Archive for October 2012

Where dreams go to dream

October 31, 2012

I’ve always been fascinated with fiction. Mainly science-fiction and epic fantasy (no, not leather-&-chickens type fantasy). Immersing myself in worlds different enough from mine that I could picture pissing some mystical buddy off there, but similar enough to know I could piss them off, has been a hobby of mine from the moment I knew what these squiggly lines all jammed together meant. I read…a lot. Or, at least I used to.

All talk of my childhood genius aside (which terminated in a skull-cracking drop from a Houdini-esque contraption in the garage that put me in the hospital for 2 weeks my freshman year in high school), I had a tendency to thoroughly embed myself in the stories I read. If I wasn’t the main character (or one of the more fascinating sidekicks), I was at least his silent conscience. Here’s a partial list of the people I wanted to be back then:

  • Bink (and later, his son Dor) from Piers Anthony’s Xanth series. Bink struggled with his nonentity status in a world of remarkable people, but later discovered he was more remarkable than the rest. While I don’t envy him his choice in wives (read “A Spell For Chameleon” to find out why), he certainly had an interesting life. His son, Dor, had the ability to speak to any inanimate object (you know, like anyone in a maximum security psych ward can), and was himself the object of intense interest from his land’s most intriguing young woman (watch, you’ll notice a trend in these).
  •  Stile, from another of Piers Anthony’s creations, The Apprentice Adept series. Stile was short in stature, tall in power, narrow of purpose and wide of vision ($1 if you can guess that quote correctly without searching for it on the Internet). He was a voluntary serf in a technologically advanced world, and a burgeoning super-magician in the parallel world adjoining his. He was pursued in both worlds by the most beautiful and fascinating women (though, one was a robot and the other was a shape-shifting unicorn).
  • Garion in David Edding’s Belgariad Series. Most of Garion’s childhood was spent in obscurity, until it was discovered that he was actually a badass super-sorcerer with the destiny to save the world, defeat an evil god and marry the most beautiful human/dryad woman in the land (typical fare for us super-powerful wallflowers). Oh, and he would likely live forever, because he’s badass like that.
  • Pug in Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar Saga. Do I really need to go through this again? (sigh) A child born and raised in obscurity; longing for more; chaos ensues where he’s taken away and trained to be such a crazy-good sorcerer that it scares his trainers, and makes him the most eligible magician in two worlds (see what I mean about trends?).
  • And who could forget Bilbo Baggins? I mainly wanted his share of the riches so I could afford to train to be a badass and be the most eligible ninja-genius on my world.

Later, after I had spent some time trying to mature (unsuccessfully, of course), I moved on to role models like Michael Gallatin, Russian émigré
to the British Secret Service in Robert R. McCammon’s Wolf’s Hour, where this lone badass was expected to sneak into Hitler’s encampment and steal secret plans, then foil them in the larger tapestry of the story later. The twist? He was a werewolf. One who could control his change. Plus, he got all the beautiful women.

There were many other voyages into self-indulgent literary fantasies, but those stand out as the most prominent. When you’ve been exiled to your room for weeks on the trumped-up charge of “you did something“, you quickly learn to submerge yourself in your alternate realms for as long as your jailors will allow. It works the same for when you’ve missed the numerous warning signs that your partner is about to go Mortal Kombat on your ass because you just don’t know when to stop being an ass. Hello, “Apathy and Other Small Victories” (by Paul Neilan)…

Call of the Wild

October 30, 2012

***I want you all to know that if any of you ever, EVER, needs someone to put you down when you become a zombie, I’m here for you.***

I grew up on the edge of a national park in southern California. It was one of the few saving graces in what I perceived to be a nearly untenable childhood. But what child doesn’t think they’ve got it rough? Ah, but I was different. I (thought I) was smarter than my mother and grandparents, and so felt compelled to test every possible boundary with them as often as I could. The few parents who read my ramblings know what a joy that process is. Now imagine that it starts with your kids at age 7-8 years old.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, my parents decided to give each other some space when I was too young to remember anything. And by space, I mean opposite ends of the continent…indefinitely. My mother, who shall hereafter be referred to as “my mother”, was more than a little bit of a free spirit, and saw the addition of a life that needed constant caring for as an imposition. However, she did see the benefits in having a living fetching machine, channel changer (back when you had to get up and walk 2-3 feet to watch something different), butler, gardener and pet sitter (for when she decided it was time to dash off on one of her impromptu adventures). Add to this the tendency to remind me of how much of a hindrance I was to her social life and you start to get a picture of my growing need to pee on the electric fence that was my life.

Because my mother enjoyed such a carefree view of her world, it fell upon her parents to not only support her whimsical jaunt through her candy-colored life, but also to raise her children (my brother-from-the-same-mother and I). My grandparents likely never imagined finishing their own immediate voyage as co-captains of the USS Parenthood, only to find that the near-derelict PT-boats following them would require full-time management as well. As can be expected when you’re called back to active duty from a well-deserved retirement, there was some resistance, felt most keenly by the apparent deck-hands, my brother and I (why I’ve gone all naval on this is as much of a mystery to me as it is to you).

As we were pressed into on-going service as Pine Needle Inventory Specialists, Tree & Shrub Surgical Technicians, Weed Recon & Assault team members and the dreaded secret missions (just follow me and do what I tell you to do), tensions began to rise. With no visible end to our indentured servitude, my brother and I began to practice the fine arts of invisibility and teleportation. If you needed us for something, you’d better have a good set of hidden-kid goggles or an imaginary prize that we would be willing to break cover for. Otherwise, we would slip out and maybe leave a note as to where we might be found if anyone wanted to make the effort to find us. That’s when we’d get into the most trouble. Wait, scratch that. Since I was the older of the two of us, that was when I would get into the most trouble and he would be deemed the gullible “baby” along for the ride.

Here’s partial list of the atrocities that ensued:

  • Accidentally set an abandoned house on fire while playing “put the matches out on a shredded mattress”.
  • Enticed an entire nation of bees to pursue my brother when I convinced him to advance on it as I threw rotten oranges at the hive.
  • Convinced him to smoke fruit wraps while I tried not to laugh myself to death.
  • Taught him how to fly like Superman from a rope swing, and break bones (his own) like an osteogenesis imperfecta patient.
  • Lured him deep into an abandoned mine shaft (in earthquake country) then turned the flashlight off and ran for the exit without him.
  • Locked him out of the bathroom until he wet himself.

Yes, I was a mischievous scamp. I don’t think I genuinely meant any harm, I just wanted to see what I could and could not get my brother to do. It’s no great surprise that we’re not on cordial terms today.

My great refuge, my secret lair, was the mountains of the national park behind our house. Many hidden locations around that park (and a few obvious ones to emerge from when someone was about to go into a meltdown trying to find me) were my escape from reality. There were remote crawdad ponds secluded beyond Indiana Jones style obstacles; there were serene little valleys with deer (and the occasional bobcat, it turns out); a giant tree with a rope swing next to an abandoned water reservoir (where the aforementioned Superman training ensued); and peaks where you could sit and squint through the smog at the city all laid out at your feet.

My journeys into that magical world included many specimen retrievals (typically snakes, lizards and frogs) that would wind up as escaped POWs in and around the house. That tended to go over like a turd in the punchbowl with my mother, and she would demand that these hapless souls be recaptured and “dealt with”. Hey, if these critters were smart enough to escape confinement and avoid the perils of whichever random dog or cat my mother had snatched up off the street as “hers”, who was I to force them back into prison?

Sometimes I just liked to find a nice quiet glade and run around like a crazy person until I got tired. During one such chaotic solo-stampede, I decided it would be a good idea to climb as high up the mountain as fast as I could. In the course of scrambling up the rocks in the ravine I was in, I nearly had an adolescent heart attack. My hand had been about to lodge in a convenient nook in the rock above me, when I heard the sound that all hikers and climbers know, even if they’ve never heard it before: a rattlesnake buzz. Sometimes clever non-venomous snakes will imitate this noise by vibrating the tips of their unadorned tails in dry leaves or brush, but there is no mistaking that angry buzz from a real rattler.

Time seemed to slow to a near stop, and I found myself simultaneously mouthing “NNNNNNNOOOOOOOO!” and pushing back off the rock with my other hand. Fortunately for me, the snake really just wanted to nap in his warm hidey-hole and didn’t bother to follow me down the mountain. It’s a good thing for him, as I tumbled headlong over rocks and bushes, through tumbleweeds and sage and landed in a scratched, dirty and sweaty pile of flesh a good ten yards away. I learned a valuable lesson that day: look where you want to jam your hand or it might mean getting all bashed up (a lesson that served me well in my early dating years as well).  But the best part of this story is…wait for it…I was naked. Seriously. Try explaining why your body is all cut, scratched and bleeding, but your clothes are untouched. “A freak dust-devil tore my clothes off and scuffed me up,” doesn’t work. Believe me.

The Biltmore Punishment

October 29, 2012

***I always wanted to end a post with, “But the best part of this story is that I was naked.” Someday…***

As many people already know, there’s a huge eff-off house in the mountains of North Carolina called The Biltmore. It’s the kind of house that isn’t ashamed to let you know you’ll never be that wealthy. Even the garden is secretly mocking your comparative pauper status. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? I’d like to Tarantino this up and bit and start at the end of this travesty of a weekend.

Me: I can’t believe what a total waste of time that was.

Her: I’m not going to say “I told you so,” but…

I know, right? A woman who wasn’t impressed with the opulence and grandeur of such a stately (non-Wayne) manor. Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. Dragging me through 2-3 hours of fantasy-house land wasn’t at the core of our mutual discontent. No, that boiling cauldron of angst comes from the real reason we drove 4.5 hours each way on our limited time off: an entertainment industry “meet and greet”.

This whole thing started out with me pledging a lot of my relationship capital for “something different” for the weekend, my way of trying to make 270+ minutes of driving (one way) seem like a grand adventure. And she didn’t even have to drive. I would man the helm for this voyage and let her…well, sit bored out of her mind the entire time. Win-win, right? The deciding factor was The Biltmore. She’d go if I’d go, but she made it clear she expected the scheduled meeting to be a huge disappointment.

Since I like to start out every trip the same way, I opened with my standard say-or-do-something-utterly-infuriating move to ensure an uncomfortable silence until the first call of Nature. Oh, and a huge “thank you” to satellite radio for ensuring all the songs played during that freeze-out were of the “oh no he didn’t” variety. And yes, apparently he did.

We made it relatively unscathed to Asheville and found that we couldn’t check in to our hotel room for another three hours. Just the right amount of time to skip lunch and slog through a massive mansion and trek across the immediate grounds. Until the shuttle driver mentioned it on the way up, it never dawned on me that what took us 5 minutes by car would have taken the original owners 45 minutes by carriage. Imagine that bumpy ride after dining on your own shoe leather. At least you’d have the massive house to lose yourself in once you got there. Since we weren’t the only members of the unwashed masses who decided to punish ourselves for not having all the money, there was not only a line to get in the house, they were staging the entry times; like Disneyland if you took out the rides and attractions and didn’t tell anyone.

It turns out I was not immune to the charms of this insanely huge residence. While I managed to keep my disaffected half-scowl in place, I couldn’t help picturing myself in a smoking jacket sitting on one of the plush couches in the massive library, waving away the crowds of people with my brandy glass. Muffy, I thought the peasant parade wasn’t until next month. Everything about that place said, “Get your ass to Mars!” Wait, that was me daydreaming while stuck parading past the closed guest rooms. What it actually said was, “hands to yourself, slacker”.

There were so many twists and turns and nooks and crannies in this place that you could start a game of hide-and-seek as a kid back then and finish it as a Discovery Channel mystery corpse today. After many upstairs floors and rooms that reveled in excess, we followed the ever-babbling crowd down into the basement, where everything that made the house function properly was to be found, including a larder that modern grocery stores would be jealous of, a 3-part kitchen, a laundry, the servants’ quarters, the deepest indoor pool I think I’ve ever seen and a gym with old-school dumbbells. There was so much more to this monument to wealth, but I can’t do it justice, and not just because I didn’t want to go there in the first place. It simply is too exceptional to be adequately experienced second-hand. I won’t lie, though: $74 per person seems a bit steep until you get to the winery.

All the wine samples “your system can take” is included in the ticket, but you have to remember that there’s the long drive out of the estate and back home once you’ve toasted excessively large houses a few dozen times. Since my girl isn’t fond of alcohol (one sip and she’s beet-faced and nearly comatose; cheap date, right?), we kept it at a few samples and meandered out by way of the gift store. Dinner and a few Harry Potter flicks on HBO later and the day was done. The much anticipated (by me) next day’s event was near at hand.

Even though I didn’t sleep well, a combination of itchy bed syndrome, noisy people and a sleep-sound generator on my iPad that sounded like a running toilet all night, I was ready to meet and greet this industry professional and make some sort of positive impression. By the way, unless you have no other choice, think twice about staying with any hotel chain that makes you come to the front desk to get the TV remote (and an iron). I’m talking about YOU, Crimson House Cover. Thanks for the bug bites.

We got to the venue, another hotel, and set up car-camp. Since we were there several hours early, we got to watch as other aspiring talent pulled into the parking lot and either primped like they were meeting Brad Pitt, or mulled around trying not to look at us and the others to determine if we were who they were here to impress. For our part, we played “is it him?” for a good hour. When it looked like enough people had gathered to make seating inside the cramped hallways iffy, we made our move. Strutting in, like you do, we planted ourselves right at the door to the conference room and waited to be met and greeted. What ensued was more like a livestock round-up, in more ways than one.

When something is billed as a “meet-and-greet”, you get the idea that you’ll get the chance to do more than fill out paperwork, smile, nod and move on. Will you have to do some soft shoe and sing show tunes? Hopefully not, but you’d better be prepared to fake it if they ask. People came dressed…differently. Some seemed to show up ready to be cast as “less than virtuous”, while others could have rolled right out of the closet after a rough night at the pool hall. Regardless of how you looked, or what your expectations were, this is how it went: walk in, fill out the contact information sheet, get briefly judged and walk out.

I told you so.

That unspoken sentiment coming from the passenger seat made the first several hours of the ride back a bit tense. It’s not her fault that she was right…again. My hopes were so high that they couldn’t help but be dashed. I mean really, what did I expect? Mr. McDuck! We’ve been searching for someone JUST like you! When can you start accepting a huge salary from us for looking so perfect?? We don’t admit it, those of us who have chosen to ask others to judge us in pursuit of a career in front of a camera, but these are the dreams that keep us going in the face of rejection upon rejection, week after week. I mean, it’s happened before, right? It could happen to me. They could need a bald, goateed man of medium build to be the next big thing. And not just any of the thousands of bald, goateed men from this region alone, but me. You never know; only secretly, we do know.

After getting back and taking out my pent-up frustrations on innocent(?) digital aliens, I reflected in secret that if not for the visit to the big eff-off house, this trip would have been more frustrating than the time I “volunteered” to paint NO TRESPASSING signs for an area that didn’t previously have any (which is why I was there in the first place, your honor). As it was, the balm of imagining myself as lord of that massive manor was enough to soothe my irritation from the cattle-call…almost.

Interpersonal Detour

October 26, 2012

Her: That exercise device will give you exaggerated pain.

Me: Nuh-uh! It’s marketed to strengthen!

Her: Okay, but if you come crying to me in a few days about how much it hurts, I’m going to punch you in the McBags.

Me: Pfft! None of those things will happen.

Days later

Me: Man, this pain…

Her: (sharp look)

Me: Uh, in my eyes. You know, from reading about how bad some exercise devices are for you.

Her: (not changing expression)

Me: I think I may need a sports codpiece before I talk to you further.

An open letter to sharks

October 25, 2012

***This was going to be a post on my brother’s pants-wetting fear of spiders, but I feel this is the more pressing issue right now***

Dear all of you,

This is getting serious. I’m afraid I’m going to have to put my foot down on this whole surfer-snack thing you’ve got going on. It’s getting to the point where I can’t sleep at night wondering how long it will be before you’re sending your spawn through my plumbing and into my warm, comfy bubble bath. Let me make this clear: mi casa-tub is certainly not su casa-tub. Capiche?

While you may have no choice but to live in the ocean, where Nature has designed you to fit perfectly and have the appropriate sustenance for your biology (plus, all the water you can drink), we humans have the the need, nay, the RIGHT to invade your home and declare you evil killers in the name of “because”.  So what if we have to have special equipment to spend any significant time on or in your demesne. You think that gives you the right to follow your centuries upon centuries of instinct and mistake our wild movements as the ineffective flailing of potential prey? I don’t think so, misters…and missuses. Ma’ams?

Look, if we could engineer some sort of SCABA (Self Contained Above-water Breathing Apparatus) suit for you, we’d…well, we’d likely use it to parade you around in front of large crowds for profit, turning you into whores, but that’s not the point. The point is, we’d allow you to serve our best interests on land, so why not cut us some slack in your one and only home environment. Heck, you’d even be able to visit your family members who are serving valiantly as eye candy right now in our many wonderful aquariums, habitats that are likely better than your ghetto homes in the seas (no offense to ghetto sharks, yo).

Look, all I’m asking for here is a little accommodation. I mean, we do you the favor of siphoning off as many of the inferior species in your environment as we can so that you remain top dogs down there. We also do our best to push your food sources closer to you by making our shorelines barely habitable with pollution of various types. The least you could do is respect us as the rulers of 1/3 of this marble and not cull from our vast and ever growing herd. If you cannot, or will not, see eye to eye with us on this, there will be consequences for this deliberate act of aggression.

All around the globe are what we refer to as “rednecks”. You may have witnessed them tossing explosives into your home to see what weaker species can’t take a little shock wave. They’ve also been kind enough to dispose of their bottles and cans in your realm to promote awareness of our needs and habits, as well as refilling your homes with human-filtered “water”. Now, it doesn’t take much to fuel the ire of these folk, and they are more than willing to paint you as the demons of the sea you seem to relish acting like. Once that ire is up, you can bet your toothy asses there will be hell to pay in the form of tournaments and cullings designed to teach you the valuable lesson of moderation and respect for life. I don’t think either of us wants that.

In closing, I just want to say that if you could see things from our perspective, you’d realize that we just want an amicable end to this senseless slaughter of innocent surfers, swimmers and divers who may or may not look like prey when they visit your home. When you’re ready to come to the table with open arms, so are we.

Sincerely,

McLandbound

If do right, no can defend

October 23, 2012

***Disclaimer: This will be a fanboy review of a video game. I’ll understand if you take a powder on this one.***

If there’s one thing I know about, it certainly isn’t how to excel at video games. I play many, but am master of none. Heck, it’s a good day when I get the paddle to send the Pong dot back over to your side more than once. Still, you don’t have to be good at something to be addicted to it. Okay, so I’m not neglecting to feed, bathe or clothe myself (most of the time), but there are a whole slew of home and self improvement projects that get the gallows if there’s anything even remotely interesting to play on my computer or console system. My current obsession: XCOM Enemy Unknown.

For anyone who remembers the original, turn-based strategy game, XCOM UFO Defense, I first have to say, “nerd”…but not derisively. More like a modern rallying cry. You’ll likely remember entering the cheat code for unlimited funds (rosebud?) so that you could pepper the planet with your secret, underground bases, hardened digital soldiers and fancy imaginary aircraft. Wait, you didn’t actually play fair and earn the funds, did you? Now I will say “nerd” derisively. The objective was to ensure the planet didn’t fall prey to back-door probing, cattle violating visitors from other worlds (insert West Virginia joke here). How can you do that on a rookie’s salary? While a bit clunky during combat operations, it was still an immensely enjoyable line item on divorce papers.

https://i0.wp.com/img.gamefaqs.net/screens/3/8/7/gfs_43313_2_6.jpg

(Squad deployment from the drop ship in the first game. Grainy like home-made granola, right?)

Enter modern graphics engines and a Christopher Nolan-esque reboot, and you get the current incarnation. 2K Games and Firaxis teamed up and incorporated the Unreal engine to give us hardcore game geeks something that will increase waistlines and junk food sales exponentially. Bottom line? They sexied it up. And it’s the kind of sexy you don’t want to undress…if that makes any sense. In the old game, you could send highly explosive rockets down an enemy’s gray gullet and he (I have to justify killing imaginary life forms by convincing myself they have no females in combat) would drop on the spot he was standing. Now, you can take pot shots at these creepy bastards, miss and hit the car they are standing behind and that car starts prepping to bring the environmental pain. Once that car blows sky-high, your would-be prostate inspector (or galactic gyno) flails ragdoll-style across the dynamic environment until landing in a tattered heap on the beautifully rendered battlefield. The physics are so cool, you almost want to play naked…if not for the petty whining of other residents of your household.

(New and improved squad deployment and environment.)

Not only are the physics amazing, the cut-scenes are gorgeous as well…the first few times you see them. I mean, if you’ve seen an anti-alien incursion team with futuristic weapons take off in a VTOL aircraft and land near a downed UFO once, you’ve seen it a thousand times. And you will, unless you discover the ‘esc’ key early on. You can customize your soldiers so that they sort of look like the people you’ve named them, which means the usually mind numbing chats you have with your co-workers and family about games they couldn’t give a rat’s rotting rectum about now include phrases like, “You panicked and fired your plasma rifle at me then ran screaming into the night.” On that note, I want to take a brief moment to say that few things are more satisfying than benching your sister for missing that last shot and denying her the chance to earn her next promotion. Colonel McDuck requests your presence in the sit down and shut up room, slacker. Do some push ups or something.

(I’m so badass it shames her.)

While one of my good friends is worried about the voodoo factor of taking people you know and love into combat where one wrong move means a face full of hot plasma, I say that is easily remedied. Either name them people you don’t like, or do like I do: save more than Jesus. Seriously, if a round ends with all of your team retaining their limbs and wits, SAVE! That way, when you move your girlfriend up the line to kick that door in and she unleashes a swarm of skittering death on herself and the rest of the team, you just reload the last save and she’s miraculously got advance knowledge of what not to do this time.

(The Dream Team…minus Lieutenant McFancypants, of course.)

Base building this time around is a far cry better than the static aerial view of the first iteration. This time, it’s more like an ant farm. You look at it from an underground side view, and the facilities can be built across and down (as you build the necessary lifts to reach the lower levels). Plus, each facility has something going down in it. When you build an alien containment unit and capture a live alien (a tough prospect when they answer the door naked and firing all barrels at your noggin), you can go look at him before you interrogate him and see how pissed he is to miss the next episode of Springer. In the infirmary, people are chatting, possibly comparing battle scars, but the coolest thing for me was seeing people running and sweating on the treadmills in the fitness center. I needed a diaper that day.

(Mission Control and part of the barracks area, including (squee!) the runners in the gym.)

Once you get the hang of battle dynamics, you can start to play around with tactics. I like to set what I call FOAD traps (eff off and die): all but one team member in cover waiting to fire at the first sign of movement and one mouse trooper (usually my sister) to draw the murderous invaders into the open. Works like a charm every time…except when they grenade my mouse. There are various kinds of missions, including landed or crashed UFOs; alien abduction sites, where you’ll have to decide which two countries to piss off when you pick a third to rescue; story progression missions, like an alien base incursion and some timed rescues; and my least favorite type, the dreaded terror missions, where all the aliens really care about is reducing the population of the battle zone to a sticky residue. You have to move fast in those missions and really pay attention or the agonizingly frightened and apparently paralyzed civilians will be gone and the mission a failure before you can say, “Where’s my pants?”

All in all, this game is an excellent reboot of a well-worn (for me) original. It’s pretty, it’s engaging and it’s more than a little fun. Even though I’ve revealed I’m like an insect (attracted to bright, shiny objects and ready to sacrifice my sister for the greater good), I still think this game has something to offer every gamer dynamic except the hardcore 1st person shooter crowd. But those folks will need padded cells at some point in the future anyway. I left out a bunch of material I was going to cover, but then what would you be able to blame me for later after you try the game? Go on, pop some plasma-caps in some alien asses and get back to me.

Hey, Lieutenant McFancypants, where’s my coffee?

Whose house?

October 23, 2012

***Today’s post is brought to you by the Don’t Call Your Girlfriend a Chupacabra Even as a Joke Society***

The pronoun “I” will feature prominently in my work here. Rightfully so, of course. If I were writing as me for your blog, it might be a different story. Probably not, but that’s your fault for letting me write for you. This is my digital word-house, and I’ll act accordingly. Also, this is a spectator sport, and nothing satisfies like self-serving, near-meltdown posts. Hang in there long enough and I’m sure some maudlin wave of self pity will wash over me and you’ll be there at the start of a literary train wreck. Just not today.

There were many things I left out of my hastily carved mini-bio in the previous post. Can you blame me? Listing every little detail about yourself does one of two things: induces coma or breeds über-stalkers who just want to make sure your spleen is happy in its new home in their freezer. While I’m not sure my spleen wouldn’t be happier there, my other gooey inner junk would miss it terribly. Also, since I tend to fictionalize many actual conversations I have with people so that it seems like I’m far more witty and charming than I really am, keeping most of the real me secret means someone I piss off with my writing gets the pleasure of calling me a fraud at some later date. Win-win.

Speaking of pissing people off, if you find that you’ve been fictionalized here, it’s for one of two reasons: either I trust that you’ll find humor in my lies, or you’ve stumbled here by accident and were never supposed to see what I’ve written about you. In case of the latter, my name is Patrick MacDoogleshins and I live on the moon. Come at me, bro. Not everything you hear (or read, for that matter) is all that entertaining, so spicing modern life up in literary form with a few embellishments or additions is a way to say, “I love what you should have said.” Cool? Moving on.

Honestly, this is my way of starting something that should have started a few decades ago: showcasing something that I’m good at. Holy crap, did I just compliment myself? Let me temper that a bit with , “kinda”. I can string a few words together in a manner that tends to indicate meaning of some sort, and I’ve taken too long of a hiatus from treading those neural pathways. Seriously, the crap I’m finding in there…

This will likely never turn into a Q&A format where I beg you to care enough to ask questions of me that I will probably not answer to your liking, but if it ever does, remind me that I’m just doing this to ensure I don’t forget how to write semi-coherently. I’ll pout, but you’ll never see it. If you’re still with me after the next post I’m composing, then you’re clearly paying for some past-life evil. These entries will likely bounce around like a sugar fueled toddler, but stick with me and I promise to disappoint you sooner or later.


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