CPU (post 1)


From a dusty window, orange light poured into a room filled with cardboard boxes. Some were labeled “books, clothes, shoes, and junk,” but most were labeled “fragile” in a haphazard pen. One box, battered and bruised, was labeled “Not Fragile, kick around to your heart’s content!” That one sat quietly near the trashcan by the door. Five large boxes labeled “Bed Stuff” and one small box labeled “Pillow” took up one wall while the other boxes were pilled high to the ceiling where an electric lamp flickered with wasted light. A loud snort came from the fabric boxes, and then a large sniff followed with a mucous filled spat. An arm sprung out from the fabric box closest to the window and hung listlessly from the side of the box. Clear thick mucous dangled from the finger tips for a while before being wiped off on the outside of the box. The hand, nail-bitten, bruised and stubby, felt on the ground for a moment, looking for something. Failing to find anything within reach, the hand and the arm retreated back into the box. There was a rustle, a mumble, and a very low curse as the box shook. Out from the fabric box the quilt-clad head of Corvus Parallax Ursa appeared.

Corvus, Para or CPU to her friends, lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps her whole life in a box. When her parents found her as an infant, she was in a box. Whatever she ate had to come from a box. For Halloween she would dress up as a box. For any formal occasion, including her cousin’s wedding, she would wear a dress with brown squares on it from a designer specializing in box fashion. She never goes out of her box, so long as she can help it. Unfortunately for her, though, she lived in a very non-box oriented world, a world where humans live peaceful (for the most-part) lives with beings of pure energy and beings that resemble animals, insects, plants, and everything in between. Corvus unhappily occupied the “everything in between” part of her world’s spectrum.

An orphan raised by a brain surgeon and a mechanic (both of which claim to be human but act suspiciously un-human), Corvus was soon found to be an ANGEL, an Anthromorphic Neo-Generation Electric Life-form. These beings have a distinct birth mark that resembles a pair of wings on their back, commonly called Wing Slits, which are used to identify ANGELs when they are born. CPU’s parents saw a simple pair of black wings on her back that happened to resemble crow wings, hence her first name. Of course most Wing Slits are black but who is to fault two loving parents. Being identified as belonging to a certain group is all well and good in CPU’s eyes, just another box to fit snuggly into, but ANGEL and international law dictates that once an ANGEL turns 2 they are to be assigned a personalized set of wings that match the mark on their back and a HALO (Hovering Analog Locating Office-port). The wings are usually hand crafted for the child by one of the elders of their village. Unfortunately for Corvus, she was an orphan living in a far away from any ANGEL village. As the saying goes, “ANGELs do their work in Maya, but live in Nirvana.” Since Nirvana is hard to get to, even by air, CPU’s parents had to go to a local wing dealer to get her a pair. Wing dealers use a government-backed system to produce wings for ANGELs born in Maya: they scan the child’s back, send the desired information into a computer, lay the child down on a cold metal table, and let the machine create and fit a pair of mechanical wings onto the child. It is a pain-less process, most of the time, and if the job is done in central Maya, the wings would not only be functional, they would be beautiful. That, unfortunately, was not the case with Corvus’s wings. Her parents went to West Maya to get her wings, an area notorious for both violence and mechanical know-how. They had a family friend, Jacob McNeal, who was at the time going into the wing crafting business. He was cheap, near, and a celebrated genius when it came to mechanized technology. Completely imbecilic when it came to children, safety regulations, and painkillers, but a genius nonetheless. Her wings to this day are among the most advance, black steel crow wings ever created. They are also the most painful. Corvus had to have her whole collar bone and part of her spine replaced with steel ones. Growing up, she was the only kid in class who wasn’t allowed to play with the magnets. And . . .

. . . .

SHUT UPPP!!!!!!!

Okay, I am taking over my own narrative! You gave them more than enough back story to satisfy even the most anal of critics. Yes, I like boxes, Yes Uncle McNeal, though sweet, is an incompetent boob when it comes to medicine, but for Gods sakes get over it. Oh and you there reading this, you probably forgot what was actually happening so let’s recap: it is late at night on the day I finally move into my apartment across the street from my university. I have just woken up from a very long nap (I went to sleep the moment I closed the door after Mom and Dad left). Oh and I am not 2. I am 23! And NO, I do not plan to keep these boxes around like this in my room; they were just for moving for Heavens sakes. Oh and that narrator you were listening to, THAT was my HALO. It talks. None stop. All the time.

“I do not!”


Okay, it mainly talks when it knows I can hear it. It drives me mad! But, before I get to that little mechanized mistake, I should probably get out of bed, I mean these boxes, I mean, well you know what I mean. Sheesh!

So here I am. . . Getting up . . . Just got to find my glasses. They must be somewhere in this box.

“Why not try, oh say, the box labeled ‘Eye Glass?’ You know the one by the foot of your make-shift box bed?” says my annoying government issued torture device.

There they are. Man, my room is a mess.

. . .

Aside from being a very bad morning person, CPU, is for the most part, deep down inside, a very good person. To everyone except her HALO. Where did all this animosity come from?  Well, it isn’t the HALO’s fault to be sure, but it may have something to do with how she acquires such a unique device. Most ANGEL’s receive their HALO’s after birth, right there in the hospital that same day as their parents rest. Receiving a HALO is all apart of the ANGEL registration process, you see. An ANGEL is born, registered into the hospital database, and their information is then even to ANGEL HQ where a blank HALO is selected for processing. Processing usually takes about an hour but on CPU’s birthday, something went wrong. Their was a malfunction at HQ during her, and countless other ANGEL’s, registration. Someone had hacked into the system in an attempt to send a virus into all new HALOs. Thankfully it was caught in time before anything too drastic happened. Unfortunately HQ could not destroy the virus programming in its entirety, they could only take away what made the program dangerous to others. In the end it was decided that the virus should be quarantined in the last HALO that was infected: CPU’s HALO.  It is a harmless defect, to say the least, but it did leave one very unique and disturbing quality to her HALO which has already been dealt with.

“And who ever heard of a flimsy metal disc that could talk and behavior like it is some higher sentient power! ARGH!” shouted Corvus into the darkness of her box-crowded room!

Still feeling the effects of a three day all-night packing binge, Corvus stumbles out of her box on her very shaky legs. Her hair is wild, curving up in little black tendrils all around her head. In the darkness she looks like a black sun rising above a mountainous range and into an orange sky. She kicks around some boxes, stumbles over the smaller ones and finally, with many blasphemies under her belt, she reaches the light switch next to the door. She releases a heavy sigh as she places her hands on her hips and stares blankly at her new abode.

“I guess I should start by fixing myself up, no sense in going back to sleep. Took me three hours just to get my happy ass up,” she says.

“Well, to be accurate you took about 4 hours to get up but who’s counting?” replies her imprisoned HALO.

“I want none of your sass today mister!” she replied.

Bending down by the trash can, CPU lifts up the badly bruised box labeled “Not Fragile, etc.” She peels back one side of the cardboard top and pulls out her silver HALO. With as little grace as it is possible for one of the female gender to perform, she tosses it on to her head and walks on before it has had sufficient time to connect to her DNA.


To be continued.


Well this isn’t exactly the beginning but . . .

You see, I have actually two story beginnings, both of which are for NaNoWriMo . . . One about a dragon and another about a sci-fi angel character. One is new and one is old. One has been a day dream for about a year or so and another was a past NaNoWriMo project.

The problem comes in where I don’t know which to put on the blog.



Yes both!

Depending on my sporatic writing ideas and work-load I will post two different stories: One with the working title of CPU and the other DL (Dragon’s Lair).

Is this insane?


Why do both in one month?

Because I am weird like that.

Look forward to CPU before Midnight tonight.


Much love,


Zulema Event Update

Hello all and happy Halloween!

This is a quick update before the beginning of NaNoWriMon.

On thursday November 4th is Zulema’s book release and as such I’ve been helping promote it the best way I can: spamming friends, family, and collegues through facebook, emails, etc.

One less annoying way of advertising Zulema’s book release is simply by blogging about the event and the people surrounding it.

For your informational needs, then, I present to you Fourteen Hills’ blog:


And Now for Something We’d All Enjoy

A list! A list of silly, random declarative humor!

The following list is based on the humorous “You might be a redneck if . . .” jokes made popular by the Blue Collar Comedy Tour Group and based on conversations between myself and my gal pals on facebook.

I present you, for your entertainment pleasure, You Might Be A Douche If . . .

You might be a douche if . . .

  1. You wear your sweater around your shoulders everyday for no reason.
  2. You demand sympathy after breaking up with someone on facebook WHILE publicly planning to go on a hot date with another person just hours after the break up.
  3. You are a member of the Tea Party.
  4. You throw away each ipod/iphone the second a newer version is out.
  5. You were cheering on the Phillys while wearing a Giants T-shirt last week.
  6. You think organic is the same as bare-back (don’t ask).
  7. You claim to love your fellow man but won’t give them directions to BART when asked because “you’re running late.”
  8. You work in the mission district and never feel bad about the food you have in your belly while every other person on the street is starving.
  9. If you dump someone because they are overweight.
  10. If you LIKE, truly fan-dom style LIKE, Twilight and think it is the best movie since Dracula.
  11. If you talked about fight club.
  12. If you only wear name brand clothing and don’t know what a Wal-mart is.
  13. If you have eight children, all of whom you put in disposable diapers and all of whom won’t eat anything but McDonald’s, and you claim to be an “environmentalist.”
  14. If you go to a country that you aren’t from, insist on hanging out with only the locals, and then make fun of the “tourists.”
  15. If you refuse to be emotionally open with your significant other but once you break up act like a weepy little B**tch to everyone in order to gather sympathy points.

Note: This list was compiled in order to make fun of and celebrate all of our flaws and is in no way an attack on any particular person and/or group of human beings. Also, no douches were harmed in the making of this list. Thank you.


Book Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Yet another new type of blog post! **le gasp!**

Yes, I am introducing another feature to Dragon’s Lair, called Book Reviews. From what I understand it, they are little snip-bits of insightful reader responses to various books and/or articles. . . or so my educational instructors would have me believe. . . this may change due to various climate related variables (i.e. if I happen to accidentally read something of the same quality as Twilight AND paid for it, expect to have a rant. I’m just being honest, and honesty is the best policy).

Anyway, without further ado, here is the review!

Alan Bradley’s award-winning debut novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, is a story about eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poisons and practicing ways of tormenting her two older sisters (the two roads often cross). The story takes place in 1950, when Flavia discovers a dead man and bird whose unfortunate ends are both equally connected to a single stamp. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life,” so states Flavia after the dead man breathes his final breath by her feet.
If that is not enough to hook any reader to this book, I don’t know what is!
Flavia is a witty, intelligent, funny, and charming character that is reminiscent of other famously precocious eleven-year-olds. Those that come most readily to mind are Matilda, Harriet the Spy, Ann from Green Gables, and little orphan Annie. Yet, she has a flavor unlike any other character. Her emotional development and intellectual curiosity combine to create scenes that are both heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. This is particularly true in scenes related to her father and mother: “I gave Father a silent hug to which, although he remained rigid as an oak, he did not seem to object.” Moreover, although in her dealings with death, distance, and danger she behaves with a maturity that surpasses her age group, we are constantly reminded that she is indeed a child. The things she faces are thus real in their potential impact on her. This creates a tension within the narrative that is not necessarily present in other books with child protagonists; a tension that has engaged adults and children ever since World War II. This makes Bradley’s debut novel an instant classic.


Artist in the Spotlight

Hello there Cyber-readers!

This is a new feature for Dragon’s Lair, where we find new, emerging artists and give them free-ad space … **cough** I mean some time in the spotlight.

Today’s guest is Sean Shaefer, a dear friend of mine from high school. Sean is currently a student at Ex’pression College for Digital Arts. He is an inspiring animation and visual artist whose hometown is little old Pinole (Pinole is that town on your way to Vallejo with the Trader’s Joe).

For more on Sean and his latest artistic creations, please click here: http://studentsites.expression.edu/~SSchaefer/

Peace, love, and Pancakes!

Local Events in SF Bay Area

Hello all,

This is a quick update (news on how APE 2010 went will come at a later time).

I think I failed to announce that I am currently taking a class called Fourteen Hills Literary Magazine. In all truth, though, this is more like an internship than an actual academic class. I am being schooled daily, through real-life experiences, just what it takes to hold down a full-time day job WHILE being apart of a literary magazine. I may grumble sometimes about the juggling act (as some of my close associates know), but I would not through away this experience for the world. Certain aspects of it, yes, but not the experience.

Beyond personal gain, however, this class/internship allows me to hear about events that are of the literary persuasion. Most take place in or around SF, so if you are in the area, please stop on by.

One event, in particular, is the release of Zulema Summerfield’s debut novel. The following information is directly from Fourteen Hills’ blog. (http://fourteenhills.blogspot.com/2010/10/2010-michael-rubin-book-award-winner.html)

Join us on Nov. 4, 2010, as we celebrate the release of Summerfield’s “revelatory” debut novel. You won’t want to miss seeing this up-and-coming author at the beginning of her career. Stay tuned for our interview with her, as well as more details on the sure-to-be-rocking release party.

Everything Faces All Ways at Once Release Party
Thursday, November 4, 2010
1141 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 377-3325 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (415) 377-3325      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
$12 donation (includes a copy of the book)

Zulema Renee Summerfield is originally from Redlands, CA. Her writing has appeared in Transfer Magazine, Sand Canyon Review, Chaffey Review, We Still Like, and 580 Split. She won the 2008 Clark/Gross Novel-in-Progress Contest as well as honorable mention in the 2009 Zoetrope Allstory Fiction Contest (judged by Yiyun Li). She received her MFA from San Francisco State University, and now lives “all over the place” with her husband, The Incredible Hulk, and their two cats.

As a staff member for this semester I will be there (it is a requirement). So if you can, I greatly encourage everyone to come.

This now concludes this week’s update. Now go to bed, work, school, and/or any of your other responsibilities.

Peace, love, and Pancakes.


Updates, Events and Upcoming News

First off, I  apologize for the lack of updates. I, the semi-fearless leader of Dragon’s Lair, have had more then a little bit of life-changing experiences lately.

Where to begin, where to begin …?

Well, I suppose the best place to begin is with my grand escape back in May. Yep, I have official joined the ranks of other college educated Americans worldwide. With my BA in English from UC Berkeley under my belt,  I dived head first into both graduate school and job applications. In truth, I had already applied for graduate school during my last year of college, but the waiting part, oh the waiting … the anticipation … how it is both thrilling and torturous … well that might as well be included in the application process (for logistical and sanity-related reasons). In a strange twist of fate, I’ve succeed in both endeavors: I now work a full-time job in SF while going to school for my MA part-time at SFSU.

Normally this leads to fan-fare, congratulatory hugs and kisses, and champagne flowing like water from the Russian River. However, this being my life, no such celebratory actions (beyond a close intimate dinner with friends and then with family) took place. Instead the past months have been a whirlwind of moving (found a temporary room in SF), job acclimation (Berkeley is nothing compared to a 40 hour work day), and graduate school work (the training wheels are off). Add my desire to keep my social life in tact (friends) and to do what is right by the ones I love the most (family), I have had little time to update as regularly as I should.

Does this mean the end of Dragon’s Lair? Will the dream end here just to be turned into yet another half-started day dream of an inspiring writer?

Please, if you have to ask that you don’t know this bibliophile/workaholic.

What it means is that for a while the postings will be infrequent at best, but they will happen. All I ask if for your patience.

New poetry, stories, photos and the like will be posted in the (hopefully) near future. Most postings will be about local artistic events, lectures, nonprofits, and such. Notification of these will depend on how soon I learn of them through the grapevine. If you have an event and wish for it to be announced here, please feel free to drop me a line at rtabooker@gmail.com.

Speaking of events, boy is San Francisco chock-full of them! With particular interest to Dragon’s Lair is APE 2010.

APE, the Alternative Press Expo, happens this Saturday and Sunday at the Concourse Exhibition Center. This is a great opportunity to connect with other visual artists, writers, independent publishers, and distributors. There is so much to learn and do during the 2 day event. More info can be found on the APE website: http://www.comic-con.org/ape/

Of course, I will be there but not as one of the tables (just another patron). But with any luck, Dragon’s Lair will be there next year.

In other news, October is half-way through which brings us closer to the all-encompassing month of November. Or as those who sacrifice sleep would know,  NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH! **cue mandatory lightening bolts**

November is National Novel Writing Month, a month where, for some bizarre and unfathomable reason, writers everywhere, from all walks of life, attempt to write one first draft of a full-length novel in one month. It is grueling 4 weeks and 3 days of non-stop writing. I will not lie, last year was a total failure. I barely made it to 2, 000 words. But this year is the year!

Why you may ask? How will you, who now works 40 hours a week, has two night classes and commutes home every weekend have time to write a full-length novel in 30 days?

One word: Blogging.

Starting November 1st, I will post the unedited 1st draft as it is being written. Grammar mistakes, spelling errors and a shamble of a plot-line will cover the front pages of Dragon’s Lair for 30 days.

Why demonstrate a terrible first draft to the world?

Why not?

Dragon’s Lair is about art and nothing but art! However, something that most people don’t want to admit is that to create art, you have to get messy. Clay is found in the ground along with feces, death and decay, yet we still use it to create fine china. Proof in point, look at your dishes, and try to find one that is worth something but didn’t come from dirt. Try it. Go on. I’ll wait.

Giants are doing well this year.



No one usually wants to see someone digging out the clay, because it is hard, dirty work (I say usually because of the show Dirty Jobs … for some reason when Mike Rowe is involved everyone wants to watch a man put male turkey semen into a female turkey… go figure).

So, to demonstrate the creative process, encourage younger writers to get off their facebook pages and create, and to foster a sense of community among other NaNoWriMO travelers, I will post my “shame.”

With any luck, some porcelain can be found under all the rubble.

To recap:

updates will happen more often, but still be sporadic


And let the preparations for NaNoWriMo begin!

Peace, love and pancakes