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  Magazine Notes, March 6, 2015
We are happy to say that contributors and contributed stories, poems etc., have made it necessary to create a whole new page just for contributor's bio's. Click here to view Contributors' Page.

dj otterson's work in progress: "An UnRemarkable Girl" is here, so far five parts/chapters of this novel are on line. This story has Supernatural and Psychological themes (so consider yourself warned?)

  Magazine Issue # 8, November 2001 --> ???  
The Depth

The Chinese menu touted
 Plumb Duck
I wondered
how off-center was this dish?
Was it at right-angles
or simply obtuse?
A mallard infarction,
or some game bird gone amiss?
Had it been surveyed
and appraised?
Had its right ascension been assessed?
My mind could simply not fathom
the depth
Plumb Duck.

      Joan Pond

  Copyright © 2002 by Joan Pond All Rights Reserved. 

Life and All That

She smiles her Madonna smile 
As she looks away 
Far into the great beyond 
Where she spends her time, 
Her nights, her yesterdays, 
Tomorrows, lost 
Dancing on clouds 
Of daydreams 
In the rhythm of a heartbeat 
And you know she knows 
She knows. 

Hasn't he wondered 
What mystery lives there 
Which riddle could he solve 
And what is the key that unlocks 
The gate to her soul 
He can't begin to fathom 
All women are an enigma 
Beguiling, good lord yes 
He'd like to say the heck with it 
But he can't 
Not yet 
Not while he still believes 
In moonbeams and sunrises 
And happily ever afters. 

Nights he sees her as he slips 
Into his unconsciousness 
She grips a dream or two 
Off in the ephemera 
Yah, that's true. 

Her smile hides something 
Signifies nothing and everything 
Still waters, 
Look out for the undertow 
Eyes that watch and mirror 
And hold the key 
But silly girl, sometimes 
She just doesn't see 
It would be hard to believe 
So she doesn't 

Mirror mirror on the wall 
She doesn't ask the question 
She knows the answer 
Sleeping beauty she isn't 
Not this time around 
Maybe not the next time either 
And she's too busy being busy 
To care 
Knights live in fairy tales 
She lives in the milky way 
Star shine, shimmer on. 

Isn't there a star somewhere 
That needs its sparkle tuned 
Or a phrase crying for an author 
He turns in his bed 
He wonders 
Who is she 
Then again, 
She hasn't met him yet 
Down here in the moil 
He's just a dream 
She's a phantom 
And neither knows the plan 

Heaven help them 
They're only human 
Laugh the spirits wise 
As they plot their grand design 
They love a good joke 
And it's it the special ones 
That need to have their noses tweaked 
Every once in a while 
Nothing comes easy if it's worth it 
Or so they say 

Throw a few forks in the road 
Maybe they'll meet on a tyne 
Maybe he'll see a special smile 
Maybe she'll catch a twinkle in his eye 
Maybe so 
Or perhaps not 
Caught as they are 
In life and all that 

Star light, star bright 
First star I see tonight 
I wish I may, I wish I might 

Now I lay me down to sleep 
I pray the Lord my soul to keep 
Should I die before I wake 
I pray the Lord 

I have the wish I wish tonight 

In my lover's arms. 

C.M. Harris 2001 


Left To Their Own Devices

The men in her life were as
she'd had as a child.
Left too long on a radiator,
they cooked.
Or, as the one she took,
from its shoe-box house;
he'd just given up the ghost.
It wasn't easy remembering
to give them
water and rodent feed.
Returning from school,
their bodies were lumps of clay,
as though she'd left them
to play with sharp objects.
Leslie would say,
"Men left to their own devices,
were as hamsters
she'd had as a child."

Joan Pond
Copyright 2002 by Joan Pond, All Rights Reserved.


(Evvolute ee-Oh-nee)

                                 (Anon Y Mouse?) 

     The twentieth century was a place, or state of mind, in which the forces of darkness had their 9 days in the sun, to try to convert the earth into their private vision of how the universe should be run, with every living creature bowing to their unholy egos. But every single one of those people believed they should be the ultimate god in our material universe and reign over all the worlds and all beings. 

     We beat them, one at a time, with our love and understanding. They either saw the light that had been beyond their powers of perception, or they died, believing they'd been personally betrayed by all of us who failed to acknowledge their right to rule over everyone and everything. 

     Our battles were not with swords, sometimes, not even with words. We fought our battles in the lands of ideas, concepts, emotions and aspirations. Most of us stumbled along, believing we were not connected, that we were all in this separately and had no allies we could count on. 

     It was a wonderful day indeed when we realized that we had all been part of a plan, part of a design. And somehow, our misgivings and imperfections had not combined to ruin our chances. Something higher had managed to tease us along, praising our positive efforts, teaching us to let go of our negative designs, shining a little more light on the beautiful landscapes within each of us. 

     Neither were our paths free of set backs and apparent failures. 

     Even as we neared our goal I remembered that I'd been to places (or states of mind?) where I'd known the air was alive and aware of me, where I've known that every particle of creation loved all of us. Where the trees and flowers and bugs and critters all loved me and thought I'd be the perfect human to watch over them and enjoy their company. I felt I'd failed miserably when I'd let the confused ones convince me that I had to do anything as silly as 'work for a living' inside the guidelines of the ungodly rules of men who did not have our happiness or well being at heart. And it became obvious that living by their rules kept all of us from living the lives we wanted to live, that we had been meant to live. 

     And now, as I tell you all this history, I wish I remember exactly what it was that we did and when we did those everyday, overlooked, yet extremely important, small acts of kindness and love that inched our entire race at such a maddeningly slow pace toward the 'heaven on earth' that finally manifested as something we could all love and feel part of. Something we all knew our highest selfless ambitions had helped to create. 

Adventures in buying computers...
by dj otterson

   A major event: My credit card company decided to reward me for being a good little consumer and paying my credit card bills on time by sending me an application for a new credit card. Being suspicious by nature, I wondered if they'd discovered a new way to hit me up for more or larger fees. The propaganda they sent me said this application was for a "Platinum Card" with up to a $5,000 credit limit. I guess I'm a sap by nature, and figured it couldn't hurt, so I filled out the application and mailed it (business reply mail, no cost to me) back to them.

   So, a very short period of time went by and I got an oversized envelope in the mail that looked like it came from my credit card company, welcoming me as if I was a new customer. It said my new card would come in five to ten days, if it hadn't already arrived.

   Those five to ten days passed and the card arrived, not a platinum card, but another "Gold Card" and it said the credit limit wasn't $5,000, but $2,000. I wasn't crushed. I've learned not to expect much from any business. One of my closer friends has made a point of saying, "There's a reason the merchant class was one step up from the 'Untouchables' in the Hindu Caste System." Most business people can probably spell 'honesty' but I wouldn't want to bet any real money (or anyone's life) on their ability to understand the concept behind the word. (I found it very interesting that Jim has defined 'Corporate Ethics' within the concept of his 'Game World' as: "You hope other people play by the rules, because that gives you an unfair advantage." [It's fun to have insightful friends, especially when they share your values...]

   Okay, so a couple weeks go by, and I thought I'd check out a couple of the links we've been adding to this site. Power On Computing? Hmmm? Looks like they have some good deals on used or refurbished computers. I don't know whether it's my Aquarius Ascendant, Scorpio Sun, or my Sagittarius moon, but I really really hate it when I slam up against limitations, and my old Power Mac (pre- G3) just couldn't do a couple things the newer kids on the block took for granted. 

   I'm not stupid, I don't like spending money I haven't earned yet. But a couple friends have been telling me that I could probably be making 'real money' if I let it be known that my web skills and computer skills have improved to where they are? So I checked back with Power On's pages a couple times and noticed that their specials were disappearing fast. The cheaper G3 (350 MHz chip) disappeared. The 400 MHz G3 was a hundred bux more than the 350. Was it worth it? Of course I asked the wrong person and she said, "Wow, that's a good deal." so....

   I called the phone number and ordered the "Web package" It's supposed to come with a zip drive and 192 Megs of RAM and a DVD player and a 15 inch monitor and a 56 K Modem (& the keyboard and mouse). I talked to the salesman. I asked him about the keyboard and the modem and he said I could have an ADB keyboard and mouse. (Not very many people know this: The Blue and White G3's come with an ADB [Apple Desktop Bus] connection. Cool. We talked about modems. I asked if they were USB modems and he asked, "Is that what you want?" And I said, "Yeah." (?) So when I finished talking to the guy, I thought he was going to ship me a Blue and White G3 Mac with an ADB keyboard and Mouse and a USB 56k Modem. I also expected it would arrive by the following Friday. (He assured me it would be shipped on Monday and be here by Friday. I thought he wanted to charge me more money and ship it overnight, but I thought I'd rather eat a coupe meals than spend money on shipping that I didn't need to spend.

   Okay, shame on me, I believed the salesman. #1. They didn't ship on Monday, they waited until Thursday. So I took Friday off for nothing. (So I could be there when the packages arrived.) Luckily, I had plenty of time, so I took Monday off, too. On Monday the Fed Ex truck pulled into my driveway and walked one package up to the door, asked me to sign something, I asked if there were more than one package, the driver said no, I said I was expecting a whole computer system, the driver looked at the box, it didn't say anything like box one of two or two of two or anything. The package was heavy, so I carried it into the house (after signing for it) and opened it. Just the monitor. A fifteen inch apple multiscan monitor without the tilt and swivel stuff it was born with. I gritted my teeth.

   So I took Tuesday off. The Fed Ex driver pulled into the driveway and, with a big smile, announced, "Here's the other box you were looking for yesterday." I signed for it and got a look at the shipping label which announced that it was shipped 4 days later than the salesman said it would be shipped. No big deal.

   Then I opened it. Shame on me for believing salesmen #2. SCSI Modem. Shame on me #3. The modem port on the G3 is covered over by a nice piece of stainless steel or stainless steel look alike with a cute picture of a telephone on it. (The signal that a modem connection would be there?) Shame on me #4 The keyboard and mouse were standard USB, the narrow version that shipped with iMacs? That's what it looks like.

   Now the big set back. The G3 came with what certainly looked to me like a non-standard video card. It came to me with a Rage 128y (?) card with a "Universal VGA" connection for a monitor (It wants an IBM type Monitor.) The monitor they shipped me has a standard Mac monitor configuration (DUI?) Shame on me # 5, 6 & 7? I did not immediately get on the phone and start screaming like a maniac at them for shipping me a system with incompatible parts.

   Okay, I've got this 'problem solving' mentality. I called the local CompUSA and told them I needed an adapter to plug a Mac monitor into a VGA connection. The guy on the phone said, "Yeah, we got them, Fifty bucks."

   So, on my way out to CompUSA, I stopped off at an obscure little computer store run by oriental immigrants. They have a VGA to Mac connector for $15.00 Not $50. I bought it. (I bought stuff from them before and brought it back when it was the wrong part, wrong configuration or wrong length, so they know I'm a flake and like me anyway.)

   Then I went to CompUSA and looked at their fifty dollar part. -Exactly the same thing. I hurried home and thought I could hook the monitor up to the G3... I mean, that's reasonable, right? Sorry. The adapter is for hooking an IBM monitor up to a Mac Computer, Not hooking a Mac Monitor up to an IBM type connection on a stupid video card.

   I went back out to CompUSA and zoomed right in on the tiny selection of exotic connection adapters they have there, and nope, not a chance that they have the right one. I must look scary to salesman (maybe they all instinctively know that I don't trust them and basically don't like them, don't really like anybody who has decided that it's okay to be anything less than, well, maybe 80% honest for a living?) (Do I have high standards? Yes. Shame on me for that? No way.) So anyway. a Salesman swooped in on me and nervously asked if he could help me with something. (People who look like they know what they want must be an occupational hazard for salesmen. My native intensity might also be a little scary.) I told him what I needed, he pointed at the backward adapter, I explained that it was backward. (needed to be "male" where it was "female" and female where it was male... made a comment about sexist computer connections that made him look like he thought I could be dangerously unbalanced...) He tried to look believable and told me he'd told them they should have a larger selection of gadgets and gizmos, and said I'd probably have to go to some online catalog service for the part I needed. 

   I frowned, thanked him and went on an extended quest for exotic adapters... got nowhere. I went home. Called half a dozen stores that carry computers and none of them wanted to deal with this sort of exotic problem (Most of them having had their brains removed years ago so they could believe they were satisfied with IBM clones and Microsoft shit.) Then I went back out and visited the same old stores I'd been to earlier, then branched out and tried Computer Renaissance (where the clerk said, "They sold you a video card for a pentium based machine. Even if we had anything like that, which I doubt, it would be somewhere in there... [he pointed to a pile of boxes and assorted disarray] we're remodeling." And I thought I needed a little more frustration, so I'd visit a couple Radio Shack stores. The first store acted like I just might be terrorist looking for something I could use to trigger a stolen nuclear device. In the second Radio Shack store, Nobody swooped down on me (everybody was busy with other customers?) So I gravitated toward the guy behind the nearest counter who was just about finished conning a customer out of his name and address so they could add that person to their database and sell information about him to the highest bidder... When the clerk looked up and frowned at me I told him what I was looking for, he said they didn't carry anything like that, but began to rummage around behind the counter. I didn't really believe he just might have one back there. But this was strange enough behaviour to capture my interest. He found a phone number and dialed it, looked at me like I was interfering with his personal life, but then started talking on the cell phone, identified himself (and I noticed his little Radio Shack ID badge said "Manager" on it.) and said, "I have a customer who needs to hook a Macintosh Monitor up to a VGA Connector." I blinked and a couple minutes later, forked over 18 bucks for a $12.99 connector. (plus shipping and handling) He said "Seven to Ten days-" and I probably looked heartbroken. He shrugged, "That's the best I can do. Might get to you sooner, but we can't guarantee that..." 

   So I waited a little more than a week, and sure enough, it arrived, 

   and guess what? 

   I now own two stupid backward connectors that were made to connect IBM monitors to Mac computers, not Mac monitors to stupid rage 128 cards.

- ¿ - ? -

Part Two?

   Okay, So I talked to a couple of my favorite women tonight, I showed them the first part of this article, they had a good laugh. One of them asked me why I didn't get back on the phone to power on computing and raise hell, threaten all kinds of bad publicity and demand they send me a system that works. The other thought I should find out who the culprit was, find out who might have maliciously messed with my new, slightly used, computer and make his life 'interesting'. Consensus seemed to be that 'they' probably pulled good stuff out of the computer to sell at premium prices and stuck me with something they couldn't give away. 

   Um, I was tempted. I've seen wild and far reaching plots for vengeance and poetic justice hatch themselves in micro milliseconds within the confines of my imagination. (I'm a writer. That's what I do. I grew up watching televisions. They fill us with all sorts of violent images and 'getting even' seems to be a popular theme.) But I love those bumper stickers that smile at you and grin, "Kill your Television Set!" And I have this unhealthy urge to question everybody's perceptions, especially (at times) mine. So when I had this inspiration to jump on the web and fire up my local Google search engine to see if Rage128 cards' manufacturers had any handy solutions, I thought that might be at least slightly more wise than getting ballistic on the phone with a salesman who's only crime tonight (maybe?) could have been answering the wrong phone call at the wrong time... And I really don't like making a fool of myself unless I have all the facts, and know I'm "Dead Right!" (before I start scaring the pants off of innocent bystanders?)

   Google is a great search engine. I probably had half a million sites to choose from to look at stuff, anything I wanted to know about Video accelerator cards. Lots of stuff I "couldn't give a rat sass about." [how's that for creative euphemisms?] So I tried another search: "VGA to Mac Monitor adapters" And after I blinked I found myself with the first ten of half a gazillion possible sites to click on...

   The first couple pages I looked at put egg all over my face. Apparently, New Mac Monitors use 15 pin connectors that are just about identical to VGA connectors. Oops. Good thing I didn't go postal before I did my homework. Just before complete despair set in, I clicked on a link to "We Love Macs dot Com" and right there on their index html page, there's an adapter that says "VGA to Mac Monitor" [not 'VGA Monitor to Mac']. Hmmmm.

   I clicked on the oddly shaped adapter, found myself on a new page, watching this fuzzy space ship shaped thing 'virtually' materialize and take shape before my own two little eyes... of course the edge that would tell me everything I needed to know took an awfully long time to snap into focus... Bingo! They had one! Guh-zactly what I need. $13.50.

   I was still in "Reality Testing" mode, so I read a little more, pinched myself, and the adapter did not turn into a space ship and shoot off into web heaven or web purgatory or worse yet, Bill Gates Land.... So I pulled out my last credit card receipt and did some furious calculating, I could even afford the danged thing. Pinched myself again... Yes I could feel it. What's wrong? The world has to end in about ten minutes, right? bin Laden's gonna walk onto Manhattan with a Molotov Cocktail in his hand and the U.S. 'Armed Services' are going to make sure they get him by having a 50 Megaton Nuclear Device Home in on his cell phone when they call him to tell him he's just won a free trip to Disney Land if only he switches his phone company to one that promises anything but delivers bills that keep pharmacists in business selling anti-palpitation drugs.

   God Bless "We Love Macs dot Com". & Lets hope I don't have a new chapter of this stupid tale next week.

- ## 30 ## -

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