Knitting geekery May 8, 2013Posted by philangelus in geekery, knitting.
“You’re going to love me,” said my friend.
I should have replied, “I already love you,” but instead she meant she had a bag for me in her car. My friend’s mother, in the process of cleaning out her house, had given her a bag of stuff and said, “Can you use these?”
My friend looked in the bag and said, “No, but I know someone who can!”
(You can click on any of the photos to see them larger if you want to geek out too.)
Yeah. This is a stash of knitting tools assumed to be from my friend’s grandmother and great aunt, and any other relatives who passed along knitting needles. I sat at the kitchen table for about half an hour playing with the stash, and another half hour browsing through the patterns.
(I love how some of the needles were stored in a Thin Mint box.)
Some of the knitting books date back to 1936. (!) And the needles — some are plastic needles, but there’s a set of metal needles so much heavier than my aluminum needles that they pretty much have to be made of steel.
After I finished geeking out over all the needles, I started doing the geek-thing and analyzing, and I realized…knitting is the same, but the knit-tech is a bit different.
First off, whoever’s stash this was, they loved socks. There are sock needles galore in here, so many that in the needle case there’s no more room in the size 2 and 3 slots, so the extras are bunched up at the ends.
But no zeros or smaller. And oddly enough, no needles larger than a size 8. (I used my needle sizer and verified that the sizing is consistent with what I’m using today.)
So what’s the difference? These are the needles of a Real Knitter. And I’ll prove it, because I also have her patterns. And based on her patterns, what is she knitting?
1) Socks, lots of them. Argyle socks for the most part, but also some textured socks. No lace socks, but lots of cables and ribbing.
2) Hats, mittens.
Everything had colorwork. I can’t do colorwork because I haven’t learned it yet, but there’s colorwork in just about every pattern (at least those I could see — not all the patterns have pictures so you can tell what the finished object should look like.)
What’s not there? Shawls. Lace. Pretty decorative stuff. Weird things like Ken joked about in a recent comment (“tree sweaters”). Because this person was knitting to keep people warm, as opposed to knitting because it’s kind of cool to knit.
What’s also not there? Large-size needles. Nothing you could use to knit chunky yarn or super-bulky yarn. Maybe in part because it would be hard to do colorwork on super-thick yarn, but maybe also because no one was doing that.
What else isn’t there? Circular needles. I guess because a) no really long shawls and b) sweaters were all being done flat and seamed up, rather than being knit in the round.
A couple of years ago, my mother gave me my great-aunt’s crocheting tools for my birthday, and they’re just amazing too, working with the tools of people who used these tools to provide warmth and cover (or income) for their families.
This isn’t quite the same as putting your nose to the F-holes of an old violin and smelling the scent of Time. But it comes very close to touching Love.
Pretending To Farm May 2, 2013Posted by philangelus in geekery.
On Friday night I got a “final reminder” to attend a meeting I’d never heard about before, the orientation for our local CSA.
In March, I pitched the idea to my Patient Husband, who asked, “What’s a CSA?” I said, “It’s where you give money up-front to a farm, and then as they harvest things during the summer, you get a portion of it. So you’re eating a lot of seasonal vegetables, but they’re organic and fresh, and they’re locally produced, and you’re supporting a farm.” He said, “Great, but what does CSA stand for?” and I had to go looking it up while my Patient Husband stood behind me saying things like “Communists Stuff for Alimentation.”
Turns out it’s Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s a big thing around here. Angelborough has maybe five thousand residents, and the CSA seems to have five hundred members and a 90% retention rate. I never realized how much everyone loved Angelborough Farms.
So I came home from the orientation filled with trivia about how a farm works and how a CSA works and what kinds of goodies we’ll be bringing home, and how Mrs. Farmer says the stuff straight from the field is better than the stuff from the grocery store (she has to say that because, you know, otherwise she’d shut down and go to Costlies like the rest of us).
The owner of the farm took over about eight years ago, and apparently before she was allowed to buy the farm, she had to present a community vision to our Council Of Elders (or whoever is running this place) and demonstrate how she’d be nurturing the land and sheilding the environment from certain destruction.
At this my Patient Husband laughed. ”This is so East Coast American.”
I paused. “Why?”
He said, “Because everyone around here wants to farm, but no one wants to dig.” He lived in the midwest for over a decade. “Back home, the farmers didn’t wax poetic about seasonal eating and nurturing community spirit. They fed the animals, milked them, slaughtered them, planted the wheat, grew the wheat, cut down the wheat, and planted more wheat. And if you wanted to grow tomatos and squash and snap peas, you went out back with a trowel and you dug.”
I said, “Well, this makes sense. None of us wants to get dirty.”
He said, “Everyone here thinks farming is important, so we’ve all figured out a way we can support agriculture without actually changing anything about our lifestyles.”
A non-American friend of mine once accompanied me to a farm outside Angeltown. I said, “You’ll like this. You can feed the goats and the sheep, walk through the fields, watch the kids play in the hay maze, and pick your own apples.”
My friend replied, “Let me get this straight: you’re pretending to farm?”
It wasn’t until that moment when I realized — that’s pretty much it. The main method of survival for thousands of years is now an afternoon’s entertainment and a five dollar admission fee.
But this summer, it’s not just entertainment. It’s also food. Once a week we go to the CSA and will harvest the bounty of the land from the bins in the barn. Potatoes: Take Five Pounds. And yeah, we’re farming without getting our hands dirty.
If you frequent the comment box, you’re familiar with Ken Rolph, our resident Australian (actually, he’s residing in Australia and we all gather wherever via the magic of the internet.) He posted this to a forum we both belong to, and I asked permission to post it here, which he granted. I think all of us can relate to the tech-woes.
I have just effectively had a quarter of the year trashed by big companies and their technology. Early in January I got my MacBook Pro upgraded 2 system jumps, and there are still things I can’t do. The helpful Apple Centre geniuses mentioned that this machine would be declared “vintage”, by which they meant “buy something new or go away”.
My ISP was bought by a large telecom and shut down. We naturally had to move to something else, so on 15 January we signed with a new, large telecom for phone and internet. They would supply a cable modem, wonderfully fast and fully featured. We didn’t have a cable, or even a pipe, so we had to go through all that. A technician finally put a cable into our study, leaping from the skirting board to the desk in an elegant arc that would be easy to trip over. He turned the modem on and went on his way with a cheerful, “Just start up your browser. It’s all automatic.”
Which was partly true. The modem took control of our portal and tried to access the registration page. Then came back an error message that said we couldn’t register at that time, and to try again tomorrow. In cheerful innocence I believed it at first.
For the next 45 days our browser would do nothing else but go around this loop. We called for help and went through another loop. The person on the end of the phone (in the Philippines or India) could not solve the problem. They would pass it on to an activation team, and someone would call me back the next day. They never did. No one could or would explain what the problem was. At the end a technician admitted that there was a problem with the new software that was trapping thousands of new users in this loop.
Unwired was to shut down on 28 February, so we were getting a little desperate. On 22 February, out of the blue, our local federal member of parliament rang up. She was a student of Jan’s and wanted her help in a local project. There’s a federal election coming up and this makes political parties a bit ready to connect with local voters.
We mentioned our problem with the telecom. The MP said to drop photocopies of our dealings down to the electorate office on Monday morning. Which we did. That afternoon the phone began to ring with apologetic telecom technicians, activation team leaders, official apologisers. We had 6 returned phone calls over the next two days. On 28 February, at midday, a technician turned up (not at the appointed time, of course) with a new user name and password scrawled in texta on a piece of cardboard. He did something to the modem and we were away and registered in an instant.
The next couple of weeks were spent updating our online presence. This creeps up on you over the years. I had a two-page list of places where my email address was used in a meaningful way. It took a long time to update because of all those passwords. The most security conscious financial institution kept me going for an afternoon. Log in and add a new password. Wait for an email telling me that I’ve added a new email and need to confirm it. Change the new email to be the primary one. Wait for an email . . . Delete the old email. Wait for an email . . .
Last week we sat down to calmly survey the damage and look for the way ahead. Exactly 3 months ago we had a home network linking seamlessly 4 computers and 2 printers. Relatives and friends could come with their laptops, phones, pads and I could just add their MAC number to our access list and all would work slowly but reliably. Now nothing worked with anything else. So I pulled it all apart and put the cables in a drawer and started again. One cable modem wirelessly to one Mac, with a colour printer plugged directly to it. The rest of the stuff didn’t fit into the picture at all. So we thought we would get some new technology. Jan bought an iPad mini. I got out an iPod which I had acquired some time ago and never been able to use because of software incompatibilities. Now it worked. We set up Jan with her own personal email address. Up till now she had to use the school one or mine. Of course the incoming/outgoing mail settings were different from the leaflet that came with our new modem, but I was able to read the account the technician had set up on my machine.
Then, in the snail mail, we got a threatening letter from our new telecom wanting to cut off our service because we hadn’t paid any of our accounts. What accounts? It seems that although the technical department could not give us internet access for 45 days, the billing department efficiently sent our January and February bills to an email address we never had and are never likely to have. I got that sorted out.
On Friday afternoon I got a call from a bubbly voice henchperson of our telecom. She said they had noticed that I just changed my email address and wondered if everything was okay and working properly. I gave her a sardonic account of the past three months. She didn’t seem the slightest bit disturbed. Either she was used to hearing the story, or she hadn’t yet done the official grovelling apologiser course. Inevitably we got to the date of birth question. She said I sounded younger than that and that my attitude to technology reminded her of her dad. She said it might be a generational difference. She said we was twenty . . . well, you know what I’m going to say. The driving force underlying all art and commerce of Western Civilisation — the energetic 23-year-old woman. I ended up agreeing that the new service was all fabulous. Later I thought about not being like someone’s dad and 1967 — a great year for music.
Saturday. I got some Beach Boys music for the iPod and went into the garden. The darn device locked itself on CoverFlow and wouldn’t shift. So I couldn’t change the volume. So I couldn’t hear above the noise of the lawnmower. Jan called for help with her new iPad, which had gone to a blank blue screen and wouldn’t shift. I said, “I’ve had it with technology. I’m going to read a book.” So I went and sat of the teak seat under the shade of the melaleuca tree in the back garden. Later Jan bought me a cup of tea, and very unkindly pointed out that there was a contradiction between escaping technology and reading a Kindle DX. I said that’s not technology. That works.
My new definition of technology. Offers you heaven: leaves you in hell. You can’t get it to a stable point where you can just use it for work and play. Someone has to keep moving the bits. It’s like a carpenter having to spend all their time fitting new handles to a hammer head and never getting to use it to hit a nail. I said to myself, I wish I still had a typewriter.
Sunday the grandkids came and I was thoroughly escaping technology. In the garage I found some old boxes we hadn’t got around to in our pre-retirement cleanup. I pulled out a vinyl LP of Also Sprach Zarathustra, which was #1 on the hit parade around the time when the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey was showing. I asked #1 grandson what it was. He replied with all the confidence of his 4 years that it was a DVD. I hear that cheap turntables are available again.
Also in the box were the last few audio cassettes we still have. One was a large wraparound plastic pack containing 6 cassettes of the Beach Boys; the Capitol Years. I started listening to it in the afternoon. It reminded me a earlier times when I thought things were possible. There used to be a booklet with it. I wondered if I could find a copy still around. After all, we have this wonderful internet stuff which contains all human knowledge. So I googled. I couldn’t find the booklet. I couldn’t find any mention at all the cassette version. A Wikipedia page mentioned a 6 LP and a 4 CD set. Frequently I find that information on the internet is inaccurate, misleading or simply missing. Of course it only contains what people put there.
Over supper Jan and I considered what to do. Then we remembered that we are old and rich, so we said, right, we’ll just buy new stuff. After she went to bed I sat holding the Beach Boys cassettes and thinking about the inadequacies of the internet and its many betrayals. It only contains what people put there. But wait, I’m a people! So I signed up to be a Wikipedia contributor and made my first addition.
This morning I sat pondering what to do with the old technology. Then I realised that I do have a typewriter. There is a functioning Macintosh and a functioning laser printer, which work together. All my problems had been with connectivity. I could still write and print out things for editing. And I can cable the two Macs together and pass stuff via the drop boxes.
One day, perhaps, I can get back to a point where I can use all this technology to do actual work.
Eggo Waffle, Your Holiness? March 14, 2013Posted by philangelus in food, geekery, religion.
Tags: Ecumenism, Pope Francis, tweens
The first action of Pope Francis was to get all my laundry folded. I found out about the white smoke via Twitter and immediately searched up a live feed, then propped the computer on an inverted laundry basket and started folding the four loads on the couch.
As I was finishing the last, my daughter and two friends came into the living room. What are you watching? I’d already gone on the balcony and said, “Kiddo2! White smoke! White smoke!” and she’d cheered, then explained to her friends. So now they kind of hovered, and I explained we were waiting for the announcement of who the next Pope was.
Of the two girls my daughter had over, one is Jewish and the other is atheist. The atheist declared, “I don’t care who the next Pope will be,” and I said, “That’s perfectly fine. I didn’t ask anyone to care. I’m watching it because I want to.”
They started asking me questions, though. Yes, that balcony is called the Loggia. Yes, it’s raining in St. Peter’s Square. Yes, there are like a quarter of a million people standing there in the rain. No, it’s not nuts — people have done worse to get One Direction tickets. They all decided they wanted to be called back inside to watch when the “master of ceremonies” cardinal came out on the balcony to introduce the new Pope.
At that point my computer was running out of charge, plus the feed crashed, so I plugged it back in and had two computers side by side running separate news feeds, that way if one crashed we’d at least have the other (Catholic Geek in the Information Age, TYVM) and I settled on listening to CBS’s reporting but looking at Reuters’ pictures. The time came. I called them back.
There was a round of “Who?” when the cardinal announced the name, and then my daughter started shouting, “POPE! POPE! POPE! POPE!”
And then, so help me, her two friends started jumping and screaming, shrieking, “He’s here! He’s here!” and cheering. Kiddo3 was there too, staring with wide eyes. “This is history!” shouted the atheist friend. “This is so cool!” And for a minute, we had something I have to call spontaneous ecumenism. There was no preaching, no arguments with attempted conversion, no pretended “tolerance” while everyone glared daggers. There was just genuine rejoicing from three girls with different viewpoints, unrestrained joy that Catholics once again had a pope. And they listened to his speech, and they were pleased.
I was shocked. This was awesome. I looked up more and more about Pope Francis, and I related it to them, and they kept sighing. He rides the bus. He kissed the feet of AIDS patients in hospice. He lives in his own apartment and cooks his own meals.
Later that night, I said to my Patient Husband, “I feel like I should invite Pope Francis over for dinner. Except he might actually show up.”
“Oh, don’t do that,” he replied.
But I can see it happening — the Pope “just happens” to be in the greater Angelborough area, and we get a phone call: would it be okay to stop by for dinner? So I throw something together and invite Father G from the parish (“You really, really need to be here!”) and we clear out one of the Kiddos’ bedrooms for the Pope, and in the morning he wanders downstairs and I’m like, “Well, you can have a bagel or some cereal, your Holiness… Eggo Waffle, maybe?” and then the Swiss Guard comes in and glares at me, saying, “We’ll just be going now.”
He just seems like that kind of guy, you know? The kind of guy who collects his own luggage from a boarding house and pays his own bill rather than sending a Vatican flunky to do it for him. He might just show up for coffee, and if he did, I’d have to tell him how for a just a few minutes, he had three girls screaming about him as if One Direction were standing on the Loggia.
If you mailed me a book… March 8, 2013Posted by philangelus in geekery.
Tags: Lynn Austin, mysteries
1 comment so far
I have no idea who sent me a copy of “Candle In The Darkness” by Lynn Austin. I like Lynn Austin’s work. I’m following her on Goodreads. But her novel arrived in my house via third-party seller, and I have no clue who sent it.
There was no packing slip. No one has admitted to sending the book. There is no tracking number and no order number. I don’t think it was on my Amazon wishlist. But that means whoever ordered it must have known my address *and* must have had access to my Goodreads profile, and very few people have both.
So. Well. If you sent me a book as a Random Act Of Kindness, I think you. I will enjoy the book, and I’ll enjoy the mystery of how it arrived.
The iPhone enjoys a holiday February 18, 2013Posted by philangelus in geekery.
Tags: iPhone, President's Day
1 comment so far
Just before midnight, the bedroom filled with a blue glow. My eyes were closed, but I recognized there was a sudden light, and I started awake to find the opposite side of the room shining.
I sat up and leaned over my Patient Husband, and I saw his iPhone had lit up, and while I was puzzling about this, it shut off, so I lay back down, wondering why it had done that. In my half-awake state, I thought to myself that maybe it had received a text or a call, and that made sense, but then I realized that if it had gotten a call or a text, it would have rung. So I got scared that maybe something was wrong, but fortunately because I was half-awake I also realized that was nonsense: if something was wrong, the iPhone wouldn’t just light up in the dark.
Whatever. I went back to sleep.
About an hour later, Kiddo4 woke up crying and needed to be tucked back in and re-pillowed. When my Patient Husband came back to bed, I said, “Your iPhone lit up before. Why would it do that?”
He took the phone for a minute, then laughed. “It’s President’s Day.”
Apparently his job calendar updates with days the company is closed, only they start the event at midnight, so fifteen minutes before the event, the phone issues an alert that the event is happening.
“I’m really sorry,” he told me. “I don’t usually leave the phone by the bedside.”
“It’s fine,” I said, and suddenly it was really awesome that the phone had lit up and I’d awakened to see it. How many people do you know who are so excited about President’s Day that they’ll wake up at midnight, just waiting for the day to turn? Who when it happens, just can’t contain themselves and want to tell somebody about it? And how great that I’d been alert enough that the iPhone and I could share this moment?
“Wake up! Wake up — it’s President’s Day! Hooray! I’ve waited for so long!”
Enjoy the day, little iPhone. Have sweet dreams about Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Chester Arthur.
Call me Iron Woman November 14, 2012Posted by philangelus in geekery.
When I started doing Couch To 5K, I noticed I was in imminent danger of death. According to the all-knowing machines, which flashed a distressed purple for my heartrate and started dialing 9-1-1, I must be red-faced and dripping with sweat, gasping for breath, and fainting. After sixty seconds of jogging.
In fact, I felt fine. I could have sung while running, which I’m told means you’re exerting yourself only moderately more than changing TV channels with a remote. But to keep the machines happy, I went to the doctor, who screamed and sent me to a cardiologist, who ordered tests that proved nothing (well, it proved my insurance company still has money) and told me to work out for a few months and see if it got better. So I switched from jogging to biking, and after months of 25 miles a week…well, I was back in his office.
I got a heart-rate monitor in the mail. Instruction: CALL US. The nice lady on the phone talked me through putting batteries in the back, and then the moment of truth. “Push the button to turn it on.”
It played ♩cheerful ♬music♪ ♩for several♬ seconds, and I said, “That sounds reassuring. Better than if it played Taps.”
The poor customer service representative busted up laughing, and then, because I never leave well enough alone, I ddi the opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and I forget what other insanely inappropriate songs I suggested, and the poor CSR realized this call was going to be a lot longer than any other in her entire career.
I keep getting in trouble this way. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve felt obliged to donate to some cause or another because I made some smartacre remark during the telemarketer’s scripted intro.
Heifer International: “We’ve got an unprecedented chance to bring help into Viet Nam, so we’re trying to raise a hundred fifty thousand dollars.”
Me, sounding distraught: “Oh, I can’t give you that much!”
(The telemarketer couldn’t talk for two minutes after that. I felt obliged to give something, and then I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut and wished her good luck raising the other $149,950, and she said, “Thank you, Ma’am, and if I ever do get someone who offers that much, I’m going to hang up my headset because I’ll have heard it all.”)
Anyhow, the heart-rate-monitor woman was writing her resume in between giving me instructions on how to Cyborgize myself. She told me the sounds it would make, all of them cheerful, and how it could talk to their computers either by calling them or by singing like a modem through the phone, and how if it got worried, it would alert them and then beep desperately, and the screen would nag me to call them to tell them I was still alive.
I said, “Aww, it’s worried!”
She said, “Now you need to hook it up.”
I dutifully attached electrodes to my body, and then I said, “Where do I put it?”
In your pocket, on your belt… She said, “Some women tuck it into their bra.”
I said, “You’ll just have to trust me, that’s not going to work for me.”
And then… “It’s just too bad the monitor doesn’t have an LED screen. I’d have totally shoved it in there and looked like Iron Man.”
I think that’s when she emailed her resume to anyone who might have a job opening. Where she wouldn’t deal with the public. And my worried little monitor began watching my heart and fretting for my health.
So that’s the upshot: for a month, call me Ms. Cyborg.
I ought to give it a name, since it’ll travel with me everywhere. What do you think?
Leave it the heck alone. October 7, 2012Posted by philangelus in geekery.
I’m one of those Psycho Moms who researches everything to death, and about seven years ago I ended up on a website talking about The Evils Of Piercing Your Ears With An Earring Gun. It scared me for two reasons. First, it made sense. And second, when they talked about all the horrible things that could happen if you got pierced with a gun, I recognized them because they’d all happened to me
So last week, when my daughter got her ears pierced, I drove an hour to take her to a tattoo parlor rumored to be the safest place to get your ears pierced in the entire universe. I didn’t care that it would cost more or that it was practically a pilgrimage. For her part, she didn’t care because 1) earrings and 2) day out with Mom.
And while there, I got my helix pierced too because I’ve wanted to do it for a long time. So there. If I’m making a pilgrimage to a tattoo parlor, I’m darn well going to come home with a new hole in my head.
For his part, the piercer was very impressed with my daughter.
Kiddo2: “So then they take these awesome sterile earrings, and they stick them in a non-sterilizable piercing gun, and guess what? Not sterile!”
Piercer: “Um…how old are you?”
Afterward, when I’d surprised myself by not turning into a sad, whimpering mess during the piercing (it turns out four unmedicated childbirths are actually good prep for one needle through the ear) the piercer gave us a sheet of aftercare instructions, and then read them to us while I sat there snickering.Finally he asked what was my problem, and I said, “Every single thing here is the direct opposite of what I was told to do the first time, when my ears became a total mess.”
The piercing aftercare instructions can be summarized as follows: Leave it the heck alone.
They take a lot of words to say it, but pretty much: don’t move or twist the jewelry. In fact, don’t touch it at all. Don’t put peroxide, bacitracin, hibiclens, witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, betadine…. Don’t touch it. Don’t. You thought about touching it — quit that.
And then, at the bottom, if you really, truly must do something, they suggest soaking it once a day in eight ounces of water with one eight of a teaspoon of sea salt.
Me: “I don’t think you could even taste that.”
Well, since the whole point of this was safety, despite this going against my instincts, we’re doing what he said. Or rather, not doing anything. And you know what? It’s working. Leave it alone. Leave it the heck alone.
Reader Appreciation Award September 19, 2012Posted by philangelus in geekery, The Wrong Enemy, writing.
I got nominated for a “Reader Appreciation Award” by Bethany Myers. This is a meme with the following requirements:
- Identify and show appreciation to the blogger who nominated you
- You must add the reward logo to your blog.
- Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.
- You must nominate 5-10 of your favorite bloggers for this award.
- Inform your nominees that you nominated them.
Step two, post the graphic: Nope, sorry, not after the whole hubbub about people using non-copyrighted images and getting their butts sued for copyright damages. I have no clue if that image is in the public domain, but wouldn’t it be nasty for someone to start a meme requiring you to use an image, and then sue everyone using the image? They’d be all set for life. No thanks. Anyone who wants to can go view the image for themselves here.
Step three, seven things about myself:
1) I blogged today at QueryTracker about totally rewriting The Guardian to the point where it’s now a different book (different title, different author name, different text, different publisher…) There’s still time to preorder The Wrong Enemy, by the way. Every time someone does, Heifer International gets another dollar, so…please?
2) I also blogged yesterday over at Living The Sacrament about Mary, Elizabeth, the Visitation, and God saying “No thanks” when we offer to sacrifice something God doesn’t want us sacrificing in the first place.
3) I am very worried about this sick tree here in Angelborough. The leaves don’t look right, and they’re falling off.
Poor tree. This is what the leaves look like:
4) My violin-playing causes small animals to fall out of the trees.
5) I have neighbors who are glad it’s cold so I have to close the windows.
7) I can’t count
Step four: nominate five other bloggers for this meme. Okey-dokey.
1) My Patient Husband. I’m married to him. He keeps a blog for the sole purpose of recording his games. Won’t he be surprised when you all spike his stats?
2) Normandie Fischer, critique partner extrarodinaire, blogger, writer, editor. She’s also got a novel coming out next year, so watch her.
4) Ana (I’m not sure if you want your full name out there) has been a friend for over two decades and blogs about personal wholeness and healing over at Englightened Flower Wisdom.
Like a opening of a horror novel! August 21, 2012Posted by philangelus in geekery, writing.
Tags: horror novels, mood, writing
This happened about three minutes ago. I was on the couch when I heard the garage door opening beneath me.
One Kiddo is out at her friend’s house; she’s not due back yet, so I figured it can’t be her. I also thought I heard a car motor, so my Patient Husband perhaps? But again, it’s the middle of the day. Bomb threat at his building? Was he ill?
But when no one came up the stairs, I went down to see who had come in. Instead I found the garage empty, the garage door down but the light on. That light meant the door had just been active; it had gone down instead of up.
My minivan sat in its spot, and one of the doors was open.
A really noisy fly circled me endlessly.
I thought, “This would be the great opening for a horror novel!” The stillness. The mysterious door-opening. The buzzing fly in orbit around my head. The sliding door of the minivan, inexplicably open. And above all, that eerie stilless of a garage with nobody in it. Well, nobody except me.
It’s a good thing I don’t spook easily. I shut the minivan door (Kiddo3 had gone down earlier to find something in the car, and it’s a revelation to him that doors shut) and then returned upstairs to find my knitting bag where Kiddo4 and Kiddo3 were playing. I checked in the bag, and sure enough, there’s the remote, right next to a ball of yarn. So it’s easy to reconstruct: one of the kids leaned on the bag, put down the door Kiddo2 left up when she went to her friend’s house, and so on.
But really, it’s not about facts; it’s about mood. It’s about the assumptions you carry with you when you head into the basement and find nothing as you expected, or rather, no people where you expected people to be.
Keep that in mind when you start your horror novel. And let me know if you call it The Half-Open Door.