction to get warmed up for NaNoWriMo. Hope you enjoyed it.

 

 

Frankenpolish


No, Frankenpolish isn’t a Polish person pieced together like a crazy-quilt from other ethnic stereotypes – it’s customized nail polish. I stumbled upon “franking” while tootleing around on the Intertubesz one day a few weeks ago, but is actually something I’ve done for years. I just didn’t have a fancy neologism for it.

There are two ways to franken polish;

  1. mix together two or more commercially available polishes to create a new shade
  2. add pigments and/or glitter to a clear or colored base

There are a number of websites that sell the raw materials; base polish, solvent-resistant glitter, pigments, and the little bottles, as well as numerous blogs devoted to recipes for different colors. Most recipes are attempts at recreating a high-end polish or discontinued color with readily available ingredients, while others are just unique concoctions that the creator wants to share.

Intrigued by this, I decided to make a few “frankies” of my own. So far I’ve mixed up three that I like; a translucent navy blue with silver and pink glitter, an opaque lilac with fine blue glitter, and a translucent red with various colors and sizes of glitter.

Or, in keeping with the tradition of giving nail polish “quirky” names,
Nightfall, Jellybean, and Sassypants.

Swatches of Nightfall, Jellybean, and Sassypants. You can kind of see the blue sparkle in Jellybean.

The home of all things handmade, etsy, has a large number of handmade polishes available that go by names like Blue Box, Attack Ships on Fire, Taste the Rainbow, Birthday Cake, and Unicorn Sperm (again, “quirky”) and go for around ten dollars and up per half-ounce bottle.

Most of the frankies on Etsy are not something I would wear because they contain lots of very big bits of glitter in a clear or tinted base, but they are quite pretty.

Maleficent’s Dragon, by NixxiRose
This is one of the more “modest” chunky glitter polishes.

Some sellers, realizing that they could save a ton of money on supplies and shipping if they just sold the relatively lightweight glitter mixes, have started doing just that. I have recently purchased such a mix off of eBay called Mr. NutNut (“Quirky” names – they’re not just for polish anymore!) and will let you know how it turns out.

What’s That Noise?


I was driving to work the other morning and heard an ominous rattling noise as I turned a corner. Oh, shit, I thought to myself. Rattles are never good. Then when I turned another corner I heard the rattle again. Every single time I turned there was that ominous noise. The more I heard it, the more confused I got. It didn’t sound like it was coming from underneath the car, but seemed to be travelling from one side of the engine to the other.

What the hell was going on?

When I got to work I took a look and found the source of my rattle – it was an acorn. It had fallen into the space between the hood and the windshield and rolled every time the car turned a corner.

(I told GhostDad this story, as soon as I said that it only rattled when I turned a corner he immediately suggested that the problem was the axle. I told him I was pretty sure it wasn’t.)

Duckies!


A little video fun for everyone; it’s a dramatic reading of a bad CraigsList ad. You can read the original copy here; be sure to scroll down and take a look at the comments if you don’t already read them.

Bat Faces


Bats come in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes, and many have faces that look like the belong on a Chinese dragon.

Specifically all of them.

Hola, Indeed


I was going through my blog email box, deleting the dozens upon dozens of spams I get, when I decided to share one.

Hola !
I have seen your personal image on Facebook. I’m keen on you a lot. Let us communicate !
I can send you my image as well if you want…

Love and kisses,

The thing is, I don’t have a Facebook page for my blog. I do have a personal one, which I mostly use to chat with my YSaC friends and the Librarians, but the avatar for that is an image from one of the Bloggess’ posts.

 

I love this, in so many ways.

If “clementine” (or “ludmillahotsexy” if her email address is to believed) somehow stumbled upon my FB page, I’m flattered that s/he is now “keen” on me, but I think it’s best that we just stay cyberstrangers. However, if you would like to send me an image, clemetine/ludmillahotsexy, please make it something cute but family-friendly – a hedgehog dipped in chocolate, perhaps.

That’ll do, Google.

I Finally Found One!


So I’m a fairly regular commenter over on YSaC, where they have this meme that reaches way back to the early days of the site that deals with folks on CraigsList selling things with tigers on them and calling them lions. I posted about this same meme back around Christmas time, when I made a stuffed Not. A. Lion. for a swap.

Still adorable.

While scouting around on CraigsList, I will periodically search for lions in the hopes that I will spot a NAL, but have not had much luck.

Until earlier this week. That’s right, after much stalking of the Intertubez I have bagged my first NAL! It’s an orange trash can with a striped top shaped like a kitty’s head, probably meant for a kid’s room. I immediately sent a link to the Llamanun and Ostrimu, who run YSaC. I hope they see fit to add it to their next round-up of NALs.

You Never Know Where It’s Been


This is a rather amusing (or icky, depending on your point of view) little story.

Fearless has a problem with … “hitchhikers” on her hindquarters. I usually solve this problem through a combination of combing and regular bathing, which is oh-so-much fun for the both of us. I had an idea once to trim the hair to make it easier for the both of us. To this end I bought a cheap beard trimmer online to help thin out the area.

A Brazilian was out of the question.

It didn’t work; Fearless’ butt-fur is apparently much thicker than a normal man’s beard, because it clogged up constantly. Coupled with the buzzing noise, which freaked Fearless out, it was a no-win situation. Since I hadn’t spent all that much, I just cleaned all the fur out and tossed the clipper in the donation box.

Fast-forward to the day when we take our stuff to donate. As I was getting back into the van, I saw the guy who had been helping us empty out the van poke through one of the boxes we had just unload,  pick the clipper out, and lay it aside. I started giggling, which prompted MotherDearest to ask me what was so funny. (I told her.)

Head Case


I, like many people, suffer from occasional migraines that are sometimes bad enough that I miss work. Not long ago I had to miss two days due to my pounding head (the fact that workmen were in the house replacing a window on the first day didn’t help matters.)

When I returned to work one of my coirkers told me that I should try the “wondrous” headache cure she had found. After scurrying off to her office, she brought me what appeared to be a giant tube of lip gloss.

It was HeadOn.

Apply directly to … you know the rest.

For those who don’t have a television and therefore missed the annoying ads, HeadOn is a homeopathic  “remedy” that  you apply directly to your forehead and it will magically erase your headache. You can receive the same miracle cure by rubbing a candle on your face. I didn’t know they still made this stuff, let alone anyone actually used it.  When I told her I didn’t want to use it, she started telling me how wonderful the “herbal remedy” was and so forth. I declined again as politely as possible. I think I’ll stick with aspirin.

Soldier A


I’ve been looking off and on for a particular video featuring the song Soldier A by Vic Mignogna that I saw while at Dragon*Con, and I’ve finally found it!

Enjoy!