Category Archives: Writer

Two Links Tuesday: Elemental Edition

Link One: The Wooden Periodic Table Table

Link Two: The Periodic Table of Science Fiction

Link one has a great overview of all the chemical elements (properties, common applications, etc.), all done in a beautiful bit of woodworking. Yeah, I know, I don’t know why, either! But it is very cool. Check it out.

Link two features a short science fiction story for each of the elements. Sweet!

Warrior Goddess

She thought She’d got us all
was finished

But broken bodies rise
pointing at Her

She tries to move
but they force Her back
make her own Herself

Then She feigns pride
and indifference

But broken fingers
continue to point

Bloody gazes
continue to stare

She screams (tearfully)
Her defiance

Her only answer
is silence

She starts a new war

The old broken bodies
collapse and decay
at the sound of marching boots

The new broken bodies
have not yet arrived

For Her it’s a reprieve
War is peace
when the Warrior Goddess’s
conscience is not yet dead

Winging It

So, I’m just winging it here, there’s this guy. Let’s call him Bob.

Bob’s not anti-social, just shy, thoughtful, nerdy, you know what I’m talking about. Maybe a scientist, or a mechanical engineer. No, wait, I got it: he’s a database administrator. (Actually, his job isn’t really relevant.)

So, anyway, he sees this girl, I don’t know, not at a party (I don’t think he goes to parties very often). Somewhere in public. At the grocery store. Yes.

So, he sees her, she’s trying to buy something, pears, yeah, but doesn’t know how to pick them. Bob prides himself on his mad pear-selection skillz, so he helps her out. They talk a little, joke around, it’s all good. He’s a nerd, but he’s old enough to be able to fake some social skills.

Crap, I forgot to mention: she’s hot. Like, smoking. And smart, witty, fun, smells good, you name it, she got it. I think her name starts with ‘J’, but I can’t remember it right now. I don’t think that really matters to this story, anyway. Total babe, though.

So, yeah, she gets her pears. Bob then epically fails to even ask for her phone number, or to suggest that they should get together, hang out, get married and move to the suburbs. He just smiles and says “See ya!” as she walks away. In all fairness, his brain is so overwhelmed with random synaptic discharges that’s it’s pretty impressive that he can even get that much out without drooling or stuttering. Still, though, Bob. You gotta at least try!

So, anyway, back to the story, Bob goes home and cries himself to sleep.

The End.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

What? I never said it was going to be a happy story!


The little toad, made of stone, would sell his soul to be real. To jump away from this shelf. To be able to hop and catch flies and swim. To find a fine looking lady toad and settle down on a lily pad.

Unfortunately, being made of stone means he has no soul to sell, and no buyers.

So there he sits, motionless, gathering dust, and dreaming.


He woke his family at the usual time, but instead of everyone hurrying to their morning chores he gathered them around him. His wife’s weathered face remained placid, but his nearly-grown son and young daughter were bubbling with excitement. He’d never delayed the morning chores before! Not for anything!

He cleared his throat. “Well, today’s January 1st, 1400. So, the Middle Ages are over. Son, you need to learn to read. And in Italian! No more of this just being an ignorant peasant nonsense for you, or just learning Latin.” His son looked startled, but before he could speak his father continued. “Daughter, I want you move to a town as soon as possible. Try and work for a merchant, or maybe be an artist’s model.” His daughter started to cry.

“None of that, now – there’s a Renaissance on, and we need to start acting like it.”

His patient wife finally spoke up. “Dear, it’s not like these things happen instantly. We can…”

“No, I’ll not have my family stuck in the past. It’s finally 1400, and we can start to change.” He tried to look heroically off into the distance, but since they were still seated around the rough table in the tiny hut, there really wasn’t any distance available to him. That didn’t matter – he’d been waiting for the Renaissance all his life, and by God and all the very best saints they were going to do it right!

Wait, no, make that “by God and all that’s best in humanity”. Whew, despite his enthusiasm, he could see where this would even be tough for him. But it would be worth it – the Middle Ages were no picnic. He was ready for change.

Red and Black

“Do you have any idea how many knights I’ve defeated?” hissed the great red dragon.

“Do you have any idea how many dragons I’ve defeated?” retorted the black knight.

The dragon sniffed. “Probably not that many – you mammals are so short lived. Let’s be realistic – I’m nearing my second millennium, so I’ve no doubt that my record is longer and more distinguished than yours.”

The knight looked grim. “Talk is cheap – victory does not come from boasting, but from deeds!”

The dragon grunted, letting a small wisp of flame out. Knights, especially young knights like this, could be so pompous.

Seeing the fire, the knight lowered his visor, and cried, “May St. George and the Blessed Virgin Mary both guide my hand!”

They both scooted their chairs up to the checkerboard. The dragon rumbled “You’re black – you get the first move.”

Unsure about ADKAR

Recently, the acronym ADKAR came up in some discussions at work around Organizational Change Management. Not knowing anything about ADKAR, I Googled it, and the first result is an overview page:

They list some examples of change management, both personal and professional. One personal example is a father trying to get his son to improve his batting – dad is convinced that his son is not as good at this as the other boys on his baseball team. So dad tries a bunch of things, and can’t get the son interested. The example continues:

The father’s attempt to educate his son failed and resulted only in a frustrated parent. He finally sat down with his son and asked him why he would not watch the tape and use it to improve his batting. His son replied that he just enjoyed playing baseball with his friends, and it did not matter to him if his batting was as good as some of the other boys.

At this point, it feels like that story is headed for some sort of heartwarming moment, where the dad hugs the son and just lets him play the game. Awwww.

Nope. The very next paragraph is:

In this example the father skipped elements of the ADKAR model (from awareness to knowledge). His son had no desire to change and was content just to be out there playing the game. Dad’s efforts to build knowledge failed because his son lacked the desire to change.

Now, I don’t know who wrote this, but that made it really easy for me to picture them as one of those parents that scream at their kids and the Little League coaches during the game, then try to beat up the umpires in the parking lot afterwards.

But wait, there’s more!

Eventually, they have you do an exercise. It begins like this:

Begin by identifying a change you are having difficulty making in another person (a friend, family member or work associate). Complete the worksheets to the best of your ability, rating each area on a scale of 0% to 100%.

Be sure you select a change you have been trying to make happen in a friend, colleague or family member that is not working regardless of your continued efforts. Answer and assign a score for the following questions.

How about identifying a change you are having difficulty making in someone else, then figuring out how you need to change instead?

So, as far as I can tell, ADKAR seems to be change management for manipulative jackasses. This may not be true, I don’t know, but that article was very off-putting for me. Count me out.

Oh, and if you’re still wondering, the acronym stands for “Awareness – Desire – Knowledge – Ability – Reinforcement”.

Three Words

The Brick Elephant ate the whole fig tree in one shot. (Yup, and then he started right in on another one!)

The Stainless Steel Elephant looked disdainful. There’s simply no justification for gluttony like that – it’s undignified. She sniffed over the sad state of youth today. (Maybe she is older than Brick, but he’s fully growed up. Snooty old hag!)

The Plastic Elephant looked impressed. He knew his limitations, and if he tried to eat a whole fig tree at once he’d just be sick. He probably wouldn’t be able to finish it, anyway. (That Brick, though, he doesn’t even think twice about it – there’s not much as slows him down!)

The Flesh-and-Blood Elephant looked determined. She was sweet on Brick, and found her own fig tree and set to, trying to impress her hero. (She kept glancing over at him – you could tell that hussy was hoping he’d notice her. As if!)

The Helium Elephant didn’t look like anything much at all, and floated off, unnoticed. (Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say. And don’t come back round here, neither!)

The Wooden Elephant looked shocked. Shocked! In conflicts between pachyderms and forest, she doesn’t know who to support. (”Can’t we all just get along?” No, we can’t, so shut up already!)

And, finally, the Force-Field Elephant looked thoughtful. He then transformed himself into a fig tree – not so much to change sides as to gain perspective. (He’d change back right quick if Brick headed his way, though – you can bet on that!)

The Brick Elephant, completely oblivious to all this fuss, finished his second fig tree and calmly moved on to the third. (That’s old Brick for you!)


It starts with a sound like steel shattering. Then the low roar of an earthquake, the kind where the ground rises up to slap you in the face.

The next thing you know, you’re engulfed in the chaotic center of Armageddon. Nothing about this is random or undisciplined – this ultimate fury is expressed with military precision. This is fury, yes, but fury practiced, directed, controlled, perfected.

When the screaming, long awaited, finally begins, the anticipation realized does not release your tension, it reignites it. Dreams, fears, expectations, nightmares: reformed, rebuilt, redirected. Remember what it means to fear darkness, beasts, strangers.

Remember your infant fear of loud noises, loud voices – turn, and the fear is gone – but the loud noises, loud voices remain.

These speak to you – the words may not matter, the way words in a dream may not matter. It’s the tone, the texture, the intention interacting with parts of your brain that don’t have language. The broadest emotions – love, hope, joy – all people know them, they can be expressed in any language.

But fear and hunger – all living things know what these are, with or without language.

So this moment touches a generality within you – beyond individual, tribe, nation, people, species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom, domain – it touches life.