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Saturday, February 16th, 2019
6:54 pm - LPF week 16 - Inkling
Petra fondly remembered a time when the idea of attending the knitting circle didn't fill her with dread. For the tenth time that day, she considered simply not going. After all, what was the point if it wasn't going to be fun? And there again was the problem - it used to be fun, and maybe it could be again. Maybe Naomi wouldn't be there this time. Or, maybe Naomi would be there, but she would look less like a walking corpse and would have abandoned working on her evil blanket.

The Knitizens met every other Thursday at the town library in a conference room where they could chat as much as they liked without disturbing the other patrons. Attendance was quite consistent, with a core membership of regulars that you could expect to see unless someone was ill or the weather was truly horrendous.

Kathy crocheted little stuffed animals, which she sold on the internet. Eliza made mostly mittens, which she donated to the local homeless shelter. Alice also made mostly mittens, which she donated to her grandchildren, who could lose mittens almost faster than she could make them. Jackie and Selene mostly knitted sweaters. Naomi used to make whatever new thing that caught her eye from the books of patterns she was always buying, often abandoning a project in the middle to start something new. However, for the last few months she had committed herself to a single project, and was busy knitting a huge blanket that was so obviously evil that Petra couldn't figure out why no one else had said anything about it.

Petra hadn't said anything about it herself because she was a very quiet person not prone to starting conversations, and even under ordinary circumstances she almost never said anything at a meeting beyond "hello" and "good night." She didn't go to these things to talk - she went to them for a stress-free evening surrounded by people that shared one of her interests. The very thought of confronting Naomi about her sinister project nearly gave Petra a small panic attack.

There was also the problem that if Petra had been going to say something to Naomi, why hadn't she done it sooner? In retrospect, she should have seen that there was a problem long ago, but she had managed to rationalize away all of the signs. Naomi had that sunken look in her eyes because she was tired. Her knitting needles weren't actually sharpened to points, that was just a trick of the light. That wasn't blood on the table. There was some perfectly normal reason why every time Petra looked at the blanket she thought she could smell burning meat and her mouth tasted like ashes. Anything to keep the illusion of her peaceful refuge from the world intact.

Finally, Petra decided to go to the meeting after all and hope for the best. Unfortunately, Naomi was already there, and was already hard at work on the malevolent piece of stitchcraft. She looked worse than ever. Her skin was sort of grayish and looked unwholesomely shiny under the harsh fluorescent lights. Petra opened her mouth to say something, but just couldn't bring herself to do it. She scurried over to an empty chair and tried not to look in Naomi's direction.

Petra had almost managed to lose herself in her own knitting the soothingly normal chit-chat of the group when she started to hear the whispering. She glanced nervously at the blanket, and sure enough, the eerie voices seemed to get louder. Also, that stench of burning meat was back. Petra steeled her nerves.

"So," Petra started hesitantly, "Naomi. You've been working on that blanket of yours for quite a while."

"Why, yes, I have," said Naomi, who sounded delighted that someone was taking an interest. "But it's not a blanket, exactly, my dear. It's a death shroud for the world."

All activity in the room ground to a halt at this pronouncement, except of course for Naomi, who cheerfully continued to add loops to the open edge of the shroud.

"It's what?" said Kathy after a moment of stunned silence. Naomi smiled horribly at her.

"A death shroud for the world!" Naomi repeated. "The symbols I'm stitching into it are from a language that hasn't been spoken in thousands of years, and they sing the praises of Tlaguuyar, That Which Is Interwoven. Tlaguuyar will one day consume all that we know, and I'm hoping to have the shroud ready by then."

No one had an adequate response for this statement.

"Actually," Naomi said, turning to Alice, "I could use some help. Could I have some of your blood? Mine's pretty much run out."

"I can't believe I'm hearing this!" Eliza practically shouted, finally recovered from her shock. "Tlaguuyar, That Which Is Interwoven! I thought this entire circle was dedicated to Hragthiir, That Which Interweaves!"

"Wait, this is a cult?!" said Selene. "I thought this was purely secular knitting!"

"Don't be ridiculous," said Jackie, "all knitting glorifies the Unspooled Ones."

"The what now? It does what?" Alice said, clearly stricken. She suddenly felt ill about all the mittens she'd given to her grandchildren. She turned back to see Naomi still smiling at her expectantly. "No! No, I'm using all of my blood!"

Petra watched in growing misery as the group she'd come to depend on so much disintegrated before her very eyes. She wished she'd just kept quiet and left well enough alone. And really, she should have known better.

This was almost exactly what had happened to her scrapbooking club.

current mood: sinistitched

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Saturday, February 9th, 2019
7:26 pm - LPF week 15 - Periphery
People like to think of the world as having definite boundaries. They want a line that they can see and point to and say "everything on our side of this line is the world." The truth is that the edges aren't fixed in place. It's more like the divide between a beach and the ocean, ebbing and flowing all the time. And yeah, we built a fence pretty far up the beach to mark where you're theoretically safe from high tide, but sometimes there's a storm and that fence gets washed away, and then the beach is covered with seashells and pieces of old shipwrecks and colossal prehistoric squid. Well, metaphorical seashells, shipwrecks, and squid on our metaphorical beach. In reality, we mostly get unicorns.

Oh sure, now and then there's a chimera or a dragon or a giant flying space jellyfish or something, but those don't particularly care for reality, and they tend to go back home on their own. Unicorns, on the other hand, like nothing better than prancing around leaving a trail of flowers and rainbows everywhere they tread. And don't even get me started on the sparkles all over everything.

Unicorns are an incredible nuisance, and it's a huge pain to get rid of them. It would be lot simpler if we could just (brace yourself if you have a pure heart filled with childlike wonder) shoot the wretched things. Alas, that would be a public relations nightmare of legendary proportions. It doesn't matter how destructive a pest they are. It's like, even if pandas weren't endangered, you would catch enormous backlash from the rest of the world for shooting one just because it ravaged your bamboo farm. Same thing.

Also, I gather that hearing their dying scream plunges you into a profound and irreversible despair. But seriously, some days I just want to grab a pair of earplugs and a shotgun and chance it.

All I want is to have a nice lawn. Is that so much to ask? Apparently so, because every time reality recedes a bit and magical fantasy land rushes in to fill the gap I end up with wildflowers in full bloom all over my yard and sparkles all over every damned thing. And I have to rip up all of those weeds by hand, because last time I tried to just cut them all down with the lawnmower it got clogged full of sparkles and died.

I know, I know - it could be worse.

Heck, I heard about one guy who woke up one morning to find his whole front yard was a beanstalk several miles high. And you know that story doesn't end well.

current mood: fantasticurmudgeon

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Saturday, February 2nd, 2019
6:44 pm - LPF week 14 - Firebreak
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current mood: Deciduoussible

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Friday, January 25th, 2019
6:44 pm - LPF Week 13 - Enjoy Every Sandwich
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current mood: oldfangled

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Wednesday, January 16th, 2019
5:03 pm - LPF Week 12 - MacGuffin
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current mood: foolliterative

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Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019
6:21 pm - LPF week 10 - nadir
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current mood: participlankton

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Thursday, November 29th, 2018
2:33 pm - LPF Week 7 - Steadfast
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current mood: verborg

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Sunday, November 25th, 2018
2:58 pm - LPF Break Week - Thank You
I would feel bad if I didn't take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who reads, comments on, and votes for my entries. Your support means a great deal to me, and I'm sorry that I rarely have enough time to respond fully in kind. I do try to read everything every week, and I'm totally voting for things even if there's no corresponding comment! I am invisible stealth supporting, which I realize is not nearly as meaningful as overt supporting.

A big thanks to Gary for running this whole thing, and another thanks for the break week. It was beautifully timed. The previous few weeks have been difficult for me due to some personal stuff, and while trying to write funny things during that time was hard, trying to write pretty much anything this week would have been nigh impossible as I suffered from the Killer Death Plague. I've been hovering on the threshold of death since about Tuesday . Well, that's an exaggeration - I've been far too sick to actually hover, and have mostly been keeled over trying desperately to sleep for more than an hour at a time. I finally improved today, and hope by tomorrow to be at least almost alive.

I was too sick to attend either segment of Thanksgiving - afternoon turkey with my favorite person, or the evening homemade pizza gathering with more extended family. I'm very sad to have missed both of those. For the pizza gathering, it's usually a mix of exotic shapes and/or exotic toppings, depending on the crafter. I am all about the exotic shapes, and I had this crazy plan for making tiny rectangular pizza segments and then hastily assembling them into a sort of pizza gingerbread house before being brought to the table. Maybe next year.

Anyway, thanks again for being such an awesome community, and I hope to be back shortly with the usual variety of dark, whimsical madness that you so kindly encourage me to produce.

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Friday, November 16th, 2018
6:40 pm - LPF week 6 - Not My First Rodeo
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current mood: adjectivous

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Thursday, November 1st, 2018
2:00 pm - LPF Week 4 - Ghosting
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current mood: verbattlement

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Wednesday, October 24th, 2018
12:27 am - LPF week 3 - Tsundoku
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current mood: conjunctious

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Sunday, October 14th, 2018
5:52 am - LPF week 2 - My Mount Rushmore
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current mood: adverbsarial

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Friday, October 5th, 2018
4:23 pm - fiction - LPF week 1 - "It's hard to beat a person who never gives up"
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current mood: nounsensical

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Thursday, January 4th, 2018
2:20 am - Civilization-Ending Weather
Well, this is it. Shortly we will be having a blizzard with below-zero wind chill, followed by wind chill that will feel like -20F. Yes, it's going to feel as cold as the surface of Mars. Delightful.

I commemorated my impending doom by finally assembling that shelf I've had kicking around for a couple of months. When they find my frozen corpse it will be in a room that's SLIGHTLY BETTER ORGANIZED, damn it. I always figured I'd be killed by Cthulhu, and am mildly disappointed that Ithaqua is going to get me first.

Ordinarily this sort of thing would leave me concerned but not alarmed, but things have sucked lately*, so it feels slightly more likely that we'll lose power and fall victim to Ithaqua's horde of twisted cannibals, and so I'm worried about my plants...I mean, I'm not worried that cannibals will eat my plants, but that they'll be killed by the cold if we lose power for an extended period of time. I've had some of them for a looooong time. I'm pretty sure I've had Zeb for over 15 years (Zeb is a stapeliad that I brought home from Colorado in my carry on luggage. I don't ordinarly name my plants, but I bought it from a shop near the base of Pike's Peak, and thought I'd name it after Zebulon Pike.). I think my brain cactus is even older. Plus a bunch of other plants that I just think are cool, but don't have as much personal signifigance. I mean, I remember how sad I was when a bunch of my plants got eaten by some mysterious critters - it will be much worse if I lose my favorites.

* not limited to but including the demise of my computer (farewell, ancient copy of Photoshop. You are irreplaceable, and I'm not signing up for the monthly fee version), the demise of my graphics tablet (I mean, sure, it was almost 20 years old, but it still sucks that it died), the abandonment of almost every single Christmas tradition that I cared about (which contributed to the Most Disappointing Christmas Ever), and...just...pretty much everything lately.

current mood: dismayed

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Tuesday, August 8th, 2017
6:01 pm - fiction - ljidol week 27 - be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you
932 words. Warnings for language and fanciful treatment of childhood trauma.

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Tuesday, August 1st, 2017
7:31 pm - fiction - ljidol week 26 - the goal is zero
1,533 words - the prompt refers to a workplace safety initiative to reduce accidents.

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Tuesday, July 25th, 2017
6:22 pm - fiction - ljidol week 25 - The Waffle House Index
856 words
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Monday, July 17th, 2017
6:07 pm - fiction - ljidol week 24 - toolbox
839 words
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5:15 pm - fiction - ljidol week 24 - canard
1,587 words
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Wednesday, July 5th, 2017
6:35 pm - fiction - ljidol week 23 - backing the wrong horse
755 words
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