Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Am Dexter Yellow

For those who are not aware, DEXTER is a Showtime TV series about a mass murderer and his life and his world.

I am a Dexter. No, I have not killed anyone at least not illegally. Nor do I care to kill anyone, I do not think about killing or ever really consider it. But aside from that I think like a Dexter. Calculating, hiding my true feelings or lack of them from others as I interact socially from day to day. I am always weighing a conversation with an outsider’s observation. What is expected from me, how am I supposed to react? I am often in sync with others and their emotions, but more often than not I am baffled by their strict adherence to smug speculations, mistaken conclusions, poor assumptions and over all alien reactions to day-to-day life. I know that just because every other object is green but for one single yellow entity does not necessarily make that yellow one wrong, but in a green world yellow does present itself as uniquely different, a reality to be questioned and held in suspicion. I see myself as that altered perception. I hold no startling truth or doctrine to justify my difference, in that I am as lost and prone to mistaken assumption as anyone. But I acutely recognize my vulnerability to conjecture and admit at least to myself that I am very apt to be wrong especially when not all information is presented to a specific conclusion leaving me wrought with doubt when others walk about comfortable in their acceptance of substantive postulation without the benefit of actual fact. I sometimes feel like a polarized negative snapshot of humanity. Where most stand in unison with faith, I have doubts, and yet where the rest of the world seems positioned firm in denial I find resolution. I don’t think of myself as superior, nor am I without feeling, but I seem to often have the wrong emotion available for specific situations where others seem to flow smoothly with the accepted reaction or decision at the time. My decision making process is a bit different. I recognize my own feelings, hold them in check and continue analyzing the immediate environment to catch a whiff of how others are conducting themselves then and only then do I attempt to blend in with herd mentality. It is often an uncomfortable life, being yellow.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

more dreams

By the end of the third day when the full moon broke through the clouds she took on a fever. We went to the elder of the native porters in camp and asked for aid through our translator. We were immediately urged to travel that night to the nearest tribe where we sought the medical assistance of a healer. Julie was in a bad way and needed a special spore to add to the mixture of herbs and unguents the shaman concocted, five of them to be precise and we were informed that precision was key to the creation of the cure. A shy native girl no more than ten years old showed us a white mushroom cap and our guide explained this was called shuiweh and was the ingredient required to finish the needed potion and that we should hurry to gather them up and return.

We set out on our quest taking the boat out and across the lake, beaching at small coves and inlets to search the shorelines for the elusive mushrooms. They proved to be less elusive than anticipated and before you know it we were carry hand loads of them back to the boat. Only five were required, but I supposed that bringing extras to the healer as a gift would act as a sign of gratitude and payment for the life giving service he was about to provide. The waters were dark and quiet as we covered the distance back to the village, the bright moonlight spilled onto the lakes surface giving the impression that we traveled through thick dark blood, glossy and still but for the ropey wake that followed behind us. Anxiety filled me as the natives steered the craft forward. It might have been a classic African Norman Rockwell moment if it weren’t for the humming of the outboard, and the Bart Simpson and MTV tee shirts worn by our natives.

The spores were offered to the healer and he turned and walked away without accepting the gift, walking away with no word or explanation. Did he forget something? Oh my god! Were we too late? I rushed to Julie’s tent and she lay asleep breathing heavy, a low moist sputter rumbling in her lungs and her skin oozed thick oily sweat but she was breathing and very much alive. I form a few angry thoughts directed at the village shaman. Was this a fools errand, send us away to keep us out from under foot as what ever secret ancestral ceremonies were needed to be performed outside of prying foreign eyes? Oh just think a moment, how could I be so stupid? We were given a specific task and we failed at it. I am amongst a conservative lot these lake villagers, in tune with nature and earth and respectful to creatures and plant life. Had we pulled up a year’s crop of mushrooms? Was there a shelf life on these spores? Did it take years to germinate or cultivate more? Had I broken some ancient taboo, disappointed their gods? I had no clue what I was thinking when I gathered up every mushroom in sight and the thought that my ignorant self indulgence may cost Julie dearly set uneasy in the pit of my stomach.

Our guide and translator returned some time later and explained that what we brought back was not the wembu diewhi shuiweh needed to complete the potion, what we brought back was common shuiweh or mimic toadstools that any five year old in the village would have known the difference. Then why didn’t we bring a five year old? I thought to myself. This was a nightmare.

“We must go back out!” I demanded but the guide shook his head slowly.

“It is much too late now. Your friend, she will survive another day, we will finish our task tomorrow.” then he led us to our tents just outside the village. I found it difficult to sleep despite the exhaustion that seeped into my old bones. The next morning I woke to a colorful bustling village full of motion and sound. I checked in on Julie’s tent, she still slept badly with sweat soaking though the medicine blanket that covered her. I was collected and brought to a feeding hole, a kind of native mosh-pit of pillows and grass rugs scattered about a dimple in the ground. I was served fruits and goat’s milk, cheese and a variation of pine nuts with a grainy porridge still steamy from the kettle. There was honey and clumped cream for the porridge and fresh water for washing and drinking. It seemed an endless procession of women and children bearing food and drink and gifts as well. Reed soap for washing, banana leaves for toiletry, a straight razor for shaving was a welcome surprise and a small treasure chest worth of small stones, some smooth and shiny, others peculiar and unique in shape and color and pieces of pretty glass as would be found in cheap jewelry all heaped around me to make my dining experience all the more delightful. Everyone carried a smile and worked swiftly and diligently at whatever task they performed. There was a veritable hive of activity accented by laughing children running frantic in a perpetual game of chase through out the village. Buoyant chatter and easy laughter blended with joyful song that came pleasant to the ear. There was an air of not celebration, but infectious contentment that called me to join in the activity and become a part of the hive and share the mysterious feelings unknown to most of the civilized world but so inviting within the confines of that tiny village. The emotional sensations that surrounded me were difficult to grasp at first, and then I recognized the familial bond that has long fled the cities of the western world. Here everyone worked for the whole, this is communal living at its most base element. There were no strays from the herd, no lone wolves, no self-absorption, no secrets from one another only from outsiders and then secret only because we were unable to see the magic. So applying modern logic; our conclusion can only be that these arcane truths must be deliberately withheld as a mysterious secret and not because we refuse to believe what we see directly in front of us. This is the only explanation plausible to educated and ‘enlightened’ contemporaries.

I shook the lackadaisical doldrums from my now clean skin and focused on the problems at hand. I had searched frantically for mushrooms last night in the dark and did so poorly informed as to what I was searching for. I learned what I wanted was a death head mushroom so named for the yellowed ivory color and the brown scarring that naturally occurs on the cap of the shuiweh that when looked upon from a certain angle appeared as the form of a skull with sunken eyes, nose and maw when ripened to maturity and viable for the shaman’s potion. I was afraid that my knowledge of mushrooms was extensively lacking in the ability to recognize one from another so I took heed of my lesson the night before and bribed a coterie of children with chocolate to assist me in my endeavor.

We set out into the jungle racing about like an Easter egg hunt, children running and laughing and darting from shade tree to shaded root. I made sure my guide translated that only five were required and that I should be led to discoveries rather than pulling them from their nesting place and delivering them to me directly. Much was apparently lost in the translation for the children brought me colorful flowers, more pretty rocks, and a few varieties of lizard that blended so well to the color and pattern of my hand as to disappear from view entirely. All impressive and well intended but not what I was seeking. We ventured closer to the shoreline as that is where I searched the previous night but found nothing but games and laughter that began to fill me with guilt and a little annoyance considering Julie was back in the village wasting away. I reluctantly allowed a break for lunch, which consisted of fresh picked fruit, some edible flowers and a tuber root that tasted remarkably of apple and ginger. I could market that back home I thought to myself as I rose to continue my quest. The children took their time in eating, some curling up in the shade for a nap afterwards. Others slowly rejoined me and we continued our mini expedition through the forest. By evening my spirits plummeted as the population of insects rose. The children grew weary of the game and no chocolate could bribe them any further and we returned to the village subdued and empty of hope.

Dinner was laid out in the dining pit when we came in to the village. The children for the most part scrambled to their mothers except for a few of the oldest who carried the youngest sleeping in their arms. I made my way to Julie to look in on her. The shaman was by her side as well as my translator who informed me that a hunting party was assembled to assist me after the dining observance was concluded. I looked up confused from Julie’s side.

“I have been searching with the children all day and have not found a single sprout to match your description.” I announce feebly unaware if Julie could hear me or not. “I am cursed with bad luck and stupidity. A seemingly lethal dose for poor Julie here.” I finished.

“You seem not to understand,” translated my guide “you are most fortunate for the shuiweh you seek only blooms on the nights of a full moon. Tonight the villagers will take you where they grow in abundance, but you must take only what you need, and you must search them out yourself. The quest is part of the cure. Your heart and your faith must fill the spores you harvest or they will be useless to the shaman. This I thought was understood.”

“There is much I don’t understand.” I replied, and then I woke up. It was a good journey and entertaining dream, I hope it continues.

"Badgers? We Don't need no stinking badgers..."

You may recall several stories that infer that Nutmeg may well be a feline NutMegGuyver and that still holds true for the most part but last night has changed my perspective somewhat. I woke somewhere towards the end of the classic witching hour because of the rather noisome antics of my two cats, Chaos and Nutmeg. I wasn’t ready to rise so I rubbed my eyes shut and buried my head deeper into my pillow. I lay there listening to my hyper cats run the length of the house and back several times, not an uncommon occurrence and sometimes I get up and join them; but not this early, not this morning. As luck would have it, despite my reluctance to get up out of my warm bed, nature persuaded me otherwise, and I drug my tired butt over to the cold linoleum and sat myself down on an icy porcelain seat. The cats came in to watch. Now that in itself may seem a bit odd, but it has been a long time since they made me uncomfortable in the watching or the disregard they hold for my privacy, and I only noticed because just behind them the floor grate to the air ducts was dislodged on one corner. As if aware of my interest, Chaos got up and walked over to the floor grate and sniffed it, then sat and stared for a while. Nutmeg got up and followed suit sitting beside her hulking mate as I thought to myself Nutmeg has been up all night working hard again. You see this isn’t the first floor grate removal service I have unwittingly discovered, the first to go was under the end table in the front room, followed by one behind the lazy boy recliner, one more in the bedroom and the one in the kitchen would have gone by way of the others had fate not interceded by putting me in Nutmegs way at the most inopportune times for her. Good fortune for me because she apparently gave up on it.

Tonight, or in the wee hours of morning I suppose was to prove different. I sat on my porcelain throne and watched my two cats sit on their furry behinds and watch the floor vent. Both tales began twitching nervously like when ready to pounce on an unsuspecting toy, or each other when in mock-stalker mode. All of a sudden a paw appeared much to my surprise. You could not have flabbergasted me more with spring-loaded worms in a fake can with a peanuts label. I was too shocked to react. I sat and watched the paw come out and Nutmeg unable to resist, pounced on it and the mystery paw returned to the safety of my air conditioner duct after engaging a few retaliation moves. Nutmeg settled back to a sitting position until the paw came out again. This time nerve synapses were firing on all eight cylinders in my muddled brain and I actually formed a thought or two. The paw was most definitely an extra foot, all four each of Chaos and Nutmeg’s feet were accountable and yet a ninth paw remained. I counted again to be sure, yep nine paws. The odd paw appeared to be dark brown with very long black claws. I suppose I should write; very long intimidating black claws because they looked like ten penny nails from hell and because of the wrongness of seeing them in the inner sanctum of my bathroom. Nutmeg pounced and the mystery paw played for a bit and returned to its lair beneath the floor. It reminded me of Thing from Adams Family fame, a lone appendage creeping out for a moment then returning to the whence it came and that made me chuckle but then the paw actually came out again. I lurched from my vulnerable position and added the foot of my cane to the game, viciously beating the floor grate until the paw disappeared again then continued to pound on the grate until it settle back into place on the floor. Some may think I was squealing like a little girl at the time, but I have no recollection of that ever happening. I swung the bathroom door until it rested over the grate and I was satisfied nothing more would be crawling out. Oddly enough, after that unsettling experience, I realized I was still sleepy after all that excitement and snuggled deeply under my blanket and went back to sleep.

I wonder still what the creature was that I saw, if I saw anything at all. I’m old, I have a vivid imagination, especially when I am sleeping, and dementia runs in my family. I chose to believe the rather strong memory and images I have and so I googled paws and claws to try to find a match. The photo attached was as close as I could come to matching what I saw and that is quite close indeed. The claws were black, thick and long. Straight at the base and curving some at the Mr. pointy end. The fur on the paw and leg at first seem dark brown but I realize now that the floor vent was situated at the time behind the bathroom door and only one light was on shining from the wrong side to be of any benefit so the area in question was shaded if not shadowy which means the fur may have been a lighter brown, or it may have been as I first thought, it is hard to be sure. I do know the claws in the photo are similar to the ones in my memory banks. The paw itself was large compared to the big feet on Chaos, and maybe three times the size of Nutmegs, well at least twice the size, again I can’t be certain just as I cannot be certain it was actually a visit from the rare and presumably endangered and protected California duct badger, as who knows how many other creatures have the same or similar claw pattern or maybe it was my brother or one of the local buffoons with a furry paw on a stick making with a practical joke. I only know I am not prepared to take on any more roommates.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's Here!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Brialeanna and the Beast
Or Moo the Musical

Once upon a time there was a poor blood elf farmer from Eversong Woods near Fairbreeze Village who had a beautiful daughter. In fact, she was so beautiful that everyone called her "Beauty," even though her name was Brialeanna.

The year that Beauty was level eighteen the weather was very bad and the farmer's crops failed—he was able to harvest only enough to feed his family for half the year, with nothing left over to take to market, so he sent Beauty into the nearby forest to gather root and thorns, while he ventured closer to the Scorched Grove to gather whatever bloodthistle he could find.

Now, deep within that forest traveling on an important quest was a terrible beast, an enormous tauren named Bonden, who destroyed whatever hapless victims he could find wandering there alone. He heard Beauty moving through the underbrush and quietly crept up to capture her, but when his eyes happened upon her, the great tauren immediately fell in love and could not bear to think of any harm coming to such a lovely blood elf, so he silently withdrew to seek other prey. Soon afterwards, he came upon Beauty's father busily collecting bloodthistle to sell at market.

When the blood elf was captured and the tauren explained that the farmer was to be taken to Stranglethorn Vale where he would be thrown into the arena to fight for his life, the distraught father wailed, "I am no warrior, surely I will die! What will become of my little Beauty and my wife Eunice without me to work the farm, and even without my returning with the bloodthistle I have gathered today? They will starve!"

"Beauty?" said the Beast, remembering the blood elf girl he had seen not long before and thinking that would be an entirely appropriate name for her.

"My daughter. She has come into the forest, too, to gather earth root and briarthorn. Oh, I should not have said that! Now you will find her and capture her too!"

"Is she the beautiful young blood elf wearing a gray woolen robe, a pretty malachite pendant and carrying a red leather bag?

"Yes. Oh, you have already found and taken her! Woe! Woe! You may as well slay me, now. I have nothing left to live for."

"I haven't touched her! I saw her and fell in love with her and would never harm her. For her sake, I will even let you go, if you will bring her to me so that I may marry her."

This posed a problem for the farmer. With Beauty still alive, and unlikely to be harmed by the Beast, he no longer wished to die. But to condemn her to be married to such a horrible beast . . . that was not a fate she deserved.

"Could she come home to visit us every day?"

"No, but one day a year she can go for a visit, if she wishes."

"And no harm will come to her?"

"Absolutely none. I love her and want only the best for her. She will live in luxury, for my home is an enchanted palace far away in Mulgore."

"I'm not sure she will agree to marry you."

"Then I will come and I will capture you wherever you are, then I will slay you before your family and loot you for everything you own, a paltry prize I’m sure, but loot, nonetheless. So you had better persuade her to agree."

"I will do my best."

When Beauty heard that the alternative to her marrying the Beast was for her father to be slain and looted by the fierce tauren, she did not hesitate. She was a pure and innocent young girl, but she knew where her duty lay.

Dressed in her finest gown, she went with her father to the waters edge of the Azurebreeze coast—her mother was too upset to come with them—onto a clear beach the Beast had pointed out to the farmer. There was nothing there but a small, cute and docile looking manatee.

"I am to lead you to the palace of the Beast," said the manatee. "Your father may go no further."

So, after a tearful farewell, the farmer left his daughter, who followed the manatee across the great sea, then as the manatee took to cat form they ran along a twisting route, taking a branching path, sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left, but so irregularly that Beauty could not keep track of the way. Finally, they came to a place in a green valley where sat a tiny castle covered by overarching tree branches.

"It's so small!" said Beauty ever so disappointed. "I'm not sure I will fit insinde."

"It's an enchanted castle," said the cat, "larger on the inside than on the outside, as you will see as soon as you step through the doorway."

And so it was. Beauty stood marveling at the large entrance hallway lined with rich tapestries and furnishings, with a grand staircase with ornately carved balustrades that rose at the back and divided, to the right and to the left, ending at each side in an archway in the wall beneath the high ceiling.

The cat had followed Beauty into the castle. Sensing some movement behind her, Beauty turned to see the cat growing larger and larger, changing shape, and being transformed into a large, fearsome monster. She fainted.

Beauty awoke to find herself lying on a soft, silk-covered bed. Gradually recovering her wits, she half opened her eyes and turned her head, to see the tauren sitting quietly in a nearby chair, close but not too near the bedside. The expression on his face was as close to tenderness as was possible on such a visage, and his brown eyes had a soft, adoring look, or so Beauty interpreted. The mirror on the wall behind him showed the top of a broad back covered with black coarse hair, and the snout that protruded beneath soft brown eyes bore a gold ring through the nostrils, but he was not quite so repulsive as he had seemed at first glance.

When he saw that Beauty was conscious again Bonden rose gently from his seat, came to the bedside, took her hand gently and drew her up to stand before him.

"I want only to love you, not to frighten nor harm you. I live this way in this place because of a spell cast upon me by an evil gnome mage. Perhaps if you kiss me, it may break the spell, but, in any case remember, this is an enchanted castle and natures and appearances can change to meet your desires. You may close your eyes while I kiss you, then gaze into the mirror and you will see the guise I should assume that would please you, for I can take on any form that you desire."

Repressing a shudder, Beauty closed her eyes. A few moments later she felt moist lips press upon hers, and a kiss such as she had never had at home from her mother or father drew the very breath from her body, starting from her toes and rising gradually through her up to her mouth, leaving behind a vast emptiness longing to be filled, and while her lips tasted sweetness, yet they were aflame. To keep from falling into the abyss that seemed to open before her, she wrapped her arms around the body of the Beast and held tightly to him, until, an eternity later, he drew back and she opened her eyes.

Gazing into the mirror her vision was blurred, but as she tried to focus on the face and form of the Beast, she saw that he had changed from the horrible monster with the animal horns and ringed snout that Brialeanna had first seen. Now he had broad shoulders, and a blood elf’s demeanor. His elongated face transformed into and elfish cameo with a beautiful alabaster smile, while his ears pulled back to show long point pointy tips. His large eyes flashed with fire, as he now was revealed in majesty before her.

"What form did you wish me to change into?" asked the former Beast.
"None but what you are. You are magnificently handsome. I have never before seen such a powerful, impressive creature." And she once again raised her glance to the mirror behind him and longingly saw that elegant Blood Elf posture. She saw also that a pretty, gentle, sweet-faced heifer stood before him with a gaze of adulation at her lover.

MORAL: It's not so easy to rise above our animal natures.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


She comes by night, and even by day, to fang my socks and my unsuspecting feet.

She lives like any legendary urban myth: everyone who has never seen her claims she does not exist, is a hoax or a figment of my too-active imagination. But those who have been victim to her evil mark, her lightning-swift appearance and sudden disappearance into darkness, know the truth.

The Nos-Feralas is out there. No ankle is safe, no unattended shoe, no piece of cloth or leather item left a moment unwatched.

I have proof: my wading boots leak from the fangings they have suffered. Alas, rendered disposable I have laid them to rest beyond the reach of sinister eyes. They adorn the feet of some one homeless now, I suspect, but they too shall suffer. The mark of Nos-Feralas will never be erased. The holes in the toes will ever leak relentless rain upon the tootsies of yet another hapless victim.

And there are countless victims, such as the stuffed toys that leak fluff from fabric wounds. They know not why they have been attacked. Their glazed plastic eyes speak volumes of the horrors to which their thread-stitched mouths cannot scream.

When the scrambling sound of her clawed feet is heard upon the hardwood deck, the other cats flatten their scarred ears and hide. They know the terror of Nos-Feralas.

Cheese on counter top can be found with gouges taken from its soft flesh. None are safe from the predations of the she-fiend Nos-Feralas. Not the young, smooth skinned Gouda, nor the ancient sharp cheddar. They both succumb to the mark of the fang.

The four-post bed that stands beneath a bay window mired by wet nose prints may hold such horrors, that only the bravest dare slip between the chilly sheets without a glance in search of furious eyes, glaring with malevolence and glowing with the unhealthy desire for tender tarsals.

She knows no fear. Her strike is swift. None but the most righteous boot may stand before the fiend. And we know their fate. Pity the boot that gives such stalwart service, only to be reduced to rubbish in the battle against the Nos-Feralas.

Vampire Kitty I hunt thee armed with nail clipper and toothbrush. Someday fiend, I shall be victorious. I hear the soft purr of your chuckling, wicked one. Laugh now, for tomorrow you may be vaccinated....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

T-day fallout

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, I went down to Rocklin and had a fantastic time, meeting new friends and gathering with family.

What did you do?