Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ali's challenge story hour

Another new feature! Given my love for a vignette, Ali will provide me with a fun fact, which I will then be challenged to create a short story around. The fun fact will be the only true part. Please keep in mind that much of rest will likely be illogical.

Today's fun fact: A massive earthquake in the Tasman sea has brought New Zealand 30 cm closer to Australia.

Bertram bobbed in his life preserver, annoyed. This had been his shot at doing something truly amazing. Leave it to New Zealand to screw it up.

"Stupid Hobbits. I should have known." As he floated, he held the frayed ends of the cable in his hands. Now, looking back, there were so many things he would have done differently. For one thing, there had to be another two bits of land 20 km apart that he could have gone between. He winced as he imagined the disappointment in his coach's eyes. He then thought of the smug look on his brother's face now that his less-than-confident prediction about Bertram's goal had come true.

"Tight-rope walk across the Cook Straight?! You're out of your mind, you'll never make it. That's like twelve miles!" Marcus had said on the phone. Right you are, Bertram had thought at the time. 12.4274 miles, to be exact, and I will hold the world record and finally, finally he thought, you will have to admit that I've done something impressive.

The tension on his cable had been perfect. The foremost tightrope hanging expert in the world had attached it at both shores with the utmost formality. Though it was not in the least like a boat, aside from being something of a means of transport, the man had crashed a bottle of champagne over the end of the cable before Bertram began. The flash of the reporters' cameras gave Bertram a boost of confidence, and he waved gallantly as he mounted his cable with the grace of a very slender cat, or some such equally graceful creature.

There were buoys every half mile, with his cable snugly attached to them. For safety, two boats flanked him once he got out over the water, a net drawn between them. Though he found it a little embarrassing, Bertram supposed it would be pretty disappointing to make it most of the way across only to lose his footing and be immediately and handily swallowed into a waiting shark's open mouth. Now, floating in the shallow waters of the South Island's shore, holding the snapped end of his cable, he wondered if that would have been easier than returning home untriumphant. For thanks to that blasted earthquake, all his plans had been foiled.

Was he really supposed to believe that the island itself had actually moved?! Apparently it had only barely shifted, though 30 fresh centimeters of land had supposedly appeared on the west coast. It seemed that one centimeter of genuine shift was all it took to snap the end of his cable on the last line. He had reached the last buoy feeling ten feet tall, saluting the crew of the boats on either side of him. He'd even made it most of the way across the line when it happened. He supposed that even if the cable hadn't snapped from the one centimeter of stretching, he still would have fallen off, given the rumbling of the tectonic plates.

The waves lapped against the shore of the south island, now itself one centimeter closer to Australia. As they dragged Bertram in the net through the shallow water, he calculated that he had at least made it 12 miles, his dear brother's scoffing estimate of the distance. He felt himself begin to bump across the sandy shore as the water shallowed, and he dropped his cable with a small sparkling splash. Fair enough, he thought.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

There might be hope for us after all!

I was going to email this to various people, and then I realized that I was emailing it to so many people that what I really ought to do is shout it from the proverbial rooftops.

The news that the Crocs Shoe Company is on the verge of bankruptcy gives me new hope for America.

Oh, America

I think I'll add a new segment to the blog with the recurring theme "oh, America." As in, "oh, America, this is why citizens of other countries laugh at us."

(Not that we don't laugh at them too - I mean, this morning NPR said that the French government actually requested that their citizens smile more to boost tourism - this is pretty funny.)

Today's installment of "oh, America" is a phone message I received here at work, in which a lady requested that I call her back so that she could "prescribe" to the magazine.

As though our magazine was some sort of prescription drug that she could prescribe to herself as an antidote for not knowing enough about the city and its inhabitants.

Like I said, "oh, America."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


So, it's Wednesday. Not feeling particularly inspired about anything at the moment but maybe if I keep typing that will change.

Tonight I am going with Luke and Lacey to see the new Harry Potter and the Teenage Wizards movie. They are fans, but I have previously only seen one other Harry Potter and Teenage Wizards film, and that was on Monday because otherwise I would have been confused (and no doubt annoying) during this one. I am wondering if that weird blonde girl will be in this one because I like her, I think she and HP should date. Also am hoping that HP and Teen Wizards will have as little interaction as possible with nose-less guy because of his creepy face. It's funny to me that they made his voice sound like someone who just has face where their nose is supposed to be would probably sound. Just seems like usually with monsters they don't really take into account how their features would impact their voices.

It is also funny how there is a clear tension between Harry Potter & Teen Wizards and Twilight & Teen Vampires. At least this new phenomenon of fantasy is forcing American teenagers to embrace their nerdiness. Next thing you know it will be the cool kids playing "Magic: The Gathering" at Auburn coffeeshops instead of kids who regularly get their bikes stolen.

Once again I am avoiding working on the calendar which I used to enjoy but now loathe as a result of the severe lack of big events going on in the summer. Unless you are really into bluegrass, because there is at least one bluegrass festival every month around here, if not two or five. I wish I could just write "go to Nightfall on Fridays, movies in the park on Saturdays, AEC film series at Loose Cannon last weekend in August, Boys II Men at Starnight Aug. 29."

Yeah, you read right! Starnight, which benefits the Siskin Children's Hospital, is featuring Boys II Men. This August. Not August of 1995. Whose idea was that? Ok, back to work.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Friday Morning Post

I went to the beach last week! Hence, no posting. This week I really have no excuse. Also as I am trapped in the past, I did not document my beach trip via digital camera and cannot share photos. Apologies!

My favorite thing about my beach trip incidentally did not really involve the beach. Said trip took place at my grandparents' beach house, which is in a little tiny town called Port Saint Joe, FL. We've been going there since I was about two, and the town has only recently begun building popularity with the rest of the world and getting some fancy shops and restaurants and a couple neighborhoods worth of Rosemary Beach-esque vacation mansions. Since the beaches are perfectly white, and the sea they accompany is technically a bay (therefore generally calm and clear), it's surprising that it's taken this long for folks to visit.

Anyhow, considering that the big adventure in town when I was a child was a trip to the Dollar Store where we could pick out different types of candy, the emergence of some new things is positive.

With the hip new wood-fired pizza place (yum) and cute little boutiques with names like The Fuss, has come a new weekly tradition the good folks of St. Joe call "In the Park after Dark." I realize that sounds a little sketchy, but it's actually a family friendly gathering involving a giant screen, lawn chairs, a park by the beach, and a different movie every week.

Ah, the outdoor movie. One of my favorite things in life. There is something so decidedly pleasant about sitting in one of those aluminum chairs with the cris-crossed vinyl straps on a breezy evening, pine trees and stars above, watching "Mamma Mia" beside the bay.

Incidentally, I am of course way behind on this but "Mamma Mia" was so fun! Abba's music automatically makes you happy. It's probably my favorite Meryl Streep role (judge if you will but her movies are almost always depressing - "Bridges of Madison County"? Ugh.) Pierce Brosnan is generally so smug that it is very fun to see him dancing - badly - and singing - even more badly. Karen from "Mean Girls" is so cute, and I love seeing the guy from "History Boys" in something else. Also, Greece is beautiful. Sigh.

I highly recommend watching it in a park sometime soon. I saw an article earlier today that said NYC is showing movies right below the Brooklyn Bridge, with the city in the background - it's called "Movies with a View," and if I lived in New York I would so be there. Last time they showed "Raising Arizona," how fun is that?

Chattanooga will be hosting its own "Movies in the Park" events every weekend for the rest of July, although it's mostly kids movies. I plan on attending next weekend, though, because they'll be showing "The Wizard of Oz"! Come one, come all!