Monday, September 03, 2007

Chapter 43

It wasn't so much the spoiled milk as it was the wilted lettuce. Milk -- Jake could take it or leave it. But the lettuce, that clinched it.

"Who left the damned refrigerator door open again?" he yelled to an empty house. He lived alone, but it helped to blame someone. He checked his doors and windows to see if some fridge raiding burglar had been in his town house. All locked. That left two choices: ghosts or aliens. He didn't believe in God, so that somehow ruled out the ghosts also.

"Freakin’ aliens," he muttered. He went over to the sink, ran the cold water and began methodically shoving the ruined food down the garbage disposal, all the while cursing the government for participating in a huge cover-up of alien visitations. If people only knew, he thought, they could protect themselves. He watched TV, so he knew that the aliens could just "beam in" to his apartment, bypassing his locked doors and windows. Maybe he would just get a big, mean dog. His landlord wouldn't like it, but he didn't like a lot of the things Jake did, like paying his rent with quarters and not having a phone.

He sat naked on the couch after disposing of the rotten food and contemplated the decision to buy a dog. First off, a good dog would be expensive, it would be better if he just stole one, but it would have to be a puppy, which means it wouldn't be mean enough for a year or more. That much thinking started to give him a headache, so he got up, slipped on a bra and a matching pair of panties, then into his coveralls. It was time to go to work. Eight hours of baggage loading with his crack smoking crew, then back home. Forget the dog, Jake decided he would just sit up all night with a shotgun and keep an eye on the fridge.

Chapter 42: Dream

I dream quickly between snooze button presses and “Use the Force, Luke” backedits into my dream as the clock beeps. I stumble to the clock with my eyes shut to hold the dream, but I stub my toe, open my eyes, and it’s gone. I crawl back to bed for another nine minutes and have another dream.

Chapter 41: Typing What You Think

My mind I write I think recurses cursing back to the point tip confused sounds stomping in the hall too prosey spelling open eyes edit, just did that, out of order, editing hard to do this think about typing and eyes closed stay on track can’t do it, mind parallel, already thinking about what to open eyes to check format typing/writing, I forgot what I was doing.

Chapter 40: Stream of did I lock the front door? consciousness

sign - sale - house - road - truck - ship - ocean – Europe - Paris - bread - cash - bills - birds - penguins - ice - drink - vodka - Russians - bears - mountains - streams - trout - rainbow - rain - wind - march - kites - string - telephone - wires - poles - sausage - pork - pigs - mud – slinging - slingshots - crabapples - jelly - canning – soup - corn - stalks - hot - August - emperor - Rome - ruins - chimneys - farms - cows - milk - ice cream - sandwich - Earl - gas station - windshield - motorcycle - helmet - skiing - jump - canyon - desert - cactus - coyote - comics - TV - debate - fight - gloves - snow - snowman - Tibet - orange - tree - palm - Florida – beach - sand - shell - lobster - Maine - pine - wait - want - Christmas - Christ - Israel - Hitler - airplane - bomb - Japan - sushi - seaweed - kelp - otters - teeth - sharks - boats - marina - rent – sign

Chapter 39: NTB #2

Hey dude,

Don’t run away

Take this pen and

Sign the letter


To hold your tongue in

Don’t cross your eyes

It makes you look better

Friday, August 10, 2007


Sorry to shout. The movie was absolutely great (not that you should get your expectations up or anything). We all just got back from seeing it and everyone in the whole family loved it. Applause and some tears at the end and everything. The cast was dead on (even the guy who played Tristan who was a perfect choice since he was surprisingly good in exactly the right way for his character). Best of all, it felt like a Neil Gaiman story. Wow.

The only bad thing was that it was showing on one screen at our multiplex and the theater was only about 1/2-2/3 full, which is very sad so everyone should go see it quick.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Just Curious

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Monday, April 23, 2007

Chapter 38


The lone and grunting toad
That peed, on your floor
I saw it squatting there
So many times before.
Don’t leave it squatting there
Kick it out the door…

Many times I’ve heard it croak
And many times I’ve tried
To get my hands around its throat
Or feed it poisoned flies

And still it’s staring back
With those weird yellow eyes
Don’t leave it squatting here
Kick it out the door.

Chapter 37



Macroscopically smooth.


Where it counts.

To rip and tear

With the illusion

Of smooth cut -

Sliding destruction.



Increasing entropy,


Of the whole.


Chapter 36

Eye wrapped mine uncle own adore

Know won Thera guest

Sew eye win tome

Chapter 35

Dwarf Language Lesson

The word ‘dark’ in the Common tongue of humans actually derives from the Dwarf word ‘darrachk’ (rolled ‘r’, hard and guttural ‘chk’) which not only means “without light” but is also an emotionally loaded term associated with Dwarves who isolate themselves from society and disappear into the darkness of the deep mines and caverns, becoming bestial and degenerate and/or evil. Going ‘darrachk’ is a horrible thing for Dwarves and the very term gives most Dwarves the shivers. The term ‘darrachk’ is also a swear word, like “damned” or “cursed”.

Orcs are, of course, one of the long time enemies of the dwarves. Orcs, for all of their bad appearance and evil behavior, are at least intelligent and have a society or sorts, wear armor, speak, etc. In some circumstances though, even orcs can go darrachk if they are, for example, trapped underground and separated from orc society. Over generations, they can lose the power of speech and become mutated, cannibalistic beasts (orcs are more subject to genetic mutations than other races). These darrachk orcs are the Bogeymen of Dwarf myths and are used to scare children to keep them from wandering off into the dark. They are semi-mythical, however – no one knows for sure if they exist.

The phrase “darrachk orc” sounds funny to most dwarves because of the repeated guttural sounds (and because it rhymes with a Dwarf slang phrase – ‘ach orc’ is a crude slang for penis, literally, “little orc” - so in typical Dwarf fashion, it is usually contracted. Dwarves who have no contact with humans who speak Common think nothing of it, but more social Dwarves are aware of how and why humans are amused by the term and it embarrasses them somewhat.

Either way you say it, d’orcs are the most feared and evil enemy of the Dwarves.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Chapter 34

“I have a lot of trouble writing dialogue,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I think I’ve written this exact conversation before, with the same wordy, pretentious meta-jokes.”

“Oh, stop griping. Your dialogues are fine.”

“Part of the problem is just punctuating them correctly. And I never know whether I’ve put in enough ‘he said’ ‘she said’ lines. When you’re writing, they all sound terrible. When you’re reading it later, you realize that you didn’t put enough in. It’s enough to drive you crazy.”

She turned off the water and wiped her hands on the dishtowel, then said, “The best thing to do is to make sure the reader knows what the characters are doing. Where they’re located. That makes it easier to picture the scene.”

“I know.” He stubbed his toe on the water sprinkler and cursed.

“Such language,” she said frowning.

“And take cursing. My mom might read what I’ve written for Christ’s sake. What’s she going to think if everyone goes around saying *%&@ and ‘shit’ all the time?” He sat down and started putting on his shoes, glancing up at the sky to see if it was going to start raining soon.

“What about sex scenes?”


“I said, ‘What about sex scenes?’.”

“Oh, they’re the worst. If you leave them out, you’re an unrealistic prude. If they are too graphic, then you’re just writing pornography. No matter what you write, you’ve still got to worry about your mother reading it.” He slumped back onto the lawn chair dejectedly.

“Come inside, I need to close the window before it rains.” As she reached to close the window, she added, “Besides, we’ve got the house to ourselves tonight. Let’s screw on the kitchen table.”

Chapter 34

The paint was peeling from the walls, revealing strata of past decorations stretching back three hundred years. The ceiling wasn’t that old, since it had been replaced several times, but it was still water damaged and ugly. The floor, however, once he was finished with the pressure washer, was a beautiful tile mosaic with very little damage.

What he really wanted this house for was the view. In the salon was a huge window facing out into the depths of Valis Marinaris and at night the Strip along the rim, so tacky when you are walking the streets, shone like a string of Christmas lights and the taxis going between the port, the Strip, and homes in the Valley looked like fireflies back home in Mississippi.

After returning back “home” after a trip to Barnard’s Star, he had discovered that in the five hundred objective years he had been gone, Mars was as close to Mississippi as he was going to get. The world of his childhood, just twenty years ago to him, had been destroyed by a buggy nanophage assembler 352 years ago, so his home, his relatives, the pine trees, and the fireflies, and ever other carbon bearing matter on the Earth’s surface was now part of a large diamond shell, two miles thick, covering the surface of the dead oceans. He took an orbital tour after he got over the shock and the planet looked like a low detail world globe. The continents were flat and scoured and the oceans were dark blue and featureless, like a big glass aquarium.

The phage still lay dormant, so there was a quarantine in effect. Silly, since anyone who landed would soon be dismantled and incorporated into the diamond wall with the leftover bits blown away as dust.

Chapter 33

“In the cut, there ain’t no twinning. It’s just you and the ghosts and all you’ve got to save your ass is your wits and your meld.”

I considered this as I watched Gammer string the mesh, lining up the nodes with a sort of techno Feng Shui, guided by the blue laser dots along the rock face. I pulled on my gloves, then secured the hood over my face. I felt the tugging of the cables attached to my chest and the tightness of the piezo-generators strapped on my thighs.

“You ready?” Gammer asked gruffly.

I did a spot check and nodded.

The drug hit my veins at the same time I was snatched downwards into the tunnel and I awoke naked on a pebbly beach under a green sky.

Chapter 32

“Mail me the script and I’ll run it past the readers and get back you”
“It’s pretty big. I takes a lot of data to describe a person, you know.”
“That’s OK, I can handle it. If it all looks OK, we can have her nanomanufactured for you by next Thursday”.
“Can you make it Wednesday? The prom is on Thursday night and I'll need time to buy a dress.”
“A complete designer wardrobe is included in the fabrication price, but Wednesday shouldn’t be a problem. We just have to check the data – you don’t want an eight foot tall prom date with a hunchback do you?”
“Well, now that you mention it…”

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Chapter 31


It’s a geeky cliché

But when I’m writing code

I feel like a wizard

Weaving spells that bring

Life and thought to inanimate matter.

I carefully choose symbols

From an arcane grammar

And string them together on a glowing screen

Like the sorcerer’s apprentice

Commanding recursive armies

Of dumb slaves, forcing them

To do my bidding.

With a flick of my wrist,

I summon up my intangible

Spell books and check my syntax

So that I do not summon forth demons.

I test the spells in a

Virtual pentagram that protects

The real world of data

From my sorceries.

Then, poised at the edge of

A giant web of pulsing mana,

I invoke the Name

And unleash my creations on the world.

Chapter 30

As I stepped up to the podium, I remembered when I was about six and I went to the zoo with my family. I stood for a long time watching the elephants and my parents had to drag me away and I cried. Then I thought of how wonderful the sunset looked across the bay during my last vacation. Then it occurred to me that I’d better keep my mind from wandering because the audience was beginning to stare.

Chapter 29

The Pit

In the stinking humid pit, thousands of curling tendrils hide, sheltering the masses of unthinking organisms that feed on the briny secretions that flow out from among the roots. Suddenly, unbeknownst to the blind crawlers, the chasm widens and fresh air comes in to waft away the stench of their excretions and then the hissing, roaring torrent of killing chemicals and they all die silently, encased in an oily sheen of Right Guard.

Chapter 28

Great was he, Dergoth, who strode across the lands clad in skins and armor, bearing his ancient sword whose name cannot be spoken and is known only to Dergoth and the sword-God Tyv’rth.

And great, also, was Dergoth’s body odor, which was said to be more powerful than the stench of a thousand tigers’ litter boxes.

Of friends, Dergoth knew but few as none since his mother could abide his stench. As for the pleasure of women, Dergoth was a frequenter of the brothels of the veiled Gorath women, who cut off their noses at puberty and hide their hideous and misshapen countenances behind thick scarves – the only article of clothing that they ever wear.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Chapter 27

Another fun one: try to image what the world and the universe is really like.

We feel it by rubbing our skin against it and the friction and temperature is translated into electrochemical impulses that are analyzed by our brain. We taste it based on chemical reactions in our mouth. The same with smell. More troubling, we only see it by perceiving the way a certain spectrum of radiation is reflected, refracted, and absorbed by it.

Try to imagine the world the way it is.

Color (and light itself) is artificial. So imagine grey matter in utter darkness. Think of objects down to an atomic and sub-atomic level – at a certain point, there is no “matter” – it’s just a kind of standing wave of energy. What is the energy? Who knows, because we can’t perceive it. Even at the atomic level, all but some infinitesimal fraction of “matter” is really just a vacuum. Tastes and smells are just invisible chemicals, rubbing off and floating through a soup of air molecules. Sounds are three dimensional ripples in the soup. Radiation across the spectrum zips through the universe, changing everything it touches. Everything is different – there are no “classes” of objects, that is just an artifact of understanding and language. Think of a field of a million flowers. Every one is a unique configuration of matter, dark and buzzing and distinguishable from the air and ground only by density and pattern. Think yourself into the deepest layer of reality, where weird quantum effects cause matter to be created and destroyed on an un-understandable whim. Then, move back up the chain until you get to people. Moving, growing, miraculously thinking collections of nothingness, creating a world we share purely by the mechanism of perceiving it and simplifying it to an understandable level.

Note: When I was researching some links for my cross-over post about books, I was reading the Wikipedia entry for Douglas Hofstadter, which led to an article about Daniel Dennett, where I found a link to an article about qualia, which was a term I had never heard before, but, as it turns out, it was something that the last entry (and this one a bit) touched upon (the sensations of seeing colors and how our senses relate to the real world). Weird serendipity.