Sunday, 28 November 2010

The Giant Panda

Giant Panda

The Giant Panda (Latin name Insolitus Vultus Cattus per a Frendo Visio, which literally translates as 'Strangely-shaped Cat with a Bruised Face') is a bear native to the south coast of Britain. It is thought that the first pandas originated from the slow formation of minerals dripping from stalactites deep within the famous catacombs of Southampton. As a result of this, Giant Pandas are composed entirely of sediment, mineral compounds and iron ore. Although this makes them impervious to bullets, their high iron content makes them prone to rust. To combat this evolutionary disadvantage, Giant Pandas are able to hear rain clouds forming at a distance of up to ten miles away, and construct elaborate umbrellas to protect themselves from moisture. In 1921 August Van Cummings experimented with Giant Pandas as the basis for a new type of barometer. Unfortunately, the Giant Panda he was using was ill-tempered and chewed off Cummings' hand before he was able to patent his invention. Unsurprisingly, modern engineers are reluctant to replicate these experiments.

The Giant Panda subsists mainly on a diet of greasy take-away food, which probably accounts for its impressive size. Although most Giant Pandas will eat Curry, Pizza, Kebabs and Fish and Chips, the Giant Panda favours a Chinese takeaway above all others. It is estimated that an adult male can consume as many as fifty pounds of beef chow mien in a single sitting. In the last twenty years there has been a mass exodus of Giant Pandas from their native Britain to South East Asia, where their preferred food source is more abundant and less expensive. It is also thought that Giant Pandas were disillusioned with Western politics, and are sympathetic to the Maoist Communist Regime. (Citation needed.) The few that remain in Britain tend to abstain from voting in General Elections.

The Giant Panda can grow to seven metres tall and has distinctive black and white patterned fur. Scientists think that the two black patches around the eyes of Giant Pandas are a result of bar brawls over territory, although the zoologists that study the creatures are too polite to inquire directly, and the Giant Pandas are obviously too embarrassed to broach the subject. Competing theories suggest that the markings are a result of the Giant Panda wearing too much mascara while watching the X Factor auditions.

Giant Pandas enjoying singing and the sound of Panda song has long been used as a narcotic in some parts of Europe. Similar in style to Barry Manilow, their melodic warbling has been known to put unwary travellers into hallucinogenic trances. In 1989, seventeen backpackers were rendered comatose by one Panda's particularly doleful rendition of 'Love in an Elevator' by Aerosmith.

For many years, the pharmaceutical company Xogenics Limited sold ether impregnated with Giant Panda song. This substance was marketed as an aphrodisiac, but in 2003 it was suggested that unscrupulous foot fetishists were using the substance to subdue their victims, before sucking their ankles and stealing their shoes. Several hundred victims came forward and Xogenics were forced to discontinue the product. The Giant Panda responsible for the song used by the company was so embarrassed by the débâcle, that she had extensive re constructive surgery and is now living in Surrey and working as a Gillian McKeith impersonator.

The Giant Panda is the only known mammal that reproduces by mitosis. When a Giant Panda is ready to reproduce, it burrows down into the earth, making a small chamber for itself about twenty metres underground. It then sheds its fur, revealing two smaller Giant Pandas. These two off-spring are genetically identical, although one of the pair is always pathologically evil. Sometimes the evil off-spring will grow a small, pointed goatee in order to distinguish himself from his twin. It is thought that all instances of deja vu are a result of Giant Panda mitosis occurring beneath the earth. Panda reproduction has also been blamed for the disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, the haunting at hill house and the world shortage of toblerone. Scientists who study Giant Pandas (Pandologists) are still not sure why this would be, but many believe that its just one of those things.

In popular culture, the Giant Panda is often referred to as the bringer of head lice, and many believe that if you invite a Giant Panda into your home, a case of nits is sure to follow. This is unsubstantiated, however, and it is more likely that you will receive a nasty smack in the mouth, as Giant Pandas are notoriously unsociable and demand Yorkshire puddings with every course of a meal. In Mexico, Giant Pandas are worshipped as Gods and in Ethiopia their skins are fashioned into carriages that the wealthy use to transport their children. In the Former Yugoslavia, the locals refer to the Giant Panda as the Sun-eater. No one knows why.





Thursday, 25 November 2010

Blog Tour - a chapter from The Lost Daughter by Ella Grey

The lost daughter

Chapter 2

Part 4

I stood in the corner of the field and closed my eyes. I raised one hand and took a deep breathe. How to control the elements 101. Firstly know what you’re working with. Also, knowing the runic symbols and glyphs helped to center your will and intent. I had practiced the symbols so many times that I could probably do them in my sleep. I'd placed six objects around the field and I was going to use Air to try and levitate them. It was a test to see if I could split my focus between different objects.

I took a deep breath and as I gently let it go opened my eyes, drawing the glyph in the air. It glowed blue and I reached out with my will. Searching for the alien objects, the things that shouldn’t have been there. When I thought that I'd found all six, I imagine the air around them becoming a bubble, trapping the object in the center and then them all becoming unbelievably light. Raising my hand, my eyes scanned the open field, counting each of the objects as I saw them rise up. I had managed all six. The field came into sharp focus. I knew that my eyes were now an unnatural shade of green. It happened every time I used my, for a lack of a better word powers. I heard a twig snap somewhere near the road. My focus broke, the objects fell back to earth and I ducked down behind the trees. I couldn’t afford anyone seeing me. I have to admit I looked pretty weird hanging out in deserted fields. I waited for a few minutes before I started again. I walked around the field to where I put the objects I had used in my experiment. The first one was a red sharpener and I went through the routine again. Focusing my will, imaging the bubble of air and as it rose to eye level I reached out and grabbed it. A well prepared witch is an alive witch. Well that was what Dad had said. I went through the same motions with the other objects and went back to the trees when I was finally finished. There was one more experiment. Actually it was the first experiment. When I had first started to see Dad he'd told me to bury a ring somewhere in the field. I was then told to forget about it for about a week then try and find it again. It was proving impossible. I just didn’t have any affinity for Earth. I sat down crossed legged and tried to relax, this was going to take a while.

*****

When my eyes had finally snapped open I was nowhere closer to finding the bloody ring, I was also going to miss my train back home. Scrambling back to my feet, and grabbing my bag that held my supplies before climbing over the fence and back to the main road. I wasn’t the fittest person in the world but I still ran. Okay walked, really fast. My boots sounded loud as they hit the road. This was the last train home. If I missed this? Then I would be walking home, mostly in the dark since there weren’t that many lamp-posts from Carnell to Crescendo Falls. I heard a noise which sounded like the train. I had many talents but outrunning trains wasn’t one of them. I nearly skidded as I turned the corner that lead up to the platform. It felt like my heart was about to explode but I pushed myself forward.

Like the most recent stop in the world of Alice Young? Part 5 can be found tomorrow at http://www.myspace.com/spiderfingersclay and if you missed Part 1 check it out at http://www.seanhayden.org each of them has the link to the next one.

My eshort, 'What a way to start the day' A Molly O'Brien Tale is being released on the 1st of December. http://www.omnilit.com/product-whatawaytostarttheday-484430-139.html

Waking up to realize you may be in the family way would make anyone worry. Especially if the would-be daddy has fangs and is the hunted son of the vampire mafia.
Molly O’Brien runs the small shop ‘Forbidden Charms’ and is the witch to go to if you want something. Operating on the outskirts of a supernatural world isn't easy either, especially when trying to keep your secret from the human world. Who would have thought life could get any more complicated for the little fire witch?