Sunday, October 14, 2012

If I told you, friend, that I failed...

Thank god for the saints and saviors of my youth. They swept in to spite the restrictions and uncomfortable miscellanea of a smotheringly close-knit family and the oppressions of religion, along with its patented complex of guilt. If it weren't for them I would never have found the freedom to try at living; I would never have begun to understand the concept of friends. But where did I leave them?

I see people in the company of other people with massive, toothy grins. All appearances tell my eyes to notify my brain that they're experiencing the joy of social interaction. A part of me winces at that notion, for it realizes my shameful, self-imposed solitude. I know they don't quite get it, though, because they're on television - in some inane commercial - and they can't possibly guide me in the chore of sounding the depths of one of life's truest joys. There's a different sort of people capable of that, they're even in my native third-dimension, and I chose to forget about them to my intense regret.

Reality and life are gargantuan, and both seem to loom the most when I engage my incredibly perceptive hindsight. I have failed at other people. It's not my duty to give them everything they need, I've learned. My incorrect assumptions before that knowledge were damaging. Instead it is my duty, to those I am gifted with along the way, to try and ease their quest for happiness, support them when they require it, and love them in spite of the sap which pours off such a notion. Though, because I've failed I'm wallowing in the absence of real people. My way into an enjoyable reality, upon this realization, is beyond my grasp.

I've found love. I've given love. I still go looking for the various types of love apart from that which the central person of my life, my wife, has already gifted me. The darkness I climbed into once upon a time, when the world came crashing in, felt so very heavy. I've overcome that, though, and am now out, free, crying for the opportunities for love I neglected or foolishly tossed aside.

What's more, I let that dark idiocy mar my wife's ability to love others. My yawning void consumed her healthy flame. Panicked, passionate attempts at repairation, capable through the clarity of self-revelation, may never be sufficient enough to help in healing that slight.

In the end I'm left with questions. Weighty questions. I just need to let myself live with my hands out, grasping at what I hope are answers. Time continues and I am beginning to reach. Maybe they're still out there somewhere.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Science-Fiction and Fantasy Magazines

There is a magic which eminates from a shelf full of classic science-fiction and fantasy short fiction magazines. Maybe it's the aged pages or the smell of old print. Perhaps it's the wealth and weight of the significant fiction which resides within each volume. It could very well be several things, but no matter what those might be one can not deny the allure of those wondrous fiction periodicals.

I have of late been actively taking my collection off its shelf to page through the issues I'm fortunate enough to own. The mesmerizing artwork on each cover, the novel fonts, and the inspiring words of the dreams of wizardly men and women of decades past combine with terrific effect to nearly bring tears to my eyes as I let my somatic, olfactory, and visual senses anxiously explore the yellowed sheets of my sizeable grouping of these magical volumes. Few printed items are as cherished by me.

So, if you are ever in a second hand bookstore and are blessed with the opportunity to stumble upon the older issues of the various science-fiction and fantasy magazines do yourself the favour of purchasing them. Don't question it. Just act. Once you get them home and allow yourself to experience the format you will, if you be an individual who cherishes astounding tales presented in a charming manner, find yourself hopelessly enamored.

Bonus lectio!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbus Day and A Note on Self-Education - Two Pieces

Having myself read excerpts from Christopher Columbus' own letters, addressed to associates and the monarchs who funded his voyages to the New World, I feel that it is my duty to point out that he was a pathetic, self-serving, inhumane piece of shit. The man thought nothing for the natives, allowing them to suffer horrendous torture at the hands of his crew. All that he claimed during his voyages ...was claimed in hopes that he would be highly recognized and handsomely rewarded for his "contributions" (theft and slave-gathering) to his royal sponsors. He was so unbearable a person and leader that the men under his "command" often contended with him, going so far as to imprison him and send him back to Europe in chains.

In his letters he whined about his "suffering," fed Isabella and Ferdinand lines about how his accomplishments would only make them look good if they continued to fund and empower him, and he showed a complete disregard for other human life. I encourage everyone to read them. Learn your history and the truth behind the "heroes" who are wrongly praised for the existence of the modern world (though, if you consider the modern world...) and the corporate sales days during which horrible people of the current age attempt to swipe some of your capital.

Basically, to hell with Columbus Day.  


The most significant test regarding the furtherance of one's education in the modern world is the test of attendance. It is a test of intelligence, and any who would pay massive sums to attend an establishment of higher learning in this day, from which they will mostly earn unemployment and atrocious debt, have failed. Further your own knowledge, for the world lays itself open before you. You need only stir up the drive to explore it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Tick - A Wonderful, Often Abused Character

Growing up watching the once-exceptional programming available through Fox Kids, I was gifted with the immense pleasure of viewing an animated adaptation of Ben Edlund's "The Tick." I found it to be an intensely hilarious cartoon, one which kept me coming back every time it was scheduled to air. Then suddenly one day, like so many animated beauties of my youth, it disappeared from my little cartoon-loving world, removed from the lineup by the big heads of the Fox Network.

Driven by fanboy grief at the loss and anxious to once again view the attention-capturing series, I began to actively seek out anything I could find tied to "The Tick." Though my search was often hindered by a child's lack of income and indifferent parents, I was eventually able to locate and purchase a two episode VHS from the series. That find eased my eager mind for a while as I found myself watching and rewatching it as often as I could.

As I grew, my appreciation for the character continued to live on until I eventually, luckily, chanced upon copies of the original comic book series (the native medium of "The Tick," for those who don't know). Those marvelous black and white stories of The City's brown-then-blue hero introduced me to a different side of the character and his world, entertaining me just as much if not more than the animated series. I bought up what I could when I could, but the seed that was planted when I first viewed the animated series as a child still drove me to cry for more.

Eventually an incredible and unforeseen event occurred which proved to be as wonderful to my Tick-craving nerd brain as the discovery of the comic series. Fox proved that they were not quite finished with the character, and in 2001 the studio made the move to spring a warmly welcomed live action series on The Tick's fanbase, starring the perfectly cast Patrick Warburton as "Big Blue." Unfortunately, after a mere nine spectacular episodes they took that away from us, as well. Considering this tragedy and other noteable cancellations, it began to seem like the executives at Fox had it out for my beloved interests.

They say that good things come to those who wait, though, and when Buena Vista Home Entertainment deigned to gift Tick fans with their beloved cartoon on DVD I found great validity in that saying. Naturally I rushed out to buy the first season when it hit store shelves. Taking it home I dove into the episodes as soon as I could, but a horrible discovery served to cheapen the blessing of my sudden access to a whole lot of animated Tick. An asterisk on the DVD's episode listing, which marked an omitted episode, began an irritation which was exacerbated by a similar notation in the episode listing of the soon-after released Season Two DVD. For some unknown reason Buena Vista released the first two seasons of the show with each collection sporting the scar of an omitted episode.

To this day I have not found a sufficient explanation for this omission. I've searched message boards and comment sections on various websites. I've read statements from individuals responsible for the production of the animated series. No one who has written of this terrible slight seems to know why the fans were cheated. To make matters worse the distributor does not currently have plans to release any episodes from the third season on DVD. Till the time of this writing the wait continues. Buena Vista or anyone with the power to affect the production of a complete series DVD release of The Tick, if you're reading this, please, please release a complete series collection, unedited if possible. Please?!

Regardless, it's been a wonderful ride these many years. I've been fortunate to discover such an inspiring and hilarious world with its plethora of bizarre characters during a time when my creative mind was fertile and needed exposure to such things. Ben Edlund's work on The Tick has been something I've happily followed, and I'll continue to follow it for the rest of my life. Here's hoping we get some new Tick soon!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stories and Such

Here are some stories I once foolishly committed to Facebook's Notes section. Enjoy and feel free to leave comments.


Just Another Night

Ivory-knuckled was the old man's vice grip on the fat handle of the diner's stoneware coffee mug. The black brew danced inside, playing the reflections of the establishment's yellowed lighting across its surface. This man took his coffee like he took most things in life, straight and without the unnecessaries. 

Gail bounced about the joint, her pink anachronistic diner outfit swaying as she made her rounds. She eyed the considerable figure who had refused a warm up about half a dozen times since he first received the mug over an hour before. Finally she crossed the counter and let her top weight drop onto her elbows as they hit the counter opposite the man. Her glimmering hazel eyes peered into the fellow's unfocused orb.

"You can't just sit here all night, fella!" Gail's gaze turned stern as she noticed the ineffectiveness of her words. "What else can I get you?" she spoke at him, her voice rising.

The man seemed to stare with his eye into the pattern of the diner counter's Formica top. "It's a night for cursing gods, Gail. I'm set with the joe. Give me a minute and I'll duck out."

"You can't stay here much longer, but you oughta be careful where you go when you get," Gail replied with a snicker. "You curse gods in this town and things get messy, ya know."

He raised his eye to peer at her. The wrinkles about it deepened as he scrunched up his face. "I'll god damn a god if it's all I've got left to do. They can hang me a million times out there and once again for good measure and I'll still hop down and be back here a'cursin' 'em!"

The sturdy, elderly chap slid off the stool he had perched on during this night's diner haunt. He let his left hand slip into his trouser pocket and allowed it to come back out again flipping a coin in Gail's direction. She caught it with both hands, trembling with an uncertainty towards her reflexes. "Yeah...thanks," she blurted, smirking at him whilst tapping the now firmly held coin on the counter top.

He gave himself a quick stretch and turned to make his exit. Before he shoved open the door he turned to face a pack of surly and equally elderly-looking men in the back corner of the establishment. "Hey, Yahweh! Go fuck yourself!"

A bearded member of the back corner group turned and gestured with his right hand's middle finger. "Back at you, Wod!"

The man, Wod, chortled softly and waved a passive response. The bell above the door dinged as he shoved it open. "Tomorrow, Gail. See you then."

Gail clicked her tongue through a beaming smile in response as he made his way through the portal. "Same as usual. Same as always. Night, night, All-Father!"


Here's what citizens are proudly saying about the Human Global Alliance (HGA)...

“If the Alliance hadn't formed after the Gulf Stream incident then we'd all be suffering. We'd be jobless, homeless, and probably fighting each other just for a bite of food. My goodness, we would all be dead! I'm thankful for the HGA and for all that we have accomplished through it. May the HGA prosper forever!
-Klaus Zimmerman, 29, European Solar Distributor Maintenance Technician

“My great grandfather always spoke of the hardships of the times he grew up in. Economic failure, gradual global climate deterioration, and rampant warmongering. He spoke of conflicts between the various world governments. Can you imagine that? No wonder there was so much struggle and failure. If only he could be alive today. We're incredibly fortunate. As for the HGA, well, it saved us all, didn't it?”
-Helen Lamberton, 24, Great Britain Physiological Research and Advancement Institute, Cardiff Facility

“My mommy says that everybody's in it together. I like that. People should be friends. I've got friends from all over the world, and I wouldn't if it wasn't for the Humanity...sorry, Human Global Alliance! Thank you!!”
-Amani Tawfeek, 8, North America, 2nd Grade student at Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson Science Academy

These citizens and many, many more are daily extolling the virtues of the greatest endeavor in human history. Together we as a species have united to heal the social and climatic wounds caused by our ancestors.

Never again will a human child die needlessly without food or warmth. Never again will one group of men direct weapons at another. Never again will humanity fall into the blackness of a past of ignorance, superstition, and greed.

Since the ecological crisis in 2022 in the current system known as the Gulf Stream humanity has worked to band together to combat the staggeringly monumental threat posed to the wellness of the entirety of our home, the Earth. As one species we rose to our greatest challenge, our most dire threat, and defeated it to the betterment of all.

We've eliminated systems built on the exchange of and dependence upon capital. We've banded together to strike out into that vastly and eternally rewarding frontier that is Outer Space. We've grabbed the reins of our own fate and struck out towards a future where every man, woman, multi-gendered, and child will prosper and grow without limit.

This is our present. Upon this glorious foundation we are erecting the upwards reaching tower that will be our future.

 We are the Human Global Alliance. Together we have never been as great.

Forever prosper, Alliance! 

Cliff Steward ceased his scribbling. The words upon the page stabbed at his eyes in which great, heaping tears welled up. He sighed and let his pen drop. His hand reached up to comb through his sparse hair. The crackling radio next to him gained clarity and began to blare the familiar Emergency Signal. This time, he thought, it wasn't a test.
He pushed himself up out of his chair and made his way to the glassless window to look out upon the horizon from his second story vista. A warm, stagnant breeze grated past him and caused his throat to tighten. It blew across the grassless field across the street and over through the equally barren yard in front of his shell of a home. Things, remnants of his neighborhood and its former life, creaked and groaned with the force of the wind.
The sun was apparently out, for it was dimly day time, but it remained unseen. Like a smothering blanket, black and red clouds swirled in the air above. Suddenly a flash of light, as bright as if a flash bulb was sparked, blipped in the distance. The breeze became more intense and a far roaring sound began to crescendo.
Cliff looked back at the paper upon the desk. The tears were still coming. He swung his head to face the horizon and back to the desk. He did this several times noticing with each turn that the distance grew darker, fouler. On the desk the pen rolled off the paper, failing then to keep it from rolling away in the now fierce gale.
Cliff Steward thought about that maybe world his fitful sleep had crafted for him through dream. It stung to realize that only dreams were left here in this dark and hopeless reality. If only he had given his dream world life by writing it out. If only things hadn't fallen to hell throughout the world. If only, Cliff thought. If only. 

-A Tomorrow Story-
Jonathan Sample