TASTE

Two Paragraphs from My Current Work in Progress

This is a doodle of an eyeball glyph I did in Adobe Illustrator a while back that I’ve never had an excuse to use until now. If you scroll down past it, you will find an excerpt from the current chapter I’m working on. The species so described is part of the established lore of the fictional Environment in which my story is set, but I think this would be the first time I’ve fully realized it in prose. Might give it more qualities in future drafts, but methinks this is serviceable as a rough sketch.


At first glance, this life form looked perfectly harmless. Comical, even. Resembling a course layer of chocolate brown hair growing out of solid bedrock. Carpeting the walls of the burrow. The fur of a shaggy dog, without the dog. But as every worker knew, this fur was not to be petted. If one were to agitate the hairs in any way (either by accidentally kicking them or handling them in any non-gingerly fashion), such an action would trigger an immune response in the organism, causing fruitbodies to germinate in the agitated hair tips. A mere ten minutes or so later, these hairs would have evolved into thick, almost woody stipes bearing mature spherical sporocarps, each one with that characteristic appearance suggestive of the head of an old Morgenstern club with a shiny metallic sheen. One could probably see their reflection (albeit distorted) looking into such an anatomical structure. But no worker in their right mind would dare find out for sure. It was grilled into them from their job training that if a fruitbody had that certain silver look to it, it was dangerous. One should get as physically far away from it as humanly possible, with the same speed and sense of urgency as if it were a time bomb on the verge of detonation. Because in many ways, that’s exactly what it was.

That silver part of the Silver Brown never made a sound when it burst. But a worker would always know when it did. Their sinuses would instantly be assaulted with an odor that was as distinctive as it was repugnant – something like a cross between cheap men’s cologne and a skunk carcass in an advanced state of putrefaction, with a subtle hint of wet dog flatus. The unmistakable stench of untold cubic gallons of the organism’s seminal ether being ejaculated into the open air, a minute percentage of its mist and vapors invariably finding its way into the lungs of any hapless soul who just happened to be in the vicinity.


The Green Grass of SILVER BROWN

A Digital Fossil Exhibit

This is actually not the first blog I’ve ever started. I’ve created about half a dozen of them in my lifetime, but none of my former blogs presently exist. Most of them were shut down voluntarily by me a few months after launching. Usually out of boredom. Or maybe because I just couldn’t be arsed to do the work involved in creating and maintaining a blog. It was one of those reasons. This current blog has already outlasted every blog I’ve done before, so it’s got that going for it at least.

I archive most of what I create, and remnants of former blogs still exist in my personal digital vaults. Here’s a titular wordmark I created for the header of one of my old attempts…

cerbfurzejo3
Rough translation: “The Brainfart Place”. I wrote it another language and used a fancy script font to make it an elegant brainfart place.

…and here’s a banner I created for somebody else’s blog (which also no longer exists)…

katzbanner


There’s also this skull banner I did once, although I can’t for the life of me remember what blog I did this for…

skullbanner


Lastly, I give you this collection of photographic evidence from that time five years ago when I created a (working!) ganja pipe from a jalapeño pepper. One that had just the right shape to be used for such a purpose. All it needed were exactly two incisions…

jalapeno_pipe_before


jalapeno_pipe_after


jalapeno_pipe_in_action
There’s my trusty old laptop Lucille in the background, who has since retired to the great network in the sky. #RIP

Despite being refrigerated at all times when not in use, the jalepeño pipe only lasted for a few days before it started rotting and I had to retire it. But it was an interesting experiment while it lasted. This pipe imparted a zesty Tex-Mex flavour to the smoke. At least it did while it was still fresh. Then decomposition set in and it started tasting more like Taco Bell…

jalapeno_pipe_rotten


jalapeno_pipe_retired


The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

Spring Has Sprung, and So Have Two New Chapters (and a map!)

Hark! The Beast has molted again! Two brand-spankin’ new chapters have been added to the version of Silver Brown available for free from this site. Not only that, but I’ve also thrown in a fourth map of the Environment to compliment the three that are already in the book. I made the amazing discovery these last few weeks that the complete Adobe Creative Cloud suite is installed on all the Mac computers in the Fanshawe College Library, for the convenience of anyone with the know-how and a valid student ID to log in. So I cracked open Illustrator and wasted a perfectly good afternoon creating this map of a typical island located in the world of my story, showing its urban areas, road system, (nude?) beach and entry points (or seaëxits, as they are known to the Environment’s denizens)…


mare_gaudii1.4.v6


In the Environment, an island is typically known by whatever expressword has been assigned to its index seaëxit by its registered administrator. Hence, the island depicted in this map would be called ₪VONOKAEL. The number shown in the centre (293119DAC) is an address within the Environment’s grid – specifically, that number indicates that ₪VONOKAEL is Island No. 293119 in the Delta Alfa Charlie sequence. Even if the administrator decided to change the index expressword to something other than ₪VONOKAEL, the island would still be known as 293119DAC in the eyes of the Great Monopoly. Being a heartless corporate bureaucracy and all, people and things are just numbers to them.

It’s also worth mentioning that these two new chapters are the first in the book featuring a character other than Florys MacNab as the narrator. Thus, these chapters have a slightly different look and feel, for the purposes of conveying an impression to the reader that the point of view has changed.

Implementing that look and feel was a tad bit challenging on my end. When I set about republishing the e-book to include the new chapters, I would learn the hard way that certain fonts cannot be successfully embedded in an EPUB document without paying a buttload of money in licensing fees. Not specialty fonts, either – I’m talking your standard-issue dingbat fonts that come prepackaged with just about every desktop operating system. This put a slight damper on my ability to depict certain graphical elements in the manuscript as I originally envisioned them.

As an alternative to selling my spleen on the black market to appease the Lords of Redmond, I decided to improvise a workaround. An earlier draft of Chapter Eleven (which is actually the book’s twelfth chapter; the first chapter is designated Chapter Zero in keeping with the story’s overall theme of computer technology run amok) featured an ornamental section break with a “glorified book” glyph in its centre that was cobbled together from Webdings and Wingdings…

oryteropian_synod

In the current draft, this has been replaced by a new glyph – a stylized representation of the Aardvark radiating his aardvarkly aardvarkness on all the denizens of the Environment…

oryteropian_synod2

The ebook reader on my phone seems to like this new glyph better. The old glyph displayed correctly when I viewed it on my laptop, but when I transferred the ebook to my phone it displayed as ï&ð, which was not quite the effect I was going for.

As I heavily implied earlier, this new glyph (and the new chapters which feature it) are available for download now. The book cover below is the link to the download page. I reckon it’ll only be a matter of time before entire languages and writing systems become registered trademarks of some soulless multinational, so this new version of the e-book could become a collector’s item someday.


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