Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Future Tensed Up

"It’s a peculiar disability that we think explains prophets and psychics. Some of the atoms in your brain don’t exist in the present. They are charged particles that technically exist in some future time. They’re linked to your current brain, plugging gaps where otherwise you’d hemorrhage. The result is that little bits of your brain are thinking far in the future, knowing things that haven’t happened in the world of the rest of your brain. Your future self is unconsciously reporting things he sees to his past self, all by accident. Once we figure out just how far in the future these brain spots are, we can figure out when you’re getting your information from. Similarly once these regions stop firing altogether we can have a good guess as to when you’ll die – when that future brain goes inactive. With any luck, we’ll have the information to save you."

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: Free Again

The deputy came running as soon as the Sheriff paged. He dreaded looking.

"Did he really?" the deputy asked. The Sheriff nodded and directed him to the cell.

The cell door was still shut. There were some dirty hoof prints on the floor, but otherwise, there was nothing inside.

"He doesn't even have hands!" The Sheriff bellowed. "How can he possibly have escaped?"

The deputy poked at the wire mesh window. It was steel and still in place. He'd not escaped through there.

"It's his name. It's his trade. He can't be contained."

The Sheriff turned on him. "He is not a force of nature! You superstitious hillbillies have built him up into something."

The deputy bristled. "We superstitious hillbillies built a concrete room with a one square foot window that had steel mesh over it, and a septic system too narrow for a snake to escape. It's you who let him get away!"

"I still refuse to pretend he's some magical entity. He's just livestock."

"Regardless of what you believe, Sheriff, he's free." The deputy hung his head. "The Scapegoat is free again."

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Eleven Decades in Eleven Words (Defining time periods with humorous and devastating oversimplification).

1900s: Relief.
(At least it's not the 1800's!)

1910s: Horror.
(World War I; the phrase "never again" begins; a grueling decade we promise to never repeat.)

1920s: Gilded.
(The Gilded Age; We have lots of money and it will never stop!)

1930s: Depression.
(The Great Depression; We have no money and it will never stop!)

1940s: Horror 2. (We repeat the 1910's; World War 2: fascism; Nazism; Communism; Maoism; Stalinism; zionism; fundamentalism; the decade of assholes who won't stay home)

1950s: Relief 2.
(The Gilded Memory Age; the decade that seems the best because hippies weren't jaded yet and, honestly, anything was better than the 40's)

1960s: Rebellion.
(We'll show our selfish, stupid, shortsighted parents by being even more selfish, stupid and shortsighted and it will never stop!)

1970s: Compromise.
(The 60's with a day job.)

1980s: Responsibility.
(The day job without the 60's.)

1990s: Internet.
(We have the internet and all this money and it will never stop!)

2000s: Fear.
(Plane attacks; suicide bombers; economic crashes; global warming; apocalypse theories; not nearly as bad as Horror or Horror 2, but still terrifying and with a million more opportunities to see it)

Bathroom Monologue: "You write a lot. What's your secret?" -Anonymous, OR, Rules For Writing

-Buy a book on the rules of writing. Strunk & White's Elements of Style is cheap and common. Now whenever you aren't sure of a rule, look it up. Not knowing is not an excuse.

-Read more. You'll pick up the rules (and where to break them) that way. You’ll also pick up ideas. But you’re not allowed to read while you're writing. Writing is the only thing you get to do.

-A set time helps. Maybe always during lunch hour, maybe an hour after you get home from work, maybe as soon as your favorite show ends. Humans use rituals. Times for things are good.

-Phones off and/or unplugged.

-No internet, including e-mail and Twitter. There is a special place in Hell for people who pause in the middle of trying to write to e-mail someone that they can't write.

-No one else allowed in the room, provided you have the authority to kick them out.

-Word minimums are good. Maybe you start at 500 words per day. These are better than page limits because fonts deceive. Now you’ve got a time you know you’ll write and a goal when that time comes. In a month of 500-words days, you’ll have 15,000 words.

-No getting up from the chair until the word minimum is reached, unless it's been an hour and you still have to pee.

-No postponing. Diets, marriages and novels fail because people say they’ll work on them later.

-You will eventually postpone anyway, because the car is on fire, the World Trade Center was attacked or your in-laws came over unannounced. Fine. But you do not go to bed until the word minimum is reached. That's the limit of your postponement.

-Exceed your word minimum as often as possible.

-Eventually, increase your word minimum. If you can bench 1,000 words, bench 1,000. At 1,000 words a day, you’ll have 365,000 words in a year. I haven’t seen a novel published this year that was that long.

-Never decrease your word minimum.

-No days off from the schedule. If it's every weekend, it's every weekend. If it's every day, it's every day. If you take one day off, you will take others off.

-Writing anything is good. If you can do dialogue today, do dialogue. If you can write a scene that’s three chapters ahead of this one, skip ahead. Even notes for world-building count. You can leave blanks and fill them in later, so long as you’re writing something else.

-No changing the musical selection. Whatever CD is in stays in, and your alternative is to write in silence. Picking new music will distract you from the topic you're writing about.

-Similarly, no doing chores while you write. No cleaning, laundry, etc. It's great to think over your topics or plots while you do chores, but unacceptable to get up from the computer and do them when you still owe words.

-Yes, it does suck. You will edit it later. Finish it now.

-You can edit today instead of composing new material. When you edit instead of composing new material, your word minimum triples. If you write 1,000 words a day, then on an editing day you must edit 3,000 words (hopefully there will be fewer words left when you finish than there were when you started). If you don’t have any new material to edit, you can’t edit today.

-When it comes down to it, pick writing over sex. If you don't write today, you have a much greater chance of not writing tomorrow. You will always want more sex.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Joking About Dying

A guy gets home from the hospital. As he enters, his landlord asks, "What did they say?"

"I forget about you," says the guy. "Can I make jokes about dying with you?"

"No, that's not funny."

"Oh, okay," he says. "I'm fine. Everything came back negative."

He goes upstairs. The girl from across the way opens her door.

"Hey, how'd the hospital go?"

He thinks a minute.

"I forget about our last conversation. Can I make jokes about dying with you?"

"That's just disturbing. Why would you do that?"

"Sorry. I'm fine. Everything came back negative."

A minute of failed flirting later, he walks into his apartment. His roommate doesn't even look up from Call of Duty.

"What's up?" his roommate asks. The guy smiles for a minute before sitting down next to him. He knows how he can speak with his roommate.

“Knock knock,” the guy says.

“Who’s there?”

"I'm dying."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Letter from Gorosaurus

Dear Toho,

My name is Gorosaurus. I'm a giant dinosaur that once did battle with King Kong. I am most famous for destroying the Arc de Triumph in France in Destroy All Monsters. It was the highlight of my career, but also the epitome of it: Japanese and American audiences watched me trashing that French landmark simultaneously wondered who I was and what that building was.

I appreciate all the work you’ve thrown me over the years. Being that my only talent is a jumpkick, one would think I’d be done for after one movie, especially considering how badly Kong beat me up.

That’s why I’m writing. I can’t get anymore famous than I am write now with my current skill set. As it is, I’m a budget Godzilla. I look more like a t-rex than he does, leaving me more generic. I don’t have the neat spines on my back, I’m not as tall, and I can’t breathe fire. Over time I’ve noticed you granting Godzilla additional powers, like turning him into a giant magnet to mess with Mechagodzilla, or making him be able to heal from any wound with “Regenerator G.” These are insulting to science. Toho, please let me insult science too.

I don’t have to fly, though I’d like that. How about telekinesis? Maybe it’s the secret reason I can jumpkick despite having such fat legs. I haven’t seen a giant monster with telekinesis lately, and certainly a t-rex that can move things with his mind is interesting. Imagine Thai citizens fleeing in terror down the streets of Chiang Mai, only to suddenly float off the ground and fly into my mouth. You could base a whole movie around that kind of thing.

Also, I’d like to attack Thailand. Korea has a giant monster now with The Host, but us Japanese beasts are pretty isolated to islands and frozen wildernesses. Thailand could use the attention. I’m sure they’d sacrifice a few buildings to a giant monster battle in return for tourism.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Fake Craigslist Ad for an Atheologian


Corporation is seeking atheologians to work in various international locations including Fiji, India and Sub-Saharan Africa. Polylinguistics are a plus, but interpreters will be provided. Corporation is not interested in amateurs or speculators; we don’t need agnosticators. We need talented people who are sure they know what God did and didn’t do.

-Transportation and assisted movement of belongings to the site.
-Single Apartment (spacious).
-$75,000 per annum on three-year contracts.
-$250,000 life insurance policy.*

Position Requirements Include:
-People skills.
-College Semiotics and/or Symbolism degree,
or five years of field experience in these fields.
-At least ten years experience in saying what God doesn’t do.

Responsibilities Include:
-Making sure we don’t anger the Almighty
and bring down His wrath on our time-sensitive, expensive projects.
-Reporting twice daily to project managers on their potential blasphemies.
-Being sacrificed to appease the deity/deities
if you fail to warn your project managers in advance.

*Being willingly sacrificed may violate life insurance policy.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Emperor Monologue

I was born into this position, Jangs. Heaven’s mandate is obvious. My flesh is that of a man, but my position is immense. It is the wall between order and atrocity. If the throne falls, the world will see anarchy, or lesser strongmen will rise in little tyrannies, or at best, the wealthy will rig up some illusion of populism. In all those cases, what is right will be lost to what is wanted. With the throne, I can mediate the warlords and the rich. They think me petty and selfish. I think them far more dangerous. To give up the throne would be to cede power from the only man I know I can trust. The only man who will always check the treasury, restrain the army and help those in disaster. To give up the throne would lead to more violence in a hundred years than the throne itself has caused in the last thousand. I have three wars at my borders, but without the throne? War upon war upon war within my borders. And in the end? No borders left. Perhaps the father who left me these three wars was corrupt, but he lies in state and I sit on the throne. I do not even know if I can trust you. How can I trust a world enough to walk away from this chance?
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