Tick Tales of Misery and Occasional Ecstasy

February 26, 2010

Cold Coffee

Filed under: writing — Tags: , — thetick @ 11:50 am

The man sat at the table, staring with unseeing eyes into the blackness of a mug of coffee. There was nothing interesting about the coffee, no swirling of cream as it blended, no curls of steam rising, yet the man stared into its depths.

An outside observer might think that he was lost in thought, contemplating deep subjects of philosophy or religion, perhaps the very nature of the universe itself and the role of the human race and its insignificance. In reality, the man could be considered to be daydreaming.

Daydreams. Those movies in the mind that play out recordings of the past, or fantastical visions of the future. The internal chess game of “what if?” How would my reality be different if I had taken that path instead of the one I actually chose? Where would I be now? If I change my life in this specific manner now, what can I expect of my future? What if I could fly, or be invisible?

The man did not have such lofty daydreams, although his mind was filled with a vision of the past. A past that was no longer available, a scene that can no longer be found. His daydream was of a black and white television screen at two in the morning. The national anthem had been played over clips of waving flags and marching bands. The screen test with accompanying test tone had come and gone.

All that was left was a screen full of static and the hissing of white noise. This is what permeated the mans mind, white noise and static. There was no form that could be discerned, no pattern.  The man literally had nothing on his mind. For the first time in his life, cognitive functions had lapsed into silence. There was no internal voice interrupting, no nagging from an unseen corner of his consciousness reminding him of something he should be doing. Blissful ignorance of the world around him, a withdrawal from the world, his problems, his doubts and responsibilities.

An irritating buzzing began to insinuate itself into the white noise. The random chaos was rudely having form imposed upon it. A sleepy thread of thought roused itself long enough to identify the interruption. “It’s the phone,” the thought said to itself before settling in to drift off again, “it will stop in a minute.”

Unfortunately, the sleepy thought had roused another part of the mans mind, the one that kept track of appropriate responses to external stimuli. It could not just let this event pass unnoticed, it had a job to do. Carefully, it tiptoed around the snoozing threads of consciousness, trying to allow those not needed to stay ignorant. It eventually found itself at the forefront of the mind, and it whispered its message.

The man suddenly blinked, and the static was gone. He stood and walked into the next room and looked at the phone. He noted that the phone was dutifully noting the fact that he had missed a call. He also noted that he did not recognize the number displayed as the source of the call. After waiting a few minutes, he decided that whoever had called did not leave a message and that he could ignore it without  disturbing the still sleeping guilt centers of his mind. He returned to his coffee and raised the mug to his lips. It was cold.

The man carried to mug to his microwave, and pressed the buttons that would use invisible rays to bring his coffee to the right temperature. Consciousness was already fading again, the body running mostly on auto pilot. A ding from the microwave, and the door was opened and the now hot coffee was moved back to the table. The man resumed his seat, the coffee sitting in front of him.

The man sat at the table, staring with unseeing eyes into the blackness of a mug of coffee.

As a break from what usually gets posted on this blog, this really has nothing at all to do with my life. It started as a simple idea I had a week ago that kept growing, and I decided to just write it down. This really is nothing more than a very short story, inspired by the thought of a mind full of static.

November 9, 2008

Various Updates

Filed under: personal, Social, writing — Tags: , , , — thetick @ 8:59 am

I originally started this blog as a way to get some of my pent up emotions out. I had always heard that if you were struggling with something you couldn’t talk about, you should write it down. Different variations on the theme, such as write a letter you don’t intend to send, keep a diary, whatever. So that is what I was doing. In the back of my mind, I suppose I had hoped to become one of those popular bloggers that get hundreds or thousands of readers, but that isn’t the case. My personal interests and the things happening in my life are just so compartmentalized, that by their nature, there isn’t a huge interest. So I started using the blog to let the few people who read the thing know what is going on with me. That amounts to about a half dozen people who actually know me, half of those I talk to on a regular basis.

The point is, I am not sure why I do this anymore. I keep checking the stats, but I my most popular post is one I wrote a long time ago about an experience I had with my sister. In that post, I talked about riding my motorcycle alongside my sister who was on a four wheeler like the guys from CHiP’s. The make of the four wheeler and the names Ponch and Jon are the things that get the most search engine hits. Now this one will too, I suppose.

So anyway, I decided to give a few updates again. First on the agenda, the social scene. I gave up. I tried going out to places where I could meet new people, maybe have a few laughs. This area reminds me of high school. I went to two separate bars on several occasions, and found both to be the same microcosms. There were groups of people, and if you weren’t already a member of those groups, you weren’t going to be a member of them.  I usually wound up sitting at the bar, watching the groups interact and occasionally trying a friendly “Hi,” but except for one person, there was only a courteous “hello” returned. So, I gave up. I could stay home and be bored, and it didn’t cost me five bucks a beer and a half hour drive. I suppose when the time comes that I get lonely enough, there are always the strip clubs. It’s their job to make you think they are interested in you and everything about you. I know it isn’t true, but sometimes you just have to suspend your disbelief to enjoy life a little.

I have had an opportunity to write some more on the book. It has been difficult, because I only have one “fan” who waits for the next chapter, and she has already heard the whole thing. So it seems that I am only doing it for me, and then it becomes easy to put it off. But, I have posted three new chapters in the past week, and I have found that I am enjoying the process again. It has been so long since I wrote it, that sometimes what happens comes as a surprise to me. I get to do the second draft edits while I type it up, and I am getting excited. I am getting closer to the denouement, and I think that is the part I am most happy with. So, hopefully, I can maintain my focus and get the book done before too long. If you are reading it, and you are enjoying it, let me know. Let others know. If you know someone who has the same literary interests, tell them about it.  If you aren’t reading it, the link is over there on the right. Give it a look. I am still hoping to self publish the thing eventually, probably on the Kindle to start with. I am afraid that if I don’t get enough interest in this book, the second one will never get finished. And that one focuses on Tink.

Once upon a time, I used to get very interested in Photoshop Contests on Fark.com. I enjoyed playing with Photoshop and this looked fun. While looking around the web for other examples, I stumbled across HeroMorph.  This was a fun place. People were taking photos found on the web, usually nekkid wimmins, and using photoshop to “paint” superhero costumes on them. At the time, the community was very active, and there are some really talented artists out there. I tried my hand at it, and posted this. I was really happy with it, and was even nominated for the “Best First Manip” award. I didn’t win, but hey, you know, an honor and everything to be nominated. I did the whole picture using a laptop and one of those laptop style mini-mice. Ever since, I have wanted a Wacom graphics tablet. If you don’t know what those are, they basically give you a electronic mouse pad and a pencil to use as the mouse. They are much better for control, and feels a lot more natural for drawing. But they are VERY expensive. Even the smallest one $100, and wanted a bigger one. In the time since then, other manufacturers have begun making graphics tablets that are cheaper, and I finally bought one last week.

That brings us to the next point. If you combine the previous two chapters, you can see how I came to have this idea. I have always enjoyed drawing, and the experiences I was having in bars were so odd, I thought that I could do a webcomic based on those experiences. So, after getting the graphics tablet I made a webcomic. The link is over there on the right, its called True Tick Tales. Right now, I have just made a new blog to post the pics in, but if I make more, and they get a few hits, I may put them up on a site designed around webcomics instead of blogs. Again, please take a look and offer opinions.

A friend told me that I have more hobbies than anyone he has ever met. I think this could very well be true. I look in my storage shed and see all the hobby related boxes. Drawing, movies, writing, anime, cross stitch (shut up) and Lego’s. I have been able to get my Lego’s out and put them together, and have been enjoying myself immensely. I can finally put them together and actually leave them together for a while without worrying about a goddamn cat shoving them on the floor and scattering pieces everywhere. I have already found two sets that are missing pieces, and I only hope that I can find them in the Lego Bulk Brick section to replace them. The Grain Combine is missing a taillights on the right side, as well as its CB Antenna, and the Dinosaur Hunting Helicopter is missing its nose gun, and one of the mini-figs is without a weapon. Shameful. But the big Lego set, the Mother Of All Lego’s, is the Millennium Falcon. Oh. My. GAWD! I have wanted this thing since it was announced. It’s HUGE. It has one of the largest piece counts of any Lego set. It is built to scale around the mini-figs. It is also very expensive. Very, very expensive. Loose Change Lego Fund

I have a big Corona Bottle Bank that I toss my loose change in, and that is my “Get the Falcon, and maybe the Star Destroyer, and if there is some left over, the Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower” Lego fund. As you can see, there is still a lot of room left in the bottle. Not long ago, I counted the change, and its just shy of $200. I estimate that when the bottle is full, it will be more than a thousand dollars in change. I dont know if I can wait that long. I have seriously considered making a new page on this site and adding a “Donate Now” button to my PayPal account. I figure that if that one guy can make a million dollars selling pixels on his web page for a buck a piece, maybe I could get some interest on Digg to get enough people to “Help fill the bottle” and then blog about building them, along with pics. Obviously, I really want those Lego’s.

So, anyway, that’s it for the update. At least all I can think of at the moment. Please help me promote the book, and the comic. Spread the word.

May 10, 2008

Everything’s Just All Right With Me

Filed under: humor, personal, Social, writing — Tags: , , — thetick @ 8:39 am

What a week! I would really love to able to sit here and be a grumpy bastard, as is my normal modus operandi, but things have just gone too well this week. Starting Monday, with the happy call from the sweetest paralegal in Idaho telling, and I quote, “We got it all.” Then the economic stimulus check, which enabled me to go get the laptop, which was a hundred dollars off of the already clearance price, then finding the memory for said laptop cheap at Staples, of all places. To top it off, Woot.com actually placed the highly coveted “Bag of Crap” up for sale when I was at my computer and hitting F5 repeatedly. Not only that, but I was able to order the BoC.

And now, I sit in my new favorite coffee shop, with a new laptop, with a hot cup of coffee, blogging. The only way it could be better right now is if I had an ashtray. But, I am slowly coming to accept the fact that there will fewer and fewer places to smoke in this country, and that someday if you flick your Bic you will be shot in self defense.

There was one thing that happened this week that has me baffled. I refer to the strange contraption known to woman (cause a man would only do this to gross out his friends) as the Neti-Pot. We were in Wal-Mart to pick up some prescriptions, and I was shown this abomination along with the “can we get it, I think it will help my sinuses” request. I had never heard of this thing, so after glancing at the packaging a moment, I asked if it was some kind of espresso teapot. I thought maybe it made a single shot super duper eucalyptus concoction that caused your nose to clear up. Then, it was explained to me how it works. You mix the convenient single dose medication into the pot, along with warm water. And then, you shove the micro-dildo spout into one nostril, tilt your head and pour. The medicated liquid is supposed to go in one nostril, into the sinuses and then out the other nostril. That’s right, folks, a radiator flush for your head. So people who whine when you make milk shoot out their nose are now going to deliberately put liquid in their nose.

We live in strange times. Back in the day, before science was everywhere, shamans used mysticism and The Colonel’s 11 secret herbs and spices to cure all ills. Then science was able to show how many of the ailments came into being, and proven methods to fight them. It was a great time, life expectancy shot up, the quality of life went up, we didn’t have to worry about the plague. Then came the “back to nature” crowd. “The old ways are better!” they cried, as they spent hundreds of dollars for a bottle of dung grown weed. (not the smoking kind, the kind you pull out of your flowerbed) “Rub this onto your left nipple twice a day to relieve the pain associated with hemorrhoidal flare-ups,” we get told by the holistic health care expert. And for some reason, people believe this. These are the people buying the Neti-Pot and flushing their skulls. A guy I knew in high school used to do the same thing with a piece of string, I should look him up and make a mint. The new Neti-String! Place in one nostril, pull out the other. Pull string back and forth repeatedly to remove nasal blockage, also known as “bogies.” Note: clean string frequently!

To change subjects, I am very excited that my book is seeing the light of day. I had started typing it up quite a while ago, which is how I have been able to post sections so frequently. I am almost to the point where I will have to start transcribing and re-writing from the handwritten notes, so the updates will be less frequent. Visiting these characters has been a very pleasing experience. When I was writing, I found out what authors meant when they said that they didnt know what was going to happen next. I had a vague story in mind when I started writing, but once the pencil was placed to paper, the characters took on a life of their own. It is really hard to describe. It was as if i was just journaling the experiences as I saw them. When I was writing, occasionally I would put down what was said, and it just felt wrong. More than just a “she wouldn’t say that” feeling to a “that’s not what I said!” feeling. I remember the basic storyline, but the details have been forgotten. I read what I wrote, and once again I feel myself caught up in the characters, and occasionally being surprised. I know that the gift of writing fiction is to make your audience feel the same way about your characters that you do, through words, actions and cadence. It isnt easy. My biggest hope that I succeed, if even on a small level, in making someone get the goosebumps that I feel when I review the writing. Maybe it’s because I can see it in my head, and I only hope that I can get that same mental movie to play for others.

If you have been reading, and if you like it, please share it. The story has a long way to go, as I realized when I was going through the handwritten tablets and found that what I had so far was only one tablet out of five. Make comments, I need the feedback, positive or negative.

Thanks for giving Sam, Bob and Tink a chance.

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