Posts Tagged ‘tomfoolery’

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Folk Cures

May 28, 2011

It has been raining for days. I’ve actually lost count of how many days it’s been since I’ve seen the sun. Obviously, rain can be depressing. Humans crave sunlight. The cold and wet make the outside unappealing. But for me, the worst part is the sinus headaches.

My nasal cavities are a functional barometer. I can tell when rain is coming. I can certainly tell when it is raining. Unfortunately, the price for this superpower is a dull, persistent ache at my temples and under my eyes that makes me want to claw my face off.

Low Pressure: Why I’ll never climb Mt. Everest
 

Fortunately, a lifetime dealing with headaches has left me with an arsenal of fixes. Some are probably slightly less effective than rubbing myself with a chicken gizzard in the light of the full moon, but I’ll quite happily take the placebo effect as well.

Arvik’s Home Headache Remedies

Drugs. Not exactly a home remedy, but I tend to want pain relief more than anything else. I basically have my own pharmacy that I carry with me, and let me say… it does come in handy.

Sleep. Sometimes the best (and only) way to escape for a few hours and have a chance of feeling better after. Of course, there are mornings when I wake up thinking drugsdrugsdrugsdrugs. Those mornings usually don’t bode well.

Protein and/or Sugar. Low blood sugar can trigger and exacerbate headaches. Protein is awesome because it takes longer to digest- the body can go to work on it like a dog gnawing on a bone.

Cool cloths. Actually, I don’t have a cloth. I have a beanbag thing you stick in the fridge and then place over your eyes. I like it, though I always forget to put it back

Things I Wish Were Headache Cures

Unicorn Horn. Just press the horn (either still attached to the unicorn or not) to your head, and voila! Instant pain relief.

Time Machine. I would assume that people will find a lasting cure for headaches in the future. You could go forward in time, steal a few samples, and return. Alternatively, you could just go to a time when you don’t have a headache.

Witch’s Spell. Witches are notoriously pricey, but if it’s a skilled spell-caster, it may be worth it. Long gone are the days of bubbling broths of eye of newt and breath of fish. Modern witches are all about compacting their potions into efficient little capsules. No fuss, no muss, and no smell.

Magic Spring. Bathing in or drinking magic waters is likely to be less expensive than paying for a spell. They’re just harder to find. However, it should be noted that drinking from a magic spring ought to be doubly effective, since many headaches are caused/worsened by dehydration.

Madame Pomfrey. She can heal anything!

The Doctor. Ditto (actually, one of the main reasons I really like my doctor is because he reminds me of Voyager’s doctor).

 

The Doctor. Dealing with human brains and their pains has got to be easier than dealing with time streams, right?

Pillow stuffed with feathers from the wings of a sphinx. Sphinxes are clever. Not only would I imagine that this pillow would be good for your headache, it may enable some subliminal learning.

Alas, until these latter cures are most feasible… I’m off to grab my cool-pack and take a pill.

-Arvik

 

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An Intergalactic Dictionary

April 27, 2011

Beta Reader (noun):

1. A trusted associate who reads and offers comments on an edited first draft.

2. The person from whom you will alternately dread and crave hearing a response.

Chosen One (noun):

1. A character who is unaware of their hidden greatness, but who will somehow, inexplicably and very often despite their own incompetence, save his/her world.

2. Harry Potter (who is not a typical “chosen one” incidentally, as his importance derives from the fact that Voldemort chose him as the wizard more likely to be a threat)

Coffee (noun):

1. A mild stimulant deriving from the coffee bean.

2. Many writers’ (and adults’) drug of choice.

Con (noun):

1. A gathering of fans, usually of science fiction and/or fantasy, to discuss and celebrate the chosen object/field of their devotion.

2. The means and the ends of fandom.

Edit (verb):

1. The process of revising a first draft.

2. The process of attacking your ms with a red pen and “murdering your darlings.”

Fanboy/girl (noun):

A person who follows and enjoys a story, series, universe, or person, but to a greater degree than a typical “fan.”

Fantasy (noun):

1. Speculative fiction in which magic and/or the supernatural play a central role in the story.

2. The literature of what couldn’t be, but is.

Geekgasm (noun):

An experience of overwhelming joy induced by contact with an object, idea, person, or event which stimulates the geek centre of the brain.

Geekgasm (verb):

To experience a geekgasm. Often identified by a silly, beaming grin, a high-pitched squeal, and a happy dance.

Genre (noun):

1. A means by which books are classified.

2. An attribute of a book which often receives far more attention and/or judgement than it deserves.

Internet (noun):

1. The medium across which computers exchange information.

2. Your best friend and worst enemy.

List (noun):

1. An efficient means of organizing information.

2. Evidently, a form of energy. To be without “list” is to be passive and unresponsive.

Josephine grunted listlessly.

Mary-Sue (noun):

The protagonist of badly-written fanfiction, sometimes a thinly veiled portrayal of the author. The character is universally loved and has no physical or personality flaws save perfection and being intensely irritating.

Nightmare (noun):

1. A frightening dream.

2. A spirit-horse which forces you to ride it to various evil realms and gatherings.

3. A potential source of inspiration.

Notebook (noun):

1. A small book with blank, lined pages.

2. An object which, in large numbers, can hypnotize writers.

Pirate (noun):

1. Seafaring murderers and thieves who are often romanticized as being the jolly epitomes of awesome.

2. Someone who illegally downloads music and/or films.

Podcast (noun):

An audio programme, similar to a radio show, distributed over the internet and most frequently listened to on iPods.

Podcast Novel (noun):

A unique medium of novel, in which the story is read aloud on a podcast. It may include voice actors, music, and sound effects along with the actual narrative.

Science Fiction (noun):

1. Speculative fiction in which nonexistent, but plausible, technology and/or physical laws play a central role in the story.

2. The literature of what could be, but isn’t.

Speculative Fiction (noun):

1. Fiction wherein some element intrinsically different from the writer’s own empirical experience of natural laws is essential to the story.

2. A legitimate genre of literature.

3. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and their various subgenres.

Steampunk (noun):

1. A creative re-imagining of the Victorian Era, particularly the London milieu, with an emphasis on speculative steam-based technology.

2. What happens when Goth kids discover the colour brown (attr. I Should Be Writing).

Time paradox (noun):

1. A paradox resulting from following the circular logic of time travel.

2. A plot device.

3. A terrible thing to think about if you have insomnia and are lying awake at 2 a.m.

Tribe (noun):

The greater community of writers.

Vampire (noun):

An undead human who survives by drinking blood. Contrary to some misguided beliefs, they do not sparkle.

Writer (noun):

Someone who writes.

Writing (verb):

1. The act of transcribing or setting words down in print/type.

2. The act of creating a story with fully-realized plot, characters, and theme.

Worldbuilding (noun):

1. The process of creating an imaginary, functioning world and its various components, including religions, geography, history, cultures, and economy.

2. Something really, really fun, and really, really important… that can become a really, really good way to procrastinate if one isn’t careful.

Zombie (noun):

1. An undead creature who survives by eating brains.

2. Something which ought not to be present and/or functioning, but is.

When Joe’s computer sent spam without Joe’s knowledge, Joe realized it had become a zombie computer.

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On the Origins of the Easter Bunny

April 23, 2011

Disclaimer:

I hereby absolve myself of any lost innocence that results from reading this post.

*****

I wasn’t sure how the Easter Bunny fit into Easter.

After all, it’s an invisible rabbit that hops around the world in a single night distributing eggs. I consulted Wikipedia, as I often do when the world confounds me. According to that highly academic source, the Easter Bunny/Hare originated in the former Holy Roman Empire, and seems to have been linked to Easter by virtue of the fact that rabbits are particularly blessed with fecundity (which makes me wonder if the Easter Bunny ever stops to… no, I can’t go on). So we have a symbol of fertility distributing more symbols of fertility (love those eggs) to innocent little boys and girls.

While this explanation was amusing, it wasn’t entirely satisfying.

I embarked on some original research. Following a hunch, I looked at the jackalope. Hey, with the Easter Bunny’s similarity to Santa, it made sense that it might be the product of a fecund rabbit and a reindeer.  Sure enough, the trail turned warm, albeit in an unexpected way: while jackalopes probably aren’t part reindeer, they might be part killer rabbit.

The most famous killer rabbit, of course, is the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.

 

Yes, that Killer Rabbit: the one slain by King Arthur and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

 

 

See a similarity?

My theory, then, is that the present-day Easter Bunny is a descendent of the original Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. The objects we’ve been interpreting as eggs of fertility, are in fact his attempts to recreate the Holy Hand Grenade, thus exacting ironic vengeance on humanity for killing his illustrious forebear.

Of course, this raises the question: why chocolate eggs? Why so colourful?

Alas, I fear it may be more mis-interpretation on our part. Doubtless, Easter Bunnies of yore used candy to lure small children near the cunningly-hidden grenades. Bright colours only added to the enticement. Placid adults, noticing this, assumed a connection between the pretty egg-shaped objects and appearance of candy (bunnies aren’t good at wiring- the grenades don’t go off very often) . There is a connection, just not the one we thought.

And so, while you’re hunting for eggs this weekend… you might want to find a long, long stick and poke them before picking them up.

-Arvik

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The Power of Whoot!

April 16, 2011

I heard someone use the phrase “The power of whoot!” and decided that it was so wonderful, I had to write a post about it. Whoot! (or w00t- both rhyme with boot) is exactly what it sounds like: an expression of joy, roughly corresponding to “yay,” although it can cover a broad range of meanings depending on tone of voice, from unbridled excitement to ironic amusement.

Now that we’ve got definitions out of the way, what exactly is the power of whoot? I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve decided that it’s a similar concept to that of “Carpe diem,” or “seize the day,” but infused with far more enthusiasm. It’s seizing the day because it’s the most awesome day ever. It’s approaching tasks with the merry eagerness you see in dolphins and puppies. The power of whoot! is the power of positive thinking. A simple exhortation of whoot! can brighten many, many situations.

For example:

But lest you think I’m just a naive Pollyanna, I will add that the power of whoot! cannot fix everything.

Some things are just bad. Really, truly, deeply suck. However, there are far more things that look bad at first, and can be fixed, or at least improved, by employing the power of whoot!.

Whoot. It can’t fix everything, but it can fix most things. And that sounds good enough for me.

Whoot!

Arvik

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Protecting yourself against those pesky ninjas (and the occasional pirate)

April 11, 2011

(without having everyone around you think you’re crazy.)

Today is another beautiful spring day… at least where I am. So, although I have much to do of the “sit-inside-and-stare-at-a-screen” variety, I figured I was more than justified in taking a stroll. And then…

Naturally, I went in. Soon enough, I was clutching my steaming cup of caffeinated goodness. That’s when I realized I faced a choice.

Where to sit?

Perspective and everything... aren't we fancy today?

Take a moment. Where would you have sat? Chair #1 or #2?

If you said Chair #1, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re putting yourself at risk in the event of a ninja attack. Chair #2 has several qualities which make it the superior seating choice. First and most importantly, its back faces the wall. That means you do not face the wall. Unless ninjas are planning on bursting through the wall from an adjoining room (which I’ll admit is a possibility), you are safe from attack from behind.

Furthermore, Chair #2 offers a view which faces the street and the door. (For those who are curious… yes, I am writing this post from inside the coffee shop. Call it blogging in the field.) As such, no one can get in or out of this coffee shop without my knowing. I wouldn’t put disguising one’s self past a ninja (or a pirate, for that matter), so this surveillance may well come in handy. Plus, I can see the street. That’s mostly because this coffee shop has nice big windows, but it’s a very attractive feature. Not only is it letting in natural light and making me feel connected to the world outside (this magical world I was starting to fear was myth), it’s going to give me first warning when the ninja and pirate armies team up with zombies to take over the downtown core.

Plus, you know, it’s nice for people-watching in the meantime.

So, to recap the paranoid person’s guide to restuarant seating:

  1. Choose seating arrangements which protect your back.
  2. Ensure you can monitor escape routes in and out of the establishment.
  3. Views of the street are an added bonus.
  4. Realize the ninjas/pirates/zombies probably won’t come until dessert… you’ll be too sleepy to run properly, and they can abscond with your dessert when it arrives.

One large coffee later, that’s all the advice I can give you. The rest is up to you.

Good luck!

-Arvik