Thursday, December 29, 2011

World Creation & the Nature of Scurries

Before we begin the adventures of Theo Bramblerun, I thought it best to post some short introductions to the world of Zéaon. We'll start with what scurries are this is of pivotal importance, as Theo is a scurry then we'll move onto a description of a traditional scurry instrument, the lyro.


Avg. Height:

4'0" - 5'6"

Avg. Weight:

75 - 110 lbs.



Fur Color:

mahogany to dark henna

Shorter on average than a human, scurries resemble bipedal squirrels with opposable thumbs. Scurry fur coloring ranges from a deep mahogany, to a light maroon, though black and shades of grey exist, they are rather rare. They are nimble of foot and light of bone, and are skillful opponents when it comes to swordplay, due to this dexterity and nimbleness. Using combinations of acrobatics and leaping, they jump and scamper about their opponents. The worst scurry swordsman could probably defeat a trained human swordsman. With the aid of their powerful hind legs, scurries can perform leaps that would leave other races far behind, while their tails allow them the balance to put many circus performers to shame. A scurries tail is a point of pride, with many scurries braiding, trimming or otherwise decorating their tails.

Scurry speech is often high pitched and concise, a throwback to their small relatives. Scurry society is split into two factions, those that still live in their sylvan homelands and those who have left the old ways behind and now prefer to live in cities. Some degree of animosity exists between these two parties of beliefs. Very few scurry families have lived in cities for more than one generation.

Scurry diets consist largely of fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains, meat being distasteful to most scurries, is usually not eaten. Fruit and vegetable juices are popular, though alcohol is finding its way into the hearts and palates of many a city scurry.


The scurry lyro is a unique instrument that required deft hands and a scurry’s palm. The instrument is a combination stringed instrument and a woodwind. There are numerous holes in the lyro, some for the notes of the flute-like portion, and the resonating hole of the stringed instrument. A thin, flexible strip of wood blocks the resonating hole when the flute is being played and can be slid aside, using the thumbs, to allow the playing of the full sound potential of the strings. The flute is played by using the pads of the scurry’s hands to block certain holes, thereby achieving certain notes. This makes it very challenging for a human to play the lyro, simply for lack of pads. The fingers of both hands wrap up over the top of the instrument and can play the short-strings.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Carolina Chocolate Drops Rock the Orange Peel

Live Tunes Tuesday

The Carolina Chocolate Drops’ show at the Orange Peel in Asheville on December 4th 2011 was an exciting, foot stompin’, thigh slappin’, hoot hollerin’ event filled with old timey goodness.

Before the show, I’d listened a number of times to two of their albums, the more traditional Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind, their first album, and one of their newer albums, the 2010 Grammy winner Genuine Negro Jig, which puts a bit of modern spin on old timey music. I highly recommend both, but admit to a personal preference for the latter, with two, for me, standout tracks in “Hit 'em Up Style” and “Cornbread and Butterbeans”, but they’re all great. And as good as this album is, it doesn’t even begin to reflect how fantastic these folks are live. Simply wow!

Not only do they put on an amazing show, they do a phenomenal job of making the audience feel included, like we’re all hanging out in someone’s living room, listening to some great live tunes. Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, Hubby Jenkins and the newest member, a bassist whose name escapes my mind (and numerous Google searches), were amazing multi-instrumentalists, getting the crowd roaring with rockin’ tunes and a whirlwind of different instruments, from fiddle and banjo, bass and guitar, to more exotic instruments like kazoos, jugs and bones. They even had a local musician, a local busker I think, come out and play the saw. For a few numbers, the Green Grass Cloggers - a local clogging group - came out and made for an extra rollickin’ good time.

I took all the pictures here on the blog, though I didn’t take any video. If you want a little taste though of what you missed, someone took a video of the Drops’ version of Ethel Water’s No Man’s Mamma with surprisingly decent audio here.

In summary, you should pick up any of the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ albums, though my recommendation would be Genuine Negro Jig.

And if you have a chance to see them LIVE, you should move heaven and earth to do so. You won’t regret it. Check out their tour dates.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Descedants - Tragicomedy at it's Best

Movie Review Monday

In The Descendants, George Clooney plays Matt King, a lawyer who is grappling with the decisions in his life that bring him to where he stands. His wife lies in a coma, and his family is in something of a shambles. On the horizon looms a lucrative real estate deal with many an interested party.
The dialogue is well-written, with dramatic scenes of a quiet intensity that are played well by all actors involved. George Clooney is at his best, Sid, played by Nick Krause, adds levity to many a scene that might otherwise be overly serious and stray from the comedramatic tone that the movie handles so well, and Shailene Woodley shines in her role as the older sister and daughter, Alex King.
Overall, The Descendants is a wonderful movie that easily treads the fine line between comedy and drama with aplomb. With its excellent screenplay, top notch acting and beautiful Hawaiian scenery, I highly recommend.
★★★★½ - 4.5 / 5.0

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Starting this holiday season, I will embark on a new schedule for the blog, in order to give it some structure:

Movie Review Monday

This has really been a long time coming. I watch so many movies, and love to write, so it's just weird that the intersection hasn't come prior to this. Look for this every Monday. Starting tomorrow, 12/26/2011.

Live Tunes Tuesdays

I've been going to a lot of live shows lately, so every Tuesday, I'll give a rundown on a live show that I've attended, more often than not at either the Orange Peel, in Asheville, NC or the Handlebar, in Greenville, SC. There will be often be pictures associated with these posts, unless there's a strict no photo policy. On the weeks where I've not attended a show, or don't have a live show to write about, I'll write about new songs or new bands that I've been exposed to.

Theo Thursdays

This is going to be a "reprinting" of a serial game that I wrote way back in the day. I'll edit it for clarity, and then post it. The whole story takes place in Zéaon, a lowdown, gritty fantasy world filled with uncommon (read, I completely made them up) fantasy folk. Don't look for any dwarves or elves, because you just won't find them. I'll start with a rundown on the world, the social mores, the origin of the world, etc. and then head into the storyline itself, which involves the adventures of one Theo Bramblerun, scurry swordsman extraordinaire.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Apologies to the blog for the long hiatus.

Today there will be nothing to write about writing, but simply about embracing one's inner child.

I'm in Disneyworld!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Yesterday, I sent 'The Bone Washer' off to Writer's of the Future for the final quarter of 2011. Fingers crossed.

Also yesterday, I applied for the MFA in Creative Writing program at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. I'm feeling pretty confident about getting in, but let's hope I don't jinx myself.

I've formed a writer's group and we'll be meeting every other week. It seems like a great nucleus of people.

In other wor(l)ds, I seemed to have developed a slight fixation with insects. Moving from 'The Bone Washer', to yet another piece of work that involves insects. More on that later.

I'll also be, in the words of the Jeffersons, moving on up from short stories to a novel for a while. I mean moving up in the sense of word count, not work, lest I offend any short storyists out there.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Bone Washer

So my latest piece that I just finished editing is called 'The Bone Washer' and Dermestid beetles and larva play a large part in the story. It's a macabre murder mystery about young Caleb, the current Bone Washer, who assumes his role because of the untimely death of the journeyman and his Master.

You can read all about Dermistid beetles at various places around the web, but you can also check out the generalities (on wikipedia) here.

I'll be submitting 'The Bone Washer' to Writers of the Future, and hope for the best. Wish me luck!