What’s in a name? That which we call a (bean)….

I know, beans don’t write. They lack opposable thumbs and functioning brains, among other things. Snip the snark, please. I’m aware I have a set of opposable thumbs 😉

Rotting leaves don’t crunch, and beans don’t write. That said, do bear with me.

A long time ago, when I was very young and even more gullible than I am now, I met a Sicilian priest (henceforth referred to as Fr. What-A-Waste, thank you Ms. M. D. Russell). The reason for his extended stay in parents’ house merits a whole other post. One that involves alligators, reformed cannibals with poisoned darts, a runaway Jeep and an emergency med-evac. At least, that was what he told me.

But you see? A whole other post.

But I digress. The following is a reconstruction of one of our conversations. I’ve taken creative license to fill in the gaps in my memory. The salient points though, are true. In my defense, this exchange took place a long time ago.

Fr. What-A-Waste:   Do you know what you’re named after?

Me:                           Yes. I was named after a Queen of Belgium.

Fr. What-A-Waste:   (smirk) I said “what”, not “who”. You’re named after a bean.

Me:                           (outrage) You’re lying. What queen would call herself a bean?

Fr. What-A-Waste:   You’ll have to ask her. But it’s true. The Italian root word that forms                                          the basis of your name means “bean”. Trust me.

Me:                           Why? You said all Italians lie.

Fr. What-A-Waste:   So?

Me:                           You’re Italian.

Fr. What-A-Waste:   No, I’m Sicilian. We’re different. Sicilians don’t lie.

Me:                           Don’t Sicilians run the Mafia? Doesn’t that mean they lie all the time? At                                    least to the police?

Fr. What-A-Waste:   See, you just proved my point. Even you know about the Mafia. And                                          you’re….

Me:                           Complete your sentence, I dare you.

Fr. What-A-Waste:   (pregnant pause) But you’re missing the point. My point is —

Me:                           I’m a vegetable?

Fr. What-A-Waste:   (laughs) No, not exactly.

Me:                           (Fab’s patented Death Glare)

Fr. What-A-Waste:   My point is that you are a bean. A seed. You need time, nurture, love.                                      And above all, patience. Little bean, you need patience.

Perhaps I should’ve mentioned that I was bawling over my algebra homework when he walked into the living room. He left after telling me to think about it. And I did. For a few minutes anyway. Then I returned to my homework.

So maybe beans can’t write. But with time, nurture, love and more than a little patience, this little bean hopes to learn how.

Until next time.


Let’s go to the hop

“Hop, hop, Mr. B! No time to waste!”

– Little Sister, Bioshock.

This phrase was the first thing that popped into my mind when I first heard the term “blog hop”. The second was the refrain to “Let’s go to the Hop” by Danny and the Juniors.

No worries though. Last I check, I found no syringe-wielding little sisters, Big Daddies and their giant drills or splicers in the place. I found no sign of Danny or the Juniors either.

Thanks for stopping by. Do take your time to browse my blog, and I hope you’d drop a line to say hi. Then just click on one the links below and hop on to the next blog.

Kevin writes novels about superheroes. He’s got a unique voice, and his homepage is easy to navigate, even for a self-confessed tech-dunce like me. Visit his homepage first, and you stand a chance to win a copy of his second book.

The resourceful and ever-helpful Mr. Foster’s cyber home is an eclectic treasure trove of story snippets, hints and tips, interviews and odd, random thoughts. Kindly pay him a visit, remember to wipe your feet on the welcome mat, and drop him a line.

Until next time 😀

Attack Cat Extraordinaire

First, the unfinished business. The serpent lurks in point two of my previous post. I can carry a tune. That’s about it though. Was the lie too easy to spot? Any tips on how I could be a better liar?

Oops, I mean, how I could write more convincing prose? 😉


A friend of mine mentioned that I probably ought to introduce Zelda. Or rather, Her Royal Majesty, the Princess Zelda, Attack Cat Extraordinaire.

We got Zelda from Petco after extensive, persistent campaigning from my son, henceforth referred to as El Kiddo. She was a rescue cat. To paraphrase the character Adam Young, from Gaiman and Pratchett’s Good Omens, Zelda is a genuine, 100% purebred mutt. Or whatever’s the feline equivalent of “mutt”. The Petco lady told us she was found, with her litter of siblings, in a locked car under the broiling Southern California sun. Of all her siblings, she was the only one to survive.

Bad things should happen to whoever left the kitties there. Just sayen.

At the time we adopted her, she was known as Piglet. El Kiddo announced that since she had proven herself to be a fighter, she deserved a more legendary name. He wanted to name her Link, after the MC in the Legend of Zelda series of Nintendo games. Then we pointed out that Link is a male character and Zelda was, emphatically, a she. So he named her Zelda. He never liked Piglet as a character anyway.

In Indonesia, where I’m originally from, we believe naming is important. People/animals acquire characteristics of whatever we name them after. Well, this certainly held true for Her Royal Majesty.

Not for her the plebeian comforts of a cat bed. Not even El Kiddo’s bed. At least, not the whole night. She stays just long enough to scare away nocturnal monsters and for El Kiddo to fall asleep. Then it’s off to the main bed, where presumably, she thinks she’s fulfilling the same function.

Her water must be fresh and cool, straight from the tap. She’s learned how to turn the faucet on by herself, should her humans prove unable to satisfy her whim with adequate speed. Stale bowl water for the Princess? Perish the thought. And getting the wrong (read: different) brand of cat food is an unthinkable, deviant act against nature itself. Almost sacrilegious.

Yes, we love her to distraction. Especially El Kiddo.

As for the final part of her title? Ah, that I will leave for her to elaborate. Needless to say, I shall act as Her Royal Majesty’s humble interpreter and scribe 🙂


I was recently reminded that I’m a terrible liar. Since I write fiction, and fiction is, by definition, stuff I made up… you see where I’m going with this? Therefore, contrary to the popular stance that honesty is the best policy, I’ve decided to try and become a better liar.

Purely for professional reasons, you understand. Any professional worth his/her salt should always strive to hone his/her craft, don’t you agree?

I’m going to start small. Let’s play a game I call “Spot the Lie”. Three of the following four are true. One is complete, made-up hogwash. You can man/woman up and post your guess in the comment box. Or just keep it in your head and check back later when I reveal the proverbial serpent in the garden. Here goes:

1) A priest bought me my first dog and we ate it in a curry sauce. During our meal we discussed the Western tradition of announcing upcoming nuptials with a diamond engagement ring, and the local tradition of presenting a Portuguese hand cannon. On one hand, the diamond ring is easier to show off at the engagement party and significantly easier to find than the hand cannon. On the other hand, just look at the divorce rates in Western countries. Maybe that which we obtain too easily, we do value too cheaply.

2) I have an ongoing unrequited love affair with music. While I love it to distraction, it does not appear to love me. I’m completely tone deaf and can’t carry a tune to save my life. Not even if it comes in a bucket. When he was a baby, my son would break into uncontrollable howls if I so much as hummed a few bars. Therefore, I’ve resigned myself to loving music from afar, as a humble listener.

3) My name isn’t my actual real first name. When my parents told the priest (older, stickler for rules) the name they wanted me baptized with, he balked. He said the name my parents chose was not a proper name because that particular saint was de-canonized. They must come up with another name right then and there. Otherwise, they’d have to wait another 6 months to re-schedule the whole thing. So, pulling a name out of thin air, I was christened “Margareta”. Nobody calls me by that name. At least, not anyone who seriously expect me to respond.

4) My mother has asthma and is severely allergic to fur. Growing up, I’ve only have ever had fish and the odd terrapin for pets. That said, after I left for college, my family somehow managed to acquire a vegetarian dog and a rooster.

Let the guessing begin 🙂

Beginnings are hard.

The Attack Cat

The Attack Cat


In a dozen different parallel universes, this blog started in a dozen different ways. In one, maybe something from the files of Zelda, Attack Cat Extraordinaire. In another, contrasting tales of babies in cans, both the paint and trash varieties. Cans, I mean, not babies. Babies are precious.

Except maybe the xenomorph variety. But that could be just me.

In yet another, maybe a little something about the first time I had a fresh-baked scone. A proper English one. Soft, moist, warm. A distinctly unhealthy dollop of cream slathered on top. Strains from the university music students, busking for spare change around the corner.

Or maybe debating the merits of using “siphon” as opposed to “suck”, particularly in the context of eating curried lamb bones.

In more than a dozen others, I’ve thrown up my hands in despair and given up on the whole darn enterprise. Last I checked, there are over 100 million blogs out there. Who needs another?

I suspect the hardest part about beginnings lies in deciding to begin. And after that? The universe provides. Or multiverse, if you prefer. The point is that I have begun. In this particular universe, I began with a sample of the things sleeting through my mind. And my writing, of course. At unannounced, random points, I shall probably, maybe, possibly, blog about my writing.

I am notoriously shy about my writing.

Beginnings are hard.