Stream of Consciousness Saturday November 12, 2022: “starts with or contains ‘cel.’”

I am participating in SoCS hosted by Linda G. Hill (click on the link for the ping back to the original blog post and to see the rules). Today’s prompt is a word that “starts with or contains ‘cel.'” You can find the rules at the bottom of this post.

Photo by Amir Hanna on Unsplash

The word I have chosen to write about is “cell phone” — okay it’s two words.

It was the first word that came to mind when I read the prompt, maybe because I was just texting with a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while.

I remember my first cell phone at the age of 16 — a startak — the kind that flipped open, that had a punch in keyboard, basically just for dialing, and that had a battery pack almost as big as the phone attached to the outside.

Remember when you could exchange just the battery instead of the phone?

Remember when we had to memorize phone numbers? Honestly, I can’t even think of one phone number that I know by heart other than my own.

My daughter is 15 months old, and she is already interested in my cell phone. She is already pressing buttons. She knows it is the place where her kids songs come from. She knows its the place where we can video chat Nanna, who lives approximately 5,000 miles away, across the ocean. Isn’t that crazy? My mom can see my baby…in real time…on video…for FREE over a wi-fi connection. My mom only gets to see her in person once or twice a year, but we can talk every few days via videochat. My child will know what her grandmother looks like, sounds like, even though we live on a different continent.

All this technology has arisen in the past 20 or so years. Where will we be in 20 years? In 40 years?

I remember being young and having an Atari and Nintendo. Those seem so outdated now. Will my child go to school in the Metaverse? Are we on our way to becoming like Ready Player One? In some ways, I hope not.

When I was 4, I learned how to use the VCR (remember those, ha!). I taught my grandfather how to use it. What will my daughter be capable of at 4? I have no doubt she will teach me a lot of things, German for one. Although I’ve lived in Austria now since 2017, my German is “intermediate” at best. She will be fluent — bilingual. I wish I had that advantage as a child.

I remember stumbling onto my Dad playing Civilization on the computer when I was a kid. I started playing it and have never stopped. Will something similar happen with my daughter? The computer can open up so many things. I learned to type on my own, for example, simply by using the computer. What will she uncover with technology?

I got off on a tangent a little bit there, but it is all to say that technology is amazing. It is also sometimes a burden. This inability to unplug. I feel naked without my phone. Inevitably whenever I forget my phone, or if it has run out of batteries, I always think of something I need to google. Every time! Information is always at our fingertips. All. The. Time. What happens when it isn’t? Would I be able to find my way without Google Maps? Doubtful.

I’m both excited and nervous about human advancement. I wonder what is to come.

BOOK REVIEW: Snow by Ronald Malfi

Title: Snow

Author: Ronald Malfi

Book Length: 311 pages

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Horror, Sci-fi, Folklore-Monsters, Paranormal

Read Start Date: October 23, 2022

Read Finish Date: October 29, 2022

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Todd Curry wants nothing more than to spend Christmas with his son. But when a brutal snowstorm cancels his flight from Chicago to Des Moines, Todd and a few other stranded passengers decide to rent a Jeep and make the trip on their own.

During the drive, they pick up a man wandering through the snow, who claims to be searching for his lost daughter. He is disoriented and his story seems peculiar. Strangest of all are the mysterious slashes cut into the back of the man’s coat, straight down to the flesh…

When they arrive at the nearest town, it appears deserted. Windows dark, car abandoned, fired burning unattended. But Todd and the rest of the travelers soon learn the town is far from deserted, and that they are being watched…

My Review: I LOVED THIS BOOK. I couldn’t wait to crawl into bed so that I could read it again, and that rarely happens.

Todd Curry is traveling to Des Moines to see his young son. HIs connecting flight in Chicago is cancelled due to a bad snow storm, but he is anxious to get home. He promised his son that he’d be there by morning. Todd and his son’s mother are separated, and he rarely sees the boy, so it’s important to keep his promise. Todd has the idea to rent a car and drive to Des Moines. Storm be damned.

The woman in front of him at the rental car counter gets the last SUV. Kate Jansen, a woman Todd had met at the airport bar while waiting to hear the fate of his flight, offers to give Todd a lift. He accepts gladly. Fred and Nan Wilkinson, a “silver-haired couple in their late sixties”, are also stranded at the airport. They decide to join Todd and Kate and together all 4 set off to Des Moines, with Todd at the wheel.

They have barely left the city, when they encounter a strange man in the middle of the highway, alone in the snow storm. “Suddenly, the figure was in the middle of the road, only a few yards in front of them as if he had materialized out of thin air.” Todd crashes into a snow bank and wrecks the SUV. They climb out of the car, to find a lone man standing in the road. The man’s name is Eddie Clement and his daughter, aged eight, is lost somewhere in the storm.

Something isn’t right about Eddie, or his story. “Kate put a hand on Eddie’s broad flannel back and led him to the Cherokee. Todd noticed two rips in the fabric of Eddie Clement’s flannel coat, one at each shoulder blade, each one perhaps five inches long. The fabric around each slit looked frayed.”

They four-some in the vehicle are skeptical. A man out in the bitter cold, alone, looking for his daughter for who knows how long…how isn’t he a popsicle? Why would his daughter run off in this weather? Nothing seems to make sense. As a reader, you get the feeling that something is terribly off with Eddie and it adds a layer of tension to the story. At this point, we are only 39 pages in, and the tension only increases with each page.

Seeking shelter, they walk to the nearest town. What they find there would change their lives forever, if they manage to survive that is.

By page 69, we learn that the town is virtually deserted. Where did everyone go? And then they encounter someone:

“A man was standing directly behind Nan, no more than five feet away. His clothes hung off him in tattered ribbons and were splattered with blood. The man’s eyes were dead in their sockets, his face as expressionless as an Egyptian mummy.” …

“The sound of the rifle fire was almost deafening.

In the street, the man’s head evaporated into a red mist. The body sagged forward, then dropped straight to the ground, its legs folded neatly beneath it.

Nan screamed and Fred cursed. Kate clawed at the back of Todd’s neck, gripping a fistful of hair.

Then something else happened. The headless body in the street bucked once, twice, three times. Hot blood spurted from the abbreviated neck and coursed like an oil slick across the ice. There was the impression of levitation, although the dead man never actually left the ground; rather, something from within the man’s body was rising up, up. For one insane moment, Todd actually believed he was witnessing the dead man’s soul vacating the body.

But this was no one’s soul. What rose up was a hurricane swirl of snow, funneled and compacted so that it was nearly tangible. It held the vague form of a human being, though as it continued to withdraw itself from the man’s body, Todd could see its arms–or whatever served as arms–were nearly twice the length of a normal person’s. It had no definable characteristics beyond the vague suggestion of humanity. And as it peeled away from the corpse–from out of the corpse–it hovered briefly above the body, nearly solid and comprehensible, before it dispersed into a scattering of snowflakes and was gone.

The silence that followed was thundering.”

Snow by Ronald Malfi, pages 68-69

I got chills reading that again — soooo good! At this point in the story, I was already hooked, but this entrenched me in the story further.

This book is probably one of the best horror stories I’ve read this year. I would give it 10 out of 5 stars (if that were possible). The writing is fantastic. I love the way Malfi paints the picture. The monsters were super cool, the storyline creepy as hell. I had a hard time putting this book down. A must read.