Alex's Adventures

My adventures in surviving life

Archive for May, 2010

Guest Spotlight: Candice’s Rewrite

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May 30th, 2010 Posted 12:30 am

Here is Candice’s  rewrite submision for Galley Cat’s World’s Longest Literary Remix Joe’s Luck: Always Wide Awake by Horatio Alger.

“How much did you make?”

“I shall reveal my fortune to you.”Hogan’s hand held humbly a hefty heap of cash.

He vowed it was a simple task to bring the bread, but not to ask.

Mystified and wide-eyed Joe stared at Hogan’s handful.

Joe let on that he did not believe the fortune was brought on so easily.

“I placed my bets and this is what I intended to get.”

“Oh!” said Joe, who was frightened by the gambling guy.

“C’mon man, come try your hand,” said Hogan. “Even cutting cheese isn’t easier than racking in these Gs”

“That may be a breeze,” said Joe, “But I think I am better at cutting cheese.”

“Oh, fuddy dud, you need to live it up!”

“Why do I have to waste my mind with a bunch of poker-faced mimes? ”

“Fine, B.K., have it your way. I cannot afford to lose, and take my chances I will.”

“I don’t see discretion as to your activities and what they may be” said Joe.

“What do you mean?” inquired Hogan suspiciously.

“I know you know what I mean,” said Joe. “Your method of getting money in New York, you know the way you made your dough on the boat ride over.”

“You know what?” Hogan was addressing Joe with the most intimidation he could muster. “I don’t need your lip. You are about to find out what a hardass I am. I’m one tough cookie, and one tough customer.” Hogan might have been a tough cookie, but his expression said more sissy girl than anything.

“I don’t doubt it,” said Joe.

“Watch your back, and don’t talk smack! I ain’t going to have you hating on me, and I guarantee I will protect myself, whatever that may entail. You feel me?”

“I think I do, Mr. Hogan, but I don’t feel particularly alarmed.”

Joe got up and walked out. The only thought on his brain was his insane hunger. He thought of the place where he took supper but was deterred from going there by the high prices.

Pretty awesome stuff, I have to say Hogan really knows how to talk to the ladies.  I’d like to see a poetry slam between him and Joe.

-Alex

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Alley Cat’s submission to Galley Cat

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May 25th, 2010 Posted 11:59 pm

Here’s my  rewrite submision for Galley Cat’s World’s Longest Literary Remix. EEee! If the intro and conclusion sound kinda funny it’s because the rules are that the first and last lines must stay the original in order for the remix to flow when it is reconstructed. Enjoy my creative take on a poorly written public domain novel:  Joe’s Luck: Always Wide Awake by Horatio Alger. =)

“I was sorry to do it, for he was my friend,” said the Pike County man, “but he disputed my word, and the man that does that may as well make his will if he’s got any property to leave.”

He sat back and sipped his hot chocolate, tapped his fingers on the table near his cell phone and then directed back toward me and Joey. Joey was sleepy-eyed, like he didn’t even care about this man’s story. But I was more suspicious. This guy was full of crap and I was going to call him out on it.
“I’ve watched enough ‘Snapped’ and “Dateline’ to know you don’t just get off like that,” I said. “ So his family didn’t just come after you for murder?” What a bunch of garbage.
“Probably it is because of my intimidating awesomeness,” said Mr. Pike County. “I am so awesome no one would dare insult me and not get what they deserve.”
“O Rly? So you just left him there like that? That’s a cruel thing to do.”

Pike County spoke again.
“No, see, here’s the thing. Since I was training for my marathon, I just jogged to Jack’s brother’s apartment and gave him a map I designed. He took care of the body after that.”

“And the tree you saved?”

“What tree?”

“The one you were protecting from being murderized by your amigo, duhhhh!”

“Yea…uh…fail. I just let Jack’s brother cut it down afterall, it wasn’t worth it anymore.”

“What the heck? After everything that happened? You’re a D-bag.”

“Yea, I disagree. What you’re really thinking is, how could I do something so awesome? I could never do anything that was mean.”

Mr. Blickford leaned forward and finally spoke.

“Let me tell you what’s really happening,” Mr. Blickford said. “This reminds me of another story. See the problem is, everyone thinks they have the answers and they don’t have the answers. It’s just like the damn unions, they just want, want, want and then when the companies can’t give anymore, they threaten to strike because they’re being treated unfairly. It is ridiculous. You’re just like my chunk-a-saurus cousin. Man, he would go on and on about the smallest contributions he made to our family over the summer, but that boy didn’t work a minute in his life. Then he thinks he should be fed more than the rest of us, what a heifer, that jerkface could eat. Now, that ain’t fair, no ways–think it is, stranger?”

Here’s the original version:

Page 99

“I was sorry to do it, for he was my friend,” said the Pike County

man, “but he disputed my word, and the man that does that may as well

make his will if he’s got any property to leave.”

Here the speaker looked to see what effect was produced upon his

listeners.  Joe seemed indifferent.  He saw through the fellow, and

did not credit a word he said.  Joshua had been more credulous at

first, but he, too, began to understand the man from Pike County.

The idea occurred to him to pay him back in his own coin.

“Didn’t the relatives make any fuss about it?” he inquired.  “Didn’t

they arrest you for murder?”

“They didn’t dare to,” said the Pike man proudly.  “They knew me.

They knew I could whip my weight in wildcats and wouldn’t let no man

insult me.”

“Did you leave the corpse lyin’ out under the trees?” asked Joshua.

“I rode over to Jack’s brother and told him what I had done, and

where he’d find the body.  He went and buried it.”

“What about the deer?”

“What deer?”

“The deer you killed and your friend claimed?”

“Oh,” said the Pike man, with sudden recollection, “I told Jack’s

brother he might have it.”

“Now, that was kinder handsome, considerin’ you’d killed your friend

on account of it.”

“There ain’t nothin’ mean about me,” said the man from Pike County.

“I see there ain’t,” said Mr. Bickford dryly.  “It reminds me of a

little incident in my own life.  I’ll tell you about it, if you

hain’t any objection.”

“Go ahead.  It’s your deal.”

“You see, the summer I was eighteen, my cousin worked for dad hayin’

time.  He was a little older’n me, and he had a powerful appetite,

Bill had.  If it wasn’t for that, he’d ‘a’ been a nice feller enough,

but at the table he always wanted more than his share of wittles.

Now, that ain’t fair, no ways–think it is, stranger?”

Wow! That was something else, wasn’t it?  I mean wittles? Who says that?!  Anyways, thanks for reading.

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Great Expectations, But Unsatisifying

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May 21st, 2010 Posted 12:15 am

Probably one of my favorite books that I fell in love with when I was a teenager is Great Expectations. It’s been around more than 100 years and has been an inspiring love and rags-to-riches story. The book is such a classic that it is required reading for some high school English classes. Pretty simple, well known plot: poor commoner boy falls for wealthy, beautiful girl he can’t have.

After watching The Importance of Being Earnest movie starring the beautiful Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon, I was hooked on this  late 1800s period piece movies. I recently re-watched Gwyneth Paltrow in Emma, and loved it! How was I supposed to know that Great Expectations was going to be such a disappointment?

In the first 10 minutes, DeNiro appears as the runaway convict, holding young Pip and cussing his mouth off. But wait a minute, in this movie young Pip is…Finn? Totally unacceptable. My first clue that this movie was going to suck: name change.  Finn is portrayed as white trash living in Florida.  Pretty shaky moving a British story to the slums of Florida, I don’t think this film should have been “Americanized” like it was. So Pip, uh I mean Finn, comes home and some guy is leaving his run down shack, NOT Joe by the way, and his sister is sitting there naked, smoking a cigarette. No Way! Is this what I Netflixed? How can this possibly be the same  story?

The plot thickens–sorta, as Finn gets a chance to show off his artwork in New York where he incidentally meets Estella again after nearly 10 years of separation. She’s such a skank and a tease that she poses nude for him as he recreates her beauty into several works of art for his upcoming art show/debut.

Then she tells Finn that she’s marrying some d-bag, portrayed by Hank Azaria. Finn immediately shows up unexpectedly at a restaurant, interrupting Estella’s dinner plans with her fiancee and friends and all of a sudden they dance and kiss outside in the rain. Puuhhhleeeze! But the movie is only halfway over. What else is there, right? I mean Finn gets the girl and his fame. The movie then progresses with Estella being in love with Finn, drawn to him, and the couple start to get a little sensual. I clearly don’t remember this kind of romance between the pair in the novel. And on top of it all, I’m sure Estella never told Pip, “I want you inside of me.” And that’s when I gave up on the movie and turned off the TV.

If you haven’t read Great Expectations, let me catch you up with a  review of the novel I wrote for the La Verne Magazine. If you have and want to see it portrayed in film, it might be best to go with the old-school classic. Either way, I suggest you stay far, far away from this movie.

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Incompetent Customer Service Leaves Me Thirsty for More

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May 19th, 2010 Posted 8:44 pm

I’m a sucker for the vending machine. I may have the same bag of chips or can of soda stocked at home, but one look at a vending machine and I want it, no, MUST have it. Everyday at work, around 2 p.m., I desperately need a soda and I will start scrounging around in my purse for those vital nickels and dimes to make  75 cents, a quick ticket to pure, caffeinated goodness. I can taste  its sweet, bubbly carbonation fizzing on my tongue now. Nommmm.

And I know the need for a fix will strike again in 24 hours, so I often donate my change of a dollar to the communal Yahtzee fund (coinage available for everyone that’s safely hidden in a Yahtzee game near my desk).

In college, I bought from vending machines so frequently that during summer or winter vacation, I would go to the kitchen, expecting to buy a soda. It was so serious how excited I would get if I saw coins laying around. I would think, “Oh I have change! Im going to buy a soda.” And then the disappointment: Wait a minute…theres no vendy here…and there’s no soda either. Fail!

But back at work I can ease my soda addiction, anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. So you can imagine the shock I got when two guys showed up at work to take the vendy away. I wanted to scream, “Halp! They’s stealing my vendy!”

It turns out the vendy owner “Cary” felt we weren’t using the vendy enough for him to make a profit off of us, so he was taking it back. What? First off, how unprofessional are you that you don’t give us fair notice that people are coming to get the unit from us? It’s not like we’re not paying you and you’re repossessing it from us. My second complaint is that fat, sweaty “Cary” left the vendy broken for a whole month before he bothered to come down and fix it. Wow. So wait a minute, it’s broken, but we’re not using it enough. How can we possibly put money into something that’s not working? Hellllllo “Cary!”

Well, fine then, take it.  Take the vendy. And take your working-out-of-a-garage business with you. It’s OK because the front office and I have had enough with your nasty mannerisms: Always showing up 15 minutes before we close, sweating and out of breath, completely ignoring our request for Dr. Pepper or Sprite instead of Mountain Dew. And let’s not leave out the massive amount of  butt crack, because “Cary,” apparently you can’t afford a belt with all your quarters and dollars to save your life. Crack kills, “Cary,” crack kills—people and profits as well.

Meta-Writing: My boss and the writing contest

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May 17th, 2010 Posted 10:28 pm

It was during a weekly meeting where I was taking notes that I got the inspiration for my passage. While my boss was drawing various antennas on the white board, I started to envision what it must have been like having him as a college instructor. His voice floating around me, but never really saying anything. Always pointing out why everyone gets it wrong and why he has all the answers. Drawings of antennas that look strangely like vaginas. Then the vision came to me, this was the voice I was looking for.

For the last two weeks I have been trying to write my passage for the Galley Cat World’s Longest Literary Remix and I’ve been lagging. First I didn’t know what to write because I had no inspiration. I wanted to get started because unlike anything outside of work, this was the first time I truly had a set deadline. Actually, I don’t know if it was because I didn’t know what to write or I couldn’t decide what to write.

This piece of literature could be remixed in any way: into a form of poetry or as an illustration, someone else’s point of view or whatever. So I think it wasn’t that I couldn’t write something, but more like I couldn’t decide. My mind was going a million places.

When I first got my passage I had to break it down and consider, “What is this passage really saying?” I mean I didn’t even understand what the hell was going on. I thought if I had to translate this old-school, archaic dialogue–which no one longer speaks or understands, that I would translate these sentences into something that made more sense to people in 2010.

My first sentence tackled was this poorly written, boring, awkwardly structured sentence:

If it wasn’t for that, he’d ‘a’ been a nice feller enough, but at the table he always wanted more than his share of wittles.

WTF?

So I improved it, using everyday Alex speech:

New sentence: What a heifer, that jerkface could eat.

One sentence Down. Another 300 words to go.

I thought, did I want to attempt to write a very clever, punny poem or should I turn my passage into a comic using my signature heads on popsicle sticks drawings? As I read through, I kept saying I wanted to make my characters talk like in the movie “Juno.” But I am not as clever as Diablo Cody to create dialogue like “Honest to Blog?” and “All I see is pork swords.” So I fell back on what I DO know how to write: my boss.

Just like Michael Scott on the Office, my boss is a quirky, one-of-a-kind type of guy. And the things he says are even more memorable. It’s not so much “That’s what she said,” but more like “The problem is…” Union this, Unions that. If Michael Scott was a conservative, union-hating republican, then he would be my boss. Let’s just call him Capt. Kirk, for Future reference. Wink.

Back to this meeting I was in. I started to hear the voice of my character in the passage come alive. His smug, informative tone. Just like my boss, starting his sentences off with “Well, the problem is..” and then going on to try and knock everyone  down a peg. Explaining why he is so smart and the voice of reason and is always right. There was my character for the remix, my boss. Bingo!

OK, I understand that maybe it won’t be as funny to everyone else who reads the final collaborative e-book, but I enjoy characters that are truly distinct, but at the same time, seem familiar like someone you know. Capt. Kirk’s own wild remarks may be uniquely his own, but they remind me of my own koo-koo father who has the urge to compare everything in his life to buses. In the emergency room? “Well this is just like working on buses.” Really Dad? Ummm, I don’t think so. Instead of Capt. Kirk’s union rants, my dad tries to impress people with his knowledge of buses. While I was hospitalized for a faulty appendix, and by faulty I mean exploded, my dad sat by my bedside, smiled and told the nurse while she worked, “I know exactly what this is like.” “Oh?” asked the nurse. “Do you work in a hospital?” My dad replied, “No. I work on buses.” Damnit Dad. If it wasn’t for him, I would have never realized the connection between life and buses. =( *Sigh* Thanks Dad.

And so I decided to go with good Ol’ Capt. Kirk on this one. My boss version, not the real one, although that woulda been pretty funny too. Maybe I’ll make my other character talk like William Shatner. That sounds awesome.

All I can say is God Bless You, you union-hating, Fox-news watching, always accusing the government and President Obama of being communists, always accusing me of having a texting addiction, boss. Because without you, I wouldn’t have a job–or the inspiration to write this passage for the Remix contest.

P.S. Please don’t fire me. Kthxbai.

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Planning a Luau: The food

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May 14th, 2010 Posted 6:03 pm

The first step in planning a luau/game night was deciding what everyone was going to eat. After browsing a few websites, I got the impression that I wasn’t going to like traditional Hawaiian food. I had thrown a Turkey dinner/RockBand party earlier this year with Thanksgiving-like dishes, but this I wanted to be easier. It’s one thing to cook dinner for nine people in January, but it’s a whole other thing to be cooking for a group of people for several hours in May, especially in my little kitchen. So I thought maybe I’ll play on the idea of traditional pork with a HoneyBaked ham with a side of Ambrosia. But at $44 for a quarter of a ham, that will only feed up to 5 people, I think I’ll pass. So my final thought for dinner began with a dish that first inspired me: Hawaiian pizza. “Traditional” ham and pineapple pizza seems the most enjoyable dinner for a night of friends, RockBand and board games.

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