Daily GUIDE-ance:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Body of a Witch

It was dark; precious few stars, no moon. The mountain air came in occasional, skittish gusts that would last a second and then become quickly calm. It was a corpse-cold night, but that did not bother young Kevin Drakelock.

The mare he was riding was touchy and nervous. It shied at shadows and leaves. A wolf barked- not even particularly nearby- and the horse froze, it's ears pricked.Kevin gently smacked the leather on her neck prompting her on. This was nothing. These small inconveniences did not bother Kevin Drakelock. He supposed the animal was behaving this way because she was stolen. That did not bother him either. As, he rode, he grinned a satisfied grin, and thought: "I am as cold as cold itself, and nothing can chill me."

There was a dismal truth there. In a lifetime as short as Kevin's had so far been, he had squeezed in a maximum of wickedness. He chuckled to think that tonight, he was working for a priest.

Kevin counted himself a man devoid of superstition and religion. He attended church- occasionally- in disguise. He wore several luck charms- a pair belted at his waist and another in his boot. Life after death? That was another thing that didn't bother him. And he did not believe in witches.

An unusually powerful gust of wind howled; the stolen horse skittered and snorted. The path they rode was wooded, and uphill. The mare seemed to be frightened by the brush on either side of the trail. Kevin leaned forward into the wind. Suddenly a creak, a crack and Kevin threw up both arms in time to save himself; a heavy trunk rotten through months ago had found its moment to break free just as Kevin rode beneath. But the blow that missed Kevin's skull instead fell on the mare's hindquarters. She threw up her forelegs, shrieking. Kevin scrabbled to catch the reins again, but she bolted in a panicked gallop. The pathway swung to the left, but the frightened animal swung to the right! Twigs and leaves took away Kevin's vision and he felt himself hitting the earth, hard.

He lay still, learning to breathe again. Then he took count, first of his limbs, then of his digits. All still there, and all still workable. He worked his legs under him. He groaned, but only out of habit. A wolf bayed again. Kevin reflected that the mare might get herself eaten. A rough grin cut his face: another thing that would not bother him.

On foot, he regained the path, whereupon he found something else to improve his mood. It was his pack. It was a very large one. The horse had thrown it before it had thrown him, most likely when she had reared into her terror stricken gallop. Kevin heaved the pack onto his shoulders. It was more than 100 pounds he judged, although less than 150. There was nothing for it. He got her draped around his shoulders and started in to hiking.


Father Bennet believed in witches. Out of the wind, behind a shelf of rock, all alone in the dead of night except for his gelding pony, he waited. His mind, it seemed, had decided to pass the time by imagining terrors in every shadow of the woods. He had built a very large fire, partly to ward off the cold, but especially for the wolves. He was a nervous man. These hills were not known as haunts for wolves, but he had heard many of them calling to each other hereabouts tonight.

Witches, he knew, sometimes used wolves as servants. Other times a witch might take the shape of a wolf - a gift of the devil. They could drive beasts and men mad, they could control the weather, they could -

-"What if" came the thought, unbidden and unwelcome to Bennet's mind "What if tonight, each wolf in these hills is actually a witch in disguise?" He shuddered.

Another fear that was beginning to steal up on him was that he might have done wrong by hiring Drakelock. The man was a rank sinner and dangerous to boot. Supposing he had by some error of calculation, not brought the agreed on fee? What might Drakelock do to him? He fumbled for his money bag to count once more.

A sudden scream split the night, not ten yards away! Bennet lurched to his feet, silver coins scattering among the rocks. His heart leaped to his throat. He spun in the direction of the noise and saw Kevin Drakelock, a massive pack across his broad shoulders stepping into the firelight.

"Ha hah hah!" Kevin shouted "You should have seen yourself jump!"

Kevin slung his pack heavily to the ground and stretched in relief.

"What's the matter old fellow? I didn't scare you did I?" He laughed again.

The priest shivered as his fear drained away and he laughed hesitantly. Then his eyes fixed on the bundle and he grew as still as if Kevin had thrown an adder onto the ground.

"Is... Is that...?"

"What?" Kevin looked dumbly about, then followed the other's gaze. "What, this?" He toed the massive pack. "Well yes, of course it's her!", he replied to the question in the priest's eyes "What else-"

And with total irreverence, he tugged from the pack a hand, attached to an arm, and then to a shoulder and then a body. The body of a witch.

A small, sharp noise escaped the priest.

"What's wrong, Bennet?" demand Drakelock "This is what you wanted, what you hired me for."

"Not that- no- not- not the body!" stammered the priest in obvious horror "Why bring that? I gave you strict instructions... You cannot finish a one like this by any common means!"

"What are you talking about?" Drakelock was harsh. "Pay me."

"Yes, of course, I'll pay, but fire! I told you- you must use fire! Else, she being a witch, she may rise again and seek vengeance!"

"Father, you're a fool." stated Drakelock "A corpse, is a corpse, is a corpse. Are these my coins that you've hurled all about?"

"Yes, but first, quickly, you must help me- please- there is fire here. It is large. Help me get her into it! Haste!"

Kevin regarded the man a moment, his tolerance thinning. He had hauled the limp body partially erect when he had freed her from the bag. With an extra heave, he brought it to a nearly erect position. He shoved it rudely towards the priest.

"Do it yourself!" Kevin smiled broadly as the priest caught the corpse, as if in an embrace, squealing with disgust and fear. Kevin turned and bent for the coins.

"Drakelock, Drakelock" moaned the priest "Oh please Drakelock, help me do this!" With great difficulty and superstitious dread, the priest dragged the body towards the flames. An awkward effort, a heave, and the thing tumbled more or less into the center of the bonfire.

"Tch tch tch" growled Drakelock, taking in a lung of ash, precipitated by the corpse's fall. "Tell me Bennet- Just what exactly do you think you are accomplishing there? Burning her like that, I mean?"

The priest sat, his eyes fixed on the fire and the fuel.

"Well--"He spoke slowly, not turning his head, "The fire is a cleansing element. It will destroy that which is guilty, consume that which is evil. But it is also a testing element."

"Right. Meaning that if she were innocent, the flames would not harm her, I suppose?" The killer had his coins now and came to sit beside the priest.

"And what if you and I are the guilty ones?"

And just as he said this the fire exploded; wood and ash, sparks and flames flew in every direction. It flung the two men to the ground. And the witch they saw as a strong woman's silhouette, standing unburned in the flames, with long hair blowing, as she mastered the wind, and they heard the sound of a hundred wolves answering her as she called.

I wrote this thing about 12 Halloweens ago, when I was a missionary in Nevada. It was a small way for me to celebrate the holiday far away from home... Anyhow, for what it's worth, there it is. My small scary story offering for Halloween 2008.



Game 11- Anand retains his title

A drawn game. Hard for me to imagine not playing the game through to the end, if I am Kramnik... But no- he agreed to call it a draw, losing all chance at the title after 24 moves. Wierd. After this anti-climax even I am bored.

I hear in 2009 an American actually might have a shot at the title. (He a Russian who emmigrated, naturally)

BUT Hah! Look what I figured out how to do: (I wonder if copying like this is legal?)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brad got me to watch this the other day. We have watched it a million times since. This is supposedly somebodies window display somewhere. I liked it alot!

Friday, October 24, 2008

WCC 2008

Since I know you aren't following it closely like you should be I will go ahead and tell you:

Viswanathan Anand has been giving it to Vladimir Kramnik right in the teeth all week in the World Chess Championship. Kramnik lost his title as World Champion to Anand in 2006. Now, after 8 matches, Kramnik has yet to win one. That must feel lousy- to have once been the best in the world and now to have not won even 1 out of 8. Anand has won 3 of the 8. The other five games were drawn. This is actually a pretty high win margin at this level of play- of the 51 games these two have played before this match up only 10 were not drawn.

Apparently Anand unleashed some sort of secret weapon that he has been working on in private during game three. Kramnik will probably spend alot of time studying Anand's new line- and probably it will get a name- the Anand Attack or some such- and next time Kramnik will have some responses ready... but for the time being it's a bit like competeing in the high jump, but Kramnik doesn't know about the Fosbury Flop- and Anand does. That's one of the cool things about chess, I guess- there are always new Fosbury Flop type invovations waiting to be discovered/invented. In the high jump and other sports, such innovations are rare- but it's the stuff chess is made of.

4 games left in the series, but if Anand wins one more, or draws two, it's all over. Kramnik, on the other hand must win all 4 remaining games to unseat Anand and reclaim the throne. If Kramnik wins three and draws one, it goes into extra innings.

Meanwhile, my rating on Pogo jumped to Advanced again last night. I doubt it will stay that way for long though.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Brain

So, I went to some trouble to make a brain for my Haunted House.
I began by boiling a random assortment of noodles- spaghetti, macaroni, egg, etc:
I got the roundest cereal bowl I had and put the noodles in it. I added duct tape to the bowl, but looking back I can't see why. I stirred in some flour and salt and warm water to act as a bonding agent:
I froze the whole mess. Later I dug it out and sawed the thing in two neat hemispheres. Sitting the flat, sawed sides down on a plate, and shoving the rough, unsawed sides together made a reasonably convincing brain for my haunted house:

(Incidently, the whole process gave me a nightmare of sorts in which I convinced my sister Ashley to let me saw the top part of her skull off to use as mold for my noodle brain. I felt terribly guilty afterwards, and was relieved to wake up and find out that I hadn't really done it)

After the party, I had a brain that wasn't going to keep forever. I noticed some of the skater kids hanging out aroung my ditch Sunday. (remember my ditch? With the manhole tunnel and all?) I decided to kill two birds:

This is the ditch, and the hole me and Brad explored. One of the skaters left a red backpack behind.

I left them a brain. Now they have one...sort of.

This is a giant spider.

T-dog's perspective on the Haunted Treasure hunt !

Lots of great pictures!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Uncle John and Aunt Liz's Terrifying Haunted Treasure Hunt

This is my brother Todd. Liz did a bang up job with the make-up.

Here is Todd the witch with Trent the Reaper.

Todd and a brain.

So last night we had our haunted treasure hunt. 5 of our neices and nephews came over and followed clues around our yard and neighborhood, finding bits of an ancient treasure map. They encountered several frightening persons including a witch and either a dementor or a ring wraith (it's hard to tell the difference). Ultimately they had to go inside a haunted house to converse with the ghost of the miserly banker who originally hid the treasure in the first place. There they ran into a screaming severed head, a levitating corpse, and a real live (ahem) ghost. The treasure wound up being buried in a graveyard- practically in a grave- and some serious excavation took place. Turns out my backyard did indeed have a honest to gosh treasure hidden in it! A pic of the inside of the haunted house. Wish I had a few more shots of that. Maybe I'll pass some on later.
Wren, Jonni and Mark with loot.

All in all the results were-- Unpredicted! Fun. A few things that I did not expect:

1) a treasure box buried only a foot and a half down still requires alot of work to get out of the ground intact.

2) The Elderidge kids fight back. Ross and Mark were scared, I am sure, butI hadn't planned on them trying to use a cursed skull stone that they found on the hunt to fight off the ghosts, witches and monsters. (I have no idea where they got the idea this stone was cursed). Also, they have been going to Tae Kwon Do for a while. Ross aimed some kind of roundhouse at the crotch of a ghost in the haunted house.

The Elderidges were the only ones who made it through the whole haunted house with out adult accompaniment.

3) I am glad the walls of the haunted house were strongly built. They took more of a beating than I expected.

4) The clues were a bit harder to follow than I had expected- part of this I suspect was because we got off to a late start and the light was going faster than I had planned. Still, the last thing any one wants is a weenie treasure hunt.

5) I expected that the kids would be disappointed when the treasure turned out not to be gold and jewels, but instead just a bunch of old candy, toys, books and sparklers. I even had a back story prepared about how the ghost changed his treasure into that sort of thing by magic for some reason. Turns out nobody was disappointed. I would say that the frenzy after the treasure box opened up was one of the highlights.

So we had a swell time. Todd, Suzanne, Ashely, and Trent came over the night before and worked like dogs to help me finish up the haunted house and turn my backyard into a killer (ahem) graveyard. I don't think I got a pic of Ashley's head cut off and on a tabletop (a shame). I may go get one of the backyard though. It looks pretty cool.

Welp. I'm off. More later maybe!

Oh, this is a shot of the invites we sent out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

2 to 1 in favor of the Indian.

Whaddaya mean you're watching the presidential debates?! Or the baseball playoffs?! (are they still going on? I have no idea.)

The 2008 World Champion is being decided Riiiiiight Now!!!!! First one to 6.5 wins! Final match on Halloweeeeeeeeeeen. Now quit paying attention to those geeky sports or that idiot-fest of an election. (-By Thor's beard I want to kick them all in the groin!!)

Be a spectator of something Cool for once!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Halloween Stories

You may or may not have noticed that I have been fiddling around with the soundtrack for the JCS fanclub. Something a little more seasonally appropriate. As you know, part of the legends surrounding my life include that I was raised with no Tv. (Great childhood! Highly reccomended.) One of the side effects of this, (besides unusually high intellegence and complete distain for mainstream media) is that I listened to alot of old time radio and radio in general. Renae and I still throw dumb Abott and Costello lines at each other as private jokes. (with that head you should be sorry!)

Well, I was thrilled to find the classic War of the Worlds for free online. I literally grew up listening to this. And the Bill Cosby Chicken Heart routine I have almost memorized. Give a listen if you haven't before. As to the other tales of dread that I have attached to this page, I actually have not got around to listening to them, although I have read them both. (well i listened to skinny toe and left it for laughs) As I find other stuff similiar online I plan to add it to the pile.

Halloween, for me, is a thing of the ears. Listening to a scary story is scarier than watching a scary movie because, as I once heard it put by an old school radio director, radio leaves so much more to the imagination. The same director went on to ask: "What is wrong with pronography? It's not that sex is bad- it's just that it leaves nothing to the imagination"

Hope somebody enjoys some of this stuff-
Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

If "The Lord of the Rings" had been written by....

Mercedes Lackey:
  • All the characters would have been female, except Sauron, Boromir and Elrond. Elrond would have been gay.
  • Rivendell and The Shire would have both been seething hotbeds of political intrigue
  • Orc curse words like : "Rat", "Dung", "Filth" and "Dunghill Rat" would have been replaced with phrases like "By the Mother!"
  • The fellowship would have all had to go through a mystical magic "Oathing" ritual before they left on the quest to destroy the ring. It would have been physically "torturous". It would have required everyone in it to get naked. Some freaky "High Priestess" would have been involved.
  • There would have been no orcs or goblins, just evil human men.
  • The Ents would have been female. Long ago the male ents would have been driven away by the she-ents. Treebeard would have been alot more hormonal and preachy.

Louis Lamour:

  • The final battle between Frodo and Gollum would have been a brutal fistfight, that both had known to be inevitable (and on some level been looking forward too) since they had first met. Sam would have held Frodo's guns for him, but would have warned him : "Careful, Boss- That hombre looks like blazin' brimstone on wheels!"
  • Aragorn would have been described as "being able to trail a snake across a flat rock"
  • There would have been more poker being played at the The Prancing Pony
  • The Orcs would have been Apaches. Once Sauron was dead, they would have laughed, slapped Aragorn on the back and said: "You fight good fight. You big Warrior. Strong Medicine!" Then they would have ridden off full of respect for a fellow "fighting man".
  • Rosie Cotton and Arwen would have had occasion to have tea together and discuss how they appreciated strong men.
  • Gandalf would have been a wily old prospector. Saruman would have been a wealthy rancher, who got rich by cheating Gandalf out of his gold. In the last scene Saruman, would have been holding a knife to Rosie Cotton's throat, when Gandalf appeared out of nowhere and shot him in the temple with his very old rifle. "I shoulda done that years ago" Gandalf would say.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Two significant quotes on my mind:

"Life's not worth living if you aren't being loved by a child!" -Buzz Lightyear (TS2)

"Yeah- about this whole 'takin' over the world' thing that you've been jones'in on? I mean- dontcha see the whole narfness of it all? So, sorry, but I'm gonna have to say 'Pass'. " -Roman, (child of The Brain and Pinky)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

MySpace Countdowns
Well it's like this: Every Halloween season for since like the last 2 billion geologic epochs, I have felt like I should be doing something major for it. And every year the holiday slips by with me not showing it proper respect. Back before I had kids Todd and Trent and I used to hang out on Mom and Dad's roof in black clothes scaring all the trick or treaters as they passed underneath us. That was great fun. I remember one year we almost caused one trick or treater's mom to go into labor... and I am not even sure she was pregnant, so pretty impressive, no? And always we would wind up making one little kid cry in terror... sad but that's just colateral damage. One crying child a year is worth it to me. Plus, it builds character.

And afterwards I would lie in bed, eating candy and treasuring each scream, replaying the best ones over and over in my mind.

Then I had kids and suddenly I had responsibilties. This may make me a bad parent, but I found taking my toddlers trick or treating to be nice, in away, but it just wasn't near as fun as scaring people from Mom's roof. For instance last year was a complete waste of cheese for Halloween. Sorry if any of the perfectly nice yet boring adults that I am about to malign read this: You all are perfectly nice, yet a bit boring. Liz somehow arranged for us to go trick or treating with some church people last year that I didn't really know all that well. Businessy types. Corporate Americans. I showed up dressed as the grim reaper's cruel older brother, and spent the night listening to the dad's talk about cars and work and football. So I killed one of them as an example to the rest.

This year though the stars are aligning for me. Jonni is old enough to take a decent scare. I am back in this part of the world where I have Todd and Trent to join in my evil plans. And I am grown up, and can now do all those things that I wished I could when I was a kid for Halloween- things like... well i don't want to give it all away yet, but for instance--- If I decide to dig a pit in my backyard, or set something on fire, Mom can't stop me. If I decide I need some scary props- I can buy them.

I have a lot of enthusiasm and I have a plan. (it is crap, would you like to buy a toothbrush?)