Up with Spring!

The old man reached into his backpack.
“See these?” he said, holding up a fistful of spikes.  “Caltrops.  They stop road equipment in its tracks.”
His daughter looked at him.  “Can we go soon?”
“Yes,” he said.
He walked out into the road, splashing through a muddy trickle swirled with diesel.  He glanced down.  Cobalt, pink, green; a metal rainbow.
He shook his head and started walking back and forth, scattering fistfuls of caltrops.
“Down with the Empire!” he shouted.
“Up with Spring!” she called back.
After that, they picked their way home through the quiet dripping trees.

———-

What’s more fun, trying to prove random properties of the dirac delta (which I’m not sure I believe in anyway) or writing fiction?   Anyway…Every Friday, writers from all around the world write 100 word (or thereabouts) flash fiction based on a photo posted that Wednesday on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

I welcome constructive criticism; without it I cannot grow as a writer.  The weekly photo that inspired this story is below:

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Rockets Raising Eyes to Heaven

“Tell me how to make a detonator from this,” the old man said, shaking the old cellphone in his fist.  “You know, yeah?”
“I know how.  But what for?” the young man asked.
“No one comes to our old hotel any more.  Let’s leave and blow it up so we can never come back.”
A rocket slammed into the hillside across the valley.  Chunks of clay pattered among the trees.
“We can go tomorrow,” the young man said.  “But let’s leave the hotel in peace.  Perhaps it will forget the sound of war some day.”

———-

Back in New Mexico, enjoying unseasonably cool weather and humidity approaching 50%.  The rains have come and the desert looks green, at least to my eyes.  Anyway…Every Friday, writers from all around the world write 100 word (or thereabouts) flash fiction based on a photo posted that Wednesday on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

I welcome constructive criticism; without it I cannot grow as a writer.  The weekly photo that inspired this story is below:

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Hold the Forks

“This might not even work,” the student said.
“You’re right, and it’ll be years till the serum’s approved for human trials,” the professor replied.  His hands rattled on the edge of his wheelchair.  “I don’t have that kind of time.”
He grabbed for the syringe and knocked it off the table.  The student picked it up.
“Do it,” the professor said.
The student pushed the needle into the professor’s arm and depressed the plunger.
“We’re having Chinese food tomorrow,” the professor said through the tremors.  “And I’ll be asking for chopsticks this time.”

———-

If you’re ever looking for a challenge, try eating Jell-o with chopsticks.  Anyway…Every Friday, writers from all around the world write 100 word (or thereabouts) flash fiction based on a photo posted that Wednesday on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

I welcome constructive criticism; without it I cannot grow as a writer.  The weekly photo that inspired this story is below:

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The Devil’s Details

I have the same argument with myself every time I move.
“Throw the old thing away,” says a voice near my left shoulder.
“Naw, keep it,” says the voice next to my other ear.
Turns out the right side always wins, and I hold onto the goat head.
It’s a memento of simpler times, I say to myself. Back when I lived right underneath everyone’s feet and didn’t have to send the IRS an activity report every April.
Hell, if I put on a suit and went outside these days – no one would even look twice.

———-

I return!  It’s been a while but I have not given up – there’s always time for scraps of strange tales to round out the week.  Anyway…Every Friday, writers from all around the world write 100 word (or thereabouts) flash fiction based on a photo posted that Wednesday on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

I welcome constructive criticism; without it I cannot grow as a writer.  The weekly photo that inspired this story is below:

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Windows 8: what to do when your speakers work and your headphones don’t

When Windows 8 updated itself recently, for some reason it made the headphones stop working.  The speakers were fine – just the headphones were disabled.  It took me a while to fix the problem, and I thought I’d share the steps here.  They’re pretty counter intuitive, and big props to squider on a microsoft forum who was finally able to figure it out.  The key is changing a specific parameter in the power options for the computer (don’t ask me why).  Here’s how:

1.  Right click on the Windows icon at the lower left corner of the screen.

2.  Click on “Control Panel.”

3.  In the “Search Control Panel” box on the upper right, type “Power” and hit Enter.

4.  Below the Power Options header, click on “Change what the power buttons do”

5.  Click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable”

6.  Uncheck “Turn on fast startup (recommended)”

7.  Click “Save changes.”

8.  Now close Control Panel and right click on the Windows icon again.

9.   Click on “Command Prompt”

10.  Type shutdown /s /t 0 and hit Enter. NOTE: This will shut down your computer!

11.  When you restart your computer, your headphones should work :-)

As an aside, these sorts of problems are why I moved to Ubuntu long ago, and left Windows behind.  Unfortunately, the few computer games I still have a chance to play all run on Windows, so I left Windows 8 on part of my laptop.  This was great until Windows Updater made my headphones stop working!   Of course, then I couldn’t play computer games till it was fixed.  Such a tragedy…

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Hearing an image: living with a touch of synaesthesia

Certain images make sounds.  Not sounds that could be mistaken for “real” sounds – no, more like the hint of a sound.  That’s been my life for at least the last ten years.  Or maybe I’ve always been this way, I don’t know.  The reason I don’t know is because it’s like a background noise that I’ve lived with for years – so subtle that I hardly notice it’s there.

When I slowly became aware that this was something unique to me, I figured it was just due to an overactive imagination.  But the noises are really odd.  A sort of humming or clicking sound when I look at complex circular shapes, for example.  At least, I think that’s what I hear.  I don’t really know, because it’s so faint as to be almost imperceptible.  OK, fine, I thought to myself at the time.  Maybe I just “think” I hear these things because to have something like synaesthesia (like Nabokov, Feynman, etc.) is to be unique and special.  Maybe all these sounds were just some strange form of “wishful thinking.”

The event that finally pushed me to accept that my image-sounds took place just when I’d started graduate school.  It was late afternoon. I was on Wikipedia, brushing up on trigonometry.  As I stared at this animation, I realized that it was making a sound.  Clearly, definitely, making the impression of a sound – lower when the ball was at the bottom of the circle, higher when the ball was at the top.  I sent the link to a good friend of mine and asked if it made him think of a sound.

He “heard” nothing.

Since that day, I’ve done my best to figure out what triggers the “sounds” that I hear.  It seems that motion, especially circular or wavelike motion, can bring it about.  Static circular shapes can occasionally trigger it.  However, one of the most noticeable is a pretty girl smiling – that sounds like sand blowing across the ground in the wind.  Unique and definitely hard to connect with the stimulus, that’s for sure.

Being slightly synaesthetic is rather mundane, actually.  It’s hard to talk about your experience because no one else really shares it.  My brother in law suggested that it might help me “see” more in an image than non-synaesthetes do, but I suspect not.  I simply get the information two different ways.  The sounds are so hard to pin down that to this day I sometimes wonder if it’s all just imagination.  And then I’ll glance at some object, thinking of nothing in particular, and I realize that I’ve got a faint suggestion of a sound to go with it.

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The Bone Tree

“I sacrificed a cow here, many years ago,” my grandmother said.  “The roots of this tree drank the blood.  See the skull?  That’s all that’s left of her, now.”
“What did you want?” I asked.
“I prayed that your mother grow up healthy and strong, and so she did.”
“What are you asking for now, grandmother?”
She sighed.  “Your sister cannot conceive and the rains are months too late.  So I have returned.”
I looked around.  “But where is the cow?  Did you forget her?”
“No cow, this time,” she said.  “I think I need something more precious.”

———-

I return!  A month of crazy preparations for, and execution of, fieldwork have sapped all free time from my addled schedule.  But on the plus side, I got to press the “detonate” button on a big explosion.  I love my job. Anyway…Every Friday, writers from all around the world write 100 word (or thereabouts) flash fiction based on a photo posted that Wednesday on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

I welcome constructive criticism; without it I cannot grow as a writer.  The weekly photo that inspired this story is below:

Posted in Friday Fictioneers | Tagged | 13 Comments