Author Topic: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me  (Read 4659 times)

Manta Obscura

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Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« on: November 19, 2008, 08:26:12 pm »
As with many things, it all begins with a song:

Why I Wake Up
by Manta Obscura


I am curled beneath my covers this morning, clenching myself feverishly in an attempt to keep warm and wondering why I should rouse myself from bed. After all, all that awaits beyond the sheets is the chill of the autumn air and the barrier of a nine-hour workday before dinnertime comes. Ratatouille night. I hate ratatouille.

I roll over and stare at the ceiling, letting my eyes glaze over its sterile whiteness while my ears capture the sound of my wife snoring away peacefully beside me. She must not have heard the alarm sound. My reflexes are getting quicker with turning it off.

I think it has to do with practice. Thousands of days of waking up to the sound of an alarm, thousands of days of being pulled from pleasant dreams by the shrill ca-caw of morning music, thousands of days of being harassed by three-second snippets of inane DJs . . . after awhile, your hands just instinctively fire away at them. But itís never quick enough to prevent me from waking up.

Most mornings, waking up seems like a battle loss. To wake up is to face the workday, and to face the work day is to face the preparation of the workday, and to face the preparation of the workday is to face the business suit, and to face the business suit is to face the shave and shower, and to face the shave and shower is to face the cold walk from the bed to the bathroom, all the while wishing to be back in dreamland where youíre always clothed Ė or naked, but donít care about it Ė and itís warm no matter what. Waking up means giving up the thing thatís making you comfortable, so every morning I lay in bed, weighing the cost against the benefits. Most of the time the costs weigh more.

If I get up, Iíll get paid.
For doing a job that you donít really like.

But if I grit my teeth and bear it, Iíll be able to help my family out by providing.
While simultaneously becoming isolated from them for one third of your waking weekly hours.

But then my time with them will seem all the better during the weekend.
Which will seem all too short and, come Monday, be torn from you in exchange for another week of waiting for the weekend.

. . .
???

Youíre sort of a cynical prick, you know that?
But is what I say true?

About there I always stop, dumbfounded, knowing that I really do give time for money, energy for matter. The waking world turns life into a quantum experiment.

And so I lay there, listening to the sounds of heavy breathing beside me, wondering what to tell my mind is worth awakening for, and not knowing the answer. The sounds of cars quickening, enlivened, filters through the windows, and I know the whole world is arising and, like it or not, soon shall I.

I close my eyes and listen to the sounds of footsteps padding down the apartment stairs, the clamor of kids unchaining their bikes, the far-off susurrus of tiny voices waiting for the bus in the cold. I try to make a tune for the cacophony, saying in my head,

The bus shall come at five Ďtil eight,
So see the riders stomping Ďround,
Unmindful of the chilly wait
And slipping on the icy ground.


Smiling with a hint of satisfaction for my makeshift tune, I swing my legs over the bed. Seeing my slippers across the room Ė about six feet away, I would guess Ė I estimate whether I can jump to them from the mattress without making too much noise. Probably not.

I try it anyway.

Fuck!

ďWhat the hellís going on?Ē my wife says, looking up, bleary-eyed, upon hearing the crash.

ďJust practicing,Ē I say, simply, as I put on my slippers and scamper off down the hall, leaving her to descend back through half-sleep into slumberland.

The hallwayís cold, but one of the cats has left my leather gloves lying on the floor after one of its late play dates. I pick them up, put them on and continue down the hallway, humming my tune to myself all the way to the bathroom.

Itís cold too, but not unpleasantly so. Warm enough, at least, to drop my pants to pee. I decide to see how far away I can aim into the toilet though, truth be told, I doubt I will ever beat my record of seven feet (nothing but net).

Shit, hit the rim.

I turn on the shower before I bend down to clean up, letting the water form tendrils of steam before stripping down. I try to do it like a striptease but, without an audience, my heartís not really in it.

The shower is at that perfect level of warmth where it feels like itís burning your skin without actually doing any harm. I lift my legs to try to put the soles of my feet directly into the spray, grabbing the curtain bar to keep from slipping. I slip anyway, and the sudden impact and thud of my butt against the floor leaves an ephemeral ass-shaped spot of suds upon the shower floor. The warm water carries it away, however. Pity.

I shut the water off, immediately making a mad dash from the shower into the loving arms of my Coca-Cola themed beach towel, the one with the rip partway down the center from where I tried to use it as Supermanís cape while climbing a tree. I experiment with it as a Pharaohís skirt, an Athenian toga, and an overly large turban.

Tossing the towel aside, I sprint back through the hallway, marveling at the feeling of naked running (really, itís the best way to run) as I burst into the room and suddenly realize that bursting is not a very polite way to enter the room of a sleeping person. I slow my pace down, yet maintain an exposed posture in the off-chance that she wakes up amorous.

Reaching into the closet, I grab for a handful of business-type clothes at random. Brown suit, purple shirt, gold tie. It works. I experiment momentarily with tying the tie into a lasso, but get fed up after I cannot catch anything with it. Guess I should just put the clothes on.

Fully dressed and looking more tolerable than a brown-purple-and-gold-clad bloke probably should, I resign myself to the fact that Mrs. Obscura wonít wake up wanting sex anytime soon, and leave the room, plotting a course for the kitchen.

I take a moment to scoop a bowl-full of food for the cat, realizing that I accidentally scooped litter into the bowl instead of food, and quickly rectify the problem. Litter bags should be labeled better.

I open the fridge, surveying the selection of morning delectables. Day-old pizza. Pancake mix. Bacon. Oran-

Hell, yes: orange juice!

I pour myself of a bowl of Fruit Loops, taking care to discard any broken loops, and cover them with orange juice, thus creating the ultimate breakfast delicacy. Spoon in hand, I trudge back into the living room to look at the window while I eat.

The people waiting for the bus are gone now. Thatís okay, I guess, because Iíve forgotten the words to the jingle. Guess I should make up a new one.

Forgetting the words you sing
Is never a pleasant thing,
Cuz of all the . . . uh . . .


Yíknow what? Fuck jingles.

The bowl is nearly empty now, so I set it down on the floor to see if the cats want any delicious dregs. No response. Canít please everyone all the time.

My pocket watch starts chiming, telling me itís time to go. I shut it up with a quick rap against its face as I stride over to the coat closet, grabbing my greatcoat and Harry Potter scarf from the mass of forgotten clothing items within.

Suited up and ready to go, my hand resting on the doorknob, I look back over the room, humming tunelessly to myself, the wraiths of the morning banished from mind. Itís going to be a shitty day, I know it. Iím going to drive through traffic I donít want to be in, to get to a place I donít want to be, to do things I donít want to do for people I donít care about, all for a piece of paper that gives me license to live and eat for another week.

Fuck it. Could be worse I say, humming a different tuneless tune as I turn to go, pretending the doorknob is a giant nipple as I twist it. A smile plays on my lips for just a moment, and is gone as I step out into the hallway to inevitably ride down the banister and, just as inevitably, hit my balls on the decorative banister piece at the bottom.
Everything I wish for myself, I wish for you also.

Cainad (dec.)

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2008, 08:43:41 pm »
:mittens:

Now that I think of it, there have been several pieces written by various people on what Discordia means to them. That might make a good Intermittens theme.

Cramulus

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2008, 08:51:40 pm »
To be honest, this one seems kind of mundane to me.

Manta Obscura

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2008, 08:59:43 pm »
To be honest, this one seems kind of mundane to me.

Fair enough. I was trying to go for subtle, but maybe I went a bit too subtle.
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Cainad (dec.)

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2008, 09:03:56 pm »
To be honest, this one seems kind of mundane to me.

Well, it's nothing particularly new, but I like it as an exhibition of the playful spirit often associated with Discordia and its utility as a way of making life less miserable.

Perhaps I'm biased because, not too long ago, the version of Discordianism that exists in my headspace helped me resist my strong tendencies towards depression. That's never happened before, and it was pretty exciting.

Manta Obscura

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2008, 09:07:27 pm »
To be honest, this one seems kind of mundane to me.

Well, it's nothing particularly new, but I like it as an exhibition of the playful spirit often associated with Discordia and its utility as a way of making life less miserable.

Perhaps I'm biased because, not too long ago, the version of Discordianism that exists in my headspace helped me resist my strong tendencies towards depression. That's never happened before, and it was pretty exciting.

I'm a bit of a spiritual exhibitionist.  :D

I think there might be something solid behind the idea of Discordianism and the resistance to depression. I wish there were scientific studies with correlation data between the two.
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Cramulus

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2008, 09:17:39 pm »
To be honest, this one seems kind of mundane to me.

Well, it's nothing particularly new, but I like it as an exhibition of the playful spirit often associated with Discordia and its utility as a way of making life less miserable.

Basically, Manta's article is about getting ready to go to work. The components of "getting ready" are presented in a playful, well written way, but when you boil it down, this is a narrative about getting ready to go to work.

But as a magazine article, it needs to come to a point or conclusion. Flip though any magazine - the articles are written in a grabbing, motivational way. They tend to offer you something, be it advice, information, or 101 ways to please your man with your tongue. This is the commercial answer to the "moral" at the end of a fable.

My off-the-cuff constructive criticism: cut its length by half and add a conclusion.

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2008, 09:28:40 pm »
I agree with Cram on this one.
ďIím guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,Ē Charles Wick said. ďIt was very complicated.Ē


Manta Obscura

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2008, 09:40:33 pm »
To be honest, this one seems kind of mundane to me.

Well, it's nothing particularly new, but I like it as an exhibition of the playful spirit often associated with Discordia and its utility as a way of making life less miserable.

Basically, Manta's article is about getting ready to go to work. The components of "getting ready" are presented in a playful, well written way, but when you boil it down, this is a narrative about getting ready to go to work.

But as a magazine article, it needs to come to a point or conclusion. Flip though any magazine - the articles are written in a grabbing, motivational way. They tend to offer you something, be it advice, information, or 101 ways to please your man with your tongue. This is the commercial answer to the "moral" at the end of a fable.

My off-the-cuff constructive criticism: cut its length by half and add a conclusion.

Thank you for the constructive criticism, Cram. I appreciate your candidness, and will be sure to edit the piece to reflect changes when I have more mental energy to do so. However, for the sake of reaching a better definition of the scope of Intermittens, I would like to address a few of the things that you have said - constructively, of course:

But as a magazine article, it needs to come to a point or conclusion. Flip though any magazine - the articles are written in a grabbing, motivational way.

I agree completely with the second sentence, but the first seems to be a bit off the mark. I would amend it by saying that "as a traditional magazine article," as in the feature stories written for publications such as Newsweek, Runner's World, etc. The resolution to "come to a conclusion" is an outgrowth of the article's purpose to dispense advice which, as you said, is like the "moral." However, there is another running vein among magazines - particularly e-zines - to publish narrative pieces that retain ambiguity (examples: "Red! Magazine;" some of Steve Kissing's columns in "Cincinnati Magazine;" almost all of Dallas Wiebe's non-novel work; some of John Johnston's work from the Cincinnati Enquirer) and tell a story rather than tell an idea. In my piece, my intention was similar: to tell an individual narrative from which conclusions may be reached, rather than to craft a piece in order to reach a conclusion. I do, however, understand your criticism about it needing some more structure and will, as I said, revise it sometime later to correspond with traditional feature guidelines rather than the Skyblue-essay-esque narrative style I have adopted here (I will preserve the original as is, simply because I like it; the revised version will be posted as a later post).

Based on the criticism you have provided, do you believe that the works included in Intermittens should correspond to feature guidelines, or do you envision the publication as being a mix of more diverse elements, such as stories and other works which do not necessarily utilize the definitive conclusion style of writing?

Once again, thanks for the constructive criticism, Cram.
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Cramulus

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2008, 09:45:55 pm »
yeah, as I was posting I realized I was setting up a double-standard. NONE of the articles in Issue 1 were in a "magazine" format...

Quote
Based on the criticism you have provided, do you believe that the works included in Intermittens should correspond to feature guidelines, or do you envision the publication as being a mix of more diverse elements, such as stories and other works which do not necessarily utilize the definitive conclusion style of writing?

I'm just going to throw a number out there, it may be meaningless--
I'd say about 50-70% of the stuff in any given Intermittens should roughly correspond with the theme.

Certainly I don't think we should be afraid to "Break the mold" -- disregard the mold alltogether -- as long as the stuff we're printing measures up well when measured by Quality.

after all,
One of the cool things about being a zero-cost magazine is we have nobody to answer to!


Manta Obscura

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2008, 09:56:32 pm »
yeah, as I was posting I realized I was setting up a double-standard. NONE of the articles in Issue 1 were in a "magazine" format...

Quote
Based on the criticism you have provided, do you believe that the works included in Intermittens should correspond to feature guidelines, or do you envision the publication as being a mix of more diverse elements, such as stories and other works which do not necessarily utilize the definitive conclusion style of writing?

I'm just going to throw a number out there, it may be meaningless--
I'd say about 50-70% of the stuff in any given Intermittens should roughly correspond with the theme.

Certainly I don't think we should be afraid to "Break the mold" -- disregard the mold alltogether -- as long as the stuff we're printing measures up well when measured by Quality.

after all,
One of the cool things about being a zero-cost magazine is we have nobody to answer to!



Tangential idea inspired by your last message (and I have no clue why):

You know how in old-time magazines and comics for kids, they used to have little paper "superhero goggles" or other things the kids could cut/tear out and play with? I think it would be a cool idea if we had similar things in Intermittens. For example, the last page of the magazine could have a paper fake-moustache that the reader could cut out and wear during PosterGASMs.

Imagine the text:

"Hey, kids! Cut out your very own Cram-style Moustache today. Just a few quick cuts and you, too could be postering in style!"

I have no GD clue why your last post inspired that.

On topic:

The general 50-70% guideline seems pretty fair. The remaining 50-30% could be occupied with crap like mine or, if we're lucky and she's willing to pose, a centerfold of Nigel.

 :D
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Payne

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2008, 10:19:12 pm »
yeah, as I was posting I realized I was setting up a double-standard. NONE of the articles in Issue 1 were in a "magazine" format...

Quote
Based on the criticism you have provided, do you believe that the works included in Intermittens should correspond to feature guidelines, or do you envision the publication as being a mix of more diverse elements, such as stories and other works which do not necessarily utilize the definitive conclusion style of writing?

I'm just going to throw a number out there, it may be meaningless--
I'd say about 50-70% of the stuff in any given Intermittens should roughly correspond with the theme.

Certainly I don't think we should be afraid to "Break the mold" -- disregard the mold alltogether -- as long as the stuff we're printing measures up well when measured by Quality.

after all,
One of the cool things about being a zero-cost magazine is we have nobody to answer to!



Tangential idea inspired by your last message (and I have no clue why):

You know how in old-time magazines and comics for kids, they used to have little paper "superhero goggles" or other things the kids could cut/tear out and play with? I think it would be a cool idea if we had similar things in Intermittens. For example, the last page of the magazine could have a paper fake-moustache that the reader could cut out and wear during PosterGASMs.

Imagine the text:

"Hey, kids! Cut out your very own Cram-style Moustache today. Just a few quick cuts and you, too could be postering in style!"

I have no GD clue why your last post inspired that.

On topic:

The general 50-70% guideline seems pretty fair. The remaining 50-30% could be occupied with crap like mine or, if we're lucky and she's willing to pose, a centerfold of Nigel.

 :D

I did a cut out tache thing for a leaflet I got B-AI to distribute when he went to California.

Twas an awesome idea.

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Manta Obscura

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Re: Possible entry for Intermittens: what Discordia means to me
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2008, 01:57:16 pm »
a centerfold of Nigel.

 :D

 :lulz:

Just a thought; it would definitely swell the readership.  :wink:
Everything I wish for myself, I wish for you also.