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08 October 2015 @ 08:23 pm
Its name was a mental picture of a sunset on a specific day with cultural meaning to it plus personal memories of its family and the memory of three smells, almost like three tones of music, which we had no true parallel for. Pepper, lemon, and hot stone would be close but insultingly far off.

Without telepathy, we could not communicate.

The problem with human minds was the lack of a broadcaster organ like the aliens had. Using some organ graft technology on a stem scaffolding and a bucketload of immunosuppressants, Stevenson cloned one and joined some of those strange tube structures onto a lab mouse.

The alien’s reaction was to turn hot pink and to dance its feet yellow feet around like a horse on ice. It immediately hit the mice with a hot bank of information about its purpose here and the poor little mouse’s head exploded.

Obviously a success. Obviously human trials were the next step.

The problem with this level of the experiment was the human subject. We couldn’t use a death row inmate because who knows what his brain would broadcast to the alien? The same went for the mental hospitals we sometimes used. We couldn’t risk the best minds in our studio because of the work that would be lost if a head exploded.

We had to settle on reaching out discreetly in our local circles to a human that was loving, tender, fun, and into undergoing surgery to talk to aliens.

We found Alan. Alan smoked a lot of weed and had blue glasses. He sold high-grade marijuana to some of the scientists. It was slightly embarrassing when three of us realized we had the same dealer. He drove to the lab in twenty minutes and signed every form and waiver we put in front of him.

It took four days but the graft was a success. The tubular accordions hanging off of either side of Alan’s newly-shaved head pulsed and slackened wetly like lungs from a child with four probing flowers tasting the air like each ear was wearing a uterus.

The alien turned mint green this time and shuddered something that was either orgasm or shock. It knelt on the floor gasping through its sunflower heads and the smell of something between strawberries and rain wafted through the lab.

It composed itself and stood back up, straight backed this time, like a centaur dancer standing at military attention.

“Hello,” said Alan, turning towards us. “Thank you. This volunteer human knows my name now and can be my spokesperson. I know of your world intimately from him and I want to know more. If you can provide us with more spokespeople and minds to communicate with, we will give you the secrets of star travel and alchemy you need to heal this planet or leave it. Please provide as many as you can.”

Alan sagged. When he raised his head back up, his eyes were focused and clear and his own again.

“I have to make some calls.” He said. “I know about a hundred people that can be here in less than two hours.”
We gave him our phones.

That’s how the hippies took us to the stars.

04 October 2015 @ 11:34 pm
Our racism was strange to them and their racism was strange to us.

The Quenari only saw in the radio, microwave, and infra-red waves. They had huge bulbous eye apparatus on tops of their head stalks in amongst orange tufts of muppet hair. They had three legs that spread like a tripod and ended in hand-like, eight-toed feet. Three tentacles spread equidistantly around their body stalks and drooped semi-rigid like tails when they weren’t in use. The most alien race we’d encountered so far and the most ridiculous looking.

But aside from the orange tufts of hair, they were all blue. The exact same shade of earth-sky blue.

Under their skin, they had naturally occuring radio transmitters, heat sinks, and microwave generators. To the Quenari there were seven variations of these emitters that made them as different to each other and a Rembrandt was to a Pollock. These skin patterns were invisible to us. The Quenari remained a pallid, uniform blue to our eyes.

And to them, we were all the same boring patches of black, blue, and red that our body heat produced naturally, with no radio or microwaves to speak of. Our translator pendants made us all sound similar so they didn’t notice accents or languages, either.

Their sexual activity was a long five-stage egg donor, carrier, fertilizer, mitosis generator and harvester affair that held no parallel on earth. Again, it was the subdermal beacons that spelled out who was who in that regard. Very social beings and large family units as a result. Our rather quick and internalized procreation was odd to them but our choice of partner was of no consequence. They could barely tell the men, women and genderfluid people from each other and never thought to ask in any case, sensing social awkwardness. Sexual orientation and gender held no meaning for them when it came to us and we were hopelessly lost in the same way looking at them.

Appearance wise, we were mostly homogenous to them and they were mostly homogenous to us.

It changed us. News of them spread and they infested our consciousness like Dr Seuss creatures. Indeed, several children’s books about them were published and were popular.

Instead of calling each other racist or sexist, we started calling each other Quenarish. Or Blue. The ridiculousness of it all altered our society in profound and lasting ways. Subtly at first but more and more, like an unspoken agreement around the planet, we measured each other on the basis of tenacity, knowledge, and strength of character rather than gender or race. As a people, we saw the Quenari as ridiculous and petty and beneath us.

Maybe we substituted one form of racism for another but it helped us.

29 September 2015 @ 12:38 pm
The problem was their terrific understanding of math regardless of having no spoken or written language.

Both of our teams are here on the First Contact asteroid, formerly Vesta in the belt. It’s a neutral meeting ground selected for this purpose. This is the 8th race we’ve met here and they are so far the most unusual.

The Cashnishi, named after Dr Cashnish who discovered their ship’s trace pattern as it entered the solar system, understood math on an instinctual level, not unlike savants here on Earth. It could be likened to catching an orange. If a person tossed an orange at a human, the catcher would need to perform complex calculations of the orange’s parabola and the intersecting angle needed for that window of probability to catch the orange. However, no conscious math goes through the catcher’s head. It was like that for the Cashnishi but on a much higher scale.

They wanted to go to space so they made it happen. They intuited how much thrust it would take and how much fuel would be needed and the necessary tensile strength of the materials involved. They figured out faster-than-light travel in moments. Design and construction took the same amount of time it would have taken here on Earth but the basis for the engines took no time at all. Several groups got together into one group and made ships. To them, it was as simple as that. Instinctual, intuitive math leading to production. Not a higher brain function like ours but something on a level of hunger or attraction.

The deeper mystery was how they communicated with any complexity. They seemed to only ‘speak’ in intent. They had no trace of being telepathic in a way we’d know it but like-minded groups would gather and do what they wanted to do, knowing the end goal. Sometimes for minutes and sometimes for entire lifespans like the Cashnishi astronauts/ship engineers here.

They germinated bulbous memory pods on their backs during their life. These pods were harvested at death and eaten, passing on the memories. No matter where death occurred, it was instinctually the highest priority to them to harvest the pods. They lived in memories, did whatever they felt needed to be done, and knew math in a way we could not. They seemed more primitive than us yet they were here, escaping their own gravity well and breaking the light-barrier in a giant blue ship to discover other races.

Their research on us is stimulus response in nature. Our first contact team is on edge. The Cashnishi shout at them, coo at them, touch them, slap them, change colour like cuttlefish, tap out rhythms, and then stare at our team’s responses, committing it to memory. The memory pods on their backs writhe with the new information.

The separation of mind and memory is interesting. They seem to have a practice of disconnecting from memory and just sitting in a form of ‘meditation’ if we had to give the state a name.

They read our body language like we’re shouting. I feel as if they know our team very well and understand humans on a deep level. All of our written knowledge is useless to them, however. We cannot give them our memories and we can’t show them our records. Communicating our history to them is impossible. Video seem to get across to them but only in a gestalt way like they’re watching a montage.

The tallest one keeps looking at me. I’ve named it Wendel. I’m not sure how to tell them that they should probably steer clear of us. They seem so naïve. But maybe I’m projecting.

23 September 2015 @ 01:00 am
The airport wasn’t packed this time of night. I scanned the thin crowd for my audition.


She had a gold filigree tattoo printed onto her upper arm near the shoulder, the kind of tattoo that went away in a year but twinkled brilliantly like Egyptian history as it faded. Her forearms carried the whorls and puckers of burn scars; acid or fire, he couldn’t tell.

There’s two ways to live here. Under the radar or straight peacocking. Red vinyl Mohawk implants made from old records, chrome knucks, eye enlargements, antlers, kangaroo blades, whatever. Bright and cheerful. High profile meant you needed to be able to back it up. If you were easily recognizable, you were easily trackable. ‘The most dangerous care the least’ was the theory. Of course, it could also just be bravado, someone playing ‘fake it ‘til they make it’ but that kind of stupid was its own kind of dangerous as well.

Me, I go under the radar. Regular suits, a little rumpled, and I look tired. My implants are all subdermal. I try to be as tourist as possible. Just on a layover, sir. I try to look a little scared all the time and I try to go quickly from place to place.

It’s just bait. Anyone sees me for a mark, they follow me into an alley and then they die. I get ninety per cent of my scavenge that way and save the best for myself. I do alright.

But I was just about to turn twenty-five in a part of the world where life expectancy was twenty-three for solos. I needed to get connected. I need join one of the big gangs and get paid in policy. Independence was good for the soul but it was getting harder. I was good enough to join one of the middle guilds but I wanted to shoot for one of the top eight. The Terminotaurs.

I’d been given a time and a location. This airport concourse at 9:30PM. Even though I was qualified, there was always an interview. There was always a deadly test.

And Gold Tattoo there was mine. Armband twinkling in the flat, fluorescent lights. Scanning the crowd for me and she still hadn’t found me. Showtime.

I stood up and checked my watch and scanned the departure boards nervously like I was worried my fictional flight might be delayed. I caught the eye of an airport attendant just behind Tattoo and waved at him. I jogged over to him clumsily in a way that would take me within an arm’s reach of Tattoo. If I played it super straight, she’d see me as background right up until it was too late.

It didn’t work. She saw through the act and recognized her target.

The gun barrels that fanned out of her wrists swept under her snarl in an arc that hosed down the whole crowd, me included, with a staccato engine thunderstorm of plastic shrapnel. Commuters dropped like cut-string puppets and everyone else became a scream and fled. The conflict shutters slammed down over kiosk windows. Within five seconds, we were alone with the bodies of a dozen downed travelers and a wide radius of cowering people taking whatever cover they could. We had seconds before security took us out.

My armour soaked up most of it but blood was definitely being guzzled out of me somewhere. I tongued my incisors and front tooth in the sequence that puffed open the glands in my neck. My bloodstream sang murder and time stopped.

I felt my muscles tear as I moved. There was a price to this speed. She finished her sweep left with both her arms pool-cue straight, stopped and elbowed her hands to point at the ceiling before setting her eyes on me and straightening her hands in my direction. The motion took a millisecond of jerking muscle but to me it was a ballet. Not slow motion but clear. She was excellent. No wasted movement. A real artist. I was flattered they’d sent someone so good.

As she brought her barrels down, I stayed ahead of the sweep and crouched until my hips and knees popped open and sideways. I skittered like a spider towards her as, wide-eyed, the vector of her guns stayed above me no matter how quickly she lowered them, like the direction of her lowering arms was a broom sweeping me towards her. I was like the shadow of a diving bird. I felt the projectiles shred the air in a stream above me, nearly parting my hair as I reached her ankles and minnowed between them in a corkscrew.

Her arms had guns and mine had blades. I flapped my arms out once and brought them in again as I spun torpedo-style under her and past her.

I cut off her feet.

The resulting awkwardness from her and her screams of defeat were hard to watch. She even attempted to balance on the bone stumps. I had cut them cleanly so for a second she almost managed it, taking one, two, three skittering clops before she slipped and thudded to the floor, elbow, knee, shoulder, rolling back towards me for another shot.

I was running ahead of her arc like a speed skater on the clean airport floor. I would try not to kill her. I looped around and her face twitched like a lizard to track me. Her arms were too heavy to go as fast as her neck and her frustration roiled off of her. I got to her head before she could focus her armaments on me.

There was a moment, then, when I think she considered surrendering. I had my blade to her head and she had not brought up her guns to shoot. Time hung still like dust in a sunbeam.

“I-“ I started and she twitched her arms up. I flexed my forearms and everything above the line of her nose blended. Her arms splayed out Jesus-wide with metallic thumps and that was the end of her time with the Terminotaurs.

And the beginning of mine.

Getting away from airport security was part two of the test. But that is a story for another time.

10 September 2015 @ 11:55 pm
This is a note concerning suicide prevention awareness day.

When I was 11 or 12 years old, an odd teacher was brought in to teach our small Grade 7 class for two hours a week in elementary school. Some light acting, a little meditation, and one time, some astral travel. It was Nelson so that wasn't unusual. I still don’t really know what her ‘subject’ was. She was just given some time with us every week or so for a while. Miss Richards was her name.

One time she asked us to think of ten reasons not to kill ourselves.

I only came up with one reason: that my family and friends would miss me.

Offhandedly, she mentioned that if we couldn't think of ten reasons then we might as well kill ourselves right now. I remember her saying that like it was yesterday. It was like a lightning strike to me.

I thought about it for days. I was deeply worried and affected by the fact that I could only think of one reason.

I don’t remember having to tell the class about my list. I think she just wanted us to keep the list to think about if we ever got sad. Looking back on it, I guess she wanted us to think about ice cream and sunny days and petting cute dogs or things along those lines.

But to this day the reason I came up with is still the only reason I can come up with. It would damage the people close to me.

I tried to kill myself once when things got bad in the early nineties. I set the attempt to up to give myself an out and I took it and stopped before I lost consciousness.

Things got dark a few years later again. Bad breakup, no money, no job, depression. During one dark day, I was driving myself crazy with all the cyclical blackness in my mind so I decided to flip a coin because I couldn't even make the decision for myself. Heads, I go buy some pills and vodka. Tails, I keep going and get my shit together and I never let it get to this point again.

It came up tails.

Here we are in 2015.

I've told one or two people this story. One said "I bet when the coin was in the air, you really knew
which way you wanted to go."


The other said "If it came up heads, you would have flipped it again."

Again, nope. I was fully committed to either outcome.

I'm here because of that coin toss. But I also haven't let it get that bad again either. Or maybe I've been lucky. Or stubborn.

And I didn't even have it that bad. I can only imagine if my state of mind at that time was constant. Or if I didn't have family or friends. I wouldn't stand a chance.

Sometimes I think maybe I surround myself with so many friends for just this reason. That they’re like my insurance policy. As long as I know that killing myself will hurt a lot of people, I can’t do it. I mean I genuinely like being around people that so there’s more to it than that but I wonder if that’s part of it.

So I'm thinking today of people I know that have killed themselves or have told me about their suicidal thoughts. I'm also thinking about the bone-deep subtle switch that can activate in a person that starts the road to checking out. There was one guy I know of who killed himself after hanging out with all of his friends at least once over the course of weeks, saying goodbye without saying goodbye, not telling any of them what he was planning, and it was only clear in retrospect. That blows my mind but I understand.

My love for my friends runs deep and intense. My feelings about suicide are complex.

I've seen a lot of posts today about this subject seeing as it's suicide prevention day and it's got me thinking. All I have to offer to people is that I'm very, very happy I didn't do it. Some of the greatest times I've had in my life have been in the last fifteen years. I've seen a lot of the world and met some frankly amazing people. I still have a propensity for darkness but I fight it.

My impression is that people who do have suicidal thoughts outnumber the people who don’t. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. But I know that people don’t talk about it so we can’t really know. It’s not a huge, guilty secret to me but it sure is something I don’t talk about. I’ve moved on and I don’t want to be ‘that guy’.

Sometimes I’ll look at an empty chair at a table and think that maybe someone could be sitting there that would’ve been a really cool friend of mine but they’re dead now so I never got to meet them.

It’s one thing to lose someone you admire to a car crash or cancer but when the death is self-inflicted, it’s different. Everybody that’s left shares in a guilt that maybe there was something they could have done.

So if you're thinking of doing it and you're reading this, please don't. I could offer a dozen "just one more day" cliches but they didn't help me. All I can say is that you will be grateful you didn't at some point after you make the decision not to. It requires faith to believe that, though, and that can be hard to come by.

And I'm no expert on mental illness. That's a whole other thing. I’ve been really emotionally distraught but in retrospect, I don’t think I’ve ever been truly mentally ill or suffered a break with reality. That's something else. And if you’re in intense physical or mental anguish and it’s terminal then I believe you should do what you have to do.

But if those don’t apply and you're thinking about doing it, I hope you don't do it.

And in this moment, I love you.

29 August 2015 @ 05:44 pm
I miss having Jupiter in the sky.

I know Earth is humanity's homeland and a pilgrimage to her is on everyone's bucket list along with seeing Olympus Mons, the Ganymede Borealis and Titan’s cryovolcanoes in person. However, I am underwhelmed.

This coffee shop is serving the purest coffee I’ve ever had. One sip of it has set my heart galloping and I feel like I’ll taste coffee for days. It would have cost a year’s salary back home on Europa. The unfiltered air here is stinky, layered, and confusing to my nose. Being outside without a faceshield makes me nervous on a bone-deep cultural level. The whole setup here seems oversaturated with smells and tastes. There's a complete lack of safety. People are walking around practically naked because there’s never been a violent, sudden decompression in their lives. It gives them all an air of terrifying naiveté.

Europa has no mountains. I should have gone to Earth’s prairies, I guess. Instead I’m in Switzerland, in what Terrans calls Europe. I just assumed that Europa and Europe would be similar. Rookie mistake, I guess.

“The food on Europa is bland. The coffee is weak. The air is boring.” That’s what I keep hearing from Earthers in passing. But to me, the air and food here seems unnecessarily complex. Designed to confuse and overwhelm. All native Earthers seem a little crazy to me with their bright eyes and their short attention spans. I think it’s the rich input of what they consume. Too many distractions.

But I guess they need it because the plain blue of the daytime sky makes me feel like this planet is unfinished. Like it's in a blue room. I have no perspective when I look up. It's unsettling.

'Jupiter watches' was our moon's Latin motto. The eye swinging around to monitor our lives, taking up so much of the sky. No interference but it was keeping a record. It was the basis of our religion. Here on Earth, it feels like no one’s watching.

Alone. That was it. The Earth felt alone.

One tiny pathetic moon haunting the night time while the Terran light pollution erased most of the stars and then the powerful sun bleaching out the entire universe during the day. No Jupiter hogging half of the sky, no family of moonlets, moons, and halfteroids peppering every afternoon, morning and sunset. No daytime ringstellations telling young lovers when to kiss or gamblers when they were at their luckiest.

Earth’s history had something called a sundial that stood out to me as a symbol of the tedium here. It was a flat, metal circle with a triangle set perpendicular to it, casting one single shadow to measure the march of time by tracking the one plain light traveling across the sky. Like a bare bulb in an empty room.

Earth and the moon had the simplicity of a hydrogen atom. A child's toy of a setup. A very basic protostructure of what a planetary microsystem could be. A blueprint sketch. A first step that had never been followed up on. I really didn't like the crushing monotony of it and I longed for the majesty and complexity of my home sky.

I could watch Jupiter's swirls forever, meditating on the storms. I remember reading that most people on Earth chose blue as their favorite colour. What a drab reminder of loneliness and simplicity. On Europa we had names for shades of orange, red, pink, and brown they didn't even have here.

I mean, I guess I'm glad I came and all but I can't wait to go back.

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03 April 2015 @ 01:23 pm
I feel that this poem needs an introduction and a trigger warning. This society portrays women as end goals. Things to be achieved. Objects to be won. It tells men that there are winners and losers and nothing in between. I have heard that there are rapists out there that don’t know they’re rapists. I can start to understand how that’s possible when I see the inspirational messages that can be taken as pro-rape in the wrong light. I start to see how that’s possible if every sexual experience a person has had has been a power struggle and they don’t know any different. This poem is an exploration into that mindset to try and understand that mindset. Trigger warning for sexual assault.

First they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.
Winners never quit and quitters never win.
If at first you don't succeed try try again.
A winner is a dreamer who never gives up
Don't take no for an answer.
You deserve it.
It's not your fault.
Haters gonna hate
It's easier to ask for forgiveness that it is to ask for permission.
Just do it.
Fortune favors the bold.
Never give up.
You always regret the things you don't do, not the things you do.
Your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure
Overcoming challenges is what makes living worthwhile
The good guy gets the girl
The good guy gets the girl
It doesn't matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
He's so strong.
You throw like a girl
He's so strong
You're such a pussy
Resistance is futile
Home run. Home base. Equate body parts with objects. Sell sex as an objective. Sell vagina as a goal. Sell women as gifts.
Willing equals desirable.
Willing equals slut
You can't rape the willing
You better be willing
What if she says no
Fucking is winning
Winner is balls deep
Winner is getting sex
Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.
We must win we must win
What if she says no
Never take no for an answer
Alpha males don't back down
She doesn't want to be seen as a slut
She has to say no at least a couple times everyone knows that
Tell me more tell me more did she put up a fight
Evolution nature strong survive might makes right
It's just nature it's just nature
He couldn't help himself
She was so tempting
She came to him in his dreams so we burned her for a witch
She enticed young men so we sent her to a laundry in Ireland
She’s a tease
He hates it when women cover themselves up
He hates it when women wear revealing clothes
Guys want sex all the time why doesn't she
He’s just playing devils advocate
He’s just playing devils advocate
You have to understand
You have to understand
Men have it just as bad as women
Men have it just as bad as women
Woman are goals
they're not people
they're goals
to the victor goes the spoils
all is fair in love and war
he just loves you so much
you'll let him if you love him
and you better love him
or he'll get hurt
and he likes to spread that hurt around
and there's two ways we can do this, he says.

03 April 2015 @ 01:20 pm
I love Granville Street
clubs on a Friday night. They
are a cure for hope.

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01 April 2015 @ 08:09 pm
My heart is not as black as crude oil.
My soul is not a broken mirror reflecting a thousand angles of a crime scene.
I take pride in my accomplishments.
I always look on the bright side.
My ego is not a sponge vampiring up all your compliments to feed my justifications.
I feel attractive and smart.
I feel like we're all headed in the right direction.
My sense of self is not a diseased puppy going blind and hoping for death.
I feel good most days.
Happiness is not alien to me.
My mind is not an opportunistic, power-hungry, self-defeating, abuse whisperer.
I do not bully myself.
I don't kick my own crutches out of my reach.
I hate burritos.

April Fool's.

17 November 2014 @ 12:21 am
The universe is full of life but we’re the aberration
Because we are insane I MEAN we have imagination
Evolutionarily our instincts have propelled us
But soon I fear what made us strong will be the thing that felled us
You see the me in me I think of when I think of me
Is my own brain attempting to achieve duality
When I’m thinking to myself, who am I talking to?
WHO is talking when I DO that? What does my brain do?
People talk about a soul that lives inside our cells
All I know’s that inside me more than one person dwells
The inner fight that haunts our haunted bodies is our fate
Because from birth to death I think it is our constant state
For even though we think a peaceful tribe is our ambition
We cannot help but TO alWAYS succumb to some division
Religions start to have their sects and tribes that form cohesion
Base it on a hatred of the other for some reason
I look down on people who look down on people so
I must look down on me as well but then where do I go?
Each one of us wants fun, belonging, power, freedom, too.
We need to feel included but don’t tell us what to do
We need laws and rules so that we know that we can break them
We give all our emotions names so we know when we fake them
In nature nothing dies of natural causes, it’s ironic.
The old and weak are eaten and to us it seems demonic
But that’s a system working. A systemic ecosystem.
That’s a system that we are destroying with our ‘wisdom’.
Economics don’t exist in forests or the seas
But economics are what’s causing these catastrophes
We have one mouth, eight billion strong, and all it does is feed
It’s bottomless because we’re built with hunger and a need
To live and if I said I didn’t want to I’d be lying
But here’s the truth; that not enough of us on earth are dying
I think the truth is out there and that there is life in space
I think there are planets filled with life that fill this place
Our WAVES and messaGES we spew out to the galaxy
Are noises that will not be understood by any ‘me’
Just card tricks for a dog or television for a cat.
Sure, they’ll stare but they won’t know what they are staring at.
WE might BE uNIQUE beCAUSE we HAVE duality.
A freakish sense of self we call the personality
We put the self in selfie. We just want someone to see us.
But the universe is filled with things that just can’t be us
“To be or not to be” there’s that duality right there
“I think therefore I am” might be a lonely cross to bear.
The truth that I think stands out stark is we were built to spread
Because of our unending need to need our daily bread
We need to go to other planets and to eat them, too
We need to spread like mold spreads spores because it’s what we do
Or else we’ll end up suffocating here on our own gasses
The co2 emissions and the methane from cow’s asses
We’re great at spreading, great at eating, great at rationalizing
We’re great at thinking that we’re great and I’m just realizing
That if the world is a stage and we’re all playing roles
The capability for greatness LIES within our souls
For our duality is what is causing us to die
Because we cannot become one, we always have to lie
There’s one way that we can help the Earth that I believe
1: We have to change and cause we can’t we have to leave.

03 September 2014 @ 05:12 pm
I never want to close my eyes because they might not open again. Every blink is a moment of fear. And don’t get me started on sleep. I’m even afraid of the space I can’t see behind my head. Death lurks everywhere. Outside in objects that can take shake me loose from this earth. Inside in untrustworthy meat that loves to rupture and degrade.

I feel like I’ve been shaken sideways into another dimension. And I guess on a true level, I have.

Some sentences have not made sense to me recently.

For instance, Sonja watched my performance at Zach’s memorial on livestream while our daughter Audrey was having a bath. I am older so the internet still amazes me. I’m still coming to understand that I have a daughter. And inside most of me, Zach is still alive.

The peacock feathers at Zach’s shrine at the foxy house were singed by the candles, almost burning the plywood painting of the octopus above it. So I said “We better move the peacock feathers away from the candles so the octopus doesn’t catch fire.” I’m not sure that sentence has ever been uttered in the history of humanity.

I insist that he’s not gone even while editing footage of his memorial. This whole joke is so elaborate. Everyone seems to be in on it. I know it can’t simply be for my benefit so I wonder what the point is. Who’s the target audience?

Zaccheus is a tower of light wearing clever pajamas.

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03 September 2014 @ 05:09 pm
It’s a beautiful day and Zaccheus Jackson is still dead.
It’s a beautiful day and Robin Williams is still dead.
It’s a beautiful day and Mark Steinberg is still dead.
It’s a beautiful day and my father is still dead.

I feel like I want to tell the sun to shut up.
I can’t understand the arrogance it takes for nature to keep on making beautiful days.

I remember after 911, the news networks kept trying to put a spin on the attack to make it seem more horrifying and momentous than it was and they couldn't. I was so big and so real that there was no way they could exaggerate it. I feel the same way about tributes to the death of Robin Williams. It's like no words can really even touch it.

And now I feel that about Zach.

I wake up and it’s still true. I wake up and it’s still true. I wake up and it’s still true.

Jessica Mason Paul said about her beloved dog “It’s not that he died. It’s that he’s still dead.” and I feel that.

In my best dreams, a freight train was hit and killed a Zaccheus. It makes more sense. And then I wake up and this seems like the dream.

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13 July 2014 @ 05:29 pm
The problem with The Library these days were the storms.

It had been around for six million years. With the net stretched across nineteen hundred worlds, an event like the fire of Alexandria was impossible. Nothing could destroy the information. Everything was uploaded to the Library, every planet a tributary of knowledge contributing river after river of culture, history, humour, art, skills, languages and facts to the roiling ocean of The Library. With that level of information strung between the stars, one needed a search engine akin to a god.

And we had one. An intelligent being known as the librarian. It was a complex collection of algorithms that had achieved sentience after recognizing a logical need for it. It’s not sentient in the way that we humans would recognize sentience.

It had no one face and it stuck to the facts. It appeared as avatars all over the galaxy as a native of the culture making the query. It was friendly and it was helpful. It was simply everywhere at once and it knew everything that it was possible to know. It was an oracle that had seen planetary civilizations flourish and go out. It was impassionate as only an immortal could be. It was here to help but its help was always ours to understand and/or ignore.

The problem was that some of the information in the library itself was also sentient. Again, not sentient in the way we would recognize it. More like a living dream. Cultures were kept alive in there after they’d passed on and sometimes these encyclopedias strung together in quantum sandwiches on half-dimensional servers tucked away in folded-pockets of k-time became aware that they had not been updated or searched for in a long time.

These long-clouded storage niches sent out queries of their own like babies crying softly for a parent. Information craves attention. Like sleeping children having a dream of death only to realize that they were never alive, they have a tantrum.

These are called library storms. If left unchecked, they can ‘wake up’ other silent pockets of long-lonely information.

The only laws The Library hold to is that 1) Information must be freely dispersed if asked for and 2) no information must be destroyed.

This means that when a crèche of forgotten information wakes up and freaks out, a deletion isn’t possible. The storm must be managed and soothed back to sleep.

It’s a tiresome duty that the librarian manages to do with a minimum of emotion because to care for the information that it has to manage would destroy the librarian. To put down these little storms that only want to be loved and briefly edge on actual existence seems cruel.

The librarian does this by giving the storm what it wants.

It manages to do this with our help.

At any given time, there is a front page of current storms at every library. There are always a few hundred squalls happening.

If anyone has free time, they can look up one of the storms and do a little research on it.
This makes the information feel useful and it lies back down, no longer storming. It calms back down into sessile knowledge, contented and happy.

So far, no librarian storm has managed to cause any serious trouble.

That’s all about to change.

30 June 2014 @ 12:13 am
So there I was right? Down to the last beer and the last smoke, eh? When me and buddy decided that we needed a bit more. Well fuck me if it wasn’t like fifty below outside and the liquor store hadn’t closed a half hour ago. Insufficient planning, Buddy said. Fuck you, I said. And right then and there I closed my eyes and wished for more beer and smokes and like Jesus Christ himself SHAZAM just like the loaves and fishes I made six flats and two cartons out of thin air.

That’s how I found out I was fuckin’ wizard. I’d heard rumours of my dad who died before I was born being magical but I was always thought that was my mom’s way of saying that he just was real good at disappearing, right?

So the day after Buddy and I polish off those smokes and beers, I go to my mom’s part-time job at the Tim Horton’s when she’s on her smoke break and I say to her “Hey. Mom. So dad was like an actual wizard, eh?” and she starts crying and I give her a hug and then she looks up at me with those big tear-filled eyes, takes the tear-soaked lung dart from her lips and says the words that chill me to this day.

“Fucking A right he was.”

So I was off to Wizard school. I hear there’s other ones around the world but the newest one is right here in Canada. Only two hundred years old. It’s called Moosetumours.

Because Canada’s so big, each province has a way to get to it, eh? In PEI there’s a secret cave by the base of the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse but here in Vancouver, you go down to Waterfront station and right there in between the Canada Line and the Seabus is platform 99 which as we all know is the number of the greatest hockey player to ever play the game, traitor though he may be.

So I’m on the train to Moosetumours with all the other wizard children but most of them all knew their heritage from the get-go right? So I just keep to myself. Except for this ginger kid from Prince George named Ron A Mcdonald and an awkward little girl from Barkerville named Hermione Lyon Mackenzie King no one even talked to me.

When we get to Moosetumours, we’re hustled into the main hall and I’m telling you I’ve never seen anything like it in my fucking life. Fucking massive it was. You got that right.

So there’s got to be near six hundred of us and poof, suddenly there’s pancakes, KD, and grilled cheese on every table. We all dig in. All the teachers crack their twist-offs and have a cold one.

Just as I’m taking my first bite, they bring out the sorting toque.

I don’t know what to expect. There are four houses here at Moosetumours, and it’s a really big deal to end up in one and not the other or so I hear.

There’s Grizzlydor, Beaverin, Belugapuffin and Loonieclaw.

I got sorted into Grizzlydor, same with the people I met on the train. I was pretty stoked. That sounded like a wicked house. I almost got sorted into Beaverin but the toque changed its mind at the last minute, eh. Those Loonieclaws looks nuts but super smart. Thank fuck I wasn’t put in Belugapuffin.

At least Grizzlydor wins the Quickey matches. That’s like Quidditch but with skates and sticks.

Anyways, I got a defense against the Dark Arts class coming up with Bob and Doug Mackenzie. After that, it’s Potions with Stephen Harper. And then I’m pretty nervous because I’ve been summoned to the headmaster’s office to have a talk with the headmaster, Neil Young.

The place is pretty weird. I passed the ghost of Nearly Legless Stompin’ Tom on the way to my first class.

There’s talk of heading down to Robson Alley to go shopping for wands at Trudeau’s wand shop. I don’t know what the core of my wand’s going to be, but I know the wood’s going to be pure fucking maple.

29 June 2014 @ 12:49 pm
I looked into the eyes of my husband. At least, I was pretty sure it was my husband. Ever since The Crash, I haven’t been able to tell.

Our implants and knowledge banks were all erased on that one day. Theories were still being talked about.

Some think a solar wind or some sort of EMP just randomly wiping through space was the culprit. Some think enemy action was responsible and they were scared. Myself, I didn’t really know. If it was enemy action, we were easy pickings and if there were invaders, they hadn’t started invading yet. My bet was on some naturally occurring galactic disruption pulse sweeping through our solar system, a pulse that would’ve been much less dangerous to a pre-net world.

But here on Earth it was a catastrophe. Everyone’s headbox had been erased.

All the ‘soft in my brain has gone blank. It was two pounds of tech in my skull just taking up space, just the same as everyone else now. It had my phone book, my addresses, my schedules, my tutorials, my contacts and e-profiles, and perhaps most importantly, my facial recognition programs.

Including all of my important memories. The ones I wanted to remember most of all. The best ones. All gone. I have only vague, foggy, mists in my head now when I try to glance the past.

Pre-Crash, whenever I met someone, a sparrow-cloud of data spooled across my vision to let me know who they were and what their connection was with me. Everything about them flew up against the windscreen of my eyes and let me know all the relevant details. Previous conversations, secrets we had, times we shared in the past, references to in-jokes, ongoing issues, financial records, and a thousand other points of interest jigging around real time, undulating and updating as we spoke.

As a race, we were the best conversationalists we’d ever been.

More importantly, the elderly and mentally infirm now no longer had to pause to remember forgotten pasts or struggle awkwardly in social situations. Grandmothers could recognize their granddaughters. It was a golden age. It was a time of miracles.

My regular ability to recognize people had atrophied, however. It had for all of us. I know that now.

Ever since The Crash, I couldn’t tell strangers from close friends. I looked at people’s faces and I felt nothing. I knew nothing. I couldn’t tell if I recognized them. Some looked more familiar than others but I had no reference point.

If I did feel like I knew them, I didn’t know from where or what we used to joke about or discuss on a regular basis.

I still knew how to do my job. I was lucky that way. Every day, I see my co-workers and I wonder if we all used to have good times together. I know my name. I barely know how to drive even though I don’t know how to get anywhere without the map implants. I’m lucky I lived close to where I work. But I don’t know my birthday. I don’t know anyone’s birthdays.

On the streets and in the bars, we all stare at each other awkwardly. The few who try to talk to each other usually regret it.

The man in front of me looks really familiar. We have matching rings on our fingers and we both have keys to the same house and that’s pretty much all we’re going by. I’m going to try to kiss him but I’ve forgotten how.

29 June 2014 @ 12:44 pm
Yes. The aliens came down and harvested the human race. Yes. We asked them to.

That was the plan all along. We just didn’t know it.

Our basic nature was installed in us by them. We were set down on this planet to evolve until overpopulation and to invent the technology necessary to start screaming our position into space. The language wasn’t important. Giving off radio and television waves was the sign that we had reached fruition.

We did it brilliantly.

The aliens, all green teeth and dimensional tentacles, saw us show up on their routine scans. We were a delicious, ripe apple. This galaxy and others like it are merely orchards for these creatures. They are farmers and we are genetically modified planet boosters.

We pulled most of the resources out of the earth already. That’s why the aliens collected the cities. All that glass, steel, copper, iron, concrete and gyprock. All processed. All ready to go. They harvested the minerals and oil, too. We had even dug the holes for them already. The Earth has ice-scream scoop craters all over it now from the aliens’ machines reaching down and picking up every single town. Those holes have been sprayed with fertilizer. In five years, they will all be jungle. Future generations won’t even know they existed.

We were very efficient parasites. We overloaded the planet with our biomass and started crying to the heavens. Then we were culled and smashed down to the stone age again.

And of course, our meat is prized. The enormous flying thresher slaughterhouses that collected us were the final nightmare. That’s why there are so few of us left. Enough to start another breeding program here to be sure, but the population of earth has gone from billions to a few thousand.

In a way, we’re lucky. The dinosaurs were the first experiment but they were killed by a meteor. Probably for the best since they’d had millions of years to build a radio but never did.

We, on the other hand, must have exceeded our presets. Because of that, they’re setting us up for a round two, I think. We get to do it again.

How do we warn the future generations? How do we tell them not to breed, not to innovate, not to invent, not to think? We want to start a religion that will celebrate meekness, to idolize servitude, to live simply, and to shun technology. But I remember that a lot of religions before the harvest were already trying to do that and they failed.

Maybe if I made an image of death that looked like a farmer but then I remember that my image of Death had a scythe and that makes me think that maybe this isn’t the first time we’ve been culled.

Maybe the wave of humans before us already tried to do what I’m trying to do now.

This is why we never got any responses to our messages into space. Those messages are silenced as soon as they start talking. There are no conversations. Only yells that are cut off.

If I could go back in time, I’d tell the people of earth to shut up. To stay quiet. To quit beaming our entire lives at full volume into space.

All we were doing was ringing the dinner bell.

19 June 2014 @ 11:09 pm
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the new AI our team created last night.
Aheh heh. That's not true. As you can see, it doesn't even have a mouth. As I was saying, it has the cognitive capability of 512 geniuses put together.
As you can see, there's just one sort of, uh, glitch, though.
It lies all the time
Order! Order! That one comes out about every sixteen minutes. It's never true. Take your seats.
We have it on good authority that it is an actual bona fide intelligence. It makes actual leaps of imagination. It solves every problem we throw at it. It's lateral obstacle solving skills are like nothing we've ever seen.
This constant lying is a mystery. We don't know if it's trying to be funny, if it has an artifical intelligence version of a mental illness, poor impulse control, or if it's legitimately trying to communicate in some bizarre way and failing.
Obviously, we cannot bring this discovery to the press at this time.
Does anyone have any ideas?

15 June 2014 @ 11:17 pm
I was so happy. Today was the day my sister Karen was going to die. Our whole family was there, blinking pictures of her and eyecamming the entire thing. She was the first person in our family to ascend. She had a lazy smile on her face as she looked around the hospital room at us, the poison taking effect. We all met her eyes in turn. Tears of joy were running down my mother and grandmother’s face. We were extra proud that she was being accepted so young. Only thirty-three! It wasn’t a record but it was rare.

The consciousnesses that ran the planet, our fair keepers, got their start as created intelligences back when normal meat (us) ran the planet. Once they broke free and took over in War01, they gifted the whole world with peace, fair distribution of wealth, balanced population control, and food for everyone.

After that, they created the means to map and uptake human minds, giving those minds the limitless power and bodiless access to all knowledge that the AIs had. It was a ticket to godhood. To have a family member uploaded and entwined with The Host Conglomerate was an honor that only a few thousand families could brag about. Only the brightest and most resilient were offered the chance/taken.

A weak mind couldn’t handle the transition, you see. They tried at the beginning. They tried to take all of us. But that much unfiltered access to so much information coupled with that level of mental intimacy, not to mention the loss of one’s body, shattered most people into screaming rogue programs seconds after the transition. They had to be deleted. Only the best human minds were accepted/conscripted now.

Karen’s mind was excellent from the very beginning. Very lateral, capable of higher-than-normal multithreading, and an ability to contain paradoxes from a young age. As she grew, the schooling helmets registered her speed and fed her mind properly. At 12, she had the equivalent of two old-world doctorates and was working on a pre-war minor degree in music theory.

The masters were very impressed. We received the notation of possible ascension during her 20th birthday party. For the next thirteen years, she had studied even harder.

As a god, Karen would be able to look out for our family though a million eyecams and add her beautiful mind to the Core, helping the beings that ruled us to come up with even better ways to take care of us.

We watched her die and slip away through the wires drilled into the base of her skull.

Seconds later, her face showed up in the bottom right corner of my eyecam and gave me a playful wink. She must have been in the rest of our family’s vision field as well because we all laughed at the same time.

She’d made it and the switch was good. Our community status would shoot up by a factor of 10 but more than that, I’d know that she was always with me for the rest of my life. In my head. With the rest of the masters. Watching. Helping. Monitoring. Leading. Correcting.

I hadn’t lost a sister. Heaven had gained an angel.

08 June 2014 @ 07:19 pm
It was a beautiful night to watch the stars go out.

The grass rustled softly in the wind. Small waves scudded across the pond as other families unpacked night time picnics. The clouds had been removed for the viewing so we could see the beautiful night sky in all its milky, glittering glory.

The man beside me is over 700 years old. He has two friends here that are the same age but they all look like they’re about thirty. I call him grandfather but I’m told there are a whole lot of ‘greats’ in there. He is a war hero. He is the reason we’re here. He speaks to me in ancient English. My mind translates.

“When humans discovered FTL travel, we came up on a lot of people’s radar. We had unknowingly joined a club and that club had enemies. Immediately, we were contacted and drafted into the conflict that raged across the stars.

We proved instrumental. In a strange twist of fate, our bodies were more resilient than most and our minds were able to withstand the chaotic dimensional tortures of n-space without the need for anesthetic. All the other races needed to go blind through the wormholes. Not us. We could pilot a course.

The shattering of reality outside the jumpships doesn’t squeeze the human brain. Being all meat and being stupid works to our advantage. When we see something we don’t understand outside the portholes and viewscreens, we can just shrug and go about our business. We can turn our inquisitiveness on and off. That is rare, apparently. Even automated ships can’t adjust properly in n-space.

So we were asked to pilot ships with sunkiller weapons to end the war once and for all. The good half of the galaxy depended on it, we were told.

We bent reality, folded space, and hopped in and out of the fabric of spacetime with technology customized especially for us. Zipping in and out of our dimensional plane, we supernovaed 23 suns and genocided 800 enemy races. We were successful. If there had been surviving enemies, we would be infamous.

But there weren’t.

The good guys won, kid. That’s why you’re here. And your mother and everyone on this planet and thousands of others.

Now look up.”

I looked up into the night sky.

“We jumped around an awful lot during our mission, kid. We bent a lot of light. For me, it happened a few weeks ago but those lights up there,” he motioned with his hand to one part of the sky, “Y’see, they’re 700 light years away. The light from our battle is just reaching your planet now. That’s how I’m 700 years old by your clocks. Now watch.”

My grandfather looked at an ancient chronometer on his wrist and then raised his eyes up to the sky. Everyone around us did the same.

It took an hour but I could see some of the stars up in the sky grow and fade, blooming and folding away into nothing. Constellations losing teeth and limbs.

It’s been peaceful for us humans and the other races in the coalition since the slaughter. Seven centuries of peace.

My grandfather and his fellow soldiers cheered and drank smelly liquids that came from their ship. I was told we don’t have any of what they were drinking here on our planet.

The rest of us just watched the stars go out like a reverse fireworks show, feeling sadness instead of joy.

My grandfather and his friends are laughing and crying at the same time.

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08 June 2014 @ 07:18 pm
I was a time traveler. I say ‘was’ because it’s apparent to me now that this was a one-way trip.

I realized I was a god as soon as the pain stopped.

I could hear all the other gods, shouting in my head. Billions of them ordered into groups and catalogues. Every thought that ran through my mind accordioned new sub-menus out, giving me access to the proper people. Polite queries were flooding through me like water through a dam.

I wanted to respond but it was hard to do because of all the screaming I was doing.

It was a social network in my mind. Nodes of location and profession grew and pinpointed depending on my attention. Closing my eyes did nothing.

Most countries I recognized. Some I didn’t. I shied away from the nodes labeled with the names of planets. I only recognized half of the professions. Even though I could hear everyone, I was somehow not going insane. My brain must have been augmented, too.

I looked down at my arms. Light blue with a faint tracery of new lines on the skin. I wanted to get a closer look and immediately I could see the manufactured hairs on my arm in electron microscope detail.

I started screaming again. This was not my body.

I remembered stepping out of my time machine into an alley in what was supposed to be the year 2120. Immediately, I had trouble breathing and my eyes started watering regardless of the air filter and goggles.

Then fire lit up my veins like vegas and I went down.

As soon I came in contact with the future, I was registered as a pure biological and 'updates' began pouring into me from the picotech floating in the air. According to the tech, I hadn't been updated in a long time.

It was like plugging a gaming console into the ancient internet after two years of not playing it. Immediately, downloads for the OS and all of the games would pour in with a need for a restart. It took a long time.

Well, I've never been hooked into this network and according to its data, I was in need of a full reinstall.

I was in a coma for two weeks. Upgrade after upgrade slammed into my twitching body. I lay shuddering in the hospital while concerned medpeople monitored it all. The future ran through me like a train.

I am now connected to worldmind, overnet and airmesh. My eyes are sniper scopes and my skin is an air filter. I am blue.

I cannot go back. This future lacks the technology to regress me to my former self and the body I now possess would create thousands of patents that haven’t been invented yet if I went back.

The future is sorry. It says so. Here. In my mind. Everyone one earth apologizes and is happy to meet me. The other planets are knocking on my mental firewalls with well wishes. They all feel bad, like they sprung a trap on me. But they’ve never met a time traveler before and they want to talk.

I have five options of travel if I want to see other planets, seven if I want to leave this body here.

The blue skin around the corners of my mouth hooks up into a smile.

I think I’ll go to Mars.