Thursday, May 1, 2014

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Welcome To L. Palmer's Side-Yard Blog

The side-yard is the part of the house that is forgotten while it collects dust, weeds, and old tools.  We mean to clean it up, but while giving priority to pruning the front yard, and using any other extra time in finally mowing the jungle that's grown in the backyard, the side-yard gets left for another day.  So, I thought I'd stop by, clear out some weeds, and invite everyone to visit my front yard blog: Good. Wholesome. Fun. 

Microcosms In A Technological Society was created during college as part of a class project.  It was an experiment in creating short pieces exploring how our daily lives center around technology.  Then, I got a teaching credential, taught high school, and now work full time. Still a fun idea, but I've got another blog to maintain.

If you'd also like to visit my backyard, come over to: Camp, Skits, And Other Things.

If you'd like to see another high class project from college, check out ;Boot "Fish" [17]: A Musical Exploration Of Homo Sapiens And Other Byproducts Of Contemporary Industry

This video was made for my experimental cinema class, and remains a serious work of dadaism mixed with director's commentary.

You might notice a theme of long, purposefully pretentious titles from my college work.  I can attribute it to my many film, culture, and political theory courses. 

If you enjoy more pretension, I check out at the P.N. Guin page on Good. Wholesome. Fun.

Once again, thanks for stopping by, and hope you come and visit my front yard.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Walk The Dog

The stylus ran back and forth across the screen as Dan rubbed the datsun’s stomach. The dog wagged its tail, its large, round eyes staring at Dan lovingly. Then, the food icon popped up in the corner as Bruiser’s face appeared. The boxer wagged its tail as Dan touched the stylus to the food icon. Bruiser bounded to the red food dish and quickly ate. Before Dan could check on the datsun, a hard object whapped him in the head.
Dan put looked up from his Nintendo DS to see a bubble-gum chewing girl his age holding the weapon, a yo-yo, and laughing at him. He slammed the DS shut before standing, saying, “What are you doing?”
“Sorry. I was just trying to walk the dog,” she said, attempting to stop her laughter.
“Look, loser-face, you don’t even have a dog.” He held up his DS. “I have six.”
The girl laughed even harder at him, now pointing her finger at his face.
“Who plays with a Game Boy at the park? Why don’t you go home and sit on your couch?”
Dan glared at her, using the most imperious glare he knew. “First, this is not a Game Boy. This is a Nintendo DS, the number-one-selling-system of last year, far past the Wii, X-Box 360, and Playstation 3. And as for the park, everyone has a right to be at the park. And, I am not here to babysit my cousins, making thirty bucks. What are you doing here?”
The girl smiled, something menacing in her glance as she blew a large, pink bubble. It popped, and she gathered it back in her mouth. “I’m here because my parents are helping lead the protest on the other side of the park.”
Dan’s mind was blank. He glanced at the far side of the park where picketers were beginning to gather. This girl would not get the last word. He had to come up with something. He scowled as he stated, “You’re lying.”
“Normally, they make me stay home, but today they decided that since I’m now thirteen, I’m old enough to see a protest...” She paused as she swung her yo-yo and snapped it back into her hand, raising a challenging eyebrow.
“Protests are lame,” he said.
“So are you,” she answered.
With a scowl, Dan sat back on the bench and opened up his DS. The protestors were beginning to yell now. He couldn’t hear what they were saying, but there was something scary about it. Not as if he would admit it. The girl stood in front of him, watching as the protestors assembled for a march. Maybe this was a good time to leave.
He shut the DS and looked at his cousins and saw them climbing over the jungle gym still. Matt pushed Katy off, and Katy began crying. Dan slumped on the bench. He’d go get them, but the two of them never listened to him. They always kicked him in the shins, and then locked him out of the house. Fortunately, he always carried candy to bribe them. However, he had already used that to get them to stay in the park and not wander off.
With a grimace, Dan put the DS in its neoprene case and slipped it into the pocket of his cargo shorts. It had to be done. He crossed the sidewalk and yelled, “Matt! Katy! It’s time to go!”
Katy kept bawling while Matt ignored him. Dan stood with his hands on his hips. Why didn’t they ever listen to him?
“If you don’t come right now, I’m going to tell your mom!” he yelled.
“Yeah? Then we’ll tell her about the candy!” Matt yelled back.
The girl with the yo-yo stood beside Dan, continuing to chew her gum loudly. She glanced at Dan before yelling, “Hey! Matt and Katy, if you come here, I’ll show you some tricks with my yo-yo.”
“They’re not going to care about your stupid yo-yo,” Dan grunted.
“Shut up. Everyone loves yo-yos.”
Matt and Katy sprinted across the sand and up to the girl with the yo-yo. Matt put his hands on his hips and said, “So, what’s this trick?”
“It’s called Walk the Dog,” she explained. Within seconds, she swung the yo-yo out, letting it roll across the cement, before snapping it back into her hand. Matt and Katy stood with their mouths gaping open in awe. When Dan had shown them his trick in Super Mario World, they had said it was lame and then had thrown the couch pillows at him. It was highly unfair.
“Now, if you go home with your cousin, next time I see you, I’ll show you some more tricks.”
Dan folded his arms. He would not thank her, though he was Matt and Katy were now tugging on him, whining to go.
“You’re not getting my money,” Dan said, folding his arms.
“Whatever,” she retorted. “Money is not going to exist in ten years.”
Dan stared at her before stating, “You’re weird. What are your parents protesting against anyways? Dairy products?”
“No,” she said, rolling her eyes. With a twitch of her head, she explained, “They’re protesting against making soldiers into cyborgs.”
“Cyborg soldiers!” Dan exclaimed. “Cool! It’d be like Robo-Cop, or Star Trek.”
The girl stood chewing her gum, giving Dan a quizzical glance that only a thirteen-year-old could give. She opened her mouth to speak, when the sound of a gun shot boomed through the air.
The four children stood silently as they turned to stare at the scattering protestors. Men and women had red liquid splattered on their clothes, running down their bodies. Then, four teenage boys in paint-gun gear ran in, chasing after them. Behind the boys were the police. Within seconds, a German shepherd had one of the teenage boys pinned down to the ground, slobbering into his face.
Dan started laughing at the teenager being hand-cuffed, when he saw the girl’s worried face staring at her parents running.
He took his two cousins by the hand, and said, “Well, I hope your parents have some good paint cleaner at home. Bye.”
As Matt and Katy turned back to glance at the protestors, Dan continued watching, thinking of how he’d write about this on his MySpace page that night. First, however, he needed to make sure his Nintendogs were all right. He had forgotten to save the game because of that lame girl.

Walking The Dog

Glenda led the way as Emma strolled through the park. Excitedly, Glenda pressed her nose to the grass, sniffing loudly. Emma had to step aside to avoid being hit by Glenda’s tail. Glenda sprinted from side-to-side, shoving her nose into the grass, sniffing loudly as she discovered thousands of new smells. Emma held the leash loosely, her eyes wandering as she observed the bright blue sky, the fluffy white clouds, the brilliantly green trees and grass, the bright flowers, the clean sidewalk. The day had a sweet smell to it, the freshness of plant-life, as if the sun were warming incense out of the flowers. She and Glenda needed to go backpacking again. The mountains were so much more peaceful than the city. Even here, in the park, she could hear cars on the streets, engines whirring, jack-hammers pounding.
Glenda jerked to a stop. Emma glanced down to see Glenda stretching her tail and rear end, her legs spread apart. It was time not to look anymore. Looking up at the trees, Emma pulled the grocery bag from her pocket. She enjoyed walking the dog, except for moments like this. With a sigh, she squatted beside the pile Glenda had left behind, suddenly missing the sweet smell of moments before. She reached her hand into the bag, and discovered the bag had two holes. She stood up and looked through it.
“Hey, you can have my bag.”
Emma turned and saw a rather handsome young man sitting on a wood bench with his golden retriever lying indolently beside him, the man’s left leg stretched out comfortably. He smiled politely as he held out the plastic bag.
“Thanks,” she said as she took the bag. She turned to her dog’s mess, wondering if he was watching her, and what part of her he would be watching. Her cheeks began to burn. She knelt down and cleaned up Glenda’s excrement before dropping it in the nearby trash can.
She hesitated, wondering who the stranger was, yet afraid to speak. What could she say after cleaning up after her dog?
“This is Glenda,” she said, turning to the man on the bench. He smiled politely. “And I’m Emma.”
The man’s smile widened. He had very nice teeth. He laughed before replying, “This is Major, and I’m Tom.”
She paused a moment, before asking, “So, you’re a David Bowie fan?”
“No. Not really. My friends from the army suggested it, because they thought it was funny. Are you a Wizard of Oz fan?”
“Yeah,” Emma answered. “Most people don’t get that. When they do, they tell me I should have named her Toto.”
Tom shook his head. “You can’t name a black lab Toto. That’s a little dog’s name.” He leaned forward and called Glenda over. Glenda bounded excitedly before rubbing her head against his hand. Major sat up, his tongue hanging out of his mouth as he began to smell the visitor.
“Is it okay if they go play together?” Tom asked.
“Sure,” Emma answered. Both owners let go of the leashes, and the two dogs bounded onto the empty grass, running, jumping, playing, biting. Emma hesitated until Tom said, “You want a seat?”
Emma sat down quickly before clenching her hands together. They sat for a moment before he asked, “I think I’ve seen you at the University before. I think you were in my History 20 class.”
Emma looked at him, attempting to remember him from the 900 students who had been in that class.
“I had a beard then,” he explained. He shook his head, saying, “That Professor Blankhart. I was never sure what he was talking about. My friends always thought he was on something.”
Emma laughed. Soon, they began swapping stories of their G.E. classes, of their friends at the University, and the challenges of having a dog and roommates. After half-an-hour of talking, they sat silently. Emma knew she needed to go study for an exam, but didn’t want to leave the conversation.
Breaking the lull of silence, she asked, “So... you were in the army?...”
Tom nodded. “I was honorably discharged.” There was something darker in his voice, something bitter and painful. She glanced at him, wishing she had not asked. He looked away a moment before rubbing his left calf, seeming to squeeze it. It was then she noticed that his right leg moved and shifted naturally, but his left leg seemed to be lifeless.
Seeing her glance, Tom said, “It fell asleep, and I can’t get it to wake up.”
Emma stared at her feet, wondering how she should respond. She wanted to offer to help, yet he didn’t seem to want any. Finally, she offered, “I could help you walk around, if you want. I find that helps the blood move.”
Tom grimaced before glancing at her. He sighed before lifting up his pant leg and revealing a titanium prosthetic. He twisted it at the knee and a gasp of air was discharged before he pulled it off. Circuits gleamed where the top connected with his knee. He held the prosthetic out, and said, “The battery died. The government spent millions of dollars to make this experimental prosthetic communicate with my body, and the battery dies. Also, I’ve left my cell-phone at home, and I can’t walk. I can hop a few yards, but the other leg is unsteady.” He leaned back tiredly, setting the prosthetic on the ground. He glanced at her before asking, “You don’t happen to have a cell-phone, do you?”
She shook her head slowly, unsure of how to respond, or why he had revealed that to her.
He scratched his head before explaining, “I was one of the first soldiers to volunteer to get cybernetic implants.” His eyes were distant. Emma was not sure if he was talking to her. “They gave me microchips that would stimulate my legs whenever I got tired, so I could run further. They also implanted a chip that would give me better night vision...” He shook his head before shutting his eyes, “We were under fire one night... I tried to stop, but the microchip had gone haywire in my left leg. I don’t remember how I fell. I just know I couldn’t stop running, and then I blacked out. I woke up in a hospital without my left leg, and was offered to enter an experimental program that would allow me to walk again.” A wry, bitter smile crossed his face as he mentioned, “I think my dog is treated better than I was.”
He glanced at her, before sighing. “Sorry. I normally don’t go spouting off to people I’ve just met...”
“That’s okay.” She sat quietly, taking in what he had said. There seemed to be far darker memories that he was not acknowledging. Then, she asked, “Can I look at your... leg?” She grimaced, realizing how awful that sounded.
“Sure,” he said, handing it to her.
She looked closely at the circuits at the top before pulling a bobby-pin from her hair. She used them like tweezers to move a loose wire and press it to the circuit. She jumped as the foot spasms with energy.
“What’d you do?” he asked, his face shocked.
Quickly she showed him, before asking, “But I don’t know how to attach it.”
He raised a finger before pulling a piece of gum out of his shirt pocket. He chewed it quickly before placing it on the loose wire, hooking it in.
“That’ll work for now,” he said as he reattached his leg. He smiled as the foot moved in a regular motion. “Thanks. That’s pretty awesome.”
“Your welcome,” she said, a proud smile coming to her face.
He stood up, carefully putting weight on the left foot. He smiled as it remained standing.
“Do you want me to walk you home?” she offered.
“That’d be great.”
They called back their dogs, took the leashes, and, together, let Major and Glenda lead them out of the park.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


The way to win the next presidential election would be, instead of promising tax breaks, promise free i-pods to all registered voters. While some may consider it bribery, its the way the government works anyways.

So, e-mail your favorite candidate, and tell them that "I-Vote."