Saturday, November 27, 2010

Probably Only A Coincidence, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

Welcome once again to another excursion into the realm of literary weirdness! 

This week marks the big 3 – 0 week of Saturday Centus, that entertaining writing meme hosted by Jenny Matlock at her blog, off on my tangent.  As is the custom of us Centusians, we converge on Jenny’s blog every Saturday morning to get this week’s creative writing prompt.  Using this prompt, we carefully craft 100-word short stories for the amusement of ourselves and our fellow Centusians.  Even non-Centusians (aka the “unwashed heathen”) often come by and enjoy our tiny flights of fancy.

In lieu of a prompt this week, Jenny has decided to jolt us all back from our tryptophan-induced comas by shaking things up with an interesting twist from the normal routine.  The concept for this week’s Centus was provided by Clear-Space, a regular SC contributor.   Our instructions for this week are to pick a random horoscope from the paper or online and write our stories based on the kind of day that it “predicts.”

My take on astrology is that it is an entertaining diversion, but only the most weak-minded and gullible give it any real credence as a bona fide science.  In a world gone mad as ours has, however, the most bizarre things are often given credibility.  For instance, these days even the most ridiculous and far-fetched ideas can appear viable to some, like BP fulfilling their promises to return the Gulf of Mexico to its original pristine state, or saving our country from its economic death spiral by implementing greater tax cuts for the super wealthy, and the most horrifyingly loony notion of all time bar none, President Sarah Palin.

Just for fun I pulled up a random horoscope from this silly site and was amazed at the accuracy of their profile of Librans such as myself.  It reads as follows:

Librans are sometimes known to go in for wife/husband swapping, and "swinging" appears to be a popular activity amongst Librans. Stopping the Libran from being so liberal with his/her body can sometimes be a chore. Chains and ropes are likely to help in the short-run, but that's because they like the idea of dressing up and S&M.

Generally Librans are against things, which can make them pretty miserable and at the same time fairly interesting. Until they become tiresome. Other star-signs are known to feel about Librans that they're a "bit like my dad" when it comes to opinions.

Humiliation or embarrassment is not in a Libran's lexicon. Nor is "goat" or "leprechaun" - it's a bizarre-but-true blind spot with your average Libran.

 Danger is around every corner for the Libran, and whilst it is usually paranoia and not true at all, the Libran finds it very difficult to turn off that worried side of their persona. This is understandable, really, because as far as we can tell, everyone is out to get them. However, paranoia only gets the Libran to stay, trapped forever, in the house - not a great problem in itself. No, it's more what drives him to shudder in the cupboard that remains a mystery.

The Libran is disposed to walking naked around his/her dwelling, irrespective of the other members of the household's view or opinions. Interestingly, the Libran is also against the concept of curtains, which leads to the statistic that 94% of all Librans have been arrested for "exposure."

Uncanny, isn’t it?  I’m sure you all know someone who fits this profile.  Besides me, I mean.

Here is my personal horoscope from this same website.  My Centus for this week follows immediately afterwards.  

Libra  23 September - 23 October
Hexes may impair your vision today if you attempt to cross an invisible boundary. Fun is a word that will score you few points in scrabble...but then when was life all about scrabble? If you mis-use the word literally once more today ("I *literally* laughed my ass off"), you're going to feel what it's like to be hit "upside the head".

Probably Just a Coincidence

“So what happened to your head?”

“It was the strangest thing.  I had just laid down “refudiated” for a triple word score when Miles literally went berserk.  He angrily rejected my word and literally tried to claim victory.

“But how did you…”

“Well, when I objected he literally tried to take my head off with the bag of tiles.  He then dumped the game on the floor and cursed my eyes if I ever played it again.  The guy is insane.  Literally.”


“Hey, why’d you hit my head?"

"I didn't.  I only figuratively hit your head.”

"Still hurts!"

Jenny Matlock

My horoscope says that it is a good week
to wear a disguise.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Very Funny, Mom - A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

Welcome to the 29th week of Saturday Centus!  Wow, has it been that long all ready?  Two hundred and three days have passed since Jenny Matlock at her blog, off on my tangent, first challenged us to think succinctly with this entertaining writing exercise.  A lot of wonderful short stories and poetry have been produced as a result of it too.

In a way, then, Jenny is kind of like a mom for giving birth to such a prolific themed writing meme such as this.  And we, the humble scribes who toil at these hundred word tales each week, are by association like her many gifted children.   I guess that means that she will have to set out a few more place settings for Thanksgiving this year! 

I’ve only participated in 28 weeks of the Saturday Centus myself.  It took me a week to catch up with the cool kids and try my hand at a writing meme.  Now it’s part of my regular routine like flossing my dog’s teeth or changing the air in my car tires.  It’s also something that I’ve come to look forward to and enjoy, not just for the opportunity to do something creative, but also because I enjoy reading the efforts of my fellow Centusians and the warm and supportive feedback we share.

This will be the last Saturday Centus before Thanksgiving so quite naturally Jenny has given us a fun prompt in honor of the holiday.   So while we are sitting around the table this Thursday giving thanks for what we have, I want to add one more to the list.  I think I speak for all of us Centusians when I say thank you, Jenny, for providing such a joyous literary playground for us to play in and hone our writing talents.  

If you haven’t tried Saturday Centus, you really owe it to yourself to join us and submit one of your own stories.  The rules are still the same: 100 words total not including the prompt, no foul language (though fowl language is just fine), no pictures and no splitting the prompt.  You have a week to post it to Jenny’s meme post.   So come on, join us and show us your stuffing, er, I mean stuff!   Giblet a try.  You’d have to be gravy not to.

Here is this week’s prompt:   "Pardon me," said Tom T. Urkee…

Here is my story for this week.  I have entitled it:

Very Funny, Mom

The Fancy Food Show drew thousands of people to San Francisco every year.

"Pardon me," said Tom T. Urkee, as he made his way through the crowded convention floor. 

He noticed a woman eyeing his name tag in disbelief.

“Is that really your name?” she asked, desperately trying to hold back a laugh, but failing miserably.

“Yes.  Yes it is.  My mother was a bit of a nut.  In fact they called her Quirky Urkee.”

“I’m sorry for laughing.  It’s just kind of unusual.”

“That’s okay.  I’m just thankful my mom wasn’t a vegetarian.”

“You mean…”

“Yes.  Toe F. Urkee.”

Jenny Matlock

Wishing Everyone A Wonderful
Thanksgiving Day!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

"A Paparazzo's Dream", A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

Welcome back to yet another installment of the Saturday Centus, that fun and challenging writing meme that takes a supplied prompt and no more than 100 words of your own and transforms them into a mini literary adventure!  Our host and spirited advisor for this exercise is none other than that bloggess extraordinaire herself, Jenny Matlock at her blog, off on my tangent.

As this is the 28th week of the Saturday Centus, by now you know the rules about the 100 word limit, no vulgarity, no splitting the prompt and no pictures, but you may not know that, as a result of the recent elections and the shift in power in the House, starting next year there will be some new rules that will take effect here in Centusland.

To begin with, those Centusians in the top 15% income bracket will be able to use a total of 175 words in their Centus instead of the usual 100.  Those in the lower income brackets will find their word limits decreased to 64 including the prompt.  There will also be a small surcharge required to post your Centus for those not in the top bracket.  These funds will go to support legislation to defend American freedom and liberty blah, blah, blah…

In addition, any written pieces that seek to disparage members of the Republican Party, Tea Party, it’s conservative pundits or corporate cronies by accusing them of being either greedy, power-hungry, plutocrats or mindless half-wit talking-point puppets will not be allowed to be posted (For those of you who are Republicans, disparage means “to put down.”)
In contrast, bashing the President and the rest of the government whom are dedicated to improving the lives of ALL Americans (even those Republicans who wish to deny the rest of us healthcare, unemployment benefits, civil rights and who have worked tirelessly to ship our jobs overseas to fatten their own bloated  paychecks) will, however, be tolerated and in fact encouraged. 

Also in 2011 the restriction with regard to having photos or illustrations will be partially lifted.  White, God-fearing conservative bloggers will have the option of using any of a number of images officially sanctioned by the Republican Party.  These include the popular “Obama with Hitler-style mustache,” “Obama with Bone In Nose” and any image reputing to show Obama as a socialist, a communist or a fascist (for those people who are unfamiliar with the meanings of each term and use them interchangeably.)

Yes, the times they are a-changing!   This new direction purchased by the Koch brothers  voted on by the electorate will include some sweeping changes for all of us.  In light of this, Jenny, I want to apologize in advance because I’m not certain that I will be able to keep your rule on vulgarity come next year.

This week’s Saturday Centus prompt had a very poetic, lyrical feel about it, so I tried to utilize it as best I could given my non-poetic, raucous writing style.  The prompt this week is:  "The early November sunshine cast golden rays..."

Here is my take on this week’s prompt.  I have entitled it:

A Paparazzo’s Dream

The early November sunshine cast golden rays upon this exclusive Malibu beach community.   Sitting in my boat the cries of seagulls broke the trance-like state that the gentle surf and salty sea air had placed me in. 

Suddenly she stepped out onto her deck wearing just her bikini bottoms and holding a drink.  At long last the moment I had been waiting for.  I raised my Nikon camera and clicked away.

Sure, anyone could photograph other topless celebs, but it was I that finally caught on film the person who had eluded photographers all these years.

Betty White.

The bidding would start at a quarter million dollars.

Jenny Matlock
Practice random acts of kindness.
It really weirds people out!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Celebration of Death - A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock


It’s 2am and Tom sits in his chair, hands typing away furiously on his laptop, fighting off sleep and mental exhaustion with cool jazz, green grapes and a glass of ice water.  His cat, Blue, lays behind his head on the back of the chair keeping him company.


I’ve got to post my Saturday Centus at least by Sunday,
Blue.  So much important stuff going on this week I won’t
have another chance.  Especially once the football games
start tomorrow.

Tom’s wife Teresa slowly enters the room, rubbing her eyes and seeming annoyed.


Hey, are you coming to bed?  You know I can’t sleep when you are not there.


                        Oh really?  So does that mean you were just snoring for


            Ha ha, very funny.  So maybe I slept a little bit.  Come to
            bed, it’s late.


I will.  I’ve got to finish writing this week’s Centus first.  After that I can relax. Go on back to bed and practice snoring some more.  I won’t be too long.

She leaves.  He blows her a kiss and returns to his typing.



This would be going a lot better if I had some clue as to what I was writing.  But I guess that’s part of the fun of this writing meme.  You never know what direction you will go in and then something clicks and the story writes itself.  Take this week’s assignment for example.  Write a 100 word short story using the supplied prompt, “It was the 11th anniversary of.”  There’s got to be a million ways to take that prompt.

Blue slowly sits up and licks her paw, then sits down facing the opposite direction with her back leg resting on Tom’s shoulder, tail flicking against the side of his face.


Well, at least you are not being distracting or anything, Blue.  Maybe you are right.  Maybe I should just quit for the night.  I could probably pick this up sometime later in the week.  I do have a whole week to submit it.

Tom looks at the bracelet on his right wrist.  The dark brown letters stamped into the leather read WWJD.  They stand for “What Would Jenny Do.”  He finds his resolve and decides to stay up and finish his Centus. 

45 minutes later:


Yay!  I finally finished it!  100 words!  Boy that was rough.  I hope everyone likes it.  Now all I have to do is write some weird intro that tells everyone what Saturday Centus is and how it is the brainchild of Jenny Matlock at her blog, off on my tangent, and to post their submissions back to her blog post so we can all read ‘em and comment on them.  It’s got to be different, though.  Maybe a different color font or type size.  Yeah, that’s a great idea.  Thanks for your input, Blue.  You are my favorite deaf cat.

And scene.

This is my effort for week 27 of Saturday Centus.  I have entitled it:

A Celebration of Life Death

November 24th.

A date that none of us could ever forget.

It was the 11th anniversary of  Mama’s passing and all of her children had gotten together that afternoon, as they had the previous ten years, to mark the occasion.

“I’d like everyone to raise their glasses in a toast to Mama,” Roger smirked.

“To Mama, for enriching our lives and bringing us together in joy and happiness.  Something you never, ever did for us when you were alive.  Let you continue to burn in Hell you miserable, evil, maniacal troll.”

Cheers and laughter rang out over the family as the champagne poured.

Jenny Matlock

Become a Centusian. 
It looks good on your resume.


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