Monday, May 2, 2011

Voicemail at Work

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Flying Cthulhu Robot Monster | Moved | Daytime Alter Ego


Well, you may have guessed by the onslaught of photos and complete lack of verbs that I haven't been around here much lately. Traveling to Germany and back has pulled a lot out of me and change me in many ways. But here's the kicker: I'm reaching my 10 year mark on my career as a Web Developer. That means it's time to change career paths. Next up? Comic Book/Graphic Novel Author. Now, since I'm just starting out, I'm going through a lot of books and training to draw comics--but I'm also keeping up writing. Both are being posted daily on my original blog. And since I've already disrobed the anonymous hood to some degree, I don't mind pulling it back all the way. Here's my daily update blog: Sleeping Outside the Box

Most recently, you will find yesterday's sketch and story of the Flying Cthulhu Robot Monster

As well as posting daily on that blog, I'm uploading my daily drawing to my daytime alter ego's flickr account: http://flickr.com/atomantic

You can also follow my daytime alter ego's twitter account: http://twitter.com/antic

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tomorrow We Depart


We leave tomorrow
The snow falls in Germany
We will join it there

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

She went all around saying, "Trick or Treat". Daddy ran with his idea.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Dream in Horrifying Color

It starts with an explosion. A man pushes a missile out through the window of a moving car. It launches toward a beautiful building with a rounded dome top. The course is set so that it appears it will bounce off the side of the dome but the missile alters its course mid-flight, circling around the building, tilting up and taking a nose dive into the massive lake that sits in the middle of the city.

I watch as a cloud of orange ignites beneath the water. A whirlpool builds just under the surface, it picks up and soon it has inverted itself outside, a tornado hovering over the lake, glowing orange, green, black. Now a million flaming arrows of dust tail spew out of the top, wrapping the sky in a firefly dome.

"Take cover!" These words seem to be coming from my mouth as I'm running, fast, for the only building I know is safe. Less than a block from here is a nano-enforced self-healing flat. The light in the night sky hovers briefly as I round the street corner, and then it descends.

Inside the building, a man is holding another at gunpoint. I know these men. The man with the gun is bad man, as men with guns tend to be. His name escapes me but I know he works for the man who launched the missile today. Whether he is after something or just wants to kill us, I'm not sure. His feeble adversary, quivering from the barrel aimed at his face, is my dear friend and business partner.

This flat is our office. The walls are lined with touch screen displays of the city, underground maps of the lake floor, schematics for the whole damned downtown. We were building a new bone structure for the city, a new foundation that would be safe from any natural or unnatural alteration. Earthquake? No problem. The city could take it, bending and shifting, padding the buildings with shock-wave absorbers and dynamic arches that bend but do not break. Nano-absorbent buildings that can take everything from fire to firebomb, filtering external elements into safe, clean, breathable particles.

"They are all dead out there. The whole city has been wiped clean. Not a biological spec aside from us here in this building. I don't have to kill you two. Devon is a lenient man. I can talk to him." The big bad man holsters his little gun and shrugs. He turns to walk out the door but pauses, "Oh, by the way, do you remember the combination to the safe in the office?"

I know the combination. 3167. It comes to me without thinking. "Oh, uh," I delay. "3... no, wait... oh, what was it..." I'm grabbing hold of a couch attempting to achieve the look of a man trying to remember. "Let me see if I wrote it down," I say, walking around the wall separating the main room from one of the offices. I hear my partner blurt out the code. Then I hear a quiet but certain shot. Silence.

A shadow moves across the hall and I lunge at the man. Wrapped around his back, I'm holding the gun at bay with one hand and clawing at his right eye with the other. His eye comes loose, external to the socket and I grab on with a whole fist to rip it from his scull. He doesn't scream. I take the other eye too, heaving them each at the ground.

Now that he's blind I run down the spiral staircase leading to the street. It's nearly a dozen floors down and I know that every level will increase the probability that he will come tumbling down if he attempts to follow me blind. Halfway down, I stop, exhausted, panting, he can hear me. I have his gun and I aim it up the staircase, awaiting his slow approach and soon I see him, all dressed in fine blue, save the spatters of red from his seeping eye sockets. I fire the gun. The bullet appears to go through him. I fire again and again. Still he walks closer. There are no bullets left as I click at the barrel for the last time and the man is gone. He simply vanishes before my eyes.

Making my way down the stairs, I head for the streets.

"What are you doing here?" This I address to an EMT I used to know, before she died. She's sitting on the stairs that go from the street level to the front door of the flat, next to a man who is bleeding from every opening possible.

"You are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress," she grabs my shoulder, "I'll be here until you get better. This man here isn't real. Put him out of your mind. None of them are real."

The stairway is laced with bodies, not quite dead, standing and staring at me. We pass them all as we descend into the street.

Now, there, just in front of me, a woman jogging, an old man walking a dog, college students laughing. A giant beach ball catches my eye and I turn to see a teacher in a playground with dozens of children, all circling around the ball, laughing, screeching. The noise of a populated city fills the air.

My old, dead friend calls to me, "we should keep you in the flat until you are capable of dealing with the outside."

A little girl stares at me from the playground. "No," I say, tears mixing with the blood in my scraped cheek. "That won't be necessary."

---------

As usual, this is just a snippet of my dream. There were many, long, detailed moments that I left out because they diverted into a dozen or so other plot tangents but this is the story that wrapped it all up from beginning to end.

Notes for me later: Squatter village, filled with stuff--piles and piles of highly organized stuff (neckties and tv's, toys and books), filling makeshift backyards. The large yuppy parents attacking the mayor to remove this part of the city. Saving the turtle and the hare from the government agents who want to inspect the fallout. My argument with the youthful agents about how obvious it is that we are all suffering from radiation poisoning. The glow-in-the-dark wheat fields, bulbs like fireflies. The painful air. The battle inside the office space where I pretend to be dead until the henchman peels my eyelids back to make sure.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

100 Word Challenge: Fear



A global pandemic threatens. Bacterial viruses evolve before our eyes, immunizing themselves against drug treatments--yet still some people disbelieve in evolution.

An asteroid could destroy us; space travel still fringe. Six humans in space live in one station. One little basket hovering over a larger basket.

Glaciers are falling to pieces, washing up dead penguins and polar bears.

Nuclear explosions still fill me with tears. I can't watch them anymore. Historical footage, in grimy technicolor is more horrifying than the best special effects Hollywood can buy.

I'm standing outside your bedroom door, listening for your breath. Keep breathing, baby girl. Just keep breathing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sad Squirrel


That's right, baby girl. That squirrel is sad.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

100 Word Challenge: Awesome (retraction of Wrong)


My wife is awesome, the jetsam to my flotsam. Not so much my nemesis as my nom-de-bliss. She takes this feeling of fleeting forgotten happiness and fills it with fortunate terms of endearment. I am an experiment in errant arrogance. To think that she would digress, my empress of progress, this husband needs a train-wreck head check.
In recompense for this offense I can only offer apology and devotion to her ever present willingness to proceed in strengthening our empathy; she sees me. Indeed, love, I'm sorry.
Oh, we've got a long long way to go to get there, we'll get there:


Monday, September 14, 2009

100 Word Challenge: Wrong


My wife is my nemesis. Regression my mistress. Hot head in a lizard state. Anything I say is wrong. Everything too late. Overkill. Frustrate. My buttons are being jammed in harder and deeper than ever before. Thick glottal stops and slamming doors. Give me a moment so I can push against this pressure. Let me breath a second before I spit a torrential Tourette of fuck. fuck. fuck. This is not me, this thing that I'm becoming. Are we growing old or growing up? Pressed under or rising above? It may not be happiness, but it's got to be love.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Last 6 Hours

The last 6 hours lasted 6 days.

The first day is like any other dream day. The city shifts from two to three to four dimensions and back, warping, a dynamic landscape to fit a dynamic day. Now Seattle. Now Brazil. Now a squatter metropolis in Nairobi.

There are flies coming off of this old woman as she shakes her laundry.

"Watch out for the viper flies. Everyone has them. They look like an opalescent, milky shells of corn with wings, but small, very small. Some are blue. The blue ones are nasty."

These flies live inside us, in our arms and hands, burrowing just under the skin. You can see them as they travel through your body but you can't feel them enter--they are that subtle, just barely biting, enough to enter and squirm.

I see one and I panic. It's in my right forearm, traveling up to my hand. With a pinch and a squeeze, I force it to the surface and crush it with my fingers. It resists like a flea, flattening itself and wiggling away--but I capture it's wings between my fingernails and cut them loose. The little fucker falls to the ground, inert.

It is this day that I discover I am about to die. I have several days, perhaps a week at best. There is an infection running too deep to cure. I have fly eggs in my arms. They are reproducing and, as they hatch and tunnel through my body, I have to squeeze them out constantly to keep them from eating too much of me.

The next few days are about preparing for death. Loose ends and farewells consume every waking moment. I barely sleep, noticing a new fly every time I close my eyes.

What about Code Name Alice? She has no idea, though she notices my arms withering away into bones. I can no longer hold her. This above all else fills me with pain, dread, fear. For several days, I have private encounters with people I knew, which I won't go into here--too much, too long, too personal.

Driving, I curse at the ether. It's not supposed to be this way. I'm supposed to live long enough to see other planets, to see the next medical renaissance, perhaps to live forever. If it could have just waited, my girl could have a father for eternity.

Although asleep, the pain is real. Code Name Alice is stirring in her room. She is awake now and I must wake up to feed her breakfast and play. It's Sunday. I haven't long left. No time to fix this dream. Before I leave, before dying, I pass on the secret of killing the flies, which I discovered in a dream within a dream. Perhaps as I stand here awake, they are killing the flies now, cleansing that curvy world of such pestilence, preventing another father from falling away from his child.

The last 6 hours was the worst 6 days of my life.

This is a bad way to start a day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

TED: Dan Dennett - Dangerous Memes and Inoculations

This isn't a new idea. Neal Stephenson went on and on about it in Snow Crash. Ideas are memetic infections--and they can be dangerous. However, I came to a realization that I hadn't thought of until the end of Dan Dennet's TED talk: Ideas like the Flying Spaghetti Monster are a form of viral inoculation. It's like a flu shot to prepare you for the next idea--a more dangerous one--but, having experienced the vaccine, your mind is capable of fighting off real diseases. We must make satire in order to fully develop our minds around ideas and work out any kinks that may be laughable--but that may not be apparent, which without discovering leaves the unwitting to suffer the agony of believing in half-baked information.

From TED:
"Starting with the simple tale of an ant, philosopher Dan Dennett unleashes a devastating salvo of ideas, making a powerful case for the existence of memes -- concepts that are literally alive."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Am the Destroyer of Worlds




16 July 1945, After the Trinity Atomic Test:

We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.

--Oppenheimer