I SAW A UFO.

I SAW A UFO.

I was driving home from work tonight when I saw a bright white light to the left of the street.  At first I misjudged the distance from the light to myself and thought maybe one of the houses in there had some weird floodlight I’d never noticed before, or something to that effect; then I realized that the light was in the sky.

I knew the position of the light was too strange for it to be the moon, although it was about that bright, so I thought, …Airplane?

It wasn’t an airplane, though; when I was able to look more closely at it, I saw between the blue, red, and white lights that the vehicle was actually triangular.  My first thought was, “That kind of looks like an Imperial Cruiser….”  No, I’m not delusional.  I didn’t think it was an Imperial Cruiser; it just looked like one.

It was really big and really low, and seemed to just be hovering there.  Then it flew out of sight, and back into sight again, and when I turned left on the next street, the ship started flying in that direction, very slowly.  It flew across that street, and continued flying about parallel to ours.

When I turned right on our street, I could just see it over Publix, and that was my final glimpse of it.

I immediately went inside and said, “I saw a UFO.”

“Really?” Dad said.

“Yeah–it looked like an Imperial Cruiser.”

“Was it triangular?”

“Yes.  Want to see it?”

He did, so he ran to get shoes, and my mom called, “If you get abducted, try to contact home somehow!”

“It’s okay, I’ve got my cell phone,” I said, as we dashed out the door.

The craft was, of course, gone that time around.

After we returned home, I went to stand outside in the driveway and called The Mormon, who did not immediately answer, so I left him the following message:

“I saw a UFO.  And I’m not even kidding.  Call me back for details.”

So…there’s that.  I’m betting it was a stealth drone, since there is a base just a few miles away.  So that’s pretty cool!

In other news, Spidermonkey has apparently broken up with Psychobrat, who, presumably, will be returning home at any moment–she’d been planning to spend the week at his house.  I do feel kind of bad for her, despite how evil she is.

Nicole may have found someone to take the dog…finally.  We’ll see what happens with that.

Here’s something funny:  The other night, The Mormon told me he’d been flipping through stations and Seinfeld was on, so he’d stopped to watch it.

“Kramer was there, and…I think Jerry’s father?…Jerry Stiller….” he said.

“That’s George’s dad,” I said.  “Were they selling raincoats?”

“As a matter of fact, they were.”

“And they were all mothy?”

“Yeah–they opened the box, and a moth flew out.”

“I’m quite proud of the fact that I was able to get that from ‘Kramer and Jerry Stiller’.”

“I’m very impressed, babe.”

I wrote three pages of my new book today!  It’s moving right along.  And I made this for you guys:
Spensers Aesthetic

Just a little peek inside my mind!  I’m planning to hit up the used bookstore one day very soon to grab some research materials.

 

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Psychobrat, the $250 Hoop Skirt, and the Video Game

I’ve got some Psychobrat stories for you this morning.

First of all, Psychobrat, who demanded a car out of my parents, finally did get her way, of course.  And of course, she cannot afford to make the payments on it, so my parents are doing that for her.

But Psychobrat, who cannot afford her $150 car payments, also demanded a $250 prom dress from my parents, and got that, as well.  $250 she doesn’t have on a dress she will wear once.  It isn’t even attractive; it greatly resembles a hoop skirt.  (Just to show that I’m not being hypocritical here, my parents did buy me a car, but I have always made all of my own payments on it, and I used my own money to buy myself an $80 prom dress.)

So she’s been swishing around the house in her $250 hoop skirt, and I’ve been snickering behind my hand.

So there’s that.

Then there’s the matter of MarioKart.

When I got back from Cortney’s, I had this serious hankering to play MarioKart, so I went digging out our Nintendo and the few games Brother hadn’t sold and sat down to play it.  Two days later, I was about halfway to beating the game, when Psychobrat informed me that she was taking it to Spidermonkey’s house because they had nothing else to do but play this game.

I informed her that she wasn’t taking it, because I had dug it out of the spot it had been sitting in, unthought of, for the past three years, for me to play it, not her.

As everyone reading this probably knows by now, it doesn’t matter what you say to Psychobrat, because she will always have what she wants.  She walked straight into my room, took it (with plenty of assurances that it would be back that night) and left.

So yesterday, knowing perfectly well that MarioKart would stay at Spidermonkey’s for all eternity, because it now belongs to her and I can’t get to it there, I said, “So where’s MarioKart?”

This was when Psychobrat informed me that, as punishment for my being a bitch, it was still at Spidermonkey’s.

I, trying not to explode, walked into my room to call Katie, because I knew that would calm me down before I blew a fuse.  Katie wasn’t available, so I left her the following voice mail:

“Hello, how are you?  I’m just calling you to bitch, because according to PSYCHOBRAT!!!!!!, that is what I am.”  I paused here, because I was listening to Psychobrat call calmly from the other room, “Are you talking about yourself?”

“So…have a nice day,” I said, and hung up.

I love my sister.

What else has been happening lately?  I’ve spent a lot of time with The Mormon, which has been awesome, of course.  The other day he bought me a little stuffed kangaroo (that’s one of my favorite animals) just because.  How cute is that?  So I named them Stacia and Oswald (the mother and baby respectively) because those were the first two names that popped into my head.

Oh, speaking of The Mormon, I remembered another dream.  It’s kind of stupid, actually.  I dreamed I made him watch this horrible movie from the ’50s (it wasn’t real) that I realized about halfway through I had actually seen before, but we still kept watching it.  I had read this review that made it sound phenomenal, but later realized that the review was actually mine–it was here on my blog.  I had written up this whole phenomenal review of a completely detestable movie, just to see how good I could make it sound using double-talk or something.  It was so well-written, but the only thing I remember about it now is that at one point I used the phrase, “lovably loathsome” to describe a character.

All I really remember about the dream-movie is that it seemed to be about some stupid cop and a bunch of teenagers who kept getting the best of him as he chased them around town.

And I remembered, oddly, the tagline of the film, and wrote it down in the middle of the night so I wouldn’t forget:  “There’s nothing funnier than Lt. Don Chodiedrel.  Except the loads-funnier Sam don’t-remember-his-last-name.”  (The cop’s last name, despite the odd spelling, was pronounced ‘ka-DEE-drul’.)

The things my subconscious gets up to.

In other news…I feel like it’s been forever since I updated here, but that is because I am hard at work on an original novel–the first in a trilogy, in fact.  And yes, my main character is unabashedly based on myself and thus technically a Mary-Sue, but above the level of Bella.  Far…far above.

Anyway, I’ve been making some aesthetics to inspire myself, so here’s your very first hint of what I’m getting up to:Dean Aesthetic 2

Secrets Internalized

A while back I was sharing a short story with you all in serial form about a girl named Astrid.  It ended up being much longer than I expected, but I am pleased to report that it is finally complete and you may read it all for free here!  If you happen to check it out and so desire, there is a button near the bottom of the page that says “Kudos” and I have discovered that guests may use that, so that will bump my views, I believe.  Comments will help even more.  Thank you in advance!

For those who have not already seen the beginning, or do not remember, this is the story of a girl whose parents were casualties of a cruel war when she was a small child.  For her own safety, she keeps this secret from the entire world all her life.  Now, fresh after graduation, she is interning at the largest publication in Britain when she accidentally stumbles onto a terrorist plot.  Seeing an opportunity to get ahead at work, she opts to tread dangerous waters to follow the lead, battling addiction, trouble at work, and an abusive relationship along the way.

It also happens to be set in the Harry Potter universe, if that’s your thing.  Being familiar with the books would undoubtedly increase enjoyment of the story, but I suppose one could pick it up with only a cursory understanding of HP.

Be sure to drop me a line here or there to let me know what you think!

ch1

Phantom’s True Identity Revealed!

After having read the book, I have reached the conclusion that the Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House is, in actuality, Jack Skellington.

Why do I believe Erik is really Jack?

First of all, here’s the version of the novel I’m using.  http://www.online-literature.com/leroux/phantom_opera/

I’m going to just present to you the specific physical descriptions of Erik as they are in the story, and you can make up your own mind.

Chapter I:  “The ghost had appeared to them in the shape of a gentleman in dress-clothes….

“You meet so many men in dress-clothes at the Opera who are not ghosts.  But this dress-suit had a peculiarity of its own.  It covered a skeleton.  At least, so the ballet-girls said.  And, of course, it had a death’s head.”

“He is extraordinarily thin and his dress-coat hangs on a skeleton frame.  His eyes are so deep that you can hardly see the fixed pupils.  You just see two big black holes, as in a dead man’s skull.  His skin, which is stretched across his bones like a drumhead, is not white, but a nasty yellow.  His nose is so little worth talking about that you can’t see it side-face; and the absence of that nose is a horrible thing to look at.  All the hair he has is three or four long dark locks on his forehead and behind his ears.”

Well, I don’t think I need to repeat that again.  Over and over, throughout the whole novel, there’s that description of the death’s head atop a skeleton body in gentleman’s wear.  Sounds like Jack to me.  And then, need I point out that both Jack and Erik really get off on scaring people…and that both of them sing like angels?

Griping and Boy Dilemmas

Dean tells me that he and I are on L’Owen’s list of 6 strongest writers in the class.  Kick arse!  I honestly never would have expected that, but it’s cool.

So I finally found this book that I’d been looking for for yearsThe Experiment, by John Darnton.  My dad got it on tape for us to listen to on a trip to South Florida my 9th grade year, but, not being a very great listener, I decided to stop listening (despite being way into it) and check it out later instead.

Well, not knowing the author’s name, it took me a lot longer than expected to find it, and when I finally did, then it was a matter of the book being there when I was and me remembering to look for it.  I finally did, and I really enjoyed it.

Work is driving me insane.  I think I mean that literally.  I have this habit of, when one aspect of something is annoying me, finding all these other things about it that always irritate me.  That’s what’s happening at work—they won’t give me a second day off, and so every little thing is driving me up the wall.  Like the fact that we have taco night three times a week, and every single person coming through my line pisses me off just for being there.  I want to scream obscenities at them all, and am quietly doing it, too, under my breath.  A couple of times I’ve come very close to actually swearing at a customer.  I feel like having to stand there for another two hours really takes something from me, and must keep repressing the urge to get up and just walk out.

Scot (one of the bosses) came through the line tonight, asked for jalapenos, and I gave him quite a few, and he said, “Are you trying to kill me?”  I said, “Yes.”

I won’t smile at people anymore.  They piss me off too much.

I really feel like the weight of the hopelessness is driving me down—like, physically, even—I’ll stand there and feel like I’m totally going to pass out because I cannot handle it.

I swear, everything would be fine again if they’d just give me the damned day off!

Maybe things will get better.  Maybe the dishwasher will actually like me back.  That’d be something, a light through all the hopelessness.  A secret tryst that nobody else would really care about, but which would make me feel like I was somehow rebelling against the establishment.

Dishwasher!  I need a life!  Help!

Duuuude!  Just as I was about to post this, my first date ever texted me out of the blue!

And after the conversation we had, I’m thinking, “Hey…I still kinda like this guy,” and he still likes me, too…so…right.  I like Patrick, too.  And now I don’t know what the hell to do.  Obviously, I guess, get to know both of them a bit better, and find out what happens.  At any rate, two Saturdays from now I am going on my first second date ever with…my first first ever.

I’ve got to go to bed.

Anything for the Story

Whether or not you’ve been following along (and if you have, you know I love you bunches right now), here’s the newest section of Secrets Internalized!  I’d love to hear about it if you’re enjoying the story or even if you have a constructive critique!  If you’d like to start reading it from the beginning, here are the previous parts:  Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9; Part 10

~~*~~

Two weeks passed in much the same way.  Rita left Astrid largely to her own devices and Astrid worked overtime to churn out stories no one cared about, while Rita stole the recognition for any actually noteworthy pieces for herself.

One night when Astrid thought she couldn’t take it anymore, she stormed to Adrian’s desk at the end of her shift, teeth bared and hair askew, and growled, “Let’s go.”

“All right,” he said, wide-eyed, “let me just clear up my things.”

They headed to the Leaky Cauldron, where Astrid immediately ordered drinks for both of them before unleashing all her pent-up aggravation.

“She doesn’t even look at me when I pass her, Adrian!  Won’t even acknowledge my presence!  She’s supposed to be my boss!  I’m supposed to be able to look up to her!  Glean inspiration!  And everything I do is just wrong, might I add!  She finds a hundred things to nitpick out of every story I put out!  And then when I try to do something the way she told me to do it, suddenly that’s the wrong way to do it, too!  And it’s all my fault because how could I have been stupid enough to misunderstand her the first time?  I don’t even know anymore if the problem is me or her!  I mean, it must be me, right, because everyone loves her, so clearly I’m missing something!  I mean, is she just screwing about with my head, or am I really that pathetic?”

Adrian watched somberly throughout this diatribe and spoke up when Astrid paused for breath.

“Yeah, I thought this might happen,” he said.  “You’re not the first, you know.  I’ve seen four interns walk out because they couldn’t deal with her anymore.  And yes, she’s definitely screwing with your head.  Don’t even think you’re pathetic because you’re not!  You do good work with what you’re given to work with!  I’ve seen it!”

Astrid let forth a scream of rage at this.  “And that’s the other thing!” she said.  “I know I’m only just starting, but how am I ever supposed to advance from under her?  With her constantly shitcanning me to everyone above her, how can I ever get ahead?”

“You’re resourceful!  You’ll think of something.  And I doubt she’s shitcanning—”

“I’ve heard her!” Astrid interjected.

“Well…even so.”  He looked uncomfortable.

As Astrid began to devour her toad-in-the-hole, she happened to glance over into the same corner she had spotted Barty Crouch, Jr. in a couple weeks before and found him again, this time dining alone.  It was then that the hatchling of an idea began to come to her.  Resourceful.  Yes, she was resourceful.  If Rita was going to actively work to stunt her career at the Prophet, then maybe…maybe she would just find the story of the century on her own.

She continued to eat her supper, this time without taking her eye off him.  After a while, Adrian noticed and turned to look where she was watching.

“What are you staring—blimey, it’s Barty again!”  He looked back at her, suspicious.  “What’s your obsession with him all of a sudden, anyway?”

“What?  I’m not obsessed!”

“Yeah, you went on about him strangely a while back and now you can’t keep your eyes off him.  Are you in love or something?  I know he was interested in you back at Hogwarts—”

“Not love,” Astrid said, “just…interest.”  She found Adrian’s suspicious a useful cover for her real intentions.

“Well, go and talk to him, then.  What have you got to lose?”

“I’m just nervous, that’s all.  We haven’t been close for years.”

“So rekindle something!”

“There was no kindling there in the first place.  We were just friends, that’s all.”

“Friends, right.  I remember how he stopped speaking to you when you started seeing Dirk all those years ago.”

She took out her wallet, prepared to pay in case she had to get up in a hurry, and just in time, too, for at that moment, Barty stood up.  She hurriedly threw some cash on the table.

“I’ve got to go, Adrian, sorry!”

“Now?”  He turned back to look at Barty.  “Oh, I see.  Best of luck to you, then!”

Astrid downed a shot of Firewhisky and bade Adrian a quick farewell before chasing after Barty, heart pounding against her chest.  Anything for the story, right?

~~*~~

The next section is here!

Astrid’s First Byline

Here’s the next section of the story, which I am titling Secrets Internalized.  Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t seen them, please check out the previous sections here:  Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9

~~*~~

Half an hour later, Astrid found herself hailing the Knight Bus to a small country lane near Sussex.  The sun was high, but the temperature was mild for a June day, and she found herself enjoying the walk to her destination.  A smell like wisteria greeted her coyly, and she could hear bumblebees from the green field beside the dirt lane.  Reaching the address written in her notebook, she knocked on the door to a large two-story dwelling.

For a moment, nothing happened.  Astrid knocked again, certain she had heard a sound from inside, and the door was opened by a round young woman with rosy cheeks and a pleasant smile.

“Sorry, love, had to get my pasties out of the oven!  What can I do for you?”

“I’m Astrid Featherley,” Astrid said, holding out her hand, “from the Daily Prophet.  I’m following a lead about magically modified pumpkins?”  She made the last part a question, feeling nervous and slightly unsure of herself.

The woman’s face lit up.  “Of course!” she said.  “Do come in!  I’m Emma Tarts.  Would you care for some refreshment? T here’s fresh pumpkin juice.  And pasties!”

“Oh…no, thanks,” said Astrid, “I’m only here on business.”

“Oh, but this is the business you’re here about, isn’t it?  You might as well,” Emma said, already leading the way into a cheerfully decorated kitchen.  She pulled out a chair for Astrid and made for the cupboard, where she removed two plates and two glasses.

“Well…I suppose it’d be foolish not to,” Astrid said, relaxing a bit and allowing a small smile.

“Right you are, dearie,” said Emma, scooping two pasties onto the plates and setting one before Astrid.  “Careful!  This one’s still piping hot!  Best let it cool a bit first.  Here’s some juice while you wait.  Auntie Emma makes only the best!”

You’re Auntie Emma!?” Astrid said, instantly recognizing the biggest name in pumpkin juice in Britain.  What luck!  This lead wasn’t such a dud, after all.

“Yes, that’s right!  I own Auntie Emma’s Finest Pumpkin Juice.”

“You have one of the most popular culinary brands in the country.  Why are you seeking an interview with the Prophet now?” said Astrid, readying her quill.

“Well, perhaps Witch Weekly would have been the more logical choice.  However, my main goal was to bring a little light to the world, and the paper has been such an awfully dark place of late.”  She shuddered.  “And after that latest attack this morning…well, the time is definitely ripe for some cheer, wouldn’t you say?”

“Undoubtedly,” said Astrid.  “How do you propose to do that?”

“I try to do my little part every day to bring some joy into people’s lives.  But I’d like to play a more active role.  I’d like to teach gardening classes to anyone who wants them.”

“You mentioned in your message to the Prophet that you had learned how to magically modify the way a plant grows, to control its flavor?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Aren’t you concerned someone might steal your secret recipe?”

“Oh, no, dear, my recipe is patented.  That isn’t a concern.  But I’d like to help others learn how to create more beautiful—and tasty!—things.  Together I think we can make the world a better place, in our own small ways, by enriching the senses.”

“What can you tell me about the modification process?”

Astrid discussed herbology, cooking, and positivity with Auntie Emma until well into the afternoon before apparating back to the Prophet to prepare her story.  Working diligently, she was able to spin together the uplifting piece she thought Auntie Emma was hoping for before the deadline for the next morning’s paper.  Sure, it wasn’t front-page-worthy, but she had worked hard on it and produced a first story that she could be proud of.

She awoke and prepared for work eagerly the next morning, curious to see whether her story would have made it into the paper anywhere.  To her surprise she found it, not near the end, but in the middle.  She read it carefully.  It had been trimmed a bit for length, but nothing else had been tampered with.  She couldn’t resist a self-satisfied smirk as she sat at her desk.

Rita hadn’t even bothered to greet her yet that morning.  In fact, when Astrid had walked past her upon entering the building, Rita had not even acknowledged her.  If she had seen Astrid’s piece, she hadn’t been inclined to comment.  Astrid could see her sitting at her desk.  She couldn’t be sure, but it almost seemed Rita was blatantly ignoring her.

Astrid took the initiative and approached.

“Good morning,” she said.

Rita did not look up.  “Hello,” she said, sounding harassed.

“I’m just going to work on my file, then, this morning, shall I?” Astrid said.

“Oh, yes.  You can add this stack to it,” Rita said, handing her another manila folder nearly as thick as the day before, and turning back to her work without another word.

“I’ll let you know if I need anything,” Astrid said, heading back to her desk.

She was surprised to spot the Editor walking over to Rita’s desk a moment later.  Perhaps Rita had been unbelievably busy, much too busy to make eye contact with Astrid, a moment before, but all of that was forgotten as she looked up and began fawning all over the Editor.

“Hesiod!” Astrid heard her drawl.  “How are you this morning?”

They made boring small talk for a while, Rita’s work long forgotten, before Hesiod said something that drew Astrid’s attention again.

“That new intern you have published something quite unique this morning!”

Astrid saw Rita hesitate for the merest of seconds, glance over, and lock eye contact with her.

“Did she?” Rita said, her smile fading ever so slightly.

“Oh, yes!  Whoever would have thought such a light, feel-good piece could come from a simple story about pumpkins?”

Rita grinned.  “Of course, I put her onto the thing.”

Hesiod guffawed.  “Did you?”

“Indeed!  Scoop and spin!”

“I might’ve known!”  Hesiod chortled again.  “Nothing gets past the Queen of the Quills!”

“It certainly doesn’t,” Rita said, smiling in Astrid’s direction.

“Well, better get to it!” Hesiod said, and walked past Astrid’s desk without so much as a glance in her direction.

~~*~~

Find the next section here!