Tag Archives: FOWC

A Glut of Glitches

Mistakes have been made,

But no one will be blamed…

“These things happen.”

Maybe some are my fault;

It’s hard to know exactly

Where the fingers slip

And the glitches begin…

Symptoms of the po-mo age,

And it could be worse–

It could be raining.

I should disconnect,

Go gridless and rest,

Get some exercise

Emerge from my nest

Of electrical tech

Into the sunshine.

That sounds sublime,

But I’d feel so alone

Without all the souls

Who live in my phone.

Programs and Poems [fiction 538]

After his wife abandoned him for someone younger and more exciting, Henry accepted the task of restoring the old writings from the Merriweather estate. Soon his office was crowded with damp boxes of yellowed parchment, the spidery old scribbles now nearly illegible.

Henry had developed a scanning program that could read old documents however. It was different from the other software currently on the market and still in a trial stage. He was eager to practice on the estate files and rejoiced as his blank screen filled with code.

Meticulously, Henry spent long days refining his program and decoding the messy papers into a semblance of order. They appeared to be a mix of boring estate inventories along with poetry. He found himself strangely interested in the verse, though he never had been previously.

Snippets haunted him as he tried to sleep. “I adore you, lady fair… lace at your wrists… rose in your hair…” It sounded like a man describing a beautiful woman. Henry tried to picture her, and one night she appeared, semi-formed, in the slight light near his window.

He gasped in terror. “Who? What?” Henry was incoherent with shock.

“I am Sarah,” she whispered, her voice like necklaces sliding together. “Those poems were written for me, read to me in secret on nights such as this when the moon was full.”

“Yes, yes of course.” Henry tried to reassure her. “I’m being very respectful of them.”

“Respectful?” She laughed. “I was the butler’s daughter. James Merriweather wooed me with pretty words and seduced me. When he found out I was with child, he murdered me!”

“Murdered!” Henry slid out of bed, feeling at a disadvantage. He approached Sarah, but she was so insubstantial he could still see the outline of the window through her.

With tears streaming down her fading face, Sarah cried, “I loathe all of them and their descendants! Help me, Henry. Help me find justice after all these years!”

Henry returned to the documents with a renewed sense of purpose, determined to put together the pieces of the puzzle and expose James as the evil man he was. He kept Sarah’s distraught face in his mind as he worked, his radar homing in on any oddities. Finally, he had enough evidence to present to his boss.

“Great work, Henry,” Belinda said. “But of course we’re not going to the police or the media with this. The Merriweathers are too important to our firm. Besides, James is long gone. Just forget you ever saw it, and a bonus will be headed your way. Take the rest of the week off.”

When Henry returned to his office on Monday, every box had disappeared and his computer had been wiped of all the Merriweather files.

But in his personal locked drawer, one scrap of paper remained with a printout he’d decoded.

“I adore you, lady fair;
With soft lace at your wrists,
A pink rose in your hair.
Please step out of my dreams,
And meet me tonight
When the stars are a-shimmer
And the moon full and bright.”

Maybe Henry would see Sarah again in his dreams. He hoped so. In fact, he decided to begin his own poem for her…

~*~

Opposites Attract: Challenge 16

Opposites Attract: Challenge 17

Genre Challenge 17: Paranormal Romance

The Struggle Is Real (Green)!

Some friends and I decided to hang out Sunday, so naturally I had to buy some festive apparel. I know, you’re thinking… Paula, don’t you already have St. Patrick’s Day themed stuff from prior years? Well, not really! I have a hat, I guess, but that’s about it. I wore my greenish shirt on Friday to work, and it’s not that festive besides. I have a lime green sweater, but March 17th isn’t really about lime green, now is it? I used to have shamrock socks, but they got all holey. 😒

So, Friday night I went onto the Target app, like you do, to commence shopping. There wasn’t anything I liked much in my local store, so I moseyed on over to Huntington Beach. Eh, a couple shirts were okay, and there were some cute socks and earrings. Then I had a brainstorm to try the men’s department. Well! The guys had adorable shirts! Beautiful green ones with the Lucky Charms logo (we just got plain white), and OMG a kitty shirt, black and white, with a widdle green hat!!! Obviously, I had to get the kitty shirt. Why wouldn’t they make it for women/juniors? Who even can figure out the logic to these things? πŸ™„

I ordered the shirt, socks, and earrings, paid for all that, and planned to pick them up the next morning. I was very happy… for about 5 minutes until I received an email saying those items were no longer available in Huntington Beach. Or Costa Mesa. WHAT? I began searching the whole area on the handy-dandy app. They said I could buy all the same things in Irvine on Barranca. FINE. I was very happy again… for like 5 minutes. Then they said I could only have the shirt. No earrings, no socks. Wtfff? What about the Target in Irvine Spectrum? NO. Westminster Mall. NO NO NO! You can’t have any festive socks or earrings. Get over it. 😑

Ooh, I was so mad. This wasn’t the end of it though. I stayed up late, all energized by my fury. First thing Saturday morning I went right over to the Barranca Target and got my shirt ~ there was a minor drama however because they couldn’t find it at Guest Services and I was about to have a heart attack, but then they did, so I was okay. I went to Peet’s after that for coffee and a PB cookie (yummo). The reason Target was out of green things is because they took them away to make room for Easter things. I stopped at CVS, which sometimes has fun socks, but they too were all Easterized before St. Patrick’s Day. Kohl’s had one little sad display of green dishtowels. ANNOY! πŸ”₯

But then… then I went to Party City. And guess what? They had tons of St. Patrick’s Day stuff still on the shelves Because… because PEOPLE WANT TO BUY IT! And unlike Target, CVS, and Kohl’s, Party City likes to make money from people who want to buy things! What a unique and interesting concept! Stores keeping things in stock that people want to buy. Huh. Who would have thought? Capitalism at its finest, folks, right here in Huntington Beach. Or over there rather. Up there? Idk. Directions confuse me. WHATEVER! I bought green things, which is the point. Yayyy!!! πŸ€πŸ’–πŸ€

Friday Noms

Well, just one nom actually, from the lovely Laura, but there might be more noms… how would I know, since WordPress has decided I shouldn’t have posts while I sleep. Meh, say the happiness engineers, why should we bother putting posts in her feed between 10pm and 6am? She’s not going to read them while she’s in dreamland, lol! Funny guys (guys being a gender inclusive term in this case). πŸ™„

Anyhoodle. Thank you, Laura. I appreciate the one nom. I was going to say one measly nom, but that makes me sound ungrateful plus also might get the whole vax debate started up, though why there should be a debate GOD ONLY KNOWS. What a bunch of idiots, amirite? If you don’t want to vax, move to Antarctica. Problem solved. ❄️

I’m supposed to tell all y’all 7 things about me now, as if there are even 7 things left you don’t know (well, there are, but I can’t post them), so I’ll just jabber on a bit and see where it goes. Beware of rambling. πŸ˜›

1. I’ve been thinking this week that I don’t have enough time and energy to finish my novel now that I have actual side work that pays. I don’t have hours of free time at night and on weekends to write the way I used to. And I’m not giving up paying work. πŸ’°

2. I have written novels, so it’s not a matter of proving to myself or anyone else that I’m capable of doing it. They’re for sale and have been for years. They don’t sell though, since I’m a nobody with no marketing resources. 🎻

(Please don’t give me marketing advice in comments. I’ve read tons of it, and it’s all way too time intensive for me with minimal payoff. I already have paying work I am not willing to take time away from.)

3. The fact that my novels (and books of short stories and poetry) molder on Amazon year after year, bringing in only a measly dollar or two here or there, doesn’t give me much hope for the success of the next one. Sure, I still enjoy the process of writing because I’m a writer, and I’ll always write when there’s nothing else going on, but then when there’s no money or feedback? Sadness. 😒

4. If I can’t make money from writing, the next best thing is to get people to read my stuff. And I have that right here! Thanks to this fabulous community of supportive WP peeps (along with a few otters), my little blog poems and short stories get read all the time now, which is a great feeling. ❀️

5. I’m tired of feeling stressed every week that I didn’t get “enough” done when I work 7 days a week now, including most nights after my real job when I get home. This doesn’t include chores, shopping, etc. Yes, mostly everyone else does all this too, but there’s no need for me to feel like a failure because I didn’t work on my novel. I can simply take it off the list. βœ…

6. Ironically, since the time change, I’ve gotten more sleep… and it’s nice. I don’t feel physically better at all, but it’s so great not to be exhausted and achy. So, perhaps that’s what’s prompted this line of thinking. I just don’t want to feel obligated to write for two hours after working after work. Wtf? That’s nuts. And I don’t want to get up at 4:30am and write. Wtfff??? Who does that?? (Well, I did, many years ago.) 😴

7. What I really should do, if I had any sense (lol) is to prioritize exercise, so I could live long enough to finish all my unfinished writings after I have more time once I retire in 12ish years. Danger, danger… adding more things to list! Assuming, that is, I make it to retirement without getting hit by a truck, drowning in a tsunami, or being bitten by someone’s pet cobra that escapes and comes boinging up in my toilet bowl.

Could happen. 🐍

K. That’s 7, arbitrarily broken into paragraphs and numbered. No tags. You’re all awesome and should jabber on about yourselves too. Not you, Becky. πŸ˜€

Sorry Sorry Sorry!

I’m tired of useless, BS apologies. Haven’t we heard enough of them already? All these phony baloney pretensions of being contrite when everyone knows that the only thing the [celeb, politician, spouse, etc.] is sorry about is the fact that they got caught doing whatever thing. πŸ™„

I expect that in the coming weeks we’ll be treated to a parade of sorries from the criminals caught up in the college cheating scandal. You know they’re unrepentant. You know they haven’t suddenly found a moral compass. They’re just sorry they got caught.

I would love to see real justice served up to these uber wealthy who believe they can sail through life flinging money at every obstacle until it disappears, but I’ve been told that is unlikely. Money is power after all. These superrich celebs know another scandal will be along soon, and theirs will thaw in the public mind until it melts from view.

It was a relief to read that Faux News creep announcing how he refused to apologize for his nasty comments about women and girls. He knows he’s a jerk. He knows we know ~ and he doesn’t give a crap. No one has to pretend to accept his fake apology because he isn’t giving one. Win win!

On the other hand, when someone is forced to apologize for saying something nasty or doing a bad, and you know they don’t mean it, our cultural norms dictate that you give them a second chance even when you know in your heart they’re insincere. That’s really annoying. 😑

Then what happens? All too predictably, they go and do the same thing again. We’ve all seen it, haven’t we? Both in our personal lives and with public figures. I used to buy into the second chance garbage, especially with romance ~ I can’t tell you how many plots are built around the concept of the “second chance romance,” and it seeps into your mindset that you should be forgiving. Well, that’s crapadoo.

We should be more judgmental is what. If your instincts say someone is a lying jerk, and they’ve hurt you once, then why accept an apology? Why give a second chance? Eff all that. Pffft. πŸ˜›

Yeah, if time has passed and someone has demonstrably changed their behavior, that’s a different thing. Then their apology isn’t just a giant bowl of moldy word salad.

*

Speaking of misogyny. This is in no way a defense of the Faux News creep, but we are sure weird about bodies, especially female ones. I mean, we have “pageants” where women (or girls even, gah) are supposed to glorify their physical looks in bikinis and glittery gowns, with loads of makeup on their faces and their hair styled all sexy, etc., but men are not supposed to be attracted to them, and if they are, they must not express their attraction in any sort of inappropriate language. What is the right way for a man to say that Miss Maine is appealing to him without sounding degrading or demeaning? “Gosh, I would love to discuss poetry with her over a nice cup of tea?” 🌹

There are men who haven’t been present at teen beauty pageants, ever. I would wager most men have not. So, we don’t know what most adult men would say to their friends about these girls. Maybe adult men shouldn’t be at these pageants. Maybe we shouldn’t have contests where teen girls are judged by adult men on how they look in bikinis. Just some thought noodles…

*

WordPress apparently did not want to be left out of the #failloop of Gmail and Facebook, which both went kerflooey this week, Gmail on Tuesday and FB yesterday. (I only know about FB from everyone’s moaning ~ happily, I do not have any FB products myself.) So, last night I was yet again treated to a 12+ hour gap in posts in my newsfeed. If you’re wondering why you’re missing my hearts and cheery comments, this is the reason. 😒

I did search for the prompts however, and to my delight lots of them could be applied (with a wrench) to this very post I had saved in drafts, hurrah! Of course, I needed to write a zillion more words, but when does that stop me? (Hint: never.) I hope everyone has read to the bitter end looking for the prize!

Erm, there isn’t one.

So very sincerely sorry that you read all these words for nothing. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

~*~

Opposites Attract: Challenge 9

Opposites Attract: Challenge 11

[yes, I skipped 10 ~ even my wrench could not make it fit]

Tea & Truffle [fiction 375]

As Vivian poured tea for Alphonse and his mother, her husband said, “Darling, I have a surprise. I’ve invited Jeremy to tea.”

Vivian’s hand faltered, and she splashed a bit of tea on the pristine ivory lace tablecloth. “Why ever would you do such a thing, Alphonse?” she asked. “He’s been such a nui–”

“Ah, here he is now,” Mother said, as the parlor maid brought a guest to the table. “Welcome, Jeremy. Do join us. The pastries are exquisite. Lemon curd, your favorite!”

Vivian was confused. How would her mother-in-law know her former fiancΓ©’s pastry preferences? Manners dictated that she welcome Jeremy however, and so she did.

“Thank you for inviting me to your home, Vivian and Alphonse,” Jeremy began. “And of course it is always a pleasure to see you again, Laura.”

Laura. So strange. Mother and Jeremy smiled at each other over their teacups. Vivian busied herself by giving Truffle a bit of crust–the kitty had been waiting at her feet.

“Ahem,” Alphonse said. “Jeremy, we do want to take action to end this gossip that I stole Vivian from you. It’s become quite ridiculous amongst our friends.”

“I apologize,” Jeremy said. “It was a joke that spiraled out of control. You know how people are.”

“It’s not your fault,” Mother Laura said. “No one has anything better to do than spread rumors. I myself keep busy with my show kittens.”

“Which is so admirable!” Jeremy burst out. “I’m serious about wanting to purchase a pair.”

“You!” Vivian laughed and seized the opening to get a dig in regarding something that had always bothered her. “I don’t think you quite understand the care involved. Kittens will not be compatible with your bohemian bachelor lifestyle.”

“Ah, but that’s all coming to an end.” Jeremy stood up and walked over to Mother, resting his hand on her shoulder. “I’ve asked the lovely Laura to do me the honor of becoming my wife, and to my utter delight, she has accepted!”

“Mother!” Alphonse stood up, looking aghast.

Vivian simply crumpled off her chair into a graceful heap on the floor, dropping her lemon pastry in the process.

Truffle the kitten immediately snatched it up and scampered off behind the liquor cabinet with her treasure.

~*~

Genre Challenge 9: Romance

The Diary [fiction 320]

Alphonse strode into the study to find Vivian intently reading a strange looking book. “Darling! We need to leave for the bash at the Gilmores. We don’t want to miss the champagne supper. You look lovely, by the way. I adore the rose motif.”

“Mm,” his wife said. “Truffle found the key.”

“What key?”

Vivian handed him a golden key. “Kitty was playing behind the liquor cabinet again and dug this out. It unlocked that desk drawer you were curious about, and I found this diary.”

“Ooh!” Alphonse sat down beside her. “Whose is it? The previous owner’s?”

“I don’t know.” Vivian frowned. “Some girl named Chantal apparently. Listen to this:

I can’t decide who is worse. Chad was clearly evil from the start, and it was his idea to kidnap me away from my beloved Cupid. But at least he has charisma and is understanding at times. He gave me this diary and lets me write in peace. Brad, on the other hand, is now a total automaton and does whatever Chad says. He won’t even look me in the eye! Yet, I feel in some ways he’s a prisoner too, and if I could break Chad’s hold over him, we could both escape this house of horrors.

“House of horrors!” Vivian repeated. “She means this house, Alphonse. Our home!”

Alphonse jumped up and wrung his hands together. “Oh, dear. That is distressing. To imagine a poor girl being mistreated in our happy nest.”

“I can hardly bear it. I shan’t read another word.” Vivian put down the diary, but then picked it up again. “But I suppose we should read the rest to find out what happens. It’s only right.”

“But not tonight,” Alphonse said. “We have an obligation to the Gilmores. Should I call for a carriage?”

“No, let’s walk,” Vivian said. “It’s only a few meters, and maybe the fresh air will help clear my head.”

~*~

Photo Prompt ~ Willow Poetry

Muffin [fiction 300]

Al placed a muffin on Vivian’s desk. “Happy International Women’s Day, honey,” he said. “Do you have the report finished yet on our new shoelace factory?”

Vivian slammed her hands onto her desk, which caused an avalanche of papers to slide to the floor. “You’ve asked me about that report three times this week, Al! And I told you I can’t finish it until Jeremy gives me his data! Which he has not done!”

“Have you asked him?”

Vivian picked up the muffin. “I’m not his nanny. He knows what he’s supposed–”

Suddenly, the fire alarms went off, water began raining from the sprinklers, and smoke filled the air. Al and Viv headed for the emergency exit, but flames were coming from the floor below. They had no choice but to head to the roof. Jeremy was already there, standing next to the company helicopter.

“What’s going on?” Al yelled.

“Sabotage!” Jeremy said. “From the Vicious Velcro Villains who are trying to destroy the shoelace market. Look, they shot me!”

Al and Viv stared at the nasty wound under Jeremy’s jacket. “Quick, into the chopper,” Vivian ordered.

“But the pilot isn’t here!” Al said. “Oh, God. We’re going to die, and now I won’t get my nice retirement dinner and gold watch.

“I’m the pilot,” Vivian told him. “I have a license and have been flying every Sunday. Stop whining and get in!”

They all scrambled in. “There’s the VVV!” Al screamed as Vivian adjusted the controls. “Pouring from the door like zombies with guns.”

“I’ve got this!” she told him. “Hang on to Jeremy. He’s passed out!”

Vivian flew her coworkers to safety, happy she no longer had to worry about finishing that stupid report today, but sad she didn’t get to eat her muffin.

It was chocolate chip.

~*~

Genre Challenge 5: Adventure Fiction

An Unexpected Guest [fanfic 168]

The temperature had climbed steadily and was well over 90 degrees by the time the women arrived at the meeting place.

“So pretty and tranquil here,” Brienne said. “You’d never know it had been the scene of such savagery.”

“Personally, I have no empathy for them,” Sansa commented as she gazed out as the still water. “They chose their destiny.”

Brienne unsheathed her broadsword. “That they did, milady.”

“What are you doing?” Sansa frowned at her. “Surely you won’t have need of your weapon at this meeting. I’m so looking forward to seeing cousin Edmure again!”

“You know it could be a trap. We’ve traveled a long way, and we are hot and weary. We must not drop our defenses, even here.”

Sansa nodded. “Wise counsel. The passion against my family runs deep. We– oh!”

“Dearest Cousin,” Edmure stepped out into the clearing. “How beautiful you are!”

“He’s brought a guest,” Brienne said, raising her sword. “Look.”

Sansa gasped as the other man emerged from the trees. “You!”

~*~

Thursday Photo Prompt

The Guild of Nope [fiction 251]

Captain Alph exited the elevator after his potty break and entered the command room. Immediately, he noticed the screen hadn’t changed since he left, which was 25 minutes prior. (He’d ordered the burrito plate special for lunch.)

“Vivian!” he barked at the first mate. “Stop playing with Truffle and switch to manual outlook.”

His team member pushed the kitty off her lap and fiddled with the switches until a new image appeared. “Oh, no! It’s an abyss. And it has the Shield of Invisibility up!”

“I was afraid of this.” Captain Alph began pacing the floor. “It’s probably the Guild of Nope come to wipe all meaning from our mission. Don’t stare into the abyss!”

Just then Doctor Jeremy waltzed into the room. “Hai guys! I designed a new toy for Truffle. It’s a robotic bird.”

“Ooh, let me see!” Vivian said, and Jeremy released the bird from his hand. It flittered around chirping as the kitty ran after it.

“We don’t have time for toys!” Captain Alph yelled. “We’re all about to become victims of nothing!”

Jeremy pointed at the screen. “You mean her?”

Captain Alph turned and gasped in shock. “MOTHER?!”

“Hallo, pookie.” Mother waggled her fingers. “I’m headed over to the Galaxy Mall and wanted to check if you needed anything. I have BOGO coupons.”

Collapsing in his chair, Captain Alph said, “Mother, you gave us all a fright. We thought you were the Guild. Why are you using the shield?”

“What shield?” Mother looked confused.

(scary music 🎢)

~*~

Genre Challenge 2: Space Opera