If the following does not make any sense to you, please see my entry in yesterday's daylog.


1. Looking at this superhero, who do you think he is? Give him a name, superpower(s), where he lives, who he fights -- if you created this superhero, who would he be?

His name is Eagle Man. He lives in Germany. He shoots laser beams from his eyes and he can (of course), and he fights against the League of Darkness.

2. Looking at this superheroine, who do you think she is? Give her a name, superpower(s), where she lives, who she fights -- if you created this superheroine, who would she be?

Her name is Fiesta Girl. Her super power is that she really knows how to party. Oh yeah, and she can fly (of course). She mostly parties but sometimes she kind of actually helps people. Mostly by partying and bringing good cheer and making villains want to give up evil because partying is more fun!

3. Who was the first superhero? What leads you to say this?

The first superhero was Gilgamesh (that we know of). He did some cool stuff, but I forget what. The second superhero was Jesus. He had lots of superpowers, like walking on water, raising from the dead, healing lepers, water into wine, loaves into fishes, and turning the other cheek.

4. Who is the most famous superhero? What leads you to say this?

The most famous superhero is Michael Jordan. What he did in the NBA Finals was super heroic. The second most famous superhero is that kid from Pokemon, and the third most famous superhero is Superman. Fourth is Yao Ming, because there are lots of Chinese.

6. Are superheroes just American? Do other countries create their own superheroes? What leads you to say this?

Well, I already said that Gilgamesh and Jesus were superheroes. So that's Ancient Sumeria and Biblical Judea for you right there. I think King Arthur was kind of a superhero too, so you can throw in Sub-Roman Britain as well. So the answer is no. America is a latecomer to this superhero thang.

7. If you were a superhero, what would your name and superpower(s) be? What would you do as a superhero?

I would be called by my normal name. Picking a silly name is unnecessary. My superpower would be the power of love. Oh and flying (of course). I would try to make the world a better, more peaceful and loving place. I would not wear a cape.

They've got an interesting blog at http://ourmediapolis.blogspot.com/


Looking at this superhero, who do you think he is? Give him a name, superpower(s), where he lives, who he fights -- if you created this superhero, who would he be?

Name: Mascara Man (not his chosen name, but an unwanted nickname given to him by the public).

Powers: Flight, speed (approximately the speed of a jet), strength (not invulnerable, maybe as strong as the strongest animals on earth), superb eyesight.

Location: Mostly works in the city, but may live in a forest.

Enemies: He is a general vigilante - fighting small-time criminals, and doesn't concern himself with white-collar crime, political crime, or the social problems that lead to small-time crime. He's a bit of an air-head as far as superheroes go.


Looking at this superheroine, who do you think she is? Give her a name, superpower(s), where she lives, who she fights -- if you created this superheroine, who would she be?

Name: Wonder Gal (the name she gives herself - not very creative because she isn't very creative either)

Powers: Flight, perhaps some control of fire or radiation, quite dangerous if her powers get out of control.

Location: Works and lives in the city.

Enemies: She's the sister (or some other blood relative) and partner of Mascara Man from the previous page, so they basically end up fighting the same people.


If you were a superhero, what would your name and superpower(s) be? What would you do as a superhero?

There was a comic book heroine named Twilight that had godlike abilities in a small sphere around her - called her Sphere of Influence.

I would like the power to be able to grant Twilight's abilities to everyone. If everyone has absolute power, I'd still want to minimize the ability of Twilight's power to hurt others, so if two Spheres of Influence intersect, then I would say neither person would be able to harm the other.

I wouldn't adopt a new name - after everyone else gets their powers, I wouldn't be any more special than they are.

MARCH OF THE MONSTERS: "SWAMPJACK"

Midnight. One boy who thinks he's a man, one girl who's been a woman since she was ten, one little boat that cuts through the water leaving no trace. People in town later on will say the kids disappeared. They will say Jack got them. Everyone knows what happens to people who go into the swamp in the dead of night. No one cares too much if a couple of lowlife kids get eaten by the thing in the swamp. Official investigation? Yeah, sure. We'll get right on that.

“Do we have to go so far in?” Rose asked.

“We're not that far in,” said Ant. “What are you, afraid of the dark?”

“No. I just want to smoke, not spend the whole night paddling.”

“You aren't even paddling. I'm doing all the work. Here, be useful. Roll up.” Resting the paddle on his legs for a moment, he pulled a package from the pocket of his cut-off denim jacket and tossed it to her. “Don't make me any of those tiny little Jew rolls, either.”

“You oughta know about tiny rolls, Ant.”

“Aren't you the funny girl? Shut up and roll. Couple of minutes we'll get to my spot.”

Jack watched the girl swat at the bugs that circled around them, then open the little package and start the delicate work of rolling a fatty. Memories churned laboriously through what was left of Jack's brain. He had known another woman who liked to roll and smoke these things. Jack remembered the smell of the smoke. He had not liked the smell. He had not liked the woman either.

Jack remembered hitting, and screaming, and sweet nauseating smoke. He melted slowly into the water, translucent membranes sliding up over his big yellow eyes as they went under the waterline. With a casual flick of his tail he slid through the water after them.

It was another fifteen, twenty minutes at least before they got to the little hummock of land Ant called “his spot.” Fucking liar, thought Rose. Goodfornothingsmalltownswamptrashhorndog liar. Just like all of them. He'd built a little shack there, a place to stash his drugs and crash if he needed to let some mess in town blow over. Seemed like that happened a lot.

“Very classy, Anthony,” she sneered, with a scornful look at a foot-high stack of High Society and Hustler magazines next to the inflatable mattress.

“How many times I gotta tell you not to call me that?” he snarled, ignoring the jibe. He wasn't ashamed of his collection. Guys like him never were. “Here, gimme one of those.”

Jack stood in the water, one hand on the gunwale of the boat, and watched the window glow yellow. He waited for the light to go out. He didn't like lights. The woman he remembered had not wanted any light in his room. She didn't want the light to shine on his goddamndemonmutant hide, she had said. She had put boards over his window, and black paint on the glass, and when she brought him food she had only opened the door a crack, not enough to let the light in.

But sometimes she had acted differently. Sometimes she had come in to his room with a lamp lit and called him mysweetfuckeduplittlegatorboy, and sat on his bed and breathed that sweet smoke at him while she touched his plated hide softly. She always smelled strange when she did this, part of it the sweet smoke smell and part of it something else. Both smells made him want to vomit. Even now, the memory of them made him think of spewing. She always walked funny on those nights, too.

She walked exactly like the girl that Jack watched now, coming out of the shack singing about dancing with Mister Brownstone, sort of rolling side to side as she circled around to the back of the shack, peeled her jeans down and squatted at the water's edge not twenty feet from him. She smelled the same as the woman he remembered, too. The only difference, as she wiped herself and pulled up her jeans, was that the woman he remembered had always been singing about the fortunate son running through the jungle with a bad moon on the rise.

He wasn't hungry. He had eaten a pig less than a week ago. But he wanted to kill now, even though he didn't need food.

“Didn't you ever think about getting out of here?” Rose asked, waiting for Ant to light the second joint. For half a second while he inhaled, his gunmetal eyes darted towards the corner of the shack.

“Where the hell am I gonna go?” asked the great swamp philosopher. “Where would you go?” His eyes were back on her.

“I don't know. Anywhere. Anywhere but here. New York.”

“You. In New York. You watch too many Reese Witherspoon movies, Rose. Ain't no place for us in New York.”

“Well, L.A. then. I don't care. Hell, if I could save up the money I'd go to fucking Timbuktu.”

His eyes flicked again, to the duffel bag that was all he owned aside from the Hustlers and the boat.

“Sure you would.”

“I would, asshole!” She took the joint again and let the smoke sweep out the memories.

“Then why ain't you done it yet? How come you still live with that loser? He ain't any real family of yours. Your ma ain't there anymore, what's holding you?”

“Couple of things. I don't have the money, for one.”

He rolled his eyes. “So who does? Come on, baby. You know as well as I do you're never going anywhere. So quit acting like you're the god-damn queen of England in exile and live here with the rest of us.”

“Guess you're right,” she whispered, her hair hiding her face.

“You know I am. Now, are we ever gonna do it?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know damn well what I'm talking about. You think I brought you out here just to talk about New York?”

“Ant, I ain't in the mood for that tonight.”

“No, I didn't really figure you were, the way you yap on about going to Timbuktu. But still, you're here, and I'm here, and I shared my damn weed with you. Hell, we're practically married by this town's standards.” His hands were on her now, under her dirty Linkin Park T-shirt and fumbling at the button of her jeans.

“Ant, I been trying to tell you all fucking night, I don't LIKE this town's standards!” She shoved him away, but he didn't go far. He rocked back and squatted, looking at her. Calculating.

“Rose...” he started. But she didn't let him finish. She hadn't been sure about what she was doing, not until his hand touched her breast, but now she was convinced.

“Oh, hell. Let's just get it over with. But turn out that light.” She pulled her shirt over her head, acquiescing to the inevitable course of her destiny.

Victorious, he smiled. “Sure, honey. Whatever you say.” He turned the knob on the oil lamp. He didn't really need to see her. He knew where everything went.

Jack saw the window finally go dark. He grunted. He dug his claws into the mud and stood. Four hundred pounds of armor-skinned swamp thing rose out of the black water and started to splash quietly towards the shack that smelled like a childhood of misery. Towards sounds that he had heard through the thin wall every night until the woman he remembered finally released him into the swamp with the words dontcomebackneveryouhearmegatorboy? Towards the grunts of masculine pleasure and the soft, protesting breaths of the girl who reminded him of the woman he remembered.

He could barely fit his shoulders through the door without wrecking the shack. His tail stuck out in front of the little building as he stood crouched, waiting.

Ant was groaning so loudly he never heard Jack, barely registered it when Rose said, “Ant....” He just kept going.

Louder, “Ant!”

He opened his eyes. “What, god damn it?

“You remember when I said there were two things keeping me here?”

“Christ, what's with you tonight? We gotta talk about this now?”

“Yes. He's here.” She looked over his shoulder.

Anthony whipped around, hurting her as he slid out sideways, reaching for the shotgun, expecting her stepdad or some old boyfriend carrying a torch, ready to play hero. But it was neither of those. It was her brother.

Jack struck. His jagged teeth clamped down on Ant's shoulder, tearing through muscles, cracking bones, and incidentally crushing Ant's windpipe. Blood went everywhere as he tugged hard, shaking the swamp man like a doll. His tail battered the front wall of the shack. Rose screamed.

Jesus Fucking Christ! Do you always have to make such a mess?”

Jack looked at her with hurt in his blazing yellow eyes. She sounded more like the woman than ever before, and he was disappointed in himself for upsetting her again. For a moment he was afraid he had misunderstood her, maybe he wasn't supposed to kill this one after all. He knew he wasn't very smart, the woman he remembered had told him that so many times.

Rose relented. “I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell at you. It's a bad night for me. I thought you were going to come earlier.”

He grunted, and she said, “yeah, I know. You don't like the light. I couldn't do anything about that. I'm sorry, okay?”

Jack was happy again. He pulled what was left of Ant out of the shack and slithered back in to be alone with her. Rose was looking in Ant's duffel bag. Her face lit up as she pulled out a thick wad of green paper.

“Holy shit,” she whispered. She didn't fool herself that Ant had come by the money honestly. Ant wasn't the work hard, save your dollars kind. He was the breaking and entering, buy weed with the money kind. It was blood money, most likely – now doubly so. But she didn't care.

“Must be seven, eight hundred dollars in here. Damn, I could go to New York with this!”

Jack grunted. She looked around. “Of course not, don't be stupid.”

He nudged her softly.

“Do you really want me to?” I don't want to leave you. But this place is killing me, you know?

Then go, the swamp thing's grunt insisted. You were never meant to stay here. Don't worry about me. I have to stay. I am the swamp.

I am Swampjackgatorboysecretfamilyshamesignofsin.

Dawn. A pickup truck heading north slows and stops on the shoulder, and a woman who was never really a child runs to it and hops up on the truck's bed, helped up by a couple of pickers with rough hands. “How far?” the driver calls back through the window. “Far as you're going,” she tells him, pulling her hat down to shadow her face. The driver laughs. It's the same old story. Swamp children, tired of the hand life dealt them, heading north and leaving no trace. Hell, he'd do it himself if he was twenty years younger... and didn't have his whole damn family here.

Back in the swamp, Jack bellows in misery.

Your story needs to be written when it never leaves your thoughts.

And by never, I mean never. In between thoughts about your wife or husband, whether or not you need to pick up dog food, if the cable bill's been paid, if your kid's getting a cold, that idea is still nagging you. That's the idea you should grab. How long it has to bake in the oven of your head is totally up to you, but every story will eventually come out somewhere. It'll have to get typed out. 

For eight months I have had a crystal clear mental image dancing inside my head. The image is of a man in some sort of spacesuit colliding with cockpit glass. There are many unknown qualities. I do not know what sort of suit, specifically, the man is wearing, nor do I know what the cockpit is for. There is instrumentation in front of me. There are stars and an asteroid field beyond the man. 

I have many gut feelings about the man: I have a gut feeling he was thrown away by someone. He might be dead. He might not. There is only one certainty, that this man has persisted in my brain in the midst of a turbulent period in which I have moved twice, had a second child, and had a significant career change. All these things, and I am still wondering what's going on with this guy. I want to help him. I want to know who left him in the cold of space. The strangest part is that I am by no means a writer interested in pursuing the well-trawled ocean of science-fiction--so I frequently remind myself that Alien was not a science-fiction movie, it was a horror movie. The setting was an sf one. 

My second daughter, Emily, was born on 19 January at around 0409 hours. She's fine. So far she's taken a liking to the following: breasts, Family Guy, and movies in which there is a horn section. Her mother likes neither death metal nor science-fiction. She likes your local dance music station and horror movies but despite these obvious character flaws she's a lovely woman with whom I share a love of Tennessee whiskey and Superbad. She misunderstands my present preoccupation with men floating in space, but I try daily to tell her that I love her and  unknown at least space-men equally. 

Her only major complaint is that I smoke a lot whilst deep in the throes of the writing process. I also talk to myself a lot (this is mostly to discover the pace and the point of the dialogue, but a case could be made for deep-seated mental instability as well). To put the icing on, I have an innate attraction to death metal, and I listen to it loudly while writing. Unfortunately this helps neither my daughter's sleeping nor my girlfriend's serenity.

Three days ago I began to write about this guy. It seems that he is in dire shape. He's not dead, not exactly, and his suit has been damaged by some outside agent. I know a little of his backstory. but not much--as an example, I know that he is normally able to withstand deepspace, but I do not know his name. I suppose the possibility exists that he doesn't have a name in the traditional sense. Many's the time I've thrown aside a story idea when I can't get the story to go where it wants, or if it refuses to go anywhere. I'm not talking about writer's block. I'm talking about any sort of realistic, plot-closing outcome worthy of "The End". But I can't clear my cache of this guy.

In between the moments of real life--new baby, getting the new cable hookups sorted out, working the occasional fifteen-hour day and being unable to think any deep thoughts upon arrival at the temporary homestead--I've been writing longhand and for all its failings it's been shockingly intimate. The most obvious failing is that I type faster than I write but my handwriting is clear and somewhat elegant for a man, so it looks nice. An obvious boon is that you don't have to print it. It's been running itself off well thus far but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to be of moderate length, which sucks for publishing reasons (not that I've published much). 

I like my job so ideally I'd like to be able to supplement my decent income with some writing income but I'm not holding my breath. In any event it's difficult to write when there's a cranky kid behind you somewhere, complaining because she's constipated. The ball-and-chain becomes frustrated easily being that this is her first child--I spread my seed as far as I can, apparently--so I try to spare her the fussy baby when I can. Still, the baby seems to enjoy the sound of fingers hitting keyboard, and I'm sure this is largely genetic: very little relaxes me so much as that uninterrupting clicking sound, especially when the typist doesn't smash the fucking keyboard all to shit.

So, I have been rescuing this floating man as best I can. I'll let you know if I manage to get him inside somewhere warm and safe. It's the least I can do for him. And myself. I'll keep the deus ex machina to a minimum and I'll re-read Strunk and White and I'll delete all the adverbs I can. I'll use only the word "said" for dialogue attribution. And hopefully, in a few months, my baby won't be crying as much, my roof will be my own and my space man will finally wake up.

Rain, each drop raising a powdery cloud,
a grandmother's kiss on the cheek.
Even this much is welcome, we send it east.
Her grey shadow finds his,
a rising wholegrain storm with flecks of hell.
Licking life from the land with cackling greed,
he hisses, fingers reaching deep into blackened hulls.
The earth answers with a flag of surrender.
She holds them close and tells them a new story.
Dawn is slippery with velvet rivers and glowing memories.
The new pulse is quickened, and soon the
hills are decked with unseasonable Spring.

(WARNING: Vent approaching.)

Sometimes I don't know why I bother.

From time to time, when I can afford it, I go down a pub in my home town and attempt to meet people. I even try to appear presentable as well. Invariably I end up alienating them, never know what to say or anything, and/or end up excluded from any conversation for the most part. Or I get carried away by something I can go on about from now till eternity, which tends to contribute to alienation and so forth of other people. This leads to additional drinking which in turn leads to me feeling like death warmed up the next day, with nobody to blame but myself for such.

Like I said, I don't know why I bother considering that regardless of where I go or anything, unless I meet someone I know, I end up thoroughly bored and lonely and hating every moment of it. It's like everyone else on the planet has an instruction manual on getting along with people and I don't. Even up at college I don't really feel I can talk to people so easily because I don't know how to socialise with them, how to keep peoples' interest in groups, what the right thing to say at the right time is, and so forth, or how to break into a conversation. Especially when there's a group of people I sometimes seem to have mild panic attacks, like my skull's one of those lightning in a bottle things that I can't remember the name of because everything's moving too fast for me to process it all and work out what the right thing to say is. And I can never detect when is the right time to chip in correctly as well.

Someone I sort of knew about a year ago but have since lost contact with said I came over as "emotionally cold" and "always on edge." Quite a few other people I've met have said that I may well be an aspie. They may be right. But I don't want to end up with any such diagnosis because that sort of mud sticks and would only make things worse.

Don't get me wrong, I can talk about stuff if I know it and there's an obvious thing to talk about, and it's something I know about, but anywhere else... no. And I can talk to people in, say, a business capacity and suchlike but nothing else. I can debate and politick and so forth, even to an openly hostile audience, with no real problem, but I can't mix with people socially. This has ever been so, and I think it's because socialising is something you can't really prepare for in the way you can prepare for a speech or a presentation or suchlike, and if you seem like you've prepared what you're going to say in a social situation you come across as a bit of an oddball and people see through it.

Like I said, sometimes I don't know why I bother.

I'm not going to the fucking Freud Squad over this, before anyone asks. That I was seconded to in my second year of university and did Sweet Fanny Adams to solve anything so after a few weeks I quit it. Besides, I can't afford that sort of thing anyhow... there is a recession on yano!

(Vent over.)


Been some time since I last daylogged. Time seems to slip away without me noticing, and it makes me frustrated at times, and sad at other times. I try to seize the day, but there's always something happening. I only really, truly relax when I travel, I think. Which is just one of the many, many reasons I am looking so much forward to going to Oregon in July. The other reasons are the people I will get to meet. Lots of awesomely cool people. People with whom I have catboxed or IM-ed. Some I have spoken with on the phone or Skype. Meeting them will be so great.



***


My birthday-nodermeet is nearing fast, and the house in which it's going to be held is a wreck! It's being re-built in a major way, but there will still be ample room for all of the noders who want to spend a couple of days or four. Or more.

The birthday-nodermeet plans involved archiewood writing an update on how and when and so on - but he took off to Korea to teach English, so he won't be attending. More cake for me! I'll miss him, of course, and I am planning some kind of very evil revenge on him for bailing out on me.

Also I am slowly beginning to panic. I am having a birthday get-together for the family as well, but I haven't yet sent out invitations, and though I have decided that I'll do a brunch-party arrangement thingy on April 4th, I haven't found a caterer or anything. So... business as usual, I guess.



***


Fniggles is growing and growing, and learning new stuff all the time. I feel very blessed to be allowed to experience the whole "baby growing up" adventure again, and now from some distance. This means that I can see it more clearly, and enjoy it in quite another way than I could when the responsibility was mine (and mine alone).

I made lots of mistakes when my kids were growing up; mistakes that I wish I could undo. Still, both of them seem to be doing fine despite my best bumbling, so I suppose I didn't do all that bad after all. Children ought to come with a manual, but since they don't you have to make it up as you go along. Listening to experts won't help much either. The books say "Do this and your child will respond thus". Doesn't work that way, really. In the end common sense and simple respect will get you a long way towards turning the little bundle of joy into a sensible person. And that's probably the best you can hope for. The world needs sensible people.



***


Work is pretty tiring. Come September we are supposed to take in some extra 40 kids, age between 3 and 6 years. That's why the house is being rebuilt. It means that we'll be a daycare for kids from 3 through 14 years of age, and that calls for some serious re-thinking of the way we work. Up 'till now we've only had them from age 6 and up, and that's another kettle of fish altogether.

Of course nothing is going according to plan: to start with the building permit hasn't come through, so instead of starting on schedule, February 16, we are now looking at at least another month of waiting. And, since we did do everything according to plans, we have already moved out of the building's top floor, and are now all co-existing on the ground floor: 9 adults and some 60 kids!

Fortunately Boss and I never moved our office out of the top floor, so we have relative peace and quiet... For as long as it lasts.




***


I'll leave you with a few links to some of my favourite wus.

Thank you for your time.


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