21 July, 2012

What People Are Googling

... before clicking on CloverQuips.com





Chris Redfield is tired of your bullshit!!!!!

20 July, 2012

Dealing with Loss


Loss is different for everybody.

Some cry; some get angry; some get lethargic.

I’ve never in my life been the type of person who has ever forced myself to deal with loss.

I distance myself from things so I don’t get hurt. I realize this is messed up.

In those special instances where I get attached and something is lost, I put a magnifying glass on myself to try to figure out why I'm so bad at feeling emotions.

I have a large family. I have lots of older people in it. A lot of them have died.

Grandparents, family members, pets, friends.

I suppose this is a typical life, and nothing out of the ordinary.

When the first real relationship I had ended, I sat with my back to my bedroom door and I cried for maybe 4 minutes. After that I told myself that was all I was going to do.

My next serious relationship lasted a little longer, I was a little more sad when it ended. I cried in the midst of my roommates for a few minutes and then I told myself it hard to stop.

My last relationship was 4 times the length, and 4 times more invested. 4 years, 3 cities on my end, 3 on his end. There was planning there. Future plans. When it ended I cried a few times (it ended a few times too). I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of loss. I felt like I would never find anyone who would be able to love me. I thought that I would never be happy again. I thought that I should have tried harder, did more, fucked up less.

This notion is ridiculous, and I'm aware of this. But loss controls your brain more than we let on. We become depressed when otherwise happy and stable in our lives. We think that we’re not good enough, we think something we did caused it, or karma took a dive that day.

The truth is there is really nothing we can do. People die. They leave us. We leave situations. We break apart with people. Loss is an unfortunate part of being human, and being alive. People die. Pets die. Everyone seems blissfully ignorant until something happens and then we get angry. We take for granted others, the time spent with people, places, things, and sometimes our own lives because we just expect them to be the same when we woke up as they were when we went to bed. This is not an okay way to think.
My dog died two days ago. When I found out I laughed in shock. Then I sat in my room trying to control one of the only real emotions we have, the sense of loss. Tears streamed down my face but I didn’t cry. I wanted to be able to control the situation. I wanted desperately to find control in something I was never meant to.

Guilt has no place in loss. Guilt clouds your mind and makes you rethink every happy memory you had and replaces them with “I wish”-es, or “I should have”s. It’s easy to tell people to think of the happy memories but it’s harder to actually do it.

Processing loss is hard. Realizing the reality of the situation is the hardest. Things changed. They will no longer be the same. Things can’t go on like they used to because they can’t. That is something you can’t control. The only thing you can control is how you deal with it. Because you can’t control how you feel about it.

You can never control feelings. You can’t pick who you are attracted to, why or how it happened. You can’t decide when to stop being sad over a death or loss. You can’t dictate the amount of pain you will feel or the depression that may follow. This is truly a mystery.

Things get better they say. I used to tell people that. Today you wake up and that’s all you think about until you fall asleep again. But one day you’ll wake up and maybe you’ll have a moment where you didn’t think about it. Then a few days, weeks, months later there will be a time where you think about it a little less. Pretty soon there will be a day where you won’t feel as bad. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow or next week, but it will come.

It won’t feel like it will. It will feel like this is it, this is the last feeling you will have, and you won’t be able to recover from it but you can and you will. Every day you need to choose how you act, and chose how you deal with your own life. Will you try to smile today? Will today be the day where you look back on a fond memory and not a sad one? If it’s not today, then it will be some day.

15 July, 2012

Best Short Story - I need your help!

Hi kids.

I've decided to stop being a loser and actually attempt my dream of submitting some of my short stories to a literary agent. I have a few Toronto-born agencies (If you have suggestions please let me know), and would love some opinions of which stories people like the best.

Genres I am known for:
Creepy, thriller, horror, suspense, twists, supernatural, superpowers, abilities, normal people in extraordinary situations

Here are the list of the ones I have up on my blog. Please comment below, message me on Twitter, or contact me on Facebook to let me know your favourite. I'm also open to suggestions on new things to write.


03 July, 2012

Now That's What I Call A Close Encounter

Close encounter with the Will Smith kind.

"welcome to earth!" haha

11 June, 2012

Baby Tips for N00bs

Did you have a baby or someone you know have one? Read these baby tips. *Warning: hilarious*
funny-baby-dos-and-donts
funny-baby-dos-and-donts
http://themetapicture.com/baby-dos-and-donts/

08 June, 2012

Hair Modelling





This is me doing some hair modelling. You can check out my site (www.cloverquips.com) or add me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amanda_lei @Amanda_Lei


21 May, 2012

#Chicago - Canadian in the City: Photos!

Take a look at the album of photos from my trip to Chicago!


Chicago - May 2012


Canadian in Chicago - Beer, Food and Fun

Chicago Itinerary

Tuesday May 15th

  • Flew out of Toronto around 8pm, witnessed a lightning storm across Michigan lake by Chicago in the plane, was incredible
  • Seemless customs and baggage pickup, waited for Steve at the pickup at Midway Airport, he pulled up in a bright red Jeep. He got out and this huge smile was on his face and it really prefaced the whole trip.
  • We went directly to Bob's new bar in Chicago (The Beer Bistro) where we met Joey (Steve's friend) and we sat and drank for a long time



Wednesday May 16th

  • Got up about 8am to get ready for our Chicago tourist stuff. NATO was going on so a lot of it would be closed end of week
  • Went to Jelly, a pancake house for breakfast. Homemade jams!
  • Got to Shedd Aquarium about 10:30am and parked right away and there was almost no line. The NATO thing really worked to our benefit since it appears that nobody wanted to come into the city because of it, less traffic for us!
  • Took a cab to Millennium park and walked around the area. Gorgeous greenery and fountains, the bean thing, was a really amazing area
  • Went grocery shopping afterwards and there was a whole liquor store in it! Got beer, sushi, bacon-wrapped chicken, chips, pop, candy and a whole bunch of stuff and got ready to grill and have people over
  • We were starving so we ate the sushi as soon as we got back home, even though Steve wanted to order a Chicago style deep dish pizza for dinner, we ate almost all the sushi still
  • Watched Bridesmaids and some other funny things, people started to arrive and we drank and ate pizza
  • Steve's friend brought his baby pitbull over, she was only a little baby but already was ripped like she was on juice. So strong but so cute

Thursday May 17th

  • Woke up early and headed to the Skydeck. We drove by the L-Train they used in Batman and the Chicago Stock Exchange. The buildings were amazing
  • Got to Skydeck and gingerly stepped on the glass floor. Was terrifying and I think I learned I'm afraid of heights
  • Went to Kuma's Corner, a metal burger bar. They don't have traditional burgers, everything has a lot of weird stuff on it like fried egg or other random things. All the burgers were named after rock or metal bands, I had the Led Zeppelin,  pulled pork on top of a huge patty. Steve had the Black Sabbath, you can check out the place and the menu here:  http://www.kumascorner.com/about
  • We were pretty early for the Cubs game so we stopped at the Cubbyhole which is a Cubs bar across from Wrigley field where we met some really cool guys from the area and we exchanged shots and drinks
  • Headed to the cubs game, was a beautiful place! As soon as the sun went down it got a little chilly so Steve grabbed us Cubs sweaters (so nice of him!)
  • Headed back to Bob's after the game (he was the one who gave us the tickets) and had sliders, mac and cheese and tons of craft beer

Friday May 18th

  • We decided today was our relax day, after being outside and walking around all day we were exhausted. We hooked up the Nintendo 64 and played some Goldeneye and Mario Kart. Steve also let me use his pink controller and I played Call of Duty. I killed Steve once. That is all I needed to do to feel like I was getting better.
  • Friends started to arrive later on, We grilled and had beer. I had brought Ketchup chips from Canada since they don't have them, and the bag got passed around. I don't think anyone liked them but they were a huge conversation starter
  • Steve took his 4 wheeler out and did some zooming around, kickball and they played a bit of baseball before they broke the ball they were using
  • Everyone at this point is calling me Canada, Canadian, Canadia, or Camanda

Saturday May 19th

  • Woke up super early to head to Six Flags amusement park! The day was about 95 degrees F which is sweltering hot. I was literally having hot flashes the second we got out of the car. I didn't bring shorts so I hated myself
  • We got the Flash pass, so we bypassed every single 2 hour line up, plus we were allowed to ride the rides twice in a row. Telling people in line we're going again was hilarious but awkward.
  • All the roller coasters were insane, corkscrews, loops, backwards loops, upside down, etc.
  • Had lunch at the park and headed home after riding Superman twice in a row (I was super dizzy but pushed onward!)
  • Went to a little hole in the wall bar where they are still allowed to smoke. Met Richie and his lady Jess, and met up with the rest of the guys and gals
  • Headed to Blue 82 where we caused a huge ruckus. They knew the manager so we got a table reserved, but our tables were so loud and drunk, the bouncer eyed us all night. Steve had said he wanted to say something to us but couldn't since our bill was massive
  • We ordered between 7-12 rounds of shots plus beers, everyone was drunk and laughing at everything
  • The guys gave Richie a wedgie so epic, they pulled his boxers out from his pants and the elastic of the boxers came off. The guys were wearing it around their head like Rambo and slapping each other. Really was hilarious
  • My last night in Chicago :(

Sunday May 20th

  • Met everyone at Buffalo wing place for beers and wings before I had to go
  • Witnessed an older lady come out of the bathroom with probably 6 squares of toilet paper out of her pants like a tail. We killed ourselves laughing, how does that even happen?!
  • Steve dropped me off at the airport where the reality I was leaving had just sunk in. I really was devastated and pretty upset over it to be honest. I felt really sad sitting on the plane, and due to bad weather (another lightning storm!) we sat on the plane for another hour before we were allowed to take off.
  • Got back home around midnight
  • Even though I was glad to be back, but still really sad I was gone. Was the best trip of my life and everyone in Chicago was so friendly and amazing, Steve was the perfect host and gentleman, and he made the experience 100% better than it could have been without him

24 April, 2012

Things I Find in my Room - April 24 2012

Iron man. I think I live Iron Man most of all because Tony Stark is bad ass. And any Tony Stark played by Robert Downey Jr. Is alright in my books.

Introducing: Things I Find in my Room

The impossibly simple point of this post to to introduce a new series of things called "Things I Find in my Room" where I will post photos and maybe an explanation of things I randomly find in my room. Stay tuned for my first post soon!

14 April, 2012

Conversation with a Guy Friend

Just now I texted a friend and told him that I think I'm getting sick, and my throat was closing and my head hurt.

Before I share the conversation let me preface this post with the fact that women don't complain because they want men to solve their problems.

-We are good enough at solving our own problems, thank you very much. We however, would just like the sympathy and understanding that, yes, you agree that was a bitchy thing for Susan to say to you, or being sick sucks, or every guy is stupid.



Me: I'm getting sick, either that or I'm tired and have a headache.

Friend: Are you looking for a solution or support?

Me: I just want to complain. As a woman  I don't want you to fix my problems, I just want you to sympathize.

Friend: So support. There there Amanda, everything will be ok

Me: Not convincing enough

Friend:  Amanda, I don't know how to tell you this, but you're dying.

Me: I hate you

Friend: I'm pretty sure you're lying

Me: I'm making a blog about this

The Great Hair Debate



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09 April, 2012

Happiness

You know that thing that makes you smile?

When you’re not even thinking about it.

It creeps up on you and when it smashes you over the head, you come to a startling realization that this is your life.

You are living your life and this little thing, this person or this memory or this place, it makes you remember why you are here.

It makes you fall in love, and laugh and cry and feel things.

You feel everything all at once and you don’t hold back because why would you?

It’s the power of something so small, and it moves your whole body and thrums through your mind even when you are not awake.

It enriches your experiences and molds your way of thinking until you have a burst of joy that seems to last for miles. But that’s always how you feel.

You get torn down, ripped apart by others trying to hold you back, clawing at you to stay beneath the reach of happiness.

They have no regard for you or your feelings and sometimes it’s overwhelming. Sometimes it’s too much and all you want to do is give in and let them scrape you back down into the hole they came from.
You’ve been through so much, and nobody will ever experience it like you will. Nobody will ever know how you felt.

You didn’t give up.

You kicked and screamed your way from the grip of those wanting to hold you down and you broke out – free – and you climbed.

It’s getting better. It’s always getting better and the days that may not seem as such are days where it takes more effort to say NO! Say no to being pulled under and have your life taken out of your hands, lived by others.

But that’s not your life. Not today.

That feeling of happiness? That one that keeps you awake, that catches you smiling from the corners of your mouth stretching until the last thing on your mind is how other people view you.

The small instance, a memory, a person or thought that enters fleetingly, like a flicker of a candle, is enough to make you want to continue. To see more of it.

That’s what you get out of bed for. That’s what makes all this worth it. Don’t stop now.

Never stop.

20 March, 2012

The Jar - A Short Story

Kiplin found a jar on May 14th. It was a pretty ordinary jar; a glass exterior with a metal bottle cap-like lid on the top. At first glance it looked like a stopped wine decanter, shaped in a delicate figure with an elongated spout at the top. The glass was pitted in some places, but otherwise in good shape for being found cast off the side of the highway and living in the wooded area beneath it.
She remembers the day she found it because it was her birthday; a day in which she woke up excited and quickly realized this day would be no different than any other. Kiplin started her day hopefully optimistic until she got to the kitchen and noticed the scrawled note boasting: “Happy birthday! Had to go in work a double shift, see you tomorrow.” Disappointment reined over her as she realized her mom would not be home for her birthday. She got ready and boarded the school bus at the end of the road, avoiding the other kids waiting, and arriving with enough time to get to her first class. She’d only been at the school for a little over a month, missing the first few weeks of class due to a small registration error, but effectively missing the crucial grade 9 social bonding that comes with a new high school.  Because of this she was having a hard time making friends and penetrating the groups of cliques that had inherently formed during the time she missed.
To the disappointing shock of no one, Kiplin spent the day being routinely invisible; students leaning over her to speak to someone in the next desk, and the afternoon not improving by being told “someone is sitting here” when she asked if she could join a table in the cafeteria at lunch. She overheard a few students talking about a birthday by her locker, and when she happily exclaimed it was her own birthday the kids barely looked her way and one muttered “so what?” By last period it had started raining, crackling lightning and claps of thunder rolling in the distance, lighting the classroom up with each bolt. The bell rang and Kiplin made her way to the bus line when a horrifying image popped into her head: her backpack lying on the floor under her desk, holding her house keys, wallet, phone and all her school work. With her mother working the night shift she would have no way to get inside the house, or get her mom’s work number – she had to go back.
She sprinted back down the pavement and up the stairs to the school, heaving the thick wooden door open and blasted through the halls. Adrenaline coursed through her body as she descended the multiple stairwells to get to the science lab and finally burst through the door, eyes frantically searching identical rows of seats. Her backpack was put on top of the lab bench; she grabbed it in a fell swoop with her right hand and took off back out the door and down the hall. Her lungs were on fire as she sucked air in, fueling her heart as she raced up the stairs and shoved the main door open just as her school bus was pulling out.
She yelled – hopelessly - waving her arms trying to signal the speeding bus, the backsplash from the tires hitting her like a bucket of water as the bus sped off unaware. Thunder rumbled above her, lightning striking the air like a firework then vanishing back into the darkness like someone pulled a plug in the sky. Kiplin stood in the middle of the sidewalk on the near deserted street, rain beating down on her and rolling in large drops down her flushed skin as it dripped down her neck into the collar of her jacket.
The walk home was long. It was almost an hour before she got to the highway leading to her house; it had stopped raining just as she reached the bridge over the ravine leading into the woods. The faint colours of a rainbow made in the mist showed on the horizon, the taste of grasses and wet earth carried through the air as Kiplin stopped on the bridge and leaned over. Garbage littered the edge of the ravine running under her feet, strewn from cars concerned with making appointments on time. She watched as a duck swam with its mate casually throug the floating soda cans – and then something caught her eye. A glimmer flickered on the edge of the bank below, creating a solar flare blinding her for a split second enough to shield her eyes. “Whoah,” she exclaimed, suddenly curious.
She walked to the end of the bridge and made her way slowly down the wet bank, feet sliding a few times as mud kicked up her leg and over her shoes. By the time Kiplin reached the creek bed, her shoes were half sunk in the soft mud and she lost sight of the object. She slowly moved down the bank, shoes softly sucking as she took each step, as she caught a glimpse of the object again. It was a larger object half buried in the mud, about the size of her forearm with a curved top. Her eyes fixated on the object as she got close enough to pick it up. She used her hands to scoop the mud away from the sides, freeing the object and carefully plucking it from the ground.
It reminded her of some kind of vase as she turned it over in her hands and feeling the small cap with her fingers. She couldn’t tell if it was empty due to the mud so she learned backwards and dunked it into the river, scattering the ducks who then quacked loudly at her. After a few splashes and rubbing the muck off with her palm, she noticed the glass was black, or cloudy. She scrunched her eyebrows as she slowly tilted the jar, and it appeared as though the inside shifted, like it was filled with fog. “Is there something in here?” She questioned to herself.
She clutched the jar to her chest as she walked along the gravel road, leading to her house. Her hands started to get warm, like she was holding a dish that just came out of the microwave; she held the glass out at arm’s length to examine it, muttering explanations to herself as she turned up her driveway. Once inside, she grabbed a glass of water, put the jar on the dresser in her room, and turned on the TV; the glass casting shadows from the sheen of the television. Throughout the night she thought she saw movement coming from within the glass through her peripheral vision, but whenever she glanced over it would appear opaque once more.
Kiplin walked over the jar, relaxed as she picked it up to study it. She noticed the cap again and her fingers were drawn to it, tracing the grooves on the metal cap. She lightly twisted it, feeling the resistance with what was probably rust and mud from the stream. She turned the cap harder, dried dirt fell lightly onto the table below as she unscrewed it, finally removing it. She peered into the thin opening, and tilted the glass to get a better visual when she felt the weight shift inside. Startled, she glanced behind her for something to catch whatever was inside. She placed her cup on the table and grasped the glass with both hands, gently tipping the object so the elegant spout was directly over top of the cup. She felt movement inside and held the glass over the cup for a few seconds before gradually a sort of smoke escaped the decanter spout and gracefully swirled into the cup, like she was pouring clouds. The fog seemed to pour like liquid - only weighed nothing – and filled the cup to the top. She set the container down and picked up the cup, examining the contents swirling inside but taking up no weight, like it was a ghost.
She dipped a finger in it – it was cool like mist – and inspected it; her finger was shiny like she touched oil. Without thinking she brought the cup to her mouth and gingerly sipped it; it smelled like dew and had the texture of air with no taste. She set the cup back down, fastened the cap and sat by down to watch TV, not giving the glass another thought. An hour or two later Kiplin was ready for bed; she remembered her day and suddenly pitied herself. She turned off the lights and crawled under her duvet, not looking forward to another day. “I wish my life were different,” she muttered, a faint glow came from the jar – swirling fog – as Kiplin closed her eyes, too tired to notice.
Something was different. Before she even opened her eyes Kiplin knew something was different. She sat up and surveyed the room, kicking off her sheets and then climbing out of bed. The smell of waffles, hot butter and syrup filled the room as the sound of pans and clinking glasses could be heard from the kitchen. Cautiously Kiplin threw on some jeans and a shirt and walked by the glass jar on her table, too distracted by the waffles to notice it was void of the fog inside and was now a clean transparent glass.
“Hey babe,” her mother was whipping up more cake batter, fluffy pancakes and waffles lay on a plate on the table beside a vase of flowers, “happy birthday!” She put the wooden spoon down inside the bowl and grasped Kiplins face in her hand and kissed her cheek. She smiled as she picked up the spoon and started stirring the mixture again, humming to herself.
“Mom,” Kiplin started, in disbelief as her mother was never home from work until after she left for school, “why aren’t you working the night shift?”
Her mother smiled and started pouring the batter into the frying pan. “What night shift kid? I always leave after breakfast! I wouldn’t go in early and miss seeing you on your birthday.”
Confused, Kiplin sat in the closest chair at the table, “Mom my birthday was yesterday, you left me a note saying you had to work early.”
“What!?” Her mom stopped pouring the batter and rushed to the calendar on the wall, wiping her hands on her apron as she inspected the dates. Her face fell into a relieved smile, “Oh my god, you scared me kiddo. May 14th, ya ya, Wednesday, because I have that investor meeting today.” She clicked her tongue and went back to the bowl, rolling her eyes, “you are such a joker.”
Kiplin’s head swirled as she grabbed her backpack after breakfast and walked down the road to the bus. A few of the local kids were milling around at the stop and turned to watch Kiplin as she took her usual place a few feet behind everyone else. “Hey Kip, happy birthday!” One of them casually waved, as the others nodded in agreement, nonchalantly waiting for a response.
“Hey… thanks.” Surprised, she tried not to look as shocked as she felt, as the bus pulled up and the kids piled inside.
“Kip! Over here!” One of the popular boys at the high school was waving her to the back of the bus where all the cool kids normally sat. She glanced around and headed skeptically over to him. He patted the empty space beside him and smiled as she sat down slowly. “Are you looking forward to your birthday party later? Valerie reserved 15 spots, although it may be a few more if the twins show up. You know how they can be.” The boy carried on, rambling about the party until the bus pulled up outside the school where they got off, random students calling out happy birthday as she walked by.
Her head was swimming, as she followed the boy almost in a daze, turning her head when teachers and students wished her a happy birthday as they passed her in the hall. “Ok well here’s your class, meet me here when the bell rings?” He leaned over and kissed her softly, face going red as he smiled and turned back down the hall. Bewildered, Kiplin spent the rest of the day like she was in someone else’s life; people knew her, they liked her, and she had a boyfriend and a birthday party.
After school she came back home and ran up to her room. She slowly walked to her mirror and stared at herself; the same curly red hair, freckles and blue eyes. She pulled her hands up to her face and felt her eyebrows, nose, and lips until she was convinced they were the same as they were yesterday. She patted down her body and could see no noticeable changes. A car honk sounded as Kiplin was getting ready for her party. She bounced down the stairs, oblivious to the fact that the glass jar was missing entirely now, and ran outside to meet the crew who pulled up in a shiny red Mustang. She took a deep breath and opened the car door, smiling. She had no idea what was happening, but she was going to enjoy this as long as it was.
The car sped off down the road, over the bridge and towards Kiplin’s birthday party. Nobody noticed the man standing below the bridge in the creek, burying an opaque black jar with an elongated neck into the mud.


17 March, 2012

Baron - A Short Story

Everybody in the town of Kass knew about the Gatto house; a nickname given to the old man who apparently lived there. Gatto was somewhat of an enthusiast when it came to animals. He was a bit of a recluse; his sightings few to begin with – nobody getting a good enough look at him to remember what he looked like - but they got dramatically less frequent until a few years ago when they just stopped. Parents generally had a hard time teaching their kids to avoid the house when walking home from school on account of the wild animals living on the property seemingly alone. In 2004 the mall in Kass experienced their first zebra, when it jumped the Gatto fence and took a stroll through the parking lot.

Kass is a smaller town and inside lived a smaller community where residents generally spent their whole lives. Steve was born in Kass (like most others) and spent the majority of his time trying to escape it. His parents expected him to take over his grandfather’s automotive shop when he died, and guilt was often a force used to sway Steve to come back from whatever breakout attempt he planned. Trips to Belize, Japan, and Spain were met with voicemails about how the business couldn’t survive without him, and when Steve’s parents passed away a few years after his grandfather, he decided to put his dreams on a permanent hiatus.

Steve lived on his own most of his 20’s and resided in his grandfather’s old farmhouse on the edge of the town, where there boarded an expansive forest. His grandfather was an avid large game hunter, and spent the last retired years of his life in the woods with his .30-06 Springfield. Growing up his grandfather taught him about hunting, how to handle a gun, and all types of animals. Because of this, Steve was called on several times to shoot a roaming cougar or put down an animal that had gotten out of hand from Gatto’s preserve.

It was a typical Friday evening in Kass; a hot and muggy sundown with the absence of the cool night breeze making the air around him stagnant and dry– he choked on it as he was locking up the store door. “I need to get the hell out of here,” he always thought to himself. He turned from the large wooden door and shoved his heavy key ring into his old jacket, and headed down the dark road towards his farmhouse. He walked briskly; killing the 20 minute walk by thinking of all the TV shows that were on that night when suddenly his head whipped around, eyes narrowed and ears honed in on the sound that caused his mind to sharpen.

He stood silently for a minute, convinced the jingling he heard were the plentiful keys in his pocket, the ones shacking him to his life in Kass. His eyes darted around the perimeter of the forest, and swept back over the grass and down the road leading to the small building with the wrapped porch in the distance. He shook his head and continued walking towards it when he heard the noise again. He stopped in his tracks, cracking of twigs and gravel under his shoes echoed in solitude.

When he continued to walk, a feeling made him look towards the edge of the woods, and he could barely make out a white movement that stopped in-between two trees and watched him from over 100 meters away. “A doe? A coyote?” Steve’s head swam with curiosity while his heart hammered in his chest. Why was he so scared? The white mass started to move towards him, followed by a small jingling as Steve was glued to the road, watching the animal come closer to him.
It was a cat - but it wasn’t a regular cat. It trotted up to him causing Steve’s thundering heartbeat to gradually slow, like a wave of calm washed over him. The animal stopped at his feet and looked up, eyebrows seemingly raised as it questioned why he was alone at night – tail casually thumping rhythmically. “Whoah…” The cat was as big as a wolf; it’s legs long and slender, and it’s body was lean and muscled like it had never seen the inside of a house. Its eyes were red and its ears were pointed and large, almost like a horse. A piece of twine was around its neck; 3 antique looking keys hung from it, each a bright red, blue and green.

Steve sidestepped the animal, walking backwards toward his house, and gingerly stepped one foot behind the other as the cat padded along beside him. “Go home! Stop, stop following me!” His efforts were in vain, as the cat lightly stepped down the gravel road in unison with Steve’s footsteps until they reached his house.
--

A few weeks had passed since Steve found Baron - as he began to call him – and he started to realize what it was like having someone else around. The cat stayed outside the house for the first few days, disappearing at night and returning in the morning to the porch. Gradually Steve started letting Baron inside the house, where he ended up sleeping on the floor of Steve’s bedroom. Baron liked to be touched, and liked to be petted, but whenever Steve reached for the 3 small keys around his neck, Baron would hiss loudly and bolt out of the house into the woods.

One evening Steve was just locking up the shop, making sure the doors were locked as Baron waited outside. Steve started letting Baron inside the shop to mill around, customers astonished and perplexed by the large animal; some of the older men in Kass would claim Baron was a large dog, or wolf mix. Some speculated the animal came from the Gatto house, and was some extinct animal. Steve would laugh this off, but in the back of his mind he always wondered if it were true. When Steve clicked his tongue to call Baron, he animal took off down the road, stopping every few meters to sit on its haunches and thump its tail – waiting.

Baron eventually led Steve to the other end of Kass, near the lake where the Gatto house was. Steve did not want to go near it, it was falling apart and the visible animals present in the fenced yard were enough to stay away from. As Steve approached the house, glowing eyes came through the fence outlining the property. Baron darted up the path and scaled the fence with ease, like he was half his original size, and perched on the top of the fence waiting for Steve. Something told him to follow Baron, as he made his way to the fence to push it open. Chains rattled and Steve jumped back. Shrieks of startled animals cried out into the night, and suddenly stopped as fast as it started. The fence was locked by a bright red padlock.

Baron leaned down from his perch on the fence post, a gleam in his eye as he made eye contact with Steve. He lowered his head, as if bowing, and exposed the dainty keys swinging from the twine around his neck. Steve extended his hands outward slowly, so he wouldn’t startle the cat, only Baron stood steadily as Steve unhooked the red key from its crude knot and slid it into the padlock. The fence creaked open, as he walked inside the property, and made his way up to the front door. Steve was suddenly very aware there were animals not normally found in Kass, including a leopard in a tree, and a buffalo lying on a bed of straw, both eyeing him but saying nothing. With his heart beating, he cautiously stepped to the front door and tried to open it – but was met with a deadbolt. He felt silly for a split second as he checked the lock for a corresponding coloured key, but the lock was a warn brass metal, and Baron was aloof on the porch, not helping.

Steve crept around the porch until he was met with a back door, and it whined softly as it swung open. Dozens of eyes glowing from every room and crevasse watched Steve as he blindly made his way through what appeared to be the kitchen, unaware what he was looking for. The overwhelming feeling of calm was back, and for some reason he was not afraid. He pulled a string to a bare light bulb, and a flash lit up the room. The kitchen was full of creatures which darted out of view as soon as the light was pulled, Steve could only make out fur and tails for a split second, but he felt the eyes watching him. Baron jingled his way through the hall and headed upstairs while Steve followed. “I wonder if Gatto is in the house, or even lives here,” Steve thought, as if the thought never occurred to him. He climbed the stairs after Baron and was faced with three bedrooms, all three of the doors padlocked with coloured locks. Baron glanced at Steve, with his raised eyebrow, and seemed to have a small smirk on his face.

The padlocks in order were blue, orange and green. Steve glanced down at the cat who was sitting beside him and the keys around his neck – there was no orange key. He took the keys off Baron’s neck and tried each key in the orange lock but none would fit. He then fiddled with the green key as he pushed it gently into the green padlock and turned the knob.
It was a bathroom. Steve screwed his eyebrows together and looked around, expecting a room full of mysteries, but instead was greeted with an older 1.5 piece bathroom. The ceramic was old and the wall’s paint was chipped but otherwise the room was normal and devoid of animals. He walked back out and took the last coloured key from Baron’s rope and inserted it into the corresponding blue lock. He pushed the door open and screamed.
The walls of the room were covered in chalk drawings, toys scattered all over the floor, and there in the middle of it, cross legged and playing with a mouse, sat a small boy. The boy’s head whipped around and looked at Steve, startled for a second, then the expression turned jovial.
“You’re here!” the boy stood up and made a show of brushing the dirt from his pant legs, as he scooped the mouse up and put it on his shoulder where it crawled into his hood. Baron walked into the room gracefully towards the boy and sat down, tail thumping side to side as it leaned into the boy’s leg as he scratched the cat.
“Who are you, why are you here?” Steve had millions of questions as his brain tried to piece together what he was seeing. “Do you live here? Did someone lock you in here?”
“Nope!” The boy walked to the window and opened it, showing Steve how he got in. Steve cautiously walked to the window and looked down; a lattice lined the old brick making a perfect ladder up to the second floor window.
Steve used both hands to rub his face, pressing his eyes for a moment before speaking, “Why do you come here, where are your parents?”
“I live with my Nan. I liked the animals so I come to play. There’re also lots of cool toys here too. The animals are really nice, they’re my best friends.” The boy smiled like he wasn’t aware there was a leopard out front.
“Kid,” Steve started, “this is not a safe place for you, and these are uncared for, large wild animals. You could get seriously hurt being here.” Baron trotted over to the window ledge and lay down, casually taking in what was left of the sunlight and the conversation.
“Nu-uh, I care for them. I come by every day to feed them! I lay out straw and fill bowls and sometimes I even brush them when they come close. Nan comes sometimes, but she mostly hates the mice so I get to come by myself.” He beamed as he grasped the mouse from his hood and held it proudly in the palm of his hand towards Steve. “They won’t hurt you, or each other. Nan says they’re a family.”  The boy watched Steve for a minute and a hint of a smile spread over his lips. “I bet you wonder what the keys are doing around Winter’s neck, eh?” Baron’s ears pricked up and took note once more.
“Winter?”
“That’s what I call him, since he’s as white as snow!”
“Listen, do you know where the key for the orange door is?” Steve shifted his weight to one leg; he was getting tired of the questions he asked coming back with unsatisfying answers. He just wanted to know what was going on.
The kid looked at him puzzled, “You have it.”
Steve held out his hands exposing the three keys: red, blue and green. “I don’t have it, these are the only ones I have, and none of them will fit into the door. Bar-Winter took me here, I’m assuming the keys mean something, but the only door I can’t open is the orange one.”
“I couldn’t find the orange key when I was getting them together. I tied the ones I could find. He told me you already had the orange key.” The boy looked over at Baron strangely.
“Who told you… who told you I had the orange key?”
“Winter did.”
“The cat spoke to you?” Steve sighed and struggled for the words. “I don’t have it.”
“Cats can’t talk! I had a feeling, kind of like he let me know without talking to me. I put the rest of the keys on the string and figured you’d come by sometime. I don’t really know anything else; I learned to tie the knots from Boy Scouts.” He smiled and leaned up against the window ledge, his golden hair catching the glint from the moon.
Steve ran his hand through his own blonde hair and squeezed his temples as he tried to think this through. “I don’t have any other keys. The keys you tied to Baron’s neck were the only keys I got.” As if on cue, Baron strolled over and raised his head to nuzzle Steve’s hand which was inside his pocket. “Baron, look,” Steve started pulling out the contents of his pocket, “gum, a twist tie,” as he pulled things from his coat, his hand grasped his key ring and he held it out, “and my keys to the store. See? Nothing!” He looked at the boy who was looking into his palm, and his own eyes trailed down to see.
In his outstretched hand laid his key ring. The key ring that bonded him to Kass and to a life he hated. The light from the moon hit the ring and a glint caught Steve’s eye. The ring had several keys on it that belonged to his grandfather; ranging from his store keys, farmhouse keys and miscellaneous others that were just on the ring when funeral director gave them to him. Looking down he saw a small antique key he never noticed before. It was painted orange. His heart began to race as his brain sprinted to put together what was happening. “How did a key to Gatto’s house get on my grandfather’s key ring?” At this point Steve was just talking so his brain wouldn’t go into shock and give him a panic attack.
He stepped out of the room and stood in front of the orange door. Sweat trickled down his face, slipped off his chin and dripped to the floor. He took the orange key and opened the lock, pushing the door as he walked inside. Before his eyes could adjust to the room, Baron slipped past him and jumped onto a table against the wall. The room was large, probably a master bedroom, and mostly empty besides the table and an older bed. A layer of dust caked over the table, making it hard to make out anything that was on it.
Baron had hopped up onto the table, sending an atomic cloud of dust into the air, settling onto his snow-white fur. Steve walked to the table and noticed only three things on it: a ripped piece of paper, a photograph, and an old notebook. Steve picked up and fingered the piece of paper; all that was on it was a phone number scrawled in faded ink. He set it down and picked up the photograph. The boy came up beside him to look.
“That was my grampa,” the boy pointed to the older man in the photograph who had his arms around a teenage boy and a young woman, “and my dad.” The photo was yellowed and curled with a single tack hole on top, like it had been pinned to a bulletin board for years. Steve’s heart leaped and hammered inside his chest. His throat was dry and his skin was clammy and on fire. Steve turned the photograph in his hand exposing sturdy penmanship in black ink: Family – 1962. “I don’t know who that lady is though.”
Steve swallowed hard. “That lady is my mother.”
Over the next hour Steve and the boy sat and went through the notebook, which was more of a journal kept by their grandfather on his animal acquisitions, breeding and observation reports. They learned he was a genetic engineer who worked in a government lab doing DNA experimentation, and more than once he took home the failed experiments. He had a government grant that was used to care for the animals, research, and the cost of keeping them, as well as a city permit allowing him to house the animals on the outskirt of Kass. The journal outlined his research notes, but most of it was equations and terminology that went over Steve’s head.
“This must have been his last research book,” the boy flipped through more of the pages, running his thumb over etched drawings of animals, and stopped at a page. “Hey, look, this is Winter… er, Baron.” Steve took the notebook from him and stood up to look at it under the moonlight through the window. The first page hosted an aged photo of a white animal in a nursery being bottle fed by a woman in a mask, as well as scribbling of height and weight. Steve scanned the pages and saw two words he recognized: Serval and Cougar. He looked down at Baron who was sitting on the floor watching him. Baron was pure white, long ears and a feline face. He wasn’t a large domestic housecat; he was a hybrid of two wild animals. His eyes glanced back to the page and noticed a word circled: albino. Baron was an accident – a failed experiment.
Steve walked over to the torn paper on the desk, after completely forgetting about it. He drew his cell phone from his pocket and dialed the number, not knowing what to expect. The boy stared up at him wide-eyed from his position on the floor, arm draped over Baron. The phone rang twice before a woman picked up. “Uh yes, hello,” Steve began, until the woman interrupted him.
“Auto King Limited, who am I speaking with please?” Steve exchanged looks with the boy, taken aback.
“This is Steve?” He shrugged at the phone while looking at the boy, who was now standing beside him.
“Hi Steve, we didn’t think you would call, we’ve been waiting to hear from you! I’ve faxed the paperwork to your store, and whenever you’re ready you can send it back. I’m confident you will find our offer competitive. I’ve also created an addendum to account for the animals as per your inquiry. Please let us know by next Thursday if you would like to renegotiate the acquisition, we look forward to doing business with you.”
“I’m sorry; can you just explain what you mean? What store? What acquisition?”
“This is Steve Gatto, correct?”
“No I’m sorry, my name is Steve Lume… there must be a mistake.” He glanced at the boy again who looked as though he was in shock.
“Oh right, yes I see that now. There is a note here that Gatto was your mother’s maiden name, my apologizes, Steve Lume yes, sorry again about that. The paperwork is for the acquisition of your automotive store in the town of Kass. We also received your message about the animals, and the addendum added will make sure they are all put into animal preserves as requested.”
“I’m sorry, can I just ask you who you spoke with in regards to all this?” There was a silence on the other end of the phone, as a chair shifted.
“Why, Mr. Lume, we spoke with you.”
--
2 weeks later the last of the moving trucks had come and left from the farmhouse, and Steve ran his hand over the red sold sign on his lawn. Mark and Cynthia were standing on the driveway packing the last of the suitcases into Steve’s old Ford. Baron sat, tail thumping rhythmically between them, sniffing the air every time Mark took a bite of his Oh Henry bar.
“That’s all of them Steve,” Mark skipped up to him, handing over a bottle of water. “You promised to call when you got there, don’t forget!” Steve ran over to the car to help Cynthia with the suitcase she was struggling with.
“Let me help you with that Cynthia,” Steve scooped the bag up and fit it into the back seat and closed the door. Baron ran up and slipped into the front passenger’s seat, eyes wide and eager to get on the road.
“Now, don’t you be calling me that,” Cynthia tucked a loose strand of silver hair behind her ear as she looked over at Mark licking the melted chocolate off his fingers, “family calls me Nan.” Steve laughed and gently squeezed her shoulder.
“I will call you when I get to the airport, and my flight will be a couple hours so I’ll try to call when I arrive at my new place.”  She brushed Steve’s golden hair out of his eyes before kissing him on the cheek. “Mark, come say goodbye to your cousin.” Steve ruffled the same golden hair and waved goodbye as he got into his car.
“Well,” he said aloud as he fiddled for his car keys, “I hope you like Scotland.” Baron looked at him in agreement. He started the engine, and drove down the road, passing the Town of Kass sign for the last time. Out of the corner of his eye he saw what looked to be a buffalo lumber into the woods. Steve laughed as he zoomed past, the red, orange, blue, and green keys jingling from his new, lighter keychain.



06 March, 2012

Relationship Principles: How to Get and Keep a Man

This is from the book Why Men Marry Bitches, and has some interesting principles on how to get and keep men you're interested in, and other womanly advice to not seem desperate.


While I agree with some I certainly do not agree with all of them. It really depends on what kind of game you're playing - or if you're playing a game at all.


Are these true? Have you had experiences where they work? Men, is this how you feel? Leave a comment below!




___________________________________________________


Relationship Principle 1: In romance there’s nothing more attractive to a man than a women who has dignity and pride in who she is.

Relationship Principle 2: He marries the women who won’t lay down like linoleum.

Relationship Principle 3: He doesn’t marry a woman who is perfect. He marries the woman who is interesting.

Relationship Principle 4: When a woman is trying too hard, a man will usually test to see how hard she’s willing to work for it. He’ll start throwing relationship Frisbees, just to see how hard she’ll run and how high she’ll jump.

Relationship Principle 5: Done believe what anyone tells you about yourself.

Relationship Principle 6: Men see how you dress, and then make assumptions about your relationship potential.

Relationship Principle 7: When a man sees you wearing very revealing clothes, he’ll usually assume you don’t have anything else going for you.

Relationship Principle 8: When he sees you scantily dressed, he is not reminded of how great you look naked. He immediately thinks of all the other men you’ve slept with.

Relationship Principle 9: Every guy knows he can find a girl who is simply satisfied with satisfying him. They are much more turned on by a woman who cares about her own pleasure as well.

Relationship Principle 10: You can tell how much someone respects you by how much he respects your opinion. If he doesn’t respect your opinion, he won’t respect you.

Relationship Principle 11: It is better to be disliked for being who you are than to be loved for who you are not.

Relationship Principle 12: Men like to be curious. They like to feel that there’s more to the story than what they already know.

Relationship Principle 13: The mental challenge is not, “Can I get her to sleep with me?” The mental challenge is,”Can I get and keep her attention?”

Relationship Principle 14: You power gets lost the minute start asking, “Where do I stand?” Because what you’ve just told him is that the terms of the relationship are now his to dictate.

Relationship Principle 15: As soon as a man has his guard up, he will not fall in love or get attached. The only way he’ll get attached is if you lower his guard first.

Relationship Principle 16: When a women rush in too quickly, a man will assume she is in love with a “fantasy” or the idea of having a relationship. But if he has to slowly win her over, incrementally, he’ll think she’s falling in love with who he is.

Relationship Principle 17: Don’t even mention the word “commitment.” That’s the whole trick. The less you say about it, the closer you are to getting one.

Relationship Principle 18: If he has no guarantees, becomes attached, and thinks you could be gone at any time, that’s when he’ll cherish the idea of securing a relationship. 

Relationship Principle 19: There’s nothing more prized to a man than something he had to wait for, work for, or struggle a little bit to get.

Relationship Principle 20: As soon as a woman hands a man a more serious commitment on a silver platter, he’ll be reluctant to take it.

Relationship Principle 21: Don’t be so blunt, obvious, or available that you come across as having already made up your mind about the guy.

Relationship Principle 22: You want to figure out his pattern, but don’t let him figure out yours.

Relationship Principle 23: Men are far more smitten when they feel like they are “stealing” your time away from something else you could have been doing.

Relationship Principle 24: When a woman make a man feel he’s trusted it makes him feel strong and worthy. It makes him want to be honourable and do the right thing.

Relationship Principle 25: Men like rules and they like guidelines. If there’s something you don’t like, he’ll respect you for voicing it. He wants to know what the “do’s and don’ts” are.

Relationship Principle 26: Men love knowing there’s a small part of you that they can’t get to.

Relationship Principle 27: Men read a lot into where you’ve been, by how dolled up you are when you get home. If you are dolled up and you weren’t with him, it will keep him wondering a little.

Relationship Principle 28: The magic formula is to give a little... and then pull back. Give a little... and then pull back.

Relationship Principle 29: Women are constantly being told amazing sex will win a man’s heart. This is false. Just because a man sleeps with you doesn’t mean he cares about you. Nor will good sex make him care about you.

Relationship Principle 30: the way to weed out the contenders from the pretenders is to assess their attitude about waiting for sex. If he likes you, he’ll be happy just being in your company.

Relationship Principle 31: The purpose of waiting is not just to seem classier. You also want to give yourself time to observe him and figure out key facts about him.

Relationship Principle 32: Who he tells you he is in the beginning has very little to without he will treat you. If there’s sex involved, he’ll promise you things you’ve never even heard of. 

Relationship Principle 33: When you aren’t mind-blown after sex, and you continue to focus on your own life, he’ll automatically start looking at you differently. Then he’ll start wanting to secure a relationship with you.

Relationship Principle 34: After sex, behave as if the relationship is still new.

Relationship Principle 35: Men are intrigued by anything they do not completely control.

Relationship Principle 36: when you maintain a bit of privacy and he has to wonder a little where you are, you are stimulating his imagination. The second he can’t get ahold of you he’ll send out an APB, or “all points bulletin”, to find you.

Relationship Principle 37: To a man, a relationship without sex represents a relationship with no love, no affection, and no emotional connection.

Relationship Principle 38: Always preserve the mystery. Keep the sex sporadic and unpredictable. It makes it much more intense for a man.

Relationship Principle 39: When a woman reacts emotionally, men get three things: attention, control and the feeling of importance.

Relationship Principle 40: when you are easily manipulated, he will assume he doesn’t have to give as much in the way of commitment in order to keep you there.

Relationship Principle 41: the best way to set limits with a guy when he’s testing you is by controlling the ebb and flow of you attention. An emotional reaction is always a reward, even if it’s negative attention.

Relationship Principle 42: Men hear what they see.

Relationship Principle 43: when a man tried to make you jealous, it rarely has anything to do with his desire for someone else. When you are upset he gets the reassurance that you care. 

Relationship Principle 44: Once you start doing the same thing he was doing, suddenly, the bad behaviour will magically disappear.

Relationship Principle 45: when a man doesn’t call, a bunch of scenarios will typically run through a woman’s mind. Similarly, his imagination will run wild when he doesn’t hear from you. 

Relationship Principle 46: The more rational and calm you remain, the more emotional he will become.

Relationship Principle 47: To a man, it is totally inappropriate to be emotional when talking about something important. When you speak calmly, he assumed it’s much more important.

Relationship Principle 48: Many men reduce women to a set of givens. A man relied on the fact that most women are emotional and that he’ll be able to push your emotional buttons once he find out where they are. When he can’t, he’ll often crumble and become the more vulnerable one in the relationship. 

Relationship Principle 49: He is testing to see if you believe in yourself. He wants to know who is at the controls. When you aren’t easily shaken he sees “This one can’t be manipulated.”

Relationship Principle 50: To encourage the right behaviour, state what you want, and then give him the solution. Show him how he can be your hero.

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