Friday, November 30, 2012

Things you can do with snow

1. Build snowmen.
2. Shovel the driveway.
3. Organize a snowball fight.
4. Go sledding.
5. Have wet socks when it melts.
6. Make ice cream.
7. Catch snowflakes.
8. Dash through it.
9. Make snow angels.
10. Build an igloo.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Contest of Wit

Two people were engaged in a contest of wit. Staring deep into the eyes of their opponent, each awaited the perfect moment to make their final move.
The entire evening rested on this moment. For the prize rested on the table between them, spaced at the exact mid-point. If one moved, then so would the opponent. They were equally matched in speed, and the thought of sharing the prize had not crossed their young minds.
The first boy's fingers twitched, causing the other boy to narrow his eyes.
The time had arrived to act.
They lunged forward, arms outstretched toward the prize.
Both were jerked backed by the collar of their shirts, a stern voice echoing through the room.
"Boys! No dessert until you finish your squash!"
"But mom!" The boys whined in unison, looking at the plate they had failed to reach. A single cookie remained.
"Listen to your mother." The father said as he reached over to the plate and picked up the cookie.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A mix of sweet and savory pies

1. Pecan pie.
2. Bacon and egg pie.
3. Pumpkin pie.
4. Curry pie.
5. Apple pie.
6. Chicken pot pie.
7. Cherry pie.
8. Scotch pie (other names: shell pie, mince pie, football pie).
9. Lemon meringue pie.
10. Fish pie.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Djinn and The Vartija: Fiery Encounter


I awoke on the couch with a splitting headache. I opened my eyes, then quickly shut them with a moan. My sight was back, but extremely sensitive to the light. While rubbing my head, a thought made me stiffen.
How had I gotten onto the couch?
I bolted upright as a familiar cackle echoed through the room. A wave of vertigo swept over me as I forced my eyes open and scanned the room.
"Can you imagine my surprise? Out of the morning light, a vartija aura swept across the area like a violent storm." I found her floating near the ceiling. Lying on a thick cloud of smoke and clothed in flames, a vision of ifrit beauty watched me with a condescending smirk. Rolling onto her back, the ifrit drifted lazily toward me. "I simply couldn't ignore such a delectable surprise! So I followed the lingering aura back to this place, only to find the vartija gone." Now hovering beside me, she affectionately tugged my ear. The heat of her touch called to my ifrit blood, but I forced myself to move away.
"Arielle, what are you doing here? And drop the illusion." I said curtly. She gave a pout, then waved her hand. The flames disappeared, as did some of the unnatural beauty. With the illusion gone, she was revealed to be wearing traditional ifrit travel garb: maroon pants, the loose legs trimmed with copper flames. A shirt of the same coloration and design, with sheer sleeves that ended just below the elbow.
"Why are you here, Muritage?" She studied me, then gasped. "Oh, don't tell me-" she broke off, hysterical laughter echoing through the room. I winced as her laughter grated against my ears. I waved my hand, conjuring a gag to cover her mouth. It muffled her laughter only for a moment before she set the gag aflame. Being ifret, the fire did not burn her. "You were tamed! Oh, this is excellent! So how did you get caught? During that aura burst, or before?" She looked at my sullen expression, then clapped her hands in delight. "Before! Did the scary vartija sneak up on widdle Murry?" She taunted, cooing the nickname from our childhood.
I knew she would never let me forget this. But part of me was enjoying the taste of home that the familiar teasing brought.
"Why are you back on the central layer?" I asked sharply, trying to divert her attention.
"I haven't slayed a vartija for seven years! I need to finish my hunt." Sparks flew off her as Arielle left the cloud to sit beside me. "I would have burned the entire nest if that vermin hadn't sent me back with his dying breath."
Seven years ago, Arielle Fe'nu had come to this layer for a vartija hunt. Having found and tracked one home, she watched him until discovering that he was alone. Then she set an ambush, catching the vartija by surprise. With his house burning around him, the dying vartija had somehow found the strength to bind Arielle and send her back to our layer; trapping her there for seven years.
"So you've come to find his offspring?" I asked, watching as she nodded.
"I still have the picture I claimed as a trophy." She reached into the cloud of smoke still lingering in the air and pulled out a bag. Removing a small gold frame, she stroked the top of it. "I can't let that little girl grow up to become a hunter." Arielle said as she studied the picture. "She should be, oh... sixteen by now? If some other creature hasn't already gotten her."
She handed me the picture. It had revealed a happy family having a picnic. The man had dirty blond hair and wide green eyes. He was watching a woman laugh, while their daughter stared toward the person taking the picture with a childish smile.
A wry chuckle escaped me. "This vartija has already been claimed."
"By who?" She asked, reclaiming the picture.
"By me."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Games you can play during a movie

1. Audience Reaction. As the name suggests, the goal of this game is to count the number of times that the audience reacts to the movie. You can choose what kind of reaction to look for, or you can just count any reaction. This is a fun game to play when seeing a newly released film at a theater. Try and beat 126 reactions!
2. Alternate Script. When watching a movie at home, gather some friends and mute the volume. Give each person a character. When your character has some dialogue, say whatever comes to your mind. Or if you have one friend who is really good at storytelling, have them narrate the entire film!
3. Actor Change. The object of this game is simple. If you and your friends were the characters in the film, who would you be? Have each person pick who they would be and why. Then during the film, have them explain why their character acted they way they did or made certain choices.
4. Plot Twist. In this game, you change one key part of the movie into something strange and keep that change in mind while watching. Instead of going to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring, say that the Fellowship of the Ring were a group of postal carriers delivering a package.
5. Background Events. The goal of this game is to ignore the main focus of the movie. Instead, look for all the interesting things that are happening around the story.
6. Strange Obsessions. Here, you give each main character an obsession. How would this obsession play into the choices they make during the film?
7. Bingo! Before watching the movie with your friends, make some bingo cards with things from that movie. Then see who can find all the the things on their card first.
8. Fashion Sense. Here, you look at what people are wearing in the movie. Is anyone wearing two different color socks? A spotted bowtie? Would they be able to walk down the street in their favorite outfit?
9. Snack Attack. Gather a variety of snacks. Label each with a word or event. Every time that word is said or a certain thing happens, eat a piece of whatever that snack is.
10. Performance of Scenes. With the volume on, play the movie. However, instead of watching the movie, have your friends act out the scenes. Having each person play a particular character would be helpful, but is not required.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Djinn and The Vartija: Aura, part III


Turning away from the girl, I closed my eyes and fought to remain standing.
All of my senses were behaving erratically. Fluctuating from one extreme to the next, my body was rebelling against itself.
At the moment, my sight was gone. Every scent reeked past my threshold to differentiate between them. There was a ringing in my ears, muffling any other sound. A metallic taste coated my mouth.
Argh-” I jerked away from the scalding pressure against my arm, choking back further cries.
What can I do?” I heard the vartija asked. It had been her touch that had caused my outcry.
Leave.” I rasped. Despite having been diminished in strength, her aura still called to me. It lingered in each of my senses, a tantalizing ruin. “Now!” I groaned, turning to glare at her. For although my sight had yet to return, her aura shined as a beacon.
Silence. A soft breath.
Her footsteps were nearly inaudible as she fled to the house.
After I was certain she was no longer in the backyard, I turned in the direction of my current abode. Stumbling until my hand grazed the rough bark of the tree, I painfully felt for the ladder and forced myself to climb.
Once within the relative safety of the tree-house, I collapsed into unconsciousness.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Things that can sneak up on you

1. Cats. One minute you are brushing your hair, the next a cat is clawing its way up your side to sit on your shoulder.
2. Birthdays. Within the schedule of life, birthdays can often leap out to surprise you.
3. Deadlines. While not everyone has difficulty in making deadlines, these dates can prove stealthy to some.
4. Friends. The process of making friends can be subtle at times. Friends can also be quite stealthy creatures, leaping out from the shadows to say hello or offer a hug.
5. New enjoyments. Whether it be the discovery that you like squid, are fond of Nineteen Eighty-four, or can replicate the call of a marmot, your enjoyment of an activity can sometimes come as a surprise.
6. Plot twists. The plot twist is a cunning beast. It may leap out with little warning, or leave a careful trail for the attentive mind.
7. Changes in weather. Although a forecast can often be correct, there are times when a storm or change in temperature can surprise you.
8. Gray hair. A sign of wisdom and age, this change often comes as a shock when finally noticed.
9. Boiling water. Waiting by a pot, the water is still. You turn away for a brief moment to retrieve pasta from the cupboard. When you return, the surface has suddenly tremulous sea.
10. Ideas. Going about the day, activity happens all around you. Suddenly, a simple act catches your notice. Questions pour into your mind, causing you to think about this activity or object as never before. Pursued further, these bursts of inspiration can change you in ways never before imagined.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Djinn and The Vartija: Aura, part II

I continued to look at Muritage for a moment. As he frowned, I noticed the humid feeling disappear. Before I could question it, the djinn spoke. "Your aura will likely appear as something subtle, perceptible to a few senses. A majority of auras effect the sense of smell, so you may want to begin there."
Still uncertain what I was searching for, I focused on my nose.
I could smell my waffles, along with the neighbor's rosebush. I tried to ignore the normal scents of the backyard and search for anything unusual. The daylight grew stronger as I waited for something to stand out.
We may have to reschedule this lesson. Mom will be getting up soon.
I opened my mouth to speak, then paused as I felt a tingling in my nose. I focused on the sensation, willing it to become stronger.
An overwhelming scent of peppermint struck my nostrils and Muritage jerked away, his haughtiness disappearing.
"Subdue your aura!" He snapped, turning away from me with visible effort.
I bit my lip and focused on the smell of peppermint, willing it to dissipate.
After a minute, the tension in his shoulders faded. As he turned back toward me, Muritage rubbed his forehead.
"Were you trying to kill us?" He asked shakily, eyes narrowed.
"I was trying to figure out what my aura smelled like." I told him, placing my free hand on my hip. "Wasn't that what you wanted?"
"I did not want you to amplify it! Now any creature in the area has had your aura seared into their senses. Even with the aura now subdued, this area is likely to be swarmed by at least half a dozen creatures." He crossed his arms, which were trembling.
"Are you okay?" I quietly asked. His words had filled my mind with worry. I had yet to face more then three critters at once, and had avoided bringing hunts home as much as I could. Now it appeared that I had invited critters home.
"No. If I were not bound to you and a member of a Higher Race, such a potent dose of vartija aura at this range would have destroyed my senses and left me in a comatose state indefinitely."

Friday, November 2, 2012

Things you can do with peanut butter

1. Make peanut butter macaroni and cheese. This dish is intriguing in flavor and not suggested for a group potluck.
2. Entertainment for a canine.
3. Remove gum from hair.
4. As bait to capture mice.
5. Attempted bait for fishing.
6. As lubricant to remove a ring from your finger. Works better when warmed.
7. Add flavor to baked goods such as cookies.
8. A topping for waffles.
9. Edible crafts.
10. A sandwich spread.