Thursday, January 21, 2010

Please Stand By

As some of you may know, I'm in the process of moving. So posts and such to this and my other blogs are going to be spotty until I get settled in. But I promise to be back - and then some - when I get unboxed and hooked up again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dark Roasted M.Christian

Here's a brand new Dark Roasted Blend piece, this time about birds - and some of the truly amazing things they do.

We see them all the time, rowing across a clear, blue sky, applauding into the air when we startle them, singing their sharp, sweet songs in the trees, spiraling, spinning over our heads … but when you take a bit of time and do a smidgen of research, you realize that birds are fascinating creatures, capable of some truly remarkable things.

Take, for example, the members of the anatidae family. Not familiar with them? Sure you are: aside from the city pigeon, they are probably one of the first birds people think of. Still fuzzy? Well, think ‘season’ and you might very well jump to ‘duck.’

The poor duck has gotten … if not grief then not a lot of respect, which is unfortunate because they certainly deserve it. Sure, they walk a tad comically and their quacks are more likely to get a chuckle than a salute, but they are capable of some astounding feats.

It’s common knowledge that many birds migrate – some halfway around the world, others not very far at all – but a few species of duck travel amazing distances as part of their regular travels, and at phenomenal speeds. The black brant is one such record holder, making the trip from the cold climes of Alaska to the much-warmer lands of Baja, California. No need to do the math: that’s more than 3,000 miles. A distance, by the way, covered in less than 72 hours.

The ill-respected duck is also a record holder for not just distance and time but also altitude. Although they commonly aren’t high flyers, preferring to stay relatively close to the ground, ducks have been recorded soaring to close nearly 20,000 feet. That most definitely is a ‘wow’ thing but what’s an even bigger – more like a real big WOW – is that a duck skeleton was found at 16,000 feet … in the form of a skeleton on Mount Everest.

This isn’t mentioned to make you want to shake the hand … er, ‘webbed foot’ of the mallard you see on the street with newfound admiration but to point out that if the common duck isn’t exactly common in its ability, consider the other long and high flyers among our feathered friends.

Take the Sooty Shearwaters. Sounds like a comedy character, doesn’t it? But what this seabird does is anything but funny. Remarkable, yes. Funny, no.

See, the Sooty holds the current record for the longest migration. Period. Think 3,000 miles was wild for a duck? Well, the Sooty travels from New Zealand, or thereabouts, out to the waters of the North Pacific (Japan as well as California), which is a trip much, much longer than just Alaska to California. In fact, it’s a round trip just shy of 40,000 miles.

WOW is right.

For altitude, ducks are amazing, no denying that, but if you want to get really, really high you have to look at the extremely ugly Rüppell's Vulture. That might not be fair to the bird, but ugly or not this vulture wears a handsome medal for going where no bird, or even a lot of airplanes, have gone. Ducks, sure, deserve applause for 20,000 feet but the Rüppell's Vulture goes more than just one better, attaining a remarkable 38,000 feet. Alas, the record was set when the poor bird got sucked into a jet engine at that height but you still have to admit that it was quite an accomplishment.

Here’s something that will really make you think twice about swearing at the next swallow that poops on your windshield: the Peregrine Falcon is not just a regal bird as well as a magnificent hunter: it can spot, and then swoop down on, its prey from more than half a mile away. But what’s astounding is the speed of the falcon, considered by many to be the fastest animal in the entire world, when it attacks. Faster than a cheetah, faster than a greyhound: the falcon has been clocked at close to 200 miles per hour.

Yep, that deserves another WOW.

But birds don’t have to be huge or travel long distances to be marvelous (though, in case you’re interested, the biggest living bird in the world is the ostrich, which can weigh as much as 350 pounds). The members of the family trochilidae – Hummingbirds to you and me -- aren’t big, don’t travel far, but they are certainly fast in their own way. Among the smallest of birds, they beat their wings up to 90 times per second – allowing them to fly every direction including backwards – and the hearts that power them can beat at more than 1,000 beats per minute.

Waddling across grassy fields, gliding through the air, becoming elegant silhouettes against the white of clouds, they are all around us: the magnificent – and amazing – owners of the sky. So let’s give the birds their due as well as some well-deserved respect.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Review Of "All Eyes On Her"

Sometimes life can give you the sweetest gift, like this nice review of my story, "All Eyes On Her" by the Viscount, via billierosi's excellent blog:
I loved this short story by M. Christian. He has a fabulously descriptive writing style that places one there in the scene with the eager participants. I could smell the tar and feel the heat of the sun beating down. I was on that rooftop. I even found myself getting slightly aroused, at this young women amusing herself in such a public place. She is surrounded by the all seeing eyes, hidden behind the blank looking glassy panes of the buildings all around her. For a queer reader like me that's saying something as this guy likes guys. They can see her, she can't see them and my -- what a display she gives.

Most of us are voyeurs to some degree or other, even general cinema, or TV is a kind of voyeurism. However in these circumstances the subject of desire isn't physically present. Is it the physical presence of the object of our desires, is that what makes voyeurism so arousing? Is it the fear of being caught that turns us on?

This story got me thinking. The subject of most voyeuristic desires don't know they are being watched, so that must add to the 'thrill' the voyeur has. The power -- he/she is in control.

As a young teenager of around 13, I would sometimes on my way back from babysitting some neighbours kids, peer through the garden fence that overlooked our neighbours. Most Saturdays they would be making out in front of porn on the TV, you could really see pretty much everything but they had no idea I was there. I got really turned on by that as I was in control, but also I was terrified that I would be caught.

A bit later on in my formative years, at around 15 I caught a voyeur, looking. I was the voyeur watching a voyeur being a voyeur and that was quite thrilling. My aunt employed a lad to do some gardening work one summer and he was hot in every respect. I watched him from the bathroom window and he was as buff as anything and about 10 years older than me at the time; I guess around 25. I noticed him trying to get a better look at something and from my vantage point I could see a young woman sunbathing topless a few gardens down. She had no idea our randy gardener was watching her and he had no idea I was watching him. He was really turned on and so was I at his arousal.

My Mr Christian, what has your story done to me all of these memories as a result of your trigger.

Cindy in Christian's story on the other hand takes control; she is empowered and is turned on at being the subject, not the unwilling participant. Could I give this delightfully titillating short story a feminist reading? Well yes, I expect so. Cindy is woman taking back what is hers, she is no longer the passive pin-up, or downtrodden street walker or abused porn star. She isn't doing this for the kids, or to pay for mum's care home, she is doing it because she wants to.

M. Christian really does know how to write, and write well. I want some more please so get busy with it!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Grace & Beauty

I'm very excited to have some stories recently posted to the very-fun Grace & Beauty site. So head on over if you want to read "Blow Up" from Rude Mechanicals, and "Nighthawks" from Licks & Promises.

Be sure and keep an eye on the site as even more stories and such will be going up very soon!