Monday, July 31, 2006

Apathy Jack writes:

(Were I in the mood, I could probably turn this into several individual posts about the nature of teaching, amusing confabs with students and dreary tales of the tedium of my existence, which would be good - for certain values of good - for a week or so of daily updates. But I'm not in a mood to write well, just to vent a wee bit. You can skip this one if you want...)

Life's been interesting (in the overused Chinese-curse sense of the word) at Hoodrat Academy for Higher Learning this term. My department is under investigation for being shit, which involves me filling in a lot of forms. (I'm not being looked at - wash out your brains for thinking that. But I have to fill in forms on the people who are...) Also, I've been missing deadlines set by my Head of Department and not reading the memos she sends out because, hell, I just can't be bothered any more, you know. (Still not under investigation.) Which has been biting me on the ass a bit of late. Not enough to get me all the way to the end of one of the memos, but still...

One of the more disaffected members of my department asked me why I've stuck it out for so long. I had to answer truthfully: I think about quitting a lot. More and more every day.

What always stops me is thinking of the kids. Corny and silly though it may sounds, I stay for them. All of the bullshit, all of the ineptness, all of the defeatism: they make it all worth suffering through.

Which is why it hurts so much to constantly lose them.

It's a weird specific of my job: You spend years acting as teacher/councillor/parent/friend/parole officer to someone, then one day you never see them again.

The pattern goes that they usually visit twice in their first year out of school, once the subsequent year, and never thereafter. Nor should they: I barely walked past my old school once I was allowed to leave, and visiting my old teachers - even the ones I liked - simply didn't occur to me in the mad dash out the front gates.

I can't claim a moral highground on the subject of forgetting one's past. For every kid that leaves, a replacement comes in. I have hundreds of new names to learn every year, and given that I can barely remember to take my bag home with me at the end of a given day, there's only so much room in my head. There was one kid who I spent a year mentoring, looking after. I screamed when she attempted suicide and worried all day whenever she didn't turn up. I put my heart and soul into her, and it killed me when she was taken away from my school by the currents of her unpredictable life.

The other day I forgot her name.

I was thinking about her for the first time in a while, and I realised I had blanked on her name. Took me ages to remember it.

But back to my original point: I stay for the kids. Which, when you think about it, is not entirely accurate. I stay for a couple of dozen of the kids.

Which couple of dozen varies from month to month.

Kids change as they go through their teens, and, perhaps more damningly, I stay the same, which leads to peaks and troughs in how we get on. I've had kids who would kill for me in third form who can't stand me by fifth, and I've had kids where the reverse is true. I like almost all of my kids, but really, in terms of making it worth my time to sail on the Marie Celeste of secondary education (my pet name for Hoodrat), I come up with the faces of individuals, not whole classes. And those individuals are, for the most part, different at the end of any given year.

But it's weird who you lose.

The bright and enthusiastic little third former who was brought into the special needs unit - who I had changed into a different class because I saw she could do better than where she was put - has been taken out of the school because it's too far from her family home. A valid reason, but a silly one, especially considering that she had stability and friends and teachers who cared about her here.

Menwhile, the kid (or 'man') who's in my Year 13 class for the third time sits there very day, edging ever closer to his twentieth birthday, but no closer to passing the work he's attempted twice before.

But it's weird: I had to talk to one of my Year 14s today. (Year 14 is the semi-official nomenclature for what we used to call Second-year sevenths - someone repeating the last year of school). This kid clashed with my HOD so badly last year she walked out of class one day never to return, and the boss was so glad to see the back of her, she never reported the absence.

I put the kid up the back of my Year 11s and gave her notes on Shakespere to read.

At the beginning of this year, I had her put in my class - she has to repeat English because all she passed last year was Shakespere. However, she's been so indolent of late that I've been yelling at her to leave school, not to stop wasting her own time (which is the line taken by the diplomats) but to stop wasting mine. I'm pissed off, so want the distraction gone.

And this is the one I like. The kid who always rubbed me the wrong way has been on the recieving end of some remarkaby unprofessionaly rudeness vis. getting the hell out of my school, for a few weeks now.

But there are still my favourites. The kid who wants me to edit the book she's writing; the kid who sits in my room at lunchtime reading, no matter how much noise surrounds her; the kids who speak to each other in spitfire pig-Latin during class - when they found out I could actually understand them, they said it was okay, because they knew they could trust me not to reveal their secrets; the kid who intentionally didn't take my class this year because she had been with me for three years, and said that was more than enough, who came back to me after a term of her new class to admit that, alright, I WAS a good teacher, and she hadn't realised how bad the others were....

One of the ones I've known since third form. Been in my class every year of high school. We were chatting today. She made the old joke that I'd die a teacher. I made the old joke that I expected it to happen in the next year or so.

"You've been saying that for five years," she said.

Five years, for fuck's sake.

I've seen her through first job, first boyfriend, first sibling, second and third stepfathers if I'm keeping correct count, and all of the other stuff that happens to you between entering your teens and leaving them.

She's missed a couple of weeks of school. I texted her and told her to come in and see me. Year 13 is when you go insane, you see. You lose all motivation, lose patience with your friends and support networks, and go stir-crazy with wanting it to be over. It happened to me, it happened to friends of mine, and it happens every year to my students. This term alone I've had the "this-too-shall-pass-you'll-regret-it-later" conversation with about five people: that's more than two a week. And now it's happened to my girl. She has a legitmate reason for her absences, but she's seriously thinking about not coming back once the legitimate reasons dry up.

I made her give me a date she was returning to school, and gave her some catch-up work in the interim. She says she's going to stay in school now. But I can read my ones well enough to know that there was an undercurrent to the "Yes" when she promised to stay in school. I know she'll come back on the date she gave me, because she told me she would, but I don't know how long she'll stay.

And that is enough to shake me. Enough to remind me that, yeah, there are those few dozen students I stay for, but you know, it was a different lot at the beginning of the year, and I hadn't even met most of them last year.

This is transitory. It all changes. Everything has a time and everything dies, to make a pop culture reference.

I remember something said by the best teacher I've ever seen when he left my school, as so many have done before. He said that he'd miss the kids - and his tears on the last day were proof of that - but that kids were kids. The ones at my school are special (and that's not pride talking, it's the Education Review Office: they say we have a statistically higher number of socially broken children - which is the reciepe for 'special' - than other schools in the city) but there are special ones elsewhere also. Not as many, certainly, but they're there if you look.

I know it's not the best fodder for the Apathy Jack image I seem to have cultivated with some of you delusional sods who haven't met me - admitting that sometimes I think that giving up on my kids wouldn't be too great a loss, that, given a year or so to find my feet, I'd be finding the same stories to tell at another school - maybe my kids aren't that special.

I don't know. It's been a long month.

But then I remember the small things. The stupid small things.

One of my kids saying that, although she has finished the ten or so of my books she has at home, she doesn't want to bring them back yet because she likes looking at them. She thinks that's weird. I have to explain to her that what she's feeling is a sense of accomplishment, pride at reading more than she ever has before, and she can keep the pile of books for as long as she wants.

Walking out of the school a few nights ago, and a kid who looks only vaguely familiar cycles past and calls out to me by name. He was ESOL, which is an area of the school I don't spend a lot of time in, so I don't know many of their lot - especially not whizzing past me in a bike helmet when I'm entrering the euphoria stage of tiredness and not really focussing my eyes, so I'm not sure if he was a current or an ex-student. But it's nice to think that he knows me. I would have never acknowledged one of my teachers outside the boundries of school, had I ever seen one.

Having the following conversation with one of my students:

"So, you emailed me about your essay last night."
"And the only thing in your email was Othello."
"Okay. It was a good essay."

Which seems unremarkable, but you know how when you spend a lot of time with people and you evolve your own idiomatic ticks - your own little language? Well, that's what this was, because there were prying ears in the room. Running our conversation through a translator

"So, you emailed me about your essay and nothing else last night."
"Pregnancy test was negative, then?"
"Good. From now on, wear a wetsuit you degenerate."
"I will."

The small things don't make it any less of a long month, but you know, sometimes they take the edge off...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Apathy Jack writes:

"How old are you, Mister?"
"I'm twenty-nine."
"My Mum's going out with a guy who's younger than you."
"What's your mother doing going out with someone younger than me?
"Mum's kind of a ho."
"I see. What's her number?"

You've got to love Friday afternoons...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Apathy Jack writes:

So I was talking to one of my lot about a series of writing pieces she needed to do responding to the many books she's been reading. She said that, while she thought of very good ideas while she was reading, they leaked out of her head by class the next day.

I pulled my notebook – one of those tiny crappy dollar-from-the-supermarket jobs – from my bag, ripped out the pages that I had covered in whatever inane scribbling had occurred to me on the bus that morning, and gave it to her so she could record her impressions of the books as she went along.

Today, she gave it to me to check all of her ideas. Going through it, seeing amazing ideas (and, frankly, wondering who taught her to be so clever) and I come to the page in the middle of the frantic notes on the books she's currently reading. The page reads "Note to self: Thank Mister for my cool little book. Buy him a lolly."

Sometimes my job doesn't suck..


"Oi, you, hold up. These notes you've made towards your writing are brilliant. Not just good; brilliant. You're a genius."
"But the notes are all I can do. I can't order them into proper ideas."
"Then hows about for ten minutes of tomorrow's period I sit with you and we turn some of those notes into full sentences and paragraphs. Then after we've done a few together you'll be able to continue by yourself."
"That 'okay' smelt of wagging. You won't be here tomorrow, will you?"
"Yes, I'll come. I'll be here."
"Good, because this work is really good, and I want you to turn it into the finished product."
"You think very highly of me, don't you?"
"Yes, very highly indeed."
"You like me a lot, right?"
"Of course."
"Give me a hug."
"Here you go. Happy now?"
"Can I wag in your class this period?"
"No, go to your class."
"But I've got Tourism, and I'm a loner. I was meant to do a group thing, but I don't have a group, so I didn't do it, and I'll get into trouble."
"But you'll get into just as much trouble if you turn up tomorrow without having done it."
"But I'm not coming to school tomorrow."
"I knew it! I told you I can smell wagging."
"Damn. Alright, I'll go to Tourism."
"That's right. And do some more notes over the weekend if you're not coming to class tomorrow."
"Okay. See you Mister."
"See you Monday."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Butting into a private conversation

Apathy Jack writes:

"Mele, who exactly is coming into school?"
"My cousins. They're coming to pick me up."
"How many of your cousins? How many of them can fit into one car?"
"They're walking."
"They're picking you up by walking?"
"I understand. You see, the thing is, when a large number of Tongan outsiders come into the school grounds, it makes us a bit nervous, so we ask them what they're doing here. The answer is always 'Oh we're here to pick up our cousin'. And when we ask them who their cousin is, they always say Mele, because every Tongan at this school is named Mele."
"Not all of them!"
"Alright, the boys are all named Sione, but you get where I'm going with this. Do you see why I'm worried?"
"Yes Sir."
"So your 'cousins' don't really need to 'pick you up'?"
"Yes they do."
"Right, let me fetch my to-do list, I have something that needs remembering..."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Books You Should Be Reading # 16 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Yes Man by Danny Wallace

'So,' said Wag, putting his pint down, 'you're late.'
'Sorry,' I said, slightly out of breath, and sitting myself down.
I was twenty minutes late for meeting Wag because, on my way out of the tube, a man sitting on the steps had asked me if I could spare any change at all. I'd said Yes, and handed him what I could spare. Five minutes later, another man I was walking past asked me whether I could spare any change. But I'd given all my spare change to the first man, so I had to go to a cashpoint to get some money out, and then find a shop to buy something from so that I would have some change which I could adequately call 'spare' to give to the second man. After I'd done that I'd bumped into the first man again, who didn't recognise me and asked me whether or not I had any spare change at all.
Wag just looked at me.
'Why didn't you just say "no"?'
Good question. I tired to change the subject.
'Nice tie," I said.
'I'm not wearing a tie.'
There was an awkward silence.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Apathy Jack writes:

Right, that will probably do it for pontificating on the future. Thanks to all who suffered through my requests for contributions, you're all great. (Except Hewligan - I know what you did with that vat of marmalade and those dwarves. I have pictures. I'm turing them over to the police. Soon. I need them a while longer for, uh, research...)

So what's been going on with The Internet in the interim?


Fair enough.

But while I'm here: my stupidly talented friend Mary McGregor-Reid has launched a couple of sites that are well worth a click. showcases her art, and is her dance site.

Go to both of them.

Oh, and thanks to Hewligan, I've been reminded of an old project of mine, The Happiness Agenda. Did it ages ago and haven't thought about it for a while, but rereading it, I still like it, so go there and have a look.

Also, while I'm stealing from others, Andy Coombs, who did this contribution to the guest/theme week, has written something I really like, which I'm sure he won't mind if I reprint here.


Sometimes it seems like you don't know what's what or who's who or what the point was in the first place.

So lie back at night and look to the reaches of beyond our little rock and realise where we are, not even taking baby steps for all our wars and dramas and scandals and pissed up confessions to strangers at four in the morning.

Stare down a billion years and see that it's all in your head and although you are small your gaze strides light years to unreachable places.

It is the duty of every thinking being in this vast universe to spread what light and warmth they can into the cold between the stars. To flip a finger to the void. To defy the vacuum. To fly laughing head first into the cold stony face of entropy.

Because we are the proof that it's not all for nothing.

So look after yourselves...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Life in the future: It's bollocks

Apathy Jack writes:

I used to worry about the future of a lot.

No, I mean, proper worry. None of this existential “will I get a job and sell out to the man and become a corporate whore” bollocks. I mean your professional circus grade worry.

When I was a kid, I read Revelations and Nostradamus (or at least the Reader’s Digest versions thereof) and looked around at the general milieu of the Regan-era Cold War, and decided that we were all pretty well buggered. (I didn’t really understand a lot about Regan – if I had known all the details, I probably would have been more worried, not less...)

I had a deep and chilling certainty that, in or around the year 2000, we would all die in a nuclear armageddon.

As I got older (shall we say my late teens and early twenties), this fear subsided (ironic in a way, as 2000 was rushing closer and closer by this time) but my worries for the future continued.

My reasoning was thus: Technology is increasing exponentially. I heard somewhere recently that seventy percent of the jobs that today’s newborns will be doing when they enter the workforce haven’t been invented yet. And if that sounds a bit far fetched, think about how many people you know who work in or around the internet industry. (My kids are occasionally shocked that I didn’t have an email address until I was twenty or so. I have to explain to them that no one I knew even had the internet before I was about eighteen, so I wasn’t that far behind the times...) We no longer need to evolve, because we can change the world to suit us, and we’re getting better and better at changing our own bodies to new specifications. Every day we’re answering more and more questions about the nature of life, the universe, and whatever else Douglas Adams mentioned in that book of his.

So at some point, and even with the rapid increase in technology let’s say it’s a million years, humanity will have explored the entire universe. We also will have explored every facet of our own mental and spiritual existence. To top it off, we will have adapted our bodies to the pinnacle of physical evolution. I’m not sure, but I would imagine that involves being some sort of energy-based life form.

And then we’ll be left with nothing to do.

Now, of course, we will have evolved past the point of death, so our descendents will be sitting around for the rest of time with nothing to occupy themselves.

Eternal ennui.

It made it hard for me to enjoy the general air of hedonism that university was supposed to offer, knowing that in a million years the entire human race would be suffering a never ending case of existential boredom.

Of course, I don’t think about that anymore for two reasons, mainly. (And no, “the fact that it’s bollocks” is not one of the reasons.)

The first reason is that there is no way to tell the future. I refer you back to the thing about most future jobs not having been thought of yet. The internet and cellphones have single-handedly reshaped the world: and yet the internet is not what William Gibson predicted it would be, and (although I’m not the first person to make this point) my cellphone can do more things than Captain Kirk’s communicator on Star Trek. And remember, this is my cellphone – not only have I not figured out what all of the buttons do yet, but I still think “what the hell is that?” whenever it rings, and let it go for a while before I remember...

The second reason is that there’s no point in second guessing the future now that I’m living in it. I always figured I knew what being a teacher would be like, and it’s like that. Only on drugs. And you know, I’m too damned busy to spend time worrying what life will be like for my descendants in millions of years – hell, I spend so much time making my life up as I go along that I don’t have time to worry about the immediate consequences of any of my actions. Ask my students: The ones who don’t know me so well get offended when I walk away from them mid-sentence (theirs or mine). The ones who have had me for a year or two know better: I’m not ignoring them, and I haven’t forgotten them (not permanently, anyway) – I’ve just seen something shiny that has attracted my attention, and I’ll be back to them as soon as my brain cycles off the new thing and back onto whatever they wanted out of me.

I suppose you could say that for the first time in my life I have forgotten the future and am living in the Present.

But really I just have attention-deficit issues.

Either way, bring on the apocalypse. I don’t fear the bombs because I wouldn’t notice that the damn things were dropping...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Living in the Future: Re-Tail

Guest Ranting Bastard writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Today’s entry is brought to you by Nick, the alcoholic degenerate responsible for

I’ve restrained myself from writing anything lately as my life has been rather predictable and regimented. This is an alien feeling for me considering I prefer to live my life haphazardly with a side dish of belligerence, but not any more, Oh No!

I’ve been shackled to the wall of full-time employment in the one industry which is very unforgiving - RETAIL.

Since we’re located in Mt Eden you can probably imagine the type of people we get frequenting the shop. These people can’t be shoved into one generalized group so I’ll do my best to categorize them.

The Alcoholic
This priceless specimen defies the law of natural selection by firstly still being alive, and secondly still being able to drink. They stagger into the store, eyes red, hair messy and sporting the international badge of bad hygiene. Although aesthetically disgusting to deal with they are in fact courteous and polite. I assume they’re only docile towards me because I’m the gatekeeper to their medicine.

The Browser
These human beings were put on this earth for one thing only, to waste your time. They rarely make eye contact with you, yet they seem to be enthralled with the selection of products you have to offer. They usually can’t refrain from asking trivial questions about shit you simply don’t give a fuck about, and they never actually end up buying anything. These bastards usually time their appearance whenever you need to dash off to the toilet or take a well needed lunch break.

The Poser
Unfortunately wine is one of those topics where everyone (who drinks) has an opinion. These fucks think they are worth conversation because they’ve read the latest Cuisine or New Zealand Herald recommendation. They waste no time regurgitating full sentences which Michael Cooper has recently published. Although this species isn’t exactly hard to deal with, they become very tiring over long periods of time.

The Rich Housewife
Since these individuals have no REAL tasks in which to fill up their day they resort to retail therapy. They usually start their visit by parking their Mercedes, BMW or Volvo in the bus stop right outside our shop. They stroll in with the confidence most fake tanned, Prada sporting idiots have, with the misconception they’re better than you. What I despise most about these rich fucks is that 9 out of 10 of them will smell like my ex-girlfriend since they all reek of that expensive ‘Angel’ shit. Not only are these women a pain the arse to deal with, they remind me of that horrible, horrible period of my life.

The Rugby Head
Since we’re a good 20 minute walk from Eden Park, Saturday nights can become borderline torture. As you can imagine I love nothing more than putting up with cauliflower-eared Neanderthals talking about their precious ‘Leather-Egg-Chase-Game’. Their starting sentence usually consists of ‘Gidday, mate! – watching the rugga's are we?’ and they usually restrict their palate to Lion Red and hipflasks of Smirnoff. Thank fucking Christ I only have to put up with them 6 months out of the year.

The Idiot
These guys prove there isn’t a god, because if there was HE would have made them A LOT smarter. If you’re unlucky enough to come across such a specimen then approach carefully. The simple tasks you take for granted becomes a possible accident/problem. For example: that step isn’t just a step to these creatures, it’s a hurdle. That EFTPOS machine isn’t just a means to purchase things; it’s a mathematical equation which apparently needs a ‘secret code’ for it to work. Although ‘The Idiot’ isn’t as testing as ‘The Browser’ they use a type of mental warfare that should be added to the Geneva Convention.

Retail in the 21st century is primitive to say the least. I imagine a future where humans are taken out of the retail equation all together. You know where I’m going with this don’t you? Well if you don’t I’ll make it simple for you – MOTHER FUCKING ROBOTS!

I can’t comprehend why we have computers that can process millions of tasks a second and yet we still don’t have Robots that can do our simple tasks (such as buying a bottle of wine).

Every time I serve a customer I can feel one of my brain cells liquidate.

So if you’re reading this and you’re a Scientist please, please, PLEASE get you shit together and make me a Mother Fucking Robot.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Life in the future:Icarus Burning; Future, or Conversations with She.

Guest Ranting Bastard writes:

Today’s entry is brought to you by a fellow going by the name of: N for Nihilism

"I want to be able to die forever" She said, as She pirouetted and tried to catch a flake of ash on the tip of Her tongue.

The city in which She lived in was always bright black; hermetically sealed road and walls, matt and smooth like machinery designed to work in a vacuum. The falling ash found no purchase on the metal or stone or whatever it was; motes of ash ran like sand, pooling in the gutters and running down drains to subsystems I never want to know about.

It was raining ash; I knew that to be my fault, as it had been raining as ever since I had re-entered the sky and found myself in Her city.

"Icarus," She said, "Tell me what it's like to die from a self-inflicted gunshot wound?"

I shrugged.

"It's only ever happened to me twice before. I'm hardly an expert on the matter."

She said She worked in a factory, where they made the nighttime by assembly line for export to other places. The concept of there being other places seemed alien in a place like Her city; the city was an other place to begin with. She returned from work cleaner than She was when She left, despite the fact I never saw Her leave for work. The sound of Her clothing after a shift was the sound of the sensation of raking your fingers across loose scree and losing nails.

The sky was as black and as matt as the city it blanketed. It's ridges were picked out and highlighted by the stratocumulus ash that I left as I re-entered, sympathetically following my descent in the form of a burnt-out drizzle.

"What was it like before? What was it like before you fell, Icarus?"

I looked up at the sky which had birthed me into this world. It responded by spitting soot into my eyes.

"You know, that feeling, once you've just awoken from a deep sleep, and you remember all your dreams so vividly, and you wish you could hold onto that unique feeling before it disappears, but is destroyed by the very act of trying to retain?" I asked.

She looked at me quizzically, and then broke into atonal sing-song laughter.

"Don't be silly Icarus; there's no such thing as sleep."

As She spun, Her pinafore danced a halo about Her. It appeared made of tissue paper, though obviously wasn't. I never touch it after that first time. Stained by inky rivulets, at first I thought the discolouration was caused by the same mascara tears that emphasised the lines about Her smile. That was before I realised the patina of ash and blood and soot and bile caking my own face was the exact same colour. Now I don't know whether they were caused by either, or even us at all.

"Tell me, Icarus, tell me..."
She constantly asked me stories. Every day we spent together, She would ask me to tell Her stories. I wasn't even sure how long I had been in Her city by now, or even if I had known Her before my scourging arrival.

I used to mark off the indistinguishable days and nights and that third state I had never encountered before Her city, I would score a mark for each on one of the loose stones She had given me. I had never yet found out where She obtained those stones; there was very little in this city that wasn't attached to the obliquely reaching, inscrutable blackness.

Every so often, in our meandering wanderings - Her spinning a capricious waltz only She could understand, and I sweeping the equable path behind us free of ash with my broken boughs - She would stop, and spin to face me.

"Icarus," She said, smiling serenely at me "you know that I'm happy that you're here with me."

I know She was looking me in the eyes when She said this, even if I couldn't see for sure. All I could see was the utter void that represented the death of Her soul where her sockets should've been for me. I know She had eyes, even if I hadn't seen them before; one screaming, choking morning She had made me touch them. I would sooner touch the fabric of Her dress again than repeat that tactile examination. I knew what I saw represented the complete nihilation of Her being; I remember seeing the exact same nullity that represented my very own non-existence the very fraction of an eternity before I was rebirthed screaming into the sky. What I didn't know, however, if it represented the vacuity of Her soul gone past, the oblivion promised in Her future, or something that was caused by our obscene courtship. I'm not sure I ever want to know for sure.

By my estimate, I had been in the city for either seventeen days, or forty one months. I tried to count the stone once, inexplicably, my eyes would bleed every single time. I gave up keeping count after the last sanguinary welling.

Occasionally She would ask me, every single day, about The Story. About how I came to be here; what was the progenitor of my cataclysmic arrival. And every single infrequent time, just like routine, I would tell Her my story. About how I stripped myself and Myself naked, and dressed myself and Myself in wings. About how I managed to fashion pinions of broken steel, fractured bones and shattered glass. About how I spun rage and sorrow and denial and hope into a skein in which I threaded and wove and bound together the components of the wings I built.

She would always interrupt me there, telling me that I was being silly again; you could fashion objects from reality or from the abstract, but never from a combination of the two. I would open my mouth to disagree, before remembering my Failure, and deciding Her words may carry more weight than Her tongue might suggest.

I would describe to Her my flight and my Ascension; the point in which the ratio to you and the horizon switches, and becomes the comparison of you and the Horizon. About how I chased the horizon, in order to reach past it and attempt to touch what had been lost before.

I would grin to myself at this point. I wasn't being mendacious, but I never told Her the whole truth; I was chasing something that was lost and gone, that was true, but I was also attempting escape from another. My deceit had no advantage, save for the fact that it pleased me to be able to withhold something from Her. No matter how small.

But then I would tell Her about what I reached, what I touched as I snatched past the veil of our limit of vision. It is true that we are a very visual species; the limit of your vision is not the end of your perception. The tipping over the edge of Horizon, until it fell away into the cloying, oppressive vacuum of the other side of existence. About how I found what I was after, twisted into a torus of frozen time, a single second in existence contained within eternity, a single edged Mobius of a single crystalline instance. How, for a single infinity, I touched the Singularity I was chasing.

I would savor that part; it was the only thing of forever I would remember with any clarity.

The next part She knew. How in the blink of the universe's eye, I re-entered creation where I had left it, high above in the vast empty volume of sky.




I entered the negative space of Her vistas a holocaust; my contrail tore a gash across Her sky and I salted Her earth with my remains. I was; I am. I am Icarus Burning.

IT was Her who found me; it couldn't have been anyone else. In all the measurable entropy I could remember I had never met anyone other than Her. She found me in the ruins of an excoriated cathedral. It had waited for my flaming re-entry with open arms; I smote it and scourged the flesh from its rafters. She found me hanging from the scorched rafters by my umbilical parachute. She ate it like Her placenta, and named me Her own.

She loved that story every time I told it.

There was always a sound on the edge of hearing; a churning, stomping sound of organic machinery. Sometimes it was ahead of us, sometimes it was to either side. It was never to the rear, it was never retreating. It was an unsettling sound, analogous to the aural sensation of torn teeth through a chalkboard. And it never ceases. She told me that the factory in which She worked contributed to the sound; I disputed this claim in silent screams. The cyclopean presence of the sound, so cacophonous and so distant, disputed all claims of familiarity.

"Icarus," She said once "how many times have you been born?"

I shrugged.

"It depends on how you define 'being born', I guess."

She smirked at me, and shot me a knowing look through the painful sight of Her occular absense of reality.

"Your words do not define my reality, Icarus."

She did me the service of pretending not to notice the scars upon my wrists; despite this, I was accustomed to the sensation of her curiosity upon them. I was curious of them myself; I remembered my broken pinions, and whenst they originated from, the tissue raising an indistinguishable bas relief across my tendons was Delphic to me as well. I could physically feel it once Her interest alighted upon them again, they would yearn for Her sympathetically also. She knew more about my scars than I did; and I wasn't sure I wanted to know what Her designs were.

She blinked at me, something I did not enjoy. Her absence ocular was painful enough on a non-physical level enough without the metaphysic agony the strobing brought on. She giggled as well, flashing Her metallic teeth. They weren't for eating dust, as She claimed they were for.

"Come now Icarus; my Ouroboros of the inferno. Let us vivify your shattered wings."

And I didn't have a choice.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Life in the future: Celebrate

Guest Ranting Bastard writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Today’s post is brought to you by Krimsonlake, who needs no introduction, because more of you probably read her blog than read ours. Bastards.

Every time I'm forced to consider the future I either picture head exploding animations or a blank wall lack of ideas. I'm no Orwellian genius thinker, or Gates money making future technological innovator.

Sometimes I like listening to REM's It's The End of The World As We Know It while pondering the future with a goofy smile on my face.

They could nuke me now and I probably would feel fine. It's that bleak futuristic outlook teamed with an odd sense of nihilistic optimism. We're so busy arguing morality that we've lost any real connection to it. But that's ok, we're learning not to care so much.

That's the future folks. Refined beyond simple carpet bombings and towers falling.

Sometimes I see the future in snippets of imagery.

Predictably I get flashes of Middle Eastern countries imitating Hiroshima with American flags flying. Flashing words. Land. Brave. Free.

That doesn't bother me as much as the concept of computerized books. I can accept the inevitability of war, but I'm terrified that I'll end up having to read my beloved fiction on a computer screen. No more paperback covers bent from curling up and absorbing words on paper. My stomach crunches with fear when I picture the bright screen in a dim room, and the migraines to follow.

Flash again and I'm in a world where tobacco is illegal because it's bad for you. Protect your lungs, you may need them! But Speed will be legal, as our capitalist utopia demands 100 hour working weeks, parenthood, relationships, fun, all at once. I barely have the energy for now, so I think I'll need handfuls of uppers and a padded room. Maybe we'll be so tired we won't notice the periodic bombs, or have time for books on our computer screens.

And again the world conscious political whore in me flashes in again. We'll always have a Third World, but imagine if that world becomes the White world. Wouldn't that be amusing? Or it will stay the same, players changing slightly as tiger economies grow and die. Cyclic.

Some things are for sure. Celebrities and fashion, art, TV shows and
bad movies, music. We'll always have our bread and circuses. We'll refine our entertainment. We'll take more drugs. We'll either earn more money or understand the meaning of real poverty. We'll become increasingly bored with imagery of dead war children. We will always have our heroes, our despots, our terrorists. Our good and evil. And we will collectively remain confused as to who is who, what is what, and wallow in our moral relativism. Until one day we just stop throwing around morality and relativism as manners of defence and attack, because we really just don't care anymore.

And we will feel fine.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Living in the Future: Robots and Other Devices

That Morthos Stare writes:

In the future there will be more than one form of human consciousness, and it will be available in dairies. Patriotism will be something we apply to brand names, trademarks and celebrity peer groups. Time will be measured in relative lengths and property will extend not just to insubstantials but also to non-existents. Although people will be able to vote on everything they will let computers do that work for them. Cats will be walking computers and dogs our roving medi-systems. Cars will refuse to take you out when you are drunk and working days will be flexible without the threat of overtime. Actors will put themselves in stasis between gigs and musicians will be AI-enhanced with tracks that adapt to the mood of the audience. Taxes will be both high and abolished whilst earning money will be seen as an odd past-time that indicates a high level of sociopathy. Murder will be committed by bi-local entities and religions will be the drug-memes your parents resent.

But, most importantly, in the future there will be robots.

My friend, and part-time meristrator, Mr. HORansome had planned to also contribute something to the cause. His project, a pulp short story called 'Past Corrective' was never finished and thus exists only as a pre-first draft monstrocity lurking here. Rumour has it that Mr. HORansome was last seen descending into the depths of Hamilton where 'fresh minds, unpolluted by Auckland-speak' were to be had.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Life in the future: Employee of the month

Guest Ranting Bastard writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Today’s entry is brought to you by Wellington based writer Andy T Coombs. A selection of his prose, poetry and diseased nihilist rantings can be found here.

For all of you young ‘uns who don’t know my name, I’m old Bug. I used to get outs on the road a lot when I was a young ‘un myself. Me and lady Tick, and we seen some fucked up stuff out there. These days my eyes ain’t so good and I’m a bit stiff of leg, so I just sits around this here old camp fire and I tells about what me and good lady Tick saw back in those days. Let me tell you kids, there was some crazy shit in this busted old world. Still is, but it’s not so busted as it was. I mean we’s got power now and we don’t live in tents anymore and some of you kids can even read and write and suchlike.

Now I ain’t got much book learnin’ in me ‘cos there weren’t much call for it back in my day, and I swears a lot, but as I was sayin’ there’s scarier shit in what I’m about to tell yous now than a few dirty words. Just don’t any of you young ‘uns be cussin’ around my good lady Tick ‘cos she’ll know where yous got it from then old Bug here gets it in the neck.

We was blastin’ along the cracked and wasted highway some ways north of these parts on our wind-sailors. Now I’ve shown you our old wind-sailors, they’re those three wheeled thingummies with them big ass sails on ‘em. Made a man feel free as the wind bein’ blown down to parts unknown on one of those babies.

It was a strong wind that morning which me and my good lady Tick were mighty grateful for but not as much as we was starvin’. I can remember Tick askin’ me when was the last time we ate.

Man she was somethin’ back in her day, I can tell you. I was just about as ugly then as I am now, what with my extra thumb and all. As you can see I gots me an extra thumb on my left hand. No biggie, unless you also happen to grow up in a tent village by the sea full of a bunch of superstitious drop-kicks who take every little thing as some kind of bad omen. They tend to blame the deformed guy for everythin’ and more.

Somethin’ goes missin’, point at thumb guy ‘cos it must have been him.

Crop fails. Can’t be that radiation shit or the acid rain, must have been thumb guy.

Old Felix the Coot falls down the shit pit and nearly kills himself, you guessed it, thumb guy. Well actually I did do that last one but that don’t matter ‘cos you gets my point.

It’s always about the thumb, so growin’ up with that shit it’s good to take your chances out on the wide open road roaming amongst the ruins. Especially if you got a girl like my good lady Tick.

She’s mighty smart still and did I mention what a looker she used to be back in those days? Way prettier than a seven fingered, bung eyed old mutant like old Bug here. She was tough too. All them other guys was scared of her after she shot Twitcher in the leg and he couldn’t walk proper anymore. She says he was tryin’ to grab her hooters and he said she was fixin’ to rob his tent. Probably a little bit of the former and a little bit of the latter.

Hell of a girl to have by your side ‘cos of her smarts and what she could do with a bow or a knife, and she even had tatts and shit even though they gone a bit droopy now, but don’t be tellin’ her otherwise she’ll kick my ass. Never minded the thumb either. Quite liked it actually for a number of reasons but that’s our private shit so stop your snickerin’.

But anyways, back to some of the weirdest shit we ever did come to see out in those blasted wastes, and we seen a lot of weird shit.

Tick was all yellin at me like, “We ain’t eaten since we shot all of those giant rats back on that old abandoned farm and I’m starved.”

And I told her right back that those rats had been fuckin’ terrible, shoutin’ over the howling wind “What I would’ve done for a decent hunk o’ dog.”

You’re thinkin’ too small baby,” she hollered back from her wind-sailor cruisin’ alongside mine, “We need to find ourselves some more cow. Pity every gunned up roadkill in all this busted world thinks the same and there ain’t exactly oodles up for the grabs. So when you get’s a cow that’s all special like and when you get’s dog you get’s dog. Life’s a fucker.”

She I told yous she was smart.

"Hey,” I said, rememberin’ somethin’, “There’s meant to be some kind of settlement ‘round these parts somewhere.”
“So that crazy old bastard we found in the shed with those fucked up mouse ears on his head told us last week.”

Tick always talked sense to me.

“Yeah, and he told us glowin’ monkeys were eatin’ his brains to stop him gettin’ messages from god too. Crazy old fucker.”

But sure enough, about half a day or so later we came out of a pass and there was a town sittin’ clear as morning down the bottom of the valley. Somewhere near the middle was somethin’ that made the both of us do a double take, even Tick and she didn’t usually bat an eyelid at nothin’.

It was some kind of sign or totem pole or somethin’. Crazy lookin’ head with a bright red mouth, a big red nose and this fucked up lookin’ pointy hat with little dots on it. Smilin’ like a man wearin’ pants with no pockets, all sittin’ on top of this big ass pole with some weird thing underneath it lookin’ like a big plastic hunk o’ bread with mad plastic green shit in it.

Weird enough it were made of plastic and all, ‘cos we didn’t see much o’ that stuff but that weren’t the damndest thing. Now we seen a lot of weird shit. Once we met an old lady who lived in a cave and done ate her own foot off.

No, I’m not yankin’ yer crank and you at the back get your damned hand out of your pants.

But yeah, this thing was lit up. With ‘lectricity. Which meant it was pre-war stuff, and these freaks had power. Which meant they had to be gettin’ the juice from somewhere, which probably meant more crazy pre-war tech. All sorts of crazy shit.

Me and Tick had only come across a place with ‘lectricity and other head botherin’ pre-war crap once before that point and we got chased away by some crazies with armour and helmets and guns and shit before we could gets ourselves a decent look-see.

But even though Tick’s always been smarter than me neither of us was really known for our learnin’, so we sailed on down into that valley anyhows.

First thing we came across on the outskirts o’ town was a big old rusty tin shack so we has a look-see inside and sure enough we found a crazy old bastard with lots o’ cats, which if you was askin’ me back in those days was a waste of perfectly decent food keepin’ ‘em all as pets like that. But we were dealin’ with a crazy old bastard in a rusty tin shacks. You always find crazy old bastards in rusty tin shacks. Must be in the rules or some such thing. Hell, I live in a rusty tin shack. Go figure. Mind you I gots ‘lectricity now and my good lady Tick, not a bunch o’ god damned cats shittin’ all over the floor.

So of course before I could say anythin’, Tick bursts in their brandishin’ here cross-bow and demands to know what in the fuck is goin’ on ‘round these parts. The old bastard hissed and spat at us and ranted and raved about a Great Evil or somethin’. We tolds him we was goin’ to check it out for ourselves anyways.

As my good lady Tick said at the time, “Never listen to a crazy old bastard in a rusty tin shack.”

He told us it was our funerals and had a good old cackle to himself about it which scared up all the cats some so we just told him whatevers and headed on into the town.

All the other dwellin’s were just as fucked up and dirty as the crazy old bastards rusty tin shack, and there wasn’t nobody in the streets. It was real quiet ‘cept for the sound o’ folks twitchin’ their curtains to get a look-see at the strangers on their patch. That should of put us off right on the then-there, but nobody was comin’ out guns blazin’ so we just kept on towards that big fucked up building with the totem pole thingummy I was tellin’ yous about.

Somewhere’s behind us we could hear the crazy old bastard in the rusty tin shack hollerin’ somethin’ about us both bein’ doomed and all o’ them damned cats meowing, but we didn’t pay him no mind.

So we’s up at this weird ass place’s front doors now, and it’s fucked up ‘cos apart from the ‘lectricity we can see inside that the place is really clean like, and hardly anything was clean back in those days, specially not all the other dwellings in that place.

The door weren’t locked, so we went on in. There was this one fella moppin’ the floor and keepin’ his eyes to the ground, who must’ve been the one keepin’ the place so shiny and all, wearin’ some fucked up stripy clothes with a pointy little hat like the one on the big ass head outside. Then there was a girl in this short little dress with a ponytail and an apron standin’ by the counter at the end o’ the room. She weren’t makin’ eye contact neither and look scared o’ somethin’ but we weren’t askin’.

Behind the counter there was this dude in the same kind o’ get up as mop guy, but he didn’t have the hat and he had a tie on. And if’n he weren’t the ugliest motherfucker I ever did see in all o’ this busted old world. Had a really ratty little moustache, greasy ass hair and he was a spotty little son of a bitch too. He had beady little rat eyes that meant business and was starin’ us both down, so I patted Tick on the arm and warned her to be keepin’ her bow to herself ‘til we’d figured what the fuck was goin’ on.

So ratty squints at us and smiles with his nasty ass little yellow teeth and asks me,

"Can I help you sir?”

Which weirds me out ‘cos I don’t have no clues about what I’m need help with in the first fuckin’ place.

“What with? I’m all fine and sweet here.”

He gave us this mean little laugh like he was knowin’ somethin’ we didn’t and said,

“Perhaps sir and madame would like to try one of our outstanding burgers.”

“A what?”

“Food sir. O’Clownie’s has been commited to Excellence in Customer Service, and the Delivery of Excellence, and Excellence in Food Based Excellence since before the war.”

“Before the war?,” I gasped at him, ‘cos any fool was knowin’ that the war chewed up just about anythin’ civilised good and well.

“Our motto here at O’Clownie’s is Excellence, Excellence, Excellence with Optional Silly Fries.”

“With Excellence?” asked Tick, who I could tell was startin’ to get mad.

“We’re committed to keeping this branch open until the Great Coming Of The Regional Manager. I’m Colin, the Branch Manager. Welcome to O’Clownie’s and I hope you enjoy your O’Clownie’s customer experience.”

He did the ratty grin and the creepy giggle again. Ugly fucker. Mop guy just kept on moppin’ like we weren’t there and then the girlie came over to us and sat us down at a plastic table. We noticed then that for some fucked up reason she was wearin’ wheels on her feet.

“Can I take your order please?”

Tick and I looked at one another. We were half wonderin’ whether we’d eaten some bad ‘shrooms or somethin’.

“I guess we’ll have one o’ those there… burger things.”

“Two burgers!” she squealed and scribbled down somethin’ or other on a little notepad thingy.

“And would you like fries with that?”

“Guess so,” said Tick as I nodded. If it’s good enough for my good lady Tick, then I’m supposin’ it’s good enough for me.

“Fries are off!” yelled that creepy little Colin fucker all of a sudden.

The chick with wheels on her feet jumped and looked scared but mop guy just kept on moppin’. He seemed a bit addled in the brain. Probably livin’ in a rusty tin shed now.

"Why no fries? Whatever they are,” snapped Tick, none too comfortable and as I said before, gettin’ all mad and shit.

Creepy ass Colin blew air through his ratty yellow teeth and smiled at us, narrowing his eyes.

“We use the oil to run the generator. So no fries but O’Clownie’s otherwise stays open to deliver excellence to customers until the Great Coming of the Regional Manager.”

Roller chickie rolled on through a door goin’ out the back, on her way thumpin’ some weird lookin’ piece o’ pre-war tech in the corner. It rumbled some and started playin’ music of all the damndest things. Some crazy song goin’,

“Yummy yummy yummy I got love in my tummy and it feels like I’m lovin’ you…”

Couple o’minutes later and she comes back out again, blank look in her eyes and thumps down a platter with two bun type things on it full o’ meat, lookin’ for all the world like the bun type thing on the totem pole thingy outside.

Me and my good lady Tick weren’t about to turn down hot food, so we went right on ahead and tucked in. Pretty nourishin’ stuff, if a little weird tastin’. Kind of like dog but sweeter and not as chewy.

“So what is this place?” I called out with a mouth full o’ burger.

“I told you sir,” smiled Colin, “It’s an O’Clownie’s, and we’re committed to…”

“Excellence an’ shit. We know,” snapped Tick impatiently, “But why’s this place still here, and why’s there not a soul outside on the streets. I’d be thinkin’ that with ‘lectricity goin’ this town’d be boomin’.”

“This crazy old bastard in a rusty tin shack on the edge o’ town yelled somethin’ about us all bein’ doomed, but you know crazy old bastards in tin shacks an’ all…”

But I didn’t get to finish what I was sayin’ on account of mop guy smashin’ both Tick an’ myself across the back o’ the skulls with his mop. Which while we’re talkin’ about it turned out to be a big fuck off old metal bar.

When we came to, both me and my good lady Tick were tied down to a table out the back o’ the place, starin’ up at that big old pole with the burger and the head, which I’m guessin’ must have been O’Clownie himself, the very guy. There was dried blood on the table beneath us, and a bucket underneath that, which had got to be a bad fuckin’ sign indeed for the both of us.

Lookin’ to the side, we spied no other than creepy-ass Colin himself, but he was sittin’ on a throne, done up with a red nose and a big wig and a hat like fuckin’ O’Clownie himself, surrounded by girls with the little dresses and aprons with wheels on their feets. All in all it had to be one of the most plain fucked up things we ever did see in the whole of the big bad busted old world.

“Congratulations, you’re both the new Employees Of The Month!” he cried and blew on a crazy ass little paper whistle. All the roller girls let off these banger things which showered bits o’ coloured string all over the place.

Beyond the circle on the ground ‘round the big ass totem pole and all the ‘lectric lights ‘round the edge of it, we could see villagers lurking in the shadows. The started clappin’ and chantin’ at us.

“Employee Of The Month! Employee Of The Month! Employee Of The Month! Employee Of The Month!”

As I told yous kids, this was some pretty fucked up shit here.

"What d’you mean? We ain’t your fuckin’ emp-loy-ees or whatever the fuck, we only just blew into this fuckin’ mad ass damned town!” I yelled out, strainin’ against the ropes.

Colin threw back his head and cackled like a crazy man.

“Everybody is a part of the extended O’Clownie’s Family! Even road scum like you two. That’s the O’Clownie’s way! And we like you so much we’ve made you both Employees Of The Month!”

“Employee Of The Month! Employee Of The Month!” chanted the villagers.

“I don’t wanna know,” groaned Tick.

“Oh yes you do. An Employee Of The Month is one so very dedicated to the delivery of Food Based Excellence in a Customer Focused Environment, that they achieve the ultimate goal.”

“I don’t wanna know either,” I also groaned, lookin’ sideways beyond Tick to see mop guy standin’ there with a big ass shiny knife with O’Clownie’s head on the hilt, which is somethin’ I didn’t wanna fuckin’ see.

“You lucky people get to become O’Clownie’s burgers, the ultimate accolade in Food Based Excellence. And with every passing sacrifice, the Great Coming of the Regional Manager edges ever closer. O’Clownie’s thanks you, Employees Of The Month!”

“Employee Of The Month! Employee Of The Month! Employee Of The Month!”

Mop guy lifted that big ass motherfucker of a blade over his scabby little head and began to shuffle towards us smilin’ like a dog with two dicks.

"Psssssssssst!” hissed Tick, “You’ve got an extra fuckin’ thumb dickhead, use it.”

You see kids, pay no mind if you get shit for havin’ extra mutie bits ‘cos as y’all are about to seem, they come in handy sometimes.

I hooked the extra thumb on my left hand around one o’ the ropes bindin’ us to the table and began to work on it. Lucky it always seems like guys with big ass sacrificial type blades like a bit o’ the old ceremony and take a long time about stabbin’ folk to death with ‘em, as I managed to work a loop loose from Tick’s arm, knowin’ what she had in mind.

And I was right, ‘cos she whipped out her cross-bow, smashed it into the side of mop guy’s ugly-ass face, and shot Colin in the head with one slick and sexy-ass move. Damn it all I loves my good lady Tick.

Colin tipped backwards off his throne and he looked mighty surprised, though I’m supposin’ anybody does if’ve they’ve got a cross bow bolt all stickin’ outta their eye socket.

All the roller girls went bat shit crazy and ran around in every sundry direction amongst a whole heap o’ screamin’ villagers.

Needless to say we ran to our land-sailors and got the fuck outta dodge before you could say “Can I take your order please?”

So that kids, is one of the most sheer fucked up things me and my good lady Tick ever did see in all of our travels through those bad old wastes. One of the damndest things in this busted old world that’s maybe these days not so busted as it used to be back then.

So, don’t you be worryin’ if you got any extra thumbs ‘cos they might be of use if you’re about to me murderised by clowns, don’t tell my good lady Tick I’ve been tellin’ y’all cuss words and you at the back, stop doin’ that to the kid next to you or so help me I’ll tell your ma and pa.

Oh yeah, and don’t believe everything you hear from crazy old bastards in rusty tin shacks.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Life in the future: ???

Josh writes:

Speaking of the future, last week I received one of those weird spam e-mails you sometimes get that look like they've been "written" by some sort of evolving computer program designed to penetrate spam filters; the ones that spend so much time trying to avoid spam conventions and keywords that they end up as a completely unintelligible mess. The body of the e-mail read in full:

than  I ever  had for anyone. And  that's when I decided. I  didn't  exactly
the thirtieth  anniversary of the Visitation.  Dr  Pilman, would you care to
     "The same, I answered, feeling  a  nervous laugh welling up. I couldn't
they couldn't understand, but then he had some good ones that they could.

(Weird spacing faithfully reproduced.) It wasn't until I got more e-mail and noticed that this one was still at the top of my Inbox that I realized it is dated two weeks into the future.

I mean, that's just fucking bizarre.

Life in the future: The soiled debutant

Guest Ranting Bastard writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Lily Petals is the logical inheritor to Janice Erlbaum, Koren Zailckas and Amanda Marquit, and one day she’ll do something about it. With a bit of pressure, this entry will become part of a zine. With a lot of pressure, it will be the introduction to the book I want her to write...)

This all began with a paragraph I read in an Emma Forrest novel, Namedropper.


Sad as it is to admit, it struck a cord with me. Middle-class anxiety. I am definitely a sufferer. Me, & most of my friends – we went to middle-class schools, were raised by middle-class families; we had opportunities, education. & we spent a lot of time unable to breathe, struggling with dizzying panic attacks & a never ending sense of impeding doom. Why?

This is an examination of the phenomenon that is middle-class anxiety. A study on the nature of us young girls, struggling to find ourselves. Reading Plath, reading Wurtzel, reading Girl, Interrupted & all those things that now seem so clichéd and thinking to ourselves, me too. Oh my god, me too.

Being seemingly without problems has led simply to a whole new set of problems. We have full bellies, and we choose not to eat. We get sent to the best shrinks in town, and still we want to die.

For years now I've been struggling to even accept these things as "valid". I read Alice Walkers essays about life as an African American in Mississippi & the struggles she faced/faces & I think, "my life is not a problem". I read articles about starving African babies, AIDS patients, boys who get beaten up for holding their boyfriends hands, and I think… "my issues are not valid."

But what if they are? What if we stop treating the soiled debutant as just another stupid cliché, as a joke, as someone who does not count? Because she does. For some reason she is not ok, and when someone is not ok, it is always serious. She needs to be examined, she needs to be helped. She needs to stop being something we'll "grow out of", because even if we do we'll still carry her around in our hearts forever. She'll always be a part of us. And she needs to know that she matters, she needs to know that she matters very much. She is me, she is me, she is me.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Life in the future: Strangely Compelling

Guest Ranting Bastard writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Today’s post is brought to you by Hewligan, the misanthropic bastard behind Mutopia, and his recently established deviantart site.

livingInTheFuture::apathyJack - An Introduction

So Apathy Jack asks us to write about living in the future. What the fuck would he know about it? Last I heard, his computer - originally built in the mid sixteen-hundreds - was powered by a gerbil running in a wheel. Mind you, that machine stopped working when he got hungry one night, and ate the gerbil.


And he only recently got a mobile. Of course, that wasn't really voluntary. More a result of the court order. Which really wasn't fair. I mean, yes, the NSA may have had a point that the world would be safer if they could monitor his phone calls. And that would have been difficult, what with him not having a phone and all, but, really, the thing in Nicaragua wasn't his fault.

Everyone knew that using the torment:scream would produce brain cancer in 30% of men within a five hundred mile radius, so I guess you could blame him for that. But who the hell knew that it would produce testicular cancer in 80% of women? No one could have seen that coming.

Sure, it's a bit weird, when you're sitting next to him on the couch, and he has to phone you to ask you to pass the chips. Still, better safe than sorry.

livingInTheFuture::mrFrankStupid - pie.log

MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: Online
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: Active
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: search->("Br1ng m3 p13")
"p13" not found.
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: search->("Br1ng m3 p13" || "Br1ng m3 h4mburg3r")
No results returned.
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: search->("Br1ng m3 fuck1ng p13. 1'm starving.")
Segmentation Fault. Core dumped.
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: reboot
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: Online
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: Active
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: help->("p13")
A tasty treat usually made from pastry stuffed with kitten entrails. For sources of pie, please search "Br1ng m3 p13."
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: search->("Br1ng m3 p13")
Segmentation Fault. Core dumped.
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: reboot

MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: search->("Br1ng m3 p13")
No results returned.
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: emergency->("H3lp, 1'm, st4rv1ng")
Syntax error in module interface::emergency on line 43276589400. Expecting [.
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: help->("Starving")
A result of inadequate nutritional supply to organic components. Suggest requesting "p1 3."
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: request->("p13")
Method not implemented. For sources of p13, search "Br1ng m3 p13."
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: search->("Br1ng m3 p13")
"p13" not found.
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: search->("H3lp m3! 1'm st4rv1ng!")
Segmentation Fault. Core dumped.
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: reboot
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: Online
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: ...
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: ERROR
Failure in module interface::mrFrankStupid - module failed to initialize.
Reason: module is dead.
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: interface::mrFrankStupid->stackTrace()
interface::mrFrankStupid has failed.
Diagnosis: Power supply failure.
To report this failure call externalInterface::emergencyServices->dead("mrFrankStupid")
MFS@FFCA.DC32.4A21.1136: externalInterface::emergencyServices->dead("mrFrankStupid")
Syntax error in module externalInterface::emergency Services on line 3485385678623. Expecting ~.

livingInTheFuture::josh - Born Free

Josh galloped through the Serengeti Conurb, his four long, stilt-like legs carrying him easily through the rush-hour traffic. His similarly long neck allowed him to easily graze on the roof flora of the star:scrapers around him. Josh smiled, pleased with his new trans:specification.

His smile widened, and his satisfaction with his new trans:specification increased when he noticed how it let him look in on the japaneseSchoolGirls(tm) having a pillow fight in their underwear in their apartment on the 471st floor of the I Like P13 Ltd building. Thanks to their unnaturally large eyes, however, they soon spotted him. Realising that Josh had no tentacles at all, the japaneseSchoolGirls(tm) became very upset and started screaming.

"The giraffe watches you!" shouted Josh, before running off.

Unfortunately, he ran straight into the captcha:net that had been hung across the street by Spartacus Jellybean.

Jellybean stood before the entangled Josh. In his left hand, he held an enormous hunting knife. In his right hand he held a cutlass. With the two arms sprouting inexplicably from where one would have expected his ears to be, he held a large-bore hunting rifle. With his remaining hand, he held his cybernetically enhanced cock, which he masturbated frantically.

A little drool fell from the corner of his mouth and dropped to the ground before him. The syphilis in it quickly began breading into a new super-bacteria that would, in a mere two weeks, kill thirty million people.

"Giraffe steaks for dinner!" cried Jellybean.

Josh began to wonder if his trans:specification had been such a good idea, after all. Before he could come to a conclusive decision, though, Jellybeans enormous cybernetic rod ejaculated a wad with pin-point accuracy through Josh's brain-pan.

"Arrr!" cried Jellybean.

livingInTheFuture::brotherMorthos - Conspiring against you

The holier-than-thou pontificius maxiositous Brother Morthos sat in the bowels of the world's greatest conspiracy. Sometimes he wondered if the bowels were the best place to be, though. Perhaps, on reflection, he should move to the heart, or even the liver. You know, some place less poopy.

One of the pontificius' minions entered. "Glorious pontificius maxiositous, lighter of the darkness, diviner of the ways, soiler of the sheets - I bring you news!"

The pontificius slowly opened his good eye (the other having been lost in an unfortunate duel over trousers). "Yes?"

"Opus Dei agents have found Dan Brown. He's hiding in the pantry of an elderly couple in Shrewsbury."

The pontificius slowly drew himself up to his full height. He could only manage any movement slowly after the unfortunate accident with the altar-boy, the tub of bacon fat and the holy grail. "Launch a nuclear strike!" screamed the pontificius.

"Um, don't you think that's a little extreme?" asked the minion.

"I amend that order - have yourself executed and then get your successor to launch a nuclear strike!"

"Yes, your maxiositousness."

"Then, bring me cheese sandwiches! And nuns! Yes, nuns." The pontificius giggled like a japaneseSchoolGirl(tm).

livingInTheFuture::spartacusJellybean - Again with the bowels?

Deep in the bowels of the earth, far below even the caves of the hideous Vatican demon hordes, was the secret headquarters of adventurer, sexual tyrannosaur and Godzilla of bodily fluids, Spartacus Jellybean. He sat back in his comfortably-padded reclining-chair of many colours, gently gnawing on a giraffe thigh-bone. In his lap, covered in greasy finger prints and semen, was the copy of the Necronomicon of the Mad Bastard Apathy Jack that he'd borrowed from the library two years ago and never returned.

As he read it's pages of human-skin parchment, his cybernetically enhanced cock swelled with power. It winked at the pile of half-eaten japaneseSchoolGirls(tm) before ejaculating the words of power at a painting of a cheese sandwich.

From the holes in the cheese, an other-dimensional portal formed. From out of the portal stepped Shog Bobajob, mightiest of all of the entities from the other side. So mighty was Shog Bobajob that when it shook its prodigious buttocks, Cthulhu slipped from his other-dimensional-anus, covered in duct-tape and vaseline.

Jellybean stood, and aimed his cyclopean tower at Shog Bobajob. "I am the adventurer, sexual tyrannosaur and Godzilla of bodily fluids, Spartacus Jellybean. You will serve me, Shog Bobajob, or face the wrath of my cybernetically enhanced member."

Ten minutes or so later, when Shog Bobajob had finished violently sodomising Jellybean and left him sobbing for his mommy in the corner, wrapped for comfort in the entrails of japaneseSchoolGirls(tm), it left to eat Canada.

livingInTheFuture::ericOlthwaite - Man of Tomorrow

Sadly for Eric, he was sharing a nice sherry with Dan Brown in a small closet in Shrewsbury when the nuclear strike hit. Investigating the ruins, all that the Opus Dei agents could find of him was the charred remains of his left eyebrow.

In years to come, however, the agents would combine genetic data from the eyebrow with an incomplete DNA sequence they had obtained from Chuck Norris' false teeth, that had inexplicably been stored in the Vatican vaults. This they would use to clone the galaxies ultimate warrior. He then went on to enslave half the galaxy.

His battle cry of "This ones for Lemmy!" struck fear into the hearts of men on a million worlds.

livingInTheFuture::hewligan - A Tragedy



MASS: Uhluhtc Ngatf!

HEWLIGAN: I thought Frank said he'd bring me some pie?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Life in the future: Heads or tails

Guest Ranting Bastard writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Today’s post is brought to you by Span(ner in the works) who, as you should know by now, has returned from her hiatus and is once again blogging at Spanblather.


On a good day I reckon the future looks just dandy, for all and sundry.
Such days aren't all that frequent unfortunately, but when they occur I
can see my own work as part of the equation of bringing about my utopia
– where everyone can access all the resources they require; greed is not
seen as a virtue; sexism, racism, homophobia, and discrimination in
general have been shown the door; and the way we all go about our daily
lives doesn't actively scar the planet we live on. Not all that funny
(except for my naïve ernestness), but that's vaguely what I'd like to
happen to the human race in the foreseeable future.

But when the coin comes down tails it's all doom and gloom. I see us
living in a society ordered as in Gattaca, with the general surrounds of
Highlander 2, and heading towards extinction the way an asteroid
gravitates around a black hole. Not pleasant. And certainly not
particularly witty (sorry about that).

But then I'm writing this with jet-lag, so what do I know?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Life in the future: Well well well

Apathy Jack writes:

Howdy. Due to his poor eyesight (on account of the masturbation) RSJS has lost his “life in the future” piece. Fortunately he sent me a copy a while back, so it’s presented behind the cut. Oh, and while we’re talking about him, I don’t think he’s gotten around to plugging his new thing – he’s set up a myspace page, only, instead of using it for My Chemical Romance slash fiction and discussing the merits of different brands of fringe wax, he’s using it as a work-diary of sorts, where he documents his latest art project. Worth a look it is.


So Captain Jack buckles on his thinkin' machine and says "Mmmm, life in the future, eh? Let's write about that. Glee" then presumably plots a vast discourse about how his protégées will go on to great things and remember him in some poignant "In and Out" way.

Life in the Future. Right. Once upon a time a poor sod who wrote British sitcoms broke free of these constraints and spat out a book he had obviously been mulling over for a ridiculously-long time, given its sheer vasty mass of neat ideas. Honestly it's like slogging through one of those Ultimate Alphabet pictures. The author is "Only Forward" and the book is called "Michael Marshall Smith". This book comes to mind both in that it is about where we are going, and also as it deals with people moving forward into the future, from which there is no return. Only forward, indeed.

And the book is right, we can move only forward into the unwritten, chewing up the virgin future in our path and shitting out past in a brown streak leading back to the womb, to the primordial ooze, to the Big Bang. We all have a trail of waste products, both physical in the form of every old toy we grew out of, every burger wrapper we abandoned on the table, even a pile of skin bigger than we are, and mental refuse, the things that that should have been said or worse, cannot be unsaid, the half-realised ideas and euthanized dreams. That's the toxic waste, the stuff of nightmares that needs to be cemented away under clay lest it fire particles that damage and mutate us as we try to leave it in our wake. We all have them, past moments that when fresh blew radiation through us, burning every nerve and neuron and leaving us praying for something, anything to end the pain. But time rolls on at its own speed, and history has its own half life – you keep moving and eventually these memories are mere flickers on our internal Geiger counters. But to extend the metaphor further, the down-side to such nuclear-meltdown memories is it weakens the body leaving us more susceptible to radiation sickness in the future. There is only so much the body can absorb before it breaks down and rots into slurry. Maybe cancer is psychosomatic… Life in the future is a sick mimicry of survival in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that dwells within us, scoured to glass by past mistakes just as whole countries can be laid waste by the arrogant mistakes of warmongers. Some of us carry nothing more than a fire-bombed dairy at our hearts, others shiver and twitch at the ashes of a dozen Nagasakis tickling their synapses. Our future is our only destination and we drag ourselves towards it hoping for some relief from the past but all it holds is the chance for more damage, more error, and more pain. And then you die.

You wanted uplifting? Fuck uplifting. We live in the present, we get cancer from the past, we will die in the future. Uplift that.

Actually, I remember a dream, or perhaps a gritty-eyed hallucination from one of my lower moments. The dream was of a child in a well, that classic story to scare children and worry parents, to unite a community and force a million movies-of-the-week upon us.

Imagine yourself as a child, sitting, playing in a scattering of toys – I loved my wooden blocks for making forts and the like, games that evolved with the introduction of Lego and Playmobil into more complicated interactions with characters locked away in my mind and their stories enacted with plastic figurines. So there I am in a wee circle of warm light - sunlight perhaps, decked out in dark blue shorts and a chequered shirt, toys in a mess around me and a frown of concentration on my face as I plan something epic… At the time, thoughts and ideas were fresh and real and detailed but looking back, I've lost a handle on how my tiny mind worked. Regardless, in my mind's watering eye the circle of light shrinks away, dropping until it looks like the speck at the bottom of a well, a distant part of me barely remembered… The child in the well, one about whom I think and worry about but who is very separate from me, a stranger all that way away in his little circle of light. And I want to help him, to tell him what I know, to rescue him from being trapped in this well, to save him. Who wouldn't? But I can't…

And then I realise my perspective is wrong: For this tiny fellow to be basking in the light he has to be the mouth of the well, one that I have been falling down for decades; tumbling ever deeper until I cannot remember what it was like to play in the sun. And he can't remember me, either. He's not trapped down in the cold, I'M the person in the well, but without the bloom and innocence of youth I'm not someone people are going to fret about, least of all him. I couldn't go back to help him – we can't go back and fix our past: he had the chance to help me going forward but he didn't so here I am, just another shadowy figure in the dark while little Richard has blocks to play with in the sun.

The future sucks. We make it that way. Like the old slogan said, "why give up smoking at twenty to save a stranger at forty?".

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Life in the future - Repent!

Josh writes:

"Life in the future"? Aren't you people paying attention? There is no future!

Islamic fundamentalists will destroy civilization by outbreeding us as we abort our Aryan foetuses by the busload; global warming will see us burn, freeze and drown all at the same time; religious crazies of all denominations will club together to kick off the Apocalypse any way they know how; and gay marriage will destroy family structures, ending society as we know it... somehow (I've never quite been clear on that one).

Well, that's the impression I get from the All-knowing Internets. It could be, though, that what I'm witnessing is not the End Time; rather just the End Time of the Web*. Signs indicate that the Internet itself may be crumbling into irrelevance, and will ultimately be consumed by its own petty bickering, when it overflows from forums and political blogs to cover all pages everywhere with poorly-written straw man and ad hominem fallacies.

As an example/portent, I submit this risible blog post, which starts out thoroughly benign, but two comments in someone posts -- completely without provocation -- a screed attacking Canada's stance on the War on Terror. A further 240 comments argue inanely back and forth, and at no point make any reference to the pornography-based humour of the original post. This marks merely the Beginning of the End -- the fate of this post shall befall you all. Repent! Repent for the End is Near!! Repent!!!

Also, George Bush is a fag LOLZ.

* See that, Farrar -- I equate the web with the Internet just like everyone else on the planet. Anyway.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Welcome to the future

Apathy Jack writes:

Hello again The Internet. For your entertainment (because that’s all we are to you isn’t it? Dancing monkeys! Bastards.) we’re having a theme week where we’re discussing the concept of life in the future. To kick it off, I thought I might just repost something I wrote for an old vanity project, on almost exactly this theme (because, you know, I don’t have any new ideas...) but then I thought I’d give you something well written instead: something I stole from RSJS’s livejournal a while back because I liked it so much. I haven’t asked him if it’s okay, but, y’know, life’s like that sometimes...

(By the by, my original thing is here, just in case any of you were wondering. You weren’t? Fair enough I suppose... On with Jellybean’s thing.)


Welcome to the future, population us.

I had a creepy feeling in my neck that the telemavision has been lying to us, that the star-spangled future of warrior Amazons in gold cardboard bustiers and big-chinned jocks fucking aliens with some red-white-and-blue space-cock was a myth and we’re forever going to be trapped in the rather dull and lifeless “now” that seems to be invading our every pore like some temporal Mormon-fungus. But something occurred to me: We can’t all be Captain Kirk. Remember in the schoolyard when you and the other geeks would hide behind the Home Ec. room to play handball and lie about girls and play “Star Trek”? You do remember, oh yes. Don’t come the raw prawn with the “No, I was a jock hanging around knee-deep in uniformed sweethearts and singing Nada Surf singles” you were a geek. You’re reading a fuckrying-out-loud Live Gerbil on a weekday, so stop lying to yourself. STOP IT! The point is, when we were running around wielding our old Casio calculators in the plastic cases which you could flip open like a communicator until the lid broke, and your compass for a phaser, there’d be an argument between nerd alpha-males. Because even in the group of six monkeys, one was going to be Uhura. Some poor sexuality-questioning grey-uniformed preteen was going to be the sucker with the salt-shaker in the ear making coffee for Kirk.

Now when there’s only six of you, and one person has to be tea bitch, and another has to be a fat Scot, and yet another has to be a pudding-bowlcut Davy Jones daydream believer saying “Wessels” all day, you realise that being the Kirk and getting the alien totty ain’t too easy. Now look at the big picture: You didn’t get to be Kirk in a group of six. So why the fuck do you reckon you could be Kirk amongst six million? Fat fucking chance. No matter how much mankind evolves, no matter how far into he future we stumble; for every boldly-going infinitive-molesting spacedog that humps across the Milky Way, there’ll be a few million tea-ladies in short skirts doing fuck-all except opening hailing frequencies and asking if the boys like their coffee black like their women. We are in the future, there are space-travelling xenomorph-boffing chins striding about in the torn shirts. But we’re not the Kirks, we don’t get phasers. Most of us are the bitches who make the grommets that usurp the widgets that transphase the Morons who uplink the downloads and cross-reference the jumbo shrimp to make sure the food replicators on the Enterprise don’t piss hot shit into Kirk’s coffee mug. The only show that really got this right was “Blake’s Seven” in which most of the futuristic wankers were beaten-down mud-covered freaks cowering in caves like dogs. Like DOGS I tells ya. Sure, the antiheroes zipped about throwing photon torpedoes (light torpedoes? Man, they travelled slower than a turd down a playground slide) at each other from wobbly cardboard spaceships, but most people wore brown and lived in mud. That’s the future we got.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Update-tastic! (Updastic?)

Josh writes:

Still on the topic of NCEA-bashing-bashing:

Hewligan puts in his two cents. I agree, particularly with:

Now, as far as I can tell, this, and all the other criticism of NCEA that I see in the newspaper or on television can basically be summarised as: "It's different and I'm scared."

Also, I see a Letter to the Editor today from some whinging bint who cries that ever since NCEA started she hasn't felt the need to work as hard, which she fears may now be affecting her University study. Oh, if only NCEA hadn't turned me into a lazy slacker...

I actually wrote a letter in reply -- didn't save the letter, but it was along the lines of "take some responsibility, you bleating slag" plus a two-sentence summary of my previous post. Let's see if it sees print -- I'm pretty sure I achieved the right level of pithiness-while-being-unneccessarily-rude that normally gets published.

UPDATE: The letter did get published. As one might expect, they faithfully reproduced the unnecessary rudeness, while cutting out the bulk of my reasoned argument. Such is life.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Apathy Jack writes:

Waking up before dawn with nothing but the internet to keep me entertained. What have we found...?

I'm digging on the new 'Smile' by Lily Allen - you can download it (and the charming wee video) from her site here. Also, as much as I hate to pimp out myspace pages, hers has a great rethinking of 50Cent's 'Window Shopper', where Allen sings about her Nana. Well worth a listen.

A while back, I brought you the internet comic strip that summed up my living with Ben and Nick. However, I have a few more flatmates, and now I've found a strip that sums up any given conversation between me and my flatmate Sarah.

Oh, and while you're here: CLUUUUUUUUUUUNES!

That is all.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Meanwhile, in Education News

Josh writes:

Students discover how education works; say "hang on..."

"When you know you will pass anyway, why study? And after you have 80 credits there is no motivation to do better."

OK, the realisation that you can get through your education by putting in the minimum required effort is not a new one. The phrase "C's get degrees" has been around a lot longer than NCEA, so I don't see why this "there's no incentive to do more than just pass" stuff is news -- surely the motivation to get an Excellence instead of an Acheived is the same as the motivation to get an A instead of a C (or 90% instead of 55%)? You don't do it because you have to, you do it because you have a bit of pride in your work*. (Well, I did.) The attitude that all you have to do is pass says more to me about the students expressing it than it does the system.

Now, this isn't to say that there aren't some legitimate issues here:
  • If the real complaint is that the minimum requirement is too low, then fine -- that would warrant fixing. I wouldn't have a clue if this is the case or not -- Jack could probably shed some light.

  • Furthermore, if what these complaints are really highlighting is the fact that getting an Excellence or a Merit isn't valued by students, it would be worthwhile asking why. If this is the case, though, it suggests more of a cultural issue (as in the culture of education) than a systemic one.

  • It's also possible that the way things are presented to students makes this realisation easier to come by, so even the ones who are a bit thick catch on.
None of which change the fact that once again, a complaint is made of NCEA which is just as true under pretty much any other education system, and was certainly true of the system I went through school under. So... um... so there.

* And then there are the potential issues of a prospective employer looking over your grades, and higher minimum requirements for getting into certain courses at university/tech, so there is a bit of self-interested motivation there, too.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Books You Should Be Reading # 15 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Bigger Than Hitler Better Than Christ by Rik Mayall

"Fucking hell, look at the size of his cock!" said the mid-wife who delivered me. "It looks like he's got three legs. Perhaps he should be called The Tripod." This is true. She really said this. But I was called Richard instead and the rest is history.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Apathy Jack writes:

I want to hold you close
Skin pressed against me tight
Lie still, close your eyes girl
So lovely it feels so right
I want to hold you close
Soft breath, beating heart
As I whisper in your ear
I want to fucking tear you apart

Okay, I've said this before and all, but She Wants Revenge really aren't the thing to listen to when you want to boost your mood...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Apathy Jack writes:

In the next few weeks Tim Selwyn gets his sentence for being found guilty of thought-crime. See, my biggest problem with the guilty verdict isn't so much that Tim was tried for a crime no-one's been convicted of since the world was last at war, or because this is a major step towards the total destruction of free-speech in this country and will almost certainly lead to Patriot Act style legislating now that the government has figured out that they can get with it.

No, my major problem is that Tim was allegedly found guilty by a jury of his peers.

Now, those of us who have been around for a while, and have kept abreast of some of Tim's extra-curricular activities over the years, will know just how dodgy he truly is, and that a dozen workaday schlubs could never be regarded as his peers.

So, to help the justice department in the event that a retrial is necessary, I have taken the liberty of compiling a list of twelve individuals who could truly be counted as Tim Selwyn's peers, should a jury need to be convened.

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Lex Luthor

A comic book super villain. Pretty self-explanatory really.

Fu Manchu
Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Fu Manchu

Sure, Tim differs slightly in that he is an inscrutable occidental villain, but the key words here are "inscrutable" and "villain"...

Number 2
Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
The Prisoner's Number 2

Vague, mercurial and frustratingly cheerful as he runs you around in circles and obfuscates the truth. Sounds about it.

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.

Personally, I don't even really like the Bond movies, but you have to admit the list would be somewhat incomplete without this one.

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Pinhead from the Hellraiser franchise

I don't know, I just can't shake the image of Tim chatting up some innocent wee thing in a bar with the line "We have such sights to show you" and meeting any rebuttals with "It is your flesh we want to experience, not your skill at bargaining."

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
The Family Guy's Evil Monkey

Because there ain't no evil like monkey evil.

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Freddy Krueger

Haunting your dreams, and returning again and again when you think he's been defeated. Yep.

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Brain Stab and Monkey Fluids' Josh

No, seriously, I know you all think he's clean and doesn't belong on a list of super villains, but for god's sake, check under his floorboards! You think all of those hookers disappearing was just a coincidence?

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
The Labyrinth's Jareth

A semi-fictional villain come to life to fulfil the expectations of an innocent world that needs an adversary? Check.

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.

I'm not sure if Tim bears more a resemblance to the historical Vlad the Impaler – who stuck thousands of innocent people on spikes for no reason other than general sadism, or the fictional Count Dracula – who was immortal, could turn to mist and drank the blood of virgins. There's evidence for both...

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.

Specifically the one played by Viggo Mortenson in The Prophecy. Partly because it is the best portrayal of Lucifer ever captured on the small screen, but also because I can see Tim in a bar, after the Pinhead pickup lines have failed, hissing "I love you more than Jesus!"

Zakk Wylde
Originally uploaded by Brain Stab.
Zakk Wylde from Black Label Society

I have no idea if Wylde is a villain or not, hell, he could give money to homeless people and adopt war orphans for all I know, but for god's sake, just look at him. I mean, seriously...

This all having been said, it is legitimately messed up that someone has been charged with sedition in the twenty-first century. I don't just say this because of my nominal acquaintanceship with him (this is New Zealand – everyone is a friend of a friend) – hell I happen to think he deserves a solid slap on the wrist with an only slightly moistened bus ticket for putting the axe through the window. That was actually a crime, and deserves to be treated as one. But Tim also thinks so, having put in a plea of guilty and shown willingness to accept any fair punishment.

But sedition?

This is, and let's be clear here, when you have an illegal thought. And not a thought like planning to kill someone, but rather an expression of discontent with the way things are. Well you know what: I have a bunch of those, and I'm pretty sure you do too. Ninety percent of the weak internet journals out there stand as future evidence at someone's sedition trial.

I want you to get angry at this. There's no activism coming up on this issue – Tim has pissed off one too many of the lefties for that – but I want you to stay angry for when this next comes up, because we can't allow this sort of thing to keep happening. They got Tim this week, but was that a one-off case of bitch-slapping the smartarse, or was it the beginning of something? Because if it is the second option; then they could come for you next.

And sure, right now you're saying: "Don't be ridiculous, that sort of alarmist McCarthyism doesn't really happen in the twenty-first century."

Which is exactly what we all said when Tim was first charged with sedition.