Friday, March 30, 2007

We can rebuild her

Quick note, no real time for a true blog post.

Mom had a doctor's appointment today because he knee has been giving her trouble lately. Turns out she has torn cartilage and needs arthroscopic surgery under general anesthesia. The operation takes place Apr 10 and she'll need 6 weeks to recover, during which time she must be off her feet as much as possible.

That means I have to do all the cleaning, shopping, and dog-tending, in addition to all my other duties.

Right now, we're all scurrying around, juggling schedules and putting things in as much order as we can before the surgery.

So, yeah, blog entries may be delayed until all this blows over. Apologies in advance, and mea culpa.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Plok and I have created a new science-fiction subgenre. I am astounded.

Indeed, as the Bard put it: "My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention." That's from Resplendent Buttock-Cradles, one of his lesser-known works. No, really, it's in the same collection as Titus Andronicus and Troilus and Cressida. Would I lie to you?

Since I "invented" Heliumpunk, I feel authoritative enough to define it: "A future or near-future setting where anachronistic and obsolete technology is given a new lease on life, not just because it is cool, but for plausible reasons within the setting."

It's called Heliumpunk because Plok has posited an intriguing view of the future involving Zeppelins and circumpolar freight routes, made feasible by the excess helium created as a byproduct of the fusion process. I was immediately fascinated by the thought of obsolete technology suddenly re-emerging as once again viable, and thus was born a new subgenre.

It's not meant to be tongue-in-cheek the way Steampunk is, though it can be wryly amusing at times. Firefly did similar things with its "Wild West Space Travel" idea; I'm thinking specifically of the holographic saloon window that people could be thrown out of without damage to the bar fixtures.

Off the top of my head: The resurgence of the polearm as a melee weapon. The polearm, as you may or may not know, was originally a farm implement that the peasants put on a long stick when they decided to revolt. It was only after several of these revolts that it became clear that a polearm was really, really good at unhorsing knights, and from there it became a standard infantry weapon until finally being replaced by the rifle.

Fast-forward to the setting of Heliumpunk. Unless robotics and automation has increased remarkably, you're still going to have humans loading and unloading cargo. I can see many, MANY uses for a long stick (now perhaps made out of carbon fiber reinforced composite) with a curved hook, a cutting blade, and a sharp point: hooking cargo, cutting tow lines, etc. And I would further expect that both longshoremen and Zeppelin pilots would find a way to turn these into weapons again.

Again, all of this is very rough, but it's been consuming my thoughts all day. Plok and I are already sharing our ideas over email. Eris willing, maybe we can turn this into a novel.

A novel with polearm-wielding Zeppelin pilots flying over the Arctic whilst being pursued by multinational Helium conglomerates.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Repayment in Kind

My mother taught me that, upon receiving a compliment, I should give one in return. I have been lax in my duties as a Genteel Southern Lass, because last Sunday a gentleman paid me an exquisite compliment and I am only now returning the favor.

(As an aside: You do realize this is why Southern Ladies never engage in group sex, yes? Far too many thank-you notes to write.)

Pillock, he of A Trout in the Milk (heretofore erroneously known as Circumstantial Wordpress on these very pages... oh, the scandal of it all!), said the following:
…in related news, another new entry is everybody’s latest crush, Erin Palette from Lurking Rhythmically, who has the annoying personality flaw of being a better writer than I am, all breezy and casually skillful-like…
This kind of flattery will get you everywhere with me. Note carefully the use of Whedonesque dialect -- Pillock knows I am a Firefly fan! By calling me "everybody's latest crush" he makes me feel both popular and appealing. And, most importantly, he is annoyed by the perception that I am a better writer than he.

No doubt many of you are wondering why being called annoying is such a huge compliment. I'll address that in a bit, but first, I need to clear up this "better writer" nonsense.

Pillock writes in a style that is both incredibly intelligent and easily readable. For those requiring proof, I point you here, where he speculates on the future of alternate power and, amazingly, manages to bring Zeppelins into the mix in a manner unexpected yet utterly believable.

Zeppelins. All cashiers, please proceed to the front of the store to assist customers with freaking out.

Secondly... and I say "secondly" only chronologically, as these entries are all vying for "First" within my heart... are his wondrous essays on comic books where he talks about all sorts of wonderfully geeky things like Quantum Computation in Comics, Compressibility of Marvel Time, and more dissertations on the Fantastic Four than you can shake a stick at.

This man is scary smart, because he has found the place where comic books meet metaphysics, and has made discussing them interesting. And he does all this without using a single picture.

I don't know if that's something I could do, but this man does it easily, and at a volume which I find equally impressive. Which isn't to say the man rambles, heavens no! But he has honest-to-god essays, whereas the most I've been able to churn out for this blog is maybe two pages per entry, back when I was doing Eris Week. This is something that annoys me.

Annoyance, to a writer, is not the same thing as being annoyed at a sibling or a bothersome child. Instead, authorial annoyance (a term I just made up) is what a writer feels when she reads a particularly resonant piece of dialog, an exceptionally skilled turn of phrase, or a masterfully wrought scene, and thinks to herself: Dammit, I've tried for years to say that exact same thing half as well, and here comes this new guy who does it effortlessly.

Usually this results in the near-obsessive reading and dissection of every piece of that writer's work, as the annoyed author tries to reverse-engineer the wordsmithing. And this is a good thing, because we as writers need to be occasionally shaken from our solipsism and reminded that Hey, other people write good stuff too, and we can learn from it. Annoyance makes writers grow in their craft, and that is beautiful.

Pillock says I annoy him. I'm incredibly flattered, because to me that says "You have inspired me to try harder." However, it cuts both ways: I'm annoyed by Pillock's mastery of difficult literary critique and his ability to write actual, y'know, essays, as opposed to the short Style-Section articles I churn out daily.

So, Mr. Pillock: thank you for annoying me. May we both grow as writers because of this.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Midnight Caller

There's a sweet horror to those lyrics. Those of us prone to depression know the darkness far too well. I have a tendency to personify mine, but for me it's not an old friend; it's more like a psycho ex that, despite my best efforts to avoid, nevertheless knocks on the door at 3 am. And I, like a fool, let it in, because while our relationship was shit, the sex was fantastic.

So I let it in, and I wallow in depression and self-pity for a good long time, because once you let your psycho ex into your apartment it takes an act of God to get him out again.

I'm not suicidal, but as a chronic depressive I can understand the allure. I'm not saying it's right, because it's not; by killing yourself all you've managed to do is hurt, in a very intimate way, the people who love you.

But I've thought about it. Oh, how I've thought about it; given the amount of time I spent thinking about it during the 90's I figure I've spent a year just considering the notion. There's an entire album that I simply cannot listen to again because I associate that music with those feelings.

That said, hopefully you won't get freaked when I start taking a little morbidly.

I don't fear death. I fear pain, and I feel loneliness, but I don't fear death, which is why I'm comfortable talking about it. There is a certain romance to the notion of choosing how and when and where you check out of this existence, and I strongly believe that owning that feeling is just as important as, say, making out your Will or purchasing a cemetery plot. Why is it, though, that this culture places such a stigma upon the former but not the latter? Indeed, making funeral preparations is considered adult and responsible. Why then is it considered bizarre to become comfortable with making similar emotional preparations?

Don't give me that crap about "Thinking about it means you're considering doing it." You and I both know that's broken logic, because if it were true you'd have slept with a hell of a lot more people.

Where am I going with this? I haven't a clue. It's 1:30 in the morning, my tendinitis is acting up, and I'm rambling. I'm depressed because I'm 34 with no relationship, no career, and I have to declare bankruptcy because of medical bills I cannot pay.

I think, maybe, I can sleep now. I guess I just needed to get the worry out on paper, rather than let it stew in my brain any longer.

Oh, one more thing: I realize I am a drama queen, but I'm not doing this for attention. Honestly, don't feel compelled to write me and let me know you love me and things will be okay and etc etc. In fact, unless you possess a burning need to write me, I ask that you don't.

This blog is my confessional at times, and like confession, sometimes things are said which, while they must be said, must not be brought up by anyone other than me. This is one of those times.

This is Jack Killian, the Nighthawk, on KJCM, 98.3, and goodnight America... wherever you are.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mein kopf schmertzen


Nasty headache today.

Here, have a few funny videos in place of content.

Martin Scorsese's Sesame Streets:

300, given the Fox Kids treatment:

Now I'm gonna go lie down in a dark room.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Because I love to spread pain

Earlier tonight, I was talking with Chris "ISB" Sims about his mother, who had a heart attack on Wednesday. She's fine now, he said, but didn't really feel like doing another post until Monday.

I can totally groove to that, but I suggested that maybe he could do a quick update to let everyone else know that she was okay and back at home. Chris agreed, but not before calling me "Little Miss Demandypants."

(This is the point where folks who know me are already bracing in preparation for the horror which will come out of my mouth.)

I then wondered aloud, "If I'm Little Miss Demandypants, does that mean I wear Demandypanties?"

(I warned you.)

"And," I further speculated, "what would said Demandypanties look like?"

For some strange reason, my mind imagines them as a strange combo of leather or latex, and a Depends undergarment. It's like fetishwear for the incontinent.

There. Scrub that image from your mind. If I have to suffer, so do you.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Reader Mail Day

It's Friday, and Fridays mean Discordianism. But I don't wanna talk about Eris today.

So I won't. I mean, what's the good of following a Philosophy of Chaos if you're gonna be slavishly bound to it, right? By refusing to conform I am actually upholding the sacred strictures.

Instead, I think I'm going to answer some viewer mail. I can't believe the attention I've gotten since Chris linked to me.

Dear Erin: why does your profile have a picture of cleavage? I'd think you were above such things.

Psychology, dear reader. The simple fact is that men are more likely to surf the web than women, and thus men are more likely to read my blog. However, men also have a notoriously short attention span. A picture of a bosom is guaranteed to catch the male eye, and maybe persuade them to look at the wordy-things surrounding it.

r thse ur boobz? if so y do u no have pix of ur face

First, learn to spell. Do you have any idea how retarded you sound in my head when I read that? I swear, every time I encounter "txt spk" I can't help but imagine it being said by a stoned surfer.

Second, I don't have a picture of my face because I treasure my anonymity. My father has run for political office before, and may do so again, and so in the interest of filial loyalty I'm not going to do anything which could have negative connotations for him or his future campaigns.


Is your name really Erin Palette?

Sadly, no. My true name is unpronounceable by mortal tongues, hence I have adopted this nom de plume.

What kind of guns do you like?

I have a fondness for the old-school Colt M1911A1. The .45 cal round is pretty much guaranteed to knock down anyone or anything I hit. Sure, I only have a 7-round magazine, but I don't intend to get into extended gunfights any time soon, and my hands are too small to comfortably hold a double-stack anyway. It does kick like a mule, though.

I also like the Winchester Super X3 Composite. It's a sweet little 12-gauge that's a little over 7 pounds. I haven't fired it as much as I'd like, though.

What are your thoughts on gun control?

Gun control is using both hands when shooting.

Seriously, if I ever find anyone in my house, I will empty my weapon at them. Why? Because if they're in my house, then for all I know they intend to rape and/or kill me, so I intend to kill them first. And I will kill them, because I don't intend to be sued by my would-be assailant for "excessive force."

your stories suck

Then send me what you've written, Shakespeare. I'll be happy to post it here and let the internet critics rip you a new one.

I'm confused. You're a Christian and a Discordian? How can you be both?

Well, it's like this: One is a philosophy, the other is a religion. Go to a Pentecostal service some time and you'll see Chaotic Christianity in action.

You're going to Hell.

I'll save a spot by the lake of fire for you.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Iron Man, as written by William Gibson

(Author's note: This is not intended to take place within any established Iron Man continuity. It's sort of a fusion of 70s drunkard Tony with modern technobabble and Gibsonian drug use. )

The bartender had called it a Godlike Southern Candle. "Burns all the way down, then it feels like Jesus settin' your spine on fire, startin' at the prostate," his drawled explanation marking him as a native of the lower end of the BAMA sprawl. Stark didn't care what it was called, he just needed a drink before the shakes began. He swallowed a handful of Etinol, the large white pentagonal pills bitter in his mouth before being washed down by the taste of Goldschläger.

The smart drugs took effect almost immediately, 3000 milligrams of genetically-tailored Acetylcholine blasting through his nervous system like a hot desert wind through Martian box canyons. Blood flow to his brain improved, ATP production increased, oxygen and iron in his blood bound with greater efficiency.

HOMER ACTIVATED, came the nonvoice. A bioware processor, Homer had been surgically implanted on Stark's corpus callosum and was capable of, among other things, stimulating his optic and auditory nerves. The end result was an effect much like delirium tremens. It was greedy, though, demanding greater metabolic efficiency than the human body could normally provide, which is how he had gotten hooked on the Etinol.

No longer in the bar, Stark walked the streets at random, his Alston microfiber silk suit hot against his skin despite the cool Boston night. His sensorium was expanding geometrically, his synapses achieving the superconductor levels of performance necessary to control the latest version of the Iron Man armor.


"Go," Stark said. Numbers spooled through his consciousness as Homer began the calculations that would bring the armor into being, a thin lumescence entwining itself around him.

Theoretical armor, he had first called it, because armor that never took a hit was useless weight. Better, he thought, to have a suit that existed only in mathematical theory until such time as he actually needed it, and then only in the sections where it was needed. The quantum nature of being in a state of existence-yet-nonexistence until it was observed to be necessary was what gave it its final name. "Fly," he said, or at least thought he said, and decided that boot jets were necessary.


The Theoretical Iron Man fell into the sky above.

"Theoretical Armor" and "Quantum Armor" are copyright Erin Palette, 2007.

Not enough quiet time

I'm currently working on "Iron Man by William Gibson" but I keep getting interrupted, distracted, harassed and generally annoyed. My train of thought has been derailed enough that I won't meet my self-imposed 4:30 pm (eastern) deadline.

I should have the house to myself come 6 pm, and hopefully will be left alone for most of the evening.

Apologies for being late, but these things happen sometimes.

By the way, I am totally copyrighting the terms "Theoretical Armor" and "Quantum Armor."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Running Late

Ack! Late again? Where did the time go?

Well, I spent a good chunk of the day running errands with my mother, who needed a lift to the doctor, and then I had to go grocery shopping. That ate most of the day right there.

A bit of good news, though, is that I managed to get a 30 minute session of therapeutic massage between the two. It was the best non-sexual touch I've ever had. Soft, strong hands working the tension from my lightly oiled back while soft music plays in the background.... purrrrrrrr. I could so totally get hooked on this. Men, if this is what it's like for you when you go to a prostitute, I completely understand. Go in peace, absolved and unashamed.

Some changes to the site today.... the new logo up top is courtesy of Chris Sims. If you started to make one for me, please don't stop! I have another one by Shane Bailey that I'll put up next week, and if there are any others I'll give them all airtime before I decide on the final piece. After all, I need to try them all to see which looks best, oui?

The list of participants in my Literary Comics Mash-Up Extravaganza keeps growing, as you can see by the list to your upper right. Keep sending them, I'll keep linking, and if you are awesome enough to put a link to me in your Friends column, let me know! I'll happily give you an HTML Reach-around in return.

Also, just below the LCMUE list is a handy li'l button-utility-thingie I found. Clicking on it (go ahead, you know you want to) opens a pop-up window that gives you many, many options for bookmarking this delightfully snarky blog, including such fan favorites as Digg, del.ici.ous, Technorati, and your browser of choice.

Click it! Mistress Palette
commands you to click it!

Alas, that's all I have time for, my poppets; if I have time later I'll post more. Ta ta!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Erin Palette: Fashion Consultant to Super Heroes

Yesterday, the ISB linked to me. In that 24 hour period, I had 3,200 page views. Of those, 1,400 stayed long enough to read something.

To say I'm bewildered is an understatement. Much like a nameless thug in a Jim Aparo issue of Batman, I have been hit so hard that I exploded.

It's a good kind of exploded, though.

It gets better, though. I was also discovered by a LiveJournal friend community. Neilalien linked to me. BeaucoupKevin and My Fucking Sound both contributed to what is becoming known as a "Literary Mash-Up."

And then Newsarama linked to me. Hear that? That sound is me shrieking with glee. I feel like a band geek (clarinets represent, yo) who has finally made good and is now sitting with the cheerleaders and football players at lunchtime.

I'm tempted to ask folks to Slashdot me. My only real concern is that, properly executed, Slashdotting is effectively a Denial of Service attack due to the sheer amount of bandwidth consumed. But if it happens, I won't complain. I'll finally be Homecoming Queen!

Oh, yes, the title of this post. I need to work in some relevance, don't you think?

In the same Newsarama post that linked to me, I found a link to Facedown in the Gutters, where the author asks that readers help think up a new chest emblem for Damage, since the whole biohazard symbol made zero sense. He's not diseased or infectious, after all!

Faithful readers know I am a longtime fan of City of Heroes and enjoy making costumes, so one quick jaunt into the handy costume creator and presto:

I think a giant red "Comin' right atcha!" fist strikes just the right tone.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I'm going to Hell... who's coming with me?

There are three topics forbidden to polite conversation: Religion, Politics, and Sex.

I don't like to talk about religion because it is an intensely personal and intimate subject to me. I honestly don't care who, what or how you worship, as long as:
  1. You give me the freedom to worship (or not) as I see fit;
  2. It doesn't involve harming animals, children, or non-consenting adults;
  3. You don't immediately assume I am evil/wrong/broken for not sharing the same views.
I don't like talking about politics because it seems to automatically engender reaction #3. I also view politics with heaping disdain because it seems to be High School all over again, albeit writ large: getting elected, whether to Student Council or Congress, is largely a popularity contest based upon how good you look and the sincerity of your lies, not your strength of character or knowledge of the facts. Thus I regard politicians as garbage collectors -- their purpose is to do a job I find loathsome, and once elected I'd like them to do their jobs quietly and efficiently. If they don't dispose of my garbage in a professional manner, I fire them.

This leaves sex. As some of you may have deduced, I quite like talking about sex, and am very hard to shock. However, in deference to the delicate constitutions of some readers, as well as adhering to Blogger's Terms of Service, I prefer to use clever euphemisms and double entendres rather than outright vulgarity. (Plus, any fool can write porn. Erotica is much more challenging.)

Today, however, I'm going to end up breaking my own rules and talking about all three of them. It's not a choice I'm particularly comfortable with, but Calliope is a fickle bitch today and so it's either this or printing the word "fuck" a thousand times.

Aren't you lucky?

My father is Jewish. So Jewish, in fact, that he was born in Austria in the 1930s, and had to flee a little thing called the Holocaust. Now even though he married a non-Jewish woman (aka shiksa), I still look very semitic. I have dark hair, dark eyes, and distinctive nose that is too large to be properly adorable. This doesn't bother me (other than the nose); in fact, I am very proud of my heritage. However, I am sick and tired of being hated for what is essentially an accident of my birth. Because, as you may have heard, Jews are apparently to blame for everything in the world.

My mother is Protestant Irish. God help me if I lived in the United Kingdom. I'd be labeled as a potential terrorist, a British sympathizer, or a worthless layabout, depending on where I was. Again, whether or not I truly am one of those things doesn't matter; it only matters if I look like I am.

You will notice that I never had control over any of those things. Yet whole countries and entire cultures would have me jailed, beaten, raped, and/or killed because of them. Hatred, I believe, is the bastard child of politics and religion, usually caused by people who aren't getting enough sex. Sometimes I think that if world leaders had daily blowjobs the world would be a more relaxed place to live.

I know what it is to be hated, which is why I'm generally conservative. Republicans are pro-military, and I like a big military, because they protect my way of life. I am very much in favor of not being beaten to death because of my heritage.

Now, I said all that just so I could say this: Because I know what it's like to be hated because of circumstances of birth, I stand firmly beside my gay brothers and lesbian sisters and those in-between. And if they're going to Hell because they were born gay, then I guess I'm going to Hell because of the accidents of my birth. I mean, a good quarter of the world thinks I belong there anyway, right?

I'm a goth. I have a tattoo. (No, I'm not going to show you pictures.) I like to wear black and dance to strange music. This means I'm damned to Hell because apparently I'm a Satanist, I mutilate my God-given body, and my every waking moment isn't spent praising Jesus.

Except: I go to a Methodist church with my parents on Sundays. I pray on a regular basis. My tattoo has a cross in it. Heck, I even spent a few years teaching Sunday School.

Yes, I am a pro-gay rights conservative Christian goth. Is your mind broken yet?

If you're going to hate me for anything, hate me for that. Because those are things that I have chosen, and I am damn proud of all of them.

Greetings and Obfuscations




Great Eris, there are a lot of you, aren't there? I mean, Chris mentioned that he'd link to me, but I thought I had a few hours to get the place ready. Um... please, come in! Make yourself at home!

Oh, where are my manners? My name is Erin Palette, and welcome to Lurking Rhythmically. I'm basically an over-literate goth girl who subreferences like Dennis Miller. My formal introduction can be found here, and a more thorough description can be found here. Those wondering about the name of this blog are kindly directed here.

My main interests are such things as Firefly, the Goth scene, Discordianism, and writing short vignettes about comic book characters in the styles of different authors. ISB readers, please hit those first. Those of you inclined towards creative writing are encouraged to participate in the challenge I issued a while back.

Oh, LiveJournal people! Welcome, yes, welcome! Glad to have you all. You'll want to check out my essays on Eris, which are a regular feature here at LR. You'll particularly enjoy Discordian Week, which garnered me praise from Steve Jackson himself.

No, Peter Jackson did the Lord of the Rings movies. Steve Jackson makes board and roleplaying games. Don't feel bad, they look a bit alike.

Speaking of movies, I sometimes review them.

Heliumpunk (abbreviated He@) is a science fiction subgenre I have invented. A novel is currently in the works.

Hopefully, all of my previous entries will keep you entertained long enough for me to run out and buy enough beer for all of you. A much larger (and more entertaining) post will be out Monday afternoon, as surely as the moon rises each night.

At any rate, I hope you like the place. Feel free to nose around and drop me a comment if you wouldn't mind -- I'm an attention whore and live for feedback!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


We here at Lurking Rhythmically would like to take a moment to warn against the dangers of drunkenness on St. Patrick's Day. It can turn a normal, self-loathing goth such as this fine fellow:

And (shudder) loosen him up:

Thus turning him into this:

This is been a Gothic Service Announcement.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Aquaman, written so that he does not suck

Latitude 47 ° 9’ S, Longitude 126 ° 43’ W

This ship is The Flying Dutchman. Under her previous captain it was a fishing trawler. Now, under my command, she hunts something larger.

First Mate Marsh -- formerly Captain Marsh -- shambles onto the bridge, his weathered old pea coat clinging unkindly to his gnarled frame. "We be nearin' th' destinaseeun, sirrah." He gurgles the last word, as if caught between 'sir' and 'sire' and finding neither appealing. I allow his mild insult to go unpunished, for I have larger things on my mind.

I have everything on my mind.

Wordlessly I push past him, into the cool South Pacific evening. The stars are beginning to come out. The crew silently falls into step behind me as I make my way to the bow, the smell of the ocean heavy with salt and decay. I place my hands upon the railings and squeeze, feel the metal give slightly under my grip.

"Mr. Marsh," I command, looking not at him but at the ocean before me. "You are to return immediately to port in Massachusetts. You are not to make port anywhere else except to take on essential supplies. Under no circumstances are you to stop or tarry, nor is any member of the crew to embark or debark, excepting that the Law of the Sea demands it. Upon reaching home port you and your crew are to return to your homes until such time as I see fit to release you. There you will spend your days praying that I return alive, and your nights in thanks that I am merciful. Is this clear?"

A unison of thudding echoes behind me as the crew fall to their knees. "Yes, my king. My lord. My master," they blurble.

My own pea coat falls to the deck, and the last light of the setting sun sets my scale armor aflame. "Aquaman will suffice."

The sea welcomes me back as a mother embracing her son.

I plummet downward into the blackened, brackish depths of the Pacific trenches, the speed of my passage heating the frigid waters and sending boiling bubbles surfaceward. Like a meteor I fall, a one-man extinction-level event, for tonight I wage war against a nation, a species, a god. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn, said the cultists who became my crew. In his house at R'lyeh dread Cthulhu waits, dreaming.

Before me rise great squirming shapes, fifteen-foot spheres of tar and tentacles and eyes, like great cancerous leukocytes. Membranes the size of kettledrums convulse, churning the water with barely-subsonic throbs that echo Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li! in my ears.

I scatter them with a telepathic pulse. Begone, say I, for I am master of all things of the sea and on the sea and in the sea. Serve me, or face my wrath.

The shoggoths choose to serve.

Like Lucifer falling into hell I continue downward, a host of broken angels as my honor guard. Down, to the corpse-city of R'lyeh, in whose great and putrid vaults waits Cthulhu, undead god of madness and the sea, inhuman source of the age-old human terrors of darkness, suffocation, tentacles. Tonight, the stars are right. Tonight, Cthulhu wakes and R'lyeh rises, bringing with it an age of holocaustic savagery.

Tonight, one of us dies.

As I enter the putrid sleeping chamber, a mountain of slime and tentacles rises to greet me. Eyes the size of nightmare, luminous and sickly pale, skewer me with their gaze. Insanity washes over me, through me, becomes me, and I am lost for eternity.

The Waterbearer hand pulses its healing magic, a draught of coolness across my fevered brain, and I am restored. I must act now, else all is lost, for already does R'lyeh begin to rise from its watery grave.

My consciousness spreads itself among the creatures of the sea. Every fish, every cetacean, every mollusk, even among the very krill does my mind expand. This vast spy network is mine to command. I see and hear everything that happens within my oceans. Tonight, though, it will serve a different purpose.

I draw upon every mote of psychic energy available. The trillions of krill lend me their strength. The large, powerful brains of the whales buffer me. The cunning minds of the dolphins lift me up.

And the savage thoughts of the shark drive my attack.

"Fall," I stab into its brain, the weight of the world's seas behind each thrust. "Fall before your master. Before your king."

I am vast.

I contain multitudes.

I am the sea's chosen son.

And this interloper thinks he can defeat me?

Fall before the ruler of this world, or be crushed by its weight!

Shuddering, squirming, broken, Cthulhu bows before me. Before his king. Before his master. As must all things in the sea, and on the sea, and under the sea.

On his throne in risen R'lyeh sits dread Arthur, ruling.

Edit: Some people are calling this a Lovecraft story. It isn't. If I had intended to emulate H.P. Lovecraft, I would have titled it "Aquaman, as written by H.P. Lovecraft." Also, there would have been words like "squamous" and "turgid" and "non-Euclidean" in it. Cthulhu != Lovecraft.

Also, Jack Zodiac can kiss my ass.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ars Gratia Artis

This is going to be a mostly disjointed post where I talk about random stuff.

I don't like the logo I currently have. I'd like a picture up there (maybe the latex nun from yesterday?), maybe have the words in a nifty font. But I can't draw, and my HTML skills are poor at best. If any of my readers is either artist or codemonkey enough to design me a spiffy new logo, I will express my appreciation by doing a blog entry of entirely your choosing.

Hey Pretty
I haven't talked about it much, but I am a longtime player (33+ months) of the City of Heroes MMO. One of the most impressive things about this game is the unprecedented amount of control you have over your character's appearance. The sheer number of options available to a starting character is huge... and necessary, since we are talking about superheroes, after all, and their costumes are one of their most important aspects.

I seem to have a talent for making good costumes. I base this conclusion on the following facts:
  1. I frequently get told by random passers-by that my costumes are quite awesome;
  2. I have made the finals, if not won outright, every in-game costume contest I have ever entered;
  3. People often ask me to critique and/or improve their costumes.
Sample time:

This is my friend Brownian's old costume. There's nothing especially wrong with it... until you learn that Brownian is a high-tech hero who uses Brownian Motion to generate fire and heat effects to immobilize, incapacitate, and capture criminals.

Light blue is a cold color. What's it doing on a fire hero? The red, on the other hand, is too dark, looking more like blood than fire. And the medieval armor plate, instead of creating a fashionably retro juxtaposition, simply looks out of place.

When I offered to help improve Brownian's look, I was given the following requirements:
1. No flame motifs
2. No reds or oranges

Some people would be annoyed with these criteria, but not I. Being restricted in this manner actually made it more challenging, and I do so love a challenge to my artistic sensibilities. I immediately went to work.

With a name like Brownian, who doesn't immediately think of the color brown? But this is also a fire character, so I went with a warm, rich orange-brown. This formed the "base" of the costume. Then, I chose a color "above" and a color "below" that brown to serve as contrasting elements. As in heraldry, contrast is very important to achieve a proper superheroic look. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that superhero costumes are modern version of heraldric coats-of-arms. For my "above" color, I chose a dark yellow, which is also a warm and firey color but isn't so clichéd as red or orange would be. For my "below", I chose black for its high contrast against the yellow and its association with charcoal.

Brownian is a high-tech character, so I went with a fairly standard techie bodysuit. I decided to use an intersecting line pattern to designate either power conduits or control circuitry, and so used the high-contrast yellow-on-black. By making the main suit black, I draw attention away from it and toward the more active parts of the costume, i.e. the hands, feet, and head. This gives the suit a feeling a motion, which is important since the character is named after Brownian Motion.

The gauntlets, with their exaggerated prongs, serve as amplifiers, since 90-100% of this character's powers emanate from her hands. They also draw attention toward this very key part.

The rings on the shoulders give the costume a retro feel, as do the fins and vents on the helmet. Fins help with the illusion of motion, the vents are "super-scientific sensors", and the rings act as heat sinks. If you look closely, you'll see that the rings are two-tone, going from cooler on the inside to hotter on the outside.

The silver chest device is something that came with the top I selected, and I wasn't able to alter its color, so I integrated it into the overall design. I achieve an "as above, so below" effect by mirroring the same color in the belt buckle and helmet chevron.

Brownian, of course, loved the finished product, and graciously allowed me to take these "before" and "after" screenshots. As an interesting aside, she later broke her own rules when she chose to add a cape to it afterwards.

I think it's a testament to the strength of my design that the addition of another element not only doesn't ruin the effect, but in fact works quite well. Capes are odd beasties; they need to appear related to the costume, but since they are more dynamic that the rest of it (what with the flapping and waving) they need to have an independent element to them. The choice of a fire motif here is particularly apt, as the fluttering of the cape seems to suggest flickering flames.

I'm mentioning all of this because, in honor of my birthday, I am offering costume consultations to those of you who play City of Heroes/Villains and who feel your current set of threads needs an upgrade. I am also quite handy with wordsmithing, as you no doubt have noticed, so if your character biographies are lacking, I can help with those as well.

I only ask this of you: don't make a boring request. Don't tell me "My character is Gun Guy, and he kills people because he is angry, and I want a costume that is black and red because black is death and red is blood." Eek. Boring. Give me something strange, something outré, or give me insane restrictions, like "My character is a sentient beam of light, and so he has to look ephemeral. You can only use shades of blue. Oh, and I have a Dick Van Dyke fetish, so work that in somehow."

Someone has answered my creative writing challenge. Bridgecrew Dave has written two pieces: Punisher, by Bret Easton Ellis (the guy who wrote American Psycho) and the much shorter Daredevil by H.K.

Also, in an astounding display of precognition, Hitherby wrote what can best be described as "The Super-Friends, as written in the style of the Prose Edda" back in January of '04. Hitherby is one of the few authors that can make me feel humbled and talentless, and I'm pleased to have her work gracing my pages.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Confessions of Cyber-Nun

It's been over two years now since I've had sex. Which means, essentially, I have cobwebs up there. I believe my virginity has, in fact, re-grown.

Oh, I'm sorry. Was that too much information? Look, if you wanna to hang with the PalPal, you gotta suck it up sometimes.

Anyway, at this point, I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I'm going to be a cyber-nun for the rest of my life. This is different from a she-geek in that geekettes are always in high demand due to the male/female imbalance inherent in geekdom. A cyber-nun, on the other hand, is a woman who, due either to excessive baggage, issues, or health reasons, feels safer -- and is therefore more attractive -- in the anonymous online world.

Or, put bluntly, she-geeks have sex and cyber-nuns don't. Instead, like traditional nuns, we focus that energy inward, but instead of turning it to faith we turn to things like fanfiction, or MMO's, or... writing blogs. The computer becomes our altar. Checking our email is a sacrament. The toys of Legolas and Morpheus atop our monitors? Icons of worship. Our liturgy is quoting from any one of a dozen geekdoms.

No doubt some of you -- and God bless you, truly -- will write in and say, "No, Palette, we find you beautiful and smart and witty and sexy and we'd shag you right now if we could." And don't get me wrong, I truly do treasure those sentiments. But if you ever saw me, the real me, for just a second... you'd see why it would NOT work. And then there'd be several awkward moments, and we'd both feel horrible because I'd feel rejected and you'd feel superficial. So just... trust me on this, 'k?

A very select few reading this blog have seen my face and lived to tell the tale. No doubt several of you will chime in with "You have nothing to feel bad about, you look fine." At which point I say, "Most of you knew me in person before you met me online. Those who only know me from online have built up this fantasy of me as some Charisma 20 sex goddess (an illusion for which I really have only myself to blame, truth be told), and unless I was a supermodel I'd have absolutely no way of meeting that expectation."

The closest I come to a supermodel is "er".

Yes, I'm rather depressed today, but I think it's a highly realistic depression. I'm slowly coming to terms with the notion that I will be romantically alone for the rest of my life, and that I will die without having known the joys of raising my own children. Instead, I'll have an extensive collection of online friends who will never have met me, and wouldn't even know where to send flowers in the event of my death. Which doesn't make them any less real, any less valid, or any less my friends; but they, like so many things in my life, are pure abstraction and not concrete.

If I could have one selfish wish, I would wish that I could be the person you think I am. She's a much nicer, prettier, and overall better person than I could ever hope to be.

Sorry about the emo whining, folks. I needed to get that out of my system. And now, like a sorbet to cleanse your palate (pun intended), I leave you with this picture of a hot latex fetish nun:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dr. Strange, as written by Hunter S. Thompson (or possibly Warren Ellis)

We were in the Sanctum Sanctorum on Bleecker Street when reality shattered like a cheap mirror dropped from the top of the Empire State Building by some bored tourist who wanted to see if he could dent the sidewalk with it, and the air was filled with the frenzied wailings of a thousands kittens wired to the gills on cocaine and LSD being shoved into a blender and set to "frappe". I was worried that the Master had summoned something beyond his ability to control before I realized that this was Greenwich Village and these kind of things are par for the course here.

My name is Wong. I'm the manservant for Earth's Sorcerer Supreme, which sounds like a plush gig until you realize that whenever a genuine shit-yourself event occurs, it's my job to clean up the shit afterwards. The problem with cleaning up after eldritch events is that there are no OSHA-approved mandates for it. Toxic waste is one thing, but a hazmat suit won't protect against the Crimson Crotchrot of Cyttorak. I try to take the long view regarding my situation; namely, if things ever get so bad that Master can't fix them, I will either die quickly or be in a key position to cozy up to the victor and trade Strange's secrets for a life of obscene comfort. So, there's that.

The only thing that really worries me is the theurgy, and I knew he'd gotten into the strong stuff when I opened the door to his chamber. The room was full of used grimoires; they were hanging everywhere, casually tossed aside like used condoms after a night of frantic, drunken sex with Clea.

But what kind of magick junkie would need all these athames and bolines? Would the presence of a theurgist account for all the uneaten manna? These piles of burnt incense on the bureau? Maybe so. But then why all this mandrake root? The Book of the Vishanti open to ancient Faltine invocations? The Orb of Agamotto being used to scry on sunken R'lyeh, where sleeps dread Cthulhu? and I sincerely did not wish to know what the Wand of Watoomb was doing there, in the corner with the Cloak of Levitation.

No, this was not the behavior of your typical power-hungry sorcerer. It was far too aggressive. There was evidence, in this room, of excessive consumption of almost every type of magick known to civilization since Lemuria fell. It could only be explained as a montage, a sort of exaggerated museum display, put together very carefully to show what might happen if twenty-two seriously disturbed arch-magi —each with a different magickal 'kink' — were forced to watch nonstop showings of "The Craft" and "Practical Magic" until, in an effort to Make It All Stop, used every mote of their power to smite Hollywood from the face of the earth using God's own cigar, with the L.A. Basin as the ashtray.

"Gone," came the slurred, shaken voice of my master. He was in the fetal position inside a sofa-cushion fort. "All gone... reality rebooted... Vishanti don't answer... the In-Betweener looks like Frank Gorshin... all gone... no more magick.... all gone..."

I sighed. There's nothing more disgusting and irresponsible than a Sorcerer Supreme in the depths of theurgical withdrawal.

Captain America, F#$K YEAH!

Mightygodking is The Man. He has photoshopped the entirety of Civil War and replaced the dialog with satire, thus crafting not only comedic gold but also telling a tale that makes a hell of a lot more sense. I mean, if 90% of your characters act like retards, it's only fitting to give them retarded motivations and retarded dialog.

Link orgy!

Civil War #1

Civil War #2

Civil War #3

Civil War #4

Civil War #5

Civil War #6

Civil War #7

Incredible, right? Don't you wish you had read these instead of buying Civil War? Because that way, you would have gotten the story while saving money and countless brain cells!

But this... this is brilliant. This is epic. This is ne plus ultra. This is the literal apotheosis of awesomesauce right here:

Frontline #11

I swear, I want to have sex with that dialog, it is so damn awesome.

... holy crap. When did this turn into a comic book blog??

Monday, March 12, 2007

Kill me now....

Birthday hangover. @_@

On the plus side, this puts me in the right frame of mind to write "Dr. Strange, by Hunter S. Thompson."

I just need to find my toenails first.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

300: Beautiful Obscenity

117 minutes
Starring: Dhalsim,
that guy who played Faramir,
no one else whose name you'd recognize

Beautiful obscenity. No, really.

This is not something you want your parents to watch, unless they're extremely liberal. This movie has gore, graphic dismemberment, bare breasts, sex, rape, and LOTS of good ol' "a shitload of people die" scenes.

It is also one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen.

Some people are calling it "The Matrix with spears." This does a huge disservice to 300. A more apt comparison would be "combat ballet". If you've ever wondered if a man could be decapitated with grace and artistry, look no further.

This movie does not take pains to be historically accurate. It is a movie about a comic book written by Frank Miller, and that means ninjas. Yes, there are spartan vs ninja scenes, kiddies. I know it sounds silly, but somehow, it worked for me.

My one complaint? Awesome as their abs were (and my god... if that wasn't CGI, I pity the actors who underwent that training), I kept thinking "Where are your breastplates?" But then something awesome happened and I didn't care.

My score: 5 out of 5 hoplites.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Reader Appreciation Day

Dear Cochise: I love you because you posted a link to my "Batman by Palahniuk" post over at Something Awful. That's simply awesome of you to do.

Rkik Dnec: You posted the same link to Comics Haven. I love you too, even if you sound like a sneeze.

Stumpy: I'm glad to have you as a stalker, but you need to get in line behind....

Johnny Velocity: My original web stalker. You send me a love note after my first post and you've commented on nearly every single one after that. When I take over the world, I will dress you in Slave Leia's metal bikini and you may lounge near my throne. (P.S. for the humor-impaired: JV is a boy.)

And finally, my good dear friend En-Babel submitted some more ideas regarding my Literary Challenge:
I thought of a few more challenges to add to your blog list. I'm too swamped now to try these on my own, but they're fun to think about. I would love to see what you would do with them.

The Green Lantern, as written by J.R.R Tolkien
--- Very obvious, this one. The 'Lord of the Ring' pun has been done to death, true, but could be fun to draw parallels between the Guardians and the Maiar.

Aquaman, as written by Jules Verne
--- Also obvious. Aquaman as terrorist Nemo would be easy, maybe too easy.

The Phantom, as written by Joseph Conrad
--- Jungle hero + Heart of Darkness

The Fantastic Four, as written by William Shakespeare
--- I think I like this one the most, if only because Dr. Doom would make a wonderful Shakespearean villian. Consider: Dr. Doom is to Ben Grimm as Iago is to Othello. The Torch is obviously the comic relief character that Shakespeare puts in all his tragedies. Probably the hardest to write.

The Teen Titans, as written by Mark Twain
--- This just makes me giggle.
Giggle indeed. Now I have an image of Changeling and Cyborg poling a raft shaped like a "T" down the East River. "Mah name's Garth Logan. Y'all don't know me less'n you've read a book called Doom Patrol, but that don't matter none..." Hee hee!

Also: Tomorrow is my birthday! I will be coughmumblemumblety-four years old. All I desire are your birthday wishes.

And Eastern Europe.

Also, a pony.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Why I Do What I Do

Regarding Discordian Week, and printed with permission:
OK . . . interesting connections! Mal/Malaclypse, HEE!

Yep, I'm a Firefly fan.

This all makes WAY TOO MUCH SENSE.

Thanks for pointing me to your ranting. Good ranting. Hail Eris!
You want to know who wrote that email? Steve Jackson. STEVE EFFING JACKSON!

I am officially validated as a writer now.

And really, that was the entire point behind starting this blog. See, I've been an aspiring writer for quite some time, except that somewhere along the way, I'd convinced myself that I had writers's block.

And I had it for ten years.

Want to know the difference between an aspiring writer and an actual writer? The actual writer gets off her duff and practices her craft every day, because she realizes that without practice and exposure and a decent portfolio she'll never get published.

Getting published isn't validation, it's getting paid to do something you love. The validation comes from writing something heartfelt and having someone whose opinion you respect look at your work and go, "Yeah, that's good stuff."

I started this blog to stretch my writing muscles, to get back into the habit. I figured maybe, if I took it slowly, I'd have something decent three times a week. But once I got started, once I immersed myself in the joy and beauty of writing for the sheer pleasure of it, I discovered it was as addictive as coffee or City of Heroes. There are some days I find myself wanting to write more, more, more, and curse this feeble fleshy body for its demands of food and sleep!

I love writing. I want to do it for a living. Ideally, I'd love to write comics for Vertigo, supplementing my income with the occasional RPG game, while I slowly work on that Grand Novel that I know I have inside of me.

It's been a long time in coming, but I have found my dream. Now I just need someone who can help me achieve it.

If you are a role-playing game company looking for a writer to work on a chapter, contact me.

If you are a cartoonist who wants to start a webcomic but needs a writer, contact me.

If you are a publisher willing to gamble on me being the Next Big Thing -- please, please, contact me.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

In Memoriam

Our flag has fallen.
How dare you let it touch the ground?
Pick him up, honor him, fear not the blood from his wound;
Even in death, he proudly bears the colors of his country.

Lift him high upon his shield
In the manner of the ancient Greeks;
This was his Thermopylae.
His blood shed to pad the egos
Of preening artists, for whom the desecration
Of a beloved symbol gives them erections.
Are you proud? Now that this man, this symbol, this hero
Has been mocked, made irrelevant, murdered?
Joe Quesada! You have managed, like a cretinous baboon,
To fling your feces across that which I once loved.
You have shit upon the entire Marvel Universe.
In Dante's hell, there is room enough for you.

(Special thanks to BridgeCrew Dave for letting me use his picture)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Spider-Man , as written by Woody Allen

I'm hanging upside-down from the ceiling in my therapist's office, because when I was six I had a recurring fantasy about what would happen if gravity switched and we all had to live on our ceilings. Naturally, I refused to leave the house that summer for fear of falling into the sky.

"Mr. Parker," says my therapist, "I don't think we're going to make much headway if you continue to answer with non-sequiturs."

"Knish," I say back, but my heart's not in it. Dr. Goldstein's office has a hot dog vendor outside, and it's nearly lunchtime, so it's mostly my stomach talking. That, and the esophagus. The mouth, too, but then the mouth is always talking anyway. I have verbal diarrhea.

I get around that by having extensive internal monologues while brooding upside-down.

"Let's talk about your Aunt May," Dr. Goldstein tries.

"Oy! What is it with the always coming back to Aunt May? You're such a nudnik. Why all the tsuris about Aunt May? She's a nice old lady. Even if she is a pain in my tuchis about me settling down with Mary Jane. 'Why should you make trouble for yourself,' she says. 'Her name is slang for marijuana,' she says. 'Why chase after that shiksa, when you could be dating that nice Kitty Pryde,' she says. 'Ma,' I says to her, 'Kitty grew up in Dearborn, Michigan. She'd be a Tigers fan. I watch the Yankees. Ma, it'd be a mixed marriage.' "

"You do realize that you just called your Aunt May 'Ma'?" Through the open window, I can smell the knishes burning downstairs.

"So what?" I'm defensive now, and for a moment I wonder if Doc Goldstein has a set of mechanical arms in his closet. "She raised me since I was a child. She's like a mother to me."

"Have you ever heard of Oedipus, Mr. Parker?"

"Oedipus... wasn't he a Greek racecar driver? Got into a lot of wrecks?" I'm stalling for time now, hoping the session will end soon so that I can go out and buy one of those tasty slightly-burnt knishes. Unless it has tofu in it. I hate tofu knishes. I don't care if they are kosher, Moses would not be caught dead eating tofu.

"Let's cut to the chase, Mr. Parker. You started dressing as Spider-Man because you feel responsible for the death of your Uncle Ben. With him gone, your Aunt May -- your surrogate mother-figure -- is lonely, so you set yourself up as his replacement. Why else would you cover yourself head-to-toe in spandex? Even Daredevil has a cutout for his chin. No, you cover yourself so that nothing of yourself is given away, in the hopes that your Aunt will look at you and see her husband. And that, my friend, is Oedipal."

"Knish," I mutter again. I'm drooling slightly.

"And let's think about why you dress as a spider, Mr. Parker. Do you not see the Little Miss Moffett parallel? Your Aunt May: widowed, smaller than you. You: the spider that sat down beside her."

"What about the curds and whey?" I inquire, my hunger getting the best of me.

"Sometimes cottage cheese is just cottage cheese," the doctor explains, rising. "But sometimes a psychiatrist is The Chameleon."

Oy gevalt. That knish will have to wait.

The Gauntlet is Thrown

First, I'd like to thank everyone who responded so well to yesterday's blog entry. It was fun to write, and more than a little disturbing to realize I could produce that.

Second, for those of you who kept asking "Who the hell is Chuck Palahniuk?" He's the guy who wrote Fight Club before it was turned into a movie.

Third, given yesterday's success I got to thinking about other "What if X was written by Y" entries, and came up with some fun ones:
  • Wonder Woman, as written by Camille Paglia
  • Punisher, as written by Ernest Hemingway Not written by Hemingway, but 2 Punisher entries already
  • Superman, as written by Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Dr. Strange, as written by Hunter S. Thompson
  • John Constantine, as written by Edgar Allen Poe
  • Iron Man, as written by Tom Clancy
  • Dream, as written by James Joyce
  • Spider-Man, as written by Woody Allen
Of course, to do any of these well would require some significant research.

Thus I am issuing a challenge to comic book fans, blog writers, and anyone else who wishes to rise to the challenge and pick up the gauntlet: Pick one of these, or another of your own creation, and write something. Post it on your blog if you have one. If not, send it to me and I'll post it here, properly crediting you.

Bring your "A" game, bitches.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Batman, as written by Chuck Palahniuk

It's raining buckets in Gotham, like God left the water running in the cold bath where he slit his wrists, and his death throes are making the rain come down in blue-black sheets, drenching the buildings that are his tub's marble-clawed feet.

Stabbing into the sky like a mile-long phosphorescent penis is the Bat-Signal, my emblem embossed across the clouds like a serial killer's trophy mark. "Fetishistic" isn't the right word, but it's the closest that comes to mind.

I am Bruce's rampaging ego.

The Batmobile rips through Gotham's steel canyons, belching smoke as thick as my rage and and black as my mood, my foot permanently against the firewall. More speed, more power, more penetration of the murky streets. I have an erection as hard as iron and I can't satisfy it, so my Batmobile becomes my penis, plowing through moist and cloying alleys like a turbine-powered dildo.

It's always "a" dildo, though. Never "my" dildo. Have to watch how I think, or that mind-reading freak J'onn will narc me out to Clark, and then he'll have to spend several hours talking about "feelings" and "rage" and "psycho-sexual impulses" while I fantasize about bending Diana over that giant penny in the Batcave and taking her roughly from behind.

See also: Amazonian Bondage Fetish.

See also: Diana's recurring rape fantasy.

To get semen stains out, I have to soak my cape in cold salt water, then wash as usual. Same with blood. Anything organic, really.

I arrive at Police Headquarters, propelled to the roof by rage and a Batline. I expect to see Commissioner Gordon there, in a rumpled overcoat, but instead it's Renee Montoya. I appear behind her, my breath on the back of her neck her only clue to my arrival. She whips around, latino eyes blazing a mixture of fear and lust.

I am Bruce's psychological warfare.

She gives me some story about some scum somewhere that need cleaning in a non-police sanctioned way. But I'm not listening. I know where all the scum in this town live. I have a model of Gotham in the Batcave. Some days, when it all gets too much, I take off my shoes and stomp on Crime Alley.

I stomp and I stomp and I stomp until the headless miniature of Joe Chill is firmly embedded in the flesh of my heel.

To get bloodstains out of a fur coat, use cornmeal and brush the coat the wrong way.

To get crime out of Gotham, use Batman.

She tries to show me a file. I don't need it, I say.

How will you know who to bring in, she says.

I'll know them by my hate, I say.

You have to know who you hate, she says.

I know who I hate, and it's myself. But I love my hate, and I love to spread it. I spread it all over the faces of criminals.

"Bukkake" isn't the right word, but it's the first that comes to mind.

I am Bruce's Bukkake of Justice.

Monday, March 5, 2007

An Open Letter to Bikers

Dear Daytona Beach Bike Week 2007 Participants:

I hate you all. Please die immediately.

Um... wow, Palette. Isn't that incredibly harsh?

Not really. Barring a short 5 year stint up in Washington DC, I have lived in Florida since 1987. I wasn't born here -- I grew up in a military family, so as a child I got used to moving to a new continent every 3-5 years -- but I am a fully naturalized Floridian. I graduated from high school here. I went to college here. I am a Florida girl. This is my home, and I love it, hurricane season and all. I'm like a goth Superman, sent to the Sunshine State aboard a speeding U-Haul. Call me Fla-El.

(Did you know Florida natives are an endangered species? It's true. There are more New Yorkers and New Jerseyites than Floridians in Florida. Of course, I think the Italians are about to be supplanted by the Russians, who are busy carving a New Moscow out of Flagler County with the help of the Organizatskaia.)

Daytona is indisputably a tourist town: Bike Week, Spring Break, Black College Reunion, Speed Weeks, Biketoberfest, plus all the summer vacationers who come to see The World's Most Famous Beach. And let's not forget the snowbirds, those @#%^%! Yankees who come down here for 6 months out of the year to escape the punishing winters of their Great White Northern Abodes.


I am completely goddamn serious about this. A common bumper sticker around these parts is, "When I retire, I'm going to go Up North and DRIVE SLOWLY."

Every year, you people come down here. And every year, you act like complete asses, like this is Las Fucking Vegas and we are here to cater to your every whim. And every year, dozens of you die horribly. I always laugh whenever I see the death toll after an event, because it reaffirms my faith in Natural Selection. Because, you see, you people are stupid, and stupid people shouldn't ever breathe my air.

How are you stupid? Let me count the ways:
  1. Florida is not temperate. Florida is sub-tropical. That means it rains a fucking lot here. Rainy roads and motorcycles do not mix.
  2. We are a hunting state. That means we have access to large-caliber weapons like rifles and shotguns in addition to the ubiquitous handgun. Starting shit with us will get your ass shot.
  3. We are an undeveloped state. That, combined with #2 above, means we have access to multi-ton vehicles called Pickup Trucks. Now I'm sure you never took physics, or else you could wrap your puny brains around the concept of "A 2.5 ton truck cannot stop as quickly as a motorcycle." Cut us off and your ass gets run over. Ironically, with our off-road suspensions, we'll easily traverse your wreckage.
  4. We live on a beach. We know what attractive is. Don't think you're sexy just because you drive a Harley. And please put your shirt back on.
  5. We have 80-degree winters. You wear lots of black and drink beer, then pass out due to dehydration.
But really, what pisses me off most is that you think we love you. We don't. Oh, our businesses love you to death, but that's because you spend money like a shopper during Black Friday. But we who live and work here -- the store clerks, to continue the metaphor -- despise your asses, because you make more work for us.

You reduce traffic to a crawl. You divert precious police resources. And when you DO finally die, you do it in as dramatic a way as possible, frequently prompting lawsuits. As if it was the fault of the State of Florida that you decided to drive down I-95 at top speed without a helmet.

The worst of it is that you have spread, cancer-like, to outlying regions. Back in the 90s, I could just avoid going into Daytona and all would be well. Now, you've metastatized into the suburban areas of Ormond, New Smyrna, Holly Hill. I can't even get onto the interstate without sitting at a traffic light for 15 minutes. I think you won't be happy until you've taken over all of Volusia County, and then you'll probably set your sights on Flagler.

Enough, I say. Tomorrow, I'm buying a Humvee, mounting a cowcatcher to the front, and I'm going for a leisurely drive.

Please get in my way.

Friday, March 2, 2007

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Seriously, guys... I'm tired of discussing comics. I mean, I'm a geek and all, but I am just so over this line of discussion. I've actually been dreading this post like it was a homework assignment, and you know what? Fuck that. This is supposed to be fun for me.

Last week, I had about 40 pageviews. This week, I've had over 230. That's awesome... it strokes my ego immensely. I've enjoyed the activity on the comments page. But I never planned for "Talking about comics week" to last longer than.. well, a week. And I realize that some of you will stop coming here once I start talking about other things.

That's too bad. I'll miss you, my enormous pageviews. But this isn't who I am. If my awesome writing skills and Dennis Miller-esque subreferencing can't convince you to stay, then I can only conclude that maybe we're wrong for each other. Maybe we should see other webpages, and just be friends.

Baby, don't be like that. It's not you... it's me.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Behold, my official seal!

Jerusalem Syndrome

For a self-confessed conservative, I read some pretty goddamn liberal things. Case in point: Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan.

Meet Spider Jerusalem, the bastard offspring of Hunter S. Thompson and Doonesbury's Uncle Duke, shoved into a futuristic urban blightmare that would make William Gibson's Sprawl Series orgasm. Spider is decidedly not a nice person, preferring instead to live in a haze of drugs and righteous anger. He expresses contempt for all living things, yet within him burns a passion for truth, justice, and journalistic integrity.

He also has a fondness for making his opponents shit themselves.

Meet the bowel disruptor. This little beauty is completely nonlethal and has settings from simple diarrhea to complete rectal prolapse. It also leaves no trace of its use, which means that Spider gets away with using it on the President of the United States.

Yes, you heard right: Spider makes the President shit himself unconscious. Regardless of your political affiliation, I dare you to tell me that isn't the most awesome thing you've ever heard.

In the words of Chris Sims, "You are now FREAKING OUT."

Transmetropolitan is a work of utter genius. The first book of it I ever read was "Year of the Bastard," which is reminiscent of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972. In that book, Spider is instrumental in helping defeat a sitting president (aka The Beast), only to realize he's helped elect an even bigger bastard (aka The Smiler). The following books detail his attempts to ruin the Smiler, and the consequences of having an enemy who can command the resources of an entire government to smash a bothersome arachnid journalist.

Yes, children, this series is about consequences. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Characters die -- sometimes horribly. It's grand and epic and poetic and obscene -- sometimes all at once. And while it may be a satire, its author -- the blisteringly acerbic Warren Eillis -- treats the plot, and his characters, with utter and complete seriousness.

It is one of the the most fucking brilliant things I have ever read.

But don't take my word for it: see for yourself in this self-contained story.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with Spider.

The Fine Print

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