App Man – or Gordo, the virtual hero, Chapter 2

24 Jul



App Man


Gordo the Virtual Hero

Chapter 2: Virtual App-ability

By L. Stewart Marsden

Gordon swabbed his plate with the remaining toast, cleaning the last bit of yolk and swallowing it down with a gulp of coffee.

“Breakfast clean-up,” he said, and placed his dishes on the cart, which silently rolled into the kitchen.

Stretching and glancing out at the canyon below, he got up from the bench and walked briskly to his work area.

Like his entire house, his office was unique. Titanium posts and beams held large curved glass walls and ceiling, forming a space that resembled an observatory. At night, exhausted after hours of work, he would turn all the lights in his house out, and lay on his back in the middle of the floor of the space, staring at the heavens above through the dome.

Along the walls were few decorations, save a huge, larger-than-life color poster that Stan Lee commissioned for Gordon’s 29th birthday — which seemed eons ago. It was in the style of a comic book cover, with a huge, overtly muscular version of Gordon in a yellow Lycra body suit with App Man in reflective silver letters across the chest, wearing the prototype of the iLens across his eyes. Across the bottom, in a large curved banner font, was the phrase in quotes, “Why the hell Not?”

App Man had come to be Gordon’s moniker after he had developed two of the top ten virtual apps downloaded world-wide within a three-year period. Carefully protecting and marketing his projects, App Man quickly became virtual street conversation. Most of the big hitters, including Apple, Google and Facebook, hounded him until he finally had the means to seclude himself in his self-designed Shangri-La.

Seizing on the early popularity of bitcoins, Gordon was able to create such powerful apps that money had practically been replaced around the world. Virtual exchange was manipulated into a common value so that regardless where a person was, he could negotiate financially without anything beyond his eye and index finger.

Using iris and fingerprint scanning, personal data had become virtually thief-proof. With no need to carry money, armed robberies decreased dramatically. Living in the world had become safer for all.

Gordon’s next big app — MedApp – consolidated, transferred and updated personal medical information again at the scan of an eye or press of a finger. At both voice and computerized instrument commands, the app captured procedures as well as validated that the procedures actually occurred.

Medicaid and Medicare scams ended. Hospitals and physicians, clinics and all other health care organizations were monitored and paid instantly by insurance companies as well as the federal health care providers.

Billions were saved due to Gordon’s MedApp.

And that’s when his name broke into the bigtime, and Gordon Feltzer became known as App Man.

He was on the cover of Time Magazine; all over the computer and software trade rags; and ended up in the national news — as well as all of the cable news companies — for nearly a solid month due to stories researching the boon to not only the country, but the world, as a result of his work.

Once asked by a reporter how he had come up with his ideas, Gordon replied, “I think of something that seems rather fantastic, and say to myself, ‘Why the hell not?’”

When asked about who inspired him, he grinned and said, “Tony Stark — Iron Man.”

And so he built his Shangri-La; his Elysium; not to get away from the world, but to reflect upon it, and dream of how to improve it — make it more Edenic for all.

Today was the final testing and launch of this third app — the one that would revolutionize fitness, social networking, and expand everyone’s ability to improve their physical and personal lives: iFit for iLens.

“Prototype, please,” he said when he approached his work space. A robotic arm fastened to the wall above the space reed and rawed its angular pathway to a drawer, opened it, and extracted a simple pair of glasses. The arm carefully extended the glasses to Gordon.

“Thank you, Marilyn,” he said, taking the glasses and putting them on.

“You’re welcome, Gordon.”


A wall panel slid up and reversed, revealing a mirror.

“Close up, please.”

The mirror warped into a concave shape, slowly toggling between two magnified reflections of his face.

“That one. That’s fine.”

He adjusted the frames on his nose, moving the temples slightly on his ears.

“Lenses on.”

Tiny blue beams of lights projected from the middle of each lens, scanning the iris of both eyes.

“Identity confirmed,” said Marilyn.

“Screen check,” Gordon murmured.

The lenses filled with stereo-optic screens, populating with fields and columns on the outside edges of the lenses, leaving Gordon a clear view through the glasses to his actual field of vision.

“Top news,” he said softly.

Immediately news headlines filled the screens from pre-selected sources. A Bulgarian flight missing over the Atlantic. Trouble in Nigeria due to more terrorism. President Connelly explaining a breakdown of communications between the Oval Office and one of his cabinet members.

“Weather — local,” he breathed.

The weather channel popped up and began listing the forecast for his area.


It switched to the national map, with a pert, sexy meteorologist explaining the various diagrams of weather patterns.

Gordon then walked over to a rectangular treadmill — similar to those used in exercise spas — and stepped on it.

“Engage iFit,” he ordered.

“Engaging. What activity do you want today, Gordon?” asked Marilyn.

“Um, healthy walk — about four and a half miles an hour.”

“And where would you like to walk?”

“The Sedona Trail would be nice, I think.”

“Excellent choice. Temperatures in the mid seventies, with a slight cooling breeze out of the southwest at about five to seven miles per hour. Humidity is negligible. And will you be walking alone, or would you prefer a companion?”


“Male or female?”

“What do you think?”

” Female companion. Someone you’ve walked with before?”

“Let’s try someone new. The last one was a bit chatty, and a bit forward.”

“I didn’t like her, either.”

“You don’t particularly like any of them, Marilyn!”

“I don’t like competition.”

“Who could ever compete with you?”

“What part of the country?”

“Northwest. Seattle or Portland. The women are more into fitness — more focused.”

“Connecting to Portland. Alysa Walters, 23, airline pilot. Five-two, one-hundred six pounds. Auburn hair. Stanford grad.”

“Sounds good.”

“Oh — one moment, Gordon. There’s a call coming through before we connect with Alysa.”

“Who the hell is it?” he replied, irritated at the delay.

“It’s your mother.”

“Tell her I’m busy.”

“You’ve ignored the last five phone calls from her due to being busy. You really ought to talk to her this time.”

“Jeesh, Marilyn! You sound like a wife!”


The lens screen blinked, and Gordon’s mother appeared, her face filling up the area.

“Gordo — are you there? It’s your mother, Gordo. I’ve been trying to reach you for the longest time and you’re always busy!”

“Yes, Mom, I’m here. And please call me Gordon, for chrissakes!”

“Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain, Gordo. I’m your mother — I birthed you — I raised you — I can call you whatever I goddam want to call you.”

“Okay. What’s up? I’ve got my final testing and launch today, Mom. I really don’t have much time.”

“No time for your own mother? Really? Well here’s why I’m calling, Mr. Too-busy-for-his-mother: the shower you bought me has been installed!”

“Really? That’s great! Have you used it yet?”

“Whaddaya mean, have I used it? I’m using it now!”

“You’re in the shower now?”

“Yeah! Watch — cameras, zoom out!”

His mother’s face suddenly shrank on the screen as the cameras in her shower pulled away for a long shot.

“Oh, God! Mother! Jeesh! CAMERAS — ZOOM IN!” he shouted quickly.

The briefly exposed wet nude body of his seventy-five-year-old mother quickly disappeared as the cameras focused in on her face.

“MA! I didn’t need to see that! God, it’s gonna be stuck in my head for years! Probably have to call my shrink over this!”

“Well, that’s the thanks I get for thanking you for this incredible gift!”

“I’m really glad you like it — but — oh, Mom!”

“Okay, Mr.-I’m-embarrassed-at-my-mother, I’ll get off the call. I’d say it would have been better to wait until you called me, but that might not be until I’m in my grave!”

“No, promise. I’ll call you when I get through today — Promise!”

“Promises, schmomises. I won’t hold my breath. Good-bye, Gordo.”

“Gordon!” he shouted back as the call disconnected. “Marilyn! Did you know my mom was in the buff?”

“Gordon — think about it — why would I do that to you?”

“Yeah. Why would you? Okay, connect me with Alysa.”

* * * * *

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 24 July, 2014

App Man – or, Gordo the virtual hero, chapter 1

23 Jul

App Man


Gordo the Virtual Hero

Chapter 1: It’s a brand new day

 by L. Stewart Marsden

The aromas of freshly brewed coffee mixed with frying bacon awoke Gordon from his early morning dreams. He slowly cracked the lids of his non-pillowed eye and let it focus on the Monet hanging on his bedroom wall directly next to the bed.

“Up and at ‘em!” chirped a sultry voice. “Time to tackle the world!”

“Ugh, Marilyn. Five more, please?”

“You instructed me to dissuade you from returning to sleep, Gordon. Remember what you asked me to do if you didn’t comply.”

Gordon’s open eye strayed up from the Monet to the water sprinkler positioned just above his head on the ceiling.

“Okay. I’m up, dammit!”

Gordon threw off the blanket and bed sheet, sat up, then swung his legs robot-like over the side of the bed.

“It’s seven oh five. Outside temp is 76 degrees, and humidity is 10 percent. No chance of rain. Final testing and product launch is scheduled for oh-nine hundred,” Marilyn said in a breathy voice.

“Thanks. I’m on it.”

Gordon walked into the bathroom, shedding his pajamas and dropping them into a laundry basket, then entered the shower.

“Brisk and warm, please,” he said, and water sprayed him from the ceiling and three sides of the shower.

“Body wash.” The water was replaced with a scented liquid, which foamed when it struck his body.

“Rinse. A bit cooler, please.”

Water replaced the wash, and his pudgy body glistened with the liquid shine.

“Air dry, please.”

Blowers, again from the ceiling and three sides gradually evaporated the water on his body as he turned slowly.

“Any particular outfit today? I like you au naturel,” Marilyn cooed.

“Jogging shorts and a T,” he replied. “You choose.”

He opened a double closet door and pulled out the shorts and T-shirt, then sat on a bathroom bench and donned his socks and athletic shoes.

“And what would you like with your coffee and bacon,” Marilyn asked. “Moi?”

“Always you,” Gordon laughed. “Two three-minute soft-boiled on whole wheat. Hold the butter. And a slice of fresh honeydew.”

“Orange juice?”

“No thanks.”

Gordon walked into the breakfast nook, a stainless steel table and bench inserted into a closet-like space that protruded from an exterior wall. It was walled in glass, and overlooked the deep canyon below. From his perch, Gordon could see for miles into the adjacent national park, and relish in its spectacular beauty.

A cart moved remotely from the kitchen to the breakfast table, with Gordon’s breakfast on clear crystal plates and coffee cup.

He began to eat his eggs.

“Financials. Today’s position, please.”

“I’m retrieving today’s financial position,” said Marilyn. “Oh, you’re going to like this!”

“Will I? Where am I?”

“You’ve climbed to the five-hundred three position. That’s eighty-seven places better than this time last week.”

“Yeah, but it’s still not in the top five hundred,” Gordon sputtered, sipping his coffee. “Buffett needs to watch his back for me.”

“I like his songs, especially Margaritaville.”

Warren, Marilyn. Not Jimmy. Really, don’t act so blonde. You’re programmed to be a lot smarter.”

“Is the glass always half-empty with you, Gordon?” Marilyn asked sweetly. “Five-hundred third in the world is not chopped liver.”

“Want me to reprogram you, Marilyn?”

“Sorry, Gordon.”

“My goal is within the top one hundred — in the world. I thought I’d be there sooner.”

“Perhaps if the final testing and project launch are successful, you will!”

“There’s no perhaps at all — and I will get to the top hundred. Perhaps even the top ten,”

“So the glass is half full after all!”

“The glass is always full, Marilyn. Combination of water and air.”

“You are so clever, Gordon!”

“I know.”

* * * * *

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 23 July, 2014

Why I no longer show who is following my blog

21 Jul

Why I no longer post who is following my blog


I really enjoy knowing that people out there in Blogland like and follow my work. It is gratifying, boosts my aging ego and encourages me to continue adding to my repertoire of writing.

What I don’t care for are the now multiple business blogs that like or follow my blog in hopes to pick up a customer.

When a person follows my blog, I make it a point to visit that blog site to thank that person for deciding my work is valuable enough to them that they want to get notifications of my uploads.

I know everything I write is not for everyone. Not even for me. For example, I’m not too keen on posting this particular blog.

What prompted this post is that I received a notification of a follow from a blog site that contains explicit pornography.

I just recently posted a piece my 9-year-old granddaughter wrote. If I publicized those that follow me, and she were to go onto my site and inadvertently click on that site’s symbol — WHOA! Papa Skip! What’s this?

I also had a teacher who wanted to use my poem “The first step” as part of the graduation ceremonies for her GED class. She wanted to post a link to my blog on her own teacher’s website.

Again — WHOA! Etc.

Unless you can tell me differently, there is no way to block someone or some company from following you. And if you use the widget that lists those that follow your blog, there’s a good chance that follower could appear on your front page. And if it appears on your front page, it’s tantamount to an endorsement by you.

So, if you are using the widget that displays followers, you might want to make sure that you are okay with the content of that follower’s blog, because it could work its way to your home page, and you would be endorsing that site.

To all the folk that have followed my work — or are not businesses or not explicit pornographic sites — thanks for the follow, but understand why I’m not opting to display the icons of followers.

I can’t do anything about those who “like” my work — but do wish I could. My granddaughter, you know.

No offense to those businesses and porno blogs meant.

SM (which does not stand for “sadomasochist”)



I did  comment on the pornographic site and requested that they unfriend me, and explained why. Within a few minutes they complied.

Caught in the middle

21 Jul






Caught in the middle

by L. Stewart Marsden


She felt the monstrous manimal
bear down upon her spot –
encircled by the trembling ground
realizing she was caught
she quickly popped inside her shell
retracting head and feet,
and as the beast roared overhead,
withheld final relief until the last
when she was barely nicked,
sent spinning to her back
and finally stopped,
upside down,
in the middle of the track,
and manimals — all size and shape –
zoomed close on either side
and roared their roars
and spat their fumes
while she had no place where she could hide;
but taking toll she did decide
to wait it out until the dark
when manimals would be far less
and she could then resume progress
across the blackened trail.

She had heard her father’s father rail
about the monstrous beasts,
of the long and longer passed down tales
over his and his father’s life;
how the manimals became such dangerous foe
which their fartherest fathers did never know;
who were free from concern and could easily go
anywhere with no fear of attack or surprise,
and could live their long lives in relative peace
and think of only the basics of life
with no worry or mulling or thoughts of strife.

She ignored the passed-down stories
and set her nose and feet west
where she heard from the birds
that the succulents grow best;
and she now had a mother’s urge
surpassing all her reason,
to journey to a place where
she could find a sweet creek
shadowed by a tall willow
and soft, sunned sand
that had grown through the years
from the rock and the pebbles
and provided the perfect new home
for her not-yet-born urchlings
who’d feed upon moss
and juicy large leaflets
and grubs and cocoons
and soft pulpy roots
from sunup to noon –
then lay on a rock with the hot sun above,
lingering lazily with no care or no –


A manimal stirred her awake from her reveried thoughts
and she protruded her head, and angled aright,
and realized the day had sunk low into night and that
now was the time — the moment had come
to get out of the middle
and move on to the home she had dreamed of before –
and nothing could stop her, not manimals nor
the fear of the future
for nothing could hurt her — only herself
if she stayed in the middle
stuck there, afraid,
so she valiantly, courageously, determinedly made
the very first step in the dark of that night
to carry her from an existence of fright
to that place by the creek
where she and her urchlings could thrive –
and more than exist –
and more than survive.


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 21 July, 2014


Life is good; Death is bad

19 Jul




Life is good; Death is bad

by L. Stewart Marsden


Life is good,
and so it is
for those precious few
who land in time and place –
selected to enjoy the best
of wine and food and song
and nothing wrong can be
detected in their rich, full lives.

Death is bad
for in its silencing of those that
have been dealt
that full, full hand
of Aces, Kings and Queens,
it intervenes their pleasure quests
and lowers them into a place
much less than best or good.

And then the mass
who have, alas not benefitted
from a life of good,
who would rather say
that life is bad,
and had a different sway on death –
when breathing out that last life’s breath:
Death is good.


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 19 July, 2014

Poorly-drawn self sketches: Difficulty reading the bathroom scales

18 Jul




Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 18 July, 2014

Wanted: Eyes

18 Jul






I’ve completed several rewrites of ACT ONE, and the rough draft of ACT TWO of the play I’m working on, The Last Stand.

The play is an adaptation of Boule de Suif, a short story written by Guy de Maupassant. Maupassant was considered one of the best French story writers of his day, and wrote similarly to his American counterpart, William Sidney Porter, who was better known as O’Henry.

Maupassant set the story in the 1870′s, during the invasion of Prussia. I have elected to relocate the story to December of 1864, in Savannah prior to the arrival of General William T. Sherman on his famous March to the Sea military campaign during the Civil War.

If you are willing to read and comment, I’ll gladly send you a copy of each act.

I advise that you read the original short story, which is available in English (or French) online. Just Google Boule de Suif.

If interested, please email me at skipmars at g mail dot com. (Can you figure that out?)

Or, comment below.



The first step

18 Jul





The first step

by L. Stewart Marsden


Not the most difficult,
not the easiest,
not followed by downhill breezy experiences,
uphill, dreadful times;
nothing is accomplished without it:
not plans
not journeys
not lives that breathe and move and fly;
all else shrivels
all else browns and dries to snap-crack hollow bones;
and he
or she
who dares not take that very first step
dies in
or her


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 18 July, 2014

Monkeys to the Rescue: Chapter One

15 Jul


Illustration by J. Day Clarkson

Illustration by J. Day Clarkson


Monkeys to the Rescue!

by J. Day Clarkson

Chapter 1

Barley opened her eyes to see the sun gleaming down in her nest on her tree. She could hear the rush of the river nearby. Her belly growled. Soon The Uprights would come in their strange floating log, and would feed the troop bananas. But until then she would have to search for food.

There was a mango grove that most of the troop liked. Barley liked it too. There were a bunch of other trees, to many to list. But Barley would have to wake up her friend Cherry, to keep her company, but also to watch her back for snakes or lone Uprights.

”Wake up, or the whole forest will be long gone before actually you do!” said Barley.

“Wha–” Cherry muttered groggily.

“It’s time for breakfast,” explained Barley.

Cherry blinked.

“Just get up,” urged Barley.


When Cherry finally got up, Barley said, “Let’s go to the mango grove –”

“And the papaya grove,” interrupted Cherry.

“Right,” muttered Barley, rolling her eyes. Cherry had the habit of interrupting every monkey, and Barley hated being interrupted.

Swinging from tree to tree was easy. The mango grove was only a few trees away.

Plucking a mango from the tree, Barley listened to the forest sounds. A bird calling. Snakes hissing. A sloth on a nearby tree slowly munching on a leaf. She thought of how peaceful the forest was. And, oh, the taste of mangoes was like nothing else! Tasting the sweet and luscious flavor, Barley and Cherry couldn’t help but beam. It made them happy.

“C’mon, let’s go to the papaya trees,” said Cherry.

Eating papayas was just better than mangoes. The soft, juicy flavor filled Barley with happiness all the way back to camp. Then she heard voices.

“The Uprights have arrived,” said one.

“Who’s going for the bananas?” said another.

“Shhh! They’re too near,” said Barley’s mother, Mango. “If you want to go, then you can. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. It doesn’t matter.”

Barley felt so proud of her. From the calm expression on her face, anyone could tell that Mango was calm and kind. And anyone could see that Barley was Mango’s daughter.They looked so alike, some said, that when Barley grew up, both would not be able to tell the difference of each other.

Barley decided to stay behind. She felt full on mangoes and papayas. When Barley saw that Cherry was staying, too, both felt the need for something to do.

“Make a new nest?” suggested Cherry.

“Nope,”replied Barley, “too boring. Let’s do something interesting.”

“Mess up someone else’s nest, so when it’s bedtime he’ll have to make it up again?”

“I said interesting, not mischievous,” grunted Barley. “I’m going out to explore. I don’t know about you.”

“But what if we get lost?” protested Cherry.

“When you and I can fly, that’ll happen,” reassured Barley.

* * * * *

Monkeys to the Rescue!

14 Jul



Monkeys to the Rescue!

by J. Day Clarkson


This post is to introduce an up-and-coming writer of note — in my humble opinion.

Ms. Clarkson happens to be my 9-year-old granddaughter by way of her mother. She will turn the mighty age of ten in October.

She has put together a very intriguing story about which she also wrote the intro below. The full tale has not been completed, and she is working to that end.

I thought it would be fun to get comments on her idea. So, if you would mind leaving a comment on the following, her grandfather would greatly appreciate it.



When a troop of Capuchin monkeys that lives in a rain forest lose their home to The Uprights, they have to make a decision: stop The Uprights, or leave their home.

Both decisions will be hard and dangerous. Which will they choose?

Times are hard and frightening. Barley, a young female member of the troop, can only watch as her family and friends are split apart.


Copyright © by J. Day Clarkson, 14 July, 2014

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 948 other followers