Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Late Night Encounter

The road was covered in leaves by the time Eric left his meeting and the sky had taken on a deep shade of purple. He knew that his wife would be furious at him for taking so long, but he was too exhausted to dwell upon her impending wrath. The deepening shade of the late evening night covered more and more of the sleepy forests on either side of the road, and Eric found himself having to pay more and more attention to the road ahead of him as the visibility dropped incrementally with each passing minute. He was on this road for half an hour before he realized with a sense of growing dread that he was no longer sure where he was.

He should have passed the old MCinty farm by now, and the trees should have long since thinned down to low scrub-brush and the occasional tree that refused to believe that forests were soon to be extinct. Not sure what else he could feasibly do, he pulled the car over to the side of the road which was a tricky proposition as the trees were almost on top of the small two-lane country road. Eric sat in a ponderous trance for several minutes before he flipped on the overhead light and reached into his glove compartment for his trusty old map.

It took him several long moments to find the map, buried as it was under several old travel books from his traveling days as well as the odd assortment of candy wrappers and old receipts. I really should clean this shit up, he though distractedly as he pulled the map out and began to unfold it. It took him several more moments to locate on the map the exact street that he knew that he was on. Had anybody been unfortunate enough to be in the car with him at this exact moment, they would have been assaulted with the kind of profanity that only sailors and possibly college students are wont. With this out of his system, Eric quickly began to fold up the map and he stowed it once again amidst all the trash of the glove compartment.

He sat still for mere moments before he shoved the door open and stepped out into the leaf-strewn road. He had a strong rustic look to him, complemented by the outlandish facial hair that he had grown long ago to placate his wife. There was a slight bulge under his overcoat that might give the more wary person cause to be alarmed. How the hell could I have gone completely in the wrong direction? I’m not that damn tired. He looked around him then and realized one thing that was a cause for great concern: a large silver animal was watching him with hungry, beady eyes.

Not being a renowned wildlife expert, he could not categorize this strange beast. He knew only that it resembled a mix between a dog and, well, …. Bigfoot! The only thing he could thing with any coherence was to be still and stay quiet. Though he knew this was no T-Rex, Eric hoped with a growing sense of alarm, that this creature was somehow distantly related and could not see him unless he moved. Intellectually, he knew this to be a ridiculous assumption but he held fast to the thought and began to resemble one of those living statues.

The creature began to approach with quite, assured steps that did not seem to affect the thin coating of dead leaves. No rustling sound came from the direction of the animal. Indeed, no sound of any kind could be discerned from this behemoth. For reasons that Eric would never be able to uncover, this caused his terror level to jump to levels heretofore never experienced in his lifetime. There was something primal and otherworldly about this strange visitor that beckoned to him and stirred up old vestigial memories that he never knew he possessed.

Images of primal terror began to cycle through his frozen brain, and he started to hyperventilate with short, shallow breaths. The animal had stopped its forward progression, but Eric was no longer paying attention. His focus was strictly upon the images that he tried with desperate measures to decipher, but found that they were flying by too fast for him to understand them. All he was aware of was that darkness had suddenly entered into his personal worldview, and it was coming closer and closer to grasping his soul in its sharp talons. Deep in his unconscious self, Eric realized what was happening to him but found himself utterly incapable of doing anything about it. It would take some kind of glorious outside help for him to be able to get away from the terrible clutches of this voracious demon.

Unbeknownst to the ancient demon and its hapless victim, another kind of being was at that very moment staring through slitted eyes at the struggle that was taking place. It could feel the darkness as strongly as Eric, but the difference was that this being understood the creature and knew its motives. It had seen it far too many times before to mistake the signs for what they were. Light radiated from this new creature on the scene in small waves, and a feeling of peace and tranquility was its essence. Seeing that the possession was in its last stages, this creature pushed out the light and peaceful emotions in an envelope that enfolded the man and the strange demon that has attempted to absorb the humanity left in the man. In a very old dialect, this being began to talk very fast and glide towards the situation.

Eric was dimly aware of all of this as it was happening, and could feel the two forces at work as they were battling each other. The rapidity of the hellish images diminished noticeably and a pall was lifted from his eyes that he hadn’t even realized had been placed there. He was vaguely aware of something being ejected from his core being and he could almost see a kind of wispy black fog leaving his body and coalescing once again into the silver creature that had started this whole strange affair. His consciousness began to slowly but inexorably reengage with his other senses and he was able to jump away from the hold that had been so tight only moments before.

A strong guttural cry echoed in the corridor between the trees as the demon raised what looked like hackles and charged at the newcomer. The newcomer, however, was ready for this and acted with a practiced grace to raise its hands at the demon and push forth some kind of brilliant energy at the rapidly approaching monster. It appeared that the demon was no slouch, however, as it deftly sprung out of the way of the energy bolt. For an instant both creatures stared each other down with withering stares and then they launched anew at each other and the impact was cataclysmic and knocked Eric a good ten meters away, where he just narrowly avoided hitting a big rock on the side of the road. He didn’t have enough time to count his good blessings, as the fight continued unabated between the two spiritual beings. He could only assume that one was good and one was bad, but turned on his heels and sprinted away from the confrontation as fast as his body would take him. He never even attempted to look back until he must have run a couple of miles.

All he could see was a bright light on the horizon that could have been mistaken for sunrise, but a quick check of his watch ensured Eric that it had only been a matter of minutes since he had stopped his car. At this point, he didn’t care at all who won this biblical matchup and he turned around and ran all the way back into town where he eventually succumbed to his deep fatigue and collapsed just outside of town. His dreams were impossible to define, but he swore till his dying day that they contained fantastic images of demons and angels in a fight for the ages.

He would never be sure what had happened that night, but he woke up a changed person. He had come so close to the true face of evil that he could never forget the complicated emotions that had rifled through his being. Though he had been frozen by the sheer terror of the confrontation, he had also felt an intrinsic connection between himself and that terrible entity. Right there before the newcomer came and ostensibly saved his life, he had actually begun to like what he was seeing and look forward to its terrible embrace. He swore to himself that he would never let himself forget what had happened and how much he owed to the illuminous stranger.

Though he had by no means been an awful person prior to his encounter, he became a paragon of virtue and philanthropy for what remained of his life. He did as many little things, as well as some big things, to make his little corner of the world a better place to live in. Several years later, when he and his wife welcomed their first child he worked even harder to instill in his young son the lessons that he had learned. Though he yearned for it, he never again met that mysterious stranger. It would be up to his son, some 50 years after that initial encounter, to relay his thanks and gratitude before embarking on an adventure of his own right.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Burgeoning New Life

During this past week there have been two births in my family, and I cannot wait to see them and their proud parents. Andrew and Katie (my first cousin and cousin-in-law) greeted Avery into this world on Friday, Oct. 12th. Scarcely one day earlier Lauren and Cevin (same as above) greeted Kayla Nicole Macias into this world on Thursday, Oct. 11th. It goes without saying that I am incredibly proud of the four of them as they embark on the trials and tribulations of raising kids. And knowing both of them when they were younger, and I'm sure they would agree since they also knew me, raising kids is no small feat.

Unfortunately, with my current situation, I have had very little correspondence with either of them since moving down to New Mexico. Luckily I should be able to see them and their new bundles of joy either for Thanksgiving or sometime around Christmas. At this time, when there lives are continuing unabated with all the work that goes with raising a child included, I would like to wish them both the best of luck and also say that I am a little envious for them. Though I do not necessarily look forward to waking up in the middle of the night or the constant dirty diapers, I am certainly looking forward to the feelings that must inevitably come with raising a fellow human being. To be able to be the moral compass for a child is something that I think is extremely important for these small, innocent children. Knowing my cousins as well as I do, I know that their children will be nothing short of amazing individuals as they grow up in this increasingly tumultuous world that we live in.

In a society that thrives on individuality, two great new individuals have opened their eyes for the first time and are ready for the wonders to come.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Baseball Journey: The Inconsistent Reunion

The baseball was in the middle of a very intense conversation with an old black and white arachnid that had crawled its way onto the soft leather of the glove when it felt itself lifted up and once again tucked under the little one’s armpit. It only had a little bit of time to register its surprise before it was pounded into hard gray concrete, which promptly rebounded it right back into the long-fingered hand of the small one. They’re lucky that I don’t have any pain receptors, it thought sardonically, but of course it really had no idea what a pain receptor was or even what pain felt like.

It had been many months since the little one had been home and the baseball felt a momentary sense of comfort being back in the overly sweaty mitt that it had been friend to for many years. Its age was incalculable, but none of that mattered to the big one and the small one who were playing out a ritual that had become sacred to them. Before the baseball quite knew what was going on it went sailing into the aluminum siding of the little one’s house.

“Dude, watch it. We’re way too old to keep getting yelled at by your dad!” remarked the big one.

“It was an accident, its not my fault that you can’t catch it” yelled the small one as he picked up the baseball and made yet another miserable attempt at an old-school knuckleball such that the baseball ended up several yards to the left of the big one. It heard a sigh of exasperation escape from the big one which would have mirrored the baseball if it was even capable of any speech. Just once, I would like to end up in the mitt when he throws that damnable pitch!

“Seriously man, slow down and concentrate on the pitch. How long has it really been since we’ve done that?” About 342 days, 9 hours, and 12 minutes, thought the baseball before realizing how desperate it sounded that it knew this figure with such precision.

“We’ve both been working and going to school. You’re only in the state about three times a year, and the rest of the time you’re with Jess”. The small one, with appropriate discipline managed to throw the baseball close to the mitt of the big one. Thanks you Lord, thought the baseball before realizing that as an inanimate job it had neither the need for nor desire of any religious notions.

“True. It’s almost over though and I’ll be back in the state. Of course, then I’ll have to look for a job and plan a wedding so time will be kind of at a premium…” The baseball stopped listening to the familiar diatribe of the big one as he went sailing through the air and the warm air. It had listened to the big one speak so often that it knew his ability to string seemingly random thoughts together so effectively that the end result was usually just white noise to the baseball.

After another half hour of back and forth motion, which was about to make the baseball sick, the two once again decided that their time could better be spent pretending to be in the big leagues.

“You got any Code Red?” the big one asked. The baseball was once again relegated to the dusty storage bin along with the glove, its one constant companion. Either they will come out to play tomorrow or it will be another year! The baseball though again, for the thousandth time in its small existence, about life and its many wonderful things that it would likely never get a chance to see. Before hunkering down for the long haul in this muggy old garage, it suddenly realized that there were no other baseballs in the box along with it. For some inexplicable reason, this notion forced small thoughts of unaccustomed joy to worm their way into its rubber core.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Indians in ALCS

Last night I spent 4 and a half hours watching the Indians trouncing the New York Yankees. For the third year in a row, the Yankees have lost the first round in the baseball playoffs against a team that wasn't really given much chance by the majority of the baseball public. Now who is standing tall as the Indians have disrupted the most potent offense this entire year through great pitching and some of the best 2-out clutch hitting I think that I have ever seen. Our top two pitchers have each won 19 games this season, and we have a third who has won 15 games. This kind of amazing pitching will beat the best offense any day.

Next on the target for the Indians are the Boston Red Sox, who do have a great team but there is this feeling in the air. This is the time that the Indians will accomplish what they have been striving for since the 40s. Unfortunately for the Cubs, they were eliminated in the first round. This leaves Cleveland as the team with the longest stretch without winning the World Series, at least as far as the teams who have won a series (the Rockies have yet to win).

As someone who lived through almost the entirety of the glory days in Cleveland during the nineties, and someone who saw them lose two world series in '95 and '97, I have been rooting for them to do great. Also, there is something special about this team that bodes well for the rest of their playoffs. Besides, it is very rare for a team to have three pitchers which could be the ace of many other teams. C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, and Paul Byrd have been absolutely astounding this year but especially this post-season. They have dominated completely and I look forward to seeing these pitchers in the ALCS as we win and move onto the World Series.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Brief Respite

Yesterday, I spent virtually the entire day working on the second draft of my thesis. The good news is that I finished it, printed it, and put it in Rani's mailbox to tear apart! I'm hoping for at least four days before she tells me what I need to change about it. Even though it's a couple of weeks late, it really feels good to have it done for the time being. Now I can focus on my other classes and get some work done on them so I can continue to get that grades I have been getting so far, which thankfully have been quite good.

Today, I am enjoying the brief respite mentioned in the title and watching football and hanging out with friends. Brain's kinda fried a little, so I'll let this post go at that. Have a great day, everybody.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Red Carnation

The spoon was sitting exactly where he had left it, as was the plate, the knife, and the cup. But the flower. Ohhhh the flower. It was decidedly not where he had left it. In fact, he had not left it nor did he like flowers. They were too pretty, and reminded him of days that he would much rather let stay in the oblivion.

The smell of this particular flower was a mixture of scents, so complex that even someone with an incredibly refined sense of smell would have a very difficult time decoding the complex smell. He did not have such a sense of smell, so all he thought was that this particular scent was an affront to his senses. He sat looking at it, trying his hardest not to smell and breathing through his mouth like a fish out of water. It was a small red carnation, wilted and with a dainty air about it as if the person who had left it there had transferred some of their personality into it. That is certainly ridiculous, he thought, but he continued to think it.

A hard knock at the door brought him out of his revery. At least somewhat. He looked like an old school automaton as he walked towards the door, unable or unwilling to take his glance off of the mysterious flower. He fumbled for the door latch and opened the door, unaware that this life was soon to be a thing of the past.

The retort of the gun was the last thing that he heard before succumbing to his sixth death in as many days. Dammit, at last something out of the ordinary and I die. This thought was stretched out and multiplied thousandfold as he entered the realm of Kiloria and all of his infinite personas were released. This was always the worst, that first entrance into the shining metropolis out on the frontier of space itself. The leap out of the bodies was never a thing that happened lightly, and this time was certainly no different.

“Welcome back, Number 1, do you have anything new to report?” said an imperious voice. The tone was unmistakable, and Number 1 found it literally impossible not to answer his question.

“The flower was back, and for the life of me I cannot explain away its appearance. I was only in the bathroom for a minute, and the flower appeared during that time.” He finished.

His superior, looking over and writing in a small black journal, took a long time to continue with this familiar routine. Much longer, in fact, than normal which prompted Number 1 to think with a fierce kind of glee that his journey might now be finally entering the last stage. He had been coming close to an epiphany of sorts for several jumps now and he could not wait until the last phase was begun and his time spent in the ‘real’ world increased many times over.

"This latest development is very troubling," he said with an authoritative air. "It is time for Phase 2. Go to the library and read up on red carnations. He is trying to tell us something, and I want to know what."

"Yes, sir," he snapped off a smart salute. With this, he retreated with a kind of lithe grace out into the night and presumably off towards the library.

His commander stood in the soft lush light coming through the phase8 material high above him for several moments before a soft shimmering surrounded him. A small buzzsaw burrowing up through the soft loam popped up through the ground in the very place where the elderly man had recently been without any idea that he was in a highly bizarre incidence.

A Piece of Skyrock

The rock was falling through the sky in a trajectory that would take it straight into the living room of Mr. and Mrs. Weatherweight. Their life was normal, and as normal people they had many problems that were quietly going unaddressed. Their biggest problem was that a piece of skyrock was at that moment plummeting straight for their favorite TV. They did not know this, however, so they continued watching a rerun of “I Love Lucy” on their brand new plasma screen television. In mere moments, their quiet little suburban lives would be threatened and their lives would be forfeit. The rock, knowing this, changed its mind and hit their hydrangea instead.

The powerful explosion that would have happened, because who knew that the plasma in plasma televisions was such a highly volatile substance (!), was forever altered. Instead, they were covered in dirt.

To them, however, this was the ultimate affront and after shaking themselves off with quick rapid shakes they stood up with something akin to murder on their carefully sculpted faces. With quick bird-like twists of their heads, somewhat eerily in unison, they looked around to find someone to blame.

Their first thought, and a strange one it was, was that the killer robots had finally arrived and were going to deprogram them all and make them into plumbers (!). Knowing that these two were highly sophisticated robots implanted into this quiet suburban neighborhood would probably make things much clearer. The rock knew all of this and so much more, but for now it was determined to keep all of this information to itself and keep its secret.

Mr. and Mrs. Weatherweight, codenamed after the two who had previously inhabited this particular establishment, were not specifically programmed to make sense of what was happening. What happened next might seem exceedingly odd to an outsider, but was run of the mill to your average neighborhood robot. They stood close and swiveled their heads towards each other in a slow methodical turn. Their hair parted and appeared to melt into their scalps, which had taken on a hint of a metallic coloring. Their eyes sunk slowly into their heads and appeared to retreat upward towards their scalps before actually popping out again with a slight pop through recently formed holes on top of their heads. Finally, their eyes connected together like a plug into a socket and they just sat there.

And sat there.

The rock, which had a pretty good idea what they were doing, was starting to get impatient after three hours of this sitting there. It decided to act, not something that was specifically in its programming but it thought it could bend some useful algorithms just this once. Or was it the tenth time. For some reason it didn’t know, but it didn’t care enough to double check its records even though it would only have taken one-trillionth of a nano-second.

Little tiny legs protruded from this small piece of space debris that was definitely not acting as such. Looking like a small earth spider, it crept over to the two eye-locked Weatherweights and crawled up until it was sitting right in-between their connections.

And it sat there.

The explosion occurred precisely one-trillionth of a nano-second later when the small piece of space rock realized that it had bent one algorithm too many and the resulting logical paradox was too much for its logical circuits to handle. It had time for one more thought in this micro time period.

Was it the Weatherweights or the Featherweights?

Where have I been?

It sure has been a long time since I posted anything, and that really is a shame. When I first started this blog I was really excited about being able to write again when I once had such a passion for it. I still do, there is just so much to be done with school right now that I am finding it very difficult to give myself the time to really sit down and express my thoughts in words. Let me tell you what is going on right now, both in my head and in my life.

First off, my head is incredibly full at the moment with the amount of things going on in my life. Now don't get me wrong, I am very fortunate indeed that I have this much going on at all. Upon some serious inner reflection, I think that this is the sign that I am living a very full and rewarding life. Sometimes, like right before bed, I wish that I could just poke a tiny hole in my brain to let all of this stuff out so that I can think only of my pillow as my head crashes onto it. Frontal lobotomy aside, there really is nothing that can be done. Oh well! I guess I'll have to live with it after all. Here I am ranting again. Please tell me when I am doing this so I can shut the hell up, will ya?

My schoolwork takes up a big proportion of my time, as I am sure anyone who has ever been in graduate school or even a full-time job for that matter would understand. Right now, I have the equivalent of three classes warring for every last inch of my time. Luckily, one of these is the actual writing of a big chunk of my thesis in time for the end of the semester so that I can work exclusively on the analytical portion of my work in time to graduate in May. (Fingers crossed everyone!!!) I feel really good about everything that has been going right with this research even though I am not the biggest fan of doing research. Still, there is something amazing about producing something (anything) and then having it published for all the world to see (or at least those who even know where it is --> in the library here!).

Perhaps later I will spend some time to introduce you to the wonderful world that is Maya refuse practices and geographic information systems, but I think this post is getting a bit long in any case. I plan on writing more often in the coming weeks, but don't be at all surprised if I begin to be a little lax. Be kind, I am gentle! (whimper)

I also hope to have some more short stories to post in the near future, and I am still interested in producing a serialized story. The baseball story that I posted almost over a month ago now does have more chapters, I just haven't written them yet. Stay tuned my loyal and faithful compatriats!