My Traditional February 29th Post

For as long as this blog has existed, I have posted every February 29th. This is but the latest edition of a long-standing series of pieces you can’t find here. As is traditional for this occasion, here’s a stream of barely-related thoughts:

Did you know Monday is the joint-most popular day for February 29th, along with Wednesday? Yeah, I did too. And that three leap days in every 400 years that should happen don’t? You knew that too? And that dragonflies can’t walk??
Boom.

It’s Darren Ambrose’s birthday! You know Darren, right? The former Charlton Athletic winger of course! Ok fine, but he was a boyhood idol of mine. I remember a silky cushioned volley he scored that I tried to emulate every time I met a cross for months. Never quite managed it like he did. Happy birthday, Darren.

I’m really looking forward to being proposed to in four years. I think women taking the initiative is always cool and, in these enlightened times, should no longer be one-offs for ‘odd’ days like today. Admittedly, for this to happen I would need to be ready to marry and in a committed relationship with ‘the one’ (and have to have realised their identity as such) in four years. Which likely means finding them soon. Hmm… 2024 maybe!

Leap seconds aren’t strictly related to leap years, though their purpose (to recalibrate ‘time’ because of human measures and astronomical ones that don’t quite align) is the same.

I saw ‘Deadpool’ in the cinema yesterday. A LOT MORE to come on this, but for now, it’s fantastic and you should go see it. If that doesn’t convince you, I’ll write 100 reasons why you should.

I hope y’all had, or are having, a wonderful Monday and a fantastic leap day. And I hope any guys out there, who wanted to be proposed to, were, indeed, proposed to. Lucky sods.

P.S. Did ya click on the link? Tee hee hee.

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Please Send Dragons

Being the creative, whimsical, free-spirited soul that I am (by that I mean easily distracted as well as… [drifts off mid sentence]) I occasionally find myself bored, and then daydreaming, and then wishing for a dragon.

It’s a slippery slope.

I can remember countless times I’ve been sat in a school chapel, sports hall or meeting room, ears under attack from a unending drone on responsibility or rules or the emancipation of the proletariat (I probably should’ve listened to that one), and just thought,

‘Imagine if a dragon smashed its way in here now. That would spice things up.’

It works best when there’s a big window, the destruction of which is overwhelmingly pleasing to visualise. Rose windows in chapels are my favourite – sorry god, but a giant reptilian jaw gonna look so sweet smashing through one of those!

[My inner writing voice is telling me that tips for a great daydream are where this piece is headed (Tip #1, ‘Rose Windows’, I guess?), so…]

#2 ‘Vantage Point’. Pick a window a good distance from you. Unless you’re going to daringly tame and ride the dragon (respect) or slay it nobly (there best be maidens watching, else you’ve just wasted a dragon) you want to be at a safe (out of the way for the first few seconds) distance to chuckle as your fantasy comes true and that classmate/colleague/tennis coach you never really liked gets scooped up in the mighty beast’s jaws. If you’re going into an event with the expectation of being bored, at least the foresight might allow you to pick an optimum daydreaming spot (I always liked some elevation where possible, or a nice corner in an office).

#3 ‘Sly Grin/Wee Nod’. There are two purposes here. The first is to provide an intense feeling of satisfaction and generally ‘being cool’. To achieve this, imagine yourself giving the dragon (and the bodies of your currently-deceasing unliked colleagues) this combination: sly grin (because you’re far enough away to be safe, clever you) and a wee nod (a show of mutual respect between you, virtually a demi-god for being called Skylance, and this mythical beast). You can even do this dual-action in real life, because of the second purpose: feigning interest in whatever’s actually going on. Your boss, examiner, chaplain etc. will be thrilled.

There are, of course, obvious drawbacks to imagining dragons, which is why I will soon post about my excitement for the impending zombie apocalypse, my preferred option.

This seems like enough nonsense for one day (one week in fact, sorry I’ve been so quiet!). Have a great weekend!

P.S. As a little aside, I really admired and respected my school chaplain, who was a great man and to whom I mean no offence, but the subject matter just wasn’t my jam. Plus, rose windows!

The Cycle

[Happy Friday! Hope you’re having a great day and are excited for the weekend! I’m in a great mood, but here’s an angsty piece I wrote a few days back while reflecting on two recent reads, ‘1984’ and ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’. Hope it doesn’t dampen your spirits – have a wonderful weekend.]

bury your dreams in conformance
send all your hopes to the grave
seek only continued existence
give up those who cannot be saved

Work to fuel Spend to fuel Work
a cyclical landscape of greys
death: less an event than a process
overlaps life in a haze

Consume Allocation Required
Pay Homage Appropriately Due
Perform to your Median, Modal Ability
mean’s too much thinking
means too much thinking
don’t be
mean too much thinking
don’t
mean too much
don’t
mean
don’t…

–Herein the Unit was deemed DEFECTIVE and the Process TERMINATED.–

Look Up/Look Down

And so it starts…
eyes down, hushed
mind games or blind luck?
can I still count on friends
or am I surrounded by enemies?

Look Up
safe – for now
the screams of those less fortunate
pierce my ears

Look Down
comrades fallen
fewer targets
nowhere to hide

Look Up
scrape by,
again
but soon
will come
the end

Look Down
sweat drips
bodies shuffle
where now can I turn?

Look Up
into their eyes:
instant, dramatic
death.

 

[Well wasn’t that exciting! This gripping tale of survival and betrayal is actually just the game Look Up Look Down, which I know of from often playing it with opponents after matches at ultimate tournaments (we call these post-match games ‘calls’ and I’ve no idea why). It’s one of my faves. Hope you enjoyed this piece of silliness anyway.]

[To all my regular readers and friends on here, it’s good to be back! I seem to have managed a post most weekdays for the past fortnight or so, after a little quiet spell, and the reception back into the WP community has been as great as ever. Much love to all of you.]

Why Cynicism is Important

Why Cynicism is Important
I mean, it’s not really, is it. Let’s be honest, as much as a ‘healthy dose’ of it is lauded for its magical properties, the truth of the matter is that being cynical about the reality of the cold, cruel world still doesn’t help you survive its inevitable dreariness. And then you die anyway.

Why Optimism is Important 🙂
People have plenty of different outlooks on life (which is great because diversity is super important) but natural selection will eventually ensure that the best way to think about life – optimistically – proliferates. Studies will surely soon prove beyond doubt that believing things will turn out well has a positive impact on the actors concerned, such that it is more likely – if not certain (I reckon it’s certain, and that you’ll agree!) – to lead to a better outcome.

Why Humour is Important

The benefits of humour have been studied and proven ‘scientifically’, through the art of ‘experimentation’. Some of these findings are shown in Table 1 below:

Ingredient                                        Quantity
onions, peeled and chopped           2 medium
olive oil                                               1tbsp
garlic, peeled and crushed               1 clove
lean minced beef                               500g
mushrooms, sliced                             90g
dried oregano or mixed herbs         1tsp
tomatoes or chopped tomatoes      400g
hot beef stock                                     300ml
Table 1: Humour Benefits Findings

This study fails to mention another key purpose of humour: exercise. Laughing works core muscles in the abdomen and keeps people fit and/or healthy. It should therefore come as no surprise that many famous comedians are overweight. Persistent exposure to comedy leaves these ‘professionals’ desensitised to jokes, such that they engage in laughter or laughterous activities less often. In addition, the sellout crowds they draw to stadia across the globe provide ample dolla with which to stuff their greedy faces.

Why Writing is Important
What do you think?
Let me know!

All Jobs Considered

blaine_mansion_-_washington_d-c

Paul parked the van and stepped out into the drive. It was a grand old house, several stories, each cluttered with small, fragile windows. ‘A specialist job,’ he thought. ‘Good money.’

He rang the doorbell – an intricate gnarled gargoyle – and heard a voice call faintly, “Come in.” The hall was richly carpeted, with plush furnishings visible in all the rooms offshooting from it. Bouquets of flowers were strewn everywhere, messages of condolences attached to the stems. ‘Poor dear,’ Paul thought, ‘The husband probably used to clean the windows’. There was no one in sight.

“Hello?” he called. “Upstairs,” came the reply. After a moment’s consideration he climbed the stairs. She’d sounded frail on the phone. Paul remembered her creaking voice: “I saw your advertisement in the Yellow Pages. I could so use your services.” The ad was brand new, and already it was paying off. On the landing, he called again and received another reply, from an open door ahead of him. He stepped into the doorway –

The woman lay sprawled in a clawfoot bathtub in the middle of the room, a thin layer of bubbles preserving only bits and pieces of her modesty. Wrinkles, whether caused by age or the water, traced lattices across her skin. There was a wild, sorrowful look in her eyes.

“I…uh,” Paul stuttered, lost for words. Was this some sort of joke? A trap set up by his estranged wife to hasten the divorce? He held up his hands as if to protect himself from her unashamed nakedness.

“You came, didn’t you!” the woman snapped. “What are you waiting for? If you’re going to advertise…”

Paul ran from the doorway, down the stairs. The woman shrieked.

“But your advert – come back here you horrible man!” As he skidded round the corner at the stairs’ base, he collided with a low table and sent a vase of drooping lilies crashing to the ground.

“Vandal!” the deranged bat screamed from upstairs. Paul heard thudded footsteps – she was coming for him! He staggered back to his feet, blood dripping from where he’d caught his hand on the broken vase, and heaved the front door open.

“You lied!” he heard the woman shout, shrill with rage. “Your advert!”

Paul jumped into the van, slammed it into reverse and spun round in the expansive drive. Gravel flew up from beneath his tyres as he left the house behind with a roar of the engine…

Ten minutes later, Paul pulled into a layby. He had been driving without thinking, on autopilot, and now realised he had been heading towards his old school, in totally the wrong direction for home. The woman’s voice still echoed in his head. What had just happened?

The advert. He pulled out a copy of the Yellow Pages, flipped to W, found ‘Window Cleaning’… his ad wasn’t there. Confused, he turned back a page, maybe it had run over two…

There it was, with the smiling picture of him in front of his van, just above where ‘Window Cleaning’ was listed in bold. The ad read normally, it seemed:

“Paul Scott: Widow Cleaner. All jobs considered at hours to suit you. Friendly chap open to any assignment. Call now”

What was the woman –

Ah damn. That missing n.

Paul sat for a moment in reflection, then shrugged and threw the van into gear. Turned back towards the woman’s house.

‘All jobs considered…’

Abandoned Shipping Vessel – Feb 2034

It took two weeks to make it back there, but it was worth it. We arrived under cover of darkness, eyes peeled for other signs of life. Scavengers had been but only cracked the most basic locks – several inner rooms remained intact. We set up the equipment quickly: well rehearsed.

Fifteen minutes and four rooms: two of tools, one tinned food, the last ‘valuables’ – no use in this new world. We took all we could carry and never returned. Hunters will soon watch a place like that. Society is beyond recognition, and all we can remember.

This is no life.

[100 words]