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Sturgeon's House

Oedipus Wreckx-n-Effect

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Everything posted by Oedipus Wreckx-n-Effect

  1. The Creative Side of SH

    I'm going to post this here. For all eyes. This is a concept piece that I'm currently outlining, story building, and trying to wrap my head around. First chapter is roughly completed. I don't like some parts of it, but it's been sort of an experiment for me. Tonight I've been trying to build more structure into the outline. But, here is a start. Gulf Shadows Prologue. The sun was stuck behind thick, deep-hued clouds above him, darker than the sand he walked but not by much. Wind carried briny sea-spray into the air and into his mouth and nostrils. The tall, dark-skinned man's bare feet left deep impressions in the damp sand that would soon disappear to the tide. Across his heavily tattooed shoulders he carried a buck-skin full of oysters. Sand erupted between his toes at every step, but his feet felt light. The light spray hastened his steps. He had dug in the low-tide for hours, until his calluses were but distant and fond memories. He'd traveled farther out than ever before, but it was late in the season to still be on the island. That is how it always was. Next year, when he returned the oyster beds would be filled again. Roughly cut strands of dark hair occasionally covered his eyes. He brushed them aside with the back of a hand still clutching his digging tool. It was a simple carved bit of drift-wood, roughly hewn and easily replaced. His other was burned for warmth last winter. Before him, the sand stretched flat and deep all the way to the tall, grass-covered dunes. Behind the man was a anxiously churning sea. White-capped waves crested and fell into the sands, while the wind whipped foam across the land. The hidden sun gave an impression that it was later than it really was. Tiny crabs, with grossly mis-matched claws skittered sideways towards the dune at the man's approach. This was the last dig of the season, he knew. He also knew that most of his tribe had left the island days before, seeking the shelter of their inland territories. But he stayed for the days, tending to his woman. Her ankle was better now. Good enough to travel on, at least. With a child it would be more difficult, but they would manage. Every season brought its own challenges, and memories of far worse times reminded him to be thankful. In the distance between him and the camp, the man could think. They had not yet named the boy. That would come once the tribe was together again. He could almost hear the joyous songs of reunion would be sung. The air whipped around his legs, up his body and across his eyes. He could smell the wind's warning of a storm, which worried him. If the winds picked up too much, the journey across the water and inland would be treacherous. His brother would wait on him at the mouth of the river, but not if he sensed the storm building. He has his own family to take care of. The wind broke across the bare tops of dunes, occasionally releasing sand and grit into the air. At the top of the next dune, the man saw the remaining huts huddled closely together. Their sapling and dried mud exteriors had held up well to the spring storms, but most were empty now. Their inhabitants gone across the water inland, the huts would be gone by the time their builders returned next spring. Smoke rose from two of them still, however. One was his own. The other belonged to the old Shaman. The exterior of his hut was adorned with red hand prints and symbols of protection for their tribe. Nearing his own hut, a flash of brown color pushed aside the hide door and cut through the wind. Its paws kicked sand into the air in a fit of glee. The man's dog greeted him with playful nips, followed by curious sniffing of the load on the man's back. His free hand reached down and ruffled the dog's ears. When the man looked up again, the old Shaman was outside. But instead of greeting the man, his eyes were turned toward the sea. The Shaman paid the man no mind, not even a cursory glance in his direction. His gaze was fixed on the shifting clouds above the great sea. With no words, the man dipped into his hut to begin readying for the journey inland. Whether the old Shaman was going or not was not his concern. He had lived many years, and some of them completely upon the island. No, the man's concern was with his own. The weight of the skin off of his shoulders, he embraced his woman and child within his warm home. His dog carefully sniffed at the hide bag. Tomorrow, they would leave the island. And if the gods were good to them, the storm would hold. ---- “At this time, all portable electronic devices need to be powered off or placed on airplane mode for take-off. Now, if you can give the flight attendants your attention, they will go through the emergency safety features this plane is equipped with-” Samantha looked up for a brief moment as a woman with too much make-up and little golden wings on her suit closed the overhead bin above her seat. The flight attendant smiled, showing too much teeth for Samantha's liking, and joined her colleague to show an inattentive crowd how to use flotation devices. Just in case the plane crashes in one of the thousand lakes or rivers between here and Houston. Reluctantly, Samantha closed her laptop. The mysteries of the Karankawa would have to wait until after the in-flight movie. Instead of watching the oxygen mask demonstration, Samantha turned the volume on her phone up, letting the music drown out the safety presentation entirely. Her head rested against the inside of the airplane, while her dark brown eyes watched someone on the tarmac drive an empty baggage cart toward the terminal. A few large, white birds could be seen floating in the distance near a far fence, but they were quickly obscured by a airliner taxiing down the runway. The lead singer's high note signaled the end of the safety presentation. As the attendants took their seats, the plane began to move away from the terminal. Six weeks, she thought bitterly. That's all it took for them to turn. Samantha turned over the boarding pass in her hand and studied the black and white print. Richmond, VA to Houston, TX, one way. No checked luggage. Everything she owned was above her head in an overhead bin (that may shift during flight). The lead singer was screaming something unintelligible but undoubtedly angst-filled as the airplane began to accelerate down the airstrip. Six weeks ago, Samantha's mother died. Samantha was waiting tables and living with a few old college friends, taking breaks from a post-graduate slump to visit her mother in the hospital. The doctors had given her a year. They were wrong, and not in the good way. “It's all in my head, honey,” She'd say, taking her daughter's hand and trying to ignore the tears. “I'll be out of here soon enough.” Cryptic, facetious, and unmovable as always, Samantha's mother ignored the constant migraines and blurred visions. When Samantha was in junior high, she'd made a list of words she hated. Ungrateful, Bossy, Bookworm, Boogers, Barf, those were some of the words she'd penned years ago. But now, fresh out of college and sitting next to her mother's hospital bed, the list came back to her for some reason. And while in her mind, she mentally added Inoperable to the list. Between the hospital visits and insomnia, the restaurant she'd worked at through school took up most of the time. Regulars requested her, and there was always an open bar after the doors closed. Once the kitchen was closed and the Open sign turned off, her coworkers would gather around the bar, count their tips, pour their drinks, and bitch about their tables. Brendan, a guy still in school who gets too loud when he drinks, was the first to say something to her. “Hey, Sammy, you're lookin' extra grim today. What's up?” “That's not my name.” Samantha grimaced, not bothering to look up from an untouched glass of bottom shelf liquor. She could count on one hand the hours of sleep she'd had in the last few days. And her mother had taken a swift turn for the worst. And rent was due. And she didn't want to go home, because her room mates were having a fight. There were some serious unresolved issues with those two. But it was mainly her mother. And suddenly, Samantha realized that she wasn't stopping herself from talking. She was too tired. No one had known until then. The mood swiftly morphed from tired relaxation to tense melancholy. “We didn't know.” “That's terrible.” “How long has she been in the hospital?” “What is it?” “You need sleep.” She got a ride home that night. A few days later, her mother slipped away. The doctors said it was painless. That night was the first time she'd been open about it to anyone other than her roommates. After the funeral, the lawyer brought her the paperwork to sign. A vague will didn't do the family favors. But then again, Samantha's family wasn't much for favors. The fighting began before the casket had been completely lowered. It started small, with hushed discussions regarding what meager estate was left behind. Aunts and cousins from Samantha's mother's side were quick to corner the lawyer presiding over the will. Samantha tried to ignore most of it. Most of everything. She was new to a world without her own mother, and the shock of the forcible entry into this alien place would leave her confused for weeks. Roaming the halls of her childhood home, picking up a few dime store antiques or dusty picture frames here and there, she let her mind drift back to growing up. It had been just her and her mother for all those years. Her diapers were changed in this room. Beneath the old Panasonic TV were VHS tapes of Disney movies they used to watch together on the thrift-store couch. Somewhere among them were home videos of Samantha learning to walk, getting ready for a first day of school, a first gymnastics meet, and maybe an embarrassing video of her prom date picking her up. She passed the kitchen table where Samantha first received her acceptance letter for college. She remembers her mother's voice, “Go ahead, stop staring at it and open it already! Jeez, you're acting like your future is on the line or something.” Samantha's hands trembled badly, but she had screamed when she saw the acceptance. Her mother had just smiled. There had never been doubt in her mind. Her memories were pushed away by the sound of a heated argument between family members in another room. They were fighting over an antique clock. For the next two weeks, Samantha removed what she knew was hers from the house. Mostly books that she'd read a handful of times. Samantha didn't need them, but she didn't want them left behind for others. She was confronted, scolded, screamed at, and threatened all the while by family members. One aunt, instead of relinquishing a mirror, broke it against a table and left the house. The other family member cursed vividly before rushing upstairs to go through another closet. Samantha was left there to clean up the fractured reflections. For a while, she stayed at her old home. Samantha's boss had given her time off, insisting that if there was anything she needed to let him know. Those first few nights in her old room were surreal. She could almost convince herself that she was back home, back in high school. That her mother was wearing that ridiculous sleeping mask and night gown in the other room. Tomorrow they would eat cereal at the small kitchen table and fight over who got the comic section of the newspaper first. But then the morning came, and with it the family and fights. After a few days of dealing with rabid family members, Samantha took what she could fit in her car and left. It wasn't worth the hurt. They could tear at the house's corpse as much at they liked. Fill it with each other's blood for all she cared. Samantha was done. It was on another night at the restaurant when she made up her mind. Another night with everyone lounging around the old bar, with drinks and cash in front of them. Conversations flowed between each of them. The drifting serpent of speech eventually wound its way back to her. A question, how was she doing? “I'm fine.” What would she do now? Is her family still being fucking psychotic? “I dunno. And probably. I'm over it.” It was such a bad lie, but she hid it with a drink. Her room mates were getting a place on their own, which meant Samantha needed to find somewhere to live. She had some money saved up, and now with her meager inheritance she was doing fairly well. Except for the numbness. Brenden couldn't stand the moment of silence. “You could go to grad school or something. That'd be kinda cool. Get buried in a bunch of books, you'd love that.” It was an attempt at levity, she knew, but he wasn't wrong. Her entire life she'd been drawn to history and old stories. Books on every period were stuffed in the trunk of her car from the move. Ancient cultures and traditions fascinated her. The only problem, though, was that you could starve while diving into the past. Rent can't be paid in obscure historical factoids. Her mother made that very clear, and opposed Samantha's study focus in school. “You're smart enough to do something else. No, I don't mean what you're doing isn't difficult. But antiquities? Honey, I didn't think you were the type to bank on marrying well.” Brenden continued, nudging her at the bar. She wasn't sure what to think of him when they first started working together. But as Samantha took another sip of the amber liquid in front of her, she had to admit that his smile was growing on her. “Oh, I'd love that. But I just don't think it's in the cards-” Someone else chimed in. “I think you ought to just leave. Get out of town. What's stopping you? I mean, the house is getting cut up by the lawyers and family.” Samantha shook her head. “I got a good thing, here. Look at this-” She flashed the cash tips from a night's work at the girl, Chelsey, “-Cash money, decent company, bad booze.” Someone dropped another ounce into her glass, as they noticed it was empty. “You grew up here though, right? I dunno, I couldn't do it. Stay in the same town like that.” “Yeah,” Brenden said, throwing in his two-cents, “Might be time to take flight. You're young and momentarily financially endowed. Not like us poor working stiffs, slaving away at tables all night to afford next semester's books.” “Don't bullshit me, you don't get that good of tips.” Samantha sneered toothlessly. Everyone kept talking, but she sat and watched and listened. The idea, though, it kept growing. Like a tiny seed given water and sun, roots of an idea thrust themselves into the deep folds of her mind. What if she did leave? When was the last time she slept more than an hour at a time? Her family still left her scathing voicemails and notes on her car and door. The family was tearing itself apart, but Samantha couldn't find a single reason that was worth a damn to stay. At the end of the night, Samantha made the choice. She couldn't even say it was a hard choice. For the first time in weeks, she felt light. She felt giddy, if that was even possible. It'd been a hard year on her, no one would dispute that. But tonight felt good. She didn't think twice of inviting Brenden home with her. And it had nothing to do with the whiskey. Not one bit. She slept soundly through the night, only opening her eyes when Brenden pushed himself out of bed to catch class in the morning. She stayed there in bed, reveling in how little responsibility she had that day. The sun was beginning to peek through her blinds. She heard Brenden say something. “Hm?” “You're smiling.” “Mhmm...” Then, “You make up your mind?” “Yeah. Nine out of ten, would bang again-” “You know what I mean.” He laughed. Samantha rolled over and looked up at the ceiling. She did know what he meant. “Sure have.” He nodded, stretching a shirt over his torso. “Good.” Dressed, he stood there in her lived-in room. “So, do we kiss goodbye, or-” “You're going to be late for class.” She chided, throwing a pillow at him. But she was smiling. He left her there in bed, alone with her thoughts. An entire world opened up to her in a single night. For the first time in recent memory, she was excited about something. And out of the whole world, she now found herself sailing through the air toward Houston, Texas. From there, it was a bus ride to her new home. Galveston. When Samantha sat down that morning to find an escape, her criteria was stiff. She wanted to be close to the sea. She wanted an older city with deep, historic roots and culture. She wanted a graduate program, one where she could study that deep history. And when she cut out all the places that she couldn't afford without selling every superfluous organ she owned, she landed on Galveston. A place she'd never given a moment's thought to, Samantha found herself engulfed in study for the rest of the day. Colorful native culture, conquistadors, adventurers, pirates, military fortresses, gambling, immigration from across the globe, spies, and world-ending storms that never dampened the souls that called the island their home. Her eyes scanned each page her laptop brought to her, and with each search she grew more excited. A child began to scream somewhere in the plane, the shrieking piercing through Samantha's ear buds. She closed her eyes and tried not to think infantcidal thoughts. It took her two weeks to find a place to live. A small, run-down beach house on the bay-side of the city. It was about two hurricanes due for renovation, but the phone call with the owners put all mystery aside. Samantha had to yell into her phone for the elderly woman to hear her. A recent widow out of Houston, she couldn't keep the place up anymore. The woman gave Samantha an address for the deposit, and according to their last, loud, conversation there was a key beneath the welcome mat for Samantha. The kid stopped shrieking. Maybe the Benedryl finally kicked in. Whatever it was, Samantha was grateful. She settled into her small economy seat and slowly let the chains of her life in Virginia fall through the sky. And hopefully, they hit some of her aunts on the way down. ---- He awoke with a start. Beside him, his hide was empty. His woman and child were gone. The man looked around the hut for a moment, saw and heard nothing but the harsh winds of an approaching storm. His dog lay dead in front of the his hut. Its body was stiff and lifeless eyes wide open. The Karankawa man's heart began to pound. His hand gripped the shaft of his spear tightly as he squinted against the wind. Outside, a old, wet smell overpowered the usual salt and coldness of a storm. “Shaman! Old man!” He shouted, ripping the hut's hide away. Inside were dim coals, a heavy scent of sickness, and more unsettling and strange markings on the walls of the tiny hut. But the Shaman was not there. The man saw fresh tracks in the sand and began to follow. There were two sets of footprints leading out over the dunes. Sand and grit stung his cheeks but he continued to run after the prints, focusing through the pale light of the morning to keep the trail. Driftwood and sparse grass eventually gave away and fell to white sand that stretched to the sea. The darkness of the approaching water was broken by the occasional white of a cresting wave. A bulk of storm clouds swirled and surged low on the horizon, moving closer at a surreal rate. Far out to sea, he couldn't tell where water ended and sky began. At the edge of the beach, in reach of the waves' grasp, were the silhouette of his woman and child. And beside them, the old man. The Karankawan man yelled to them, and began to run. As he approached, he saw the Shaman's body was bare save for his walking staff. His heavily tattooed flesh dripped with fresh blood. Light wounds cut with a sharp knife, making curves and lines across his arms, chest, legs, and into his face. “What are you doing?” The man cried out to his woman and child, but they were walking into the surf. The Shaman answered. “What was left calls to those with low ears, close enough to the shadow. Given eyes and we are blinded. Given a soul and we are damned. With a family of shells, discarded husk beneath the layers to its own domain-” “What are you saying?” He said, but was running toward his woman. They were already so far out, the waves beating at them and submerging his child completely. But they continued to walk. “They are Beyond! They no longer belong! Given eyes, given a soul, let me hear with my ears to the shadow!” The old man was shrieking now. The Karankawan man looked back, to see the old man had fallen to his knees. Wind whipped the sea into a frenzy of white foam crests and dark water. The sun was buried behind the darkest storm the man had ever seen. He reached his woman, but his child was no where near. He reached beneath the water, but felt nothing but sand. His hand gripped the arm of his woman, who did not turn around. He screamed at her, but his voice was a distant sound over the great winds. A flash of lightening broke the sky in two, illuminating glassy, unseeing eyes of his woman. The sea around them broke over his head as the man desperately began dragging her from the water. There was a deep moaning that rattled through the man's chest. It was pushing through the water and seeped into his cold, wet skin. His feet stumbled and grip loosened under the overpowering, quiet roar that seemed to come from all around him. When his eyes opened, he was looking at darkness. The clouds were low, without light. Rain pelted him from all directions and bombarded the water. The man continued on, unsure if he was heading toward land or back out to sea. Everything around him swirled and mixed in a rage. Waves beat against his legs with increasing frequency. The water became cold. Beneath it, his feet lost footing as the sand shifted and moved on its own. He fell, dragging his blinded woman with him, into the water. It stung and immediately numbed his skin. He felt his strength fading quickly as he crawled, coughing as the cold saltwater assaulted his throat. One hand gripped the shifting earth right beneath the shallow waters, but it shivered and shook at his grasp. The great roaring moan began again, and the man could not fight against the waves any longer.
  2. General cars and vehicles thread.

    It would be nice to have a solid front axle like on the rover. Sadly, not the case. I've got IFS up front on torsion bars. Today's work got started after I ran my dog a bit. Swapped the serpentine belt and changed the engine oil and filter. Then looked around the rear differential to figure out where the fill hole is. I have a gasket on order. There's some surface rust on the frame and bumper near the rear of the truck. I'll eventually sand that out and spray it. Also, @Meplat, the spare tire mechanism works great. I dropped the tire today without an issue. Rolled it away to save for later. I'm basically completely stripping the truck of anything useful before I make the swap.
  3. Terror Attacks and Active Shooter Events Thread

    And the DC sniper.
  4. General cars and vehicles thread.

    I swapped the distributor cap and rotor, and some new plug cables are en route to my house. The actual plugs are apparently just a year old. The coil and ignition control module are 120 dollars so I'm holding off in hopes that the new plug cables fix the issue. I'll look up that oil pan remedy. Mostly because dropping an oilpan on A 4x4 requires moving the front drive shaft and unhooking heads and shit apparently for my truck.
  5. Post Election Thread: Democracy Dies In Darkness And You Can Help

    Most central American countries are dumpster fires. This doesn't surprise me at all.
  6. Speaks volumes of both the surplus market and modern manufacturing processes.
  7. Yup. I've said it time and time again that 7.62x39 is a damned good medium game round. No, I'm not biased. But yes, I grew up popping white tails with a yugo.
  8. General cars and vehicles thread.

    This is a fun episode. Dropped more coin at Autozone today. All fluids purchased. Replaced the PCV, distributor cap, and rotor today.
  9. General cars and vehicles thread.

    I will look around for a diagnostic tool. I picked up some door pins for my Chevy (to fix the saggy doors), a jack, some jack stands, a belt for the GM, new air filter for the GM, and will be getting oil and gear oil soon. I pulled the ABS fuse. Doesn't quite fix the issue. The truck still has some very slight, very fast, consistent "stutter" under acceleration. It's incredibly faint, and really does feel like the brakes grabbing once ever second or so. I'm thinking it might be the ignition. But I have a leak coming from the oil pan and the radiator that I'll probably fix before that. The plugs are a year and a half old. May have to replace distributor cap.
  10. General cars and vehicles thread.

    I'll pull up a fuse diagram tomorrow when there's light to see. I picked up a jack and two jack stands tonight on a trip to home depot. The fiance wants to plant some succulents in the house this winter. I figured while I was there I could abuse my Home Depot card.
  11. General cars and vehicles thread.

    That's what I'm about to do. If it bothers me more, I'm going to pull the ABS fuse and say to hell with ABS all together.
  12. General cars and vehicles thread.

    My biggest worry is the ABS light that's on. Thinking my speed sensor might be bad in it. Not a hard fix, but I need to buy some jack stands and a jack to do it.
  13. General cars and vehicles thread.

    So I bought a truck. 1996 GM Sierra. 5.7 L chevy small block with vortec heads. 5 speed manual transmission (I think NV3500). 280k miles on the truck. Owned for 13 years by a mechanic. It has tons of new parts. Alternator, brake pads, rotors, power steering pump, tie rods and ends, tires (yokohama geolaner A/T), spark plugs, front suspension and struts, etc etc. It's almost too pretty to hack up... Almost. I began taking some of the interior bits and pieces off. Parts that I could use on my other truck on the interior. I drove it an hour and a half back home after I bought it. It has a leaky radiator cap. I'm going to drop all the fluids from the engine, trans, differentials, and radiator and change them all out soon.
  14. GOTTA GO FAST (Speedrunning)

    Dist is a fucking legend. Cuphead in 26 minutes.
  15. GOTTA GO FAST (Speedrunning)

    Speedrunning video games is really interesting to me, and maybe someone else in this forum. To speedrun a game is to beat the game (or the challenge in particular, All Bosses, *insert weapon here* only) as quickly as possible. This can be done regularly or with glitches that are naturally occurring within the game (Glitchless vs Any%). We'll start with one of my favorite series, Dark Souls. Want retro? Here's a great Super Mario Bros speedrun. This one is great, because his grand mother is there cheering him on. Maybe Super Mario 64? This run blows my damned mind. Like First Person shooters? Here's Halo: CE on Legendary. And Halo 3, Legendary as well.
  16. Calling All Autists: Build my computer

    That's a great resource.
  17. Hello "friends". I'm typing this from a 10 year old HP tower. I stole the monitor from an ex girlfriend. The mouse I stole from a college computer lab. The GPU I hacked out of a friend's build. It has been a long time since I've considered building a new computer. But there are a few games I'd like to play, and my tiny little steam-engine just isn't worth saving. So, if I were to jump onto last generation's equipment and browse refurbished parts, I'd like to put a computer together for around 500 United States Dollars. Who wants to help me start putting a build list together?
  18. General cars and vehicles thread.

    No lie, first time I read this I thought "tires" when I saw "rubbers". I was gonna ask where the hell I can get tires for free.
  19. The Best of Craigslist

    https://www.craigslist.org/about/best/esh/6324690044.html I'm not sure if this should go here for the Cars thread. Either works.
  20. The Best of Craigslist

    I don't know about anybody else, but I love cruising around Craigslist just to find ridiculous crap that people are selling, offering, doing, or ranting about. For those of you not familiar, Craigslist is a sort of online marketplace where you can sell your wares, your skills, or even yourself. Here's a thread dedicated to the Best/Worst of Craigslist. I'll start it off with something bizarre but safe for work. https://www.craigslist.org/about/best/phx/6100073306.html Free 18' Sailboat
  21. General cars and vehicles thread.

    Found a truck that could make a decent donor. 1991 GMC 4x4. Rusted body, decent frame. 5 speed. Two kids bought it and a big RV-camper shell to haul with it. Decided to live on the road and travel the country. But their lack of internet led to sex. Now they have a kid and have to settle down. The kids didn't do jack shit as far as maintenance is concerned. Oil was sludge. Clutch was fine but tires were totally bald. They wanted 2400 for the camper and truck. My counter offer of 1200 was met with surprise. They countered with 1800. I'm going to hold off. I'd buy it on the cheap knowing I'd have to fix a ton of shit. But my frugal tendencies is fighting against my impatience. If I just wait a little longer, I'll find a decent donor.
  22. The Saudi Arabia is a Backwards, Laughable Shithole Thread

    Excuse me for lumping deranged sharia tainted groups together like the dogs they are.
  23. Terror Attacks and Active Shooter Events Thread

    You make yourself out to be this stone-cold, stoic, cynical badass. But look at you, trying to find the hope and logic in the hearts of these hippies. Bless you.
  24. Terror Attacks and Active Shooter Events Thread