Tuesday, October 31, 2006


"All right, everybody calm down. Settle down now. Settle down. I'm looking at you Wolfman." said a tall pale gentleman dressed in black.

The assembled mass started to take their seats in what conceivably was an old abandoned warehouse. It was dark, dank, dusty, and was filled with monsters. All the classics were there: Frankenstein's Monster, several mummies, a creature from some lagoon, among the myriad other shambling figures. The creatures mumbled and shuffled in the crowd in a nervous unrest.

"Thank you, now let's get started," said the vampire standing in front of the audience behind a makeshift podium, cobbled together from old industrial machine parts. "Now we all know why we're here. Increasingly over the past decades, we've become less and less scary. We can't even frighten children anymore; and I know how much that upsets you Bogart. The fact is, we can't compete with these humans anymore. The things they're willing to do to each other goes further than most of us here would dare. And we're just a small minority." He continued after some brief assent from the audience. "Therefore, a small committee will be commissioned to devise a plan to put us back on top in the horror game."

"But what can we possibly do?" voiced a particularly hideous medusa.

"Uhrngh!" agreed Frankenstein's monster.

"Yes, yes, I realize that Frank, but we have to try something. Our livelihood depends on it." the vampire responded. "Before we go any further with committee membership, let's discuss some conceptual changes to our thematic expression of terror. What we're doing now just doesn't work anymore. Ideas?"

There was a brief awkward pause.

"Well, I've been thinking. What about instead of creeping up on people, then threatening to eat, drink, maim, or destroy them, we simply find a nice juicy public target, dispense with the threats and finish him off on live television? I mean, look how well it's been working for terrorists. They don't even have to do anything anymore. They've got the government scaring people shitless for them."

The was a rumble of disagreement between the crowd. "We need to do something massive. Something worthy of humanity." one spoke up.

"I say we just kill the whole lot of 'em" suggested another.

"We can't do that; there'd be no one left to scare."

"Oh yeah."

More ideas were bounced around such as a full-scale closet haunting campaign, removing and then leaving various human body parts in conspicuous places, a new tax program, development of weapons of mass hysteria, and finally, invading Poland. After more brainstorming and discussion, the vampire once again called for quiet.

"Okay, we've heard some good ideas tonight and I think we'll all come away from this with a renewed sense of purpose. We have a committee board ready to meet and we'll discuss our findings at the next meeting. One last piece of business before we adjourn. We've decided on a new slogan for our ad campaign based on suggestions from last meeting."

The assembly waited anxiously while the vampire pulled a slip of paper from a blood-sealed envelope. It was very dramatic. The vampire drew out the process as any master of suspense might. "Hurry up, Steve!" came a cry from the crowd.

"Fine. The winning slogan is" he began, "Evil... It's terrorific!" he finished, proud of himself.

The crowd was stunned. "Excuse me" said the swamp monster, "I'm sorry, but that's just lame."

Steve was aghast at the showing of ingratitude. "Well, the signs have already been made and we're not changing them now. You know how that place is on returns - no refunds."

The crowd, rolling with the waves of change in monster society, accepted this and silently waited.

"Well, unless there is anything else," Steve paused, "Meeting adjourned. Mwahaaha!" the vampire shrieked devilishly before transforming into a bat in a blaze of smoke and fire. The crowd started shambling back out of the warehouse, into the night.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The House where God Lives

On the end of a street in a small town sits a small white house with a gently sloping roof mostly covered in gray shingles. The front door is painted red, but has begun to fade and peel. There are two windows in the front of the one story house made of dingy glass that hasn't seen cleaning in more than a year. The windows have fake shutters that don't really close, one of them hanging lop-sided by a single bolt. The tiny front porch has a rug on it that says "elco" because the rest of the letters have worn off.

The landscaping around the house is made up of a wide variety of weeds and wild flowers. A gnome and a flamingo live in sin right there in that garden of delights. The yard hasn't been mowed in at least two weeks, which for this time of year in this town was a long time. A rusty chain fence enclosed the unkempt yard and looked like it should have a sign on it reading "Beware of dog" but it didn't. The mailbox in front of the fence was black metal on a thin corroded gray pole. It was filled with credit card applications, catalogs, and advertisements. The flag on its side was saluting defiantly.

The sidewalk just outside the fence of the small house was quaint in the way that small towns can still be quaint. It was the kind of quaint just not found in a bigger city, even in paintings portrayed in mostly pastels. Some children had scribbled in chalk on the sidewalk here in front of this house; their names, a cloud, a puppy, maybe some kind of game. A fire hydrant bridged the sidewalk and the rough road that led into town. The road led back around to a gravel driveway that belonged to the small white house at the end of the road in the small town.

This is the house where God lives. The small town folk don't know that God sometimes visits their town and lives in a house there. They go about their business and God goes about his. More precisely, this house is where God does not go about his business. God comes here to get away from the troubles and trials of universal management. Not only does this job come with great pay and benefits, but also inordinate amounts of stress. This stress requires much leave. Most of this leave, lately, has been spent at this small house in no particular town.

The withered red door opens with a gentle creak of protest. A very old looking, very cranky looking man heads out to the path through the yard to the front gate of the fence around the house. Under his arm is a piece of cardboard with something written on it, fastened to a wooden stake. In his hand is a large wooden mallet. He continues out of the yard to the small patch of grass just outside the fence. He carefully, but forcefully hammers the sign of cardboard into the ground and heads back inside. On the sign reads the message, "Keep off my cosmos." Sometimes God gets confused about where he's located at any particular moment. The point was that he meant to be left alone. Damned kids.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Recursion Paradox

An alarm buzzer sounds. A weary and reticent hand reached out from under the covers to silence it. Bob felt old. He was only thirty today, but turning an age divisible by ten is a milestone that always plays tricks on your mind to make it think its body spontaneously aged by ten years all on its birthday.

Bob was about to be given the most amazing gift for his thirtieth birthday; a gift from God or Fate or the Way or something else entirely. As he headed into the bathroom, he didn't notice that the sink was already full. He flicked the light switch which immediately blew all three bulbs in the bathroom. The odds of this, thought Bob, were astronomical. The brief flash left an iridescent glow playing on the surface of the substance in the sink. Bob noticed it now. The odds of what Bob was about to see were more than astronomical.

Bob leaned over the sink and into a window into another world. As he closed in he could make out figures moving about on the other side of the portal. Through this vision Bob saw himself, his family, his children and his grandchildren to come. It was beautiful; magnificent. They were all smiling, happy. All his insecurities about the future melted away; his worries, fears, and dread evaporated in an instant. He knew that what he was seeing was real.

This vision gave Bob an inner peace he had always dreamt of. Soon, he didn't worry about anything. He didn't worry at work when he lost that big sale to the new client. He didn't even mind when they fired him for it. He knew everything would work out. He didn't even bother looking for a job because he knew the right one would find him and one day he would live the life he saw on his thirtieth birthday. When he couldn't pay the bills anymore, his wife left him and took the children with her.

He was sure that they would come back, because he already knew what his future held. Eventually he had nothing left. Bob stopped living his life to dream about what could have been. He watches his vision of his wonderful life over and over again in his head. When he finally snaps out of this loop, he sees the horror that he has let his life become. Unmaintained, alone, and miserable, Bob ends his life.

Appalled, Bob stepped back from the sink. The vision within the vision left him scarred. Driven to madness by what he saw, he clutched too tightly to all that he held in life. Constantly worried, always afraid, Bob never enjoyed a minute's peace even in the best of moments in life. His children have birthdays and graduations, weddings and children, but he's too scared to lose it all to just live in the moment. Bob dies of a heart attack at fifty.

There were many questions and uncertainties all through Bob's life, that when taken for granted could amass destruction or when overly tended cause needless fret and heartache. He was given a gift to see some of the answers to these questions, but the greatest question of Bob's life was this, "When will he step away from the sink?"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

[Blanker] than [Blank]

A common way that people describe things by degrees is to say that something is more [some adjective] than [something known for its adjective-ness]. Sometimes this makes more or less sense than others, depending on how apt the particular adjective is to the words being described or used for comparison. Witness:

funnier than hell:

"Man, that was funnier than hell, cuz ya know, there's nothing funnier than eternal damnation!"

gayer than hell:

"Man, that was gay as hell, what with all those gays going to hell, with their drapes and fashion sense and hot man-love and what not."

dumber than hell:

"Man, he's dumber than hell. And you *know* how dumb hell is, what with all the fire boiling your brains out your ears, it's hard to think straight."

You may have noticed a theme in these comparisons. Comparisons with hell are often ludicrous. Remember, "Hotter than hell": apt; "funnier than hell": not as apt. Of course, "funnier than hell" brings irony to the table, making it all the more enjoyable. Well, I've gotta get outta here; I'm sleepier than hell!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Welcome to the Matrix

Instead of one of my wonderful (play along) pieces of writing, I thought I'd post something a bit different today. In case you haven't noticed, I have a link over on the side to Toothpaste for Dinner. It's a daily webcomic that's sometimes very funny, sometimes poignant, sometimes a bit esoteric, and generally worth the read. It's definitely up there on my top 5 favorite webcomics, which of course, may be a bit like saying that ebola is one of my top 5 favorite diseases. Whatever that means. Anywho, I recently ordered some shirts from their web store, and they're quite awesome. Indeed. So far, I have received approximately 7 positive comments, about 24 puzzled looks, and 3 flat-out "I don't get it"s due to wearing these shirts. Those are some pretty good stats.

So there I am welcoming everyone to the Matrix. You'll notice how excited the person on the shirt is to be solving linear equations. I think probably that and the reference to the movie is the joke. Yeah.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The New Party

Considering my last post, I decided to play back this short conversation detailing my actual political stance. This will probably suffice for the lifetime allowance of political commentary on this blog. It begins:

Man in suit: Thank you coming out and voting today, son.
Me: I'm not voting.
Man in suit: You're not voting? Son, it's your social duty to vote for who you think is the best candidate.
Me: I don't think either are worthy of the job.
Man in suit: Well, that's the beauty of democracy, son, anyone can run. You could even write-in a name.
Me: Or I could write a letter to Santa asking for World Peace. That'd probably work too.
Man in suit: Well, you can't just ignore your responsibility.
Me: Look, if you lived in the height of Roman times, and went by the colosseum, and some man was standing outside asking you how you thought the gladiators should die, how would you vote?
Man in suit: I don't understand, son.
Me: Let's say he gave you the options of ingestion by lion and skewering by pointy sticks and told you it was your civic duty to choose, for the good of the people and their welfare, their entertainment, what would you tell him?
Man in suit: Well, son, voting *is* tricky business.
Me: You don't have to answer. That's the only way free from the travesty of public execution for mass media appeal. There are other means of change.
Man in suit: Uh, so, are you a democrat or a republican?
Me: Neither, I'm an apathet.
Man in suit: Come now, son, you have to have an opinion on important public issues. Which party do you favor?
Me: An opinion? Look, I think you're all idiots.
Man in suit: Well, that's hardly fair.
Me: Shut up, dad.