katana- rikki (13)

The remains of the battle.

The katana came down, whistling through the air, and finally connecting with the target. A beheaded body crumpled to the rocky soil, blood spewing from the severed jugular giving the air an eerie red mist. Blood covered Kazusanosuke Takeshi’s mask, but he paid no attention as he wiped off his katana and replaced it in its sheathe. Takeshi feared nothing, and thought little about death. Turning his back on the dead man he mounted his jet black horse. The rest of the samurai army mounted and paid their respects to the dead. The army rode off towards the rising sun, the beams of the dawn creating their silhouettes on the newly defined horizon, a fresh coat of splattered burgundy on their armor, and no expression behind their ghastly masks. Sweat streamed down Takeshi’s face, Watashi wa futatabi tatakau ​​ tame ni ikiru, I live to fight again.

 

Sorera wa subete shinde iru? They are all dead?” Takeshi’s daimyo asked. Takeshi solemnly nodded and brought out the enemy commanders head. The eyes were lifeless and blood splattered the face. Most of the blood had coagulated after the long ride back to the barracks, but the image was still a grim reminder as to what might happen to Takeshi someday, being the commander of his daimyo’s army. The head would be tacked to the wall, an example to any enemies who dare fight against him. After getting permission to leave, Takeshi slowly walked out of the room. “Take wa, ma~tsu te. Sugu ni futatabi tatakawanakereba naranai toki ga kuru. Watashi o shippai shinaide kudas.  Takeshi, wait. Soon comes the time when you must fight again. Do not fail me or you now what must happen.” The daimyo’s soft, gravelly voice called out. Takeshi nodded and pulled off his helmet.

The wakizashi is lethally sharp – 18 inches of pure killing power. Takeshi swung it down with blinding speed into the straw target, slicing it cleanly in half. If the target was a person, it would have sliced clean through the armor, skin, and deep through the flesh- an instant kill. He sheathed the blade with ease and turned to the other target, this time tearing out the katana and burying deep into the straw. He ripped the blade out then sliced five more times in mere seconds. Insutantokiru. Instant kill. “Takeshi sensei, Sore wa jikandes. Takeshi sir, it’s time.” Takeshi nodded to the man and pulled on his helmet, while sheathing the deadly 23 inches of razor sharp iron. He pulled the quiver over his head and picked up his bow and naginata. He walked outside and breathed in the brisk air. A few birds called, and shouts of training samurai could be heard in the distance, but otherwise all was quiet. Thin clouds with no describable shape coasted across the sky in the cool Japanese wind. He momentarily looked to his side and found a spider weaving its gossamer strings of death. “Anata wa sore o migi no jikandesu. You are right, it is time.” Takeshi’s breath rasped through his mask as he mounted the muscled steed.

The black horse galloped through the brutal scene. Takeshi had no hands on the horse and paid no attention to the men dying all around him. Katanas, Naginatas, and Wakizashis shimmered in the occasional sunlight that broke through the shapeless clouds. Screams of falling men and the clang of sword on sword echoed around the battlefield.  The smell of blood enveloped the air, but Takeshi rode on, the string of his bow taught and loaded with an arrow. His visibility through the small eyeholes of his helmet was poor, but his aim was true. His fingers itched to let go, Matte, matte, matte. Wait, wait, wait. Genzai! Now! He let go but felt the enemy naginata, as its blade penetrated his layered leather armor. Blood spurted from his wound and he fell from the horse. The enemy samurai pulled the blood coated naginata out and began dragging Takeshi. “Imaimashī, iya, onegaishimasu! Damn, please, no!” Takeshi shouted. Takeshi tasted blood. “Imaimashī, chōdo watashi o koros! Damn, just kill me!” Takeshi swore again. The enemy samurai continued dragging him, deaf to his protests.

Shine, die!” Takeshi screamed.

The wakizashi, glinted for a second before sinking into the other samurai. Takeshi stood, again oblivious to his pain and the blood spraying him. All he saw was what had happened. A majority of his men had died, and only a handful still fought. Takeshi staggered to his remaining men. “Taikyaku, Koko de watashitachi no jikan wa shūryō shimashita, retreat, our time here has ended.” Takeshi never feared anything, but what he knew must happen scared him. “TAIKYAKU! RETREAT!Takeshi screamed.

Sweat trickled down Takeshi’s face. He wore a clean white kimono, and his wound was healed. The daimyo’s eyes penetrated through him and seven other men dressed like Takeshi sat behind him. The small knife in front of him, a tantō, would soon be in him. “Anata ga shippai shimashita. Ni susumimasu. You failed. Go on.” Takeshi’s daimyo softly said, a hint of disappointment and disgust present. A droplet of sweat slowly eased down the curve of his nose. Seppuku, it was called- a punishment for failure, sin, or shame. Takeshi picked up the tantō and his hands quivered for a second in his hesitation before he plunged it into his abdomen. Blood exploded from his stomach and Takeshi gasped in shock and pain. His hands became slippery and warm, and a thin stream of crimson ran from his lips as his body doubled over. Takeshi’s best friend loomed over with the katana.

              The katana came down, whistling through the air, and finally connecting with the target. A beheaded body crumpled to the rocky soil, blood spewing from the severed jugular giving the air an eerie red mist.

Kazusanosuke Takeshi thought little about death.

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fire and spirit- rikki (12)

Spark

the night continues on, although something is different

silently, projectiles make their way across the dark stage

suddenly the spectrum erupts with a satisfying crack

the dull canvas of the world now is enveloped by vibrant cascades of color

suddenly, the neon performance turns to a silence, soon devoured by applause

fire and spirit consume the hour

A Boy and His Truck- Rikki (12)

Finishing FlagsA boy sat in his small room, his back to the door.  The curtains were shut but the bright summer sun leaked through the striped curtains onto the boy, currently occupied with his toy cars.  He mocked races, his mouth perpetually vibrating, perpetually emitting the sounds of engines roaring, crashes, commentators and explosions. The vivid races paused every few minutes for the boy to catch his breath and allow his tingling lips to rest.  To a careful observer one would find that every race, through every intense drift and huge pileup, a red truck always won.  He sped each car individually across the carpet but always had his red truck’s speed the fastest.  Even if the truck was in last at one moment, it was just a “plan” by the driver to save up his “boosters” for the end to win the race.  Like many children had their special toys- stuffed animals, beloved lego pieces, super hero figurines, this was his special toy.  He had loved it since the day his father had bought it with glistening red paint on its hood and its spotless windshield, till now with its scratched up windshield, its slightly crooked wheel, little bits of paint scratched of the hood and battered bumper.  Everyday of the summer he would wake up, get ready for the breakfast (which he wolfed down) and get out his box of cars.  After he was finished choosing the right cars for the track whether it was off road or NASCAR, he took out his special red truck, always close at hand, and pushed all the unneeded things from the “track”. From then on the race followed his rules and imagination, but always had two winners… The boy and his little red truck…

the pianist- rikki (12)

Keys- The Pianist

The pianist walks towards his instrument, his mind abuzz; notes tumbling alongside his thoughts. Then, finally, he settles upon his perch. The pianist begins after one, subtle cough. His hands run on the smooth black and white staircase of the piano. Marvelously, a tune erupts. It caresses the audience’s ears with the unmatchable beauty of sound. The hands of the pianist continue their movement, sometimes jumping angrily and sometimes making small graceful hops on the glistening staircase of keys. The pianist’s feet come down on the golden pedals as if to add emphasis to the unspoken words of the music.
Then, as the beat slows and the music is almost finished, notes gloriously pronounce the end. The pianist stands and bows.

hands of war – rikki (11)

D-day - Landing at Normandy

D-day - The Hands of War

The boat stopped, our stomachs churned, just like the waves in front of us

We ran, our legs beneath the tide, our guns clutched. We ran, our prayers hung in mid sentence. We ran.

They shot, their guns rattled, spewing empty cartridges like an active volcano. They shot, their shells thumping flinging dirt and blood from the ground. They shot.

We prayed knowing deep in our hearts that God was now out of the question- “Will we live?” We prayed even though we knew God could not hear us in this bloody racket. We prayed.

They tore our army as if we were worthless papers. They tore our flesh and will from our bodies with their never-ending cascade of metal. They tore.

We ran and prayed, knowing that we had been torn from the hands of hope and had been put into new hands.

We had run into the ruthless, unforgiving hands of war.

India in strokes – rikki (11)

Click on the image below to see a slideshow of “Essence of India”

Essence of India

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memories – rikki (11)

Memories

Germany, Post World War II

Alfred Müller sat on his porch motionless. Motionless, but not dead. He was an old man, staring lifelessly into the night sky. He seemed at peace. Alfred had a problem. It was not a common dilemma, but was something else. He constantly remembered. Again and again painful memories erupted from his brain. Memories of the war, memories of his family. The memories were invincible forces, triggered by random events that could occur at any time. Maybe it was the fact that he had survived the war and his son hadn’t that haunted him. His son had been recruited at age fourteen by Nazis with Iron Crosses gleaming on their lapels, grasping equally gleaming weapons almost as big as themselves. For a reason unknown, a mist always covered parts of his memories. As crickets rang the alarm to announce it was night, a cool breeze blew over the small town.

Alfred rose to the sound of laughter and footsteps. He silently peered out of his window. His son stood outside. Not an adolescent as Alfred had last seen him but a young man! Tears fell like rain from Müller’s eyes. He quickly descended from the stairs and looked outside. His son, his dear son…was gone. A snowflake in the sun. A few minutes passed and Alfred returned to his home. “Why?” he asked quietly to himself in his mother tongue of German. He poured himself a cold cup of tea and slammed his fist on the table. “Why?!” he repeated, this time more loudly. “My son was there!” he said, tears now flowing freely down his wrinkled cheeks. Müller again went through his door and outside. He sat on his chair and held his cup to his lips with frail, trembling hands. As a man walked by Alfred asked him, “My son,” he stopped to clear his throat, “Rudolfo. Have you seen…him?”

“Rudolfo? I…Uh… Shouldn’t you know? Rudolfo…has been gone for years.” the man responded slowly. Alfred looked at the man with blood hound eyes and responded meekly, “No. I do not know. Not any more.” Looking slightly sad for Alfred, the man walked away slowly, humming a quiet tune.

Thunder shook the ground and rain tested the roof’s strength. Alfred was haunted by another memory. He couldn’t hold them back, the memories of the planes. The memories of bombs cascading from the sky erupted into Müller’s brain. Alfred shut the blinds and blew out the candle on the table. “Rudolfo! Come!” he yelled. “Come! The bombs!” Confused, Alfred fell to his knees on the scratched wooden floor. He couldn’t stop the memories; they came flooding in. He couldn’t stop the sound of planes overhead and the sound of bombs destroying innocent lives. “Rudolfo!” he screamed.

Alfred woke to the sound of light rain tapping on his roof. He unclenched his hand and staggered outside. For no reason, his heart rate doubled, then stopped. He stumbled into his chair. Alfred Müller sat on his porch motionless. Motionless. He stared lifelessly into the morning clouds. He seemed at peace. Birds rang the alarm to announce it was morning.

Alfred Müller had found his solution.

It’s Creation Science!

What yesterday was fiction today manifests truly.

A rather poetic way of putting it, but I believe that the momentous occasion this article pertains to deserves it. This is a moment that future historians and students will look back on. Whether their rearward glances will contain regret or admiration, only time will tell. But for now, we’ve got this to chew on:

Man has become God.

The Synthetic Cell
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Gulf Oil Crisis – ronny (14)

Yes. No question about it.

This was President Obama’s take on the crisis which has dominated news billboards for the past week and may be dominating the coast in a couple of days.

It all started on April 20, when a massive explosion in the Gulf of Mexico destroyed an oil rig owned by British Petroleum, killing eleven workers and starting one of the worst oil slicks in history. The pipe, ruptured in three places, began to pour out huge amounts of crude oil into the Gulf, and, here we are. The slick is now 30 miles long, and up to 210,000 gallons are pouring out each day.

Oil Slick

Oil Slick!!

Oil is slowly accumulating, and will soon reach the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and possibly even Florida. It is estimated that these huge amounts of crude oil will completely devastate wildlife and sealife, hurting the economy in a deadly barrage of ways:

-Waste of huge amounts of oil
-Need for huge amounts of money spent to fix up the hole
-Death of sea life and wildlife raising prices of food
-Lack of tourism along the coast
-Possible need of evacuation or further water filtration
-Complete screwage of the American People

Not only this, but the ecology of the area is in no fine shape either; scientists estimate that local fish and birds will be devastated more than during the ’89 Valdez spill, and some of the hundreds of species on the Gulf Coast may even go extinct.

If that weren’t bad enough, scientists are also considering the possibility of a total wellhead failure, in which case the amount of oil spilled per day could hit 100,000 barrels, or 4.2 Million Gallons. They’re also saying that it might take up to 90 days to fix this problem
So, if someone up there is really ticked off, we could be looking at 378,000,000 gallons of oil spilled before this is fixed. That’s 1,512,000,000 quarts. That’s 6,048,000,000 cups. That’s a LOT.

I’m thinking the man at the White House has hit the nail right on the head.

It’s been nice.

Adobe, Apple, and Google: Time to wage war – ronny (14)

As you all (hopefully) know, Apple and Adobe have been at odds recently, and one of the main embodiments of this hostility is the fact that the new iPad does not legally support flash . No flash. None. Though it’s the standard for most pages containing any kind of animation and the standard for animating short cartoons, the big guy at Apple maintains that Adobe Flash is buggy, insecure, restricting, power hogging, and outdated. Hence, the new iPad does not legally support flash, meaning that it not only forces third party developers to use different tools, but also that apps made with the tools in the new CS5 package can’t be used for the tablet either.
What does this mean for Adobe?
The iPad is developing huge market share, and third party developers will soon have to choose between going with the established Flash apps or siding with the huge number of consumers Apple is reeling in. This will be a huge battle, but Adobe has recently found a way to fight back: they’re siding with Google.
Until Google began producing mobile platforms, Apple and Google were good friends; their market niches never overlapped.  Apple made brilliant iPods and, well, iMacs, and OSs and basically battled it out with Microsoft’s Zune’s, PCs, and Windows. Google did its search, earth, maps, mail, basically general cloud computing thing, and even issued iPhones to its employees.
Then the Android came out and it all changed.
Suddenly, Apple was competing with Google! They had an overlapping market niche, and more overlaps are coming; with the new online spotlight search capabilities and iAds, Apple is looking to steal Google’s main business.  Does anyone see an iTube versus YouTube thing coming on? Apple subsequently sued HTC over Android phone patent infringements, and it was on, baby.
However, the Google Android platform is doing quite well. Though it doesn’t have nearly the marketshare of the iPhone, its popularity is steadily increasing, while the iPhone’s marketshare is decreasing. Considering that the Android phones support Flash and have a rising consumer interest factor, and you can see that this is going to be an epic war between Apple and Google. And Adobe is trying to tip the scales; it recently started issuing Android phones to its employees. They are also introducing Flash 10.1 for the platform.
So what do you think? Who will win? The Goliath iPhone/iPad with its huge fan base, app market, and third party interest? Or the underdog Android platform with the rising marketshare, Flash support, and Adobe backup?