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Topics - Eater of Clowns

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Apple Talk / The Glamour of Banking
« on: June 25, 2013, 01:59:37 am »
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.”

« on: February 17, 2013, 03:55:22 am »
then you will like goats yelling like people.

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.

« 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.

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.

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.

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:

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 “” 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.


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

Apple Talk / RIP BadBeast
« on: October 04, 2012, 10:07:58 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 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.

Apple Talk / Jailhouse Riots: The Next Step in Political Negotiation
« on: October 03, 2012, 10:06:56 pm »
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.

Apple Talk / In Search of Lulz, Intro
« on: September 06, 2012, 10:44:04 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.

« on: August 08, 2012, 10:24:32 pm »
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."


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

"That sounds annoying."



"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.


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.

Bring and Brag / EoC The Jewelrymaker?
« on: July 14, 2012, 04:45:07 pm »
For my girlfriend's birthday I wanted to make her something special.  I ordered one of Nigel's incredible frond style beads and made a necklace out of some ribbon and various jewelry making supplies.

This is my first attempt at making jewelry and it's a nightmare.  I stood before walls of tiny, seemingly flimsy materials and just stared for probably two hours in a panic because I'd gotten in way over my head.  Every little piece has a purpose that's completely unknown to me, and they vary so slightly that it was nearly indecipherable.  I asked other jewelry making people in the aisle and all they could tell me about was stringing beads on wires because they did it for fun with their 12 year old daughters.  Eventually I divined a solution.

I bought a length of satin ribbon, some keychain-style sterling silver links, toggle clasps, two sterling silver earrings, and ribbon clasps.  The ribbon clasps were gross so I had to attach them, glue them on the underside of the ribbon, and cut a small hole for the links to pass through to connect to the toggle.  The bead itself is held on by the two earrings.

Well, she likes it a lot, so success!  Here's a photo of the finished product.

Unfortunately the ribbon frayed a bit when I cut it.  Also, the glue discolored it a little, both of which are visible in the photo.  The nice thing is that Nigel's GORGEOUS BEAD is the centerpiece, which means it's infinitely variable with different kinds of necklaces.

In fact, my girlfriend is very excited because we were supposed to go to the beach today, but it's too overcast.  Instead we're going to go get a few different kinds of silk ribbon and some other supplies to make a few more necklaces so she has options to wear it around.  Not pictured, a matching pair of earrings that I found at the local jewelry boutique.

Apple Talk / I'm (still) a Discordian because...
« on: July 05, 2012, 08:12:58 pm »
I can't afford to be a subgenius.

they won't let me leave - help I'm trapped in a Chaos factory.

That's my American dream.

I forgot my myspace password and can't quit the group.

Or Kill Me / Holiday Lights
« on: December 27, 2011, 09:23:38 pm »
Everyone tells you birthdays are when you start feeling older but that really isn’t true.  That pain in your back doesn’t decide to act up when you’re that one day further along.  For me, it’s Christmas.  I see most of my family that day, one of the few days a year when we can all cram ourselves into my aunt’s little den and eat meat stuffing from a trough and act pleasant.

It switched on early this year.  I needed bread on Christmas Eve so I walked down the street to the Portuguese bakery to buy a nice loaf of sourdough.  I was walking by the new bar and I could see inside for the first time, the windows not blacked out but emanating an inviting warmth.  Five men sat at the bar nursing one thing or another and four had pulsing orange red spots in their abdomens but one had an angry purple and black swell instead.  Every time they drank they grew a little brighter except for that last one, shuddering and wavering and fighting.

Every time I go to the bakery I open the door for some little old woman or another.  If they’re five feet tall I’d be impressed.  This one today was dressed in all black like so many others, probably for a dead husband.  She was a cool, frail blue with little spots of yellow all over, some radiating and some striking out with every step.  She didn’t say thank you, probably because she only speaks Portuguese.

It wasn’t just the drinkers and the old women it was everyone.  Some had hundreds of little red dots around their nose or hard and dark things on their feet.  When I went to see my mother that night to exchange the gifts our meager incomes allowed us she had bolts of lighting coming from a molar and this was even after her cocktail of pain meds and sleeping pills and anxiety pills and antidepressants.  It kept her from her beloved church that night and the next morning and stopped her from driving to my memere’s.  Blinding lightning.

Christmas day was a blinding array of colors and lights.  They reflected off the wrapping paper and shone through every bite of food, lit the back of teeth through every smile.  My uncle was there and he’s been fighting for most of the year, his big round face a sickly call to my own appearance, our shared lineage highlighted in perverse grays and hanging skin, the color indescribable and changing as slithering black hues beat back his health.  He joked that since his sister cut down the tree he planted as a kid he was wasting away but even a funny man can only get so far with all that brown and all that purple.

My cousins have kids now.  Kids that don’t really have a shot in so many ways because, well, that’s my family, but they’re the brightest things I’ve seen in two days, like little fires in their Christmas clothes.  Early dawn or that furthest reach of light around a campfire.  It was a fine contrast.

Apple Talk / Star Train's Last Stop
« on: December 05, 2011, 11:43:05 pm »
This is station designation Star Train.

Alan Bryce never heard any alarms.

Please come in.

There must not be any.  He was reading Dr. Seuss into the communications console when heavy footsteps and a gritty voice first became audible.  Finally, he wasn’t alone.

Please come in.

He jumped out of that uncomfortable chair as quickly as he could.  He tossed a pile of civilian clothes aside to find a wrinkled, unused uniform and put it on as quickly as he could.  Whoever was in the station waited patiently at the entryway, speaking lowly as he laced up first one unpolished boot, then a second.  The hat was a lost cause.  His first project to improve it was an excellent lesson in park issued quality.  His second project to improve it was to turn it into a functional flying disc, bereft of any similarity to the hated hat but with the benefit of keeping him occupied for roughly one afternoon.

Star Train has come under…attack.

Tucking in his shirt, he was the picture of a park employee, albeit an unkempt one, all in blue and another type of blue and a shiny badge.

“All right then what do we have he…” Alan stopped as he turned the corner out of his office.  Standing at the entry to the station were four heavily armed soldiers.  It was about time someone showed up.  Although he wished it were human soldiers.  Not enemy soldiers.

He breathed deeply and slowly.  He was trained for this.  Visitors, that’s all.  Armed, red eyed, wet nosed, toothy and grey visitors.  They hadn’t killed him yet.  This was important.  “Welcome to station Star Train!”

Star Train still flying.  I’m okay.

They stared at him, weapons leveled.  They hadn’t killed him yet.  “Uhm.  Originally a double deck luxury Earth railway car, Star Train was the first station retrofitted for use in space!  The success of the conversion led the way for all manner of space faring objects, allowing for a ready and affordable means of bringing more people to the stars.”

Here he paused.  It was a good idea to let his introduction sink in while the kids looked around.  When there are kids, that is.  Instead, one of the soldiers spoke in that low, gritty voice to the others.  They lowered their weapons.

There does seem to be a slight problem though if anyone is out there.

Maybe the Haeltid didn’t have tourist destinations.  Alan hoped they were just as confused as he was.  He skipped to the more technical aspect of the tour.  Usually this part was for the end but it seemed more prevalent than going through the construction and funding parts.

“These days Star Train’s primary purpose is education.  It was designated a historical landmark twenty years ago and supports a small staff, yours truly, standing by to guide you through one of humanity’s first important steps into space.”

Again the same Haeltid soldier gritted something out.  Then, louder than he thought their voices could be, all four of them rumbled together, their voices fading in and out rhythmically.  Then they turned and walked back through the airlock.  One of them tossed a device behind him just before the door closed.  At this, they rumbled together again.

Alan couldn’t help but think they were laughing.

They left something behind.

He put the microphone down.  What he wouldn’t give to find out what he was holding.  Or to hear a human voice, for that matter.  Almost a year ago he received a transmission from Park Base, all broken up and panicked.  Something about the Haeltid and a war.

He hardly left the communications console in the office for the first few months.  He’d transmit and transmit, plead and yell, sob and receive nothing.  Not even static, just dead air.  He would stare out the windows and look at the blinking lights far in the distance.  They were still operational.  Someone would come eventually.

Two months prior he started reading Dr. Seuss into the console.  All the other options seemed senseless so he might as well try something equally so.  Right now, though, right now that silent station hurt just as much as it did those months ago.

“Star Train?  Star Train, the historic site?  You guys are still operational?”

A voice.  From the communications console.  Alan’s dive to pick up the microphone was perhaps the most athletic moment of his life.

“Yes, this is Star Train, I-we’re still operational.  Just had contact with a Haeltid party.  They left something behind.  Who am I speaking to?”

“Wait, left something behind?  You’re still alive?  What did they leave behind?”

“I don’t know.  It’s about the size of a football.  It has a button on it – don’t worry, I haven’t pressed it.  It’s heavy, and warm, uh…”

“Oh.  Star Train.  I am so sorry.”
“What, why?”

“Star Train that’s an explosive device.”

Fuck, Alan thought.  Give me evil aliens.  Or monster aliens.  But for fuck’s sake, why give me asshole aliens?  I’m so tired of dealing with assholes.

Literate Chaotic / House of Leaves
« on: November 17, 2011, 08:54:52 pm »
I just finished the book proper and I have a few more sections of the Appendix to get through.  A few thoughts, to get the discussion started, and I'd very much like to hear Faust and LMNO's take as mentioned in What Are You Reading?

The most impressive part of the whole thing for me was the chapter regarding the labyrinth.  As I searched for footnotes pages ahead, pages behind, leading to other footnotes, imbedded in yet more footnotes, I of course continued to read the very brief, very detailed history of labyrinths.  Then, all of a sudden, I'm sure exactly as intended, it clicked that the overwhelming, terrifying nature of labyrinths was being demonstrated by the layout of the pages, within the footnotes themselves.  It's jarring and confusing and, I thought, brilliant.  The same tactic is used in several other chapters, but it was this one that really stood out.

Zampano being blind as stated in the beginning of the work becomes important less in the thick description of visuals he provides, but more in that the overall effect of the house was an example of how blindness can be.  Hallways that seem to lengthen, stairs that are sometimes shorter and sometimes longer, paths that change even as you swear you know them.  It's life as the blind, never knowing (in the case of exploring a new space) just what kinds of terrain await you.  And for that, the agoraphobia, the constant unknown, the fears that the book put me through, are just another means to an end instead of being the end that I expected them to be.

I'm not any kind of an in depth reader and that's what I can think of for now.

Apple Talk / Looking Back at the Upright Citizens Brigade
« on: September 30, 2011, 05:41:55 pm »
Long, fantastic article focusing on the Upright Citizens Brigade, its former members, and the lasting effect it's had on comedy.  There's some truly incredible shit in here.

Quote from: Rob Huebel
This was around the time when Amy was still on SNL, and I think Chevy wanted to get back involved with the show—trying to get to know the young guys—so he was coming around the theater. I came in, and Chevy was backstage. Just to preface it, I grew up the biggest Chevy Chase fan in the world. I knew every word to Fletch and Caddyshack. I wanted to be Chevy Chase. So we go into a little spot just off the lip of the stage, and there was a break in the conversation, so I said, “Chevy, I just want to introduce myself. I’m Rob Huebel.” And he just slapped me across the face. He didn’t say anything; he just looked at me for a second and belted me. It was really hard—­offensively hard.

Quote from: Horatio Sanz
I don’t mean to sound like Sid Vicious or anything, but there are a lot of those nights I don’t remember. I do remember, one night, I threw a stool at this jukebox. Kurt Cobain was playing, and I thought that he would like that. Afterward, I called [the bar] very sheepishly and was like, “Sorry. I want to pay for that jukebox.” And the owner said, “Eh, don’t worry about it.” We pledged our undying support of his bar for life. I was given a key eventually.

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