spaceyear 2000

•01/04/2012 • Leave a Comment

From¬†, a 1950ish Robert Heinlein warns of what’s waiting for us all the way in the year 2000:

So let’s have a few free-swinging predictions about the future. Some will be wrong – but cautious predictions are sure to be wrong.

1. Interplanetary travel is waiting at your front door — C.O.D. It’s yours when you pay for it.

2. Contraception and control of disease is revising relations between the sexes to an extent that will change our entire social and economic structure.

3. The most important military fact of this century is that there is no way to repel an attack from outer space.

4. It is utterly impossible that the United States will start a “preventive war.” We will fight when attacked, either directly or in a territory we have guaranteed to defend.

5. In fifteen years the housing shortage will be solved by a “breakthrough” into new technologies which will make every house now standing as obsolete as privies.

6. We’ll all be getting a little hungry by and by.

7. The cult of the phony in art will disappear. So-called “modern art” will be discussed only by psychiatrists.

8. Freud will be classed as a pre-scientific, intuitive pioneer and psychoanalysis will be replaced by a growing, changing “operational psychology” based on measurement and prediction.

9. Cancer, the common cold, and tooth decay will all be conquered; the revolutionary new problem in medical research will be to accomplish “regeneration,” i.e., to enable a man to grow a new leg, rather than fit him with an artificial limb.

10. By the end of this century mankind will have explored this solar system, and the first ship intended to reach the nearest star will be a-building.

11. Your personal telephone will be small enough to carry in your handbag. Your house telephone will record messages, answer simple inquiries, and transmit vision.

12. Intelligent life will be found on Mars.

13. A thousand miles an hour at a cent a mile will be commonplace; short hauls will be made in evacuated subways at extreme speed.

14. A major objective of applied physics will be to control gravity.

15. We will not achieve a “World State” in the predictable future. Nevertheless, Communism will vanish from this planet.

16. Increasing mobility will disenfranchise a majority of the population. About 1990 a constitutional amendment will do away with state lines while retaining the semblance.

17. All aircraft will be controlled by a giant radar net run on a continent-wide basis by a multiple electronic “brain.”

18. Fish and yeast will become our principal sources of proteins. Beef will be a luxury; lamb and mutton will disappear.

19. Mankind will not destroy itself, nor will “Civilization” be destroyed.

Here are things we won’t get soon, if ever:

— Travel through time
— Travel faster than the speed of light
— “Radio” transmission of matter.
— Manlike robots with manlike reactions
— Laboratory creation of life
— Real understanding of what “thought” is and how it is related to matter.
— Scientific proof of personal survival after death.
— Nor a permanent end to war.


all the way


the whole game incised

•11/17/2011 • Leave a Comment

Festive music warbles in the cafe behind me, but I am the only customer here. The wind is moving trash in the empty street. I imagine releasing the lot I hold in my hand and permitting it to escape along this street. The trembling stars shout down to me, and the life that is in me shouts back. That I know I’m living goes up levels in me like surf rising against tide marks. I’ve never been to the ocean, never seen it. How can I use such metaphors? -Michael Cisco, The Narrator

everyday banality presents the skagway connection

•04/30/2011 • Leave a Comment

Out of my holding pattern, gone far away to yet another. Okay. Look: awaiting my flight in Portland I listened to two elderly men in suits discuss generic business things before segueing into talk of the cheap military sci-fi paperback one of them was holding. This guy with the book, he described with great relish the part where “this old master sergeant” runs out of bullets, but there are still aliens! “So he gets out is ka-bar knife and stabs one, and kills it! But there’s another, so he stabs it too! And it’s just a great moment Earl I’ll tell you!”

The book (he said) borrows a lot from Starship Troopers, which is of course a lot different from the movie. He was going into the borrowings when our flight was called and I was ūüė¶

Near all this a woman with a stroller, and it takes about five minutes for me to notice that the stroller’s centerpiece is a mesh cube with a zip-top, and I notice because the woman lifts from the cube a toy poodle wearing a pink tutu w/ a silver-sequin spine. This woman will continues on with me from Seattle to Juneau, where my Uncle remarks on her in a way that suggests he didn’t notice my mentioning the very same person to my mother on the phone thirty seconds before. Three hours before, in Seattle, two people queue for the flight to Juneau whom I know will be in Skagway, and they appear again on the ferry the next day in the sixth hour when I finally wander forward to the observation lounge. One I don’t recognize in the airport, but I recognize the name of the Thai/Mexican restaurant on the hoodie she wears. The other I saw regularly at the grocery store, last summer, and she stood out in my mind because my coworker was a little obsessed with her.

It was my fault, maybe. She looked young and I know he likes that and I was bored. Bored and stuck with him for hours, I’d come back from break and mention that the underage-looking girl sure did receive money in exchange for my groceries and he would launch into the same two-minute monologue about her ass in those jeans and how we would see, we would, that she was of age, he swore he would be vindicated.

Eventually he learned her name and the fact that she was 22 but he still resented us for mentioning her corpse-pallor and her twelve year-old torso and the fact that we had seen her, across the street, entering and exiting the Mormon church. He wanted validation of his desire. He wanted validation of anything ever and we were just assholes (me doubly so for knowing what would happen the moment I made specific mention of anything female and of a certain age to him).

Yesterday, he arrives at the house and promptly shows me his phone wallpaper: a barely of-age Disney star (he assures me she was eighteen when the paparazzi snapped the photos) in a blue bikini that’s dating Justin Bieber and he would suck Bieber’s cock just to get close to her, just because it had been inside of her. He says he’s spent the last two months considering “why black people use the n-word”. He says they should abolish its use, make that one word illegal. He says, “it’s been 200 years since slavery get over it!”. I don’t correct his math but I ask him what that has to do with anything and he walls straight up, blinks, opens his mouth a few times before “But yeah! We just shouldn’t be saying it! If a cop is nearby and hears a black person say that word, he should arrest him!” This line of conversation dies to my unresponsiveness: I don’t want to know where this is coming from, and doubt he can deliver a semi-coherent explication re:anything if it’s not a stand-up comic’s routine, memorized.

A few minutes later, he holds out a stack of papers in a plastic cover. The top sheet printed with ENTER MY MIND over a color photograph of a human eye. He tells me it’s his poems, and some inspirational quotes. Would I like to read it? I’m wondering if the eye is his own. I beg off: this might not be a good idea, when I’m so tired. Who knows how terrible I will be to you, ha ha?

I remember him handing one of our coworkers, and a friend of hers who worked on the train, his green spiral-bound notebook of poems (scrawled on the front the same title). It was my second summer and I made some joke about the horrible consequences of me reading them while the girls said “oh they’re very nice no that’s fine you can take them back”. I remember picking up the same notebook over a year later, when he left it behind on the dock as I relieved him for break, and finding he had written perhaps two pages more in all that time. And yesterday I saw the notebook, on top of a box of his stuff on the coffee table, the wire binding undistorted after all this time.

He often asked me about my notebooks, and I’d tell him that they were just dumb bullshit and/or symptoms of unhealthy compulsion. Nothing worth talking about, but he would want to talk. He would tell me he felt Another Poem Coming On, that he needed to bike out to one of his favorite spots, his favorite Poetry Writing Spot, to Write His Poem. In his aimlessness, he tries to shape himself into a romantic image. He wants to be an Artist. When I replaced my Army Surplus Man Purse (home of the endless procession of almost identical dumb bullshit black notebooks*), he asked for the old one. I think I have become a model for him. I don’t know how.

He asked me to go get a beer but I was tired and my stomach was churning and I begged off.

So here I am. I’ve worked eight hours in three days and really could have arrived a week later than I did. So I watch torrented video and read and wonder why it feels different than it did a thousand miles ago. So I sit here and I type this which will go on a thumb drive I’ll trudge to the office and throw up on the internet, because it’s good to have goals even if they’re nakedly arbitrary. At least there’s only three more days alone with the Disney Channel.

btw Bored to Death season 2 the “buy a new insulin pump for my mom” joke reveals a fatal ignorance re:the cost of insulin pumps.

Also the grocery store is out of milk until the barge comes on Tuesday.

*dumb anime notebook????

different strokes

•04/28/2011 • Leave a Comment

“Are you going to a psychiatrist?”

“Yeah, I started a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t talk much, so they let me take a break for a while. I’ll start up again in a few weeks. They said if I didn’t like the guy they’d find me another one.”

“That’s the same thing they said to me, but I’m still with the same one. I asked them for another one, for a girl, a lady I mean, because there are some things I just can’t say to a man with a beard.”

“He’s got a beard?”

“Ugh, a huge one, he’s like a bear. Like a big scraggly bear.”

I don’t know why, but I started thinking that maybe if my shrink had a beard, things might be a lot better.

-Ray Loriga, My Brother’s Gun

masturbeard theater: largo winch

•04/20/2011 • Leave a Comment


I guess it’s more of a beardjob¬†really.

But all too soon her oral fixation turns tragic:

god damnit


and done

•04/11/2011 • Leave a Comment

“How many notes have you made on this book?” The Mouse chanced a tentative light through the hangar.

“Not a tenth as many as I need. Even though it’s doomed as an obsolete museum relique, it will be jewelled‚ÄĒ” he swung back on the nets‚ÄĒ”crafted‚ÄĒ” the links roared; his voice rose‚ÄĒ”a meticulous work; perfect!”

“I was born,” the Mouse said. “I must die. I am suffering. Help me. There, I just wrote your book for you.”

Katin looked at his big, weak fingers against the mail. After a while he said, “Mouse, sometimes you make me want to cry.”

-samuel r. delany, nova

ncf: MoH

•04/05/2011 • Leave a Comment

Early in¬†Medal of Honor’s 2010 lunge at¬†Modern Warfare’s boot heels* ¬†I’m shadowing a beard-and-Oakleys wearing operator tasked with leading me ¬†around a Taliban compound¬†by the super-sneaky halter when he tells me: I’ve got this one.

And I say fuck you, buddy, this is my game, and rush around the corner ahead of him to stab the one-he’s-got in the back of the neck. The collision of neck and knife produces a sound like metal striking metal and a sentry who continues to stand staring off into space as it nothing has happened. I try again, get the same result, and back off a few steps to watch Oakleys wrassle him to the ground.

I followed my bearded companion to this encounter on an ATV. I followed him, and he¬†murmured¬†prompts like “go slow” and “kill your lights before bad dudes shoot us!!!”. I did as I was told, going down a long corridor of rock in the dark until I reached a village and there I snuck, carefully guided/instructed by my partner, until deciding I’d had it, it was time to take the initiative, and the game rewarded me with PANG. Afterward, we got back on our four-wheelers and tore down another uneventful outside corridor to another compound. At some point, Oakleys asked me to retrieve the bolted-down-at-all-other-times .50 caliber rifle from the front of my ride to shootmen from a great distance. He talked about windage and bullet drop while I put my cross hair right over heads and exploded them.

It’s a limp combo of MW’s “All Ghillied Up” and the breathless snowmobile escape from MW2: ¬†the vehicle parts are boring and the sneaking is never particularly tense. It starts and stops and lurches back into action again. It locks you in a room with another pair of fellows so you can not participate in their lengthy-seeming dialog re: THE MISSION. Later, it will often make you walk calmly with your weapon down, lest you escape the non-participatory¬†conversation chunks, or else block the narrow way with friendlies crouching to discuss tactical options.

There are doors.

Sometimes, your allies open them, usually so they can close-quarter¬†a scripted enemy to death in some Awesome Special Forces kind of way. Other times, you are prompted to perform the opening ritual, and you maybe apply bullets on the immediate other side. Of course, you can’t kick down a door if the level is designed for COMRADE X to do it. For most of the game you have to move at the pace dictated by your partners.

Which makes a certain sense, right? You’re a soldier, you’re not supposed to go tear-assing around the map, indulging whatever whim. ¬†Medal of Honor seems to be striving for a certain authenticity, eschewing¬†Modern Warfare’s crazed barely intelligible¬†technothriller shenanigans for a more modest story of YOU KNOW SOME GUYS rooting around¬†SOME MOUNTAINS looking for some Taliban to shoot. Almost every gun has two reload animations: one for when you’ve run dry, another for when you hit the manual reload key. ¬†The former is what you expect, while the latter excises the working of bolt-or-slide and results in a +1, for the still-chambered round, in your ammo readout.¬†You no longer play hot potato with the opposing force’s guns, except in desperation: if you run low on ammo, you can request that another team member top you off, so you’re not switching to the Kalashnikov to the G3 to a sawed-off shotgun spewing pellets that magically disappear after 20 feet. This device allows you to retain your own weapon (JUST LIKE A REAL SOLDIER!) and reinforces how the game wants you to approach it: Work with your team, it says, listen, and if you do then¬†everything’s buttery-smooth.

What about that sentry I couldn’t stab? The time I’m sent to a window to provide sniper cover, and can do nothing else because only Oakleys can open the door to the next chunk of level, and there is no way for me myself to get through it until all the enemies on the other side are dead? The two-dozen other times in the length of its short campaign that I tried to get a little ahead or approach a situation in a different way, only for the world itself to rise up as a barrier? Discover self-motivation and the seams tear; you feel annoyed, or like a jackass.¬†As a staunch defender of American Special Forces Canon, Medal of Honor’s pretty great. As a video game, it’s stifling.

Medal of Honor is that kid** who read all the for-younger-readers history books in the third grade, demanded that his friends play viking with him, then lashed out when ¬†they in turn insisted on some detail that wasn’t supported by his books. No Ben, vikings didn’t have castles like that! The fort is going to be a longship! Eventually, they stomped off to sulk because no one would play the right way.¬†Medal of Honor doesn’t have to sulk: it makes the world, you play by its rules or go home.

Also, I was really hoping to play the guy with the massive special forces beard. Ideally, my body would be visible from first-person so I could look down at the huge beard on my chest at any point during the game.***


*every time I bring this game up I call it “the new Call of Duty” and have to correct myself

**me ūüė¶

***Trespasser style beard-based health gauge??????