Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Lost in NaNo-Land----Days 8,9,10,11,12....

Title: D.E.A.T.H.-- Department of Eternal And Temporal Holdings
Word Count: 12,047

Another 5 days have passed, with little progress made in the area of word count. Seems funny, really, that I can stall myself for days, when all I have to do is effectively vomit words onto a page. I mean, no one ever has to read this mess of a story. Why does it matter if only 1 page out of 25 makes sense? So what if I don't have an exact plot... I just have to put words down on a page, right?

After passing the first hurdle of 10K words, which seems to be the necessary point for me to reach before a plot-less story suddenly starts writing itself, I can expect that the word count will go up exponentially.... the only thing stopping me, is ... me--- and my inability to sit myself down in front of the keyboard.

Anyway, here's to renewed enthusiasm and an inspired word count... I could sure use the word count, lol---

What I've learned about my story these last few days---
--- souls only have a …

Further Adventures in NaNo-Land---- Days 3,4,5,6,7...

Title: D.E.A.T.H.--Department of Eternal And Temporal Holdings
Word Count: 8345

Well, the last 5 days haven't really left me where I should be with this year's project. Even if I hadn't lost 2K words from a stupid document-saving accident, I still wouldn't be where I should be.... Days 3-5 I barely wrote a word, though I did think of the project, A LOT-- see, I still didn't have a definitive plot. And though I've done a marathon 5K words today, I'm still about 5K behind goal.

This is my 6th NaNo rodeo, so I know my "real" marathon word bursts are yet to come--- Every year that I've participated, it is always the first 10K words that are the hardest to write. Especially if I'm without a plot. I have to constantly remind myself that once I make it past the 10K mark, it's all gravy. (which sounds strange, I know, since there are still 40K words to write) But, there is something about moving from 4 numerical digits in my word count to 5 nu…

NaNo continues-- Day 2

Title: D.E.A.T.H.-- Department of Eternal And Temporal Holdings
Word count: 3376

So, today, while writing my quota for the day, I learned:

Human souls are tradable commodities. The essence of the soul is enriched through its vessel's experiences.

Everything was easy when humans weren't aware of their own mortality...souls could be placed, enriched, removed, traded, recycled and the process run all over again, without humans interfering. Now that humans are aware of death (though they have the wrong idea about what it means) they are doing everything they can to live as long as possible--- what are the Reapers, the Soul Takers and the Soul Sifters to do when they finally find themselves out of a job?? How can D.E.A.T.H. turn a profit if its product is tied up by the stubborn determination of the living??

New month, new start-- Day 1....

My last post was probably more depressive than it was constructive, and definitely not what I intended to blog about--- but, it was a means of catharsis for me... the mess I'm dealing with is still very present and has not lessened in any way, but, my mood is somewhat lighter for having ranted.

Now, to other news---

NaNoWriMostarted today. This will be my 6th year participating... For anyone who doesn't know, NaNoWriMo is a month-long writing project that challenges writers to create a 50,000-word "novel" in 30 days. Any writer that completes the daily 1667-word quota will have a 50,000-word manuscript by November 30th.

It's a daunting task, but it's a thrilling task. This year, just like last year, I am starting without any basic plot idea. It's amazing to watch a story write itself out of sub-conscious thought.

I would love to tell you what my NaNo novel is about, but, I honestly have no clue.

While my husband and the neighboring apartment-dwellers slept…

Who does the abyss gaze back at when you’ve gazed so long into it that you’ve fallen in…..

Sometimes, life can make you feel like the king of the world. And, sometimes, life can make you feel like the bottom turtle in the indeterminable stack of terrapins that hold up the universe.
Lately, it feels as if there is this infinite, gaping chasm spread out in front of me—one I can’t see the end of, one I can’t see the bottom of, one that terrifies me more than my limited vocabulary could express. I don’t know what I’ve done to put myself at the precipice. More importantly, I don’t know how to escape from said precipice.
Were it as easy as turning back the way I came, I would have run backward, blindly even, without hesitation. But, the path behind me is steadily eroding away. Soon, there will be no backward path, only the abyss.
Melodramatic much?  
Seriously, though, I don’t know which karma fairy I stepped on, or which curse I’ve stumbled into, but I think I’ve had my fair share of bad days and troubled times--- perhaps more than my fair share. Those who know me, know I’m …

The Not-There Woman.....

She may not be seen, she may not be felt. No noise she makes, no breath she takes.
Don't make a sound, try not to be found. She might not be there, but, she's always around. 
Sleeping for years, her soul broken down. Waiting for fools, her ruined mortal tools.
Seek not her form bereft and forlorn. You'll regret your regard, your spirit well worn.
Your energies drained, your passions wrung out. She takes your life's light, drinks all your heart's fight.
You'll find no relief, no easy release. Her not-there clutches, defy all belief.
She'll hold you in sway, you think you'll survive. You'll never admit, your life is forfeit. 
Stand back, my dear friend, don't let herself win. I'll walk in your stead, my life's at its cruel end.
                                                                                                                                      --e.a.s. demers


Skeleton Man.....

Beware the Skeleton Man, he walks your path at night.  He seeks another morsel  his palate to excite.
 Skeleton Man knows hunger, no feast can ease his pain.  Eating more, yet craving more, no single ounce he gains.
 See the children running happy, so full of light and life.  Their souls do taste the sweetest, not bitter yet with strain and strife.
 Don't let his old guise fool you, he's quicker than you think.  He may play the weak and feeble, he'll snap your will in but a wink.
 He knows the way a spirit drains, and the quickest way to drink it down.  He'll sup on every breath you take, 'til your starving heart all but drowns.
 Beware the Skeleton Man, he knows each and every trick.  To escape his fearsome clutches, you'll need more than just your wit.

                                                                                                                             --e.a.s. demers


Torn Asunder.....

Tears choked Swallowed pain Heart's death Sorrow's gain
Bitter dregs sucked through pursed and dry-chapped lips Do little to ease A thirst so great drawing cheeks gaunt and cavernous Nothing can appease
Breaths gasped Mind lost Soul's shaken Vanity's cost
Tainted bread gnashed with chipped and broken tooth Fills not the void A hunger never sated, consumed even as it consumes Only to destroy
                                                                                                                                     --e.a.s. demers

The Likes of You.....

Fight the longings deep within, Never let the innocence win. Search your heart for the pain's demand, It's the only feeling you'll understand.
Why take the simple life, of hope, of joy? These are but dreams you aim to destroy. The only direction you choose for your life, Is the comforting, cobbled path of strife.
It's easier, isn't it, just to believe, That any love that comes to you, will just leave? And the satisfying existence that you seek, Is just one argument outside your reach.
Don't look toward the sunnier days, Don't search out the easier ways. Know these words as the truth, absolute; Happiness ain't meant for the likes of you.
                                                                                                                        --e.a.s. demers

SherWatsonBilboSmaugLock---or, what it means to be a babbling fangirl...

As a teenager, I often found refuge in the world literature (mostly fantasy and mystery---something about the unknown or a puzzle kept me interested). Once the world of books opened up for me, there was nothing I found that quite matched the pleasure I derived from falling into those worlds and allowing them to consume me...completely.

And, though I've read widely across genres (though, pointedly NOT the romantic and western genres), there have only been a couple of authors whose works I continue to re-read to this day..... namely:

this man:


and, this man:


Though Doyle and Tolkien weren't exactly contemporaries, the years of their lives did overlap... Doyle (1859-1930), Tolkien (1892-1973). The question of whether or not they knew each other still plagues me--- Doyle, a Scottish physician turned writer and Tolkien, an English writer turned professor--- separately, changed the world of literature in their own unique ways, imagine what they would/could have done together....
And…

Now Doth Time Waste.....

Like rain trickling through the sediment, broken stones, broken minutes, broken bones.
The days pass, creeping slowly onward, left alone, leaving shadows, left unknown.
No respite from the continuing cycle, once more, once again, once endured.
That holds the fragile, timid soul of man, stands poor, standing naked, stands unsure.
                                                                                                              ---e.a.s. demers



"Legitimate" Sexism.... Pre-Life vs. Jagermeister?

I know it's been awhile since I poked my head out of my lovely cave, but, there's been some personal matters at home that have kept me from floating around the blogosphere lately.... I'm hoping to return full swing, but, I'm not sure when that will be----

In the meantime, I did poke my head out today and I'm beginning to wonder if I should have. It has definitely become a day of "huh's?"

While most of my fellow southern brethren have been bracing for Isaac's onslaught -- we've had some crazy wind and a bit of rain, but fortunately no loss of power-- I've enjoyed a lovely, albeit rather wet, day off of perusing the net and watching some t.v. with the hubby.

Normally I'm not so concerned with the state of things in the political world, and even less concerned for the realm of popular culture. But, today, the two merged to define--at least for me--some current views of women versus men in American society.  (Of course, I don't mean th…

I Wish For You.....

...the rain, that you may know the sun. ...the cold, that you may know the warmth. ...the dark, that you may know the light.
...the pain, that you may know the love.  ...the hate, that you may know the choice. ...the lies, that you may know the truth. 
...the tears, that you may know the joy. ...the loss, that you may know the life. ...the end, that you may know the worth.
...to follow the path of your life, wherever it may take you. ...to live the life you were meant, whatever that may be. ...to remember: though the paths are many, your ticket is only one-way.
                                                                                                                   --- e.a.s. demers     

The book that's to blame for the way I turned out.....

Some 20 years ago, my best friend in elementary school introduced me to Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings (1978) animated film. I had already seen, multiple times, Rankin/Bass's The Hobbit (1977) and The Return of the King (1980). I never knew there was a story "between" the two movies I'd seen. In all honesty, I'm not even sure I knew the movies were based on any written story--- as this was BEFORE the world of books really opened up for me. I was a television/movie bug, even scheduled my summer sleeping time around shows that I was desperate to see. Perhaps I can blame Tom Baker's Doctor Who on my chronic insomnia as my local public television station only played those glorious episodes at 1am, and sometimes, horribly, at 2am....



But, to find out The Lord of the Rings was an animated film I had never seen...and to find out from the same friend it was also a book, which I had never read... my curiosity was piqued. My best and probably only friend at …

Z is for Zebrafish.....

Zebrafish, Pterois volitans, more commonly known as Australian coral reef fish or red lionfish, not to be confused with the harmless Danio rerio, which is a member of the minnow family, popular with aquarium enthusiasts.

No, the zebrafish we're talking about is quite the striking creature covered in red, black and white zebra stripes with venomous spines that circle its body much like a mane. The spines make the zebrafish inedible and inaccessible to predators. Anybody unfortunate enough to be stung by one of these monstrous spines can expect a very painful response.








Zebra Stripes and Lion's Mane
Don't try to test my patience, I assure you, I have none. I care not for where you're standing, I care less for what I've done.
Can't you see I'm swimming here, your foot is in my way. I've got royal business there, I kindly bid you sir, good day.
If you'd rather not heed my warning, I fear I can't be blamed, for any mild discomfort, you feel about your…

Y is for Yew.....

A rather slow-growing evergreen, the Yew has been incorporated in many facets of human tradition since ancient times. It's been used for everything from ancient spears and longbows to medicine for cancer treatments and cardiac remedies. It's also been grown in churchyards and cemeteries for centuries-- even some of the chapels of Normandy have been found in hollowed out trunks of these ancient giants.

But, as revered as this plant is, it must also be handled with great care as all parts of the plant are considered toxic. Though, human fatalities are rare and usually only occur from ingesting a large amount of yew foliage, there have been reports of illness from handling the yew wood--- especially from woodturners crafting longbows or other pieces from the yew wood.

Superstitions abound surrounding this plant--- most having to do with the plant's ability to suck the life from an unsuspecting victim who reclines beneath the tree for shade. The planting of the tree in cemeter…

X is for Xylyl Bromide.....

Ha! Bet you though there wouldn't be a poison for the letter 'X'....

Xylyl bromide is a highly toxic compound used during World War I as a tear gas.

The compound is extremely dangerous and can be fatal if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. So, it's best to avoid any exposure to the compound whatsoever.

Oh, and I'll leave you to play with the pronunciation of Xylyl.... :-)


Why Cry
I promise, Sarge, I ain't a-cryin', there's something in my eye. Don't think I'm weak and sighin', I know there is no 'try'.
I'll be in form in just a minute, can't be left to fall behind. I'll prove my place and be in it. Got a tissue for my eyes?
                                                                                      --- e.a.s. demers

W is for White Snakeroot.....

A poisonous perennial herb native to eastern North America, White Snakeroot, blooms late summer/early fall and contains the toxin known as tremetol. When the plant is consumed by cattle, the toxin contaminates the meat and milk of the animal. And, if the animal is consumed by humans, the toxin is passed on to humans. Tremetol poisoning in humans is generally referred to as Milk Sickness, as many times individuals became sick after drinking the milk of cows who've eaten snakeroot.

Milk Sickness was first noted in the early 19th century when European settlers, unfamiliar with the plant, began moving into its territory and allowed their cattle to roam freely in wooded areas. Symptoms of the illness (convulsions, violent vomiting, delirium) were described as "the trembles" or "the slows" or the illness "under which man turns sick and his domestic animals tremble."

The death toll from Milk Sickness was so high that sometimes half a frontier settlement migh…

V is for Valium.....

Just like the lovely letter 'U', there are very little poisons out there in the land of the letter 'V'....

I'm not even sure why I've opted for valium, other than most people know the drug and the fact that I probably could have used it occasionally myself to deal with a few periods of nasty insomnia.

For those few who may not know of the drug, it's an anti-anxiety medication that is frequently used to help patients suffering from panic attacks, insomnia and the adverse effects of alcohol withdrawal.

Fatally overdosing on valium, alone, is rare...unless the person is already really ill.

No, valium is a drug that doesn't play well with others. So, anyone wishing to use this little gem effectively will need to make sure to drop a few in their victim's vodka cocktail or in their normal sleeping-pill dose...otherwise, they will just sleep deeply with prince/princess valium and wake refreshed and anxiety-free.










Sweet Dreams
You really ought to try this, c…

U is for Uranium.....

And, there aren't too many poisons out there that start with the letter 'U'... I had thought of creating an "Unknown" post--- but, it's rather difficult to describe something that is unknown. I mean, what do you say regarding something you have no clue about?

So, I've stretched the 'poison' definition here to add uranium, in its natural state and not as an intentional bomb/weapon component... it is mildly toxic and radioactive (though it is on the weaker end of radioactive scale). Though there have been a few deaths resulting from the inhalation of uranium hexafluoride (used in nuclear reactors), the deaths have generally been attributed to a concentration of hydrofluoric acid rather than the uranium itself.

Even though uranium is a radioactive metal, the precautionary measure of wearing a simple pair of gloves before handling it is enough to keep you protected.

What uranium is very good at, in large doses--not the everyday minimum exposure that w…

T is for Toad.....

Toads-- those warty, stocky, squat amphibians known for their popularity as an ingredient in witches' bubbling cauldron-brew. These guys aren't exactly the prettiest of creatures, but what they lack in beauty, they make up in creativity. Because their short, thick legs don't offer them much in the line of distance-jumping, the true toads have come up with a rather ingenuous way to deter their predators.


The parotid glands, the largest of the salivary glands, of the Bufo (true) toad family have evolved to secrete a  hallucinogenic toxin that can be deadly if enough of the substance is ingested. The gland is located on the side of the toad's body, behind the eye and is covered in large, visible pores. The toxin is released through pores in the toad's skin. All it takes is for a hungry animal to bite down just a little and suddenly they have a mouthful of milky, mind-altering toxin. It's enough to make you never want to see another amphibian ever again....that is,…

S is for Strychnine.....

Most commonly derived from the seeds of the Strychnos tree in India and Southeast Asia, strychnine is a highly toxic alkaloid used as a pesticide for small vertebrates like birds and rodents.


Poisoning can occur by inhalation, swallowing or absorption through the eyes or mouth. It produces some of the most dramatic and painful symptoms of any known poison-- making it a favorite for movies and murder mysteries.

There is no cure for strychnine poisoning, but if a patient can survive the first 24 hours, then recovery is very probable.

Two of the more famous, "possible" strychnine poisonings were Alexander the Great, whose wine was believed to be contaminated... and Robert Johnson, the famous blues artist who purportedly sold his soul to the devil to play his guitar like no living man ever had. Because of the violent almost inhuman convulsions that victims can endure, the circumstances of Johnson's death probably lent itself to the crossroad's legend, but it's more li…

R is for Rhubarb.....

A favorite of pie lovers near and far, rhubarb is another one of those "edible" plants with "inedible" parts. For this tart and tangy vegetable, it's the leaves that are harmful.

One must be cautious when cooking with this versatile stalk. The entire plant contains oxalic acid in varying degrees, but it is in the leaves that the poison is most concentrated. Consume enough of the leafy material, or cook enough of the leaves in with your stalk and you risk some pretty nasty gastrointestinal symptoms. Consume too much and the dose is lethal.







Rhubarb Delight
Kiss the red stalk gently,  with sweetness and light. Stew with fruit quietly, make tart rhubarb delight.
                                                                                 --- e.a.s. demers

Q is for Quinine.....

A pain-killing, fever-reducing, bitter-tasting alkaloid found in the bark of the Cinchona tree.

Used as an anti-malaria drug since the 17th century, quinine was, until this past century, the only pharmaceutical capable of counter-acting this mosquito-born illness. Though, if too much quinine is administered, the resulting side effects might make you wish you had stuck with suffering through the malaria.

An overdose of quinine-- or, even a non-overdose amount-- can lead to Cinchonism... a pathological condition whose list of symptoms, literally, are astounding. Just a mild case of Cinchonism can lead to flushed/sweaty skin, ringing of the ears, blurred vision, impaired hearing, confusion, headache, abdominal pain, rashes, vertigo, dizziness, dysphoria, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea--- and this is just the MILD case.

More severe cases include the aforementioned symptoms plus disturbances in the person's cardiac rhythm that can lead to death.












Mosquito Blues
I'd tell you not to fear…

P is for Potato.....

That's right.... today's "poison" is the common Po-ta-to.....

Or, most specifically, the green potato---


The storage suggestion for potatoes, to keep them in a dry and "dark" place, is less about keeping the potatoes fresh and more about keeping the potatoes safe to eat.

As unassuming as the ordinary potato is, we most time (okay, perhaps, all the time) forget that the potato is a member of the deadly nightshade family.

When potatoes are stored in a lighted area, especially with lots of fluorescent light, the potato "thinks" it's no longer buried underground and produces chlorophyll pigments to make use of the light and as a defense mechanism, a bitter-tasting alkaloid toxin to discourage animals from eating it. Consume enough green potatoes and the toxin acts very much like strychnine.










Po-tay-to Po-tah-to
Heed what your granny said, don't eat the skin that's green, store your tubers dry and dark, to keep your tater clean.
             …

O is for Opium.....

A favorite of Romantic-Era poets, opium is the dried latex of the opium poppy fruit. The poppy fruit is scored, allowing the milky latex to ooze out. Once it dries, the darkened substance collected is raw opium. The latex contains codeine and up to 12 % morphine, which is frequently processed to produce heroin.

For the collection of Romantic poets, there was a belief that opium heightened the senses, allowing the poets to recreate vivid scenes and images that presented themselves while the poet relaxed in a dream-like stupor. Coleridge's Kubla Khan was said to have been written after one such experience.

Novelists and other literary figures of the time, paint opium in a far less favorable light. Edgar Allan Poe thrusts his narrator in the short story, Ligeia, into such a distraught stupor that he can no longer distinguish fantasy from reality. Other nineteenth century writers feature the drug and its use in connection with crime and lower class foreign immigrants

Opium Specter
A w…

N is for Nutmeg....

Like to add a little extra spice to your pumpkin pie recipe? Maybe a dash or two more to the eggnog?
Depending on the amount already present in the pie and nog, perhaps you should think twice....

Nutmeg contains myristicin, a mind-altering chemical that in high enough amounts can have a hallucinogenic effects similar to LSD. The "nutmeg high" as it's called, can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days and can be fatal if a high enough quantity is consumed.

Though the fatal dose is rather a lot--- a tablespoon or more, depending on body weight and cardiac health--- the amount to get a buzz can be as little as half a teaspoon.

Because of some rather nasty side effects that you have to endure (vomiting, convulsions, diarrhea, etc) before you get to the fun hallucinations, most people don't attempt a nutmeg high after their initial experimentation... seems the effort to endure the before-high-discomfort outweighs any benefit of making it to the high. And, if the pers…

M is for Monkshood.....

Also known as Aconite or Wolfsbane and many other aliases, depending on the part of the world it's found, Monkshood is part of the aconitum family of plants, whose genus name can be translated to mean, without struggle.

Plants of the genus have been used for centuries in medicine and as poison-- most specifically as poison for arrow tips. Monkshood, which is the most common member of this plant family, grows in northern mountainous  regions.

Monkshood, in extremely small amounts has powerful therapeutic qualities, especially in the areas of pain relief. Derivatives of the plant can be ingested, or absorbed through the skin. In fact, the plant's poisonous qualities are so powerful that picking the leaves from the plant without the safety of gloves can be fatal. A tingling sensation followed by acute numbness will run the length of the victims arm and across the chest until the heart is affected.

Even, taking an innocent sniff of the plant's bloom can leave an individual gid…

L is for Laudanum.....

Nothing like walking into your local chemist or pharmacy and picking up a bottle of alcohol-laced opium...er, laudanum.

This Victorian cure-all was taken for everything from stomach trouble to insomnia to aches and pains. Nurses were even known to spoon feed infants the bitter, red-brown liquid. What better way to lull a colicky babe to sleep than to dose him up with some alcohol and opiates....

Laudanum was widely used and prescribed throughout the United States and Europe during the Romantic and Victorian Eras. The addictive qualities of Laudanum and the fact it was cheaper in  price than gin or wine--as it was taxed as a legal medicine and not as an alcoholic beverage--made it, initially, a working class drug of choice. Though it found itself latched to the addictive psyche of several well known individuals, including the wife of former president, Abraham Lincoln and the renowned poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Overdose by Laudanum, either accidental or intentional, happened quite …

K is for Kerosene.....

A petroleum distillate, kerosene has been used for centuries as a source of heat and light. Often going by the name of paraffin in the UK and other parts of the world, the process for distilling crude oil and petroleum into kerosene has been written about since the 9th century. But, it wasn't until 1846, when Abraham Gesner, who coined the name kerosene, gave a public demonstration of an innovative distillation process which rendered a thin clear liquid, that kerosene became the new and improved lamp fuel.

Over the years, kerosene's uses have widened to include cooking fuels, insecticides and even entertainment in performances that incorporate fire breathing and fire juggling.

As a pesticide, kerosene is extremely effective at killing large numbers of insects--- most notably, bed bugs and head lice. It can even be applied to standing pools of water to kill mosquito larvae.

As beneficial as kerosene has been over the centuries, it is, nevertheless a potent toxin, where ingestio…

J is for Jimsonweed.....

Also known as Jamestown Weed and Devil's Trumpet, this plant, related to the nightshade family of plants, is extremely toxic. For centuries, however, parts of the plant (specifically the leaves and seeds) have been used for their hallucinogenic qualities. The effects of Jimsonweed on the human that has consumed it have been likened to those of LSD, the major difference being the person hallucinating on Jimsonweed has an inability to distinguish reality-- s/he will not be able to comprehend that they are under the influence of anything.

Poisonings by Jimsonweed lead to severely delirious episodes, commonly called 'Vanishing Cigarette Phenomena'.  Victims become obsessed by things that aren't actually there and can become frantic in their search for the same thing once it "vanishes"... some of the most recurring hallucinations involve smoking cigarettes that aren't actually there, the victims becoming very confused/alarmed when they can no longer find the c…