Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 35: Five Uses for Eggplant

         "My middle name is Eggplant. My first name is NO."
          This declaration was made by my brother Nemesis over dinner, as the parental unit discussed upcoming meals. Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for my poor brother), the eggplant will in all likelihood appear over lunch tomorrow, when I'm out of town on a job.
          One of my siblings' favorite quotations--can't remember where they got it--is "If scientists could find a use for it, we wouldn't have to eat it to get rid of it!" I think this is very true. Scientists should get a move on--WAIT JUST A COTTON-PICKIN' MINUTE HERE. I'm a scientist!!! Granted, I'm more of an evil scientist, but I suppose I could make a contribution to humanity. But ONLY this once. And some of my suggestions may be slightly evil. I've got a reputation to maintain, you know!

          1)          Defend your planet.
          I hate to say this, but for this to work, we're gonna have to stockpile the stuff. When the alien invaders arrive (yes, they're coming--didn't you know this??), offer them the best of Earth's bounty in exchange for them not invading. Then send 'em all the eggplant on the planet. Once they see the nastiness, they'll automatically assume that if this is the best we have to offer, they might as well give us a pass because we're no threat and there's nothing to take anyway. On the other hand, they might also annihilate us so the eggplant doesn't spread to the any other part of the galaxy. So there's a small risk here.
          2)          Use them for fuel!
          But NOT for you--that kinda defeats the purpose. Give them to the bugs, let them rot and collect the methane. I'm pretty sure this would work; it works with horse crap, which is not quite as bad as eggplant...

          3)          Self defense.
          Bully at school? No problemo. HIT HIM WITH AN EGGPLANT!!!!! 'Nuff said.

          4)          Practical jokes...
          So your brother tucked a frog into your bed? Slip a few eggplant slices between his sheets. One of two things will happen; either he'll leave you alone in the face of such a devastating retaliation, or he'll up the ante. Which brings me to my final use for eggplant...

          5)          CANNON FODDER!!!
          I am currently testing an eggplant launcher which, when finished, will probably be confiscated by the US government as a weapon of mass destruction, but I'll try to post some plans before I'm dragged off to the Crowbar Hotel. Uhh, wait, I have an army of robots and an eggplant launcher--I'm not going anywhere. Maybe I'll mount eggplant launchers on all my robots...

          6)          Bonus use--as an incentive!
          Any who side with me during my world conquest will never see an eggplant again. All who resist will be force-fed an eggplant every day for the rest of their lives. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.......................

          *Ahem* Anyway, print this list out and the next time someone offers you an eggplant, pull out this list and explain--ahh, never mind. Just whack him with the eggplant
          You're welcome.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 34: A Change of Pace

         Here's a little song I've been working on for the past couple of days. This is my first attempt at making any kind of a tune, so don't judge me. I got a free song-writing program, but then had to do a bit of reprogramming on it because it kinda sucked. It's working pretty good now, though! 
         Also, I've been trying to post this for two days. Our internet connection is kinda...awful. Oh well.

         (The movie is a trailer I made for my "film company," Creative Ideas, Inc)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 33: Courtesy of My Sister...

                                                   The Chocolate Caper
            Once upon a time, when I was too young to know better, my brother Radar came up with what seemed to be a sure-fire way of insuring the dessert part of our meals. He swore me to secrecy and took me into our clubhouse, or what we used for our clubhouse back when we lived in town. It was a doghouse, barely three feet wide and dirty, stationed in a dark place under our deck. Dad had built it for our dog Barney, but we had overenthusiastically shoved the poor dog in (“Look, Barney, this is your new house!”) while Dad was still hammering on the roof. When it was done Barney never went in, associating it with loud noises from above, so we considered it ours by default.
            We wedged ourselves in, I with a tad more care for my clothes than my brother had. On that cloudy summer day, the light was murky in the clubhouse, but I could see well enough when Radar took down a cup from a small ledge by the roof. The cup was covered with a lid, the kind Mom used to use for my younger sister Squirrel, the baby of the family. When he opened it, I sucked in my breath. It was full of chocolate chips.
            “I got them from the freezer when Mom wasn't here,” he told me, grinning, foreseeing my inquiries. We sat there munching them with all the clandestine pleasure of Robin Hood’s merry men, and considering the possibilities. Why, it was very easy to get these treats! If we kept them out here—covered with the lid of course, so that bugs weren't able to share with us---Mom would never know, and we would be supplied for life! We were quite giddy with glee, especially Radar, who liked admiration for his successful plans nearly as much as the success itself. We giggled about it all day long.
            The next week was heavenly. We would meet under the deck whenever we felt a need for sugar, and our fanciful games, wherein the clubhouse turned into a rocket ship or a castle or a laboratory or a jungle hideout, always had regular mealtimes consisting entirely of chocolate. To be sure, I was jumpy with the fear of being discovered, but Radar was scornful. “Girls,” he’d say, as if it were synonymous with “chicken,” which in his mind it was. Such an epithet would usually make me livid and provoke a fight, but it had its intended effect.
            One day, we were dismayed to find our supply of contraband had dwindled considerably; there was barely enough left for another “meal.”
            “We’ll just go get some more,” Radar said breezily. I was in favor, but thought that it would involve more complication than simply waltzing into the kitchen and refilling the cup under Mom’s nose. Fortunately for our club’s unity, Mom received a visitor that afternoon, and went outside to talk. With much shushing, suppressed laughter and false alarms, we filled our cup—and got another as well. But how to get them past Mom? I wanted to wait till she left. Radar thought about it, then pushed me out the back door.
            “Do this,” he hissed in a whisper, taking a pretended swig through the sippy lid. I followed suit. We swaggered past Mom and her visitor, to all appearances unnaturally thirsty, and bragged about it unceasingly afterward.
            But all things have their end, at least if they involve a sister with an irritated conscience. On an afternoon soon afterward, Mom invited me to help her make cookies. I complied cheerfully—my job of helping was putting in the sugar, and then conducting quality tests. Leaning on the counter with my pigtails in the flour, I saw Mom go to the refrigerator and take out a very familiar bag of chocolate chips.
            “You’re making chocolate chip cookies?” I exclaimed. Suddenly I wasn’t as interested in how soon they would be baked, and how many I could have after dinner. To top it all, guilt feelings were attacking me repeatedly, making me very uncomfortable. Radar was nowhere in sight to boost my confidence. I took a fat breath and began.
            “Mom, I've gotta tell you something,” I mumbled, and then poured out the whole story. She just listened quietly, nodding every now and then.
            “I had noticed that the bag was awfully low,” she said, confirming my belief that Mom knew everything. A corner of her mouth was twitching in a funny way, but she didn’t yell at me. Instead, she continued scooping the chips into the mixing bowl. “Maybe you shouldn’t have as many cookies tonight.” I quite agreed.
            At dinner, Mom suddenly put down her fork and addressed the family at large. “I’ve been noticing that the bag of chocolate chips isn’t as full as it used to be,” she said. I was fixedly looking at my plate, but I could still see Radar twitch. “Would anyone know anything about this?” With a bit more prodding, Radar admitted that he might know something. To both of our relief, and bafflement, we didn’t get punished past not having dessert that night, and we really didn’t care. We both were inexplicably tired of chocolate, which is perhaps why Radar wasn't even upset when I told him I had been the informer. In the days that followed, our scheming was still unabated, but it didn’t involve stolen goods for a long, long time—that is, from the kitchen. Our siblings’ things were still available.
            Over the years, Radar and I still occasionally snitch things—it helps that we’re older and considered to be sort of mature---and it still makes us laugh to think of our first foray into crime. Too bad we can’t fit in our current doghouse. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 32: Hankie?

          Flip a kid off of a boat once, and guess what he wants to do the rest of the afternoon?
          Well, that's my workout for the afternoon; flipping my inflatable raft around to make kids fall out. Apparently, it's "wicked fun!!!" as one slightly over-excited boy called it. Oh well, nothing like being appreciated, right?
          Babysitting is always rather funny for me, although showing them my Nerf stash was just asking to get shot. I think one of my more hilarious moments (in retrospect) was during a Tom and Jerry episode. I was sitting on the floor, and one of the small boys behind me on the couch wound up and delivered one of the biggest sneezes I've ever heard right down the back of my shirt. I've gotten less wet by jumping in the pool.
          Of course, they are boys...and "for a guy, carrying a Kleenex and wearing long sleeves is redundant," as John Branyan says. They're getting a good jump start on life, although I would argue that for a kid, carrying a Kleenex and standing near a person with a shirt is redundant. Depending on how short they are, someone's pants could work too. I've seen this.
          Actually, I'm one of the sissy guys who actually carry a hankie, but I don't think I've ever used it on my nose. It's more of a hand protector for the heated or gross (or heated and gross) material that I come across often during my job. I should just buy some stupid gloves, but I'm kind of a cheapskate and stealing Dad's handkerchiefs works pretty well for me anyway. A penny saved and all that...
          Next time I hear a deep inhalation, though, I'm gonna duck.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 31: The ANSWER!!!

          Sorry, couldn't resist that. The deliberation has ended, and I think I'm going to see for how long I can write every day. With such a goal in mind, I present...

                                        The Pirates of the Minnesotan
          "Hey, who took my sword?"
          "Jack Sparrow" chucks a bicycle away from the wall in a futile search for her missing weapon. Captain "Skywalker" holds the carefully crafted duct-tape-and-fence-post sword out to her. "You left it over by the basketball hoop."
          Jack gratefully accepts the weapon, then wags a finger at the captain. "There are no basketball hoops on a pirate ship!"
          "Ben Sparrow" comes up, lugging a purloined tarp and enough rope to hang a dozen sails. "Shall we hoist canvas, sir?"
          Captain Skywalker shades his eyes and looks up at the ceiling of the barn. "Looks like a clear day for sailing...yep, raise the sails!"
          "You're the only one who can do that," Jack reminds him.
          With a sigh, Captain Skywalker begins unloading his weapons, remarking, "That captain shouldn't have to hoist sails, you know."
          Ben looks quizzically at the growing pile of self-constructed weapons; three wooden daggers, a fiberglass-fence-post rapier, two wooden sabers, a metal dirk, a wood-and-PVC-pipe pistol, a duct-tape-and-wood pistol, and a wooden rifle. "Are you going to start a war?"
          Jack grins. "Of course!" She hands Skywalker a corner of the tarp and a rope. He promptly shoves both in his mouth and jumps, catching one of the rafters that joined to the wall. Hooking his legs over it, he begins slowly inching his way up the sloped underside. Once he gets about fifteen feet above the floor of the barn, he carefully removes the tarp corner and rope from his mouth and proceeds to tie them fast to the rafter, one-handed.
          Once he inches back down the rafter and jumps back down to the ground, the three siblings cross over to the other side of the barn and repeat the process. A makeshift "sail" now hangs from the rafter on the two slanted sides. Skywalker reburdens himself with his instruments of minimum destruction and runs over to the wheel of the ship (a bicycle wheel lashed to a small basketball hoop, at such a height that the only way to reach it is by climbing on top of the small playhouse, the roof of which serves as the poop deck anyway). Spinning it around, he yells, "Sail ho! Prepare to fire the guns!"
          His shipmates promptly run to opposite walls of the barn and stare hard at the wooden surface as they pretend to be scanning the ocean for the ships. "They're coming up fast!" Jack reports. "It's the Royal Navy!"
          The captain thinks for a moment. "Let them board us! We'll fight them on deck!" He draws his sabers, overbalances and falls off the playhouse. 
          Then the enemy is there. To anyone unpossessed of an active imagination, it would look like the three siblings had completely lost their minds as they yelled and danced about, waving their crudely shaped swords; when in actuality, an entire shipload of the best that the Royal Navy had to offer was being thoroughly trounced. Once the crew ran out of breath, the enemy ship was "seen" in full retreat, allowing the bragging to begin in earnest. 
          Then the crew "docked" in a port, charged into a small village consisting of one house, raided the kitchen and made off with some cheese and crackers, and returned to their ship for a quick snack before they made a treasure map and buried their loot, to be dug up by a very confused family dog three days later.

*Captain's Note: I was obsessed with Star Wars back then, hence the name "Skywalker." Also, my sister took the name Jack Sparrow before I could lay claim to it. My brother liked the name Ben, so he decided to be Ben Sparrow. Whatever floats our boat, I guess...pun intended.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 30: End of the Road?

          It's Day 30. Believe it or not, I've actually come up with some random story/article/post for 30 days. (For those of you who DON'T believe it, look at the archives. I have proof.) That means I've fulfilled the terms of the bet I made back on Day 1.
          The question remains now: what do I do? The way I see it, I have a few options.

          Option 1: I can quit writing and delete this blog ASAP.
          Option 2: I can quit writing but not delete the blog, in case I ever need copies of my stories (like HvZ, Robin Hood and His Merry Men, etc).
          Option 3: I can keep the blog and write once in a while, in case I ever have a need to say something random.
          Option 4: I can see how many days I can write continuously.
          Now, considering the fact that no one reads this ANYWAY, I'm pretty sure it's a moot point in any respect. It's not like some fire-and-pitchfork mob will visit my house just because I stopped writing. Actually, if anything, they would visit me because I keep writing....
          My sense of self-competitiveness wants me to keep writing, though. How far can I go? But that only delays the inevitable question of what to do when I find out how long I can go. It's annoying.
          Considering the fact that it's 12:30ish at night and I want to go to bed, I think I'll pull the age-old trick of sleeping on it. If you happen to stumble on this post and have an opinion, go ahead and comment because I can't make a decision here.
          Guess we'll find out on Thursday what happens...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 29: Part Five--It's Only Just begun...

          "Great job, Midway." B chucked me my First Aid kit.
          "Thanks." I opened it and grabbed my ankle brace. I'd dislocated a few bones in the joint, but this wasn't the first time this had happened to me and I was able to reset it with a minimum of pain and effort. "J, how'd it go?"
          J grinned. "Well, once we made the elevator, it was smooth sailing. We made it to the safe zone and unlocked the cure, then came back through and soaked everyone." He hefted a spray bottle. "Piece of cake, really."
          B mock-glared at him. "For you, maybe..."
          I rolled my eyes as the two launched into a good-natured argument, closing my kit and storing it back in the bag that held my gear. R came over and sat down on the chair next to me.
          "Do we have another mission?"
          I shrugged. "Maybe if we get all our ammo and guns back."
          A, IA and IS marched up, carrying what looked like an army's worth of weapons. I raised my eyebrows. "Did we really have that much stuff?"
          R laughed. "Most of that is yours."
          A borrowed my sword and gave the two debaters a good whack. "Hey, team meeting over here guys!"
          "What about?" B inquired.
          "We won!" A informed him. "That means we get to have an official team name!"
          "How about the Hand of Thrawn?" J suggested.
          I snorted. "If we're going to do Star Wars names, let's go with the 501st. The Hand of Thrawn was a fortress, dummy."
          "How about the Nighthawks?" B suggested, combining the current time of day with his favorite raptor in his usual practical fashion.
          "I vote for B's idea," IA agreed.
          "Yeah, we don't want to be mega-nerds like these guys," A joined in, throwing us "mega-nerds" a disdainful look.
          "All in favor?" I asked before J could start arguing with her.
          The vote was unanimous. I thought for a second. "And I nominate B as captain. We gotta have some command if we have an official name."
          "Forget it," B said quickly. "I nominate Midway."
          "Whoa now," I started, but R shot her hand in the air. "All in favor?"
          The vote was almost unanimous. I abstained. IS gave me a friendly shove on the back. "Well, I vote our new captain goes to see if we have any more missions!"
          Before I could get up, I heard one of the leaders call out the new positions. I grinned at the others. "There's your answer. Let's get going!"
          As my college buddies and I headed off to the back doors, lugging our Nerf guns, another one of the leaders called out.
          "The next Humans versus Zombies game begins in five minutes!"

                                                  Captain Radar Midway of the Nighthawks, signing off.

...the end. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 28: Part Four--the Last Stand

          The pounding of feet from the stairwell ended B's and my conversation. I winced as I spun and stumbled on my bad ankle, dropping to one knee. "J, go! You girls go with him!"
          "Is that a good idea?" J asked.
          "The best. Move it. We'll cover you," I shot back, already pouring fire into the enemy ranks as I struggled back to my feet. B, IA and IS joined me as the others began carefully retreating. IA glanced over his shoulder. "They're going to slow--they'll never make it!"
          IS spun around and hollered, "Hurry up!" as I jammed another clip into my gun. With that moment of inattention, he was done for as one of our foes leapt past B's and IA's fire to tackle him. I fired twice, once at the enemy and once at IS before yelling to my remaining partners, "Back up! Keep them at a distance!"
          "Copy that," IA responded. I glanced to my right to see B fiddling with his gun. "It's jammed!" he yelled.
          "Here!" I started to pull my sidearm, but B was buried under our enemies before it even cleared my holster. IA cursed under his breath. I didn't even glance at him. "Remember the mission, buddy. They gotta get out!"
          No response. I turned to see him lunge at me--he had been taken! I jerked my gun up and dropped him, emptying my last clip. Time for the sidearm...I drew it and began shooting, counting the shots. One, two, three...
          I glanced back. The three remaining members of my team were almost to the elevator, but the mob was driving me back quickly. Four, five, six...I tried to think. If they got into the elevator they should be able to make it, since the ground-floor exit was about ten feet away. Eight, nine, ten! Out of shots, I drew my sword. I caught a blur of motion out of the corner of my eye as a figure shot past me towards the closing elevator doors. It would catch them...there was only one thing I could do.
          I threw my sword. I saw it slam into the figure, knocking it down, and then the mob buried me and I died.

...to be continued...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 27: Part Three--the Darkness Surrounding

          I snapped my gun up and off target. "Never mind, guys, they're friendly!"
          My order was unnecessary. Around me I could hear sighs of relief. The other team skidded to a halt in front of us. I knew them by reputation; they had named themselves the Warriors and had elected a buddy of mine, T, to be captain. There was only one way they ran--forward, at their attackers. Usually, that strategy led to getting killed, but it was working for them.
          T chuckled. "You guys don't make much noise--thought you were a mob of those buggers!"
          I shrugged. "Sorry to disappoint. You guys find any cards?"
          Their medic answered. "Nope, sorry. How about you?"
          "I think they're all upstairs," R responded. "Did we really lose the entire Army group?"
          "There's three of them still in operation," T mused for a moment. "I think they went downstairs, though, so probably not. That's where we're headed, to see if we can save anyone. If you're going upstairs, good luck to you. That place is a death trap!"
          "We know," B grumbled.
          T mock-saluted us and lead his group down the stairs. J shot our attacker one last time before we took up our marching order again and headed silently upstairs.
          At least in the last room, we'd had the benefit of light filtering in from the corridor. Here, there was nothing except the beams from our flashlights. I swept mine back and forth in a constant search pattern, looking for trouble, but we made it up to the top floor with no problems. There were only three rooms up here, so we divided up into three teams, one light per team. A quick search, and we met back out in the hall jubilant.
          "We got all three?" I whispered. "I don't believe this!"
          "Total win!" B rejoiced.
          I passed the cards to J. "Hold on to these, ok? We gotta get these back to base."
          J hesitated. "I dunno. I'm not very fast. Maybe you should keep them, Midway."
          I shrugged and stuffed them in my pocket. "Your call." I began heading down the stairs, calling back to the others, "Let's g--yaaaaah!"
          Diving to the side, I narrowly avoided the swipe of the ex-ROTC member we had left downstairs. I heard several shots that assured me he had been taken care of, but I was still falling towards the path of the mob he had brought with him.
          Desperate times, desperate measures. I dropped my gun, grabbed the railing, pulled myself upright, and jumped. My ankle twisted on the stairs below, and I heard a sharp crack. I fervently hoped that was one of my guns hitting the wall and not my leg. Running to the wall in the room with the five doors, I set my back against it and drew my sword.
          Only one opponent followed me, and I'd taken care of him by the time the rest of my team joined me. I handed the cards over to J. "Take them. We need to move."
          J looked at me. "Hurt yourself?"
          I tried to look innocent. "Me? Never."
          "Yeah, right," R muttered. "Nice jump there, by the way."
          "Thanks." I chuckled. "Okay, back out the corridor. I'll be rear-guard this time."
          B walked alongside of me as we moved out. "That seemed way too easy. I wonder why?"
          I thought for a second. "Probably because everyone was downstairs fighting the Warriors."
          B groaned. "If they took them down, we're screwed."
          "Guess we'll find out..."

...to be continued...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 26: Part Two--the Search Continues

          I flipped on my gun-mounted flashlight and swung it around the room. No opponents so far, but the five doors spaced around the sides suggested a potential ambush. I glanced at R. "Which way should we go?"
          She gestured at the two doors to our immediate left. "Those both lead out onto a landing. I suggest going upstairs--I'd bet that's where the cards are hidden."
          I shrugged, although marching up completely dark stairs wasn't really advisable if one wanted to live long in this building. "Wish we knew where the stupid light switches are."
          The twins, IA and IS, came up behind me. One of them gestured at the other doors. "What about those other rooms there?"
          B groaned dramatically. I ignored him and shined my light on the doors. "Do those open in or out?"
          IA inched forward a bit. "In."
          "Crap," A muttered. "Hey, what if you two kinda inch over there and give the door a little push in? We can stand back here and fire in, just in case..."
          I handed my sniper rifle to R and reached over my shoulder for my sword. "Nah, I'll do it. I'm faster then those two anyway. B, keep a watch down the corridor; I don't want us to get hit from behind. IA and IS, watch the landing. J, back against the wall and aim at the doorway with R. But for heaven's sake, DON'T shoot me in the back!"
          J grinned; I couldn't see him, but I could hear it in his voice as he shot back, "Nothing like a good diplomatic decision, huh?"
          I rolled my eyes, a wasted effort in the darkness. "Well, if we waited for a vote on every decision, we'd never get anywhere."
          R laughed. "I wasn't complaining! Come on, let's hurry up and search this place. It's creeping me out."
          I reached out carefully for the doorknob, then twisted it suddenly and kicked it in. My blade was spinning in my hands as I edged in, taking a quick look around. "Clear!" I called out. "R, you wanna search this? I'll check out another."
          I'd checked the second room by the time R cam out with her report. "Nothing."
          I shrugged. "Didn't really think so. Kinda wonder where everyone is though; this is the longest I've ever gone without being attacked." I kicked open the last door and a figure lunged at me.
          My blade slammed into it two or three times before it hit the floor. I bent over it. "Another ROTC guy? This sucks."
          "Understatement of the month." J joined me, rummaging through the guy's pockets for a second. "Crap. He's gone too."
          "He's got one minute until he comes to and starts killing, so tag him every thirty seconds until we leave," I ordered A. "I'm taking a look in here quick."
          No cards, but I did come out with the former ROTC's gun. I chucked it at one of the twins. "Here, use this instead of that dinky handgun. It's got a flashlight on it too."
          B broke in. "Crap!! There's a whole ton of guys coming this way down the corridor fast!"
          We all looked that way. I heard a lot of quiet swearing. I took my gun back from R. "J, get behind us and watch the downed guy and the stairs! Guns up, guys, we can do this!"
          I sighted down my rifle on the foremost figure as the yelling started....

...to be continued...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 25: Part One--Infiltration

          There was the harsh clicking as several guns were cocked. I adjusted my gear as best I could; I was one of the most armed in our squad. I glanced over at my teammate B, who had two six-shots readied. I nodded at the guns. "It's going to be kinda hard to cock both of those at once when we're on the run."
          B shoved one of the guns into a holster at his side. "That's why I've got these! Are you ready?"
          I nodded. "Time?"
          Another teammate, R, glanced at her watch. "One minute. What's our marching order?"
          I thought for a second. "I'll take point until we get out to the intersection, then I can take rearguard. R and A, you two girls can lead from then on, you probably have the best idea of where we can search anyway. J, you stay in the middle; we can't lose our medic. Everyone else, just go where needed and stay alert. Sound good?"
          B nodded. "Want help with rearguard? That's where the Tank typically strikes."
          I nodded. "We need three shots to take him down, right?"
          I grinned. "Don't miss. R, we ready?"
          Once receiving the confirmation, I carefully eased the door open and we entered the dimly lit building. I hefted my modified sniper rifle. It was actually composed of two guns, to allow for two shots before cocking again. I heard my squad quietly follow me down the dark hall towards the intersection. Something flashed across it and I jerked my gun up. B was a bit more trigger-happy; he fired. I winced. "Let's do the whites-of-their-eyes thing. It'll save on reloading."
          B grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, I'm a little jumpy." He ran ahead to the intersection to retrieve his shot. I opened my mouth to ask him to wait, but he made it before I could call out--
          --and out of the shadows, a figure hurled itself at him.
          I was proud of all my squad members as they joined me in immediately riddling the attacker with shots. B rolled away safely, then sprang up and drilled another guy coming in from the other side. We quickly ran down to join him at the intersection. I glanced down at the first figure. "Dang, we got lucky--this is the Tank!"
          A and R began retrieving shots and distributing them. R was the first to voice the concern that I had. "But there were only two of these guys to start with, and both of them were waiting here?"
          I swallowed. "It's possible, I suppose...if they wanted to get our squad right away...beats taking on the official Army guys, I guess."
          A pointed to the other figure. "Bad news. He's ROTC."
          J knelt down next to him. "Sorry, I can't save him. He's gone."
          "Crap." I glanced at my watch, then pumped a few more shots into both attackers on the ground. "That'll keep them down long enough for us to get out of here. Let's stick to the plan, but I'll take point once we get to the dark areas since I have the better flashlight." I gestured to the flashlight mounted on the utility rack of my gun. "B can keep up the rear guard; A, you can help him. R, join me?"
          R nodded, looking back at the ex-ROTC member. "I've got a bad feeling about this."
          I winced. "Join the club..."

...to be continued...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 24: Call Me "Ishmael"

          Believe it or not, I am the captain of a ship.
          Okay, it's more of a boat. A small inflatable one. However, I have a pretty decent imagination, and I once had four crewmen with me on it, although when I told them to "hoist the mainsail," the ensuing argument about the existence of said mainsail caused the boat to capsize.
          Before I got my boat--ship--two summers ago, Nemesis and I decided we really, really wanted to play pirate out on our new pond. Our first boat was a sheet of plywood. Unfortunately, we were not familiar with the principles behind flotation. In retrospect, we shouldn't have let it drift so far out from shore before jumping on.
          After we retired inside for a change of gear, wisely settling on swimsuits this time, we began looking around for another boat. Our little red wagon was our next victim. After fishing it back out, we collapsed on the bank despondently. Well, Nemesis collapsed; I landed on duck crap and hurled myself back into the water to wash off. Washing completed, I chose a better resting spot and we watched goldfish for a while.
          After a while, my sister walked down to the barn to drop some treats off to the chickens. The stupid rooster started crowing. "Dumb bird," I muttered to Nemesis. "Aren't they only supposed to crow in the morning?"
          In one of those moments that seems like God is smacking you upside the head, my brother and I sat up with the exact same thought. "The chicken tubs!!!"
          We had two of them, reserved for the chicks that we got each spring. They were huge, and I was confident that this time we wouldn't have to swim for it. We dragged them over to the pond with much effort, got a couple of sticks, and gingerly climbed in.
          It worked. True, they were a little hard to control with the sticks we used for paddles, and they yawed alarmingly at the slightest redistribution of weight,but we were sailing! We played pirates for a while until I managed to capsize Nemesis's craft and sink it; re-floating it was so hard that we decided to knock off pirates for a while and play something safer. We set sail again and pondered...then I saw the fountain and pointed dramatically.
          "Thar she blows!!"
          We both flipped over, we were laughing so hard. But our course had been set--for the rest of the day, we hunted whales (well, we did have some pretty good-sized goldfish). The only thing we caught was a toad, though, and Nemesis accidentally dropped him back into the water when the toad...uh...did you know they drink water all day in case someone picks them up?
          We used those things all summer. The next year, I was able to pick up a really nice inflatable raft off of Amazon and have been using that since. I like my current ship, all right. But I'll never forget my first boat...which is currently home to some new chicks.
          I wonder if they'd appreciate a tour of the pond?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 23: Running, Cycling and Photography, Oh My!

          I feel a bit out of place here in the world of bloggers...
          Here I was, punching away at my keyboard (figuratively, for once), when I decided to take a look at some other blogs because, frankly, I've been running out of ideas. In my defense, it's been a slow week. After a bit of searching, I found the button for a random blog and clicked it.
          I got massively sidetracked. The first blog I came to was about running. I skimmed it briefly before clicking ahead. Hmm, cycling, running, cycling, photography, cycling, running, photography...family! The last one was hilarious, so I decided to bookmark it for future reading. (I've noticed that a mom's perspective on home life is typically amusing.) I kept going...
          You would not BELIEVE how many blogs are about running, cycling, travel or photography. It's an astonishing number, for sure. And here I am, new in the whole blogging business, writing about random stuff that enters my head. On the other hand, there's no way I could write about all that exercise stuff. The only way I would do that is if I wanted to put people to sleep, because anything I would write would be boring like nothing else. Actually, for all I know, this could be boring too. I could imagine a doctor prescribing my blog to an insomniac. That's not exactly what I meant by Maximum Effect, but I suppose that could be one interpretation...
          In my defense, though, I do have some redeeming features, like sibling poetry. I've been thinking about putting some of my short stories on here too, but they are kinda bad, so I might put the video of the firework incident up instead. I love building new pages for this thing (it's the geek in me, I guess), but I don't have anything to really put on them yet, which is why you can't see them. There's nothing more odd than a blank web page.
          Unless it's my brother...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 22: A Tale of Three Siblings

          Apparently, a lot of people liked the family meeting notes. This has led me to decide to post some more secretarial notes, these from a club we three oldest siblings formed. My sister Quill, the budding English major, was voted the secretary for our club. There's a bit of editorial slant here. Also, when reading the notes, it appears that we have nine members, but that's just because we thought it would be funny to hold down multiple positions and hold arguments with ourselves.
          This is our third meeting. It was held outside, with all the mosquitoes, but the upside was that me and my brother Nemesis could dig forts with sticks in the dirt. Nemesis, for reasons unknown, enjoyed vetoing every motion just so he could make horse noises (he also pretended to be a gopher, but since that kept him quiet, none of us complained). He also preceded every one of his remarks on this occasion with drum sounds. I don't know why. Quill spun herself dizzy on the swing--how she was able to write like that, I have no idea. It was on this occasion that I tried out my Spanish accent. I thought I sounded pretty good; my siblings claimed I sounded like a duck. Also, our "mascot" (our dog Max) kept running through our forts. Not much was accomplished.

          Me: President
          Quill: Secretary
          Nemesis: General
                             Fort Status Scout

                                                  Third Meeting

1:48:    Radar brings meeting to order by talking Duck with a stick.
1:49     Minor difficulties. Members lambast each other with sticks. Secretary throws a watch. Lookout appears to be broken.
1:50     President wields a briefcase. Order is restored momentarily.
1:51     President can’t make up his mind.
1:52     Secretary’s report.
1:53     Horse is introduced again. Drum quiets on threat of being broken.
1:55     Mascot snorts like a demented water buffalo. Secretary gets eaten alive. Lookout begins a primitive war dance and is instantly sedated. Funds are discussed.
1:58     Lookout becomes either a gargoyle or a mosquito, it’s hard to tell. President digs a hole to China. Members slap themselves and each other. It is decided to pay in at least ten dollars. Safe in danger of exploding.
2:01     General is still broken. Lookout erupts. Gophers are annihilated.
2:02     Gopher civil war ensues. President gets harpooned.
2:03     Worm is found. Club has amnesia.
2:04     Secretary gets caught in a blender.
2:05     Invasion of China through holes is planned. Secretary daydreams about holes in the ozone layer.
2:06     Dirtballs invented. Civil war ensues. Grammar discussion.
2:07     Worm is found, possibly the same one as before. Newspapers are alerted. Lookout is killed.
2:08     Maintaining meetings is discussed. Secretary throws trees.
2:09     Meetings are unanimously decided to be on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Club is overrun by nuclear animals. Lookout comes back to life and is killed again.
2:11     New subjects are introduced and decided to be stupid. General forms a type of primitive jackhammer. Club is overrun by “Gilligan’s Island.”
2:13     Stupidity overcomes forces of nature. General digs upwards. World conquering is discussed. Drum makes a comeback and emits a gob of spit. Club loses memory.
2:15     Outing is planned. President suffers attack of short term memory loss. No one cares. Geographical complications. War is reintroduced.
2:17     President is decided to belong in Russia.
2:18     Vote to adjourn meeting. Horses are prevented at the cost of sanity. Meeting adjourned.
                                                Tidings of comfort and trees,
                                                                        Quill Midway, Secretary

Monday, July 11, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 21: An Actual Log For Once...

          This is a log of a dreaded "family meeting."
          Family meetings are a great source of amusement for me. Everyone hates them because they last so long, but after documenting a few instances I discovered that we kind of sabotage the whole thing. Below is a more-or-less accurate secretary’s report of one of our more epic meetings (written in third person).

          Members—these are not official positions, but if we were an official organization, this is what we would be:
          Dad—Vice President
          Nemesis—Assistant Secretary
          Squirrel—Assistant Treasurer

10:00am          President brings the meeting to order amidst much complaining.
10:01               General confusion.
10:02               Allowances are discussed and the chore chart is presented.
10:03               The Grand Inquisition starts.
10:04               The two brothers discuss room-cleaning divisions. Minor argument.
10:06               Bandages administered.
10:10               The questioning is finished and the weekly trips are discussed.
10:11               The Assistant Treasurer  attempts raid on the pantry for the chocolate. She is forcibly stopped.
10:12               Vice President recites poetry.
10:14               All the kids finish laughing. President loses agenda.
10:15               The secretary gets bored with proceedings and begins playing ChexQuest.
10:17               The secretary is betrayed by Assistant Secretary. Napkin duel ensues.
10:18               Napkin duel is cancelled due to grave threats from the parental unit.
10:19               Assistant Treasurer falls off her chair. Minor mocking.
10:20               Much commotion from the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer. Apparently President forgot to distribute the allowances.
10:21               President distributes allowances. Much thievery, mostly by Vice President.
10:23               All money recovered. A card game is invented and started by Vice President. Younger siblings participate.
10:24               President scolds Vice President for setting a bad example in not listening. Minor debate. Vice President wins card game. Secretary is unsurprised.
10:25               Parental unit discusses boring stuff. Secretary begins kicking war with Assistant Secretary.
10:27               Accidentally hit Vice President. War is brought to an abrupt end. Assistant Treasurer is immensely amused.
10:28               Assistant Treasurer hugs Treasurer for no reason. Much protesting.
10:29               Assistant Treasurer releases victim after two executive orders and a spatula have been applied.
10:30               President attempts to restore order. Vice President cracks bad jokes.
10:31               More travel plans. Attempt is made to steal Secretary’s money through executive order. Debate.
10:33               Secretary wins discussion.
10:34               Assistant Treasurer finally understands the jokes. More mocking.
10:35               Secretary and Assistant raid pantry for chips. Nachos are discussed.
10:36               Meeting is broken up as the kids are dismissed in despair. Executive Branch goes off to finish meeting.

                                                May your socks remain troll-free,
                                                            Radar Midway, Secretary

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 20: When in the Course of Human Events...It Becomes Necessary for a Duel

          TYPICALLY, we have a reason for duels that usually involved some sort of insult one way or the other. This day, a few years ago, was an exception.
          After a rather dull morning of cleaning the garage, my brother Nemesis and I discovered a large stash of fireworks. And not just any fireworks; bottle rockets. We also found a collection of model rocket engines and the igniter. We decided to do what any normal kid would do--ie, set them off, preferably at each other. That's when the budding mechanical engineer (myself) came up with a brilliant idea. Why not build some rockets, a rocket launcher, and mount it on the treehouse that we have back in our woods?
          For security reasons, I'm not going to tell you how we built it (I have to patent it first), but soon we had a rocket launcher ready, complete with a swivel base and optional manual or electronic ignition. We braved the mosquitoes long enough to climb up into our fortress (fortunately, the stupid bugs didn't usually fly that high up), found the stash of bug spray we had hidden up there, and soaked both ourselves and the treehouse before climbing up onto the roof.
          Once out on the "observation deck," we amused ourselves for a few minutes by dropping "depth charges" into the creek (also known as "rocks"). Then, we got down to the serious business of mounting the launcher. We decided to fire the rockets into the creek, just in case of fire, but as it had just rained and everything was still soaked I didn't think there was any danger of that.
          The launcher worked beautifully. We were able to accurately hit just about everything within a 50-foot range--the trees were too thick for any further shots to be attempted safely. I actually kinda regretted my oversight in not including a sight, no pun intended. After almost hitting a cat, and I have never seen anything jump that high by the way, Nemesis decided to go down so we could track some slightly longer shots.
          Two more shots, and we were jubilant at the success of our invention. After much bragging back and forth, Nemesis picked up the spent missiles and began heading back to the tree. Plans were made to build a second version of the launcher, a more portable one, and eventually have a ground-to-base duel; but sadly, such plans were never carried out.
          We were so overcome by our results that the only way for us to have a suitable means of a "vent" was to retrieve our homemade swords and battle all the way back to the house. I can only imagine what would have ensued had we not used up all of our rockets...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 19: Tempestuous Realms and Water Duels

          “Prithee, brethren, heed this tempestuous realm!!”
          This line is from one of my favorite comedians, John Branyan, who is doing a “Shakespearean” version of the fairy tale, “The Three Little Pigs.” It’s hilarious, look it up on YouTube. This line has been running through my head all day, possibly because of the windiness. Not that I’m complaining, because otherwise doing the parade today would have been incredibly hot. Well, hotter. Still, it was fun.
          I wonder who was the first person to come up with the idea of a parade. What made him think “Hey, let’s get some guys together, close down a couple streets and ride around!”? Actually, I wonder who thought it would be fun to sit and watch? Maybe that’s where the tradition of handing out candy comes from…an early from of bribery. I noticed that’s mostly what the kids were there for.
          Next question: why on earth, in our modern day and age, would we put horses at the FRONT of the parade? Put them at the rear—none of us who are on foot want to be stepping in…um…you get the picture.
          One thing that I think would be absolutely hilarious…you know those fake guns that some of the marching band people are always spinning around? They should use real ones, loaded with blanks. That way when someone drops one *BANG* it scares the crap out of pretty much everyone. And I also think the fire trucks should carry some water with them and hose down anyone who gets too close. Or if things get boring. Or have two fire trucks have a water battle!!
          It’s probably a good thing I’m not in charge of parades…

Friday, July 8, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 18: Bad Poetry--or Good?

            I can’t rhyme. At all. It’s pathetic.
            I’d kinda like to write a song eventually (part of the reason I’m trying to learn guitar), but I think the odds are against it. I’m not exactly musically inclined. On the other hand, my brother Nemesis can rhyme the most obscure words I’ve never even thought about trying. It’s annoying. Fortunately, he can’t sing either, although he’s amazing with a piano, but don’t tell him I said that. My sister Quill is a pretty good poet, too. For a while, they had email flame wars, where they would email threats in poetry back and forth…as I could intercept all of their emails, I decided to copy them down for posterity. Some examples:
Ho ho to your threats in the mail, say I,
I shall tell this to thee with a gleam in my eye.
To dissuade your rambunction,
My cannon shall function,
And you and your laptop shall fry.

Art thou as blind as a bat? 
Is that your head or a hat? 
Your cannon's threat causes no alarm,
Since your aim cannot scare the side of a barn,
And I'll wield my fish with a mighty arm,
Causing you and your minions to scat.

            It got much worse—or better? Eventually, they took on spoofing other poems; check out the Poetry page. I guess they got it from Dad, who was once asked by Mom to teach us some Robert Frost. It ended badly…

                    Whose woods these are, I think I know
                    His house is in the village, though
                    He will not see me stopping here
                    He’s at the tavern, drinking beer.

                    My little horse must think it queer
                    To stop without a farmhouse near.
                    I say, “Hey, I’m the one who’s going to steer!
                    Be quiet or I’ll leave you here!”

                    He gives his harness bells a shake
                    To ask if there is some mistake
                    Then I hit him with a rake
                    This crap from a horse I will not take.

                    The woods are lovely, dark and deep
                    But I have promises to keep
                    And now, before I get my sleep,
                    I go to where the rum is cheap.
            Guess how often Dad was asked to teach us culture after that…I’ll give you a hint. NEVER!!
            Maybe I should ask one of them to help me? Nah, messing my idea up would be inevitable…

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 17: Rock-Bonking and Whale Wrestling

          We are not the only sentient creatures on the planet.
          NO, I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE MICE AND DOLPINS. I’m not pulling a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy pun here (although that is a great book), I’m talking about octopuses and squids! Or is that ocopi and squid? I bet they have it figured out.
          Think about this one for a second: both of these things have brains for each of their multiple arms!! They don’t have bones!!! They manufacture their own ink!! They can take down whales!!! (Well, the squids can anyway. Can you do that, Captian Ahab?) And you expect me to believe that they’re not intelligent? Geez, I bet they have nuclear plants that run down underwa—silly me, what am I thinking? They have volcanoes down there; they’d use geothermal. Duh.
          I bet they have underwater kingdoms, although I’m trying to decide who would rule, octopus or squid. See, squid are bigger and stronger, but that might mean they’re the working army. I mean, if you were a ruler, would you want to wrestle your own whale? Of course not, you’d have the servants do that! Unless, of course, whale wrestling is how you prove your leadership, but I’d expect more of a multi-brained creature with geothermal power.
          This naturally makes me wonder what kind of weaponry they have. Or if they have weaponry, even…would one really need a handgun down in the depths? Maybe if you came across a shark, but I don’t know if they bother octop—WAITASEC!!! They do have weapons and the sharks know it!! That’s why they never hurt an octopus, because they know we short-sighted humans never bring our guns when surfing! Team Humanity: 0. Team Octopus & Squid: 2. Ooh boy…
          Back to the multiple brain thingy. We lowly humans need to think about what our hands are doing; octopuses, presumably, can operate eight computers and find out later what each arm wrote. Think about the advantages in calculus! I bet they came up with differential equations while we were still bonking each other on the head with rocks (which might also lead to another theory on why humanity seems so dumb today—our ancestors all had brain damage).
          And the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy called dolphins and mice the smart ones? Give me scuba gear, I’m going to go apologize and then surrender to the real rulers of the planet. Maybe they’ll teach me calculus…

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 16: *swish* *swish* *POW* GOT HIM!!!!!!!!

          Our walls are going to need some major repair work…I was put on flyswatting detail today. Let’s just say I have no setting between “off” and “maximum power.”
          As I’m chasing those stupid buzzing little freaks of nature (nothing should be able to dodge that fast!), I started to wonder how badly G-forces affected flies. After a few misses, I started to realize the truth; none whatso-freaking-EVER!!! It was a little depressing for me, as I was kinda hoping to fool them into turning too fast, blacking out, and drifting to the ground where I could pummel them at my leisure. No such luck.
          I continued on (“Hold still you little bugger…” *POW* “Need some spackle here!”), my mind still in its pursuit of a weakness in these ABOs; Annoying Buzzing Objects, and yes, I did just make that up. I kept thinking of the one Calvin and Hobbes comic strip—“I wonder if flies get dizzy and barf?”—and wishing that they would just hold still the .5 seconds it would take for them to throw up, because that’s all the time I would need to permanently bond their component atoms to whatever surface they were sitting on. After an amazing midair smackdown of a fly I had privately named the Red Baron (there’s irony for you), I remember that I would end up having to clean up the fly’s lunch as well as the fly. Yuuuuck…
          An hour and 35 flies later, I decided to liven up the chase. I went down to my room to get my Longshot. I learned the hard way that no matter how accurate a Nerf gun is, there’s no why you’re gonna hit a fly unless you somehow trap it in the barrel before pulling the trigger. I made two kills that way before returning it to my room in favor of traditional method of flyswatter.
          Actually, I do have a good method of killing flying pests that I stumbled on by accident. I was using a weedwhacker around the doghouse when a bunch of angry wasps came shooting out. I yanked up the weedwhacker and decimated their ranks before retreating to the house for some Raid to soak the doghouse with. Unfortunately, weedwhackers are on Mom’s top “1000 Things That Are Not Allowed Indoors.” Umm, I might also be on that list, but I’ve never actually checked.
          One last idea that never got off the ground was the "Fireworks Coated With Honey" experiment. The theory was that I rig some tiny fireworks, add a little bit of honey over the explosive, and blow them from a distance as soon as the fly landed. However and unfortunately, my parents know all too well what "FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!" means. I've been banned from using explosives to control pests. I still think that would have worked...
          Anyway, I’m done now, so I can kick back and—FLY!!!! *POW*—never mind, I’m back on duty. Who let the dog out??

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 15: Fun, Fire and Fleeing on the Fourth

          Nerf guns. Off the shelf, some of the most pathetic things I have ever seen. But properly modify them, and they become deadly. It’s awesome.
          Me, my brother Nemesis, and two of our friends had a huge Nerf war in our basement yesterday. We split up into teams, making sure that my brother and I ended up on opposite sides (we tend to turn on each other in the heat of batt—who am I kidding? We’ll shoot at each other just for the heck of it!), rearranged some furniture, and started shooting. It got really fun, really fast.
          I didn’t start with my favorite gun, though (I didn’t want to give my team too much of an advantage). However, midway through our first fight, I got a little annoyed with the gun I was using. It’s got good range and fairly accurate shooting, but nowhere near what I was used to. At the end of the round, I abandoned it in favor of…
                                          THE NERF LONGSHOT
          Best gun that Nerf ever made, easy to modify, and is incredibly accurate. I once shot 15 feet and put 5 shots in a row where Nemesis’s nose would have been had he not kept ducking behind the fireplace (he was just lucky). It’s a serious sniper rifle now.
          Anyway, this is where the battle really picked up. My buddy kept up a constant stream of fire with his automatic to keep the other team under cover, and I stood ready with my sniper rifle to pick them off when they tried to pop up for a quick shot. After two wins, my brother managed to crawl around the couch and catch me in the side while I was aiming at his comrade. I died, but so did my brother when my teammate hit him with a full burst from his automatic. After that, it was really a contest to see who ran out of ammo. My team lost when my buddy’s gun jammed.
          On a totally unrelated note, I set what is probably the speed record for driving a riding lawnmower (and a broken one at that). My dad decided to take it in to town because it was spewing smoke, so for ease of loading we backed the truck up against a ditch at the end of our road and drove the lawnmower in. I stayed on the lawnmower as Dad drove back to the house; I’d bet he broke 40 mph. Win or what??
          Also, the refugees made a reappearance at our Fourth of July party (see Captain’s Log, Day 14). Unfortunately, our Clone Wars squadron had no rockets, so we planted a bunch of “mines” (homemade sparkler bombs and legit firecrackers) and threw smoke bombs at the approaching droid army. A refugee came over and thanked us at one point for making it so “realistic” and asked if we could possibly light off a salvo of smoke bombs so they could sneak back across enemy lines and rescue “Esmeralda” (an imaginary player they kept leaving behind). We replied with an intensified barrage that knocked out all enemy drone sensors and, in reality, drove off all the mosquitoes in the surrounding three counties. We had a lot of smoke bombs.
          But next year, we are making dang sure we have rockets. It’s way more fun to shoot the oncoming troops.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 14: Fireworks vs Droids

            I love the Fourth of July.
            The fireworks are probably my favorite part. As anyone who knows me really well can guess, I tend to…er…modify some of them slightly. Mostly the rockets. There was one year where I attempted to rig the fuses to sent ten of them skyward at the same time. Five went up; the other five chased me across the yard. I call that a success!
            Also, in years past, my family has invited others over for our celebration. The adults tend to stay indoors, the girls go out into the field and pretend to be refugees escaping from a war zone, and the boys create the war zone by playing “Clone Wars” against imaginary droids. A little excerpt from one of our squadrons (the one I was in) kinda shows how crazy it can get…

Me (Commander Cody): Fighters coming in! Load and launch!
One of my friends (Commander Flash—don’t think he was in The Clone War, but oh well): Loaded and prepped, sir!
Nemesis (Commander Rex): Scrap ‘em!
The rockets are fired, a salvo of five. All fighters are downed. Half of the refugees out in the field fall and begin their last speeches.
Commander Cody: Tanks and infantry approaching our position!
Commander Flash: Shall we prep the cannons, sir?
Commander Rex (shades his eyes even though it’s pitch-black out): Scrap ‘em!
Commander Cody (picks up a pipe and rocket): I agree with Rex. Light it!
Flash inserts a rocket and lights it. Cody puts the pipe on his shoulder and aims. The rocket arches over the field and hits a tree, exploding. Refugees drop like flies. More final speeches. Rex mutters something uncharitable about the dying. Cody smacks him and tells him that there are no refugees in The Clone Wars, for pete’s sake.
Commander Cody: They’re still coming! Fire again!
The rocket jams in the barrel, runs out of fuel, and slides back out to explode—literally—in Cody’s lap.
Commander Flash: Holy crap, Radar! Are you ok?
Commander Cody (trying to remain cool): Yeah. Apparently they have grenades.
Quiet for a moment. Then a refugee is heard to say, quite clearly, “I’ve died enough to have earned my freedom five times already!”
Commander Rex: Scrap ‘em!
Action resumes.

This year, we shall have a new weapon. I’m thinking sparkler bombs. ;)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 13: Swords, Sprinklers and Other Sundries

          Summer is half over and I still haven’t finished my Ironman suit yet!!!!
          I also haven’t gotten out of bed today. Let’s hear it for laptops!!
          I’m thinking maybe I should document my plans for today and see how many actually happen. Let’s see…from what Nemesis and I have planned, there’s a Tron duel we want to re-fight, a fortress to build outside, a Nerf war scheduled, a water park to construct (three spigots, four splitters, approximately seven miles of hose, a tarp, a trampoline, and innumerable sprinklers…E-P-I-C), and a super-rocket to build for the 4th. Excellent! Sounds like some serious fun! Now let’s enter these activities into the program I wrote for predicting injuries and…whoa. It will be serious fun. I hope we have enough band-aids on hand.
          We might also end up recruiting the girls and playing Robin Hood or Pirates of the Caribbean or something along those lines. Quill got a new bowstring recently and I’m sure she would love to try it out. As for me, I’m going to make sure she has plenty of targets to choose from and attempt to keep the conversation away from the Noodle Incident. And get a decent shield, too.
          I can’t wait for tomorrow and the day after. Tomorrow, we get to set off all of our fireworks (some of dubious legality, HA), and the day after that Nemesis and I make a fleet of paper boats, load them with fireworks, set them alight and sail them on the pond. We make sure the parental unit isn’t watching, of course…do we look like idiots? Don’t answer that.
          Nemesis and I also have an antique typewriter that we’re restoring. Picked it up for fifty cents at a church festival (the Curiosity Shop rocks!) and now we leave each other threatening messages, such as “Beware the Eyes of March…” YES, I said Eyes, not Ides. Interestingly enough, this find coincided with our watching the old detective show Columbo. Just FYI.
          Oh, and if Mythbusters is on, we might get some more “creative” ideas. I might change my motto to “I try it at home!” 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 12: A Little Out of Season

          I found another short story that I was working on a few months back. I decided to touch it up a bit and share it, because it's absolutely hilarious!!

                                           The Tale of the Drift
            “I claimed this spot!”
“No ya didn’t! I was here first!”
“See the marks? I claimed this earlier today!”
Like playing the National Anthem before a sporting event, this exchange must take place before any actual work can be done on the snowdrift that we are currently arguing over. Our plan for the day? Take a fifty-foot snowdrift and riddle it with more holes than a block of Swiss cheese. Like moles on a caffeine high, we begin tunneling.
The first bit is the hardest part. We usually do not start with tools, as we never seem to remember right off the get-go that these are essential to the really extensive system that we want to create. The air is filled with cries of “I’m in to my waist!” and “Look! I can almost get all the way in!” Also a few snowballs, as I can never resist the chance to drill someone’s rump as they take a look in their respective caves.
After I get in about a full body-length, which usually takes about 15 minutes, I attempt to coerce one of the other kids into getting some shovels, spades and (the greatest of the overlooked drift-digging tools), the HANDSAW. This usually meets with no success, so I reluctantly get off my lazy butt and go get the tools myself. Upon my return, they are distributed among my siblings, and the real fun starts.
As I fling myself back into my tunnel, I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of the pole that Nemesis is preparing to push though the wall of his cave and into mine. I forget, in my anticipation, to check the dog’s location. I also forget that Nemesis might be as hyped up as I am and give the pole a bit more of a hefty shove than might be strictly necessary.
Pandemonium ensues. The pole whacks me in the face as Max romps over the top of my cave, collapsing it in on me. With snow filling my mouth, I would’ve found it difficult to breathe even WITHOUT the overweight dog on my back. Fortunately for me, Max decides he’s not very comfortable and hops off my back.
We always tunnel together, just in case of cave-ins. However, my tunnelmates are incapacitated with laughter, as I discover as I rise up out of the snow like a monster from a myth, spitting snow in all directions. The Abominable Snowman then proceeded to hurl snowballs and insults at his siblings with a vengeance.
After the snow has settled, we gather sorrowfully around my ruined cave. I shrug. “We can use this as an internal fort, right? Like, make a bunch of tunnels and caves to it and…”
My idea is met with much enthusiasm. And snowballs. But it’s winter—what do you expect?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 11: YES, I am sleep-deprived...

          One of my biggest annoyances is seeing people where I’m not expecting them.
          Really, it’s awful. I came in from doing animal chores tonight, knowing that my parents were in the kitchen, Nemesis was in our room and the sisters were in bed upstairs. After doing a flying air guitar down the staircase (WIPEOUT), I look up to find that Quill was actually just leaving our room, as she had just been saying goodnight to my brother. I get the feeling I will NEVER hear the end of this.
          As I was sitting on my bed trying to decide whether or not my wrist was swelling (and seriously berating myself for not finishing my prototype weaponized wrist brace), I started wondering if there was a device out there yet for tracking nearby people. Such a device could be helpful in so many ways—for me, mostly under the category of “not making myself look any weirder than I already am,” but I’m sure it could be adapted for safety measures too. Speaking of safety measures, I wonder if it’s legal to use dynamite in the country. If my stupid lawnmower breaks one more time…
          Okay, due to the lateness of the hour, this post is going to be a heck of a lot shorter than previous ones. I’m rapidly sliding into Random territory, after which comes Incoherency and then Sleep, so I think I’d better  begins toi skjhradfasirefjfdsa csdn asfie akdf s ff wejrew ssoell…