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Auto traitor PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 22 December 2010 00:00

It's always a little shocking when your best friend turns on you.

Look, I know (intellectually) my car isn't alive. But my yellow Volkswagon beetle (with its black bee's-knees fender plates) is known about town. I've driven it for a decade now. People see it, they recognize it. There is even a miniature of it (with bee's-knees) on the train club layout.

It harks back to my college days, to my first rattle-trap beetle (also yellow). I crossed the country in that car, slept in it, lived in it. Perched on its fender, I had my first kiss. I might have still had it if it hadn't been totaled in a seven-car pile-up (looked like Kursk, all those wrecked cars).

I knew it was getting old. I knew that the door interiors were chemically changing, getting sticky, cracking. But my first surprise came last week when I tried to close the door while inside and the handle ripped off (tearing off half the door in the process). I couldn't tear off the rest (the buttons were still wired) so I had to drive around with this slab of sticky plastic almost in my lap until the parts came in.

Worse, evidently one of those wires got pinched in the door. The next thing I knew, the interior lights, the windows, the moon roof, the mirror adjustment, the keyless entry, the spoiler, all these things failed. It was like 12 O'clock high and my B-17 was shot to pieces.

And worse yet, the bill - $1600 to fix it.

So this week my car and I were on the outs. I thought it was petty for it to turn on me this way, right before Christmas. Whenever I could bike to work I would, not because of the reasons I gave over on my bike blog but because we weren't speaking. Yes, I know it's an inanimate object, but we were friends, dammit!

Anyway, parts came in Friday, and they managed to fix it Saturday. The dealer was open Sunday so we went in to pick it up. Silently, not knowing what to say, I approached it and key-fobbed the door. Got in. Where the old interior was grey and tacky, it is now black and new. It really looks good, as good as Ernest Kessler's triplane (Great Waldo Pepper). I set the seat, checked the mirrors, the moon roof, all that. The tuned engine purred around me. The radio crooned a turn I liked. I put it into gear, slid out of the lot and its 150 turbocharged horses accelerated us crisply into traffic.

A car is just an inanimate object.

But all is forgiven.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 December 2010 23:25
iZombies PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 12 December 2010 00:00


It was a risk. I had to buy a cell phone.

I hate the effing thing, but being a bike-commuter I might need to flare-gun the wife for recovery (like the time I collided head-on with a Mormon missionary). Or that time I was out and she had a medical emergency. So I bought one, but to inoculate myself I gave my wife the number and refused to memorize it myself. You could torture me and I couldn’t give it to you. And the phone is off 99% of the time anyway.

Otherwise, I might turn into an iZombie.

You’ve seen them, these once-humans who have turned into brainless, soulless hulks. They’ve destroyed themselves and now seek to destroy all those within reach (or earshot). They can’t always be identified by their elbow-jacked stance or a phone fused to their cheek (some have hidden afflictions, like a Bluetooth). Still, some attributes are obvious, such as…

* They share a wandering brainless gait, shambling in circles, their arms thrusting about as if in some imaginary social setting. Often they can be found slowly plodding about elevator lobbies, at the tops of escalators, in narrow hallways and sidewalks. Exercise caution around them; they can turn and flail unexpectedly.

* They have no sense of preservation, to the point they will walk into traffic without looking. I once encountered one walking its poor neglected dog. It stepped out right in front of my bike – the dog showed sense and stopped. Still, I almost clotheslined the thrumming leash (still babbling incoherently, the undead thing continued across the street, dragging its dog, almost getting strained by an FUV’s grill).

* They have no social awareness. They talk about their hemorrhoids in funerals, infidelities in restaurants, business deals in toilet stalls. While it might sound like guttural adult conversation, it isn’t. They’re only noisemaking at another iZombie.

* They can change from a normal human into an iZombie unexpectedly. You might be having an intelligent conversation with a friend at a restaurant or enjoying a movie together and suddenly their hidden curse will manifest. The injustice is that while your companion jibbers and oinks, you’ll suffer societal guilt by association. After all, you’re with Stupid.

* Unlike humans, with passions, opinions, experiences and personalities which constitute a soul, they have a ring-tone.

* They have a hive mind and can slowly form into packs. Usually this happens on Friday evenings in parking garage stairwells when you are just trying to go home, with the shuffling iZombie in front of you burbling “Leeetsss mmeeet at Ooolivve gardooon…”

* They have no purpose, other than to buy minutes to yack-off into the ether. The irony is that often the minutes they burn involve a discussion about their minutes. Probably while you are eating lunch.

* They desire to infect others, grunting to you about “calling plans” and “friends networks”. Having already rejected standard social norms, iZombies don’t understand the meanings of yawning, eye-rolling or feinting death. While they can be occasionally be distracted by discussing books, it might tragically backfire when they haul out their Kindle to show you.

* They are dead. While they might have some sort of automatic reflex reactions (such as texting), their souls have fled their bodies. They cannot experience love, beauty, friendship, inner peace, social belonging, personal reflection, dreams, fantasies, raptures nor the serenity of silence.


It comes down to choice, of which side you are on. In the ongoing social apocalypse you can either be pure or you can be corrupted. You can be one of the true humans, or join the moaning, groaning, staggering ranks of the cell-cursed. Either you walk the walk or you talk the talk. Choose.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 December 2010 19:20
Here come the tomatoes PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 07 December 2010 21:34

Tonight I pulled down Jcomments, a Joomla! extension that allows user comments to be entered against articles. I've enabled this for all my blogs (currently general and books - I've plans for movies, bikes and trains soon).

How it works (how I think it works) is that you can either enter something as an unregistered guest (I have to midwife it into being). Or you can register on the site and put up anything you want (within reason, please!).

Don't like what I said about Harry Potter? Give me what-for! Enjoy a review? Post up some support. Go'wan, it's easy and fun!

I'd love to hear from you.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 December 2010 19:22
A new begining PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 05 December 2010 21:46

So, welcome again.

I decided to kick off this new website. The decision came one night in San Diego (to run trains - a story for another day). I was reading "Waiter Rant", a book (a very plain book) written by a waiter who was "discovered" by someone tripping over his blog. Funny, but I remember going to bed that night, wondering why the hell everyone else get's breaks.

At 2am, I woke up in my hotel room and realized that my current (ha! Current? Five years out of date) web site was as cold as day-old oatmeal. I decided, then and there, to start my own blog/website which would showcase my efforts and put my name out there.

Will this work? Hard to say. I suspect I'll put a lot of effort into this and just not get found. But who knows. Eagles (a computer game I wrote in 1983) was bought up on a fluke. Fire and Bronze was noticed at the right time by the right agent. So, like all those starlets in 1940's Hollywood, I'll keep working the deli in hopes someone spots me.

So, lets post this up and see how the blog works.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 December 2010 19:22

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