MOSTLY DECEMBER 2013
We shall begin Today's Sermon with a Rant from my mentor and old friend, VASOLINI PETROCELLI, author of the critically acclaimed "WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON AROUND HERE?", "MY PINEAL GLAND--MY CHOICE", and his latest literary debacle "THEY'RE PUTTING STUFF IN MY PUDDING"...
So far, the 21st century is turning out to be a major disappointment. My expectations were perhaps too high, having grown up overfed on moon landings, comic books, the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, and the lies my Government told me in a futile attempt to seize control of my pineal gland. Still, promises were made:
FLYING CARS: Where the hell are they? Why is there no snazzy 'pimp mobile' hovering outside my window, making a soft pleasant humming sound? I should be able to walk out of the window, step into my sweet ride, and listen to smooth jazz as I lazily cruise on over to the Wal*Mart. Why has this not happened yet? We know that the technology exists--we've had it since Roswell, so there's just no excuse to deny us the one thing that would be cool enough to make us ignore all the other bad shit. "Hey, little kids are starving to death in Fukistan--let's hop in the car and fly over there with some sammiches." See? That would NEVER happen! It'd be more like, "Hey, little kids are starving to death in Fukistan--so who wants to jet down to Cabo for the weekend?"
MOVING SIDEWALKS: Don't get me wrong--escalators were a nice consolation prize, but we really wanted those moving sidewalks. I think there might be one somewhere, in a mall or something, but it's mostly for show. You know, now that I'm really thinking about it...FUCK moving sidewalks. They were actually a pretty low-priority item anyway. The only way they might even be practical is if all vehicular ground traffic was eliminated first. So we're back to the flying cars--THEY were the lynchpin of our 21st century fantasy. Until we achieve personal flight, we will never evolve to be something more than just 'primates who wear hats'.
ROBOTS: We have what are termed 'robots', but 99% of them are totally dependent on a pre-programmed routine, or a remote operator. Even NASA's new space robot is really just a slow ambling prosthetic body, an unnecessarily anthropomorphic sibling to the Mars rover. Why make a space-faring robot look like a human, after they've spent YEARS learning that the human body design really isn't spaceworthy? Most importantly, these billion-dollar toys can't operate independently. We can't just load a platoon of them on a rocket to Mars, where they can start terraforming and building houses for future human settlers. They aren't true robots--just high-priced MUPPETS.
GMO'S: Yes, it's true--WE WANTED'EM. We WANTED genetically modified oversized fruits and vegetables--and shrimp--all through the magic of science and chemistry and atomic giganto-rays. We--the public, the consumers--specifically asked for these things. We even requested giant chickens. Now I wonder what ever came of that. Someone out in the middle of Kansas or Iowa was supposed to be working on it, but now that the world has seen "Jurassic Park", the idea of giant chickens may be somewhat less attractive than it was 50 years ago, when dinosaurs were still percieved as slow and stupid and typically made of modelling clay.
WEATHER CONTROL: We were supposed to be able to control the weather by now, primarily to nourish the dry dusty places so that we can grow those genetically modified giant fruits and vegetables. We were going to feed the world in the 21st century, with 6-foot-long ears of corn and shrimp so big that just ONE could feed an entire Fukistani family for days. We had big idealistic dreams back in the day--back when people were blissfully unaware of so many things...so. many. things. Damn near EVERYTHING, really... But we wanted to control the weather to feed the world--our intentions were pure and noble. We were a different America back then. Today, if you try to give a hungry person a sammich, you can get fined for it. In places like Fukistan or Florida, you can get shot for it. So much for big idealistic dreams and noble causes. They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and as long as we're all going down that road anyway--IT MIGHT BE NICE TO DO IT IN A GODDAMN FLYING CAR!!!
...OR one of these flying E-bikes!
( NOTHING OF INTEREST HERE--JUST SCROLL DOWN TO THE PURDY PITCHERZ. )
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10TH, 2013:
Had to go to the store this morning--early, before the crowd gathers. By noon, the folks who've been coming to feed the crackheads at "Turtle Park" are thumping that bible loud and clear to an assembly of twenty or so shuffling twitchy locals. Today there is an actual police presence. The cops empty out of two cars, momentarily blocking the turn lane as they exchange smiles and brief chit-chat, then pile back in and drive away. They leave one of their own behind, however, to oversee the immediate area for a few minutes before slowly wandering his way up 3rd, swinging and spinning his baton like a classic stereotypical beat cop. I am touched by a sense of nostalgia--and what must be a false sense of security and reassurance...
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH, 2013:
Seattle's Police and Emergency Medical Services attended an impromptu 'blood rave' in City Hall Park last night. During the space of half an hour, sirens of all types culminated at the edge of the park where a 'camp' of crackheads has been established and tolerated for some time. The park quickly became surrounded and overrun by black-and-whites, red-and-whites and media photographers. Apparently, someone in the camp decided to mitigate an argument with a knife, seriously wounding three other campers before being subdued by passers-by who also called 911. With a total of four players being taken off the field last night, the rest of the night was unusually quiet here in 'crack alley'. Thanks to a steady cold rain which continued well into the morning, all the blood was washed away before the morning commute...
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26TH, 2013:
I was stopped at the front desk on my way to the store this morning by the lovely Miss Lorraine. There was apparently a letter for me--not in my mailbox. The letter is from my sister in PA, and it was addressed to me in unit #714. That's how it ended up at the front desk--the resident of 714 must have turned it in. 714 was Joodie's unit back in the mid-90's when I spent a particularly bad Winter camped out on her kitchen floor with a near-deadly case of pneumonia. I don't know how my sister came by this knowledge, but it is clear that she doesn't actually know where I am--this time.
Over the years, my violently schizophrenic sibling has sent me many letters and e-mails, mostly filled with incoherent obscenity-laced delusional crap. I've made efforts to block her online, but she can be very determined. Once, she conned my address from Social Security by convincing some idiot at SS that my brother had died. A quick check through their computer records would have revealed her lie, but for whatever reason no one checked the facts. Now she appears to be grabbing at extremely outdated straws--the same grift won't work twice, I guess.
The letter rests unopened on my desk. I suppose I could open it, attempt to ferret out the truthful bits from the psycho bits as I've done in the past...but I won't. I'll keep it, unopened--on file--but I'm not going to read it. Those days are over; those bridges burned. I reached my limit a decade ago when she stabbed me with her car keys as I was starting out on a 3-day bus trip. The wound got infected and I arrived at my destination damn near dead. Never again...:(
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH, 2013:
It's Thanksgiving Day, the "Day Of Regret" when the Iroquois Confederacy mercifully decided NOT to sink the Mayflower and massacre the European invaders. In some other alternate universe, this country is still pristine and pastoral and not being destroyed by greedy corporate hellspawn.
The comet ISON appears to have burned out while slingshotting around the Sun today. Disappointing, but there will always be other comets and asteroids for our amusement.
While the Internet as a whole is working just fine, I'm unable to access Facebook today. Too much traffic overloading the servers perhaps, but it's no big--it's a Holiday. My plans for the day are unchanged, though this little glitch in the matrix is probably going to be a major burn to some folks who spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON FACEBOOK...
This is my first independent T-Day in about a decade. Despite the fact that Duana is cooking up what will most certainly be a marvelous feast over at 1st Church, I will abstain. This year I get to cook for myself, and sit down to a nice meal and a pre-recorded SNL Thanksgiving Special, totally NOT surrounded by 50 or 60 loud drunken unappreciative homeless douchebags. Maybe next year I'll be in a different mindset, but this year I'm just going to enjoy my own company...
P.P.S.Facebook obviously didn't plan this outage, or there would be a sign or something when you try to access the site--"Facebook Closed For Thanksgiving Holiday :)". The level of disruption appears to be varied and inconsistent, but widespread. It almost looks like the work of hackers, though it's more likely that a bunch of Facebook employees got blind stinkin' drunk at work and peed on some sensitive electronics. I guess it'll be really hard for them to get new jobs now, what with "destroyed Facebook on Thanksgiving" at the top of their respective resumes...
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1ST, 2013:
I feel like crap. Nothing newsworthy--I almost always feel like crap these days. Didn't get enough sleep, either. It is the approaching Winter, making itself at home in all my major joints. As today is "Mother's Day", I had originally hoped to get out to the bank and the money order place--and maybe do a grocery run--but the window of opportunity on Sundays is very small, and I pretty much missed it. Tomorrow will be a better day since everywhere I need to be will be open all day long for my shopping convenience...
It looks like comet ISON isn't completely dead yet. Some small fragment of the core has managed to slingshot away from the Sun, bound for the outer reaches of the solar system once more. Strangely, this knowledge only serves to belittle the might of our Sun, which somehow failed to devour Ison entirely.
Yesterday the North American continent played host to a rare seismic event on its western shores--a double-whammy earthquake. Separated by mere seconds, two 5+ events slammed both Mexico and the Juan De Fuca plate just off the southwestern tip of Oregon. Tandem earthquakes are never a good sign, but with Ragnarok right around the corner, more events like this are to be expected. Ragnarok is the Nordic equivalent of Apocalypse, featuring a battle of Gods and men and monsters, resulting in the destruction of the old world and the introduction of a new world paradise. The last Ragnarok has been explained by science as a clusterfuck of Icelandic volcanoes, which violently shook the Earth and temporarily blotted out the Sun and moon with voluminous ash clouds. This ushered in a "mini ice age" which lasted about a century, and transformed peaceful hunter-gatherers into pillaging invaders out of necessity. So--we have THAT to look forward to...:)
MONDAY, DECEMBER 2ND, 2013:
I hadn't had my coffee yet, but I did have to drain the lizard first thing in the morning. I neglected to give the handle a preemptive jiggle, so while I was preparing my water in the kitchen the toilet must have flushed itself a few times. When I turned off the kitchen tap, I heard the toilet flushing and ran in there to thwack the handle... but I was too late. What I'd only previously suspected suddenly leapt from theory to reality as I noted the puddle forming behind the porcelain. Maintenance had been through all the units in this part of the facility last week due to a reported leak, but found nothing in my bathroom. They found nothing because the leak itself is somewhere underneath the floor--I checked the wall and the porcelain and the intake hose, and all were bone dry. This mysterious puddle was welling UP between the vinyl tiles. And apparently also leaking down into a 2nd floor unit.
I called on maintenance, who arrived in minutes to assess the situation. They fixed the hinky handle, but also tested the effects of repetitive flushing on the puddle--the act of flushing was definitely adding to the water volume. We speculated that the wax O-ring beneath the toilet has lost its sealing ability due to age. No matter what they tell you at Home Depot, the wax rings DO NOT LAST A LIFETIME. After 15 or 20 years of normal use, they really should be replaced, though your average Joe Homeowner generally only does this when the toilet has to be temporarily removed to allow for new flooring to be properly installed. No one here knows how old the wax rings or the floors are. They were originally installed decades ago when the hotel upgraded from piss buckets to actual plumbing. THEORETICALLY, EVERY WAX O-RING IN THIS FACILITY COULD PREDATE THE EISENHAUER ADMINISTRATION! Maintenance will be spending a couple of hours tomorrow afternoon replacing the ring--and that's the optimistic view. There is always the possibility that this leakage is coming from a rusted and dissolving bit of old pipe, which would necessitate some major reconstruction by outside contractors...
At least I got my monthly obligations taken care of today. The rent is paid, the Internet service is paid, and I got myself enough groceries to hold me for a few more days. The hike downtown was rather pleasant today--too chilly for me to perspire very much, so I was pretty comfortable out there for once. The stop at the Money Tree for my rent money order was also surprisingly enjoyable. The usual long line was nonexistent, and the cheerful girl who processed my order was gorgeous--like Lucy Liu, only younger and taller, and she had a really exceptional booty. Yo, baby...!
( In response to UFO Planet, Episode 80: "California UFO Invasion" )
To: California's Jonathan Castro via show moderator Darin Crapo:
"DUDE--THOSE BRIGHT RED STAR-SHAPED UFO'S WITH THE CORD HANGING BELOW THEM ARE OFTEN MISIDENTIFIED AS 'BALLOONS'. YOU'RE A FUCKING IDIOT. GET A JOB. EL POLLO MUERTO IS HIRING."
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3RD, 2013:
The much-anticipated cold front arrived last night and is expected to malinger for a few more days. No snow here yet, but it's cold and blustery. I'm waiting for maintenance to arrive now, and basically catching up on my journal while I wait...
Recently, I helped out a guy in the facility by loaning him a few bucks and smoking him out. BIG mistake. Despite his innocent appearance and Christian chatter, he turned out to be just another parasite. He quickly showed his true colors after I helped him out, coming around every day--several times a day--trying to get me to smoke him out. And loan him a few more bucks. And trying to sell me some questionable weed. Etcetera. He didn't even have enough sense to gradually insinuate himself, instead pouncing on me almost immediately, hoping to ride through this "rough patch" in his life on my back like a giant tick. No finesse, just *BLAM!*--went straight into blood-sucking mode. I had to cut him loose, and I was pretty harsh about it, but I figure with all his "praying" and whatever--it would be best to just let Jesus handle this one...
Maintenance came by and replaced the wax O-ring--the leak appears to have been successfully stopped--knocked it out in under 20 minutes, too! Many thanks to the Frye maintenance crew!
AND NOW, THE WORLD NEWS IN RE-CAP:
Da Guy in da Pope Hat sez: "Money is evil". He also sez he won't turn over documents related to child-molesting priests. Canonization, successfully averted.
Evil Revelations this week: The Goverments of the world are evil. Big corporations are evil. Politicians are evil, fat, lazy, stupid, and smoke crack. Your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandma was raped by Hogzilla, so I guess pigs are evil. Comet ISON fizzled out and ruined our expectations, so--EVIL.
I really like this new monkey-pig theory, and I can hardly wait til somebody digs up the first monkey-pig fossils. We can put them on display alongside that ornate silver tea cup imbedded in a 400-million-year-old lump of coal, the petrified remains of that butt-ugly monkey-fish mermaid-thing, and the six or seven fossil bone fragments on which the entire theory of evolution is based.
Here's another theory: The first creatures on Earth to learn to walk upright and had hands with opposable thumbs, the theropods, evolved over a hundred million years to develop the tools and technologies necessary for genetic manipulation. Then they deliberately spliced pig DNA with monkey DNA to create a new sustainable GMO food source, because monkeys are pretty small and monkey meat is tough and gristly all by itself. Then the ice age came and their civilisation collapsed and the food escaped the farms and gradually took over the world. As indisputable scientific proof of this theory, I have found several rocks which may have once been used for something, and also a partial pig's tooth unearthed suspiciously close to a cemetary. Apparently, that's all the proof anyone really needs these days. Because people are fucking stupid. DID I MENTION THE STAR-SHAPED UFO WITH THE CORD HANGING FROM IT...? I'm sure I did--but here's a closer look at it anyway...
Totally Unsolicited Trivia Insert: There is no evidence of the existence of corn prior to 30,000 years ago, though the seed-grass strain from which corn is derived was just about everywhere. Something caused this grass to spontaneously mutate into corn everywhere at once. No one knows how that happened, but a close examination of the limited possibilities makes the scientific community more than a little uncomfortable. Nothing is as frustrating as knowing that being right about one thing means you're very wrong about something else. In this particular case, the whole history of mankind's "evolution" would have to be re-written to fit the facts--and the facts say that corn is a 30,000-year-old GMO product, most likely modified by the same folks who mined all the copper out of Ontario 30,000 years ago. So alla you whiny bitches need to stop complaining about genetically modified organisms. We probably wouldn't exist today if not for a GMO--WE MAY EVEN BE A GMO SPECIES. Think about THAT while you enjoy your precious organic cale. And don't forget to drizzle on a little of that vinaigrette--the flavor combination is supposed to faithfully recreate the culinary experience of having an orangutan pee in your mouth...
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5TH, 2013:
Nelson Mandela has left the building. The upside is that some of the citizens of Communist China are now beginning to openly question the validity of imprisoning "dissidents" in their own country. If Da Guy in Da Pope Hat were to declare Mandela a Saint or something in time for Christmas, I believe our whole species just might be moved to evolve a little bit...
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6TH, 2013:
A few days ago I ran across this weerd photo, added some text and posted it on Facebook. Some folks were probably offended--like I care. The way I see it, humanity has been offending ME for almost 60 years. That entitles me to a lifetime of dishing it right back at'cha. I grow fat and happy on your indignant tears. Also, I thought it was pretty funny.
No snow yet, but it's been damn cold in downtown Seattle. The building managers have been generously pumping more hot water through the radiators, but these century-old windows can undo all that in under an hour. They let the heat leak out, while the freezing temps sneak back in. The oil to heat this place must be costing a fortune. Those new windows they're supposed to install next year will also cost a fortune, but they'll pay for themselves a thousand times over once Ragnarok sets in. But, in the meantime, those critical hours between 2am - 7am are cold as hell. I may have to unpack my sleeping bag and throw it on the bed tonight. I swear it dipped to below 35 degrees in here this morning--I was shivering, fully dressed, under the comforter! --and I actually LIKE the cold, so the other folks in the building must be damn near inconsolable. In the communities a little further north, the freezing winds blowing in off the Sound are reminding folks that they're practically citizens of Canadia. This Winter is definitely going to be rough, with or without the added fury of Fenrir...
Christmas is nearly upon us. My meager supply of Holiday Spirit aside, I'm doing my best to surround myself with positive Yuletide energy. The 'puter is crankin' out nothin' but Holiday harmonies, my desktop shuffles through dozens of images of the Christmas season at 30-second intervals, Harry Bear is wearing his Santa Hat, and I got Christmas movies and Holiday-themed TV specials all lined up. All I really need now is the appropriate lighting. Sunday morning ( or Monday ), I'll go shopping for strings of lights and scented candles...:)
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7TH, 2013:
It's 2:30 in the afternoon. We haven't climbed over 30 degrees in two days. Right now, it's 27 outside under clear skies. That makes it about 40 in here since the heat's not on yet. So, I'm baking cookies--that should raise the temperature by at least 10 more degrees in here for a little while...
I was originally going to string some lights around my window, but I'd need a ladder to reach the top--and I ain't got one. Instead, I've decided to turn my oscillating fan's stand into a tree. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's making something artsy and cool on the cheap. Twelve feet of lights, a box of green garlands and a ball of twine should be all I need, in addition to stuff I've got lying around. I'll take a few pics of the various stages of development and post them here. Not right "HERE" here, but a little further down the page here. Technically, it would be more accurate to say "there", but I think that might be a little bit confusing--"there" could mean anywhere in a three-dimensional world. This is only a two-dimensional world, but "there" could still be mistaken for some not-so-clearly-defined area to the right or left of the screen. That's ridiculous, I know, but as I've stated before--people are fucking stupid.
DON'T MAKE ME SHOW YOU THE STAR-SHAPED UFO AGAIN!
Recently, I've been giving a lot of thought to my mobility situation. Assuming that Ragnarok fails to pan out on February 22nd, I should make 2014 the "Year Of The Jazzy". There are so many motorized conveyances in this building full of dirt-poor crips--they must be fairly easy to acquire. And, as it happens, I have a big empty wasted space between my front door and the micro-kitchen which would be absolutely perfect for a designated parking space/recharging station. I'd still prefer to gimp from place to place where possible, but a motor chair would allow me to navigate the hilly parts of town without the ever-present threat of another stroke. Also, it would be tons of fun to trick it out with lights, banners, stickers, and an annoying air horn for clearing the sidewalks of obstructive pedestrian traffic...
It's a little past 2am here in the Emerald City. Outside the air is crisp and breezy, with a downtown temperature of 20 degrees. Due to the winds rolling in off the sound, it feels more like 10 to the handful of hard-core crackheads still patrolling Turtle Park tonight. This is supposed to be the coldest December 7th since 1976--might even snow a little later in the week. If this Winter is already starting out worse than than that 1996 Winter when I got pneumonia, I better start stocking up on canned goods. I look forward to the snow, but should the city get icebound again it's a whole other nightmare--folks like me can be effectively trapped indoors for uncomfortably long periods of time. And running out of tobacco or toilet paper is not an option...
"TIS THE SEASON..."A BRIEF LOOK AT HOW SOME SEATTLITES HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH HOLIDAY STRESS IN 2013:
A man stabs another man and his dog with a syringe, telling them he's just given them AIDS... SEASONS GREETINGS!
A Father tries to drive his inebriated son home from a wedding, a fight ensues and the son bites off his dad's eyebrow... HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
A local barber, tired of a client's trash-talk, stabs him in the testicles with a pair of scissors... MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8TH, 2013:
Couldn't find a single green garland anywhere downtown, so my tree will be silver with blue lights. I have several ideas for the star on the treetop, but I haven't settled on one yet. Nevertheless, today the project begins. My shopping venture was quite pleasant overall--no crowds on Sunday, so no stress. The air was crisp and fresh and nutritious. It was also 30 degrees in the sunshine, but I wore an extra layer to keep the cold at bay. In fact, I still managed to overheat and perspire a little. Based on that, I'd guess that the optimum best temperature for my 'comfort zone' is about 20 degrees...I AM Mister Freeze.
Returning to the facility was a completely different experience. I got a new neighbor who is apparently doing his laundry for the first time this century, and the act of carrying his filthy crap down the hallway has permeated this entire half of the 3rd floor with the nauseating stench of 100 million really crusty old socks. The only break in THAT foul cloud of condensed 'stank' molecules was right around the elevators, where it smelled like someone must have protracted his entire lower intestine and wrung it out like a dishrag in the hallway.
I immediately hosed down my corner of the north wing with Fabreeze.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9TH, 2013:
Got the bulk of my groceries this morning, and arranged to pick up some Christmas Cheer early tomorrow afternoon. I hope it snows a little.
I stayed up most of the night playing with cotton twine and Elmer's white. I finished doing that when I returned from the store this morning. Then I took a nap while my 'web' dried. Then I got up ( goddamn fire alarms!! ) and wove 36 feet of tinsel garlands through the webbing. Then I made dinner. Then I added a string of blue LED's. Then I topped it all off with a bouquet of blue-white LED's and my favorite glass orb ( about the size of a golf ball ). All things considered, I think it came out pretty good for less than a day's work. At this juncture, I guess it's a good thing I remembered to document the process--otherwise this whole paragraph would probably make no sense at all...???
The stand for my fan, and other miscellaneous factors.
Spiderman's recreation of the Eiffel Tower.
Carefully woven with fluffy silvery garlands.
Voila!--the finished product.
The Christmas tree in soft ambient lighting...Close-up of the 'star'.
Now for the fun part--the ornaments, at least a few of which ought to rightfully be my own creations. This block of air-dry pseudo clay has been taking up valuable space for months. I have food colors, wire, twine, and I'm sure I've got some small brushes stashed somewhere. It's time to give C'Thulhu a swift kick in the gills, and release The Beast from the abyss...
It's time to make Art.
There probably won't be any pictures. Ornaments will be too small to photograph well with my cheap-ass pocket camera. If I CAN get some decent pics, I'll post them at a later date--I'd prefer this blog episode be posted by the 15th, my one-year anniversary here in the swanky "Bowels Of Seattle Marginal Persons Repository No. 3", but if necessary I'll settle for a final deadline of the 21st...
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2013:
The cold rains have arrived, bringing with them the joy of joint pain, and the promise of much more joy to come. Fortunately, I have a revitalized supply of Christmas Cheer to ease my old bones. I wish it were cold enough to turn the rain to powder...
This pseudo clay is some seriously weerd shit. It really does handle kinda sorta like real clay, but the 'goldilocks zone' of workability is very very tight. The moisture in the faux clay evaporates much too quickly--the retention is about the same as paper. I can add moisture as I work, but just a little moisture changes the clay's plasticity too much. Mooshy clay doesn't hold a form well, but in under a minute of trying the clay becomes convincingly workable and clay-like, only to start cracking and crumbling a minute after that. I think if I were working on something a good deal larger, though, I ought to be able to work it almost like the real thing. In the meantime, tree ornaments are small things with smaller parts. I have to work each individual part very quickly, and hopefully join the parts together after they've become stiff enough to resist damage during assembly. With real clay, that would be just short of impossible, but this fake stuff doesn't have that vital 'leather' stage for joining pieces together. I don't even know if I can make a decent slip out of this stuff yet. That will be the key to making this work.
My first experimental ornament is a little C'Thulhu Claus head. I've managed to make a bunch of tentacles and eyes and textural bumpy bits, and now I'm letting them air-dry. The largest component is a 'mouth' of sorts--larger means it should set a bit slower, and it did have a brief leather stage where I could do a little carving with a toothpick. That bodes very well for future larger projects. The drying parts are also turning much lighter in color, which I was counting on. I still have to paint them with food coloring--and eventually a light coat of clear Krylon--so half of this experiment is to see how the colors play out. I have a good feeling about this so far...
DECEMBER, FRIDAY THE 13TH, 2013:
I have finally reached that "I put away a stick of butter in the cabinet above the fridge" stage...
The faux clay dries to a kind of light grey, making it very difficult to pull off a good yellow, but in general the painting is going very well. I now realize, however, that the additional drying time required for each stage of construction will result in a single ornament taking up to 6 days to complete. I'm basing that on this one I'm working on, which I admit is a complicated piece for an ornament--I'm sure a simpler piece can be done in two days.
The next piece in the series will be pretty simple, and will be painted with a gold Sharpie instead of a water-based dye, which should eliminate all that extra drying time. It's been a few years, but the last time I made flour play dough ornaments I was turning out several per day. Flour is almost always the best way to go, but in a building with a legendary bug problem it's not such a great idea to decorate your yule tree with dozens of pungent, uncooked matzoh treats. This faux clay may be harder to work with than Lindsey Lohan, but it's non-toxic and completely odorless--odorless is good. Odorless is not bug bait.
Meanwhile, the problem with C'Thulhu Claus is that I'm overworking it, treating it like a little sculpture instead of just an ornament. Figures. It's been a lotta years since I last sculpted anything--I just can't help myself. Anyway...it's 6am on a cloudy Saturday morning--I should call it a night.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15TH, 2013:
One year ago today I bid farewell to the 1st Church shelter, and escaped to this place--mostly because it was the only place with enough of a turnover rate, that they actually had some units available. Also they didn't object to me being a smoker. The high turnover is due to 1..the crazies who can't control themselves being evicted, 2..dope fiends being evicted, or jailed for long enough to cite 'abandonment', 3..the chosen few moving up to something better in another city, 4..people dying. So here I am. I celebrated the milestone by doing the same thing I do every day...try to take over the world.
The day was not perfect. The world lost two legendary movie stars today, Peter O'Toole and Joan Fontaine. Peter O'Toole was one of my favorite actors, and I have several of his best works in my library. I will have to watch "My Favorite Year" again this week...
MONDAY, DECEMBER 16TH, 2013:
This goddamn imitation clay is a real pain in the ass. I tried my best to research the product online, but there's almost no data out there. I don't even know what this crap is made of--plastic? bat shit? GMO dirt? It's not clay, it doesn't act like clay, it's just fuckin' weerd--and difficult to work with. I know the language of clay--we can communicate--but this stuff is...a foreign substance. And once it's dry, it's like greenware that can never be fired. It remains fragile, moreso with these small ornament parts. I'll have to make custom boxes for each ornament out of heavy cardboard, and line the containers with clouds of cotton balls. I have to treat them as if they were made of glass--do they still make ornaments out of glass? I think this stuff is some kind of mutant paper pulp, in the same family as the stuff they use to make those grey boxes that hold a dozen eggs in the supermarket...
Oh well--ya live, ya learn. I've learned that this one little ornament is probably going to take another two full days to complete. Anticipating a nearly naked Christmas tree, I affixed little wire hooks to a few little glow-in-the-dark plastic stars, and dispersed them evenly around the tree. During the course of the day, while I await the drying of C'Thulhu's winglets, I'll see what other doodads I have available to hang on the tree. I really should have started this project a coupla weeks earlier...
Well, it wasn't easy, but I got the wings finished. They each developed multiple stress fractures during their formation. Unlike real clay, this alien goo doesn't REALLY want to be formed into things, and it will fight you every step of the way. Conversely, once a piece is dry and brutally cracked, it can be pretty easily spackled with more goo and a wet brush. That would never work with actual clay. I still have a little more coloring to do on the winglets, but they're essentially done. All that remains is the hideous ovoid blob that all these parts will be fused into...
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17TH, 2013:
Late last night there was a spate of electrical hiccups in the building, which kicked my surge protector into action, shutting my 'puter down twice. Don't know what caused it, but--no harm, no foul. All is well.
Found myself wide awake way too early this dark gloomy morning, so I took the opportunity to go into town to stock up on stuff. I kinda overloaded this brokedown old body with too much unevenly distributed weight, and now my back is screaming all manner of unpleasant words and gestures at me, not to mention my shoulders and my feets. I must rest now, but later--stroganoff! Because I deserve nothing less than whatever I can afford--so I got me some pudding for dessert, too. Sure, I know I'll be broke by Christmas, but I got a little stash put aside for those last five days of 2013. No worries, mon! And nestled 'neath the Christmas Tree, all packaged with care: canned goods!:D
Joining the parts to the hideous ovoid blob failed SPECTACULARLY. With only a few minutes of reasonable plasticity available, parts began to break and refused to merge with the fresh clay. Ultimately, I smooshed enough parts and materials together to form a pair of random useless nothings--no Christmas tree ornaments here. The faux clay will have to go back up on the shelf until I come up with a different sculptural experiment. I've no doubt I could do something a little larger with it, which could possibly be used to make a mould, but those venues are out of my reach. Oh well...at least the Santa Hat came out nice. I guess my next experiment will be to see if I can reconstitute these silly-looking critters back into faux clay again--waste not, want not.
FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCKIN' FUCK!!! First time I try to sculpt something in YEARS, and it turns to shit. Pudding time? Why, yes, I believe I will, because I've learned to eat my frustrations. Suddenly I want a cheese burger, or better yet, a grilled cheese sammitch, or maybe I should whip up some chocolate chip cookies...?
And so he went with the grilled cheese sammitch--three slices of Velveeta to ensure maximum gooeyness--and a chocolate pudding cup. Then he turned the lights down low, smoked a little 'Monkey's Paw' and watched "Blade". Afterwards he turned his Christmas music back on and set it to 'low', turned off the lights on the Christmas tree, and crawled into bed for a nice 3 or 4 hour nap. As he switched off the bedside lamp, he whispered something unrepeatably rude to Harry Bear, and then finally he dozed off to the soft sounds of the Christmas mix, coming to him as if from some place far far away. And he dreamed--and in his dreams, he started some fires and gunned down everything that moved...
And now, "SCARY FUCKIN' SCIENCE SHIT" by Nobel Prize Nominee and reknowned theoreticist, PROFESSOR GRUMPY OLDMAN. Professor Oldman has recently taken up smoking ganja at 2 in the morning, which has been causing him to have a lot of strange thoughts about a lot of strange things. This is just one example of the professor's brain on drugs:
"WHICH CAME FIRST--THE CHICKEN OR THE THEROPOD?"
~A rambling, loosely associated montage of vague incoherent pseudoscientific poppycock, which--by the way--is also today's half-price dinner special at 'El Pollo Muerto'.
...In 2002, Narciso Ben tez et al. calculated that roughly 2 million years ago, around the end of the Pliocene epoch, a group of bright O and B stars called the Scorpius-Centaurus OB association passed within 130 light-years of Earth and that one or more supernova explosions gave rise to a feature known as the Local Bubble. Such a close explosion could have damaged the Earth's ozone layer and caused the extinction of some ocean life (at its peak, a supernova of this size could have the same absolute magnitude as an entire galaxy of 200 billion stars)*...
[ *ref. Wikipedia ]
...A small minority of scientists have suggested that the initial extinctions could have been caused by a gamma ray burst originating from a hypernova within 6,000 light years of Earth (in a nearby arm of the Milky Way Galaxy). A ten-second burst would have stripped the Earth's atmosphere of half of its ozone almost immediately, exposing surface-dwelling organisms, including those responsible for planetary photosynthesis, to high levels of ultraviolet radiation*...
[ *ref. Wikipedia ]
...Not to mention x-rays and microwaves and gamma rays and ginormous clouds of superheated radioactive plasma. Novae, supernovae and hypernovae are everywhere--several potential candidates are in our neighborhood "kill zone" today, such as the red giant Gamma Crucis. Situated at the top of the famed "Southern Cross", Gamma Crucis is TOO close at a mere 55 light years from Earth. It's swollen and unstable, and it could go at any time. It could be going nova right now, but it would be 55 years before we'd see it--and ten seconds later we'd all be instantaneously reduced to ashes. Or worse. Or it might appear like nothing at all had happened to us, we'd all 'ooh' and 'aah' at the cool light show, and all of our future offspring would be born freakishly mutated.
The list of possible outcomes seems infinite. The effects of x-rays could range from merely inducing cancerous tumors to completely breaking down carbon bonds at a molecular level, effectively causing total disintegration of living tissue. Think of those spooky 'shadows' of some of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki--the remnants of individuals who were instantly vaporized, and had their remaining soot blasted onto nearby walls like spray paint. UV radiation could also cause cancer, or melt the flesh right off the bone. Gamma rays are definitely the most unpredictable, as they can surgically dice and splice DNA, resulting in a broad range of unknown mutatagenic possibilities. Let's not even think about what microwave radiation is capable of. Now consider a combination of all of the above--all at once--and the possibilities do seem as infinite as the number of stars in the sky...but are they? Spoiler: They are not.
I'm a proponent of intelligent design, which--among other things-- suggests that there could be a vast hidden library of instructions buried in our 'redundant' DNA which is prepared for any contingency, including a set of responses to an extinction-level event--a survival mechanism so intricately woven into our substance, that even if our world were blown to bits some small cellular remnant of life could survive, to travel through the void in a chunk of rock until conditions permitted a planet-bound fragment of the once and former Earth to seed some new world with our DNA. And hidden inside all those bits of mis-named 'junk DNA' are the blueprints for not just humans, but every living thing. The designs for every living creature that ever swam, crawled, flew or spewed pollen is coded and catalogued into the fabric of the double helix, waiting for some external stimulii to trigger the construction of whichever molecules might most successfully survive reintegration into a new environment.
For example, imagine that Earth has caught the far edge of a gamma ray burst event. Nearly every living representative of the present generation of all species will die, some quicker than others. Living cells bathed in gamma radiation will have had much of their DNA unzipped and scrambled, initially resulting in tumors and disease within the dying tissues of this last pre-gamma generation. Many of these species will still manage to reproduce, though none in sufficient numbers to actually replace the generations which are now dying off. Of those already limited numbers, many will die as a result of environmentally incompatible mutations. Some organisms will continue to experience this for several more generations, depending on an organism's respective rate of reproduction.
During this interim period of perhaps less than a hundred years, all the affected pre-gamma species might appear to a paleontologist to have vanished forever from the face of the Earth. In fact, their numbers have been significantly reduced, but they are not gone. In isolated meadows, caves, streams, herds and enclaves all over the world, DNA is already responding to changes in the environment, and begins to resequence itself--and subsequently redesign its respective 'host organisms'--into new species which are more environmentally compatible, and able to fill some vital role in the tapestry of the global ecosystem..
The grass still grows, though slightly different from the grass we remember. There are no more bison to graze on the grass, but there is an animal with a thick scaly hide and horns protruding from its chin which was derived from bison-like DNA. It no longer has fur, but its tough hide is designed to defray excessive heat and radiation. It is smaller than its bison ancestor, and has shorter legs to keep its body lower to the ground, allowing it to easily use the horns on its chin to plow the ground in search of tubers and other tasty roots with which to augment its meager diet of mutant grass. This new organism has been redesigned from the inside out to fulfill the obligations of a plains grazer. It looks nothing like a bison, and is in some ways now more lizard than mammal, but it is still a genetic descendant of a bison-like progenitor.
There are still wolves and cougars to prey on the bison, but they too are now unrecognizable as such. They've also been modified to adapt to the new environment. Longer, leaner and sans tail, the predators of the prairie also sport the almost universally-adopted thick protective hide, but they continue to be essentially what they always were in their ancestral pre-gamma days. For the birds, it is a very different story. Their once diverse and abundant food sources are too depleted to sustain them as before, so their DNA is forced to make more radical changes to their design. Flight requires far too much energy, so the wings are eliminated, and replaced with arms and hands--far more useful on the ground. A smaller body size for optimum flight capability is also no longer necessary, so the genes which constrained their growth are simply shut off. The most abundant source of nutrients in their environment is now the flesh of other organisms, so their genetic blueprint is modified to include a beak full of meat-shredding teeth and a gut completely re-engineered to process meat proteins.
The birds are transformed into thriving successful predator-scavengers through a well-planned restructuring of their physical design, as per the 'blueprints' provided by their DNA. Some mechanism within the double helix itself analyzed the birds' dire situation and rewrote the design specs for future generations. Basically, a seed-eating avian laid eggs which contained gamma-mutated damaged DNA. Those eggs became mutated avians in a post-gamma environment. Some of those hatchlings were healthy enough, and lived long enough, to reproduce. Their DNA would now include a thorough self-diagnostic of their respective gamma-induced mutations, as well as detailed sensory input data from the post-gamma environment itself--including play-by-play analyses of how the mutated avian organism interacted with that environment. Their eggs, provided with all this new data, give rise to the first of a new design. This new organism is more compatible with its surroundings, and its mutations lean more towards healthy adaptations than uncontrolled malignancy. Quickly, over the course of just a few generations**, the new species is completely adapted to its new world, though it scarcely resembles its great-great-grandparents. Some of these new organisms will survive quite well, live long fruitful lives, and grow to legendary size...
[ **The capacity for speedy adaptive mutation is necessary for survival. The chain of life, based on the interdependence of all the organisms within a given system/ecology, is very fragile to begin with. If all honeybees or cyanobacterium die, the rest of the system will also die--FAST--unless some organism[s] deliberately mutate and adapt to fulfill the obligations of the bees or the bacteria. This process must occur rapidly, before the system collapses beyond the point of no return. The ecology of an entire continent could collapse in just a few years over the loss of just one vital organism. Therefore, not only must this process of mutation and adaptation happen very quickly--and relatively often--but the fact that life is thriving today is a testimonial to life's incredibly successful ability to recognize--and rapidly counter--any threat to its survival. ]
This scenario has already been played out--repeatedly--in our shared genetic history. Each time, some global catastrophe radically changed the Earth, and all life on Earth--by some 'miracle'--reshaped itself to suit the new environment, and continued on with business as usual. When the Earth became wet, everything learned to swim. When it got too cold, life grew fur. Something hidden in our DNA is capable of making the right choices from a huge menu of possible adaptations, in order to ensure its survival under virtually any conditions. Our planet has been subjected to countless 'life extinction events', any one of which should have rightfully wiped out all life on Earth a long time ago, yet life is clearly thriving. Something in our DNA--instead of simply surrendering to death--thinks it through, considers all the options, selects the most appropriate adaptations to ensure its existence, and redesigns its host organisms to those custom specifications. And it does all this in record time, because it really has no choice if it wants to survive. And life goes on. Over and over and over again..."Here I am!" ZAP!!! ..."Missed me!" POW!!! ..."Still here!" BLAM!!! ..."Peekaboo!" KA-BOOM!!! ..."Thanks! I've always dreamed of having my own personal bioluminescent exoskeleton!"
Some people think all this happens purely by 'chance', but even the most sketchy analysis suggests that all life on Earth SHOULD have been wiped out during one of the many life extinction events which have marred Earth's past. Statistically speaking, NO organism could actually win that game every single time without 'cheating'. But cheating requires a complete working knowledge of 'the game', and both the tools and the intelligence to successfully and repeatedly subvert it.
Life on Earth is no accidental roll of the dice--it's a series of split-second informed choices being made by an intelligent mechanism ( or 'spirit', if you prefer ) encoded into the DNA, which has at its disposal "The Complete Encyclopedia of All Living Things". On a grander scale, in order for an entire ecology to adapt successfully, the DNA of various organisms within the system must communicate somehow across disparate species in order to ablate duplication of effort or the propogation of a useless or self-destructive organism within the system. All living things have basically the same DNA--just in slightly different structural arrangements--and they all have the same 'operating system'... At this point, is it really such a stretch to suggest they might also have their own wireless LAN?
At a microscopic particle level, this LAN would most likely operate on what we today refer to as "spooky action at a distance", or quantum entanglement. Just bear with me now--you got this far. This supports the possibility that these volumes of data are spread out across all the strands of DNA everywhere, and are instantly available between any of them, thus further suggesting that every individual double helix in existence is like an individual neuron in a giant brain consisting of every living cell in every living thing on Earth.
DNA: Intelligent. Aware. Telepathic. Possibly of non-terrestrial origin.
HUMAN: A host organism for DNA. Can be easily replaced.
ME: Realizing this sounds like the DNA in all of our cells is nothing less than a vast world-encompassing single superior intelligence--while you, me, and the cat are just the tools it built to sustain itself...?
"That's just crazy talk, that's all that is."
"Just plain crazy!"
"I'll bet he's on the dope."
"Sounds like heresy to me!"
"Let's stone him!"
Too late, kids--I'm already stoned.
So which came first--the chicken or the theropod...? I'd have to go with the chicken. Why else would a 15-foot-tall ferocious toothy monster have hollow bones, feathers and 'winglets' unless those parts were already there to begin with? That's my story and I'm sticking to it, but meanwhile here's something else to spice up your dinner conversation:
Why has Darwinian paleontology failed so miserably at finding that fabled 'missing link' which would definitively establish humans as the top of the primate family tree? Maybe because we're not primates. We are perhaps 'primate-like', but the fact that our internal organs most closely match pigs instead of apes tends to cast shade on the whole 'primate' theory. We are surely descended from something which stood upright, possessed stereoscopic vision and hands with opposable thumbs--and had a large predator's brain. Nether pigs nor monkeys really fit that profile, so we obviously need to examine other candidate species.
What OTHER organisms in the paleontological record possessed these same physical traits, were similarly proliferated around the world, had verbal communication skills for facilitating a complex social structure, and managed to stubbornly survive basically unchanged across several life extinction events? Oh, yeah...'Nuff said. The Defense rests. Because it's time for pudding. When it's pudding time, nothing else matters. Except maybe more pudding.