Tuesday, February 28, 2006

atom people

Private notes, though what is secrecy but fear? The trouble is that so few wish to understand people. So many will only speak at the surface. So, many will fall apart not knowing what they should have been. In the face of trial. An error.

There is a streak of sunlight across the page. A relic of distances beyond conquest. As I write toward it, the tip of the pen throws grainy ellipses out of the light. There are 4 distinct bands. As I toy with them I am reminded of complexity -- of numbers & components & chaos. Of what the world is and why it is most amazing if it stands on its own without gods. People always oversimplify things: I see scant difference between the motions of a society and the motions of cells, or the chance crashings of atoms. Look at a highway. Stare at it for hours. What is its pattern? It is blood, carrying oxygen (people) to tissues beyond the exit ramps. Conversely, from the smaller standpoint, wouldn't a blood vessel be a highway to some cellular observer? Only the dimensions are different.

People are just as reactive as oxygen -- where is the line between analogy and accidental truth? Strange, how humans pair off for stability (O2), but divorce under stress & run off seeking new reactions. Look at the instability of O3 ... how long can secrets be kept? One bright ray of light shatters the triad into unsatisfied units.

Secrecy -- to avoid judgement we shy away, content to be ions, never showing our electrons for fear of having them stripped away forever.

Some are more like carbon -- they like things in pairs. Some are hydrogen, always giving what little they have. Xenons live in the mountains in snowy cabins. The list goes on. Eventually we will discover that atoms have shapes ... nervous systems ... hairstyles ... secrets ... and diaries of their own.


I was going through an old journal, looking for something I had lost. Found this piece, dated 2/6/88. A fun heap of analogies for any (no) occasion. And I just heard this echo through my head: "Up and at 'em, Atom Ant!" Tanks full of memories.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

afterlife 9

Just a quick news flash -- I have a new chapbook available: "Afterlife 9". It's a disturbing parody of afterlife, citylife, social life and hungry machines.

Yes, I printed it myself, after a personal record of 18 years of delays -- deaths, burnt things, publishers imploding, and all that jazz. It's $5 postpaid in the USA. I'm getting the vibe that the color cover is worth 50 cents all by itself.

It's home page is here:
Afterlife 9


I hope you'll check it out. Thanks to all who support my work.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

rpg my other pants

A room full of zombies? No problem. Oh, wait. Crap. I left my grenades in my other pants. Hang on! My other pants are right here in my backpack. Okay ... who swiped my backpack? I need to find seom friends for are not losers, clowns and thieves. No, Jacob, don't mess with that!



In related role-playing news, it has been determined that nothing lights up a pitch-black cave quite as nicely as a flaming elf.


2/19/06 - Odds & ends that come to mind during quick visit to a Fermius RPG session.

Monday, February 20, 2006

weekend oddities

Whoever said it's fun to put Snap, Crackle, Pop into your morning ... obviously didn't have neck problems.

Someday all entertainment will be mere background noise, at which point nothing will be entertaining anymore.

If all information is supposed to be free, then nobody can be allowed to make a living creating new content, so in the end there's no choice but for reporters to make up shit as fast as they can so they can get back to their dayjobs. At which point there will be nothing worth reporting anyway.

Yet there are people who can fall down mountains and win big prizes, either in ski competitions or by suing the lodges and lift operators and travel agents. What do you mean there are ROCKS underneath the SNOW -- those things can HURT people.

Reminds me of way back when: snowball fights with the neighborhood bully. Sometimes you get a good shot in, so he starts pushing little pebbles into his snowballs and they crush your nose. Pretty soon you're just throwing rocks because they make more of a statement. Eventually a window breaks - that's enough statements for one day.

So .. that's enough statements for one day.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

paid in full ... in copies

A recent study at U.C. Berkeley has shown that jobs which offer no cash compensation do, in fact, help our economy by boosting the sales of Quaker oats and Top Ramen products. A participating poet claimed that he could survive for forty days on a single jumbo carton of Quaker oats, and if twenty of those carboard containers are glued together, the resulting hovel is worth at least $249,000 in the California housing market. As we all know, Top Ramen is created in orbit by space monkeys who shower the stuff down on central China for reasons unknown to us. Their manifesto clearly says that if we fail to appease them with inane sitcoms they have the power to make all our national debts real and payable in full. Our experts have informed us that this would be bad, and it's best left for our children's children to deal with.


This was actually my response to what sounds like a great writing opportunity that pays in copies. But it sounds great. But I'm so behind on paying for stuff. But it sounds cool. Anyway, it's fun to see what comes out when prompted with various real-life twists & turns. This made me think of all those other things I've done for copies. And they worked out okay.

Right before that I wrote a flash fiction about a guy who gets held hostage by a sandwich.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

my Amazon Shorts

Big news! Two of my short stories are now available at Amazon.com, as part of their new "Amazon Shorts" program. These are two of the funniest tales I've written yet, and I hope you all enjoy them. They're just 49 cents each.

One Mistake at a Time - a time travel fiasco


The Goblin Saint - a tongue-in-cheek fantasy

I hope you'll check them out. I think you'll get a kick out of them. Thanks.

Monday, February 13, 2006

downhill slump

What's up with the olympics? I know, we're supposed to be all excited about it, but the coverage just seems to get more lame every time. We get profiles of the Americans, then interviews with them, then we get to see their performances and maybe a Russian or Chinese person or two. Doesn't feel like an international event at all.

The new scoring system for skating is bugging my wife. But I never did get the old system. I can't stand events that are scored by starting off perfect and bitching and whining and criticizing and scrutinizing and deducting. Bleah. Give me a sport where you have to finish with the best time, or with a score based on discrete events, something tangible and less subjective. The coverage suggests that we should be eager to put other people under a microscope and tear them down.

Screw that.

I want to see athletes from all over the world getting together, having a community, doing their best, shaking hands when it's all over. Instead, I get to watch what's-his-name running one feature after another trying to pump up Apollo or poor Michelle Kwan as some breed of super hero, and I'm reminded every half hour that I can buy the damn jackets and buy other olympic logo crap at such-and-such a website.

Today we got to see some nasty skiing and luge accidents. If we can find the events in between the commercials, that is. There's a sense that if anyone hurts themselves trying to do this impossible stuff then "Oh well, on to the next hero."

We got a brief chuckle over a piece about curling. So it's an odd sport. It obviously takes some kind of skill. At least it's different. It's not like just changing the length of a sled to make a whole new sport. Let's have more eclectic, more alien events.

Here's an event I'd like to see: chase the announcers around with a pointy stick, and poke them until they sound like they care.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Great escapes

I was out at pizza night with Fermius, and we came to an odd piece of chat about escaping reality by romanticizing other historical times. But we forget all the crappy bits to make them all sound wonderful.

It's the 21st century, and many people fantasize about being pirates (stinky mostly-starving criminals) or living in the wonderful Middle Ages (with all the dirt & disease, tyrants & vermin).

But the people in the Middle Ages were probably fantasizing about living in ancient Rome, with things like plumbing and flying go-carts. Maybe that's not so bad.

But the people in Greek and Roman times were pining for an earlier day, a simpler age, where men could be men (and attack their neighbors) who could be men (pawns of the gods). And get attacked by their neighbors.

Civilized people may have cursed the invention of farming and wished they were free to graze among the daffodils.

Iron Age people wished they were living in the Stone Age.

Stone Agers must have dreamed of the good old days, living in their caves, eating popcorn with bears.

Cavemen must have dreamed of swinging from trees and saying "Umph."

Apes fight all day and throw their poo around.


2/1/06 - a conversation gone awry, then captured (for better or worse)

now, future people can dream of the lovely month of January 2006 where Exxon-Mobil just posted astronomical profits by a consumer ripoff of epic proportions.

reading the soup

on divination
by s.c.virtes

The misguided notion
Of separable fortune, misfortune,
Each travelling in clusters,
So that anything good implies more good;

These ideas are the babble of children,
From start to finish, my day speaks how:

There was an extra flavor packet
In my 23 cent soup today ...
Does this mean I'll meet
The "girl of my dreams",
Or that I will suddenly begin
Having such dreams,

Will all goodness fall at my door,
So I need never worry, need never fear,
Will people give up their fighting
And find quieter songs,
Or does it mean nothing more
Than a strong bowl of soup?


Poem from 1988, unpublished