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Topics - Eater of Clowns

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1
The abrupt end to our conversation the other night came about because I had some company meeting up at my place to walk down to the feast. It seems unfair for me to hurriedly explain such an event on the phone, so here is a better write up.

We call it many names. The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament is the official one, the one they've been using for the last hundred years. What exactly that sacrament is I do not know, and do fear to discover. Informally, you might hear of it as the Portuguese Feast and, indeed, in the sea of pressed bodies all named Silva and Correia and Medeiros eating malassadas and cacoila and carne de espeto you'd see the name was accurate. Then there's the Madeira Feast and, yes, that one is just as apt. It's said that the only place in the country, if not the world, that Madeira wine can be transported and served directly from the barrel is this one little spot on this one little weekend. The sweet, sticky, fortified wine is overflowing from little plastic cups and spilling onto the grounds, onto your feet and legs, and if you were an amateur and wore sandals the only cure for what we call Feast Feet is amputation. The mixture of pork grease and candy-like wine and sweat and filth will cake onto you and harden and that spoil knows no fear. It is part of you now. Finally, for those of us whom attendance on at least one of its four days in this first weekend of August it is simply called The Feast. It is the only one.

My humble apartment is what could be called prime real estate, this weekend. It's far enough away to remain unaffected by the rowdiest foot and vehicular traffic and close enough to walk. On Sunday, the parade will march at the end of my block. I like to invite people by before a stroll down the street for a few reasons. One, my ten dollar bottle of Madeira wine is better than the $8 7oz cup down there, and two, if you want to meet a friend there you will not find them among the throng of bodies. Unless of course, as in my case, your friends are extraordinarily tall seasoned alcoholics that you can pick out out of the crowd around the Madeira Hut.

Your first order of business is to stand in a fifteen to twenty minute line to have your ID scanned and wrist band printed. Each of these has a unique bar code and I find this disconcerting for the sheer fact that they assume they might have to scan one in order to find out who the deceased is. After the wrist band you find another irritated line of people waiting at hilariously unreliable ticket machines that are constantly running dry of the precious little gold drink vouchers. You stand behind a greasy little man with steroid acne and sweat who feeds it with twenty after twenty after twenty, pulling out strings of tickets that you suspect he might use to tie down Gulliver when he returns home to Lilliput. The little red Out of Service light blinks on for the fourth time and everyone behind you groans and looks to the neighboring line with envy and loathing.

At no point, thus far, have you been out of direct physical contact with a stranger since your arrival.

You have your wrist band and you have your tickets. Music is playing and it's always some semi famous band that had a hit or two just over a decade ago and gets by replaying it to nostalgic crowds for the rest of their careers. Thursday night it was the Gin Blossoms. Yesterday it was Blood, Sweat, and Tears. The press of bodies sets in. Tides of people ebbing and flowing, stopping to chat and holding wrists and hands and shoulders to stay together in their journey. Not all will make it. Invariably the weak link will be severed by a larger, drunker chain and they will not see their companions again that night. But weep not for them for this is New Bedford, and everyone knows each other. People from your past will resurface after years of seclusion, coming down from the mountains and rising, sodden and bloated and covered in seaweed, from the oceans. Yesterday I think I spotted a man who I was not only sure was dead but whose funeral I attended. And you exchange greetings and maybe speak and the press of bodies moves you along and you see them again maybe at the next Feast, maybe never again.

The wine flows. It's sweeter than sweet and it's dark, muddy brown that might once have been gold in a dream but nobody cares the quality of the wine that flows only that it does. Men wear brightly colored knit caps with tassels that stand erect or bent, depending on their marital status, the symbolism not exactly subtle. Down past the Madeira Hut and the lines of beer and linguica stands and the main stage and the side stage a glorious length of charcoal pit smolders. People are buying chunks of raw meat and sliding them down skewers six feet long, salting them and dousing them with Madeira wine. A few of the veterans put pepper and onions on the spit. You cannot buy peppers and onions there. They have brought them from home. As your skewer roasts on the perfect heat you guard your meat and drink more Madeira. There is a stand nearby with a v-shaped metal piece over a steel table dripping with beef juices and you position your skewer and yank it back and let the meat fall. And you drink more Madeira.

Across the way rides and games and little carnival vendors are set up for the younger crowds, for this is nothing if not a family affair. The next crop of Feast attendees must come from somewhere, after all.

After a thousand hellos and not a single goodbye everyone wanders off, in cars that will clog every street for a mile around over the next hour, or in pockets of people who carelessly amble through neighborhoods they wouldn't have the nerve to step foot into on any other night. Few of those people's nights are over, they are just moving on to the next bad idea, the after spectacle, the wind down from that glorious and disgusting undertaking that we somehow love that is the Feast.

2
Exactly what the title says.

Describe the sex life of the person above you.

GO!

3
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Trivia Notes
« on: February 26, 2014, 02:03:45 am »
Part I

The taxi pulled up to 394 Rivet St. Outside it was dark and a cold rain came down to mix with the many dirt encrusted piles of old snow. The weather kept everyone off the street and out of the park across from my apartment. Together with my exhaustion from the flight, it felt later than it really was.

I reached for my wallet, glancing up at the meter as I did. I groaned. No doubt come Monday I’d be hearing an unhappy word or two from Steve about the fare. If they didn’t want me taking a cab home they should have picked me up themselves. I wasn’t about to ask a friend to drive a few hours on a Friday night; it’s not like this was a vacation.

“Thanks,” I said to the driver as I paid him. “Drive safe getting back. Sure is nasty out.”

The driver just nodded. He hadn’t said a word since he asked me where I was going over an hour ago.

“Pop the trunk?” I asked as I emerged into the wet night. A moment later it opened with a soft spring. I hefted the black duffel bag, strapping it to my shoulder. I closed the trunk and gave it a few solid thumps to let him know I was all set back here.

The cab pulled away as I came up to the front door of my building. I struggled with the keys for a minute before I could get the door open. The thing was heavy enough without the luggage counterbalancing me on my opposite shoulder. I shoved my way inside, dripping onto a rough faded red carpet. The door closed quickly behind me.

Waiting for me up on the third floor was a neat pile of mail. Mrs. Rosa must have noticed I wasn’t around for the last few days. I’d have to get her a thank you card.

I set the duffel bag down as soon as I came through the door. It could wait until I was less tired. I shook myself out of my wet coat and left it draped across the bag.

Going through the kitchen cabinets, I cursed myself for leaving town with them so empty. I managed to find a bag of microwave popcorn and got it cooking. There was, thankfully, a single beer left in the fridge. I popped the tab on it open and took a long, thankful gulp. It was a nice hoppy IPA.

I was too hungry to care just how long that popcorn was waiting for me to remember it in the cabinet. I dumped the bag into a bowl, grabbed the can of beer, and padded over to the sofa. I emptied my pockets onto the coffee table and put my feet up, turning on the TV.

I needed something familiar. Something I’d seen before and I wouldn’t have to pay too much attention to. Just to lose myself in a movie and relax.

The classic movie station was showing Pulp Fiction. Perfect. I’d seen it a dozen times. I flipped over to AMC. All of the choice language would be edited out, but it was one of those trivia notes showings. Every few minutes a box would pop up on the screen with a factoid about the movie.

Samuel L. Jackson was berating the sorry kids who ripped off his boss, giving them that terrifying stare. A little blue box came up, laying itself right over the Windsor knot on his tie. I could barely read the print I was so tired. It blurred into the rest of the box.

[Director Quentin Tarantino wrote this part with Samuel L. Jackson in mind.]

Reading these might just be enough to keep me awake, but not too much so. It was a balance I was still playing with. Stimulation enough to stop me from falling asleep at 9 but not enough to keep me awake until 1. I needed to get back on schedule; I hadn’t slept properly in weeks.

Another trivia box popped up. I squinted and leaned forward to read it, crunching loudly on popcorn.

[The Key Grip’s wife was cheating on him while this scene was being filmed.]

4
RPG Ghetto / Star Wars Murder Mystery
« on: December 02, 2013, 05:22:24 am »
My friends and I have done a Murder Mystery for the last four or five years on New Year's Eve. This year I think we were all sick of subpar scenarios that we still had to pay for, so I offered to write one myself. In the Star Wars universe. It'll be really Star Wars trope heavy, just enough to the characters are unique and accessible to play as. But since I've never done any design before, I thought I could run it by folks who have.

I grabbed a bit from previous modules we ran and from the Mafia parlor game (or Spiders, as we have it here). A few goals were:

-Have a clearly defined winner. Other ones we played it was a bit anticlimactic in that they felt like the players' actions had little effect on the result.
-Make trust necessary for success, but also dangerous
-Add a high risk/reward element with secrets
-Add some structure, because previous games had a few people losing focus

Players come in knowing their characters entirely - what they can tell people and what they shouldn't. However, some characters know secrets about others that they bring up in conversation to get the other talking. This is set up on Round Cards. There are three rounds and each has a Round Card. The card explains who you need to approach and what key phrase you need to use to get them to divulge information. It also says what information you need to divulge when someone approaches you with a specific key phrase. So during the social part of the round, the players MUST talk to at least two other people, and may talk to as many others as they like, saying to them what they like.

The players also start with a fixed number of credits. I'm playing the role of an Information Broker, holding one additional piece of important information on each player. Broker info is unique in that it can be either good or bad, depending on the player, so there is incentive to control your own as much as others'. After the social part of the round, any player can open bidding on any player's information - including their own. Bids are secret, so they hide a number of credits in their hands and all players reveal their hands at once. All bids, whether they win or lose, are final, and the Broker keeps those credits.

Once players have the information, they can choose to do with it as they wish. If it helps to clear their name, they can let others know. If it helps condemn someone, or if it's not entirely clear which, they can accept bribes in credits from other players, who then are free to keep it to themselves or say it aloud as they see fit. At the end of each round the Broker presents to everyone one new piece of evidence in the case that will point toward the murderer.

At the end of three rounds, a simple majority determines which player gets brought to the authorities - using the acquired information from the broker, social rounds, and evidence, they have to convince each other to turn someone in. If the murderer is not chosen, they win. If the murderer is chosen, the winner is the player who voted for the correct person and has the highest remaining number of credits.

I'm really looking for simplicity here, but with the potential for enough strategy that it's still interesting. Any feedback is appreciated!

5
Or Kill Me / Some of it.
« on: November 12, 2013, 03:54:57 am »
I think that’s it, I tell her. And I dread tomorrow because I know what’s going to come. I have put so much of myself into this, all of me and all of it without fear that deep fear, for the first time not holding back, slowly learning that I didn’t need to hold back, to keep apart. Destruction had no place in this one. On the eve of its end I am shattered but not the emotions because they are a boil, rolling against and across each other, shifting and ebbing, tides phases seasons changing. Shattered in learning how to sleep, exhausted and unable to sleep, hungry and uninterested in eating. She tells me to be a whole person but I’d never been more of one.

So she tells me about God. God and God’s place in a loving relationship. God’s role in every successful relationship she’s known, and God’s role in hers that steadfast thing, that great and beautiful thing and the great and beautiful people in it. I say of course God’s in the relationships she knows because she mostly knows relationships that involve God but that I think her faith is a precious thing. I’ve never known faith in God. In a Catholic house I did the rituals but I never knew faith and I thought it was a lie for so long.

I had faith in this one thing that I built, that I helped craft and I’ll say so tomorrow. Doomed tomorrow. I’m wrong here. The difference is that God might exist and might not and the faith is that God does or does not but that in which I place my faith does not exist at all. So I am wrong, and at some point that thing I built I was building by myself and I never noticed, laboring alone on a lie.

She asks what happens when it’s all over and I say in the end that is all, it ends and there is oblivion but she cannot accept this. It says there is no meaning but there is. It says the meaning means more, that a limited thing is lovelier for its scarcity and not to be squandered. That good is done for its own sake and not a cosmic cookie. That it’s all the more important to cause an impact because nothing else will be left.

There without meaning to she’s led me to a much better path, this friend I never thought would mean so much to me and one of so many to this lucky low man.

I’ve been a fool to think myself so strong and unbreakable, and more a fool for thinking one relationship makes me so. It’s the connections. All the myriad, confusing, glorious connections.

6
A local interest site and popular facebook page posted an article yesterday.

Mayor Holds Emergency Meeting to Chastise Parking Attendants

Within, a tale of the tyrannical parking enforcer we apparently elected into office.

Quote
An unknown parking attendant has worked Mayor Jon Mitchell into a fervor and driven him to call an emergency “State of the Parking Union” address. What earned the ire of the Mayor was a parking meter that had clearly expired and yet was ignored by the many parking attendants that circulate the downtown area. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. As I’m descending the city hall steps to head towards my car, and I notice a meter count down and expire. I sat there for a full 40 seconds before an attendant arrived and did what the city of New Bedford pays him to do.”

Quote
“Immediately, I thought of a nature special I was watching the night before. It was Shark Week and they showed one of the most aggressive sharks, the Bull shark, tearing and ripping a seal from limb to limb, leaving a bloody spill. Ghastly wounds. Body parts everywhere. Yeah, I want my parking attendants to be like this. I want them to treat every week like it’s Shark Week, especially around Holidays. Can you picture a Bull Shark waiting 40 seconds before he attacks a wounded seal? My point, exactly.”

Quote
“I need each and every one of you parking attendants to feel like you are mini-mayors. That you are instrumental in generating revenue, so we can give ourselves raises. So we can build more parking meters. So we can buy more caviar. Notice the operative words “We can” in those sentences? That’s called inspiration. That’s what I do.”

The response to this piece of satire is 116 comments of COMPLETELY NOT GETTING THAT IT'S SATIRE. My local brethren at their finest.

There are only a few comments on the article itself, but the facebook link has the bulk of them.

It's tasty. I want to print them out and pile them up and roll around in them. MMMMM MMMMMMM.

 :lulz:

7
Part 1 of 2

“Marlon, Marlon, welcome, it’s good to see you!” The voice came from behind a desk. The desk glittered. It was impeccably polished, it was entirely cleared of paperwork, and it had a crystal doodad here or there which also glittered. One couldn’t help but see the crystal about the room, on awards arranged very specifically nonchalantly, on a decanter filled with, Marlon knew, a sweet red wine the man behind the desk favored over the more traditional high power drink of scotch.

The man behind the desk. The room was atop a tower, catching, it seemed, always the proper light to set the area ablaze. So unlike the somber, intimidating office of your average CEO, the place was alive. And it glittered. And none of it glittered like the man behind the desk.

“Mr. Beryne,” Marlon said.

“Please, Marlon, not so formal.  You do know why you’re here,” the man asked somberly.

It was all going according to tradition. When called into Beryne’s office, one never knew if they’d be harassed, congratulated, promoted, given a bonus, or fired. Beryne loved this game, and no matter the subject he played it gleefully, up in his palace of light.

“Well, I,” Marlon began.

“Of course you don’t!” Beryne interrupted.  The smile that came along with the small explosion seemed real, this time, though Marlon never knew.  None of them ever went to his eyes.

He sagged, almost imperceptibly, with relief. It was unlikely he’d be canned here on the spot, though such things were hard to predict considering with whom he was dealing, but he was always afraid that, just once, the other man wouldn’t follow through on his little gag. Marlon had never gotten past “Well, I,” and he no longer even had a sentence he knew how to finish should he have to.

“Marlon, please, have a seat.” Beryne gestured to a single empty wooden chair across from him. The younger man sat down. “I found you, what is it now, ten years ago?”

“Something like that, yes.” Ten years to the day.

“And while you were a wonderful clerk, of course, did you see yourself then where you are now?”

Marlon thought. Congenial even in his fury, Beryne was much easier to work for than series of increasingly snide and scheming bosses he’d been working for in his clerk days.  And, of course, there was the approximately 1000% pay increase.

“Not unless it was over the dead body of old Aaron Markey,” he joked, remembering the most formidable of his old supervisors.

“Hah, Markey! Priceless,” Beryne gushed. He turned as serious as he could. “You were barely a babe down there in accounts, with a bad tie and one tradeMarkey outrage away from the financial blacklist.”

Marlon groaned inwardly and laughed outwardly. Sometimes he thought the other man did things like this on purpose to watch others squirm in cognitive dissonance. Beryne was right, though. He had been just out of college and thrilled to be on Wall St, even in such a menial position. Scrawny, with a cheap haircut and a poorly fitting suit he ran into Beryne by pure, well, he’d thought at the time, bad luck. That brief exchange put him in upper management in a decade.

Ten years later he’d filled out his suit, alright. Not all of it was paunch, either. Beryne, on the other hand, hadn’t changed at all. Didn’t seem to have aged a day.

“My boy,” the man behind the desk said slowly, “you’re here for a very special reason.  Very special indeed.” He rose from his chair, tall and thin, almost skeletal. “This company has a plethora of employees and,” he chuckled, “many more than that who we do not employ but work for us nonetheless.” He stalked around the desk fluidly, precisely. “But very few we truly need.

“I would like to make you one of those few. Someone we truly need. I require, above all else, your loyalty. And in exchange you will have your heart’s desire.”

8
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / ATTN: IF YOU LIKE GOATS
« on: February 17, 2013, 03:55:22 am »
then you will like goats yelling like people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpccpglnNf0

9
Discordian Recipes / HowToBasic
« on: February 01, 2013, 11:42:08 pm »
There really isn't much I can say about this YouTube channel other than you really need to watch it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lH616LkTaW0

10
Literate Chaotic / NEIL YOUNG MUSIC LEGEND
« on: December 19, 2012, 10:00:40 pm »
So I'm reading through Neil Young's autobiography Waging Heavy Peace.  It has a few passages that are poignant and well conveyed.  A fair bit of it is plugging PureTone, his start up for high quality digital sound.

The rest of it, well.

Quote from: NEIL YOUNG MUSIC LEGEND
Who knows what I put in that fridge?  It was certainly not much.  I think I had a hot plate, too.  I used it for pork and beans...probably.

Quote from: NEIL FUCKING YOUNG
His dad was enjoying the Corn Flakes.  There was no milk.  That was something new to me, Coke in the morning, and I tried it for a while.

Well it reads like a series of tweets strung out into paragraphs for 500 pages.  The man apparently had no filter while writing, composing EVERY THOUGHT and tangent that he underwent during the process.  This thread, NEIL YOUNG MUSIC LEGEND, is for the hilarious, ridiculous shit he typed and, for some bizarre reason, wasn't edited out before publication.  The remaining 350 pages of it, anyway.  Enjoy.

11
Aneristic Illusions / To My Girlfriend's Wingnut Professor, A Response
« on: October 29, 2012, 01:25:42 am »
So my girlfriend is taking a sociology class this semester.  The professor's required reading list has included such authors as Dinesh Desouza and Mark Steyn, both highly recommended with blurbs on the back covers by Ann Coulter and Paul Ryan.  Anyway, with the approaching storm tomorrow her college cancelled classes and he sent out this e-mail:

Quote
Hello students –

No doubt you’re happy that administrators decided school will be closed on Monday.  I don’t mind a day off, now and then, myself.

Let me take the occasion, however, to point out a few things.  This much-hyped “storm” is forecast by “wunderground.com” to affect our area Monday as follows:

        "Overcast with rain showers. Fog early. High of 64F. Windy. Winds from the ENE at 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 70 mph. Chance of rain 100% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible."

Big deal.  I guess New Englanders can’t be expected anymore to deal with a little rain and gusts of wind.  Or maybe, it’s just government institutions with no revenue to lose, that can’t refrain taking a paid vacation.  I bet the malls are all open tomorrow.

The whole federal government in Washington, D.C., has been known to close down under a whole inch of snow.

But maybe it’s our national character, as Steyn might argue.  A few weeks ago, a major league baseball game was cancelled, not because of rain, but because of the “threat” of rain.  It used to be baseball tradition to play in the rain until the ground got so muddy and visibility so limited, that the game would be suspended for an hour or more just to see if the rain would let up.  I guess no more.

Anyway, see you Wednesday – if the authorities allow.

Prof.

Well I've drafted this little response, and I'd appreciate any feedback you might have.

Hello Professor,
 
Your e-mail makes a remarkable argument in favor of government oversight and regulation in order to limit the irrational self interest of parties such as yourself.
 
I can appreciate the work ethic you convey in your implication that, were the decision to hold class in your hands, you would indeed require the presence of your students as outlined in your syllabus.  I respect the belief that students should be able to make their own choice in regards to their safety when commuting to your class, weighing that of course against whatever penalties that may arise from failing to attend your lecture.
 
I have no doubt that, given the choice of learning the increasingly complex views of such relevant political mouthpieces as Ann Coulter or not contending with an even stronger gust of hot air potentially careening them off the road that any morally upstanding American do it yourself student would choose the former.  After all, what is a 70 mph wind to the propagation of enlightening ideals from such visionaries as Mark Steyn?
 
As an emergency worker who will be working during tomorrow's storm (and I'll note, getting paid far less than you will to spout somebody else's ideas and funnel students' funds into wingnut authors and publishers), I can appreciate the state's decision to keep a largely commuting student body off the road.  An injured person and a disabled vehicle present a significant drain on resources in many levels of government.  Keeping people off the road where they won't potentially harm themselves, one another, or the infrastructure that keeps our economy running will allow personell and emergency vehicles to more effectively respond to actual emergencies, rather than those caused by self righteous professors demanding their students' presence.
 
I am truly sorry that you have witnessed the downfall of American character as so singularly displayed in the cancelling of a baseball game.  To give a more relevant example of the degradation of this trait, I can recall an America where a college class had required reading teaching facts instead of the extremist and fear-mongering political views.  I can recall an America where professors sought to provide students with knowledge that would be relevant rather than overtly attempting to filter their views with bias and misdirection.
 
I hope you're wrong that commerce centers will remain open, if only for the minimum wage plus commission earners that would be forced through the dangerous conditions to meet the demands of some petty manager (friend of yours?).  I hope you're right that this "storm" is not as bad as they've made it out to be.  We can't know for sure how it will turn out, but we can use the evidence that is available to us to make a reasonable and well informed decision on how to minimize its impact.  I wouldn't expect that type of thought from a man who directly supports people who have made their money doing the exact opposite of that.  Thankfully, we have a government in place that, while not always making the perfect decision, can use these methods to potentially avert a disaster.
 
Stay safe in the storm, Professor.  If you feel the need to fit your definition of a good American by buying something tomorrow, try not to get in the way of the men and women doing necessary things like health care and power line work.  They may not like you telling them you wish you could make their jobs more difficult with your arbitrary and reckless decisions.
 
Yours truly,
Eater of Clowns

12
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / RIP BadBeast
« on: October 04, 2012, 09:07:58 pm »
We all remember BadBeast, right?  That day he washed up on our fine shores sputtering and hacking, fucked up on who knows what?  And of course, the man that he became during his time at http://www.principiadiscordia.com during the following months - sputtering and hacking, fucked up on who knows what?  A fine subject of Her Majesty if we've ever seen one.  Well, it's time I share what really happened to him.

BadBeast was a man of science.  No, not SCIENCE! with all its glamou*r and fun, but science science, with all of its scientists and stuff.  The discovery of the BadBeast particle, which comprises at least 50% of your average PDer's being, was a big breakthrough for him and for HERN.T  It should be noted that when you toss the two BadBeast particles together in the Large Hardon Collider (a rather grim hooligan named Vinnie) the sound it makes doesn't exactly say "numb cunt" but it sounded so similar that, in celebration, BB went on a bender for four days, rather than his standard three.

It was during this romp in the garden of earthly delights that BadBeast came upon an even more important discovery.  A discovery of the self, you might say.  PD is full of fucking lunatics, and even they think I'm a lunatic.

Now that's a lot to come to terms with, if you're a right wanker, but this is BadBeast we're talking about.  He wandered back to his lab sputtering and hacking, fucked up who knows what.  He was a celebrated figure in a place that celebrates nearly no one!  He was a human among apes!  And just as he thought this, he stumbled into the LHC chamber.

Vinnie wasn't supposed to be there at the time but for men like Vinnie, who did what he loved, you just had to smash some shit together.  With a headbutt that made BadBeast proud even in his last moment, one of our very own total fuckwads came together with his namesake particle.  It was simply too much BadBeast for one chamber, for one world.  The man came apart at the, admittedly, shoddily maintained and drunkenly sewn together, seams.

We never heard from BB again after that night.  But some say he's just waiting to form together again through sheer will and an indefatiguable need to get fucked up.  And for that day, friends, we wait. 

We wait for BadBeast.



*This one's for you, BB

TStrangely, CERN's British counterpart was not an acronym, but the noise BB made after a long night at the pub when they asked him what they should call it.

13
The tents are being shipped in tomorrow.

Sorry, let me start again.

The tents are being shipped in tomorrow.

Al was pretty curious to know what the assistant deputy superintendant of the jail was doing with surveying equipment.  Are they going to put up more concrete slabs to stop the officers from using the parking lot again?  Maybe they'll get the chain gangs to start digging moats to prevent their own escape?

It's because the tents are being shipped in tomorrow.

See, you've got this right wing sheriff in a left wing state with a left wing governor.  The sheriff built an immigration facility a few years ago and he's getting a $100 a head per day or so to keep them there.  The governor wants that money so he wants that facility as part of the state system.  The sheriff wants that money to buy anti-terrorism boats and command centers to show off during parades.  So the governor slashes his budget.  He says, your budget is $17 million, but you're getting $7 million in federal money, so here's the remaining $10 million for your budget.

So the tents are being shipped in tomorrow.

We've got to cut back.  It costs $1 per inmate per day just to feed all these fuckers!  We can't have that, and it's not like we're going to ask our attorney to hand in his department issued iPhone so we can feed another inmate for an entire month.  He's cutting back on programs.  Right after dinner now those jailbirds are getting locked back into their cells and, well, we don't really have the room for all of them so why don't we just

ship in the tents tomorrow.

Hold a couple of press conferences mentioning we're going to have to close our regional lock up facility, get it on the local news.  Let it be known that it's the state's fault, the state's damn fault that we're shutting down that sattelite jail.  That way, when the tent city and the restricted activity hours go into effect on the same day and you get a bunch of angry inmates demanding their privileges back and getting each other riled up, pushing the guards who are pushing them back and bouncing back and forth in their overcrowded areas well, you warned them didn't you, you warned those state fat cats what would happen so it's not your fault the eighteen year old officer who just got out of the academy gets the piss beaten out of him by angry convicts and our hearts are with his family during this difficult time for all of us.  But about that money I asked for.

Anyway the tents are being shipped in tomorrow.

I'm sure it'll be just fine.

14
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / In Search of Lulz, Intro
« on: September 06, 2012, 09:44:04 pm »
“Spaughsun!  My office!” came the roar from the roarer’s office. 

The roaree turned to his computer and closed the browser window currently displaying a house cat in an amusingly compromising position.  Then he put the phone back on the hook after conveniently hanging it up improperly fifteen minutes into the day and leaving it there for the subsequent three hours.  Then he removed the discreetly placed headphone from his right ear, put the magazine he was reading in a drawer, and paused the tower defense game on his phone.  He closed the second browser window, getting rid of the tabs open to “8 Most Hilarious Hamburger Disasters,” “5 Bizarre Art Restoration Mishaps,” and “Top 10 Most Inane Top 10 Lists.”

As he took the short stroll to his boss’s office, he thought this was it.  This was when his completely sane and viable career choice of writing professionally for a dying industry would, shockingly, prove to be unwise.  His boss looked haggard, tie loosened around his collar, top button undone, hair in wisps around his head.  This was the type of guy that still described his career as “newspaperman” at parties.

“You gently requested my presence, sir?” Rory Spaughsun asked.

“Sit.”  Rory sat.  “Do you know what this is?”  He slid a piece of paper across his desk.

Rory picked it up and knew immediately.  “This is the lulz, isn’t it?”  A yellow smiley face glared hideously back at him, cigarette lolling out of its mouth and party hat that might be on fire tilted roguishly to the side.  Instinctively, he bounced the face up and down in his hands.

“That’s the lulz.  Or, well, that represents the lulz.  The lulz themselves, well…” he trailed off.  The lulz were missing.  They’d been missing for some time.

Rory understood.  “You want me to find them and write an article on it?”

“What?  No!  Hell, no, I’m firing you.  Nothing personal, boy-o, but this place is sinking and I just found out that you were never on staff to begin with.”

“Of course not, sir, I’m an intern.  I have the paperwork right here.”  Rory, seemingly from nowhere and disarmingly quickly, produced a much mishandled document riddled with haphazard signatures and mostly faded lettering.  “See it says right here, I’m to…”

“Spaughsun, I’ve seen the paper.  You’ve handed it to me every time we’ve seen each other, including last Tuesday when you passed it to me under the stall after running into me in the bathroom.  Thing is, I can’t read any dates on that thing any more but I’m dead sure that four years as a paid intern is just far too long.  Circulation is low right now and we have to cut back a bit.”

“But right here, sir, that’s the dean’s signature and uh, well I think that’s yours there next to the coffee stain, and here’s mine, and…” he pointed frantically around the paper, at one point poking a jagged hole through a critically weak spot.  “The dates are backwards!  Yeah, like European dates where the month and day are reversed,” he cried desperately.

“I’m sorry, m’boy, I am.  I hate to do this kind of thing to a budding young reporter like yourself.  Just get out of here, alright?  You’re welcome, by the way.  You can swim to shore from here.  The rest of us will be bailing this thing out and hope not to drown.”

The poignancy was lost on the stunned Spaughsun, who pointed weakly at a signature in the corner from a delivery driver a few years ago that Rory thought had a very official looking script.

“Put the damn paper away, Rory,” his boss told him sternly.

Rory obeyed, sliding the ragged thing up his sleeve.  He sat there a moment, still stunned even after assuring himself every day for the last four years that exactly this would happen.  He rose from the chair and gathered his dignity, appearing much like a drunk just after openly urinating on a public corner.  He reached the doorway and, leaning slightly, turned back to the desk.

“But the lulz.  What does this have to do with the lulz?” he asked.

“Nothing, Spaughsun.  They’re gone.  I just like remembering sometimes is all.  Remembering the fun we all had before all of this.”  He gestured quickly around the disheveled office.  Somehow he caught the dull, unmotivated newsroom as well as the busy and anxious streets outside.

The young man nodded.  He didn’t bother going back to his terminal, having lived in it like a squatter for the last few years.  He figured one day they’d just deactivate his keycard and he wouldn’t be able to get in the building to his workstation.  Then a year ago, when that actually happened and he just started piggybacking the doors, he figured security would haul him off and bodily toss him outside.

The newsroom was filled with hushed whispers of “Goodbye Rickie,” and “He was still here,” and “Who the hell is that guy.”

Outside was loud and hot and still cold to the bone, uncaring and unenthusiastic.  But with the sunlight on his face, Rory Spaughsun felt great.  He took a deep breath, choked on the greasy garbage scented air, and strode forward with purpose.

Because he had one, now.

He was going to find the lulz.

15
I have summitted mountains.  I have explored depths of the vast and deadly ocean.  I regularly ride around on a screaming two wheeled death trap at speeds that can best be described as laughably obscene.  I need to say those things not because I think they're impressive but because my next statement is so unimpressive that it needs some shit heaped on the other end to balance it out:  I am an anxious ball of stupid when it comes time to get a haircut.

I put it off as long as I possibly can.  I'll get a very simple haircut, short but not too short because I need something to hide my forehead, which reaches almost to my asscrack.  Then I let it go for a few months and start thinking about needing a haircut.  Then I wait another month.  Then my girlfriend, my boss, and my mom will all tell me I should probably get a haircut.  Then I wait another month or two.

I'm not afraid of scissors or anything, and if I get a bad haircut whatever - it grows out and it's not like it's going to fuck up my quality of living.  I've had bad haircuts before.  It's just the whole being in that seat thing.  I suck at it.  If I ever need to be interrogated, don't send me into the room under a desk lamp with a couple cops - sit me in that stupid chair and watch me freeze in pure anxiety.

I've been going to the same place for years now, but I don't make appointments in case I decide that my pH balance isn't entirely up to snuff that day and I can put off the experience until, let's say, winter.  It doesn't matter who I get because they're all, you know, professional hairstylists and can manage to not fuck up the simple shit.

I sat in the chair.  "So what are you looking for today?"

"A, uh, a haircut," okay so I've already fucked up.  Don't lose it, "just, uh, shorter than this one," okay I'm a moron and now this girl knows it.  "I guess I just want it a bit neater, you know, I have some weddings to go to this month.  Short but not too short," leave out the bit about the forehead and the asscrack. 

"Do you like to leave it a bit longer on the sides?"

"Yes.  I think so?  Is that what this is right now that I have?"

"Alright, do you want it to come up over the ears?"

I don't know what that looks like.  It's like that time I had long hair and I asked for a few inches off and ended up looking like Prince Valiant because I didn't know how long a few inches was in hair.  "Yes?"  Good job.  You're a rockstar.  Is this going to be one of those days where you just sit there and aren't sure what to stare at in the mirror or are you going to actually try to talk?

You're still staring.  Okay it's one of those days.  Sigh.  No, don't do this.  Don't do this to either of you.  "So have you been watching the Olympics?"

"No, not really.  They're so weird.  I saw this one thing where they were trying to hit each other with sticks."

What.  "Yeah there are some pretty obscure sports in there, like," don't say curling, it's summer, don't say curling, "shot...vaulting."

"Yeah I know!  This was the one where they're wearing face masks and they try to hit each other and a bell goes off when they contact."

"Fencing?"

"I think so.  That buzzer just kept going off every time they touched.  BEEP.  BEEP."

"That sounds annoying."

"BEEP.  BEEP.  BEEP."

"Yeah."

"So have you been watching them?"

"A few.  They're on while I'm at work.  I dispatch so there's a TV up there.  Water polo is on a lot for some reason."

"Dispatching, huh?  Is that like with police and stuff?  Because this system is so messed up, I'm sorry, I know you work for it but..."

"No, it's alright, I don't actually make any decisions."

"Because I hate how many murderers and rapists and stuff get off with like a year or get away with it when all kinds of drug dealers are in there for like ten years."

Abort.  Abort.  Change the subject, she's holding scissors over your head, just say something neutral.  "Yeah that's terrible."

"I have this cousin who was a big drug dealer and he got four years for it and all kinds of rapists and murderers just get off all the time."

"Yeah."  Aaand switch.  "Hey, is this only your station?  Do other stylists work here or...?"

"No this one is mine.  It's awful because other girls will use it when I'm not here but this is my station.  People will ask for appointments with me but they don't know me.  And there's a different girl here with black hair like mine and glasses.  But she's out on maternity, so I guess people can just ask for the pregnant girl now."

Wait if she's out then why would they ask for the pregnant girl?  Is this girl pregnant?  She could be.  Don't ask if she's pregnant.  "Are you pre-" DON'T ASK IF SHE'S PREGNANT.  "tty sure they know your name?  If you had some business cards they could ask for you by name." Good save.  Go back to the not talking thing, it's almost done.

"Well, how's it look?"

I don't know it's in a big tuft and it's wet so when it dries it could be anywhere from suave to three stooges, "Looks good!"  Awesome.  Walk to the desk, say have a nice day, leave a big tip.  Breathe again.

"Huh?"

You said the last part out loud.  "I said it feels good short.  It's like I can breathe again."

I paid, I left a nice tip, I said have a nice day.  I'll see the place again in fucking February.  Good god I suck at getting haircuts.

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