The best joke I ever told

In my senior year of high school we had an assignment to rewrite Hamlet in a different theme. I can’t remember why anymore but I thought it would be an amazing idea to smash Hamlet with Looney Toons. I’m still pretty proud of the ideas that I had like Marviatio The Martian, or dueling with giant mallets.

There is one joke that will always be my favorite. Bugslet and his friends had just returned from The Carsades. The line I will always remember is “They laughed about how easy it was to color the stupid Inklishmen.” Ten odd years later and that line still makes me laugh out loud. I thought it was brilliant. I thought it worked on every level

The thing was that nobody got it. Not one person understood or thought that it was all that funny. I remember my English teacher writing in the margins “What does this mean?” And I don’t care. I still have this mental image of cartoon characters running around with giant paintbrushes coloring in a bunch of black and white Penman thereby converting them. That joke is uniquely mine. It makes me laugh. and was worth every blank stare and cocked eyebrow.

Giddyup Horsey!

At a grocery store that’s close to us there is one of those old motorized horsey rides that my daughter loves. It’s the only thing that I can think of that still costs a penny.

I have no idea how old it is and I’m certain it makes no money, but even if it didn’t make Natalie exceedingly happy I’m glad it’s there. The store could use that space for advertising, a coke machine or any number of things that would generate revenue. It’s nice to see something that’s just there to make kids happy. A little ride that makes them laugh and shout and chase imaginary bandits.

My hope is we have more things like this in the world.

Well that was quick.

It’s now been over a year and a half since I last posted anything. A track record that could only be described as “extremely poor.” It’s impossible to write without feeling like you need an excuse. “What did you do for your Summer Vacation, Ian?”

Truth is life happened. We moved twice. Watched our daughter grow and learn. Work and medical procedures and here we are much later than I ever intended. In the past I would have gotten down on myself. I kept thinking If you’re not going to post anything for that long then what you come back with better be goddamn brilliant.

Earlier today I read something by Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite authors. It was advice to a young writer about how to get your ideas down on paper. I won’t recite it here (mostly because it is brilliant, and I’m nowhere near there yet.) but he does say the only was to do it is to do it. Goddamn brilliance takes a lot of work.

While I may not hit that level I do have things I want to say. I want to write stories and post them, I want to write about video games and tv shows. I want to express things that amuse me. More than that I want to create something.

All we can do is start again.

Awesome Thing #3 – Bioshock Infinite

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.

A Religion of Words

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.

2012 in (distorted) perspective and looking ahead to 2013

Ahoy Internet

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?