Fortunately the seller was decent about it and had that stuff removed at no cost to us.
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Fortunately the seller was decent about it and had that stuff removed at no cost to us.
Good that they found it, Zan. No fried fishies.
mmm. Knob and tube. Zzzzzzap. No fried shoes, either.We also just bought a house, but we're not moving in till summer. Our home inspection went basically okay until they found knob and tube wiring up in the roof and couldn't tell whether it was still live or not.
I'm just getting a new roof this year.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat. "We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.”
longeasy and fun process.
zanzjan.net - twitter - facebook
Number Thirty-Nine Skink, short story, Asimov's, Mar/Apr 2017
Pinned, Poem, Asimov's, May/Jun 2017
Stories from 2016 currently nominated for the Eugie Foster Memorial Award, Asimov's Readers Award, and AnLab Readers Choice Awards
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." -- Helen Keller
And hello folks. I have run out of ibuprofen and I've gotten a new bottle of Aleve to try and get thru the next few days. It's been a bit of a strain on the new body.... not to mention that I'm supposed to move in Friday, and though I've been told informally I should have the apartment, my application is still "pending". Do they not understand how neurotic I am? And they wanted me to move in on the 15th.... Jesus H. Macy.
I was wondering about finding more ways to use time productively. I thought the following might help.
If any of these make you smile, please consider giving a donation to Kids Need To Read - Thank you
As the Cantina Turns - 26th June by Sianshan
Independence Day - 24th June 2012
The Mad Smibble's Tea Party - 31st May 2012
A Funny Smibble happened on the way to the Forum - 30th April 2012
Journeys on the InterSmibble Highway - 18th April 2012
Musical Intersmibble - 7th Feb 2012
Rosencrantz and Guildersmibble break bread - 2nd Feb 2012
TJ's AtCT list
Last edited by aliwood; 06-26-2012 at 06:11 PM.
Upstairs for thinking, downstairs for dancing.
If this makes you smile, please consider giving a donation to Kids Need To Read - Thank you
In the cantina, time had fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine. Pens scratched across paper, keyboards clicked, the click-clack of the table football mixed in with the ding-ding-ding of winning shots on the pinball machine. Underpinning everything was an incessant mumbling of writers, accompanied by a great amount of head shaking, crossing out, and staring at the ceiling.
"Gaaahhhh!! Oh for goodness sake! How are we supposed to write anything with all this racket?" screamed Bettie in frustration, throwing her notebook to the floor.
"This flash haiku isn't working, we can't think of anything to write," said Kricket, slamming down her pencil in unison with Debio.
"Neither can I with all that going on," said Gilroy, pointing a thumb over one shoulder at the table football. Ali stood up, her hands on her hips, which isn't easy to do with a tea mug in your hand, and remonstrated with Shoeless at the pinball machine,
"Do you mind? I do not need the Electronica background muzak, this is a serious subject." She waved a sheaf of paper to underline her point, a mass of lines on the top sheet read 'I am a fish'.
"This is hopeless, I just can’t think of a title," said TJ gesticulating at the mound of screwed up paper overwhelming the wastebasket beside her as she added another piece to the pile.
"Oh, I give up," said KL Townsend, shutting down her lap-top and leaning back in her chair. Just then a bell rang and on a relief map of the world a red light began to flash. Below the map a tv screen showed pictures of monsters moving through the streets of a South-East Asian town. Cobra snapped his pencil in frustration and began hitting his head against his writing pad,
"Do we have to go and save the world 'again'?" he groaned. Across the cantina, under a banner reading 'Fen and Junely's Wholesale Slaughter and Conquest Services Ltd. Facist dictatorships our speciality!', the entrepreneurial duo were drawing charts, and making notes, while occasionally referring to a globe and rolling a pair of dice. Fen picked up the tequila glass dice shaker and filled it from a part empty bottle, as she put it down she said,
"You know, it's nice being my own boss, but it doesn't leave any writing time. I wish we weren't so in demand."
"Yeah, I'm sick of all this planning. Why can't people look after their own ethnic cleansing for once?" said Junely, taking a swig from the bottle before putting it back in the bar globe. From the other side of the room came a thud, and the door of the teleporter machine swung open to reveal a large stack of letters.
"The post," said Etola, "great, I've been expecting a letter from the publishers for over a week now."
"My cheque should be in there too," said Bos. Together they began to sort through the mail handing out envelopes of all sizes. Quiet descended across the cantina as the writers read their news, then first in ones and twos and then as a stream of people they began to move toward a cork noticeboard beside the fireplace, at the top a sign announced 'Rejectomancy'. Etola pinned up a small note that began 'Thank you for your submission but...', she was followed by Fen, Gina and Hillz, as she stepped back she saw Bos taking his place in the queue.
"I thought they were sending you a cheque," said Etola crumpling an envelope in her hands and throwing it on the fire.
"No, apparently not," said Bos, showing her the short letter and grimacing, "it seems that zombie private eyes are old hat these days."Etola turned to the queue,
"Did everyone get a rejection letter then?"
"No, I got an email," said TJ, holding up a printout.
"I got a text," said Suzanne, holding up a phone.
The cantinas made their way back to their seats, sad looks on their faces, many heads were bowed, never before had the entire cantina received rejection letters on the same day. It was true that they had never actually made any money either, but normally the rejection was spread out and came between requests for manuscripts and submissions, sometimes they were sent old anthologies in lieu of payment which at least made for interesting reading and temporary beermats. Hillz began to shovel the envelopes onto the fire and a mood of dejection settled over the writers.
"All I wanted was one reader, just one," said Ali into her empty tea mug.
"I know," said Bettie, "It's not as if we ask for the world is it?" cracking open a bar of chocolate.
"I don't know if I can take much more of this," said 10s, "that's my eighteenth rejection letter in a fortnight."
"I'm not sure I can face reopening this," said Cobra, pointing at his notebook, "I mean what's the point?"
"You know, what we need is a holiday," said Shoeless.
"Yeah, somewhere new, without phone calls, email and interruptions and definitely no rejection letters, somewhere modest with a decent library that would really inspire us," said Debio, pencil in one hand, cheese sandwich in the other. Junely sighed,
"You'd better count me out," she said, "I can only get away for a day." Hillz cast her shovel aside and picked up her lap-top,
"I believe I can help here", she said, calling up her favourite holiday auction website. She began typing, "One day, modest facilities, library of course, how much do we want to pay?" she asked.
"Pay?!" responded the cantina incredulously.
"We're writers, and we've all just been rejected, we can't afford to pay for anything," said Shadowflame.
"Ok, so modest with the price as well", said Hillz, typing zero into the maximum amount box. The words 'Auction In Progress, Please Wait...' appeared. There was a sudden hush and the eyes of the cantina stared at the little screen. After a couple of minutes the words changed to 'You have WON!' The entire cantina jumped up in delight.
"We won, we won!" they cried, hugging each other and excitedly packing away their gear.
"Where are we going?" Ken asked as Hillz grabbed the printout off the top of the printer.
"Darn. The name didn't come out. Let me check.", Hillz looked back at the screen, to see Tiff turning the computer off.
"Oh sorry, I thought you'd finished." said Tiff, shrugging an apology.
"Never mind, it did print the directions and it's got everything we need, listen to this", said Hillz and she read off the list, "library, bike trails, art walk, music festival, opera, ballet, flea market, the world's largest disco and graffiti in the summer." Hillz looked puzzled for a second as Ken mused,
"Why would you have seasonal graffiti?"
"No idea", replied Hillz, "We have to provide our own transport though, that's why we got it for free."
"No problem", said Andelana, "I've got transport outside."
"Outside?" asked Debio, "How do you get outside?"
"I've been trying for months," said Psycho, "No matter what time I check out I can never leave."
"Line up by the fire, I'll get us all outside," said Ande. The cantinas moved over to the hearth, squeezing themselves onto the rug at Ande's encouragement, several of them began to complain about scorched knees and the smell of smouldering boots pervaded the room. When they were all on Ande reached over and pressed a small red button next to the Rejectomancy board, marked 'Press in the event of emergency only'. There was a screech of metal and then the hearth revolved. Caught by surprise, the cantinas were pitched onto the pavement outside in a sprawling pile of bodies and baggage.
"What the hell happened there?" demanded Cobra, pulling himself free and straightening his bandoleer tie.
"What? Don't tell me that you've never heard of a fire exit?" said Ande, walking over to the bike rack and unlocking a Brompton bicycle. The groaning, complaining pile of writers assembled itself into a group around Ande.
"How do we all fit on that?" asked Gina, pointing to the tiny bicycle.
"It's a folding bike," said Ande, picking it up and flicking it back and forth, there was an audible 'pop' and a second seat appeared behind the first. Cantinas looked on amazed and there were several ooo's of surprise. Flicking the bike again, it became a three seater with an accompanying set of stabiliser wheels, the cantinas murmured in appreciation. Ande continued to flick the bike back and forth until there were enough seats for everyone.
"I'll steer," said Ande, "Hillz, you sit behind me because you've got the directions, everyone get on and let's go," the cantinas began to leap on, then Fen asked,
"How do we get around corners? We must be at least fifty feet long on this thing."
"It's articulated," said Ande demonstrating.
"Clever," said Fen as she got on.
After an hour of pedalling the cantinas pulled up to a roadside café on the edge of a small town. While they refuelled on tea, coffee, assorted non-alcoholic beverages and enough sugar to allow them to cycle to the moon and back, Hillz and Ande consulted the directions.
"Looks like we're there," said Ande, "You know there's something about this place that looks familiar." Hillz looked up as 10s called out,
"Hey, there's a sign over here," the cantinas crowded round as Hillz and Ande walked over and read
Welcome to Modesto
Water Wealth Contentment Health
"I thought it looked familiar," said Ande, "I used to live here."
"Why leave?" asked Fen.
"There's a reason it's called Modesto, it's really boring, there's nothing here if you're a kid. It's a strange place to come for a holiday though."
"No," said TJ, pointing at the sign, "we asked for somewhere modest with a zero price, that's what we got. Modest-o."
"It looks like we're here at the right time too. There's a literary festival on," said 10s reading from a flyer pasted on to the sign, "it's taking place in the town square. Do you know where it is?"
"Sure," said Ande, "it's just next to the library, you'll all love it in there."
The cantinas got back on the bike and after a few minutes they were pulling up by a bicycle rack outside the town library. The square was dominated by a huge marquee, the front entrance marked by a banner in grey lettering reading ‘23rd Annual Modesto Literary Festival’. There was an all encompassing smell of stale hot dogs, and people stood around listening to book readings or watching small theatrical groups. To one side a group of children were gathered in silence watching a puppet show performance. The cantinas didn't know which way to go first, eager with anticipation, they split up and headed off into the marquee .
Half an hour later the cantinas had regrouped outside the main door to the library, many faces were downcast and Hillz was reading the holiday auction printout and saying,
"I don't understand, I just don't understand."
"How can this be a literary festival?" asked Ali, "they don't even sell tea."
"I've never seen anything so boring," said Bos, suppressing a yawn under one hand.
"It was that bad, wasn't it?" asked Debio, studying a flyer printed in grey ink on beige paper.
"These people need action, villains, superheroes, something," Cobra twisted his necktie in exasperation.
"It's like they have no imagination," said Gina.
"Ten minutes of introspection about golden dappled leaves. I swear I could cry," said Psycho slumping to the floor.
"It never used to be like this," said Ande, a puzzled expression on her face.
"You said it was boring," said TJ.
"It was never this bad though," said Ande, "let's go in the library, they're bound to have something interesting." Murmuring agreement the cantinas picked themselves up and walked through the double doors of the Modesto public library. The familiar smell of floor polish, old books and stamp pad ink hit them in a wave. They fanned out across the library passing a display of Chicken Soup books, and at the entrance to the junior section a stand of books about careers in office work. After a few minutes they had once again regrouped.
"There's no SFF," said Gilroy.
"I know, I went up every aisle twice," agreed KL Townsend.
"They always used too," said Ande, "I'll go and talk to someone and find out what's going on. Wait here." Ande turned and walked over to the front desk.
"Can I help you?" a smiling librarian asked as Ande approached.
"My friends and I were looking for the science fiction and fantasy section," said Ande. The librarian, an elderly lady dressed in a stiff collared blouse with a long loop of beads around her neck scowled,
"We don't stock that sort of material in here. We're not that sort of town you know. Did you know that we have a literary festival this week, there are some very interesting people coming." The librarian took a leaflet from the stack, Ande raised her hands to protest,
"We've already..." but her words trailed off with the realisation that the librarian was writing something at the bottom, she handed the leaflet over and then went to serve a handsome looking gentleman clutching a small pile of paperbacks. Ande looked down at the note which read 'Meet me at HF5601 in five minutes', then went back to the cantinas and said,
"Follow me." They made their way through the bookshelves to the place designated on the flyer, to find themselves surrounded by a dust covered selection of accounting books that didn't appear to have been touched since the day they were filed. A couple of minutes later the librarian came over.
"What's this all about?" asked Ande.
"I couldn't tell you at the desk, people would start talking. I thought we'd be safer here, no one uses this section."
"So I see," said Ande, several people were sneezing and everyone had their hands over their mouths in a futile attempt to stop them from coughing, "so where is the fantasy section?"
The librarian looked her in the eye and said, "I'm very sorry to say that we haven't stocked science fiction and fantasy since 1975."
"Why?" Many cantinas looked startled.
"Have you heard of George Lucas?" she asked.
"Sure, American Graffiti, Star Wars, we know about him," said Hillz.
"George comes from Modesto you know," said the librarian, twisting her beads around in her hand as she explained, "I remember George from when he was young. He used to come in here regularly and read all the fantasy and science fiction he could get his hands on, myth and legend, fairy tales, I'm proud to say he found them all here."
"So why are they missing now?" asked Ande.
"Embarrassment," replied the librarian, twisting the beads tighter.
"What?" asked Debio.
"When George went to Hollywood and began making films, the town council felt that he was giving Modesto a bad name. So they voted to remove the entire science fiction and fantasy section from the shelves and we weren't allowed to buy anything in the genre, they didn't want to encourage anyone else you see." There were several looks of disgust and Fen muttered,
"That's awful." The librarian continued,
"The only reason we have 20,000 Leagues under the Sea is because we've managed to hide it in the geography section for the last thirty years. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is in with the exploits of Burke and Hare, and War of the Worlds is next to Hitler and Nazi Germany in historical."
"I wonder where you would put Tolkien?" Tiff said.
"First we tried to hide him in jewellery and costume, and when that failed we put him under sport," said the librarian.
"Sport?" asked Tiff
"Oh, did it work?"
"No, so in the end we resorted to disguise. Hand me that Advanced Accountancy for Fiscal Tax Lawyers would you please?" the librarian pointed to a nearby shelf as she unwound her hand again. Psycho picked up a huge volume from the shelf, covering herself and the surroundings in a cloud of dust, as she staggered under the weight, the librarian flicked open the cover to reveal a familiar map showing a mountain range down the middle and the word 'Mordor' printed on the right hand page. The assembled cantinas looked at the librarian with admiration.
"Isn't it possible to change people's minds?" asked Ande, as Gilroy and Shoeless helped Psycho wrestle the book back onto the shelf.
"Things are changing now," the librarian replied, "the town council removed the restriction on us buying science fiction and fantasy books last year as George is becoming a bit of a money-spinner for Modesto, now that we have the festival in the summer."
"So that's what it meant on the printout when it said Summer Graffiti," said Gina, "I'd better get rid of this," she took a can of multi-coloured spray paint from her coat pocket and placed it back in her rucksack.
"So if attitudes are changing, can't you restock the books?" asked Ande.
"We're trying dear," the librarian began twisting her beads again, "but we have so much to catch up on, Pratchett, Asimov, Bradbury, Heinlein. We don't have enough money to buy the classics, never mind newer novels. There's only so much you can do with a one hundred dollar budget for books by new authors."
"Money? Real money?" said Hillz.
"Why yes, of course it's real money," said the librarian, "what other sort is there?"
"What I'd give for genuine cash," said 10s, shaking moths from her pockets.
"We're writers, we could help you," said Ande turning to look at the other cantinas, an inspired look in her eyes.
"How would you do that dear?" asked the librarian.
"We could write you some books," said Ande, there were several murmurs of agreement from other cantinas. The librarian dropped her beads and raised her eyebrows in a quizzical look,
"For one hundred dollars?"
"That's more money than we've ever been paid in total for writing before. How many would you need?" said Ande.
"We have two shelves and they hold fifty books each. We could retrieve the fifty or so books that are scattered around the library, so we would need around fifty more. Could you do that?" asked the librarian, looking from face to face.
"Certainly we could do that," said Ande, a chorus of "absolutely" and "you bet" came from all around, Ande continued, "We could come back in time for next years literary festival. If you had a science fiction and fantasy theme, we could launch our books at the same time."
"That's all very well, but I don't know very much about this genre anymore. I wouldn't know who to contact to organise everything," said the librarian, her cheeks turning slightly pink and reaching for her beads once more.
"We would," chorused Junely and Fen, notebooks and pens poised.
"So," said Bos, "that's fifty new books and organising next years Modesto library literary festival in return for one hundred dollars cash. What do you say ma'am?" The aged librarian looked around, beads forgotten, a broad smile on her face,
"If you're sure that one hundred dollars is payment enough for all of you young people then I'd be delighted," she said.
"Wonderful, sign here please," Bos produced a contract and a ball-point pen from his pocket. The cantinas cheered as the librarian signed. There were accompanying tsks of disapproval from other library users at the noise.
Ten minutes later the cantinas had reassembled outside with their rucksacks packed and their enthusiasm returned. The old librarian came out to wave them goodbye as they set off.
"Readers. Real readers," said Ali, packing away her tea mug and getting out a pen and notepad.
"I know, isn't it brilliant?" said Bettie, "I can't wait to get home and start writing again."
"Me neither," said Cobra, sitting with his feet up on the handlebars, lap-top balanced across both knees, and typing so fast his fingers were a blur across the keyboard, "with a little luck, I'll have this finished before we get home."
"Only if you've invented a new dictionary," said Debio, "what kind of word is asdfghjkl anyway?"
Cobra looked sheepish and went back to his normal hunt and peck typing style, muttering under his breath.
Returning home, the writers poured into the cantina to begin new works and to start polishing up old manuscripts. In their corner of the cantina Fen and Junely fixed up a new banner, the result of some fast knitting on the return journey, "Fen and Junely SFF literary festivals. Where time falls asleep and imagination comes alive."
Ande - for agreeing to be the hero
Cam and Etola - for the library classification information
Last edited by aliwood; 06-24-2012 at 02:09 AM. Reason: Typos and thank yous
Upstairs for thinking, downstairs for dancing.
Love it. Dang. 1 year. What 10 or 12 people? That's five books each. 1k a day 3 days a week aint gonna cut it. I need to get going on that.3k a day, start editing the first book the second month while maintaining the 3k a day on the new book, yeah, that's doable.
You're my new hero Ali! Thanks for giving me something awesome to read whilst I time contractions.
Have I ever mentioned that I'm not a very patient person? Yeah, this is killing me just a wee little bit.
Oh, and Good Morning Friends!
Morning all and great story!
sorry not much typing s hands are currently numb from using the weed eater.
and now i have a SQUEE!!! (First story review)
Is there such a thing as Amazon.com Addicts Anonymous? Please, this is a cry for help!
So let me see, you have either run out of books to read, or run out of money, or run out of eyes to read with or run out of mouse clicks or your mail delivery firm employs someone specifically to deliver to your address*, or you are forced to check every two minutes just in case there's a new book for you to buy, read, review. One of those, or all of them?
* i once knew someone who reported that the postman had turned up that morning and when she asked what he'd brought he had to admit that he didn't actually have anything to deliver, it was just that he always seemed to be calling that this particular address and he'd gone there on automatic pilot. It was about 2 miles down a country lane too, well out of his way.
Upstairs for thinking, downstairs for dancing.