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The Joe Camel Project
20 most recent entries

Date:2007-01-10 19:50
Subject:Welcome back, Milo!
Security:Public
Mood:thirsty

There are some phrases that are simply too powerful to become cliché, despite the fact that they've assaulted our ears through the magic viewing square every time we turn on that infernal box.

Phrases signaling the blossoming of love – “I love you,” “Will you marry me,” and “I do” – carry far too much weight in the real world to lose their impact from hearing them repeatedly on the telly.

Surely, hearing your loved one, or even yourself, speak aloud the words “I’m pregnant” can alter your life in a myriad of wonderful, terrible, and unexpected ways.

Though many of us have grown indifferent to The Donald’s weekly terminations of his MBA’d and heavily résumé’d drama queens, none of us want to hear those ulcer-inducing words from our own boss.

And what could be more heartbreaking in real life than the doctor’s familiar “I’m sorry. We did everything we could.”

This Sunday, I will be joining millions of Americans and liberty-loving people across the globe in what has become something of an obsessive ritual. We shall join together in celebration of the pursuit of justice, high drama, and ass-kickery. And, for the sixth consecutive year, we look forward to that magnificent, awkward phrase symbolizing one man’s drive and determination to protect the innocent in spite of a sea of intrigue, shifting alliances, and bureaucratic nonsense. May that glorious phrase (or some variant thereof) once again ring throughout every home in America:


“Give me provisional status until the end of the day.”

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Date:2006-11-16 20:52
Subject:Please check all weapons at the door.
Security:Public
Mood:wet

I've received a number of calls over the past two weeks from concerned people asking if someone shot me. NO, I HAVE NOT BEEN SHOT, or even shot at, for a few years now. I did sustain a nasty-looking wound, but it wasn't from anything anywhere near as exciting as a gunfight. (The story will cost you a drink.) I do, however, deeply appreciate your concern for me.


In unrelated news, address me as "General" if you see me oot and aboot before December (to help me get in character; I'm having a little trouble with this one...).

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Date:2005-12-25 00:15
Subject:humbug!
Security:Public
Mood:tipsy

To Ever'body

Merry Christmas.

Love and kisses,

JC & Ashley V.

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Date:2005-11-24 04:34
Subject:because the sequel is never as good as the original
Security:Public
Mood:hopeful

Hello again, my friends! It’s been a while, eh? So many stories to tell – job stuff, summer adventures, school happenings, but today you get NOTHING because I’m still too busy. I’ll try to do better, but for now all you get is this…

Summer, 2004…

The Kenor Yakuza clan allied with a team of Japanese Imperial State black operatives in a daring plan to trigger an Imperial invasion of the Seattle Metroplex, but their plan was foiled by undercover NSA agent Jeremiah Maseru…

Or was it?

Ken T. is proud to announce…

“THE AMNESIA CAMPAIGN”

Ken T.’s latest Shadowrun masterpiece is set two and a half years after the Gates Manor shootout, which ended the epic “Rise and Fall of the Kenor Clan” campaign. The new campaign will take place in the second edition era, but will use the third edition rule system. All PC’s will be GM-created characters suffering from the five point Amnesia flaw.

No prior Shadowrun experience is necessary; all we need is dedication and enthusiasm!

Contact GM Ken T. for info.

Drop in on some old friends. Make some new enemies.

Its time to tie up all the loose ends…

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Date:2005-06-09 19:49
Subject:THIS IS RUMOR CONTROL...
Security:Public

…AND THESE ARE THE FACTS:

1. NO, I AM NOT DEAD YET. The run-in with the sasquatch was nowhere near fatal. If you ever find yourself in a scrap with a sasquatch, get in close under his reach. Once you’re too close for him to swing at you, just smack him a few times in the face and he’ll take off. Unfortunately, this one snuck up on me and got in a few good hits before I figured out this little bit of strategeriousness, so if you haven’t seen me lately, its probably because I took a few days off to recuperate.

Either that or its because I’ve been working a lot. The transition to the company that bought my contract (Blueblood Parasecurity & Legbreaking Associates, Inc.) seems to be going smoothly enough. If I’m lucky, they’ll keep paying me to sleep. If I’m unlucky, they’ll make me a licensed private investigator and put me through weapons training, which isn’t bad in and of itself; it just means I’ll have to jump through a lot of unnecessary hoops just to keep sleeping in the office.

2. YES, TRIFECTA IS FUCKING GREAT. I’m already itching for the next one.

3. YES, I BROKE UP WITH MY GIRLFRIEND. We had a good run, but it was time to trade her in for a newer model. Some of you may already know the new future Mrs. Camel. Her name’s Ashley, and she comes with a number of significant upgrades – sexier voice, brighter and more carefree outlook, and on average, better in bed. Plus, I think I get to keep my trophy status (i.e. she buys me everything).

While we’re on the subject of break-ups…

4. YES, THE BAND IS OFFICIALLY BROKEN UP, BUT…

5. NO, IT DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH “ARTISTIC DIFFERENCES.” The drummer and the vocalist were going after the same girl, things got a little out of hand, and I’m sure you can imagine the rest.

6. NO, DAVID MILLER HAS NO ROMANTIC INTEREST IN MY SISTER. David was kind enough to squeeze in a few minutes with me in between producing the They Might Be Giants album (probably releasing July) and shooting a Steve Burns video to share his thoughts on the good doctor:

“Well, she’s quiet. And nice, I guess. I don’t know. Whenever I’ve been around her, she didn’t speak at all. I guess she probably hates me.”

7. NO, I’M NOT TAKING ANTIDEPRESSANTS OR ANTI-ANXIETY MEDICATION OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. I feel fine. (How did this one get started anyway?)

8. NO, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SASQUATCH (pesvastus pilosis).

9. NO, I DON’T HAVE A TATTOO OF A FLAMING SKULL WITH AN ACE OF SPADES EYE PATCH BETWEEN MY SHOULDER BLADES. Or rather, I did until the damn sasquatch snuck up behind me and clawed it clean off.

I just thought you’d want to know so you wouldn’t get scared away from the charity poker tournament Stick and I are putting together. Proceeds will end up in the paws of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. All you soulless degenerate gamblers out there can finally feel like you’re doing something good with your habit, and for all you rookies out there, what better time to learn a little more about the game? You can also support our marathon runner, LJ, by donating online (Visa, MC, or AmEx only). But yeah, its gonna be good. I’ve been dreaming about this.

I’ll tell you about the dreams later.

Stick and I should have the tournament details hammered out Any Day Now, so check back here in a week or so.

Seeya soon.

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Date:2005-05-30 18:23
Subject:
Security:Public

Hi. I'm writing this from the new office (new = three days old), which I was a little disappointed to learn is not a private office like Big Boss Mikhail implied, but the other guy, Matteas, is a nice guy. I'm a little worried that I won't get to spend a fifth day here, because management is re-arranging most of our contracts. They want to re-hire everyone as contracted employees of an outside company, I forget the name, something menacing and intimidating, a good name for an armored car company, or band of mercenaries, Rent-a-MIB, something. Something about benefit eligibility. So yeah, don't know who I will be working for, or if I will be working at all. It'll be a shame if I get axed. I really like this job - beautiful office, decent pay, no actual work to do, casino bars after work, well-ventilated smoking lounge, beautiful girls with beautiful girl parts abound. Basically I park, the homing beacon I must keep on my person at all times clocks me in, then I punch myself out on an eight hour paid lunch break, then drive home again. The Big Boss overheard me telling Matteas that we should bring in a set of bocce balls, and his face lit up like a little kid. "You have a bocce ball set?! Bring it in!" The Big Boss, and Regular Boss (Mr. Johnson), for that matter, are good people, but Big Boss beats Regular Boss even without the superior title because he drives a Stingray. If I don't get fired later this week, maybe I'll pick up a night job and just do all my sleeping at this office. Woo theoretical fantastic wealth! Life is a fast-moving Happy Fun Ball. The Law of Conservation of Happiness says that I am personally responsible for the massacres in Sudan, as well as the abolition of Christmas. The only problem I have is smoking. I've been smoking like a fiend without her (a pack and a half to two a day). Her eyes are rich, her laughter haunting, her smile contagious. I feel like a Jack Russell terrier. Her presence triggers the release of dopamine into my prefrontal cortex. Lonely now. Time for a smoke.

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Date:2005-04-22 21:22
Subject:OH SHITS!
Security:Public

…And we’re back.

I hope everybody’s been doing ok. I’ve been all right, half the time anyway. I’ve been kind of manic/depressive since my girl died, but I’m getting by. The manic part isn’t so bad this time of year, with the end-of-semester crunch and all. Its also given rise to another of my brilliant get-rich-quick schemes, which will be put into action later this evening. Want to hear it? (Don’t tell the other guys…)

I love poker. I’m not great at it, but no matter how much I win or lose I always have a good time. In one of my depressed moments, I decided that this was a foolish attitude to have about anything. This pessimistic moment was followed by one of the manic moments that gave me an ingenious solution to being a so-so player. But before we get into that…



God damn, I am teh hawtness. I love myself. Look at these sturdy hooves, this beautiful sandy mane, this distinguished hump… But wait! What’s this?



There, do you see it? Between the shoulder blades! Sweet Jesus, it’s the most badass poker tattoo ever! A vaguely spade-shaped… thingie, topped with an actual spade, which is filled with fire, which wraps around a skull with an ace of spades for an eye patch! Holy God!

Yes, this is my brilliant plan. With this baby, I will clean haus at the tournament tonight. You see, normally I’m not so good at figuring out the odds, reading the other players, pretty much all the things you need to know to be any good at poker. This tattoo simplifies everything. My opposition will either be thinking A:

“Oh, shits! Did you see that?! Oh man, this guy’s so into poker he’s got it tattooed on his fucking neck! No way I’m butting heads with this guy!”

Or B:

“Oh, shits! Did you see that?! Did you see his neck? What a fucking idiot.”

Now all I need to figure out is whether I’m up against a type A or a type B. If its type A, I’ll bully them into powder, and they’re a B, I’ll be able to suck them dry, and they’ll never see it coming.

Yes, there is an obvious flaw in the plan, "What happens if I'm going up against an A and a B at the same time?" …but whatever. I never think that far ahead when it comes to permanently marking up my body in places where everyone can see. Ho ho.

And yes, its really me.



So what's next?

Come on, do you even have to ask?

GROVE ST 4 LIFE!

Peace.

[update, 3:00am: I can't believe that it actually worked...]

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Date:2005-04-08 15:37
Subject:goodbye.
Security:Public

My friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I must report that the Grande Dame and only fun member of the otherwise miserable Turner family, Susan Turner, passed away this morning at her home in Linwood, New Jersey.

She was 17.

She is survived by Stanley, Jean, Kenneth, the other Jean, and Lisa Turner.


My heart is broken.

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Date:2005-02-11 04:01
Subject:To Drive
Security:Public
Mood:electric

A story from last summer, while working the Money Show...

As an old war hero once said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”
-V.I.N.CENT, the Black Hole


It was a warm and breezy summer morning, but here in the office it felt like a cold night in Siberia. I was on my way to get some coffee to warm my bones when I was ambushed by The Boss. Not my supervisor, but The Big Boss.

The Boss had something to discuss with me, in private. Apparently, he had a few too many BYOBs last night, and ended up leaving his car in the parking lot at Volcanic Eruptions, a nearby strip club featuring no bar, dismal clientele, and the sorriest excuse for talent outside of A.C.

So today, he needed me to take a cab there and retrieve his Black Hole, a vehicle so named because it is black inside and out, his son thinks it looks like a spaceship, and his wife thinks the payments are outrageous. He needs this done right away, because he left his briefcase in the trunk. He says the cab is waiting. He gives me his keys, two twenties for the cab, and a promise to buy me a Devil Dog if I don’t smoke in the car. I tell him to make it a Leatherneck, and fly out the door to the cab.

About a half hour later, I arrive at V.E. The cabbie takes his money, says something in not-English, and speeds off, leaving me alone with the Black Hole.

An actual black hole will suck up matter and light through the force of gravity, but this Black Hole is armed only with the force of its character, and the most it can draw is attention. At the moment, I’m far more impressed with the power of the one right in front of me.

This is not just a car. This is a brand new Jaguar S-Type R. And I’m going drive it.

The car is the closest thing we will ever create to something that is alive.
-Sir William Lyons


Despite the quality control problems the company had a few years back, the Jaguar has a reputation for being the snootiest of the production performance vehicles. Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Infiniti, and Cadillac can all easily match Jag in performance and luxury, but rarely at the same time. The Jag is a car for the rich bastard who wants his steed to stand out amongst the other luxury cars; you can’t possibly mistake a Jag for anything else.

This particular model stands out even amongst other Jaguars. The front end, with its rounded hood, emphasized headlights, and distinctive single grille, seems exaggerated compared to the boxier X-Type and its big brother, the XJ. Instead of a stuffy-looking wood-paneled interior, this model is dark with aluminum trim, a far manlier look than I would’ve expected from such a sophisticated-looking exterior. It screams “suave and successful hitman” rather than “rich asshole arch-villain.”

I get in, get comfortable, and power up the outrageous supercharged 390 horsepower engine. My delight is marred somewhat by the Tom Petty blaring out of the sound system. This drive will require better music. Off to Best Buy.

It doesn’t take me long to find music befitting this vehicle - Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra and Carmina Burana should do the trick. I pop the Scherzo in the player, but it isn’t ready to sound, not yet.

I’m heading for the exit, but it seems there was an accident that way. I can see the faces of the victims. It doesn’t look like anyone was injured. If they’re anything like me, they’ve lost the ability to drive for a few months. Not that they’re going to lose licenses, or that they’ve totaled out their cars. No, a long history of vehicular mishaps has taught me that it is more a matter of mental semantics. “To drive” becomes “to travel, and risk crashing.” It is a sorry, nerve-wracking state, but with time and luck, it passes.

One of the distraught victims looks over from the damage at me as I pass by. I think to myself, “Thank heaven the windows are tinted. This car demands far more silk than the Nautica tie I’m wearing.”

The car whines as I turn through the empty OCB parking lot. Not an audible whine, more like a yearning you can feel. It’s whining like a child. It wants to speed.

I notice my internal monologue has changed. I’m no longer thinking about where I’m at or what I’m doing, no more “Did I remember errand X?” I’m talking to the car.

The car’s telepathic whining upgrades itself to a desperate pleading when we stop in front of Target to let a cheery-looking family of three and an elderly woman with a shopping cart cross.

I drive out of the parking lot to the light. The American flag in front of the development across the intersection hangs limp before my English masterpiece. The car shrieks at the sight of the old racetrack beyond it. “I want that! I need that! Please!”

While the car’s impatience may seem unsuited to a creature of such sophistication and refinement, remember that we are mere humans, evolved from gorilla-like hunters and gatherers. Our bones break if we impact something at a speed slightly faster than a hunter’s sprint. This car is a racing machine, evolved from a long line of similar racing machines, designed to travel at speeds sufficient to destroy itself should it suffer an impact. Whereas I will merely enjoy the drive to come, this marvel of human technology will be fulfilling a part of its destiny. It was built to do two things: to impress, and to move very quickly. Nothing more. It begs me to help it do so. Its eagerness is understood.

We’re nearly on the highway. The London Symphony Orchestra has released the first notes of the Scherzo. There is one final moment of reflection at the tollbooth. The driver of the Infiniti ahead of me with the Texas plates doesn’t understand the significance of the EZ Pass-only lane, and has stopped and is craning his head out the window, looking for a place to deposit his quarters. Normally I would yell at him for being an idiot, but today I just feel sorry for him. He owns his car. He probably drives it every day. He can’t possibly feel the elation that I’m feeling right now.

But enough of that. We’re off.

This car can do zero to sixty in about five, but I decide not to test that out on the on-ramp. I’m already flying by my fellow motorists before I even hit the Expressway.

As I pass the driving range, I’m only slightly surprised to find myself above 90 already. The “hump” of the gears shifting is non-existent, as expected. Almost 100 now. Even though it’s an automatic, I’m nearly overcome with the urge to jam down on the non-existent clutch, to tear at the stick.

As I fly down the busy road, I become someone else. My ego is sucked away into the guts of this magnificent machine. Zigging and zagging in and out of traffic, cutting off idiots in their SUVs and bumper sticker-polluted coupes left and right, I become the arrogant asshole that the car demands as its driver.

Giddy and intoxicated by speed, I fly beneath the overpasses at 115, 120. I scream at the drivers ahead of me, “Get out of the fucking fast lane! You don’t know the meaning of fast!” As I rapidly approach the toll, “EZ Pass may be accepted in all lanes, but you’d better stay the fuck out of mine! I mean it, I’ll kill us all!”

And it’s true; death is a very real possibility when flying through a tollbooth somewhere between 120 and 130 miles per hour. But I don’t care; it would be a glorious death, the all-American way to go – instantly entombed in a leather-lined aluminum iron maiden, my death trumpeted by a magnificent fireball.

But death isn’t stopping me today, oh no, I’m just getting warmed up! I’m babbling utter lunacy now, “Time may move at the speed of God, but I move at a speed that generates 3.4 million joules of kinetic energy! Get out of the fucking way!” Screaming past the casino employee parking, then the welcome center, the gas station is barely a blink, beneath the “Welcome to A.C. – Always Turned On” sign. The casino billboards are much thicker now. Win a car! Win a vacation! Win $100, $150, even $200,000! Oh, you poor fools. Can’t you see I’ve already won? Nothing can beat me. Nothing can stop me. Once I pass 140 the idea of keeping track just seems ludicrous. I’m moving faster than I was meant to go, and I love it. Nothing else matters. I’m powering around the final curves…

And I’m done. Traffic’s heavy up ahead. As I drop down into the city, I notice one of the flags on top of the convention hall is checkered. Good enough.

Traveling like a reasonable, responsible member of society, I roll up a couple blocks towards the Park Place stretch, then swing back around to the hall. The Black Hole is swallowed up by the cool shade of the garage. I take one last, long whiff of the leather interior, and I’m out.

I hope I did right by you, Black. I’ll see you around.

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Date:2004-12-05 18:47
Subject:STATE V. CHISM
Security:Public

Supreme Court of Louisiana, 1983
436 So.2d 464


On the evening of August 26, 1981 in Shreveport, Tony Duke gave Brian Chism a ride in his automobile. Brian Chism was impersonating a female, and Duke was unaware of Chism’s disguise. After a brief visit at a friend’s house the two stopped to pick up some beer at the residence of Chism’s grandmother. Chism’s one-legged uncle, Ira Lloyd, joined them, and the three continued on their way, drinking as Duke drove the automobile. When Duke expressed a desire to have sexual relations with Chism, Lloyd announced that he wanted to find his ex-wife Gloria for the same purpose. The trio found Gloria Lloyd at church and persuaded her to come outside. As Ira Lloyd stood outside the car attempting to persuade Gloria to come with them, Chism and Duke osculated on the front seat.

Gloria and Ira Lloyd got into an argument, and Ira stabbed Gloria with a knife several times in the stomach and once in the neck. Gloria’s shouts attracted the attention of two neighbors, who unsuccessfully tried to prevent Ira from pushing Gloria, who was bleeding profusely, into the front seat of the car alongside Chism and his would-be lover Duke. Ira Lloyd climbed into the front seat also, and Duke drove off.

Lloyd ordered Duke to drive to Willow Point, near Cross Lake. The mortally wounded Gloria was limp and moaned as they drove. When they arrived Chism and Duke, under Lloyd’s direction, removed Gloria from the vehicle and placed her on some high grass on the side of the roadway, near a wood line. Ira was unable to help the two because his wooden leg had come off. Afterwards, as Lloyd requested, the two drove off, leaving Gloria with him.

Duke proceeded to drop Chism off at a friend’s house, where he changed to male clothing. He placed the blood-stained women’s clothes in a trash bin. Afterward, Chism went home, discussed the matter with his mother, and went with his mother to the police station at 1:15 A.M. He gave the police a complete statement.

Brian Chism was convicted of homicide (accessory) and was sentenced to three years in prison plus two years supervised probation.


RIP Matt DeMizio and Brother Robert "Koz" Kozlowski PhD.

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Date:2004-11-21 01:39
Subject:Ooh, that smarts...
Security:Public
Mood:sore

To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.
-Benjamin Disraeli


Thursday started off well. It was S.T.A.N.D.’s big demonstration against the Sudan massacres, which most Americans don’t know about because they’re not taking place in Iraq. We had a great turnout (about 150 according to the Press of Atlantic City), plenty of media coverage, and a genuine impact on the people.

(Good job, everybody. Keep fighting the good fight.)

Since then, nothing has gone particularly well.

In my political methodology class a few hours later, I got my assignment for Thanksgiving break: 236 pages and teaching myself a statistics program.

As I was leaving school, I discovered that my van had sunk into the mud.

On Friday morning, I chopped my middle finger open in my print media class. It was right on the knuckle, and it stung every time I moved it.

This didn’t bother me for very long at all, because about a half hour later I drove a piece of metal through the side of my pinkie all the way down to the bone. It just looked like a little cut at first glance, and it was more shocking than it was painful, so I figured I’d just rinse it out, get another band-aid or two, and keep working. As I started walking over to the sink the blood started flowing. It was bleeding a lot more than I thought it should have, so I flexed it and looked a little closer and realized I had damn near split my finger in half. The school medics wrapped me up, then I drove myself to the hospital to have it cleaned, stitched, and taped back together.

It has to be held in place with a splint because too much movement at the joints before its healed will cause it to tear itself apart again. I have to keep it elevated, which means I either hold it up and look like a gimpy version of Dr. Evil, or keep it over my chest and look like I’m reaching for a concealed gun. I’m not supposed to use my left hand much, because your pinkie will reflexively move in accordance with your other fingers. The virtual loss of my left hand means that I’ll most likely have to take an Incomplete for my print class and try again next semester. It also means I’m not driving down to DC this weekend like I’d hoped to. And, of course, typing with a big metal splint is a bitch. I also have to take a bunch of pills. I hate popping pills. Especially since they don’t stop it from hurting.

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.
-Martha Washington


These things, however, are just inconveniences. I don’t feel too bad about them, because they don’t have much to do with me; its all just dumb luck. Aside from the nagging pain in my finger, there’s not much I should really feel bad about.

But the ruinous aspect of Fate does not give up so easily…

I had bought myself a little present to keep myself in a good mood, but it seems that this innocent act would prove to be a terrible sucker punch. It would hit me where it hurts most, too – right in the pride.

Life is a long lesson in humility.
-James M. Barrie


(Speaking of whom, Finding Neverland, although a shameless ball of cheese, was worth seeing.)

Despite Dr. Yitzhak Sharon’s constant praise of my expertise in the field of physics, my true forté is the mechanics and history of the Sixth World. All those who question my mastery soon find themselves…

Well, we won’t talk about that.

Your ineptitude is ruining the game for everybody.
-Kyle “Beans” Whittaker, summer 2004

STUDENT FOUND MURDERED: POLICE REPORT NO LEADS IN GRIZZLY MUTILATION OF KYLE “BEANS” WHITTAKER
-headline in
GW Hatchet (George Washington University newspaper), early November 2004

Anyway, I have an unshakable confidence in my own knowledge and ability in this narrow and totally useless field. I am the best I’ve met, and quite possibly the best there is. Sure, I may make the odd mechanical mistake, or an experiment may fail, or I might just bomb an entire session due to lack of focus, but these are all exceptions to the rule.

It is this arrogance that turned my little present to myself into such a blow to my geek ego.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with a heavy heart that I confess that I have erred. I repeatedly lied to those campaigning under me. Though it was inadvertent, I still feel as though I have slighted certain members of the team. Their passionate pleas for a mere moment of indulgence were met with nothing but intolerance and contempt.

I thought little of it until earlier today, when I was searching through my new copy of SotA 2064. In the fifth chapter, under a section titled “GENE ART” I came across the following illustration:




My sincerest apologies to Dylan and James. Yes, they do exist.

But no, you still can’t have one.

Mistakes are part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless its a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.
-Al Franken

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Date:2004-09-27 18:29
Subject:FULL FRONTAL NUDITY!
Security:Public
Mood:busy

“You see, Fighter, any time you do anything, there is a one in twenty chance that you will critically fail. The results of such catastrophic events are up to the gods. Sadly, for us, they are vindictive and filled with bad ideas.”
-Red Mage


A few months ago, the Devil got together with the Great Engine of the Skies, the Deceptive Component God of the Winds, and the Cruel and Spiteful She-Bitch Entity of the Bad Seas and decided to go bowling someplace sunny. Powerful and benevolent beings that they are, they decided to give a little bit of warning to the fat landlubbers down below about the great and terrible onslaught they’d be sending down Florida way. Unfortunately, the warning storm never made it to Florida. You see, storms sent by the gods (especially storms born of Bad Ideas) often seem to have minds of their own, and this one was drawn away from its intended target towards a soon-to-be conceived bad idea in New Jersey.

This is how one soggy Camel came to be sitting in the back of a crowded van hydroplaning through a surprise storm towards the Phoenix Diner. Someone (congratulations, cowboy!) was talking about internet pornography. Questions were raised as to the character of an individual who would do such a thing.

Excuse me for a moment, I have to give an interview with the Press of Atlantic City.

Well, that article will never be run.

Where was I? Ah, yes. I proclaimed that I would be willing to post naked pictures of myself online. I was disbelieved, so it turned into a dare. I continued spouting grandiose proclamations about… Well, you’ll see. It’s a big project. Tons o’ fun. (Those of you who know, keep your damn pieholes shut.) It hasn’t happened yet because I’m not in good enough shape. I’ve been losing weight thanks to the Joe Camel “All-Carb DietTM,” but… Crap. If I say any more I’ll ruin the surprise.

But, I suppose it’d be plenty rude of me to leave you all hanging like that. So I leave you with the following link…



Enjoy.

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Date:2004-05-30 14:35
Subject:JOE CAMEL'S FINAL STORY
Security:Public
Mood:screaming at god

Congratulations to Jen (Bachelor of Arts, Business Studies, summa cum laude with program distinction), Sarah (Master of Arts in Holocaust and Genocide Studies), Cyanne (Master of Arts in Holocaust and Genocide Studies with program distinction), Mike (Bachelor of Arts, Music), and April (Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice, cum laude).

Ah, summer: The air turns oppressive, the roads begin to clog, the greenheads return, parking grows scarce and metered, schoolchildren infest the earth at all hours, sobriety checkpoints spring up everywhere, and I am drinking and smoking constantly.

Yes, I am in a foul mood. No, you don’t get a zany summer story. If that’s what you’re looking for, go rent One Crazy Summer, Wet Hot American Summer, or Amores Perros.

Today’s story is about the harbinger of summer – The Final Exam. There is no more stubborn a gatekeeper to the advent of summer than The Final, and there is no truer herald of these repulsive days than the exclamations of victory and maddening wails of despair that erupt from the lungs of those brave young men and women who would dare to do battle with The Final.

And so, without further ado, I give you…

JOE CAMEL’S FINAL STORY


A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
-Herm Albright


“Quick question for you, Camel.”

I snap out of my half-sleep and look over at The Spook. His actual name is Herschell, or some similar name no one can be bothered to remember. He had been gifted with his impressive nom de guerre on the first day of our law class by the professor, in reference to the black suit and tie he wore. He wasn’t a regular student; he was a recent graduate who’d come back to take some classes again to learn how to teach them, or something like that.

I meant to reply with a simple “What?” but I’m yawning and it comes out sounding more like “Mmwagh-ueh?”

“Wake up, Camel. Final’s in a few minutes.”

“…yaaaaugh. Sorry. What was your question?”

“Me and Sue and a couple other people were wondering if you’re really coming into class as high as you look.”

I never counted myself as one of The Spook’s fans. I was always civil to him, and I respected his expertise, but there was always something about him that made me a little edgy.

“Nah, just haven’t gotten much sleep lately,” I reply.

“‘Lately’ as in the entire semester? You look like shit every morning.”

Maybe it was because he acted like every person and every lesson in the class was beneath him. He didn’t say it out loud, but his face always seemed to say it. That bizarre narrow nose of his, with nostrils that always seemed to be flared…

“And what the fuck was up with your final paper? It was one paragraph with a cover sheet on it.”

Or maybe it was the fact that he was constantly hitting on every girl in the class, despite the shiny gold band he was so fond of flashing.

“Seriously, are you fucked up right now?”

Or maybe he’s just an asshole.

“Drugs are trouble,” I reply.

“Oh, bullshit. You were out all night getting stoned instead of writing up your cheat sheet like everyone else in the class.”

“I have my cheat sheet right here.”

“Let me see that.”

I slide the paper over to him, face down. He flips it over. He doesn’t appear to register what he’s looking at for a moment, then his face slips back into the derisive sneer he usually wears while conversing with me.

“What the hell is this?”

I smile my idiot smile at him.

“What indeed, Mr. Camel?” asks the professor from behind me.

The professor was a great guy, probably the best teacher I’ve ever had. Our four-hour long classes felt more like casual conversations over coffee than lessons on the intricacies of constitutional law. He had, in spite of the easygoing classroom atmosphere, warned us that today’s final exam would be an absolute monster, full of trick questions on every aspect of the materials covered in class and in the 2,166 pages of required text.

To aid us in our efforts against the fiendish legal juggernaut he would soon unleash upon us, he had authorized (and strongly encouraged) the use of a ‘cheat sheet.’ The only restriction he placed on the cheat sheet was that it could only be on one side of an eight-and-a-half by eleven-inch sheet of paper.

I had asked him if it would be ok to cut the paper into thirds and tape them back together again, as long as I was only using one side. He looked at me like I was an idiot, sighed, and agreed. My plan was to turn my long, thin strip of paper into a mobius strip, which would have twice as much surface area, but would technically still only have writing on one side of it. However, I decided to abandon this plan days later, during an intense “study session” over an indeterminate number of half-priced Coors Lights at the Tilton Inn. I decided that I was invincible. My keen grasp of the subject matter, combined with my winning smile and natural genius at absolutely everything (heh), would see me through this final without the need for a cheat sheet.

This is how the professor and The Spook came to find themselves staring dumbfounded not at a sheet of paper covered in tiny, tiny notes about the law, but at a copy of Harlequin’s Back, a painting by Gerald Brom.

A painting of an evil clown.

The professor sighs that familiar ‘Here we go again…’ sigh. “Mr. Camel, am I to understand that this is your cheat sheet?”

“Yup.”

“Mr. Camel, you do realize that your cheat sheet is… well, a picture of a clown?”

“That does seem to be the case.”

“Are you trying to make some sort of statement here?”

“No, no statement,” I say with a poorly supressed grin.

“Really? You seem to be the only person in the class with nothing written on your sheet. Even Spook brought one, and he got an A when he took this class. I know you’re not lazy, so I can only assume you’ve made yourself the lone exception for a reason. Please, Mr. Camel, we’re all eager to hear what it is you’re trying to say.”

I certainly hadn’t expected to find myself in this position this morning. I’m in the middle of a pseudo-movie moment, and I didn’t come with a statement to make. I know I have to say something, but now that I’m in the spotlight I can’t think of anything except for the poker tournament in a few hours… (Hey, wait a minute, I had a poker conversation with the professor a few weeks ago, didn’t I?) Hmm… I could’ve shown up with nothing, but instead I went out of my way to print out this evil clown. Maybe I do have a message for him…

Today, I am invincible.

“If it has to stand for something, I guess it means… all-in.

He raises his eyebrows and smiles wide. He’s pleased with my answer. “Oh, really? So if you don’t get an A on this test, I can fail you?”

What the hell am I doing? Oh well, I guess I can’t back down from this now.

“If I don’t beat The Spook, you can fail me.”

“Ah, but what if Spook doesn’t get an A this time around?” he asks. His smile would’ve put the Cheshire cat to shame.

I think he’s expecting me to say, “Wow, did you really make it that much harder this time around? Man, forget I said anything…”

But I don’t say that.

“If I don’t get the highest grade in the class, you can fail me.”

He likes my answer. A lot. It’s a respectable answer. Stupid, but respectable. I wonder if that’s what he would’ve said. I wonder if he thinks I’d make a good attorney. I wonder if he’ll really fail me. God, he wouldn’t really fail me, would he?

As the professor walks away, The Spook leans in and whispers, “You’re such an asshole, Camel.”

I am a terrible poker player.

Three and a half hours later, the tests have been graded, and the professor is explaining that the curve this year ended up being smaller than he expected because someone had scored a ninety-six. He is looking right at me as he says this.

Ah, warm.

He walks around the room, dropping everyone’s test at their desks.

Credits are a mere minute away from rolling. James Horner’s stirring score rises as the proud professor strides, in slow-motion, up my aisle. I smile knowingly as he approaches with the top-scoring test in his hands. I can see the red 96 on it already. A good third of the audience is in tears. He looks down at me, smiles warmly…

And drops it in front of The Spook.

Fuck.

Did I really just fail this whole class?

The professor hands me my test back and continues on.

“Oh, so sorry about that, buddy,” The Spook says softly. He’s on the verge of bursting out laughing. “Not your lucky day, I guess.”

I look at my own score, then back up at The Spook.

“Luck has nothing to do with it.”

I drop my test on top of his. It’s another ninety-six. I smile my idiot smile at him. “All skill, baby.”

I can see the impish glee drain out of his face. It’s easy to read what he’s thinking: “You’re such an asshole, Camel.”

Today, I am invincible.

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.
-Mark Twain



Phil, Ethel, everybody – hang in there.

3 comments | post a comment



Date:2004-04-02 15:08
Subject:p.s. i luv u
Security:Public
Mood:warm

Just a quick note I meant to tag onto that last monstrosity…

My world hasn’t been all madness lately.

I have been incredibly busy, running around like Mike the headless chicken, but there have been a surprising number warm and fuzzy moments to break up the mad rush.

What are these warm and fuzzy moments, you ask?

They are you.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve gotten more requests for more writing than I’ve ever gotten for anything ever. (Listen to me, I’m gushing!) It amazes me enough that you people will actually set aside significant blocks of time out of your day to read these behemoths I post, let alone ask me to put up more.

It’s an incredible feeling.

I’m simply not good enough with words to express how much I appreciate your compliments and your encouragement. I’ll try to live up to your expectations.

Once again, thank you. (You know who you are.)

-JC

5 comments | post a comment



Date:2004-04-02 09:00
Subject:MOSTLY HARMLESS?
Security:Public
Mood:a little achey

“You think you’ll be safe out there? You won’t be.”
-Marie Warner

There’s no denying it – we live in a crazy, fucked-up world.

What do I mean by crazy? Well, crazy is a very elastic word.

crazy adj 1. Disordered in mind; insane; demented; mad; maniacal. 2. Informal Very enthusiastic or excited. 3. Informal Unpredictable or inexplicable: a crazy driver. 4. Dilapidated; rickety; unsound.
-Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Desk Dictionary

We’re surrounded by the illogical, the unreasonable, the things that we just can’t fit into our own models of reality. There is no escaping it. It’s everywhere you look: Electronics Boutique financing the legal defense of a burglar who sold his stolen goods to their stores? That’s kinda crazy… The same day a four-year-old kid in Indianapolis gets caught with a $10,000 bag of crack in his preschool, a five-year old kid in Miami gets caught sprinkling marijuana on his classmate’s lasagna?! Crazy! These guys who watched every single episode of 24 back-to-back in one sitting? That’s crazy! All these hundreds of people who listed shapeshifting and lycanthropy as hobbies? Crazy! The guy with ace/ten offsuit gets backdoor quad aces to beat your trip kings? That’s a whole different kind of crazy. Gas prices? Insane-O! The deaf junkie downstairs? Oh, yeah. Japanese people? They’re all fucking crazy, man! Am I crazy? A lot of people seem to think so. I could talk about my own particular breed of madness at great length, but for now I’ll just say that I don’t feel negatively about it - we’ve all done outrageous things that just don’t make sense to other people. Craziness is all around us and within all of us.

Hip-hip hooray, everybody’s crazy, yadda yadda… What’s my point?

When you’re friendly with a person, its easy to forget their more questionable character aspects, or somehow identify these aspects as insignificant, because they don’t seem to define that person. Instead of seeing a friend or acquaintance as a crazy person, we usually see them as a person who happens to do crazy things, because, after all, we all do weird shit sometimes.

The question is:

When we live our lives surrounded by all this weird shite, how do we tell the true madmen apart from everybody else? We’d all like to think we could, but can we really tell the difference between kooky, unconventional people and the dangerously insane?

I bring this up because I am still shaken by the realization that the dangerous madman has been very close by, all along.

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: No, you don't know this person.]

I should’ve seen it long ago. He’d always been… different, but I can’t excuse myself for not realizing the depths of his insanity the day he invited me out to “lunch.” The conversation in his car was boisterous, so I didn’t notice how far we’d driven until my watch beeped, signifying that we’d been on the road for close to forty-five minutes. We were in unfamiliar territory, with no restaurant in sight. I asked where we were going, and he told me he had to stop and check on some things.

The thing we were checking on turned out to be his ex-girlfriend.

We ended up skulking in a parking lot across the street from her place of employment for about a half hour. She came out, got in her car, and drove to lunch. We had to pull a very dangerous maneuver to get us out of the parking lot and facing the right way to follow her, but I was too shocked by my friend’s behavior to pay much heed to the blaring horns. We sat in the car in a parking lot across the street while she ate, then we followed her back to work. I protested his psychotic stalking behavior the entire time, but he played it off like it was nothing. He’d been doing it for days, no harm done, he said.

Somehow, I wasn’t able to see it as insanity. No one wants to think that his or her friend is an unstable psychopath. I told myself that he had just been through another bad breakup; he wasn’t handling it well now, but he’d get better soon. Not crazy, just hurting so badly that he doesn’t know what else to do.

After I was able to excuse him the first time, the excuses for whatever else he did came naturally.

“He’s just in a bad way right now. This doesn’t reflect the complete person. There’s nothing really wrong with his head. He’s just hurting now. He’ll grow out of it.”

Some months ago I was sitting across the table from him at a diner. He told me he knew he’d been in a slump lately, but he’d finally found a way to pull himself out of it. Great news, I thought. He continued by saying it was all a matter of perspective. No one could live up to the expectations society puts on people, so you had to find your own way of living and your own rewards.

Good for him, I thought. Then he dropped the bomb.

His newfound happiness had come from his STDs.

He told me he thought of them as trophies, but they were more than just mementos of past sexual conquests. He was mostly happy that he had constant physical reminders that he was a worthy human being, because of how desirable women found him. They were love letters that he didn’t need to read to know how real the emotions behind them were.

Naturally, I thought he was kidding, but he kept droning on about them, talking about them in his trademark vague, emotional, “now, this is the thing that really matters” style. This was no joke.

“Ray has gone bye-bye, Egon.”
-Dr. Peter Venkman


Ok, so, he’s not all there. He gets some kind of emotional fulfillment or kinky thrill or whatever from his own STDs. He needs help. He’s fucking crazy. Whatever. Whatever he’s got going on down there isn’t my problem. I won’t ever have to deal with it.

It was one of the most fucked up things I’ve ever heard, but once again, this was just one small, crazy part of an oddly adjusted, but otherwise normal person, right? Maybe he just doesn’t know how to deal with it, so he’s trying to convince himself that it’s actually a good thing, or the right thing for him, or whatever. I may consider his feelings on this matter warped and revolting, but at least there’s some kind of logic to it, right?

So maybe he’s not “gone.”

Oh, what a fool I was.

A few nights ago I was over at his place. It didn’t happen often anymore, just him and I alone, but still there was nothing truly unusual about the night. Just an ordinary night of depressing conversation. Plain as could be. There wasn’t even any drinking.

I remember I was extinguishing a cigarette, idly watching the cherry fade to black ash when he walked past me into the kitchen. I asked him what he was doing. No response. I leaned over so I could see around the corner into the kitchen, and that was when I saw him (stone-cold sober, mind you) pull out his cock and start pissing into his own kitchen sink.

I could barely believe what I was seeing. The act itself did not disgust so much as the total lack of thought which preceded the act. The bathroom was right around the corner, mere seconds away. This wasn’t happening to disgust or amuse one of us. It was just happening.

Had I seen him in there killing himself, or fucking around with a sword or gun, or even masturbating, it’s possible I could have understood. There are actual reasons why a person would do any of these things. His logic would be utterly alien to me, but I would know somewhere in that twisted psyche, there was a reason.

I could fathom no reason. There was nothing but a void, and from that void came The Fear.

The Fear gripped me. It had one icy hand on my throat, the other on my balls, and its malignant tongue was wandering across my cheek towards my ear.

I’ve never had a bad acid trip, but people have told me about them. This night I realized the most mind-eradicatingly horrible fucking trip must be a mere breath mint to this incarnation of The Fear.

The blistered, oozing tongue lapped at my pinna, then thrust down my outer ear canal and annihilated my cochlea. I felt the unbearable agony of my face breaking as the gruesome appendage over-pressurized my Eustachian tube, then continued further still, until it had speared my cerebrum.

It was then that I could hear the voice of The Fear. It was not the voice of paranoia or suspicion. It was a voice of truth; a voice of cold, terrifying logic.

“Get out,” it said. “This man is dangerous. He cares not for the order built by the generations. There is no conception of right and wrong, proper and improper, only the immediate desires of the self, occasionally masked and justified with self-serving emotion. Without the limitations of society, decency, logic, or reason, this man becomes less than an animal. He is an inhuman abomination. A machine gone haywire. A monster. You are not safe.”

I left that place, but The Fear would not leave me. Just get a little further away from there. Do something. Anything. Why don’t you get a drink? Gamble for a while, take your mind off this… whatever it was. Hey, you left that movie on the seat again, why don’t you return it? I drove to the video store, but I couldn’t convince myself to turn the car off, much less get out of the car and carry the DVD to the drop box. I thought about going to sleep, but already I was thinking about Tori lying there, and all the thinking, all the choices, all the decisions that she, hell, that all of us make every day. We can’t not think! People don’t do that! Jesus Christ, even my fucking dog, a crazy little Pekingese, looks the way she looks for a reason. She evolved that way for a reason. Everything happens for a reason!

How could a person even pretend to participate in society, if…

WHAT THE FUCK!?!

I drove until sunrise, trying to shake these thoughts, but the more I tried, the more they crystallized in a new order.

It shouldn’t have been a new order. I should’ve seen it long ago.

Oh, what a fool I am.

What fools we all are.

Tell me something. Does any of this make sense?

Or do I just sound crazy?

Anyway, on to today’s story. Today’s story is not about crazy individuals, but this crazy world we live in. It is a story of how the idiocy of The System can allow a guy like me to rise to a position of great power without effort, training, or even willingness, so long as everyone else pretends the situation is normal.

A few years ago, an angel (in-training, maybe?) named Uriah recommended that I take some time off my time off and get a job with a temp agency that was part of God’s blessed network, somehow… I don’t know. Anyway, all the jobs were great, but the most memorable job they ever tossed me was for a casino, herein referred to as ‘The Imperial.’ It started out as an excruciatingly boring job, so I decided to start writing to keep myself from going stir-crazy and getting myself into trouble; however, the office environment was so mind-numbing that I couldn’t write about anything but the lack of anything going on around me. Unbeknownst to me, as I sat there at my drab desk, scribbling away, I was receiving promotion after promotion, until I became the King of All. Despite the fact that this is an absolutely true story, the following is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogue, and documents which follow are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons or events, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Day One

Hi Joe!
Thank you for taking care of things while I am away. Here’s a little info:
Rick Rudy 2560, 5035 Stella Range 2454, 5033
Anyone calls for me, ask them to send me email.
To beep Rick, dial XXXXXX enter XXXXX then XXX XXXX and the # sign. Beep only for: Ken Condor, Bob Consohocken, Len DeAngelis, Herbie Henderson
Fax # is XXX XXXX
Any paperwork for Clarington, please send interoffice back to “Jennifer Whistle I.S.-CLA.”
I’m at my mom’s Monday if you need to reach me, the number is XXX.XXX.XXXX.
After that I’ll be at Hill Farm Inn in Arlington, VT.
Have a great week, and thank you again.
-Stella


This is the most awful, boring job ever. I’m not allowed to answer the phones. I’m surrounded by department Vice Presidents who don’t do anything all day. They just meander up and down the halls talking or not talking. Most of the time not talking, just leaning against the wall or the receptionist’s cubicle walls or whatever. My boss was here from nine something to about 10:30. He left to go to the gym. He told me not to answer the phone. So now I just sit here. I slumped down in my chair and Tom yelled at me for sleeping on the job, which I wasn’t because I have no job to do and the little carts rolling over the tile floor directly overhead make this awful thundering noise like a horse race or a railroad track or something, making it impossible to sleep. This fat guy, I think he’s the Facilities Assistant Director, he’s been standing here with one hand in his pocket and the other holding a cup of coffee for about ten minutes now, just staring straight ahead, not saying a word. I’m tempted to squirt him with some of this moisture-rich cucumber-melon body lotion to see if he responds. I suppose it’s too much to hope that he’d say something. Maybe he’d have to walk back to the break room from whence he came to get a new cup of coffee. Maybe he’d just drink his coffee. Oh God no. Michelle, the bland receptionist, is going to lunch now. I’m going to be all alone. Tom is rifling through her desk and pocketbook now that she’s gone. I wish she wasn’t gone, then I could listen to her staggeringly dull phone conversations. Now that Tom’s finished his search, there’s no sound. Just the air conditioning and the sound of my pencil scratching on this paper. Oh, wait. Tom just sighed. He’s in his massive office. I don’t like him, but I hope he commandeers me and gives me something to do. I don’t think my boss is ever coming back. His name is Rick Rudy, Senior Vice President of Imperial Information Systems. Oh, sweet Jesus. Tom just left. Fuck. I’m the only one left in the entire wing. Hopefully when I get home, there will be a baby potted palm tree in my room. Then I could bring it in tomorrow and put it on my massive gray desk and make it a little more festive. The only color in here, besides the little red button on my phone, is the sea-green cucumber-melon slop that one of the secretaries left here. Sea-green isn’t that far off from gray. I guess I could stare at the little red button on the phone I’m not supposed to use, but then I’d have to look at the little LCD clock built into the phone. I hate that clock. Whenever I look at it, it gives me bad news. I wish another living thing would wander by so I could tell it that I was going outside to smoke and stare at the sun. Oh well. I guess I’ll just write it on one of these blue-gray post-it notes.

OK I was gone for almost a half hour, and there’s still no one here. I searched the entire wing, and all I found was Ron Manning, Assistant Vice President of Motel Operations, and Bill Panormus, Director of Accounting, sitting in a lounge, watching a talk show with no sound. They didn’t say anything or move except to breathe. This seems to be a recurring theme. It’s like an asylum in here. I need another smoke already. Dave Griffin, the Senior Vice President of Slot Operations, just wandered in and asked me how I was doing. I was so shocked to see a moving, sound-producing object that I forgot to answer. I just stared at him as he strolled by, smiling. Then I remembered that I was really here and I told him that I was going to lose my mind if I didn’t get something to do. He said “Yeah, the day goes by a lot faster if you keep yourself busy.” Then he walked into Tom’s office, saw that Tom was gone, and left. WHERE IS MY BOSS? Some deadbeat from receiving just came in pushing a cart full of boxes and said “So you’re the new Golden Boy, eh?” I grimaced at him. His name is Eric Mueller, Shipping and Receiving Clerk. I learned this from his badge. I do that all day because everyone is dressed the same and they’re all the same age and they all have the same mustache. I could tell Shipping and Receiving Clerk Eric Mueller apart from the rest of the people here because he is only in his mid-thirties, his hair and mustache is blond, and his shirt is blue. I can tell Tom apart from everyone else because he has a sharp face, a little like an evil Tom Selleck. Anyway, Shipping and Receiving Clerk Eric Mueller wanted to talk to my boss, Rick Rudy, Senior Vice President of Imperial Information Systems, so that he could give him the boxes he was carting around. I told him that to the best of my knowledge, my boss had been at the gym since 10:30. He said “Man, that’s brutal.” Then he wandered around all the offices, looking for humans, but he found none, so he left. I just sharpened my pencil. That’s the most important thing I’ve done all day.
Rick Rudy has such a great office. He has warm melony wallpaper and stupid paintings and a big TV and sound system and a nice cushy couch and a giant wood desk with this kick-ass monitor that comes up out of it. If it wasn’t for the Mr. Potato Head on his desk, he could have a comic book villain’s office. Tom (his last name is Bodokkis) has a crappy office. It’s ugly brown with old OH MY GOD! MY BOSS IS BACK! It’s 3:00. THANK CHRIST! He says he’ll only be here for a few minutes though, because he’s going to go take a lunch break soon. That’s ok, it’s so good to see him. Getronics sent him a promotional package and he can’t figure out the three-dimensional puzzle, so I get to do it. I’m so happy! Ok, I’m done the puzzle. And Michelle’s back! That’s not as exciting, but still pretty good. Grant Lionel, Computer Operations Manager is back with Tom, and they’re talking about some issues. Tom says he hates talking about issues, and Grant said “OK, we’ll just refer to them as problems then.” My boss just left again. I’ll never ever see him again. Goodbye, Rick Rudy, Senior Vice President of Imperial Information Systems. I guess all the work on the second floor happens in the final moments of the day. Grant and Michelle are talking shit about the Ergotron hardware that someone sent up. Then Grant left to meet up with Tom and Rick Rudy, who went to lunch. I think this is a fine time for another smoky treat. Off I go.

My treat wasn’t so great. I can’t smoke in the casino unless I wander through a hellish labrinth to get to the nearest smoking lounge. So I just go outside. Employees aren’t allowed to loiter on the boardwalk, so I have to go to Ocean One, which smells like garbage because of the heat. Then I get used to the heat and I come back in here and it’s freezing. Rick Rudy came back with a bag of popcorn and put his hands on my shoulders and told Marketing and Information System Analyst Faye Riviera that she’d better watch out, I was hot and I’d end up taking her job if she didn’t watch herself. Somehow a metal fork ended up on my desk while I was out smoking. And the boss brought me a Rolodex. I don’t know why, he hasn’t told me its ok to pick up the phone yet. He also gave me a big bundle of papers for me to memorize. Looking at this packet, it’s occurred to me that the boss has no idea who I am. If I’m going to make a purchase less than one thousand dollars, I need the approval of a director. Expenditures of one thousand to $2499 require the approval of the Assistant Vice President, Vice President or Senior Vice President. Expenditures of $2500 to $9999 require the approval of the Executive Vice President of Operations or the President. Expenditures of ten thousand to $99,999 require the approval of the President. Expenditures of one hundred thousand dollars or more require the approval of the Co-Chief Operating Officer and the “IGE” of the Eastern Region. I don’t even know what an IGE is. Rick Rudy said he’s going to be in meetings all day tomorrow and he’s going on vacation the rest of the week, so he needs me to “slide in” and take over, and I shouldn’t forget that I get the Fourth of July off. This is scaring the hell out of me, but I can’t stop smiling. I wish there was some way to find out who he thinks I am. Oh well. I’ll give it a try tomorrow. If I don’t like it I can quit on Thursday.
Rick Rudy is leaving now. It’s 3:35. He says to wear a nice tie because I have a big day tomorrow. The standing/not talking people are back. They’re talking a little bit. Not about me, though. I don’t know why. Tomorrow I’ll be their boss. I’ll be the most important person on the second floor. The carts upstairs are galloping like crazy now. I’ll have to remember that 2599 is the extension for the Help Desk. I’ll be calling them a lot. I’ll probably fire Faye. I wonder if I’ll get in trouble for this. I don’t even have a picture on my ID badge, just my name and a little magnetic strip. I HAVEN’T EVEN USED THE PHONE YET! There is so much shit in this packet. I’ll never memorize any of this. This document is not to leave this office.
Things finally happened! The receptionist took a call for Mr. Camel from Rick Rudy, Senior Vice President of Imperial Information Systems and he said I had to go to the Centurion Tower Executive Offices. Three security punks tried to keep me out, but I showed them my almost-blank ID badge and they apologized and backed off. It was very sullen in the executive offices, because the CEO’s wife, Mrs. Connely, had just died. The woman at the reception desk directed me to Judy, the CEO’s secretary. I was terrified. I did not want to meet the CEO, and he certainly would not want to meet with me. Fortunately, Judy just gave me another big pile of papers. I was so nervous that I got off on the wrong floor on the way back down. I felt like a moron. Anyway, I brought them back down and gave them to the Vice President of something, I don’t remember exactly what. While I was up I faxed some Shadowrun character sheets and visuals to random numbers. Then I found the kitchen. There’s always coffee going in the kitchen, so it smells great. Then someone came in and said they wanted some of that coffee, so I stopped smelling it and wandered into a random office. These offices blew compared to mine. They were split up into three cubicles and the wallpaper and cubicle dividers were this ghastly shade of green-blue. I wondered what these people did. Then I wondered what I was supposed to be doing. Was everyone here clueless as I? Was the entire second floor just faking it, like me? It certainly seems that way. No one here ever does or knows anything. I had no idea the real world could be this stupid. Is this for real? Do I want this to be for real? If I get a good night’s sleep, will everything seem normal again in the morning? Or are we really and truly this close to oblivion?

Day Two

Hoo boy! I got held up at the gas station because the moron didn’t understand what I meant when I said “five regular” and “stay here, I’m in a hurry.” He somehow confused that with “Fill it up with Premium and go enjoy an icy cold coke for a few minutes once my tank is full. I’ve got all day.” He came back and asked me for one of my black cigarettes. I gave him one. Then he checked the pump. I got the impression that if I hadn’t caught his attention with my cigarette, he would’ve forgotten I existed. He came back and said “Thirty even.”
“I asked for five regular,” I said. He walked away and stared at the display on the pump, but it offered him no advice. “Hello?” I called out.
He came back and said “It says thirty.”
“I only asked for five, because I’m in a hurry,” I said.
“I don’t remember you saying that,” he said.
“Well, what did you think I said?”
“How am I supposed to know man? I can’t remember everything every customer says to me all day,” he said. I was going to ask him if he could remember what the customer said long enough to relay the message to the pump, but then I figured that wouldn’t accomplish anything. I thought I’d give the poor moron a break, so I said I’d give him the thirty, as long as he left me enough change to buy a pack of cigarettes and lunch. He said he couldn’t do that.
“If I give you thirty dollars, I’ll have to go back home to get more money for lunch, and that will make me late for work, and I cannot have that,” I said.
“That’s not my problem,” he said. Then he made a really stupid move. He said that if I wasn’t going to pay, he was going to call the cops.
That pissed me off. I had been outwardly patient. I had been polite. I gave him a cigarette when he asked. I had offered him a compromise, so he wouldn’t have to pay the full difference out of his own pocket, if that was even how they did it here. And now this moron thinks he can scare me into giving him twenty-five dollars of my hard-earned money. I saw a mechanic wandering nearby, so I yelled “Help!” He started walking over.
The moron cracked. “Forget it man, I’ll just pay,” he said. I gave him a twenty, and he was so nervous he gave me a ten and ten ones as change. I sped away. My speeding got me pulled over, but I’m great with cops, so all I got was a warning. I ended up getting to work a couple minutes late, but no one noticed. Certainly not the boss, he didn’t show up until just before 11:00. He was wearing Magnum P.I. shorts and a muscle shirt. He got changed into his suit in his office, then said he’d get me started when he got back from breakfast, and left. It’s dead in here, but not as dead as it was yesterday. The slot attendants are striking. Time for a smoke.

I went for a walk around the building. It is such a beautiful day. Sunny, but not blindingly bright like it was yesterday. There was a food delivery truck in the tunnel that smelled so good, like fresh bread. The boardwalk smelled great, too. The cool, salty breeze blew away Ocean One’s awful baking garbage smell, leaving only the woody smell of the boardwalk with the occasional blast of fried food. The beach was even better.
When I got back to the office, Rick Rudy showed me how to work his phone, then said “She’s all yours. I’m going to lunch, I’ll be back in a few hours. If anyone asks where I am, you don’t know. You shouldn’t have any problems. If there’s an emergency, you’ve got my number.” Then he left. I lounged in the office for a while, then Michelle put a call through to my office. It was IGE. I stopped breathing for a second. IGE is who you talk to for expenditures of one hundred thousand dollars or more. I haven’t been the Vice President of Imperial Information Systems for an hour, and already I need to do a giant awful thing that could get me sued. I told her to put it through on 5033 (line five). The phone rang. I picked it up and said “Camel, I.S. Division” The voice on the other end identified itself as belonging to John Gattler of Imperial Gaming Entertainment. He asked me if I was the acting Vice President.
“Yes I am,” I said.
“Hmmm,” he said. “Do you know where Rick Rudy is?” he asked.
“He’s out of the office for a few hours,” I said.
“Hmm,” he said. “It’s nothing personal, but I’d rather speak with him.”
“Not a problem; I understand completely,” I said.
“Did he say where he was going to be for the next few hours?” he asked.
“No, I didn’t ask,” I said.
“Sounds like lunch to me,” he said. “All right, if you bump into him, let him know I called,” he said.
“You got it, John,” I said.
“Thanks,” he said, and hung up.
I rifled through my new desk for a minute, but found nothing interesting, so I played with the little switch that makes the monitor go in and out of the desk. Vicki came in and asked where Rick Rudy went. I said I wasn’t sure where, but he’ll be back in a few hours. “Oh. He must be at a meeting, then,” she said as she walked out. I shut the door. Someone knocked on it as I walked back to my desk. Shelley, the Production Services Analyst came in and introduced herself. She asked if I was the new Vice President. I said yes.
“Congratulations, sir! That’s quite an accomplishment, considering you’re so young.”
“Thank you,” I said.
“It really is a pleasure to meet you, sir,” she said.
“You don’t have to call me ‘sir’ when nobody else is around,” I said. “Call me Joe,” I said.
“Ok, Joe,” she said. Then she told me that the new phone directories are in and she wanted to know if they should be sent out to the other departments yet.
“I don’t see why we should keep anyone waiting,” I said.
“Ok, I’ll get to work on it right away,” she said.
“Need any help?” I asked.
“Uuh… Sure, if you really want to,” she said.
Then I had big fun hunting down the nurse’s office and accounts payable and the cage office and the finance office and the payroll desk. My last delivery was to the Centurion Tower Executive Offices again. The guard didn’t try to stop me this time. When I got back Michelle told me I missed a whole bunch of calls. “Good,” I said. Then I got some coffee and stood around with the other Vice Presidents. No one in my division cares about the strike. They think the strikers are morons, because they get nine dollars an hour to start plus tips, all the free meals they want, they don’t have to pay for their uniforms, and they get full benefits and even classes to help them learn English if they want. Plus, the casino is running fine without them. Any moron can do the job, without any training or education or anything, so they’re just pulling people from other departments. The people here actually like the strikes, because they think it’s fun volunteering for other jobs. It’s so strange here. All those employees are just a luxury item for the company.
The other Vice Presidents wanted to know if I wanted to go to the gym in a half hour. I told them I probably shouldn’t, because I have no other clothes and I’m on a very restrictive diet this week, so I probably shouldn’t do any heavy exercise. The Vice Presidents left, so I went back into the office and played with Rick Rudy’s Mr. Potato Head. Rick Rudy called and asked if I had taken care of the “retro checks” for the Parisian yet. I said I hadn’t gotten to them yet. “That’s fine. If you don’t get around to it, I’ll take care of it myself later, I guess.” He said he’d heard a rumor that there was going to be a strike. He asked if I had heard anything about it. I told him the strike started last night at 10:15.
“Who walked out?” he asked.
“Slot attendants,” I said.
“That’s so stupid! Those greedy fucking people are so stupid! If they don’t show up for work, that’s it - they get replaced; the ad goes out in the paper on Monday. What the hell else can they do? They don’t have education, transportation, or basic knowledge of the English language. Anyone dumb enough to walk out of that job deserves to get canned. What the hell more did they think they were going to get?”
“I have no idea,” I said.
“Oh well. Call John Rudell and tell him to keep these monkey idiot storage system salesmen off my back.”
“I don’t know his extension,” I said.
“Ah well, forget it then,” he said. “Hold down the fort until I get back,” he said, and hung up.
I played around on Rick Rudy’s computer a little bit, but he didn’t have any good games or anything on it. Outside, important people are being issued new cel phones that only work in the building. Ooh, hey look! Here’s a note that says who he thought I was yesterday. Joe Camel, Information Systems Coordinator. It’s 2:30. Rick Rudy just ran in and out again. He was having a heated discussion with Tom. He said he was back from lunch and I should beep him if there’s an emergency, and that he would be in the building. Then he left. I sent the secretary away so she could take a break. I’m gonna go hang out with Bob, the phone technician. He’s cool.
The office is a bit livelier than it was yesterday, but still not a very exciting place. Staring at Rick Rudy’s little rock fountain thing is relaxing. The trickling sound could put me to sleep. I’ll lock the door and take a power nap.

Had a good nap and another smoke. I talked to one of the union sandwich men and they said they wanted a thirty cent raise and three paid vacation days a year. They want their contracts to be shorter, so they can make demands more often, and they want it to end late June, so they can strike right before the Fourth of July. All their positions are now open.

TO THE PUBLIC
DO YOU WIN OR LOSE AT THE IMPERIAL??????

WE, THE WORKERS AND MEMBERS OF THE TEAMSTERS LOCAL XXX
WHO PAY YOU ON YOUR SLOT WINNINGS, ARE LOSING TO THIS
UNFAIR COMPANY.
ALL WE WANT IS A FAIR CONTRACT AND YET WHAT WE GET IS
LAUGHTER FROM
THEIR $400.00 DOLLAR AN HOUR LAWYER!!!!!!!
THEY WANT TO TAKE AWAY OUR DIGNITY-TREAT US LIKE
SMALL CHILDREN ON A SHORT LEASH.
THEY DON’T WANT US TO BE NICE TO YOU, THEY WANT LESS AND
LESS OF US TO SERVE YOU.
WE WANT TO SERVE YOU BEST
HELP US TO HELP YOU

TRY THE OTHER CASINOS UNTIL THE IMPERIAL TREATS US FAIRLY….
THEY BUY AND SELL CASINOS LIKE A
MONOPOLY GAME…………….
WE DON’T WANT TO BE OWNED!!!!!!!
HELP US HELP YOU
TRY THE SLOTS AT THE ATLANTEAN NEXT DOOR.
SUPPORT TEAMSTERS LOCAL XXX


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Some woman just called me and started shouting buzzwords in my ear. Her fast-growing company is an industry leader in scalable wireless network solutions. I told her the company already had a cel phone contract, and you know they charge you a fortune for canceling early, but if she wanted to snail mail me some information, she should send it to my office in about a week.
Rick Rudy left a little notepad full of quotes on his desk.

It is in vain to expect our prayers to be heard, if we do not strive as well as pray.
–Aesop

What is the opposite of two? A lonely me, a lonely you.
–Richard Willour

When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught to fly.
–Edward Teller


Fon!
Rick Rudy came back with some bad news. He’s canceling his vacation. Something to do with the strike. No more cushy Vice President job for me. He just left again. Where’d he go? There he is. I gotta go somewhere with him…

…and that’s all I wrote because I got fired. It seems they hired me to fill in for some lowly peon for a little while, but one of the peon’s responsibilities was to fill in for her superior, and one of the superior’s responsibilities was to fill in for his superior, etc, etc. This doesn’t sound like a bad system, but on this particular week everyone in the department was flown out to Las Vegas for a convention or something, so I went from bottom rung to top dog in two days. Everyone was fine with this. I would have kept the Vice President position for the whole week had ‘Rick Rudy’ not been called upon to stay in Atlantic City to deal with the strike.

I can deal with the “unconventional but harmless” crazy people. Now that I know who to look out for, I think I can handle the psycho. A person can fight or defend against the crazy individuals, but what do you do when the Powers That Be are crazy enough to put a guy like me in charge? Should we try to fight it, or should we sit back and trust that it’ll all work out in the end? I’ve been wrestling with these questions for days, and all my trains of thought keep leading me back to the same place:

“VOTE FOR CAMEL IN 2004!”

God bless America, and God bless you all!
Goodnight!

post a comment



Date:2004-02-20 04:47
Subject:
Security:Public

Brothers! Sisters! A time has come... The dawn of a new day in America!
The founding fathers warned us of this day-- They told us to be steadfast in retaining our basic freedoms: the right to vote, to bear arms in our own defense.
What begins today is an act of patriotism.

You've been tricked into believing you have no voice. But you do have a voice-- Your government does not listen.

You feel betrayed at home and abroad. The world views us with disdain and we silently allow it.

We are led to believe this is a government of the people, by the people, for the people. But this is a great and insidious lie.

It is a government of special interest groups and self-serving politicians who answer to their bellies and bank balances.

Beginning today, we'll give them something else to worry about!

Today, a revolution begins: The first stone is removed from the mighty wall they have built in front of our very eyes.

Every revolution begins with bloodshed. The blood feeds the seed of a new beginning... And that is the natural evolution of our species.

Today, the people of this great nation-- the people of the world-- will awaken from their long slumber.

And you will be welcomed as heroes!

-Cobra Commander

2 comments | post a comment



Date:2004-02-12 11:40
Subject:VALENTINES DAY VERSUS GUY DAY
Security:Public
Mood:awake

“Blasphemyyy! Blas for youuu! Blas for everybody in the roooom!”
-Eddie Izzard


I hate holidays. Hate. Any happiness I might get from a holiday is overshadowed by the obligations of the holiday. Usually, this means I have to buy something. Either I’m low on money and don’t really feel like buying whatever it is, or I’ve been working so much that I don’t have time to buy the thing. If I do have money and time, the place I need to go to buy the thing will be closed for the holiday. Maybe you get the other end of the problem, and your business is one of the ones that doesn’t close for the holiday, in which case when I go to patronize your place of business, I have to put up with your bitter, whining ass.

“But Mr. Camel! What about Easter? Don’t you love Jesus and chocolate?”

Yes, I love both Jesus and chocolate, but I have a bad childhood memory about Easter. I found the golden egg at an Easter egg hunt one year, the egg all the other children were scrambling around IBM Park trying to find. It was hidden in a little hole behind some bushes. Whoever brought the egg up to the judge got a huge Easter basket and a chocolate bunny that was almost as tall as I was at the time. For some reason, I decided not to keep the egg, and give it to one of the younger kids there. I called over this adorable little toddler who was running around in circles nearby. I gave him the egg and told him to go give it to the judge. He got real excited and ran screaming in the general direction I pointed him in. He never made it to the judge. Some bigger kid held him up and tried to talk him into trading one of her plastic eggs for the gold one. The little kid didn’t seem to understand the deal, so the bigger kid just reached into his basket and made the trade herself. The little one started crying and ran away. By the time I made my way to a grown-up, it was too late – the big kid had been announced the winner. Now, all Easter makes me think of is the greed and stupidity of little children.

“But Mr. Camel! What about Veterans Day? Aren’t you proud of your country?”

Veterans Day is an abomination. Back in the day it was Armistice Day, a celebration of the end of the War to End All Wars, a day when we paid tribute to the millions who lost their lives. In 1954 Eisenhower renamed the holiday Veterans Day, to recognize the dead soldiers of both World Wars.

It lost a little bit of something there, when it went from a memorial for all casualties of war to a memorial for only the soldiers. The name change reflects the American view of war – the only people who get hurt or killed are our brave sons and brothers. It has been many generations since soldiers went to war on our soil, and so most Americans have no idea what it truly means for a society to be At War. The fighting doesn’t happen in some field or forest somewhere, it happens in population centers – places where normal people live and work. On September 11th the unthinkable happened, and thousands of American civilians died. During our opening “Shock and Awe” assault on Baghdad, three times that number of civilians were killed. They were no different than the people who died in New York.

In this age of unparalleled patriotic jingoism, Veterans Day has become something truly frightening. It has become a political tool. Instead of mourning for those who were killed, we celebrate our soldiers who are still fighting. We honor the warriors and the wars themselves. I understand that overt military action is sometimes necessary, but I can think of no greater dishonor to those who died in wars than to celebrate further killing.

“But Mr. Camel! What about Christmas/Hanukkah?”

I’m not Jewish, so Christmas, which hasn’t been a fun holiday since I was a little kid.

The “holiday season” is the most stressful time of the year for a lot of people. Not only do you have to spend a lot of money on your family, friends, and co-workers, you also have to brave insane amounts of traffic and possibly heavy snow to get to the place where you have to spend the money. While we’re doing this we’re supposed to be happy and joyous, and full of the “spirit of the season.” All this happens while we’re getting less sun than any other time of the year, which naturally speeds the onset of depression. There are more suicides during the holidays than any other time of the year. All this is on top of the fact that we’ve totally trivialized the celebration of the birth of the most popular guy ever to walk the earth.

There are those who say that all of these negative factors are balanced out by the fact that the holidays are a time of family togetherness. Bullshit, say I. Thanksgiving is a vastly superior holiday for getting together with loved ones, and it’s all centered around a massive home-cooked meal, which beats mandatory gift-giving any day. I’ll get you a present when I happen to find something I can afford that I think you’ll like, not when the calendar says its time to buy you something, damn it!

“But Mr. Camel! What about your birthday?”

Why are you even asking this? My birthday isn’t a holiday…

But yes, I hate my birthday. I hate your birthday, too. Like many people, I see my birthday as a grim reminder of another year gone by with too little accomplished, regardless of how much I actually have accomplished. I haven’t gotten to the point where it becomes a reminder of how old and unattractive or close to death I’m getting, but I’m sure that’ll sneak up on me soon enough.

Seriously, is there anyone out there older than 21 who thinks that the humiliation of having your birthday (especially the ones that end in 0) recognized is worth the attention and cake? Plus, I’m fairly certain that the horrible sinking feeling you get when the waiters come out to sing you your stupid birthday song is just as embarrassing for them as it is for you. Birthdays past 21 are just annoying all around.

“But Mr. Camel! What about Mothers and Fathers Day? Don’t you love your parents?”

Oh, if you only knew my parents…

“But Mr. Camel! What about Earth Day?”

Fuck off! Damn dirty hippies…

Look, enough of this, ok? Enough.

The only holidays I’m really big on are the heavy drinking holidays – New Years, Saint Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Fat Tuesday. The only non-drinking holidays I like are Halloween, Chow Yun Fat Day, and April Fools Day, because I’m a kid at heart. I also try to observe Ash Wednesday, even though I’m not what most churchgoers would consider ‘practicing.’

Notice I did not list Valentines Day as one of the good holidays. I hate Valentines Day most of all. Even though I hate Christmas, you may from time to time catch me cheering like an idiot for it. You will never ever catch me saying anything good about Valentines Day.

Everyone knows Valentines Day is a day for lovers. Considerably less remember that Valentines Day used to be known as Saint Valentines day, after the patron saint of lovers. Almost no one knows who he really is or how we squeezed a holiday out of him.

Valentinus was a priest in Rome, who lived under the rule of Emperor Claudius Gothicus II, remembered as Claudius the Cruel. Claudius was having trouble recruiting soldiers to fight his wars for him, so he banned all marriages, thinking that men who had no one to come home to would be more willing to fight and die for him. One of Valentinus’ duties as a priest happened to be marrying couples in secret ceremonies. Valentinus was arrested by the feds, found guilty of practicing and preaching Christianity, beaten to within an inch of his life, and then beheaded on February 14th. He was later sainted for martyrdom.

Many years passed, and Christianity spread throughout the Empire. The church, being somewhat prudish, decided to do away with Lupercalia, a traditional pagan holiday occurring on February 15th, which was kind of like a big S&M party involving freshly cut goatskin instead of leather. After the party, you drew another townsperson's name out of a hat and spent the rest of the month fucking that person. In the new Christian Lupercalia, you drew the name of a saint out of a hat and emulated their ideals and way of life until next year. Not surprisingly, the new Lupercalia was a dismal failure.

The church then tried a compromise – they would make Lupercalia into a holiday of romance and courtship, rather than a sexual festival. To legitimize the new holiday, they looked to Saint Valentinus. Since the only romantic fact they could find about the chaste priest was that he conducted underground marriages, they decided to cheese up his story a bit. In the new story, while awaiting execution, Valentinus used the power of God to cure the jailor’s daughter’s blindness. The jailor’s daughter and Valentinus fell in love, and when he was hauled off to be executed, he left her a love note that was signed “from your Valentine.” Lupercalia was pushed back a day to the day of Valentinus’ execution and renamed Valentines’ Day. The lottery system remained in place, but now instead of bodily fluids, the only thing people exchanged were gifts.

This worked well for hundreds of years. The Valentines Day tradition of gift-giving mutated to poetry and cards after the mid-1400’s. This is blamed on Duke Charles of Orleans, who was famous for writing love poems to his wife in France while he was exiled to England. Valentines Day cards emulating Duke Charles’ letters were popular with men who were sick of paying good money for a present for someone they might not even like. This had the unintended consequence of placing most of the responsibility for the romance of the day squarely on the man’s shoulders.

The fancy, frilly, lacy look we associate with Valentines Day cards (and ‘romantic’ things in general) is blamed on Esther Allen Howland, who started an assembly line for printed valentines in Massachusetts in the mid-1800’s. The style simply never evolved from the style of the time.

Nowadays, Valentines Day is unbearable. It is supposed to be a happy, romantic day, but commercialism has turned it into another frenzied nightmare.

Earlier today I idly clicked on a link for “the perfect Valentines Day gift.” I didn’t need to shop for a present; I just wanted to see what was out there. After specifying that it was for an 18-24 year old woman, and a ‘casual’ gift, as opposed to ‘extravagant,’ ‘high tech,’ ‘outdoor/sporting,’ or ‘fashion,’ I was brought to an index of price ranges. First I hit ‘up to $20.’ Nothing there. I started over and hit ‘$20-30.’ Nothing there either. I couldn’t even get to the cheapest gift until I got to the bath and body gift baskets and perfumes, priced around $35. Curious, I checked out their recommendations for gifts for men. The cheapest ones for men were about nine dollars.

I realize that this is just one website, but I think it embodies the expectations of the day pretty well. It is the man’s job to come up with a thoughtful, romantic gift that doesn’t have to cost a whole lot, but it shouldn’t be something you run out and pick up on the way. In addition, it’s traditional for the man to handle dinner reservations someplace nice and pay for that too.

Now the money for the present is no big deal. Dinner at a nicer restaurant once in a while isn’t such a big deal either. Dinner at a nice restaurant on the night everyone in the world has made reservations for dinner at a nice restaurant is a pain in the ass, for you, the restaurant, and the people who reserved your table before and after you. Last Valentines Day every restaurant we drove past had an unbelievably long line, even the Denny’s. Yesterday morning there was a pretty big article in the paper about what a disaster Valentines Day has been for area restaurants – waits, agonizingly slow service, couples being rushed and then thrown out early, food and wine shortages, etc.

It is the man’s responsibility to ensure that you and your valentine have a lovely, romantic evening under these conditions. God help you if your gift isn’t thoughtful or romantic enough and ends up making your significant other feel cheap, or if the restaurant you made your reservations at well in advance overbooked themselves like everyplace else.

The one special gift and nice dinner thing can be substituted for something more fun and creative if you like, but no matter what you’re doing, the man is responsible for financing the day and keeping the mood romantic on this very busy evening at the ass-end of winter. Hey, no pressure.

The woman doesn’t have to go through as much trouble to get a good gift. For the men, a really good present is more like a bonus, because at the end of the night, there will be tons of blistering-hot sex. Or maybe your present could be something included in the blistering-hot sex. Do it that way, and you don’t have to pay a dime. All you have to do is put out. You must. You have no choice. Blistering-hot sex. No choice.

Now, I don’t think a woman should be required to have sex on any particular day other than her honeymoon, her anniversary, or her boyfriend’s birthday, but unfortunately the calendar indicates that we’re halfway through February, so you have no choice in the matter. If there is no blistering-hot sex, the entire day, and possibly the relationship, is tainted or ruined. The man will think that either he’s fucked something up earlier in the day, or that you really don’t like him, or both. God forbid Valentines Day happens to be the wrong time of the month, because blistering-hot sex is your responsibility and obligation. It probably doesn’t even matter if you just met the guy and you’re not even sure if you like him enough to keep dating him. Blistering-hot sex. No choice. Hey, no pressure.

If the pressures of the obligations of the day are getting to you, just consider the alternative – you could be alone. Singles don’t have to buy anything, or put out even if they don’t really feel like it tonight. They just have to pretend they don’t exist. They can’t go out to restaurants or bars or even shopping, because everywhere they go, they’ll feel the eyes of the world on their back as the owners of those eyes whisper to one another “…alone on Valentines Day. What a loser.” Want to hang out in public with a friend on Valentines Day? The public will not be fooled, and their stares and whispers will be very similar. No, you’re better off hiding within your home, whispering those very thoughts to yourself.

The bottom line is, Valentines Day is another unnecessary day of pressure and obligation. This one is a little bit harder than most, because it involves your relationship and/or self-esteem.

What we need to counter Valentines Day and all the stresses of the holidays is a day where we have absolutely no traditional obligations whatsoever. A day off work and school where we don’t even have to spend time with our families. We get to be disgusting slugs all day.

With this goal in mind, I set off in search of a less-popular saint to make a holiday out of. The most promising saint I read about was Saint Guy of Anderlecht, or the Guido of Anderlecht, the patron saint of many things, including a small number of convulsive disorders, rabid and mad dogs, horned animals, work animals, and functional buildings that people don't live in, such as sheds, barns, or stables.

Guy was born a peasant and schooled in the ways of Catholicism by his parents. He was a good guy, very friendly, and he spent a lot of time helping the local poor and sickly. He had an angel who would come down from heaven and plow his fields for him while he tended to other matters. For a short time Guy got involved with a merchant in a shipping business, but the boat sank on its maiden voyage. Guy gave up on the business. He decided that God had wanted him to be unsuccessful, so to pay penance for trying, he made pilgrimages to Rome and Jerusalem, where he worked for a while as a tour guide, before heading back to his old life. He passed away shortly after the millennium. The memorial for Saint Guy is September 12th.

Saint Guy is perfect stress-free holiday material. The first lesson we learn from the life of Guy is that if you don’t do your work, an angel will come and do it for you. Thus, in memory of Saint Guy, on September 12th, we shall do no work, in hopes that someone else will take care of it. Or maybe an angel will do it for us. The second lesson we learn is that if you try to accomplish something big, you will fail, thus, you’re better off not trying. Thus, in memory of Saint Guy, on September 12th, we will emulate Guy and appear to be as ambition-free as possible. We will lounge and drink and ignore all of our responsibilities.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Guy Day.”

Not only is Guy Day (or Saint Guy Day, whichever) a much-needed stress-free holiday with a very catchy name and a message accessible to all denominations and faiths, but it also falls on the day after September 11th, which is bound to become a national day off sooner or later, right? We’ll get two days off in a row!

Face it, you know you really want another day off. Spread the word about Guy Day. Tell your friends, your family, your co-workers, hell, I bet your boss would like an extra day off too, right? Give him a reason – Guy Day!

Let’s all work together to keep the dream of doing nothing alive!

And happy Valentines Day.


Joe Camel is the Editor-in-Chief of The San Francisco Daily Alarmist and a nationally syndicated columnist. His weekly column, Cooking With Ninja, appears in over 100 newspapers nationwide.

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Date:2004-02-08 09:10
Subject:I see several flaws.
Security:Public
Mood:tired

I text messaged people and stared into the camera lens of my phone all day long. That was as exhilarating as my day got. But for some reason, you people just love to come back and read the retardedness that I write about three times a week. Then come back again to read the retardedness that you comment back and forth to each other.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, November 10


I got out of bed on the morning of January 17th at about 10am. Tori was still sleeping, so I tried to be quiet as I slipped out of bed and made breakfast. I took my Honey Nut Cheerios and organic lowfat milk to the desk, where I added up the previous day’s protein intake, logged it, cleaned out my junk email, and began to check my usual websites. My friend Stick messaged me, which I thought was a little unusual, because he should’ve been at work by that time. He told me he’d been fired.
I wasn’t sure I believed him at first. Stick was good at his job, and he got along well with his co-workers. Part of me was thinking that this was a stupid joke, like he was trying to get me to say ‘what?’</a> (answer: “That’s what!”) or something asinine like that , so I didn’t say much. He called a few minutes later, and the cruel reality of the situation started to sink in. When he’d arrived at work that morning, the district manager called him into his office and told him he was being fired for content he’d posted on his website, and the company was going to sue him if he didn’t take it down. I still didn’t say much of anything. What could I have said?
I went outside and had a smoke. My head was trying to race, but it was still sluggish from lack of stimulants and the unprecedented news. I felt horrible for him, but my defense mechanisms quickly squashed the pang of emotion and replaced it with a frenzied drive to action. Your friend is in trouble! Go there! Help him somehow! Do something! Soon this too was replaced by cold detachment. I tried to look at the situation logically.
Stick had talked about his job online. He’d taken pictures. He’d exposed the innocent tomfoolery that goes on behind the scenes. He’d also written insulting things about one of his co-workers and a number of customers. He used foul language. He had discussed a variety of topics that no respectable company would want associated with its name, and he was not shy about identifying his employer. While he hasn’t done anything illegal, it is certainly conceivable that what he did was against company policy.
Was it justifiable for the company to order him to take down his site? The company’s biggest concern would have been that an irate customer could stumble across the site, find pictures of himself, along with a generalized description of his business there. The tale of the transaction would be generously seasoned with harsh words about how stupid or foul-smelling or socially maladapted Stick and his co-workers found the customer. In a worst-case scenario, the customer would then hire an attorney to try to sue Stick and his employers, because the customer believes that he has a legal expectation of privacy when he’s out shopping in public. The company lawyer would have to fend off these accusations. Sending a lawyer to court costs money, win or lose. Shutting down Stick’s site makes sense.
Can they legally stop him from talking about his job and the people he encounters? Quite frankly, the legality of what he did doesn’t matter. The company can afford a much better attorney than Stick can, and they know it. The company’s attorney wouldn’t even have to put up much of a fight. All they would have to do is drag the case out until Stick runs out of money, and Stick settles and takes the site down anyway. Fighting Stick in the courts would be far more cost-effective than fighting an irate customer who had the determination to hire an attorney and sue. There are no real questions here; the site has got to go.
Was it right to fire Stick even if he agreed to take the site down? Stick was a model employee. He’s the type of guy all employers want on their team – a hard worker, one who’s willing to volunteer for the most grueling assignments. He enjoyed practicing selling phones to his friends by entrapping them in a conversation where they had no choice but to admit that they could do better with the phone/plan he was offering. He understood what it took to be a great salesman. He had the patience to deal courteously with the most obnoxious dregs of society day after day and the skill to lead the most skeptical customer into believing that they really should buy this widget today. He was personally responsible for marked increases in profits. While most people his age are working solely for the money, Stick was motivated to be a great salesman because he had a sincere love of the game. He was driven by the thrill of the hunt and the glory of the kill. His genuine pride in his success was infectious, even to me, and I never even worked with him. This pride could be seen in his website, where he proudly posted pictures of his MVP trophies. But he didn’t just show off his own personal accomplishments; he was also proud to display the wall of award certificates for monthly profits for the entire store. If you worked with a man who possessed this kind of devoted feeling for his job, wouldn’t it be clear to you that he would have complied with management’s request to remove the questionable material even if he wasn’t threatened with a lawsuit?
Sadly, simply asking Stick to remove the site was never an option to the company. Stick was driven by pride, an emotion, rather than the simple need for money. Stick was nothing if not brutally honest about his job, which made him far more dangerous than your average employee.
Nearly all of us have seen our businesses represented in television commercials where the actors playing us cheerfully pop in out of nowhere, the line “I am happy to be serving you!” squirting out of every pore and orifice as they bring the customer total satisfaction in a matter of seconds, and then fade into the background, smiling and waving goodbye as the happy customer and his family walk away. We all know the reality of our job is nothing like this. Stick’s website blew a massive, flaming hole in this image, and while it may not have been shocking to learn that what goes on once the customer is out of earshot is remarkably similar to what happens at your own place of employment, it is still a breach in the image of Consumer America that the company cannot tolerate. Once again, there is no decision to be made here.

There have been countless Internet censorship battles, and the numbers will only increase. Warner Brothers had a number of Harry Potter fan sites shut down. Paul Trummel was sentenced to over one hundred days in jail when a judge ruled that the phone directory on his website, contracabal.com, constituted harassment. The American Greetings corporation censored a Penny Arcade comic that used their Strawberry Shortcake character to parody video game maker American McGee. Ken Volk was expelled by the Great Falls schoolboard for posting pictures of his fellow students on his personal web page at geocities.com/wholefnsite2002. The Internet Content Register shut down NetAdult for showing pictures of the crash that killed Princess Diana. Yellowtimes.org was shut down after defying an order issued by the Pentagon not to show images of American POWs. Marvel Comics shut down Skindex.com, a site for sharing homemade video game skins. Scientologists attack anyone who posts information about their organization. Diebold threatened to sue everyone who posted leaked internal memos about the flaws in their voting machines. The list goes on and on.
It’s easy to look at any of these censoring parties and say that they’re over-reacting. The thing that bothers me the most about Stick’s case is that I can’t see a ‘bad guy’ anywhere, only victims caught up in an unfortunate set of circumstances. We humans hate to be victims, but if we are victimized, we would rather blame someone or something than despair that our misfortunes are caused by something arbitrary and abstract like fate or ‘the system.’ In this situation, I don’t think Stick did anything wrong, and I don’t think that his employers were particularly wrong to do what they did. It was harsh, certainly, but far from unwarranted. It hurts to think that this can only make the situation fate has thrust upon my friend even more painful, for when there is no right and no wrong there can be no sense of justice.

Stick comes to this land of tarnished freedoms from the Philippines. His origins have always held an air of mystery and fantasy for me. I imagine young Stick being raised in a plantation home at the edge of town, at the point where the jungle begins to give way to civilization. The laughter of playing children would have blended neatly with the buzz and chatter of the rainforest birds and insects. He would have had a pleasant upbringing, his needs attended to by a boisterous extended family and a number of servants he referred to as ‘slaves.’ The plucky young Stick would have viewed the move to the United States as a wondrous journey rather than a sad parting as the “big bird” rocketed his family across the Pacific.
I first met Stick in high school. Seating in most classes was alphabetical, so he was one seat behind me in a number of classes. We talked and tortured one another. I remember one class in particular, a Functions, Statistics, & Trigonometry class, where we must not have done any work the entire year. We would talk until Mr. Lentz would complain that our deep voices had a tendency to resonate and carry throughout the room. Then we moved on to torturing one another. Stick would smack me in the back of the head or flick my ears or the back of my neck until I got up and sauntered over to the far side of the classroom to the pencil sharpener. Then I would slowly sharpen my pencil, smiling wickedly at him the entire time. I would return to my seat and slump down in my chair, then lean back, pantomime a mighty yawn, and stab him in the face or chest with my pencil. One day Stick one-upped me by wiring his backpack with D batteries and wires and prongs and who knows what else until he had MacGuyvered a giant, crude taser and electrocuted the living hell out of me. I screamed, and we were identified as discipline problems in need of special counseling. Since we were both acing FST, our special counseling consisted of a brand new teamwork-building ropes course called Cradle Rock, where we put on uncomfortable harnesses and helmets and jumped out of very tall trees and rappelled and fucked around on a zipline for an hour every day instead of fucking around in a math class. Stick’s innate kung-fu abilities were plainly evident as he flew ninja-like from tree to tree, but his forte was not his physical prowess; rather, it was in computers.
The first love of Stick’s life was MUD. If you don’t know what that is, imagine Everquest with no graphics, only scrolling text. Fascinating stuff, eh? I never understood the attraction to this strange little corner of the video game world, but Stick was consumed by it. Well, I shouldn’t say consumed, because he still had a social life and a job, but he became, and remains to this day, something of a legend in the MUD community. He was far more than just a hardcore gamer, though, he had a thorough understanding of the arcane mysteries of programming, hacking, electronics, phreaking, breaking and entering, and all that other stuff everyone can innately pull off in the movies but very few people know how to do in real life.
This knowledge served him well during the first job I knew he had, which was as a company man for a very well-known American corporation. I know Stick wouldn’t want me saying the name of his old employer, or going into any sort of detail talking about what he did for them. I can say that he was fiercely loyal for no discernable reason, they trained him in small arms and in how to jump out of a variety of aircraft and land safely, he was responsible for overturning an area ordinance prohibiting his company from expanding here by physically and psychologically intimidating their corporate rivals and key government officials, he worked with a big fat greasy balding monster of a woman we referred to as “BEAST!,” and he left the company under unfavorable circumstances after a dispute with his employers over some type of experiment involving gene-splicing and insects, I think it was. I can’t give any more details, but if you do some research, digging up old city records and what-not, you may find anecdotal evidence of the intimidation/ordinance/expansion thing, as well as an oddly constructed older building (located next to a bank) which suffered serious structural damage shortly after the time he resigned and had to be bulldozed, but was rebuilt a year or two later. Did you find that building? That’s them. Keep it to yourself. I don’t want anyone slinging wild rumors around, especially rumors about FEMA setting up huge fumigation tents over the building before and after the building was knocked down. No one likes a rumormonger.
Stick’s second job was at a crappy electronics store on a tiny island just outside of Atlantic City. The business, like everything else in the neighborhood, was already doomed when he arrived.
The area had an above-average crime rate. The local schoolboards, tired of gang-related violence at Chelsea and P-Ville High, had decided to build a new school. The school would be designed similarly to a prison, with a modern security system, few places to hide, and a floorplan designed for easy containment of hostilities. To help prevent truancy, the school would be built in the middle of the bay between Atlantic City and P-ville, accessible via the Black Horse Pike. The construction of this massive artificial island caused a shift in the local water table, causing increases in flooding as well as excessive strain on the sewer system running under Stick’s tiny island. Lost profits from increased flood damage, the cost of repairing the building’s plumbing system, combined with the pre-existing crime problem, caused the department store, the cornerstone of the other businesses in the area, to go bankrupt. Without the draw of the department store, the neighboring stores were finding shoppers hard to come by, and were shutting down and being replaced by shabbier and shadier shops.
Despite the impediments of a floundering local economy and the occasional flood, Stick helped his business prosper. Or perhaps it was because of the poor economy that he did so well. At this point in time, the cellular phone had begun to slide from its place as a useful professional tool to a fake status symbol, where it stood for a short time before slipping all the way down to obnoxious accessory. The economically insignificant persons of this depressed area, with little hope of achieving any real measure of wealth, went apeshit for these fake status symbols, and Stick was more than happy to shovel these unnecessary trinkets down the gaping maw of this segment of American Consumer society. I suppose it would have been inevitable that Stick would master the art and science of salesmanship, given the experience brought by the incredible volume of customers begging to be raped by his infernal contracts.
Stick’s strong work ethic saw him through several years at local technology-oriented jobs, until he decided to flee this particular corner of the union. When he announced he was moving, it was like some large and menacing spiritual bee or hornet had stabbed its long, icy stinger into some corner of my being.
At the time, some moron had commented “This sucks. Where are we going to drink now?” I wanted to smack him. It was true that drinking and idiocy at Stick’s house had occupied many a night. His home had a very warm and lively feel to it, brought about by the rhythms of the slightly disjointed layout, the clean but lived-in feel of the place, the oddness of the mountains of mysterious crates destined for transoceanic voyage piled up at the back door, but most of all, by his family. When Stick’s younger siblings wandered about the place, simply going about their business, or when his parents could be heard speaking in foreign tongues in another room, it was as if you could smell or taste the life that happened here. Most of the time it was a refreshing, easygoing feeling, but once in a while I was lucky enough to witness the zestful, vivacious energy of the family parties. Alcohol flowed, strange dishes were served, stories I didn’t understand were told, and people held their loved ones and laughed all night. The cheerful laughter of family and friends was so spirited, it was as if the very idea of happiness and joy was about to take physical form, probably as a shiny vapor for everyone to float and swim through. (I am told even these nights pale in comparison to karaoke night.)
Stick’s home was always a springboard to adventure. From game night to potato cannons to road trips to parties to expeditions to Jurassic Park (oh man, I miss those), things just had a way of coming together at Stick’s.
This was not what I would come to miss. Stick’s hospitality was just a small slice of what made him such a great guy. Hospitality isn’t even the right word, its more like openness or accessibility, something like that. He’s the kind of guy who’ll really listen to you. He’ll take what you said, shred and process it, and try and get a full understanding of what you’re talking about, rather than just listen to your words and only think about the obvious point of view you just put forward. He’s the kind of guy you can kidnap and torture all night, and will tolerate and laugh about it all night, even though he knows the fatigue of the night’s misadventures will be killing him at work the next morning. He’s the kind of guy who somehow attracts unique and/or interesting people to him. He’s the kind of guy who can make himself comfortable and relaxed in any environment. He’s the kind of guy who will stand firm and levelheaded when the tides of petty bullshit blast him from all sides. He’s the kind of guy who retains his innate coolness, even when engaging in the most socially damning of geek-type activities. He’s the kind of guy who won’t break down, no matter how hard life gets.
Most importantly, he’s a man I trust.

Stick’s original idea for iseeseveralflaws.com was to build something similar to Nitpickers, except this site would be focused on Star Trek errors. It wasn’t a bad idea. It certainly would’ve gotten a lot of hits, simply by virtue of being Trek. It was a far more original idea than a lot of Trek sites I’ve seen, which are mostly shrines. It was a very scalable idea, allowing him to put as much or as little work into it as his schedule and enthusiasm permitted. Despite everything the Trek site had going for it, Stick wisely decided to make it into something simpler and more personal.
The site would be a simple blog. Stick did nothing more than write about his day, and supplement his rambling with pictures he took on his LG Electronics VX-6000 mobile phone, which he (regrettably) referred to as “the coolio phone (that saves lives).”
It was magical.
Jealous of his friend’s success and frustrated with his own blog’s poor readership, ISSF member Wombat posted the following parody of Stick’s blog:

December 10, 2003
YEAH, PICTURES!
So, I was at work today…
Here is a picture of a fat woman…
(insert fat pixilated woman here)
She is so fat. She has nine asses.
Here is a picture of someone else who annoys me and whatnot:
(Insert pic of annoying old woman here)
She had the audacity to ask me, as a fellow white person, to give her a discount. But, duh, there were other people around. Man. She was so dumb and fat and old etc…
Here is another person. A retard, I think:
(insert over-exposed pic of retard here)
They said some stupid shit.
Well. That’s all.


Wombat’s parody is quite accurate.

That whale comes in. OMG she was so fat. It was like watching the majesty of the humpback whale, only it wanted a car charger for its phone.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, December 8th


He fuckin’ asked for a discount on his new camcorder battery too. I suppose it’s the “we’re the same color” discount.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, November 19


What made Stick’s rants so addictive? For one thing, they were fucking funny. I can’t remember how many times I woke up my girlfriend laughing out loud while reading Stick’s site in the middle of night. Second, the pictures and pacing ensured you never lost interest…

Man, this is like vintage Sagien posting style, jumping from pic to pic and topic to topic with no rhyme or reason. But we find it fun, yes? It is a true testament that all I need are pictures and no writing prowess whatsoever required to have a bunch of people come on and comment and give me plenty of attention. Cuz I crave attention. Like the fat kid likes cake.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, December 8th


…but the most important factor was the sense of community.
I remember a conversation I had with Stick one night several years ago. We were in court in Egg Harbor Township protesting somebody’s (the Police Athletic League chairman’s, maybe?) proposal to build a dirtbike track on land adjacent to some local horse ranches. While we were waiting, Stick asked me for ideas for a MUD he was creating called Tassaria. I filled up a couple of pages worth of ideas on backstory for the world, a grand quest that would be the nearly unattainable goal for every high-level player, and in-game mechanisms for revealing the plot to the players. Stick shot down all my ideas about pre-generated plots and interesting storylines. He explained to me that the key to an effective Internet project is to make it community-driven.
Stick’s site was not designed especially for community involvement, nevertheless it had a very strong feeling of community. I believe this feeling of community and belonging is what made Stick’s site such a triumph. It didn’t just come from the fact that I know Stick and a bunch of the people who commented on his posts; I believe it came from the parajungian tale of the Young Clerk. His rants were something everyone could relate to. He was the ultimate voice of the cynical worker surrounded by idiots. No matter how horrible your day was, no matter how close you were to losing it, all it took was one look between the megalomaniacal rants to know that you weren’t alone.
The company did not see this. The company saw only a liability – bitter insults…

Stop eating your family members you hick fuck. It’s bad enough that you screw your brother.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, December 5th


…egocentrism…

Gazing at these pictures will have you longing for the epic that is myself…It is said that the existence of one such as me is legendary. A myth. Because how can the Divinity of the Asian Brownness truly walk amongst mortals? To look at me is like looking straight at the sun. You will be blinded.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, December 12


…and especially racism.

Yes, I hate all minorities. They smell bad. Like they don’t shower and I have to not breathe whenever they’re near me. Especially the British.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, November 12


He was, however, careful to qualify his distaste…

I do not hate black people. I can be cordial to the black folk. I do not hate them. I hate niggers. Nigger. With shifty eyes. Looking for something to steal…Broke ass nigger. He likes to look at things that are teh “tight.” Or “OH SNAP CHECK OUT THIS JOINT!”
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, November 26


…and evenly distribute his scorn.

…and then I feel like a retard cuz it’s like learning and speaking Spanish so you can communicate with the retards who mow lawns and paint guardrails on the highway. Dirty fuckin’ Mexicans.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, November 17


I post this picture in contrast to the black man as proof that you white people can look asinine on camera as well. In fact, I am the only person I know who doesn’t look asinine on camera.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, December 19


He was especially harsh against “his own people…”

He didn’t speak English. And he smelled bad. Like really fuckin’ bad. Like so bad that I had to walk away. I swear, sometimes I ashamed that I am of brown skin. To be honest, I don’t even know what he wanted. I didn’t care. I needed some air freshener. The rainforest smell kind. Cuz I miss the jungle.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, November 12


All Asians eat dog. *I* eat dog. I love dog. And pig. But mostly dog…Mmm. Always a favorite in a gathering of Asians. Marinate meat in soy sauce and Monglosheen. (What, you thought that was only for hair? Silly white people..) …Several wonderful dishes can be made of dog. Send me a pic of your pet. I’ll educate you on how to filet it.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, November 3rd


My eyes are naturally like that. Go ahead. Laugh it up.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, November 7th


Oh, and just because Asians try to speak English to white people doesn’t mean they do the same with me. There have been a lot of circumstances when I would be interrogated…
“Are you Chinese?”
“No.”
“Japanese?”
“No.”
“Vietnamese?”
“No.”
“Korean?”
“No.”
“Laos?”
“No.”
“Hmm. Malaysian?”
“No.”
“Where are you from?”
“I am Filipino.”
“Oh, me too. Do you give discount?”
Why certainly, oh fellow brownian.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, December 1st


…but he always showed his good nature about his racial comments by poking fun at himself, as well. Indeed, it is a sign of maturity that Stick could still make light of these types of things even though he has experienced racial prejudice firsthand, not only as an immigrant, but also during his time living in the southwest, when he would be mistaken for a Mexican and accosted by the U.S. Border Patrol.
The verbal lashings on Stick’s site were not irresponsible racial attacks, nor were they furious venting. Stick was like a modern Archie Bunker; he hated everybody. I don’t mean this in a bad way. Any who would think his scornful writings indicate a bitter, cynical mind would be surprised to meet the real Stick. He is a master of what I think of as ‘The Zen of New Jersey:’ By insulting and castigating the flaws of all things, we become comfortable with everything being flawed; when we can see beyond flaw, then we may find beauty.

Stick laid it all out for us…

So, after a few minutes of debating what lunch is and taking a few pictures here and there with my phone, I’d usually start pretending like I’m working…
I really don’t mean for that to be funny, but that is honestly what I do. I stare at a piece of paper, pretending to study it while all I’m thinking about is what I’m going to post on my next entry to make people laugh. My boss thinks its very cool of me to study numbers or “check inventory to make sure everything is there.” I don’t do any of that.
After lunchtime is when I do most of the selling. I blow sunshine out of my ass to the most awful people on earth. It is totally fake and can get quite frustrating. However, its what I have to do to make money.
My day isn’t really depressing at all either. I get mad and frustrated at stupid coworkers, but I get over it. Text messages make me smile, and affords me a minor break in the mind-numbing environment of retail.
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, November 19


…He wasn’t ashamed of his job and he wasn’t whining about anything for sympathy. He shared these stories simply because they were worth telling. Every post he wrote contained not only humor, but also the ring of truth.
Funny, that last sentence sums up just about everything Stick does. He’s an amazing individual, one who perfectly balances his brazen shamelessness with his natural decency.

Stick, you’re a good guy. I’m sorry this happened.

On the night of the 17th we crouched around my mad scientist friend’s computer. “I’m about to hit the delete key,” Stick wrote. The womenfolk wailed at the news. “I can’t watch,” said one partygoer, as she staggered drunkenly out of the room. The rest of us stayed and kept refreshing the page. For myself, it was one of those horrible things you can’t not watch, like rubbernecking at a fatal accident. For others present, well… I guess they just didn’t want Stick to suffer through it alone, even if they couldn’t be by his side.
The company had given him twenty-four hours to take the site down. Now was the time. Stick’s hand hovered above the keyboard. One more keystroke, and the site we had come to love would be no more. We all wished we could be there with him, but things had happened too quickly. He would have to kill his baby alone. Stick’s index finger depressed the small plastic tab.
“Nothing happened,” I said.
“Give it a few minutes,” he replied.
Minutes passed. “Its still there,” I said.
“Yeah, I know. It’s a resilient fucker.”
Hours passed and the site refused to die.

When I woke up the next morning the site was gone.
Days later, Stick messaged me, saying “I am the Tinsel and Stapler Warrior! My enemies cower in FEAR!” referring to one of his posts. The link he sent me was to the Google cache of one of his entries. The color and pictures that had given it life were not here. To the casual surfer, these would appear as nothing more than the hollow words of some raving lunatic. I recalled a passage from the site…

…Please don’t misconstrue my lack of quality entries as me not caring anymore. I love each and every one of you and I would never leave you. Mommy and daddy may not love each other anymore, but they will always love you and its not your fault that we yell at each other all the time… and the phrase “If you never got knocked up, I never would have been married to you,” has NOTHING to do with you..
-iseeseveralflaws.com/sagien, December 22


Stick! You said you would never leave! We are lost without your voice! And though we wail in sorrow at losing these cherished pages, our hearts cry out even louder in sympathy for the pain you must be feeling. What has happened to you, our poor friend, robbed of his stability and forced to destroy a labor of love, you whose mettle we salute in the face of this grave sacrifice?

Well…

Stick has moved on. True to form, he’s making the best of a bad situation. He is going back to school full time and supporting himself with some sort of S&L scandal. The site’s back up, too. There is no doubt in my mind that he’s going to do very well for himself. The only question on my mind is…

Will the new incarnation of the site disappoint the way most sequels do? Or will he recapture that special something that brought us together once before?

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Date:2003-11-19 16:15
Subject:YOU'RE A STAR! YOU'RE A BIG HERO!
Security:Public
Mood:eyes burn

“I am a star. I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm a star. I am a big, bright, shining star.”
-Edward Adams aka Dirk Diggler


WHY? SIMPLE:

We’ve all heard these a thousand times.

“What are you doing here?”

“It would seem I’ve underestimated you.”

“It can’t be!”

“Come with me.”

“Are you threatening me?”
“Just think of it as a piece of friendly advice.”

“This is my life we’re talking about!”

And who amongst us hasn’t been carjacked by a gang of anonymous thugs and held hostage in a dusty, abandoned warehouse until Lance Viper, the LAPD’s toughest detective, kicks the door down and stands silhouetted in the doorway calling out
“All right, dirtbags! We can do this the easy way… or the fun way!”
“Get him, boys!” replies the leader of the thugs.
The half-dozen torpedoes open fire on Viper, but he stands tall in the face of the deadly fusillade and returns fire with his Beretta 92FS. The hired guns go down one by one until only you, Viper, and the leader of the thugs remain standing, and he’s holding a Czech CZ75 to your temple.
“All right, Viper. That’s enough. Put the gun down, or this one gets it. That’s it. Nice and easy. Now, kick it over to me.”
As the pistol slides across the floor and comes to a stop at your feet, your captor begins to laugh. You know this is the end.
Suddenly, Viper’s hand flashes, and a massive bowie knife flies across the warehouse, whizzing by your ear and chopping off the gunman’s hand, or possibly pinning his own gun-hand and firearm to his chest. The criminal screams and falls as Viper strides up to him.
“It’s not a good idea to play with guns, dirtbag. You could hurt yourself. Now tell me where Lonzo is!”
Minutes later, the black and whites arrive, and you see Viper cocking his gun as he walks back to his car.
“Hold it right there, Viper!” calls out the police chief, who then launches into a twenty minute rant on sloppy detective work, only to be cut off by Viper snarling something about “doing his job,” then speeding away to the next gunfight against the criminal element.

Ah, I see all these are familiar to you, as well. Good, good. I remember the last time this happened to me was about three or four-

Hey, wait a minute! This hasn’t ever happened to me, has it? Real people don’t say any of those things, do they? Yet these awkward lines wind up in so many shows and movies that we don’t even realize how stupid and forced they would sound if spoken in the real world by an actual human being.

And what about our dear friend Lance? Let’s rewrite this scene. (Relax; I won’t go into too much detail here. This isn’t about the tactics of hostage rescue)

Detective Viper arrives on the scene, and understanding that if he goes inside he will be blown to pieces, calls for a lot of backup. More officers, and eventually, a SWAT team or its local equivalent (or, if you’re lucky, FBI CIRG) arrive. If possible, they will negotiate for a peaceful resolution. If not, they will follow a tactical assault plan that someone made well in advance just in case a situation like this came up. Assuming the situation deteriorates into a gunfight, it will be fast and furious. Members of the assault team may experience a combat high from the sustained adrenaline boost, which is similar in effect to morphine. Possibly during, but more likely after the fighting, the combatants may have combat stress reactions, with effects such as nausea, diarrhea, or those “shell-shock” symptoms which occasionally show up in war films. If someone has killed someone else, as soon as the adrenaline fades, they will most likely vomit and suffer a temporary breakdown. If this happened in my area, rules set by the county prosecutor’s office and the firearms task force require that the officers involved in the fight would undergo a post-traumatic stress evaluation, and possibly be moved to desk duty until they could be properly evaluated. There are also other post-shooting guidelines set by the State Attorney General’s Office
Crap. You’re dozing off. I’ll move onto something else.

We never see these things on TV. Why not? A lot of people would say that it’s not as exciting as Detective Viper going in himself and getting the job done. I disagree. If you always needed a thrilling gunfight to make a show or movie entertaining, action wouldn’t be considered such a crap form of entertainment as opposed to drama. Personally, I think I’d enjoy seeing a drama about a SWAT operator who trains forever, then struggles as he suffers a catastrophic breakdown after he kills a suspect or two in the line of duty. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Imagine it - a police drama that’s actually a drama, rather than another Law & Order clone about the good guys’ step-by-step path to catching the evil murderer of the week.

WAIT!

There it is right there - the evil murderer - heroes vs. villains! You can’t be the hero of the story unless you're up against a bad guy. Even “reality shows” have a character or two made to look like the villains. When was the last time you saw a show without clearly defined good and bad guys? Let’s see, Sesame Street comes to mind, then there’s the Wonder Years, countless sitcoms…

Hm. This argument isn’t holding up as well as I thought it would, so let’s look at the counter-examples. Your archetypical sitcom plot is about one of the main characters doing something slightly underhanded for a simple gain. The situation rapidly snowballs in amusing ways until the character takes some uncomfortable action to rectify the situation. Everyone hugs, there’s one last joke, credits roll. From this we learn that we don’t need a bad guy, only a main character to combat a bad situation or aspect of herself, which makes her a good guy.

I suppose that’s what ties it all together – The story must follow the actions of a good guy, a virtuous individual or one who comes to stand for a noble cause. Detective Viper kills people all day long, but the people he murders are bad guys, so he’s a good guy. Dr. John Carter tries to save lives all day, so he’s a good guy. The sitcom character performs an action to atone for a mistake, so he’s a good guy. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully struggle against the machinations of a massive conspiratorial group to uncover facts, so they’re the good guys. (Huh?) Kevin Arnold goes to school and does ordinary things, so he’s the good guy. (?!?)

Hold up! This is falling apart again. Kevin Arnold isn’t doing anything good or heroic, he’s just struggling through ordinary problems. And what about Seinfeld’s gang? They get into a snowballing situation, but don’t really get out of it. In these shows, the conflict is between the familiar characters (good) and the chaotic way the world works (evil), but we can still consider the main characters as our heroes, even though they’re not really doing anything special.

So is conflict all you need? A writer would say yes, of course, it’s a basic rule of writing, blabbity blah. But doesn’t every character have a conflict? Guillermo Ugarte wants to sell his stolen letters of transit, but the Nazis want them back. The Terminator is sent from the future to kill Connor, but another warrior from the future is already aiding Connor. Cruella De Vil wants a fashionable coat, but her Dalmatians have run away. Walter Peck wants to make sure the Ghostbusters don’t do anything harmful to the citizens of New York, but they won’t let him snoop around in their basement. None of these characters are heroes.

Perhaps we’ve been looking in the wrong place. Perhaps we should focus more on the storytelling than the characters or their actions. What do all protagonists have in common? Not much, except for the fact that
1. They’re the ones we’re looking at most of the time, and
2. They’re the ones we’re supposed to be sharing the emotions of.
Once you’ve got that down, everything else just seems to fall into place, doesn’t it?

You already have these two key factors.

Your sensorium is constantly feeding you your own experiences, and you always have total sympathy for what your character is feeling. You are clearly the star of the show. Even if you’re attending your best friend’s wedding, a day you know she considers the most important day of her life, you know that this joyous affair is merely an interesting scene in your own life. Your daughter’s birthday is not the day she came into this world, it is the day you brought her here, and your first day with the greatest pride and treasure of your life. Similarly, your own birthday represents your first day on earth, and a celebration of another of your years passed, rather than a time years ago when your mother underwent months of pain and hours of agony so that she could bring a child she already loved into the world.

This is your show. You can feel it.

You are the hero.

You have goals and face conflicts and struggles, even if they’re as common as the line at the DMV that stands between you and your license renewal, charming the state trooper out of writing you a three point ticket, getting a decent rate when refinancing your mortgage, or bringing about a satisfactory resolution to a disagreement between you and your significant other.

Most seem to think of these things as nothing more than the hassles of everyday life, but to you they are much more. Your boss becomes an uncaring villain for making you work overtime. The high interest rate you pay on your credit card becomes a symbol of the greed and gluttony of the rapacious corporations, led by a group of unfeeling, gray-suited men, sitting in an elegant boardroom decorated with furnishings paid for with the fruits of the long hours and mental agony that you and thousands of wage slaves like you are forced to endure every day. The driver of the silver Mercedes that cuts you off becomes the dark idol of reckless, ignorant asshole drivers all the world over. All these things seem ordinary to everyone else, but you have an ingrained belief that these things you must endure are WRONG, because they are unnecessary and unfair…

Which brings us to the core of the hero. The hero is the one who is right. Jack Bauer may be the worst administrator ever, a rogue agent who kills people all day and refuses to be held accountable to anyone, but by god, he’s always right. Even though the best minds in the intelligence community say otherwise, Jack Bauer says they’re going after the wrong guys, and within a few hours, it is proven to be so. You want to slap everyone who’s not listening to him and say “You idiot! Has he ever been wrong!? EVER!?! Can’t you see he’s the hero, and he’s always right??”

You also have this power. I could pluck any belief you hold out of your head and show it to you, and you would tell me that it is the correct thing to believe. Not only are you absolutely correct about what you believe right now, but you can only become more correct as time goes on. When was the last time someone disagreed with you about something? When it started, you were thinking ‘I’m right.’ Over the course of the discussion, your arguments took a few hits, but at the end, you were still thinking ‘I’m right.’ Or perhaps you changed your mind, or were proven wrong. It may have hurt at the time, but this is of little consequence. When it finished, you were better than right, because it was perfectly reasonable to believe what you believed in before you changed your mind; now you’ve moved to a step above and beyond perfectly reasonable. You are now more righteous than ever.

The righteousness of your own beliefs is what keeps you strong through the conflicts life hurls at you and the struggles you choose to undertake. Anyone who disagrees with you is either an ignorant fool or in need of a better education on your views. They are your inferiors. Imagine you are listening to a group of activists speaking their views on abortions. If you agree with them, you think ‘They’re right, just like me.’ If you disagree, you think either ‘These people are so self-absorbed they actually think they’re justified in murdering a helpless human,’ or ‘I can’t stand these bible-thumping idiots. Who do they think they are, telling other people what to do with their lives?’ You could also be apolitical, in which case you’re thinking that the activists are fools for wasting their time trying to change other people’s minds.

And you know what? Whichever one you believe, you’re absolutely right.

Since your righteousness so often invalidates the views and beliefs of others, the awareness that other people are as human as you are soon fades away.

Why is the world jam-packed with such idiots? Every schmo has the fantasy that the planet revolves around them. It rains. A car crash stops traffic. You say “How can this happen to me?” But for us this isn’t a fantasy. It is a reality.
-Minerva Mayflower


I shouldn't have to wait in this line. She dresses like a slut. If only these other idiots would stay off the road, I wouldn’t be stuck in this traffic jam. I want to strangle the fuckhead behind me who won’t shut up during the movie. This asshole who’s getting all upset should learn to lighten up. I can tell by the music this person listens to that he’s a tasteless asshole. This person speeding past me is a reckless jackass, and this blind old woman ahead of me is driving too slowly. They should lose their licenses. The neighbors should keep better track of their hoodlum kids. People who cut me off without signaling should be shot. That bitch from personnel broke the copy machine again. Learn to drive, asshole!

Not only does your righteousness make other people, phenomena, and even noumena wrong when they are in opposition to your own attitudes, your righteousness also validates actions you take which others may consider as wrong.

Even though it would be wrong for anyone to have sex with my girlfriend under any circumstances, it’s ok for me to sleep with this girl even though she has a boyfriend, because we’re in love. Even though the people who kept talking through the entire movie were bad people, I can create an obnoxious ruckus at the restaurant afterwards because my performance is amusing. Even though I think it’s rude that you interrupt me, I can interrupt you because what I have to say is more correct or important.

Eventually, circular logic takes a stronger hold and the justifications become hazier. It should be ok that I made an ass out of myself and embarrassed you, because I was really drunk. I can drive carelessly even though I don’t think you should be able to, because its more important that I get to where I’m going than it is for you get to your destination, wherever that may be.

Then again, its quite possible you’ve had such a strong sense of righteousness for so long that you don’t even bother with the justifications anymore.

“[I’m right, and] You’re fucking stupid [for not doing things the way I’d like].”

Even though it sounds like a childish idea we should’ve left behind long ago, no one can disagree with the following statement:

“Life would be better if I could impose my will upon reality.”

Uh-oh. In a world of heroes, the previous statement is spoken only by the villain.

Where did you go wrong?

While you’re (hopefully) taking a moment to ponder the concepts of self and perception, let me tell you a little story that you may have heard elsewhere.

REASON AND RATIONALITY
A Tale of Woe By Joe Camel

The airs of the summer had been exquisite, but the brilliant vert had become a deep verdigris, and after a few short weeks only the blackened forms of emaciated hands remained to reach out to the balefulness of the moonless heavens. The winds howled as if they sought to emulate the ominous bay of the gwyligi. Neither the rimy copses nor the maddening hedge-mazes surrounding the Manor of Sir Womsley were indeed place for a proper soul to dally on a night such as this.
Yet to see the mirth on the faces of those inside the Manor of Sir Womsley, within the blink of an eye one would forget the dreary scene outside, for this was a night of joyous celebration! This night Sir Womsley had received a pair of the most honored guests in all of Christendom, and was entertaining them this night before the final leg of their carriage-journey to parts south.
These guests, which were the cause for such gaiety, were none other than the Baron and Baroness Von Marvelous. The Baron Fritz Von Marvelous was a learned man and a master of the Babbage apparatus, although to look at him, this would be the last thing one would expect. He carried neither the common stature nor the effete demeanors of his fellows, but was instead a towering man, with the vitality of an Olympian and a will stronger than that of the mightiest bog iron. His noble character gave him the strength to never once mince words, and while such boldness may have seemed daunting to one of the fairer sex, he had nevertheless courted and married one of the finest ladies in all the land. The Baroness Von Marvelous was a regal and delicate creature, a learned woman and practiser of the holy Judean psalmody, and as much a contrast to the Baron as is imaginable, yet their love had lasted many years, and borne them many fine children.
Though they made a handsome couple indeed, their radiance could not compare to the countenance, actions, repute, and spirit of their noble host, our hero, Sir Womsley. Son of a distinguished general, his mighty achievements were many, including his excellence at the art of the butterfly knife of the oriental isle of Fillip. He applied his expertise at the elegant edged weapons to the building of a moving-picture farce-play of a blade-wielding Negro hellspawn who hunted his fellows. After his retirement from this great work he moved on to become a poet. Though he lived off his quick, versatile mind and elegant hand, he had the towering stature of a proud warrior-king of legend, topped with a majestic, coppery mane, and it was well known that the radiance of his physical form was evenly matched by the warmth of his heart. One could not find a man more honored in reputation, virtuous of heart, sound of mind, kind and objective of word, and pure in deed as one would find in Sir Womsley.
The final guests to arrive this night were two Muhammedians, Yuusuf bin Muhammad Khaleel and his wife Rajya bint Fahd Al Saud. The Muhammedian Yuusuf was a brigand until his fearsome reputation earned him a position as a man-of-war tasked to hunt down the pilfering poppy-eaters who had been bringing grief to a successful Greek merchant. His keen abilities of perception, honed from years of hunting men, made conflict his baileywick, and though his words and blood protested that he was a devout follower of Muhammad, his lack of intellect and reason made him far more similar to a savage, unwashed Hun. His companion, the bonny Rajya, was invisible beneath a traditional black burqua, which covered her from head to toe, and was not permitted to speak, as was their custom.
The night was a festive one, and between the finest spirits imported from distant Amsterdam brought by the Baron and Baroness Von Marvelous and the American counterparts to these fine spirits brought by the Muhammedians, within a short time, all were drunk.
It should be understood, dear reader, that amongst Sir Womsley and his guests, drinking brought about in this group a sort of closeness that was of greater importance than any physical thing, and the companions would take opportunities to prove this to one another through the active disregard of their physical property, though none would do so more oft than Sir Womsley himself. Over the years many a laugh were had over this, from the tossing of cushions and lanterns from the Muhammedian’s moving chariot of yesteryear, to the destruction, by hammering, of musical cymbals at Sir Womsley’s manor mere weeks prior.
This merry theme presented itself once more this festive night, when whilst on his way to the WC, the Muhammedian Yuusuf stepped upon a thin spot in the floor of the manor home. Our hero, Sir Womsley, called out to the Muhammedian to be careful, for his considerable girth could possibly bring about a breaching! To this, the Muhammedian laughed and pranced about the spot, until Sir Womsley lain his hands upon the Muhammedian and wrenched him from the spot, in doing so tearing the Muhammedian’s undergarment-shirt.
Much laughter was had by all over this, and the laughter continued when the Muhammedian and the Baron Fritz Von Marvelous set about repairing the torn garment by mummifying the Muhammedian with duct tape, which caused so much mirth that the Muhammedian’s breath was short with laughter.
The laughter, gaiety, and drinking went on for many hours, and long into the night. At one point, Sir Womsley suddenly excused himself from the group, and after a few minutes of his absence, the Muhammedian wandered through the halls of the manor and found him in his study, busy at work at his typewriting machine.
“Dear host,” said the Muhammedian, “I could not help but notice that you’ve abandoned your guests. Are you feeling quite well?”
“Oh, very well,” replied Sir Womsley, “But I was suddenly inspired to compose a bit of verse.”
“Whatever is it you write of at this hour?” asked the Muhammedian, as he stooped to cradle his drunken host’s head.
“Prose,” Womsley explained “on the topic of composing prose while drunk, and in the presence of a Muhammedian! I believe my dear readers shall enjoy it a great deal.”
“Ah, to be in the presence of such a brilliant mind! But I must say, good sir, that I feel quite the fool parading around in this torn garment. I was hoping you would be belending me another. I trust that you, gracious host, would be so good as to provide me with a replacement for the night?” said the Muhammedian.
Should there have been anyone else in the room, it would have appeared as nothing more than a simple drunken conversation between two friends of a decade’s time, but there was more going on in this study than would meet the eye.
Understand, dear reader, that the Muhammedian was raised by a clan that invested the utmost spiritual significance in undergarment-shirts, and to walk about without a proper undergarment-shirt was a most serious affront to the god of his people. Though the Muhammedian had laughed through the night, his merriment ‘twas all a farce, for within his soul boiled the deepest rage. And now that Sir Womsley had retreated to the far side of his manor house, well out of earshot of his other guests, the Muhammedian would have his revenge.
Fortunately, the levelheaded Womsley was no fool. He took notice of the small blade the Muhammedian could oft be seen idly toying with, and he at once knew something was amiss. His keen and sober mind was able to pierce the veil of tranquil casualness that shrouded the Muhammedian’s words, and see the horrible truth – the Muhammedian’s undergarment-shirt god demanded vengeance upon his own garments!
“You, sir,” Womsley shouted, “indeed deserve to feel the fool! It is well known that I do not tolerate tomfoolery or drunken hijinx in my home, and yet even after you were warned, you trod upon the thin spot! Such a display of ill-mannerdness is unheard of, and I shan’t stand for it, so expect no apology from me! I shan’t be replacing thine undergarment-shirt, when it cost scarcely a pence, while this very one I wear cost me a pretty forty pounds! Fie! And besides which, I shan’t give you a thing you mean to destroy, as was yourn!”
“Calm yourself, sir,” spake the Muhammedian “for even if ‘twas mine sense of justice to visit harm upon your own garments, ‘twouldn’t be just to destroy one of yourn when they are so much finer than mine. I merely ask-”
“I’ve had enough of your words, Yuusuf, and so begone from mine side!”
The Muhammedian knew that now was the time to strike, and so with his left hand he held Sir Womsley’s head tightly, and with his right hand he held the blade to Womsley’s throat.
“You mistake my intentions, foolish man!” said the Muhammedian to his helpless host. “You thought mine philosophy was one of ‘an eye for an eye,’ whereas in truth ‘tis ‘thine life for mine undergarment-shirt!!’”
With that, the Muhammedian lunged at Sir Womsley’s throat, but his blade missed and struck Womsley in the finger. Womsley’s amazing reflexes allowed him to grab the Muhammedian’s knife-wielding hand and smash it against the desk. The deadly blade flew from his hand, sailed through the air, closed itself, and landed back within the Muhammedian’s pocket. Fueled by righteousness, Womsley nimbly sprang from his chair, grasped the murderous Muhammedian by the collar, and held him against a wall with his powerful arm. Though the Muhammedian tried to kneeve the mighty Womsley with all his strength, the skills and energies he had come to rely upon in his service to the Greek failed him when his blows fell short of Womsley’s face on account of the considerable length of the arm which pinned him. With that, Sir Womsley ordered the traitorous cur out of his home, and so it was.
One would think that this would be the end of Sir Womsley’s tale of triumph over the traitorous scheming of the unreasoning and irrational Muhammedian, but it was not to be. The very next morning, the Muhammedian returned to Sir Womsley’s stately manor to agitate him even more. Womsley heard the knocking at his door, and looked out to see who his caller was, but it was not his wish to bring more conflict into his home, so he left the Muhammedian outside.
A short while later, Womsley returned and saw that the Muhammedian was still at his door. He opened the door slightly, and the Muhammedian began to speak of sorrow and forgiveness. Pax per conloquium, indeed, thought Womsley. Womsley was better principled than to be tricked into such a boorish and incult discussion with such an unrighteous fool, all so that his adversary could gloat over being the better man. And so he spake no words, but slammed the door on the Muhammedian, who set off for home on his ass-cart.
Meanwhile, Womsley, wishing to be certain the Muhammedian stayed away, but not wanting to stoop to the level of exchanging words with such a churl, sent word to Rajya bint Fahd Al Saud that her husband was no longer permitted to speak to him.
Then he showed his true heroism by turning a woeful situation into a positive one by penning the tale of his experience, which begins ‘This is totally true…’ and posting it in the towne square for all to see, not for his own vanity, or for sympathy, but so that all could read his tale of righteousness in the face of crazed, irrational evil and be inspired. And people did hear his tale, and for them, it became their brightest message of hope.
Three cheers for Sir Womsley!
Hooray!
Hooray!
Hooray!

THE END


Well, what did you think? I thought it was ok, but some things just seem… wrong about it, you know? The action is a little too 'Lance Viper' for me, and now that I mention it, so are the characterizations. And the logic leading up to the fight scene is, well...

Maybe you can figure out which parts don’t fit.

I don’t think I can be of any more help, because all this typing is giving me carpal tunnel syndrome, and I’m getting kind of hungry… How does Chi-Chi’s Hepatitisio Fiesta Supreme sound? Mmm-mm, I thought so too!

Until next time…

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Date:2003-10-26 01:30
Subject:BY POPULAR DEMAND
Security:Public

This one goes out to David Miller and all my other fans...

SUNDAY 10.19.03

OJ + calcium + D 2g
cherry
fat free milk 8g
choco chip cookies 1g
ice water
(long nap)
klondike bar 3g
fat free milk 8g
santa fe bird + cheddar wrap w/ roasted garlic hummus + red peppers 20g
water
camel turkish gold

PRO 42
SMOKE 1

MONDAY 10.20.03

broccoli 2g
cranberry juice

Jeezie Creezie what's wrong with me? Why can't I stay awake for more than a few hours? Plenty of motivation, but no energy. Hope I can break this today.

okee... got my vacation exercise plan down, and found a crunchless ab system to toy with. maybe jen would like it.

water
camel turkish gold

<2hr 15min DDR>

santa fe bird + cheddar wrap w/ roasted garlic hummus + red peppers 20g
fat free milk 8g

water
3 x camel turkish gold

grape fruit2O
3 x camel turkish gold
1/4 bagel w/ cream cheese 1g

santa fe bird + am + provolone cheese wrap w/ roasted red pepper hummus 26g
broccoli 2g
2 x english muffin w/ super chunk peanut butter 22g
2 x milk 8g

<30 min walk>

3 x camel turkish gold
2 x coors lt.

camel turkish gold

PRO 89g
SMOKE 11

TUESDAY 10.21.03

egg nog (there's no other food) 5g

viactiv
water

2 x camel turkish gold

broccoli + cheese 9g
circle w/ hummus + cheese 13g

egg nog 5g
salad w/ lite caesar 6g

water
popcorn 2g
camel turkish gold

2 x camel turkish gold
milk 8g

4 x glasses white grenache
4 x camel turkish gold
white bread 2g
2 x bolla merlot
2 x pizza 28g

PRO 78
SMOKE 9

WED 10.22.03

animal flesh + part skim mozzarella wrap w/ sweet roasted red pepper hummus 20g
fat free milk 8g
lowfat harvest peach yogurt 5g

camel turkish gold
water

<10 min stretch
<100 cardio pull, L5, good
<100 leg pulls, L2, ok
<100 arm pullover, L6
<100 butterflies, L5, ok
<100 seated row, L6 grip still isn't good enough
<110 squats, L6
<100 decline abdominal crunches, L6
<200 sec stretcher, L6 progress.

2 x glasses water
large, menacing winged beast 28g
V8 1g
salad w/ russian dressing 3g
multi + calcium
camel turkish gold

2 x water
2 x glasses white grenache

2 x camel turkish gold

pizza 10g
mushrooms + onions 4g
2 x viactiv
water coffee ice cream
camel turkish gold

3 x camel turkish gold
2 x glasses white grenache

part skim mozzarella 8g
fat free milk 8g

one glass bolla merlot

PRO 95
SMOKE 7

my neck feels a little pinched. hopefully it won't last for days and days like it did last time.
headache in my left eye.

THURSDAY 10.23.03 ye gods, what a hellish morning
wt = 150
viactiv
2 x camel turkish gold
OJ + D + calcium 2g
turkey, roast beef + part skim mozzarella wrap w/ sweet roasted red pepper hummus 27g

camel turkish gold
extra sharp cheddar 8g

bacon cheeseburger w/ onions 26g
mocha frappuccino 7g
coca

4 x camel turkish gold

yuengling light

2 x camel turkish gold
3 x yuengling
ox roast sub w/ mushrooms + cheese + horseradish 21g
fries

coca
camel turkish gold

big day today. too late to exercise. no big deal - I'm on vacation.
PRO:93 SMOKE:10

FRIDAY 10.24.03 wt = 149

OJ 2g
frosted shredded wheat w/ organic fat free milk 13g
camel turkish gold
ice water
oreo puddin 2g

2 x camel turkish gold
meatballs} 17g
meatball sammich}

4 x camel turkish gold
coca

<15 min inversion table>

ice water
salad w/ fire roasted tomato + cheddar dressing 2g
pasta w/ romano 13g
meatballs 7g
2 x glasses pink catawba
sausages 7g
english muffin 4g

camel turkish gold

<10 min inversion table
<5 min stretching exercises
<50 squats
<50 sumo steps
<50 crunches
<50 situps
<60 pushups
<10 min bike = 95.5cal
<10 min inversion table

diet cherry coke->
[calories 0]
[fat 0g]
[sodium 40mg]
[carb 0g]
[protien 0g] but it does not taste so good.

PRO 67
SMOKE 8

SAT 10.25.03 wt = 147

english muffin w/ cracked chili pepper hummus + fiesta cheese 13g
OJ 2g
oreo puddin 2g
right elbow hurts. feels bruised when I move it the wrong way. what fixes joint pain?

izmir stinger

cider

big coors lt
southwestern chicken pizza 25g
2 x izmir stinger
plum/bacon/tomato pasta 6g

2 x izmir stinger
a treat would really hit the spot right now.
2 x budweiser
2 x izmir stinger (aah...)
mocha frappuccino 7g

2 x apple pie shot (3/4 vodka, 1/4 apple, cinnamon)
ice water
apple
smooth dog (3/4 amaretto, 1/4 ginger ale)
blue caboose (1/3 amaretto, 1/3 whiskey, 1/3 baileys)
3 x izmir stinger

PRO 55g
SMOKE 10

5 comments | post a comment


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