Archive for the ‘ Fiction ’ Category

Space Slug Costume

Everything has its humble beginnings, that is to say that even I used to put my pants on one leg at a time.  It’s true, ever since that sneaky little spider set up shop in my favorite pair of pants between wearing I have been able to jump in or out of a pair of pants in one swift, hopping-while-screaming motion.  Speaking creepy crawlies, do you remember the space slug from Star Wars?  It appeared in a scene of The Empire Strikes back with a lot of awkward tension between Leia and lover boy Han and, oh yeah, a space slug was in it too.  If you don’t remember this scene you need to watch that movie again.

Did I mention the space slug?

Well, upon hearing about Sci-Fi Star Wars party one year I decided against the obvious choice for a rouge like me of being Han Solo  and bonded with the other half of my personality of being  obscure and awkward.  Although I am sure I irritated a lot people by blocking off doorways with my space hulk girth I did enjoy having the best party trick for the night of reaching for hands to shake with all of the sweeping power of the space slug as it chomped after the Millennium Falcon.  You can do this costume for $25 bucks and if you have or know someone with a medicine ball you can do it for the change in your pocket.

Star Wars Space Slug:

-large fitness ball (just make sure it fits through doorways)
-brown or grey spray paint
-an old grey hoodie
-a grey oven glove
-paper mache
-Sharpie (colored)

Making the Asteroid
You will spend 90% of your time making the asteroid, most of it waiting for your paper mache to dry. Pick out a fitness ball, the bigger the better because you will be wearing it like a vest and like Chris Farley’s belly bigger it is the more comical it will be.  Once you have your ball picked out you want to start layering it with paper mache.  For those of you who don’t know how to make paper mache shame on you! Just mix up a big ole bowl of flour and water, too thin to cook with but thick enough be fairly chunky (the thicker it is the harder to work with, but faster it will dry).   I suggest doing this outside as well as it will likely make a mess.

Dip strips of newspaper about 1 1/2 to 2 inches (4-5 cm) into your bowl and cover the ball.  Do not worry about wrinkles in the paper because you are making the asteroid and any wrinkles will add to the effect.  Just make sure you leave a hole around the valve roughly the diameter of your hips, this will be the bottom.  Layer it up as think as you want and finally you will want to build up at least 2 rings for crater impacts, these will be your neck and arm hole but if you want two arm holes or more feel free to add more.  The only location that matters is your neck hole.  If it isn’t in a comfortable position you will have an uncomfortable costume and that is a lot like having your favorite cereal for breakfast and then realizing you have no milk. Once you are happy with how your asteroid looks and it is good and dry. pull the plug out of your fitness ball and let it deflate, you will be able to pull it out of the paper ball and re inflate it for normal use after a good rinse off with the hose.  All that is left is to cut holes inside of your impact craters and spray paint the ball, easy.

now for the finishing touches.

Get that ratty old grey hoodie out you don’t wear any more and cut a sleeve off. Since you have one sleeve off you might as well cut the other off and make yourself a sleeveless hoodie.  Since you have a sleeveless hoodie you might as well put on “Eye of the Tiger” and run around town air boxing.  Or you could just move on to the best part, the mouth of the space slug.  I was lucky, Think Geek used to sell this.
The glove is hard to find now but I dont see why you cant get an oven glove to look like it with a little time with a sharpie or two (the Millenium Falcon in its mouth is a nice touch).  Once you finish that you are all set to start surprising guests by bursting from a crater to snag a beer or to tease the cutest Princess Leia.

I leave you with just one final word of advice.  This costume leaves you in normal clothes from the waist down, anytime you find yourself tempted to fill in the gap with a pair of  jeans or a plain T shirt, remember this:  the whole point of a costume is to suspend reality for a moment, to fabricate a little fiction. Normal clothes will remind people of the real world they are supposed to forget when they look at you, so you don’t want to do that.  I wore all black underneath but if you have a little extra time you might wear some spacey clothes or don a pair of Jedi looking boots, you are only limited by your imagination.

May The Force  Be With You

The Slumber

Flash fiction is the way of the future, it’s true. Flash fiction is defined by its length, usually from 500 to 1000 words, and in today’s world it makes for a great snack-sized, immediate payoff, slice of entertainment. It’s refreshing to see writing find a way to compete in a world with YouTube. When that means you’re only a minute away from farting pandas, honey badgers, and Viking Metal who wants to struggle through words like this Latin nonsense

Anyway, I like to dabble time and again, so I’ll be posting flash fiction right up here to this blog.


The Slumber

I awake from my slumber surrounded by the tendrils of black barren trees reaching for the starless night sky.  I must have slept for some time as I do not recognize this part of the woods, thick with frost covered moss.   As I tilt my head up I find myself laying at the feet of a stony angel.  Her arms outstretched a sign of welcome, belittle her woeful frown I expect marble tears to roll off her cheeks and onto my face. I know this angel, she guards the family plot at St. Benedict’s Cemetery

            She welcomes the dead, for my resting place is no forest but a burial ground.  The grounds are lit by a ring of melting candles flickering in a crisp gale which guttered out the weakest of flames.  A man in heavy robes watches with deranged eyes from beyond the ring.  He holds his arms across his chest pulling his robes tight to shut out the cold.

I know not where the thought came from but I am so sure of my conviction on the matter, this man must have woken me I call out to him to ask what he wanted from me but no sound came from my lips, not even my breath shows on the cold night air.  All that I can muster is the sickening crackle of a jaw not used to speak for too long.

“Arise and arm yourself!” The wizard’s words pierce my very soul and before I can think, I was gaining my footing and slowly plodding towards what he is now pointing at outside the ring of candles.  When I reach the spot I find myself staring at a pile of dimly lit and very crudely made swords, jagged and cracked from years of neglect.  I crave a sword, I need the steel. I reach for a blade, any will do but what is this?

As I reach for a sword, horror and despair crowd my command for control of my actions. My hand comes to view from the darkness but all the flesh has fallen from it.  Long I must have been asleep, a slumber I never should have woken from for all that is left of me is alabaster bones that tatters and rags hang from .  Still, I carry my sword with grim obligation for his command has silenced any thought of objection in my mind.  My soul is his to command by some dark pact; I will serve him today and the rest until the day I am nothing more than dust.

Underneath it All

What does Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Game of Thrones all have in common?  Well, aside from each being a fantastic amalgamation of fiction they all have the same  roots.  Check it out.

Any fan of Tolkien knows that Middle Earth was in part inspired by Germanic  mythology, more specifically sagas.  Yes kids it’s the word of the day, say it with me now, saga!  Tolkien and Wagner both have adapted Volsunga Saga and rightly so because it rightly displays why Odin would beat Zeus’s adulterous ass with one eye…well…gone.

Close enough.

Sagas are stories about ancient Scandinavian history, they are chock-full of viking voyages, viking battles, family feuds between vikings. It like taking reality TV show where all the contestants are given axes and told to survive a winter in Iceland.  The result is a medieval warrior society surprisingly more humane than The Hunger Games.  At least in 10th century Iceland the penalty for killing someone was to either offer compensation to the family of the victim, or to be put in “time out” for a few years where they could still raid all the Europeans they wanted but if they were found in Iceland they were fair game for bands of homeland militias who made it their business to kill you.

Sagas are defined as non-realistic epic work of fiction, yet, these tales were passed down by story tellers who used the stories to make their history lessons more enjoyable.  King Harald of Norway is a consistent character in most sagas and even most battles and word events like the conversion to Christianity are reflected in the sagas making them a useful tool to historians.  This blend of fact and fiction makes for truly bad ass protagonists wielding magic who were tied to real and everyday problems.

Your average sage might read a little like this:

Thord was an unmatched fighter and had two brothers Brynjolf and Thorkel. They were drinking one winter day and soon became outrageously drunk. Unable to think clearly they decided on a game called “hit the horse rider on the head”. The game was fairly simple, involving the use of large objects to cause injury and dislodge riders on the local road. It started out with small branches and rocks but quickly graduated to objects only liftable by men of their time. Brynjolf, to prove his position as the strongest of the brothers decided to use a horse from a neighboring farm, for his next and last turn in the game. At that exact, ill fated  moment, another neighboring farm’s son who no one liked due to his crazy insistence that there was more to life than money, killing and honor, happened to be passing by the spot where the brothers were playing their game. Brynjolf threw the horse as hard as he could at the passing rider and hit Hamund in the side of the head as he rode by, killing him at once. Brynjolf named witnesses to the killing and sent a messenger to Grim Bardsson, the rider’s father in Mork to tell of the accident and offer compensation, giving Grim self-judgment. Then he buried the boy.

Take Egil Skalgrimmson for example, as one of the first immigrants to Iceland after a blood fued with the king of Norway, was like the George Washington of Iceland.  He is described in his exploits as being very hard to wound and he was thought to have magical powers because of this.  When his grave was excavated he was found to have Paget’s Disease, where the skeleton of the person inflicted grows indefinitely.  That’s right, Egil was the viking version of the super villain who finally delivers the killing blow to Superman.

Egil also enjoys long walks on the beach.

I’m sorry, I’m getting side tracked, I got your hopes up about relate able pop culture, thinking that you would find the first sentence fun and instead used the opportunity to plug away on a history lesson.  What is truly unique to sagas isn’t the dark pagan mysticism, the unique culture, or the lure of ancient society but the great span of time they cover.  Sagas often tell a story that spans across three generations or more, lineage gets developed and characters come and go.  Scandinavian story tellers used these tales to explain anything from landmarks to alliances to the rules of the land.   immortalizing Egil Skalgrimmson in his Saga makes sure that all Icelanders will remember their heritage and some lucky few will be able to identify  a relative by his appearance in the tale.  And in the end a dwarf just isn’t a dwarf without his family name, his time honored crest or his reputation for being able to drink more ale than anyone you know.