Jutchy Ya Ya: On an As-Is Basis

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Jutchy Ya Ya
#47 is the forty-fourth-or-thereabouts issue of my occasional (and also free) zine, which I have been making since the turn of the century at ever-greater intervals. Sometimes I deliberately work toward a theme when I sit down to make a Jutchy Ya Ya, and sometimes a theme tends to present itself after the fact. This time around I’ve detected a slight theme relating to fine print/disclaimers/terms of usage, but also quite a bit of stuff about narwhals. So yeah, if you like the sound of:

  • Random facts about narwhals
  • Me talking about the time I interviewed Tori Amos
  • An email exchange I had with Cory Doctorow about the efficacy of ethically based boycotts
  • Random facts about pangolins
  • Cartoons of Narwhals and Pangolins wearing boxing gloves
  •  Reading fine print

This zine could be the one for you.

You can download or screen-read Jutchy Ya Ya #47 at issuu or on Scribd, or if you want one made of actual paper you can contact me at adamatsya [narwhal] gmail {pangolin} com or pay a visit to either ye olde Sticky Zine Store in Melbourne or yon venerable Format Zine Shop in Adelaide. If you’re in the Castlemaine area you might also keep an eye out for it at Castlemaine Railway Station or Wesley Hill Market.

Oh and ta muchly for checking it out. Hope you like it.

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Posted in jutchy ya ya, zines

GISHWHES and a Story in 140 Words

Elopus rampant.

Last week Jules Wilkinson, fellow Whose Doctor? author (responsible for the hilarious “Certificate IV in Allied Time Lord Support” essay), posted a Facebook callout on behalf of some friends for authors to help out with an online scavenger hunt called GISHWHES (it stands for “the Greatest Internet Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen”, of course).

GISHWHES is an annual event where people team up over the internet and try to find and do bizarre and funny things (a couple years back Jules helped to make a Tyrannosaurus Rex out of sanitary pads, for example) to earn points and raise money for the US-based Random Acts charity, which is all about random acts of kindness and stuff.

Item 78 on the 2014 list was to get a previously published science fiction author to write a 140-word short story that featured:

  • Misha Collins (founder of Random Acts & GISHWHES/actor from the Supernatural TV series)
  • An elopus (an octopus with an elephant head/mascot of GISHWHES 2014)
  • Queen Elizabeth II (Hereditary and currently reigning Monarch of Britain)

Value: 59 points.

It was a bit tricky to get all three elements into the story in such a short wordcount, but after wiki-ing Mr. Collins I came up with some ideas and had a crack. So here’s my contribution to the GISHWHES 2014 hunt for Jules’s mates, aka Team Storm Queen.

***

[UNTITLED 140-WORD STORY FOR GISHWHES 2014.]

“For service to the field of Mathematics, I dub thee Sir Misha Collins.”

Misha felt the sword tap his shoulder. He raised his head to thank Her Majesty and noticed a flap of loose skin under her chin. Everything clicked into place. The “Elibazeth” typo on the telegram. The plastic sword. The fact he wasn’t English.

“You’re not the Queen!” Misha reached up and tugged at the skin. There was a series of soft pops as a row of tentacles plopped out from behind the mask.

One more yank and a creature with an elephant’s head and an octopus’s body was revealed, sitting on a small platform. Two tentacles were wrapped around levers mounted on the platform. The “Queen’s” body shuffled its feet to retain its balance.

“Hi,” said the elepus, holding out a sharpie and a glossy black-and-white of Misha with its tentacles. “Big fan.”

***

There’s an excellent storify that gathers together tweets for heaps of the participating authors and links to their blog posts about the hunt and some of the stories they wrote too. It’s a fun read. You should also check out the Team Storm Queens tumblr, which collects all of their scavenged items in one place.

Good luck to anyone who participated this year – I look forward to helping out again in some way next year.

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Posted in new ways to procrastinate, short stories

Donna Noble Has Been Saved (On The Radio)

Earlier this week I had a poem on RRR’s Breakfast show as part of their “Genius Squad” feature. My old buddy alicia sometimes is doing a regular feature in that slot, and for this particular instalment she decided to talk about Doctor Who and poetry. As you do.

This, naturally, led her to contact me to ask if I had any poems about the Doctor. To which I said, sure, pointing her in the direction of Whose Doctor? Reflections on a Time Lord, which features my poem “Donna Noble Has Been Saved”.

alicia asked if there might’ve been a recording of the spoken word event that the collection was based on, and I said hang on a mo, sneaking that lunchtime into an empty teleconferencing room at work and recording the sucker on me phone like I was in the future or something.

I wasn’t expecting the breakfasters to work the TARDIS’s trademark wheezing, groaning sound effect in at the start of the poem, nor was I expecting that funky, moog-y, swingin’ version of the theme song to accompany my words, but hey – I think it works.

Have a listen – hope you like it, and if you’re inclined to read along with your post hoc breakfast poetry about Doctor Who, don’t forget that you can score yourself a copy of Whose Doctor? in a range of ebook formats from Tomely (.epub and .mobi only) and Smashwords (pretty much any format you can think of).

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Posted in i'm on the radio!, new poems, poems, Published work

SALE MUST END SOON (IE, TODAY SOME TIME PROBABLY)

Edit: Sale is over, ding dong. Sold four copies in 42 days, bing bong. Not gonna bang on about it, ping pong. Just puttin’ it out there, ding dong.

Well, 42 days went by pretty quick there, didn’t it? Today is the last day of my 42nd birthday sale wherein you guys can avail yourself of either Man Bites Dog or Not Quite the Man for the Job in shmiggedy ebook form.

So if you’ve been holding out until the last minute to buy one of my cheap ebooks, this would be that last minute.

Here’s the link to my Tomely store – you know what to do.

I’ll be kicking the price of the books back up to their regular $5 ($2.50 if you tweet about buying one) sometime tomorrow – haven’t decided exactly when, but the clock is ticking, sort of. If you’ve enjoyed the cascade of samples I’ve regaled you with these past 42 days, why not risk less than two whole dollars and score yourself both books in their entirety?

Why not, indeed?

Thanks to all who’ve left comments and likes and bought books – next year I’ll be doing something equally random, so stay tuned.

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Posted in but enough about me - what do YOU think of me?, man bites dog, Not Quite the Man for the Job

A B-movie Love Poem

[Being the latest in a series of excerpts from my novel, Man Bites Dog, which is currently on sale at Tomely for only 99c until 23 June 2014]

The sex is gentle and lucid. Last night we were breaking down inhibitions. This morning we’re shyly saying hello with our entire bodies. There’s a nervous energy to it that makes me think maybe I won’t need any painkillers today—maybe the endorphins and the adrenalin and the sheer pleasure of this encounter will keep the hangover at bay.

Afterwards we lie in each other’s arms and continue our get-to-know-you conversations. We swap middle names, high-school crushes and favourite comics. Emma gets out of bed and I watch her move around the room as she searches for something. She comes back with the Krazy Kat book we talked about last night.

‘Read it later,’ she says. I put it to one side as she moves in for another kiss. Eventually we break the clinch, and our lazy hungover conversation drifts around to jobs. Emma talks about how much she hates her current job, temping in an office in the city, but I trump her with my story about the recent traumas on my run.

‘Man bites dog,’ she says.

‘What?’

‘It’s the test for newsworthiness. Dog bites man—that’s something that you’d expect to happen, so it’s not news. But man bites dog—that’s unusual. That’s news.’

‘But I didn’t bite Satan,’ I say. ‘He tried to bite me.’

‘Why chicken? Wouldn’t something like—I don’t know—sausages or a handful of mince be cheaper?’

‘I guess. I never thought about it before. Wayne said “chicken”, so I got chicken.’

The alarm clock on the bedside table says twelve-fifteen. We’ve slept and snuggled and fucked the morning away.

‘I should probably get going soon.’

‘Yeah, I have a few things to do today,’ says Emma. I make an effort to sit up. My head doesn’t fall off or implode, so I figure that’s a good sign. I could use some water, though. And I need to take a piss.

‘Do you want a shower?’

I do want a shower, but there’s the whole housemate thing to take into consideration. I don’t know if Emma lives alone or not, or if her housemates are awake and moving around at the moment, but I’d rather avoid bumping into them right now. It’s always awkward being ‘the stranger that so-and-so brought home last night’. I don’t think I’m up for the polite nods and the surreptitious exchange of knowing glances that comes with the situation.

‘Um, no thanks. I’ll just have one when I get home.’

‘You sure?’

‘Yeah, thanks.’

‘You smell like a goat, you know.’ I stare at her. ‘Because of the sex,’ she whispers in a stage mock-whisper. Goat? Is that an insult or intimacy?

‘Uh . . .’

‘And so do I, which is why I’m going to have a shower.’

She slides out of bed, shrugs into a black satin robe with Chinese embroidery on the back, and pads out of the room. Now what do I do? I’m lying naked and sex-stained in a stranger’s bedroom—what’s the appropriate response? Should I be here when she comes back? Was she giving me some kind of hint? Should I just get dressed and sneak out the front door now? Leave a note? I wanted to kiss her goodbye. I think about our lips touching and decide that, yes, I definitely want to kiss her goodbye, so that means I’ll wait here until she finishes her shower. Maybe I can do a little victory dancing while she’s out of the room. I jump onto the floor and wiggle my hips, then do a bit of hip-hop posturing. Oh yeah. Look at me. I just had sex. Twice. To the beat y’all.

That feels better. I stand still and look around the room. Lots of bookshelves. Lots of books. Emma’s got a good comics library here. I flick through a couple, but I’m not in a reading mood. I check out the shelf underneath and a slim spine catches my eye. You and What Army? by Emma Monori. Monori? I wonder if that’s Emma. A quick look at the photo on the back cover confirms that it is her. It’s weird that you can know what the back of someone’s knee tastes like, but not know their surname. I jump under the doona and start reading.

It’s different from Wayne’s poetry. More like I expect poetry to be, but still conversational—like song lyrics that tell a story. It’s not all about everyday life. There’s a poem about skinning a horse, another one about superhero sidekicks, and a couple based on primary school games like scarecrow chasey and those old skipping-rope rhymes. ‘Hide and Seek’ is a longish poem about a girl hiding from her boyfriend in weirder and weirder places. The last few lines catch my eye.

Now I’m here, resting quietly
between the folds of your brain,
mesmerised by the arc and shimmer
of your neurons in action.
I knew you had a remarkable mind,
but it’s another thing entirely
to watch synapses hiss and crackle
as you seek me out, piecing together
the clues I left for you. It won’t be long now.

This time, though, things will be different.
This time, when you find me, I plan to stay found.

I think it’s a love poem, but it’s full of weird things from science fiction B-movies. A B-movie love poem. How cool is that? I would have said that laser guns and long-lost loves had nothing to do with each other, but Emma’s poetry seems to suggest otherwise. That’s a remarkable brain she’s carrying around in that head of hers.

Emma comes back with her water-darkened hair plastered against her neck. I look up, feeling a little guilty.

‘Where’d you find that?’

‘In the bookshelf.’

She pauses, looking at me, almost frowning. ‘Had a bit of a rummage, did we?’

‘I was looking for comics.’ I sound more apologetic than I mean to, so I clear my throat.

‘It’s fine. Teasing.’ She closes the door behind herself. ‘I was wondering if you’d be here when I got back.’

Stay tuned for further excerpts from Man Bites Dog, or buy a copy from Tomely for only 99c and read the whole thing for yourself.

 

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Posted in man bites dog

Velocipede

[Being an excerpt from the poetry collection Not Quite the Man for the Job, on sale at Tomely for only 99c until 23 June 2014]

Some say it’s unnecessary,
even extravagant.
But to properly experience
every nuance of bike riding,
you need all fifteen gears.

First Gear
(Hill-eater)

Along the Merri Creek
there’s a hill I swear
was created
with first gear in mind.
Only those strong of thigh
and heart
can make it to the top
without dismounting.

Second Gear

almost nothing
a feather on the pedals

Third Gear

I watch the cross-light
shift from amber to red.
My leg muscles tense.
I shift my grip,
release the brakes
and go.

Fourth Gear
(Wind-fighter)

Ten knots if it’s a breeze,
it bites my ears and pulls my hair.
I squint through watery eyes,
ignore the cold and pedal on.

Fifth Gear

a slight drop
for slowing as you
move through the
roundabout

Sixth Gear
(cruising speed)

dodging potholes
and car doors
gone before their
apologies reach my ears

Seventh Gear

Regular oiling of the chain
will allow a smoother, quieter ride,
while ensuring that its fit
to the cogs is as close as possible.

Eighth Gear

Friday morning after bin night,
the sloppy garbage-men
have turned the footpath
into a slalom course.

Ninth Gear

Angle of ascent equals thirty-eight degrees.
Gravitational force equals nine point eight
metres per second per second.
Given that force equals mass by acceleration,
calculate the maximum velocity possible
for a rider weighing seventy-five kilograms.

Tenth Gear

Split the puddle
Neatly in half
Then curse the
Lack of mudguards

Eleventh Gear
(tram racing)

I play chasey with the number 86
all the way along High Street.
It passes me then I pass it
as passengers blankly stare
out of dusty windows.

Twelfth Gear

the only sounds are
my breath and the wind

Thirteenth Gear

The wind behind me
A downward slope
Thirteenth gear
All my weight
On the pedals

How close to escape velocity?

Fourteenth Gear
(seven-league boots)

I straighten my leg and travel five blocks.
Once more and another five.
Ten times my legs have bent and unbent
and I’m on the other side of town.

Fifteenth Gear

Sometimes it’s fun
to choose the path
of most resistance.

***

Some say it’s unnecessary,
Even extravagant,
But every click,
Every tick,
Every ker-chunk of the derailer
means something.

In the art of bike riding,
nothing is wasted.

Read more poems from Not Quite the Man for the Job - buy it now on Tomely for the mere price of 99c!

 

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Posted in writing

Someone’s Stolen Your Dog

[Being the latest in a series of excerpts from my novel, Man Bites Dog, which is currently on sale at Tomely for only 99c until 23 June 2014]

We follow the receptionist out the back, into a cavernous room with a leather-upholstered table in the middle. Between two benches on the right-hand wall is a large metal door.

‘He’s in the freezer,’ says the receptionist, motioning to the metal door.

She puts on a lined parka and opens up the freezer door, pushing down hard on the handle.

‘Did you manage to determine the cause of death?’ asks Gina.

‘Well, we had assumed that it was something he ate.’

‘You haven’t done the autopsy yet, then?’ The receptionist stares at her.

‘The what?’

‘The autopsy.’

She frowns at Gina. It’s partially a frown of confusion, but there’s some indignant something-or-other in there as well. ‘You want a necropsy?’ she asks. ‘I’m sorry, Miss . . .’

‘Reynolds.’

‘Miss Reynolds. I’m afraid that only your aunt herself can request a necropsy. It’s a rather delicate and serious matter, best left to the next of kin.’

‘But I am next of kin,’ Gina says.

‘Well, technically, yes,’ says the receptionist, ‘but you weren’t Gavin’s actual owner, if you see what I mean.’

‘But my aunt asked me to enquire about the possibility. She just wanted to be sure—you know, to be sure that she was right about her suspicions.’

‘Her suspicions?’

Gina clears her throat. ‘She thinks—though I don’t necessarily agree—that her mailman poisoned Gavin—Jeeves—with some chicken or something.’

‘She thinks her mailman killed her dog?’

‘Yes.’

‘But that’s ridiculous!’ I say. ‘Whoever heard of something so patently ludicrous?’ Both Gina and the receptionist stare at me. That same look again. ‘Well, it is pretty dumb, don’t you think?’ I say, sheepishly. ‘A mailman murdering a dog. Stupid. If you ask me.’

‘As I was saying, Miss Reynolds,’ the receptionist ignores me, ‘only your aunt herself can ask me to perform a necropsy. I can understand why she would want such a thing, but there are procedures to follow.’

‘Aunt Abby asked me to ask on her behalf. She doesn’t want to be there for it, but she does want to know for sure if it was the mailman. She’s too traumatised by the loss to come in person. I’m sure you under- stand.’ With this last, Gina goes into her uber-charming mode, only just stopping short of batting her eyelashes.

‘Of course it wasn’t the mailman,’ I say. ‘That’s just stupid.’

‘Steven, can you be quiet, please?’

I shut up.

‘Look,’ says the receptionist. ‘If your aunt calls me tomorrow morning, I can do the necropsy in the afternoon. Tell her that she doesn’t have to be here, but that I do need to speak to her personally.’

Gina nods. ‘Well, okay. I’ll get Aunt Abby to call you tomorrow, but could I still just see Jeeves now?’

‘Certainly. I’ll bring him out.’ She opens the freezer door again and steps inside.

‘Why would the receptionist do the autopsy?’ I whisper.

‘Necropsy. She’s not the receptionist. She’s the vet.’

‘But she was behind the desk,’

‘She’s wearing a white coat.’

‘I can see that. I thought it was just a uniform.’

‘It is. A vet’s uniform.’ Our squabble is interrupted by a cry from the vet.

The two of us bound towards the freezer. The vet is standing beside a stainless-steel trolley. There is no Doberman corpse to be seen. Above the trolley, on the side wall of the freezer, which would be the back wall of the surgery, is a small window, about two metres from the floor. Directly underneath is a pile of shattered glass.

‘I don’t believe it,’ says the vet. ‘Someone’s stolen your dog.’

Stay tuned for further excerpts from Man Bites Dog, or buy a copy from Tomely for only 99c and read the whole thing for yourself.

 

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Posted in man bites dog
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Not Quite the Man for the Job, Adam's award-winning poetry collection, is also only $2!

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Also I Write This Twitter Fiction Thing Called Aramis Fox
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Nothing like seeing your zine pinned to the local market notice board. Essie boo's artwork. (Photo and caption by Essie) Sunset Luthor in orange. Optimus Primal loves to surprise his fellow beast warriors with home made fresh picked lego head crumble.

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