Monday, July 30, 2018

The Last Ride on the Metro

It was my final night in Moscow. The World Cup so far had been nothing short of amazing. I had met people from all over the world, but what affected me most was the warmth and kindness of the Russian people. From English-fluent hotel employees, to not-so-English-fluent cabbies, I was astounded. Everything I had been taught throughout my life was that Russians were alien, cold and quick to take advantage of foreigners. I couldn’t have been proved more wrong.
On this one last night, after strolling through Saint Nicholas Street with my wife, Marielena, (and eating the most amazing hamburger ever) we decided to go back to our hotel, situated in a Soviet-era apartment apartment block fairly close to the Domodedovo Airport.
And that’s where it all began.
We boarded the Green line (#2) southbound. It was packed. Like sardines. I stood up in the back after I managed to secure a seat for my wife. Looking around, it seemed Marilena and I were the only non-Russians on the car. Now, let me tell you about the Moscow Metro. It is bomb. Always on-time, always fast, the Moscow Metro is one of the best undergrounds I have ever ridden (and I’ve been on many, in many different countries).
While standing in the back of the car, squeezed between two kids with bicycles and a few proto-goth girls with wireless headsets, I waited patiently for people to leave. My back was aching. My feet were on fire. My wife LOVES to walk. My legs didn’t have the same feeling. But there was one thing I noticed while standing in the back.
There was an elderly, obviously Russian woman seated directly across from my wife. Nothing wrong with that, but she was staring at me. No. She was giving me “the look.” And I had absolutely no idea what she was thinking.
Anyway, after a couple of stops the car finally cleared up a bit, and I dropped down into an empty seat next to my wife. I stretched out and rubbed my knees. I twisted my back around. I was hurting, but I wasn’t complaining. After all, I had just spent two weeks in an amazing country.
And the elderly lady kept looking at me.
I’ve been stared at before. In Lima, Stockholm, Tokyo. You name it. But her gaze was something different. She was studying me. Intently.
Suddenly, Marielena and I saw a older gentleman (about 80) stumbling down the moving car. And that was hard. The Metro cars, although on-time, tended to sway back and forth a bit. My wife elbowed me. “Get up. Give him your seat.” I nodded and popped up, which I would have done anyway. Motioning to him, he shook his head, staring through his Coke-bottle glasses and tried to move past me. “Gaspaygin!” I said, “pazhalsta!” (Sir, please!). He reluctantly took the seat as I helped him get settled.
And the old lady kept looking at me, her cold, penetrating stare making me feel self-conscious. What had I done? Did she not like me because I was obviously a foreigner? I had no idea.
Anyway, two stops later, the older gentleman departed and I plopped down into the seat he had previously occupied next to my wife. Again I stretched out. I loved my vacation, but my legs were ready for my barca lounger back home in sunny Southern California.
Then our stop came. Surprisingly, the elderly woman who had been so intently analyzing me also disembarked.
And then the oddest thing happened.
She bumped into me and reached out, shoving some candies into my hand. “A present for you,” she said in heavily-accented English. I gave her a curious, almost clueless gaze. Then she spoke to me in Russian. I didn’t understand her words, but I did understand her meaning. She asked me if my back hurt. I nodded and said, “Da.” She then shoved a packet of pills in my hand, and, turning away, said, “Have good day, American.”
Astounded, I looked at the packet as she hurriedly disappeared into the masses of Moscow dailies. The packet said ибупрофен, and after having spent two weeks in Russia I could read that it said “ibuprofen.”
I don’t think it was my obvious pain that she felt, but the fact that I had respected her culture that had caused her to gift me with a handful of sweets and some pain killers.
And I will be forever grateful.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The three "theres"

I don't usually write tutorials or critiques (although I did write a post called Creating an Alien Language for your Manuscript), but the other day I was fighting with someone on a web forum (I like fighting. It's fun!), and someone corrected a poster, stating that the person had incorrectly said "their" when it should have been "they're".

In essence, the line read "they already have their tickets." Possessive - tickets that belong to "them."

However, the responder said it should have been written, "they already have they're tickets."

Ooof. My pet peeve. The three "theres"


Look, it's all very simple. There are three words that sound exactly the same but are used differently.

"There" has many forms (data from dictionary.com).

adverb
1.
in or at that place (opposed to here ):
She is there now.
2.
at that point in an action, speech, etc.:
He stopped there for applause.
3.
in that matter, particular, or respect:
His anger was justified there.
4.
into or to that place; thither:
We went there last year.
5.
(used by way of calling attention to something or someone):
There they go.
6.
in or at that place where you are:
Well, hi there.

pronoun
7.
(used to introduce a sentence or clause in which the verb comes before its subject or has no complement):
There is no hope.
8.
that place:
He comes from there, too.
9.
that point.

noun
10.
that state or condition:
I'll introduce you to her, but you're on your own from there on.
adjective
11.
(used for emphasis, especially after a noun modified by a demonstrative adjective):
Ask that man there.
interjection
12.
(used to express satisfaction, relief, encouragement, approval, consolation, etc.):
There! It's done.

_______________________________________________________________

“Their”

pronoun
1.
a form of the possessive case of they used as an attributive adjective, before a noun:
their home; their rights as citizens; their departure for Rome.
2.
(used with a singular indefinite pronoun or singular noun antecedent in place of the definite masculine his or the definite feminine her):
Someone left their book on the table. It's good for the teacher to have high expectations for their students.

_______________________________________________________________

“They’re” is the contracted form of “They are”; the third-person plural, present tense conjugation of the verb “to be”.

They’re (they are) going to the store.



And now you know

Next week we'll be discussing proper dinner table etiquette when serving White Castle sliders at a black tie event.







Sunday, April 8, 2018

How to NOT Die in Post- Apocalyptic Hollywood

Revisiting the fantastic, yet decimated world of Alternative Earth from LIVES OF LOST ANGELS, we again meet up with clean leader Dons, Adam the fake mage, neko sisters Minnie and Cassandra, and Lennie and Jelly, the vampire musician couple. We are also introduced to a new protagonist in The Prīmulī Prophecies - Kam Andreessen - just a normal, everyman who never quite gets the girl. But that's all about to change.
If he doesn't get killed first, that is...


https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/810674

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Short Story Anthology now online

THE COMPENDIUM OF IMAGINARY STARS is now available at SMASHWORDS, and will soon be distributed by iBooks, Barnes and Noble and more.

A small collection of short stories by yours truly, these were originally published by OMNI Magazine (before they became a penny-blog and then changed their name).

Check this short read out.

Best of all, it's free!

SB

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

LILI G #2 first draft

Well, I recently finished the first draft of LILI G #2, a.k.a. LILI G : YGGDRASIL.

Why YGGDRASIL? That's the name of the mythical tree from Norse cosmology that connects the nine realms.

In Lili's universe, Yggdrasil is the name given to an object, usually in the form of a tree, that exists on every world. Its purpose is to enable an injured Primulus to escape and return to THE HUB. Another feature also enables a Primulus to go to any point in space/time without their ghanlo.

The blurb goes as follows:

Lili Gatto starts her second year at Saint Mary's, but in her very first class she sees someone who shouldn't even be on her planet, let alone first period English. Later, she gets a very special pet, reluctantly joins the soccer team and vacations in the land of her birth.

However, she learns about Yggdrasil, the tree found on every planet in the universe. It allows a stranded Primulus to travel through space/time without the aid of their ghanlo.

Lili uses the tree (of course), with some unintended consequences. Now she must find a way to restore her timeline or run the risk of losing her family and friends forever.

This story delves into new territory, not limited to travel through space/time, but also adolescent maturity, teen angst and crushes becoming something more.

I'm sure you'll like it.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

RAGNAR LOTHBROK IS DEAD

ALL HAIL KING RAGNAR



So, if you are a true fan of VIKINGS, you will notice that Ragnar died in a pit of snakes, much like how he died (supposedly) in real life.

But seriously, he needed to die. It was time.

Besides, he was just too fucking weird. Maybe too much time in the wilderness? And what writer's bullshit is this? We never find out where the Hell he was? Bad writers. Bad!

Maybe some other woman will show up with a slew of Ragnar-bred pups and claim he was the king of yet another location? Or maybe he was a smelly old vagrant over in Norway?

Who knows.

In any case, this character was only supposed to last one season. Well done, Travis. Well done.

SB

P.S. Aslaug is dead. Good. I always hated that character. Lagertha rocks.