My fierce, bright love,
Tonight will most likely pass by in a flurry of soiled nappies, last-minute washing and much zombie-like meandering from room to room. From the splashing of tiny hands in bath water to the aggrieved moans as a certain little lady's bottle takes a minute longer than she's prepared to wait, a state of reflection will be one that we cannot afford. No relaxed flipping of photo albums, or the swapping of anecdotes over a candle-lit dinner. Instead, we'll gulp down take-aways as we wait for the microwave to finish sterilising bottles, before collapsing into bed far earlier than we ever thought possible, only to end up falling asleep an hour later because we can't stop talking. And you'll stroke my hair whilst I drift off, as you always do.
And no expensive dinner in a trendy restaurant could possibly give me as much joy as sharing these 'simple' things with you.
Happy Anniversary.
Loving you is like breathing.

A week in pictures......


Been staring at this all week.......(yes, those really are 894 unread emails from this morning...) desktop Would much rather be staring at this...... Cadence & McKenzie And welcome little Morgan, who graced us with her presence on November 17th. D & W, may she bring as much joy to you as Cadence has brought us. Morgan Erin Hopefully next week won't be as busy as this one has, so look forward to stories of torture, nanotech and just maybe, squirrels.

In a galaxy far, far away......


Do you know what appeals to me about science fiction?
The size of the discrimination. You won't find humans bothered about issues like colour or sexual preference. Oh no, humans are too busy fighting off the invasion of an alien race bent on destroying them. Here, entire worlds are wiped out in the pursuit of galactic domination. Now that, I can respect. I don't like your entire species, so I shall destroy you. Or perhaps you stand in the way of my inter-galactic hyperspace freeway. Or something nifty like that. Prejudice on a scale we can't even measure.
In these futures, body modification has reached the point where we can change our skin colour at the flip of a switch, nothing more than a fashion accessory. And when one can fuck an android or have your deepest sexual perversion fulfilled in a way that would make even Howard Stern blush, somehow homosexuality seems as normal and non-threatening as tea and scones.
Yet in the year 2006, as South Africa stands on the verge of becoming only the 5th country in the world to legalise gay marriage, the issue remains as divisive as it was 50 years ago. When the leader of a political party can make a speech in parliament with the words "an abomination so terrible that only four countries in the world allow it", something is seriously wrong. Then you get those groups who try to dress the issue up in the garish clothes of a scapegoat. No, we're not against gay marriage, but the way in which the bill has been passed is undemocratic, because, like, 80% of the country is against it. Well, that's the problem with democracy. You can't always leave it up to the people, because the people are fucking idiots. But anyway, if you're going to oppose the bill, then at least be honest enough to admit your reasons for it. Don't hide behind some ridiculously pedantic argument about legislature and politics. The bill has been passed legally, through the proper channels, and when you've denied a minority group the same rights as everyone else for decades, I think you can make a few allowances here and there.
But let's look at the opposing view points shall we?
Homosexuality is evil in the eyes of God. Strange, that the Bible the Torah the Quran all spend a great deal more time on the evils of worshiping other gods and delving in other religions then they do about homosexuality, yet religious tolerance is like a demilitarised zone at the moment. Persecute based on sexuality, but don't dare exclude one or other religious group. I don't see Christians denouncing Muslims in any other forum then Sunday morning church, and vice versa. Let's deny the Jews the right to procreate, because then you're just making more little non-believers in whichever religion you believe is the true one. We all tread on eggshells around the issue of religious sensitivity, lest we piss off the wrong group of people. But hey! Gays seem like an easy target, let's go after them.
But what about the sanctity of marriage? That's the other argument being tossed around at the moment. That 'these people' are defiling the sanctity of marriage. Please, give me a break. Us 'heteros' were entrusted with arguably the most powerful statement of commitment between two people, and we've done a fine job of keeping it pure and unsullied. No spousal abuse here, no infidelity, no divorce, none of that here. Nope.
But the definition of marriage speaks of a man and a woman, as does the bible. These freaks of nature are even trying to redefine our language!!! The outrage!!! Well, let's see. "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh." Don't see anything about the bouquet in there. Let's see...hmmm...nothing about rings, or garters, or brides maids, or cheesy reception disco music. Don't even see the word 'marriage'. So am I not married if I don't speak the vows, or wear a ring? And if we want to discuss definitions, let's talk about the definition of the word 'love'. Seems like that may be a better place to start from then 'marriage'.
love[luhv] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, loved, lov‧ing.
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
7. sexual intercourse; copulation.
8. (initial capital letter) a personification of sexual affection, as Eros or Cupid.
9. affectionate concern for the well-being of others: the love of one's neighbor.
10. strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything: her love of books.
11. the object or thing so liked: The theater was her great love.
12. the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
13. Chiefly Tennis. a score of zero; nothing.
14. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter L.
–verb (used with object)
15. to have love or affection for: All her pupils love her.
16. to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).
17. to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.
18. to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.
19. to embrace and kiss (someone), as a lover.
Interesting. I don't seem to see anything about 'a man and a woman'....let me check again. Nope. And for that matter, I don't see the word 'love' in the definition of marriage either. I won't state the fairly obvious deduction........
Please, someone, explain to me slowly, in small words so that I can understand, why it is so important that two men or two woman should not be allowed to marry in the law of their country, and go on to continue whatever role it was they fulfilled in society prior. Is it maybe a sign of the apocalypse? Will it empower gays and lesbians to suddenly control all aspects of our country and become rulers of the world?
And the biggest joke of all, is that this controversial bill, this evil, this whatever you want to call it, it STILL doesn't recognise gay marriage in the same way that a heterosexual marriage is accorded status within the constitution. Even after they emerge bloody and bruised from this battle victorious, equality is still many battles away.
I suppose they only have themselves to blame. If two lesbian supermodels had been championing the cause, I bet the outcry would've been far quieter.
Maybe not.

Cadence a week ago.....


It's been a while, I'm sure much gasping will ensue as to how much she has grown.....

And Still Tales From The Machine, or, Hope Or An Exercise In Futility


She knew his prison. The smoothness of it's high, mirrored walls. The absence of a ceiling, just walls that reached into a black nothingness. The whispers of a doorway to freedom lingering just around the next corner. All of these details were like the intimacies of an old lover. She had built this labyrinth, this maze, had polished every fragment of memory that formed the foundations. When she awoke, be it morning or midnight, she could see him. His intelligent eyes flickering just as she remembered, the palm of his left hand lightly guiding him along the walls, turn after turn. She would call out to him, reassure him that she was watching. But if he heard, he never acknowledged, his gaze always unflinching on the path before him. He was as diligent as always, often he'd walk for weeks with a tangible resolve. But it couldn't always be that way, and there were days when he would tear at his flesh, break his body against the glass, to let his blood mark his existence, to leave some trace of himself. Should he pass by that marker again, the madness would abate. Or perhaps not. Sometimes sanity exists in the not-knowing of things. Walking in circles without the realisation of such, is just walking, but to pass by the same spot, convinced that the outcome should have been otherwise, is that not the very definition of madness? Jocelyn would hold his hand, his warm fingers resting in her palm like a dying bird. She'd lean toward his ear, to be heard over the hiss and click of the machines, and she'd hum to him softly. Listen, my love. Patience, my love. You'll find it, my love. Return to me, my love. Sometimes she'd find him gazing at his reflection, tracing the contours of his face as if it were a stranger's. And in a way, it was. Every mirrored surface spat back an image of him, imperceptibly altered, increments summing to a whole that was truly another person. And Jocelyn feared that one day, she too would look upon a stranger. But this prison is not his, it never was and never will be. Eric died minutes after the impact flung his enervated body across the tarmac. Every future word unborn, every thought decimated, unmade. His flesh had cast him out, forgotten him on a cellular level. Blinked him out of existence like a grain of sand. This labyrinth belongs to Jocelyn, her only cellmate a husk in a hospital bed.

Further Tales From The Machine, or, Here's Your Damn Squirrel Story Now Piss Off


Having had just about enough, thank you very much, Sally calmly set down her cup of tea and went outside to determine just what the commotion was about.
Her normally unflappable demeanor was all but trampled as a blurred figure bustled past her, screaming at the top of it's lungs.
She spotted a familiar face across the way, and checking left and right for any further furry explosions of motion, crossed the branch.
"Sammy," Sally questioned with just the slightest hint of exasperation, "just what the fuck is going on?"
"Brogan is back! The watch alerted us, but until I'd seen him with my own eyes....." His voice trailed off, replaced by a look of glazed admiration.
"Have the Dray summoned him yet?"
"He went in a few minutes ago."
Sally instinctively knew where Brogan would go once the Dray had finished with him, and so she scampered higher up the Great Oak to wait for him in a small alcove that provided an unobscured view of the park. The sun had sunk just low enough for a chill to infiltrate the late afternoon air, when a shadow fell across her. It belonged to a scarred, but powerfully built figure, with eyes the colour of dark soil and the remnants of a tail twitching unashamedly behind.
Brogan seemed indifferent to her presence, but as he opened a small door in the rough bark, he turned to look at her.
The question hung like a ripe acorn and made Sally's fur bristle, but she nodded and followed Brogan into the dim light of his apartment. He indicated a chair, and she sat down, waiting patiently as he retrieved a small box from a chest of drawers. Brogan rolled with a quiet, confident ease, and soon the sweetly scented smell of smoke began to drift out a window. He offered the joint, and she took it, letting her guard down as the vapour filled her lungs and the tendrils of THC crept up the back of her head.
Sally spoke first. "Seven days."
"Not equable enough to wait for the reports tomorrow? Yes, I suppose seven days is longer than even I expected. But I thought it would lend a little my story."
"And the Dray believed you without question?"
"Of course they did! It's not just the kids who wonder if I'm immortal these days."
Sally's gaze once again fell on Brogan's half-tail. They'd all seen the Talon take him years ago, and his reappearance five days later had firmly entrenched him within clan mythology.
"And they agreed? They are to go into hiding?"
"For their own safety, of course." Brogan laughed, the tone sharp as a blade. "Tomorrow, everything changes my dearest Sally. Everything changes."
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan Designed and directed by his Red Right Hand

More Tales From The Machine, or, At Luke's Bidding


Her tattoo was a slow, elegant waltz. It stirred languidly from the nape of her neck, and flowed over the curve of her shoulder, following her spine to the sacrum. As her sleeping form shifted, the ink caught the dawn light creeping through the shutters and shimmered like scales.
The intricacy of the design whispered of deliberate hours of pain, a masochistic bent that appealed to Luke. On some level, she must have been aware that he was watching; they all were. He exhaled softly onto the part of her ankle left exposed by the sable sheets, the taut skin prickling in response. Luke imagined the nervous system reacting as a glassy lake would a fallen feather, sending ripples through her. It may not have been enough to wake her, but he knew her dreams would take a sudden shift. Seconds later, he saw his thoughts echoed in the slight parting of her lips, and the sound of pale thighs rubbing beneath dusky cotton.
There was no logical reason why he should prefer titian to blonde, flawed to flawless. The outcome was always the same. And yet this figure roused him, as with the faint tingle of an amputated limb. Androgyny was certainly no blessing. Luke began pacing at the foot of the bed, the tips of his fingers touching in perfect geometry. Nubilous eyes took in the contents of the bedroom, strange trinkets and meanings that proved elusive. He was mildly puzzled at the lack of wall ornaments; a singular painting hung above the bed, a mess of colour that could have been a landscape, or perhaps a frustrated effort to mimic emotion. On the nightstand, a colourless photo of a city skyline like needles to space, a city that seemed somehow sad. She'd left the hi-fi on, the speakers efflorescing a low, throbbing beat into the silence between them. Luke moved toward the velvet shape of her head on the pillow, gliding his fingers along undeviating legs to her back, cupping her toward him.
He folded into her like water to a vessel, his lips on hers the rich, dark taste of coffee. Her skin burnt against his, and her eyes flashed open. But not startled; rapt. And though the sheets began to turn to ash, Luke could feel her legs lock around him.
After all, he was no Angel.

Tales From The Machine, or, Embellishments on a Theme


Her name was Katrina.
Did I love her because she was the girl next door and I was 6 years old, or did I love her because all I can recall of her now is dark hair and dark eyes.
We lived on the most idyllic street you could possibly imagine, all perfect suburban houses and happy neighbours, blue skies and leafy avenues. I lived next to her, and she lived next to an open expanse of grass and trees and childhood dreams. It wasn't a field; not a park nor a meadow. It was wilder than that. At first, your feet may find short grass, perhaps a forlorn looking sapling, but then the ground would dip and curve and you'd now tread ground more Mythago Wood than Enid Blyton. It was the strangest of feelings to be amongst those trees, knowing that you were in a neighborhood as far removed from danger or darkness as blood is from stone, yet to feel that creeping sense of unease that doesn't so much scare us as it fuels our imaginations. The stronger the memory of it grows within my mind, the more difficult it is for me to describe. Perhaps I will take a photograph of it one day, and then you will understand.
Katrina was from that place. Or at least, her spirit was. In streets littered with successful businessmen, gleaming cars and trophy wives, it was as if she existed there as part of a time left behind, something feral and free. We were close, I think. I can no longer tell the difference between what was real and what I choose, or hope, to have been real. But I have vivid images of her house, her family, the bathroom window I jumped from, almost breaking my ankle..........why I jumped I have no idea, but she always had a way of making me take paths I would never have chosen alone. Yes, we were close.
And then my family moved, and I was 16 when I saw her again. Her family had been ripped apart by a truck that jumped a traffic light, killing her two sisters and putting her in hospital for a month. Our mothers had kept in contact, and a week or so after Katrina was released from hospital, I accompanied my mother on a visit to their house (they had also since moved). Not having spoken to her for almost ten years, I know my reasons for going with were not as noble as they should have been. As badly as I felt for the tragedy that befell them, I went not to join in mourning, but to see whether she might match the young woman that I had seen her grow into, in my mind. And outwardly, she did. Lithe and jagged, even now I remember the flutter of nerves that passed through me at the sight of her. She was everything I had been told was beautiful. And I nurtured the ridiculous notion that the bond we had once shared would be conjured again the second we locked eyes. We talked, and talked well. I did glimpse the remnants of that bond, but it was never the right time for anything to happen between us. Her hair was still dark, but her eyes were no longer lit by irreverence, only by the fragments of sunlight seeping through the patio doors. Whether that irreverence had been tamed by age or by circumstance, mattered not. What mattered was that I missed it. And it made me wonder, was it her, or the peculiarity of that wooded playground that bled into my thoughts. I have never seen her since.
I think I've stumbled across the best way of describing that place and that time. One of the few other recollections I have from back then, is a dream I had. In the dream, I awoke in my bed, slowly pressed back the covers and examined my bedroom. Against a wall at the foot of the bed was a wooden toy box, and standing in front of the box at almost the same height, was a creature. I remember being neither awe struck, nor racked with fear, just confused as to whether I was still dreaming or not. The creature looked like something from a Maurice Sendak book, and though the thought only just occurs to me now, it looked as if it might well have lived in the woods next-door.
Now, I sit with a riddle that I doubt I will ever solve. Was there something inside me that those woods awoke, something that made me happier playing beneath grey skies rather than blue? Was I engineered with an affinity for the parts of life that tend to hide under rocks or scurry through puddles when the rain thunders down? Or do I gravitate toward the kinds of music and literature that I do, simply because it returns me to a time shot through with that elusive combination of yearning, hope and filigree.
I drove past our old house on Sunday morning. I left home earlier than I realised, and was left with a few minutes before the grocery store opened. The house is on the way, so I took a slight detour, and saw it for the first time in many years. I still can't believe how little anything has changed. We live in a country that has changed more in ten years than many nations do in 100, and yet certain suburbs remain untouched. I drove past the woods, half expecting to see something wild spying out from the cover of my frondescent memories.
And you know what? I think I just might have.

Mr. Ten Miles


Please would you write a story for us all now?

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