Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Raven Riders

"The Raven Riders" by T.K. Wade (As told by Petalweight the bard.)

Hist! I say to you land dwellers who know nothing of the true thrill of flight. Those who dare to mount upon the very birds who on occasion attempt to kill us, and do what?! Fly upon their backs as if the very wind itself shall be dominated by the rodent lust for conquest?! Are we mad?! Verily, you should never see skinny Petalweight in flight upon these feathery beasts! Like the petal which is my namesake, I would be cast asunder by the first gust of wind that would so cruelly strike upon me!

What are these Raven Riders that compels them to take on such a task?! Perhaps madness is a relevant claim, but should this fevered mind be so useful as to turn the tide of battle, then I say let them be mad! But perchance this be something more than insanity, I would call it bravery beyond the scope of my many dreams! To sit upon a saddled bird and fly into the clouds with no other purpose but to create new destinies for our kingdom–this bard has faced an assassin, and he is not yet so brave!

I often wonder what it means to fly, and I have come to abrupt conclusions that it cannot be calculated but only imagined without bearing witness–an action that shall never compel me to its door! Could any of you imagine looking down at the kingdom from heights where only feathered creatures dwell?! Perhaps so, but I doubt it is with any accuracy, and only the Raven Riders could attest to such splendor!

Think on it, I say! Murridae has changed! We are no longer beings bound to dirt! We are more than that! We are creatures of an ever progressing way! Again, think on it! For these are the words of Petalweight, and while he is bound to the dirt by choice, his words yet take flight so that the entire world should hear them!

-Glossary-

Rodent: People in Petalweight's world are all different species of rodents, but they act like ordinary people.

Raven Riders: In this universe, rodents (usually rats) mount giant ravens and use them as mounts to fly across the country. They can also be used in war. It is a military operation only.

Murridae: The country Petalweight lives in. It is entirely populated by rodents.


Rodent Spotlight: Flying Squirrel

Now, here is something special for you! What is cooler than a rodent that can fly?! Nothing! Flying Squirrels are one of natures marvels, and if you don't agree with that, you are likely a very boring person. If you DO think flying squirrels are the best thing since acorns, then this blog will certainly keep you excited!

I was surprised to find out that a lot of people think bats are flying rodents, but they actually aren't. The flying squirrel holds this particular trophy. Unlike bats, however, they are not capable of "powered flight." That is to say that they are only capable of gliding by way of their skin flaps--known as a patagium. So... that isn't so bad, right? All they have to do is crawl up to a high place--such as a rock or tree--and leap into the air! Sounds fun to me!

In popular fiction, only two examples came to mind. The most obvious would have to be Rocky the Flying Squirrel from the TV program "Rocky and Bullwinkle." Rocky is your common daring hero who is clever and capable. Unlike real flying squirrels, he could fly around like a rocket and even had his own "whooshing" sound effects as he did so. Also, he came with his own pair of goggles which made him look like a pilot. Talk about fun!

Perhaps not as well known in America, I am reminded of Hickory the flying squirrel from the Japanese manga series called "Happy Happy Clover." Having read every one of those books, I absolutely loved this character. He was always very busy trying to help every one of his friends. Although this was a very stressful job, he never really showed it. He was always calm, cool, and collected throughout his adventures, and this personality oddity did not go unnoticed by his peers. Hickory was adorable, and I thought it was funny how he would have sneezing fits around a certain type of fungus called "Yum Yum Mushrooms." In contrast to Rocky, Hickory was far more similar to real flying squirrels and could only glide from high places. This would become a big issue when he would accidentally land in a wide open field and be forced to walk at a much slower pace.

In my own fiction, I once wrote a very silly story called "Mouse Parade 2: Suburban Panic" where I had a troop of flying squirrels who would swoop down on the tops of buildings and fire rocket launchers from the new strategic position. While this story was not to be taken seriously, the concept of an army of flying squirrels is still a fun thought! How awesome would it be to see these cute rodents flying in formation into a war zone? I'll tell you: a whole, freaking lot!

The flying squirrel is a great example of how nature can sometimes pull some really neat things out of its magic bag of ideas. The common rodent is pretty much forced to enjoy life stuck to the earth in some manner, but this little guy has a glimpse of what it is to be a bird. They may not be able to glide for very long, but our imaginations can easily improve on that issue. We only need to see the real creature in action to be inspired.

Thank you for reading this blog. If you enjoyed it, you can leave a comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Whooooosh!



Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Spark and the Flame

"The Spark and the Flame" by T.K. Wade (As told by Petalweight the Bard.)

From a light, I see a twinkling far leading than the brightest candle, and yet, such a light commences within a space that others do not see easily. An inward glow that is oft misjudged as the titterings of a restless mind… but is–in actuality–a spark of life–true life! That which we do not see… yet seems paramount to an existence of any real meaning.

What purpose does these trifles do without that spark? Are our bodies not trifles? Is not the carpenter’s hammer useless without the carpenter? The body does nothing of interest unless guided by a force with ends to accomplish a worthwhile action! Aye. The carpenter can leave his work finished by halves and so proves his actions of little interest. The same is true as to the force behind the carpenter, and be not ignorant of your own sparks, children of Murridae!

Bind not your hands with indifference for no reason but that you have hands! What use are you if only to yourself? A man who stands alone could well exist upon the moon, for he has no purpose in this world. Do ye expect such things of Petalweight?! What a sorry thought that fills my mind with horrors that I would imagine a perfectly useful “me” lying about singing songs for my own amusement! Knowing what ye know of Petalweight today, ye should be angered at such a flair lost to the world for his own selfish gain!

But some would say that such a twinkling star rests within some leaving the odd masses with an emptiness–that they were unjustly forsaken. Nay! But pause before me and take up a bounty of time to look within, for I shall assure thee that the spark is there! To ignore it is a travesty, and to blame fate is negligent! This spark is real, and it can ignite the world aflame with inspiration! To squander it is a shame–as a Petalweight who locks himself away!

[At this juncture of the soliloquy, Petalweight became momentarily quiet as he regarded his audience gravely.]

Ye all have come to hear this rambling jerboa. Some have followed him from city to city yearning to hear his mighty words. But if ye fill thy heart with my love and keep it to thyself, what good have I been to ye? I ask you all to seek thy spark and share it in some way. Keep not silent! Bear the burden of your soul, cast that spark, and set the world aflame with your love–whatever form it may take! For as powerful as my words may be, it shall be your words that shall last beyond my final days!

-Glossary-

Murridae: The country where Petalweight is from. It is a land populated by many kinds of rodents who can walk and talk like human beings.

jerboa: A species of rodent with long tails that have little puffs at the ends. Petalweight is a jerboa.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rodent Spotlight: Porcupine

Most everyone knows what a porcupine is, but you'd be surprised how little this creature is seen in fiction. Often times, it is cast as an extra or as a creature of hazard that someone happens to step on when he wasn't paying attention. Seems a shame really, but I plan on expounding on why the porcupine deserves some respect.

Here is a rodent that comes with one of natures most brilliant and even quite noticeable defensive features: a bounty of sharp spines--called quills--upon their backs. These quills are actually hairs forming on their backs which are modified with thick plates made of a substance called keratin. They are quite sharp on their tips, and if a person happens to step on these creatures, these quills will stab into the skin and be released from the porcupine so the rodent can go on his merry way. Of course, the victim will be left flat on his back and wishing he had paid more attention to where he was going.

As I said already, fiction has not done very much with porcupines as main characters, but one did stand out to me. His name was Porky Pine from the old newspaper comic strip "Pogo." Porky was the story's cynic. He was always glum and never ever smiled except for one isolated incident--and in this case, the lights were turned off. Despite his outward demeanor, Porky Pine still possessed a heart of gold and truly cared for his friends. In many ways, he was akin to Eeyore from "Winney the Pooh."

You know, when I was growing up, I had a big, thick book of amazing facts that I loved to look through. They told me a lot of amazing things that I marveled about, but the odd thing is that when I grew up, I found out that many of those "facts" simply were not true. Case in point: this book claimed that lemmings really did go on a suicidal march--this fallacy being disproved in one of my former blogs. Another thing this book told me was that porcupines could throw their quills at enemies in defense. This was also false, but it still gave me an idea.

When you think of fiction and fantasy and then consider a character with long pointy things on his back, what do you think of? I am hoping you thought of an archer, but if it was something different, don't worry--it's probably just as good. In my mind, I can actually see a porcupine being an archer, and he could actually use his own quills as the arrows. All he needs is a bow! Apparently those quills do keep growing back, so he would never be short on projectiles. You might actually see how this character would be rather cool in an animal universe.

Perhaps a bit underused, the porcupine has just as much "cool-factor" as any other rodent. They are stoic, little things who aren't too worried about all the dangers this world has to offer. After all, anyone who might want to eat them, has to content with what's on their back. If these predators are not wise, they may end up in a prickly situation, but I am sure after one or two encounters, they will eventually get the point.

Thank you for reading my blog. If you enjoyed it, you can leave a comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Till next time!



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Rodent Spotlight: Coypu

Here we have another interesting rodent to chat about. I don't hear too many people bring up the marvelous creature known as the coypu, but it is not entirely unheard of. Many people usually refer to them as a nutria, but my favorite term for them is the river rat. True, they are not actually rats, but they do have a similar appearance to them. They got that particular villainous look in their eyes that most people expect to see in a rat, so the name seems apt enough.

Coypus are aquatic rodents with some very fascinating physical attributes. For one, their rear feet are webbed like a duck. Secondly, they have a very odd patch of white across their muzzles. But what really makes them stand out the most to me are their four beautiful, giant, golden incisors resting inside their maws. Here is where fiction becomes important.

This striking aspect was one of the main descriptors used to familiarize readers with the rodent in the book "Windjammer Run" by Garry Kilworth. What is more notable than a rodent with a golden grill? Imagine seeing one of them smile at you--not to mention they are big and imposing creatures as rodents go.

I have always imagined the coypu as nature's river pirates. At this point, it is probably far better to call them river rats for obvious reasons. Can you imagine that you are just a humble mouse trying to move cargo down a river when--as if life wasn't bad enough--here comes a river boat full of scary river rats with golden teeth. You can fight them off if you like, but unfortunately, I put a mouse in charge and that probably was a mistake to begin with. Those golden-grilled thieves probably eat mice for breakfast! It would likely be best to just let them take what they want so he can get on with his life.

The coypu is not completely obscure, but it's just one of those rodents that didn't get its fair shake. If you take the time to look into the species, you'll see there is a lot to enjoy in their peculiar features. Imagination can creep up from anywhere in this world, all we have to do is have a look around and see what's out there. Fiction is built upon the things that inspire us, and since life often times imitates art, we creators play one of the most important parts in this world. Never let inspiration go to waste.

Thanks for reading my blog. If you enjoyed this blog, you can leave a comment below or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Arr!



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rodent Spotlight: Groundhog

A lot of what I try to do with these blogs is to show you the correlation between real rodents and their fictional counterparts. With groundhogs, something very unique happened. They have been been given almost a fairy branding within the animal kingdom without even being changed from their normal figures and behavior. Allow me to explain.

The most notable celebration of the distinguished rodent comes from the borough of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. You see, there is this odd myth about groundhogs. On February 2nd when the groundhog pops out of his burrow at sunrise, if he happens to notice his own shadow, it means six more weeks of winter. If he fails to see it, then we can surely expect spring to come with haste. The most notable of these questionable groundhog weather-rodents is one by the name of Punxsutawney Phil... OR IS HE?!

According to my entirely credible research, Punxsutawney Phil is no less than sixty-two years old. Pretty weird considering groundhogs only live up to six years. I have come to the conclusion that it is possible that the current Phil may be only one in a long line of Phils. But if you were to ask the residents at Punxsutawney, they would swear that Punxsutawney Phil is the one and only Punxsutawney Phil, and that there is just nothing more to say on the matter.

I imagine living for such a long time, the rodent would be quite good at weather forecasting, and it helps that he only has to worry about the weeks just after February 2nd. Talk about a nice vacation each year. Personally, I rather like the idea of a groundhog weather-rodent. It would be nice to go outside and wait for him to pop out of the ground to give the morning report. I do hope you see my point in all this: human imagination is a very whimsical thing--even when in groups.

Groundhogs are one of those odd, little occasions where we all have fun with out imaginations. We know, at heart, that it is all a bunch of bologna, but we really don't care that it is. It's all about looking out across this world and trying to see something fun about it. We even got an iconic Bill Murray movie out of the deal! Life itself is actually rather boring, but it takes a human being to find something wonderful in it. The groundhog mythos is a grand example of that fact.

Thank you for reading my blog. If you enjoyed it, you can comment below, or you can email me at tooie@tooiekangaroo.com. Don't drive angry!




Friday, February 6, 2015

Darkwood

"Darkwood" by T.K. Wade (As told by Petalweight the bard.)

To the west: a vacant forest verdant with trees with heights mightier than those about Nestle! Nameless since time forgotten, but soon, this ground was struck by the rats of witches born of dark intent! Wood was hence chopped and used to build the abodes that doth stand there still, and yet, no evil remains to this day!

Nay! For this is Darkwood!

These witches cast their lots upon the Clawstone clay and so met with sword, and spear, and capaybara might! Dreadful power these women did wield but not enough to best our might! The west was opened and the village lay weakened for lack of their mistress! But should they still retain their hold to avenge their malevolent love that was lost?!

Nay! For this is Darkwood!

A city built by nefarious hands which stands even still for those who did seize! Denizens pleased that the rats did the work so that their skills blossom forth to whatever they wish and time doth not hinder to begin at once the struggle of life and the desire to love! But should there be those who wish them disband for remembrance of history where this place was had by those who would use it for ill-conceived ideals?!

Nay! For this is Darkwood!

What was evil now breeds good, and the love that fills each wall replaces original intent nine-fold thrice with each percentage doubling by ten every day they defy their detractors! Pleasure to turn what once was cruel into that which gives life and caries it to whatever they may conceive! They stand even now in defiance of those who have nothing better than to scowl at history’s creations! And shall these settlers ever bow before them and let down such potential as the gods doth give innate?!

Nay! For this is Darkwood!

-Glossary-

Darkwood: A village in the fictional country of Murridae. It was built by an evil army led by rat witches but later captured and taken over by good people. They kept the same name which was controversial.

capybara: A type of rodent. In context to Murridae, they are great giants who weild clubs and love war and fighting.