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The Image Collector

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Yesterday's writing challenge: Open For Business [Aug. 23rd, 2015|05:40 am]
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Each of us wrote down a single sentence on a piece of paper and put it in a hat, then a title on another piece and put that in a hat. We had to write a piece corresponding to the title we drew and using the sentence we drew. The sentence I drew is in bold.

Open For Business
She had never been the pretty one, always the clever one. The other girls flocked around the cheerleaders, but when the quarterback needed help with his science homework, it was her that he came to. Soon all the jocks were using her as a tutor. She charged them $10 an hour, except for the quarterback. He was her boyfriend. She, the plainest girl in class, had the cutest boyfriend. Sometimes, while struggling to explain something to him, she was reminded of that line from My Fair Lady: "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain." She loved the rain.
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Ruminations Of An Imaginary Candidate [Aug. 12th, 2015|07:49 pm]
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A saxophone is just a giant Kazoo with keys and a reed. Having no idea why that thought had surfaced in his awareness, he pushed it down and continued working the crowd, "genuine" smile contorting his features, palms coated in antiperspirant. Grip firm, but not too firm. Don't look at the tits, don't think about that ass. Don't spend any more time with the cute young thing than with anyone else.60 feet from the door to the stage. After that, it's just script. Oh, shit, it's Monica. How did she get up front? This is going to come back to bite me in the ass for sure.
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Pumpkin Moon [Aug. 10th, 2015|05:36 pm]
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It was the year that Richard Nixon took office, proving that we would indeed have him to kick around some more. It was also the year which began the gay rights movement with the Stonewall Riots in NYC, as brave men and women refused to countenance police harassment any more. It was the year when the Soviet Union, the United States, and 100 other countries collectively realized that they were on an insane, self-destructive path and signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty. And, that year, three men achieved the impossible, leaving the Earth and landing on the Moon. I remember watching it that July on our round cornered console TV in the family room. It was also the year when a single adventurous pumpkin plant sent its tendrils through the garden fence into the neighbors yard and skyward into a tree, where it produced a giant pumpkin and skyrocketed an 11 year old boy to brief fame on the front page of the Montclair Times.

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From The Point Of View Of An Inanimate Object [Aug. 9th, 2015|10:39 am]
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I still remember when I first saw the light. We were all cozily nestled together, heads down and butts up, not saying anything to each other, just comfortable in our identical nature and secure space. Then we were lifted and jostled about briefly. Then we were slammed suddenly and violently against something, slamming our butts into the ceiling. I heard a tearing sound from above, and suddenly light filtered down between my brothers and I saw them for the first time. White, slender, and perfect. We were upended again and percussively banged against something large and pink. I felt myself sliding against my brothers, little by little, until I could feel a breeze against my butt. Then the pink thing grabbed me by the butt and yanked me out into the open air. It was overwhelming, so much sensory input all at once, as I rose into the sky, a giant apparition of pink and brown silhouetted against bright blue, with all sorts of sounds and smells. Then, as suddenly as I had been removed, I was pushed back into my home, but upside down? I couldn't see or hear my brothers any more. The loneliness was devastating. I wanted to share my fantastic, if brief, adventure with them, but my head was jammed in between their butts. Little did I know the horror I was to experience over the next several hours. When the first of my brothers was pulled out from his space alongside me, I was overjoyed. Finally I would have someone to talk to. Instead of turning him over and putting him down, however, The pink thing lifted him up to a giant red hole ringed with sharp white things and lit him on fire! I had to watch in horror as my brother was burned alive, his screams filling the air. I watched this happen 18 more times, as one by one, my brothers were burned and consumed by the giant pink apparition. Some might have called me the lucky one, to have survived so long, but when I was finally the only one left, I was eager for the oblivion of fire and smoke.
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Chess And Other Games. [Aug. 8th, 2015|03:25 pm]
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I had my ego handed to me three times this afternoon over a chess board. There is something especially humbling about being beaten at a game which involves no luck.

Most popular games involve at least some luck, so that, regardless of ability, anyone has a chance of winning. As kids we learn games which are almost completely luck, requiring no input from the player at all, other than recognizing the cards in one's hand, for example. Any game wherein one rolls the dice and moves around the board to a fixed end is pure luck. It's fun, frustrating, and exhilarating without reflecting positively or negatively on the players. The game of War, in which a deck of cards is divided evenly and each player flips cards one at a time with the high card winning, is another good example.

As we get older, we are introduced to games which involve memory, like Concentration or Go Fish, but even then there is no strategy involved, and luck plays a dominant role.

At some point, maybe at age 5 or 7, we start playing games where we actually have to make decisions which affect the outcome. These games are still dependent upon luck, whether it be the roll of the dice in Backgammon or the cards dealt in hearts or spades. Usually we are introduced to simple skill based games at this point, like Checkers or Othello. These games are still relatively quick and fun, and since most young kids don't focus, the possibility of one's opponent making a mistake adds the illusion of an element of luck.

It is the introduction of more serious, complex skill based games such as Chess, or Go which narrows the field considerably, not so much by intelligence or aptitude as by persistence and attitude. My dad taught me to play chess when I was seven. I first beat him when I was 15. That is an eight year losing streak. Many children simply move on to other things, because they don't find the seemingly unbeatable challenge entertaining. My dad stopped playing me much after I beat him, and I had a hard time finding many opponents until I moved to Tucson in 1983.

One of my first roommates was married to an Irani, and he and his friends were among the best players I have ever met. We would meet on the weekend, and all eight of us would each play all of the others. I was soundly beaten by all of them at first, but over time was able to hold my own and even occasionally beat the best of them. To this day, I prefer to play someone who beats me, because I learn when I lose.

Now, a bit about the game of Go. I find this game particularly fascinating and challenging because it is at once so very simple – players place black and white M&M sized pieces on a grid, removing their opponent's pieces when they can surround them, vying for territory – and baffling. I find my ability growing the more I play, but, unlike chess, I am unable to pinpoint the reasons why I win or lose a game. I can't even adequately describe it here. It is as if the mode of thinking required is so alien – the game originated in Japan – that my Western brain cannot grok it. There is a system of handicaps in Go. For every ten points that one loses by, one can place one piece on the board in advance of the next game, up to 9. I have been severely trounced by someone even though I had nine handicap points up front. He told me that, in the Go club he belongs to, there is another player who beats him with 25 handicap points! This is unfathomable to me. That many pieces on the board at the beginning seems unstoppable, as if, in a game of chess, one could make 10 moves before the other person started.

How can a game with such a simple premise encompass such a wide range of ability? How can there be so much more to learn about a game which, unlike chess, only has one type of piece, and one way to play it?
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More New Farbels [Feb. 26th, 2015|06:29 pm]
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39" dia. $1800 SOLD!
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So I got "new" typewriter... [Jan. 31st, 2015|02:46 pm]
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and decided to do the latest writing assignment on it:




I apologize for the quality. I couldn't find the delete key, and the spell check didn't work.
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How I ended up here, and where i met a bunch of you... [Dec. 9th, 2014|08:43 pm]
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Exercise. Dialogue, no descriptors. [Nov. 22nd, 2014|10:41 am]
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“OK, I'll be the Jedi, and you can be the Storm Trooper.”
“How come you always get to be the Jedi? The Jedi always wins. I want to be the Jedi this time!”
“Too bad. They're my light sabers, so I get to decide. If you don't want to play, you can go home.”
“Fine. Bye.”
“Wait, don't you want to play? C'mon, I'll let you be Darth Vader.”
“No thanks. Darth Vader dies in the end. I'm going to go read a book.”
“Read a book? Nobody reads books. What a sissy! Nerd!”
“Who are you calling a sissy? Jerk!”
“OW!! That hurts! Stop!”
“Take it back!”
“I said take it back, or I'll break your stupid light saber.”
“OK, you asked for it.”
“Wait! No! Please! I'll let you be the Jedi, just don't break it!”
“I don't want to play with you any more. I'm going home.”
“Boys? Anyone want s'mores?”
“Yes, please!”
“Last one down's a rotten egg!”
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Fuck This! [Sep. 28th, 2014|06:21 pm]
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Another writing group assignment. I was in charge this time. I passed out photos I had taken for my 1000 Words series, and tasked everyone to write 1000 words about them. I got this one. Just under 1000.


Fuck this! Why did I let that asshole drag me all the way out here for some hillbilly costume party? Fucker didn’t even give me time to put on makeup, which I hate doing, by the way, but he fucking expects it, you know? Now I’m looking at my reflection in the tailgate of his piece of shit truck, standing in pig slop, and all I want is a fucking cigarette, but did I bring them? No, he dragged me out of the house so fucking fast I didn’t realize I had forgotten them until we were half way to bum fuck Egypt, where there isn’t even a store, much less one that sells tobacco. Now I’ll be mooching off other people all night, people I have nothing to say to and sure as hell don’t want to listen to either. Fuck me! If I could call a cab, I would, but there isn’t even a fucking phone out here, and cell service? Ha! There's no profit selling smart phones to a bunch of cows, pigs, and the half dozen people who fuck them. God damn, this sucks. At least there is liquor. I hope they have something that wasn’t made in a bathtub. Maybe if I have enough to drink, listening to these inbreeds talk about the time they stayed the night in the motel down the road to have a Kardashians marathon will be tolerable. And what about him? He’s already off hitting on some bimbo dressed up as Daisy Duke. I hope it’s a guy. Serve that fucker right to get to third base and find a dick staring him in the face. Now that might make the evening interesting. “Hey! Sweetheart, got a cigarette? Thanks hon. Hey, you see that guy over there necking with your sister? Oh, your mother? Sorry. Well, I just thought I ought to tell you, he has a raging case of herpes. You do know what that is, right? Thanks for the smoke. Can I have another one? Thanks.” Fuck I needed this cigarette. I don’t even care that it is a nasty ass generic light. Stupid bitch didn’t even tell her mom. Figures. Her mom is probably a case study in STDs anyway. He’s going to get more than he bargained for tonight, and he sure as hell isn’t getting squat from me until he’s had every test in the book and then some. Fucking men are ruled by their fucking dicks. Everything they fucking do is to impress the current piece of ass or to catch the next one. If there isn’t any pussy around, they are just trying to out macho each other to bolster their egos for the next time one of us slaps them down. What is that fucking noise they are trying to pass for music over there? That song from Deliverance sounding like it was played by three fingered drunken monkeys. I’m supposed to dance to this shit? Fuck, I can smell them from here, or maybe that’s just the pigs, not that I can tell the difference. First time I’ve ever put perfume on my upper lip, but whatever works. Time to go separate the asshole from Daisy Dukes. Oh, fuck! They're already gone. I wonder which one of those nasty doublewides they went off to. Mother fucker! I’m just going to sit in the truck and wait. I can’t fucking believe it. They don’t even have radio out here. Wait, there’s something. What the fuck? Is that some alien transmission? Oh, right, it's fucking Indians. To Ho No Dam Dam, or whatever it is they call themselves. What a weird sounding language. No way I’m listening to that shit. Oh fucking great, now it’s God radio. Just what I fucking need. Some greasy haired, self-righteous southern adulterer telling me I’m going to hell. I can’t believe people hear this crap and then send money. Fucking idiots. I bet everyone who lives at this ranch worships this guy. They sure as hell aren’t listening to the Indians jibber-jabber all day. I swear if any of these freaks are going to heaven, I’ll pass. I choose hell, thank you very much. All the fun people are going there. Now where the hell did that whore take him? I know from a fuck of a lot of experience that he only takes about 3 ½ minutes to finish his business, and that’s with me. No way is he lasting longer than that with some strange tramp. I wish I knew how to hotwire this thing. I’d leave his randy ass flat. Fuck. Now I need another cigarette. Maybe he brought his. Not in the glove box, I wonder what trailer he's fucking mama in? Fuck it. I don’t fucking care if I interrupt them. I’ll just grab his smokes and his keys if I can find them and hightail it out of here. ‘”Hey, anybody in here? Damn, what is that smell? Fuck, that hurt. Walked right into a fucking bathtub. That sure isn’t hooch they are cooking in there. What the fuck? It stinks in here. I can’t see a thing. Where is that fucking lighter? Oh, Shi…….”
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