Sunday, January 30, 2005

What it Takes

Holy was a writer for our site during its golden age, and probably understands the responsibilities of the job better than anybody else. This is a reprint of some of his thoughts on the duties of a Weblog Superstar Apprentice. Nobody can ever replace Holy, but we're currently accepting applications to write (email mcfloss@gmail.com).

So, you think you’re good enough to post on validatethis.com. Do you really think that you’re that good? Do you have the resolve, the arrogance, and the blood clot in the right part of your brain to write the kind of stuff that VT readers will enjoy? Do you have the courage to post something for thousands of lesbians and a handful of rather feminine guys to read and criticize? Are you ready for the constant emails and IM’s? Are you ready for the groupies, the freaks, and the lengthy investigations into your past? Do you possibly have any concept of the pressure that the reading public will put on you? DO YOU?!

Actually, it really isn’t all that exciting, I just needed a good opening to justify this post. I’ve had a couple of email saying ‘sup’ and one IM at four in the morning from some moron who wanted to make sure I understood the true meaning of 'holy' and asked if I had any pictures to trade. But since we’re talking about it, there is one stressful part to posting on VT - Christoph.

There is a very strict set of regulations and guidelines that an author at VT must follow. Unfortunately, he makes them up as we go. At last count there were like a billion regulations and six guidelines. I’ll give you the first few now, and you can figure out the rest for yourself if you’re lucky enough to be hired. Now, I could just list some crap about what’s good and what’s bad, but I felt it would get the point across better if I included the actual conversations I’ve had with Christoph, just to show the stresses involved... and also because this way I can do most of the post with copy and paste.

Holy: you didn't use my last update
Christoph: What was it?
Holy: the Leahy Letter
Christoph: Oh, yeah I found that boring. Write a funny one.
Holy: you'd make a good boss you know that. Bitch
- delayed criticism can be tough to handle gracefully

Holy: I need a funny topic
Christoph: Aliens attacking Istanbul.
Holy: I knew I could count on you
Christoph: You're a fool Charlie Brown.
- it was my fault for even expecting a straight answer

Holy: see, now you’re just trying to make me cry
Christoph: AND IT WORKED?
Holy: NO!
Christoph: HAHAHA HOLY CRIED!
- Christoph at his best

Holy: you don't like anything I write
Christoph: Sure I do.
Holy: yeah but you change everything
Christoph: I don't change everything, just the parts that suck.
Holy: but you change like almost everything!
- oh, wait a minute...

Holy: I can make my thumb look like its come off
Christoph: You're fired.
Christoph: Rehired.
Christoph: Fired.
Christoph: Rehired purely for my own personal entertainment.
Christoph: Get to work you fucking Holy.
- believe it or not I call this one a ‘WIN’

How many of you have ever had an IM conversation with Christoph? You send him your customary "hello my friend, how are you today?" to which he replies with his usual wit and charm, "fuck-off you creep, I'm busy,” or something like that. It must be an auto-reply ‘cause it's the same one I get time and time again.

Holy: :)
Christoph: Shut up.
Holy: :)

Now that the formalities and courtesies are out of the way, you go off into the deep blue yonder of the Internet and do your own thing. Fast forward ahead seven hours and – after you peel your lips off of the monitor and have one quick look at your email to make sure it is still empty – you send Christoph a quick 'see ya later buddy', to which he replies "bite-me, faggot" (he has a fairly advanced auto-reply system). Then you log off and, I’m sure, head off to the kitchen and put some ketchup on a slice of bread, pour yourself a coke and then head back to the computer to log back on and...

Holy: HI
Christoph: I wish death upon you
Holy: thanks I needed that

I have tried to investigate this. Picture me with my bag of bread, ketchup bottle and tin of raw Kool-Aid stuff, sitting in front of a monitor and referring to myself as an investigator for no reason as I spoke with him. Just to make sure he was really there I would send an IM every half hour or so just to witness the various replies.

Holy: dead kittens
Christoph: Longer
Holy: 2 dead kittens

Holy: shniggleboggles
Christoph: Correct.

Holy: hello
Christoph: Look what you made me do.
Holy: that’s a helluva thing to blame on somebody
Christoph: Yes it is.

Holy: hey buddy
Christoph: Wanna cyber?
Holy: let me go get my t-shirt
Christoph: Imagine that my tongue is in your face.
Holy: how would I breathe
Christoph: You wouldn’t.

Holy: how are ya?
Christoph: Roaches crawl out of the receiver when I pick up the phone, and I prefer this method of communication to your IMs.

So I’ll ask you again, do you think you have what it takes to write on VT? Do you have the courage to post something for Christoph to pound you over the head with until you fix it? Are you ready for the constant emails and IM’s and screaming and covert assassination attempts organized by the man himself? Do you possibly have any concept of the pressure that Christoph will put on you? It’s too late for me. Run while you can.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

umbrella

Imagine an umbrella. It’s over your head right now, look up at it. A pale red colour, the wan sunlight filters through it, illuminating the drops of rain that trail down its surface. Holding your hand out to the warm rain, you think that maybe nature hasn’t dealt you such a bad hand after all. You close the umbrella, shake it off, and place it in your bag. It’s not so much the umbrella you’re putting away, but what the umbrella symbolizes- safety. From what? The rain? You know this, and you know it’s silly to be afraid of a bit of water. After all, it never killed anyone, did it?

Imagine a diner, at the corner of a busy street on a rainy April day, right after you’ve put away your umbrella. You step towards it, into the street, and the water from the gutters splashes onto your shoes. You can feel the water swirling about your feet, and you know that your new sneakers might be ruined. With defiance, you splash for a moment in the puddles, throwing your head back to let the rain hit your forehead and roll off- “After all,” you think, “the shoes are already ruined and it’s such a nice day.” You don’t stop to think that the rain is a symbol of all that is wrong in the world- pollution, acids coming from the skies, covering the city with regurgitated filth.

The woman across the street looks out of the diner window, snug and relaxed. She sees a sprite of a girl, twirling in the rain, mocking the world with her simple act. Wrinkling her nose in disdain, the old woman, probably around forty or fifty, pays the for her coffee and hash browns with a cheque. She doesn’t tip the waitress. Stepping out of her solitary booth, her footsteps are soft on the ground. She is wearing the shoes of a grandmother, pale tan leather bought at Freeman’s, not on sale, with Dr. Scholl’s orthotics lining the bottoms. This woman in fact is a grandmother, of a remarkable eight. She comes from a farmhouse in southern Ontario, and raised her family in this very city. The City of Perpetual Umbrellas. Walking out of the diner towards a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta, straight off the lot, she pulls out her perpetual umbrella. A large, black umbrella with a sturdy duck-head-shaped handle. It block out the sunlight. It blocks out everything.

Imagine a garbage truck, the heat from the engines sending the rain up in steam. You step back up on the curb to let it pass, standing on your tiptoes to look over heads and umbrellas. An old woman is walking to the parking lot, her vision stuck to the ground. You watch as, in slow motion, the proud, shirtless garbage man’s mouth forms a silent O. You see the umbrella fall before you see the woman fall, and you hear the screech of breaks on new rain before you hear the short scream the woman utters. Life stops for the time being, and you, the only one who ever watched the garbage trucks go by, are the only witness to the soft sound of truck meeting flesh. You’re the only witness to the fatal wounding of a woman who never saw it coming. You unfold your umbrella and cling to it like it’s a safety blanket. You wait for the ambulances as if it were your own grandmother.

Friday, January 28, 2005

"Life's Like That"

I was seventy years old and babysitting my little grandchildren. The little guy, Christoph, was three years old, and his sister Bobbita was four. She was the first awake and came downstairs for breakfast, and after we ate we each sat in the living room where she quickly fell back asleep. I got up from my seat to go upstairs quietly and check on her brother who was still in bed, and while I was gone Bobbi woke up and sat all of her dolls on the cushion I had been sitting on.

I woke her up gently and said, “Bobbita, could you please put your toys away so that grandma can have her seat back?” She refused. I said, “listen, when you are seventy you will want to rest as well.” She said, “no I won’t, I’ll be working and you’ll be taking care of my children!”

I then woke up Christoph and got him washed and dressed before I gave him breakfast, because it was better that way for me. Chris, at three years, would give me a hard time, saying, “My mom and dad don’t make me get dressed first, and they are the boss!” I said, “When I am here, I am the boss, and you are just small potatoes.”

The next time I babysat there Christoph informed me again that his mother and father were “the boss,” and I said, “Yes Chris, they are, and what are you?” He pulled down his lip, looked up at me and said, “I’m potatoes.”

-Credit: Gramma McFloss.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Just a Monument, plz.

Slow Chemical is on hiatus for a moment while I catch up on writing it. I’ve been busily working offline on many other things for the past couple of weeks. I’ve quit smoking, gone back to school, and begun looking for a new job and a place to live. It’s just the way I tend to do things, as a procrastination apprentice: all at once and with very little time to spare. This time last year I was a completely different person in a completely different place. Same story a year before that. My life changes so very quickly and frequently that by now I’ve stopped bothering to worry about it, and just float on.

For those who have followed me online for a few semesters, that should sound about right. How many domain names have I had, under how many formats, and with how many writers and artists by my side? Infinite combinations, no one person could remember everything we’ve done with this here empire. From thousands of adoring fans to a simple weblog in 60 seconds flat, that sounds like something I would do again and again. I keep trying to figure what the point of this Blogger site is though, and in this one entry it seems to be a typical journal.

I went to the cheapo movies with Kitty last night to see Birth. It was really, really great -- much better than the one I walked out of last week to avoid getting into some fisticuffs with an asshole sitting near us. Next week we’re seeing Alfie and I <3 Huckabees. I considered doing “DVD Reviews” or something but decided that would be less awesome than never doing anything with a point to it. Like this.

I will be recruiting arrogant nerds for positions here. I haven’t decided where to find them yet. I’m not sure if I want anyone else from my offline life to be around here, but there are a couple who might fit. We’ll see. If you have a firm grip on the English language and consider yourself to be too cool for sex and sandals, give me an email (mcfloss@gmail.com) or leave a comment with a link to a blog or site with your writing on it, and please provide a return address. Remember, it’s not predictable humor anymore -- we are now serving pretension and philosophy by the gallon.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Sanser Panzer

Oh, balls. What will we do now, with all of this paper and all of these pens? It’s not without precedent; not even here, even lately, or without precedent. Build them up and smack them down; bake me a cake and smack it down. Cake, all over the floor -- everybody knows it but doesn’t speak at all for fear that they may be noticed. Writers, you fools! My paint sets and modeling clay: smacked ‘em down, picked up a pen.

Writers, we’re all the same. Sometimes the walls do breathe. Angels can’t speak, but they can tickle you in your sleep. Paintings come to life when you look away, stuffed animals giggle and frolic under your duvet. Walk like a lizard, holding mirrors up to strangers, speaking not a word. Grow down, flip out, and fly a kite to the moon.

It’s not a reason why, but it’s a great retaining wall in the interim. Look at the texture of the paper, and watch the ink form. Study the eyes that read it; imagine them as robots, and name them. Learn a dying language, and write with it the greatest book ever written. Don’t learn from a book, though. Never explain yourself, ever. Study the eyes that try to read you.

Kitty is the first, though Joey came before. He’s next, then Dirk and Alex, and then more. If they say no I’ll be uncalled for and make them say yes. ‘Tis to build the greatest team of caped avengers that the world has ever known, just like on Captain Planet, but not so gay. Been there, done that, smacked it down. Once more with feeling, with gusto, and ham sammiches in the break room to make up for the poor dental plan. Sarah, even you can come. I’m Chris.

In your world, your very own world (however small), I met you again. White lights and fireworks, skipping along to the beat. Backward notions stuffed into a brown paper bag, transcribed to bathroom walls and burned alive. Puddles, yes puddles; the puddle I jumped in with both feet, not knowing its depth. Why we do what we do. Walls and bridges painted on the mountainside, happy to know you. Waving, “hello, mountains,” she said. Happy, always, even when we’re sad.

Clumsy execution on all accounts. I’ll make up for it later. Meanwhile, think blank, or blank think, and keep it awesome for the captain.

some pretty, terrible thing who...

In front of me is a portal. A portal to a different world... one not my own. I really like it, because I don't have to leave my world to experience someone else's.

The walls are white, okay? The walls are white and the figures are black, and they speak to me the way I ought to be spoken to. Not as though I were an idiot. Not in silly little riddles that I can only unlock by venturing into the unknown, murky territory that is "the real world."

I hate being lied to, just for the sake of lying, or because lies are supposed to make me ignore the fact that the truth actually exists. They won't lie to me, and I know they won't. Once it happened, and trust sort of... flew out the window. Brutal honesty is to be respected, if that makes any sense. Sometimes, I end up not believing in tact because of my affinity for the truth, which can stir up trouble. Some people need to hear what's actually going on, though, not what they want to hear, or think they should be hearing. Have you ever been asked for the truth, only to be yelled at for telling it?

The humans are strange, fickle creatures. Shame I ever was one.

Hi, I'm Kitty, and I'll be your host for this evening. Please direct all questions to someone who cares.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

For Seriously

I love boats, but not the ocean. I love water, -- I've always been one of those freaks who loves to be in water, but just not the ocean. Not because of anything in it, not because it's so deep and scary, 'cause it's not scary at all. I dislike the ocean because it goes around the whole freaking planet, and when I look at the ocean I think, "that's it? That's all there is?"

Spiders don't scare me unless they're repelling. I don't think that has anything to do with spiders, but just that it's a small thing moving in the air. I hate birds and anything that floats or flies towards my face. The smaller they are, the less I appreciate them. I’d rather you smashed me in the nose with a brick than blew bubbles in my face.

I was never afraid of monsters in my closet when I was a kid, but I used to think they stole snacks from our kitchen. We used to leave out cookies and milk for Santa every year, and carrots for Rudolph. Somehow this put the thought in my head of magical creatures breaking into my home and raiding the cupboards. I wasn't scared, I was pissed at the fuckers.

I like to sit under the projector at the movies. I've always preferred that, right at the back under the projector. Mostly because I like to talk at the movies and there’s not a lot of people way back there. Or, mostly because I’m a freak who did it that way the first time and has to keep it perfect forever now.

Kitty is my new best friend and we’re going to make a website about balloons. We like to hang out on the floor at the supermarket and chat with our homeless friends in seedy neighborhoods. With anybody else these things would be super lame, but with Kitty they’re +100 Coolpoints. Kitty is super awesome like me.

Quirks are everything.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Cog and Tud

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Slow Chemical -- Scatterbrain

How is it that one can know so little of the things that make them up? How can any person lead a seemingly normal life without ever really connecting with all of the small things that effectively taught them how to live? How then can it even be possible -- if outlook is based on ones conditioning -- to really live? If you can't understand where exactly you have come from, and every moment that has made you into what you are, then in theory it should be quite difficult to form any sort of character or an opinion. If none of these thoughts are true, then we must be reduced to nothing greater than machines; all of our emotions and reactions would have to be hard-wired into us as people. We try, we fail; we sit down and we stand up; we frantically spin our wheels in some desperate attempt to go somewhere new and try something different. We don't know why we do it, though. Just 'cause we're machines.

I had forgotten everything. I was shaken awake by a mall security guard by the name of Anton. He told me that I was homeless, and recommended a few shelters for me to visit. He said my name was C. Malcolm, because it was signed on my library card, which he kindly returned to me. He had to tell me these things because I had forgotten them -- I had no absolutely no idea who, what or where I was. Anton told me not to sleep on mall property, and turned to walk away. At this point Anton was the only person I knew in the world, so I wasn't about to part with my bestest friend ever. I followed him, and though he didn't have answers for the questions I really needed to ask, he seemed to want to help me, and I certainly needed help. I let him go at the end of his shift, thanking him for his time. Now all I had to figure out was what I would do if I knew myself.

"$5 - 15 Minutes Internet," the sign read outside of Buckley's Café. Unfortunately, the only things in my wallet were my library card, a condom, and a picture of a beautiful girl, signed on the back, "for potato boy," a nickname I hoped was a joke. Inside, I tried to decide which of the two staff members would be more sympathetic to an amnesiac: the woman at the counter had a large stain on her shirt from some earlier kitchen disaster, so I thought she might be in a bad mood and opted for the older gentleman bopping along to loud jazz music as he swept the floor. I barely had to plead a case with Mr. Buckley, simply telling him that I was lost, and he offered me unlimited Internet access until closing. I was very grateful, and I told him that I would find a way to return the favor -- seeing Mrs. Buckley roll her eyes through the corners of mine.

There didn't appear to be a whole lot available for me on Google. There were a few C. Malcolm's in Vancouver: a swimmer, a skier, and a marathon runner. Looking to my beer gut for guidance, I decided that I was probably not one of these people. Just I was ready to give up, I spotted a weblog with the username "potato_boy," the nickname I remembered from the photo in my wallet. Unfortunately there was only one entry, but still it told me a few things about my life; my friends and family, and gave a name to the girl in the photo: Ashley. More importantly, the posting told me that I had left Vancouver for another town, Chilliwack, about two months ago.

I tried Google again, with "Chilliwack" in place of "Vancouver," and the first thing I saw set off an atomic bomb in the pit of my stomach. It was a newspaper article from the Chilliwack Progress, with the headline, "Colleen Malcolm murder investigation continues -- missing son suspected."

Saturday, January 15, 2005

I Will See Your Mom's Dog's Face

How do you fold your socks? Do you ball them up, or fold them nicely into little squares? How much milk do you have on your cereal? Have you ever fallen for a girl if only for her giggle, or the way that her eyes light up when she walks into an arcade? I love Amelie because of the opening scenes where we learn about the various quirks of all the film's main characters. I like buses for the same reason, just because people are on them and I get to invent a complex back-story for why they're playing with their ring finger. Michael Jackson and I, we love all of you idiots. For serious.

I saw a couple on the train today; a tall man who scored a tiny little cheerleader chick one drunken night, chaperoning a dance at her school. Her parents were against it of course, but he bought them twin Mercedes and they seemed not to mind so much anymore. He'll be the one to leave her, because he'll get tired of her drama-queen bullshit, but she'll have been cheating on him for a while by then anyhow. No harm, no foul, really -- everyone involved got what they wanted from it. Or they could have been brother and sister.

I have a theory on everyone but myself, I do. I'm a tough nut to crack, I am. I might be better at it if only I weren't so utterly boring that I can't hold my own damn attention. I'm an inner child that escaped and beat the fuck out of my adult self, and who now stands against the civilized world as a whole. Why? Because nobody uses photo booths anymore, they all wear too much black, and I'm the only one who still thinks a day at the park throwing handfuls of dirt into the air is something worth doing.

Lately I've been busy. Busy with work, busy with my social and home lives. I've become fond again of spending too much time in and out of various rooms; mine, yours -- anywhere with a blanket seems to be a good place to stay a while. Childish, childish, but what's wrong with being childish? I dare you to do something wildly stupid -- I quadruple-dog-dare you, times infinity, no take-backs. Kids have all the fun, grown-ups have all the stress. Me, I'll meet you somewhere in the middle with dirty pockets, and a stuffed cat puppet named Graham to do all the talking when I run out of things to say.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Slow Chemical -- Beautiful Midnight

Previously: Cloven has had to abandon school to care for his mother after her husband's untimely death. Moving back to the town where he grew up, he has struggled to accept the realities of his suddenly changed life. We left off behind Cloven's apartment, where on his way to work, Cloven was shot by an unknown assailant.

It was searing hot and a bitter cold at once. I knew the true wholeness of peace in this moment of terror; I knew all the pain of the world, yet I knew nothing at all. Or at least, what I knew didn't matter to me anymore -- nothing mattered to me anymore, and for a moment I accepted it. At last there was total silence inside of me, despite the chaos and confusion that burned through every nerve in my frozen body. No, nothing mattered, and for a moment I embraced it. I tasted my own death on my lips and could imagine nothing sweeter. I was more mentally awake than I had ever been as I slipped into the deepest sleep I'll ever know. I was tired, simply. I was weak. Finished.

Shot dead in an alley at age twenty-three. I thought of the headlines in the local papers, surprising myself with the reality of having been slain. I worried for my mother, and who would find my body. I hoped I hadn't crapped myself, and at least died in a respectable position. I saw a picture once online of a guy who was hit by a car and wound up wedged between it and a brick wall with his pants off and his head between his legs. It would make sense, somehow, for me to die like that -- to die wrong. As I considered these things it occurred to me that I was using a mind which shouldn't be functioning at all. I found that mildly amusing, but didn't have the time to comprehend what it meant before slipping back into my frozen slumber.

I remember the dream. I was alone in a world screened in blue. I walked along a cobblestone path past massive, angular houses built on stilts and silver platforms. I could see for miles ahead but not where I was going. The houses were then far behind me, and the path I had been traveling turned to a river of brilliant gold. Light reflected off of the water's surface and came up to caress me, and it sung to me. In the distance I could see a large wave to one side, and a mountain to the other, and directly between them and in front of me was nothing at all, not time nor space. A child was walking with me now, but I could not see him, and I felt alone again. The light released me, screaming for me, and the river went grey. My companion and I soon came to a fork in the river that we stood upon, and I asked the child which way to turn. The sun was snuffed out in an instant, and all the pressure and noise of the world was frozen. The faceless boy turned to me and said, "Anywhere but here."

Monday, January 10, 2005

Hello, Stupid!

Ridiculous things are constantly happening all around us; ridiculous things are happening right now -- and I don’t simply mean that I’m writing another ‘Blog entry, because believe it or not, there are things in this world yet more disjointed, irreverent, and nonsensical than myself. Come to think of it, you may first have to achieve my level on ridiculousity (not a word) to notice the rest of the world’s fatuousness (word!) at all.

I seek it out. I don’t think I mean to, but I do seem to come across these types of things more so than the common man – that, or everybody else is just smart enough not to speak of such situations again. Working at a call center affords one the opportunity to chat with some of the most consistently ridiculous people on the face of the Earth, both on the phones and in the break room. Of course, I then come home and sign on to MSN where I’m now fairly certain that my Interweb Buddies and I actually do strive for idiocy. It’s scary to think that, eventually, somebody who today has a weblog may tomorrow be in a great position of power in this world.

Let me give you a quick rundown of some of the insanity that I’ve been a part of: I have set off explosives in a mall parking lot with absolutely no idea of how powerful they might be, but the damage was extensive; I once gave a homeless guy a burrito outside of 7-11 and wound up chillin’ with his homies in their crack den, and despite the fact that I would never try such a drug I was offended that not one of them offered me a hit; finally, I met a girl in downtown Chilliwack at 2:00 in the morning and brought her home with me in spite of her claim to have killed a girl when she was fifteen, because I figured she’s nineteen now so she hasn’t killed in goin’ on five years, which ain’t too shabby.

Despite these things, the world remains a stranger place than even the darkest recesses of my mind. Had I smoked crack in a burrito-pipe and blown up homeless girls, the Earth would still beat me by a large margin when it comes to foolishness. There are people out there who are sexually aroused by particular textures of crud building up behind toilettes, and even a few who sincerely believe that God is an old dude with a robe whose kid is on his way to bail us out for all the shit that we get our damn selves into. If anything, God’s a pissed off motherfucker who stopped bothering with us a long time ago, and Jesus is this teenage menace who possesses us to give a crap about trance music.

And I know the Bible says that Jesus was in his thirties or something when he died, so he absolutely cannot under any circumstances be a teenage menace or listen to any form of music or have a solid opinion on anything important, and my fact-checkers sure fucked that one up, and GEORGE BUSH FARTS AWFUL PUTTER-SPANK NO BLOOD FOR OIL – and you just forgot about the other thing; you guys are so easy!

The only point that I’m trying to make right now is the point that I normally make entirely by mistake and without even noticing it, and that is just that people are fucked like SO hard! I would go as far as to say that none of my generation’s children will ever reach the age of , say, fifty, because you know they’ll find some completely ridiculous, accidental, tragic and yet somehow humorous way to destroy all humanity. We might be better off to cull the kids and throw a warning label on reproduction, because otherwise we’re just fucked, and either way our only hope is to pray that somebody cures death.

Even then we’re probably pretty well screwed, since we’ll have people like our own Phillip Thrasher to endure for all time. Grah!

GRAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!

Die, okay? The end!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Slow Chemical -- Day One

Slow Chemical is a work of fiction presented to be a vampyric metaphor for the worlds I'm driven by in all of my writing: politics and the arts. Additions to the story will be posted between each regular 'Blog entry. Enjoy.

When I awoke that morning there was no way that I could have known of the things that would soon become of me. The only thing on my mind at the moment was a simple choice: to pee, or not to pee? I knew that if I got out of bed, then by the time I had completed my mission in the lavatory it would be all but impossible to fall back asleep. Briefly, I considered the money-making opportunities in the bedpan industry, but my sanity was saved by a beckoning smell crawling under the door to my room. So, I pee’d.

Mom was up and preparing breakfast in the kitchen. She means well, but her recent fascination with healthier diets just wasn’t going to fly with me. I’ll never understand the logic behind putting yourself through a bunch of stress and suffering, simply to prolong your life of further stress and suffering. Low-carb, high-disappointment yolkless eggs and faux bacon were out the window today though, because mom was turning sixty this morning, and looked finally determined to live a little. I sat with her and we indulged in her favorite foods, Fruit Loops and Pepsi, and watched back-to-back episodes of the Price is Right. It was a short-lived and rather pathetic birthday celebration, as I had to finish up my chores and get ready for a long day on the phones at the job I’d grabbed when I learned just how much mom needed me right now. School could wait another year.

Doing the dishes, I thought about the way things used to be. When I was a kid I would go to great lengths to please mommy on her birthday; I wrote a song once that actually contained lyrics such as “you never even beat me when I whipped out my peepee,” which at the time was a token of honest, heartfelt gratitude for all the streaking I had gotten away with. She still sings that stupid song at family gatherings, just to embarrass me. Now I could barely find the time or energy to mutter a “happy birthday, ma,” on my way out the door. Personally I didn’t feel like celebrating at all, as I was hung up on having my perfect little storybook life being stripped away to take care of the woman, and I resented her for it. At the time I thought things couldn’t get much worse, but in retrospect I still had it pretty good.

On my way out I heard her call to me – there were three overstuffed garbage bags that she had been saving up over the past several weeks, and they had my name on them. I grabbed the load and wished her another quick happy birthday, with a slightly less convincing smile, and dashed out the door and down the stairs toward the garbage bins. It was a frigid January morning, so I moved at a brisk pace; the sooner I was in my car and out on the open road, the better. I also couldn’t shake this weight in the pit of my stomach – you know, that feeling you get when something bad is about to happen to you – which I couldn’t explain, but it inspired me to be yet quicker to get going. As I lifted the lid to the trash bin I heard a noise directly behind me, startling me in my state of paranoia, so instinctively I spun around to see the source of my fears. I thought I saw a figure moving behind the trees, but it was all just a foggy mess to me. What I know for sure is that my fears were justified, as I watched the bullet spin toward me in slow motion, and my lips hadn’t the time to form the first syllable in “oh shit” before I hit the ground.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Entrepreneurialism is a Word!

There is something that we need to discuss before it gets out of hand. Today I am making sandwiches without any bread. My secret is that I am using cheese instead of bread, potato chips instead of cheese, and a super-major lot of paprika! I have eaten six already, and my cat tried very hard to eat one too. I am going to sell them over the Internet or on street corners -- I haven't decided yet -- and eventually save up the funds to start a chain. The really neat thing about them is that -- for those of you who are always on the go -- you can ball these sandwiches up in your hands and eat them in one bite! That is sandwich efficiency if there ever was such a thing. I think I will call them Paprika Sand Balls.

Oh, I almost forgot why I wanted to have this talk with you kids to begin with. I am currently accepting charitable pledges towards buying somebody a bicycle. I haven't decided who is going to get it yet, so if you are looking for a bicycle then you should be very nice to me and send me a lot of money. I think that once I have the bicycle and can really get a feel for who it is as a bicycle, only then will I know to whom it belongs. I know that sounds a lot like a brilliant master plan to "suddenly" decide that it belongs to me and just trick you idiots into buying me a bike, but mind your manners mister -- I simply won't know who should have it until I get the chance to suss it out a bit. Everything is right for somebody and, statistically speaking, large-breasted Vancouver women with low moral fiber are more likely to be right for things, for God knows what reason.

With any luck these Paprika Sand Balls will make me very rich, very quickly, and I can just buy everyone a bicycle so that I won't have to worry about it anymore. I am also working on a new method for extracting Ibuprofen from Motrin tablets, which includes far fewer steps and allows for far less accuracy. It is very efficient. I will roll up the Ibuprofen in my hands with some sap from a Willow tree and sell it on street corners. Motrin tablets are extremely cheap when you consider just how many are in a bottle, so all I've got to do to keep up my profit margin is jack up the price a smidge and sell them in single or double packs for a dollar a piece. I think I will call it Sapballprofen, and blow up a Honda in my TV commercial.