Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Poem - The Monster of Moarning

A great many ideas come and go, lost to the eternal sands of time, merely for lack of intiative. I often find myself contemplating some wonderful story or brilliant scheme only to consign it, in an instant, to oblivion for want of pen and pad. This is something that most people must struggle with in one form or another, as the human mind can be terribly fickle. This is precisely the reason why I resolutely refuse to create anything in segments, where possible, as attempting to continue an unfinished project all too often forces the artist to rekindle a long-dead fire with the hopes that the fuel burns as brightly as before. In other words, an idea is never quite the same on subsequent visits, and while this can occasionally be a very important aspect of writing a good story, it all too often results in something altogether... hazy. Thus is the origin of the following poem, my first in at least a year, The Monster of Moarning: a vivid image elaborated on and developed in a single late night spree of inspiration before consuming the night hours and growing to fruition.

While I generally refrain from weaving too much metaphor and allegory into my writing (sometimes a rose is just a rose, and sometimes a story is just a story), it's often unavoidable. The following poem actually refers to depression, or rather to those afflicted by it. Where Moarning is a play on mourning (not, as some have interpreted, morning), our monster is the subject, driving those away with it's misery until some brave souls find the courage to lend their strength. The monster ultimately, as is the case with a great many people, grows tired of their attention and demands more, driving away those who sought to give help.

And now, as promised, The Monster of Moarning:


To the south of the hills, in a land very far
from the land that we know of the sun's searing bars
lies a land where the dark shrouds the moon and the stars,
where a troubador's spirits would scarcely but fall;
a land full of sorrow. I'll give you this warning
all but once, you'd be wise
to fear the land known as Moarning.

For deep in this land, at the heart of this fear,
lies the ghastly, atrocious, apparently clear
executioner's nightmare, the heart of the scorning,
the vile, ferocious Monster of Moarning.

For ages the beast lay alone in this land
enraged, for its misery could only command
that the night would remain and the color would drain
from the formerly glorious green meadowlands;
that the evil inside would transform from within
and bring chaos and sorrow to a now-barren land.

Then at last when all had been long since abandoned
a sight caused the creature to let loose a roar,
for up on the hills rose an old covered wagon,
inside were the bravest the gods could have born.

From inside of the wagon the four men outpoured
at the horror and pain of the inhuman roar,
and for the first time they witnessed the poisonous land
engulfed by the suffering creature at hand,
for they were but four of the heroes of yore
embroiled for years in the Great Heroes' War,
and returning to home after long decades passed
found the truth of their homeland's unfortunate past.

But the men felt not anger, for they were greater than we.
No, they felt only pity, for how could it be
that a creature of earth, deemed unfit by the fates,
could be subject of such a miserable state?
And how could this joyously fortunate band,
having valiantly ousted the spirits of war,
let their beautiful meadowland homeland of Moarning
sink to the depths of time's dark ocean floor?

So the heroes found courage, and mounted a scheme
'neath the horrible creature's eyes' horrible gleam.
They showered the monster with tokens and gifts,
and honored the beast that we all would abhor.
And under its sickening, glowering eyes,
and dangerous claws, and glistening teeth,
they rebuilt the walls and relit the skies,
and the creature felt feelings from long since before.

With Moarning resettled, the creature a god,
favours gave out much less oft than before,
the sorrow that clawed at its conscience consumed him.
Then the offerings ceased.
Then the evil arose.

With his hunger unsated
the dread monster screamed
and he thrashed,
and he roared,
and he gnashed
'till he'd gleaned
every last morsel from every last bone,
as a demon let loose from it's demonic throne,
until after the carnage was all that remained:
the pitiful Monster of Moarning, alone.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Stench of Brilliance

Let it be known that I like zombies. They're a sort of hobby of mine. With this in consideration, I would like to share a few revelations.

Firstly is last month's release of the online co-operative survival horror masterpiece known as Left 4 Dead. Any gamer should be familiar with this title by this point, which places four human survivors in one of several diverse locales where they must work together to fight their way through a zombie hoarde to safety. I've been following the development of Left 4 Dead since it first went public, and to say that it meets expectations is an incredible achievement. Survivor beware - these aren't your standard slow, stupid zombies. Instead, expect something more akin to the infected from 28 Days Later and I Am Legend.

Left 4 Dead Intro

Similarly excellent is a comic series - oddly enough - by Robert Kirkman (artists Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard). The Walking Dead is an aptly-named portrayal of a group of survivors, lead by small-town police officer Rick Grimes, struggling to exist in a world stricken by a zombie apocalypse. The series is unique in that the focus is placed not so much on the typical disaster-driven content of other mainstream comics, as Kirkman feels no need to further dismantle an already-rotting world, but rather the relationships between the people in this world, and the breakdown of established roles in the face of chaos. While the zombies are certainly a compelling and prominently featured component, the true genius lies in the emotional connections formed with the survivors as they must deal with a threat more dangerous than the encroaching ghouls: each other.

Also, for the uninitiated, any self-proclaimed zombie fan is obligated to read the following. Written by mastermind Max Brooks comes

World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide

For those who missed it last time, be sure to check out Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in the survival precursor to Shaun of the Dead. On a predictably unrelated note, I'm nearing completion of a poem, one of the first I've written in ages. I will showcase it in the near future.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Best Birthday Present Ever?

Today, as Facebook reminds us, is my birthday. November 23. The date really is pretty unremarkable, except that - at least by some counts - it is the first day of Sagittarius, and occasionally falls on Thanksgiving (my actual date of birth being such an example. O' the irony!).

In any case I'm not a big fan of the idea, celebrating one's birthday. The celebration is fine, but with it comes the gifts and the special treatment and the fuss, all for being born. If anything, I feel, one should celebrate their birthday by GIVING gifts as a token of their thankfulness for having been born in the first place. I will say, though, that several years ago I recieved a gift unlike any other. (Note: right click and save as to view the file. While this is a sketchy way to share anything, it will have to do until I take the time to better present it here.)

It's really quite incredible, what can be done with a bit of free time, bouncy music, and an internet handle.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Youtube Videos We Can Believe In

Already, the President-elect is bringing about change in the way our government works. For those who don't remember their history lessons, Franklin Roosevelt made history by circumventing the press and speaking directly to the people via his periodic Fireside Chats. The tradition hasn't died, and while Presidents Kennedy and Reagan mastered the transition to television, Obama is bringing a new act to the table three-quarters of a century later.

For the first time, the President's weekly messages to the public are taped not only for radio broadcast, but for publication on the web. The weekly videos are to be posted on Youtube for easy access by everyone.

The Obama Administration has created a website specifically for the transition into the White House, which you can find here.

Now if only our new President could stop fiddling with his Blackberry.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Improv Everywhere - Not a Flash Mob

For those of you who aren't aware, a flash mob is described as "a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse." The first flash mob occured in Manhattan in 2003, and is credited to Bill Wasik, but similar gatherings have been occuring for much longer (see Mobile Clubbing and Pillow Fights) .

Improv Everywhere, as described on their own website, "causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places. Created in August of 2001 by Charlie Todd, Improv Everywhere has executed over 70 missions involving thousands of undercover agents." But while they seem quite similar to a well organized flash mob, they differ in certain key details, namely the amount of time an action is performed as well as the anonymity of those involved.

Below is, if I may say, one of Improv Everywhere's finest achievements: The Food Court Musical.

The Food Court Musical

Visit Improv Everywhere's official site, or check out the Urban Prankster social network to get involved in your own community.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Soundscapes: Morcheeba

Being away from this blog for so long makes it difficult to get back into the swing of things, but after the excitement of weekly essays and road trip photos I began to run low on truly original content. Between that and the lengthy process of relocating to Orlando, I've neglected my portfolio out of a bit of both necessity and sloth. In short, I've not been very productive lately.

With that said, I'd like to present Morcheeba, the subject of my second Soundscapes post - something I hope to make a regular feature. Spearheaded by DJ Paul Godfrey and his multi-instrumentalist brother Ross Godfrey, along with the lilting vocals of singer Skye Edwards, this British band mixes heavy influences of trip hop, rock, and R&B with the occasional spicy dash of electronica.

While Skye was ousted from the band in 2003 (to be replaced by Daisy Martey), Morcheeba continues to be responsible for intense, soulful soundscapes.

Featured below are videos for the songs Rome Wasn't Built in a Day and Be Yourself from the album Fragments of Freedom.

Morcheeba - Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

Morcheeba - Be Yourself

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Poem - To Fate...

At the risk of skirting the subject of my prolonged absence, I present - without further adieu - one of my earlier poems, entitled "To Fate..."


In such a present where every day stings,
where truths are seraphim on golden wings,
where one must suffer by another's hand
and we lose what we gained conscript from the land;
Where the people who turmoil, the strong and the meek,
can never agree, though the same things they seek;
Where promises are quite often recalled
(though in truth, friend and foe mean nothing at all);
It is these things - and more! - which we wish to repair,
and yet we just sit, decrepit, in despair.
So tell me now, friend, speak bold! speak true!
What sort of future have I to look to?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Legend Passes

This comes a bit late, but I am inclined to make a mention anyway. Many have already heard, but famed comedian George Carlin passed away in Santa Monica, California last Sunday as a result of heart failure. Carlin reveled in his status as a contemporary great, a comedic milestone, and a social philosopher.

His only major regret in life, as stated by himself, was the impact his drug use has had on his daughter. George Carlin's comedy has entertained millions, and his truth has affected many of us. Carlin was 71.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sky Sailing

Two weeks have passed since I intended to bring up my glider adventure. Instead of going into details, I've decided to share some photos.

See the rest of the photos here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I'd like to take a moment this morning to share another remarkable video from MoveOn.org's Obama In 30 Seconds contest. Meg Pinsonneault uses claymation to take a fresh approach to a political ad.

Meg Pinsonneault - Imagine...

The contest is down to some 15 finalists, and the winner's video will be aired on television. Visit Obama In 30 Seconds to support Meg's video and view the other finalists.

Taking Flight

Four hours from now, I am set to take flight.

Rather, I've booked a ride in an engineless glider plane this afternoon. I've been intrigued by the thought of unpowered flight for awhile, and have been considering the pursuit of a hobbyist pilot's license. Of course, I'll never be able to afford such a hobby, but who wouldn't want the bragging rights? You never know when you'll need to fly a plane to escape a secret military installation.

Seriously, though; this is some cool shit.

Glider Aerobatics

Oh, and happy May Day, you yanks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

There is Hope

There Is Hope - Jonathan Reed
Featured above is an interesting video by Jonathan Reed. Reed is one of many individuals who submitted clips to the Obama in 30 Seconds contest sponsored by MoveOn.org. The contest has brought out some impressive talent. Videos can be viewed and voted for after signing up.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Bush Booed

In what must be an unprecedented event in American history, President George W. Bush was openly booed when he appeared at the Washington Nationals baseball game on Sunday (3/30/08). The President appeared to throw the ceremonial first pitch of the season - a remarkably good pitch, I understand, where Presidents are concerned.

President Bush appears to what could generously be called a mixed reception.

It's remarkable how everyone involved manages to ignore the crowd.

And I thought I wouldn't have anything else to post about this month.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Yes, We ALL Can

There probably isn't anybody who's going to read this who isn't well aware of my support for Barack Obama's campaign bid. With that said, a video was posted on Youtube today interviewing a class of students from the Bronx High School of Performance and Stagecraft and their reactions to Obama's racial speech earlier this month.

Anyone who's attended high school in the last decade should be duly impressed by these kids and their teacher. Obama's right: the American people are not the problem; they are the solution.

Students at Bronx Highschool for Performance and Stagecraft respond to Obama's 3/18 speech on race.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Zombie Shop

Addicts of Facebook may recognize the acronym AZDI. The American Zombie Defense Initiative, a large-ish community on the popular networking site, is a North American-based group dedicated to, you guessed it, fighting off the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

The point is, awhile back I had the time to entertain myself with such nonsense. Here are a couple of AZDI-related photoshops I slapped together.

American Zombie Defense Initiative Patch Submission

Zombies on the Road

Saturday, March 15, 2008

An Escape

Ben Croshaw - "Yahtzee" - isn't what one might call a well kept secret in the online community. In fact, the man is hugely popular among the tech-saavy masses, and for good reason. Satirist and Vlogger, Yahtzee was picked up by The Escapist Magazine last August after scouting a few game reviews he had posted on Youtube.

His reviews, released every Wednesday under the title "Zero Punctuation," are concise, witty, and often scathing looks at popular games, and are a must-see for any gamer out there.

FullyRamblomatic - Fable: The Lost Chapters

In other news, game developer Sora's long-awaited Super Smash Brothers: Brawl was released last Sunday on Nintendo's Wii console to much fanfare. The release has smashed multiplatform sales on all consoles by a considerable margin, and has seen consistently high reviews.

Meta Knight and Pit - Super Smash Brothers: Brawl

Now all Nintendo needs to do is fix the online play. In the meantime, feel free to post your friend codes: 0259 0003 9268

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Barack the Vote

If it isn't entirely apparent from previous posts, I'm a huge supporter of Senator Obama's campaign bid. I'm not the type, however, to argue with every other person over politics or what's right for the nation. At least, not unless there's a great fault in an individual's logic.

It's with that thought that I like to bring to attention the popular argument against the good Senator: experience. For his scrambling opponents, experience seems to be the key issue of this campaign. Experience - or rather, Obama's inexperience - appears to be the prime concern with the coming elections, and voters are being made well aware of this fact. Indeed, one would believe from the constant debates that a lack of experience in the executive branch has never been anything other than disastrous.

It's certainly an interesting argument, especially in the light of history. When experience is paramount, I find it interesting that the single most experienced politician ever to be named Commander in Chief has never been regarded as a spectacular leader. In fact, President James Buchanan has been consistently ranked dead last on the ladder of American Presidency. Conversely, Washington, Jackson, and Truman - some of the most renowned presidents in American history - had almost no real experience to speak of. Even Lincoln, the Great Emancipator himself, never attended college.

And let's not forget, nobody had a longer curriculum vitæ than Cheney or Rumsfeld.

In related news, Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am, in conjunction with director Jesse Dylan, produced a rather inspirational music video promoting Senator Obama's campaign. The song is written almost entirely using excerpts from Obama's speeches, and is called "Yes We Can."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mania de Fotografia

Four and a half grueling hours later, I've nearly completed optimizing the 200-something odd photos from this past summer for publication.

Unfortunately, my eyes are on the verge of explosion, so I have decided to quit for the evening and, instead, spent a moment to kickstart an album dedicated to Creative Photography. There are currently fifty photographs for your enjoyment, with more to come.

Also, look forward to 225 more photos from Summer '07 by Friday.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Well, 2007 is officially dead and gone, and most of us have long since ushered in the new year. Others, such as myself, keep writing 2007 on all of our papers.

Since I returned from the relatively-frigid north in time for the New Year, I've been busily working towards a previously-unknown equilibrium between the various elements in my life. Needless to say, my efforts have since taken a backseat to the real world. I have, however, begun work on compiling my photography into various public albums. While I am slipping further and further from fulfillment of my previous promise to deliver on a photo gallery of my East Coast trip, I have uploaded several albums as a sort of atonement.

Dia de los Muertos Celebration

On a fairly interesting side note, technology blog Gizmodo seems to have made quite a stir at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year. While Richard Blakeley's stunt is - quite honestly - hilarious, journalists and fellow bloggers alike are up in arms over the gradeschool humor. While repercussions won't likely extend beyond Blakeley's blacklisting, Rafe Needleman has some valid concerns.

Still, MAKE's TV-B-Gone does look pretty nifty.

About Me

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Nick Woll grew up in the Florida Keys, and is furthering himself in the fields of writing, software development, and web design. You can contact him at nwoll27 at gmail dot com.