Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pluto Questions



Full disclosure... I've had Pluto on my mind this week because of THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler.  In this clever and intriguing book, which I have not yet finished reading, two teens from 1996 stumble upon their future Facebook pages.  In one chapter they read an obscure post from 2011 about missing Pluto, and they imagine it has been obliterated by a meteor.  This brought up my old feelings of severe disappointment about Pluto's downgraded status, but it also got my mind churning.

When I was a child, in 4th or 5th grade, a teacher described a clever way to remember the order of the planets in our solar system.  From sweltering Mercury to chilly Pluto, each planet was assigned a word that, put all together, described something about Earth mothers and pizza.

Honestly, I never committed to memory this teacher's pizza-related planet method.  The reason for this is because my sister had already taught me the following, which she had learned as a kid from a different teacher...

Many
Vigorous
Earth
Men
Jump
Straight
Up
Near
Pluto

One must wonder how many elementary-age kids use the word Vigorous, but nevertheless, I enjoy the directness.  Now a question or two comes to mind, and I ask anyone who has been kind and/or brave enough to have made it this far...

1)  What planet-memorization method did you learn as a child?  I imagine there were multiple methods, limited only by vocabulary and imagination

2)  What planet-memorization method do children learn nowadays?  Without Pluto, the chosen words must be radically different from what I learned or even from the Earth mothers & pizza one.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to leave your answers in the Post a Comment section below.  And please check out my two other Pluto-related posts by clicking SHORT  and  VENGEANCE

Be well, Readers, and Freak Out...
JLH


P.S. Don't forget to read VENGEANCE and SHORT

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pluto (a short subject)



The following is a short subject I wrote many years ago, not long after the announcement concerning Pluto’s diminished status in our solar system…


PLUTO
by John L. Harmon

 
This is for the underdog...
dejected
You were discouraged from the start
Doubts surrounded the nature of your existence

 
This is for the misfits... 
rejected
You were made to feel inadequate
You were told you did not fit in

 
This is for the ones who dare to be different... 
ejected
You were removed, banned from the rest
Demoted in hopes to erase a so-called mistake

 
This is for the human race because we have done...and are doing...and will continue to do this to people deemed unworthy of humanity...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(August 24, 2006)



For a short sci-fi tale concerning one of my favorite mistreated outer space bodies click VENGEANCE

Need even more Pluto in your life?  If so, click QUESTIONS



Be well, Readers, and Freak Out,
JLH
 

Monday, July 28, 2014

PLUTO'S VENGEANCE







    I silently watch the speck of light mocking me from the infinity of space.  It torments me with every rotation and revolution, spinning blindly, thinking it is the center of the universe.  Others must sense the ludicrous, pretentious signals it accidentally and purposely sends out into the cosmos.
    Earth has always been this way.  Even before life occurred in those vibrant blue oceans, which it never tires of showing off, Earth thought itself better than the rest of the solar system.  Everyone assumed Mars would be the first to support life, but none of us can say exactly what went wrong there.  Rumors still persist that whatever stopped Martian life was somehow connected to Earth.
    Of course, there was no mitigating the gargantuan ego once Earth developed what it likes to brag as "intelligent life."  To be fair, I have never met one of these Earthlings, but I have experienced their mechanisms and I know they are watching me.  Well, were watching.
    Ever since I was excommunicated as a planet, I'm uncertain how much attention is directed towards me.  Neptune even ceased communication since we no longer have Planet Status in common.  I've been reclassified as a dwarf planet or a planetoid, but there may be something I can do about this flagrant injustice.
    I start a small vibration on my frozen surface, really nothing more than a faint tremor.  Yet the force is just strong enough to continue down through my rocky interior, spreading, strengthening, until my entirety becomes unbalanced.  Using this increasingly erratic instability, I break free from my orbit, which is physically damaging.  I see chunks of my icy crust shooting out in every direction, but enough of me remains to serve my purpose.
    Out there in the seemingly endless distance, my target awaits.  The polluted blue oceans, sparkling in Sol's life-giving warmth, will boil.  The Earthlings, necks craned down at their gadgets, are blissfully unaware that I am coming to destroy everything they hold sacred.
    I am Pluto!
    I am a Planet!
    And I am PISSED OFF!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Story & Photo by John L. Harmon (2014)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


(Click SHORT and QUESTIONS for more about Pluto)

(Click TONGUE for another sci-fi tale)



Be well, Readers, and Freak Out...and keep watching the skies!
JLH


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DARK EXCURSIONS: Chapter 32

One year ago last month was the anniversary of my second e-book.  It was a weird experience releasing Dark Excursions: second set.  I was still very much excited to see my words available for anyone to read, but there was a familiarity to the process which kept me a smidge more down to earth.

In belated honor of that occasion, I offer you, Readers, one of my favorite chapters from this darker set of my e-book serial.  Here you will experience a vivid meeting between a methodical matriarch and her one-armed gardener…
______________________________________
Chapter 32


We now take you to the conservatory...
 


    Dinkel stands in the doorway, silently watching his employer.  She hands a check to the piano tuner for services rendered.  The handsome man appears to be in and around Dinkel's age.


    "Your skills are remarkable, Mr. Peterson."


    The man folds the check and slips it into his breast pocket.  "My father taught me everything I know."


    Anapola casually steps closer, "Your father was an exceptional teacher."

    Dinkel raises an eyebrow as the tuner blushes and a nervous chuckle escapes his lips, "Maybe I was an exceptional student."

    "Indeed, but there is always room for one more lesson."  She smiles lusciously, inching nearer to the male specimen standing at attention.

    "Excuse me, Anapola!" Dinkel blurts out; purposely killing the moment as he unabashedly enters the room.  “I need to speak with you." 

    Anapola turns and states in a calm voice, "Not now, Dinkel."  In stark contrast, her green eyes burn with uncontrolled fury.

    Caught completely off-guard, an uncomfortable Mr. Peterson utters, "Um, have a nice day, Mrs. Van Der Van."  The tuner quickly vacates the estate, imagining the notes he would have hit if the one-armed fellow had not interrupted.

    Dinkel smiles in disgust, "Is Xylem not enough man for you?"

    "Is Crop not enough for you?" Anapola snaps back with an icy smile, making him aware that she saw Ivan in the stable.  The challengers stand like statues, neither about to dignify either insult with a response.

    Growing bored of this game, Anapola takes a seat at the piano.  She runs a hand down the ivory keys and is truly pleased with the sound.  As the last note fades, she asks curtly, "What do you want?"

    Dinkel positions himself in the curved crook of the piano and answers bravely, "Crop wants you to visit him today."

    "There is no need for that," she swiftly dismisses the idea and considers what to play.

    "You owe him."  

    Anapola looks up from the keys and stares directly into his blue eyes.  A cold rage charges through her voice, "My debt with Mr. Hoppins was paid well in advance."

    Dinkel can barely breathe as she begins a familiar piece of music.  It emotionally transports him to a simpler time...before Cheryl left...before he lied to Crop...before Charles died.

    He remembers hiding in a servant stairwell with a 12-year-old Cheryl.  The little girl eagerly described the music's story as her mother played at one of the illustrious Van Der Van parties.  It is about a man willing to sacrifice himself for love and honor.  Isn't it romantic, Dinkel?

    The gardener nods his head in agreement with the memory as he listens with older ears.  At first the music is soft, as it describes the man, peaceful and handsome.  Then the music throbs with fierce, chaotic aggression, echoing the turmoil the man faces.  In the end, the notes become heavy and melancholic, the choice made as the sacrifice looms.

    The music slowly fades away and in a low voice Dinkel demands, "You owe me."

    Anapola studies the serious expression, his lips sealed tight with determination.  Focused blue eyes show no fear, only blinding truth burning through her.  The typically resilient woman sighs in rare emotional defeat..

    "Fine, I will visit Crop.  In fact, I will go now if you answer one question."

    "What question would that be?" Dinkel asks tiredly, fully expecting the usual inquiry.

    "How is my daughter?"

    If Dinkel were prone to exaggeration, he would fall to the floor in shock.  He assumed the question would be where, not how.  "She is doing well,” he answers calmly, not giving his employer the satisfaction of seeing or hearing his surprise.

    Anapola glances down as she remembers the last time she had seen Cheryl, so full of anger, for good reason.  Still, she misses her daughter and wishes she would return home.

    "Thank you, Dinkel," she chokes out while fingering the keys.

    "Thank you, Anapola," Dinkel states timidly, unsure of how to react in this emotionally tender situation.

    Anapola plays a few random middle notes and then solidly rises.  "Now get back to work!" she spews venomously; a scolding for witnessing her softer side.

    Dinkel decides to obey her command and quietly exits the conservatory.  Anapola waits until she is certain the intrusive gardener is outside before slowly walking to her bedroom.  The lady of the manor must prepare for the promised visit, curious over what Mr. Hoppins could possibly want from her now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Copyright 2013,  John L. Harmon
 

For further information on this e-book (available for Amazon Kindle and other Kindle App-compatible devices) please click on one of the following Amazon links…
US    UK    CA    AU

FR    DE    ES    IT

JP    BR    IN       MX 

NL 


_______________________

Don't forget to read Chapters 12 & 64 and excerpts from the fourth set...

Be well, Readers, and Freak Out,
JLH


P.S.  Click WHIP to read about the excursion behind Dark Excursions.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Library Cad





My hometown library…


I enjoy my library.  The sturdy building of the Broken Bow Public Library contains a nice assortment of books, movies and magazines to borrow.  Quiet corners can be found to hide in, if you are lucky, and there is a fireplace for those bitterly cold winter days.







The library cad/sci-fi geek arrives.




Yet, on Friday, July 11th, I found myself enjoying a library in another town.  The reason for my philandering is the same old tale.  My library was not giving me something I desired, so I looked elsewhere to fill my insatiable needs.  I found the science fiction presentation I craved at the North Platte Public Library.  ( click The Doctor is in...the library  for the intimate details of this tryst )








While I could not borrow anything from the North Platte Public Library, this did not prevent me, nor my sister, from browsing around and soaking in the very unique atmosphere.  Below you can find some photos I snapped while wandering and wondering around the two floors of "the other library."


The front desk from below...













...and above.















I want to disappear between the shelves...















...and pages of the fiction section.















The perfect place to nest and read!



 
Move over Surfin' Bird!
 
 
 
Wonder what Harry Potter...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
...and Hermione Granger are reading.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dobby guarding the books.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Dobby never means to kill those with overdue library materials.  
Dobby only means to maim, or seriously injure.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Freaky doll, possibly being tried for witchcraft
or for not returning her library materials on time!
 
 
 


No comment





Be well & Freak Out,
JLH
(Click DOCTOR for more about this day)





Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Doctor is in...the library



At least we knew we were in the right place.




There wasn't a single Vashta Nerada at the North Platte Public Library on Friday, July 11th, but approximately 30 Nebraska Whovians gathered to partake in a presentation about DOCTOR WHO.  










Getting ready for the Whovian slideshow.  
Someone turn down the lights!


The hour-long program covered all of the numbered Doctors (sorry, War Doctor) and the actors who portrayed them, some of the villains, and a sprinkling of companions.  Honestly, there wasn't much I didn't already know about one of my favorite television shows, but it was fun to hear someone else talk about this enduring British sci-fi import for a change.





The ultra-delicious TARDIS cake,
along with Norman Bates' knife.



After the presentation there was cake and Who-related conversation.  One lady I spoke with had only recently discovered Doctor Who even though she is older than me.  I welcomed her to the TARDIS crew and discovered she had been living in Germany when the Doctor hit stateside in the 1970's, which she contributed to her missing the series back in the day.










Not the Second Doctor, but this guy was watching us.
Eventually all gathered were asked who their favorite Doctor is.  Most answered either 10th or 4th, with maybe a couple of 11th.  My sister and I shocked the librarian/host by answering 2nd.  Once again we stuck out, even among fellow sci-fi geeks, but we were not going to lie to fit in.  Sure, Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor was our introduction, but over the years we have come to adore the brilliantly funny and nuanced Second Doctor of the check trousers, as played by the late Patrick Troughton.




Wish my library had even one Doctor Who item.  



All in all, my sister and I had a fun and delicious Whovian time!  We shall return when the grinding-wheezing sound of the TARDIS can once again be heard materializing at the public library in North Platte, Nebraska.








A newspaper article from Saturday, July 12th.  My sister and I are just out of frame, so no cameras were harmed in the taking of this photo.






Be Well & Geronimo,
JLH
(Click LIBRARY for more about this day)
(Click WHOVIAN for more adventures in space and time)




P.S.

River Song regenerated or a Weeping Angel in disguise?
What happened to her legs?
 



Regenerated Susan with K-9 & R2-D2's love bot?
Will they put on a puppet show?