Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Magik Beans Episodes 13 and 14

Life is hectic enough that I can actually churn out the latest episodes of Magik Beans, but that I can't post about it here! For the noobs, Magik Beans is an ongoing online novel I'm writing, edit-free as a blog. The end goal is publication, probably self-publication. That version will be edited, but for those who enjoy the journey, and who want to be part of the creative process (because the reactions and comments of the readers have been giving me ideas!) you can come over and enjoy some freshly ground, well brewed Magik Beans.

Episode 13: Rotk├Ąppchen

Andrew's head jerked up to look into the leprechaun's grinning face. Coll brought up his automatic and took aim...

There was a sound that onomatopoeia might render as 'twang' 'tung' or 'the sound of a taut bowstring being loosened' (the last following the school of literal sound effects) followed by a sound that could be approximated as someone sticking an ice pick into an overripe watermelon, which caused Coll to jerk back, making noises that might remind one of a broken coffee percolator, your asthmatic uncle gargling mouthwash at six in the morning while you're still sleeping, or of someone choking in their own blood, which was actually the case.

Episode 14: Procrastinating

Her eyes darted about the garage for a formidable weapon for close up work. She decided on Rob's claw hammer. She seemed to remember Mel Gibson blocking a sword with a hammer in Braveheart. The hard metal and easy balance felt good in her hand, and she threw it and the rope and an old sleeping bag into a framepack. The framepack went without saying. Years of Dungeons and Dragons had taught her the merit of this. You need something to throw all your crap in. And a framepack would allow her to hang things on it as well. Like the LED lantern.

She also grabbed a coil of rope. If she couldn't have Elvish, bright yellow nylon would have to do. Sam Gamgee was no fool.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Photo Essay - A Birthday, A Wedding and Easter

I'm a few weeks behind with my photo essays, due to the end of semester pressure. WhileI still have about 20 papers to grade for the history class I am a teaching assistant for, I decided to spend Gunnar's nap-time today updating everyone in the blogosphere on what we've been up to.

It was my 36th birthday on March 24, but from this photo you'd assume it was Gunnar's. Not that I'm complaining. Having a son who loves Superman as much as his dad results in some mad loots from Gramma Judy...observe, Superman bath gel, socks, underwear, backpack, coloring book, pyjamas, and a flashlight. Too cool. In addition, Gunnar and Jenica gave me Season 1 of Superman: The Animated Series, which Gunnar and I finished watching earlier today.

Of course, not all the Superman stuff is "cool" per se. Check out Gunnar's favorite hat. He hates hats in general, but we couldn't get this one off him for very long all that weekend. Gramma Judy just has a sixth sense for cool kid stuff.

Grampa Lutz got in some reading time as well. Spent the whole birthday weekend with my folks; we'd intended to go to a Dinosaur exhibit at West Edmonton Mall, but it had closed down the week before.

The next weekend, Jenica, Gunnar and the Reese clan drove to C-town for a family wedding. I opted to stay home and spent my whole weekend in the basement working on school projects, mainly a presentation on Blade Runner, which turned out to be one of the best I've ever done. Here's a photo of Cousin Caden, Grandpa Dan and Gunnar enjoying their time in Calgary while I'm slaving away alone in my dungeon.

Then came the Intermennonite Good Friday Service at the Myer Horowitz theater. Good friend Michael Buttrey and I had been working on the musical elements of this service since February. We spent Thursday night setting up all the music gear, the puppet stage and choir risers. The following photo is of Dave Howard and I sound checking our instruments and microphones.

And here we are again, from the other side. Dave and I are always getting mistaken for brothers, which is pretty cool if you know Dave. There are worse people in the universe to be mistaken as kin for.

Speaking of kin, here is half of the puppet team; the Taniguchi ladies - Allison, Sue, and Erin, going over the script with one of the puppet cast.

The morning of Good Friday, we rehearsed with the choir, directed by Bruce Baergen. The soloist in front is Kayla Ryckman, Dave's lady friend.

Dave again. I included this photo because it includes the screen in the background - in addition to playing bass, singing, organizing the puppet team and coordinating with the Myer Horowitz technicians, I got to do up a bunch of powerpoint slides as well. It was a lot of work, but the end result was very positive, and it felt like the service I've been waiting five years to do.

Things are never too hectic though that you can't stop to smell the roses. Gunnar presented his Mom with a yellow rose for Easter, but given how much he loves flowers, had a tough time parting with it, despite its thorny stem.

Cousin Caden, Gunnar and Daddy having a conversation with a little bird about how the weather seems to be improving while we wait for Easter dinner to be ready.

A little bunny wishing you all a Happy Easter season; remember, it lasts all the way to Pentecost Sunday in June!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Magik Beans 11 & 12

I've been late with the last two weeks of Magik Beans due to the end of semester and the duties an associate pastor must perform during Holy Week. Here are the links and the previews for both:

Episode 11: The Thing in the Box

"Ts'ui Pen was right...there is no such thing as absolute time. But the labyrinth wasn't a book...it's the Tree."

Andrew nodded. It made sense in a dreamlike way. In The Garden of Forking Paths, Borges imagined an infinite series of times, that forked and broke off, much like the boughs of a tree, some crossing over each other, some never touching.

"I've come to tell you that Finn lied to you," the figure continued. "The Thing inside the Box is not a weapon. And the elves didn't kidnap Eostre."

"What? So what's in the box?"

The figure said something. Andrew heard it, and understood it, but seemed to be having trouble remembering it.

"I didn't catch that," he said. "Could you say it again?"

This time Andrew heard and understood. His eyes went wide.

"So...this whole thing's a farce?" He looked back at the sleeping Leprechauns. "You need to help me get out of here."

"I can't do that," the figure replied. "I'm only a mistake, a ghost."

And in that moment, the figure shifted his position enough for Andrew to look into his own eyes.

Episode 12: That scene from Predator

He had hoped, but couldn't have known that Finn wasn't so much a bad shot as a fan of Dirty Harry, which meant that his handgun of choice was a .44 Magnum revolver. The recoil from this gun is considerable when you're as tall as Clint Eastwood, but when you're the size of a digitally altered Elijah Wood, it means your aim doesn't count for shit once the gun is fired. The front end of the barrell always went up as the gun went off, which meant that instead of taking Andrew's head clean off, the bullet grazed the top of his head and burnt his hair.

The obvious difference of course, being that having your head blown off doesn't hurt like hell.