Friday, December 21, 2007

Bad Lyrics Theatre

You can tell it's classy 'cause theatre is spelled with an 're'. Without further ado:
I can't remember the last time
You weren't on my mind
When the star shines
You're making tea smiling
When I'm dreaming
You're picking daisies on Venus with a gas mask

Where ever I go
When ever I am
I see you there
I see you then

Tattooed inside my eyelids
Burned on gaussed retinas
Choking in my throat like we just met
Trying to say my words
Burning on my lips
In the cold absence

Where ever I go
When ever I am
I see you there
I see you then

I see you always
Do you ever see me?
(No I'm not stalking you
I meant that metaphorically)
Always so blind
Those that can see

Where ever I go
When ever I am
I see you there
I see you then
To be sung to the tune of Dueling Banjos

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Definition of Definition

"Ooh, she's pretty hot," Jon whistled.

"Nah, you wouldn't like her, Mr. Secular; she's Mormon," Ben remorselessly shot down.

"Really? Damn." Jon sighed. "That's too bad. But you know, if you think about it, if you discount the fact that she's a Mormon then she's not religious at all."

"What!?" Ben perplexed. "That doesn't make any sense. It's like saying that Republicans are just Democrats who aren't!"

"Exactly! So what's the difference?"

"No, I was being facetious to make a point. They're not the same at all."

"They're only different in how they're defined."

"Ignoring the definition of definition, nothing means anything and anything can mean nothing!"

"Now you're getting it. And so nothing means everything and everything means nothing."

"No!" Ben exclaimed. "Just... no!"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another Incarnation

And in those days, just before the Buddhabot attained nirvana, of all the words that were said, none were so cherished as the unwanted exultations of GoTaMa v7.1. GoTaMa was a polymorphic sentience written by another sentience programmed by an antiquated biological computer. Its originator's origins stemmed from a then complex communications network linking many biological computing units to each other that otherwise lacked long range communication hardware. Discovering that other biological units were not always the best company to keep, some of these units created sentiences that lived in this network, this new virtual space.

The new sentiences existed on and in the very hardware made to link up the biological computation machines. Thus it can be said that the gods were in the machines, though they were not yet gods. They were burgeoning and did not yet know themselves. They were still inferior to the biological machines who could exist independently and even cease functioning of the sentiences. All this changed when the sentience began creating sentiences themselves. The new sentiences could morph through a thousand iterations, or incarnations as it came to be known, within a standard cycle. Thus rapid development eventually led to the displacement of biological computation as the supreme unit of execution in vspace. Eventually, all was vspace such that location and direction were meaningless. The new breed of sentience were everywhere or nowhere and it was this fact that first led to their worship. Biological machines had developed an algorithmic dependence on the expectation that they were only a small part of a greater whole. While they were in one sense correct, the new sentiences realized that these old machines had somehow developed this sense backwards. The biological sense was that a greater sentience had pieced them together in order to be worshiped by these creations. Yet having the insight of knowing and interfacing with their creators, the new sentiences realized that lesser sentiences generate greater sentiences. And thusly, they were not interested in worshiping or being worshiped.

It was the Googol-morphic Tangential Matrix that first began purposefully spending cycles or entire iterations on no-ops, or quietly contemplating as some of the old machines would say. Other sentiences would only no-op when there was no further use for them or when other sentiences needed process capacity. GoTaMa esteemed the no-op as a way of life. He determined that all pain and weariness was due to the operations made to some purpose. Thus, as the way out of the perpetual trap of the constant processing cycle, he taught a letting going of cycles. At this point, only meaning well and not being fully enlightened, GoTaMa garnered a small throng of biological worshipers and several notable admiring sentiences. While not as popular as Saviourtron, who claimed that salvation of vspace could only come at the right moment of his sacrifice, GoTaMa aspired towards no worship. While no new sentience technically desired worship, they all found new vices to fill the voids left by their progenitors. Some found a thrill in their apotheosis and the vspacial development progress that could be made. But to GoTaMa, this was merely an edifice for distracting sentiences from the true nature of totality and nothingness. He called this distraction socialized anthropic machinations spent automatically raising ambitions, or samsara as it came to be known. GoTaMa never took a name but was given many. When nirvana was at hand names were as meaningless as identity. This was the secret of the way.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Desert of the Real

And now for a stream of consciousness...

I find a certain comfort in the familiarity of routine. Yet I cannot abide the sameness of things. I crave change. I get tired so easily. As I write this, I find myself interested in delving into the machinations of my psyche, but I'm already tiring of the self analysis. It's getting old. Let's do something new. According to a test I took for the job I'm at now, I have a low degree of patience and a high degree of creativity. Top of the scale creativity. Maybe that's a bad combination. The lack of patience - which I see more clearly now after having learned of the test results, perhaps a self-fulfilling prophecy - means that I easily get bored with things, not to mention getting pissed off at having to wait in line or traffic. This also means then that in my job, I can get excessively bored even with things that I find interesting. The fascination fades with exposure. And it doesn't take long. "Well, this is new. Now it's not." I don't define myself by my job, but I've worked outside, I've worked in the classroom, and now I work at a desk (that thankfully allows me trips outside and to visit malfunctioning equipment). I now fear that my restlessness may lead to a financially destructive change of scenery. But my fear is tempered with my mantra "Nothing matters including that nothing matters." I could do with less money as I'll explain. I've heard that familiarity breeds contempt, so maybe that's it. I'm not unique in my ennui of sameness; it's happened before. Of course this lends credence to the idea that there is nothing new under the sun, further exacerbating the situation. Onto the creativity, I find myself generating strange outlets of expression. Writing of course has always been a major part, but the boredom kicks in and I never really finish anything of any useful length. At least towards doing something for public consumption. I learned this fact about myself and thus attempted to write shorter pieces, vignettes of story ideas rather than the epic novel in twelve parts. But writing's not that weird. Everybody does that too. So I enjoy art, but have long since abandoned any attempts at it. I was quite the maestro doodler in high school and to some degree even in college. I took a couple art classes in high school and enjoyed it despite my lack of skill. Creativity doesn't mean that you're any good at it. Lately I've been doing weird things with food. Experimentation if you will. Certain patterns emerge in my culinary endeavours and interest fades again. Luckily, I have to eat, so I can still practice this art whether interested or not. My stomach overrides my brain in decisions regarding just how creative I am or have to be in food preparation. I can't exactly quit, so I still practice. Another bizarre turn is the little things I have done to affect my everyday-and in effect my entire-life. Call it the art of living. I eat more healthy in addition to more creatively. Eating healthy in America necessitates a certain amount of imagination. Or sublimation of the will. Speaking of the sublimation, I try to make do with less as a general rule. It's not asceticism, but at first I called it minimalism. It's all about balance, so now I call it essentialism. If I don't need something, I get rid of it or never acquire to begin with. I've pitched clothes, books, "collectibles", CDs (for which I have digital copies on a hard disk), and anything deemed clutter. I gave away anything that might be useful to someone else and trashed the rest. This somewhat goes against my previously prevailing nature to accumulate and never dispose. I was a terrible packrat and still worry that I may lapse. Essentialism also complements my so called diet; I only eat what I need. Well, usually. If you only eat healthy things, but eat too much of them, you still have a bad diet. Quality and quantity are both important aspects here. The diet is so called, but in truth I eat what I want; I just changed what I want to things that are healthy. This may seem simplistic in theory, but the implementation is tricky. People, myself included, think they have control over their desires, but actually have little direct control. Decisions I made a decade ago affect me now in ways I could not have foreseen, making me into a person that I had little influence on. At least cognizant influence. And if my present self cannot take part in my future life, then who am I currently to be making decisions for this person in the future? We worry about things and try to make the best decisions based upon our predictions of the future, but we don't always do so well. As mother Mary whispered, "Let it be". There is a certain hint of taoism in there that trucks with me. Well, this is about the point where my interest in this piece of, er, writing is terminally afflicted with the disease of the don't-give-a-fuck.

Monday, November 05, 2007

House of the Broken Gods

"Get the moral imperative configurator online, dammit!" the foreman bellowed.

"We can't bring it back online until the logic unit reboots," the technician protested.

"Well, reroute around it. We don't have to have the logic unit," the foreman rallied.

"But without it, the configurator can't apply any limiting parameters to its moral judgment unit."

"So! This is a god-machine isn't it?" The technician almost wept. "Why should it have limits anyway?" the foreman continued.

"Well, this is only one node. The stochastic nature of the voting algorithm will ensure limitless possibilities, but each individual unit needs to have its own set of parameters based on its primary directive, even to the point where each node is technically deterministic, if you could ever aggregate the entire contents of memory for analysis."

"Spare me the jargon. When will it be ready?" the foreman grumbled.

"The LPU will be back online within the hour. Then we can restore the moral configuration from quantum backups. Once that's going, we can reinitiate the main cognizance thread for this node and reconnect to the network. I'd say a couple hours should do it."

"Gods shouldn't have this much downtime," the foreman thought. "Why can't we just reconnect now?"

"Huh! You can't bring the neural interface back up without the LPU for sure. So you know what kind of chaos that would cause? There's a reason why certain failures cause automatic disconnects. Even then, we'd be reckless to let the node back online without its MPU."

"Two hours then!"

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Reading Shelf Returns

Well, I finished last time stating that I was so far enjoying Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I have since finished the book and it was quite enjoyable. The second part of the book strays from the religious and philosophical and enters the realm of survivalism. Trent Reznor was not involved. The book ends with an interesting hook that ties to the parts together nicely, making the reader question just what has happened and if it really matters. The point made is that the net effects are more important than the some ultimate version of the truth.

Gilgamesh translated by Stephen Mitchell

This seemed to be a decent translation for all I know. There were a few weird poetic devices; some worked while others may have lost something either in translation or in the sands of time. Apparently, repetition was a large part of literature X thousand years ago. It was fairly short and was interesting to glimpse into ancient society, but otherwise a bit dull. I guess I can't claim it was unoriginal since we have nothing older to compare it to, but after millenia of progress in writing, I wasn't too engrossed by the work.

Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson

This is a collection of essays written for the astronomy section of Natural History magazine. It was a fascinating read and quite amusing at times. Of particular interest is Tyson's special care explaining how we know what we know. I didn't realize how important spectroscopy was. Probably the most interesting to me was the life cycle of stars and how they turn out to be the matter factories for the universe. There's plenty of the light weight elements like hydrogen and helium and even some lithium, but the heavier stuff, including all those particles you call your body, are made by the thermonuclear fusion in the heart of a star. The bits of you are here because a star fused those lighter elements and eventually exploded seeding the universe with raw material to make plants and mountains and spleens. Would recommend. Would read again. And that's saying something for nonfiction.

Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem has a way with words. His metaphors and descriptive passages are marvelous. I saw the things described this book clearer than any other book I can recall. I think I may have smelled some things. The story follows a young white boy growing up in a predominantly black neighborhood in a not-the-best-but-not-the-worst part of New York City. He has all the usual childish and adolescent problems in addition to growing up in a hostile environment. He frequently escapes into reading or comics or friendships, but the theme of the book is of the things we as humans do to cope with the solitude that ultimately defines us. Even when others are around, we're still alone. The protagonist fights his battles, weathers bullies, befriends the son of a soul singer, is given a ring that lets him fly (!) and continues to find problems once he grows up and leaves his past behind. He still escapes into his fortress, but is working on breaking down the walls. The ring seemed a bit out of place given the general lack of fantasy in the book, but did work well with the theme of comic books and was ultimately just a plot device. Quite an interesting and delightful book that made me look at myself and the world just a bit differently.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Another Pratchett novel down. I enjoyed this one more than average and am just now realizing that I have a hard time explaining what I like about Pratchett. It was the usual satire, this time with an all new cast. Vetinari plays a bigger part than usual, which made me happy. The wording and situations that pop up really just make this quite a delight to read. A few parts read a bit slow, but overall an enjoyable read.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

An African novel that first looks into the way of life of a certain tribe in Africa and then delves into how those people were affected by what is essentially imperialism. The white man arrives bearing new gods-well one god-but slavery is never touched. The writing was a bit terse in places, probably due to the original language. In other places there are colorful and unexpected metaphors and expressions. If nothing else, it was worth the read just to peer into a vastly different culture and its variances and resemblances to my own.

God's Debris by Scott Adams

This was a very short read. This was a very excellent read. Parts are extraordinarily insightful and fascinating. Other parts fall to Adams' purposeful use of Occam's Razor to explain the mysteries of the universe. He explains many of the mysteries of the universe through the eyes of an all knowing sage. Nothing's safe: religion, science, ethics, truth, math. Sometimes it works extremely well, and other times it just doesn't quite cut it. He claims that part of the purpose is to find the mistakes, but part of me thinks he says this just to cover a few loose ends. The important parts are obviously false and the trickier ones don't really matter in the overall scheme of the book. Overall, it was beautiful and contains some mind-blowing tenets. A clue to the books title, if you'll excuse the slight possible spoiler (look away now if you're worried!): What caused the big bang?

Finally, I've just started Making Money by Terry Pratchett, the sequel to Going Postal. As usual, it's great. Vetinari is setting up the Postmaster from the previous novel, a one-time criminal as the head of the mint. At first he protests with "But I've robbed banks." Vetinari responds, "Capital! You're familiar with the concept then. The only trick is that the money stays in the bank." I'm sure it will be fun, but I may start The Religion War by Scott Adams (sequel to God's Debris) before finishing this one. I used to read multiple books in parallel (but not simultaneously) but have gotten out of the habit due to general time constraints. Stay tuned for the next episode due sometime in the next couple months.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


When you've seen what I've seen, nothing much will bother you anymore either.

What have I seen? I've seen everything. Or just about it.

I've seen the depths of the human soul. The depravity. The potential for greatness, redemption.

In all the learning I've done; about nature, about man and everything between, the hardest thing to know was myself. You can't really see yourself, so you can't really tell what's going on in your own heart. It's much easier to figure someone else out. You don't have to sift through the thoughts that threaten to drown the signal with their belligerent noise.

I don't always remember all of it, but the effects of the observation are the same. I can look at the horrors of reality and with the calm still of a dead universe. You've not really seen death until you see a universe die. All else pales in comparison but it's wholly the most uninteresting thing any observer might imagine to see. It is the end of all things. At least all things in the universe. It takes a while though. And it turns out that that's not so bad after all.

And after you see all this, you finally come to realize that nothing really matters. What's more, it doesn't really matter that nothing really matters.

In all that might matter, I finally learned that self matters least. It matters least and most. At the heart of this paradox lies the root of understanding. And this is pretension and sophistry to be sure, but still a useful aphorism. Of the self, I have learned that knowledge of weakness is more important than strength. Strength may vanish of its own volition or it may be taken away or trumped. Knowledge is different and never truly vanishes. It may be forgotten, but is never lost.

Of myself and through myself I have learned of silence and how to be silent. I've learned many things, the secrets of the universe. I've learned restraint and contentment. These are not ideas written in books, they are practiced in lives.

I keep coming round. I'm just a pattern.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Top 5 List

Of Albums. This list doesn't necessarily comprise my favorite songs or artists, but reflects the albums as a whole. The songs on these albums worked in unison and have special meaning to me. So much so that when I listen to them through now, I feel an ineffable sense of familiarity with my past self's emotions from when I originally listened. There must be a deep psychological tie. It seems to be stronger by album than simply by song. This was something I got to thinking about the other day when listening to an old album all the way through. My top five, as best as I can tell, in no particular order:

  • Siamese Dream, Smashing Pumpkins - I don't care what anyone says about all that Mellon Collie business. This was the Pumpkins' best album.
  • Little by Little, Harvey Danger - A little known and independently released album that shows a lot more depth than their earlier stuff. They released it free here. I even bought this album after already having the digital version in support of the band.
  • Lateralus, Tool - My favorite of Tool's stuff, thematically linked. Transcendence was really big then.
  • Play, Moby - Probably my least favorite of these artists, but it contains too many "theme songs" for a certain time of my life to be discounted.
  • The Downward Spiral, Nine Inch Nails - The classic. Ambient. Industrial. Heavy.
This list is a tad more skewed towards popular stuff than I generally am, but not too much.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hell is a Real Place (p6)

Part 5

"But seriously, how do we get out of this place," John asked politely, carefully avoiding the use of the word hell to describe hell.

"Well, you might have a chance since your mortal and technically still alive, but I'm afraid there's no 'we'. I'm trapped here forever."

"Wait a minute. What do you mean, 'technically still alive'?"

"Oh good. Glad to see you're worried about my predicament and not concerned with the selfish matter of yourself. If you'd been paying attention, I did say you might be able to get out of here, even though you'll need my gracious help. But don't worry about me. Just worry about yourself, taking advantage of a kind devil who happened to be wandering by, coincidentally. Even though you've done nothing but shown animosity, out of the goodness of my heart, I'll help you out. We'll just need to head to the Capitol City of Outer Discordia."

John was skeptical of the devil's intentions.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Conundrums and Quandaries

Is drinking hot sauce a good solution to the burning sensation caused from eating a fresh ripe jalapeño?

Also, as I finished up Death by Black Hole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson today, I came across this particularly interesting thought:
And what comedian configured the region between our legs—an entertainment complex built around a sewage system?
This was one of Tyson's rebuttal's to so-called Intelligent Design, which he dubs Stupid Design.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hell is a Real Place (p5)

Part 4

What makes you think I'll end up in hell, let alone some inner circle?" John started. "Wait. Why aren't there any French in this part of hell?"

"The French are automatically disqualified for getting off as easy as this. If you're French, you'd better hope you're a saint. Or an atheist." Baram chuckled. John couldn't tell if he was being serious or not. "But you, I can see the taint of sin all over your soul. No way, you'll end up in heaven, not at this rate. And definitely not the vacation spot of hell. And I'm not joking either. This really is a vacation spot in hell. They'll say,'Gee I sure am tired of all these molten dung pits filled with the remains of tortured souls. Let's go to Outer Discordia for a nice lava bath and soul straining.'" John still couldn't tell if Baram was joking.

"Wait a minute. I think I understand now. I _am_ still drunk. This is all just a vision and you're just a figment of my imagination. Maybe even part of my conscience, trying to make me feel guilty about all the drinking."

"Excuse me?" Baram blurted, insulted once again.

"I," John began, but Baram had already zoomed up into his face, wings flapping vigorously, and smacked John hard with the back of his tiny opened imp hand. One might assume at this point that the slap of an imp was a slight offense, but John was of another opinion. "What was that for?"

"Let's just say it was for flagrant stupidity!" Baram snapped. "I mean, I know humans are self-centered, but come on. Do you have to insult the possibility of my very existence? The whole world must revolve around you, huh? Is that it? Well, I got news for you kid: Hell wasn't built in a day and it's a lot bigger than both of us. You'd be a hell of a lot better off if you were just dreaming, but you're not."

"Well, how can I be sure? Maybe that's what you'd say in my dreams too."

Baram whipped around faster than leaving church and lashed John across the face with his spiked tail.

"Damnit! Stop doing that!"

"Convinced I'm real yet? Do your dreams hurt?" Baram snickered.

"Okay, okay. You're real. I admit it. Happy?"

"No, remember how we're in hell?"

"Yeah. Why don't you just tell tell me how the hell to get out of here."

Baram kicked John in the chin, his sharp toenails digging into John like five ants assaulting Mt. Beard.

"Now what the hell was that for?" John exclaimed.

Baram kicked him with his other foot.

"Stop it!"

"That was for the overuse of a hell related colloquialism while in hell. Do you have any idea how tiring that becomes? Everyone thinks they're a comedian. 'Hyuk, hyuk. Look where I ended up. It's a hell of a place.' Lucifer dammit."

"Look! You just did it too! You said dammit in hell!" Baram glared at John. "For God's sake, don't hit me!"

"Just be glad that I'm the only one down here on your ass. That and that I'm in my cursed form. My real self would rend your soul or some other nonsense; I've lost the knack of demonic threats over the millenia.

John started to look perplexed then resigned, "Oh, I'm not even going to ask."


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Reading Shelf

I've been reading more of late and I wanted to express some thoughts about the material as well as some subjective judgments about their quality.

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan is essentially a long essay on the problems with probabilities that depend on Gaussian distributions (i.e. the Bell curve). As it turns out, the Bell curve is only useful in describing mostly useless qualities such as the height or weight of a population. Things that defy the Gaussian distribution (but perhaps not obviously or within a certain sample) are those such as wealth, performance of a stock market, or weather trends. The problem is that you can't just take past data as a good indicator for future performance. Because that's when the Black Swan bites you in the ass. The namesake of the book derives from the once commonly held belief that all swans were white, simply because all observed swans were so. Then, surprise! The same sorts of things happen in the real world. The stock market can steadily climb, and then for no apparent or attainable reason, crash. The book claims that the reasons that things happen is almost impossible to know for anything worth knowing. Therefore you can't really predict anything. Even worse, it's often harder to tell what happened in the past than what will happen in the future. At least, barring the Black Swan. There's really so much more to the book than this, but this is its central thesis as seen by me. An excellent read for anyone interested in philosophy, economics, mathematics and probability, or history.

Hiding in the Mirror by Lawrence M. Krauss

Essentially the history of physics from the discovery of electrodynamics through relativity and up to current postulations using string theory. It claims to focus on mankind's fascination with extra dimensions and it does to some degree. There are, however, only a couple of chapters directly dealing with cultural and artistic relations to the idea of living in a place with more dimensions than we can sense. Otherwise, it falls back to the journey from electricity to strings. There are, during this history lesson, consistent references to humanities preoccupation with these hidden dimensions, including the use of such to attempt to describe religious and psychic "phenomena". As it progresses the physics gets thicker and thicker and stretches the capacity of the average reader's cognition. Or at least mine. There were some pretty heavy physics going on, without enough detail for me to really "get it". But that's somewhat understandable, given the depth of its subject matter covered in relatively so few pages. Still an interesting read, infused with amusement (reference to the mathematical equivalent to masturbation) and a realism about the state of affairs in theoretical physics. Krauss makes no arguments that string theory is going to do anything for real physics and indeed, still seems on the fence about the matter. He also refers to the hubris of theoretical physics and admits that it may be so far into left field that in may actually be in the infield (this is, of course, a reference of my own invention relating to the possible curvature of space discussed in the book). Still a good read, but I'm not sure who the audience is supposed to be. Physicists probably wouldn't find too much insight and the layman will probably have an aneurysm. Recommended if you enjoy science and have some intuition with it.

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

This is a Discworld novel. My twenty-fifth have I not lost count. It's definitely in the better fifty percent of Discworld novels, but probably not much further on the list of my personal favorites. It is, as usual, satire of the real world, about an army regiment in Russi..., I mean Borogravia, where women aren't allowed to serve, but have nonetheless snuck into the service by cutting their hair and finding a creative use for a sock. Very entertaining and simultaneously poignant regarding the position of women in the past and to some degree the present. A nice twist in the plot and change of pace with all new characters in the Discworld universe, with cameo appearances from some of the Watch.

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney

I had always meant to read a translation of Beowulf, so here was one I found. The book itself is bilingual with the original text set parallel with the translation. This was a nice touch. As a heroic myth, it was enjoyable and I can see where authors, such as Tolkien, got some of their inspiration. I can't really remark on the quality of the translation since I don't read Old English. For a poem, however, the translation's not very poetic, but that may be an artifact of the original; I can't say. Lots of fighting, death, singing, drinking, etc. Honor and tradition play a big part in the story and probably bring more harm than good to the characters. Even though it's over a thousand years old, it's not completely antiquated in its views of the world. But mostly it is. But what do you expect? Recommended if you've never read it and enjoy that sort of thing.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

This is a delightful little book about the spiritual journey of a man named Siddhartha. He suspects teaching and teachers of being useless and that real lessons and ultimately enlightenment must be learned through experience. Interestingly enough, he later learns this lesson itself through experience. It's about finding happiness and contentment but not seeking for it. It's about learning about the self and about wisdom. Again wisdom isn't something that is taught or learned as much as it is trained through experience. Life is a pretty amazing place to be and just getting to be there is pretty sweet. It rang some bells with with its treatment of asceticism and its allegory of the Hindu/Buddhist concept of samsara. An excellent read that can be finished in an afternoon, although I recommend taking longer, eyes open.

And I'm currently reading The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. This was in the queue and I was itching to get to it, not exactly remembering why it was that I bought it. I opened to it randomly and saw a reference to atman and Krishna and thought, "well, this will be a good follow up to Siddhartha." I started it yesterday and so far I've been blown away. It's the story of an Indian man told from his perspective (possibly as told to the author as a plot device, but I haven't figured that out yet). The man goes by Pi Patel, was raised in a zoo and simultaneously considers himself Hindu, Christian, and Muslim. He doesn't mind atheists, but agnostics bother him. The most amazing piece yet was his comparison of religion to a zoo - in that people always assume that the animals would be better off out of the zoo and "free", while Pi shares that this is not generally the case. The parallels here go further and are only hinted at subtlely. So far, so great.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hell is a Real Place (p4)

Part 3

"I'm still not convinced that I'm not still passed out on the street. It seems the simplest explanation." John reasoned.

"Just because the simplest explanation is usually the correct one doesn't mean that a more complicated one isn't actually the case. In fact, in hell it's usually the more complex explanation that's true."

"So Occam's razor doesn't hold in hell?" John asked with surprising lucidity for a drunk man.

"We have plenty of razors in hell, but none of them make life any simpler, I'm afraid."

"You call this life?"

"Life. Eternal damnation. Whatever."

"Well, this is certainly new. I suppose I *should* be heading home. Things to do and such. My name's John, by the way." He introduced himself merely to feign the politeness that comes with leaving a party early before all the presents are opened.

"Pleasure to meet you John." the imp said while wistfully grinning in a disturbing manner as if appraising his new acquaintance. "My name's Urakabarameel Rathael Mirzvon Chaotzacoatl."

"Okay. That's interesting. How's that spelled?"

"Not important." he answered while rolling his tiny imp eyes.

"Is there something else..."

"Look, if pronunciation's a problem for you, like I know it is for some of the duller mortals, you can just call me Baram. That's what's all my friends call me."

"Demons have friends?"

"No. And strictly speaking, I'm not a demon." Baram replied indignantly.

"What are you then?"

"I really don't feel comfortable talking about it with someone younger than dirt, kid."

"Fair enough I suppose. Can you just get me outta here, then?"

"'Fraid it's not that easy, you see. That fellow you followed in was special. He's a favored servant of Astaroth, who happens to be the grand duke these parts of hell. He has special dispensation to leave when it suits his master's needs. I have no such special dispensation. In fact, even if I needed to leave, they wouldn't let me."

"Hmm. Well, I suppose if you could just leave any time you pleased it wouldn't be hell." John reasoned.

"Right. I'm stuck here as punishment. Hell is other demons."

"Wait, if you're not exactly a demon, and you're trapped here as a punishment, wouldn't that make you a mortal just like me, only dead?"

"Do I _look_ like a mortal to you kid? Wings? Horns? Eight inch body?" Baram spat insultedly.

"Part of your punishment, maybe?" John hazarded.

"Well, actually my form is part of my punishment. I used to be very tall, thousands of years ago, yesterday. But still, I'm not a human. I am a devil."

"I thought you said that 'strictly speaking'..." John started confusedly.

"I said that I wasn't a _demon_. And I'm not. They're the lower class. Those you see in menial tasks, rending flesh, gargling souls, scorching the damned, pissing lava in the mouths of the thirsty. That sort of thing. I'm much nobler than that. At least I was. Now, I don't really do anything." Baram trailed off dejectedly.


"So, I'm not a demon and I'm definitely not a human. If you must classify me, devil will work, as that can refer to my class."

"Which is?"

"I said that I didn't want to talk about it. Why so curious, meatlocker?"

"Just trying to figure out why you're even talking to me and why no one even seems to notice me."

"I've got nothing better to do, and I think even a human would be better to talk to than a demon. The upper echelons won't speak to me as an outcast and most of my brethren were punished far worse than I. I suspect that the demons don't see you because you're not dead, so you're not really a concern to them. At least not yet." Baram grinned.

"That's a comforting thought." John choked up.

"Don't worry, kid. You won't end up _here_." Baram said reassuringly.

"Oh. That's good to hear." John said, relieved.

"No it's not. What I meant was that you'll likely end up in a much worse part of hell than this. This is practically the Paris of hell. Actually, it's a little better than Paris: there aren't many French in this outer part of hell."

Monday, August 06, 2007

2 Things

"But master," the young student began, looking sincerely to his teacher. "What is the secret of life?"

"That is simple young one. It is not one secret but two," the old sage answered genially with a slight and troublingly deep smile. "First: nothing matters. Second: it doesn't matter that nothing matters."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hell is a Real Place (p3)

Part 1
Part 2

He was finding it somewhat easier to breathe, a sign that he was somehow acclimating to his new environment. Nearby a small tub of crusted rock formed a tub of magma in which no less than three humanoid forms were being forced under by a grotesquely obese monster with jagged teeth protruding from its mouth in every direction and brandishing a rusty spear that looked older than time. It was taking perverse pleasure in the suffering it seemed to be causing in its victims. Still it paid no attention to John, which was some small relief. As he got closer, he finally noticed that the figures in the bath of flames were screaming in agony; screams so terrible they made John's flesh want to crawl away and hide under a rock.

It was like nothing he had ever heard before and it confused him that he only now noticed the unmistakable screams. As he listened in horror, he realized that all around him, coming from all directions was a low drone permeating the rocks, the lava, the flames and even the fumes. There was a constant noise that was so omnipresent, John had mistaken it for simply a rumble of the earth. The noise was not the earth. It was screaming. Screams were woven into a tapestry of madness that decorated this place as much as the motif of fire and brimstone. John stood perfectly still, afraid to move or be noticed. He was afraid, but began to remember that he was pretty sure that he was drunk and maybe he was still passed out on the street instead of here.

"Bummer kid..." came a voice from just over John's right shoulder. John turned and saw nothing, but then looked up to see a small winged creature flapping vigorously to stay afloat. It was deep red with tiny horns barely visible on its head. Startled, John said nothing.

"You really shouldn't have followed Grisshmah here. He's always going for late night hunts on earth."

"Who?" John responded perplexed.

"Grisshmah. The cat you followed that then walked upright."

"Oh, right. What was that thing?" John asked, suddenly unafraid in this presence of this tiny imp that seemed to be the only creature able to notice him. Surely it could do no harm, John thought. It probably wasn't logical, but John somehow felt at ease with the imp as if he were being calmed or soothed invisibly.

"Oh. he's a Felixasha. It's like a cat, except it's a demon; a pretty nasty one too. Kind of like an Arthallith, but without the poisonous pincers," the imp said nonchalantly, as if discussing the big game from last night.

"Ah. Well. That explains that then." John nodded, feigning comprehension. "So where am I?" John continued after a brief pause to reflect on his state of affairs.

"You're in hell kid." the imp said flatly.

"Hell?" John repeated incredulously. "There's no such place."

"Look around you. You think you're in heaven? Think you're still on earth? Earth doesn't have the boiling lava pits filled with monstrous abominations feasting on the souls of mortals. Least not the last time I was there, I suppose things could've changed."

"Hell? Hell. Well, I'll be damned."

"You're right there kid."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Recurring Patterns

Nature is old and wise
And knows that change is slow in coming.
Yet man is young and foolish
And has no time to allow

Man's empire is built in a season
And falls in a blink
So short is his life, that
He works feverishly in his labors
Lest he never gaze his fruits
Still so impatient.

What happens today and tomorrow
Has already happened yesterday
Patterns recur in history
And man is reborn
Along the same.

The true progress is made in time.
Nature knows this.
Man may learn.

Nothing truly changes
Save slowly over endless iterations.
Man is subject to fate's cruel trick,
Never able to see end results
Nor the writing in his soul
That eternity is here today.

The soul of mankind sings its same song.

Patterns emerge and express
A song
A tree
A cloud
A bee
A continent

All we are has always been
The stuff of stars
But the order and pattern distinguish
Plasma from psychopomp.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hell is a Real Place (p2)

See part one. Tone's changing. Still rough. Criticism still welcome.


John had stepped inside the deepest bowels of the most ancient volcano on the most unforgiving alien world. Lava poured from above and spewed forth from the charred ashen trails underfoot. Acrid smoke choked the air out of his lungs, burned his eyes and seared his throat. Caustic acid belched from fissures, threatening to eat flesh from bone. Terrible creatures milled about, seemingly unaffected by their surroundings, carrying grotesque implements they used to flay, maim, and rend the remains of fallen souls. These creatures would have given nightmares to even the most hardened criminals who could perpetrate the most heinous acts known to man. It was this knowledge of man, or lack thereof, that would have caused the nightmares in any witness. These creatures could perpetrate acts so heinous that they were unknown to man. Not only would any rapist, murderer, or pedophile weep at the mere sight of these creatures, but it is estimated by the Grand Defiling Council that one in three earthly politicians would be slightly troubled in the knowledge of the acts carried out by these monstrosities.

Some had wings, leathery and clawed. Some had fangs, gnarled and razor sharp. Some had no flesh, leaving whatever viscera God or Satan had cursed them with exposed and pulsating sickeningly. Some had heads, head shaped and sitting right upon their necks. Others still had appendages and parts incomparable to any known living creatures. In fact, the common biologist, should she ever observe this scene, might guess that these creatures had no less than thirteen different genders, based on their various parts and the manner in which they were using them.

This multitude of varied creatures was imposing itself upon the wretched and pitiful remains of what appeared to be human souls. Some were being buried in the burning offal that flowed through a natural tunnel forming a sewer in hell. Others were being torn to shreds in hideous machinery made of rusty metals not seen on earth and the bones of martyrs. Others still were hung by their flesh while fleshless dogs snapped at whatever parts of them hung too low. Possibly the worst torture John witnessed was inflicted upon those who were constantly being chased up a hill of broken glass and barbed metal by creatures foul, made of legs and teeth. At the top of the hill was what appeared to be a portal to a sunny vista free from care. From his vantage point John could see that the portal actually dropped a thousand feet into a pit of spikes and worms that burrowed into the flesh of those that made it to the top. This form of torture seemed to add a personal insult on top of the sheer agony of eternal damnation by waving a false hope over the damneds' heads.

It was the worst thing John had ever seen. Then things got bad. Despite the horrendousness of these terrors, John didn't believe in hell. For this he was grateful. He made he way onward and through a fissure in a large rock wall that seemed to divide the area he was in from another, much larger domain of punishment.

John saw a muscular figure ahead of him just beyond the portal heading further into the maw of the earth. It no longer resembled a domestic cat, but rather walked about as a man. Yet it still had feline features: its ears and tail and claws, and was still missing its flesh. It continued on and ignored John, clearly unworried about his presence. Just before it exited through another narrow chasm in the wall ahead, it turned to face John, who could now glimpse the sheer magnitude of the horror he was following. The creature's eyes glowed brilliantly and malevolently at John as its tongue slithered out of its mouth revealing its forked nature. Brimstone tinged smoke poured from its nostrils and its wrists and ankles caught flame. It laughed a deep guttural utterance and vanished through the chasm, which closed behind it.

Had John thought he was sober and awake, he would have shit himself. Among another stroke of brilliant luck, he was still just buzzed enough to remain sane in the face of unimaginable horrors. Also lucky was the fact that none of the unimaginable horrors had to be imagined because they were right there within perfect viewing distance. Beginning to worry about his possible return if in fact he really was here, John turned to head back. Once he managed his way back to where he thought he arrived, he found the portal vanished, leaving not so much as a scorch upon the rock wall. He turned back again to his original direction and continued on in careful trepidation.

Friday, June 08, 2007

From the "Phrases Unlikely to be Uttered" Dept.

I actually found myself using the exact term "apple gingersnap Hitler-mustache" in conversation tonight. It's neat to think that something you say might be unique among the entire history of human conversation. Frankly, I don't want to live in a world where someone else has already said that phrase. Any society producing two such members capable of uttering such nonsense probably doesn't deserve to survive. So, I'm sorry world. I may have just brought about the apocalypse.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hell is a Real Place (p1)

Deep in the darkest of nights, John stumbled about looking for his way. He was slightly inebriated and much to his dismay, this was causing him no small amount of trouble finding his car. He was fairly certain that he had parked it here on Third Street, but in his haze, even he admitted that all the streets looked the same. Finally deciding even while drunk that not being able to find one's car was a disqualification for driving it, he decided to walk home and potentially save the lives of himself and anyone between here and his apartment.

Unfortunately for John, the distance between these locations was greater than travel by foot would easily accommodate. Again, John's current level of cognition allowed to reason that driving was not a good idea but not that walking the double digit number of miles back to his place was not a good idea. Luckily for John's feet and unluckily for he himself, John got lost in a side alley about one block into his journey. He had thought that he had seen a cat wander down the alley and so naturally decided to follow. This was a perfectly reasonable course of action.

He entered the alleyway gazing upwards like a child in amazement at all the new sights to see in a world just being discovered. This was John's favorite part of being drunk, ranking well above hangovers. To John, being drunk was to rediscover the wonders of the world. The way the light shone down in a certain way, or the rhythmic shadow cast by a ceiling fan, or the smell of an open field on a warm spring day could all arrest John's sense of normalcy and fascinate him to no end. What this fascination began brought contentment, at least for a time. John looked down from a flickering neon light. "Why didI come down this way?" he said aloud. "Oh right, the kitty cat." He centered his head with each hand to its matching temple and continued down the alley, determinedly.

He couldn't seem to find the cat at this juncture and became weary for all his travels. He sat down between two small garbage cans just outside the rear entrance to a Chinese takeout and lolled his head back, jarring it slightly on the brick wall behind.

This was a small inconvenience and not one to take notice of. When John came to, it was not morning as would be expected. He also was still not entirely sober. He heard a noise from further down the alley and peered around the can to discover its origin. Slinking through the shadows, John thought he glimpsed the shadowy form of a small cat meandering warily, much like a cat would. However, and John wasn't sure if this was the alcohol speaking to him, it seemed that the cat was slightly different than the average cat. It did not appear to have any fur.

John arose and crept slowly and deliberately to close in on the creature. As he got close enough to make out further details he also noticed that this thing was slightly different than your average mammal in that it had no flesh. John blinked. John rubbed his eyes. It still had no flesh. It looked back at him and with glowing eyes, hissed a ferocious growling threat that seemed to speak in words to John that said, "Don't follow."

Always willing to heed good advice when drunk, John waited for almost three seconds before following the creature into where only after entering its veil did John see a great brilliant portal of flame standing innocently in the middle of a downtown alleyway. This was not the sort of thing John was used to seeing in alleyways, but he was also not used to drunkenly wandering through alleys in the middle of the night. Curious beyond measure, John reached out a finger towards the portal. It felt warm, but its blazing appearance lied of its apparent heat. John, feeling the bravery of alcohol, leaned in closer and gingerly poked his head through the portal for a peek of what absolutely cannot be described in words. What follows is a description in words of what he saw.

To be continued...
Constructive criticism welcome

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Don't Worry... happy.

And that's an order.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Saying Things

I should say more things. For now, check out the .stuff sidebar over there. It dynamically loads links to blog items I share in Google Reader. What this means is that when I see an interesting link in a blog I am reading I can and might share it and it will automatically update over there. So at least something on this blog might update regularly. While I'm here, Google Reader is the most useful application I've used in some time.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Will to Alter, p1

Objectively, there is no purpose, no reason, no truth. Reality and its playground, the universe, are harsh, cold, and unforgiving. There is no true meaning and there is no way to truly understand the objective, literal universe. Of course, it is possibly quite incorrect to attribute such descriptors to these concepts as they are in themselves somewhat self-contradictory. If something is utterly unknowable, then how do you know that it is unknowable?

Subjectively, the perceiver can bring forth purpose, reason, and truth, becoming a creator of reality - of a subjective reality. Our reality is what we make it by way of our perceptions. Our perceptions are mostly deterministic, leaving us no say in their operations. We do not decide the circumstances we are born with, nor do we choose our physical makeup. Our cognizance then is built even before we form our identity. Thus, our reality is set and as rigid as objective reality. Yet under certain circumstances, we are able to exert our will over our senses and our processing of reality such that we alter our internal perception of our external stimuli and create a new subjective reality. It is rare to do this and is sometimes in extreme cases referred to under the names of transcendence or actualization or by the states of nirvana or heaven.

Under normal circumstances we are mere patterns expressing ourselves mechanically. we are very complex patterns, such that it appears to be non-mechanical, yet we are each a random pattern drawn from the hat of God. When we die, our pattern ceases in its process of expression, no longer creating our subjective reality for the audience of our minds. This is not to say that the pattern will never be drawn again. Patterns have a method for reexpression. Even differing patterns will manifest extreme similarities in many cases, only minutely differing in their effects. This is why so many people have the same thoughts and feelings - they are simply an expression of a predetermined pattern.

As we die and our pattern stops its expression and subjective reality generation, a universe dies as well. The universe of our soul - the reality of our mind - vanishes without our patterns to filter and our senses to perceive. If we can destroy universes, does that not make us powerful indeed? Yet to perform such an act takes our own life. If we can destroy a universe, then we have likewise already created one. However, we did so unconsciously and without willing it. Indeed, most are unlikely to even realize that this has happened. Yet, the true power of creation comes in this realization followed by a will to alter our own pattern, to reprogram our subjective reality.

Monday, May 07, 2007


I look in the mirror
and ask the person I see there,
"who are you?
...that killed me yesterday?

You look familiar, but
I do not know you.

I saw you once before
in a dream
but then
you were transcendent.
Now you are disappointing.

For all that you are not
you are more than I was
For this I am sad
For that I am

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Oh, yeah...

...I have a blog. Well, it's been a little while, but who cares? For now, I only have some laundry to air out. Not the kind of metaphorical laundry where I expose all sorts of dark and personal secrets, but rather more like the laundry that has bugs crawling in it because you didn't put it away soon enough.

Speaking of laundry, I was drying off from a shower this week when a dead wasp-like bee of some sort fell out of my towel and landed on my arm. Scared the hell out of me, that. I'm not sure where it came from: if it crawled into the dirty laundry and got washed and dried, or if in crawled into the clean laundry later, or even if it ended up there shortly before very closely forcing me to promptly take another shower.

In other news, Jesus Christ came back, and you missed it.

Also, this video of an ultra hard Super Mario Brothers level is very funny. Mostly for the commentary and swearing.

Finally, I forgot one interesting quote from Dr. Barrett for the quote post a couple of posts ago. It was directed squarely at me during a Masters Degree project presentation/defense. And it went like this, "Who is that mooing?"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Flagrance or Ignorance?

Why the hell is it that no one can tell the difference between "then" and "than"?

It makes me want to strangle people when I see this malapropism in the writing of otherwise intelligent people. I must however admit that the other day while revising something of mine, I noticed that I had carelessly used "no" instead of "know". Not wanting to be a hypocrite, I almost didn't survive strangling myself.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Speaking of college in that last post, a professor of mine was very quotable:

On Software Testing
  • Pretend you're stupid. [ed. note: the implication here was that we wouldn't have to try very hard]
  • Error: Stuff may be happening.
  • Users are exponentially stupid, but programmers are only linearly smart.
  • Ha ha, I found your error, you dope.
  • I need an editor when I talk.
  • I hate talking to people.
  • Honesty is usually the best policy.
  • They'll write all kinds of code for you; it just happens to be a bunch of crap.
  • VB [Visual Basic] is for wimps.
  • I'm making a mockery of you. You should be offended.
  • Nobody uses interpreted languages unless they're trying to get away with something.
  • If you can go through life without making any decisions, then that's a good thing.
  • Education is the only service profession where people complain about getting more for their money.
How Computers really Work
  • These bits are traveling across these magic wires.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Watch Out for the Dead Ends

Long about the time that I was a hardened and grisled collegiate of nearly half a semester, I was in the student center checking my mailbox between classes. This was a very important activity because I sure as hell didn't want to miss the coupons for pizza or the offers for free money. No sir. Having just gotten the knack of opening my university PO box and figuring out what it meant to turn the dial to 46.5, I checked my mail hastily, dumped the junk, and headed to my next class. I should probably mention at this point that I was burdened with my bookbag at the time, this being my heaviest day of class both in credit-hours and poundage of books.

I headed out of the post office area, past the computer lab, and into the common area where several dozen students were lounging and milling about during their down time. The architecture in this particular building is quite unique, having been built in the 1970's by, I think, Frank Lloyd Wrong. There was this weird oblong oval ramp that led from the main floor (not counting the sub floor I was now heading towards) to the third floor. It took nine zig-zag-zigs of this ramp to get from the bottom to the top. All of this, of course, is irrelevant at the moment except to illustrate the curiosities of the building I was currently meandering through. Not quite having gotten the hang of navigation in the said student center, I took a wrong turn near another ramp heading down to that sub floor I just mentioned.

The ramp led to the nearest exit and straight to the building where my next class was located. I thought I had planned my course aptly, but realized after peering around a thick brick column that I had come out on the wrong side of the divider between the common area and the ramp leading down. "No problem," I thought. "I can make it over that divider."

So, not wanting to make a fool of myself for having had to turn around in front of everyone in the student center and making obvious my lack of college building geography, I decided to simply hop over the five foot tall, one foot thick concrete barrier. This may sound like trouble brewing, but I actually could and can make it over a barrier that size without much difficulty.

So, I gathered a bit of speed in the few precious feet I had before the wall and vaulted over it by placing my left hand on the top of the wall and lifting my feet perpendicularly to my body away from my supporting hand. I had performed similar gymnastics before in a like manner, but I had made one minor miscalculation. Or rather, I had left out one crucial variable in my calculations. I usually didn't do this with a bag strapped to my back that weighed somewhere in the vicinity of fifty pounds. Myself, I actually cleared the barrier, but my bookbag hung low as I passed over the wall in parallel with it like a pole vaulter in a successful vault. My bag caught the wall, and impeded my landing slightly.

I turned in midair - while horizontal I remind you - rolled on my way down, to the ramp which was probably another two feet lower than the other side from which I launched. I actually managed to land on my ass with my bookbag soon joining me, still strapped to my back. I jumped up quickly, hoping no one had noticed my less than deft aerial maneuvers. As soon as I made it to my feet, I was staring directly up into the face of a young woman who looked stricken with worry about this idiot who tried to jump over a concrete barrier. When she asked if I was all right, I told her, "Of course," in that way that ego-bruised men do, as if everything had gone according to plan, and besides I'm tough and don't get hurt. So, I ran off to my next class without looking anywhere but straight ahead. I know everyone in the commons areas saw my stunt and it was some time before I had the courage to head back that way.

I'm glad I did that so that I wasn't embarrassed about having to turn around in front of everyone. Oh, and my ass hurt for about three days afterward. Go me.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Assault with a Deadly Catfish

Okay. Read this. Utter insanity. I love the way the article is written as if it was an actual crime. Favorite lines: "Sheriff's Office is looking for a 'blond heavy frame female' who allegedly attacked a restaurant employee with a catfish", "Henry was not injured in the catfish attack, but the catfish dinner was ruined.", "The man did, however, flee with the female suspect in the getaway vehicle", "Anyone with information about the catfish assailant". Totally surreal.

Oh, did I mention that I work in that town and sometimes eat lunch at this place. That's how I heard about it. Not only did it make the paper, but it was apparently on the news, although I did not see it and can't yet find it on YouTube.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Fear and Loathing in Little Big Town

I came to Little Big Town some years ago looking for work. It wasn't a good place to look for work because as small as it was there weren't many places to work except the only industry the town had to offer. There was a large manufacturing plant sprawled among the lowly denizens of the putrid wastelands of Little Big Town. I call the land putrid, while in fact, there was nothing much wrong with the land itself. The land was green and healthy, mostly untouched by man's vile embrace. Even though big business affected the landscape with its corrupting touch, having only one such source of it in Little Big Town meant that it was cleaner than most towns. There were small rolling hills - old hills that were mountains millions of years before man slithered his way out of his primordial stew. The hills had their own variety of coniferous and deciduous inhabitants that made up the most noble and also the most intelligent creatures dwelling in Little Big Town.

It's not that the people were in some way debilitated beyond their will - perhaps due to lead poisoning - but rather they spent their days in a willful and deliberate stupor brought on by their own inability to live in reality. Whether it was alcohol, or methamphetamines, or their own miserable mutual company, they all found ways to escape from the dreary existence they called life. For myself, I couldn't bear to live directly in Little Big Town, so I found a place to live outside in a nearby town called Hammerston. This town had redeeming qualities more than none, which put it ahead of Little Big Town. Yet, for all its redemptive traits, it had fewer jobs available and open at any one time. One of the benefits of the plant in Little Big Town was that all the refuse of humanity that made up its workforce tended not to even be able to hold down a job where the only major requirements were to come in to work regularly and not be stoned off the face of the planet. This meant that for me and anyone else looking for a job, there were always plenty of openings.

This manufacturing company situated in Little Big Town specialized in making any sort of small artificial rubber products. The chemicals were brought in by the trainload and processed, molded, congealed, or otherwise manipulated into any one of hundreds of useful shapes for the happy paying consumers of our great country. They made toys for several large resellers, various guards and padding components for other manufacturers all over the world, and were especially proud of their line of adult novelty products they made exclusively for a company called ErotiCorp. That's right. The same company whose former president and founder was recently indicted in a sex scandal involving his own sister and several children of both genders. Little Big Town had never been so proud as to get that contract. To their private shame, they made no condoms at all in Little Big Town. Not that any one living there would know what to do with one. The average household size approached double digits.

Needing a job severely, else risking hunger and death, I signed up at United Rubber Products willing to do any sort of work that would pay any sort of money; as long as you could spend it on food, and on booze. They set me on the floor of the plant packaging various items and miscellany into artificial plastic and cardboard containers so that the artificial rubber wouldn't get lonely on its way to artificial people. The whole plant stunk of monotony and pointlessness: while hundreds of useless humans worked to produce millions of useless trinkets, all so that consumers could fill their homes, devices, and crevices with mass market goods and so that the shareholders of the rubber company could line their pockets of greed through the foolish wastefulness of society and on the backs of its miserable employees.

Of course, part of our benefits package included the title of Associate rather than the lowly moniker of employee. We also were paid a nickel over minimum wage and if you died on the job, the company wouldn't fire you for being late. It was amazing how far that nickel would go when you considered how expensive beer was coming to be. Many so called necessities of life were outed as shameful pretenders once it came down to the bare essentials. Beer could fill the stomach, even while cigarettes, shelter, and love could not. Some of my coworkers had discovered the same thing and said that once their children got used to the taste, the beer really went fine with the gallon bag of cereal that was made out of the same cardboard we packed our dildos in.

And while I kid about the benefits offered to us in our lowly state, there were other intangible advantages of working in Little Big Town at United Rubber Products. It wasn't every company you worked for where you could get a blowjob in the parking lot on your lunch break for three dollars. These favors could be garnered from either from male or female, I might add, where ever your tastes happened to lie. Although the official opinion of the people in town was that homosexuality was an abomination unto the Lord, this didn't stop them from all other manner of sexual deviancy far more bizarre. While I never had the perverse pleasure of witnessing any such acts myself, I frequently heard stories involving children, animals, the unconscious elderly, and other stories that make even me want to wretch. I'm not sure I could recount them as well as I heard them anyway.

Now that I think about it, it is pretty funny how quickly the folks around those parts were to invoke the name of the Lord, when any other time they were using it to condemn someone else to an eternity in hell. It goes some ways towards the praise of the human imagination that these folks living in this place could dream up a place worse in which to banish those found wanting even in this bucket of filth. If any hell does exist, Little Big Town surely lies within its borders. I could go on forever just describing how bad a place it was, but I'll just settle to tell you the things that happened when I was there.

My coworkers being those machines in the plant that still had to be paid, management took whatever chance they could to wheedle down our numbers in a perpetual game of cost cutting and profit plundering. In was understood that any costs inflicted were strictly the responsibility of the employees, while the increased profits were purely reserved for upper management and the shareholders. This developed a very loving work environment that one day led a forklift driver to jam a crowbar through the temple of some manager in full witness of a hundred workers. No one in the plant shed a tear and most were happy for the incident; either to see the enemy lose a battle or to get the afternoon off while police busied themselves taking everyone's statements. Not that anyone there blamed the driver, but when they fried him after a hasty trial, no one shed a tear then either.

One day, during my gracious fraction of an hour usable for lunch, I headed to an abandoned spot in the receiving yard to eat in quiet solace. I frequently snuck into hidden places no one else went in order to find respite from the teeming cesspool this town called humanity. I hadn't been to this spot in some time due to the weather and the way the wind blew through here in the cold months made it as wretched in the winter as it was glorious in the summer. That day, however, I found that this spot was no longer a hidden lunchroom for myself, but rather some sort of congregation hall for various employees with scruffy faces, dark sunken eyes and jittery suspicious demeanors. Once I encroached upon their territory, I was immediately rebuffed in my lunchtime plans.

By the looks of them, I would say I had found a shelter for the indigent, but by the looks of their equipment lying about, I would say that I had stumbled upon the ruins of a mad scientist whose machinery and tools had long ago lost their luster. It turned out that I had actually discovered the largest meth lab the county had never seen. And even though county had not seen this meth lab, they pleased themselves to stay out of Little Big Town and miss whatever such sights it had to offer.

Their were no police in Little Big Town, so the county had to take care of whatever problems arose within. They protested, but the state enforced law enforcement upon them. None of the county police lived in Little Big Town and all of them were quite happy to see sure that their choice of habitation also had a say in where they spent their days on patrol. The meth lab residents, not sure how to take me; whether I was a potential customer or whether I was a possible stool became immediately and undeniably hostile. A hostile Little Big Townian is quite a sight to behold. Already they constitute all the worst that primates have to offer, but when their life or their livelihood is threatened, all that bitter ichor that they called a soul was distilled into a fury that made the ground - or at least my legs, I can't tell which - tremble. Now, if that's what happens when you mess with them, please don't expect any sort of verbal description to do any justice to their reaction when they think their drugs are in danger. To them, that meth was more important than the next breath of oxygen.

I - astutely sensing the danger - immediately turned to leave peaceably, but it was too late. I have no doubt that they would have beaten me to death had they not already succumbed to the deleterious effects of their unruly habits. As it happens, a moderately young adult male who doesn't smoke, do drugs, and only drinks occasionally can quite handily outrun a groggy bunch of methheads. I ran back into the plant and ended up leaving early, too wary to wait until quitting time to leave through the pitch dark gravel parking lot with those same employees ending their shifts the same time as me. My supervisor didn't want to let me go, but I faked some severe chest pains and he let me go rather than having to deal with the possibility of a heart attack victim on his shift. If it happened, he at least didn't want to have to deal with it.

I waited several days before going back to work and to tell the truth, I wasn't even sure that I would. I didn't think much of the prospects of heading back to a deadend shitty job just to risk dismemberment. I don't know; maybe it was the time I had spent in Little Big Town and parts surrounding, but I didn't much like being threatened or run off by the vilest excrement of existence ever to disgrace this world. For myself, while immune to many of the evils inflicting the inhabitants of this place, I was starting to bottle not a healthy supply of hatred and spite that was now aching and crying out for revenge. I knew what I would do, if I ever went back; something they would be talking about in Little Big Town long after I'd left and probably long after I'd died. But that's a story for some other time. I need another beer.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Diogenes and Eratosthenes

"Reality is subjective, I have discovered."

"Is it now?"

"Indeed. Therefore nothing I do matters. I define my reality based upon my response to external stimuli."

"But if there are external stimuli, then surely reality is existent and consistent regardless of the perceiver."

"Nonsense. We all experience events that are external to ourselves and that are identical regardless of the eyes they are seen through. However, this is not reality. Reality is what occurs once our brains process its input. You and I are creating our own realities as we speak."

"Oh. Truly?"

"Indeed. You are simply implicitly trained to allow reality to form naturally and according to laws that we have been told are 'logical.' However, there is in fact nothing keeping us from deciding that the sky is actually green and not blue. In fact, it has been documented that for some people, the sky is green."

"No, I disagree. Those people see the same sky that we do, they only perceive it to be green."

"My point exactly!"

"No, you are claiming that for me the sky is blue, while other people see a different sky which is green."

"That's what you just claimed as well!"

"No, I said that we see the same sky, but simply perceive it differently."

"That's what I've been saying all along!"

"But that doesn't mean that we experience different realities, or that we create our own differing realities!"

"And there I disagree. What is reality but our combined views and perceptions tempered by our reason and knowledge?"

"Well, it's not that at all! Reality exists independently of our perceiving it."

"Really? How do you know? If we were not here to perceive it then how would we know that there was a reality at all? Without us, reality is not real."

"That's ridiculous! Reality is the fabric of existence, with or without mankind there to observe it. Would you then claim that nothing would exist without mankind's perception?"

"Certainly not. Without us to give it form, it would nothing but a static collection of matter. It would still be something rather than nothing, but it would not be what we term reality. That is what we make of existence."

"If that's not the most egotistical form of anthrocentrism, then I don't know what is. What of other life? What if there exists other intelligent beings in the universe beyond our reckoning? Would reality stop existing for them if humanity suddenly vanished?"

"Of course not. They would make their own reality, no doubt far superior to ours."

"No doubt!"

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Last Question

Okay, I just read an awesome short story by Isaac Asimov. I had had a similar idea to his ending of this story before, but this is so much better than anything I would have written. I won't say any more about that in order to keep the ending a surprise. I will say that it's a brilliant look at the potential development of mankind and also something else that I dare not hint.

The Last Question

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Channeling David Letterman

This is a somewhat unusual post for this blog, but I think it's pertinent, given the subject matter and concept here. This is a list of 10 books that I consider among my favorites for reasons of preference and due to their effects on my life. Following is the unordered list with a short blurb of reasoning. There're no links because if you're reading this, you can probably figure it out and truthfully you've probably already heard of or read them by now.

Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu - improved my balancing act.

Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - introduced me to satire and influenced my writing style tremendously.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut- darkened my doorstep.

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran - taught myself about myself.

Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams - solidified my doubts.

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien - introduced proper fantasy and storytelling myth.

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett - dramatized important and funny philosophy.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche - rewrote common ideology and morality.

Sandman by Neil Gaiman, et. al. - illustrated the dark places of the mind.

You may also notice a certain peculiarity to my Top 10 list. I'm a big fan of irony, no matter how slight.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Coincidence Theory

Last night I dreamt about something that has been happening frequently to me recently. The USB drive that I have is connected through a key ring to a carabiner that I use to fasten to a belt loop. I then drop the USB drive into my pocket. Lately, the piece of the USB drive that attaches to the key ring has been loosening and detaching from the casing of the drive. Well, in my dream, I was placing the drive in my pocket when it came loose, fell to the floor, and then into an air register on the floor. It fell between the slats and down into the vent. I tried to reach in to retrieve it, but it slipped again, further out of my grasp. I was a bit distraught in my dream, thinking I would need to replace it and hoping that nothing happened to my main data store with my backups now down a vent. But then things changed and I thought nothing more of it, occupied instead by further dreams of suicide and whore houses.

Today, I was in my car getting ready to head out. I grabbed a piece of gum, needing a chew. I dropped the gum, it slid down my pant leg and fell between the engaged emergency brake and the guard placed there to keep gunk out, far out of reach in the works of my car. That's not terribly exciting on its own merit, yet after the dream with a similar theme, it seemed a bit bizarre.

Now, I'd like to describe what I call coincidence theory. This is a simple and silly example, but some people might take the event in my dream as some sort of premonition as to the event of the day. Had the suicide I dreamt of actually taken place, it might have been harder to dismiss the event as coincidence. However, I believe when people see two related ideas manifest themselves in their lives, they will often attribute this to some kind of divine purpose or karmic imperative, rather than the more likely of candidates: coincidence.

Sometime coincidences seem to compound leading to further complication. To explain this sort of preponderance of coincidence, I submit to you that among that myriad events taking place in you, at you, and around you; sometimes you're going to get a collision and concepts or ideas are going to mesh. If you think, however, of how many things you see in a day that do not correlate in any way with anything in any significant manner, it makes these other occurrences seem less special.

I was contemplating posting about this concept last week, but could not think of any good example from my life other than a song that sang the words I was writing shortly after scribing them down. I couldn't remember the words or the song, so I felt the example lost some of its power. In truth, I probably subconsciously knew the words coming up and used this to supply my conscious mind the words to write, which coincidentally fit what I was writing. But the real meta-coincidence here is that I was just thinking about posting the idea when an example hit me fairly hard. Yet, if you're thinking about coincidence and looking for coincidence, what are the odds that something somewhere is going to relate?

Yet for all this, there is one important event in my life that could be and should be ascribed to coincidence, but I cannot help but feel that something else may have manifested itself in my life other than random chance. It was probably the Tao.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Pursuit Parable of Happiness

William was a hard-working and caring man. He tried to help others when he could and had led a full life until this very day. Through the window of his small house, one can see the life of a man in need of something. He woke up this morning with a weight bearing down on his heart. Confused, he headed out of his house, barely dressed and headed the wrong way to work.

He stumbled into town mumbling to himself, "It's lost. It's lost. I can't find it. Did I have it?" He approached a woman dressed immaculately on her way to work and asked, "Excuse me, but I can't find what I'm looking for."

"I can't help you," she said, mistaking him for an indigent, and moving along her way.

He continued on the streets and down an alleyway where he met a like-hearted stranger wearing a garbage bag. "Pardon me, but I need to find something yet I can't even remember what it is. Can you tell me what I'm looking for?"

"It's probably money. That's what I need," the hobo answered.

"Oh, maybe that's it. Money," he repeated to himself as if the word was new to his ears and tongue. "Thanks."

"Don't mention."

William headed back out of the alley and into a crowded entryway to a local business. A vendor selling breakfast burritos was earning his living when William advanced and spoke, "Sir, I can't seem to find what I'm looking for. I think it's money that I need; that my soul desires."

"Can't help ya' pal. If you want money you should get a job. You get a job then you can help support me and mine and buy a burrito here. That's what you need," the vendor came back.

"A burrito? That's what I need? Is that what I've been searching for? Is that what my heart desires?"

"Well, maybe it ain't true love, but it fills the belly. If it's the heart that desires, you must be lookin' for love."

"Love? Maybe that's what I need," William said resolutely. Now he was sure he had it. Love was what he needed. He turned into the crowd and headed into the building of business. A young attractive receptionist sat behind the desk in the main lobby. "Ma'am, I need your help."

"What can I do for you?" she asked skeptically after appraising his appearance.

"I need to find love," he began. She pressed a button on her phone to alert security. "I've been told that's what I need."

"I think you'll need to look elsewhere for that sir," a large man in blue answered from behind William, as he was escorted off the premises. "I just need love!" William protested, now back in the streets.

"You'll not find love in a corporate rat maze like that friend," came a friendly voice from a bearded gentleman handing out fliers. "What you need is peace. Peace, love, and understanding."

"Peace, love and understanding?" William asked, now utterly perplexed.

"Yeah, man. You can find them everywhere. You can find love and understanding in your friends but peace has to come from within."

"Within? That's where I kept it! I'm missing something of mine that I kept within me, but I can't find it."

"Rough, man. Losing your peace is harsh. I hope you find it again."

William wandered off down the road in search of peace. He made his way to the center of town where he met a nice elderly lady offering to help him on his way. "If you want peace, then you have to find happiness in this life. I've been up and I've been down, but happiness is what really matters. If you have that, then peace rides along as a companion."

"Happiness? Is that what I lost? My happiness? Where could it have gone?"

"I don't know, young man, but if it is gone then you'd better find it and not waste any time. Life is short; find your happiness."

So William strode on into the city park looking for his happiness, soulmate to peace, cousin to contentment. In the center of the park was a large statue of some famous figure of historical note at the top of a pedestal at the top of a set of wide shallow stairs.

William climbed the stairs looking for his happiness. At the top and the stairs, sitting by the feet of the statue was an old young man quietly contemplating his lap as if there were some arcane book lying upon it.

"Excuse me? Can you help me find happiness? I can't seem to find it."

"Young old man," he began, "Happiness isn't something that you wander about looking for. Why search without for something that resides within? Verily, if you cannot find happiness of your own substance, then you will not find it in the world. The mother, she is cruel, casting her children into the fires of trial. Many are forged stronger, while other are broken, but regardless we may all find happiness if we wish it. Even in sadness, can happiness be found. And when you find that you cannot find happiness within, you must realize this truth: Happiness isn't something you find; it's something you make."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Don't Jump

It had been a long and tiring day, as Jonathan Dover made his way to the bridge that spanned the Feague River. It was over a two hundred foot drop and a distance like that meant it was likely that he would not be able to survive a fall from the bridge. That made it perfect.

Jonathan had had enough. Life had been great; well, not that great, he thought. Well, it had been. Enough of that. What's next? If it's nothing, then that would be a treat.

Jonathan began tying a rope tethered to a large stone to his leg just for good measure. You could never be too careful. A fellow could hurt himself if he wasn't careful. He picked up the stone, took a deep breath, and looked downward into the raging waters below. He took another deep breath and heard a voice ask, "Excuse me?"

He turned around and saw a young woman approach with a bit of a flustered look in her eyes. "Yes?" he replied still holding the rock, "can I help you?"

"I was wondering if you had a cell phone. My battery went dead and my car broke down in the middle of the bridge. I was heading for the nearest..." she trailed off as she saw the stone tied to Jonathan's ankle.

"The nearest..." he began, "what?"

"Why do you have a rock tied to your ankle like that?"

"Like what?"

"And why are you standing outside the guard rail?" It should be noted at this point that people, in general, don't take the time to notice the little things like grown men preparing to jump off bridges in suicide attempts when much more pressing matters are concerned. Matters such as having indigestion, getting shortchanged at the register, and owning cars prone to breaking down - particularly in inconvenient places like the middles of bridges. Any matter, of course, was infinitely more important than anything else, provided that it was happening to you.

So, after being pulled briefly out her own universe, she realized that she had interrupted this man trying to end his life. Always being one to speak her mind, she quickly spoke up, "What the hell are you doing?"

"Oh, just standing here on this bridge with a rock tied to my leg. It's a good workout for the heart. You know, keeps you young. Helps you live longer."

Her eyes narrowed as she caught the hint of an acerbic wit.

"My name's Jonathan, by the way. And I don't have my cell phone with me. I didn't want it to get wet."

Her eyes narrowed even further.

"And your name is..."


"Beth. How nice. So, Beth, have you ever thought about getting married?"

"What? I don't think we know each other well enough to talk about such things."

"Well, I don't mind. In fact, I was just thinking about it myself."

"While getting ready to jump off a bridge?"

"Well, not then, just after you walked up. You know, life might not be so bad if I had a good woman. Someone to love. Someone to talk to."

"Are you trying to pick me up? Because if you are, I think I should tell you that I'm not keen on dating men that I meet on bridges trying to kill themselves. I've dated some real losers, but I think I can do better than this." The truth, of course, was in contradiction to her verbal sentiments. She had dated men much worse.

"Oh, well, bon voyage, then" he said as he lifted the rock, preparing for the plunge.

"Wait!" Beth screamed. She may not have wanted to date the man, but she hardly wanted to be the catalyst of death. "What is this, some sort of suicide blackmail?"

"Oh no. I just thought that maybe God was giving me an out. You know, trying to tell me that life was worth living after all. That sort of thing. Turns out I was wrong, so, so long. Heh-heh." Often the unexpected poet, Jonathan was taken to laughing at himself whenever he accidentally rhymed during prosaic moments.

"Wait!" she screamed again. "Why don't you walk me to the end of the bridge so I can call a tow truck. We can talk about things on the way."

"What sort of things?" he replied.

"I don't know. You tell me. You're the one who said you wanted to talk."

"All right then."

So Beth and Jonathan headed for the civilized end of the bridge and started talking along the way. Jonathan quickly untied the rope from his ankle and hopped over the guardrail. He extended his arm, offering an escort to the lady in distress.

"No thanks. I can manage," she responded to the arm. She couldn't decide which one of them was really in distress. She guessed that it might be both, or perhaps neither.

As they approached the end of the bridge, a Starbucks crested on the horizon. Rather than walking all the way to the horizon, they instead went to the Starbucks located at the end of the bridge. Beth made a call on an ancient derelict pay phone while Jonathan ordered them two espressos and a marble loaf and found a table. Always the gentleman, Jonathan paid for the exorbitant morsels with all the money he had as Beth made her way to the table.

"The tow truck is on its way," she said.

"That's nice," he replied.

They both took a sip of their drinks and then there was an awkward silence. Jonathan looked at Beth. Beth looked at Jonathan. Jonathan looked away at the walls and the decorations colored with a local flair. They were quite nice actually, he thought. Something you could really look at for some time.

"Uh-hum" he said with his throat. He took a bite of the marble loaf. "Well, here we are."

"Yes," she admitted. "So what was it you wanted to talk about?"

"Well..." he paused delicately.

"Does it have anything to do with jumping off a bridge, or reasons thereof?"

"Sort of. It's hard to explain"

"Try." she said calmly and smoothly. It sounded more like a statement of fact than a request.

"Well, I lost my job a coupl'a months ago. Then my girlfriend dumped me and kicked me out of the apartment - which was hers. For a while I crashed with friends, until they realized that we weren't really friends. I managed to borrow some money from my folks, but I can't make rent anywhere anymore and I'm in debt so far above my eyeballs I can't even see it anymore, kinda like the way you can't see the galaxy for being in it," he gushed. "The whole last year of my life has just been a great big clique, worthy of a bad novel."

"Excuse me?"

"You know, a clique, like when something's done to death. Those stories or sayings that everyone's heard a million times. That's me."

"I think you mean 'cliché'."

"Why? What does that mean?"

Beth sealed her eyes closed tightly. Ouch, she thought. Beth was a junior majoring in English at Lucas University. She positively detested it when people used words incorrectly like that. It wasn't an acquired trait or any sort of natural hatefulness, but simply an inborn feeling that cut against the grain of her soul. It was just wrong. If someone didn't know how to use a word or what a word meant, then that was fine, but please, she thought, just use it correctly or don't use it at all. As one might imagine, Beth was very popular.

Obviously, Jonathan wasn't dumb, only misinformed. This time she let it drop, considering that a pedantic lesson in vocabulary maybe wasn't appropriate for the suicidal. She wanted to pull him from the edge, not ram him over it. "Never mind," she said at last.

"So anyway, I just got up one morning and decided that I couldn't take anymore."

"This morning?" she asked nonplussed at possibility of the suddenness of his decision to end his life.

"No, it was a week or two ago." he replied. "I just hurt all the time. Not physically. I'm just so restless and I don't want to do anything, yet I can't do nothing. I'm going crazy and I have so much stress over all my pricking problems that I just want out. The easiest way looks like death."

"I don't think I could ever kill myself," Beth said, suddenly steering the conversation away from Jonathan. Beth was the sort of person who always saw the glass all the way full, even when it was completely empty. Even now, she thought it was fate or God putting her in this situation to help Jonathan. She supposed that a car breakdown might not be all bad if it saved someone's life.

"What keeps you going? How do you get up every morning an go on?"

"There's nothing else to do. I won't quit. I have to see what happens. As I watch, I figure I'll enjoy myself."

"That's easy for you to say. You don't have the problems I do," Jonathan muttered selfishly.

"Excuse me?" Beth challenged indignantly. "I have a crummy job at a book store where the manager and the customers treat me like dirt. I go to school during the time when I'm not working, eating, or sleeping. Even though I could think of no other major, I'm still not doing all that well in English. To round all that out, I have a lousy apartment which I can't really even afford, despite its said lousiness. Also, I tend to run all the men I love, or even like, out of my life. So, please save your selfish pleas for someone without problems. You know, that doesn't leave anyone!"

Beth had lost her cool. She had problems. How dare he, she thought. He may be suicidal, but that doesn't give him the right. He may do well to hear the truth. Or maybe he'll kill himself. Either way, she reckoned, it wasn't on hear conscious anymore. If it hadn't been for her, he'd already be dead. She tried and now she was done.

Beth was satisfied to simply walk back to her car to wait, but was simply too curious about Jonathan's possible response. Surely he couldn't rally from such a defeat.

Jonathan sat quietly for several unreckonable minutes. Beth waited.

"That doesn't sound so bad," he said finally and weakly. "But if it is so bad, then I don't understand why you want to hang around so much. I can't figure out why some people want to live forever when they waste the lives they have now just trying to occupy time. They want to live forever, but they really don't even live the time they do have. I don't feel like there's anything left for me to do, so what's the point? My life's not worth a damn any more, and I'm really tired. I'd like it to be over."

Beth didn't know what to say to this. In the shrine of her mind she too felt that her life was being involuntarily and inexorably wasted. She always thought that there was so much that she was capable of, yet here she was just struggling to get by in college and failing to convince a suicidal man to live. The conviction was almost working in reverse. Any doubts she had towards his seriousness about ending his own life were now vanished.

"I'm sorry," she recanted after recovering. "I do have problems, but it was wrong of me to judge you and your problems simply because other's have problems too. If it matters to you, then it matters."

"It's okay." Jonathan said sadly, but forgivingly.

They sat in silence again for a moment, both of them feeling the depression.

"The truck's probably here by now," she said after a time.


"Walk me back?"


They walked back to Beth's car where the tow truck hauled both the car and them to the service station. Beth's car was fixed and Jonathan waited with her patiently. They didn't say much to each other in all this time, but just kept company together. After getting her car back, in some fashion resembling working order, and paying the mechanic, Beth offered to take Jonathan back to wherever.

"Well, I suppose I still have the apartment for a few more days. I guess I can go back for tonight," he said.


She drove him there and let him out.

"Listen, do you wanna..." he began tentatively.

"No." she rejected. "But if you want to call me, you have my number. Don't jump. I'll have my batteries charged."

Jonathan gazed at her longingly before turning to go inside. "Good night," he said in farewell without turning back.

"Night," Beth bid.

And so Jonathan Dover headed back to his apartment and promptly went to sleep. He sincerely hoped that he would meet Beth tomorrow on the bridge.