August 05, 2004

"Fie upon such witless notions!"

-- Useful phrase frequently intoned by the wizard Zulkeh during his travels, Forward the Mage (Ummm . . . Scholl says it sometimes too. I think he stole it.)

Anyway, work sucks. The Big Summer Movie Project continues, but (with the exception of the few movies that inspire me to post, see below) I'll be reporting in full on that at the end of the . . . y'know . . . summer.

I see that Anna mentioned my oh-so-special (not to mention brave) excursion to Bodacious BBQ with the usually-frightening-and-most-certainly-carnivorous denizens of Apartment 15B. Yeah. Special times.

Anna: "Hey! We should all hit on Wheeler!"

That wasn't what she meant, but I wasn't particularly keen on being punched, either.

Anyway . . . did I mention that work sucks? I suppose I did . . . only three and a half working days left! I suppose I can hold out that long. Meanwhile, my book (the one quoted above) is very much a lot of fun (as, of course, are the other three I'm reading for fun . . . Can't believe I waited nearly eight months to read the next Aubrey/Maturin book. What was I thinking?!).

That's really all that's going on at the moment, although I have every confidence that things will pick up very soon. In the meantime, I should like to share the following particularly entertaining excerpt from my current sojourn into the realms of the "screwball fantasy" genre, Forward the Mage (quoted above), which is, thus far, every bit as amusing as the book it follows.

I have every confidence that it will bring a great deal of either laughter or pain to each and every single one of you . . . and possibly a mixture of both. Read on:

"But master, I don't have anything else to make a sack from," whined the dwarf.

"Bah!" oathed the mage. Zulkeh rose from his chair and stalked over to a shelf, from which he drew forth a book and a box.

"Thoughtless lout!" The mage extended the box to Shelyid. "Have you forgotten this?"

Shelyid gingerly took the box.

"But, master, you told me never to open this box. So I don't know what's in it."

"Do not attempt to excuse your ignorance with ignorance, wretched gnome! Of course I forbade you to open the box, for it contains nothing less valuable than the hide of a guthfish."

Shelyid's brow furrowed.

"What's a guthfish?"

"Lazy dwarf! The nature of said magical piscoid is recounted in this penetrating volume by the Potentates Laebmauntsforscynneweeld, The Guthfish of Grotum, its history and natural philosophy."

The wizard now extended the book.

"Had you but read this tome - instead of lolling about in idleness - it would have opened up to your understanding the divers uses of the creature's hide as well as the strange and wonderful characteristics thereof."

"But, master, you told me never to read that book, lest I should be felled in my mind - actually you said the cluttered pit which passes for my mind - by the subtle and cunning things which are contained therein."

"Bah!" oathed the mage. "Do you seek to excuse your disobedience with obedience?"

Zulkeh thrust the book into Shelyid's hands.

"Read this, unworthy wretch! - and proceed to fashion the sack according to its instructions."

"Yes, master," sighed the dwarf, seating himself on his stool.

Shelyid quickly read through the first chapters, in which was recounted the history and habits of the rare guthfish of Grotum. Therein he learned the fabled fish had once - or so, at least, was the legend - swallowed the entire universe when it was tiny and disgorged it back out when it was huge. He was then introduced to the lore of the guthfish hide itself, its many attributes and curious characteristics, which included the fact that it was not only the strongest and most elastic material known to exist, that it could not only conform to whatever object or objects it encompassed, but that, in addition, it possessed the strange power of infinite expansion - this last property being apparently magical, since it could be analyzed by the use of mathematical formula known to man, including several which were mutually contradictory.

The last chapter contained instructions for fashioning the guthfish hide into a useful sack. This Shelyid read carefully, noting that the hide could only be cut with a singularity (left drawer, upper cabinet), could only be sown with a needle made from the square root of -1 (middle shelf, small box under the curious amulet from Obpont), and could only be stitched with superstring thread made from the Theory of Everything, of which, needless to say, the wizard had a vast amount stored on spools scattered all over the abandoned death house.

After reading the last chapter twice, Shelyid took up the box and examined it. The following was written on the front of the box:

100% Pure and Undiluted!
Large Economy Size!!
Use It For Everything!!!
Fits Anything!!!!

WARNING: Studies by pettifogging government agencies and alarmist environmental fanatics have indicated that guthfish hide is toxic to the health of some people. Further study, however, by sober and reputable industrial scientists has shown that such people are not worth a damn and would be better off dead anyway. Symptoms may include the onset of bad nerves, pox, palsy, jitters, quivers, tremors, convulsions, paroxysms, fevers, the staggers, the jerks, shortness of breath, frequent and uncontrolled excretion, irregularities of the pulse, lockjaw, ague, fidgets, timorousness and a general feeling of social inferiority, these, of course, the classic symptoms of that most dread of nervous conditions, hysteria follicularia. Use at your own risk.

Posted by Jared at August 5, 2004 06:47 PM | TrackBack