If Wishes Were Horses...

Saturday, 30 April 2011


I did say someone would have to make a movie about this, and it looks like it'll have to be me, except that I haven't got the requisite equipment and Hollywood is unlikely to be interested. Undeterred, I shall blog to bring you the masterpiece that is...

On a sunny day, a young woman drives through a leafy suburban street. A cat darts out in front of her but she is unable to stop. Sobbing, she approaches the twitching remains of the cat and calls the police to report the incident. Then she leaves.

A month or so later, an older woman is washing her car late in the afternoon. Startled by a sound and sickened by a noxious stench, she looks beneath her car to seek the source. She screams as she is dragged under, but by the time her neighbours arrive, she is nowhere to be seen. It doesn't occur to anyone to look down.

Plagued by nightmares about the cat she ran over, Cecilia Breakheart wakes up in a cold sweat just as the dawn chorus begins. She looks wildly around, then gets up to wash her face. A sense of foreboding hangs over her.

At breakfast, news of the mutilated body under the car is splashed all over the newspaper her husband is reading at the table. Baffled, he peers around it to tell Cecilia, "Apparently, it was an animal."

A few days after that, the news on television is full of tales of missing people who have turned up partially eaten. A special squad has been called in to investigate.

At a secret government headquarters, a team of top scientists, army personnel and government officials have convened to discuss the matter, convinced that a rogue virus-infected animal is loose. They're busily blaming each other. After a while, Lieutenant Steve Gamble (played by Daniel Craig) slams his manly hands on a table to get attention. "Gentlemen," he says, "whatever it is, it has to be stopped, and all we're doing is blaming each other. I've hunted man-eaters all over the world from the Serengeti to the Gobi desert. I'll sort it out."

Somehow the others agree to this and allow him to take charge of the matter. He is given everything he needs and sets up an incident room, working with the police to make a map of the killings to work out how to find the beast.

The activity appears to be centred in the area around Acacia Avenue, Blingchester. 

Cecilia is increasingly frightened and sees that other people are locking their doors and afraid to go out by themselves. She sees a neighbour pointing at her car, and overhears her saying, "The Beast of Blingchester has struck again. Look at the state of my car!"

On Newsnight later on, Jeremy Paxman is discussing the matter with some MPs and one of the scientists we saw earlier on. "You know what this is," he insists. "This is a government experiment gone wrong."

"No," argues the scientist. 

"The genetically modified animals you were working on have escaped and are attacking British people. How do you explain this?"

"But I wasn't working on cats!" the professor protests. 

"Aha!" crows Paxman. "So it's a cat!"

"We're not quite sure," stutters the scientist, apparently shaken. 

"You were just now," says Paxman. 

Discomfited, Cecilia raises the remote control and changes the channels.

"Hey!" shouts her husband Clive. "I was watching that!"

Cecilia gets up and leaves the room.

Outside, a police incident van and other vehicles approach Cecilia's house. Armed with an assortment of weapons, Steve and his men, dressed in black, exit the vans and begin to set up surveillance equipment. They split up into twos and start searching for signs of the beast. Occasionally, they radio base to report in.

 Busy with his work, Steve acknowledges the reports and checks his Blackberry, which has an App connecting it to the Operation Ailur database. All sensors are working well, and the infra-red video cameras that have been put up are already returning images. Nothing out of the ordinary can be seen. Bats fly about catching moths on one and a local cat stalks a mouse on another. As Steve begins to move back to the incident van, his nose wrinkles when the stench of rotting meat wafts towards him. He says to his partner, "Can you smell something? Like rotten meat?"

Suddenly, there's a bang, a hiss, and one of the squad cars begins to sink. Steve shouts for reinforcements and he and his partner split and go to take a closer look at the car from either side. There's nothing to see. Distracted by an incoming call reporting the finding of another body, Steve heads back to the incident van while his partner lingers. A scream makes him turn around just in time to see his partner being dragged under the car.

Steve calls for reinforcements and runs over to the car. He sees the top of his friend's head and bends down to take a closer look, shining his torch under the car. Twin reflections of pure evil greet him just beyond his friend's twitching body, which is dripping blood. Horrified, Steve backs away and is pursued by the beast. Just in time, reinforcements arrive and the beast flees.

In her bedroom, unaware of the events taking place nearby, Cecilia prepares for bed. Faint sounds of men shouting make her turn around, her mouth full of toothpaste. She spits it out, then is startled by the sight of a pair of glowing eyes just outside her window. Fascinated, she pauses and stares back.

The beast crashes in, now swollen and huge, the size of a bear.

Cecilia screams and her husband comes running.

Startled by the screams and the shouts of approaching men, the beast flees back into the night.

"Darling, are you all right?" asks her husband.

"I've... seen that thing before," she says, "but I don't know where. I just know I have."

"What is it?"

"I don't know."

Cecilia collapses crying into her husband's arms.

Outside, the team is chasing the beast. Steve raises his weapon to fire on it, and although he hits it, the beast shows no sign of being injured. They shoot it repeatedly, but it keeps on going and breaks through the line of men surrounding it. They chase the beast, which runs down the street to an abandoned old building. Inside are the bones of some of its victims. They follow the beast to its lair and it turns on them, hissing, spitting and lashing out. Shooting repeatedly doesn't deter it and it kills three of his men, forcing Steve to withdraw and consider his options.

A call from HQ results in a plan to send a tank in, and helicopters have already begun to hover overhead.  From the chamber where the beast lies, Steve can hear the sounds of it moving.

Suddenly, the beast breaks out, surging past the cordon to the source of the sound. The approaching helicopter shines a light down to pick out the shape of the beast in the dark. Unexpectedly, the beast begins to paw at the dot cast by the light, trying to catch it.

"It's chasing the light like a cat," calls one of Steve's men.

"Follow it," shouts Steve, then pushes the button on his walkie-talkie. "It's acting like a cat, chasing the light," he tells the chopper pilot. "Lead it to the industrial park. I've got an idea."

The beast chases the light, frolicking and trying to catch it, followed by the men who have stopped trying to shoot it.

"Is it ready?" asks Steve.

"Roger that," confirms the voice of a colleague.

The helicopter leads the beast on a merry chase through the streets of Blingchester, watched by bemused residents from the windows of their houses. Some of them point cameras at the scene and speak of putting it on YouTube.

Finally, they arrive at the destination and the beast follows the light inside. It halts for a moment, confused, when the light is no longer there. It looks up, and for a moment it resembles the house cat it once was.

Outside, Steve shouts an order and the men withdraw. The building explodes. Flames leap high into the sky and everyone is bathed in an orangey glow for a while.

The following day, scientists pick through the debris and begin to examine the beast's body.

"As I suspected," says the scientist who was on Newsnight, "it's a common house cat, but grown to an emormous size."

"What caused it to mutate like that?" asks Steve.

"I don't know," says the scientist, an eager expression on his face, "but I can't wait to find out."

Cue ominous music.

The End.

Or is it?


This is one of those things that are off the telly and shouldn't actually work in real life because it's that flippin' weird. I mean, seriously, it's controversial and has apparently been proved to be utter nonsense on many occasions. On that basis, it can't be actually real, right? Uh, no. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...


What cats look like to Caroline.
This friend of mine -- let's call her Caroline, came to my house one day, and to be polite, I offered her a cup of tea. My favourite mug, the one with the kitten, I kept for myself, but when she saw me approach with it, she said, "That's not for me, is it?"

"No," I replied, and gave her the one with the comedy dinosaur. "Why?"

"Try not to laugh," said Caroline, "but I'm terrified of cats."

"That's not quite as weird as the woman who is terrified of Daleks," I reassured her. "Do you know why?"

She couldn't tell me. The first significant memory she has of freaking out at the sight of a cat was when she was on holiday and felt. Something. Strange. She looked beneath her deck chair. A cat! She screamed and ran back to her hotel room. Seriously. The weirdest thing for her was that she had always liked kitties before. It's just that something she could not explain had made her fear them so much she couldn't bear to be in the same room as one.

The theory

Naturally I thought there was probably a rational explanation such as weather balloons or counter-currents to explain this but gentle probing revealed nothing. Caroline had no idea why she was absolutely crap-your-knickers terrified of cats. Apparently it's better these days: she can bear to sit three feet away from a mug with a picture of a sleeping kitten printed on it. That's when I suggested that a repressed memory might be the cause of a fear that she couldn't explain.

We discussed it a few times with no light being shed on the subject and the more she told me, the more I was convinced that she was repressing something -- based on stuff I half-remembered from television shows. One episode of Law and Order or CSI Something-or-other (one without that prat who takes his shades off dramatically. I think it was the one with Jerry Orbach. You know, the dad from Dirty Dancing. Him.) came to mind, to wit, the one where some girlie shot and killed her own father because some deranged counselor told her he'd abused her and other members of her family (although he had done no such thing) and she had repressed the memories because it was all so vile and puke-worthy. It reminded me to not put ideas into Caroline's head and insist I was right, but to let her find out by herself by looking over the past few years and coming to her own conclusions.

The twist in the tail tale

I thought nothing of it for a while, and a few times when she came to my house again I hardly mentioned it. Then one day she came to see me and was excited to tell me that she'd worked out why she was so scared of cats that if you gave her a mug with a cat printed on it, she'd get all queasy and refuse to drink from it. Naturally, I was curious and eager to hear her story.

Caroline told me she had told her family and friends that I'd said she was probably suppressing a memory and one of them sat her down to tell her why I was right.

It seems that, a few years ago when Caroline was driving along a street near where she lived, a cat ran out in front of her and she couldn't brake in time. A considerate and law-abiding person, she stopped and went to check on the animal. It was twitching in its death throes and there was nothing she could do. She called the police to report the incident and went on her way. Then she blocked it so completely that she never even thought of it again. When her nephew confirmed this, memories of that day floated back and now she has full technicolour recall of the incident.

Confounded, I could think of nothing to say for a while, then I confessed that I was guessing about the whole suppressed memory thing and didn't actually take it seriously.

"But why am I afraid of them?" she asked, evidently seeing me as a fountain of knowledge.

"Guilt, I suppose," I replied, as the fountain of lucky guesses and half-remembered snippets of television programmes. "I suppose you're half expecting the Vengeful Cat From Beyond The Grave to appear one night and claim your soul or something."

She didn't think that was funny but conceded that I had a point.

Deep down, I think it would be rather cool if a Giant Zombie Cat came back from the grave to avenge its bretheren. Someone has got to make a film about that. But don't tell Caroline.

* Aw come on, it sounds better than Ailurophobia, doesn't it? No? But it's easier to say!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A Whole Nother

What the heck does that mean? It's not in any dictionary I've seen and many people I know say it. Stop that right now! You're confusing the foreigners. And me. I keep thinking I'm a foreigner and have been only imagining that I live in a predominantly English-speaking country. End rant.

Designing the blog

I just had to go clicking on links to see what would happen if I did. I've discovered that there is a bewildering array of fonts to use on our blogs. I toyed with the idea of using one of the squiggly fonts for the page text, then thought better of it. Trying to read a whole post in cursive gave me a headache. I've changed the colours of the links. One thing at a time. Okay, two. Who's counting?

First post

Here it is: numero uno.

Dang! What am I going to write, and how the hell am I going to explain the Anglo-American slang? 

(Don't) mind my slanguage

It's a result of watching TV and looking at stuff on the internet. I love the icanhascheeseburger site and all that stuff, and like to post on forums under a variety of pennames.

A bit about me

What else? I like all kinds of horror, sci-fi and fantasy books and movies, and am a bit fickle with celebrity crushes. More on that later. 

Oh, and I draw pictures like this: 

Which, I must admit, make me look like a Frankenstein zombie that really hopes you like her (before she eats your brains). Yes, that's a self-portrait and yes, it is eerily accurate, particularly when I first get up in the mornings and before I've had my coffee.

I've downloaded GIMP, and am working to provide you all with better pictures. Paint doesn't have the convolve button. That's how I make them look smooth.

I've noticed that there are different kinds of picture  files. .PNG pics come out better than .JPG pics. This one would look terrible even if I did make it smoother. Should I bother?


I'm having fun with tutorials, learning all about animation. Let's see what I can do with Zombie-Franken-me.

Dear me, that is disturbing. I've discovered all kinds of crazy features on GIMP, including Render/Line Nova, which I've used here. And fonts. Mad, crazy fonts in different shapes and sizes. I'll have more fun with them later. The Nom! font is Liquidism. I love it!

Now I need to get better at drawing online. I think I'll stick with GIMP. I can do much more with that than with Paint.

Here endeth the first post.

On blogging and the creation thereof

So I decided to start a new blog, the idea being to chronicle my assorted ramblings, which some people have told me are funny.


Okay, so I went trawling through the internet (read Google; I'm too lazy to use other search engines) to find some pictures to use, inspiration for my pen name and stuff to write about. Do you know that Google does the weirdest things when you're looking for images that are labeled for commercial reuse with modification? That's what you do to get pictures you can use on blogs and whatnot without getting into trouble for copyright violations. We'll get to how I discovered that later. The point is... well, there are several, actually:

1. You are less likely to find what you are looking for if you take the noble, honest (and free) route, i.e. search by "licensed for commercial reuse with modification"

2. You will find all sorts of weird stuff... well, stuff that's not necessarily weird but simply doesn't belong in those search results. Try working your way through Images/women/labeled for commercial reuse with modification and you'll get pictures of a city street, an old black and white picture of men playing soccer, pictures of women, Uncle Sam, a picture of an old building (it's a hospital), pictures of women, Daniel Craig as James Bond, some dude preaching or giving a lecture, pictures of women, Aussie former PM John Howard, a balding dude with a mic, a temple of some kind, two naked fairies that appear to be about to do a green dragon (see for yourselves!), a bowl of noodles...

3. You will think, 'Bugger that, I'll do something else.' So I did.

The Blog Begins

Then I went trawling through dictionaries and thesauruses to find a good name for my blog. It was going to be "Cal's Chronicles" (based on my old C.B. handle from back in the day. Guess how old I am!) but that's lame, so I had a bit of a chunter to myself and the title just came to me.  Then, because I couldn't find a suitable picture on t'internet I made my own.

Okay, I cheated, but only a bit. I mean, you can hardly tell, can you? It's late, so I'll write the first post tomorrow.