Friday, January 16, 2015

The Adventures of Karl the Potato, Part I: The Magic Shoe

Once upon a time, there was a potato named Karl. Karl was a very smart potato, which is like a smart cookie, only healthier. In fact, if you were to scoop out Karl's insides, they might have resembled brains... if you colored them and sculpted them and squinted and used your imagination.

Karl's earliest memories were of dirt. In fact, most of his memories were of dirt. Having lots of eyes doesn't really do you much good when most of your time is spent totally underground. He might have been able to see earthworms sometimes if it weren't so dang dark under there. If you're wondering how Karl got so smart when his whole life was spent in the cold, dark, and quiet of hanging out in one spot underground all the time, then remember, Karl was only very smart for a potato. Most potatoes aren't very smart. In fact, potatoes are known for laziness and watching TV. Some of the most ambitious potatoes succeed in eventually becoming french fries.

What made Karl so special was that some of Karl's eyes were actually ears, and after he was harvested from the ground, he quickly picked up on the art of language. Of course, with no mouth, Karl had no way of speaking, but being unable to speak often makes one a marvelous listener. He heard all sorts of discussions, and the market where he waited to be bought was frequented by college students and professors who loved to talk about how smart they were and exactly what made them so dang smart. It's difficult to listen quietly to these kinds of discussions without learning something, and Karl had nothing better to do but listen, so as a result, he learned quite a lot. For a potato.

After Karl was bought, he didn't have as many people to listen to anymore. He tried communicating with his fellow potatoes, but potatoes aren't much in the way of conversationalists. Karl watched as his fellow potatoes were eaten one by one, and he knew one day it would be his turn. But as he waited, he grew more and more bored. Around the time he started thinking he couldn't stand the waiting anymore, he remembered a story he had heard a mother in the supermarket tell her fussing children. The story featured a young woman who called on her fairy godmother, who gave her magic shoes. So Karl wished as hard as he could for the Potato Godmother to come help him. It wasn't long before poof! The Potato Godmother appeared.

As it turns out, Big Bird has a side job as the Potato Godmother. It's not a very difficult job, since most potatoes don't have the presence of mind to summon her. Him. It. Whatever. Karl was as delighted as potato can possibly be! He related to the Potato Godmother the story of the girl with the magic shoes as well as he remembered it (telepathically, of course, since that's the only way potatoes can communicate), and the Potato Godmother asked, "So... all you want is magic shoes? Not a dress and a horse and carriage and so on?"

"Yes yes, just the shoes will be more than enough!" exclaimed Karl eagerly. And telepathically.

"Well golly, shoes are the easiest part of the package! I bet I could make you magic shoes that last well past midnight! In fact, if I did only one shoe, I could make it last even longer!" So the Potato Godmother waved her/his/its magic wand and with another poof! the Potato Godmother was gone and Karl now had a magic shoe!

To be continued...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Doors that open inward

I keep meaning to post something, but I keep putting it off because I haven't decided whether I want to start a new blog now that I've returned to Alaska or just start writing in this one again. Indecision has rendered me inactive, I'm afraid. I hate it when that happens. So for now, I guess I'll take the path of least resistance and write here.

But what to write? Writer's block is the worst. I hate it when I want to write something, and I'm totally ready and motivated, but it's like the words of half-formed ideas are trying to shove their way out of my head so fast that they clog the way and nothing ends up coming to me. It reminds me of one of the rare history lessons I actually remember from grade school. I think it was my sixth-grade social studies teacher who taught us about some big building or other, I think in NYC, that caught fire. Everyone inside was panicking, pushing and shoving to get out of the building, but the doors opened inward, and the people at the exits didn't have room to open the doors so everyone could get out. Consequently, a lot of people died. I think she said after that, a law was passed saying that certain kinds of buildings had to have doors that opened outward for that reason. Obviously the door leading from my thoughts to my hands opens inward. But if that's the case, then obviously my thoughts can't be that bright, if they aren't even smart enough to just take a step backward so the door has room to open. That's one of the problems with quantity over quality, I guess.

Doors are funny things. I know a lot of writers that contemplate the meaning of doors. Some people like to hypothesize that doors are some kind of magical portal because they can magically get you from one place to another. These people are often high, I think. Doors are just empty space with an outline that holds the wall out of the way. Nothing magical about that. Unless the doorway has been enchanted, of course. You know what is magical about doors? If you close the right ones at the right times, you can keep the dogs from stealing your food.

One time I tried to open a door inward, but I was half-asleep at the time. The door swung open faster than I meant it to, rebounded off my big, clumsy foot, then crashed into my head as I tried to move forward through the door. It kind of hurt. Stupid door. If I had been two people, the one watching it happen to the other would have laughed hysterically, though.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Excerpt from an old journal entry

October 10, 2009
The first thing I would like known about me is that I do not pronounce the word "pen" the same way I pronounce "pin." Also, I hate neon orange gel pens. Yellow and green are atrocious too, but the orange ones are the metaphorical leaders of the gang, and so I hate them the most. They're abusive and sadistic. Also, they kick puppies. I've seen it. Therefore, I propose all forms of discrimination and persecution be redirected toward neon orange gel pens as well as their manufacturers and distributors.

Octopuses are really funny-looking. I bet being octopused to death would be really painful. Seriously, how bad would it hurt to have an octopus latched onto your face, gouging your eyes out with its beak? Hey, that's like something from an Alien movie, minus the part where the babies burst out of your chest and kill you. Oh yeah, and kill everyone else, but you wouldn't really care, because you would be dead.

Friday, February 7, 2014


I had this really weird dream.

My dad took me to a horse farm and bought me a horse. It was a dark horse with darker spots--I think he was part appaloosa. This horse was extremely cranky, and he had scars all over because apparently he had been in a fight with a bull. His previous owner hadn't given him a lot of one-on-one time. I was given to understand that he wasn't really mean, neglectful, or abusive, but he was the kind of guy who saw his horses (and he had a lot of them) as tools instead of living things that need attention. Ironically, he had named this horse Pet.

I got to ride Pet around and groom him and bond with him, and then we left to go do something else for a while. But I was so excited about Pet that I couldn't wait to go back and see him again, so we went back so I could spend more time with him. We went up to his stall in the barn where he was living, and Pet wasn't there. Instead, there was a big, dark, healthy-looking thoroughbred.

I looked in all the other stalls, but Pet wasn't there either. We went back to the desk (because apparently this barn had one) and said, "Hey, where's Pet?"

The lady said, "Right there in his stall." She showed us how the horse in Pet's stall had a fine bronze tag on his harness that said "PET" in big engraved block letters.

"But that's not Pet," I said. "You put the name on the wrong horse."

"Oh," said the lady. "How embarrassing. Well, let me go get Pet for you, then." So she left and brought out another horse. It was a fine, beautiful horse with a spirited step, possibly an Andalusian. But that wasn't Pet either. So she went back out to the fields where there were dozens of horses milling about, and she brought back horse after horse. None of them were Pet.

Finally, I asked if I could go look. We wandered through field after field and saw tons of horses. We returned to the barn and checked every single stall, then checked the fields again. I was told I might as well just pick a different horse--I could have any one I wanted. Besides, they were all stronger, healthier, better-adjusted, and probably better-trained horses than Pet was.

I don't remember whether I did eventually pick a different horse. If I did, I certainly don't remember anything about what kind of horse I picked. All I remember is that we never did find Pet.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


For Christmas, Jack got me the 2012 release of Les Miserables, which is a musical I saw in London and thoroughly enjoyed. I was worried that turning it into a movie would make it seem forced, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well it had been done. When Inspector Javert was introduced, I felt absolutely sure I had seen the actor before.

Jack informed me that, duh, the guy was Russell Crowe, to which I responded, "Who?" I don't recall having heard the name Russell Crowe before. Jack rattled off the names of a bunch of movies that I had never heard of that Crowe was famous for, and of course, I had never heard of them either. After the movie, I checked (internet movie database), which listed every movie, TV show, etc. that the guy had appeared in. I had never seen a single thing on the list, and had only ever even heard of one or two of them.

To remedy my ignorance, Jack decided to show me the movie Gladiator, in which Russell Crowe starred as Maximus Decimus Meridius. I have now seen a whole two movies that Russell Crowe was in. Hooray!

I find that Russell Crowe has very distinctive eyes. They droop a little, which makes him look permanently worried or sad. I suspect that this may have been partly why he was cast as Maximus Decimus Meridius. Allow me to sum up the gist of the movie using Russell Crowe's facial expressions.

"I'm worried because we're about to fight a battle."

 "Now I'm sad because even though we won the battle, a lot of my buddies are dead. Also, I think this guy might be Dumbledore, but I'm not sure."

"Now my family's been murdered and I've been enslaved and forced to fight as a gladiator. That makes me sad."

"My buddy and I are going to win this fight. But look at all this carnage. How sad."

"The new emperor just made jokes about when he murdered my wife and child. What a jerk."

"This is my angry face."

"This definitely feels like a legit time to be worried, since that's the emperor who wants me dead."

"Oh no, I'm dying. What if I get reincarnated as a French guy?"

"What if Jean Valjean steals another loaf of bread? That might be the end of the world! What revolution? Oh yeah. That too. Allow me to sing you the song of my people."

So that's that. I do have to admit, Russell Crowe is a hottie. They played that up in Gladiator. Notice that in the pictures above, even after having been a slave and a gladiator for months, his hair and beard are still perfectly trimmed and styled.

I like Russell Crowe better as Maximus Decimus Meridius than as Javert. But then, I never really understood Javert. "Oh no, I don't understand why this guy made the decision he did. Welp, time to kill myself."

I want to see a movie with him in a role where he smiles more. That's a really nice smile.

The end.