2pm Focus

It has just hit a quarter past 2pm on Thursday, the 31st of March, 2017. I have two tests tomorrow and I cannot focus for the life of me. I have never been able to focus at this hour for some reason, my previous knife-edged focus disintegrate into a fine powder when faced with 14:00 hours on my computer. Of course, you can connect this with the fact that our brain caffine (Scientifically called Cortisol) levels are at their lowest around now.

So instead I’m browsing the internet, importing blog posts from the old version of this website, drinking coffee and opening my window and looking out at it, writing about how Medium is very important to a young writer these days, and watching the young men from the buisness management college that shares the same land with my dorm playing cricket. They seem happy, throwing the ball, laughing, clapping, shouting, mock punching each other. Right now they’re all I can focus on, them and this blog post.

Soon my focus will pick up and I can go right back to mixing 1 part study with 4 parts procrastination for my two tests tomorrow.

When are we going to admit we are living in cyberpunk now?

At what point are we gonna wake up, draw the curtains, put our hands on our hips and go “Yep, I’m in living in cyberpunk now.” Not a cyberpunk future, a cyberpunk Now. When an unqualified fascist takes over control of the most powerful country in the world? When a company is trying to sell us Bane’s mask in order to protect our privacy during phone calls, and a denim jacket to make the calls? Perhaps when a man has to flee his country in order to declare the government is spying on us. Maybe when it’s raining constantly? When we don’t even need our own limbs anymore? Or when every city looks like the image I used in the header of this post, of a vast, glowing Akira at night, each tower looking like a data stack on a computer board. One thing I always liked about cyberpunk as an aesthetic is that it was never a far reaching future I will never see, of aliens and spaceships. Cyberpunk was always very real, and it soon will be real.

A timeline of A Day 2 Play 2017

Slight Preface: A Day 2 Play is a competition held by the University of Canterbury Drama Society (Dramasoc) where a small team of five have 24 hours to write, direct, rehearse and perform a 15-minute play. I signed on as a writer (Of course), which meant I had 12 insomnia-inducing hours of writing a script that was 15 minutes in length using what I was given. Although it has been a few weeks since then, here is what I remember of that night.

6 pm: Slightly panic because the bus is late, and wonder if I can get there in time. When I get on, accidentally sit behind the most sickeningly in love couple1. Get there in time, talk to a few people. The people who are supposed to be telling us everything are late. They get there late and we are divided up into teams. I meet the girl who would quickly become a close friend. We are told the rules and given sealed envelopes which contain a prop, a line and a situation we must use.

7 pm: Open the envelopes, where we find out what we have to use:

  • Our line: “Well that could’ve gone worse.

  • Our situation: A very awkward encounter.

  • Our Prop: Eclipse.

… Eclipse? What the hell is that? My mind starts formulating ideas: Could I somehow make a Berserk parody2? And then we find out. Twilight: Eclipse. The terrible book. So, of course, there’s no way we could make a good, serious play with that. Which means that after we are ushered out to our own rooms terrible jokes and scripts are made. It soon became a goal of wondering how much cringe we could fit into 15 minutes.

8 pm: A basic plot idea is established, and then the rest of my team leave me alone to write a basic outline while they get pizza (No objections). I was left with a Surface Pro to work with, and I have to say it wasn’t too bad, although I found the keyboard somewhat uncomfortable for my style of typing. The managers of the event come in and find that I’ve been left alone, which leaves them furious. My team comes back about 50 minutes later, get a talking to about leaving me alone, but then we get pizza and begin to work on our ideas.

We eventually establish our rough plot outline: During Orientation Week at Canterbury University3, a drunken student finds a sheet of paper with Eclipse, and thinking that it is a massive party sets out on a quest to find just exactly where Eclipse is. Turns out it is just a book signing of the new book by Stephanie Meyer (Who ended up being played by me… somehow. Which was also slightly meta because I was the writer of this play who sets the protagonist off on her quest and the writer in the play who sets the protagonist on her quest.).

9 pm: I begin to head home. End up nearly going the wrong way. I see some guy walking in full black across a field and all I can think of is “Not today.”, before turning around. Get on the bus and miss my stop because I was so lost in thought thinking what the hell I’m gonna write in about ten hours. One of them being some narrative in which the main character is given a bag for some reason (Which I later worked into the storyline). Get home and have dinner, talk to my friends for a bit, see that everyone’s drinking, make some coffee, retreat to my room, open a new Scrivener screenplay project just for the play and get to working on it. Get significant anxiety as to how I’ll be actually able to finish this script in time. Wash it down with copious amounts of coffee and lemonade.

10 pm: Get a Facebook Messenger call from the other guys in my team on some of the other ideas. One of them being the introduction of some conflict: An ex-boyfriend policeman character for the main characters lover person.

11 pm – 2 am: Writing haze as I get everything set up right. Ignore the ex-boyfriend character for now because I’m not sure how to slot him in.

3 am: Not feeling tired because I made sure not to wake up until 1 pm, and I’ve drunk plenty of coffee in the meantime. Figure out how to fit the ex-boyfriend character in: make him arrest the main character for ‘littering’ a hair outside a hospital. As the whole play had some Twilight themed characters ( the main character was Edward, the lover was Isabella, the ex was Jacob) I made it that he thought he was a wolf. It’s the kinda stuff you get at 3 am when you’re caffeinated and stressed. Feel for the first time that I might actually get this script done in time and of an appropriate length.

4 am: Finish off the first draft of the script, title it, put the synopsis, characters and settings in, send it to everyone else, relax on Lainchan.

5 am: The others wake up and start giving me their criticism feedback on what I’ve written, which I fix up. Reorder scenes to make it make sense, and rename some of the characters.

6 am: Finish the script, send it off, turn the lights off and go to sleep. Well, watch a few videos on my phone first.

7 am: Finally fall into a blissful sleep.

1 pm: Wake up, have a shower, have breakfast.

2 pm: Leave half an hour later than I should, only to return because I need to grab some clothes that we can use in the stage play.

3 pm: Finally get on the bus, wonder just how much the idiots other people in my team had ruined adapted my script. Get there at 3:30, walk through the rain. Learn that while I was sleeping they established the characters: An Indian guy will play a Soviet Russian professor, the only girl will play the lead, the guy with the deepest voice will play the girlfriend of the lead, and one guy will play four different characters. Apparently, they loved my little bit about the wolf. I’m told I’ll be Stephanie Meyer, and I’m put in a flowing pink skirt (Over my jeans).

4 pm: Rehearse, rehearse, revise, rehearse. Send a fixed version of the script off. Told I’ll be the sound manager, which was slightly terrifying at first but it soon mellowed out once I found how easy and short each song was.

7 pm: Get there, get ready. Buy a coke and talk to the other groups to see just what they’re doing. Get setup on stage and do a few practice twirls in my skirt to see what it’s like (This is important).

7:15 pm: Watch the first groups play, it’s nothing special.

7:45 pm We’re up. It’s going time. I manage the sound while I see just how much cringe they can perform. Sounds easy enough to do, just gotta watch for the cues. One of the managers of the event is just cringing and looking at his phone, the other one is just laughing so hard, telling me how solid a writer I am. When it’s finally time to enter the stage I do the perfect twirl, a little laugh. Fortunately, I have no speaking lines, and the biggest thing I did was give the finger as I walked off stage.

8:15 pm: I’m fairly confident that we did better than the last guys, but then the other group step up and absolutely floor us, which I suspect is that they never even pretend the fourth wall existed in first place. I resigned to defeat in face of how well written their play is.

8:45 pm: Winners are announced, our director wins the best director but mostly for his terribly excellent Russian accent. Of course, the last team won for their excellent play. I talk a little with the winners, especially the writer.

9 pm: I get home, have dinner, and go to sleep early because I thought I had a math test the next day. Turns out I didn’t.

Looking back on this event, it was fun as hell. I may have lost, but given what I was working with (Eclipse book) and that this was the first stage play I had ever written, I am quite happy with the result. I made people laugh, cringe, and all around have a good time. It’s the most I can do with what I was given.

Here’s the cringe if you want to read it.

  1. Randomly kissing each other, hugging, resting their heads in each other’s laps. 
  2. For my own writings on Berserk, see my editorial on Dragonslayer and my recently published post on why Griffith has good character traits
  3. Which is filled with a lot of partying and very little study (Perfect way to get university students in the study mood.) Events this year included: Toga party, Mardi Gra’s, hypnotists, and a foam party. 

A year since

It’s been a year,
Since I went walking with you in Scarborough,

I wore a jacket that was black like the night,
In contrast to the waterfront Arcade,
And my shirt and shoes,
Blue like the sea which you and I walked near.

The days were long and fulfilling,
We went up the steep streets
And down, from city to waterfront
I imagine it must have killed you.

Up and down, buying things
Eating sweet things
Drinking coffee which to this day
I have never tasted better.

And I feared the hour of Scarborough’s closing,
Like a murderer fears the gallows.
For when those slow, fat reapers came for us,
I knew my heart would go shallow.

My dearest wish is to return there,
with Grandmother dearest and you.
And once again explore all the joys,
that can be offered by Scarborough,

With you, Grandfather.

Reddit and a paranormal story

I’ve only started roaming Reddit on a regular basis in the last few months and it’s interesting to the say the least. One subreddit in particular, has drawn my attention a number of times.

The paranormal side of Reddit is a hive of spiritual experiences, ghost stories and the occasional video or photo “evidence” etc. Now a lot of it is most likely complete bull####, but every now and then you come upon that one post that radiants some legit paranormal activity type s###…. maybe.     

One post I’ve seen recently, posted by user Oricu details the experience of his procurement of a haunted doll on a whim. Now the comments of said post are filled with what you might expect, skeptics, trolls, assh#### and the occasional believer and supporter. Now years ago I would’ve called myself a skeptic, but I’ve experienced a few things which have made my ass uncomfortably rest on a metaphorical fence. One such experience was a house I lived in when I was young. Now at first the place was fine, it was a big fenced off property, with plenty of space and it was relatively cheap, which my mum loved, but after a year things started to get weird.

One of my sisters was on a junior netball team at the time and my mum used to have meetings for the team at our place to talk about ball size and s### like that (bad joke). During one such meeting, my mum noticed one of the other mums at the meeting looking terrified and staring at the roof support beam that ran along our kitchen ceiling. Eventually, the meeting ended and she forgot all about it. That’s was until a few days later when a friend of my mum who knew that woman well pulled my mum aside and brought it up, explaining what had happened.

Apparently, the women at the meeting had seen a noose hanging from the kitchen roof and was frozen with fear as it just swung there for the remaining twelve or so minutes of the meeting. Now at that point, I called bulls### and said guessed the women was a fruitcake.

After a few years in the place and some not so great stuff happening to my family during that time ranging from verbal and mental abuse from a drunkard of a stepfather to money problems, which all seemed to start when we lived there, though I just chalk that up to coincidence. Anyway, eventually, we decided to move. What happened during the last few days at the house was strange, to say the least.

You see in this house was a laundry room which was down a few steps to the main part of the house to help prevent flooding if a washing machine went on the fritz or if a tap was leaking (I guess). Now the second day into moving out we came early in the morning to continue packing and cleaning and the taps (for the washing machine) in the laundry room where on. Now the washing machine was one of the first things to go so the water just went straight onto the floor, but luckily the water never rose into the house and the laundry was made to dry quickly since it was mostly concrete and it also had a sunroof. We just mopped up and brushed it off and got on with the move. But then It happening again the next day. Both taps hot and cold on full blast, with the water level just short of flooding into the main part of the house the house.

Day three the same thing happened and at this point, my mum was not only pissed but confused. The house was always locked up tight and no one else had a key besides the landlord and he lived out of town and only stopped in on the fourth day to see how we were getting along. Also he himself never lived in the house and actually owned a few homes alongside a real estate agency.

My mum told him what had been happening and eventually he told use ever so reluctantly that a former child occupant of the house from many years ago had drowned in the nearby harbour. I also brought up the hanging noose story to the guy and he said that before the house was moved to where it was now, it used to be part of a bushmen lodge over seventy years ago, the lounge and “KITCHEN” anyway and that there were stories of a hunter that hanged himself in the house.

The icing on the cake was me walking inside on the fourth day alone as everyone went to get lunch and asking the boy whose name we got from the landlord, but which I don’t want to disclose (sorry), to stop and that he shouldn’t be afraid and that the new tenants will be nice people. I just thought why the f### not, let’s see If me saying this does something. It did… The next morning the taps weren’t on and for the last two days of moving nothing happened, the taps stayed off. Sadly the new tenants turned out to be not so nice people. They were drop kick druggies that had parties every night, trashed the house and lived off the benefit, I felt bad in a way because of that.

All in all, It was a weird experience and a week in living at the new pad my mum dug up some more dirt on the history of that house. We found out that another guy that had lived there all alone apparently went insane and his family had to admit him to a mental health unit where he eventually killed himself. Not only that but my mum took a job at a retirement home a year later as a carer and guess who’s working there, the boy’s mother. According to my mum she was a bitter old harpy, but I guess that was no surprise since her only child had passed away.

My mum never told her what are family had experience out of fear of being ridiculed and maybe a bit of fear of the woman, to be honest, I don’t really know. So yeah that’s it, this s### might seem to be a steven king wannabes attempt at a piss poor fanfic but it really did happened, take it as you will I just thought I would share the tale.

Thumbnail art by Leena Kill (slurmed.com)

Paranormal subreddit:  https://www.reddit.com/r/Paranormal/

Valiant Shorts: The Hunt Part 1 The Paladin

Vibrant lights, soft music, and a carefree atmosphere filled the dim dining room of Lee Harvey’s lounge. The gentle voice of an unknown yet gifted singer serenaded the ears of each money clad patron, conversing and laughing with subtle smiles as expensive wine unlocked lips and unleashed secrets. It was the place to be in the Boston security zone; decent food, proper alcohol, and real blue blood luxury. Corporate fat cats and bureaucrats knew it well.

Tapping a fingernail upon the sandalwood table, the woman precariously sipped at her glass of expensive burgundy wine. She savoured every flavour of the naturally processed beverage. The years following the “event” had not been kind to cuisine in the least and now in 2029 to taste “real” food and drink were a limited luxury. There wasn’t exactly a shortage of chefs and brewers, more a complete stagnation of agriculture around the entire world replaced with synthetic supplements and meals.

Reaching down into her purse, she removed a holo-pad which held the details of the target. The paladin sitting across from her mulled over her features. How long had it been since he was with a woman? Eight years, ten?  The exact time and place eluded him.

“It’s a simple hunt,” she mumbles through a slight sigh. The paladin speaks calmly, sounding devoid of any feeling, besides boredom. “Listen, this is far from simple, that’s why you asked specifically for me. You know how long I’ve been doing this and you know I’m good, otherwise, you wouldn’t have set up this meet.” She laughs and for the first time, the paladin notices how attractive she is. “Well with the increases in attacks, we need the best, even oath breaking paladins.” The paladin begins to show emotion, one emotion specifically…. anger.

“Look I honour the oath of my order, I live by it and I’ll most likely die by it. But the city is tearing itself apart, with more districts than not under martial law or damn near close, it’s my job to decommission their kind if they go off the rails.” She smiles, speaking with a hint of judgement which resonates in her voice. “Even if you superiors don’t give the order hmm?”

The paladin relaxes, regretting the show of emotion. “Sometimes ma’am, sometimes” She begins to speak again but catches herself as she seems to get lost in thought, a look of anxiousness spreading across her fine face. The sound of a patron at a far table munching on plasto-beans, the only sound attacking the silence. She suddenly snaps back to reality, her eyes settling upon the adjacent window, whatever was on her mind is gone now. “Well, do you want the job or not Paladin? ” He nods “Yes, for two grand more.” Resentment flickers in her eyes, but she remains collected. “Deal, but you best deliver.” A precarious smile starts to forms on the paladin’s face “Don’t worry, I’ll get it done.”  To be continued….