True Fact: 100% of deaths are caused by statistics.
I recently heard the new generation referred to as the iGen. It’s better then the alternative “Twigen.”
I could gush about much of Bioshock Infinite. I could talk about how the story of Booker and Elizabeth moved me to tears. I could go on about how the floating city of Columbia was the most interesting virtual world I ever explored. I could even spoil the ending, and how it made me feel shocked, saddened, and inspired.
However this perfectly expresses how I fell. Bioshock Infinite took themes of heroism, patriotism, isolation and redemption and twisted them into something both familiar and unique. And I am glad that I experienced it.
The marketplace was bustling. Every morning the people would flock to the shops and the kiosks that crowded the heart of the town. It was here that the vendors would shout out their wares and the hunters would display their catches. Wives and mothers could be heard bartering with the shop keeps and with each other. Children weaved in and out playing games. Some were singing songs.
In the middle of the market square was a fountain. The water had long since dried out. There was a statue of a nameless goddess holding a vase. A relic few thought of. It had been there too long and for that reason alone would likely never be torn down.
On top of the vase sat a small boy. He was not an orphan but he didn’t belong to anybody either including the town. But he was there all the same and had been sitting on the vase long before the market had opened for the day.
He sat alone, unnoticed and unmoving. His eyes were closed, but he could hear it all as the din rush over him. He could pick out the voices and who they belonged to. He didn’t know their names. He didn’t have to.
The newlyweds. She hemming and hawing at the jewelers. Him fawning over her. Their new bliss.
The runt who twisted his ankle while chasing another boy. He was sniffing, trying not to cry. He could not find his mother in the crowds. From the waist down everyone looked the same. He just wanted to go home.
The new girl who worked at the fish stand. She’d been homesick for the longest time. But the more she worked the more home faded away. She loved what she was doing. From the smells and the sizzle the fish made as she dropped it in the oil. To the old-timers that taught her to sliced and butcher. She loved the feel of a knife in her hand as she cut and chopped. This was her purpose.
Atop his perch the boy listened. He heard their words and their stories. The petty disputes and the joys and the melancholy as the day went by. Everybody just went on with their day. They were far too busy to notice a boy.
Eventually the vendors closed up shop. the crowds thinned as the sun went down. The wood carver, always the last to leave, looked over his work with a satisfied grunt and headed home. Only then did the boy open his eyes.
He hoped down from the statue and sat on the edge of the old fountain. There was an apple on the ground that had rolled away. He picked it up and held it to his forehead. He could feel the coldness against his skin. He thought of all the people that he had heard and he said a prayer. For them and for himself.
When he was done with the apple, he stood and looked up to the starry sky. Then he began to dance. It was slow at first. There was no rhythm or beat. It wouldn’t have matched up to any music. Jerky movements that quickened in pace. He danced among the empty stalls and the grounds where so many had been. He began to whoop and to holler. No one was around to hear him. He went faster and louder. More out of control. He danced and he shouted for those that would not hear him.
And then he went away.
He never came back.
It’s been far too long since I checked in. I’ll just blame the holidays and the copious amounts of nog. FYI Copious Nog is my Foo Fighters cover band. That’s a joke that never gets old.
So what were the highlights of 2012?
1. We did not all die in a fiery, disease ridden, zombie filled, Aerosmith crooned, Armageddon So that’s nice.
2. My daughter continued on her journey of self discovery. Thus far eating books is fun.
3. The Newsroom premiered giving both Aaron Sorkin and Jeff Daniels another chance to shine and be awesome. Both of which they do magnificently.
4. I started working in the produce department making Fruit Ninja a particularly cathartic experience.
5. Something about a president, an election and I think shrimp.
6. The kids on Glee graduated. And some other stuff happened.
So what does 2013 hold for us? Here are my predictions.
1. Bigfoot, Yetis and chupacabras will all be proven real and in some of the most confusing three-way relationships ever. It might be love-making, it might be fist-fighting. Who knows!
2. Adele and Coldplay will collaborate on an Alt-moody love song. It will go octoplatinum and be used to sell everything from chewing gum to tampons.
3. The Real Housewives of Stepford will premiere.
4. Benedict Cumberbatch will continue his trend of being all that is awesome. Will get shafted when People Magazine names it’s sexiest man of the year.
5. The Xbox 1080 will release. New features include burning images directly onto your corneas, sandwich making, and kidney punching your enemies when you pwn them.
6. North Korea will continue to be a dick.
7. Global warming will be proven, disproved, reproved, debunked, definitively proved, and called poppycock.
8. The Superbowl will happen. I won’t care.
9. The Batman franchise will reboot once again swinging this time towards ultra campy. Look forward to buying your very own Batcodpiece.
10. Three new versions of the iPhone will be released. None will let Siri talk dirty to you.
These are my predictions. What are yours?
Does anyone else find it odd that in Middle-Earth there are no black people?
I love Sushi. That is all.
Calvin and Hobbes was a comic strip written by Bill Watterson that ran from 1985 to 1995. It was about a young boy and his best friend. A stuffed tiger who came alive when no one else was around. They got into adventures, and oftentimes mischief. They discussed things like philosophy, the meaning of life, the nature of humans, politics, and god. Plus they transmogified things.
I really can not overstate the impact Calvin and Hobbes had on me. I can remember going through the books when I was about three or four. I was trying to learn the words based off of the pictures. It was a large part of what made me want to become a writer. It’s probably responsible for my overdeveloped and likely misused vocabulary. And it gave me the gifts of humor and imagination. All things that I deeply want to pass down to my daughter.
Most of you probably know what I’m talking about. Even though it hasn’t been in syndication for 17 years now it still seems to keep in pop culture. Though if you don’t know I highly recommend you check out some of the books. Then you’ll know what I see when we see a cardboard box, snowmen or wagons. And that is that the possibilities are endless.
I’m surprised funeral parlors don’t advertise taxidermied humans.
When I first met my wife I wrote her this little short story. I haven’t looked at it for five years now but when I pulled it out it made me smile and only needed some small touch ups. I present it to you now. Enjoy.
“I can see you are a great considerer of the oddities,” said the Shop Keep. “Beg pardon?” I asked, as I looked the Shop Keep over. He wasn’t a tall man. Unremarkable face really, though he trussed it up with things like an eye patch and a long goatee that was greasy and curled like a worm ashamed of itself. The Shop Keep drummed his long fingers on the glass “You look to me like a man who enjoys being confronted with the mysterious.” He gave me a wink with his non-patched eye.
He spoke with a pseudo-Arabic accent like the little dude who starts the story in Aladdin. Probably where he got his whole shtick since he was a white guy working at a dank store in Queens. But whatever.
“Whatda got?” I asked him. My curiosity had gotten the better of me.
He moved with surprising grace to the back of the store and grabbed a few things, including a cage. I suppressed the urge to walk out of the store. Little rule of mine but when a strange man who looks like a cross between Arabian nights and Pirates of the Caribbean wants to show you something that is in a cage you book it out of there as fast as you can. But I stayed. It seemed rude not to.
“First we have what I like to call Exploding Sand.” The Shop Keep said as he grabbed a handful of powder and threw it down at my feet.
“Hey now!” I took a quick leap back incase something really did happen. There was a quick flash of light and then I realized there was just a bunch of sand on the floor. I looked at the Shop Keep with a raised eyebrow “ Do you have a flashlight hidden behind your back?” I asked.
The Shop Keep looked back at me with one innocent eye. I imagined the guilty one was having a go at me though behind the patch. “Course not sir, tis magic sir.” He grinned at me with as much sincerity as a head of cabbage. I decided not to ask questions but tried to calculate how quickly I could be out the door depending on the next “surprise”.
“Next, good sir, we have the Mirror of Truth.” He said as he removes a small mirror from a dark purple cloth. The mirror was roughly the size of a women’s compact and I had a suspicion that on the back of it would be some light glue and possible even some concealer.
The Shop Keep held up the mirror so that could see my reflection in it. “What does it do?” I asked. He gave me that same innocuous look. “Why sir it reflects things for what they really are.” I paused for a second to try and analyze what he had just said. “So…” I was having a hard time finding the words for this one “… it shows you what is?” I finally said.
The Shop Keep gave me a delighted expression, that reminded me of when my third grade teacher used to give us gold stars on our homework. “That’s right sir.” I shook my head “So it’s a mirror?” I asked. The Shop Keep wagged a finger at me “Oh no sir it shows you what is.”
“What do other mirrors do?” I asked. The shop keep solemnly said “They show you what could be.”
“Um I don’t think so.” I said. I was trying to think of a way to not be rude.
The shop keep tucked the mirror under the counter somewhere and said “Ah well sir, not for everyone.” He grabbed the cage now which was covered by another purple cloth.
Keeping what was inside of the cage hidden he made a big show of opening it from the back. He even was making a “Bum-da-da-da-da-da.” Noise out of the corner of his mouth, which I assumed, was supposed to be a drum roll.
The Shop Keep grabbed whatever was in that cage and thrust it out onto the counter with sincere delight “I give to you Sir, THE TAP DANCING SQUIRREL!” he shouted with glee.
The tap dancing squirrel really looked more like a muskrat. It was large and hideously over fed. Someone had carefully and painstakingly knitted little colored booties with metal bottoms that skittered all over the counter as the squirrel tried to walk around in a way evolution had so far unprepared him for. On the squirrels back someone had etched in faded blue ink “The Amazing Maurice.” It was, all in all, the singular most pathetic sight I had ever witnessed.
I looked into the Shop Keep’s one good… well, uncovered eye to see if there was some hint of a joke being played on me. Then I looked down at The Amazing Maurice who seemed to have abandon his dream of escaping in favor of munching on some spare Exploding Sand.
Without a word, I turned and walked out of the store.