Monday, December 15, 2008

From Mundanity to Metafiction: An adventure in Meat Space (Part II)

If you missed it, check out Part I


Enough of this traveling shit. I am happy to shake the pins and needles down my khaki's as I pull into job #2. Five seconds in the door and I have identified my first problem, the office manager

It's not something personal, furthest thing from it, she's just playing an archetype. Hell, they all are. Having a big personal stake in something that's inherently problematic and without a heavy lid to keep the outbursts down always leads to trouble. Trying to manage an office either leads to futility or tyranny when dealing with employees. I do not envy anyone charged to this responsibility.

In this case the OM wasn't the root of the problem, the problem's true name was Carl.

Carl is not clever. Carl is just a dumb fucking voice attached to some pitiful short timer shackled to a desk in a big room full of cubicles doing thankless tech support for a single shoddy product over and over until his own fiends and subcon convince him to leave or blow his brains out the side door.

Misinformation abounds in my line of work. This retard made the mistake of selling a one-time configuration change as something the office would have to do every time they wanted to look at an x-ray. It was total bullshit, we just needed to activate some license keys. Five minutes later and I am done with problem one. Fuck Carl, he can suck the devil's cock in hell.

Problem #2 is the occupational equivalent of misinformation. We'll call it Sleaze. Consider your desktop's Ethernet cable. Whether you know it or not the exterior cladding conceals exactly 4 pairs of twisted wires. 10/100 Ethernet only uses 2 of these pairs for data transmission. Gigabit Ethernet uses all 4 pairs.

Now here's a dilemma for the guys who ran the office cable. One of the network drops needed to accommodate an additional computer. The normal protocol demands running an additional wire from the upstairs patch panel, down to the existing drop, and adding a 2-port plate instead of a 1 port. This is necessary so that both devices have their own jack, their own wire and their own connection to the patch panel, and from there the switch, router, modem and finally the Internet.

It's a pain to run the cable so you might be tempted to cut a corner and just slice open the existing cable and split the wires so each new jack uses two twisted pairs instead of the full four. You COULD do that but if you actually DID do that then you'd be employing Sleaze and guess what.

A little screwdriver work confirmed it. I showed the OM what was up and got to listen to a shrill and piercing phone conversation. Joyful.

Problem #3 was the Big One and it depended on a Switch that was, as yet, undelivered. While the OM worked on filing I retired to the upstairs lounge computer and remoted into the server to do some maintenance and check on the general network status. Packets were colliding like proton streams in the LHC for no sensible reason.

Hammering on the network turned up little hope. I would need the switch. That meant waiting. It seemed like a perfectly acceptable time to drop one on the deuce bowl.

I often reflect, when excreting waste of the solid or liquid variety, how strangely humans react to this sort of endeavor. Despite it being a normal part of everyday life the simple process of entering a bathroom to drop trow to relieve some biological burdens changes things. If someone watched my life all day and all night this part of my day would have gone from G-rated (barring internal dialog) to X-rated in two shakes. Literally.

I attribute this, perhaps too generously, to simple physics. After all exhalation is a form of waste management not so different from urination or defecation. However exhaled air, as with burps or flatulence is easily dispersed. I wonder if we were an aquatic species if taking a leak around others would cause any sort of offense or discomfort.

Too many imponderables to consider.

It wasn't that big of a shit, only 3 main pieces and all floaters. I absentmindedly reached out to flush and . . . (click)

Imagine you've spent your whole life tracking down the guy that killed your dad, raped your mom and burned your whole town into smoking cinders. You grow up consumed with hate, training your body and mind into killing implements and hunt your prey over the seas and across the mountains. And then, villain's head planted firmly in the iron sights, you pull the trigger . . . (click)

Panic doesn't come naturally to me. I deal with bits and electrons and something so crude as water and pressure, despite being infinitely simpler, still baffled me. I applied troubleshooting methods to see what I could do. The water was turned on but not refilling the empty tank.

Something ticked off in my brain from a previous install. Most dental offices shut down their air, water and vacuum lines when the office isn't in use for safety reasons. I stepped cautiously back and strolled downstairs as casual as can be.

"Say, do you mind if I turn the water on I need to use your restroom," I say to the OM. Easy money, just turn the water on and problem sol . . .

"We can't," she tells me. "They are working on the pipes this weekend and we can't turn the water or air lines on. You can try next door if you want."

"Oh," I say. My poker face cracks a little as my left eye begins to twitch. "No big deal, I can wait until lunch." Inside my mind alarms and sprinklers are spraying wildly. The Fiend reminds me of a nearby gas station and its well advertised cigarette prices. I trod upstairs thinking wild thoughts of how to fix this problem.

There's a couch so I sit. The upper floor is a lounge/attic/storage space/meeting area. I do a mental inventory and spy a sink. Taps turn out nothing but a slight creak. There's a stove nearby, some kitchen miscellanea and an unopened case of bottled water. That's a start, I think to myself. I just need to get a hold of about a gallon of water.

Therein lies the problem. I can't very well go breaking into the bottled stuff, the doctor's tight enough to know that would cause trouble. I notice a side door that leads to an outside stairwell. Peaking out my head I see that the snow's really picked up. There was a light dusting when I rolled in and now about three inches of the pure white shit are all over everything. Water is running down the hood of my car, feeding the icicles around the base.

Bingo. I step back inside and find a few useful implements then get to work. I yank the bag out of a small plastic trash can and head out into the flurry. Shoveling the loose, powdery snow brings me to the brink of frostbite in seconds. I alternate hands trying to fill as much of the can as possible. It takes about 3 steps and some fist packing to add some solidness to the trash can. Once inside I can look for further help.

There's a big glass bowl full of moldering chocolates on the table. I empty it and beeline for the microwave. I know that I need to make the snow as compact as possible before I add it. Some more digit-chilling work yields about a dozen small snowballs, each as close to solid ice as I can make it.

It takes two trips and some leftover snow to fill the tank. Finally I have enough tepid slush to do some damage. Finger twitching on the trigger I depress and . . . (whoosh)

Fucking aces, I think. The poo is gone and I have one less problem to worry about. Now once the damned switch arrives I can put this place in the rear view. Twenty minutes later and I can't stand the waiting a second longer. I hit the Chinese buffet down the road, I don't even need the GPS to find it.

Now Boone's a pretty small town and less than a linear mile separates the office and the eatery. Along the way I witness one of those 'if only I had brought a video camera I could have taped this shit and it would have gotten 9 million hits on Youtube.' Alas, I have but memory to replay the event.

Some dip shit kid, maybe 16, is sitting in the passenger side of his friend's car. At a stoplight this wonder boy waves to an acquaintance across the intersection and then reaches up to the rooftop to harvest some snow for a snowball. The crafting of the spherical ice missile goes well and dandy, the execution falters a bit.

As wonder boy launches his snowball he has to lean out the open window. Some aspect of the throwing process causes him to lose balance and he slides out the window up to his waist. As this is happening the friend behind the wheel notices that the light is green and the car jumps forward. Wonder boy, still out the window, screams and tries to climb back in. His driver stops and the smart, smart boy decides he'll just climb out the window and then get back in.

I watch wonder boy fumble for the exterior door handle, he pops it and the door swings out enough for his feet to come crashing down onto the road. As he shimmies backwards out the window he slips and fall backwards into the road which is covered in an inch think slurry of dirty-as-shit snow, dirt, salt and buddha only knows what else. I laugh at the retard all through my lunch. Kung Pao chicken, excellent.

Back on scene we have a 24 port gigabit switch still warm from the truck!

Another run in with sleaze, the cunts who installed the existing network hardware used the cheapest shit on the market and it shows. That's the main reason why I am here. Also I don't have any screws that I can attach to the plywood sheet holding all the other stuff. I have to do some harvesting.

Ten minutes later I am done and out the door. There's just the question of the shipping box.

"You got a dumpster around here?" I ask.

"Oh you can leave that for the maid," says the OM. Right, like the maid's life isn't sad enough without a fucking IT guy that can't take a box out to the trash. I press her for info. "It's out back," she finally says.

Around the building I dump the box. Everything is lousy with snow, real fine and loose shit that flies off at the slightest gust. I am thinking of taking a picture with my phone when a real blast takes about 8 pounds of particulate ice off the roof. I catch a shower right at the neck and face. Sweet bleeding christ its like getting hit with a spray from a sea of liquid nitrogen.

"Should have left the shit for the maid," I grumble.

I say goodbye and ask the requisite 'last' question.

"Is there anything else I can do for you today?" I hate this question because 99% of the time there is something and it's always painful. I would rather suck botulism through a lead straw but in the interest of job security and not being one of the fuckheads that makes life difficult I feel compelled.

My lucky day, she says no. I get to leave, sleaze free and ahead of schedule.

On the way back I take a little more care through my shady spot where I decided to write all this down. Lucky for me a quarter of the cars on the road are trucks sporting ice blades and there's enough salt on the roads to pickle everyone driving on it.

The drive home begins pleasantly enough. I pass Tweetsie Rail Road, it doesn't reopen until May. That's probably for the best, no one wants to see cowboys and indians shooting blanks in sub 20's weather.

Another ten miles and I realize I need to stop for gas. If I had been smart I would have topped off during my cigarette run. Singular purposes fail sometimes. This is one of those times and the Fiend moves to capitalize on it.

Every gas station on earth sells cigarettes. The Fiend knows this and he's already scratching at my cranial bumps. I have to stop, but I don't have to go inside. That's what I tell myself. Right on cue the Fiend reminds me that I have to take a mad leak. So I do have to go inside.

Fucking nagger!

The refill and defill go pretty smoothly, I decide to grab a drink while I am in the store. Maybe having something to suck on (fuck off, Freud) will keep the Fiend docile. The place is a wreck. They only have the weirdly narrow necked 20oz bottles of Diet Sundrop. Figures.

The guy in front of me is even more of a wreck. He's got to be somewhere in his 80's, a tiny old man wearing a fur lined leather bomber's jacket. It's so flaked off and crusty that he must have worn it every day since the end of World War II. I feel a stab of pity as he transacts his business.

The bombadier shakily hands the clerk a lotto ticket with a bar code. She scans it, nothing pops, he buys a few more tickets and shambles out the door. I buy my drink with no fuss. The clerk gets a real big smile from me. It wasn't that she was nice or pretty or anything so pedestrian. She's got to be 70 years old, face looking like the old man's jacket but her name tag says it all.


Every time I try to rankle the wife with a story of hanging out with another girl I mention Jill. Jill's not a real person just a recurring name to let the wife know I'm kidding. It's not an uncommon name but I only run into real Jills rarely. I don't like to dwell, there's too much road left for pleasantry so I resume the trip.

Twenty minutes from home and I am besieged with misery. This has been a long slow buildup stemming from the Fiend's ever increasing agitation and a bad road habit. I have a huge bladder, think mini-keg sized so I go long periods, normally. However when I remarked about getting a drink I really meant getting 2 drinks because I am a fucking diet soda addict. There is probably a Fiend for that but I don't even fuck around when it comes to the caffeine supply.

So I have to piss, my eyes are practically watering, and the Fiend won't shut his squawking beak. But I am only twenty minutes away and that makes it too close for me to stop. Just a few more miles on 77 and it'll all be over soon.

The last five minutes are excruciating but I manage to hold it together without feeding the Fiend or wetting my pants. It's a pretty close race but I manage to get inside and unzipped without incident. For about three minutes even the Fiend shuts up and just savors the sweet feeling of release. Two shakes and he's out to get me again, fuck. I walk upstairs, not running or jogging, just pacing deliberately towards my nicotine gum. The Fiend whispers about how its not the same every single step of the way.

I bite through the absurdly fruity tasting shell right down into the peppery meat of the gum. Only a minute later I feel the Nicofiend starting to get drowsy and sluggish. He pulls up a foot and dozes, not asleep but at least contented for now.

It's been a long day and knowing that the Fiend is finally off my back I can relax.

"Better get used to it, bitch." I tell him.

"No surrender," the Fiend mumbles back. He's right of course, but tomorrow is another day. Saturdays mean a lot of time with the wife and the little one. Familial disapproval is a powerful ally against the Fiend.

Going it alone through unfamiliar territory is when the Fiend wins. I sigh and sit down at my computer. There's writing to be done.

Allow me to peel back some of the glossy fondant hiding the gooey frosting of my soul. This is poem I wrote about a girl named Monique. She was in my writing class, in fact she was the only attractive girl in the class.

When I was 20 she was 24 and I wrote this because it was my writing ‘skill’ that allowed me to hook up with her at the end of sophomore year.

Bele Bazaar

What a deal, a lover for a letter.
In the vain economy of mankind
have you ever heard a bargain better?
So I wrote to her heart hoping to find

true purchase for my weary affections.
Yet scared, for broken fingers past agree.
So through long pondered night I score sections
of mind to tender figures lovingly.

So we danced, as lovers do, one evening
my step laid out like whispers of true thought
that, like Cupid’s arrow or David’s sling
penetrated softly from string pulled taut.

It was not lust that drove my will that day
for if love steered fate, my course would not stray.

This is one of my last poems about absolution and trying to struggle with my newfound lack of a moral compass. It’s another throwback to 2003 when I really started to become comfortable with being godless. It’s also part of the transition from being ashamed of my atheism to being god damned proud of it.


Give me power over what terrifies
the soul, some faith or spirit to find.
Sight and blindness help me realize
concordance of soft heart and prideful mind.

Take away this doubt, and leave me not shrewd
cut me from decisions burden heavy.
Tax me with decency. make choice subdued
to each wish outside your guiding levy.

Save my soul and forgive my dirty meat
for attempting to skew your grand design.
Take this burdened flesh and gladly eat
leave me alone with my soul, it is mine.

More crap, and a teaser story!

I remember getting shit stone drunk on Skyy Vodka and Southern Comfort and writing this while Matt and I were laughing stupidly about how alcohol is yeast excrement. We were commiserating about our mutual lack of girlfriends. I pulled this from a notebook that was so badly scrawled it took half an hour just to puzzle through some of the finer details. For example the “(wanna fuck)” looked like “Uwannd7uckI”

Maybe my future time traveling self will go back and tell me not to be so soggy since I ended up marrying the girl a few years later.


yeast poop makes me happy
one creatures waste gets me wasted
but the taste leaves someone to be desired
like that girl I ‘love, care for, appreciate’ (wanna fuck)

the best substitute for intoxication
is sex con amigas, ya dig?
why else would I be drunk
when sobriety becomes society you
gotta make a change towards impiety
and cut loose the obligations
all for naught or more they are
or aren’t if you’re stuck
nobody knows whats going
on but they’ll tell you anyhow
that’s why Christians are tight fucks
they can’t relax to save themselves

This is one of the complementary short stories to my first novel, Fair Coin. Before I finished the whole story I really wanted to set up a bigger ‘world’ and then use the book to just draw a line through it.

In Fair Coin one of the Defining Moments comes when protagonist Maynard revisits a dark chapter (literally a deep crimson) by visiting a page in his journal that was marred by a tragic encounter with a troubled student.

In a nutshell Maynard happened to be in the library when a psychotic kid shot the girl who rejected him and then himself. Blood spattered all over the open page (hence it became crimson, actually a rusty brown color) and then the troubled kid shot himself in the head.

There’s an allusion to a third casualty because the bullet travels through the troubled kid’s head and (after being slowed and deformed) hits another student in the head.
This story is about the third casualty. It is incomplete but I may get around to digging out the paper version and finishing the transcription at a later date.

Author’s Advantage
By Seth Keipper
Copyright 2003

Imagine, friend, that you could be reborn in the midst of your busy American life. I can tell you what its like if you care to shuffle a few pages of my busy life into yours. Wiped clean, with only your most basic functions intact you would reenter this world trembling. But life is not so gentle as to allow smoothness of this sort. Your tale would be as a marathon through a hurricane on the darkest day the world has seen.
Some will call me cynical no doubt. They themselves have never been teleported from a quiet evening of study to the bottom of an icy lake of dread. Nothing compares to the horror of your forced ascent, lungs and mind burning in equal time to the top. Only when you arrive there is ice. So much ice blocks you that all your willful blows create not even cracks. Yet somehow through the pain you survive long enough to penetrate and escape. For a fleeting moment you burst forth, a triumphant whale into the shining night landscape. And the lungful of air you were so desperately fighting to exchange for another is ripped from your body into the vacuum of naked space.
Not so many words will assuage your ills if you do not let them. This can solve nothing without proper reception and that can only be provided by you. Keep in mind, no rules, reject rules without choice behind them. Simply become aware and then attack as soon as you are able. Make Patton proud.
Afterwards you may look back on this passage and wonder why I wrote you in the first place. But a night or two spent away from my usual vocation is no great loss to me, and the potential gain is limited only by your resolve. But though black is a great comfort to me, I shall paint you a picture with as much prismatic flair as I possess. And I will hope you reject your spectrum as I have. We begin.

Bang. You awake in stillness. Everything is white, bright and an echo of a very loud noise hangs on the edge of echoes. Dreams you have left behind in awareness, none followed you into this new world.
Nothing is here though. Well, wait a bit, there is a rustling noise somewhere. You have no sense of self, of time or direction and locating it would be impossible. All of your world is white and you don’t know what white is. Nothing is different, nothing contrasts and white is as meaningless a word as zero and amount. But you couldn’t even count that high if you tried.
The sound you cannot identify is the friction being caused by your exhaled air molecules onto the sheet lying on your face. Tiny little blips rubbing and bumping into each other form eddies and currents invisible and undetectable. Sheets have no apparent need or function, they merely are. And the concept of a molecule is as inconceivably remote as extra galactic politics.
You don’t even wonder if anything lies behind the sheet.
Vague discomfort accompanies spent time under the sheet. Without sense of self, of purpose, of place, desire and ability you simply feel irritated. If you were a microbe you could at least flagellate elsewhere. Instead you lie under the sheet and latch onto whatever little sensory data comes your way. Then there’s that sound again. But different this time, unlike the friction of breath this sound is sharper and more distant. It must be outside the sheet. Outside?
Another sensation is creeping up on your awareness now. Not that your awareness is in any kind of shape to exist beyond animal reactions. Your brain is still gearing up and knowing that might bring solution or comfort in and of itself, but its mighty faculties are not yet fully operational. All this has no place in the sheet, confusion at last. This first feeling is progress, a very vague and remote distinction between what should be and what is. You still have no idea that your oxygen supply is decreasing, but your cells do.
Invisible things change inside your infrastructure. Hormones speed to your heart which speeds nutrient delivery to cells more quickly. Your ignorance lies in front of an operation as complicated as Overlord and as mundane as blinking. The body does not need higher order thinking though. About a billion chemical clutches slam successively into high gear. Muscles, that cannot be exercised but by living, contract in perfect concert. The result is an awesome alteration in lung pressure suddenly increased and the resulting cough. What tempestuous fury your body has created! The boundary of your universe leaps away briefly and settles back on your brow.
It works. Breath comes much easier now that a pesky wall of phlegm has been resettled. Such wonders your hulking automaton body can do for you, and you aren’t even aware you possess it yet. Sounds outside the sheet grow louder. Louder?
Finally the rudimentary gears of your brain crank out a pitiful and weak realization, something is beyond the sheet. You are not yet a thing though. Only the sheet is a thing for you. Speech, worry, nurses, awareness and miracles are miles down the road. So are miles, so are roads.
Barely in contact with your nose the sheet, having resettled itself, causes a strange blindingly quick reaction that causes you to wrinkle your nose. You have a nose! What’s more you have a face and feet and other parts of the body. One by one they come to your awareness still without name or form. Now you are a thing, awareness of body but not yet of self is achieved. Also after long effort you succeed in wiggling your fingers. If you could comprehend a word like universe you would be lord and master of it. But for now you are the ruler of the sheet!
Like any good leader, you explore this new and uncharted world. Fingers send signals of ‘cool’ and ‘soft’ to your brain. Feet curl in ecstasy you did not know could exist, legs bend stiffly in discomfort. With your arms at your sides your hands begin to wander. No purpose but discovery motivates them over the muscle of your legs, the swell of your abdomen and the wrinkled patch of sensation that is your penis.
Ignoring the obvious aspect of self exploration you soon have the inexplicable desire to touch your face. What shape is it that lies beneath the sheet? Where do these images come from? Only your nose is discovered by its height, and the mouth by its activity. Moving your hand is surprisingly difficult. It can only bend in two places below the shoulder. And something resists when you press against the sheet.
But like the persistent being you are, your right hand finally manages to find your face. Delighted by the bristling cheeks and slippery nose you continue to explore. First you feel eyebrows, then the right ear and then around to the left side. Disaster strikes you just above your left ear.
Sound comes, like the sun to a man who knows only moonlight, into your ears. And it is you who makes it. Ignoring this, you shriek out in pain at the horrible feeling of something soft and wet on your head. Guided by forces that are not entirely your own, the right hand is thrust forward and to the side, sweeping the sheet away. White was first your world, then pain for a moment and now terror is all you know.
Imagine Cain being pulled from the Garden of Eden and dropped into New York City rush hour traffic. Your mind balks at this new place with its new things and new rules. None of it makes sense, everything you know fizzles away. The size, the shapes, the colors and the movement send you scrambling. All the world is awash in fractal nonsense and your brain is at a loss to comprehend. You long for the sheet but cannot think or move to get it. The reality of the sheet and the room are totally at odds.

I admit I cannot well convey the horrified helplessness of being wholly confused. Since I awoke screaming and nurses came in to see what the dead kid was yelling about I have only found one account of a similarly horrifying experience. This was a page from a journal entry of Isaac Moines, a veteran from Vietnam that was accidentally put on the receiving end of a full B-52 bombing run.

Explosions tore through the ground and air alike. One second passed from them being distant thunder to instantly upon us. Watching the twenty men in front of me engulfed and dissolved was the last conscious thing I remember. After that I could not breathe, the air was literally sucked out of our lungs by the bombs. Shockwaves turned the air into hammers that pounded me from all sides and shoved me through the brush a foot or a mile off the ground. Rational thought was impossible. It seemed the only thing that was real was fear. My brained screamed incomprehensible orders to flee but in the face of impossible confusion they went unheeded. I could only crumple under the forces around me. It was hell writ large. Afterwards the stench of cordite, burning blood and hair filled the air. The world has been utterly silent since. No man or God has devised a situation as terrible on earth or hell, and there isn’t a man or God in this universe that could convince me otherwise.

The shock and horror of those few moments were drawn out into my first day. I was actually almost seventy-five hundred days old, but three days before my first day I got shot in the head and had to rearrange my calendar. Funny thing about bullets, they keep going a lot further than most people realize.
No, I wasn’t the victim of any sort of murder attempt or assassination, it was an accident. The bullet passed fully through another man’s head before tumbling into mine and cracking my skull. Lucky for me the other fellow’s skull and brains slowed and deformed the bullet enough so that it only knocked me completely unconscious and largely unaware of my former life.
Life for me and death for the guy and some poor girl he shot. The girl died first, and then the guy’s and my brain’s death occurred within a few milliseconds of each other. However long it takes a .38 slug to travel through a skull and about 50 feet of air, I never bothered to figure it out. But though my memory died I somehow lived. In a sense I did indeed die. Three days after coming in my heart suddenly stopped and was utterly resistant to resuscitation. And about two minutes after that it just started beating again. Now it’s no miracle I am sure, stranger things have happened. But if living made me want to give God a high-five, the state of my first week made me want to punch god in his fucking face.
When I stuck my finger into the socket of my wound (the first part was about me you know) I awoke screaming. My barely functioning brain was so unable to function I could not distinguish them walking in or when two of them passed out. Only nurse Jones had the good sense to sedate me and calmly hold me until I could breathe again. The earliest time I barely remember now, but wrote it down when it was still fresh in my mind. Some semblance of normalcy returned in the next week or so, but not my memory.
Long before knowledge of the past became important Nurse Jones explained a good deal of the present to me. First, she told me that I was in a hospital, a place to heal. Then, that I was in an accident and needed to be healed before I would be ok. Thirdly, that I had a loving family of two moms and a brother. And they would come visit me soon.

Ye buddha, my brain hath swelt mightily in the last half-decade

And here is proof:

A bit of ancient philosophy (from sophomore year)

I was still struggling off an on with the vestiges of my religious faith at this point in life. For a time I was basically an atheist yet still clung to many ideals and paradigms of the Christian faith. I cannot recall if this was an apologetic or just some musings.

Thank Buddha I have become wizened and grizzled in my old age. Since it was written in 2001 I am guessing that it was one of my attempts at playing Devil’s advocate with myself in order to try and expose extant weaknesses in my worldview.

This is the kind of thing that scares me because who knows what I will consider stupid or shallow 7 more years down the road?

Argument for the Afterlife

Man is a creature so unlike any other on the planet earth that many people do not recognize us as animals. What separates us from other life is basically one trait, reason. This difference gives rise to everything human and beautiful, culture, imagination, art and expression would not be possible without some understanding of the universe beyond “get food, get water, reproduce, sleep now.” Mankind’s greatest strength lies in this capacity for reason.

One of the basic conflicts among us though is the question of religion. Atheism vs theism, theism vs deism, and faith vs skepticism are among the most common. Though there are countless evidences and reasons to believe in many faiths, certain details can only be sorted by choice. Regarding life after death however, can be settled by a simple progression of logic.

Intelligence is not limited to human beings; many animals can learn behavior and shape their reactions accordingly. Higher animals even dream, perhaps as vividly as people. It is the existence of dreams that allow an afterlife to be easily and reasonably proved to exist.

Dreams are a function of the mind during a state of unconsciousness, beyond the boundaries of objective observation. Many times dreams are forgotten very quickly and many are not remembered at all. What determines the importance of a dream is whether or not it is remembered. If a dream is forgotten, and there is no physical evidence of it, did the dream actually happen?

The answer is yes, but only if one remembers that at least a dream occurred, regardless of content. Having some perspective outside of the actual experience is what defines that a dream definitely occurred. For dreams, unlike the waking world, are consequence-free.

Knowing that experience is only made real by perspective, having some point to look backwards from, we can easily prove life after physical death. Right now, the smell of the air, the ambient lighting, the heat and humidity of your surroundings are all being dutifully processed by your brain. Naturally this means you will remember how you felt at this current time.

If you dream that find the secret to happiness for the entire world, and forget that it ever happened, you have no knowledge or experience to show for that dream. Without some perspective after you actually die, you could not possibly be existing and remembering now. Without an indefinite and eternal point of perspective, consciousness could not occur.

At least, not according to reason.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Newegg, you tell me exactly what I need to know in a language only the geeks can read.

And I don't mean C++ either.  Check this out.

When I checked this out earlier today there were 28 reviews and every single one of them was a 5.  Add 6 and finally there's a 4 but this is still an INSANE rating for a brand new chip.  Intel must have done something remarkable.

Heh, an odd bit of recursion thanks to scribe fire and GIMP being unruly tonight.

So apparently imagechan decided to prank on linksys support.

I mean for the love of buddha it's impossible to get through to anything except screen caps of linksys chat types being harassed by lame jokes, ascii art, bel airs, rick rolls and all the other goodness we've come to expect from the internet.

Here's an example.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The author has been sick...Ebola sick

And I didn't even get the benefits of getting piss drunk first! What a shame. No my malady, near as I can narrow, stems from some unfortunate food poisoning of late. The actual 'poison' remains unknown though i have a few guesses. Here's a few highlights for those of you with strong stomachs. If you do not have abdominal adamantite I recommend you skip this post.

So I go to bed around midnight on Friday (or early Saturday) and wake up a few hours later feeling exceedingly queasy. I stumble to the bathroom, feeling as though my insides are full of boiling castor oil and proceed to vomit about a gallon of orange liquid into the bathroom sink. This takes about 9 good heaves and leaves my rib cage feeling strained and riddled with hairline cracks.

Oh but the misery is just beginning.

After said vomitus I sit down to contemplate this new horrific chapter in my life and my butt does what my mouth just did only with results far more atrocious. The sheer volume of liquid is astounding! A full twenty minutes pass and I feel better but still sore and terrified that I just expelled about 10 pounds of fluid.

I return to bed, hoping and praying that the worst is over. Alas, it is not.

A mere hour later events transpire that compel me to return to the toilet and repeat my last performance with much squelching gusto. I have a pseudo religious experience as I try to will myself to die if only to be spared this agony. As my lower half does its dirty work the strain makes my tummy contort and hurt in ways I cannot describe. I have to throw up into my PJ pants since I cannot possibly stand up.

The horror, the horror.

Twice more the malady wrests me from sleep only now my aching torso adds to the misery. If I lay on my back I am ok but any move soon leaves me nauseated and woozy. Dancing yellow sparkles flicker at the periphery of my fresh new hell. I am exhausted and being forced to 'sleep' in an unnatural position leaves my joints aching and tender.

My last trip to call Ralph on the big white phone is the least pleasant. One thing about the human Gi system is that when being forced to suffer repeated expulsions of tainted food you get to sort of look back in time at what you have eaten throughout the day. It's now 6:30 am and I am staring at undigested rice noodles from lunch the day previous. 18 hours and they look exactly the same as when I last saw them dangling from my fork. A sickly pink liquid accompanies them to the sewer.

So that's how much of my thanksgiving went. It's now 42 hours since my first incident. At least 2/3's of that has been spent in bed, another 5 hours on the couch begging Alex to stop jumping on my stomach and a few more trudging around the house while my insides fight the good fight.

So that was my thanksgiving weekend, how was yours?

Rehash: This actually got me an A in college.

A story! Sadly its an old story from ‘Advanced Writing’ circa 2003. I wrote it after a Larium induced dream about a girl in the wilderness. Mostly it was inspired by the consummate lack of viable females for weeks on end. Though the inspiration came for it back in 2000 when I was in Zimbabwe I did not put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard more likely) for many years more.

This story is also the first to be typed out on my Dell silver and black keyboard which I am still happily clacking away on today.

Enjoy, I have not edited it since March 5 years ago.

A Tumbler Tumbled

Seth Keipper

No American adolescent expects to lose his virginity to a British colonial living in Zimbabwe. A camp in the wilderness during the dry season is hardly the most romanticized place in storybooks and movies. I may be the first ever to attain such an unlikely goal. That’s how it will begin on judgment day, with this story and how I fared in the face of temptation. What a day that will be, something to look forward to in the afterlife.

Even as the night pervaded my every outer sensation I was on fire under my skin, behind my eyes. She is impossible to dislodge from my brain, her face a splinter of pulsing pleasure in my eyes. The unfamiliar glow of liquor and her lingering warmth sickened and delighted me on my return. A new man fought his way back to my hut. I had left surefooted and swift only hours ago, he returned with shaking legs and arms aflame from exertion.

This night has done what so many others have feebly attempted, put my fears and misunderstandings to the grindstone and abraded them away. Proud bastions of resolve and spirit now lie in powder, wholly without cohesion. The once fine and proud engines of my soul are fantastic dreams remembered only vaguely from troubled sleep. Sliding into my originally intended bed I can still feel her breasts against my hands, her lips and teeth on my neck, her moans and mine ringing in my ears.

Lying there alone in my thoughts I found little peace. The irresistible motions still suspend me like the swaying ocean, a rhythm as old as time. Only two hours have passed since her impatient message “meet me as soon as you can get away unnoticed.” That note was the opening salvo to the assault on my chastity. Now all I can think about is how I should be back at home, safe from her, safe from the night, safe from the dangers of real life, still safe behind my walls instead of sifting through the ashes of my once unassailable morality.

Events up to the now are made hazy by alcohol, but guilt keeps the important parts crystalline. Though normally an advocate of sobriety my pride had pushed me to drunkenness with my childish adult brother. Now he sleeps smiling mere feet away in total ignorance of my doings that night. Probably dreaming of disposable sorority girls and the parties to which they flock, who knows what the robot thought about, he knows nothing of the struggle I have so recently lost.

The past three weeks had found me amidst the raw and primal forces that have kept life at a perpetual fighting readiness for the past millions of years on this continent, the cradle of mankind. Animals bred to chase eating animals bred to flee, every niche filled by nature or emptied by man. Here is a land unlike our own, perpetually eating and being eaten, always building and destroying. Birth, life, and death are the balls which nature juggles under the callous sun and stars.

Every day is an exercise in restraint. Only one hundred moments are there to capture inside four black cylinders in my camera bag. I must choose what I see and what I will see weeks from now.

The terrible strength of the predators is offset only by the moments of serenity. Calm waters and savannahs are host to all sorts of rugged rebels. They are the French resistance against the steely-eyes of oppressive Tigers and Panthers. In a better world, my eyes and ears would keep perfect records in my mind so I could always return to any moment, to never forget. Except for one night which I would obliterate.

Every walk, boating, or drive is a step outside of reality. The rest of the family, my brother and parents, always chatter on about what they see. I only ask questions and make observations. Once I impressed our guide Nevson by pulling myself into the jeep with only one arm and a small hop.

You are a very strong man,” he said smiling behind his rifle. The same rifle had killed thirteen cape buffalo and three elephants. This man was as hard as hyena jawbone and sharp like an ivory spear. He lived in my dreamland, a permanent spectacle beyond the reach of chit chat. The seriousness would have struck me anywhere else, but here everything is serious, everything is as it should be.

Thank you Nevson,” I replied. He didn’t know that other than my arms and chest I was as bandy legged as an English knight and had a flabby golfers stomach. Swimming and pushups make swinging or climbing easy and natural, and we have a history with brachiating. ‘Strong at first glance’ is how I felt about myself, but it runs deep here. Soil, Air, and Water reek of it.


The sunrises make me forget ever wanting to sleep. The sunsets are all that remind me. Nights are long with dreams, my malaria medicine has a side effect that makes them vivid. Larium takes a nickelodeon dream and turns it into an overproduced adrenaline flick. It also keeps parasites from taking over your blood stream. When I wake, the only difference is the need to breathe between my words.

Day and night are almost as intense as one another here. Day is only lacking the hardwired fear of dark, night only lacks the hunger of day. There is no need for rest in either. The night and day above our home are a bitter married couple with no desire to see each other. Playful lovemaking in the heavens keeps things regular here, the light depends on who wants to be on top.


With little privacy, few comforts, and the absolute lack of viable females I had grown accustomed to escaping life. Acute shards of tension needed to be eased into a smoother vein of reality. With the natural world beating at my tolerances I found a friend in spirits. Alcohol, literally yeast excrement, had become my substitute for female company. However, too many bold gulps before my usual amount lead to something wholly unexpected.

The bartender, Iona, had been sent slugs of harsh native liquor to my brother and me while we ate some appetizers. I ate down the various wild nuts and fruits, banana wrapped in bacon, fried mopani worms and various other meats and plants. Some of the older men on the group discussed politics and the upcoming elections. Iona and I mainly talked about my country. Everyone inside the USA is from America, the rest of the world sees us as the states. My brother and some of the others are actually upset at this ‘outrage.’ Normalcy has an appropriate time and place, here I am the only one who has figured out not to trust your watch or culture, just instincts.

I finished with a shot of tequila, using my forehead sweat for salt and chased it with baobaab juice. Nevson and I had spent almost an hour knocking the large fruits out of the huge trees to make the drink. There was no actual juice to squeeze, only powder that mixes well with water and sugar. Hollow fruit would be a novelty to me back home.

Through the curved sides of my final glass that Iona finally caught my eye. While nondescript at first glance, the girl behind the bar had revealed some sort of subtle beauty. How had she concealed this before? A simple trick of makeup surely did the job while I was distracted. Her little eyes curiously gazed at me behind her dark wispy hair. I wanted her right there, on the bar if possible.

Lust, like sneaky ice had slowly been laying in ambush on me, not showing up until I was entirely cool. Though fire is the preferred indicator of this sin, nothing makes simple sense here. Debauchery does not cover the list of things I did to her in my head in that moment. The exposed portion of her taut breasts was restrained by a single button on her shirt, if I could just reach out and

Before I could add weight to this thought nature grudgingly decreed my presence was needed elsewhere. I found, after standing up, that I was marvelously intoxicated, never having been under such a spell I cannot describe how drunk I was. All I could think about as I ambled away was the cunning beauty and her poison. It had not occurred to me that the danger of violating a deeply sacred rule was imminent.


When I returned to the lodge dinner had been served, the length of my delay was an obvious result from decreased coordination. Cursing my sluggishness I grabbed a chair and found an empty spot by Nevson. Sitting down I realized I was also next to Iona who was blushing and beautiful in the candle light. I had to ignore my snickering brother, he was thrilled that I had been so corrupted. Brushing him aside, I found dinner that night to be especially delightful, food as well as atmosphere and the unexpected company of this amazing girl child.

We were in preposterous circumstances, sitting in the middle of the bush of Zimbabwe eating a feast of international cuisine, and I was whimsical. Pervasive warmth, both due to the velvet heat and my wit, was amplified it seemed from the intoxicants. Boldly I threw out my thoughts on politics, science, religion and women of America, much to the fascination of the guides, and staff including Iona, my prize. Most thrilling was the brutal refutation of the benefits of gun possession I delivered to Jim, an NRA hardliner from the Midwest.

All the while my hand rested under the hem of Iona’s shorts between her thighs, delicately stroking her breathing into staccato whispers and keeping her squirming under my soft touch. I kept very still and rested only my fingertips on her skin, brushing the silky baby hairs back and forth in tiny circles. Jim and my brother looked at Iona for a great deal of the meal and though I met every point with a liberal dose of wit, I never strayed from my teasing. It was second nature at the time to do this, though boldness of this order I cannot imagine coming back anytime soon.

Afterwards, during the usual coffee time I told her, the charming girl, of my home, the horses, and my friends. She asked my all about the blonde-haired splendors that I carried in my wallet, obviously fascinated by their sterile beauty. The irony is that none were my closest friends but rather cheerleading acquaintances I carried for the express purpose of showing off to seem less insecure. God, what fearless man took my words and actions into the swaggering beast I was that night?

Seducing her only took a cup or two of brandy-spiked coffee, her favorite, and some slightly exaggerated compliments about her being just as endowed as my ‘friends.’ Poetry I had never written nor read somehow was at my fingertips As everyone began to disperse back to their huts I shakily rose and she whispered for me to come see her when the others were asleep, I smiled not truly believing what I had done until I had to leave my bed.

The dreams almost came before the night ended and dragged me away from opportunity. Under the mosquito netting I lay for almost as hour. The huge red wasps that plagued us during the day had all huddled together on the ceiling. The ‘hut of doom’ was the worst infested and we were in it tonight. A spider as broad as my fist trundled along the ceiling sending spikes of worry up and down my spine. I prayed there were no snakes or scorpions while sliding into my shoes and slipping out the door.

Now nearly sober I stalked out into the night, like so many other predators following what nature destined for them. The camp was a crescent situated on a seasonal creek bed that would be bone dry until the rainy season. My route was defined by shortcutting through the unfenced river area to the staff houses. The moon was hiding but the stars shone clearer than any night in my recollection; here on the bottom of the world no pollution hid the sprawling ribcage of our galaxy, our greater home.

Only pausing to pull back when I stepped in a shallow patch of quicksand did I notice that it had just turned midnight. My only other scare before arriving was hearing some lumbering creature perhaps fifty feet distant, but wholly invisible to me.

Only two animals really scare me, and by that I mean call out emotions of the sort that temporarily abolishes all rational thought. Six-ton armored beasts armed with ivory spears are one. Elephants can tread with lighter steps than two hundred pound humans. Their louder counterparts can be much scarier. I almost prayed for the former, if I were caught we would be discovered. For some reason death did not occur to me, nor very little except keeping silent and not turning back. After a few minutes past in silence I finished the first leg of my journey, then things got much louder.


I came to her hut while she was brushing her hair. The light spilled towards the buzzing wilderness, sending her sounds from the door less hut into the night air. Creeping ever so delicately to the door, I walked rolling my bare feet with insect quietness until I could see inside. Nevson had taught me to walk at night, so as not to scare the animals away. Once we crept up on a pack of sleeping Impala, unnoticed in the moonlight we watched for half an hour in utter silence, scared to even breathe.

She sat nearly naked from the waist up facing away from me under the mosquito net around her bed, softly singing something in an unfamiliar language. I leaned against the wall for a moment simply marveling that I would soon be inside this girls most intimate region, her inviolable memory, and forever. When I was ready I made just enough noise for her to turn, just her head to smile at me. No more words were needed here, so I let my body do the talking. And loud I spoke.

From then on I surrendered to her and instinct took over. I watched myself lift the netting and slide next to her. With a finger I silenced and reassured her with my lips, kissing her shoulder, following the straps of her shirt down her arms and to her waist. Then traveling up her naked back I paused at her neck and finally back around to her lips. Beads of shining perspiration added salt to the hormone stew that was brewing between us. From there I laid her down and conjured every sensual talent I could muster. Her skin was my canvas, the bed my easel, and the picture needed some minor adjustments.

Hands laid down broad sweeping strokes on rippling flesh, tender incisions to relax and excite beneath the skin, into tributaries of nerves that feed the mind. More lightly my tongue added texture and shadowing to the landscape, here and there a love bite or touch of saliva, deepening and adding breadth. I sucked experience from her every pore, feeding my brain as I fought impulse to devour her whole. But I could not resist forever, nor even an hour before I was incapable of resisting this writhing, gasping creature who trembled and quivered under my every touch.

Seemingly built for nothing else I stepped outside of my convictions and entered an unfamiliar world of warmth and comfort. Semen balked and crushed me from the inside, demanding release, but no force of my body would stop me in my finest. There were no words but whisperings and gasps came through in tongues of a faith that seemed so alien to me at the time. Holding on to her I realized she was shaking under me, around me, through me. She bit into my neck and seemed to beg me to stop, to relent for a second. I paused only long enough to see in her eyes that there would be no more stopping. Once again the unshakable rhythm, so new yet so familiar, returned and sped

I was not ready for it. It seemed as if the world had stopped me and though my muscles ached from exertion it was the world that moved me, moved us. I shuddered, we were so close, too close, I could barely contain myself, my thoughts, my feelings burst and reformed, I mustered every bit of concentration to resist surrendering to the inevitable as violent pleasure knocked me further from my world and gave way to my resistance, I burst again in a shower of grunting and gasping and passionate clawing into my back as I slipped off of heaven’s foundation and landed back inside myself slowly growing back together. The world inevitably, achingly came back to mock my performances, since the beginning.

With that I collapsed into her waiting arms and held me, slowly rubbing and caressing me with hands that had moments ago cut me with passion. Her kissing followed the side of my neck softly where blood was drawn seconds before. Words came back in style and she whispered in bursts of love and happiness, and I gasped back to her lies of the same variety between choked pants and lingering shudders of bodily pleasure.

Only as the gooey glow subsided could I begin to think again. Ramifications and consequences again became part of my vocabulary and realization dawned on what had just happened. I was awake for the first time since I popped my first larium pill. Now fully sober I tore myself from her objecting grasp and began to dress. I kissed her goodbye and promised to see her tomorrow night also. Thus began my return journey along the abandoned bridge and hard-worn path leading over the creek bed back to my hut and safety.

Coming back along the more direct path I found myself crossing a rickety railroad bridge. Several concrete ties were crumbled and twisted tubes of metal poked out like neglected stubble. Some were missing entirely, one cracked beneath my left foot and gave way to stars momentarily. Perplexed I watched the fragments crash several meters into a stagnant puddle of sludge and animal waste. The heavens seemed to vanish so I gazed skywards, daunted by the unimaginable splendor of the naked heavens. Not wishing to share the fate of the stars I pressed on, only wishing to be home by day.

Pollution robs those of us with industry from the honest glimpse into our present. This jewel of a planet, cut and polished finer than any other and more massive than the mind dares calculate is still a blip in the greater picture of our universe. I choke and vomit on the dusty path outside my room, bringing swift acid death to all the unfortunate antlions within my spewing reach. Bitterly I crawl into bed and curl up, shaking and twitching from total exhaustion and defeat.


Lying alone in this bed brings a hundred thoughts to bear on my conscience; somehow I am able to cast off all but two. Simple smiling relief at finally conquering a woman by myself is the first, and secondly the fear that my partner in crime might conceive and bear a child. The second brought a hellish image to my mind. A boy, wild and strong as the native Mopani, gazed with absolute fury upon me and through my own eyes. His quiet disgust was as powerful as that which I now turned on myself. Terror struck me deeper than Nevson’s strength or the elephant’s menace had earlier. Regret only settled in after realization crushing my walls had given me breathing room I needed. But my recklessness could ruin the rest of my life, and another, perhaps two.

As elation had given way to remorse now this even fell to an evil far more capable. The ultimate conquest of my life had been fulfilled, the closest thing to heresy I had conspired for and won, for what? The answer lies in empty barrels and long abandoned tombs.

I had long since dismissed superstition; magic to me was as ridiculous as the people selling it to gullible peasants both here and in my homeland. Now I am no better, this life, this culture had saturated me with notions both subtle and crass about the nature of sex. One mystery in life, solved, elicits tears as the last brick standing on another cracks and falls to earth.

Copyright 2003, Seth Keipper

# # # # #

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Some "writing" from the days of yore.

I wish I could give some context for this poem but I am pretty sure I just wanted to write a little diddy using single letter beginnings that changes by line. This is what my brain spit out for those parameters at the time.

Impatient Imagination (July 2002)

Slumbering serenity salves Seth’s sorrows.

Worries wither while weather worsens.

Melodies make mournful mayhem meander

away, apart, afar and allow air

to temper, tense, tighten. These

desiring dreams denote density,

enchantment ensues.

The following poem was written Christmas day 2002, I wrote it after realizing how much I missed Natalie even though we had only been broken up a few months. During the 2.5 years that we were apart I wrote something like 54 sonnets and at least half of them are Natliecentric or based upon the misery brought about by her absence in my life. I had intended to write 155 sonnets *exactly one more than Shakespeare* And because I thought I had a gift for Iambic pentameter. Age does wonderful things to perspective.


This body aches to taste you one more time,

so long tormented by an ancient rhyme.

Blood, confined to beaten and eager veins,

yearns to wrestle my pride from ‘loving’ chains.

While will lights for me a Lucifer’s glass,

pain illumes hope while the rolling stars pass,

my iron luck, in need of alchemy,

begs and begs again for your company.

Could I swim against such fast devotion

when I tremble at first sight of ocean?

These waves erode and polish me slowly

and soon I will be dust … docile, lowly.

Finding others will not suffice for rest

and I dare not hope to cheat on this test.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From Mundanity to Metafiction: An Adventure in Meat Space (Part I)

This is it. This is the moment when I kick start my writing career into greatness. Right now, this very moment as I launch into this whole 'Presingularity' thing is when it took a turn for greatness. Hell, I'm not even going to edit this. (Correction: I decided to edit it later)

My feet hit the ground before the sun bothered to roll over the horizon. It was cool and quiet. The wind cut like paper, linear bee stings that brought untraceable pain. My little Civic cranked up and took me out. All I have for company this morning is the fucking Nicofiend.

Every smoker knows this little beasty. Strike that. Every smoker who's bothered to try and quit knows this cock sucker inside and out. I used to think of mine as a snarling werewolf that loved nothing more than clawing at the inside of my skull. Oh but it’s much worse than that.

Just imagine having a sociopathic parrot stapled to your shoulder. All it does is pick and prod at the interstices of your brain. All day, all night it cries the same sullen dirge.

Polly wanna smoke, polly wanna smoke.

I'm five miles out, haven't even made a dent in the trip when the Fiend wakes up. Fuck, it's too early for this shit.

Polly wanna smoke, polly wanna smoke.

Addiction is a bitch of a slut of a filthy ex that just can't leave you alone. Sure no one forces you to answer the phone at 3am. Sure you could say no when she slides into bed all booze and flooze. You could say no but you don't. It's only been 48 hours since I fed the Fiend and already the bastard’s becoming unbearable.

Smoke, time to smoke. Why aren't you smoking?

Knuckles turn so white they almost glow. The steering wheel doesn't complain as I try to eviscerate it with every fingernail I own. It's too cold and too early for me to put up with the fucking monster. The day’s already got me on a 4 hour drive time handicap.

I put some music on. It helps.

There's this recurring fantasy I have. I've always had the basic idea but it evolves and contorts as I get older. It's about time travel, kind of. Sometimes I think about what I would change in history. Mostly I think about dragging a shit load of post humanity back in time so I can steal the body of my younger self and relive life with some distinctly unfair advantages.

Sometimes I think about averting disaster. Most of the time I think about taking some brain implant to keep me from ever picking up a cigarette without 10,000 volts of subcutaneous agony to discourage the habit. Also whenever I rock out in the car, and only in the car, I think about something like the data downloads from The Matrix.

”Can you rock out harder than anyone on every instrument and speak every language on earth?”

”Not yet.”

I don't know why but ever since a middle school talent show I have thought about going back in time to start a band. There’s a whole infrastructure to the formation and physics of the fantasy. Any time I sing in the car I am really singing on that non-existant stage.

Half an album later and I start to feel ok. Thirty miles down and the Fiend is just staring holes in the back of my head, shitting all over his cage.

The GPS turns into a gibbering idiot just a few miles outside Hickory, NC. I've made this trip 4 times now. Every single time it provides a new convoluted route. Today's course demonstrates that my useless navigator can't make sense of one way streets. It keeps trying to route me the wrong way. I end up making a big jagged spiral around the office until I find a landmark and track it down the good ol' fashioned way.

How the fuck did we survive without Google? Seriously.

That was me thinking just now, not the Fiend.

Everyone at the hickory office knows me, there are only 4 employees. It's nothing but warm smiles and first name greetings all the way to the back. One of the doctor's laptops is on the fritz. Before I can even look at it he's asking me about hypothetical solutions to potential errors. I don't even know the symptoms yes. HQ just said it was a dead Network card.

"Why don't you just tell me what happened, starting from the last time it worked correctly," I say.

"Well," he begins with an impossibly long indrawn breath. I'm already muttering fuck, fuck, fuck, as I smile and nod. My poker face is perfect, high carbon steel bonded with volcanic glass. I don't wince or scream or snap a single inanimate object.

He's standing there talking to me about his phone tether and how he downloaded some third party app to speed things up. I don't pay any attention. I can already see the tether's a USB cable and this program's done something invasive and scary to the TCP/IP settings. As soon as he leaves I'm gonna dump the driver but I sit through 3 more minutes of this shit.

Polly wanna...

"Shut it!" I scream inside my skull. The slightest, faintest quiver comes over me as I do. Maybe the face isn't as perfect as I thought. He's still talking, the doctor is still talking. What a pisser. As polite as I appear all I want to do is grab the newspaper he’s holding and shoo him away. It’s nothing personal I just can’t work while I’m in customer service mode.

One thing I have noticed is that network grunts can commiserate with psychologists for a very sad reason. By definition we both work with systems and components made up of other systems and components comprised of more complexity than any one person can understand. At least we have the luxury of spare parts, white papers and tech forums.

The human brain is way more of a cluster-fucked kludge than the shoddiest networks concocted in my deepest darkest work-related nightmares.

Oh good, I notice he's gone. My ass hits the chair and I go to work. 1 minute to give up on the shitty touchpad and switch to a mouse, 2 minutes to purge the driver, another 1 to reinstall and test. Probability waves collapse as I test my theory. Internet and network work. That's just fucking aces. I bet the doctor hasn't finished the front page of his newspaper.

For now I'm done with the easy part of my job. Trying to exfill without follow up questions is impossible, it’s fundamental as gravity. I jump into space, waiting for the tug which hits me before I even brush against vacuum.

"I've also noticed my email doesn't always work in hotels and stuff. I can receive it but not send. Isn't that weird?"

"Nope," I say calmly. I might as well have poked him in the eye. Stupid phrasing, I think. Now I have to explain more than I want to. "Your ISP probably doesn't allow SMTP traffic to be relayed to other ISP's.” Before he can ask why I interject. “They do it to cut down on spam."

Christ on stilts I hope that shuts him up. It doesn't. I explain, nearly making the always dangerous mention of Net Neutrality. Luckily I catch myself. The last time I made that mistake I lost 20 minutes of my life before giving up and saying 'Google it sometime.'

Before I know it I am out the door and back on the road. To the mountains! Hickory's an hour from home, Boone's an hour from Hickory. Long fucking day.

Halfway there and the sky starts shedding some flimsy ephemeral crap that barely registers as visual data. There's no substance to it, nothing but incidental refraction even lets me know that it's real. I know this distortion, snow. When I left it was dry and sunny. Only 55 miles from home and I am skirmishing with the vanguard of a blizzard.

This is when I crack. It's not like smashing into a big pile of glass, more like the relentless grind of a glacier that shears and devours me. I know its wrong as I make a quick stop, throw the little civic in park, hop out, walk to the door, grab a token beverage, head to the front behind some dude and his adorable 3 year old, arrive empty handed but for my debit card and diet Sundrop and ask for 'one hard pack, Marlboro menthol lights please.'

I know its wrong as the clerk, some no face, hands me the goods. I know that it’s wrong as I swipe the card and hastily fling the pack into my left jacket pocket. The second I touch the receipt I drop it into the right pocket. Some sleight of hand inside, I pull out a lighter with inhuman quickness. Fourteen taps, each one a solid audible caution begging me to throw that fucking pack of death into the hills and still I have menthol in my teeth before I even get back in the car.

Sweet metastatic bliss that first drag is the warm kiss of an angel breathing fire down my neck. The Fiend is ejaculating all over me as I breathe deep and savor the poison.

Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.

I take another drag as I turn back on the road. The Fiend passes out in a pool of his own carcinogenic spew. A few moments of peace blanket the world in quiet fuzz. I flick my angel out the window and she sparkles as the frigid wind turns her into another anonymous piece of roadside shit.

Just then the boss calls. He wants to know what's going on, how the trip is and if I am aware of the situation I am rolling into.

I am, I say coldly. It's always the same shit. Something broke or someone fucking broke it. That's life, everyday and everywhere, people like me are always there to fight it. I don't tell my boss this, he knows we are nothing but stop gaps against entropy until the robots take over.

Five minutes in and the call drops. I keep talking for a few seconds until my phone announces that it's gone blind and mute. Feeble thing. I'm driving past a sheer slab of tortured rock. Chilly construction crews are widening the road here. The telltale signs of drill marks and dynamite are everywhere.

Some other poor bastards did good work. I guess we don't all just resist entropy. Some of us proactively go out and break the world's teeth, blunting nature's edges wherever they may be.

The Fiend stirs. I beg it to leave me alone but it is already shaking off its stupor. Fucker!

I try to focus on the road but the Fiend is awake again. No longer placated, the nicotine mantra returns with a vengeance.

Polly got a smoke. Polly want another smoke.

Fuck off, I just fed you! It's a cry in vain. The Fiend never listens. Only fifteen minutes ago I had withstood 48 hours or more of abstinence. Now the cunt can't wait a second longer, again, it has no memory, no tolerance.

Polly wanna smoke, polly wanna smoooooooke!!!

Sweet stinking Buddha, I reach for another. What the fuck, I have a whole pack and I have already killed my streak. I light it up as I am making the final approach to Boone. It's a long downhill stretch of road, 4 lanes wide. I'm riding the innermost, hugging tightest to rock walls glossy with windblown ice.

As I drag on the cigarette I have one of those heart-stopping moments where reality transmogrifies into bad dream molasses. I drift a few feet into the lane to my left. That isn't what scares me. I turn the wheel, feel it move in my hand but still keep drifting towards oncoming traffic and a very fragile looking guard rail at the edge of a cliff. That is what scares me.

The Fiend turns invisible and most of my concerns go mute. Any second I could be dead. All because of this fucking miserable day, I think. My teeth tighten into enamel mills. Everything is slow and terrible. The wheels catch a second later and I regain control.

"I can't fucking believe it," I say to myself. "If someone had been in that lane then my whole life could have been fucked to pieces." The spark of fear lands on dry tinder.

"I'm going to fucking write this down when I get home," I say out loud. "And I'm going to write about this part right now and it'll be just aces. Fuck, you gotta love metafiction." Here's the irony about moments where time seems to slow down like that. It doesn't, you experience the moment in real time just like all the other events in your life.

Your brain records more frames than usual so playback comes in slow mo. Your perception does not increase at the moment of stress, there's no hyperactive frenzy of brain activity. You just remember it that way an instant after it happens. And that, dear reader, is why science rules.

Only minutes remain on the trip. An old buried habit goes zombie and crawls out so that I will smoke one last cig before I arrive. I haven’t even finished my second.

I won't lie I finish the smoke and start to reach for another. I have the third smoke between incisors when my subconscious mind borrows the body for a moment.

A word about the other person that lives inside your skull. He/she doesn't like you, doesn't care for emotion or conscious thought and thinks you're a dumb drunken ape sitting at the controls of a quantum supercomputer. Check that. He doesn't need to think he just knows because he's running the part of your brain that doesn't report to the conscious mind. And his indifference to you is well founded.

This other person is an armor clad assassin and when he talks 99% of the time you have already obeyed before you realize there was a choice in the matter. Subcon moves two fingers deftly to the left.

The cigarette flies out the window, the rest of the pack skids along the icy road. I feel a little guilty for littering. Next, Subcon takes out my lighter and performs a Gesture of Significance. I have carried a lighter in my pocket for as long as I can remember, long before I smoked. The little red plastic firemaker joins the cigs on the open road, soon to be crushed or buried in ice.

Fiend goes apeshit over this. Subcon sends him a tight little memo.

Subcon: Silence, Fiend. Get cognizant. No more.

Huzzah! I could practically salute the scary bastard. There would be no point. I don't salute computers for doing their job. Subcon would care as much as my Linux box.

Enough of this traveling shit. I am happy to shake the pins and needles down my khaki's as I pull into job #2. Five seconds in the door and I have identified my first problem, the office manager.

# # #

This ends Part I, Check out Part II

An oldie but goodie

So long ago, at a college campus far far away I used to have this girlfriend.  We'll call her 'Jill' for legal reasons.  Way back when we dated for a few months, I broke up with her and that was the end of it.

Or so I thought.

After the breakup a series of incidents took place that compelled me to write this list.  I thought about sending it to her, I really did but couldn't bring myself to crush her soul and self-esteem under my callous heel.  However it's been long enough so here's the list in its entirety.  I changed the names but nothing else, this was written in 2001 when I still considered myself a christian.  Hence the intro:


In the true protestant spirit, here are 95 theses about Jill regarding grievances, problems, wrongdoings, and failures.


1.) Jill is loud

2.) Jill is obnoxious to her friends

3.) Jill does not know when to quit

4.) Jill does not know when to shut up

5.) Jill does not care about other people’s personal space

6.) Jill only cares about her friends when they are cool

7.) Jill is not cool

8.) Jill always wants attention and does whatever it takes to get it

9.) In doing said action (#8) she annoys or offends everyone in the room

10.) Jill is jealous of her best friend

11.) Jill is threatened by her best friend and wishes her gone as much as we wish Jill gone.

12.) Jill is a compulsive liar.

13.) Jill denies the voracity of her sexual appetite

14.) Jill denies her drug habits

15.) Jill denies her drinking habits

16.) Jill is Catholic

17.) Jill lies about her hating to fight

18.) Jill will hang out with anyone regardless of character

19.) Jill is exceptionally naïve about strangers and safe behavior around them

20.) Jill will degrade herself to garner pity

21.) Jill does this in nearly every conversation

22.) Jill loves pity as much as attention

23.) Jill is content with a shallow existence

24.) Jill is incapable of having a sincere conversation without laughing

25.) Jill is socially helpless without her best friend

26.) Jill is one of those girls that was a ‘good girl’ until the opportunity for evil presented itself

27.) Jill wanted to have sex but is the only girl who couldn’t get any

28.) Jill will not leave her ex alone at weekend excursion shows

29.) Jill thinks she can dance really well

30.) She can’t

31.) Jill promised to “get more serious” (regarding conversation content) but didn’t

32.) Jill promised to stop stealing slang but didn’t

33.) Jill will change her preferences to suit people

34.) Jill thinks doing something her friends do that she otherwise wouldn’t makes her cooler when actually it makes her look callow and shallow

35.) Jill lets her best friend do her thinking

36.) Jill tries to be goofy but comes across as dumb

37.) Jill is easily swayed into sexual play

38.) Jill thinks she is funny

39.) Jill stakes a lot of importance on being funny

40.) Jill fails miserably when it comes to being funny

41.) Jill seems to think lying about improving or changing is a good way to fix things.

42.) Jill is content to play with the hand fate dealt her with no thought of change or improvement, accepting her lot as inevitable.

43.) Jill does no work but expects to do well in school

44.) Jill thinks she has a future following her current lifestyle

45.) Jill is easily depressed

46.) Jill assumes the worst and by doing so ensures that it happens

47.) No one wants to here her whine about her boobs or hair.

48.) Jill has very weak morals and beliefs.

49.) Jill’s convictions crack like thin ice.

50.) Jill can’t bring consistency to her vices.

51.) Jill wants and needs to be told what to do

52.) Jill is neurotic about letting go

53.) Jill is embarrassed that she likes rap music.

54.) Jill tries so hard to impress people but by doing so fails miserably

55.) Jill cannot take a hint, about anything.

56.) Jill does not learn new things well

57.) Jill couldn’t be original if her life depended on it

58.) Jill laughs at everything

59.) Jill has an annoying laugh

60.) Jill bites the hand (her best friend) that feeds her (by attracting boys).

61.) Jill will ridicule people with similar or the same problems as her

62.) Jill judges people on hearsay

63.) Jill tolerates abuse if attention comes with it

64.) Jill hates her family for doing certain things but won’t hesitate to do them herself.

65.) Jill’s actions motivated the listing of her problems just so she can see them.

66.) Jill sleeps more than anyone else

67.) Jill brags about her laziness (regarding sleep)

68.) Jill sleeps so much due to a potassium deficiency, that’s her excuse, but wouldn’t remedy this with a vitamin supplement or by eating bananas.

69.) Potassium deficiency is a condition that would motivate some weakness and fatigue, but not one to motivate sleeping for 60% of your life.

70.) Jill makes incorrect uses of the word ‘beast’ in its adjective form.  For example saying, “I am a beast” whereas the proper usage might be “Jack smokes like a beast”

71.) Jill is too dramatic

72.) Subtlety is not in Jill’s vocabulary.

73.) Jill assumes everyone will like her if she acts differently despite obvious signs to indicate otherwise.

74.) Jill thinks she can buy affection

75.) Jill wants everyone to like her, but through her ultra-fluid personality changes she eliminates a ‘her’ to be liked.

76.) Jill thinks she is better than her actions reveal.

77.) Jill is a slave to her family’s whims, directly or beyond her awareness

78.) Jill lies about her getting into shape, or makes progress too slow to be noticed.

79.) Jill goes where she is often not welcome

80.) Jill plays on politeness to be tolerated in social situations

81.) Jill would rather be lied to

82.) Jill would deny everything on this list but change nothing

83.) Jill pretends to know what she is talking about when usually it’s something she ripped off from someone else.

84.) Jill has a man voice

85.) Jill gives off an aura of such helplessness that no one will tell her when something is wrong for fear of hurting her self esteem.

86.) She antagonizes those that do

87.) Jill is oblivious to most of her problems

88.) Jill will say anything to smooth a short-term problem but does nothing about the long term

89.) Her company determines Jill’s moral, beyond the scope of everyday interaction.

90.) Jill’s lies make it hard to like her                    

91.) Jill’s shortcomings are not a big deal until she makes them one

92.) Jill needs to realize she will never fit in until she is honest to everyone, even herself

93.) Jill has no value to her best friend, except as her secretary

94.) Jill watches too much TV

95.) Jill doesn’t learn from her mistakes.