LJ Idol Mini Season

Well, hello.  (I'm alive.  Was not killed by an endless flood of water as suggested by my last - slightly ominous - post)

Posting to declare my intent to begin updating this journal again - mainly with submissions to LJ Idol.  If you'd like to also take part in the mini season, you can do so here.

As requested.. three prompt suggestions:

1.) A Dictionary for Dreamers
2.) This All Happened
3.) Doppelganger

LJ Idol: Week 24: Cupertino Effect

I wait until Frankie is on the front porch, readjusting the arms on his Swiss Army backpack.  I can see him trying to work out which direction the straps should be pulled through the plastic holsters.

The dorm is empty now.  I sit down amidst the empty chip bags and beer cans littering the sofa and coffee table.  I'm ready to liberate myself from my relationship with Mia and indulge in a life of single bachelorhood with my bros.

My fingers speed along the surface of my iPhone's keyboard.  "I'm sorry.  This just isn't working out."  I think about going into deeper explanation, but why make it even worse on her.  She doesn't need to know that I'm having too much fun at SFU to be tied down.  It's not like I'm heartless.

That's it.  It's done.   I breathe a sigh of relief.

The screen on my phone lights up.  A message back.  "What isn't working out? Did you do your taxes?"

Well, that's frustrating.  She's making this more difficult than it needs to be.  I won't play into her game though.  "Us.  You and I."  I decide not to bother with the tax question.  Maybe she figures that if she can change the topic, she can just avoid dealing with the issue.  I don't know.

A text back.  "I've been thinking that for a long time too. Glad we agree. Seriously, did you do your taxes or not? I have room for 1 more on my Turbo Tax account if u need it."

"Enough about the taxes! You're just trying to distract me from ending things.  The truth is, I just don't think your fun enough."

"That hurts, Daniel. I'm not sure what part of Turbo Tax doesn't seem like a party to you.  Swing by on Sunday to pick up the disk."

Passive aggressive bullshit. Mia had never been one to be so unaccomodating. A girl's true colours certainly do show once the shit hits the fan.

"I'm not coming by Sunday. Or ever again," I type.  "Do you understand?!  This is over.  I have a new life now.  And your not in it!!!!"
I felt that the extra exclamation marks were necessary in conveying how mad I was.

"I guess you won't be needing any money then?  Sad. & I was going to make your favourite.  More lasagna for everyone else."

"I dont kno what your on about but I dont find this very funny. I was just trying 2 have an honest conversaton with u and this is how u respond?  What a bitch.  I am so done with u.  U weren't even that good in bed. Ur just mad that ur stuck there in that shitty town while I'm off at SFU actually doing somethin with my life. I dont want 2 end up like our parents. Or like u."  I know that my typing has gone to shit, but I'm so angry that she's trying to make things more difficult than they need to be.  I'm impatient to have this be over and done with.

"Daniel..?  It sounds like we need to talk."

Great.  Let's prolong the process even more.

I notice an incoming call on my screen, but it's not from Mia.  Panic hits me.

For Christ's sake.  Have I just broken up with my mother?
Sure enough, there it is.  In place of Mia's name on the conversation header is 'Ma'.

I answer the call.

Topic 1: Last Chance Idol: In the Garden

In the Garden

It was our second date and I wanted to leave. I wasn't into him. However, Bradley looked so enraptured by the idea of a Saturday night party that I felt too bad leaving him at the beach. He bought rum, pineapple juice and Sprite, plus some cups made out of coconuts to mix it all into. He looked so ecstatic, it was as if he'd been invited to his first junior high jellybean dance. I could practically see the mushroom cut on him fifteen years ago. His ears would have stuck out awkwardly and he would have had blue elastic bands on his braces. He wouldn't have danced with any girls, but played Magic the Gathering with his friends in the corner. At the very least, Pokemon would have been discussed. He definitely chose Squirtle as his first; I could tell.

“This might not be your kind of thing,” I told him. “I love my friends, but they're not for everyone.” I don't know why I felt so nervous trying to justify my life when I wasn't even attracted to him.

Bradley slipped his lukewarm hand into mine as if to reassure me. I hated the feeling of his smooth knobby fingers in between mine and desperately wanted to pull away. I didn't though. I just hoped he wouldn't try to kiss me.

The house – the one that I lived in and which I jokingly referred to as 'the commune' since we had no working television, computers, radio or anything more complex than a record player – was a two storied seafoam green relic with a jungle of trees out front. I took Bradley to the back door. A giant cartoon cat head was perched on top of the fence. Bradley touched it's nose. “Nice.”

“Hey, if you want to leave at any point, feel free. I mean, just so you know.”

Bradley squeezed my hand. I nearly retched. I led him into the garden to be introduced to everyone.

Several cats pranced around the area in high spirits. The commune owned about five dark and wild eyed felines. There was someone eating and juggling fire while a girl with a shaved head and purple glasses played the ukelele. The yard was crowded with plaid flannel and long hair and wafts of cigarette smoke and slow laughter. Some people were dressed up for the summer solstice. Anna, the party's host, was one of them.

She was in a white dress with a crown of white daisies on her head. There was a wine bottle in her hand with a dripping yellow candle fitted into the neck. I introduced her to Bradley and then fled to the kitchen to mix some drinks into the coconuts and explain my self-induced Bradley dilemma to Chelsea.

Chelsea was unsuprisingly unsympathetic.

A long yeowl followed by a banshee wail interrupted our discussion. A small group of us followed it outside and stood on the porch to watch several cars whiz by.

Anna was sprawled over a small black shifting mass in the middle of the street, the white dress wilted around her legs. She was moaning as if she was in physical pain. I thought it was she who had been hit at first. Bradley was beside her with his hand on her shoulder. We watched them pick up one of Anna's cats – Bear – and carry him to the side of the road. “Is he dead? Can you look at him? I can't look,” she was sobbing.

I could see both of them caressing their thumbs over the top of his crushed black head.

“He's gone,” John said. “He's already gone.”
They took him to the vet. The rest of us, Chelsea, Bradley and I, stayed behind.

The party in the garden raged on regardless. Some people spoke about Bear's death and the summer solstice as two mystical events intertwined. “Did you notice that the candle stopped burning the moment he died?”

Everything seemed wrong and heartless. The partiers were oblivious to anything further than a collective easygoing delerium.  Both repulsed and compelled, I stayed.

Also, it's where I was living. It's not like there was much of a choice.

“I had a really good time,” Bradley assured me, reaching for my hand.

LJ Idol - Last Chance

I was forced to drop out of LJ Idol due to the move, living in the hippy commune and having no television, computer, radio, etc. I now have my own place and have time traveled back to 2014. There's apparently a chance for me to jump back into the competition - via Last Chance Idol - and this is my entry stating my intention to do so.


LJ Idol: Week 9: Keep calm and end this meme

The first time that thirteen-year-old Jessa tried to sign on to a chat-room, she'd covered her speakers with a pillow so that her parents wouldn't hear the computer dialing up to the internet. It turned out that the loud dialing, scratching, and military bleeping noises weren't actually coming from the speakers. She frantically stuffed the pillow against the front of the computer, the back of the computer, and even the front of the monitor. Nothing helped. The sounds echoed throughout the whole house and she felt doomed to wake her entire family.

Fortunately, this wasn't the case.

Her cousin had given her a bright red floppy disc with various gifs and jpgs of their favourite Sailor Moon characters saved onto it as well as a txt document with the URL for the java chat-room. All Jessa had to do was choose a handle and sign in. Easier said than done.

She sat there staring at the pale green and grey chat box for close to fifteen minutes.

Apparently SailorVenus was taken. As was SailorVenus13, SailorV4Ever, SailorSunshine and SailorJessa. Even SailorAngle was taken, despite the spelling error. She settled for JessaJamz86. She wasn't happy about it. She felt that it was lacking a fundamental part of her identity.

JessaJamz86 entered #DERP

Saburwulf: Hi. A/S/L?
Elfy39: Hi :)
TifaLockhurt: Hey cuz!
JessaJamz86: Hi
Saburwulf: A/S/L?
TifaLockhurt: Thatz my cuzin. She is 13. :)
Saburwulf: oh thatz prety young lol
JessJamz86: Lauren how do you turn off the internet dialling noise?/
TifaLockhurt: lol I dont no
Saburwulf: U cant! :)
JessJamz86: Why do people keep saying colon bracket. .. . :) this thing?? I dont know what that means!!!!
Saburwulf: lol it's a smiley face! Luk @ it sideways.

And thus began the single most romantic friendship Jessa had ever encountered in her thirteen years of living. She signed on to #DERP to talk to the witty, allegedly dashing, and excessively mature Saburwulf nearly every day for the next five years. Eventually, Saburwulf – who's real name was Richard – said that they should meet.

Jessa agreed. They should definitely meet. Richard seemed just as ambitious as herself. He spoke often about his plans for ending world hunger. (She privately thought he was a bit ridiculous and over-reaching.) His favourite kind of sandwich was peanut butter and pickle, which she thought was also ridiculous until he finally convinced her to try it. It was delicious. He told her that some day, they would end world hunger together with peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. Served with colon brackets, of course.

However, when it came down to the day that she was to fly out to Pittsburgh to meet him, she was too afraid to go. In fact, she never bought the plane ticket to begin with.

Her cousin – TifaLockhurt or, to be more precise, Lauren - consoled her by pointing out that she didn't know who that guy could have turned out to be. “He could be Steve Urkel's even nerdlier twin for all you know. Or a serial killer. A serial killer who looks like Urkel.”

Jessa solemnly agreed with her cousin's sound reasoning. Besides, they were both going to college soon. She needed all the spare cash she could get. She'd always been very goal oriented and she'd hate to see a silly online fling get in the way of her success. Especially one founded on an internet meme that she didn't even find funny.

The first time that 24-year-old Jessa attended a job interview, she neglected to research the company. To her credit, Disaster & Emergency Recovery Planning seemed straight forward enough. By this point, she'd completed a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Nonprofit Management. She was the perfect fit for the position.

Still, she'd paid extra attention to her appearance. She'd painstakingly ironed the seams into her dress pants. She'd chosen the perfect eggshell coloured blazer. The most conservative of gold necklaces to denote fiscal responsibility. A light layer of pink polish on her nails to show both pride and simplicity. She pinned her hair back into a tight chignon at her neck and applied the thinnest layer of Blistex medicated moisturizer on to her lips. She was ready to rock this thing. In a very calm and poised manner, of course.

When she sat down in the black leather chair, she felt the perfect amount of confidence. Albeit, she did feel the tiny stirring of butterflies in her stomach when she caught sight of the man who would be interviewing her. He had russet coloured hair, finger combed and furled at the sides of his face. His eyes looked like they were on the verge of sharing a confidential joke. His smile mid sentence. He was starting.

Interviewer: Would you describe yourself as a risk taker?
Interviewee: Only if I'm sure it will pay off.

Interviewer: How do you think previous colleagues would describe you?
Interviewee: I've only had an unpaid internship, but my colleagues would describe me as hard working, straight forward and high achieving.

Interviewer: What do you think makes you a good fit for this company?
Interviewee: I have a 4.0 GPA. I have outstanding references. I'm very diligent and detail oriented. I never missed a day of class and I know that I'm a person who can be counted on to excel in a professional environment.

Her interviewer paused to briefly scanned his notes. “I believe that about wraps things up. However, I do have one more question.”

“Of course,” Jessa nodded, eager for a chance to further prove her value to the company. The interview had gone quick; he must be impressed. She looked down at the business card she'd been handed upon arrival. She'd need to write thank-you e-mail as soon as she arrived home. Disaster & Emergency Recovery Planning. D.E.R.P. Richard Wolfe. Program Director. Horrified recognition dawned on her. Could it be?

Her supposed internet lover raised an eyebrow. A perfectly arched eyebrow. “I'm just curious if you have any idea what a colon bracket is? It seems to me that you may have forgotten.”

LJ Idol: Week 8: Yes, And

"Is that a...?"

"Yes, and it even has a butt flap."

The Ramada hotel. There we were. Scott (fellow Idol contestant buddyhollylover) in his onesie and me in my Thundercats t-shirt and pajama bottoms. After being friends online for about ten years, it was our first time meeting.  Well.  The day before was, anyway.  It was the second day of our first time meeting.  We were pretty excited.

Whenever Scott would stand up out of his chair, we'd burst out into quiet hysterics after the sound of velcro ripped through the room and he had to double check to make sure that the 'butt flap' of his onesie was still in tact. We were thirteen years old again.  It should be mentioned that I was the one to supply the metallic swim caps that we both wore later that trip.  Scott wasn't the only outrageous one.  Our levels of outrageousness were definitely on par with one another.  (But it's not a competition, right?)

I'd brought Kinder Surprise chocolates and a few other Canadian chocolate bars for him to try during our slumber party.  Wine as well.

We decided to start with the Kinder Surprise.

"Did you know that these were banned in the states?" I asked.  "Apparently the toy and chocolate combination is a choking hazard."

To explain for those of you who might have never seen one of these amazing inventions, it's a toy encapsulated in a hard plastic case inside of a chocolate egg.  It's small enough to fit in your palm. When Canadians first found out that they'd been banned in the US, we had a riot making Facebook posts about the outlawing of such a brilliant children's toy.

Scott took a good look at the egg and I tried emboldening him to open it.

Finally, he ripped the white and orange wrapper off the shell of the chocolate egg.  He placed the packaging in a unceremonious pile on the table.  Then.. he began to put the entire egg in his mouth.

It felt like time was going in slow motion.

"Noooo.." I wailed, reaching out to stop this monstrous act of self destruction. "Don't do it!"

He still wasn't comprehending what I was telling him and he was about to eat the entire egg with the toy inside.  I could see myself having to perform the Heimlich maneuver in mere seconds.  Puzzle pieces or bits of toy car or whatever else surprise the egg contained would be flying out of his mouth.  Maybe I'd have to perform emergency surgery when it ruptured his throat tubes.  You know.  Because someone who doesn't know the proper word for 'throat tubes' should be performing surgery in a hotel room and all.  "You'll choke!"

Thankfully, Scott had the sense to put it down and open it the proper way.  He split the egg into two and we each enjoyed a half of it while struggling to put together a race car meant for a five year old. I wish I could say this took us less than a few minutes.

If anything, my meeting with buddyhollylover resulted in some very important research:
We now know that the Kinder Surprise egg was banned in America for good reason! ;)


No Americans were harmed in the making of this post.

Disclaimer Disclaimer:

Except maybe pride.
Any jabs towards aforementioned Americans was all done in good fun!

A few photos of our meeting!Collapse )

LJ Idol: Week 7: No True Scotsman

Jamie Peterson woke up in Salem, Massachusetts, year 1692. Of course, she didn't know this at the time. She spent the first five minutes of her newly imposed conundrum rubbing her head and regretting the second bottle of cherry vodka she'd opened the night before. (Though she still couldn't help deeming it necessary in order to make it through the most socially awkward house party she'd ever held. Never again would she make the mistake of inviting both her Women's Studies friends and her floor hockey team to the same event. Never again.)

Finally, by will power alone, she propped herself up into what might pass as a standing position. Though we should probably give the old wooden barrel credit where it's due; it helped as well. Leaning against the side of the aforementioned barrel, Jamie investigated her surroundings.

The women were all wearing white bonnets over their pinned back hair. Keeping their noses pointed obstinately towards the dusty ground, they hobbled about their business with a collective disposition of practicality. Of course, this wasn't an attitude that Jamie had ever identified with. For her, it was beyond even being able to properly appreciate. The only thought that Jamie had towards these women was pity. Pity for their having to wear such ugly bonnets and for their oppressed lives and for their sensible, heavy lidded faces. “Damn it all to hell,” she muttered. “My friends must have dropped me at a heritage park of some sort.” She gazed around. No, these people looked too serious about their work. An Amish community, then.

“Excuse me,” a dawdling voice came from behind her. “I couldn't help noticing you there, hunched over and murmuring to yourself. Do you happen to be a witch?”

Jamie started. “A witch? No. Do I look like a witch to you?”

Her observer took a long look at her. Jamie took a long look at her observer. Hair pinned back under a ruddy white cap, dark lashes and a cracked and weathered face. This woman was the very picture of the humdrum. She gazed up into Jamie's eyes. “Yes, you do look very much like a witch. I've never seen shoes like those before,” the woman pointed to the Nike sneakers on her accused's feet. “Not to mention, you're running around half naked. And is that a demonic symbol on your arm?”

Jamie grimaced. The Chinese character for luck on her forearm had seemed like a good idea at the time. However, she'd hardly consider a tank top and jeans as being 'half naked' as the woman defined it.

“So what if it is,” she mustered, still leaning on the barrel and willing herself not to throw up cherry vodka.

“Spoken like a true witch,” the stranger nodded. “Only a true witch would answer a question with a question. You're using Satan's powers of deceit to try to divert me. I know what you're on about. I bet that is a demonic symbol.”

“You have no idea what anything is on about,” Jamie gawked. “Living up here in isolation in your little Amish wasteland and praying to God for something exciting to happen just once in your lifetime. How are you in any position to judge?”

The supposed-Amish woman blinked twice, trying to think of an appropriate response. When nothing came to her, she belted out, “Wiii-iitch!” and pointed a finger at Jamie's tired and bedraggled self. “Witch!”

The townspeople stopped in their tracks. A few imposing looking carpenter-types started coming towards her. Or perhaps they were blacksmiths. They were burly, at any rate. And they all had very impressive, potent looking beards. They were not well tended, those beards.

She clung to her barrel for dear life and suddenly wished she was a witch. She'd teleport somewhere far, far away from.. well, wherever she was.

No true witch would ever need to wish for her witchy powers.  She wondered if this would make for a good argument in her defense.

Definition for the No True Scotsman fallacy.
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LJ Idol: Week 6: "Step On a Crack"

"I'm interested in people's darker side, the ones that aren't easy and well balanced. The cracks." -- Noomi Rapace.

“Who has the flashlight?” It's completely black out and my voice is made small by the crashing of dark waves against solid rock. Nobody answers me and I curse my Minnie Mouse voice for the umpteenth time. Just don't step between the cracks, I tell myself, judging the distance from one giant piece of driftwood to another. I'm wearing a ridiculously frilly dress that looks like it belongs in an Easter parade while carrying my purse in one hand and a heavy bag of cider in the other. Balancing on a slippery log in flats that may as well be slippers (pun intended) is nearly impossible in the dark and I keep doing dramatic pelvis thrusts as I teeter back and forth.

Finally, someone scoops me up and carries me to the fire that's already raging. Almost everyone has stripped down to at least their underpants and Trevor has a portable record player that's playing the Beach Boys. “Aren't you going to strip?”

Of course the fire has lit up the entire area so that every inch of flesh on every single body is spotlit and I haven't even cracked one cider yet. I'd rather die than tear my floral dress off and then climb down to the water with a strong chance of repeating the pelvis thrust incident in the nude. “Maybe in a second.”

So I'm left there alone listening to the Beach Boys with the fire crackling and my patchouli scented friends hooting and hollering as they scramble down to their inevitable dooms. I hope to God I'm not expected to come and save them when calamity strikes. (Foreshadowing: I am.)

I can see the headlines now: University Drop Out Dies Trying to Save Nude Hipster Friends While “Fun Fun Fun” Plays Vigilantly in the Background.

I wonder if its too many nights like these that led me to my drop out. Two months prior, I was teaching high school English, working to get that Minnie Mouse voice of mine to project throughout an entire classroom, and dealing with a practicum supervisor who thought that getting me to dance around and pretend to be a chicken wing during our time together was the best way to solve my voice issues. (Yes, this was seriously a real life situation.)

Now, here I am, digging my red toenails into ocean cold rocks. Rowan is coming towards me, legs dripping with blood like she got her period early. “I crashed into a bunch of rocks and barnacles,” she laughs. “I'm fine.” There is blood everywhere. I'm searching for something to help her towel off and investigate how big the gashes are. Everyone else is still exclaiming over jellyfish and asking who has a spare smoke and who can pee into the ocean the furthest.

“Row, this looks really bad. Are you sure you're okay?”

She shrugs her slender shoulders, her page boy haircut flopped over her eyes. “Yeah. It'll probably scar, but that's okay.” She pulls her jeans over top of her legs before I can think to stop her. All that blood is going to make getting out of them a tragedy after it dries. “Don't even worry about it.”

But of course I'm going to worry about it. I worry about everything and all of them. I worry about myself. I wonder about what we're all going to do with our lives or if we're going to keep working as exterminators, liquor store vendors, flower girls, weed shop vendors, delivery people and whatever other careers drop-outs end up in for all eternity, spending all of our weekends partying. Rinse and repeat. Aren't we supposed to be striving for something more than this? Something more than torn up knees, Sunday morning hang overs and pocket change?

I worry so hard most days that my arms go numb.

"I have to worry," I mumble. Somebody has to, right?

Jack joins us, having obviously caught most of the conversation. “You just need to drop out of society,” he advises. Solemnly.

“What, like a hermit?” I feel like he's lost his mind.

And he just gives me this look like I'll never quite get it.  Maybe I won't.

Everyone else is now back at the fire. They're drying off, bodies painted pastel in the moonlight. John's playing “Daisy Bell” on his guitar.

Daisy, Daisy,
Give me your answer do!
I'm half crazy,
All for the love of you!
It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage
But you'll look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle made for two.

And as everyone sings their hearts out and I join in, nothing else matters.  At least for that moment.
We're all together and stupid and alone, backfiring into oblivion.

Note: Names have all been changed. Events have been tossed up out of order.
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LJ Idol: Week 4: “Nobody can ride your back if your back's not bent”

Image description: Myself and my best friend. There's a topless dude in the background.  We don't know him.

Recording of the poem can be found at the following link:

How to Be Alive

In the city that I knew you
Even my dreams started falling apart
And I was so poor that I sold my umbrella
On a rainy day so I could buy macaroni and
Have it with you so we could have
The strength to wander scarred streets
And long avenues yawning down Broadway
And wander the night as black as sleep in
Search of unruly dreams.

And on the night I saw my first rat
In an alley you told me to be careful of
Falling glass because not everybody looks
Out for one another. So you said, you’ve
Got to look up and watch out at the same
Time, you have to look in constantly and force yourself to love
What you see like how

A bruise hugs your skin and turns
Blue tattooing your shin with the beauty of
What you’ve been through. You have to know
How to love you.

Past our tiny house, the hill, the gas station, library and whores,
There are crows painted on the train station floors
Trapped in flight or in mid fall

In the city where I knew you and you called home and
In which I still didn’t you said
You've got to stand up tall
Like you're rooted in cement
Nobody can ride your back
If your back's not bent.

The shadows under my eyes
I promise are fading, the cuts
On all my toes are leaving
My sheared bits of hair, now growing
And the unshakable hunger in my belly, receding

Yet the bruises remain and
The scars, well, they still stay the same
But the important thing is

Even if my voice may be sort of small
Given a bit of time, it'll now
break down