Friday, November 19, 2010

Neil Gaiman Needs Help with "The Price"

Picture Credits

I'm sure you know who Neil Gaiman is. You don't? Sinner! Just kidding, heh. He's the award winning author who wrote one of the best comic books ever made, Sandman, and several fantastic(al) books, which latest are Coraline -- that was made into a spooky animation -- and The Graveyard Book, which won the Newberry Medal. He's also my favorite writer. (As if you hadn't guessed it by now, heh.)


You see, Gaiman also wrote a short story called The Price that you can hear here, narrated by him, for free. The story is so good that Christopher Salmon wants to make it into a 3D animation. 


If you care about my opinion, I love Gaiman's comics and novels, but I'm not as affectioned to his short stories. Every author has a weak point, right? However, The Price is fantastic! It's gripping, chilling and surprising. Curiously enough, I though it'd make a great animation when I read it. 


Check out this video, which I hope will tick your curiosity, if I haven't yet. ;)

"So why all this?" you ask. 

Well, if you saw the video you know what we need to do. If not, I'll summarize it for you. ;) 

To make the project into the real thing, they need to raise $ 150,000. 3D animation are expensive, eh? They're almost half under way, but there are only ten days to go, so your help is most needed! 

Check out the widget on the sidebar to see the progress. So far, more than a thousand people are backing the initiative! Now go and do some good. :) 

p.s.: Here's the movie's website. Pretty! 

I'm Back!, NaNoWrimo, Apologies and Thank You's

Picture Credits

Hello my dear virtual friends! I'm finally back, I've missed you and I have a question for you. 


"Uh, you're dumping all that at once?" you ask.  


Err, that's part of my coming back, so please bear with me: have you ever been without internet for almost a month? Has your library a limitation for long web addresses that prevents you from posting and visiting your friends' blogs? 


Picture Credits
Ops, that was more than one question, heh. You know what's the weirdest thing about the isolation? It's when you come back. You'd think I'd be staying online all day, catching up with all the friends I miss so much.



Oh, no. 


The fact is that after all this time, when one's life is turning upside down, apparently upwards, and then downwards again, one can lose one's grip on things. So one decides that isolation is a good thing for a while, to reassess decisions and goals etc. But when inside one's shell, one forgets that there are people out that who care about her, and that one's absence worries them.

Picture Credits

This is the moment I apologize. I'm sorry I haven't replied the awesome comments left in my absence, and I'm sorry I've worried some of you. On the other hand, I felt so very loved with your emails and DMs checking up on me! Thank you, I heart you all. :D 


On another matter, this post's headline mentions NaNoWrimo... Ahem, with all these twists and turns I couldn't keep up with the challenge, so this year's NaNo project flunked. But know that I'm doing it again next year. There's no quitter here, no sir! heh


Picture Credits
The NaNo failure made me think about what does it mean to be a writer. Instead of reproducing all the speech I had written, I believe the image above synthesizes my conclusions. 


This picture has nothing to do with
this post. I just like it and wanted
to put it somewhere. Please ignore me
and keep reading.
Picture Credit
Am I out? Hum, no. But I will have to slow down for a while, at least until life gets less dizzy. This means that Randomities will return to its original concept, that is, being erratic. So, the trolls are still on, as well all the weird stuff I make you put up with, but I'm allowing myself not getting concerned about posting frequency, traffic, stats, and all. I hope that in the mean time you'll keep an eye on us - me and Randomities - until I put life back on track. 


Thank you all for reading! I'm off to reply some long due emails now, of the people from whom I deserve a good kick in the soft parts, heh. ;) 

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Sweetest Trolls #11: Kreptus's Explanation, part 1 -- #FridayFlash



This is the 11th installment of the Troll Serial. To read from the beginning, or to find past and future installments, click here.







*



Kutril woke up with the smell of dried blood in his nostrils. He tried to stand up and lost his balance, seating back painfully. It took him some time to stand up and stumble to the dying fire. He threw a few logs on the coal and turned to the sprawled body he thought to be Kratan's.


His chin fell to his chest when seeing Kreptus's bloody face. He rushed to his side and waked him up. Kreptus groaned and shook himself off Kutril's arms. He sat and glared at his nephew, who staggered back to get the last bandages. 


Kutril wrapped them around his uncle's head, who grumbled, "Do you know how hard it was to get these? In one night you idiots used them all up, one night!"


Kutril was too sleepy to hear, his full attention focused on his hands and the crimson head beneath them. 


"There," said Kutril, sitting before the fire. When Kreptus seemed to start recovering, Kutril asked, "What happened, uncle?"


"Get me something to eat. Then I'll talk." 


"But uncle!"


"No freaking buts with me!" Kreptus winced, and then growled, "Just do as I say, you moron. You're too sleepy to understand anything anyway, and I need food to get better." 


In response, Kutril stiffled a yawn and asked, "Where's Kratan?"


"What did I just say?" He glared.


Kutril sighed. "Okay..." 


Kreptus pointed to his back and said, "Take the dry exit. Follow the path with more footsteps and you'll be fine." 


"Okay..." said Kutril, standing up. "Are you going to be okay?"


"Yeah, son. Just remember that we're in the middle of the night. You don't have much time." 


Kutril nodded and left. The dry exit opened to a vast forest with no sign of human civilization in any direction. He crossed paths with several eatable animals: deers, boars, and in case of emergency, bears. Unfortunately for Kutril there were no goats. He came back tired and annoyed at the prays' increased speed.


"What the hell did you catch?" said Kreptus, getting up. He swayed and supported himself on the wall behind him, never loosing the grasp on his club.


Kutril hadn't noticed having arrived. Startled, he looked up from his feet and said, "A bear."


"Why would you do that?" said Kreptus. "There are plenty of harmless preys out there." He walked towards Kutril to certify that the bear was dead. "Look at these scratches! You look like shit." 


Kutril blinked and then yawned. 


"What the hell; let's eat," said Kreptus, sighing. 


Kutril dragged himself to the fire and sat down with a thump. 


"Get your fat ass back here!"


Kutril looked back through heavy eyelids. "What?"


"Help me out, you idiot." 


"Oh, right." 


Soon Kutril was snoring. Kreptus finished eating and crossed the waterfall, climbing down to the pool below it, as fast as he could. By the time he finished up, the sun was drinking the water right above Kreptus's cave, its tongue licking further down at each passing minute. At his arrival, he made an unguent with the fresh herbs he'd collected, which he put on Kutril's wounds and on his own. He lied down watching Kutril through the low flames, the slightest smile creeping on his face, and fell asleep hugging his club.


The next night Kutril woke up feeling refreshed. He stretched, yawned broadly and sat up,  catching up instinctively a large meat loaf thrown at him. 


"Eat," said Kreptus.


Kutril's nostrils flared at the smell of fresh food and a grin formed in his face, which died into a frown as soon as he identified it. 


"Bear?" 


Kreptus shook his head. "Shut up and eat. I've got some explaining to do." 


Kutril took a bite meekly and said, "Okay uncl--" 


"What did I say about talking with your mouth full?" 


Kutril opened his mouth and closed it with a click. He swallowed forcefully and said, "It's not polite." 


"That's right. Now shut the fuck up. I have a headache, which you may share with me soon." 


Kutril cocked his head to the side. His uncle lifted a prohibiting finger and Kutril covered his own mouth with his free hand. 


"There's something I need to tell you, and you're not going to like it." 


Kutril swallowed again.


"Kratan left and I don't think he's coming back." 


"What? Where did he go? Why didn't he wake me up?" gushed out Kutril, with trembling lips. 


"Calm down, son." 


Kutril forgot about his food, watered eyes focused on Kreptus. "Where is he?"


"I don't know," replied Kreptus. "But I have an idea of where he might be heading to." 


"Is he okay? His head hurts too and I'm worried about him." 


"I'm afraid there's not better way of putting it," said Kreptus, with a pained voice. "He's in danger, and so are we."


Kreptus told Kutril what had happened the night before, limiting himself to the facts. Kutril shook his head throughout Kreptus's explanation.


"This cannot be, uncle. Kratan would never do that!" 


"I know. Normally he wouldn't, but he's not himself. Or rather, he is himself since last night."


Kratan kept shaking his head. Losing his patience Kreptus stood up and slapped him on the face. 


"Listen to me, smart ass. You think you know Kratan but you don't. And you don't know yourself either." 


"What do you mean?" said Kutril, massaging his cheek. 


"Remember what I said about no one knowing you can turn back from stone?" 


"Yes..."


"Well, that's because you're different, and being different is dangerous." Kutril kept silent, so Kreptus continued, "Neither of you were like this before." 


"No?"


"Before..." Kreptus trailed off, thinking of the best way to make himself understood. "Once, you were like all the other trolls." He made a broad gesture, as to encompass the whole species.


Kutril chewed on that thought. "But the other trolls are scary."


"Precisely. And dangerous. You see, Kratan is like them now." 


Kutril frowned and Kreptus continued before he had the chance to react further, "We have to stay away from him for a while, until he gets better." 


"We need to help him!" 


"Good boy," said Kreptus with a rare smile. "That's exactly what we're going to do, and for that, we need to find the knight with white eyes." 


*


<< Back to episode 10                   Go to episode 12 >>

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Sweetest Trolls #10: Kratan Goes Wild -- #FridayFlash



This is the 10th installment of the Troll Serial. To read from the beginning, or to find past and future installments, click here.


*



"Must I explain everything?" said Kreptus,  throwing his hands up. His gaze was met with two blank eyes. He sighed and said, "On your way here, did you see a big castle at East?" 


"We--" 


Kratan moaned loudly, interrupting Kutril. Kratan grabbed his head with both hands, eyes firmly shut, and started rocking. 


"Are you ok?" asked Kutril. 


"Head hurts," said Kratan, who started banging his head on his own knees. 


"I thought that after eating you'd feel better," said Kutril. 


Kratan limited himself to glaring at his friend. Kreptus's gaze seemed directed at them, but he was lost in though. Kratan's moans increased once again, waking the old troll from his reverie.


"We should get some sleep," said Kreptus, raising abruptly. "The sun must be high in the sky already, and we have much to do." 


"Sleep?" asked both Kutril and Kratan, who winced when raising his head.


Kreptus grabbed Kutril's ear, leading him deeper into the cave, where a bed made of straw was prepared.


"You imbecile, you've been sleeping in the sun, haven't you?" 


"I don't know what you mean uncle, please let go, it hurts!" pleaded Kutril.


"How many times do I have to tell you? No one can know that you can turn back from stone. No one!"


"But no human could find us where we lived." 


"Yet the very knight I warned you about found you, didn't he?"


Kutril lowered his head. 


"Have you any idea of what would happen if other trolls knew what you can do?"


"N-no, no, we avoid other trolls, uncle, just like you said." 


Kreptus snorted. "I don't know what to do with you. You're not kids anymore." He paused, pressing his thin lips together. Shaking his head he added, "I'm tired of babysitting you Kutril, you have three nights to find a safe place to live. After that you're on your own." 


"But, but..."


A scream prevented Kutril from protesting. They looked back and rushed to Kratan, who was thrashing on the ground, tearing his hair off. He rolled over the fire and off of it, not noticing the flames licking his clothes. Kutril and Kreptus rushed to help him, extinguishing the fire and holding Kratan in place. 


Grunting, Kreptus took his club and hit Kratan on the head. 


"What did you do that for?" asked Kutril in a semi-hysterical voice. He stood up and started pacing, pulling his ears down. 


"He wouldn't be quiet," said Kreptus. "Now make yourself useful and go get some bandages. You'll find them near the bed." 


Kutril hushed to obey his uncle, mumbling incoherently, "So nice... uncle... crazy... Kratan... -derstand... shouldn't... head..."


Kreptus made another bed for Kratan near the renewed fire and sat by it.


"You," he said to Kutril, "will get some sleep." He raised his finger. "No buts." 


Kutril opened his mouth and closed it, turning back with slumped shoulders. 


Kreptus stared for a long time at the distant light coming in through the waterfall, with his back to the fire and Kratan, and Kutril fell asleep while puzzling over the need to do so. 


By nightfall, Kreptus turned to watch Kratan, touching his club to certify that it was close by. He noticed the slight difference of his skin color against the fire, and the longer and sharper fingernails. All he needed was to see the eyes to confirm his suspicions. He looked to where Kutril was laying asleep. Kutril should wake up only the next night, after being so long away from the dream land. 


A rasped voice whispered in his left ear startled him.


"What are you looking at, old fool? You're not hiding some human girl from me, are you? I'm hungry enough to forget to kill before I start eating." Kratan clicked his nails near Kreptus's cheek.


Kreptus turned slowly, looking straight into Kratan's wicked grin. Scanning his face up, he met his eyes. Fool indeed! he thought. It was not meant to happen so soon. Too damn soon! 


Kreptus swallowed before saying, "I have no girls for you, but I was about to go out and hunt some goats. Care to join me?"


Kratan crouched beside Kreptus and spit on his feet. "Goats? Are you senile? I want humans. No, children." He smacked his lips. "It feels like ages since sank my teeth into their soft flash."  


"We're too far from human civilization for you to get a human before sunrise," said Kreptus, with a set jaw.


Kratan didn't reply. Instead, he swung his club at his uncle's head, taking him by surprise. 


"Well, it seems I'll have to content myself with what you're trying to protect back there," said Kratan. 


"No," slurred Kreptus, before losing consciousness. 


Kratan gave the old troll a good kick in the stomach before strolling his way to Kutril, not bothering to check if Kreptus was dead or alive. 


"Psst, girlie, girlie, girlie," he whispered, chuckling at the thought of his meal pleading for her life. "If you behave well I promise to be good too." 


Almost dancing with anticipation, he halted before Kutril's large form and frowned. He scratched his head and winced, surprised at the blood streaming down his head and from under his nails. Kratan licked his fingers and poked Kutril, who snored and turned in his sleep.  


At the sight of his long last friend's peaceful countenance, Kratan dug his longed nails in his skull again, trying to shake off the excruciating pain coming from the inside. He fell on one knee, breathing hard, and shot another look at Kutril. He flinched as another wave of pain washed away his last warm feelings. He vomited, digging his bloody fingers on the ground. Avoiding looking at the sleeping figure, he fled, running in the direction of the dry entry.  


*

<< Back to episode 9                   Go to episode 11 >>

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Uh, oh! Randomities Won a Double Award!




The lovely - and now super-busy - Anne Tyler Lord granted Rantomities not one but two blog awards at once. Thank you so much Anne! :)

You all probably know by now that there are slightly different rules for each award, but they all encompass: 1) Thanking who awarded you, and 2) Passing it on to a certain number of  people, letting them know that you did so. 



Well, since I am sort of a rebel when it comes to blog awards, I'm going to maintain the basic above and change (almost) all the rest. 


I'm passing this double award to fewer people than the normal, and since I'm changing everything the only rule I'd like the following friends to keep is to pass these on together, as Anne and I did. Just to make things interesting. ;)


Most awards ask us to tell something about ourselves, so you can kill your curiosity at this old post and this other one. There's nothing new to tell, I'm afraid, except my reasons to keeping things for myself, if you didn't know them yet. 


Now to the fun part, I'm passing on the double award to:


Friday, October 1, 2010

The Sweetest Trolls #9: Family Reunion -- #FridayFlash






This is the nineth installment of the Troll Serial. To read from the beginning, or to find past and future installments 
click here.


*

Kratan and Kutril ran as if they were being followed by an army in armor and horses. When they were too far from civilization to worry, they slowed to a trot. 

"Where," said Kratan panting, "are we going?"

"To my uncle's." 

"What?" Kratan halted. "No way. I'm not going to that lunatic's house." 

Kutril turned to his friend, saying in all seriousness, "You're right, my uncle is bohoo," he spun his finger around his ear, "but he's the only one who can help us."

Kratan sat right there and started humming. 

Kutril paced. "We don't have much time, you know?" he said. 

"Why?"

"The sun, dumb-dumb."

Kratan frowned and banged his club on the floor. "You're right, we have no one else to ask help to." He got up, "Ow, my head hurts."

"That's what you get for thinking too much. C'mon, if we hurry we may get to his cave before the sun comes up."

"Okay, but we'll stop for water on the way, right? I'm thirsty."

"Sure thing, let's go."

They headed north, further into the woods. In about one hour they started climbing hard rock. 

"Not even goats can climb this mountain," whined Kratan. 

"Sure they can, the problem is that they're diur, durn... You know, they live in daylight."

"What a shame." 

"Yeah, abandoning that farm full of goats," said Kutril with dreamy eyes. He sighed, shaking the thought away. "Let's go. I'm sure uncle will have water for us," said Kutril. 

This gave Kratan a burst of energy and soon they arrived in a plateau. Looking back and down, they could see the forest and beyond it the tiny village lit up again. To their right, at distance, there was a large city with a great castle at its southern border. Both Katran and Kutril shuddered at its sight.

"Uh, oh," said Kutril, "we should be there by now."

"What? You don't know where your uncle lives?"

"I know where it is," replied the Kutril, "it's just that I haven't visited him in such a long time. Or he could have moved."

Katran glared, Kutril shurgged, and they resumed their climbing until they reached the top of the mountain, which they found to be the base of a mountain range.  

"What an idiot!" said Kutril.

"Stop calling me that," said Kratan.

"No, I'm the idiot. I forgot that uncle lived in the middle of many mountains." Kutril snorted.

"You bet you're an idiot," said someone behind them. "I could hear your noisy panting ass from the woods below."

Katran and Kutril screamed their lungs off for the second time that night. They turned to be slapped in the face by and old and greasy troll. Kutril vented loudly. 

"Why are you here, stupid nephew of mine?"

"I-we need help uncle." 

"Tell me something new." 

"Humans are chasing us." 

Kreptus rapped his knuckles against Krutril's skull. "That's nothing new dumb-ass; follow me."

Kratan and Kutril followed the old troll down the other side of the mountain through natural and carved passageways, arriving at the entry of a Kreptus' large and deep house. 

"You've got to be kidding uncle!" 

"What?" said Kreptus looking back. 

"We'll have to get wet, that's what!" Kutril could not believe his uncle lived behind a waterfall. 

"So?"

Kutril glared, and Kratan spun his finger, hidden behind his friend. 

"Tomorrow I'll show you the dry entry, now you can stop licking your damned lips and drink as much as you like in your way in."

"You mean there's a dry entry and you showed us the wet one?" said the indignant Kutril. 

"We don't have time for the dry entry. Look up sweetie."

They all looked up and the stars had disappeared. 

"Let's go," said Kratan and Kutril, in unison with Kutril's fart.

They devoured the second meal Kreptus provided despite not being that hungry anymore. Kratan and Kutril nodded at each other, in a silent agreement as not to reveal that they had already eaten today, knowing how dangerous Kreptus could become.


As they sat back patting at their full stomaches Kreptus asked, "You're not staying long, are you? I'm old and I can't hunt for more than one."

"Well hunt too?" said Kratan tentatively.

Kreptus seemed not having heard him.

"We have nowhere else to go uncle," pleaded Kutril.

Kreptus crossed his arms furrowing his brow. 

"Well hunt?" said Kutril. 

Kreptus waved them off. "If you're getting your own food, you can stay."

Krutril smiled broadly. "Thank you."

"Don't thank me yet; there's one condition."

Kutril shrunk, Kratan sighed. 

Kreptus flashed a sour look at Kratan and continued, looking at Kutril. "No contact with humans."

"But," tried Kutril.

"Whatsoever," said Kreptus, flatly.

Kutril's shoulders fell. "Not even girls and nice knights?"

"No girls! Wait," said Kreptus, leaning forward, "did you just say knights?"

"He's nice?" said Kutril, shrinking.

"No damned knight is nice!" 

"But we met one who warned us about the villagers coming after us," said Kutril with a childish voice.

"And he explained Kutril's farting," said Kratan, almost in a whisper.

Kreptus rubbed his face vigorously. "Did he wear a shiny silver armor?"

"I don't know if it was made of silver, uncle."

Kreptus snorted. "Okay then," he said, tapping his fingers on his knee, his jaw set, "did he have black hair and white eyes?"

"Yes! And his horse was white. I wanted to taste it but I was too scared to try, besides, the knight was nice with us."

"He was scary too," added Kratan, slowly.

"But he didn't try to kill us, right?" said Kutril. Kratan shook his head emphatically, and Kutril asked, "Do you know him, uncle?"

"Yes, I do know him, and you idiots know him too," replied Kreptus, forgetting to ignore Kratan. 




Note: This is the last installment written during WeSeWrimo, so from now on you'll be free of the bragging badged, heh. ;)

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