Welcome to the home of MetaTalks Podcast. This weekly podcast is a continuing open conversation and dialogue between two friends, @eljeppy and @alachia. Frequent conversations will pertain to the online world we call the "meta' and its cultural emergings. You will notice also that our shows are recorded in binaural format so it is highly recommend you listen using headphones rather than speakers. It's an experiment we are trying out to better enhance the "space" and experience of listening to podcasts online. Read more about who we are »

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MetaTalks The Write Stuff: A Moment in Time

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 0 comments

This episode is the reading of the writing assignment submissions:

Capture a moment in time. During the coming week set a fictional incident in a real life place you regularly inhabit. Try to capture the essence of the space as best as possible. [550 words or less].


The more he fiddled with the gum under his shoe, the more it seemed to latch onto the bottom of his sole. He gave up finally and put his focus on the rack of magazines to his left. Angelina Jolie caught cheating on Brad Pitt, Kristey Alley is thin again, something about a Spanish actress, and the 10 fastest ways to get a bikini body for the summer. All titles which jumped out at him.

He was tempted to pick one of the tabloids up to read the piece of title on one of them that spoke about Kate and William but opted not too. The lady behind him was staring at the same magazine. She had a bald baby in her arms who was pulling on her shirt. He couldn’t help but notice the way it also revealed more of her left breast as he grasped her collar.

He turned back quickly not wanting her to see him staring. Flesh, not as pretty as he normally liked. Hers was dark and leathery, obviously she’d seen one too many tanning beds in her time. Why do women do that? We don’t care if your body is black or white as long as it’s naked and we’re in it.

Maybe it was true that men have sex on the brains every five seconds. The line hadn’t moved yet. Apparently there was problem with one of the woman’s coupons for a package of eggs and the teller had to call in a manager.

He sighed and shifted his focus to the candy selection on the right. Of course his gaze went straight for the package of Reeces Peanutbutter cups. Immediately his mouth began to water as he imagined the last time he ate one straight from the fridge; crisp, cold, and smooth. Chocolate and peanut butter had to be the best combination in the world he thought.

Of course thinking of peanut butter made his thirsty now and he wasn’t sure how much longer he’d have to wait in line. Also the drive home was going to be at least thirty minutes. Best to buy a drink now. He quickly shifted his weight backwards and twisted his body as to not touch the woman holding her baby and grabbed a Pepsi from the fridge. It was super cold and he smiled.

Normally he wouldn’t be so impatient but since the manager was slowly explaining how to enter a coupon code to the obviously new teller, he decided to go ahead and open the bottle. Ahhhh. Perfectly refreshing. For that instant, he thought he could stand there all day.

Of course, he then remembered that he had a gallon of Bluebell Peppermint icecream in his cart and started to get anxious it might be melting. In fact, his cart had quite a bit of things that were probably melting like the butter. The milk was slowly spoiling as well as he could see the condensation on the jug increasing.

His ears perked when he heard the lady ahead say loudly, “no problem! just glad we got it figured out.” Thank god he thought.

Garry Watts (Gravenau):
I stepped off the scooter as I loosened the helmet the cool air rushed into the vacated space of my helmet had left I breathed in the cool air of the night it was always so crisp at this time of night I walked in the back way the smell of boxes and cleaning product assaulting my nose as I entered the kitchen the cool air of the night was replaced by the heat of the oven, stoves and deep fryers.

The smell of cleaning product and boxes quickly replaced by the smell of hot oil and cooked food I nod to a co worker as I place my helmet and gear near the cool room before walking back out to the kitchen to here the report of the last shift. Getting down to work I slowly stack the chairs on the tables before getting out the vacuum I look out the full wall of glass to the road outside as another metal monolith roars past spewing diesel fumes into the air always racing to meet this deadline or that.

After I cleaned up the main room I still have to sweep and mop she mocks me from the counter we were friends once lovers even before that co workers but that was all before the day after that day the world would never be the same. It had taken a lot from everyone it had stolen a lot from her but her wit and sharp tongue remained as I worked she would mock some days she would even offer some words of encouragement but those days were few and far between mostly she would chat with the customers if I wasn’t fast enough to the counter flirt with the truckies as they came and got their free cups of coffee or ordered off the men.

It was hard to begrudge her anything considering what she had lost on the day. I was lucky none of my family had been effected but others had. the rest of the night like most nights went smoothly I got a few minor splash burns off the fat from being to slow when dropping the dim sums in. I watched the sky slowly lighten from dark to light out the back door and windows the early signs that my work day was almost over.

It had been a slowly night so I got to chat with one of my regulars my lil offsider flirted with him he had known her before the day and they had stayed friends even afterwards he had a daughter her age he finished his cup of coffee filled his travel mug for the last 4 hours of his trip and was out the door and into his metal monolith. The great creature belched a plum of black diesel fumes as it roared into life and merged with the flow of traffic out on to the high way and rumbled away.

I finished the last of the dishers just in time for the next shift to take over while I was out dipping the tanks my lil offsider filled in the next shift in on the last nights issues I filled out my time slip and wandered out the front lowering my hand my lil offsider skipped over and climbed into my palm after the day I had become her full time carer which she always thought ment personal slave but what could I do she had lost over 4 feet of height on the day.

Really - it was amazing that she could concentrate in this space.  High, warehouse ceilings.  Concrete floors.  So much of the space gray and industrial.  Tiny, LED lights hanging from what looked like picture wire from the ceiling.  The red plastic baskets holding silver wrapped burritos, tacos and quesadillas provided the only patches of color in the room.

Of course, those ceilings and those floors did nothing to help with the acoustics.  And the music was always loud.  Loud and progressive.  No matter where she sat, it always seemed to be right below a speaker offering dance beats, jazz, or something new and totally interesting.  

And she liked to come at lunchtime.  At lunchtime, when the restaurant was always filled to the brim with teenagers from the high school across the street.  Teenagers that seemed to take up so much more space than their physical bodies inhabited.  Groups of them spilling out of booths and crowding around tables.  It seemed that all of them were talking at once.  Laughing, squealing, shouting cries of indignation or surprise.  Cramming all their joy and life into the 20 minutes of their lunch period.  

Sometimes, a table or two would have a bewildered looking older couple or stay at home mother with their baby perched uncertainly - swallowed up by the sheer exuberance of life around them.  Like they had inadvertently stepped onto a stage where a full-fledged production was taking place and no one had told them what their role was.

Strange as it seemed, this was always where she had her best ideas.  Perched at the counter, watching the kids, listening to the music and the youthful joy, with her notebook in front of her, she would scribble her ideas, plans, and hastily thought out questions furiously - hoping to steal some of the energy, as it poured out the door when the kids headed back across the street to school.

Hoping she could  hold onto it, and maybe, just maybe, recreate some of the spark out there in the world.

Hi Both,

so below is my writing submission for this exercise. No planning went into
this one, no clue where it would lead onto so pretty much the opposite of
my last submission. the location is the bus that tormented my journey home
5 days a week for many years. The incident never happened but  the
feelings and descriptions of the bus come from my own experience.

PS attached at bottom is an additional audio submission. mini book review!
microphone positioning is definitely something i need to learn so
apologies about the quality.

Both writing and speaking are, for now, terrifying concepts to me. Thanks
for providing a friendly outlet for giving it a go!


Whoever had decided that the seats on the bus only needed to be 13 inches
wide was an idiot. However, given the current situation, I concluded that
they weren't the only idiot involved in the buses.

The driver for a start, quite what had possessed him to try and overtake
the broken down truck using the bike lane would probably never be clear.
Still, I couldn't help but admire his apparent masochistic driving skills
that had gotten the bus from the bike lane, along the path, and over the
tiny bit of bridge into the stream below. A stunt driver couldn't have
done any better.

Surveying the situation there were the normal sights and sounds, litter
everywhere, the obligatory half eaten kebab, the gum stained seats and the
muffled blare of a few of the schoolkids mobile phones playing the
androgynous beats that had formed the theme tune to my daily commute home.

The only difference from normal was that everything was upside down...
well everything still attached to the bus was upside down, which no longer
included a number of the seats, the cctv monitor and all of the

Bloodied mangled bodies surrounded me yet I found my attention being drwan
to a solitary shoe stuck to the now ceiling, no doubt by months of spilt
food, drink and less savoury substances that seemed to coat the buses
these days.

At least no one was trying to talk to me, even if the reasons for that
were more than a little unfortunate. I would normally rely on headphones
to protect me from my peers, today fate had given me a bus crash...

Sunlight attempts to pick its way through the clouds, easily pushed aside by black clouds of the impending storm. A soft roll of thunder in the background the wind whips through the open window.

The hair stands up on my neck, I turn and flick on a light to substitute the loss of natural illumination, multiple books spread out in front of me. Enough papers to start a small house fire litter the ground and table I work on. I drop my pen, lean back and gaze through the window.

A thunderstorm will be here in less than ten minutes, which is strange, five minutes ago not a cloud could be found in the sky stretching as far as the eye could see. A break in the clouds develops, rays of glorious southern heat streams through and hits my face. As quickly as it appears, the crack in the great black abyss vanishes. Rain begins to pour from the clouds, great glorious drops of life giving water hit the earth with the driving force of a stallion. Falling from the heavens the rain pounds the house, a dull roar fills the house.

I give up, with such a symphony beckoning me to bed with the force of Greek Sirens, I surrender my senses and return to the soft embrace of my bed. The white and blue sheets folded back from where I exited their warm embrace the morning before welcome me like an old friend, grasping me tight, not willing to let go. I fall into a deep, full sleep, only to be suddenly shaken by the crack of thunder and flash of lightning. As the reverberations dissipate I return to my slumber, more than willing to forget everything but the feeling of the sun on my face.

Thelonius Mac:
I wake. I know it’s around 3 or 4 AM. It’s happening again. I feel her. Her body draped against my back. Her arm over my shoulder. This time I don’t fight it. I take note of my lucidity, checking the date, calculating Pi in my head. Then I concentrate on what I feel and so help me “she” is there. She's fucking spooning me. As usual, I can't move.
The problem here is that I live alone.
"She" comes at no specific time, but always after I’ve gone to sleep. I’ve even given her a name. "Pime" or Paranormal Irrational Metaphysical Entity. If I attempt to rationalize these occurrences, it would seem that I am experiencing some form of “Sleep Paralysis.” I could proceed with self analysis from that point, but here’s the thing... I, I don’t completely dislike the experience.
I look around the loft. I can see the high concrete ceiling with the exposed sprinkler pipes, the hardwood floors, white walls, and the column in the center of the room. The track lights are dim. The earthquake kit is still next to the door. Need to find somewhere to store that. 2 weeks of survival food. Rule #2: "Nature is not your friend." We're due for a big quake.
I’ve been here since December. Since moving here, sleep has been something of an adventure. When I’m not having a staring contest with insomnia, I’m having the most incredibly lucid dreams I’ve ever had, or playing footsie with, with, I don’t know what to call her.
I have a theory. When I lived in my house in the Hollywood Hills, I was fairly isolated, and the house acted as a sort of psychic faraday cage. I was there for years. When I moved into this building full of people, my mind had become hyper-receptive to psychic energy. I’m in a building full of it and my brain is picking up on broadcasts from all the lofts around me. I’m a psychic sponge now.
Thinking this way is dangerous. I'm using irrational thinking to rationalize the irrational, and rule #1 says, "Irrational thinking is the true root of all evil."
The refrigerator kicks on. I begin to move my right hand, bit by bit toward my iPad laying inches from me. I touch it, it lights up. I tap the icon for the home automation app. I turn on all the lights in the loft. The second the lights come on, I’m completely free.
She’s gone.
I take a deep breath. I’ve got to do something about this. I don’t know what. I'm an empiricist for crying out loud. My only belief is in the rational. My only religion is the scientific method.
The computers come on. The alarm on my phone goes off. It’s 6:00am. How long was she here this time?
Suddenly I become aware of a low, muffled noise. A human voice. Crying. It’s coming from the south wall. I get out of bed, naked, I walk to the wall. I put my hand on the wall. I get close to the wall, as close as possible. I take another deep breath, exhale, spread my fingers and press my face as closely as possible to the wall.
The wall is cold to the touch. I can hear someone sobbing in the next unit. Deep plaintive sobbing. A woman.  I begin to feel her pain. My face begins to contort as I experience a sense of, loss. I don’t want this, but I begin to absorb the pain. Suddenly I hear someone on the other side of the wall say, “Hello?” I snap away from the wall. Shit. Rule #34: "One crazy woman can ruin your entire day."

Here's my attempt at the writing assignment. Not really fiction but a slice of a typical evening & place. If it's crap or not what you meant, feel free to not use it, lol.

I sit silently in the darkness, only a glow from the bathroom light hitting the right side of my face. Caesar lies beside me on the floor whining for my attention. A red rubber ball stuffed in his mouth muffles his attempts
to talk to me. The oscillating fan blows papers off the desk. Specs and rotations now litter the floor.  Blood elves and Draenei battle for Tol Barad in front of me.

Caesar has begun circling the chair when suddenly 75 pounds of muscle has decided my lap is the best seat in the house.  He launches at me from the left, knocking my chair back from the desk. The ice quakes in my glass of coke as it teeters on the brink of spilling, a disaster waiting to happen. By the time I struggle out from under his assault, my face wet with doggy kisses, my blood elf lies dead on the field of battle.  At least one of me has won as Caesar furiously digs at the sheets on the bed behind me.  He tries to bury himself beneath the blankets.

The moon has risen and shines thru the stained glass peacock hanging in the window to my right.  Blues and greens flow down onto my laptop screen. The images seem to inhabit an eerie seascape.  The voices of strangers, no - friends, come from the speakers, reassuring me that it’s okay to go on a killing spree as long as I don’t hurt the bunnies.


Metatalks Episode #13: Real Talk

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 0 comments

From the Isle of Wight to the Isle of Wight...

First face to face Metatalks episode recorded on the Isle of Wight. Tea is spilt and prawns split when Alachia and Jeppy go from Metatalk to Real Talk!

MetaTalks The Write Stuff:Just Write All Right?

Saturday, April 23, 2011 0 comments

A discussion on structure vs flow regarding creative writing. A last minute writing exercise submission by Chewy and an audio submission by Strumpet. This book club vote result and the new writing assignment.

The world zips by so quickly at 70.  Right at this moment though, slow motion was in effect.  The nudge hardly registered until it was to late. Spinning about and clipping the barrier set into motion the events that where beyond all human control.
The air was beckoning and into the blue he flew.  

Inverted is not the normal view of the road.  The engine revved wildly as the friction was reduced to nothing.

It seemed an age until the thud of the landing.  That didn't seem to matter much to physics, why have one landing when you can do it all again. Rolling wildly like a ravenous crocodile wrestling some poor beast to its fate he bounce.  Crushing, bruising, hammering his body.  

Steel will succumb.  Now like wet paper the body came apart.  The cage that had been his shelter was now his enemy.  Lacerating, rending, flesh is no match.
The cars halting was a blessing and a curse.  Neither of them would be injured any further, but now he could feel the union of them both.  Warm and wet.  Blood and oil mingled in the road.  The horseless carriage was beyond help, he wondered if he was to.
Strumpet’s Audio: ….

Structure first vs Just Write

Capture a moment in time. During the coming week set a fictional incident in a real life place you regularly inhabit. Try to capture the essence of the space as best as possible. [550 words or less].

Book Club
Wuthering Heights - May
Making History - June

Favourite books.
History of writing and genres.


MetaTalks The Write Stuff: In Media Res

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 0 comments

A bit more on the In Media Res writing style, the writing exercise submissions read, and the four books to vote on for the May bookclub reading.

Book Club Vote Off:
Wuthering Heights
Making History
Little Brother
(I've decided not to put a poll up because I'd like an identity behind each vote to keep things fair. Please send a twitter to @metatalks for your vote or email us at podcast@metatalks.com! Thank you!)

Writing Exercise Submissions!

Dyllin scrambled upright, staring in amazement at the smoking fissure that just
appeared in the ground. Mouth hanging open, he realized the combatants surrounding
him had stopped. The sky above the battlefield was an angry red, with unnatural slashes
of green and purple. The air was hot enough to burn Dyllin's lungs, which he barely
noticed it until a great wracking cough broke his reverie. His next few breaths were
harsh, rasping in his chest as he looked around.

Bodies lay strewn about the fissure. Some were charred remnants, smoldering
piles of blackened flesh and melted armor. The unlucky few to be in the path of the
blast had been sheared in half. One grotesque figure scraped the dirt with its hands for
a moment before falling still. There was a wider swath around the edges where still
figures lay, their armor melted into their flesh. Dyllin heard a raw, primal scream and
was amazed to find it coming from his throat. Across the field, voices echoed his own.
Those of sterner constitution were already regrouping.

The man opposite Dyllin shook himself and raised his sword and shield. Dyllin
stumbled back, trying to bring up his own weapon, but he didn't have the time. His
opponent rushed forward, disarming him and pressing the point of his sword to Dyllin's
throat. "I surrender," he croaked. The last thing he remembered was a blow to the side of
his head. After that, it was blank.


Dennie struggled to his feet and stumbled towards the Inspector. He
couldnt figure out where the pain was coming from, only that it was worse
than any pain he'd felt before. But that wasn't important right now
though, the Inspector needed him.

The short distance to where the Inspector was lying that should have taken
mere moments seemed to be taking an age. It seemed like everything that
could have been thrown on the floor had been. The pain was getting worse,
it was getting harder and harder to navigate amongst the debris. It
occured to Dennie he couldnt even feel the shattered glass and splinters
that he was stumbling over.

Finally reaching the Inspector it was quickly apparent something was
wrong, he wasn’t moving, he felt cold and limp. Dennie licked his face to
try and get a reaction. Nothing. nuzzling him first gently then with as
much force as he could muster Dennie tried to get his master of 10 years
to wake up. Nothing.

The pain hit a new level, Dennie's legs gave in causing him to collapse on
the unresponsive Inspector, he knew he needed to get help but it was too
late, he could no longer move, and everything was starting growing dark.

All he could do was bark in the hope someone would hear him and come to
investigate. Even that proved impossible, a whispered yelp all he could
achieve before the darkness consumed his consciousness.


Here is my submission, I don't think I hit the mark, but I don't have any more time to work on it.  I think it wanders off into the contrived. By the way this is Bidkar, but my name is Ron.  If it sucks too bad, just skip over it..

Looking at the door, thoughts peddled in his mind as life continued on without care for the anxiety. Above, a television coughed for the banality meant to entertain the old and the young, thus capering for no one.

A woman stood at the desk with her care in arm, making demands.  Explained to her that others were first made no difference, she could not wait, had no time.  Insistence changed nothing, but her words still wafted in the air, seeming selfish, but really not.  Her worries weren't his worries, but worries still valid in her world.

Others sat about waiting their turn, one couple laughing over a screen of a phone, sharing in it's remote wisdom.  People gathered in their groups, whispering their conversations as a secret.

Time continued on unchanged, growing shorter in it's temper, seeking resolution. Time is short.  Those words have been uttered by all for a millenium.  Sometimes for the good, more often for the bad.  

It was a small bit ago when life seemed like it lay before us, we had all the time in the world to laugh and play.  A day seemed as infinite as the sky's patience, waiting for the creation to live the life given. Now, though, time diminished.  He could feel the fact shoved in his face, even though with all the might he had, he denied the thought.  Time would go on as it always had, nothing changing.

A lie believed is a lie nonetheless.  An eagerness to believe a lie cannot be turned away.  He clung to hope, a hope proffered for the betterment of life is better than the possible reality.  Turning his head toward a sound, he saw the door open.

08:40PM. Staring at twin 17” MacBook Pro screens, black background, green text flowing by, comparing what should be to what is, and then I finally see it. Son-of-a-bitch. Here’s the fucking leak. Script buried within a script, buried within a script, activated each time the CEO sends or receives email. It sends a copy to a blackberry BIS account. Exchange servers. Bah.  They insist on using this ‘Microslop’ because it makes them feel like pros, well, whatever. They do pay on time and that makes them a priority.

The BB BIS account is registered to some stupid yacht company in the Netherlands. I search, nothing for them but a stupid web server. I probe, softly, not too deep. Doesn’t take much to get it to open the kimono. It’s a Windoze server. Good, about 80 different ways to get it wet. I spot a folder in the admin directory called “Arsenal.” It’s full of skiddie hacks. Seems this shit likes to play hacker. Seems he’s got a thing for law firms in Los Angeles also. I check through the server’s logs and find that whoever is using it is doing it remotely from, you’ve got it, LA. The yacht company probably has no idea.

There’s lots of folders filled with documents from numerous law firms. I spend the next 30 minutes copying the evidence, when suddenly the link goes dead. Simultaneously a snitch window pops up on the twin MacBook. Someone is trying to back hack. I could play games but I decide to go decidedly low tech. I get up from my desk, walk over to the cable modem, and unplug it.

Not good. Not good at all. Not much I can do about it tonight though. I copy the files onto an iPod shuffle. Leave it hidden in plain sight. No one ever looks at iPods. I’m tired. Don’t know if I can sleep. I decide to try listening to a podcast, that gamer chick. She’s unusual, a thinker, and fuck, what a voice. Sometimes she’s sad, so goddamn sad. I drift off listening to her.

11:56PM. iPhone rings. Scares the shit out of me for some reason. I grab it, answer. No one there. Had a feeling I’d fucked up earlier. I take the hint. Get dressed. Grab my go bag. It’s got MacBook AIR, WiFI hotspot, and a crap load of other shit that I might need, including a sub-compact 9mm Glock 26. I’ve never hurt anyone in my life, not even in Somalia, but you never know. I snatch the iPod, stuff it into the backpack. I’m out.

I decide to leave the Mini Cooper and take the Ducati. I hit the streets of downtown LA just in time to see a black Ford SUV pull up outside my building. Somehow I know it’s me they’re here for. I call Bruno, the doorman and tell him I’m not expecting visitors. No one should be given my loft number and that if they insist, he might want to call the cops.

I head for WiFiTini. It’s a bar/club that caters to LA’s cyber underground. It’s vibrant. Blasting trip hop tonight. Place is full of everything from venture capitalists to some of the most gifted hackers on the west coast. Ton of bandwidth, damn good martinis, and I’m “friendly” with the owner. Nicole. Tonight though I need to see Manfred. Gonna need a place to crash and maybe a whole lot more before this is over.

He was swimming upward through viscous waters the surface of light close then far. The metronome of his heart beating the strokes.

Darkness. Heat. Pain.

Consciousness crashed upon him and he greeted it with a rusty voiced moan.

Questions of where and why and how instantly demanded answer but were met with stubborn blankness.

His senses all screamed panic his muscles briefly fought and he fell back beneath the surface.

Seconds minutes hours later awareness again returned but this time slowly and prepared.

The answers still did not come. Memory skipped and darted just beyond his minds grasp. The harder he tried the more they eluded him.

He opened his eyes and found only more darkness. localising the pain to his forehead he lifted his right hand to examine and the left came too. Momentarily confused he tried to separate them and felt plastic eat into his flesh.

He stopped all movement and lay still. He was on his side in a foetal position. He tried to stretch his legs and almost instantly met resistance discovering at the same time that his legs were also bound. He again lay still.

He felt sweat slipping down his skin smelt hot metal and the sound of his own heart thrummed in his ears. He took a deep lung full of air and felt gladness that it appeared plentiful.

His heart beat slowed and made way for another sound. Familiar. His mind sought and found the word. An engine. The pieces fell together as to where. Tied up in the trunk of a vehicle but the whys and hows still taunted him from a distance.

The engine stopped. He heard doors opening feet crunching and doors slamming shut.

A bright burning light invaded and his eyes shut in quick defence as he felt several hands grab and lift him. One minute rising then falling. Pain shooting though his body sand scorching his skin.

He raised his head and allowed his lids to slit but saw only silhouetted figures. Again lifted his bindings were cut and a canteen thrust into his now freed hands. He drank. The canteen was taken and something else was placed more carefully into his hands. Glasses. His glasses. He put them on and the world around him darkened.
Raising his head the silhouettes took on distinction and a voice purred.

“Well Captain Winters you seem quite the little trouble maker”

Memories suddenly stampeded through his mind let lose by the voice and now the face.

He dropped back into the waters of unconsciousness.