12.31.2004

My five greatest failures.

1. My inability to perform a drum roll in sixth grade band.

2. Never having beaten Super Mario Bros. 1 for NES, even with a GameGenie.

3. That one time I spaced in college and forgot to do the daily promos, about five minutes of work, for public television.

4. Any Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit or similar game ever, where friends and family feel I will amaze them with my skill. I suck at these games.

5. Misspelling "corral" as "coral" in a school spelling bee.

12.29.2004

I want a 100-year-old camera.

Found in a drawer in the Arkansas State Prison and dating 1915-1937, these photographs by subjects and photographers who didn't care about the result are some of the best portrait photos I have ever seen. Examples (the last would be a kick-ass CD cover):








For more links, check out my del.ico.us bookmarks.

12.22.2004

I'm done.

I regularly read www.inpassing.org and www.overheardinnewyork.com , two sites that highlight the oddity of the passing street conversation.

This recent tidbit proves that I will never surpass the intuitive genius of a common third grader, thus I am finished.

*********************
Kids These Days, I Tell Ya...
Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!
Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train
*********************

I mean, an effective Emeril reference? C'mon. You can't beat that.

12.20.2004

Christmas angel. Or an eagle.

The pic at left is the reflection of a florescent light fixture in my computer monitor at work. The two "wings" are the reflectors and the center bit is the two bulbs. They appear to merge at the top because of the angle and the curvature of my screen. To scale at a 1152x864 resolution, which I hope no one uses.

9751

Get far enough away and everything makes sense.

Every day Jeannie Joy makes announcements over the phone network. Lacking a public address system, she calmly creeps up every phone line, crawls out the speaker, brushes herself off and states her piece before climbing gracefully back in and through to her position at the front desk.

Many times it's to summon the publisher or editor to take a call from our feudal lord, Rick. Rick Burroughs, despite being a handsome, rich and successful newspaper owner is never referred to by his full or last name. He is not William Randolph Hearst. He is merely Rick, his surname so rarely used as to atrophy into anew tense, a fifth person.

About once every other day, her pronouncement is not to encourage us to swear fealty, but instead to instruct us to tithe at a different altar.

"The meter-man is out front. The meter-man is out back. The meter-man cometh."

An orderly, cursing rush can then be heard over my basement cubical, as if a troupe of heavy-footed chorus girls is swearing their way back and forth across the floor.

For reasons only attributable to the stack of desks that is our municipal bureaucracy, we have been unable to get parking passes for our employees, forcing those who want the convenience of parking directly behind the offices to suffer the inconvenience of going outside four to five times a day to fill their meters, or, alternatively, paying a pink parking ticket left by one employed in the most thankless job in humanity.

I normally park in the free lot across the street and approximately 17 seconds farther away.

I do not know why, in an office where the use of Microsoft Outlook is required for checking in and out, for interoffice memos and organizational calendars, they have not yet scheduled in the meter-man. His schedule is predictable, according to my hastily scribbled notes over a two week period. Yet for two years he has tormented the office as a grumbling volcano to a primitive island tribe.

I could tell them. I could discreetly enter in his information to the frustratingly misspelled Employee calendar, directly under "Classified Dealine". But if I were to unmask this god, reveal the clock behind the curtain, would not soon Rick also fall, his phone summons unanswered, until he lay, trampled and beaten, a ladies heel embedded in his eye, a modern Mussolini?

From ocean currents to foreign politics, there is no chaos at a distance. But if you step into the order, enter the Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, it spreads to disarray around you. And points of light are never allowed to step back and see the image more distant eyes can see.

Also, they could just park in the free lot. I refuse to be one whoswabs rubbing alcohol on the arm of a lethal injection recipient.

12.17.2004

Insomnia.

It is consumption, it is madness.

It eats your muscles and your mind, making you too slow and weak to fight off the countless invisible demons.

I like to think of myself as fairly intelligent, my thoughts often racing so far beyond my ability to express them that I sometimes drop words, sentences, paragraphs out of my writing and speech, absentmindedly I’ll go so far ahead that I’ll miss where I’ve been.

But when I can’t sleep, the million marching legs of my thoughts are cut, one by one. For a moment the synchrony of thought and action is almost blissful, but too soon my thoughts are left behind in a relentless world, leaving me to grasp at echoes, trying to find out where I am.

Everything that can go wrong with the mind, does. You forget to lock your door, you forget to close it, you forget where it is. What have you done? You doubt everything, a sobbing rocking ball of paranoia, before springing up in maniacal delusion. Trudging on, slow and unsteady, your mind wears trenches in its countless roads, you are trapped, repeating, obsessing compulsive. You can get so far behind you will miss hours of your day, no more than ethereal ghosts seen out of the corner of your eye in a coal black room. You wait.

You wait.

But it does not come, sends its desperation to you instead. Dreams are not a gentle ride, nor even a nightmarish fog of persecution. You are flung down a hole filled with gibbering mouths and epileptic television sets, reaching, surpassing terminal velocity, until, despite your need and weakness, you wake yourself up if a fear that, if you didn’t, you never would.

You are trapped between the very real feeling that you are dying and an unholy desire that it was true. You are already dead, and this is hell.

When it passes, when you finally get out of it, you can never remember how. If you were rocked twitching pains of psychic withdrawal or finally collapsed in a weeping pile until a week had passed. A month later you realize you are fine, a little tired, but rested. Memories of it are as sharp and incoherent as a childhood trauma.

And then it starts again.

12.16.2004

21 Reasons I shaved my head.

1. I joined a synchronized swim team and every second counts.

2. My wife and I are Advies—advertising fetishists. I play a stern but loving Mr. Clean and she’s a naughty little Aunt Jamima.

3. I went on a vision quest and discovered my spirit animal is the regal mole rat.

4. It makes the trepanation easier.

5. I’m starting over, completely, from the beginning. Later today I will have my teeth removed and botox injected randomly about my body, giving me the feeble inarticulate movements of an infant.

6. I’m auditioning for Blue Man Group.

7. Long story short: I finally got my sideburns even.

8. I take the challenging card game “War” very seriously.

9. I ran out of shampoo.

10. It was the only way I could secure an interview with activist Sinead O’Conner.

11. I saw G.I. Jane last night and it changed my life.

12. I have joined a collective of enlightened individuals who, after cleansing castration and a transcendence involving strychnine-laced punch, will be joining the gods upon their hover ship on the moon.

13. People kept mistaking me for Antonio Banderas and it was getting annoying.

14. My fedora was too tight.

15. Big league chew, 80 mph motorcycle ride, sneeze.

16. I am a student of phrenology.

17. I’m doing an undercover investigative piece at the light bulb factory.

18. I’ve had the nickname “cue ball” all my life, so I thought, “What the hell…”

19. I fell asleep at a party.

20. I head-butted a barber.

21. I found my beautiful luxurious hair too distracting to my coworkers.

12.14.2004

Lego science and microwave temporal manipulation

I was playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II last night, but before you tune out entirely I assure you this has nothing to do with that midi-chlorians crap nor will I regress entirely into indecipherable geek.

Anyway, it’s a fairly straightforward RPG, full of the regular benefits (escapism) and detriments (mindlessly annoying puzzles, linear plot, time devouring game play). What I’d like to focus on is something that can be found in a host of futuristic games, movies, and books: modular technology with apparently infinite adaptability.

Throughout the game robots, pardon me, “droids,” engines and computers are constantly being damaged or destroyed. It would seem a strong grasp of quantum engineering has not led society to develop anything more durable then a Faberge egg. These items are almost always part of some annoying little riddle which can easily be solved by opening up various hatches and finding the egregiously named “spare part.”

The future is rife with spare parts. I picture a vastly advanced civilization which uses nanobots the way I use a fork and black holes the way I use a toaster. Also, instead of rats boarding every damn thing we build, sentient spare parts will lodge themselves in everything from the refuse bin to the heat duct.

In any case, any item in the game that is broken can easily be fixed by adding a number of spare parts to it, a number conveniently known before hand. Doesn’t matter the size, type or application, three of whatever the hell will fix a hyper drive. I like to mix it up, fixing one droid with a part I found in the storage locker and another with a part I found in an ion cannon. One step above tinker toys and one step below erector sets.

Now I’ll admit I know some clever fellows in mechanics and computers. I also remember a couple of years ago when the dream was a totally modular computer, basically a power supply with slots in it wherein a motherboard, hard drive etc. could be swapped out and in with ease. I refuse to believe, however, that no matter how advanced we become we will be able to adequately fix a fried cpu with a heating coil, a piston ring and one of those screws with triangular slots found on happy meals toys.

Infinitely advanced technology, yeah. Then why the hell can’t the things fix themselves, like those self-healing gels? Why aren’t they nigh impenetrable? I understand a laser or light saber or whatever the hell is exceedingly damaging, but if it can be fixed with two ball bearings and some telephone cable it ain’t that broken.

The sci-fi fantasy community needs to band together and rid themselves of this nuisance once and for all, even if it means the next time I play KofOR III I have to spend four hours finding the right sized bolt to fit a desk lamp.

This completely fails to bring me to my next topic: cell phone precognition. I freaking love this. I know why it happens and still I love it.

Before my cell rings, the phone has to receive data from the tower and then send back “yeah, I got it.” When it sends back this signal the little micro/radio/fairy waves interfere with the sensitive electronics/components/gnomes of computer monitors and speakers. Result: about 5 seconds before it rings monitors and computer speakers fizzle. Bam, I’m psychic.

Of course they continue to fizzle while it rings, and while I talk and whenever I smile to big, but what the hell. I still feel like a super cyber ninja, from space.

12.07.2004

The office.

Surreptitiously clipping my fingernails wasn't a phrase I'd ever use seriously, but there I was, trying to appear to type while trimming my fingernails with scissors.

It was an office faux pas, which was why I was hoping no one would notice. The people in the cubicle across from me--fellow reporter Rosemary and editor Tom-- faced away, but I faced into the corridor, and both were known to get up sporadically to get more tea.

Long nails disgust me, not on others so much, but on my own hands. Going to dislodge a bit of apple and tasting a bitter awful whatever you touched during the day is bad enough, but to feel a piece of that whatever take the place of the apple . . .

I was almost done, despite some close calls wherein I was furtively tapping on the keyboard with the back of my hand to make the tappy tappy noise. Then my pinky fingernail, left hand, flew into the numeric keyboard.

It was invisible, yes, but I would feel like some depraved fiend if I left it for some future employee, five years from now, to find. Carefully, wedging the scissors into the crevice between the 5 and 2 I pried upward slowly. 5 popped up easily and the nail slid under the2 with even greater ease. I looked around. Everyone was busy. I pried at the 2. Rosemary looked across and opened her mouth to say something. The 2 flew gracefully into my forehead and came to rest on the carpet five feet away as I belatedly went to protect my face from the errant key, nearly putting out my eyes with the scissors still in my hand.

Rosemary closed her mouth and went back to work. I retrieved the key and did the same.

12.01.2004

Surreal.

Here's a dream whose incongruous parts I can easily interpret and find their real-life origins:
Married life had made money kind of tight, and (due to a degree in writing) the only part-time job I could get was at the world's worst knock-off store in the mall.
Juicers, as it was called, sold only off-brand Jones Soda in the most revolting flavors imaginable (I think I tried Watermelon Pizza). The stuff was so bad it actually gave you skin cancer, which was why the store also operated a mole removal service in the back.
(I had originally gotten the job to support an increasingly draining comic book habit, I believe.)
I met some nice customers during my stay, as I gave them nitrous and local anesthesia. As the owner burned the moles off we chatted about friends and family, small talk really. There was one old lady with a hairy chest and no nipples that claimed one mole in particular gave her trouble because it caught in her chain mail.
Also in the back, the owner had some kind of sweatshop java scripting operation wherein high school students were forced to constantly update his website. I generally didn't care if I caught them downloading mp3's instead, as the job really sucked.
Anyway, for some reason Autumn and I had to flee the country by sneaking aboard a train. I had opened a large triangular crate for her to hide in and had tucked myself under a box car, but she got caught anyway. To entertain the angry crew and their Large-Marge-esque conductor, I threw a red ball in the air, and, as they watched it fall, stole all their wallets. Surprisingly this worked, and the lady conductor promised me passage if I would let her listen to "Highway to Hell" during the trip. Autumn, however, was still out of luck.
When I tried again to sneak her aboard they cast us down into a pit filled with red oatmeal, human corpses and live chickens. At this point I could fly and Autumn got away. As I was attempting to flee, however (being only able to fly about 3 feet off the ground) all the bodies turned out to be zombies craving not flesh, but human affection. One dead and decomposing cheerleader attempted to hug me, but I dodged and flew off, leaving her to shriek "Great, now I have "Bad manners disease!"
Seriously.
Then I woke up.

10.16.2004

The Life

Got a job offer out of nowhere from The Other Paper, the competition, the hated other team. I took it. A little more money, a lot closer and all the creative freedom I could shake a stick at. Still, I just put in my two-weeks notice Friday (the day the other place gave me a definite yes), and now I have to work 10 days with the people I screwed over.
I'm a traitor, but at least not to myself.
The wedding stuff is nearing completion, though I still need a couple of addresses for invites (cm. for instance).
The real reason for this post is a request for wedding music, dance, sappy or humorous.
"Nice Day for a White Wedding" for instance.

7.20.2004

Yes, my ears are that big.

I've spent the last month or so creatively and imaginatively passive due mostly to my recent purchase of an Xbox and a NetFlix subscription. No recreational writing or drawing, though I did continue to sing incoherent and suggestive things loudly to myself in the car.
I've decided to change that though, and am attempting to design yet another incarnation of myself for the comic strip format. Preliminary character sketches in the form of wallpapers can be found here and here.
Those who have known me awhile probably have seen some of the half dozen other cartoony versions of myself, which ranged from shitastic to mind-numbingly conventional, though a couple were nifty and one pretty abstract. This new design has obvious influences, but I'm hoping that I have finally managed to discover my own style, even if it is frighteningly similar to that demon-bastard child of the art world: caricature drawing. Still, I'm glad I didn't over-refine it to perfectly straight lines and curves or regress entirely into utter sloppiness.
This is due more for a consuming desire to have an illustrated column ala Savage Love or Dave Barry more than a syndicated comic strip. I'm hoping I can realize this dream with a little help from my pending transfer to the County Line Reminder.
In a way it's a demotion. The Reminder has a circulation of 9 and I'll be replacing the second member of a two-person editorial team, since she is leaving to bigger and better things. The other staffer the editor-in-chief.
In the General Business Practices tradition, I was off-handedly told of my transfer after a routine meeting last week. Hilariously, the editor of the Reminder was not notified until it came up in a casual conversation about how panicked she was about losing, effectively, her entire staff.
Still, I hope that the 5-pager will open up new vista's for me as I'll doubtlessly have an easier time remembering the names of the one photographer and one ad person. Also, I'll have more responsibilities in helping layout the paper, though my pay will remain unchanged until I feel like complaining.

4.12.2004

Oroborus

And now, from the Dept. of News Redundancy Dept. I give you a newsworthy list of news lists.

General News: Fark is well known for it’s daily postings of news, tidbits and whatnot from around the globe, some of which is interesting and almost all of which is utterly useless. They have forums for every link submitted and also host Photoshop and audio editing contests ala SomethingAwful.com, but with much more suck. On the off chance that you do not know the Internet enough to check Fark every now and then, now you can pretend you aren’t an utter newbie.

Geek News: Slashdot is like fark, but with more pocket protectors. Nearly all of the news has a science bent, with focus placed on digital rights (law, privacy) alternate operating systems, coding and that stuff your pretend not to care about. Useful to check if only to learn that the RIAA is going to sue you or that it is suddenly illegal to talk to people named Mohammed.

Tech News: Gizmodo has the tech info before anyone else so you can covet the absurdly cool or learn what you will soon be blowing a paycheck on. Interesting if only as a source to track really cool technologies that subsequently disappear and go nowhere.

Design News: Yeah, I’m a bitch, but I like my art functional foremost and pretty second. MoCoLoco gives you the best in modern design, from the utterly ridiculous to the obscenely ugly to furniture so beautiful I seriously consider having sex with it. Cool site, but if you start wearing turtle necks and feeling tortured shoot yourself.

Art News: DeviantArt. Awesome art submitted by people like you. All categories from cell phone to photography to painting to poetry. There is some horrible stuff, as any site allowing indiscriminate submittal will have—namely the poetry and the furry art—but the site is surprisingly dominated by really frikken amazing shtuff. Seriously, while a lot of it is overly photoshopped, it is really humbling to realize that print you are drooling over for its sheer genius was painted by a 14 year old Scandinavian girl on a lark.

4.08.2004

Have phone? Will Travel!

Has Cubicle Life gotten you down?

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Need to get away from the desk?

Then have me call you!


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As part of a special promotional offer, for an unlimited time we are also offering the chance to be one of our undisclosed number of winners to receive a Week-long Vacation with your family and all knowledgeable contacts! Three winners so far, more a blasted certainty!

So, if you want to get away from the desk for an indefinite amount of time—to go to the bathroom or Bora Bora—have me call you today.

Repeat customers who leave voicemails while Jeremiah® is on another line leaving a voicemail with another customer receive half-off. Offer not good for idiot receptionists, irrationally angry clerks or senile, elderly relatives who get repeatedly frightened by the mystical voice emanating from the ringing box and hang-up on me.

fuck.

3.26.2004

squeak squeak

The aftermath a 24-hour flu bug is kind of like cleaning up after a hurricane—you’re shaken, glad that the worst is over and then you are confronted by the fact that your Nissan Ultima is stuck in a tree.

I got somewhere around 103º and was feeling quite proud of myself, much to Autumn’s dismay. At one point I remember being half asleep and asking her how many there were, which I think related to a dream I was having in which I had to count the members of a football crowd.

This morning I felt pretty good. That weak feeling persisted, due to dehydration and general ickyness, but other than that I was fine. The only major hiccup occurred when I was trying to contact a man about a giant cock (it is funnier out of context). I was on the phone with his wife, and my throat did that thing it does when it gets a tickle, where it closes up and squeaks.

ring ring

“Hello?”

“Hi, this is Jeremiah of the County Press. I’m trying to get a hold of Har- {squeak squeak}.”

“What?”

“{squeak squeak}”

“Hello?”

“{squeak HACK COUGH GAG} ...sorry about that. Is Harold there?”

This segues quite ineptly into my main topic of this post, namely things that I find funny that no one else does. For one thing I believe “{squeak squeak}” to be infinitely funnier than the lone, single “{squeak}” Infinitely. I actually giggled when writing it, saying it in my head.

Another thing I found funny, but which flew right by my sister, involved a discussion about a friend of the family who was getting on in years. By that I mean she was freaking ancient. This kindly old bitty had taken to reading the Bible with some regularity, and my sister didn’t seem to understand why she would read it so often, over and over. I told her that the old lady was probably studying up for her finals. No one laughed.

I thought that was witty, I really did. I also find paradoxical statements as can normally be seen on key chains funny, such as “I’m not in denial” and “There is a vast government conspiracy to make me paranoid.” That stuff cracks me up. I don’t know why.

More singularly funny things: dogs smoking, putting cold things on girls and anyone who is both extremely untreatening and angry, like old people, children or midgets.

More amazing art, which I honestly believed I already posted, but apparently was a feverish delusion:

Art of the sort I would be doing, if he hadn’t done it first.

Humbling doodles that far surpass much I have seen; this fellow’s sense of proportion and perspective that he scratches out on receipts is awe-inspiring.

3.24.2004

Returning to roots.

My dream last night was reminiscent of old Native American folk tales. For reasons of narcissism (I assume) I was a god-figure.

There was a great desert that stretched from the middle to the end of the earth. Along the middle was a great ridge so high no land animal could climb it, and across its peaks blew a wind that bared even the strongest flying creatures.

The desert was home to many things: the fly, the hornet, the spider, the sparrow and the snake. Every day and every night the hornet tried to sting the fly, the spider sought to devour the hornet, the sparrow to eat the spider and the snake to swallow the sparrow. With each was hunger and fear, save the fly and the snake, who only suffered from one or the other.

On the other side of the ridge was a meadow, a cool pond and a soothing breeze, the gentle sister of the gale that guarded it.

After a time the fly came to me and begged me to lift it over the ridge into the meadow.

"Please have pity on me, for every day and every night I flee cruel hornet, whom I have done no wrong. I hunger for no creature of the desert and only wish to quench my thirst in the cool waters of the meadow."

Looking down upon the fly, quivering and afraid, I was moved, for even then the hornet waited impatient and hungry outside of our circle.

Even to me crossing the ridge would be a challenge, so I put the fly in a special box with netting for walls, and asked him to wait until the winds died down.

The next day the hornet came to me with a similar plea. With the fly taken from her appetite her days were spent in fear of the spider. After making her promise to respect the fly or face my wrath, I placed her in the box as well. I put the fly facing away, so that he would not be confronted by fear, and the hornet faced the fly, to keep her stinger pointed away.

Then the spider came to me with a similar plea. After obtaining his word I placed him in the box as well, facing away from the hornet so that she would be protected by stinger and unthreatened by fang.

Soon the sparrow was in the box as well, facing away from all and waiting for the winds to weaken so that I could carry them over the ridge.

Snake came to me but could offer no need, only hungry desire. No fear drove him, just an endless want. I denied him my assistance and he angrily slinked away, promising vengeance.

A day came when the winds were weaker. Every creature had kept its promise and the remained in a line least threatening to their lessers. I began to climb the ridge.

The winds were strong but did not touch me, instead tearing at the box in my hands As I neared the top I put the box on a peak and every animal with in gasped in awe at the distant paradise. I felt a bite on my ankle and stumbled, hearing only a hissing laughter in the shadows. I dropped the box and it broke spilling the fly and spider back into the desert and the hornet and sparrow into the meadow.

I woke up at this point, so I don't know if there was a moral or not. Had a weird feel to it though.

3.19.2004

Despite my ignorance of the arts...

From a cubist rendition of Family Ties in "Those that Bind," to a photorealistic image of John Tesh in "Waiting for Adventure," and even a traditional set of Japanese wall hangings depicting Edward Norton, no other modern artist shows the breadth or depth of Brandon Bird.

Surely his is a genius, for in "Bad Day on the High Sea," he describes the work—featuring a squid, a sperm whale and a Tyrannosaur in an epic struggle—thusly: "Here, raw sexual aggression is symbolized by the sperm whale, while the squid acts as a thinly-disguised metaphor for the multi-armed oligarchies of Rockefeller, Hearst, and Morgan. Their battle plays against the backdrop of the sea, standing in for--what else?--the vastness of the unconscious mind. "

The extent of visual poetry is impossible to encompass in words, for one must see "The Dreamer and the Dream," which Bird describes as "This is a picture of L. Ron Hubbard on the couch eating Funyuns and pizza. He's thinking, 'Mmmm, that's a lot of pizza!'" to truly experience it.

Bird is a god with oil and canvas. Peruse his art and save your soul.

3.17.2004

I will win the Nobel prize.

I'm going to get a frikken medal for this. Thanks to Google's beta of a localized search, what Indiana Jones had to trek half-way around the world I did from my desk.

More importantly I found what everybody keeps losing. Which is good, because soon after I found Jesus.

Jeremiah Britt
Private Investigator

Perhaps I was too harsh...

Despite what I posted yesterday, this kind of makes sense.

3.16.2004

People for the Eating of Tasty Animals

I was on my lunch break... well actually, I was sitting here writing this and eating Lay's "Tastes of America: Sante Fe Ranch" chips and drinking water I got from the Culligan cooler by the bathroom (I forgot my lunch at home and am poor).

Anywho, I was thinking about how "Santa Fe Ranch" really means "Candy-Ass Barbecue" because it tastes like BBQ's lighter, interior decorator cousin. Having just met my 12:30 deadline with four stories, I had nothing really to do, so I read the ingredients. Near the bottom it stated, in bold lettering "CONTAINS MILK PRODUCTS."

Now, at first glance this may seem an important message for vegans and the extremely lactose intolerant. However, it wasn't as if the milk contents were exactly hidden within the ingredient list or given funny euphemistic names. There were no less than eight different dairy product entries and the word "milk" itself showed up six times not counting the PSA at the bottom. See below:

INGREDIENTS: potatoes, corn and/or cottonseed oil, salt, maltodextrin, whey, butter milk, tomato powder, sour cream (cultured cream, nonfat milk), monosodium glutamate, onion powder, parmesan cheese (cultured milk, salt, enzymes), cheddar cheese (cultured milk, salt, enzymes), Monterey Jack cheese (cultured milk, salt, enzymes), dextrose, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, garlic powder, corn starch, chili pepper powder, corn starch, whey protein concentrate, cultured nonfat milk, ETC.


Damn things are nearly milk chips. Why does this annoy me? Because, at the risk of earning the rage of my fellows, I have a growing hatred for vegans and especially anyone associated with PETA. I know, I know, I'm a dick. As a concept, I don't have anything against people who don't want to eat meat or the like for health/religious/spiritual reasons. However, there is a kind of fanatical, cult mentality amongst these people and I really dislike feeling the need to experience guilt because I think filet mignon is frikken delicious.

The benefits of soy and detriments of milk are wildly exaggerated, yet continually propagated as truth. One of the arguments is that the common occurrence of lactose intolerance in some minorities—namely those of African, Latino and Native American descent—is a sure sign that milk is the devil. Other races have no problem, however, because they produce enough of the enzyme lactase to digest the milk. So what? Are jalapeños bad because you gringos get heartburn? Screw that. There are plenty of racially specific traits that don't necessarily denote the evils or failings of various peoples or habits. Black people get sickle-cell anemia, does that mean blood is unnatural? White people can't dance, which is probably why so many Christian fundamentalists think the activity is sinful, nevermind that the Bible is rife with dancing, drinking and having a good time.

The argument that milk or meat is unnecessary because the proteins, essential minerals/vitamins and what not can be obtained from other sources is equally stupid. I could also say that buying a house is unnecessary because all the necessary materials can be found readily in nature. So, while you are consuming five more meals a day gleaned from pounds of odd or disgusting vegetables, be sure to go cut some trees down for a house frame, refine various ores for metal for pipes and electrical, make some cement etc.

Supposedly too are milk and meat's horrible health side effects. Everything from cancer to osteoporosis, the latter which I'm fairly certain is prevented by milk. Well happy Christmas, but everything we eat, drink and breathe has negative side effects. Too much of anything can cause cancer. Too much water and you get water-poisoning. Soy milk isn't exactly a host of magical benefits either; both soy and tofu have been linked to all kinds of problems and health risk, most involving brain function, but, surprise surprise, they are also linked to cancer.

There is no damn way that we can safely, as a planet, live with health and happiness off of plants alone. Current agricultural practices are questionable as it is, with pesticide use, deforestation and the environmentally crippling effects of irrigation and damning. Add to this most vegans dislike of genetically or chemically modified foods that could actually produce larger and more healthy, delicious and disease resistant crops and you have a very hungry populous. Soylent green anyone?

Aside—despite what PETA says, drinking milk and eating meat doesn't make you fat. Look at me. Not getting off your damn ass every once in a while will make even strict vegans fat. Look at cows.

Vegans are also against honey, as it is produced by bees for their own private, bee uses. This strikes me as insane for a number of reasons. The bees in question are farmed in a way that promotes over-production of honey. The bees are not negatively affected because all they do is produce honey, so they aren't likely to get overworked or miss the latest episode of The Simpsons. The bee farmers are not likely to do things to damage their profit producing little workers. And THEY'RE BEES FOR FUCK'S SAKE. I'll get behind more humane treatment of dogs, cats, hell, even cows. But bees don't experience the world in a way that relates to the human perspective so the very idea of humane treatment is idiotic. We aren't eating the bees themselves. We aren't chaining them to daisies. We are just harvesting what would otherwise be devoured by cartoon bears.

Oh, I know that statistically somewhere in the vicinity of one bee is crushed into every jar of honey in the collection process. Well eat this vegans: every damn "animal free" food you devour is virtually guaranteed to contain some animal matter, as bugs and other pests lived on and ate the living plants and processed materials.

Most vegans are hypocrites. Most cut corners, stop looking at ingredient labels when it is inconvenient or expensive to pay too close attention as nearly all pre-processed foods contain either whey or beef gelatin. No big deal, right? We all cheat on our diets. The thing is it is supposedly a health and morality concern for these people.

Healthwise, do you know of any diabetic who just downs sugar-rich foods when they get "too-busy" to keep track of their diets? Sure there are a couple, but I think we all agree they're playing insulin Russian roulette.

Moralitywise, do you know of any parent that beats their kids when they are too busy to provide adequate, humane disciplinary action? Probably. But what do we call these people? That's right: Assholes.

To boil it down to brass tacks (mixing metaphors rocks), I give you an excerpt from an article by Teresa Platt, Executive Director, FCUSA. Admittedly, she works for the fur commission, but that doesn't mean she doesn't to have her side heard. Besides, PeTa's had its fair share of publicity, what with the sick anti-meat propaganda and anti-fur campaign riddled with derogatory sexualized imagery. Give the article a read, it's a quite interesting look from the other side.

Did you know meat can go bad and kill you? Did you know that many of the animals are skinned alive to produce beef? Did you know cattle produce a lot of manure, that it takes a lot of grain to feed them? Did you know that fish feel pain, that they suffocate and die horrible deaths? Many people live without meat, fish, poultry. We should stop eating animals and live off grains and vegetables.

The PeTA arguments follow this line of thinking and analysis:

* Did you know that you can get AIDS from sex and die?
* Did you know that sex can break your heart?
* Did you know that you can catch sexually transmitted diseases or get pregnant?
* Did you know that lots of children get pregnant from having sex?
* Did you know that sex is not necessary?
* Did you know that many people live long and healthy lives without sex?
* Therefore, we should all be celibate.

So, let's take the PeTA method of deductive reasoning and apply it to the crops that they promote so heavily:

* Did you know that most of the Earth is covered with land and water that can't support crops but we can force some of it to unnaturally produce by diverting water and infusing vast amounts of fertilizer?
* Did you know that, somewhere in the world, runoff from farms is polluting our waters right now, even as we speak?
* Did you know that tilling fields causes air pollution?
* Did you know that human beings are exploited for their backbreaking labor in the hot sun in the fields to harvest your crops?
* Don't you realize that trillions of gallons of water are diverted by huge concrete channels to irrigate farmland for agra kings driven by profit, removing that water from natural uses?
* Did you know that saline buildup from irrigating fields can render the fields unable to support life?
* Did you know that vegetables can grow molds and bacteria that can kill you?
* Did you know that 25% of the pesticides used in this country are used to produce cotton?
* Did you know that erosion from flooded farmlands is most likely responsible for the "Dead Zone" or hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico?
* Did you know that pfiesteria, an organism that eats fish, grows in nitrogen rich waters and that nitrogen is present in fertilizers?
* Did you know that agra kings kill, using guns, traps and poisons, billions of birds, rats and mice every year, animals that are just trying to get something to eat?
* Did you know the animals lose their homes whenever we put down a crop and that they are sliced to ribbons by combines during the harvesting of the crops?
* Did you know that the greatest threat to wildlife is habitat loss?
* Therefore, people should be educated to not utilize any products produced by the agra-industrial complex which promotes mono-culture crop production and is destroying the world. Living from a sustainable take of grazers, birds and fish is the kinder, more Earth-friendly solution.

Voil

3.15.2004

Writing exercise.

I was bored, so I came up with a little writing exercise. Waiting for a phone call I decided to see what kind of babble I could write before pausing for more than 30 seconds to think. This is why 1) the story stops in the middle of nowhere 2) it makes no sense and 3) the names are weird.

The names are a result of glancing at the copious amount of empty cans on my desk in a desperate effort to stay within my self-imposed pause requirements. Ed Feine is from "Lipton Brisk Raspberry Iced Tea" and "Mug Root Beer No Caffeine." Vern Nute is from "Vernors" and "Minute Maid Original."

Once typed, I did not allow any backspacing or editing, save spell-checking. This is more a result of trying to pretend I was using a typewriter than teaching myself to use proper revision techniques. It was fun, but also very depressing.

I suggest you all do similar and have fun. Also, go find out at match.com who you find attractive (link on main page). It's fun and interesting.



Lapedit Foods, Inc.®, owns several subsidiaries, most of them candy, snack or instant meal companies.

Known for their experimental flavors of ramen—Stuffed Turkey Dinner, Enchilada, Southern BBQ, and the ambiguous Triple-Decker—Señor Chong ® is Lapedit’s most popular line. Specializing in instant and microwaveable Hispanic/Asian meals, Señor Chong ® has found a particular niche amongst college students, young bachelors and graphic artists.

Ed Feine had the particular pleasure of belonging to all three of the above groups. Admittedly, the 27-year-old Feine was only a college student by circumstance—in his senior year Ed’s final required credit for his semiotics minor suddenly dropped off the course book when the esteemed and flagrantly homosexual Professor Vern Nute passed away after a three day orgy of sex, opium and sheep-sheering. As Ed was the only graduating senior pursuing that minor, in fact the only enrolled student that knew what semiotics was, the college did not see an immediate need to hire a replacement.

Ed could not be swept under the rug, however, as he was the grand-nephew of a very influential alum who had absolutely no idea that he existed. The college administration agreed to give him his diploma on the condition that, however unlikely, when a professor was hired who happened to have the necessary credentials, Ed would return immediately for retroactive full accreditation.

That was five years ago.

Ed Feine currently lived in a modest bungalow with a massage therapist and Tantric yoga instructor/drug dealer, both of them attractive men who nearly always spent the night at various “client’s” houses. In fact, Feine had entirely forgotten what they looked like after the initial roommate interview four years ago. They always seemed to be in the shower or locked in their rooms when he was home, which was nearly always, as “freelance graphic artist” was synonymous with “unemployed.”

It wasn’t a big deal to Ed. They weren’t loud, took care of the garbage and generally were messy enough to make him feel comfortable leaving his sketches lying about without being so sloppy as to have infestations. He normally got a couple assignments a month, left $300 on the kitchen table on the first of the month and was left alone.

Ed was alone a lot. He wasn’t socially awkward or introverted, nor cursed with any physical deformity or skin parasite. He simply didn’t really care about meeting anyone, though he would wander down to the bar every other night to chat up women, all of whom he would eventually learn had slept with one or both of his roommates. Cynicism kept him in.

One Wednesday in June, Ed was mulling over an ad layout for a local grocer and enjoying a Señor Chong's Tofun Bean Fiesta Burrito®. The grocer had expressed a desire to see, as she had put it “Extremely happy oranges jumping into a juicer with a crowd of vegetables and fruits cheering them on and getting splashed with the delicious juices.” It was for next Sunday’s insert in the local paper highlighting seasonal fruits and vegetables. The whole happy suicide/sadistic enjoyment with overtones of cannibalism theme was especially troubling for Ed, as all his sketches thus far looked like VegiTales does Elie Wiesel’s Night. It probably hadn’t helped that he had watched Schindler’s List the night before.

Finally Ed quit in disgust when he realized that he had scribbled a distinctive, close-cropped mustache on a prominent banana whose arm was extended mid-wave.

Tossing what was left of his burrito into the garbage, he opened up a cupboard that wearing a little "Hello, my name is ED'S FOOD, DON'T TOUCH" sticker and grabbed a Styrofoam dish of Señor Chong's Happy Pumpkin Ramen®.

3.12.2004

Dear God...

There are no lucid words to describe the insanity of the link below. Instead I will post a passage written by Samuel Foote in the mid 1700's to test the memory of a boastful actor, Charles Macklin:

So she went into the garden to cut a cabbage-leaf to make an apple-pie; and at the same time a great she-bear, coming up the street, pops its head into the shop. “What! No soap?” So he died, and she very imprudently married the barber; and there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyulies, and the grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button at top, and they all fell to playing the game of catch as catch can till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots.


There are no pictures to worry your boss or mother, no overtly offensive speech though the whole exercise is very, very disturbing. Move over Time Cube. How-to guide for delphinic zoophiles, you have been defeated.

This way lies madness.

3.11.2004

Press Release

Practiced incompetence leads to mystery shocker


Albey Fairdsoon

LAPEER, Mich. (AP) — Despite a continuing lack of productivity today (3/11/04), County Press staff reporter Jeremiah Britt kept his job. Although pleased by the persistence of his paychecks, Britt admits that the absence of a pink slip has made him a little nervous.

"Well, you know, I like to, well, eat, as it were. So anything that keeps me in the gravy, figuratively and literally, is a good thing. But I don't really do anything. I mean I try, and sometimes I'm actually really busy, but mostly I just kind of try to look busy. I just know that the boss is going to notice soon and either tear me a new one, or kick me out the door," Britt said.

Mark Haney, editor in chief at The County Press and Britt's superior, seems generally pleased with Britt's work. While Haney does give Britt occasional guidance about clarifying jargon for readers and separating the facts from the fluff, there isn't much feedback.

"The second week I was here we got a call from a lady saying I misquoted a number she gave me. Last week I messed up a date. Each time (Haney) came over and told me that 'we need to keep our facts straight.' He wasn't happy, but he didn't yell either," Britt said.

According to Britt, each time he makes a mistake or only turns in three stories he is sure that he'll "get canned." So far he has remained employed and even un-chastised.

In an attempt to "actually, you know, work at work," Britt has added graphics editing to his repertoire, doing various photo illustrations for the paper and offering layout style suggestions.

These efforts have met with compliments by coworkers, Haney, Assistant Editor Krystal Kaltz Johns, and even Publisher Steve Funk. Britt has responded with increased nervousness and a reoccurrence of chronic insomnia.

It is unclear as to whether Britt's epic avoidance of Welfare is some kind of grace period given to new hires or the result of office apathy. Some contributing factors could be the recent loss of three full time employees and constant threats from others to put in their two-week notices. These two circumstances could be causing the management to be leery of aggravating or firing an already angry and understaffed work force.

It could be that Britt has finally used up his free parking, however, as last week another staff reporter, Jennifer Decker, joined The County Press. Bereft of his "new guy" status, Britt fears that he'll no longer be able to wile away countless hours reading movie reviews on the news wire or updating his various LiveJournal and e-mail accounts.

"Good job on your column. It was funny," Johns said recently.

Britt responded by stuttering, going back to his desk and swearing under his breath.

"Any day now. I'm gonna get fired. I really am. Tomorrow's probably my last day," Britt said.

Britt then wrote up a fake press release to look busy.

My mind is wandering. So is my browser.

Here are some things that I'd like to see:

Ketchup/mustard, similar to the Goober brand peanut butter/jelly They would be in individual chambers, like Aquafresh toothpaste, depending on dispension the two could be made to twist beautifully, like a vinegar candy cane. (I heard that a Babysitters' Club book mentioned that a combined orange paste was a burger shak's "secret sauce.")

With all the current features (organizer, web browser, high color display, camera, etc.) packed into today's ultra-slim phones, I don't see why they can't make a feature-free (just phone) cell the size of a watch, pen, or multi-tool, for relatively cheap, Those disposable phones didn't take off, but a durable, small and simple one might be marketable

Carbonated tea, which is made, but not with a wide enough distribution.

Shoes with cleats that are recessed, like cat's claws. They would come out when toes were curled or with strong, sustained pressure caused by running via smart gel technology.

One thing I've wanted for a while was S'moreo cookies. Graham and marshmallow, with chocolate wedge. There are s'more type cookies now, but they suck.

Electronic bartender. I could put bottles of gin, vodka, rum, whiskey etc. in the back, hook it up to a soda fountain (CO2 pump, water line and syrup), and have the thing select from appropriate glasses or plastic glasses (or just whatever glass you put under the dispenser) and make the drink. Would need controlled delivery (tequila sunrise) and stirrer (could dispense stirrers and use them with simple servo, rubberized grip?) Would be expensive but awesome. Need an old laptop to program in drinks (maybe the user can customize strength and and new drinks). Spill-proof touch display. Muy awesome.
No robotic arm to worry about calibration. Moving parts: valves (have to research types), servo for stirring, grip for stirrers (optional), gate mechanisms for dispensing cups and or stirrers (optional).
Computing power: a scientific calculator could do it, but might want a graphical display, so I'd say old laptop and touch screen (market demo only).
I could write it in Visual Basic, or C++ (have to brush up), need robotics controller output via serial port or USB

Echo-Boxes.
This would be fantastically simple.
Little square box with cutsey labeling. Simple record and playback chip and battery (like those kid keychain things for $3 where you push button and then can warp playback). Opening box triggers record function for ten seconds. Close the box quickly. Open it and it plays back last recording, but only once. Hallmark would love it. Put a ring inside, ask for marriage...

Debit cards that have a simple LED display that shows balance. This would be easy. Squeeze the edges to activate to save battery life. Solar powered even. Only stumbling block: data transfer from existing ATM's. Account information (e.g. balance) isn't stored locally, so I'm not sure how this would work.

Automatic hemming of clothes. Micro zippers, with rows of teeth arranged in parallel lines, could do it. Have no idea if this is sensible.

A combination washer/dryer. I hoped to god that they had these already. I don't see what the big problem would be, other than water drainage. Front load washer, high-velocity spin to get out most of the water, then tumble dry with heat. What is the problem? They have them, specifically for limited space apartments and condos. Unfortunately they are prone to malfunction. DAMN.

Quote from Autumn #1: "It tickles when you put things in my butt!"

(When I warned her I would take this out of context and post it here she replied with quote #2).

Quote from Autumn #2: "I'll just tell them that Mom likes to put pencils in my butt."

I love my girlfriend.

3.10.2004

Thirteen squared.

Ugh. I'm tired and have been searching for Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" for too long, yet the song slips through the joints in my skull and flosses my exhausted mind. So I took a break, and inspired by Autumn's "flash fiction" assignment, decided to try my hand. Mixed results ensue--the assignment calls for 500 words, I decide at 169, 13^2. Then I get stupider and make each sentence 13 words. Ick. Damnable results, angsty and riddled with clumsy metaphor. Can't win 'em all.

****
Her beauty was her tight tiny clothes, his was that he didn’t care. He wasn't remarkable except he knew it; she didn't and so would learn.
Across the gulf of promises she caught his eye and possessed his mind. Muttering advances, lust and fear mixed in his cheeks to form deep red. After three dates, in her daddy’s pickup, behind the local Aco, midnight happened. She moaned lies that caught in his throat, cut him as he swallowed. Four months later, addicted to the mechanizations, their industry formed an accidental product. The waiting room, bright and empty as his mother’s alcoholic smile, disdains him. Gentle doctors, clean rooms, the best in modern medicine and baby is unborn. Complications clutter simple procedures like dark black splotches on a clean white page. Every birthday her bed sprouts rose candles as he sings, presents his tears. He’s too young to have unlearnt the truth of lost love and lies. Poor he, poor she; she’s too old, too lost, love unlearnt, and lies.
****

3.08.2004

You sunk my battleship!

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve ordered my very own copy of "Whisper of Espionage: Wolfgang Kohler and the Apes of Tenerife" by Ronald Ley. From there I will have to get various Kohler works, hopefully enlisting my very beautiful and wonderful girlfriend’s student access to U of M’s library, namely publications in various psychological journals. With various research materials for culture and dress of the locale and time period I will then do my best to transform Ley’s mediocre work into a passable screenplay.

For those of you unfamiliar with Kohler, he was a German gestalt psychologist who, according to Ley, was also a very successful spy during World War I. So successful, in fact, that no one even knew he was a spy until Ley was researching Kohler’s work many years later.

Being as how my subject was an eccentric fellow, yet frighteningly intelligent, I will attempt to form my screenplay to reflect the way “The Road to Wellville” treated Dr. Kellogg, but darker and with more monkeys.

All in all, the 98 cents I invested in the book shall not be too sorely missed.

This will be a step in my life goal of writing (if not publishing) something in every major format.

3.05.2004

Tangents, links, and some porridge

Well my “I turned into a giraffe” story line is at an end, as it caused my girlfriend to believe I had cheated on her.

This makes sense, I assure you, and those who know me well enough realize how I promote odd and insane associations, especially with such phrases as “shot in the chest,” “short bus,” “Abraham Lincoln’s new electric cat,” “The” and “I have turned into a giraffe.”

And no, I did not do bad things. That would be crazy, crazy stupid and stupidly crazy. I love that gal Miss Autumn.

Anyway, on the left you see some links; some fun sites (join me in NationStates you bastards), my e-mail (stable) and my Amazon wishlist. No one is expected to buy me crap, but it lets everyone peek into the books, movies and music I desire enough to purchase instead of borrow from the library, rent from a video place or download illegally.

That’s pretty much it.

/me out.

3.04.2004

You're going to want to sit down for this...

I took the book quiz that Stef took and was rewarded with comparison to one of my favorites which is coincidentally one of the easiest etymological instances I am aware of. Below I have posted everything but the pic, because they take up space and are generally hideous. It’s just the book cover anyway. If you really want to see it click here.


You're Catch-22!
by Joseph Heller
Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You could coin a phrase that replaces the word "paradox" for millions of people.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.


Okay, so I’m a giraffe now.

I try to help this gypsy lady, who was drunk, and she yells some crazy shit at me before throwing a small femur with a ribbon wrapped around it at me and then passes out in the ditch. I put her carefully back in her cart, replace the wheel, pat her donkey and go home. About a mile from my house I start feeling nauseous and I pull over. I get out, crazy psychedelics and wham! I’m 18 feet tall and I’ve destroyed my pants. Thankfully, though other giraffe’s are generally mute, I’ve retained my speech faculties. Lacking opposable thumbs I have been given very adept prehensile lips and tongue.

I quickly jogged home at about 35 mph before the utter realization of my predicament set in—I was naked.

Fortunately, upon discovering my state my mother was distracted by my metamorphosis and the nudity went unmentioned. I was afraid of a loss of purpose, but within hours I was offered several high-paying jobs by various circuses, scientific laboratories (eek!) and Kids R’ Us. Things are looking up, though I will probably spend half my pay on long distance conveyance.

Ah well. Every silver lining has a cloud.

Fueling my megalomania

Inspired by the “What Country Are You?” quiz, and a obsessive desire to control others, I have set up an account at NationStates. I suggest you do the same.

It is a game, yet a remarkably simple and unobtrusive game that takes about ten minutes a day and doesn’t have obnoxious sound or graphics (read: it will not appear to be fun to a casual observer). Based on a book titled Jennifer Government which I won’t describe because you can read about it on the site, NationStates lets the player set up his/her own utopian socialist state, dystopian fascist regime or anything in between.

You answer 10 multiple choice questions, pick a national name, motto, animal and currency and then a flag (I shall be uploading a custom one later). Viola! You have a country.

Then each workday you are posed with 1 issue (you can increase it if you prefer). You can decide on this issue as you see fit, or dismiss it entirely. The next day it is law and your nation adjusts accordingly, albeit in an exaggerated fashion.

There is no war or trade, so you don’t have to worry about some power user coming in and mucking things up. There is a United Nations, but you don’t have to join. All in all a nice little daily diversion to add to the list of news/comic/movie sites you check everyday when you get to work.

My country is The Republic of Kluver-Bucy, not to be confused with Gary Busey. It is named after a rare psychological disorder resulting in (among other things) oral fixation by way of confusion of indentifying food and hyper-sexuality.

Anywho, if enough of you join up we can move our nations to a particular region, join the UN as a group and wield our unwieldy wielding of power.

Oh, I forgot to tell you in the last post that a drunk gypsy woman turned me into a giraffe last night by—accidentally—when I stopped my car on the expressway to help her change the wheel on her gypsy cart.

Thankfully, the tongue and mouth of me and my fellow Giraffa camelopardali are extremely strong and dexterous, allowing me to type. More on that later.

P.S. Ladies, my tongue is also now 24 inches long. Just a fun fact to file away.

I'm not really that bumpy.

I don't know how I feel about this.


You're Chile!
You're really skinny, and kind of bumpy in frame, but you're not as
rough a person as you used to be.  You like long, long, long walks on the beach and
avoiding having your rights violated, just like anybody else does.  You're even
willing to stand up to those with more power and influence than you, trying to bring them
to justice.  Fight the man!

Take
the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid

2.24.2004

Working in a coal mine, going down down down...

Well, I'm not freaking dead if that's what you're thinking.

Nor am I exceptionally busy — except to the point where the very idea of going from eight hours of staring at a computer for MONEY to going home, removing my tie, and then staring at another damn computer makes me want to vomit a stream of angry hornets from my eyeballs. But that's just me. I can remember with blissful patheticism what it was like to play Command & Conquer: Red Alert for 10 hours straight. My remuneration on past DOOM marathons that left me with visions of cross-hairs and fire-spewing shit demons for days are the thing of depressing nostalgia.
But now I am paid to stare at computers. It not so much makes me hate the activity so much as it completely rids me of any emotional reaction to it whatsoever. This can happen when you are paid for anything; ask a wine taster or porn star. This is why money is evil.
On the plus side, I will doubtlessly NOT be driven to school violence by graphic video games anymore. This is good for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is the inconvenience of finding a school upon which to unleash my bullets of rage now that I have been graduated for four years.
What have I been doing, since it is apparently not the computer games, graphics, writing, and/or Internet pornography that so filled my hours in the past?
Romantificating. Impassionometry III. Giving my girlfriend a steady stream of opium-laced Pez so that she remains under my influence, AKA in love with me.
And cleaning her new house. I swear to the Great Spirit, if I could find a way to convert mouse poop and dead bugs to a reliable energy source or maybe a delightfully airy cake filling I would be a gatrillionaire right now. Rubbing her feet. Making her tea. Gluing a multitude of tiny dowels to tiny paper chairs for a tiny speak easy, presumably for hipster Lego people who are tired of sitting in chairs that push two giant discs into their buttocks.
And work. The art of reportery is often overlooked by many of the cultured that tell us what is "totally tubular," which is odd, because the cultured that tell us this are normally tortured beatniks-turned-journalists. In any case I'm making a name for myself locally. That name is "Jer-something With The Reasonable Talent And Overly-Polite Awkwardness." This name is ancient Aramaic and means "Idiot."
So my job is keeping me busy enough to completely fail to do my taxes yet or pay my college $25 for an (allegedly) lost power cord so that I may get my diploma. It's okay though. I'm inching my way out of debt with the help of a $13.96 check from the attorney general for my part of a class-action anti-trust suit against the CD companies. Take that music industry!
Oh, I had a dream last night that a dentist or some such doctor with a dentist like chair invented a suit and gun that could vibrate a person into a parallel time stream. What this meant is that by wearing a stylishly uncomfortable MegaMan suit, aiming Dr. Crazy's hairdryer at my chest and pulling the trigger, I would be simultaneously propelled backwards 10 feet while gaining super speed temporarily. The dream was very nifty and detailed, though the lighting was inexplicably bad. I remember that the first time I shot myself in the chest (a coincidental and possibly Freudian euphemistic exercise understood by a select few of my current friend base) I ran into the dentist's(?) waiting room and kicked a big K'Nex sculpture put there for kids to play with.
The design of the suit was to actually limit my mobility and strength so that things wouldn't explode when I touched them do to my exaggerated momentum. Nevertheless, the K'Nex thing flew apart slowly and beautifully, each gear and rod spinning independently away. The detail and color were great.
At this point my dream becomes very hard to relate, as two very odd things took place: The first was that an earlier and as yet unrelated dream merged with my current one, confusing my sense of unreality (the other dream was filled with a bunch of household pets which inexplicably slowly became evil mechanizations with blades and needles and death); and the second that was once they merged /I was two different people at the same time in my dreams/. This was disturbing, oddly easy for me to follow (at the time), and something that psychologists would doubtlessly find "very interesting." I won't go into details, save for the fact that Me #2 snuck up behind Me #1 a moment before Me #1 accelerated himself to super speed. When 1 flew backwards I/he struck 2 and accelerated him as well, but to a lesser extent because 2 wasn't immediately behind. While 2 wasn't as fast, I/he was stronger because he wasn't wearing the suit that prevented friction/momentum/chaos/whathaveyou. So I got to chase myself around as I went really fast (10x) with physically illogical but "normal" strength and also a different me went about 2-5x as fast as a normal person but was also equally "stronger" as he was able to apply a given amount of force in a much shorter duration.
Strength-wise, it was like 1 was a gun and 2 was a bullet: a little bit of recoil versus explosive impact and death. Or something. It was all very confusing and due to the aforementioned "shot in the chest theme," uncomfortably sexual once I pondered it in the waking hours.
I should most likely get back to work. /me out.

1.26.2004

2672

Yeah, I'm a jerk. I haven't posted in a while. I'm sure you're all weeping.

Took that test thing that's going around:



Your wings are DRAGON wings. Massive and
covered in scales, they shimmer with strength
and magic. They are the most obvious display of
your power - though it runs equally throughout
your heart and mind. You are uncompromising and
grave, with a profound sense of justice. You
have firm ideas about what is right and what is
wrong and set out to fix what problems you can.
You realize that you are more capable of
dealing with life and evil than most, and as
such you see it as your responsibility to
protect those who cannot defend themselves. You
have existed since antiquity and as such you
are wise far beyond your years in this
lifetime. While you strive for fairness and
peace, if someone should steal from your cave
of treasure (though not all that glitters is
gold) or compromise the happiness of you or one
who is close to you - they have signed their
death warrant. You have a mighty vengeance and
will unleash it upon such people immediately
and mercilessly. Arguing with you is
useless...you rarely back down and are known
for holding firm in your beliefs. Sometimes you
feel intensely burdened with the troubles of
others...acting as a Guardian can get so
wearisome. But you never give up...you see it
as your life's mission. Often very introverted,
you can be so smart...it's scary. Such a
combination of intelligence, creativity, power,
beauty, and magic is often intimidating to
those around you - who are also unlikely to
understand you. Arrogant, proud, overserious,
and sometimes a bit greedy or obsessed with
whatever treasure you choose to pursue...you
have enchanted people for centuries, and will
continue to do so.


*~*~*Claim Your Wings - Pics and Long Answers*~*~*
brought to you by Quizilla

I don't know how well this fits, except maybe the "obsession" thing.

Whatever Autumn has I have, except out the other end. Yay. It was worth it though.

My dream this afternoon was too weird to explain. Part of it had a Nintendo version of Nerfherder's "Love Sandwich" playing while I rode a snowmobile through a black and white pixelated forest. Then the gravity got insane.

Love, J to the B

1.17.2004

The best laid plans.

Argh.

Well, starting Monday at 9:00 a.m., I'll be an official employee of the Lapeer County Press. I don't know how I feel about that, but thankfully I'll be drinking champagne tonight and won't have too.

I just want to apologize for my utter inability to proofread before I post. I was looking at some of my other entries and I felt bad inside. I'm a damn English grad and I have no apparent grasp of redundancy, run-on sentences, or word choice. Sad really. At least I'm not a doctor.

I used to be a good writer, then something happened, and that something was writing class. Ah well.

Here's something I found on my harddrive, from an email subscription people could sign up for. I got up to 100 subscribers before I got to busy and stopped.

A friend and I will be sitting on a couch, watching the weather channel and having a completely logical conversation about quadriplegic whittlers, when my eyes go unfocused and I laugh suddenly.

"What?" they always ask, angered that I might be laughing at them.

"Oh, the pudding, er, um, nothing, never mind. Sorry. What were you saying?"

They try to drag it out of me, and normally I am able to resist until they get bored, or change the topic to something else.

I swear, I am not laughing at you. Below is something that popped into my head while I was zoned out at work (note that the time this actually took to play out was about half a minute):

Two men are sitting next to each other on a pier, their legs dangling over the edge. One, named Zeke, has a platypus head and is wearing denim overalls and a sweat-stained Hooters T-shirt. He is holding a box of chocolates, but instead of chocolates it contains carefully arranged toes of various colors and sizes. For some reason I notice that all of the pinky toes are missing.

The other man is named Krampton and looks for all the world like a 1800’s fisticuff boxer: handlebar mustache, shiny hair parted in the middle, pale skin, thin nose, bad teeth. He is wearing what I can only describe as a furry brown sphere, or perhaps a kiwi (fruit not bird) costume. Only his head and legs stick out, and he is wearing black and white stripped stockings and black pumps.

The pier is made entirely out of recycled boxes, folded up tight, so that

"Thi-
Si-
U-" and "China" can be seen in black and red all over, as well as that umbrella design and broken wine glass that denote "Keep Dry" and "Fragile," respectively.

A painted-on dark-blue forest is on the horizon, past a pale white beach (which appears solid, as if one piece and not grains of sand).

The sky is orange, and I am certain that the “water” underneath them is actually an amorphous blob of vinyl lawn chairs.

Zeke turns to Krampton and, licking his bill, says: “My, my, my fair Susan! Are you lactating or are your nipples merely urinating?”

Krampton doesn’t reply, but instead punches himself in the eye with his own tongue. A black eye rapidly forms, but on the other eye.

Zeke laughs triumphantly, and is just about to stick a particularly big toe in his ear when a flying ocelot swoops down and devours him to the waist, box and all. His legs drop onto the sea of amorphous lawn furniture and start tap dancing “We Built this City on Rock and Roll.”

Krampton snorts contemptuously, but then sobs. He dissolves into static as if his particular reception is poor, and gently disappears.

Soooo… you can see why I normally try to dismiss my random giggles as nothing. They really are nothing more than passing thoughts, and would either make interesting music videos or Lewis Carrollian children’s stories. Nothing more, nothing less.

Other than my passing fancies, I am quite sane I assure you.

1.14.2004

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Here's an oldie, one that was unusually un-detailed and simple.

I'm some low-ranking tech guy working for the military. It's the height of the cold war and I'm holed up in some great-deep underground bunker, alone in a small room filled with computer equipment, radar, switches and blinking lights. In front of me is a great big red button that triggers the U.S.'s anti-missile defense system.

I'm sipping coffee out of a simple white mug and generally feeling uncomfortable and bored in my overly starched uniform.

Then, to revel in a cliché, all hell breaks loose. Lights flash, the radar blips, and klaxons sound. Some grizzled sergeant runs in and starts yelling at me, some privates yell in the hallway panicked. I hit the red button.

The blips pop a couple of seconds more and stop. The alarms go off, lights stop flashing. The sergeant laughs, relieved, pats me on the shoulder, and gives me a shot of whiskey that he pulls out of the air. He winks and then goes into the hallway.

I'm bored again. I wish, vaguely, that I had some pin-ups pinned up.

Alarms again, lights, angry officer and frightened peons. Again I hit the button. Relief, back patting, whiskey, whispers of a promotion.

Boredom.

This cycles through many times, to the point I start angrily hitting the button for no reason and wondering what the hell my sergeant did that gave him short term memory loss. Probably whiskey.

Something dawns on me as the klaxons sound again. I don't push the button. Sergeant Alchie freaks. Pulls out a service revolver, threatens to blow me away for insubordination. I point to the button and tell him he can push it his own damn self.

As expected, the U.S. is not destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. I do, however, wake up and see that I have, indeed, been pushing my snooze alarm for an hour and a half and am now late for school.

It's funny because it's true.

Also, there is lots of snow now and I'm being a stupid whiny boy.
Whine.

1.12.2004

Hello again.

Sorry it's been a while, but I have not really had much in the way of a concrete, memorable dream. Last night’s is still bouncing around in my head, haunting me but refusing to let me grasp it completely.

There are earlier parts, but the first thing that I can remember is it is night and I am walking across a parking lot towards my brother’s apartment, which is in the basement of a large red-brick warehouse. The lot is well lit and I appear to be in semi-formal clothes – button up shirt but no tie, nice pants, patent-leather shoes. In the distance I see a white kid in a knit cap pulling a cart loaded with supermarket odds and ends: toiletries, canned goods, etc. He’s yelling out prices like a carnival barker as he runs by, and I feel hungry so I yell out to him, hoping to buy some cheap, black-market goods. By the time I can get a word out he’s gone already, but two young black kids with a shopping cart pull up next to me, both of them are boys, one about seven the other in his early teens. I go through the cart and grab a package that has the shape and labeling of a 24-pack of toilet paper, but is filled with pasta. I ask for a can of sauce, or salsa, or anything to go with the noodles, and the younger boy tells me I can have the sauce and noodles for $94,000.

I’m a bit shocked at the price, but it’s so high that I find it more amusing than insulting. I try to talk him down, when the white kid from before runs up and tells the others to leave - the cops are coming. We all ignore him, and I try to talk the kid down in price; he keeps agreeing to halves, but the price started so high that it’s still ridiculous. Then my brother walks up and he is a well-groomed young black man with gold-rimmed glasses, an aggressively trimmed mustache and a brown suit. Suddenly I feel guilty, and I know that he is angry about my attempted purchase of stolen goods, because a thief killed our father.

He says nothing to me but stalks away and I sink to my knees in a puddle, feeling the water soaking into my pants. The young black boy sounds sad as he tells me the price was so high because every purchase gets the buyer a prophecy. I’m numb with my apparent betrayal of my brother, so I reach into my wallet and give him $83, asking if it will get me a single pop-tart. He gives it to me and slips a piece of paper into my coat pocket, before he and his brother push their cart off into the darkness.

I walk slowly towards my brother’s apartment; a small ramp down leads to the basement entrance. There are great golden doors with no handles, and they are intricately embossed. I pound and demand to be let in, and some feeling of a biblical reference flits through my mind. The door slowly opens, and as it does I realize that throughout the entire dream, even the parts I can’t remember, there has been a beautiful woman following me, just at the corner of my vision, curious and comforting. She was always there but for some reason unnoticed.

My brother’s apartment is large and richly decorated, lit entirely by candles. He sits in an expensive leather chair and two other large black men stand behind him, but if they are bodyguards or friends I do not know.

He leans forward, elbows on his knees and fingers forming a steeple in front of his face. He says nothing. The candles dance and form harder shadows than they should; not soft diffused light, but either pale yellow or blackness.

I sit on an overstuffed couch; next to me is a stack of triangular bowls, each a different color and opacity. I start throwing them at the wall, taking them from the bottom of the stack instead of the top. No one says or does anything. I stop when I come to a milky white one with swirls of clear glass. Out of my pocket I take the piece of paper that the young boy gave me, I unfold it, start to read it and am afraid.

It is a poem, and I cannot remember it exactly, but I will do my best. There were four stanzas, each four lines, each with a color theme that matched the remaining bowls on the maple end table to my left. I do not know why it frightened me so, or why, when I read it aloud, my brother was afraid as well. I woke up halfway through my reading of it, further blurring it in my memory.

An egg-white sky blows
A wind from that same state
The air is new
The air is dead

The deep red sea boils
Japanese waves
Storms without rain
Sleep without rest

Dark blue flame in blackness
Gives no light
No warmth, but it burns
It eats

Tar-black earth and fertile ash
No seeds, no grass
Soft as dreams, grit and dry
Right colors, wrong time.


I have no freaking clue what it means. I have to stop dreaming about the end of the world or I’ll go mad. The poem was much better in my dream, and I cannot remember the words exactly. I may have ruined it; word choice is everything in poetry. The only lines I am sure of are the first to and the first line of the second stanza. I think “same state” refers to the newness and youth of an egg, like a fresh breeze. I don’t know if “deep red” means the ocean is deep or if the red was deep, but in my dream I envisioned a sea of wine, with waves crashing.

In other news I might have a job at a local paper, so wish me luck. Also, Autumn is simply frikken amazing. I want to give a shout-out to all my peeps…

1.06.2004

There are no words with enough ou's or w's...

It was as if all my life I had been trapped at the bottom of some dark, cold pond. Every time I was with her I swam towards the surface; everytime she left I sank back down. Last night something happened, and for the first time I broke through to taste the sun, to breathe my first ragged breath.
The phrase "soul kiss" comes to mind. So does "ecstacy" and "taste of heaven."
This is what lost and lonely people search for their entire lives, chemically and carnally, and never find. This is what only a few are ever given the chance for.
Needless to say, Florida is now put off indefinately.

1.05.2004

Off to the other pennisula state.

Ugh. Here's another old one, one of my favorites.

It started in a city laid out like a grid, perfectly square houses placed in perfectly straight lines with perfectly straight roads running in front of and between them all. The houses were all a pale grey-tan, with no glass in the windows, doors in the doorways, or ceilings. They were all exactly alike, facing the same direction, a door in the middle of the front wall with two windows, one on each side of the door. The streets themselves were an irregular cobblestone the same color as the houses. Dark grey clouds hung low in the sky, and the shadows existed only on the insides of the houses, making them dark despite their lack of ceiling. The City appeared deserted, save for a large crowd gathered in an almost impossibly tight circle, as if it was not a group of people but one large entity. I was leaning against one of the buildings when they approached me, carrying signs saying "Save us From the Monster!", "It Will Kill Us All!", "Death to the Dino!", and other sayings. Somehow, from the indecipherable roar of the crowd, it became apparent to me that The City was being plagued by a rampant Tyranosaur, and they wanted me to save them. I didn't want to, but they cycled between begging and threatening me until I gave in. They cheered and vanished down one of the streets just as It appeared. I ran and it chased me, always exactly a house behind. Suddenly tired and gasping for breath I dived into one of the many houses and hid in a shadowy corner. Outside It roared. Finally I worked up the courage to peek outside and there it was running full tilt towards me, only a house away. I dove back into the shadows, but when nothing happened I looked back outside. Still one house away it roared yet a gain an ran towards me, but made no progress, unable to come any closer for unknown reasons. Reaching down for I rope I suddenly noticed tied in a loop at my waist I made a trip wire between "my" house and the one across from it. Testing its tautness I then ran exactly one house further and glanced back just as the Tyrannosaurus Rex tripped. It's stubby front legs were unable to halt its downward progress and its chin hit the ground with enough force to brain it. Immediately the crowd appeared, roaring and cheering. Expecting thanks, congratulations or rewards I approached them smiling. Just then they turned their "Death to the Dino" signs around to reveal "Save the Saurus" and they were no longer the frightened and tormented villagers but angry enviromentalists and animal rights representatives. They screamed and charged me, still running in a tight circle, and I fled. The perfectly flat streets and buildings slowly gave way to a rolling grassy meadow and the clouds dissolved into a perfect blue sky, the sun shining brightly. The crowd stopped at the edge of The City and released a bloodhound to follow me. Nose to the ground it traced my trail exactly, If I ran in a circle and then jumped away it would trace the circle the same number of time and hop to the next part of the trail. The meadow had taken on a funnel shape and to delay the dog I ran in circles for a few minutes before taking off towards the lowest point of the valley. In the center, for no logical reason, was a little cement mound with a manhole cover in it. Lifting it I dove inside before shutting the lid after me and discovered myself in a peculiar house. It was shaped like a cylinder with the three floors arranged around a spiral staircase which led from the manhole cover to the bottom. The top floor into which I entered was the master bedroom, with clothes strewn about and my father and a woman whose face was hidden by a pillow sleeping in the bed. Suddenly urgent I grabbed my father's wallet of the dresser and started rooting through it for money. My father awakened and I guiltily said that They were after me and I needed money for a cab. He said Okay and went back to sleep as I went down one floor to the Kitchen/dining room. I picked up a phone that was attached to the side of one of the cabinets and dialed for a cab, but did not listen or talk into the receiver. Looking out of a window in the kitchen I saw what appeared to be the grassy wall of a cliff, with numerous tunnels on its face. A road would come out of one of the tunnels and plunge into another, in and out in a complex pattern that seemed to make no sense. As I watched a checker cab followed the road, coming out and going into tunnels in a random fashion. Suddenly coming out of one of the lowest tunnels it followed the road to a place just outside the kitchen and I rushed out to meet it, though I noticed no door. Out stepped a teenage girl with spiked hair, hoop earings, black and white stripped stockings, and headphones. She tapped her foot and blew pink bubbles with her gum, waiting impatiently.
"Are you the cab driver?" I asked.
"No. The tape ran out." she replied, and then I woke up.

I'm off for a few days, so it may be a week or so before I post again. Road trip and all that. Wish me well.
Also, I love Miss Autumn and don't care who knows it.

1.03.2004

Probably based on a true story...

This one is a bit jumbled and short, since I am having a hard time remembering it clearly and am updating from the library. It isn't as interesting as most of my dreams, but the feelings and colors and tastes were so vivid I have to get it out, even knowing full well none of these attributes is easily conveyed in writing.

I'm sitting in a huge theater waiting for a movie to start. My family sits next to me, but their ages are all messed up; my oldest sister is a baby, my little brother is a teen, my parents as young as me.

The room is at least four times the size of a regular theater, and includes a balcony section - very few seats are open. I am not very excited about the new movie, some action craptacular, but it is greatly anticipated by the crowd.

Unfortunately for me and everyone else involved there is something wrong with the reel, and after sitting in the dark for half an hour, they start to run another movie to keep the audience occupied while they replace the film.

Everyone is getting pissed, but is sitting there taking it as they show movie after movie, none of which are the one they paid to come in and see. Aliens III was one of them.

I get tired of waiting and go out to the ticket kiosk in the center of the cinema.

I don't even ask for my money back, I just ask if I can have some kind of movie pass that will let me see the same movie at a later date, when it is actually working. The ticket agent refuses, and then the manager, and I am livid. Movies are frikken expensive and they can't even show me the one I paid to see. They just shrug, but eventually they give in and bring out this huge plastic barrel with a small hole cut in the top. Some other patrons have come out to support my complaints and they are given the chance to reach in the barrel and pull out a card. Some are two for one passes, some are just random business cards, and very few are actually free movie passes. Only one out of twenty-or so people gets one of the free passes, and in a rage I pick the barrel up and dump it on the floor. People start scooping up passes, swooping by like seagulls in a dump.

The manager, a skinny twenty-something jerk, starts yelling at me, and I leap over the counter and jam his face into a half-eaten cream pie that sits inexplicably on the counter. I grab the cash draw out of the register, and taking a stack of twenties, make a dash for the exit, throwing the rest of the money in the air behind me to cause confusion and aid in my escape.

I run outside to the parking lot and dive headfirst through the passenger window of a white SUV. A bronze colored sedan drives by and the girls in the back notice me. I wave and their looks of concern vanish, as if it is unthinkable that a car theif would be polite.

I reach under the steering column and tear the panel off easily, and then yank down the ignition wires. I touch them together, but can't get the car to start, keep trying, keep failing. Their are four black and four red and I have to match to similair colors together, but I don't know which ones. I can't get it started, but the reality of my dream has a hiccup and suddenly I am driving off.

I'm cruising through the night life of a city that reminds me of Adams Morgan near D.C. I have the vague feeling that cops are after me, but I am not too concerned.

I stop at a Hispanic pastry shop that has an advert on the window explaining the specialty of the store, which is telling someone's fortune by rearranging sticky buns.

I enter and politely ask the matronly old Mexican woman to tell my fortune. I put a twenty on the counter and tell her to keep the change; she smiles in gratitude. She pulls out a hexagon of sweet buns and I am temporarily upset that they are not chocolate covered like on the advertisement. Someone behind me clears their throat politely and I turn to see a woman dressed like a British police officer, twirling a billy club and all. I ask if I can have my fortune read before going to jail and she consents. The Mexican lady starts moving the buns around and I grab one and eat it. The taste is incredibly real. I apologize to the officer and lady before throwing a chair through the plate glass window and running out into the street. I look behind me, but no one follows.

Then I woke up.

Not much, like I said, but there is a particularly cool dream that I have to take the time to write down correctly before I can post it. This one is still odd, as I am noticing a pattern of distruction and antisocial behavior in my dream self. Must have a lot of rage. There was a scene where my mother is complaining about my brother's skateboard, which has a deck whose images magically change everytime you grind, but I don't remember where it belongs in the dream.

I promise better in two days.

1.01.2004

From the files...

Here's one I had a while ago:

I had one of those dreams that leave you confused and blinking, like when you get out of the cinema after one of those deep, weird movies, and you don’t know how you will ever resolve what you just saw with the sun piercing your eyes.

It was in the future, an extreme future, thousands of years ahead. Humankind was still bound to the earth, though whatever history of failed attempts we had made was lost on me, I was just another homeless man, the son of homeless parents.

What had happened, or of which I knew or cared, was that some great sign or prophet had convinced the major religions that a great plague was coming, some pandemic that would finally wipe us out. They had it narrowed down to the year it would happen, and the fear was accepted as fact; the whole world had joined the cult. Anyone who dissented was believed to be a possible carrier, or worse yet, developer of the invisible killer that anyone had yet to witness.

And the world had collapsed, not from the plague, or even the fear of it, but from social stagnation. So many people believed the same thing for so long, with innovation and free thought stopped dead or wasted developing cures for diseases we didn’t have, that the world stumbled to a stop and fell. A post-apocalyptic world, not from a bang, but a whimper.

One of the few technologies to emerge during the fearful days, the weirdest, was “publication.” Computers had gotten good, very good, but for whatever reason, in the future of my dream they were not great outputs of discovery but recorders. Silicon witnesses that remembered everything and reproduced it with loving attention. It made sense for the “publisher’s,” a group of scientists, a company really, that would record who you were into whatever medium you chose. Upon your death you could become a living painting, shifting paint that looked out on the world through your second soul, or a doll that would walk and talk to your descendants for all centuries to come. Why develop A.I. when grandma would make a much more intuitive and loving vacuum cleaner, and one could pick up that postcard from grandpa that was grandpa, the images shifting and the words reflecting his thoughts as he watched the world from his new 2 dimensional prison?

It wasn’t like Mad Max or any of the popular post-apocalyptic movies. The buildings were whole and relatively clean, and some were still wealthy, some were still happy, and some yet led “normal lives,” but the civilization was gone. Militaries were groups of militia men with advanced weapons, but no training. Cities existed entirely indoors, warrens like prairie dog hives, made by each group shutting themselves off from the others, others that would certainly soon carry the plague.

There was no plague.

I lived on the streets with some friends, dusty but not dirty, thanks to whatever hygiene enzymes and nanobots infested my clothing.

The dream was relatively boring at the beginning; even the setting was familiar to my dreamself. I stole food or ate at soup kitchens; I slept in an abandoned warehouse. The only gifts I had to offer my two friends – a fellow my own age, and a girl with some strange beauty – were my ability to read (strange in the time because everything read to you) and a photograph I had of myself, a self-publication I had made in an abandoned hospital in the middle of nowhere. It was a one of a kind for more than one reason. No one had been allowed to be published while alive, the religious fervor at the time. While allowing publication (for even these items would eventually breakdown, freeing the “soul”) duplicating yourself while living was unthinkable, supposedly impossible in much the same way that the earth had once been the center of the universe.

So I had found the equipment, read the laughingly simple directions, and published myself a photo. It came out and there I was, looking at me. I told me it was like looking out through a dream. I kept the photo as an oddity more than for any deep reason. To me it was simply an interesting distraction from the gray and dying world.

Then one of the militant groups made it their mission to destroy all the publishing machines, for some religious sect or businessman, I didn’t know. Freeing souls. My self publication was a secret, one of the last to be made.

I had broken into a house with my friends, and while they collected the food from the kitchens, I was going through an old box of broken toys and keepsakes I found under the sink. Broken or spent publications, a second coffin of second deaths. They were old, first runs, too simple and fragile to be durable. I found one that was still alive, a simple child’s toy with one arm and both legs missing. It couldn’t even move its fingers independently anymore, and its joints apparently had not offered much flexibility to begin with. It was a girl.

She had been young, and, as with my snapshot, her personality was frozen at the point of her death. She was sweet, her voice was beautiful, and when I closed my eyes I could see what she must have looked like. A doll in life as well, surely.

I took her, talked to her constantly over the course of weeks, ignoring my friends, handling her with care, for any moment might have broken her, been her second death.

I had to see what she looked like. I had heard that sometimes couples would publish together, put two minds in one item too spend eternity together. I wanted to find if I could combine my photo with her doll, so that I could see her. It was a last chance for her, I could tell the voice was getting weaker every day, and I would suffer no damage since I was still alive in flesh. In my dream I was ignorant of my potential sacrifice, and even though she was both 14 and 1000 (both ages wrong for me) I loved her, this tiny voice from a children’s toy.

I went to a museum, up to a violently beautiful red and blue cubist painting that was the publication of two of my long dead ancestors. They told me what they knew of their process, told me where to look for more information.

In the end I tried it, and it apparently failed, killed her, but somehow left her still tenuously conscious and my photo, save a slight hole, seemed unaffected.

I made amends with offended friends, and life largely returned to normal. We were planning on sneaking into a large hall where a collector of publications was putting his entire anthology on display, for the food promised extravagance.

We were sitting on the roof of the building, wearing some servant’s clothes we had stolen and preparing to enter the rooftop access when I checked my photo. She was in it. Shyly watching from the corner, tentatively waving hello. My published self was in the other half, trying to get her attention, strangely unable to reach her, but she was looking at me, the real me. Her voice was lost forever, beautiful and pure, but her face was more gorgeous still. My friends impatiently told me to get started, but not before the girl (there are rarely names in my dreams) made it clear that if her parents were in the collection (her mother was in some kind of color-changing rose thing, and her father was a book of law) she wanted to tell them she was okay and that she thought about them. God I loved her in that dream, so I said “okay.”

We broke in, and as we served food to guests and the upper class, we snuck food into garbage bags we brought outside by the dumpsters to be collected later. As I walked around, tidying the collection, I hid the photo in a “rag” to dust the items off, so that she could ask each if they had seen her parents. It took some doing, for it was the biggest collection on earth, a veritable Library of Congress of Souls. I did not get through it all, but she found her father (her mother had been destroyed in a fire), and she seemed happy. I collected my friends, and, sneaking out the back, we gathered our spoils and went back to our warehouse.

I took out the photo. She was no longer huddled in the corner of the frame, but taking up most of it, herself and whatever images she chose to represent her background. My other self was pressed up close to the left hand corner, and looked afraid. She was still sweet and innocent, but seemed oblivious to my published self, who, as I watched, was slowly being obliterated by her. I still loved her, could only think about her, and then I realized what was happening in the photo was happening to me. Yet I did love her, and I think she really loved me, so I did not tell my friends, but left them, so that they would not see me fall.

I went for a walk and noticed an uproar around the gallery that was hosting the collection. I went in, ignored, still dressed in my servant’s guard. In every painting, book, and song played in the great hall was her face, her words, her voice. Even the corners I had not reached in the search for her parents held her form. And she was growing.

The world started looking different to me, I realized I was talking as she did, using the same forgotten phrases. I was almost gone. I could feel her inside, and when I looked into the eyes of strangers, I could see her growing there

The plague had come.