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Shatner's Bassoon

The twisted brain-wrong of a one-off man mental

3/20/11 07:32 pm - Back to pimp shit

Haven't written anything in ages. Feel a little mercenary popping up to say I've written some stories that got published.

Saving The Drowing Girl is available in spoken word here: http://voicesoftomorrow.libsyn.com/saving-the-drowning-girl

Anthropic is available in written form here: http://www.365tomorrows.com/03/20/anthropic/

hope everyone is doing well.

12/11/10 10:52 am - slowly creeping seasons

it's nearly christmas. How did this happen?

Ten seconds ago, I was holding Aja's hand and we were watching the fireworks over Cambridge on Guy Fawkes' Night

Fifteen seconds ago, I was about to meet Aja at Gatwick, stomach filled with cold expectation and a weight of lonely months.

Half a minute ago, I was a sad and lonely thing, pining for the other half of my world, half a world away.

A minute before that, I was frantic, prepping a house for sale, finding homes for cats, too tired to pay attention to what I was giving up.

Five minutes ago, I was perfectly content in early March. I'd just got a pay rise, we'd just bought a Wii, my parents were coming to visit, and everything in my life felt normal.

The only good thing I can say about this year is how fast it's gone.

7/3/10 05:22 pm - anyone want a couple of adorable cats?

This is for anyone in the Charlotte area:

We're moving to England, and as part of the move, we need to find a home for our two cats: Fluffy and Pei-Pei. We could get them shot and chipped, but quie apart from the expense, the thought of them being tossed in the hold of a plane for hours, and destroyed at the other end if their chips don't work, is heartbreaking.

Fluffy and Pei-Pei are sisters, seven years old, and have lived with us their whole lives. Fluffy is like a cuddy toy of a cat, and is sweet, affectionate, and very cute indeed. Pei-Pei is smarter, funnier, and more adventurous, but also has a sweet side that she turns on if she really likes you. We want if at all possible to find a home for both of them together. They have both been spayed and do not have fleas. They were given immunizations in 2006, and have tested negative for FIV and leukemia. They've been indoor cats their whole lives, and are well trained in using litter boxes. They could be outdoor cats (and are fascinated with going outdoors) with a little adjustment.

We just want to make sure that they're well looked after by someone who would love them, so if you have a home you could give to two of the sweetest cats you will ever meet, please let us know by replying here or emailing me at irennie@gmail.com

6/24/10 01:09 am - Why Cacti Don't Love

For Jordan

Why Cacti Don't Love.

I need a drink.

There's an old saying about camels: they can go for days without water because of internal reserves. What they don't tell you is that when you finally get the camel to water, it will drink anything it can find, drain an oasis to dry sand.

I've been in this terrarium for longer than days, no company but the sound of Ursula reading to us.

Ursula, blond, teutonic, last name like a stuttgart butcher yelling at a stray dog.. She was studying the effects of different voice patterns on certain forms of carnivorous cacti. To one tank, she spoke with clear hatred, to another with distinct indifference. To me, however, she spoke with nothing but love.

She didn't know that I wasn't like her other specimens, that the lab brought in something destined for a much higher security clearance. She just went about her simple research, and today made the mistake of reaching into the tank to stroke her beloved cactus.

A sharp, hollow quill entered her finger, barbs kept it in place until all the blood was drained.

She hit the floor. I'm larger now, more lush and verdant.

And still thirsty.

6/24/10 12:28 am - The Duck's Treason

For Casey Jones on Facebook

The duck's treason.

He saw him coming this time. He saw him coming before he got out of bed this morning. He saw him coming before he was even born.

All these years of plans, and this idiotic prankster ruined it every time. He could have been something by now, something special, not the endless butt of endless bad jokes. He was like Lex Luthor, constantly thwarted by Superman. That is, if Superman had suffered from leporine spongiform encephalopathy.

This was it, though. This time, it was a game of wits, and he knew he had more wits in the web between his toes than this joker had in his entire cotton stuffed head. It was finally over. No more bad gags from a loki substitute who held a carrot like a cigar. No more constantly asking 'doc' what was up. It would end, and end well. He smirked, and played his final card.

“Duck season! FIRE!”

The diminutive hunter pulled the trigger. Once the smoke had cleared, he found himself hurt, rather than dead. Of course. Dead wasn't funny. With a horrible effort, he wrenched his beak back round to the front of his face.

“You're dethpicable.”

6/23/10 07:25 pm - Cosplaying Thundercats In Dorset.

For Purplesparkler

Cosplaying Thundercats In Dorset.

At one point, Lionel had hated himself for not hating this.

The six of them stood on the beach at weymouth, not ashamed at all of their outfits, their body paint, their ridiculous hair. Adrian, who was usually Jaga, was sick today. He was getting on in years, but usually never missed a meeting.

Lionel had joined with the intention of getting an article out of it for Retrochic magazine. He had intended this to be two weeks under an assumed name followed by a two page spread of sneering and colour photographs, but he couldn't bring himself to jeer at these people. They were having a lot more fun than his normal post-ironic hipster friends, because they didn't care. Last week, he had confessed all: he wasn't Patrick, the engineer; he was Lionel, the freelance journalist. They didn't mind, probably would have forgiven him even if he had written the article.

He lifted the sword. It was mild steel, and the insignia on the hilt was plastic, but in his hands it felt real.

“Thunder, thunder, thunder...”

He held it aloft, completing the movement in the setting sun amongst his friends.

“Thundercats, ho!”

6/19/10 11:17 pm

the only bad thing about the first half of the Doctor Who finale was how dogshite it made every other Doctor Who finale look.

6/18/10 01:06 am - Sparkly Vampire Nerf Romance

for purplesparkler

Sparkly Vampire Nerf Romance

He tried, he really did.

The girls were willing try any book he gave them, but their previous reading habits sometimes made it a challenge. To pick an example, while they both appreciated the plot of Pride & Prejudice, they found their preferred heroine in Bridget Jones, not Elizabeth Bennett.

Still, one had to soldier on. No point in running a book club if you yelled at the kids who came to it.

This time, he thought he had the formula right. Teenagers were all about vampires these days. He'd heard these two happily converse for hours about the brooding eyes and shimmering skin of their favorite bloodsucker, so taking them back to the original seemed like the natural step. The first few chapters had gone slowly but without any major roadbumps.

“So,” he said, as they began the book club, “Last time I asked you to read up to the end of Chapter five., where you meet Mina, Lucy, and Lucy's suitors. What did you think?”

“Well,” Morgan said, “Me and Tiffany were talking about it today and...”

Tiffany butted in in her excitement.

“We're both totally on Team Quincey.”

6/18/10 12:16 am - Best, Dark and Bright

For purplesparkler

Best, Dark and Bright

I split realities, combed through lives until two very different archetypes stood before me.

One grew up poor, won scholarships to the best schools that money didn't buy. A doctor by twenty, a spokesperson for Medecins Sans Frontieres by 24. He led the team that cured Alzheimer's disease. In his spare time he wrote love poetry: sestinas and rondels, mostly.

The other killed a schoolfriend at eight to see what would happen. By 24 he put his bodycount at 700: homeless people and prostitutes, mostly. He would hit 1000 before he turned thirty. He did it all with his hands, not wanting the distance that a weapon put between him and his victims.

Two men, the most successful in their chosen pursuit. The best of dark and bright.

Both the same man, both with my boyish smile on their faces. And me, observing from the middle, the iteration of myself that discovered dimension warping. The only one to see all this.

I took away the barrier between them, just to see what happened. One of me dropped to a fighting pose, and bared teeth with flecks of meat between them.

Well, not quite in the middle.

6/17/10 11:06 pm - The Valenciennes Collection

For Morbane:

The Valenciennes Collection

“I have perfect recall” Monsieur Valenciennes said, “That is my curse.”

I followed him through dark hallways. Tantalizing glimpses through cracked doorways revealed the ruins of a beautiful house, like the face of a pinup girl 20 too late.

“Do you believe in past lives?”
I shrugged, “Not really.”
“Neither did I until I turned 25. The memories started on my birthday, you could call them a present.”

He laughed, a wheezing bellows clogged with dust.

“I have lived a hundred hundred lives, and I remember them in painful detail.”

He opened a door to reveal a wall of images: colour photographs, then sepia, then tin. Before that, simply sketches.

“I spent my life gathering my collection of former selves, and I suppose in my next life I will do it over again.”
“So what's the curse?” I said, “Living forever doesn't sound that bad.”

He looked at me with ancient pity.

“Growing old time after time? Getting murdered? Dying in pain to be reborn in pain? It's more than enough to make you kill yourself.”

He smiled.

“Not that it would do you any good.”

6/17/10 10:35 pm - A Somewhat Sanguine Songbird

For purplesparkler: 200 words

A Somewhat Sanguine Songbird

He lays his tattered tophat down, a few coins in the bottom as encouragement. Thursdays are the best, streets not too empty, but not so busy you drown in hubbub.

His is not the greatest voice. He has dropped half an octave from the C# of his twenties. Years of smoking not just cigarettes has taken the sustain away. Push too hard and all you get is a hacking cough that nobody tosses a quarter for.

Still, he sings for the generous souls. He puts them in the song, and things get better. Sometimes small things: the student who laid down a dollar and got a grade better in his finals than he had any right to expect. Sometimes larger ones: the woman who ran into subway and bought him lunch, and found that the lump on her breast was benign.

A too fast foot kicks his hat in passing, scattering coins.

“Fuck off, tramp!”

The sneering young man didn't even stop, wouldn't remember the incident by this evening, when his girlfriend would dump him for his roommate. He picks up the coins and starts to sing.

“You've lost that lovin' feeling...”

6/17/10 10:12 pm - Luscious

200 words including title, for kismet76


Apples. It always started with apples.

It hung in the whiteness and was perfect. Skin mirror-shiny, lustrous o-negative red. A half inch of stem, which somehow seemed odd, as if the brain had a problem accepting this came from a tree. Which of course it hadn't.

Ava stared through goggled eyes, amazed. She had managed the project from the start, but it still blew her away how much this tricked the eye. There were none of the giveaways that usually stopped VR immersion, just... reality.

Without thinking, she reached a hand out and took it. It felt heavy with possibility.

Something happened. The glowing filament of an idea lit her up from inside. She moved her glove towards her face and bit down. Nothing should have happened. They had coded sight, sound, and texture, but that was all. Nobody had thought about taste, yet she felt the juice fill her mouth with sharp, delicious sensation. The taste filled her, overwhelmed and took over.

A while later something that looked like Ava pulled off goggles and laid down gloves.


The lead coder looked up from his workstation. She held out an impossibly red apple.

“Here, taste this.”

6/17/10 10:13 am - time to get the writing muscles working

yoinked from purplesparkler & morbane here's a short fiction challenge thing:

The challenge:
Reply to this entry with a title (maximum of four words) about which you'd like me to write a fast fiction of exactly 200 words, together with a single word you want me to include in the text of the tale.

6/13/10 09:24 pm - Anyone want to buy a shitload of comics, graphic novels, DVDs, and other stuff?

I'm moving to another country. It costs $1000 to ship 50 cubic feet of stuff (to put this in perspective that's an area about 3 and a half foot by three and a half foot by 3 and a half foot). Hence, I am getting rid of about 8 years' accumulated books, comics, CDs, and DVDs that I literally can't afford to take with me. I'll do this by section, anything crossed through has sold:

ComicsCollapse )

Graphic NovelsCollapse )

DVDsCollapse )

I'll happily take any reasonable offers and I'm very willing to negotiate on shipping.

6/4/10 11:30 am - moderate to big news

OK, I've been hinting at this for a while but haven't said it out loud because I was letting Aja tell her mum & dad first, but here goes:

I've been offered the position of Knowledge, Library, and Information Manager at the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Trust in Cambridge, England. I start there on August 2nd, as long as I successfully complete a criminal background check. So, yeah, I got a job, but it means I'm moving back to England. The american adventure is finishing, and I'm not sure I know how to feel about this. What I do know is that I have 8 weeks to sell anything I can't move with, make any necessary repairs to the house, sell the house, process Aja's visa paperwork, get the cats shot and chipped, find a place to live close to Cambridge (anyone know of a good satellite town near there?), get all my stuff set up, and then start a job considerably more senior to anything I'm doing right now. So, on the one hand yay, on the other hand, dang.

5/2/10 05:19 pm - Continuation

welp, not much to report.

I've applied for 46 jobs since getting laid off. So far I've landed 2 interviews. The first was in person yesterday, the second is over the phone next week.

I knew this would take a while, and I'm just trying to make sure I keep my enthusiasm up.

4/12/10 10:38 am

so, my first week unemployed in over 5 years. How did it go?


I applied for a lot of jobs, I sorted comics to sell, I tried not to get on Aja's nerves.

Currently, I'm viewing it as a job, albeit a weird one. My job is to find a job.

2/3/10 01:21 pm - 365 tomorrows published another story


quite a dark one this time.

1/25/10 04:44 am - the weirding hour

I'm awake and I don't want to be.

I haven't been able to get to sleep all night. I think I'm running a temperature and I feel terrible.

I have to get up for work in 2 hours. I'm meant to be doing the money team at work this morning.

I'm caught in the insomniac feedback loop. I can't get to sleep, so I keep worrying about how soon it is that I have to get up, and the worry is enough to stress me out and stop me getting to sleep.

It's been years since I had insomnia this bad. I hate it. Hate it hate it hate it.

12/22/09 11:16 pm - I suck at the journaling

very short list of things

* I'm still alive

* I finished my novel last month and I'm editing it

* Aja and I wish everyone a very merry christmas

* I'd forgotten how good Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was

* I'm gathering ideas for a children's science fiction book / series called Auntie Gravity. It would fit into a kind of Sarah Jane Adventures space, only a bit less Monster Of The Week.

* I really need a couple of days off to get myself awake again, but most of my time off will be spent traveling. Oh well.

Hopefully I'll have more to say soon.
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